(no subject)
ange_noir0
In my ongoing quest to refine and enrich my writing abilities and experiences, I've experimented with different location within my apartment where one can write. Writing on my regular computer is fine, but as I have no desk or chair, I sit on the ground and it is not comfortable to write that way for any length of time. There is a second computer, this time on a desk, in the bedroom, but many times I want to write at it, Tandra is sleeping and I wish not to disturb her. There's also the small issue of  the desk being covered with stacks of clothing and old papers. I've recently began carrying my laptop from room to room looking for the most comfortable place available to just sit and write. I finally settled on writing outside on my balcony. It's very pleasant sitting here on my little wooden bench with the smells of early spring surrounding me, along with the sound of the rushing river and oh so many birds singing.

In the hour in which I've been sitting here I've done more people watching than I have in a long time. Being next to the river, there are many people who pass by my apartment while walking or bike riding along the greenbelt. Being that the greenbelt is closed for the river's annual controlled flood, all of the people who normally walk along the greenbelt are walking past my balcony instead. There have been many interesting things to see.

Usually when I stand on my balcony watching people pass, it's because the girls' track team from the university is running by on their daily jog. But college is out of session for the summer, so I've been watching the world go by with my attention less narrowly focused.

Today a minivan drove by with three dogs all sticking their heads out the same window. Now they're at the end of the street and the owner is throwing a ball into the river for the dogs to fetch. Then there were the two dachshunds that passed by. One, I think, was only half dachshund as it was the size and shape but had a beautiful flowing white coat. I've never seen a fuzzy wiener dog like that before.

Most interesting was when three bicycle cops rode past and I caught one saying in conversation to the others, "I used to patrol this area, and it was a freaking cherry patch, man." Not skipping a beat, I pulled up Google and searched "police slang cherry patch." It seems a cherry patch is an area where a cop is able to write lots of tickets with little effort. I could see this place being like that. After all, with all the apartment buildings, it's one of the most densely populated parts of the city, and it's only a couple of blocks from the BSU campus, too. Also, that's good info to know. Thanks, random bicycle cop who wasn't talking to me. And thanks, technology for enabling me to learn what he was saying almost instantly. I felt like Trinity in the Matrix downloading an update into her brain.

Some Random Survey
ange_noir0
Pen² Since I'm in a mood to write, and the post I wrote a few moments ago has become lost to the cybervoid, here's a survey I've decided to fill out, stolen from Tina's journal.

If you were pregnant, how would you tell the father?
I'd bring him a copy of the newspaper, which I imagine would have a headline reading something like "The world's second pregnant man!" and a subtitle like "Man becomes pregnant without having been a woman first; scientists baffled."

What are you doing?
Drinking an energy drink.

What's wrong with you right now?
I have a blister on one tow, and I'm pretty sure I'm mentally unstable on some manner at this moment.

Do you truly hate anyone?
People throw that word around so often that the meaning has become ambiguous. By most peoples' definitions, I suppose I do. By my own reckoning, no, I don't.

What are you listening to?
Aurally, birds singing outside. Mentally, Unwoman - Is She Secretly on My Side?

Last person you talked to on the phone?
Tandra, last night.

What color are your eyes?
Blue/green depending on my mood.

How often do you hold back what you want to say?
More often than I mean to. I'm working toward being more frank and impulsive.

What are you doing tomorrow?
Traveling to Utah, if we haven't left by later today. If we have, I'll probably wander the neighborhood, sew, and write.

Do you have a friend of the opposite sex you can talk to?
I find this question weird in a "do you talk to girls" type of way, but yeah, I have female friends that I hang out with on a strictly platonic level.

Would you ever get a tattoo?
I've wanted to for a while; a Celtic brain around my bicep.

Do you know anyone who has messed up your life?
I know many people who have completely changed the direction and momentum on my life, but to say anyone has messed up my life will always be a misnomer to me. I have no one but myself to blame for my problems.

Can you read other peoples expressions?
Not as much as I'd like to.

Will tomorrow be good?
I don't see why not. But then, few, if any days are "bad" days to me.

