Day 851: What’s Your Question?

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sinnerz13:

Does a question always need an answer? Questions help us learn, but what we do with the answer is extremely important. Can we live without answers?

Originally posted on The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally:

After 850 days of consecutive blogging, there’s no question that I love questions, is there?

Unquestionably, last night at a therapy group, somebody asked a question about Ouija Boards, which made it up on the White Board:


What’s your question about that?

The advertising tagline for the Ouija (a combination of the French and German words for “yes”) Board is:

You’ve got the questions and the spirit world has the answers.

What’s your question about that?

If you had a Ouija Board, what would your question be? What’s your question, right now?

I saw that question an hour after last night’s therapy group asked and answered lots of questions.

Does that sign mean that we only get one question?

That’s my question, in the moment.

What’s your question, about any of these other things I questioned yesterday, by capturing them on my iPhone?






What are those top cats looking at?

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Tune

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Originally posted on random musings:

Music to me
While I have been recuperating from Knee surgery I have made my way through John Lydons Biography. I have been aided by the fact that we have a snazzy new bed with built in lights. I have always been a fan of John Lydon, particularly the band PIL. I don’t know the man personally, but I have watched many interviews and I have liked what I have heard. His biog, thus far has been a great read, particularly his views on music. I love music and enjoy being introduced and finding new bands. I wouldn’t say there is a particular genre of music that I like the most and you can see from my collection there is quite a mix. I do prefer Cds to downloads as there is something tangible to hold and I prefer hearing music through a Hi-Fi system. That being said you can’t…

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As if..

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British Tv Drama

This is a British TV drama about a group of teenagers going through life’s ups and downs. I used to watch it a teenager, but never finished it as I am hopeless at keeping up to date with TV and there wasn’t iplayer back then, so once you missed it, you missed it. I tried to find it gain a couple of years ago on Youtube, but only the first 2 series were on there. I am off work recovering from knee surgery, so I had another look and found all 4 series. Thats how I have spent my time.

as if group

It is a great show and really gritty, dealing with difficult subjects that weren’t covered before. There is humour to it as well, so it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s filmed using many different techniques and it’s not afraid of being weird. Weird is good, no not good, GREAT!! Each episode is filmed from the point of view of each person. The characters are all in their late teens going through love, college, stress, fun, drinks and trying to work things out.

jamie collierWe have Jamie who is the group clown ,with a heart of gold, who makes mistake after mistake, loves deeply and loyally, but is always there when needed.

sooz 1 sooz 2There is Sooz who is best friends with Jamie who is an art student, full of self doubt and has bouts of depression. She is different to the rest and wants to be different, but doesn’t know why? Or how? She is pretty mixed up, but her friendship with Jamie although has it’s ups and downs remains steadfast. She is my fave character and it was brilliant that depression was covered because it’s major issue and sadly a killer.

alexThere is Alex who is gay and has always known it. His friends have known for a long time, without issue, but his parents have no idea. He struggles to hold down relationships, but is the voice of reason for many, pointing out what they should do when they get into a mess, which they often do.

nikkiNikki is the rich kid, posh girl who is a complete mess. She has issues with her parents and sleeps with anyone and everyone. She never quite gets a relationship together until the end. Her relationship with Sasha is tempestuous and leads to many bust ups.

sashaSasha is the brat of the clan and will trample on everyone to get her way. She is materialistic and vain. She can be your friend one minute when she needs you, but drop you when it suits. She never really does improve although there are brief moments of humanity.

robRob is probably the weakest character and is a bit wishy-washy when it comes to women, he doesn’t know what he wants? When he has it, he messes it up. He has a bad relationship with his father which often turns out violent. This makes the struggle to build a relationship, that much harder.

The series covers topics like depression, suicide, drugs, debt, affairs, abuse. Would you see a group of people like this in real life? Maybe? I don’t have friends like that. This is a TV program that wants to send out a message, which means that a small group have to go through a lot of turmoil and happiness to get the message across. It does this brilliantly and I think there should be more shows like this now. Maybe there are? There are lots of tears, smiles, laughs throughout. The acting is brilliant although this group haven’t really gone on to do much more. You don’t have to be a teenager to enjoy it because as an adult the same problems exist.

The way it is filmed is original and I love the way each character has there say as if they are talking to you from the screen. I think people going through the same problems would have a character to relate to. I’m not sure if it is on dvd? But I would love to get it.

