Writing #20: Everything the Light Touches

I’ve really enjoyed collaborating in the Writing 101 course. More than I could plot in words, but I’m gonna try anyway.

Imagine moving into a cave. Everyone keeps saying how wonderful it is, but when you arrive, it’s dark and cold and dank. At first, you stumble around l, trying to move in. Then as time passes you get more frustrated trying to establish a life in such “squalid conditions”.

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Writing #19: Time, Balance and the Investments for Results

I asked my brother @jonathanandsyllables if I could feature him on my blog for writing assignment #19. I gave free rein in terms of topic and he cranked this out in, like, 15 minutes. Ridiculous!!

I read this over and was like “Dude, you need to write more, this is dope!”. But he’s mostly art driven so check out his artwork on his Tumblr page, his work is AH-mazing

In the meantime, here’s his post. Feel free to comment below!

Time, Balance and the Investments for Results

by Jonathan M.

What you put the most into gives you the most bountiful return. But how much is too much? How to find a good balance?

HOW DO?

Often, we tend to romanticize excessiveness. Someone who spent 20 hours working and four hours sleeping daily is hailed as a “hard worker” or a “visionary.” At the expense of his/her health you say? What dedication!

Eh… Not really.

Continue reading Writing #19: Time, Balance and the Investments for Results

Writing#18: Dancing -Ain’t no Thang!!

First Position

“Alright class, welcome to Spanish dancing 101. Today, we’ll be focusing on the basics.”

Pause while counting.

“Okay, we don’t have enough guys for partners, so are their any girls who want to learn lead position?”

Looks for raised hands. Mine shoots up into the air.

“Great, so you girls, come on this side with the guys. Good, now pick your partners.”

My first dancing class was… interesting. And confusing.

Continue reading Writing#18: Dancing -Ain’t no Thang!!

Writing #16: The Online Presence

Self censor – to restrict or edit one’s own behavior in order to appear incognito, or to remain innocuous. To suppress one’s natural instinct or inclination for the sake of blending in.

Self censorship is like living in a cage of your own design, where every instinct and inclination is denied and where silence remains the preferred method of communication. My experience.

But I wasn’t just censoring my online presence. I was censoring myself.

Continue reading Writing #16: The Online Presence

Writing #14: A day of Penance (fiction)

A short story in first person. Be forewarned, it’s dark.

  • “So, how are you?”
  • ‘I’ paste a smile on ‘my’ face. “Doing good, how are you?”
  • “Doing fine. How’s your day?”
  • ‘I’ tape the corners of ‘my’ mouth to maintain the smile. “Good, how’s yours?”
  • “Doing good.”
  • “Great.

The chilled metal stings my fingers. I pull my shirt over my head and stuff it into the locker, along with my boots, wallet, and other items. Slamming the door shut, I jimmie the padlock through the handle and secure the locker. I hang the key around my neck.

Continue reading Writing #14: A day of Penance (fiction)

Writing #13: Let’s get to the point

I don't like to talk about day stuff, when I sell my time for dollars and cents. But I think that this is important to get off my chest, not just as a release, but because I intend to speak as a friend to a friend.

I’ll come right out and say it; whomever told you that you’re a robot without emotions or feelings should be bitch-slapped and stomped. I’m not violent, but I’ll deliver as necessary.

You articulated with words today the emotion that we all felt. You keep telling me that you are a terrible speaker, that you’re quiet and stoic. You are more expressive to me than people who go around talking 24/7. If people say otherwise, it’s because they don’t use their eyes or their senses to go beyond words to what is being said without words.

When the time is right, I’ll say this to you in person. But you are the most expressive person, who uses words wisely, and in the right quantity. So don’t listen to those people who tell you that you’re robotic or heartless, because they’re wrong.

They are WRONG.

You are an emotional human. Just as much as the next person. I admire that you don’t fall to pieces at the drop of a hat. I admire that resilience inside of you.

I admire you.

