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!

Santa’s Workshop (Secret Santa Gift Exchange)

Happy Christmas Harry! Whoops, that’s not how I meant to start today’s post!

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Just kidding, who am I, The Grinch?

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I must be pretty grumpy that I can’t come up with some Christmas cheer and make the season just a bit lighter for you dear readers.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Wisdom Wednesday post, today is going to be all about fun and lighthearted things, because I want to send off the year right and because even timotheories needs to take a break.

Don’t worry though, I’ll be back after the 2015 year is over.

And what a year it’s been! I’ve written just over 70 posts this past 12 months, and I plan to write 5 posts a week next year, along with introducing the Cross Talk and Real Time Games videos into the timotheories YouTube channel mix. AND I want to support more local artists, so my goal is to put out 1 interview a month, so if you or someone you know is interested in talking about the arts and your art practice, please get ahold of me via timotheories@outlook.com or send a message by using the contact form below.

Now it’s time to share with you what today is all about. That’s right we are going to be talking about Santa Claus! Because I was raised with the North American Christmas holiday and know it rather intimately as a consequence.

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And are any of you familiar with the western tradition of Secret Santa? If not, I’ll break it down for you. It is essentially a group event wherein the members exchange gifts but where each person is randomly assigned one person to whom they give a gift. And they do it anonymously. Cool right?

Well we have a tradition like this in my family too – one that has been going on for the better part of 10 years, probably closer to 15 years at this point.

My immediate family all draw for a secret santa, but the twist is that we are supposed to “make” a gift for our person and we are allowed to spend money, but no more than $25 to accomplish the gift construction. It started out this way because we were a family of meager means when I was growing up (as mentioned in this post), and my siblings wanted to give gifts but usually couldn’t afford to do so because they didn’t have jobs.

Thus the Family Secret Santa Gift Exhange was born.

My contribution to this process is to make art of some sort, though I have been known to make food on occasion. And this is how I’ve tied it back to the arts, see?

What is great about this process is that you get to make something special for a loved one, and as a result the gift is just a little bit more meaningful then it would have been if it came from a store.

I bet you’re curious what I did this year, aren’t you dear readers? Well I guess I can share it with you since, it is Christmas eve and all. Plus the exchange happens on Christmas eve, and by the time this post hits the internet, the gifts will all have been shared, and the tears of joy will have dried.

Please see below for reference.

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Cute right? Well, let me explain a bit more about why I made pencil crayon drawings of Pikachu and Yoshi. Have you ever heard of Nintendo? Of course you have. But what may be lesser known to you is a game released for the N64 in 1999. It’s called Super Smash Bros. and is my all-time favourite multiplayer game by Nintendo and also my favourite fighting game ever conceived.

My youngest brother Ryan is a huge video game fan and this is one pastime we have always enjoyed together. And we get incredibly competitive when it comes to Smash Bros. So it’s significant to him. Now, this gift is years in the making, and every time I get Ryan for Secret Santa, I make him a drawing or two.

Please see below for previous entries.

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What is really fun about creating these drawings is that even if I get Ryan by chance every year, and I make 2 every Christmas, I can make them every year for the rest of my life, and I probably won’t have made all of them (upwards of 60 so far). So I may have to change my strategy to complete the original roster.

Please see below for reference.

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As you can see, I’ve only made 6 so far, and there are 6 left. But every time I add a drawing to the wall, I feel a bit better about the project. This scale of work is exactly what art should be about, creating something more than your own ego and sense of worth. If I had never ventured down this road, I would probably struggle with ideas for Ryan every year, but because I commited to making something that suited him, I stuck with the spirit of Santa and made something special, something that hopefully makes miracles.

I hope you enjoyed this last post of the season my friends, and I hope you enjoy the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you and yours, and if not, happy holidays. See you on January 3rd, 2016!

Tim!

Lollipop (Grimes Art Angels review)

I’m gonna tell you a little secret dear readers, while I don’t own any of their albums, I’m a pretty big fan of CSS.

This is probably because when I was in my early 20’s they were “cool” and “weird” and something hipsters were into, but I think my favourite thing about them was that they had a song called Art Bitch and another called Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above.

I’ve always been a fan of pop music, and if the music and lyrics were engaging, you had my money.

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Which is why today’s review is kind of awesome, because this feels like a throwback and something completely original at the same time. Also, anything with the word art in the title has to be good, right?

 

 

 

Grimes – Art Angels
released December 11, 2015
********* 9/10

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Claire Elise Boucher, better known as Grimes, is a Canadian singer/songwriter, music video director and record producer. This is her 4th studio album release and the most chart-topping example of her unique vision to date.

I have had a lot of fun listening to this album. It changes dramatically throughout, and even varies inside of specific tracks. I think some the most euphoric experiences with it have been listening to the CD in the car on my way to and fro.

