October 28, 2009

The Hurt Locker

Look. There are good enough reasons not to use my rating system, but the intense realism of this film is stunning, literally. I feel like it's boasting, in some roundabout way, to say it, but this is why I didn't review the Dark Knight. I might, in a similar mood, argue that it's much too good for me to do it justice. That said, I am a hypocrite. It's hard to place the Dark Knight and the Hurt Locker on a solid, straightforward rating system, and I don't think I will. I will say, however, that they are close enough that I don't want to even try to say it. That and the literal stunningness of the realism of this movie.

It has been said before that this film is the best portrayal of the Iraq war to date. I myself have seen no other, so, to say so myself would be flyspit short of meaningless.

If one is looking for an adrenalin rush, I suggest you look elsewhere. This movie will create such a feeling, occasionally, but there is an infinity times more value in it than that. Taking it as an action flick would be a cruel injustice to it, and wouldn't satisfy that desire. If you want action, I suggest you look into the Bourne or Batman series.

The Hurt Locker is about an Army bomb squad, if that's the correct terminology. Beyond that, I think, you need only know that this movie has more foul language than I've ever heard before in a movie. As with the previous, this isn't saying much, as I haven't watched a lot of movies, or even TV shows, with even close to as much language. Still, the amount of language is, like the movie, numbing.

The movie also revealed, at least to me, the extraordinary power of bombs. It's hard to put to words, in fact, so I'll cease trying.

The Hurt Locker might be among the movies I think everyone should see, along with, so far, Life Is Beautiful. To rate this movie on a scale of one to ten would be hard, but I can say that anything under nine would be unjust, and anything under eight would be a crime. This is a film I wish I'd waited to see until my family could with me. I hope I'll manage to enjoy it as much, or more, watching it again with them.

Once again, the amount of language in this film is enough to numb a person, but I watched it anyway. I hope that doesn't reflect too badly on my reputation.


October 20, 2009

Theodor Herzl

Again, I'm here to bore you with the most mundane possible topic. Anywho, nice dude lived, died, and I wrote about him. Veni, Vidi, Relinqui.

Theodor Binyamin Ve'ev Herzl was born in the year 1860 in eastern Budapest, and raised as a secular Jew. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Vienna, where he enrolled in the University of Vienna, where he studied law, finally graduating in 1884. After graduating, however, Theodor became a writer and journalist for the Neue Freie Presse.

In 1894, Herzl wrote a play, The Ghetto, in hopes of starting a debate that would find a solution to the problem of disrespect and intolerance between Jews and Christians. In the same year, Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French army was tried and convicted of a count of treason he did not commit, which led Herzl to believe that the Jews needed their own unique and distinct state, stating that Jews were one people, then separated among the peoples of the earth with no true homeland. Herzl initiated a process which eventually led to Israel's existence, and then general acceptance in the world.

On the outset, some prominent Jews condemned his efforts, but the poverty-ridden Jews of eastern Europe and Russia provided great morale for an uncertain cause. The cause was, no doubt, a rather insane endeavor, one might even say today. Herzl hoped to pay off the immense debt to the Ottoman Empire, which, in return, would, according to his plan, make some allotment of Palestine for a permanent residence for the Jews of all nations. At first, the Sultan was decidedly unwilling to allow a concentration of Jews in Palestine, much less to give them part or all of it for a permanent homeland.

The Joseph Chamberlain offered several areas of land to that the Jews might be permitted to settle in, but the most practical area had one incredible problem. In Sinai, someone would have to provide a means by which to carry water from Egypt. Because of this, the British government eliminated that option.
Herzl was willing, however, to accept the portion of Uganda that the British offered, yet, even among the poor Russian support base, the idea drew great complaints and displeasure. This eventually led Herzl to bitterness toward one of his fellow Zionists, as well as abandoning the idea, partially because the Britons retracted the proposal.

Herzl died in Vienna in 1904, having contracted pneumonia, a complication of heart disease. Herzl was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem fourty-five years later. Herzl's efforts were immensely successful in creating a desire to migrate the Jewish people to a true home, yet, in his lifetime, few would say he obtained his final, ultimate goal. Still, his work and life provided an immense push for a huge project which would take still more years, still more lives before its goal would be achieved.

I hope this is better than the time it took would make any sane human think it was.


