152 Days to New Venus

Part I: Landings

“Okay, Mars-bot, what’s the read on the Earth Ships?”

Teddy hated when Johnnie, referring to Teddy’s home planet – New Mars, called her that. “Johnnie – “ she whined and focused intently at her station’s command interface. Johnnie Edelman, chomping down on her daily raspberry muffin, came into the command sector and stood behind her commander, “What?”

“I hate it when you call me that,” Teddy groaned and motioned for her subordinate to take her post, the station to her right. “Get on your tool.”

“Yes, Sir, Captain Wright.” Johnnie shoved the rest of the muffin into her mouth as she sat at her station and spun her chair toward her command interface.

Teddy Wright shook her head. “Jezer, you’re in a mood this morning.”

Johnnie spun her chair toward Teddy and then leaned toward her commanding officer. This, as usual, got the reaction she was going for, Teddy turned in her direction. Once she had Teddy’s full attention, Johnnie gave her a dramatic wink, made more dramatic by her naturally long and extremely dark eyelashes.

“No!” Teddy held up her hand to block Johnnie’s gaze and turned back to her interface. “I don’t want to hear about it.”

“Oh, yes, you do!”

“No, I really don’t.”

“Oh, but, Teddy you do,” Johnnie made a show of shivering and wriggling in her chair, “my new Companion-8 is amazing!”

“I don’t want to hear about it, and that’s an order, Lieutenant.”

Johnnie laughed, “Yeah, right, as if. But you do want to know this, you need to upgrade, man, I’m telling you –“

“Whether I like it or not,” Teddy moaned.

“This Companion-8 has the biggest, darkest –“

“Captain Wright, have we made first communications with the Earth ships?” Oblivious to the banter between her commanding officers, Cadet Reggie Barrett entered the command sector bringing her disruptive eager-to-please energy and perkiness.

For once, Teddy was grateful for the new recruit’s habitual interruptions to her and Johnnie’s conversations and Reggie’s obliviousness to the fact that she’d interrupted them.

Reggie took her station to Teddy’s left. “Would you like me to initialize, Captain?”

“Reggie, you can just call me Teddy. Save the Captain for when the crews on planet.”

Reggie looked over at Teddy with large brown, naïve eyes, “Of course, Captain. Ugh, I mean, Teddy.”

Johnnie let out a loud and quick laugh.

“But, would you like me to initialize communications?”

“Sure,” Teddy answered, “just initialize with Earth Ship 1, to begin with. See what the commander has in mind for a landing schedule. And, then just monitor the other ships for now.”

“Yes, Sir,” answered Reggie, then added as an apology, “It’s okay to call you Sir, right?”

Johnnie laughed again and Teddy reached over to her and whacked her shoulder. Then turning to Reggie, “Sure, that’ll be fine.”

“Ouch,” Johnnie cried out, but no one was listening.

“Earth Ship 1, Earth Ship 1, this is New Venus Command Deck, do you copy?” Reggie sat as if her spine where a metal ruler and yet her forehead was still barely even with her interface monitor.

Over the intercom the scratchy response came – “We copy New Venus Command Deck. Good to hear your voice.”

“Relay your position, status, manifest, and landing schedule, Earth Ship 1,” Reggie maintained her regulation verbiage, ignoring the ship’s captain’s friendly comment.

“Relaying specs, New VCD, ready when you are.”

The more friendly the captain’s tone, the stiffer Reggie’s back became. “Ready for relay, that’s a go.”

“That’s a go, New VCD.”


When all five ships had finished relaying their specs, Johnnie set to work shifting through the information and created a final landing schedule. Her duties included logging in each ship’s list of crew, hold, and mechanical specs. She would find space for any crew that would be using sleeping and living quarters while their ships was docked. Crew quarters were in a separate building from the New VCD; the building was stocked for their comfort. Only the captain of each ship would need access to the New VCD.

After she finished, Johnnie headed to the New VCD living quarters, a short hallway from the command deck. Once in the open lower house level – a combination of living room-kitchen-dining area – Teddy and Reggie prepared their meal and Johnnie with a dramatic moan and grunt fell into one of the overstuffed couches.

“Rough day Lieutenant?” Teddy stood over Johnnie’s prostrate body, holding a large plate out to her.

Before answering Johnnie made a show of groans and moans as she lifted herself up only far enough to grab the plate. “Disgusting, not rough.”

Getting her own plate and sitting on the couch opposite Johnnie she said, “Okay, I’ll bitter, disgusting how?”

In keeping with her routine, Reggie said, “What were you discussing?” and sat at the other end of the couch from Teddy.

Johnnie moved to sit up, “not discussing, disgusting.”

Teddy and Reggie looked at Johnnie, waiting for an explanation.

“I was logging the manifests, when what did I see?”

She held their interest but neither Teddy nor Reggie made a comment.

“Captain Franklin G. Washington proud commander of Earth Ship 3.”

Teddy understood right away and had to suppress a smile.

Reggie, new to the VCD, could not have understood, “What? Is that someone you know?”

Teddy started to laugh, “Only in the biblical sense!”

“Teddy,” Johnnie pouted, “it’s not funny! The guy was a complete prickly to me.”

