4 Years Later…

This was originally written as a comment to If You Never Hear From Me Again by David Simmer II . But once I got started, it turned into the last short story about our blue insignificant planet.


4 Years Later…

Planet Earth is nearly barren, one very large dust-bowl. The only nuclear warheads not destroyed are half-sticking out of the earth waiting for the button to be pushed.

The sound ‘Trump‘ wafted on the breeze, the last sound made by every human on the planet right before they were all wiped from existence. Weeds retake the cities, one mound of melting tissue at a time.

Volcanic explosions continue to rack much of the planet, bellowing loudly, spewing molten rock down on the concrete, steel and glass junkyards below. Neon signs no longer flicker, all the power-plants have ceased.

In a small town named Salem (about 190 miles from Seattle) in Washington State, one man remained. The quadruple-story bunker built beneath his home for him and his cats somehow is resisting the movement of the earth’s crust as tectonic plates relentlessly drift. He opens yet another can of Spam, but this time he doesn’t let the cats get too close. They are now glowing from their last visit to the surface. Now he realizes what’s happened up top, so he ain’t going up there, no how, no way, no time soon.

The cats suddenly turn their heads to the sky and wail. The man feels something move around him … and a wall splits to his right.

[…]

When interstellar visitors first landed (okay, crashed) in the 1950’s, Earthlings seems smart, but had been avoided for the most part. Well, that isn’t true.

1980's Hand Held Electronic GamesOne teenage Moroff took a wizz in back-alley in Seattle, but somehow left his backpack before both him and his entourage departed. When they returned 12-parsecs (40 light-year) later to locate the backpack, it was 1990 and far too late. Every piece of technology within had been adapted and salvaged in Silicone Valley as ‘new technological advances’:

Literally consequently, the 1950’s gave birth to the following inventions, findings and developments: Diet Soda. Microwave Ovens. Automatic doors. Velcro. The Fender Guitar. Solar Cells. Tetracycline. Polyvinylidene Chloride. Neutrino’s are discovered and anti-Protons detected. Fortran. Modems. Laser. Integrated circuits. Stereophonic recordings. Atomic energy was used to create Electricity! Earth was coming of age.

So the Moroff and his motley crew time-jumped forward to the year 2016, peeped down at us … and left us all alone. For some reason the Moroff wanted to stay away from the White House. Something about knowing the current guy-in-office rather intimately. They weren’t coming back soon.

[…]

The last human had died, and very soon after a dozen cats ate their last meal before returning to the surface.

1000 Years On…

Earth was a good planet. It had so much potential, but it was now gone. Every Atari museum, every archeological dig, every great tshirt was gone. The buildings had finally succumbed and crumbled down to the floors of jungles entwined across the planet.

The mutated livestock had eaten themselves out of existence also. But the bugs were returning. The earth was going full cycle.

The only animal that seemed to survive were feline, ferocious, and running out of food.

5,000 Years On…

Nothing organic remains on the planet. Another ice-age had happened after a nuclear-powered submarine sunk deep below the north-pole. It initially imploded, but the force of air managed to reach the surface … and the cyclonic winds carried the dust down across many green lands, dropping onto unsuspecting whiskered creatures and vines traversing the hills and valleys.

20161112_115141The resulting mutant now survived on bug-lavae, ice-water and corralled bugs. The feline family were growing smarter, developing knees and thumbs out of necessity to find food … but that took a backward step for a while. Returned to a worm like back end, but still a teeth-filled mouth, it wailed louder than the winds as it sought new creatures with which to ‘connect’.

10,000 Years On…

The Moroff-starship dropped to the jungle unexpectedly. Their power-supply had depleted after attempting several times to enter the M-class Planet’s atmosphere. Cyclonic lightning storms filled the upper atmosphere. HoloComD calculations determined a way to use the lightning to keep their power-supply whilst they swung around the storm. The white streaks of electric light arced away from the storm, enabling their ship to direct-line to a specific spot on the planet’s surface successfully.

[…]

Backpack and rifle at hand, the Moroff stepped down into the bog.

