One-way trip to space? Mars One

I saw this link on CNN today about a group of candidates that are being whittled down from the last 100 applicants, to 24, so that they can go to Mars in six teams of four, to attempt colonisation.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/17/tech/mars-one-final-100/index.html?iref=obinsite

Mars  Having set Hope’s Daughter and The Rainbow Maker’s Tale in space, I’m always interested in these types of projects, that show how people are still looking at ways of making living elsewhere in space a reality. But, if you take a read of this article – spending seven months on a space shuttle, with the likelihood of being able to survive for just 64 days when you reach the planet – would you consider doing this?

(Image taken from the Explore Mars page at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/mars/background/ )

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Pin of the Week – 13: Life and Love

Ted Hughes

 

As a literary student (former, current? It’s a state of mind :) Probably) poetry is one of the areas I will admit that I often overlook. I can reel off the novelists I love and the books that I read and re-read, but if I’m honest my sphere of knowledge on poetry is somewhat lacking. Although usually much shorter than a book, I find poetry, for me, is often less accessible – unless it’s a limmerick ;)

Conversely, with children’s books, I find that my favourites are usually poetic – obviously, I’m a conflicted person.

Anyway, of the few poets I actively choose to read, Ted Hughes is one of my favourites and here this is one of my favourite quotes from him, on life and love.

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Here’s Johnny! An actor prepares…

Random surfing this week and I came across this video on a Twitter feed. I always liked The Shining and wrote a piece on it when I was at Uni – Duality, Duplicity and Double-Narrative in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
just in case you were wondering :) – which means I’ve watched it a bunch of times and then some.

I do love these kind of videos, where you get to see the reality behind the performance, especially when it’s one you’re very familiar with. I’m really rubbish at acting – think piece of wood on a stage, with make-up on, saying words like a robot – but as someone who is creative in another field, I love seeing and hearing how someone creates themselves as a new character, the processes they go through, to bring out the details and reality, just like I might write and then re-write a scene to give it believable depth. I’ve seen some excellent, lengthy videos on this type of thing by other actors, but I quite like Jack’s “I’m evil, I’m an axe killer,” bouncing up and down technique. Simple and to the point; although it’s his slow, quiet, non-manic bits in these scenes that I think are the most disturbing.

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Pin of the Week- 12: An inspirational man

One of my Pinterest boards is ‘People’, which simply showcases a mixture of famous people I admire from actors and actresses, to writers and scientists. In general, I try to pick photographs of them that say something about the person they come across as, to me; where they appear normal, ‘real’… Usually I pick ones where they look genuinely happy, or are doing the thing they loved. Gene Kelly, flying through the air mid-dance… Sylvia Plath reading in her study, surrounded by books…

SupermanThere are several pictures of Christopher Reeve on this board, in his Superman/Clark Kent role, which I always loved as a kid. In addition to being a great actor, he was such an inspirational character, perhaps even more so after the accident which changed his life.

When I was pinning a picture of his the other day, I came across the attached letter that he’d sent to a teacher and his class at school and felt it should be shared. It says a lot about him as person.

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/10/you-are-future-you-can-make-difference.html

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Just Finished…Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Uglies

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license – for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever…

Uglies, Cover

This was a well-written book, but I have to say I just really didn’t buy into the concept, story and characters as much as I thought I would. It felt like some things happened, just because they HAD to… I found it difficult to get beyond a superficial reading, just as I found the first half of the book (the ‘pretty’ focused part) superficial. Tally wasn’t my favourite choice as a heroine: she was fickle, easily persuaded, but then chose to be stubborn at the most ridiculous moments… I know ‘uglies’ were meant to have been coddled in their city life, but it felt very unrealistic to me. In general, I felt Shay was more committed and questioning than Tally. In a couple of scenes, I did really believe in Tally, particularly the one where she sits in front of the mirror examining the detail and imperfections of her face – that felt very ‘real’ and is something I imagine all teenage girls do at some point, criticising the reflection that stares back at them. But, for me it was one of the only scenes we saw any depth to Tally’s character. Beyond this, she was just a name to me, faceless rather than ugly.

The dystopian world around Uglyville and New Pretty Town (yes, those are names of places…) the former world of the Rusties, was more realistic for me and there were interesting elements: the parasite in oil that destroyed the old world; the desertification of huge areas, through GM crop mistakes; the Smoke was also reasonable for a survivalist camp. I enjoyed the second part of the book much more than the first and some of the characters introduced (such as David and his parents) we’re good.

Some things jarred in the narration for me: a description of Tally feeling like she was graduating from riding a tricycle to a motorbike… In a world that didn’t have motorbikes – how could that feeling being attributed to her character? The language of their world became hard going at times, everything pretty or ugly… And every name of a group: Smokies, Pretties, Uglies, Rusties… I would have appreciated some more variety.

Overall, it is a quick read and written well-enough to keep the story going. It just wasn’t realistic enough a world for me for a dystopian. If they wanted pliable citizens, why do they give the Uglies so much freedom? Why do Pretty Rangers help Smokies? Why do they allow law breakers back into their system, but are ruthless with the Smokies? It’s possible that all these questions might be answered in book 2, but as I already know that is set firmly in Pretty Town, I’m not sure I can face it… It’s what the future looks like if we all turn into the cast of TOWIE – so maybe it IS a dystopian nightmare :)

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Song on Sunday – Bang My Head

Oh, it’s been a long, l-o-n-g time since I posted one of these… At the moment, I’m listening to the same ‘soundtrack’ of songs that I’ve put together to compliment the book I’m working on. There’s a few David Guetta songs on the list, including this one, which reminds me of my rather sarcastic, mildly feisty heroine.

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Pin of the Week – 11: Quoting Songs

Firework

One of my (many) quotes boards is one that covers wonderful words from music and film… With this little one from Katie Perry’s Firework I like the image, as much as the words itself. Nice and inspirational, for whatever it is you need a little push on…

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