What is better than reading or writing about space? Immersing yourself in a matching atmosphere while doing so. Put on lights that reflect the mood of your literary adventure (or academic endeavour) and turn on sounds that carry you across the cosmos. Listening to music can be distracting, especially if it contains lyrics, but how about a gently rumbling Warp Drive or electric winds humming in tune with the fish tank on your space station?
I bet most of you have heard (of) noise generators online by now. My favourite one is myNoise*, which has a lot of really cool features. If you donate a small amount, you get some more, like stacking several sound generators in a convenient mega generator. But even with the free version you can listen to more than one generator at the same time, you just have to wait a bit in between starting them.
If you love Star Trek and science fiction or space in general, there are some generators you might enjoy in particular:
There is also a huge amount of technical noises if you enjoy this kind of environmental sound. I’m more a fan of combining space-travelling ambience with natural sounds, like the aforementioned thunder and rain, or a Japanese garden, water flowing in a cave … it gives me a sense of calm anticipation, like exploring the vastness of space and a serene/solitary planet side at once – or sitting in the arboretum/experimental garden of a spaceship, reading, dreaming of rainy days. The feelings I get from these combined atmospheres can range from carefree relaxed curiosity (great for studying) to sweet aching loneliness in the face of a cold, dark stretch of empty space and feeling like none of my friends understands the way space touches me.
Three other reasons why I love myNoise:
- All the generators have nice descriptions, e.g., about the recording process, the intended atmosphere, … and warnings about negative effects on some (if you are sensitive, check the descriptions first on generators from the “Brainwaves” section!
- When a user comments on a particular generator, their current settings are saved as well and you can click on the blue heart next to a comment to listen in.
- The “animate” feature, which somehow randomizes around your current settings so you can listen longer without tiring.
When you want to return or look back to your home planet, you could check out the generator called Planet Earth, which “relies on a subset of the Golden Record tracks” (and sounds quite chaotic when all sliders are turned on).
What is your favourite generator? Do you use music or soundscapes for creative writing or painting? I’d love to see your art!
* This is NOT a sponsored post (though I would definitely accept sponsorship from this cool page …), I just really enjoy the generators on that page because they help me focus at work and stay relaxed in the office cacophony.
** Names in brackets are the ones you’ll see on top of the generator itself after clicking on the respective link, sometimes they are different from the link labels in the overview page.
*** Leave a comment if you get the reference ;)
I spent autumn getting back into my beloved science fiction and space in general.
Books I started reading:
- The Tower and the Hive (series, sequel to the Talents trilogy) – finished two of five volumes. The Talents-universe Anne McCaffrey created just speaks to me with its unique atmosphere, slow and steady but still energetic pace, nostalgic feel, and threads of hard fiction (e.g. thorough description of life in domes on a Jupiter moon) among the crazy.
- Spacefaring: The Human Dimension by Colin Phillinger; read the first few pages. Lovely blend of space exploration and psychology, as far as I can see. Not an easy read for tired evenings, but maybe for the upcoming holidays.
- Cosmos, paperback version of Carl Sagan’s classic. Currently in my backpack, but as with the book above it needs some time and quiet to be truly appreciated. Hard to read on the train, but his wonderful command of metaphors and the like makes it worth the slow read an contemplation. When I find a seat in the mornings I try to read a few paragraphs to set the mood for the day.
I haven’t started Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophsics for People in a Hurry yet, but I’m looking forward to it as I thoroughly enjoy his (and his colleagues’) insights on Star Talk Radio.
My wishlist for Christmas contains mainly books, from Earth in Human Hands to Broca’s Brain.
Reading inspires me to write. I finished creating a series of haiku-styled factoids about our solar system which I’ll post as soon as I’ve decided whether to post them separately or in one big post. Apart from this I started collecting bits and pieces of thoughts on my reading material. I’ve been toying with some bigger ideas for a few months but they are not solid enough yet, though I might post fragments on their own.
Most, if not all, of the following is written for personal amusement and mind games and therefore to be taken with a
grain barrel of salt.
- Arya kills Cersei and Daenerys, probably by killing Cersei first and taking her face to trick Dany into negotiations (or by arranging for them to kill each other), takes the Dragons and flies North to burn the Others. Optional: gives one dragon each to Jon and Lyanna (team badass girls). Or to the Hound. The Hound with a pet dragon should be quite interesting.
- Truly all (highborn) men die and the remaining want-to-be queens resort to mud wrestling until they get caught by winter. Then the small folks and wildlings take over the realm because these stupid aristocrats get nothing done.
- Sansa gets everyone in the North killed/captured/wighted. Wight-Sansa and Arya/Nymeria proceed to have an epic showdown.
- Bran or Jon contact Arya telepathically as soon as she fully wargs Nymeria for the first time and give her the full picture of the wintery mess. Arya meets Tyrion on behalf of Sansa (I think deep down he still likes her at least as a friendly companion), together they convince Daenerys and all the fire worshippers (except for Melisandre, maybe, she’s an annoying creep) to torch the White Walkers.
