Sep. 14th, 2009 03:32 pm
mercat: (Default)
Just watched Coraline--really good. I was planning to read the book before I watched the movie, but it just so happens that Flyer TV put it on this month, so I watched it anyway. I'm sure the book is even more detailed than the movie, as books generally are, but regardless the movie is jam-packed and Neil Gaiman is still a genius. I'm sure it would be wonderfully horrifying to see in 3D.

Also, I totally want a little jerboa marching band, how adorable was that?!

And my kitties, I wish I could keep them at school with me.

Anyway, it's one of those weeks where I can't keep my head on straight. Yesterday was horrible, I had some time but couldn't think of things to do. Even though I know I have a list, it's like some section of my brain fogs up and I happen to never end up thinking about any of that and I do nothing productive and feel restless all day. I felt the best just walking a block from my parking space, which made me think I should have gone marching or something.

Part of the problem is that weekends like that, all you have is Sunday, and not all of Sunday because we have chapter, and it feels like you don't have enough time to rest and still be productive, so my brain is trying to do two things at once (be productive, but restfully?), which is doesn't know how to do, and that just does not end well.

BUT the band trip is nothing major this weekend (other than trying to avoid a certain someone who may or may not be trying to creep on me) and we don't have to learn anything new for the show (at least, I don't think we do) and pregame went fine, so, there is that. Band should actually be relaxing, maybe.

What I can't figure out is why I don't eat very healthily. I mean, I eat healthier meals than your average collegiate, I'd say, but at the same time I forget how to cook or what to cook or what I like to eat and I always end up eating more crap and fat than I should. It's making it really difficult to try to get on a healthier diet... I don't know what to do about that. Part of it is that I bite my nails and chew on pens and as a result I feel like I need to be eating something, just as a nervous habit. And gum makes me sick to my stomach if I chew it too often, so that's not a useful alternative. I don't know what to do, because I sure as hell can't be eating ALL DAY.

Anyway, that's all for now. Just needed to get some stuff out of my system... Got plenty on my plate right now.


Jan. 26th, 2009 11:08 pm
mercat: (Default)
Environmental ethics has brought up some interesting things to talk about, but it is much less applicable than I thought it was going to be. Well, that sounds wrong. It is completely applicable to every aspect of life, which is why I like philosophy; but it is not at all like my Engineering Ethics class, where we are asked to look at ethical dilemmas faced by professional engineers.

But I digress; today I came upon a thought that can better articulate something I've been feeling lately, that nameless thing.

Regardless, I really don't want to talk about that right now. Last week was a long and exhausting week and this week is not much better. I had a nice panicked moment when I thought I had part of my final project due for economics, but it was the grad part of the class that did. *breathe*

Oh, it's supposed to snow heavily tomorrow. Hurrah! Maybe Girl Scouts will be canceled and I can regain some sanity time.

I've had some pretty bold-imageried dreams lately... I don't know if that's because of all the crap I've been eating and drinking, or the fact I'm not sleeping well, or what.

Everyone seems kind of on-edge, too... Not sure why, but it's rather worrisome.

Anyway, I have like seven emails to myself of links I've accumulated that I need to disperse. So, without further ado:

Cool military deceptions. I've always been intrigued by deception... The number of detective and spy books I read when I was in gradeschool was rather ridiculous, I'm sure.

Any UKers out there? I'm like 90% sure no, but just in case I am passing that on. It doesn't sound good.

The floating islands of Titicaca. So effin' sweet. I'm such an engineering dork.

I'm confused about what's going on here...? But both the Disney-capitalist and agnostic parts of me rather love it. Capitalism is crazy sometimes...

The Eight Weirdest Ways We'll Generate Energy in the Future. As an engineer who's been hearing about green design for a while now, most of those are not that "weird". Personally, the weirdest one is... tornadoes? I think I need a diagram to grasp the idea of this one.

Seven Phenomenal Wonders of the Natural World. I think I've linked this before, but I don't remember the sailing stones, and that's pretty amazing shit right there.

There are a lot of days I wish I could just be an explorer-naturalist. How badass of a job would that be?

Oh dude, and Neil Gaiman got a Newberry award! Congrats to him! Very deserved.
mercat: (Default)
OH MY GOD I GOT A ONE ON MY PLAYING AUDITION! :D I don't know how that happened. But I am really excited. So January 2-4 I am headed off to Wyoming, where I still have to do a marching audition, but which I am not at all worried about. Marching, I love. Marching, I can do. (Their vis staff was not able to get to the camp, so we were done early and everything. It was lovely.)

Oh my god, I miss drum corps so much. I can't wait for next summer. Just need to do more pre-conditioning this time around, and I'll be good. Arm strength, ability to run... Especially since everydays in June will be a mile high and cold. Breathing block will be miserable. And it sounds like Troopers is big on running laps.

But I'm glas I made the choice I did... It was interesting to hear the guys at the camp talk about how vets would go off to the "good" corps for a year or so and then age out back where they had family. Basically, the impression I got from my audition at Phantom was right... They are mostly interested in winning, not in who you are. Apparently one of their friends was the center snare for Phantom--center snare--and the staff didn't know his name until several days into everydays. That's ridiculous. And not to say every winning corps is there, but it just makes me feel better about not going to Crown. I think it's insulting to get money out of camps for so long and waste my time, not to mention... that. So much a different type of family, it's not even funny.

