Participating in Space Opera
I love it when someone asks me what I do. I get to proclaim that I am a writer! Then comes the inevitable follow-up question, “What do you write?” and I can tell a lot about a person by the way they react when I say, “Space Opera, it is a type of Science Fiction. You know, like Star Trek, Star Wars, or Buck Rodgers.” The ones I often have a hard time befriending are those who say things like I like real stories or true stories, or “I don’t have time fiction.” Yes, people actually say things like that to me.
Space Operas are True Stories
I love the look on people’s faces when I say things like that to them. Now don’t take me wrong, I understand the difference between True and Factual, and everyone else needs to.
Good stories and the rare great stories convey more than fictitious events that happened to fictitious people, they also show character and/or events that are true to themselves and their circumstances.
Fables, parables, and allegories are not the only types of stories that can carry meaning. Any story can, even those that are not the best crafted.
We can learn from the characters example, study their spirit, and their attitudes. Anyone who wants to get more out of life can rather easily learn how to do this.
Any story, but I find it easier with Space Operas, can be invested with a new layer of meaning. Sometimes it happens automatically. A character somehow reminds you of a friend, and event reminds you of an exaggerated version of an event that happens to you. The best stories do this automatically, but the best fans can use these stories to help them through their problems.
Whenever I am having a hard time learning to do something, I watch Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Luke has to learn how to be a Jedi. What’s a Jedi? When the movie was made, no one knew. His struggles with learning the force can be invested analogized to the difficulty learning most things. Sometimes all I have to do is quote Yoda or Obi-wan and I can work towards a breakthrough. Sometimes I have to invest the movie with my problem.
What is the Empire in this situation? Who is Yoda? Where is Cloud City? Why might I not want to go there? By mythologizing my life, I open my mind to aspects of a problem or situation I would not have even noticed before. Honestly, who or what is the Boba Fett in this situation is a question only a person applying this technique would ever ask.
Joining the Adventure
This sort of mythic living is not as common as it used to be. Our ancestors used to do this with their own beloved myths. It is a way to find meaning and answers when they seem so far out of grasp.
This is my favorite aspect of fandom, and for me it works best with Space Operas. What genre, series or story works best for you?
Most Captivating, Useless Machine Ever: DIY Instructions and Video
Though it may be useless it's really captivating. I just can't take my eyes off the image.
Update: Video and instructions to make your own
Thank you very much SaskView from SaskView.com who was inspired by a video of the machine made one of his own and shared the instructions on how to build it with everyone!
Build It Your Self
SaskView's instructions consist of 9 steps. I love how he takes the first step to cover the background on the project, how he got into it and who built the original. The second step goes into the how it works which is great because this gives the understanding to help with not only building but for the builder to add their mods and personal touches to the process. The remaining 7 steps gets into the meat of the instructions. Get all the steps here from Instructables
Video of the machine
Odd: Alien verses the Giant Spider
To put it into context and to share in my own skin crawling realization on just how big that is I want you to remember the Alien movies. Remember those nasty face-huggers that would crawl around and leap out at it’s unsuspecting victim, wrapping it’s self around their face.
The size of this spider is around the size of the face-huggers from the Alien movies. That is huge
It’s a nocturnal hunter using trap doors to get it’s prey.
Odd: Worms’ Paralyzed By a Freeze Ray
I love how the National Geographic article begins referencing the “freeze ray” in Dr. Horrible. It puts a smile on my face to see references to sci-fi in the mainstream scientific world. Gives me hope that dreams are given the chance to possibly take shape. The freeze ray is far from reality, What researchers have done is put a light sensitive chemical into the nematodes.
“Upon UV exposure, the normally clear chemical turns blue, and it shuts down the worms' metabolism… A shot of visible light restored the worms to normal, and the animals slowly began to wiggle around "as if they had never been paralyzed," the study authors say.” -National Geographic
I wonder if this could have applicable uses for putting things in stasis.
For now the process is far from practice use though since the chemical was eventually fatal to the worms.
