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Old 09-03-2008, 05:09 PM   #31
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Newton was a total dick. No, really. Additionally, he dabbled in alchemy and lord knows what else, as was the fashion at the time. He was extremely unconventional. Einstein was not a dick (I think, I haven't read a biography but wasn't there something about his marriage or wife?), but at least as unconventional. Hawking, I don't know. Did he have much choice in the matter? You could also say that almost everything about him is unconventional. I know lots of Tysons (?Dyson? given the list?), I do not know which one you are referring to.

They greatly advanced human knowledge, but they were not "regular joes on the street". It takes a certain mindset to venture off into the unknown, and neatly obeying all the rules does not fit.

All personal opinion of course.
Absolutely, personal opinion. I just disagree with many of your personal opinions. I would also take issue with calling Sir Issac Newton a "dick." He loved cats ... I love cats ... that's enough for me. Any man who is thoughtful enough to invent the cat door is a good guy in my book.

And .... just because someone is a "dick" ... that doesn't make them unconventional. It just makes them a dick. Being a dick doesn't mean you are an original thinker, or creative, or much of anything else ... other than a dick.

Lots of heroes are regular joes on the street. In fact, most people who do heroic things are regular joes. But ... there are different types of heroes. There are the personal heroes ... great men of science, or people who are renowned for what they do in the arts, or in business ... and people will generally disagree on what makes a person a personal hero because it's personal. (Duh ... right??)

For example ... Paul Newman is one of my personal heroes. Not because I think he was and is a great looking guy, and not because I think he was and is a great actor ... but because he founded the Hole in the Wall and created an incredibly successful food company to fund it. The Hole in the Wall, in case you never heard of it is an amazing summer camp for terminally ill, handicapped, or disadvantaged children. Now ... that's my idea of a hero ... someone who uses their talent to help others. Another phrase for personal hero would be "person I admire deeply." For some people (to my mind, sadly) that's Paris Hilton ... but then again, who we admire and why we admire them generally changes as we mature (I was going to say "age" ... but some people never mature, even though they age). Hell, if you had asked me who my all time hero was when I was five, I'm certain I would have said Crusader Rabbit. A cartoon character?? Well, sure ... why not.

OK ... then we have the person who I would call an "everyday" hero. Again, your mileage may vary ... but these are the people who put themselves in peril damn near every working day to help others. The firefighters who were running up into the Twin Towers as the people inside were running down to get the hell out ... those guys, whether they died or survived ... those are everyday heroes. They don't think twice, they just do their job ... and their job requires heroics on a regular basis.

Then, there are the people who, I probably wouldn't call heroes ... but if DG wants to consider them as everyday heroes, I certainly won't stop her. Those are the people, like some of the teachers I had in school, who if you knew what they were going through in their personal lives ... you would honestly wonder how the hell they made it through the day without shooting themselves .... but there they are, every day, doing their job and doing it well, and often making the lives of their students the better for having them as a teacher.

And .... of course, there are the regular "just plain heroes" ... those people who do something at potential cost to themselves of their life or their freedom, because it's the "right thing to do." Many of them live within the bounds of their society ... nothing unusual about them .... and then circumstances put them in a situation where they simply have to act ... and the choice they make is absolutely heroic. Now, sometimes, with those types of heroes ... it's a fine line between "how heroic" and "what was that idiot thinking???" Like the guy who jumps in the river to try and save a drowning boy ... not considering that he himself can't swim ... so they both drown. Hero or complete idiot?? It's arguable. If by some quirk of fate the man had successfully saved the boy and survived, I don't think there would be much of a debate. They'd be having ticker tape parades for him.

But, just being out of the ordinary doesn't mean you cannot live within certain societal bounds. I'm pretty certain that every scientist on my personal heroes list has cheated on his wife. That's a given ... all the way to Hawking. They may all have been complete and total dicks ... as mentioned, that doesn't make them more or less extraordinary ... even the most conventional and ordinary person can be a total dick.

And .... well, I don't know about Dr. Tyson ... and I'm not certain that you would have heard of him outside of the US. But, he is a brilliant person and seems to be a really wonderful human being. And, I love the fact that young Black children can watch this wonderful, intelligent, articulate man on the TV teaching them all about particle physics or the big bang or evolution and see that not every Black male is a success because they can sing, dance, play a sport, or because they sell drugs (or some combination of the above). Yep ... he is definitely on my personal heroes list. And, even if I were to find out that he's a dick and cheats on his wife, I doubt that would knock him off of the list. I don't ask my heroes (personal or otherwise) to be super human ... at least not since I turned about 12.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:13 PM   #32
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That describes most of the best programmers I've met, pshrynk. You can push and prod and cajole and threaten deadlines, and they'll shrug, browse, and play first-person shooters all day. Then they'll code for 48 hours straight.

