Thursday, February 25, 2010

Like/Work/Play: I'm Legal!

Okay, I finally went and ordered the full copy of Win 7 Professional, and have spent the last 4 hours installing and upgrading it, plus installing programs I need for work and of course, Wow. Wow, actually, is still updating.
But at least I have no more fear of the computer shutting down on me every two hours, like it has been warning it will do about every two hours.
Sadly, it's still on the small, slow hard drive that I had to downgrade to when my previous hard drive expired. I hope the same license will work if and when I get enough cash together for a new hard drive.
Actually I spent more than I wanted to on it, really more than I could afford, but I needed it to work when I need it to work, and not shut down when it wants to. So while bills keep going unpaid, at least the source of my income won't be deterred by my lack of a computer.
Oh speaking of life, and I wasn't but I will now, I had 5 days off in a row last week. A wonderful refresher that really left me feeling energized and ready to take on all-comers. The calls haven't seemed so rough this week, and call volume has been fairly low. I suspect that my employer and whoever is hiring them has hired additional staff to help us out. This will last until people are weeded out.
At any rate, week is over half way and I'm still feeling pretty chipper. We'll see how long that lasts, and then I count the days until the next vacation.
Now, if you'll excuse me, WoW just came up!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life: I can see my house!

Well the house my family lived in when I was a wee lad. The link below takes you to Goldsboro NC. If it were hooked up to a time machine, it's be sometime between 1966 and 1969, which is when I lived there, ages 5-8. I wasn't quite sure if it was the right house. The carport looked familiar, but the shed to the right did not. As I manipulated the screen around, some things came back from my memory, like the house across the street, where at one time my second grade teacher lived. I rather liked her.
Anyway, here's the link. Enjoy a trip down memory lane, at least from my perspective.,-77.978278:46.38:FYI

Feeling a little under the weather right now, going to bed early. I have a short week, as after working Monday and Tuesday, I have the rest of the week off, paid vacation. Much needed.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Theories: Anti-gravity

Wow, was just doing some research on anti-gravity, as a means of propelling my theoretical craft without rockets, and was just blown away by the Wikipedia blurb on it, Seems theoretically impossible, but some of the math and other stuff in there is mind-blowing.
Anyway, one theory shot to pieces by the laws of physics. Damn those laws, damn them all to helllllllll!

Theories: Space Flight

I just watched the Space Shuttle get propelled into orbit, and an idea came back to me that I've been trying to work on for a few years.
Everyone knows that in order to get into orbit nowadays, we have to sit our astronauts and payload on a gigantic bomb.
There have been many tragedies when it comes to launching and landing our craft. It occurs to me that in at least the launching part, why must we rely on a large bomb to get us there?
I'm sure a lot of rocket scientists could answer that question, but since one's not available at the moment and not being one myself, but being very imaginative, I have to ask, why must we accelerate ourselves so fast? What's the hurry?
Conventional jet aircraft can reach 30-50,000 feet fairly quickly, and comfortably enough so that the common man and woman can ride it.
What's wrong with building a craft that can gradually reach orbit using conventional jet fuel.
Yes, I know that jets won't work at extreme altitudes. But let them get us to a reasonable altitude and find some other method than rockets to get us the rest of the way to orbit.
Aye, there's the rub. What other methods of propulsion are there?
As I've said, I've been playing with this idea for years, and use it to some degree in my science fiction writing. In my writing, I don't explain how it's done, because I'm not that deep into the subject.
Could Maglev be used to gradually increase our altitude and speed? Gravity on Earth pulls us down at 9.8 m/sec, so in order to go up consistently, we only have to exceed that amount of acceleration. say, 9.9 m/s, which will land us in orbit sometime in the next century. No I won't do the math. I know it will take a while.
But let's say we can accelerate at a comfortable rate, say between 2-3g. We'll reach orbit slowly, but we'll reach it.
In my books, my character Bobby designs a craft (which is a hologram) that can do just that. There is no visible means of propulsion, it's a small, silent craft, maybe holds 3-4 people comfortably and enough oxygen and other supplies to last for the duration of the mission. It's not a large payload any way you look at it. I'm sure someone could figure out the amount of thrust necessary to accomplish that.
But based on current research that's probably impossible, but then it's the job of the science fiction writer to imagine what seems impossible now so that drives today's scientists to prove whether it is or not.
One of my favorite writers of all time, H.G. Wells, imagined many things that seemed impossible at this time, yet have somehow come to fruition. The same with Jules Verne. Even programs like Star Trek have predicted certain things, such as communicators, that have essentially come true within my lifetime.
So any scientists out there who are looking for things to research, and happen to be reading this blog ('What are the odds of that, Mr. Spock?' 'I'm sorry, captain, they are too high to be computed.') are more than welcome to take some of these ideas and run, just a small amount of credit to me when you're successful is all I ask.
Well, it was worth a shot. Anything to get off that damned rocket.
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

