Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Reflection on My Past

All right, my mind is back in writing mood after spending some time questioning my sanity.

I want to reflect a little on my youth and how being INTP made for some misdiagnoses when I was young. This is part of the basis for my 'Shy Boy' script.

I'm told I didn't talk much when I was a baby. Possibly some doctor or another thought I was underdeveloped in my speech patterns. I can remember going to speech therapy, but I don't remember what it was that was discussed. I don't remember the therapy, in other words.

I know I stuttered badly, and at times I still do. I don't think in a stutter, though. I stutter because my mind goes faster than my body. That's just my personal opinion. My mind is way ahead of my ability to say the word. Think of the guy from the old Fed Ex commercials talking a mile a minute. That's my thought process. I still talk relatively fast, and sometimes too fast for my body and mind to be in sync.

I have to feel for my mother, now that I think about it. She had 5 kids to deal with most of whom are extroverts, loud and demanding, and then there's me. I'm quiet, I don't ask for much. I just read by myself, play by myself and don't talk much. This describes me to this day. Why couldn't I be normal so she can ignore me like she did the other kids? I'm joking, for the most part. She was a wonderful cook, cleaner, wiper of noses (and mine needed serious wiping) and caretaker of the sick. But from my point of view, she never sat down and really talked to me. Or if she did I tuned her out and let my mind go on its merry way. Maybe she gave up. I know my stepfather thought I had no personality, because I overheard him one day, when I was around 10 or 11, telling my mother that. That will be part of my script.

Extroverts wear their personalities on their sleeves, there for the taking, and they can't understand why introverts, especially INTP's don't show it. I HAVE a personality. If you read my writing, you'll see that. If you could tune into my brain, you can see it in action. Maybe this is why I can't get this script written down, because it's my personality I'm showing, not some other character's. Yet when I give the personality to another character, like Bobby Timmons, I have no problem showing it.

About being misdiagnosed: I'm sure some doctor or another told my mother I was autistic. I was never given any drugs for that. I was given drugs for all kinds of things, like Bronchitis, or acne when I was older, (damn you tetracycline!) but never anything for that. I'm grateful that my mother was smart enough to know that drugs would not have helped my personality.

When I was in first grade, I had two different teachers. The first one was named Mrs. Zwerblia or something like that. She was mean, vicious and liked to take me into the coat room and give me the paddle when I wasn't paying attention. I was miserable. My mother went to the school, and got me into another class, with Mrs. White. She was an angel, and I made it through first grade thanks to her patience.

Back then, and even today to a certain degree, people and teachers don't know how to react to an INTP child. 'Why isn't he more outgoing? Why doesn't he pay attention in class? Why doesn't he get along well with others?' I'm sure my mother asked these questions and I know the teachers did.

There's no point to this blog. I'm just in a reflective mood and needed to vent. If you are introverted or INTP and wonder if there are others out there like you, yes, there are. is a good place to start finding them.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

The Evolution of My Sanity

I was bored the other day and started looking at my blog archives. When I started this blog I was working for Alpine Access, from home. I didn't get out much because it was cold and I was poor. But I was working, and playing, and writing (Oh My!).

The first blogs were me explaining myself, my personality, a little about my job and a little about my gaming. Then things started getting serious as I became homeless for the first time in 5 years.

I realized that I have not had a 'permanent' home since 2010. I've lived outside the shelter for short periods. But I haven't had a place to call my own in that long.

Maybe that's for the best for me. I've found if I'm too comfortable then I don't want things to change. And I DO want things to change. I want my writing to be 'discovered' and paid for. I want my videos to be 'discovered' and generate ad income. I want - in short - for people to discover me, and that is what bothers me the most - not that I haven't been discovered so much but that I'd WANT to be discovered.

I've been an introvert my entire life. I don't even know how anyone can be anything but an introvert or an extrovert, but apparently it's possible for some people to switch between worlds. But the point is, I'd like nothing better than to be alone for the better part of my life. But sadly for me, unless you inherit money, and I didn't, you gotta work to pay the bills, or live off the land, which I'm definitely not suited for.

