Lost and Found

It’s been a whirlwind of activity here at Kardos Manor over the past few months.  If it seemed as though I’d pulled a D.B. Cooper on you, I apologize.  The good news is I was never lost and the pages keep churning out, I just haven’t had much to post here for a while.

Thing is, I’m not really a blogger.  Nor was that ever the intention for this site.  I’m a writer – one with varying degrees of aptitude perhaps, but a writer nonetheless.  Draft, revise, finalize, submit.  As long as that cycle keeps happening, all is right with the world.

Still, I do intend to keep the website current from time to time.  There are announcements to make, occasional posts to update, and I still check traffic to see how people are finding their way here.  For me, this website was a place for people to land if they get curious after reading my work elsewhere, not vice versa.  I suppose there’s more potential behind it all, but amassing thousands of followers isn’t what interests me.  I’d rather put my attention and focus on continuing to write good fiction.  (Some would argue that has yet to happen, zing!)

One exciting update to make is to remind everyone that The Innocent Sink is being published on January 1, 2019 by the Coffin Bell Journal.  I’m really excited about this one, because I think the story is a great match for that particular publication.  (It is extremely helpful that the editors at Coffin Bell agree.)

Short stories are a fun way to get the little ideas that don’t have enough “umph” to find their way into a novel out of your head and make way for bigger things.  Once a draft is on the screen, I rarely find the motivation to go back and make it publishable.  It’s more of an exorcism than anything else.  Still, it is quite gratifying when one comes together and polishes up nicely.  Which is exactly what happened with The Innocent Sink.  I’ll drop another reminder here when it goes live in a few weeks.


A bit of a side hobby of mine at the moment is building my next PC from scratch.  Over the last decade, work travel necessitated purchasing laptops for the portability.  Although I typically bought top of the line models, there are some compromises that come with the territory.

Most important to me, I don’t care for the feel and layout of a laptop keyboard.  The keys don’t have “weight” and, in some cases, are actually sized down from a regular, full-sized keyboard.  You adapt, but the words per minute certainly suffers, and missed strokes make the backspace key one of the most used.  From a technical standpoint, laptops have integrated GPUs, lower overclocking space, and heat issues which throttle performance.  That significantly limits the computer’s abilities when compared to a powerful desktop.

Now that I don’t have to travel as much as I used to, I’ve decided to go back to having a desktop PC as my primary computer.  I looked into pre-built, but fairly early on it occurred to me that building my own would give me the opportunity to customize everything without compromise, while also being a fun learning experience to boot.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The last time I built a computer from the ground up was back in the early 1990’s.  The basic configurations haven’t changed – motherboard, power supply, case, memory, CPU, etc.  But the computing scene overall has changed a lot since then, and today there are so many more options and performance-related factors to consider.  Intel or AMD?  nVidia or AMD?  Asus, MSI, EVGA, or Founders Edition?  Air or liquid cooling?  Hyperthreads or more cores?  Overclocking?  Every manufacturer has multiple models, and every model has multiple subsets.

There’s a lot of research to be done for every part, right down to the case.  You could spend two days dissecting fans for a particular build.  Thermals, decibels, clock speeds…it all matters.  Pick the wrong configurations and you have a system that works, but not to optimum.  I use my computer a lot, so it’s important to me to get it right.

There’s a lot to catch up on from the past 20-30 years, but it’s every bit of fun as I’d hoped.  I’ve learned more about motherboards over the past two weeks than any one sane person should probably know (thanks, buildzoid!).  Somehow, it all continues to make sense; I suspect my fascination with technology back in the 80’s and 90’s gave me a good foundation.  There’s a lot more information out there today, but the basic fundamentals remain the same.

My goal is to finalize the part selection and begin the build sometime around the first of the new year.  I might even update this site with a build post for those who might be interested.  I doubt things will go smoothly, but that’s half the fun.  And my trustworthy five year old MSI laptop will be close by just in case I need to chat with a few experts.

