[Media – Television] Always a human example in science fiction

I’m watching a sci-fi show right now and once again got hit with an annoying little consistency that seems to be prevelant in sci-fi shows that have aliens and alien cultures in it everywhere. What happens is that someone in the show will mention something and give a few examples—usually historic ones—which will pretty much always include at least one human reference and at least one alien reference. For example lets say a character is talking to another character about art and wants to give a few master artists as examples, then they’ll say something like “…great art from people like Michaelangelo, Greetblaczag, or Blorgjlob.” or “…like Zeepledorb, Marktong, or Cézanne.” They’ll always give a few alien examples to indicate that this is a sci-fi show with aliens, but always include a human example. I suppose it could be because it’s a human show, or maybe because humans think they’re so great. Maybe it’s because the writers think that viewers would feel alienated if they didn’t included at least one human reference each time. *Pardon the pun.*

Nov.16.04 – 1:28am *UPDATE*

It’s worse than I thought. I was watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager the other day and noticed the above statement taken to the extreme. Instead of just listing a couple of alien examples and a human example, they were talking about human matters (Starfleet captains) and two unknown captains were listed as well as one well known one. I found this fitting but shocking because this is not a lone incident, in all situation where a science fiction show self-references in a list, they will list a few names you have never heard of, but will always throw in a name from a previous episode, previous series, or film, or something that you DO know.

Just once I would like to hear someone list a few things that are completely unknown and leave it at that.

[Personal – Education] I’m back in school… well, sort of. Shhhh. ;)

One day last year I was moping and whining about not being able to get a job and I remembered something from school. During school I was so smug, bragging to my friends who were in general computer science degree programs that because I was in an honors program I was exempt from certain courses. For example the general students had to all four 3rd year half courses as well as a 3rd year math course. The honors students only had to take two of the four half courses and the math course wasn’t mandatory. I though I was clever… boy was I wrong.

I took the courses I wished to take which was fine, but I skipped several courses because I thought—and heard—they were boring or difficult like databases, numerical computing, AI 2, analysis of algorithms, and compiler theory.

After graduating with an honors degree in cs and a minor in psychology (a rare and exclusive program taken by few and completed by even fewer) I thought I was ready for the world. As it turns out, the world had already declared bankruptcy, closed shop, and left town. I couldn’t—and still can’t—find a job. In the two years since graduating I’ve had four temporary/part time/minimum wage jobs that were so awful I wanted to shoot myself every morning when I awoke. They were pointless, non; productive, constructive, acomplishiative, and mind-numbingly boring. I soon learned that my degree was worthless. If that weren’t bad enough I had have debt collectors harrassing me every day about my student loans even though I’ve explained 100 times to 50 people that I’m broke.

Anyway, so last year I was at some employment thing and I got to thinking about how few tech jobs there are in this stupid farm town and of the few, most are database jobs. I wished I had taken the database course. Then it hit me, WHY CAN’T I?! I figured I could just sit in on the class—I believe it’s called “auditing”—just like I used to; the only difference is that I’m not getting credit. Of course by then the school year was almost over.

This year I put my plan into action. I checked the calanders and put together a time-table. I selected several classes I wanted to take including film classes. I had to select the large classes so that I could blend into the crowd; I could not take small intimate courses, courses where attendance is taken, or where participation is required. I ended up having to drop a few courses and am now left with 4: Databases, CS Fundamentals (DFA/NFA, strings, etc), Project Management, and Intro to Film Studies. Except for the fundamentals course which is bloody boring and has a professor whom nobody can understand (heavy accent) the courses are good. I’m learning some stuff. In fact I should be able to add a few things to my resumé at the end of the term and hopefully wil expand my options.

[Personal – Tech – Web] X1

No news is good news. That’s probably why I don’t post much. A even more accurate reason I don’t post much is that I’m too lazy. Of course the real reason I don’t post much is because it’s not easy enough and I’m too busy. Well, I do have some news that’s been piling up.

I am rewriting the entire site. I will be doing away with the frames. Even though I really like them because they are the ultimate expression of order, they became extinct quite a few years ago. Due to several reasons, frames cause trouble with various things for example search engines. As a result, they have been antiquated and there are several alternatives. The problem is that the alternatives keep have become superceded by things that then became superceded. Frames, tables, css, php, asp… ARRRGGGH! There doesn’t seem to be any perfect website technology to use, I guess the web is the epitomy of continued learning.

Anyway, I am getting rid of frames and redoing the whole site with CSS. I have already redone it so that it emulates frames and so looks just like it does now, but better. I’ve sprinkled it with generous helpings of JavaScript to really make it sizzle. I’ve got cookies, expaning menus, and mroe. I have also kept it STRICT standards valid. I will try to keep it cross-platform and cross-browser compatible, especially now that I’m running several different browsers (IE, FireFox, Opera, Maxthon). However, I will not be doing too much in the way of supporting limited technology like text browsers; that would require TOO MUCH time on my part which is already at a premium. I will also not be able to do too much in the way of supporting users with JS or CSS disabled, although I am doing my best.

The biggest problem I’ve had with non-frames pages is that you have to include the same damn stuff on each and every friggin’ page, like a navbar, copyright, etc. and that’s just annoying. I’ve looked at a few HTML pre-processors but have not found anything easy/useful. Therefore, the new site will not likely go live until I have finished restructuring ParseTXT so that I can use it to pre-process the files.

In the meantime, the experimental site that I have been testing with is available at http://www.synetech.000k2.com/x1/

[Personal] I’m back (more or less)

Well I’m back. I have not been around and have actually been asked why I have not had much Internet presence for a while which actually surprised me quite a bit. I did not think anyone would really notice (I’m not much of a poster, I do most of my work offline).

