Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh, nevermind.

I was just going to reserve this blog for Significant Thinkings but then I'd have to start a third blog for Inane Ramblings and it's easier to just be inane here.

I've long thought about writing a book. Mostly I think of it in terms of what I would do with my free time if I were rich and didn't have to actually work 40 hours per week. I have very briefly started a couple times. I have ideas but I'm not sure if I can turn them into a full book.

If it comes down to it though, I think I'm too terrified to try. I can live my life thinking I might be good enough of a storyteller to write a book. I can continue thinking that so long as I don't try to actually write one and fail. :-p

I had a particularly vivid and interesting dream the other night, which I'm not going to tell you about, but I woke up and thought, "wow, that's a great basis for a book". It's got an unwitting, uncertain hero and devious, hidden villainy and a couple good subplots. It also apparently has Sigorney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez but that's probably just because the last movie I saw was Avatar... I wrote down the synopsis and have whiled away my vacation time pointedly not sitting down to try and expand on it.

Wouldn't it be great to be an author, though? Paid to imagine stories and write them?

I wish I could ask an accomplished writer what their method is. Come to think of it, I can probably search for exactly that on Google. I don't want to know about their first book, I want to know about their 31st book. After you've written 30 books, how did you start that 31st book? I just want a glimpse into a method, not an actual lesson. Somehow, whenever I read detailed lessons on the proper way to write a novel, I can't help but noticing how many of the rules are broken by my favorite authors. So to hell with the rules. But I would like to see an example of something that works. Do they create an outline? Do they write up profiles of their characters before starting the book? Do they just sit down with an idea in their head and slap down 200 pages and go back to try and make sense of it later?

I have no idea.

I'm leaning towards that last one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Note to Self

Just a note to self... transcript of Jiraiya's last thoughts from the latest Naruto episode, as he was dying -- I couldn't find a full transcript so I figured I'd just make one. This is me geeking out. Never you mind.

Actually, I skipped basically anything that wasn't Jiraiya's thoughts, so if someone else wants the FULL transcript, well, they can fill it out themselves. :-p


It's not how you live, but how you die in the ninja world -- a ninja's life is not measured by how they lived but rather what they managed to accomplish before their death.

Looking back, my life has been nothing but failures... Continually rejected by Tsunade... Unable to stop my friend... And unable to protect either my student or my mentor... Compared to the great deeds of the Hokage, my actions are trifling, insignificant things indeed.

I wish I could have died like each of the Hokage.

A tale is only as good as its final turn of events, the plot twist. Failures must be seen as mere amusements! They are trials, which hone your skills. I lived believing that... And in return, I swore I would accomplish a deed so great that it would obliterate all of my failures... and I'd die a splendid ninja!

At least, that's how it was supposed to go.

But... with my plot twist, my tale ending like this... The Great Lord Elder prophesied that I would guide that revolutionary. A person who will make a great choice, that will bring either stability or destruction to the ninja world.

I thought I would defeat Pain, stop the Akatsuki, and save the ninja world from destruction....

But in the end, I failed in that selection too.

How pitiful... that this will be the twist to "The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant."

What a worthless story.

[Jiraiya recalls a conversation with Naruto's parents]


Now that I think about it, Naruto, you are just like that novel's main character. You inherited Minato and Kushina's wishes, their hopes. And yet... I...

[Jiraiya recalls a lecture he gave to Orochimaru: "A ninja is one who endures, one who stands brave. Let me teach you one thing: the most important attribute of a ninja is not the number of jutsu he masters. The most important thing is the guts to never give up!"]

Never go back on your word and never give up. Naruto, if that is your ninja way, then as your mentor I have no business whining. For everyone knows that a student inherits his ninja way from his teacher! Isn't that so, Naruto?

Never give up! That was the true choice I was supposed to make!

[Jiraiya, with great effort, manages to come to long enough to write something...a coded message]

Naruto... You are the child of prophesy, I'm sure of it now. I entrust you with the rest!

"The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant"... Now it'll end a bit better I hope. The final chapter will be "The Frog in the Well Drifts Into the Great Ocean." Not bad. Not bad at all.

