The NULL Solution = Episode 178

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The NULL Solution = Episode 178

…What began as a like-minded alliance has morphed into a freighter of regret…

i regret everything by NintendoVii

Not long after Collapsar Axis’ exit from its native dimension, the residents, old of the Ÿ€Ð homeworld or the new gypsies picked up along the path to perdition, become restless as rumors spread like a firestorm. There has not a dictator made, that can squelch an entire population when those people have a mind to squawk.

Like a noisy squawk box, they harp in unison at the realization that they are going nowhere in an unfamiliar somewhere. What began as a like-minded alliance has morphed into a freighter of regret. The promise of roaming free rings hollow, when the roaming lacks purpose.

“We want to go back to our worlds!” is the common cry heard throughout. Eternal regret was not what this divergent group bargained for. They are paying the price for throwing in with a cross-eyed visionary.

And the emergence of unwelcome company, in this living hell, does little to soothe their savage souls.

“Great Župzïð, our battle cruisers have been engaged!” Collapsar Axis has gone from being the fearless big dog in the neighborhood, to just another malcontent. Entire fighting forces are being added to the mix; those that were roving the “real” Great Expanse with bad intent.

“Contact their flagship. I would like to speak with its leader.”

The front-running ship’s commander breaks off his attack to speak with Župzïð, “You have hijacked my ships. We will fight you to the death.”

Collapsar’s sheer size makes it the likely culprit.

“It is not we who brought you here. We are the confederation called Collapsar Axis. We belong to a galaxy far from this one. We have lost our way.”

That is a Freudian slip if there ever was one. He meant to say, “We are lost,” lost in translation.

“We were engaging a sphere that looked like it was threatening our world,” admits the attacking commander. “Now we find ourselves among strange stars and being asked a ridiculous question. Are you the source of that message?”

That had been the exact mistake made by the Ÿ€Ð fleet back in the day and compounded by Župzïð’s ignorance to this very day.

“We are not the builders of ⃝    . We are victims as well.”

The would-be combatants share a bond of serendipitous proportions.

“Have you seen the beacon of light originating in the Terran system?” Collapsar’s builder asks.

“Yes. What does such a primitive species have to do with such a thing? We disregarded that message as well. It smells like a trap… all that talk of universal peace is for the weak!”

There is a pattern developing. When a certain choice is posed, the proper response is expected.

“Have you seen the beacon in this place?”

“No,” is the simple answer, asked and answered by both men.


The NULL Solution =

Pattern Party by Brianne burnell

Episode 178


page 174

The NULL Solution = Episode 111

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The NULL Solution = Episode 111

…Princess Cerella shares her ordeal on Earth, with one-on-ones and face-to-faces…

Face to Face by Stewart Kelly

After skimming through the actual piece of paper {unheard of these days}, its magnitude sinks in, the least of which is 2 less place settings, Francine rouses the gang to attention, with more than the sweet smell of bacon.

Each of the King Ranch residents takes a turn at reading the Epistle from Eridanus. What a cruel way to start a Saturday, having family members ripped from your midst, unannounced at that.

The only individual who will not understand for months to come is young Marscie McKinney. How do you explain such interstellar interactions to a toddler? Somewhere among the excuses must come impossible understanding.

Gus and Mindy hold each other like Gus is headed to prison with a life sentence hanging over his head.

Roy and Francine wonder where time has gone, recalling the days when Gus and Deke were harder to coral than Houdini, the longhorn steer.

One person left off the salutation is Dr. Jean-Luc Picard. His stellar {inter} care of Cerella and Joyner was not only necessary, but critical in their survival. So far as he was torn from his own Alpine world, he had grown attached to his patient{s} in a personal way. He has experienced the Texas-sized down-home hospitality provided by the entire King Ranch populous, right down to the men who clean the barns.

Picard takes his leave, forever changed by the experience, but not his taste for the Suisse high life.

