I started blogging thinking that this is where I would review whatever media I felt like ranting about. It quickly changed direction. So this is my online diary. Comments are welcome.
Writing Prompt #1
Look, I'm like a little kid when it comes to scientific discoveries in space. I'm fascinated by the science behind observing distant stars and the hunt for exoplanets, as well as the deep physics of the cosmos. So, announcements of discoveries like the detection of gravitational waves, or earth-sized planets orbiting neighboring stars, tend to send my mind racing.
There was a question posed by writer Marc Kaufman, referencing astrophysicist and cosmologist Avi Loeb's theory in an article picked up by NPR. What if Earth is a very early example of a living biosphere?
So, here it is:
What if Earth really was the very first living biosphere? Eons from now, remnants of a former civilization are discovered on some long forgotten dark planet. A planet that at one time could have harbored life and prosperity. That planet isn't Earth, but one of hundreds of settlements for early humans amongst the cosmos. Those who've discovered the ancient ruins do not resemble humans. They are a younger species. More highly evolved and intelligent. What are they like physically? Where is their home planet? How will their discovery reshape the theories about when and where life may have began in the universe? Are there any humans left to be discovered? If so, how well do they know their own history?
I love these types of writings. I think it's mostly because I have to use so much of my imagination. Whatever the reason, I'd love to see what some of you can come up with. I plan to write something myself. We'll just have to see how well I follow through.
I'm a vivid dreamer. I can often remember my dreams, and I absolutely dream in color. I have nightmares regularly. (Ask my wife, who is quite tired of my crap.) But sometimes a dream sparks a writing prompt, or an exercise in thought. This is what I got out of last night:
I imagined finding a way to travel back in time (I know, I know, bear with me). The limit was 10 years, and I would be completely disguised. There could be no return trip because I would dissolve in the past. This wasn't a choice I could make. I was being forced to go, and the only way to keep the moments and memories I've cherished over the last 10 years was to re-live them. Understanding this would give most people reason to hide until they dissolved. Some would choose to manipulate their own timelines, others would neglect their influence, and manipulate others' timelines. I didn't know what I was going to do.
I visited my 20-year-old self, and had some tacos that I served myself. That was a bit strange, because I was beginning to have 2 sets of feelings. One part of me was worried that this kid wouldn't figure it out in time to become me, and the other was concerned that if I didn't do something I would just end up right here in an endless loop. How many times have I done this? Of course all these memories started to flood back to me. There were a lot of things I had forgotten about. The kid who stood in front of me had a good head on his shoulders. He was a bit naive, but he seemed older than I remember feeling at that age.
I noticed that I, he (er, it was confusing) was listening intently to everything I had to say. I kept interjecting things that I thought were insignificant until I mentioned the Royals winning the World Series, to which I/he replied, "not in my lifetime." Then, for some reason the conversation changed. I was asked about deeper ideas; how to save money, whether or not to finish school, marriage, alcoholism and addiction, the big bang theory, and God. It happened so quickly, rapid-fire style, that I forgot why I was there. I only wanted to check in on this young man, and all of a sudden I was telling him about his future.
I wanted to avoid this. I didn't want to tell him anything about who he would become. I found myself longing for the future that would be his. I wanted to see my wife, a person he didn't even know existed. I had an overwhelming sense of sadness for the young man and the loss he will experience over the next decade. He was right around the corner from heartbreak and he didn't even know it. I kept blabbering, telling him to stay on track. I told myself 10 years ago that if I do all the things exactly like I did, I would be happy. At 30, I'd have a great job, a new house, married for almost a year, money in the bank, just in case of an emergency, and no kids yet. So, naturally I screwed it all up.
In the dream I began to dissolve into nothingness. At the same time my consciousness was blended with the young man with whom I had previously conversed. The only problem was that I was not in control. I was merely a spectator, and I was forced to watch as I made all the wrong decisions. Time moved quickly, as it often does in dreams, and as I watched the years draw closer to 30 I was devastated by who I had become.
We were all different at that age. When we were right on the edge of adulthood. I know some were parents by then, and others had even more responsibilities than that. But for me, this dream left a feeling inside me that I can't explain. It isn't regret. I don't regret the choices I've made in my life that have lead me here. I just realize that my life could have been very different if I had done a few, seemingly insignificant things, differently. It isn't a good feeling that I was left with, but it isn't necessarily a bad feeling. You see, I also feel fortunate. Because no matter how much dreaming that young man from my past may have done, he never dreamed he would be here. Right were he always wanted to be.
We shared a room when we were kids.
Jumped bed to bed because the floor was lava.
We made pillow forts and haunted houses when we had bunk beds.
Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles.
Wrestle mania, Brother.
We had robots on border wallpaper around the middle of the room.
Mom used to yell at us to "GO. TO. SLEEP!"
Laughing at stupid jokes and farts.
Remember when we’d throw that old football pillow across the room at each other in the dark?
Remember the owl that nested in the big tree outside our window?
You would get sick sometimes and couldn’t breathe.
That was scary.
So sometime Mom or Dad would sleep in our room with us.
Then, when I was going into 4th grade, you into 3rd, we moved…
We got a bigger room!
Same color yellow.
More room for toys, desks, and whatever.
Your army men we tied to plastic bags and pretended they were parachutes.
They'd float to the ground from our second story window.
Neighborhood kids slept over.
Bill, who never went home.
We got a big stereo for Christmas that one year.
