Board of Politics?

(It’s a board game pun, bare with me)

So in class recently, we’ve been learning about political ideologies. To break it down, an ideology is a way of looking at the world that a group of people share. Political ideologies more likely than not revolve around the way a country is run, and how their politics works. To make it easier, I made some notes using a mind map:

Political Ideologies

To help us along, we wound up doing a test that would help us figure out our own political ideologies:

As you can see, my ideologies are quite left leaning, as I tend to not agree with many right ideologies. For instance, while conservatives believe in tradition, I tend to be more open to change.

To help explain it a bit better, I made my own political spectrum. Using monopoly cards. Please bare with me, I will explain:

Let me take the time to explain each card and why I chose it.

Communism.

In this card, you get to ride a train to a certain location. Notice how you don’t need to pay to ride the train. Many communist parties believe that public transport would be free, as it is owned by the government. In communism, the government owns everything. There is no private areas, everything is public, including trains.

Socialism

If given this card, you have to pay school taxes. Which makes sense with socialism, as the ideology implies that everyone owns everything together. So everyone having to pay for something such as a school makes sense, public education funded by the people.

Liberalism

This card is the “go directly to go” card. In Liberalism, everyone is equal, to each according to his own need. And going past go and collecting $200 is an opportunity that everyone gets, it isn’t divided by anything. It doesn’t give you any unfair advantages in the game, it just simply moves your position.

Conservatism

The “go back 3 spaces card.” Why is this conservative? Well, conservatives don’t really believe in change. If you’ve moved forward, then move back to where it was before so that nothing changes too much.

Fascism

Finally, the “go directly to jail” card. In Fascism, all decisions are typically made by one supreme ruler. You don’t question their authority, they gave final say. So, if you are told to do something, you do it. For instance, if you’re told you’re going to jail, you go to jail, no fighting it.

And that’s all, hope you enjoyed!

Read You Later,

Parker

 

Rockin’ Out

Hello!

We’re back, baby! This time, with a project that started out in a bit of a different way. We were told we got to pick anything from Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire, and do a project on it.

Anything. For reference, that song lists 106 things. After looking through the lyrics, I settled on Punk Rock. I had to argue why punk rock was significant, and why it deserved to be in the song along side such major things as Watergate and Bob Dylan. So why was it significant?

First of all, the punk movement affected so many people. It started out with the British youth, who were upset with the government and felt ripped off. From there, it soared into America and people really felt connected to it. The upset working class had a way of rising up, after the hippie movement died out.

Secondly, it had political effects. Obviously starting with the left wing punks, and how they were very anti-establishment. The Dead Kennedy’s famously released California Uber Alles, which compares Jerry Brown’s possible presidency to Hitler (read the lyrics, they’re the very definition of punk rock). Then there were the right wing punks, who were impacted by the National Front in England and wound up completely missing the point of what it was to be punk.

And finally, they had such a lasting impact. Punk is still a movement today, and their music lives on in bands like Nirvana and Blondie.

To show the significance of our topic, we had to create an artifact. I wound up dying some shoelaces to show off the punk “shoelace code”

Each colour represents something.

White = white pride

Red = Neo-Nazi

Black = Apolitical

Purple = Anti-Skinhead

Yellow = Anti-Racist

Blue = Cop-Killer

The shoelace code goes to show how politics affected the punks, to the point of them having to wear shoelaces to discern what type of punk they were. No one wants to get mistaken for a nazi, after all.

That’s all, thanks for reading!

Read You Later

Sincerely, Parker

It’s the Final MPoL

Welcome to my MPoL, which actually turns out to be my last one. Ever. Which is shocking, and I’m not ready to think of a life where I won’t be doing MPoLs every year, or the implications that has.

But, moving on, this is a presentation on my learning. It’s to show what I have accomplished this year, what I probably didn’t accomplish, and what I’ll be working on as I move on throughout the year until I graduate. Yikes.

Let’s start with the positives, because it’ll all be downhill from here. What’s something I did well this year?

Public Speaking

I’d say that was my project on Punk Rock. More specifically, my presentation. Now, I’ve never been awesome at talking in front of a crowd. In here feels different, though I remember how nerve wracking it was to do my first class presentation. Though as I’ve gone on, my public speaking has gotten better and better, up until this most recent presentation. I didn’t need a full length script, or any uncomfortable jokes to make myself feel better (okay, maybe one stupid comment that reminded me of John Mulaney)

But my public speaking has really improved, all I needed were a few notes and I was good to go. I felt confident in what I was saying and, not that I should be bragging, I hardly rehearsed for the presentation.

