Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Brain's Being Productive Today!

A random idea came flying down from the heavens and smacked me in the face today.

One of the most awesome parts about the Internet (in my opinion, at least) is that you can meet people from all over the place. I could go on and on about all the random cool things I've learned about what life's like in different places just by having conversations over the Internet.

So, wouldn't it be awesome if there was a website which was solely dedicated to learning these random cool things and asking seemingly useless questions? Like, say you wanted to know what people think of McDonalds in, I dunno, Germany. You could ask this question, a German member could answer it for you.

Obviously, a website like this would start out slowly. For it to work the way I'd like it to, it would need time to attract a diverse membership. But it could start small. Even within the United States - heck, even within this town, people have a bunch of different lifestyles. There are probably people out there wondering what it's like to be in cross country, or to live on a farm, or to live in... Maltby. And from there, it would grow.

And once it's grown, wouldn't it be a wonderful resource for writers, travelers, and plain old curious people?

I'm seriously thinking about starting a site like this, using a forum host site since I don't know enough about web design to actually make one myself. It would probably be a message board style deal, with usernames and avatars and such so that you could choose exactly how anonymous you want to be.

Is anybody interesting? Have any suggestions for the name of this site? Any suggestions in general?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Life is Beautiful, and I'm Analyzing That!

Is it wrong to analyze something beautiful?

I answered a question about grammar during Knowledge Bowl yesterday, and the kid next to me asked "What use is grammar? It's language! Why would you want to analyze that?"

On one hand, I agree with him. I love the freeness and beauty and pliability of language. 'Grammar nazis' annoy me to no end - language evolves because we use bad grammar, and the most correct sentence isn't always the most powerful one. But on the other hand, grammar fascinates me. There's actually rhyme and reason behind something we do without thinking, and to me, that's an interesting concept.

So, is language not meant to be analyzed? Is it wrong of me to want to analyze it?

I was reminded of English class. Everybody hates having to analyze what we read. For many of us, all the enjoyment is taken from the book by being forced to hunt between the lines for hidden meaning that we doubt is there.

Our English teacher this year sympathises with us. The author didn't write the book for us to tear it apart, he says. But I remember that one girl in my class wasn't happy when he told us this. She enjoys looking for the possible significance behind each word, and wanted to know if that meant she was missing the point of reading.

Our English teacher then asked us if you had to know all the parts of a flower to enjoy it. We said no, obviously. Then he asked us if there weren't types of flowers - Venus flytraps, for example - that were more interesting once we had studied them and knew how they worked.

Yesterday afternoon, my sister returned from her music lessons super excited. Her teacher had taught her a little bit of music theory, and my sister had become so fascinated with it that they'd spent the rest of the lesson on that subject.

Does my sister love music any less because she thinks music theory is interesting? Somehow, I doubt it.

My conclusion from all of this was that anything beautiful can be enjoyed on two levels. Most people enjoy it for what they can see from the surface. That's totally fine. That's how the people who created the stuff want you to see it, anyways. But some people want to dig deeper, and when they do, they appreciate the thing even more.

And that's not wrong either. What is wrong - what makes people lose their appreciation for something they should think is lovely - is when people who want to see something from the surface are forced to dig deeper against their will.

And that, my dear sirs and madams, is my two cents for the day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Overhaul Time!

I knew that this was gonna have to happen at least once.

So, yeah, the way I'm using this blog right now is evidently not working out, seeing as I post on average once a month, and that's quite unacceptable. I've been thinking about ways to solve this problem, and have finally come to a lovely conclusion.

The reason I decided to make a blog in the first place was quite simple, actually. I wanted a place to spill all those random thoughts I have and observations I make that are too long and detailed to put in a Facebook status. But I've begun expecting too much of myself when I write here, meaning that my only blog posts end up being overthought and boring or things that slipped by when I was too frustrated to care and are therefore very random and crappy.

So, I've decided I want to return to the original spirit of the thing. From now on, I'm going to try to post at least three times a week, but the posts will be much shorter and more informal than many of the previous ones, and will probably deal with one of three subjects:

-My explorations in language learning. I've started trying to teach myself German and Norwegian, and sort of dabble around in other languages from time to time. So far it's been quite an interesting endeavor, and should give me plenty of thoughts to share.
-Random thoughts or observations for the day.
-My journal that I kept while in Europe (it was pointed out to me that I only posted one entry and should probably post the rest.)
-Maybe, once a blue moon, something intelligent and well-written.

(Okay, that's four, shut up.)

Let's see how this works out.