Thursday, November 26, 2009

Post 34: Thanksgiving in another Country?

Today was a very nice day of family, friends, and my loved one with us. My family Thanksgivings are typically loaded with insurmountable amounts of food (all prepared by my dad who happens to be the best chef I have every experienced thus far), lots of beer or wine, and a loud excitable family who seems to get all the louder as we retell stories for the millionth time that never seem to grow old. It’s a great time, and it has been even better since my girlfriend has joined in the festivities. Along with my girlfriend comes a very nice, refreshing, and interesting outlook on her culture and traditions since she is from the Czech Republic. One of the topics of conversation turned to her, her country, and if she had anything similar to Thanksgiving there. While there wasn’t anything precisely like our country’s Thanksgiving (given its extremely unique history), her own history was interesting to listen to. These were traditions and holidays I had heard before from her but I love to watch her talk about her country and the way things are there. One such holiday they celebrate is the freedom her country won from Communism exactly 20 years ago this November. They also celebrate famous people from their history that had become martyrs which is always interesting to hear about (in my opinion). So on this Thanksgiving I would like to give a special “thank you” to my girlfriend Katerina for providing my family with not only your wonderful company, but the experiences and stories of your country bringing your culture to my home! I look forward to many more culturally diverse injections into my family as time goes on!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Post 33: Confidence and Focus

Something interesting happened to me today that I didn’t expect. I was chatting up with a friend of mine who also happens to be an author (who just released her first book “Pieces”, her name is Julia Dudek, and it is really good!) I was explaining to her what the final paper for this class was all about and the analysis I had gathered. We suddenly launched ourselves into a conversation about the show LOST and how she never thought of how stereotypes were used in that show before! It kind of gave me a burst of energy and confidence in my topic since I have not found any other articles directly involving what I am writing about. Its not every day you get a compliment from an author which made me feel good. So I feel I am on the right track (at least according to someone other than myself) on my paper topic. Now if only I can squeeze out a rough draft by the end of the week like my professor wants. Errrrrm… I am not so sure haha.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Post 32: Giving Thanks as best as I can

This is just a small post to wish everyone who might care or not even know abut this post a very Happy Thanksgiving.

I know that not all cultures or families have ties to this holiday. Many families are broken or close. Many cultures do not recognize this holiday since it is an American one. But I would like to think that this is a day where we as human beings can at least try to see passed the differences and understand one universal truth: we have each other and in the end we all come from the same beginnings no matter what your belief of that beginning is. So to each of my fellow man I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for their kindness, resolve to right the wrongs of our differences, and to sincerely wish thanks upon all whom would receive it with open arms and ears.

2009 has been an interesting ride and the set for 2010 is almost in its final stages. Let’s face it TOGETHER and not apart.

Now go eat something will ya? It’s custom to eat, drink and be merry!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Post 31: Christmas before Halloween

Tis the season!

For consumerism that is. This is just a small rant I have had since I noticed the first of the Walmart pre-order commercials I have been seeing on television the past month. It’s amazing to me how quickly things are going downhill in terms of less emotional ties with the holidays and more materialistic greed replacing them. I know I sound old when I say this but it’s so true… but when I was younger I remember even the commercials (despite being consumerist in nature) had a feeling of warmth and family togetherness that the commercials these days don’t have. And its hard to argue that we are drastically shifting into a consumerist society when we start seeing Christmas shopping commercials on television before Halloween even takes place (thank you Walmart for showing NOW shame in your advertising!!!). I am just sick of the lack of emotion, the encouragement to not spend time with family and friends, and putting meaning behind how much dollars you spend rather than the quality of the gift being presented.

Anyways this is just a small rant that has been festering in me for a while and just had to purge it from my gut before I vomited haha
Merry Frickin Christmas…

Friday, November 13, 2009

Post 30: The future of Movies... Avatar

Ladies and Gentleman… the future of movies is here. James Cameron’s Avatar is upon us.

Director James Cameron (director of Terminator 2, Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic) has finally perfected a style of movie that has been tried many times over the past decade or more. The filming of a movie that utilizes nothing but computer graphics but making you believe that it is completely real. Click this link to see the trailer and remind yourself throughout the film that every shot is 100% computer generated.

By the way this is also shot in a new 3D technology making it more realistic while wearing special glasses that claims to give you an extra depth of reality no seen in previous 3D films.

