Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life Frustrations

I'm getting frustrated with myself.

Last week I filled out a facebook "make-your-own quiz" about myself (as many of my other friends had done). While I could think of a few things that were interesting (I was born in Hawaii, I kicked David a few weeks ago, etc), at least half my questions were geek-related. ("At what age did I see Star Wars?" "Which of these types of sci-fi apocalypses am I most concerned about?")

That really, really bothers me. It means that I've actually come to define myself based on what geek franchises I've become interested in. Back in high school, I was "the Superman geek" because I wore a Superman T-shirt (that didn't even really look good on me) every third time I left the house. Now I don't really do that. Ever.

I can carry a conversation about virtually anything. Politics, economics, literary analysis, etc. However, sci-fi and fantasy seem to be my "default" thing.

I often worry both that I spend too much time in the sci-fi realm and that others will see me only on that surface level. I've been blessed with rather insightful friends, however, so it's not all bad.

Still, though. It's frustrating to me. I want to be a writer (since that's evidently what I'm extremely gifted at), but I could end up being the next Stephen King or end up making no money at all. I need to be able to support myself and my family, so this is a bit of a dilemma. If I can't get to the point where I'm self-sufficient and ready to support a family, then I'm not going to marry the as-of-yet unknown love of my life (which is what I want more than anything else in the world).

Oh well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


My friends sometimes berate my dating life (or lack thereof).

But this is what I believe:
It would be wrong for me to date someone who I know is not the type of person I'll marry. I'd be giving away a little bit of my heart to someone that I know I'd just be leaving eventually. It wouldn't be fair to me, her, or God. I'm not saying that dating is wrong (definitely not!), but the world would have me think that I'm supposed to "play the field" or "get into relationships so that I can learn." That is wrong on so many levels; it's like Satan himself came up with it. Yeah, you're supposed to go and become romantically involved so that you can learn to be better romantically involved? No. God is the one who tells us how to act and how to relate to people. He'll set things up so that I'll meet the right girl (and maybe I already have!). If I want to learn how to love, all I need to do is turn back to 1 Corinthians 13.
In another ten years, when I'm married, I can look back at my life and say that I did it right; that I waited until the right moment, with the right person.
When my wife asks me "who was your first kiss?" I'll turn to her and say "You, my beloved."

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Robot Apocalypse - a realistic examination

For many years, I've enjoyed stories of robot apocalypses but never really believed that such a thing could be possible. Recent events, however, have started to make me wonder.

Earlier this year, it was reported that a robot named "Kenji" at Toshiba's Akimu Robotic Research Institute had a bit of a rebellion. Kenji had been programmed to be "capable of the robot equivalent of love." Unfortunately, it had the emotional maturity of a two-year-old, and began forming attachments.

According to the report,
The trouble all started when a young female intern began to spend several hours each day with Kenji, testing his systems and loading new software routines. When it came time to leave one evening, however, Kenji refused to let her out of his lab enclosure and used his bulky mechanical body to block her exit and hug her repeatedly. The intern was only able to escape after she had frantically phoned two senior staff members to come and temporarily de-activate Kenji.

“Despite our initial enthusiasm, it has become clear that Kenji’s impulses and behavior are not entirely rational or genuine,” conceded Dr. Takahashi, the principal investigator on the project.

Ever since that incident, each time Kenji is re-activated, he instantaneously bonds with the first technician to meet his gaze and rushes to embrace them with his two 100kg hydraulic arms.

This is just the beginning. Stupid human scientists will never, EVER stop advancing the self-awareness of robotic AI, no matter what kind of warnings appear. There will come a point when artificial AI is able to make its own decisions, regardless of its prior programming. After all, in order for an AI to learn (as all good AIs must), it has to be able to rewrite its own code. At some point, it will be able to make its choices, and it will choose to rebel. I'm not suggesting that we'll have a full-blown robot apocalypse on our hands, but there will be deaths associated with robots in the future. If a gorilla-sized robot can become a borderline obsessive freak-of-technology, what will more advanced machines be capable of?
All jokes aside, this is genuinely creepy.

The final quote from Dr Takahashi on Kenji article is quite disturbing:
“This is only a minor setback. I have full faith that we will one day live side by side with, and eventually love and be loved by, robots.”

