Sunday, March 23, 2008

Some Combos for the road

I don't know about you, but when I go on a road trip I like to get some pretzel/cheddar Combos and a Diet Dr. Pepper for the ride. In a similar fashion, I thought I would just do a combo post tonight. I had a few items in my "queue" to post about next, and I thought I better clear it out soon. I'll probably be getting a Mac in the next couple of months, and I don't want things cluttering my focus if I want to make some new video blogs on it :) Also, I have recently become hooked on Yael Naim's song "New Soul", that is on the MacBook Air commercials. Apparently, I'm not the only one either, the commercial has helped her become the first Israeli solo artist with a top 10 Billboard song. NPR has a story, and an interview with her about it (plus you can hear the song there). Anyway, I've got the song looping right now, so if my post isn't making sense, try reading it with "New Soul" playing.

First from my queue is a follow-up to my NaNoWriMo post. I finished my novel, but I kind of cheated, but not really. Here's what I did, and then why I did it. Basically about 15,000 words into the story, one of my characters decides he is going to try and set a new pogo sticking world record. He gets his friend to help him practice,
they use one of those crowd counter type things to keep track of the jumps, and the novel gives a very in-depth account of a practice session.... "Click, 1, click, 2, click, 3 ... " Not the most exciting novel, but I did actually research the world record and it is legit, he doesn't even break it during the practice in fact.

So, why I did this? I mean if you're generating 2/3 of a novel in C#, why not just give up on it. Well, when I was in elementary school our bus driver one day showed us a picture of his daughter. He said if anyone could guess her name as they got off the bus, they would get a candy bar as their prize. Rob, Nathaniel, and myself discussed what we thought she looked like, and all came up with our best guesses. Then Rob (being the leader type he is) checked to make sure we were organized and all agreed which name who was saying. But to our shock Nathaniel did not want to participate! We could not understand why, and all he would say was he knew it was not right, so he did not want to take a guess. After Nathaniel got off the bus just down the street from us, Rob and I decided we needed to try his guess (Elizabeth I believe). So Rob guessed Nathaniel's name, and it was right! True story :)

I could have had that attitude with my novel, "I know it is a waste of time, why even finish?" I even researched the "rules" on the website, the only thing applicable was that you could not write ONE word 50,000 times. I guess what Nathaniel taught me that day was to participate and finish what you can, even if you feel pretty silly doing it :)

**** Following section has follow-up comment (3rd comment)

And finally, from the "post queue", I wanted to comment on a quote I heard from an author that we are "not reading because we're not training thinkers." This struck me as odd, and a good illustration to me of how I feel many over-exaggerate the power of reading. I understand reading is a great way to gain knowledge about things, but I do not think knowledge is the same as the ability to think. Reading can present you with new ideas which could expand your thinking, that makes sense I guess. At the same time people have the ability to think themselves, independently of the influence of others. I really wonder if people realize this sometimes. When it was just Adam and Eve, could they not think since they had no books?

Another point is that even when you ARE talking about the acquisition of knowledge, reading is not the best method for many people to do that. I was always an above average student in formal education, but I feel I learned a very small percentage of what I know from reading. I was much better off to be a good listener in lecture times, and to work with things (or ideas) hands on for the majority of my learning (ie - homework, etc). I also have been irritated in the past by the idea that reading the Bible is essential for salvation, as if illiterate people can not be saved. Maybe all this "reading hype" comes mainly from people who DO learn most effectively by reading, I do not know. Just some food for thought.... hmmm.... maybe this section should be a video post as well :)

3 comments:

Noel and Celeste said...

I actually agree with that statement about reading. I don't think it's books that allow us to think, but words and language. Both of which Adam and Eve did have in the beginning. Also, our education system falls (and this is something I've been thinking, talking and reading about lately) very short in teaching "thinking" of any sort. We have a humanistic approach to education, and really need a spiritual approach... or at least a "classical" approach that begins with the ability to think, not the ability to do a job. The 2nd will come with the 1st... but the 1st will not always come with the 2nd.

Here is an excellent video about schools that do just this thing... they are called Classical Christian Schools and they are what I've been reading, talking, and thinking about lately.

Jason & Nicole said...

Good post, Jason. I'm reading it from Belize, C.A. I've been having the thought especially while here that salvation comes first by hearing rather than reading. Having said that, I would love to read your novel and plan on it when I get back to Tennessee. I'm glad you "guessed Elizabeth".

Also, I would like to recommend a book: Watership Down by . . . some guy. Before it was a book, it was an oral collection of parts of the story of a group of rabbits he had been telling his daughters while driving in the car.

Jason said...

After watching the video Noel posted, it gave me a new insight on that reading quote. Perhaps the author means that if we trained more thinkers, there would be more people reading. Instead of what I originally thought which is reading more is HOW to train thinkers. This new interpretation actually makes more sense to me.