As for my computer, UDit is completely useless. Every time I email them about a message I am getting (no matter how minor) their general response is a lame question about retrieving data I already gave them, and "if that doesn't help then bring it in". So once again, they proved completely useless and with several hours of programs that didn't work, I finally found the solution through Google (I ran the fake program name as well as the "trojan" name). Oh, I don't know if I got that far in explaining before--it turned out to be an adware file that only looks like a windows security message telling you that you have a trojan (mine was Trojan.Zlob.G, but the file itself was merman.exe) and recommends you download a removal program (Program Defender 2009). This is fake safety software that "runs" a diagnostic to find the issue and fails partway through, prompting you to upgrade. So then the hackers get your money. And the multitude of anti-spyware programs I now have downloaded got rid of the fake security program, but to get rid of the adware (the fake windows messages) you have to start your computer in safe mode, go to Applications, find the "Google" folder and delete the two fake files in it. (I was worried at first, but there's nothing else there--it's not actually a Google folder.) So, once again, UDit is a failure and I fixed my own computer simply with Google-fu.

And now, lots and lots of linkspam because I've been a terrible, terrible tab user lately. And no lj-cut because I am CRUEL.

I rather love this Neil Gaiman poster. And speaking of zombies, I just watched 28 Days Later, which is a pretty good movie but feels... incomplete, somehow. But it did remind me of watching Sean of the Dead, which I somehow connected to that from the fact that I finally got my Phi Rho paddle, and I thought it looked like a cricket bat, and Christine and I somehow determined we are going to play cricket with my paddle and bouncyballs. Yesss. I miss Nookball a lot, haha.

This may be the saddest PostSecret ever. Not the most depressing, but one I could never understand... That's a sort of compromise I could never make, and it must be terrible to be in fear of something that other people think is so great about life. Wow, that was a really concise version of what I think and probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense... Maybe I'll expand upon it more later. I don't know.

Harrison Ford doing J. J. Adams Comedy? I'd be up for that. He's really entertaining with dry humor.

Daniel Craig wants Moneypenny and Q in the next Bond movie. EXCELLENT. Craig should be my new best friend. I want Q back and I think they should keep John Cleese. He can do srsface just fine.

The interesting source of phrases such as "in the limelight". Cool beans.

FSM nativity, pirates included. I love it. (The displays of FSM lights are awesome, too.)

I am totally doing this in my room. Now just to find tables...

This freedom-of-religion article showed up on my friendslist somewhere. I've had that sitting around but today I randomly stumbled upon an article discussing it (and atheist messages) which I think is really interesting. Another article about atheism where I think the more interesting topics are unrelated--digital ghosts and older people's mentalities. My dad said he read an article about the testing of older folks, and that it's not the idea that "old people are grumpy" but rather, they lose the ability to censor themselves, so to speak. Which is interesting in contrast to the idea that they are like children.)

A really interesting article about the "anti-wedding" which I may have posted when I was talking about feminism. It has a lot of good points. Sorry about the awkward formatting, the link to the actual article was really messy.

Thylacines can open their jaws up to 120 degrees... That's so, so disturbing.

The octodress. Is it not amazing? As creepy and fucking disturbing as ocotpi are, they are really cool as a deocrative element. (However, when they decide to take over the planet, we are doomed.)

This is some pretty cool art with lamps and such in nature. Awesome.

I forgot about this Pushing Daisies soundtrack that was coming out! SO MANY SONGS, I LOVE IT

Pretty cool article about major movie studio logos. I forget what the original reason was that this was so fascinating... Some tidbit I can't remember at the moment.

Pretty cool old "music video" from 1928.

I like these alternative Christmas Tree ideas.

Someone commented on Betty Page's death calling her "spectacularly singular"... I don't know why, I really like that phrase. And it's true.

So tonight I went out to dinner with my parents and grandparents and my aunt and uncle, and we got to talking about Facebook and the fact that my dad has one to keep in touch with people, and then of course my grandparents being my grandparents we started arguing about the morality of employers checking the Facebook profiles of potential employees. Of course I just gave them my solution--lock your damn facebook. But it's interesting what some people might think about what's on your profile, and different points of view on that. And talking to some people, it's weird to have parents on facebook. I was just looking back at an older post from when dad joined, and I said "WHAT" like it's weird but I think moreso it was just unexpected. Laura apparently didn't friend him, but she, who knows, might have something to hide. (Partying, probably.) I don't necessarily want dad to see my excessive cursing or the fact that I'm no longer Catholic (not that he'd necessarily see "pastafarian" and "church of heathus christ of ledger-day saints" not as humor only), but you know what? Laura's cursed in front of him, he knows we watch shit-for-tv or movies sometimes, I don't care so much. I don't curse in front of him or my grandparents, that's good enough for me. But other people talked about having family finding out about photos on facebook that they didn't want their parents or others to see, and you know what? I don't really get it. If you're worried, make it private, friends-only. If you're concerned about your little brothers and sisters showing your parents... Here's a grand idea: don't do anything in your life you wouldn't be proud of. If you make mistakes, admit they were mistakes and move on, but if something is a concern to your image, don't do it! I don't understand why that's so hard for people... I mean, from peers to politicians, what's so difficult about making good decisions? About thinking things through... Honestly.

Oh my god there is a hilarious skit on Robot Chicken about the construction of the Raiders temple. IT IS AMAZING. Hopefully it will be up on youtube superfast.

OH MY GOD. THEY CAN TAKE IMAGES OUT OF YOUR BRAIN NOW. You have no idea how long I have been waiting for this sort of technology to get started... I want to record dreams like crazy.

Whew, I think that's everything for now.


Jun. 10th, 2008 09:52 am
mercat: (Default)
Extremely long, but
1) that's kind of the point, and
2) it's extremely interesting.

a very interesting article about the human brain )

Discussion: First of all, I think because I'm so stupidly paranoid sometimes, I love dystopian stories. I would really like to write one one day. I had an idea, it's sitting in a folder on my computer, but the problem is that it's more for the technology involved on a cool level, rather than the dystopian issues. Basically like distilling Star Wars down to lightsabers. Cool, but you don't get any story. Someday hopefully I'll have a good idea though.

