Book Reviews · Books · Image · Ready Player One · Reality · Self-esteem · social media

Ready Player One

ready-player-one-book-coverReady Player One is author Ernest Cline’s love letter to the 80’s in novel form. It’s 2044 and the world has become  an almost unbearable place to live. An energy crisis has let to economic turmoil around the word and the environment has continued to decay. Because of reality’s almost unendurable nature, people spend most of their time in the fully immersive, digital world of OASIS created by James Halliday. Upon his death, Halliday bequeathed his fortune and control of OASIS to the person who can find the hidden egg, somewhere in it’s massive universe of worlds. What follows is a geeks biggest dream, that all that nerd knowledge would actually save the world one day. Ready Player One is a pop-culture infused adventure as Wade Watts tries to uncover the egg before he’s out of lives, figuratively and literally.

Choosing The Matrix

What if reality became so oppressive to deal with that you would willingly choose The Matrix. This is exactly what happens in Ready Player One. People choose to live in the digital world where they can be whoever they want, look however they want and become the idealized version of themselves. It’s not too hard to imagine. We already live in a society that is Instagramed and Facebooked to the point of absurdity. It is not who most of us really are, it’s just our best selves in 1’s and 0’s. We photoshop our lives and present what we want people to see. OASIS takes this to the nth degree. Don’t like being short, male, female or even human, then your avatar can be anything you desire. It’s the ultimate extreme makeover.

On top of this, it’s the perfect place to hide away from everything reality has to offer. Again, there are so many ways this already happens today. Twitter allows us to be anyone we want and the “relationships” there are comfortable since it’s easy to be whatever anyone wants when you’re hidden behind a profile picture and screens. It’s prophetic that Halliday’s avatar says to Wade,

“I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real. Do you understand?”

There is nothing easy about life and there is nothing wrong with social media. Personally it has lead to some life-changing relationships in the real world with real people. Ready Player One is a fantastic reminder that there is no substitute for reality itself, everything else is just a self-decieving fantasy.

Conclusion 

Ready Player One is an impressive first novel by Cline and honestly a good time. There really is so much to think about as Wade and his friends rush to solve the mystery of Halliday’s ultimate video game quest. If you love good stories and the pop culture of yesteryear this is certainly the book for you.

Children · College · Film · John Mayer · Marriage · Mentoring · Movies · Music · Self-esteem

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The Problem with the Childfree Life:

Ford_Time_Ubrella1Time magazine has stirred up the social pot again, with its recent cover picturing a couple clearly reveling in “The Childfree Life.” In her cover article Lauren Sandler offers a vivid glimpse into the fast-growing world of women “having it all without having children.” She not only lets us see the statistics; she also lets us hear the voices of the women they document. The statistics themselves are dramatic: for example, about one in five American women now bear no children, compared to one in ten in the 1970s. We’re talking about remarkably quick demographic change.

The Rise and Fall of Katharine Hepburn’s Fake Accent:

HEPBURN“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By,'” purrs a moon-faced Ingrid Bergman in the now-famous scene from 1942’s Casablanca. Staccato t’s and accordion-stretched a’s lend a musical flavor to Bergman’s lilt. “Early” becomes “euh-ly” and “perhaps” unfolds as “peuh-haps.'”

The grandeur and glamor in her voice, though, is a sham.

You Can Do Anything: Must Every Kids’ Movie Reinforce the Cult of Self-Esteem?

good-grief-charlie-brownFor all the chatter about the formulaic sameness of Hollywood movies, no genre in recent years has been more thematically rigid than the computer-animated children’s movie. These films have been infected with what might be called the magic-feather syndrome. As with the titular character in Walt Disney’s 1943 animated feature Dumbo, these movies revolve around anthropomorphized outcasts who must overcome the restrictions of their societies or even species to realize their impossible dreams. Almost uniformly, the protagonists’ primary liability, such as Dumbo’s giant ears, eventually turns into their greatest strength.

Enjoying John Mayer’s New Album Does Not Make You a Bad Person:

954867_10151686223176252_1578322741_nI was into John Mayer before he was big. I was into him when he was so small-time; he couldn’t even afford velvet bandanas. His guitar strings were old shoelaces. He was still a kid. He was so small. He didn’t even know what a bandana was. He was still in his mother’s uterus, banging on the walls, screaming to be let out so he could make the world sing.

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal:

Studnet-Debt-1On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight of the Rose Garden, covered from head to toe in the slime and ooze of the Benghazi and IRS scandals. In a Karl Rove-ian masterstroke, he simply pretended they weren’t there and changed the subject. The topic? Student loans. Unless Congress took action soon, he warned, the relatively low 3.4 percent interest rates on key federal student loans would double. Obama knew the Republicans would make a scene over extending the subsidized loan program, and that he could corner them into looking like obstructionist meanies out to snatch the lollipop of higher education from America’s youth. “We cannot price the middle class or folks who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class,” he said sternly, “out of a college education.”

When Mentoring Exposes Your Idol of Being Needed:

mentorSharing the gospel is inextricably tied to sharing other aspects of life with those we’re mentoring. Consider what the apostle Paul says: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Biblical mentoring requires engaging the whole person for more than just a scheduled time each week or month. It includes meeting for lunch or coffee, showing up for an important event in the life of the woman you’re mentoring, inviting her to be part of your life or family, serving together, and even enjoying together the seemingly “frivolous” activities such as watching a movie or going shopping.