A to Z blog summary

What a process! 26 blog entries. Each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet. Starting with airplane and ending with zero.

I learned a lot of information through the research part of the entries. I also determined that I like the creative writing part better than the research part. That’s why on some of the entries, I took the information I found researching and created a story to illustrate it. Like right now, I’m writing this off of the top of my head and it seems to just want to flow right out of me. I love my creative flow, when it is working for me.

Here is a listing of all twenty-six of the blog subjects for 2015.

Airplane, Baseball, Cotton Candy, Dog, Elephant, Fishing, Gladiolus, Hula Hoop, Igloo, Jumping Jacks, Krispy Kremes, Lilacs, Mystery, Nightingale, Overture, Pecan Pie, Quonset Hut, Road Runner, Seattle, Transistor Radio, Unicorn, Volleyball, Walnut Grove, Xanadu, Yo-Yo, and Zero.

The journey through the month was fun. I hoped to finish it all in May, but I think having it done on June 3rd isn’t bad for doing that and so many other things that kept me busy in my day-to-day life. Working a non writing full-time career, Sam and I running from one baseball game to another as we manage both Max and Mitch being on both a school ball team and a summer travelling team. It is what life should be about though. Full of fun experiences and memories. We’re having a great time with all of it.

I enjoyed this challenge. It really got the blood flowing in my mind and kept things hopping on my blog. Just like working on a writing project, this gave me something to write about everyday and get the creative juices going. With the subjects being different from what I may normally write about, it did bring  some new followers to my blog. For those of you that joined the journey, welcome and I hope you enjoy the ride.

My favorite blog posts in this A to Z Blog session were Lilacs because it reminded me of my Mom. It also started my thread about Lila and Sally which was continued in Unicorn. Walnut Grove gave me the background to one of my favorite shows growing up, Little House on the Prairie.

Hula Hoop is going to turn into a feature that I’m going to write about EclecticHoops my friend Jennifer Jensen’s company. She sells and makes custom hula hoops in California.

There was a lot of work put into this project. I was able to get it all done with a little time here and a little time there. It helped me to prioritize my writing in my day-to-day life. A lot of the writing took place during lunch breaks at work and at many different baseball fields. Thanks to my smart phone, I was able to put the posts together on the run.

Other project status updates – I have a few readers doing a read through on my manuscript called The Hard Way. Looking to have the feedback on it in July and then get it ready to publish in an e-book format sometime this fall.

And, A Matter of Words is the name of the book that my short story will be published in this fall. It will be in a book with 20-25 other short stories. I will be sure to put information on the blog about when it is published and how you can get a copy.

What is next for the blog? Maybe another short story developed in stages? Maybe some updates on the next novel project? We’ll just have to see how the creative flow moves me.

Z is for Zero

Here’s the last letter of the A to Z blogging challenge for 2015. I started with an airplane and wound up with a word that is a symbol of no quantity and is also an important airplane that flew during World War II.

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Sumerians were the first people to develop a counting system. They used spaces to show the absence of a number as early as four thousand years ago. The first recorded use of a zero like symbol dates back to around the third century B.C. in ancient Babylon.

The spaces made it kind of hard to really know what the number was supposed to be. The zero became the placeholder to replace those spaces. It would become the way to tell the number 10 from the number 100.

Then zero became a concept meaning the absence of any quantity. Zero is a numerical digit that plays a central role in mathematics. It functions as a place holder between the negative and positive numbers on a number line and allows us to perform complicated calculus equations. It’s also an essential part of the binary  code for computers.

Not only does zero play a key role in mathematics, it is also a nickname for an aircraft that was used in World War II. It was a long-range fighter operated by the Japanese Navy from 1940-1945. Named the zero fighter because it entered service for the Imperial Navy in the Imperial year 2600 (1940) and they named it after the last digit of that year. Dr. Jiro Horikoshi was the chief designer of this and many other Japanese fighters.

It was considered one of the most capable carrier based fighters in the world. As a dog fighter in battle, it achieved a legendary kill ratio of 12:1. The Japanese Naval pilots were seen as the best and most experienced naval aviators in the world in late 1941, at the time when Pearl Harbor took place.

There were some inherent flaws in the design of the Zero, but some of those weaknesses were overcome by the ability of the pilots flying them. The aircraft was made very lightweight, because the Japanese industry could only build 800 horsepower engines. It made the plane very maneuverable and easy to fly. It was made for low altitude flying, but above 15000 feet, the controls were less responsive. Because it was so lightweight, it couldn’t carry very heavy ammunition nor could it take very many enemy hits. It also saw having armor plating, parachutes, and self sealing gas tanks as being non-essential extra weight, so the airplane wasn’t equipped with them.

I realize this is a Japanese aircraft and that they were on the other side in the war, but it is very interesting how and why they were made so lightweight and maneuverable. That along with the abilities of the pilots who flew them made these airplanes a worthy opponent of the Allied forces.

So, the zero played both an important role in mathematics and in World War II. The fact that the word zero was the name for a placeholder and what an airplane was nicknamed shows what a contrast a double meaning of one word can have.