Grand slams are great, but they’re not always walk-offs

From today’s Daily Prompt:

Grand Slam: In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a walk-off home run? (For the baseball-averse, that’s a last-minute, back-against-the-wall play that guarantees a dramatic victory.)”

This is all over the place with baseball jargon. First of all, a “Grand Slam” is a bases-loaded home run, which generates four runs and clears the bases. A “walk-off” anything is a scoring play that wins the game immediately (hence, you get to walk off the field right after it happens). This usually occurs in the bottom of the ninth or extra inning. Sure, a walk-off home run is dramatic, but not more so than say a walk-off steal of home for the winning run. By the way, a grand slam doesn’t always win the game. You can hit one down by eight runs and you’d still be way behind.

“Last minute” has no bearing on baseball, the only major sport with no time limitations. (Sorry, I don’t consider cricket a major sport, even if my Commonwealth friends will kill me.) “Back against the wall” implies a must-win situation. I’d consider a walk-off as a clutch play, but not back against the wall unless it is a win-or-go-home situation (like say the bottom of the ninth in a wild card elimination game, with your team down one and the tying run on first, you’re down to your last out and have two strikes).

Sorry Daily Prompt, you got my sports jargon hackles up. 🙂  In real life, any successful roll of the dice in a situation with the odds firmly against you can be considered a walk-off play. I always like to plan anything I do, so I always know the risks and odds of any situation I get myself into. If I need a clutch play to win, either it’s premeditated and the damage of losing isn’t significant, or I’m doing it very wrong.

Play ball!


Virtual Worlds


From the time I was a child I enjoyed games. I grew up on word and card games, moved on to pen-and-paper roleplaying games and had a substantial collection of designer boardgames which I wrote about previously. The challenge with those kinds of games is that they all require someone else across the table. In many cases, particularly for roleplaying games, they also require a substantial amount of time investment for all the people involved in the game. (It’s a huge time sink for the game master in particular.)

Enter the computer, and all the games that have come through since the heady days of the dedicated consoles through the current incarnations of game machine. In parallel, you have the PC master race, descended from its ancestors in the green-screen CRT age. When I can’t get a group of friends together, and that is far more true today than it ever has been, I turn to videogames to manage depression, stress and the outside world. This is my most-favored escape.

I need to make mention of the virtual World of Warcraft. I’ve enjoyed various online worlds before, from the beginnings of Ultima Online, a bit of Everquest, a bit of Second Life. Nothing really stuck until I got a job that required me to study World of Warcraft. The office paid for my account and subscription for six months. Like so many games that give you an alter ego, this one is no different. It’s that the world around your avatar grows and changes, and you’re thrust into new stories. It’s always a battle between good (you) and evil (the other side). Most times, you win.

I’ve scaled back my play these days, to fit my current circumstances. The nice thing is that the alternate universe remains, fortunately, because it is shared by enough people that the company that runs the world continues to support it. There was a time that I didn’t see that world for over two years. When the depression started crushing my psyche again, it was there to return to. I’m grateful for that little corner of that digital universe that’s mine, with all the friends I’ve made that are now real-world friends. In the future, when the world disappears, as all of these virtual worlds eventually will, I will remember it fondly.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of June 9, 2015.

“We all have things we need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?”


Too Late to Be Early

“6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?”

Six in the morning is good, but five in the morning is far better. That’s when you can start to see the sun rise. The world is just beginning to wake up, but I’ve already been up for an hour or so. You’ve heard it from me many times before, so I’ll stop now.

3:00AM will never be my bedtime as long as I have any control over it.

The picture above was taken at just after 6:00AM. I love morning flights.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of June 25, 2015.



I wrote about the title of this blog, “Rideo, Ergo Supero” on my “about page“. Just so happens that today’s prompt asks us to explore the blog title, so there you go.

It’s been around seven years since I created this blog and its title, and just over half a year since I started writing in it again. This is the longest that I’ve stuck to more-or-less consistent updates. Blogging has changed a lot since I first put up a Geocities site and started posting things I’d written in HTML. Even the early years of Blogger are now far in the rearview mirror. I’m able to sustain posting these days due to the extension of blogging to multimedia, and the availability of the tools. My phone cam allows me to take pictures to post. YouTube and Spotify allow me to share video and music. Smartphones and tablets allow me, and everyone else who reads blogs, to read, post and comment anytime, anywhere. I used to be ecstatic when I learned how to post to my Blogger account via email using my Blackberry in the early 2000s. Now it’s the way many people do their posting.

All that means is that I continue to survive, and the blog is definitely helping. What’s also helping immensely is the community. Those of you who come through and have a look at the posts, maybe hit the like button or leave a comment, you’re all essential to helping this little venture along. I always thought that I wrote for myself, but it’s never a bad thing to know that some people like the stuff that I do. I enjoy the “comment conversations” that pop up, and will continue this for the foreseeable future.

To those who stop by, thank you.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of June 21, 2015.

“Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.”

