Sunday, April 16, 2006

Highway 67, New Zealand

Long stretches of green grass,
backgrounded by towering alps
capped by white mahogoney.

Truck drivers that outnumber normal travellers.
They wave to others that pass,
every one.
Even those they don't recognize.

An army of gray sheep on the fariway,
opposed by an encampment of black cows.
Across the way, under the black shroud of night,
they disappear.

Billowing stacks of wood and flame,
stacked parallel to one another,
deteriorating under a warm Kiwi sun.

Flattened rodents and rabbits on the expressway,
one after the other,
50 metres apart.
Some marked with sprawling blod stains,
others with the teeth of flying predators,
knawing on flesh.

After all this, the road still retains its mystique.

Beautiful, raven, mysterious.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Here is the in-depth answer to "New Zealand" -

Things are amazing. This city is beautiful (I added six more pictures of it on my New Zealand picture compilation thing here: http://photobucket.com/albums/v91/someoned1fferent/New%20Zealand/), but it feels like San Francisco in a way that I don't like. But it's better. There are few bums, and the bums there are play beautiful music on exquisite instruments. Bums like this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v91/someoned1fferent/New%20Zealand/NZ.jpg

I know that guy probably isn't a bum, but he's unique enough to highlight. He had the batteries hooked up to his FOOT and he was twitching and fidgeting and playing beautiful music like I have never heard. Unfortunately, I only had 20 cents or I would've contributed more to the cause. I'd love to know the name of this instrument(s) if anyone is indelibly musically inclined.

Otherwise, the music here is terrible. Top 40 lists are basically party music from a band called Crazy Frog, with a bunch of assimilated sounds that you've probably heard from time to time in movies, commercials or otherwise. The big music event coming features P.O.D and the Presidents of the U.S.A. Not exactly top-shelf entertainment.

But the city isn't lacking in art. Wellington is the art capital of New Zealand and it shows in the streets and in the people and in the words. There are art museums all about and I hope to explore most of them. I have visited a few already which resulted in my "shearing" of a sheep at one of the humurous interactive games in residence. This can be seen in the photo album. The most telling example of the fixation with art is in the New Zealand International Art's Festival (http://www.nzfestival.telecom.co.nz/) which recently concluded here in Wellington. Music, plays, shows and otherwise were featured from all over the world, including but not limited to Spain, Africa, the U.K, the U.S, Australia, Japan, and more.

I was able to see one show called "Bright Abyss", hailing from France, and it did not disappoint. Featuring amazing theatre-of-the-absurd storytelling and feats of physical and directorial excellence, it was quite a sight to behold. The next part of the festival, which was most engaging and entertaining for me, was the Readers and Writers week where writers from around the world congregated to discuss their craft and aspects of our world (traveling, Bombay, evolution, religion, the short history of progress, Virginia Woolf, and on). The most famous of which were Michael Cunningham (wrote The Hours which was made into a film) and Robert Fisk, a hugely popular British journalist known for his work in the Middle East as well as the war documentation that goes with it. Unfortunately I was not able to see Fisk talk as all of his events were sold out previously, but I was able to purchase his daunting 1000+ page book "The Great War For Civilization: The Conquest Of The Middle East" and get it signed, as well as other books by Cunningham, Bosnian immigrant Alexandar Hemon, and Berkeley poet Robert Haas.

The event was entirely entertaining, informative and inspirational. Amazing, surreal poetry captured the spirit of the poets, both in war poetry and touching and self-deprecating dives into the consciousness of the writer. Cunningham touched on the imbalance and undefinable nature of literature - definitely not categorizable into "fiction" or "non-fiction", and further sprawled into the life of Virginia Woolf which he detailed in his book The Hours. I was most touched by Cunningham, who offered beaming words of encouragement when I talked to him afterwords and displayed a veracity and swagger unparalleled in the other writers. I am already deeply engaged with his book "Specimen Days", which I recommend to any committed reader. I plan to write him and thank him personally when I find the time. The most important thing I took from the event was the absolution of a book idea - something I have documented and hope to explore and research fully as time permits.

