Thursday, September 27, 2007

Schrutebucks, Pam-Pong and the Temp

Are you ready for the new season of The Office tonight? It's been a long time since I've been this excited that it was a Thursday. It will be interesting to see how they handle the next phase of Jim and Pam's relationship. I'm also curious to see what "the temp" will be doing to "take Dunder-Mifflin into the 21st century", now that he's been promoted. How is Kelly handling Ryan's promotion? And has Jan driven Michael crazy yet? It should be a fun season.

My favorite quote from the show - it's hard to pick just one - but for right now, I appreciate this quote from Pam:

"I don't think it would be the worst thing if they let me go,'s just...I don't think it's many girls' dream to be a receptionist."

My favorite prank Jim pulled on Dwight? That one is also hard to choose but I would say the top 3 are:
1. when Jim was sending Dwight faxes from himself from the future,
2. when Jim relocated Dwight's desk to the bathroom, or
3. when Jim convinced Dwight he had mind powers.
Oh, and a runner-up? When Jim convinced Dwight he was turning into a vampire. Classic.

Do you watch the show? If so, what's your favorite quote from the show? What's your favorite Jim/Dwight prank? Your favorite moment or favorite episode? Leave me a comment and let me know. I'll pay you one Schrutebuck or ten Stanley Nickels for every comment left! :P

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Exit Music (For A Film)

As you can see from my list on the right of this page, I've been listening to all my movie soundtracks lately. I thought it might be fun to see what soundtracks everyone else has in their music collection.

For symphonic or scored soundtracks I like composers: John Williams (of course - the themes from Star Wars, Jaws, Superman and Indiana Jones are classics), Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow), Philip Glass (The Illusionist, Dracula) and many more.

There's so many to chose from, but for soundtracks of pop/rock music compiled from various artists for a film, I love the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, The Crow and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.

Also, have you ever noticed that sometimes the soundtrack is far superior than the movie? One example would be the Underworld soundtrack (featuring David Bowie, Trust Company, A Perfect Circle). Awesome soundtrack, disappointing flick.

So what about you? Have you ever been sitting in a theater, watching a movie for the first time, noticed the soundtrack and thought to yourself, "I must go buy this soundtrack as soon as the movie is over!" (Happened to me with Sleepy Hollow, the Illusionist and the 2nd Pirates of the Caribbean movie.) What's your favorite movie soundtrack? Do you have a favorite composer? What instance do you know of where the soundtrack was better than the movie? Leave me a comment and let me know.

By the way, for those of you who assumed from the title of this post that it was going to be about Radiohead...sorry. To get your Radiohead fix, I invite you to go here and listen to the song "Exit Music (For A Film)". The song was on the Romeo + Juliet (1996) soundtrack and was the only good thing about that film (it played over the end credits). In fact, the song captures the emotion of the whole Romeo and Juliet story in a pretty powerful way. I'm mezmorized every time I hear the song. What's interesting is that the user who made this video for YouTube used footage from the famous 1968 version of Romeo & Juliet. They must have not liked Baz Luhrman's movie either.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

Avast, maties! Be you aware that Wednesday, September 19th is talk like a pirate day? 'Tis a holiday thought up by two scurvy dogs, Cap’n Slappy 'n Ol’ Chumbucket.

If ye be a sea-fearin' landlover, then I might be suggestin' you read this here tome. It has e'ry blastin' thing ye needs must know to lay tongue liker authentic pirate, by the devil's twisted tail. It has a noble place on me bookshelf. (Yeah, I own it. I'm a language-nerd. I'll admit it.) Ye may plunk down 5 gold doubloons at the mighty Amazon to acquire it!

Fer today, I be "Black Charity Flint," the bonniest lass ever to sail the seven seas. Find yer true pirate name, by taking this here quiz. Here's what the bloody thing said about me...

"Black Charity Flint
Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!"

Yo ho, yo ho - a pirate's life for me!

Post Script - If any of ye scalawags dare to challenge me to a game of Dread Pirate - just say the word. I'll blast you to Davy Jones' locker!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Art is Dangerous?

