Ruminations

So, I spend a lot of time giving out about religion on this blog, so I figured it was time for a little bit of a more personal touch.

I spend a lot of time giving out about religion because it’s something I see (or at least it’s effects) in almost daily life, whether it be in person or in the news and I’m rarely seeing the positive sides of it. This drives me to point out, what I believe to be, the imbalance between the pros and cons of organised religion and it’s usefulness in a modern society such as we find ourselves in.

Where people see religion as uniting, I see it as divisive. Where others see community, I see shared delusion. Where others see effect, I see placebo, and I can’t in good conscience stand by and say nothing when I believe there to be far better alternatives out there that do not depend on strict obeisance, daily prostrations, circumcision or whatever other medieval practice is associated with said religious ritual.

My brain is constantly going at 64 in a 50 zone and so these are things I cannot help but ruminate upon. That being said, it’s not all I think about. Far from it.

At the moment, I’m in the middle (read: beginning) of maybe 15 different novels that I have a significant interest in one day getting published. One group of novels is a fantasy series, highly inspired by my love of fantasy and gaming, incorporating influences from Christopher Paolini to Robert Jordan. I began working on the series as a small background for my Final Year Project for college which was to be a very small Xbox/PC game which would have an Action RPG slant (highly influenced by my love of TES IV: Oblivion). The ‘game’ turned out to be rather useless, though a good enough demonstration of my development skills to get me a nice grade, but the storyline I had envisioned as a few little notes scattered about the terrain turned into an entire fantasy universe on a scale to rival that of Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Now, of course, that’s not to say I think it could be anywhere near that good (though one can hope) but the scale and complexity of the universe and its characters, history and plotlines is certainly immense. I’m loathe to give too many details away as I know that even getting the first novel to a manuscript stage will take me the next year or more at least, but as an example of the complexity, I’ m planning at least 7 books, a world with around 9 distinct races each with their own languages, which I intend to use liberally throughout the books (a la Paolini) and a backstory dating back approximately 2000 story years and each race has distinct cultural practices and differences, not including the diplomatic relations with other races and distinct forms of government in each land. I always get the feeling that it sounds rather pompous when I mention some of these details, but to be honest I’m quite surprised that I’ve been able to conceive a story with so many interweaving threads and plotlines, especially when it’s the kind of thing I’ve found in some of my favourite novels. I’m also proud, because it’s an exhilirating experience to look at the maps I’ve drawn and the plotlines I’ve outlined and realise that it all came out of my own creativity.

If I’m not thinking about how one situation leads to another in my novels, or some other little point, I’m working on some new music. I’ve recently discovered that I have a not un-useful ability for composing music and, despite not understanding Notation and writing everything in Tablature, I’ve come up with quite a few surprising compositions, with understandably rock/metal influences, and I’m definitely interested in continuing that. And that’s aside from the music I write for my solo acoustic project and for my metal band. Now, most people who imagine rock/metal musicians would think of a composition as perhaps some rhythm guitar behind some lead and the rest follows, but when I talk about composing, I actually mean writing music with pianos, flutes, cellos, drums, guitars, vibraphones, strings, synths and all manner of other instruments that acheive the sound I’m trying to mould. I enjoy it a lot since it’s totally different from sitting down with a guitar and trying to string some chords together or write a lick or riff. Not only that, but it helps me further my understanding of music, and when I say understanding, I don’t mean my grasp of music theory, but rather my innate understanding of what works and what doesn’t and how I should combine one thing with another etc…

Anyway, if I’m not arguing about religion, dreaming up stories, or writing music, I’m generally thinking about my games development company and our next project(s) and what needs to be done next, or some random feature or design that I want to include in them. I’m determined to get my company up and running and hopefully become financially independent from it, but I know it will take many years for that to happen, and before then it’s vital to build quality games and establish really good processes for development to streamline that path.

At the moment, it’s just a friend and myself working on a handful of projects on the scale of Braid or Dishwasher: Dead Samurai (two great, relatively small Xbox games) with at least 50 other generally larger projects in the pipeline. Neither of us are great graphic designers and so it takes a significant amount of time to make progress with these projects, not least of all because I’m working full-time and spending half of my free time slacking off or working on the above stuff (music/stories/bitching etc…) but once we get a base of content to work on we can expand our work and become more effective, and the more projects we get finished the more we can afford to bring in other people, whereby the good processes we’ve developed will help them be effective contributors to the projects.

I don’t envision myself living in Ireland permanently, or having a permanent office for the company (for the moment) but the beauty of the internet is that now I could potentially get people to work for me and not be in the same country or city as them and have, what would amount to, an international company of sorts. (minus the obvious concerns regarding security, productivity and performance of distance-workers).

Other things I ruminate upon include how dress codes don’t really address issues of professionalism or unity the way people may argue, we should no longer be using oil as an energy source at all, is monogamy a natural human endeavor or can people flourish and grow better in other arrangements, random sex-related things, morality as an evolved trait that humans have taken and moulded themselves into a social contract with other and the constant internal struggle whether to be productive or whether to slack off.

Anyway, that’s enough of that, I know most visitors to my blog don’t hang around for very long reading my boring rants so I’ll save us both some energy and call it quits here. For now. πŸ˜‰

Peace, dj357

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