C’est Fini. The Wheel Of Time Part 1 of 2

Image of the cover for the book The Eye of The World by Robert Jordan

Ugh.

I spent the summer of 1996 camping in various places in the Targhee and Gallatin national forests while working in West Yellowstone Montana. My average day included going to work, then fishing until I caught dinner, then relaxing with a book until bedtime.

At some point during that summer I decided I needed to start reading a good multi-volume epic fantasy. I am very picky about writing styles. I spent over an hour in the little book shop in West Yellowstone reading through several first pages and judging many books by their cover.

So it was that I found myself purchasing Robert Jordan’s The Eye of The World.

The first few books in The Wheel of Time series, imprinted a few important truisms on my mind. While I did enjoy the characters and story, I always felt like there was no re-readability to them. Another impression was how vast this world could be; I imagined all sorts of side stories and novels unrelated to the main series, the world was that rich to me. And, lastly, I’ll never forget the most powerful impression from those early books. Call it inspiration, or something else, I don’t know, all I can say about it is that I knew that Robert Jordan would die long before the main series could come to a natural end.

He did.

To be honest though, the series had all ready died for me. By the time book nine had finally been released, Jordan had started cluttering the stories with long prologues that never added anything new or interesting, often times focusing on enemy plots. Not a single one of which progressed the story or contained anything the reader would need to know to clarify something in the story proper.

When I managed to trudge through those prologues, I realized quickly that now the first several chapters were just repeating what had happened in the previous books. By the time I reached the point in the book that the reader was all caught up and the story moving forward, I would notice the pages were opened half way through the book.

That frustrated me. And to top it all off, there was no Matrim Cauthon. His story had ended with a major cliff-hanger and he wasn’t even in the next two books.

It was then, I decided to stop reading the series. I figured I’d takeoff from there once, if ever, the series was completed. I don’t even remember reading the rest of Winter’s Heart. I may have simply put it down and walked away, never again waiting years to be disappointed by Robert Jordan. It was the last Wheel of Time book I ever purchased.

When did I buy Elantris? I do not even remember. I do recall, that I had exhausted all interesting fantasy series’ available at the time, and that Brandon Sanderson had only the one book published. I bought it at a book store, though as I try to remember when or where, using the publication dates, the memory escapes me.

I loved Elantris. It was so refreshing, and I enjoyed Sanderson’s style. The book became an instant favorite for me, and I hoped the author would not be another one-hit-wonder which is so prevalent in the fantasy genre. It is a book I have read twice, and will read again, yes, I consider it re-readable.

Like many wheel of time fans, I was devastated when my premonition of his dead came to pass. Although the publisher did attempt to pacify our worries of a truly unfinished story with statements declaring Jordan had left behind extensive notes, I was apprehensive none-the-less. I honestly had no hope until the announcement came that Brandon Sanderson had been selected to finish the work.

Still, I never reread the first nine books or made any attempt to finish reading the series. I simply had no desire to reread Jordan’s books. Also, I had lost everything I owned in a bad winter, and replacing all The Wheel of Time books at once was too much of an undesired expense.

So it was that I found myself at the end of 2016 still unaware of the fate of some of my most loved and cherished characters from one of the richest fantasy worlds I had ever adored. It had been almost four full years since the end of the series was published, and over nine years since Robert Jordan had passed away, and about 19 years since I had last read from any of The Wheel of Time books.

It was time. An opportunity arose in December of 2016 to borrow the audio book versions of the entire series. I took it. With a great deal of trepidation, I started the audio book series from the beginning with the intention of finally completing it.

I have mentioned the re-readable aspect of these books before, and should clarify at this time. I consider some books non-re-readable for a myriad of reasons. Some are just written bad, others aren’t interesting enough to reread. There are, however, two series’ that I thoroughly enjoyed that I consider non-re-readable: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. Why? Well, because I memorized them the first time. That’s the simplest straight forward answer I can give. In the case of these two series’, it isn’t a bad thing to not be re-readable.