But while this album is incredibly well crafted, I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as easy-listening for the more timid listener.

For instance, while I gravitated to the content almost immediately, both my girlfriend and one of my brothers couldn’t quite place the music the first time listening through themselves and as a consequence they both wanted to move on quickly.

It’s the kind of album that perfectly encapsulates the era we are living in, it pulls from a plethora of influences and captures them in fantastical and dreamlike ways. There are celtic parts, dreampop moments, psychobilly screams, spoken word in other languages, horror-movie inspired progressions, and audio samples that I’d swear came out of a video game from the 64 bit days or earlier.

Wikipedia has tried to summarize her identity by taking other summaries and mashing them together, which I find hilarious, by the way. And oh so relevant to what Grimes represents.

This quote from The Guardian says it well –

By sounding a little like everything you’ve ever heard, the whole sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard.

I’m gonna tell you something that might seem crazy, but really shouldn’t be. The reason why Grimes’ music is so awesome is not because she is a trendsetter in a sea of pop music, and as a result her music is as high of a caliber as the likes of Lorde, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, and Ellie Goulding, among others, but because she sets trends by controlling her oeuvre and making music that is interesting and has intent. This is what pop music should sound like. Authentic music by artists that suit their personalities and tastes.

Claire Elise Boucher is inviting us into her reality, as opposed to trying to work in the reverse.

Kill V. Maim is a song from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather pt II, California addresses her new hometown (a play off of Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York?), REALiTi a love song that features insanity, and Butterfly is a send-up to Mariah Carrey and environmentalism.

If you don’t believe she is electic, and seeing is your truth, check out these music videos for Flesh without Blood/ Life in the Vivid Dream and REALiTi for a visual treat and a sample of her music directing skillz.

It is an incredibly rich and diverse offering, and I like it. But my major complaint is that it doesn’t dovetail with the same explosive and powerful quality that it opens with in the first track, laughing and not being normal. But if you are looking to shake up your pop roots, this is the one for you.

 

 

 

Art Angels is a fantastic entry from a really great artist who is embracing her weirdness and producing something original. Like CSS, she has made a fan of me, but unlike CSS, I’m gonna keep to my word and continue to buy her records. You should too.

See you tomorrow for a movie review, have a good night folks!

Tim!

Old School (timotheories presents: Cross Talk)

Do you ever look at all of people who wear shirts with the statement “old school” emblazoned across the front, and shake your head?

I remember a stretch of time when it was a very popular type of slang, especially with people in my generation. It was used to refer to gaming, music, and fashion especially. But pretty much anything that came from another era was subject to the old school moniker when brought up in conversation.

There was even a movie about this idea. And it was conveniently called Old School. At the time that this movie came out, I had just turned 18 years old. And in a fury of wanting to be an adult, participate in adult culture and do adult things, I went to see Old School in the theatre.

At the time, I thought I had hit comedy gold. It was quotable, it was rude, it had nudity, and I was finally part of a club I had wished I was a part of for years. 18 year old Tim was stupid, and I hated his motivations.

Hate is a strong word, and I really really really dislike using it. But it’s true.

I wanted to like old school things, and convey my taste, my wisdom, and my virtue. And I thought that watching a movie about men in their 40s who go back to college to start a fraternity, get drunk and sleep with coeds, was a pathway to this wisdom.

Appropriating without contributing, participating without earning anything.

Hence, I dislike the term “old school.” But that’s just the surface reason, let’s go deeper.

It also seemed to me to be a lazy way of contributing to a conversation without actually offering anything up. Equivalent to when people throw the word fuck around haphazardly or follow every other sentence with it.

The height of the “old school” slang for me was in 2003, when trucker hats were cool.

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But Coolio and LL Cool J were not. Cry me a river right?

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Sorry I thought of a quip and wanted to share it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, 2003 was a fun time. With lots of gentrification and appropriation going on in popular culture. We were just starting to define this trend and eventually landed the plane with a term called the hipster.

In this period of time, everyone wanted to address this overwhelming issue of postmodernism embodied in fashion. The hipsters took from every era possible and somehow managed to upset every niche culture in the process.

It was a fashionable form of nihilism and it stuck around for a quite a while.

Nihilism, subversion, and anti-establishment anti-hero types have always existed, but we needed to re-define and send this out into the world ourselves.

And because of the post-modernist movement, hipsterdom moved with the contemporary ideas of the day.

But as we hit the 2010’s, hipsters and attacking everything became faux pas. Or at least I stopped worrying about it myself. You see, I realized, and I think most artists are started to as well, that we need to move past post-modernism if we really want to create anything worthwhile.

Sure it can be fun to deconstruct something and take details away from it, but real joy can only be found in embracing and sharing your vision with the world.

Which is why I think that modern craft is the next big thing in the art world, in the arts, and in popular culture. You see, I have this theory. My theory is that every generation needs to separate itself from the one previous, but because life works in cycles, and we reference what comes before us, children are often the spiritual successors of their grandparents ideas and belief systems.

