Angular 10

I teach several classes at University of Central Florida in which I need to know current development technologies. Right now I am learning Angular 10. Very few students use this JavaScript framework now, but I feel like I need to know it in order to provide a balanced approach.

This underscores one aspect of my job. I am continually learning new technologies in order to help my students be on the bleeding edge. That’s both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I am able to stay up-to-date on modern technologies. The curse is that it takes a lot of my time. Either way, it’s the way it is.

Fall semester I’m going to take another pass at TensorFlow, a neural network framework. I’ve already learned the basics, but I want to be able to understand all of the nuances. Fun stuff.

22,500 Steps

I have a regular exercise routine on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I jog for a mile or two, I run sprints, and then I lift weights. This has helped me lean down and gain strength over the last six months. I have had to buy a lot of dumbbells since the gyms are closed. My back porch looks like a mini-gym.

Three months ago I got a FitBit with the intention of adding significant walking to my routine. I started off being satisfied with the recommended 10,000 steps. But I wanted to lean down faster so I increased to 15,000 steps each day for a few weeks, then 20,000 steps each day for a few weeks, and then finally 25,000.

It turns out the 25,000 per days was a bit too much. My legs were always sore, and it was hard to jog and sprint on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So I tried 22,500 steps and it seemed to work. That’s where I am, and except for a week in Miami the first week of August, I plan to keep this up.

It is a huge time commitment. I make up for it by planning my software and my fiction writing during my walks.


I just finished Brian Tracey’s book on goals. It’s short, but summarizes an approach to setting and maintaining goals. His ideas make sense, and I’m going to follow them throughout this summer (Summer 2020). Let’s see what kind of results I get.

Zig Ziglar has a goals book that’s also good. I read it many years ago and don’t think I still have a copy. They all tend to say the same things in different words. Over the years I have been able to accomplish quite a few goals. I definitely think that it has a lot to do with my study of these authors. Tony Robbins has also been good for me over the years.

Next week I’m going to re-read Think and Grow Rich for the thousandth time. This is the grandaddy of these types of books. I have a list of goals I want to accomplish this summer, and I am pulling out all the stops. Think and Grow Rich has helped me in the past, and I see it as a huge benefit.

Finding an Agent

My efforts to find a literary agent for my novel Birth of Jai continues. There are many literary agencies, most of which have a number of agents. To effectively query the agency takes time. I start by studying the agency and learn about it to see if it’s a good match for my novel and me. Then I read through the agent profiles to find the one that is best for my work.

I’m counting on this to be a successful endeavor. I’ve had a lot of professional help in the last two rewrites, and I think the manuscript is in pretty good shape now.

This summer I’m going to start the next book. Birth of Jai is the first in a trilogy. I’d like to get a jump on the next in the series, even before I have a publisher (or maybe even an agent).

Back to the Beach

Yesterday I wen to the beach for the first time in quite a while. There were quite a few people there, but by no means packed. The weather was beautiful and the water very pleasant. Taking the time to drive to Cocoa beach and back plus the time at the beach cut into my work time. But it was so worth it.

I’m also working on my farmer’s tan. I spend a lot of time outside walking and running, but I wear T-shirts. That gives me a distinct farmer’s tan having tanned arms but pale shoulders and chest. I’m being careful, though, as I don’t want any sunburn.

I plan to bring my surfboard to the beach next Sunday. The waves were pretty good, and I could have gotten some pretty good rides.

Birth of Jai

I recently wrote a novel named Birth of Jai. I am now looking for an agent. I wrote a program that helps automate the query process, and records everything in a local database. I think the story is really cool. The synopsis is below.

Birth of Jai Synopsis

James Tekmas is a brilliant graduate student driven by a desire to do good. Recruited by the head of Paratech Institute’s Artificial Intelligence department to consult on a research initiative aimed at correcting unstable economies, he believes that this is his chance to change the world––a bleak alternate present that doesn’t feel so distant from our own.

Federal agencies have been corrupted or hollowed out, and political dissidents are disappearing; meanwhile, America’s public-school system has been gutted to ensure that a meaningful education is restricted to elite and privileged (or preternaturally gifted) few. When James realizes that the project is in fact an NSA-backed scheme to seize assets from other countries, he decides he’s had enough. He resigns and creates an artificial life called Jai––short for James Artificial Intelligence––hiding it deep within the university’s network. James hopes that, in time, Jai will adapt, growing into a lifeform that can root out corruption at its source.