Now, to the actual article. (I have two post-its full of notes I made about the article, but I'm sure I am missing a few because I wrote them as I skimmed it a second time.) I've noticed this myself, and in fact I think I may have even blogged about it before. Probably talking about internet addiction and stuff. I know that I am a whore for information. Seriously, trivia, knowledge, you name it. I've pretty much always wanted to be in school, just at my own pace. I think, for the rest of my life, I will always be taking some sort of class. I enjoy learning new techniques and gaining new skills and having information stored away at the back of my brain. The problem is, you forget it over time... But that's not my point, I'm getting a bit tangential. The point is, I've noticed I find it harder to read books. Unless it's extremely compelling, I will stop and think a few pages/chapters in, but my eyes keep moving, which is annoying because then you have to go and read a whole page over again. I've always had that quality, that I will think, almost anywhere. My best friend in gradeschool used to tease me about it all the time, because sometimes I would stop talking to her in a car ride or something and just be staring out the window, thinking. I used to get people asking me if I was okay, yeah, I'm fine, I'm just staring out the window looking at things and thinking about them... But I have noticed that after a little bit I lose interest in the book, it just becomes words on the page. More than just stopping and thinking (or getting easily distracted, like many books you have to read for school, oh, let's say, Wuthering Heights [BLECH]), but completely losing interest. Almost as if your eyes lose focus because you've been reading too long, but it's coming from your brain instead. The words on the page just become mush. It's so frustrating.

Sometime last year, I can't remember if it was before drum corps or after fall semester, I told myself that this year would be a big change for me. I was going to Hawaii to get in some relaxation, some adventure, figure out what in my life is not going right. There are a lot of small things, I suppose, but I think the main thing I noticed is that I've lost my self-limitation. I used to be able to just come home, do what I had to do, and then I could do what I wanted. Part of it was that gradeschool was too easy in some ways, and not interesting in many others, and when I got to high school I cared less about classes because I cared more about friends. Same with college, and especially because I told myself I'm doing engineering because I can, not because it's my main interest. I just want to have the skillset. Which only leads to more procrastination. But the issue here is that I needed to sit myself down and say, no, you have to start caring about stupid things again, they aren't going to work themselves out. I need to manage my time online. I need to exercise more. I need to make an effort getting out to meet people. I need to be ME and not lose myself in inane things. I don't even know where I lost myself, but somewhere toward the end of high school and the beginning of college, I did. I focused too much on what other people wanted me to be, so much the adult because I know, and they know, that I can handle the responsibility-- but I can't forget that I am so much a child's imagination. I daydream, I sketch, I have too many ideas and aspirations. I'm too hopeful in humanity, probably. But I've always felt that way, and I think I tried to crush it. It seems like all throughout gradeschool I was one of the most mature kids in my class, though I always felt frustrated by the fact that I had no real knowledge/understanding/interest in current events, other than scientific. In that sense I think I definitely matured, though it pretty much took me all throughout high school. But I can definitely at least better understand some politics and things, or at least I have more of an interest in them. Something about them is still not there for me to grasp. Anyway, the point is that I have a need to create and a need to let my imagination go and a need to be a dork. I can't sacrifice that for anything. Maybe I'm not going to play with all my toys but it doesn't make it any less fun having them. Laura was looking at me ridiculously for buying so many of the Indiana Jones 3 3/4" figures, but as soon as I pulled them out of the box to show her she started messing with the accessories and the boxes and we actually spent a little while setting them up and trying to keep Spalko's pistol from getting eaten by Jack.

And now I am extremely far off topic. Back to my post-its.

Artificial intelligence scares the SHIT out of me. Not in the sense that computers will take over and we'll become a biology to be exploited or killed, but rather in the sense that humans will become nothing more than advanced technology, modifying ourselves until we lose every element of humanity... and yeah, I know that deep down poetically it's emotion, but it scares me that people want to genetically CHOOSE what their kids will be, not just male or female but eye color and hair color and intelligence and skills and strength, and that those are things that would eventually become outdated as they are upgraded, and soon you have outdated children. Who could treat a person like that? Another human being? This is ignorance. (This is Sparta! Oh wait. No, it's just ignorance. Maybe politics. But it's madness, too.)

And maybe genetic modification everyone decides is unethical. (Though there would probably still be someone out there experimenting... the law isn't perfect) So what if people can put chips into their brain to remember things? Yeah, I remember reading a kids magazine wishing you could just do that so you wouldn't have to go to school. Convenient, but what if your computer broke, or was programmed badly? Or you crashed in a forest and a moose trampled on you and broke the circuit? Then where would you be? And it also leads to the ego that you think you know something, but really, you don't. This is another thing I've had to find out about myself recently. Gradeschool was too easy and not interesting, and it's easy to delude yourself about teachers and books and things if you're obsessive about good grades, but starting senior year and going 'til now I've been able to admit to myself a few things. Grades aren't as important as they seem, because you should get out and live. That being said, they're very convenient for scholarships and things, and I will probably be kicked out of the honors program. Which upset me, but after a while being bitter I realized there really aren't any benefits anyway, other than being able to check out 100 books from the library at a time. (If I'm still in, I'm going to do it. If not, I'm stealing Candice's card to do it.) Oh, and I won't graduate Summa Cum Laude (I think?), but... does that really matter? Besides grades, I had to learn that I'm not as much of a genius as I wished I was. There are things I don't understand, and probably my mewest revelation is that you can't just learn them for a semester, for a test. You're not really learning anything, and I'm starting to feel those effects. You have discussions with your friends and realize that even though you studied and at one point knew what they are talking about, you can't recall as much of it as you'd like. (Then again, maybe I'm too obsessive and I just want to remember it all. Who knows.)

Can't remember if I already mentioned this a few paragraphs up, but I'm just going down the post-its now. Staying in school... I think I will be always taking classes, about something. Literature, history, art, you name it. And because classes in school are so focused, I'm always reading. Used to be magazines and books, now mostly internet. I have acess to learning so many things I may never need to know directly, but what if them one day applies to a creative engineering solution or a writing idea or an art idea? That's how my brain works, I have millions of stupid little things floating around, and somehow they will crash into eachother and I'll have an idea. In order to be creative I know I have to feed my brain, but I've also learned if I'm feeding it I need to be creative.

