Jan 032011

I saw a lot of people glad to be done with 2010. The general feeling seems to have been that 2010 was a less-than-satisfactory year. For my part, I’m inclined to disagree: in March, I got a new job at an awesome company working with awesome people on an awesome project; in July, my groomsmen took me to Atlantic City; in August, I got married and then went on my very first cruise; in October, Cody and I went as a very convincing Rose and the 10th Doctor for Halloween; in November, my parents finally came down to Maryland for Thanksgiving; December featured one of our best New Year’s Eve parties ever.

So, y’know, go 2010. May 2011 be as good or better.

To that end as is custom this time of year, I have a list of goals that I’m planning to work toward this year. They’re not “resolutions” and they’re not carved in stone; either notion is folly. But they’re things I care about and want to get better at, which I think carries more weight.

  • Devote some time each evening to writing or playing guitar. The main thing here is taking care of my “daily chores” in WoW, and then setting it aside while I spend some time doing either of the above activities. Once I’ve put some good effort in toward either, I’ll allow myself to go back to playing more WoW. I love my WoW hobby, but I can’t continue neglecting my others!
  • Get better about watching my diet again. I’ve slipped a bit since the wedding, which is probably entirely unsurprising to anyone who’s gotten married. I haven’t backslid irrevocably or anything drastic, but it’s noticeable enough to me that I want to do something about it. So, I plan to. Having a Droid will, I hope, make keeping track of my food intake a little easier.
  • Finish unpacking the house. This includes getting some additional furniture (bookshelves) and also tidying up the pantry shelves so that we can actually start making use of the damn thing.
  • Build the vacuform machine I’m always talking about. I intend to for Halloween to be very interesting this year.

That seems like an ambitious-enough list to start with.

Sep 182010

Part of my prolonged absence from the blog here (other than the obvious excuse of being lazy), is that one of the most momentous days in my life transpired recently. Cody and I got married!

Though things were frantic as hell from Thursday 8/5 through Saturday 8/7 (the day of the wedding), the ceremony went off without a hitch and was absolutely perfect. Cody’s bridesmaids and my groomsmen processed to the opening title of Star Trek: First Contact, while Cody and her father processed to Hyperspace (which features the Binary Sunset/Force theme) from The Empire Strikes Back.

Our parents each read one of our four readings, with my mom starting with the Declaration of Principles (of the Interstellar Alliance) from Babylon 5, my dad following with a slightly edited-down version of Scalzi’s 15 Years post, Cody’s dad with Taylor Mali’s Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, and Cody’s mom finishing with Us Two by A.A. Milne.

I wrote my vows fairly early on, which highlighted two major things: that I could never adequately express in any volume of words the depth of my love for Cody, and that the duties of a husband were not unlike those of a starship. Cody’s vows were finalized the day of, and I had no idea what they would be like until she spoke them during the ceremony. They were heartbreakingly beautiful, while still containing a wonderful amount of humor (promising to heal me when I wasn’t feeling confident in my tanking, to smile and laugh even when I repeat my latest catch phrase for the 100th time, and similar). I definitely got choked up.

We recessed to “Wander My Friends” from Battlestar Galactica and kicked off the biggest party of our lives. The food was amazing, the place was amazing, our photographer was amazing, our wedding party (and our extended wedding party — I’m looking at you, Sarah, Lisa, and Sally!), our family and friends — all amazing. Evidently, Cody and I managed to make it through our first dance without me making us look like total fools. Becky gave an adorable speech, despite laryngitis, and Nick and Jeff followed with possibly the greatest best man speech in the history of best man speeches. No, I’m not kidding. It was epic.

The party lasted until we had to shut down around 11pm or so, and then we simply relocated to the hotel to continue the festivities. Eventually, that party wound down too. The next day, many of us reconvened at Cody’s family’s cabin on Lake Monomanoc. On the way home, Cody, Kt, Ron, and I developed the epic mythos of GRO-TON while passing through Groton, and its neighboring towns of Littleton and Acton (pronounced “Action”). We also had Fras and Jess over to play Rock Band the next day. All in all, a splendid time.

And then Cody and I went on our first cruise. How to describe a cruise to someone who’s never been on one before? It’s more than just being “on a boat” and going somewhere tropical (Bermuda, in our case). To me, as a sci-fi fan, it was a fantasy-indulging taste of what it might be like to be aboard a futuristic spaceship (one featuring artificial gravity, for instance…). It was also a taste of peace. When we weren’t sleeping or eating, Cody and I spent most of our time just sitting on our balcony, overlooking infinite blue, reading. We had no other concerns. Just be with each other, read a book, and look out on the water. Incredible.

