Female Characters in Film… – “The Good” List

I was going to write a post listing my favourite movies vs my least favourite, that changed halfway through my brain perusals as I soon realised just how much I was a fan of the female protagonist.

There is something beautiful about strength exuding from a woman. In an era where women in the film industry are still fighting for respect and the equal pay that comes with that, where I am a man whose favourite movie happens to be Aliens, I thought it fitting to shift the focus there… So there… Let the rankings commence…


The Official soztheo.me Top 10 Rated Female Protagonists in Film

The woman listed below were the main characters in their respective films, and in that they delivered performances that will forever set the stage for the next generation – I have of course chosen movies and performances that I appreciate, so we hereby accept that this is just a matter of opinion – of my chauvinistic, mysoginistic, male opinion, based only on those performances which sit front and center in my mind right now, at this moment (I haven’t gone back to before Soz-Mas), while I type – so really, they’re just suggestions, and worthy of your challenges, comments and suggestions, but please do take a peak… I may just surprise you!


1. Lieutenant Ellen Louise Ripley – Alien (the Full Quadrilogy)

“I’m no Ripley. I had doubts that I could play her as strongly as she had to be played, but I must say that it was fun exploring that side of myself. Women don’t get to do that very often.” – Siguorney Weaver

I have already expressed my appreciation for these movies on this blog (click here) this week, and for me the  success thereof relies completely on the strength of Siguorney Weaver’s shoulders – one of many strong independent characters she has played in her career, Lieutenant Ripley as brought to life is her cinematic work of art bequeathed to the History of Cinema.


 2. Clarice Starling – The Silence of the Lambs

“I’m not sure I know how to play weak. I really don’t know how.”  – Jodie Foster

Another one of my favourite movies of all time belongs in the cannon of another one of the Hollywood Greats, Jodie Foster. The amazing thing about this performance is that Clarice Starling is as damaged a character as the villains in the piece (a special kind of damaged if you consider the full scope of the character’s trajectory in literature… Unofficially it is the arc that the character took in the books that stopped Jodie Foster from participating in the sequel).

It is an amazing performance because the strength of the character rests in a still performance. A focused FBI agent, still in training, forced to face the exact antithesis of her structured and controlled being. Strong. Sharp. Smart. But flawed, and struggling with the fact that while she may be out of her depth, she has to swim because the sharks are circling… It’s a role and a performance which has been mimicked repeatedly since…


3. Evelyn Couch, Imogene “Idgie” Threadgoode, Ruth Jamison, Ninny Threadgoode – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe 

“See, now is a time for courage. I guess you already know that there are angels masquerading as people walking around this planet and your mom was the bravest one of those.” – Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson)

And in a single moment, Whoosh! All the manly men disappear… During my teen years I suffered from insomnia, and so I stayed up with my trusty pal the television and watched whatever was on (a relationship with the TV which was born in my youth). This movie amazed me, so much so that I went out, bought and read the book, which merely by it’s construction and approach to storytelling was a revelation for me… 

This is the first ensemble presence in this list series (and it won’t be the last)… I recommend this movie to anyone who is prepared to take the risk. Sounds ridiculous, but this kind of movie really is a challenge for many, men and women, cos you gonna deal with racism, sexism, ageism, homosexuality, abuse, murder, menopause… Even during the adaptation of the novel certain aspects were muted, only hinted at (yet obvious) in the telling. I’ll tell you this, every female character in this movie has earned their place, great performances of strong women… I await the day when someone I know tells me that I am wrong, because I have recommended this movie to many people over the years… Soppy maybe… But definitely not wrong…

It’s hysterically funny and heartbreaking… Quite simply… “The Secret’s in the Sauce”


The Bride

4. “The Bride” – Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2

“I get shot in the head, raped, kicked, beaten and sliced by samurai swords… The movie should have been called Kill Uma.” – Uma Thurman

And because I’m a guy we boomerang right back to beautiful girls with guns and knives and things – I may be sentimental, but I still love a good action movie, and enjoy balance, nothing is more un-chick-flicky than a Quentin Tarantino Masterpiece (and isn’t every Quentn Tarantino movie a masterpiece?)…

You know this movie is about the breakdown of Fox Force Five right? Check that Sh!t out…

The Bride, a character created by Q&U, originally (unoficially, but c’mon) conceived in a scene in Pulp Fiction in which Uma Thurman’s character Mia Wallace speaks about a failed TV pilot she did… A premise developed and brought to life year’s later in this masterpiece…

Revenge is the subject central to many a great story, and this ode to Japanese Martial Art films, comprised almost entirely of the most entertaining set of strong, fast, high-flying female characters, is the stuff of every fanboy’s fantasy – and yes I know that this is about the girls, and to that I say that compared to the admittedly entertaining schlock of the Charlie’s Angels endeavors, this movie is the true zigga-zig-a of girl power…


5. Celie & Nettie – The Colour Purple

“The way I played Celie was to stand back from her. There’s a theory that an actor should identify with the character. Well, I loved her, but I didn’t identify with her. Celie is so far away from me, it was easy to allow her pain to be there, because her life has so little to do with mine.” – Whoopi Goldberg

The Colour Purple

I have never read Alice Walker’s masterpiece, but it does exist alongside my favourite kind of literature (FYI, Favourite Author is Toni Morrison). So what is it about this movie? Hear me out…

I am a brother. I have three sisters. I remember once watching an interview in which Maya Angelou spoke about how she was challenged for some reason for participating in the Million Man March, to which she replied, and this is not verbatim (probably the biggest hash-job I have ever done paraphrasing, but it was a long time ago), ‘I am the daughter of a man, the sister of a man, the mother of a man, the spouse of a man, this is why I march…’ I’ve totally messed it up, but the essence of it has always stuck with me.

Nettie and Celie. Two sisters. A bond that is physically severed at the beginning of the movie, but which remains the one constant longing throughout, strong in memory and heart, separated by hatred and oceans, the l
ove of two sisters, the sacred love of family, the strength and tale of one woman’s journey to her best self, to emancipation from a form of slavery born out of the legacy of slavery. This single girls journey to womanhood is set alongside fellow members of her sisterhood, in which her acquisition of strength within her own self runs parallel to other women who come into her life.

The movie boasts Oscar Nominated performances for not only Whoopi Goldberg in the titular role, but also for Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey. Not only was the film nominated for 11 Oscars (of which it won a big fat none), but three of those nominations belonged to African American Women, nominated for acting Oscars, from a single movie, a whole 16 years before Halle Berry would win her Best Actress Oscar for Monster – these figures speak to the power of the movie, the power of the story, and of the power of the players in their respective roles. Steven Spielberg’s interpretation of Alice Walker’s novel; oft referred to as an inferior work; woefully denied its justice at the Oscar’s; is a movie that in our household has been, and is, and will always be, a sacred and constant piece of enlightenment, contemplation and appreciation.


6. Police Chief Marge Gunderson – Fargo

“At least three times a week I’m approached by someone who says something about Fargo. Or, I’ll pass someone on the street in New York and someone will throw a line at me. People love to drop in ‘you betcha’ often as they can.” – Francis McDormand

It was in 1996 that a small town, with a small crime, introduced us to a largely pregnant, small town police chief named Marge Gunderson. It was the role of a lifetime for Francis McDormand, written and directed by the power pair comprised of her husband and brother-in-law (they of the genius Coen brothers), it earned her a well deserved Academy Award for Best Actress, but beyond that the character and film have gone on to surpass the more loftier and over the top creations by team Coen to be the masterpiece for which they will most probably always be remembered – a large part of that result rests solely on the shoulders of the genius that is this character who sits at Number 6 on my list.

It is the subtlest and smallest of performances, yet it is a presence in cinematic history that cannot be ignored because of its genius subtlety. From the quaint execution of the Mid-Western dialect, to the ever looming fact that the character’s pregnancy seems to be so huge yet is actually acknowledged briefly in the narrative of the movie (I mean, stamps got more conversation time than the pregnancy – And yet… M-Net; South Africa’s Pay-For-TV Service which provided a monthly program guide which include film blurb’s of the month’s movies in English and Afrikaans, had this entry under Fargo in the Afrikaans blurb, I remember because the tears rolled and pants were nearly pee’d, I quote, “Die polisie-hoof is swanger.”, ie direct translation: The Police Chief is pregnant)…

Francis McDormand’s Marge, out to solve a kidnapping, is faced with a criminal element and level of dishonesty which just does not compute as rational in the mind of the character… She’s just a cop, doing her job, baby on the way, living her life, appreciating the little things, and it is from that space that the humour exists… A true duck out of water, from a pond we could all learn to swim in…


7. Erin Brockovich – Erin Brockovich

“I have great admiration for what she stands for. A lot of women in our culture are facing being a single mother, trying to make ends meet. They are the heroes of out time, aren’t they?” – Julia RobertsErin Brockovich

And from the fictional beauty residing in the perceivably simplest of women to the a real, larger than life woman, who stood fast and beat the odds. From an expecting working mother-to-be to an actual unemployed mother of three. From understated to over the top. From small town crime, to fighting for, defending and ultimately uphelding the rights of an entire poisoned town against the corruption of a big business chemical company, we land at Erin Brockovich. To Justice.

