Alexander Film Works

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Summer Hiatus – Why It Doesn’t Exist

In Film and Related on May 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Well, seeing that tomorrow is the first of June, and “summer” (such as it is, here in the midwest) has arrived, many among you will be enjoying your two and a half to three months off from school, or your two to three weeks vacation during these middle months of the year.

Not me, though.  I have far too much to do… clean and empty the house, try to get my financing together for fall semester at university, get my vehicle ready to make the treks to campus when Fall starts, possibly get a summer class going in July, and maintaining my composure despite everything Life tries to throw at me.  (And, don’t be fooled… Life throws beanballs.)

Still and all, it’s not a bad thing, this frenetic preparation… it keeps you from obsessing over your own problems.

“Write and shoot” is my new mantra for Fall… it’s what I will need to be doing.

You will be hearing more about this.

Al B.

My Care Tag

In Think About It on May 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

A scholarship contest I applied to recently asked a series of four questions on their online application.  This in itself is not unusual, but the questions themselves were not the typical sort you would see on a “traditional ” application form.

As an example:

Q:  If you could write a “care tag” for yourself, like those that are on your clothes, what would it say?

And this is what I wrote:

For Best Results:

1. Refill with coffee frequently.

2. Handle with care – danger of explosion during exam periods.

3. Caution: Working parts may fail without notice.

4. Make sure broadband Internet connection is enabled.

5. When cleaning, use warm (not hot) water and non-corrosive detergents.

6. Sugar in excessive amounts can void warranty.

7. Allow sufficient downtime to maintain efficiency; 24/7 operation is not recommended.

8. Keep hands, feet, and clothing away from intake ports; this may result in damage to unit and/or serious injury.

9. Use responsibly, but do not overuse.

This list is subject to further revision in the future.  You’ll know when that happens.

Al B.

The Bleeding Edge (And Why I Don’t Live There)

In It Bugs Me on May 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Let’s talk about the newest, and the best, and the stuff that all the technogeeks slaver over…

And why you’ll not see me using it.

Most of the things I use are already “burned in”, and have the initial bugs worked out.  I don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with spontaneous flameouts with something so new that all the documentation isn’t written yet.  The biggest problem with the new, the latest, and the unproven as far as I’m concerned is the rabid slavering of those who have to have that new, that latest thing.

I just don’t get that… I used an old Underwood upright typewriter when I was young, and was quite happy to do so; I moved up to an electric typer only when the Underwood couldn’t be coaxed into service any more.  It took me three years to go from MS-DOS 3.3 to MS-DOS 6.1, and about the same length of time to go to Windows 95.

I have some computers that still run Win95; a couple that run Win98, and some that still do WinXP. (I never bothered with Windows 2000 or WinME.)  This unit I write on now runs Vista, and my wife Megan’s laptop uses Windows 7.  Why?  Because that’s what they came with.

I don’t care much for these automatic “force you to upgrade” programs that don’t give you a choice which version of a program you want to use… I live with them because I must.

Maybe I am missing out on progress, on being the first with the newest, and possibly the best… What I know is my nerves are much more settled, and I have fewer worries on that score.

My two drachmas worth; your mileage may vary.

Al B.

Politics – What I Don’t Like About It

In It Bugs Me on May 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I am what is known as a “non-traditional” student.  Because of my age and experiences, I have a different viewpoint from most of the other students I attend university with.  My qualifications for a President may be different than others; I think that someone who wants to be President should be able to consider all the alternatives and foreseen consequences of actions that our government takes, and should be someone who is able to negotiate and compromise except when it comes to matters of principle.  After all, there are certain lines where one must stand firm; “this far, but no farther.”

I am not pleased at the stridency that the “religious right” (in my opinion, they are neither) and the “Tea Party” are injecting into our political debates.  Can’t we disagree without being disagreeable?  There is NO absolute right or absolute wrong… life is not binary, but is an almost infinite shading of grays between the extremes.

Abortion rights are not ours to allow or deny; the proper decision belongs to the woman involved, with or without the advice of her medical professional and/or spouse.  The government “entitlement” programs have become, instead of the supplements to income they were designed to be, the entire income for far too many people,  The United States Tax Code is far too long, far too complicated, and filled with far too many contradictory and confusing exemptions, exceptions, and benefits.  Starting over from a blank page sounds to me like the best idea.

I have been disappointed in recent decisions of the Supreme Court, and disagree with their interpretation of the Second Amendment.  This being said, I am still convinced that our system, under the Constitution, is the best system of government designed to date.

I suppose that I could be classified, if someone decided to do so, as a disaffected moderate independent.  The last Democratic President I fully trusted was Harry Truman.  The last Republican President I fully trusted was Roosevelt… as in Theodore.  I think most conservatives go too far to be conscionable, and most liberals go too far to be believable.

What’s wrong with the middle of the road?  You can see what’s coming from there, and move where you have to move in order to meet the challenge.

The foregoing was submitted in an essay competition for a scholarship. Lord knows, I can use the money.

My Opinions on DVD Releases

In Think About It on May 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm

There are new releases out on DVD that I’ll talk about from time to time.

This review will be about The King’s Speech and Megamind.

The King’s Speech – starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush.  This DVD is a new issue from the 2010 Academy Award®-winning film, with beautiful visuals, stunning costumes, and performances that deserved to win awards.

The story of the Duke of York, who became King George VI after the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, and the battles he underwent to master his stammering with the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist, is inspiring even today, with George’s daughter Elizabeth II having been on the throne for almost sixty years.

My verdict:  Recommended in completely unqualified terms.

Megamind – Voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt.  The big celebrity-studded one from Dreamworks Animation, who brought you Shrek and many others, this tells the hero-villain pairing from the villain’s point of view.  Metro Man, who rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet at the same time as Megamind, had all the advantages… Megamind had only his brain and his companion, Minion.

The battles, usually refereed by reporter/hostage Roxanne Ritchi, almost always go to Metro Man… except for the last one.

So, what do you do when you get everything you want… and find out it isn’t what you want after all?

My verdict:  Funny, touching, and a nice twist on the hero/villain thing.

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