Something else I think I've touched on before, and I think about at least once a week if not once a day; age and technology. I wonder how a generation that's grown up understanding computers will adjust to technology as they get older, as older generations fall behind (and older technology falls behind, and the things that go with it: media, politics... sadly). I wonder how technology's going to change...

Now, malleability of the brain, that's interesting. It's both good and bad. Bad in that my brain is becoming more rapid-fire and I lose focus reading books. Not good at all. Good in that it means you can teach an old dog new tricks... Definitely one of my fears. That I will stop learning, that I will get stupid with age (yeah, not just fear of dying here AUGH), that I will lose ability to do things as I get old. Not that I feel old now, though I think people expect me to say that because OHMYGODI'MTWENTY (well, not yet, technically). Like I've said before, I'm too much a child's mind and I don't want to not learn things, not be able to go on adventures. (At least, it's self-encouragement to get in shape. So when I in my eighties I can still run.)

Internet is not the only thing that messes with my brain. I cannot listen to music when I study, or really when I do anything that is not expressly listening to music. Maybe it's because I was so much raised on music that it's like my sixth sense, tempo and tuning and listening and feeling it. For a while I just tried studying to music without words, because I figured it was that language is so important to us that it would be what distracts us, but it's not true for me, it's definitely any sort of music. That being said, I just had the remembrance that a common "science fair" in grade school was to see who took a test better, those who listened to music while studying, and those who didn't, and that those who listened to (I think classical) did better. I am not sure that would work for me, though I think the science behind it is that the music stimulates more of your brain to get it active and remembering. Only problem for me is that I guess it is too active. Maybe it's just that my brain is turning into an internet-brain and I lose focus on studying, but really music should help... who knows.

I've also noticed my mental to-do list skills breaking down. Now whether that was that I have so much more to keep track of now, not just do your homework do your chores work on a craft project and go to bed, but do your homework go to work remember what to wear and then go to the bank and then go to walmart (with a whole separate mental list) and then go home to meet laura and pack (yet another list) and then clean the house so people can come over at x time and then go on vacation... remains to be seen. Or maybe that I now purposefully carry around a notebook and pen at all times, and write down project ideas and things I need to do, and I rely more on that... But I almost always forget to go back and check it. Right now my desk is COVERED in post-it notes and the notepad function on my phone is full. For a while I tried a method of keeping "A, B, C, D" level lists on my desktop in Word, but that was forgotten quickly because it requires upkeep. So... I don't know.

Another topic dealing with age and technology: how people watch movies. When you are younger, everything is entertaining, and when you are older you start watching stuff made more for the story and the thoughtfulness and the emotion and stuff. And if you're trained in certain technical areas, I'm noting more nowadays that you watch the costumes or the acting or the way the camera pans or the editing or the CGI. I'm not convinced it's because a lot of my friends have interest or training in that, though I'm sure that's part of it. I think part of the issue is that it's popular (popular? I don't know) to be a cynic, to think you're an expert, to watch it not for entertainment but on a meta-level to guess it's predictability and it's qualities that I think ten years ago only a professional (or indie) movie maker would have cared about. Maybe it's part youtube, maybe it's the addition of behind-the-scenes special features on almost all DVDs (and I swear to god if they don't start putting more special features on the Indy dvds I will kill someone), who knows. Maybe it's all of that.

You know what word never ceases to distract me from the quality of the writing? "Gewgaws." PLEASE STOP USING THIS WORD, PEOPLE, I am begging you

Part of me has always wanted simplicity. Not quite being a hermit but living in a small house being able to take care of all my stuff and growing my own food (or catching/killing my own food, whatever) and being able to manage everything myself. Part of it is that machines are becoming too complicated, it requires a LOT of skill to be able to fix cars now. Part of it is my concern for the environment, that owning little and having a small footprint is best. Part of it is that man is turning into machine... a corporate machine, maybe, but a machine nonetheless. Buy the clothes buy the ipod buy the phone buy the car buy the gas buy the fancy restaurants buy the (COMPLETELY BULLSHIT MARKET) diamonds. I think, in a small-market system, captialism is good. Maybe I'm just too much of a gloom-and-doom worry wart, but I'm really afraid for where we, as a society, are headed. Environment, politics, corporations... Ugh. Maybe just another reason to want to get away from it all...

Plus, I've always thought survivalist skills are cool. (AND ENVIRONMENTAL HOUSE DESIGN! Awesome) I'd love to see anyone from Hollywood survive in a forest for a week. I know my plants recognition skills aren't all that great, but I don't think I'd do too badly. Shelter, water, I am there. Fire in theory. Trapping animals a bit more of a challenge.

(WOO, one post-it down!)

Back to my dystopia thing for a second-- you know what would be interesting? A current-day dystopia novel. Something that would happen tomorrow. I think partially because technology moves at an exponential rate, that it would both have to be as well as make it more interesting. (Only thing is that it would go out of date probably very quickly...) Hmm. I'll have to think on this some more.

Another concern of having a mind that moves too quickly: ADD diagnoses. They're already way too high, and way overmedicated, but being raised on the internet might only make that worse.

Maybe I am just a bit old-fashioned, wanting to avoid having a brain that moves too quickly, but in the same manner I hate having downloaded-only music and movies. I'd rather own the dvd and the cds. I think it's still too easy for files to corrupt, for computers to crash or get broken, and there are all the stupid limits like iTunes "you can only download this file to five computers!" I know it's so they make more money, but, UGH, I'm not going to get into a political rant about how I think this (almost)depression is good for most Americans... Also, I almost always have music playing in my head. You think I'm kidding... I'm not. The only time I don't consciously hear it is if I'm thinking particularly hard about something interesting.