I've read articles on good jobs for introverts. Computer programmer came up. I've tried that. Unless you're writing apps in the privacy of your home, you still have to report to someone.

Self promotion has always been hard for me. Yet I can still force myself to
appear eager during an interview. I hate being forced to do anything. Promotion for writing, however, is another tale, and I can attest that writing is the hardest field for an introvert like me to break into. Not the writing part. That's easy for an introvert. What's hard is the schmoozing that takes place when you're trying to sell your  work.

'If you build it, they will come...' Oh how I wish that were true. Oh how I wish I could just plug all my writing down, oh, say, in a blog, and people would flock to it. Some people make a living blogging. I make pennies a day. I guess what I need are interesting things to say, or images of cats in cute positions.

I love cats but I won't exploit them - much.

I'm at a crossroads here. I have so many things I'd like to do, so many people I'd like to help. And in the process help myself. I've been reading successful blogs, wanting to know what makes them successful. It helps to be famous already. I'm tempted to make use of my name (Michael Fox for those that don't know) and feed off of people who think I'm the actor.

I'm rambling now, aren't I? This is how my mindset works. One idea comes into my head for a minute, then goes out the ears the next, replaced by a different idea. 'Normal' people have no idea how this works. 'Crazy' comes to mind. But as the name of the blog insists, I'm sane.

How do I know this? Well, I'm not certified if that's what you mean. I've never even talked to a psychiatrist. I know I'm sane because I read about insane people, and I see crazier people than I'll ever be every day. I'm sane because they're not. They give me a good sense of what the extreme is. I don't even think I'm borderline crazy. I'm frustrated as hell, but not crazy.

What's the point of this blog? You tell me!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Re-introducing: Mike's News Hangout!

I've been vacillating lately, between what the shelter wants me to do, which is find a job - any job, by brushing up on my job search and interviewing skills as well as putting in applications, well, everywhere; and trying to find funding for Project Five-Star, which is still high on my priority list but the obstacles to overcome for that seem insurmountable; and finally the business that I tried to get off the ground back in February: Mike's News Hangout.

All the work I've put into all of those endeavors and right now I don't have much to show for it: No job, only a few donations to Project Five-Star, and a stalled business...

Well that's not exactly true. Mike's News Hangout at the moment is the only aspect of my life that's making money. It's not much money, but the whole business plan was to make money through ads on the youtube videos that I posted. At last count there are 392 videos on my Youtube account, and I have $39.24 in my AdSense account. I don't get any of that until it reaches $100.

I had hoped that the money I got from AdSense would have paid for my expenses while on the road. Perhaps I need to edit my videos better, and I will, but the bottom line is that people watch the videos. I get 1,000 - 1,500 hits every month, not a small amount, but unfortunately, it's not enough to make ends meet.

So what's an entrepreneur to do? If I had money I'd buy ad space on Youtube so that more people will watch my videos. Of course, if I had money I'd be on the road.

So I'm taking another look at Mike's News Hangout. A re-introduction if you will. No, I don't have a car or van. Even my camera is sitting in a pawn shop at the moment. But I do have my computer and I have some time. I want to edit the video I have shot to put it in a more coherent form, package it, if you will.

I have plans for Mike's News Hangout. The original idea was shoot events and people and especially baseball games. I've changed things a little. I want to find the good in America and other places; people, events and generally feel-good moments.

And I want to hire someone to travel with me, to be the face of Mike's News Hangout. I'd prefer a female, cute, geeky and an extrovert to offset my maleness,  my lack of cuteness, and my introversion. I'd like to do a nationwide search for that. I'd like a lot of things. I need money! If you're a venture capitalist, I'd love to hear from you!

I have put up a google web site at and I have also put up a contribution site at, through Indigogo.

Will it lead to anything? Only time will tell.

