I Am Ken Kato

A few days ago, I wrote that My 40 Year Love Affair With Star Trek… Is Over.  The final straw, as you may remember, was CBS and Paramount issuing rather draconian Star Trek fan film guidelines, which saw several of the fan films I really like shut down and possibly fan audio series, like Henglaar, M.D. that I voice act as Ken Kato in, wound up as well.

I am still out of love with Star Trek.  I still am angry and sad about their draconian fan film guidelines, among other things.  Their approach towards the fans is as if we can be pushed around, not consulted, and we’ll continue to throw money hand over fist at Star Trek with any product (good or bad) they put out there.  And I have a choice on what I do with my money, and by not spending it with CBS or Paramount, whether by not subscribing to CBS All Access to watch the new Star Trek show in 2017 or by not snuggling up to a huge tub of popcorn and watching Star Trek Beyond in the movie theatre, I’m objecting with my wallet.

Read I Am Ken Kato

My 40 Year Love Affair With Star Trek… Is Over

Anyone who knows me knows my love for Star Trek.

As a child, I remember my parents introducing me to Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones, and the Enterprise, these complex characters and graceful-looking starship soaring from planet to planet.  I think some of the weekly aliens scared me, especially when they flashed them up at the end of the credits.  (Balok, anyone?)

Balok

I didn’t understand the cerebral and more thought-provoking parts of the episodes because, as a child, you usually don’t have those parts of your brain developed until you start hitting adulthood.  So it was good to watch as something fun as a kid.

It was one of my introductions to science fiction, and one I will always be grateful to my parents for introducing me to it.

Read My 40 Year Love Affair With Star Trek Is Over

The Robot

Robot from Lost in Space

A flash of lightning illuminated the basement through the windows, bringing light to many of the dark shadows for a few moments.  He rubbed his hands together, his assistant nervously counting the seconds, before a distant rumble grew louder, rattling the windows.

“It’s almost time,” he said.

His hands crawled up the white bed sheet, two fingers on each hand finally finding the top edge.  Pinching, he waited.

Another flash of lighting.  Another clap of thunder.

“Are you sure this is such a good idea?”  His assistant pushed his glasses up.  “I mean…”  The assistant’s eyes glanced towards the staircase.

He merely waived his hand, and his assistant’s concern faded.

Placing his hand back on the white bed sheet, he ripped the sheet off cleanly.  There, on the laboratory table, lay a silver robot, its arms and legs still, its various buttons and access pads dark.

He rushed to the wall adjacent to the table, flipping on switches and pushing buttons, on the various computers and monitors on the wall.  Monitors flickered to life, computers started their boot-up sequences; the sounds of hard drives whizzing into action, the lights of various buttons blinking on and off, filled the once-dark basement.

His hand pointed towards the jumper cables, motioning for his hesitant assistant to do his duty.  “Attach the clips to the bolts either side of the robot’s head.”  His voice sounded full of authority and confidence.

The assistant followed his orders, slightly shaking as he attached the first alligator clip.  His hand wobbling, he dropped the second alligator clip, stumbling to the floor to recover it.  On his knees, the assistant stretched his neck to see the bolt and extended his arm to hook the second clip onto it.

“Now,” he smiled, reflections of the various button lights and monitors dancing in his eyes.  “Now, plug the interface in, and stand back.”

A large electrical connector protruded from the lower wall, adjacent to the computer banks.  The assistant grabbed the thick black power cable spilling from the slab the robot lay dormant on and thrust the plug end of it into the connector.  Several buttons and switches hummed to life on the table, causing the assistant to jump back quickly.

He pushed the assistant back as he approached the table.  Glancing at the monitors again, watching the various graphs and measurements repeating on them, his hand moved to a large instrument panel located beside the slab.

Lightning illuminated the room, and again, the thunder nearly deafeningly sounding only moments later.

He flicked the switch.

A bright light filled the room, accompanied by a loud boom, and the assistant found he couldn’t see, his ears ringing from the loud noise.  He blinked a few times before his vision returned.

And before him stood the robot, dials and buttons and switches illuminated, its eyes glowing red.

It turned to look at the assistant.  Slowly, deliberately, its head moved to look at its creator.

It attacked.

He jumped on the robot’s back as quick as he could, the robot’s arms flailing and knocking over various pieces of equipment as the wheels for feet moved the robot back and forth in jerking, inconsistent movements.  The assistant ducked as one of the arms nearly hit his head, his hair moving as the arm flew overhead.

“The plug,” the robot’s creator motioned towards the wall, desperately trying to hold on.  “Remove the plug!”

The assistant looked down at the connector, then leapt towards it, narrowly avoiding being run over by the robot.  He rolled again as the robot tried to ram him, ending up sitting right in front of the plug.  Planting one foot against the wall, his hands wrapped around the cord, and he gave an almighty yank.

The plug came out, and the robot’s limbs went limp.  The robot’s lights and eyes dimmed then went black.

* * * *

Noel and I sat with my brother Brian’s bandmate Mike in the backseat of Brian’s car.  Brian drove as his then-girlfriend Darcie tried to break the ice.  “Tell me a story about when you guys were kids.”

