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Pulp news (bonus: song 2)

Posted by james on Jan. 16, 2002

<span style="color:gray;">Here, listen to <a href="playlist-Lucky_7-My_Fathers_Son.m3u">this</a> while you read. I can't own it, but it's got emotion.</span>

My father reads the news every day. He buys the newspaper from newspaper stands where you put a quarter in and pull out a paper, and you can take as many as you want. He only ever takes one, he reads it that day or night, and then the paper is thrown away. I used to wonder what the whole point is. Reading news everyday about a hundred different things that went on in the world, and none of it that directly affects our lives, the length of our commute home, or the price of the food we buy. What makes him read every day, and what's the point?

Now I read every day. I visit a few sites on the internet that publish information that interests me, and on a good day I spend about 2 or 3 hours just reading. I read more about them, even researching their history and reading other older articles that relate. They're about many things; science advances in space travel, licensing issues in the open source world, new ways they're trying to clone humans (and pretend that they're not), new programs that make our work faster and easier (but never really do). I used to check my email multiple times a day to see if anyone had written me. Now I check my news multiple times a day. Why? None of these things affect my life in any real and immediate way, but still I stayed glued to the monitor, intent on understanding the issues at large and trying to form an intelligent understanding of the big picture.

I still can't say why my father reads the news every day. But I know I've got the same bug. I know my knowledge will help me at some point; a lot of it relates directly to the field that I'll eventually work in. But the rest simply makes me a more knowledgable person. And that's something I enjoy... I like being able to think in semi-realistic fantasies, taking what's almost possible today and inventing new things could be possible because of them.

I guess in some way I'm still just playing with legos*.



<span style="font-size:-5px;color:gray">* I think only my mother would get the allusion... do you?</span>

Dreams

Posted by james on Nov. 20, 2001

I was wondering why we put so much import on dreams. There's this part of me that, no matter how much I can explain the origin of my dreams, I'll always believe inside that somehow they're little windows into things that I normally can't see. Maybe they're windows into my own mind, showing me things that are always just outside my consiousness but still affect me. Or maybe they're some kind of connection to all the ethereal things that escape me in my day to day life. It's probably the mysteriousness of them that makes me believe this.

What makes me want to believe they're something more than the simple activity my brain falls back to when it's resting? Why should it be any more than random images composed from the events and people in my real life, combined and distorted? It's disorienting to wake up from a vivid dream and have to sort between the memories of what happened yesterday and the memories from your dream. No matter how much they've explained away the science of dreaming and what exactly is going on in your head, you still wake up feeling that something unexplicable has happened during the night, and all you're left with are pallid memories of it. It almost seems magical in a way.

And maybe that's needed in this day and age. There are so many things that we know (or think we know), and every day science brings a little more reason into the rumors of our world we hear from our friends. "Did you know that mirages are caused by <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/wonderquest/2001-05-30-mirage.htm">heat</a>?" "Did you know that stars twinkle because of <a href="http://www.mira.org/fts0/stars/text/txt001c.htm">air turbulence</a>?" All those things we wonder about are slowly being explained, turning them into more mundane things. Where is the magic? Where are the things that bring us out of our everyday lives and convince us that even though we don't understand, we can believe that there's something more than what we see every day, a connection to things greater than ourselves. Dreams could be that... our minds might be our own during the day, slaves of reason and monotony, but during the night some other unseen and unknown force takes over and shows us things unreachable by ourselves.

Another magic might be love. This sounds corny, and I guess it is. Deep down I believe that romance is a sort of incomprehensible magic that defies my attempts to understand it and also convinces me that there is a world outside of and above myself. The third option might be religion. Religion is a funny sort of magic, because it attempts to explain the unexplicable. But the other part is there; convincing me that there is a world higher than the one I see every day, and that gives me something to believe in. It's funny... none of these man-made categories would exist if we didn't desire it somehow. Humans seem to have a built-in desire for things greater than themselves in order to give them a sense of purpose. We need some kind of magic. Does all that make sense?

Song 1 - Wide Eyes

Posted by james on Nov. 12, 2001

This is a song I've heard that I really appreciate. It's an emo song by a band called "The Beautiful Mistake", a name I think is possibly the best I've ever heard for a band. The song is called "Wide Eyes", and it's right <a href="../music/playlist-wide_eyes.m3u">here</a>. If you click on that, it'll play. Complicated.

The vocals are not spectacular, and in a few places the lyrics don't seem to quite fit... but the music itself is amazing. This might be the first in a series.


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