Friday, November 28, 2014

Excited about the new Star Wars? Of course!!! But there's more to it...

Yes, I'm a big fan of the series, but not just because "it's so much fun, hee-yuck!" No, because it is a pure and beautiful example of the evolution of storytelling. From spoken word, to memorized messages, to paintings, drawings, to written language, then written text into records, history, legends, mythologies, and morality tales, to poetry in books and novels, magazines, advertisements, comics, etc., to photographs, to silent films, to talkies, and to modern cinema - the path of mythos. The path of generational stories intended to help, to uplift, inform, warn, and be absolutely drawn into.
How I love the cinema.
Yet so many are confused at what it is. Throughout the artform's life span people have interpreted other forms of how we tell stories - what I mean is that the majority of films are adapted from novels. How many are their own original piece of work? Not too many, and not too many as success and magnificent as Star Wars. It's ultimately a tale of redemption, of father then son balancing the storm inside themselves.
The eternal question of "can we really change?" is on the main basis of the plot - "or is destiny the all consuming future?" That's timeless, and I love it; the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII, titled The Force Awakens hopefully continues this fluid flow of mythology. By the look of it's first teaser trailer I think it's in safe hands.
Nevertheless, all I'm sharing is that film, our modern form of story telling is so much more than simply entertainment. It's our expression for the ages, just as Michelangelo setting his sturdy arms and hands toward hammer and wedge to make The David, or Charles Dickens putting pen to paper for A Christmas Carol; or Beethoven tapping and composing his symphonies; or the pioneers blazing their trails; or the Israelites crossing a gaping sea of their faith, or the Jews and Nephites, and a young 14 year old boy in a grove of trees listening to a holy man confess that He's their Messiah...
Yes, we too are making our mark in history with the work of cinema (and all else from before and so much more after as tools of our age).
That's what Star Wars is to me. It's a part of what I know and believe... a hope and a growing knowledge that destiny does not control me or anyone, but is a tool to help define the different paths we can take so we be not like Alice in Wonderland asking the Cheshire Cat which way to go, and receiving an empty answer that it matters not where we go if we don't know where we want to be.
No, we can know where we want to be, that's destiny, and that's the lesson of Star Wars for me... there, I've said it, now stop thinking I'm so weird for having a vintage poster of the film in my room

Now here's a link to the fun new teaser - enjoy:

Text to Talk

It's a weird thing for me, I'm not a very common person in today's society. The first cell phone I ever got (my own first phone) was when I was 24 - I'm now 28. And to add upon that, in August I finally upgraded from a dumb phone to a smart phone (iPhone).
I know weird, huh? But not really for me.
I graduated high school back in 2004 and at that time I simply never needed or felt the need to get a cell phone. I was popular, well semi-popular, I had friends who were norms, jocks, goths, nerds, and of course geeks (my true identity). But the fact is that I had my parents home phone and email was barely used at the time, so when I heard about texting, or when it began to enter into the world, I thought it would be a fad. I mean I could see some value to its purpose, it knocks out the unnecessary formalities that sometimes set in with phone calls, or in person conversations that need only be quick quips, comments, or instructions.
However, and of course, texting is now a phenomenon - people in dating relationship, or wanting to be in one, pull their hair out in anticipation for the usually bland and un-characterized or emotionless blather of a few words which most are scared to stretch passed a sentence. "Oh no! I wrote too much!" or "Oh my goodness, what was I thinking! I should have taken more time to send it!" these and more are the stupid things individuals trouble themselves with.
But I for one must admit something... Texting is meant for the sole purpose of being with somebody later to talk face-to-face. What else is the point of texting? It's not the all-end-all way we communicate, it's merely a bridge, a gap, a convenience for heaven-sake!!!
So people, stop fussing over some dumb thing so say or demand to rewrite for an hour. Good-golly-miss-molly! Just send the text and we'll have a ball!
We text one another to talk to one another for real. Can you learn a lot about somebody through their texts? Not really, and if you're one who believes otherwise, well, you're gonna have a hard time finding true happiness midst your confusing sense of judgment.
We're all suppose to just get together, in real life, sit down, chat, share, touch, show affection, love, and emote through the craziness of ourselves (in person) what we like, want to do, to have, to hold, etc., etc, etc....
So people, put down the phone and get together... like a bunch of hippies... except without the drugs and other junk... just the love... wholesome love... you all know what I mean!    

