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   

Music during Homework

I had read on another student's blog that they did this sort of thing - actually several women reported doing their homework while music played. I had never truly done it unless it was new music or un-engaging music, and only unless it was a menial task of homework (like coding or transcribing).
However, I've been trying it (even now as i write about it on this blog there is music playing) and I have to say that it's still a bit of a challenge for me. I worry that my words aren't as focused as they could be, yet I also feel a little more active in my mind, not as much of a struggle in words. I don't feel this is because of the choice in music (hymns) that I'm listening to, no, I just think it has to do with how all the media together makes me feel.
The music makes me feel calm, because of it's well known melodies and lyrics, and the blogging makes me feel a little anxious, because of it's direct power in displaying my mind for any public scrutiny. Nevertheless, the two combined are quite strange indeed - I feel less anxiety thanks to the music's calming effect, and I feel less pulling engagement toward the music because of the task at hand. It's strange to me and I'd love to hear what others feel or resonate during this same exercise of mind; does the music get distracting? Is there a type of song you must listen to and others you cant? Do you not think at all about these things I've expressed? Anything and everything would be wonderful to hear from anyone else about this matter...    

It's hard... part 2

So blogging is just hard for me, I've said it before, but I've really realized it's hard because I prefer doing other things in the media - lazier things. Heck, I even find playing a game or reading a book far easier than writing. Writing is so very engaging for me, I love it, yet I feel drained after; that's a good thing to feel the mental drain, it's another thing I love about writing, nevertheless, it takes a lot for me to get into the mood for it.
I guess what I've been thinking about this week is how weird it is for me to get in the mood for other things - it's way easier to do so,  just not with writing. Public writing like this in particular, or writing for the purpose of getting a grade, they're both straining and arduous to me because I putting myself on display. What if I don't say it the way I mean it? What if I change my mind about it? What if others don't like it and then don't like me after? What if I do it and I don't like me after? Or what if I simply fail and can't do any better than what I did?
It's amazing and disturbing to me in how much power we've given to this type of media, this socialization/measured media. I've wondered if there is a better way to grade people in school, other than exams and essays, and I've wondered if there are better ways to hear other individual's thoughts on things? If we could only judge and be judged on our minds and how they process, people could jump in and out... but wait, that would get really odd and messy. But do you see what I mean? We want to understand others, yet getting that invested in other's minds is going too far.
However, this is basically what our Heavenly Father, God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, do for us. If they can handle jumping in and knowing everyone's minds and intentions, shouldn't we be able to do the same?
For now writing and reading other individual's expressions, dialogue, essays, blogs, etc. is all that we have. And so I'll continuing straining and stretching myself toward this media use... it feels good to finish this blog :-)    

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Great gameplay, but...

