Relocation

I’ve got a personal website! The thing’s going through modifications at the moment, but right now all these posts have been replicated on that site, complete with comments.

All my future blog posts will be posted there, so if you’re actively reading this site, hop over to AdamRRowe.com and follow me there! I even have a new post up now: The 2013 list of movie reviewers using a film’s own title against it. You other people who aren’t even reading this post can just disregard it.

My 70s Sci-Fi Art tumblr hit 5000 followers!

Bob Eggleton

My 70s Sci-Fi Art tumblr, on which I post sci-fi art from the 70s, passed 5,000 followers last week! I’ve written about it before, back when I was proud that it had 300 followers, so now I’m chuckling lightly to myself about my past naivete. Which happens a lot. There may be a lesson here, and I’m sure I’ll chuckle lightly about it in the future.

At any rate, it’s picking up speed: today I added 120 new followers, which is a record for a 24-hour period. I’ve been posting a bit more, since I’m on winter break, but it proves that new people are still finding out about it every day. Take a look around the place. See what you think.

Film Fest 2013 and my latest role

For my college’s annual end-of-the-semester film festival, I hoped to put together a film noir/buddy cop/pirate mashup. I still have the script, but I didn’t have the time. Instead, I worked on another project that I’ll have a post about soon.

I did manage to act in this short film, though. It won an award at the film festival.

http://vimeo.com/80807949

This marks the fourth film fest movie I’ve acted in, and the fourth one in which I’ve been a villain. Also, it’s probably the most professionally produced one that I’ve been a part of, so it’s a great capper on my college acting career.

Pitch Idea: Reign of Rudolph

reigndeer

Too normal. He’s the first to go.

You know Dasher and Dancer, et al. And you also know the greatest story of all, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. But do you know the sequel?

Forty years after his triumphant return, Rudolph has taken advantage of his status as Santa’s right-hand reindeer to rule the north pole. Rudolph is power-hungry. Permanently defined by the psychological torture he endured as a child, he believes that those different from him deserve a slow painful death, and so he institutes an apartheid directed towards all non-misfits.

Only a ragtag group of survivors stand against Rudolph’s iron-hoofed reign: an elderly elf with peppermint lung from his stint in the mines; Yoland, the last living Yeti; and our hero, a perfectly normal Jack-in-the-box — the disowned son of Charlie-in-the-box, Rudolph’s second-in-command. Together, they must track down the mysteriously withdrawn Santa Claus, the only man who can stand up to Rudolph. That is, if they can escape the Toy Factory first.

Also, there’s a scene where a troop of reindeer heil Rudolph with their antlers, because that’s funny.

Alternate title: “Reigndeer”

Pitch Idea: Science Animals

Concept art of what a dog and a cat look like. Via www.morguefile.comThe cartoon show Science Animals would follow the adventures of Pavlov’s dog and Schrödinger’s cat: two hard-bitten pets on the road of scientific discovery.

Pavlov’s dog — Pav for short — has a weakness. He drools whenever a bell is rung. Schrö, on the other hand, has a superpower: he can become a zombie, but only when no one is directly observing him.

Their dynamic is disrupted by the Hugs Bison, a loveable buffalo who enjoys hugging as a form of greeting.

They must all learn how to work together in order to handle the various Occam’s-razor-wielding villains of the week.

Serendipity and the Creative Process

Smarter

“This Will Make You Smarter,” a 2012 book edited by John Brockman, consists of a series of around 150 short essays from intellectuals in a variety of disciplines, all answering the question “What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” The text is online in its entirety, since it was originally published there. Here’s a little of one essay that I recently browsed through and enjoyed.

 

Structured Serendipity
by Jason Zweig
Journalist; Personal Finance Columnist, The Wall Street Journal; Author, Your Money and Your Brain

Creativity is a fragile flower, but perhaps it can be fertilized with systematic doses of serendipity. Sarnoff Mednick showed decades ago that some people are better than others at detecting the associations that connect seemingly random concepts: Asked to name a fourth idea that links “wheel,” “electric,” and “high,” people who score high on other measures of creativity will promptly answer “chair.”

More recently, research in Mark Jung-Beeman’s lab at Northwestern has found that sudden bursts of insight — the Aha! or Eureka! moment — comes when brain activity abruptly shifts its focus. The almost ecstatic sense that makes us cry “I see!” appears to come when the brain is able to shunt aside immediate or familiar visual inputs.

[...]

I do this remote-reading exercise on my own time, since it would be hard to justify to newspaper editors during the work day. But my happiest moments this autumn came as I reported an investigative article on how elderly investors are increasingly being scammed by elderly con artists. I later realized, to my secret delight, that the article had been enriched by a series of papers I had been reading on altruistic behavior among fish (Lambroides dimidiatus).

If I do my job right, my regular readers will never realize that I spend a fair amount of my leisure time reading Current Biology, the Journal of Neuroscience, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. If that reading helps me find new ways to understand the financial world, as I suspect it does, my readers will indirectly be smarter for it. If not, the only harm done is my own spare time wasted.

In my view, we should each invest a few hours a week in reading research that ostensibly has nothing to do with our day jobs, in a setting that has nothing in common with our regular workspaces. This kind of structured serendipity just might help us become more creative, and I doubt that it can hurt.

Read the entire essay.

 

Job Boom

Baby boomers had a strong job market in their time. But because of their size, they are now an important demographic. That’s why we’ve got movies about old people — Red, Red 2, and Last Vegas. It’s geezersploitation, to coin an admittedly terrible phrase. And elderly con artists are still active, since their targets are just as old as they are.

I’m not going anywhere with this. I just thought it was interesting. Culture is a democracy.

Film NoiARRRRR excerpt

Yo Ho

NoiARRRRR, my film noir/pirate/buddy cop mashup film, has hit a snag: I’ve been too busy with this semester to plan out the entire thing, and it needs to be filmed by the end of this month. There’s not much time. It’s looking likely that I’ll have to rewrite the thing into a spoof trailer, rather than an actual film, and try to get that shot.

Regardless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give you the first scene. Here’s the excerpt.

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