Saturday, July 16, 2016

Melvin, Malik, and Tale of the Tigers

This photo gets posted a lot on my Facebook newsfeed.



It is NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and, like most others, I’m charmed by his love for his furry family and their love for him.

But, after reading Melvin’s biography, I’m struck by something else. He went to college on an athletic scholarship—football—but he did not take the easy route while there. His undergraduate degree is in chemistry.

Melvin was drafted in the NFL, but chronic injuries ended that career. But he had another avenue available to him, which resulted in his being a crew member of two missions of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

There are several reasons that Mr. Melvin’s story fascinates me, but I want to mention just one.

On the cover of my novel, Tale of the Tigers, you see three people: the main characters, Kevin and Felice, and a third person: Malik. Malik is probably my favorite creation, but I didn’t just conjure his personality and persona out of thin air or wishful thinking. I made him athletic, handsome, and brilliant because I have known many black men like him. Men who are gifted physically, but most importantly, intellectually. They are black, but they aren’t the sort of black men who are featured in the news. They aren’t “news” because they are good men who are content to use the gifts which God gave them to thrive in the greatest country available to people of all races, with the gifts being interior rather than exterior.

I’m always fascinated by black people who become well-known outside of something intrinsic to race.[i] I suppose that’s an irony, but it’s true.




[i] When I used to watch Fox News, I used to love seeing Neil Tyson deGrasse for this reason. Sadly, he has ruined that for me of late.


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Da Tech Guy Blog Posts in June 2016

Alice Krige in Ghost Story


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Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Da Tech Guy Blog Posts in May 2016

Sculpture by Yeong-Deok Seo
Sorry I'm late!

Inserting a New Language Into a Not-So-New Brain
A Man With a Fool for a Client
Meaning Has No Meaning Anymore
Explosion
Cheese Eaters Pay Attention
Chains of the Foolish
Scary Story
The New Normal
Rooted in Folly



Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Outlining the Plan.

This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Your Jewels for Sale


When I wrote this rant in 2008, I was glancingly referring to another presidential election. It applies to the 2016 election even more so--not to mention, everything else. Edited.

All too often these days, when the average person talks about principles, what they’re really talking about are their personal commodities—a fixed quantity to be sold under certain circumstances, with a finite set of buyers as well. Oh sure, this merchandise is labeled as “principles” but the definition of the word has become mutable--Truth become the Lie.
Thus does the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” become “do unto others as your preconceived notions would have you believe that others will do unto you.” Or does the Rule come with a codicil: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you—but only if you believe that others follow this rule?”
Of course principles like the Golden Rule have constraints—like all rules which exist in the realm of human imperfection. It cannot and, sometimes, should not be followed 100% of the time. There are exceptions to every single rule under the sun. But if the Rule is to be thrown out of the window every single time it gets a little difficult to follow it, then why even bother to pretend to follow it at all? And, please people, on those occasions when you're not living up to your principles, you could at least acknowledge that you're falling short instead of childishly pointing at the other guy and say "well he's not following the Rule either."
If your “principles” are always for sale, then call them something else, because, in spite of the Theory of Relative Definitions for Words Which Have Fixed Meanings in the Real World, they are not principles.
Call them The Family Jewels and sell them on eBay. You might fetch a high price for them.
Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: The New Normal.

This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

In Memoriam: Jeniffer Dawa Ochieng

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
--Matthew 5:4

It’s a somber and sober day. I found out this morning that Jeniffer Dawa Ochieng, wife of my Kenyan father, passed away. She had been in grave health for some time—suffering from complications of diabetes and hypertension--and when I went to Kenya this year to meet her and the rest of the family for the first time, she was bedridden and unable to speak. My sisters, Lucy Adhiambo and Judith Aluoch helped my father to see to her needs. I never got to meet her healthy and whole and I’m saddened by that.
Jeniffer Dawa Ochieng

I know what my Kenyan family is feeling; for half my childhood I was raised by my great-uncle and great-aunt, John and Alma Simpkins; both died of cancer and were invalids before they passed, in 2000 and 2012, respectively. Before the decline, both had been vital, active and loving and when they died I was relieved that they were free from pain, but a part of me wished I could have them back, healthy and whole, and…so I could have a chance to be a better daughter. The selfishness impulse is never far from any of us.