9/10

Some Theory

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The Theory of Everything

Some Theory

 

Motor Neuron disease has had a big impact on my family particularly my Grandmother, Aunt and my cousins, sadly because my uncle died due to the disease. I’m not going to go into that because it’s not for me tell, but it did give me an understanding of the disease first hand and it makes the story of Stephen Hawking that more miraculous to me. I’m not sure of the scientific facts behind his continued existence under the disease, but someone stated that they thought it was because he has great reason to live and his power is in the mind not the body, but then he wasn’t given much chance to test that theory because he was able bodied for such a relatively short period. That being said, I think there must be many that have a mind that they could continue to exercise and yet they still die. I can’t speak about how a person feels with the disease because I do not know? But it’s an interesting theory.

Stephen Hawking is lauded as a genius of science who changed the way many people think about the world we live in. I have to take peoples word on that because with my feeble mind I have no idea of how all those symbols explain time and everything around us. I have no idea what it all means? It’s fortunate that you do not have to, to watch this film. In fact you do not need to know much about Stephen Hawking at all to enjoy this film because it is more about his and his family’s, struggles with the disease, particularly his wife.

The film starts out at Oxford where we see a young Stephen, who lives a chaotic life and is the archetypal eccentric genius. He is not particularly hardworking and leaves everything to the last minute, but then he has no need to rush because he deciphers things so quickly. He meets and falls for Jane and before he really gains notice he is diagnosed with Motor neuron disease, giving him only a few years to live. He shuts Jane out not wanting to be a burden on her and hoping to set her free. She is a fighter and wants to fight the disease with him of course not really knowing what lies ahead and that the battle will be a long and painful one. They marry and Stephen defies doctors and continues to live on and work on his theory and then of course work on disproving his theory. We see how Jane takes on everything and struggles to cope, where as Stephen despite the illness lives quite a care free life playing with the children and working on his theory. Jane takes on everything, looking after the house, the children and Stephen. She does this because she loves him deeply. She soon has to deal with his fame and the adoration he receives while she is stuck at home. She is no dunce herself of course and is very intelligent, but it is hard for her to continue her education.

She soon develops feelings for a man that works with the family and helps look after Stephen and an arrangement is made. A new carer is brought in and Stephen too develops feelings leading to the breakup of the marriage. This being said the film does seem to make Jane out to be the bad guy. This seems unfair as it would be hard for anyone to cope with a life like this. She doesn’t walk away and continues to stand by Stephen, but he moves on. I think this caused a great deal of problems for them up until recently.

The performances from both Eddie Reymayne and Felicity Jones are brilliant and really make this a brilliant film although I believe it is not wholly accurate. For Eddie to take on the role was very brave and to take on the disease was also quite courageous. It must have been extremely uncomfortable and very hard to show the emotions when you can barely move. I think he is a sure bet for the Oscars and rightly so. He makes a good film and a good script into an amazing triumph. Felicity is brilliant as Jane, even applauded by the lady herself who couldn’t believe that it wasn’t herself on screen. That has to be better than any award Felicity may or may not receive. I thoroughly enjoyed the film having not read the book it’s based on. I think there have been a number of criticisms of how accurate the film is, but I can’t judge the film on this. I think the performances are better than the film itself, but still this is a must see.

the theory

 

8/10

Patriotic Aim

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Patriotic Aim

American Sniper

I’m not going political on this film because I would rather look at it as a film rather than propaganda as it has been labelled. I am an Englishman who is not at all patriotic and one that did not agree with the war in Iraq or in Afghanistan and I could go on and on about my feeling regarding the subject, but I don’t want to in this case. I want to look at the film itself and the performances of actors and director.

I think the political element and the promotion the film has had has propelled a good film way above what it should be. This is where the Oscars I believe have their own slant and agenda on things and will push a film when it suits them. I think this is the case for American Sniper because I wasn’t it biggest fan. When I watch a film about a person I want to know about that person, how they feel, think and what effects their lives. My opinion would be different from Chris kyles (American Sniper) in reference to the war, but I feel the film gave him a disservice. He is portrayed as a war hero and not much more and I think there could have been a greater concentration on his life. His wife barely features and it really doesn’t look at how she coped as a soldier’s wife. There is too much on the war and no real depth to the film, so I cannot understand how this could be used as propaganda? I also imagine that when you are fighting someone that you aren’t necessarily going to like them? You’re not going call them nice things? War is not always elegant and is often brutal, so I think too much has been said about the language used. There is no point making a film and covering over the cracks so as not to offend people.

