Sunday, 10 May 2015

Renewals, Ray and Rooting

The word of the week is tenacity.

May 4 – Riding With Ray

Putting animation and Bradbury together? Count me in!

Mention anything to do with the gifted writer and you’ve my full attention, especially if it has to do with advice or wisdom falling from his own lips.

Such is the case with a recently-discovered interview with Ray Bradbury: it was made by a journalism student during a car ride in 1972 as he was being driven to a lecture at a university – what a find! Here’s a taste:

You can’t think a story — you can’t think, “I shall do a story to improve mankind.” It’s nonsense! All the great stories, all the really worthwhile plays, are emotional experiences. You write to please yourself. You write for the joy of writing. And then your public reads you and it begins to gather around…

Enjoy the all-too-brief thrill of hearing Mr. Bradbury’s eloquently blunt words on life and writing:

In terms of my own writing, for me it’s a bit awkward: I don’t have a writing room, just the couch in the main room by the front windows that’s constantly exposed to road noise( eight different sirens zooming by this past Saturday alone! ). The Parrot Zik headphones help, sure, but it’s still nowhere near the same as a house well-removed from the road. We’ve just added a work desk in the main room for such occasions as my sister and I both needing to work, necessitating the main PC and laptop both being in use. 

While not perfect, it again beats having to retreat to the cramped confines of my bedroom or leaving the apartment altogether, neither of which is an ideal solution. Ideally, I’d have my bedroom turned into an office, soundproofed as much as possible so that I could work in the evenings or early morning in relative calm and quiet.

One day, somewhere, that may just happen!

May 5 – Spock On Smoking

You can never stop smoking early enough, or not start at all.

That’s the message that Leonard Nimoy’s daughter is looking to spread far and wide, about the disease that killed her father:

I’ve never understood how people can continue to smoke nowadays, given the vast amounts of information available over the internet from literally tens of thousands of sources, all saying the same thing: smoking kills you.

Even thirty years after you quit, as Mr. Nimoy and his family discovered.

Addiction is real, I know: I’ve no experience with such things, though I do know that my mental willpower is uniquely strong, perhaps a reason I’ve never felt the urge to hook myself on anything. It’s hard to put into words, knowing that some people are doomed from the first time they take a sip of alcohol or a puff of a cigarette; it sends a shiver down my spine.

Which is why I write scifi: there’s hope, that science will develop methods to make such addictions( and so many other medical horrors still with us )things of the past, to be studied and examined only in history books. For science!

I think Spock, and Mr. Nimoy, would like that vision.

May 6 – I Look Like What?

Offhand comments can hurt, sometimes.

It’s rare for me to notice such, though, as I’m not one to pay much attention to what people say about me. I take a quiet pride in my appearance most days, anyway – except today, apparently.

Sam Raimi perfectly captures the look here...

An offhand comment made by one of my coworkers made me miss a step, which is unusual. I almost always think before I say anything personal to people, well aware that my comments might be misconstrued if they're not constructed with some forethought. In this case,it wasn't an unkind comment, at least not as far as I could tell, but it's still bothering me slightly this evening:

“Hey Peter! Every time I see you, you're looking more disheveled.”

Apart from the fact that they used a word one doesn't normally hear in daily conversation, the comment on my appearance rankled me. While I don’t spend a lot of time on personal grooming, admittedly, I do ensure that I am neat and professional while at work; given my predisposition towards a daily five o'clock shadow, that's not always easy. Outside of work, I dress casually but again my clothes aren't in disarray or disrepair and I'm easy on the eye, at least as far as I know.

So from what I can tell, I think the comment was merely meant to poke fun at how busy it's been this week and that everyone is feeling a little rushed, including me. Which must have showed in how quickly I was moving about my tasks and so it made me look a little less composed.

That's how I'm taking it and I am moving on. Disheveled or no.

May 7 – Stop the Music!

I've always wondered where my musical tastes came from, as I didn't really have any major influences on me as a kid in a musical sense: no immediate family members that were crazy about certain genre, or friends growing up discussing music for that matter. I developed my own tastes over time to include classical, mainstream rock, Top 40s and even some jazz. Plus Enya, of course.

Yet I haven't really added any new music in the last decade, not really.

Sure, I've gone searching for songs by bands I've almost forgotten or only have a few songs from and want to add more to my collection from albums I didn't know existed. I mean, we can all agree that you can never really have too many Tom Petty songs, right?

I've wondered if my musical tastes have fossilized and now a fascinating study has confirmed that for most people, your taste in music is sent by the time you're ready for your first midlife crisis:

So, according to the study, it seems that my musical tastes are set, for the most part, which isn't really a bad thing in my eyes. My creativity has only benefited from the music that I listen to, which I am quite certain is due to the genres that I like. If I was a metalhead or only liked to listen to pure country-western tracks or even had a penchant for Kenny G’s tunes, well, I think my writing would be of an entirely different and admittedly strange order.

