Monday, January 31, 2011

What's The Time?

What’s the time?  What a simple question for us today.  I would venture a guess that almost any person you meet on an average day carries with them at least one device to tell them the time.  That could be a watch, a cell phone, a smart phone, … an astrolabe?
I had never heard of an “astrolabe” before watching the TedTalk on Tuesday.  What an interesting instrument!  If you think about it, it’s kind of like a miniature computer.  On my dashboard, on my laptop, I have a widgit to tell me the weather and a widgit to tell me the time.  I bet I could find a widgit to tell me what the sky looks like on any given night.  The astrolabe is essentially a dashboard with a few less options and a lot more work involved. 
Today we are so concerned about the fastest and most convenient ways to do EVERYTHING!  All of the things that I could work out using an astrolabe can literally be found at the push of a button.  What we miss in using the astrolabe is exactly what Tom Wujec says, we loose a sense of the sky and how we connect to the world.  Just think about it, instead of studying the sky to find our answer to the question of time and many other aspects of time, we just stare at a computer screen.  To put it simply, we are looking down rather than looking up. 
What if all electronics were shut down and technology was brought to a halt?  Which of us would have the sense to figure out what time of day it is?  Even a general idea of morning or evening?  Does the average person know whether the sun rises in the north?  South?  West?  East? 
I feel as though our modern conveniences distract us from the world around us.  Where would we be without our watches, computers and cell phones?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hudson's Bay

Last week, in class, we watched “Hudson’s Bay” video directed by Alvin Rakoff.  In the film, three American soldiers run into three Canadian traders.  I found it interesting in the video how the two nations were portrayed very differently.  The Americans were very bold in declaring where the official border between Canada and the United States was according to the treaty.  On the other hand, the Canadians are portrayed as laid back and almost crafty in the way they reclaim their land. 
Throughout the movie, the soldiers keep returning to the matter of the treaty and insisting on stating the physical border of their country while the traders cunningly bribe them to change their minds.
All kinds of typical stereotypes appear as the movie unfolds.  Ignorance and major assumptions are made from both sides of the border.  The Americans start it off by rudely greeting the Aboriginal chief as though he were a child and then attempting to swindle them all out of house and home in a poker game.  The Canadians retaliate by bribing them with meat until they change their borderline and pretending not to know how to play poker, only to con the soldiers instead.
In the end, both sides leave feeling like they have accomplished something, although everything has remained the same.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My First Blog

Well, here is my first blog.

Today in class we watched a super old movie about learning how to teach.  Every time we watch a movie in class, I try to remember the director or at least one of the people involved.  One of my cousins is a film major and he ALWAYS knows more about movies than I do!!  He schools all of us in any game requiring movie knowledge.  So Evan, if you're reading my blog ... Norman Maclaren ... Marshall Mcluhan ... Harry Joe Brown!!

In all truthfulness, I thought the film today was very creative.  I liked how there was a little character inside each student's brain, acting out how we have all felt in class before.  My favourite was the guy trying to stay awake.  The eyelids kept slipping down and he struggled to push them back up so he could see the presentation.  It was a perfect picture of how it feels sometimes when you are too exhausted to keep your eyes open and concentrate.