Old posts

The game of my dreams

I had a dream last night that I’ve had once before a year or two ago… it’s about a video game that does not yet exist but it’s extremely fun to play. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a cross between The Sims and Super Mario. You’re in this weird open-ended fantasy world in which you have the ability to interact with just about anything, but the game somehow helps you develop some sort of story. In The Sims you’re restricted to one house and you have to keep a bunch of needs balanced, but in the game in my dreams you have to keep some strange story elements balanced and you basically end up creating small stories, all of which end up having something to do with a larger over-arching story… but the key is that the story is completely original, created by me, the player.

It’s like being given action figures when you’re young and you make up a story with them, only the computer game in my dreams is far better than a stiff smiling piece of plastic. I read somewhere that The Sims was originally called something like The Dollhouse, so Will Wright perhaps felt some connection with childhood toys and imagination as well, and realized the computer could be used as simply a way of creating a much more profound set of toys.

Well, I wanted to blather about that so that someday I can read back over it and be inspired I guess. I don’t want to forget the idea. However, it seems rather infeasible. One of the biggest problems lies in the artificial intelligence that would be required, especially the fact that computers cannot understand human language. How would a character communicate in the computer game in my dream? I can’t quite capture it. In The Sims and in The Movies characters just mumble so you could interpret them as anything (and, my, the mumbling Sims are much more compelling and entertaining than the mumbling actors in The Movies). How can one create a compelling original story when the characters can’t talk? I can think of a few solutions, but none of them would be a magnificent as if the computer could figure out how to talk by itself, which is a long way off! We probably won’t even have true talking computers in 100 years.

Well, I was going to start reading The Moonstone tonight, but I’ve blathered for so long that I think I really ought to get to bed… gotta go to work in a few hours!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Mozart in the evening

Today I enjoyed two of Mozart’s fine violin concertos, the fourth and the fifth, to be precise, via CD. The scores of just about all of Mozart’s works are available for free (and legally) here, so I was able to follow along. I’d love to use my Garritan Solo Strad virtual violin and Garritan Personal Orchestra to perhaps do a virtual rendition of one of these concertos for my own personal learning, but in all honestly I’ll probably never get around to it. I’ll definitely write at least one movement of a violin concerto though… eventually.

I also spent some time playing around today with a “clone ensemble” VST plugin. It basically allows you to take one voice recording and turn it into a semi-convincing choir. Nothing you could render Beethoven’s 9th with, but enough to make it seem as if a small crowd were singing together. I could only play around with some of the features in the demo, the full version is around $25. I’ll buy it if I have any projects come up in which I need a small group to sing something…

A book called The Black Swan is now out and about, and I’ll order it from Amazon.com as soon as I’m finished with I Am a Strange Loop. Looks like a very interesting book, and I devoured the author’s last book, Fooled by Randomness. In fact, I probably devoured it too much.

I wonder how much it would cost to have one of my smaller pieces of music played and recorded so that I could sell it on a CD… e.g. one of my string quartets or my trio for harp, flute and oboe… would that cost a couple hundred dollars? Would it exceed $1,000 for the recording equipment? Wouldn’t that be awesome though? I could write several full string quartets to fill up a CD if I knew it was going to be played and recorded by real players. Probably still way too expensive though, I might as well save up for a full orchestra for my 50th birthday. Funny, I use to plan to never have to pay to get my music played… but, well, somebody’s got to.

Lastly, I’ve been thinking about tidying up some of my scores and putting them up for sale on Lulu.com. I’d like to have a printed record of them myself, and maybe I’ll make a buck or two if anyone else buys them. I’ve had people ask me for sheet music for my music before, but I’m not sure if they’d be willing to pay something to get it. Saying “yes, my sheet music is available at Lulu.com” is at least better than saying “nope!”

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Blogging daily…

I’ve been able to keep up blogging daily for… well, not that long actually, but since I’ve started this blog at least. So if I’ve been able to force myself to find time to do this everyday, why shouldn’t I also force myself to at least write a paragraph per day for my novel, The Game of Gynwig? Maybe I should turn the novel into a blog like this and then blog it daily…

I certainly don’t want to reformat what I’ve already done, though… I guess I could just copy/paste, like I do when I compose.

On second thought, it would probably destroy the writing style… writing prose for a novel is much different than just blathering off the top of your head like I’m doing here… although I suppose a good many authors seem to do that, don’t they?

