February 26, 2016

26:02:2016

I did something today that I was really proud of. It wasn’t that I went to work, did my part to contribute to society, or that I helped advance medical science just a little bit more. No, it was that I managed to watch TV on my laptop, through the reflection of my mirror, while I shaved my head. A worthy accomplishment.

I did this because shaving my head takes around 20-25 minutes and it’s simply not that stimulating a thing to do. I do this a lot, use technology to entertain myself the moment there’s even a whiff of boredom. As I ride to and from work I listen to an audiobook. When I have a lunch break, or even just a toilet break, I read an ebook on my phone. Now when I shave my head I watch TV, as I also do if I’m doing exercises, or scanning Facebook, or completing some mundane clerical task on my laptop.

It’s so easy to do nowadays. There is literally no excuse for boredom. But being bored is important. I’ve found with screenwriting that the time I get the best ideas is usually when I’m bored. When I give myself time to be bored it allows my mind to tell me all the things it’s been trying to tell me during my constantly-stimulated-day. Then after all those thoughts have been heard, registered, and catalogued to wherever it is my brain those thoughts go; my mind delves deep down into my subconscious, searching inwards for entertainment, so that I get access to a bunch of interesting and different ideas. It’s in these times that I feel like I get struck by inspiration, or I have an epiphany, when in reality I’m just accessing the parts of my brain that I usually deny myself access to due to this unrelenting stimulation.

But I didn’t do that today. I instead set up an ingenious system of mirrors (well one) to ensure I wouldn’t be bored for even twenty minutes.

I guess it’s easier said than done.

Talk soon.

Damian.

February 25, 2016

25:02:2016

I’ll have a break from talking about myself for today and share with you some lovely gifts the internet have provided us with this week.

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First up is one that was shared with me by my good friend Nice-Guy-Sean (The nicknamed earned by the fact that his name is Sean and he’s a nice guy). It’s an article about a guy from reddit who takes peoples regular photos and then turns them into fairly epic fictional movie posters complete with titles, tagline, and actors names. For example…

5-1486-1427-1338-12325-1626-15

Great, right? I mean I would buy tickets to Night at the Aquarium right now if I could. You can see many more, as well as a link to the guys reddit page, here.

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Next up is this…short film, I guess? Or maybe a skit? Either way it’s a funny and surprisingly moving video by the comedic actor Beck Bennet, and is entitled How to lose weight in 4 easy steps. I know, it sounds like I’m trying to secretly tell you you need to lose weight but as most of the video focuses on the third tip “Get your heart broken” I think you can tell this isn’t your usual weight lose advice.

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For those of you who may have read this blog before you’ll know what a fan I am of the writer/futurist/genius Warren Ellis. For those of you who haven’t read this blog, you now know that I’m a fan I am of the writer/futurist/genius Warren Ellis. Anywho, here’s an interview he did for The Paris Review where he discusses writing, the future, and what it’s like to be in the head of a murderer. It’s quality stuff. Read it here.

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Finally, this article from the AV Club about The Prestige. For those of you unfamiliar with The Prestige it’s a 2006 film from Christopher Nolan that features a big reveal ending. A very successful one. The article analyses the film and gives some thought on just how Mr. Nolan pulled this off. It’s well thought out it, I found it quite illuminating, and it gave me some ideas about how I could implement the same features in my own writing. Read it here.

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Quick aside of something all this internet sharing has got me thinking about: Basically this, the internet is such a glut of wonderful and meaningless information that it’s hard to know what to do with it all. Sometimes I think I should simply let it entertain me, Lord knows there’s enough content out there to keep a man entertained for many lifetimes. But that feels like I’m wasting a pretty valuable asset. So what should I do with all this information? Do I let it inspire me? Educate me? Connect me? Do I want to add my voice and ideas to this infinite swarm of voices? Well, I suppose my answer is the same as that of the man with two penises when asked if it hangs to the left or the right. Yes. Yes to all of it. Let all that information educate, entertain, connect, and inspire. Then, using all that, add to it.

Look at that, I managed to talk about myself anyway. Whoops. (Also, for the record, I only have the one penis)

Talk soon

Damian

February 23, 2016

23:02:2016

I had a day today that despite being incredibly busy felt like I go nothing done.

Quick interlude – I actually just had the perfect visual representation of what I’m trying to explain while I was typing that first sentence. The computer I’m currently writing this on has a bad habit of refreshing every ten seconds or so due to it being connected to this rather clunky system called Citrix. If I’m typing when the computer refreshes it will sometimes highlight the last section of text I typed, then as I continue to write I unwittingly type over that text. This causes me to, upon realizing, delete it all and retype the whole sentence again. At which point the computer will refresh and I end up typing over it again. That’s what today felt like, like I kept retyping the same sentence and yet somehow it never got written.

