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Blessed is the Man

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I made this in IB art.  This is probably my favorite one, and is definitely the one I’m happiest with the results of.  This is a mixed media ikon of St. Joseph and the Baby Jesus.  It’s done in monochrome, and was loosely inspired by both folk art  (obviously) and the artwork of William Blake (not so obviously).  The background is a collage of homes, furniture, and other things related to wood working, because Joseph was a carpenter.  These images were modge-podged onto a 12×18 inch piece of yellow sign board.  I painted it in layers, which is technically how you’re supposed to do things, but I didn’t know that when I first started.  I’m very proud of how the lily came out- I spent a good 3 days (approximetely 4.5 hours) getting it just right.  It has many different shades of yellow-white, and it was a good piece on its own.  I wish that  Joseph and Jesus had come out looking more realistic, but I’m satisfied with how they look.

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April 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm

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Review of “The Return of the Great Depression”

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I recently bought a book with my Christmas money- “The Return of the Great Depression” by my favorite commentator Vox Day.  It is the literary form of the above music video (which is brilliant, by the way.) It explains in laymans terms many economic concepts and how they relate to both our present economic condition, and things that happened in the past. The book starts with a reflection of the circumstances surrounding Japan’s 1980s boom and subsequent bust, both from the perspective of someone living in the country at the time, and as an economist looking back at it retrospectivly. It goes on to explain the terms and some of the history behind the major schools of economic thinking today, and what predictions and actions they have taken in response to our economic crisis. Day is from the Austrian school, but is quite fair, or at least even toned, towards his main philosophical rivals, the Keynesians. He is extremely unimpressed by the economist Paul Krugman, and devotes a good portion of his books to tearing down Krugman’s terrible track record in predicting the market’s turns, particularly in regards to the effects of bailout spending. The book is impressive in that it simultaneously maintains a conversational tone, but never compromises it’s academic credentials. I would compare it to listening to a favorite teacher give a lecture. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about economics.

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January 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

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“Not even in the face of Armageddon.”

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“Watchmen”  opened two weeks ago, and I’m going to be blunt with you:

IT’S AMAZING!

The actors were very well cast, in particular Jackie Earle Haley (yes, as in The Bad News Bears Jackie Earle Haley) as Rorschach and Jeffery Dean Morgan as the Comedian.  Although their characters are probably the most sociopathic and least relatable of the cast, they wind up carrying the major emotional arcs of the piece, and they do so with aplomb.  Rorschach’s last scene is the most powerful scene in the movie, due in no small part to the brilliance of Haley BEING his character.  Billy Krudup is an initially startling choice for Dr. Manhattan- the almost universal response I’ve heard from people about him is, “I almost imagined Dr. Manhattan with a deeper voice,” but his understated, soft spoken take on the super-human is effective and grows on you as the movie progresses.  Patrick Wilson is a good Nite Owl, making him far less pathetic then his graphic novel counter part, while still preserving his dorky “everyman” nature.  The two more dubious cast members are Malin Akerman as the second Silk Spectre, are Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt.  While Akerman is visually dead on for Laurie Jupiter, she doesn’t really leap off the screen and tear your throat out like Haley does, and seems to be more “generic action woman hero” then anything special like the other actors.  Goode is by no means a bad actor, but his fey German Veidt is a vast departure from the graphic novel’s “All-American Boy”, and he doesn’t look physically intimidating or strong enough for many of the fight scenes at the film’s end.

 

Comedian by you.  Rorschach by you.
John Dean Morgan and Jackie Earle Haley, as the Comedian and Rorschach.  These are the actors to watch in the film, and are so good they need the three names to contain their awesomeness.

