Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Turkey Day Poem

It's Turkey Day, a thankful time when families gather close,
A good time to reflect upon the things that matter most.
While shoppers plan to hit the stores in bargain-hunting sprees,
I’ll sit back and reflect upon what matters most to me.

I’m thankful for the internet, with all its trolls and memes,
And I’m thankful for John Williams, and the movies that he themes.
I’m glad Lucas made Star Wars, when I look up at the sky,
And I’m thankful for the prequels, though I couldn’t tell you why.

I give thanks for Batman, Spiderman, and X-Men too,
Thanks also for Mike Meyers, and the phrase, “Who throws a shoe?!”
Cheers for Frodo, Gandalf, and the Fellowship to boot,
And thanks for terrible pirates with only one shot left to shoot.

Thanks for World of Warcraft, for Alliance and for the Horde,
I’m thankful that with my Blackberry, I’m never really bored.
Thanks for robot vacuums, Netflix, BluRay and HD.
And thanks for gaming consoles where the controller is me.

Thanks for Rowling, Shakespeare, Wilde, Austen, and Tolkien,
And here’s to all the authors brilliant who’s works we haven’t yet seen.
I’m thankful that I live exactly here and now to see
All the things I’m thankful for, and that they exist for me.

Bust most of all, dear readers, it is you I’m thankful for.
I have fifteen whole subscribers, but I still could use some more.
So please enjoy your Turkey day, with food that never ends.
And if you liked this poem, well then please: go tell your friends.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

XBox! Make Dinner!

To my mingled dismay and amusement, my scruffy-looking nerf herder recently purchased an XBox Kinect, which now lives above my television.  And it's weird.

First of all, the thing moves.  On its own.  To watch you.  There is a feature built into the XBox Kinect where in order to better interpret the movements of the people in the room, it will tilt until it sees a face.  And oh yeah, it recognizes my face.  I walk into the room and wave at it, and it says, "Hello Self-Rescuing Princess".  Freaking weird.

Using the Kinect is a fun and interesting experience.  It uses movement speed and angles to determine force, and it's ability to differentiate between movements is accurate and a little creepy.  I've played Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, and a demo of Dance Central, and found them all to be fun and a good workout.  I'm not a serious console gamer, however I hope that eventually some story-driven titles are released.  It would be really fun to play Lara Croft and actually have to run, jump, shoot and kill Raptors.

...don't get me started on the whole "Killing Dinosaurs" thing in that game.  Seriously, it's a blog post unto itself.

But the very coolest thing about using the Kinect, at least for me, is the Voice Recognition software.  "Xbox, Next.  XBox, Play Disc."  I think my feelings on the subject are actually pretty well summed up by Gabe from Penny Arcade:

Seriously, I'm high on the drug that is absolute power, and I've only had the thing for three days.

All in all, it's a very impressive system, which I'm fairly confident will be replaced by an even more impressive system in a few years.  I have a feeling it's the beginning of a new kind of video game, one that is more immersive and challenging that previous games have had the ability to be.  However, there are other industries besides Entertainment that should take note of this technology.  There are hundreds of real-world applications to technology that recognizes the movements of its users.  No-touch and voice-only controls will no longer be reserved for the super-rich, government labs, and high-budget action movies.  Mechanized home appliances could very well be a feasible venture in the next decade.  And maybe, finally, I can get a robot to bring me coffee in bed the second I wake up.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sever the Writer's Block

I've been suffering from severe Writers Block for the past... twelve months.  I am typically an extremely prolific writer, of opinion pieces, poetry, and songs.  But for about a year now, I seem to have been irrepressibly stopped up. 

I've been happy though.  Well, for the most part.  I wonder if that's part of it, if my creativity comes from a place of angst and pain.

Nope, I reject that totally.  Not because it's unlikely, but because I refuse to accept it to be true.  Pain can not be the only impetus for beauty and art.  So there.

And herein you see a great deal of the reason for my Writer's Block.  Indecision.  I've been having difficulty focusing on one path or option lately, and in trusting that the decision I've made is the right one.  Maybe that's what all creative people go through when the muse abandons them.  Fear.

Fear of what, exactly?  A myriad of things.  Mediocrity, inpropriety, tactlessness.  But mostly mediocrity.  The idea that making an impact on the world, creating something so unique and so wonderful that they will be talked of years after they die, that all of that was nothing more than a dream.

Ironic, I think, that allowing that fear to take control is what makes it a reality.