Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't forget your tie

I was reminded recently to "dress professionally." I've been dressing professionally for almost 7 years now but I just really started to step back and think what is "professional dress?" I get up everyday, put on a nice pair of dress pants (trousers or slacks depending on your age and location), a button downed shirt usually with french cuffs so I can rock my Superman cufflinks and a tie. I often wonder where this practice of playing dress up so that you can work came from and who set the standard of professional.

First off I have to hand it to the women who have to dress professionally. You can come up with a multitude of combinations and can choose from a wide variety of "professional dress." Us men on the other hand are stuck with a pair of pants, shirt, tie and shoes or a suit if you want to get fancy.

Who decided that you must dress a certain way if you want to do business with someone. Am I any less capable of doing a job because I would wear a pair of jeans and a plain shirt? People say looks aren't everything but put someone in a suit and someone in casual clothes in a business forum and see who gets the business.

Don't get me wrong, I think I look damn fine when I put on a good suit and a snazzy looking tie and shirt but I wonder why this uniform choice for the corporate world. How does an archaic piece of neck wear set me apart from someone else? Does my dress give me a certain skill set jeans and a t shirt won't?

So here's the question: Is professional dress still relevant in this world? Or is still necessary to conduct business in this global economy?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cannibal Holocaust - A Review

For those of you who have never seen or heard of this film. Let me give you some back ground. This is an Italian film released in 1980 to much controversy that follows it to this day. First off, this film is probably the most graphic film you'll ever see. At the time of its release the director was arrested on murder charges, that's how intense this film is. The four main actors had clauses in their contracts to not appear in the media for one year following the films release. That was voided to keep the director from standing trial for making a snuff film.

Plot Summary:
A noted anthropologist is sent to the Green Inferno, a deadly and unexplored of the Amazon to find the whereabouts of 4 film makers who disappeared. Through his journey he ends up following the same path taken by the filmmakers. With the help of his 2 guide he learns of two warring cannibalistic tribes the Yacumo and Yanomamo. The journey takes them to a village of Yanomamo where they discover a shrine made of the bones of the missing filmmakers. The professor does what he has to do to have them release the reels of film to tell what happened to the missing group.

The second half of the film shows us the journey the filmmakers take. It is apparent from the start of the footage that this group is very arrogant and will do what it takes to make it interesting. Through their footage we seem them burn a village, rape, murder and torment these "savages" that they encounter. This all culminates with the final reel showcasing their demise at the hands of the cannibals in the Green Inferno.

From a technical aspect, this is a beautiful film. The cinematography is some of the best coming from Italy's 70s era of filmmaking. The soundtrack is both romantic and traumatizing depending on what is occurring on the screen. This ranges from almost operatic to a very synthesized sound, the more grotesque the harsher the sound.

I wouldn't say the acting is great but the role of the professor is probably the best of the film. The actors who play the ill-fated film crew is at times, over played. Think of the Blair Witch Project but, in my opinion, more amateur actors. Its not that bad that it distracts from the film but it does add some realism to watching their footage.

The special effects are actually very good and very reminiscent of the work done in the 70s that laid the groundwork for the effects that came to us in the 80s. Probably the best example of the SFX is the implement of a young Yanomamo female on a pole at the edge of a creek (see the above poster). The actress is stark naked, seated on a bicycle seat atop of a pole. She is covered in gore and is holding a piece of wood in her mouth straight up in the sky to complete the illusion. To this day, I would rank this in my top 10 of greatest on screen effects.

Probably the part of the film that it is best known for is the actual killing of live animals on screen. If nothing this is the biggest turn off of this film for most people. I'm not one for blatant abuse of animals so this is a sticking point me in regards to the film. I understand and see what the director was going for but I feel that it could have gone about differently. We see a large snapping turtle dismembered and opened up for eating. A muskrat, small monkey, a snake and a pig are all killed on screen. If you can handle getting past this, the cannibalistic and full front nudity aspects you'll be sure to get through.

