Vacation, Recreation, Sensation (Penticton BC)

Timely posts are some of my favourites to share with you, dear readers. They are short and sweet, they let you know what is going on in my personal life, where my head is at, so to speak, and some of the challenges I am facing.

Because I never want you to think I am some self-proclaimed guru with no sense of reality, standing on a perch from on high, a false messiah if you will. I am a regular guy, with a day job, a girlfriend, and my own set of weird personal relationships. Art is one my first true loves, but as I age and live my life, I struggle with my own motivational challenges sometimes, and my personal health doesn’t seem to go my way very often, despite efforts I make regularly to eat well and exercise.

No matter what the challenge, I remind myself constantly of this one fact.

I’m going to share a favourite quote of mine from Marcus Aurelius to give you some insight –

Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction.

This manifesto reminds me that life is difficult, but we all are mutually in it together, though we might each see through a lenses obscured. And now to explain why there are not going to be an timotheories videos or post next week friends.

I am going on vacation for a week, starting this Saturday and carrying through to next Saturday I’m going to check out all of Penticton, British Columbia with my lovely girlfriend Mysticque. I’m taking this time to bond with her alone, something we have not done yet together, because she has a son from a former relationship, and we only get to see each other every other week. Some people might not like or want to accommodate a situation like that, but she is so worth it.

But regardless of my awesome relationship, people have been frustrating me lately, and even though Marcus Aurelius reminds me constantly that I need to be vigilant and empathetic, I need a break. To a place that gives me peace and calms my mind down. We all have those places, the mountains have always been that for me though. Thus I’m off to see Penticton, drink some wine, enjoy fresh air, and relax for five days, without technology.

A retreat from modern distractions.

We all need these refreshers creative cuties, never apologize for taking time for yourself to practice self-care. Discipline and hustle are fundamental to your personal growth, but unfortunately no one can manage everything at once and grow simultaneously. This is one of those time where I will practice excellent self-care and come back renewed. And I’m ever so thankful for Mysticque for taking this time with me, and doing 85% of the planning. I love her, and you will too, because the rest of July will be awesome.

And so I’m out of theories for a few days. Enjoy your week folks, and I will see you on Sunday the 23rd with preview interview.

Tim!

Conjunction Junction (Interpersonal Communication)

Language sure is weird.

Did you ever hear the expression “all dogs are mammals, all mammals are animals, therefore all dogs are animals?” Well I’m sure you have dear readers, but I have to wonder if you know the reason why it’s used fairly commonly (read: not that commonly) in academics or by people who want to be academics.

This statement is a syllogism associated with predicate logic; a type of logic which shows how the subjects and predicates of such statements relate to those in other statements in an argument. To put it another way, syllogisms are an instance of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from propositions that share a commonality and one final statement that combines second terms of the initial propositions in a way to infer a conclusion.

Another very well known example is that “all men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal.”

Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.

The Challenge Of Language

Communication is exactly that though. Making sense of language, verbal and nonverbal, as well as written, in order to best exchange information, feelings and meaning between a pair of people or to a group of people.

This is where interpersonal communication comes in. It’s a communication process that happens between two or more people. It is a face-to-face interaction that further addresses two of the three previous topics we’ve already covered in the communication basics series. Verbal and nonverbal communication.

To Put In

Interpersonal communication skills really are the most essential of skills in life, in my opinion, of course. We deal with so many daily challenges, rare opportunities and unexpected encounters throughout our time on this spinning ball of dirt that we need to be prepared to communicate well, whether at work or in our personal lives. The truth of it is, well, the truth is that people who have invested the time in developing their interpersonal skills get further along in life.

Probably because those people are more charismatic and appealing. And if we’re being honest, we can all benefit from being more appealing. Also, you can’t stop interpersonal communication from happening. No matter who you are and where you are going in life, you just can’t stop interpersonal communication from happening.

Because even when we are silent, nonverbal communication works in full force. And just as the old adage says, once you say something, you can’t take it back. We make silent judgments of others all the time.

