WHERE THE REZ MEETS THE VIRTUAL WORLD …

life

Short Films

There is this geek news site I like to frequent.  It’s called GeekTyrant, and over the past few months, they’ve begun to feature little geek-centric short films.  As a direct result, I’ve really started getting into short films.  My favourite ones are about things like zombies, or science fiction.

I find myself enjoying these little peeks into film a lot more than full-length films or television shows. A few of them, I wish they would be made into full features. I’d probably actually leave my house and go watch them in a theatre to see that world on a large screen. Others, though, are perfect the way they are.

The following are a couple of my favourites that I’ve seen over the past few months:
(the second one is the BEST, and probably the one that got me into short films)

Are there any short films that you’ve seen and would like to share?


Hand Warmers (Knitting Pattern)

Image

I like to knit.  I’m not very good at it, mind you, but I do enjoy it.  I sometimes have difficulty reading patterns, but when I find one I like, I use it constantly.  For some time, I have been in search for a really good fingerless glove pattern (aka hand warmers), but never found one i could really understand.  And when I finally found a couple of patterns I like, there was still something missing about them.  So … I combined the two patterns and came up with this one here.

I’m not entirely sure it’s a “good” pattern, but it has worked for me so far.  I had a friend ask about the pattern, and since it’s something I sort of came up with on my own, I guess the only way to share it with her is to share my pattern.

Please keep in mind that I’m not very good at knitting, so hopefully this won’t be terrible.  haha  If you do decide to use this pattern, let me know how it turned out, and if you made any adjustments!

(more…)


Get your tents, it’s time for Camp NaNoWriMo!

For those of you familiar with my writing history,  you will know that I’ve participated in 8 or 9 National Novel Writing Months.  You’ll also be familiar with the fact that I have yet to “win” a NaNoWriMo.  :”)

If you don’t know what National Novel Writing Month is, and are very confused, here is a quick rundown:

From 12:00am November 1st to 11:59pm November 30th (30 days), you are challenged to write 50,000 words for a novel.

This is an annual event, but in the last couple of years or so, they’ve added supplementary challenges.  This includes two Camp NaNoWriMo challenges where you can set your own word count, but timeline is the same (one month).  The two Camp challenges are in April and July.

Yep, that means, starting Monday, I will be challenging myself to write 5000 words for Camp.  I’m hoping if I set my goal really low, I might actually make it this year.  We’ll see.

Anyway, if you’d like more information about either NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo, click the links below:

http://nanowrimo.org/

http://www.campnanowrimo.org/


Technology in Entertainment

So I was reading an article where Spielberg and Lucas were discussing the future of the entertainment industry. For the most part, their discussion pertained to the continuous inflation of movie ticket prices and the bubble that will eventually pop. But they also discussed the future of the entertainment industry and what part technology will play in it, and how it will shape it.

At one point the articles quotes Lucas as suggesting brain implants are the future of entertainment.

He noted that such implants “are already being used to control artificial limbs; they just haven’t been used for entertainment yet.”

As soon as I read that, I was reminded of Alduos Huxley’s Brave New World and the concept of “feelies.” Instead of just watching the life-like actions of still images made to move (movies), the audience was made to feel all the sensations of the actors and environment of the film. It was fully immersive entertainment, much like the Virtual Reality science fiction trope popular in the 90s. (Remember VR.5? Yeah, me too.)

Except that to get the full immersive experience, in Huxley’s BNW, the audience held special handles and that projected the sensations and smells into the audience’s brains, while in the 90s, VR was always associated with gaudy and unwieldy helmets.

Implants makes way more sense, but I guess Huxley didn’t know implants would be an eventuality, and the 90s didn’t take them too seriously either since the processing capabilities just weren’t available at the time. Now, on the other hand, with current processing speeds and the size of processors getting smaller, it seems an eventuality.

Technology is really bleeding into every part of our lives, and either we start getting serious about making some Brave New World type movies or we, y’know, have real meaningful discussions about the pervasiveness of that technology.

Personally, I loved Brave New World when I read it in high school. The whole idea of what appears to be a Utopian society obsessed with technology is awesome. And then to juxtapose it with a grittier society that shuns it. What advantages and insights they both have are at odds, and yet neither is completely right or wrong.

There is a third side to this line of thought, and that is the idea of hacking and government surveillance. A whistleblower who worked at the NSA and revealed widespread US government surveillance, and the release of the “always-on connectivity” feature of the XBox One at E3 has put the spotlight on privacy issues and the ethics of technology and surveillance. If the actions of the government in this light, and having always-on connectivity forced on the gaming audience is being questioned, what would this mean for implants with connectivity abilities?

The idea of government surveillance was asked in Orwell’s 1984, and yet we find ourselves blindly heading towards this dystopian future anyway.

I think this is why I’ve always loved the science fiction genre. It was asking these types of questions before the technology to do so was even available. The important question here is: why aren’t we still asking them now that the tech is available?


SaskTel Aboriginal Youth Awards of Excellence

My daughter

Last Friday (May 24th)  was the 15th annual SaskTel Aboriginal Youth Awards of Excellence, and my daughter was nominated in the Education category!

The SaskTel Aboriginal Youth Awards of Excellence are a celebration of achievement by Saskatchewan Aboriginal youth in ten categories.

– http://www.sasktel.com/about-us/community-involvement/aboriginal-youth-awards-of-excellence/

My smart little cookie may not have won, but I am so crazy proud of  her because her hard work at school was recognized.  She didn’t go home empty handed though.  All nominees got a little bag filled with fun stuff like chocolate and a water bottle.  AND she won a smart phone in a draw!

I am insanely proud of my daughter, and I just wanted to share.  :)  I also wanted to thank SaskTel for putting on these awards for our youth, and my daughter’s school for nominating her.