When Robots Dream

Do you remember your first cyberpunk novel? I started with William Gibson when I found out about the genre, and moved to Philip Dick and onward. Computers fascinate me, probably because I was at the beginning of their explosion into society in the 80s. I can still taste how my first run at programming had turned my fascination to hatred. Debugging code lines trying to find that stupid extra period that killed my 100s of lines of code in the middle of the night, because that’s when lab was available, made me realize that here was another niche that wasn’t mine. It sucked, because I loved computers and especially the Net. There was a world that anyone could belong to and not worry about fitting in. And I wanted to go online and explore.

Sure, I know that I gave up too early on coding and regret that because I realize that coding is still so important in life. That’s why I’m trying again. Because life has a code, just like computers do. But code is only part of the equation. I still love the digital world because its potential is limitless. And that’s what this world needs right now in comparision to what the system offers. The movies of the earlier Net, like Hackers, were cheesy but they confirmed the belief of those who love the digital: the real world was off-balance and unfair, and the virtual world could become the next version based on a more beautiful and more balanced code. We could cut the incessant talk about flimsy shredded bootstraps, because the new world was only a few 1′s and 0′s away.

Moving on a few decades from that aspirational beginning, we’ve matured but not much has changed since then. Code is written and then corrupted by impure intentions…or maybe they were never meant to be pure in the minds of those who built the physical world. The bugs eventually moved into the virtual world, and threaten all of the idealism of the young digital plane because too many are trying to duplicate the physical construct onto the digital one. Just like all those cyberpunk novels warned us about. What do we do?

Enter Mr. Robot, the new show that just started on the USA network. I saw the original trailer and thought that it looked promising. But I, and many others, have been fooled before by the creations of the mainstream. Their skewed visions destroyed promising conversations that so many want to have in the pursuit of temporary pedestals. Would this be another such disappointment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a glimpse of its intentions. I don’t know about you, but it’s speaking to me. And so I delved into the first two episodes and all I can say is….WOW! Sam Esmail (read his Reddit AMA) has taken a subject that many digital lovers follow, and created something smart, off-balance, dirty, and impressive. He’s finally given the respect back to everything related to the virtual world. There are no more clumsy attempts to make something cool, just because the status quo only recognizes that label as legitimate. Why should something so out of balance as the digital world have to fit in? Its messages have always been atonal, because it’s made of the chattering voices of all of its participants. Chaos rules in the multitude of shouts, while the code tries to maintain balance: yin and yang in 1′s and 0′s. Like the system tries to remove chaos from a world filled with so many differences.

Is the world bugging you? Do you feel the balance threatening to sweep you into a whirlpool of acceptance? Are you a peg of any normal shape, a cog spinning endlessly trying to maintain the required flow of “progress”? Do you question where this progress is taking us all? Well, if you do, then you just might like Mr. Robot. It’s the acknowledgement that something is not right with the world.

We are taking a walk in the shoes of the main character, Elliot, who stands on the cusp between two worlds, looking for the right path to follow. We have to ask ourselves, like Elliot does, whether we want to make a difference and change this world that so few admire. What would we do if we had the opportunities presented to Elliot? Or do we want to destroy the status quo like Mr. Robot, the alter ego and potential hero/villain (depends on your perspective)?

If you can relate to any of these questions, then this show is for you. Seriously! It’s storytelling with broken reels that create tremors in their delivery – much like life. It’s the perfect display of utter chaos trying to unbalance everything we know and accept as the “truth”. This is what happens when robots dream! It looks like it’s going to be quite a ride and I’m on it with a big smile on my face. So far, so good. Can’t wait to see where we go next! Thanks to Sam Esmail for showing us another path that so few want to tread.

…We’re in.

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Philae Is Up!

Did you hear the awesome news???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yup, Philae is finally up after a really long 7 months (has it really been that long?). ESA must be celebrating right now, and rightly so. When the little lander hit that shady spot and shut down into hibernation, we all held our collective breath in hopes that he’d wake up (he feels like a he to me). All of that data that had been collected had not been returned home yet, so there was a lot riding on this wake up. Go check out Rosetta’s blog to keep up to date with the latest happenings. There will be a lot of new discoveries since this is the first time this type of landing has been accomplished. Yes, science can bring the wonders of the universe alive if you just pay enough attention to the conversation.

Really amazing! Congrats again, ESA!