My classes are engaging. I am taking Asian Studies, Civilizations and Cultures of Islam, Religions of India, and Principles of Marketing. For once I am completely and absolutely passionate about my coursework and engrossed in the teaching and the ideas and the concepts being presented. The course load is strong but I feel I can carry it and achieve my goal of a perfect mark. The teachings themselves should leave me with a geographical comfort with Asia and all that encompasses it. And, of course, some analysis of marketing. But that isn't *quite* as remarkable as the mysticism and spiritualism and imperialism so delineating in the other courses. To compliment my coursework I have joined a Buddhists for World Peace Club which will help fulfill my inquiries about that faith, as well as a Writing Club and a Tramping Club that will help me further explore this amazing country.

My social life is blossoming and I have met a group of awesome friends who I am spending most of my time with. My closest friend, Brandon, actually attends Chapman even though I had not seen him previously. He works at Paramount Pictures and is an awesome source of inspiration and insight in regards to life, career and the like, and hopefully I am to him likewise (doubtful). We have similar aspirations of high achievement and that is a common denominator between us. My other close friends are from Maine (a super-liberal socialite who has two parents in the Peace Corps, thus having no place to live he is going to NZ for the entirety of his schooling), Colorado (6'7 basketball player, as well as the most selfless girl I have ever met who has aims to be a school teacher), Minnesota (soccer-playing, very religious and very cool guy), Missouri (super-short.. but cool girl, also religious), and California (attends UCSC, highly entertaining and funny chick, Asian). Quite obviously we are an extremely diverse group but it does not restrict us from having an awesome time. Unfortunately, I have not met any CLOSE New Zealand friends but I have met quite a few that I am friendly with and often engage in conversation. There is an awesome sense of community at the flat that I stay in, which also happens to be superb and a work of absolute divinity.

Normal social nights consist of going to the bars (hey we're legal here!) until 3-5AM and having a great time or playing poker, which we have just recently picked up. I won my second ever game! Hopefully that will help financially support my times here. Since arriving peppered other social nights have consisted of playing Who Wants To Be a Millionaire at bars or Quiz Night (tonight!) with fellow flat-mates, to go with an awesome $5 cruise around the harbor that just occurred. This weekend I am looking forward to spreading my wings and going to the supposed best one-day-hike in New Zealand and then going skydiving about four hours north of New Zealand.

I like this city but I hope to here forth not stay here on the weekends and instead check out the rest of the country. I am uncertain what I am going to do on my two-week break as most of my contingent of friends are having family or U.S-indigenous friends join them for their journeys (wherever that may take them). I will juggle some things and see what other options lay open but I may just go on a voyage of self-discovery. Who knows.

I think that's about it. Clearly not IT, not even the surface, but for now, I think that's the most I can explain with words of my experience. It's an awesome experience. Awesomeawesomeawesome. I miss all of you but I don't miss the country. Time to go on exploring the infinite abyss. Adios.

