Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: The Rogue

So funny thing: I've recently gotten into lockpicking. I'm not the best at it, but I find myself getting more and more into it as the days go by. The very first time I picked open my first lock, there was a thrill to it. Honestly, when my first lock opened, I was not sure exactly what I did. That's usually how it goes. I figure out the technique later.

Of course, I am not advocating anything illegal here. It's just a little hobby of mine. If anything, I'd be able to get back into the house if I got locked out. But there really is a thrill to is, and I actually find the act of opening a lock the wrong way very relaxing. It's turned into a bit of a fidget thing with me.

There is something odd about opening a lock without a key. It feels like you are being incredibly sneaky. I think this is why rogues in stories are so fascinating. They seem to have a way of getting around without the usual authority to do so. They seem to function on their own authority. It's rather exciting.

We see these heroes or villains often wearing some sort of cloak. They might be more likely to wield a dagger rather than a sword. Naturally a rogue makes a good assassin. They have to pick your lock before they go in and kill you. There is also, of course, the thief. These are all mainstays in popular fiction.

One thing I have learned from studying lockpicking is that there is no lock that cannot be opened as long as you have the proper skill for it. Locks do vary in difficulty. It takes a combination of practice, skill, and the proper tools to get into the most difficult locks. I was surprised that between the few locks that I have, every one of them required a different type of pick and tension bar.

One downside for me is that learning how lockpicking works has ruined some of the silly lockpicking minigames in popular video games. I have to roll my eyes at them. They are ridiculous to all but the ignorant of real lockpicking. But I can still get a chuckle out of it regardless.

I would not call me an actual rogue. My skill level in such things are still lacking, and I doubt I'll ever really be that sneaky, but like I said... it's a hobby. It's just a little something I added to my life to make it more interesting... and then I thought I'd write a blog about it. That's all.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Cyrano de Bergerac (The 1950 Movie)

Old plays can be hard to read. Old English or English written in a poetic way can boggle the mind and make you wonder what on Earth you just read. I actually loved reading the Edmond Rostand play of "Cyrano de Bergerac." Even translated from French, it still had all that old English writing in it, and there were times that I got a little stumped on what exactly happened, but as a reader of the classics, I wasn't that bad off.

But if you have difficulties with that sort of writing, I might guide you over to the official movie made in 1950. Although filmed entirely in black and white, the movie follows the play very closely. They still opted entirely for the old English, but being able to see everything in action is a great help.

The movie allows you to see Cyrano for who he is. You can visually explore him for both his flamboyancies, his triumphs, and his weaknesses. It's all there, and very well displayed with movie magic. The language used in the film is still sometimes hard to understand, but the pantomime that goes along with it provides good context for it all. I would say that it is a good introduction into the play, but the reading of it is still highly recommended.

One of the reasons for the latter statement is that you will still get more fulfillment from reading his words. On the screen, much of what he says can be fleeting if you perchance blink or get slightly distracted at just the wrong moment. Although it is fun to see how cavalier he can be in person, there is a reason, a very personal reason, why he acts the way he does. And I personally believe that Cyrano is someone who should be heavily understood on a deep level if you are to properly appreciate him.

I see the 1950 movie as a compliment to the reading of the play. It will certainly place better context on the goings on of the story, but to understand Cyrano the best, you must read his words. You must come to understand that this man was entirely his own man... and there have been so very few men in history that can lay claim to that.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Irrational

What does being "rational" mean? I once heard a saying that went a little something like this: "What is real is rational, and what is rational is real." The idea of this suggests that any idea, concept, or thing can be expressed in in a rational way. One might also call this idealism.

I am often told that I must be rational in order to deal with the world around me. For a long time, I believed this. It was not because I particularly understood what rationalization was... but that I was thinking more about something along the lines of common sense.

To rationalize something is not using common sense though. Even the words don't really link together very well. Common sense refers more to something that has always been there. You know something is true because... you just do. It is something we all just figure out. But how is using common sense different than being rational?