Learning From Those Around Me

Switching gears, what is something that I’ve been developing? That would be learning from those around me. I set a goal for myself early this year, I’d like to say halfway through our Shakespeare unit on the Taming of the Shrew: I wanted to learn one thing from every classmate in PLP. I had this whole revelation that this was my last year with everyone, and “oh god was I even going to remember them in twenty years when I’m sitting at home thinking of high school?” Something that is always so key to remembering people is to learn something from them. I don’t want to name drop anything, but I have a few things I’ve learned so far, such as knowing when to speak up and when to step back, expressing myself in my work, and the art of patience. Many people taught me that during our film.

I’m still working on learning more, and I’m hoping by the end of the year I can look at each person in our class and think of one thing they taught me, whether they meant to or not.

Now, onto the dreaded part. What hasn’t gone so well?

Workload

I realize this was brought up last year, I wanted to be more involved in class, but it was something on the list of “things Parker said he would do and then he never did.” I will be the first to admit that this year for me was not as stressful as past years, and that is a me problem. Not that I should be stressed all the time, but compared to past experiences, I feel like I don’t have the same workload  that’s because I haven’t been taking on as much as I could be doing. I’ll use the example that everyone in our class has used by now: The Horrid Film. Sorry, Horror Film.

I’m sure you’ve heard enough of how terrible the communication was, or the project itself, or dealing with certain people, and a million other reasons. But, for once, my issue isn’t the teamwork. It’s me. Part way through the process of our horror film, we had a chance in Key Creative Team. Willa and I were offered roles as co-directors, but I turned it down. While I did have a few other things going on at the time, that was more an excuse I made up, both for myself and for the people who were expecting an answer out of me. Frankly, I didn’t accept the role because I didn’t want to deal with directing. The idea of all of my classmates looking to me for direction on a film who’s plot I hardly knew anymore was a lot, and so I backed down.

In hindsight, I regret that. While the film was a flop, the experience of directing would have been good, and there were definitely moments on set where I wanted to speak up about a certain thing, but then didn’t want to add to the plethora of voices already telling everyone what to do, especially considering it wasn’t my job.

I need to learn to take risks more, and find that balance between taking on too much and not taking on enough. It’s something I plan on working on throughout this year, and most likely into university and the rest of my life. But I’m aware of it now, and it’s a balance I’ll probably spend a lot of time trying to achieve. And there will be times where I won’t be able to find that balance and I will need to take on more work than I can handle, and I need to figure out how to deal with that too.

Which leads me into my question: What is a good way to guide me towards that balance between taking on too much work and not taking on enough? How can I shift my weight to a place that is comfortable to me?

Thanks for listening!

Parker

We’ll Fix It In Post: A Horror Story

 

I’d like to preface this by saying that while that title may seem dramatic, it’s ultimately what this project became. So what was this project? Our task was to use what we had learned in our horror unit and create a short horror film surrounding the driving question:

“Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?”

But let’s take a step back. Where did this all start?

Well, that being Seattle. We traveled down and went to the MoPOP, a museum that had a whole exhibit just on horror. It was really interesting to see interviews with famous directors and horror actors, and see their perspective. We also got to see examples of different horror monsters, such as the difference between an <alien> and a <person>, and how that affected the theme and tone of a movie.

With our research started, then came the next part: planning the movie. After a few pitches, we had a fairly good idea of what we wanted to do. We needed to cover something that was doable with what he had, obviously, and it had to comment on our society.

We chose to go with something relevant to us: teenage stereotypes. Our story was going to center around two groups of teenagers who don’t like each other, nerds and jocks. They had planned to put halloween pranks around the school on the same night. Slowly, the students are picked off one by one, and each side suspects the other side did it. At the end, however, it’s revealed it’s the janitor who’s tired of their antics and cleaning up after them.

It felt strong, though that was probably where this project peaked. As they say, it all went downhill from there. Our script had quite a few revisions to do, including cutting characters and making the students be in detention, set after the pranks had happened. Next, we were on to filming.

 

If we thought script revisions were hard, we had no clue what was coming for us with filming. I was set to makeup department, so I luckily didn’t need to deal with anything such as directing, but it was still difficult. Origin in ally, we had Ryan set as our beautiful Janitor. Of course, Ryan is not a middle aged man, but I used stage makeup the best I could to make him look as such:

I was also acting, playing the character of a gay theatre geek named Kirk. Acting was interesting, as it was a lot of waiting around for everything to be set up, and doing the sam elites over and over and over again. I think over all, I preferred doing makeup.

After a long few weeks of work, we found that our film wasn’t quite there. So we had a few recasts, in both actors and production crew, and reshot everything. Everything. It was exhausting, but I got to do a major part of my job: more makeup.

