08 July 2011

Oi! You can't sleep here!

Its time to wake this blog up. 

Well, unless you were having a really good dream or something, in which case, as you were. Just a gentle reminder, you don't actually have to get up. You should probably stand up, stretch out, and then sit down again. Its good for you. Or something.

I don't even remember where I was last time. I was updating my Pandora Punk radio station more often than this blog. [Karl suddenly realizes how quiet it is and turns on the Punk radio in a new tab. Ahhhhhh much better!] 

So where was I? Oh yeah, I now have an Associate's degree in Electronic Engineering and Computer Technology, and I'm looking for a job. I'm looking for electronic technician, computer help desk, and chemistry jobs. Even if I end up staying with chemistry jobs, its nice to have this degree because now I know things about transistors and operation amplifiers that I always wanted to know about. I understand electronics much better now, and I never really would have had the discipline to sit down and read books about it if there wasn't a lesson plan involved. At the moment I'm building a really cool little capacitor/inductor tester from a kit. Then I'm going to repair a garage door remote control. 

Then I have an idea for a capacitor leakage tester which will probably require me to program a microcontroller (a programmable integrated circuit - they are quite common now, think 'arduino'). This project is actually a lot simpler than it sounds. Its just one or two current amplifiers to get a current of around one nano-ampere to be about 10-100 milliamperes, (alternatively transforming the signal to 10-100 millivolts) then into the analog-to-digital port of a microcontroller that I have had lying around anyway. And a little code to do the math and let me read the results with my laptop instead of digital LED readout which would require writing a LOT more code.

That's right World, I can officially take apart a remote control AND fix it and then put it back together. So, 9 months of schooling when I didn't have a job anyway - totally worth it!

I'm also finishing up a Fan Fiction which will appear here shortly. If I can re-write it so that it can stand on its own, then I may submit it for a short story contest. The immediate problem would be that the characters are not mine, and the story occurs amid ongoing adventures of these characters, so it doesn't stand alone very well. That means readers will be more confused than if they were reading Harlan Ellison.

Also, since the year is dragging on, I'm planning to participate in NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. I had intended to write a character study between a freshly cloned Emperor Palpatine, and a badly scarred Admiral Piett, set a few years after the destruction of the second Death Star. BUT some rudimentary reading and exploring issues relevant to the 'Expanded Star Wars Universe' leave me believing that the whole concept would be a fool's errand. LucasArts have enormous control over future releases: there is a novel featuring 'Darth Plagus the Wise' scheduled for release next year. Also, I really don't care to sit down and read a stack of Star Wars novels just to grasp the milieu, when I've never really cared to read Star Wars before. My future leisure reading will be Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood' and 'The Crusades' by Thomas Asbridge. I just finished Charles Freeman's 'The Closing of the Western Mind' [EVERYONE should read it! ... though it is moderately dense]. Star Wars fiction is simply incongruous with my desired reading material these days.

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