Little wonder we stumble in life.

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Logic, and its problems

Feeling, and instinct, are essential evolutionary traits to any conscious lifeform. An animal never wonders whether there’s more to life. Logic has its uses, of course; logic can help us to survive by rationalising our decisions. In combination with imagination, we were able to survive in the desert long enough to evolve and spread out. We even made logic a cornerstone of civilisation, and ingrained into our education system, especially in subjects like mathematics. But we are not built to be creatures of pure logic, nor should we be.

In the Star Trek universe, Vulcans have often been interpreted as creatures of pure logic, and I have said before this is an idealisation. Yet despite what the Vulcans themselves probably like to believe, they are not creatures of pure logic. To compare them to the Romulans, both peoples share one important difference: one believes in peace, and the other in war. These are cultural values, and cultural values are never, and should be never, a purely logical concept. To reduce it to as much is to take something essential away, to reduce a people to a lost child. This is a concept tackled in Star Trek The Motion Picture through V’Ger, and it remains an important narrative.

I believe all cultures require a feeling in order to understand, more than a direct translation: there is no such thing as a direct translation in either language or culture, and to rely strictly on any set phrases is to sell yourself short. The trick is not to understand another culture through your own, but to understand another culture in its own original context. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it takes instinct, which even the most detached beings have, to understand others. It’s only a matter of finding similarities, things that resonate, to guide you there. Especially if you find a resonant culture, this is possible. However, it also takes and keen and open eye to new perspectives to really immerse yourself in it. And in the end, it’s all worthwhile when you’re heart’s in it.

We are not empty beings. Logic can be a powerful tool, but it can also be a sanctuary from life. Life is messy, but you can only hide in it for so long before you lose yourself in it. To the lucky ones who break out of this rut, it may not seem like it, but it is a good thing. Because logic is a rut to hide in, an enabler of all the shame within a person. When Darwin released his Origin of Species and revealed humanity’s ancestry, it threw this shame into the spotlight: the most civilised humans simply couldn’t deal with the truth. They wanted to continue to hide, but that didn’t last forever. Today, we are stepping more into the light, learning to embrace our flaws more, although shrouds still remain all across our world. However, as the world continues to change, perhaps civilisation will eventually cease to define itself by clinging to logic; or perhaps it will simply find new ways to hide.

Social media might be the modern equivalent, and perhaps that’s understandable. We all need our masks; it’s when those masks become horcruxes that truly turns us to dark magic. To choose what is easy over what is right, to extend the Harry Potter reference, is what really does us damage. Let’s look at Voldemort for a second, because to create a horcrux in the first place is to literally commit an act that would tear you apart; and Voldemort has done that seven times. You wouldn’t imagine it to think of him, but each of these acts really holds so much power ove him, these kills far less than the casual way he presents himself, that you can’t but wonder at the soul that still remains in him. To bring the concept back to social media is look at the way people use it. Because, like logic, it can be defined both has a tool and as a mask. But when people live their lives through that mask, instead of living their lives as they are, in short if they start living their lives as if the mask is their real selves, then they are only then creating their own horcrux, and running from who they are. Because if any medium means so much to them, it’s only because they’re using it as a mirror to their real lives, untouched from the selves contained within.

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Can a woman be a likable success?

It was highlighted on Modern Family once. Women who are successful are often seen as unlikable. They’ve even said it about Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

And I’ve always said, “I’d much rather be successful than liked.” After all, it’s true. But thanks to this article, I’ve also come to the realisation that being liked is something that I care about too. The reason I’ve always said that, though, is because I wish I didn’t.

I’ve never been liked. Not when I was growing up, not to the people around me. And I would bet that, even though my life has gotten better since then, it’s still something that rings true. It’s still something that undoubtedly happens, and it’s still a fear of mine enough that, like Daniel Koeker has recently said, I run from things like bad reviews and negative feedback.

Not just in writing, either. In my opinions. Which I can feel the need to express inside. I can be embarrassed easily.

And I do this partially because I’ve read that it’s something good writers do; even though it may seem childish to run from one bad review, it’s ultimately better for your health not to seek out those bad reviews. This, from what I’ve read from a writer who saw one bad review of something he’d written in the paper amongst good reviews…

I took all this in because it comforted me. I’ve always told myself I need to grow a thicker skin, but the fact that I could avoid bad reviews if I wanted, without guilt, eased my mind greatly. And I’ve always said anything that eases my mind is needed; my mind can be pretty uptight. If it’s too much, I’m afraid I’ll crack.

