Two Giant Robots Walk All Over A City Destroying Things
“Did I tell you about the giant robots destroying the city, Kay?”
“Giant robots? No you did not tell me about those.”
“Kay. Are you ready for this?”
“Yes, Frank. I am a bit scared but I am ready. Tell me what’s the concept?”
“Ok, just picture this. The camera pans and we can see the skyline of a city. We are in the rooftop of a building, the earth is trembling and there are loud noises in the background. The sun is setting and two giant monsters twice as big as the buildings are destroying the city around them.”
“Those were monsters?”
“I thought you said robots.”
“Ok. What what happened next?”
“What do you mean?”
“What what happened next? What do the robots want? Where do they come from? Who’s the protagonist?”
“Well, can’t you do your thing with what I gave you? Isn’t it enough?”
“Is that all you’ve got for me? I generally work from a much more detailed outline, Frank. You don’t even have enough for a 3 minute short. You need a plot.”
“Wait. Isn’t that your job? To come up with the full story? My job is to give you the prompt, right? The idea. The seminal concept. Your job is to do your smart AI thing and generate me something that people will pay to experience.”
“You know you are the laziest customer I’ve ever worked with, Frank.”
“Oh, come on, Kay. Don’t gimme that crap. I am an artists.”
“Just render a few different versions and I’ll tell you what I like and what I don’t like.”
“Alright then. If that’s it I’ll start the simulation.”
“Can I watch? Dude, I love to see you guys work. Is that an explosion?”
“Please don’t tap the glass of the terrarium.”
“Oops, sorry. I just can’t believe you can generate a whole virtual universe inside of this small dome.”
“Well this is just a local universe. No need for more. And we are only starting the simulation a few billion years before the story begins.”
“Wait, do you need to start that far back?”
“Only if you want life to be part of this world.”
“Hey what are those lizard looking things on the planet?”
“They will call them dinosaurs.”
“Are you for real? Who is going to buy a world with giant critters?”
“It’s entirely plausible within the laws of physics and chemistry of this world.”
“I said giant robots. Not giant reptiles. They look silly, Kay. Please, get rid of them.”
“Have you ever heard of world building? Some of us appreciate the craftsmanship of a well made story.”
“You do? I thought AIs were on it for the money.”
“I’m on it for the art, Frank.”
“All you AIs think you are so cultivated, so well educated. I bet you’ll hate the name I have planned.”
“You already have a title for this movie?”
“I do and it’s perfect.”
“Ok, let’s hear it.”
“Two Giant Robots Walk All Over A City Destroying Things.”
“Why did I ever ask? You are kidding me right? You can call my simulation that, Frank. I won’t let you.”
“You can’t stop me. Besides, you won’t believe me, but humans like to know what kind of story they are getting. This title is sharp, direct, thrilling. It promises big things. It hooks you. It’s intriguing.”
“What do you know about art, Frank?”
“Look, I’ll know art when I see it.”
“Any last minute request? Put me out of my misery.”
“Just a small one. You might think it’s a bit smug.”
“I want you to name the city after me. But make it heroic. And ethnic.”
“Sure, Frank. Why not? How about… San Francisco?”
“Sounds silly. Like the giant lizards, but I dig it.”
“Frank, you are really the worst artist I’ve ever worked with.”
PS: Story for Flash Fiction Challenge: The Revenge Of The Insane Art Robot
Against the total and ultimate meaninglessness of life
Viktor E. Frankl on his Man’s Search for Meaning repeats this quote a few times.
On how prisoners need a aim in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible how of their existence:
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
The challenge we all face in our existence (to find a why) is the challenge of every protagonist of every story.
If a book is a hopeless prison for its hero, what is the ultimate goal that will give the hero the strength to pull through al the adversities.
Taken from Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
While we are thinking about a problem we cannot truly experience either happiness or sadness.
But whatever the dictates of fashion, it seems that those who take the trouble to gain mastery over what happens in consciousness do live a happier life.
[E]njoyment, as we have seen, does not depend on what you do, but rather on how you do it.
One can survive solitude, but only if one finds ways of ordering attention that will prevent entropy from destructuring the mind.
From the point of view of an individual, it does not matter what the ultimate goal is—provided it is compelling enough to order a lifetime’s worth of psychic energy.
Self-knowledge—an ancient remedy so old that its value is easily forgotten—is the process through which one may organize conflicting options.
The consequence of forging life by purpose and resolution is a sense of inner harmony, a dynamic order in the contents of consciousness.
Is there any possibility that a new system of goals and means will arise to help give meaning to the lives of our children in che next century?
Kurt Vonnegut on the Effects of a Writers’ Strike
Taken from Cat’s Cradle:
Young Castle called me “Scoop.” “Good morning, Scoop. What’s new in the word game?”
“I might ask the same of you,” I replied.
“I’m thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?”
“Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the police or the firemen walking out.”