At the risk of giving away secrets...aka SPOILER ALERT!

Here is the 'Bible' of the 'Timmons Chronicles' series as it stood a few months ago. I have actually changed the pilot somewhat, but it will give you an indication of where it started and where it's going.
The Timmons Chronicles Bible: Outline
I. Brief Description
II. Brief Character Descriptions
1. Bobby Timmons
2. Dottie Brown
3. Penny Thomas
4. Sarah Brown
5. The Old Man
6. Brad and Lorie Timmons
III. Season One Summaries
IV. Wither Next?

I. Brief Description
Tagline: ‘X-Files’ meets ‘Lost’
As the title suggests, this series chronicles a series of events in the life of Bobby Timmons. Bobby is not normal in any way. He’s the product of a time-travel experiment that did not go quite right. Bobby’s future-self travels back in time in an effort to stop a cataclysmic event that wipes out all life on Earth.
Only his future self is in his 70’s and is in poor health. He has also left behind his beloved wife, Dottie, who made time-travel possible. His future self, obsessed with accomplishing his mission, uses his expertise with computers to build one that will help him accomplish the mission.
He finds in Dottie’s notes plans to make a rejuvenator, builds it and uses it to make himself younger. He can’t immediately restore his memory, so he builds holograms that serve as parents, while a holograph of him as his old self serves as mentor and guide for the young Bobby.
Only, he’s not all that easy to get along with, either in his old holographic form, or his young flesh and blood form. Once the truth comes out to young Bobby of who he is and what is expected of him, they frequently bump heads as to what the best thing to do is.
The one thing young Bobby Timmons wants out of life is to be normal. Unfortunately, he also realizes that until his mission is fulfilled, that is the last thing he will ever be.
And to top it all off, the girl his future self marries is just as hard-headed and hard to get along as Bobby is. He doesn’t find himself attracted to her in the least when they first meet. He is, however, strongly attracted to Dottie’s friend, Penny.
The piece de resistance of this group is young Sarah Brown, Dottie’s sister. Bobby senses something wonderful about this child, and yet something tragic is doomed to happen to this girl.
So Bobby must weigh the consequences of interfering with the normal timeline, versus the consequences of not interfering. He must also weigh in how his actions or lack thereof affect the whole world. Can he balance the power he has with the need to keep it quiet? For surely if the world knew about his gifts and technology, he would never be left alone, and his life and the lives of his friends would be in constant peril.