We’ve already been stirring the waters (har har) amongst our friends and family to do an epic group cruise at some point. We’ve also talked about making cruising an annual thing. It was that good.

So, all in all, the wedding was a phenomenal success and without a doubt counts as the happiest day of my life1.

  1. Subject to revision on the birth of children, whenever we get around to it! []
Apr 202010

As mentioned yesterday1, I designed a new folder schema2 in the hopes that a simple, logical, planned hierarchy would make organization and maintenance easier. I started moving files this evening. This is no small feat when it involves around half a terabyte of data3. Fortunately, all of the path-critical stuff4 moved without any complaints.

My parents came to visit this past weekend. With them, my mother brought me a bluetooth headset that she originally purchased for herself, but never used. Having used it today to chat with her and my dad on my drive home from work, I have to say that I’m impressed. It’s a pretty awesome device for something so small. And I admit: tapping my ear and saying “Call <x>” to make a call makes me feel pretty futuristic. There are still some problems in the whole voice recognition department5, but that’s par for the course.

Speaking of technology, and coming to the actual observation that prompted this post, I walked by the living room just now where Cody was watching Glee. She had her laptop set out in front of her as she watched. After a few incidental thoughts about how curious it is that we, as a society, are no longer content consuming media in one form at a time, I thought back to an article I read many years ago regarding the integration of humans with their electronics (i.e. cyborgs). The author of this article proposed that we were already cyborgs; it was just a matter of degree.

We are often tied to our computers. The Internet is the conduit through which many of us communicate, inform ourselves about current events, and educate ourselves about the world6. Many of us now depend on computers as part of our ability to execute our profession successfully. Many of us depend on computers for the existence of our professions7.

None of this is to say we would be non-functional without them8, but rather that they are thoroughly entwined with our day-to-day existence. With that in mind, will actual electronic-body integration be all that remarkable a thing? A technical achievement, absolutely. But will it truly revolutionize anything? Or will it be just another progression from room-sized computers to tower PCs to laptops to netbooks to smartphones? It’ll be hard to get smaller than the current smartphones9 without impairing their usability. The only place left to go is in — inside your head, integrated with your eyes and ears, etc.

But is that really all that different?

I am, as it may be obvious, not someone who is particularly intimidated by technology’s progression. I think it does far more good than harm10 and it’ll only get better. Sure, there’s always risk, and as the technology advances, so too does the risk. Risk doesn’t mean danger, though. It just means that you stand to lose or gain in varied measure.

The other day, I had a narrative scene pop into my head11 wherein a group genetically/biologically “perfect” humans squared off against cybernetically-augmented humans. The face off was more or less a pissing contest, and went something like this:

“We are pure and perfect. Your capabilities may infrequently exceed ours, but at least we don’t have machines defiling our bodies.”
“Yeah. Too bad for you on that one.”

I think that sums up my feelings.

  1. Okay, technically this morning. []
  2. The plural for schema is schemata, not schemas, by the way. []
  3. Admittedly, I probably don’t need to have half a terabyte of data just sitting around on my disk drives, hence the effort to organize. []
  4. Mainly, my internal home webserver that I use for proofing out ideas before they go live []
  5. “Call Home.” “Did you say…Send a Message to Voicemail?” “…no.” []
  6. For good or for ill; that’s not really the topic I’m addressing []
  7. I certainly wouldn’t be a technical artist without computers. The position wouldn’t exist. []
  8. Though, admittedly, much of our modern society relies on computers for smooth operation. []
  9. Without some kind of virtual projection technology, anyway. []
  10. It’s the anti-religion! []
  11. This happens quite often. If I recorded every one of these scenes, I’d have volumes of material. []

For love of the craft

 Posted by at 10:25  No Responses »
Sep 092009

Stayed up until around 3am this morning, attempting to tear brilliance from my fingertips and stuff it into Word. Net wordcount was very small, and also disconnected from the place where I last left off, but at least the story’s moving again. I also tried doing some mind-mapping for the story, on the hypothesis that perhaps I’m the sort of writer that does better from an outline or reference body. That particular approach didn’t work, though I’m not totally convinced that some kind of codified brainstorming isn’t the right way to go.

Though I’ve spent a long time writing (pretty sure my parents still have stories I wrote when my age was single-digit), I still have yet to find my process, where I can say, “I’m going to sit down and write now,” and not feel a little jolt of “But I don’t know what to write!” surge through me. That will come with time and experimentation, no doubt.