Eridanus is abuzz with the spreading news of Princess Cerella’s return and of course her royal child, Joyner. Even after her return, what did not come back is her previous telekinetic prowess, so the sharing of her ordeal begins with one-on-one face-to-faces, she communicates in her own letter:


The NULL Solution =

Episode 111


page 110

The NULL Solution = Episode 108

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The NULL Solution = Episode 108

I speak for all of us when I tell you that we long for the day when we can all be together again – Celeste McKinney writes to those on Earth…

Longing by Kinga Britschgi

— The pioneering spirit, that which has been withheld on Eridanus for countless cycles, is breathed into the circuitry of Defender. The Null mystery component turns out to be the puzzle piece they were looking for. The ancient ship will once again knife its way through time and space as if it were the bellows of an accordion; expanding to slow down and squeezing together to expedite the distance between point A to point B.

This time around, it will be the McKinneys, Sampson and Deke who blast past several stars and the recently well-worn path to Earth, sans the previous fateful Mars detour. The “Harmonia Query” has been set aside in favor of Cerella’s homecoming. For the sake of universal congruity, the 2-man expeditionary force must conduct themselves like a S.W.A.T. team. A simple in and out will have to do. No time is allotted for a family reunion or NASA debriefing, at least not yet.

There is one concession and that comes in the form of a letter, penned by Celeste. To be left behind by her guys, it reads:

Dearest Gus, Mindy, Roy & Francine;

 By now you have noticed that Princess Cerella and her child are missing. Do not fret. They are coming home to the people who care for them most. Deke will see his son for the first time. Cerella’s father Ekcello has been uncharacteristically dismayed by the fear that they would be stranded on Earth.

Sam & Deke would love to stay and chat, but in order for them to resist the temptation to sojourn, a.k.a. not come back to us here, they must return posthaste.

I speak for all of us when I tell you that we long for the day when we can all be together again. But the path to that end is littered with complications that none of us can resolve soon enough. Be secure in that knowledge, as well as our abiding love. ‘til we are together once more.

Thank you for caring for the “cherished of Eridanus” and do not stop reaching for the stars.

 For Sampson, Deke & Deimostra,

 Celeste M

Stardate 2054 has been one phantasm after another.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 108


page 108 (end ch. 9)

The NULL Solution = Episode 91

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The NULL Solution = Episode 91

…There is no replacing a good spacecraft, when it comes to going from here and there…

Ekcello, Supreme Elder of the High Council on Eridanus, is growing tired of life without his daughter. The natives are getting restless. Those calling themselves the “Gifted” are feeling less so. His daughter is more than a big deal here and her absence, along with a lack of explanation of why she cannot return posthaste, is an issue that only exacerbates his angst.

He sympathetically thanks the McKinneys’ “God” for the news on Cerella’s child, but that is increasingly not good enough. Using Celeste as a go-between is hardly better than a voice recording. His mind is already crammed to the brim with the unsatisfying voices of his people.

Proving that blood is thicker than the null of space between Eridanus and Earth, Ekcello summons his unintentional antagonist Sampson McKinney to ask him a rhetorical question. “Would you consider taking Defender back to your planet? I believe that my daughter and her child belong here with us.”

“That’s also my daughter-in-law and my grandchild you’re talking about. Isn’t that the plan I was pitching a couple moons ago?” That was then…

… “I am talking about now, Sampson. It appears that they cannot return on their own.”

“They need a ride don’t they?” He told him so. “There is no replacing a good spacecraft, when it comes to going from here and there. I never thought I would hear those words come out of that oversized brain of yours!”

“You have sufficient TSF piloting and navigational skills to complete the mission.”

“I could use a co-pilot. Defender is a handful for one person, so send Deke out with me… kiddo & daddio will make a good team!”

“Yes to a co-pilot. No to Deke.”

Ekcello places limits on his magnanimity.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 91


page 91

WIF New Year’s Resolution Sampler

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Top 10 Simple

New Year’s Resolutions

 I hate to be a New  Years Eve party-pooper, but I thought you should know that approximately  half of you will make New Years resolutions this year, but only 8% of you will  successfully achieve them.