If you like the videos on my youtube page, click like and share. If you don't like them, I can live with that. Let me know what kind of video you'd like to see. And contribute, so that I can start shooting that video.

And as always, thanks for watching!

Mike Fox
Owner, operator and all around nice guy at Mike's News Hangout.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Life Update

It's been a while since I wrote about what's going on in my life. Here's a brief rundown on the major events over the last few weeks.

My chest still hurts from the fall I took, but the pain is minimal now. My knee and shoulder/arm are the same.

My doctor took a look at my arm yesterday and my knee. He pressed on the knee at just the right spot to tell me he knew what he was doing, but only suggested physical therapy. He pressed my shoulder as I lifted my arm and noticed the strange way it came up, that I demonstrated in a youtube video. You can look it up if you want to see me shirtless.

My blood pressure is normal thanks to medication. My blood sugar is higher than I'd like despite the use of Metformin. He prescribed an addition medication and tried to get me into a class explaining what I could and couldn't eat. I explained to him that I'd been to a similar class. I explained to him that as a homeless person who gets $200/month in Food Stamps, I basically have to eat what's put in front of me, and if that's bad for my health then what am I going to do? Not eat?

I went to an orientation meeting for Vocational Rehab this week. I have another meeting on Monday to see if I qualify. I'm not sure what they can do for me, except help me get a job, which of course would be nice.

I've been taking what's called HRD at SWSC. That's a class that teaches me how to look for and find a job. I took the same class about 2 years ago, with the same instructor, and he and I nearly came to blows because he directed his religious fervor directly at me. I can put up with him preaching if he directs it to the room in general, but if he directs it at me this time around, I'll walk out, and file a complaint. I'm being forced to take this class to keep my bed, and I would like religion left out of it. The man can preach to those that need it if he wants, but he spends so much time preaching that he doesn't have time for the class. I really object to that. Make me take the class if you must, but don't force me to sit through a sermon.

I put in an application with the State Fair last week. I have not heard from them yet. Not sure what I'll do there, but every little bit helps. I am in desperate need of some decent clothes.

Other than that, life is going on. I hope to keep that pace up!

Edit: After I wrote this blog I started suffering from cold-like symptoms. Adding misery. Story of my life!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Free Books!

It's that time of quarter again, and the Kindle version of all my books are now free until Wednesday.

Here are the links:

Project Five-Star: The Five Points of Hope

Theater Boy: Part 1 of the Timmons Chronicles

The Timmons Incident: Part 2 of the Timmons Chronicles

These books are also free on the Amazon UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy sites. They are even available in India now!

This is a limited time offer! The only things I ask are that you get 'em while they're hot and that you write a review of them! Oh, and by the way, you don't need a Kindle to read them. Amazon has all kinds of applications you can use from whatever device you have!

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Skillset, Part Deux

Yes, you saw a little bit of my French background. Also enjoyed "Hot Shots: Part Deux" as well!

So we left off in the last blog with me working for Radio Shack as a SALES rep, and me acquainting myself with the Tandy line of computers. This was in 1990 or so, and Tandy was making 80386 and 80486 computers (The predecessors to Pentium processors). They used MS-DOS and something relatively new to the market, something called "Windows." I spent my free time playing with those computers and learning the ins and outs of Windows.

The PC fascinated me and soon I had a hankering for more information. I learned how to BUILD my own x86 system, INSTALL DOS and Windows, and other programs as well. I also learned how to DIAGNOSE problems with my own systems.

Radio Shack went by the wayside and I moved on to a Baby Bell, US West. I started there working PHONES in OUTBOUND SALES of telephone services. I found that line of work challenging, but I also had issues with one of the employees insisting on wearing perfume, which I am highly allergic to. I had my first migraines during this time. I moved from that department to a DATA ENTRY department, which also incurred a transfer to another city.

During this data entry point in my life I was content to enter the data. I was fast and competent. Some part of me liked the lack of challenge, because I could let my mind wander, and soon a story started to form in my head and dreams, and for the first time, I began to WRITE, on an old-style typewriter, no less. Reams of pages and rewrites later, I entered the data on an actual computer, and started to get some feedback from other writers. I also taught myself HTML and JAVASCRIPT to create a web site that highlighted that writing.

