Win By Five, Lose By Six

June 1, 2010

According to the National Post, the Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league in Ottawa – God bless our glorious capital – has instated a rule that would cap a team’s goal-scoring to five points.  Furthermore, if that team scores one more goal, they will automatically be defeated granting the other team a win.  The idea is to prevent runaway games where one team clobbers another with a blowout lead.  Mr. Cale, the league’s head-honcho hopes to create a atmosphere of clean sportsmanship and non-competitiveness.

Sean Cale,  I don’t like to degrade your intelligence but really?  You and your board think of yourselves that highly to change the rules of a game that has stood the test of time and been around a lot longer than you?  What on earth did you think sports were about?  Were you beat up as a child?  Maybe the big mean bully from 4th Grade kicked your butt mercilessly during Phys Ed. soccer matches.  I bet you never played any sort of recreational sports.

Listen, I applaud your intentions, no one likes to get creamed, but frankly, sportsmanship is not the endgame – no pun intended.  Sports are challenges to see who is better, more skilled, more readily able to confront adversity.  What you are Mr. Cale is an enabler.  If you teach children that its okay to suck because who ever is in authority will always make things fair, you’re sheltering them from reality.   I went through my teen-aged years skipping from one pathetic team to the other, refs hated me in basketball for my height, I lost a soccer final on a shootout, the only thing I ever won was a inter-mural floor hockey championship in university!  Do I regret having played years being creamed?  No.  Was it hard losing basketball games 80 to 23?  For sure.  But at the end of the day I learned to play fair and lose gracefully.  And before you accuse parents of ‘insulting’ your precious little league, look at the facts, they were insulting the rules, two different things.  Stop patronizing children and coddling them into a false sense of security.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06/01/win-a-soccer-game-by-more-than-five-points-and-you-lose-ottawa-league-says/?preview=true&preview_id=7652&preview_nonce=e6fa056a34

The End: LOST Completes the Journey

May 25, 2010

Exposition and the journey of the hero(s) always dance in a tense tango of the imagination. They are symbiotic, one cannot live without the other and expect to capture the audience. This is the painful dichotomy of fiction.  LOST, is the ultimate example of how this belief stands true.  You can say what you want, but the truth hurts and you best be on the right side of it.

LOST Transcends Medium

While it is true that LOST maybe a television show, with the advancement of DVD, it is quite possible to devour it in much the same way one would devour a book.  While it is true that some may have viewed it over the course of six years, others may have viewed over three months, so to apply a rigid set of expectations on one group of people on behalf of another, is irrational at best.  LOST is a story, whether it was a television show, radio presentation, movie or book, the truth of fiction remains the same.  LOST, first and foremost in an epic (which is how we ought to view such a grand show with a clear hero set on a particular journey), so the audience is only relevant in so much as we’re the one being told.  There is no consideration for how the audience should want something to evolve, that’s naive post-modernism at best.  The author of the epic or story, writes what he wants to write, to convey something that hopefully becomes applicable or allegorical.  In the case of LOST, the End was the completion of a story Damon and Carlton wanted to write and see themselves.  Tolkien did not write for anyone but himself, and its only this selfish-generation that feels it should be entitled to influence and author’s work.  LOST was a show that may have been written in the process of publication, but then again, so was Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia.  In both of those cases, the audiences would send letters to their respective authors with questions and demands, much in the same way Damon and Carlton would interact with fans via conventions and podcasts.  Medium means nothing more than aesthetic and mechanics, don’t be fooled.  LOST is as much a novel as Lord of the Rings.

LOST is about the Characters, Everything Else is Progress

To argue that LOST is not a complete story is to say Lord of the Rings is not a complete story.  Lost had a beginning, middle and clear end.  The story was about how these characters played a role in the history of the island.  It was never about who built the temple, what the true nature of the numbers were (though they were somewhat explained in the LOST ARG, but how would I, a simple man, know that?).  Yes, the Dharma Initiative played a part in the story, but it was only ever to serve the progress of the characters’ development.  The Hatch was crucial to the plot, explained, the Others, crucial to the plot point, explained, the freighter and Charles Widmore, explained, the struggle between Jacob and MIB, explained.  Where it failed was to give answers to questions like: was is the magic box that made Locke’s Father appear? Who was the first protector / creator of the island?  What was the Island’s History?  But failed to give a complete story?  That’s a bit much and insulting to the writers.  We saw the beginning of these characters on the island and we saw the end, all those tiny crooks and pieces that are still a mystery, well they are unessential to what happened with these characters.