 In the interest of turning these dismal results around, I’ve come up with  some alternative resolutions for you before it’s too late, because I think the  secret to achieving New Years resolutions is to keep them as simple as  possible.

For example, you’ll see several alternatives to the ever-popular resolution  to lose weight (the number one resolution in 2012).  Achieving any one of  at least 4 of the resolutions I’ve listed below could in fact result in weight  loss. Or not. In fact, since the resolutions below are more specific than ‘lose  weight,’ they might actually improve your chances of dropping a few pounds – but  without that heavy load of guilt on your shoulders if you don’t.

Simple, yes. But- unlike the empty calories in those light snack bars I may  have just spared you from consuming- the 10 simple resolutions I’ve selected are  also bursting with life-altering potential. Consider them the ‘super foods’ of  resolutions… super resolutions, in fact.

Here, ranked in order from most challenging to s-o-o-o-o-o simple, is a top 10 list of simple new years resolutions:

10. Show Up

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon  has said “there is an expression among even the most advanced runners that  getting your shoes on is the hardest part of any workout.” As a runner who  belongs to more running Meetups in my city  then the number of runs I’ve actually gone on in the entire year, I can attest  to this.

Furthermore, I think this saying probably applies to any activity requiring  shoes. Strapping shoes on is so difficult that I have ranked it as the most  difficult of my 10 simple resolutions. I dare you to prove me wrong!

Guidelines

To achieve this resolution (i.e. Show Up) you are not merely required to  leave your couch and arrive somewhere else- but you also have to be present. The length of the journey and what you do when you get there  is up to you, but consider this: ‘showing up’ might involve some sort of active  engagement on y0ur part (i.e. learning something, meeting new people,  performing, participating in a lively debate).

Keep it Simple

Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the  door – Kris Kringle, (Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

Eighty percent of success is showing up. – Woody Allen

9. Listen to the Voices

This year, make a commitment to listen for those voices in your head and  challenge them.

We observe, we tell a story, and then we feel. …Since we and only we are  telling the story, we can take back control of our own emotions by telling a  different story.

These are the claims made in Chapter 6 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for  Talking When Stakes are High (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler). The  chapter proposes that if you “question your feelings and stories,” “look for  other possible explanations,” and “get back to the facts” you can break the  loop. It points out 3 common story themes: 1. the villain, 2. the victim, 3.  helplessness.

Keep It Simple

Try to identify the stories you are listening to in that lightning fast  moment between something you see or hear and your response.

Keep it Up

Try to replace your stories based on the willingness to consider that others  involved are reasonable, rational and decent people.

8. Expense Yourself

Most people who are working one job know exactly how much money they bring  home every month – but how many people know exactly how much money  they really spend? In an ideal world, everyone would balance their personal  books – but in reality, many of us have already crossed into another universe  where the money we use has very little to do with the money we actually  generate…

Just doing this once might blow your mind. You may find yourself taking  leftovers to work for lunch, growing your own vegetables, or cancelling your  cable.

Guidelines

Get all business-like and compare household revenue to expenses.

Keep it Simple

The simplest way to review your spending habits is to look at your bank  account and credit card statements and categorize your purchases. For more  accuracy, you could track your spending (including small cash purchases) for one  month.

Keep It Up

Even better: set a budget based on your actual income and track and manage  your spending from now on, using the envelope  method or free software such as mint.com.

7. Distant Gratification

Take a break from this world of short cuts, fast food, and even shorter  attention spans and plan for some distant gratification. As Tony Robbins  once said, “most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and  underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.”

Keep It Simple

The simplest examples of this resolution in action: plant a tree or bury a  time capsule in your yard.

Or, consider long-term  goals – – think about how much can be achieved in a year – or 5 years – if a  little bit of progress is made every day. For example you could write a novel  (10 pages a week) or walk 100 miles (45 minutes a week). You might decide to  save for a visit to Chile, learn to play chess, or sponsor  a child in another country- all by making small investments of money or time  stretched out over a long period.