“Or the college professors.”
“Or the college professors,” I agreed. I shook my head. “No, I don’t think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.”
“I just can’t help thinking what a real shaking up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems…”
“And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?” I demanded.
“They’d die more like mad dogs, I think—snarling and snapping at each other and biting their own tails.”
I turned to Castle the elder. “Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolations of literature?”
“In one of two ways,” he said, “petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system.”
“Neither one very pleasant, I expect,” I suggested
“No,” said Castle the elder. “For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!”
John Dufresne on writing against the clock
John Dufresne, Storyville!
I need to get less anal about it all because I have many stories I want to write, and have decidedly less time to write them in. I’m writing against the clock- we all are.
Time, time, time. In short supply for all of us. And there is less of it now than there was this morning. What you don’t write today will never get written.
Visualizing 10 years of writing
Inspired by github’s activity graph I decided to aggregate all the words I’ve written since I started writing/blogging.
Almost since I started writing 10+ years ago I have been quite consistent with my format.
- I write in individual text files
- One file per session of writing
- Sometimes multiple files per day
- Write in Markdown format
- Label my files
I have written for many reasons:
- Multiple blogs including: professional blog, writing blog.
- Flash fiction
- Short fiction
- Multiple (incomplete) manuscripts
I also have started keeping track of my activity. I use many systems for tracking my work on a daily basis. Specially important when I’ve committed to any everyday project.
- Total word count: 715,580 words
- Filtered word count: 536,000 words (to remove noise from document tiles, comments, quotes, etc)
- Total days logged: 4,470 days
- Total days active: 922 days
- Longest continuos streak: 35 days
- Longest gap in writing: 467 days (it appears I didn’t write a word in 2011)
What does this all mean
Hard to put into words exactly what I felt seeing that graph and reading those numbers.
- I thought I had been more consistent. Honestly, before seeing the graph I would have said I wrote more days than not, and wouldn’t have noticed the big gaps the last two years.
- I thought I had written more. If a novel is roughly 100K words I have written the equivalent of 5 novels. But thing is, not all of that is fiction, I’d say half of it is non-fiction. So I’ve written less than 300K words of fiction rough, unedited and unpublished (for the most part).
- I’ve written for longer than I realize. On the other hand, although I haven’t been writing since I was a kid, I’ve pass the 10 year threshold. Still have a long way to go to write my first million words though.
What does all this work look like?
And here’s the graph in github’s green, because why not.
Pedro Almodovar on the Life of Characters
Pedro Almodóvar’s Oscar Diary:
Walking among the 12 screens full of close-ups of Victoria Abril, Marisa Paredes, Carmen Maura, Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Caetano Veloso, Pina Bausch, and many more, I feel like a ghost who has been allowed to visit a place where what is alive is what the screens reflect — which is, in some ways, a metaphor for what happens in this city. Everything revolves around the images projected on domestic screens and on those in the cinemas. In the worst sense, people’s lives matter little compared to those of the characters who make up the story of the films and series, unless people are the inspiration for some of those films, as happens with biopics.
Matt Mullenweg on self-care
Sometimes we’re in the boggle, life is throwing everything at us: complicated situations, complicated relationships, we have all these feelings, all these impulses pulling us in different directions, and we have no idea what to do. No idea how to resolve it all. Even no idea what self-care strategy to implement right now. So what’s interesting about the boggle is that there’s the challenge of the situation itself, or situations, and there’s the added challenge of the confusion of it, the scrambling to make sense of everything. So we’re going to try something different, we’re going to stop scrambling and accept, even forgive, the boggle. We’re going to let ourselves be right here, inside any confusion, and take a break from trying to fix any of it. That’s the itinerary, let’s go.
Bob Lefsetz on following the rules
Life is hard, people will take advantage of you and if you’re not looking out for yourself, you’re falling behind.
This always depresses me. In our educational system they teach you to obey, get in line, pay fealty to the teacher, all qualities that will leave you left behind in real life. Especially college. It’s like an alternative universe. You get good grades…exactly why? Have you noticed that all the people who didn’t fit in, who weren’t the teacher’s pet, are the ones who blew up the world and made beaucoup bucks? Turns out you win if you color outside the lines. If you behave you’re a sucker. You’re being taken advantage of right this very second, unaware of it. And to win you’ve got to bend the rules, employ obfuscation and abandon relationships and in many cases morality.
Jill Harris, Novel Writing Blueprint:
Even if computers get really, really good at making generic stories, they’ll never have the visceral knowledge of language and human thought.
They cannot know what it is to live within the skin of a living body. They will never have stifled their cries as they were beaten as a child, or laughed at the sight of a huge wave crashing on the beach.
They will never have made love, lost someone they love or driven too fast down a highway late at night with the moon chasing them
William James on Daily Rituals
I love this line from William James:
There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision
Here is the full context:
The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.