Also during this time I began taking classes at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I wanted a change in my life, and the story I was writing seemed to be something that would fit well on television. UNO had no 'television' courses per se, but they did have a Broadcast Journalism program. I took classes in writing for newspapers, and classes on writing for news. I took classes on how to produce a news show and that was really what I wanted out of it, to get behind the camera.

The job with US West moved along well enough for me to get a promotion. I took a six week training program on how to PROGRAM their computers in COBOL, MVS and JES3. I'd like to say I was challenged by the training and the job itself, but my previous education (though not complete) allowed me to breeze through the training and land squarely on my feet.

Unfortunately, I landed on my feet, but also stepped on the toes of the existing staff. The work I was required to do was tedious, since it was updating existing programs to prepare for Y2K. I had to add lines of code for every reference to a date. It was a stop-gap fix at best, since the 'real' work of creating new programs that did not rely on COBOL was left to others.

I have to say, that in all the lines of code that I corrected, I made one mistake. But it was a doozy! I left out the conversion code on one important segment of code. People were getting high bills and it was all my fault. It left our team scrambling to make changes and to make corrections. I really felt down about that.

But I tried to make amends. I updated the DOCUMENTATION of each program we were responsible for and printed out fresh copies of code. Reams of code. But it wasn't enough, and soon I was let go.

But I had a backup! I was now trained in  broadcast journalism. I took a part time job as a PRODUCTION ASSISTANT for a local station. But I had to leave UNO before I graduated because of the lack of money.

As a production assistant, I had many duties, such as CAMERA OPERATION during live news casts; CHYRON operation, which for those that don't know, is the graphics you see at the bottom and on the side of the newscaster; AUDIO OPERATOR, which means when the newscaster talks, I opened his or her microphone.

Last and not least, I edited footage from news feeds for the 'voice over' part of the newscast.

In the end, I liked the job better than most jobs. I liked it to the point where I wanted to direct newscasts. That was a bit of mistake for me because I was offered two jobs almost simultaneously. One was a 30 hour a week job at a station managed by one of my instructors, who was doing me a tremendous favor. It was  a video editor job. The other was as an ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR at a station in Lynchburg, VA. It was full-time, and obviously had more clout to it.

I made the decision to go to Lynchburg. I should have stayed in Omaha, but hindsight is always 20-20.

The Lynchburg job started okay. The problem was that I was the new guy and a bit of a yankee in the middle of a bunch of southerners who were set in their ways. I tried my best to fit in. They trained me in all their stations, the same ones I already had experience on at the other station. But the director who hired me apparently didn't want to give up the secrets of his position very quickly. I had to learned the director's board on my own time, usually between newscasts.

After doing a little training on the board for six months, I went to the boss, and asked him for more training. He moved me to the morning show, and then began a crash course (literally) on directing. Because I had little experience with live directing before then, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the pace I was subjected to.

I was thrown in as a live director before I was ready, and made a number of small errors. But I was improving show after show. Then one day I made a big mistake in front of a producer who completely freaked out, and the next thing I know, I'm gone.

Anyone in the news field knows that mistakes happen, especially with new directors. I don't feel that I was given a chance on that job.

But that led to another career choice, the one I'm most experienced with at the moment: CUSTOMER SERVICE.

It started with a company that provided customer service for a number of religious organizations, doing things like TAKING ORDERS over the phone, updating customer information, and generally being pleasant over the phone. I can do pleasant.

During that job I was promoted to what they called BUSINESS ANALYST, which in this case meant that I monitored call flow and called for people to get on the phones when needed.

After that I took a job as a TECHNICAL SUPPORT agent for Echostar, where I figured out why people's satellite service wasn't working and dispatched technicians when needed. For a time during my stay with Echostar I was also a SATELLITE INSTALLER, but I didn't have the stamina to do the job correctly and I also had a fear of heights. I went back to being a TSR.