Are you afraid of losing the last person you talked to?
I little bit.

Is anything bothering you?
Yeah. I need to find a way to make money.

What are you most anxious/excited for?
In life, living a lifestyle in which I travel. In the near future, living a summer in which I travel.

What's your favorite drink?
Right now, it's energy drink.

Would you be able to date someone who doesn't make you laugh?
I'm inclined to say no, something is keeping me from standing behind that answer.

If you could take someone back would you?
I assume this question applies to romantic relationships. I'll just say, the end of each relationship was just as important in shaping who I am today as the beginning and middle of each relationship. I like who I am today, and I don't want to change that.

Is there something someone is not telling you?
There's always something someone's not saying. As long as people don't hide potentially harmful information, the slow discovery of these "secrets" over time is what makes relationships more interesting.

What's the last thing you have eaten?
Energy drink! No... Pizza. It wasn't very good pizza.

Is there a person that you can go to in sweats, hair a mess, and still feel comfy?
Anyone I consider a friend, and I have a liberal definition of friend, I'm okay with meeting this way.

Have you ever thought about killing someone in detail?
Yes, but only as mental exercise, and because I'm a writer.


What do you have pierced on you?
My left ear, and both nipples.

Love life?
What kind of question is that. Onions?

Do you blow dry your hair?
Only when I style it for costumed events. In other words, once or twice a year.

Can you see a stuffed animal from where you're sitting?
Yes, a stuffed penguin. Penpen.

Do you straighten your hair?
No, my hair is already straight.

Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted?
I have no brothers or sisters.

Do you like being home alone?
Yes, but I get nothing productive done when I am.

Is there anyone you trust who you shouldn't?
Probably. I was once very naive. I'm still a little naive.

Have you ever cried over a text?
Sure, but only if you count IMs.

Who did you spend at least two hours with today?
I haven't been awake for two hours, but I slept next to Tandra last night.

Have you ever dated someone longer than a year?
Yes. Tiff, for five years, and Tandra for what's coming up on six years and counting.

Last time you cut yourself?
Only once, ever, about ten years ago.

Are you jealous person?
Only when it comes to travel and experiences, and usually only in a light-hearted manner. Never over material gains.

Does it bother you when people try to make you jealous?
No one really tries to make me jealous. Either that, or I'm oblivious to it. I'm way too happy-go-lucky to get jealous over petty things.

Do you like when people play with your hair?
Almost always. Again, happy-go-lucky.

Do you plan on sleeping in tomorrow?
No. I'm trying to fix my sleep schedule to six hours a night, and never past noon.

What were you doing last night at 11?
Playing Risk: Godstorm with Keith and Dan.

Does the last person you kissed have any importance in your life?
Haha, of course.

Has someone ever told you they want to spend the rest of their life with you?
Yes, two people now. One changed their mind. The other meant it.

Does it take a lot for you to cry?
Depends on the tears. I can harden myself when I need to, but my tears flow naturally at beauty and joy.

How have you felt today?
Productive, in a sense.

Are you happy at the moment?
Yes.

Are you open with your feelings to people?
Most of the time. I'm an open book, but I'm learning the art of the poker face and the bluff.

Do you have any bruises?
*touches self* Not at the moment.

Why did you kiss the last person you kissed?
She's in pain right now (back pain) and I can't do much to make it go away, but kisses always make people feel better.

Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?Depends on the person, the offense, and the context of the situation. Generally, yes.

(no subject)
ange_noir0
 Note to self: Always copy your journal entry before attempting to post it, so you can simply paste and repost if LiveJournal fails to load. Especially do this if you just spent 45 minutes writing several pages worth of stuff.

On the Existence of Magic
ange_noir0
First off, everyone who bothers reading my journal should already know that I believe in magic. My chosen spiritual path is Hermeticism, which I guess I'll have to describe more fully in a separate journal entry. Basically, I believe in Occultism, which is alot more religious than most people realise and in its purest form is all about seeking union with divinity (just like every other religion out there; think about it). Hermeticists use what is called Ceremonial (or "High") Magic, which is a refined and formulaic type of magic, in contrast to the less orderly, more emotional Natural (or "Low") Magic used by Neo-Pagans.

