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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Knitted Star Trek Beyond

Dr. McCoy: Why so introspective, Spock?
Mr. Spock: I'm considering leaving Starfleet to devote myself to my fellow Vulcans.
Dr. McCoy: But your Human girlfriend is so hot! Being with Uhura is worth facing any danger.
Mr. Spock: Perhaps you are right, Doctor. I shall reconsider my future plans in light of your opinion.

Ensign Chekov: This sure is a dangerous mission. Look at all the red shirts piling up!
Yeoman Rand: You're right! I don't even know why I'm here! I'm not even officially a part of this new crew! I must be crazy to have come along as an uncredited crew person!

Mr. Scott: Well, you've done it again, sir. That's the second time you've destroyed my beautiful starship in the third installment of a series of movies.
Captain Kirk: I can't help it, Scotty. First it was Nero. Then Khan. Now they face me off against a former starship captain with a grudge against Starfleet. When our filmed Star Trek adventures are limited to battling psychopathic mass-murderers, the destruction of the Enterprise becomes inevitable.
Mr. Scott: Well, I'm canna take it no more, sir. I'm considering handing in my commission, along with Spock.
Captain Kirk: Don't worry, Scotty. The transporter keeps records of everything's original specifications. We can merely create a new ship by accessing Starfleet's records. 
Mr. Scott: I never thought of it that way, Captain. What an ingenious idea!
Captain Kirk: Beam me up a new ship, Mr. Miracle Worker!
Mr. Scott: Aye aye, Captain. I'll get started on it right away.

Uhura: I'm glad you've decided to remain with me in Star Fleet. Now we can look forward to making a child who's only one-quarter Vulcan.
Mr. Spock: Our love may not be logical, but I look forward to a long and prosperous life with you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Touring a B-39 Russian Submarine

Have you ever been on a submarine? Recently, my wife and I toured a B-39 Russian submarine at the San Diego Maritime Museum. 

I’ve toured a few submarines in the past, but they were all United States Navy. I must say, the Russian one didn't remind me at all of the Red October depicted in the film based on Tom Clancy's famous novel, The Hunt For Red October. For one thing, there were no doors or person-sized hatches. Instead, you had to crawl through a two-foot-diameter circle to get from one section of the sub to another. That took some doing! 

An audiovisual presentation told how this submarine was historically significant. The USSR sent it down to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was set to launch nuclear missiles against the USA. The crew remained submerged as long as they could. They knew international tensions were running high. If they surfaced, and war had begun, they knew their submarine would be fired on, and probably destroyed. 

The crew deliberated over whether to fire their missiles on the US, just in case. But their stores of food, drinks, and most important of all, air, were not limitless. 

The captain decided to surface, and hope that war had not been declared, and they would not be attacked. 

Although the USA and the USSR didn’t go to war, it seems the sailors on this sub were looked down on when they returned home. Their military careers were effectively over. I found it interesting to sit in the last part of the sub, and see the post-it notes that people had written and stuck to the walls. Aside from the inevitable “So-and-so was here” messages, there were also heartfelt notes like “Thanks for not blowing us up” and “Thanks for risking your lives for peace.”

For those who served aboard this vessel, as well as their families, consider this post my expression of gratitude for giving peace a chance.

Dragon Dave

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Destruction of Fawlty Towers

Last year, I visited Torquay for two reasons. One was that it was the English city where Agatha Christie lived and wrote her stories. Another was its association with Monty Python and Fawlty Towers.

While planning out our trip, I studied the Hotel Gleneagles' website. It stated that not only could I stay there, but I could see a live dinner show based on the Fawlty Towers TV series. As the six writers and actors responsible for the Monty Python TV show had stayed in Gleneagles, and their visit inspired member John Cleese to create the Fawlty Towers TV series, this seemed like an irresistible opportunity. 

Sadly, although the website was still operating, Gleneagles had already closed by this time.

Still time for a swim?

During our visit to Torquay, my wife and I visited the property. It had not yet reopened, and no cars were in the parking lot. But little signs, here and there, advertised its connection with Basil Fawlty, the fictional owner, and his bumbling assistant Manuel, the hotel bellhop and waiter. I peered in through the windows, and looked through the side gate. I saw a cover over the pool, and an empty hotel lobby. But no one inside, enjoying this place of living history. 