My other parents, Philip Ochieng, Nova Dorn, and Johnny Dorn, are all in their 70s and relatively hale. Mom has battled the beast called cancer twice and is still with us and cancer-free, but being in America certainly tipped the scales in her favor.

This type of loss goes hardest on the grandchildren. As we get older, say, past 40, we more or less accept the fact that we will outlive our parents. It is, of course, the order of life. But to the grandchildren, it is an especially rough introduction to adulthood, especially if the grandparent is greatly beloved, as appears so with Miss Jeniffer (spelling correct). My niece, Jeniffer Atieno--the eldest of my nieces and nephews on both sides of the Atlantic--is taking this loss especially hard.

And then there’s my father, Philip. I still don’t know him well enough to gage how he handles grief. He has had a lot of it in recent years; he is the last of his siblings and he is not the youngest of them. But it isn’t difficult to guess what it’s like to lose a life-partner of half a century.

My brother, Charles Otieno, the only son of Philip and Jeniffer, is three years my junior. From reading his Facebook posting about his mother’s death, he is taking his responsibilities as the male heir seriously, but I pray that he doesn’t fail to sit down for a minute or two and simply mourn…and rejoice in God.

A cool thing about my tribe: due to the fact that it is traditionally polygamous, there are no separations between families. My American parents are considered the parents of my Kenyan siblings; my American siblings are also the siblings of the Kenyans, and so on. (This concept remains so, even though Philip has eschewed polygamy, preferring the Western tradition of one legal wife at a time.) I love it, and it is one of the many reasons that I rarely use the prefix ‘step,’ except for clarification purposes--when I don’t have time to explain my very complicated family situation.

So it is, under Luo tradition, that my mother has died. For obvious reasons, I don’t feel the pain of her absence, but I greatly empathize with my brother, my sisters, and all other family members who love Mother.

Godspeed, Mother Jeniffer! I look forward to the day that we sit and talk and laugh about the day we were so sad that you were gone, only to discover that you are living forever in Christ. That will be a Great Day, indeed.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: The New Normal.


This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Timing is Everything

In this week’s visit to Japan, President Obama denounced the nuclear attacks which the United States made on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki in order to make a final end to World War II, calling the attacks ‘evil.’ This should not be a surprise to any keen observers of our president’s ideology and actions regarding American military power in general and nuclear weapons in particular.

But, look at which American holiday comes up in a few days: Memorial Day. That, of course, is the day when we honor all American military members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in battle. Arguably, World War II was our biggest triumph and, inarguably, yielded our largest amount of sacrifices. And it is certain that the American body count--and that of the Japanese--would have been much greater had the US Military been required to invade Imperial Japan in order to get her to surrender.

This sort of...eh...unfortunate timing isn’t new for him. Recall that when the president reneged on the missile shield treaty with Poland (and the Czech Republic)—which had been signed by President Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Poland’s then-Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski--he announced his intention to do so on September 17, 2009 which was the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Stalin’s USSR. Putin's Russia of 2009 had been threatening both Poland and the Czech Republic over the treaty and Vladimir Putin was well-pleased about the broken promise.
1939: USSR's Molotov and Third Reich's Ribbentrop--two wolves agree on which sheep (Poland) will be dinner.

I don’t know whether President Obama does this on purpose or not and some might say I’m being na├»ve in “hesitating” to make a stand on this. Thing is, I don’t believe in coincidences, not ultimately.

As usual, I think that when patterns happen and are observable, that it is God who is indicating something of which believers should take note.

What might that something be?

I will take one stand on that and it isn’t a new one: that President Obama is telegraphing the identity of his enemies to the world. But who will be able to see this? God knows.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Scary Story.


This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Da Tech Guy Blog Posts in April 2016

Eater of Hot Sauce knows nothing about throwing bones.
Organized Chaos
I’m Old Enough to Remember When Others Tried to Shame Me for Talking About Nuking a Fool
Disconnect
We Will Get What We Ask For
The Way It Is
Hot Sauce and Bones
Living by Faith
Kenya Trip: Post Feelies

About WePay/Everbutton: they've seen things my way, so I'll keep them...for now. I do suggest that others do more research.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Inserting a New Language Into a Not-So-New Brain.


