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Perhaps a sign that the Myles Files may be busier in the months ahead than I anticipated, as here I am bright and early writing a personal post. This could be because I am valiantly struggling to find ways to resist going back to bed in order to get back on a regular sleep schedule, or maybe I was just so moved by last night’s victory by the Montreal Canadiens that I had to blog about it.
Okay, so I think it’s the first one. However, that doesn’t mean that the second is a total fabrication: while it might surprise some people, I am most certainly a playoff hockey fan. What’s that, you might ask? Well, it’s someone who will occasionally glance at the box scores during the regular season, maybe take a look at a standings to see where his/her favourite team sits, and then watches slightly more closely as the Games Remaining column pops up. And then the playoffs start.
At that point, the playoff hockey fan shifts into full gear: the hat with the team logo, even though it is dirty and ratty, emerges from its winter sequester, a trip to the Sports section of news websites becomes a habit, etc. For me, the team is without question le Montreal Canadiens, for no reason other than that they were the most successful Canadian team in my formative years, which resulted in both my over-enthusiastic Elder and my over-impressionable self to fall into the spell of a Stanley Cup championship hockey team.
While we’ve both remained devoted playoff fans of the Habs (It makes for the occasional disappointing seasons, right Leafs fans?), I am certainly a different breed of hockey fan. You see, I’m not actually capable of watching the games. This might seem odd, considering the whole point of hockey should be watching it by all logic, but I literally can’t do it. If you ever want to find a way to paralyze my life (I’m revealing my kryptonite here, I must be insane), find a sports team I like and put them in a sudden death match like last night’s Game 7.
At that point, I am inconsolably stressed out.
Greetings, faithful Myles Files readers who have received almost zero examples of real content for like the past six months. When this blog started last summer, it seemed like the right time: Cultural Learnings was coming into its own, I was really starting to dig into my thesis projects, and there was some upcoming Acadia news that seemed ripe for the blogging.
Of course, those final two projects veered off into rather time-consuming directions, with my thesis turning into a time-consuming monster and the faculty strike becoming a rather phenomenal blogging experience. The result of all of this, however, was that The Myles Files didn’t really serve any sort of particular purpose: my life was never interesting enough to maintain a steady flow of content, a majority of my entertainment viewing was television and handled by the other blog, and any thoughts I had about various Acadia goings-on have largely been relegated to the sidelines in favour of finishing this bloody degree.
But now the degree is over – the final thesis edit is complete, and by and large it appears that I have a fairly loose summer ahead of me. I have no full-time employment, plenty of movies to watch, and a number of exciting and bloggable projects in the works. So, clearly, the Myles Files is back in action, right?
Maybe. Or, well, maybe not.
You see, my summer includes the potential for (Brace yourself) two new blog projects, multiple facebook groups, and Masters’ Research Work. While I am still expecting that I will have a fair amount of free time compared to previous summers, a lot of that free time will go towards various new media outlets wherein I will be discussing those subjects elsewhere.
However, part of the summer may well necessitate blogging, as I might actually be forced into trying new things (And this is always entertaining as far as I am concerned). I will admit to having SOADD (Sudden Onset Attention Deficit Disorder) merely 24 hours after finishing off the undergrad – I can’t maintain one activity for too long, whether it is watching a television show, a movie, or even playing a video game. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ve lost interest in these things, but rather that I am branching out in search of entertainment and self-fulfillment.
Where that road will take me I am not quite sure – I’m actively pondering a particular month-long project in May, and have a goal that I will have developed some form of podcast about some sort of subject by the time the summer is over. I’ve spent the last three summers doing the same thing over and over again, so it should be interesting to see a summer where personal discovery is par for the course (Oooh, that reminds me – I also want to golf more).
So, while I’ll be pulled into a variety of different directions, I do plan on sticking around the Myles Files – whether it’s to describe these other ventures or to vent about this that or another, this blog shall live on. However, as always, for more consistent updates, Cultural Learnings gets first priority.
Review: Disney’s Enchanted
Enchanted is a film which, by and large, came out of nowhere from a critical perspective. Disney certainly put the film in a position to be a successful venture: Thanksgiving Weekend was once their largest box office domain, so their return to the frame was inevitable. However, count me amongst those who saw this film as family fare that would be a hit with the kids but have little outside value. And, in the end, the film is far more polished and much more worthwhile than one might expect. While it is inevitably a family film which relies on the saccharine, the elements which serve as a wry homage to the animated Disney clichés prove far more prevalent than its previews portrayed.
