Tre’Davious White versus the freight train

This website is about injuries, how they happen, when they happen and how they might be prevented in the future.

Sometimes this is educational for players, other times this is equipment oriented. Whatever the mechanism to stop the injury, we want to discuss it here, openly and honestly.

This weekend there was a very cheap shot thrown by one Rob Gronkowski.

gronk hit

The hit in question came after a play ended; Tre’Davious White was on the ground, face forward, half out of bounds. Anyone in their right mind would have known the play was over, and let’s also take a moment to point out that the whistle had blown. (Yes there was a flag on the play, and we know that, it isn’t the point).

Mr. White was injured. He got up very slowly, and immediately left the game to go into the concussion protocol. When Tre’Davious White took off his helmet his eyes were closed and he obviously had problems to cope with. The concussion protocol was exactly the right move.

Gronk stayed in the game.

So, there is the situation, now let’s look at the mechanics of what happened.

Mr. Gronkowski weighs around 265 pounds; add to that his equipment and you have a 275 pound missile that threw himself at the head of another player.

When you look at hits, and I designed military armor for a living for a while, you want to have a hit that is spread out over a large area. It means the impact is lessoned. Look at a bullet; they are shaped to a point, so that the impact is greater on a tiny area. Spread that impact out over a larger area and it doesn’t penetrate as far, or do as much damage.

So, what does this have to do with Mr. Gronkowski? A lot.

Look at the hit.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/watch-gronk-cheapshots-tredavious-white-who-was-evaluated-for-head-injury/

The man he hit, Tre’Davious White, weighs 192 pounds. Compare that to Gronk, and you have a large mass hitting a smaller mass. We all understand the physics of that.

Now, let’s go one step further and look at what Gronk did. He threw himself through the air, like a bullet, at Tre’Davious White’s head. Worse than that, he extended his elbow to intentionally drive his entire weight, moving quickly through the air, into the man’s head.

Now, let’s look more closely at Mr. Gronkowski’s safety equipment.  He was wearing an elbow brace with metal rods sticking out beyond his actual elbow. This safety equipment is what hit the back of Tre’Davious White’s head, and not Gronk’s actual wrist. So, put another way, Gronk didn’t feel a thing from this collision.

So, now let’s get back to the target in this case, the rookie Tre’Davious White. He didn’t see the hit coming, had no chance to brace for impact, and thereby the full force of the impact was going to be felt. It hit the back of his helmet full force, pile driving his head into the dirt.

Ok, the helmet will stop his head from being crushed, but let’s think about the physics for a second.

Sir Isaac Newton taught us this thing called conservation of energy. That means energy from something doesn’t just disappear, it is going to go someplace. In this case if you watch the video, the young Mr. White was hit in the head, hyperextending his neck, causing certainly some whiplash, his head bounced off the ground. So let’s see what all of this means.

Let’s focus on the head for a minute. The human brain is not attached to the skull in any way. It floats in a fluid. I was researching traumatic brain injury in soldiers when I met, on many occasions medical doctors specializing in brain trauma. We were discussing how to make helmets that can protect soldiers from head injuries. I learned a lot about how the brain and the body interact.

Anyway, the point is the brain isn’t connected and floats in this fluid. So they tell me, when dehydrated, you can get a headache caused by this fact. However, in the case of whiplash like you see going on with Tre’Davious White his head bounced around a few times in rapid succession after the childlike hit by Gronk. That means that his brain hit one side of his skull, then the other side, and back again a few times.

If you think that isn’t a problem, I have some beachfront property to sell in Arizona.

So, now let’s look at his neck. His neck took a great deal of force from this hit. The spine is a big part of that piece of your body. His spine also took a great deal of this hit. If damage (any level) of how that damage occurred between his spine and his brain his motor skills can be impacted.

In short, Gronk’s antics likely caused a concussion, could have damaged motor skills, and has taken a first year player and may have destroyed some of his career moving forward.

