July 7th, 2008


WALL*E for President

I can sympathize with the premise of this article:

FOCUS | Frank Rich: Wall-E for President
Frank Rich, writing for The New York Times, says: "One of the great things about art, including popular art, is that it can hit audiences at a profound level beyond words. That includes children. The kids at 'Wall-E' were never restless, despite the movie's often melancholy mood and few belly laughs. They seemed to instinctually understand what 'Wall-E' was saying; they didn't pepper their chaperones with questions along the way. At the end they clapped their small hands. What they applauded was not some banal cartoonish triumph of good over evil but a gentle, if unmistakable, summons to remake the world before time runs out."

I was also appalled to discover that, apparently, John McCain doesn't know how to use a computer. Never mind getting his plane shot down. In today's world: Computer illiteracy in a presidential candidate = Epic Fail.

Sketchbooks 21-30: Enter Dragon Princess

haikujaguar has posted the latest in her series of sketchbook samples. This includes a description of what was going on during that time in her life (stories, friends, roleplaying games) and art (settings, themes). Sponsors for this batch of scans are listed too. Very illuminating for artists, fans of art, and writers. Go see!

Lingua RPGA and the Writer

Steve Berman has an excellent article on Strange Horizons that examines the social dynamics and creative applications of role-playing games.

RPGs definitely encourage social interaction and can contribute toward a writer's storytelling ability. They also teach problem-solving, especially the creative application of available tools. I once saved a very expensive pump from falling through the rotting floor of our well-house by tying a rope to it, and tying the other end of the rope to a tree. That was very much a game-inspired use of 50' of rope.

And inspiration? "Elegy for a Chaos Mage" came out of a game I played a few years ago.

What You Can Do

In a recent discussion about news posts, several people mentioned that negative news makes them feel depressed and helpless. (The related poll strongly favored keeping the News posts public. I did, however, add the requested icon for News.) So, I decided to compile some resources on what you can do to improve the world.

America's economy is in trouble due to such things as poor economic policies, high gas prices, stagnant wages, and the housing crisis. Other parts of the global economy are also experiencing hardships, especially due to rising food prices. You can help by sharing what resources you have with friends in need, by agitating for more prudent policies, and by learning barter and other alternative skills.

The Barter Network
Citizens Housing Corporation
Heifer International
Living Wage Resource Center
Progressive Economics
Skills Barter
World Food Programme

Global warming seriously threatens human civilization; its effects are already apparent and increasing. Extinctions are rising. You can fight these and other environmental challenges by supporting environmental organizations and sustainable business practices.

Conservation International
Earth Policy Institute
Gaia Mater
How to Save the World
International Network for Sustainable Energy
Wildlife Conservation Society

America is gearing up for a presidential election. If you are eligible to vote, make sure you are registered, and go VOTE. For people not eligible to vote, or living in other countries: pay attention to politics where you live, and use whatever means are available to you for influencing things in a more positive direction. Educate yourself on current issues. Civil liberties are under attack and need your support to survive.

American Civil Liberties Union
National Platforms (compare presidential candidates' positions on issues)
Progressive Policy Institute
Register to Vote
Speak Out (resources for political activism)

If you don't agree with my personal stance on any of these issues, that's fine. Dig up your own resources that suit your ideas better. But pay attention to the world around you, examine its challenges thoughtfully, and find ways to become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Poetry Fishbowl Tomorrow!

This is a reminder that the July Poetry Fishbowl will be held tomorrow. The topic will be "nature."

The following changes have been made based on audience feedback:

  • Announcement one week in advance of fishbowl date.

  • Specification that check and money order are acceptable methods of sponsorship, as well as PayPal.

  • Expanded definition of the Poetry Fishbowl project at the top of the "open" post.

  • General donations will apply towards poetry to be posted, enabling the "microfinance" aspect of cyberfunded creativity.

It will be interesting to see whether and how these changes impact the audience activity. If you have friends who enjoy nature, poetry, and/or cyberfunded creativity, please invite them to drop by.

In Which the Lawn Prevails

For some years, we've had a hand-me-down mower that would mow briefly and then need repairs. It finally died for good. My parents proved willing to buy us a new mower. We did some research, and found a very fine one -- with a slightly wider deck, much stronger engine, and other nice features -- at a reasonable price from the local business who had been fixing the old mower for us. The new mower was delivered today.

And it rained today. It will rain more tonight, and tomorrow. There will be no mowing until later this week, if then.

The Lawn (prestige class: Prairie) wins another round.