“Farg. Still nothing here at all…” he muttered, stopping mid sentence as a tall beautiful feline stepped out from behind a tree and waggled one leg as she leaned hesitantly onto a tree. The Moroff stared transfixed … as another dozen felines stepped out from behind the trees, wielding primitive yet bloodied spears. White-eyed, they moved toward the Moroff, who was now petrified.

1 Parsec Later…

“So, you are the descendants of the infamous David Simmer II??”

“So it appears.”

“Farg. So Old Man Trump, that two-bit celebrity who couldn’t even use email, enabled this??”

“Who?”

“Good point. My great-great-grand… He has been dead for 16,003.26 years. Why the farg would we be still talking about that idiot?”

“Ok, why? …. Now, where is that spam you promised?”


Okay, okay, I took it a bit far. I actually let the story evolve out of nothing. This took me 90 minutes to ‘mutate’ from my fingers (read: to type) it. Hope it gives you a good laugh.

Leave Well Enough Alone

​This morning I posted a story on Facebook that I found buried on a friend’s timeline. I found it funny enough to republish on my timeline.

Cattle Guards

For those of you who have never traveled to the US South West, cattle guards are horizontal steel rails placed at fence openings, in dug-out places in the roads adjacent to highways (sometimes across highways), to prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason the cattle will not step on the “guards,” probably because they fear getting their feet caught between the rails.

A few months ago, President Obama received and was reading a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado.

The Colorado ranchers had protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, so he ordered the Secretary of the Interior to fire half of the “cattle” guards immediately!

Before the Secretary of the Interior could respond and presumably try to straighten President Obama out on the matter, Vice-President Joe Biden, intervened with a request that “before any ‘cattle’ guards were fired, they be given six months of retraining.”

“Times are hard,” said Joe Biden, “it’s only fair to the cattle guards and their families be given six months of retraining!”

Like most stories posted to the internet, someone checked on snopes.com to determine if it true or not. Turns out it is fake!

Actually, I have a word to say about snopes: They take their unofficial job way too seriously. 
Many stories were written, I presume, purely as humor, as anecdote to tell at a large gathering to break the ice or to amuse the dignatories. 

No doubt people retold them, each time changing details to suit their audience.
Not all stories are written based on truth.

I sometimes wish they could leave amusing anecdotes alone, as legends, and as humor worth repeating.

Some jokes should remain jokes, and not become a snopes investigation.

What are your thoughts?

Ten Replacements for Power Transmission Towers

As most of the world knows by now, Adelaide endured its worst wind storms in 70 years. The power went out for the whole state late afternoon on Wednesday 28th September 2016. Many families were driven to talking to each other rather than their phones as the power slowly dwindled. Thankfully the power came back on, for most, around 7.30pm that night, so were able to recharge their left hands, oops, I mean their smartphones.

The next morning it was discovered that 12-22 transmission towers were violently pushed over by the tornado-strong winds across the state.

So I have taken a bit of time this morning to find some alternatives – both above and below ground – to remedy this issue:

Before we get started, I must admit that I found a site dedicated to the design of better pylons . That has to be a good thing, right? Well, almost. In this day and age, electrical can be buried under ground with minimal impact – because the government can repo’ the section of land, or else only enable shallow tilling and minimal impact. But that would make sense, so you don’t see much of that happening. OK, that was just my opinion. Here are the options:

Solar-Powered Gates 1. German site RheinEnergie have a picture of a DNA-looking pylon. This looks a tad too fancy for South Australia. But their website looks awesome!

2. The SternMast , also from Germany, is a winner of a European award. It reminds of the massive white windmills we have, so this design could fit into the already steel-column-cluttered environment.

3. This power-transmission looks like a Dubai-sail blowing across the canola-filled fields. It is an awesome design, yet again I feel our government would not see how this would improve the appearance of our country side plus giving tourism a massive boost. If giant architectural anomolies can work in the Middle East, surely we can emulate the same ostentatious style in Australia!