This film is not one you call your friends over for movie night on Saturday. If you watch this film be prepared that you probably won't finish it and if you do, you probably won't watch it again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back in the day aka the year 2000

I realized last week that 10 years ago I finished my first year of college at Shippensburg University. Its amazing how much techology changes in 10 years since first going to college. My roommate had a laptop while I had a desktop computer w/ a ginormous 17" CTR monitor that took up my whole desk. There was no Wi-Fi on campus and nobody took a laptop into the CUB to do their papers. They were still writing them in notebooks long hand to re-type later. People had a cell phone but nobody used it because not all your friends had them and you only had 250 minutes a month for $35.00 and nights and weekends were still starting at 9pm. Plus you could just dial a 4 digit number from an on campus phone and get your buddy in their dorm room. Texting? Forget about it. You could text but nobody thought anything of it and people would wonder why you just didn't pick up the phone.

At that point Pam and I were getting some cool new Nokia cell phones (remember how cool Nokia was at the time) and we were both leaving the comforts of a T-1 internet connection back to dial up.

I packed up my Playstation to head home. There was no Xbox or even a 360 and internet gaming wasn't even on the radar. My 10 or so DVDs were brought home packed up along my VHS tapes. Yeah I was still buying VHS tapes because not everything was available on DVD and I was still unsure if DVD prices were going to come down. Hell i was still watching DVDs on my computer as a standalone DVD player was still +$300.

I was exchanging AIM screennames and email addresses with people to keep up with in the summer. Facebook and Myspace didn't exist and we still chatted on AIM and put up away messages letting people know what we were doing, the original status/wall updates!

As I finish typing this I'm getting ready to head to the couch with my iPhone in hand to read. That way if anything updates I'll be notified on the phone so I don't have to be tethered to this cumbersome laptop. Its amazing in 10 years how much technology has changed and defined our daily lives. My lunch break at work now consists of me checking up on my Twitter and Facebook messages between eating and reading a book. I answer texts, send texts and try to figure out what the conversation of the day is between my friends that can use their work computers for fun stuff throughout the day.

I look at technology like the iPhone and Droid style smartphones the way my grandparents looked at TV. It was there, but not everyone had one, at first and by the time they were raising children it was the norm. Hell, my 2 year old knows how to pause a video on my iPhone, which goes to show before they even start school they're becoming intertwined with technology. I wonder how long it will before he starts emailing grandma and wanting his own cell phone to text his 7 year old friends from school.

But on the flip side I love this technology. I have all my friends in my pocket everywhere I go. I love the ability to keep in touch with my friends all over the world with this tech stuff. I don't need to be at home in front of the computer to talk to my friends. I can be on the porch smoking a cigar or relaxing on the beach and still keep up with them.

On the flip side, how long before all this technology becomes self-aware and turns on us.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My favorite LOST WTF Moments Season 1-5

I realized I'm behind on my LOST blogging and I figured to catch up I'll post my favorite WTF moments from season 1 to 5

Season 1:
1) Rousseau's 16 year long help message broadcasting from the Island followed by Charlie's "guys, where are we?" *Certifiably probably one of the creepiest moments of the show.*
2) Discovery of Adam & Eve in the caves.
3) The Black Rock
4) Rousseau living on the island for 16 years...alone
5) Discovery of the Hatch
6) Locke was in a wheelchair before the Island

Season 2:
1) Desmond living in the Hatch for 3 years
2) The numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42
3) The Dharma Initiative
4) Henry Gale aka Ben Linus is the leader of the Others
5) The four toed statue!
6) The Swan hatch explodes
7) Penny Widmore is looking for, and finds the Island

Season 3:
1) Juliet isn't from the Island
2) Anthony Cooper is the real Sawyer and The Man From Tallahassee
3) Desmond's mind has traveled back in time
4) Ben really isn't from the Island and was part of the Purge that killed them all.
5) Richard Alpert doesn't age!
6) Naomi parachutes on the island, proving that people know where they are!
7) The freighter is "Not Penny's Boat"
8) Charlie dies
9) Flashforwards reveal they get off the Island!
10) Someone named Jacob has a list.

