2010/05/19

About me

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hi i started checking you out after seeing the xenos explorer ship post.
could you do an about me post, are you working in design, where you a from, what software you use, even some tips on how you get your inspiration."

And so by popular demand (I have so few people who actually read my blog that any demand is popular) here is a post about me.

Uh...
I am a nerd. I think I should get that down first of all, as everything else kid of revolves around it. Secondly, (though not actually being related to me being a nerd) I am a human male who has travelled around an uninteresting star roughly 20 and a half times since I was born.
For anyone who want's to see me, here is a picture of me desperately trying to look cool:

It's not actually very good for seeing what I look like, I just really like my coat, and my hat.
Which brings me to one interesting thing about me, if there's a room full of people, and you know I'm there, I'm probably the one in the hat. Unless it's a very swanky indoors do, in which case I'm probably outside, so I can wear my hat.

Maybe I should do something chronological...
A few billion years ago a large amount of energy suddenly decided it wanted to explode, and BOOM! shiny new universe. It was all a bit hot for a while, and I mean way past nice sauna temperature, then things started to cool down and become proper things made of atoms and such. and then, a few billion years later there was an unassuming little planet, orbiting the afore mentioned unassuming star in an unassuming galaxy. Some chemicals bonded together in a way that let them make more of themselves, and suddenly there was life. Evolution took hold and one thing led to another, and eventually there were things that called themselves people. They weren't actually that different to anything else that had been around for a few million years prior, but they thought they were. And it was this ability to think in a useful, constructive and self deluding way that really made the species take off...
So what does this have to do with me, I hear you ask... Well go on then ask it...
The answer, I am one of these little self deluded creatures which presumes to think itself more important than it could ever really be - I am a human, as I've mentioned before, I think.
The life cycle of a human is generally 50 to 100 years and is mostly pretty dull. That's why this post won't take as long to read as it did to gather data for it (20 years so far).
The life cycle of these animals starts with infancy. Babies are small, smelly, pathetic, fragile creatures, and don't greatly differ from their adult forms. When I was one I wasn't sure how much I wanted to be one. In fact I wasn't sure I really wanted to be one of anything, so I tended to stop breathing. Which led to two very scared parents, some cost to the tax payer through the NHS and me having one extra interesting anecdote. Besides that, there were no permanent affects.
Things continued for me in a fairly ordinary fashion for several years. I slowly learned to walk, talk, read, and most importantly, in my opinion to think.
In my early schooling it was often thought that I would amount to nothing. I would spend hours on end staring into space and thinking. I can remember my teacher showing my mum an exercise book with the date scrawled (well half of it) on one line, and below it was written something like "This was an entire afternoon's work".
I did get better at the whole 'school' thing. I eventually became very good at science, allays wanting to know more than the teacher would tell me (sometimes more than the teacher could tell me). I remember in the last year of junior school, at the age of maybe 10 or 11. We'd just started learning about forces, and I was already demanding that the teacher explain how a desk could apply a different force when it was sat on to when it wasn't without the desk itself actually changing. I don't think the teacher was prepared to be grilled on the fundamentals of science by a 10 year old.
My love of science has only grown since then. Jumping back a little, the shows I really remember from my childhood aren't those intended for children, which kept me happy while I was watching them, but formed no real memories, It is Star Trek that I remember. I had to go to bed before Voyager was on, but I would often stay up listening to it from my bed room.
So, I passed through the rest of school, always loving science, hating English, and mildly disliking maths. Whenever I had the chance to choose a subject it was almost always science. except at GCSE, where you couldn't do all science, and I ended up doing Art and Drama. Art I didn't really like, it was too much research and reference, I just wanted to build stuff with clay and do drawings. Drama I did enjoy, though I don't feel it was particularly useful to me.
Then at A level when the subjects get distilled down to just four, I chose Physics, Chemistry, Electronics and Geology. I loved and excelled at physics and Electronics, in fact in electronics the teacher would occasionally have me check his answers. Chemistry wasn't so fun, it was too much remembering facts and names. I think one reason I didn't like it as much as physics is because so much of it is just what humans have done, not what is really there in nature. Geology came out of no where. I believe I was the first student at my school to take the A-level in Geology without having taken the GCSE, so I think it was of some surprise that I did well in the subject passing with an A. It is usual to drop one subject after the first year, but I chose not to. after both years with 4 subjects, I got three As and a B, the second best grades in my entire year. (The B was in Chemistry.)

I decided to go on to university and study Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE). but first I took a year out in which my brother and I travelled around Europe, staying with various people we know. this trip was insightful, exciting, interesting, scary, long and expensive. And generally a brilliant experience. I have yet to fully write up my experiences, which I may do one day, so watch this space.

I started university very nearly two academic years ago. I had to do a foundation year as I didn't do Maths at A-level. This year was generally aimed below A-level standard, so I found it all quite easy, especially the electronics we did. The most interesting thing we learned was quantum physics, which is both fascinating and confusing. Probably the best thing I got from this year was a very good friend, though, alas, he chose not to continue with the course and now lives in America.

I am not at the end of the first real year of my EEE course, and the jump in difficulty has really caught me off guard. I've been struggling to pass some modules, as I actually need to revise, which I didn't last year, or at A level as I could think my way out of most problems.

Well, that became an academic section, I hope it wasn't too boring. I guess I'll go for a categorical approach instead of a chronological approach, as that seems to be what's happening anyway.

