Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

29
Jun
12

Originally posted on The Diary Of Lex Keridwen:

This week was all wrong. It broke and redefined all the conceptions I had of my school but unfortunately the conclusions were scary and revolting. Our school is considered an ‘elite’ high school which only brilliant girls attend but sadly intelligence doesn’t always rhyme with good conduct or nice manners…

Bullying is the act of intimidating a weaker person. Bullying is being noisily domineering. Bullying is aggressive behavior, with negative intent, directed from one person to another where there is a power imbalance. Bullying is similar to a hate crime. But most importantly, bullying is wrong! Everywhere these can be read, be it on the net or in brochures, and all promote ‘reporting bullying’, ‘standing up’ and ‘speaking out’. They say stuff like ‘Kids must be able to safely report incidents of bullying, knowing when to report, how to report, and where to report. Students must know that they will be heard and that you will…

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26
Apr
10

Multimedia: The Daily Evergreen

The Daily Evergreen is the student newspaper of Washington State University. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the paper.

26
Apr
10

A look into French Film: Part 3 of a 3-Part Series

Entre Les Murs: Defining Diversity

A collection of radically diverse and fundamentally different teenagers all stuck together in the same classroom day after day: Such is the scene in Laurent Cantet’s Entre Les Murs, known in English as The Class. The students, brought together for a French course taught by Francois Marin at a Parisian middle school, come from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds which often causes friction and dispute in the classroom.  The result is an explosive assortment of backgrounds and an instructor attempting to find the one right way so everyone can get along.  This film offers the best perspective on contemporary French culture because it essentially acts as a metaphor for France itself:  racially varied, diverse in background, but held together by the glue of the French language.

The most obvious example of the link between the film and contemporary French culture would have to be how Monsieur Marin faces the same challenges that teachers currently face.  Everyone in his class is different:  There is Esmeralda, a girl who challenges even the most basic of things the teacher presents, Wei, an intelligent but socially awkward Chinese student, Nassim, a new Caribbean student who has trouble blending in, and Souleymane, an African student looking to make trouble. These are just a few of the many backgrounds present in the classroom.  Like present-day instructors, Monsieur Marin looks to find a way that will help every student to get along, learn the right things, and excel both in their education and in their personal lives.  Monsieur Marin gives the students profile assignments, mostly for him to learn about the student, but also for them to learn about themselves.  The task is met with opposition and unwillingness to fulfill the project.  This reaction is not unlike ones had by contemporary students who criticize and disrespect authority and authoritative figures.  Monsieur Marin is faced with students telling him off, asking him why he thinks he is better than them, and purposeless arguments to stall the day’s lessons.  These disputes among many others are likely to be seen in any diverse classroom setting today.

The cultural setting of the classroom is an accurate representation of the modern-day demographics in France.  The country itself is known for nationalist fervor: the French people are proud of their nationality and proud of what it and their language represent.  But with higher immigration rates, leading to a more ethnically diverse population, the French have felt that national fervor threatened.  In The Class, students’ ethnicities are often targeted as a form of ridicule.  Students make fun of Souleymane’s mother because they think she looks weird.  Others make fun of Wei because he is intelligent and they consider him a teacher’s pet. When Nassim announces that he is rooting for a French team in Football, the students from Mali make fun of him for supporting French sports.  Like in contemporary French culture, there is an anti-immigrant atmosphere in The Class that hinders amiable interactions between the students.

Even the subject being taught in the classroom offers a connection to modern French culture.  One of the only things that the French people believe ties the country together is the French language.  The same is seen in The Class.  Though the students come from all sorts of different national backgrounds—Muslim, African, Chinese, Caribbean—they are all in the classroom learning one thing: French.  Oftentimes the students resist and question what they are being taught, just as immigrants to France might resist having to learn the language to blend in with the culture.  However the fact remains that spoken and written French is essentially what forces the students to interact, just as it forces the people in the country to do the same.

To see a preview of Entre Les Murs, click here.

26
Apr
10

A look into French Film: Part 2 of a 3-Part Series

Last Year in Marienbad:  Music Makes the Movie

Powerful and distinguishing music is utilized in Last Year in Marienbad to add a heaviness and mystery to the story.  In this film, loud, often hard-to-listen-to organ chords are played while the camera travels down a corridor.  This music plays every time the narrator is telling the audience another part of the story, and typically when he is describing the doors, the corridors, or the other scenery in the house.

The music in these scenes is eerie, and adds a mystery or cloudiness to the story.  Because the story, or lack thereof, is ambiguous in nature, the peculiar music just how unnatural the plot is becoming.

Other scenes throughout the film are interjected with harsh violin screeches or loud organ chords.  These sounds add powerfulness to the already poignant film by showing important transitions or cuts.

Last Year in Marienbad uses a very specific method of camera cuts to show past and present relationships and to further the strangeness of the plot.  Fast, frequent, jump-cuts are used to help narrator try to convince and the woman—and the audience—that they have met before.  While the narrator explains details of something from the past year, the camera cuts to that scene.  When he suddenly changes a detail from that narrative, the camera jumps back to that scene with the detail changed.  The camera cuts develop a relationship with the narrator.  Cutting to past events that may or may not have happened really strengthen the film’s dreamlike story.  These camera cutting techniques make the audience question whether the narrative is dream or reality.