It was the first time either Noel or I had met Darcie.  Having arrived in the USA the day before, we were jetlagged, and thinking wasn’t really on the cards.  All we’d wanted was to go play a nice mind-numbingly fun game of mini-golf so we could be in the fresh summer air and try to stay awake so our bodies adjusted to Chicago’s time zone.

“Uh, I can’t think of any off the top of my head.  Brian?”

“I dunno.”  His eyes looked at me via the rear-view mirror.

Darcie hit Brian on the shoulder.  “Oh, I know.  What about the time Brian built the robot?”

I laughed and glanced at Darcie.  “Robot… What robot?”  My eyes returned to meet Brian’s via the rear view mirror.

“You know… In the basement.  Something about you calling upstairs to your Mom…”  Darcie’s smile was on full-beam.

I squinted.  Robot… Robot… Robot?

And then the thought came to me.  “You mean the piece of balsa wood with a light switch attached to it?”

“What?”  Darcie shook her head at Brian.

“That wasn’t a robot, right?”

“It was supposed to be,” Brian countered.

“That? Was a robot?  A piece of balsa wood.  With a light switch screwed on to it.  With a plug wired on to it…?”

Mike rubbed his hands together.  “This sounds good.”

“Yeah, I was building a robot.”  Brian’s knuckles were getting whiter.

“No, I was making a model for my train set, and you took a piece of balsa wood, screwed a light switch on to it, wired it to a plug, and you made me plug it into the wall.”

Noel, Mike, and Darcie erupted into laughter.  Darcie, covering her mouth with her hand, managed to say, “Tell us what really happened…”

* * * *

“Hey Scott,” came Brian’s voice from behind me.

“Yeah?”

“Can you come here a second?”

I put the rubberband around the model building I was working on, pushed the metal folding chair back, and moved towards Brian, standing with something in his hands at my model train table.

“What?”

He nodded at the plug dangling over the table’s edge.  It was a non-standard plug with two thin dirty white wires attached to it.  Following the wires up, it met a small metal frame with a dirty white plastic light switch, the frame screwed into a small piece of balsa wood.  “Could you plug that in for me?”

I figured Brian knew what he was doing, so I grabbed the plastic plug casing and pushed it into the wall socket.

Sparks flew from the socket, and I jumped back as a puff of black smoke rose from the plug.

Brian dropped the balsa wood and quickly yanked the plug from the wall.  His wide eyes met mine, and we both turned to look at the smoke detector hanging over the doorway.  “I’m too short to reach it,” Brian muttered as we both thought the same thing.

I dashed over the smoke detector, trying desperately to get the cover open, but it wouldn’t budge.  Exasperated as the smell of smoke rose in my nostrils, I cleared my throat and tried to sound as convincingly calm as I yelled, “Mom?  How do you turn off the smoke detector?”

The Alternative to Biofuels

The other day, I ranted about why I feel biofuels are not the answer to “global warming”, “climate change” or the name du jour about this change in weather and climate affecting our planet.

Last night, on TV One ran a story about a French man, supported by an Indian car company, who had invented a car that runs on compressed air.

That’s right: air. That stuff we breathe and live on.

So if it runs on air, Scott, I can hear you say, it must be slow. Or produce some harmful toxin as a side-effect. Or even cost a lot of money to buy.

Wrong on all three accounts. According to TV One News, it can reach 80 miles per hour. It produces air as a side-effect. And it only cost around $8,000NZ.

Sure, there are downsides, according to the Wikipedia article, but wouldn’t this be a better route to be going on at present than the biofuel route?

And it appears someone has been behind the electric car disappearing as well. In 2006, a documentary was released entitled, Who Killed the Electric Car? I haven’t seen it but have been told by several sources that it is an interesting insight into how the car manufacturers, certain governments, the oil industry and others into the death of what appeared to be another viable alternative to biofuels and oil.

Of course, if you are like me, you need to read up on all the pros and cons before making an informed choice. And, I think, there are downsides to all the different alternative technologies out there.

The best we can do is try, even if we do it in a small amount, to impact the car manufacturers and oil industry (who, let’s face it, are raping us at the pump) to steer them to roll with the changes.

One interesting point I want to raise: If it’s found that car pollution is partially responsible for “climate change”, and we all suffer as a result, does that mean we can take a class action suit out on car manufacturers and oil companies as a result, much like smokers can sue tobacco companies? An interesting thought to ponder…

Biofuels… Uh Yeah

Okay, am I the only person to say and think what the hell is going on with certain companies and governments pushing biofuel?

Don’t get me wrong. I think we need alternatives and sooner is better than later. Noel and I even went out and bought more fuel efficient cars last week to help out as much as we can.

But biofuels?

Wait, let me get this straight. We can’t feed the people we have now on the Earth. There is “climate change” galore, expected to cause wide-spread droughts, meaning we’ll have even less food to feed the people who aren’t already starving…

And some dicks think we should devote more of our food resources to make fuel?

Am I not the only one to see how wrong this is?