It was always going to be but a matter of time before Julia Roberts won that Oscar, but that matter of time did take its sweet time, with amazing career cementing performances just not hitting the mark – the amazing thing about this performance is its effortlessness, it’s Julia Roberts at her most seemingly natural, like the role was simply meant for her. And it’s entertaining, it’s fall down funny delivery, it’s gut-wrenching tragedy, it’s real life David and Goliath-ness – except David actually wears stilletto’s and way to revealing clothes (for her office colleagues, I rather liked her outfits, especially her blouses – there I had my man moment), Erin Brockovich is not just a movie hero, she’s the real deal, and Julia Roberts does the real deal real justice


8. Sarah Connor – T2: Judgement DayTERMINATOR 2 : JUDGEMENT DAY DE JAMES CAMERON LINDA HAMILTON

“It’s not about the fame – it’s about the very nature of Sarah Connor who is a savior. I know people don’t necessarily buy it was the truth, but I go out in the world for all of these years and people stop me and say, “Hey I Love you!” It’s kind of an insidious thing because they think of me as the person who saved the future. It’s subtle how it works on people, but I just go out and people treat me like I’m a hero. It’s a wonderful feeling and it’s really great to be Linda Hamilton. I really think it’s because on some level that character I played is working on them in their subconscious.” – Linda Hamilton

In the first Terminator Sarah Connor was a deer in the headlights, on the run from the machine, round two came around and Sarah Connor was ready to hand it to them – she was tougher, stronger, crazier, pissed off, and she weren’t no victim!!! I mean check out those guns, as a Madonna fan, I like to think of her as a trendsetter, but Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor version T2.0 was a mean MoFo!

I love Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I need to watch that movie again, like soon, there’s no mistaking the fact that James Cameron is at the helm of this movie and Aliens, the female characters of James Cameron’s Sci-Fi Fantasies are It! That piece of acknowledgement to the man behind the scene done, the Sarah Connor on this list really is all about Linda Hamilton, the originator…

Hopefully… one day… She’ll be back…


9. The Rockford Peaches – A League of Their OwnA League of Their Own

“There’s no crying in baseball!” – Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks)

It’s the story of a team, it’s a sports movie, about girls (ahem… women) playing baseball while the men are off fighting The War – a fictional dramatization of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Yes, we enter into the Penny Marshall directed movie with sisters Dorothy “Dottie” Hinson and Kit Keller, but this really is a movie about the team. It’s about Marla Hooch, “All the Way” Mae Mordabito, Doris Murphy, Betty “Spaghetti” Horn, Evelyn Gardner and their Coach Jimmy Dugan – it is a movie which in 2012, was cited as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and was accordingly it was elected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

When you consider the rigorous filming the actresses went through to deliver the final product, that before even auditioning they had to pass a fitness and ball skill assessment, that for the purposes of stock footage for montages they had to play dozens of actual baseball games, that the Director’s Cut of the movie runs at over four hours (with many storylines cut that documented various characters arcs), and that by the end of the movie Penny Marshall felt sorry for the crew as, “Unfortunately everyone’s cycle synched up. The mood swings…”

This movie is a celebration of women surpassing expectations imposed upon them by society and by themselves, it is hysterically funny, while also dramatic – a really good piece of cinema…


Jen Final10. Frances “Baby” Houseman – Dirty Dancing

“I carried a watermelon…” – Baby

Yeah, Yeah… I hear you… But this one is for the girls, and the boys that were forced to watch it so many times that they actually, maybe, but we won’t admit that will we, kinda enjoyed it?

So, for context sake, me and my siblings (three sisters remember, and a much younger, fortunately for him not yet born) are children of professional dancers and dancing teachers, this movie was the first age-restricted movie I ever saw, it was required viewing in our house… Funny story, my dad lived in Rustenburg at the time (when the dorp was still but a few blocks wide) and we went to watch it at the two cinema complex called the Rustra – the ladies came with their hair did up eighties high, with sequins and shoulder pads, and when Patrick Swayze came on screen… My ears have still not yet fully recovered, nearly thirty years later.

Need more?

How about this… There are soooo many “chick flicks” out there, hate them much guys? Our ladies love them, and many of them have watched, re-watched and re-watched them again (and some times forced us to watch some really, really bad ones), these are their favourites, these strong women in our lives, these dreamers – it would be wrong of me to right a blog post like this and not include a real solid chick flick heroine (and in fact there are a couple I would have, and did, consider for this spot). I know this…

If I am ever fortunate enough to add a daughter to our family, I hope that she too has a romantic spirit, that she also wants to dream, and be a little girl of dreams… Drive us guys crazy with having to watch Dirty Dancing (although by that stage we’ll be in a bigger house and they can watch in the other lounge) – Lord knows, my daughter will also be raised on Aliens and Terminator as well, but girls will be girls – she is the elected representative for the honour of representing one of the biggest genres in the movie magic world, and for being the best within that huge genre of film… Could be worse, could be a Katherine Heigl movie (I think that’s how you spell it).

See the pictures I’ve added to this post? Nose be damned Jennifer Grey was hot (sorry Ladies)! That scene, in those shorts, up and down those stairs… And she was a good girl ultimately, selfless, kind, caring – and yeah, she owns this place proudly with all the dreams and eyes of little girls, little women, ladies, old girls and old women who have entrusted their hours of enjoyment upon this brand of Cinderella fantasy and escapism…

It’s that damn Patrick Swayze I tell you, he even made housewives bad…


So that’s my first list of the three… Coming Soon: The Bad; and The Ugly…

I actually come to the end of this list and I don’t know who it actually is for… This is just my opinion based on my life experience shaped appreciation. The fact is that there are certain fundamental truths that transcend beyond that which should define and separate us. These instead speaking to the commonality that exists in being members and equal participants in the human condition. I feel sorry for those that can’t or are unable to access that…

To end off, here are just a few movies that landed on and then fell off, and then were shuffled around, and ultimately lost out on appearing on this list but which own a spot in this mention:

Amelie; For The Boys; The Blind Side; Gravity; Clueless; Sense & Sensibility; Beloved; The Help; Scream; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Pretty Woman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Girl, Interrupted – and finally, the one that I struggled the most with, the movie that was on and off and on again but which I just could not justify due to the lead protagonist not being the actual lead protagonist of the film – Mad Max: Fury Road…

Let me know what you think 🙂


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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1613: The craculator of AuCT

“THandshe liluns found it while playing down on Jules, do you know what it is?”

Garr looked at the small contraption, a machine, buttons with faded numbers and letters, and a screen – not cracked, had somehow survived. “I think I’ve heard of these. It’s a craculater, they used to use them amethmitrickly, for summations and the like… Definitely needs power, what kinda I don’t know.”

LAk, ever the optimistic one out of the two immediately thought potential was in hand, “You think is worth something, can we trade.”

Garr was sceptical, didn’t know if it would be worth anything, but he was still wary and hopeful, just in case. “We may need to visit the two old bags tomorrow, they might know. Have you got some brew for them, you know they won’t help unless we got some brew… For now puts it away, then take them liluns and see if anyone need some hands in exchange for some brew… Oh and LAk, say nothing to nobody about nothing”

With that Lak was off, she had liluns to round up. possibility lay ahead. This little discovery sure was a welcome change to the usual flow of days in AuCT. There was talk of black SnO later. Maybe the liluns could earn enough brew for the night and for the two old bags…

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1612: My Heart, My Love, My Everything!!!

Because today’s challenge was all about sharing what made you happy…

Well wouldn’t you know it, on a day where I was actually wondering if people were picking up the real me through this blog, my DS106 fellowship provides me with the perfect challenge in which I get to share a part of myself that is the most important part… Yes, I’m a family man.

Is there anything more important, any title more profound, than Daddy?

Well there most certainly is, Mommy! Without my love; My Bela; there would be no place for me to be defined as I currently am. The true brains of this journey, she who has opened my eyes to a world beyond my wildest imaginings.

