Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Passport To Everyday Life

February 5, 2008

I just went to get a passport photo.  I even put on a tie, a rarity in Vancouver.  Although I don’t have any immediate plans to leave the country, you never know when you might.  Hey, it’s possible that I could win a fabulous vacation somewhere warm and exotic.

Imagine it happens to you – and you don’t have a passport.  What if your prize has to be claimed within a limited window of time?  Or you want to take it before winter is over.  Have you seen the lines of people at the passport office?  Have you heard how long it takes these days?

Ever since the Americans decided that Canadians would need a passport even for day trips, there’s been a huge backlog.  That kind of annoys me because if I did  go somewhere, it wouldn’t be to the U.S. – not without a specific reason, anyway.  No offence to any American readers, but it’s just not exotic enough.

Florida?  Seen too many pictures of other people ‘relaxing’ there.  Vegas?  I spent the longest week of my life in a casino here, one night.  The thought of a whole city like that makes me appreciate other possibilities all the more.  Hawaii?  Hmmm… maybe, but if you’re going to go that far, why not carry on to Tahiti or some other Pacific paradise?

It’s not really a vacation if you go some place you see every day.  The U.S. is all over the media.  It’s in the papers, on TV, in movies, on the internet.  Shit, I even just excused myself in advance because I assumed they would be reading this.  If I were to go on vacation, it would be to get away from ‘them’.  Is there a corner of the world that hasn’t heard of them yet?  Some place that doesn’t cover the entire year long campaign before they actually hold an election?

What the fuck is a primary, anyway?  And why the fuck should an American even care, let alone me?  Why can’t they just get down to it like civilized people and say, “Here they are – Asshole #1, Asshole #2, Asshole #3, and Asshole #4 –  pick one.”

Anyway, as I said, I have no plans to go to the U.S. or anywhere else, right away.  But it seems we need photo ID for so many other things these days, and my old passport expired.  So I have to spend ten bucks on photos and another hundred on the application, just in case I ever need it.

Hands On or Manual?

January 22, 2008

I recently bought a digital camera during the Post-Boxing Week sales.  Or is it the New Year sales?  The Let’s Milk This Thing For Everything It’s Worth sales?  Whatever.  Why not just give me the best price all the time?

And, while we’re at it, now that the Canadian dollar is roughly at par with the American dollar, how about charging us the same price?  The same REGULAR price – not a sale price that brings it down to the American regular price.  I don’t buy the excuses they give for charging us more.  We’re subsidizing the American market.

Anyway, it was just a simple, inexpensive little camera for some quick snaps.  I thought I’d ease into digital before dropping a bomb on a digital SLR that I could use all my lenses with.  But, this little ninety nine dollar wonder appears to be capable of way more than I thought.  It even records movies – and with sound!  I doubt they would be of very high quality, but it could be a useful feature in the right moment if there’s nothing better at hand.

I don’t know these things for certain, though, because I haven’t actually used the damn thing, yet.  You see, I haven’t even set the camera up yet because I haven’t made it through the instruction manual.  It seems to be designed to make you not want to read it.  It’s repetitive, unclear, and just plain annoying.  It’s so annoying, in fact, that every time I pick it up, I put it down again and do something else.

I should probably just play around with the camera and figure it out myself.  A menu system is a menu system, after all.  But, as the one clear part of the manual says, digicams are pigs for batteries.  I’m worried the batteries will die before the self-guided tutorial is over.

Never mind that, it’s a beautiful sunny day and there may even be a couple more of those this week.  There are such things as rechargeable batteries.  Throw caution to the wind.  Live dangerously.  Just pick the thing up and use it.

If you happen to be an executive in a foreign consumer goods/electronics corporation, I’m available for writing services at reasonable rates.

How to End a Movie – With Conviction

January 8, 2008

I watched ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ last night.  This is a movie I ignored on its release, dismissing it as an attempt to glorify religion.  Sometimes, first impressions are accurate.  Sometimes, they’re off the mark.

To my pleasant surprise, it turned out to be the kind of movie I would like to make about the crusades.  My only complaint is that it didn’t go far enough.  Like some other films framed by a religious context, it pulls back from the brink of the logical, sensible conclusion.  The slaughter in the name of one god or another, carried out by fanatics obsessed with the idea of owning ‘heaven’, should be enough to put anyone off the idea of religion.  There are a couple lines in the film that drive home the fact that we’d be better off without it altogether.  “You have taught me a lot about religion…”, comes to mind.

But then, near the end, the main character’s Muslim counterpart, another one of the few ‘decent’ people able to see past the different brands of chicanery and superstition and that how one person treats another is a better judge of how good he is, says something like, “Why do you think god does not love you, with all you have achieved?”  Why reassert faith in god at this point?  It seems obvious to me that there were no gods willing this carnage – that we, and we alone, decide on a course of action, choose to take life or not, and achieve things.  Faith in oneself and one another seemed to be the message throughout the movie.  Maybe the producers were afraid of a backlash if they appeared to be advocating atheism.

A couple of Canadian films are guilty of the same thing.  ‘Water’ is an excellent movie set in a Hindu ashram, or widows’ home, in which one young woman is reduced to prostitution and a child, widowed before reaching puberty, is raped.  Yet, even this story of institutionalised abuse and confinement has a character saying “Never lose your faith”.  All I could think was, “For your own good, that child’s good, and the good of humanity, please lose your faith”.

‘The Black Robe’ is another Canadian movie about a 17th century Jesuit missionary who travels with Indian guides to a mission far from anything he recognizes as civilization.  It’s clear throughout the story that he is in the wrong and yet, at the end, when he seems to realize this and that his faith has been misplaced, the Indians, who have been ravaged by disease brought by the other missionaries and now have a choice of killing him or accepting baptism, choose baptism.  The closing shot is a cross with the sun shining behind it, which seems to assert the very religion which has been presented as inadequate and misguided.

Are we really so afraid of offending religious interests that we don’t even have the courage of our convictions to reach a logical conclusion?  Could it be that we have taken respect for religion too far?