Bitterly cold and falling just now. Winter has arrived. Or it has signaled it’s imminent arrival. Honestly I can’t tell anymore. It is easy to personify the whimsy of nature to a point. But when you get to the days of 40 degree temperature swings — as some parts of the state enjoyed today — you go beyond a singular personality. You have to accept the possibility that the weather personification you’ve been building might have a friend in there.
And that doesn’t even get to addressing those delightful outlier days where winter is officially here, but everything stays in the low 60s. Maybe your personification has an ADD consideration. The pharmaceutical companies are working wonders on this sort of thing these days, just ask them. Maybe they have a drug big enough for all outdoors.
I’m sure that day is coming. And that will be the day that Neo reveals Skynet was just a ruse to distract us from the Matrix. And you just thought you had identity issues before that.
So it was cold. Actually, it started warm. I put on a sweater this morning to walk into 72 degrees with a dewpoint of 68. Around here the meteorologists call that disconcerting. After driving through rain storms, one of them so angry that people were tempted to pull off the road, I made it to work in a chill drizzle. And things have been deteriorating, weather-wise, since then.
Photojournalism in class today. Our faculty member that teachers photojournalism offered to come in and give the lecture. It is always nice to see how others do it, especially those who’ve been doing this for quite some time. This particular professor now travels a lot professionally — some gig, eh? — and he brings back these majestic shots from all over the world. He shows a lot of his pictures, and then showed the great Eugene Smith.
It is enough to make you want to grab your camera, shake your fist at the rain and demand a low angled light so you can take tight closeups. People are the thing. I forget that a lot in my casual shutterbugging. You must always remember it if you’re working.
And also, reporting. Even Eugene Smith’s almost-groundbreaking work is lacking if you don’t have the information to go with. Pictures, words, light, pens, all of the above. Photographers are journalists too. I try to make this point a lot.
Two quick links, and then back to it: I cause trouble. The sports guy at al.com sends me these questions and I try to answer them in the most un-antagonistic way possible. Still I get almost 100 comments in 90 minutes.
Don’t read the comments. They’ll hurt your head.
So of course that’s about Auburn and Alabama football. For just a little more, read about this piece my friend Jeremy is putting together on Bo Jackson. Very interesting little letter, there. It might not be your time or your place or the pinnacle athlete of your generation, but put yourself in Jeremy’s shoes. You can interview the Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali or the Bo Jackson of your childhood. What a possibility.
Do read the comments on that one. They are very good.
Later: I don’t expect you to watch this, but I slogged through Under Heavy Fire tonight. Or, as IMDb calls it, Going Back. Sure, lots of films have working titles and international titles, this one just had two different names. I think it was trying to get into the witness protection program. Anyway, I half acknowledged it playing on Netflix and only link to it here because someone went to the trouble of getting the entire thing on YouTube.
I did not embed it, however, because it might be the worst Casper Van Dien movie that has ever starred Casper Van Dien. It is a shame, since it is Casper Van Dien, and his square jaw of truth here just demands respect. But nothing else does. Shame, because the primary story — OK, there is no secondary arc — could actually be an interesting tale. Every place, that might display conventional thought, or logic, or other key things like dialog, this movie is lacking. There is a lot of screaming, and a little acting.
Casper Van Dien is really hoping Starship Troopers 4 gets the green light about midway through this project. He pulls aside one of the other characters for a sidebar and you almost expect him to break the fourth wall and start talking about this movie.
This being a Vietnam-period piece it must be told in the tone of the self-loathing post-modern Americanism. So much so that this may have been geared for an international release. The guy that directed it was also behind three of the four Iron Eagle movies (Did you know there were four? I’ve seen the first two and was contemplating the final films as a joke, but now that I’ve put all of this together I just don’t have the stomach for it. This might be the worst military film to roll out in 25 years, and this guy didn’t direct Iron Eagle III. How bad must that film be?) and Superman IV. So there you go.
Just as a means of comparison: how did these movies fare on IMDb’s notoriously generous star rating system?
Iron Eagle 4.9 stars
Iron Eagle II 3.3 stars
Iron Eagle III 3.2 stars
Iron Eagle IV 2.9 stars
Superman IV 3.4 stars
Going Back 5.1 stars
So I won’t be watching the last two Iron Eagle movies tomorrow.
I will be shooting you one, though, as we make our way into December it is time for the first-of-the-month thematic video. December, hmmm. I hope I can think of something.