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20th July 2016
5 days since the release of the reboot Ghostbusters, perhaps the greatest comedy released in the last 35 years and I have finally seen it; therefore allow my review to begin. :
Ghostbusters (the original in this case works largely on its own merit and even but surely manages to hold its own without being unfairly compared to its iconic predecessor. Not that you never will think about the original. In fact, the cameos from all the cast members they could get (we miss you, Harold) confirm audiences' need to remember the originals. The film has the occasional inside joke and or reference (I personally enjoyed the Twinkie ad in times square) to give original fans a chuckle. Nonetheless, there is enough original material to justify vegging your brain in an air conditioned theater on 90 degree day like it was when I watched this movie. Don't watch the film if your brain is operating on too high a level. Mine was not operating very high I guess, so this movie managed to entertain despite its flaws.
The team behind this project might have benefited by disassociating it from Ghostbusters. The best way to watch this movie is to just treat it like a movie, not a "Ghostbusters" movie. Wiig, McCarthy, and McKinnon, and Jones collaborate for a distinctive ensemble that can be recycled for plenty of screenplays. This movie had the marketable opportunity to package itself as another collaboration of Paul Feig, Kristen Wiig, and Melissa McCarthy. Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones add to that, but the "Bridemaids" alumni have the marketing power to sell tickets to a built-in audience and rely on positive feedback to sell tickets.
The film is best when it relies on the chemistry betwen Wiig and McCarthy. McKinnon is a funny addition as McCarthy's essential doppleganger. Jones just does not work. She is unforgivably loud with material than has long since dies from originality and should be trapped in a containment system. Wiig's growth alongside her support from McCarthy and McKinnon is more than enough character development to keep this film's momentum up. Meanwhile, Chris Hemsworth is just purely funny as a downright dufus. I loved his act throughout. I loved his clueless incompetence and persistence that he is a hero. It was not enough to carry the film, but any more would have ruined the film.
The inside jokes in this movie are also well-placed. Neither the cameos nor the familiar sites are what the writers make you obsess over, but there is a good chuckle from each one to the audience's delight. Unlike so many sequels and or reboots that rely too heavily on inside-jokes, this movie just works them in, gives the audience a moment to get excited, and moves on.
This modernized Ghostbusters is absolutely not without flaws. There are a lot of effective jokes, but nothing is that memorable. The absurdity and treatment of the absurdity does not feel as natural as it did in the original Ghostbusters, but the characters are still evidently having a lot of fun and it caters to the audience. The visuals are more crisp, but nowhere near as fun and campy as the cheesy quality of the original. The efforts to look silly are there, but the efforts a bit too prevalent for the silliness. In fact, the film in general does its greastest disservices whenever it tries to capture the magic of the original. The uptight mayor and officials trying to shut the Ghostbusters down are nowhere near as intriguing as Mayor Lenny or Walter Peck.
Is this film perfect? No. Can it compare to the original? Of course not. The original Ghoustbusters was a gem that can never be replicated. This reboot is entertaining enough to not leavr you storming out of the theater protesting for your money back. If you walk in with a friend with just expectations and hopes to have a good time, your wish will come true.
18th December 2015
The new saga has begun and the verdict is....Passing
Star Wars: Episode 7: The Force Awakens the 7th and latest installment of the most commercially acclaimed film franchise has arrived and while it may not be the masterpiece of cinema fans have been waiting for, it still delivers. The visuals and designs are there. The villainy is I place. And there is plenty to set the table for what looks to be a long running franchise. My advice to Star Wars fans is to walk into this movie expecting an entertaining movie instead of putting it on a pedestal however, with the original gems.
Abrams does a strong effort at modeling the development of this movie after the original trilogy. Like the original trilogy, this film is once again about a hero once discovering their destiny and those surrounding them deciding to follow what is right. Unlike the original trilogy, Abrams uncovers details it took two or some cases three movies to originally develop. Nonetheless, the development is quite similar. Without spoiling plot details, one can simply state that conflicts the characters battle are believable and the growth therefore, feels natural. This gives meaning to each character's actions. The motivation behind the heroes' are believable and clear. Not as much can be said for the dark side, aka the new order. Those motives will likely develop more in the series, but are not quite yet clear. The "Resistance", this film's new variation on the alliance is devoted to preserving the remaining albeit minimal jedi order, Luke who has long since vanished as the new order seeks to find him. Our newest main hero, Ray has a briefly alluded past the franchise will no doubt develop on, but an inherent strength in the force develops as she becomes more educated in its truths. Ray's advenatures and Kylo Ren's devotion to the new order are more than enough to keep this film solid.
This film's initial weakness is the sometimes excess ammount of humor and repetition. The development that commonly transpires is sometimes too similar to the original trilogy for audiences to get invested. The best writing material is Ray's discoveries. The New Order's solar-powered death star is too familiar and is more of a distraction from the much grittier back story behind Kylo and Snoke. The apparent angle is to develop more detail on that in the next film. Irrelevant of the direction these films will go, the humor was excessive. DD88 is just right. He is cute and boyish in an R2D2 way, but still important enough to make his presence necessary. The bickering between Ray and Finn however, is never funny. Their connection captures the audience once they are honest with each other.
The villainy, like the movie itself should be assessed on its own rather than compared to the original trilogy. The duality of conflicts in Darth Vader can be imitated, but not replicated. Kylo Ren's and Supreme Leader Snoke should therefore, be held on their own. Ren's conflicts are not fully developed yet, but they do not need to be yet. It is evidentthat it is there so viewers will eagerly anticipate this outcome as this series develops. Snoke is another intimidating addition to the franchise who will continue wreaking havoc on the resistancefor movies to come. For now, they are merely engaging enough for audiences to care about their back stories.
All in all, this is an entertaining new addition to the Star Wars universe. Audiences will cheer and await the upcoming story's response to this film's clifhanger. Some material can be developed more while other material could have beeno ommited. This film earns a solid B.
10th December 2015
It's been about 3.5 months since my last post, but it does segway nicely into my current thoughts. In my last post, I wrote about my desire to look for future summer employment that brings me in touch exclusively, with the joy of kids. And let me tell you teaching the lowest performing kids in East Oakland for quite weeks sure added to my desire for that.
I should share two particular conversations I have had this year that have made me reassess the i.presion I give off about working with kids. I'll start last night with a colleague who asked me last night to a tussle mention some kids I taught this quarter whom I liked. Now I admit that was not as easy as task as I would have liked. But I thought of some. I was just sad that it was so much easier to think of students I couldn't stand. A more abrasive version of that conversation transpired from a counselor I worked with this previous summer who had no problem mocking my processing disabilities when her instructions were unclear for me, but was appolled at my means to act out counselor stress by venting about agonizing kids off duty. Both instances frustrated me, but I like to make as many instances as possible into learning opportunities.
I could go into a deeper analysis about this, but I'd rather save my take on this for when I'm blogging on a laptop and seated at a table or desk, not blogging from my Galaxy 6 in bed waiting to post this and see how many ridiculous typos I make.
25th August 2015
A Nice Compromise I would Like
I actually have a much more important article to write on a serious matter to me, but this is another important personal issue to me, which I should be able to finish in the 16 minutes before the Dodger game begins so here I go. :
With 6 days remaining before I am back to the grind the school world serving as a teacher and a student, I feel it high time to post what I now believe will be necessary to my child development career, but also rather desirable. I just completed my first summer at Avid 4 Adventure camp and possibly my last summer as a pure camp counselor. I have given up on suggesting that any summer working at a camp will be my last; therefore, I have accepted that I may just some day close the book on that lifestyle, but who knows? One thing I do know is that I have different wishes for future summers although working with kids remains an integral passion I wish to continue during my summers.
From now on, I wish to dedicate my summers to bringing me back in touch with the sheer joy of children. That is not to say that I never enjoyed children this summer, not at all. Rather, I enjoyed much of what I did with children this summer, but there were absolutely things this summer with children, that I could not stand. Making music with my voice student and all my piano students was wonderful. There were obviously moments I could have done without, but the brief periods of stress were beyond microscopic compared to the priceless gifts of listening to music I had guided kids to making. Gifts from parents to thank me for my dedication, hugs from students, laughing with them; it all was wonderful. That was what elementary music education should be and I love it. As for working at Avid 4 Adventure, I loved leading and dances with kids, telling stories, running A&C periods, and growing with my staff. Did I enjoy taking 5 year olds to the bathroom? Did I enjoy needing to regroup kids to keep them safe or make judgement calls that may or may not perfectly complement my co-counselors' wishes? NO. And honestly, who does? Does any parent enjoy waking up at 3 am to put their infant back to sleep who wouldn't let them go to sleep until after 12? What parent honestly WANTS to change an infant's diaper? Etc. Parenting is a wonderful opportunity, the greatest gift to countless people. Nonetheless, one needs not claim that they love EVERYTHING about it so much as embrace the timeless moments. That said, I have devised my own balance to such a paradox.