Nine Solar Flowers 4. By the M5 motorway in Újhartyán, Hungary is a clown-shaped power pole installed by the Hungarian electricity company MAVIR. Because nothing is scarier than clowns carrying thousands of volts of electricity. Yet it is clowns who think power poles should be flimsy enough to be blown over in 120klmph winds!

5, 6, 7, 8. I could have put more options here, but they would detract from the point here. I could easily have mentioned Colossus in Buenos Aires, Argentina , Australian Pole Specifications , increased power outages , and god forbid I mentioned someone has down a power-line failure analysis. Oh and the Tesla Power Wall.

9. Of course we could actually get rid of power transmission towers and go with WIND FARMS! Personally it makes much better sense. They could be sized according to the suburb location (hills or plains) and demographic choices (some people think they are eye-sores), but in actual fact they are the simplest way to power an entire metropolitan area with only a few of them.

Extract from quote on CleanEnergyCouncil.org.au :
Australia had 1866 wind turbines spread across 71 wind farms at the end of 2014. Three wind farms with a combined power generation capacity of 566.7 megawatts (MW) were completed in 2014.

10. Last is my absolute favorite: Off the Grid Solar Power . Because when all else fails, be prepared. This time next year, that’s what we will have!

Light on a Wall Extra: Turns out Japan is considering removing ALL overhead power-lines in preparation for the 2020 Olympic games . That is smart. Really smart. Why doesn’t Australia do the same thing for when Japanese tourists visit our country and ask “Why you still do this?”

Extra 2: A truly smart idea: Adding wind-farms to preexisting power transmission towers . Who woulda’ thunk? Not our current prime minister.

That’s enough. Point made. I hope.

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After Every Flood Comes a Drought

Way back on the 26th July 2016, I received a message from my friend Sasha – asking if I was available and willing to exhibit my photography during SALA 2016!

I have 10 A2-framed photos in SALA2016 !

ASIDE: 2010 was the last time I participated in SALA. There has not been a day since that I haven’t thought about doing it again. But money is strict, so I never imagined I’d ever get another chance.

But it appears to be true that “after flood there is drought“.

About 30 minutes later, I somehow managed to twist my right knee left and right, dislocating the knee plate TWICE! Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

There is more to this story regarding the ambulance ride and the hospital time, but that is reserved for close friends and family on Facebook.

Since then I have been on crutches and other leg wrapping to decrease the severe inflammation within my right knee. How the hell did I do that?

Thankfully it appears (according to X-Rays and an MRI) I did not tear my ACL. The Orthopaedic surgeon determined I only had a patello femoral dislocation .

Initially we believed I had wedged my knee between the cupboard handles beneath the sink I was standing in front of . Turns out I’d have to be 10cm taller in my lower leg to do that! So I suspect now that the weight of child in my left arm was a contributing factor.

The MRI showed “a stretched muscle around the right of the knee with a tear along its length, not across its width“. That was the best news for me. It meant the muscle will heal quicker, though there will be a knotted feeling. I can live with that. So no surgery required, only lots of physiotherapy. Good, because that I can do.

At the first hospital visit they gave me a solid reinforced black leg brace. It had only one purpose – to keep my leg straight. But that was getting more painful – because the muscles were not moving, they were going solid under the skin.

Without consultation, I changed to a skin-toned compression band. Oh, the pain has lessened dramatically and it’s so much easier to get around. It’s going to heal quicker now.

My Orthopaedic specialist changed to the 0-90degree knee brace [IMG]. This forces the knee to sit up without falling left or right whilst the plasma buildup reduces, yet enabling me to bend the knee sufficiently. This is a much better way to recover, particularly that I can walk just a little bit. Well, with crutches. Because initially is was ever so painful to put any weight on the leg at all!

So I am slowly on the mend.

Well, Balm Me, That Soothes the Pain!

Thanks to a new friend, Tim McGrath CEO of VitalXan , I am now applying Mangosteen Muscle & Joint Balm [IMG] upon my swollen knee up to three times a day.
The product is cooling, relaxing and makes a noticeable difference to the swelling each time I apply it.
If anyone is interested in trying this product for similar problems, contact me via social media.