That person should go to hell. He looks fat in those pants. She wears too much makeup. Who raised this kid?

That internal dialogue happens whether we want it to or not. But as I’ve mentioned in the previous posts, it is possible to work on both your verbal and nonverbal communication skills. And even more importantly, it’s so necessary. The single best thing you can do to become better at both arenas is to work on your listening skills.

And that is going to be the next major topic we’ll focus on in another post. I don’t want to spend too much time today digging into it, but I will say this – The better of a listener you are, the less people will concern themselves with your verbal and nonverbal skills.

theories Summarized

When you learn to use your interpersonal communication skills effectively creative cuties, not only will you have excellent verbal and nonverbal communications down, but you will get more accomplished in life. I know that sounds like a quick fix, because it takes time, but you can expect a lot more discussion on this in future months. For now, I’m out of theories.

Tim!

Double Agent (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract review)

Animated comic book movies have been around for decades at this point, but I think it’s high time we recognize the efforts of one studio in particular who has consistently show up to play ball.

 

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017)

Cast: Stuart Allan, Jake T. Austin, Taissa Farmiga, Sean Maher, Christina Ricci, Brandon Soo Hoo, Kari Wahlgren, Miguel Ferrer
Director: Sam Liu
re-released on blu-ray April 18, 2017
******** 8/10

IMDB: 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%, Audience Score 71%
The Guardian: n/a

I’ve written about Sam Liu before. He also directed the Batman: The Killing Joke movie which I reviewed last summer, so in order to save some time, I’m going to dive right into the plot summary and then tell you what I think about this most recent DC original animated film.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Five years ago, the original Teen Titans (consisting of Dick Grayson as Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Beast Boyand Bumblebee) rescue Princess Starfire of planet Tamaran from her captors sent by her evil older sister Blackfire who had staged a coup and forcibly took the throne. As she is no longer able to return to her world, the Titans offer her a home on Earth as one of them.

In the present, Dick Grayson (now called Nightwing) rejoins the Teen Titans to track down a terrorist cult led by Brother Blood who plans on capturing the team to absorb each of their unique abilities with a machine that he has tested on Jericho (whom his assistant and lover Mother Mayhem quickly shoots afterwards). Brother Blood hires the mercenary Deathstroke to deliver the Titans to him, which he obliges to do for both the money and get revenge on Damian Wayne for foiling his evil plans a few years ago and replacing him as Ra’s al Ghul’s heir before Damian turned against the League of Assassins. Deathstroke monitors the Titans through his double agent Terra, who joined the team a year prior and whom he rescued after her parents turned their whole village against her and tortured her. When Damian grows suspicious of Terra’s behavior and starts tracking her, he is captured by her and Deathstroke, thus revealing her as a spy to Damian.

Terra acts cold and distant towards the otheTitans despite their welcoming attitude, but eventually warms up to them. During the night celebrating her one-year anniversary with the Titans, she shares a tender moment with Beast Boy and kisses him. The next day, Deathstroke kidnaps Blue Beetle at the soup kitchen he works at, Beast Boy at a convention where he thought he would do a podcast with filmmaker Kevin Smith, and Starfire at the apartment shared by her and Nightwing. Dick discovers what happened to the otheTitans and is attacked by Deathstroke. He manages to escape by faking his own death, while Terra captures Raven in Titans‘ Tower.

Deathstroke and Terra bring the Titans to Brother Blood, but since the machine cannot operate properly without a fifth Titan (as Slade had failed to capture Nightwing), Slade hesitantly offers him Terra instead. Brother Blood starts draining the Titans of their powers and ascends to godlike status, but they are rescued by Nightwing. Nightwing and Robin fight Deathstroke, while the rest take on Brother Blood, who has absorbed all of their powers. The two villains are stopped by the intervention of Terra, who is thoroughly hurt and enraged at Slade for his betrayal. Brother Blood is depowered by Raven unleashing her inner fury as a demon and killed by Mother Mayhem, while Deathstroke is buried underneath multiple rocks thrown by Terra. Too ashamed to face her former allies after betraying their trust, Terra decides to bring down the entire area. Beast Boy attempts to assist Terra in escaping the crumbling fortress, but Terra pushes him back and is buried underneath multiple layers of rubble. Beast Boy digs her up, and she dies in his arms.