Or, they'll threaten mutiny when you force them to work on NEW stuff rather than rewrite something that's just fine because to them, it isn't elegant enough.

Also, every great programmer I've known or trained has also been a musician, or a bonsai tree hobbyist or a pointillist or designed their own house...
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:16 PM   #33
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Actually that's exactly my point - Ms. Meyer writes something that resonates with millions of people that they are willing to spend their money to read it. That most of those people happen to be of different demographic than me, it's neither here nor there...

If you want to call that *crap* it's your prerogative of course, but for me that becomes a semantically empty word.

I just do not get why people believe that any *real*, *good*, *whatever positive quality* book has to be for them too, while people generally accept that lots of other things appreciated by large segments of society - *movies and movie stars*, *sports*, *video games* are not for them.

I see these kind of comments - this book is *junk*, *crap* whatever from people who clearly are not the book intended audience, while I usually see this movie, this TV series or that game does not interest me from the same kind of people who are not that particular form of entertainment target audience.
I suppose it depends on who you talk to. Empty word or not, I will often refer to even the most popular show on TV as "crap" if in my opinion it is crap. That's all it is .... a term that expresses an opinion.

I am happy for this author that "millions" of people (really?? millions??) read her books and are positively wild about them. Good chance I might think they are crap. And, it's not just a matter of demographics. I'm pretty sure I'm not in the "target audience" for "Harry Potter" or for books by Beatrix Potter for that matter. I still happen to think they were and are great work. So ... maybe they are someone else's "crap." Doesn't change much of anything about them for me.

Personal taste is not something that everybody else gets to vote on. So, the fact that "millions" (again .... seriously??) of people love this person's books means nothing with regard to my personal opinion. The only vote that counts there is my own.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:24 PM   #34
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That describes most of the best programmers I've met, pshrynk. You can push and prod and cajole and threaten deadlines, and they'll shrug, browse, and play first-person shooters all day. Then they'll code for 48 hours straight.

Or, they'll threaten mutiny when you force them to work on NEW stuff rather than rewrite something that's just fine because to them, it isn't elegant enough.

Also, every great programmer I've known or trained has also been a musician, or a bonsai tree hobbyist or a pointillist or designed their own house...
Ah, but Taylor ... you said it yourself, that describes the "best" programmers. And, from your experience I would hazard that the best programmers are those that also have a bent towards the traditional creative arts.

So, maybe while all programmers who can create code are artists or poets, there is a subset of programmers who are. While the fact that the subset exists doesn't make me want to lump all programmers into the "creative artists" category, I can see that some people who are also programmers should be there.

Anyone who is seriously driven ... to the point of obsession ... to be the "best" in whatever they do ... they are often more subject to stressors than a lot of the rest of us. Anytime a person is a perfectionist ... well, they haven't yet hatched the "perfect" human being (and please .... don't even bring up any religious figures ... not even Buddha, who we considered to be "enlightened" not "perfect.")
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:26 PM   #35
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I am happy for this author that "millions" of people (really?? millions??) read her books and are positively wild about them.
I don't know how to find out how many she has sold... but base on the Amazon sales rank for books her books are listed as Number 2, 3, 6, 8, 20... so she must be moving alot of books. Wish I could write that "crap". By comparison Beedle the Bard is at number 12... although it's only in pre-order... I am sure it will just to 3 or above come the beginning of December.

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Old 09-03-2008, 05:27 PM   #36
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Oh no, not another "this work is crap" argument. I guest we don't get tired of these. back to the topic, I understand her frustration about her work being published, especially if it was one that was going to make her money. I'd still finish it though.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:28 PM   #37
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That describes most of the best programmers I've met, pshrynk. You can push and prod and cajole and threaten deadlines, and they'll shrug, browse, and play first-person shooters all day. Then they'll code for 48 hours straight.

Or, they'll threaten mutiny when you force them to work on NEW stuff rather than rewrite something that's just fine because to them, it isn't elegant enough.
Exactly. You can sometimes stare at a screen forever and not get anywhere (the equivalent of writers block, I guess). But when your "muse" strikes you can code for hours and hours on end and write an enormous volume, more than you could normally ever achieve. It's very similar to composing. I think a lot of people who don't code tend to think it's just plugging things into formulas or following well established steps to put things together. It's not really like that. Producing an application from scratch involves the same creative processes as more traditional "artistic" professions. Your tools are different, but the mental process is very similar.

