On Balance


Yesterday mom called.  She usually does on Sundays.  This means if we’re at a con, and I suddenly grab my phone and start speaking Portuguese, it’s mom.  I’ve found she tends not to remember “am at conference” and tends to be very worried if I can’t talk right then.

She wished me a happy new year in advance and she said “At least no worse than 2018.”

It’s an interesting perspective, and I realize that it’s perhaps related to her being 84.  All the same….

2018 was in many ways — emotional and financial, mostly — the year from hell.  As most such things do — I have a million superstitions around the turning of the year. Yes, I know it’s stupid. But it’s also human. I’ve stopped fighting it — it announced itself around November 2017 with the school pulling funny things with younger kid’s tuition, so that we entered the year in a panic over money.

Then in February/March/April, there was a long protracted issue with a family member that had me, for real, suicidal for the first time since my teens, both because it was horrible, and because I could do nothing about it.

And it ended just a couple of weeks ago with a real gut-punch that left us financially worried, again.  And it was also emotionally wrenching.

On the other hand…  On the other hand, just as the gut punch at end of year last year was a warning that things in the new year would be awful, the gut punch (or at least half of it) a couple of weeks ago was a sword I’ve been waiting to fall since February, when rumors first reached me.  In a way it was the clearing out of debris of something that had been dead a long time.  (And no, guys, not my marriage.  That’s fine, thank you.)  And after the punch hit and I was physically ill for twenty four hours, it started feeling oddly freeing.  As well the e-sale I’ve been running on Amazon these last two weeks of the year was “oddly profitable,” making me, if not sure — who can be sure — at least reasonably assured that I can make it on my own from indie, with a very small assist from non fic at pjmedia, which — having been cut back through no fault of my own — will now probably only cost me a day a week instead of eating all my writing time.

If I can put out something new every month (not as difficult as it sounds as I have many, many half finished things from “when the wheels came off.”  I.e. when I got very ill 5 years ago.  Some of them are three days from completion, like musketeer vampires and the sequels to Witchfinder (I swear I had an almost finished Musketeer mystery and I can’t even find the OUTLINE for it.  I think it might have gone with the computer that caught fire five years ago.  But I’ll do some more searching before giving up)) I should be not only fine, but thrive.

And the family member issue resolved itself by May, in the happiest possible way: in fact happier than I would have thought possible.

Oh, yeah, and we managed to pay younger son’s bills (with some assist from him with a summer job and now a typesetting business) without going under, even if our savings looks like it’s been on a diet (if you need typesetting, e or paper, ping me, I’ll give you his email.  He has a list of services.)  Ah, well.  That can be put right.  Hard work never killed anyone.  It’s work where you pour out your heart and soul into it and know that people stand by to kill it dead and blame you for the death that guts you.

The health stuff is way better.  WAY better compared to even last year at this time.

Is it “Okay”?  Um…. not yet. But that’s also work for this year.

Older son found the perfect woman (well, they’d been dating for about a year) and proposed this spring.  Even better, she accepted him and became Lovely Fiance.  Even better, we like her too, and she’s rapidly become the daughter we wish we’d had.  They’ll be getting married early next year, and if they don’t give me a firm date, I’m going to roofie them both and drive them down to the civil registry.  (To be fair, he’s waiting for his school to firm up schedule for the year, still… hard on my poor nerves, in Mrs. Bennet’s best style.)  So, yeah, more work for the next year.  Roofying people is SO EXHAUSTING.

I lost 45lbs and I’m back to the weight I was around 4 years ago before the thyroid went seriously to the bad.  More work waiting there too, but it will happen.  It’s amazing how much energy stress eats up, and the sword falling cut down on a lot of that stress.

Oh, asthma seems to be in remission, and despite a late flare these last two weeks, the eczema largely is too.  (The flare is only on my hands, not all over my body as it has been these last two years.)

We found reasonably priced wood, have refloored one of the worst trouble spots in the house, and are ready to do the rest, probably at a weekend a month.  Again, a lot of work, but when we’re done we’ll not only be less allergenic, but more ready to cope with the spate of geriatric issues our cats will have in the next six years.  (The youngest is 10.)

Best of all the stories are stirring again.

And Dan — thank you guys who took him up on his free book for xmas offer — is again interested in writing.

It’s been over a year since we had an away-writing-weekend.

Because I DO have this superstition that the last day of the year and the first day of the new year foretell how you’ll spend the year, we are going away in a couple of hours for a “writing weekend.”  Okay.  It’s only overnight, though let me tell you if we weren’t still kind of tight, and more importantly if Dan weren’t convinced Havelock Cat will die without him (No. Havey is not one of the elderly ones.  No. He’s not ill.  It’s just that if you look in the dictionary under “needy” there’s a picture of his fluffy butt, and he has daddy rolled. “But the other cats will just eat him.  He’s so chubby!”) I’d make it two nights.

So, right now I’m washing and sorting clothes, in preparation to being outahere for new years.

I probably won’t blog tomorrow, as we’ll be making our way back from the hotel (the hotel where we used to have writing weekends, and which — because these weekends are also oddly relaxing and bonding — we’ve nicknamed Hotel L’Amour) sometime around noon.

Though I hope that 2019 will be the best year in decades, both for me and for all of you, I’m going to above all hold on to mom’s wish “Let it be no worse than last year.”

Even though 2018 probably ate ten years of my life with worry and stress, it could be worse.  There could be snakes in here with us. (Arguably, metaphorically, there was.)

Make 2019 better.  But if nothing else, make it a year where all the problems end up well solved, where the solutions are under our control, or we can, at least, mitigate the suffering.

Give us work we can do and which is satisfying, give us challenges we can overcome, give us health and at least enough wealth not to hurt.

Let’s go forth into 2019 and BUILD.

The rest will take care of itself.





195 thoughts on “On Balance

  1. If my family had a computer catch fire, by the time four years had gone by it would’ve had so much stuff in it that it would have to be the size of a 70s college computer. Sort of like that pallet that fell overboard and, according to legend, was recorded to have roughly the total amount of gear the entire delivery had on it by the time everyone finished “accounting for their gear.”