In the epilogue, Beast Boy goes on Kevin Smith’s podcast and talks about the Titans with the host. He mentions that the team has a “wonderful new member” and that he will always miss Terra.

In a post-credits scene, Jericho is shown to have survived the bullet Mother Mayhem shot at him earlier.

I’ll just come right out and say that this movie is refreshing to watch. There are complex adult relationships portrayed on the screen, some well placed profanity, and while the violence doesn’t overwhelm, it is decidedly more graphic then your average PG-13 fare. Featuring an ensemble cast, and then spending time with each character was a wise movie on the part of DC, because each of characters is developed in such a way that they become more compelling then any live-action counterparts we’ve seen thus far.

Starfire, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, and Deathstroke all have great arcs, and it’s very satisfying to watch Terra meet her end as the revealed Judas of the team.

Pros: The animation, pacing, and storytelling are all top-notch, but as already mentioned, the relationships between characters, especially the romantic ones, are fascinating to watch. The Teens are all so dramatic and appealing to watch.

Cons: There is a decent amount of filler at the beginning of the film, with previous Titans on a mission and the meeting of Starfire. This flashback and the one of Terra’s home life seem out of place and very uncomfortable to watch, especially with the Deathstroke seduction scene. Also, Terra turns too quickly.

Runtime: 1 hour 24 minutes

Points of Interest: Adapted from a Teen Titans series from the 1980s, this story has also been adapted for the Teen Titans animated series of the early 2000s. Beast Boy appears on a podcast with Kevin Smith in the movie, in real life Kevin Smith is a huge comics fan, and has a particular affinity for Batman.

I think that overall the plot with Brother Blood, the contract with Deathstroke, and the hidden mole of Terra gave the movie the steam it needed to make it around the block. It should be celebrated for it’s adventurous and adult themes, even if Deathstroke and Terra have be really weird personal relationship in the background. The leadership tactics of Star Fire, versus old hat exercises from Nightwing.

theories Summarized

With over twenty movies in their catalogue at this point, DC has done an excellent job of adapting some of their best stories for home release, and this Teen Titans story is one of the better ones. Yes you can see a lot of the plot twists from a mile away, but it does such a good job of getting you there, that I think the journey really is the most important part in this case.

Speaking of twists, this week on Watch Culture, Andre and I give a recommendation on 2011’s Source Code, and I bet you’ll enjoy it. That said, I’m out of theories for now.

Tim!

Intensive Care, With Pure Cocoa Butter (Calvin Harris, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 review)

Every summer features an album that perfectly establishes what that feeling should sound like, but the challenge for me is that I eventually tire of summer and want to cool off with fall weather. This summer we’ve found our winner.

 

Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1

released Jun 30, 2017
******** 8/10

Adam Richard Wiles, better known as Calvin Harris, is a Scottish producer, disc jockey, singer, songwriter, and musician – though he’s mostly a DJ producer. He first charted with 2007’s I Created Disco, apt given that his music is often given modern pop treatments, with a hint of disco years past.

But that was ten years ago, and four more records have been released since then. Funk Wave Bounces Vol. 1 is the fifth studio album from Harris and it’s easily his best one yet.

Featuring only a couple of real misses, which I’ll outline below, the collaborations on this one are on point, and should be welcomed with open arms. Of particular note are Frank Ocean, Migos, Future, Khalid, Pharell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean. But by far, the diamond in the rough of this record is the appearance of new comer Jessie Reyez.

Hard To Love is just such a great closing track, and Reyez vocals really compliment Harris’ use of guitar and simple drum tracks. Reyez reminds me of a combination of Macy Gray, Alessia Cara, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Billy Holiday. It’s just an amazingly satisfying track to listen to. And that’s the power of Harris, he just seems to know intuitively when to pair sounds together with artists and make beautiful music.