Well, I can blather daily, I just lack content most of the time.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Podcasting…

I haven’t done much podcasting, only several experimental comedy shows. The free service I was using, called ClickCaster, is going to stop being free next month. Obviously their business model of offering free disk space and bandwidth just didn’t work, and I’m not sure why it would. The point is that I’ll have to either find some other free podcasting hosting service out there or host them on my own website. I wouldn’t much like paying for the bandwidth myself, but with my podcasts’ unpopularity, that probably wouldn’t be a problem. I’m certainly not going to pay ClickCaster anything!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Feynman lectures…

I was browsing the library between classes today and noticed a 12 CD set of Feynman lectures. I had actually never heard his voice before. The lectures are from the 1960s, so they’re certainly outdated, but perhaps still interesting. I’m listening to the first lecture now, and I’m already completely confused. Hmmm… I guess I could let it play while I sleep so that I will learn unconsciously. But I’d hate to have an “omelette du fromage” day like Dexter, which everyone knows subliminal learning can inadvertently cause.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

A new short story

After my math exam tonight, I found an old short story I had started on my computer. I finished it up and now I’m not sure what magazine to send it to. It’s not science fiction, it’s sort of contemporary fantasy… much like the movie Stranger Than Fiction, but better because that movie was sort of dumb.

I really want to try my hand at writing a fantasy short story, all my ideas for science fiction end up having been taken… I have two science fiction short stories that I started, but they’re incomplete. One of them I will scrap completely, and I’m not quite sure about the other one. On the one hand, I think it would be interesting to finish, but on the other, the ideas in it are probably already taken. Oh well.

Oh, I also have a flash-fiction piece that I could try submitting somewhere. It’s only about 300 or 400 words.

I wish I had more time to dedicate to my wonderful creativity instead of devoting it to useless test-taking and homework and lecture-hearing. (How arrogant!) I believe high school and college, as they are now, should be completely abolished. After middle school, teenagers should begin part-time work, and making real money, while getting a useful education that links with their work. (In other words, writing an essay on Shakespeare or Huckleberry would never be done again because it is utterly and completely useless.) This useful education should be focused on actual education and not an attempt to have the students prove how well they know something (no grades)… what they know and don’t know will emerge in the work habits which will determine their salary, so they’ll be a greater incentive to learn (and they won’t be wasting time being taught useless crap that they’ll never use). This sort of system would work much better, and teenagers would be much less moody and depressed, which is most likely caused by the older people (teachers) wasting their time.

Argh.

What a fun rant! You agree with me, don’t you?

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Time to read The Moonstone

I finished Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke yesterday. It is nothing special, I wasn’t too impressed. Oh well, I’m going to move on to Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone now, a classic mystery novel from the 1800’s.

I also checked out some virtual music books by David Cope from the library. I doubt I’ll have much time to spend with them, but perhaps just skimming through the pages will give some good ideas about something.

Hmmm… not much else going on. I’ve got a math exam today, so I better try to sleep before studying as much as I can… wish me luck!

Wait a second, here’s a thought that just popped into my head. If you have three points, to make them all equally distant from each other you’d form a triangle. If you had four points, you form a pyramid. What about five points? I can’t visualize any solution… do we need another spacial dimension? Hmmm… something to sleep on.

Oh, wait, duh. That’s the touching spheres problem.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Book Quotes

I started a fourth (or fifth, I’ve lost count) blog last night. The blog is dedicated to book quotes, thus I am calling it… “Book Quotes”. It shall basically consist of quotes that stood out to me from books, both fiction and non-fiction (though probably more non-fiction will be mentioned since it tends to be more thought-provoking). Here is a link to the blog, and they’ll be a link on the side bar as well. Think that’s enough blogs for a while? I don’t think I have anymore unique templates to use. Only this blog, the main blog on the main page, and the “Stuff I Found” blog will be updated regularly, the others are dependent on my whim.

Well, I’m going to go read about pattern recognition or something… bye.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Arthur C. Clarke disappoints

I am almost finished Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End and it seems pretty stupid, so I am a bit disappointed. Maybe something exciting will happen in the last fifteen pages, but so far the revealed explanations for things are way too supernatural for me to go “oh, wow!” and the ideas presented seem cliche nowadays. Somebody had told me that this book was one of Arthur C. Clarke’s greatest stories, but I sure hope not.

After this book, I’ll have to go back to some Orson Scott Card for a while… I still have four or five books left to read in the Ender’s series. Or perhaps I’ll go to a mystery novel, the classic tale of The Moonstone. Yeah, I’ll probably do that and take a break from scifi for a few weeks. And then I can turn The Moonstone into a musical… actually I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has already done that.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Old posts

Finished planning musical’s story

It was a bit of an arduous day, but I did manage to finish planning out The Kidnapping of Belmount story. There are eighteen “chapters” or “episodes” in all, though that could of course change. If each of these episodes translates into at least five minutes of music, then the entire musical will be at least 90 minutes long, which wouldn’t be bad at all for a first musical composed with no financial incentive!

I must finish composing my “Hour By Hour” orchestral piece first, though.

By S P Hannifin, ago