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The Importance of Fitting In Isn’t Really So Important

We’re hearing a lot of news about inequality of all kinds, but the most hurtful in my opinion is when someone questions YOU at first sight. Lack of time has turned us into appearance surfers. We judge on the outer look while rarely delving below the surface, unless we see a benefit to do so. And yet, so many of us don’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with how we live. Seriously?!!!!

Take a look at this and figure out how you’d use this little chart, which shows a small spectrum of people out there in our world:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think your answer would be? It probably depends on your life experiences, as well as what’s most important when you make judgment calls during a first meeting. But the one thing that we can all say is that we’re taught to question anything that is different from the norms we’ve been taught throughout our lives. Did you figure out how you’d mark up the matrix?

We’ll all have different answers because we’re all different. And I think that your answer will say quite a bit about you. If you’re like me, and you never fit in with anything, then you’ll be used to seeing a check mark next to you. You’ve probably filled out “Other” in all of those annoying questionnaires that have turned so many into questions. If you’ve ever had to answer the question, “What are you?”, then you’ve probably gotten creative with your responses. I know that I have!

This isn’t a question about race, gender, or any other category unless you want it to be. It’s not about labels, because they are so unimaginative. I refuse to be reduced to one word or sentence so that someone else can avoid  an iota of inconvenience. Life is all about inconvenience because that is how we grow and learn. You seriously need to look below the surface in order to find the truth of what you’re looking at. Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t surf through life without plunging into the deep end.

Why do we continue to work with the lowest common denominator without realizing that the equation for a good life requires all of its components? Life’s complexity shows that every existence counts, though we may not always see its importance until it’s been removed. We’re the sum of not only our own experiences, but also our teachings. It would be impossible to discount any of it, because they form the foundation of who we are. But who we are won’t dictate who we become. That is up to what we’re willing to learn, accept, and build upon. How limited do you want your dreams to be?

So, here’s my answer: All of those who have a mouth and use it. It’s not always going to be a good conversation, but at least it is starting a conversation. If you disagree with someone, then you’ll be able to ask them questions and try to see things from a perspective different from yours.  And hopefully they’ll also be open to see things from your point of view and respect the difference. All of those painful topics like inequality won’t get solved until we start to have honest conversations. Until the ugly is confronted, we’ll never be able to create beauty that we can all appreciate.  Difference is what makes life more interesting…especially when it leads to creative solutions that will replace the norm with something much better for us all. Our fragile little planet requires that we take this much more seriously than we currently do.

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Another Thought…

Writing is the other side of reading, and yet it is driven by the same emotions. A lot like life, also full of emotions.

We thrive on feeling these ups and downs, like we would on a roller coaster ride. But unlike a roller coaster which has predicted turns and rolls, life is completely chaotic. And that can be trying if you’re not prepared for that unexpected sharp turn and drop into an unforeseen void. So why do we keep coming back?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you find a good book, you read it until you reach the end. Hopefully, you find something within the words that resound in your own life. No, we don’t wish for vampires, zombies, and other such creatures who lurk in the deepest darkest regions of our minds. But we do look for answers to those troubling questions that plague our waking (and sleeping hours), which sort of feel like creatures of the night. And if our favorite books turn into series (long or short, whichever you want), then we are more excited to delve into a world created from a mind that might be different from our own but feels like home.

But here’s another thought: When life is so full of trials and tribulations, do we really have to always force our heros and heroines to experience those lowest of lows that make us curl into a ball and howl? As someone who writes, I know that the words that hit home comes from emotions that tear at the soul. But sometimes, the soul can only take so many tears before the fabric can no longer retain the same resilience. As living beings, we’re tested on a daily basis through different circumstances. No two people will experience the same feelings or reach the same outcomes. We are too complex for duplications, though we do experience similar motivations to succeed or fail. But I’m sure that we all feel like a break would be welcome – maybe one filled with a little early happiness for once.

And that brings me back to all of my favorites books written by authors who are all so very different, though driven by similar compulsions. Thank you for pushing these characters to reach beyond themselves, and pushing for excellence. We have so little excellence in places that are supposed to help change all of our lives for the better. But can we have a few more unicorns and rainbows – even gargoyles can play on rainbows? My chest hurts every time a piece of their heart is torn out. And no, an unexpected stumble is not the same as keeping the hero and heroine together (yes, I get that my favorite paring might not be yours). Please?

We need to allow more time for dreams, and less time for embracing reality. We all know that reality is not all that it’s cracked up to be. There aren’t enough boot straps to string together to build sturdy bridges over the torrents of trouble that rumble across the planet. If more dreams came alive from books, then life would be pushed towards true excellence. You don’t have to believe in magic for it to live. Look at a picture. Smell a flower. Marvel at a bumblebee. Sit in a tree. We’re surrounded by magic that we’re not allowed to appreciate because someone’s always telling us to keep working, do more, focus on the bottom line.

