Value and a Tuna Fish Sandwich

I recently watched a YouTube video of a guy talking about a HackRF one radio. I use the HackRF radio. I have a lot of trouble with the software that I need to use with the radio and am always looking for help in using the radio.

This guy irked me. He complained that he could not afford a HF radio (a radio that could receive and transmit in the frequency range of 3 to 30 mega Hertz). Now a HF radio he was talking about could cost between four thousand to twelve thousand dollars, new. But, that is not what upset me. Behind him was test equipment, new looking, and expensive looking test equipment. Some of that test equipment looked like it would cost four thousand dollars apiece. The work shop he was filming in did not look like a commercial shop. It looked like a personnel home shop.

Now a HackRF one cost about three hundred dollars. That’s a lot less than four thousand dollars. Still, he could have gotten a used radio that would have given him a lot of good service for a lot less than four thousand dollars. Could he have gotten a HF radio for three hundred dollars. Maybe. It might have been an older radio, a radio that still used tubes. The radio would have worked. When someone hears you on the air how are they going to know you are using a used radio? Or that the radio is 1970s technology.

A used radio would not have the fancy display of a HackRF one, but it would have a much higher power output. A higher power output would mean the ability to talk to more radio stations.

It reminds me of a writer in the past that asked for a copy of my screen writing software. She had a new looking iPhone, an iPad, and was wearing two hundred dollar shoes. I turned her down.

On the other hand I’m not that cold hearted. Recently I offered an old laptop of mine to a fellow writer who’s computer died. He turned me down and waited for a couple of weeks until he could save enough money to buy his own laptop to replace the one his daughter damaged.

This guy is going places, even while supporting a family, a broken down car and working a lot of hours. He writes a lot, even if it’s just with a pencil and paper.

So get out there and write. Even if writing is like the lottery, there might be something it the saying the more you write the more chances you have of getting your book or screenplay bought, and that is winning.

Recipe is below add.

Think about buying my book;

Tuna Fish Sandwich

A good reasonably healthy lunch

Ingredients

1 can tuna
1 bottle Thousand Island dressing (you're not going to use the whole bottle, but have you tried buying two tablespoons of dressing?)
A dab or two of butter
2 slices of bread or a roll
lettuce

Equipment
Butter knife
Mixing Bowls
Medium skillet
pancake turner
Mixing spoon or tablespoon

Instructions

Place relish and Tuna in bowl.

Add dressing, mix well.

Toast bread or roll (sliced in half first) in skillet. Butter one side of bread or roll first if desired.

Cover one side of one piece of bread (buttered side is best) with tuna mix. Add lettuce. Cover with second slice of bread.

Serve

It’s cheaper that the sandwich shop and taste better.

Stay strong, write on, and remember you don’t need the greatest of tools to do great work.

Professor Hyram Voltage

RollBot and Valentine’s Day Cookies

I recently stumbled across an article about a toilet paper company that was displaying at CES in Las Vegas. Now why would Charmin be at the Consumer Electronics Show? Toilet paper is very not electronic.

They were show casing RollBot, a robot that would bring you a roll of toilet paper. It’s smart phone controlled. If they are smart it would be connected to the Internet and would order replacement rolls if you run low.

How would this impact Steampunk? Well back in the day a saloon or pub would have a man standing at the entrance to the restroom holding towels for the patron to wipe their hands after using the facilities.

A steam powered mechanical man could do that. But could the machine wash and dry the towels, and if it did would it get rusty? Could the mechanical man be programmed to clean the restroom every couple of hours? Would patrons get upset if the mechanical man came in to clean if they were using the facilities?

On the plus side you would not have to worry about a mechanical man getting free drinks from the bar tender. The mechanical man would always be sober. Would the mechanical man cost less to feed in coal than what the human would cost? You would never have to worry about the mechanical man goofing off. Would you have to worry about the mechanical man getting into the bar’s kerosene lamp supply and getting drunk on the fuel?

A robot to fetch a roll of toilet paper is not much of an idea. A robot vacuum cleaner could be modified to do that. Now if the toilet paper robot could clean the commode then you have something I would buy. If it could also vacuum the floors that would be a plus. That would take it from a novelty to something really useful.

Recipe is below add.

