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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.
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Halloween Party: Images 2005
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Semper Nox Noctis: Memoirs of the OverAlpha 1
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007
And the Sacrifice Begins
Merry Christmas, all, even if you don't necessarily celebrate it yourselves. *grin* Enjoy your time with your loved ones, and if you don't have any of those, well, here's hoping Santa can deliver a few. *wink*
A thought on Christmas occurred to me. We (speaking as "Christians") always speak of the miracle of Jesus' birth, the joyful songs of the angels, the wonder of the shepherds on Christmas. But we've long missed something -- this is the beginning of God's sacrifice for mankind. This was one of the most difficult events to ever transpire -- God had to "empty himself" and be born a human. For Jesus, this was the farthest He had ever been from the Father, since before there was Time. And from God's perspective...This was His Son, His most precious one. And He was giving Him up, sending Him to Earth to save humanity. This Earth is a war zone between good and evil, we are the soldiers, we are the objectives, and we are the casualties. God sent His Son to us, to our joy, but away from Him and into war. And He knew His Son would die fighting for us. I can't understand this feeling. The only people who I think can are those who have done the same. This Christmas, remember the families of our brave soldiers, for they have a glimpse at God's love. A love willing to give their sons and daughters and spouses up to a place of fighting, betrayal, and death, willing to endure the separation from them; all for the sake of others.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Back from Tennesee
Well, I'm back in town. I think I'm going to start insisting on layovers which are two hours or more for return flight. Once again, my hour-and-a-half layover was turned into me running across the terminal. We had plane troubles -- the anti-skid went out, and since it was snowing in Chicago, they weren't going to fly in a plane with broken anti-skid (can't fault them for that one). Fortunately, I didn't miss my connecting flight entirely, because they were all on ground hold for a while as the worst of the storm blew through. Ah, well, it all worked out. Though I would have been okay with a night in Chicago. At least I would have probably gotten a better hotel than the one I stayed in for the auction.
The auction itself went very smoothly from my perspective (which paved the way for me to go to more of these things; and the next one's in Florida *grin*). After spending a couple hours getting the wireless network up and making myself a nice list of things that I'm going to need to have for the next time (especially my USB drive), everything was pretty much good. I spent the rest of that day and almost the whole auction standing around uselessly (or as I prefer to put it, "supporting the network infrastructure through positive thinking and exuding confidence"). My last day I helped run reports, which at least had me doing something. But everything went smooth, and I got paid quite well. (In fact, it looks like I'm getting paid quite well twice. Tagon would be proud.) I've also got a list of problems to resolve, but I was expecting that and they aren't, right now at least, my responsibility to fix.
My dog was something of a monster for my cousins, though. She tore up their kitchen floor. Fortunately, they'd been planning to replace the floor anyway (they already had the new flooring), and she's devastatingly cute.
One last thing of note -- I had some bread pudding while I was out there. Oh, Lord...It tasted like angels ought to taste. So I've got some recipes that I'm going to try out. It was just amazing, and I'll be quite pleased if I can replicate it.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I am off on my first real business trip. I'm out in Nashville, helping one of our clients put on an auction.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Heroic Deaths (A Short Analysis)
I got into a disagreement about the validity of deaths for heroes, and in particular the necessity of deaths in a story with a fellow forumgoer at TwoKinds the other day. I thought I'd use the thought I put into that argument (it was a friendly argument, don't worry) and do a bit of explanation here. Based on my experiences with cinema, there are generally three kinds of "heroic" deaths (note that heroes don't always die heroic deaths, but they're the most common): the Redeeming Death, the Poetic Death, and the Inspiring Death.
The Redeeming Death, while being heroic, isn't actually a death for heroes. The Redeeming Death is almost always reserved for the foil of a story. The reason that this death is important is because of its finality. The foil has spent the whole story, teetering between good and evil. Through their sacrifice, they help the heroes complete some objective, and by dying, they prove that they're good at heart -- they secure their place in Heaven, more or less. The finality is important because it leaves no doubt in anyone's minds where the foil now falls. They can't switch sides back to evil now; they're locked into good.
The Poetic Death is common for a lot of Asian cinema (Hero is a spectacular example). It's the ending for Romeo and Juliet as well, what I call, "everyone dies happily ever after." Dying in your lover's arms, or some other "meaningful" death that really is simply designed to tug at your heart strings. I'm not always in favor of these deaths -- many of them would be more striking to have the character live on with the consequences of their previous actions (as my fellow forumgoer pointed out). However, they make for a nice wrap-up sometimes, and, if properly executed, can leave the audience in tears.
The Inspiring Death is actually something I enjoy. The Inspiring Death is that moment of self-sacrifice where the character dies in saving others. These sorts of deaths challenge the viewer to become something better than themselves. United 93 showcases this sort of death. Due to my worship of heroes, an Inspiring Death almost always leaves me in tears. I can feel that challenge to rise above myself deep in my heart. These deaths are incredibly powerful from a storytelling perspective. The mark of a true master is providing the same effect without the impact of death (see Shindler's List, which does this with an artistic precision I've never seen since).
The Inspiring Death is that which haunts us. We forget the Redeeming Death, the Poetic Death lingers, but only in that it was poetic. But the Inspiring Death? Done right, we will never forget it. We do not forget sacrifice. We should never forget those who stand. And it remains in our hearts, giving us the strength we need to stand in the future. Death is an important part of cinematic storytelling. A story is a life -- just as there is birth, so too must there be death. Not everything can "live happily ever after."