The following is something I wrote as a Facebook status the other day, just for shigs and gittles. Thought you might enjoy it here. Cheers!
I have been troubled recently by what I can only suspect are the grown-up variety of nightmares. Not scary dreams, but deeply annoying ones.
In them, I always have some problem to solve. Four flat tires and a cross-town appointment to keep. A mass of wires I’m trying to untangle. A party with more guests than expected, and not enough food to serve them.
I’m not stressed or panicked – just consumed by the problem. My mind races trying to navigate a way around it. Strategizing. Failing. Trying again.
But this is the worst part. In my youthful days of lovely dreams, if my sleep was even momentarily interrupted, the dream would vanish. I would try desperately to get back to sleep and resume the experience, without ever succeeding.
Not so now. My new ‘procedural dreams’, as I like to call them, appear to survive the gaps of waking. My eyes fly open, and in a moment of foggy judgement, against all reason, I turn over and get right back to the dream.
You know, to solve the problem. The make-believe problem.
So this is what I need.
I’m willing to pay somebody — anybody — to sit beside my bed and watch me as I sleep. To notice when I begin to toss and turn. To lean over me when I’m most obviously lost in the throes of one of these vexing fantasies, and be at the ready, for the moment in which I open my eyes.
Just then, I want you to grab me by my shoulders, and yell straight into my face as loudly as you can:
“IT’S A STUPID DREAM YOU GODDAMN MORON! FORGET ABOUT IT, AND GO BACK TO SLEEP!”
I’m willing to pay a small fortune for this service. Applications will be accepted below.
Some time ago I was asked by the folks at Penny4NASA to make them a film. It took a long time to complete, but here it is.
What is Penny4NASA? It’s a grassroots movement advocating for a marked increase in NASA’s funding, currently sitting at 0.48% of the U.S. national budget. As a passionate supporter of science, and space exploration most of all, I was happy to volunteer my time.*
The concept was simple. I wanted to portray both humanity’s curiosity about space, along with its occasional indifference, in a single character. Two flip sides of a coin—a little girl named Penny.
Allowed by her mother to play outside a little later than usual, Penny becomes captivated by the twinkling heavens. In this moment she must decide how far her curiosity will take her. How badly does she want to know what’s up there?
How badly do we?
If you like this film, please consider sharing it far and wide. Tweet it, Facebook it, act it out for your friends. And if you really want to help, please join our Thunderclap campaign to spread the message even further!
*Thanks to my team, composer Bob Mills, and sound engineer Sebastien Breton. The same guys who helped out on my last science film, ‘Vision’.
Sorry folks. No new posts from me, I know. I feel like there may be more coming in the near future, but don’t hold me to that. Just waiting for the blog-urge to swell again.
In the meantime, I was looking through some old music this week and came across one of of my favourite artists: MC 900 Ft Jesus. In the following song, one of the sillier experiments in the artist’s daring portfolio, there seems to be a message that I somehow missed in my youth; and one that I’m very glad to discover now.
As a card-carrying skeptic, somebody who’s alarmed by the prevalence of postmodern “personal realities” in our culture, a person campaigning for belief based on evidence; the lyrics of this tune seem even more appropriate now than when it was released.
Could we have a new, albeit old, skeptical anthem?
Hi there haunters! (the small percentage of this blog’s readers who care about Halloween, anyway)
To be brief, I did a 3 part tutorial series on YouTube over the last few weeks, so I wanted to collect them in one place. If you’d like to know how to make something like the image above, have a watch!
I stood out under the stars tonight, freezing my tender regions, in search of a comet.
Comet PANSTARRS made another appearance this evening, and some of the folks from the local astronomy association e-mailed to say they’d be meeting in a local school field.
I must admit that I debated the trip before embarking on it. The air carried a definite bite, and I wondered how much better the object could possibly look through binoculars than seeing it on the internet.
Some frank talk about the future of this blog, and some religuous propoganda that got my goat.
Well howdy folks. Been a spell.
So, obviously I’ve lost my passion for this blog, and I should apologize to those few among you who call yourself fans. While a part of me wants to keep the conversation that we started going, over the last year and change my enthusiasm for writing seems to have drifted away.
I’ve also let my Twitter account go fallow, and have strayed from the public discussion of topics like skepticism, secularism, and rationality. While I still care about these issues, I’ve felt less of a need to defend or argue them recently. I’m still not sure why.
Leading up to December 21st, as the apocalypse seemed less likely, the jokes started bubbling to the surface on social media. As the day drew near, folks began to notice a sky conspicuously vacant of Nibiru. The volcanoes weren’t heating up, the sky wasn’t turning green, and people weren’t suffering from lethal cases of Montezuma’s revenge. (the instrument of destruction that I hoped the Mayans would use*)
With the apocalypse looking less imminent than previously feared, folks started to savagely mock the Mayan meme. I’m sure you saw the same thing in your newsfeeds. As my friend Steve Blacker put it: “Man… people are telling end-of-the-world jokes like there’s no tomorrow.”
So listen. I had friends who bought in to the whole Mayan thing. A number of them, in fact. And I don’t intend to rub their noses init, now that the *Yes, Montezuma was Aztec… I know. Call it comedic license.
In 1911 a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City killed 146 people. While tragic, it was also an important and progressive event in history.
While there had been many disastrous fires before it, the Triangle catastrophe somehow brought the world to a tipping point. Public reaction to the tragedy brought about a shift in political will; finally ushering in an age of codes and regulations that have since whittled down deaths by fire to a small fraction of what they once were.
I can’t begin to express my own thoughts on what happened today, so I won’t try to. I only hope that this wound won’t quickly pass from America’s public consciousness; that it scars the nation’s collective psyche as deeply as it should.
Maybe then that country can finally pass the tipping point so many people recognize is necessary; and muster the political will to fundamentally change the gun-control debate.