How can this have been prevented? Would safety equipment have made a difference? Maybe, but there are two ways this might have been changed.

My guess is that Gronkowski knew he wouldn’t feel a thing thanks to the brace on his arm. So, why not use that to your advantage? That piece of equipment can be, and was used as a weapon. Perhaps that type of brace, while keeping Gronkowski safe should be reviewed as something that shouldn’t be allowed for the obvious reason.

Now, let’s look at Tre’Davious White’s equipment. Can something be designed to have protected him in this case? Well maybe, but is that necessary.

I think in this case the league has an opportunity here that can prevent future injuries. Fining Gronkowski isn’t going to help. A quick google search shows that he lives off endorsements and saves 100% of his NFL salary making his net worth in excess of $16Million, so fining him, while it makes a great headline, doesn’t help much.

You want to stop this kind of thing and prevent a future injury of this short the league can send a message. Take the guy who is on the current iteration of Madden whatever software, take an offensive player the Patriot’s lean on and suspend him for a very long time. The Patriots will fight that, but if I were the owner (a.k.a. Employer) of a guy who did this, I’d fire him. I don’t care how many games it costs it does not send a good message to the fans, and REALLY doesn’t send a good message to the countless young players just entering the game, hoping to make it to the NFL that watch Gronk and want to be like him.

We need to end these types of antics, and keep players safe. Gronk needs to be dealt with, and I wish Mr. Tre’Davious White a speedy recovery.

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NFL – Business, Politics, or What?

I, like everyone else, has heard about the NFL and players kneeling, and political arguments, and boycots, and and and, all season long.

Oh, the President tweeted this, Jerry Jones is arguing over who runs the league, blah blah.

Then you tune into the game, and there is political stunt after political discussion after advertising advertising advertising.

When I was a kid, watching games with my dad, they were exciting, I looked forward to it, it was….fun.

It isn’t fun anymore.

Now, let’s touch on the sensitive issue. Race relations.

Because I’m white and the majority of players are African American, someone is going to say “You are just telling them to perform for you” and somehow the N word I won’t use, and wouldn’t use in person, is in that phrase.

I don’t have a racist bone in my body and that isn’t at all what I’m saying.

I’m saying I get limited time off work. I have limited time with my family. I want to have FUN with the time I get to spend with them, or am not at work. Operative word fun.

All too often when I tune into professional sports I hear about this contract value, that contract negotiation (always focused on money, and frankly I don’t care). The highlight reels are shrinking in attention and its all about this controversy or that one.

It isn’t fun for me.

It used to be. It was what I looked forward to on Sunday. I had a blast. I no longer do.

If I wanted to listen to a political discussion/argument I would tune to any of the bazillion news stations out there.

On a Sunday with my kids that isn’t what I want. Not at all.

I want fun.

So, there are other things in life I enjoy. I’m not bound to watch football, there is no requirement that I do so, therefore I am not. So, what am I to do? I go to the next most fun thing on the list, and we do that.

Therefore, I and many other Americans are turning the station. For me, not for all, but I suspect for many, that if you bring back the fun, the eyeballs will come back to the screen and the ratings will go up.

Intellectuals Versus Experts

This blog was written by my father before he passed away. But, it describes the exact reason this website exists.

 

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Why Experts are Ignorant

Experts and Intellectuals appear and present opinions on a large number of subjects on which they are ignorant. It is particularly tragic when their opinion serves to limit future debate on a subject, as for instance the current global warming (oops, that’s now climate change) debate.

I need to warn you that a this blog entry is partially a rant, but I feel qualified to do this since for a large part of my career I was an expert. Staying at the top of my game as a mainframe computer expert (Consultant Systems Engineer) took a good bit of study in the field. Besides my direct work, for many years I read a technical work and 8 or so magazines each week. Then I’d read technical manuals, proposals, project definitions, etc. I would constantly learn new computers, languages, software, and data-base methods. This is what leads to the ignorance for subjects outside my immediate area. After doing this 6 days a week, I was exhausted. In my newspaper I’d go the comics and sports page first; maybe to skip the others. What little spare time was available would go to my house and kids, then a James Bond novel or to Archie Bunker on television.