Rationality is not all bad, but it does have one rather frightful flaw: It is almost always influenced by the culture. Rational thought can often override common sense for the sake of remaining sane in a world that will look poorly upon you for thinking otherwise. I've had these conflicting feelings before.

In all of us, there is a little voice inside of us that is trying to tell us to think about something unusual, look at something strange, or say something unconventional. But there is a very real rational side of our brains that fights against it. It will tell you that thinking, seeing, or saying certain things are a bad idea. These two sides have very different methods and behaviors in how they act upon us.

Common sense is a bit meek sadly. It tends to plead with its owner that it needs to deal with something in a particular way. It is a nervous sort that is constantly trying to get you to act in your best interest. Most people prefer common sense. It's much easier to get along with and allows us to actually breathe.

The rational mind is nothing like it's rival. It is very much in tune with social norms. It listens too much to what people say and think and worry that it will break social boundaries. It very much wants to know what is real, but it thinks that other people and the surrounding culture may know best. It's approach to convincing you is a bit more violent. It grabs you and shakes you around a lot until you just go with it. The rational mind is rather hard to ignore.

One thing that the rational mind really cannot stand is being ignored. To ignore the rational mind is to be irrational. Most societies consider irrational behavior to be in bad form... perhaps entirely uncivil. The rational mind does not want to be irrational. What would people think? In order to be rational, you must not be irrational. It's a bit of a self-fulfilling aspect, but it's just how it works.

Rationality is unfortunately not very good at identifying truth and facts. It sort of interprets everything through it's own lens, but it works pretty hard regardless. However, in order to see things without rational interpretation, one must be irrational. To be irrational might not be such a bad thing in all cases, but it can get scary.

While trying to exist in an irrational state, people will notice you more. They will lock on to the strange person who does not seem to be conforming to the herd. They will explain to you how things should be done and even how things should be thought, but an irrational person tends to think only in his own way.

Now, for the sake of argument, let's say that something truly remarkable happened in this world. I'm just throwing this out there: A man standing before you with eyes that glow in the dark. Spooky, yes? Now, this could be anything, and I'm not suggesting that a glowing-eyed man even exists. But perhaps, in this example, he claims he has proof of something that is of extreme supernatural importance.

Your rational mind will do everything in its power to explain what you are seeing away as some sort of trick. The effect of the glowing eyes is certainly cool to look at, and you may be impressed by his ability to act out his part. Ultimately, you will likely move on... just in case the man is a loony.

Your common sense is a bit more disturbed. You may find yourself frightened but still intrigued by what you are seeing and hearing. Now, you may still want to move away... or you might investigate further. The point is that this part of your mind is far more open to the idea that what you are seeing may be real. It is also open to the idea that it is fake, while the rational side has entirely thrown it away from the beginning.

Lastly, even as you read through this blog, I am sure both sides will be fighting over one another as it tries to figure out if it is true or not. I can't really help you one way or another. At the end of the day, you have to decide what sort of person you are going to be: a rational person... or an irrational one. For me, I choose the latter.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Phasmophobia [Early Access Video Game Review]

[Some spoilers, I guess.]

So, I have played Phasmophobia exactly one time, but I think I just about got the full experience in that time. I know how the game works and even want to continue playing it. It is, after all, very repetitive. After a few missions, you get to understanding what this game is all about and can freely describe it.

Phasmophobia is a online co-op game about identifying different kind of ghosts or entities which are haunting various homes or locations. It is most certainly inspired by all those ghost hunting TV shows I remember seeing many years ago. They may still be doing them, as I don't watch much TV these days.

So, you and three other friends can walk into a supposedly haunted house with a bunch of ghost detecting gear and attempt to figure out what sort of ghost is involved. When I say "ghost-hunting gear," I am actually talking about every day items. Not some sort of scifi stuff. We have things like temperature gages, infrared cameras, and radios. There's quite a bit more too. The game allows you to purchase an arsenal of stuff to get the job done, and everyone in the team can chip in on the equipment.

