"What is Your World View" quiz

What is Your World View?
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You scored as Cultural CreativeCultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative

Emerging Filmmakers Program #43

Ali and I went to The Little (240 East Ave.) for The Emerging Filmmakers Series. I got confirmation that The High Falls Film Festival is taking over The Rochester/High Falls International Film Festival, "Movies on a Shoestring", giving the amalgam festival a suitably clumsy title and changing from the November dates of High Falls to the May dates of the Shoestring festival. I'm concerned that the short films will get sidelined just as they are at High Falls even though I gather that this would have been Shoestring's 50th year. It would be nice if High Falls at least kept the short film screenings donations-only in the spirit of Shoestring.

Anyway, the short films tonight were quite good. It's too bad the Little puts so little effort into promoting the shows … there were barely 10 people in attendance.

A couple documentaries stood out this month. First, The Sacred Food by Jack Pettibone Riccobono was a well-done documentary about (quoting from the flyer) "the Ojibwe tribe in Northern Minnesota and the wild rice, manoomin, that they consider a sacred gift from the Creator and are trying to keep wild". It was interesting to see the response of tradition to modern issues like genetic modification. Scorza Bros by M. P. Mann was a fascinating documentary about a man who works in East Rochester as a taxidermist — for the last 60-some years — and how he accepts but can't quite reconcile that he's unwilling to kill an animal on his own.

Among the narratives, You Can Run by Jason J. CrossMySpace link was a good (althought — at times — it was poorly acted, filmed, directed, and audio-recorded) albeit a heavy-handed film about alcoholism and the dangers in ignoring your heart about it.

The show concluded with "Three Short Stories" by Sean Mullin. In the first, The 14th Morning, a soldier tries to reconcile an error in judgment on the battlefield. Next was Man is a Bridge where "a National Guard Captain spends his days guarding Manhattan's 59th Street Bridge from terrorist attacks and his nights performing stand-up comedy." It was a powerful look at a man who could easily be superficially dismissed by everyone he knows, but our god's-eye view gives us the full picture. Finally, Sadiq is about a couple American soldiers trying to transport a detainee, but one of them is trying to be fight his need to care and the other is fighting his frustration. In the end, tensions build to a head and the one soldiers tries to get the prisoner to confess to his crime — but neither understand the other's language.

All three were particularly excellent films. They were gritty, lifelike, and empathetic. Ali said that she was once again glad she came.

Running barefoot in the cold

I was very excited to get out and try running barefoot this morning. According to the thermometer on the side of my house, it was 28°F outside. I took my time to make sure I wasn't getting frostbite or anything. I got back after about 18 minutes and covered 2 miles. My feet felt cold but not terrible … the non-contact thermometer I have said they were around 60°F but warming up fast. After a few hours they felt fine. I suspect I'll only be able to run down to about 20° with no snow or wind, but we'll see.

Changing to WordPress

I figured I'd try doing some regular blogging instead of the essays I was used to. The idea is to make it easier for me — what usually happens is I get to Wednesday night and start hammering away at trying to write something coherent. I think it might be easier to dump my thoughts into a blog and let the chronology sort it out.

So, at the advice of my friend Mike, I'm trying to use WordPress. Right now I have it set up to just insert blog entries into the old JayceLand page in place of an introductory essay, but I think I'll soon be changing the site over to more of a WordPress-centric design.

The other thing I did was to quit the titles. Now it's just the start-date of the events calendar. When I first started, I was using movie sequel numbers to match the update number, but they petered out around 9 or so. Then there were various common things like 39 being the width of a twin bed in inches. But that soon ran dry as well. Most of the recent titles have been in reference to events that happened that many years ago. But searching for an event, birth, or death that definitively occurred in a particular year before 1550 or so is getting to be a royal pain. So, I figured I'd give up on it.

Basically, this should all be easier for me. For you reading the site, well, I think there may be more blog entries (with categories) and I suppose there's feeds, permalinks, and comments and other such technology. Of course, the titles go the way of the dodo and there will no longer be a proper essay — so no longer neatly joining the events of the past week together.

Great World of Sound at the Dryden

I got a chance to see Great World of Sound at the Dryden on Thursday. Writer/director Craig Zobel introduced the film and was on hand afterward with starring actor Pat Healy (who is also Jim Healy's brother). I rather enjoyed the movie. The trailers I had seen made it out to be somewhat whimsical but it really got pretty serious at times. Basically a couple guys who are looking for odd jobs stumble upon an opportunity to become record producers. They are excited to sign people up and welcome all kinds of talent — solely based on how much money they can come up with as a good-faith deposit. Slowly they come to realize the whole thing is a scam — nobody actually gets a viable record out of it.

The discussion afterward was rather interesting. I think a lot of people — and one woman in particular — were a bit disturbed that to film the audition scenes, they used an advertisement for producing records in a local paper to lure real musicians to a hotel room. They auditioned and secretly filmed then brought behind the scenes and shown how things were run, and asked if they wanted to participate in the movie. Craig Zobel said he had developed a relationship with all the people who arrived so he didn't have any qualms about how he approached it. He admitted that some of the worst and most embarrassing acts were actually actors hired to play musicians. Pat Healy said he and co-star Kene Holliday had to handle improvising for an hour at a time — staying in character — to create those scenes. It also created rapport and a thorough understanding of what it took to do that kind of job.

Craig Zobel said that he got into it because his father got involved in a real "song sharking scam at one point in the 1970's. However, once he realized it was a scam and got out far earlier than the Pat's character Martin did. Zobel had researched other scams and was well versed on how they work. At one point in the film, Kene Holliday's character Clarence gives a climactic diatribe that sometimes you get desperate enough for money that you'll do this kind of thing — that the world isn't fair and that when it's not fair to you, you can't realistically be fair to it.

It's sad that there are people who get to the point that they feel the need to turn on their fellow humans.