Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Saddest Three Words in the World

I've recently acquired a taste for indie music, where "recently" was about two years ago. I was listening to a song - "Contact High" by Architecture in Helsinki - and it includes a phrase that just blew my mind.
"I'm done dreaming". It's a terribly sad phrase (and FYI: not the context of the song at all - I just took the three words and ran with this thought).
Here's the thing: whether you're Christian or not, whether you're a mad geek or a staid business-person - dreaming is what makes you a person. The beautiful madness of a dream - of wanting to be the best, of wanting to see something in your mind get concretized into reality? That's the most terrifying, the most amazing, the most astonishing thing. It's why I love life - to meet people, hear their dreams, and watch in amazement as they come from some conceptual dream-space into this world.
I know I'm an indefatigable romantic. I know that I can get cynical about all this, and note that most people try their damndest to run far from their dreams and bury them in dull greyness of life and it's million compromises. And I don't care.
It's one of the reasons I love teaching and lecturing - the act of learning is typically a direct means of solving the problems inherent in bringing dreams to life. By being a cog in the machine that allows a person to do this amazing thing, I'm humbled and privileged to be a part of these dreams.
But enough with the sappiness ;)

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Saw Suckerpunch this evening with my friend Pete. Was dubious, Alistair said he was greatly disappointed by the movie, and he's generally a good gauge for how much I'll like something.

Wow. Mind blown.

Japanese schoolgirl wielding a katana and silver plated desert eagles fighting giant Samurai warriors with chainguns? Steampunk nazi stormtrooper zombies? In the few short action scenes, it packed more Awesome on to the screen than you normally see in an entire trilogy of epics.

And then you STILL manage to walk away from the movie depressed. Well played, Snyder. Well played.

The movie combines Rule of Awesome, Turned Up to Eleven, with Oscar Bait. Think about that for a moment: a movie that is best described as "Moulin Rouge mixed with Gothika, Kill Bill, the 300 and Inception in equal measure" that still manages to include sufficient poignancy to be a contender for a Oscar.

See why my mind was blown?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Return, With a Whimper, Not a Bang

Wow. It's... it's been *years*.
Blogging has never been a massive thing for me. Partly it's because I don't feel like I have that much to share (aw, humility, or is that low self-esteem? I can never tell these days), and partly because it feels like documenting experiences slows down the rate of actual... well, experience.

But now I'm back, and I have stuff to say. I've tweeted (@Johenius, in case you didn't know - the bar on the right there should be everything you need), I've presented talks, I've taught, I've loved, I've learned, I've failed and I've learned how being angry can be useful.

Life has this habit of sneaking up on you and imposing itself. Well, I've been imposed upon, I've whined about it, and - after far too much whining - I've solved stuff. And made lots of mistakes along the way. Which makes me an EXCELLENT blogger - I've got hacky solutions to real life problems! So that's part of what I want in this blog.

I suppose the thing that's always concerned me about blogging is that it felt like a personal diary, so it was a place of expression. And to some degree it is - people read blogs for the blogger, as well as the information they provide - but mostly, it's about having something to say that is useful. The days of the one-million-blog blogosphere, of people whining about their angst or describing what they had for dinner is over - we have Twitter to thank for that! (Also: Facebook). Blogs are becoming more refined.

So here's what to expect to find here: a bit of life-stuff (cooking, design, a bit of gaming), a bit of tech stuff (Microsoft stuff at the moment, but Ruby on Rails is en route!), and a bit of South Africa (thanks to my beloved sister, the political blogger :) ).
Anything role-playing related goes to my other blog, so this is The Rest Of My Life, But Only Those Useful Parts.

But as I said, I'm returning with a whimper. This is a fluff first post, so nothing in particular to say, just announcing a return with shame.