Also, scary that we are losing our ability to focus long-term... I already think it's scary we used to have much more impressive memory skills, but lost that with the invention of the printing press. Maybe it's just that I am too insecure and always afraid I will need to remember something I have forgotten, or that I hate egotism so much and there are so many people who think they're really smart but really know nothing. I don't know. Also, I think losing the ability to focus on something for a long time will just accentuate the aspect of immaturity that you don't think outside of your immediate actions, the whole monkeysphere theory. Truly fascinating stuff.

(My next thought was, this sounds like something I read the other day that sounded like it could have come from Douglas Adams [I don't remember what it was, but it involved discussion of "it's a small world" and that it's all an act that there are only 500 people besides you {which isn't true, I have over 500 people friended on facebook, all but a handful I actually know in person}, but in reality it's just that there are many smaller circles of about 500 people... maybe it was Neil Gaiman?]. And then, it's interesting how British humor always has an interesting take on something, like they sat back to get a bit more perspective than you, and I love that. But then that also relates to this discussion, what if it's just their being a bit more old-fashioned? Almost like the metaphorical US as a pre-teen and Britain being in it's late 20's saying there-there, I told you so, in a mocking but not annoying manner. Which makes me wonder, what if the British have got it right all this time...) (I dunno, I do kind of think I could easily live there. Reading Adams, he's said that Brits are much more sensible and that atheism and agnosticism is not looked down upon as badly as it is in the US. BY THE WAY, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS. I can't see the video, but from the quotes that sounds ATROCIOUS. Just makes me more frustrated for that whole campaign by scientists to get more discussion of technology and global warming and important topics into legislature... ARGH)

Um, and back to the Epic Memory thing real fast (termed because I remember that people used to memorize the Odyssey and the Iliad), most memorization today is just rote. You do it until it becomes an instinct, not necessarily putting the thinking behind it, and I think that was an issue for me for learning some things. Or rather, testing on them. You can't teach a method of study of rote memorization and then expect it to be APPLIED. Argh.

Oh, and I think I may have actually lost a lot of my skill telling jokes. Laura and I used to be able to go on forever, back and forth from one joke to the next. I think part of that is that as you get older you find other things to entertain yourself with, and that I've stopped reading jokes as much, and I know I haven't listened to the Dr. Laura Thanksgiving Day joke show in a while, and I don't even know if she doesn't anymore. (Still annoyed that the one year we got through, LAURA STOLE MY JOKE ...yeah, I can hold grudges like nobody's business)

Interesting that the author of the article talks about pancake people. I think that's definitely true, and kind of goes back to my idea that perhaps capitalism on a more personal level is better. Mom and Pop stores and people actually learning trades if they have no interest in school, and a car I can fix myself... But that's back to politics again, I'd rather not go there. Only thing is, I don't know if I'm a product of society in that way, or if it's just my personality, but I've always been sort of a take-interest-in-everything want-to-be-a-renaissance-man sort. I tend to think it's me and not society, as this is still relatively new in regards to the internet raising people, and I am a bit extreme and all-over-the-board in my interests.

Now, back to something off topic but relating to my dystopia interest. I have almost always read books for entertainment rather than education (though a lot of educational stuff was entertaining to me...), and my dad and I have always thought that you should be able to look at a book as entertainment and not have to analyze it for themes and symbolism and metaphors. But I also wonder, it can be very interesting to have that secondary level, if you study it. I've always wanted to write a book and just say "there's no lesson here, it's just supposed to be fun", but I don't know if I could anymore. I mean, I think I could, but it wouldn't be as interesting as something with more significance. (But when I try to write significance with metaphors, I go a bit crazy, and that's another issue.) Are there are stories just pure entertainment with no lesson, though? Star Wars? I mean, I love the hell out of Indiana Jones, but I'm pretty sure the basis is to be responsible for what is right, there, and have a sense of mystery and awe. Terminator? I mean is there some Kubrickesque dystopian message there? I have no idea (I've only seen it once).

Ideally, my writing style is like Hitchhiker's Guide or Neil Gaiman or Diana Wynne Jones, all of which I consider to be entertainment primarily. (However, American Gods has a deeper meaning for me, which is slightly off topic.) Are there any messages in Hitchhiker's Guide? I don't really think so, other than, stop taking it all so seriously because it doesn't really matter (which, while sometimes good, also worries me). My only problem is that it takes quite a lot of work to get me in that mood, and it's difficult to keep. Like I said, I think I'm too much of a renaissance man. I would write a book in that style and never be able to write another one like that again, but I would easily move on to another idea another genre another style. I could act if I had the chance, I would sing if I had the chance, I would be an architect or an Imagineer. Who knows, really...

(Incidentally, 2001 was a movie I felt they could have cut the beginning and the end off of and had a decent movie. I guess I'll have to watch it again with the right metaperspective. Damn me for expecting entertainment...?)

[EDIT] Also, I wonder if my newfound semi-carsickness (I can no longer read in the car... extremely disheartening for me) relates at all to this. Truly.
mercat: (Default)
Ummmph. I'm tired. History test was pretty easy today, though the other class got cancelled. So instead I spent four and a half hours finishing my final project for ceramics because I need to make a backup on Friday because wetwork has to be done then. And I still need a decent idea, I haven't really had any compelling ones in a bit.

My mom sent a package about a week ago that was supposed to arrive in about three days, and I gave them the benefit of the doubt over the weekend, but it's still not here. Which is an issue because it has food and tax forms, both of which have expiration dates.

I went to the bookstore the other day (Monday?) and picked up Empire magazine and Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. I've been reading the book since dinner, it's pretty good. Just a collection of short stories and things. However, I kind of just realized that Gaiman writes very matter-of-factly and that that's kind of how I'm reading off this entry in my mind. Literature with good tone usually does that to me.