Teaching is a passion of mine and I intend to continue my career in it. Special education looks to be the angle that will make it an affordable profession and it is a truly meaningful one. I have intention to continue teaching music, but special education now looks to be the strenuous part of my job necessary to teaching. I have experienced success stories for children with special needs no matter how many heartbeats have been taken off the end of my life in the process, but I am proud of my achievements for children's growth. Nonetheless, teaching is a mentally draining profession at given times that requires mental health breaks. To address this need, I therefore, a professional goal for my summer will entail at least one child development assignment; paid ideally, but volunteer if need be; that promotes a connection with children without requiring any of the frustrating structured lifestyle required in a school settings or to a different but still existing extent, at camp settings. The emotional endurance needed to effectively reach out to the children I will be working with this year will stress me at times. Sometimes I will fret over my own self-confidence. Other times, I will fret over the needs not being me to the students. Other times, I will just be exhausted. It will all happen. Therefore, I will need to experience instances by which I can isolate the wonders of kids and embrace that.
6 days and let the internship begin.
24th August 2015
One Star Movies
Nothing depresses me at a summers’ waning end like trailers and billboards for the lazy B-movies that, to quote Jack Oakie, “Cost nothing and make millions so studios can make movies that cost millions and make nothing.” As long as low-budget sequels like “Sinister 2” however, guarantee sales before their inevitably green approval ratings on Rotten Tomatoes kill future box-office success, studios will forever churn the stinkers for non-thinkers. The real question to ask to the truly deplorable movies is how bad is a movie when you really get down to it? The two-month drought extending from 3 weeks into August to three weeks into October that overwhelms audiences with dull horror clichés, brainless comedies, monotonous action films, and sequels that no one asked for; but all low-risk high profit films never seldom if ever consists of any film that viewers will bother remembering half a year later. And if audiences do, it will almost certainly be negative memories. But how bad is the film to you when you see it? :
In the internet world of today that is so saturated with information and opinions, it is nothing new to struggle keeping up with what we think ourselves. In the quality of cinema critiquing, this is not different. I would be lying profusely if I was to claim that my opinions on movies were exclusively my own making, but I would be honest in saying that I go through extreme efforts to evaluate opinions based on the opinions I hear and form for myself. I do not necessarily agree with opinions when I hear them, but at least other opinions give me a baseline to assess a movie before I watch it myself.
Giving one star to a movie is quite rare for me. 5 stars to rate a movie is perfect. Where a 5 star movie is an utter masterpiece, a 4 star movie is very good and sometimes as good as the particular is capable of being, a 3 star movie generally works, but is absolutely, a 2 star film is not entire waste of time and money but audiences should invest both into something else, and a 1 star film is essentially an unwatchable abomination. And as an honest critic, I struggle to ever sit through a movie so bad that I cannot possibly come up with one thing in the movie that would enhance an audience’s experience. I may hate a movie and condemn anyone who would dare participate in such an insult to humanity, but that does not mean I cannot identify anything that would entertain an audience. The moments such a detestable film may be few and minimal, but props need to be given if they exist at all.
If I struggle giving a movie one star even I hate every moment of it, I am likely too focused on other questions to process what is wrong with the movie; namely, who green-lighted it? Thus, I find it highly rare to ever sit through a film from a major motion picture studio that is so bad that no competent producer would invest a penny into it. The odds are that the produces looked over the dismal screenplays and agreed that the film was for idiots but that something in it would be marketable to invest money into. No producer reads a script to a Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay film and thinks that anything besides the visuals and dizzy action sequences will sell. Therefore, mindless consumers will sit through “Independence Day 2” and “Transformers 5” knowing they will be literary garbage, but visually compelling enough to justify a 3D ticket price. At least major motion picture studios have stopped working for Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, but will never be forgiven for any the “Movie” parodies. Meanwhile, low-budget studios like Ketchup films will still write the check so Friedberg and Seltzer use current trends as marginal excuses to parody as many pop-cultures references as possible. And while I am proud to say that the only Friedberg and Seltzer parody I have ever entirely sat through was “Spy Hard” (which I didn’t like and they were not the only to), I have seen parts of plenty of their films and have frequently not laughed at all and have never watched anything they were involved in that had enough effective humor to justify sitting the entire movie. I can even attest to laughing when watching parodies as dreadful as “Silence of The Hams.” Yes, the movie is awful and I am ashamed of myself for ever laughing at it, but as it got a real laugh from me, I can’t give it a one-star rating. Whoever produced these movies likely read the scripts, saw a few parts that would get a chuckle or two out of the audiences, and trusted the filmmakers to bring the films to life. In my consistent passion for attacking Johnny Depp films (what’s an angry film rant by yours truly without attacking Depp at some point after all?), I have downright loathed some films he’s been in largely owing to his performance, but were still too dreadful for him to save anyway. My two most hated Johnny Depp films (and I suspect many moviegoers including his fans share this opinion) are “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lone Ranger.” As bad as both of these are however, I still cannot give one star to either. Both movies feature individual traits that could have perhaps made these 4 star movies with easy modifications. Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” was a literary mess. In the rare instances in which Burton attempts to follow the story, he throws the audience off by implementing a pointlessly contrived fantasy storyline with too many guaranteed outcomes to possibly run consistent with the Wonderland lovers of the book expect. The jokes are terrible, every actor is far more invested how they look than how they act, and the alternation between new material and source material turns Carrol’s mathematically calculated absurdity into an abstract disaster. Nonetheless, the Burton designs are beautiful. They movie was so heavily advertised that I didn’t need to pay a ticket to get that experience, but effort went into the art direction and the display continued showcasing Burton’s visual talents. I therefore, feel fine giving the movie 2 stars and giving the rest of the movie beyond the visuals one star only because I cannot give 0 one a 1-5 star rating system. As for “Lone Ranger” I have no problem at all, giving the first 2 hours of the movie one star. The first 120 minutes border on being triumphantly awful. The failed slapstick in attempt to add in comic relief to an action film that rarely has any action is almost as bad as its cluelessness to anyone’s issues with its use of adultery, the nonsensical plot, the mounds of historical and geographic errors, and utter indifference viewers find themselves feeling as to who they heroes or villains are. With all those atrocities plaguing this financial bomb, you can easily how forget how annoying and culturally insensitive Johnny Depp is. Again, however, I have to salute the film’s train chase climax. I have watched that scene too many times on YouTube to deny liking it. Depp’s annoying facial expressions interrupt with an otherwise well-crafted climax, but the scene if very entertaining. It is essentially everything you could ask for from watching a “Lone Ranger” movie. Its iconic of the William Tell overture carries the energy as brilliantly as any “Long Ranger” television or radio episode has ever done. Interestingly enough, I enjoyed the scene much more when I watched it on YouTube than when I finally saw the movie on DVD. Naturally, I had sat through 120 detestable minutes expecting something better and when I finally got to the train chase, I was angry and was so minimally invested in the story that the outcome didn’t matter to me. With both of these movies however, I enjoyed enough aspects to both of them, that despite that abominable experiences watching them was, I can see what an investor was thinking putting their money in these movies. And to be fair, “Alice in Wonderland” was quite profitable while “Lone Ranger” joins elite company among film history’s true financial stinkers. Disney likely believed that the designs on the trailers for “AIW” would sell enough tickets to make a nice profit and were right. Expecting fans of the “Pirates of The Caribbean” franchise to think that another Gore Verbinski/Johnny Depp collaboration would make a profit was not as wise.
If a movie receives one star from me, that is a triumph albeit more than plausible. Nonetheless, if a movie receives one star from me and it was released by a major motion picture studio, I can likely diagnose what the investors were thinking; virtually nothing. A true one-star movie is so deplorable, that simply giving the benefit of the doubt to the producers and believing that they were just drugged into signing checks is indefinitely more flattering that saying that they read the scripts to these stinkers and greenlighted them while still sober. The best I can believe is that some director described it to some executives, they believed the idea had marketable potential, and put the money down there and then. At the top of this list is a movie I have ripped on before, “Major League 2”, the nirvana of bad sequels. 90 minutes of jokes that don’t work, even the repetitive ones that just fail the second time around; obnoxious characters; no dramatic appreciation for the human attachment to the jokes makes this a classic for the dollar bin at Walgreen’s although you would need to pay me far more than that to get to sit through it again. So what were the producers thinking? The same thing any producer of a sequel thinks; the last one successful so this one will be too. More often than not sequels fail to generate as much revenue as their predecessors did even when those sequels do fine commercially, but producers anticipating at least comparable profits to sequels’ predecessors; mindlessly greenlight them. Who really thinks 20th Century Fox executives cared how dreadful the scripts were to the Star Wars prequels? It is Do writers even bother with screenplays to sequels to “Final Destination,” “Saw,” “Paranormal Activity,” or “Fast and The Furious”? Admittedly, I have seen very few movies from those franchises with the exception of the last “Final Destination” movie which I could not stand. It was obviously repetitive to the originals which I have no intention of watching and the continuities were too inconsistent to confirm any effort in the writing. I watched it with a friend of mine who begged me to sit through it with her and even paid for my ticket. She still owes 2 hours of my life back though. Obviously, these low budget sequels however, ride on the coattails of their popular predecessors and have enough of a built-in audience to guarantee profits from lobotomized fans. On the other hand, a movie does not need a built-in audience for me to hate profusely, but understand what producers were thinking. Likely, my favorite bad movie to psycho-analyze is “North”, the abysmally failed attempt at finding humor and drama about a boy who travels the world to find the perfect parents, but only finds a list of dumbfounded stereotypes, historically atrocious jokes, product placements for airline companies, and a creepy stalker played by Bruce Willis whose mentorship throughout the film is a mere build-up to advertise FedEx. Where to start with all the problems in this movie, but the premise still had enough potential that I can imagine how an executive could have seen it working out. I agree with Roger Ebert’s claim that a boy looking for the parents isn’t inherently funny, but I do envision how that screenplay can make for a good movie. Nonetheless, it fails epically. And the plot is not clever enough to deserve props either. I do not agree that a boy separating himself from his parents is any offensive plot. Contrary to those who took that issue, I merely consider it a conflict to give the audience something to root against, just like any conflict. It isn’t a genius conflict, but it doesn’t offend me. Equally, I have spoken to those who were angry that the entire story was a dream. I was not angry over this either. I was angry over what it however, implied. I did not appreciate Rob Reiner thinking that the lazy writing and culturally insensitive depictions were okay just because they were from the perspective of a 9-year old boy. Merely writing a film from a 9 year-old’s perspective does not justify a script that was written at a 9 year-old grading level. It was a failed concept no matter what potential producers saw in it.