So I enjoy playing video games, I find it as harmless as enjoying a frequent TV series or keeping up with a movie franchise. It is more engaging though and I can understand and completely comprehend its obsessive capacity detracting individuals from better things in life, such as more pro-social activities and behaviors. Nevertheless, I have a Nintendo game system and use it once and awhile for different forms of my down-type after school, homework, work, or internships; I really love especially having friends over and playing games together. It's the exact same as playing a board game when that happens, so no worries on what I'm going to say next, okay...
But I first need to establish that I was simply looking one day on a game site to find potential pieces of down-time I may be interested in investing toward. I found one that had recent reviews and gameplay trailers making it look absolutely intriguing - a female leading character filled with saucy attitude and strong action orientated tactics. The demo was free to play and I entreated a few minutes of my time upon it. It's mechanics were incredible, to say the least. Each button had a purpose and those purposes were so much fun. I had to get this game! And yet I had to find out more about it also.
Now this is when the sad part comes up because no sooner did I look up more about this game that I found it was very sexualized beyond its detailed reviews and demo. Yes, the main character wasn't as acceptable a figure as I hoped, and in fact the creators surrounded her with very vulgar male and female counterparts who spewed out consistent profanity (not just the average swears we hear in movies, no, the f-word and the Lord's name in vain).
It shocked me at first, and then I surprised myself for quite awhile this past week - I justified buying the game. Surely it can't be all that bad? I can just skip the inappropriate cut-scenes; and what a sad thing it would be if I had to miss out on such gameplay... WHAT?!
Yeah, I caught myself just in time. I couldn't believe how easily I almost slipped into an addictive behavior toward this type of media. Is this really worth investing hours of time in, and is it worth showing off as something I recommend or broadcast as a part of me?
It was really hard to get out of it not only because of gameplay though; the franchise also included the first chapter of the game, so it was really two games in one. A great deal was there to turn down as well, and all of us love saving money and getting more for our money than we asked for.
However, anyone other than me really can get easily pulled down this same river of materialism and justification of wants and pseudo needs, not only with video games, but also in the movies and shows we suck our eyes onto. I'm glad I somehow jumped away from my absorbing lust for entertainment to see this during the week.
I know there is so much more I need to rethink with my life in and around what I choose to entertain; if it's that easy with this, its been that easy before.
Oh and this is a picture of the game I'm talking about so anyone can know of the warning I give against it. Great gameplay, but... it's not worth justifying a moral compass of who I am and what I enjoy
p.s. I know the picture below shows a very obvious sign of sexuality, but I had only seen the digital demo pic, and that was just a stamped image of the character's face.
(I'm also including an image of the previous game in the series available on other platforms, they are both blatantly labelled M for mature, but promoted toward any adult).

What I look for

If anyone knows anything about me, well at least the more respectful, dignified side of me, is that I love old books. Something about hardcover copies of Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Brothers Grimm, Homer, and so many more make me feel absolutely content in sitting down in a comfy couch, beside a nice lamp, to simply read. Don't get me wrong, I love newer works of literature, but I guess I just feel like something is in the older stuff that makes me feel so cultured when I choose classic over popular, lol.
But somehow it's even easier for me to choose spiritual text to read over anything else. This isn't only scriptures I'm talking about, no, I'm also talking about James E. Talmage's work and even C.S. Lewis's masterpieces - and in saying that, I also have to admit that in any type of story I look for Christ-like figures. I guess their's just something some authors, especially older ones, know over others - Joseph Campbell (the great author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces) said it was archetypes, such as the hero, the caregiver, the rebel, the jester, the sage, and etc. So the Christ-like character is an important one I definitely look for, and I think then that depictions of the Messiah figure are everywhere then, and make a story complete for me.
Heck, I'm not a big Harry Potter fan yet that series has reflections of the Savior in it with Snape, Dumbledore, and Harry. Aslin in the Chronicles of Narnia is an easy one to spot, but even Gandolf, and the Ghost of Christmas Present are simple enough to spot. Now I'm a lover of modern mythology as well and it's different forms or mediums of interpretation, so stories made specifically for cinema, like Star Wars, or comic/graphic novel, like X-Men and Superman, I believe have Christ in them also. Obi-wan Kenobi, Charles Xavier, and Clark Kent are perfect examples of this.
The story and struggle of salvation and search for forgiveness is an important one to me, so I guess I can't help looking for it and loving it when I find it. But if anyone else feels the same let me know, I'd enjoy seeing if others do the same.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

