Wednesday, April 30, 2014



Donald Stering is a bigot

The owner of the LA Clippers NBA team is a scared old man who got himself a little trophy arm candy and apparently spends his days living in fear of said eye candy actually finding a man more virile and interesting than himself ... a big fear as it seems that would be a very deep pool

Sterling has probably been a bigot his entire life, that's how it works. He is a very old man and he will be a bigot until the day he dies

You can't change that. Not now, not at this stage of his life. Bigots do not have the acuity of mind to be able to change it, they are scared people and their fear over rides anything else.

Donald Sterling's thoughts are repellent and ignorant but they're his thoughts. And now he's being punished for them

He's being punished for his thoughts. Think about that

Sterling expressed these racist thoughts during a phone conversation with this girlfriend, the aforementioned eye candy. Although the woman claims that Silver understood that their private conversations were being recorded I think it's more likely that the old bigot thought that he was having a private talk with a person with whom he was intimate

Unlike like former Cincinnati Reds owner Marg Schott, who made her proclamation of "that Hitler he had some great ideas" in a setting (I think it was a restaurant) where many people could overhear, Sterling thought he was having a one on one conversation in private places

The fact that this private conversation became public seems out of Sterling's control, I don't think he intended it He's been a bigot a long time, he owns a team in a pro sports league where the majority of players are black men, even if he does not agree with the consequences of making such statements public, he knows the danger therein

And danger there is. For expressing his opinion, no matter how dumb ass and pathetic, he has been banned for life for being around the team he owns and the NBA will try to take said team away from him

Sterling is not being "punished" for discriminatory hiring practices in the NBA (the coach of his team is the great Doc Rivers who happens to be black and the majority of the players are black) or for making racist comments about NBA players or black people in general in an NBA forum or an interview etc

Clearly the NBA has been embarressed by this incident This man is an owner, an owner of a team in a high profile city (imagine if it was the Lakers, he'd probably be hung by now) and the newly appointed NBA commissioner, Adam Silver,  is a white man .. again. So what we have here is spin doctory in the direction of political correctness

Political correctness is insidious, it tries, through force of institution, to change our thinking to correct our thinking, to bring people's thinking into whatever stream of expression they deem acceptable. Gosh that sure sounds like thought control to me

Donald Sterling is a bigot. He is sad and pathetic. He has a mind full of worms. After all this he still will have a mind full of worms. Many many many people do. They also will still maintain this mindset. But now perhaps they will learn that the worms in their head can be eaten by the worms in the heads of certain other people

You think bad, stop thinking bad, think like us. Or we will spank you

When I meet a person and they spout racist drivel at me I stop speaking to them. I dismiss them, I cut them out of my life. That is not punishment for them, it's relief for myself. I have no right to punish anyone else and I know it won't make a damn bit of difference.

I may not like the worms in their heads but it's their head They have the right to fill it with whatever shit they deem. I have to accept that. If I don't, what happens if someone doesn't like the worms in my own head ....

I think the person who believes they have the right to dig around in anyone else's head has the biggest darkest nastiest worms of all

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


So, since Christmas, Collette and I have watched two biblical epics this year ... and that's more than we've watched in the last ten years or so

During the Christmas break we decided to clear about 10 hrs from our schedule and watch a remastered Blu Ray version of Ben Hur. OK, it didn't take 10 hours to watch it, we paused it to make popcorn

Now I'm sure if this movie actually qualifies as a biblical epic. It tells the story of Judah Ben Hur, an Israeli noble during the time of the Roman occupation and the rise and subsequent persecution of the christians. Hur, played by Charleton Heston, finds himself on the wrong side of both these events and in one of the movie's pivotal scenes has a personal interaction with Christ

More recently Collete and I went to the theatre and watched an unabashed biblical epic, Noah, starring Russel Crowe