Across the Sea Aired When it Needed to Air

Upon first seeing the episode entitled Across the Sea, I felt a bit rotted, I had built an entire experience out of what I thought they were going to reveal and then suddenly they weren’t telling us how the Island came about or what happened between the MIBs transformation and the arrival of 815.  But two things came to mind on reflection of the End: First, Ab Aeterno fills in some of the finer details of island history in the interim.  Second, Across the Sea was meant to tell us two things: Why the MIB needed to be stopped and motivation for Jacob’s hand in the lives of Oceanic 815 which is later told in “What they Died For”.  Furthermore we learn why the island needs to be protected and what the consequences are if it isn’t.  How mother arrived, her story, is not the story of the survivors, it’s not what is at stake.  Why the Egyptians came and who finally installed the Donkey Wheel, its not important to the lives of our characters and their progression in the story.  Least I remind the viewer that the Donkey Wheel was explained, and conjecture can be made on how it effects the island – via the season finale of Season 4.

J.J. Abrams Brilliance in Using the Mystery Box

J.J. Abrams’ mystery box metaphor used to explain fiction is not harsh, or bullish.  It’s a system of storytelling in which it stimulates the viewer to play apart in the story.  The mysteries are designed to link the audience with the world of fiction happening around them.  Good story telling never gives you what you want, it tells you what the characters need and how they overcome the challenges facing them.  To think the story is about you is ridiculous and slightly self-absorbed.  I have never read a book twice that told me everything I wanted to know…the same of anything.  If an author knows an answer yet withholds it from his audience, he has every right too.  In Star Wars: Episode I, Qui-Gon explains the force to a young Anakin Skywalker…it was cool to have that explained, but ultimately, it diminished the mystery of the Force and turned it into a rational, scientific, mechanical organism that seemed to loose its attraction in the story line.  It is only the those who lack imagination that refuse to play with the mystery and allow it to take hold.  The person who hates mystery closes their mind to possibilities.  I’m sure if I wanted to be lazy I could allow the author to tell me everything I wanted to know, but then why get involved in a story at all if it’ll just be hand fed to me.  We seem to be under the generational delusion that we are entitled to a reward in art, art is transformative, not deductive.  It’s not science spinning out a flashy answer every time we ask – which in most cases ends up being wrong.

The End

LOST wrestled with the notion that good storytelling relies both on exposition and developing characters setting out a journey to give them what they need instead of what they want.  The finale did just that.  When the characters first set out on the adventure, they were broken, lonely people that wanted stupid things in life…by the end they found what they needed, each other.  The story itself made sense of that fact that being special, or a special character, is nothing and means nothing, what’s important is that a character gains what they need.

If you were drawn to LOST because of the sci-fi, mythological aspects of the show, and failed to connect with anything else, well I feel sorry for you.  You missed out on a greater adventure that took place before your eyes.  It is becoming evident that the finale has polarized fans which I think can be split up into two camps…those who enjoy mindless sci-fi and mythology – in which case watch Star Wars – and those who understand that the essence of LOST is not about the crazy things that happened, but how the characters grew because of the crazy things.

As for developing a 7th season based on the mythology…two words…poor ratings.  There’s a reason why LOTR is the second bestselling book of the 20th Century and the Sillmirllion is…well…no where close.

The Not-So-New Kind of Christianity

May 1, 2010

I must apologize for my absence from the blog scene, life has been filled with so many exciting and challenging experiences lately that living seemed better than writing about it.  So what has drawn me back to this murky world of shameless ideological self-promotion?  I heard through the grapevine that Brian McLaren had published another literary jaunt into the hazy waters of the emergent conversation (not sure if I should capitalize) titled: A New Kind of Christianity.  Encouraged by conversations with my girlfriend, I endeavoured to put up or shut up and actually read an entire McLaren work.  Thus enter the blog.  Why not write about my journey of skepticism and see where it leads.  It is my hope to approach the book fairly and not allow my philosophical pre-conceptions inform my view, to take a modernist approach to a book that is labelled with a post-modern motif. 