Keep It Up 

Instead of stressing out about a concrete deadline or specific result, focus  on moving forward. Remember Hofstadter’s Law, “It always takes longer than  you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law” (psychcentral.com).  In most cases, it’s best not to check progress until a considerable amount of  time has passed, and don’t beat yourself up – just keep going!

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that  matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway

6. Eat Vegetables

The USDA site choosemyplate.gov  describes over 20 ways that vegetables are good for you, including reducing the  risks of birth defects, cancer, kidney stones, heart disease, obesity, type 2  diabetes, bone loss, high blood pressure, constipation, and infection.

Guidelines

Make half your plate fruits  and vegetables, suggests choosemyplate.gov.

Keep it Simple

Even if you just eat one more vegetable than you did in 2012, you’re going to  be successful.

Or, you might try to gradually add more vegetables to your regular weekly  meals – stir spinach into your favorite pasta sauce and stuff those chicken  breasts with asparagus and cheese.

Don’t like vegetables? Invest in a few books and sneak them into smoothies  and meals (Skinny  Smoothies, The Sneaky  Chef).

Keep It Up 

When you are buying groceries make sure fruits and vegetable purchases  reflect your new eating habits (for example, review your shopping cart before  you get in line at the cashier). Or, purchase a share in a CSA  and receive a box of produce from a local farm each week. That way, you will  consistently receive vegetables (and the reminder to eat them) and you will  probably be exposed to some new produce that you might not otherwise pick up at  the store.

Local fresh fruits and vegetables are best, however frozen vegetables are a  nutritious and convenient alternative. Make sure you have some in your freezer  so that you always have some vegetables on hand.

If you are really serious about a veggie heavy diet, restrict meat to dinner  or weekend meals only.

5. Hello, Neighbor

According to an article at psychologytoday.com by Linda Wasmer Andrews, a “study from Umea University in Sweden showed that people who said they trusted  their neighbors were twice as likely as those who didn’t to rate their health as  good.” Plus, “research from Duke University found that people aged 55 to 80 who  were high in interpersonal trust lived longer, on average, over the next 14  years than those who were lower in that quality” (Trust  Your Neighbor, Boost Your Health).

Even the most casual, surface interactions with other members of your  community can lower stress and give you a sense of belonging. If your neighbors  know you, they are much more likely to notice if your house is being robbed or  if you need medical help. You also benefit from sharing local information with  each other (local schools, local events).

Keep it Simple

“Who are the people in your neighborhood? The people that you meet  each day.” Jeff Moss, Sesame Street songwriter.

Say hello to people you pass on the street (‘Good Morning,’) and work your  way up to chatting with neighbors, clerks and people waiting in line or waiting  to cross the street).

Keep It Up

Keep it up, and simple greetings will transform into short conversations and  a local network of neighbors.

Attend local community events: block parties, school plays, craft fairs,  theatre productions, live music.

Drop Christmas cards (or cookies!) off at your neighbor’s houses, shovel  someone’s walk or water their plants when they go on vacation, hire a neighbor  kid to mow your lawn.

4. Read the Ingredients

Food manufacturers rely on the general population’s disinterest in the  details when it comes to ingredients. They will use big labels or  official-looking check marks on packaging to advertise products as “low-fat,”  “natural” (an unregulated term), “whole grain,” and “100 calories.”  However, the ingredients  of these products often include artificial colors, flavors, thickeners,  genetically modified foods, and hydrogenated oils to keep costs or calories  down. Critics of these ingredients, including respected health experts, warn  that they can lead to everything from obesity, hyperactivity in children, heart  disease, and cancer (Sofia Layarda, MPH RD, Which  Food Additives to Avoid, healthcastle.org).