I'll take my musical gentrification if it means that my Muse is happy and productive.

May 8 – Renewals and New Shows!

Holy cow, I’m in love with an old-school television network!

Weird for me to say that, I know: TV isn’t exactly my thing.

However, I can't ignore that a wonderful triumvirate of shows is actually going to make it to television later this year( or sooner! )thanks to the folks at ABC. For some reason, known only to the TV Gods, Fate or another Power, the decision-makers at the venerable network decided to greenlight a number of fantastic shows for the upcoming season, three which are simply magnificent choices!

yes, Yes and YES!

First off: The Muppet Show is coming back to TV! Yes, you heard it correctly: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Scooter and all the rest are coming back to television, decades after we last saw them in the short-lived Muppets Tonight show in 1996 that garnered mixed reviews from critics but was still beloved by millions of fans throughout the world. I can't wait to see what the Muppets are up to now!

Then there’s Agent Carter, easily the most interesting superhero show on television in the last 10 years, in my opinion. Sure, there’s the current Flash or Arrow shows, but I find them to be rather dull in their focus on convoluted plots, tedious character development and otherwise writing down to an audience eager to see anything like a contemporary superhero show up on TV these days. It's quite a different case with Agent Carter: by setting it in the 1940s, we avoid modern entanglements and can examine issues from a historical perspective while limiting the technical doodadery of our internet age. I love alternate history and want to see more of Agent Carter soon!

Finally, there's Galavant! When I first heard about the show, I had no idea that a medieval musical comedy could work, let alone appeal to me on multiple levels so that I can't help but want to watch it. I rarely watch musicals, as the singing and dancing doesn't usually draw me into the story; I simply appreciate them for the technical prowess that the performers demonstrate and wait for the rest of the show to happen when they're done. Not so with Galavant: musical numbers are so well-written that it's almost painful not to pay close attention to every lilting word. Galavant!

May 9 – Weekend Tech Tinkering

Any non-g33ky types can skip this entry, it’s rather techy!

What are weekends for, save to catch up on waiting projects?
In my case today, I managed to tricky technical things, both of which were applied to my new ASUS tablet: it’s now rooted and unlocked and seems to still be working flawlessly!
*cue applause*

Seriously, it's no small feat to be able to do both of those things one day when you're really new at it like I am. Sure, I know how to research, find technical guidance on the process and so on, but when there is a very real possibility that if I made a mistake I'd end up with a dead device, it does tend to put things into perspective a bit about being sure of one's processes.

Now that I have my tablet open for modification, I'll be tinkering with it over the next few months. Being rooted and unlocked means that I can do whatever I want with the tablets software, modifying any aspect of it from the most minor things like the little animation when it boots to completely replacing the operating system with another one of my choosing. Given that it's an older tablet hailing from 2012, I'll probably end up replacing its OS with a leaner one such as Cyanogen 12, just to wring the maximum amount of performance out of the tablet that I can.

I'll probably end up messing around with my old Samsung phone to do the same thing. Maybe I can repurpose it into something useful, like a BOINC terminal, security camera or even donated to help save the rain forest - I really like the last option, as it helps make our planet a better place.

All in all, my current tax situation is looking rather rosy. I'll have a new Pebble Time in a month or so, the OnePlus One phone is doing wonderfully as my daily phone, my computers are all working just fine (for the most part)and I may even have an actual Lockitron before the end of the year. I'm spending very little time trying to repair things on a daily basis, which is great!

What I'm really saying is that my tech is working for me this year, not the other way around.

May 10 – Mumm Memories

It’s Mother’s Day today, a good time to reflect.

But comes to family, I know that I've been pretty lucky. My parents have never even gave thought to breaking up for any reason, providing a sense of stability to my life and my sisters that too few people experience. Seeing the commitment that my parents have for each other, I'm reminded about everything that I've been given, especially from my mumm.

It's funny, but few people think about exactly how much effort goes into raising a child. Some kids are handful, while others practically change their own diapers; I think I fell into the middle group, but I know that I made my mom proud far more often then I made her frown.

For instilling in me a love of reading, I'll forever be grateful to her. For that reason, for Mother's Day today, I created this for her:

A lot of love went into this, not just the writing.

There are many kinds of mothers out there in the world today. Some good, some bad, some indifference and some who aren't with us anymore. For me, right now, I am grateful on so many levels that I have the mother I do and that she's been able to be there for my entire life, helping and guiding me when needed. I have a lot of work left to do on my books and she's one of the main reasons that I've accomplished as much as I have to date.

Thanks, Mumm! Love ya!

That's all I have this week; it's been a busy time at work and I'm rather tired by the time I get home. I do hope that new staff who've been added can help shift some of the workload around, so my immediate team is going to be short two people when another person moves on to another position in a month or so. Such is government life: you're always in transit between one position and the next if you're looking to advance and I can't begrudge anyone wanting to move forward with a career, especially in the workplace that encourages that. I'm glad to be part of it, dizzy or no.