We are truly spoiled

The majority of movies and TV shows we enjoy these days are simply some of the best ever made. Take Lost, Fringe, The Walking Dead, Sherlock, the Avenger and X-Men movies, The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hunger Games Saga, and almost every Disney/Pixar and Christopher Nolan movie, just for an example - these are expensive pieces of work, and yet they don't let down, surprisingly.
It's just so funny then that when a not so good TV series or movie comes out that everyone basically is able to tell the difference. Like when Ryan Reynolds showed his face as the new (and "should have been good because of concept") Green Lantern movie, it wasn't hard for anyone to see how much of a lower quality piece of entertainment with its acting, spectacle, and plot were in comparison to what came before it.
And this is of course the same for with some of the shows I watch on TV, especially those my roommates dabble with just as I'm walking after a long day of school and internships. Shows like Arrow, The Blacklist, Agents of Shield, and yes even Once Upon A Time lack a quality of filming/storytelling I can't always put my finger on. I can't stand the cheap camera angles and low-budget beats of scenes that showcase how pathetic a film education the cinematographer must of had, and how lazy the studio must of been in hiring them to save a few bucks. Like come on, quality always pays off.
I also then can not enjoy some female protagonists thrust into these meandering tales of Chuck Norris action and the cruely unrealistic love stories. Shows don't always need to be about the lovey-dovey-ness of love.
And unfortunately, unless they act as good as Evangeline Lilly, Anna Torv, Lauren Cohan, Scarlet Johannes, or Jennifer Lawrence - and hate me for saying it but Once Upon A Time is so far from having an incredibly unique caliber of actress in their lineup. The majority of actors involved in that project are the washed up folk that can't get anymore movie gigs after their 1999 splurge of teenage junk dream cinema.
So yeah, yikes! I'm spoiled... heck, we're all pretty dang spoiled; there's so much talent out there, whether in writing, acting, or directing/editing film, that I think everyone can truly see what I mean in some of these front running shows. If they don't keep up with the established pace, they'll inevitably be forgotten, thrown away, like the spoiled rotten vegetables on a couch we can become.
Of course this is always just my opinion...  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Genre is the answer!... and the cause

So I'm a huge fan of the Marvel Comic Book movies. I don't just love every single one of them though, no, I just love the good ones - X-Men saga, The Avengers Initiative, and the early beginnings of what they've got planned for The Amazing Spider-Man expansion (Venom and Sinister Six, which is the villain's point-of-view like in The Magnificent Seven).
I also am of course a huge fan of The Dark Knight, it's an amazing interpretation of Batman; and the new connective universe of DC starting with the new Superman, Man of Steel, with it's soon sequels: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League Part I & II. This is all gonna be some ridiculous geek-fest!
I mean, I grew up reading these comics, I'm 28 years old so I was a thriving adolescent before the first blockbuster Marvel in 2000 (i.e. X-Men). All I had as a kid was the first two cool Tim Burton Batman's and the campy sequels from Joel Schumacher, and before that the bizarre and sometimes boring Superman collection of the 70s.
I guess what I'm expressing is how cool this is today, but also how off-putting it might be for others. There's just so much sci-fi/action/adventure/man films out there; there's some good appeal toward women, but those lie in and around stuff like Harry Potter and Hunger Games, or the other stuff outside franchises.
But this franchise stuff can get messy, and plain old obsessive/annoying. Some might ask, "well what about the movies before the franchise or comic book days? That's gotta be better!"
And I suppose they can be, nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that Times Warner, Disney Inc., 20th Century Entertainment, and Universal Studios have all always been after money-making, and the answer to that jingling change in corporate pockets has always been in genre.
Before the comic book phase, there was the 1990 action thrillers, you know the lot: Air Force One, The Fugitive, The Saint, Mission: Impossible, Jurassic Park, etc. This was a good mix, but also a genre - the stuff came from books and old TV series. Also in the 90s were the epic world crisis films: Independence Day, Donte's Peek, Volcano, Deep Impact, and Armageddon. Before this was the 80s major sci-fi and horror renaissance: E.T., Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, IT, and Poltergeist.
Before that was the down-and-dirty, sometimes racy 70s flicks: The French Connection, Rocky, Planet of the Apes, and Dirty Harry. In the 60s it was the beach bumming, party films: Blue Hawaii, Beach Blanket Bingo, and Pink Panther. Before that was the Musical age, oh dear, there were a lot of them, every Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Fred Astair.
It's genre that makes money, and in between these genres are the header-runners I didn't mention like John Wayne's Westerns, Alfred Hitchcock's Thrillers, and George Lucas's Fantasy Sci-fi (Star Wars and Indiana Jones), plus the continuing adaptation of books into film.
This all has been around forever, heck, Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments were the most remade films like Shakespeare and alike, so there can't be any complaints about remakes either. Hollywood and people in general are all similar through time - if something is just amazing and feels so relatable, it's stamped timeless and must continue on whether in remake or further saga.
So stop complaining, it's old news, like hundreds, even thousands of years old news. We always share the same stories and shell out the same entertainment; I've gotten used to it and it feels wonderful to simply enjoy it :-)

