Wes Anderson has gained quite the following in the last few years, and after the Grand Budapest Hotel, fans have been eagerly awaiting his next film. Wes' latest project has been reported as another stop motion animated film, like Fantastic Mr. Fox.
But in the mean time, his restless fans were given an early christmas present.
Wes recently directed an H&M commercial for the 2016 Christmas season. It stars Adrien Brody as a conductor on a late running train, nearing Christmas. The commercial contains all the hallmarks of a Wes production including symmetrical shots, pastel colors, boy choir soundtrack, vintage technology, distinct costumes, etc.
Anyone familiar with his work will instantly think of Wes' film The Darjeeling Limited. Because of the Christmas theme, one could also associate the story with the Polar Express (not a Wes film). You could say Brody plays a quirky Anderson version of Tom Hanks' conductor character. The conductor characters in both the commercial and the Polar Express are grown men doing their jobs and doing them well. At the same time, they are kind figures who care about making children happy on Christmas, which is represented in both works.
Like his other films, theres a lot you can learn about the story by looking closely at details. Wes is known for this.
A short list of things I noticed after five or so views:
-C. Ralph tears the calendar paper from the 24th to December 25th
-The black lady is reading an Agatha Christie Book (AG wrote Murder on the Orient Express, another train reference)
-The blonde lady in her silky shirt is reminiscent of Margot from The Royal Tenenbaums
-The child in the upstairs car is an unaccompanied minor according to the sign
-The Japanese fellow looks at the camera as he walks down the hallway
-Fritz is holding a tray of all the ingredients to the "chocolate flavored hot beverage- with whipped topping." Then the boy is seen eating the cream off the top of the beverage
I like the songs he chose for this story. Both are boy/youth choir that keeps the with the story's theme of childhood innocence and wonder towards the Christmas holiday. Also, I'm a big John Lennon/ the Beatles fan.
Another thing that makes this cool is that my favorite director did a commercial for my favorite clothing store!
The drop of this commercial I completely did not expect, and was thoroughly pleased. Still I, like the other Andersonians, await his next feature length work. Thanks and Merry Christmas Wes.
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Video games have been a staple escapist activity for 30+ years. In this day and age the number of people who have never played a video game is ever declining. Before long, virtual reality head sets will become part of the norm and revolutionize the art of escapism.
I'd like to argue briefly that video games, when immersive, become another plain of reality. They're a reality you can turn on and off, even though what one does in that reality isn't real since you're still looking at a screen. But while immersed in that world, video game reality is reality. What you see in a video game is a real place that you're peering through a window into. You exist as whatever avatar is in the game and you live according to the games physics, rules, and storylines.
In a way, real life is your own piloting of an avatar fully immersed in first person perspective. You have full sense perception and mental faculties. You live according to physics and the rules of society. The only difference is you create your own storyline. Although, many videos allow you to do that to.
Another plain of reality, which many people dismiss as unreal and give no more thought than they do to video games, is the dreamworld. Despite being able to wake up and have the whole dreamworld vanish like a...a dream...I would say that this is a far more immersive and real reality. You can have total freedom of physics, laws, rules, and bodily limitations, if you luck into lucidity or know how to do it.
Imagine crossing over these two plains of reality. Twice this week I've had dreams that have Minecraft settings. Not only that, I crossed between the regular world and Minecraft world within the dream.
So in the first dream a few days ago, I was exploring a Minecraft (MC) style cave when I came across a MC house. Upon entering, I found two twin women who were champion tennis players. Like me, they were not made of blocks. The told me if I went out the back door I could enter the real world (RW) hills of Pennsylvania. I followed their advice and voila! I was back to RW and stood amongst the brown leaved trees on the side of Mt. Penn. It was a glorious transition from video game to RW while staying within the dream.
Then last night, this one was even more surreal and fun. I was walking down a RW valley on a bit of an escape. The back story of this one is, in waking life I play Minecraft as a thing to do while I catch up on my podcasts. And so over the weeks I built a pretty impressive city and then I built another city later. The second one was under-developed and needed quick resources. So, I implemented my own story line, thus sacking and razing the first city as a member of city two.
Back to the dream, I was presumably a person fleeing from the destroyed city number one. My waking story influenced this dream. As I mentioned before I was fleeing within a RW mountain valley. Somewhere upon my journey, a horse I think, told me if I went through a certain forrest, I could find a new sanctuary.
I got on and the horse took me to the tree line of the wood. He urged me to hurry up and run through as quickly as I could or I may not find it. He must have been a very convincing horse because I trusted him and did what he said.
