Inspiring Lives

This is an article I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time. It’s just been sitting in my queue for a long time, as I continued to feel that I needed to do more research in order to convey my message properly. But I think I have changed my mind. I think the idea that I am trying to convey can be better understood if one applies it themselves and doesn’t just have me listing of the flaws of famous people. Perhaps I have to explain things a little better before that sentence makes sense.

People talk all the time about people that are inspiring to them and most of this is due to specific things a person did, either in the face of adversity, or driving innovation. Many times, though, it can be found that these people who are great in the eyes of history for having done something great were much less than great in their personal lives, or even other parts of their public lives we rarely hear about. I could easily spout off a set of names of famous people who weren’t that great on many occasions, but that might just be boring and feel like padding*.

But does this lack of being great people in aspects of their lives we don’t remember them for make them less inspiring? One could say that it’s more subjective than that (the answer is already subjective) or that the punishment (of your future lack of being inspired by a person) should fit the crime better. A person who was a petty thief at times would be more inspiring than someone who did a thing equally inspiring but was a mass murderer. But that argument doesn’t entirely convince me.

This gets brought up a lot nowadays, especially when talking about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla (for the record, both of them were crazy and didn’t treat other people very well). People having been brought up thinking Edison was a genius and being inspired by his story seem all to eager to jump on the Tesla bandwagon and talk about how much Edison sucked. But I’m not really convinced that makes Edison’s tale a less inspiring one. True, one shouldn’t strive to imitate the man exactly, but the story of a man with very little formal education becoming one of the world’s best-known inventors through almost sheer will is indeed inspiring.

I think that what “inspires” the newer generations shouldn’t be complete pictures of a person. While those should be disseminated and understood, it is almost necessary to look only at the good or great things that a person has done to motivate yourself. Telling myself the flaws of a “great” person is a de-motivator, and encourages my personal laziness. To say “Wow! If this person could accomplish that as 25 just think of what I could do?” is much more motivating than “Well, I’m 25 and I haven’t done that, but I haven’t gambled away my family fortune like him either, so I’m net even”. Almost every time.



*Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Nikola Tesla, Helen Keller, anyone who is famous for being a general (e.g. Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, George Patton, Bernard Montgomery, etc). And now I’m just tired of making a list, but basically any artist, writer, inventor, or politician seems to fit the bill.

On Being Disappointed With Your Work

It’s December again (time waits for no man), and that means I should be looking back on the year (or, like most people, drinking to forget it on the next first). I’ve got to say that I’ve been happy with what the year has offered me. It’s been quite a lot, though most of my major projects have turned out to be failures.

Now, even though I’d call it a good year, I’m still disappointed with a lot of things I did or didn’t do. I have a very long list of things to improve, and things to do. Like all of those types of lists, it gets longer faster than it gets shorter. That’s why I can’t use these little organizer notebooks. They don’t have an ever-expanding list page. Anyway, there are things I’m disappointed with (like my inability to not go on tangents), and that’s fine.

No one is ever going to be completely satisfied with what they do. There are many healthy ways to look at something that didn’t quite work as you wanted it to and see a way to improve the next time. Because you don’t want to be the “There is an imperfection in my art because only God can create perfection” guy, for more reasons than just blasphemy. It would also discourage improvement. If you only have flaws because perfection is unachievable (or because you chose to not be as good as God), then you should really be doing something amazing in like, science or something

Anyway (damn tangents), the point is it’s okay to be disappointed with your work. There is very rarely a thing I don’t have a problem with, and it’s never my own. For instance I have a book I made that will be on Amazon shortly (two in fact- it’s not a plug because they aren’t available yet) and they are amazing. It’d be hard to be happier with them, but I still see plenty of flaws in both the cover and interior designs (which I did on my own). I know better could be done, and I will strive to do better the next time. But it’s important to let things be done.

While I can look back on things and say they could have been better if I’d spent more time on this, or if I’d been able to see that mistake, I’m not saying those things are bad, or take away from something. I like to let things live once they’ve been created (not continuously changing e.g. George Lucas) and that’s just me. When something is done, it’s done for me. And if I could have done something more to make it better at the time I might not even have known how. Each project allows me to learn more things and do the next one better.  Whether that means higher quality or faster turn-around times, I can always do better.

It’s fine to be disappointed with something, as long as that doesn’t make you stop. As long as it’s less about hating what you’ve done, and more about loving the next thing you do.

To Review or Not to Review

My original title for this was something along the lines of why I think reviewing something that has already been reviewed is a pointless endeavor. Then, of course, I remembered that I review quite a lot of things that have already been reviewed. I have an entire blog that is designated almost solely to that purpose, and if someone hasn’t reviewed the art supplies I have reviewed there, I would be very surprised.

That being said, in my video reviews I try to do things that are a bit more obscure. Perhaps that’s because I personally enjoy watching video reviews as a form of entertainment, and things that are much more obscure make for a better viewing experience as opposed to a product that has been reviewed by a ton of people.

When I have just “joined” a hobby (in quotes because I don’t go on forums and post, or sign up for related memberships, or anything) I quite enjoy finding all of the reviews of every product that I can, no matter how common they are. Eventually, though, I find myself not searching for those reviews anymore, for obvious reasons. Now, if someone I enjoy watching has a video on something I’ve seen before, I’ll likely watch it just to see their take, but that would be after I’ve watched many other videos of theirs.