Anyhow, I was reading an introduction to Chaos Magic, a system which is highly subjective and much too complex for me to get into here. The author, in his explanation of what Chaos Magic was, drew similarities between what Chaotes (practitioners) do and mathematical Chaos Theory. This comparison reminded me of an argument for the existence of magic which I devised in the past but haven't previously taken the opportunity to develop.

Belief, at least in the polarized country of America, seems split between science and faith. Either we evolved, or God made us like we are today. Dinosaurs walked the earth millions of years ago, or Satan placed their bones to deceive us. Prophets recieved the word of God through divine revelation, or they received delusion through hallucination. The deeper one follows the tenets of either science or faith, the less willing one is to see through to the other side. Now from what I understand, blind faith to the point of denying science is a much larger problem in America than, say, Europe. But the problem of blind science denying faith is universal. It seems the closer to science one becomes, the less faith they have. I know many scientists who are atheists, a few who are agnostic, and only one or two who are devout in a faith.

On a bit of a tangent, there are also those who follow blind faith but try to force-fit science into their beliefs. I know a man who believes in the infallibility of the bible. He believes that the four-billion years of the development of the earth, including the evolution of human life, occurred in a natural manner. And then a war in heaven (the one in which Lucifer was cast out) destroyed everything and God recreated it all from scratch in seven days, and so on. What he does with his belief is take the bible as a base, and anything the bible doesn't say is fair game. In a way, this is still better than atheism which says, "nothing exists unless I can prove it."

But getting back on track, I'm here to say that scientists put their faith (yes, FAITH) in another intangible system. Mathematics. Numbers do not exist. They are imaginary. I mean, sure, I can say, "I have three of something." But that doesn't mean I have the number three. You're using a symbolic language, where the symbols represent things which don't actually exist in tangible reality. And because numbers don't exist tangibly, you're putting faith in the fact that they even exist at all. Mathematics arose thousands of years ago in major cultural centers when we developed the need to calculate things. We started with a base-ten number system and every branch of mathematics we use today is built on top of that number system. Here's the thing: Many scientists believe in the infallibility of math! I'm not here to say they're wrong, but here's food for thought: If humans had four fingers of each hand instead of five, we'd be using a base-eight number system. We would have no concept of nine or ten. Then, over thousands of years of development, this base-eight math would still be on par with what we actually have today, but it would be different.

How does this apply to magic? With magic, there are as many different schools and systems as there are of math. Unlike math however, not all of these systems started with the same base system. This resulted in a variety of magical traditions. Each tradition has a starting point from which it is then built upon. Some systems, especially larger ones like Hermetisism, have thousands of years of development, with the result that the system has become quite formulaic in nature. I'll mention Enochian magic here. Anyone who's ever glanced at this system will see the similarities between Enochian formulas and mathematical formulas.

The point I am trying to make is that both magic and math are intangible symbolic languages in which one places their faith. Believing in math is a leap of faith. Yes, you can observe the result on paper after calculating complex equations, but you can't observe the equation itself. And yet, you can apply math to bring about change in the world.You can use math to calculate engine thrust on a trip to the moon. Magic is the same. You can't see or hold magic, but the goal is to use it to bring about change in the world. To use a simple, provable example, if I meditate, I can focus better. Meditation is an act of magic. (Or at least, it was throughout history until psychology got to it, but that's a whole other journal entry.)