I did get some stuff done of course – you’d have to go to real effort to have a day where you don’t actually do anything, but then the case could be made that the effort required to do nothing is something, in which case you haven’t actually managed to do nothing at all – but it felt like as soon as I got one thing completed a new thing came along to take its place.

Being that busy wasn’t even so much a bad thing as it was unexpected. I had plans for the day (which mostly involved getting some sneaky writing done at work) and those plans quickly fell into ruin. Expectation is the real enemy here. If I had expected a busy day full of little challenges then I would have been mentally prepared for just that, and it would be unlikely that I would now be bitching about it on the internet, but I didn’t, and so I am. Perception definitely plays a part as well. My perception could be to look back at the day that was and not see the things I had planned to do and didn’t, or the multiple tasks that still need to be completed, but to see all the things I did get done; then tally them up to a point where I could comfortably claim that today was a success, and that I am the master of productivity. But that’s the tricky thing about expectation and perception, they’re not really under our control. I think we can influence them through a rational analysis, like I’ve done above, but at the end of the day if you feel like the sentence didn’t get written then it didn’t get written. Perception especially is some scary shit because it literally molds your world around you, to the point that if you perceive it it’s real. For example, if two people experience the same day but perceive it differently who’s right? Both of them technically. I’m sure there’s a short story in there somewhere.

Despite this perceived lack of progress I’m actually getting closer to finishing the first draft of a TV idea I’ve been working on called Trench. It’s taken far longer than I was hoping but I’ll be done soon, at least to the point where I can scrap most of it and start on the second draft, which is already forming in my head as I finalise the first.

Other good stuff that’s going on today is that it’s my anniversary with the Lady Holly, and to celebrate it we’re going out for dinner and then over to the drive in movies because we’re adorable as hell.

Talk soon.

Damian

February 19, 2016

19:02:2016

I got a text this morning from my girlfriend. Her bike had broken as she rode to work and she was hoping I would be able to pick her up that afternoon. I could but that’s not the point of this anticdote.

As she explained in her text the problem with her bike was that “the pin thing going through the front wheel has come out and there’s no nut on the other side to screw it into”. With this description and the make of her bike I was confident that I would be able to “google it up” (as my Grandma adorably like to say) and find a replacement. I was right. Thanks to said googling I quickly found out the ‘pin thing’ was called a skewer, and then I was able to find a shop nearby where I could buy the part. By the time I met her that afternoon to pick her up I had gone to the store, purchased a skewer nut, and was able to fix the bike.

The reason I tell you all this is because IT’S AMAZING! Not what a wonderful boyfriend I am but the fact that our problem could so easily be solved in minutes by me simply punching my fingers over a keyboard. All too often I take the tech advanced world we live in for granted, and I really shouldn’t; it’s phenomenal. For example, I found myself recently yelling at my phone because the screen rotated the wrong way while I was using the navigation app. I literally yelled “you piece of shit” to a machine that is able to connect with satellites hundreds of meters above me and then give me step by step verbal instructions to direct me to where I needed to go. Ignoring the fact that I was pointlessly yelling at a machine, the one thing that is clear is that a device that is able to do all that is far from a piece of shit.

Anyway, the point is the ease with which I was able to learn the name for an obscure bike part by typing in ‘rod that goes through the hub of a bike’, then the ease in which I was able to find a store that sold that part, as well as gain directions to said store kind of blew me away today as the modern age miracle that it is.

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Another thing that blew me away was a response by Neil Gaiman to a fourteen year old writer who was looking for advice on things he can do now in order to achieve his dream. I won’t go through it all for you but you can see the majesty of his answer by clicking this link. I’ve always thought that Gaiman is a wonderful thinker and writer, and clearly this holds true even when answering fan mail…am I gushing? I’m gushing aren’t I?

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Another heroic thing that came my way via the internet is the news that a woman in Russia has shared more than 48 million journal articles to a website called Sci-Hub, which this article (where you’ll find more information and the link to the site) describes as ‘The pirate bay of the science world’, and who, despite court injunction and a lawsuit, refuses to take them down. What a boss. I am strongly in favour of research papers and journal articles being free and accessible to everyone. Surely it’s in this way that our global community advances. Where anyone willing, capable, and with an internet connection can educate themselves and further contribute to our global knowledge. That’s kind of one of the best things about the internet.

Which brings me back to the modern world being amazing.

Didn’t that bookend nicely?

Talk soon.

Damian