Friday, December 21, 2012

Affirming your resolve

Why do we have to wait until some predetermined day before we decide to put a plan in place to change the bad habits that hinder our potential? I certainly don't.

I am certainly not waiting until I am old and decrepit before (hopefully) planning to ensure my final years are not too troublesome. Maybe it is my distaste for working for someone else that agitates my desires to find a shortcut to early retirement. So far, so unsuccessful ... but I am trying.  

It bewilders me that there are not more people questioning why their world seems to revolve around a 9-5PM 'jail sentence' and, in particular, doing nothing to change the situation. I think people have fallen into a distorted form of Stockholm Syndrome whereupon they actually enjoy being confined to their cubicle and  enjoy whittling away the long business hours with solitaire and coffee breaks.

How many of you can honestly say that your life-long dream was to work in an office? I know when I was growing up I wanted to be a pilot, computer programmer (guilty) and maybe an artist. I never thought of writing because I always held authors in such high esteem. Maybe it was a lack of confidence that made me so reticent to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) but I pushed through and created something that I am proud of even if not everyone is as appreciative. This is but one step. One stepping stone towards a path of  independence but, as you know, you don't climb a staircase with just one step. 

My ongoing resolution is to succeed in being capable of independence, even if that freedom simply allows me to remain in my cubicle because, hey, it's pretty comfy and I'm pretty sure meetings are therapeutic for my mental well-being.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Buddhists are right

Throughout the life I would best describe as a series of fortunate (and unfortunate) events, my mind tends to wander. From Chaos Theory to Neo to Buddhists to Quantum Physicists to six degrees of Kevin Bacon, they have all come to the same conclusion. We are one with everything.

The basic principle is that, although from an external perspective we're individual entities, there is an unseen bond that connects us. Even the vacuum of space is connected by things like 'dark matter' that we have yet to fully grasp or perceive.

The more I think about it, the more I think that they must be onto something. If you zoom in or out far enough, you no longer see the individual elements you once perceived as disconnected. With the much vaunted 'god particle' nearing the point of being irrefutable to its existence, we can no longer follow the belief that the space between neutrons, protons and electrons is 'devoid of stuff'. How long will it be before we discover the sub-elements that make up the Higgs Boson particle?

If we were to zoom in on any human being, in the end all we'd see are spinning electrons and protons and nuclei - the concept of a human would be completely alien at this scale. Now all these seemingly disconnected nuclei are interacting with all their neighbours with varying degrees of influence based on distance and strength. The same can be said if you start scaling out to the scale of planets and galaxies. We would no longer see humans, cities or towns.

At this scale, the celestial bodies interact with each other through gravity and energy transference  If we were to scale out farther still, at what point do you no longer see stars, planets and galaxies? How far out would we need to scale before we see the resulting form of all these seemingly disconnected elements? Could the culmination of  all these galaxies and humanity somehow be contained within something as trivial as a marble

Give me a moment ... I'm thinking.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The disney formula

I love formulas. My world revolves around devising the formulas that rule our world. The one place I do not like them, however, is in my stories and films. If I recognise the trope early on, and the storyteller does nothing to deviate from this well-worn path, is the moment I begin getting irritated.

Romantic Comedies almost never deviate. Let me see whether you recognise this: An attractive but unlucky in love female meets an attractive rogue whom she instantly hates while this rogue annoys and teases her. They somehow form a pact where they're forced to be in each other's company (usually to assist the heroine in her plight to attract the man she's got her sights on  and that is coincidentally less attractive and has at least one character flaw). They fail in their quest but realise they're in love with each other. The End.

Did You Hear About the Morgans, What's Your Number?, For Richer Or Poorer, French Kiss, The Wedding Planner, The Bounty Hunter, Killers, He's Not That Into You, The Proposal, The Ugly Truth, The Dictator, Failure to Launch, Mr & Mrs Smith, 50 First Dates, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, Maid in Manhattan ... and the list goes on

Horrible, because that's all I see. Sure, you can mix this up with different contrived scenes through the length of the story, but the trope still remains. Which brings me to Disney films. I hate them ... well, apart from the very few exceptions where the maniacal reigns are momentarily loosened and something less abortive is created. Anywho: I shall now divulge the Disney formula in all its gory.

The story revolves around an attractive young male/female from a less than ideal background. The protagonist gets together with one or two plucky side kicks which provide levity to the stale-as-toast personality of the main character that is as boring as ... well, something really, really boring. There is invariably some kind of rom-com partnership along the way (where the two of them inevitably fall in love) and there is almost always an adversary that needs to be defeated. Nearing the end of Act 2, there's always a lull where the main character needs to find themselves and loses hope ... before they discover the strength they need through the support of friends/family. Needless to say, cheesy morals abound, where believing in yourself, relying on your friends/family and following your heart is the true path to happiness etc. This gets bludgeoned into your head multiple times throughout the course of the story ... and the moralistic theme is always introduced early in the story so that the viewer knows exactly what kind of path the protagonist will take towards final redemption. The End.

Dumbo, Bambi, Snow White, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, The Rocketeer, Aladdin,  Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Tangled, Enchanted ... and the list goes on.

The by-the-numbers story telling and head-bangingly moralistic message makes watching Disney films an exercise in torture. 

please note the whitebread heroine and quirky sidekicks
I saw 'Brave' recently (against my will). A story that revolves around a spoiled child who does everything in her power to avoid responsibility. She has three younger siblings who help her avoid her Mother's ire through magic (and provides levity in the place of the boring main character). Hilarity ensues and she discovers that if she listens and respects her family's wishes, all will be well. She reconciles with her overbearing mother and learns her place (like a good little 1950's stay-at-home wife). Of course, there's an evil antagonist who adds drama/excitement to the mix. Ooooh ... way to break the formula, there.

I honestly don't want to dislike Disney films but there's no good reason that a multi-billion dollar company isn't able to make something fun, original and at least entertaining. Heck, they've had enough attempts. It's just that I want the formula to change. Please change the formula, Disney. Please.

Side note: I remember one of the producers (or something) discussing how they'd paid all this attention to imbuing the heroines' hair with personality. He seemed proud of that. There has to be something wrong with your priorities if you focus more effort towards injecting personality into her hair than into her character.