To conclude, magic requires a leap of faith, but so does math. What makes math believable to people who believe in it (which is just about everyone) is that its complex systems of formulas and symbols fit together in such a way that the whole thing works. To a practitioner of a particular tradition of magic, it's much the same; the whole thing fits together in a way that works. I don't expect my view to persuade and scientists or atheists to suddenly believe in magic. I'm content with the belief that science is slowly catching up with the theories and ideas of Hermeticism. ;-)

Life Update
ange_noir0
I've dusted this old thing off  with the intention of writing in it a couple of times a week. I've been meaning to do that for months now. That just goes to show how much I've been procrastinating lately. But now I've bookmarked my LiveJournal page to my bookmarks toolbar in Firefox, as if to prove to myself that I'm serious this time. So ha. Part of the intention is that if I can bring myself to write, ideally everyday, then I will gain practise and become a better writer over time. This is important because I honestly do wish to become a professional writer someday in the not-too-distant future. Now, as I haven't posted here in a very long time, I figured an update as to the current happenings in my life is in order.

Roleplaying
Speaking of writing, I've picked up text-based free-form roleplaying again. Specifically, I am once again playing in the old Rhy'Din setting, or at least me and friends' take on it, which has taken quite a different direction from the old AOL chatroom-based setting, where it first started years ago. I figured I'd get back into it because this form of storytelling has done more to improve my writing abilities more than any other thing I've ever had to do with writing, including years of schooling. For those of you unfamiliar with Rhy'Din, it's a high-fantasy sword and sorcery-type setting. If you can imagine a blend of Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Middle Earth with splashes of Pirates of the Caribbean, Pulp, and Gothic Fantasy thrown in, that's how we envision Rhy'Din. If anyone reading this is interested, by all means, let me know! New players are ALWAYS wanted.

Sindarin Elvish
Somewhat related to the above is that I am learning to speak, read and write Tolkienian Elvish from Lord of the Rings. Sindarin, to be exact, though once I'm adept at it, I'll pick up Quenya, too. What's the point? Well, RPing in Elven is an incredible experience, first of all. Second of all, it's a chance to out-geek my geekiest of friends. Beyond RPing and geekiness, I suppose there's no good point. You see, last week I attended a special lecture at my university. Paul Frommer, creator of the Na'vi language and Mike Okrand, creator of the Klingon language, were there. The experience moved me. However, I was never drawn to Star Trek, and I see Avatar as (forgive me) something as a fad, so I didn't want to learn either of those languages. So I turned instead to my favourite of conlangs, Elvish! To make matter easier, I was previously learning the language years ago when I was using it to RP elf characters in Rhy'Din. In any case, I'm sure I'll write at length about the intricacies of the Elven language at a later date.

Modern Philosophy
It sucks. I am in love with the philosophy of old, but every philosophical tradition after Existentialism fails to do it for me. Philosophy has become abstract and obsessed over tiny little details. Analytic Philosophy deals at great length with semantics. I have always hated arguing semantics because in the end, it's not what you say that matters, it's what you mean, and language can't always express that clearly. And yet, here's an entire philosophical tradition that focuses on semantics without ever moving beyond into the real world. I really fucking want to bitch slap all analytic philosophers and tell them, "Your perception of the world ends with the limitations of your vocal cords! Cut it the fuck out and do some REAL philosophy!!" By the way, I had a mid-term in Analytic Philosophy today. I'll be surprised if I pulled off a C.

deviantArt
I plan on creating two new deviantArt accounts. That's another thing I've been procrastinating on. I created my existing account years ago, and I've hated the username of it for almost as long as I've had it. "AngelsLust." Icky. Though it's just a couple letters away from "AngelSlut," which is kinda neat, but not the image I'm going for. Anyway, I want two accounts. One will be my good art, what little there is, and will have a much more professional feel. I portfolio, of sorts. See, I don't need a full-on portfolio, because I'm not a professional artist, but I'd still like to have some ind of semi-professional thing going for me, in case some kind of weird opportunity arises. The other one will be for less-than-good art. Honestly, I plan on filling it with sketches I draw of the world of Rhy'Din. I just want a place to play around with ideas, be critique'd and generally improve my as-of-now meagre art skills. Also, I want to take up speedpainting. We'll see how well that goes, since I can't even really sketch right now. But hey, it's all for fun.