The bottom line is that creativity has always gotten us to dream big. We fly over so many other planets in our solar system. We’ve actually left our system (you’re amazing, Voyager 1) and are in the true unknown. Can you imagine what that little craft is seeing and experiencing? No realist can ever come up with a close description of something that has never happened before in our lives.  And there are more “voyagers” who want to explore to grow. All of the naysayers in our world will never shut out the light of curiosity. The one thing that life will always guarantee is that every experience is an opportunity for magic.

Now, don’t you want to try your hand at creating your own magic?

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You’re Not Looking Deep Enough

edit: I can’t believe that I didnt’ say this, but to CatMaster3000, I am really sorry for your loss! You had a beautiful relationship with Kitten, and I hope that she is happily chasing stars in the sky and looking down at you.


Stories have words, but have those words ever caused you to look deeper into its soul to find why it was written in the first place? As a writer, I can tell you that there is always an underlying motive that causes words to flow out into sentences. The trigger is always an emotion that drives my thoughts into bouts of frenzied typing (writing, any way that allows me to produce the words that fight for light).

We live in a world that is full of emotion, but it’s not always driven by soul. As a matter of fact, there is a distinct soullessness that permeates the shiny exterior we all cherish. That exterior is fashioned by the drive for beauty, but the undercurrents flow with something else altogether. So, when I saw this post on Reddit, I knew that it would be a worthwhile journey. Note [deleted] because it’s important in today’s world: When those corporations who are people can make you afraid to speak out loud, then you know that the world is going down a road full of sinkholes and it won’t get better until life is fixed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always so easy to follow the beauty of advertisements because that’s kind of what they’re made for. But sometimes, just sometimes, another perspective can turn all of that beauty on its head. Status quo loves to tout all of the good that comes from following what is accepted by the majority. But have we ever really tried to see it from the other side? If you’ve never traveled outside of your sphere of existence, then you wouldn’t know that there is an underbelly to our world driven by commerce. Lately though, it seems like it’s becoming easier to see that the reality of life is screaming for our attention, to fix all of the injustices which are being ignored because of whatever reason status quo has to offer.

This particular image strikes at the heart of the matter. Some people try to shine light on all of the accepted ugliness that we no longer challenge, until we are personally affected by it, because that’s how the truth is uncovered.

Have you listened to the words coming from the mouths of our leaders and institutions of late? It always sounds so pretty, until we see the actions that follow. Those are pretty ugly, because they belie all of those pretty words that have no substance. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to look harder to find people who are worth paying attention to. Perhaps that’s why people flock to blogs like this because they are looking for depth behind beauty. No, I’m not saying that I have such to offer, just that I’m trying to find examples to tout just as much as you all are. And on that note, I do continue to appreciate those who drop in (especially those with comments directly related to what I’m writing about), though I’m still unsure whether you mean your words or if you’re looking for a reward for your efforts? I still continue to hold hope that some of you are driven by the same inspirations that keep me delving into our incredible universe – and just want to share in the journey.

Life shouldn’t be about the pursuit of rewards. It shouldn’t be about plaques on a wall, glory being plied in public, or anything remotely associated to the superficial garments that we all wrap around ourselves because status quo tells you it’s a requirement. In truth, it really isn’t in order to experience the fullness that all of life has to offer.

Take CatMaster3000‘s story about his Kitten. I have never seriously cried as much as I did going through their story, and others were just like me. If you have a companion who is different from you (read: non-human), then I tip my hat to you. I’ve never had a pet family member because we moved so much. Right now, I have friends who pop into our backyard to nibble, meow, and be cuddled until they reach their limit, and even that is killing my heart. I don’t know how pet “owners” (I know it’s the other way around) do it, because your heart takes a real beating.

How about the story about YMCA Encinitas, where two of its former boardmembers wanted to stand up for the kids who would suffer from their company’s new desire to only serve families and not individuals. It’s refreshing to see people who fight for more than bigger profits for less efforts. Perhaps all the news are telling you that our institutions of yesteryear are no longer qualified to be the leaders that they still claim to be.

And did you watch the rage-inducing show from Rachel Maddow regarding the recent news cycle:

It was enough for me to have a permanent vein popping in my head. And to think that these are the people that we are supposed to follow and respect. If it hopefully awoke something inside of you that wants you to fight what status quo is offering, then your heart and soul are still working as they should.