 

The film is 2 hrs and 42 min long, and with commercials it is almost exactly 3 hrs.  It feels 3 hrs long, by the time it’s through.  It is almost as if it was composed of several shorter films- Dr. Manhattan’s origin story could stand as an excellent short on it’s own, and even the opening credits are an ode to minimalist film making.  The film wants to make the statement “Superhero movies aren’t just for kids”, and goes too far in trying to get that message across.  It has gratuitous sex and violence in the most literal sense- they didn’t have to go that far, but they did anyways.  By the time a man’s bone snaps out of it’s skin during one of the many fight scenes, you may find yourself longing for a “rated” version of the film.  However, these brief episodes of shock don’t detract from the film’s grander, more psychological point.  While the ending may be lacking in Giant Psychic Squid (thank GOD), it is still surprising and powerful.  It is actually the one scene in the movie that could’ve stood to be a little more gruesome.  Due to the events of 9/11, the filmmakers thought it necessary to limit the graphic scenes of destruction orginally portrayed, and thus the epic horror of the events doesn’t really resonate with the viewer, by comparison to all the other mayhem they’ve been exposed to at that point.  All in all, this is an excellent EXCELLENT movie that I give 5 out of 4 stars, and deserves several Oscars (if doesn’t win any, will be forced to find liberal neo-Commie traitors who voted against it, and break little fingers.  HURM. </Rorschach>) ; )

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March 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm

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When Rights Veer too Far to the Left

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I am part of the “Millenial Generation” (and really, this Generation Y stuff has GOT to stop.)  The reason I clarify this, is because this post doesn’t follow the traditional format of TWAI posts (ie 4 links and a picture.)  I am writing this as an adolecent on the front lines of the culture to come, and to be frank, I am scared.

We are taught from a very young age the all importance of Tolerance.  Above all over morals and virtues (how old fashioned!), this is the champion we are to revere.  Anything and everything must be accepted in it’s name.

Now I am in no way implying that we should exclude or deny human rights to anyone, or any group.  But the fact of the matter is that by saying all behaviour is acceptable, we are taking away the rights of those who disagree, forcing them into silence.

I was prompted to write this post by something I observed in my high school.  There is a boy there, Lxxxxx, who is a transsexual.  I have known him since ninth grade, and I can attest that his behaviour has only gotten more extreme, to the point where it is dangerously toeing the line of acceptabillity.  In our student handbook, it lists the dress code, and forbids hair styles and manners of dress that would distract from the learning enviroment of the other students.  Lxxxx wears his long, bleached hair in a bun on top of his head, make up, high heeled stilletto boots, and shirts which, if worn by the gender they were intended for, would expose the top half of a woman’s breasts.

No girl would dare dress this provocatively- she would be held in the office until her parents could bring her a change of clothing, or be sent home, and would likely face detention.  But because of Lxxx’s “orientation”, no one dares to speak up.  Not the students, not the teachers, not the administrators, all because of the fear of the “discrimination” suits that would follow.  This gross double standard shouldn’t be permitted in a truly “equal” society.  If Lxxxx wishes to dress as the gender he feels he should be, he ought to be held to the same decency standards as the rest of us.

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October 24, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Viruses?

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Where do people get off creating viruses with the sole purpose of making people’s computers broken and mopey?  Do they get paid?  How do they make a living?  Are they all a bunch of unemployed losers in their mom’s basements?

The reason this has been on my mind, lately, is that something is wrong with my laptop, whom I call Sasha because that was the first name I thought of when I got her.  She is a Sony VAIO and is very very large and clunky, but I love her anyways.  We’ve been through alot.  Right around this time of year last year (in the second week of November, actually) she got a horrible virus thing that just punched her in the face.  I don’t know where it came from last time, and I don’t know what happened this time.  They aren’t the same virus, that’s all I know.

I hate this.  My computer is my own personal little world which I am in control of.  It is an extension of myself, and it is an extendor to the world.  I can reach out through the internet and find anything in the world.  To reach back through those connections with the intent to do harm is a gross violation of the trust between all computer users.

I think that my computer was spoof attacked.  Shortly before she got all messed up, the firewall message box asked if I wanted to allow explorer.exe to access the internet.  I was trying to use the internet at the time, so I consented.  Then pop ups began spontaneously appearing when I was connected to the internet.  It was all down hill from there.

I hope that the geeks at Fry’s can fix my Sasha up without having to wipe her memory.  I have alot of things saved on her, and I’d hate to have to play email tag like I did the last time.

