Writer’s Block

Written by  on July 5, 2012

I’ve tried to work on revising my story a bit… although its harder than I thought it would be.
The plot of the entire story was designed all the way back in 2003, with a few large changes made back in 2007, along with the first introduction which got stalled at chapter 4.
As I stated before, I’ve had to make a few changes to a good part of the story due to the fact that back when I came up with the idea, 2014 was a long ways off. Changing aspects of it to make it a more generic time somewhere in the next 25 years seems harder than it looked. Instead of using names of politicians, I’ve had to craft up a few… in addition, try to make it as reasonable as possible.
I guess my problem is more the details than the story itself. If I actually decide to do a dead tree version, it’d be nice to be a bit beyond 100 pages, wouldn’t it?
Actually, ideas of this story are even older than 2003. Some bits are based off of a comic book series me and some childhood friends drew way back in elementary school. The idea of writing it down came later when I was going through old junk to throw out. Coming across the 6 books, I decided to scan through them… although many didn’t have any captions at all, I got up off the floor and decided that I’d try and do something other than Ed, Edd, ‘n Eddy fanfiction.
I kinda wish I had the guts to put some of those online long ago before I lost the disk with most of them on it. Some of those were pretty good and I spent a lot of time working on them. Two chunks I still have, one titled “Eds in Space” that’s on fanfiction.net and updated whenever I decide to fill in gaps from the missing word files, and another that was an Eds’ 4th of July special that involved lots of arson. That one I could probably put up whenever, its only missing the ending.

Weight vs volume on food

Written by  on June 19, 2012

So the Wall Street Journal published an article a while back about the push to have the measurement units on nutrition facts labels changed from grams to teaspoons.
Setting aside the fact I’m pro metric system, this has a lot of fundamental problems.
First of all, people claim that naturally in America, nobody weighs their ingredients so nobody can relate weight of sugar in grams to teaspoons. Okay, so I guess that is somewhat understandable. I don’t believe that many people actually do weigh their ingredients. I occasionally do, as well as some bakers I know but that’s about it.
The majority of this article focuses on people not knowing how to measure in grams and that being the primary cause of it. Honestly, that seems like a load of crap. It does not take much to learn a different measurement at all, however nobody really reads the nutrition facts labels anyways.

Here is an argument against changing the labels….
Masses of sugar
Anyone back from school knows the rules of density. Different sugars have different densities. A 5 minute search online reveals a few things. 100g of High Fructose Corn Syrup, a common sweetener used in pop and other sugary drinks, has a volume of 78ml (roughly 5.25 tbsp). Now, compare that to 100g of powdered sugar, the kind you find in the grocery store. 100g of powdered sugar is about 190ml in volume (roughly 12.8 tbsp). Now, the companies that use natural sweeteners are going to get massively shafted, while the ones who used extremely processed sugar get the appearance of containing less sugar.

Now assume that the majority of customers are stupid. The average customer is going to look at these labels and say “Gee, this 2-litere bottle of pop has 20tbsp of sugar, where as this natural sweetened bottle of cola has 30tbsp of sugar. I’ll go for the one with 20tbsp with sugar.” 

Now, both bottles of pop actually contained 240 grams of sugar each, one had high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, and the other used cane sugar as a sweetener. The mass of sugar I used is just a shot in the dark though, as I don’t have any pop in my apartment to actually look at the nutrition facts, but you get the picture there.

Simply stating:

Switching the nutrition facts label from mass to volume is a very bad idea, and the only people who will get screwed of course is the customers.

Why Engineering Students Dislike Other Majors

Written by  on March 24, 2012

It’s very common if you have friends who are engineering majors. They have a massive dislike towards students of other majors, especially art majors. It’s understandable, I have the same feelings.

I’m close friends with a Business major, and a nursing major. I give some more respect to the nursing major with some exceptions, most of my classmates are the same. We’re bitter for reasons.

First of all, the workload. I’m a 4.5th year engineering student. I’ve been in college since the Spring of 2007. I probably won’t graduate for another full semester. This was because I spread my classes out a bit more than most other students do, that and because I worked 2 full/part-time jobs the entire time also to pay my way through school. (I don’t believe in taking out excessive amounts of money in the form of loans, exception being perhaps a house.) Most of my friends do 18 credit hours a semester. At least one of those classes a semester is a engineering/science lab course, which really should be a 6 credit hour course. You can enter the engineering buildings here at Carolina any time of the day, including 3:30AM and see people walking around and working on stuff like it’s any other time of day. Not saying that other majors have the same issue, it’s just not as common.

Now comparing students of other majors I know. One person I know who is a nursing student, she spends 4  out of 7 nights a week getting wasted (with plenty of photographic evidence on facebook), and somehow has a near 4.0GPA. Now either that major is easy as hell, or the courses don’t involve that much time. I know for a fact she is not a smart person. She spent a lot of her time in high school asking people for answers and or paying others off with sex to get her answers. Now my business major friends. One of them gets wasted 3 out of 7 nights a week and on top of that has a 4.0GPA. Sitting in a few of his classes, all the students in that class needed calculators to subtract 48,000 from 60,000. The answer is 12,000, and you morons needed calculators?

