Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy St. Bryan's Day! If You Aren't Wearing Green, I Get To Pinch You!


I was intrigued by a comment that Krista made over on Logan's blog today, where she said she'd never watched an episode of LOST before... I thought, "wow, there's a person who's never watched LOST?" But then I thought, there's gotta be popular shtuff that I've never done, so I started making a list...

Popular Stuff Dave has Never Done
- Never watched an episode of Seinfeld.
- Never read a Harry Potter book or watched any of the movies
- Never read a Twilight book, or watched any of the movies
- Never played a Final Fantasy game
- Never smoked a cigarette or tried any drug (granted, I'm rather proud of that...)
- Never been to a U2 concert
- Never done one of those "facebook quizzes"
- Never played Dungeons & Dragons

That's all I got so far... this is the interractive part, where I say "Hey, tell me something popular that you've never done! Leave a comment!" Then you feel manipulated, and hate me.... what? You *don't* hate me? You've *never* hated me? Cool! Put that on your list then!

Happy St. Bryan's Day! 10 years ago today, my brother Bryan died. Man, 10 years already? Sheesh! Ah, that was a rough week...

And now for something completely different... a space cannon!

I saw this in an article on Boing Boing... this guy is an expert in building "big guns", and he seems to think it's possible to build a cannon that will shoot supplies into space, rather than have them rocketed up... says it will lower the cost of getting supplies into space from $5,000 per pound down to $250 per pound. Of course, the force and speed generated seems to render the idea impossible... the canisters full of supplies would exit the cannon at about 13,000 miles per hour... I doubt they could fire any electronic equipment that way without destroying it...

I read another article way back about building a space elevator... lemme see if I can track down a link/pic...

Dang, there's all kinds of info on the space elevator project. Wikipedia has a page on. It seems the idea first arose back in 1895, believe it or not... here's a drawing, since I know you're all dying to know more...

The idea is to run cabling from a stationary platform on the earth's surface up to a platform in space, and raise/lower cargo on the cable. The trick is, you have to extend the cabling WAY out farther into space, with a counterweight on it, to counter the pull of gravity on the cable itself... otherwise the whole thing will crash to the earth. The recent breakthrough with carbon nano-tubing has made this project much more realistic now. The carbon nano-tubes - which are much stronger and lighter than steel - are still not quite light/strong enough to work... yet.

Gee, aren't you glad you read today's post? Something else you didn't need to know, and will quickly forget! That's what I'm here for! HERE is the article on the space cannon, and HERE is the wiki page on the space elevator...

...and HERE is a video of someone with limited brain power falling through the ice...

Whoever was filming sure didn't seem bothered by what just happened...

My friend Rebecca has started a blog! That's so cool. I wish all of you had blogs! And I wish that those of you that do have blogs (Paula!) would update, like, all the time (Yay Logan!)! Anyway, I'm going to make sure it's OK with Rebecca that I put a link to her blog, then y'all can go read it and leave comments and then the world will be right and good and full of light... or some such...

I added a couple new links in the sidebar thingy over there on the right. I put a link to Kristopher's blog, and to the Beatles jukebox on YouTube, and to the 1000 Awesome Things blog... check them out if/when you get a chance...

Gardens of the Moon is still holding my interest. There was a large-scale wizard battle that just happened, with thousands of dead... grim. I guess that's another one of the Fantasy story elements I'm trying to do without... massive battles with tons of dead and dying... seems every fantasy book I read has that... is it still a fantasy book if there are no huge battles? Would that be interesting to you? No Dark Lord character? No end of the world scenario? No scrappy underdog against impossible odds? No awkward Romeo-and-Juliet type romances, or love triangles?

I guess if you drop enough of those elements, it ceases to be fantasy. I guess the elements that MUST be there (for it to be fantasy) are: a planet/land that is not earth; weird names; magic; major, realm-wide crisis.

What else? What else does a story need to be considered "fantasy", do you think? I know, in a way, all fiction is "fantasy", I get that... I mean, to qualify as belonging in the "fantasy/sci-fi" section of the bookstore...

