Monthly Archives: October 2012

Why I Don’t Hate George Lucas

If you haven’t heard yet, George Lucas just sold his production company, Lucasfilm, to Disney. This comes as a bit of a shock to most people, myself included. Firstly, Lucas has no apparent reason to sell his company. He’s filthy rich as it is, and the company is in no financial crisis. So nobody, nobody, saw this coming. Yet here it is. And now everyone want’s to know why.

Fortunately for us Lucas wasn’t willing to keep us in the dark too long, and posted a video to starwars.com explaining reason for the sale.

The short version is that Lucas is doing this to “protect” Star Wars and to preserve it for the next generation. “I’m doing this so that the films will have a longer life. And so more fans and people can enjoy them in the future.”

I can understand that.

George Lucas is getting up there in age, and it was inevitable that he would retire some day. Even worse, he could die. What would have happened to Star Wars if Lucas had died a year ago? Where would the franchise go? Who else might take it over? Lucasfilm is a powerhouse of an independent studio, but it’s no Disney or Dreamworks. I can completely understand why Lucas would want to make the transition now, while he’s still on Earth to oversee it. I can also understand why he chose Disney. Disney certainly has the power to keep Star Wars safe, and has the funding and talent needed to make good Star Wars movies in the future. Disney has been doing amazingly well with it’s acquisitions so far; Marvel keeps knocking em’ out of the park with movies like Avengers and Pixar is Pixar. Lucasfilm isn’t going to be liquidated or absorbed by Disney; they’re just going to own it. Well, they’ll own the majority of it. Half of the $4 billion Disney paid for it is in the form of 40 million shares of Disney. Of course that’s only about a 2.2% ownership stake altogether, but that’s not bad. So, good decision.

A lot of people out there are happy about this. They’ve been saying for years that George Lucas needs to hand Star Wars over to somebody else. The general consensus in nerd culture has been anti-Lucas for years. After all, he gave us Jar-Jar Binks, the worst atrocity since…well…any other annoying movie character, really. And he ruined Star Wars with his prequels…the ones that we all lined up to see, multiple times. And what about that stupid Vader “Noooooooooooooo!” at the end of Revenge of the Sith? That was all kinds of silly. Totally destroyed Star Wars forever.

I’m not so sure.

Granted I hated a lot of things about the prequels, and the acting was sub par. At the same time, they’re not awful movies. Their biggest sin is that they couldn’t live up to our expectations. But what could have? I don’t really want to debate this. There are good points on either side. I just don’t like hating people because it’s fashionable, and for years now it’s been extremely fashionable in nerd circles to hate George Lucas. And that’s just not fair. If you hate something because you don’t like it then fine, but I think too many of us hate the prequels because we don’t want to be unpopular. Geeks and Nerds can be just as cruel, cliquish, and prejudiced as any other group and I think Star Wars needs more honest debate and less people yelling “OMG JAR JAR BINKS WAS TEH WORST THING EVAR, LUCUS RUINED STAR WARS”.

Growing up, I can’t remember a time when I had not seen Star Wars. I have no idea when I first saw it, but it must have been in my formative years. Growing up my older brother and I lived and breathed Star Wars. The movies, the comics, the expanded universe. We had shelves full of Star Wars books, and my brother still owns a foot tall IG-88 action figure. I loved it!

And George Lucas was my hero.

I found a book on him in my elementary school library. It was made in the 80s or something, but I ate it up. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. I wanted to tell a story that would get the whole world excited, just like he did. Then the prequels came out and I was too young to know that they were bad. I was so excited when I got Episode I on DVD for Christmas! I spent hours watching the behind the scenes features and interviews. I felt that this was what I wanted to do someday.

But then I got older. Episode II came out, and disappointed me. Boba Fett is a clone? But…that doesn’t match the expanded universe! And why does that Geonosian have the Death Star plans?! The Death Star was developed at the secret Maw research facility by Bevel Lemelisk, not some space bug! What was Lucas doing? I was upset. And in my upsetness I was vulnerable to being swept along with the tide of George Lucas hatred that had been sweeping the nerd community. I turned my back on Lucas. He wasn’t a hero any longer; just a meddling fool who obviously didn’t know what he was doing.

But I don’t believe that anymore.

