Making Mistakes, an evolutionary advantage?

I was reading this article about the origins of multi-cellular life, and remembered a thought I had a while back.

I was thinking about why we make mistakes. It seems strange, for example, when I’m typing this post out, that I several times hit wrong keys by mistake. Why do I do this? Why don’t I just hit the keys that I intend to hit? Why do I put the wrong ingredient in the cake mix, or call the wrong person, or take a wrong turn? This isn’t for a lack of knowledge or ability. I know that cake recipe, I know the way to work. So why do I turn at the wrong spot, or type the wrong word?

Well imagine if no one ever made mistakes, if every intention was carried out to the maximum physical and mental ability. Then we’d be missing out on a lot of discovery.

When I take that wrong turn, I might be late to work, true. But I also might find a faster route I didn’t know about. Or a cool new restaurant. When I screw up that recipe, I may stumble across something that tastes even better than what I’d planned. Or, I may stumble across a million dollar invention or life-saving medicine. And once that beneficial mistake is make once, then you can do it intentionally from then on out, and spread it to everyone you know.

Could clumsy or stupid mistakes that we make every day be evolution’s way of forcing us to try new things? Even if out of a thousand new things you try, the first 998 are horrible and number 1000 kills you… if number 999 was beneficial, and is remembered and used by the rest of humanity, then that is a net positive as far as evolution is concerned.

So next time you screw something up, and say to yourself ‘what is wrong with me how could I do that??’ stop and think about what you’d be saying if that mistake had turned out better than what you were trying to do…

A New Year

It’s here, the end of another year. They fly by faster and faster, so fast it seems that soon I wont even notice. I’ll start missing holidays in my distraction, and become one of those old people asking what month it is.

But for now I have my wits, and I have goals! I completed the previous years resolutions to blog about every movie I watched and book I read. This year I plan on continuing that goal, but I also want to blog more thoughts. More interesting things other than brief movie reviews, which seems to be the majority of my posts.

I also achieved my go related resolutions, but I’ve got another blog for that now.

This year I plan, aside from my blog goals, to write and publish two novellas. I am currently working on one, and have an idea for the second. I believe I can complete and release them by this time next year. That is my goal anyway! That would be a great achievement, and would mean I’d have three novellas out next year since… yes, I can do math… I have one coming out soon already!

I’ve decided on a title, I’ve finished up the editing, and I’ve commissioned artwork for the cover!

So. You’ll be seeing that soon, as well as the opening chapter, which I plan to post here soon.

Iapetus Shift, by Jonas David

One more kill, and Olan will have the money he needs to cure his damaged DNA for good–damage caused by his constant shapeshifting. But before he can get out of the business, it all goes wrong and he’s forced to complete one final job–kidnap a super-genius from a secret government facility on Mars, and transport her to a hidden base on Saturn’s moon, Iapetus–by any means necessary.

Well… that’s the teaser I have written so far, I may update it.

Keep an eye out for it soon!

 

 

The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster

I don’t read a lot of (or any, really) literary fiction. But I was recommended this book, or, trilogy of novellas, I guess, by a friend and was impressed by its strangeness.

It grabbed my attention right from the start by being about a writer who seems to be confusing himself with his characters. Then gets even more interesting when that character starts getting phone calls from someone asking for Paul Auster… who is the author of the book I’m reading.

The ‘weird’ in these three stories is very subtle and very subversive. You don’t really notice how it is getting under your skin until it’s there, and you have no idea what is real and what is imagined and what is a metaphor and what is literal. The stories all seem to be connected, without really being connected on the surface. The stories all seem to make a deeper kind of sense, though the meaning is just out of reach, like a word on the tip of your tongue.

The theme seemed to be one of isolation and obsession. The characters all end up becoming overcome by some task and locking themselves away from the world to complete it. They then seem surprised that their lives have fallen apart in their absence.

I quite enjoyed this but I don’t think it is for everyone. If you want a story where you close the book with all the answers and the story is complete and done, then this one may leave you unsatisfied. It will stick with you, you’ll wonder what it means, and will be thinking about it long after you read the last word.