I could expand of course, and shall try a bit. Robert Jordan’s writing style is very simple and easy on the mind. His story is gentle and leaves just the right amount of the reader’s imagination, not to fill in blanks, but to… coauthor. As a coauthor, I know the story and remember it. I cannot think to myself, ‘oh, I should reread that book,’ because I remember all of it. Over 20 years had passed since I read the words that make The Eye of The World, yet as I listened to Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, I often found myself quoting Jordan verbatim before they spoke. There wasn’t much, if anything that I had forgotten in those long years.

Egwene’s story is the most heart wrenching of the series. Even though I had not read past the ninth book in the series, I had read, since the publication of A Memory of Light, online fan pages and character synopses. So, I already knew what was going to happen, just not the words used, or the exact place in the story. I can say that Egwene’s death was a major reason I put off reading the series for so long.

As the end of what I had all ready read drew closer, my trepidation grew unbearable. Knowing Egwene’s fate, and being in the process of rehashing her accomplishments thus far, just tore me apart inside and I totally broke down. I had to stop listening everyday, and relegated the audio readings to the one night a week I spend at my other job. In between those nights, I had to cast out all thought of The Wheel of Time.

That distancing worked. It only took a few weeks before I started slipping the audio reading back into my daily life, a couple hours there, a few here. It was much like the time I would have spent reading a book anyway. By the time Jordan’s last book, Knife of Dreams, had ended, I was able to start Sanderson’s The Gathering Storm immediately, without any trepidation at all. In fact, I even looked forward to Sanderson’s turn.

I finished A Memory of Light last night right at my normal bed time. I did not like Sanderson’s ending, but I did enjoy much of the final epilogue, which as it turns out, was written by Robert Jordan himself, for the most part. I could tell the difference, but I’ll get into that next time.

Robert Jordan is gone now. The Wheel of Time series has ended. I feel like I have a huge hole in my heart. The past several weeks has been an emotional roller coaster. I’m not glad it’s over. For now that will have to do. Next time I’d like to compare Jordan’s portion of the story with Sanderson’s and offer my own take.

To Hobby or Not

Here I sit in the heart of winter with nothing to do. I spend my free time contemplating the future. I have a little over two feet of snow outside, this Ground Hog day, and temperatures below 0°C. That’s freezing if you didn’t know. Most of my hobbies are outdoor, warmer weather, sunny day hobbies. Like, Gardening, Beekeeping, and herding my flocks.

This winter is different though. I am on the brink of retirement. Will it happen this year? I do not know. I am content to wait, but I’m not sure I can be as patient as I need to accept yet another winter. Still, there are a few more ‘dominoes’ I want to have in place before I tip that first one over; A few more ‘floaties’ before the big plunge. I can wait one more year, but I don’t want to.

If I pull my trigger too soon, I risk missing my target. That’s where my hobbies come. Hobbies Slow me down, and give me time to think and appreciate. They are a necessary distraction to the agony of waiting for retirement. I enjoyed last years turkey herding, and beekeeping. Gardening last year was a disaster, but I enjoyed the two previous years.

So here’s the dilemma, If I choose not to garden this year, I may grow too impatient for retirement and end up jumping the gun. If I choose to garden, and the opportunity for retirement arises, then I’ll have to abandon the garden and will receive no fruits of the labor. The same goes for the beekeeping, and turkey raising.

One has to outweigh the other.

There is also timing and cost to consider. If I choose to get more bees, and build up a few more hives, I have to commit now, like within the week. Committing now, means spending now. Hobbies are expensive. I want at least three new hives. That’s an expense of $375 for the bees, and another $225 in hive kits. Do I want to spend that much right now, on the off-chance my retirement plans do not fall into place this year?

The same goes for getting more birds. I love the chickens, and I did enjoy last years turkeys, even though it was a massive learning curve between raising the two. I learned my lessons, and this year I would like to take the opportunity to apply what I learned. Just like the bees, commitment is required now. The expense is $207 plus shipping (I presume) for the birds, and another $300 for a new coop. Do I want to spend that much right now, on the off-chance my retirement plans do not fall into place this year?