I am the luckiest guy in the world, I have a loving family, I get to wake up everyday and live love. It’s just the most important thing isn’t it? The ultimate driving force, the very definition of what makes a man truly great, the sanctity and the honour that comes with being the patriarch of a family unit. It’s where my success lies, and the security and preservation thereof is where my future flourishes.

It ain’t always easy is it? Life throws curve balls at you all the time, sometimes you are able to prepare for them, sometimes you are not, sometimes they come out of left field like a tidal wave set to wreck destruction upon you as you stand in its wake, sometimes it comes from those closest to you armed with malice and hate – Undeniably it’s love that gets us through those tough times.

The fact of the matter is that true triumph exists within the harshest of circumstance, and life is there to be lived no matter what. The inevitability of the greatest fear within the human condition (as in death) lurks around every corner, it can all feel like too much, but… because this post really is about the but…

Bela, your smile makes my heart sing

My post today, My World today

They honour you, they come from you

My hopes and wishes and drive for our future

They live within your smile

Alexi, my boy, we love you so much

Your growth into the little boy you are

The privilege of witnessing the man you will become

Everything we wished for on this journey of parenthood

Is fulfilled in the delight with which you exist

Ari, our littlest one growing so fast

We stare in wonder, in disbelief, in awe every day

We look forward to getting to know you

We look forward to you defining our big and little brother set

We look forward to the day you say Mommy and Daddy

Just remember that no matter what, say the words that need to be said. Don’t wait for it to be too late. Today for me I had a prompt, so again thank you DS106, but it really doesn’t need to be so. I went through that moment earlier in this post when I spoke about the dark times, that was important, because it is during those times that we most often forget to express our love, when it is needed to be heard the most. This blog really has been a saving grace in terms of maintaining chipper, by being creative, by sharing, but it is here that I realise that maybe I could have said it more often over the last couple of months. I mean… I feel it, I say it, I do it everyday, it is in my nature, but maybe I can feel, say and do it more… I know I’ll start (well I’ve already started) by saying it here…

I love you!

I love you!

I love you!

 

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Those Magic Minds, those Kings of Screens…

Oh if only they had got it right,

Those Magic Minds, those King of Screens,

If only they had brought it home,

So I could rest safely in my dreams…

If Sydney’s mom on Alias,

Irina Derevko of the Derevko clan,

Had found redemption at the end,

I would have been a happy man.

It’s Sydney again, but she from Scream,

It should’ve happened in Scream 4,

The time was ripe for her gruesome end,

Could’ve broken the genre once more.

And oh Lestat, that Vampire fiend,

Tom Cruise had done his part,

Aaliyah too when her turn came,

Round two should have been some art.

But then the horror, Lestat’s not blonde,

And that’s just where it starts.

Queen of the Damned, You failed me!

You’ve really hurt some hearts!

Now let me talk of X-Men, a Comic Fan I am,

Decisions made aplenty here have gasolined this flame,

But two in particular I can’t get past,

Listen close and understand my pain…

My fellow SAffer, Gavin Hood, C’mon Man,

How could you get it soooo wrong?

Wolverine; Deadpool; Sabretooth;

You’ve fed this sad sad song.

But can’t blame you for the next travesty

Of Chipmunk cheeks Mystique,

A villain? No now a heroine cos,

Jen Lawrence must be with ethi-que.

I now wait patiently for her evil turn,

It better be fast approaching,

Coz now I’m dealing Age of Apocalypse,

Which within my brain’s been encroaching.

_

Just so you all know that it’s not just the current,

I will travel back in time, just to say,

Francis Ford Copolla, with your talented daughter,

You ruined that trilogy’s day.

And finally, for this poem at least,

Because this issue is ever expanding,

Let’s think on the sad song of LadyHawke,

The cursed soundtrack which needed dismantling.

_

Oh it’s hard to admit there’s more to get wrong,

Those Magic Minds, those King of Screens,

There is no foreseeable end to the vicious cycle,

No Safety assured in my dreams.

This is my Tuesday contribution to The Blog Tag prompts on which I am currently participating, a poem, well Duh…

But maybe, just maybe, had I been on the creative team behind LadyHawke I could have contributed greatly to ensuring that that music never got out of the vault, but I was post-foetal back then, and really, Michelle Pfeiffer would have fallen head over heels with me, and fought on my behalf to eliminate Rutger Hauer from the production, and we could have had this (with cool music):

https://flic.kr/p/H1FhhM

 

 

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Aleen?

Story Time…

Once upon a time there was little boy whose world was torn apart when his parents got divorced. It was 1986, and at only six years old Daddy was not at home anymore… 🙁

Even Home wasn’t at home anymore as he, his mommy and his little sister were forced to move out of their lovely house and into a flat on Jules Street, which today is a place that many fear to tread… 🙁 🙁

His Mommy had to take up 4 jobs so that she could make ends meet… She had an office job during the day, on weekends she sold clothes and taught dancing lessons, but it was the evenings that were the hardest, as she had to take a job at a restaurant which meant that she was gone every night until the wee hours of the morning; on a daily basis she got to spend maybe only two hours a day maximum with her kids… 🙁 🙁 🙁

Sad right, but I promises I won’t use up any more of your kleenex, because the little boy made some friends! Every night the local TV station would play hours of company for him and his little sister, she was three years younger than he so she never got to experience the truly exciting hours. Late, late, late at night, when he should have been in bed, when even his beloved maid (as she was called back in those days of apartheid) who was the surrogate mother he had when his own couldn’t be there; when even she was asleep recovering from her long day; those were the hours when movies made an impression upon his life; it was here, at a way too young age, that he discovered the joy of escapism…

But it was one particular movie on a particular evening that forever altered his relationship with everything he understood. All alone one night, younger than ten years old, having promised on numerous occasions that he would go to bed early (he lied), a movie came on called Aliens (which he went on to watch Aleen – Afrikaans for Alone)…

I was terrified beyond belief, my little brain nearly burst out of my skull I was so exhilerated and terrified, “Why are those funny hands with tails jumping on peoples faces!?!” (Bow-Chick-A-Wow-Wow!); “HER STOMACH EXPLODED!!!”; “What’s those things eating and chasing them”; “Run Newt Run!!!”; “Save the little girl Ripley!!!”; The blood, the guts, the horror… The sheer beauty of imagination and potential that commenced from that day, the love I have for this movie (these movies) knows no bounds…

ALIENS COMPLETE GreenIt’s ironic that whenever I think of this movie it is so deeply attached to my blessed mother’s absence which was born of necessity (love you mom), because if you (like I) have ever studied these movies you understand that these movies are all about motherhood – A strong female character who also has been separated by circumstance, who through four movies explores with the use of the most astonishing of metaphors, the suffering and pain of childbirth, of parenthood, of a lost child, of surrogacy, of motherly love, of the relationship between mother and child – there’s egg laying, there’s love, there’s pregnancy, there’s unwanted pregnancy, there’s unconditional love and sacrifice, there’s even adoption…

The Alien movies are as much about Motherhood as the Prometheus movies are about fatherhood. In the Xenomorphs (aliens) we have the queen battling a human mother, both fighting for their children; the exploration of nature and the maternal contrast greatly with the paternal relationships and archetypes explored in the Prometheus series – this is so calculated as to be manipulative, and yet because the movies are so far in the extremity of Sci-Fi/Horror, there are so many who lose out on the pervasive themes which exist in contrast within the shared universe – because they are terrifyingly layered!

As Aliens 5 exists on the horizon which unless I am wrong (because I’m not following the developments because the wait is a decade plus long for me and the disappointment will kill me), our own South African (well my own at least) Neil Blomkamp will be at the wheel, at the same time Prometheus 2 is also looming with it’s exploration of the God like male architects who somehow create life in the absence of the feminine force (it’s all science and faith)…

I think that just at a peak you can understand when I say that this is my favourite movie, I have definitely given it too much time, I have watched these movies repeatedly over the years (so that anything starring the most underrated actress of our time,  Siguorney Weaver, gets watched as a result) – and yet, would it surprise you that movies like The Colour Purple and Fried Green Tomatoes (at the Whistle Stop Cafe) also reside among some of my favourite films? Clearly those are stories for another day…

I’ll leave with this… An image of a little boy, all alone, sitting cross legged, on his mommy’s bed, shivering from fear, in darkness except for the flashing screen before him, tranfixed by the moving pictures, as figures quickly move through the dark, a flash of light and noise, a scream from the television and immediately from him in reply, as the duvet flies, covering his entire little being, his heart beating fast, nightmares ahead… and yet… There’s stuff happening that he cannot see, he has to come out from under the protection of the duvet shield, okay I’ll just peak through and see, I think I’ll be okay, sounds like it’s safe, no one around to hear me scream… Aargh!!!