It was midnight and I ran straight in among the trees. It was very hard to see where I was going, I got hit by a lot by tree limbs and pine needles. Eventually I came to a wall. But since I had picked up so much speed as I ran, I was able to clear this seven foot wall by jumping.
From here forward I'm going to start a dream log short hand notation to make these things easier in future posts.
dreamrun- when you run in a dream and get progressively faster to superhuman speeds
dreamjump- superhuman type jumps
Anyway, after a bit further I had to jump a second wall. Once beyond it, I began to see the glow of light through the trees. I was getting close. As I exited the forest, I emerged on the outskirts of the destroyed MC city I had fled. Except, the new city was fully intact and had an air of peace. The replica was brightly lit in the night. The only difference was that it was empty. The city was a melencholic skeleton that was perfect for display, but was not alive. A city's people is what makes it alive.
I walked the streets a bit and climbed the city tower. After a little while I decided to leave the city for a better place. One not frozen in time.
Last night I had a dream that I went to a convention down somewhere by the sea. The only part I remember of the convention centre was the cafeteria. Any food you'd want to eat, they had it! But I ended up purchasing $26 sushi some how. It still tasted quite good for dream sushi.
The secret is, is that waking Zytroft has never had sushi.
Also, the price is dream exaggerated but convention food prices are jacked up in real life.
Back in the dream. Acquiring chopsticks was hard. I had to climb three ladders to three different platforms to find chopsticks that weren't shaped like long screws.
After my lunch, I ran into Paul Simon and we sang a duet of Kodachrome. He was impressed by my pipes and asked me to join a duo with him and tour around. I accepted.
In the final chapter I found myself on a beach, having walked away from the convention. I needed to swim to a sandbar to reach my lost shirt.
How'd I lose my shirt? I don't know.
Did I lose it partying? Perhaps that's why I don't remember any other parts of the convention.
Did Paul Simon steal it? Maybe with help from Julio.
Was it the Japanese sushi chef? Nah, he already got my $26.
Regardless, I got it back! Celebrate by please sharing and commenting.
Sometimes I'm aware that I'm aware. I find myself from time to time in Meta-Reality. This is great when I'm in an amazing place like Washington, DC or NYC. It's also no so great when I'm in the middle of a conversation or giving a presentation.
In the places of awe, it's a convenient thing, being meta, because you can really take in where you are and reality becomes fictionalized. I get that feeling of, "Am I really here, like, is this reality actually a thing. Existence exists and I'm in it."
Like I said, in a fun place, thats a cool thought. But during a conversation, it's horrible because I then lose all train of thought. The topic is lost in space, followed by my responding, "yeah" "totally" "right" to whatever is being said. It's even worse in a public speaking sort of situation.
That's probably why I fear public speaking so much. I'm afraid I might go into Meta-Think. Then because I'm worried about it, I do. Ugh. I my presentation game in university was par to sub-par, mostly because I was usually un-prepared for them. Then that helped cause Meta-Think to kick in. My most successful presentation senior year was when I did it in character.
The topic was Cromwell in Ireland, done in a fantastic Irish accent. I think I received a B- on it, but got an A+ for my performance.
Anyway, I was reading Scott Adam's book, How to Fail at Almost Everthing and Still Win Big, today on my lunch break. I don't want to give away much of the book, because I recommend you read it. But there was a chapter were Scott described himself about to go on stage, and he described the feelings and build up. That moment when you're being introduced and about to go up and take the stage is the worst butterfly ridden nervous moment, for me at least. And therefore, as I sat in a cafe reading a BOOK, my heart started to beat and my stomach fluttered. It was as if I was about to go on stage, good grief.
So back to the idea of Meta-Thinking. Later on, on my ride home today, I caught myself Meta-Meta-Thinking. I was thinking about how I Meta-Think too much. "Jeez, he doesn't even have a chance" I thought to myself.
Let me paint a picture of what you just read above. In the paragraph above I wrote about how I reacted to myself in third person, thinking about Meta-Thinking. Now you're reading about me explaining that you're reading my description of third person reaction to thinking about meta-thinking.
This is quite Meta isn't it.
Share, comment, comment about yourself commenting, go on stage and present the Bithiyan if you'd like, just don't Meta-Think while up there.
I love all the well known Frank songs and most of these are well known too, although not quite as popular. These are my favorite. I wanted to leave you with some good listening for a late Tuesday night.
Sometimes it's hard to learn an instrument. It also takes a long time, and a lot of practice to master it. If you have a healthy and well fortified creative bone, then I have a secret shortcut for you.
If you want to walk into any room, sit down at the piano, and play like the pianissimo you know you could be, then this tip is for you.
