Monday, October 30, 2006

Science Fiction fans vs. Drama Fans

Someone else's take on Science Fiction fans similar to my view to which one of my readers reacted against:

The Strangeness of Fans

I'm probably most interested in the view that this writer takes about science fiction fans thinking that they're more intelligent and critical then the general population, but aren't.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Perfect Writing Children

I've had something of a perfect day today. The weather has helped a lot, enticing me to just walk around all day. Unfortunately, in some ways, I've got plenty to do and have plenty of motivation. I wonder if the weather helps.

Everything combined, though, I feel quite relaxed and happy about accomplishing the things that I have today.

On something of a random note, though, I love that Heroes has finally come together and the super powered characters have finally met. The characters flopping around, discovering their powers and finding a use for their powers, does a good job at establishing the characters. It ran the risk of flopping around and not compelling anyone to watch it.

Like Denis McGrath commented about the first half of Charlie Jade not having a "template" making it hard to compel people to watch (I liked it but also, thankfully, the show picked up a "template" to help people get into the flow of the show), I think Heroes has started to pick up its "template."

My question, though: What's a good rule of thumb to know how much of a TV show to watch before deciding whether to keep watching or not?

DIFFICULTIES OF A FIRST-TIME WRITER

So while reading Denis McGrath's Dead Things on Sticks, I've got thinking a lot about my own craft, the business and how well I fit into both. Denis writes about the Canadian TV production/writing/development business, but he also does a good job addressing the craft of narrative, too. He doesn't necessarily touch directly onto the types of things that I need to concern myself, but it provides some good ideas and inspiration.

Anyway, after reading it for a week or two now, I've realized the extent of postmodernity and difficulty in the writing of this novel. More to the point: one or two of the point of views. I won't get too deep into it, but it gets rather interesting when writing different point of views that require different narrative styles to match the mindsets of the different characters and also their location in and out of a primitive virtual reality without a "realistic" user interface. You'll have to wait and see on that one.

But, right, writing this stuff as a first-time novel writer. With more perspective, I can see that I didn't necessarily have the greatest idea of how to put together this kind of huge, interactive project. If I did, I can't necessarily say that I would have taken on the whole project.

I, at the same time, however, am reflecting on the facts after writing about the situation. Maybe if I knew about the challenge of these big projects, I might not have started in the first place. Does an artist need to have a little lack of perspective and foolhardiness to accomplish greatness? I don't want to project any sense of arrogant hubris to say that I'm a great artist or anything, but this experience of mine could provide a glimpse into the artistic mind.

But, yeah, I guess if I want greatness early (or at the least, break out into the business with a chance at success), I'll figure out how this challenge and how to finish it well.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On Clockwork Hold, Agent Orange

Tonight while waiting on hold, I heard a classical composition with which I have familiarity. I don't know the composer, era or any of that jazz offhand. I could probably gather that information quickly enough if I consulted my Clockwork Orange soundtrack and the Internet.

Realizing that I had familiarity with this composition in this way struck me as interesting, especially after reading "Story Literacy & Shrinking Memory" at Dead Things on Sticks. I don't plan on summarizing the article, so please go read it before reading the rest of this entry.

I feel myself pretty much sitting on the top of a fence about cultural literacy and how we, as individuals, get it. For one, I'm victim to not having an incredible amount of cultural literacy, whether it be the Western canon, modernist literature or even any real canon of speculative fiction. A reader and I discussed the speculative fiction literacy a couple entries back.

I remember taking a literature class back at school, and the teacher, a sub-continental Indian transplant student to England then transplant teacher to the US, and he blasted our cultural literacy to no end while acting all surprised about it. Our cultural illiteracy apparently made it difficult to understand the literature.

Many times, I still feel left out on my understanding of all the cultures of the world, from street talk to T.S. Eliot. Irony really gives me trouble. A co-worker of mine ironically (har har) teases me that I'm an authentic, genuine man because I don't naturally understanding irony. Of course, plenty of cultural critics complain about the preponderance of irony in our culture while tons of other ones laud the irony and see it as the prime source of expanding meaning in cultural vehicles of meaning.

At the same time, all of our cultures has a huge amount of stuff to become literate about, even considering just the important stuff. A person would take at least one life time to read the 2 1/2 millenia worth of literature, listen to the music, etc. etc. We have tons of stuff just to browse, from India to the United States to England to South Africa. How does a person become familiar with all of it?