Everything Else
I don't have too much else going on right now. My life has done that thing where I become obsessed with one subject to the exclusion of all others, again. This time it's roleplaying. At the beginning of the semester, it was studying Islam. We'll see what's next. I have lots of interests sitting on the back burners in my brain right now, waiting for the moment to burst into flame and become my next passion. This is how things work for me, in cycles of interest. If anyone's wondering about steampunk, it's the exact same for that, too. The interest is still there, it's just "on hold" right now. When it comes back, I have many projects to work on, including my newest badass outfit(s) for this year's SteamCon.

That's it for now, I guess. Expect to see alot more of me. Cuio vae!

Dusting this thing off...
ange_noir0
Hey, what's this thing?

...

Egads! A LiveJournal!


Has it really been a whole year?

My View On Christianity
ange_noir0
How would I answer if someone asked "Are you Christian?" Well, that depends on who's asking. If I don't know anything about the person, or know that they're a Christian, I'd answer "Yes, but..." And if I were asked by someone I know to be non-Christian or hold an anti-Christian sentiment, I'd say "No, although..."

"Yes" or "No" for me would both be just as accurate.

If one goes by the dictionary definition "One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus," then yes, strictly speaking, I am a Christian. If one expands that view to include John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," then no, I am not a Christian.

Here's the catch. I am also a self-professed European Pagan, but again, only in the strictest sense. I believe in multiple deities. I don't adhere to a specific brand of European Paganism, but I'm not an Eclectic Pagan either, at least not in the strict sense. (And I've heard of so called "Christian Pagans" who worship Jesus as "The God" and Mary as "The Goddess". That bothers the hell out of me. Jesus was NOT a Pagan god. In the interest of keeping my focus, I won't even go there.)

So what do I believe about Jesus?
  • I believe he was *a* Christ, or a Messiah, an Avatar, an Ascended Master, a Manu, or a spiritual teacher sent to guide a specific group of people in the right spiritual direction, as had been done with several different religious group previously and since. (See: Osiris, Buddha, Mithras, Persephone, Odin, Dumuzi, etc.) However, he was not *the* Christ.
  • I believe he was an actual man who walked the earth in flesh and blood to share his spiritual message.
  • I DO NOT believe he was physically resurrected, but I believe the idea of his resurrection is important to his story.
  • I DO NOT believe the miracles he was said to have achieved were as miraculous as the Bible says they were, but I believe the idea of his miracles are important to his story.
  • I believe Gnostic or Mystic Christianity is just as valid as Mainstream Christianity, and I believe it was meant to be dominated and suppressed by Mainstream Christianity. The sheep need a shepherd and the spiritually intellectual minority need a direct communion.
  • I believe mythology hold more importance on a spiritual level than historicity. Therefore, the story of Jesus in the Bible *and* the Gnostic Gospels are more important than what Jesus actually did and/or teach during his lifetime.
  • I believe most sects of Christianity, both Mainstream and Mystic, have diluted his message to the point that Christianity in general is now a useless religion.
  • There is still much to be gained by one who is willing to dig past all the shit piled on top of Christianity over the years, and looks for the core messages and teachings.
For the record, I practice Hermeticism, which was a religious philosophy which arose in the Greek city of Alexandria in Egypt, and was a religious and cultural melting pot of the ancient world. I won't get into it too much in this post, but in a nutshell, Hermeticism (which has many flavours, of which I practice one,) holds that all deities are intermediaries between The All and The Self. It is open to the idea that at times a bit of outside help is needed to steer people in the direction of uniting one's Self with the All, and thus, a spiritual teacher is sent down to provide a message toward this end. That, my friends, is how I am both Pagan and believe in Jesus.
Knowing full-well how much of a shitstorm this might bring to the comments section of my journal, I really do want you to post with any questions, comments or rebuttals you desire, as I love to debate and share knowledge.
Tags:

SteamCon - Friday, Oct 23rd
ange_noir0
I had this typed up several days ago but didn't post it before now, thinking I would post the entire thing at once. Now, between several exams in school, work, Halloween, NaNoWriMo, and a mish-mash of other things keeping me busy, I've decided to post it in installments instead. I am also planning on writing a less-personal account of the entire steamcon experience (with the help of a few other steampunks who were there) to post of the Wings of Steam blog when I can make time for that, and hopefully, writing my personal experiences there will help me focus on that a little better. If you've been waiting for that blog post, it's coming. I've just been too damn busy.