Its similar with gardening. You don’t realize it until you start, but gardening is expensive. I’m not going to add up the cost of seeds, though it is higher than you’d think. The main purchase I need this year, is a rototiller, $800 right off the bat. Do I want a rototiller? Yes. Will I have use for a rototiller on my catamaran? No. At least the rototiller won’t be needed ’till April (pun intended). Do I want to spend that much right now, on the off-chance my retirement plans do not fall into place this year?

I am leaning towards gardening this year, but not for canning. That’s the way I did it the first two years, and it worked out good. I am leaning toward getting the bees too, for pollination. For those two hobbies, once the money is spent, there is no farther monetary expense. After that, it’s all about managing time. Unless I install an automated sprinkler system, which I will be able to this year, watering the garden is the greatest tax upon my time. Moving the sprinkler every 15 minutes for 3 hours straight is also very disruptive.

At least my other hobbies are not time limited, and I can take them with me when I retire. I’m talking about amateur radio and beer-making…

Arch Linux org.plasma.private.kicker Module Not Installed

I updated my desktop PC yesterday, (# pacman -Syu) only to discover nothing would launch after login. I use KDE 5 on Arch Linux. Whenever I clicked the ‘K’ application menu, I received a message indicating that the org.plasma.private.kicker module was not installed.

What the heck is that?

I worked around it for a day (yesterday, 2017-01-23) by holding the shift key and typing the first letter of the application I wanted to run. [SHIFT+F] to bring up the run command and then finishing with ‘irefox’ would get my web browser running.

That got me through the day yesterday, but today, I decided to take a few minutes and try to resolve the issue. Since I didn’t know what the problem was, I simply decided to reinstall xorg-service and the plasma group.

# pacman -S xorg-server plasma

Did the trick, by reinstalling the packages from my cache. I’m now a happy desktop GUI using camper. 😀

Not a Good Start :-(

Today is the fourth day that the United States Postal Service is refusing to deliver mail to my mailbox. Any mail. No tracks at all in the snow, not even to the neighbors mailboxes.

It’s also the second day that I have no running water. Again. In the past, it’s been a lack of electricity that turns the heaters off causing the pipes to freeze. A 14-1/5 hour power outage and circuit breakers popping to be particular. This time, all circuit breakers are on, and all heaters (two pipe heaters on the pipes, one magnetic oil-pan heater on the bottom of the brand-new pressure tank, and a 750 watt utility heater) are on. The pump-house is very warm, well* above freezing and all pipes below the pump-house are buried 5 feet deep, so I’ve been told.

It’s the… I don’t even know how many days I have been keeping the second chicken waterer in the house and switching it out with the one in the coop. I do know, that last year I did not have that problem. I never had frozen water in the chicken waterer last year, not a single time.

I also keep a utility heater in the laundry room. Because of that, and the fact that this winter I have more laying hens, I keep the eggs in there. ALL the eggs froze yesterday. Two dozen eggs in mashed paper egg boxes froze, right above the utility heater.

I took preventative measures this fall to avoid every single problem I’m having. Not one of them prevented any of the problems I wanted to avoid. Not a single one.

*Pun intended.

Happy New Year!

I connot believe that I didn’t write a single blog entry in 2016. It’s just as well, I guess.

Yesterday, I logged into Blogger.com, where my blog used to be hosted, and found this disturbing notice:

Screenshot of Google notice that I am subject to the European Union BULLSHIT!
“European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent. “As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google’s use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies. “You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.”

“European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

“As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google’s use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

“You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.”

EXCUSE ME?!!!

I am a Sovereign American Citizen, subject ONLY to God the Eternal Father. I am not, repeat NOT a subject of the European Union or any member country of the EU. I have absolutely NO responsibility whatsoever to the EU. European Union laws DO NOT “require” me to do a damned thing.

So, waldowoc.blogspot.com now redirects to https://www.waldosweb.com/blog and I refuse to use or endorse Blogger ever again.  I may decide to completely stop using, and associating with, Google altogether if that’s is how they are representing me internationally.

So, a new year, and a new blogsite! And the European Union can shove it up there collective asses!