It was also comforting when Daniel Koeker said that criticism to a writer doesn’t have to roll of their back… I don’t necessarily have to work too hard on growing a thick skin. That helps.

The thing is, as a writer, likability goes hand in hand with success. At least in that arena, a woman can be both. After all, I consider JK Rowling to be likable. As do I find her series.

And I know that’s something, because looking back on how I think of my parents, I consider my mom to be a nag… and yet a compulsion to listen to my father. Hell, for years I wanted him to be my favourite parent. But our relationship just wasn’t like that.

Hell only knows why I think that way. Or why anyone else does, for that matter.

So, even with my issues, there’s one thing. If she can do it, why not me? (And yes, I’m paraphrasing Harry Potter when he was teaching Dumbledore’s Army there.)


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The Ivan Project, #9

These guys probably haven’t heard of Wizard Rock, but it feels like wizard rock, even if I know it was intended as a parody. It’s kind of like when the Beastie Boys did Fight For Your Right To Party. I don’t even mind the third verse… Swish and Flick make songs like that, anyway.

I was singing this song to myself as I cooked dinner last night, and I started to focus in on the first verse… and I started to wonder about the character in it, why he never went to Hogwarts if he’s a wizard.

And I came up with this.

He stared into his own reflection, not in the mirror but real and in the flesh. The only difference between either of them was that the man in front of him had round glasses and a lightning bolt scar.

“How is this possible?” he asked me.

“My parents stole me when I was two months,” Gary answered. “They helped your parents when they were running from Voldemort.”

“They’re your parents too.”

“They didn’t raise me.”

“They didn’t raise me either! They died when I was one!”

“Glad I got out of there in time, then.”

Harry fumed at him. “How could you?”

“Hey, I’m a street thug now. Gary Potter, nice to meet you,” he teased.

“You don’t regret it? I’ll take you in for–”

“Then cuff me up, Potter! My parents told me everyting when I turned seventeen! And I hated everyone for it!”

“Then why do you call yourself Potter?”

“Because it should have been me,” Gary snarled. “I deserve all the glory! Instead I’m just some nobody who didn’t get to Hogwarts because I was too isolated! Who knows?” he said, leveling up to his brother with a glare. “Maybe the prophecy meant me.”


Stream of Consciousness Sunday – Wouldn’t it be Awesome?

This week’s (optional) prompt: Wouldn’t it be awesome if…

…If I didn’t have to worry about my hair frizzing or being out of control?

…If I didn’t have to put too much effort into vain things like my appearance, or have to change clothes as often?

…If the bigots of the world finally learned their lesson and stopped being assholes?

…If I could just place in the top three of a Trifecta challenge for once? Especially if I won…

…If I could magically do chores without “doing” the chores, like the Weasleys do at The Burrow?

…If the wand in my closet was real, and could perform magical spells?

…If the characters in my stories could magically appear and talk it out with me whenever I’m stuck on what they would think or do in a given situation?

 This is my first prompt from Stream of Consciousness Sunday. Technically, its Saturday now, but this entry’s collection was still open, and I kind of wanted to give it a try after reading other people’s entries…

So even if another post comes up tomorrow and I wanna do it, I still might.


Hogwarts House Analysis

I found this on tumblr, while I was looking for motivation for one of my original characters. You see, ever since Harry Potter, I think of everyone, in real life or in any fandom, as belonging to a certain house. It’s like part of their characterisation now.

Here’s what it said about Gryffindor, which is this character’s house:

True Gryffindors have a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, and this is a part of what gives them such strong opinions. Depending on the person, this may be taken to a Borderline degree, and they may see people as either good or evil, not in between and no chance of redemption for those on the darker sides of things. Alternately, Gryffindors may see all people as being initially good, and only making the wrong choices take the down the wrong road. Both of these behaviours are why Gryffindors and Slytherins can easily clash. Gryffindors are usually incredibly intelligent, but they tend to be slackers, more focused on getting a taste of something new than sticking to responsibility. This can be their downfall from success, or quite the opposite, bringing them a rise up into something they love. Once they find their true place in the world, Gryffindors will often use their accomplishments to the benefit of others in some form or fashion. Actors, singers and athletes can often be classified as Gryffindors. Despite their good intentions, they can also quite often be ill-tempered and overly emotional, which is their Achilles’ Heel in most instances. A darker Gryffindor may become out of control because of this, hurting those they love or holding a grudge for many years. This is simply based upon my opinion and obviously does not apply to everyone within every house. Do not take this too seriously as to get offended by anything I say. If you enjoy this and wish for me to analyze combined houses, like this post.

