Thoughts On A Bicycle

It’s a beautiful summer day, except it doesn’t feel like summer downeast NC. A heavenly cold front has spanked the ghastly century mark temperatures. That and overcast skies are holding the mercury down to about 80° today. It’s a great day for a ride and the shiny two-wheeled contraption collecting dust in the corner is begging for a spin. So I take the back way to Homework Central with the lappie snug in its new backpack. And several thoughts remind me that things are different on two wheels. On a bicycle…

  • Flats don’t seem so flat anymore.
  • A ride to your local caffeine dispenser is not just a trip, it’s an adventure!
  • You fully appreciate the fact that objects are closer than they appear.
  • When you haven’t ridden in a while, your lowest gear is sometimes barely low enough.
  • The swooshy descent is worth the burn.
  • I need to ride more.
  • It’s good to be alive.

Carbon-neutrally yours,

Eric Blues

MS Word: Neutering The Language For Safer Reading

It’s English 102 time. Of course that means writing a research paper (essay, really). Yes… more Starbucks, more staring into space trying to gather my thoughts, and more Microsoft Word. Make mine 2003 if you please. It also means more Wordisms… like the dozy attempt at gender neutrality above.

I could go on and on about the end of the patriarchal society as predicated by the world’s favorite text editor. Or I could argue the other side and wax nostalgic for the good old days when men were men, and mankind included women kind whether we, err… they… them liked it or not. Instead, I’m merely prompted to ask “Do you remember your freshperson year?”

Your Life, Our Ocean

My new badge, simple and direct. Click for Google real time ” Gulf oil spill” search results.

Outpost 9: One Giant Leap For Martian Bats

Six weeks, nearly 450 lines of code (paltry), too little sleep and too many Starbucks triple tall Americanos later, I’ve delivered my first game coded in Adobe Director’s Lingo. It may have only been a dream, but this concludes the required three Interactive Authoring classes for my degree at the Art Institute. I’m pretty happy with the game and it’s a great base for continuing my education in Object Oriented Programming. Although many Flash-savvy authors consider Director an endangered species, it’s still useful for making stupid online games. And without silly Interweb games, how else are we  supposed to eat up millions of hours of productivity.

Feel free to contribute to this global suck by clicking the Outpost 9 graphic below. The premise is simple. You’re part of the security force for Earth’s first manned outpost on Mars. Aggressive Martian bats (actually, one bat :-D) attack during the day. Kill him or make it to night without dying and you win. Don’t bother changing weapons at the moment. The Shockwave is not active yet and the alert box disables further game play.

screenshot of Outpost 9

Desperately Seeking Knowledge

Yes, this is what being in school is like. Too much coffee, up too late, too much time in front of a discussion board. In the interest of finishing what I started, among other interests, I am completing my AS degree. I’m even thinking about pushing for my BS. I remember now how much I enjoy (even online) the school atmosphere. If you could only get that feeling from a pill.

Caprica Looks A Lot Like Earth

Ahead of the much anticipated debut of Battlestar Galactica’s offshoot, Caprica, SyFy has created an immersive web experience to heighten the buzz. Cleverly presented as a newspaper styled blog, The Caprican delivers all the news worth printing from the 12 colonies. Of course, it’s all done with a very Caprican slant. Growing threats of monotheism and militant religious activists are downplayed. Caprica’s premier magnet school, Athena Academy, gets glowing coverage of its record-setting enrollment. And the C-Bucs latest score in a disappointing season of Pyramid defeats is prominently displayed on the front page. For earthbound agencies hoping to create an online news presence, The Caprican offers a worthy role model: a nice balance of photographs and content, user-friendly design, and plenty of whitespace.

But the most compelling aspect of the site is the social commentary that’s beginning to form around the articles. Those of you familiar with Battlestar’s central themes have already spooled your FTL drives up and jumped ahead. For the less invested among you a summary will suffice.

Cylons, the cybernetic antagonists of the series were created by man. Through scientific hokery pokery they evolved into sentient beings that have the ability to “download” their memories and experiences into a cloned body upon their death. Think reincarnation. Along the way, Cylons have developed a monotheistic philosophy that is distinctly at odds with the beliefs of much of the 12 colonies’ population. The show Caprica predates the reimagined Battlestar Galactica by about 50 years. It answers many questions that BSG’s end-of-series movie didn’t, and it poses others.

The parallels between Caprica’s religious problems and issues we face earthside are undeniable. The mythical planet’s residents share our theistic views. Monotheist, polytheist, atheist and agnostic alike have to reconcile their differences or learn to live with the occasional suicide bombing or bout of ethnic cleansing. It’s an unsavory prospect in either world.