This same rut and 70 hour work-weeks apply to most ‘Experts’. What this means is that they can’t keep up on current events or politics. Then we add to the mix those experts who are also classed as ‘Intellectuals’. Most of this idea comes from Thomas Sowell’s excellent thought in his book “Intellectuals and Society”. He defines an intellectual as someone who works with an idea or opinion as his final product. University professors, critics, and expert consultants never need produce anything but the idea; and having produced it they move on never waiting to see an outcome. It may take as much intellect, study, and practice to be a neurosurgeon, but he is not an intellectual and typically lacks the time to present ideas.

Eric Hoffer’s Opinion

Eric Hoffer was a longshoreman and philosopher. His books were insightful and remain in print. During the height of his popularity (the 60s and 70s) he was interviewed in several hour long TV shows, twice by Eric Sevareid and twice by Bill Moyers. I can’t find current details and don’t even remember which of these shows it was, but his response on this subject made such a strong impression on me that I can still paraphrase his comments after 40 years.

The interviewer commented on Hoffer’s ‘seeming dislike’ of intellectuals. Hoffer first paused to clarify the current use of the term in government and academia. He defined that ‘Intellectual’ as someone who by virtue of his background (education, college, etc.), ancestry (parents or teachers), or position (expert or bureaucrat) feels he is more qualified to run my life than I am. Then he exploded; I don’t DISLIKE them, dislike does not begin to describe my feeling, I HATE THEM, I LOATH THEM, I DESPISE THAM.

Role of Experts

I don’t hold ENTIRELY with Hoffer’s attitude. I don’t mind that they think they could run my life better than I. I am slightly irritated when people like a boss’s wife take that position. I am inconvenienced when a someone like an administrative assistant at a church takes that position.

But major problems begin when that expert writes government laws or regulations… now it becomes do it their way of face fines, jail, etc. There are more problems with regulations, but that is for another blog.

Race War or Police War while we wait for Star Wars?

I try to stay informed, watch the news, read articles, and know what is going on in the world. I see a lot of arguments about “false news,” or “pay attention to this group, not that groupo because they have some kind of mental disorder,” and frankly I’m sick of it.

There is a trend in this country of hating police that deserves some measure of understanding. So, what is a guy like me to do? I’m just a scientist (22 patents and counting, which is something that makes me more proud than my PhD), author (I love writing), father (love my kids) and taxpayer (hate the IRS).

Are there bad policemen or policewomen in the world? Absolutely. Have some of the members of the force done things that deserve punishing, absolutely.

Does that mean every single policeman or policewoman (from this point forward I intend to use only policeman and am by no means discounting policewomen when I do so), is a bad person deserving of being degraded, or worse injured/killed? Absolutely not.

Just like not every person that gets pulled over is guilty of more than just driving badly. People, in and out of uniform, deserve our respect. I try to respect people by default when I meet them, until that individual loses that respect. I hope that’s the way most people do things, but let’s face it, that’s not what happens.

There is a racial war going on in this nation. There is also a war against people in certain uniforms going on.

Here is the rub that I see.

Policians claim that there is no price tag that exists that would stop them from protecting the men and women in uniform. To that I say bullshit, but more about that in a minute.

I don’t ever see a politician say there is no price tag that exists that will stop us from protecting our citizenry. Police and citizens should not be divided into camps….ever.

Ok, so what’s my point. City budgets, in fact government budgets in general have grown over the past decades. They have grown a lot. They are constnatly mismanaged and TONS of cash wasted on things that just aren’t needed. Then we buy things that are way more expensive than is necessary for a specific problem.

How do I know this? Ok, let’s look at certain police forces. There are some grand architecture projects going on at various police headquarters to make things look nice. Ok, great, that’s cool, but how about work nice. Let’s worry about functionality instead of grand appearance.

