Sunday, January 10, 2016

Commas, Education, Wyrmwood, and Alex Holmes

1. Read an article about the horrible fires in Western Australia.

It happened in a town called Yarloop. 128 homes were destroyed.

I imagine it's going to be very difficult for the town and it's inhabitants to recover. But I hope they do. 

2. Saw on Google Maps that Yarloop is about four hours south of Perth.  And it's about an hour north of Bunbury.  

3. Read an article about homeschooling in Victoria. It's on the rise.

It seems to be on the rise in a lot of places.

The article was mostly positive. It had only one critical statement: But critics say not all parents are equipped to educate their children and they can miss out on important socialisation in a broader school environment.

I think we can use a similar statement for schooled-children. But critics say not all teachers are equipped to educate children, and the children can miss out on important family socialization time.

What I like in the article is that the quoted president of the Home Education Association sounds quite reasonable when talking about a homeschooling student who did very well on some tests.  She calls him a poster child for homeschooling and says, He was already very intelligenthe would have done well no matter what.

With the world's view on homeschooling, it seems to go in two opposite extremes. The first is homeschooled children are all going to end up socially and educationally deprived. The second is that any and all homeschooled children are going to end up winning spelling bees and getting into Harvard.

As for the negative opinions. There's an example in the comment section.

Ryan says,  Poor kids, having only their parents view of the world, thats not education.  

Well, yeah. I agree. Poor kids...IF they're only getting their parent's view of the world. I imagine that does happen sometimes. Unfortunately.

But if Ryan himself had been properly educated, he would have the ability to understand that most homeschooling children read books, have access to a variety of opinions via the Internet, and have conversations with people outside of their immediate family.

4. Wondered about the school that Ryan went to. Did any of his classes teach anything about stereotyping?  Did he have any practice in critical thinking?

5. Wondered about commas. Before when I looked at the quote from the president of the Home Education Association I noticed a comma in a place that I felt should have a period or semi-colon.

The article says she says, He was already very intelligent, he would have done well no matter what.  I would have written that as, He was already very intelligent. He would have done well no matter what.  Or I would have written, He was already very intelligent; he would have done well no matter what.

Then there's the same kind of thing with Ryan's comment. I would have ended the sentence at "world", and then have "that" as the start of a new sentence. Or I would have used a semicolon.

I don't know if I'm wrong or they're wrong. Or is it some kind of cultural difference? Maybe Australians punctuate differently than Americans?

6. Wanted to note it's quite possible I'm wrong.

I'm not very good with grammar and punctuation. I make lots of mistakes.

When Jack and I do his English lessons,  I'm often benefitting as much as he is.  Or sometimes I'm not benefitting. I'm just sitting there lost and confused.

7. Realized it's not fair for me to blame Ryan's schools for his ignorant comment. Are my schools to blame for my subpar grammar skills? Probably not.

An educational result is not completely dependent on the teacher, program, or parent.  I doubt it's even halfway dependent.

The intelligence, motivation level, and personality of the learner plays a huge part in whether the results are positive or not.

Even with the unfortunate child who is given only his or her parent's viewpoint.  The smart ones will eventually breakthrough and seek out alternate views. The not-so-smart ones will believe their parent's view is gospel.  The exception would be children who are literally kept as prisoners. But that's a whole other, very tragic, story.

8. Heard Whitley's "Cheap Clothes" while exercising, and thought of our time in Halls Gap.

9. Started to watch an episode of Home and Away.

10. Felt bad for Hannah (Cassie Howarth) because she might be paralyzed for life.  I also feel bad for her loved ones, because they're going to have a lot of work to do.

It's hard to be so incredibly dependent on other people, and it's very hard to be at the beck and call of someone who is very dependent on you.

11. Saw that, in 2011, Cassie Howarth was one of the stars of an American science fiction TV show called Bar Karma.

12. Consulted Lord Wiki about Bar Karma.  He says the show was a sort of online community contest. People would pitch their ideas; then the producers would choose the ones they like, and develop episodes based on that.

That's pretty cool.

I sometimes wonder if other TV shows are secretly like this. Do show runners ever consult message boards about their shows, and then decide to use an idea they see? Or do they ever let criticism of their show influence what's going to happen next?

13. Saw a character on Home and Away wearing very American-themed clothing.

14. Thought about how Neighbour's characters often wore American-themed T-shirts.

I can't help but wonder if this Americana spirit is for the benefit of American Hulu viewers.

Is that paranoid of me?

Okay, but in the very first episodes of Neighbours shown on Hulu, one of the characters left for San Francisco and had an American-themed good-bye party.  If I remember correctly, there were American-themed cupcakes.

Now I'm watching the first episodes of Home and Away shown on Hulu, and there's a girl wearing an American flag T-shirt.

15. Saw three possibilities.

A) Wearing American-themed stuff is actually common practice in Australia, and the TV shows are properly representing reality.

B) Wearing American-themed stuff is seen as being cool by Australian TV wardrobe staff.

C) Australian TV producers understand that Americans are ethnocentric and want to believe the whole world is in love with them.  So when they know their show is going to be seen by Americans, they start having the characters display America-love.