II. Brief Character Descriptions
1. Bobby Timmons
To call Bobby a typical early-teen would be an incredible underestimation. To say that he wants to be a normal teen would be right on the money. He will never be normal. He’s slowly coming to grips with that.
So what makes Bobby different? He has access to vast amounts of data, past, present and future; he’s an above-average martial arts pro; he can read the minds of anyone he touches. Different enough?
The bottom line is that Bobby is trying to weigh everything he knows with his experience, of which just portions are things he has actually experienced. It can overwhelm him sometimes, but he can spend a few hours meditating and all is right with the world again, until the next semi-psychotic episode.
2. Dottie Brown
Dottie also has control problems. She has gifts she has suppressed over the years, so as not to appear too different from her friends. She’s athletic, a tomboy, a budding Einstein who’d rather be a Watson. At least for now. She has accumulated a hatred for boys that may be hard for her to overcome. Yet, she’s pretty, when she wants to be, and can be nice. She’s tall, red-headed and has a temper that can send most of the boys running.
3. Penny Thomas
Penny wears her emotions out on her sleeve. She’s rich, well-traveled, and as much as Dottie hates boys, she loves them. She’s not as tall as Dottie, but is better developed. She’s blonde, and acts like it sometimes, but inside is an untapped genius just waiting for the right circumstances. She’s the diplomat at times, hosting parties, mending fences, except perhaps those around her. She’s curious, and simply wants to know the truth. She hates being lied to.
4. Sarah Brown
Sarah is by far the most talented, smartest and open person in the series. As much as Dottie tries to hide her gifts, Sarah wants to use them. She discovers Bobby’s secrets before anyone else, and draws knowledge from him when they are close at first, then from afar. There are no bounds to her abilities and she will likely find something new to do every day. And she has a crush on Bobby, which she does nothing to hide.
5. The Old Man
What can you say about a computer that has everything? The Old Man was designed around Bobby’s future self. It has his memories, his instructions, more power than any one entity should ever have, yet it lacks compassion. Spock would love this guy.
6. Brad and Lorie Timmons
Well what you can’t pack into the main decision-maker, you can pack into sidekicks. They were designed to care for Bobby until he reached the age of six; to teach him compassion when The Old Man could not; to teach him love when the Old Man could not; to mend his wounds and keep his fortune secure. They are the illusion of a happy couple whose pride and joy is their only concern.
III. Season One Summaries
1. Episode 1 – Future Imperfect – Pilot
Six-year-old boy discovers on his birthday that he is not who he thinks he is.
2. Episode 2 – Theater Boy
Bobby Timmons meets Dottie Brown for the first time – and regrets it.
3. Episode 3 – What a Strange Boy
Dottie and Penny find Bobby’s behavior a little…odd.
4. Episode 4 – Time for a redo
Bobby risks his life for Sarah
5. Episode 5 – The Room Inside Bobby’s Mind
Bobby shows Sarah how to read minds.
6. Episode 6 – Suspicions Torment My Heart
Bobby must lie to Penny to protect his secrets.
7. Episode 7 – Sasha
Sasha returns to make Bobby’s life miserable.
8. Episode 8 – A Halloween To Forget
Sasha manipulates Bobby and Penny.
9. Episode 9 – Mending Fences
Bobby makes up with Penny
10. Episode 10 – QSA Is Not A-OK
Bobby’s mission comes to the forefront.
11. Episode 11 – Gambel’s Gamble
Walter Gambel has second thoughts about his betrayal.
12. Episode 12 – A Return to Normal?
A calm before the storm?
13. Episode 13 – Unlucky Uncle
Thanksgiving arrives with a bang.
14. Episode 14 – Truth Be Told/Jack’s Back
Bobby confesses and plans for revenge.
15. Episode 15 – West and Wewaxation at Wast?
The gang have a much-needed break.
16. Episode 16 – Holiday Spirits
Sarah and Bobby have a paranormal experience.
17. More Friends/More Enemies
Penny meets her cousins. Caruthers begins spying.
18. Episode 18 – Sasha’s Revenge
Sasha goes to the FBI.
19. Episode 19 – Mind Recon
The spying intensifies. Bobby has a paranoia attack.
20. Episode 20 – The Timmons Incident
The investigation reaches an explosive climax.
21. Episode 21 – What Else can Go Wrong?
Penny is held for questioning.
22. Episode 22 – Where’s Bobby?
A Congressional hearing has some startling consequences.
23. Episode 23 – Stuck in Paradise
Penny is overcome with boredom
24. Episode 24 – Reawakening
Sarah wakes from her coma. Bobby is found.