Cos, IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM…

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DS106 Daily Creates #tdc1609, #tdc1610 & #tdc1611: The woe of animals…

CkI4hBSWUAAWMPjOn Saturday I tried to make something out of nothing, quite literally, within 5 minutes (more on that here…)

The ironic thing is that I really (for 5 minutes) struggled, and I layered #TDC1609 with subtext, which I actually bought into for my 5 minutes – there is light I tell you (Look what happens if i optimize the shadows and highlights in the image, there is lots of light at play, this simple work is as abstract as they come!!!)!

And there I go again trying to convince myself…

The point is that I was disappointed with the effort, and yet I wasn’t because the layers of meaning are applied…

Yesterday I didn’t post an update for #TDC1610 (so this will be it, and it will be short) although I did meet my self-imposed Daily Create quota :P…

There was not much thought to this one, but it took a lot of time, and so by the time I finally got it up I just didn’t have the energy to write about it!

TDC1610

 

 

Truth be told, there isn’t much to say about the piece itself, it’s a not so tongue in cheek commentary on the most base of subject matter… Except that what I have realised is that the majority of the enjoyment I am deriving from these excercises is in the doing :)! Sometimes they take a lot of time, sometimes they take alot of thought, sometimes they take little of either and sometimes they take much-er!

Today, as a bit of a reprieve in terms of effort from my Saturday entry, I took a hold of the horns of today’s daily create #TDC1611, and went balls to the walls. I studied film when I was 19, at a not so esteemed college, in South Africa, where my skill that I entered the industry with (for all of a couple of months, because I was more inspired with partying, and because the skill I had was not actually related to anything I was actually passionate about when it came to the industry), was editing (in those days, my very expensive Television and Film production textbook, which cost R700, had a chapter on digital editing which was 11 pages long – the world has changed)… and I digress… the point is that I know on some level those projects I worked on back then were at play, even if just a little, here today, because the video editing bit was the easiest bit for me.

FYI – This is not going to be a “How To”, I am unable to adhere to that kind of writing, this is more of a thinking around my approach, as I come to understand it myself – But let me just say now, before I lose you all completely, that I appreciate beyond words the positivity you have given this video on Twitter – It really is encouraging – I really am enjoying these Daily Creates!

I visited the website with the sound effects and from the beginning I had this idea that I would find 5 animals from as far away from each other as I could (the daily create prompt helped there)… Then it was a matter of extracting the sounds, and that wasn’t so easy, but all of us have managed to do that, so we know it is possible and I will just say that I managed to get them all individually. At this point, while I was getting them in mp3, I had decided that I was today going to make a video, Windows Movie Maker would be the tool of choice, having played with it just a little recently, and so it became very much about what the message of it all was going to be…

As I thought on this, and sourced pictures from Wikipedia of the animals I had selected, I decided that silent movie speech cards were going to be the tool of choice, and that there was going to be a poem, but a poem about what? What do 5 animals have to say, that would unite them, and why unity became a theme I do not know, except I think I kinda do…

Today I read an article in which one of South Africa’s greatest satirists Zapiro, has been listed as No2 on a list of the top 10 cartoonists worldwide – it’s a beautiful thing, he has challenged South Africa in his commentary art which has unforgivingly documented our history for the last approximately 30 years – but it’s also a sad event, because the man has fallen, in many eyes, as he compromised his artistic integrity last week when he apologised for a cartoon in which he portrayed a “Black” Minister as a performing Monkey under the control of our shameless President Jacob Zuma (a man who has abused his powers beyond the imaginable, and whose cabinet is a joke – Wiki?). Zapiro has been necessarily scathing of our President for the last 10 years, and sadly the South African climate has deteriorated under his watch, as he has not fostered the necessary progressive environment for this Rainbow Nation to continue upward. It was the depiction of a black man as a monkey which resulted in a racist backlash on social media, as the commentary of the analogy was lost within the remaining anger of a certain Miss Penny Sparrow who in January caused a national crisis when she spewed forth her racist assertions as she compared black beach goers to monkeys – the stigma essentially overwriting the commentary of the piece. Our ruling party loves the racist card, and they milk it for all it’s worth, so that freedom of speech and artistic license are being eroded, even our public broadcaster has made an announcement last week that they will be (without actually using the word) censoring what they show on the news, so as not to incite further anger, and just this week South Africa managed to avoid being downgraded to Junk Status by global ratings agencies… So yeah I kinda think I know how this piece came about…

And there it is, the reason that the animals are speaking so, in various animal languages, for they too have caught wind of what is happening in South Africa, even the most beautiful moments of our day are challenged by the realities of a society which we hope will recover for the second time from what we perceive to be a decline. This was a nation which has had the world’s attention for years, and we rose upon the dreams of a great President Nelson Mandela, only to find ourselves in an arena we are actually not prepared for. It really is a fearful time in South Africa, but hope remains alive, and ultimately I have to believe that every dog has it’s day…

Humour is a powerful device, find the funny to tell the truth, because truth is universally identifiable, especially when expressed through art…

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1609: Paint It Black

Ever have one of those days, where the world is weighing you down; nothing has been going right for a while and today feels like yet another shade of shade on an ever increasing scale of shade; that there’s a cloud over your head and it’s raining down upon you and only you…

I never had one of those days yesterday, but I know them way to well!

Yesterday’s Daily Create was a last minute piece of creation that commenced 5 minutes before midnight… I was actually quite ashamed, since commencing my current blogging schedule, this would be the first time I missed posting – but it was such a great day (and if all goes according to plan, you will hear about it soon). So at just before midnight, after the excitement of good company and fun had completed its ensue-ment(?), I thought – at the least let me try and get the job done – but now it was a matter of what could I do with the following prompt:

I decided at that moment to embark on a five minute creative excercise… I was thus forced to take stock of my limitations… we are now two minutes down you must understand… So what does this picture say to me? What does it all mean? What is the knock-on effect and impact of not meeting my personal commitments (which mean nothing to anyone but to me alone) actually mean to me in the grand scheme of things? What does 2 minutes (because the clock is ticking) of creativity look like?

And then the moment of revelation arrived, and aligned with the very first entry of my oldest remaining journal, an entry based and inspired on a song from a little know movie by a little known band – Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones as per the end credits of The Devil’s Advocate (a movie which confirmed to this former film student prior to his studies, that Charlize Theron was meant for bigger things). This song was somewhat of an anthem for a gothic rocker youth during his more… sombre (shall we say)… days, before he discovered the joy of house music and the npartied at maybe one to many Rave Party Gathering Things… But I digress… I used to lie awake at night and travel down the hypnotic journey of this songs’ melody and lyrics, eyes closed, painting it all black – much like the eventual outcome of any inanimate (or even animate for that fact) individual being smacked dead by what appears to be the stupidity of invention…

Sound morbid right? But that’s how surprisingly and profoundly brilliant and exciting I think the piece is, because death, is well death, and if you don’t believe in anything (and I do believe inanimate objects do not, unless there is like a Wicker-Deity somewhere) then the emptiness of Black is the inevitable nothingness which exists. And so with a minute and a half left, I tried to capture the abstract representation which would encompass all of the above in a single shot of black, and that took longer than it should have!!! Because there is light frikken everywhere… (which is amazing, particularly in South Africa where having light is a privilege in the late hours)…

Which is fitting because if you look really closely, in the top right corner of the image, there is a hint of a glow coming through – a hint I say – offering a hint of hope to all of us that need to believe that there is light in the darkest of darkness… Even for those of us who are inanimate… apparently…

And that takes me back to the beginning of this full circle post, because even in the darkness, search for the light!

