November 20, 2006

The Escape Pod

One of my favorite pastimes are audiobooks, preferably of the sci-fi or science kind. So imagine my joy when I discovered SFFaudio today, a website dedicated to sci-fi and fantasy in audio format. One link led to the other, and suddenly I arrived at The Escape Pod. This is a weekly podcast featuring thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi stories, reviews and other sci-fi related news. It's in its second year now and counting, which also means an extensive archive of previous episodes. Every hardcore sci-fi fan is encouraged to have a look at it. On a sidenote, let me also introduce you to Podiobooks, a source for free audiobooks in podcast format. Should sci-fi not be your genre of choice, they have a sizeable pool of audiobooks of all genres available.

Getting started...

Starting and maintaining some sort of blog or diary (yes, the vintage kind, written on paper and maybe even secured by a lock everyone, given a hairpin, can pick in just five seconds) has been an idea of mine for some years now. But being the lazy guy I am, I always hesitated to get started. Maybe because of the effort it means to set up the necessary software or get a nice looking journal, but most likely even more so because it meant an ongoing commitment. Of course I'd always be able to withdraw from this commitment since I'm only committed to myself. But who wouldn't feel stupid starting a diary and then abandon it after just three entries or so...

And say you finally succeed in bringing yourself to start some sort of journal, you're facing the next big problem: There's that large white emptiness that's calling for a very meaningful first entry. Not having an at least somewhat meaningful first entry can ruin the whole experience, don't you think? You can write about the most inane topics every once in a while, but oh... It's the first entry, after all!

So to give this post some meaning after all, let me just tell you briefly about that one night I was closest to starting a diary before today. This is quite a few years in the past now, it was a night I went to the movies. And that night's movie, Saving Private Ryan, was what almost caught me. I can't recall the movie very well today, but I still clearyl remember that there was hardly any other movie, show or documentary that demonstrated the absolute uselessness of war in a more violent and yet lucid manner. I'm not talking pointlessness here - most people will agree on the pointlessness of armed combat and killing people -, I'm really talking about uselessness. After all, how many wars can you recall that left a lasting mark on the world's history. Yes, there are a few, but most of them ended just the other way the triggering person or group intended. And yet... The world never stops spawning people who believe they can trick the fate and win even the most unpromising situation or feel so confident about their possible success that they can't even imagine loosing. And I guess it is this lack of imagination that ultimately paves the way for a bad decission. So we're at a conclusion many people had before: History must always repeat itself.