Sunday, December 28, 2008

So lazy.

Sorry about that, laziness on my part is more the rule than the exception. I have a couple of artists that I want to discuss later today, but right now I would like to welcome everyone back from the hangovers, holidays, and helicopter duels (if you were so fortunate to have one.)

Enjoy this video, and the many others over on the TED website. They are (usually) insightful, funny, and many of the speakers have a lot to bring to the table.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Um... is this thing on?

Yeah? Good.

There has been something that has been bothering me the last few days (years) and I finally drug it kicking and screaming out into public.

Why the fuck do we have ignorant people in this day and age that are using the internet? If you are using Firefox (and I assume IE and others have something comparable) there is literally a box with a capitol G in it for you to type something into and be overwhelmed with information on any given topic!

With this the case, why do we continue to see, day after day, in forum after forum, and blog after blog the same stupid old wives tales, myths, and lies propagated. It is as if... though hard to believe... people are actually remaining ignorant ON PURPOSE.

(Insert a roll of thunder and lightning searing across the black ether of night.)

Is this some sort of conspiracy? A plague that causes someone to be unable to see results or search engines? Perhaps some allergen that makes you unable to cross reference or verify claims? Or, perhaps the most nefarious, someone has tricked you into thinking you don't need to?

What exactly am I talking about? Such myths as: There being no scientific basis for evolution, that people choose to be homosexuals, that the Earth is not 4.5 billion years old give or take, or that all conflicting view points should be taught to children no matter their level of divorce from reality.

Don't worry though, there is a cure, and we can do it the hard way or the easy way.

Here is the easy way.

The hard way is actually digging through page after page of information, cross referencing materials, and actually checking for little nuggets of reality known as 'facts'.

Good luck out there in separating the wheat from the chaff. There are those in this world, believe it or not, who actually do not want to tell you the truth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Fear of Rejection

Over the course of writing my first novel, I learned one major thing about myself and other writers.

When the final chapter closes and it is time to sell the damned thing, we balk out of fear.

The question is asked "what if they don't like it?" I know I asked it over and over again as I wrote and rewrote the letter.

Sending out a query letter was a trying and psychologically daunting task, but in the end the letter went out and the world didn't end.

This weekend, I received my first official rejection letter for agent representation, and believe it or not it didn't hurt. I was left feeling a little ambivalent and honestly a little excited. (which truth be told led to me feeling really confused.)

I had taken my first steps towards publication, and met my first hurdle. Like the deer that stumbles into a clearing where you are having a picnic, I stared at the letter in astonishment. I read the little half page over and over, making sure it was real and didn't move around on me when I looked away.

I encourage all writers to send out a query, especially if it is your first work. Like all experience, it is best acquired while young in the field.

The rejection is not something to fear, but to embrace. Each time your work is dismissed by someone, let it build and excitement that will burst when someone finally says 'yes'. Don't fret over one person's opinion. Agents and publishers have tastes as fickle and different as the people who will be reading your book should it see shelves, so let a rejection serve a double purpose to prepare you for when someday someone comes to you and says "I don't like your work."

"Thats OK," I would say, "not everyone does."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Growing pains.

As with all new things, this blog and I are going through some growing pains as I try and settle upon something or theme that will be the cornerstone of this blog.

Some niche to fill perhaps.

So stay tuned and bear with me as I play Frankenstein with it for a while.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Artist of the Week

Brandon Bird.

Most of you have probably already heard of him, but so what? The man has pop culture art cornered like a rodeo clown. Really, his paintings and illustrations speak for themselves, so go and check em out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recent Reading

I have been reading the works of Thomas Jefferson recently, and I must say that he was right in hind sight.

His thoughts on government and of the people (specifically in regards to education) were so spot on, it is rather embarrassing to look around at my fellow Americans.

We live in an age where ignorance is seen as a virtue, obedience a civic duty, and government seen as a monolith given to impart what is best for us.

Where the fuck did we go THAT wrong? Seriously, how could we screw the pooch that hard?

"Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence." -Jefferson

Here we have, IN HIS LIFETIME, Jefferson telling us the path we find ourselves running along today. We see it everywhere, especially in the last eight years as Bush laid out his decrees from on high, and the fools who bowed at his feet called us Anti-American, terrorists, liberal whiners, or worse when we would use our right to question this insanity.

For the last century we have been told that a sword sits poised above our necks while we lay on the chopping block, and that only by being good and listening to our leaders can we be safe. We cannot see this sword because of the veil the nanny government has put over our heads for our protection.

Thus I posit to you that this constant FEAR is the only sword ready to severe us from our life and our liberty, and WE elect those who hold this blade over us. We elect the executioners of our liberty each time we allow a Congressman to lie, a President to run unchecked, or allow a candidate to go unchallenged in their assertions.

I believe we should take back that which is ours, lest we elect a firing squad instead of our own voice. A cry must go out to call our leaders onto the floor and answer to us as it was intended. They are the ones meant to lay down to us, not the other way around.

The actions we must take are many, daunting, and will at times seem overwhelming but it is up to us to defend our freedom. A place to start is by getting rid of lobbyists, who buy the vote of our representatives and place the tape over the voice of the people. The recent bailouts are a perfect example of this.

We must also never forget what truth is. There are no personal facts, no personal truths. A denial of fact is a lie, and a lie is a sign of dishonesty. Truth is derived from questioning, rigor, and letting no stone rest unturned lest the snake hide there.

We are to blame when things go wrong, and thus it is up to us to fix our problems. Let reason fight back against fear and superstition. Let your voice be heard lest you fall into a cynical void from whence no one may escape.

The only way an action is wasted is when it is never taken.

Monday, December 1, 2008

And who are you sir?

"I think I speak for myself, so here is my card should you need to contact me. "


Now, a word from the dead.

The Atlantic has reprinted a book review written in 1860 by Asa Gray. Now, I know what you are thinking: "Who is this and why do I care?" (Unless you are savvy on such things, or read other blogs who found this interesting too)

This book reviews probably the most controversial printed object in history.
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

Now, I know the actual title is just On the Origin of Species, but I thought it looked more dramatic with the old title. So there it is, go read it and see what Darwin's friends thought at the time.


The Holidays are not over...

The 'season' has just begun. So for the next few weeks we will be tortured with erratic versions of the same song over and over, blinking lights, not to mention simultaneously jovial and belligerent fellow humans.

If THAT doesn't sound like a psychological stress test, I don't know what does.

The good news, of course, is that egg nog is on the shelves once more. I will proceed to drink myself sick on it, as is a yearly tradition no less daunting than the annual gift gauntlet.

Lets talk about that for a moment, this gift gauntlet. I find it a bit odd that, no matter how well I know a person's habits, interests, or cares, I still find it difficult to buy gifts for them.

The woman I have spent no less than five years of my life beside is one of the hardest of all.
The next hardest are the people who have a tendency to buy whatever it is they want throughout the year, and leave nothing really left over for gifts. (Guilty!)

So, I encourage you, make a list of things you want. I know you hope that your friends and family will get you the things you want, or that it is the thought that counts so what you get doesn't matter, but please think of the gift giver. They are stressing over that perfect something to get for you so that they can make you feel as special as they see you.

Give em a nudge, make a list, or (for the hopeless one in your life, like me) sit them down and straight up tell them and make a list.