December 15th, 2009


Left Me Feelin' Kind of... Sad? Discouraged? Out of Touch?

The other day one of my Plurk contacts posted a link to the latest trailer for the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake along with some commentary.

First off, do people even realize this upcoming film is a remake?

Secondly, why did they approach this project as a remake? Yeah, the title is pretty catchy, but mythology is kind of fair game for anybody, seeing as how the copyright pretty much expired FIVE-THOUSAND YEARS AGO, so it's not really necessary to remake an older film to tell a story from mythology, is it? I mean, why not simply retell a story from mythology under a new title?

But those aren't really the reasons the comments left me feeling sort of lost. What bothers me, I guess "bothers" is the right word, is the way a number of people were cheering about the effects shot of the kraken, a huge, squid-like sea monster.

I watched the trailer, and I re-watched the brief kraken shots a few times. From the first viewing, my initial impression was nothing like "whoa!" or "wow!" or "awesome!" or "cool!" Rather, the first thought which flashed to my mind was, "hand puppet." Specifically, "hand puppet EXACTLY like the one in the "birth scene" at the end of the movie Humanoids From the Deep.

I haven't seen Humanoids since the original theatrical release, so I combed the great cesspool of online video clips, YouTube, for that sequence. I was only able to find a couple of low-grade versions, but they were sufficiently detailed to confirm my initial impression. The kraken hand-puppet in the new Clash of the Titans is almost identical to the baby humanoid hand-puppet in Humanoids From the Deep. The kraken has a whole gob of fake-looking digital tentacles waving around behind it, is all.

I think people spend so much time playing video games that "digital" is their version of reality. Totally fake is completely acceptable as "awesome."

That's okay. It just doesn't do much for me. I guess I saw enough of the "totally fake" a decade (or three) ago, so I'm not as easily impressed anymore. Teetering as I am on the precipice of codgerhood, I can't help but think that the old version of fake was equally or more convincing than the new, digitally enhanced version of fake.

Open Letter to Hawaii State Teachers Association

Mr. Okabe & Staff:

Who are you representing? The governor? The students and parents? The Board of Education? The last time I checked, you're taking your salaries out of MY paycheck. You work for ME, and for the rest of Hawaii's teachers. Why don't you try representing US for a change?

Your latest email update sickens and disgusts me. "We are hopeful that our ideas are being carefully considered, and we look forward to further discussions tomorrow." Discussions about what? Pay cuts instead of furloughs? More work for less pay?

You told us to vote for the current contract. You told us it was the best you could do. The Superintendent of Schools told us to accept it or face "thousands of layoffs."

Unless you are planning to get me a salary commensurate with that of my California peers, where the cost of living is similar, for a teacher with a Masters degree and dual certification in regular and special education, you have no business opening that contract. Unless you can guarantee me two weeks of planning time like my California peers are allowed, you have no place at the so-called "bargaining table."

We bargained already. You claimed you "did your best." Stop. Now. Let the legislature and the governor take their political hit.

It is apparent to me, and to most of my local co-workers, that the concerns of the HSTA have shifted away from the needs and rights of the teachers to the personal concerns of the local politicians. It's not your job to salvage the political careers of the governor or the state legislators. It's your job to ensure that I can still make my mortgage payment while fulfilling my responsibilities to students as a teacher in Hawaii.

We've given up enough already. How DARE you place us in jeopardy yet again! Stop whimpering and do the job you steal a portion of my paycheck to do.

-- dd
Some Rinky-dink Hawaii Elementary School*


* whose robotics team, for which I give up my personal time to assist, STOMPED THE FANCY PANSY-@SSES of the "rich kids" at the top of the hill yet again, even though we have 4th-graders, ELL, and SPED kids on our team; whose SPED classes have such a positive reputation that GT kids ask how they can qualify; which has had parents cry at conferences because it's the first time their child has ever been enthusiastic about school; and which the state now defines as a "failing" school based on the performance of two students in an obscure subgroup, despite overall test scores exceeding the state averages in both straight numbers and annual yearly improvement.