HI

Er, again.

Let’s just say that life is stressful, and I suck at informing the world when I’m about to suddenly vanish. Instead of freaking out over Very Stressful Things (*eyes college*) imma write a little post about Cool Things.

So I have a new URL. Observe. I might think these things are really cool. Cool enough to write a post on, even. There’s memes at the end.

Write

Anyone who can do this is not me.

For the longest time I didn’t consider myself a writer. I haven’t published anything, hell I’ve barely FINISHED anything, and my quality? Can you say NEEDS EDITS? How about “who the hell would even READ this?” I don’t even WANT to publish. I just like to write stupid stories that feature absurdist humor, cliche black cloaked assassins, dramatic fight scenes, and bad endings. Okay, maybe not all at once (okay, maybe all at once >.>) but still. Not exactly the next Tolkien, Jordan, or Eddings. I struggle with finishing things. I struggle with keeping to stories, writing coherent thoughts, and remembering my plot. For ages I hated all my characters because they were too D&D, too cardboard, and unemotional as potato salad.

Well, screw that. That’s basically where NaNo comes in.

NaNoWriMo is an amazing invention not only because it brings together a bunch of writers, but because it is SO INSANE that you can’t stop to hate your characters. Can’t take a brief plot-abusing breather. Can’t abandon a story because HOW WILL YOU COME UP WITH ANOTHER PLOT AND 2k WORDS, S**T IT’S MIDNIGHT, 4k WORDS, IN TIME.

(Hmm, I’ve apparently come to a decision about swearing here. Convenient.)

Map from NaNo ’10. Kinda looks like inverted America?

I won that first NaNo with a tale so epically unlikely, so Airbender-y in magic system, and with such fakely comrade-y characters that I loved it. I swear I had TWO nations of angsty elves, each deliciously idiotic in its own, snowflaykey way. And a MC who fought blindfolded WITH A SCYTHE because I thought it was cool.

It probably looked like this. Also I just realized my ImageShack acc. is a trial period o.o

What I’m trying to say here (the hell am I trying to say, self?) is that writing is FUN. Who the f**k cares if your writing is terribad and stupid and kills off too many MCs? Deciding to never publish a novel is actually surprisingly freeing. I can write about angsty cabbage-Nuns (Malcab, an extremely serious tale) and serial killer noblewomen (Celia, not disturbing at all) and lands where nearly everyone is a Chosen One (City of No Seers, it ends well, I assure you). Writing is cool because you get to tell stories no one else has told, and create the ones you’ve always wished to read.

Loads of people take writing seriously and have a Purpose in their stories. I don’t. I write to amuse myself, and I certainly do. Sometimes I amuse other people, which is awesome when it happens. I like the online writer community, and the way the fantasy genre is made up of SO many reader-writers, and the abundance of flash fiction contests that are low-pressure and absurdity-friendly. I’ve always been, first and foremost, a reader. Other than at exam-time, I’m usually most motivated to write after finishing a brilliant book. Does my story usually come out derivative and horribly unoriginal? Probably. But seriously, who cares. Writing for the sake of writing is basically the best way to approach it. You don’t have to be a professional, or even a good writer. You don’t even have to be serious, or intellectual, or have a point. Get yourself a fun and awesome writing group that is cool with whatever “literature” you seek to produce, join a bunch of crazy forum challenges, and go write. It’s fun, I promise.

And with that …

Code

I want this shirt.

CODING IS FUN. No, I’m not lying to you. Do I hear you, in the back, whispering that you’re not mathy enough to code? What about you on the left, muttering that you can barely find your Task Manager? What about you, hunched down in the front, hissing (shh, I’m running out of words) that you learned how to Google yesterday?

Okay, last dude might have a bit of a problem. But the rest of you DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING.

Something you are missing.

Everyone. Can. Code. Whether everyone likes to code is a different matter, of course, but the widespread mental block that people (all kinds of people! Even engineers!) have about coding as this arcane martial art, wrought in the deepest computer lab caverns by hunched over minions of the Dark One–er, I mean programmers, those strange of seldom-seen creatures who generate this mysterious thing known as a program, is, frankly, ridiculous.

This is what I look like when I debug. Honest.

Do you want to make a game? Give your brother a little pop-up virus? Become a Hacker(tm) and moan about non-techies on IRC? Well, you can do that by learning programming. And you don’t even need math.

I got into programming because I was bored. SO bored, that I wanted to learn to write a javascript calculator to convert Celsius to Farenheight because I was doing a data entry internship, and nothing makes you want to set yourself on fire more than a data entry internship.

This is what would have happened to me. Programming saves lives.