Sure George Lucas isn’t perfect. But he is still worthy of our respect and admiration. He developed techniques that changed movies as we know it. His company Industrial Light and Magic changed the landscape of special effects as we knew it. He started out as a nobody and ended up building a massively succesful studio. He did it all outside of Hollywood too, building it in San Fransisco at a time when doing so seemed insane. Finally, he made Star Wars, and it’s touched generations. Star Wars had a big impact on my life, and on the lives of millions. Maybe they’re not the best movies ever made. The prequels certainly aren’t masterpieces; but neither where the first three, when you look at them without nostalgia tinted glasses. Better movies have been made but there is no doubt that Star Wars struck a chord that nobody had been able to play before. What more could a man want? If I ever become half as successful George Lucas then I will be a proud man indeed. Lucas deserves our respect, not our hatred. He certainly deserves better than what his own fans have been giving him over the last ten years or so.

I hope George Lucas understands that he is still loved by millions, and that the millions who rant and rave against him are only angry because once they had loved him too. I hope Disney takes good care of Star Wars. I hope Lucas is happy with his decision. When the new Star Wars movie comes out in 2015 (did I mention that? They’re making another Star Wars) I’m not going to complain. I’m not going to demand that they do Star Wars exactly the way I would like it. I’ve tried that before, and it really doesn’t work. Instead I’ll buy my ticket, and look forward to an enjoyable time. I hope you will too. It may be more popular to be bitter, but it’s never satisfies.

NOTE: Happy Halloween! Nothing scary here, just George Lucas.

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Storytime Friday: Guest Creepypasta

Well it’s not really a guest so much as a link. And by that I mean it is a link.

As you can probably tell by the erratic updates lately, school has taken a harder toll on my free time than I thought it would. There will not be another installment of East of the Sun and West of the Moon tonight, but I hope to get one up Saturday or Sunday.

In lieu of that and in accordance with the onset of Halloween, I have provided you with a link to my favorite Creepypasta. What is a Creepypasta? Basically it’s a very short, scary story that moves around on the internet. Every year around this time hundreds of writers (amateur and non) put up their Creepypastas on forums around the net, hoping to scare the pants of their contemporaries. This particular Creepypasta was written three years ago by Kris Straub, who creates webcomics for a living and is an excellent writer and artist. I hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy it a lot then check out more Creepypastas, though be warned: if you scare easily in the dark then don’t overindulge. Last year I went on a Creepypasta binge and I had trouble falling asleep for weeks.

Without further ado, here it is: Candle Cove

 

Voting Your Conscience is Proving Harder Than It Sounded

Hey guys. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about politics on the blog before, but this post is going to step into that territory. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a habit of it. I’ve just had this crazy thought on my mind.

Namely, who the heck I’m going to vote for next month.

Now those of you who know me personally will probably be puzzled by that. So let me get it out right now: I’m not planning on voting for Obama. If you’re a fan of Obama than that’s your right but I cannot in good conscience vote for a man who supports the killing of children. I will leave it at that: part of me wants to turn this into a rant about Obama, but that’s not the point of this post. Just know that when it comes to voting my conscience Obama is not an option.

I’ve mentioned my conscience twice now. That’s because, as a Christian, I believe that voting your conscience is the only proper way to vote. I know that someday I will have to stand before my creator and make an accounting for myself. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve committed a lot of sins. Some were unintentional, many of them were deliberate, and all of them I regret. I don’t want to regret my vote for President.

So I was all ready to vote for Romney. I mean hey, he’s not my first choice, but then again McCain wasn’t my first choice either and I supported him. I know I can’t vote for Obama because of his record on human rights, especially pertaining to the unborn. Romney says that he’ll support taking down Roe vs. Wade. At least, he said it once. But then again when asked by others he said he would not support pro-life or pro-choice legislation. And when he was Governor he essentially ran as a pro-choice candidate. But hey, he says he’s changed. I have to hope that he has, or at least that going back on his word would be too politically damaging for him. At the very, very least he’s not as bad as Obama.

But he isn’t great either.