    1. South Africa had a C-47 with a freight capacity of 6,000 pounds crash and burn up in the Operational Area during their war. By the time everything on board was accounted for, it had lost 135 tonnes of gear. Stores clerks throughout the operational area gleefully seized the opportunity to document that everything they couldn’t account for had been shipped on that plane, you see…

      1. I thought things like that only happened at colleges. Like the dreadful accident with the computers when the [redacted] Department moved to new quarters at [Redacted] U. Or so I was told long after.

        1. There’s a version of that story with a mule that falls off a bluff. It dates to World War 2, World War 1, and the U.S. Civil \War – that I know of.

          1. I suspect it’s a rural myth.


            Since I can’t find a good link for it– term is from Discworld; opposite of an urban legend, basically. Everyone talks about it having happened to a cousin’s buddy’s sister’s boyfriend’s whatever because it did. Amusingly, I got to see this in action with the “Marines(or in some versions, other soldiers) guarding daycare kids on 9/11” stories. I got first-hand accounts from two different people of it actually happening, in different areas; given how many Marines are assigned to security work and how folks assume any big guy in cami is a Marine, it even makes sense that there are more “Marine” versions than there ‘should’ be.

          2. I suspect it goes back as far as Hannibal, although the losses reported by the Egyptians pursuing Moses and his crew probably set the mark.

            You could build a short story over the incremental increase in losses as the report works its way up the line.

      2. My boss at work had the contents of her file cabinet accidentally thrown out. So whenever she could not find anything “it must have been in the filing cabinet>” Imagine a three drawer filing cabinet with 6 drawers of documents.

        1. That’s actually not too uncommon, even with cabinets that HAVEN’T been thrown out. I suppose at some point the cabinet becomes a precursor to a trash compactor, though I’ve never actually seen it.

      3. Happened in sometime in the 20ies (maybe 30ies) in the US Army, when a pack mule fell into a flooded river during an exercise, and was lost, along with a couple of tons of gear which local supply officers alleged said mule had been carrying.
        That account is in one of my books – a social history of Washington DC and the pre-war US military, in the run-up to WWII. There were some other amusing accounts – like of the supply of curious brass and glass lamps, stamped with a Patent Office date in the 1880s. No one was quite certain any more of what they were, or what they would be used for, but by god, they were in the inventory, and kept polished and maintained.
        Can’t immediately recall the name of the book, or find it on my shelves. If anyone really wants to know, PM me, and I’ll searched it out.

        1. I don’t know if this is the book you had in mind, but “Washington Goes to War” by David Brinkley relates that story early on.

    1. Seconded. Haopy New Year all, and thanks Sarah for putting up with all us miscreants and providing a place to chat.

        1. Haopy new year was when the frogs finally perfected their catapult and could shoot down the herons. I still don’t know where thy got the bronze for the darts, though.

          1. They got them from the cats, because the cats were smart enough to have someone else get their food (tasty fresh heron) for them.

    1. Are you kidding? Hard work has killed more people than the Black Death! Before this century almost EVERYONE died of it.

  2. Happy New Year! 2018 has been interesting, in many senses. Here’s to the more fun bits of interesting for 2019.

  3. All the best to you both – and sons. I hope things continue to improve for you. My year was rather bad too – horribe things happening to my insides and culminating in a major heart attack – but I’m bouncing back like you.

  4. After you accumulate enough of them the years tend to seem less distinct. What appears terrible in the windshield becomes rather banal in life’s rear view mirror. Reading through old newspapers can provide a useful perspective on their in-the-moment declarations that “We’re all gonna die!” and “Worst president EVER!” Focus on the achievements and shrug off the travails. No matter how bad things are, they could always be worse.

    Still, it is good to be turning to a new calendar and with luck it will be less interesting — although the more realistic hope is that it will be differently interesting, hopefully in positive ways. Speaking only for myself, I would liefer deal with the problems of how to invest those Powerball winnings rather than with the question of repairing the back side of the house.

    Taking tomorrow off is the best idea you’ve had recently, at least of that category of ideas that don’t entail publication dates. Have a happy New Year’s Eve and a recuperative New Year’s Day.

    1. I would liefer deal with the problems of how to invest those Powerball winnings

      They say money can’t buy happiness. However, if anyone would like to test this hypothesis, I would volunteer myself as a test subject.

      1. Money may not buy happiness, but it sure can provide quite a number of amusements and distractions. OTOH the lack of money can produce pain and misery.

        1. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

          ― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

        2. Heh. That latter is most certainly true, lack of money tends to produce at least some forms of misery. Like worry and stress. So yeah, I’d say that the saying “money can’t buy you happiness” is at least half false. It can not guarantee happiness, and if you expect that you may end up feeling miserable when you find out that lots of stuff is still the same, with some added problems like finding out that there are lots of people who like to leech, and that finding out who you can trust to care about YOU, not what you could get them, is perhaps problematical now, but, and it’s a big but, losing a whole lot of worries will still make your life much, much nicer in lots of ways.

        1. Not the lack of money. Volunteer to help as a test subject to see if money can buy happiness hypothesis.

  5. On Balance, the year was frustrating. But, most of a roof, 5 windows, and some insulation later . . . well that is frustration in the past (Well, I am still working on the insulation. nothing is on centers, not even close, Even one rafter pair at 24″ centers is not on the opposite side of the roof) but so far everything is dry, and spring I shall finish it.
    Work also was a hassle, epic stupidity is draining, and I really will not miss the place once I GTHOOD. No Kidney stone issues like the year before, and that is always a good thing, just a few “Might be” and taking the flow pills seems to have flushed them.

    Hope your year is great, and everyone else here has a great one as well.
    Happy New Year, Y’all

  6. Best wishes to you and yours in the New Year Sarah.
    Am reading Dan’s Xmas gift book twix Cixin Liu’s Three Body Problem and Dark Forest.Tell him thanks & not bad for a youngster. Yea I can say that, I’m 4 years younger than your mother. 🙂

      1. Heh. I didn’t know the origin of that phrase for a long time, and had assumed it was a reference to The Mote in God’s Eye (which I’m sure some people do use it for), until I read it in a book that was older than that.

  7. This had been a bad year, especially this last quarter. And I don’t see it getting any better any time soon. Right at the moment I’m hanging by my fingernails and the soon of my teeth.

    In the plus side, I’m on the verge of finishing my first book in 30 years (partly because I decided to cut it into three parts because the darn thing keeps growing). Took me far far too long. But since the next parts are partly written, I hope I can finish them both this year.

