4/22/10

On Faith (Nothing Proves Anything)

I was asked a rather pertinent question on Formspring.me and was kind of peeved to find that apparently the answer was too long for it to show up on my profile. So, I'm preserving it here for posterity.

Q: You said at one time that nothing can be proven, that at some point, every individual has to make a leap, and accept something on faith. What are some things that you've taken on faith, and why?

A: I've taken almost... ALMOST everything on faith. I believe people when it seems reasonable that they have no reason to lie to me, but I become skeptical when it seems unreasonable that this person has first-hand experience with what they're telling me.

4/19/10

Velociraptor Awareness

Yesterday was Velociraptor Awareness Day and while the rest of the world went about their velociraptor unaware lives, I was busy educating the world on velociraptor facts. As a foremost expert on awesome, cinematically portrayed animals, I have compiled a list of 15 important things to remember when facing a velociraptor. Don't be caught with your pants down! We are all well aware of a dinosaur's ability to smash through porta-potties!
  1. Velociraptors can use tools with which to kill you. But they won't. Velociraptors are the smartest dinosaurs in existence and could easily craft a rudimentary killing tool to take the life of its prey, but observation has concluded that velociraptors take great pleasure in tearing his prey to shreds with its bare hands. And feet. And teeth. Make no mistake about it, a velociraptor is a very tactile being.
  2. A pack of velociraptors will surround and confuse its prey before killing it. The velociraptor who came up with this idea generally gets first choice in what meat he gets to eat. As the smartest dinosaurs on the block, they tend to reward intelligence, and this is one of the most intelligent things they have been known to do.

4/12/10

The Art of the Slow Burn

John Locke holds up the two opposing colors of...Image via Wikipedia
I did a post a while back comparing LOST and Stargate Universe. One of the things they have in common is something that has become very popular in modern TV dramas: the slow burn. The slow burn is the process by which an episodic program can bring you through a huge over-arching plot-line by first examining the characters in several, seemingly unrelated mini-stories. It describes how the plot moves along like a spark on a wick to the final BOOM at the end. A show like 24 has a shorter slow burn that explodes at the end of each season. Stargate Universe seems to have a longer slow burn than 24, but the longest slow burn belongs to LOST.

The slow burn can sometimes seem like a grueling process. It takes a skilled writer to introduce just the right amount of character drama and balance it successfully with a mystery or objective that has to carry on through to the end of the show. Waiting in between episodes for the end of this broad, sweeping objective can be taxing, but in the end, the slow burn is deeply rewarding. Because not only have you reached a satisfying conclusion, but you've also gotten to know, love and appreciate all the many characters that made the ending possible. Why is this such a successful story-telling device? Because that's how it works in real life.