And that is my summation of this piece – Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder… 🙂

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Music Week Q&A

It’s the end of a week of Music Tags… Thank You to The Blog Tag for the inspiration 🙂

As we come to the end we answer a few personal questions regarding Music (including one which should never be asked of anyone, like ever)…


Questions

  1. Name your top 3 favorite artists/ bands: Madonna; Justin Timberlake; Janet Jackson
  1. What is the last song you listened to? I Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode
  1. What was the first concert you went to? LOL! Dr Alban – One of the best times of my life!!!
  1. If you could spend a day with your favorite singer who would it be? Wow, coz didn’t feature in question 1… Jim Morrison (and we share a birthday) 🙂
  1. Are there any songs that you can’t stand hearing? Right now, I just can’t for majority of Pop on the Radio – There is one Selena Gomez song that is wrecking me…
  1. If you could have a soundtrack to your life what would it be? The Soundtrack of the movie Human Traffic
  1. Can you sing? Yep, out of practice though… So Nope…
  1. Your favorite cheesy song? I’m Going Bananas – Madonna (Dick Tracy Soundtrack) – used to work in a fast-paced hectic environment, this became the anthem…
  1. What songs do you listen to when you are feeling down? More “depressing” woeful songs – selections of Tracy Chapman, The Doors, The Cranberry
  1. First L.P/C.D/Mp3 you bought? Lol – 1st CD I bought, with my best friend (we went 50/50 because they didn’t have the cassette) was the first Toni Braxton album (Huge Boomerang Fan)
  1. Do you like musicals if so which is your favorite? If I had to choose one it would probably be Cats or Rent
  1. Favorite musical instrument? Conductor’s Baton… The most powerful…
  1. If you could see anyone in concert who would it be? Madonna
  1. If you wrote a song what would it be called? I have, the first one is called “You Have Me”

 Quick Fire

Rock/Pop

Sing in the shower/on Stage

Musical/Concert

Guitar/Drums

Ear phones/speaker

Music while you work/quiet

Direction /Justin Bieberv

(I cannot! I am sorry, if the above was a selection which would determine hours of torture by listening to it or the revelation of a secret, I better not have any good secrets to keep, because I won’t…)

Sing/Dance

Instrumental/Lyrics

Prince/Micheal Jackson


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A Week of Music with Guitar Face

Well isn’t it just so funny – I am a member of a group called The Blog Tag (check them out on Facebook), this weeks blogging prompts have been aligned to the theme Music, today’s DS106 Daily Create is all about making a Guitar Face, and so my universe has aligned – as has this post, which is now on it’s second draft because I’ve only just now made the connection myself 🙂 – and it’s the perfect Daily Create to go with today’s Final Blog Tag weekly review:

So the aim was to take a guitar face photo, but I cannot just leave it at that apparently… Why would i wanna do that… So the question I pose to you now is, Do you know the movie? It’s wanna my favourites, I really need to watch these movies again…

BTTF Photo

In review of the week’s Blog Tag Posts and activity, a week of posts related to prompts around the theme Music, let’s first look at the posts which were the product of said prompts and tasks:

MUSIC WEEK IN REVIEW


So MoMusicShow-1nday‘s prompt was to write about my favourite song/music and why I love it so much – I am a Pop Music Fan, a bit of a pop purist (and I have a strong belief that actually there while the music of Pop is considered to a large degree to be shallow and not worthy of even being considered as art.

The artists I like do approach their craft with seriously, have worked their craft and skills and most definitely consider every move they make, because they are by definition feeding into satisfying the most people aesthetically) and so I selected to not to focus on the genre in particular, but rather to focus on a specific moment and memory which involved me and my favourite genre (and one of my favourite musicians) which demonstrates the place MUSIC has in my life…

Read it Here…


Tuesday was a crazy day for me, and the prompt on this day requiredMusicShow-8 that we share our current playlist.

This is just a fun task, one you should try with your friends, or your colleagues, or your gym buddies, or your social media contacts! The fact of the matter is that music is so diverse and you can learn so much about people by the music they listen to…

I fancy myself quite a diverse connosieur of music with diverse taste in music, as music is definitely attached to the mood in play during the listening…

My Playlists tend to be quite a mixture, but when I listen, the accessing of emotion is fun for me, so I have no issue with the genre jumping that oft does occur…

See My Playlist here…


MusicShow-3

On Wednesday I was given the opportunity to express myself on this blog with a poem – My first on this forum.

I love the creative energy that poems provide, I guess you could attest it to the reading I did as a child, which included the likes of Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss BUT the power of lyrics in the musical writing process have always been instrumental in my understanding of expression – I’m one of those people who learns the words of all the songs of the artists I like…

I really write poetry on the fly, it is most probably (and ironically) my most free flowing form of writing – I access it, I document it, I relase it and step away

The specifics of this prompt I felt had already been covered in my Monday post, but I still definitely engaged with the theme, and the poem became about the relationship we assign to exist between Music and our emotions…

Read the poem now:


MusicShow-4

Well I can’t play – this was most probably the most difficult post for me, it’s not for a lack of want though…

I also happened to be ill on Thursday, so I almost didn’t write a post, but I was also committed to delivering a complete weeks contribution to The Blog Tag initiative – So, Yay for me! Flu didn’t get me down.

Will I ever learn to play an instrument? I hope so…  It’s something I have always wanted to do, and I admire people who can play instruments – for me, all that creative energy I have alwayd dabbled with is now being poured into this blogging thing – I hope those of you taking the time to read my blog are enjoying it 🙂

Read my Thursday Post here…


And Finally on Friday we answer a Q&A provided by The Blog Tag team which you can read right here

So Thank You for joining me this week on this journey of Me and Music!

 

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If I could play…

In my head I am the greatest musician – I’ve composed the most beautiful pieces and written the most inspirational and meaningful songs… In my head that is…

I have dabbled with piano, self taught without any technique, and without the necessary co-ord’s to actually do anything further with it…

(and let’s not forget the ADHD, we must never forget the ADHD)…

I once bought a guitar, it still looks good in it’s box… And the Harmonica I purchased was very silver and very shiny… I wonder where that got to?

As a father, I am going to make sure that my kids have a full life with well rounded opportunities, advantages and discipline that I never had access to for no other reason than circumstance, part of this includes a musical mastery. The ability to master an instrument is about so much more than just playing a ditty, the learning itself is wholly developmental and skilled, and contributes to an approach which extends well beyond the picking up of the instrument.

For me, at this stage of life, I’ll just use Garage Band on my iPad… I play good Garage Band 🙂

 

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1607: You Had One DS106 Job

The premise, look around you, DS106 is everywhere, and yet so often just about everywhere is getting it wrong – don’t you just hate it when the universe fails to hit the sweet 106 spot?

Thumbs up

And so we had to look around us, in our quest to make digital art, and find these instances of 106-failure. A funny thing is going on at the moment…

On one had I have acknowledged that if I am going to be taking blogging more seriously, I will have to care about the numbers and analysis which indicate growth of following… On the other hand, the creative endeavor, that in which we create for creation and expressions sake, and in which we do so in the face of and prepared for criticism and opinion, not to be focussed on the returns of “Popularity”…

And so, I watch the numbers, I do, and I create, I do that to – so my contribution/s on this post deal with the reality and the created possibility of missing the mark – not once in number, but twice, the second in the literal/creative capacity…

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Be Inspired

Bob QuoteWhatever Music you listen to,

May it forever inspire you!

 

If your music makes you wanna flip your hair

And bang your head against the air

Be Inspired

 

If it recalls your Wedding Day,

swaying together upon the floor

You in dress and he in suit…

(Or both in suits… Or both in dress…)

Who gives a hoot!

Be inspired

 

If it guides you upon a chosen plane,

psychedelic with plastic rain

The answers you seek before you unfolding as

Eyes aflutter, speech a stutter,

Be inspired

 

If it quietens and soothes your longing soul

And draws you close and makes you whole

If it works only to ease the pain and hold you sane

Be inspired

 

Whether it’s all about the melody?

The beat, the heat, the symphony

If it’s all just about the cacophony

Who cares, it’s yours, if it clears your bored, just

Be inspired

 

If you cannot hear with your ears of that which I speak

You can find it within, feel your heartbeat

It’s the words on a page, it’s in the smell of the sage

Can you feel it? Right! Now…

Be inspired


As required by prompt, I did write the otherday about how music had got me through some tough stuff, Here’s that post: http://soztheo.me/2016/05/30/madonna-music-madness/

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1606: Are you my ____________?

Today we have been tasked with the (only coz it’s been a really long week, and only 2 days in…) daunting remix of the P.D. Eastman classic Are You My Mother cover, to something more modern…

Herewith (below) is my contribution, but please also do take a look at the fine work of my fellow DS106 Daily Create crowd… https://twitter.com/hashtag/tdc1606?src=hash – a really fine group of twitter avatars who I have the pleasure of sharing a little bit of creative space and energy with everyday!

Thanks Fellow DS106 Daily Create Bretheren – keep em coming!

