Aphelion Issue 261, Volume 25
May 2021
 
Editorial    
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Hello and welcome to the May 2021 issue of Aphelion!

In this issue, we have a slate of outstanding stories for you. I'm sure you'll find something here to fit your reading needs. But first, here is my usual rambling editorial.

Seems like only yesterday I was writing last month's editorial. Time really does fly by when you keep yourself busy. Spring has finally arrived here in Northeast Georgia, bringing the usual curse of pollen with it. My sinuses are not happy about that, although I am loving not having to run a heater to keep myself from freezing. Even the ritual of mowing the yard feels pretty good. We haven't started our garden yet, however. Last Winter I bought a small greenhouse kit. I'll finally be unpacking the parts and putting it together this month. We're not planning on planting a huge amount of anything--a few tomatos, some peppers, salad greens, and so on. The greenhouse is only eight by eight feet square, so there won't be room for much. Still, it'll be fun to putter around in the garden again.

You may recall how much fun my wife and I have going to a few of the smaller conventions here in the Southeast. Well, it seems that most of them are either going virtual this year, or simply postponing their events until next year. Some are even in danger of going away entirely. That would be a sad thing, truly. I've noticed a huge increase of streaming chat shows in the various online video services. People are really missing personal interaction these days. The chat shows are just one way to cope. Thankfully, more and more people are getting their vaccinations every day. I read that Georgia is easing off on some of the anti-viral restrictions soon. Meanwhile, other countries are having highly varying levels of success in fighting the global pandemic. The news is full of headlines both reassuring and sometimes disheartening. Gradually, eventually, we will see a return to some measure of normalicy. Just hang in there!

In a bit of personal news, I will have to write 30 more editorials before I am fully retired from my day job. I will have been in that drafty old factory for over 45 years, by then. I've been going over my retirement funding recently. If the stock market doesn't crash between now and then, I should be able to live comfortably off of my pension and 401k. I'm exploring various options as to how much and for how long that funding will be and will continue. From what I have seen so far, the shorter-term payout plans look less and less attractive the deeper I delve into studying them. The less time it takes before they run dry, the higher the monthly payouts are. Thankfully, there are plenty of options. And yes, before you ask, the bills for running Aphelion are always in my budget plans. The biggest change will be that I will no longer need to turn my alarm clock on so that I can leave for work before sunrise. That is a good feeling! 

By the time I retire, conventions should be back in full swing. With more time on my hands, smaller bills, and the need to stave off boredom, my wife and I may add more conventions to our list of activities. The biggest threat to that is, some day I will have to surrender my driver's license. Someone, please hurry up and perfect self-driving cars, LOL! Of course, I will have more time to write, as well. I'm hoping I can last long enough to get all these stories out of my head.

The future is barrelling onward, faster and faster each day!

About time I quit talking and let you get to reading...

Dan 

 



ON THE COVER

Title: Screenshot of ESOcast 59

Courtesy:ESO