Writing #12: Hitman -Agent 47 (2015)

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
I’m pretty sure I’m the last person to see this film, but you never know. I will be going into non vague detail here, so if you don’t want to know, click it away, click it away, click it away now! (thanks RHCP).

Give me one word to describe this film. 

Massive disappointment.

…That was two words. It must have been bad.

It was.

Okay, tell me about it.

I’ll break it down into three main parts.

  • Storyline/plot
  • Characters/actors
  • Camera angles/stunts/logistics

Storyline/plot

Let’s save the worst for first, shall we?

The plot was a slam dunk toilet flush. The writers for this film should have asked for feedback from five year olds, because even they could have done a better job.

Two main points stand out in particular.

First, the fact that the daughter, who is supposedly the most paranoid person on the planet, let some smooth talking, frankly creepy, fellow “rescue” her without any questions asked (yes, she asked questions, but not the important question of: “Why are you so interested in my father?”). She doesn’t notice this guy staring at her on the bus, her “spidey” senses don’t kick in when this guy tries to accost her, and she’s all too willing to go down a dark alley to a vague getaway car without even thinking twice.

But she was getting shot at, did you really expect her to stand there and interrogate her savior at that point?

Ever seen the Bourne trilogy? The guy gets shot at in the train station too, only he found his own way out. Didn’t follow some stranger to their car.

She was pretty cheap too, didn’t even have to lure her with candy to get her in the car.

Second, she doesn’t even seem to notice how desperate and antagonistic John Smith gets when asking about where her father is. Nope, no danger here. Why don’t I just show you EVERYTHING I have on my father. Zero vetting process for entry. I didn’t even ask who you worked for, or any form of detail on your objectives, but please; have the keys to the kingdom why don’t you?

Eyeroll.

The plot was complete garbage, it strung together a ton of locations without cohesion. And the paranoid girl keeps running toward danger despite her innate ability/uncontrollable instinct to do everything possible to avoid danger?

You so sure she’s the “advanced” assassin? Cuz that sounds a mite defective to me…

Then, the bad-ass assassin shows up, and is supposed be this awesome character… that couldn’t hit a kill shot on John Smith for the longest time. Yes, his body is made of titanium subdermal armour, but what happened to armour piercing rounds in quick succession to the eye sockets?

Seriously?! Where did that come from?

I watch a lot of action movies, can we please get back to the point?

My favorite is at the end. The father grabs the “inhaler” when they drag him out of the interrogation room, and he waits an entire…20 minutes to use it?

Could have saved everyone a lot of shooting if he just blew up everyone, including titanium freak. But noooo, let’s wait until my daughter almost gets shot and 47 has to take a bullet for her.

And then 47 acts like he didn’t get shot plus there is no blood anywhere?

He doesn’t feel pain, remember?

Sure, but he must be an undead if he doesn’t even bleed when he gets a body shot (Is he a necromonger? cuz that would make sense).

Yep, just walk it off.

I’ll keep this brief because I have 2 more sections to go into, but you get the idea.

Storyline/plot: 1/10

 

Charactors/actors

So everyone moaned about the absence of Olyphant and I commiserate, but people, please! Rupert Friend and Timothy Olyphant are two different people, you couldn’t seriously be expecting the same exact acting style and feel.

True, Olyphant brought a load of grittiness to the first film that Friend didn’t compete with, but I like that Friend took his own direction rather than attempt to mimic someone else. It comes off very genuinely bad-ass within his acting as Agent 47, and reduced my cringe factor tremendously.

Then Zachary Quinto popped up and I was like -wtf Spock!?

I never forget a face.

He brought his own level of creepy to the character which was very appropriate for the persona. Very mannequin-like in a determined-to-kill-you way. Interesting that the writers decided to make John Smith confident in everything but how he measures up to 47. He must have small privates a strong sense of inferiority.