Attempting to be hip, I downloaded the book to my iphone, flashed through a very self-indulging introduction where McLaren discusses his credibility to talk of such theological matters, a short auto-biography if you will, onto chapter one entitled: “Between Something Real and Something Wrong”.  The first several pages McLaren doesn’t say much, except when he’s talking about how many lives he’s changed and how many people think he’s a heretic.  It seems every story is about someone coming up to him and discussing how revolutionary he is, I mean this guy has stopped people from losing their faith and renouncing Jesus just by the power of his words.  Though its funny that Jesus doesn’t really show up in his first chapter only in reference to his stint with the ‘Jesus Movement’.  The majority of the first chapter goes on in detail about his path to becoming such a “controversal” author.  He talks about how it was in his later ministry – which developed from hosting dinner parties about faith – that he would receive questions that were increasingly hard to answer or respond to.   At the same time he discusses America’s Christian transformation into political ideology during the 80s and 90s, which put him in a place where he was experiencing something real with the “spiritual seekers” in his congregation, while feeling wrong for not being able to speak out against the neoconservativism taking place in his country.  It is very apparent that McLaren has an issue with mainline evangelicalism, to the point that if it did not exist, he would have very little to discuss.  Regardless he proceeds to discuss how Christianity is undergoing a “rebirth” and that it does so every 500 years or so, where we shed the baggage from the past and keep what is good.  This was probably the weakest part of the chapter, only considering his lack of understanding when it comes to ecclesiastical history.  He gives high-praise to the early church while painting the second morph of Christianity after the adoption of Constantine as something better left in the past – you know the period where the key doctrinal statements of the church were created?  In McLaren’s mind Augustine never existed and creeds are somehow constraining.  I also had to laugh at how he makes it seem that the emperor was burning heretics left right and centre when in fact many church leaders were spreading the gospel north into Germania and Britannia.  Not to mention the fact that he considers the Great Schism (where the church split into Eastern Orthodox and Western Roman Catholicism) to be a morph where we dumped the bad things, which is strange considering he appears to be very pluralistic.  Apparently the next morph or rebirth, the adoption of modernity, became relevant at the time but is now irrelevant by this so-called “post-modern” society.  In the end McLaren encourages the reader to take part in creating a new form of Christianity.

That’s a lot to digest or maybe not.  I encourage you all to read it, I hate writing summaries.  There is really not a whole lot to respond to after one chapter, but I imagine the plot will thicken.  I feel that McLaren has neglected the fact that no one can escape modernity except to become an anarchist.  Modernity is not merely a morph or change in thought, it’s an expose on how the rational human mind, spirit, conciousness operates in nature.  Foundationalism, the belief that we all have a core belief that informs all the other beliefs is prevalent in every human being.  Even McLaren, a post-modernist, uses foundational modernity.  Even if he believes that truth is relative or adheres to a philosophical relativism, he is still a modernist with relativism at its foundation.  How is this important?  Because McLaren is failing to clarifying (yet) whether our doctrines need to change or whether our approach to people needs to change.  He would have us believe that there is a war and he is leading all the youngsters against their legalistic parents, this is not in fact the case.  Mark Driscoll, a fairly outspoken voice in the more conservative wing of the emergent movement, teaches at a church where they attract the same numbers and demographic of people as McLaren though the doctrine as found in Christ is central, traditional and foundational to his church.  So we must assume that people are not so eager for relativistic ideology but crave sound truth, alas I am unleashing my bias.

I’ll have more to write about later.  I also feel that I should forgo such a detailed summary.  I fear that McLaren is simply going to rehash more brands of Christianity that he’s already circulated

Shut-In: A Short Test

January 31, 2010

After half a year of putting off construction, a day of waiting on maintenance to expertly assemble the materials, and an afternoon of upgrading the wheels and installing bearings, the DIY Indy Mogul Tracked Dolly was completed and ready for action.  Fortunately, I had a scheduled shoot the same night in which I could utilize both the dolly and Letus35 Extreme 35mm Adapter.  Now for the purposes of what I was doing, focus and proper alignment with the adapter took a back seat, I simply wanted to get tracking and see how the whole apparatus preformed.  I quickly discovered that the tripod needs to have a stronger centre of gravity to prevent any noticeable wobble.  At any rate, it preformed the way I wanted it to.  With a little more practice it should add a lot of dynamic to the videos I’m about to do.  Now I just need to use it sparingly to keep my style a little more free from constraint.  I colour corrected using Vegas Pro 8.0.  As this is a test, I felt I accomplished a dirty film (probably more of a 16mm) look.  The HV30 is terrible for a low light despite the power of the Zeiss lens (which made it more tolerable.  Some days it would be better to have Panasonic HMC 40 or 150, or even an HVX.  But I love what I got and the challenge of working low grade going up.

