Twilight Zone (Daylight Savings Time)

This isn’t nothing new. We’re playing for keeps in the daylight, in the dark, in the twilight of our hearts.

People have been setting back their clocks for the better part of a century now. First proposed by an American inventor and politician by the name of Benjamin Franklin, back in the late 18th century, Franklin’s idea was to have citizens of Paris wake up earlier in the day and take advantage of the natural light; a means of savings on candle usage.

Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Eventually the idea was refined and defined by New Zealand entomologist and astronomer George Hudson, with German and Austria-Hungarians being earlier adopters in 1916. Since that time numerous countries have adopted it into their calendar year with daylight savings time happening in late winter and ending during fall, when we switch back to standard time. The literal notion of daylight savings time is to spring ahead by an hour, but the rationale is far more complex.

In an industrialized society we follow a clock based schedule, with activities that are not dictated by sunlight, by changing the schedule as the days shorten, we effectively gain an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, when most people are off from their work.

But in agrarian work, daylight dictates how much time is spent in labour. Whether one way or another is better is unclear, but where you live in the world does make a difference in the impact of the event. The closer we get to the equator the less daylight varies throughout the year, while the further north we go, the more wildly the daylight length swings throughout the year.

Hands of Fate

To be honest, I don’t know where I truly fit into this debate. Having danced this dance for quite some time now, it often feels great to get that extra hour of sunlight during the day, but the disruption to my sleep in the first place is definitely unsettling. As something of a night owl, I usually better use of the evening hours anyway, and up in northern Alberta our winters are longer with less daylight, while our shorter summers with longer daylight can be a welcome distraction… And so I can see merit to both sides of the argument.

I will say this though. No matter what art form you choose to make dear readers, and where you live in the world, you absolutely need to find a schedule that works for your own predispositions. It is a daily fight to make that art, so no matter where you live, it’s your responsibility to work within the environment you live in.

theories Summarized

I’ve gotten quite accustomed to using the #liveyourlife whenever I can in social media creative cuties, and I think it rings true here too. Whether or not you need lots of daylight to function properly, and I’m betting that is true for most of us, then absolutely take advantage of what you can get in your climate. That may mean more productivity in summer months and hibernating in the winter, but only you can figure out what that really looks like.

With that mentioned, don’t forget to set your clocks forward this weekend, wouldn’t want you to sleep in on Monday and something melodic.

And just like that, I’m out of theories for the day. Or should I say time?

Tim!

 

Begin Again (Arrival review)

Sometimes artists are misunderstood, and sometimes it’s just a case of poor translators. Or maybe those artists are operating on another level of language?  A love language if you will. Oooh foreshadowing…

I personally would like to think that our attempts to understand the alien are important and when a film does well at the box office, more so when it’s a film which is about the other, it’s time to stand up and take notice. And reframe some thoughts.

Another first contact film you say? Well, I say it’s the best one.

Arrival (2016)

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Director: Jeff Nichols
released on blu-ray February 7, 2017
********* 10/10

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IMDB: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Audience Score 82%
The Guardian: ****/*****

 

Denis Villeneuve is a French Canadian director. Yay for Canadian content! He’s a pretty swell guy too. I’ve reviewed one of his films before, but this time I think he has a shot at real international success: if you consider the Academy Awards a big deal that is. And since I wrote that review he also started development on the new Dune movie, so yeah. Cool guy. Cool cool cool.

Arrival is a story about aliens. Well, on the surface anyways.

Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) relives the childhood of her daughter, who has just died of cancer. Fast forward to Louise in the midst of a university lecture, when twelve spacecraft land across the Earth. U.S. Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) enlists Louise to aid physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) in decipher the alien language to find out the purpose of their visit.

Visiting the spacecraft of the “heptapods” the scientists discover that the aliens have an advanced circular language which is communicated via ink flares and in which whole thoughts appear in ink circles within seconds, regardless of the complexity of the sentence. Louise also beings to dream of her daughter and the father.