Katia, I didn’t care for at all, she annoyed me in that way that unreasonable expectations do. You can’t tell me she’s smart and dumb, strong and weak, kick-ass and wimpy-ass all at the same time. Just doesn’t gel. And who the heck is dumb enough to take apart 47’s weapons when he and those very weapons are the only things between you and death? It’s like a Jew burning the only boat to England during WWII- doesn’t make sense!

I’ll give this to Hannah Ware, she fully committed to her character! I almost forgot about how much I loved her in Oldboy…

The other characters were secondary in my opinion and did their job well as being secondary characters. Even the (secondary?) villan, Le Clerq, came off very two dimensional. He wants Katia’s father- alive, and he wants Katia dead and/or alive depending on his mood. Oh, and everyone is trying to kill him too.

That’s about it.

Characters/actors: 6/10

 

Stunts/Logistics/Camera Angles

Dear stunt people, you did an excellent job.

As for the “fatalities”, if there were actually blood anywhere near the proper quantities, I would have been more thoroughly sold.

But half the car chases didn’t make sense… What happened to cars forming roadblocks instead of eight motorcycles zipping around for the car garage chase? What happened to blocking the intersection with mac trucks instead of steel wire harpoons?

Captain Ahab would have been proud.

Blame the writers? Yes.

The camera angles were greeaaat! Loved the dynamic slow motion, dramatic zoom, key focal points, etc. The best was near the beginning when 47 goes to the hotel and he’s reflected through the walls in infinity- great move by the director. Adds dimension and foreshadowing in a menacing way.

Well done.

Stunts/Logistics/Camera Angles: 9/10

 

Conclusion

This movie was a far cry from the first. The writing was painful -physically. The actors did an excellent job, but the writers left much to be desired with their nonsensical plot! Literally everything but the writing was passable, which is unfortunate because the action and everything else was pretty awesome.

ALAS- for the critical storyline component, this would have been an okay film.

Hitman: Agent 47 – 5/10

I have to agree with a comment VegasWalkinDude made, this is very reminiscent of a very bad rip off of the Terminator films.

We can do better. I heard we have the technology…somewhere.

Writing #11: Bottoms up!!

With your coffee, what did you think I meant?

So, you drink your coffee and I’ll drink my mocha. I’m saving the real caffeine hit for my Ph.D. dissertation writing session. You’re lucky I didn’t order hot chocolate…

Continue reading Writing #11: Bottoms up!!

Writing #10: A Settled Setting ~guess where I am?

I pop out my headphones to the sound of giggling children.

I glance over, and there they are, three boys sitting cross-legged on the carpet in front of the low bench on which rests their discarded cards. I’m too far away to see what kinds of cards they are or what game the boys are playing but they’ve been at it since I got here 30 minutes ago with no signs of stopping.

They make me smile when one boy tries to pronounce a word that has him bursting into laughter, the two other boys join in with hysterical giggles. Men-juu-cabra? I think that’s the word they’re trying to say, and I have no idea what that is…

Behind them are shelves of books with the sub-headers “religion” and “activity kits” high on the wall. A cardboard cutout of Darth Vader crouches nearby, his saber held tightly in his gloved hands, the red glow glancing off his helmet as he stares malevolently in my direction.

Chill bro, I don’t want your kid either!! Keep your forks!

Music plays from the overhead speakers, something almost country-ish, but low key. Mothers and fathers parade their children down the aisles around me. I try not to stare to closely at the children, some parents get super protective when you even look their way by accident. And I can understand why, children disappear all the time, so I try to remain unassuming and nonthreatening with my blue sweatpants, my black hoodie and dark outer jacket, and my bright hair with blue in the front, burnt orange in the back.

A mom and her daughter walk by, they stare at the books. They are both well dressed, and are apparently looking for something “nonfiction”. Probably for class. They meander out of my sight around the corner in search of appropriate materials.

I wiggle on my seat, which is really a step-stool, and wonder if I should go look for available tables/chairs again. Apparently, this place is popular on Sundays, I’ve never seen so many people sitting around on all tables and even on the floor, typing on their laptops, and reading in deep enrapture.

That’s it, my buns can take no more!

I’m getting up.

