The Science of Deduction

Well its been a while since I posted here.  What deductions can you draw?  I’ll give you some hints

1) The answer is in the title of this post.

2) I write this blog in my free time so if I wasn’t writing this blog that means: (a) I had no free time or (b) My free time was occupied doing something else.

3) I have told you (or you may know) I am a college student, which would lead you to believe that I do have free time because all college students find a way to have some free time.  Therefore this clue should lead you to go with “b” in number 2.

4) Go back to the title.  Think for me.  What fictional character is known for his skills of deduction and reasoning?  The answer: Sherlock Holmes

5) The character of Sherlock Holmes has inspired a popular television series that airs on BBC and has seasons uploaded on Netflix (aka college student’s favorite website).

So from all the information above you can deduce that I was watching the Sherlock Holmes TV series on Netflix.  Each episode is about 80 minutes long with three episodes per season and three seasons to the show’s name currently.  Basically for the past few days all I have done in my free time is watch Sherlock because it is one of the greatest TV shows I have ever had the pleasure of watching.

The show is extremely suspenseful with brilliant twists and turns that keep the watching on the edge of his or her seat throughout the entire 80 minutes.  It is based off of the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; however, the show takes place in the 2st century so it has a modern twist with the use of smartphones and Dr. John Watson’s blog logging all the cases that he and Sherlock solve.  Dr. Watson is played by Martin Freeman, and Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead role of Sherlock.  The modernized version of Sherlock played by Cumberbatch is an off the wall, high-functioning sociopath with extremely refined observational skills and an incredibly deep intelligence that allows him to make deductions that only a mind-reader could make.  He is a self-proclaimed “consulting detective” who solves mysteries for anyone from private clients to the London Police.  He’s an antisocial, bipolar asshole who rarely shows a human side, but when he does he just about leaves you in tears with his profound insight.  He relishes the chase of a clever criminal, and seems to get some sort of sick joy out of a well-crafted murder, as if it were a puzzle laid out specifically for him to solve.  He is very theatrical and spontaneous, but he always seems twenty steps ahead of “the game” as he likes to call it.

But the best character in my opinion is Jim Moriarty based off of Professor James Moriarty in the novels.  Andrew Scott creates a character that is just as smart as Sherlock, but deliciously evil and unpredictable in a way that makes him almost a supernatural enigma.  He is not on screen a lot, but when he is he sure makes a potent impression and leaves uneasy but yearning for more.  Jim Moriarty, almost akin to Sherlock, is a self-described consulting criminal who leads a huge web-like crime syndicate.  He is small and unassuming, but Andrew Scott’s brilliant delivery of his lines coupled with a menacing, Irish drawl, make his onscreen performance in a spectacle.  He is the perfect foil to Sherlock, and the two of them just work so well together on screen.

The show made an addict.  Basically for the past few days all I did was watch this show.  That is why I haven’t been posting recently.  But hey! You got an update and an average review all in one post.  I hope to start posting some good content soon, including my first creative work worthy to be posted on here so stay tuned for that.  Until then, watch Sherlock.  You’ll be begging for the fourth season to air before the end of the first episode.

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Large Scale Social Experiment

https://i0.wp.com/i.imgur.com/w7C1qke.jpg

While I know I said that this blog was going to be a writing blog, this development in the gaming community is something that I have to write about. I like video games and that whole “nerd culture” just fits in with my personality. So I figure if it’s something I enjoy then who can tell me not to blog about it.  So now this blog will henceforth be a blog about things that I think are cool/inspire me.

With that said lets get into what I actually want to talk about: Twitch Plays Pokemon. Now for those of you who don’t know, Twitch is a live streaming sight where people live stream themselves playing video games. Streamers in there can build massive followings and get thousands of viewers in a live stream, and they can interact with those viewers with the live chat that accompanies their stream.  Currently a stream called “Twitch Plays Pokemon” has been live now for about seven days, and essentially this stream is a program that allows for button inputs to be registered by keywords being used in the live chat(such as up, down, left, right etc).  This means that as I am writing this there are about 82,500 people playing the exact same version of Pokemon Red for the old Nintendo Gameboy.  I’m sure you’re begging to see the implications of how this simple program is creating a large-scale social experiment that has taken the internet by storm.  This simple program that some guy wrote seven days ago has created a “religion” around a fossil, a massive debate of the merits of anarchy and democracy, and has earned this man over 120,000 followers on his stream in just seven days (the most followers streamers can get from years of streaming is about 150,000).