Think about buying my book;

Valentine Day Cookies

Ingredients
Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (226g)
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract²
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (315g)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Sugar Cookie Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted (375g)
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
red food coloring

Equipment
Heart shaped cookie cutter
2 Mixing Bowls
Gallon plastic bag
measuring spoons
Rolling pin
Mixer or mixing spoon
Spatula or spreading knife
Parchment

Instructions
Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

In mixing bowl combine butter and sugar. Beat until creamy (in electric mixer will save a lot of effort). Creamy means there is air blended in and the mix will change color. See Goggle or Youtube about Creaming Butter. It very important for the texture of the cookies.
Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined.
Line a separate, medium-sized bowl, with a gallon plastic bag. Into bag add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Close top of bag and shake until flour mixture is well combined.
While mixing wet ingredients gradually add dry ingredients until completely combined.
Cover work area (part of table top) with a piece of plastic wrap.
Dump out half of the dough onto the wrap, be careful the dough will be sticky.
Cover with more wrap and mold into a disk. Repeat with remaining cookie dough in another piece of plastic wrap.
Place dough in refrigerator. Chill for at least 2-3 hours.
15 minutes before dough has finished chilling, preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Cover part of table top with plastic wrap. Dust wrap with flour. Dump dough onto plastic wrap covered floured table top. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll out until about 1/8 inch thick. If you want thicker and softer cookies roll dough out until only 1/4 inch thick. As you’re rolling out dough add flour to top and bottom of dough to prevent sticking.
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Then transfer shapes to parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake on 350F (175C) for 9-10 minutes. Don’t let edges get to brown, just lightly golden brown.
Cool cookies completely on cookie sheet before removing.

Sugar Cookie Frosting

In small bowl combine sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined. If frosting is too thick, add more milk, about a teaspoon at a time. You want frosting to hold it’s shape and not run, but it should be pipeable. If frosting is to thin add powdered sugar.

Add red food coloring
Coat top of cookies with frosting.
Let frosting harden before serving.
You can store cookies in a sealed bag at room temperature.

New Years Eve Celebrations in the 1890s and New Year’s Day recipes

In all the science fiction I’ve read I can remember only one story that mentioned a new years eve party. The story called it a year end day party, but that’s a different blog post.
If you’re looking for a story idea for your steampunk book then mention a new years eve party. No one else has. Better yet make it a central part of the story. The world is going to be destroyed by the villain at midnight new years eve. Or at least he’ll blow up the city, town, castle, laboratory, or airship.
Does the lack of steampunk stories mentioning new years eve parties mean that there weren’t any parties. No, there were New Year Eve’s parties in the 1890s, but they were different. In the 1890s family were bigger and a more important part of life. Children were a source of income for the family. There are many real life stories of boys who had to drop out of school and work to support the family when the father died.
Children were also the retirement plan for many. You supported the children as they grew up, they supported you when you could no longer work. Many families had grand parents living with them and they helped in any way they could.


Being a single woman in the 1890s was a drag. If you had money and went to a party you had to have a chaperone. The host would not let you in if you did not. An unmarried lady without a chaperone would bring shame on the host if he let such a woman in.
Married women and men wore black clothes, it was being much easier to see than a ring on a finger under a glove, and if they were of German heritage they wore a frown. Only unmarried children could wear colored clothing. Bright colored clothing was becoming common as modern production and dyes came into use. Remember flour sacks were printed in bright patterns to entice women to buy their flour because the manufacturers knew that the women made clothes out of the sacks.
Rich people did have parties. They had people to take care of the children. The parties were small. By today’s standards they were tiny. Mostly a dance. Of course there was drinking, but there was also chaperones and gossip to keep the drinking from getting out of hand.
The common people had to work the next day. Remember they worked six days a week. The rich did not get rich by giving the workers days off. Besides it was tradition.
There were no big party in times square until 1903 and they did not drop the ball until 1907.
A farmer had it even rougher. The cows have to be milked seven days a week. The animals have to be feed, morning and evening seven days a week. Wood had to be chopped or food could not be cooked. Water had to be hauled. The evening entertainment would often be reading from the bible or news paper, the family playing musical interments. There was no TV, radio, or iPods.
There was loneliness. Heart breaking loneliness.
The above are all reason your heroine would want to break the cycle work and loneliness. The chance to make the world a better place could drive many different types to step over the bounds of society.
Where are the stories of the mechanical farm hand? The self driving plow? These things, even if they were simpler than what we have now could make life so much better than it was.
I saw an early horse drawn mechanical planter. A framer or boy would sit on this seat, inches away form the ground. He would place a seedling in the mechanical planter. This was very high tech. Each part on the planter had a number molded/cast into it. If a part broke you could mail or telegraph the maker and he would send the part out. Sometimes by rider on horse back. Planting could not wait. It might not be over night express, but have you ever seen a story where parts where gotten to the person who needed it in a hurry. They did not have warehouses all over the country to hold parts (it would be considered a waste of money). But the manufacturers knew that if they got the repair part to the farmer in time the word would get around and they would sell more equipment. Put something like that in your story.

