Narcissistic Robot

kazerad:

Today I had a surprising amount of people independently ask me for writing advice, and it kind of put me in the mood to talk about writing. I noticed back in a few of my older posts I referred to the idea of “paint-by-numbers originality”, and I figured I should take a quick break from the game…

This is a very good post about originality. Concerning the first type of originality described here though, I realize how alien it is to me that original settings aren’t all that important to other people. For me personally, new ideas are the most entertaining thing in any form of storytelling. They aren’t a required element, but I’ve often had more fun reading about made-up alien culture than reading actual decent stories.

As obsessed as I am with seeing original ideas, I can’t agree at all that this type of originality is something simple. Sure it’s easy to come up with something completely new, but what’s hard is coming up with something that is both new and works well. Take Kazerad’s alien for example. It would probably not make for a very good protagonist. Even as an antagonist, it’d probably be more like an animal or an animate obstacle. It’s an antagonist that you would refer to as “it” rather than “he” or “her.” On the other hand, it’d be very easy to fall back to star-trek type aliens to tell a story. Looks aren’t everything either. How do you make something think and act like an alien, but make it similar enough to be something that people could care about as a person? Making a character that is alien, interesting, and relatable, is hard. More-so if it must be illustrated.

I can’t think of a lot of good examples, but one would be the aliens in the movie District 9. They manage to be both clearly non-human, but also characters easy to empathize with. To a lesser degree would be the Formics in Ender’s Game. They are presented as completely alien, and it’s expected that they would not be viewed as people. At the end of the book however, when they are explained in greater detail, it’s hard not to feel bad for them.

Although, I guess the point being made was that most people just don’t care about this sort of originality as anything but a supporting element. I find it very sad. This is the kind of story element that I live off of. This is what makes things memorable for me. I don’t want to feel; I want to imagine.

kazerad:

Like everyone else, I was very apprehensive when The Elder Scrolls Online was announced. If you didn’t guess from the fancomic/parody I have been writing for the last three years, I like the Elder Scrolls games and really want to see them shine and play up their strengths. Given that the…

scribbleliz:

slamacowcreations:

NEW ANIMATION! Hurray! What’s the deal with witches? 

Everything about this animation is so smooth and well choreographed. Those dances are amazing and energetic, and I really love the slimes, they seem extra adorable.

chailattemusings:

miss-sakura-noki:

breastmilkontherocks:

"Children are required to be in school, where their freedom is greatly restricted, far more than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades we’ve been compelling them to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there’s strong evidence that this is causing psychological damage to many of them. And as scientists have investigated how children naturally learn, they’ve realized that kids do so most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school….Most people assume that the basic design of today’s schools emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn. But nothing could be further from the truth. Schools as we know them today are a product of history, not research.   …. Research has shown that people of all ages learn best when they are self-motivated, pursuing answers to questions that reflect their personal interests and achieving goals that they’ve set for themselves. Under such conditions, learning is usually joyful. The evidence for all of this is obvious to anyone who’s watched a child grow from infancy to school age. Through their own efforts, children figure out how to walk, run, jump, and climb. They learn from scratch their native language, and with that, they learn to assert their will, argue, amuse, annoy, befriend, charm, and ask questions.  ….
They do all of this before anyone, in any systematic way, tries to teach them anything. This amazing drive and capacity to learn does not turn itself off when children reach five or six. But we turn it off with our coercive system of schooling.”

PREACH

Public schooling, at least in America, was started around the time of the Industrial Revolution, and was a preparation for factory work when kids got old enough. That’s why the hours are as long as they are and every public school seems to run on the same shitty system that only provides bare minimum education. It taught basic literacy and work ethics to children who could then grow up and be decent employees. The school system wasn’t designed for learning and teaching, it was designed as job preparation. 
[source]

I wish that more people could understand this.

chailattemusings:

miss-sakura-noki:

breastmilkontherocks:

"Children are required to be in school, where their freedom is greatly restricted, far more than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades we’ve been compelling them to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there’s strong evidence that this is causing psychological damage to many of them. And as scientists have investigated how children naturally learn, they’ve realized that kids do so most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school….
Most people assume that the basic design of today’s schools emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Schools as we know them today are a product of history, not research.

….
Research has shown that people of all ages learn best when they are self-motivated, pursuing answers to questions that reflect their personal interests and achieving goals that they’ve set for themselves. Under such conditions, learning is usually joyful.
The evidence for all of this is obvious to anyone who’s watched a child grow from infancy to school age. Through their own efforts, children figure out how to walk, run, jump, and climb. They learn from scratch their native language, and with that, they learn to assert their will, argue, amuse, annoy, befriend, charm, and ask questions.
….

They do all of this before anyone, in any systematic way, tries to teach them anything.
This amazing drive and capacity to learn does not turn itself off when children reach five or six. But we turn it off with our coercive system of schooling.”

PREACH

Public schooling, at least in America, was started around the time of the Industrial Revolution, and was a preparation for factory work when kids got old enough. That’s why the hours are as long as they are and every public school seems to run on the same shitty system that only provides bare minimum education. It taught basic literacy and work ethics to children who could then grow up and be decent employees. The school system wasn’t designed for learning and teaching, it was designed as job preparation. 

[source]

I wish that more people could understand this.

I’ve finally released my starbound ship mod. Check it out here!

My Congo African Grey picks up stuff REALLY fast. Sometimes he’ll piece together stuff that’s hilarious.