Actually, the idea that started me on the fantasy novel I'm writing was this: Can you write a compelling fantasy novel with no bad guys in it?

That was my initial challenge. Have "good guys" that are simply dangerously mistaken about something, and need to be "defeated" by other good guys... can a "villain" be a villain if he/she is basically good, and not motivated by evil? What if he/she is convinced that the course of action that he/she is set upon is actually for the good of the people/land, and cannot be dissuaded? He/She would need to be overthrown... could that plot device be compelling enough to make a great story, or will it lack the necessary depth/substance necessary to provide a good ride?

Animal Photobomb!

Hi mom!

I'm not sure I have much else to say. I will, therefore, pull the plug and say Adios for now!



Avari said...

Hey, I haven't done most of the things on your list either! Although, I have read twilight and watched the movies. I read it before it was popular though, if that makes a difference. Wait, DAVE, YOU HAVEN"T READ TWILIGHT YET??? What's wrong with you? It is such a great book. I could care less for the movies but the books are awesome. You should read them. At least the first book and the last book are really good.

Great respect goes to Brian, he was awesome and I'm not quite sure how he did it.

Avari said...

Crap, and then I go and spell his name wrong. *Bryan*

friendly_nelson said...

For a less dangerous, less militaristic, greener and efficient space elevator (not those described in wikipedia) see

Justin said...

awww Dave, you should really get into the Harry Potter series. It's one of the best book series out there, even if it looks like it's directed towards children. The first couple books are more children orientated but by the final book, it is no where near a child's book.

Anonymous said...

Me, too! never done most of the things on your list (when i was in my early teens, I tried a cigarette, and my granny spanked me with a switch, so i didn't smoke anymore). I've also never watched Lost, Survivor, The Amazing Race, most of the trash on Fox.... stuff like that.

I also would like to be a more faithful blogger this year. Keep encouraging me. Maybe I'll become as good at it as you are.

Have a nice weekend. I have a master bedroom and a kitchen begging me to clean them.

Later, my friend.

Crystal said...

To join Krista's team, I also have never watched Lost. But I have my nose stuck in a book most of the time.

It should be considered a sin if you haven't watched Seinfeld. Love him.

You should catch a U2 concert. I saw them in 2001 and they were AWESOME!

Kristopher A. Denby said...

Holy nickel, it's gonna take me a couple of hours to reply to this post. But isn't that the mark of a good post? When the reader has so much to say in reply?

Well done on that front, my friend.

First of all, thanks so much for the link! Sincerely, it means a lot, as do your comments.

Taking it from the top, then:

Ahem... I can honestly say that I have seen an episode of Lost, but no more than five. I have a hard time dedicating a regular time slot and day of the week to watching a television program. It's not that I'm not interested in the show, it's just that I can't, in good conscience, devote that kind of time to the TV. Especially when I've got writing to be doing. Besides, I didn't have all of that fancy-schmancy tivo and recordable cable when that show started, so that wasn't an option.

I've never been out of the country, except to Mexico, and that is something that I plan to remedy very soon.

I've never gone snorkeling, never tried Scotch, and I never got my college degree (not proud of that and getting ready to remedy that one as well--a mind is a terrible thing to waste, you know?).

I've never been to a Led Zeppelin concert.

I am sorry to hear about your brother, and I hope that doesn't sound empty considering I didn't know him or the circumstances surrounding his death. I do know that it is hard to lose the people that you love.

Now, the space cannon and the space elevator are two things that I find fascinating! The elevator has been a staple of sci-fi books for quite some time, and I think it is really interesting. I'd never heard of the space cannon before, so thanks for that! Now you've made your blog educational as well as entertaining!