Ultimately, I love watching and analyzing movies. If a movie demonstrates any effort, I will likely see it any give props. If I watch a deplorable movie that deserves one star, I can usually sit back and laugh at the incompetence rather than moan at the injustice.
7th May 2015
I think it's high time I stressed my take on blind faith; a habit which like so many other desirable habits, we would love to not demonstrate, but inevitably fall victim again and again. But like all habits undesirable habits, I absolutely agree we can identify why and how we fall victim to it. Ultimately, I think we all find ourselves accepting certain beliefs irrelevant of whether we actually stop to consider the logic. We merely however, may have never stopped to think about it. Rather, it just was always in our thought process since before we even bothered or were old enough to consider why.
Like any undesirable habit we can easily fall victim to, blind faith is one of those habits we should always just accept we have and to therefore be mindful of judging others who we find having it. It does mean to tolerate people like this. In any number of instances, you are more than welcome to evade people like this. Either way however, prepare to find that you are guilty of in some way yourself.
People constantly fret about falling guilty to blind faith because they think it automatically means that that they're therefore as guilty as Nazis or Westboro Baptists. And in some cases, you may be being just as impressionable groups like that, but it certainly doesn't mean that you can get suckered to the extreme level they can succumb to. Moreover, you may fall victim to a belief and have an explanation as to why, but inevitably your argument will lead to a counter argument you can't counter back. Whenever a counter argument you can't counter presents itself, you can do yourself justice by stopping to be think. Sometimes, you may hear a counter argument that you can't immediately counter, but that may merely be because you never thought about the argument. Once you stop to dissect it however, you can perhaps impress upon yourself and your peers that you actually sincerely believe your claim.
If there's any category of blind faith I specifically resent, it's the excess radicals who think that just because they contradict beliefs of the norms; either because it's a seemingly overly accepted belief or because it's just what people want to believe; there are the radicals who think that just because they identify one reason (which frequently is very easy to counter) that they have immediately revolutionized human thought and therefore indefinitely superior to their peers too complacent to open their minds to reality. There are atheists who think that there is no way any benevolent deity exists and that anyone who begs to differ is just blinding themselves of realities they want to not believe. Such atheists are too proud of their high school level critical thinking skills to think of religion as anything more than a manipulative myth emperors in the age of great empires contrived to maintain order among citizens and others followed as a marketing ploy. Have such outright radical thinkers stopped to think of how much there is to be said for exploring religious ideologies as a means to understand a greater purpose to our lives? I am not posting this entry to make atheists into deists. I am merely saying that you are not above your social peers just because you see an angle of logic that may have surpassed their's. And maybe you have blindly led yourself into this passion for a darker outlook which you merely prefer.
In short, please be mindful of blind faith logic. If you wish to sway ideologies or merely give some food for thought to someone you disagree with, fine. But remember that you may require a little food for thought yourself and therefore to allow debate too.
5th March 2015
The dishonest truth
Perhaps my oxymorons could improve, but as it's 12:02 a.m. as I write this sentence, I'll give myself some slack. But I'm mainly referring to this idea that the greatest writing is truthful. Now that tells me that the mere truth as we know it is all we need to write something provocative and meaningful. So why does good writing come so hard? Is reality honestly that jaded an ideal in our minds?
2nd March 2015
Random rants to prove I'm still alive
As I lie here in the CSUEASTBAY multicultural center trying to block out the sound of some girl talking about her desired menstrual cycle and her weight-gain anxiety, I feel a LiveJournal post is at hs nd to update just incase anyone cares.
So yesterday evening marked the start of what I hope to be standard. At resistance of 7 on the elliptical, I for an hour exceeding 7 miles. I weighed myself before and after and clocked in at 171-172.
This morning, I had to spend over an hour trying to find the right department to still hold onto my dental insurance without paying an extra 74 bucks even after I paid 57 bucks a week ago. When anyone disorganized collaborates with me, who the he'll knows what chaos awaits?
Intervention-collaborative classes, my main area of study is starting to finally make sense to me and actually feel like an area in which I can really thrive.
I have 10 piano students right now. The most I'd ever had at one time before this year was 5 so a transition nonetheless.
Why the he'll does auto type on my keep putting in the words, "mneumonic" or, "ghosts"? I like the feature, but sometomes it just writes its own sentences no matter how nonsensical they may be.
Random rants done. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
23rd February 2015
Seriously, I gotta read more!
30 minutes dedicated to free reading should not be the ordeal I've let it be one for me. This is the last I read 50 pages of a 318-page book in an hour only still be 26 pages shy of finishing it 5 months later.
16th February 2015
Posting in bed, my first entry of the year
I knew I'd post within this calendar year and was generally convinced that I'd have an entry in by March, but with no entries posted this year and February more than halfway through, all bets were seemingly off. Well here I am. I'm back and ready to hope anyone would reading this actually cares what I have to say.
So here I am once again hopeful that life is progressing for the better. And I'm not opposed to believing that. I'm steadily becoming more and more comfortable with my work in special education and my teaching confidence with my current set of students is as high as ever. I got six piano students and one math student I'm tutoring. The math student is an emotional handful who thinks I was born yesterday and my youngest piano student wouldn't sit still for two minutes to save his life, but it's the struggles we endure so we can later embrace.
Honestly, I'm not awake enough yet to give an all-out celebrated entry, but here's my reminder that I'm alive and generally happy.
27th October 2014
Just for the sake of it. You may sing sing the Diet Coke jingle now consequently stuck my head
I miss posting as much as I do any no matter how many times I vow to make blogging regular habit, it never quite happens. This post is just so the last 25 entries no longer feature any entries from 2011. Next step, get any entries I posted in Asia less recent than the last 25 entries.
"Breaking Bad" and "Toys R Us"; I just realized how odd mentioning these in the same subject sounds
I know it's been a few days, but here's my take. I agree and disagree with Aaron Paul's actions and comments, but I disagree with his actions. :
Regardless of who is in the right, Toys R Us has made the right business decision. Yes, it's called "Toys" R Us; therefore, as long as they're toys, they should be able to be found at such a store. But come on! It's a Toy Store marketing to kids. Toy R Us management knows perfectly well of the profit they will not receive from "Breaking Bad" fans shopping at Amazon, Ebay, or comic book stores. Because we all know Target will get rid of its Ninja Turtle aisle in the toy section to make room for plastic, inanimate figures of meth dealers. This is to maintain their child image they profit from. It is a PR move to hold on to their key demographics; kids 12 and under and THEIR PARENTS. The 10,000 parents requesting that Toys R Us pull the action figures hold way more clout in the hearts of management than the 30,000 fans petitioning them back.
Paul's claim is that Toys R Us is being entirely hypocritical by removing from the shelves, any merchandise to "Breaking Bad" when Toys R Us would never dare pull away any Barbie products and the pro-Anorexia messages Mattel continues taking the heat for over the decades. There is truth to this. In fact, let's go even further than Paul even has. If Barbie is as bad a role model for girls and for that matter if Ken is such an equally bad role model to boys; what about Disney? Replace Barbie's legs with flippers, take of her shirt, cover her breasts with shells, and you got Ariel! Give Barbie legs again, take off the shells, replace her attire with a blue dress, and you got Belle! Change the color one by one, and you can cover any Disney princess equally as anatomically controversial as Barbie. Etc. Is Mattel any more evil than Disney?
