Cosmic Inspiration!

649694main_pia15417-43_fullWhile chatting with my best friend in emails, we had stumbled across a topic of what initially sparked my interest in physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. It’s a pretty funny journey, so I thought I would share it here with my readers as well. My story starts off a little sad, but I promise to breeze through that part as much as possible.  ^_^v

In 2012, my year was shaken by the death of my aunt and nephew. On top of that, it was the ending of my three year abusive relationship with the wrong man. To say the least, I felt a lot lost, angry, tearful, and depressed. I needed something outside of myself, bigger than myself, to focus on and to gain strength from.

Even though I identify as Pagan, I’ve never been strongly connected within any religious beliefs.  So I didn’t do what many would do in such a situation, I didn’t turn to a deity. Not that doing so is wrong, it’s just not my thing to do personally, as it never gave me any comfort. While I wept alone in my room, back in Philadelphia, I thought about what I use to do as a child when I felt totally isolated within the world. As a child, I would look up at the night sky.

However, due to the added developments and lights in my city block, I could no longer see the stars like I had once did in my youth. This is when I turned to technology for help, using the program called “Google Earth”, which has added the observable universe (space) to its maps.

For hours, I would stare across galaxies and it gave me a calming affect. I had the realization that our planet is just a pale blue dot, a pixel within the endless jpeg of the entire universe. This fact stopped my tears and cheered me up. Weird, I know, as many people report feeling depressed and lost when faced with this realization. However, I felt the opposite emotions, a sense of hope and inspiration.

m31_comolli_2193Here’s a fun fact: It is estimated that there are (at the very least) 1 septillion stars, planets, and galaxies out there in the cosmos. That number is: 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000! Joe Hanson of the Youtube channel “It’s Okay To Be Smart” has a better explanation of that in this video: here. In my short time exploring these facts and viewing space images, I was inspired to write (and I’ve completed it) a sci-fi novel in 2013, which I hope to publish someday. Maybe. ^_^

As I learned that the universe is so very massive with so much happening outside of our pale blue dot, this gave me some perspective on my existence, my worries, and my personal issues. However, I had ended my exploration of space in 2012, just for a few months. I felt better and directed my focus on putting my life back in order.

In early 2013, my interest in Physics was sent into hyper-drive, due to a George Takei post on Facebook. Yes, that’s right, a pun post by George Takei set me on my path of becoming a Physicist! Think about that for a moment, as I open this composition of “In The Hall Of The Mountain King“, for my crazy explanation. *giggle* ^w^

Mr. Takei posted a pun about Pavlov’s Dog, an experiment that I was well aware of, as I had studied Psychology for a short while in my early twenties. However, a few fans commented about Schrodinger’s Cat, a physics theory that I was not familiar with, And I hate it when  I don’t understanding a joke, so I Googled it. The search lead me to a video on the channel “One Minute Physics”: here.

The explanation of that video was so well done, that it encouraged me to want to find out more about String Theory. This lead me to more videos on the channel, more curiosity, and onward to the works of Stephen Hawking. In turn, Mr. Hawking’s lectures inspired me to want to explore the theories of Albert Einstein and Sir Issac Newton.

PIA13128Doing so had sparked my interest in the works of many others within the scientific community, historic and current. The show “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” aired March 9, 2014, a rebooted version of the show hosted by Carl Sagan in the 70’s, now hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. I followed every episode! (The entire season is now available on NetFlix, which I admit to watching it three additional times on that site… Ahem.)

This lead me to the articles, lectures, and books of Mr. Tyson. Next I began to follow StarTalk Radio and IFLScience. Somewhere in the midst of that (I forget when) I stumbled across the live debate of Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Ken Ham (creationist), which was a lot interesting. This prompted me to follow Mr. Nye on Facebook and Twitter. Later, I bought Mr. Nye’s audio book “Undeniable” and have been enjoying that book at lot.