In fact the more I thought about it the more I was unsatisfied with Romney. He’s tepid on the issues that I care about the most. Still what more can I do? Vote for the lesser of two evils. I really wish that someone I could actually get excited about was running for president. Like Mike Huckabee! He’s perfect presidential candidate material! He was third up in the last round of nominations after Romney. He’s a lot more likable than Romney too. He’s got friends on both sides of the political lines and he wont back down when it comes to basic human rights. He was someone we could all get behind! Or at least I could get behind. I was sure he was going to run this time. Back in 2009 a Gallup poll put him as the most likely Republican presidential nominee for 2012. A CNN poll in 2010 claimed that Huckabee would beat Obama in a presidential election. He was the perfect candidate. But he didn’t run. He said “All factors say ‘go’, but my heart says ‘no’.” I was so disappointed! And yet it only made me like him more. What kind of politician puts down an opportunity like that?

Then again, Sarah Palin didn’t run either and she was a favorite for the nomination as well. After doing some research it made sense. Incumbent presidents rarely ever lose. If Huckabee or Palin ran for president this year and lost they would never be viable nominees again. You only get one shot at the presidency, practically speaking. Maybe they had looked at the statistics and decided that Obama was extremely likely to be re-elected. Maybe Huckabee is willing to wait for more years to give it a try.

And I want Huckabee to try. I want it with every bit of me that is politically inclined. He wouldn’t waffle on the rights of the unborn; he would do whatever he could to help them. He would stand up for human rights in America. Maybe I’m a dreamer. Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I’m just plain wrong. But I can’t help it.

Then it hit me; if Romney wins the election then Huckabee can’t run in four years. Unless for some reason Romney declines to run for re-election, but that almost never happens. Then what? Wait four more years? Will Huckabee even be a viable option then? What’s worse; four more years of Obama followed by four (or more) years of Huckabee, or four to eight years of Romney?

I no longer knew what to think about his election. I wanted Obama to lose, but I didn’t want Romney to win. I didn’t know how to vote.

Finally I decided I would vote my Conscience. I honestly don’t want Romney to be my president. I don’t want Obama either. The only man I believe is fit for the job is Mike Huckabee, so I would write him in. That was a decision I could stand behind.

But then I read this article by Randy Alcorn, another person I really look up to. He addresses that it seems wrong to vote for the lesser of two evils. But then he drives it home by pointing out that if we have the capability to save lives then we must try. It is possible that Romney will stand up for the rights of the unborn; or he may not live up to his promises. No matter what, however, Obama will continue to fight for the right to kill children. He is completely, 100% committed to that. How can I, in good conscience, throw my vote away when lives are in the balance?

So now I have no idea what the right thing to do is. Vote for a man I don’t actually want? That seems dishonest. But then again lives are at stake. Imagine you were captured by aliens and put to trail for your life. Imagine also that by their custom you can choose your judge. Do you choose the judge who says he will spare your life but has known to change his mind, or the judge that has sworn that he will show prisoners no mercy and has never broken that promise in his long career. Now imagine that instead of your life at stake it’s the lives of hundreds. There’s no real choice to make; you have to throw your lot in with the first judge and pray he doesn’t change his mind.

I feel like I’m rambling. I probably am. I’m all turned around on this thing. New factors keep popping up in my head, like the fact that I live in a blue state that hasn’t voted red since the 80s and shows no sign of radical change now. My vote honestly wont affect which candidate wins. I might as well vote for Huckabee, my vote is wasted either way. On the other hand, again, can I wash my hands of this election with so much at stake? With lives in the balance?

I have no clue.

Voting your conscience is hard.

I still don’t know what I’ll decide to do, but I do know this. Come election night I will be praying that the right man wins. I just won’t specify who I think that is, in the long run.

Sorry! But More Nothing.

Site regulars (ha!) may have noticed that there was no post last Wednesday or Friday, or this Monday. This is for the very good reason that I 1) forgot and 2) have found myself under a massive homework pileup that I have to extricate myself from by sunday. I am extrodinaraly stressed about multiple personal problems and I’m trying to get more sleep to make up for it. So I’m sorry to say that they’ll be nor real post today, and there likely won’t be a Storytime Friday this week.

I’m sorry. It just is.

Time Travel Can Change the Past (To Be Exactly As It Already Is)

I’ve never been on good terms with time travel. Growing up I found stories about time travel to be fun and entertaining but the actual concept of traveling through time was annoying. Whenever I’d hear people talking about time travel or read about theoretical wormholes that would allow someone to travel into the past my mood would immediately sour. Why? Two reasons: the first is paradoxes, and the second is that I really would like time travel to be real.

