The word “rock” (today’s prompt for Inktober) has a pretty strange role in the modern lexicon. As a noun, it refers to a stone, which is immobile and resistant to change. As a verb, it has the opposite meaning — to rock is to shake, to dance to music. So how can a word mean to move and to not move? Why is it so drastically different “to be like a rock” than “to rock”?
Navigating by starlight is a bit of an uncommon skill in modern times. Once, people needed only a few sighting tools and a fixed point in the sky to orient themselves. Now, it almost seems as though we are lost without a constellation of advanced satellites in the sky telling us where we are. Throughout the past decade and a half, we’ve gone from memorizing our friends’ home phone numbers to tagging them on Instagram; from knowing our streets and paths by heart to using turn-by-turn navigation to travel a mile. Are we more connected than ever before, with our never-ending conversations and wireless data networks? Or are we isolated points in the global sea, like stars in the night sky — so close, and yet so incredibly far?
Throughout the journey of the Hispaniola, the adventurers sail in search of a hidden treasure. And, in this most classic of adventure stories, they find it, though not without its share of trials and tribulations.
Inktober themes seem to be heading in the direction of feelings, rather than things or adjectives. Today, I experimented a bit with an attempt to convey empathy, rather than to show the “sad”ness directly.
When I first started reading for fun, I often found myself with an hour to pick a few (okay, maybe more than a few) books from the local public library to take home and devour. At the time, I distinctly remember prominently seeing the various books of the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix lining the bookshelves. No doubt his choice of titles was helpful here — who could resist the temptation of books like Mister Monday or Grim Tuesday? As it happened, however, I never actually got around to reading the books that I had walked past so many times until sometime in high school. Instead, my imagination was captured by a perhaps lesser-known series: the Old Kingdom, set in a world where the boundaries between life and death are a little more hazy than in reality.
One might wonder what exactly changes when growing up — from first words and first steps to collecting seashells to putting coins in a piggy bank to reading books to going to work to collecting paychecks to putting coins in a bigger piggy bank, and so on. We work hard so that we can have the opportunity to play more; we play when we should work, we work when we should play. And somewhere along the line, we cross that invisible threshold where we become “grown-ups”.
The theme for the second day of #inktober2016 is “noisy”, which for me immediately brings thoughts of cities and sirens and the myriad sounds of urban life to the forefront of my mind. But there’s a certain pattern to those sounds, and we humans (being pattern-matching creatures of habit) quickly acclimatize ourselves to our auditory environment.
A long while ago, I developed something of an interest in writing with fountain pens. While this is mostly a matter of personal preference — I don’t like ballpoints — I’ve found that learning to write and ink is in and of itself a rather fun pastime. Especially in our modern age of the Internet, blogs, posts on social media, and the like, there’s something intangibly more personal about putting pen to paper.
I’ve been on a bit of a reading binge this break, since it’s been raining (in California! what is going on with the world?). Go figure. Book two of 2016 is Charles Stross’s The Atrocity Archives, which is the first book in his series “The Laundry Files”. This novel is set in an alternate universe wherein advanced mathematics and computation can somehow summon Lovecraftian horrors. This application of math, initially researched by the Nazis in World War II and then kept secret by international non-proliferation agreements, occasionally finds its way into the wild—especially as it can be rediscovered from base principles by sufficiently skilled mathematicians.