Let’s look at equipment. There is some flow of military equipment going to SWAT teams. This equipment (MRAP, ETC) is hugely expensive to maintain and frankly not as useful as other options that are out there.

Did the politicians think about it wrong? Well, maybe.

WTF am I talking about?

An MRAP is a vehicle that is starting to make its way into law enforcement (or being discussed as such). It is shockingly expensive to keep on the road and stops bullets and bombs in ways most police forces rarely experience.

There are companies right here in the United States that can uparmr a Ford F150 to stop 7.62 Armor Piercing round and that truck can be purchased for less than the annual upkeep on one of those massive MRAP vehicles. Plus throw in that the uparmored F150 looks like a regular F150 from the outside, and we have a vehicle that is more practical because it doesn’t stand out, and can be used for more than the MRAP, like serving high risk warrants.

Just ranting here but I am absolutely certain that if we stop dividing people and start thinking rather than reacting out of emotion our government services will cost less, and provide a better result.

Writing, The Book and Entertainment Business, What is Going on Around Here?

I have been on this earth for 45 years (give or take a few months).  Perhaps it is just my approaching (ok in the) middle age but I am noticing a few things about the entertainment industry.

When I was a kid, and even into my later teenage years, you could go to a movie or pick up a book and it would just be what it was.  A book or a movie..Not a political or environmental statement on something.  There was no message, just fun.  In the case of some books just flights of fantasy (e.g. Dragonlance).  I don’t see that much anymore.  Ok maybe Harry Potter, Twilight, there are exceptions in books but movies are guilty of it fairly often.

The other thing I am noticing is that when I was a kid you could save $2 or something and go buy a book.  Enjoy that book and move on…Even if it was new.  There was a market of paperbacks, there was a $1 theatre you could go to and see movies.  They weren’t the brand new ones but it was fun all the same.

Now when I go to the book store and buy a new book I’m staring down $40 for a hard cover and $12.50 the other day for a paperback.  Buying kids books I’m forking out $10 a shot.  (Thank goodness for the used bookstores, love you guys).  I don’t mind paying through the nose for great stuff, but stuff with a message?

I tried to price my book as cheap as Amazon would allow.  $2.99 to $3.99 for Kindle and for paperbacks was the cheapest I could make them.  Shoot if you have Amazon Prime on Kindle they are free!

These things seem to be disappearing more and more.  People ask me why I write books. The idea was to put out a story that entertained people.  That’s all.  I didn’t want a political message.  I didn’t want to sway people to some ideology.  I wanted to give a low cost way you could pick up something, and forget your troubles.  Ok, maybe my subject matter of a nuclear assault, which became the topic for The Last World War was too much for that, but I wanted to pick a topic area that was so horrible that I hope it never happens.  Those weapons are well protected, and hopefully they won’t get loose.  Hopefully those who have them are smart enough to say NO NEVER! Although lately if you watch the interchange between North Korea and Donald Trump that may be a real hope, not a reality.

In another book we do use a topic of global climate change, not to say who did it. That book is to show through science fiction that working together humans can solve any problem, no matter what the problem happens to be. In that novel there is no “humans did it” or “no they didn’t” we just assumed that the climate is out to kill us, and showed that through real science it can, indeed, be tamed. Everything (from the solution side) in that novel is real science, not made up, it’s just expensive ;-).

I do hope that other people start to think in this method.  Low cost entertaining things with little to no political message (unless it is necessary for the story as it was in some ways in mine).

I didn’t want to win prizes, I just wanted to entertain.  I do hope the books do that.

My conversation with a Retired NFL Player

I had the chance yesterday to talk to a retired NFL player on a variety of topics.

In addition to writing books (which I very much enjoy) I am a scientist. As such I solve problems. That’s what is the most misunderstood thing about scientists. We aren’t magical, we don’t have some huge insight no one else has. We have a variety of problem solving tools and it is all a matter of what problem you focus on.