Love,
Ross
Hudgens, Ross

Id #: 300115378

20th March, 2005

RELI 203 - M 1:00-2:00



The Ease of Conquest

The Islamic (or Arabic) conquests came and went in a short, unprecedented amount of time. Unmatched land consumption and defeat of numerous countries and empires resulted from these efforts. Because of the uncalcutable success of these military engagements against established military powers by raw armies, untrained and undisciplined, there has been a plethora of unflinching research by academia and the like into the reasons for such achievement and dominance in the theatre of war. For the most part, this research has led to unsatisfactory, incomplete results. How could minute armies quench the anger of battlements three times the size? 4 Passion for religious diaspora? Keen military strategy? 1 Mutinous enemy ecampments? 2 There is no definitive answer for the widespread success of the Islamic and Arabic armies, but rather a body of knowledge that contributes to an encompassing landscape of work and military conquests that have no match throughout history. Through this knowledge it is unveiled that the success of the Islamic conquests is result of several far-reaching factors; the religious fervor of the troops and the desire to congregate, spread and fight for booty, honor and otherwise through said religious unity; neutrality or even goodwill of local Aramaic and Arabic populations in enemy territory; pompous and brilliant military leaders and strategists; unstable enemy governments and a bounty of other undefinable and indiscovered causes that led to the widespread success of the Conquests and the diaspora of a religious faith that would become a consumate force for the rest of time.
The first reason for the Conquests' success is often juxtaposed with an argument quaintly suffixed against it - did the Conquests even require the Islamic faith for it to succeed? As cited in Franceso Gabrieli's text Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam, a man known as Becker suggests "the whole movement would also be conceivable without Islam." Gabrieli effectively retorts "Even if Muhammad's religion was not the essential and decisive main force behind the diaspora, it was the cement which bound its disorderly centifugal energies together." 1 The point is grand and far-reaching. Even though the point of the Conquests was most likely not (largely) to propagate the Islamic faith, as proved in the congreuncy with other faiths in the years that followed the Conquests, the fact that the forces were cojoined by a similiar religious doctorine allowed for a bond and military union that resulted in high morale and success on the battlefield. Without this link the forces would have not had the same gusto and fervor that surely helped propel their cause into victory after victory.
Motivation within the army was not limited to religious piousness, however. The army was without a doubt severly influenced by the glory that came with imperialisation and the gold and wealth that resulted. Much of the benefit of going to war was the guarantee of the spoils therein - money, wealth, riches - and lots of it. Without that possibility on the table, it is likely that many an Arab that had cited religious faith would not have stepped into combat. 4
The Arabic armies were also drawn out by imminent civil-war. Inner conflict over who the justified caliph was after Muhammad's death led to an immediate desire to disperse and unpack a heated situation. It has also been shown that the climate before the conquests was pourous and declining, perhaps leaving the Arabics to believe they had to disperse before their civilisation crumbled under the weather. 1
The combination of these impulses surely led to a highly energized Arabic force that was integral in the defeat of armies and spread of Islam. Summarized efficiently, Franceso Gabrieli remarked on the culimination of these motivations:
" .. the one maintaining that the Arab success was the result of controllable religious fervour, the other, that the motive fore was the irresistible goad of famine. Surely in practice the soldiers must have felt a confused mixture of both incentives at once. They must have confused the idea that they were bearers of a new history, the champions of a young untamed race, with the equally inspiring belief that they were the propagators of a new rule of life, a new faith they were to spread and reveal to the world." 1
Indifference in enemy parties also led to success on the battlefront. Many encampments in Byzantine and Persian territories had Arabic and Aramaic populations, those of whom were indifferent or even enthusiastic about Arab invasions. 1 This indifference often led to desertion on the battlefield. There are also many reports that "Egyptian Christians and Jews aided the Arab armies by rising in revolt against their erstwhile rulers". 2 A quote from the Qur'an suggests something that many of the Arabic armaments may have been inspired by in going to war: “And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!"” (4:76) 3 This further illuminates the idea of religious faith being a reason for pompous morale and war motivation in the defimation of unjust and unruly "oppressors".