I criticize the Florida mom indefinitely more than I criticize Toys R Us. Toys R Us has the right to sell whatever they want. Whether they wish to sell Marvel Action figures so kids can raise hell if their parents don't buy them the entire set, Barbie dolls to make young girls hazardously insecure about their builds, Dora the Explorer merchandise to implant geography Guatamalan into stereotypes into 4 year-old brains; or on the other hand, if they wish to sell mature actions figures of drug dealers, or porn; IT'S THEIR BUSINESS!!!! Dear parents who signed this petition, just don't shop there. And Mr. Paul, if they don't wish to sell you merchandise, that's their business too.
At the end of the, Paul's actions to me, feel more like a Seinfeld routine; in that, he's ultimately right, but just leave it alone. Is it really worth the deal he's making out of it? Frankly, I think his hysteria is the best free advertising he can ask for and believe he's totally milking it But a petition? Geez! Just voice your opinion to get fans knowing about the figures and get your royalties from other businesses. You'll do finehttp://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/10/25/breaking-bads-aaron-paul-slams-toys-r-us-over-recall/
13th October 2014
My views on RtI, collaboration, and co-teaching have steadily developed through recent exposure to their procedures. A school I just visited put much of my reading about those subjects into better perspective. They showed clear procedures to best implement interventions per student. This obviously benefited me academically as I now better understand RtI. More importantly, I witnessed the varying interventions necessary to nurture each student. Much of the RtI process depends on students’ needs, but many procedures are consistent per student. For instance, the school has a clear intervention time period. The Student Support Team meets once per month and meetings last generally from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They observe all students recommended for intervention and determine the intervention need. Needs are behavioral, academic, or attendance-related. Once the intervention is determined, the rest depends on which member can best fulfill it. Whichever member best fulfills the need; be it the psychologist, general education teacher, nurse, administrator, or attendance clerk; the intervention plan is put into place. The next meeting, 8 weeks later assesses progress. If improvement shows, the plan continues. If not, an alternate behavior plan is considered. If results still do not show, outside sources are explored. The interpretation I developed on RtI is that is requires a variety of members to share differing perspectives. :
One issue I put into more perspective through my reading and my interview pertains to collaboration. Collaboration works best when all parties involved amply understand and fulfill their role. A SST therefore, best implements RtI by determining collaborations most conducive to a student’s success. Effective collaboration thus depends on how classroom environment and any within-child factors impact a child. The principal of the school I visited has always needed to understand this issue in her teaching career. In her first teaching job, she was a bilingual teacher. She began as an assistant by frequently translating key material to English language learners. As a classroom teacher, she implemented bilingual education into all her classes. During SST meetings, she therefore commonly considers one collaborative solution to be a bilingual co-teaching with a general education teacher. With the high number of limited English speakers, this is a frequent accommodation.
My teaching carrier, has provided me interpretations on RtI methods I find most and least effective. RtI has impacted many roles I have played as a teacher. One such role has been as a tutor. I have tutored several students requiring tier-2 modifications through the “problem-solving method”. A 4th grader I taught for instance, tested for math and ranked in the bottom 10% for his age. I tutored him on an assignment and one problem required him to know several things, including “9x7”. When he could not answer that, I identified the problem. It was January of his 3rd year and he did not know fundamental multiplication tables one should have mastered by the end of 3rd grade. I analyzed the problem, that his inconsistent home-life was not conducive to efficiently study and that his class was evidently too big for him to receive necessary individual instruction. I developed a plan designating my responsibilities, the child’s, and his grandmother’s (his legal guardian). I would come twice a week and run through all multiplication tables with him. His grandmother would make sure the table he studied at was clean and she would practice multiplication with him for at least 20 minutes a day. The child would actively participate in lessons and dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to review himself. Once roles were put in place, progress showed. Each lesson, I drilled him on basic multiplication tables. His understanding confirmed I was efficiently conveying material. It showed too, that he was actively engaging in material during lessons and studying it independently. An RtI response this experience did not gain my appreciation for was Measure of Academic Progress (MAPS). The child grew, but not enough from a testing standpoint. When he retook the math assessment, the district wanted a minimum growth of 10%. Unfortunately, he only improved by 5%. Given 8 weeks to learn something he was over a year behind in, I was proud of him for succeeding. MAPS data can indicate if an intervention is working at all. In the case of this student however, the need to grow was too immediately drastic to tell the entire story. He improved in the content first of all. Second if academic data was not enough, what about his study habits? His pre-intervention study skills were non-existent. Post-intervention study skills were in place.
Collaboration and consultation can potentially cater best to students with special needs. Integrating students into general education classrooms I s crucial. I do not oppose pullout programs at all, but they can easily allow schools children’s real problems. I repeated kindergarten when I was in elementary school. After my second year of it, my teacher spoke with my parents about possibly holding me back again. Instead, they agreed for me consult tutors three mornings per week. This a greater disservice than a service. Tutoring barely if at all helped, I missed 270 minutes of general education content per week when I was already behind, and the general education teacher struggled keeping up with my needs while catering to the remaining class. The nicest compliment I can give my first-grader teacher is that my parents disliked her methods more than me. I understand however, her handicap. My exceptional needs drew her attention from other students and there were no in-school resources. My earliest collaborative classroom work was as an English teacher when I taught in Korea. I did not teach special education there, but my teaching assignment required similar accommodations; namely, language. As I did not speak Korean, I was provided a co-teacher who would translate instructions. Co-teachers would speak to me relevant material for students and I would assemble lesson plan accordingly. Discipline flowed far more easily and classes thus developed far better. As an elementary music teacher, the efficiency of my work ran consistent with the plan set out between me and my co-teachers. Even when I was the only teacher in the room, plenty of collaborative teaching took place. A constant challenge for me was when students who had me for an hour felt I could not consequence them afterward. When I consulted with their homeroom teachers, students were more receptive my instructions. Co-teachers and I would also consult about needed changes and smoothly implementing them. When I had such an agreement with teachers, the classroom experience was best supported for everyone. Unfortunately, I did not always have such fortune. One particular class’ homeroom teacher treated me more like a babysitter than a teacher. This was especially problematic as one child with autism in the class seriously drew my attention from everyone else. I was especially irritable as I felt that any method I resorted to was not not allowed by my director. For all my students, this one included, performing in concerts and participating in post-concert festivities was a privilege students aspired to. This student was no exception. The director, homeroom teacher, and I devised an intervention plan so he could earn this privilege too. He unfortunately though, did not fulfill his responsibilities. I therefore, could not let him perform or be part of the festivities. The director however, took away my authority on this despite agreeing with me, and let him perform and participate in all festivities. When I saw my authority completely taken away, I was livid. The student learned no accountability and his peers were less proud of their accomplishments. Collaboration needs all parties to appropriately collaborate for it to work.
Effective collaborative interventions teach responsibility to all parties, especially the student. The best interventions cater to the students’ growth, confidence, and appreciation. A superior SST identifies a student’s needs, who can best cater to those, and how interventions will best address them. Once the SST has an effective intervention plan, each party is responsible to carry out their role. Accommodations should serve to provide the child the same opportunities as his or peers. Accommodations are efficiently in place when the child understands his or her role. It then is up to the child to play that role in the process. Children who actively fulfill their roles as other members do confirm their competency. Children who do not fulfill their roles as other parties do witness their personal needs.
12th September 2014
Sequels that just got it wrong
OPENING DISCLAIMER: My Ghostbusters fixation is a mere product of recently watching the movie recently and rediscovering why I love this move so much. It will not continue coming in entry after entry, but it will be a major part of this article nonetheless. :
ON WITH THE ENTRY: Sequels remain a generally acceptable but frequently criticized necessity to the conservative economics the film studios thrive on. They are lazily conservative as any film product with a built-in audience strong enough to generate the necessary profits to afford producing more ambitious projects. That does not however, justify lazy filmmaking. Studios owe it fans whose hard earned money goes pay their salaries by at least investing generous efforts to quality irrelevant of how guaranteed the box office sales may be. It is an insult to fans who waste their money and time on a crummy product and to know hat the filmmakers responsible for this are the one profiting.
A sequel should never be made unless the correct tangible and intangible resources are in place. Intangible resources include any literary potential to broaden the story to the audience's delight. If a studio cannot assemble the same crew even or if the story just does not leave enough for audience's to care what happens next, a sequel is probably not a good idea. The best sequels therefore, were meant to be made when their predecessors were made. That can be either because the story is too extensive to fit into one film or if it is a mere archetype that translates to limitless sequels. Too many sequels are made because they generated money, not because there's more to say.