Are You My Inspiration

 

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A day is a Playlist…

Music makes the people come together

Music makes the bourgeoisie and the Rebel

Sometimes, as much as we would love to, the time is just not available to meet all our commitments – sadly this is one of those days (but it’s not a total loss) – so in the best interests of time, I am going to pledge a memory entry to each one of the songs listed below. I don’t even really have time to make playlists anymore, I hardly put my earphones in these days, and I avoid current music on the radio out of frustration. But this is the last playlist I made…

My rule for playlists is simple… One song for each artist, variety is the spice of life – and generally if I hear it (while on shuffle), and it connects at that moment, irrespective if there is a progressional consistency, if the connect happens it goes on the list in that order, and played again (or it gets skipped and doesn’t make the cut)…

I usually do this while I work…

I listen to this playlist now and I wonder what mood I was in on this day, take a hear, maybe you can tell me… Alls I know is that on this day, there was a story into which these songs nestled themselves and contributed to the progression:

  1. Duran Duran – Come Undone
  2. N.E.R.D – Hypnotize You
  3. Tracy Chapman – Give Me One Reason
  4. Empire of the Sun – We are the People
  5. Prince – When Doves Cry
  6. Madonna – Nothing Really Matters
  7. Katy B – Crying for No Reason
  8. The Ting Ting’s – Shut Up & Let Me Go
  9. Janet Jackson – BURNITUP!
  10. The Doors – The End
  11. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  12. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
  13. Muse – Time Is Running Out
  14. Shakespeare’s Sister – Stay
  15. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Face to Face
  16. Juliette Lewis – Hardly Wait
  17. Eminem – Superman
  18. Tailor – Step Back
  19. The Fugees – Ready or Not
  20. Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat
  21. Fetish – Constant
  22. Daft Punk – Lose Yourself to Dance
  23. Linkin Park – The Catalyst
  24. The Cranberries – Empty
  25. Sade – Cherish the Day
  26. Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again
  27. Michael Jackson – In The Closet
  28. PJ Harvey – Down by the River
  29. Justin Timberlake – My Love

And there you have it – reviewing it now, not a single song on the list comes as a surprise, many of these are favourites which would make any list on any given day, all of which have got a story and association I can elaborate on in the future…

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1605: #HungaryHippos

So, use a random name generator, choose two names from different countries, find a picture, and tell the story of the people in the picture…

I wanted two countries who had sharing borders as soon as I saw this picture. Hungary and Romania were the two best that would suit my scenario – as I wanted to have a conflict type border sharing scenario (although I don’t even know what the historical or current relationships between the two are). I struggled with this because I have good friends who are Hungarian and although we jokingly rib our mutual nationalities, I really didn’t know if this would be a declaration of war, a prequel to the Hungarian Spring (although I kinda suspected that it wouldn’t). But I had actually read an incredibly good and thought provoking blog post about being careful of what you put out in the social arena, so better safe than sorry.

I just so happened to be chatting to one of my Hungarian friends on FB during the creation, so I passed it by her humorously… and Hungary, she has approved the post on your behalf as one of your countrymen – take it up with her!

That said, this was also a good step in the creative process as I learned that the name I had selected was actually a girls name (so I put that piece of info to use), also, and this was just sugar on top of it all:

Did you know the Budapest Zoo is actually an exporter of hippos? It’s because the hippo pool is fed by an underground spring that is very good for fertility problems… So the hippos are rather fertile….

This is actually a thing!!! #HornyHungaryHippos

So now I think I may be psychic! This could actually be a true story! I wonder where next my powers will take me!

#HungaryHippo

 

 

Oh! And about that blog post I read earlier today… Definitely worth a read, check it out! at http://theblogtag.co.za/2016/05/31/your-online-persona/

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Madonna MUSIC Madness

I have this weird relationship with Madonna.

I am well aware that the lady in question is nowadays pretty much a gay icon – I mention this because everytime I mention the “Madonna-thing” I get that raised eyebrow (you know the one I’m talking about, you’re probably doing it right now)…. The thing is, it wasn’t her gay-iconess that got my, ummm, attention, when as a young 14 year old I managed to get my innocent little hands upon and opening the metal covers of the now infamous SEX book… #NuffSaid? I like the title Queen of Pop… I like Pop Music… Not the crap that is on the radio now, but the Pop of Madonna, Prince, Janet, Michael & Whitney.

Now the thing about this music, is that for me it is very artist-centric, it is as much about them, the stories they have to tell, and the culture of their unique brand of celebrity which they have cultivated, and as with most thing, sometimes my favourite artists piss me off. Right now for instance I am in a particularly frustrated/hate-but-still-a-fan relationship with Madonna, I am just not happy with the artistic evolution (encased in plastic mould, on the face of things) which she is currently on – there is a disconnect which has happened… She still fascinates me, I still spectate, but that really is not what this post is about…

This post is about the song MUSIC and why it is one of my favourite songs, by one of my favourite artists.

It was the year 2000, I had landed myself stuck in Rustenburg of all places. This was right in the middle of my hardcore electro, house, rave bunny phase and on a visit to family, I (for reasons we shan’t elaborate further on here), was trapped in the dorp of Rustenburg (before they blew up the mountain… Do you know they blew up a mountain? So a highway to Sun City could pass through?) Anyway, I digress…

Here I am, trapped (you got it? Traaaaped) in Rustenburg, my collection of CD’s played to death, sitting in the car chilling outside the family business, listening to the radio (which I don’t do for fear of ear bleed), eating an ice-cream. It was Radio 5 or 5FM, whatever, when the announcement comes on that the exclusive world premier of Madonna’s latest song was about to be played, and I’ll never forget how excited the DJ’s were to play it (having already listened to it), they were hyped… The anticipation. The adverts. The wait. The Rustenburg heat. Time ticked slowly (cos you know, Time Goes By So Slowly).

And then maxresdefaultthe moment had arrived… Right from the “Hey Mr DJ, put a record on…” I was intrigued. And then… The first electro glitchy beat, like nothing that had ever been heard before, particularly from a mainstream musician, a filthy grinding guitar riff atop a sonically disjointed rhythm, with stuttery, juttery, manipulated, commanding, vocoder lyrics, calling people to dance, to let go, to let the music take them away…

It was mesmerisingly different. Dance the song said. Feel the beat. Let the rhythm take you. Get up on your feet. And so that’s excatly what I did!

I was young. A raver trapped in Rustenburg. My party peops in Joburg. Alone. Listening to a fresh sick beat like nothing I had heard before. The realisation hit. The strong awareness that this is on radio. It’s gonna end. There’s no repeat. I’m 19 years old. Joburg daze are still away’s away. I am most probably never gonna see any of these dorp people again. And so… Caution to the (lack of) wind, on a sweltering hot spring day, a skinny (stylish) kid, with silver (I kid you not) hair, cranked up the volume, jumped out of the car, and jammed to his hearts content… In a parking lot… Of a strip mall… In downtown Rustenburg… To…

MUSIC

 

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1604: Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder…

Oh No, MATH! Find an example of the Fibonacci Numbers out in the world” – (as per today’s daily create challenge).

I hated Maths in school… Okay, let me rephrase, I pretty much totally hated the school structure, the classes, the learning – the irony is that I have an aptitude for intellectualism, ideation, study and creativity – so much so that consistently through my formative years I was placed in the “clever classes” based on what was perceived, and yet I consistently failed to deliver to expectations, until the system pretty much gave up trying. My poor mother, parent’s evening after parent’s evening having the same conversation with my teacher’s year after year, “He could be a straight A student, if only he applied himself…” Those in the know will understand… In my mid-30’s I was diagnosed, ADHD, aural learning disorder – and a mother pushed to her wits end… This post happens to be about a parent’s love…

But it’s also about Maths, it’s frikken Fibonacci after all, and again the irony is that despite my dismal mathematical performance during my “formative” scholastic years (in which the most solid forms I achieved were lifelong habitual vices like smoking, drinking, donning the black sheep cloak), I do actually have, and obviously always had, a logical, mathematical aptitude, the beauty really is in the exactness; the precision; the detail. You should see me on Excel, I surprise myself with what beauty I can create with but a handful of basic formulas and colours…

Because this post is also about art, like maths it’s about the beauty of excercising duplication and expression, of formulas; of colours; of precision; of vision – like that of my Greek philosopher lineage. Art, like the digital art we create in DS106, the sharing of vision, of the art of the mental flex, the execution of our ideas into expressive product, often humorous, thoughtful, preposterous, deep, connected, stimulating, emotive and most of all creative.

And wouldn’t you know it, this post is all about creation in all it’s anomalous exactness, it’s chaotic precision, it’s fluctuating persistant course. Because nature is the greatest form of art, the whole principle of the Fibonacci golden spiral and it’s alignment to the natural order of things, that there is order, measurable and beautiful, that a flower and an equation can have a commonality based in the beauty of certainty, while being strikingly at opposition between life and conceptual thinking – because ultimately that is where creation exists, within that space of opposing potential made reality, and the most beautiful representation and expression of that is the conception of a child… Creation.

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, the power of beauty is that you know it when you see it, it aligns mysteriously within, with the precision of mathematical certainty as embodied by indefinable possibility… and Love… a Parent’s love.