The more questions and research I did, the more books, sites, articles, the NASA website, SpaceX, and a plethora of science channels on Youtube I stumbled upon. Learning science has been my ongoing obsession and hobby for the last few years now. .

All of this began with a psychology pun posted by George Takei on Facebook! Wild! ^o^/

Meanwhile, in the midst of my constant science consumption, I moved to Minnesota and started therapy for my anxiety issues. I’ve chatted my therapist’s ear off about science, since the start of my first session. She asked me what was my hobbies and I was a bit too excited, rattling off all of the awesome things I’ve learned in science thus far, Then I continued to bring it up during sessions, because science is cool, man!

This winter, when my therapist asked me to consider choosing a long term life goal for myself, a light went on within my head: “Well… maybe I could go back to school and earn my PhD in Physics.” She is overjoyed by the idea, so am I, and thus begins my journey into pursing this goal. To be continued!

PIA01903_ipI don’t know where I’ll end up on this journey, if I’ll ever gain my PhD or not, but it’s a pretty funny story on how I got started. And no matter what happens, I will always keep looking up.

For many centuries, the stars have inspired painters, writers, songwriters, and so on. I am no different, I’m constantly inspired by the cosmos and it has become my way of thought.

I will end this post with my favorite space song from David Bowie: Space Oddity. Thanks for reading and, as Joe Hanson would say, stay curious! ^_^v

-D

Photos by NASA.gov

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Success Is Trying!

girlwithblackgoggleswithtesttubeI’ve been blabbing A LOT on Twitter and to every person in my life that will listen, about  my new long term goal. A month ago, my therapist mentioned about education grants, which I was highly unaware of, thus sparking my decision to go back to school and earn my PhD in Physics! ^o^v

I have known about student loans and know the negative issues connected to them, as my sister finished school on student loans. And now she’s in massive debt, because she was unable to gain a job with her IT degree, instead taking smaller jobs that are beneath her talents in order to support herself. And the student loans will follow her for the rest of her life, as “eloquently” explained by John Oliver.

I cannot take on debt, as I’m struggling to possibly save my little money to pay for my eyesight needs (surgery for my Keratoconus condition), because the FDA won’t approve the surgery that I desperately need and my insurance company basically told me to go screw myself. The idea of taking on student loans, without a guaranteed that I will gain a job with my degree to repay the debt, seems like a very crippling gamble to make.

Then my therapist mentioned something called “Pell Grants”, which is a loan that doesn’t require a person to pay it back. Not ever. That’s when I decided that I would go back to school and try to earn my PhD in Physics. I may not be able to get this grant or it may not last me to Graduate school, I may have to work out something else for that step, but seriously I would like to try!

I suffer with an anxiety disorder, that’s directly connected to crowds and social interaction, however my therapist assures me that she will help me get it under control, so that I may be able to attend university within a year. Meanwhile, I’m preparing myself with online classes, that are free or cost very little. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been in school, so this step will help my confidence to complete a few refresher courses, while I work on my anxiety issues in therapy.

I’m not sure if I’ll make it through this long term goal, but I want to try and I’m very excited about it! With the input of my therapist, I’ve mapped out the many steps it’s going to take for me to reach my goal.

FruitsBasket_Tohru-hondaAnd, as I replied to my best friend, “If I am successful in my steps, in five to eight years I will become a Physicist. If I am not successful, I would have experienced a wild ride in science and self esteem, just within the journey of trying my best at something that I wanted to do and have a real love for! Somehow… it still sounds like a success, even if I never get my PhD in Physics. So, I can’t help but to feel happy and hopeful for my future!”

I’ve always been prone to try out anything that I am inspired to do in life, regardless of the worry of  “failure” or not.  If I don’t gain my PhD in Physics, this won’t be the first time I’ve went for something ambitious and didn’t win the top prize for it. And after this, I doubt I’ll ever stop trying to reach for the stars. For me, life is not worth living if I can’t try to get what I want within it.

