Of "great opportunities" and other nonsense

This post is going to be fairly random as I am (again) just wasting time in photo class (this time because I’m waiting for my film to dry).

I, like many of my senior classmates, was summoned to a different room for AIM Time today so that we could participate in a “great opportunity.” When I got the slip yesterday, it sounded to me like newspeak for “something you won’t want to do, but we’re making you do it anyway.” In Psych yesterday we discussed the possibilities: perhaps it’s Dave Graf trying to sell us more crap. Maybe we’ll all assemble in our respective rooms and then, at a given signal, we’ll be mowed down by machine guns.

Turns out, it was worse.

It is a *NEW!* drug and alcohol awareness curriculum for college-bound seniors! And guess which lucky few students get to try it first!

ASIDE: I have now, however, reached the status of a local ‘F’-list celebrity–the person teaching this WONDERFUL NEW OPPORTUNITY was from ***** (name of organization withheld because I may want to be paid by them again at some point in the future), and recognized my name from the video I made for them last month. That threw me off-balance. My whole day has been bizarre.

Now, before I rant about this program, a quick DISCLAIMER:

I have been, as stated above, a free-lance paid employee of *****. I think that they are a good organization and I respect their goals very much. It should also be pointed out that this program is not their fault. It’s some sort of national initiative. I do not speak for this organization in these statements, nor am I a permanent employee of said organization. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist party (even though I was in the IB program from 7th through 9th grade). And they all lived happily ever after.

This is the same sort of prevention program that people my age and in my situation have been subjected to for nigh on ten years now. They had us take a survey to start with, which is fine, but the questions were seemingly misleading or poorly considered–questions like “On a scale of 1 to 5, how likely are you to agree with the statement, ‘People who drink alcohol are stupid?'” How old are these people? Are they intelligent? Do they have any sort of common sense? How MUCH alcohol do they drink? How often? Anyway, I put 1 (highly unlikely) because I try not to judge people on those terms. But will it be extrapolated from this response that I drink alcohol regularly? I’m reminded of a Mitch Hedberg joke about a medical survey with questions like, “Have you ever tried sugar or PCP?”

ASIDE: Mitch Hedberg is a funny guy. Almost as funny as Steven Wright. Check out his Comedy Central special on iTunes.

The program itself has nothing new to say. I DID find it rather amusing, however, that they assumed that us AP/IB students would be good little cooperative children. Far from it. To us, this is old hat, so we tended to be rather cavalier about our involvement.

Pardon my cynicism, but these are the sorts of programs instituted by higher-ups in order to make them feel better about people my age. It is astonishing to me that it is even POSSIBLE to craft the drug and alcohol prevention curriculum for an entire school district–let alone state or COUNTRY–around a total lack of trust for the students being taught. But that is what has happened, and I’m convinced that it is doing as much harm as help. I would bet you cash money that if there were a heavy-handed nationwide educational curriculum instituted to prevent students from, I don’t know, putting glue in their eyes, you would see about a 10,000% increase in the number of students nationwide who put glue in their eyes.

And as astonishing as it may sound, I found myself wishing that I was back in my normal AIM class.

But enough about that.

Parker’s coming over today to start learning Final Cut. I was up late last night trying to make my editing station somewhat presentable. I may now be close to having a competent assistant editor. The faster I can teach him the ropes, the better.

What remains to be seen is whether I know enough about Final Cut to teach someone how to edit.

Rhetorical analysis of Job 38

Sitting here in photo class with nothing to do (no film to develop yet), looking through my folder on the server, I found this assignment I did for Humanities last semester, a rhetorical analysis of God’s speech in Job 38 (don’t ask why). It’s a great example of how to look beyond the soul-crushing nature of these sorts of assignments and have a little fun. So as a public service, I’m sharing it here:

The purpose of God’s speech in the passage of Job 38 is to decry the arrogance and hubris of Job. God achieves this with the use of high diction and repetitive rhetoric to make clear His superiority to man in general, Job specifically. The intended effect is to instill in Job a fear of God and a feeling of inferiority towards Him.

God appears to Job out of a whirlwind, immediately creating the impression that this is not a mere man who walks the earth, but an otherworldly being capable of much more than Job. God immediately launches into a long tirade about how nobody appreciates Him, and offers up the myriad ways in which He is better than His audience. The repetitive nature of His speech (many sentences begin with similar words and virtually identical syntax) repeatedly employs the rhetorical question to reinforce the idea that God is all-knowing and all-seeing and… well… Job just isn’t. “Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Declare if thou knowest it all.” Job, of course, hasn’t perceived the breadth of the earth and doesn’t knowest it all, and therefore has no choice but to remain silent. This method of speech has the effect of preventing His audience from interrupting with arguments to His rhetoric.

It must be remembered here that God has the advantage, as He already knows what Job is going to do and say in the future.

God’s attempts to make clear His vast power also reveal His vast depth of responsibility to His creation. Not only can He provideth for the raven his food; He must provideth for the raven his food, or the raven will wander for lack of meat. These indications of responsibility show that God has at least some understanding of basic cause and effect.*

This speech holds the audience’s attention not through humorous devices or descriptive language, but rather through forceful rhetoric. There is no metaphor, as God functions on the cosmic level and thus no metaphors are needed to highlight His power and importance. God wants to correct Job and all who question his power. As such, the most effective approach is to overwhelm. Much like the Wizard of Oz, He appears in a stunning mirage (in this case, a whirlwind). He speaks with the direct goal to instill awe, respect, and fear in His audience. At this He ultimately achieves, because He’s God. God knows all and sees all and therefore understands the most effective way to approach His audience. Whatever he does must, by definition, be effective, making this entire analysis totally superfluous.

