Heaven’s Kingdom Extended

I’ve been trying to think of a movie to cover for this week and I think I have one. It’s one of my favorite films. Well it actually takes up two different places on my list of favorites. I’m talking about Kingdom of Heaven and the subsequent director’s cut. The one that’s higher up on my list is the director’s cut because of the fuller story. There were things explained better in the director’s cut than in the theatre released version.

Either version that you watch is set in the time around the Second Crusade. This is the story as told by IMDB.

It is the time of the Crusades during the Middle Ages – the world shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East. A blacksmith named Balian has lost his family and nearly his faith. The religious wars raging in the far-off Holy Land seem remote to him, yet he is pulled into that immense drama. Amid the pageantry and intrigues of medieval Jerusalem he falls in love, grows into a leader, and ultimately uses all his courage and skill to defend the city against staggering odds. Destiny comes seeking Balian in the form of a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin, a Crusader briefly home to France from fighting in the East. Revealing himself as Balian’s father, Godfrey shows him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey across continents to the fabled Holy City. In Jerusalem at that moment–between the Second and Third Crusades–a fragile peace prevails, through the efforts of its enlightened Christian king, Baldwin IV, aided by his advisor Tiberias, and the military restraint of the legendary Muslim leader Saladin. But Baldwin’s days are numbered, and strains of fanaticism, greed, and jealousy among the Crusaders threaten to shatter the truce. King Baldwin’s vision of peace–a kingdom of heaven–is shared by a handful of knights, including Godfrey of Ibelin, who swear to uphold it with their lives and honor. As Godfrey passes his sword to his son, he also passes on that sacred oath: to protect the helpless, safeguard the peace, and work toward harmony between religions and cultures, so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish on earth. Balian takes the sword and steps into history.

Of course with a film that covers one of the Crusades, Religion does play a large part of the movie but I think that it’s done very well. It tries to cover aspects of religion from multiple sides and doesn’t try to show one above the other. Of course some of the actual discussions would probably not been done at that period of history but of course this is a modern film about a historical event. But any kind of discussion should be happening and I think that this film is a great start to it. Since we do not truly know any of the characters (yes even Saladin) we see them in a different light. And surprisingly many of them can be found in an actual historical picture. It is interesting when you find out who is real in this movie.

I don’t mean it was interesting to learn that Baldwin IV was a real person. I was surprised to find that Balian was an actual historical figure. He was also considered the saviour of the people of Jerusalem in much a similar way as the film. What was changed for this film was his history. There is too much to cover here so I will just say that after watching the film you can have so many different things to research, if that kind of thing fascinates you. History is much more interesting than fiction and it is up to those who want to know to find the differences in this movie.

So I guess what I am saying about this movie is that it is not just for watching it is also a stepping stone for more discussions than I think I remember a film having in a while. I thank you for reading this and I hope you enjoy the movie. Until Monday. Have a good weekend.

I Just Can’t Feel That

First let me apologize for missing last week. I really have no good reason and will not try to make up an excuse. I don’t plan on trying to make up for those times. It will just be a missed week. But of course that is not what I intend to talk about today. Last week while I was finding it hard to write something happened that is both upsetting and a relief at the same time. My uncle, who has been suffering from the affects of cancer, finally succumbed. From what I understand our family had expected a little more time to be able to say all that needed to be said before he finally passed.

What I am finding is that I am not sad about it. I don’t just mean that I am not sad because I feel that it is a better thing to happen. He was suffering greatly and that from the stories that I have been told he was in great pain. All his searching for help came up with just finding a way to prolong the search for a treatment. He was fighting hard and it sadly was a loosing battle in the end.

As said before I am not sad about this. I am truthful when I say that I am in many ways happy that it has happened. I am happy because to watch, in the few times that I have been able to observe, what his cancer has been doing to him and ask for more time to be with him seems the ultimate kind of arrogance to me. Asking him to continue to live in pain while I find comfort in the idea of his death is wrong to me. I am happy because he no longer suffers. I feel at this moment I should say that I have never felt that anyone in my family ever wanted him to suffer for their own emotional needs and none of their actions say that they have. This is just part of a larger conversation in my head. We all wished for him to be able find a way to end his pain.

But of course the truth is that the feelings I have felt about this have been fleeting. I have gotten over this very quickly. And for that I am just a little bit sad. I wish I could feel more emotions for this but I can’t. I don’t know why I can’t and I have been trying to figure out why since I realized that I didn’t have the A typical emotional response about death.  The only thing I feel is anger but this has nothing to do with that sad event. I have been trying to deal with a lot of anger recently and maybe when I figure out what is causing the anger I can understand the other things.

I would like to thank you for reading this. This one is definitely a more personal post and I hope to get onto other topics soon.