When Louise unravels that the aliens want to “offer weapon” to them, similar translations of “use weapon” are uncovered at other spacecraft sites. Certain countries like China respond by closing off global communications, while other prepare for an attack. Louise further argues that weapon might mean tool in this case. Some US soldiers plan to bomb the spacecraft and succeed.

After an explosion goes off which almost kills Ian and Louise, Ian determines that the circular symbols relate to time, and that the twelve alien sites are each sharing part of the technology.

China prepares for war, and Louise finds her way back to the aliens. They explain that she has been seeing the future and that their tool AKA language allows humanity to change their understanding of time. They offer this gift in exchange for help 3000 years into the future. Louise returns to camp but has a vision of the future wherein the UN has implemented the language and the Chinese general who ordered the attack on the heptapods is thanking her for turning him around.

She was able to do this by calling him on his personal mobile in the present, while he shows her his number in the future – she convinces him of the truth in the present by repeating the same whispers of his wife’s dying words to her in the future. This is when we learn that Ian is the father of Hannah and the husband of Louise. It just hasn’t happened yet. Ian admits his love for Louise, while Louise knows the reason they eventually split up is because Louise knows Hannah will die.

Despite this future knowledge, when Ian talks about babies with his wife, she agrees to it.

Pros: The plot twists are original, the story is realistic, and the tone is gripping. The idea of language is carried throughout the film, and somehow we are taken right along with it, to a very satisfying conclusion. Amy Adams is a showstopper in this film.

Cons: At times the moodiness and melancholy are a bit much to take in. You need to be completely relaxed and willing to sit still for the full runtime in order to enjoy the payoff. The details are key in this story and Villeneuve is relying heavily on them. It’s a thinking persons’s scifi.

Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes

Points of Interest: The ink circles were created by Montreal artist Martine Bertrand. Yay Canadian content! It is also the artist’s son who created Hannah’s drawings. The movie is based on a short story titled Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang.

It might seem obvious at this point what Arrival is about. Aliens. Well no, actually. It’s about time and the relationships between people define our sense of time. Language is merely an activator towards that resulting outcome, and once we can appreciate another language, we open ourselves up to visiting and revisiting themes of our lives, and in some cases, becoming available for new ones.

theories Summarized

I cannot say enough good things about this film. I have to admit when I first sat down to watch it, I was a little bit tired and disappointed at how slowly paced it was, but then on a second viewing, starting over, which I find a tad ironic now, I was able to settle into Villeneuve’s dirty sci-fi and appreciate the thoughtfulness. And I kept thinking about it all week, which is what a good movie should have you do. The arrival of this realization was worth the wait.

Tim!

Jockstrap-on (Everybody Wants Some!! review)

I kind of hated dating when I was a younger buck. Mostly because of all the hormones, the uncertainty of identity, and dealing with the scores of other impressionable youth who were in the same boat as I.

It was messy and unclear, but giving myself and others roles made it easier to navigate, and in hindsight it probably was the most mature way to deal with the situation.

But hey, I wanted some, and everybody else did too.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Cast: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Juston Street, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Temple Baker
Director: Richard Linklater
released on blu-ray July 12, 2016
******** 8/10

everybodysmall

IMDB: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, Audience Score 76%
The Guardian: ****/*****

Richard Linklater is an American filmmaker, screenwriter, and actor. He is also one of my favourite directors of all-time. To quote Wikipedia:

Linklater is mostly known for his natural humanist films which mainly revolve around personal relationships, suburban culture, and the effects of the passage of time.

Linklater is responsible for Dazed and Confused (the spiritual predecessor to Everybody Wants Some!!), Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Waking Life, Boyhood, A Scanner Darkly, Fast Food Nation, School of Rock, and Bernie.

And those are just the movies of his that I’ve seen. I STILL haven’t seen Slacker, SubUrbia, The Newton Boys, Tape, nor Me and Orson Welles. But let’s not talk about The Bad News Bears remake. *shudders*

Influenced by the film Raging Bull, Linklater has always made movies about travelling, whether literal or a metaphor. Never focusing in on one theme or end goal, his movies resolve themselves in a loose way, much like life itself.