I've contemplated for a while now as to whether or not I was going to write on this subject. My purpose for this blog has always been to connect with people who had similar interests (i.e. the Arts) and chat about those things and inspire each other. I never wanted this to be a personal soapbox where I would lecture or go off spouting my opinion about politics or current events or whatever. However, I really feel like I need to get this off my chest. Ahem...(dusts off soapbox and steps up onto it).

Recently, an eighth-grade boy was suspended from school for five days (later reduced to three days) for sketching a picture of a gun. You can read the news story here. Not many details were provided, in order to properly judge this situation but,
it was said the drawing did not depict blood, injuries, bullets or any human targets. They said it was just a drawing that resembled a gun. The boy said it was actually an imaginary laser gun. The school will not release the picture to the boy's family or the public so we can't see it and judge for ourselves. (Which, in my humble opinion, is suspect. What is there to hide?) According to the student, he had finished his classwork early and was doodling on the back of his worksheet. When the teacher asked for the work to be turned in, she discovered the doodle, and the boy was suspended under the school's "no tolerance" gun/violence policy.

Now, I'm not naive. I recognize that we live in the age of Columbine and Virginia Tech. I understand that school administrators need to be vigilant. But where is the common sense and rational thought in the handling of this incident? Five-days suspension? For a drawing? That seems a bit extreme. Was the drawing accompanied with a threat? Did he say, "My dad has one of these at home and I'm going to bring it to school?" I think there is a big difference between a doodle done on the margin or backside of a paper to pass the time, than a note deliberately being handed to a teacher or student with a threat directed at them. What was the intent behind it? Did the student have prior incidents of violence or trouble-making? Did they talk to the boy and ask him what his intent was behind the drawing? Did they explain to him how drawings like that could be misunderstood, in this current school climate of super-sensitivity to these issues?

Some of the online blog and message board responses to this incident have been quite humorous. Here are a few of the comments that made me laugh, but also made a good point in showing the ridiculousness of the matter:

“The question is, was the drawing of the 'gun' loaded?”

"Guns don't kill people, pictures of guns do!"

"If he drew two cars crashing, should his license be suspended until he's 18? "

My brother drew pictures of guns and planes dropping bombs and army tanks when he was a kid, that didn't mean he wanted to blow up the school or hijack a tank. It didn't mean he was violent either.

I've created some...shall we call it "interesting" in my time, especially in high school. I'm sure in this day and age I would have been sent to the principal's office or the school psychiatrist based on those images. At the time, art was my only outlet for expressing the emotions that I couldn't express verbally. Things like the frustration over my inability to get along with my mother, as well as many of those other teenage traumas we all go through, unrequited crushes and the like, were expressed in my art through ugly monsters with swords through their chests, a wild girl smashing broken and bleeding hearts, weird graveyards and other oddities. It didn't mean I was violent or satanic. It just meant I was like any other melodramatic teenager, trying to make sense of my world.

When someone looks at a painting, they bring their own experience, views and personal tastes to the viewing of that piece. Sure, the artist has a message they are probably trying to convey and the visual media is a relatively universal language. However, to assume you know exactly what the artist meant, and then to further assume the artist's potential for future actions based on that one work...I don't know. That just seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Whether you're talking about a piece of fine art or a school boy's doodle.

Here's what it all comes down to. Is a picture just a picture? Or can art really be dangerous? More specifically, can you predict a person's future actions by observing their art? (Can you say, Pre-Crime boys and girls?) What do you think?

P.S. Stephen King wrote an interesting article on this same subject (connecting violent art to violent acts) after the Virginia Tech shootings. You can read the article, called "Predicting Violence" here.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

When Stardust Gets In Your Eye

Once upon a time, I went to see a magical movie called "Stardust", based on a book by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. I love, love, LOVE this movie and just had to write a quick post to recommend it to all my Faithful Readers. What a beautiful fairy tale full of fun and adventure! It has a fallen star, magic spells, sky pirates who capture lightening, conniving princes, evil vain witches, a unicorn, a common but courageous peasant boy, a captured princess, True Love, sword fights, humor and romance. It is a perfect fairy tale. My heart was singing as we left the theater - and then went outside to discover it was raining! (Those of you who know me, understand how happy that made me.) It was a perfect, magical evening.