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Also, every great programmer I've known or trained has also been a musician, or a bonsai tree hobbyist or a pointillist or designed their own house...
Yep. The reason I mentioned brewing in my other post, is that there's a surprisingly large number of brewers who are also programmers/musicians. I think there's a certain combination of science/art in all of those endeavors (author, musician, artist, programmer, etc) that naturally draws people with that same "brain type".
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:24 PM   #38
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Hmmm... I think that I am trying to make a distinction based on the more traditional arts endeavors, rather than creating things like code. I know that code writers quite frequently are doing artisically slanted things, but I was more talking about the brain types who have to write, draw, perform, compose, etc or they have a build ou pf creative energy that just has to be released. Think Andy Warhol, who was always drawing, or writing, or photographing, or drinking to excess. No middle switches, just on or off. Your computer programmer in your example would be more apt to create code for a while, but then would not HAVE to keep going, no matter what.
Yes, but this type is probably pretty rare among authors. Hearing sf authors describe there writing it sounds more like a job and similar to other creative jobs like design or programming.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:45 PM   #39
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I don't know how to find out how many she has sold... but base on the Amazon sales rank for books her books are listed as Number 2, 3, 6, 8, 20... so she must be moving alot of books. Wish I could write that "crap". By comparison Beedle the Bard is at number 12... although it's only in pre-order... I am sure it will just to 3 or above come the beginning of December.

BOb
You know, Bob, she could be selling in the billions, and I might still think her books are "crap." I know that there are authors who slave away at writing books that I end up thinking are crap. But, I honestly don't wish that I could write that particular type of "crap." If I was a successful writer, I would prefer to have a great literary talent that would last. The idea of churning out stuff that even I didn't respect just for the bucks ... well, sorry, if I wanted to be rich, I suppose I'd just work more hours at what I am good at.

I know that there are millions of people who read Harlequin Romances. There are authors who have made a mint writing that .... sorry, but to me ... "crap." Do I envy them their success?? No ... not really. Do I envy them their "talent"?? No ... that question assumes that I think they are talented ... and I don't ... so, no. Would I want to be a romance novelist?? Good god, NO!!

Will I be a future Meyer fan?? I doubt it. I'd have to have the recommendation of a fan whose opinion I held in some regard before I ventured into one of her books. Now, if someone is a rabid Monty Python fan and says "You need to read some Terry Pratchett!!" Well .... I'm all over that. But, just because someone says "millions" just love her .... well, really that doesn't mean much to me. Millions of people love American football. Me ... sorry, but there's that word again ... crap. It's an opinion and I'm sticking with it.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:53 PM   #40
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She will probably come around and continue writing the book after her initial shock has wearied down a little bit. She probably haven't given the potential (and drawbacks) of internet and ebooks much thought.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:59 PM   #41
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She will probably come around and continue writing the book after her initial shock has wearied down a little bit. She probably haven't given the potential (and drawbacks) of internet and ebooks much thought.
She delayed the release of the eBook version of her last book (announced just days before the release), so she way have thought a lot about eBooks and the internet. I think in this case she just trusted the wrong person and there is only so much one can do to keep from being betrayed.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:16 PM   #42
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You know, Bob, she could be selling in the billions, and I might still think her books are "crap."
Maybe I'm misreading your tone but it sounds to me like you think that I am judging you or disagreeing with you.

I am not. I was trying to ascertain and answer if she really sold millions, because you seemed to ask several times in your message.

Secondly, I've never read her books so I have no opinion of her writing.

Thirdly, when I said I wish I could write that "crap"... I meant it generically and was more leaning towards duplicating her success rather than her style or genre or whatever. I'd like to write a piece of software that I could sell for $9.99 to 1 million or more people! I would be very happy with that. Got any ideas for an app... I do have 1 idea and I've never seen the app anywhere... but I'm not sure if it will sell.

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Old 09-03-2008, 10:11 PM   #43
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I understand that, Bob. Didn't mean to go all snippy on you. Interestingly, as I was lying here in bed ... yes, I am once again thumb typing on my cell phone ... I saw a blurb about Meyer in Time Magazine .. so, there you go ... millions of readers it is. It appears she writes about vampires. I read some early Ann Rice that I enjoyed, although I found some later work a bit turgid .. and bordering on crap. But if an Ann Rice fan were to tell me that Meyer's books were better written than say "Interview with a Vampire" ... I might give her stuff a shot.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:05 PM   #44
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Oh and Bob ... I've got a great idea for that killer app ... PM me if you want to talk about it. I was beyond amazed when I realized that it did not exist.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:55 AM   #45
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hey, i read her books and i think they project one of the unhealthiest life views i've ever seen. and i think they're crap. but that's only my opinion.

more important, that doesn't in any way negate the amount of effort she puts into writing them, rewriting and editing them so that her work is shown as she wants it to be. it must have really hurt, seeing her work exposed in what she considers an unreleasable state. and even worse that she only gave a few copies to people she trusts, which means that someone betrayed her trust, either deliberately or by carelessness.
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