It was first tried by Sony Pictures when they created the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. It was a technological feat that had never been done before. Over time CG animation in movies has become the norm, becoming more refined, detailed, and an intricate tool to tell stories that otherwise may not have been possible.
Avatar uses a new type 3D scanning technology that allows him to capture the human body in the exact detail that is visible by the eye. The scanning technology is so detailed it is said that it can capture detail on a microscopic level. This alongside new motion capture methods and voice acting, movies may never be the same again. Who’s to say an actor cannot be scanned and stored into a database and used again? People who loved The Dark Knight are mourned by the loss of Heath Ledger. But in a time where 3D scanning is so detailed that they can keep that actor’s scan on file and input him into movies long after they have passed on or even aged to the point of unsuccessfully continuing the story, we might have been able to see The Joker return in future Batman films.

I just thought this was a very cool technological leap forward with so much potential and possibilities for enhancing our cinematic experience that I wanted to write something about it. I hope you all enjoyed the preview! Maybe I will see you in the theaters on Dec 18!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post 29: The New Moon Approaches

It is November 12’th and that means one thing for millions of people worldwide: only eight more days until the release of the Twlight Saga’s: New Moon. Being a fan of the series and the movies I am quite excited as well and yes, I have even pre-purchased tickets for myself and friends to go see it opening weekend. But there is something that is REALLY starting to bug me about this and I feel like it happened to the harry Potter books/movies. It is the fact that the media is SATURATED with characters, products, make up lines, fashions, etc directly linked to the movie. It is simply amazing to me how a fad can swiftly turn into a franchise of epic proportions. Even the author, who wrote the first book from a dream she had and wanted to flush out the details, never dreamed that it would take on the size of the monster it has become. I think in a way it’s sad that to guarantee a measure of success one has to sell their idea in mass quantities to anyone who is willing to promote it via products or services.

Oh well... in the end I only care about one thing: That Stephanie Meyer hasn’t sold herself out and tries to remain faithful to her books when making these big screen adaptations. The rest of the commercial media nonsense is easily forgotten for me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Post 28: Digital Shooting

I am going to take a minor break from regular television and movie media for a moment and comment on something that has been a spark of debate in a different area of media and entertainment that I think is worth looking at: gaming. I want to say right off the get-go that this post contains spoilers so if you intend on playing the Modern Warfare 2, DO NOT READ ON!!!!!!!!


It’s fact that gaming is number three In grossing large amounts of entertainment money which is only trumped by music and film. So that being said, games are becoming a deep part in our cultural upbringing and part of society. This is grounds for the topic I wanted to raise. I am sure most of you who follow games like I do have at least heard of the big game that has been released called Modern Warfare 2, part of the epic Call of Duty series. However there is heavy controversy about Modern Warfare 2 that has taken most people by surprise… and Activison (the publishing and producing company putting the game out) even put a warning on the screen allowing you to skip the part that is in question. Essentially it shows a very graphic presentation of a group of terrorists going into an airport and opening fire on innocent people, killing many of them, and your character that you play IS one of them. However you do realize that this character is working for the CIA or FBI (I honestly forget which organization) and is undercover. He is forced to make a choice: not go through with this and blow his cover destroying all the work he has worked for, or go through with the plot and kill innocents to keep his cover.

Needless to say this is a very touchy subject, especially with the wounds still raw from the Texas shooting situation we are all facing on a daily basis via the news. I just thought it interesting that a game, which is made clearly for entertainment purposes, is coming under such attack. I think people are starting to realize that gaming is no longer the “pong” days… but it is quite literally digital entertainment. Some would argue that the plots and stories rival that of books, television, and movies and the gaming projects are quickly becoming increasingly more expensive to make due to how much exposure they get. Just something to ponder about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post 27: Texas

I think a topic on everyone’s mind right now is the shooting that took place in Texas on the Army Base. It seems to be getting coverage on every new station, several times a day with more and new information. It obvious that this is a horrible tragedy that took place, with the loss of 13 lives and over 30 people wounded. But there is damage that goes beyond the immediate that we as Americans can see and that is the tarnishing of the Islamic culture. The shooting was of that culture and Muslim religion, and before he started shooting he shouted out to God and opened fire. This has been played over and over again and I think it isn’t hard to see what will happen because of it: fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of Muslims, fear of the Islamic nation… fear fear fear. It’s something that our country does very well to help control it without any regard to the nations, religions of people involved. I think this is one of the most damaging aspects of our news media in America: its constant reporting on the negative and portrayal of people that instills fear into the hearts of the viewers so that hate, stereotypes, and persecution come rooted within us. Granted I understand that what happened was horrible and there is no excuse for it but this constant referral to terrorism and the Muslim religion is just damaging relations between us and the Muslim world.