Just go to this website <http://www.codecademy.com/>, it’s the friendliest one I know. Get into Javascript, learn until you’ve got the basic programming concepts down, then think of a project you desperately want to do (I’ll admit the virus one was one of the most motivational–and successful–projects of my programming career) and go do it. All you need is Google, a few tolerant friends to moan at, and persistence. English majors can code. Molecular Biologists can code *coughs*. People who decided college wasn’t their thing and take care of a family can code. There’s a woman on my knitting forum who has NINE children (here Si dies of horror and amazement) who is learning DATABASE MANAGEMENT. ON HER OWN. AND SHE’S FREAKING GOOD AT IT. If you have questions talk to me, I am pretty darn obsessed with programming and like to talk about it a lot.

The fun never stops. I’m writing a bioinformatics data processing alg (with machine learning! No, I did not take a class and yes, it’s a hell of a challenge), learning game dev (stupid Pong stupidly doesn’t follow my orders), and getting a minor in CS (for fun. I love telling non-CS people that). This all started because I wanted to write a little Javascript calculator because setting yourself on fire to escape boredom is bad.

I am going to hate myself when I have to move all these images to a different host.

So yeah. I should probably shut up while I’m ahead but there’s one little last cool thing I want to tell you about and that is …

Do Science

A bad scientist.

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that Doing Science is pretty high on the list of Things That Are Causing Stress right now, but I’m trying to publish a paper and get into grad school.

Like coding, people often have a mental block about science. That’s often because a lot of science is obtuse, hard to understand, and presented in an extremely dry and self-conciously academic style. I’m guilty of this myself.

What peer-reviewed research papers don’t tell you is that SCIENCE IS AWESOME.

Are you on Twitter? Follow NASA. No, seriously, it’s INCREDIBLE. When people talk about science, they should use pictures.

THIS IS OUR ACTUAL UNIVERSE.

I think science is so awesome I’m literally running out of words to express this with.

Okay, I give up, just watch this.

THIS IS WHAT I STUDY. LITERALLY THIS THING. LOOK AT IT. THIS IS YOUR CELL.

This is a simplified version of what the hell is happening in every single one of your cells at this moment. Maybe with less background music. And people think bio is dry.

Everyone needs to study science. If you don’t know science to at least a “skeptic” degree (aka you can tell when someone’s BSing you), then you are putting control of yourself into the hands of fake “experts”. Even if you don’t know the answers, know someone who DOES. Or can at least tell you if something is legit/not legit. I volunteer *waves*. Better yet, learn to distinguish the BS from the real thing. Always be skeptical as hell.

I hate that some of the most awesome things in science are made so incredibly dull in the classroom. I hate that science education is actually getting challenged here, that science funding is getting cut, and researchers are being forced to look elsewhere to continue their work.

NOTHING sets my mind on fire (this is a good thing) like research. I have a tiny part in discovering a tiny thing that minutely expands human knowledge in a sub-sub-sub field almost no one has heard of. AND I LOVE IT.

We actually do this.

Everyone can discover things! Everyone can add to human knowledge! The world is a huge, wonderful, incredibly interesting place.

Go out on a walk and know that trees are drawing water through their whole lengths by the power of tiny vacuums, caused by the leaving of water through tiny holes in leaves.

Stars that look so calm and faraway are fusing hydrogen to helium at their centers; they’re giant burning balls of gas that will violently explode (or have already done so), releasing matter and energy throughout the universe!

As you sit here breathing, hundreds of tiny proteins are racing along your DNA, repairing breaks and errors caused just by going out in the sunlight.

Have you ever looked at refraction patterns in a crystal? Do you know how freaking hard that is to calculate? Yet, with the incredible organization of a diamond, it happens AUTOMATICALLY. And that’s why they sparkle so well.

I’ll admit this is SO not my field. But how can you not appreciate this?

The world is SO not static. So many invisibly small things are happening at once that builds and builds until you have something as crazy as a tree, or a hurricane, or the universe itself.

Only by knowing how fragile, how impossibly faulty, every tiny building block potentially is, can you appreciate the insanity in the fact that our universe ACTUALLY EXISTS.

Stats is boring until you realize that our universe is just one improbable event built upon another. And then you wonder how many times it got it wrong. And yet, we exist.

Nikon Small World Contest. This is a the blood-brain barrier in a Zebrafish.

How amazing is the world?

Everyone should do science.

Science would not quit dammit!

That was probably a bit intense so here are some of my favourite (why is my Firefox British?) memes as promised. Coherency ftw!

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2 responses to “HI

  1. *coughs something about being the English Major in question* Although, do I still count, since I changed my major to Computer Sciences? Or does that just prove something more about coding XDD

    Like

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