This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

WePay Gets the Thumbs-Down (UPDATED)

First, I want to say Thank You Again to one and all who have contributed to my utility fund; the contributions have been more than enough. Love you all at Ace of Spades HQ!

That said, I am still posting from the library and it’s because WePay.com—which provides the donation buttons on this site through Everbutton.com--is unable to verify bank accounts and credit cards automatically or in a few days like PayPal does. And even when the accounts are verified and the withdrawal process starts, it takes two to five days before the funds are deposited into an individual’s personal bank account. WePay does not provide an account in the manner that PayPal does. Also, no phone app.

I’ve been in contact with WePay’s customer service and they tell me that it will take up to 30 days before I receive the funds.

Think about that.

So, I do not recommend WePay as a PayPal replacement. And I’ll be going to bed at 8:00 PM for a few weeks. Bright side: I’m getting a lot of novel writing done!

And, since, that was the original plan, I'll say...onward.

UPDATED (4/30/16): Also no text alert, nor method of telephone contact.

I've received none of the funds donated for April 24th onward. As a matter of fact, the withdrawal process for donations on the 24th and later to my bank account hasn't even start yet.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: A Little Drive.


This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

And...
If you still want to to donate via Paypal, my email address is juliette -dot- ochieng -at- gmail -dot- com.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Truth Be Told (UPDATED)

UPDATE (4/26): The Horde comes through! I'm still posting from the library, but that's only because it takes time for the funds to get through.

You can stop now!
ORIGINAL: My electricity was turned off on Thursday for non-payment. That's why I was posting from the library that day and what this post is about. Naturally, my wifi was off.

However, I had discovered a workaround; in the vestibule outside of my apartment, there's an outlet not connected to my account. So I gathered all the surge-protecting cords I could find--five, as it turns out--put them together and made it so that I could at least have light, coffee, and wifi until I could find a way to get the funds together.

I knew it wouldn't last for long but I thought it would last for the weekend and, bare minimum, for 48 hours. But when I heard a high-pitched female voice outside my door ask loudly, "what's this doing here?" I knew the jig was up. Then the knock on the door came.

I threw myself at my landlady's mercy, but she said no, and I understand her position. "Oddest" thing: I was just about to post today's Da Tech Guy offering when the knock came. The title of that post: Living by Faith.

So that's what I'm still doing at I type this from the library--living by faith. $400 is what I need. At least help me get some candles.

BTW:  My devices will not work with LAPL's wifi, for whatever reason.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Living by Faith.


This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

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6 Million Reasons Why You Should Donate to This Blog

Actually, I can give you two.
  1. Because I'll never pretend like I'm blegging for altruistic, unselfish reasons--unless I actually am--and,
  2. Because, unlike some people, I can tell you how all donated monies have been spent; I keep copies of all of my receipts using Neat.com scanner and software. If you ask, I'll tell you.
Meanwhile, I don't think that anyone abiding under the wing of Donald Trump will suffer earthly penalties for this.
Remember when Donald Trump snubbed Fox’s presidential debate to hold a fundraising rally for veterans back in January? Well, it seems there’s a great deal of that money that has yet to be distributed. What’s more, his staff seems unconcerned about why it hasn’t been given out. 
Trump claimed after the rally that his website drew in a total of $6 million for wounded warriors, but The Daily Beast caught up with his veteran’s issues chairman and asked about why charities haven’t exactly lined up to publicly acknowledge that they received any of it.
Two of Trump's veteran point persons say that some of the $6 million has been disbursed, but neither bothered to prove it and say that they have better things to do than be transparent about donated money intended for veterans.

And I predict that no entity of the MSM will be aggressive about this topic. Wish I could perpetrate something like this...well, then again, I don't. It would be necessary to be without a conscience.

Donate to this veteran. It doesn't have to be $6M.

And don't forget: every Tuesday and Saturday, I blog at the award-winning DaTechGuyBlog. Latest post: Hot Sauce and Bones.


This is my JOB. It pays for: A Roof Over My Head, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.

Below: New Non-Paypal Donation System!