Learning Out of the Box

As a kid that was really good at academics, I enjoyed school a lot. When I graduated and started working, I longed for those summer months where I had no responsibilities. That time was filled with reading books, playing games, watching television and listening to music. School was also easy, at least when it came to the “work”. I had little trouble with most subjects, perhaps excepting Calculus. I blame the teacher, because he blew me off when I asked the most important question. “Please explain what the practical, everyday use of Calculus is?” I didn’t fail the subject but I had very little interest in imaginary numbers.

These days, I have occasional dreams of eventually being an educator. Not a professor or teacher, though I could see myself doing that. (I’m already a sometime instructor in my current career.) I’m interested in being an educator. Build a school. Design educational frameworks. And the way I would do it isn’t like anything in the world today. (The Finns appear to be at the forefront of education reform.)

I’d do away with “specialist” subjects that are core to many of today’s educational frameworks (bye, Calculus and Trigonometry). I’d revise the way certain subjects are taught (really, local and world history can be interesting if properly presented). I’d add in life skills to core “curriculum” topics, like cooking and accounting and writing and dancing and listening to people and music and at least two languages that aren’t your native ones. (Most kids these days appear to be bilingual by reason of parentage, geography and/or affinity.) And I’d make sure that kids aren’t stuck in school buildings all the time. There somehow, someway has to be travel to foreign places as part of education. It’s necessary. Appreciation and understanding of world history and cultures and situations is essential to a true education. We would teach religion,

I don’t know how to do a competitive grading environment in this theoretical education regime. I personally feel that competition is essential to education. It drives kids to excel. It’s also a true reflection of the world. When the kids grow up they can opt in or out of the rat race if they so choose, but it’s important that they see and experience it in an environment where they can’t get permanently hurt.

So yeah. I would want to return to school in the future. This would be my agenda.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of June 19, 2015.

“If you’re in school, are you enjoying your classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?”

Google Owns You

It’s too late for all of us. We’re all dumping massive amounts of personal information into servers controlled by massive faceless corporations, with Google leading the way. This allows intelligence agencies and other clandestine organizations to sift through all that data for their own ends. This is irreversible. With every new device now connected to these “clouds” and automatically backing up our lives that unavoidably run through these now-indispensable pieces of technology, we are all out there, somewhere. No matter how careful you are, using multiple email addresses, IPs, VPNs and all sorts of techniques to mask who you are, 99.9% of us will leave  a trail that can be followed back to our homes and our lives.

Sure, you can dissociate from the world. No email, no phone, no social media, no online identity to speak of will prevent you from directly adding to the terabytes of data in the server farms. However, unless you move to an island and cut yourself off from humanity, someone will photograph you and tag you in a picture that is sent to her Facebook page. People you know will talk about you and wonder why you didn’t stake out your corner on the Book of Face. You will be drawn in, and any interaction with the work will create and leave an electronic trail. From birth to death, the papers that used to identify you as a member of the human race are now all bits and bytes that can be copied and transmitted around the world in milliseconds.

Total privacy is now futile.

All we need to understand is that we control the most personal of information and whether or not it becomes data. Put that data online at your own risk.


This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of May 30, 2015.

“How do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?”

How I Defeated the Demon Swine

When I was a kid I read a lot. My favourite genres were mysteries, science fiction, fantasy and history. Occasionally I’d run out of things to read. I’d start venturing out of my comfort zone, ending up in the unknown reaches of biographies, romance and other things I’d not normally consider spending time on. One day I made the mistake of reading Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror.

I had an overactive imagination as a child, which explains my fascination with mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes genre short stories would stray into uncomfortable territory (say, graphic torture) but in general I tended to focus on the spectacular and fantastic aspects of the material. Unfortunately for eight-year-old me, the most spectacular and fantastic aspect of The Amityville Horror turned out to be a demon pig.

I no longer remember the text or detail from the book, only that my imagination generated an image of the creature that was frightening. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, sweating from running from the devil swine. It was always a series of long, dark corridors. Wherever I’d turn, the hog was in the distance, advancing inexorably on my dream avatar. This continued for weeks, until I got sick from lack of sleep and nightmare-induced stress.

I’d had enough. I did what any young man would do when pursued by malevolent pork in his slumber. I did research.

After poring through as many books on dreams and nightmares as I could get my hands on, I decided to attempt a technique that was described in more than one tome. Before I went to sleep, I forced myself to visualize the infernal grunter in a dark corridor. I told myself that this time, I’d like it catch me. As Satan’s Swine came within arm’s reach, I’d be encased by an armor of light, and the Vorpal Sword would appear in my hand. I’d battle the devilish porker, and I would win.

It didn’t immediately end up that way, as I recall. I’d still run, though each night I’d stand my ground longer. One night I finally let the Satanic Sow come within spitting distance. I can remember feeling the heat from its infernal meat. I don’t remember getting the armor, but I do remember a fancy sword. If my long string of sleepless evenings running from demon swine ended in a climactic battle, I cannot recall. What I do know is after that, the nightmares stopped, and the pig no longer bothered me.

I like to imagine that it was an epic encounter, and that my dream avatar lopped its porky head off in an emphatic snicker-snack. One side effect of that piggy episode is that since then I either no longer dream at all, or I’ve lost the ability to remember my dreams. While I don’t regret how it all ended, I do miss waking up and remembering fields of cotton candy and rivers of milk chocolate.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of May 26, 2015.

“Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?”