What is a country that I have heard of…

For this assignment, creep on a movie scene, I originally thought it would be a good idea to put myself in a horror movie, maybe even cover myself in blood or something. Although this was admittedly easier, it is, to me, somewhat more entertaining. After I decided against a horror film, I thought a Tarantino movie would be a good idea. I was going to make myself into the cop in the trunk in Reservoir Dogs, but none of the images contain both the characters and the officer. So, I went with this iconic image instead. Imagine, if you will, that Samuel L. Jackson just came along with a gun and an armed compatriot and started eating your Big Kahuna burger. I tried for a look of apprehension in the photo, which I had to take specifically for this image because of the angle, but I think the angle obscures the wonderful face acting that I had done.

Process wise, it was all rather simple. I found the image, took note of the angle of the character in the picture, and had someone snap a photo from the appropriate angle. I added the scared look for a nice touch. There was one take of the photo where I looked more scared, but the angle was bad so I discarded it. It was harder to recreate that look than I imagined. After that, I added the face image to gimp, added a transparent background, cropped it around my face and saved it as a layer. Then, I added the face layer to the scene image, resized it, flattened it, and voila!
I am entertained enough with the results that I think I will make this my facebook profile pic for a while…


Plot twist.. or flip.

For the assignments, I like to just click the random button and see what comes up until something sticks out. For this one, monologue of a household tool, I read the normal assignment, had a thought that relates to my life, and decided to use the assignment to reflect that thought, however mundane it may be. I was writing about an everyday object, after all. The interesting part of the story, to me, is that is gives me a new way to look at and outwardly express that simple idea. What might be a complaint or gripe because an opportunity for unique story telling.  So, without further ado..

Lost in Space: A Cramped Unfamiliar One

This is not my home. I don’t even know how I ended up here. All the other contraptions here are keeping to themselves, but I am sure they are giving my dirty looks. It doesn’t matter anyway, not one cares what they think. They could never do what I do, rescuing objects from the fire and such. That one is pointy and small, I don’t know what anyone would want with that… and that one looks the same but much larger; I think it might be dangerous. I smell something going on out there, I suspect they will come after me very shortly… but how will they ever know where to look? Last time I took a shower, those small creatures brought me here; that seems like days ago now.
I really just want to be home, and to be quite honest about it, I am scared. I think I smelled the burning smell yesterday, but no one came. What if they found someone else to do my job? It isn’t like there is unemployment for things like me…. I will just end up stuck here forever… or worse. If they really did meet someone else, I might end up going with all those boxes, and paper, and old food, to whatever hell it is they run off to on Tuesdays and Fridays.
And now I smell the smell again… What is that sound, though. I don’t want anyone reading this to get too excited, but it sounds frantic. I hear banging, shuffling, movement, and that burning smell is intensifying. It smells like buttermilk and flour, with a hint of maple off somewhere in the distance; no way they can solve this one without me. I know they are coming, I just hope they make it in time. Being lost in the darkness most of your life is bad enough, but being lost in this foreign darkness is so much worse.
It is all happening so fast now, the noise got so much closer. There was some discussion between the big one and the little ones, it sounded frustrated. Now I smell a new smell, like a fruity sort of lotion one might use on their hands… Finally! I know it is ok now, I can feel the sliding and rolling underneath me, and the space is illuminated. I just need all these other guys to move so that she will see me. It is times like this when I despise being so flat, but how could I do my job if I wasn’t? Time to wrap this up for now though, it is only a matter of time before I am removed from here, off to work. I will need a shower when I am done again, but hopefully I find my way back home after the shower this time.

Not too cold to whistle…

So, when I came across the can’t get it out of my head assignment,  I instantly knew what song I would choose. It has literally been stuck in my head for weeks, and last night I actually sat around wondering why it has been there so long. I like to remix it with baby applicable lyrics (I am not very good at it) and sing it to my daughter. This was much easier because all I needed was the tune. My next step in life is to figure out how to record myself whistling without hearing my breath and such…


Anyhow, I don’t know because I am not quite in my youth, and I listen to music that is older than me, but I think the song is highly recognizable even if I had butchered the whistling, and not to brag, but I didn’t. Anyway, I hope that for anyone that listens and recognizes the song, they get it stuck in their head as well so that I am not the only one. For anyone that can’t figure it out and is really curious, the answer is here.

Westerns: Don’t Carve that Tombstone Yet

The western genre, perhaps, is the narrative representation of the frontier mentality that has been a mainstay of American ideology for the last two centuries. It displays rugged individuality, bravado, masculinity, and personal and moral triumph over all that the cruel and wicked world has to offer that Americans have loved. Not to age myself, but one of my earliest film memories as a child was watching The Lonesome Dove miniseries with my grandfather. I’ve also read a dozen or more Louise L’Amour novels, although I am more fond of his non-western works.

Along with the diversification of American popular culture, the Western may seem to be on the way out, or so some journalists believe. While it may be in a state of decline, there is still quite a bit that the Western Genre has to offer American audiences.  The rehash of The Lone Ranger might be a better indication of a decline in Johnny Depp’s career than that of the entire genre. As Michael Agresta noted, Django Unchained and True Grit demonstrated the stamina of the genre in 2013 when he wrote his article. More recently, the Hateful Eight and Diablo haven’t met much critical or box office success, despite the former being a rather entertaining movie in my opinion, but The Revenant has demonstrated though both the box office and Oscar nominations there there are still more fish in the Western Movie barrel. But it takes more than a familiar name (here’s looking at you Scott Eastwood) to attract broad audiences. The days when any film maker could churn out another western and expect moderate success have long since vanished, as they will with all constantly rehashed film ideas (bye Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, and watch out Marvel), but some ingenuity, a compelling storyline, and a smattering of notable actors, there is still hope for Western films.

Week One: Baby Steps..

The first week of the course, because of my apprehension after a precursory glance at the course work, was a bit intimidating. After getting started though, I realized that it was all relatively simple, for now, and maybe even somewhat exciting. I always hate writing about myself so writing my intro was, as expected, a bit awkward; I took it in a different direction though, so it was not the experience I expected.
The western theme invoked a bit of a negative reaction at first until I read about the genre and wrote my reflection about it. After some thought, I realized that westerns had actually been a big part of my film experiences, and even my reading experiences, and that it might be fun to participate in that tradition.
I think the moral of the week then has been to avoid what I have been told is “contempt prior to investigation” and give things a chance. Nothing about the experience of the first week was bad at all, but I allowed my first, very limited, impression to shape my actions, and now here I am writing this reflection post at the last minute. I think the thing that I need to take away from the first week most of all, then, and I have always had this issue with online course work, is not to put it off. This is particularly true for this course. The last thing I would want is to be in a rush and barely finish an assignment that I found exciting simply because I put it off until the last minute.