Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Casting choices for a movie.

November 24, 2009

The website www.monkeybarsoflife.com  now includes a Slide Show of movie stars could play characters from The Monkeybars of Life.

They were chosen because their appearance and personality closely match those of the actual characters.

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Nate’s Gravity-Engine

November 20, 2009

Nate believed centrifugal force could be used to counteract gravity. While in High School, one of his experiments made an unbalanced gyroscope climb up a dowel stick. For the rest of his life, Nate experimented with increasing the lifting power of gyroscopes; always with the goal of lifting a craft off the ground.

On page 75  Nate explains to Bill:
“The engine works by pulsing the gyro. Right?”
“Yeah, but the pulses are so small.”
“Right. But, when the gyros are at resonance, the pulses can build up.”
“I don’t see what you mean.” Bill said, “A pulse comes and then it’s gone.”
“True, but-.” Nate pointed one finger upward, “Think about when you’re in a tub of water. Have you ever swayed back and forth to make waves?”
“Sure, when I was a kid.”
“And what did you do?”
“I used to see how big a wave I could make.”
“Exactly, you were amplifying the wave, even though you didn’t sway any harder each time. If you did it just right, you built up a lot of wave power with a small steady rocking motion.”

Page 152:  “We’ve opened a new door, Bill. What I saw was a yellow glow in there before the engine broke apart and I think I know what it was.”
“What, Nate, what was it?”
“Some sort of a plasma.”
Bill sat for a moment, thinking, then asked, “But, why haven’t we seen it before?”
“All the conditions must have been just right tonight. That Russian guy, Kozyrev, reported that his gyroscopes behaved differently at odd times too.”

Page 400:  Brandon asked, “Granddad, is Sandy Kidd’s engine faster than yours?”
“I don’t think so, Brandon. And it’s not a matter of speed with that type engine. It’s not like a rocket. If you can takeoff at all, then you can just keep going faster and faster for a very long time.”
“Can your engine take off , Granddad?”
“No, we didn’t generate enough lift to take off . But everybody thought it was impossible to generate any lift at all with my kind of engine.”

Page 405:  Nate’s mind was back in its creative mode. Sandy Kidd was right; he couldn’t give up on his engine. He thought about where he and Bill had left off. Nate realized he now had 15 years more technical expertise, faster computers, better mathematical software and cheaper interface hardware. Everything can be miniaturized too, he thought as he finished a sketch of a new teststand and titled it Gamma-Max.

He paid different machine shops to build the components and the Gamma-Max teststand came together quickly. Nate became obsessed again. Even, the wobbling of a ceiling fan, in a restaurant, reminded him of gyroscopic principles.

Why I wrote The Monkeybars of Life

November 18, 2009

I’m often asked why I wrote The Monkeybars of Life and why it has so many pages.  I felt it was time to tell the story of some of the extraordinary people I’ve known and some of the unbelievable situations we’ve encountered. There are three themes explored in the book (1) innate creativity, (2) creativity in the workplace, and (3) estranged fatherhood. 

In chapter-3  Nate LaChae says:   “Some friends came over and they brought an African student with them. I asked him whether he felt there would ever be an African space program. When he said he didn’t think so, I asked why not. then I went OFF when he said he felt the White Man had something special in his head that allowed him to invent things and go to the moon.

The reason I was so upset is that I believe the greatness of our race will not be in the USA. It will be in Africa one day. And to hear that African student say what he said just set me off. I got up and said “Anybody that fills a thirty-five story rocket with liquid oxygen and hydrogen can go to the moon.” I told him the laws of physics work the same for everybody. Then I told him not to ever think or say what he said again. Even I was surprised at how I went off. But we’ll never even try things with the kind of thinking he had. I just want to show that God doesn’t play favorites.”

At another point, in chapter-3, Nate relates a High School  experience: “I remember how I made my first science fair rocket by soldering tin cans together. And I’ll never forget there was a kid named Rob Strom who exhibited right next to me at the fair. He had gotten permission to run his experiment at a real nuclear reactor lab. I won a third prize that year and he won a first prize. I never got over the fact that he had access to such equipment to compete with.”

In chapter-4 Nate struggles with being separated from his family and attempts to have an alternate family. “Maybe this is the way life really is, Nate thought as he sipped his wine. I had a stepfather and my mother and father didn’t know their real Dads either. I guess, we’re suppose to take care of the kids under our roof – wherever we are. I hope my kids’ stepfather is doing his job like I am.”

In chapter-5   Nate takes on more mundane projects at work and still encounters  resistance and disbelief. He is told by the IT department manager: “Who the hell do you think you’re fooling with all this talk about AI? Even at Carnige-Mellon, it took us two years to get our Expert System running and we had the resources. You can’t possibly accomplish even half the goals in that contract using HP-Basic. That’s why I’m not wasting my time with your silly project.”

The Monkeybars of Life

November 13, 2009

“The uniqueness of the book is that the protagonist is from the inner city and yet the book is not about drugs or sex. Rather, it tells about a technically talented man’s struggles at work and at home.

One thread of the story deals with the protagonist (Nate LaChae) passion to complete his gravity-engine, which he accidentally invented. Later in the story, he discovers an identical engine is being developed by an inventor in Scotland.

A second thread shows Nate’s feelings of anger and guilt over his failed marriage. The readers get to experience the inner life of a man who feels he was unjustly separated from his family. 

The Monkeybars of Life goes beyond racism and explores some of the obstacles to creativity and the consequences of a lack of formal education.

It is my sincere hope that the book will serve as a guide to life choices young people may face if they are creative and have uncompromising minds.”