Like many people, I stopped paying for cable or satellite TV years ago, and gave up on free over-the-air broadcasts due to their lack of interesting content. This means that I now rely on a combination of paid streaming services (Netflix and Amazon Prime) and free online content (YouTube). Of these, YouTube is the most analogous to the broadcast television I grew up with. Content is uploaded on “channels” by individual content creators, with new “episodes” being uploaded according to their own production calendars, and revenue is generated through the placement of ads within that content, just like adverts (commercials to Americans) on TV.Continue reading “The YouTuber’s Growing Attitude Problem”
Humans tend to be really weird about biology. We study other animals and explain their behaviors through the laws of ecology, but then very quickly make exceptions for ourselves. We accept the theory of evolution through natural selection but then twist ourselves in knots explaining how “modern” humans have somehow stopped evolving.Continue reading “We gotta get outta this place!”
There was this teenager I once knew, almost 20 years ago now, who desperately wanted a nickname. His name was David, and that’s what everyone called him. Not Dave or Davey or Heavy D, or D-Diddy or D to the Avid. Just David. His brothers, Christopher and Nicholas, were known to everyone as Chris and Nick. All in all, his parents had been pretty sensible in naming their boys, if not terribly creative.
In an age of Jaydens, Chads, Bradleys and Connors, I figured he was pretty lucky to have a nice respectable old school name like David. A name that evokes marble statues. And of all the Old Testament names, it’s one of the easiest to spell (no offense, Melchizedek). But David thought it was boring, so he went about selecting a nickname for himself, and then actively encouraging people to use it, without much success.Continue reading “Call me….Sandwich”
Early in the 2020 pandemic I established an evening routine of taking a stroll around my ½ acre compound and picking up any sticks that might have fallen from the various Eucalyptus and Gravillea trees growing within. Incidentally, what we call a compound in Kenya is known as a yard in America or a garden in England. I know that in America the word compound brings up notions of Branch Davidians and other armed cultists preparing for doomsday, but it’s really an innocuous word. More on words in a bit. Continue reading “Must be the Season of the Sticks”
The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe tends toward disorder. I know that’s a gross oversimplification that my physics-geek friends will laugh at, but essentially, the principle states that without the input of energy, a closed system naturally moves from highest level of order to highest level of disorder. The measure of disorder is called entropy. Continue reading “The Entropy and the Ecstasy”
We live in the information age, a time when one of the most popular career fields is “information technology.” The sum total of human knowledge is a mere Google search away. But who can honestly say that having access to more information has made his/her life better? Knowledge is power, but it comes at a heavy price.
There’s a fine line between mellowing with age and just no longer giving a shit. I’ve fortunately never been a worrier; I’ve always been easy like Sunday morning. But as I grow older, I find myself worrying less and less about more and more. It’s a challenge to give up worry while still caring enough to get out of bed every day. Continue reading “A Short List of Things I No Longer Care About”
Forgive me, family, for writing such a personal letter in such a public way, but I knew of no better way of reaching all of you at the same time. And what harm is there in the whole world knowing how awesome you are and how much I love you all? Our family is facing challenges, so I thought it would be a good time to convey to you how important you are to me (and I think I can safely speak for all of us in our generation). Continue reading “Love Letter to my Prettyman Family”
For a brief time as a teen I was interested in sci-fi and fantasy books. Though the two genres are usually lumped together, I always had a clear understanding that sci-fi involved robots and/or space, while fantasy was almost always something about wizards, elves, magic and realms that had not yet witnessed an industrial revolution. (Seriously, why all the swords, people? Magic up some gunpowder for chrissakes). Continue reading “Where’s the Science in Your Fiction?”
Growing up on a farm necessitated learning a little bit about a lot of things, but most importantly, learning how to become self-reliant. Farm living is the perfect incubator for hatching the jack of all trades. When you live miles from the nearest store and scrape by on a budget that doesn’t allow for buying expensive replacement parts or paying exorbitant labor charges to professional mechanics you learn to fix what you’ve got with whatever you have on hand. You do it not because you want to but because you have to. Continue reading “It’s Just What I Do”