With her face blushing, all Reggie said was, “Oh.”

Teddy laughed harder.

“Teddy, cut it out!” Johnnie whined.

When Teddy was able to control her laughing the three women sat in momentary silence.

Finally, Reggie offered, “I think you mean prick, Lieutenant.”

Teddy laughed so hard at this she slid from the couch to the floor.

Johnnie gave Reggie a puzzled look.

“I’m just saying that I don’t think you mean ‘prickly,’ I think the old Earth term is simply prick.” Reggie took a hungry bite out of her sandwich.

“Who the hell knows old Earth terms these days? Who the hell would study something like that?”

Reggie started to blush again.


Back at their command interfaces, Teddy turned to look at Johnnie.

“What?” Johnnie was still hot over being laughed at.

Teddy’s eyes reflected her concern, “Are you going to be okay dealing with this guy, because I can handle the Commanders on my own, if you –“

Johnnie shrugged and waved Teddy’s question off, “Listen, I can handle it. Really.”

“Really?”

Johnnie smiled, “Really.”

“Just so you know,” Teddy glanced at her again, “I confirm that he’s a real prickly.”

Johnnie laughed, Teddy had hoped she would.

Johnnie smiled, “I think I like the old Earth term better. Yeah, Mr. Washington is a gigantic prick!”

“New VCD, New VCD, Earth Ship 1 commencing landing sequence.”

“That’s a go, Earth Ship 1,” responded Teddy.


Part II: New Venus

New Venus was built after Old Venus was destroyed during the WWIX conflict. From space, it looked like Old Venus, but New Venus was without the uninhabitable heat and dense gravity of the original planet. The Earth Establishment Year 2107 built New Venus as a penal colony for the WWIX insurgent forces. When the Establishment realized that New Venus could be the sole agriculture food source for the entire Galaxy, the penal colony and its residents were wiped out of existence.

Now, 30 years later, New Venus was, in a sense, still a barren planet.

The New Venus military base remained the only human structure on the planet and measured approximately 11.3 by 8.05 kilometers. The landing strip ran along the perimeter of its entire length.

Earth Ship living corridors for commanders and crews ran the length of the strip on one side. The New VCD compound and personnel living quarters lay on the opposite side.

Each ship’s commander was furnished a luxurious, private apartment with bedroom, living-room, and automated kitchens. Apartment robots were available for cleaning and upkeep. Each apartment had a private command interface for the commander’s private communications.

The Earth Ship base provided an indoor, Olympic-sized pool, a separate Pub with pool tables and virtual-game tables. There was a movie theater where movies could be viewed either for the crews’ entertainment or for training classes.

The building also contained crew living sections behind the commander’s apartments. Ship crews stayed together in separate living pods. Each pod contained barracks, kitchen and living areas, and entertainment centers. The barracks were built for comfort; crew slept on wide, soft bunks. For the stay at on New Venus, the crews could remain in their own pod area or mingle with the other crews in one of the communal areas like the pool, pub, or movie theater.

The New VCD personnel lived and worked in a separate building on the opposite side of the landing strip. Their living corridor was a 2000-square-foot house with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths on the upper level and an open living room-kitchen-dining area on the first level. The command deck was a single-story extension off of the main floor with almost as much square footage as the house. The combined structures were built so that the personnel did not need to cross over the strip and engage with ship command and crew unless invited. Or, if mechanical maintenance and repair were needed.

Crops and fields and the watering system piping occupied the rest of the planet. There was no civilian population so there was no need for other structures.


To be continued…


Increased Stimulation

So, why did I repost a post from Ted.com? (See below.)

Because my goal for this week is to “increase my mental stimulation while at work.” I worked this out with my therapist today. Because my job is BORING. It is Boring interrupted with moments of intense and stressed bouts of work. My work is doing the same thing time again. These traits don’t work for me at work.

Or in any part of my life really.

I had a friend once who worked for a pharmaceutical company that kept being bought and merged with bigger pharmaceutical companies around the world. She went through at least 3 merges. She kept getting promoted each time. She got salary increases each time. Not bad, right? Except that she had nothing to do at work! With each new position her work never increased. At the time I was envious because she was making ALOT of money doing nothing. She hated it. She wanted to have work, purpose, and not just sit around.

That situation probably doesn’t happen very often. It’s never really happened to me. But right now, I get paid okay good and only have about 3 days of real work a month. I shouldn’t complain – really, I need to be grateful that I even have a job because I’ve had a lot of unemployment time since 2009.

Let me now preface the rest of this post with the following statement – I am not special or important or smarter than anyone else.

But I am ADHD and an introvert according to Myers-Briggs. And therefore, when I’m bored, which is frequently and quickly, I’m in danger of becoming really, really depressed.

So my assignment for this week was to explore ways I can “increase brain stimulation instead allowing my boredom to settle in.” This does not include playing Mahjongg. Bummer.

So I went to Ted.com and saw this post and it’s really something I need to learn – how to set a realistic goal and how to stick to it.