- No wight dragons. I mean, considering dragon glass, they probably are ice resistant. Let’s just hope they are fiery enough to cancel the disadvantage of being reptiles and therefore cold blooded.
- Sansa and Jon try warging each other after a major disagreement.
- Sansa wargs Cersei. I don’t know how and when, but it sounds like fun.
- Someone accidently wargs a tree or whatever and gets stuck.
- Meera kills Bran because she’s fed up with his behaviour. (Yes, she swore an acient oath in the books, but this guy will get them all killed if he continous to wreck havoc.)
Now to the real fun part –
- Time loop. Long night and another long night, many Brandons, Dragons gone and coming back, a second Targeryen invasion from the east, … I came to this random conclusion today when discussing with the Nerd how GRRM is planting similarities/parallels all over the books, like the resemblance of Blood Raven and the Kindly Man (thanks to Order of the Greenhand for pointing this out).
- Interlocking time loopy multiverse mindfuck.
- The above, caused by some kind of apocalyptic rift in space-time. Some or all characters unknowingly wander over to another time and/or parallel universe without noticing … or maybe some (like Bran) warg across space and time in a much more drastic way than already obvious.
- Addendum to the previous thought: from the start I had the feeling that Lyanna Stark and Arya have a closer connection than just a bit of resemblance and the wolf blood. I’m not sure about the role of reincarnation in the multiverse of ASOAIF, not very likely in the truest sense, but Lyanna should have been a warg, too, and might have been vessel hopping until Arya was born and somehow either nestled into her subconscious, some kind of mind merging (what happens if you warg a baby or even a fetus before it develops a brain/consciousness?) to finally live the life she had been denied before, even at the cost of most of her memories. This in turn would give substance to some more nice mind games about Ned’s promise and why Arya wasn’t scared of the crypts and even the “ghost” (floured Jon) as a child – and why she was so close to Jon in general. Also, if Ned knew of or suspected this it might have furthered his decision to let Arya take sword fighting lessons, as it was a second chance for what remained of Lyanna.
- Simulation with constant fixing and partial repetition.
- Kobayashi Maru style simulation.
- All the people are already dead and the story arc is them being in a kind of purgatory, going through scenarios again and again until humanity is refined.
- The world is a repeated game of very elaborate chess (or cyvasse, the Nerd says) played by the deities/forces of that world, leading to a same-same-but-different character of the historic events, different ages having a different force getting the upper hand.
- Greyscale makes fireproof. Or wight-proof. Or both.
- Random ramblings/speculations: It’s often been suspected that the world of the storyline is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The question is, at what state of history came the apocalypse? The great castles mostly have been built so far back in history that their origins can’t be recalled, so mostly likely before whatever the apocalyptic event was (cf. the common theory that the lower levels of crypts etc. served as hiding places/fallout shelters). Had the pre-apocalyptic civlization advanced to modern anthropocene state, I doubt these castles (rare to begin with) had been preserved but no newer buildings (many, many because a lot more people). So at what point of development came the apocalypsis? Can we even draw any conclusions because of the possible space-time rift, cosmic reset, time loop, or whatever? Is the story moving towards the apocalypse (again) right now? Will we see the cataclysm that reset/looped this crazy multiverse? Are the Great Other and the light/fire deity (whichever might be the real deal) like matter and antimatter and their final battle makes the world go “poof”?
- I think it has been quoted quite a few times in connection with ASOAIF now on twitter etc, but here you go:
Fire and IceSome say the world will end in fire,Some say in ice.From what I’ve tasted of desireI hold with those who favor fire.But if it had to perish twice,I think I know enough of hateTo say that for destruction iceIs also greatAnd would suffice.(Robert Frost)
What if GRRM has taken Inspiration from this and history is really somewhat repeating itself? Then to create symmetry this time ice will win. Game over, everyone dead. Valar morghulis.
Because a friend of mine had been nagging me about recreating Rey’s hairstyle after watching the new Star Wars movie together last week, I decided to give it a try. I followed this video tutorial, more or less:
I didn’t include the small elastic above the top loop and instead of several bobby pins I used one u-shaped hair pin per loop to secure the hair wrapped around the elastic. My hair is more shaggy than curly today and just wouldn’t cooperate in forming nice, smooth loops, so I’ll try this again on another day.
I wanted to try the hairstyle Arya Stark wears in the beginning of the first season of Game of Thrones and found this tutorial http://hellomeepit.com/2014/03/10/game-of-thrones-arya-stark-hair-tutorial/, though I cheated a little and crossed the braids first at the bottom, then at the top, instead of the other way round.
A moment later I decided to go the whole way – I found a wooden sword (well, two of them) in our living room and picked a creme white blouse and a blue dress from my wardrobe (reference picture links: here, here, and here), then set up the camera.
Bonus picture from before I remembered Arya is lefthanded:
Time needed for hairstyle: <10 minutes
Materials used for hairstyle: 1 medium sized brown hair tie (elastic with fabric, no metal), 2 small transparent silicone hair ties, 4 black metal hair pins