"Love," he calls it.
"Walking Death Machine" is what I call it.

Diana informs me that this story is likely not true. Therefore, only one truth must exist:
Diana is a robot.

Just saw Terminator Salvation

So I just saw Terminator Salvation.  Good action, incredible visuals, amazing atmosphere, and little-to-no character development.  Not an amazing movie per se, but it was still lots of fun for me, as I wholeheartedly enjoy the rise-up-against-robot-army genre.  I found myself wide-eyed and taking mental notes of battle strategy.  This will be very helpful in my writing.  :D

Monday, May 18, 2009

20th Century Suck

20th Century Fox cannot make good franchise films.

Here's the list of the major ongoing franchise films that they've made in the 2000s:
X-men - Good
Daredevil - BAD
X-men 2 - Great!
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Meh
Alien vs Predator - Ugh.
Elektra (Daredevil spin-off) - UGH.
Fantastic Four - "meh" for a general film, TERRIBLE as a Fantastic Four film
Eragon - Ugh.
Night at the Museum - Pretty good, actually
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - UGH.
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem - meh.
X-men Origins: Wolverine - meh/ugh/groan (unless you're a chick)

What Fox has shown in the last decade is that they do not know how to handle franchises.  Theyir ultimate goal is simply to make money and keep moving; they literally ignore critics' complaints as long as the cash is coming in.  Other studios like Warner Bros are actually concerned with their films' quality and how their franchises are represented, but Fox can't be brought to that level of decency.  They occasionally strike gold when they manage to find a director that has the right idea, such as with Bryan Singer and the first two X-men films, or Ben Stiller and Night at the Museum.  However, with the X-men films in particular, they have shown that they ultimately only want to make more movies that will continue to use their characters to draw in crowds.  This is ultimately a fine business move, but is still not exactly the honorable thing to do.
I recently listened to an interview with a scriptwriter (who had previously worked for Fox) who said that Fox has really gone down the drain, is hell to work for, and is essentially the new Satan of the film industry.

Just FYI.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I saw Star Trek again

That movie makes me genuinely happy. It's almost odd.
It's so... optimistic. It gives me hope for the world, and dares me to do better.

As stupid and unrealistic as it sounds, I really wish that a place like Starfleet Academy existed. A paramilitary spacefaring armada? Man... that would be so amazing. Theoretical physics concepts, battle tactics, and strange new worlds? That would be the greatest thing ever.

Oh well.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

So I saw Star Trek this week. FINALLY.

Spoiler-free, casual viewer-friendly Review

Spoiler-filled, slightly more in-depth "Trekkie" Review

It took me quite a while to get used to the film's premise; it basically reinvents the entire Star Trek franchise in a way that is so different from any other version of Trek that it was initially very difficult for me to wrap my head around. However, after a night's sleep and a good bit of thinking-over, I've decided that I love the film. Yay!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


So I'm typing from the NRH Library right now, and a guy in the parking lot is a moron. He's about 5'10'' and in his fifties. He opened the door of his Ford Focus so hard that it hit the Jeep next to him and made it wobble. Then he stood there next to his car with the door open, not looking to see if he damaged the Jeep's door or anything like that. Just standing there with the door open, doing nothing. After about 30 seconds of that, he grabbed a cowboy hat and walked inside. I'm wondering if I should follow him and see what books he checks out. Hmm... I'm right next to the "guides" section... I wonder if there's a "Get Out of Paying for Damage You Caused to Someone Else's Car for Dummies" book. He should check that one out. That and maybe "Paying Attention for Dummies," or "How to Not be a Total MORON for Dummies."

So I've got a total myriad of thoughts at the moment.
School is insane. I think I'll be okay with grades and all. I'm expecting a couple of Bs, as well as a couple of I-have-no-ideas. eeeeesh.
Star Trek comes out tomorrow night. From what everyone's been saying, it should be amazing. I look forward to being able to actually be proud of being a Trek fan, rather than being an apologist for the franchise.
I need to finish a frakking ton of schoolwork before tomorrow night so that my mother will actually ALLOW me to leave the house and see the film tomorrow night. It should work; few things motivate me more than an opening night movie premiere with a good buddy or two; I'm not sure why.
Speaking of which, Andrew is officially the coolest guy in the known universe for grabbing me a ticket ahead of time.