However, it is important to note the bias inherent in these accounts. Much of the opposing sides literature was lost in conflict, as much of many civilisations were absorbed over time into the Arabs. Daniel Brown gives an account of the Sasanians in A New Introduction to Islam: "Sasanian political power was entirely supplanted by the Arabs, and Sasanian politcal, religious, and social structures were absorbed into the new regime and took on an Islamic cast." 2 This leads us to another important element of the Arabic Conquests. Much time has passed since these events have occured and due to that elapse, much has been lost and much has been changed. As is common in war and in times where proof was nonexistant, it is likely and even certain that many of the numbers detailing the forces the Arabs faced were exaggerated, and the numbers of Arabs actually in combat reduced. This done so the aforementioned glory and power of the Arabic army could be properly assertained and transposed into lore and legend as time elapsed. Undoubtedly, the Conquests were still a feat of great measure, but it would be asinine to not question the absolute validity of an untrained, undermanned army to emerge victorious time and time again against such loborious odds. Numbers were stretched and lessened to solidify the glory of an undoubtedly already-great army.
Said armies were still outmatched, and used outstanding leaders and strategists to gain the upperhand without sheer force. The foremost of this batch was Khalid ibn al-Walid, 'the sword of Allah', victorious on every front. He was a true military genius but still maintained a religious piousness that made him agreeable to the fact that he would willingly submit to the Caliph's authority at the time of his disgrace. Other great military leaders included Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, Abu 'Ubaida, 'Amr ibn al-'As, 'Uqba ibn Nafi', Qutaiba ibn Muslim and Tariq. In these men, the war produced a whole staff of military leaders of exceptional brilliance and unusual flexibility. 1
The ineptitude and perishment of other leaders and armies, as well as terrain, can be positively attributed to the success of the Conquests. At The Battle of Guadalete the Arabic army killed Visigoth king Roderic and seemingly dissolved all leadership in the rest of his army, thus giving ease to the rest of the conflict. It has been conjectured that most of the prominent members of the Visigothic establishment, including the royal court, were also killed along with the king. This may explain the absolute lack of organized resistance to the invaders after the battle by the Visigothic state. 5 Around the year 636 CE, Rostam Farrokhzād, advisor and general for Yazdgird III led an army said to number 100 000 men across the Euphrates River to al-Qādisiyyah, near the present-day city of Hilla in Iraq. Some have criticised him for this decision to face the Arabs on their own ground — on the fringes of the desert — and surmised that the Persians could have held their own if they had stayed on the opposite bank of the Euphrates. The Caliph `Umar dispatched 30 000 Arab cavalrymen under the command of Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās against the Persian army. The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah followed, with the Persians prevailing at first, but on the third day of fighting, the Muslims gained the upper hand. The Persians attempted to flee. The Persian general Rostam Farrokhzād was caught and beheaded. According to some Muslim sources, the Persian losses were enormous, but the Arabs lost only 7500 men. 6
While all of these reasons are valid and believable, few of them are provable and none of them can be juxtaposed together to give the absolute answer to why the Arab conquests were so successful. This is unescapable due to the ambiguous and disfiguring nature of time and a period of history where documentation was not a thorough or common occurence. When things were documented, they were oft transcribed to propagate an ideological doctorine or political goal, and even rigorous criticism and analysis of hadith and isnads can leave the past clouded. Through this fissure the past is blurred, but with thorough investigation and deductive reasoning, we can surmise an approximate answer: the Arab armies were motivated, led by pious, genius leaders, and were the beneficiaries of terrain, crippled governments and allies within enemy borders. Add it all up and you have the extremely efficient, entirely successful domino of military campaigns: The Conquests. The diaspora of a new faith into every crack and crevice of the world. The birth of a political landscape that would change the world forever. The birth of a new kind of power. The birth of a new kind of religion. The birth and rise to power of Islam.