Guidelines

In her book Go  UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss, Gloria Tsang warns  that “highly processed foods are ‘the weakest link’ in any eating plan” and  provides 3 warning signs to look for in a 5 second scan: packaging that features  colorful cartoon characters are usually high in sugar, foods  advertised as fat-free use “thickeners and other artificial ingredients to  simulate the texture of the real thing,” and “look for an ingredient list that’s  not too long and includes ingredients you can actually pronounce.”

Keep it Simple

Read the ingredients on everything you purchase.

Keep it Up

If you commit to reading the ingredients on every purchase it will become a  habit and may eventually inform your choices.

For example, I was surprised to discover liquid sugar listed as the  4th ingredient in a popular whole grain meal for children and MSG in  the canned soups I’ve been eating for my entire life.

If you’re not sure what an ingredient is, Google it when you get home.

Eliminating, or even just reducing, one or two ingredients from your diet can  make a big difference.

3. Make Eye Contact

eye contact

Katrina Onstad writes that “the most potent tool of body language is eye  contact, at least in most Western cultures. Human mothers and infants require  eye contact to bond” and “evolutionary scientists propose that eye  contact came to be the cornerstone of communication because of the ‘cooperative eye hypothesis,’ which suggests that collaboration and cooperation  are optimized when our eyes are locked” (Why are We so Scared of Eye Contact? theglobeandmailcom).

Eye contact improves listening and helps the other person feel really  acknowledged. It is also an increasingly brave social act in an environment  where everyone else on the bus or on the street averts their eyes.

Keep it Simple

Look at people’s eyes and wait for them to do the same.

Keep it Up

Caution: if you make eye contact you might feel empathy, invoke a response  from the other person, or otherwise interact with others.

PS: eye contact should be casual and not make people feel uncomfortable.  Don’t be creepy!

2. Drink Water

According to mayoclinic.com, “every system in your body depends on water” and “even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired”.  In the  video above, Lynn Goldstein, a registered dietician, explains that water is an essential  ingredient for health and that it’s important to drink water BEFORE you are  thirsty – because thirst is often the first symptom of dehydration.

Exercise, climate, and other activities such as breastfeeding will increase  the amount of water needed, so there isn’t one amount that applies to all  people.

Basic Guidelines

The most well known recommendation to drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day  is a good place to start.

64oz = ½ US gallon = 2 liters (approximately).

Keep It Simple

You can achieve this resolution by drinking more water than you did in  2012.

Keep It Up 

Consider incorporating one or more of these simple steps into your daily  routine:

1. Each day, drink a 16 oz glass of water first thing in the morning and  before each meal (maybe with a bonus 8 oz before bed just to top up).

2. Carry a water container around with you and use it to measure your  progress towards your target. You can use one 64oz water bottles or plan to fill  up a 1 litre bottle twice during the day, or whatever plan works best for  you.

3. Swap out the other beverages in your daily routine for water or at least  match them up. For example, alternate your coffee or cocktails with glasses of  water.

“Thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of the body’s need for water,” so  Mayoclinic.com offers these simple indicators: “clear or light-colored urine  means you’re well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals  dehydration”.  You can used these guidelines to figure out how much water  you personally need to drink to remain hydrated and to stay on track. Like the  famous potty slogan says, “If it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow – go  drink some water.”

1. Hug More

Hugs improve everything from communication and self-esteem to the immune  system, according to Marcus Julian Felicetti’s article 10  Reasons Why We Need at Least 10 Hugs a Day at mindbodygreen.com.

Keep It Simple

If you are uncomfortable at first, just announce your resolution to your  friends – that’s what I did last year, and they hugged me! If  you’re still shy about it you can also practice on stuffed  animals or trees – whatever’s in arm’s reach.  Add a hug into every  greeting and good-bye with bonus spontaneous hugs whenever you feel like it.  Extra hugs for your kids and don’t forget your pets!

Keep it Up

In the same article, Felicetti shares a quote by Virginia Satir, who is  sometimes referred to as the mother of family therapy: “We need four hugs a  day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs  a day for growth”.