On a related note, I am on Pottermore, and a Slytherin there, and I just saw this on a linked tumblr account:

The winner of the first Pottermore House Cup: Slytherin!

My reaction? YESSSSSS!

PS As a person who used to identify as Ravenclaw, they really should have more than quotes on their tumblr. Sure, I love their quotes as much as anyone (though they’re not as awesome as Slytherin’s), but its no 16 Reasons You’re Not A Nerd.

PPS This is what Kristina Horner should put on her tumblr:


What the hell is 50 Shades, and why so popular?

Everyone’s talking about this new book 50 Shades of Grey. According to one blogger, it’s the new Da Vinci Code. Wikipedia says its set the new record for fastest selling book. Wikipedia even claims (how accurate is that claim?) that it’s surpassed Harry Potter!

But what is this book/trilogy even about?

Fifty Shades of Grey follows Anastasia “Ana” Steele, a 22 year old college senior that lives with her best friend Katherine Kavanagh, who writes for their college’s student paper. Due to catching a cold, Katherine persuades Ana to take her place for an interview with Christian Grey, an incredibly successful and wealthy young entrepreneur.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James. Set largely in Seattle, it is the first instalment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).

What the fuck?

How is this better than Harry Potter?

Wikipedia has also told me about controversies involved with the book, the first of which is its origins in fanfiction. Not exactly my fandom, but I can respect the fact that someone actually managed to turn fanfiction into something so sellable.

Or I would. From what else I’ve read of it, it’s just a bad fanfic turned novel. Even if it wasn’t “a sex book”, I probably still wouldn’t read it.

And yet so many women do. Why? Because society is so sex-obsessed? Because the male lead fits so well into their own individual broken down self-pride? Because the author is simply taking what audiences secretly wait for in any story between two characters and skipping right to it?

I don’t get it. Personally, I just find the whole thing depraved, even apart from the sex. This isn’t Twilight, it’s so much worse. I don’t know what the books are like unless I read them, but just as an outsider, I’d say that the whole thing is just making a bad thing worse.

It’s no secret that certain people dismiss Twilight by saying that Bella and Edward’s relationship isn’t healthy. If anything, 50 Shades is the proof. Do we really wanna take our lessons from vampires?

You tell me.

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22 Things I’ve Done


Took pictures in the park

 – Took a course of Digital Photography, and then used it at home.

  – Travelled from Darwin to Adelaide by mini-bus, camping at Uluru and riding camels there along the way.

  – Gotten to eat free chocolate at the Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Tasmania

  – Had my 21st birthday exploring caves at Jenolan Caves.

  – Went to a Green Day concert and screamed my heart out.

– Visited my family for the first time in America, and got to hang out with them.

– Read the entire last book of Harry Potter to mom (no small task).

– Surfed in Hawaii

– Gone grave-walking on Halloween night, i.e I visited graveyards and looked at the graves.

– Learned Japanese for three years, at least proving I could learn a language.

– Proven to myself I can write fiction and poetry well.

– Ate American food I thought I’d hate (like bacon on a donut), and liked it.

Ate Clam Chowder at Mo's.

– Visited countless American restaurants, both that I’d heard of (IHOP) and not (Wendy’s) and got consistently full.

– Took an American road trip, including driving down Route 66.

– Took a gander in the largest bookstore, in Oregon, that I’d ever seen.

– Finally saw that episode of Fear Factor Uncle Tegger (Scott) was in.

– Visited the Snowy Mountains, and the Blue Mountains.

– Visited Queensland, and the Gold Coast.

– Saw a game at the Olympics.

– Saw some backyard fireworks, got to try smores, and had a good night with family.

Saw what a backyard fireworks show really looks like.

– Visited Canberra, including Parliament House.

– Visited Sydney, Darling Harbour, Taronga Zoo,  Australian and Powerhouse Museum, Centrepoint Tower, Sydney Opera House and crossed Sydney Harbour Bridge.