Week 3, Part 2

Most people would give up on making a rocket, dream or just about anything at this point. Homer is discouraged by every one except his mother, friends, and a handful of other people. It continues to amaze me that Homer had the determination to do all of this in his little home town of Coalwood. I really enjoy the way Homer talks about the people, though. Even though they were mean to him, he doesn’t write about them sa if they were evil…just as if they didn’t like him much. Homer doesn’t seem to worry about much beyond school and family. His dad is the boss of the Company, so it should have shaken him more than it did when he learned that his dad was sick with the common miners disease that is supposed to mean you stop working at the mine. At this point, it is still Homer and his friends’ hope to someday work at NASA with Dr. Wernher Von Braun to develop new rockets. Without the kind of leadership and determination Homer showed, the wouldn’t be as far as he is today. Thus far, this memoir continues to be interesting, inspiring, and funny, as Homer tells everything he remembers. Back when this was all going on, there were no home rocket kits… and the idea was silly! Her these kids are, developing their own home rocket kits…and by trial and error less than calculations! Really, if you were to try any of this stuff to make a rocket today, you would probably be sent to jail on suspicion of making home-made bombs. I’m still glad that I chose this memoir so far and can’t wait to finish through the entire book.

Week 3 Part 1

1. Summary of book so far (to about page 130), continued from first post:

Homer Hickam’s Father, who is now in charge of the mine, is not liked by the town very much. When the Captain retired, he insisted the Homer take over. Homer had never been to collage, and many of Coalwood’s people didn’t like that a man who had never been to college was in charge (considering some of the people that worked for him had been to college). Homer jr. had seen Sputnik (which had it’s 50th anniversary a few days ago on October 4th) along with the rest of the town which was in disbelief…in fact, Homer’s dad kept saying that they must have stolen technology from the US to launch Sputnik before us. When Homer saw Sputnik fly through the sky as a little light dot, he was amazed at it… and after seeing it Homer wanted to make a rocket himself. Homer went to making a rocket in his back yard, not knowing a thing about making rockets, and ended up blowing his mom’s garden and fence to dust. News of this went through the entire town quickly and he was being called various things everywhere, including school where he was called a sister by his own brother. It was also being said that he had been making a bomb, not a rocket, and that he had been very successful. Homer decided he was going to try again, but this time with a little more research. In the next couple weeks, it had been decided that the Coalwood football team wan not eligible to play ing the state championship game. While most everyone was very angry at this, being they were very good at football, Homer’s dad had decided they would bring it to court. The court denied them. After the game had been played and the Coalwood tem hadn’t gotten to play, Homer’s father was going to appeal. Again, no progress. By this time, Homer has decided to turn to Quentin. Quentin is a kid who is teased by everyone, including Homer. However, Quentin was very smart. During gym he always had some excuse, be it a sprained ankle or a headache, he was always sitting on the bleachers reading. One morning Homer went up to Quentin to ask how he would build a rocket. Quentin wanted to be his partner before sharing information…and Homer agreed. Quentin had told homer that he needed black power to launch his rocket…gave him a list of ingredients and Homer bought them at the Company store. Within the next few days they had begun making mixes of black power to test by throwing it into the water heater’s fire and observing the reaction. They next drew plans for a rocket and built it. The rocket the built was an aluminum tube which they had but some cardboard fins on (with glue…mainly to hold it upright) and a cone tip. They had made two powders that they thought to be their best candidates for testing. The first made a noise and a lot of smoke (but didn’t go anywhere) and the second caused the rocket to explode…again, with a lot of smoke. Homer’s dad had come out of the house yelling to stop because the entire town was under a fog and smell from the rockets which they had been told (by Homer’s dad) not to build. However, his mother encouraged him to make a new one that worked, just not in the backyard or where people are going to see it and think the town is being burned down. For their next rocket, they decided to create more of a team. The US had just launched it’s first satellite now on their second try, and Werner von Braun was Homer’s idle. When they made their rocket “club”, they named it the Big Creek Missile Agency. Homer’s friends, Roy Lee, Sherman, O’Dell and Quentin were all a part of it. They were going to make great rockets and some day get to the place in Florida where Dr. Von Braun would be on the same team as them. The next rocket had a hybrid powder that was in-between the two powders they tried before…and it also contained a postage stamp glue that would allow them to mold the powder so more of it could burn at once. The new rocket was called the Auk I. The next day they had all gathered to launch the new rocket. It was going to be launched behind the coal mine where very few people were. This rocket flew. While it only flew six feet, it flew that far before the solder holding on a washer to increase pressure had melted. The next Saturday they had the Auk II, Auk III and the Auk IV. The Auk II had a new, welded base for the pressurized flame to shoot out of, and it flew 10 feet. This time it was the taped fins that caused the rocket to fall. They were going to need a better guidance system before they could launch any of the other rockets.

2. About the Author:

Homer Hickam, born on February 19, 1943, in Coalwood West Virginia, was a Vietnam vet., Author, and former NASA engineer. Homer graduated from Big Creek High School in 1960, and from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial engineering. Homer served 6 years in the military, leaving as a Captain. He started working for NASA in 1981…inspired to do everything he did as a tech from Sputnik. Homer wrote 8 books total, the first 4 in his Coalwood series: Rocket Boys, which also became the movie, October Sky, The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone, and We are Not Afraid. The other four books were from his Josh Thurlow Series: The Ambassador’s Son, The Keeper’s Son, Torpedo Junction, and The Far Reaches. Homer is still writing and plans to release his next book, again about the coal mines on 2.4.08. This book will be entitled Red Helmet. Below you will find a picture of Homer.



