The Good, The Bad And The Last Airbender (Cross Talk Ep. 4)

Another week, another Stimulating Sunday on the horizon! Which technically is appropriate for both the beginning of the day and the ending of the day, dear readers. Especially now that the days are getting longer and dusk arrives around 9pm MST!

Conveniently for us, this is also the same time as when this post published!

Of course most of us already know the English language is mired with words with multiple definitions, a result of it adapting from other languages as it formed and slowly became one of the most common spoken languages on the planet. We that extra bit of daylight, I think we have time for a bit of quick trivia.

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Did you know that for 339 million people, English is their first language, and that it is the second most common language after Mandarin, of which 900 million people claim it as their first choice?

But let’s look at the word adaptation as an example of this problem.

In biology an adaptation is a change or the process of change by which an organism or species fits into it’s current environment in a better way. However, in film an adaptation is a a transfer of work (written or otherwise), whether the whole work or a part, to make a feature film. It is a type of derivative work. A common form of film adaptation is the use of a novel as the basis of a feature film.

Both words are about change and originators, but for our purposes we’re gonna stick with the second option.

And because it’s about time for a Cross Talk post, and we decided to tackle film adaptations this month, it only makes sense that we define the rules of the game first. Yeah! We are going to go over the the challenges of producing an adaptation and what happens when you look back at the source material, fondly or otherwise.

You see dear viewers, there are still some issues with #whitewashing in film, gender inequality, character rewrites, and of course visual misrepresentation, so Chris and I decided to focus our attention to tackle the problems that happen when going to the movies or result in a debate on the couch.

 

I’ve included a direct link to the full video for you here, but as always the real action is just below for your convenience. Otherwise, please sit back and enjoy Episode 4 of Cross Talk!

I’m out of theories for now, but please check back tomorrow for a rather illuminating album review. It should be a good one! Please comment, subscribe and share this with you friends. We want to hear your feedback!

Tim!

Tell Tale Art (National Poetry Month)

I’m sure many of you have stories about how much you hated reading poetry and learning about the hidden meaning of poems when you were growing up. Especially in junior high, also know as those years between 12-15 years old, if you aren’t Canadian.

I’ve always loved to read and to write myself, but I’ve never had much of an attention span for reading at hours on end, unless I was really committed to a book, but not much can do that.

Which is why I often enjoyed poems.

Poems can be short and sweet or incredibly long, because their forms vary between generations, authors and cultures. I think of it like this, if you can enjoy music, you certainly can enjoy a poem. Because poems can serve a similar purpose, invoking emotion.

But a fair number of people ignore poetry because it doesn’t have that same sexy appeal as music. Music can be enjoyed socially (more easily), you can dance to it, and you can walk away and then come back to it.

Which is probably why academics of the form became discouraged in the 1990s and decided to do something about it, to get your attention and share the beauty of the form.

National Poetry Month is an event in the United States which takes place every April and is celebrating it’s 20th year of existence.

Did you know that the Academy of American Poets came up with the celebration after the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March)? Now I am not going to assume any authority on black rights and women’s rights, because I am neither black nor a woman and I don’t know what it’s like to be either, but doesn’t mean that poetry and political rights are on the same level.

I can write that statement fairly safely. But you know what that tells me about poetry, a written art form that often gets the short end of the stick? We don’t give it nearly enough respect.

Luckily for me, you, and everyone else who loves to read beautiful words, national poetry month has grown rather organically over the past 20 years and publishers have taken note. Taken from Wikipedia:

Each year, publishers, booksellers, educators and literary organizations use April to promote poetry: publishers often release and publicize their poetry titles in April, teachers and librarians focus on poetry units during the month; and bookstores and reading series frequently hold special readings. National Poetry Writing Month encourages writing a poem a day in celebration.

Canada joined the efforts in 1999 and has been supporting this event ever since, so Canadians like timotheories benefit from this as well.