IV. Whither Next?
Season One of The Timmons Chronicles went from small-town America to the steps of the Capitol while disturbing the lives of the families involved. The plan for Season Two is to increase the reach of the children to encompass not only the rest of the world, but Earth’s orbit and possibly further, while walking a thin line between peace and war.
Some highlights include: Bobby attempting to strike an agreement with President Reagan to ensure his safety; Bobby creating an island of his own in the middle of the ocean, and attempting to communicate with dolphins; Bobby attempting to broker peace between Israel and Palestine; Penny growing bored with life on the run and leaving Bobby; Bobby getting kidnapped and finding he has a twin: his original self from the previous timeline, who while looking like Bobby, acts nothing like him.
Overall, the series will attempt to constantly push the envelope on where they go and with whom they interact. War, sadly, is inevitable as rogue countries attempt to steal Bobby’s technology. The question then becomes, how much muscle does Bobby show? He has the ability to defend himself, but at what cost? And when does it all end? Will he ever be safe?

Burned out

Yesterday I actually chewed out my supervisor.
The calls had been back to back all night, and I took some personal time to get myself back together. After a few minutes of personal time, I got a message to get back in available. No please, no thank you, just do it. Then I was disconnected from my phone. I didn't even have time to get back into available.
So I sent an email to my supervisor complaining about it. I got a response from our area supervisor who politely told me to get back on the phone.
Never have I felt so burned out and demoralized at a job than last night. I somehow made it through the rest of the night, even though most of it was back to back (still unexplained as to why), and at the end, I crawled into bed, beaten.
Thankfully today is my day off. I have slept about 10 hours total, feel somewhat better, though there's a migraine still lurking out there with my name on it.
I had planned to make up some time today, lost due to the current migraine, but I'm not. I hate losing the extra income, I hate not being in 'adherence', but my physical and mental health are at risk.
I have scheduled some vacation time in a week and a half. I hope this time it will be accepted, because if not I'm likely to do something I'll regret.
Lol, I watching 'Blazing Saddles' at this moment, and 'I'm tired' is on. That describes me to a tee right now.
Now, since I have a bit of energy, I think I'll work on that script a bit.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No, I haven't died in an accident...

I haven't posted in a few days, but wanted to check in with my readers. Last week was one of the worst weeks of my life. Between computer hardware issues that kept me from working, to customers that made me wish I didn't have to work.
I only technically had one day off, and I relished the freedom of that day. Yes, technically I did have Tuesday off, but I was consistently working on my computer until the wee hours of the morning. So no, I didn't really have it off, I just didn't get paid for it.
Monday started much the same as the rest of the week. I was tempted to walk away.
I did not.
Today things are going much smoother, though the occasional asshole crept in.
Yet, I think it's time for a change. I love working from home. I love the hours I'm working. I even love most of the phones I support. I do not love the kinds of people I am meeting.
So since I can't change the people, I can't change the phones, and I don't want to change anything else, I have no choice but to change myself.
So how do I do that? I can change jobs, certainly. But in this job market and my lack of provable technical skills, i.e. no advanced degree and no certifications, changing jobs isn't a good idea.
I mentioned an advanced degree and certifications there. I do have an Associate's degree from Florida State University. It was awarded in 1984. I have attempted to go back to school on several occasions, but nothing ever lasts, either because I moved away from a relatively cheap University, or I couldn't afford to go to any other type of University.
Yet I'm no dummy. I may not know everything, but at least I don't act like I know everything. I can imagine some very sophisticated stuff, I just can't actually create it.
Let's look at certifications. I did, not too long ago. I was looking into certifications just for the types of phones I use. Yes, there are certifications for them. Why, I have no idea. Anyway, it's a moot point, the cost to get certified is as outrageous as other college costs. No matter what I want to be certified in, just to take the test is several hundred dollars, which I cannot spare. And if I actually wanted to be sure I was ready for the tests, there's another thousand dollars for each certification.
So it comes down to this: I have to prove I'm smart to get a technical job. In order to prove I'm smart, I have to spend thousands of dollars. The real question is: Is it really smart to go into debt up to your eyeballs to prove you're smart so you can get a job that pays more money?
So here's some of the things I'm going to do: I'm going to try to be more patient with my customers at work. Most of them just want their phones to work and not to deliberately be an ass.
I'm going to finish my script and sell it. One way or another. If that don't prove I'm smart, I don't know what will.
I'm going to try to prove I'm smart, by spouting theories on this blog. I'll put it under the heading Life Theories. I'll try to keep them pertinent. They may be economically based, politically based, technology based or just based on my own life experiences. We'll see how that goes.