So this section will be about design.

As I said, I grew up watching sci-fi. This meant that the things I would draw in my lunch breaks were of three types; Starships, aliens, and dragons. Dragons because everyone loves dragons.
As well as my abilities with a pencil, my knowledge of and attention to science improved with time. in high school I mainly designed ships for my brother's science fiction (he has no skill at drawing, but this is more than made up for by his story telling ability). We wanted to make these ships exceed startrek in the logic of their design, and their scientific accuracy. Recently we have decided on two scientific concessions; FLT, to get us to the aliens, and translators, so most of the storey isn't spent saying hello. Besides these the drives, the gravity, the power systems and the weapons are all done in a logical manner and can be explained with real science.

I found My ideas outstripped my abilities to draw them, so I turned to my computer, Sparky (sparky 1). I tried to draw using the gimp, but found it too hard to make ships look good, so I started to draw them as blueprints - orthographic side, front, top and bottom views that showed the designs of the ships. this allowed for an accuracy I had long desired.

It was at this stage in my scifi career, as you might call it, that my brother and I took our trip around Europe. In Berlin, I believe it was, I started to write my novel. this was done in pencil in an A8 notebook which I never plan to show to anybody. When I returned to Wales, I started to write it up onto Sparky, editing its content as I went along.

A while after we'd settled back in I started to learn to use Blender to build ships in 3D.
It is a complicated and versatile program, which makes it quite overwhelming to new users.
I was determined to learn on my own, and didn't even look at tutorials until I had some competence with it. my first attempts were dire, a random squiggle, which doesn't even look much like a shape. eventually I understood the buttons and modes and started to make things that looked like I wanted them to.
Eventually I had to concede, and look up tutorials on the internet, filling in the gaps I had left in my knowledge by my solitary approach.
I don't think I will ever be able to use the program to the best of its ability.

While learning Blender, I continued to write my novel in secret. Originally it was a rather cruel story where I tried to torture my main characters as much as possible. as I continued, I found I grew to care about my characters, and I stopped being pointlessly cruel to them and the story took shape as a science fiction rather than a pointless gore-fest. This is why anyone who wants to read my novel will see book two, first, and probably never book one.
I deliberately let my parents know that I was writing, as the story became more prominent. My mum wanted to read my novel, despite (and possibly because of) numerous warnings about it's content. I edited each chapter before I let her read them, reigning back the worst bits, and bringing the earlier craziness in line with the later, lesser craziness. I think I may have actually permanently changed my mother's opinion of me with this book.

In some ways I think it would have been better to keep my book a secret until it was finished. I found it easier to write when it was just me and the characters, though this would have made me lack the restraint that comes from knowing that someone will see it, so It may have continued to be unpalatable gory torture (for both reader and characters).

After well over 200,000 words and more than 100 chapters, I still don't know where my novel will finish, but I do know where it's going at the moment, which I didn't for a while (my mum used the phrase treading water quite aptly). Several people have suggested I try to get something published, but I know that it all needs a lot of work before it's fit for public consumption. one person I sent it to (and this is the almost reasonable second book) hasn't spoken to me since.

Well, that pretty much brings this up to the present, and I think anyone who's read all the way through this horrendous (and unedited) block of text, now knows me quite well, if only by the way I write. Of course I don't actually expect anyone to get this far before gnawing their own arms off.

For over a year (I think) I made sure I wrote 500 words or more every day. this was very good for getting my novel out, but I think it's made me overly verbose, I'll have to word count this when I'm finished. I've been sat here writing this for nearly two hours! So I think I'll leave it here. I have to revise tomorrow for an exam the day after; Power engineering... I actually have no idea what might come up in that one as I missed most of the lectures. Wish me luck, please.

So goodnight all. And to the anonymous who asked me for this I expect you will have learned to regret asking me questions, I always give far too much in my answer and bore people to insanity. I sincerely hope you will ask me more questions, but I would ask that you make them specific, for the well being of my fingers, your eyes, and both of our sanities... you might want to ignore that, I'm rambling... I could say more, but it would still be rambling...
Oh, and then there's... no, must stop rambling now...



bye :D



P.S. Kiml42 comes from Kiml - a few random characters I punched into a game one, and 42 - which is, of course, the answer to the ultimate question.

p.p.s. I should probably include my name in an about me post. It is Richard.

5 comments:

Kiml said...

That came to 2373 words. the most I've written without a break outside of an exam, I think.

Shenya de Silva said...

I think you've either scared away Anonymous 2 with the word 'nerd' or with rambling away with a 2373 words long blog post :P

Kiml42 said...

Having recently got to know a reasonably large group of nerds, I now consider to word to be a good thing.
The 2373 words however, I'm fairly sure you're right. I was very surprised when I found out someone actually read the whole thing.

Shenya de Silva said...

Sorry to disappoint you Kiml42 but I didn't read the whole thing last time,only finished it today.
:-)
Even for a bookworm like me a 2372-word-long-about-me-post is too much to read in a single breath!
hehe

It seems that almost 99.9% teachers make you believe that Chemistry is all about remembering stuff by-heart. If you've had my Chemistry teacher you would have loved it too.
He does practicals like a mad scientist who is going to blow up the lab any minute!! :D

Kiml42 said...

You haven't disappointed me at all. in fact I'm ecstatic. I didn't expect anyone to read any of this, let alone all of it.
Thank you. I hope I didn't bore you to tears with my insane ramblings.