What is most fascinating to me about this month is the ability to draw up debate amongst its supporters and antagonists, because by drawing attention to poetry every April it draws attention to the art form, but potentially detracts from other months when writers release new works.

The National Poetry Website of course has some great content to help celebrate the history of poetry while encouraging increased publication and distribution of books to support poets and poetry. How the organization highlights the history of the form is through sharing both living poets and classic poets with readers, introducing poetry into the school curriculum, and facilitating positive attention through traditional media and the internet.

The website even has a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. As you folks know already, I love list. But I’m not going to share the whole thing with you, just a taster.

Some of my favourite suggestions are as follows

  1. memorize a poem
  2. buy a book of poetry from a bookstore
  3. attend a poetry reading
  4. read a poem at an open mic
  5. learn about the different poetic forms

Now I’m not expecting you to leap onto the poetry train while it’s running full bore, but just consider for a minute that this type of creative writing could provide you with an experience you just cannot get from music or long form literature. Start with the more well known favourites like T. S. Eliot or Robert Frost and do yourself a favour and investigate another area of the arts. It may only be a theory right now, but growth only happens through change.

That’s all I have this week my friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves! Come back on Sunday for a new episode of Cross Talk, and of course, comment, subscribe and share!

Tim!

Books, and Audio, and Video, Oh My! (Public Library)

Back when I was a just a wee one, we would spend a lot of time on Saturday afternoons and sometimes week nights, in a fairly small building, located near a mini-mall.

Over the years I watched that building swap out it’s wooden swinging doors for automatic ones, the introduction of scanners to prevent theft, switching from rolodexes, to Apple 2’s, then finally Dell computers. Even an eventual re-brand of bright colours everywhere and a functioning website that offered pickup became normal for this place.

I loved spending time there, and I think probably spent more time reading snippets of books, magazines, and movie summaries, then I did actually focusing on one topic.

Come to think of it, I’ve always had that “curiosity” attitude about books. I couldn’t just read any old book for 10’s of hours. I was very particular about what I committed to, but that was my personal journey through the experience of reading and eventual maturity of my adult tastes.

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but my parents didn’t have a bunch of money laying around when we were growing up, so the library was an incredibly inexpensive way for me to be entertained and grow into knowledge.

But now that we have the internet, kids don’t have to use the library to pursue their interests do they?

Like everything in life, it depends.

Because of this fast development of digital communication, it seems to be quite common for social services like public libraries to face heavy scrutinization and threat of budget cuts in today’s world of lean politics and business. At least that’s the impression I often get from people whenever I bring it up. But as is often the case, public perception and personal assumption aren’t that close to reality.

It appears to be more realistic that the city is doing all sorts of things to keep it’s populous invested in learning and participating in self-improvement.

This is a very good thing, like this quote from blogger Kathy Dempsey states.

Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge. And librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future, even as information-storage devices and formats change.

– Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential

There was a time when larger retail services and public services could be very particular about what they participated in, but with this information shift, brick and mortar services need to be more diversified and inclusive than previously. That means more outreach programs AKA assistive services for those who don’t know where to start, are new to the community, are young or are elderly.

That also means providing online solutions too. In the case of the library, we can now temporarily download ebooks and audio books, and participate in seminars online. The website is online 24-7, so planning your next visit becomes even easier, you can place items on hold and then quickly drop-in to grab your books or whatever you want to borrow.

And because the library keeps archives of books, music, film, and other learning resources, the likelihood of them having something I want to see on my Watch List or Back Catalogue is quite high.

As I’ve mentioned previously in the current Wisdom Wednesday series on self-improvement – Attitude Is Everything. It is so important to participate in library culture, no matter where you are in life or what your personal goals are, the public library is an excellent way to entertain and engage your mind.

Even if you don’t like what you find your first time out, the brilliance of it all is that you haven’t spent money, and you have a wealth of titles available to look into as an alternative. And librarians are so knowledgeable of ways you can focus your efforts, they can look up material by subject, recommend authors, even tell you about local events the library is hosting which might benefit your journey.