Everybody Wants Some!! is a perfect example of this play on suburbia, timing, and relationships. Set in Texas in the fall semester of 1980 and taking place over the first few days of college, we meet freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) as he moves into the house he’ll share with college baseball teammates over the period of his college education.

Sharing the screen time with Jake are his roommate Billy AKA “Beuter” (Will Brittain), teammates Finnegan (Glen Powell), Roper (Ryan Guzman), Dale (Quinton Johnson), Plummer (Temple Baker) and several others.

Over the course of the movie Jake and his new friends cruise the streets to meet women, get competitive over ping pong, basketball, drinking, and other games, and host a couple of parties. Not to mention attending a disco, a country bar, a punk show, AND a theatre house party.

We watch the group dynamic quickly evolves over the weekend, and Jake develops a relationship with Beverly (Zoey Deutch) (one of the women he met while cruising the streets at the outset of the film), it isn’t long before the film closes out with Jake and Plummer in their first class, sound asleep.

ProsLinklater has a delicate touch, and he’s able to inject us into the lives of his characters without giving us a villain to best or a heart to win. He manages to articulate brotherhood and time in such a venerable way, that becomes quite sad when you see the credits roll and realize it’s time to go.

Cons: You do feel tested at times in this experience, wondering if all of this competition really is necessary and if the characters wouldn’t benefit from some breaks in their self-imposed roles.

Runtime1 hour 57 minutes

Points of Interest: Linklater has said that Everybody Wants Some!! is a continuation of Boyhood as it picks up right where that movie left off, conceptually. The original title of the film “That’s What I’m Talking About” is a line from Dazed and Confused, and often quote in this film.

The major takeaway of this movie is that dialogue is at the centre of it. It’s a coming of age tale in a time when masculinity was overtly tied to direct competition. And it demonstrates rather well the challenges that young men face in their conquest of meeting young women, whether that means putting on bell bottoms, adorning a cowboy hat, ripping up a white t-shirt with blood and ash or ultimately (and cleverly on Linklater’s part) putting on a costume to cozy up to the artistic. And he manages to make interest in sports way more nuanced than it’s ever been on film before.

The attitudes these young men hold for themselves, their peers, and women are rather basic at the root, but underneath the costume of jock wearing costume to get a woman, they reveal they are complex and just as lost as the rest of us dumb nerds.

Tim!

The Life You Want (Flea Markets)

I’ve been thinking a lot of about value in the past few weeks dear readers.

Maybe it’s because I want you to invest in certain things and avoid others, maybe it’s because I feel overwhelmed with opportunities and need to be more vigilant with my own time, but mostly likely I suspect it’s because I wrestle with dichotomies of all kinds on a regular basis. Good VS evil, work VS play, right VS wrong, love VS hate, indulgence VS frugality. Caring too much VS caring about nothing.

I’ve been told by many people that as we age we become more settled in our opinions and more confident in our lifestyles, but I often wonder if that is just an expression used to pacify and remove personal responsibility.

There is this comic I found a long time ago, by B. Patrick that I think helps with the explanation but is by no means a solution in itself. The comic series is called Eat Shit & Die and this one below is no.202 from back in 2011.

2012-01-04-Eat_Shit_And_Die_202

Let me elaborate – Whatever you can personally effect and control in your life is the portion of your life that dictates what you want. Whatever you cannot control, be it health related, genetics, things that are hardwired, those things you cannot control, but even if you remove those elements there is still a hell of a lot that you can effect.

And maybe circumstances change and things you used to control are taken away from you, but acceptance is important and the life you want needs to be within a framework, hence the expression play the hand that you’ve been dealt.

Which leads us right into today’s timely post. Which happens to be about flea markets.

The visit to the flea market for me is a perfect example of seizing opportunity, for both the buyer and the seller. The flea market is a community made up of people watching, treasure hunting, binging and bargaining.