  8. We end 2018 in a better place than we began, as well. Peter took me up on my challenge this year to write the entire series after finishing the first book, instead of putting it aside and returning to his planned schedule. Not long after finishing, some major health issues came up and we spent 8 months beating them down again… but this meant we still managed to get 4 books out, and one series complete. (And I got one written and out, too. Health issues means we’re 6 months behind on uploading the edits/corrections on it, and making the paper copies, but the ebook is out!)

    And they are beaten down again; Peter’s finally managing to write again. I’ve continued to slowly improve health-wise, as well, in most regards, and at the end of the year, the house is closer to paid off, the other debts are closer to paid off, and even if our savings looks skinny, we’ve paid off the medical debts.

    We have close friends nearby here in Tiny Town, TX, and LawDog even appears to have forgiven us for railroading him into publishing, and appearing on panels in front of people. (Although I really wish I had video of the LibertyCon “No shit, there I was” panel where LawDog & John Ringo apparently got competitive on storytelling.) For successes, OldNFO even successfully roped me into writing more blurbs as he got more books out (giving The Look over dinner helps with that.)

    And for Thanksgiving, Peter finally Met The Family, and liked them, and they liked him. Yay!

    Family, friends, health… a good base for a brand new year, and we plan to make it our best one yet. Here’s to not only surviving, but thriving!

    1. When somebody is having a Hard Time, I’d never tell them “Things Could Be Worse”! 😈

        1. Many things are unwise. Among the least wise are these
          1) Bending over in a pen of goats
          2) Flipping Murphy the single finger salute
          3) Praying to the Author for patience, for lo he will grant your prayer and then proceed to give you a reason to need it to further train you in this “virtue”

          1. When you pray for patience, he will give you many people to teach you patience. The only thing more dangerous is to pray for humility…

            1. Not really.

              Better to pray for humility because if you don’t, the Author may humiliate you. 😈

                1. LOL 😆

                  A few years ago, I was attending a Men’s Discussion group and the planned topic was “Humility”.

                  Coming home from one of the meetings, I heard that song on the radio. 😆

  9. Next year will be terrible for me. In June I turn 65. [Very Big Kidding Grin]

    Note, that “Kidding” about how terrible next year will be. 😉

    Take Care Sarah!

      1. Chuckle Chuckle

        The classic line about getting old. IE It beats the alternative (ie being dead). 😀

        1. Does it beat the alternative? Does it? Nobody has every come back and announced, “Death sucks so I quit it.” When’s the last time anybody complained about being dead?

          Maybe you think it’s bad because you’ve never tried it.

          1. We do actually have reports, but the issue is that the bad place is hard to leave– we have had reports from the good place, but they’re not recorded in the report I’ll offer; note, though, this is before heaven!

            The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.*
            “There was a rich man* who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
            And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,i
            who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
            When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
            and from the netherworld,* where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
            And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
            Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.j
            Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
            He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house,
            for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’
            But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’
            * He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
            Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”k

          2. It’s really the process of becoming dead that scares most of us into trying to stay alive. Being dead… might be something to look forward to, depending.

  10. “It’s work where you pour out your heart and soul into it and know that people stand by to kill it dead and blame you for the death that guts you.”
    And that’s bitten your butt several times past couple years, some of it fallout from Sad Puppies, some of it for other reasons. Whatever the source, it’s abuse of the worst sort, and as attractive as getting even sounds, best is to show such relationships your backside and press on.
    I have learned one disturbing fact that as painful as it might be I feel compelled to call to your attention. I recently discovered that Robert’s intended is an author, and a damn good one. One can only speculate as to when critical writer mass is reached at the Hoyt conclave with an inevitable volcano of books and short stories spewing forth.
    I mean, the humanity!

    1. Isn’t there a rule limiting authorial inbreeding? Does it apply if they come from different genres?

      1. Nope, no rule at all. The only rule is the rule of awesome: if it’s awesome and it breaks the rules, put it in. If it’s not awesome, leave it out.

        Most of us look at the writer’s groups that turn out multiple great authors, encouraging them on, and wistfully wish we could find such a group. Some of us go out and try to find people and create them. Sarah? I think she’s attempting to breed, marry in, and adopt ’em 🙂

    2. The greatest “revenge” I’ve had (and at one time was credited with/accused of such) involved my.. doing nothing at all in that line. Seems the best thing you can do is get out of the way of their shoveling and just let them dig all by themselves.

  11. 2019 is going to be a rough year for me. I can already see it from here.

    2019 is the year that I *need* to leave this job. It will have been a decade in the most toxic workplace I’ve ever been, and I’ve simply been too scared of the outside world to leave it. But events on the close horizon show it becoming even worse as of April, so I need to be gone.

    2019 is the year that I firm up actually having the skills to support myself in a new job. It truly is just a matter of cramming knowledge and practice into this too-hard head, but that also means not finding a new part-time job, and the cutbacks that go along with it.

    But that also means that 2019 will be the year that things finally turn around. The year that I don’t wake up with an elementary-school-style stomachache at the dread of going in to work. The year that I’m not hiding in the bathroom crying at least once a week. The year that I’m actually making a living wage (which, in Omaha, really shouldn’t be that far a stretch)

    Here’s to a coming year of work, and rewards. ❤

    1. *hugs* Here’s to an awesome year, wherein you can look in the rear view mirror at the old job and said, “Man, I’m so glad I shook the dust of my feet from that place!”

      For some unsolicited advice: start prepping your resume now, and applying before you think you’re ready. Treat the first couple interviews as practice for the one you really want – that way, you’ve practiced your interview skills and polished up your resume and are in the groove by the time you’re ready to find the company that’ll not just be an escape, but be a great new place to move to!

        1. Not that smart… I’ve just been a mile or two further down that particular road. One last thing: you’ll be AMAZED at how incredibly awesome it feels to be able to turn down a job offer. Holding the power in your hands and wielding it to say, “Thank you for the offer, but No.” really drives home that you’re not desperate, you’re not a supplicant, and you really do have the power to pick something good for you.

          1. Alternately, if the interview is going poorly, deliberately tank it in an epic fashion.
            This also feels really good.
            And provides you with a story.
            (The poor child was not prepared to process “Fighting off motorcycle raids in a post-apocalyptic wasteland” as a response to “where do you see yourself in five years?”)