What makes me happy and feel accomplished in life is that I’ve fearlessly went for it, “it” being whatever wacky ambitious career or goal that sparked my interests over the last nineteen years of my life. For that, I have a colorful list of previous careers I’ve studied for and actually performed.

For example, did you know that I was once an Ordained Christian Minster of a church for two years? Yep, I had studied the Bible formally and passed my exams, thus gaining my degrees and licence to perform weddings and speak at funerals. It’s bizarre, because I later became Pagan instead and haven’t subscribe to that religion for over a decade now. Yet, as far as I know, I can still perform weddings legally in any state. Hmm… o_O

For several years, I was a babysitter and took care of young children and infants. Which is probably why I don’t wish to have children of my own! I know the horrors of caring for children first hand. @_@
I was a youth counselor for a local after-school program, until the program was shut down due to lack of funding. Hmm…

BlackButler_UndertakerI’ve took classes for becoming an undertaker in a funeral home, yet I got too grossed out with the embalming process… not the dead body, per se, but the removing of organs and etc. So, I ran away from completing that training. However, I am satisfied that I gave that a try and found out that my definite answer of becoming an undertaker is: NOPE!  In order words, I regret nothing! ^_^

I’ve always pushed myself for a writing career and I did get a bit far within that, just because I gave it my best shot. I regret nothing, in spite of the fact that I’ve never became a famous author.

What I do regret is the one time that I didn’t try something that I wanted. I was preparing to become FBI at one point, but I let some disgruntle agent talk me out of it. This regret haunts me every day of my life and it’s one of those things that I would change, if I could go back in time. Which is impossible, by the way, time doesn’t work in reverse but it’s VERY possible to travel forward to the future. If you’re interested, look up “Time Dilation” or “Theory of Special Relativity” on Google and read the many interesting articles.

For the last four years, Physics has been a hobby of mine, but now I very much want to see if it could possibly become a career. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed and the mathematics will be a nightmare, and yet I really want to go for it. And I will!

What I’ve learned from my life, is there’s no real failure in trying something and not gaining what I had hoped to in the end. The real failure is not trying at all or ever knowing if I could have succeeded or not. The real failure is letting self-doubt (and disgruntled opinions of others) take over and quitting before I ever began.

makise_kurisu_by_torakun14-d4z8hj3I won’t allow excuses to stop me from what I really want to achieve. I can’t see very well to read books, due to my eye disease, but I’ve discovered Physics books on Audible.com. I can see somewhat when I use a magnifying glass, so I will ask the teachers if it’s alright for me to have one during exams and reading assignments in class.

Going for what I want in life is always a huge challenge for me, in some way or another, but I’m a stubborn one (must be the Irish in my DNA) and I don’t give up easily without a good fight! Hurrah! ^_^/

Thanks for reading, as always.

-D

Advice For New Youtubers!

spamFrom the moment that I’ve first created my account on Twitter, I have been bombarded by SPAM,  from lots of companies trying to sell me junk that I DON’T need! Ugh!!! Cans and cans of Spam… I never liked Spam, even in its “meat” form. Although, I find the Monty Python skit a lot hilarious! ^w^

HOWEVER, this isn’t a post about spammers, spam, or Monty Python! My mind tends to wander a bit… This is a post about the few starting Youtubers that have rushed to “follow” or send me a private Tweet, hoping to gain another subscriber to their channel. Some would say their action is spam, even though they’re not selling a product per se, just urging people to look at their free videos and to like their content.

In a way, I don’t see their invitation as spam, IF a person request that I check out their channel ONCE,  and as long as they understand that I may not like, comment, or subscribe. It becomes spammy when that person expects more than that and send excessive messages to urge a subscription. Spammers should take the hint, that if I don’t rush to subscribe, I’m most likely not  interested. o_O

I’m not sure if asking people on Twitter to view a channel is the most effective way to gain more subscribers. I guess it could help a little, as I was approached by a very good music/art channel named: The Grand White Fox. I instantly subscribed to them  and enjoy its music/art on a consistent basis. If not for Twitter, I may not have found this channel on my own… maybe.

