This blog will chronicle my adventures in my favorite medium of art as I try to make my way in this world. You may also find posts about photography, writing, environmental conservation, and other subjects that I find interesting.
One summer my mother had broken her foot and I was tasked with watering her tomatoes. I hauled the hose to the backyard and stood for what felt like hours pouring water on the plants. It was hot and humid and I just wanted it to be over. However, tiny visitors changed my perspective.
Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta)
These charming little worms enraptured my attention. Luckily, my overindulgent parents let them live as long as I kept them away from the tomatoes.
Moth (Manduca sexta)
Ever since that moment I have been obsessed with these little guys. I have kept Wagner’s guide close and have sought out as many species as possible. Recently, I have been trying to culitvate more species of caterpillars by planting host plants.
Early instar of Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
Out of all the media I have consumed, nothing compares to the roller coaster of excitement that is seeing a new film out of Korea. After a turbulent 20th century (and even during the 20th century), the pennisula has produced some of the most celebrated films of recent memory.
My aim is to create a short guide that you might benefit from viewing first as you delve in to Korean Cinema. These films are often the most accessible foreign language films available and simply wonderful to watch.
Who doesn’t love a good Western? The Good the Bad the Weird is a Korean Western set in the 1930s in the former Japanese province of Mantruria. Two outlaws, a bounty hunter, and a whole host of others set out to posess a treasure map.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD - Official Trailer - YouTube
This film has got it all! Shoot outs, fight scenes, epic chases, Barbarians with hammers, you name it!
The Good the Bad the Weird succeeds in delivering a classic genre film in a truly unique way. It is funny, supenseful, and full of heart. I would recommend starting with this film first because it perfectly encapsulates what is so great about the Korean New Wave.
When is the last time you were actually emotionally invested in a Zombie movie? Wait no longer! Train to Busan is the story of a group a passengers survining the outbreak of the Zombie virus while stuck on a train from Seoul to Busan.
Train to Busan Official Trailer #1 (2016) Yoo Gong Korean Zombie Movie HD - YouTube
At its core, the film hangs on the relationship between the two leads, a father and young daughter. It keeps you emotionally involved throughout the entire film. It is very touching and saying more would ruin the film.
The zombie stuff is still awesome! It is the only film that I know of where you can watch someone puch Zombies to death!
Everyone wants to be a optimistic person full of happiness and kitschy inspirational quotes. While there is nothing wrong with positivty or optimism, it doesn’t provide you shelter from the storms that blow through our lives.
True adversity shatters this view. While it is easy to maintain an optimistic attitude when things go your way, what do you when things do not?
“Premeditatio malorum,” is a Latin phrase that means “the pre-meditation of evils.” It was a practice championed by the Ancient Stoics. Instead of minimizing the bad things that can happen in our lives, the Stoics argued that we should periodically meditate on what could wrong and losing what we now have. The practice has found a resurgence, in more recent times, under the more concise name, “Negative Visualization.”
The Stoics, despite advocating thinking negatively, did not spend all their time brooding in the dark being sad. Instead they became more grateful of the things they had and more prepared when adversity faced them.
“It is not that we are given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.”
– Seneca the Younger
Gratitude and Joy
As someone who suffers from OCD, I understand your natural reservations on negative visualization. No one likes to imagine the worst befalling themselves.
Since consciously practicing, I have experienced nothing, but good results. The natural restlessness that usually accompanies me has softened, I feel less bored, and I have take more interest in surroundings. Instead of feeling dissatisfied with my situation, I feel grateful to be alive.
“By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognize that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent . We will no longer sleepwalk through our life. Some people, I realize, will find it depressing or even morbid to contemplate impermanence. I am nevertheless convinced that the only way we can be truly alive is if we make it our business periodically to entertain such thoughts.”
-William B. Irvine
Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful 2019.
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ISLE OF DOGS | Official Trailer | FOX Searchlight - YouTube
Hold the Dark
Hold the Dark is Jeremy Saulnier’s latest and most brutal film yet. It reminds me a lot of Cormac McCarthy’s writing with its sparse dialogue and harsh landscape.
The performances were excellent. A lot of restraint was used and I appreciate that.
This film has the most intense scene that I have seen in along time (you will know it when you see it) and had me at the edge of my seat.
The film would have looked great in a theater, but it still looked good at home. I’m not heartbroken with the way distribution is moving. Not everyone lives in LA or NY and it is nice to be able to watch things closer to the release.
Hold The Dark | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
As you may or not know, I am an evangelist for Jim Hosking. I’ve forced The Greasy Strangler on far too many people at this point. When I heard that Hosking made another film, I couldn’t be there fast enough.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is not what you would expect. It is still weird, awkward, and vulgar, but it is also sweet and heartwarming. At its core, the film is a touching love story. It just happens to be with a bunch of weirdos.
I applaud of Jim Hosking for doing something different and surprising me!
AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN Official Trailer (2018) Aubrey Plaza Movie HD - YouTube
The Favourite is undisputedly my favorite Yorgos Lanthimos film. It has everything you could want in a film and then some. The dialogue is amazing, the shots are magical, and the actors are at the top of their game.
Rachel Weisz please call me.
THE FAVOURITE | Official Trailer | FOX Searchlight - YouTube
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Mastery by Robert Greene is one of the first books I read this year and it will shape how I will approach the rest of my life. Honest, thorough, and engaging, Robert Greene instructs you how to truly devote your life to your inner calling.
Real World Examples
“Darwin could have played it safe, collecting what was necessary, and spending more time on board studying instead of actively exploring. In that case, he would not have become an illustrious scientist, but just another collector. He constantly looked for challenges, pushing himself past his comfort zone. He used danger and difficulties as a way to measure his progress. You must adopt such a spirit and see your apprenticeship as a kind of journey in which you will transform yourself, rather than as a drab indoctrination into the work world.”
– Robert Greene
I discovered Robert Greene (like most people) through his book The 48 Laws of Power. I quickly fell in love with his writing style and sought out more of his work.
Greene tends to collect his ideas into a “law” or principle that he has observed during his own personal experience or through his research. Then he codified it with a historical example of that law being played out either in that person’s favor or to their detriment.
The real world examples add an extra dimension to the idea being presented, helping it to be digested, as well as helping the principle stick with you. The laws come alive in his writing with the historical characters acting them out.
In Mastery, Robert Greene pulled from historical examples as well as contemporary sources that he interviewed himself. The figures featured in this book that have stuck with me the most are Hakuin Zenji, Wolfgang Von Goethe, The Carolina Islanders, and Cesar Rodriguez Jr.
“It is not a matter of studying for twenty years and then emerging as a Master. The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.”
– Robert Greene
The advice in this book is immensely practical regardless of your interests. Greene stresses that you achieve mastery through hard work and constant improvement. To gain mastery in a field, first you must master yourself.
Robert Greene: Achieving Mastery | Big Think Mentor - YouTube
I would recommend Mastery to anyone who is interested in self-discipline and wants to achieve something great.
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