So, the problem in the back of my mind ever since my son broke his arm is protective equipment for sports.

Speaking on condition of anonymity the man I was talking to retired in the mid 80s and was on a team that won the Superbowl during his years (he was a starter).

He mentioned something multiple times that is kind of disturbing. Safety of players (down to high school) is not necessarily about keeping players safe and having a good time as a fan. It is about money.

How do I know?

Simple, I have been looking at injury statistics from an angle that I don’t suspect anyone has before. Head injuries are a real focus for the league, or so they claim. Why is it they are giving it lip service and perhaps not doing everything they can? Why do I believe that?

Turf.

Why do I say that?

Concussions happen more often on any other surface other than natural turf. On real grass the rate of head injuries does seem to go down, at least from what I can tell on publicly available injury data.

This was confirmed by the retired player.

He then explained to me why artificial turf got started. It had NOTHING to do with playing the game. It had everything to do with maintenance cost. It is cheaper for an owner to put in artificial turf than natural grass due to the maintenance. So, in other words, to squeeze out a slightly higher margin on their monthly profit statement, they put in turf that can and has been known to hurt the very players we all want to go watch.

I suspect I will be posting more on this subject soon. I’m not sure if this series will become a “how to fix injuries” series or a “NFL profit machine” series or a “players vs owners” series but one of those three is likely to happen as I dig into this.

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 5 of 7

This is part 5 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

Because sometimes autistic people struggle to understand how to fit in socially, they may do anything they feel necessary to fit in with peers.

First, let me say OMG this is so true. I have done things for people that no rational person would ever do. I have loaned money, I have done favors, I have massively inconvenienced myself and my family just to make one person happy more times than I care to admit.

If you know a person who is on the spectrum and you see them destroying certain parts of their life just for that “one new friend,” and they are doing so without any form of rational thought please talk to them.

Also, if you have employees who are on the spectrum, and see other employees asking “favors of a friend” and that one employee working their guts out to make everyone else happy…please…I beg you, pull that guy working himself to death just to make people like him and tell him to work differently. Someone did that for me and it changed my professional life. Now, if I am not sure if it is happening again I ask my sounding board (neurotypical wife) and she helps me sort through it. It has saved me a lot of time trouble and pain.

Why people do this to autistics, other than their own laziness, is beyond me. I wouldn’t do that to someone, and I now despise it when I see that it is happening to me. Someday I’ll figure out how to not hold a grudge, but I’m not there yet!

America, We Have a Problem

America, we have a problem. Can we talk? I mean really?

Enough warfare glorification, drooling, and chomping at the bit to go back for more.

I get it, I write books about the military and their actions in war. I am a veteran, lots of my friends are but this is just one step over the damn line.

The tweet below, and my response, was earlier today (Nov 15).

 

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Look, I know there are bad people in the world. Sometimes, those people need their ass handed to them. I get it.

However, this guy is a freaking FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR.

He is basically saying in, in three little words, that if we aren’t bombing the shit out of someone we aren’t “America” or we are “lessened” in some way.

Ever veteran I know is willing to do what they need to in order for the world to be safer. Rarely will you ever find one that says…yeah let’s go get shot at today, it’ll be fun. We have turned ourselves into a series of drooling junkyard dogs (with apology to the dog), if this is the way news contributors think.

Now, as to my books. Someone will read this and criticize me blah blah. I guarantee you they have never read my stuff. I don’t glorify anything, I show just how nasty it can be, and how hard it can be to cope once you come back to the “real world.”

This kind of crap…I think we all can see, must end.

This guy, and people like him, are a problem. Freedom of the press, I get it but this isn’t freedom of the press, this isn’t reporting news, this is spreading violent streaks. This kind of thinking is what gets people who are a little crazy to justify mass shootings.

Ok, end of rant. Someone put a muzzle on this guy, Fox someone have a talk with him, this isn’t news, this is a freaking problem.