Ted vs. Stephen Harper

January 29, 2010

I can no longer stand idly by without mentioning my distaste for comment board smut.  Earlier today the Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper selected five candidates for vacant senate positions, allowing the Conservatives to lead the upper chamber with 51 seats.  Already the comment boards of news moguls like CTV are being smeared with unintelligible trash from both sides of the political spectrum.  One particular comment irked me.  ‘Ted’ wrote:

Looks like Republican will be able to further their right wing corporate agenda of shifting wealth from the poor and middle classes to the rich. and getting rid of health care. Who needs health care anyway – when half of us get cancer or some other serious disease we’ll just ask our kids to mortgage their houses.

Well Ted, perhaps when you learn how to write complete sentences and properly use punctuations, you’ll understand how being a political sheep hinders the way people view your intelligence.  Harper is no saint, but he has a clear agenda and is making the most of his allotted time.  If people don’t admire him for maintaining the longest running minority parliament in the history of Canadian politics, they’ll respect the steps he took to reform the senate.  Ted you are being very foolish by not dealing with the matter at hand.  No one was talking about right-wing corporate agendas.  In fact, you offer no opinion on the senate matter at all, which leads me to believe that you care nothing for the political process, only the subtle release when you get off on verbally assaulting anything that you don’t like.

Explain it to me Ted; are you to say that the Liberal party has had no involvement in corporate agendas?  Seems to me that’s how the Liberals lost power.  Now I’m assuming you’re a Liberal supporter, but you could be NDP, in which case you view both parties as corporate whores.  But I implore you not to listen to the political dogma coming from your leader’s mouth and simply look at the facts.  You talk as though the PM is a savage who elects people who are in it for themselves?  How then do you explain Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a victim’s rights advocate?  I’m not saying that makes up for a whole lot, but don’t spew endlessly on about Harper and health care when this article has nothing to do with it.  As far as I know I can still walk into an emergency room and not have to mortgage my house if I need surgery.  In fact, when is the last time you’ve heard of health care being a political issue of debate in Ottawa.  More importantly, health care is a more of a provincial matter; take it up with your premier.  Flippantly throwing cancer around is your sorry rendition of fear mongering.

The 35mm Experience!

January 23, 2010

One of the joys of working for Marketing is parcels!  After a great lunch I made my way back to the office where I found Will hunched over a rather gargantuan box caked in shipping tape.  There could only be one object inside, the Letus Extreme 35mm Adapter complete with a Carl Zeiss f/1.4 Lens!  Needless to say, Christmas was abounding in our hearts as we lusted after its opening like a dog eying stake on his owner’s plate.  With every incision into the box, the ecstasy began to mount and thoughts bound so tightly in my brain were overspilling into my soul: was this really happening?  Was I dreaming?  Thank the good LORD no.  He has been so gracious to us, and this has been such a creative boon on behalf of our institution to which I am very thankful.

What is this new device you might ask?  Simply put, it mimics (though I use that term lightly) the look and feel of an authentic 35mm motion picture camera by allowing a shallow depth of field not granted to consumer camcorders.  Depth of field is simply the length of a particular focus – in lay man’s terms, its the blurriness (boku) you perceive around the object in focus.  It draws the eye into the image while building a solid state of surrealism.

The above video was simply but together as a test when the adapter first came in, I have yet to fully work it to full capacity.  The trick is in the grounding glass and learning how to control to separate shutters.  It can get crazy intense.  The stuff above is a little shaky and possibly a little grainy, HV30s are great little camcorders but bite the dust in low lighting, I keep forgetting that I just need to rely on the aprature of the lens.

NBC: Douche-Bags Inc.