While at Echostar I saw a need for certain services, and I attempted to go into business for myself as a TRAINER in how to install and diagnose satellite systems for the everyday user. Unfortunately, that business was underfunded and failed.

But I moved on and found more customer service work in Raleigh, NC. I worked for a company that provided customer service for a variety of accounts. I used ONLINE CHATS, EMAILS and phones to help the customers. I even had a stint as a MENTOR to one group, which meant I took supervisor calls.

Later, I worked from home as a SMARTPHONE TECH, diagnosing issues with BLACKBERRIES and PALM devices. That ended when I lost my home.

But I rebounded and landed a job as an APPLE ADVISOR, which meant I got to learn all about iMACS, MACBOOKS, and OS X 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7. I handled support calls for those machines.

Yet, despite all that experience, I've always known I'm a writer. I wrote three PUBLISHED BOOKS, SCRIPTS based on some of those books, and even looked into forming my own VIDEO PRODUCTION company to produce those scripts.

But though right now I am unemployed, I have not lost hope, and I still have dreams that I want to come true. In April of this year I formed Mike's News Hangout, where I used skills in VIDEOGRAPHY, EDITING, WEB SITE DESIGN. I spent two months on the road recording video and I have a youtube page with my videos.

My computer skills haven't diminished, but I am primarily self-taught on all things Windows, HTML and Javascript. Though I don't have the funds to get certified, I am confident I could get A+ certified in a number of areas.

I read a lot on the Internet. I watch how other people do things and I try to emulate them. I learn fast and work as fast as I can even when others tell me to take it slower. I am eager to impress, and I just need a chance.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Same Old, Same Old

I've been in happy ruts before, working, playing, getting paid, even paying bills - slowly, but right now I'm in a jobless, homeless, no money, not much fun rut and...


The worst part is, I'm trying to apply for the kind of jobs I know I can do, and I'm still not hearing from anyone. What, am I on some kind of national blacklist? Have hiring managers been looking at my Youtube Page and going "No, never in a million years?"

Well, if that's happening, I'm sorry, I'm not going to take it down. If you won't hire me because of that, I don't want to work for you.

But I do want to work! If you can't guess my skillset from my WRITING and VIDEOS, let me tell you something about my skills:

I started out in college at Florida State University as a French Major. Yes, for a time, I spoke pretty fluent French and could write well also.

But times changed and so did my major, to Computer Science. I learned advanced mathematics, computer architecture, and PROGRAMMING in a mainframe environment (Control Data Assembly, PASCAL and COBOL, with a little FORTRAN mixed in.) I even had some experience during that time in what amounted to volunteer work (or "contract if you ask the owner") at a small company that used a minicomputer to handle data entry for a small insurance company. I programmed in SYBOL and handled day to day routines.

Broke and fed up with empty promises, I moved on from both Florida State and that company and moved to Tampa, where I did CLERICAL work for another insurance company.

Then I started taking a course in ELECTRONICS at a small 'college' in Tampa and eventually earned a 'diploma' there. I moved to Las Vegas and worked with repairing slot machines and video poker machines.

After Las Vegas I wandered for a bit, taking odd jobs, but landed a temporary job as a COMPUTER OPERATOR, working tape drives, running BATCH jobs with MVS/JES2.

Then I turned to sales at RADIO SHACK. I sold small parts, all kinds of electronics and I started learning about PC's and DOS, and the relatively new WINDOWS 3.0.

Seeing a trend here? I hope so. Tomorrow I'll continue after Radio Shack and tell you what else I can do.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Screenplays About Family

Okay the revolution within my body has been quelled for the most part, though I am experiencing pain still both on the chest and the shoulder. I am better able to concentrate on my writing.

I am attempting to write a screenplay based on events of my past, basically following me from ages 1 to 10, when I had issues knowing who I was and getting teased relentlessly by a group of girls.