October 18, 2009


Seriously. Am I succeeding in any degree, form or way to fulfill my purpose in this blog? NO! I'm failing! Six, seven, eight days without posting? Killing the CNS in its fourth week, having only posted TWO sequences? Giving any confirmation that Ketchup will continue any further? NO! Articles about events in Islas? NO! Campaign ads for the De Salsa campaign? NO! The Pixel? NO! After the Tree Falls? NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Pray for me.


October 12, 2009

Picture Description...'cause I don't have anything else.

For lack of something specifically created for all you people, I once again am posting a writing assignment of mine. I'm not nearly as proud of this one as of the other one. The thing was to describe a scene in a picture as if you were there.

As I walked down the rather narrow passageway between stalls of lush, colorful merchandise in the Old City, I had to watch my step on the well-polished, but roughly cobbled pathway. Salesmen were reading newspapers and books, seemingly without much to do, others looking mildly bored, as I cast my gaze around me. The sky was nearly blocked out because of the numerous artifacts of cloth hanging from poles mounted between houses. There was copious cloth everywhere, to be truthful.

A jeweler on my right took his attention from his newspaper to look at me somewhat inquiringly. I moved on more quickly; I had nearly no money to spend. Just a little ahead of me, another group of tourists were walking toward me, only one of which had stopped and seemed to be paying much attention to the wonderful variety of colors around her.

Further on, a carpet hanging down reminded me of a birthday card I once received, darkish red and dull orange. As I passed it, I turned my head again, and saw some bagged chips, well overpriced, yet rather appealing. I began to walk more quickly.

I looked back where I'd come from; likely thousands of colors were still visible, cloths hanging and draping over every available space or thing, jewelry hanging from any similarly capable surface. I almost collided with someone much like me, walking while looking backwards. We both apologized profusely, almost entirely failing to hide our wide, embarrassed grins.

I continued over the cobbles, watching around me. More beautifully crafted, ridiculously colorful rugs and carpets came into clear view, their hue and variety dazzling me. Cloths of types and varieties too numerous to count spread all around me, some light, some dark, some checkered, some plain, some almost transparent, some entirely opaque. Red, blue, yellow, orange, green--these are a mere few of the colors I saw, and those only the ones I feel able to describe.

The Old City's market was an amazing experience for one who had never seen it before. The feel of the uneven cobbles, the rare, wonderful smell, the fantastic, utterly and always-varying colors, and the kind people, will doubtless remain vivid memories in my mind for decades.


October 07, 2009


War is a long-standing problem in human existence that has lasted not mere decades or even centuries, but since man left the Garden. Though usually not the preferable method by which people resolve disagreements, war has, in numerous cases, ended up being exactly that, often yielding greater sorrow and horror than if it were not used. Still, war has proven through history that, if used well, it can provide greater security for the planet at large, and whatever country or region it is fought in. Countries have seldom come from war better off than when they entered it, but it can happen.

War is a trial, a long, hard journey some don't survive--no, more accurately, none survive. War is a hard thing to come from alive, let alone unscathed either physically or mentally. War is one of the greatest hardships we, as humans, have put ourselves through, time and time again. We enter it, hate it, leave it, and repeat the process.

Another interesting aspect of war is that it is so complex. Few would fight in a war against anyone without good reason, meaning those who go to war either believe what they are fighting for, or are coerced by immoral means to do so. In the arena of reasons the average person would willingly go to war are numerous possible disagreements, previous injustices, and simple unreasoned anger, for varying reasons. Again, war is complex. There are reasons why every single soldier still carries his weapon; seldom are they even similar. This is mainly because people are fighting the war. People provide for the possibility of war, and they, in a limited sense, provide the means to end it, also in a limited sense.

The problem, ultimately, is sin. In a world without sin, war would be a word that made no more sense than Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. In a world without sin, war would never happen; neighbor would love neighbor as they were called from the beginning to do. War is simply one of the hugest and most terribly unnatural products of something also utterly unnatural, sin.

There have been at least two recent major attempts to stifle the necessity for war in a sinful world, but, at least in my opinion, both have failed rather miserably. The simple reason for this is that they look for peace in the wrong place. They look for peace by eliminating the means to make war. This can never succeed. If we have no nukes, we will use guns. If we have no guns, we will use whatever heavy object we can to batter our enemies to pieces. If we have none of those, we will use our fists until we break them. By ourselves, we are incapable of ending war forever. What is the worth of any attempt to end it temporarily?