As usual, thanks for stopping by.  Based on how things are progressing, I expect some big news for my latest project sometime mid-2019.  It never goes as quickly as I’d like, but somehow I always manage to cross the finish line…

These Robots Are Gonna Kill Us All

Well, here we are.  Boston Dynamics created a robot which can run through a park on its own.  Run through a park.  Check out the video because it’s pretty awesome.  This also means we are way ahead of the Star Wars and Terminator worlds because their bipedal robots were slow as hell.

I know a certain, tin-foil-hat-wearing part of the population will find this horrifying and a certain sign of the end of the human race, but what Boston Dynamics has done is an exciting step forward.  And an inevitable one.

Some people felt the same way back when automobiles hit the scene during a time when most were still on horseback.  The general consensus back then, by the way, was that a human being couldn’t survive any crash in a vehicle traveling over 40 MPH.  (That’s 64 KPH for my out of town friends.)  So much for that.

PSA:  If you are on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and the like, and come across a post where an innocent person recounts an outlandish event in which a “bad guy” says something horrific to them, is put in his place, and then everyone in the room claps, it didn’t happen.

Here’s the general outline:

ME PERSON:  *Minding my own business*

RUDE PERSON:  For absolutely no discernible reason, inappropriately and outlandishly describes something Me Person is doing/saying/wearing in an attacking way and in a public setting

ME PERSON: Long-winded, sometimes witty comeback putting Rude Person in their place.



Bonus points awarded if the restaurant/store manager pays for their coffee or meal, somebody gives them $100, or someone starts randomly crying.

If you’ve got a little time to kill and want to be entertained, check out That Happened for some fine examples.  I’m sure the boss won’t mind.

Video games today rely far more on reflexes and less on logic than they used to.  This is not a bad thing, as fast hands mean a fast mind.  I watched a short video of someone playing some new game and was blown away by all the things happening on the screen at the same time.  We’ve come a long way from interactive fiction.

Remember when the internet used to be a good place to get an honest opinion about a product you were thinking about buying?  Ten years ago I was trying to decide which ridiculously giant television to buy, JVC or Mitsubishi.  I went online, found some honest reviews by people who owned one or the other, and made an educated decision from there. (Got the JVC, if it matters.  Which it shouldn’t.)

Today’s online reviews are all stacked.  Supposedly independent, third-party reviewers are company sponsored.  (That’s why they send popular reviewers products for free.)  Star ratings are unethically trashed by the competition using fake Google accounts.  And the first three pages of search results are advertisements put up by whatever company is trying to sell whatever you’re searching for.

If you want an honest review, you gotta dig deep.  Leave it to our ingenious, big corporate marketers to screw up a good thing.

Speaking of marketing, my favorite description of self promotion is “it’s like rolling jell-o up a hill using chopsticks.”

It’s Friday.  Please go outside.  Take a hike in the forest.  Get some fresh air.

Studies show that people who follow this website are 27% more likely to have a higher-than-average IQ.  Your call.

via Daily Prompt: Forest

What Your Google Searches Say About You

(I hadn’t planned on writing anything for the website today, but I wanted to crank out a quick one before getting back to work.)

I had some very important research to do today and turned to my old friend, Google.  Here’s the list:

“How long do hard boiled eggs last in the refrigerator”

(Answer: 1 week.  What?!  I had no idea.)

“Ensure or insure”

(Answer: mostly both, sometimes neither)


(Answer: deadline tomorrow)

“Man who claimed he has never eaten an olive”

(Answer: never figured it out.  Just a bunch of crap about the Olive Garden and Tom Brady’s claim to have never eaten a strawberry.  Oh well, I’ll wing it like usual.)

“iphone do not disturb contact”

(Answer: under messenger, click ‘I’, enable “Hide Alerts”.  Please don’t ask.)

“Florida Lottery”

(Answer: better keep writing.)

Yes, I know.  I live an interesting and full life.  Got me to wondering, though, what a list like that says about a person.  Love to hear some of the ridiculous things you’ve been searching for lately.  If only so I no longer think I’m the only nut-job out there.

Comments, thoughts, or the answer to the olive thing below…

via Daily Prompt: Crank

Healthy Vape Juice To Hit The Market Soon

The debate over whether vaping is a better, safer alternative to cigarettes is certainly not a new one. Seems every time one side comes up with irrefutable proof which substantiates their position, the other fires back with data convincing enough to back up their own.  The controversy is widespread, the resolution complex.