Oh! And about a parent’s love, about emotion. I don’t know how that quantification and calculation goes, but it’s focus, I would venture to guess, is even larger in concept than the beauty that is the Fibonacciness of nature. In fact, I believe, and I don’t even care if you could and would and do prove me wrong, because I will be stubborn about this one… I believe that even Fibonacci fallibly bends to the power of a parent’s love…

Fibonacci_spiral_34

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DS106 #tdc1603 Do a Random Daily Create… Do it Wrong

So today for the DS106 Daily Create we have been asked to randomly (via this random link http://daily.ds106.us/random) to select a Daily Create from the past… and then to do it all wrong…

I have landed up with the #tdc1481: Put a Western Reflection in your Front Window… Err… Soooo not South African; inspiration was, well, absent – so I googled Western, the first entry was this wikipedia link, and the first image to befall my delighted eyes was the Parthenon (and without even reading the article it all made sense, for when the Greeks invented the world, this did ofcourse include the West). My greekness now delighted, the muses unleashed their love upon me and so the rules were broken.

  1. My front window is in my door,
  2. the reflection would be from inside,
  3. from whence the West resides.

DSC_0329

End…

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DS106 daily create #tdc1602: DS106 is sooo MASSIVE

It was a great day in the DS106-iverse; A simple task resulted in mucho creative connectedness for all involved 🙂

All we had to do really was:

Show the world how DS106 is MASSIVE (by creating some massive art) – we photoshopped our hearts out :)…

godzilla

… and we had a fair volume of “DS106 is a huge part of, and within, the Universe” type posts going, and then Mariana our resident DS106 Shrink, Dr Fumes if you will (http://theds106shrink.tumblr.com/), brought us back down to earth… With a single flagged hand gesture she got us connecting across the oceans (and sometimes within our own borders too), with our fellow DS106 brethren.

All in all, a pretty good day on the twitter-verse 🙂

https://twitter.com/hashtag/tdc1602?src=hash

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DS106 daily create #tdc1601: Bad Photoshop Movie Scenes (really, the real outcome of this Daily Create) – which was supposed to be about Photoshopping yourself into your dream car… Uma is there though…

#tdc1601 Beautiful Car Envy Day! Put yourself in your dream car.
#tdc1601 Beautiful Car Envy Day! Put yourself in your dream car.
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The Two Old Ladies of AuCT – What’s their story?

It’s a right the two oldest residence of AuCT had earned. Each day that passed had changed their world and they had stood fast, the one remaining constants. It was a matter of survival. They had done it, others had not. This corner, on this unused road which used to be a passage way for vehicles of so many shapes, sizes and times, was theirs. Their piece of way rock now, and pity rained down on any who would dare to question it. Named Nattie and Katea spelt KaT by those who had named them, they rose with rising shade of the days.

It was routine now, their greeting of the day. They removed their dwelling door without a hint of fear of being bothered, there were no locks to protect them at night because none were ever needed. Locks were bothersome and got in the way, so much easier to get up and get out. There was once a time when those who knew them had said they were foolish. That two, now old, women were easy targets for wanderers and fools who knew no better. The fact of the matter was that it was not them who lived in fear, they had fought the decades for the reputation that surpassed the the boundaries which embraced these remnants of a city which once sprawled across thriving lands. They were mythic. Mind you, there had been that one fool who had made the monumental error of testing that which he had chosen to refer to as rumours. He rested in mythic pieces now.

Out they come, deckchairs, umbrella, basket, guns and knives in hand ready to commence their watch.

Nattie saw it first, “Another one’s been freed KaT,” she commented, a factual delivery of the days first news. This is the way things were now, very different from when they were young when freedom meant something completely different.

KaT paused momentarily in her station preparations just enough so as to look; be all caught up, then she continued her prep stating the obvious, “While theres you go, AuCT done deliver them dreams what those who dares to dreams them wants asked for; Freed at last, shackled brain at least, wonders who gonna make claim?”

And so it was that before any further thoughts of freedom would be permitted, that they attended to their duties; chairs unfolded, umbrella’s open to block the burn some, coffee cups with brew already poured, and for a while at least, to sit and stare at the crumpled mass of young life folded across the way. It was going to be a long day, this they now knew. The conversation had already commenced in silent contemplation, the memories that only the oldest could hold and hope to understand. The contrast of a life that very few could recall, before AuCT, and life now after, immediately summed up when the first passerby who happened to be Joffey, the one who jerked out on Albe Sis, came toe to toe with the body mass, and kicked it out of irritation for being in his way.

Careless, but absolutely no offence to any of the four on that stretch at that time, including the kicked and even his kin… Boy’s now free, dreams been met, dreams sure do leave a mess behind in the streets of AuCT.

“Nat! You knows I thinks I know that one! Ain’t that the one they calls Fib by name, one of GleeMan’s boys… Maybe Skaye will knows him, shebe coming rounds today right? Hope she’s in timeous!” KaT didn’t pause for an answer, having them all already lined up in her head, “Well whoevers he is, we do gots the best seats in the house you know, somebody gotsta to be claiming this clean up soonish”.

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You… Art…

Art is artificial; a representational rendering of the real. Yes it is powerful, can sometimes move us more than the actual real, but this is because of the stylistic application which has been employed to create the rendering, which is not actually accessible within the realms of reality.

Think about your digital identity, what is it comprised of? It can never and will never be you, and yet, sometimes, with the share of a picture or a post which you have identified as being profound, or humorous, or are critical of, you have in that action made a statement, more often than not you have done so to illicit a response, the anticipation and interpretation of which defines, contributes and shapes the work of art which is your digital identity; Validation of your output is after all the basic human need of any transactional act – How many likes did you get? How many shares or retweets – and what does that validate exactly, not you certainly, but rather that extension of yourself which you have created and curated on the digital landscape.

I like to think of these actions as brush strokes or performances, all of them aspects of a greater work – the digital self is your project and you are it’s architect, it’s a representation of you, what are you going to do with you today?

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1599: I doesn’t do feet…

I don’t do feet, that should be sufficient, no explanation required, but I’m sure I have something to say about it…

My Mrs wished I did do feet, but we are far enough into our relationship that she knows that if I even hint at the possibility of giving her a foot massage I’m either really sorry for what I’ve done, or if there is nothing that she knows about that I have to be sorry for, then there is something I’ve done that she’s about to find out about…

No, No, No, I don’t do feet, I can’t and I won’t, coz I don’t wanna – so as impressive as it may be that there are people drinking soda poured by feet, I ain’t the one doing the pouring, the drinking, or the caring…

And yes, I know that in the Fungus Amonstus challenge I did contribute some images of really gross feet, but you can blame google for that!

Oh Yeah, Quentin Tarantino, he does feet, he also makes movies (on a larger scale than this request perhaps, most of which I am actually a fan of), but he manages to sneak that appreciation into every movie he does… So, for those who appreciate feet, here’s a little Tarantino for you (and I haven’t watched it, so let me know) 😛

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#Personal-CyberInfrastructure-Whatsit

We live in an age where our digital selves are an extension of who we are.

It’s a profound statement, but even the most seemingly mundane of mind (and that’s not to be offensive to the mundane of mind, or to infer that I am not the mundane of mind of which I speak, as I myself am a newbie here, dealing with these concepts), have embraced the very idea that the world within the digital realm offers the opportunity to exist in two simultaneous realities concurrently – So why the disconnect?

As a student commencing on a journey to redefine my digital self through an intricate game of “ketchup” (on all things digital), I am currently learning tricks, and bits, and bobs, which are expanding my repertoire as I venture to a goal which is being defined as I travel the course (The DS106 Course – DS106, look it up). The thing of it, is that I have come to realize and accept (through content which highlighted/pointed it out/told me… LOL) that what I am currently conducting is a Digital Facelift – I am having an absolute blast, playing on various platforms, redefining my digital presence from a single social media platform dedicated, other self; to a multi-platform, multi-skilled, multi-faceted and integrated, cohesive, interlinked and unified, constantly in flux, other self.

It’s a great excercise, but it is flawed in that these skills should not be something we need to pick up along the way, down the line, out of necessity, we need to change our outlook on the importance of digital preparatory practice for life. These skills should be as ingrained, as developed and intrinsic as the basic need to recite and use the alphabet (a meta tool, btw), because today’s alphabet is different, having been born out of the forward projection of technological advancement (the same way that letters put shapes to sounds), so that the new alphabet (and remember, on our online chats, we do talk in pictures these days), it looks something like this:

A-B-C-D-E-[Selfie]-F-G-H-I-J-[SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT]-K-L-M-N-O-P-[CODING][html][JSON]-Q-R-S-T-#-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

…Well, something like that.

