Monday, September 30, 2013

Hero's Journey Posters

So, my group's Hero's Journey poster was about Will Turner. And dang, he looks good in that absolutely fantastic hat. But fangirling aside, we thought that aside from looking nice on a wall, his story fit the Hero's Journey template quite nicely. Will Turner follows all the archetypal steps, albeit a little out of order (i.e. receiving the call to adventure after meeting his mentor, and refusing the call almost before it even happened). He was a very good hero, and despite the fact that Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan could also be argued as the main heroes of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, Will Turner just seemed to fit everything better. And did I mention the hat? Our theme was directly derived from the movie, including a quote, and the treasure map idea came from one used later in the series. The kraken is also featured on our map, and he has a role in the second movie of the franchise. Basically, we drew on everything the series had to offer, even though our poster only spanned the course of events of one movie (the best one, in my opinion).
Being a bit biased, I liked our poster the best. But there are many more that were very good. The Life of Pi poster was very good. I liked the tiger stripes in particular, and despite having analyzed the book in depth in 8th grade, I never quite realized just how well Pi followed the hero's journey. The Nightmare Before Christmas poster was also excellent. It was clear that a lot of thought went into the design, and the paintings were absolutely amazing. I had watched the movie the night before seeing the poster, and the poster helped me grasp the concepts much better than when I had just watched it on its own. But my second favorite poster was the one for The Hobbit. This may have been in part because, again, apart from our own, this was my favorite of the movies that were used as posters. But I really liked that they put Sting on there, and I absolutely loved how they used the ring as the "o" in Bilbo's name. I wish there had been more about Smaug, since he is pretty fabulous himself, but there isn't much of him in the first movie, which was the one chosen seeing as the next installment hasn't come out yet. 
But anyway. He's a dragon. And dragons are cool.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My iPod is Psychic

So when I'm bored, or having a lot of feelings, or just trying to avoid my responsibilities (*cough* homework *cough*) I listen to music. And my music choice is incredibly diverse. Mainly because my mom has this tendency to hear something on the radio and then buy it because she really likes it. Which is fantastic, but on occasion something pops up that I have never heard before but fits my situation perfectly.
In conclusion, my iPod is psychic.
But actually. Just last week when we were writing about the beginning of that Joseph Campbell packet, it started playing "Round and Round" by Imagine Dragons. The lyrics of that song helped inspire my post about the phoenix and how everything is a cycle, like the hero's journey or a phoenix.
And then there are times like today when I'm trying to think of something to write, my music is on, and a scream sound effect that I downloaded for a thing I made with my friends plays. Which, although it sort of sums up how I feel about trying to come up with something random to write about, was extremely startling.
I give up. I have nothing more to say. I wish I could be deeper and write about what I actually think rather than trying to make my everyday happenstances funny. It is most definitely not working.
So, have a picture of a "psychic". Maybe next week there will be something worthwhile up here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Heroes and Monsters

“Whether you call someone a hero or a monster is all relative to where the focus of your consciousness may be.”
Joseph Campbell goes on to compare this with a German soldier and an American sent to kill him. Depending on which you view as the “good guys”, they are the ones in the right. Being American, I see the American as the one in the right for killing a German soldier. But, if you think about it, as Joseph Campbell and his interviewer did, this German soldier is as much of a hero as the American. He is fighting for what he believes as a worthy cause, and even if he was forced into his position he still fought and died a hero’s death. The same goes for the American. He may have been forced into his line as well, and he may not have wanted to kill someone, and to him that is a despicable deed, painting him as the “bad guy”.