There are so many people out there who are tired of waiting for change to happen, who don’t believe that voting holds the answers, who realize that we all need to DO instead of follow in order to reach a new standard of excellence. We need a standard that isn’t so worried about its golden (ok, it’s probably platinum or titanium now) sheen, but is aiming to really find the real power to lift those who have fallen towards a life-giving light. So my advice to you is to not respect someone because of the uniform that they wear, but because of their actions that moved you. Whether it’s a artist (just go through this blog to find some of my inspirations) or a musician (OMG, have you listened to Alisa Weilerstein) or even a writer whose heart rises above numbers (yup, I’m talking about Umair Haque), there are people out there who can move status quo towards the stars.

Because until you’re actually feeling like you need to change and grow while investigating all that life has to offer, you’re not looking deep enough. When you’re bleeding from the heart and your soul is joyfully dancing, then you know that you’re on the right path.

-oh and I also found another inspiring magazine (verynearlyalmost) that covers street art and much more with some amazing writing – just thought you should know

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Another Legend Goes To The Stars…RIP BB King

I just heard the news that we’ve lost a musical legend. I’m glad that he went peacefully at the very end. My heart was in my throat when I’d heard about his declining health over the past month. We were lucky to have had his magic with us for so long, making music that soared to the heavens and back. He left a smile with everyone who heard him play. I remember watching this movie about his tremendous performance at Sing Sing, amazed at how his music reaches us all, no matter where we’re at. It would have been amazing to see him play live. If you haven’t seen the movie, then you should because it is incredible to watch a master at play. Thank you to those who made it and shared it with us all.

There are no words to say, but thank you BB King for accompanying us through the walk of life with your joyous sounds. We will miss you!

RIP BB King and condolences to your friends, family, and fans. You were one of a kind, and now you’ve reached the stars.

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We NEED To Dream!

I’ve been silent for a while, because the world is back to frustrating me. No time, no patience, no sense. Exactly why am I on this planet? It can’t be just to do my job, because I need to be more than that. And the world needs to be more than what we’re told to vote for, because THAT is so not working for most of us. It’s getting to the point that I talk back to the TV or computer (too often) when I find myself in disagreement of something or someone. There have been so many someones that I disagree with, that I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find a way to help rebuild this working disaster we currently live in. Leaders everywhere and status quo, I’m disagreeing with you! And to those of you who think that nothing is going to change, I’m determined to prove you wrong or die trying (and I really don’t want it to end like that).

This is what the world of today looks like (thanks again Reddit for helping me find an answer to almost everything):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t have to be like this! How about we try something different? I don’t know, how about we each get a chance to make a difference with our own talents and dreams! There are just too many talented dreamers out there who are remaking little bits of the world and sending it out to others who agree with them. Like:

OFFBITS – The Art of Spare Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We look at things that are needed and think they are trash. And yet someone else’s trash is anothers treasure…or at least that’s how the saying goes. So why did we ever grow up? Because the loss of our childhood has led to a seriously cookie-cutter, boring world devoid of any imagination. Who knew that bits of parts could lead to some amazing creations. This is like the next generation of builder blocks but only more portable. If you think this looks like fun, then check out their Kickstarter campaign now going (click the like above). I know that I did!

 

And to go a little further with the topic of imagination, take this pretty spot on (and amazing) image by adamtots (Books of Adam) of what an adult sees vs. a child:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And If you need to see the world from a different perspective, then how about stepping into someone else’s shoes (and to celebrate Mom):

I’ve never given birth, but I have been a baby to my Mom and Dad. And I too would like to thank Mom and say sorry for the pain I caused (as well as missing lunch). Happy Mothers Day! Love you.

 

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. And the best of all, they are as infinite as your imaginations. So the more you dream, then the brighter and deeper the world gets. The shallowness of the world around us can change each time we take an interest in someone’s dreams, ours and/or others. Talk to an artist and get their perspective on the world and why they do what they do. The leaders of today don’t get that everything isn’t about the almighty currency, but is about the deepest of souls. Perhaps the reason why status quo never changes is because too many of us listen to others who tell us that dreaming is a waste of time. The waste of time is living a life that isn’t the fullest that it can be. Money isn’t the only thing that makes the world go round, no matter what a suit will tell you.

Remember every time you’ve face a scene that felt so much bigger than you? Remember how you felt and how colorful everything was around you? Take that feeling and bottle it into the center of your heart and soul. Compare everything you do to that specific moment. If it falls short, then you have some dreaming (not work) to do.