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October 14, 2008 at 9:51 pm

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Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

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Quis Costodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Apparently, millions of people.  “Watchmen”, written by Alan Moore, is one of the most critically acclaimed superhero comic books of all time, and is included on the list of 100 Greatest American Novels since 1927.  The story opens with the death of a ‘costumed adventurer’, the Comidian, and the doomsday clock just five minutes from zero.  While most of the novel is told through objective third person narration, first person is sometimes used, and is used for the first half of the first chapter.  It is told from Rorschach’s point of view, a mentally imbalenced conspiracy theorizing vigilante.
“The streets are filled with gutters and the gutters are full with blood and when the drains finally scab over all the vermin will drown,” he writes in his journal.  “All the accumulated filth of their sex and murders will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!” and I’ll look down and whisper “No.””  He is the dark side of the superhero’s moral absolutes.

He then tries to warn his fellow crime fighters of the danger this murder symbolizes; Laurie Juspeczyk or “Silk Spector”, the daughter of Sally Jupiter, who was forced to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and Dr. Manhattan, the only true ‘super man’ in the novel.  He was disintergrated by the equivalent of a nuclear explosion, but his conciousness remained.  He manifests as a blue man, and exists outside of normal time and space.  He breaks into his former partner Daniel “Nite Owl” Dreiburg apartment and tells him what he saw, but Dan dismisses it as Rorschach’s paranoid delusions.  He finally stops by Adrian Veidt, formerly known as Ozymandias, the smartest man alive, and is ignored as well.  However, as more and more odd things begin to happen and other tradgedies befall those who once fought for the city as heros, Dan begins to give his credit theory and investigate with him.

I cannot reveal more of the story, because it is best if you don’t know what is going to happen the first time.  It is definetly the most epic story I have ever read, and puts the ‘novel’ in ‘graphic novel.’  It surpasses even the genius of ‘Sandman’ by Neil Gaiman, largely because it too has a large and intricate universe, but it also has a much more tightly wound plot.  This is not to say that ‘Sandman’ is bad for it’s rambling story- It was written over the course of seven years with over 75 issues, while ‘Watchmen’ is only twelve.

The time to read ‘Watchmen’ unspoiled is winding down.  It is slated for a movie release in March, 2009, and from the trailer it looks amazingly good:

What are you waiting for?  Go read it for yourself!

-Sarah

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September 9, 2008 at 8:23 pm

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A Scourge in the Suburbs

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These cookie cutter atrocity are appearing through out the nation. Why? They are ugly, pretensioius, and certainly won’t hold there value. These buildings are boils on the fair face of the American Dream, a cheap attempt to increase the owners social status by making it appear as though the owner had a great deal of money. Never mind the fact that they are not particularly well built. Our family’s neighborhood, which borders the ‘fatty house hubs’, has begun to attract these new constructions. I have seen the bellies of the beast, and they are plywood. They bring in a digger and a dirt pusher then, in a single day, destroy the mid-century house that had stood a faithful sentry all these years. PVC pipes go in, then a vast slab of concrete. Wooden beams begin to jut from the ground like a giant’s ribs. Then sheets of plywood are nailed to the outside. There the house stands, seemingly unchanging, for months. Finally, the final eyesore is added. Stonework and bricks, consistently mis-matched, are stuccoed to the front of the house, and an inexplicable gas lamp or two rigged to the door. The house is put on sale, and there it remains, waiting for some poor fool to be lured into it’s over priced clutches. Watching through it’s empty windows, and waiting.

The real question is, why on Earth would anyone buy such a house? These aren’t the cheap tract houses of suburbia- these are designed to look ‘custom.’ There is a family down the street with seven children, and, given their currant batting average, is quite likely to have one or two more. The oldest is currantly 12. And yet, they live quite contented in a 2400 sq. foot home with an average sized yard. The most recent move ins, to the 8000 sq. foot behemoths, were a family of 4.

Now, there are some exceptions to the decandence these homes normally smack of. For instance, the first of these homes built in our area was a large, grey, stucco building along Memorial, which has a rotating door of RVs, campers, trailers, and cars. The family who owns it is part of a much larger family- they are Roma, more commonly known as ‘gypsies.’ And if the family down the street were two sell there currant home and move into one of the new McMansions, no one would think poorly of them. In fact, most would think they had finally come to their senses.

While I personally am anxiously anticipating a revival of the Craftsman style bungalow, I fear this day may never come. After all, who would tear down a giant styrofoam-and-mortar mansion for a home that will actually accomodate the needs of a family of four?

-Sarah

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September 3, 2008 at 8:45 pm

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