            1. OR recommend an ex coworker who is in the same fix as you, when you realize that the company is a horrible fit. FYI. The coworker did go to an interview when the called him. His response afterwards was “Gee. Thanks. Don’t do that again.”

          2. Showed up at scheduled time for interview. Brought resume.as instructed.

            After half an hour, transcribe information to generic office-supply job application I got handed.

            An hour after that, I get to see an HR droid who tells me they’re “not hiring.”

            When I got home, I wrote out an invoice for two hours of my entirely reasonable hourly rate for evaluating their HR hiring practices, plus fifty cents per mile for travel across town.

            Mailed invoice.

            They never paid, but what the hell, it was the principle of the thing…

          3. My first job as an engineer involved a department manager who’d rule by tantrum. Part of my job was dealing with people who the @#$%^ ticked off. Not a fun situation, but I decided that I needed 2 years experience to make the switch to a better job.

            That two years turned up just as TPTB were jerking my work situation around. I typed up a resume (literally; circa 197X) and contacted a headhunter I’d heard of. A few weeks later I had a much better job. Then two years after that, another headhunter contacted me about a really good job. Lasted 21 years in that one until the Dot-com bubble blew up.

            Make your decisions, plan and do what’s necessary to execute. Then make your move. It’s a great feeling to leave a toxic work environment in the rear view mirror.

        1. It does.

          Got good at interviews. Still hated them. One of the reasons I could never go into contract programming. I despise looking for work. The definition of contract work is you are always looking for your next contract.

          1. I never got to really like them, but I eventually did get comfortable with them. I went through over 25 jobs before I got my first IT job a month before my 34th birthday. Currently on my third job since then, and it’s been 20 years now.

            1. hmm. looking back
              I have been a:



              Bicycle mechanic

              Auto Scrapyard worker(short term between two of the three times as bike mech)

              Delivery route driver

              Outside route salesman

              Autoparts warehouse worker (picker, shipper, etc)

              FOB Lineman/supervisor (feh, babysitter)/aircraft refueler

              Satellite TV installer

              Chemical worker (for the last 14+years)

              Specialization. I haz it!

              1. hrmm… out of (morbid?) curiosity… if you’ve heard it, what are your thought’s on the Great Big Sea tune The Chemical Workers’ Song (Process Man)?

                * Steps back & aside quickly (well, quickly for ox), just in case.*

                1. hadn’t heard it. found it and lyrics and say “Well, mine ain’t that bad”, and the boy and girls nextdoor wear PPE, and with a Catholic and Middle schools within 400 yards of the place, they can’t work with too dangerous of anyhow.
                  I have two items that are not made up here because of the proximity of those schools. But once made, one could take a bath in it and it would just be unpleasant, and might could cause a rash. Cleaning it off would be the unpleasant part. Think molasses thick and needing hot water to best dissolve it.

      1. And don’t forget to tweak your resume for each job, as necessary. Just emphasizing different bits, adding or removing things that particularly showcase something for *that* job.

        1. My last job search (just after 9/11 and the dot-com bust), I had a notebook with snippets of code that I had developed. Not sure just how well it worked; the succeeding job came through the sales rep of a piece of (complicated) test equipment I had been using for several years.

          Knowing people helped. That was a good job (until the client went bankrupt, because reasons).

          1. “knowing people” – yeah, networking is roughly the same importance as developing interview skills; and if possible, always do your search before leaving the previous job.

            1. My problem was I never planned on leaving the job. The job left me, or wouldn’t hold it. Like I’ve said. Had the company I worked for in early ’90s was still local with that division, I’d still be working there.

              Just found my list of contacts & references. I’ve always kept the references of the actual employer’s, usually disconnected, FYI. I kept the private numbers of my immediate supervisors & managers, plus managers I did projects with, with their permission.

              1979 – ’81 — Thank you Spotted Owl for 110 of us.
              1983 – ’85 — Hubby transferred out of area. Not that the company that I was interning at is still in business.
              1985 – ’88 — Firm moved 100+ miles North.
              1988 – ’89 — Firm let everyone else go, because they were small enough that when I took medical leave they didn’t have to keep my position open, & no unemployment, because I left “voluntarily” (enter son).
              1990 – ’96 — Division sold. Shut down.
              1996 – ’02 — Bought out, then bankruptcy.
              2004 – ’16 — Retired, my fault I quit. Already been discussed why I pulled the trigger then vs later. Although, as of this month, they just got bought out. Official announcement to client base next week; per my sources keeping me appraised of what is going on. Nothing is “suppose” to change.

              Where have I heard THAT before? Oh, yea, ’95/’96, then again 2000-ish … Good news I don’t have to deal or worry about it. Have mentioned to my sources, “been there, done that, understand, will listen.”

              1. In my experience, nothing changes for about six months. Then they incorporate you into the bigger business.

                1. Based on what I can find online:
                  “Not a public company”
                  Goal — “acquire and grow vertical software businesses that provide mission-critical solutions in their respective niche or market.”
                  “Does not sell the software companies acquired”
                  “Does not micromanage companies acquired”

                  Thermeon – Car rental
                  Profit Tools – Intermodal Trucking
                  Hudson Group – on-premise & mobile apps for transportation & tourist industries
                  BlueBird Auto Rental
                  Dock Info – Boat Docks
                  Creative Information Systems – Weight Scale
                  CMS Hospitality
                  Welcome Systems – Hospitality UK
                  SARS Software – Higher Education vertical market software solution
                  ALDATA Software – Log Timber, Fiber Supply Chain Management Software (Timber, Lumber, Fiber, & Biomass, material management)
                  Interactive Dealer Management System – Auto dealerships

                  Now: Cascade Software System (CSS) – Cost Accounting Management (CAMS) — for governmental agencies, County, City, & w/in last 5 years Federal Native Reservations.

                  I think I found the right web site. Correct name, correct location.

                  Actually ALDATA Software intrigued me, given my former career, & my job ’90 – ’96. Noticed the installations are thin on the ground in the PNW. Very heavily installed throughout the south. Could be the same reason that CAMS is heavily installed strictly on the West Coast; boss hated to fly (plus a lot of locations it was fly then drive, anyway) but doubt it.