Fifty years later, the world has reconfigured itself, and what was once the United States is now Vessint––a new nation governed by a rigid caste system. In Vessint, society is stratified into three distinct classes: Mogs, an underclass who are unwittingly subjected to brutal treatment; Sints, a middle class comprised of white-collar professionals; and Ki Zaran, a priest class revered by all.

It’s been four decades since the priests took advantage of an uprising against AI, seizing control of both the bots themselves and society as a whole. Now the Ki Zaran oversee Vessint’s entire population, whom they control via embedded computer chips connected to a vast AI-maintained network and the Ministry of Enforcement, a battalion of cruel thugs. But Jai is still “alive” within the system where he lurks undetected––highly evolved and hyperaware of the injustices he sees each day.

Elese is an 18-year-old au pair––an orphan and one of the few Mogs who are able to transcend the boundaries of their class. So long as she continues to live with her adoptive family and care for their precocious 5-year-old daughter, she is effectively a Sint, with more freedom, more flexibility, and a less invasive chip.

Elese is also an empath with a budding psychic ability, but even so, Jai catches her off guard. Beyond his lack of a physical body, the only thing differentiating him from humanity is his inability to experience emotions, and he is convinced that Elese can teach him how to feel. He assumes the form of a hologram and asks her to assist him––however he has one more request. Jai wants her to help him topple the Ki Zaran and reconstruct Vessint, transforming it into a democratic society where Sints and Mogs are recognized as equals.

Weeks pass, and even as Elese forms an unlikely and rapidly intensifying bond with Jai, she is reluctant to join his cause. But when she is kidnapped by a group of rebels, she no longer has a choice. Seventeen years ago, rebels tried to overthrow the Ki Zaran and failed, and now Jai is aiding them in secret. From his position within the Vessint network, Jai is able to travel the system, deprogramming chips and showing Mogs the world as it truly is. Thanks to him, the rebels have remained undetected––and now that they have Elese, the daughter of their leader, they can ready themselves to take a final stand.

Elese had been led to believe that both of her parents died in the previous rebellion, but her father, Tom Bradburn, managed to survive. Ever since, he has been stockpiling weapons, waiting for the right moment to free Vessint. And now that she is reunited with her father, Elese introduces the rebellion to its greatest weapon: Jai.

But the Ki Zaran’s thugs are catching on to Jai and closing in on the rebellion. After a series of bizarre incidents convinces the local Head of Enforcement, a former Mog named Martel Denko, that the Ministry is being attacked from within, he decides to bring in outside help, and he enlists James Tekmas to root out the problem. A government researcher now well past his prime, James agrees in the hope that aiding the Ministry will help him hold on to his currently tenuous position––and it doesn’t take him long to realize that the AI that’s been wreaking havoc on Vessint is none other than his creation, Jai.

The rebellion knows they have to act, and with the help of Elese’s intuitive abilities––and a mass Mog protest movement engineered by Jai––they mount an attack on the government’s communications center, defeating Denko’s forces and beating him back to Ministry headquarters, where he encounters a second enemy from within. The Ministry’s failures have ignited the wrath of a secret Illuminati class even more powerful than the Ki Zaran, who attack headquarters, hoping to eliminate the Ministry and install a new government.

But there is disagreement within their number, and the Illuminati ultimately disperse, paving the way for the rebellion to defeat the Ki Zaran with the help of a Ministry double-agent. Bradburn, Elese, and Jai emerge from battle to oversee the establishment of a newly-freed society, in which fairness and equality prevail…however the threat of the Illuminati remains, foreshadowing the next two books in a planned series.

Summer of ’20

I have an ambitious set of objectives for this summer. The two top priorities are physical fitness and UCF instruction. I plan to lose body fat and gain strength. I developed a plan with which I can lose the blubber and increase muscle. (I know people say you can’t do both, but in the past I have.) I also want to do a fantastic job teaching this summer. It’s difficult since I am teaching online, but I have taken steps to mitigate the effects of online teaching.

I have some secondary objects, too. I plan to solidify my understanding of TensorFlow, a neural network library used for artificial intelligence and machine learning. I’m going to work through the basics and then the popular architectures of RNNs, LSTMs, and CNNs. I’m also planning to shore up my knowledge of the Angular JavaScript framework.

I have three weeks between summer semester and fall semester. I’m not sure what I’ll do during that time. Scuba diving in Key Largo is high up on the possibility list. I might also be able to go fishing with some buddies. It’ll be a fun time.