The Bees’ Happy Ending

I posted about Bees twice on Tuesday.

While I was taking my photos from across the street, I saw someone on the roof with the beekeepers and what looked like a professional camera.

Turns out, he was from Reuters news. Here is a slideshow. (Unfortuntely there’s no way to embed it.)

The bees were relocated to a hive in Bryant Park, which is great news. They should feel right at home only a couple of blocks away.

 

 

Bad Decisions and Flawed Characters

I just finished a fascinating book. It’s a book that was published this century —in 2005— and the lead character was a perfectly normal person.

He found himself in a few difficult decisions. He made decisions; some good, some bad. He hit a couple of low points in the story and had to work hard to get out of them.

But he wasn’t recovering from a traumatic past. He wasn’t too obsessed with his work. He didn’t have a substance abuse problem, overwhelming credit card debt, or even an unresolved fear of kitchen utensils.

He was just this guy. He made a big decision, and big things happened because of it.

If you spend some time poking around the fiction-writing twitter world and blogosphere, you’d think this book would be an abject failure. Flawed characters aren’t just an option; they are a must. Normal characters are boring!

But this book is a bestseller.

Anti-heroes used to be the exception. They’ve become the rule, and in my opinion, that’s what’s boring. Take a look at television and movies. I’m not even going to bother with a list; think of a handful of characters and odds are the majority of them are a mess.

I’m not sure when this trend became predominant in television or movies, (although I would guess the 80’s for movies, maybe with the Lethal Weapon series?) but I watched it happen in comics, and while it was different for a while, it got old. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, Alan Moore’s dysfunctional Watchmen and of course, the stultifyingly one-dimensional Punisher were copied and pasted over just about every comic book you could find.

Conflict drives stories, and internal conflict is an important part of character development, but that doesn’t always mean stories consisting of only, or even primarily, characters that are hard to like.

Characters can make bad decisions or even good decisions that lead to undesirable consequences (Neverwhere comes to mind) and still be good people.

In my opinion, agency is what’s important. A character that is buffeted about by events is boring. We want a hero that is actively trying to achieve a goal.

Our hero doesn’t need to be a sociopath or a drunk. She can be, but it’s not necessary.

Seriously.

Bee Updated

The puns just write themselves!

Great news. Beekeepers showed up and have relocated the hive. They first showed up within minutes of me hitting publish on that earlier post. They spent a long time surveying the situation, undoubtedly because of where the hive was and also so they could do it right.

According to a coworker with beekeeping experience (they may have come due to him contacting the local beekeeping society) they were probably looking for the queen, so they could take her first.

Then this:

That’s a very brave and dedicated person operating a bee vacuum.

I don’t have a way to show you how high up they are. I tried here.

But that’s barely two stories. It’s over 16 stories up.

But, it’s a happy ending. Everyone is safe, and the bees have probably been released somewhere else by now.

 

 

 

 

 

Bees!

My day job is literally in Times Square. The address is 3 Times Square. Despite the grand-sounding name, the building is only a little over 15 years old.

Across the street, however, is a slice of history; One Times Square. What was, long ago, the New York Times Building.

It doesn’t look like this anymore. Now it looks like a large place to attach billboards.

Yes, there’s a building under there. This is the building the ball drops from on New Year’s Eve.

The view from my desk, on the 15th floor, is the western side of One Time Square.

That’s Godzilla’s shoulder in the foreground. I only packed my zoom lens today.

Why did I pack a zoom lens? Why is this blog post titled ‘Bees?’

Because there are bees on top on One Times Square!!!

(Click to see the full-size image. Use back to get back here.)

They seem to be building a nest on the tracks for the window washing equipment.

Which could get interesting, no?

I’ll keep any eye on this situation.

I hope you’ll beeeeee back.

(Sorry, Dad humor. Can’t resist.)

 

Fluency

Fluency in writing has been elusive for me, while when it comes to coding I’ve had it for a long time.

I define fluency as being able to translate something from my mind to screen as quickly as I can type. There may be a more scientific definition somewhere, but I don’t care right now.

When I figure out I need a programmatic thingie that can do this or that, it’s usually written before I start typing. It simply comes down to getting it into the computer with correct syntax. As I go I may have to tweak one thing or another, maybe to allow for unexpected errors or bad input, but things proceed quickly.

When I write, things are not this smooth. When I figure out that a character needs to go somewhere or do something I struggle. What if I am wrong? Can she do that? What if another character shows up and says “I can’t believe you did that! What kind of hack is writing you?”

It’s the opposite of fluency. It’s hesitancy.

The solution seems to be write more. Back to it.

Slow TV

It’s impossible for me to overstate how much I enjoy having this on in the background when I am working, whether it’s writing or coding.

Pluto TV has a Slow TV channel, which I run on my Roku. It runs train rides 24×7 (as near as I can tell) with some fantastic cuts, such as seasonal transitions as the train moves and the occasional picture-in-picture, with drone footage, interviews, or historical footage.