My parents (and the parents of all generation x and generation y kids) represent ideas of deconstruction, excess, and dichotomies that exist in the  extreme. That’s not to say that they are extremists, but it was a period of carving out and making broad strokes to deal with the world. In anticipation of globalization, the internet, and major issues of human rights.

I think that the next generations focus will be on nuanced issues, on craft, on communication, and on socialization. This is why more and more people are turning to small businesses again, why artwork is becoming about skillfulness again, and why we are tackling social media.

I’m going to end today’s post by offering a promise to you dear readers.

A promise in anticipation of a new year and new challenges! Next year, I am going to unveil a new component of the timotheories mantle called Cross Talk. On Cross Talk, myself and my co-host will be addressing themes we see in film (and eventually other realms)and using those themes to offer you up much needed insights.

It can be a lot of fun to learn about production details, fan theories, and celebrity gossip, but that is not the intent of Cross Talk. Cross Talk promises to be the kind of discussion you would have in a bar or on a couch with your close friends about a topic and provide you with a fresh perspective on a universal storytelling medium!

So stay tuned because we aren’t going to appropriate we are going to celebrate and bring something new to the table!

And that’s all of the theories I have today.

Tim!

 

 

Excuses Are Like Buts (The No Excuse List)

Anybody around here ever play video games with friends?

No! That pastime is still for dorks timotheories! And dorks don’t have friends! So go play your dorky game by yourself! Dork!

Ouch.

Well I hate to break it to you, mean text-based figment of my imagination, but video games represent a pretty substantial portion of the entertainment industry, heck, it’s grown to the point where it’s a bigger deal than film in terms of revenue.

The worldwide game industry has grown by almost 10x what it was worth between 1990 (4.7 billion) and 2007 (44.9 billion). And if we look now at how much video games have made between 2007 and 2015 (115.1 billion) it’s grown by another 2.5x.

Which is why I’m going to write about levelling up in today’s Wisdom Wednesday post, dear readers.That’s right! Well it’s not why, but it’s a good lead up to the concept. And so I’m excited to tell you that it is possible for you to become a better version of yourself and it won’t have to cost you 6 millions of dollars.

For the uninitiated, I will explain what levelling up entails.

The concept of experience or experience points, is used in role-playing games (also games with RPG elements) to illicit a feeling of character growth, similar to what happens in life as you attain mastery of a complex skill. The idea goes that people tend to get better/stronger at whatever they do the more they do it. Experience points are accumulated until you have a certain amount, which then is represented by a higher level of skillfulness.

Most games start their characters off at a low level, in particular, the main character(s), and sometimes (read: often) slightly stronger characters are introduced along the way. These new characters appear to be amazing, but are only cool until something bigger and badder comes along.

Let me further illustrate my point with a popular manga series which demonstrates this thoroughly. While not a video game itself, though there have been games made based on it, the Dragon Ball (Z) (GT) (S) franchise encapsulates this idea incredibly well. Goku is a Super Saiyan now so he could beat Frieza? Well let’s make Gohan a 2nd level Super Saiyan to defeat that even more important bad guy Cell that Goku cannot beat.

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And that’s not really the point I wanted to make. But you’re hooked now, so you’ll love this next part.

I love learning and I am always looking for ways to learn more, faster. Do you feel the same way folks? Well I like to think of learning as levelling up. Or was it the other way around?

However, two of the major issues I face with this lifestyle choice and attitude to keep improving is both the cost and time involved.

For instance, I want to learn to speak French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, German, and Hebrew, but taking classes or buying language learning software can add up pretty quick! And that’s just one of my interests! We haven’t even scratched the surface of academics, programming, musical instruments, and DIY projects.

Oh sheesh y’all.

But luckily for us, the internet is a wonderful place, and as always on Wisdom Wednesdays, I am here to impart some knowledge and get you the content you can use to make your life just a little bit more productive. Or maybe reproductive if that’s something you are working on and these other things are taking up too much of your time.

The No Excuse List is self-tagged as “the best place on the web to learn anything, free.” You can learn all about academics, art, computer programming, cooking, access eBooks, HowTo’s and DIY, languages, music, and other topics.

And. it. is. all. free. So stop with the excuses.

I’m telling you about this now so that you can form some good habits well in advance of the holiday season and not participate in the New Years Resolution bandwagon. This is a useful resource and I want you to appreciate it properly. Because we all know that the January plan almost never works out for anybody. Take advantage of this directory and finally learn how to cook mexican food properly, build a liquor cabinet, program a countdown clock for the next James Bond movie and/or new J.K. Rowling movie, or discover 50+ other free online resources.

What do you want to learn friends? Did you find something on the list yet? Leave some comments! Maybe you can tell me what I should learn next?

Tim!