Shots that are streaming or walking through a place are also utilized in a similar fashion.  At the beginning of the film, the camera travels along corridor after corridor, almost as if the audience themselves are ambling aimlessly through the hallways of this house.  As the narrator explains the scenery, often stating the same thing over and over again, the camera travels through the house just as monotonously.  Just like the narrator recites the details of the scene like a chant or mantra, the camera follows his voice, showing the things he is talking about.

To see a preview of Last Year in Marienbad, click here.

In The Last Year in Marienbad, shots that are streaming or walking through a place are also utilized in a similar fashion.  At the beginning of the film, the camera travels along corridor after corridor, almost as if the audience themselves are ambling aimlessly through the hallways of this house.  As the narrator explains the scenery, often stating the same thing over and over again, the camera travels through the house just as monotonously.  Just like the narrator recites the details of the scene like a chant or mantra, the camera follows his voice, showing the things he is talking about.

26
Apr
10

A look into French Film: Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain: Time Tells the Tale

In the film, Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet uses several techniques to both play with and distort time.  The film is about a young girl Amelie, who decides she wants to do good deeds for others for the rest of her life.  At the beginning of the film, as the credits are rolling, the audience sees a child playing with toys, eating, laughing, and dancing.  The director speeds up and slows down these images, showing that time is lapsing a bit in between each set.  Once the film starts, the audience is in a more grown up world, and Amelie is an adult.

The main color of the film is a yellowish hue, which gives the film an antique essence.  In addition, this light color clouds the viewers’ vision of when it is night and day.  It is almost impossible to tell the difference between the two.  Because of this it is difficult to tell how much time has passed or how much time has been spent in a particular pace. The technique is both unique and eye-catching.

In shorter scenes, the director uses speed to show that time has passed.  During day-to-day scenes, the director speeds up the motions and makes everything go by very quickly.  It is almost like how our subconscious tunes out our daily habits like brushing our teeth, locking our door, driving to work, etc.  In the same way, the director fast forwards through all the unimportant events while still showing that they have happened, which causes the audience to feel as though they are a part of these daily activities.

The timing in this film also gives this film a certain amount of excitement and tension.  When Amelie is walking the blind man through the square, things start out at a normal speed, but start to get faster and faster as they get more and more exciting.  This tension in speed increases the fascination behind the scene and the meaning.

For more on Amélie , check out a preview here.

26
Apr
10

Classic ‘StarCraft’ still conquers the competition

As the highly anticipated “StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty” title waits in the wings, a trip to the original game that started it all seemed in order.

I felt it was necessary to re-experience the magic of a wonderful classic, so I popped in the dusty “StarCraft: Brood War” disc just lying there in a desk drawer and then challenged my roommate to some friendly matches.

March 1998 marked a milestone for the real-time strategy genre to be forever changed with the release of this PC title. Blizzard Entertainment’s “StarCraft” brought fresh ideas and concepts to the table. As opposed to having two playable races that merely had cosmetic differences, “StarCraft” revolutionized the RTS formula by bringing a third race to the mix.

The “StarCraft” concept involves the galactic warfare between the Terran, the Zerg and the Protoss. Armed to the teeth with weapons like machine guns, flamethrowers, tanks and space fleets, the nomadic Terran race is compromised of the hi-tech humans. Meanwhile, the Zerg consists of bug-like monstrosities that attack in massive swarms, overwhelming their foes with sheer numbers. And finally, the Protoss represents the sophisticated, telepathic alien civilization with access to advance technology.

“StarCraft” uses the RTS staple of gathering resources, building up an army and then engaging the opponent in combat. Each playable race has various strengths and weaknesses to keep in mind, so each one plays completely different from the next. For instance, the Zerg race relies on sheer numbers to win because its units are cheaper at the expense of being on the weak side. On the other hand, the Protoss units are generally more powerful, but they eat up more resources to produce.

Despite the races being so different from one another, the game’s well-balanced design proves to be a testament of time, even to this day. No matter what race a player chooses to use, one can rest assured that their race can contend with and defeat any other given race with the appropriate execution and strategy. Matches thus become decided by genuine individual skill rather than a rock-paper-scissor matchup between the races – like it should be.

I just have a blast whenever I revisit this decade-old title. The graphics certainly look dated, but the classic sound effects are always a treat for the ears. “StarCraft” retains its popularity with its amazing gameplay that modern RTS titles attempt to replicate. With that said, it is no surprise that “StarCraft” is still played to this day, particularly in competitive gaming.

A proper sequel to this sci-fi masterpiece has been long overdue. Because the release of “StarCraft II” is just around the corner, fans are counting down the days with bated breath. Finally, one can only imagine how high Blizzard Entertainment can take this beloved franchise. With such high expectations, “StarCraft II” definitely has the development pedigree to be another smash hit for the upcoming gaming generation.

For the Swarm!

Nhan-Fiction Score: 5/5

26
Apr
10

Video: Behind of Scenes of the 80′s HBO “Starship” Intro

Check out this bizarre ten minute video on the making of the classic HBO feature presentation intro. This behind the scenes video shows the magic and marvel in model building and how one intro has many special effect elements. check it out!




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