Now... it's about time I put down my pen.

Ah, that's right! What should I name the sequel? Let's see... "The Tale of Naruto Uzumaki." Yes... That has a nice ring to it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Relativistic Environment Principle

I was just thinking...

No matter how awesome of an environment you can think up, if you were born into that environment, you would think it was precisely as interesting as the one you were already in.

That is, while you can read books about space ships or wizards (or wizards flying spaceships...bound to be books like that somewhere) and think, "Cor, that must be a lot more interesting than where I am", if you were born into that setting you'd be just as bored with that as you already are with computers, jet planes and the ability to live in a house that never gets attacked by the Bug Beasts of Zanthorp.

If the universe is infinite, and thus all possibilities exist, then somewhere, someone is, at this very moment, being attacked by ninjas, wishing they could live in a world where they could live a quiet suburban life and perhaps write things into a blog now and then. Or they're watching the sky go from orange to purple and then to a light shade of pink, wishing they could live in a world where things could possibly stay the same for two days in a row without undergoing radical changes.

Perhaps the real issue isn't how much better we can imagine some other place being, but rather, how satisfied we can be with where we already are. Is satisfaction a result of your environment? Would changing the environment increase your satisfaction? Or is satisfaction an internal function and if you changed environments, you would simply bring that same level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Star Trek review

Short version:
I liked it.

Long version with possible spoilers:
Most of my favorite Star Trek episodes/scenes are from the original show. I liked Star Trek TNG and all that but there are some situations that you can really only get into when you have a belligerent captain who thinks that rules are for chumps. And that's Captain Kirk. I have long been waiting for a Star Trek that brings back Captain Kirk. I had hoped "Enterprise" would be that show, but when it wasn't, I quickly lost interest. Voyager and Deep Space Nine had some fine moments. DS9 in particular had some great episodes. But it didn't have Kirk.

This movie has Kirk.

That was most of what I needed to know about it.

Fist fights, phasers, photon torpedoes. Taking big, arguably stupid risks because you always think there's a way to win. That's Kirk.

As far as the acting goes, I'm not quite sure they got Kirk exactly right. Kirk was never quite THAT reckless and energetic. But I'm willing to give it a pass. The rest of the crew seemed spot on (although since when did Chekov become an expert at the transporter? Oh well, it's high time Checkov got some screen time anyway). Spock was Spock. McCoy was McCoy. Scotty was Scotty, albeit with more energy.

I'm also willing to forgive them the whole time travel thing, since they're doing something unusual with it...

Normally, I hate time travel. "Enterprise" using time travel as basically the first major plot was a huge mistake. Time travel is what you fall back on when all of the good ideas have already been used. Time travel is lame and full of holes.


In this case I see why they did it, and it's not a bad reason: they wanted to reset the Star Trek universe and not be stuck with old canon. Basically, this Star Trek does not take place in the same universe as every other Star Trek we've watched. Due to time travel, it takes place in a slightly different, parallel universe. It basically gives them license to change small things without every Trekkie howling about it. Well, they can still howl but now there's a simple one-liner explanation for all of it, which is "parallel universe -- different events set this universe down a different path than the other one, so not everything is going to be the same".

That, actually, is another good Star Trek creation: "Treknology". Taking the impossible and making it possible through a vague application of theoretical science. Light speed travel is impossible? Warp drives! Getting to the planet's surface is a pain? Teleporters! Shooting warp speed ships with lasers wouldn't work? Phasers! In this case, the Treknology of parallel dimensions is actually used against THE TREK FANS THEMSELVES as a way to sidestep all complaints about minor differences and oversights.

In a way, I have to sit back, clap slowly and say, "Oh... bravo. Well played, sir."

Count me as officially looking forward to the next movie or show using this cast.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are back.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Conan, what is best in life?

I often sit around having existential thoughts. What is life? What's the point of it? Why are we so capable of dreaming of so much more than we'll ever have or ever see? What, if anything, comes next? If I could choose another life, anything I could dream of, what would I pick?