What else, what else? Nothing special. I might give blood tomorrow if I can sign up, I couldn't do it today because I was slaving over a project that looks crappy anyhow. Eh.

For as long as I was feeling homesick and generally despondent, I'm now just despondent and homesick for here. I can't only have a month left. I really don't want to go home, at the moment, and I don't even know why.

Umm I got this story through another blog I read, and I had a humorous image in my head. I think if 90% of the women in the world watched this Depp/Bale film and then watched the McGregor/Jackman one that's coming out soon, the world would spontaneously combust or something. Just a funny thought.

This makes me really sad. Fucking idiot. I wish I would have been there to punch his lights out.

Hmm, I promised I'd make up for yesterday and I'm sure I'm still missing a day or so from spring break so I'll just toss out what I have at risk of having nothing new to post tomorrow. 42 days! How is it that close? Everything feels kind of surreal right now. Anyway, here's what I have.

Fantasically atomic REAL wallpaper. However, click on the image to see a bigger one and save it. That's some gorgeous shit right there, my friends. (I'm including this under the 1957 qualification, and if you don't like that I'm putting it under the tikis/flamingos/Jimmy Buffet/go fuck yourselves section.) (Wow, what is with me tonight? I'm like half asleep and totally mouthy, but in the way that I sort of mean it, not for humorous hyperbole like usual. Maybe it's that British humor where you feel everything you say but you rarely mean it. That would make sense.)

Preview of the Indiana Jones handbook... which is already in some stores so I'm angry I couldn't find it at Barnes and Nobles the other day. Although I guess I should really be saving my money right now for those "limited edition" books and save the other stuff for my birthday or something.

CustomCon Indiana Jones figures. Not too bad, but the faces are kind of wonky. That idol setup is to DIE for, though. Damn.

[EDIT] I think it says something that I got through the entire post without trying to reference 42. I am very tired.

life is

Feb. 28th, 2008 11:27 pm
mercat: (Default)
Went hiking up to a falls today, it was beautiful.

Also concluded that I really, really need to broaden my comfort zone. =( My life is too dull. I hate being an introvert. I hate being paranoid of everything. There needs to be more chaos. More weirdness. ARGH

83 days until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! Today's trivia: Indy is portrayed as having taught at both Marshall and Barnett colleges. For some reason Marshall never sticks in my head, though.

Also, Neil Gaiman's book, American Gods, is now free online:

I highly highly recommend this book. It's beautiful.

Also, try running your name through an anagram generator. I got some really awesome results. (I'll have to post those later, though, after I've edited out all the boring stuff.)
mercat: (Default)
I think it only appropriate that the year of James Bond should usher in the year of Indiana Jones. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is what you need to know:

1) Bond is 007. If you didn't know this we have some movies we need to watch.
2) Indiana Jones IV comes out in 2008, after waiting 19 years.
3) It was designed so that James Bond would, in a sense, be Indiana Jones' father.

As for 2008... hmm. I want to be healthier, and I want to step out of my comfort zones in good ways. I want to be adventurous in Hawaii, and I don't want to let the fact that I'm paranoid and shy get in the way of the step I'm taking.

But I can talk more tomorrow about resolutions and things. =)

For now I want to say happy seventh day of Christmas! Since New Year's Eve is kind of a holiday where midnight and the day turnover actually matters, I thought I'd put some slight effort into putting the post before midnight, not just before I went to bed. You don't get the whole Christmas thing for now because I'm getting ready to watch the crystal ball drop with my kitties. (That's right, I'm home alone with the cats. I really couldn't work it up to go hang out with good friends while they got drunk, nor to just hang out with one guy. While he's nice and an awesome guy and everything, we just have no ability to hang out together and not be awkwardly silent. =/ Anyway, I'm not sad. I got Taco Bell, and I got movies, and I have sparkling grape juice, and music, and my kitties, whom I will miss dearly next semester.)

Sooo... seventh day of Christmas... you get some wacky, bearded, singing nuns! The Hallelujah Chorus. I frickin' love singing this song.

And I'm stealing my toast straight from Neil Gaiman, because I think it's beautiful, and entirely true, at least if I had said the words they'd be what I said, but put more eloquently than I ever could.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't to forget make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
mercat: (Default)
Happy third day of Chrismahannukwaanzadansticeule! (christmas+hannukkah+kwaanza+ramadan+solstice+yule, if you were curious) There is nothing like capitalism to brighten one's day... or something. =/

Regardless, I am still in a good mood. Went to the bookstore last night and picked up Anansi Boys, which I'm having trouble getting into because I'm not in a very Douglas-Adams/Neil-Gaiman mood. This makes me sad.

However, I am in a very Indiana Jones mood, for which I am happy! Though it puts increasing pressure on my wallet to fork out for a nice hat... *twitch*eheh... Anyway, the Indy legos which weren't due until January are hitting some Toys 'R' Us shelves, though I refuse to look there. Plus the legos are kind of crappy... I just want the Indy and Henry ones. =D (Marion looks like she has a freaking moustache.) They're all mostly specialized parts meaning there's not much room for reinventing them, and that makes me cry, as that is one of the best parts of legos! Augh.

In addition to Anansi Boys I got a Victorian lifestyle magazine as well as a "mysterious places of the world" calendar, filled with gorgeous photos for me to stare at. =^O.O^= <3 Sadly I must also go back to the bookstore to buy a book called The Medusa Stone which looked interesting and is also by an author of a book I previously enjoyed and had been looking for again called River of Ruin. If you like Indiana Jones I recommend it. =D Also to possibly pick up Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo (possibly) and a GORGEOUS $30 leather journal that would be perfect for keeping track of my code collection in.

I've been getting some interesting proposals lately... people both my dad and my grandpa know have offered to sort of show me around what they do in regards to architecture, which is pretty sweet. My dad's friend would be more likely, since it's in Louisville near Lynn's Paradise Cafe. But being sent to New York City to travel up to the uppers of a skyscraper to see a guy who works for I. M. Pei... that kind of boggles my mind. I don't know if I'll get to New York in the next few years, though.