Anyway it’s been quite an ordeal. My girl cat was ill, she swallowed a piece of hard plastic somehow that got stuck in her gut and had to be surgically removed. She suffered a lot because she had to be away from home for the first time in her life and all alone each night—we were not allowed to stay 🙂 Not to mention all the pain (although she never really showed any). My boy cat was also pretty miserable, he definitely knew things were terribly wrong. As for us, we both went through Hell, having to see them suffering and all the fear of our own. It was the worst 4 weeks ever.

Anyawy, everythign seems to be pretty much back to normal now and hopefully things will start to pick up.

I have a lot to say right now so I should be posting a lot more soon.

[Personal – Education/Finance] I want a refund from the University (I think I still have a receipt)

I was just thinking about my student loans today. I graduated a couple of years ago and have had nothing but a few temporary, low paying jobs every few months since. As a result I was only able to make four payments before I ran out of money. They have been harassing me ever since and do not listen at all when I explain my situation. In fact I have recently gotten a letter threatening legal action.

I have no idea what kind of legal action they can take against me. What are they going to do ARREST ME FOR BEING POOR? That would be great. I would raise such a commotion and do whatever I could to get worldwide attention to this fascist action. At this point I would love nothing more than to drag those greedy, selfish bastards through the mud.

I checked that my mother did not co–sign any loan documents so that I can make sure that they do not have any way of bugging her. So, I can only think that they would try to take any/all of my assets. Unfortunately for them, I do not really HAVE any assets. I do not have a car, own any land or property; in fact the most expensive thing that I actually own is my computer, and since it’s rather old now, it would probably only bring in about $200 if sold.

So, what can they repossess? My education? GO AHEAD AND TAKE IT!!!

The education I got at Western was sub–par at best. I graduated from the computer science program minoring in psychology—a rare program due to several factors. I found that the computer courses were completely worthless. I already knew most of the material being taught (at least 80-85% per course), with only two (2) courses where I did not know much—those were the only two computer courses I actually enjoyed. I did like the psychology courses, although after I took the first one, they became a little less enjoyable due to the massive overlap between all the courses. I also liked the philosophy courses—which I HAD to take to graduate. After graduating from such a crappy program, I have yet to actually use that stupid, over-sized, ridiculously expensive piece of paper that contends that I do in fact know what I claim to know. The jobs I’ve had so far could have been given to a trained chimp.

Therefore, I was thinking, what the heck, I would be more than happy to hand over my diploma to the student loan repo–men.

Of course another option would be to get a refund on my education. I would be equally happy to give back my diploma to the greedy, bloodsucking University and get back my money (I’m sure they would pro-rate it), and then hand that over to the loans people. At least it would reduce my loans to a decent and manageable size.

If anyone who reads this has any idea of how I can go about doing so, I would be very willing to move forward with this. I know it sounds kind of dumb, but then again, I cannot even count the number of films I have seen where someone did something that sounded dumb and it became such a big thing that they made a movie about it. 🙂

[Personal] This sucks (I warned you)

Well it’s not like I promised that I would post every day. In fact I’m pretty sure I explicitly said that I am not the kind of person that posts a lot. That’s not to say I have nothing to say or no thoughts—quite the opposite in fact—I think too much, I have too much to say. There in lies the problem. I spend so much time thinking and fleshing out my thoughts and ideas that I have little to none left to actually write them down. I suppose that if I have a PDA or laptop or were sitting at the computer 24 hours a day, I might be able to fire off my ideas to the computer right away; but since I do not, by the time I do get to the computer, I’ve completly forgotten about it and am preoccupied with other matters.

[Personal] So busy

Okay, here’s the 411 (bah! I hate pop culture lingo)

I have got a LOT to do.

  • First off, I am trying to brush up on Direct3D. I do not actually need it since I am more of a support and app/tool/utility programmer. I do not really write giant, extravagant multimedia programs and games. I write powerful, useful routines that I and other people can use in all sorts of places. I also write smallish programs that are the kinds of things that you say “that’s exactly what I need”. As such, I do not really need things like OpenGL or D3D, and that is why I am honing my D3D skills (as well as the fact that D3D is relatively difficult).
  • Second, I am researching the css vs. tables vs. frames debate when it comes to web site design. I still like frames because they are so structured and I love structure. However, I completely understand the arguments against them and am looking at the alternatives to redo my sites. Of course I am a little limited technologically in what I can do (for example I cannot use PHP with my current host).
  • Third, I am working on some of my projects. I have made some great progress recently on one and started another with leaps and bounds (albeit in my head). So I am really excited about working on these two (for now).
  • Fourth, I am working on my screenplay and have already finished the treatment for the first two acts and am knee deep in the third which just happens to be the biggest and best act. My creativity will really be put to the test now.
  • Finally, I am really getting back into the volunteering habit. I have already “served” almost two months tutoring poor and handicapped children. Tonight I wrote a computer test to see if I am qualified to teach a computer course at the library. I guess my University degree in computer science is not qualification enough. :p

Oh, and then there’s all the other stuff I normally do as part of my regular routines. I wonder how I get so much done… Oddly enough though, sometimes I find there is just not enough time in a day, but then sometimes I find that the day just won’t end.

[Personal – Health] Breakfast

Well, I’ve stopped fasting. I’m now down to 175 lbs. I actually made it five (5) full days without eating a single thing. In fact the only thing I’ve ingested in those 120 hours was about 5 glasses of water spread out (not evenly). I would have just gone the extra 2 days to make it a nice round week but I started feeling really bad today so I just went to 5. On the bright side, last time I started feeling bad after just under 2 days, so I’ve gotten better. Next time I’ll definitely be able to make the full week. 🙂