The first thing we would always do is look for sudden temperature changes. That usually signified which room was the ghosts favorite place. We would then use several tricks to see how the entity functions to attempt to figure out its type.

Probably the most terrifying but also surprising way you can figure this out is by... talking to it. No, I'm serious. You can talk to the ghost. Not by picking from a list of text or anything... by actually talking. The game uses voice recognition in order to understand what it is you are saying... and what you say actually does make a difference. The radio is used as a means for the ghost to talk back, and they will sometimes answer your very specific questions.

One example was when a friend of mine asked, "How old are you?" the ghost replied, "Old." There was another time where one female ghost, who we found was named Elizabeth, was being very shy. We were trying to get her to respond, but she did not like that we were all gathered there. My friend stood in the room alone and started to call her some very horrible things... things I cannot type in this family friendly blog. The tactic worked but in a terrifying way. Being mean to the ghost just pisses them off and makes them more active and aggressive, but it might be a good strategy if you are struggling to get it to respond.

You also have two different kinds of camera. One is just an infrared video camera used to look for willow wisps that cannot be seen by the naked eye. You place the camera down in a room you think is haunted and go back to the truck to monitor the location. It's quite an interesting way to get evidence on an entity. But then there's the picture camera. This is what you use to get the best evidence which can also get you a lot more money.

The hardest thing to take pictures of are the ghosts themselves. The reason for this is they don't tend to appear for very long, and if they do appear, it usually means you are in trouble. Like just looking at them can turn your arms and legs into jelly. I had moments where I couldn't even get the camera to snap because I had gone paralyzed. But if you can get that picture of the entity in person, it is one of the most satisfying things in the game.

The best picture I ever took of a ghost looked something like a shadow in the corner of a room. I did it by reflex. I felt like something was behind me... so I turned and snapped the camera, getting one of the best framed pictures of a ghost I was ever able to get in the game. And the thing about this particular ghost was that I and a friend have seen something very similar to this in real life.

In my friend's former home, we saw a similar looking entity standing in a corner. It must have been very shy because it would always poof when it realized it was noticed. I had an idea of how it looked. It was like a standing humanoid shadow that was not connected to the corner it was in. When I found this one creature in the game, I smiled because I felt like I was looking at it again. Such a perfect shot. I was real lucky to not only get it on camera, but for it to be so clear and well-framed.

I recommend Phasmophobia to anyone who want's to experience realistic ghost hunting in a video game. Remember that it is still in early access. That means it isn't finished yet. A lot of the character models are very janky and stiff looking. But the ghosts and the mechanics are pretty solid. It's entirely worth playing as is, and I am sure it will only get better as the developer continues working on it. Also, enjoy my photo of the shadow ghost!

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: A Voyage to the Moon

Did you know that I stopped reading books for like 2 years? What happened was that I ended up getting kicked out of one job and into a much worse job. It sucked the life right out of me, and I did not have the drive to enjoy reading a good book. I now have a much better and far more relaxing job now, and that was when I decided it was time to go back to reading those wonderful classics that I love so much.

Well... I kind of had a false start by reading a book about an exorcist, but right after that I dived head first into Cyrano de Bergerac's classic... A Voyage to the Moon! This is widely considered the very first science fiction novel, although that might not be true. Either way, it was a book written in the 1600s about how Cyrano himself went to the moon.

If any of you don't know who Cyrano is, you might have heard of a particular stage play about a rather flamboyant man with a very long nose. That play was Cyrano de Bergerac, and that was the man who wrote and also starred in A Voyage to the Moon.

I heard a lot of people found this book very boring, and I do understand why. A lot of the enjoyment of this story requires a love of the main protagonist. Cyrano was counter-culture to the era in which he lived. In fact, it seems like he world have been counter-culture in any era. Even today, I think we would be rather annoyed with how non-conformist he was.