…just saying

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My First Commission Request…Thanks Fuller Designs

Here he is in all of his glory! Since I received my very first commission request, I’ve spent time just looking at the details that I asked for. James Fuller from Fuller Designs has been making cute little terrors that first caught my eye: his L’il Jammies. It always awesome when you can find a fellow admirer of all things fierce and scary and cute, all at the same time. But when you find someone who can create something from your own imagination, while breathing life into that dream, well you’ve found someone special. I was bitten by the art collecting bug years ago, but only buy pieces that really speak to me so that they remain special in my heart. Usually, the artists that I’m drawn too are depicting something deep inside of me that is pushing to get out….like the Hulk but less painful? And then I saw him: Lobo:

My very own Lobo by the amazing Fuller Designs (thx James)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course the one I saw was like him, but not mine because he was already gone (check out James’ store). And I was heartbroken when I realized that I’d found him too late. So I finally mustered up the courage to approach the creator of this magnificent beast to see if I could somehow get him to make another so that my dream would come back to life. Yep, courage because I’ve never approached an artist to ask for something specific that could be touched, admired, loved, and just for me. And lo and behold, he agreed and we discussed the little details that would make him part me as well. I was also a bit leery because there are artists out there that only certain kinds of wallets can meet (that’s definitely not mine). But I’d met someone who is doing this for more than just earnings – he was doing it because he loved what he did. Conversations finally turned into what your eyes are now feasting on. I’d followed Fuller Designs for a while and knew that others were equally ecstatic about him, and now I knew why.

My dreams are probably no where near yours. I’m attracted to so many different things, though they all seem to tie together by an underlying current that strikes at my soul. Whether they are cute or scary, they reflect a little of me. No, I’m not a beast, but I’d like to think that I have that something that keeps someone on a particular path without flinching. Of course, we all flinch, but it’s pushing past that dread that makes us find ourselves.

This is the magic that artists like James hold. There is talent and dreams all around us, waiting for us to find them. Their creations reach out and poke us in the gut to say “Hey! Can you see me? Don’t you want me?” And without question, our answer is “YES! YES! OMG, YES! (Let me check my wallet first) What am I saying, YES!” To James and artists everywhere, thank you, and please don’t stop. Your dreams are fueling a world that we all want to dive into.

…from the bottom of my soul, Thank You!

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Excited About Movies….Batman V. Superman

So, like most of you, I’ve been busy creating dams for others and not for myself. Boy, do I miss being creative. I hope that you all are doing much better at making things than I am.

Well, this has been the week for movie trailers, what with the impending release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. While I do love Chewie, I am more of a Batman fan. So when I saw the trailer leak yesterday, followed by the official teaser from WB today, I shrieked like a little girl. Seriously, take a look at it:

I’ve only vaguely followed the comic story lines, but there are just so many now that it’s a bit exhausting to keep everything straight in my head. And I’m a writer who thought that I was good at details?! But the storyline of Superman getting a god complex and needing a takedown is indeed a pretty amazing way to twist a character into fitting humanity, don’t you think? Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and it does the same for aliens as well. We’ve seen it in stories like the Green Lantern, Batman, and so many more, and it’s a good reminder that stories are taken from real life which has a tendency of creating trials and tribulations for the masses.

OMG, I cannot wait until 2016 to see Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. March 25, 2016 is so far away. I’m even starting to think that Ben Affleck is going to be pretty good by the looks and sound of him – there’s an honest attempt to capture Batman’s dark side to full potential and I’m all for that!

I will always say YES to the Bat! How’s this for sparking some creativity?! And I forgot to say thanks to the WB for the early present.

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Net Neutrality….WINS!!!!

Today is a historic day. The FCC, after having heard from millions of people, has made the decision to protect the Internet by declaring Title II protection. This means that the Internet will be regulated as a public utility, which will make it more difficult for corporations to control the information and its flow. People have been fighting to protect the Internet in the form of its birth: a beautiful, free form of communication -albeit more than a bit chaotic at most times. Just like life…controlled chaos. As I’ve said before, chaos can provide creative inspiration, and the Internet is the best example of the birth of a multitude of life-altering ideas by people unconstrained by societal strictures.

Congrats to mankind for winning one small protection against the encroachment of mindless commerce. We’ve been waiting a long time for this victory. And thanks to Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners who heard our voices.

edit: I forgot to add that the FCC has also preempted the state laws that bans municipal broadband providers from providing services in competition with established cable providers. Now we might finally get the types of choices that we’ve all been yearning for…like Google Fiber.

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Stop censorship