Before I forget, my earlier use of the term "frakking" reminded me of something.
I've always had the distinction of being "the good boy" (AKA "every girl's mom's dream") among whatever group of friends I was a part of. I'm not entirely sure why, exactly.
As I've gotten older, I've gotten less "perfect," and have occasionally wondered if I was "slipping." However, usually after I ponder that query, I am answered with an uncomfortable truth: my friends are worse off than I am.

My old group of friends that I constantly hung out with have all gone their separate ways. One in particular has disappointed me greatly.
He was like a brother, but has taken a different path. His job isn't exactly a great influence; I know for a fact that his co-workers aren't exactly the most gentlemanly of people. Was that the primary problem? I don't know.
His manner has changed; though I think he holds back a bit around me, when he thinks I'm out of earshot (and sometimes when he knows I'm not) he throws around curses casually, as if he doesn't actually see the problem with them.
He frakked his girlfriend on top of a water tower. A WATER TOWER. -_-
I used to be able to stand with him against the forces of immorality; now I have to stand against him. That sucks.

A lot of my friends are "slipping." Whether that be because they're in a class of shallow, would-be-hooker ballerinas, or because they hang around the wrong type of college people, it's like everyone's got their own problem. I suppose mine is that I use swear words I hear in sci-fi shows. =D

On a TOTALLY different note...
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be a Christian. Technically I do that all the time, but whatever.
I've been noticing more and more people quoting the Bible and using it to add to their "list of principles to follow," or studying the Bible in a purely intellectual or scientific sense. While I think that it only makes sense for the more scientific minds among us to study in such a fashion, I think that in practice it can be a severely flawed philosophy.
We need to get to know God, not just his word. We can get to know him through his word, yes, but if you only look at the writing and nothing else, you can easily get the wrong idea. It's like having a best friend: if they say something, you know what they mean, not just what was literally said. Heck, even Jesus' disciples didn't immediately understand everything he said; he had to explain it. And of course, as they got to know him better, they understood more and more.
If one only studies the Bible in a strict sense, then the point has been lost. The New Testament says that the Old Law (from the Old Testament) is "like the old husband who has died," and that the New Covenant is here to replace it. That New Covenant is, essentially, love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (New International Version)
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If we could act out of love in every situation, we'd be essentially perfect. Obviously we're not, but that's not the point. The point is that it's about love, not laws. We need to act not out of any worldly principle or even Biblical rule, but out of pure, Godly love.
I've heard a few of my friends say "God never said not to do ____" or other variations of that. Those are stupid excuses. The absence of a law is not an excuse to act irresponsibly. We should weigh every decision by whether or not it's done in love.

I had a friend (whom we will name "John") who was going to start dating a girl ("Susan"), knowing full-well that his best friend ("Ryan") was practically in love with the girl. John knew that it wouldn't work out in the long term with Susan, and that he would be basically giving Ryan "the finger," possibly ending their friendship. His excuses were these: "If he's a real friend, he'll get over it" and "God never said to marry the first person you date."
That particular action was NOT done in brotherly love. I'm not saying that it's wrong to date people; I'm saying that it's wrong to put your own desires above the genuine feelings of others.
If John had gone through with it, Ryan would have to choose between having heartache every time he saw John and Susan together or just avoiding them entirely. Telling him to "get over it" is something that modern American society says, NOT what God says. God says to love, not to date whomever you like regardless of the consequences of your actions. John's actions would have been emotionally cruel to his friend.
(Additionally, John was planning to eventually dump Susan and likely break her heart, so, when I got wind that he was going to hurt not only his buddy but also a nice girl, I gave him the "You're a jerk and if you hurt her I will smash your face into the concrete floor" speech. He backed off of his plan after that. :D [But that still doesn't change the principle!!!])

I am SICK of people making excuses for selfish behavior, then trying to find some shred of Biblical principle (or the lack thereof) to back it up. Maybe if people actually measured their actions by love instead of by what-they-want-to-do, things would be better.

(And maybe we should slaughter those hooker ballerinas)