Then came the final day of filming. We were so close, we had just shot Willa’s death, and the news came. We would have our filming cut short, and we didn’t get to film our final scenes

We didn’t communicate very well in the end, I think. We were trying to manage a full class of people and work around all of their schedules on short notice. So, fo the future, we really need to plan ahead of time, and communicate better.

But, on the bright side, we made a really good trailer!

I still have 2 gallons of fake blood in my house that I never got to use, but I’ll find something for it.

Read ya later

Parker

Monstrous Activity

Over the past few weeks in class, we’ve been watching horror movies to help along with our horror unit, along with reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. So as a finale, we watched two movies that went together: the 1932 version of Frankenstein and then Gods and Monsters, which was about the director.

Frankenstein, the movie, was genuinely quite good. As a horror movie? No. But as just a general classic movie? Yes. It was interesting to see all of the ways that it varied from the book, which was quite a bit. The book has more introspection into the monster and has commentary on humanity as a whole. However, the movie takes that away and gives the monster a ‘criminal’ brain to excuse all of his actions. Because, obviously, being a criminal is genetic.

I can see how, in the time, the movie of Frankenstein was scary. I think it mainly had to do with the lighting and the cinematography. The way that Frankenstein is presented is truly magnificent, with the suspense building and all of the dark lighting to set up his character. The only light scene that he’s in really is when he’s with the little girl, though that doesn’t end well.

Gods and Monsters was interesting, though I didn’t like it as much. Perhaps it was watching Gandalf be a pedophile, but it wasn’t my favourite movie. However, it did shine a light on James Whale. He was a closeted gay man, living in a time when he would have been seen as an outsider for that. Gods and Monsters does a very good job of making the parallels between James and the monster, even going as far as having a dream sequence in which someone is taking out James’ brain.

It would be hard to classify both movies as ‘horror’ movies in today’s standards. I wonder if they would have even been made at all with today’s standards, considering Frankenstein is nothing like the original source material and how Hollywood needs to work on making properly representing gay characters before they vilify them all to be pedophiles.

I suppose that’s all for now! I’ll see you in the next one

Parker

Get Out

Hello!

Continuing on from last week, we watched more horror movies in class. This time we went for a more modern one, Jordan Peele’s Get Out.

Personally, for me, this one was far scarier than Halloween. Perhaps it was because Halloween had all of those typical tropes that I’m used to and Get Out had to work with new material that wasn’t just playing off of old tropes. And I think Jordan Peele did a really good job of that.

What really made the movie for me was how unsettling everything was. It was a ‘Uncanny Valley’ moment, watching all of the characters just be have slightly off.

It’s that sense of unease, that nothing is quite right and you don’t know why. Such as the lunch scene, where Chris is going around and meeting all of the relatives. On the surface, it just seems like subtle racism with the comments that play into the stereotypes of black people. Though as you dig deeper into it, more and more people just aren’t acting right, especially when it comes to “Logan” and how unnatural everything about him is.

It’s similar to Frankenstein, and how he is almost normal but still not there. It plays into the fear of the unknown, and that sense of uncertainty and distrust that you feel when your reality isn’t how you expect it to be and people aren’t acting normally.

Get Out over all was really well done, and it was a perfect commentary on the ongoing issue of racism. I think if it were to be done in a different time, say the 80’s or 90’s, not much of the plot would change as the issue is something that can be related to any point in time. Though setting it now was the best time period to set it in. In a time where so many people believe that racism just sin’t a thing anymore because’s not ‘as bad’ as it used to be, Get Out was a healthy reminder that it is still very much prevalent in today’s society.

Humanity and Halloween

Greetings!

Before I get anyone coming for me, I know it’s November. I know its past the traditional spooky season. That being said, we’re ignoring that and talking about horror. So put your decorations back up and your jack-o-lanterns back, we’re getting spooky in November.

Over the past few weeks, our class has taken on a few things. First, we went down to Seattle to do things like check out a car museum and study the history of horror at the MoPop. Second, we took on reading one of the most classic horror books, Frankenstein, and looking at the differences and similarities between horror back then and horror today. Finally, we’ve taken on a horror movie (but more on that at a later date). 

So back that second point about seeing continuity and change in horror. To really see what has stayed the same and what hasn’t, we’re also looking at more ‘modern’ horror stories (using the term ‘modern’ loosely here seeing as a lot of this is from before the 2000’s). As a first comparison, we watched the classic movie of Halloween.

