Thursday, 16 August 2007

Here's something that makes me happy.

Two of my most wonderful friends have come into contact and become friends through the links on the side of my blog page. I LOVE when my friends meet/connect with each other. Spread the network!

I have a five day weekend, and I just got back from a short trip out of town. Mercy me, the landscape was almost like being back in Canada. In Korea, mountains are described as deep instead of tall, because of the layers of mountains behind each other, each going closer to the horizon.

After that, I watched "Howl's Moving Castle" with my girlfriend at my house. Entrancing! Gorgeous! Rapturous. Miyazaki's the same guy who did My Neighbour Totoro, which I've discussed before in my blog, and he just might be my favourite single artist working in movies (thought Charlie Kaufmann, the writer of "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is also in contention, as well as the cinematographer that did "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", and "Hero". Miyazaki's stories are charming and touching; the animation is technically dazzling, but always serves the story. He respects his audience, and stays true to his characters at the same time as creating dramatic conflicts of motivation. Often/usually, his moments of violence or clash are hinted at rather than portraying violence onscreen -- you will see the trap set and sprung, see the chase, or the aftermath, but the violent action is left unshown. His worlds are full of magic, but the magical creatures work by a logic as cohesive (even more cohesive and sensible) than the Harry Potter world.

(PS: here's my beef with Harry Potter. Why can a wizard just do fifty spells in a row -- wouldn't that be exhausting? I mean, every other difficult task a human can do: lifting a heavy weight, convincing a stubborn person to do something, defeating a person in hand-to-hand combat, shooting an orange ball through a small hoop while five people protect it -- are physically or mentally exhausting, and most take practice to become good at it. Why doesn't Hermione need to take a break and recharge? All she needs is to know the right words and the correct wand movement, and she can perform ANY spell, as often as she likes, as quickly as she can repeat the incantation and perform the correct wand movement -- if magic were real, wouldn't there be certain spells that would take a lot of training to learn, or that would demand so much willpower you'd be exhausted once you'd finished it? I'm sorry I just think that if there WERE wizards and witches, and there WERE a killing curse, it would be such a powerful bit of magic that even a dangerous, powerful wizard would be exhausted for two days after performing it. Maybe the difference between a powerful and a weak wizard would simply be how much magic they can perform without exhausting their energy stores. Maybe I'm really asking, "where does the magic COME from?" with this musing. . . oh well. Rabbit trails.)

I'm happy these days. I got a note from my funniest student saying "I really appreciate your teaching", and that's always warming (especially because adults don't do that as often as kids do). So I'm happy now.


So in the last two months, here's the input I've had for my blog:

1. "less writing. all that text is daunting"
2. "you post way too infrequently"
3. "you post just frequently enough to help me feel updated without burdening my busy life with information overload"
4. "less videoclips and more writing in your updates, please."

By which I've decided I'm just going to manage my blog how I like it. Because any old whatchamacallit from who knows where can read this thing, I DO have to be aware of what goes on here, but I will continue to post things that make me happy, whether they fit YOUR preferred medium or not. And if you don't like the internet clips, well just remember that I'm the guy who chose those particular clips as the ones I wanted to share with you, so think of them as an alternative way to get your finger on the pulse of old roboseyo -- kind of like the way people sometimes say "Can I look through your music collection" just to get a different kind of handle on a person than you can get from reading e-mail or having a conversation or listening to them tell stories. I can't exactly show you another angle of myself by bringing you to my favourite restaurant or posting the smell of my cologne, so clips will have to do. Also: be aware I only post the stuff I really love -- I don't go looking for stuff to put on my blog; only the cream gets on here -- the kind of stuff I'd be excited enough in person to say "OK, I'm gonna pause the conversation for three minutes to play you this song."

Think of it as me communicating with you in multimedia. and it's good stuff, I'm posting. really.

In that vein, without apology, here's the cleverest commercial I've seen in ages: cute, touched with a little pathos, and about an important subject. It won awards in Germany.


mrsbecker said...

when it comes to harry potter - wouldn't the growing ability to do spells come from continued practice and education? like training for a marathon, not many can just get up one morning and run 42 km, but when training for a while, it is possible to run without exhaustion for hours on end. besides, when have we ever seen someone do 50 spells in a row? however, i agree with the thought - reminds me a big of the book eragon. when he's learning magic, and does his first spell, it takes him 2 days to recover. magic is draining and tapped into an interesting concept of a lifeforce, and a familiar concept in many fantasy world of everything being connected. just a thought.

Roboseyo said...

50 spells in a row? how about in the practices for dumbledore's army. Or at the end of book five in the Ministry of Magic -- spells are flying everywhere without fatigue, and novice wizards are taking out seasoned veterans. I'd imagine a confrontation between a novice and a veteran would usually go a little more like Harry vs. Snape at the end of book six -- utter domination.

i also have the beef that harry pretty much didn't learn ANY new spells after the patronus charm in book stinkin' three.

I suppose it depends on if the wand channels magic power from within a person (which would be limited by the person) or whether it would be kind of channeling ambient magic around -- like redirecting wind for one's own purposes. If they're channeling magic that's in the world all around, and they're only wizards because they're sensitive to it, then it could make sense that a wizard could cast as many spells as he likes. (I DID like that Eragon gets exhausted by his magic spell. Lord of the Rings is another more believable one -- Gandalf can cast a fire spell on the mountain pass, but that immediately gives his location away to everyone around, and when he puts a binding spell on a door to keep the Balrog out, in Moria, the Balrog's counterspell nearly exhausts him.)