In the book, he had some extremely odd ideas about the universe he lived in. He saw the stars are simply other suns that perhaps had their own planets and moons. He thought about going to these places and had some very imaginative ways to make that idea a reality. He ended up making a machine propelled by fireworks that got him there in the book, but that was not his first attempt. I like the first attempt a bit more.

Cyrano took a number of glass bottles, filled them with water, and tied them to his body with strings. He then laid himself out on a sunny day within a town in France. The sun evaporated the water inside the bottles, but since those bottles were corked, the vapor could not escape. And so, the vapor then raised the up the bottles and Cyrano along with it, with the intention that they would carry him up to the moon. But they fell short of it and unfortunately dropped him down in Canada.

It makes no sense outside if cartoons, but it did require a lot of imagination to conjure. The very idea that he could even think in that way, in that time, was very enjoyable. The moon itself was, as you may expect, very strange. It was full of people who acted in their own way, with their own language, and with their bizarre little customs. The Garden of Eden was apparently there, and so was a collective of famous Biblical characters such as Elijah, Enoch, and a host of angels.

The bulk of the book has to do with the sad fact that Cyrano just doesn't fit in there. They don't understand him and constantly try and proclaim him to be a lot of things that make sense to them but not at all to Cyrano himself. They mistake him once for a female... and then some sort of bird. They also accuse him of being almost blasphemous when he claims that the moon circles around the Earth when they claim is it the opposite of that.

It seems to me that no matter where Cyrano went, he was never accepted for who he was. Everyone was constantly trying to make him sane. The books main antagonist was a psychologist that was simply trying to disprove everything Cyrano believed in... replacing it with some sort of safe ideal of cynicism. By the end of the book, I really felt for the poor guy.

But don't get me wrong, the book is still very amusing. There are a lot of comedic moments such as when Cyrano was late for dinner. When asked why he did not ask the people for the time, he said that he did but they all stubbed their noses up at him. It was explained that the people of the moon had very long noses for a reason. When they lifted up their faces, their nose would act as a sundial. They were merely attempting to answer his question.

I do recommend A Voyage to the Moon, but I must warn you that this book is really intended for fans of the man who wrote it. There is a lot of long-winded dialog which is really just Cyrano trying to make his arguments and contrast them with his own devil's advocate. That is the core nature of the book. He simply used the moon to make it happen. If you are interested in this man, this book will give you insight into who he was, and why he was such an uncommon person in this world.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Superliminal [Game Review]

[Some spoilers included.]

There were two puzzle games that I had been looking forward to all year. The first was Manifold Garden, of which I have already reviewed. The second was Superliminal. This was certainly a much shorter game, ranking in at a little over 2 hours, but the impact of it made it all just so worth it in the end.

The concept of Superliminal is that you have signed up to be placed in a state of lucid dreaming where you still have control. Dream mechanics are heavily in play during your experience. Although there are quite a few non-euclidean elements, as found in Manifold Garden, the main concept is the idea that perception is reality.

Now... in real life, perception is certainly not reality... but it can be in a dream. Something that seems far away can, in a dream, just be very small. Likewise something that's very close to your face might actually be very large. A room full of tables and chairs might just be a painting on the wall when you get a bit too close to it to break the illusion. In the latter, that was a case where perception was perhaps not reality but the polar opposite. The game messes with you in that manner as well.

With these concept in mind, you have to go room to room and solve puzzles based entirely on dream logic. It requires you to think in irrational ways to solve puzzles. When people get stuck in this game, it is often because they have trouble breaking free of what they understand about the real world. To beat this game, you have to give most of that up, or you'll just end up in a room that doesn't seem to go anywhere.