                  Only because I know a “little” about what/why they are tracking. Company division had a major software that had 2 programmers working on it, Log Accounting (I was not one of them). Every 12 to 18 months, the main programmer had to play host to corporate IT & programmers as to why the division couldn’t use the corporate system used everywhere else; especially in south USA, where the guests were from & system was developed.

                  Short answer:

                  The corporate system tracked cubic units of fiber of entire units for one entry, based on weight, & humidity of the fiber, to get dry weight.

                  The PNW company custom system tracked individual tagged scaled logs, including on where they came from off of division timber lands, or from other sources. One log record had more footage & value than most fiber records in the corporate system.

                  PNW Fiber wasn’t even tracked. General fiber went somewhere else, in bulk, & was tracked there (generally a PNW fiber plant, same corporate company, different division).

                1. Could have been worse. In the 2 years I was off, I interviewed for some I really thought I’d get. Was bummed I didn’t. Then watched the same companies disappear. Not only wasn’t meant to be. Someone was looking out for me. Didn’t seem like it ’02 – ’04; it was a long 18 months.

                  This area is hard on software companies. Most the gaming software companies are gone; just for example. Not that I applied there, I don’t play games. Didn’t make any sense to me to apply to write something that just baffles me.

                  ’96 layoff was short, but initially scary. Not only did we know I was out of a job. But hubby’s work lost 16 contracts. Hubby got a layoff notice. Both of us were going to be out of work in a month!!! Hubby’s notice went away & layoff didn’t occur.

                  ’02 somehow hubby’s company found out I wasn’t working anymore (took them over a year, grin). No fear hubby would quit if they transferred him out of area, or that he’d give them an earful … grrrrr; they were half right. He went, but they heard his opinion about it.

    2. Aiii! Sounds like you are in the same place I was many, many years ago. Except (being a big tough guy) I couldn’t cry in the bathroom…

      Best thing that ever happened to me was being fired from that job. Right when the hyper-critical MIL was visiting too, which confirmed her already definite conviction that I was a useless bum…

      Really, it was. Everything after that has only been better, the inevitable rough patches notwithstanding. Hang in there, get those feet on the upward path, and don’t look back.

      1. Dad says often he has no idea where we kids get it from, but all 4 of us kids, especially my youngest Sis and I, have a record of telling places to bugger off and quiting with no plans for the next day. He worked 18 years one place and told them “If you don’t pay me X amount more, I am leaving” and they offered him half that and were shocked when he left 5 minutes after being told the amount. Then after moving he worked at another place nearly as long and again they went stupid, he said if that was the policy he was leaving, that became policy and he left, they was shocked! The boss lady who put forth that policy was later told by an Admiral “I cannot fire you, but I can determine who I allow on base. You are no longer allowed on this base.”
        There were many times here I might well have left this latest location but A: I owe for the move if I do, and my 401k for a loan, and B: the bigger limiter has been not wanting to find work at the age of 52. By the by, the payback on that move loan goes away in May then it’s just be a tax penalty on the 401K 5 year loan (2 years worth) but I did convince them that broke or not broke, I will walk away if they make me mad enough. Life got slightly better once that got through the supervisors little brain. Now if our planner would get canned and someone with better abilities replaced him . . .
        A lot of mine was not as much inheriting Dad’s attitude/temper (nearly in full, though it is), as watching him working a job that was killing him and how much better things got, even as we were going broke.
        I did force one boss to fire me, because I refused to quit.
        He later hired me back at a higher wage.
        My Younger sis quit one place and they kept contacting her offering more and more to come back, finally last year she returned to it.

        1. I retired, because I could, from my last job, because one “employee”, also known as the bosses son, & youngest child. A nut/fruitcake/needed to be committed, on drugs, who boasted of having (& brother in law who verified it & also worked there) had guns.

          When another employee moved across state to get away, & was still working for company, but from home. I decided I was right, if he moved, risking no work, it wasn’t safe. I requested to work at home too. Was told no. Despite the fact boss & I already had had this conversation because hubby was retired & he was going to want me to quit but I wasn’t ready, but would be willing to work from home. Was “okay” then. But apparently not for me.

          I waited until the end of the year & gave notice; yes I waited until after the year bonuses were issued, your point? Boss was NOT happy that he “only” got 7 weeks notice. Okay, had unused vacation I took for 4 of it. Only 2 weeks notice was required, & I gave him almost 2 full months to prepare.

          In the end the kid was committed, for awhile anyway. Nobody got killed. Kid was back for some more incidents despite he was banned from the business. Guys (since the only female employee had quit) had to tackle kid more than once to eject him (per dad’s orders who was not there). Glad I wasn’t there. Change of management occurring Jan 2019, but SIL of owner will still be there, so kid still could show up. Gossip from work, & police, show kid is still strung out, been arrested multiple times over the last 3 years, including incidents with guns. Feel for his parents, but darn glad I’m out of there.

          1. sounds a bit like the kid that used to live a few doors down from me in Louisiana. some friends got a bit crazy and shots were fired in the air, so they were warned. “We ain’t afraid of dying. ” I sent back the message “I won’t kill you, but you will want to be dead after I’m done, and you won’t be able to even do that yourself” and the trouble moved to another place.
            After being arrested for the what ever time his step dad refused to bail him out, and mommy said if you won’t post bail, I’ll leave you. Step dad said Good By and she walked out.
            Oddest thing happened. Kid finally got to court (never did get bailed. Mom wouldn’t use her own money), got a mild sentence (it was a lesser infraction) and probation, but stayed living with his step dad. Also started to clean up his act and was helpful and friendly to everyone in the neighborhood, and the couple of times we talked afterwards was nice, polite, and once very helpful (walked down and helped unload lumber to make a wheelchair ramp for my aunt).
            Asked him about his mom and he said his step dad talked to her more than he did, and that wasn’t unless a dire need (like her creditors calling him), and he couldn’t be happier, and unless she stopped being a b!tch he wasn’t worried about her.

            1. Sad. Pretty sure this kid has had a medical condition since adolescence based on what kids (half) BIL let drop when things got bad. He’s pretty sure the kid has been illegally self medicating for at least 20 years. At least since 10 or 11. Didn’t help. Hurt badly.

