Building my Car

For Christmas I received a  remote controlled Mini Cooper that I build from the ground up. Hence forth I decided to document the process. Stay tuned for more advancements.









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Quantum lacks Momentum


Venice, Italy. A sleek car pulls up in front of an impressive Villa. A mysterious figure emerges bearing a silver brief case. The phone rings accompanied by a muffled gunshot and British Secret Service Agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) stands over a writhing Mr. White (Jesper Christianson) bearing an impressive M-16. “Mr. White, we need to talk. The name’s Bond, James Bond.” This concludes possibly one of the best endings in cinematic history next to that of the 1969 The Italian Job which redefined the phrase “cliffhanger.” The perfect stage is ultimately set for the latest Bond adventure. His accomplice and potential lover slash traitor has been brutally murdered by a shadowy organization, and Bond stands upon the threshold of uncovering the truth.

 

However if fans were expecting a similar rendition to Casino Royale with a relatively simple plot, fast paced action and humor they are sadly mistaken. In comparison to Royale, Quantum lacks consistency as the plot muddles its way through Bond rampaging all over the world in an attempt to uncover the person or ‘persons’ responsible for Vesper’s (Eva Green) death while along the way uncovering attempted coups, eco-terrorism and unexplained mining exploits. Despite Bond’s dedicated rampage for truth and blood the suave secret agent still remains unsure as to whether the very woman he is attempting to avenge betrayed him which makes the plot even more confusing.

 

The much anticipated sequel opens with an intense car chase through the Sicily resulting in surprisingly very little carnage with the exception of the loss of a car door. When all the dust has settled Bond opens the trunk to reveal a restrained Mr. White and Bond quips “It’s time to get out.” Sadly this is surprisingly about the only trademark Bond quip throughout the entire film. In comparison to its predecessor Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace  reverts back to the traditional style of Bond movies with massive explosions and over the top fight sequences. Even the opening credits are a reflection of this featuring half illuminated naked women and a flying bullet. Bond’s womanizing ways also make a return as the British agent unnecessarily seduces the non too bright Agent Fields, resulting in her untimely demise by oil coating in a possible homage to the Goldfinger (1964)  

 

In spite of the denials made by director Marc Forster regarding similarities between the hugely successful Bourne series directed by Paul Greengrass and his latest Bond adventure.  There are unmistakable parallels between the latest Bond adventure and The Bourne Ultimatum. Throughout the course of the film Bond runs along roof tops, jumps through windows and even gives chase on a motor bike, all of which bear suspicious similarity to many of the action scenes in the final Bourne chapter.

 

However the Bourne series is not the only thing the director rips of as the subtitles for each global location bears striking similarity to the style adopted by Tim Kring, creator of the cult phenomenon Heroes. Much like the film itself these subtitles also lack consistency, frequently changing color and font like a malfunctioning word processor. 

 

The other element that alludes audiences as much as the plot is the mysterious Mr. White whom after escaping early on in the film only appears occasionally before vanishing out of all existence. Even the conclusion of the film, despite the expected demise of most of the villains and vague references to something called “Quantum”, offers no resolution as the audience is left not entirely sure who exactly was responsible for the death of Vesper Lynd. The only solace audiences have is that at least they can enjoy the first film without feeling connected to this Quantum disaster.

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The end of an era

The end of an era was marked today by the final class of not only the semester but University as a whole. How fitting it should be that of a man who has inspired me to keep at it throughout the last four years. I know I speak for many students when I say that Michael Griffith or "MG" as he is affectionately known is one of the most influential and respected lecturers within the university.



However MG also appears to have his own franchise on the side, as was discovered by yours truly just the other day.



A fitting tribute I believe to a man who in the same manner as his idol William Blake, has left his mark on the world.

It is therefore fitting that my final University related entry should be once again a film related correlation.



