While I am not a big fan of changing the spelling of a word just for the hell of it, I will lay down some extra tolerance for the short term and go with the proverbial flow. I have apparently been tagged as la Kreativ Blogger extraordinaire by my brother-in-arms, the Apocathary. Whether a true source of creativity, or just a number to fill the spots, I have been tasked with sharing seven things that I love. If one were to plot number of updates on this site versus time, they would be excused for thinking that number one on the list was Procrastination. Some days I would not disagree.
- Space: This should seem pretty self explanatory, given my attempts to wedge myself into the world of astronomy and astrophysics. However, it ultimately comes down to the fact that I simply love space and its exploration! I could go on about this forever, and I worry that if I start I might never stop, so lets move on to number 2…
- The sound of rain: I would go so far as to say that I love everything about rain, but the sound of it is usually enough to satiate my lust for winter. Sometimes, when I am stressed, I will listen to rain on my DAP. Now, I should make it abundantly loud and clear; I am not talking about you lah-dee-dah, rainbow vomiting, pitter-patter, raindrops keep falling on my head, rain. When I hear rain, I want those motherfuckers to be mistaken for Armageddon. The soundtrack to my tranquillity is something between a category 5 cyclone and a waterfall. There is nothing that gets my goosebump on like lying down with closed eyes and listen to the sound of Mother Nature bringing her wrath to bear.
- Artificial Intelligence: This actually came up today as a matter of conversation, but I love stories with AIs as characters. Cortana, GLaDOS, HAL, Daedalus, Skynet and Holly; there is something really exciting about the idea of machine intelligence and being able to interact with it in games will often be enough to put it in my favourites column. Transhumanism and the idea of an AI approaching something that cannot be differentiated from a human intelligence (HI) is truly fascinating. I remember my first contact with Daedalus in Deus Ex when it freed me from my prison cell; later finding out it was an AI made me completely revisit our earlier interactions in my mind. The subtext that plays out between Master Chief and Cortana is also a personal favourite of mine. The concept of a genetically engineered “post-human” and an AI having a subtle love story woven into a game is something that I do not think most people really appreciate. Then there is Mass Effect. I have always wanted an AI companion of my own, ever since I was very little. As a massive Transformers fan, I always looked forward to having a car that could talk to me, just for the companionship. Then, as I grew older, that desire turned into the love of AI in all it’s forms. After reading Neuromancer and then Asimov’s work, the need to be able to interact with computers on such a primal level grew. This probably explains how I feel about computers today, and why I am so willing to spend such ridiculous amounts of money on them. Eventually, it became a dream of mine to have a suit or watch/belt with an Artificial Intelligence in it that would always be with me. Probably says a lot about my subconscious mind. Seriously, I could talk about this forever…
- Roleplay: No, you dirty bastards. I am talking in the greater sense here, things like Dungeons and Dragons, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, MMORPG games etc. I think that the obnoxiously close-minded view that roleplay is for children, or for adults who have not grown up is the most juvenile and retarded thing I have ever heard. I love being able to enter the mindset of a completely different person and become them for a period of time. Being able to play outside of your usual personality and bring a completely new face to bear is a fantastic thing that I think everyone should be able to experience. If there is one thing I wish University did not impinge upon, it is the fact that I cannot play as much DnD as I would like with my friends. What I would like to do is take it to the next level, however, and DM a game of people I do not know. I think that experience will be something I would really appreciate, and will help me become a better DM and a better player.
- Fonts and Etymology: I love words and their roots. I love languages and typesetting and the shapes words make on a page. I love the symmetry, the assonance, the dissonance, rhyme, rhythm, timbre and time. Words in themselves are wonderfully pure. Sometimes it pays to look at a page of writing and look at it not for what it says, but for where it came from. When you see the similarities between languages, and where they differ, you start to see a little piece of history and I really feel I can appreciate that. The English language as it stands today is a marvellous patchwork of roots that all trace back in different directions, and yet they all (mostly) come from a single source. I think everyone should make the effort to learn a little bit more about their own language, not just how to speak another country’s native tongue. However, if you do want to learn another language, I recommend Lojban.
- Tallships: This should come as no big surprise to anyone who even remotely knows me. I have been a Watch Officer on the STS Leeuwin II, a position I held with pride for two years before University dug it’s claws into my skull. I have also held a crew position on the Duyfken when she sailed our shores, not to mention a handful of recreational classes out of the South Perth Yacht Club. I have never been so at peace with everything than when I am sailing at night, or in a storm (see number 2). I love sound of the ocean, the feel of the swell beneath your feet, the salty air on your face, and the utter lack of humanity. Somewhat obvious that a misanthrope would dig the sheer remoteness that only the open ocean provides. At night, with an overcast sky and a new moon, there is no way to tell where the horizon is. The result is something truly otherworldly; a place where you are alone on a deck, floating through a vast empty space with nothing above nor below. I miss my Lioness.
- Information: I do not know if I love this, or whether I just have an addiction problem. I need information, and I love having it. I have RSS feeds intravenously fed into me at all times, and I freak the fuck out when I miss out on something. I do not know why I react to information this way, but when I read an article talking about something obscure, and I already know it, I get a rush similar to the kind one would normally find in an illicit consumable. My Internet browsers (usually Chrome but sometimes Firefox) have more open tabs than they were ever designed to handle, and culling them is a painful experience that I do not relish when the time comes (usually around about the same time that my RAM starts crying). Information is not limited to just news and science, either. I hate low bit-rate music because I cannot bear the thought of not hearing all the subtleties that were in the original track, as a result my 32GB DAP holds fewer songs than one would expect. I hate JPEGs for their lossy encoding and the way it collects artifacts like the way Yahtzee’s proverbial Scarlet Harlot collects venereal diseases. While RAW is phenomenal when employed in photography, Internet browsers do not natively support the file, not to mention it’s size is prohibitively huge. I use PNG as a happy alternative with an acceptable trade-off as a result.
So, there it is. I have no doubt that if I actually spent some time thinking about it my answers would probably be slightly different (or just longer). I am meant to tag seven people here, but to be quite honest I do not know seven people that have not already been tagged, so I will just nod to those who have already done it and that I respect enough to read (that is, they are in my IV RSS machine).