1. Franceso Gabrieli, Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam
2. Daniel Brown, A New Introduction to Islam (4:075)
3. Translation of Qur'An, http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/
4. John Bagot Glubb, The Great Arab Conquests
5. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Guadalete
6. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_conquest_of_Persia

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

about death

with the music swooning and a pleasant book in palm
the two dogs would hear a rumble and take off
bellowing loudly at the fences next door.

they would annoyingly argue about religion or politics or permutations
with the other hairy scoundrels behind the fence.

this happened all the time,
it was tiring.

some time later after I returned home
I took off next door and conversed
to argue about religion or politics or permutations
with the less hairy scoundrels behind the fence.

the hairy ones, they said, were put down.
too beastly, they said.

after I returned home,

with the music swooning and a pleasant book in palm
the two dogs would think they heard a rumble and take off
bellowing loudly at the fences next door.

but that's all they were,
fences.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

prophetic

there is something beautiful about the words
that sink in the middle.

the ones that start normal, but swirl. burrow, and growl
as you tickle their intestines.
and end leaving you wanting more of it's thick

the second syllable of the three,
giving it life. beauty. and a remaining substenance.

like a peanut butter cup,
or a tootsie pop.
or a woman
who makes you smile after a long day at the office.

how many licks before the word loses it's beauty.
right in the middle,
right at the center,

between the legs.