This article is a compilation of advice I have gathered over the years – not all my original thoughts – violating  one of my last year’s resolutions about using other people’s material


New Year’s

Resolution Sampler

The NULL Solution = Episode 71

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The NULL Solution = Episode 71

…For most of these eleven months, Cerella has had the luxury of letting nature take its course….

“What is the duration of gestation for a birth in these parts? Do you know what I mean?” Celeste McKinney needs some Eridanian insight if she is to understand the direness of Deke’s unborn {they believe} child..

Ekcello needs a very good memory for this. No birth has taken place here for… forever. “I have no way of knowing that answer.  Our longevity negates the need for a new generation. As a civilization, we procreate outside the physical body, although tales of old are told about the times before our home planet vulcanized. We were going to research the subject soon. Poor Cerella will be discovering the birthing process all alone.”

Just like anxiety, empathy also falls fresh on his spirit.

Momentum Into Nothingness by Cristina Velina

It has been eleven Earth months since she conceived. For most of that time Cerella has had the luxury of letting nature take its course. After all, she controlled her own environment and whatever happened was okay. Deke was there.

Deke is not here.

Nothing seems to be here.

And yet her needs are being met; out-of-the-black, not down nor up and without asking. Something or someone seems to have her best interest in mind.

Nothing used to be here.

So, there in the quiet of her aloneness, she discovers that she is indeed not completely alone. During this dark time, in fits and spurts, she would be overrun by a chorus of the Olde Language. Like a blast from the past, cogent songs of life and love ooze into her consciousness. Simple, yet complex; new, yet old; content, yet anxious, something inside her was pleading, ever politely.

It was the new life inside her.

No more does the mystery of an Eridanian female carrying child go unsolved. The process is nearing completion, but among the sweet melodies, a sour note is struck. There was a human being, an Earthling involved. Deke’s genome, the interspecies germination, has manifested itself in the body of his mate for life, Cerella.

The resulting lifeform needs to come out, but it is not an unpretentious or prescribed sequence. Mother and child are alone. They are together. They are in trouble.

Apprehension and despair abound in the Milky Way.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 71


page 73 (end ch. 6)

The NULL Solution = Episode 56

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The NULL Solution = Episode 56

…Mamma Celeste McKinney never requires much of an excuse to hang around those crazy kids…

“I am not feeling well.” Ordinarily that isn’t a problem. But this is spoken by an Eridanian, specifically from Cerella who never complains about anything. She directs her concern in the direction of Deimostra McKinney, the closest thing to a contemporary she has on Eridanus.

“You haven’t been eating Deke’s cooking have you?”

“I have, but I am used to that.”

“You didn’t get too close to Skaldic? You don’t want one of those nasty viruses from a Null, right?” The 1st Earthchildofspace is being sarcastic.

“No Null contact.”

“I don’t have a clue and seeing there are no real doctors here, I’m going to ask my mother.”

Mamma Celeste never requires much of an excuse to hang around those crazy kids.

“You do look a little worn down Cerella. Have you been taxing your mind lately?”

“A tax is a form of monetary penalty. I do not see the relativity.”

“Okay, my mistake. I thought the Earth colloquialisms had left me.”

“Sammy Mac has them all.”

“So true,” for no other reason she puts her hand on the place a human stomach would be. A pleasing vibration emanates to her palm, in the key of A. “I don’t know much about Eridanian physiology, but I’m detecting something “extra” inside you.”

For all the perceptiveness at her disposal, the patient doesn’t get the “extra” reference.

Related imageAfter exchanging quick forth & back glances, Celeste and Deimostra start dancing around like they have ants in their pants. There are no ants on Eridanus, but there is one pregnant Princess.

For those in the know, there are few secrets on this world. Deke takes the news right from the top of his blood relatives’ thoughts. His wife is pregnant with an intergalactic reproductive miracle. This is not a run-of-the-mill ordinary new life brewing.

 

Back on Earth

“What are you smiling about all of a sudden?”

Prez Roy sees no reason for Gus’ suddenly unexpected joyous countenance.

“I don’t know, something just came over me.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 56


page 59