Today, a Hillsborough County company, Health eVape, is making an even bigger stir in the vape community with their new line of vitamin-infused ejuices. It’s a new, innovative take on an old, less-than-successful idea. And it has both Big Tobacco and health advocacy groups across the country in a tizzy.

“We like to say that when you vape our juices,” says Bart Walters, CEO of the Florida-based company. “It’s like eating a bowl of Grape Nuts while taking a brisk jog in the mountains. It’s that good for you.”

So-called healthy vape juices are not a new concept. In fact, vitamin-infused vape juices date almost as far back as the advent of the vape itself. But claims of any benefits that come with using a vitamin vape juice were largely debunked through scientific research and widely publicized case studies. Walters said his company was well aware of the stumbling blocks encountered by their predecessors, and have managed to overcome them all.

“The problem with the original concept,” Waters explained, “is there were a bunch of these jackballs who didn’t do research on how the body interacts with supplemental vitamins first. Some are water soluble, others are fat soluble. Five second Google search’ll tell you that. But the one thing all vitamins have in common is that they aren’t lung soluble.”

Meaning the inhalation of vitamin juice vapor into the lungs produces a negligible effect at best. Vitamins just don’t interact with the body that way.

“Vitamins have to be ingested,” Walters said. “The stomach breaks them down and then the intestines take things over from there. That’s why you can’t just crumble up a Flintstone chewable into your juice, light up your vape, and call it a day. You’d be better off rubbing them all over your face.”

So what makes Health eVapes vitamin-infused vape juice different?

“It’s a trade secret, so I can’t get into too many details,” Walters cautioned. “But I can give you the general gist of why it works. Vape juice is a liquid. Apply heat and the juice vaporizes. Now here’s the key to remember, the mouth is the gateway to both the stomach and the lungs. The muscles in our throats know to send air to the lungs, and liquid and foods to the stomach. It’s purely a biological reflex. When our vape juice is vaporized, the heat breaks the liquid into two different components. We discovered a way to alter one of those components so it compels the body to automatically route the broken up components to the right places. Basically, it stimulates those same reflexes our muscles use naturally. The upshot is that vitamin vapor goes to the stomach, the rest goes to the lungs.”

While the concept seems conceivable, wouldn’t ingestion through vapor suggest one would need to inhale a large quantity of vitamin-infused juice to get any benefit?

“The key is high frequency and high concentrations,” Walters said. “We’re doing our part by putting hundreds of times the daily values into each bottle. In fact, ours is the first vape juice to require a nutritional label on the packaging.”

What about the price?

“Those higher concentrations add to the cost, but I’ll leave it to you to determine if your health is worth it. We don’t sell direct to the consumer, so while we’ll certainly make suggestions to our vendors about retail pricing, our policy is to leave that up to their own discretion.”

If you’re wondering about needing any aftermarket components like special coils or the ability to adjust the wattage of your vape, Walter says you needn’t be.

“The process takes place at a very low temperature. If your vape is hot enough to produce vapor, then the process is already underway. Because of that, our liquid works with almost every vape out there. Of course, like anything else, the better the tool the more satisfying the experience.”

If Health eVape’s claims are true, the advancement could make a huge impact on the market.

“The whole thing is ingenious, really,” Walters said proudly. “As more and more scientific data becomes available, people will realize vaping is not only safe alternative to smoking, but it’s also a healthier alternative to breathing plain air. Once that catches on, everyone will be vaping. Smokers, non-smokers, adults and children. It’s going to change the way we live, work and breath every day of our lives.”

Health eVapes vitamin-infused juice line is slated to hit the shelves later this year.


SMC Tech Wrap Up: Agritech Unveils ‘Brain Battery’


If you unexpectedly found yourself on the brink of death, would you want the opportunity to stay alive long enough to say your farewells to friends and loved ones before you died? Perhaps use the time to finally make peace with an adversary, or take care of that last will and testament you never got around to signing?

