Monday, 31 March 2008

Writing with a Passion for More

If you're reading this entry you probably already know that a significant amount of my time is spent on writing. I write on this blog, on forums and on games. It's not the only thing I write, there's poetry and prose to my craft... I started to think about it all because I suddenly remembered an old site.

I once had an account on Opowiadania.pl, back when most of my writing was in Polish. There are still some stories there that I fondly remember but they are lost in the thousands of works and I don't currently have the time to search for them anew. In English I know only of FanFiction.net for which I might write something one day, I'm not normally into fan-fiction but I could put something that happens in some already made universe, like the World of Darkness or some Anime. I don't know of any fiction centric website like that other than the one in Polish but that's a bit beside the point.

I'm starting to wonder why is it that apparently, I write a lot better in English than my native tongue. Maybe it's because I write so much in it and I do it because there's many people who speak the language and are interested in my works, but I knew some Poles once who were interested too and yet, I just don't write in it. It may be the reason why my Polish has eroded over the past few years but since I want to be a translator, I need to have sufficient proficiency in both. Thus I bought three books in Polish, two of them written by Poles, in hopes it will help me. However, I believe it would also be good if I were to write something in Polish from time to time. And not just articles for the World of Darkness websites! Some prose in my usual style, whatever it might be. One problem with that is that when I write, I don't like to write the same thing over again. Unfortunately for me, a story written in English is the same one written in Polish and I could never decide which one to write it in.

I often hear that I can come up with good ideas but the only indication of style I ever got were from three people. My teacher once said that I have the talent to take elements from various sources and turn them into something of my own. Another person, who left me with fond memories of our MSN sessions and I mourn the fact there appears to be a growing divide between us now, that person said if I were to write a book of erotic nature, they'd buy it. Lastly, my Creative Writing tutor at the university told me that the story I wrote reads like a book but she can't find all the other pages. That's something that really pushed me into a certain direction.

I always wanted to write a book. For a long time it remained a dream, as intangible like any other but at present it seems more material, more like something that can be achieved. I find myself dreaming of a time when I'll have a job, a steady income which I'd save a few coins now and then as I use what time remains in the day to work on a novel. And after a few years I'll have enough material and funds to go to a printer company and print some books. Then I'd send them to all the people I know, having signed each copy and with a letter saying how much it cost me, maybe some will be kind enough to pay me back. The rest, I'll sell to whoever is willing to buy them... at a price that covers the print job and a bit more so I can fund another book. That would be awesome. But first, I'll probably format them into pdfs and let them loose over the internet...

I always felt that it's more important to write for the readers' enjoyment than for your own pocket, but that's just me...

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Rising Above the Internet

Part of me tells me that I should just give up on the internet. Roleplaying, posting, cataloguing, etc. is just a distraction that I could live without. That without the internet, life would take on a glorious turn for the better! A lot of people my age, who now have jobs, lots of friends and/or are thinking of marriage have spent their lives outside of the internet.

In theory it sounds quite right. There are times when I throw the internet away as if it was a mere gewgaw. It gets in the way of writing essays and other academic projects. However, without it I would be so much less than I am now.

I saw wonderful sites that made my imagination flow like a raging river. I read so much in English because of it that the level of my written English is indistinguishable from a native speaker. I met people for which there is no appropriate adjective found in the languages of the living nor the dead. It opened career opportunities I never thought existed. It even changed the thought of seeing the world with my own eyes from a dream into a future reality. I might even say it opened my mind's eye so I could look at abstractions hidden behind the mundane surface.

At the same time, it made me grow into a secluded person. A skinny little geek more interested in what who is your favourite author rather than your bra size. I seek to have interesting discussions where most want to move around and drink themselves into a stupor. I'd rather go on a lecture than visit the local pub. Because of this I lack a lot of social skills that most already have and although I can be a great manipulator after I know someone, I always feel left out whenever I'm around people, knowing they have experiences denied to me by virtue of who I am.

I suppose it's becoming part of life that I feel this way.
Every now and then that feeling of stagnation and rotting hits me, maybe that's why I clad myself in the portents of death. So that I could lessen that hole in my heart for as long as there is no distraction to fill it with...