              I told BIL when it all came down what I was going to do & why. He didn’t tell the boss (his FIL) in advance. He felt the same way, but had another 13 years into the company than I did (so 25 years), plus, him leaving wasn’t going to solve his problem with the kid. Not to mention, at that time, he was taking over when FIL retired*. Hey, a retraining order from the kids half sister on behalf of her & the kids couldn’t solve the problem.

              *Guess what DIDN’T happen. Guy gets to take over management, Jan 2019, but the company was sold to a private entity in Canada. Gossip is he was offered a chance to buy the company. He & his wife considered i,t briefly, but didn’t like the financial consequences of the debt that would have occurred. Yes. Employees, that have been feeding me information, are not anticipating the change over, guessing official tomorrow, back in the office, Wednesday.

              1. *sick to her stomach on everyone’s behalf*

                I’d almost rather folks be evil than crazy. We’ve removed any safeguards for crazy.

                1. I felt for the kid & his folks. But they were putting everyone in danger. Let me see.

                  1) Someone moved across the mountains so they could work out of the office (as already mentioned).
                  2) IT talked the boss into expanding the office into a smaller empty office next door for the Server, & new telephone system, room & hardware. Then put a lock on it & no one else got the key, except IT, & the SIL (because he wouldn’t give out the key to you-know-who. Plus started carrying concealed …6
                  3) Three of the 4 remaining programmers in the office, got concealed …
                  4) The 4th (me) quit.

                  Yep. Was time to leave. Could. Did.

                  Oh yes. When all this finally got where I was going “OMG”. I talked it over with hubby first. Just to show what a keeper he is, his one word response was “Quit. Now. No notice.” We compromised & I waited another 7 weeks for the bonus check, before giving notice. I worked a lot at home … funny how I kept getting sick, & migraines, or my back went out, again. When I did go in, funny how I was early (kid never was). When kid came in, oops, ow.

                  Also, first vacation, where I did nothing related to work. Totally stayed off the remote system & out of email … funny how that worked out.

                  1. Yeah. I don’t sympathize with the selfishness, but I can empathize with the “we’ll just pretend nothing is wrong” thing.

                    Just amazing.

              2. Self medication for mental problems is always very dangerous. If a drug has a strong impact on the thinking, one is taking it to adjust thinking, and one is doing the assessment and dosing on one’s own, one will eventually screw up. (I’m not saying that all psychiatrists are competent, or that a good psychiatrist is sufficient. Psychiatric drugs are scary scary things.)

                Roof, the one who shot up the black church, wanted to start a race war, and was touted by the left as a right wing extremist?

                I’m not sure if he was originally healthy, or was self medicating. Apparently, he had in the past gotten his hands on Xanax. Which treats anxiety in the anxious, but due to the way all medicines are poisons, could have disordered a healthy person in a way that could cause anxiety. His explanation of why he committed the crimes struck me as disordered thinking with a definite flavor of anxiety. I am not in any way licensed or qualified to practice any form of medicine.

                Criminal justice reform conflicts with the handling of evil and of the mentally ill. Our handling of the mentally ill was significantly changed by altering the criteria for confining patients in state mental hospitals. Those are based on one model of society’s responsibility for handling certain cases. Obamacare is arguably built on another. One could defend a program of euthanizing substance abusers as being in line with the principles and text of Obamacare.

                1. Self medication of choice. Cannabis; MJ.

                  Because it was safer than alcohol or prescriptions from medical personnel. //sarcasm tagged

                  Like I said, sad.

                  1. Since 11 or thereabouts? No wonder he is such a good person to stay away from.

          1. he’s about monkey and dartboard. He often makes “Safety Stock orders that are either 10 year supplies (and a fricken lawyer decided our stuff is only “good” 2 years) or “Why is this over due?” Why don’t I have the order, and why is it not on the schedule (and sometimes “-also we don’t have/make/sell that anymore)? or “We ain’t got any of this, and it will be months before we even can start making it, and will be 3 weeks in process once we do start” and the ever popular “Why didn’t he say anything about needing this when we been sitting for weeks with nothing going on where it’s made, but now we have to wait for several other things to be made first!?” on an order that turns out was on the books for months.
            He was supposed to be the planner when I was still down in Texas, and wasn’t planning at all, I was. When the plant manager complained about needing to do something about planning, he replied “It works fine for me!”
            I happen to be in that meeting and replied “Thats because you ain’t F^#$ing doing it, I am, and I’m not supposed to have to.”
            Plant manager fumed, but really couldn’t do much about it (learned complaining to the manager up here did nothing either).
            A week or so afterwards I took vacation time, so it was just the day shift worker and the lady who wrote the orders up. When I got back a relatively new hire chemist was now doing the batch planning for me and Foam.
            She was better than him, but not a whole lot, but I wasn’t doing the job so was able to do mine.
            I did make her cry once though. Plant manager took my word over hers on a foam batch. She lived by the spreadsheet, and made some mess up on one, and I knew it was wrong, the lead foam guy knew something looked wrong so he got my opinion, and as busy as he was and even not ever making that stuff, the manager could tell something didn’t look right, and took our word over hers (but She has alphabets after her name!!1! and the spreadsheet said it was right!) paid a two day delay fine instead of ruining 10,000+ gallons of $23 a gallon stuff. Good thing ‘Tavo read the batch fully before starting it (well, he dyed the water violet).

    3. *Hugs* Been there, sister, been there. Getting invited to resign was a relief, because I got out before someone died.* Listen to Dorothy. You can do this, you need to do this, and you’re ready to do this.

      *Yes, the sub-boss had put a policy in place that eventually did get people killed.

      1. forget what it even was anymore, but part of the end of my Airport days was a policy so stupid even our supervisors refused to do it. It was a time waster and possibly less safe, due to causing time eating in a rush. We had other dumb rules we ignored but the two Supes would do in the few occasions they fueled a plane, but they never called us on it. This one I recall being most vociferous about it and telling the manager who thought it up just how stupid it was to his face. We had a similar levels of stupid once a few years before, but the then owner heard about it and stomped on the manager who came up with that. He later convinced the manager his job was paperwork and doing the work was our job.

  12. Happy New Year. Hope next year is better than last. Well with a new daughter-in-law in waiting, it has to be …

    I remember our kid’s college years. Worry, panic, worry, again. Got through it. Without him having to take out loans & without touching the retirement savings. Drained the other savings down to nothing. He worked, plus scored small scholarships & awards here & there … more than once I said “whew, wondered how books were going to be paid.” It seems like a struggle now, but this too will pass.