Already, that theme has probably put you on edge. It’s the most iconic horror theme of all time, arguably. Automatically you start thinking of that creepy mask and the guy with the knife, that moment when the doctor looks out the window and Michael is gone. And that is precisely what makes this movie so scary. The sound effects and the music is truly what makes the film halloween so scary.

In an interview with John Carpenter on medium.com, Carpenter states that when he showed the movie with no music or sound effects to an audience, they just weren’t scared. There were no shrieking violins or ominous piano notes to go alongside Michael walking across the street to Laurie in that eerily calm way. There were no crashing symbols to go with Laurie discovering her friend in the bed, or in the closet. It just wasn’t scary.

 So he set out to “save the movie” with the music. That iconic Halloween score, with all of the sound effects? It was made in two weeks, and it’s truly what makes the movie horrific. Because, let’s face it, it’s not the blood and guts (if we can even call it that).

Though let’s think more in terms of setting and plot. Why was Halloween so monumental and why does it still hold up today? Watching the movie from todays eyes, it frankly wasn’t that scary. But for the time, people were looking away, uncomfortable in their movie theatre seats. Why? Because it was one of the first ‘slasher’ films. Michael doesn’t have any motivation (I’m looking at it through the angle of 1978, so none of the sequels and that terrible new one count here). He’s just a man who isn’t right in the head and decides to go on a killing spree after escaping a mental institution. At the time, the idea of someone who was just blatantly human killing other people for no reason hadn’t been done in film before.

However, it had been done in real life. The 1970’s had had some bad experiences with killers out in the real world. Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, so on and so forth. It was already a reality in the 70’s that people like that were out there, and Halloween was a reminder of that. Though the end of Halloween doesn’t provide the closure of Michael being arrested, he instead gets away. It left that lingering feeling of unsafety that the news of Charles Manson being arrested had taken away.

The movie could have possibly been done today, but it wouldn’t have the same cultural impact that it did back then. Most horror movies these days would have to focus on more pressing issues, such as Us. On the flip side, there are things that would work today. The setting of suburbia, that feeling of a safe place suddenly feeling unsafe it something that will always work for horror. Having Michael Meyers as a human killer would also work, as long as he still had some more real motivation.

We understand that in the later movies, they give Michael Myers more of a back story. They try to make him more human, almost develop sympathy for him. Much like in Frankenstein, where we get to actually see the Monster’s perspective of things. It gives the viewer an internal horror, because we start to sympathize with the Monster just a bit. Of course he’s upset, everyone hates him because he’s ugly. The original Halloween, however, doesn’t have that. Both stories deal with that struggle of ‘what is humanity’, but in different ways. Frankenstein takes a slightly not-human entity and tries to humanize it, while Halloween takes someone human and does the opposite. It’s that non stop debate in your mind of ‘is this killer properly human? If they are, what does that mean about the rest of society?’ That constant struggle of what that means about the ‘monster within’.

What makes the movie Halloween such a horror phenomenon? It’s a mix of two things. On the technical side, it’s all about that terrifying soundtrack, which helps add on suspense. But on the moral side of it, it’s all about that one question:

What makes someone human?

1950’s Unit Pt. 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

We’re back for one last year! This year started off with everyone’s favourite thing: summer reading. Over the summer, I read The Great Gatsby, and had to write a paragraph on why it was a classic. The gist of it was that the Great Gatsby is a classic because it has themes that reflect on the modern times.

Speaking of a classic, I was very excited to hear that we would also be studying Shakespear. A bit less excited when I found out it was Taming Of The Shrew, but still excited. Don’t get me wrong, I like Shakespear’s works. But Taming of the Shrew is sexist, not very funny, and none of the characters are likeable. Which is why it was perfect to study. See, we were studying gender roles in different places in history.

The Taming of the Shrew. (l-r) Andrew McNee and Jennifer Lines in Bard on the Beach production. 2019 [PNG Merlin Archive]

Taming of the Shrew, for a quick recap, is the story of Kathrine, a ‘shrew’, also known in as a woman who wanted a bit of free will. She refuses to get married, but her younger sister really wants to get married. Nobody knows who to, because there are three different men after her and she seems to both like them and not like them at the same time. Anyways, Bianca and Kate’s dad says that Bianca can’t get married until Kate does. This leads to two of Bianca’s suitors making a guy called Petruchio get married to Kate, and he makes a big display of proving that he can own Kate. There is a side plot about fake identities and threatening a strangers life but that isn’t relevant to our gender roles topic.

Our group, which consisted of Willa, Hannah and Calum, was told to make an animated short with a chosen time period and one act of the play. We wound up making a 50’s themed version of Act III, were Kate gets married and Bianca gets lessons.