Now believe it or not all of those people have made decent progress in the game.  They have caught a fair amount of Pokemon, and they have won four badges (badges being the token received for beating a gym leader which signifies progress in the game).  But they have also spent several hours being tripped up by things as simple to navigate as a ledge.  These hindrances have caused another wrinkle to program to be added in by the developer in what is called “democracy mode” where the next button input is essentially voted on by the amount of people typing that input, and it is no longer an entirely chat driven free-for-all.  Democracy mode is initiated when a 3/4 majority of the chat enters the keyword democracy, and while in democracy mode if 3/4 of the chat calls for “anarchy,” the old mode of operation will be reinstated.  The installment of this addition has created a massive debate between the two modes.  This debate is also bolstered by a sort of culture based on the events that has happened in the game.  The Pokemon that they have caught (and some inadvertently released) have taken on characters and lives of their own created by the thousands of people in the chat and watching the events of the game play out.  It has spawned this debate of good versus evil in a religion that is driven by a comical reverence to an essential item in the game called the Helix Fossil.  Now I won’t go into further detail about the jokes and fan-fiction that this event is constantly creating, but I will leave links to a Google doc and the subreddit that outline the ins and outs as well.

From my Psychology major standpoint, I just find this entire situation to be fascinating.  It amazes me the progress that the tens of thousands of people were able to make even with out the “democracy mode.”  But the even bigger surprise is the scope of the entire phenomenon.  This simple interactive program set fire to the internet in less than a week because of its direct interaction and its novelty, and that is deeply inspiring to me.  It is creating a sort of collective story that thousands of people are playing a direct part in.  However, it is not a perfect story, and it moves very slowly due to the amount of people inputting wrong directions and things like that.  But that sort of internal battle in the chat gives it a certain charm and humor to the whole thing.  I mean imagine what those NPC’s must be thinking as the hero of the story checks his Pokedex for the nineteenth time in five steps.

While it may not be something that has value on an artistic level, it’s the fact that something this simple yet so new has had such an impact on a community of people in such a short time.  Also all the reactionary content and fan-art and fan-fiction that these people have been creating has been extremely funny.  This sensation sweeping the community is what is so interesting about this phenomenon whether or not you love or hate video games.

The stream: http://www.twitch.tv/twitchplayspokemon

The subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/twitchplayspokemon/

The Google doc: https://sites.google.com/site/twitchplayspokemonstatus/

Some Nagging Fear

Lately, Hating Everything I Write.

This post confirms a fear that I am starting to have as I have started this journey.  “Is my writing even good?”  I don’t have a unique voice as a writer yet, and because of this lack of development, I am already starting to feel discouraged.  I know that it is probably very early for me to be having these thoughts in the infancy of my writing journey, but all the same, the beginning of a journey can be the most uncertain time.  As a creative writer I’m still crawling on all fours and babbling nonsense, and that leaves me with feelings of doubt and vulnerability.  I have a lot of projects that I have started and many more that I have given up on, but I do not have a finished product that I am happy with: granted, I only just started writing creatively as a hobby for about two months now, while being a full time student.  So hopefully if I stick with it in my spare time, I can make some progress and create finished works I can be proud of, but for the time being it’s been a grind sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and telling stories and flexing my vocabulary any chance I get, but the work that goes into it is challenging and extremely time consuming, which is something I wasn’t entirely prepared for going into this hobby.

I tend to have these kinds nagging of fears and doubts with everything I start, and unfortunately these feelings of doubt usually defeat me when I begin to try something new.  I lack patience and the willpower to continue something when the going gets a little rough.  I think these character flaws I have are a part of the many reasons I have felt a need to write in the first place.  My mind thinks at a thousand thoughts per minute, but my body only acts on a hundred.  And rarely do I take the time to see those hundred acts through to the end.  But writing and having a way to share my feelings and progress along the way (aka this blog) help me to feel as though I am being productive and growing in an art form that I love and have a deep respect and admiration for.  Hopefully with time my discipline and work ethic will grow to match that respect and love.  Also I hope that writing helps me grow out of those character flaws that I mentioned earlier, and I will be able to take future feelings of doubt head on.

I think in life we all have our own hurdles to overcome, and having something to dedicate yourself to and to grow in helps build the character necessary to clear those hurdles.  Writing has become that something to lean on.  It is a way for me to pour out my soul for critiquing, healing, and most importantly improving.  The writer has the beautiful feeling of release as he pours his heart out onto the page.  The athlete has his comfort in the intense training that gives results which lay out a measurable timeline of improvement.  The painter has his joy in the mixing of colors and brush strokes creating beautiful interpretations of the way he sees the world.  My point being: We all need a release.  We all need a hobby to dedicate ourselves to.

Solitude

Gandalf

Since it’s been a while here’s a quick peak inside my thoughts during the lone road-trips I make to see my girlfriend in North Carolina.

