January 3rd, 2007

Ann Vole

Ask and receive, sales secret

At the gas station I work at we have a points card (get points when you buy stuff then get free stuff with the points). As an employee we have a different points system based on performance awards and you can get stuff with those points. Our boss had a contest to get people to sign up for these points cards with the employee points as the rewards. In December we signed up 60 people, I signed up 39 of those 60... You can guess who won first place! The second place winner signed up 8 and third place did 5. All I did was ask... "Do you have a Petro Points card?" "No" "Want to get one? Only needs your name and adress!" I won other contests to do with pushing the store's deals "the second one is only 40 cents more", again all you need to do is ask. Jesus said several times that prayer is like that... Ask a lot and God will answer even if just to shut you up (two different parables on that detail). I am giong to have to ask a lot more and a lot more often. The same goes for everything else, if you never ask, you will never get the available bonuses or find the new opportunities. There are so many great government funding possibilities regarding alternate energy but the right questions have not been posed to the right people... I had better get asking!
Ann Vole

Coining a new word 'speat'

Speat v. 1) To eat spam with a spork. 2) to accept writing full of clichés as if it were normal

Someone will have to google that to see if it is a word already (try 'speat define' - no quotes).
Ann Vole

High speed internet and low cost moves

It costs $25 to disconect and $50 to $90 to reconnect for Sasktel land phone service which is required for high speed internet through Sasktel. I was paying about $86 per month for the internet with phone service and it was about $12 cheaper for internet without phone service ($74). With Access Cable, I get high speed at the normal price of about $50 (adding tax in my head for direct comparison) and special 6 month half price of about $25 (a few cents shy of 25, I asked). Once I am a university student, I get it even cheaper by about $4 ($21 something and tax exempt). To move with Access Cable costs less then $10 (might include tax so might be closer to $11). With their service comes 5 free emails which can be accessed with POP3 email client programs so I can set up my livejournal posting via cel phone through one of those emails instead of my university one. I still want to get domain names but I can take my time because I will not be worried about my university email account becoming unavailable now that I have not been a student for a while. I thought my Sasktel high speed was very fast when I had it last year but Access is supposed to be almost twice as fast (if you believe their numbers). As I mentioned in a previous post, Rogers (who I have my cel service through) and Access both plan to introduce land phone service and thus break the last phone monopoly in North America (government owned Sasktel) so being a customer of both of them and not Sasktel is a political statement of sorts for me. They should be here in a few hours and I should be set up before midnight with blazingy fast internet and soon after that with secure and spam-free email posting with my cel phone (using one of the free emails with Access).
Ann Vole

A common animated movie theme hits close to home

I noticed a common theme in many animated films to come out recently. The basic theme is a kid tries to go out into the world but others (and specifically the kid's dad) do not think they will succeed and generally scuttles the kid's success before the kid has a chance to fail (or succeed) on his or her own. This is just how I feel in my life with my Dad and others around me.

Finding Nemo... His dad just doesn't want him to get hurt so it is not quite there
Kronks New Groove... Kronk just wants to impress his dad so scuttles his own plans because he is sure his dad would not approve of what he really wants to do
Chicken Little... The sky may have hit him on the head but poor Dad is so embarrassed... Dad takes the heat for his kid but also does not believe the kid can do anything.
Tarzan 2... Tarzan's female gorilla friend (can't remember her name) has to prove herself inspite of the other gorillas not believing she can do anything right and Tarzan has to prove he can live up to being a gorilla inspite of being in a human body... Both are scuttled by the head gorilla (and her father).
Barnyard... This one is mostly self-doubt that he could fill his father's shoes (everyone else doubted it too but still wanted him in the leadership role because they thought the could goof off like he always did)

I know there are more and better examples but I can't seem to think of them now. My point is that in my own life, my family and mostly my dad do not believe I can make a go of any of my dreams and actively scuttle many of my plans to protect me from the failure that they expect of those plans.
Ann Vole