I found a chair on the corner of “poetry” and “psychology”.

Perfect! I’ll feel right at home.

The carpet here is green speckled with beige, a compact industrial carpet that sets off the dark chairs and bookshelves with a contrasting flair. To my left are five long tables with approximately six chairs per table and crowded with people sitting in groups. The murmur of voices are soothing in a way that the children’s voices were not. The table closest to me appears to be a study group, they are all flipping through textbooks, thick spiral notebooks at the ready and part puzzlement on their faces.

It sounds like R&B is playing on the speakers now. And there’s the high note, damn! -that male singer can punch it!

In this space, the walls support seven large paintings representing famous books. At the far end “ATLAS SHRUGGED A novel by AYN RAND Author of The Fountainhead” shows a set of train-tracks running towards a dark tunnel. The opening structure is comprised of silver brick smudged to a darker rust color, like the pale lips of a dark cavern set in the side of a green mountain. A bright orange circle, like a sun, looms low above the tunnel, with it’s halo of orange. Green-blue mountains edge a slate blue sky stained with dull peach light, reminding of sunset breaking through the clouds.

To the left, another picture with a oceanic palette. The majority of the painting is a gradient from sandy cream to ocean foam then light blue-green and cerulean. At the bottom huddle six buildings reminiscent of fishermen’s huts, bleached white by the sun and elements for a stark, weathered effect. They crouch on a hill of sand that fades into beach grass, a sage green melding into dark yellow. The top proclaims “HEMINGWAY” in dark blue serif, the sand below has white serif with the words “THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA”.

I skip two paintings, “Of MICE and MEN, a novel by JOHN STEINBECK author of Tortilla Flat” and “Under the Volcano a novel by Malcolm Lowry” to head to the one that is most arresting to me.

The palette is pale sickly yellow and grass green. A man walks, back bowed, sagging shoulders, two large suitcases in each hand. His back is to the viewer, his brimmed hat pulled down low to approach the collar of the worn coat that he wears. The sleeves are too short, the dress shirt cuffs snake down to his wrists. A sickly yellow light shines down in a widening triangle, similar to an interrogation light of a 80’s police station. The harsh extrospection bathes the figure in an unflattering grass green hue with dark green shadows where his back blocks the light to his torso.His weary tread is captured in mid-step, the light seems like a physical weight under which the figure continues to walk. The words “DEATH of a SALESMAN by Arthur Miller” are etched in white sans serif.

Muscular torque, a nude figure caught in a twisted contortion, arms either twisted far behind it’s back or nonexistent, head tilted back harshly with a hint of agony on what can be seen in a thin strip of face that may/not be blindfolded. The thigh and torso muscles are strained, standing out in sharp relief, the mint green palette and dark shadow cast behind it and twisting around the figure’s legs -one wrapped around the ankle and the other lassoed at the juncture of the thigh and trunk- in apparent restraint lend a sense of torture and horror to the otherwise unbound figure. A vivid orange chunk above states “THE SOUND AND THE FURY William Faulkner”.

I moved to another chair, down at the opposite end of the room. Two gentlemen who appeared to be conducting what I assumed to be in-depth research were actually playing some variety of MMORPG that reminds me of Age of Empires. Good times. Hunter/gatherers are running around all over the place.

I smell chocolate brownies, but I’m not hungry. With the numerous coffee cups, I expected to smell that instead, but I’m close to the in-house Starbucks.

Have you guessed where I am yet?

I’m packing up my backpack in preparation of grabbing my bike and riding home. It’s getting late and I’d like to catch a bus uphill instead of walking -last time was murder! I’ll stop at Wegmans real quick.

I head outside into the sunlight, the 40 degree weather feels like summer as I unlock my bike and disconnect it from the bike rack. I glance at the window -“Earn $200 with any purchase of a samsung NOOK”- and shake my head.

I’m a kindle worshiper, sorry.

The sign “Barns and Nobles” seem to stare with reproach as I peddle away into the crisp fall air.