#BoycottBlogger #GoogleSucks! #TheEuropeanUnionCanShoveItUpTheirCollectiveAsses! #EuropeanUnion #EU #EUSucks! #EuropeanUnionSucks! #AmericanPatriot #SovereignCitizen @Google #FuckYou!

AF7OH

All my life I wanted to have a radio base station. The Dukes of Hazard county had their CB’s and remember Alf? The character who was the family’s father had a base station.

Fast forward to adulthood and I was envisioning a base station in my camper, and handhelds for my hikes. Sitting at camp one day with my dad, I told him my plans, but he wasn’t interested. In fact related a story about radio from the late 70’s when CB was the rage. He had hopped on the band wagon and then received a phone call from my grandpa to tell him he was going to call him on the radio later. That was a total turn-off for my dad, how idiotic was it to call someone on the phone to tell him he was going to call him on the radio?

Roughly 14 years later, I was surprised to hear my dad tell me that he was getting into ham radio. In fact, he was a technician class operator, and he was asking me if I would be interested in it. He explained to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was pushing members to become amateur radio operators for emergency purposes and that’s the reason he was now interested in it.

Well, I purchased a Baofeng handheld transceiver on June 27 of last year and have been monitoring the Malad link of the Intermountain Intertie ever since. It’s actually down right now, and has been for going on 3 months now, at least I think it is since I haven’t heard a peep from it since the beginning of December.

Originally, I was dead set against getting a call sign, since I’m a natural born American citizen and cannot be legally or lawfully compelled to license or register myself or my property. I took several months to study the United Stated code (U.S.C.) and the code of federal regulations (C.F.R.) concerning amateur radio. What I found would probably shock and maybe anger all amateur radio operators. I won’t go into any detail about that at this time, as it suffices me to say that I decided to go ahead and get a call sign.

I made the decision to get my call sign about 1 week before Thanksgiving 2014 and purchased the 3 American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.) training manuals along with their “Operating Manual”. They arrived the first week of December and I put all my normal activities on hold while I dedicated two full months to study for the three exams.

My study method was three fold: The first thing I did was record me reading the question pool and correct answers; I would listen to that first thing every day and while I was working; And finally, I used the manuals exactly as they were intended. It’s a miracle that I wasn’t dreaming about the exams, or the study material. 😀

I did get really stressed out as the exam date got closer and I purchased Gordon West’s amateur extra CD course. It arrived about a week or two before the exam date. It was fun to listen too, but since it was designed to go with his own textbook, which I did not get, I don’t think it really helped me. I ended up sending them to my dad who is going for his extra class status this week.

The exam session was 50 miles away, and I didn’t want the hassle of returning later so not only did I take all three exams when the day came, I took enough money for 2 make-up exam. I was prepared to fail at least one exam and thought it would be the general class exam. That was unnecessary as I passed all three exams first and only try. 😀

And, now that I am an amateur radio operator, I need to move out of my house because the owner of the house I rent does not want me to put up an antenna. 🙁 I was hoping to spend this month building a high frequency (HF) transceiver, but now I’m sorting through possessions and packing and throwing things out, and looking for a now place to live, which I haven’t found yet.

My plans for the hobby is to make my own radios and antennas and collecting QSL cards. I have no interests in the least bit of emergency communications.

My first radio build is going to be the Minima and after that, my goal is to build everything in the book Crystal Sets to Sideband. The author of Crystal Sets to Sideband, Frank W. Harris, KØIYE, recommends buying an A.R.R.L. handbook from the 1980s. I found a 1986 version on eBay, and purchased it. I love it. I cannot wait to get started making some of the devices in it, like the antenna analyzer and other testing equipment.

Morse Code Through Song

Had this wild idea to learn international morse cose about two months ago and found ‘The Ham Whisperer. At first, I thought I liked it. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it past the third lesson.