~*~*~

My travels began at 7:00pm, Thursday as Tandra and I departed from our abode in Boise, Idaho. It was a long and arduous journey for us, as we were traveling eight hours, through the darkest part of the night, and having only gotten four hours of sleep the night before. Alas, finally we arrived somewhere around 4 in the morning in Tacoma, Washington, where my aspiring Classic major and philosophical adviser Nick had prepared a room for us in the Humanities student campus housing. It was to become home base for the next four days.

Friday

We awoke Friday morning around the time the con was officially beginning. After an hour of preparation, we were off, cruising down a WA interstate, listing to Amanda Palmer and discussing what we hoped to find at such a wond'rous event. Tandra and I were investing quite a bit of time, energy and money, and we were quite afraid that the experience would end up not being worth it. And initially, this worry persisted through the first couple hours after we had arrived. The first thing we noticed was how small the Seatac Marriot was. The second thing we noticed was how few people seemed to be there, although I would later come to attribute that to the vast numbers standing in the registration line.

Our worries did not last long however. As more people tricked through the doors, we were taken by the fact that nearly every single person we saw was dressed up, and further by the sheer overall quality of dress that was worn. Sure, most peoples' goggles were made of plastic (but hey, real brass goggles are expensive!), but the place almost fully lacked the costumey feel of the standard anime con. These weren't costumes... They were full-fleged uniforms, mens' and womens' dress garments, and dusty, worn and oily workmans' clothes.

The first place we hit was the Dealers Bazaar. Right outside the door was a table of Abney Park merchandise, and often manned by a member or two of the band itself. Immediatley inside was the table for Studio Foglio, where Phil Foglio, author of the webcomic Girl Genius, stood, his Hugo Award proudly on display. For the sake of space, not every dealer can be covered, but suffice it to say there  was goggles, jewelery, hats, corsets, tea, masks, and accessories (not to mention freebies) galore! Quite a bit of time was required for one to make the rounds, assuming one wished to see everything. One was quite at risk of exiting the room with their moneybags significantly lighter, something that not even I was immune to.

Our next visit was the Art Exhibition Hall, next door. Art ranged from sculpture to mods to jewelery to paintings and photographs. There were such prominent artists as Paul Guinan and Porkshanks and Myke Amend featured. Those with the funds could bid on art if the wished, and those who could not afford original pieces could buy prints of many of the favourites which were on display.

After an exquisite, albeit expensive dining experience at the hotel's restaurant wherein Tandra and I had crab chowder, we spent a little while waiting in queue for the Abney Park Victorian Sing-a-Long. The tables being full, we managed to find a seat on the wall, which actually turned out to be quite a nice vantage point.

The acoustic performance was absolutely lovely. It was the first time I got to see Abney Park perform live, and one of the first performances with the band's new member, Jody Ellen, who is now the female vocalist. The set began with a few classics by the band, followed by the pirate shanty "The Derelict", a couple of classic airship songs, and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

After the performance, Tandra and I wandered around, browsing the dealers room again and generally admiring everyone's outfits.

An hour later the DJ dance began. The room in which the Sing-a-Long took place had been converted into a dance floor complete with DJs and flashing lights. The style of music started out close to that of Guilded Age Records' compilation "An Age Remembered", with more and more industrial tracks being inserted into the playlist as the night went on. I sat and watched for some time before hitting the dance floor myself. I must say, it was quite a surreal feeling sharing the same dance floor as Kristina and Jody Ellen from AP, and watching other prominent members of the steampunk community come and go as well. After a while I had to sit back and take it easy as I had made the foolish mistake (and I had made it before,) of dancing with my motorcycle boots on. The blisters on my feel from dancing in non-dancing shoes had ensured that I quite literally danced until my feet bled.