Translating this to my reviews, I know that very few people are going to come to my youtube channel or my website looking for a review on something that has been looked at by tens (possibly hundreds, but unlikely) of other people. So I make the type of video that I would watch if I were more into the hobby and looking for something more obscure, just for entertainment purposes.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t review something that has been looked at before, possibly by quite a few people, but it will be lower on my priority list than my looking at some more obscure items.

In written reviews, my opinions vary a bit. I feel that they are absorbed by fewer people for pleasure and more by people actually looking to buy the product in question. Therefore, I think that a different opinion is a good one, and I have no “problems” reviewing an item that has been reviewed many times before. Even then some of the items I review are so common that most people haven’t thought to review them.

So I think my original idea was problematic. I have no trouble reviewing things that have already been reviewed, but I would rather review other things. When it comes to the question of to review or not to review, I will always prefer the review option if I think there will be some substance to it (it’s hard to review a paperclip), and I would love to do a review of everything in the world. I just want to look at the less common things first.

Where to Start…

So… I’m gonna talk… About stuff…

But seriously, this article isn’t going to be my usual article (is it too late to say I’m mainly a humor writer? My latest blog/article posts make me think it’s too late.) Not that this’ll be sad or anything, just different.

Now, I’ll be the second to tell you I’m not the smartest in the world (the people I know who are in school would be the first), but I think I can be a reasonably insightful person. And when I start writing I can write (type) like there’s no tomorrow (but there are hand cramps). The real problem is knowing where to start. Over the years I’ve developed many theories and views that intertwine to the extent that I have no idea where to even begin to explain them, because each piece requires another piece to fully comprehend. The ideal “book” in that case would be circular, one where it simply starts somewhere and then ends in that same place. Even more ideally, the language and concepts would be simple enough that one could simply jump in anywhere and start reading until they looped back around to that point.

Unfortunately, due to the very reason that so many things relate to each other, a book like this would end up being much less like a circle and more like a choose-your-own-adventure book, or a food web, with many complex ideas growing from or branching off of smaller “stepping-stone” or “building-block” ideas.

But what are these ideas that form the basis of all other ideas? Is the idea of a language to communicate ideas the basic idea, or merely a tangential one? And there are even more basic ideas even further down. And higher “ranking” ideas are necessary to understand the smaller ones. We’d need a word made up of letters to express the idea that perhaps a letter is the smallest idea. It isn’t, but that’s what we’d need. The problem here is that new ideas are infinitely majuscule and miniscule. In science (or all of the physical world, really) a Planck-length is the shortest measurable distance, there is nothing smaller, nothing ever gets smaller or acts over a smaller distance. But in our minds we can easily imagine something say… Half the size.

Now what does this have to do with my inability to figure out where to start? Well, first off, it showcases my ability to write something completely tangential to what I intended to talk about whenever I feel I am unable to start something. It also really means that there is no good place to start anything. There are an infinite amount of topics to discuss that could lead to greater understanding of the central (undefined at the moment) topic. Of course, this also means there are an infinite amount of topics that could lead to misunderstanding of the topic as well, and that infinity is likely larger.

Now looking at what I have just written, infinity seems quite large, and diving into something that could lead to infinity seems quite daunting. But I find that the projects I simply start end up being better than all other projects (mainly in that they aren’t really projects until they’re started). So, I guess that’s really the answer: just start, start anywhere, you don’t need a good place, and if you find the “best” place retroactively, place it in front. Make things better, work at them, but start anywhere. Starting is better than staring at the monolith of work in your mind and doing nothing.

Of course you might like to start at the monolith.

Reaching Milestones

Reaching Milestones is a strange feeling. I’m just never sure how to react. Last week I reached 2,000 posts on the main Dragon Company site (as well as 1337 posts on Tumblr, but that’s just kinda funny)(and yes, that was all me so far). And just yesterday I reached 400 Walking the Roosters comics, out of over a thousand total comics, which I can’t even believe I did.

2000 Posts on my website

I definitely (I’m glad that didn’t autocorrect there) feel grateful to the people who encouraged me to work at this thing that I enjoy doing; blogging/comics etc. But I almost just don’t believe I did it. It’s almost like when I turned 18, which happened fairly recently as well. Suddenly you expect something to happen, and nothing happens. Everything feels the same but it feels like it shouldn’t feel the same.

My followers are still low on Tumblr

My followers are still low on Tumblr

But nothing incredible and major happened when I reached a large number of posts. Instead, the amazing thing is that I can look back and see all of the Likes, and Comments, and Followers I’ve built up over the time it took to get that many posts. All those people (hopefully you), though not as numerous as other followings, made my posts an achievement. People enjoying them, hopefully, is what makes them worth doing as opposed to reaching a nice-looking number for their total. The fact that even on my posts that get one Like, one person enjoyed that enough to like it makes me feel more accomplished than any number does. (And since I have to be cynical at least once here: I don’t have the potential to make some money if no one likes it.)

So thank you, everyone who has read and will read my various internet material. I hope to see you at the next milestone.