He is better at sticking with production and leaving the lyrics to his contemporaries. A great example of this is combining the talents of Future with Khalid, and man does it ever work to our benefit on Rollin.

Of course I would be remiss not to at least write a couple of sentences about the standout song of this record. It’s mindless fun, but man is the song Feels enjoyable to listen to, and I’ll never be afraid to catch feels again thanks to the message being drummed into my head over and over. This is feel-good music, featuring the appropriate amount of trilling and hip hoping.

It might not be an album laden with singles, but Funk Wav Bounce Vol. 1 does a great job of promoting the range of sounds Harris is more than capable of exploring, and I think it assures us we’ll have another decade or two with the DJ producer.

Pros: When it comes to sunsoaked sounds, the essential tracks of Feels, Slide, and Rollin will do more then enough to please your ears, evoke the tropics, summer driving, and disco boogies.

Cons: Maybe it’s just Nicki Minaj that gets on my nerves, but Skrt On Me is super boring and barely there, making it even worse then the lounge sounds of Prayers Up

Runtime: 38 minutes

Points of Interest: Calvin Harris promises ten new singles for 2017, and four of the ten tracks have fulfilled that role. The album debuted at number two on both US and UK album charts upon release.

Ditching techno and EDM may have alienated some of his fans, but featuring Snoop Dogg on this record for Holiday is a very welcome experience and like LCD Soundsystem did way back in the early 2000s, I’m glad Harris traded in synthesizers for guitars. He’s one of the hardest working musicians in the business.

theories Summarized

I think we can expect even greater things from Calvin Harris in the decade to come, and while he didn’t share too much of his personality or feelings in the past, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 definitely feels like more of a passion project then other works of years past. So don’t be afraid to catch feels Calvin.

Tim!

Hearing Aid (timotheories presents: Sound Culture)

One of my favourite pastimes is listening to music. I like to have an album going on repeat in my car while I drive on my commute, when I’m running around town, and when I feel like taking a late night drive.

It gives me focus, makes me stronger. And I can drive faster.

Okay maybe that last part isn’t true. But certain music can definitely help with bolstering your mood and work performance. I written about the subject of music listening before, and it’s one of the main reasons I share album reviews with you creative cuties on the weekly. I’m providing a service to get you the tunes which will help inspire your creative passion projects.

That, and sometimes it’s just nice to have suggestions hand delivered to you.

I confide in musical experts all the time. Some of my favourites are The Needle Drop, Spectrum Pulse, and ARTV. And Spectrum Pulse and ARTV are known to collaborate on the regular.

Quick, Somebody Get A Guitar!

I recently started releasing a weekly video series called Watch Culture, where I share movie recommendations with you. Featuring a revolving door of familiar timotheories faces, these are short videos which give you examples of shows and films in the annals of history that deserve your attention, no matter how old you are.

It’s been a fun project so far, and I’ve learned a lot in giving my thoughts on pop culture in a short format. But seeing as how this is the year of campfire stories, I will continue to expand the social circle and branch out into other areas of the arts.

It makes perfect sense to add album recommendations to the rotation because I have a lot to sense about music too, dear readers. So I’m pre-emptively introducing a new series to you – Sound Culture.

The show where I, and sometimes guests, but mostly featuring one very special musician named Brendon Greene, will give you recommendations based on albums we think you should buy, stream, and listen to. We’ll ensure each month features albums from different eras, genres, and artists – I think you’ll enjoy what we have to say about albums that are either freshly pressed and or classics in their own right.

And besides, every campfire needs an acoustic guitar sessions or three.

theories Summarized

Time to get to stepping folks, I promised myself I wouldn’t share too much of this new endeavour, lest I reveal what’s coming up in future weeks and totally destroy the element of surprise! I’m out of theories for now, but please come back tomorrow and I’ll give you my thoughts on the new Calvin Harris album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1.

Tim!