While I was there, another car pulled up, and a local man got out. He took some photographs of the hotel with his phone, and we chatted for awhile. He enthused about the Hotel's association with Fawlty Towers, a show he loved and regarded as a classic British sitcom. He kindly took this photograph of me standing before the entrance.

When I discovered the article on the purchase and renovation of Moorlands House in Hay Tor, where Agatha Christie wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, I decided to search for any developments of Hotel Gleneagles. Instead of learning that it had been also refurnished, redeveloped, and that I would be able to stay there, I learned that the building had been torn down earlier this year. So, Agatha Christie's historic hotel gets saved, and John Cleese's gets razed? One is cosseted, the other destroyed? Sometimes, life just doesn't seem fair.

Still, I got to go there, and see the historic Gleneagles Hotel, before it was lost to history forever. Or, as the Daleks would say, before Fawlty Towers was exterminated, Exterminated, EXTERMINATED!!!

Dragon Dave

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Problem With Indulgences: Part 2

The news media, and the medical community, continually say that if you experience chest and arm pain simultaneously, you should go to see your doctor immediately. So when I experienced these, along with the other symptoms I described in the previous post, I went to see a doctor. Based on the symptoms I described, he didn't think I was in danger of having a heart attack. But he ran a few tests, just to make sure.

One of the questions he asked was: Had I felt bloated with gas? Another was: Had I noticed any acid reflux? While I had noticed a little gas, I had not suffered from the acid reflux. But then, in the weeks that followed the doctor's visit, acid started backing up into my throat, bringing with it a bad taste, but even making it difficult to talk.

Researching the causes of acid reflux can be worrying. Many of the foods and drinks I enjoy can provoke the condition. But two lifestyle factors can also contribute: eating large meals, and lying down soon after eating. If you think about it, the one can lead to the other. Eating large meals leaves me feeling weighed down and lethargic, which makes me want to lay down and rest until the food digests. How about you? Do you ever feel like you need to take a nap after a meal? 

Thankfully, I've found I haven't needed to cut down on any of the food or drinks I enjoy. Instead, I've concentrated on portion sizes. So in the last few weeks, while I've eaten smaller meals, the gas and acid have, in large part, gone away. 

A Moco Loco (Rice, Beef, Egg, & Gravy)
from the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue in Kauai.


I imagine that everyone should periodically assess what they eat, as well as how much they eat at any particular time. As for myself, I'm trying to cut back on the situations that will encourage me to consume a large amount of calories at one sitting. I need to remember that not-filling-my-plate led to a slimmer figure, and never left me bloated or regurgitating acid. 

Also, when I got full, such as in the cases I've mentioned previously, those big meals left me feeling lethargic. Meals should recharge our batteries, and leave us ready to pursue out next adventure. Not leave us feeling like we need to crawl into a cave and hibernate for a few hours.

Great dining experiences should help us lead better lives, not bog us down and limit our activity.

Dragon Dave

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Problem with Indulgences: Part 1

When we travel to England, the hotels we stay in usually offer a free breakfast. So we fill up on breakfast, eat a decent lunch, and then go light for dinner. Here I am in Thirsk back in 2012, having breakfast before venturing off to explore the adopted town of James Herriot, which he calls Darrowby in his books. 

As you can see, I had a plate of eggs, bacon, and mushrooms, along with toast and tea. 

My wife opted for yogurt and oatmeal (which they call porridge), along with fruit, tea and toast. When it arrived, she helped remove all the bones from my kippers. The bones are just so tiny, so hair-thin, that she could see the fish bones better than I could.

All this good food left us feeling stuffed in the morning, and a little lethargic. But it didn't stop us from exploring "The World of James Herriot," (a museum housed in the building in which he lived and worked), and other notable Herriot sites. 

This year in Hawaii, I noticed that my sinuses felt plugged, and I had to breath through my mouth more. This made my voice hoarse. I also felt a little pressure in my chest, which worried me. When we returned home, these problems persisted. Catching a cold shortly after returning home didn't help matters. Finally my arm started hurting. My upper arm ached, as if I had pulled a muscle. Pins and needles descended into my lower arm, making my hand constantly want to fall asleep.

At this point, I finally gave in, and went to go see a doctor.

Dragon Dave