The weakest sequels usually are comedies, but not always. I have rarely watched an action that was a total waste unless it was a third or later installment in the franchise. There have been many inferior action sequels such as Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Batman Returns, either of the Joel Schumacher Batman films for that matter, the later Rocky movies, Spiderman 3, or the Star Wars prequels (yes, prequels count). But usually, action movies have enough substance to hold on for at least on more sequel The three-quel curse is highly prevalent in all film franchises The only truly inferior action sequel I can think of Indiana and the Temple of Doom and that movie is still entertaining. I don't need to write anything short of "utter crap" to describe "Jurassic Park: The Lost World", so I'll say no more about that. The problem with comedy sequels however, is almost always either over-the-top humor that frequently does not work in the writer's attempt to replicate the predecessor on a larger scale or that humor sheer writing is just shamelessly anemic and repetitive. I do not know how many times the criticism I have heard for a sequel was that the writers tried too hard to make it funnier. Whenever I hear that about a comedy sequel I have seen, I can tell what the critics are referring to, but I merely feel that the writers didn't try hard enough. People constantly criticize Jim Carrey for trying to hard to get a laugh on the screen and frequently call "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" the epitome of that. Jim Carrey is remarkably energetic talent who has long since made a career out of going as wild as he can whenever the camera is pointed at him Once the camera is recording, Carrey is off and the responsibility put his leash back on is that of complacent directors like Steve Oederek. And no one was more irritated at Major League 2's heinously unfunny and highly culturally insensitive Japanese center-fielder than I was. David S. Ward put brought the script to screen without stopping to think of how annoying fans would find this character.
SEQUELS THAT JUST FAILED ( Read more...Collapse )
LAZY COP-OUT SEQUELS ( Read more...Collapse )
SEQUELS THAT WENT TOO FAR SO STUDIOS COULD TAKE THEIR SHAME TO THE BANK( Read more...Collapse )
10th September 2014
Shameless commercialism, not always the most shameful
As always, let me begin with the inevitable disclaimer so that readers may give me the benefit of the doubt that maybe I have some new and worth reading to say. To my friend and or family reading this who have inevitably grown tired of hearing my rants about product placements in film, I ask that you please at least give me the benefit of the doubt that I have something new to say on the subject in this entry. In fact, this is not even an entire complaint on an issue which I think the general film-viewing public is lees than fond of. That said, on with my latest rant. :
Last week, Ariel and I went to see Ghostbusters 3 on the big screen for our first time. That is absolutely not to mean that it was our first time seeing Ghostbusters. We have both seen way more times than either one us could possibly count. It was just out first time seeing it on a movie screen. Granted though, after watching it two weeks prior (for my first time in over a decade), I chose to amuse myself when I watched it in theatres by tallying off how many scenes feature any product placements and how many total product placements I cited. When I counted the entire collection of scenes that advertised Hi-Ho's (a product I'm admittedly unfamiliar with), Cheez-Its, Coke, countless magazine companies; and of course, Twinkies and Stay Puft Marshmallows; I count 9 scenes and a total of 40 product placements. Granted, some were just background shots of food, but then there are serious commercialized product placements for Twinkies and Stay Puft Marshmallows.
Ghostbusters is symbolic of everything right but unfortunately, also everything wrong with 1980's cinema. At the end of the day however, it symbolizes the redeeming and thus acceptable compromises to be made from 80's cinema irrelevant of its flaws. 1980's films were as studio-driven as films from any era have ever been. The first decade in which sequels became standard practice, product placements and merchandise revenue caught on like never before; Ghostbusters was along for the ride for all of that. Be it a variety popular but inferior spinoff cartoon shows, a lousy sequel, cameramen giving ample screen time to whichever products helped fund the movie, every gadget Toys 'R Us could sell, and one of the most recognizable songs aimed to sell albums and gain countless residuals in it use; Ghostbuster meant to make bank irrelevant of any quality it may have suffered consequently. Nonetheless, I don't mind.
As a commercially induced-film Ghostbuters treats those limitations to best of the film experience without hindering the quality in the process. Bearing any issues aside with Ghostbusters, I LOVE THAT MOVIE! I really do. It is fun, silly, and has just the right level of and tongue-and cheek humor blended with character development to make you cheer and laugh whenever necessary. But who is kidding who? It is a shamelessly commercial-driven film. It is as much a toy commercial in fact an utter merchandise commercial in every sense of the word; an excuse to get in as many product placement as possible; and an excuse for franchising in every possible way to milk the profits dry as it is a movie. But all the said, none of those issues bother me when I watch it. There is not a product placement in the movie that distracts me from the film or that even sells any products to me. I have never had an urge for a Coke, Hi-Ho's, Cheez-Its, Twinkie, or Stay Puft Marshmallows from watching the movie. In fact, I was nearly 20 when I first found out that Stay Puft Marshmallows were real. That said, the product placement are there, but they actually work to the film's greatest strengths. I love Egon Twinkie monologue almost as Winston's response to it. And who loves Ghostbusters but doesn't love the Stay Puft Marshmallow man? The remaining product placements in the film neither harm nor help the movie. If anything however, they slightly improve the film because they make the Ghostbusters world feel more real to the viewers. So that is more than forgivable. And Ghostbusters succeeds in enhancing the film viewer experience in other ways with its commercial decisions. The random gidgets and gadgets the Ghostbusters use; be it the proton accelerators, the traps, the ghost tracer, etc; those all are necessary to the movie. If kids wish to buy products to play Ghostbusters with their friends, more power to them. One such of those kids once upon a time was me. As for the soundtrack, the worst thing I can say about the Ghostbuster theme song is that I don't it as much as the movie. It does however, enhance the film drastically. Ray Parker Jr.'s hit is as iconic as anything to that movie. In fact, I cannot imagine that any theme (inclucing the Star Wars theme) is more iconic of a film than that song. 30 years since the film's release and you can still ask someone, "Who you gonna call?" and expect, "Ghostbusters" as the response. While selling soundtracks was definitely a goal, this still enhanced the film's quality drastically.
Commercialism in cinema is offensive whenever the commercial decisions hinder the quality. Four movies (two which I hate, one which I love, and I admit has entertained me) that roar corporate sellouts are Mac and Me, The Wizard, "Batman Forever, and Minority Report. While the films are listed chronologically, they are also listed in order from the ones I like the least to the most.
Mac and Me is a downright insult to consumers! With 15 scenes advertising something, the movie isn't even trying to deny that scenes are utter commercials. For those of you have not seen this turd, your brains are most thankful. Mac and Me is first of all an entire rip off of ET. Unlike Alf which is obviously inspired by ET but still has its own style, Mac and Me is 90 minutes of every lame dramatic cliché ET relies and the exact same story of a family that adopts an alien, hides it from the CIA, and helps it find its family. As for commercial promotions, WOW! The Skittles advertising is forgivable albeit lame. The Mom owning a house exclusively from her job at Sear's is implausible, but forgivable if it's in the context of a good movie. The Brawny in the background is barely noticeable and wouldn't bother anyone if it wasn't so surrounded by other commercials. But I have two words you; "Coke" and "McDonald's"!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mac and Me doesn't just feature Coke and McD's in the background for a few scenes. These products are all over the movie. The dance scene at McDonald's couldn't be more blatant, which is saying a lot considering the next door neighbor who works at McDonald's or the addiction the aliens insane addiction to Coke (the soda of course; in fact the illegal type wouldn't mutilate you brain enough to enjoy this turd anyway). "The Wizard" is just as bad. In fact, you will never sit through a movie more admittedly a commercial than this coming-of-age dramedy about an emotionally disturbed Nintendo prodigy who hitchhikes across the country with his brother and random female friend to participate in the Nintendo game tournament at Universal Studios. If it doesn't go without saying that a film more shamelessly commercialized than Mac and Me, the film is too commercialized. If a film guiltier than Mac and Me, then just watch all the commercials broadcasted during any Super Bowl and you'll be indefinitely more entertained.
"Batman Forever" and "Minority Report" are flawed but entertaining. Both movies however, were inevitable results of predecessors that made effective commercial decisions to improve the movies while the two films I speak of did far inferior jobs. "Batman Forever" is not the worst movie ever. The last time I watch it, Clinton was still in the White House and I doubt that it would really entertain me much if even at all now. But as a sequel, it epitomized corporate sellouts. With Warner Brothers trying to create a more conservative family-friendly Batman movie, they removed Tim Burton from the directing role after the goury bittersweet Batman Returns portrayal turned parents who expected different results from a movie filled with Happy Meal inspired characters. Burton however, made an excellent first Batman film. It may not hold as well the Nolan one will 20 years from now, but it's still a very good movie. The two commercially driven decisions I wish to point to pertaining to this movie however include casting Jack Nicholson as the Joker and hiring Prince to write the songs to the movie. Yes, Nicholson absolutely was meant to sell tickets to the audience that was not necessarily into Batman. And yes, Prince was absolutely a marketable artist to sell the Batman soundtrack. But both those decisions improved the movie. Nicholson's dark yet charmingly maniacal presence gave an innovative portrayal to this classic comic villain and his performance still holds up as do all his performances. Many other casting decisions such as Michael Keaton as the caped crusader, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito just worked out like a director's vision should. As for Prince's songs, "Party Man" while a good song anyway, really makes the Gotham Art museum scene a highlight scene in Batman. Similar decisions in Batman Forever didn't work so well. Casting Jim Carrey as the Riddler was not a dreadful decision, but it was by no means a wise one either. Joel Schumacher merely picked a popular comedic actor on a hot streak whose presence currently guaranteed a generous profit at that time. Carrey's portrayal as the Riddler like and Jim Carrey essentially was another opportunity for a director to go sleep with the camera rolling so Jim could do the rest. He was wild and over-the-top in every people expected; no more-no less. It was fine, but nothing new for Jim or the Riddler. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face was merely annoying and as lazily contrived as any villain performance cinema has ever conceived. The soundtrack however, was even more commercially lazy. U2 and Seal both whom wrote songs entirely associated with this movie, even though their songs had nothing to do with the movie and were not even play until the credits wrote the songs to contribute to the movie in one way; SELL SOUNDTRACKS.
