Contact – The Movie

Contact 1997 – Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey

ImageWe were watching Contact – the movie – last night. It’s a good movie. You can’t watch it very often or it would be old, but we hadn’t watched it for a couple years at least. I’d forgotten the plot line, so I was happy to watch.

The reason I mention it here was our observation of the technology shown. The movie was made or released in 1997 and the computers and equipment really look ancient now in 2012. That’s only 15 years, but it has really been a fast advance in technology over those years. The laptop computers which were probably current at the time are big and thick, with small screens. The software interfaces shown are comical.

In one scene they show a large flat screen TV in one shot. We didn’t make much of it at the time, but we realized later while talking about the movie that that TV was probably intended to be amazing to the movie viewer at the time. It just looked normal to us today. We almost missed that. An interesting observation I thought.

Writing Safe but Dull Stories

A Short Story in the Works

A few days ago I wrote this in my journal:

Something for Me

Writing for myself has produced some interesting work. Pinedod is an example. I learned a lot writing that story. I have found that I am really interested in gaining an emotional or spiritual peace in my stories. I don’t like conflict when it applies to my own life. These stories – that I am writing for myself – they are essentially about me on some basic level. Even when the protagonist is someone else, my feelings are tied to that character and I feel the pain that the character will feel. So I write the story in a safe way. That needs to change of course.

So if I write for myself, then I need to create pressure on my characters to enliven them and make them real. That is, if I wish to find value in the writing produced for my own purposes.

Does that make sense when read another day?

The answer to my last question is yes. It does make sense.

The story needs conflict. I need to start adding more conflict into store lines. Actually, I need to start writing stories that are based upon conflict as a starting point. Writing stories that come to my head while half asleep ends up in a dull and fuzzy plot that doesn’t tell us much about the characters or the story itself. We need conflict in order to draw out the personalities of all those enmeshed in the story.

Lee Laughlin hits my feelings about reading in her post. Good job!

Live to Write - Write to Live

'Reading in Bed' photo (c) 2010, Artotem - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ It is oft said, that to be a good writer, you must be a good reader. One look at my Kindle and you’d think I was on the New York Times Best Seller List. That is to say I read, I read a lot. I enjoy most of what I read, but not everything. The adage “Life’s too short to read bad books” often applies especially since I can download a healthy sample for review before I purchase. I dislike some books because I disagree with the author’s premise, others, are just not my cup of tea, but there is a third group. The sample shows promise so I go ahead and invest. As I get into the meat of the book, I want to like it, but for a variety of reasons, I can’t. Those are the books I force myself to finish. Those are the books I feel…

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Day One – Journaling

Day One – It Just Works!

If you like to write there is a very nice journaling app called Day One that I recommend. I use it on my iMac, my MacBook Air, and my iPhone together. All the entries are posted, in my case, to Dropbox and are integrated or synced into one chronological whole. What I like is the programs simplicity and the interface. I tend to write short topics there. Some are simply nonsense. The whole process though tends to empty my mind of issues and concerns. It allows me to record minor inspirations or annoyances. In the Apple tradition – It just works!Image

If you like to write there is a very nice journaling app called Day One that I recommend. I use it on my iMac, my MacBook Air, and my iPhone together. All the entries are posted, in my case, to Dropbox and are integrated or synced into one chronological whole. What I like is the programs simplicity and the interface. I tend to write short topics there. Some are simply nonsense. The whole process though tends to empty my mind of issues and concerns. It allows me to record minor inspirations or annoyances. In the Apple tradition – It just works!

More information here.

About Building in the U.S.

ImageNews programs have been saying that the housing market here in the U.S. is improving. I have been thinking about the way that we build housing lately, and I wonder if that will change now? Does it make sense to have all these sprawling neighborhoods with green lawns that need watering in the summer time? Do we need to keep building individual houses? I wonder if the new banking system will encourage more multi-family housing? I also wonder if we couldn’t do a much better job of insulating and using new technology in homes to improve on energy savings and comfort. Simply put, I am wondering if an opportunity exists for a business in these things? At some point the economy is going to open up again. When’s the right time to jump in?

I am envisioning smaller houses, with one or two solar panels tied to the water heater, and thicker walls – possibly built using 2×6 lumber instead of 2×4’s. I did this for my mother’s house when we expanded it in 1996. It worked great and the house was quieter and very energy efficient. I’m not sure what to do about lawns though. We really need that to change, and to do so will require building code changes in many places.

Just some rambling thoughts.

Robert C. Deming – A Paragraph to Start

Writing – I frustrate myself with it. The stories come to me from time to time, but bringing them to a statisfactory conclusion has been difficult for me. Robert C. Deming’s gives us a great starting point for stories. It’s worth time to read and meditate upon.

Live to Write - Write to Live

Today’s guest post comes from Robert C. Deming, an indie author who writes modern cowboy stories about honest, hard-working, independent, courageous good guys. His first two novels (both mysteries in an on-going series) are set in the beautiful Enchanted Rock State Park in his home state of Texas. We hope you enjoy this post and will make him feel welcome. 

I minored in English in college instead of French because I was something of a slacker; I knew I wouldn’t get past French – Advanced Grammar and Composition, and, anyway, my roommates were all engineers, who make anyone feel like a slacker.  I became a military pilot, a good career for a slacker, and spent a great deal of time waiting beside a big jet for WWIII.  Lots of the guys entertained themselves during those slack times (the Cold War – we won that one!) with “Economics Class,” an all-night poker…

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