Beginning with a beautiful opening act done in 2D animation, Enchanted tells the story of Gisele (Amy Adams), a naive forest maiden who dreams of true love’s kiss. She thinks she’s found it when the prince (James Marsden) finally notices her, and they are set to be married the next day (Live’s too short for long engagements in Andalasia) – this, however, is no good for the evil stepmother of a Queen (Susan Sarandon) who does not desire to give up her throne. And so, she dumps Gisele down a mysterious well where she emerges out of a manhole into the streets of real-life New York, stumbling her way into the life of Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a divorce attorney with a young daughter and a fiance to be (Idina Menzel). Combine with an out of control chipmunk and a loyal servant (Timothy Spall), and you’ve got the element of your standard fairy tale.
But nothing is standard about the film’s execution: take for example its take on the Working Song, where Gisele enlists the critters of New York to help clean Robert’s apartment. And yes, this includes rats and pigeons, as one would expect considering. However, I didn’t expect the film to go so far as to use cockroaches – it seemed a dark place to head, and it was honestly refreshing. As a whole, the musical numbers are one place where the film has perhaps its most successful nods to Disney’s past: “That’s How You Know” turns into a raucous Central Park-based musical extravaganza, for example, but Dempsey is used as a cynical voice throughout. It’s not a parody, really, but an homage with a wink to the audience that the creators are aware of what they’re doing.
[As part of my Theory3073 Class, we are required to provide three critical responses/commentaries as part of our course work. In addressing Marxist theory, the first of our major perspectives taken within the course, I chose to complete the following assignment as a way of testing its legitimacy and its use as a way into new forms of media.
Normally I’d put this type of stuff at my TV blog, Cultural Learnings, but in this case I’ve chosen to place it here due to its application to academic endeavors. I might end up using certain aspects of this within my thesis, although I have pretty much decided I could theoretically use every single perspective in the history of literature in my thesis, so I will need to pare that down. Anyways, I’m posting it online so I can use YouTube to illustrate my points, and to share with everyone. So, enjoy!]
You Can’t Take The Sky From Me:
A Marxist Reading of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly”
In reading Terry Eagleton’s Marxism and Literary Criticism, my immediate reaction was how this related to television (For those who know me, this should not be surprising). This is, obviously, a flawed perspective, but what I came to understand reading the text is that a Marxist perspective puts a very different perspective on literature, and that applying this to a television show could reveal hidden complexities and detail that would elevate it to a level of literary scholarship. It is with this eye that I turned to Firefly, which I realized was not just another science fiction series. The result was a greater understanding of the series’ representation of class, unique for the genre, and also the complexities of its largely invented superstructure.
The realm of science fiction intended for mass consumption within a popular culture realm is a world in which idealist systems of governance and society have been the relative norm. If we look to Star Trek, it represented a world where there was no struggling working class and no sense of economic structure: rather, food came out of magic machines and life was threatened by arch-villains as opposed to the struggle of the masses. Even Star Wars’ Tatooine, despite the representation of slave labour within Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, is never seen as a class struggle but rather a personal issue for young Anakin and his mother. And really, let’s be honest: they don’t even have it so bad when it comes to slaves.
Joss Whedon, meanwhile, wanted to create a science fiction environment where things weren’t all shiny, and where true political and social ramifications not only existed but set the stage for the action that would follow. Firefly is not a glorified and idealized view of the future, but one that actually features an acknowledgement of the impact of things such as base and superstructure on the production of language, and as a result the production of literature. As a result, it is possible to view the production of society within the series itself as a unique case study of the Marxist analysis we have discussed in class.
When I started the school year, I had lofty goals of posting Welcome Week Retrospectives and looking at a potential trip to Europe and everything else under the sun. And then, well, the school year started. I’ve got papers to write, a thesis to finish, Research Assisting to do, RAing to do…and I had to make a choice. Either keep Cultural Learnings, my TV blog, running during the key fall season, or abandon it in favour of this blog. A quick inspection of the two will show that I chose the prior option.
But I won’t be abandoning this entirely: you’ll find an occasional thesis rant, an occasional picture notice (Some new Close-up Profile shots can be located on my Flickr Page), and an occasional update on Acadia affairs. However, since there might even be another blog project in the months ahead, I don’t think the Myles Files will be consistently updates until I have a degree and an uncertain future at my doorstep.
So, farewell for now…at some point I’m sure I’ll come crawling back.