 

A Step Back to an Odd Dichotomy

I am going to go a little more personal on this one. I’ve been noticing a funny difference in the way my work affects me vs. the way I would think that it would. First a little history that sets the idea. I am a person who truly enjoys things that force me to slow down. What I mean is that I like things that take time. Not all the time but it can very relaxing and can help quite, what I consider to be, my very active mind.

One example of this is something I bought for myself a number of years ago. It is an old style pen set. The kind of pen set that requires you to have a bottle of ink that you have to occasionally dip the pen into. Other than what you have to do while writing, the set up is very helpful since there is so much I have to do to get ready to write. I have an older style leather bound journal and I have recently thought about writing a couple of letters with it so I can get to my “happy place”. I love the idea of slowing down time. The idea of having to take time to do multiple steps. I hope that paints the picture that I want.

So now to work. At my job I put things on shelves. I actually put things on shelves that you might buy. It has more of a process than you might think. Or at least I see more of a process. The idea of finding what you have to put up. The opening of the box. The placing of the items on the shelf. In my mind there is a wonderful process to it.

With that then you would think that I would love my job but I don’t. There are many reasons why I don’t and you would think that many of them would be placated by the idea of a very process heavy job. It isn’t. I think because I am not really able to enjoy the process. The job I have is very time sensitive. I am not able to take the time to revel in the process. I am not one that minds being in a rush. I have had to be many times. I have even been able to revel in a process while being rushed while doing sound. I think the difference here is that I still have many questions to be answered. I have been at this job for 4 months and I still don’t know everything I need to do the job well. And I think that is where it truly lies. If I knew more I might even be able to revel in the process of my job.

I mean I have enough knowledge of sound that the differences and changes in my process are only because each situation is different. I feel good about those times because I know enough to change what I’m doing. Why I can’t stand the changes to my process at my work putting up stock is that they are controlled by the fact that I still don’t know enough. It is more controlled from outside than inside my head. It is controlled from people walking up to me and saying, “You shouldn’t do that like that. Here’s how you should do that.” I am thankful for the help but it does screw up my process. It is also a little annoying especially when someone tells you that you have to come up with your own process. But that is what we sometimes have to put up with isn’t it. And I thank you for staying with me this far. I fear I got a bit rambly and a bit non-cohesive but that seems to be part of my style on these personal things. Thanks for reading.

A thing to listen to

For the first week of this idea I think I am going to recommend something that I have recently started listening to. Its the podcast version of WNYC’s Radiolab, a show from NPR. I am not sure how many NPR channels actually carry it so some people may have never heard of it and others may not have listened to an episode. The thing is that I have and I really like this show, or podcast.

There are really two episodes that really got me to think that I had made a good decision when I decided to subscribe to the podcast. The first was an episode about color. The thing that got me intrigued was how they answered a question that I had when I heard the subject. I wanted to know how the hell they were going to cover the topic of colors without being able to show things visually. Well they answered that question in two ways. The second half of the episode was used to cover subjects about color where the verbal description of the object gave you enough to go on.

Now the first half of the episode was where they did the most interesting thing. It actually came in on the second story where they covered how we see a rainbow. Well actually it was how many different creatures saw a rainbow. They were looking at how our eyes compare to other eyes. Which when they were talking about any of it you couldn’t see how they could explain it without video. Though there was a point where they get into the area of vision that we can’t perceive, so they were discussing a part of vision that would be difficult to cover even on video.

But their fix was to substitute one sense for the other. Because both sound and light are both waves it was an interesting idea to take a choir and have them sing the differences in vision. Each color that can be seen was assigned a different area of the musical spectrum. For example when they discussed a dogs vision you had only two major voices that could be heard since dogs can only really see blue and green (another thing I learned during the show). So, as the amount of colors that could be seen by a creature the more voices you heard. I will say that the sound that accompanied the creature with the widest range of color vision is just amazing to hear. Sends me into kind of a nice bliss point.

Oddly enough bliss was the topic of the other episode that really enraptured me. (cheesy transition I know but it worked, I hope.) Now this one is different from the other one in that it is more of the usual kind of reporting that you can find on the show usually. I fear that a remark like that sounds more boring than I would like. There is a style to there story telling that can enrapture you and let time slip by as you listen to their stories. This one stood out to me strictly for the subject matter again. The idea of making an hour long program about something as hard to define as bliss is in itself intriguing to me. And the wide range of topics that you can cover under that original heading is amazing once you listen to it. The fact that they could find things like that make me want to see what else they explore.

So I enjoy this podcast and if this sounds interesting I hope that you will check them out. If you aren’t doing anything major this weekend maybe check out one of these episodes. Or just check out their website and find something that suites your taste in topics. And always thank you for reading.

What’s driving you?