Everyone just go to the Good News Network at and get a dose of goodness in the world.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Post 26: Lifetime Televison

So its sad to say that I am exposed a lot to Lifetime Television Network during my working on Saturday. My co-worker watches it on a rather regular basis (ALL day!!) and I feel I have seen a lot of it enough (whether I like it or not) to make a few comments and reflections about it.

First off I would like to openly say I love women, their rights, their opinions, and their ACCURATE and fair representation just like any other occupant in this world. With that being said let the trashing of Lifetime begin...

HOW could women be proud of this network?? Its supposed to be a network dedicated to women by women to help give them a voice on television and create a niche for themselves in male-owned media conglomerates. What we are treated two are substandard acting, horrific plots, and worst of all the continued reduction of women's representation through the use of stereotypes. Granted there are strong female leads (typically just one amongst a supporting lack-luster cast) but women are consistently portrayed as emotional, erratic, not very intelligent, abused, cheaters, liars, and reliant on not their own self power but the yearning of having to have a male (or female) lover to have any kind of grounds to stand on for themselves.

My personal opinion is that Lifetime portrays women as victims more than anything. I know that they have been mistreated, silenced, and given little right in the past. But times are changing, rights are being recognized, and values are understood. In fact two months ago I saw a broadcast of news Channel 7 about how women now own more than half of the jobs in America making them the job leaders in our country! In my opinion Lifetime doesn't support women in the way that they are hoping, but rather returns back to stereotypes that their image has been built on damaging their representation even more.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Post 25: Abstract

Here is the abstract I worked on in regards to my final paper. I am not sure if this is worth studying in the eyes of other people but I think it raises interesting questions about stereotypes with an interesting way to study it through the television show LOST. Anyways here is the final draft of the abstract... too shy to post it in class discussion boards haha. Enjoy

Stereotypes: Laying Dormant Until Unleashed

Michael G. Mullen Jr. (Professor Bjorn Ingvoldstad), Department of Communications, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Are you someone who knows that stereotypes are wrong and yet see them take place within society, despite being taught that they are wrong? Are those stereotypes lying dormant until properly motivated? The sad truth and belief of this study is that stereotypes are in fact alive and festering in the hearts of individuals. The implications of such a belief is that while high ranking officials and general opinion says stereotypes have a negative influence, they still exist, and surface when motivated enough. There are many examples of this in action but I have chosen to study primarily film, more specifically television, and even more specifically the television show LOST. Within LOST is a complicated story-telling technique heavily relying on flash-backs and flash-forwards to fill in the gaps of missing information for the viewer. This is crucial to the show’s mysterious build of character development. As the shows unfold, however, certain culture’s representative characters are targeted. The information given leads the viewer to assume about the specific characters, often bringing out assumptions about that characters race, culture, religion, and political association. Since stereotypes are often created and thrive within people who have no base knowledge of the targeted individual’s culture, they are left to draw their own conclusions, often including stereotypical views when given no other information to draw better conclusions. This observational study would be done, selecting keys episodes from the first two seasons of LOST, watching them while taking detailed notes, and cross referencing forum posts on the LOST boards as well as fan sites and written articles to gather general reactions to missing informational gaps leading to stereotypical assumptions. The targeted characters of study will be Jin and Sun (Asian representatives), Sayid (Middle-Eastern representative), Michael and Rose (African representatives), and James/Sawyer (southern Caucasian representative). The significance of this project would not only bring to light that stereotypes still exist strongly in people who otherwise may not have exhibited them, but to also show how these types of damaging generalizations are used within television (for good or bad). If we gain a better understanding of the root of stereotypes, it would provide information critical in the absolute reduction and destruction of their negative influence which plagues not just our country but the world.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Post 24: Halloween

Its strange how a holiday like this can bring people together...

I read an article stating that Halloween is the second largest holiday that people spend money in aside from Christmas. Valentines Day comes in third... So I consider Halloween (although fun) another "Halmark Holiday" made for consumerism and economy. Especially for the rich cultural history that was the creation of Halloween.

Well I am not that far off from the truth (in my opinion) about Halloween being consumer-driven but I am not the only one that sees it for its other values: friends, family, fellowship, and maybe a few drinks here and there haha. This is a simple and personal reflection of my time spent in Boston with friends on Halloween night and it was such a good time. There still exists a certain magic in any given Holiday whether it be Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, etc... and even though corporations and conglomerates try to dictate how to enjoy something in todays society, the meaning is ultimately decided by the individual. Its just a nice reminder to me that no commercials can take away meaning from good friends, a wonderful girlfriend, and a setting for a great time!