No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom, All-4-One, Buckshot LeFonque.
Music filled our souls and every corner of our room.
But the street light was always too bright in our window.
And there was traffic all night.
The sounds and lights of emergency vehicles was scary at first.
But to this day, when I need to find a peaceful place in my head, I think about our room and being curled up on my bed; and gazing at the traffic light down the block.
The last time we shared a room, I was almost in high school, and you had to leave with Mom.
Our room was too big when you were gone.
All the space we made for fun things felt cold and useless.
My bad dreams came more often.
I just wanted things back to normal; when we were kids and our knees had scabs on them.
When night-time wasn’t scary because you were there with me.
I didn’t want my own room even though at one point I might have said I did.
Our house was too empty without our family.
Our room wasn't crowded enough.
We have always been close.
I haven’t had to do anything alone. Ever.
You are my best friend.
I know it wasn’t always perfect.
I know there are things I regret doing or saying.
I can’t take any of it back.
I hope you don’t resent me in any way, because this, better than anything, is what I remember about growing up.
Sharing a room with you.
Apparently this has been a bad year for movies and music. Okay. I'll buy that. But what if I offered some of my favorites of this year so far? Sound good? You got it dude.
I'll start with music. Music is easy for me, because I like everything (except Florida Georgia Line). One of my favorite albums this year is Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth. I really liked Simpson's previous album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, and had been anticipating this release. I was pleasantly surprised when the opening song of this record, "Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)," rolled from a sweet wailing tribute into a swinging alt-county bop. Most of the rest of the album continues in this fashion. Sometimes, while listening, you could swear it was written decades ago. Perhaps it's Simpson's vocals, or the "Free Bird-esque" lap steel solos in songs like, "Sea Stories" and "Brace for Impact." A soulful country cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom" is a nice gem embedded in the middle of the tracklist. Overall I like the album. With the exception of a couple of songs, I feel like it's best listened to as a whole. I absolutely recommend giving this one a listen.
Here are a few other ear worms I've liked this year:
There were plenty of movies that I really liked this year. I have a habit of completely disagreeing with critics. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Ghostbusters. BvS only scored 27% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics, while audiences seemed to like it much better. Ghostbusters had the opposite outcome scoring a 74% with critics, but much lower with audiences. I liked them both, and of course they weren't the only ones I liked, but they stand out because of the social media backlash they received.
<rant>I'm a big-time DC comic fan, but I wouldn't be upset to see DC/Warner Bros. put the brakes on their cinematic universe. It's not that I don't enjoy their movies, because I very much do, but I don't like wading through the sea of negativity surrounding every one of their releases. Besides, they're making exceptional television shows (live action & animated). It would be nice to see them put more focus and money towards those projects, and maybe bring some big characters to the TV universe. I could offer my thoughts on why so many people dislike the DC movies, but that would start a fight, and I already told you I don't like wading through the negativity. I'll suggest this, read more comics if you don't like what you see on screen. You might just come across some source material.</rant>
I'll leave you with a couple of reading materials from this year. The first is a novel by sci-fi writer, Pierce Brown, called Morning Star. It's the final book in his Red Rising trilogy. I can't go into the premise of the series much without giving away the best parts. I'll say this, you will love and hate the main characters at one time or another. You won't likely relate to them much, because of the sci-fi aspect, but you will find yourself on their side. The world building happens rapidly in this series, so try to keep up. You'll follow Darrow through all three books, and learn things about his world at the same time he does. The storytelling is captivating, and the language is intriguing. Overall the series is an easy and fast read. Please don't let that deter you from reading this series. Also, don't let children read this. Teens, okay. Kids, NO! Book 1, Red Rising, will captivate you and leave you wanting more. Book 2, Golden Son, progresses the story, as it should. Book 3... Morning Star is the best final chapter to any series I've ever read.
The second is an ongoing comic series called, Injustice: Gods Among Us. It began in 2013 as a prequel to a well-received video game of the same title. I like the series because it explores the, "what if" side of having super heroes around. What if they decided to take over the world? What if they considered themselves above the law? What if they considered themselves to BE the law? What if Batman thought all that was a bad idea?
The series has had several different runners, artists, and writers. Those are things you can see in the material, but the direction of the story has always seemed to stay the same. At least as far as I can tell. You know, I just remembered that I wrote a post about this series back in September 2013. Yep. I'm still reading it, and I still love it. It's a dark series a lot of the time. I like that. So, if Batman fighting the Justice League is your bag, then you've gotta check this one out. If you hate it you can always blame me. Then come back here and tell me all about it. But I bet you won't hate all of it.
So there you go. A small sample of things I really liked so far this year. I have a confession to make. When I was thinking about music I had a whole bunch of stuff in mind... but it all came out last year. So, maybe there's something to the idea that this year hasn't been great for music. Not to mention the incredible losses the music community has had this year alone. The movies weren't as hard, because honestly, I go into a movie expecting to like it. I'm not going to waste my $10 on something I'm sure I'll hate.
I should really do more of these. I enjoy writing them. Can anybody help me figure out a way to can become a productive writer?
I discovered reading and writing for fun when I was in the 4th grade and I haven't been able to stop. I discovered my musical talent when I was 12 and started a band with my brother and my best friends. I have been on a journey of discovery that has shaped and molded my tastes for music, reading, writing, art, food and extracurricular activities since I was a high school freshman. And I'm not quite finished, so come along.