Just about every sci-fi fan knows what a paradox is, but for those of you who don’t know (and because nerds, like hobbits, love to hear things that they already know about) a paradox (in time travelers terms) is a sort of looping contradiction of causality that can make your brain short-circuit just thinking about it. A specific and famous example is the “Kill Your Own Grandfather” paradox (not to be confused with the “Become Your Own Grandfather” paradox, which is a whole other branch of mind twister on its own). Let’s say you build a time machine, and because you’re a big fan of World War II you immediately jet off to 1943. Then, because who wouldn’t, you hunt down your grandfather back when he was a young bachelor. You say hi, introduce yourself, and then (because you’re a smart aleck and a sociopath) you shoot your grandfather dead with a .45. This leads us to the question: what happens next? Because if you kill your grandfather before he can sire your father then your father will never exist, and if your father never exists then he will never sire you, and if you don’t exist then you can’t build a time machine, go back in time, and kill your grandfather. So if you never go back in time and kill your grandfather then he lives to sire your father, who sires you, so you can build a time machine and go back and kill your grandfather….you can see where this is going. You’ve just created a logical impossibility. If you kill your grandfather then you do not exist, which means you can’t kill your grandfather, and so on. Congratulations: you just broke the universe.

Paradoxes by their very definition are things that cannot exist. Just as something can’t be both boiling hot and freezing cold at the same time you cannot ever have a paradox. They cannot possibly exist. Now if it was possible to travel back in time it would follow that it would be possible to create paradoxes. After all, we have free will. Of course that’s assuming we have free will; many people pondering the same questions concluded that if someone went back in time they would be forced to just let history take it’s course. That if you know what’s about to happen you have to just let it happen. I disagree with that. Sure it solves the problem of paradoxes, but it opens up a whole new problem: why the heck do you have to just let things happen? There’s no physical law of nature to stop me from trying to kill my own grandfather. What does the universe take control of my body and paralyse me to keep anything from changing? How does that work? It’s just solving a big problem with another big problem. So since paradoxes are impossible, and paradoxes can (and probably will) happen if it is possible to go back in time, then it must be impossible to go back in time. That’s the conclusion I reached and I was sad to reach it.

I really wanted time travel to be at least theoretically possible. It makes such a great story! From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court to Back to the Future time travel stories are just fun. The only problem is that they only work if you turn off your brain and stop thinking about it.  I love Back to the Future but it just doesn’t make sense if you think about it too hard. Why does Marty remember the old version of the present if he went back in time and changed it? I mean when he comes back to the present and finds that his parents are cool and rich, then what happened to the Marty that grew up in that universe? Is he dead now? Did Marty somehow replace him? But theoretically even in that version of the present Doc Brown made the DeLorean and sent that present’s Marty back in time to 1955, but what 1955 did that Marty go to? Does he have to end up screwing up his parents meeting again? Only in his mind he wouldn’t be screwing up the meeting because the story he’s learned his whole life is that they got together after his mom dated a guy named Calvin Klein. But Calvin Klein was really Marty, so does this Marty have to pretend to be Calvin Klein? If he doesn’t, do they go back to being poor dorks? Does he return to the present to find one that sucks? I don’t know! It doesn’t make any sense! STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND ENJOY THE MOVIE!

That would be your average sane person’s reaction, but I am a consummate nerd. I kept asking myself questions like these, and thinking about paradoxes and trying to kill Hitler to stop WWII. Finally I came to realize something, something that hit me like a bolt of lighting hitting a clock tower. The reason time travel seems impossible is because, as Doc Brown often said, we’re not thinking forth dimensionally! In movies and books we see time in a very linear fashion; Doc Brown invents a time machine, then Marty uses it to go back in time, then he accidentally keeps his parents from getting together, then the future is changed so that he won’t exist, then he has to get them back together to save the day, and finally he goes back to the present and everything is different. It’s a neat linear progression and it gives us all kinds of problems with paradoxes. It’s also not at all accurate to how actual time travel would work. You see when Marty hits 88 miles per hour he doesn’t suddenly appear in 1955 where he had never appeared before. You see 1955 has already happened. It occurred 30 years before Marty ever pumped that gas pedal. Everything that happened in the year 1955 already had occurred and was old news by the time Marty jumped back in time. Which means that, logically, when he appeared in 1955 things went exactly as they actually had. Now this is where we break off from the movie. In Back to the Future Marty acts as a time bull in a chronochina shop. Everywhere he goes he changes things by his presence there, from his parents relationship to the twin pine mall to the current mayor. He obviously was not supposed to be there and his actions are causing things to happen that never would have occurred. But if actual time travel could be achieved then when you traveled back in time you would change absolutely nothing, not because you physically can’t but because whatever year you jump back to already happened and everything turned out just like this.