Recipes Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread
I don’t know where the tradition for having Black Eyed Peas and Corn Bread on New Years day came from, but mother was from Oklahoma and Dad was from Texas.

Corn bread
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 box of mix

Read and follow directions on box. Bake and enjoy. It’s good with a little butter. I like the plain mix. The stuff with honey in it is OK for every once and a while, but the plain stuff is a great way to start the new year.

Black Eyed Peas
1 can of black eyed peas

Open can and dump in pot. Heat and eat.
It’s good and it’s close to magic.

Stay strong, write on. And you don’t have to make all traditions from scratch.
Professor Hyram Voltage

The Great Green LED Christmas Light Shortage plus The Best Light Fruit Cake Recipe

I visited my friend from high school the week before Christmas. Last year I had given him two strings of green LED Christmas lights last year to compliment the multicolored lights that he had put up. He’s not much into Christmas displays and he needed the help.

Looking at the lights this year I found them to be unbalanced. He needed more green lights. So we went off to the local big box store that starts with a W. It was the 20th of December and they were very picked over. Just a few white lights and they were mostly old style incandescents. So we went to the drug store. They were cleaned out except for some white lights. On to the big box hardware store. It had pallets of white incandescent mini Christmas lights and some white LED mini lights. On to the next big box hardware store. They had more forklift pallets fulls of white incandescent mini lights (they were cheap) and a couple of strings of blue LED mini lights. He found one string of green incandescent lights so my friend bought them. We really needed two strings of green LED lights.

He put the lights up and plugged them in. They were dim compared to the LED lights. What a disappointment. Driving around I did not see any houses with green LED mini light hanging off them. Putting green lights on a green tree is not the best color choice.

If people are using LED lights and passing up the incandescent lights, that is good for the environment. ON top of that the LED lights are much brighter than the incandescent lights.

What does this have to do with Steampunk? It shows that people will buy something new over the traditional device even if the purchase price for the new device is more than the old device. As I have mentioned the automobile replaced the horse very quickly, even though the horse had been a part of human culture for thousands of years. You don’t have to feed a car every day whether you use it or not. Cars don’t get sick or refuse to work on a whim. Nor do they step on your foot.

Unabashed plug for my book The Daemon Boat. It’s a Steampunk spy story. https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+Boat&qid=1577328155&sr=8-1

Try a good Fruit Cake and you’ll never go back to the old brick. I got the recipe from John Carter’s wife.

Best White Fruit Cake
5 large eggs
1 cup butter (2 sticks or 1/2 lb. butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 lb. glazed cherries, 1/2 red-1/2 green
1 lb. glazed pineapple
4 cups shelled pecans
1/2 oz. bottle vanilla (1 Tablespoon)
1/2 oz. bottle lemon (1 Tablespoon)

  1. Cream butter, add sugar gradually, creaming well until fluffy. Add eggs, which have been beaten well, and blend.
  2. Mix chopped fruits and nuts; and mix with part of flour.
  3. Sift remaining flour and baking powder together into creamed mix.
  4. Add flavorings and mix well; then fold in nuts and fruits. Pour
    into greased, paper lined tube pan. Place into cold oven and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours.

Stay strong, write on, and the cake is really good. It has to be, the recipe is from Mars.