As I mentioned before, you need to meet the creativity prerequisites to pull this off. My trick involves, not learning to read the music off the paper, but composing it.
Certainly, no one can play a piano without ever doing it before (normal people). And so, you also need to meet the musical/piano prerequisites of having a foundational understanding of music notation, notes, chords, etc. You need to know how to play the piano.
What? I thought this was a shortcut!
It is. But there is a difference between knowing how to play a piano, and actually playing one. I know how to read music and play the keys, but it takes me a long time, note by note, to learn a song. Instead of reading the sentence straight up, I have to sound each word and memorize the whole sentence.
Some people can read and play, some people play by ear and have everything memorized. That's me. I'm a little impatient, and to bypass all the endless practicing, I write new songs.
But, don't you still have to memorize them?
Yes, I do, but writing a song doesn't take five minutes. It can take hours, days, weeks, even months. During the composition process, I sit at the piano, messing around until I hear something I like. I play around until I've created a decent melody or hook. Then I build off of that with other melodies and hooks, all improvised and played over and over. During composition I play the same little bits repeatedly and I replay the song multiple times each time I add something or change it. I play with the pedals, and the octaves too, making endless variances.
I am able to save time because writing and memorizing are combined. I write the song and learn the song all at the same time. I write my pieces down by hand as I go, too, to help codify it in my mind. Also, I don't have to worry about forgetting it. It's written down.
So, by composing your own songs, you can walk into the room and WOW your friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, and don't forget love interests. They will think you know what you're doing and they get to hear a piece they've never heard before!
Get out there and show Mozart how it's done!
Please comment, share, compose, etc!
(but don't give away the secret)
Today's the day. It doesn't seem real that today all this ends. It's been such a show, and we've all been caught up in it. It's surreal imagining that all this ridiculousness ends tomorrow with a real decision and outcome. The immensity of the situation is hitting hard. And the fate of the world depends on this election.
What a wild and historical ride this has been. No matter the outcome, there will be countless amounts of political and historical books written on this election cycle. Whatever the American people decide, the political system, parties, media, etc. has been irrevocably changed, for the better I feel. Trump's campaign has changed the rules of the game for the conservative side. He's put the rules in line with the stakes. Clinton's campaign has shown just how desperate the establishment elite are desperate to hold on to power.
However this turns out, the American people have been awakened, not woke, and will not cede anymore freedoms to those wishing to take them. This is the latest great shift in American political history; the succeeding events of the 21st century will likely be traced back to today.
Three years ago, I was sitting in my university biology class. It was 9am, I had just come from my 7:45 french class. So I was still sleepy as can be. My biology class didn't do anything to keep me awake either. We sat in the dark and looked at power pointed lectures given by my ornithology specializing professor who was known as Birdman.
The semestre progressed and we worked our way up life's levels of complexity. I had just seen Wes Anderson's Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, just in time for our chapter on marine biology. We talked about everything from zooplankton and sea squirts to cuttlefish and the giant squid.
For some reason, my professor decided not to teach this segment and instead elected to show us a David Attenborough film. I have no idea which film it was. All I remember is that it had a '60s/'70s vibe. David was rather young still. For some reason it took two weeks of class to get through this movie, although I didn't mind. I really enjoyed the movie and, lets be honest, no lecture.
The film had beautiful visuals of reefs and fish. It followed every type of swimming life imaginable. The two scenes I remember most clearly are:
1. David Attenborough squatting on a rock in start beige shorts getting hit by a giant wave.
2. The mating dance of Cuttlefish.
Early morning memory is very weird in what it selects to preserve over three years. I talk about my memory like it's some separate entity. Anyway, Wes' movie and this D.A. documentary imprinted themselves on me.
Often times during those weeks, I would doze off whilst leaning head on hand. It was a strange thing, but at times I felt like I was in the documentary. As if I was one of the rays or cleaning shrimp. I floated around in the surreal sea surrounded by sharks and sand dollars. I passed in and out of my subconscious dream state, but never leaving the oceans. And whether I was in or out, David Attenborough narrated. I usually woke up when my prof would pause the film to point something out.
Still, the glow of blues and greens washed over my fellow merstudents and I. The classroom was like a scientific fish tank.
Why do I tell you all this? Because I watched a VSauce video today, where Michael interviews none other than Sir David Attenborough about Planet Earth II.
One of my film ideas, this one, that I advertised open crewing/casting for, is at its foundational level inspired by this biology class documentary and Life Aquatic. I say foundational because without these influences, my love for the sea and marine life wouldn't be nearly as strong. That love is why I want to make a nautical themed film.