Here’s an example: lets say you have a friend who wants to go back in time and stop WWII from happening. He’s built a time machine and he has it all planned out. He’s going to jump back to 1914 and prevent the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which will prevent WWI from beginning which will subsequently prevent WWII from ever happening. He’s looked at all the variables and done all the math and he knows if he can prevent that assassination then the horrific death toll of the 20th century will be drastically reduced. He’s shown you his work and it’s impeccable; but there’s just one problem, one that you point out to him as he’s about to make his time jump. He failed.

He might look at you quizzically. How can you say he failed? He hasn’t even started yet. You shake your head. No, you already have started because 1914 already happened and Ferdinand was killed. As soon as you go back in time you will find yourself there, in a year that has already happened. We know the result of it: it’s right there in the history books. If you had succeeded then it never would have happened. Since it did you logically must have failed. You have already failed. You failed almost 100 years ago.

He might smile and shake his head. You’re just trying to keep me from doing it, he might say, and if I don’t do it then of course it will happen this way. But as soon as I make this jump it’s all going to change. To which you should respond with the simple fact that if he makes that jump then he will already have been in 1914 and will certainly have failed. Unless of course your jumping to some other universe’s 1914; then maybe you might succeed. But the point was prevent this world from going through WWII, not some other alternate dimension, right? But we already know how 1914 turned out in this world. Ferdinand died. You failed in your mission. That’s not to say that you didn’t try; I have no doubt that you will. But you will fail. Not because of fate, but because of facts.

Does that make any sense to you? It can be a tricky concept to grasp. I’m not saying that if you go back in time you lose your free will. I’m sure you’ll make all kinds of choices; it’s just that the choices you make will inevitably end up not changing the future. The way I see it you have only three possible outcomes if you try to go back in time. The best outcome is that you accidentally cause something good that happened to happen; maybe that fellow WWII soldier who saved your grandfather’s life at the Battle of the Bulge was actually you. Maybe you tip off the guy who discovered penicillin that he should try looking at bread mold. Maybe you convince Eisenhower that it would be a good idea to help rebuild Europe and Japan instead of putting reparations on them. Good for you! You didn’t change the future but you did save lives! The second possible outcome is that you have no real effect on the future. You spend your whole time in the past encased in a sealed and invisible bubble, silently observing. You are not responsible for any part of the past, whether good or bad. The final outcome, of course, is that you cause some of the terrible things in the past to happen. You try to stop WWII and you end up helping it to happen. You try to “invent” some future technology to help people and you accidentally cause the Great Chicago Fire. When you go back in time you have to remember that the past already happened, and if you traveled back to it then it already happened with everything you actually did.

What does all this mean? It means that I can be a little happier because time travel is not impossible. That doesn’t mean we’ll ever actually be able to travel backwards in time, but it does show that the concept itself is not a logical impossibility.

What’s really interesting is seeing what books and movies get time travel right. Funnily enough the best example I can think of is the Time Turner from Harry Potter. The Time Turner works just like an actual time machine would; it only causes things to happen that actually already happened. The story isn’t that Harry Potter was killed by Dementors so then Hermoine goes back in time and prevents that from happening; the story is that Harry Potter would have been killed by Dementors if a mysterious wizard (who he first believes is his father) didn’t show up to save the day. They then later use the Time Turner and Harry Potter just happens to find himself right in position to save his past self; which of course he already had done, and always had done. They don’t actually change anything: they just end up making the present come true, so to speak.