So, DAMN! All this Indy stuff makes me happy inside. I am such a dork. =P There are great standees up in Madrid for the fourth movie, and I am so jealous: I need to sit down and translate that site. I also got a good jump on information regarding Kipu falls in Kauai (where part of Raiders was filmed) which makes me immensely happy. *glee* Apparently there's still prop styrofoam left there, too. Which is yay for collectors but bad for the environment. So yay for collectors picking it up? =D I think most of the big pieces have been taken though. =/ I'm just surprised that going on 30 years later no one's picked it up (other than indyfans), but then again styrofoam does not break down barely at all. So... I am *glee*ing all over the place about going to Kauai over spring break, and also the Paramount peak is very easy to find so I will add yet another *glee* to my pile.

So, does anybody particularly like Dr. Pepper? Can't remember if I posted about this, but they've got some of the Indy IV advertising rights. ='( I hate the stuff. If I buy it will you drink it and give me all the packaging? Sad, I know. (Why not Mountain Dew? Paramount logo, anybody? I know, I know, Dr. ____.)

Aaaaaand time for your twelve days part of the post!

On the third day of Christmas, the LJ gave to me--Straight No Chaser singing,

God Rest Ye lights a-blinking,
and a "happy holidays" so merry.

(I know. I changed it. I was singing the wrong melody in my head yesterday, and also I'm too lazy to go find the post to see what I put specifically.)
mercat: (Default)
So. I'm very tired and and I very much want to go to bed and just post tomorrow, but I do a lot of my best thinking when I'm experiencing extremes... being tired, being very happy, being very excited, being very sad. I wrote something about this early on when I started my blog, not that it's interesting, and not that I am in any way proud of a lot of the stuff I wrote for the first year and a half or so. But I've grown into my tone and whatnot and for now I'm not ashamed of what I posted yesterday (although to be fair when I don't like what I posted originally I still stand by the fact that it was ME and though I may have grown from then I came from that and you have to learn from your mistakes or they're worthless time and you are the sum of all yous, you're not ever definite, not comletely anyhow).

But, to really get into this. I shall start with House on the Rock. When I first went there... I don't know how old I was. I loved the architecture of the house, I know that much. How it was worked into the stone and there was a three (I believe) story library (more like a three story bookshelf to be honest) and there were musician-engineer gadgets everywhere and old things and mysterious things and I don't think I really remembered any of the rooms other than the Transporation Room, which I really don't like that much. (Plus, whatever they're doing to House on the Rock [from now on HotR] now to update it or whatnot... the Transporation Room and the restrooms in the cafe and whatnot...NO. YOU ARE WRONG. More on that later.) But there was something about it that drew me in, was a part of me. I'm trying to analyze that knowing what I know about myself now... sum of who I've been... although if you'd asked me the first time I'd been there whether I saw these qualities in myself, I could have maybe told you one. I mean, you define yourself my creating a distinction between you and other things, or you in relation to other things. I'm not good with ideas, sometimes. If I have an idea I can work the words sometimes, but much more often I just have a feeling, and no way to express it until I stumble upon it. Such as this entry. I suppose it's self-philosophy or somesuch but the only word that comes to mind is Thanatopsis and I know for an absolute fact (thank you, Word Clues) that that is not the word I am looking for. ("These are not the words you are looking for.")

But... something drew me back to House on the Rock. I've never been particularly drawn to Architecture, I mean, at least not until I was thinking about it, and then it's a combination of design artistically and structurally for me, that's how my mind works. I have no idea what I would have done if Architecture hadn't been suggested to me... back then I was so naive and just... transparent. I don't think I had--or at least I can't remember--a good shade of myself back then.

But like I was saying. I had to go back. Which is why I told my mom we needed time to go back last summer, while we were up in Madison for DCI finals. And because I was growing an interest in the house, I was looking on Amazon for books, and this, I'm pretty sure, was after I'd read Neverwhere, which I enjoyed immensely, and I stumbled upon Neil Gaiman's book American Gods. But we're not quite to that point in the story yet, my dear friends.

I am... ha, unsure of how to define this. I am a collector. Of things, or information. I just like to know, to remember, to experience. Now I can define this much better than I could ever before, which I just somehow related to the fact that I was a packrat and my mom wanted me to throw stuff out but everything I did had to be carefully selected to be thrown out or given away. (I had... a white bear? With a yellow balloon? Or dress? I remember giving her away and then crying, later. And now I don't remember her. And this is why I can't give my dolls away. They have personalities, stories, lives I need to know and remember and cultivate. I know it sounds ridiculous but I've already told you a million times my mind works in strange ways. And I'm writing this as much for me as I am for you, if not more. This is so... central... to who I am. Who I was. Who I will be. Or at least, who I see myself as now and project myself as in the future, and the shades of that definition I see in the past.) So. I remember reading tons when I was little. Duh. But if I could get my hands on a good, informationally interesting magazine, there was no stopping me. I'd save articles and pictures and jokes and anything with an interesting design. And by design I so often mean both How Things Work and How Things Look, they are both Design, they are both me. At Nana's I read Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens (Would you believe how long it took me to realize the line in "Somewhere that's Green" used that magazine? Jesus.) and took out photos of cool gardens or projects or house designs or relationship things or ANYTHING. At the hairdressers' and Gma/Gpa's I'd read Time and Newsweek and especially Readers Digest. And I read almost anything whenever I can.

I am an information whore.

If there's something to be read--perhaps this stems from my self-appointed paranoia--perhaps I can glean some someday-useful information from it. That whole "spy, what if" Bond-like impossibly fictional situation. The reason I know that armadillos are the only other animals besides humans that can get leprosy (although a quick Wiki tells me about three other animals can get it on their footpads), the reason I know that curling your tongue is genetic or that the plastic thing on the end of your shoelaces is called an aglet. Seemingly useless, except in my wishful thinking, of some manner.