I have a cousin, a young single developer, no kids, who one day when I was interacting with my child, who is PortuGreek (ie 1/2 Portuguese + 1/2Greek), and is being engaged with three languages (as we are primarily English speaking), commented that he would teach his toddler coding from a young age – silly? but profound? It made me think, as it speaks to the digital arc projected and expected in the future… Let’s teach our kids to be the Neo of their Matrix!

#ThePoint is that, we should be empowering the next generation, we should be enabling them through their educational trajectory, by realigning the education process so that the narrating, curating and sharing of knowledge is dependent on and intricately involved with the cultivation of a digital identity – always changing, always growing, always reflecting back and informing and redefining the self, making each student the architect of his or her own digital life. The physical learning environment needs to run in conjunction and in partnership with a digital learning environment so that the next generation is not only up to speed with the latest methodologies and tools, but that their involvement is the necessity which defines and results in the tools they need – so that our kids are not, like me, trying to get to grasps with SEO, now, short of forty…

We don’t want them to be investing time years later, making novice mistakes, taking toddler steps out of digital necessity… That maybe the current senselessness and shallowness of the current digital reality (which is symptomatically a great contributor to the stall to getting the digital more incorporated in the reality), like the celebrity selfie (which has become somewhat of a prostitution of our digital identity) may just be eradicated, minimized, a dreaded fossil of the past, as the new generation finds the openness they seek, which is an intrinsic human need for validation, as an outcome of cultivation (not discovery) of openness to the world, each other and ourselves through the nurturing and growth of the digital self; the widest external opposite to our internal selves.

It’s called a Personal Cyberinfrastructure this proposed but simple (the jargoned and nuanced incoherency of the above is ironically a direct result of its absence) solution, and it’s the Gold, it enables the students of the future to tower above us as the masters of their own webiverse.


NB Side note: Because in case it’s not obvious that this is part of a course… Now that Soz has jumped ahead to an excercise in Unit 2, he will round back and do those excercises he missed in Unit one)


Find Out More

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure

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Not my DS106 daily creation #tdc1598 Obviously Photoshopped

So… Today’s post is supposed to be about an “Obviously Photoshopped” photo, but I have decided instead to share a personal journey and struggle I have gone through and dealt with for the longest time…

It all started with a trip to Greece when I was a kid, the food there was soooo good. I don’t know what it is about another country and it’s cuisine that makes it so good, but it was, as I’ve already said (and may just say repeatedly without ever actually, adequately capturing the essence of the magnitude of its goodness), Oh so good, and since we returned I have chased that feeling of deliciousness. Sadly my awesome holiday had left a giant void in me I could not fill, and oh how I tried…

It’s been a long road of tears, food, split pants, more food, more tears, candy, pizza, ice-cream, chocolates, crisps, Akalwaya’s steak sandwiches, McDonald’s, you get the drift… A never ending spiral of soul devouring eating! It had eventually got so bad, that when I looked at my pet dog Colby I could see the cuts of steak which resided under his pelt, fattening him up as I waited for the Zombie Apocalypse which would result in the closing of convenience stores, restaurants and supermarkets so that I would, out of necessity only of course, have to do the unthinkable…

Thankfully for dear Colby, this all came to an end when I saw the topic of today’s daily create, and voila the moment of change hit and before I knew it, through belief, dedication and an appreciation of the little things (which I couldn’t previously bend down before to grasp), and within a day, I have managed to recreate myself, and you can too, all you need is a little belief…

…and maybe a little help from PhotoShop.

And just in case you need some additional motivation, here are some tips from one of South Africa’s home grown YouTube Superstars (and now a Comedy Central Africa Star), SuzelleDIY, with tips on How To Get Fit 

 

 

 

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DS106 Daily Create #1597: Fungus Amongus

So, Take a photo of mushroom and/or fungus – find the art around you…

Ummm, well had this been a task on Saturday when I actually had a mushrooms which sprung up on my lawn, then I would totally have gone out and taken a photo of the fungal family unit, but woe to me, they are no longer there and so the quest to find a fungus, or to seek the inspiration for this particular shoot and create, is sadly uninspired – or is it?

Because now I feel I need to find meaning in the simplest of deliveries, and so it goes that this image is transformed into a commentary on the computer based generation who seeks interaction with the world by spectating via computer screen, sadly the result thereof well sometimes beautiful can also be not beautiful at times, as there are some gag-able additions to the search which demonstrate the uncertainty of life as well as the danger of a worldview as generated behind a computer screen… It’s deep stuff man… and very much like fungus, not really something I necessarily want to consider or look at, in fact, it might just have been easier to go and admire the beautiful side of it as filtered by a specific rose coloured pair of glasses.

This turns out to be, just as required by the task, very much a fungus in my daily life…

(On the plus side, this here photo is uploaded on my Flickr account, a 1st!)

Fungus Amongstus

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1596: Squirrels and the Gif(t) of Gif-ing…

There we go – nearly didn’t accept this challenge, and then I decided to submit an image (although there was a specific request for a gif), I ain’t never made a gif before – and then I reassessed and went ahead and voila – the little squirrel that could…

The Brief: Amazing Tricked-Out Squirrel Tricks – For today’s Daily Create, name and describe an invented fancy trick for Florence Hinton’s squirrels (or their descendants, since Florence’s little critters are no doubt long gone). Add your own gif to make your point, if you want.

What? Trained squirrels? Tricks? or Talent? Find out more: http://daily.ds106.us/tdc1596/

And there you have it… If I can do it, surely a squirrel can!

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They say it’s gonna rain…

https://twitter.com/Madonna/status/728006714742689792

So, right from the start let’s just acknowledge that the absurdity of fame is paramount and applicable to the topic of this post.

I am a fan of Madonna’s, I am also a straight white male – is that an oxymoron? Whatever your opinion about her, let’s acknowledge the undeniable, the woman is a tour-de-force, having achieved what only very few musicians have (and for the sake of addressing the haters, whatever you may deem the word Musician to be is irrelevant in the context of this topic). What do I mean?

Well when you talk about 80’s icons, who were a product of the time, shaped the course of the era, and moved beyond that so that they continued to influence and define the decades that followed in many ways you have 4 artists (of whom I am a fan of all) – Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Whitney Houston (Janet Jackson? The 90’s were really her domain), and sadly, 3 of these icons are gone, so Madonna is the only one left. They created and rode the zeitgeist that would become modern celebrity, their lives, artistry, constructed persona’s and showmanship fascinated a world that had never had that level of superstar and accessibility before, they cast a spell upon a generation.

There is a ridiculous amount of BS going on about the fact that Madonna is going to be paying tribute to her contemporary at the Billboard Awards tomorrow night, and so be it, there will always be rhetoric about the senselessness that is the screwings and the doings of those people… The fact of the matter is that Prince and Madonna had a relationship, whatever that may be, it existed and even if they did not like each other, they shared a space in the course of entertainment history that only they would and ever could understand and appreciate – true peers within the chaos that was their rise and careers, whose paths were intertwined professionally and personally over decades.

The man is dead, it’s sad, why shouldn’t someone who knew him pay him tribute, and yes she wasn’t the only one who knew him, but she is the only one whose career has soared to those levels of success, her trajectory and longevity running parallel to his. This moment will have the last of that quartet of amazing showmans honouring her last counterpart, she will do her best out of respect for him, it will be painful and it will be moving, and on the fringe of that will be voices who will undermine it and in the process, disrespect the memory a great man simply because their point of view was not validated in a moment that is not actually about them.

At this point all i wanna know is what song/s whe will be singing! Purple rain for sure is gonna be there, especially when you consider:

Can’t Wait! Sing girl sing!

“Love Song”

Duet by Madonna & Prince

Je suis prete. Est-ce que vous etes pret, aussi?

Are you wasting my time, are you just being kind
Oh no baby my love isn’t blind
Are you wasting my time, are you just being kind
Don’t go givin’ me one of your lines

Say what you mean, mean what you say
Don’t go and throw our love away
God strike me dead if I did you wrong
This is not a love song

Are you just being kind
Am I losing my mind

Time goes by so slowly for those who wait
And those who run seem to have all the fun
But are you wasting my time — she’s so fine
Are you just being kind

Nowhere to run nowhere to hide
That’s how I feel, don’t fog my mind

Mean what you say or baby I am gone
This is not a love song

Are you just being kind
Am I losing my mind

Love song, love song
Don’t try to tell me what your enemies taught you
I’m gone but I just want you to know
That this is not a love song that I want to sing

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