Curb Negotiation on Crutches

On the downside, I had to negotiate this curb at the Flinders Private Admin to get from a ‘faux parking zone’ across to the orthopaedic clinic – and back again.

If you look closely, they seem to have removed the sloped path and rebuilt the concrete edging. Yet there is still painted lines for pedestrians on the car-park bitumen!

I wonder how much repeat business they get from customers who don’t survive the car-park obstacle course?

wordpress-curb-01    wordpress-curb-02

I am now a Youtubing Vlogger

A Youtubing Vlogger. Does that sound right? Should it be a Vlogger who Youtubes? Anyhow, it’s heaps of fun.

It’s early days yet, I am getting the hang of it all. I use Movavi for editing all the interesting moments in my life.

Most recently I took the perfect opportunity to video my friends and I drinking very dead wine that had been unearthed from various wine cupboards.

I took my camera, my phone, a very dead red and a lot of bravado – which was handy, because despite appearances on the night, I really wasn’t sure how a video camera would impact the ‘casualness’ of the situation. ANYHOW, Here are a few of the videos from the night:

Before I left at the end of the evening (because I have two beautiful children who need me home sober), I heard a lovely female friend saying That’s Stephen! HE is our wine night photographer!” That’s all I heard, which is probably good, my head was already having trouble getting out the front door.

It was a fun night mostly because I hadn’t seen some of those people in about 4 years. I took a step back from it all just before my first son was born. But he is a few days away from his 4th birthday – so I have rejoined the rest of the world. Sigh. My 15m0 son is beginning to latch onto Dad, so I shudder at how long this freedom will last.

So I am slowly becoming a Daddy Vlogger. I had planned a different Youtube existence, but this is lots of fun!

Now I post videos from our regular visits to places where parents can enjoy coffee before chasing children: Zoos, Wildlife Parks, and Westfield playgrounds. South Australia has many of these, but we most like the Cleland Wildlife Park.

Expect to see a lot of videos where I have fun giving animals and park furniture a tourism-description or amusing-myth.

That’s all for now. I need an outro – the new in word that has the opposite meaning to an intro(-duction). Maybe this can be it.

  • Be good to your parents, eat your veggies, brush your teeth, and enjoy your day.

Hey, that works!

Oh, my blog won’t end suddenly. Yes, it has been a while. But now that I am talking to camera, I have stuff to say again. My mind is open to whole lotta new subjects – thanks to the power of the camera!

Farmers are Entrepreneurs

Somehow I stumbled upon Penelope Trunk’s website this morning. Very quickly I read this quote below – which reminded of conversations I have had recently – so I had to share it!

Farming is changing a lot. It’s a lot like what you say about how corporations won’t take care of you and you have to take care of yourself.

… by Penelope’s farmer

Yes, I will most likely become a farmer within the next 12 months. It will mean moving our family to Kangaroo Island; Bees will be our main focus, plus we plan to keep goats, chickens, geese, vegetables, and a dog. My wife and our kids will move over first, I will follow them after I complete a few job contracts here in Adelaide. Many factors to consider first before this is all finalized. But it will happen.

Smoking the BeesThen I found this comment on the article that says exactly why farmers are entrepreneurs. So I have adapted the comment text to best fit our situation:

It’s true: Beekeeper farmers are entrepreneurs and marketing gurus.
We have to be: With family farm’s nearing extinction due to government intervention, middleman markups and overall high economic issues, they have to find a way to make their money at a grassroots level.
Many farmers combat this by creating their own product or restricting their product range. Rather than selling their product to international and impersonal conglomerates, now make their own boutique or unique products – then sell them to niche markets and a smaller customer base.
What’s amazing about entrepreneurial farmers is they manage to create a means of carrying on a family-owned business. By creating high-quality premium products – local products that defy corporate enterprise – they will stand out in their local community. Better yet, they often preserve their land, keeping the environment pristine and natural, instead of selling it off to real-estate developers.

Penelope also says exactly why I look forward to being a farmer after twenty five years of Adelaide city life.

That felt good to tell you all. May the future also be entrepreneurial for you!