Last on the list is not easy to jump on, but I have to for honesty's sake. That is of course, "Minority Report". Now I love this movie. It's cheesy throughout, but the visuals and action are great and I'm engaged for all two hours it transpires. There is enough effort in this movie, that you can tell that entertaining audiences is it goal. But the product placements are just annoying. The Pontiac scene is fine because it's Tom Cruise escaping in a car factory and the action scene works, so that's forgiveble. The Gap scene is cheesy but entertaining. But do I really need to a Dasani billboard during a chase scene? A Guinness ad while John Anderton is walking through the city? It goes way too far! That said however, this film was the inevitable product placement overdose for Steven Spielberg. Dating back to Close Encounters of the Third King, Spielberg has been no stranger to product placements. Whether he's selling Pepsi or Reese's by feeding them to ET, or he's got dinosaurs chasing Dr. Grant and the kids in a Jeep, Spielberg will collaborate with corporate America to advertise during his movies. Nonetheless, Minority Report throws commercials at you with no evident necessity. It does feel forced and audiences have to merely endure that to still enjoy the movie.
I understand that product revenue and merchandising sales have long since become vital to the moviemaking process. The single studio epic motion picture making MGM flourished in from the Golden Age 1930's until the end of the 1950's will not return any time soon, but that does not excuse filmmakers from selling at a movie's expense. There are enough quality movies capable of implementing this resource into the films' quality that this method should be more utilized.
20th August 2014
A duo worth mentioning
Okay, so this poem could really use some work, so some input would be amazing. I really want to put this subject to poetry and last night really inspired me to finish at least the first draft. :
There is a particular social duo I must confess I hold a special place in my heart pitying. For lack of a better name, let us call them Tweedle Dum and Tweddle Dummer. No relation to any characters played by Jim Carrey or Jeff Daniels, just your every day pair of narcissistic posers. You know the type; one kid has....some charisma, but s/he is nowhere near as cool beloved a s/he thinks, but still has some social power. Twee Dum is the leader of the two. The gender can be either male of female, but both pairs in the duo are the same gender. Tweedle Dum has a fair share of posers who try to act him or her. The pathetic, bratty poser has a fair share of enemies he or she does not necessarily realize, but certainly doesn't care. Through Tweedle Dum's inevitable insecurity, s/he has the pathetic partner, we shall call Tweedle Dummer. Tweedle Dummer
Tweedle Dee has her friends or she doth so believes
They be peers whose roles serve for her fears to relieve
Her naricisstic goals
Filling her ego whole
Satisfy to ends of her goals to conceive
Tweedle Dummer is not as wise as Tweedle Dee
But she can compromise in her grand goal to be
Honored as Tweedle Dee
All are to realize how pathetic be she
Every day of each of week Tweedle Dee takes her shot
At any chance to speak when the rest beg her not
Detention! No regrets
When attention she gets
Reactions; what she seeks all goals met when they're got
Tweedle Dummer follows with similar remarks
Though each peer of her's knows how her repetetive barks
Yet Tweedle-Dummer's will
Shall supersede her still
Down poser "lane" she goes to club "lame" where she parks
Be it music or clothes or what new trends arise
Tweedle-Dum always knows how to catch public's eyes
Though perhaps she just might
One day learn she's not right
Perhaps then, she'll propose her "self" to compromise
But Tweedle-Dummer's fate, what will become of her?
Will it happen too late that she learns differ
Herself from Tweedle Dum
And that grand day to come
When they find thoughts as great as themselves to offer
10th August 2014
Not the solution, but worth addressing
This won't solve it all :
But it's still worth mentioning
So consider this
RANDOM TANGENT ABOUT MY WEIGHT WITH OBSERVAIONS ABOUT WESTERN EATING( Read more...Collapse )
Now that I've gotten my latest weight loss venting out of the way, let me continue with the entry.
Instead of the obvious concerns of obesity, I would like to start talking about anorexia. Now don't get me wrong; anorexia is a terrible problem in our society, but it will never touch on the epidemic obesity has been ever since the tobacco industry got canned at the end of the 1950's. Bulimia and anorexia are commonly a physical issue people develop, but who is kidding who? The bulk of it is people so obsessed with not being fat, that they think a calorie is poison. We all know these people. We've all met those who fixate on weight loss so much no matter how non-existent their body fat is, that you range between freaking about your own weight or just gawking at how dangerously ridiculous they are. And I hate to admit it, but I think we can all agree that it's far more an epidemic for women than men. Leave it to men to take anabolic HGH, consume 6,000 calories a day for protein, and burst out those abs at the gym in attempt to look like Hercules. Both genders are products of culture.
The greatest cure to obesity society can do is promote healthier lifestyles for the appropriate reasons. Ultimately, the vast majority of people who are listed as obese can address their problems with fr far greater efforts than they put forth. Yes, we can blame the abundance of fast food restaurants, high glucose and fructose-based products, and the everlasting abundance of processed junk-food that satisfies none of our health needs. There is no shame in condemning industries such as tv, film, and games (among others) the extraneously sedentary lifestyles these industries have preyed on. But at the end of the day, we have the choice. I love burgers, ice cream, and pizza as much as anyone. I do not have a model diet by any measures, but I know when to stop. When I weigh myself and don’t like what I see, my following meal will show. I generally avoid fast food with the exception of Subway. But at Subway, I am a complete sucker for its 6 grams of fat or less sandwiches. Call me a Jarod sucker, but I lost 40 lbs. over an 18-month period in which I ate at Subway A LOT. As far as the traditional fast-food locations; McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack-in-The-Box, KFC, Taco Bell, etc., I mainly avoid those because I like higher quality restaurants when I’m with friends, out to have a good time, and willing to sacrifice health for fun. I’m not as thin as I’d like. I’m not overweight though. My BMI has been below 25 for nearly five years now. I could do more,, but I’m doing an infinitely better job than I did when I essentially neglect my weight my entire undergraduate college career. My doctor told me I finally had to lost weight, I was sick and tired of looking fat, and I finally did something about it.
The obesity epidemic will not cease until people value health for the right reasons. Looking at the abundance unhealthy corporations such as McDonald’s, Yum Foods, PepsiCo, etc; the billions and billions these corporation make annually of course run consistent with the obesity epidemic. But what weight loss companies and products? Look at the constant expansion of 24 Hour Fitness, Bally’s, and LA Fitness, Bally’s, and Curves. Walk into any of these gyms or weight loss center and jot down the endless collection of weight-loss drugs, protein shakes, and calorie-burning powders. In short, if you wish to use unhealthy food corporations that botanist wouldn’t even call food and the billion-dollar sales to these products, you will find that the amount of money going into these weight loss drugs (many of which any certified doctor would suffer an epic malpractice suit for prescribing) or gyms also make billions annually. Statistics can prove and or at least suggest a lot of conclusions, but it is hard to believe from looking at such numbers, that people really care about weight loss as a health concern so much as an appearance concern.
Such degrading expectations do a disservice to bulk of the population who know perfectly well they will never have the Barbie or Ken look Mattel evidently believes we should have. And honestly, how many people do you know who actually are that fixated on looking like fashion models? Does the majority of the public really not realize how fake those models are programed to look? The consequence too often results in parties giving and going the other way. The results has actually become the renaissance of celebrating obesity with beauty found in the larger person. Okay, so if you’re obese, then there’s more of you to love, but I’ll get far less time to love you when your stroke hits before you’re 60.
Obesity needs to be treated a concern, not a sin. The fat jokes and condescension inflicted on people who overweight may promote weight loss, but it won't promote health. It promotes insecurity on people concerned about an issue for the wrong reason.
27th June 2014
Let's make this a good summer
Alright guys. So first of all, to my readers I actually associate with in person, let's meet up soon. I wanna see you guys! I have put the pieces together to make this a potentially productive summer and so far, it's been as much. I've gotten in some writing. I've got one of my textbooks to get a head start on for the quarter. I'm working out regularly. I'm enrolled in a very impressive looking three-week course that will enhance my fundamental conducting and arranging skills. So in a nutshell, I think things are gonna be alright. I also just got my bike tune up, so I can't wait to get back to some biking again. This summer isn't gonna be profitable at all. I wish it could be more of that, but I've endured that before. I got money to work with come the fall, so I should be fine. :
Just wanted to vent my affirmations. I'll post more consistently. An entry a day? You know, just to keep my thoughts out there? Maybe.