Babump babump babump… Another ten miles down… Babump babump… This is the third time I have listened to this CD…. Babump… Time for a change….  Babump babump babump babump… Turn off the stereo… Babump… Three more miles down… Babump babump… I’m free

I think over this year and half in my long-distance relationship I have earned my stripes on the open road.  The solo road trip has become a sanctuary of solitude for me.  I do my best thinking with the melody of highways as my background music.  When I am on the road I only have myself to keep me company, and my introverted, introspective, (and whatever other intro-word you can think of) side takes complete control.  All I do is think.

While this may drive some people crazy, it sets me at ease.  This solitude is where I am able to take stock of my life.  It is where I can do my best creative thinking when it comes to ideas for writing.  It is where I think about my life and how satisfied I am with it.  And it is where I think of my next fantasy lineup during the football season (this one usually occupies me for most of the trip).

In all seriousness though, I think some of the best creative ideas that I have ever had have been on road trips to see my girlfriend.  It is where I had my idea for the novel I hope to start one day when my writing ability improves (writers out there, any advice on how to start planning a novel would be much appreciated).  Hot topics in the news can creep into my head as well, and I take the time to consider all sides, which helps me to really question and then reaffirm my personal beliefs.  Overall it’s just a great brain exercise that everyone needs to try at least once.  If you’re out on the open road, take an hour to just sit in silence, and delve deep inside your conscious to let your mind run wild.

These road trips are times that I actually really look forward to.  When people ask me how I am able to do it, I tell them it really is not as bad as it sounds.  And if you really think and take time to be very thorough with your introspection, eight hours is never enough time to fully think about yourself and all that you have going on in your life and what you can be doing next.  Before you know it, road trip times will become some of the most productive times in your life if you are able to turn those thoughts you have into action when you get out of the car.

Disclaimer: You still gotta pay attention to the road, stupid.

That’s my two cents for now.  Hope it helps.  If not that’s cool, I still attached a picture so that you at least leave with something.

And so it begins…

spongebob

I’m new to this blogging thing, and until recently, I thought of it as a sort of contrite way for anyone and everyone to express their opinions, experiences, insights, and last but not least, food pictures.  However, now, for reasons that I will explain soon, I see this blog as a valuable tool for me to openly express myself, and hopefully with time, receive constructive feedback in this new endeavor I plan to embark on.

So first, let me start off with a little bit about myself.  My name, for those of you who do not know me, is Jack Carnahan.  I am a sophomore at Auburn University studying psychology with the ultimate goal of going to grad school to study Neuroscience.  I’m in a wonderful but long-distance relationship with the girl of my dreams, and she is one of my biggest inspirations.  I am a introverted person at heart, and I do not really party or drink very much.  I find that scene to be overstimulating, and it usually just makes me want to curl up in bed and sleep.  That may may make me a bit of a loner to some people, but that is just how I operate best.  I do value very close relationships with people, and I take comfort in having a tight-knit small group of close friends.  I love to experience new things whether it be food, places, or activities. I also have a whimsical, goofy childlike side to me.  My humor is sometimes that of a twelve-year-old, and I love reminiscing and watching my old favorites shows from when I was a kid like Spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, and Drake and Josh.

But the most important thing that has driven me to start this blog is that I have a huge appreciation and admiration for creativity, and I want to begin making my own contribution to the creative world through writing.  I’m not much of a writer at the moment.  This urge has come within the last month or so, but right now my head is filled with ideas that I need to get onto paper.  I am deeply inspired by stories and the worlds that they can create.  In my opinion, one the greatest things about the time grown up in is that I was able to grow up with the Harry Potter series.  Those books and movies opened up a magical world that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and this is a world that I will share with my future children and grandchildren.  It’s incredible to me that just by sitting down and putting words together, J.K Rowling was able to create a fantasy world so deep and full of character that it had a huge impact on an entire generation of kids that read the books and saw the movies, and her words will stand the test of time and be passed down for many generations to come.  That’s just a little bit of what inspires me.  I will have many more posts to come about different mediums that I draw my inspiration from.

For right now let’s leave it at this. I have some fun ideas that I am currently working on developing into a fantasy novel or series.  We’ll see where that takes me, and I will anyone who is the least bit interested updated on their progress.  For now though, the most important thing to me is to cultivate my creative voice and writing ability.  So that’s why I have created this blog.  It’s sort of a public record of my progress as a creative writer, and also as a way for me to express myself.

That’s all for this first post.  As I was setting this thing up, WordPress asked me to do a first post so I thought a little something quick about me and explaining this blog would suffice.

Oh… And I’m going to attach a random image to each post to keep things fresh.