After biology I went to political science. I would barely make it through, even when I'd brought coffee with me to get me through. Wow, that was when I seriously started drinking coffee, I now realize. What a formative time of my life! Man.
Anyway, please comment, share via internet or message in a bottle, etc.
I'm gonna take a line from Jay Wilde here and say, "No matter what, you always gotta have fun." This is true no matter what you're doing or where you are in life. When bad things happen, unless you die, it isn't the end of your life, and you gotta keep living. And life is always better when having fun. Whatever that means to you. Fun is one of those things in life that creates happiness. On a biological level, when you enjoy something, your brain releases endorphins making you feel happy.
When scheisse hits the fan in your life, it's always good to have a few contingency plans in place. Of course you never know when things may happen. Life events are often unexpected. Life likes to surprise us. Throughout life, many things are likely possibilities, just as a result of living. Deaths, illness, financial problems, job loss, break ups, divorce, etc. These things often surprise us but they aren't things that you can't plan for. For example, the election is in three days. The result could go either way. Depending on what the new administration will likely do, you can begin to plan your life according to likely effects of their government. This is a crazy example. Better yet, let's just talk about careers.
Many people have the main thing they are after. I for example want to write and direct films. This is Plan A. But what if I change my mind or don't make it or realize I'm not as skilled as I think I am? Well, my life isn't over. I have contingency plans ready to be put into motion. If I don't make it in film, I will still write. My blogging isn't going away. I still plan to self publish a novel(in progress) within the next year or two. I'm not gonna stop after one. Theres so many other possibilities, I can't even think of them all, let alone list them.
Career is only one half of life too. The other is family. While pursuing my career, I'm simultaneously pursuing some one to spend my life with. If a relationship or current interest doesn't work out, you are not doomed to live life as a hermit. The contingency plan for a break up is the simplest one their is. If a relationship doesn't work out, there will be another one. You'll find another person. You got this one didn't you? Plus every time you date someone, or marry them, you learn more and grow. You further hone what will make you happy in a relationship and you get better at relationshipping.
Failure is a big part of life. It's common and likely. The thing is, it's what you do with it. Failure is a learning experience for next time. What can you take out of this shitty event? Look at a failure as an attempt at X. In a video game, if you quit after you died the first or second time, you may never beat the first level. Perfectionism is a trap. Failure is practice for your eventually success.
To take this back to Jay's quote, you just gotta have fun with it. Pursuing the goal is fun, the failure is shitty fun, the contingency plan is fun, a couple cycles of this is fun, and then success is even more fun.
Please comment, share, verbally recommend! And have fun with it!
So a few days ago, I had pizza before bed for a third time. And I had a third nightmare. I forgot to mention the second one. Number 2 was very psychological in its nightmarishness and I'd rather not describe it. The third one is impossible to describe. I awoke from it wide eyed, full of terror and not wanting to return to sleep. I feared I'd might fall back into it. This nightmare was one of those classic types, where I was in a dungeon-esque setting and was near trapped with other persons or beings. Those persons or beings were heavily threatening to do flesh-from-bone type things to me. At the same time, the demonstrated they were serious about their threats by doing those kinds of things to the others present. I eventually escaped, but shaken, thus waking up.
I initially declared the nightmare-via-pizza theory to be true, but then later considered the placebo effect. Perhaps in this scenario it would be considered the nicebo effect. Nonetheless, the experiments were successful in producing the hypothesized outcome. Whether that outcome was actually caused by the delicious bedtime snack or my mind anticipating nightmares in leu of eating pizza, you can still reason it out to pizza'a fault.
a) the consumption and digestion of pizza directly caused the induction of nightmares
b) the knowledge of my consumption of pizza influenced my subconscious to induce nightmares because I thought pizza would cause them
Either way, the pizza still caused the nightmares. This is true because if I hadn't eaten the pizza, I would not have had any nightmares, scenario a) or b).
For the record, I very rarely have dreams that can be considered nightmares: one every one to two years. Having three in one week does not follow this trend.
Science isn't perfect and there is still more testing to be done. But, I will make the statement that sounds as though it's straight off a prescription drug commercial: Consumption of pizza before bed has been found to increase the risk and likelihood of experiencing nightmares. If you have a heart condition, please ask your doctor before starting pizza.
I made my first podcast part of the Jay Wilde's Fantastic Voyage series. Hope you enjoy this video reflecting on the Otakon convention as well as the general convention experience. Podcasts are always fun to listen to whether you're resting or going about your daily tasks. Either way I hope you take a listen and enjoy!