A Steampunk Christmas and a Christmas Cookie Recipe

I’m tied up in a lot of things right now and I’m not getting a lot of writing done. At times life is hard. Year end day is almost here, but life will go on.

One way of writing Steampunk is to take what is happening today and imagine what it would be like if it happened in the past.

Example, the Japanese celebrate Christmas. They get extravagant. Being Shinto or Buddhist doesn’t even slow them down.

Now set your story on the west coast. There is friction (lynching and the usual mayhem between the Chinese laborers and the immigrant locals, i.e. anyone not Chinese and not an Amerindian (indigenous sounds so demeaning)).

Next have a fad hit. Everyone is excited by the engraving from the 1850 edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book showing a family (a doctored image of the British royal family) celebrating around a Bohemian Christmas tree.

The local Rail Road Magnet then sets up a tree outside his mansion. It’s too big to go inside and he wants to show off and rub every ones nose in it.

Then have the town people get together and pool their funds and set up an even bigger tree in the town square.

The Chinese see everyone having fun and set a smaller tree. There are fireworks. What’s Christmas without firecrackers.

In a saloon two old miners are arguing. One claims that the Christmas tree is a Tannenbaum. The other claims that Tannenbaum means fir tree and that a Christmas tree is a Weihnachtsbaum, and I should know by grandmother was from the old country Holland.

A fight breaks out. Do miners need a reason to fight, no. The Christmas trees get damaged. Everyone gets thrown in jail.

The children are bummed out and get together and set up their own Christmas tree.

The usual plug. Buy my book; The Daemon Boat https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+Boat&qid=1576517423&sr=8-1

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Just add a little white and red frosting (in a Christmas design) to the top of the cookie and you have Christmas cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened*
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (plus a little bit)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (regular oats (rolled) not instant)
1 cup nuts (Walnuts or Pecans) (OK, so I like a lot of nuts)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Tools needed;

Medium bowl
Electric mixer with large bowl
Measuring spoons set
Measuring cups; 1 and 1/2 cup sizes
Spatula with wooden handle*
3 Cookie sheets (make sure they fit in oven)
Timer
Gallon size plastic food bags
Dry Measuring cups

Pre-soften* the butter, take the sticks out of the ice box at least an hour before starting. You can let the butter sit on the table over night.**
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. (Before turning oven on check inside of oven for baked potato or other odds and ends from last night. Check oven temperature, the knob marking are often way off.)
Line a medium bowl with a one gallon plastic food bag. Place flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bag. Close and secure top of bag leaving large air space at top of bag. Message and shake bag to mix ingredients. Set bag aside. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer in large mixing bowl. That’s cook speak for beating the butter until air is mixed in and then slowly adding the sugar. Add eggs one at a time without getting any egg shells in the mix.
Add vanilla; beat well.
Add flour mixture, slowly and gently or flour will be billowing everywhere
* and mix well. Remove mixing bowl from electric mixer. Using spatula stir in oats, nuts, and chocolate chips; mix until there are nuts and chips in very spoon full.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet. That means scoop up a spoon full and turn the spoon over and dough falls onto the cookie sheet, most of the time the stuff acts like it is part super glue. Use spatula to scrape dough off spoon and try dipping teaspoon in cold water after each drop to keep dough from sticking.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, measured with timer not smoke alarm, until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove cookies to paper plate.
Makes about 4 dozen.

  • Soften means late butter warm up till a finger pressed in middle of bar will easily leave a dent.
    **Long distance backpackers carry butter for days without refrigeration.
    ***Old cook book term. Butter will turn a lighter color and be fluffy. 3 to 5 minutes in mixer.
    ****pour carefully, making flour angels on the kitchen floor is not cool. If added to quickly the electric mixer will blow flour all over kitchen.
    *****banging metal handle of spatula to knock stuff off on the rim of a glass bowl will break the bowl.
    ******Use dry measuring cup and using the flat back of butter knife strike off (run the knife across the top of the cup scraping the excess flour back into the flour container) the top of the cup. Do not pack the flour in the cup, keep it lose and fluffy.