This time Disney/Pixar's latest animated masterpiece "Wall-E" The adorable story of a charismatic robot looking to make the world a better place. By no means is this film simply discarded as a children's flick as its themes and implications reach far beyond. In particular the theme of humanity trashing the planet and then leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. Similar such themes are  reflected in the a portion of  "The Breathing Cathedral" by Martha Heyneman.  The book also examines the nature of what does it mean to be human. In Wall-E's case even though he is a machine, he has very human qualities and in an ironical sense is even more human than the real humans who have become enslaved to technology for the last 700 years in space and it takes an independent robot to free them from that enslavement

The other film correlation that came to mind today was the tragic movie "Into the Wild" based on the bestseller by Jon Krakaeur. The plot follows graduate Christopher McCandless whom despite being the top of his class and the sporting field, abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. The story however ends tragically as Christopher is unable to live a sustainable life in the wilderness and dies as a result.



I was reminded of this movie today when MG talked about the Bass repairist who switched off his brain and was in tune (no pun intended) with his unconcious. A very Blakian aspect if ever there was one. However while this is all well and good, the tragedy of "Into the Wild" demonstrates that there needs to be a balance between the thinking brain and the natural self.

Hmmm It has been a challenging four years.

But nothing next to where the road takes me now.

As to that I do not know.

Cam
22/10/2008












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Week Nine Entry: Sun's and Daughters

This week in the lecture we wrapped up our analysis of the Daughters of Albion. Interesting comment someone made about the sun though. We kind of take it for granted unless it burns us. But as long as it works we dont care how it works as long as it does. Such a humanistic mentality. MG was quite right in referencing the Ancient Egyptians who so revered the power of the sun that they worshiped it as the highest of the Gods RA, and in some instances little space men came to earth under this pretensis to enslave the world.

The Aztecs also worshiped the sun to the point of human sacrifice. I don't see anyone in the modern day and age offering up any big macs to our glowing life giver. If the sun had feelings I am sure it would be rather hurt by this lack of devotion that was once bestowed upon by the ancients.
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Week Eight Entry

This week and last week we have been looking at the Auguries of Innocence, soon to move on to the marriage of Heaven and Hell which I am looking forward too being a Theology student and all.

It is interesting to note (also from what has been said thus far) that each character represents a different character trait.

There is the virgin like Oothoon, who obviously represents innocence and virtue, the chaste Bromion who represents those in society who feel that abstinence is the key to a more virtuous life. And then you have Theotomin who seems to represent the "typical" male that wants to screw anything that moves.

This obviously done by Blake to create a distinct contrast and portray his different views on society. Marnie I liked your query in the earlier posts in regards to Oothoon, the soft soul of America symbolically condemning the exploitation of the unspoiled American land. Again this is reflected in Oothoon's character traits, representative of the innocent virgin, much like the vigrin land of America was "raped" by colonization in the late 16th early 17th century.

I was doing some background research on the three characters, which confirmed that their three characteristics was no accident by Blake.

Theotormon's name is derived from the Greek "theo", which means god, and the Latin "tormentum", which means to twist or torment. This is extremely appropriate for the character as Theotormon suffers from the still modern affliction of sex. Even today the barriers of sex as a taboo subject are only just beginning to break down, so for Theotormon his feelings clashing with societal expectations are therefore essentially "tormenting" him.

The name of his rival Bromion is Greek meaning "roarer".
Bromion represents the passionate man, filled with lustful fire and Oothoon is the representation of a woman in Blake's society, who had no charge over her own sexuality.

Reading the text and looking at the accompanying illustrations I was once again strongly reminded of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" in the characters of Henry Foster and Lenina Crowe. In essence Henry is a parrellel of Oothoon in innocence and looking for meaning in relationships while Lenina is more akin to Theotormon and is slightly unsettled by Henry's reluctance to take part in meaningless sex in preference to a monogamous relationship.

Therefore I think it can be safe to say that the themes presented in Blake's Daughters of Albion are by no means new and continue to resurface throughout the centuries. Makes you wonder if anything ever changes, or whether like the three characters in the cave, society is forever trapped by its own self imposed restraints.
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