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Ice Age

My webcam finally gave up and died. Now I'm considering buying a new one, the most likely candidate at present is Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 (image shown below), which is a better version of my old Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000 webcam. I still don't know what happened with this one and so I'm a bit reluctant to buy a new one. Unfortunately, at present the webcam doesn't work on any computer I had the pleasure to try it on.


In other news, someone was foolish enough to leave the freezer slightly open for a prolonged amount of time. I only discovered it last week when I put my newly bought fish fingers in. I had to wait a few days before I could start the slow process of defrosting, mostly because fish fingers have the tendency to not live long when outside cold places. Today was the day and I have to say, it is an Ice Age! in there. I only managed to take out the two bottom shelves. I thought that maybe 3 or 4 hours will do the trick but no, after 4 hours I had to manually brake the ice with sharp pointy objects. (I cut myself, but I only noticed it an hour after I was done.) Another shelf was freed due to my heroic efforts and ice fighting abilities! Unfortunately the last one didn't want to move at all, the handle is broken so I think someone tried to force it out without any luck. What's worse, it's that top shelf that's causing the problem and until I get it out, the freezer won't close so the Ice Age won't stop. I'll try and do the same thing tomorrow, putting the shelves in the coldest room while wrapping them in foil, turn the refrigerator off for 4 hours and proceed to exterminate the cold-blooded opposition. I guess I'll be doing this for as long as it takes...

Friday, 28 March 2008

Jericho

It starts quite idyllic. A son returns home to Jericho to ask for a favour and old family wounds open. During his stay we look at the people living their lives. It's a normal day in Jericho... until it stops being normal.

The day Jake returns coincides with a nuclear attack on the national scale. In one fell swoop, several American cities are no more. Now the small town has to deal with a sudden lack of modern luxuries. What would you do if one day electricity, gas, water and the law were destroyed? This series tries to answer these questions.

But this philosophical question isn't the only plot we find among these episodes. Over the run of the first season we learn what caused these attacks and see what made the townspeople into who they are now. Life goes on even in the face of tragedy, some things get complicated, others only get bloodier. This is a story of survival and of finding order in chaos.

As the series progresses, it turns to a more military story. We see the horrors of war. What people are capable of when turning their backs on compassion and doing what they are ordered. The second season takes this one step further and places Jericho under military rule. Slowly, the corruptness at a government's core eats into the town and its people are once have hard decisions to make. The focus is not on just staying alive but on fighting for freedom and what's right when faced with a foe far greater than one can handle. We see ideals in people's hearts and why they're so admirable.

It's sad that this show ended just after one and a half season. It dealt with difficult issues like morality when there are no rules to be afraid of. An apocalyptic scenario isn't anything new and I'm probably not the only person who ever thought what they would do in such a situation. The series plays on that modern fear we have of terrorists destroying civilization, the one thing we are used to all our lives. However unlike most shows, this one doesn't centre on the events leading to the attack but on the consequences on common folk. At the same time, we learn of how it all happened before the first season ends.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Gabriel

The film's premise is simple: Angles and Devils fight over the soul sent to Purgatory. The Darkness is winning and the only one who can bring back the Light is Gabriel, the last of Seven Angels tasked with this mission.

We see the Purgatory as a wretched place. It's horrible to live in for everyone. Dark and rainy; drugs, prostitution and violence rule the streets. No one cares, no one wants to care. The colours are dark, enhancing the feeling of lost hope and wickedness but beneath it all, there's a smile waiting to be released. In a way, this setting reminded me of Sin City but with a lot more people in the gutter.

Gabriel comes to this world with ideals. His heart is pure but as his journey goes on, he sees more hopelessness. His fellow angels lost the will to fight. He realises too soon that the ideals he holds lead only to more suffering and death. By the time he fights the last remaining demons, he no longer cares for honour or adheres to a code of conduct. In this way, he too falls down from grace.

The fight scenes themselves are not many. Combat isn't the focus of this film. That being said, the few fights that are there are enjoyable to watch. Gabriel and his opponents are fast, they dodge bullets in a way reminiscent of the Matrix and yet, the special effects remain original. There are burst of speeds with the character becoming blurry for a short while, at the same time, it seems as if they slowed down. I think this is what made their powers feel more spiritual than supernatural in nature. The music strengthens this feel. Tribal drumming and a choir of voices are the most prominent in this regard. And yet, with all the Christian undertones, the film remains detached to the faith as a whole. Religion is a background, not a focus. There's some talk about duty, forgiveness, second chance, free will and freedom, a few things that you might notice, like Gabriel's tattoos, and that's all there is.