The Journal

I think Journal keeping is one of the greatest, yet sadly ignored pieces of media we have today. It's true that there isn't too much talk from people about Journals, other than the famous ones like ancient ancestors, forefathers, pioneers, and scriptures (if that's what you see them as, which I kind of do, except they're more inspired than my own drab on paper).
But seriously, a Journal can be your greatest friend; lots of people use TV shows, movies, and video games, or the frequent phone calls/texts to friends and family to ease their weary minds. A Journal though, is a book where you never need to worry about spelling mistakes, punctuation, form of language or any struggle of grammar or critique. It is simply your thoughts, your feelings, aspirations, and intentions on thin sheets of fabricated wood. I love it!
I don't have to care about what i put down, maybe someday someone will read it, and maybe they'll be shocked. Or maybe they'll read it and say, "Wow, Grandpa Ian (or Uncle Ian, or just Dad) went through the same stuff, and look how happy and whole he came out."
I have no deep intention or invitation for anyone to read what I've settled to put down from my mind into a messianic mess of a book/history. Yet i would be honored to help anyone so I continue to write in my Journal, like the free spirit I am far from being (especially if that refers to a hippy way of life, lol). It just feels so good to be fully honest at least on those pages. Besides, who else is willing to hear the blather of our emotional minds, it takes too long for friends and family sometimes, and a Journal is like a good family dog - always willing to take a walk with you down memory lane.        

Let's talk SPORTS!

Okay, there needs to be a disclaimer before I begin: first of all, I love sports. I absolutely enjoy playing baseball, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee; I also enjoy my fair share of flag, touch, and tackle football, and the occasional game of basketball (well really just the few different games of hoops with family or friends).
However, I don't really watch sports... yes, I know, shocking! How can this be?! A male that doesn't spectate nor care for any team of sports - is something the matter with him?!
On the contrary, I simply grew up in a household where my father worked as a Master-of-control in our local TV station; when he would get home he didn't want to watch sports or other programs, he wanted to spend time with us, his children and wife.
Now let me explain again, I don't truly have a deep care for watching sports, nevertheless, I do really enjoy watching games if I'm with a good group of friends and there's food, lol. One of my dreams is to go to a BYU game and sit and eat in the box seats, maybe meet a few Apostles and be completely absorbed in the atmosphere of the stadium, yet be so wonderfully comfortable in a leather chair - not a dreadfully metal bench.
So, I love sports, but I find it a unique circumstance to go out of my way and watch them, especially these 4 to 5 hour football games, yikes! I grew up in Canada and most hockey games only go a little past 2 hours (the same as most films); so for me to give more time than what I give to my greatest love in life (the cinema), it has to be really, really, really, really special... or it just needs to have lots of great food that I can stand up and away from the TV or stadium view from to go eat and change the pace - am I really that strange of a guy?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The stuff I had as a kid was better - isn't it?

