Don’t look out the train window to inspire yourself to write, to take away it’s beauty, to copy it in a painting or photograph. It doesn’t matter what they think about what you saw and what you might do with it. Look out at the dark clouds and grasses and river, at the neon billboard, and all the gray because you’re living your life right now and might as well look.
“Let’s all work on being the best people we can be not the best feminine or masculine cultural productions we feel we must become in order to fit into masculine or feminine categories.” -from the article
Philosopher Myisha Cherry has an excellent article at Huffington Post about how we (to our detriment) gender virtues. She begins:
When people say “act like a lady,” we know what they really mean. They mean act in the manner that society — that is to say, our patriarchal society — has determined that women should act. Because you know, women are not allowed to define that for themselves. Men must do that for them. And when men tell other men to “man up,” we know that means to do nothing that resembles a woman. Here lies the myth and the burden of what is called “feminine virtues” and “masculine virtues”.
And her take-home message is:
End virtue segregation! Let’s all work on being the best people we can be not the best feminine or masculine cultural productions we feel we must become in order to fit into masculine or feminine…
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Ever dreamed of creating your own video game based on the world you created in your own novel? Thomas Lum, college student and aspiring cognitive/computer science major is spending the summer doing just that. These are screenshots from his summer project so far. Hear what he has to say and get inspired by listening to the first episode of “How to Spend Your Summer.”
After the chaos and excitement of freshman year, summertime seems to be a welcome change of pace. But loads of free time make me wonder about who I am outside of the structure of school, family obligations and work. Like many other bored college students, I want to do something fulfilling, exciting, fun, and worthwhile, but struggle to find the inspiration or motivation to start. Today I talked with a close friend who knows how to follow through his ideas with incredible results.
Tom Lum is a college student studying computer and cognitive science. This summer, he spends his time creating and coding his own indie computer game inspired in part by his novel, Gear. We discuss the influences of Nidhogg, The Stanley Parable, Super Smash Bros, and Hotline Miami on Tom’s project as well as the “artisnal” quality of indie games today.
For more information about Tom’s creative work (including music, movies, and more), visit http://www.thatbookbytom.com.
On the process of making a video game:
“The coolest part about coding a game from the ground up is that you really can do anything, and at first that’s…the biggest problem… ’cause you can do anything.”
“It’s one of the longest, in terms of projects…like, a movie is great because you can really see the progress of it, a book is good, because…you can show someone a chapter of it. Music is perfect, because you can just show someone a song…that doesn’t take that long. Video games are really just a long-term effort…I get to show it to people a bit, but it’s going to be a long term thing…but, because of that, there’ll hopefully be a good reward.”
On breaking the video game “mold” and indie games today:
“There’s so much of an established basis of what to expect, that it’s really fun and really exciting to get something new…that’s what I would love to do.”
“In the flash game era, games were really just a boredom reducer…whereas [now] they’re really starting to go back to being an “art form”…something that someone makes.”
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On the bus today, I tried to think of an epiphany moment. My mind was empty-all I could think of was the reading I have to finish over lunch. The bus rumbled down the road, the song “Pompeii” playing on the radio under the conversations of the passengers. In ballet today, we were practicing pirouettes (I’m in an intro class xD). I feel like a little girl in ballet, thrilled by the studio’s tall windows and rosy walls, by the pale pink slippers and pliés. But near the end of the lesson, as we practiced our dizzy spinning, I could not balance. I knew I was doing it wrong, ballet is hard, and I’m bad at it. Anyway, I had lost my excitement over ballet, over the movement and the atmosphere of the room. And I was feeling down over failing to spin perfectly, when I would never be a prima ballerina. Ballet is difficult, I am in awe of ballerinas, and I can afford to laugh at myself falling over, and trying to spin again.
Is it possible to have a mini-epiphany every day? A sudden insight into yourself and the world which never occurred to you before? If so, can all these little realizations ever accumulate into a finished, final understanding of the world, or do they just approach infinity? If one hundred million is just as close to infinity as one, can a multitude of mini-epiphanies bear any significant weight on your worldview?
After watching the first three and a half episodes of “Cosmos,” the science documentary series hosted/narrated by Carl Sagan, I was in love with his teaching style, his awesome voice, and the fact that he travelled to NYC, Greece, Tuscany, and Cambridge in the first three or so episodes alone. Sagan chronicles our knowledge and discovery of the universe as well as his own, starting with his boyhood questions about stars in Brooklyn, to the ancient Greeks, to Albert Einstein, etc.
But I also had a lot of questions about what the rest of the world was doing besides Classical Greece and Europe. So I searched “history of non-Western science” and found the History of Science Society, which has an extraordinary amount of sources and articles about scientific traditions in India, Japan, China, Africa, the Americas, and more (I definitely recommend checking it out!).
That’s where I found Bharat Ki Chaap, a TV series made to document the history of science in India. After watching 2 out of the 13 episodes, I highly recommend it!
My personal epiphany for today requires some hypothetical backstory:
Imagine a person with two faces. We’ll call him Janus. You grow up knowing and loving one face like a child loves her parent, but you don’t know that the other face exists. Maybe you’ve glimpsed it before, but it’s part of the same body as the other face and you don’t see the difference. When you grow up, you realize Janus had two faces this whole time. And that you can’t stand this other face when it comes out: it’s rude, arrogant, loud, histrionic, boastful. It’s mean to your mom. Can you still love Janus? Should you still love Janus? Is it possible to love one face and not the other? Or must you love both faces in order to truly love the first face?
Part of me believes that to love someone, you must love all parts of them. As a result, I wouldn’t be able to love any part of Janus because the existence of his other face detracts from the goodness of his first face. You must love the second face as well, in order to love Janus. Once I discovered the second face, I could not love Janus, even if I loved the first more than anything in the world. Even when I saw and spoke to the first face, I could no longer act friendly or value anything it said. How could I love something that acts so inconsistently? How could I react in two different ways towards the same person? I want to love the first face, but the other face ruins it.
Those were my thoughts yesterday. But late last night and today, I realized I could compromise. What if I wanted to spend the day with Janus, playing chess, watching movies, eating ice cream, talking about philosophy? But instead of his first face, his second face comes out. Should I get mad at Janus? Should I shun his company the next time I see his first face, because he disappointed me? I was upset because I was looking forward to Janus’ company. I really do love Janus, and I want to love the first face no matter how much the second poisons our relationship.
Last thought: I wonder if the second face of Janus now makes me appreciate his first face more in comparison, even though at first it made me reject Janus himself and act coldly towards him?
Spring Break update: I watched “Shanghai Noon” with my dad today, and like with most Jackie Chan movies, I wasn’t disappointed! It was silly, had some witty lines, great characters, and awesome fight scenes. I highly recommend it!