As I mentioned, there are fight scenes and as in every film where the main character has to dispose of less powerful characters to get to the big bad boss I would expect a massive battle between divine entities. This wasn't the case and yet, it was probably my favourite part of the film. It might be a bit anti-climatic if one is expecting a battle of epic proportions but it's no less emotional nor surprising. It certainly drove the point of the film as a whole, the erosion of ideals when met with harsh realities of life. Still, this feeling of hopelessness the viewer gets is rekindled with the last scene before the credits roll. Which I interpret in a simple way, no matter how hopeless a situation gets, there's always light after the rain has fallen.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Writing Difficulties

Half of the previous week I spent on reading, noting and generally preparing myself to write an essay. I know what to write but the way my tutor said he wants the essays to be is not the way I usually write. As such, I'm acting against myself and ended up with 1 page of the stupid essay.

One thing keeps on being repeated. I start writing, then I'm getting so mad at how stupid and useless this essay seems to be that I cry and can't think straight. So I try to calm myself down, I post something to the forums and after I calm down, I start again. The same thing happens, so I'm agitated, my tissues are dying and I can't focus. I'm mad at myself for not being able to write an essay in a week, a damn 2 pages essay. So I decided I'm going to throw away the tips the tutor gave and I'm going to write it my way or the highway...

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Happy Easter!

Here's the view from my window, I don't know what to make of it...

Thursday, 20 March 2008

How odd

You know how you're supposed to fast before Easter and how that day changes dates each year?

Something I noticed today is that I was fasting without knowing it. I bought fish fingers last week and haven't eaten any meat, chocolate or snacks since then... If you won't count the remains of a chunk of turkey I still have in the fridge.

Today I bought a lot of things that have no meat in them and I suppose I'll go with it. I'll finish the turkey I have but that's just because otherwise I would have to throw it away. I was raised not to waste food, it's like a deadly sin to my mind, that's why my plates return clean to the kitchen... other than that, I won't be buying chocolate or snacks unless I'm starving at uni and there's no other cheap alternative...

I'll have to go look for some vegetarian recipes me thinks, and some that have fish (although I do not like eating fish). Other than those three, I can't think of any pleasures that I have. I know I spend a lot of time on the internet, but I don't have that I must be online mentality any more. I'm actually spending a lot less time on the internet than before... Roleplaying, can't give it up because it would be unfair towards several people and I do think of it in terms of work. I seriously start posting to games with the mentality of I don't want to do this and then get over it in one swoop. I like studying but as much as I like it I can't give it up in the middle of the semester. Neither can I stop volunteering because that would be stupid... I like reading but now I don't have the time to read, I'll probably give up reading comics though. I like writing but I already write so little and as I learned a couple of times, denial of creativity causes me to go mad with too many ideas. It's akin to having water enter a tank without a hole, after a while it will go bang... Like always, I can't find much things that I enjoy because I like them, a lot of the things I enjoy is because those actions help other people in some way. Even if it's just making someone smile...

I'm weird like that... so until I get a better idea, no meat for 6 weeks...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

What philosophy do you follow?



You scored as Justice (Fairness)

Your life is guided by the concept of Fair Justice: Everyone, yourself included, should be rewarded and punished according to the help or harm they cause.



"He who does not punish evil commands it to be done."

--Leonardo da Vinci



“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”

--Dwight D. Eisenhower



More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...


Justice (Fairness)



90%

Existentialism



85%

Nihilism



75%

Utilitarianism



60%

Apathy



45%

Strong Egoism



40%

Kantianism



35%

Hedonism



35%

Divine Command



15%



LINK

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Webcam Frustration

For some unknown reason my webcam stopped working properly. I tried reinstalling everything, I played around with it and it just refuses to cooperate. Every file saved has misplaced sound, so badly that I can't just move it so it fits the first 30 seconds because then it won't fit the last 30 seconds. I need to cut it into tiny pieces and then move it around... it's time consuming and annoying like hell... here you can see how a recorded video looks like before I do anything with it...