Over the past month or so, I have taken to what I will call “taking a lot of pictures.” This isn’t entirely abnormal, but in taking so many pictures I stumbled upon a practice I enjoy quite a lot. This practice? Profile pictures.
By this I mean photos of people’s faces, almost exclusively, that offer some sort of insight into their individual. It’s the most atrsy set of photos I’ve ever taken, and I think that some are better than others. That being said, I also really like the way they turned out, and the way they come together: some of them are truly representative of the individuals in question.
For my fellow Chipman/Rojo RAs, they became the royal court of sorts. Nathan’s photo is Kingly, Rick’s is threatening (The Muscle), Andrew’s is studious (Bureaucrat), Laura’s is pensive (Princess), and Sondra’s is icy (Queen). I’m leaving some out, but only because their descriptions lack such adjectives.
So check out the photo set on Flickr if you’re interested, and be on the lookout next time I have a camera: if I’m taking a really long time to take a picture of you, chances are I’m lining up one of these shots.
For those who may also read my TV blog, Cultural Learnings, you might know that I’ve spent a lot of time covering the Jericho renewal and concurrent fan uprising that took place over the summer. As part of that, Copywrite, Ink. (An advertising/business analysis blog) began covering the phenomenon from a business perspective. Rich, who runs the site, and I have had some terse arguments (Including one yesterday that was kind of intense), but in the end it’s all in good fun.
Also all in good fun, apparently, was a Short Story contest. The task was to create a 1000 word short story that fell into the Jericho universe, if you will. And, since it was during the summer and I had not written anything creatively in a while, I decided to submit something. And, well, I won 2nd Place. Which meant a T-Shirt and a Jericho poster. Woot.
It was kind of cool, really, and the reason I post this is that today the story was published. They made some minor stylistic edits (Tense/Word Choice stuff), but in the end it’s my story. There are some parts where the edits were clearly done to remove some of my usual authorial crutches (Such as unnecessary use of Basically, I’m sure), but this simply removes my more annoying habits from the proceedings. So who am I to complain?
Is it genius? No. Is it almost wholesale ripped off from “Damn You, Dr. Phil!”, my Minifest play three years ago? Pretty much.
So if you’re bored, you can check it out and see what you think.
“Finally giving up in his attempts to grow a mustache that rivals those of great dictators past, McNutt the Mad now forces one of his concubines to continually provide one through judicial thumb placement.”
Congratulations to Chris Rivers for this winning caption. Suzanne, our guest judge, decided it was the best based on its involvement of the awkwardly placed thumb, perhaps the picture’s most defining characteristic.
Rivers will be able to force me to blog about something he desires…last time I checked, it was the connection between Joey and Apartheid. We’ll see if that sticks.
Thanks to everyone for participating, I’ll be starting another one soon! I even have the picture picked out.
Life is hectic at the moment, with many projects on the go and the fact that I’m…well, I’ll get to that in a second. This new feature, “Myles is…”, is just another complicated way for me to talk about myself. Just so we’re clear.
Returning to Acadia on Monday
That’s right: Monday evening, I’ll officially be relocating back to Acadia. This is relatively exciting for me, but for the blog it is certainly going to mean some transition time.
Officially No Longer a Hoser
I’ll be explaining in this weekend’s blog post just what I did all summer, (in pictures!), but for now I will say that as of this morning I am officially no longer an employee of the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation.
[First off, computer update: a discoloured patch in my LCD on the lower right corner, but the laptop is in working order at the moment after a detour to Wolfville. So thanks, USC! And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.]
Settle It! is a new feature here at The Myles Files, because it’s a chance for you to enter either an internal debate or an argument I had with someone in particular. In this case, you (Yes, you!) get to enter a debate between the brothers McNutt.
The Question: When it comes to posting pictures on Facebook, do you:
a) Immediately place commentary on the photos or…
b) Post all pictures sooner so people can be tagged and memories cherished.
I’m with B on this one. I think that when you take a lot of pictures of a trip, one of the best (or worst, depending on one’s behaviour) parts is getting home and seeing what has gone up on Facebook. As a result, it’s good to add photos in bulk first, so that people can see themselves tagged and they can add comments of their own and relive some memories. For me, they come first.
The Elder’s Side
The Elder, meanwhile, purports that without descriptive commentary the photos are useless to the hundreds of Facebook users who weren’t on the trip but would like to read the events. So, in other words, he’s on the side of A. And that, really, I was being inconsiderate to those people. Mainly, you know, him.