With Nick and Parker present, we decided to venture into Seattle proper, to a little bar called Little Red Bistro, where they were hosting a night of Blues dancing. Upon arrival, and I must say, while not strickly steampunk, that place seems like it would still fit quite well, the only word that can be used to describe the atmosphere is "surreal". Upon entering, one finds themselves in a cafe-style room, a bar on one side and a bistro on the other. The high celings were perfect for hanging the extra large works of erotic art in oversized frames, and the lighting lent to an almost gothic atmosphere. Venturing down a narrow hallway, one enters the dance room, where plush massage mats sat directly opposite from the dance floor, which was filled with couples swirling and two-stepping in a slow but fluid frenzy. The smokey-smooth music came from a single speaker which made me actually if a hidden band was performing in an unlit corner, loud, but not too loud that you and your dance partner could not carry out a conversation in normal voices. Between every song, the couples would split up and rejoin, taking a new partner for each song, almost as though each person was trying to collect everyone in the room by the time the night was gone. Sometimes men danced with men, sometimes women danced with women, it seemed not to matter as long as everyone was dancing.

We left a little before 3 am, spending a while to get home and another short while to get to bed, in preparation for the next day of SteamCon.

Tags:

NaNoWriMo!
ange_noir0
I'm getting psyched up for next month. As if I haven't forced myself to keep moving enough yet (seeing as how the last two months have been two of the busiest months of my life), I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. If you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo yet, this is National Novel Writing Month, where thousands of average people, authors and non-writers alike, spend the month of November writing their own 50,000 word novel. The point of this is not to write something good... Most of the material submitted is actually quite crappy... but rather, to get peoples' creative juices flowing, and to pressure those who otherwise wouldn't dare to accomplish a major piece of writing in a positive way.

I, myself, feel like I am quite a good writer... when it comes to non-fiction. My fiction writing skill is severely lacking, so entering a friendly contest like NaNoWriMo is just what I feel I need. I want to be a professional author, but I don't want to limit my work to non-fiction alone. I desire to master the English language in every way possible. In the words of one of my close friends, "The English language if [sic] my bitch."

As for the non-stopping, people who slow down after keeping busy for a long time lose momentum. That is why I'm going to force myself to write a fucking book in less than a month. [Expletive for emphasis.] November, or most of it anyway, would otherwise be a slow period between two fast-paced ones. If one stops pedaling their bike halfway up the hill, one will find that it's quite difficult to jump back on the bike and get moving again. It won't be too bad though. If I write ten pages a day, I will meet the required word count by the deadline.

Dear readers of my journal, I need your assistance. I do not quite know what to write about. I have three potential story ideas hatching in my brain, but I can't decide what to do. Perhaps, by popular vote, you could help me decide on which story to go with. But please, don't suggest any new ideas. I want this story to be fully my own.

Premise for story one: The biography of Julian Van de Kamp. This one would be the easy solution of the three. Julian is my steampunk persona, and I already have his complete backstory figured out. Basically, Julian is the son of a famous Royal Air Navy general. After education and training, Jules succeeds in becoming an airship captain in the same. Shit happens, and he foils an attempt on the Queen's life. Being caught in an unfortunate situation, he is treated as a scapegoat, becoming wanted to treason and a murder attempt. Secretly though, the Queen hires him on as a privateer, since he is now able to carry out operations for her without necessarily abiding by the law. He steals an airship, hires a mercenary crew, and defeats the villains responsible for the brainwashing of his father, the real culprit behind the Queen's murder attempt. Eventually, after an epic heist on the Bank of England, his crew mutinies and he escapes to America with a pile of money. In Denver he hires a new crew and establishes his fleet, the Wings of Steam. Part two of the story will include actual members' characters from the real life group, and will be a way to tie together everyone's personas and update the group's backstory.

Premise for story two: A play in sci-fi cliches. I do not have a plot or storyline yet, but could create one easily if this option seems the way to go. I will use as many cliches as I can: The characters travel back in time to warn the people of the past about the future, the main character becomes his own great grandfather, the characters teach a robot designed for war how to love... etc. Also, if I can figure out how to work it, the story will then go on to break as many of these cliches as possible. For example, instead of traveling to the past, the characters unwittingly traveled to the future, which they mistook for the past because the apocalypse happened, humankind has repopulated, and civilization as reached a level that it was just about at before... Yeah, this one will be tricky, but I think it'll be fun.