Most of my other friends with my major are the same way. And that is the reason they are bitter too. It’s some what more insulting when they complain about having too much to do when they only spend 3 hours a week doing homework, whereas a lot of us spend over 80 hours a week doing stuff for school. Imagine doing that load too while working, it sucks.

Spring break book writing

Written by  on March 8, 2012

I neglected “Space Junk” for a full year. That’s nothing new actually. Being that I started writing the actual book itself back in 2007, I only have managed to complete six chapters, totaling about 50 pages, and out of those six, only 3 are proofread and publishable.

Looking back at what I wrote starting in 2007, some things have happened that require me to make some several significant changes to the storyline. First thing is I guess I was somewhat correct about issues involving ISPs and the government being able to disconnect everyone in the United States from the internet. Last year in 2011, Congress passed a law allowing the President of the US to kill the internet in this country during times of national security. Okay, so that seems correct.

Next for the setting of the year 2014, that seems a little unreasonable now. It’s 2012 and a lot of what I predicted in 2007 that would happen in 2014 is not going to happen now. It’s very unlikely that Hilliary Clinton will be president during that time- I assumed in 2007 that she would of been the democratic nominee and would have became president. Oh well.

Instead of revising 6 chapters worth of stuff, I ended up deciding to rewrite a lot of what I had already, although keeping a good majority of it and just massively changing it. This puts me around Revision 14 or so since I came up with the idea of writing this book in 2004. On the bright side, this allows me to do some more experimentation with character views. I decided instead of having the entire story being told in Jim’s point of view, to distribute it across four of the characters. I have absolutely no clue how most book writers do this, so this will be a nice try.


I wonder how book writers take time to write things like this and get them flowing decently.

I Hate SUVs

Written by  on February 26, 2012

I hate SUV’s…

Er, well mainly the people who own them mainly. Lots of people I’ve met own then because it allows them “to control the road better”.  Good majority of the drivers are female, and they are more aggressive when they drive them. Every morning when I travel through town, I encounter single females on their cellphones running redlights. If someone honks their horn at these women, they flip the drivers off or cuss them out as they’re driving. Sounds kinda hypercritical, they are the ones actually breaking the law. Mothers seem to own them to carry their kids around, although the size of the car seems pretty  unnecessary, as most of the time, you see only one kid in the back seat, however that kid seems to be off the wall, jumping around in the back of it without a seatbelt.

I understand the need for a vehicle with a lot of seats if you have a lot of children (however now a days people who have a lot of children are of very low income families and all their stuff is subsidized by the government), however for most North Americans, buying a SUV is completely pointless.

As of this writing, gas prices in South Carolina were around 3.47$ a (US) gallon (about 0.91$/L). On TV this morning, they were interviewing some chick who owned a SUV and was like “It cost me 300$ a week in gas just to drive my kids to school! The government needs to do something!” First of all, if you’re paying 300 dollars to drive your kids to school, either you’re a crappy driver, or your suv you’re standing next to pumping gas into gets 8 whopping MPG (or 30L/100km).

The United States has some of the cheapest gas in the world, next to the Middle East. For example, Germany currently pays about 2.20$/L for gas, which is about 8.33$ per (US) gallon. We really shouldn’t be complaining about the cost of gas. We’ve taken cheap gas for the past century for granted. Europe and Asia all mainly have small cars because of the excessive cost of gas there. We’re heading on that way.

I don’t think we will completely go the way that Europe and Asia has for a long time, because in comparison, there is more open land that separates cities and towns from each other, and public transit would be sluggishly slow until some kind of high speed rail is implemented. (That’s another post another time though.) Cars will be here for a very long time, however people will have to be more reasonable on what they own. Personally, I doubt that would happen as we all have this mentality that we are superior than the rest of the world and we can abuse everything that we please.

People in the next decade will have to be more reasonable when it comes to the cost of gas. Some suggestions to follow would be:

  • Quit complaining about gas prices. If you purchased a 38k$ hummer, that’s your own damn fault that it costs you 300$ a week in gas.
  • If your kid is hyperactive and you get an SUV so the kid can move around, you’re just a shitty parent. Control your kid better. (I can rant about this quite a bit)
  • Remove your arrogance that you “rule the road”. It’s morons like you who cause accidents for everyone else.

I’ve noticed too that every time a new more fuel efficiant car is put out on the market, its immediately ostrizied by the media, for example, the Chevy Volt over its batteries. Well the car is the first of its kind on the market here in a very long time, there’s bound to be problems. They get worked out, and for example GM is doing the repairs for free. People who complain about the cost of the Volt don’t seem to have any trouble going out and buying a SUV with the same cost, which seems kinda hypocritical. Oh well, that’s just me. Personally, if I had the 30-40k$ to spend, I would buy one in a heartbeat.


Sources for cost of German gas: http://gasoline-germany.com/statistik.phtml