Season 4:
1) Only 6 are rescued from the Island aka the Oceanic 6
2) Daniel Farraday tries to explain physics
3) Desmond travels through time again and is Farraday's Constant
4) Keemy kills Ben's daugther Alex
5) Miles talks to dead people
6) Richard Alpert was there when Locke was born!
7) The freighter explodes killing Michael & Jin
8) Ben moves the Island

Season 5:
1) The Island is moving through time
2) There is a hydrogen bomb buried on the Island
3) Locke wants everyone to come back to the Island!
4) Jack, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Sawyer & Juliet are all part of the Dharma Initiative
5) Eloise Hawking was an other as well as Daniel Farraday's mum
6) Sayid shoots young Ben
7) Hurley wrote the original script for the Empire Strikes Back
8) Locke wants to kill Jacob...actually wants Ben to kill him
9) Jack wants to detonate the Jughead
10) We see the rest of the 4 toed statue, Twaret
11) We meet Jacob and the Man in Black
12) We finally see The Incident
13) Juliet detonates the hydrogen bomb!

There ya have it, my favorite WTF moments of the first 5 seasons of LOST i'm sure there are more but these are the ones that stick out the most to me!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lost in Lost Seasons 1-3

These blogs will contain spoilers if you haven't watched the show! Read at your own risk

Its funny, as the finale of Lost comes closer, i'm coming to grips that I am utterly and hopelessly addicted to the show. I mean its just a show right? Well of course it is but there is something about this show that really has me hooked and I don't believe that there is just one thing to pinpoint as to why.

I missed most of the first season and caught up with it on dvd as the second season was airing. By the end of the first disc of the first season I was hooked and quickly caught up to understand where the next season was starting. From then on it was downhill. It started off simple, an intriguing show about people stranded on a tropical island. Mysterious noises and voices surrounded them in the jungle and planes crashed in trees only added to the mystery. Then John Locke discovers a hatch. This hatch had to have been placed there by humans, so that meant other people had been or where on the island. Well now we got something, they weren't alone, that question was answered when a light from inside the hatch turned on when Locke was beating on it looking for answers.

The second season had me hooked like no other show ever had at this point. The Hatch, Desmond, and the Dharma Initiative as well as the appearance of a Henry Gale aka Ben Linus who would turn out to be me, in opinion, the single greatest character/villain in TV history were all introduced to us. We found out that the Hatch aka the Swan was part of a huge science experiment that was saving the world by pushing a button every 108 minutes by entering the numbers: 4 8 15 16 23 42 which just happen to equal 108. I can't tell you how many countless Powerball tickets I played with those exact numbers. Poor Desmond got suckered into pushing this button to save the world and all he wanted to do was get back to his beloved Penny. Desmond was instantly my favorite character on the show, followed by Locke and Ben.

By the third season a lot of questions were being asked but not answered and it showed. The first 6 episodes of the 3rd season where more random and didn't really advance the story and showed us that Kate decided to hook up with Sawyer thus, we thought, ending 2 seasons of sexual tension on the show, at least someone was getting some on the island! The big question at the time was, were the survivors of Oceanic 815 alive, dead, in purgatory, a snow globe or on some reality show. The producers were mum but promised that it wasn't going to be a cop out and we would be shown soon enough. Boom a few episodes before the end of season 3 we get someone parachuting onto the island, WTF?!?!?!? Somebody knew where the island was and how to get there and more importantly, knew of the survivors. Naomi parachutes on the island much to the dismay of Benjamin Linus. What did he know that they didn't. Damn, this was getting good. Here we have Naomi stating that she's here to rescue the crash surivors and Ben saying that if they get on her boat, they will all die.

The first three seasons of this show asked more questions then it answered (remember the 4 toed statue in the finale of Season 2 and how long that took to answer). But that was the intrigue that kept me going, the need to know more and find out, was it fate or destiny or neither of the above. I was hooked by the end of the third season no doubt. It even took Pam until then to be really into this show. She would watch an episode and at the end would go "man this show is weird!" She kept trying to wrap her head around it and I on the other hand was digging deeper, thinking back to season 1 episodes looking for connections.