26th June 2014
Let my poetry return
Okay, so with months behind me since my last post, it's high time to get back to lj blogging. An entire chapter of my life from my last camp job, and blogged evidence yet. Well I guess I can start off by posting my latest poem inspired from my recent camp job. So this is called Methusela. Dedicated to the oldest known living organism in the world at 5065 years old, this poem in haiku syllabic form is a commentary on the progressive world in relation to nature. I hope you enjoy. And of course, COMMENTS PLEASE: :
Way up stands the bristlecone
In Eastern Cali
Over 5,000 years grown
Upon this progressive rock
Known by you and me
As the Earth where we all talk
Of ever constant progress
For the bar that you
Define as modern success
And yet all the while alone
Through days old and new
Way up stands the bristlecone
Way up stands the bristlecone
In glorified age
Everlasting on its own
Over 3 millenia
Before the first page
Of our known common era
‘Twas neither Cesar nor Shang
No prized dynasties
When this tree was growing long
And as great empires grew
On west or east seas
Life’s cultures would progress too
As human philosophy
Developed our minds
To dictate right ways to be
The modern technology
Defined by its times
Progressed throughout history
So the human condition
Could ne’er fall behind
In its progressive mission
And yet meanwhile, on its own
Did the roots and vines
Hold up high the bristlestone
19th December 2013
THE POEM IS IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF THIS BLOG. HERE IS A COMMENTARY FIRST :
Contrary to my incredibly infrequent and rather streaky posting track record of the last couple of years, I do still love blogging and hope this trend of mine becomes a habit once again. For now, I'll just by posting my latest poem, "Movie Poem". The poem is meant to attack who I consider the two most unjustly profitable filmmakers of recent times and perhaps ever, Jason Friedberg Aaron Seltzer. For those you who do not know who they are, allow me to enlighten you as they certainly don't deserve and "positive" fame. Friedberg and Seltzer are most know for all the films in the "Scary Movie" franchise. So if you see any detestable, lazy parody to come out in the last 15 years, it is a good bet they were largely or exclusively involved in its writing. If the word "Movie" is at the end of the title, it's an essentially suicidal bet they were not involved at all. Actually, I don't think they were involved in "Not Another Teen Movie", but that's the only exception, I believe. Anyway, I have long enjoyed ripping on them to the point at which many of my friends are likely tired of hearing me complain about them, but it is fun to attack them as commentary on all sort of reprehensible issues to be taken with these two morons still getting work. I mean their films are all hated by virtually every source of reviews from professional critics to imdb and or rotten tomatoes bloggers. And yet, no matter how etrocious the reviews to Date Movie were, someone still invested in Epic Move; no matter how abominable the reviews were to that and its follow-ups such as Dance Flick, Disaster Movie, or Vampires Suck, their low-budget films continued making profits and thus the two remained employed. A couple of years ago however, their vulnerability proved to finally appear when some studios who were originally stupid to green light a 3D parody the two idiots wanted to make; but the producers evidently realized that funding a 3D film would cost more than the income of previous Friedberg/Seltzer films had indicated this one would make. The studio therefore, canned it. Friedberg and Seltzer therefore got Ketchup Films (yes, that's the studio's real name) to fund, "The Starving Games". And how did that do? Well it came out last month and it is already entirely viewable on youtube. Maybe their incompetence has finally caught up with them.
AND NOW WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, "MOVIE POEM"( Read more...Collapse )
7th November 2013
Not much of an entry, but help would be appreciatated
I'll post a more real entry soon, but here are a couple of essay questions I just finished. Amidst the series of jobs I'm applying right now, one of them is a science camp in San Bernadino. So I'd get room and board AND I wouldn't lose a fraction of salary in travel. Nice deal! I'll delve more into it later, but here two of the essay questions. Feedback would be much obliged: : ( Read more...Collapse )
Three months late (ish)
WOW! SO the post here was from last August! Uh......well I guess I should have checked my journal enough to realize that this entry never got posted, so here it is.... :
You know all those firsts
You hope to be last as well lasts as well?
Here are a couple
So in the last four weeks, I have suffered two interesting novel experiences, neither of which I can necessarily plan on never happening again, but I can sure hope never do.
MY FIRST LAWSUIT ( Read more...Collapse )
MY FIRST AMBULANCE TRIP ( Read more...Collapse )
THE COLLAPSE or The actual ambulance part of the story( Read more...Collapse )
THANK YOU TO ALL
19th July 2013
I put lots of time into this poem so please read!
Who The Fuck Stole Culture :
‘Tis the standard belief to the progressive mind
That no generation should ever fall behind
Thus as mankind evolves from a past generation
The next era should feature its own innovations
But unfortunately, to my greatest dismay
There are periods for which I dare not to say
Were particularly if at all for mankind
Necessary in reflecting those days behind
In the not so forgotten of ages to pass
There did live a great lineage of fads doomed to last
Such a chapter in the late twentieth century
One that could have been so revolutionary
But instead it was a time in which agencies
Felt that time had come to preach complacency
In an era so meager of its innovations
That the decade I speak of defined a “creation”
As something fabricated from recycled thoughts
Made basically the same as long as they had got
Something generated from electronic toys
With computers graphics or some synthesized noise
And while these gadgets nurtured our ears and our eyes
The toys and fashions never failed to surprise
And as Reaganomics for eight years reigned supreme
This now nostalgic generation it would seem
To have dwindled through ages and to some passed days
A splendor to some while to others’ dismays
In the musical realm of this nostalgic age
A dancer to synhthpop could be called a sage
He could be a pervert with artificial skin
But each move and each sound allowed himself to win
Evidently bottomless residual wages
And immortal status in pop-culture’s pages
And meanwhile in this same period came to be
A famed “Artist” whose name suggested royalty
Whose Oscar, golden globe, and seven Grammy’s were
Earned from 9 albums this age and his 7 tours
Then a dancer from Bay City, Michigan came
Whose sex-life we knew more of than her own last name
And though we know she’d not been “touched for the first time”
To number 1 in charts would her many hits climb
From New Jersey, a great gospel talent emerged
For when she sang of all her “love for you” she surged
To the scene as an all-time cherished voice unfurled
For audiences to love in all of the world
Now I know what you’re thinking for at least you must
Wonder at this point why I call this time a bust
Well you see, just because some components were fine,
That does not mean that it was a time to define
Consider “Escape Club” to see what I mean
Whose two motives combined to make up one theme
That dominated throughout all of their songs
‘Cause their lyrics sure couldn’t for three minutes long
Excessive patriotism didn’t come tough
For Bruce Springsteen to think that ONE theme was enough
As long as its volume was excessive in size
And its synthesized sounds bytes worked to compromise
Or when Survivor satisfied Rocky fans’ senses
With one note in the bass line and but two cadences
In the realm of this era’s music beyond pop
I dare not to declare this decade was to stop
All decency and reason to musical art
Rather tear each hot genre steadily apart
Like Metallica bringing the decade a new
With head banging drug culture teens could relate to
Although they relied on influences brought in
By other crucial figures like Iron Maiden
With boundaries crossed past the many conventions
From the long-since traditional 4/4 inventions
And though 4/4 remained the beat regularly
The patterns could alternate rather frequently
Thus the apparent chaos much felt metal was
Gained a wide range of audience’s perhaps ‘cause
The apparent chaos these musicians displayed
Served to illustrate the messages these song said
Which was to these songs’ benefits generally
‘Cause lyrics sure seemed worthless to those like Ozzy
Then the word “underground” always could justify
Lazy heavy metal for consumers to buy
Claiming they were lost souls so devout to their art
That they had to sell out so they could be a part
Of the “rebel” tradition of grunting and curses
To clean out their consumers’ wallets and their purses
Thus the groups didn’t care how much bad or much good
Did society gain when the “Business is good”
Referred to “Killing” as their business of choice
When Combat Records spent 8 grand to hear this noise
Then hedons such as Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee
Knew that breaking the law was bound to guarantee
Recurring residuals from the teen hypocrites
So record companies could prey on this bullshit
In the film industry of these peculiar days
Funds went to the nirvana of lazy screenplays
Brought from checks signed by conservative producers
Fed up with innovative financial losers
Thus explosions and sequels were where money went
And on moderate gambles the rest would be spent
But if ever a novel idea did come
The industries jumped out to reap every sum
With more sequels or rip-offs everyone could tell
And when nothing else worked, films knew bare tits would sell
Take such a novel conflict as teenage frustration
A screenplay idea studios did not ration
What with all the innovations in “Ridgemont High”
‘Twas inevitable pop-culture milk it dry
Like the fallback conservative lowest of lows
Turn this coming-of-age gem into a TV show
And before the teenagers were too old to use
There were bottomless screenplays to throw at John Hughes
Whose mild comedic yet dramatic zeal
Worked to give this genre quite standard appeal
And this evolved to get rather complicated
In the best of ways when there came “Karate Kid”
This wonderful look at the 7-year strife
To so agonize through a teenager’s life
But what goes up must come down though all execs cringe
Thus before such times came, industries had to binge
On relentless merchandise to throw until you
Bought your ticket and cursed at “Karate Kid 2”
And naïve fans who thought one sequel was enough
Supported its cartoon show, comic books, and stuff
In fact they were even dumb enough to go see
The abominable “Karate Kid 3”
Now the technical realm of the film industry
Wasn’t bad! In fact it was quite good actually