It simply feels like entertainment, and humor especially have changed. I remember when comedians were all trying to be Bill Cosby or Jerry Seinfeld; now everyone, whether telling a joke, making a kids cartoon, or selling something on a commercial draws their ques from Napoleon Dynamite. I mean, what the heck!
Now I'm not saying I don't enjoy Mr. Dynamite, on the contrary, that was one of the first movies I went blind into the theater for (cool thing to do by the way - what it means is you go into the movie never seeing anything on it, trailers, magazine or internet articles or reviews, etc., just going and seeing it). Anyway, yeah, I though the movie was genuinely strange, and funny, but weird and absolutely original. And now everyone from Progressive Insurance to Miracle Whip is trying to make people laugh in this same way. To be honest though, it's getting quite inappropriate; kid shows I enjoyed as a kid, like Ducktales, Arthur, or Pinky and the Brain just seem so much more incredible in style and creativity then let's say, oh I don't know, Uncle Grandpa, Adventure Time, or Sponge-bob (the new stuff not the first two seasons, lol).
Even stuff claiming to be as valuable to kids as some past works, such as Dora the Explorer or The Backyardigans, are annoying, repetitious, and dreadfully crippling to most adult brains not wanting to melt in their cranial cavities while trying to co-view this junk.
However, there is better stuff nowadays than there ever was back in my childhood, and even youth. Take Brian Regan, he's a famous comedian committed to staying clean, with Bill Cosby as his idol. Or Sesame Street as another example - it now is way more concerned with teaching immensely powerful social lessons to children, which I never thought to share myself with my future offspring. Whether about race, harsh and hush-hush diseases, and sexual insecurities (no Bert and Ernie are NOT gay, they're still friends who resemble Jim Henson and Frank Oz as college roommates, like Kermit and Fozzy).
Anyway, if you have any other examples, list them in the comments - I guess I'm saying that what we all grew up with is great stuff, there is obviously good throughout all time, timeless stuff has always existed. But today we have value and profound progression as well. And thank goodness for that... and thank goodness for retro-Saturdays and rerun capabilities    

Oooooh... the music! THE MUSIC!!!

It's a very strange thing for me to listen to music, so much of it I enjoy, and yet so much more I can't stand. But this isn't to say I can't try to enjoy it, I love most genres. It's just that when it's only heavy metal, or only country, or only The Beatles, or only Disco, or Techno, or movie themes, or whatever, I get sick of it - I love variety! Yes, all of that golden sound seeming as one flow of melody and emotion. And sometimes I love going from one feeling to the next; not all sad, not all angry, or happy, but all the good stuff together.
What's even more interesting is that I haven't though this kind of taste has been effected or influenced by the media. Nevertheless, I realized recently after watching a movie with some friends (Rush Hour, which has a great combination of tunes) that it was the mixed audio track linked to each visual moment which resonated such a happy union upon my ears. I therefore being the movie lover and critiquer I am simply enjoys the rest of my life in the same way - a perfectly flowing visual and auditorial slice of peace and joy-filled life that also has the beautiful struggle and anguish made into dynamic sense through triumph.
Indeed, I am a product of the media I love... well there's only one thing to do when such a reality is made clear - show an examples of my favorite stuff I listen to (no matter the combination, just so long as it's not repetitious):
Image result for moby 18Image result for Phil Collins Hits]At Last! (Remastered), Etta JamesImage result for 4 cd catalogue setImage result for ceremonials florence and the machineThe Best of: Crash Test Dummies, Crash Test DummiesJourney: Greatest Hits, JourneyMad Mad World, Tom CochraneAll Their Greatest Hits: Disc One 1991-2001, Barenaked LadiesTime Peace - The Rascals' Greatest Hits, The Rascals

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's HAAARD!!!

Okay so maybe it's not that hard, but blogging is an unusual task for me to try to enjoy. I don't hate doing it but i simply enjoy my spare time with other things sucking up my modern life of media power - heck, I barely use my Facebook other than posting pictures and sending messages here and there. I don't care to inform people about what's on my mind. I guess I feel like if they really want to know about me and my mind they'll get up off their butts and away from their computers to meet me. I mean I already do the same thing for them.
However, this kind of blogging away from my Facebook is better. Not everyone can jump on and find out what I'm rambling about and not everyone can get as offended about what I say. Goodness, I already offend some people enough when I open my mouth - so I guess this kind of media 'shout-out' is okay. It still takes a bit of effort for others to search this page out, and it takes more time for them to read my blathering dialogue.
But in truth, the biggest thing about blogging that bothers me is who in the world thought it up?! think about it - who sits down one day and says, "good heavens, I want everyone to know what I'm thinking! Journaling is not sufficient; wait for me to die for people to care about my writing? No way!!!" I can understand journal writing though, I almost feel like that kind of writing is more valuable, but becoming more and more forgotten, and what a mistake that is.
Yup, I value my journal more than I do this... and I feel just fine about that :-)

Classic, Old, and New? Best, Better or... just Okay?