To be honest, I am a 34 year old woman with an addiction to Youtube. I’ve replaced watching television (because there’s a lot of crap shows on there now), with watching Youtube. I tend to watch an hour or two in between my writing projects. Even though I’m nerdy and love a lot of the scientific channels, I also enjoy “let’s play” gamers, vloggers (video bloggers), and media critics.

Often times, I find a Youtuber while searching some topic that I want to explore, thus finding small videos solving my questions or curiosity of that subject. For example, I heard a lot of people talking about a game named “Five Nights At Freddy’s” and I was curious as to what the game was about. When I searched for it, TONS of videos popped up, but Markiplier’s video was listed second on the list. I clicked his video and enjoyed it a lot, so I checked out his other videos and (after a week of viewing) I had decided to subscribe.

EzgVXgiI am NOT concluding that in order for a Youtuber to get a subscriber that they must have the top listing, as I’ve clicked plenty of top results on Youtube, only to walk away disgusted (if the Youtuber happened to include racist, misogynistic, or homophobic “jokes” in their content) or if the person was a lot boring to me. For those channels, I will NEVER return! o_o

What bought me back to Markiplier and many other Youtubers was the level of kindness and care within their content, their honest personalities, and the hours of chuckles they provided when I’ve worked hard all day on a novel or video gaming script.

FYI, about the boring comment:  It has to be a pretty extreme kind of boring, for the fact that I’m in love with Quantum Physics and plan to go back to school for my PhD in Physics (if I can earn those education grants, of course!). I think Physics has got to be the most boring subject to most people on the entire planet! Not to me, because I love it so much that I wish that I could marry it… but, yeah, it does add a perspective on how boring some videos can be, if they can bore a science nerd to tears! ;^_^>

I often see a lot of new Youtubers struggling to get views and subscribers, either on Twitter or in comments on random videos. A lot of people ignore them (including myself sometimes), because it does come across as spammy. The Youtubers who have become successful didn’t really advertise their channel on other Youtuber’s video comments or spam people on Twitter. So, how did they become popular and very successful on Youtube?

From what I’ve observed (from my long time addiction to Youtube. It started in my early twenties.) every successful Youtuber have claimed that they didn’t start their channel with the goal of gaining millions of fans or subscribers. They started their channels often as an easy and free way to share videos with their personal friends or to post content of certain video games in tribute.

However, Youtube is a very public forum, so people outside of their personal circle viewed their content and loved it. This is usually a surprise for the Youtuber  and it seemed to inspire her or him to continue uploading more content. This results in more word-of-mouth sharing, re-postings on Facebook and Twitter, and  more fans.

skeptical-catThe bottom line is, successful Youtubers are successful. End of advice! *snicker*

Sorry, that’s my lame attempt at a joke, but my real theory is, the reason why some Youtubers are successful is because they are honest within themselves and don’t create their videos in order to become Youtube celebrities. They become celebrities as an after affect of their passion for video creation and uploading content that they themselves enjoy. Which makes sense, as that’s one of the fundamental rules for writers, to write what one knows and enjoy, because if you feel like what you’re writing is crap, the readers will feel the same.

Fans/subscribers aren’t stupid, we can tell when a person is just posting content in order to be the next “Pewdiepie” or “Jon Tron”. The act of imitating others, for the sole purpose of trying to gain someone else’s success, will always be viewed as a “poseur” in the social community. Poseurs will always pale greatly in comparison to the original artist and will gain less success than the person they’re trying to imitate. Way much less.

Not only is this a rule for media, it’s also a very old rule for any other kind of artistry. If Frederic Chopin decided to imitate Beethoven, and perform cover songs all the time, I doubt he would have been remembered. Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh had different styles, but are still relevant artists today. Who doesn’t have a  poster of “The Starry Night” on their wall or a t-shirt? o_O

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare are great writers, but are different in style. My point is, the platforms are the same, yet the artists have different personalities, different styles, and a honest passion for their works.