A Second Life Location: Magic Of Oz
For awhile now, Second Life has amazed me with its very realistic settings and endless options. There are writers, poets, artists, and voice actors there that astonish me with their level of talent. Recently, my friend Dream teleported me to a place I thought could never be recreated. The Magic of Oz SIM is a themed build based on the books and movie "The Wizard of Oz". I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with one of the creators Candy Cerveau.
Emz: Candy, thank you for taking time out of your busy launch weekend to speak with me. This place is awesome. How many people did it take to build this place?
Candy: A great deal of the SIM’s incredible look is due to the builder, Jenne Dibou. She took our ideas and thoughts and turned them into something more magical than we ever dreamed possible. Yet she never sacrificed utility for beauty or performance for flash. The buildings are all fantastical, but they are not mere decoration. Each area was carefully planned to be a useful space. She is really incredibly talented.
Emz: Very talented indeed. What inspired you to build this SIM?
Candy: Malkavyn Eldritch and I were looking to create a SIM for our main store locations and we wanted a theme build. I have always loved the Oz books and the movie as well, so it seemed a perfect match. We found Jenne and we worked with her to get the concept of what we wanted. Our goal with the SIM was to interpret the world of Oz differently than had been done before, while still keeping to the spirit of the books. We also wanted to put our own unique spin on the parts of the build that would be the main stores for the two of us. The Witch's Castle was given a Steampunk/Tim Burtonesque feel, while the Emerald City drew more upon natural and elven themes. Our overriding dream for Magic of Oz was to create a place where people could go and be taken out of the realm of the ordinary in Second Life. A place to explore and to experience, to shop and to relax, to dream and to love. A place that is magic. We think we achieved that and hope visitors think so as well.
Emz: Well I for one, definitely admire your vision. For those who don't know what your Second Life stores are about, can you tell me the name and what you specialize in?
Candy: Eye Candy and Treasured Visions. Malkavyn does hand drawn eyes and textures. He is graphic artist, so he works only from scratch. No photosourcing. I make jewelry and accessories. I tend to specialize more in the "elegantly casual" style of jewelry, but I do have some more whimsical type of work as well.
Emz: Your stuff is really crafted well. I just found a free box with “Halloween Eyes” that I can’t wait to try on. Magic Of Oz is amazing. How long did it take you guys from concept to finish date to do this?
Candy: Jenne is a super fast builder and we did it in 3 phases. Basically we got the SIM the first of August 2008 and began plans. So the entire thing only took two months start to finish.
Emz: That is fast for a build of this magnitude.
Candy: Yes indeed. Jenne is in Europe and so each morning we would wake up and a huge portion would magically appear!
Emz: Sounds very exciting.
Candy: It really was so much fun. The story of Oz is such a rich one and there are so many wonderful parts to it that it was hard to choose what to feature.
Emz: I like all the dark features you have here with the flying monkeys and the large skull on the hill. Is there any little secret or feature that you find particularly interesting?
Candy: The secret lab in the Witch's Castle is fantastic! Very "mad scientist". It’s hidden in the right side of the Witch's Castle
Emz: Congratulations on completing this. It's really awesome. Thank you so much for your time.
Candy: My pleasure, Emz. Thank you.
I was able to explore the area for some time and found many hidden gems here. If the pictures don’t amaze you, the features will. Right now there are tons of little shoes around the SIM that when clicked, give you free things. There are also a number of boxes, pumpkins etc… Keep an eye open and click things.
The Witch’s Castle Features: Steampunk architecture, hammock to lie in, perches to see the whole valley, skeleton fountain, elevator, flying monkeys ride.
Scary Tree / Graveyard Features: laying dead pose and sinking in lava pose.
Munchkin Land Features: Shops, park benches, a nice promenade.
Emerald City Features: Emerald throne, many little meeting or discussion areas, Oz’s curtain, 3 levels of fun activity, beautiful emerald gems.
Center of town Features: Watch The Wizard Of Oz by clicking the sign on the giant tree, follow the yellow brick road to Munchkin land, tree attack, stairs to Witches Castle.
Cool things to buy: Jewelry, specialty eyes, clothes, bodies, hair, and these gear tattoos inspired by the designs of Da Vinci.
Magic of Oz launched on October 3rd, 2008. If you would like to visit Magic Of Oz, click here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Magic%20of%20Oz/130/152/0