Sunday, February 6, 2011

About the Moon...

So today I spent a great deal of time exploring Google Earth. Not only was it a lot of fun, but I feel like in the three hours (I know thats a ridiculous amount of time, but it was cool) of time I spent exploring, I learned more than I did from my High School science classes. So as not to delve into a controversial topic of the efficiency of Public Schooling, I'll instead move towards the topic of the moon landing, (which incidentally is, is a controversial topic...go figure).

Well Google Earth has a feature that lets you explore the surface of the moon (and mars for that matter). I found this feature to be amazing, and really informative. I activated the feature that gives you photos, videos, and other information about different areas of the moon, and even watched a few videos from youtube of the moon landings. It was all really amazing, and was a learning experience.

What I don't understand, are the people that believe the moon landing was a hoax. Now there are a lot of conspiracies out there, some are real, and some are just a bunch of nuts making trouble. But the moon landing? I'm sorry but if there is anything we've learned about ourselves as human beings, its that we aren't good at keeping secrets, and that we are very proud of our secrets. I mean look at our government! That is my first evidence of the reality of the moon landing. Do you think that NASA would be able to keep that a secret for so long?  

Now granted, many of the arguments people make in trying to prove the moon landing false make very valid statements, and for some time (being about five minutes) I have to admit I was a little skeptical. But after five minutes of research online from people rebutting the arguments conspiracy theorists make, I was once again convinced of the reality of the moon landing. 

If you are one of those 20% of American's that don't believe in the moon landing, there is an awesome episode of Mythbusters in which they try and prove the reality of the moon landings. Now obviously they can't prove the reality with controlled experiments here on Earth, but short of going to the moon, they do everything they can to address some of the more famous theories. 

Another thing I'd like to talk about today, are stories. Stories are really important to me. I want to be an author, and I'm currently working on a novel, and I'm "world-building" another novel in my mind. I also love to read books, especially fantasy or sci-fi novels. 

One thing that has always interested me though, is that whenever I tell people I want to be a writer, they always seem disappointed when I tell them I want to be a fantasy novelist. It has even gotten to the point where sometimes I tell people I haven't decided what I want to write. Many writers even look down upon fantasy writers as if they are amateurs. And so, I would like to publicly defend the fantasy/adventure genre as a whole. 

I was once told by the author David Farland, that people read books, watch TV or movies, or engage in other forms of stories, so that they can experience emotions that they don't feel in their daily lives. Personally I find that to be true. I live a pretty boring life, and I guess I never grew out of the phase as a little kid where I want to be a hero. I've also found in my life that I'm not a very courageous person in many ways. So to read stories about a farm boy, who finds himself caught up in a world of mystery and intrigue, falls in love with a princess and then rises above his circumstances to save her from the clutches of the evil villain who may in fact be the Dad he thought died when he was little, is interesting to me.

I personally feel that fantasy books are the stories that people can relate to most. Some people don't like the stories because they are "unrealistic." Yes, the stories are unrealistic, but the characters are totally realistic. I feel that fantasy stories capture the true nature of our souls better than any other story. Name any romantic comedy, and I can name any fantasy that is more realistic (in terms of the realism of a character, not events...well, considering some of the romantic comedies I've seen, maybe even events).

And it is because I can relate to people in fantasy novels easier than I can in other genres. It is easier to map out the true desires of the human character in an unrealistic setting than it is in a real one (and still be interesting). The characters in the novel may be struggling with completely different things than I am in my life, like trying to figure out how to slay the dragon, while I'm trying to apply to a college that I am not good enough for. But some of the feelings we both will have will be similar. And to read him get through the preparation process, and go out to slay the dragon and live happily ever after is something that I need to read when I'm struggling with trying to convince this college why I deserve to be there. It is good to read about people overcoming obstacles and succeeding, it inspires me to try and do the same.

And so I believe that Fantasy novels, more than others, can help inspire people to be more than what they are. We read about these people in extraordinary circumstances doing extraordinary things, but in reality, many of the emotions they are feeling are similar to ours, and help us to overcome our own struggles, to rise above our circumstances, and be a little better. If you want to hear an amazing story about a man in the military who saved 12 lives in the middle-east, because he was inspired by a fictional character in a fantasy world to be a hero, go to this website, and hear his amazing story. The story is told by Tracy Hickman, the novelist who created the character that inspired this soldier to rise up above his circumstances and be a hero (on the site, scroll down towards the bottom, and you should see a little MP3 player bar with the caption, "Tracy Hickman Story." I was at the seminar and heard this live, and was blown away by the story of the soldier's heroism. It really gave me the desire to get to work, and write something that will change people's lives).

Okay, so that is your homework for the day, watch that mythbuster's episode about the moon landing, and read the series Mistborn. It changed my life. For those who have netflix, you can watch the episode instantly, it is in Mythbusters Collection 4: Episode 9. It is well worth checking out. Mistborn should be at your local library, but if you're feeling generous and would love to support an author (please do!), you can definitely get it on amazon or at most barnes and nobles. Also, if you look at Google Earth and look at the surface of Mars, be sure to check out the Mars Pathfinder site, which happens to be a mission my uncle worked on at NASA. Also, the Tracy Hickman story about that soldier is about 9 minutes long. He talks really slow so you might be tempted to skip out early and not hear the whole thing, but don't, its awesome.

Next time I think I'm going to talk about movie scores, some of my favorite songs from different movies, and....I don't know I'll think of something.

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