Good and bad are incredibly subjective. I have found, oftentimes, that in reading a book I am drawn more to the antagonists and their reasoning than the protagonist, with their often over-told and just plain boring, formulaic storyline. The antagonist undergoes incredible character development, forced into their way of thinking by some earth-shattering catalyst for them that flips the universe upside-down and makes them either hold on or slip and float into the abyss, going insane. As they go further and further into what the protagonist considers insanity, the antagonist is usually doing as much as they can to retain any semblance of humanity, and they are a tortured soul fleeing the remains of their life in search of something that may help them become, in their mind, better.
Well, at least that’s what happens if the book is any good.
But the point of good and evil fighting remains, and in many stories you wind up cheering for the serial killer, or the pirates, because you know their side and you agree with them, you think they’re correct in what they’re doing, and even if what they do is morally wrong, well, you understand that they had to. And then the navy, or the government, or the saviors are the ones persecuting you for doing what you must in order to survive, to not let the voices in your head, your past, come to the forefront of everything and swallow you whole.

In reality, you are both just doing your jobs.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reborn from the Ashes

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We only have to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel inwards, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world. ~Joseph Campbell ~
This quote reminds me of a phoenix. Phoenixes grow old, burst into flames, and die. Then they come out of the ashes reborn. What Joseph Campbell is saying here is similar to the idea of a phoenix. In the thought of killing another, we slay ourselves. By traveling outward, we travel in. And in death, there is rebirth. The phoenix is also used as a symbol of hope, of being able to make it through your hardest struggle, the fire, and becoming reborn, a better, stronger person. In that hardest moment, when we feel that we are alone in our misery, the whole world understands. Everyone has a misery they need to overcome. The labyrinth is well known because everyone has been through it, come in touch with themselves, and the heroes' stories are simply the best known. Even the best of us, the heroes of the real life story, had to make it through the labyrinth, find themselves, slay themselves, and make it back out better than they were before.

We may think we are alone but we are all going in the same circles. Life and death, strife and success, in and out. When we think we are going crazy, there is always someone else out there who understands, who can help us out of the maze.

Monday, September 2, 2013

This Is No Game

My interests...well, my favourite movie of all time is The Princess Bride. A movie that I am very excited for in the future is Ender's Game. So I have a future favourite movie. That's not weird...
Anyway, it promises to be very good. The cast is excellent and star-studded, with Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Asa Butterfield.
This is the trailer for the movie. In the trailer, there are a lot of interesting things from the book. The trailer begins with a large amount of exposition that was found out in bits and pieces throughout the story. This is helpful because it enhances your ability to understand what is happening even if you've never read the book. Then there are a bunch of shots of various landscapes. One is clearly on Earth, but the next one is likely from Eros, which is the command center for the war (which is exactly how I imagined it when reading). Then there's some stuff with ships, which is part of a battle. There's also the first glance at a Battle Room, with two people stepping up to a huge circular gate. This is very important in the book, but then there are more ships and that makes me sad because I want to see more. Then we see Ender for the first time, which is also very important. The text is really interesting, because it implies that Ender is both a new threat and a new hero. That is a theme repeated throughout the book, and it's really interesting to see in the trailer. There's also a scene of Ender instructing his friends on what to do, and they destroy something in a new way, prompting Major Anderson to be in awe, I assume. There are more bits and pieces from the book, and then we see Ender in front of something that says GATE B. It also says "This is no game". It sort of gives away the twist ending, but it works with the trailer. The end is my favorite part. Ender shouts "NOW!" and then fires something at a planet, but we don't get to see what happens because the title explodes out. It is a very good trailer for what I hope will be a fantastic movie. 

The best experience of my life was this past year at Shwayder Camp. Shwayder is a Jewish camp up on Mount Evans, above Idaho Springs. Every year that I've been in Colorado (I moved here in late 2009) I have spent two weeks up in the mountains at this camp. I have made so many friends that feel like family there, and it allows me to get closer to the friends I already have. Unfortunately, last summer was my last year I could go as a camper. But it was the best year I have ever had. Everyone was so nice, and we all actually got along. There were no cliques, there was no boy drama, and it really felt like we were fifteen sisters for those weeks. I will never forget anyone there and at the end of the session, I was given a necklace. I have yet to take it off for anything I didn't have to. But everyone there was so wonderful and they really changed me. It is impossible to try to describe those two weeks in words, but there are a lot of pictures. Here are the two cabins that were the Daleds (going into 9th or 10th grade).