Those possibilities are apparently on the horizon, or so claimed a San Jose based bio-tech company during last week’s San Matteo County Technology Conference.

“The technology exists,” CEO Garret Black said. “It’s gone beyond an idea on paper to real world application.” Black leads the privately owned firm Agritech, the company which clearly made the biggest impact at the conference by touting it’s so called “Brain Battery.”

“The brain operates on an electric charge,” Black explained to a large, noticeably enthusiastic crowd. “We know that our bodies produce the approximate 100 watts of energy needed to keep a healthy man or woman alive. Of that, 20 watts are allocated to brain functionality. With the current advances in nanotechnology, 20 watts is well within our ability to supply externally in the inevitable event the body is no longer able to produce that kind of energy on its own.”

In other words, when the body dies, so does the energy source that keeps our brains functioning. Given the proper power source, however, the brain can theoretically keep running even after the body is clinically dead.

“When the body dies, the brain is the last thing to go,” Black explained. “When the electronic energy the body produces is cutoff, the brain shuts down very quickly. It’s like unplugging your computer. As soon as you do, lights out. There goes that Word doc, right? Unless, that is, you have an external source of power such as, say, a laptop’s battery.”

The concept is simple – attach an external power source to a willing participant’s body, in this case a small and conveniently placed rechargeable lithium ion battery, and when the person dies, the brain is fed enough power to keep it fully functional. At least for a short while.

“We estimate about 15 minutes of usable functionality before the power source depletes,” said Black.  “We’re talking about the ability to think, even blink your eyes as a means to communicate. But we also have to consider that the rest of the biological consequences that come with death also play a role. Blood flow, oxygen, those sort of things. So physical abilities are somewhat limited. But fifteen minutes is fifteen minutes, right?”

Sound far-fetched? Don’t be easily dissuaded. As of today there are already dozens of volunteers testing the product, with hundreds more on the now-closed waiting list. One of them, Sherri Willis of San Bernadino, said she feels honored to be part of the program.

“People say it’s morbid,” Willis said. “But I feel special knowing I’m contributing to an important advancement for the human race. I don’t want to die anytime soon, but it’s going to happen someday. Way I figured, why not help further the cause when my time comes?”

None of the 37 participants have passed away yet, meaning Black and his group will have to wait before inconclusive results become scientific fact.

“On paper, the technology works,” Black said. “About that we’re confident. Apollo flew to the moon and everybody knew what to expect before they got there, right? Enough to make the mission a success, at least.  We’re in the same position, really. Our current volunteers aren’t willing to speed up the testing process, understandably so. For now we just have to sit on our hands until that data becomes available. Talk about anticipation.”

Predictably, the technology has its fair share of opponents. Pastor Amos Willabee of God’s Church of Salvation and Light is one of them. He flew all the way to California from his home in Prichard, Alabama for the opportunity to make his voice heard on behalf of his congregation.

“It’s against God’s will to prolong death,” Pastor Willabee said. “When He wants you to go, He wants you to go. To defy the will of God is an act of blasphemy.”

Still, the number of proponents present at the conference vastly outweighed the opposition. As local advocate Ronald Hughes put, “Human are progressive, we need to keep moving forward. Technology is amazing. I mean, it’s just amazing, you know? If God didn’t want us to do this, He wouldn’t have allowed us to invent a way to do it. So I don’t see the problem, really.”

Black agreed.  “We’re not cheating death or insulting anyone’s God.  We’re just offering a little extra time to wrap things up before someone dies. What happens after that is no longer in anyone’s hands.”

The company would like to expand the number of volunteers for their program, but they must first await a ruling by the United States government. Congress is scheduled to discuss the controversial technology during their next assembly later this year. It’s a major hurdle, one that Agritech will have to clear before moving forward.

“They communicated that they don’t want us going any further ahead with new tests,” Black conceded. “But they didn’t say we couldn’t continue our current research. Which we take that to include monitoring our existing case studies. Hopefully between now and the assembly we’ll have some viable results that we can bring to Congress. Just have to wait and see what happens.”

The next Congressional General Assembly is scheduled this coming December. No doubt the so-called “Brain Battery” will be a hotly debated topic in the meantime.