This has been a long rant, but time travel is something I nerd out about. I’ll try to talk about something interesting to even non-nerds on Wednesday. No promises though.

Storytime Friday: East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Part 7

Part 7

Dim candlelight poured into the room, softly illuminating the outline of the bed and chair. She could see a figure sitting in the chair. It had two legs, and two arms, and its head was tilted back in sleep. Other than that she could not tell, because it was too dark.  She listened carefully; his breathing did not change. He was still asleep. She stepped forward and raised the candle high. The light shone upon him and she could finally see his face.

She saw the sleeping face of a young and handsome man. He was dressed in fine clothes, and it seemed to her that he was as lovely a prince as you could ever wish to see. The only strange thing about him was his hair which was as white as snow. She stared at him, unable to move. She was completely entranced.  Some people say there is such a thing as love at first sight; perhaps there is, and perhaps not. But what do you call it when you see the face of an old friend for the first time? She could see it in him. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that this young man was the bear, the gentle and strong bear that she had come to know. And love. As she watched his sleeping face like that of a resting angel she knew that she loved him. She was drawn to him. She thought that if she could not kiss him right there and right then than she would not be able to live a moment longer. So she leaned forward and gently kissed him.

However, when she leaned over the candle tilted and three drops of tallow fell onto his shirt. She opened her eyes, and saw his eyes staring back. She jumped away in fright. That peaceful face was now filled with shock and fear.

“What have you done?” he cried. His voice was like the bear’s, only not as deep or rough. It was full of sadness. “Now you’ve made us both unhappy forever. If you had only been able to wait…”

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! What do you mean wait?” She felt frightened, and guilty.

He slumped down in the chair. “I am under a spell, bewitched by my stepmother to be a bear by day and a man by night. If you had been able to last a whole year without seeing my true form then the spell would have been broken forever. I would have been free. Now I must leave here and return to her, and marry a troll princess with a nose as long as my arm!”

“What!” she shrieked. “No! Stay with me! I’m sorry I looked but you can’t leave me now.” She grabbed him and buried her face in his shirt. “I…I think I love you.”

He looked down at her. He looked surprised, and then sad. He slowly ran his fingers through her hair. “I didn’t know that. This would be easier if you didn’t.”

She felt like the whole world was falling apart. Everything was moving so fast. “What would be easier?”

“Leaving.”

She looked up at him, and gasped in shock. His face was slowly fading away. She held on to him tighter. “Don’t go!”

“I can’t stop it. The spell is taking me home now, to my mother’s castle.”

“Then take me with you! I’ll do anything.”

He shrugged, sadly. “I can’t. The spell won’t let me.”

“If you tell me where you’re going, I can try to find you. Please.”

He stared at her. She could see the wall behind him through his fading body. “I suppose you can do that. The spell won’t stop you. But there’s no road to where I’m going. The castle lies east of the sun and west of the moon. You’ll never find your way there.”

“I can try! I will try.” She could feel tears form in the corners of her eyes.

He gave her a sad smile. “I’m glad. I love you too.”

And then he was gone.

She fell to the floor in shock. How could this happen? She started to cry. At first she tried to stop herself, but then she just gave in to it. She buried her head in her hands and sobbed. She wept until the candle finally burned itself out, and when she cried so long that she had no tears left in her she curled up on the floor and fell asleep in the darkness.

She awoke to sunlight, and the sound of birds. She opened her eyes. Her bedroom had dissapeared. She was lying in a green field in the center of the forest. The palace was gone. The silver bell was gone. Her dress was gone, replaced with the rags she had worn when she arrived. She was totally alone.

End of Part 7

Entering the Big Wide World of Business

First I just have to say God bless America.

Seriously. No sarcasm at all. I love this amazing country of ours, and I love it a little move today. Here’s why.

If you’ve been following the blog from the beginning you just might maybe remember a post I wrote that mentioned how I was planning on putting together a little video production company. Nothing huge, me and a couple friends maybe, just making little videos for small business and organizations and such. People who couldn’t afford your average professional video production price tag. A five minute video can cost you around $2,000 dollars and up. I figured I could work for a tenth of that and still make better money than I am now.

Well I’m finally doing it. I’m officially starting a small business. Here’s some background info.

