Blog Posts - Silent Rogue
 
Do we ever truly know who we are? Is it possible that because we know ourselves so well that we do not know ourselves at all - or at least are blinded by our self biases? I can think of no one in my life that knows close to even half of the things that go on in my mind or of the experiences that I have had. While this is definitely a personal matter that I have chosen to follow for my own reasons, it leaves the question of whether anyone is truly able to judge my actions, choices, and thoughts in a manner that justifies or at least reflects some semblance of absolute truth (if there is even such a thing as absolute truth). However, if those individuals in my life are incapable of truly judging accurately, am I any better a judge? While I have complete insight into my personal thoughts, actions, and inspirations, am I not privy to too much personal bias? Will I not always read my personal choices as the best ones made at the appropriate times, and will I not just accept that certain paths are unquestionably trod upon? Or rather, if regret were to rear its ugly head, would I not associate it with personal desires? It is highly unlikely that a truly objective assessment of the self can ever be made - even with the wisest and most introspective of souls. Who or what then can act as a true gage of the value of individual choices? Certainly, one can try to exhibit the most intimate nuances of their existences, but it is highly doubtful that a full display can ever be provided. Even if an individual were able to convey every minute detail, reasoning, and motivation, will not the personal take of the receiving individual once again corrupt the idea that objective judgment is impossible? So, where does this leave us? To truly understand who we are and why we do things in the most accurate manner possible, we cannot look to others, and we cannot look to ourselves because there will always be the very human obstacle of personal stake. It is then to be noted that we can never truly realize ourselves for who we are. We can never understand our choices completely, and we can never predict our moral path. While this premise is sound, I choose to reject it - and that too with the very essence of human existence: hope. While we cannot truly assess ourselves objectively, we can still attain a level of judgment that can resemble absolute truth in its role. We may never be able to truly know who we are, but we will never be so lost as to look into the mirror and fail to recognize ourselves. Never.
 
The latest film in the Chronicles of Narnia series glides into theaters this weekend, and fans of the book will be surprised to see some major changes. Voyage of the Dawn Treader follows the two youngest Pevensie children and their somewhat annoying cousin Eustace on a sea-born voyage focused on finding seven noble lords banished by Caspian's evil uncle. While the main plot remains the same, some expected changes do occur in what directer Michael Apted chose to focus on (without giving away too much):

First and foremost, the order of some events in the book are shifted and combined in order to fit the story into the time limit. Also, a focus on the relationships between the two siblings to their older counterparts goes beyond anything in the book as does the immense change that seems to overtake the character of Eustace. However, the biggest (and most obvious) change is the inclusion of some themes from the next Narnia book: The Silver Chair.

Lewis's book was a very idyllic stroll through the lands that surround Narnia, but it was too episodic to make a compelling and "edge-of-the-seat" gripping film. That's why Apted opted for the digression (which was originally met with disdain by the Lewis estate).

This move may help the somewhat flailing series to get back on its feet after a pretty miserable performance by Prince Caspian. By taking themes from The Silver Chair, a much smoother transition into the next movie is possible. This is something that has been lacking in the series thus far and just may prove to be the missing ingredient to box office supercess (my term for super-success).

If Walden Media and Twentieth Century Fox want to keep making these movies, they should keep this trend going and really focus on keeping a connection between all the books - especially because the cast of protagonists is too inconsistent for a movie series.

As far as Voyage of the Dawn Treader goes, brace yourselves for a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride that still manages to connect with the human emotion. With great visuals, a good soundtrack, wonderful production value, and decent acting, this movie will not be a waste of your money!
 
Indecision - Luke Chueh
You know it's happened to you before. You want to do something, but there's this something (maybe you) standing in the way stopping you from what you want. You try to find a way to make it all work, and you realize you have just two options: pick one route and stick with it, or wait it out and see what happens (hoping all the while that the world will work out for you). Well, when you write it down, the choice seems pretty simple doesn't it? But when it's a big life decision, it's not that easy to just pick a path and follow it without hesitation. I mean, you're determining the rest of your future, so how can you simplify the situation to a black and white state of mind? Feelings can sometimes conflict with logic, and necessity may be put on the back burner for a more flippant mood. I guess what I'm trying to say is: When you are in a situation that determines a significant portion of your life, you need to first be able to determine if it is a matter of the mind or a matter of the heart and then follow whichever it is full-force. Then, after determining that distinction, you have to make your decision with either your heart or your head in mind. I'm not saying it's easy - trust me, it's not, but I've had a lot of time to think this through, and I figured I'd share my insights into living life in this deliberative world.

As always, it's been a pleasure. Until next time, friends.

s_ro
 
So, I'm a nerd, and as a nerd, I like Star Wars. And because I like Star Wars, I like Star Wars-related things. That's why, when I came across a video recapping the entire original trilogy in two minutes and forty-one seconds, I was overcome with geek love. Take a look at the following stop-motion, paper cut-out version of the trilogy with its very own original soundtrack entitled "Tatooine" created by the talented Jeremy Messersmith:
 
Remember that old 1985 movie about the teenager that travels through time, makes out with his mom, and help his dad find some confidence while changing his life for the better? It was called "Back to the Future," and it starred Michael J. Fox as the pseudo apprentice of Doc Brown. Well, you'd be surprised to learn that Michael J. Fox was not the first choice actor for the film. Spielberg and Zemeckis had shot five weeks worth of footage with Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly. Unfortunately, despite his acting ability, the comedic sense the filmmakers were looking for did not translate with Stoltz. That was when Fox was found to replace him as lead actor. Footage of the original scenes with Stoltz was released with the "Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy" on blu-ray last month. Take a short glimpse at the footage in the video excerpt from the special features below:

Amnesia

11/30/2010

1 Comment

 
So, it's been a while, hasn't it? I took some time to figure out some things in my life, and I'm glad to say that everything is just as it was before. Life is life, and you just live it. So, I decided it's time for me to come back. You might say I had a bit of an identity crisis. You might say that I was unsure of what I wanted. You might even say that I was a lost lamb in a sea of despair. You might say all that and more, and I can't stop you from saying it, but you would be wrong. I am back with a deeper resolve, a more emphatic ooh-rah, a more resounding huzzah. This is my wake up call. Here I am. Back from a bout of amnesia. I am no longer confined by the woes of anonymity in my own mind. Does this mean that I have shaken off the moniker of "Silent Rogue"? Not likely. In fact, I have returned ablaze with passion. Here's to everything I have missed thus far, everything, that I have stated here, and everything that will propel me into the future.

What did I just say in that paragraph above? I really have no idea, but enjoy the funny comic about amnesia below. (Unfortunately, I have no idea who made its since I found no attribution...)
 
The ever-so-unpublicized RED released in theaters across the nation this Friday, and as expected, very little buzz was created. Well, that needs to stop now. RED was given such a low budget for publicity that it really is no wonder no one has ever heard about this wonderfully entertaining and hilarious movie.

In a film that mashes the action genre with comedy and splashes of romance, a polarizing effect can be created: one will either love it or hate it. However, with RED, that isn't the case. With solid acting, ingenious and creative storytelling, BADASS fight scenes, well-fitting music, good writing, great editing,  and deliciously diabolical villains, the audience can easily find itself actually laughing out loud.

RED is an over-the-top action comedy based on a DC comic book that follows ex-CIA operatives who are being killed off by their formal employer because of their knowledge of sensitive information. RED creatively uses imaginative action scenes that don't seem gimmicky like other over-the-top movie (ahem, Scott Pilgrim, ahem). RED knows that it was never meant to be taken very seriously, and it delivers a solid, enjoyable experience that should not be missed.

If for no other reason, you have to go see this movie for the genius performance of John Malkovich as a crazed ex-agent. This was great acting in its highest sense. Malkovich will probably not be nominated for an Oscar for his performance because of the nature of the film, but I would easily cast my vote for him as the comedic performance of the year.

Aside from Malkovich, Bruce Willis performs solidly as the main character; Morgan Freeman is wonderful (and a bit underutilized); Helen Mirren is delightful; and Brian Cox as Ivan is enchanting. (I will admit, though, Mary-Louise Parker can get a bit annoying a the female lead...)

At times morbidly funny and at times pure unadulterated fun, this movie gets a nice solid A-.

Go watch it!
 
Did you know that the ever-so-popular fruit known as the banana would never have survived the evolutionary process had it not been for some forward thinking farmers who decided to artificially cultivate the plant?

The original banana lacked the ability to reproduce. Apparently, the banana is the sterile result of cross-pollination between two very unpalatable species of fruit.

If the farmers of yore had not been so adept at agriculture, the lovable banana may not have survived to this day. These cultivators realized that while the banana seeds could not be planted for offspring, they could still bud the stems of the two parent plants together to grow the yellow plant. Through their efforts, the banana was introduced to audiences worldwide, and the Cavendish variety is now bought from markets and enjoyed worldwide.

A similar incident occurred with the seedless Navel Orange (which is actually a Siamese twin of fruits), but don't take my word for any of this. Read Matt Castle's article on damninteresting.com for a much more detailed account of the interesting origins of the banana.
 
Is life on other planets possible? Scientists have debated this questions for years now, but we may finally be closer than ever to the truth. Astronomers recently discovered a planet that fulfills the "Goldilocks" requirements (aka the "just right" environment) that sustains life on Earth.

The newly discovered planet (located 120 trillion miles away in the constellation Libra) displays the similar habitable environments as our own planet. Chances are that liquid water may also be present, and as our own history shows, where there is liquid water, there is life. The planet currently holds the name Gliese 581g because it is the sixth planet orbiting the dwarf star Gliese 581 (given the letter "a") and is about three times the size of Earth. 581g orbits Gliese 581 once every 37 days and does not seem to orbit much, indicating that there may be widely varying landscapes across the planet ranging from -25 degress to 160 degrees.

The presence of water on 581g has not been confirmed, but reaching the faraway (yet cosmically close) planet would take a few generations of human life. Interestingly, according to the researchers, if you were to stand on the 581g, you would be able to see our Sun without the aid of telescopes. Where conditions for life are met, life follows eventually. Even if it is not an advanced life form, maybe we are not alone in this universe after all...
 
Ever wonder what google looked like the first day it went up? How about yahoo? facebook? myspace (the place for business connections)?

Well, wonder no longer. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine (for those of you who have yet to encounter its magnificence) allows users to input any domain they can think of, and chances are, there will be a litany of dates to choose from. Of course, the obscure website you visit every Saturday night alone in your room will probably not be found, but taking a look at the changes that have taken place on the more popular sites is definitely interesting.

The aesthetics and functionality of websites have definitely been increased over the years, but the most interesting things I noticed while using this program is that some of the major websites used today started off with very different purposes. Check it out for youself!