Happy St. Patrick’s Day of 2012!

–What in God’s name is St. Patrick’s Day?

–Something to do with a leprechaun.

That was a snippet of a conversation I had this March 17th. My friend and I were both surprised to find out, that despite years of celebrating St. Patrick’s day together, neither of us actually knew what St. Patrick’s Day is about.

According to Good Guy Wikipedia, Saint Patrick is a patron saint of Ireland, marking the arrival of Christianity in the country. It is a feast day in early seventeenth century, and is celebrated by attending church services, wearing green (to promote Irish culture), public parades and commemorates the lifting of Lent prohibitions such as eating and drinking alcohol.

Now you know 😉

My friend, Maria and I celebrated by originally wanting to go to a popular Irish pub in Mississauga, Failce’s, but upon seeing the long line, decided to hide out in Moxie’s instead. General merriment occurred, including the waitress profusely apologizing for taking too long (she had a table of ten, all women in a bachelorette party) and as a sign of her generosity, gave us both free drinks. That’s fine with me!

Although I’m sure most Canadians decided to celebrate courteously, appropriately and politely (I saw at least three girls in green corsets, which more than all right with me), we are known internationally again as another riot goes down our list, the first of 2012 (the last being the 2011 Vancouver riot).

Students joined officials at London’s Fanshawe College on Monday in vowing to bring those responsible for the weekend’s violent St. Patrick’s Day riot to justice – from National Post

On March 17, 2012, at London, Ontario’s Fleming Drive (a street near Fanshawe College) a party quickly escalated into a riot that involved people burning cars, flipping over a CTV news van, and throwing bottles and other things at the police when they arrived. Here’s an excerpt from National Post:

Shelby Zakoor, from Leamington, Ont., who is studying photography at Fanshawe, described the melee.

“People were going around and finding trees and ripping trees apart,” he said. “The girls that live on the corner, they weren’t even part of it and their entire fence got ripped right off. People were just throwing anything they could on it.”

The riot erupted Saturday night on Fleming Drive, a notorious party neighbourhood next to Fanshawe populated mostly by students.

Fanshawe has suspended eight students. Those are temporary for now, but the school is doing its own investigation.

“We may in some cases end the suspension quickly, and in other cases may turn it into a permanent suspension,” said Rundle.

Fanshawe also has set up a secure email for students to post videos and other information to help identify offenders.

“Anybody that was involved in throwing objects at people, damaging vehicles or contributing to the fire,” said Rundle. “If any of those were Fanshawe students, we want to take action against them.”

Keep it classy, Canada.

The only good thing that came out of this event are the students coming forward and cooperating with the authorities catch whoever was responsible. I was a student not too long ago, and I can honestly say that no matter how chaotic the parties I went to were, rioting was the last thing on everybody’s mind. Sad, embarrassing day for Canada, indeed.


Mysterious Skin

“A gorgeous, heartbreaking and utterly convincing work of art” — the New York Times

This movie was at times, too painful and disturbing to watch. But that’s what Araki seems to be going for, with this harsh but realistic portrayal of the long-term consequences of child abuse. The film tells the story of the two main characters, Neil (played excellently by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Brian (Brady Corbet) who share nothing but an unfortunate, traumatizing experience with their baseball coach when they were 8 years old, and how they dealt with this memory ten years later.

The juxtaposition between the two’s coping mechanisms really accentuates the emotional toll that occurs with child molestation. Neil’s journey as a teenage prostitute is full of angst and vulnerability at the same time. He clings on the childish feeling that he was “special” and that his coach was his “one true love” in order to avoid the reality of his situation. He then takes on prostitution, more of a challenge than for necessity, in order to manifest “power” and “authority” over his johns. This power play quickly changes when he goes to New York city, where he meets an unfortunate turn with an NYC cop at Brighton Beach (don’t say I didn’t warn you, this scene made me cringe. I actually had to pause the film and go out for a walk to get my stomach to stop churning — and this is from the girl who watched Human Centipede 2 and saw the director’s immediate comedic reply to his critics through excessive gore). Kudos to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting–you have effectively scarred me for life.

Meanwhile, Brian’s defense mechanism relies on hardcore denial and alternate realities. He develops amnesia and convinces himself that aliens had abducted him during the five hours of his life that he seems to be missing. His journey is more fantastical and lends elements of a thriller/suspense charm to the whole film–which is essentially at the core of every abused child–finding the right answer to a question they are too young to form, and eventually have to deal with in their adult lives.

The last scene, as featured in the image above, is a saving grace for me, I have to admit. It is painful but it gives the melancholic sense (through the silence they contrast with the singing carolers) that healing can now begin for them both. I suggest watching this film cautiously, it is not for the faint of heart, but for those who seek to open their minds.


Adventurous Photographers

One of the most amazing shots I have ever had the pleasure of encountering in my life. I stumbled upon this little gem after watching this video,  posted on reddit a few days ago. The video depicted four teenagers, three boys, one blonde girl, climbing the cables of this bridge to the very top to take pictures. One of the boys was wearing a head camera, capturing the whole climb. The video is in russian, and so the only information I could get from it was the very credible, comments section.

In the comments section, one person noted that this picture, the one I featured above, looks like it could be them. I immediately put my google skills into action and typed the address on the watermark and stumbled upon this journal: http://dedmaxopka.livejournal.com/

It is now one of my favourite photography journals. What I like most about is its industrial atmosphere. The photographer clearly tries to capture their city from a different angle, one that is not often viewed. They climb to horrific heights, construction sites, bridges, and tour abandoned buildings, giving us a perspective of a city that is both breathtaking and condescending. Breathtaking, because of the view they give us, and condescending because it is a reminder of what we are missing out on. I particularly adore the subway photos, especially this one because it is legitimately bad-ass:

I give my kudos to these brave teenagers. True adventurers are not those who seek experience purely for adrenaline, it is those who are able to find the newness in the old and the uncanny in the familiar.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s the video that may or may not be linked to this journal:

If anyone knows who these brave younguns are, please let me know! I would love to give the proper credit.


So, you want to be a writer?

Original source is from redditor: thenameisnick

Today, I had a good, long talk with my neighbour, who is eleven years older than me, a person I have come to see over the years as my older brother, about the general question people my age, the young twenty-somethings, are always asking: “What do I do now?”

Since he started his university career with a Physics degree and then, upon re-examining his life on his second year, decided to switch to Computers, I always saw him as the practical, logical kind of advisor who would knock some sense into my abstract mind. To my surprise, the first thing he stressed, was for me to bring back a blog to showcase my writing.

I tried to usher his attention back to my retail, administrative and customer service experience, thinking we should focus on my “more marketable skills”, but he quickly stressed the importance of the blogs I’ve been writing articles for and my research experience. I tried to convince him, in so many words, without looking and sounding too pathetic, that I’ve already given up on that pipe dream and that now, he needs to help me figure out something else. He then said, “You can try other things, but I think on the meantime, you need to do is to go home and make another blog. Put the articles you’ve published, write more of your abstract work. Because THAT is what you’re good at, THAT is what you love, THAT is what you have to do.”

I then scoured the internet trying to find the right words to describe what I understood from today, but instead stumbled into a Reddit link, originally uploaded by thenameisnick in r/gaming.

I hope you feel the same inspiration I felt from reading this comic.

So, you want to be a game developer?