With computers just starting to take the big screen
Rather novel visuals could illustrate scenes
With puppeteers and hand made designers on call
‘Twas not ‘til the next decade computers ruled all
Like the Lucas or Henson- inspired designs
In the earlier films that were all intertwined
With well-written stories that needed not rely
But instead they were merely complemented by
These creative designs and well-thought out efforts
For a wonderful blend of great quality works
But each “Star Wars”, “Indiana Jones”, or “E.T”
Allowed “Labyrinth” or “Dark Crystal” to come to be
Or hilariously bad Schwarzenegger flicks
Like “Conan” or “Command0” to throw in the mix
Thus the action genre reached a dominant high
When bad-ass one-liners and sick deaths reached the sky
For the limit of how violent one could be
To still remain shocking for viewers to see
Like when audiences would find it rather tough
To top “Alien” grossness way far from enough
The genre first started to look sick in “First Blood”
Though Stallone kept his shirt off to “pose” as a stud
And though “Predator” may have been worse than “Freddy”
Producers kept making flicks more and more bloody
But rated-R shock value did not just need gore
For defining this era needed a bit more
As studios said, “ ‘Animal House’, thank you so
For sharing your wisdom for us all to know
That cinema doesn’t need well-written scripts
But junk-induced actors and SHIT LOADS OF TITS”
“Revenge of the Nerds” bring this film to the screen
Show those tits and pussies teenage boys haven’t seen
‘Police Academy’ wasn’t funny; no care
It still featured women who were totally bare
Let this tradition stay for a new generation
So new fans can pay up from every nation
If any omen could come for hearts to contend
‘Twas the promise of this decade one day to end
For the future prospects of life always leave fear
To who dread life whenever it can look too unclear
And for those who dreaded the time of which I speak
Their greatest Christmas gift was knowing one more week
Did remain in this era some dare not bring back
But hope the new days re-grow society's slack
15th June 2013
I'm rusty so please forgive me
Alright so I haven't posted a real poem in a LONG time. I just wanna really get some work in this summer on this art form that I really lost some of my touch in. CRITIQUES PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and I really gotta think of a good now for this piece :
The dice of life how many times
We roll each sacred day
For head or tails on any dime
We toss to find the way
To wait and see
What comes to be
Never to know
What could be so
Nor ever free
From that which we
Now live as though
To forward go
For ev’ry gift ‘cause I said, “yes”
I’ve cherished in my heart
That one word as well, I must attest
Has greatly torn apart
That weren’t to be
To much of those
For gifts to be
Or woes to see
Now saying, “No” as time goes by
Can be an omen too
For many times have come when I
Did not know what to do
What times do we
Know what to say
On any day
Short of time’s test,
Which word was best
Every choice, be it seem less or not
Every reason we’ve possibly thought
Logic or illogic who was to know
Genius or foolish in hindsight it shows
Make a choice once before you’re a hero
Make it again and a fool’s path you go
One struck of good luck is one moment’s bliss
One struck of bad luck is a lifetime missed
Comes day’s end when I can decide
What should or not have been
For but my own thoughts deep inside
None other’s thoughts to mean
Be nice it could
Knowing what would
Though sad a lot
To know what’s not
What could be so
We’ll never know
16th September 2012
My four year life
Life has its many cycles :
For better or worse
I must grow from all of it
I have an important discovery I need to finally word out. I don't have time to write the whole part today, but here's what I do have time to write:
EVERY FOUR YEARS<lj-cut>
There is an interesting observation about my life I have been quite fascinated in for some time; the four year cycle it commmonly seems divided into. Ever since 5th grade, I have noticed this tendency of mine to partake in four year of alternating fortunes. I used to think of it to be as simple a stressful year followed a wonderful followed by another stressful, an other wonderful year, etc.; but I've realized it's something more. The first year introduces a series of new challenges I am currently utterly clueless to, I suffer through those challenges, build on the lessons I learn from them, and apply those lessons to my life in the next year. The next year, I am generally at utter bliss. The repercussions of the previous year will be my main source of anger, but those will then also make the current year feel all the better. All in all, it will be a year in which I will think i have entirely grown from the struggles of the previous year and get a bit to high and mighty for my own good. The third year in the cycle will serve to bring me back to Earth and remind me that many of the qualities surrounding me and in me to trigger that painful first are still in me and I need to accept that in certain ways I'll always possess those challenges and will need to work around them. The third however, will prove to have a wonderfully triumohant outcome in which I will genuinely find myself and learn to channel all the issues that were my undoing which this four year-cycle has required me to learn. Then finally, the fourth will come and I will essentially get it right. I mean I won't be perfect, but I will implement all the lessons I have learned over the previous three years and leave behind a truly special year in my life. The cycle will end and will be followed by a new year of strennous challenges and the four-year cycle will begin again.
</lj-cut>5TH GRADE TO 8TH <lj-cut>
5th grade started this trend in a year I loathed quite a bit. I do not know if I've mentioned it on my posts or not (although most if not all my readers likely know this anyway), but I repeated kindergarten. My elementary school was small enough that they combined 5th and 6th grade togetherl therefore, the original kindergarten class I was content not associating with was back to share a class with me and I was not too pleased. The taunted me plenty and that attitude rubbed on my fellow 5th graders, but that was far from the only issue. I had a huge array of social and academic problems far worse than I had realized until 5th grade hit me. 5th grade was the first year to punch me in face and tell me that I had a lot of growing up to do. Signs had pointed to that for me before, but I had been young enough to repress those signs until I could not hide from it anymore. So figuring how to efficiently succeed academically, figuring out WHY to efficiently succeed academically, and learning to fit in sociall were three major challenges I suffered that year. My parents consulted a special education tutor who set a collection organized methods by which my teachers, my parents, and I would all monitor concise roles to promote my academic growth. I did not start with this until later into the year though, so my grades at the end of the end of the year rather inferior to that of what they could have been. At the end of 5th grade, I began my first Bar-Mitzvah training, but my parents aburplty ended it and announced that I would not have a Bar-Mitzvah at all unless my grades improved. Well that and the alternate method to keeping my focused which my tutor instructed worked in tandem for what was actually a really good year academically in 6th grade. The more comfortable I became academicallly, the more comfortable I also became socially. I remained a little quirky and actually one of the hardest lessons I took with me at the end of 6th grade was realizing what a better social experience I could have had at Weizmann. I mean I developed many social skills in 5th grade which I implemented generally succssfully in 6th grade, but I could have been so much more socially connected to my classmates of 7 years had I have just paid more attention at least one year earlier than I finally did. Third year in the cycle came I began middle at Southwestern. 7th grade a trul transitional year, but it proved to be for the best. It was an unever year academically and better socially than I used to admit, but definitely a year that taught me to improve myself. Academically, I was fine the first semester. The second semester was another story I will get to in a moment. Socially however, I was far better off in hindsight than I realized for a number of years. I had friends. That was not it. Rather, my friends were all male. And when you are a perverse 13 year-old boy in the earlier stages of puberty and really do not how to handle your hormones yet at all, your ego has you believe that one female friend is as meaningful as least 30 males friends. The act of being in a relationship no matter how trivial and lame a middle-school relationship may be is the greatest statuts sign you and your peers can socially achieve. So I was initially frustrasted because very of my friends were female. The only female friend of mine was a high school junior while girls within my own class couldn't stand me. Academically, I kept my grades up while my parents Bar-mitzvah was still in effect. The next semester however, when final stages of Bar-mitzvah training entered the equation, my parents gave me permission to let my grades in my mother's words, "Go to hell". The second semester began a month before the bar-mitzvah, I was socially freaking out which was impacting my behavior, and the time dedication at cunch time sizeable ate into my academic work. With the bar-mitzvah done and the time to get back to work had come; I was academically out-of shape and once again at a loss for motivation. Also, my behavior had gotten rather bad because I was certainly part of a class of several iritating class clowns who got rather positive attention from peers and plenty of detentions from teachers. So my behavior was not so hot either, but I got my grades picking up. By the end of the semester, my report card grades were not very good, but all grades had improved since the first progress report. I just got going too late. I spent the summer hearing about from my parents and knew that the only was to get them off my back was to get my act together 8th year. And that is just what I did. 8th grade year, I succeded a bit if not a lot in everything. I had a variety of friends of both genders and of all ages at the school, I was a star in choir that year, I had the rare privilege of being a choir star and contributor to athletics by also helping the junior boys volleyball team win league championship, and I had a 3.6 GPA. So everyhing really came together nicely finally. I learned to associate with people, I developed how to diligently apply myself to a goal and succeed. All in all, it was a wonderful year I will forever cherish. I was sad to leave Southwestern to start over at a new school when I had finally come into my own at this school, but life had a new set of challenges for me to learn from.