So. . .without ruminating much more, does anyone else have an opinion on cultural literacy in our culture?

Three opinions pop into my mind:

1. It's important to have cultural literacy to stay in touch with and mold our cultural tradition,

2. Since there's tons of it, I laud anyone who tries to learn as much as possible about it but

3. I don't see the point of blaming the illiterate except for their ignorance of culture's importance and that, at some point, they become responsible for the cycle of cultural illiteracy. . .similar in a way that the arch-conservatives blame the media of both reporting the news/views of the people while molding the news and views.

But I'd like to hear other people's open minded and constructive views on the topic.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Silly for the Night

Every time I told my TiVo to record a show for a season or to make a "Wishlist," it would create a whole new artificial intelligence to deal with the task.

One small thing: the task didn't require some full on AI, so they tended to get bored. I think I learned how to communicate with a couple of them, but, for the most part, I pretty much just felt guilty that my TiVo pretty much brought into being these sentient intelligences then enslaved them to do something pretty menial for an AI.

And if you've known me long enough, you know how guilty I can feel about the smallest, silliest things. . .like sending the fiancee down a one-way street and nearly getting her killed.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ugh (an Utterance that has Become my Friend's Favorite)

For those not in the know, I've been fighting off this annoying viral upper respiratory thing. Only rest and time defeat it, I guess.

Thursday, I came home early after two hours of work. I went to sleep immediately, got up for about 4 or 5 hours in the evening then went back to bed. Got up Friday morning, which didn't feel like an adrenaline burst into consciousness, so I went back to work. Stayed up latish to watch some TV then slept for twelve hours until now.

I still feel sick, disoriented. I keep wanting to do suff but know that I shouldn't do much more than grocery shop. Well, I believe I should at least read, finish Hunters of Dune.

DOCTOR WHO

We watched the newest Doctor Who episode broadcast in the United States. Pretty good one. Enjoyable.

My problem with it and probably most of the Doctor Who episodes in which the Doctor won't go back in time to save a person or even do something as inconsequential as visit someone to just say "hi" or "goodbye." Throughout the whole series, I haven't seen any good rhyme or reason as to why not except that he won't break some sacred "law of time" or something.

Maybe he can't get the TARDIS to do it with any accuracy. Maybe he does know about some moments in time that he can't interrupt without changing the whole course of the universe. Maybe it just works as a good plot device for the writer's to use, so they can keep the emotional strength of a story, and I'm just a lowly fanboy, in these matters, who has to accept these things.

Then again, the Time Lords entry actually addresses the issue, somewhat. Something about their extinction apparently has something to do with the difficulty of traveling at will. But even then, being the last Time Lord really makes for an inconsistency. . .shouldn't they be able to travel through time to run into each other again?

But I guess I'll just have to wait and hope they answer some of these questions and do it in a way that makes me understand why they did it the way they did it, if not find it the MOST satisfying explanation.

BLOGS WRITTEN BY CHARLIE JADE CREATIVE STAFF

Dead Things on Sticks: Denis McGrath, one of the story editors for the better second half of the show

Complications Ensue: Alex Epstein, the executive producer for the better second half of the show

Monday, October 16, 2006

News and Energy

Today, I try to start reading the news again.

ROBOTECH

I found the conclusion of the Robotech novels underwhelming, similar to my reaction to the finale of Alias.

Speculative fiction fans have disappointed me on the Robotech front, though. No matter how much I've looked on the Internet, I couldn't find any literary criticism of the novels. I could only find anal retentive comparisons and contrasts between the TV series and novels.

No wonder the lay and academic audiences don't take Speculative fiction seriously. The "core" audience of the genre doesn't even think about the texts in a critical fashion other than to fight about continuity issues, after something like 20 or 30 years, even when all that is encompassed by the title Robotech breaches upon a lot of interesting topics and themes.

The fiancee tells me that I should start the trend of writing about Robotech critically. Well, maybe I should one of these days.

NO-CAFFEINE THING

The whole no-caffeine has surprised me today. I screwed up my sleeping schedule this weekend by staying up real late Saturday night to see Josh Wink (who we met through the the silly adventures of our visiting friend, Charles, but didn't stay up long enough to see [we left at 2:30 AM, and the guy hadn't yet gotten up to spin!!!!]) and slept a long long time into the afternoon of Sunday and don't get to sleep until about 12:30 AM.