What can I really say about fantasy? If you've been reading some of my blog posts, you'd know that my exposure to it is really limited, and my view of it has been somewhat snobbish in the past. Bottom line for me is that no good story must follow any set paradigm, regardless of the genre that it falls into. I like books that tell great stories. This mindset that a fantasy book has to have one elf, one dwarf, a ranger, a host of goblins, and a dark lord is ludicrous. I almost never waste my time on formulaic nonsense like that. You are thinking out of the box with your book idea, and I say go with it. It is your story, your universe. Do with it what you will. That is the FUN in creating something. You get to do it the way you would want it done. If no one likes it, fine. But at least you gave it a try. Stephen King is a successful writer, I think everyone here would agree, nay? Has he written some stinkers? YES! But he's taken the chance on his stories. They didn't all pan out, but he saw them through to fruition. Writing a book by committee will only frustrate you, so make the decisions yourself. Go where the wind takes you, and feel confident in your imagination.

Oh, and by the way, I've read at least 3 fantasy books that are set on Earth in some form or another. Whether in some distant past or some distant future (including the one I'm reading now). So, you've got to toss that idea out of the playbook. And how much REAL magic did LOTR have? Not much, I would say. And I think that Tolkien's approach to magic was of a more spiritual nature. Wizards were angels and so forth.

Whew! Not sure where that came from, but it's done.

GREAT post, David! Keep them coming. And good luck with the novel!

Rebecca said...

Hey Dave--thanks for the shout out about the blog. Now if I would only keep writing on it...

I have never seen the Twilight movies. I read the first book though because it was a gift. Sorry Shannon, I thought it was miserable.

I have never gone trick-or-treating. The first time I dressed up for Halloween, I was an adult!

I have never seen a football game. It took me years to realize that people watched football at Thanksgiving and New Year's. I thought you just ate and played games with your family.

I too have never smoked or done drugs. Unless you count my pseudo puffs of my brother-in-law's cigar and a few puffs of my aunt's cigarettes when I was a kid. I also have never been drunk.

I have never been clubbing.

I have never surfed. Shame for me because I grew up in SoCal. I think I would be good at too.

I have never seen an episode of Seinfeld. Just recently I saw my first episode of SNL.

Based on this I sound like some type of social misfit! LOL. Maybe next post you can comment on all the out of ordinary things that you have done. Bring a balance to things. Joking aside, I wouldn't trade my lack participation in popular activities for anything. It makes me who I am.

Thought about Bryan yesterday. I told God to say hi to him for me. I also remembered to pray for your family. Such a loss, but God knows what's best. Stay strong.

logankstewart said...

What a post. Wow. Cram filled with excellence. I may have to hold off on the "I've Never" thing and blog about that next week. I agree with Crystal: it's a sin if you've never seen an episode of Seinfeld. As much as you like randomness and pure craziness, a show built on the premise about being about nothing should be right up your alley.

I can't imagine the pain of losing my brother, and I'm sorry that you had to go through that. You are in my prayers, Dave.

Those space articles are fascinating. I can't wait for the future...

I guess you can't play FF games since you're not a console player, but you're missing out, friend.

I have to digest the rest of this now. Thanks for the great post.

David Wagner said...

Wow, such thorough, lengthy responses! Who'd have thunk it?

Thanks to everyone that put such thought into your comments. I'm glad you found so much worth commenting on...

Y'all are the best.

Drydoryssus said...

As much as I know ya from the forum, I'd expect the title to be "... if you're not wearing BROWN, I get to pinch you".
It also matches with "Bryan"...

Och, and my condolences about your bro...

Krista said...

Ha-ha Can't believe I inspired this! Yay me! haha

Yep, never seen LOST... Pretty Sad I've heard!

Hey and I've never read the Harry Potter books either though I really want to. I loved the movies very cool and I always enjoy the books more.

I have to say that the twilight books while good were not great. A few characters got on my nerves and the love was a little over the top, BUT the overall thought of the vampires, spirit wolves and the story line was really rather good.

Wow good for you for never trying a cigarette or drugs! I have smoked a cigarette before- disgusting stuff. I hate the smell and taste... I don't get why people start smoking them in the first place after trying it once. yuck! haha

Never played any of those games either..

And actually I have never been to a real concert before. Hope to one day!

I've never skydived before and I've always wanted to but now that I have a lil' girl who knows if I ever will. lol.

Great post Dave!