Ongoing Developments on Site and Game!

Well… it’s been a couple of weeks since I last updated Attack of the Snowmen Demo…but I’m pleased to say that I have level 7 nearly complete. When I release the next version, it will be version 1.5.2 instead of 1.4 … this is because I will be changing other levels to reflect what the final levels will look like. I still need feedback to keep improving the game and sound!! 

Interested in programing for the PC or Mac with us? Contact us!! [jbp.mntcomputers.com]

Entry for Icon Giveaway!!


Leo Mancini has created a set of stock web icons, distributed by pixelstorms. His icons are royalty free and cost $100 for 100 icons. These icons are great, so it’s worth a minute to head over there and look at them!

Website changes!

I’m in the process of updating all of my prices and specs, so hold on if your planing on buying from me! Also, I have added a new page to my main site and updated the welcome page if you have the time to look at it!

Week-1 Reading

Post what you read + reactions:

Book = October Sky, Also Known as Rocket Boys
THIS POST: Summary of first 50 pages (or so):

 In the first chapter of Oktober sky, Homer talks about his hometown and how he lives. Homer lives in the town of Coalwood, which was a town made only to mine coal from the town’s rich sources underneath it. The Company, as most call it, has created the town for what it is. Originally, the company wasn’t much…and neither was the town. Coal wood had a very small population with almost no luxuries, such as good school materials and doctors, and the company wasn’t much past a small mining company that still used mules to do work. One day, a military general cam into Coalwood and decided to make the Company his personal project. He installed state of the art mining technology, increased efficiency of mining, and made the city his personal project. The General, as he was called, gave the town a company store. He gave the town a company doctor. He gave the schools new supplies…and built parks, too. All this with the money the coal was bringing to Coalwood. Those working for the Company (everyone) even rented a house from it…which included cable and a new stove. Cable was a new thing that most cities didn’t have for less than a small fortune, less free for the town! In the city of Coalwood, if you didn’t work for the company (or weren’t living with someone who did), you didn’t live there. The town was the company, and the company was the town. Homer’s father, also Homer, worked for the company. He had worked for the company nearly for his entire life. Homer had been there when the General came to town…and he was still there while his town was changed. Homer was one of the highest ranks in the mine. He had amongst the highest pay (but still not incredible), and he was loyal to the company. Homer, as in the main character of this story, had always seen a black dust layer at his house. It had been around the town, too. Everyday when he would come home his white socks would be gray at the line above where they were in his shoes. Please read the above post for my reactions to this. -Matt

English 10 Reactions (first 50)

After reading the first cople of chapters of Rocket Boys, I have already had several reactions. My first major reaction is related to the type of job Homer Hickam had. Homer worked in a coal mine in the city of Coalwood. In Coalwood, everything was provided for the company, including your home. This isn’t how most cities are any more, and would be considered kinda odd. Another major reaction I had is from the type of city they live in. Coalwood is a city only for it’s cast coal mines. In the book, Homer talks about the one wife who had her husband die in an accident in the factory and then had to move away because she was no longer working for the company. Although I am still starting this book (fist 50 pages), I have already had 2 major reactions to the different lyfestyle that they lived in Coalwood.

Brawled (-) …pg.21
Sputnik (o) …pg.29
Glory (+) …pg.32
Shatter (-)pg.37
Relief (+) …pg.45
Brave (+) …pg.48
Embarrassed (-) …pg.48
Squirmed (-) …pg.50
Fire (-) …pg.52
Through (+) …pg.52

English “This I believe” Questions

2. By Andy Blowers Chico
3. The Person I’m Supposed To Be
4. Strength, empathy, and bravery are more essential than our personal comfort.
5. a. “But when the dark does come, I’ll stand up and breathe deeply, knowing I’m becoming the person I’m supposed to be.”
b. “When I look in the mirror, this is the essay looking back.”
6. I believe the purpose of suffering is to strengthen us and help us understand the suffering of others.

Game updates…new icon!!

NOTE!! This message has a modified time stamp!! Actual post date: Thursday, September 20th, 2007.

My game in progress, which is being created for Jon Bjorlie Productions, has been updated to version 1.3c, now complete with an installer and a whole now icon!! I decided that I wanted to change the icon, but couldn’t find what I wanted, so I made one that I think looks great (though I do have to change it already…). I attached the icon to this post so you can see it. To download my free demo, go to jbp.mntcomputers.com and select demos! Hurry though, because when I hit version 1.5 I will stop updating the demos, period!**note: this is a mac os X game**

MNT/JBP Demo Game Version 1.2 Available for Download!

I’ve posted the link before, so just scroll a bit and you’ll find it…but the newest version is now available!

This version includes an all-new level 5 and a package installer so you just have to click continue to install (instead of going through the dragging process to put it in you apps folder)! **NOTE** As I have entered in a contest for some free high-quality icons, I need to keep that post first for a while…so this post IS BACKDATED!!
ACTUALL UPDATE TIME: 11:11PM 9.12.07 .

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About Me in 10 Seconds

I am Matt. I do as much as possible. I'm always busy, but that's how I like it and hate it. My goal is to be the best.