Non-spoiler Movie Review of “Star Wars: Episode VII”

The continuation of an age-old, legacy, legendary American film has finally surfaced.

As a part of the fandom, I went to see Episode VII: The Force Awakens with my nerdy-geeky dork squad of a family. I am typically a harsh critic, but I have to say that there wasn’t much to criticize in Episode VII. We’ve all enjoyed our little fangirl (and fanboy) moments of our favorites Stars Wars franchise movies, from the snowy Battle of Hoth and the destruction of the Death Star to the backstory of Darth Vader. The seventh installment of this wonderful and nostalgic franchise is nothing short of the expectations, even to the overly critical Jedi that have followed the faith since the first release of Episode IV in 1977.

My Overall Rating: Recommended at 5/5.

Since this is a non-spoiler, I won’t go into too much detail until a good while after the theatrical release. I won’t try plot points or important characters, but I cannot guarantee such whims.

Part One: Adaptation and truthfulness to the original set up. Disney (R) elected director JJ Abrams collaborated with George Lucas to think of a way to portray the next story arc. In my personal opinion, I believe that the story was both nostalgic and refreshingly unique in its own way. There is a combination of old and new that  (I hope) will please the wide age range of its loving and adoring fans.

Point Two: Character Setup and Complexity. As mentioned previously, the character combos are amazing, bringing together the old generations and the new. Sometimes, Disney characters have the underwhelming tendency to be flat and static, but the company really pulled through at maintaining the complexity and multiple facets of the franchise’s iconic character stylings.

Finally, Point Three: The appeal towards the Generation Gap. J.J. Abrams’ adaptation to Kennedy’s question “what makes Luke Skywalker” gave, at least me, the idea that Abrams truly wanted to keep the mystery and tradition in this film. There may be a few scenes that seem a bit clichéd, but I still think that there’s more to look at than just the “repetition” of the old movies.

A Relationship Like TV

Marik and Ishizu Ishtar, brother and sister of the Tombkeeper Clan. Yu-Gi-Oh!

Alright my N.E.R.D.s and g33ks, I have finally been able to relate my life to a TV show. Or at least to television in general.

I’m not sure if I have said this before, but I have a big family thanks to my parents being divorced: I have a full-brother, half-brother, stepbrother, and a stepsister. I care for each of them in the same way, regardless of how long I’ve actually known them.

I hope I can make this a sweetly short post so I don’t bore anyone, because really there isn’t much to say on this behalf. So, I’ll start now:

My relationship with my full-brother Dakota is kind of like the relationship of Ishizu and Marik Ishtar from the anime “Yu-Gi-Oh!”. Marik is the one who is rebellious, curious, and cunning while Ishizu is experienced, caring, and compassionate. She cares for her brother greatly. As do I.

However, this relationship is a two-way mutuality–Dakota protects me as I defend and look out for him. I try to guide him, usually he ignores me but I remain persistent as always. I try to show him the good of the situations, or at least giving him the support of knowing it isn’t the worst.

But my brother is the big eleven, and with my being seventeen he’s stressed out just like I am. I’m leaving him (albeit temporarily) to go to college and I won’t physically be there to give him an emotional boost. However I also won’t have my biggest supporters at my side when I go back to school (plural because of my mother as well).

So, to end this mini-speech, I say that my brother(s) and I don’t fight often, and even when we do it blows over in about a day. 🙂 Not exactly like the Ishtars, but I think it’s close enough.

The Walking Dead: Filtering Philosophy

I’m sure that this post may bring up debates, but here goes nothing and everything. This was a philosophy paper I wrote in high school.

I think therefore I am.  ~ René Descartes

Descartes: The Mind-Body Problem

The first episode of The Walking Dead shows many issues of philosophy, however these so-called issues aren’t issues in the book of the Descartes. The philosophy cogito ergo sum or “I think therefore I am” applies to not only the remaining living people in the beginning, but to the walkers as well. I believe the walkers could also be considered human because they appear to apply to Descartes’ thought of a human being: a thinking thing with memory.

To support my argument, in the very beginning of the episode a little zombie girl walks over to grab a teddy bear after she’s been bitten, proving due had memory of some sort of connection to a teddy bear or stuffed animal she had before she was was bitten. If the little walker had no capacity of memory, then she couldn’t be human, also that it must require thought in some way to recall a memory. In similarity, after Rick was shot and in the hospital, he was also able to remember previous emotional attachments after a traumatic event. (Everyone should know being almost devoured alive is most likely traumatic.)

I believe the walkers have minds due to the appearance of thought and memory, despite their lack–but not loss–of reasoning skills and doubt. The living show signs of reason (seldomly) and doubt along with thought and memory.

In addition to show walkers could be human, there is an underlying thought of the possibility that they are strategic like the humans that are alive. When Rick is found with the family in one off the abandoned houses in the Georgian town, a car alarm goes off which emits light and sound (these are attractive to walkers). It is possible that the walkers could have set it off to lure out some stupid prey for them to feast upon, but of the course the living classify them as unable to think so to them that couldn’t be possible. If the walkers had no minds then they wouldn’t be human by Descartes’ theory of a thinking animal or creature as human.

The walkers can also track the movements of their prey and remember where they raise, if they see light coming from a house, they camp out as groups collaborating in order to capture some prey. In order to get the living they must remember their tracks and therefore must have minds.

Also, I believe the episode shows that the walkers have emotion, making them human because they feel pain and understand misery and attachment for them (and basically ignoring those of the living.) The crawler experienced pain and suffering while her entrails were hanging out and most likely because of a rather vicious set of walkers. Plus, one of the walkers used to be one of the living’s wife and kept reappearing in front of the house in which her family was hiding, however she refused to eat them; she looked very sad and in reminiscence of her family she seems to walk away to keep her emotional bond with the memory of when she was living.

The walkers are thus human because they have minds and can think. “I think therefore I am” applies to them just as much as it would the living. Just because the walkers are the undead doesn’t mean they don’t have minds our aren’t human.

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Photography 101: Shape, Line, Texture, and Pattern

The Daily Post

Now that we’ve covered a number of fundamentals in photography, from composition and light to focus and POV, let’s now think about elements out in the world that we can use to create more visually interesting images: shapes, lines, textures, and patterns. Today, we’re excited for photographer Evan Zelermyer, the blogger at Urban Mosaic, to share his ideas and illustrate shape, line, texture, and pattern through his urban, architectural, and abstract photography.

Urban Mosaic is the result of many years spent exploring New York City’s five boroughs, searching for interesting sights and finding lesser-known nooks and crannies. New York is a large and varied place, and serves as an endless source of visual inspiration. The goal on my blog is to provide a fresh perspective on familiar urban sights (streets, subways, architecture, etc.), and also to reveal hidden beauty in the marginal, little-noticed details of everyday city life.

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