Noah tells the story of ... wait for it .. Noah and the Great Flood and the Ark. Yeh, consider that a spoiler. 
Noah is a very Old Testament movie, filled with violence and chaos and magic and implied incest. The world of Noah is chaotic, it's a world created by a deity and then abandoned by said deity because humans were acting, well, like humans and kind of not paying attention to the big invisible dude in the sky
We all know what happens then. Yup, go get your snorkel and your floaties

The movie is kind of packaged as a visual spectacle and it has some of that. The scenes where the animals make their own way to the Ark and the initial moments of the Flood are handled extremely well. But there are also some visual moments that seem jarringly inadequate; important characters in the story are a group of angels who have been cast down to earth by their creator (yeh this guy is cranky what can we said) and quite frankly, their depiction seems like something you'd see produced in a high school media class. Actually, they reminded me a lot of Ray Harryhausen stop motion work from some of his minor B movies back in the day

Yes that thing pictured above is a Fallen Angel, one of the Watchers who help Noah build the ark. Yes, it's a rock monster.

Noah tries to tackle some of the issues that his story floats upon: The question of who gets to live and who gets to drown; the obsession of a single man that on one hand allows him to save his family and all the animals on the other planet and on the other hand gives him license to put said family in some very personal danger

Ben Hur is a story built upon the back of some very big events: The Roman occupation and enslavement of an entire culture and the coming of the Messiah. The movie starts out with a very old school, very heavy handed telling of the birth of Christ. It is onerous and clumsily staged and sort of reminded me of those old NFB documentaries we were shown in school

I almost stopped watching the movie right there but once we get past that, we are brought into the store of Ben Hur and his friend the Roman Centurion and his family who are put into some very real personal danger. What makes this movie work is that we are told about these momentous events by following a man and his love and regret and growth, Heston's incredibly dedicated performance and a script that allows him to grow, keeps us in the story

Noah works best when it keeps us following the characters and their growth. There are some absolutely stunning performances in the movie from Crow (one of the best things he's done) to Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah, to Emma Watson in one of the best things she's ever done

Ray Winstone plays the movie's counterpoint to Noah. He is a king, an ungodly (literally) king who challenges Noah's right to the land, his right to the Ark and his right to select who is to live and who is to die. The king is big and gruff and menacing and expresses himself largely through a series of grunts .. a perfect Ray Winstone character

In some respects this character is presented as a villain. We know this because he likes to hunt, kill and eat animals (sometimes without the need to cook them) and this behavior seems to shock the Noah family. I think Vegans and/or PETA influenced this script. That is not the only reason why I kind of emphasized with the king; Noah is so fucking sanctimonious that I really hoped Ray would cut off his body parts and use them as movie snacks

In Ben Hur, once we get past that awkward pretentious opening, the story concentrates its strong characters and their reactions to all these big events that have gotten a hold of them. Noah has a lot of preaching to do and it does so in the same kind of awkward, NFB inspired set pieces as the opening of Hur but it keeps doing so, all the way through the movie

Trust me, these scenes are squirmingly awful

Ben Hur stood up quite well decades after its initial release It's an old school movie to be sure but the performances are powerful and the story telling straight forward and compelling. Noah has some very effective moments but the film making is, quite honestly, wonky. Hey, I like wonky. I adore the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou but that film is wonky beginning to end. Noah kind of morphs in and out of its wonkiness, it's as if the prime director and the second unit director really never met each other .. or read the same script

Noah is a movie you may want to catch some time in whatever format you watch movies at home. The performances really are great. But it does not benefit from a "big screen" showing. Though it's always pleasant to hear Ray Winstone grunt in Dolby sound surround

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Ok this one is strictly for the Game of Thrones fans

Westeros is a place of magic and beauty and gosh, they do enjoy their weddings ...

Currently Lord Tyrion is struggling, as Master of Purse, to balance the kingdom's budget.

Well, I was I have a degree in Advertising and I was in the wedding business for years so I came up with a way to help out the Imp and Westeros

So I came up with a little "pitch" video

Friday, April 11, 2014


You know what packaging is.