Monday, November 17, 2014

British Smiles

So I've been pondering a lot lately about this skinny/fit and appealing look the media demands for its performers. So many movies and TV shows I love are actually full of very beautiful women especially; now don't get me wrong, I believe all women are beautiful no matter how they look, but specifically as mothers, because I love and appreciate my own mother so much.
However, the women in these shows are extraordinary, not the run of the mill you'll meet in a usual step of day. And while I was spending time with my parents through Skype and watching a show with them, I noticed something - yes, they set me up on their iPad, point me towards the TV and we watch a show and laugh together (I love hearing both my Mom and Dad laugh). Anyway, their favorite stuff to watch for a good giggle is British TV comedies, and as I was saying, I noticed yesterday that these shows don't really subscribe themselves to the skinny/fit actor appeal.
No, British TV is full of very ordinary people, and I love it!
There's a few older shows to mention, "Are you Being Served," "Keeping Up Appearance," and "Black Adder," but even newer shows like Downton Abbey and Sherlock don't simply have the most elegant looking people.
Sadly though, the newer shows still have quite a few lean people parading around (particularly the women); the men somehow still get away themselves with having summer teeth (ya know, summer here, summer there) or looking a little goofy in their demeanor, or whatever you might be less appealing to American audiences. It is of course accurate to have fit and appealing actors in the mix. The world is full of all sorts, but that's what i want to see - all sorts of people acting, no matter their look, if they can act, then let them act. I don't believe audiences will care as much about looks as they would about an outstanding performance of protagonist/antagonist.
But going back to the concern of skinny/fit overly appealing female parts - these older British shows have all sorts of men and women in them: old, young, short, stocky, chubby, the common motherly-look, the soft bubbly aunt, and the grouchy uncle/father etc., and life seems to just display itself as you watch. I appreciate how real these characters are and am always feeling relieved in watching them have fun. It's a breath of fresh air and I would suggest to anyone looking for an acknowledge change on "who must be on the screen" to take a peek.
One actress in particular, who still does some shows today, Patricia Routledge (she's the main face on the Keeping up Appearance, & Hetty Wainthropp Investigates posters below), is always on my radar. She's wonderful, funny, intriguing, and all out happy with who she is; she doesn't need to be the most appealing image of fitness or femininity, she's just herself... and that's what makes her beautiful.
I wish we had more American shows and movies like with people like her in it :-)
Here's some of those shows and more that I appreciate, several are on Netflix:

Are You Being Served? (1972) Poster  Keeping Up Appearances (1990) Poster  The Black Adder (1983) Poster  Emmerdale (1972) Poster  Coronation Street (1960) Poster   The Office (2001) Poster   The Vicar of Dibley (1994) Poster   Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1996) Poster

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Office... addictive with consequence

So I've really enjoyed watching The Office with my roommates. I at first didn't understand why people enjoyed it so much, a mock-umentary is not really my thing. Then I discovered that it was really the first of its kind - well at least for here in America, the British one came out several years before and the producers designed the one for the good ol' USA.
Anyway, fun show, not too dirty. I really got into it though after finishing How I Met Your Mother; in the end I realized I had watched a show that had a lot of sexual things in it. Not simply sexual jokes or content, but a demanding plot of episodes showcasing stripper bars and pornography. Seriously, even the women in the show have no hesitation or question toward their men on how inappropriate or at least abnormal a behavior/request it is that these men go to such things, much less invite their ladies to accompany them for kicks... I'm still surprised that I let this content slide off my back and into my eyeballs, then brain, just so I could finish the linear story-line.
Getting back to The Office though. This show offers a little more integrity, displaying at times people with lazy attitudes upon moral issues like infidelity or love triangles, and surprisingly shares consequences. Jim, one of the main characters, chooses to make marriage and having children with Pam (a main female character) a priority in his life; now he's not Mormon, so he doesn't stand strong against sex before marriage. Nevertheless, he offers a more positive side on the matter, at least in this natural/common/worldly context.
Could the show be better, yes; could it be cleaner and less preachy, thanks to some other promiscuous characters, yes; but does it at least try to show realistic consequences of people's actions when messing up in intimate relations? Yes... and it makes me happy enough to enjoy the laughs once and awhile
Here's the posters - mind you The Office (UK) is very British humor, and less appropriate:

The Office (2005) Poster    The Office (2001) Poster

The Walking Dead-head

This show is addictive... nuff said... okay, I'll write some more. But yeah, this show is great, I love it! Nevertheless, I feel some episodes I lower my standards to endure; tonight's episode for instance had a sex scene in it. They didn't show anything, but that strongly alluded the procedure - grunts and other sounds, yikes!
I guess I watch and like the show because these kinds of scenes, and the obvious gore-fest, are not the real reason to enjoy the content. No, it's more about the group of main characters that live on, Rick Grimes and his family especially, who see themselves becoming like the walking dead. All the killing, and true-blue violence of their world, Rick's son Carl grows distant toward him, and to see their redemption, to see other characters with faith in God help them, it just feels satisfying.
The show no matter what is intense, I know that I justify it's value. I do the same with LOST and Prison Break - I like good entertainment. But one show that doesn't really drop my values is Fringe, I would completely suggest this series to anyone. It's themes and subjects are far from sexual or violent, it chooses to rather deal in the sci-fi/bizarre realm, a true piece of wholesome fiction. It involves a thoroughly intriguing female protagonist (an FBI agent), an abnormal doctor/scientist space-case/genius, and his estranged son (and their relationship together and between reality and myth). Dr. Who is a similar show in nature and recommendation, yet you need to understand a bit of British humor and cinema to ground your appreciation.
Anyway, here are the posters for the shows, if anyone is interested. I've included The Walking Dead, though I don't know if I can endorse it fully... but I can't help loving it:

 Fringe (2008) Poster    Doctor Who (2005) Poster    The Walking Dead (2010) Poster

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Coding for Gratitude

So my group in my media class is coding children's TV programs for gratitude, seeing how many times these characters say a simple "thank you" or how many times they show non-verbally or physically signs of gratitude toward another. And in all honesty, I thought that one of the only programs that would have significant results would be Arthur the aardvark, or other PBS series; nevertheless, I've been proven wrong while coding for Cartoon Network and have found at least one sign of gratitude (and mostly verbal thank you's) nearly every 15 minutes of time.
Now I'm not saying this proves anything enriching about television viewing, no not ever, but I am saying that after coding this stuff I don't feel as offended toward such silly shows like Uncle Grandpa or Adventure Time. The shows are still in need of something more wholesome inplot and style like most PBS programming, and all TV should have some kind of co-viewing between children and parents - I'm just saying now I don't feel as bad for my nieces and nephews, nor my future children as I did previously. I don't think these signs of gratitude are on purpose, or given with any deep abiding focus of teaching children something ethically valuable, I only feel that programming hasn't completely gone to pots. Where there is the greatest evil, there will always be the greatest good as well; the wrong shall fail and the right shall always prevail, and that's good to be seeing even in this limited form for children. It's still not all justified though, lol

Fashion!... and all that Expression!

Yes, I'm a man, and yes I also buy shoes for my feet, and yes I also get excited to wear them and showcase their new look. I don't know if women think men don't understand or they can't possibly feel the same way as them when they shop or put on new clothes, but I want to confirm that I at least do, and I am very far from being any kind of character "too femi" for other men to relate to - you see I feel very confident and comfortable in my heterosexual lifestyle to illustrate for any female that I understand their own enjoyments of prancing proclaimed styles.
Clothes are fun, and they're a source of media, they are a source of showing off who we are thanks to the materialistic form of displaying our agreement of gear and vestments. Fashion is just fun, and during Halloween it's even more fun to see what people drape upon themselves; I go for a fun look myself, a full Boba Fett costume with utility belt and jetpack items. Girls and boys enjoying dress-up time, and who wouldn't?! We can be someone else, or we can find out who we truly are, hence, it's like acting and we all act or put on a facade in someway or another. And I believe this isn't a bad thing, it's something we use, a tool to see through a glass darkly, interpret our complexities and give breathe and shouts of proclamation to who are and want to be.
No, I don't want to be the most dangerously famous intergalactic bounty hunter from Star Wars (i.e. Boba Fett), but I do want to give way to the fact that i love mystery, not seeing everything about someone (like most super heroes and people in general), and I of course just love the Star Wars movie franchise. However, to bring it all back and around, I do strongly believe that even the most scrooge of individuals, yes those who don't care for holidays like Halloween, seeing it as childish wastes of time, have at least once or twice in their lives absolutely loved dressing-up or pretending to be someone or something they looked up to or wanted to be like. Even if they didn't grow up with such opportunities, I still think that any child and any adult if given the proper education of what fashion is, they would enjoy it.
There's nothing wrong with fashion, no, there is only a problem with people using it to classify or boost their own egos that is the problem. True fashion is one that is to be for anyone to demonstrate and experience, it's a beautiful a media form as painting, or cooking, eating, film-making, etc. It's all expression, and I love it and welcome anyone to enjoy it from me