Monday, July 27, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #144: It's a Snail's Pace Life

It's a Snail's Pace Life - 20150726_095018

What Is It

Two snails--one on a dead flower and a smaller one on a live flower.

Why It's Today's Pick

I feel like I hit the jackpot with this photo.  Apparently the climate was just right for the snails to come out and try to get some snacks.  These weren't the only snails I saw, but this was by the far the coolest picture I could capture. I love the juxtaposition between the two snails.   I feel like you could split these into two pictures as an almost "before" and "after" picture (though I know they are two different flowers--the premise works still).  I see this photo and all I can think of is the dialog that these two are having as if they are parent and child.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #143: Romeo & Juliet Walk Into a Cemetery..

Romeo & Juliet Walk Into a Cemetery...20150725_164314

What Is It

The balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet but in a cemetery.  

Why It's Today's Pick

I went to see Arts After Hours Romeo & Juliet--it's part of their annual Shakespeare in Park summer performance.  This year, they decided to have the play in a cemetery--which of course, for a Shakespearean tragedy is quite apropos.  In addition to putting it on in the park, it was also a walking play--that is, the audience moved from scene to scene throughout a small section of the cemetery.  Overall, I really liked the experience.  There were some issues for sure with acoustics and it probably works best with plays people are typically familiar with because you are apt to miss bits and pieces as you get from scene to scene.  But it worked quite well.  They found many good places to enact scenes and by the second act, the rhythm of movement had largely been figured out.  They also did some creative things with the play which included inviting attendants to participate in the ball and having actors since modern lyrics to hold off dialogue until people had gotten to the scene.  Also, it was entirely free to attendants.  You were invited to donate at the end (which we certainly did) but the performance was open to everyone.  I definitely recommend checking it out as it's going on the next two weekends!

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #142: Strange Skies Near the Friendship

Strange Skies Near the Friendship - 20150724_191148

What Is It

The tall ship, Friendship in Salem with some funky sky colors on the precipice of a thunderstorm.

Why It's Today's Pick

I caught this last night while walking home from dinner.  There was just a perfect mixture of color in the sky--so many different shades of blue and gray.  Throw into it the mid-ground of a classic sailing ship, boating house and harbor and it looks like something that should be painted.  A sky like this is likely to reveal all sorts of excellent visuals--especially after the storm passed but the clouds stayed with the sun peeping through occasionally.  I had a lot of pictures to select from including a few rainbow photos but I still really liked this one. Even the grass in the forefront provides a welcoming approach to the sky beyond.   

Also to note, for those that might noticed.  I decided to approach this Photo Reflection a Day differently for the rest of the year.  Up until now, the rule was that I would have to write about a photo I took on that day.  So I would have had to take this photo today (Saturday).  But the reality is that many times, many of my best photos get shot but because of evening obligations or just when it is that I have the time to write has passed, means I miss sharing the  photo out.  So I've changed the rule to the day before so I can more consistently share photos.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Letter to the Editor: Waving the Confederate Flag

This piece I recently wrote got published in both the Salem Evening News and the Daily Item.  
Confederate Flag at 58 Bridge Street Salem Mass
Confederate Flag at 58 Bridge Street
Salem Mass
"To whomever at 58 Bridge St., Salem, proudly displays a Confederate flag in your first-floor window, I appreciate the U.S.’s right to freedom of expression that allows you to do so.
Though it’s unclear what you are expressing.

Are you are celebrating the Confederacy’s repression of freedom of expression for millions of U.S. citizens? Are you lamenting the lost art of slavery?

Are you demonstrating your faith toward people who killed U.S. soldiers to keep U.S. citizens enslaved?

Perhaps, you are embracing history (the history of people who wanted to keep humans enslaved for profit)? Might you be showing solidarity with Dylann Roof?

Or are you truly dismayed that TV Land has stopped airing the “Dukes of Hazzard”? It’s simply unclear."

To read the rest, check out the full piece at the Salem Evening News and the Daily Item



Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #141: Mirror, Mirror, Of The Sky

Mirror, Mirror, Of The Sky - 20150719_132721

What Is It

A mirror reflection of the sky from a street-mirror.