FMA_thumbsupSo in summary to this very long post, my small advice to first time Youtubers for success (which you are free to deny or accept) is:
1.) Be yourself,  It’s okay to be inspired by the works of others, but be original in your own content. And 2,) Enjoy your passion for creating, because if you’re not having fun in your content, neither will the viewers. If you follow this formula, you may be surprised on how many subscribers and fans you will gain! And I just may be one of them. ^_^

Again, that’s just one observational theory from one Youtube addict. Most of all, I wish everyone luck in their channels!

Thanks for reading! ^_^v

-D

Writing Video Games!

3ECA month ago, I made the decision to buy a program named “RPG Maker VX Ace”. It’s available on Steam and Amazon. I’ve played around with this program in my late teens, in its beta stages. It was a lot of fun, but then I forgot all about it when I began creating websites and later discovered blogging. FYI, today marks my seventh year anniversary on WordPress! ^o^/

Anyhoo, I was reminded of this program again when some pretty cool titles started to appear from RPG Maker, games like: To The Moon, Ib, The Witch’s House, Mad Father, and many more. These games are so very beautifully done and memorable. This caused me to give another glance at RPG Maker.

barney-stinson-challenge-acceptedI enjoy writing and I always have some odd story to share/tell. So, it seemed like a good investment to buy the program and see what I could do with it. It was a writing challenge that I just couldn’t ignore!

I’ve been working on my game for almost two months now and I’ve manage to complete the first fifteen minutes of my story. I wish to make my game at least an hour and fifteen minutes long (my goal is really two hours, but we’ll see).

And no, I haven’t been slacking at all. I spend roughly eight hours per day writing the story, building the scenes, and coding the interactions of my characters or objects. Yes, it takes a long while to do properly and I often have to stop to read tutorials or forums with helpful hints on how to get my characters to perform specific actions in cut-scenes.

fullmetal_alchemist_usoI admit that I’m not a visual artist at all and I did download many of the cool graphics used in my game from free chipset sites. Even so, I’m not really sure if I used the chipsets in the best or intended way, because an artist I am not, but it looks passable to me.  ;^_^>

Within this program, I excel at the story telling, surprisingly within the animation as well, and event coding. The promo video makes it look easy to create a scene and actions within your game, but that’s  only if you wish to use the basic movements available in the program. If you wish your characters to dance, flip onto tables, to add an accessory to their visual outfit when a certain item is equipped, etc, then you must learn how to use scripts or find specifically made character graphics for those actions.

At lot of times, some of the complicated events can be achieved with the program base commands, if chosen in the right sequence. For a newbie, I did need to search tutorials in order to figure out what I was doing wrong and to achieve the events that I wanted.

In other words, this is a program for those who don’t mind putting in the time and energy to create their stories. If you’re looking for a program that will do everything for you, with one-click commands to get what you want, then RPG Maker VX Ace will disappoint you. If you don’t mind learning or searching for coding on the interwebs, then this program is VERY awesome! ^_^v

animegirl_space adventureI’m working on a space adventure story, with very wacky characters and situations. I don’t want to give too much away, as I plan to forward it to my friends and family when I’ve finished it. I’m not sure if I will share it publicly yet, as I want to get the opinions of my inner circle first.

And if I do decide to share it, I doubt it would ever come close to the level of some of the other RPG games I’ve mentioned.  Mostly because I’m just playing around with the program and having fun, not creating a very serious masterpiece.

However, I’m glad that I’ve made this investment, because I’m enjoying every moment that I spend within the program. I feel that I’m within my wheelhouse, in regards to writing the plot and creating interesting characters. And I feel that I’m a student, learning many different ways to code the mechanics in my game.

I highly recommend RPG Maker VX Ace to any writer who has the time to spend and wish to explore their talents on another platform.

Thanks for reading! ^_^v

-D