Year's best

My 2011 favorites

As I said last year, I hate to compare things I love.  But for the sake of a more interesting blog post, I’m going to anyway.  In real life, I don’t really like playing favorites, because different books and movies and stuff all have their own spirit, and are ultimately incomparable.  But let’s disregard that for a few moments.

For books, the nominees are books I finished reading for the first time this year, regardless of their release date.  Movies, TV shows, and film scores must be from 2011.  (Books I only read a few chapters from are not qualified.  Also, I actually only finished reading five books this year, and only one was fiction.)

Here we go… and Happy New Year!

Year’s best live-action film:

hugo

Year’s best animated film:

kungfupanda2

Year’s best TV show:

House

Year’s best film score:

rio

Year’s best non-fiction book:

cartoons

Year’s best fiction book:

lostgate2

Best whatever else:

Best game soundtrack:

skyrim

Best podcast:

we

By S P Hannifin, ago
Fiction books

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

lostgate

Finally finished reading a book, woohoo!  It was on hold at the library, so I had to hurry up.  ‘Twas The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card, one of my favourite writers.  ‘Twas a fun read.  Not quite Ender’s Game, but hard to put down nonetheless.  Makes you want to be a gatemage.  Makes you look forward to Portal 2, coming out soon!  Now I look forward to the sequels, for this seems to be the first book of a trilogy or something.

There are two quotes I liked.  First, from page 106:

Besides, it just felt . . . wrong.  Inelegant, perhaps, as Auntie Tweng used to say of kludgy solutions to math or programming problems.  “Yes, it works,” she would say, “but it’s not elegant.  Truth is simple and elegant.  That’s how you know it when you see it.”

Those last two sentences.  “Truth is simple and elegant.  That’s how you know it when you see it.”  Almost Occam’s razor-ish.  I’m not sure if it’s true (for it can’t explain the truth of itself), but I like the idea.

Also, in the afterword, on page 382:

I tell my students in my writing classes that suspense comes, not from knowing almost nothing, but from knowing almost everything and caring very much about the small part still unknown.

Great little writing tidbit.  Mystery can still come from not knowing much, but it’s not suspenseful (or nearly as interesting) until the focus is on that one last answer, that one final piece to the puzzle.  Search your feelings, you know it to be true.  (Plus, it’s simple and elegant.)

Oh, it’s also a fun book if you know your mythology.  Which I don’t, but I’m just assuming.

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

Stuff I’m doing

You might be wondering: “gee whiz, I wonder what exactly Sean is up to these days?” If so, I will tell you in this post that I am writing right now.

I’m in week 10 of class 3 of Animation Mentor. It continues to go very well; I’ve learned a ton of stuff this semester. I’ve gotten better at managing my time, but I still find myself pulling very late-nighters or all-nighters the night before assignments are due. But at least I’m not feeling the pressure like I was during the previous classes. I still wish my (almost full-time) part-time job didn’t take up so much time, but I need the $$$ for Animation Mentor tuition (and paying off college loans).

I requested a Leave of Absence for the Animation Mentor Spring 2011 term because I want to watch the trees blossom. But mostly because I want to dedicate as much time as I can to researching and developing my melody generator. My main goal would be to be create and sell an Android app; that has the potential to make some $$$, and Android is Java-based and I’m developing my algorithms in Java anyway, so it would be mostly a matter of getting an Android GUI to work, and figuring out how Android can handle MIDI files (I know it can play them, but can it create them?). I’m not sure if this is something I could accomplish in just 12 weeks, but it’s worth a shot.

Other than that, I’m reading The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (the first non-Ender novel from him I’ve read), which is quite fun, along with a number of non-fiction books (I tend to just read whatever chapters interest me, because of my limited time).

I’m also continuing to plan out my fantasy novel and working on a couple of new short stories, one likely to be titled The Boy in the Sword (which I’m almost done writing) and the other currently untitled.

Oh, and I rarely preorder stuff on Amazon, but I had to preorder this: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Edition) [Blu-ray]. Really looking forward to it.

By S P Hannifin, ago