Why It's Today's Pick

I pass by this mirror regulaly on my walks.  It's a mirror for vehicles entering and exitting an electrical center in the city.  Today, I just happen to look up and saw the reflecting sky and realized I had my photo for the day.  I appreciated that in some ways, the mirror just looks like a portal to another part of the sky or even how the cloud of the mirror feels like a continuation of the cloud outside of the mirror.  Even the wires coming from the left of the photo even seem to run into the mirror itself and connect to the building.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #140: Beeautiful Again!

Beeautiful Again - 20150718_143809

What Is It

A picture of a bee gathering up some of the good stuff from a flower.

Why It's Today's Pick

Two bee picks so close to close.  I know--it's probably overdone, but I have to admit, I couldn't say no to taking this shot and it is clearly the best shot I'll be taking all day.  So what can you do? I'm amazed at the detail my cellphone camera can pick up.  I'm also impressed with the range of colors in this particular photo.  From the white fence background to the red, oranged and pink of the flower to the yellows and blacks of the bee.  Also, check out the wings--such great detail that I don't think I would see with my own eye.  I'm also fascinating with the pollen on the flower itself.  I think this might be one of my best pictures of the year.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Top 101 Films Part 7 (of 10)

I've finally returned to this series and here comes the next ten.  If you missed my previous entries--where have you been!?!?!?  Here's the running list of previous entries!

Metropolis (2001)

DVD cover to Metropolis (2001)
While Fritz Lang's epic film will always be classic and essential viewing for anyone studying film, this version of Metropolis is lovely.  This animated feature is inspired by Osamu Tezuka's manga of the same name which was originally inspired by Lang's masterpiece.  It varies in parts from both the original film and the manga.  The plot is standard anime fare in terms of it mixes genres (dystopia, noir, science fiction) and raises a variety of questions about humanity.  But what makes the film stand out above other anime and as an excellent film is the soundtrack.  Rather than using techno or other music genres generally associated with anime, the soundtrack is dominated by jazz, making for a surreal experience that is superb.  Looking at this futuristic world with a jazz soundtrack makes it simultaneously new and nostalgic.  Coupled with this is a more complex look at technology that raises questions beyond the machines and really questions the power structures of human society while also recognizing that the human-machine relationship has room for different ideas.

The trailer for this film can be found here.



MirrorMask (2005)


DVD Cover - MirrorMask 2005
This masterpiece comes from the wonderful minds of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.  Their work creates a cinematic collage that is a visual, aural, and emotional experience that is pure delight.  As someone who grew up with the wonder of The Never-Ending Story (see below), it captures the power of storytelling, the bridging of one's imagination with the real world, and purposeful fantasy.  It transports me into the fantasy world to a degree in which it feels authentic--even if it isn't real.  To this, much is owed to McKean who can create surreal worlds through his collage-approach to art.  He seems to take the every-day artifacts of life and weave them into a very curious and disorienting world that works so well, you'll want to visit them.  Like so many Gaiman's stories (and The Never-Ending Story), it contains a level of meta-fiction that always gets me.  

The trailer for this film can be found here.



Modern Times (1936)


It took a long time for me to finally sit down and watch Modern Times.  I have seen snippets of it for as long as I can remember but never felt compelled to watch it.  However, after hearing it referenced in a number of books, some dealing with film and others dealing with technology, it seemed that I couldn't go much longer without seeing it.  Of course, I instantly fell in love with it.  The criticism on technology is present--much like it is with Metropolis.  However, in both cases, it's worth noting that the technology is the tool of oppression--not necessarily the tool itself.  It's clear from the film that the supervisor and his authority are what causes so much trouble for Marx's character.  Indeed, authority is the problem throughout that keeps Marx and the woman from succeeding or continually impeding their ability to find stability and make something for themselves.  Their desire to work isn't impeded by technology but by the authoritative forces that would rather reduce them to de facto slave labor either in the form of prison labor or factory labor.

This film can be found here.



Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)


DVD Cover of Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Never has there been a more quotable movie than Monty Python.  It's a fantastic post-modern comedy that it enrages some while leaving others in tears.  I remember the first time I came across it.  It was playing on PBS and I came in about half-way through.  I couldn't make sense of it but couldn't turn away from it.  It had bad special effects, split into cartoon at times, and a series of events that was considered to be its plot but felt like glued-together paper.  And yet, it worked so well and continued to work to today.  Whether it is the Knights Who Say Nee or the coconuts or the Holy Handgrenade, it all seems ridiculous, but somehow both fits for the humor and the narrative.  Ultimately, it is a film that never takes itself serious--and that is the only thing it takes serious.  

The trailer for this film can be found here.



Never-Ending Story (1984)


DVD Cover - Neverending Story
As far as I can recall, this is the first movie that ever made me cry.  Every kid that grew up watching the film knows exactly when this happens:  When Artax, Atreyu's horse, gives up and drowns in the Swamps of Sadness.  The masterpiece of that scene to make youth feel death in a way that may not yet be palpable to them yet is so powerful.  But beyond that, the movie as a whole is a magical exploration for any child who can lose himself (or herself) in a book and think about fantastic worlds that may exist.  The book's turn into meta-fiction at the end seems equally powerful in its ability to reach out to the child viewer and tell them that these fictitious worlds are real in some profound way.  Rolled into all of this is also the powerful story of the outsider, Sebastian who in some ways becomes the insider, Atreyu to save the princess.  The film is filled with oedipal influences (the princess is a form of his mother) and the Campbell's hero's journey, but the child doesn't realize this until years later.  The child just enjoys the story.  

The trailer for this film can be found here.



Newsies (1992)


Newsies was the film that made me want to be in a musical.  First, there was Christian Bale--I found him fascinating (and still do).  However, there was also the music.  I've never been a music aficionado; I've just known when I found music powerful and moving to me.  Newsies had a soundtrack that had many sounds that energized and moved me.  In fact, it still regularly features on my playlist decades later.  Of course, I was biased to enjoy the film from the get-go because of course, I spent seven years of my life as a paper-boy.  Clearly, I was not anywhere near the dire conditions depicted in the film.  I had a very easy newspaper route.  But it certainly pulled me into the film more strongly. 

The trailer for this film can be found here.



Night of the Living Dead (1968)


DVD Cover - Night of the Living Dead
I admit that I wasn't that impressed with the first few times I encountered this film.  After all, I grew up in the 1980s, watching horror films of that time (like the next film).  It didn't strike me as impressive--it wasn't even gory.  How could that be the standard bearer fro all future zombie films?  But then I grew up and in growing up, I came to begin to look at horror films more critically, write about post-9/11 zombie narratives, and even teach a course on monsters.  When I revisited the film in this context, it became apparent that George R. Romero and his fellow filmmakers were pretty kick-ass.  The politics of the film (featuring an African American male lead) coupled with these relentless and mindless beings seeking to obliterate humankind made for a perfect coupling, especially when shot in black and white.  Taking individually, none of these items would have made it on its own but together, they make quite the film.  

This film can be found here.



Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


As we get to this film, it's becoming clear that I dig films that blend reality with fiction.  Neverending Story, MirrorMask, Monty Python and many others all play with this idea in some fashion.  Nightmare on Elm Street was the horror film that introduced me to the world where fiction meets reality.  I was fascinated by the idea that we are haunted in the real world by our dreams.  Years later, it came to no surprise to me that Wes Craven was originally an English high school teacher.  For those that say television and film are wastes of time, they certainly played a pivotal role in me becoming a reader.  I was also fascinated with Freddy because unlike his counterparts--Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers--he talked a good deal.  In fact, in later movies, that was part of the fun--to see what lines he was going to deliver with the next kill.  In reflecting on it, it reminds me of a documentary I've used in class about EC Comics wherein they talk about the Cryptkeeper from Tales from Crypt.  The humor always leveled off the violence.  It was a wink and a nod to admitting the fiction.  I also attribute the Nightmare on Elm Street series to a regular sense of being aware that I'm dreaming when I'm asleep and asking for "replays".

The trailer for this film can be found here.