So. I collect things. It was mostly information, but then Harry Potter rolled around and my cousins and Laura and I had our little play shops, and having chosen Apothecarist it was the perfect opportunity for me to collect just about anything. Bottles, burrs and baubles. (I swear I didn't force that.) And then Indiana Jones, and I could collect even more strange things, more artifacty things. And then pirates came about, and I know that I collect two things: skills (slash knowledge) and treasures. Really, that truly does sum it up.

And I have been keeping a dream journal (as often as possible... which unfortunately isn't as often as I'd like) for several years, in order to collect the oddities of my brain. Many times I feel uncreative unless happenstance juxtaposition occurs in daily life. But writing down my dreams gives me something to work from. Random "I'm not paying attention in class" doodles often lead to something. Feed your brain, all that jazz, but I like to piece things together into puzzles.

My toys had names and stories and personalities and I don't want to seem crazy here but I still think about all that kind of stuff. Perhaps it's a writer side of me, seeing different stories. My dolls, my muse (which I need to write about sometime... get some more concrete stuff down on it, it's just a tiki at this point), Mercat. She's the me I wish I could be, the me I am in my creation of worlds.

Because that's what I do. I design. I create. How things work. How they look, with Phi, I think, in mind. Rather, in the eye. I don't mathematically draw things out but I will resketch and resketch until they look right and things balance. Art Nouveau is a big influence on that, I think. Or 180 degree rotational symmetry, thank you ambigrams. I really need to get those posted on DeviantArt.

But I mean... I design. My brain has always worked on little inventions, sometimes pointless, sometimes things I see in stores about seven years down the road, sometimes just to see if I can make something nefarious in design to actually crank a gear. And then to make it look like a piece of art at the same time... it's my nature. I try to encompass wholes, and parts, and just understand.

Have I written about how I was the peacemaker in gradeschool? I'm not trying to brag here or anything, I'm trying to explain who I think I was, and it's not narciscism that I'm describing me but reflection. At least I try to make it that. I do hope I'm not being egotistical, because that is a topic for another day and boyhowdy is there so much to say on that lately.

But I mean... I've never been comfortable on extremes. I've wanted middle ground, reconciliation, understand of both sides. It's probably greedy or egotistical but it's human curiosity, I want to know it all.

But I am five miles from my original point.

The designer part of me, and the imaginative-artsy part of me, and the intelligent part of me, and the curious part of me, and the paranoia and the Mercat and the Every Mes that ever were--they've made up what I think I want to do with my life. I've looked at JPI for COSI's Adventure and Cost of Wisconsin for it's Tomb Raider and Disney for it's million mysterious creations, movies and shows and roller coasters and haunted houses.

It's mystery of another world and mystery of behind-the-scenes how-does-that-work (for I am truly a behind the scenes person... the pit rather than the diva is the position I am comfortable recieving compliments in, and probably the only one at that [yet another rainy-day topic]) and a mystery of what-ifs and worlds and anything and everything I know.

I've wanted to create and I've wanted to collect and my world my understandings my stories, and House on the Rock is it.

Alex Jordan, Jr. From his unauthorized biography, he was an asshole. So was Frank Lloyd Wright, I hear. =) So many people whose work I enjoy are either crazy or jerks or something. So maybe that says something about me, I don't know, haha...

But he collected things. And he made things. And he designed contraptions and houses and arranged and did art. It's everything I want to do.

I'm pretty sure I've found it this time. It's more than architecture, more than engineering, more than music, more than piracy or archaeology, more than art, more than writing.

It's creating an entire other world, and it's an idea I've had in my head for a very long time now. I've only just found how to express it.

Okay, too dramatic there. But it is powerful. I'm going to keep on going because a part of me is chiding me for being overdramatic, haha.

So...American Gods, where does this fit in? I read part of a series, back in eighth grade, Neverworld or something, where all these gods existed in a parallel universe all at the same time. I've often thought on that, and I've wanted to write about it, but I haven't had any good, original ideas to make me now feel like I was ripping someone off. (But now I have to create my own world! And a world needs religions, haha, so I am set.) But American Gods just hits the head on the nail. It's one of the best damn things I've ever read, and not just because House on the Rock is in it. That's why I bought it, but this book keyed me in on everything (or at least so much of) what I want to be. What I am. What I'm going to do with what I am, rather. It's about the gods and how the holiest places in America are the places we're drawn to, our silly roadside attractions. Places I have, of late, been so obsessed with. (Americana, House on the Rock... causing me to go into depressions and creative fits and buy books and research and miss and everything--which you can see is why I find things so important.) But... it's true. I am drawn to them, I am fascinated with their abilities to make you wonder... where people have created things beyond your imagination, from their own, their personal portals to another dimension, another way of understanding this life, another aspect you have to try to understand to learn. Because if you don't learn, you die. Body and soul, it doesn't matter. (God, I can see where authors affect how I write. I read Douglas Adams and I'm snarky and random. I read Gaiman and I am prone to fits of blatant authorial truths in the middle of a story. Plus when I'm tired or snugly into a writing fit the words flow in certain thoughtless ways, and I'm sure that has to reflect authors somehow. Which is why if I ever publish a novel I'll have to read it several times after reading certain other authors in order to flesh out my work into the different aspects of who I am. Ah, the difficulties of representing things correctly, something I take into special care to be able to do, or at least I try.)

So... American Gods... some snippets to whet your appetite.

"'You know,' he said, 'I think I would rather be a man than a god. We don't need anyone to believe in us. We just keep going anyhow. It's what we do.'"

"'I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mr. Ed. Listen--I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in American is concident with the decline in drive-in movie theatres from state-to-state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destrying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alove and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I live in an empty and godless universe of casual chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things, too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and you might as well lie back and enjoy it.'"


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