Monday, March 26, 2012

Go Outside

     Hey all and welcome back! It's been a while since I've done an actual blog post and I felt that in order to continue my blog, I obviously have to write something. That has recently, I'll admit, been difficult for me. Since Spring Break started back on March 9th, I haven't had all that much going on, or at least,  enough built up to write a substantial blog's worth. I'm also using this post as a sort of experiment for future blog posts. This blog, and possibly from now on, I'll be segmenting my blog up into chapter-like sections, similar to my Halo Story posts. So let's start by getting caught up.

     My reasoning for this change is mostly for my purposes. I usually get caught up in just talking about what's going on in my life, which is okay and all, but part of why I started this blog was to also talk about Halo, which seems to be my most popular topic, as well as philosophical topics that I find myself thinking about, which is seen on my blog next to never... So, this is all to give me more organization and not to spin off into topics which some don't seem to find nearly as engaging. From now on, I'll be trying to cover a larger variety of topics for people to read.

-Story Time:

     Well, I haven't written anything in my blog since my Spring break, so let's start with how that week went, shall we? In short, my spring break was just the sort of vacation I needed. Throughout this semester, I've been finding myself less and less motivated in school work. Granted, this semester is easier that others, if only on the basis that three of my, then four but now, five classes are very closely related, and because of that, so is the work. The downside of that perk though is that I then do not feel nearly as challenged in those classes... My math class is a bit of a joke, so, again, there's not much for me to pay attention to. Anyway, because of this lack of motivation and a build up of midterms, I was pretty stressed by the end of the first half of the semester, and with my hardest week looming ever closer (but we'll talk about that later). The week-long break was great for pulling myself back together and getting back on track with certain things, many things, in fact. (After reading this paragraph, this is a very good example of how I start on a tangent and get very off topic... *sigh*)

     My break was spent with my friends, whom I saw about every day and evening of break. Matt and I spent a lot of time driving around and catching up and doing outdoor activities, which started a semi-hiatus from the internet. I also came up with two new video ideas with his help, but I'll get to that later.

     I also got back into a small hobby I picked up over summer- Giant bubble blowing. The weather was spectacular and it was a good opportunity to bring out the "wand." What the "wand" really is, is two sticks with a short cotton rope connecting them together with a much longer one below, that also connecting them together. One afternoon, Matt and I went out to the yard and a few neighbors stopped and just sat there watching me make my giant bubbles.

My inspiration for my bubble hobby

Me out on my deck, making giant bubbles for all to enjoy.

     My St. Patrick's Day was fairly interesting. I got a green button-down shirt for a party Colin's family was having that night. Everyone says that the shirt makes me look Alan Grant from Jurassic Park. I'm okay with this, although I was hoping for more of a handsome look instead of going-on-a-safari look. At the party, I got to hang out with Colin, Dan, Chris, Kozi, Terry, and Siegel, who, for some reason, I hadn't expected to be there. Later on, they talked me into going to White Castle with them. I got chicken rings, ate one and a half, and then realized that I shouldn't have done it because it wasn't going to be staying down... I was driving us back when I realized that at any moment, it was all going to come back up. We pulled over into an empty Chipotle parking lot where I got out as quick as I could and began... uh, well... vomiting. While doing so, a cop car pulled in and came up right next to us. The first thing out of his mouth was "How much have you been drinking tonight?" Oh course... It was St. Patrick's Day, it's like 1:00 AM and I'm hunched over outside my car throwing up in an empty parking lot... figures. I had to explain that I don't like to drink and how this was all a misunderstanding because of my lap band surgery. Afterwards, we went back to Colin's to let everyone get their cars before heading home. 