Enigma Machines Still Giving us Trouble ENIGMA@HOME

When I was in my 20s, and studying Physics for my undergraduate degree I started looking into ways I could contribute to the basis of scientific knowledge in my spare time. I know…I know get out just a little more. Bear with me a moment.
Someone (probably one of my classmates) told me about this computer screensaver I could install called SETI@HOME. In other words, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence at home. You could install it on your computer and use your unused CPU cycles to search through radio astronomy data for signs of aliens on other planets. It was run by some people at The University of California, Berkley, and was a really interesting idea.
No, I didn’t find anything but I found the concept interesting. Using unused computer cycles to do useful things. Over the years I have kept other types of these programs installed, and there are now a growing list you can participate in through BOINC (Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).
These guys now have dozens of things you can participate in yourself using your computers unused CPU cycles. If you are the one that finds something interesting they do alert you, and you will find some competitive people who want to be “the one” to find whatever it is that the particular project is chasing.
In recent years I have become really interested in World War 2, as well as Viet Nam History. This spawns from the work on two different historic fiction novels. The Forest of Assassins, and China Bones (both available on Amazon in print, kindle and audible versions).
That passion is now something I can devote my unused computer cycles to! Enigma machines were these little boxes that the German military used to code and decode messages that they didn’t want the Allies to intercept and use. In other words they carried some of the most secret stuff across the communications channels that the Germans had.
Well, the guys at BOINC now have Enigma@Home (http://www.enigmaathome.net/). As it turns out there are still 3 original Enigma messages that have never been decoded. Even all these decades later. I am personally using lots of my unused computer cycles to help and I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same.

If I can help decode one and there is something juicy in it, who knows maybe there will be a new historic fiction novel in the works. But, for now, enjoy China Bones if you like WW2 history. You will find it a nice read!

Writing the Apocalypse, it is harder than you think

Writing the apocalypse is a hard thing to do. Let’s assume you are a writer, storyteller, movie maker, or just someone who enjoys thinking about how YOU would tell a story instead of the way some other person has done it.

Now, let’s assume you want to write about the end of the world. Assuming your story is more complex than BOOM the world exploded (George Lucas pulled that one off) it is a hard thing to start. How do you want to destroy the world? Chemical? Biological? Aliens? Zombies…again?

Do you start with the world already destroyed and just live through the aftermath as one of those lucky survivors? What to do? There are endless choices.

I am in the middle of writing a series that will, ultimately, become one in that genre. It took me an entire book to open up that apocalyptic story line. It didn’t destroy just a ton of stuff, but I wanted to tell that story from the beginning. How would it begin?

In my case I chose political chaos. World leaders not getting along, someone taking advantage of a leadership shakeup in one nation, in this case one of the few remaining superpowers. That might do it?

That story thread turned into how would I do it? Well, in this case nuclear has to be the start. What has enough bang to get the U.S. to respond with the heat of 1,000 suns. Well, I’m not sure we can do more than we did in the Global War on Terror UNLESS we were responding to a nuclear attack.

Find the last world war on Amazon by clicking here!!!

I took some criticism for that first book. People thought (and told me loudly) YOU ARE SO WRONG. If someone nukes the US we would turn them to glass. I’m not so sure. First, I’ve met a lot of DC based politicians. I’m not sure we would take that retaliatory nuclear strike so lightly, especially if the nation that nuked us used up their entire arsenal in the attack (limited to five) and we could still crush them conventionally.

Then, I thought about it. And I think I am right. The US if attacked with a very small number of nuclear weapons (two in my story) would not respond nuclear. We would handle it conventionally. I’m almost certain of it.

But what happens on round two of a nuclear strike? Or a nuclear strike with a follow on invasion? What do we do then?

Can the world be turned into something where humans really do struggle for survival? Well, yes we can. In the series The Last World War, that is exactly what happens. Book 2 is almost complete, I thank you for your patience, and that series will live up to the phrase…Go big or go home!

Thanks to everyone who has enjoyed my writing! I will keep putting it on the page, if you keep turning those pages.