    We didn’t have our own medical costs on top of his school, so that likely helped. Well we did, hip replacements are not cheap, but insurance covered most of each of them; I think that is where the last $5k of savings went.

  13. My husband William H Stoddard and I wish you, Sarah, and the Huns a Happy New Year. “Happy” as in “Overall, better than 2018, and more fun.”

  14. Give us work we can do and which is satisfying, give us challenges we can overcome, give us health and at least enough wealth not to hurt.

    Let’s go forth into 2019 and BUILD.

    A prayer – and a battle cry. When I can find a wall in this office (don’t ask), this is getting posted!

    I feel quite virtuous now about buying so many Hoyt books in The Great Sale. Who says that completely selfish indulgence never helps anyone else?

    Have a good time on the getaway, Sarah. Just (for poor helpless Havelock’s sake) don’t get snowed in! When they are forecasting snow flurries down here, it always seems that anyplace further north gets hammered.

    1. Adam Smith agreed with you – your completely selfish indulgence helped move the invisible hand of the market to tell Sarah that indie will be awesome, and when she spreads her wings, she’ll fly…. So thanks!

  15. Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

    The Thanksgiving period seems to have been when sucker-punches have been scheduled around here, but in the end things have worked out.

    And I believe the official rules state any wishes for an orbital period better than the one just finishing are always appropriate.

    By hints it sounds like Sarah’s punch this year might have been on the order of the regretful but fond adieu from the last, best, buggy whip factory, so that is likley all for the best in the long run as well, if unwelcome in the instance.

    But, as a flight instructor once told me, if all else fails, aim for the bright spot. Here’s wishing all the Huns brighter times ahead.

        1. Hail-shaft green. The only time I’ve been near a tornado in flight was at night and we were flying through the storm above the rotation. The captain knew very well what he was doing and how to do it safely. And I promised that I’d never try it.

          1. Ok that is VERY interesting. Where I grew (Connecticut, near the mouth of the river of that name) up super nasty thunderstorms were rare but not unheard of. There was one particular thing I learned from my (farmer/lineman) grandfather. Most thunderstorms are not a big issue. But if the oncoming thunder clouds have a mixed mauve/green look and the wind dies down and then starts up as the storm approaches get your backside (and the rest of you) indoors and be ready to head for the basement (or root cellar). Those kind of storms were rare but the double handful or so I remember from my youth were ALWAYS accompanied with hail some times dime size and up and fierce wind gusts. I wonder if that green cast is related to the green light you mention TXRed.

            1. My sister reported a green sky before the summer camp she was in was hit by a tornado — also in Connecticut — quite cured her of her fear of thunderstorms.

              1. One time Pennsic almost had a tornado. The straight line winds were pretty bad up top of the hill, and the sky had that look; but apparently God has a soft spot for medieval recreation.

                “Get in the ditch! Stay there! Fine, you can look at the pretty swirling clouds from the ditch!”

                “No, we are not all going to die… We are going to stick together and be okay… Do not panic! I’m just yelling because I’m trying to get the Californians to stay in the ditch!”

                That particular ditch actually wasn’t a very good place to shelter from a tornado, but things seemed pretty imminent, and the shower house was already pretty full. Anything’s better than wandering around with a tornado ready to hit. I think maybe there has been some scouting around for better tornado sheltering areas, but basically I think you’re better off not being anywhere near a forested camping area during a tornado.

                1. I think it might have been this Pennsic: “We were taking lightning strikes within 100 yards pf the camp.”

            2. Tregonsee, it is. Light through hail of a certain size takes on the greenish cast, even if the hail doesn’t reach the ground. Green sky = bad news for someone.

  16. Some of them are three days from completion, like musketeer vampires

    thank you guys who took him up on his free book for xmas offer
    Haven’t gotten to it yet, because I have LOTS of cheap books and stories to read now, and was already in the middle of 4 others. Oh look, a squirrel!

    You have a good NYE, Sarah.
    And, to Sarah and everyone here, I hope 2019 is a great year, with much carp flung.

  17. Beer is in the downstairs fridge. Liquor cabinet is stocked up. Plenty of soft drinks, juices, and various ‘ades. Sushi is all made, teriyaki beef is in the marinade.

    The stage is set, the band starts playing…

    1. Late November, I tweaked the firmness on the bed (Sleep Number for the win!) and my CPAP numbers started to look really good. I get “clear airway” or Cheyne-Stokes breathing, but my cardiologist isn’t bothered, and I do what I can to manage. A $2000 servo-type machine just isn’t appealing.

      Then I did something stupid and slipped and fell on my back. Pain and good sleep don’t coexist, but the short term effects are over. OTOH, I have a long and rich history of screwing up my back, so this will eventually (hear me Lord? Please!) clear. It’s just going to take a while.

  18. Thank you Sarah for hosting this madhouse for another year. Please enjoy your time away with your husband. Few things are as precious as a good spouse, there is a reason the Author meant us to live as pairs. Here’s to a better next year for you and your family.

    And as for Dan’s being soft on Havelock, it makes me feel a kindred spirit. I view taking care of our feline overlords as a critical action. One might wonder at what the dominant species of this planet actually is although the cats truly know who runs things.

    1. We’re dealing with our canine overlords/companions. (Yes, they’ll do both.) Senior Dog had a really bad seizure (while on the supplement that’s supposed to help), and things went sideways. Junior Dog (also the mouthy herder in the family) doesn’t quite understand and is bothered by the additional attention and care that Senior is getting.

      OTOH, things are getting a bit better, but they don’t live very long. 😦

  19. I’m getting ready to ring in the New Year with John Carpenter’s The Thing. Because what’s more fitting for the start of a new year than cold, claustrophobia and existential dread?

  20. Although I don’t mind the day off, we lunatics (in the literal and calendrical sense of the word) won’t fully celebrate until the dusty dog buries his last bone and the pig in slop comes bounding in around Feb. 5.