* This is, however, debatable.

Our Town

I just got back from Poudre’s production of Our Town and I must say I’m impressed. It may just be because so many of the people involved in Wholesale Souls are in either the cast or crew of the play, but I have trouble seeing any flaws.

To be fair to all the other plays that Poudre has put on, I haven’t been to a PHS production since Annie Get Your Gun. Mostly because I have a very low tolerance for musicals and generic period pieces. So I don’t know whether or not this quality is typical of a Poudre production. But still, the lighting was beautiful and perfectly-timed, the rake looked quite solid and I think it helped the overall feel a great deal (although I wouldn’t have wanted to be up on one of those ladders). And I’m not being at all in-genuine when I say, Vynni (Vvinni? Vinny? Vivian? How the hell DO you spell your name?), that was absolutely AMAZING. The choir director could have been such a throw-away character, but your performance was astounding. Your comedic moments directing the choir were certainly good, but you really added some dramatic depth to that character that could have so easily been overlooked (the way you were hunched over and turned away during the wedding–that is subtle blocking at its absolute BEST). I am now more sorry than ever that I didn’t have a bigger role for you in my film. Maybe if I have time we can go back and shoot a couple shorts or something starring Elephant.

And now to flatter my soon-to-be AE: You mentioned a mistake in the sound, but I didn’t notice any. And the sound effects WERE quite impressive. The milk bottles were a real coup, considering that there were no ACTUAL milk bottles on stage, yet I could still envision exactly how they were moving.

And Arin, (cue the dramatic violin music) I don’t care what anyone thinks, you’ll ALWAYS be my George. And DAMN them if they can’t see that! (Anyway, overall good job throwing those imaginary newspapers, but one hit me in the head).

Oh, the suspension of disbelief is a wonderful thing. Too bad we can’t get away with as much on film anymore, since cinema vérité has come and gone.

And now, Parker, any and all times that you are free–mornings, afternoons, late nights, weekends, ANYTHING–I desperately need your help.

The blog that ate www.EXGfilms.com

Yes, I have (for the time being at least) moved the Exploding Blog to the main page of www.EXGfilms.com. This is primarily because I don’t have any content for the site yet that can’t be contained within WordPress, and also because the WordPress-generated portion of the site looks so good that it makes the other areas of the site look horrible.

In setting this all up, I had to rebuild the MySQL database for the blog and, in doing so, delete the all of two comments that have been posted (one of them was posted by me). I am also decomissioning the RSS feed at www.exgfilms.com/feed.xml in favor of the auto-generated WordPress feed. So if you subscribed, change you feed.

Things should be mostly stable now.

This is called chaos

Too much is going on, but I’m not here to complain. I’m here for your sympathy.

As if it’s not enough that I’ve got AP classes that are eating my soul and I’m still waiting to hear from RISD admissions and I need to figure out how to go about picking between RISD and SCAD and MCAD and also figure out what financial aid hoops I still have to jump through and I’m editing a movie with a plot that slips through my fingers whenever I make a grab at it, we’re now covering sleep in my psych class and I’m coming to the realization that I’m horribly sleep-deprived. I think it’s moving my Chi into the wrong… zoombah.

At least WordPress is working like a dream, but now it makes the rest of the site feel like it was hand-coded by cross-eyed monkeys. So much for my web authoring skills.

Anyway, all the other people connected closely to the film have been sucked into Our Town. Luckily for me, the last performance is on Saturday and them I’m counting on Parker to help tell me how to edit. Maybe we’ll pull an all-nighter over spring break or something. Not that it would be very productive, but it might get my right brain jump-started. Besides, he needs to learn Final Cut if he’s going to work at Channel 10 next fall.

This is called chaos, and I’m mostly writing to fill out my blog—I’m pushing to break the ten-post barrier and then it’s smooth sailing until I get to fifty.

And then there’s the movie. It sits in the corner and stares at me with bloodshot eyes. It looks like it needs a Tylenol. I think I need one, too.

Welcome to the new Exploding Blog

So after some reflection and, well I’ll just come out and say it, some quiet weeping (not much, mind you, but a little), I have come to the considered conclusion that blogging with Nvu and hand-building my own RSS feed just isn’t going to cut it. For one thing, Nvu is considerably laggy when entering large amounts of text. For another thing, I don’t want to have to update two different files to post one entry. Finally, Cyberduck is a great little FTP program, but it just isn’t up to this sort of heavy use, especially if I plan on updating this blog regularly. Luckily, there is another option: the open-source program WordPress. It’s AMAZING. And it’s FREE, and it builds its own web of archive pages, and it generates its own RSS feed (check out the bottom of the page for a link), and you can even comment on posts. I have arrived at last. Now I’m just starting to get this set up on my server (I have successfully run it locally, so I’m at least marginally confident in my ability to do this), and I don’t have a very nice look and feel yet. Don’t worry. It will come later. I’ve got a whole thing worked out; I just have to learn CSS before I can get the theme up and running. But it probably won�t be long.

I’ll update soon. For now, enjoy, and why not try out the commenting feature?

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