If one chooses to infer real world meaning from the eager scribblings of Caprican’s readers, then recent post-article comments at the site keenly reflect how religion divides us as much as it unites us. Through a fisheye lens, this microcosm of dedicated fans provides an invaluable research tool for SyFy in general and Caprica’s producers specifically. The site’s Terms of Service leave no doubt the network understands the crowdsourcing potential for future plot material.

With the success of 2012 and the insatiable interest in apocalyptic themes (Book of Eli anyone?), it’s easy to accuse SyFy of simply profiting from a current entertainment trend. But with Battlestar Galactica we’ve seen producers Ron Moore and David Eickman handle religion, rape, honor, betrayal and loss with both fierceness and finesse. If the movie premiere of Caprica is an indication, the acting will be on par with if not better than BSG.

Speechless Over Unseen Dr. King Photos

The beginning of the year always means one thing to me: Prepare for the onslaught of Black History Month and the Martin Luther King holiday. I don’t mean to make it sound like an onerous duty, but comparisons between these two events and the commercialization of Christmas are valid. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to think about how far we’ve come and remember some of our leaders who were felled while clearcutting the path to civil rights. I recently had that opportunity while shooting a weekly news show.

Brian Bowman, Public Affairs Officer for Wilson, NC interviewed Burk Uzzle, local resident and youngest Life magazine photographer ever hired. Besides having an eye for absolutely stunning compositions, Uzzle was present after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assasination and at his funeral. One of the photographs he took of Dr. King lying in repose graced the cover of Newsweek. Now, he has decided to show 20 previously unpublished photographs surrounding that moment in history at the Arts Council of Wilson in Wilson, NC.

An excerpt of Bowman’s interview with Mr. Uzzle is airing in this week’s city-produced news show, Around Town. A longer version of the interview is also available on Wilson’s Vimeo channel. If you happen to be in Wilson this month, the Arts Council is exhibiting the photos free of charge until
February 6.

Around Town, Week of January 13, 2010 from City of Wilson, NC on Vimeo.

More Cylon Tyranny

Woefully behind the times, I just watched the SyFy premiere of Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. I loved it, even though the objective viewer in me had to admit the movie was little more than a hand-stitched quilt of memories created to keep fans invested in the BSG franchise. I still mourn the death of the show. And I marvel at how other shows, (Scrubs for instance) can be born, syndicated, killed, resurrected, killed again, and then reborn on a different network. What a perfect example of Cylon regeneration!

If you’re as slow as I am and haven’t seen The Plan yet, I won’t spoil it for you. But I will leave you with a beautiful quote from the movie as emoted by #1 (Dean Stockwell):

I don’t want to be human! I want to see gamma rays. I want to hear X-rays and I… I wanna… I wanna smell dark matter. I wanna reach out with something other than these prehensile paws… and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me. I’m a machine. And I could know much more.

Waiting To Be A Person


I’ve been thinking about the “culture of life” this week. No, I’m not heeding Pope Benedict’s enticing (Ha!) call to convert to Catholicism. But the Fort Hood tragedy hilights a difference in how many of us view life, a difference as distinct as the chalk outline around the felled victims.

First reports of the incident claimed 12 dead, a number that eventually rose to 13. Amid the growing facts arising from the initial clamor we learned that 21 year old Iraq veteran Francheska Valez was three months pregnant. All of the victims’ names have not been released, but I expect there will only be 12 more besides Francheska. This continues a long held media policy of not enumerating fetuses with the formerly breathing and walking. To be politically correct, you could say embryos are “birth-challenged”. With the current culture’s view of life and when life begins, many persons in waiting will die that way.

What’s On My Mind?

What’s on my mind tonight? (Last night rather)

I’m being followed on Twitter by a ton of blues musicians. One of them is bucketofblues1. Bucket of Blues is the album and the musician is Bobby Parris. His website has a 10 track album for sale. Each song is 75 cents. Or you can buy the 10 track album for $10. Multiplication FAIL, Bobby.

My Facebook friends have grown a bit over the past two weeks. I sense it tilting sharply to the right. That’s life I suppose, but some balance (and a few more like minds) would be appreciated.

The thuggish summer heat and barometer-defying humidity have finally hooked up (eharmony, perhaps?). The nuptials and impending moist honeymoon are a month or so late. There’s nothing like walking outside from an air-conditioned room and feeling like you’re pushing through the heavy blanket of a second birth ceremony.

The Science Network has a cool spot with what sounds like Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up running underneath. Ooo look. Who knew Cod attacked octopusses and “death-rolled” their tentacles the way an alligator kills its victim? I’ll never think of fish and chips the same way again.