Interstellar – Movie Rant

Yes, this is about the movie. It came out late in 2014, so I’m only about eight years late to the party. I watched it for the first time last week, and bits are still floating in my brain now and then. First, I enjoyed the movie. It was suspenseful without horror and had interesting science aspects. It reminded me of some sci-fi movies I enjoyed in my long-ago youth. That being said, this post is a rant about the water world, the plot-hole fulcrum upon which the climax rests.

*Spoilers—are they spoilers if it came out eight years ago?—Spoilers ahead!*

On the Water World

I’ve seen posts about this one, calling out the ticks in the background sound that represent an hour on Earth. Those are what had me searching for how to watch the movie if I had the streaming service. I started out counting them until becoming distracted by the pesky plot and dialog.

First, the ground happens to be perfectly smooth under only two feet of water practically everywhere. I know water equals erosion, but they walked like it was solid, not sand, and erosion takes time. Before you tell me it has had time, no, the whole point of the ticking is that it has not been in this situation long, relatively. I will go deeper into the latter point in the next section. I can dismiss the easily traversable ground, so let’s move on.

Second, the woman exits and makes straight for the data cube. That’s fine. “Hurry up!” “There’s nothing here.” “Let’s go!” She gets trapped. They talk about the mountains moving in the distance. Are you telling me that not one person poked their head out of the craft and LOOKED AROUND!? Yeah, that distant wave looked like mountains, but the one RIGHT BEHIND YOU sure-as-swear-word did not. No, you see that monster bearing down on you and determine the planet is not foul-language viable and get back in the car.

Third, the woman is carried out by the robot helper, and the second man waits outside to help her. She has a robot helper. She doesn’t need him to get in the way and get himself killed in the process. He could have helped her in from the INSIDE! The robot pushes, and he pulls. There was zero need for his suited corpse to be left with whatever happened to the first explorer.

Before the Water World

They could have avoided the debacle in the first place with some sound reasoning. These are some of the greatest minds left, so it is not unreasonable to expect a modicum of logic.

First, they say something about months of travel to reach the other two planets and using fuel, so they use that as a reason to go to the water planet first. BUT, they also know that one hour will take seven years of relative time. If they have enough juice to take the seven years, come back up, check the others, and return to Earth, then fuel is not the issue. Which means time is.

The options are—assuming the winner is the last planet they check—a) take seven years, then another year traveling to and checking the other two, or b) take a year checking the other two and another year coming back to the water world. Rough math tells me two years is a better use of a limited time resource than eight.

Second, they knew the math for the time dilation! If one hour is seven years, and the scientist has been on the planet for around twelve years, then she was relatively on the planet for less than two hours. If they go to the other planets first, take a couple of years getting back, then it would leave her there for maybe another twenty minutes. She has all the time in the world to wait for them to finish their chores and get back to her.

Going to the other planets first would also give her more time to take readings and determine if the planet is viable. Assuming a report every hour, including one immediately upon landing, they received two reports. Some tests don’t produce results in that amount of time, and she certainly could not ascertain viability for plant and animal life in two hours. Everything they knew about the situation should have pushed them to the other locations first and the one on the cusp of the enormous black hole last. Plot required otherwise.

The question is, could you have made the movie without that irrational decision? Not with the point, lesson, or resolution the movie had. The movie was less about space exploration and more about temporal mechanics. Both are pretty cool, no real people were harmed by the fictional bad decision, and I enjoyed the temporal journey. All is well.

Have a great weekend, and for those who subscribe to my newsletter, the Q1 newsletter will be sent later today!

Business Unusual

Last summer, I parted ways with another manager with whom I was extremely dissatisfied. On one side, I have worked for some wonderful leaders in my career. On the other, I also worked for and under people with zero interest in the business or the employees. Their concern was how to look good on paper quickly for their next role or promotion. The latter frustrated me endlessly, and after this latest parting, I found myself entirely disillusioned with the corporate world I had loved after graduation.

I also enjoyed being a manager and often said “I could do this better.” The last four months have been about me putting my time, money, and effort where my mouth is as I have worked toward buying and executing a new franchise business. Everything comes together over the next six weeks as I attend training, hire employees, and start serving customers.

If I fail, I set myself back five to ten years of savings and will have to spend double that working longer before I have enough to retire. If I succeed, I will make less annually than before from a salary perspective, but there are other benefits. I can still hate my boss (myself), but I will be able to change the things that frustrate me about her. I will be able to create an environment of employee development and culture I’m excited about. I will focus on the things that matter to the employees and business rather than making someone else look good without consideration for the broader implications.

I don’t think it will all go horribly wrong, but wish me luck anyway!

On the Writing Front

My goal is to get the book 100% revised/edited to send to my beta readers before I head to the training class, but I don’t think I will make that timeframe. It will be close though, so I might be able to finish it after class in the evenings of the training week. Either way, I’m still within the buffer timeframe to hit the release date for Hidden Promise in June.

The greatest challenge will be if my betas come back with broad revision recommendations. I’m working through the grander adjustments from my alphas now, so it all depends on if we all missed something big. Don’t worry, though. I gave myself enough time to get through this in addition to working a full-time job.

I will probably place the release date for Hidden Strength, the series finale, another year out to be safe again. I can always move it up, but pushing a preorder date out has penalties I want to avoid.

If you haven’t started the series yet, or if you want to leave a review, you can find the first book at this link: Hidden Memory. The first two are free to read in KU, and the third will go into KU a month after release. Hidden Promise is also on a preorder discount. You can pick it up for $3.99 until after it releases. It will then go up to $4.99, the same price as the second, Hidden Sanctuary.