To make one huge cookie, press dough into bottom of un-greased 9×13-inch metal baking pan. Or make huge cookie shape on baking pan. Make cookie shape one half inch thick. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Stay strong, write on, and bake well.
Professor Hyram Voltage

Christmas Lights, Shoppings Done, and the Best Cookies

The annual untangling of lights went better than last year. Still need to make a map of where the lights go. Some of the light strings are custom configured to go around gates and objects. The strings have to be orientatedk towards the controller and mount on hooks so they go only one way.

The lights are several years old and they don’t make the types of lights I use anymore. I have to hand make replacements.

The lights are connected with Molex connectors that are no longer popular. I still can not find the box that has the spare connectors in it. I did find a small box of electronic repair parts with a couple of new connectors in it. That’s enough to tie me over until Amazon can come through with an order.

I don’t know about young people, but I like buying others presents. My brother just wants gift cards so he can buy books through out the year.

To satisfy my need to buy others presents I got a club I belong to to fund me a little bit of cash so I could buy mystery gifts for everyone that is attending our club’s annual holiday dinner. I got forty gifts bought and with the help of the club president we got them gift wrapped.

Try buying gifts for someone you barely know. Now try it for a bunch of people you vaguely know. Now try it for a bunch of grouchy old people.

The usual plug to buy my book at https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Daemon+boat&qid=1575953934&sr=8-1

My mother’s best cookie recipe

No gluten, can be made without nuts, and people with egg allergies can sometimes eat a little egg white without trouble.

From Professor Voltage’s Book of Extraordinarily Dangerous Cooking

Angel Kisses (no wheat cookies).

Ingredients;

3 Large egg whites or 5 medium egg whites at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pecans (chopped) (you can place whole pecans on top of the cookies)

Directions;

  1. Tip; leave eggs out overnight, they have to be room temperature. Egg whites are easier to separate if the eggs are cold but the egg whites will be difficult to get to peak if cold.
  2. Place first oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  3. Optional; set the second rack below the first rack and place a pizza stone on second rack. This helps keep the temperature stable.
  4. Set oven to 200 degrees. Check oven temperature with thermometer.
  5. In a clean, dry (very important) measuring cup or small bowl separate one egg white.
  6. Inspect egg white for egg shell pieces and remove any pieces of shell. If any egg yolk gets into the egg white discard (or save for breakfast tomorrow) egg white, wash and thoroughly dry measuring cup. Try again.
  7. Transfer egg white to large mixing bowl. Mixing bowl must be clean and dry (no oil or water).
  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for remaining eggs, one egg at a time.
  9. Spread sugar over egg whites, then let stand, at room temp, for 30 minutes if not already at room temperature.
  10. Line 3 cookie sheets with wax paper.
  11. Beat egg whites mixture using electric mixer till very stiff (will stand in peaks, this can take 5 to 20 minutes, use a quarter of an inch of the tip of a knife to dip into batter and rise a little of the batter. If the batter stands stiffly at attention,(without flowing over) it’s ready.
  12. Add vanilla, beat a few seconds to a couple of minutes. You may need to scrape sides of mixing bowl with spatula to get vanilla to mix well.
  13. Remove electric mixer beaters.
  14. Add nuts, fold in gently. For a more decorative approach the nuts can be sprinkled or pressed into the top of the cookies. This will also slightly toast the nuts.
  15. Drop teaspoonful of batter on wax paper for each cookie. Use spatula to scrape off mixture/batter from spoon. The cookies will not melt or flow in the oven, they will look just like they did when dropped onto cookie sheet.
  16. Bake at 200 degrees 45 minutes. Make a test batch of 4 to 6 cookies first. Variations in eggs, humidly and oven temperature can cause results to vary. Let cookies cool at least ten minutes and taste. See below for suggestions to problems.
  17. Let cool 20 minutes before removing cookies from wax paper.
  18. Store in air tight container.
  19. These cookies are very sensitive to water, too much or too little. Make sure bowl and utensils are dry. If cracks form or if brown drips or streaks appear, the sugar has not been absorbed by the egg whites. A teaspoon of water added to the remaining mixture will help dissolve the excess sugar. Use a mister or try to spread water over batter. Be very careful adding water. Too much water will cause sugar to let go of egg white and leave brown streaks.
    If cookies are brown on the bottom or shades of brown show on the top the oven temperature is too high.
  20. Danger; eggs may contain salmonella, even on the outside of the egg shell. Wash hands with soap and warm water after touching or handling eggs.
  21. Use big cookie sheets.