Our way of showing gender roles was quite easy, as the 50’s was a rough time for women. As you can see in the video, Bianca is being taught cooking and music, as in the 50’s most education for women was aimed at them being housewives. The example of gender roles in the second scene could stay the same, as it’s Petruchio treating Kate like an object, which was how the 50’s was.

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Over all, this project was a really great way to learn about different gender roles in different time periods, and going in depth about Shakespear.

Read ya later

Sincerely, Parker

Gotta Go Back In Time

It’s almost the end of the year. Crazy, right? A whole year has passed since this. But we’re wrapping up our classes, one of this is PGP. This is probably a new term for some of you, as I’ve never made a proper blog post on it. PGP stands for Personal Growth Plan, and is a course to help us get organized in life. We focussed on three main things, on idea for each term. Term 1 was all about productivity, and how we use our time. Term 2 focussed on Goals, how to make them, and what they’re good for. Term 3 went into the 7 Habits, which you can read more about <here>.

I think over all, the most useful thing for me has been Timeblocking. I am, as we all know, not the most organized person . Timeblocking has really helped that, as I have a time limit on things so that I can work out when I need to be doing what. No more 3 am paragraphs (sorry Willemse)

So, to finish this whole course up, we had to do a final project. What was something that we would send back to our past selves so that they could get a basic idea of PGP? What did we wish we knew at the start of the year? I chose to focus on the 7 Habits, which have been super helpful to get my life in a bit more order. The format I chose was a playbill (those things you get when you go to see a play/musical)

 

I Can’t (But You Really Can)

Overall, PGP was something I wasn’t a fan of at first, but it really grew on me. I am going to keep on growing the skills I’ve learned in this course, and I think they’ll help me become actually functional.

Read you later,

Sincerely, Parker

TPol 2019

Welcome back! For those of you who are reading this online, this is my TPoL, or Transitional Presentation of Learning. I went through the first half of the year last time, so let’s pick up where we left off: I wasn’t a fan of PGP, I felt confident in myself. Oh, how things were going to change.

We started our civil rights movement unit and I was excited. Social justice is something I’m passionate about, and I wanted to learn more in depth about what was going on socially in the 50’s. It wasn’t too different to how it is now: straight, white, cis men had all of the power. I felt confident that I would do well.

For the most part it was fine, but my project with Hannah fell flat. It was there, it was a complete project, but it wasn’t something to put on a pedestal. It was mediocre. It felt a bit like a step down, which sucked, because it was a project I was passionate about.

Things didn’t get much better in our writing unit. Once more, I went in feeling confident. I love writing, writing is what I know. And then I was handing in prompts late, not really doing the assignments. I let my confidence overtake me. I had the attitude of “I know this, so I can take it easy.” It was a learning opportunity, because I figured that I probably should have worked harder. I knew what I was doing, so I should have used that and expanded in areas of writing I wasn’t that good at.

Meanwhile, PGP was back with a vengeance. My Time blocking had gotten much better (show difference) and I had ticked off a lot in Things. The workbook was helpful to me, actually. I got to take a deeper look into things like “how do I handle self care” and the “relationship bank account”. The creative reflections allowed me to think about what I had learned and put it out in a way that wasn’t just a summarizing paragraph. I really liked them, and I plan on using them more in the future to let me thing in a multitude of ways about my learning.

Back on the humanities train, we get to where we are now. The Vietnam War. Well, we aren’t in the Vietnam war, we’re studying it. But this is a unit I feel confident about. Because, for once, I didn’t know much about it going into it. I didn’t have that confidence high that I had earlier in the year, and we got options on what we studied. Personally, I’m not a fan of learning about who killed who and what battle tactic each side used. So I didn’t have to focus on that much, I got to focus on the fact that the government lies and people are gullible.

The conceptual art is a really great way to get us to think deeper about the war, because it lets us get behind the ethics and we’re always thinking “what does this mean?” Overall, this is my favourite project that we’ve done this year, and I am confident, but not too confident, about the end of year projects

So what happens next year? It’s my final year at seycove, and I know what I need to focus on. I need to prepare myself for life outside of high school, and start applying to universities and scholarships. I plan on focussing on that, as well as really pushing myself to make my final year great.

I also want to focus on community next year. I want to reach out more, and be involved with the Seycove and north shore community. I plan on finding someone to TA with next year, because that’s really helped me this year, as well as finding volunteer opportunities and chances to get involved with the people around me. I’ll be taking a gap year between grade 12 and university, so I’m hoping to seize that for all it’s worth and making sure I have good connections and prepare myself for real life.

Read You later,

Sincerely, Parker

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