     Before leaving, however, "Icarus," by Madeon came on and Dan decided to start dancing. We decided to carry this over into the street outside Colin's house. It was delightfully fun, because before Spring Break started, I'd been having issues with not being able to dance like usual. I was being much less into the music and whatnot, but that has since passed. Aside from that, I also out-danced Dan, who is much more in shape that I. It was then that I realized that dancing was actually really helping my stamina and endurance. It's also been evident in my new Soccer class and when I was also able to out-dance Mike when I was in St. Louis this past Thursday for the Andrew Bird Concert, which was amazing to hear live, especially since he played one of my favorite songs:

"Tables and Chairs," by Andrew Bird

     My sister, Lizz, and cousin, Pat, also came down this weekend, and boy I miss it already. Again, I didn't spend much of any time on the internet, not only because Lizz's air mattress was blocking my desk, but because I didn't have much of any time. We hung out with Scott and Michael, who are also our cousins, and Pat's brothers. Most notable from the weekend, at least for me, was going fishing and realizing how much I enjoyed it. I don't really get out of my house that much because no one really ever wants to go do things and I don't know what is around here... So, from now on, I think I'm going to be spending my weekends down here on one of the many lakes that I've finally realized are very beautiful and peaceful.

-In the Internet World:

     Honestly, nothing has been going on in the internet for me. Like I said, I've barely been on at all the past couple weeks, and it's left me feeling awkward and distant from those that I normally talk to on twitter and such. I'll say that I don't like the fact that I haven't talked to anyone on there really, but at the same time, it's not in the forefront of my mind, not to mention how much I've been enjoying my time while NOT on the internet. If this continues, I'm not too sure how I'll end up. I don't want to lose my focus on my relationships with those that I feel connected with, but actually getting out and doing stuff has been so great, and rather therapeutic, in a sense. I wonder, despite how one connects with so many others over the internet, that if I gave it up, like I have pretty much done with television, I would be happier? I'll just have to keep it in mind for the next few weeks and test it out. Only time will tell.


     The last game that I played extensively was Mass Effect 3. I have done everything in the game except for the last two missions, and ME3 isn't a game that I'll be replaying for a while. I know the current endings already, but with the uproar by fans about the seemingly terrible ending, Bioware has said it will be changing the endings to give them more closure. Since I already know each ending, I've put the end of my ME3 save on hiatus until the new endings are out. I know I can just make another save file, but honestly, I'm not THAT invested in Mass Effect as it is. I know the endings, but they're getting changed, so I'm just going to wait it out.

     Past that, I've been playing Draw Something, so if you'd like to play with me, create a game with me through facebook, because I don't know what my username is, or if I even have one when using facebook to login.

-Halo News:

     Over break, Matt played a song in his car by m83, called, "Outro." You may recognize it from the Red Bull commercial where various athletes are doing jumps and flips in slow motion and are inter-cut with each other. The song is a giant build up and feels very... epic throughout. All I could imagine, especially near the end, was Halo and the sense of scale you feel throughout every game. So, I'm making it. I've already began cutting clips together and when it's done, I think people's mouths will be agape, going "Woah..." It's not like my usual trailer work that I've done before, where it focuses in on the characters and actions, but instead focuses on the scale of the Halo universe and the beauty of the structures, and the feeling that we are so small compared to everything going on. The problem is that since last Thursday, I don't feel like I have much of any time to work on until after April 3rd, due to school work. In the meantime, I thought I'd officially announce it instead of hinting at it on twitter. Maybe I'm revealing too much, but since I can't work on it for another week, I thought I'd at least give you that.

The song during this trailer is "Outro," by m83

     I also came up with a machinima video that, if all everything goes smoothly, will be in production in the summer. So far, I only have a relatively short scene outline written up. Those few that have read it so far have told me that it's actually pretty good, so I'm pretty happy about that. But, like the "Outro" video, working on it has been put on hold due to school work... I've been trying to come up with a fitting subtitle to it, but it's proving to be much more difficult that many other naming endeavors. A couple titles I have in mind are "Halo: In Bonum Omnium," which is my personal favorite, although the word 'Bonum' has understandably left people making jokes. That's the ONLY problem with it in my mind. Otherwise, it's short and leaves the audience wondering what it means, whether it be in English or in Latin, which I felt was rather fitting for it considering the themes and the ties the title has. I also had "Halo: Ad Legionem," but I'm not a fan of saying 'Legionem' and it doesn't give the same impression on me that the first one does. So right now, I'm still on a quest to find a shorter way of saying "Consequentialism." If any of you have any suggestions, please comment! I'm always open to suggestion.