Yesterday I got to watch Walt Disney's first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; it was immensely interesting to see how many times I and my friends genuinely laughed at the humor. It was witty and creative, yet simple. Even more interesting than this though, was that afterward we watched a portion of Beauty and the Beast - another great Disney with unique laughs, but more emotional drive similar to Snow White or other classics.
However, what wasn't truly interesting about everything I was thinking during these films, was unimpressed I still remained with Frozen and Tangled's quality. No they are not bad films, and yes they have some good laughs as well, but they fall flat on structure; I didn't feel like I needed to re-watch them nor ever own them to show others my appreciation for their style. Like I said, they're still a good style, but the last awesome children's film I saw recently was Pixar's Monsters University, and that's because I could relate to it more. 
Is that it then, relation? These new Disney tales of princesses are not relatable to me - but then I'm sure others will say (especially young women), "well that's because you're a guy and can't relate to stories about girls." And if that were so then I wouldn't enjoy or have as much association or empathy for Belle or Ariel, Cinderella or Snow White - except I do! 
So what is the difference? Does anyone else notice the lacking quality in female Disney flicks? 
The last epic or worthwhile Disney in my opinion was Tarzan, though Brother Bear was good too
Check out a few other favorites of mine (they're obvious really, but I love the pictures, lol): 
Pinocchio (1940) Poster Sleeping Beauty (1959) PosterThe Sword in the Stone (1963) PosterMary Poppins (1964) PosterBedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) PosterThe Great Mouse Detective (1986) PosterThe Rescuers Down Under (1990) PosterAladdin (1992) PosterPocahontas (1995) PosterThe Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) PosterHercules (1997) PosterMulan (1998) Poster

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thanks Hollywood for the Propaganda!

I really don't know where to start, but I guess it all has to do with watching the most recent religious movie of the year - Noah, starring Russell Crowe. To put it simply (at least at first in this blog), I don't know how I would have made it out of the theater without talking and laughing at the ridiculous exaggeration of an already complete story.
It seemed as though the director and writers felt like the Bible version wasn't dramatic or exciting enough, "so why not?! Let's just add a few giant rock monsters - nobody's ever seen that junk on the screen before!" And I thought that would be the only real discrepancy I had with the film, after all so many of my friends who saw it in theaters only brought the rock monsters/fallen angels up as a big issue. Nevertheless, Hollywood seemed convinced to unknowingly shock and blaspheme the world of movie goers even more by making Noah an absolute maniac, who actually just wanted everyone to die, and was surprised when God allowed one of his children to get pregnant (though the pregnancy was already a miracle produced by Methuselah).
There's far more strange things then this that trouble me about the interpretation - there incredibly modern clothes and backpacks that could be sold in American Eagle outfitters today, or their sudden advancements of metal workings, showing welding and tempering techniques only understood and available thousands of years later, to name a few. But to make this movie worse an experience, was to openly discuss with friends during and after the showing how impossible and dreadfully unrealistic everything was, and to still have one of them declare that "it could be possible, we just don't know everything about the past, and can never know it for sure..."
WHAAAAAT!!! Modern life as we know it today has enough reflection of the past that we even without a scholar present can put together simple strokes of linear, and at times dynamic progression, not to mention utter logic that people didn't always have such things as buttons for their shirts, or flippin' skinny-jeans or welding helmets until the future!
Yet of course, and once again it seems obvious that Hollywood, like any powerful media tool, can suck many into its realm of "I don't know, and no one knows" dogma thanks to its blatantly popular propaganda filled spectacle.
What I'm trying to say is that the movie industry now seems to want to make scriptural, cultural, and holy records of writing into the common fun, yet fictional blather we share today. Except, instead of Noah being as kind and full of integrity as Spider-Man, he's as common a lunatic as Loki - heck, even Wolverine has greater morality than this depiction of a great prophet, which scripture states was "a just man... perfect in his generation" of violent murderers (Moses 8: 27)
Yikes! My media intake was rough this week; beware of this specific movie genre, lol. Bible movies were so much better when Charlton Heston was around            