Equipment needed:
A. cookie sheet (use three or more; so one can be cooking while the another is cooling and another is being loaded)
B. measuring spoons,
C. measuring cup, or small bowl
D. mixer and large mixing bowl,
E. spoon for dropping cookies,
F. spatula
G. wax paper,
H. roll of paper towels,
I. knife for chopping nuts,
J. dry measuring cup (1 cup size),
L. oven thermometer for checking temperature of oven,
M. oven, with known good temperature,
N. hot pad,
O. cooling rack

Windows 10 has Disappeared, Christmas Cookies Recipe

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I have convinced my friend to upgrade to Windows 10. He has two machines that are Windows 7 and they’re not that old. I keep telling him that Windows 7 is going off support and the program is buggy. Microsoft may not have invented the software bug, but they are hard at work at reaching new heights of bugginess. Microsoft can’t get updates out for Windows 10 without having big problems. Some of the problems required Microsoft to bar some brands of computers from getting the latest updates. That leave those computers open to current software virus attacks until Microsoft gets around to reworking the update.

Microsoft has it’s best programmers working on Windows 10 and isn’t doing good. I believe they have the second string programmers working on the older versions of Windows software. Once Windows 7 is abandoned they can fire the programmers working on Windows 7 and save a bunch of money. The customer will get a better experience with Windows 10 or get shafted by the virus people if they don’t upgrade.

So I took my friend down to Fry’s Electronics to buy a copy of Windows 10. He was unhappy when the clerk at Fry’s confirmed that he would have to buy two copies, one for each machine. He was angry when the clerk told him, after looking at the store computer, that they didn’t have any Windows 10 software to sell.

We went over to Best buy to get the copies of Windows 10. Once we got a salesman to show us where the Windows 10 boxes were displayed my friend grabbed the only box on the rack. He shook the box and said there’s nothing in it. The salesman said you have to go up the the checkout and the guy at the cash register will scan the box and get the Windows 10 product from upstairs. He also said just have the cash register guy scan the box twice to get two of the product.

We waited in line. It was not too long of a wait. The cash register guy tried to scan the box, but there was nothing to scan. He had to ask a couple of other cash register types what to do. He found out that you don’t scan the box. He then got on the radio he was carrying and called for someone to get the Windows 10 box.

Wait, sort of like a computer program where the machine sets there and nothing seems to be happening. He calls again. Wait and then calls again. Finally he pulls out his cellphone and dials. “Oh, were out of it.” he says. Couldn’t the guy he called on the radio told him that?

I told my friend that we can get a copy off the web, most likely Amazon. My friend throws a fit. He had just listened to an NPR broadcast where businesses are being driven out of their business by fakes and counterfeits. He did not want a virus filled counterfeit loaded onto his computer. I have to admit that some counterfeits look just like the real thing and Amazon does little to combat the fakes.

Less than a year ago I put together a media down-streaming computer. I got a copy of Windows 10. It came in a cardboard box with very little in the way of instructions and a USB drive. Form what I can figure out from web chatter is that Microsoft has the product (box, instructions, and gets the USB drive loaded) made in China and the tariff war is stopping the box, or as they say in the trade “product”, from being imported to the U. S.

It is a pain to work with a person that is set in their ways. They get that way from experience, and they just may be smarter than me.

Microsoft is pounding everyone to go put Windows 10 on their Windows 7 machines. Of course not all old machines will work with Windows 10. How can Microsoft stay in business if you can’t buy their product unless you risk buying a counterfeit?

Microsoft can’t make an update that’s not filled with bugs and you can’t buy the latest addition of their product. Let’s hope someone comes up with a better operating system and soon. This can go on, but it’s only going to get worst.

Stay strong, write on, and persevere when you try to help someone.