Premise for story three: The characters start out by traveling to the past to warn about the future. But when they get to the past to change the course of history, they realize that the then-present turmoil is cause by something earlier. So they travel back further, where again, they find turmoil cause by an earlier event. Repeat several times. (Of course, this won't be ALL that's going on. There will be actual time altering, trial and error, as well as side-plots.) Eventually, the characters realize that mankind is inherently evil so finally, as an act of compassion to prevent all future human suffering, they travel to the dawn of mankind, where they allow the first human to die and mankind to become extinct. Personally, I think this one has the greatest artistic potential, and after the contest is over, this could be expanded into something I might think about publishing. It'd be a very long, drawn out commentary on the value of human existence.

There you have my three ideas. Please comment and let me which one you think I should use as well as why.


(no subject)
ange_noir0
Tandra's birthday was yesterday. She turned 22. It got me to thinking about my age. I am 25 years old and a freshman in college. When I graduate I'll be 28 (or possibly 29). And then I plan on going to graduate school for at least a year after that. I was initially negative when I came to this realization; a quarter of my life has passed by and I've really got nothing to show for it. But I'm not a pessimist. I've got alot to show for the last two decades... Just not in the way of material evidence. But I haven't applied it to much yet. Or perhaps I should be inclined toward nihilism... Do I have anything to show for the first epoch of my life? Does it really matter?

My age has become something of a motivator. I'll amount to great things. I just have to get my feet on the ground. And that's what school and other events in my life are doing for me right now. Getting my feet on the ground. After I failed out of Community College, my brain figuratively shrunk in some areas. I lost a great portion of my vocabulary, and in some ways, my intellect. Sure, I was entranced by intellectual conversations, but I couldn't dish it back. But now my brain is growing again. I feel like I'm right where I belong.

Today in psychology class we discussed reasoning and intelligence. I learned a great deal on what is already happening in my mind right now, but that I wasn't aware of on a psychological level. It made me reflect on the occurrences of the last week. It helped me understand how philosophy and logic are two of the most important subjects I'll ever study.

StealThisWiki.org, a modern collaborative update of Abbie Hoffman's Yippie bible, Steal This Book, vocally speaks out against mainstream educational institutions, but states that if you end up going to one, you should certainly take a few classes in philosophy, global studies, and other "soft liberal arts." These fields are supposed to "form your mind into a useful and dangerous tool." I laughed when I read that, finding it ironic, but now I find the statement to be completely accurate.

And I have a job now. Synchronicity. You ironic bitch. I was hired by the CEO of a small but highly successful .com business, ripping his audiobook collection of literally tens of thousands of CDs. I won't owe taxes. I can work on my own time. It's temporary. And best of all, some of his audiobooks are simply amazing. Stuff by authors like Malcom Gladwell. Books on how to become a good public speaker. He attributes the majority of his success in business to it. The dude is my age, has a wife and three kids, an office the size of my apartment with a window the size of his wall looking out over the mountains. And he's rich. The majority of my work I've been deleting off my hard drive after converting, but there are a few great books that will be staying. Don't get me wrong. I hate capitalism. The business world drives me crazy. I will never be a stuffed suit. But there are a few books that can set my life on a successful track without indoctrinating me with the ethics of greed and company loyalty. Or perhaps I could say, a few of these books may end up forming my mind into a useful and dangerous tool.

That's where I stand right now. With a job perfectly suited to my needs, grades of over 100 in three of my four classes, plenty of travel, intellectually stimulating conversation, and the tools I need to get shit done, my levels of optimism and productivity are skyrocketing and it's taking every ounce of willpower I have not to shout out "I'M AT SCHOOL! BEING SUCCESSFUL! IF YOU KNEW ME TWO YEARS AGO, YOU'D BE AS AMAZED AS I AM RIGHT NOW!!"

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