There are several kinds of businesses you can start, but the easiest one (and the one I’m doing) is a sole propreitorship. A sole propreitorship means that you own the company and that’s that. The company basically is you. That means the money you make goes straight into your pocket and you just have to report it on your regular income taxes. The downside is that if your business is sued for negligence or fraud or whatever then you have to make the reperations. Also if the business goes into massive debt then you are in massive debt.  They can even come after your house and personal posessions if you can’t pay. Still it’s the easiest and free-est way to start a business, and if you’re just starting out (and you haven’t borrowed gobs of cash to start your business) then it’s the one I recommend the most.

Now here’s why I love America. I decided to finally go and fill out all the paperwork I needed to officially start my business. Here is what I found out: in the city of Eugene (where I’m currently staying) you only need a business liscence if you’re a tobacco provider, a transportation business, or a payday lender. If you’re anything else you don’t need a thing. Secondly, if you’re starting a sole proprietorship with no employees that is doing business under your own name (for example, John Smith Plumbing) then you don’t need to register your business with the state of Oregon. You have to register bupkis with the federal government, as long as you fill out your taxes right come April. I didn’t need to do a thing to start my business other than to have the will to do so. Yesterday I had no business: today I do, just because I decided to.

God Bless America.

My business goes by Mark Hamilton Video. We can provide quality video production for people, businesses, and organizations with a small budget. If you’re interested in making a video for cheap then you can email me at markhamiltonvideo@gmail.com. If you’re interested in starting a small business, go for it. You’d be suprised how little is holding you back.

 

A Digital Fast

We don’t really fast in America.

I’m not sure why, exactly. In church we hear over and over the importance of regular Bible reading and prayer. They’re practically a given. I’ve had fellow Christians ask me how my walk with God has been going, and often they’ll follow-up by asking if I’ve been reading my Bible. I’ve never had a friend ask me if I’d been fasting lately. Fasting is considered something extra, something extreme. After all a man’s got to eat. It wouldn’t be healthy to fast for too long. I don’t know a single person who has really fasted for no purpose other than to get closer to God. My little brother participated in “30 Hour Famine” several times, but that’s hardly the same thing. For those of you who have never heard of it “30 Hour Famine” it’s a fundraising and public awareness event run by World Vision aimed at Church youth groups. Participants raise money to for famine relief, and then fast for thirty hours. They usually have a party at their church during the 30 hours and play games and learn about global famine. It’s a really great program, but it’s not really what I mean by fasting. It falls under the same category as running a marathon to raise money for cancer research; it’s a fantastic thing to do, but it’s not the same as running a marathon in order to become stronger. I’m talking about fasting purely to better yourself and come closer to God.

Why don’t we American’s fast? No, I should stop there. It’s too big of a question. Here’s a better one: why don’t I fast? Why haven’t I given it a shot? It’s easy for me to say that I had no role model to follow. I could be justified in that; my parents don’t fast, my pastor doesn’t fast, and the elders at our church (as far as I know) don’t fast. But that’s just bouncing around the point. I’ve read my Bible. Paul fasted. Peter fasted. Jesus himself fasted for forty days! I have role models galore there. So why don’t I fast?

I’m not sure. One factor may be the fact that I love food too much. I mean I looooooove food. I count down the hours to every meal. If I hadn’t been blessed with a good metabolism I’d probably weigh three hundred pounds right now. I can’t think of a single day that I’ve ever gone without food. Not one. So I’ve got a streak going. Stick to what you know, right?

I don’t even know where to start.

Recently I’ve been struck by how much of my time is spent on the internet. Watching videos, playing flash games, reading blogs, browsing through webcomics…I spend a lot of time glued to the world wide web. I don’t know if thats bad, per se, but it’s not exactly good either. Kind of like food. I spend a lot of time eating food, and I need food to live; but do I need so much food? I use the internet for really usefull things, like this blog or my email account which lets me keep in contact with my teachers, friends, family, etc. But do I really need so much internet? So I’m going on a fast. This week I will not use the internet for anything other than my blog and checking my email. No funny videos on Youtube, no reading my favorite webcomics, no flash games. I’m giving them up for one week. It’s a digital fast, and I think I’ll be better off for doing it.

Who knows? Maybe it will lead to an actual fast someday. I just wish the food at my college wasn’t so gosh darn appetizing…