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Oh, those Canadians"

Well it needs to come out sometime - yes, I am Canadian and I'm proud to be. Yet I'm living in the United States because I love this country and am proud of it too. I grew up learning the history of this country just as well as I did my own, and well, I also learned British and French history because that's just how polite and awesome we Canucks are, lol... jk... sort of.
But anyway, yes, I grew up loving George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even JFK, learning all the history, sacrifices, and momentous changes that even affect the entire world. Nevertheless, with now living in the States for 5 years I think I might have figured out why Americans themselves remain so oblivious, and rude at times about other countries (especially my own) - the media makes other nations look quite stupid and obsolete against the mighty USA.
Now this isn't every piece of local media, lots of American movies today poke fun at their own people, whether as tourists or Southern folk (and I mean nothing bad against anyone in saying this myself); but there are simply far more movies, TV shows, and other outlets that express Canadians as a bunch of uneducated "How ya doing, eh?" drones, or British as bad teeth, weird humor dudes, or French as arrogant snobs with nothing to praise about their wine-bibber country.
This is simply sad to me and I'm wondering what others think of this; if I'm confused or overstepping my bounds as someone living in your lovely country (which is full of so much beauty and goodness), then please forgive me. However, Canada is gorgeous, and a place everyone should go see - Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, and Prince Edward Island to name a few.
O' I love my country and this country too, but America's top hat (aka Canada) simply makes it look better; and we're right behind you Yankees on most of your decisions, so lets all just get along!
Check out some pics of my beloved home-country:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gamer, huh

I hear the word "gamer" tossed around a lot these days, a derogatory title handed out to many people. If someone plays a video game (but of course not an app on a mobile device, oh no, never) they are a "gamer." Yet I grew up in a world where I was a boy who simply enjoyed playing video games, heck I never even owned my own Gameboy until I was 16. And now as I've gotten older I've come to respect them as a unique art form.
So one day I looked around and most of the world, especially those who played the ever so popular phone apps, began criticizing those who played video games on home consoles. Now don't get me wrong, there's little to no glory in my books for entertainment riddled with the killing of digital images of soldiers and civilians like in Call of Duty, or the grotesque open world choices of Grand Theft Auto, or the absorbently addictive online grouping of stratagem found in World of Warcraft.
No, I don't like these types of video games at all; nevertheless, there are other types of games out there that I do respect and yearn for others to know about. The obvious ones are those from Nintendo - a perfectly welcoming company filled with a simple yet beautiful repertoire: Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros. to name a few.
Another series with far more artistry and impressive story telling is Metal Gear Solid. It's a saga spread throughout two different generations, with future then past protagonists colliding in pseudo history and profound pain from war displayed from a uniquely rough secret agent, code-named Snake. The entire purpose of each game is focused on espionage action, i.e. sneaking around.
Lastly, a surprisingly recent entry titled Destiny has more story and character development around its science fiction/fantasy plot than any game in its current genre.
I suppose I'm just trying to share that playing video games is not always a red flag - the choice to enjoy such an entertainment can be as logical as watching an ever enthralling TV series on Netflix.
Here's some pictures of some of these titles I'm referring - check them out for yourself:
Super Mario 3D WorldMario Kart 8Super Smash Bros.The Twin SnakesSubcover09089089