The H in the ADHD stands for Hyperactivity. Which translates for the Adult ADHD person into anxiety. I have a big job of wrestling with this anxiety everyday. Especially the part of the anxiety that makes anything hard to follow through on. So, that’s another assignment I’ve been given – to “practice following through.”

Ugh. Sometimes it feels like this “co-morbidity” is impossible to tackle. Hence, the therapeutic assignments.

In theory, I understand that anything overwhelming can be tackled if divided into smaller tasks (or goals).

But in action? I have trouble planning what to eat for dinner!

Like with math word problems or math period, a very thick and frustrating fog swirls up in my brain, like a sudden sand storm. I can feel it happening physically. I’m sure only another ADD/ADHD person will believe me on that one.

The good thing about this increase stimulation assignment is that in doing it, I am excited into writing something. Like this. And I can use this blog to share my frustration and “finds” with other frustrated people. Or just people period.

Anyway, I’ve got to get back to Ted.com, and I hope you will check out this amazing website as well.

The science of setting goals

ideas.ted.com

How to make New Year’s resolutions that actually work out this time.

It’s the time of year when optimism strikes anew and we think to ourselves: our New Year’s resolutions will totally work out this time. Never mind that we abandoned them by Valentine’s Day last year. And the year before. And, well, you know the drill.

But what if this year really could be different?

There’s a science to setting goals. The problem is that it often stays in the ivory tower or gets muddled with misinformation. We called up Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk: How to make stress your friend), a psychologist at Stanford University, and asked her about the best way to set and accomplish a goal, scientifically speaking. Below, she shares four research-backed tips to help you craft and carry out successful goals.

Choose a goal that matters, not just an easy win.

Our brains are wired to love rewards, so…

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Be the blackboard…

I went to a Unity Church yesterday with a friend who wants to do some spiritual searching as well as some church searching.

I have a spiritual practice myself but I try to stay open and I know I don’t have this part of my life figured out. And, I don’t really expect to ever fully understand the power that, today, I choose to call God.

The “service,” which is probably not the word the Unity congregation uses for it, was in an old church downtown. Albeit, it isn’t as churchy as some churches – certainly not as churchy as say, the Cathedral a couple of blocks east of this one. But, still I felt uncomfortable. Not with the people, not with the ideas and practices, but with the building. I could appreciate the beautiful stained glass window that showed a man and a woman walking down a green path through trees and to a blue sky with a big yellow sun in the middle. I liked that part. The music was contemporary and sung by two men and one woman, with guitars in hand, singing harmonies – very beautiful. I love songs sung in harmony. I do and I did realize that my being uncomfortable in a less-churchy church is similar to my liking less-fishy fish when ordering at a seafood restaurant. It’s just me. My taste, my experience.  But I didn’t think I would want to come back to another non-service service.

The minister (probably not the word, etc.) gave a “lesson” not a “sermon.” It went something like….there’s a big blackboard, chalkboard and it represents me and me connected to my higher power. And, on one little section of the board is a chalk mark. That mark is what I call my personality. My personality is just a small part of the whole large board. So, he suggested that we drop away the chalk mark and just allow ourselves to be observant and present. That way, if someone says something mean or cutting to us, it’s just another little mark on this huge board and we don’t have to hold onto it and we don’t have to make it all of ourselves. It is only one tiny bit – one small experience in the large scheme of our lives which are a small occurrence in a large scheme of the even larger chalkboard that represents the universe and God.

Or something like that. I am not retelling it well. I just translated it into another saying I learned years ago – “detach” and “detach with love.” The minister also walked us through about a 10 minute, relaxing meditation. I like to be led through a meditation. I attempt meditation almost daily. It was so relaxing and his voice was very calming, and the not-church church was so warm, that I could have just keeled over and taken a nap in the not-pew pew.

So, before he finished, the minister suggested that we focus on being the blackboard and not hold onto the chalk mark. He said, the mark isn’t everything you are, it barely scratches the surface of your creativity, your soul, and your life.

I like that thought – that there is so much more to me and my life and the universe and my God. More than this office I am in right now. More than this job. More than my boss who verbally belittles me. I don’t have to hang on to any of this as if it reflects my value and my soul.  I actually was meditating, during his lesson, on a vision of my boss at my office door and the things she says, and just detaching and yet sending her love at the same time. Because I know, from my own history, that people don’t just decide to belittle others, they are usually taught by years and years of being belittled by someone they consider important. It’s very sad.

Luckily, my friend and I had the same feeling on our first Unity church – it was a little too “kum-bah-yah” for our tastes. And, we will continue looking and seeking.

And yet – when I went home yesterday, I finished some chores, got some lunch ready for today, and figured out what to wear. Then this morning, I got up and got a lot done. I got ready on time. I went to my morning meditation meeting about 10 minutes early so that I could talk to a few people before we started. I felt and feel less frantic about “getting outta this crazy place where I work” and more focused on just being here and doing my work, for now. I feel connected and not alone. I feel hopeful.

So, maybe that less-churchy church wasn’t AS uncomfortable as I thought. The message is sticking to me today. And for that, I am truly grateful that there are people who come together and learn how to walk a spiritual path together and that they let people like me visit as I care to.

(And no, I don’t know how to spell “kum-bah-yah.”)