I've decided that this world is actually pretty fantastic. We can dream, and in doing so, we can get a glimpse of everything that could ever be. You can't have 25 different careers, but you can imagine them. You can't be a superhero but you can dream it, write it, watch a movie about it, read a book about it and play one in a video game and then be ready for the next dream. We see other people's dreams (through various forums of media) and they can act as a basis for more of our own.

Surely this is the greatest thing in the universe. We come with our own movie studio in our heads. It's like someone asked us what we wanted the universe to be like and we said, "I don't know, give me a little taste of everything."

I confess! I play a lot of games. Read a lot of books. Watch a lot of movies. Some would say this is "throwing my life away". Au contraire! I would say it's making the very best use of the very best part of it: the dreaming part. This explains a lot about me. I like to do things that give further fuel for my dreams; I don't like to do things that don't. People have told me I should travel more, get out more, that sort of thing. Why? My dreams don't involve France. I don't think that would change very much if I went there. They don't really involve dance clubs, either. Not That There's Anything Wrong With That. I'm just sayin', it's not fuel for my dreams, hence, I'm not interested. I don't want to go somewhere just for the sake of saying I've been or do something just for the sake of saying I've done it. Life is not a collectors game for me; it's a chance to dream. Time not spent dreaming or finding the fuel for dreams is time wasted.

The glorious part is how we always strive to make our dreams reality, in some small way. Not just technologically but socially and culturally, too. Surely we owe every advancement, every improvement to someone who spent enough time dreaming.

I can't seem to get enough of it. (Disclaimer: I am not a hermit. My best dreams involve other people!)

[completely unrelated, self-indulgent self-analysis follows]

I've also been thinking about the mind and memory. My memory is odd. Some things I can remember easily, some things I forget in an instant. I remember how to play as the "Core" from Total Annihilation, a game I haven't played in probably 8 years, but I can't recall my mom's birthday. I think I recognize the pattern...

I believe the mind trains itself to handle memory based on how you like to think.

I like to form, let's say, strategies. Strategies for planning my time, strategies for going to work, strategies for writing blogs, strategies for playing games, strategies for conversation. I don't favor the more concrete form of thinking that requires specific details to function. So I am terrible at remembering birthdays. Dates rarely fit into any of my strategies. I will remember YOU, as in your mannerisms and personality even though I probably forgot your name about 5 seconds after you told me. Your personality is important for future strategies but your name? That I can live without. So off it goes, to wherever it is irrelevant information goes. (Although if I'm specifically trying to make friends, remembering your name would be important to that strategy.) I think this explains why I can remember, in great detail, the type of person my next door neighbor was in 1984, but I've forgotten to return my Netflix video for like 6 days in a row. One is an important factor in a social strategy, the other is just a specific detail of day to day life and thus has a hard time holding a spot in any active part of my brain.

Sometimes I wish I had access to a second brain. I need a basis for comparison.

This part of the blog had nothing to do with anything, I've just been meaning to write it down (not that I kept forgetting, just that I had other things I wanted to do more....)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I Like Astronomy

I've always liked astronomy. I particularly enjoy reading about new discoveries or trying to understand the physics (as, apparently, so are the astrophysicists...), but that's not really the basics of why I like it.

I like astronomy because it reminds me that I am teeny-tiny and the universe is mondo-gigantor. More specifically, I think the problems of my life can always be put into perspective by realizing that somewhere out there, an unthinkably huge sun is exploding. Ones problems are always small in comparison to exploding suns. Flat tire? Exploding sun. Lonely? Exploding sun. If you want to trump an exploding sun, you'll have to find something else astronomical to compare it to.

Also, the sun is orbiting around the galactic center at about 220 km/second. Wherever you are now, it is 792,000 kilometers away from where you were an hour ago.

The point is it helps me maintain a perspective. My problems are not the end of the world.

Unless my problem is a giant meteor, in which case it might be the end of the world.

But anyway, I also like to look up at the stars whenever I get a chance because it reminds me that there are endless possibilities. We are on a small rock, hurtling through a massive universe. What will tomorrow bring us? Who knows! Science isn't even entirely sure what the majority of the mass in the universe is. Anything could happen tomorrow. Anything. It's hard to hold onto despair when you know that tomorrow could bring you anything.