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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Telepathic potential

Study exposes telepathic potential in humans. Cool!

Yeah, I thought that was the first thing you were going to bring up.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Wither Trek

After watching the best episode of Trek ever, it's really underlined how Star Trek has seen better days. Long gone are the days when fellow retail clerks would tap their name tags and say, "Mr. Data, beam us up!" Now, in my IT office, 2 out of 12 people watch Star Trek. And this is amogst geeks. Geeks!

In a visual sense, this graph really tells the tale:

I'm looking forward to the demise of Star Trek in only that its total death may give the premise time to heal. My front running ideas:

- Tales of Trek: Anthology series set in the Trek universe. Half Twilight Zone, half Trek (of all eras). I liked the Twilight Zone and it ran on the concept not on the star power. I also really liked the Trek episodes cut from that cloth (e.g. Charlie X).
- Star Trek: Remake the original series. Recast the roles. Make the show snug into Trek lore from the get-go. After all, the Federation came into the show somewhere in the late first season. The Enterprise is called "USS Enterprise" not because it's a "United Space Ship" but because the decal makers assumed that the ship is run by space Americans. Remake some of the classic episodes and introduce some new spins.
- Trader Captains and Merchant Princes: Steal from the FASA RPG. Make a story set in TOS era with a merchant crew who gag on the syrupy goodness of the Federation.

The ideas of I dread:
- Starfleet Academy: NCC-90210
- Klingon Assault Group: Geeks like to sing. I don't why, but they do. I feel that a show with 10% bat'leth fights, 10% disrupter fire, 40% sub-titles and 40% Klingon war songs will kill Trek more thoroughly than Michael Jackson's kids album.
- Next Gen Lamo Rehash: For all the lack of juice that DS9 (to boldy stay where no one has stayed before) and Voyager (... looking for that shining beacon called Earth...) had, they did well. A fourth kick at that can will be impossible.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Paradise Lost

Travel back to 1999. Clinton was in the White House. Every idiot was launching a dotcom worth millions in moments. I was working on the Internet.

Here's the dynamic: I had a mix of self-employment work from local clients and ongoing work from an IT temp agency. Money was good. My wife would take off to work at noon and I would pick her up at approx. 9PM. She had her late mornings. I got to see her. We lived in a house and had enough money.

Things were so good we screwed with the dynamic. Cheryl had to work later. I did less work for the temp agency and more with local clients who choked on $5 invoices. We moved from renting a house to buying a townhouse. We started a family.

During the same time, the dotcom crash happened. Then two years later, 9/11 slammed US job opportunities. With a new family came a lot of time taking care of our child. Meanwhile, I made big mistakes:
I worked for two chuckleheads who cared only about their BMWs (his and "hers") and their sex tours to Asia.
I started writing a book. Problem is: the publishing industry is in a route. The IT industry moreso. The ditz editor pushed by 90,000 word book to 200,000 words. Then, she wanted it pared back after I got the manuscript handed in. Her high career high-water mark: editing one of the many "Internet Directories"-- kind of an Internet phonebook. She also dangled me for 5 months while I was waiting for part one of my advance to come through. Part two never came.
After that, I was part of an IT co-op, EPICO. That was a mistake. Nine people who didn't want to cooperate. A two year battle of diminishing returns. When we walked in, Cheryl was $10K in debt. I had $2K in debt. When we got out of it, we shared $24K in debt. Before EPICO, my income was hovering around $30-36K depending on the year. After EPICO, $6K/year. Thank you EPICO: you almost killed me.

So, I found a job and it was almost ideal. I could everything they needed me to do. The company had been around 10 years. They had more than one programmer. It was good. Then, the workload ramped up. My wife was working 3-11, I had to work 7-3 to satisfy the demands of the job. So, basically I became a single parent with a roommate, low rent and a good separation agreement. I averaged 4 hours of sleep every night. Sometimes less. I started getting chest pains and a permanent sense of despondency. Life was a different version of Hell. Now I had the money to pay my bills, but my quality of life was just as bad. Then things started to get busier.

Paradise Lost.

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