After last week I’ve been thinking a little bit more about what drives me. It started because I was thinking about a kind of morbid idea. I was thinking about would I be happy with the life I left behind. I mean that am I anywhere near where I want to be in my life. If it were to end tomorrow would people say that he did a lot with his life. To be honest, no. I am partially where I wanted to be. I have a wife and we are still very much in love. Hell that is a lot further than I thought I would be at this point.

I was one of those guys that thought I would be alone for my life. An odd thing to think of while you are dating someone. But that is another story. Back to my original point there are a lot of things that I want to try and do with my life. I know that’s the rote idea and that there are so many people like that out there. But I am very restless. I am not mentally stimulated by my current job and that kills me. Actually, worded better what it does is severely depresses me. I want to be mentally stimulated by any work I do. But it is at war with what we all want to be able to do.

My want for mental stimulation with work is very much at war with the need to take care of my family. At the moment I am just taking care of my wife but eventually we want to have children so the idea of having to get a job that pays enough to be able to take care of my family is a high priority. But I made it more difficult for myself to do that because I didn’t finish college. I had many issues with the school I was going to so I decided to leave. Again I won’t go into that now but suffice it to say that I have made it a hundred times harder on myself. So now I am driven by the want to satisfy both requirements for me.

Sadly at the moment I am unable to do either. I have a job but it is does not go far enough so I am trying to make my own work. On the mental stimulation idea I compensate for that by listening to podcasts. But these things are not enough and I am wanting so much more out of life. I will create my own work and my own way of things. I am not sure this actually answered my original question for myself but I am really enjoying the direct from my head way of writing these personal things. I am still looking for topics to talk about. Thank you again for reading.

Lessons Lost

There is always talk of what lessons can we learn from tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing. There is also talk about what we can do to make ourselves safer. I think that these questions are not bad but I do believe that we try and answer them at the wrong time. We let emotion rule our decisions. We have felt fear, anger, and pain that we understandably never want to feel again. But I think we don’t try and see how much we loose when we ask for safety. We willingly give away freedoms so that we can gain a false sense of safety. If you think about the days that we as a nation have been part of the world and compare that too the number of times we have had a terrorist event. If you run the numbers the actual chances that you would be killed in an attack are slim. I have even heard of a study that says that you are more likely to get killed in a police shooting than a terror attack.

As I have never had to feel first hand the emotions that come from being so close to such events I cannot speak from experience but why could I not speak. I am a citizen and I am affected by the rules and laws that are created after things like Boston and 9/11. I do not enjoy the feeling of being treated like a criminal just for a false sense of safety. I am not talking about small rules made for safety. I work at a theatre and we have rules that prevent people from going places that are dangerous. So I can understand things like airlines locking the cockpit door and only allowing in authorized personnel. I would have actually figured that would have been a rule after the 70’s but who am I.

What I’m talking about when I say that we’re being treated like criminals. I mean things like the random pat downs at airports. The multiple cameras that we are putting into our city centers. The multiple metal detectors that are being put up in  The question that I always will ask is, has any of these things helped actually stop any crime that could have been stopped by using the means we had before new rules where implemented. The problem is that we never really get the statistics on the effectiveness of the laws. I want to know because it is our job to make sure that the government isn’t overstepping their bounds. Recently we have been taking government employees at their word more than we should have to. Again the reason is public safety. I would rather die free than live in a world where I have to prove that I am not a criminal and where I have to prove that I am worthy of that kind of information. Don’t forget that the government is actually supposed to work for us, the people.

So, the lesson is that we need to decide if we want to be free or safe. We can be vigilant and we can be proactive but we don’t have to go to excess. I think that the greatest question that is asked that we need to answer is why? Once we can answer why then we can figure out how to stop these type  things. And sadly as we keep seeing there will always be someone willing to do horrible things. It seems bad to end on something like that but take comfort in how everyone has come together and there still are so many more who have a high respect for human life. We will come together.

I apologize for the disjointed nature of this post but as I said before this is a difficult subject to write on. Thank you for reading.

Things I won’t cover

I’ve been recently thinking more about the types of topics as I search for things to write about. I’ve been seeing things that are being covered in the news that seem to be getting a lot of views. The problem is, while getting views is part of the way to make this a career, I don’t want to just hit topics that are popular. I have a hard time seeing people complaining that something shouldn’t be covered while, in a way, still covering the topic. So I have no plan to put things on here that are about the stupidity of celebrities. There will be celebrities covered on here but they will generally be the ones I respect. I will be critical of them and I will be critical of anyone that I cover on here.

The main thing I find that I want to cover is things that affect everyone. I will never speak for others; I will always try and make it my own opinion. I am not one able to speak for others but I am able to give my perspective. Sadly we have seen tragedy even today. There is something to be said about it and I am sure there will be a lot said about it. I am probably going to write about the aftermath but today I am just sad that we are going through such things. There are lessons to learn from such things but that if for another day. Thank you for reading.