I recently rewatched Night at the Museum, because it was in my list of blu-rays I had acquired but not opened, and there was this quote in it about the museum being a place “where history comes to life,” and while that is true the library is even greater, because it’s a place where ideas come to life. As cheesy as that sounds, dear readers.

And the theories are done for the week, my friends. Have a lovely weekend. Please comment! Please subscribe! Please contact me if you want to participate in the future!

Tim!

The Night Is Dark, And Full Of Terrors (My Personal Murderer, Cauchemar review)

The Game of Thrones TV show and the book series which it is based off of, A Song of Fire and Ice, features a rather complex fantasy world with various belief systems and a cast of interesting and rich characters to fill these roles.

One of these belief systems in the world is the religion of the Lord of Light, a belief system which espouses that there are two gods, one a good god of love and light, and the other a god of darkness and evil.

This week’s Melodic Monday entry is about a band which asks questions of dark and light and hopes to share some thoughts on the duality of those themes.

But obviously life is not so simple as to be divided in this way.

Or is it?

 

 

 

My Personal Murderer – Cauchemar
released February 4, 2016
******** 8/10

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My Personal Murderer are a Ukrainian rock group which have been been active since 2008. Influenced by director David Lynch, the 1990s, and the socio-political environment they live in, My Personal Murderer have created three studio-length albums in the past six years.

I was very happy to hear from the band’s frontman and get an opportunity to review this album, because it’s themes are interesting and the sound distinct. I admit I had little idea what I was getting myself into, but I’m glad I said yes to Yevgen Chebotarenko. Did you know that the word Cauchemar is of French origin and means “to have a nightmare”? My Personal Murderer are a rock group with a few self-proclaimed influences, ranging from alternative, to atmospheric, depressive rock, post-punk, shoegazing, and I would also add emo into that mix.

Yevgen has an incredible control over the music and lyrics of MPM, as he is the lead vocalist, guitar player, and heart of the band, and he told me that Cauchemar the album has been a labour of love from the start. The band has seen some lineup changes from the time that the first single of the record, Constant Waiting, was put together last year, but the trio worked out the kinks and got the album out.

Yuriy Kononov plays drums currently, but Maxim Kovalchuk, who played bass, left the group midway in 2015 and was replaced by former bassist Nikita Perfiliev.

Cauchemar represents that collaboration between these three artists and a new direction for the band. The album evokes feelings of intimacy throughout, shifting from obsessions of lust, pain, spirit and struggle to grind out the themes focused in each track. The title track features a talking sequence and is one of my personal favourites on the record. With lines like “why is there nothing, if there is nothing, where did I come from?” asking questions, the tone is set up quite well. You can hear the talking sequence shift to feature background voices and eventually give way to percussion and wind instruments.

The Worm Prince traces out the actions of a body in contortion, fighting itself and attempting to excise the unwanted portions (people and emotions) and challenges with a hollowed out self, while Constant Waiting is less obvious. The melancholy is there but the lyrics on this one are curious, I can’t tell if it’s an admission of lustful guilt or a suicide note, but the pain and suffering in the story is very deliberate.

Dear Pigeon is up next and has a similar pacing, but the tone is one of both anger and empowerment, the author is aware that he suffers, but he wants the audience and players in his life to admit their limited participation and lack of commitment to his misery.

I think my other two favourites are Crawling Son and Soup For the Creature. Crawling Son has a spiritual feel and evokes a story of fallen angels, while the later includes a narrative of the end of a love story, a lover spurned, a lover lost.

Finally, comes the song Streets. This is the longest song on the record, at 9 minutes and 32 seconds. The build up for this one is pretty intense and delayed, the first three minutes are instrumentals; it then dips back and forth into instrumentals after the 5 minute mark. Another story to be told here about identity, maturation, and the struggle of isolation by defying conformity.