As always, thanks for all your support, and you can find more by signing up for my newsletter on the home page or following my social media accounts. Have a great weekend!

Snippets and Freebies

I recently set a target of forty reviews on Amazon between my first two books. When we reached the goal, I would post a deleted chapter from book 2 for free on my website. We crossed the rating threshold in December, and I diligently added the document to my book page for your reading pleasure.

I have been thinking of doing something similar for when I hit the fifty review/rating milestone for Hidden Memory. It is currently sitting at thirty-two ratings, and I hope they keep trickling in as they have in the days since the December promotion. I’m not making promises since I don’t have anything prepared, but get me to forty-five, and the tune might change.

The whole thing has me thinking about snippets and freebies in general. I love when my favorite authors have extras on their websites and share teaser snippets. Especially when they have fun, dynamic characters about whom I love reading more into their lives. Usually, this is for the more lighthearted fare I read. I find those extra bits when looking for the next book, Google the author to find out when it is coming out, and stumble through their website.

Many who read my blog followed before I published for the first time, following my author journey, so I wonder if snippets are a draw here. Do others enjoy those freebies as much as I do? How enticing are snippets shared in a blog if you don’t already have a rabid following? Would a potential additional scene or short story related to a book you loved entice you to leave a written review rather than a rating? Do you miss my sci-fi short story installments here?

I have not received an immense amount of engagement on the blog historically, so let me know if there is something you have particularly enjoyed reading in the last couple of years. Maybe I can even figure out how to do a survey for the blog’s two-year birthday coming up! For now, back to editing this draft of Hidden Promise so I can get it to my beta readers!

Wish me luck on my path to 50 reviews/ratings, and have a great weekend!

Tweeting

I have never been a social media maven. I signed up for FaceBook a decade after it was trending primarily for events and sharing pictures with family and friends. It was not until I made my author accounts that I got on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Of the bunch, Twitter is at the bottom of the list for me.

It feels like being back in high school, but you just moved to a new one. The cliques already exist, and if you are not the gorgeous, exuberant person that people are innately drawn to, no one interacts with you. Trying to break into a group otherwise garners you the one “like” or generic comment that is the online equivalent of an awkward chuckle.

Maybe it is just me. I’m socially awkward to start, and I’m sure part of this is me internalizing the abyss into which it seems I shout into via Twitter. Either way, yesterday, I decided to stop worrying so much about it and jumped in. What follows is a thread I posted, daring to tag Stephen King. The worst he could do was block me. Even a roast would garner attention, and he asked the question in the first place! As that book by Master Payne says, sometimes the jokes are just for me.

*For the purposes of public posting: yes, appropriate attire is involved*

@stephenking re: soap

Mr. King, you don’t know me, but you asked a question about soap that stuck in my head. I firmly believed I had used a bar of soap to the end, but I could not recall the details. As a result, I began an experiment, an adventure born of curiosity, if you will. (1/7)

At the time, I was not halfway through the bar. Life continued as usual, and I held the experiment at the back of my mind each day as I watched it shrink. This week, I knew I was close and opened a new bar. Yesterday, I gently perched the thin slice atop the bar, hoping it would better maintain its sudsy abilities. (2/7)

The perching was a mistake. I nearly despaired this morning when the little bit of soap was stuck. Would it break and ruin the test? Would I have to start over? Heart in my throat, I gently pulled with as much grip as my nails could gain. It came free with a tiny snick of sound, and I breathed a sigh of relief. (3/7)

I continued my business as carefully as possible, checking on the soap often. The sliver was so thin I could not feel it in my hand and lost it at one point. My hand came back empty, and I looked around to see if I had dropped it. The piece was so soft at that point, I wondered if I would even be able to pick it up without destroying it. (4/7)

The soap was not on the floor, but it had been too large to have disappeared down the drain. I craned my neck and found it clinging to my shoulder. Peeling it off, I returned to my chore. (5/7)

When the little piece of soap was the size of a dime and so thin it became translucent, I decided not to risk losing it again. I worked the lather between my hands. The ever-shrinking bit slipped between my fingers, but I returned it to my palm every time. Eventually, it disappeared beneath one finger into the mass of bubbles. (6/7)

Can it be done? Yes, but I find I cannot handle the soap drama. I will return to smushing that last slice into the carved decoration on the next bar.
Thank you for the inquiry. I hope you found this to be as entertaining a diversion as I did. (7/7)

Have a wonderful new year!

Merry Christmas 2022!

I made the mistake of going shopping today for some groceries. Christmas Eve, the store was packed. Parking was crazy, and someone blew through a stop sign as I was going through, nearly hitting me. We were not in danger of being hit, since I was going about five mph. With the car drama and then standing in line for an extended period, I think my brain has decided it’s done for the day.

The late shopping excursion could not be avoided. We signed up to bring various vegetables for Christmas Day, so I did not want to buy them too early. Then the PNW icepocolips hit, preventing anyone not desperate or jonesing for adrenaline from going anywhere. At one point I decided it would be a good idea to at least grab the mail since we were not going for our daily walk. That expedition ended at the top of our driveway when we looked down and wondered if we would be able to return to the house after.

This is the actual slope of our hill and driveway, with zero camera tilt.

Fortunately, temperatures rose overnight, and the two inches of ice coating every surface melted away. We are back to pouring rain in time for driving to events tonight and tomorrow. If you are one of the many people who had flights canceled due to the dangerous weather, I hope you can still make the best of the holiday time remaining. To everyone, Merry Christmas, and I leave you with this picture of my cats snuggling in their heated cat bed.