January 13, 2010

This is absolutely outrageous, NBC is thinking of shifting Leno to 11:30 and bumping Conan to 12:00am?  Are they out of their minds?  They are the only network that has a knack for finding new and creative ways to self-destruct.  Leno made his choice, if his show bights the proverbial ass-cake, then get rid of him.  But to disrespect Conan O’Brien in such a way, it’s well, highly unprofessional.  I care little if you don’t find Conan funny, but surely you can understand the major injustice taking place.  Leno you had the Tonight show for over 15 years, chose to leave on your own terms and then realized too late that you wanted to come back.  This is not Conan’s fault, be the bigger man and withdraw, stop being such a cry-baby.  Even beyond on that NBC must be mad to disrupt such a historical show like The Tonight Show and place in a time slot that defeats the purpose of the title.  Idiots!  Frauds!  Conan deserves better and NBC deserves to be shot and put out of its misery, I’m boycotting until they come to their senses and drop Jay.  Conan you deserve better, you’re a great person with a lot of intelligence that would be wasted at a network which lacks it.

Nocturne: A Testiment to the Vincent Laforet & the power of the Mark IV

January 12, 2010

Part of job here at Tyndale Marketing is to keep current on the latest photographic / cinematographic technology and how those are being used for advertisements.  I recently came across Vincent Laforet’s work when looking up test footage from Canon’s EOS line of Mark-series of still cameras.  In what seems a long-anticipated move, Canon is forefronting a movement in which the power of big budget 35 mm film cameras is being placed into the palms of eager independent filmmakers.  This has come about because Canon has at long last decided to give these bad boy still cameras full 1080p 24-60 fps HD capability.  And with a sensor that is able to fluently capture 35mm images at full capacity, the end result is purely cinematic and epic in scope.  I would dare say that Canon will make the Red One seem like a joke in a few years time.  In fact I really don’t appreciate the Red One, there’s nothing particularly appealing about its picture.

This video was produced as an advert to showcase the power of Canon’s 1D Mark IV…there is not one ounce of artificial light in here.

Those Silly Liberals

January 6, 2010

Is it just me or do the Liberals seem to be digressing beyond comprehension?  In the past week the Liberal Party of Canada website has been promoting a contest in which readers could send in their own assumptions as to why Parliament was prorogued, undoubtedly in an effort to secure moral support – moral and LPC going together?  Regardless, in order to help promote the page they placed this funny little graphic with Harper in a loud Hawaiian t-shirt standing in front of a tropical island and A sign reading: ‘Just Vacationing’.  Obviously a sad attempt to mimic the Tories’ ‘just visiting’ slam on Ignatieff; to be honest I didn’t even get it until CTV pointed it out.  What makes this more humorous is that Harper’s staff was quick to point out that the Prime Minister was currently in his office working while Ignatieff is still off gallivanting in Europe on his holiday vacation.  This isn’t the first contest to blow-up in Liberal faces.  The last contest, which encouraged supporters to send in photos expressing Harper’s reluctance to attend the climate change conference, saw one participant send in a Photoshoped picture of Harper as Lee Harvey Oswald.  The photo was quickly removed.

All of this leads me, and probably a majority of other Canadians to wonder if the Liberals are a legitimate party to be respected.  It seems that our forefathers would be utterly ashamed at the buffoonery taking place in Canadian politics.  Something went wrong in the 2000s that short-circuited the brains of many Liberal captains.  They all went insane.  I suppose loosing three elections in four years might do that to you, but maybe its time for the LPC to just give up, you had a nice run but, well it’s over, clearly.  And for crap’s sake, get rid of Ignatieff, he’s theorist, not a man of action.  Stop being a bunch of pussys complaining about not being in power and slamming the government when it’s not even election season, it’s just bad taste and looks childish.

Hitchens Gets Slammed by Craig

January 5, 2010

What we have here is a blunder for Hitchens, how cannot get over the fact that the church is not power-hungry.  He seems to have a terrible misunderstanding of Christian doctrine.  I truly love how he botches Dostoevsky and slams Heaven as an amusement park…he is classically placating to people’s sense of justice.  I wonder when people will realize that Hitchens is nothing more than an overrated journalist who labels himself a New Atheist when really he just hates God.


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