Yesterday I was sitting next to him reading, and he was preening quietly so I told him he was being really good — giving them attention when they’re not screaming gives them the option of not screaming when they want attention, so I try to do this a lot.

His response? He said in a friendly tone, “You’re a really good Nattie. Haha. I love you, bitch.” My husband and I use obscenities as casual endearments.

Then sometimes he’ll throw stuff together in Engrish-y ways that almost make sense. The other day we were moving, so I put Bongo (the African Grey) and our cockatiel in their travel cages so I could take their huge cages apart to stick in the truck. Bongo didn’t like this, so he decided to lift up his water bowl, which lifts the food cup door, and throw it on the floor. Shocked, I said, “You douche!” Bongo yeowled, this hilarious gibberishy cat-like sound. My husband came in and asked what happened, and Bongo said, “Yes, that became water now.” I want to put that on a shirt with like, a picture of an anthropocentrized flower or something.

Other times he’ll say stuff that makes sense, logically and grammatically, that he’s put together on his own, but it’s just funny. The other day we were sitting in silence for a while, when Bongo suddenly let out this long sigh and said, “Well, I guess I *am* Bongo,” not in a revelatory tone, but in the same grudging way someone takes responsibility, like when someone says, “I guess I *am* the adult here.” I blinked at him and said, “Alright. How does that make you feel?” and he just gave a weary “hm” and started preening, like there was nothing to be done for it so we may as well move on with life.

On a less philosophical note, a few weeks ago we put the birds to bed, which basically means just putting them in their cages and covering them. Most nights, Bongo does not want to go to bed, but that night he REALLY didn’t want to. He tried to scramble back out of the cage but wasn’t fast enough. He then clung to the side as my husband wrapped the blanket around, and, adopting my husband’s raging-at-Mortal-Kombat voice, yelled, “Nooooooooooooooooo!” We cracked up because we couldn’t help it, which he did not seem to appreciate. He fell silent once the blanket was in place. Then we flicked the light switch off, and Bongo said simply, “Fuck.”

Bongo is awesome. Parrots are awesome. When we lived in Texas, there was a breeder who said that her breeding parrots would speak some human to their chicks, like “good girl” and “here’s some nummies” when feeding them. Bongo uses both when he talks to our cockatiel, which is positively creepy since they hate each other; he’ll climb on Precious’s cage to harass him, and say, “Come here Precious” and snicker, and when Precious starts squawking in outrage, he says, “Calm down, Precious,” or (more rudely) “Shut up, Precious.” What’s especially amusing about this is we practically never said those things to Precious because Precious didn’t scream as much as Bongo used to; we’d say “calm down, Bongo” instead, but he says Precious. He also tries to blame his own screaming on Precious if I’m out of the room: he will scream a lot, and if I eventually say anything back telling him to knock it off, he says “shut up Precious.” And then screams again. (He doesn’t scream much anymore after I started being more alert to enforcing and ignoring certain things.) Precious also does this horrible, scratchy barking sound in imitation of an alarm clock we had when he was a baby, and Bongo will start whistling La Cucaracha whenever Precious starts in on this because Precious LOVES La Cucaracha and will instantly start singing instead.

It is always interesting to me to see different ways Bongo figures out how to use sounds to change stuff around him. One of my favorite things he likes to do is sit on the back of my wooden office chair, and he will start banging his beak rhythmically on it, which is a normal bird thing, especially with male birds (Precious does it too). But if I start making percussive beat boxing noises, he will keep banging his beak AND make a clicking sound AND put his wings up and dance a bit. The rhythm is shaky but it’s super cute. If he wants to get my attention, he knows I will do that with him for a while. He also likes to sing, “Boooooongo, Booooongo biiiiird,” in it sometimes, just whatever notes he feels like.

But what’s been REALLY great, is Bongo’s about to turn six, so for the last year or so he’s been transitioning to adulthood more fully. He seems to have gotten much smarter — like, quicker to understand things — and mellowed out over this time. The other week I was sick and lying in bed, really tired, but Bongo was freaking out wanting to see me so my husband brought him in the bedroom and left him on the chair I mentioned earlier. Bongo started gibbering and laughing and talking to me a bunch, which cheered me up, and I didn’t want him to feel ignored so I kept up for twenty minutes or so. Finally, though, I was just too tired, but Bongo kept talking. I tried to think of a way to explain, not really knowing if anything would work, but not wanting to upset him. When we put the birds to bed at night, we say, “It’s bedtime!” so that seemed like an option. Then he knows that “mommy” is me, plus he had started using it as an adjective — he started saying “want mommy kiss” a year ago.

So I try, “It’s mommy bedtime.” To my surprise, he stops talking abruptly, then says, “Okay.” And he stayed completely silent while I took a nap. When I woke up, he said in a bright British accent, “Hullo!”

Birds are the best.

nattie (via weeaboo-chan)

I saw an article about parrot intelligence where some jackass was going on in the comments about how birds don’t understand the human words they use and their mimicry isn’t any more impressive than those cats that sound like they’re saying “no”, we just get fooled into believing they’re intelligent because they figure out how we react to these sounds and how to use them to get what they want and it’s like dude I’m sorry but are you aware of what “language” is?

(via coelasquid)

mcmcmuke:

NOTWIZARDS EPISODE 6: ALCHEMY

shit man 

more like episode 6 GET SOME OF THE GOLD

kiyuukins:

Another story.

[ref]

…. dude that last one