Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spider web

Spider web by Nikolai W.
Spider web, a photo by Nikolai W. on Flickr.

Look what I found outside my house one day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab 'It's Go Time' ad

Wow, the more and more I see info for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, I want to get one!  I start to drool like Homer Simpson when he sees a doughnut.  Even though I've been thinking about getting an Apple iPad, the Galaxy Tab is sure hard to beat.  Yet, I'm still not sure which one to get.  I guess I will wait until the end of the year to see what happens, depending on if the prices of the iPad drops.  Most likely other tablet devices will start to arrive just in time for the Holiday season. ;)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GOVT 490 - Writing Assignment #4

Movie: Pickpocket

Should all theft be bad, especially when poverty is behind it? That is the question that Michel the main character asks his friend, Jacques. In the film Michel takes up the hobby of picking pockets as a manner to express himself. He first tries his luck at the racetrack where he gets caught, only to be released since having cash is not a crime. Also, by being caught Michel ponders the morality of crime. Michel’s mother is ill and he decides to provide her with money instead of visiting. Also, Michel tries to explain how society should turn a blind eye to certain kinds of theft. Despite his friend trying to help Michel find a job, he continues to steal.

While talking with the police inspector, Michel explains his theory on stealing about “supermen” who are above the law. These “supermen” are certain skilled men with gifts and talent who should be free to disobey laws. So Michel continues this adventure as a reason to live and find his place within society. The success made him continue due to more luck than skills. Michel explains to his friend about having no work, living on nothing but that didn’t matter to him. Michel later befriends a thief who shows him new tricks, whom taught him generously and free. After the death of his mother, he ponders how we will be judged? Michel says that being judged by laws is absurd. His friend, Jeanne responds back by saying that Michel believes in nothing.

The way Michel’s obsession continues where he didn’t even care showing the money openly in public with the other thief. Jacques did not like thieves considering them to be idlers. Michel draws his inspiration for stealing from the book Prince of pickpockets by Barrington. In the book the character becomes friends with rich people only to steal from them. Michel’s friend asks if stealing from friends was right. Michel lives away from the real world, shares no interest with anyone. He leaves his friend’s behind because of his object of affection was stealing a nice watch. As his compulsion continues he fears that his luck will run out.

The director of the film focuses on the different methods the thieves use to pickpocket. Also, the different ways money is used throughout the film, showing how money passes hands from one person to another for different reasons. There are also the different sounds the director uses to emphasis the urgency and sounds of the city. During another encounter with the police inspector, the inspector asks Michel if stealing from your Mom is not stealing. That maybe the Mom and the son were pooling their resources together. Yet, Michel knew that the police were suspicious of him because he lived with no income. Michel says how knowing a deed is bad doesn’t necessarily stop you from doing it. Because for him stealing was a way to get ahead, he felt frustrated and was getting nowhere. Even though his friend, Jeanne said there were other ways of doing so than stealing. Jeanne accepted her burden saying that is how it is, that everything has a reason.
At the end of the film, Michel did not know what he was doing. He decides to leave Paris and eventually ends up in England, when the other thieves are arrested. Michel returns to Paris penniless and drifting, until he discovered Jeanne has a child and wants to help. He tries to convince her that he wants to be honest.

Yet, he goes back to the racetrack once more to pickpocket only to get caught there again. For Michel just the idea of getting caught was unbearable. While being in prison, Michel realized the connection to the world he had lost. The film showed the strange path that Michel took for him to connect with Jeanne and how love can change his whole life. Also, the film shows the faith and redemption from the spiritual void the main character had dealt with throughout the story.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

GOVT 490 - Writing Assignment #3

The painting I chose is Tribute Money by Italian Renaissance painter Masaccio, painted around 1427, in the Brancacci chapel of the church of Santa Maria della Carmine Florence, Italy. The size of the painting stands 255cm tall and 598cm wide and emphasizes three-dimensional space and solid, realistic human forms. The building on the right side of the painting is a display of Masaccio’s zeal for mathematics and geometry. More light is shown on the right side of the painting and shadows in the background to the left. Masaccio used a concrete way to paint the different objects in the painting and the use of linear perspective, which focuses on Christ’s head. There is a continuous narrative linked by the three figures of St. Peter, Christ and the tax collector. The figures are lined up but most of the painting is arranged in a more circular manner.

The history of the object’s creation is that Masaccio painted it as private commission for the Brancacci family’s funerary Chapel in Florence. The story of the image is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 17:24) in the New Testament and the central part of the painting shows what happens when the tax collector asks Christ to pay his dues. The Roman tax collector (with no halo) is demanding money from Jesus and the twelve apostles who don’t have the money to pay. In the fresco, the story of Jesus, Peter, and the tax collector is told in three distinct moments within the same fresco: the center of the painting is part 1, the left, part 2, and the right, part 3. The center of the fresco is where my eyes get drawn to first shows that the temple tax is required of Jesus by the tax collector. The tax collector is addressing Peter in the painting, hand gesturing in the manner of asking. Jesus points toward the lake and instructs Peter how to get the money. Peter then retrieves the money from the mouth of the fish in the lake. One the right side, you see Peter deliver the four-drachma coin to pay the tax collector with the tribute money.

The concern about money in the painting is over the dispute about taxes. There is also the connection of Peter getting money from the fish as Florence’s wealth coming from the sea. Masaccio shows how the tax does not go to the church instead goes to the Roman Empire. Peter questions Jesus about why he had to pay Rome, Jesus responded saying that man is to pay what is due to the rightful owner even if the circumstances are contrary to the Bible. By Masaccio showing the different scenes shows the conflict over having to pay a tax. The argument is over possession and what belongs to whom, Jesus tells Peter that we must respect authority. The connection in Tribute Money to the Biblical story is meant to explain the legality of paying taxes.