My question today, though, is has anyone written such a script, and did you have to change the names to protect family members? Part of me wants to not change names, and part of me is worried about getting sued by family members who are not portrayed in the best light (but are portrayed honestly).

Should embarrassing yet entertaining bits be left out? Should I present my mother the way I saw her, risking drawing the ire of my entire family? Should I write it as fiction and not mention that events are based on something that actually happened?

And the biggest question of all: Can I get help writing it? If you have screenwriting experience, I need your help. I'm so close to the story that I have had trouble writing it for the last 20 years. So I need someone who's concern will be to listen to my ideas and stories and put them into a coherent script. I'd share credit.

I'm almost tempted to write it in the form of a book first, that way I can get the story on my computer, but I'm afraid I can't even do that.

*Sigh* It's a good story too, full of child-like wonder, imagination, and a family that, looking back on it, would leave the rest of the planet in stitches.

Well, that's all for today. Leave a comment if you're interested in helping, or send an email to at

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Body is Revolting

All right, old joke aside, I had a bad Sunday. First I endured as much as I could stand of an insane person's diatribe. His words are not repeatable as far as I'm concerned. This happened outside SWSC, while I was waiting for the center to reopen for the day. (It's open to everyone during the day, Saturdays and Sundays and in this case Labor Day Monday.)

I took as much of the hatred for women that the man spewed before I started walking downtown to get something cold to drink. I was passing Shaw University when an uneven sidewalk caused me to trip.

Normally, with a healthy knee and shoulder, I might have been able to catch myself. But this time, momentum and the weight of a 50 lb backpack caused me to just fall forward, on the very shoulder that I injured last February. I hit the cement hard, on my right side, with the full force of the backpack adding injury to insult.

I lay stunned for a moment, then slowly started to gather myself. My glasses had been thrown to one side (turns out I bonked my head slightly), my hat had gone in the other direction. I slowly slipped off my backpack and rolled over. My chest hurt. But everything else seemed okay. I stood slowly, painfully and then tried to put my backpack on. More pain.

I hobbled to where I could sit down, and the act of sitting was painful, as was the act of breathing. But once I sat and calmed down, I felt somewhat better.

Then I tried to get up again and it started all over again. I slowly made my way to  Moore Square bus terminal and used my last dollar to ride to Wake Med Hospital.

After waiting a couple of hours there, then waiting some more for results of X-rays, I was told that nothing was broken, but my chest wall was bruised. He recommended 5-7 days bed rest. I was somewhat happy about that because I thought I could get a temporary bed at SWSC with that note.

I was discharged, given a bus pass to get me back to the shelter and arrived, very sore, and tried to present the note to staff.

I was told that only my regular doctor or management could arrange a rest bed. I was told management would not be in until Tuesday because of the holiday and I was SOL for getting the rest bed I needed.

I called my doctor's office, got their answering service, and got a callback from the doctor on call (not my regular doctor), who apparently did not know the procedure for obtaining a rest bed, but she did talk to staff at SWSC, who arranged for me to have a bed until the proper paperwork could be filed.

Seems like a lot of work to do for someone who's already injured. Gotta be a better way.

So last night I did sleep in an actual bed, on the side that was injured because I read that was the right thing to do. I was awoken at midnight by someone having a conversation in his sleep, but managed to get back to sleep and get a fair night in.

This morning my chest still hurts, but I also find pain in my right shoulder, which I thought had escaped additional injury. I don't think it's any worse than it was, just more aggravated.

But last night I started thinking that my body is staging a revolution, bent on wresting control of my body from me. Maybe it's just tired of being tired, of sleeping on the floor, of walking altogether too many places in the last couple of weeks, laden with a 50 lb backpack the whole way.

I don't blame it. But I think I'd like to maintain control of my body for a little bit longer. At least getting some bed rest means I won't be carrying the backpack everywhere.

So, while a coup d'etat rages in my body, my mind is in control, and with luck, will remain so.

Have a happy Labor Day!