What fuelled this rant (no pun intended) is an article on AccuWeather about biofuels. Ends up not only are biofuels using up some of our food stock and driving up the price of food but also spend more energy and emit more carbon in the process of creating the crops and the fuel itself! What type of solution is this?

I don’t claim to have a solution. Honestly, I’m not a scientist. But we heard this hype about liquid hydrogen cars, how liquid hydrogen only emits water as its by-product.

We’ve heard hype about other inventions, ones that sound like, to me, they would be a lot healthier for the environment, if indeed man is the cause of “global warming” or, excuse me, not the right term, “climate change”.

As someone said in response to the aforementioned article… it’s ironic the people complaining about “climate change” and the inability of humanity to feed the people on this planet at present, stating it takes X times the amount of food for humans to feed pigs, etc., to support a fuel that takes up quadruple the amount of food for humans.

End rant.

One of THOSE Days

I am having one of those days. You know? The ones you think, why did I roll out of bed this morning?

Have nightmare about girls across the street. Wake up. Barely get to toilet after running into two walls (still asleep). Get back to bed. Still worried about nightmare. Sleep okay but shoulder is killing me. Look at clock. 3 minutes until alarm goes off. Might as well get up.

Kick dog out. Trip over something in dark garage. Nearly slam finger in door on way back into main house. Get to bathroom. Forgot new razor. Back into another room to get new razor. Shave. Cut myself again in the same place I always cut myself shaving (chin). Get in shower, try to wake up, put cleansing gel instead of shampoo in hair. Razor cut burns. I nearly kill myself on slippery shower tiles (which Noel did warn me about day prior). Dry self off. Put underwear on back to front. Not comfortable.

Eat Sultana Bran after putting toasting stuff out for Jamie. He wants cereal too. Go into drawer. No more Sultana Bran. Interrupt breakfast, go get other box of Sultana Bran (same cupboard as the razor), open up, pour into plastic container but get half on kitchen bench. Scrape rest into plastic container. Put away toasting stuff.

Get Jamie organised (finally). Running late. Get into car, drive off. At an intersection, nearly plow into car that has the right-of-way, but I didn’t see because no headlights on, it’s dark on that road, and his car is black or dark grey. Heart pounding. Late for work still. Stuck now behind someone sight-seeing at 30 kilometres per hour on 70 kilometre per hour zone. Think about ramming their car out of lane. Nearly do when they slow down and I’m still thinking.

Get to work. Can’t remember gate code. Barely scrape by (once I get through) big car and trailer parked by Unit 5 as In Fact are moving in. Park car.

Open up school. Lecture room lights still on, alarm off, looks like a bomb’s hit it. Steiner interviews in 5 minutes. Thrust sign at Jamie and give instructions (he gets it kinda right but not). Blow Kim up via text for leaving room a mess. Tell Noel room is mess.

9 AM. No sign of Janine. Room clean. Getting ready for problem we ALWAYS have with her laptop and our system and projector. 9:15, phone rings; it’s Janine. I cut her off by accident. Can’t get hold of her. Finally calls back; gate is closed.

Go down to help her; sign on wrong gate, couldn’t find thing to prop gate open with so stick will do. Get Janine. Walk back to work.

Try to get her laptop and our system to interface. Keep calling and bugging Noel at home re: problem. After 45 minutes, discover original plug was right one. System working finally.

Hair a mess. Sweating like a pig. Call up place for dinner. “Sorry, we’re booked.” Call another place for dinner. “Sorry, we’re booked.”

Shoulder is still killing me!!!

ARGH!!!!

Computer Programmes

Okay, I’m getting old.

You know how it is. You get a new computer programme or a new cell-phone or whatever and you get the instructions out. You try to follow the instructions. If you are lucky, they were written by someone who actually writes English quite well (not Ginglish or Janglish or whatever). But no matter how hard you try, by page 5, you are like… “WHAT?!?”

I bought Adobe Creative Suite 2.3 for my new Mac. Adobe CS2 (as it is called) has several computer programmes in it, the big ones being Adobe Photoshop (to manipulate photos), Adobe Illustrator (to create illustrations and images) and Adobe InDesign (like Microsoft Publisher but better) amongst other programmes.

Eagerly, I awaited delivery of these programmes. Once they arrived, the programmes were installed and I tried to use them. Confused.

Noel and I made a trek to Borders, as you do, to get books written by Adobe on how to use their programmes. Three were in stock, so I bought those.

The first book I started to use in conjunction with the programmes was an introductory book, like a basic “how to use CS2” book.

I am, a few weeks later, up to chapter 6 in the book. And, quite frankly, totally bewildered.

I remember getting cross with my Mom or Dad when they used to use the computer and I thought, to borrow a line from Little Britain, “Oh for fuck’s sake!” But now, I find myself a bit bewildered by these programmes.

“Open the ‘Create Selected Layer – Transparent’ command from the Palettes menu.” What fucking Palettes menu? And when I get there, what bloody “Create Selected Layer – Transpa…” Oh. That “Create Selected Layer – Transparent” command. Hmph.

I think, to be honest, having to remember so much for work and in life has given me brain overload!