Movie Review - Hugo (2011)

Hugo exists not only to entertain, but hopefully to inspire a child's imagination and wonder about the history of film.

It's A Christmas Photoship Miracle

Observe the power to digitally enhance beauty with a dash of holiday spirit.

Funny Beans

Animated short with great visuals, action, and a little comedy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Can't Believe its Not Butter!

Melati Suryodarmo.
You may remember her from her infamous Youtube video:

It is quite difficult not to laugh the first time watching it, but after the giggles and tears one may start to think what is she doing? and WHY?

Exergie, the butter dance, was created as a way to express what Melati was going through at the time:
"When I created butter dance, I was in a situation where I realized that my life has been up and down, fell down and I got up again. These has to do with the nothing with very specific, but every time when those moments of shifting happens, it becomes a very special moment. It is the time where decision and our resistance are required. The work was created after a long process of understanding different kind of experiences and then induced them into the point where emotional contents put into one."
In her dance, we can see those special moments in her face. The fall is always unexpected, but she always gets up no matter how difficult.

The butter is also an important aspect of her dance. It is something she has struggled with culturally and physically.

"I love butter, and I hate it at the same time. It also represents my relocation from my culture, something that I love and does not come from my nature of nutrition (we donʼt consume butter in Indonesia) at the same time it has changed my body since I get used to it in Europe."

Since her dance focus was on struggles in life, butter seemed to be the perfect medium.

The Exergie, though awkward and painful, is actually an apt translation of what we all go through. Humans handle every new difficulty in life somewhat clumsily. Though we choose to hide these aspects of our lives, Melati embraces it and shares her vulnerable moments with the world.

The dance was first presented in 2000 and another performance was uploaded by a viewer in 2010.  The video went viral in 2012. Though she has been misunderstood from a number of public viewers, she remains optimistic and finds it "...interesting to see how people in general react to an art work."

Who knew one performer and a dollop of butter could deliver a message with such raw honesty. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 days of Mr. Fuzzy Sweepstakes

Win your very own Mr. Fuzzy! He is the perfect travel buddy. Starting tomorrow, 12 days of Mr. Fuzzy begins! See details below on how to enter. Good luck! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Old Overacheiving Joe

Joe Foss was the leading fighter ace in WWII, shooting down at least 26 air crafts, earning him the Medal of Honor. Then after all that attention he decided to live a quiet life and become a General in the National Guard, the Governor of South Dakota, the first commissioner of the American Football League, and a television broadcaster.

Joe came from a poor background. He grew up in a farmhouse that didn't have electricity. After waiting for 4 entire years, at 16, he and his father finally saved $3.00 for a ride in an aircraft. Everything was great until Joe turned 17. There was a storm and his father stepped on a downed electrical wire ironically near his non-electric farm and passed away.

What Joe probably looked like working on the farm
Joe dropped out of school to help his mom with the farm; however, this did not deter him from his dream of flying. He worked on the farm for a couple of years, and worked part time in order to make money for tuition, books, and flight lessons. Once his brother took over the farm, he went to college and convinced the University of South Dakota to set up a Civil Aeronautics Authority flying course. He gained 100 hours of flying time, and excelled in boxing, track, and football. Oh yah, he also had a part time job bussing tables in order to pay for tuition.

Be all you can be...

At 26, he wanted to be a fighter pilot, but they said he was too old and was sent to be apart of the photography department. However, as you can tell, Joe was not one to give up on what he wants. He pestered and nagged his way to the fighter squadron. In his first assignment he shot down a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero. He soon became the leader of his own squadron of 8 Wildcats called "Foss's Flying Circus". In 3 months his circus shot down 72 Japanese Air crafts, of which 26 are credited to him. He received the Medal of Honor.

Receiving the Medal of Honor from Franklin D. Roosevelt

After he was released from duty, he opened his own school for flying and became so successful that he had to expand to a 35-aircraft operation. A few years later, at 39, he became the youngest state Governor. Four years later, he became the first commissioner of the American Football league. He assisted in expanding and promoting its broadcast to ABC. He then became a host on ABC, the president of the American Rifle Association, President of the National Society of Crippled Children and Adults, and co-authored a few books. At 87, Joe passes away.

If Joe lived any longer, he would have taken over the world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Never give up, never surrender!

At 42, Alan Rickman finally landed his dream job.

In his younger years, Rickman had an interest in the arts. In high school, he developed an attraction to drama. However, drama was "not seen as a sensible thing to do at 18."  So in order to make his mom proud, he took up the much more stable career of graphic design.

Rickman and a few friends opened their own graphic design studio. Surprisingly, they were pretty successful. After going to college, gaining a stable career, and making good money, Rickman decided that this was the perfect time to try something new. He requested an audition from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. At 26, he was accepted into RADA and finally began his acting career.

The new Nike spokes model (Just kidding :)

Getting accepted was just the beginning of his journey.  To support himself, he would work as a dresser for actors, meaning that he would actually help actors put their clothes on. Though a pretty boring job, he did get to meet Nigel Hawthorne and Sir Ralph Richardson, and probably gained immense experience in choosing which belt goes with what tie.

                            (Nigel Hawthorne)       (Sir Ralph Richardson)

For TWENTY-some years, Rickman roamed around in the theater scene. He was acknowledged by few and gained little recognition. It wasn't until his role in Les Liasions that he began to be noticed by American audiences. He was nominated a Tony for his performance. However, when a movie version was picked up, he was kicked out and denied the role. Mr. Malkovich was hired instead.

Don't worry, at this time, Rickman finally reached the plump age of 42 and landed a little movie called Die Hard, which open the door to many more opportunities.
The rest is history.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Prostitution, Piracy, and Power

One of the most notorious pirates of the China seas, Ching Shih, ruled with an iron fist. 

If you tried deserting Ching's fleet, your ears were chopped off. Rape of a female prisoner would result in castration or beheading. Any display of cowardice would result in beheading. If you were caught stealing you would lose your head as well.  Seeing a trend here?  Punishment for hiding loot would be flogging, but if you were caught twice, off with your head!

Ching Shih was highly respected pirate in the 19th century, who was so strong that her power threatened the Chinese goverment.

Ching Shih in battle.

Yep. That's right! her.

Ching Shih's early life is unknown, but her initial career was a prostitute. She was then captured by pirates. At this point, many would believe this would be a life ending fate; however, Ching Shih is no ordinary woman. 

Ching Shih was beautiful, intelligent, and conniving. Her beauty and wit won the heart of Zheng Yi, a powerful six fleet captain. With her help, in 1804 Zheng Yi created the Red Flag Fleet and became the most powerful pirate in China. 
After he passed, she fought her way to gain full leadership, leading 1800 ships and more than 80,000 pirates.

From rags to riches.

Ching Shih was undefeated. If anyone resisted Ching Shih or her pirates, their feet would be nailed to the deck and then they were beaten severely.She was stealing and looting everywhere. She began levying taxes from cities for "protection". Her power could not be ignored and the Chinese government was scared.

In the end, Ching Shih was one of the few that were able to succesfully retire from piracy. The Chinese government allowed her to keep all her loot and her men were also protected. She remarried and opened up her own gambling house and her men were able to live comfortably becoming government and military officials
(pretty corrupt!). She died peacefully of old age.

Now that's a life.