    Some of us writers tend to lead “interesting” lives IYKWIM. A few years ago I was relating one of our many atypical adventures to a colleague. When I got to the necessary aside about our last acupuncturist dying from west nile virus, a third colleague jumped in, exasperated. “He always tells these stories with such a straight face, then the flying monkeys start coming out of his butt! There’s only like 5 people in the whole county who have died from west nile.” Ever since, we refer to our frequent misadventures as flying monkey stories. So far I’ve spared him the story about how the love of my life and I got married–that one has the flying monkeys flinging elephant poo.

    In any case Happy New Year to you and yours, and happy Independence Day 😉

    1. The one younger fellow I work with who needs an Orderly and Predictable Universe (and goes into latchup when Reality appears.. ) always seems so astonished upon discovering something I’ve related is actually true (if seemingly improbable). That only makes me wonder how many of his claims are great gobs of bogosity. I related that to a couple people who pretty much confirmed the suspicion. Seems he’d claimed to fisnih some (then new) game in a day or maybe two. But certainly less than 72 hours. They figured he hadn’t… and then went in Research Mode… turned out, even played *perfectly* the thing would take 80+ hours. Of course, there can be stories on all sides.

  21. Wish me luck. I’m going to try to control my diabetes under control in 2019. It does look like climbing Mt. Everest, but hopefully it will become easier (or at least habitual) over time.

    Otherwise Steve and I are well.

    1. Good luck! One of my grandfathers was diabetic and despite himself managed to live until his third heart-attack carried him off. He was in his early 80s.

  22. Happy New Year from a lurking reader. Now back to reading the items I bought during your Amazon sale…

  23. I generally find myself less disposed to wishing a happy new year than to announcing “Good Riddance” to the old. More water over the damn.

  24. Whoa! There are freaking Lakes under the ice cap?!? Maybe there’s more to this planet’s climate than we’ve entirely figured out! Is this a possible guest post topic for the redoubtable Stephanie?

    There’s an Antarctic lake ‘twice the size of Manhattan’ buried under 3,500 feet of ice
    Scientists in Antarctica got a unique gift this holiday season: access to a mysterious lake buried under more than 3,500 feet of ice.

    It took about two days of drilling to reach Mercer Subglacial Lake on Dec. 26, the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) announced in a blog post.

    A team of researchers — which includes 45 scientists, drillers and other staff members — with the organization were able to send an instrument down a borehole the next day, capturing rare footage of the body of water which is “twice the size of Manhattan,” according to the journal Nature. They will also lower a remotely operated vehicle down the hole to capture more footage and take more extensive measurements.

    The group plans to study the depth, temperature and cleanliness of the lake over the next few days.


    “We’re knee-deep right [now] sampling the deepest standing water body humans have ever accessed beneath Antarctica,” Matt Siegfried, a glaciologist and SALSA member, told Earther. “[So] it’ll take some time to process what the ‘most’ exciting part [is].”

    Mercer Subglacial Lake was first discovered via satellite more than a decade ago, according to Nature. There are reportedly around 400 lakes hiding beneath Antarctica’s ice sheets.

  25. Oh sure, 536 was bad, but Trump! but $MeTooDammit! but #Perspective?WeDon’tNeedNoStinkingPerspective

    2018 wasn’t even close to the worst year ever
    Feeling down? Struggling to cope? Does life feel like a “Game of Thrones”? Well, perhaps your worries really are just first-world problems.

    Throughout history, our ancestors have had more pressing concerns. Finding wild weather a problem? How about 18 straight months of fog? Supermarket prices getting too high? How about watching all your crops wither and die?

    Constantly catching some new bug? How about contending with the Black Plague? Sick of government leadership slip-ups? How about the collapse of civilization itself?

    Put it all together, and you get a date: 536 AD.


    How things got so bad, so fast, has long puzzled historians.

    Was the Roman Empire simply too corrupt to survive? Were the “barbarians” stampeding and ravaging their way across Europe? And what was the cause of that choking cloud of fog?

    McCormick and his team say they now have an answer.

    Careful analysis and dating of ice cores exposed evidence of an event that sparked the global catastrophe. Volcanic ash. Vaporized glass. Sulfur. Bismuth. All were blasted high into the sky, creating a thin film reflecting sunlight back into space.

    Glaciologist Paul Mayewski of the University of Maine says the ash appears to have come from a volcano in North America, or perhaps Iceland. It blew — big time — in early 536. It spewed ash across the entire Northern Hemisphere. But that wasn’t the end of it.

    The volcano erupted twice more — in 540 and 547. The consequent ash clouds served only to revitalize the climate-changing impact of the first. But the ice core reveals more.


    Archaeologist Christopher Loveluck of the University of Nottingham says in Antiquity that the ability to precisely date sample cores was a major breakthrough for historians. Ice cores are proving to be a fantastic resource for inferring what was happening at any given point in history. Each snowfall lands on top of another, building up, layer by layer, ice sheets that capture snapshots of what was in the air for each given season.

    The cores reveal the smelting of lead ore to extract silver produced a surge in pollution in 640, and again in 660.

    Economies were thriving once again. Gold was becoming scarce for coins. So silver found itself suddenly in great demand.

    “This unambiguously shows that, alongside any residual pool of Roman bullion and imported metal, new mining facilitated the production of the last post-Roman gold coins — debased with increasing amounts of silver — and the new silver coinages that replaced them,” the researchers wrote.

    Loveluck added: “It shows the rise of the merchant class for the first time.”

    It was a golden age set to last 700 years. Then the ice cores tell another tale. Once again, lead vanished from the air. Between 1349 and 1353, the Black Death once again swept through Europe.

    Once again economies collapsed. Crops failed. But it wouldn’t prove as bad as 536.

    1. Saw an article that may have inspired that, some navel-gazing boomer complaining his navel-gazing just graduated college daughter thought this year was the worst– I still think the original story was the guy mining an out of context conversation for blog-fodder. ^.^

      That this article roughly lines up with my estimate of where the worst years were is pure coincidence.

      1. If I recall correctly, one of the big volcanoes in Indonesia had a major eruption around 536 AD, I think perhaps Tambora?

          1. One of those, yes, and not Tambora. The volcano was where the strait between Java and Sumatra now is. Krakatoa might be the tiny remnant.

            1. Well, if you read the chronicles, it’s pretty obvious what you’re dealing with.

              Although the “Yellow Plague” a century later was definitely unfun. It just kept raging into new areas and killing almost everyone. Poor Bede was just a kid, and he lived through that.

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