Sunday, January 22, 2006

Library of Alexandria

I made a new blog to store my poetry and short stories. I call it the Library of Alexandria and can be found here.

I'm not sure if I should put my longer stories on there too as one is currently 47 pages and counting. My three Anaaka stories probably total about 90 pages altogether. I'm still debating what to do about those. Dave might let me host the files on Bountiful Tool's server and then I'd just link to it for download or something.

I don't want to clutter cleverly.planet with ENORMOUSLY HUGE posts of story. Michael doesn't have it feeding into cleverly.planet yet and he might not want to. Who knows. Anyway, enjoy my literature, fine or not.

Saw Narnia

Well, I saw Narnia yesterday with Paul Robinson. We originally planned to play paintball but there was a tournament going on at Paintball Addicts. We went to the Gateway and saw the flick instead.

I must say that C.S. Lewis really made a fantastic story with so many symbols tying it into Christ and his atonement. There are the obvious references, like Aslan's sacrifice for Edmund and his resurection. Then there are the more subtle references like the children's baptism by water (snow everywhere & falling in the river) followed by fire & blood (final battle in the heat of spring/summer).

I loved how Edmond came across as a basically good boy in this film, making his forgiveness and redemption more paletable. The old cartoon of the story may have predisposed me against Edmund as he seemed like just a whiny brat and willing accomplice through more of it than this new film.

I don't know if it was my eye being trained to find these things but I was jarred by some of the special effects being obviously CG effects. And some of the effects budget was wasted on scenes that needed no special effects, like the sleigh crossing an open snowy plain.

Despite the minor CG effects quible, I loved the movie and heartily recommend it to anyone... but I think all the relevant friends, family, and aquaintences I know have probably already seen it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

On Communism

This is from a post I made on communism in a forum about paintball (of all places): My comment is on page 3.

I agree with some of what others have already said. The greatest weakness of communism is its contrarity(is that a word?) to natural human behavior. We are selfish. Competition breeds activity and innovation. Communism removes the motivation to try to excel. Stagnation is a result.

Also most large scale communal systems have turned into tolitarian dictatorships because human nature still exists and if you become the top dog you tend to set the terms for 'equality'. Some people assume that government by nature is benign. Government is just another organization run by humans with human desires. The result is inherently imperfect and corruptible regardless of whether it is a democracy, replublic, dictatorship, or monarchy.

One personal issue I have with socialist and communist systems is agency and choice of action. I shall use a religious example so if it bugs you just gloss over this paragraph. Christ asked a wealthy man to sell what he had and give to the poor to be saved. The man walked away sad because he loved his riches. Note that Christ gave the man the choice, his riches or his salvation. Christ didn't force the man to give up his wealth. It was the man's choice alone.

Now when someone says we all HAVE to give to the poor and implement laws or regulations to redistribute that wealth, it is not giving me the opportunity to CHOOSE to be generous or compassionate. I lose an opportunity for personal growth. Now if society choses of its own free will to give it is good for all. Mandatory giving produces only bitterness in those forced to give and a sense of entitlement to those who recieve. Neither gratitude on the part of the reciever nor compassion on the part of the giver is encouraged. Nobody grows (shades of my earlier stagnation comment above).

Finally I have found that when those promoting a communist or socialist agenda are happy to feed the poor with somebody else's money. Don't raise THEIR OWN taxes but tax whoever is above you in social status. That is putting on a generous face while still being greedy. What hypocracy. I know many generous people and hope that I myself am sufficiently generous to the less fortunate but I feel that is our own choice as individuals to make, not decided for us.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Trigun and Other Observations

So I finished watching an anime called Trigun. I borrowed it from my friend Paul. In a nutshell a pacifist sharpshooter has to deal with his psychotic and homicidal brother.

Out of a nutshell, a bio-engineered superhuman named Vash, on a desert world tries to help people but his psycho brother keeps causing all kinds of death and destruction around him. Soon everyone is calling him Vash the Stampede and The humanoid Typhoon. Associated with thousands of deaths he was involved in but didn't cause, those he wants to help shun him.

It actually comes out a little less cheesy than the above plot synopsis would indicate. It analyzes the debate of the right to kill and under what circumstances. Is it okay to kill an evil person to protect the innocent or is there always an alternative if you look hard enough? Does killing turn you into the very monster you are trying to defeat? After a great wrong, what is the price of redemption?

The story has symbolism running throughout. One theme is the yin-yan of opposing views. As the two brothers struggle against one another, the world they live on has two suns and two moons. Sin and redemption are discussed, as sin is represented by the gun and redemption by the cross. The image is combined by a priest named Wolfwood, who carries a large cross that stores his personal arsenal of weapons. The dichotomy of the two images is combined in Wolfwood's mysterious and dark past, explaining his life of both cloth and gun. Hopelessness and destruction are represented by the many villains sent by Vash's brother while Hope and rebirth are represented by the two insurance girls, Milly and Merrill, that follow Vash and his path of destruction.

It was a rather thought provoking series, wrapped up in wild west gunfights. And it was a cartoon. When will mainstream America realize that a mature story (sorry, Family Guy is not mature, its garbage) can be portrayed in an animated format. Cartoons are not just for kids.

Also not all storylines have to pander to the lowest common denominator. An intelligent extended plot can exist and still entertain the people too dense to provide a critical analysis of what was being shown. When will we ditch lame 'Reality' shows and mindless sitcoms for actual thought provoking tales?

There once was a great story in a setting created by a tiny Canadian company named Dream Pod 9. They licenced with Sony to bring it to life. The Dream Pod 9 creaters dreamed of an epic tale of human suffering and achievement in a beautifully detailed science fiction setting. Instead, the Sony executives felt that the kids wouldn't understand a plot that complex and so hijacked the creation process and created WWF with giant robots. And Sony then went on to wonder why the show flopped. Executives are not artists (some might be, Walt Disney was, Michael Eisner isn't). They fund artists but they have to understand that the artist's art is what will sell the film. The executive's job is to fund the art, not create the art. Michalangelo painted the sistine chapel, not his patron and financer.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I found this little gem in my browsings of the internet, a little video called MINE. It was made from a first person shooter game and borrows elements from Monty Python skits and even Finding Nemo. Funny and clean for the most part (cartoon violence occasionally).

You'd think my first post of the new year would be something inspiring or about my New Year's resolutions. Instead, you get this random post. You get what you pay for and you're not paying me, so I guess we're all even.