When you want to buy a single pen and you go down the pen aisle in the office supply store and you are face with this huge wall of ... stuff. So colorful, so beladen with stickers and titles that you barely know at what you are looking. You take one down to see if it's a pen at all let alone the kind of pen you want you the package is huge in your hand, a big piece of cardboard surrounding a bulking blister of plastic in which the pen resides, looking small and fragile and very much like some deprived prisoner in the high tech prison of some future dystopia

Damnit, all you want is a pen. So you purchase the thing and take it home and you really want to write something with that pen but now you have to free the prisoner. It ain't gonna be easy pardner. You have to rip that cardboard to get at the blister then fight your way through all that plastic

You will need a knife. And a chainsaw. And a plasma torch

Damnit, all you want is a pen

That, my friends, is packaging

And that is how most of our electronic media is now being presented to us: Packaged. Heavily packaged. So much plastic and cardboard and stickers and titles, it's difficult to see exactly what is being packaged in the first place

Be it that missing airliner of the death of finance minister Jim Flarety, our reality is being packaged. And quickly. Flarety died the day before this post was written and already this morning the fact of the man's passing is wrapped in several layers of packaging: Music, graphics, still, motion graphics, voice over clips ... Oh, were you people looking for a pen? Here, look here, look at all our shiny packaging, your pen is here!

This is how it works: Once upon a time you could go to the media store and there weren't that many shelves; a shelf for paper, a shelf for radio, a shelf for TV. And on those shelves, there weren't that many products. The paper shelves were usually full, lots to choose from there. But for radio and TV, not near as much. No need for a ton of packaging, take your time, browse

Much different today of course. Lots and lots of shelves, the paper section is diminishing but the electronics area, well aren't we a boom business. Lots of need for loud, huge packaging to capture our attention. And not just to bring us to a single electronic station, but each story itself is being packaged as most new media allows us to focus in on a single item

Gosh, however will we get our message to people? Will we work hard, due our due dillegence, dig and investigate and disill and try to get to the meat of the story .. or shall we just invest more time in packaging than we do on reporting. Yeh, let's do that, we don't care how good the product is, we just need to get it viewed

I don't have a lot of time for packaging. And what these purveyors of media porn don't seem to understand is, all this choice that makes them so frantic to get my attention, means I can choose not to even touch their packaging. I see that big blister of package, think about how much time it would take me to get to the product and I just move on to the next shelf

And of course,  you are browsing right now. This post is a product. The product is my observation and my opinion. It's no more credible or relevant than any other but I want you to look at it nonetheless. So it's been packaged, in the form of this blog

I know,

All you wanted was a damn pen

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Another trip to the aquarium, another video and of course more pics from Collette

On our previous visits, the octopus in his cylindrical tank was rather lethargic, this time he was quite peppy, I suspect it's some kind of union contract thing

No visit to the aquarium is complete unless you go through the tunnel that winds its way through the gigantic 1 million litre that is filled with sharks and fish and rays .. oh my!

On my end I decided to do something different with my footage this time around. My new camera records HD video in a variety of formats and frame rates. Standard video frame rate is 30 frames per second (fps), cameras like our Nikon DSLR can recored at 24 fps, the frame rate of film, trying to achieve a more "film like". Whether or not this is so, is a debate for another time

My Sony can also record at 60 fps, double the frame rate of normal video. The advantage of this frame rate is for slow motion. In my editing program I can "slow" down any video, but it is not always successful; without more filters and other work, the slo mo can come out jerky. Recording it at a higher frame rate, in theory, allows you to slow down the video and keep it sharp and smooth.

I have found that shooting at the camera's highest quality setting, at 60 fps gives me an incredibly sharp image with excellent overall saturation. This time I decided to edit the entire video in slow mo. All the shots in the video below was rendered from 50% to 30% of the normal speed.

So here is Ripley's Aquarium slowed down .. take your time. Enjoy it

Ripley's Aquarium: Let's Go Slow from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

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