Normal (2003)


Tom Wilkinson plays a man who decides to transition to a female in his 50s while living in middle-America town working at a factory, despite the reservations from his wife and children.  The film is not perfect in its portrayal of transsexuals and yet, it was one of the few mainstream TV films up until that point that didn't display a transperson as entirely tragic or ridiculous.  Thoguh there are confrontations throughout and the couple find themselves losing family and friends, the wife finds she is still capable of loving the transitioned character.  It's a powerful but quiet movie.  Wilkinson manages to walk the fine line of trying to find his way to her without being exploitative or exaggerating.  The couple prove that normal is just a word that we all find our own way to.

The trailer for this film can be found here.



Nosferatu (1922)


DVD Cover - Nosferatu
The earliest vampire film that is known to date.  Based upon Dracula by Bram Stoker but ordered to be destroyed by his wife (he had died a decade previously), the film survived and continues to be a hallmark of great film.  The use of angles, lens filtering, musical score, use of shadows, and other visual effects are significant enough that the film still holds up today for those that can enjoy a silent film.   Max Schreck as Count Orlok proves a haunting image that can still haunt the viewer years later.  His gestures, his eyes and his alien features are sufficient enough to make one run the other way.  Numerous other films have tried to capture the horror of Dracula, but few have come as close as Nosferatu.  Additionally, the film works well as a silent film, relying on textual elements like title cards to tell its story because that was part of the power of Dracula--it was a novel told in words; letters, recordings, newspaper articles, etc.  Nosferatu maintains some of that in its production that other adaptations typically lose.  

This film can be found here.


Your turn!  What are some of your favorite films and why?  Post them in the comments!


Creative Commons License

By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #139: BEEcause Timing Is Everything

BEEcause Timing Is Everything - 20150713_101422

What Is It

A bee making its way to the flower's pollen.  

Why It's Today's Pick

Sometimes, it's just a matter of noticing and focusing.  I hadn't anticipated I would see this particular sight when I set out for my walk but there it was; a bee getting all friendly with the flower.  I actually saw it out of the corner of my eye and almost kept going and then realized--oh wait!  Now there's something to capture!  I was surprised that I got the camera on the phone ready and pointed before it took off.  However, it wasn't until I got home to see the photo on a computer monitor that i was even more impressed with the quality of my phone's camera.  The texture of the flower is so vivid and its reflective specks that cover it I never knew were there.  The flower's center is almost alien, looking like alien tentacles reaching out to explore the world around it.  The bee is pretty cool to look at closely as well.  I've had many a bee-sting in my life but in looking closely at this guy on the flower, I'm do find him plenty cute.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #138: When I Look Down, I See Sky

When I Look Down, I See Sky 20150710_122519

What Is It

The reflection of the sky from the bridge on Bridge Street in Beverly.

Why It's Today's Pick

I really like how this picture came out.  Unless it's early in the morning, trying to get a go reflection shot in this area is not likely.  Often, by 8am, there is enough movement in the water that it doesn't look this pristine--too many waves.  But I got this shot while finishing a run.  I thought about doing one without the bridge parts visible, but I liked it much better--more authentic in terms of being a reflection.  I think it also worked because the sun wasn't at maximum visibility as I think that it might have drowned out  the other clouds.  Instead, it seems like an almost perfect replica of the sky--just with a green tint.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Photo Reflection of the Day #137: And Then I Stumbled Upon This...

And Then I Stumbled Upon This...20150709_113835

What Is It

A curious alley that I stumbled upon while playing Ingress.

Why It's Today's Pick

So one thing I really like about playing the game, Ingress, is that it gets met out into and wandering around in various neighborhoods and noticing things or stumbling onto new finds.  Today, I played it a bit during a break at work and found new little niches in Lynn that I didn't know existed and was very happy to discover.  I look at this alley and I'm sure some--because it is Lynn--think of it in a negative connotation, yet all I could think about was how the kid in me, would love a cool alleyway like this to play in.  I could easily see this as  a place to explore or play games with other kids.  It's next to the Grand Army of the Republic Museum--something else I didn't know existed in the heart of Lynn.  I don't think I would have wondered down this particular street if there wasn't something acquire in the game and therein is the fun of the game--you move in the real world, playing a virtual game and finding new real spaces.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.