16. Wanted to say that as an American, I do feel a kind of virtual hug when I see Australian characters wearing American-themed clothing.

It's just like I feel a little slap when I hear a dig about the US from a Coronation Street or Australian TV character.  Though, it's not often in the form of a direct criticism. I think usually it's a character chiding another character for using an American idiom or American spelling.

17. Finished watching the Home and Away episode.

18. Started watching the movie Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead.

So far, I'm not too pleased with it.

First of all, the movie started out with action. I'm not a big fan of action sequences, especially if I don't know the characters involved.

Second, the zombie make-up looks less professional than The Walking Dead's work. Although who am I to judge what a real zombie would look like?. Maybe real life zombies would be closer to Wyrmwood's vision than The Walking Dead's.

19. Watched more of the movie.

Now I'm liking it.

So far, I'm impressed with the dialogue.

The characters seem interesting as well.

20. Continued to enjoy the movie.

It's exciting.

21. Intrigued by the movie.

After getting attacked by zombies, a family put on special gas masks. It's as if they knew a zombie invasion was imminent.

Or maybe the zombie invasion was already happening and the family was prepared for it to come to them.  I guess I assumed that the zombie thing was new to this movie's universe. Maybe it wasn't. Although this other character seemed surprised about the whole thing.

22. Figured the moviemakers want me to be a little confused right now, and things will get clearer the more I watch.

23. Stopped watching Wyrmwood for today.

I look forward to watching more of it tomorrow.

24. Went to the Tropfest website. Today I'm going to watch a 2008 film called "Glass".

I'm pretty sure I'm seeing Callan Mulvey in the icon picture; so I'm guessing he's in the film.

25. Watched the film.

It confused me.

26. Looked at YouTube comments for clarification.

Multiple people thought it was a ghost kind of thing.

Yeah. I was kind of thinking it went along the lines.

27. Wondered about Jayne Montague, the director of "Glass".  Her name seems familiar to me. Have I watched one of her movies before?

28. Saw that Jayne Montague was the director of "Still", a 2007 short film.

I'm thinking that's the one where the husband leaves his wife.

29. Looked at "Still" on IMDb.

Yeah, I think it's the movie about marital problems.

30. Saw that Lara Cox, the actress in "Glass" was one of the stars of Heartbreak High. I know Callan Mulvey was as well. So I guess this was a kind of reunion film.

31. Saw that both Cox and Mulvey where in seasons five through seven of the show.

32. Saw that the third actor in the film, Tai Nguyen, was ALSO in Heartbreak High, but he was in the first and second seasons.

33. Had to wonder if Jayne Montague has some connection to Heartbreak High.

34. Looked at Jayne Montague's filmography again. I don't see Heartbreak High on it.

I'm forming a scenario in my mind. Maybe she was friends with one of the in Heartbreak High. Or maybe she was a friend of a friend of one of the actors. Maybe she got one of them to be in her film, and that actor was able to bring in two more Heartbreak High actors.

35. Saw that Alex Holmes, the art director for "Glass" was also the art director for The Babadook.

36. Went to Alex Holmes' website.

He has his work divided into three categories—television commercials, art direction, and production design.

I wish I understood the difference between art direction and production design.

Though I can't say I've worked to hard to learn about it.

Maybe I should attempt that now.

37. Googled and ended up on the Art Director's Guild.

I'll read what they have to say, and see if I understand it.

38. Learned that the art director works under the production designer. The production designer is the supervisor.

39. Finished reading the page. What I get is that the production designer is the big boss when it comes to the appearance of the film.

I still don't quite understand what the art director does.

It seems, from what I read, that the art director helps the production designer achieve the production designer's vision, while the production designer helps the director achieve the director's vision.

I'm guessing the power given to the production designer probably depends on the director. Some directors might have strong and specific opinions about how they want a film to look, while others might want the production designer to have more input.

40. Imagined it might be like weddings.

The bride would be the director. The wedding planner would be the production designer. Then maybe the art director would be the wedding planner's assistant.  It wouldn't be an assistant as in go get me a coffee or cancel my dentist appointment.  It would be someone who actually contributes to the end wedding result.

Anyway, some brides have a very vague idea of what they want. Other brides have very specific ideas about table decorations, flowers, wedding favors, cake, etc.

41. Noticed that Holmes doesn't have "Glass" listed on the website.

I wonder why.

Did he have a falling out with Montague? Was he not happy with his work on the movie?

Or maybe he just forgot to list it.

42. . Saw that Alex Holmes has a bio page on The Babadook website.

43. Learned that Holme's education background is in painting and drawing. He went to school in Scotland and Sydney.

I wonder if he's originally from Scotland. Or is he an Australian who went to Scotland to study?

44.. Started watching Holme's showreel on Vimeo.

A lot of the scenes are dreary. I remember that being the case with The Babadook.

45. Started to think that Holmes talent lies in helping to create depressing films.

46. Saw from Statcounter that I'm getting a fair bit of traffic on my Simon Burke post.

What's up with that?