Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So a while back I was browsing for something — I don’t know what, because I instantly forgot it when I found this instead.

First of all, somebody’s made a robotic Philip K. Dick. (If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s a major science fiction author whose books became some of the world’s hallmark sci-fi films, such as Bladerunner and Total Recall.) The robot is not only designed to look fairly lifelike (always an interesting choice in robotics, the aesthetics) but has Dick’s thoughts uploaded, in the form of all Dick’s works and recorded conversations. Thus the robot should be roughly able to answer questions as Dick would have done. It’s also capable, using its prodigious artificial intelligence, to form new answers to new questions, integrate new knowledge, and develop new “thoughts.” Continue reading

Icon of Loyalty – Hachiko

There are several stories of dogs showing unbelievable tenacity in looking for or waiting for their dead owners. Some of them are truly heart-wrenching. There are a couple of stories involving dogs waiting on trains for their humans to return, and one of the most famous is Hachiko.

Hachiko, Akita lying on pavementHachiko was a regular at Shibuya Station in Tokyo, where he spent the first couple of years of life meeting his owner Ueno Hidesaburo as he returned from teaching at the University of Tokyo. But one day in May 1925, Ueno collapsed during a lecture of a cerebral hemorrhage and died at work. Hachiko went to the train to meet him as usual, but Ueno did not arrive. Continue reading

So, About Daylight Saving Time

Time change at the end of Daylight Saving Time...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it’s time we were all honest with ourselves and just admitted that Daylight Saving Time is a failed idea.

It’s not a bad idea, in its original form. When early proponents (such as Benjamin Franklin) realized that we could take advantage of longer daylight hours by getting up earlier, that was a legitimate and factual observation. Ben satirically suggested cannons to rouse the populace earlier rather than changing the clocks, because changing the clocks was kind of a dumb idea, but the cannons didn’t exactly take off either.

Since then, Daylight Saving Time (it’s singular, despite popular mispronunciation) discussion has been full of good intentions with poor follow-through. Continue reading

“That Friend” and FOMO

Okay, I’ve seen a number of people post this now. Many are people who don’t know each other. And I’ve seen the sentiment echoed from all demographics, people getting student discounts and people getting senior discounts. It’s everywhere. Here’s the thing:

I'm that friend that has to walk behind the group when the path isn't big enough. I'm that friend that gets cut off in the conversation. I'm that friend that gets left behind when I asked for them to wait for me. I'm that friend that doesn't get invited to hang out a lot. I'm that friend that if I want to go tot he mall or some place with a friend I have to be the one to invite people to make sure I get included. I'll always be that friend.

 

And I’m going to step into the Old Ben mentor trope for a moment and pontificate, because it seems there’s something critical being missed.

Guys, this is not “that friend.” This is EVERYONE. Continue reading

Writing Games

Being a writer is easy. It's like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire. You're on fire. Everything is on fire and you're in hell.So I came across an interesting game premise recently.

Well, not a game, per se. There’s no gameplay and no storyline and no final boss battle. There’s no leveling and no skill-building and no farming. No gold, no XP. Instead, it’s just a virtual environment to be explored like an open-world game, for the purpose of prompting would-be writers to actually write.

Lots of people want to write but are then intimidated by the blank page. And traditional writers’ adages don’t necessarily help.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Earnest Hemingway

Enter Elegy for a Dead World, a game to encourage novice writers to shut off the self-doubt and just write. Continue reading

More Mowing & Murder: Autumn Maze

I’ve mentioned previously that I cut an annual autumn maze. What I didn’t mention is that the last couple of years, I’ve used a secret theme.

It’s hard to invent a wholly new labyrinth each year without being repetitive, so one year I chose an usual word from a book title, a word I figured no one would recognize, and used it as the basis for my maze. It seemed to work pretty well, the maze was reported properly twisty — the word was kitsune — and no one realized they were actually walking through connected letters.

That became my private joke. Half of the maze was bizarre swirls and winding paths, meant to draw out the younger kids but not lose them, and half was a series of interlinked passages based on some personal literary reference. But last year, I was found out, thanks to Google Earth. My mother, who with my father owns the field in which the maze is cut, was looking up her property’s aerial view for some reason and realized the map had been updated after I’d done my maze. Continue reading

Title of the Post

Oh, how I hate titles.

At least in my own case, if a title presents itself early in the process, it’s generally a good title. If I don’t have one by late in the story or, God help me, by revisions, I will never come up with a title I like, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sometimes you just get lucky. Last week, a perfect title presented itself for a story which doesn’t even have a proper premise yet. Oh, and the perfect title even brought along a friend for a potential sequel.

Old Spice guy nodding, wearing towel in bathroom

Aw, yeah.

But that’s not typical.

For this present story, I’m getting dangerously close to just wallpapering a room with pages of a thesaurus and bringing in a blindfold and darts….