I had to give up on the him for learning. I just cannot tell the dit from the dahs and associate them with letters. But one thing he said at the beginning has stuck with me. He claims that memorizing morse code is like memorizing a song. I thought, ‘well if that’s true, why aren’t you teaching like a song?’
Then yesterday, someone posted an old military training course for morse code that emphasized the rhythm of international morse code: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNfiWmuqvGo&index=1&list=PLV_ZgDDShz2VB_h-GpHg4LbSfW4wCR7Xb


If that video were long enough to cover the whole code, I could easily learn morse code. It’s very entertain and well produced. After that, someone posted a link to Phil Kawa’s music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_qQZ92onhU&index=2&list=PLV_ZgDDShz2VB_h-GpHg4LbSfW4wCR7Xb


Now, I’m pretty sure I’ll be learning the cod, once I pass these exams this coming Saturday.

Once a Slacker, Always a Slacker…

Jeeze, just read my website. I need to update it, the last time I renovated it was when I lived in St. George, Utah. I no longer keep my blog updated often nor do I go to a library at all and web browsers on Linux are now the exact same as on Microshit Windows. And the friends page, yikes, I don’t even mention my two best friends, Garfield and her daughter Puppy Dog.
And there’s no mention of YouTube and Facebook! My guestbook no longer exists…
I’ve been slacking these past few years.

‘Community’ Canceled

Good riddance to an old favorite.

I absolutely LOVED the first three seasons of Community, back then the writing was awesome and the acting superior to anything on television and the show starred Chevy Chase.  Then came season four; What a disgrace, writing just plain sucked and cast tensions shined through the scenes.

With the departure of Chevy Chase, I lost all interest in season five of the show. After-all, Alison Brie is cute and sexy and all, but she can’t carry that particular ensemble show. I don’t know, maybe it would have been at least mediocre if Donald Glover had not left also.

Turkey Day! :-D

Some people, on a whim, will fix… French Toast for dinner. On a whim last week, I decided to fix a full out turkey meal, like the kind found on Thanksgiving day, for dinner sometime this week.

I bought the turkey last week and checked every day (after the first few, of course) to see if it was thawed. I rummaged through my collection of EveryDay With Rachael Rae magazines for my favorite turkey day recipes, November 2011. I had fixed the Kiss-of-lemon Roast Turkey (p. 127) a few years ago, and it was a big hit that Thanksgiving (It was me and my sister), along with the Classic Bread Stuffing With Sausage (p. 133), the Ruby Port Cranberry Jelly (which I personally did not like), and the Buttery Mashed Potatoes (p. 147). I fix those potatoes often. And it was those exact items I was craving!

Now, the first time I try a recipe, I follow it exact, if I like, I use it unchanged, if I don’t like it, I’ll note suggestions for next time.So there is a great deal of leeway when I make a meal. This time round, I could not find my zester, which was no big deal as last time I didn’t think the turkey had enough lemon flavor, this time, I had five lemons on hand. I have two left over, and I think it was the perfect amount of lemon flavor.

since I didn’t like the cranberry jelly last time, I stuck with the simplest recipe, which called for one cup of sugar and one cup of water and three cups of fresh cranberries. Yummy. I like it, but next time, I think I’ll add a few things to make seem a bit more complicated and unique.

The stuffing is my favorite! I’ll never change that. It is, in itself, a great anytime meal. I love it and will never change it intentionally. This time though, I made the mistake of not halving the ingredients. I didn’t even notice till after the sourdough bread was prepared and the sausage was all fried up. I kept looking at the recipe and saying really, “two large onions?”, it was when I was chopping those onion that I remembered, “oh yeah, last time I halved the recipe ahead of time…” Ooops.

The only change I make to the potatoes is, when I’m just fixing for me, I simply omit the cream, and don’t spend too much time mashing.

I did bake three loaves of bread the night before also, I was too tired by the time I cooked them, that I just thought, “screw it, I’m not going to let them rise any more”, and went ahead and baked them so I could go to bed. They turned out great, just not high of course. It was a new recipe, and next time I try it, I’ll ignore their destructions and follow my own tried and true and quick instructions, just with it’s ingredients.

Here are some pictures:

Doh! The pictures are on my phone because the battery for the camera was dead, and I don’t have a memory card for the phone because why would I ever use a telephone to take pictures?!!!

Well, here’s the Facebook picture I took after the battery charged while I was carving the turkey.