The film is based on a soldier, kyle who finished 4 tours as the best sniper in war history. Between the tours there are segments of home life where he struggles to cope and feels he is still back fighting. As I said before there is hardly any footage of this. I think particularly as PTSD is not very well understood and the effects on a person and their family can be enormous, this should have been given greater time. The film doesn’t really show the soldiers human side. It rushes through life after war and doesn’t really show how the man got over the war and who he helped. In reality the film didn’t need to based on a particular soldier because as I have said before there is very little depth. I think if you make a film about a true life person you owe a lot to them and their family to portray them right and cover their life. This film tries to get through that as quickly as possible, which is a shame.

The direction and coverage of war is brilliant and well worked. You feel the tension and feel that you are there. You are part of the decision making and the emotion on whether to shoot or hold back. As a sniper you cannot afford to be wrong and that pressure is portrayed brilliantly by Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper. I think Cooper did brilliantly with what he had, but he was done a disservice by the script outside of war where he could really show his skills. I cannot criticize the war footage because it is well made and beautifully shot and this is the films strength. I need more from a film and not being patriotic makes it hard for me to relate too. Kyle is not a person I can agree with in terms of their views, but maybe I could had I known about their life beyond war? I like to reiterate that some viewers wont need this and would love the film. Does it deserve Oscar nominations? No! It’s not a great film. There have been far better films and performances in the last year. I think it’s the topic that has received the Oscars rather than the film itself.

I love writing blogs because it’s all down to your own opinion and others will agree and disagree. I am an Englishman writing about an American soldier, which means my opinion will be completely different from an American standpoint. I would love to know other peoples thoughts on this? Particularly the film more than the subject.

american sniper

6/10

Emotional Metal

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Ex Machina

 

The idea of a robot feeling emotions is not an original concept nor is trying to make rot look and feel human. Ex Machina is a film with a concept that has been looked at for decades, but despite this it is great film and makes you question a great deal about humans, robots and the difference between them. These questions make for a great thriller which is intense, confusing and leads you down many twists and turns. Can you trust robots? Can you trust humans? Who is in control? What ere the motives behind the machine.

The cast is small with basically only 3 characters all be it very strong and interesting characters. We have Caleb who has been chosen at Random? To go to his boss’s house to test an Ai that has been created. Caleb is great with codes and as you will find out has no attachments in the outside world making him the perfect choice. His boss is Nathan who was a child genius and has created and AI that could possibly be human, but he has a dark side, which brings turmoil to Caleb’s world. Finally we have the Robot Ava who has been created and set up to take on Turings test. Can a robot be human in the way they act and behave? Cn they think for themselves? Feel love and show love? Can a human look past the metallic exterior and fall for a robot?

This is in the backdrop of pure isolation. Nathan lives in the mountains cut off from humans. There are no windows making the whole place feel claustrophobic and edgy, There is no escape and if all went wrong no one would know about it, this makes Caleb and even Nathan very vulnerable. The relationship between the two men is very uncomfortable throughout, fed by Ava who is almost in control of them both although they do not realise it. Despite her shimmering, shiny silver skin her face is human and her voice is human she has been made to be attractive purposely to draw Caleb in. She instantly befriends Caleb so that he is far more at ease with her than Nathan. Any relationship that Nathan may have had with Caleb is destroyed from the start as seeds of doubt are fed into Caleb’s brain. Is the Robot manipulating human or is Nathan a bad guy?

nathan and caleb

Over 7 days Caleb and Ava build a relationship by asking questions of one and other, sharing memories, showing their feelings, which is all part of the test. Everything they do is watched by Nathan who is almost like Big brother? Is it all pretense or is it real? You sit in your chair and feel the intensity of the situation and feel uneasy at every word exchanged between Nathan and Caleb. This where the acting is so good from all 3 performers. You never feel safe sitting in your chair and until the end you don’t know who to trust, who is human and who is robot? Who is in control?