 

 

 

It’s important to recognize that while the members of this band are collaborating together, My Personal Murderer is a band not yet fully realized. I am willing to bet that Yevgen and the rest of the group will come into their own as they perform these songs and hone the focus of these tracks. Shoegazing is a genre of music which isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested in introspection and want to hear some solid music, give this album a try. It can be found on mypersonalmurderer.com and is worth the price of admission.

After all, the night is dark and full of terrors, and it can be scary to go it alone.

And that’s it for today, dear readers. I’ll see you tomorrow with another introspective genius review, or should I say review on an introspective genuis?

Tim!

Take A Look, It’s In A Book… (Learn to Love Learning)

You want to be successful at your art, dear readers? And to be successful, the first step is recognizing what is required of you. For instance, do you have the right attitude (or have you developed a strategy if it’s out of your control)? Because you need to stop making excuses and take advantage of free resources available to you. The environment you have set up for yourself can definitely factor into the equation too… But don’t fret because happiness is within reach!

You really have to start forming excellent habits though.

One of the ways to best accomplish your goals is to create lists and break those lists down into manageable tasks, but to be honest, that’s only going to take you so far. Once you accept that life is not something which you can complete and then coast through, that it goes on and on, you will change your expectations and invest in processes which allow you to live a good lifestyle. Look at last weeks Wisdom Wednesday on timotheories if you need more information on how to get started.

Once you start setting those habits, goals will naturally get completed, but an interesting occurrence can also happen, and if you aren’t ready for it, you’ll fall right off the horse.

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Boredom can set in.

And one of the surest ways to combat boredom is through discipline. But here is the secret dear readers, and it’s a theory I have found is very likely to be true. Very rarely do teachers, coaches, gurus or whatever they want to be called tell this. I hope it becomes common knowledge at some point soon – you need to be in good spirits in order to maintain discipline. That means diet, exercise, and sleep.

Okay timotheories, but those are kinda obvious habits to keep up, we already knew that! 

Touche, my friends, touche. But you see, I haven’t quite gotten to my point just yet. If you would just give me another minute to build up the anticipation, I promise the payoff should be worth it…

Diet and sleep are straightforward, eat healthy food that is unprocessed and do your best to limit carbohydrates as well as most sugars. Next, get somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep every night and commit to a routine to ensure your circadian rhythms get lined up correctly (slow to start, ramping up into the middle of the day, and winding down in the evening). Now talk to your doctor and also a certified professional about a workout which suits your current body type, and ease into it.

The problem is that we are forgetting something, and I just don’t know what… Oh right, the boredom. Those activities are boring if you aren’t also exercising your mind.

Your brain automates a lot of the daily processes you use, and your mind is integral to your mood. If you aren’t in a good mood, new routines become a lot more difficult to set up. That means reading books which stimulate your mind in positive ways. From classical literature, to self-improvement, to education in the arts and sciences, to philosophy, to biography, there are a number of genres that you can and should be reading to keep your mind sharp.

You need to read if you are going to stay the course, because just like with exercising the body, if you don’t use it, you will inevitably lose it and suffer from health problems.

Now timotheories, that’s all well and good, but a lot of us don’t have TIME for reading, we work 40+ hours a week, have to fit in meals, exercise, sleep, and spending time with loved ones, AND find time to obsess over our art. How the heck are we going to fit reading into the mix?

Well, the question has been asked before, but never has it sounded so sweet to the ears.

Should you consider listening to audio books as reading? And if you do, is it a viable alternative? Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! If you can’t make the time to sit down and read, do it while you work on routine tasks, on your commute or in down time before falling asleep.

You might not be able to absorb the information as readily, but the truth of the matter is that there are a number of ways to get a hold of audio books – look here at overdrive.com for starters. This website is what a lot of libraries use to store digital copies of their books. And if you have the technology (you should), you can put the content on your phone or mp3 player for convenience.

So do yourself a favour, develop your mind, bolster your imagination, and discover new things in the process. That’s all of theories I’ve got for a today my friends, so I’ll catch you tomorrow with a timely update.

Tim!