That almost happened to me a few times. I remember being trapped in and endlessly looping room with white walls with windows in them on two sides. I really could not figure out how to get out of there. What I ended up finding out was that the room did not actually have walls. What I thought was a wall was actually just the white space beyond it. The windows were just free hanging there in space. I was simply able to just walk past them and out into the open, escaping the trap. But the point is that the rational side of my brain had convinced me that there was a wall there.

Another really odd experience had to do with portals. Some objects have doors attached to them. By using the perspective mechanic, you can make these doors as big or small as you want. If you make the door extremely huge, you'll come out on the other side as a very tiny person. This confused me for a bit. There was one part where I messed up so many times that I actually ended up about the size of an ant, which made walking around a giant room take forever. I did finally figure out the solution though.

The point of the game was ultimately delivered, and indeed it was profound. The game actually encourages this sort of thinking even outside of dreams. It wants you to try real hard and see the problems you have in life from different angles and perspectives. What most people do when they have a problem is that they try as hard as they can to not deal with it as much as they can... and the way that they deal with it tends to be a very repetitive paltry effort that ultimately doesn't do anything at all.

If we actually bother to see things with our eyes open, we may be surprised to see what is actually there and find new ways to deal with things in ways that we never knew was possible. But you have to bother. You have to actually care and bother to see what's there. There are always more solutions than what you initially think. You have to, first, fight back against your brain's overly rational influences, and then from there, you can perhaps see the problem from different angles. Life is hard. Life will always be hard. But there is a lot more to it then meets the eye, and as we have seen inside of dreams, we have the ability to see beyond what only appears to be the obvious.

I whole-heartedly recommend Superliminal. Even at 2 hours, it is worth the $20 asking price. Enjoy.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Fairy Tale Spotlight: Free Thinking vs. High-Priesting

The reason I call what I do "high-priesting" is really for lack of a better term. I have tried to figure out a better term for it, but I have been a bit lost as to what that term should be. Personally, I am not well satisfied with calling it high-priesting. I think it sounds silly. It's a bit like the hip new word "adulting" which is used to help make snowflake millennials feel special when they actually act like adults. That's why I always cringe a little when I use the term high-priesting.

But sadly, there doesn't seem to be a better term for it yet. I did, for a while, consider using the term "free thinking." Is that not what I am doing? Am I not thinking for myself? Have I not cast aside the opinions of others and formed my own? Well... yes. I am thinking for myself. But does that mean that is a better term to use?

I'm not too sure of it. A high priest is a bit more than just a free thinker (although he certainly is.) He is also open minded. Nothing is off the table for a high priest. He sees the world for what it is (even if what he sees is inconvenient) and acts according to his best interest based on that data. A high priest is not offended by anything and merely accepts what he sees, with all of his senses combined, as what there is for him to deal with. He has a better idea of what is true and completely puts away silly notions of self-diluting perspectives.

A free thinker does think for himself, but that doesn't mean he cannot limit himself to certain possibilities. A skeptic is only as good as what he allows himself to believe. If you place limits on your own imagination, that's still free thinking, but it falls short of high-priesting. You cannot simply be in control, but you must be open to every possibility in all cases and eternally. There must be no concept or ideal that can be placed to the side. Anything is possible until it is proven to be impossible or otherwise, and even then it could end up true later.

I look at the world carefully. I do not wish to see things; I merely just try and see what is there. Even as a skeptic, I am open to things of a supernatural nature being involved. I always will be. Many times I have discounted the supernatural, but there have also been times where I have seen it in play. And as I see these things, I calmly wait for further correlation before I can take any action for it, if I choose to take any action at all.

High-Priesting is a practice that opens you up to the world which is far more vast than you might expect. As with most practices, it can be used for good or for evil. But it can also simply be used as a means of understanding the world around you. Live with your eyes open, and act upon what you see based on who you chose to be. That is high-priesting.

Thank you for reading my blog! Did you enjoy it? Either way, you can comment below, or you can email me at tkwadeauthor@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.tkwade.com. Check out my books! Thanks!