drawing super musclular animals

I got several books from the library on drawing for graphic novels, webcomics, and cartoons. They had some stuff on anime and manga that showed anthro characters but they were all of that distinctly Japanese animation look. They had animal drawing stuff but they were all normal looking animals or very cartoony stuff. For superhero and muscular characters there are a few great books but they are only for drawing human-like characters. I was looking for bats of any kind and dragons and found almost nothing. I was watching the sequence frame by frame in the film Titan A E where those bat-like creatures showed the humans how to read the indicator in the main character's hand. The design was not very consistant between shots and some of the bat-like creatures were drawn very muscular. I think I know now how to draw the rugby players (who are bats) for the webcomic I want to illustrate (Nightlife writen by Den, with one rough version strip in my DeviantArt gallery). The other books on perspective and anatomy of action poses will help me get through some of the challenges I had with drawing some of the other strips in that series of Nightlife comics I had planned out the layout for. One of the hardest was getting a bat character sitting on his butt and rubbing his nose while showing several things in the same scene requiring an odd angle and add to that my desire to not have cloths on him so stratigically covering his private area with his head or shoulder when viewed from behind. The bat-like creatures in Titan A E had interesting clothing too which gave me some ideas on cloths that would work for anatomically correct bat characters who stand upright when not flying (which real bats cannot seem to do). I had a cat who was so muscular you could see most of his muscles inspite of his medium length fur. The dog who lived there had killed all the cats on that farm except this one and the dog carried this poor cat by the head and doing the neck-breaking death shake to the cat for a week before giving up and those two animals becoming friends... that cat's neck muscles were so thick he could not be killed and thick enough that you could not see a neck on him, just bulging muscles. I want to have a few very muscular but otherwise normal animals for characters in my webcomics and find my attempts at drawing them to be insufficient for my tastes. Drawing a hyper-muscular rugby team of bats for Nightlife will help get past that hurtle.
Ann Vole

Solid fuel and replacable battery cars

We are so used to fluids for fuels that I think these two alternatives are being overlooked. Of course traditional solid fuels like coal and wood are not going to give the environment the low emmissions and the drivers the convenience so other things are needed. Electric vehicles have the problem of slow charging or short battery life from fast charging. The alternative that is being researched is single use batteries that are easily recycled into new batteries. These batteries are then replaced instead of charged. I put these two together because the problems and advantages are the same:
the vehicle needs to be able to place the solid fuel or batteries in a part of the car that puts equal weight on the tires yet needs to be very easy to replace. The container will need to have a deposit on it and be very easy to handle, even for midgets or people with handycaps. I think an effective way to go is to make a standard electricity producing unit shape and then have solid fuel engines and alternators built into these units so the equipment can be serviced and upgraded as needed when the solid fuel is replaced. As a standard unit, the driver does not need to care what is actually in the unit so a car might be running on different solid fuels and on battery units at the same time. The advantage of solid fuels is the potential for higher energy densities so more energy in less space. The problem is always moving the fuel to the engine or getting the last bit of energy out of batteries as the voltage drops. Having a bunch of these units and a hybrid aproach to getting the energy in the form of torque on the tires will help use the very last bit of energy in these units and also make logistics of pushing solid fuels into engines easier (springs? Melting it? Dust to move? Waste material to store?). The other problem with solid fuels or single use recycled batteries is transportation and distribution. A standard sized unit would open the possability of robotic loading and handling of the units and the use of bar code serial numbers to automate inventory and keep manpower needs to transport drivers and till clerks (no one needs to actually touch the things). The real question is what is the smallest size that would still fit everything needed for all foreseable feasable technologies. The unit should be square for easy stacking and maybe a cube so possition does not matter for transporting and handling. There needs to be standard hookups for the electricity and the air in and out and maybe for heat disipation (air flow could carry unneeded heat though so air supply and exhaust might be sufficient). Once a standard has been established, cars using these units and units using various technologies can be engineered and produced. Of course these units can also be powered with fluid fuels or be rechargable battery technologies too... What ever can be produced cheaper and still meet current emissions standards. I have not seen anyone proposing such a universal standard anywhere so I might have to be the one to start pushing the decission makers to consider it. Car manufacturers should be keen on this idea because they do not need to change the design for the latest in alternate fuels or even have to have different models of the same vehicle to cover the different fuel types, one model will work with any fuel... just buy the desired units (pay the deposit on the unit... it is just swapped when empty and you just pay for the refilling). You might also have smaller things like lawn mowers and power generators and air compressors to also use these same units so they are also using the latest in technology when you put on a new power unit. Because they just make electricity, they can also be used for motorhome heating and portable heating and lighting and again be using the latest in technologies. Also, these units could be easily replaced or augmented with solar power units designed to interconect with the unit interface to make going solar easy and brainless.