Standard plug to buy my book. https://www.amazon.com/Daemon-Boat-Education-Steampunk-Spy-ebook/dp/B01I63CH08/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+daemon+boat&qid=1575310122&sr=8-1

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients;
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oil
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar

Directions;

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In one gallon plastic bag add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix well.
  3. In electric mixer cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Remove from mixer.
  6. Add dry mixture to butter mixture. Mix well by hand (can be mixed in electric mixer if careful).
  7. Make dough into cookies by;
    a. roll dough into balls 1 to 2 inches in diameter.
    b. roll dough into a log and slice into 1 inch thick disks.
    c. Dribble almond extract and 1/8 cup of milk onto dough. Mix well. Pack into pastry gun. Or if you prefer take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball
  8. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. If you prefer to roll dough into a ball, then flatten the ball with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.
  9. Bake 8 to 10 minutes

Sugar cookies were made to be decorated. Use sprinkles and icing. Go buy cookies cutters. Have children help.

A New Place to Find Brass Gears, Having Your Book Read to You, and a classic Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipe

I found a where you can get a handful of brass gears that are bigger than wrist watch gears. The timers that control old washing machines and clothes dryers used mechanical timers. Those timers used brass gears. If you can find a shade tree repair guy that fixes old washing machines and clothes dryers you might be able to bum a couple of timers off him. The machines will be fifteen or more years old and may not be worth repairing.

Reading your book out loud is good advice. I do it, but I have a better way. I let the computer read it to me. That way I can concentrate on the sound and flow of the words.

The computer never gets tired of reading. I get hoarse after reading out load for a couple of hours.

I have been using Naturalreaders, but I am using TTSReader more and more. All text to speech programs will not know all the words you use or get tense right (like read and past tense read (red)). It is a little disconcerting when the program sounds the word out. They are getting better, but it’s going to take time. Give these programs a try.

I am not affiliated with the companies that make or distribute these programs. I had problems with the amazon and google text to speech programs and found these program better for my use. I use the free version, which means I break up my book or chapters in to small pieces and feed them into the program. I use the pause triangle at the top of the program to stop the speech and make notes in a hard copy of the manuscript that the program is reading. I have found that TTSReader will back up to where the cursor is and re-read the part it has already read. Very handy.

These programs are not ready to produce an audio book, but that day is not far off.

Self promoting plug to buy my book “The Daemon Boat”.

Classic Thanksgiving side, Fruit salad.

Fruit Salad, from an old family recipe from the 1950s

1 crisp sweet apple
1 orange
1 can pineapple cold
1/2 cup English walnuts
1/2 cup coconut
1 banana reserved

Directions;

Add pineapple to medium bowl.
Peel and cube orange, add to bowl.
Peel, core, cube apple. Add to bowl. Mix till apple pieces are covered with juice. That will prevent browning of the apple pieces.
Toasting walnuts is optional. Chop walnuts into large pieces. Add to bowl.
Add coconut to bowl.
Mix well. Taste and add sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon if desired.
Just before serving peel banana and add to individual serving bowls, if desired. There were people in my family that were allergic to bananas.
Without bananas the salad will store, covered, in refrigerator for days. It’s good for breakfast with coffee and a piece of pecan pie.

Makes enough for two.
You can add sliced grapes, raisins, tangerines. Do not add great fruit, it is too bitter and will react with heart medicines.
Do not add celery. Celery is not a fruit. Do not add mayonnaise, that’s not a fruit either and some people are allergic to eggs. Do not add pepper, or cream or other non-fruit items.

Stay strong, write on, and read your book, out loud.

Professor Hyram Voltage

Doing Things Differently and A Well Done Turkey Thigh

I watched Mercury move across the face of the sun last week. Yes, it’s a big deal. It won’t happen for another decade.


I got up early that morning and it was cloudy. The event only lasts for a couple of hours. I got on the computer and found a weather site that’s tied into the Los Angeles weather radar. It was clouds for as far as the radar could see. I had the choice of driving up to Santa Barbara or down past Malibu. I could go farther east on the 10 freeway hoping to find clear skies.
The problem is the skies could still be filled with clouds, the weather radar can not see that far.