     In actual Halo news, a magazine cover was leaked which details Halo 4 and the new enemies (SPOILERS?), which may turn out to be the Forerunners themselves, or their constructs, which I have been speculating on for a LONG time now (yes, this is my stroking my ego and being proud of myself). If you'd like to see, check out:

-Philosophical Concepts:

     This is something that I really feel I don't do enough of on here. I started out fairly well in this area, but as I said above, I have found the focus of this blog to be more and more of just an e-journal with the occasional Halo 4 news and speculation. And, as a Philosophy major, I feel somewhat obliged to at least bring up certain concepts, discussions, or even stray thoughts that I may have.

     On the car ride back from spring break, I was thinking about how people with rather dark pasts seem to be considered the adults with the most character, assuming of course, that they bring themselves out of that darkness into a more... civil and social person that is more of a part of society. An example of this would be a former hard drug addict or something. They seem to have the craziest stories and people seem to remember stuff like that.

     On the subject of the institution of punishment, we need to ask ourselves if punishment is okay to do, because when we punish someone, we are effectively doing the same thing that the one being punished has done- setting back the interests of others. In the Deontological defense, Hegel proposes a thought experiment for us. Imagine that Humans are naturally a part of the rational world, where things make sense to us, and how we understand everything. When we harm someone, by which I mean setting back the interests of someone, we figuratively step into another world. This world is irrational and does not make any sort of sense to us. Up is down, black is white, everything is backwards. The Deontologist justifies punishment by saying that when we step over into the irrational world, we must be punished in order to be brought back to the rational world. From this standpoint, punishment is considered an honor, rather than an all out negative.

     So while I was driving, I considered Hegel's thought experiment and came up with an interesting conclusion. Often, we find ourselves happiest when we simply go back to normal from a place of punishment. Do we not feel most grateful when we are taken from shitty circumstances and brought back to normal? How often have you found yourself saying, "Boy, I'm glad that's over?" Probably enough times to make my point valid. Sure, we achieve a great bit of happiness when we are taken from normal to extraordinary, but it's a different happiness, more fleeting and temporary, and generally, I'd venture to guess that such circumstances would not leave us with much of a lesson or anything to take with us for future experiences and reference. I think at least part of why that is, is because when we are punished, we know understand and recognize actions that are considered irrational and begin to familiarize ourselves to the rational world, where the deontologist would say we "belong."

     The question I'm leading up to is this: Is it rational (logical) for Humans to act irrationally in order to bring ourselves further along? The more irrationality we experience, the more punishment we get, the more learning takes place, and potentially, the more civilized and more intelligent we will become? As Thomas Wayne says in Batman Begins, "Why do we fall down? So we can pick ourselves back up."

     Now, let's be clear here, I don't necessarily mean for people to take this and go intentionally harming anyone, and I don't necessarily mean conventional punishment like prison or any physical punishment (although they are definitely applicable too). For most, I'm referring to everyday punishment: work, school, practicing anything. We must pay our dues to achieve a lasting happiness.

     It sounds vaguely like I'm concluding this thought process, but I keep the thought open to any variables that could change the outcome. What I mean to do from all of this is ask simply, 'Is it rational for us to act irrationally, considering the potential outcomes?'

-In my plans:

     Now, I must go back to planning homework for the rest of the week. I have two papers due and an essay exam all on April 3rd, followed by a Math exam on the 6th. I'm trying to get the papers done asap, but I don't have the prompt for one until tomorrow and the website for a survey that needs to be completed for the other is currently down, which has delayed that paper by at least a day, which is at least a day later than when I wanted it done by. Chances are that I won't be writing much until after then.

     So, for now, I'll leave you with "Go Outside," by Cults. Enjoy!

Until next time...

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