Yet, today. . .I wake up bright and energetic. Unfortunately, at quarter of seven in the morning, after eating some food, my body has started to hit a slight energy ditch. I guess I won't have a good opinion about my energy levels until the end of the day. Nonetheless, I'm impressed with waking up as well as I did after only four and a half hours of sleep. Not bad.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Research, Writing and Cat Attack!!!!

I've lately taken a two week break from reading the weekly and morning free newspapers that I get off the street corners. Part of my motivation comes from information, gossip and event overload. Another motivational aspect comes from getting hooked on the end of the Robotech TV series and novelisations.

As I think about getting back into reading the news and also about the myriads of topics that I want to know about, I've thought about the tensions and synthesis of theory, practice and empirical phenomena and facts. I really don't have much to say about it now, but I think the balance of these elements makes for an interest topic to ruminate upon one day, especially say from a writer's standpoint or somesuch.

If people have any thoughts on the topic, though, feel free to speak up.

CAT ATTACK!!!!!!

Don't know if I mentioned this Website, but it's worthing mentioning again and again and again and AGAIN and AGAIN! It's Kitten War: May the Cutest Kitten Win!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

E=MCscrewed

I don't really have the time or energy to do all that I would like everyday. The desire to get a good amount of sleep has a lot to do with it, especially since my body has started going along with the cycle of the day, awake during the day and sleepy at night.

Honestly, though, I feel like my energy has a lot more sincerity and integrity to it, without the jitters and neurosis that comes with caffeine. And when it comes time to really think, and I have that something in mind, ready to express, I'm as prolific as I would be with caffeine, if not moreso.

It's nice. I like it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Yet Another Stage Completed

Finished typing up the first draft to the fifth paper I've written for my bachelors project.

Tomorrow I start doing the research for the last paper and go back to working on the novel.

A writer's job is never done.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hyper Time Management

COFFEE TALK

ErinMaru, you still exercising regularly. If not, give it a shot. Might help deal with the caffeine withdrawal. FWIW, I won't stop myself from getting a coffee if I have an appetite for it. I just want to stop myself from depending on it to keep myself alert, since it can actually work against me in the long run.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Still working on figuring out a good schedule for finishing tasks while my brain still works well and I can focus, especially after work. I also want to avoid getting hyperfocused on something and not wanting to stop doing it.

The other day, I read some interesting advice about how to handle the finances. Deal with the long term finances first then deal with the today stuff, including rent and utilities. Essentially, by addressing your finances this way, you'll force yourself into budgeting your short-term expenses better. I, personally, don't find myself needing to take this tactic with my finances. Quicken helps me a lot with budgeting my life better along with setting up a seperate account for setting aside expense funds.

So anyway, I read this advice in terms of motivating yourself to exercise. Think of exercise as a long term financial issue and do it before any other activity. I've already got that down, as I've taken to exercising first thing in the morning after waking up, three times a week. Helps a ton with the energy and focus. I think it has helped to take the edge off the caffeine withdrawal.

I plan on taking a similar tact toward my time management, with a little tweaking, of course. Pretty much, I plan on doing as follows most weekday nights:

+ Long term activity like working on my bachelors project (just about longest term activity I can think of -- once it gets addressed, I'll have to come up with another big project or direction to take my life other than putting together a happy, healthy family).

+ Short term, day to day activity like washing the dishes, emptying the litter box and getting the next day's lunch ready.

+ Medium term, like working on the job search, planning vacations, wedding, etc. etc.

We'll have to see how well this plan works.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Returning to Normal

I stopped drinking coffee relatively cold turkey sometime this weekend. I say cold turkey because I drank two mugs of coffee a day, at the most. I also drank a good amount of tea, too. Maybe I should just say that I'm trying to cut down the amount of caffeine I take in each day.

Some complicated incidental research into catecholamines, adenosine (ATP), tyramine, vinegar and norepinephrine got me educated about how caffeine screws with our bodies' system of generating energy and our diurnal cycles.

Part of all the above research came about because of tension headaches I would get while working on my bachelors project, even though I got a lot done on it. It all fits together in the end. Maybe someday I'll explain the pathway to moderating more on caffeine.

Either which way, tonight's the first night in awhile that I feel focused and calm enough to collect my thoughts. Unfortunately, I've got plenty to do, which makes my thoughts scatter. Ugh. . .I really need to cut down on chores. . .or actually set aside Sundays to write. . ..

Gotta go now, though.