The performances are brilliant in particular Oscar Isaac who is creepy, twitch, intelligent and makes you feel uneasy. Gleeson is the innocent toy to be played with and he is really carving out a great career for himself. Alicia Vikanda is able to portray a female that is neither robot nor human with her cold voice, but emotional eyes. That is a tough character to take on, but she does it effortlessly without becoming wooden or metal in this instance. I think her look is definitely based on a Bjork video. The set closes in on you and adds to the intensity and almost suffocates you as the fear of isolation and danger increases throughout the film. I loved the film and it kept me thinking! Could I see it again? Maybe? But knowing the end would take the edge off it. This reminds me of the weirdness of Bladerunner, but more personal.

 ava

8/10

Moses Supposes

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Exodus: Gods and Kings

 

I think I have said this before, but I will say it again I am not a religious man. I have however read the bible and know the story’s reasonably well. Moses and the freedom of the Jews is one of the most famous in the bible and one of the most interesting. I confess that before seeing the new version I had quite a bit of trepidation because why remake something that was in my opinion done so well before. I think the Ten Commandments was a brilliant film with brilliant performances by Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner. The passion of Heston as Moses was in great contrast to the cold steel of Brenner as Rameses. I imagined that the only reason that Ridley Scott made the new version was that he wanted to put a new slant on it. My thoughts were correct aided by the recent articles which condemned the films inaccuracies. This was clearly a film made by a man who didn’t really believe in the power of god and miracles.

The first big difference between the new version and The Ten Commandments is where it starts. Exodus starts its tale late on with Moses being a full grown adult and a very well respected one at that. An Egyptian until proven otherwise and cousin to Rameses. It is not long until Moses realizes that he is not an Egyptian but a Hebrew rescued at birth by the pharaohs sister after finding him in a basket on the river. Rameses soon casts Moses out although clearly still has a bond with the man he was brought up with. This s when the not so godly tone comes into play. Moses finds a wife and continues life without faith and encourages his son to find his own path even if it means he to has no faith. This is until a walk up the mountain leads to a bump on the head, which then leads to a vision of the fiery bush and a young boy telling Moses to free the slaves. Is this young boy god? We don’t really find out although I presume it is. The whole episode is treated as a feverish illusion rather than a vision from god which is how the bible portrays it.

The vision sets Moses on the path back to Egypt to confront Rameses and force him to free the slaves. Moses does not however choose to put all his faith in god and trains a small army to conquer the Egyptians. The plan is to starve the Egyptians and to attack the channels which feed the mighty empire. God or boy has no patience for this and wants things done yesterday and sends the famous plagues whilst Moses waits in the background. At this point Scott is trying to apply logic to the plagues and find a way fo explain them without the power of god behind them, but at the same time showing the slaves faith that this is not natural disaster, but a an almighty powerful being helping them. This is fine, I myself believe that if the plagues did occur then there must be a logical reason? But then this disappears when the first born Egyptian is brought to death as this is shown in a more supernatural way. The parting of the red sea which for many is the most amazing and memorable miracle is explained in earthquakes and twisters.

Moses is shown as a mad man who sees things and battles’ with the boy god. It seems as though Moses has no real plan or any idea what he is doing. Is he just hallucinating? I know a bump on the head has never made me get up and create revolution? Are we seeing an early example of mental ill health in the bible? Either way I feel the story is far better as it is written. Whether you have faith or not it is a great story and one that in my opinion shouldn’t be tampered with. I said the same about the recent adaption of Noah, which was absolutely ridiculous. I understand what Scott was trying to do but I think he should have left well alone.

I think Christian Bale is one of the best actors around, but this was a dull performance from him, which lacked passion. Joe Edgerton as Pharaoh was a good choice and he did bring a sensitive side to Rameses and you could feel the bond between his character and Moses, but I prefer Brenner in this role any day of the week. Some of the accents sounded pretty ridiculous too as we hear the sounds of Scotland coming from one Egyptian. There were clearly many nations involved leading to a mix of voice, which didn’t quite work. The scenes were breathtaking and inspiring and this tale definitely gained from CGI effects which were not around all those years ago. In saying this I wouldn’t say that it was superior to the 50’s version because the sets were excellent back then and reakl, Those that do not know the story may enjoy this more than me and those that like the fact there God is not a major force, but an entity explained by coincidence and natural disaster may prefer this to the 50’s version. I am a traditionalist and prefer the story how it is written.

 moses

5/10