I got out my homemade solar telescope out. It’s made out of old and new parts.
It’s a mere three inch scope, but the sun is close so it does the job. It has a glass solar filter not one of the cheap plastic things.
The sun started to peek through a crack in the cloud cover. Now the fun began. Looking at the sun is a lot different that looking at the stars. One one thing it’s light out. Stray light from the ground, and any object around you interferes with looking into the eye piece. Also with the solar filter on it’s dark looking through the telescope. At night when looking through the telescope you can see stars or at least the moon. With a solar telescope, it has to be as bright as the sun or you don’t see anything.
Mercury is small, and you need a telescope to see it during the day.
I don’t have a solar filter handy for the finder scope, so I got out my solar finder. The solar finder sits on top of the telescope’s barrel and the pin hole in front of the finder shines a dot of light on the back of the finder. The cloud cover made the sun dim in the solar finder. It also diffused the light. The diffuse light made aiming the telescope hard.


You can’t look down the top of the telescope barrel and sight on the sun like you can for the moon. Looking at the sun is bad for your eyes.
After a lot of fiddling the sun slipped into a clear gap in the cloud cover and I got the scope on the sun. I had to switch to a better eye piece because of the water in the air. Even when it looked like the sun was in the clear I could see clouds moving across the face of the sun through the solar filter.
After much adjusting I got Mercury into focus.

What does this have to do with writing Steampunk? Well take the hero that come to save the day. What if he’s a steam engineer and he needs to get a steam car going. He knows the engines on ships and the big stationary engine used on farms. But those are high pressure boilers. He needs to repair a flash boiler of a car to escape and it’s so different from the big ship boilers.

You may be an expert in your field, but you will not know all the little details of that field.

And now for this weeks recipe

Turkey and Bacon

Ingredients

One stick of butter, half softened and half melted
salt
pepper
1 ½ pounds of turkey thigh, skin-on
One package turkey bacon, you only need enough to cover thigh

Steps

Brine thigh if you want. Start the night before.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
Rinse thigh.
Pat dry.
Place thigh in shallow pan.
Lift skin and place half of softened butter on thigh under skin.
Coat skin with soften or melted butter.
Place thigh in over for 30 minutes.
Remove thigh and cover with turkey bacon. Will keep skin from getting to done.
Return to oven.
Cook for another 30 minutes or until quick reading thermometer reads 155 degrees F.
Cool for 15 minutes.
Carve and serve.

Stray strong, write on and don’t eat to much at one time.
Professor Hyram Voltage

Cooking In Steampunk Times and Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Readers complain that I have too much eating going on in my stories.
Come on, people got to eat. Have you ever noticed how a hero will go for days without food, then run a mile in under two minutes, have a fist fight with the villain and win.

I don’t think that is realistic. Besides having the characters at a meal gives me a chance to shove in a little exposition. OK, a whole lot of exposition. A meal would force characters to talk about what’s on their mind.

All meals would not be at a restaurant. Sometimes it would be at a bar. Many single people lived in a boarding house where meals were served. Your lunch was in a pail and was prepared by the boarding house owner. It took time to fix a meal. It took a lot of money to eat in a restaurant.

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou, was a big thing. No cooking required. And it was more likely a bottle of beer. It was warm beer in the days before refrigeration.

Having the characters have a meal is also a break from the constant action and tension. A nice break form being chased or almost killed.

A fest or a meal during the holidays was something that required planning. There were goose clubs in England where you paid someone weekly or monthly to raise geese. Then just (and I mean a day or two before the fest) you went and got your goose. The rest of the meal had to be planned out. Canned goods were more expensive than fresh and you could only get what was in season. This wasn’t only the cooks problem, it was everyone’s problem.

So have your characters eat, drink and be merry. Then have them shoot their way out of a hostage situation.

Stay strong, write on, and don’t forget to feed your characters.
Professor Hyram Voltage.

In an effort to get you to buy my book, here is a holiday cookie recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies:

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil or grease two cookie sheets or line cookies
 sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl lined with large plastic bag add; pumpkin spice,
 cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and flour.
Close bag and use hand to squeeze bag to mix ingredients.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer.
Beat in egg and extract. 
Add, slowly, flour mix. 
Remove mixer beaters and, by hand, stir in chocolate chips.
Using tablespoon take one scoop at a time of dough and drop onto
cookie sheets.
Bake for 9-10 minutes. Take them out when bottoms start to turn golden.
They’ll finish cooking as they cool. If they get too golden before
you remove them, they won’t be fluffy and soft.
Cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets.
Place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
 Store at room temperature loosely covered.