Sunday, June 17, 2012

D19 - Smart phones suck

They suck because they make you want more than you need.

They make you feel you need to access to your email/twitter/facebook/tumblr all day, every day.  The truth is, the world will keep revolving just fine if you have to wait, but the temptation to absorb your consciousness into the tiny infinite world housed in your pocket is so palpable it can cause real, physiological stress.

The damage from these devices would be minimal if it ended there.  If we were satisfied with checking for new messages and, upon finding none, then replaced the device into our pockets. But we have arrived at a time in history when our minds need to be amused every spare second of the day.  No longer do we have to sit uncomfortable and alone with our thoughts on the brief Metro ride home.  God-forbid our mind be blighted by old-fashioned boredom when we can be blissfully swiping our fingers across a glass face at words and images that are not really there, miming the actions of social interaction substituting a cold machine for flesh.

I long for the good old days - which in actuality were pretty rotten (see: polio) - where we had to believe in a world that still existed when we closed our eyes.  The devices we have grown dependent on shroud us in a constant fruitless anxiety that we are missing out on life, or, even worse, deluding us into thinking sitting in front of a screen can substitute for living it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

D18 - Life as a movie

A mental game I often play with myself is to imagine my life as if it were a movie.  Not only is it obvious fun to translate my immediate situation into different genres of movies - seeing what my walk to work would be like if I were starring in a romantic comedy for instance - but it can give me perspective in another way as well; thinking about if how it would feel to be at the beginning, middle, and end of a movie.

Thinking about the end of a movie allows me to reflect on the events that led up to where I am now.  I enjoy figuring out the "Man vs. Man/Nature/Self" struggles that happened in the past that I have overcome and grown from to get me to this moment.  I imagine myself sitting down to read my book as the music comes up and the screen goes to black - the restful end of a long journey.

Envisioning myself in the middle of a move changes my focus to the immediate struggles facing me.  Where will the movie climax? Who will turn out to be a villain and who a trusted ally?  I will have to stay tuned to find out how it all turns out!

This final perspective, where I am walking through the opening scene of the movie, I find the most helpful in keeping me optimistic.  I imagine the strange and twisted journey that awaits me.  I can let go of the bad things that happened in the past more easily - after all, they happened offscreen before the move even started.  Maybe they will be rehashed lightly at some point later in the film during a surprising reveal to give my character depth and weight, but they will not be central to the action of the film.  The acquaintance I make with someone I meet that day could set in motion the events of the film.  The world seems full of possibility and expectation.

Friday, June 8, 2012

D17 - Drill Rules

Marching band season has sprouted once again - always surprising me with spring rehearsals that seem to sneak up on me every year.  I am not sure what the next season holds in store for my drill writing, but these are things I have learned over the years that will help me in future writing:

My Drill Writing Commandments!:
1. Rotations require subsets - lots of them!
2. Everything that goes on the field must be on a second revision (at least) - no "winging it!"
3. All pages need to have complete, accurate, and readable information
4. Revisions made on the fly must be documented
5. When in doubt, keep it simple - One big idea at a time
6. Movement is a given - Holds are effect
7. The Drill serves to deliver the music, not the other way around

I am sure there will be more to come, but these seem like a good start.