In the film, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," we are peacefully visited by an alien species (strangely like us, for some reason). This species has attained a thoroughly fictional Utopian state by creating guardians, whose sole objective is to protect justice and order. The flying saucer (as it happens, so unpredictably, to be) lands in the middle of a baseball field, covering a good portion of it. Within days, the saucer is surrounded by hundreds of military personnel. We, already stimulated to such paranoia by fiction infinite of such an invasion, are literally scared out of our wits. We surround this thing, which we cannot understand, and assume instantly that it, or creatures contained, could only mean us wrong. We live, fearing anything we don't understand, ready to annihilate something because we are afraid of that which we do not understand.

Our faith, as Christians, does not assure our security in this life. On the contrary, it promises that the world will hate us, eventually to degrees similar to those only tentatively described, such as Nero, to mention one of the worst. Our ultimate goal in life is not to attain peace, but to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. In the end, the end of war is a mere pittance by comparison.

War is horrible. I don't even need to have seen it to know that. Attempts to stifle all war in any shape or form is not only wrong and impossible, but dangerous, because of the numerous unresolved conflicts already in existence in the world. Many of them should and can be solved by peaceful negotiations. Some, however, are necessary horrors in our daily lives. We must bear them, hoping only for the survival and furtherance of the good news, so that some of war's slain will not die in vain.

(Note: This is an assignment for Creative Writing...just FYI.)


October 01, 2009


Sorry. I've got all sorts of...WO! I never noticed that! Sorts has RTS in it! *whacks out*

Anywho, I decided to START a list of the Reasons I'm Still Alive. I've thought of doing this in graphical form, but my writingish self jumped the gun.

1. God. Duh.
2. Homemade Mac and Cheese.
3. Screwdrivers.
4. Socks.
5. Peanut Butter sandwiches. Preferably honey, but jelly works fine.
6. Back scratches! Good grief, it's got to have been a whole decade since I had a satisfactory one of 'em flippers.
7. Quivie! She may be breaking down, sadly, but she's done a whopping epic job of entertaining me in boring times, and drowning out irate siblings, occasionally! I hope she hasn't provided means to ruin my ears, though. That'd be sad.
8. Carrots!
9. Mushroom clouds.
10. Cheap laser pointers that require a couple hundred batteries to run for more than a year!
11. Ubuntu, as well as other flavors of Linux.
12. MicroSD cards! Augh, are they tiny.
13. Blender!
14. the GIMP!
15. Inkscape!
16. Uh...my mouse! I just love the thing! If only it'd last a whole decade. Then I'd give the thing a proper burial or put it on display for years to come!
17. Squares, like four and sixteen! *freaks out*
18. Cheap second-hand Dell desktops!
19. The drool-swabbers in electronics stores!
20. Music!
22. Jeans!
23. The rare urge to do all my schoolwork for the week in one day!
24. The occasional epic teacher!
25. The ever-recurring urge to change topic from schoolwork!
26. Apple earbuds! They rock!
27. This blog!
28. My family! (precedence collapsed around bullet one, FYI...)
29. Writing! Darn it, I love that stuff.
30. Keyboards. Dude, I hate using a pencil or pen and paper.
31. Gmail! I so owe Google.
32. 32 is not a square.
33. Numbers in general.
34. The radioactivity sign thingy.
35. Thoroughly retro implementations of games like XGalaga: Hyperspace. Dune 2000! Age of Empires: the Rise of Rome!
37. XCKD!
38. Compiz Fusion! (if you don't know what this is, 90% of the appeal of Linux to average people is entirely unknown to you. Don't Youtube it if you've used Windows your whole life.)
39. Rippin' computers apart, especially, but other stuff too. AND THEN PUTTING THEM BACK TOGETHER!
40. Can't stop here.
41. MY CAMERA! (Canon Powershot SD780, if you care) The urge to take a picture isn't as frequent with me as others, but I still hate not to carry the thing with me at all times.
42. Monster old CRTs that can do 2048x1536, automatically and instantly pwning anything in the same price range. Actually, there's nothing in that price range to pwn. It's kind of sad, but, at the same time, totally awesome. I got my current CRT for 2 bucks. Seriously, finding an equal or better monitor for ten times the price would be like looking for a single, specific transistor in a Core i7.

Don't worry, only I was meant to understand allll of that. More to come, probably. *coughagain*

*EDIT* And, no, I did not stop at fourty-two for any reason except that I couldn't think of anything really quickly and felt like doing schoolwork instead.