Using myself as an example, I visit the market to find and reclaim objects that once held value for someone else and bring those objects back into the spotlight – What might seem like a piece of garbage can become a valued treasure, and if you know the market value of things, you can negotiate on a price that is fair and find a home for something that was no longer being used. This is one of the places I go to find albums and movies that are no longer in distribution readily because I know what those records are worth.

Flea markets are a type of space that all people to sell and barter merchandise. They can be indoors or outdoors, and the regularity of the market depends on the type of space used, but they always differ from solitary booths because of the community appeal.

These venues are a way to find goods that are invaluable and it’s all about perception vs expectation with them. As the comic says, if you want to change your life, change what’s important to you. Make an effort to pursue your dreams in unconventional ways, for me, sometimes that means visiting a flea market to get that sense of wonder back.

What do you think? I’m out of theories for now, but I’ll see you creative cuties on Sunday evening with something stimulating. Share! Subscribe! Join the conversation!

Tim!

 

 

The End of The Rainbow (Evaluate Life)

Well, we have arrived dear readers. It happens today.

Today you make the decision. The important one. The one that will change your life.

Don’t be scared, making decisions comes naturally to all of us. You made the decision to click on the link that led you here in the first place, didn’t you?

And that, my friends, is what life is all about. Making decisions.

HipsterMeme

But you’ve been putting one of those decisions off haven’t you? That’s right, I know you know which one. It’s okay though, we’ve all been there. But YOU do need to admit to yourself that you’ve been delaying action, and haven’t been addressing the problem at hand. Once you do that, then we can begin the process of changing your life. Now, depending on how much of a delay you’ve made with this decision, you may need to act immediately or spend some time in thought and in evaluation.

Which leads us to the wisest topic o’the day.

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It’s time for you to evaluate your life my friends. The last preliminary topic in the Life Hacks series, and a great one at that. But I’m going to give you a summary of this key life skill before we go into more detail.

You need to start a proper life evaluation by making major decisions in the morning and then divvy up your day based on your productivity habits. Assess your passions at the end of each year, each month, each week, and before you go to bed. If you can do that you’ll focus and delegate out the unnecessary. Flexibility is important too, but if you get stuck try this – pretend you are away from work and/or home for a week, and you only have a few hours to accomplish your tasks.

Now that we’ve got a roadmap, let’s plot the journey rather carefully you creative cuties.

  1. Make major decisions in the morning – Start your day the same way every morning by determining what that first/second/third important task of the day is. Simplify and clarify the actions needed to complete said task(s) and also ask yourself why it’s important to accomplish. If you can figure out how and why to eat the frog, you can get there on your terms.
  2. Assess you passions – How do you feel? What is important to you? Prioritize them accordingly, and then determine if your friends are valuable (supportive or troublemaking), your identity is self-created or defined for you, your emotional output towards life is solid, if your sense of wonder is intact, you make mistakes AND acknowledge them, you take care of your health, have a good family life, and you are truly putting your best foot forward.
  3. Delegate out the unnecessary – Surround yourself with people who are happy, and step back from habits of inaction and uncertainty. When you take on too much, just because, you are limiting yourself. You can share tasks with others and make your own load a little lighter.  Life is full of uncertainty, but it’s up to you to go outside the lines in life’s colouring book.
  4. Flexibility is important – This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but if you truly know your life’s purpose and you have the volition to stick to it, then you must learn to adjust the course as often as necessary to assure your success.
  5. Imagine you have a few precious hours – If time is money, then truly, money is only as good as the time spent. Fortunes can be earned and lost many times over in a lifetime, but life itself is fleeting, so consider that age old problem: what if you only had a day to live, how would you spend it? Then you can decide if that task is leading you towards or away from the point.

Does this seem foreboding and like work. Well I hate to break it to you my dear readers, but if you’ve been following along in the last few months, you’d know that none of the 10 skills I asked you to invest in were going to be simple, but I know you have it in you, because you have a life purpose and a creative fire that needs fuel.

I’m out of theories for now, but be sure to check back tomorrow when I examine something timely and get you thinking about another kind of hidden treasure.

Tim!