Phoenix (2015)

I’m not usually very interested in war movies. In fact war is the least interesting genre of any entertainment to me. But AV Club had this movie near the top of their best of 2015 list, so I checked it out on a whim.

Phoenix is about a woman who escaped from a concentration camp in World War Two, with severe damage to her face. After reconstructive surgery, she looks like a different person, and seeks out her husband only to find that he doesn’t recognize her. Not only that, but he tries to get her to pretend to be his wife–i.e, herself–in order to collect an inheritance.

You can tell a movie is going to be good when right from the first minutes, you are glued to the screen. It was refreshing to watch something so well crafted and paced and acted.

This movie is very tense, and there is a lot of buildup throughout, with the interactions between her and her husband and the strange, intriguing plot. And the final scene is one of the more stunning endings I’ve seen in a long time.

Check it out!

HO HO HO!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all having a great evening and have big plans for the next year!

Do something for yourself! Do something for those around you! I don’t know what… but do something! Make a plan, have a goal…

Create something!

I’ve had a great year and have high hopes for the next one. Next month should see the release of my novella, Iapetus Shift. I am so excited to have it finally out! And I plan to write a lot more, and start releasing more stuff instead of just letting half finished projects pile up.

Lets make the next year a year of production!

Hyperion

I finished this amazing sci fi story a few weeks back, and am still thinking about parts of it.

I thought I had read this before, because I had owned it as a teenager, but after the first few chapters I didn’t remember any of it, and I think I may not have finished it because the parts I do remember have always stuck with me, and I think the later parts of the book, had I read them, I would have remembered them.

The story is about a group of strangers taking an interstellar voyage to the strange planet of Hyperion, each of them with their own reason and history with the planet, and the mysterious creature ‘the shrike’ that lives there. Deciding to get to know each other during the voyage, they decide to each tell their story, taking turns each night.

So the book is really six stories in one, each one is self contained, but since they are based in the same universe, and all relate to the same planet, they can’t help but be relevant to each other.

Each story is uniquely interesting and captivating. And some scenes are so vivid and visceral that I was cringing and gasping while listening. I’ve been inspired to write after listening to this, and I imagine this series has been incredibly influential in the sci fi world.

I was also very interested by the relationship this novel has with the poet, Keats, who I have not read. Hyperion is named after an unfinished epic poem by Keats, and there is more than a few references, and even major plot points, that have to do with the poet. I feel I may be missing some of the story by not having read him.

I found the end to be frustrating, as nothing is really resolved, and we leave our group of travelers right as they are reaching their destination. But I have the sequel ready to go and am eager to find out what happens next.

This is definitely a landmark for science fiction. It feels ‘thicker’ than most sci fi, even though it is not hard science fiction. It is thoughtful and beautiful and complicated and deep and intricate.

Check it out!

 

Krampus (2015)

I saw this family fun holiday film last week, and had a great time. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t creeped out really, but it was a surprisingly well crafted movie, and I suspect it will be watched on the holidays by weirdos around the world for years to come.

For whatever reason there have been a surprising amount of Krampus related Christmas movies over the past few years, but this is the first one that is of any quality. When I first saw the trailer I just rolled my eyes thinking ‘oh another one’ and would have never given it a thought if not for the recommendation of the guys at redlettermedia.com. Thanks for pre-screening movies for me, guys!

The story centers around a family at Christmas, and a little boy who loses his Christmas spirit due to his horrible relatives. Then Krampus comes and starts killing everyone.

It’s an old and overdone tale, sure, but this is really fun to watch. The creatures are well done and creative, there is a good amount of humor sprinkled in but not so much as to ruin the dark tone, and Krampus himself looks really great and is not overplayed.

If you’re looking for a ‘Gremlins’ style scary, but safe for the whole family kind of movie, or if you just like weird Christmas movies, then I’d give this one a chance. It will be better than you expect.