A movie at night while working on my laptop

the tides have turned
the screen is flickering and my eyes are functioning
but I can't concentrate

projects are pushed off.
expectation is forgotten.
for the lumination of black and white
telling a story
painted on disc.

concentration is oft backwards

cognitive thought wavering against the flicker
due to the insatiable pull of the permanent
repetitive compulsory droll
of keyboard.
of websites oft visited
but rarely changing.

attention deficit no longer.
the story rolls on and my eyes
roll off
the definitively mundane trap of memory chips.
and interweb blips.

a message beeps.
where are you.

someone is concentrating on me.

knock, knock.

the movie flickers. my mind wavers.

is anyone there.

someone is concentrating on me.

knock,

knock,

knock.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Power Of Editing: Any Given Sunday

Editing is a powerful tool. With proper touch, shots can be configured to convey anything an editor desires. Matched with engrossing sound, nondiagetic or otherwise, editing can produce an epic and often powerful result. Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday is a perfect example. Editing embalms the entire film, livening up the football action with quick cuts and matching it with powerful sound to convey emotion and empower the scene. Other scenes feature beautifully partitioned parallel editing that emphasizes and reinforces the emotion occuring in speech at the given time. In Any Given Sunday, editing empowers the moment.
During football scenes, seconds in time are skipped by efficiently parched jump cuts that not only speed up time for the movie, but add power and excitement to every crunch of football pads and grunt between players. Quick jump cuts, matched with close-ups and medium shots to put the viewer close to the action, illuminate the frenzy and anger inherant in football and add an extra layer of devastation to every second skipped over in the film. Watching football without such immense attention to editing and structure is still intense, but it lacks the power and thud that you feel with every well orchestrated jump cut in the movie.
Time can also be slowed down effectively in these scenes. In certain situations time slows and the scene is put into slow-motion to properly encapsulate the viewer in the moment. This happens most often when balls are in flight, allowing the onlooker to feel a tension in regards to it's final destination. The slowdown can also allow spatial recognition and disparage the sense of nasuem that can come with an assortment of jump cuts. Slow-motion also occurs in normal process of game-changing or important plays, as routine moments are lengthened so the viewer can feel the importance in the moment. Normal speed would have lost that power and engrossment in the scene. Time is otherwise slowed in moments of adulation - such as when the team celebrates it's final playoff victory. Most importantly, this switch from speed - jump cuts - to slowing down motion - slow-motion - is important in the rocking boat of emotion and fervor that comes with every football game.
Sound further strengthens the intention of the jump cuts and need for forcefulness in every bone-jarring hit. Diagetic but exaggerated collisions are heard with every football scene in the film. This onscreen sound makes the audience cringe with every collision. A powerful and sprawling nondiagetic soundtrack ignites each moment in the action, perfectly reinforcing the emotion Stone wants the audience to feel with each few minutes in the movie. Quick techno music allows the audience to feel the speed and expeditiousness of the game. Sound can also reinforce emotion in scenes that illuminate emotion or conversation between characters. More methodical, empowering hums enlighten and strengthen some of the head coach Tony D'Amato's speeches and emotional battles with his star quarterback in the movie. With these sounds, good moments become great. The package of diagetic and nondiagetic on and offscreen sound perfectly aligned with the jump cuts and parallel editing reinforce the intention of the director and emphasize the emotion of each given moment.
Editing also gives NFL-like feel to football scenes acted out by amateurs. Using jump cuts and slow motion the audience is given the false impression of extreme speed that most of these actors do not possess. Matched with embellishing sounds and rehearsed scenes these typically above-average athletes can come off as heros and football legends. Jamie Foxx is surely a good athlete but he is not capable of breaking highlight reel runs or flipping over all-star opponents. Lawrence Taylor, NFL legend and legendary linebacker Luther 'Shark' Lavay in Any Given Sunday is glorified as a star player in the swan song of his career. In real life he would be mashed around by NFL players due to the natural entropy that occurs with age. Through editing, the audience still believes that Taylor is capable of making game-changing plays and bone-jarring hits with the addition of speed-enhancing jump cuts and powerful thuds generated by sound inserted after the fact.
A few scenes best encapsulate the emodiment of these techniques and efficiently use all or most of them to most efficiently convey the intention of saturating the viewer in the barbaric and enthralling nature of the game. The most notable are a portion the final drive of the Shark's playoff game, the stirring lunch conversation between the coach and quarterback Willie Beamen, and the final speech by D'Amato before the final game.
Starting halfway through the final drive of the playoff game, a long shot establishes the field position of the team at midfield and the excitement of the crowd. A jump cut pulls us right into the play, showing Beamen dumping the ball off to a reciever in slow motion so the audience can properly evaluate and register the moment in their cerebrum. Shortly after a series of rapid jump cuts with diagetic thuds amp up as opposing players jam into him and take him to the ground. A play that would have taken seven or eight seconds is instead condensed into three or four without improperly disorienting the viewer. Condensing said time also gives brevity and legitimacy to a play that otherwise would have looked extremely amateur - and not one done by professional football players. Stone manages to maintain continuity editing all the way through the movie and scene. A series of close up reaction shots follow, as we see D'Amato, the crowd and players react to the first down. A moment of slowdown occurs as we see an opposing player backing up off the line of scrimmage. A nondiagetic growl eminates, implying the animality of the game and the nature of this drive. Jump cuts again speed up the period between plays until Beamen takes a timeout and he is hurriedly jump cutted towards the sideline. An exchange between the coach Tony D'Amato ensues until a casual joke relieves the tension. At the moment of said joke a nondiagetic track illuminates the moment of bond between the two. Without it, the moment would have felt all the less powerful. Beamen speeds back out onto the field as more close up shots of D'Amato follow to properly register the power of the previous moment and the momentum therefore generated. Power and speed is emphasized throughout.
The lunch argument between D'Amato and Beamen again demonstrates the power and emotion generated by editing. As Beamen settles into the home he takes note of a movie featuring gladiators on D'Amato's big screen. This immediately refers to the overt metaphor of football and it's players as the gladiators of today. D'Amato and a gladiator are juxtaposed in a crosscut implying their similarities. The diagetic sound of the television overwhelms the audio of the moment as the screams and cheers of the crowd match the conversation between coach and quarterback. The conversatoin begins with reflections of the legends of football past as we soothe into several shots that dissolve from one legend to another. From there shots of both the two and the gladiator scene itself switch back and forth until finally the gladiator scene dissolves into a close-up of D'Amato. The two sit and eat dinner, exchanging jarbs and shot-reaction shots until cuts are made back to the gladiator scene and later clouds that slowly part and gray. As the conversation intensifies and the bitterness radiates the clouds turn gray and the gladiator scene turns violent. This accentuates the intensity of the moment as calm, blue skies turn for worst, both metaphorically and literally as the scene slowly works into the next rainy, disheartening game at the apex of the heated argument. Without the shots of the graying skies and combative gladiators this scene would only be an argument. With it it manages a intense, blackened feel that cleverly juxtaposes with the following scene, enriching the power of not only the conversation but the next game.
When D'Amato begins his pregame speech to the team before the final game he is enshrined in a medium shot. There is no music and he warms up slowly, emphatically dishing into his emphasis on inches. With each phrase he uses a cut puts a different player on a pedastal, showing player reaction to each of his jarring words. As the speech gains momentum a nondiagetic track adds an uncalcuatable strength and passion to his words. More cuts show the stirring emotions in each of the team's main characters as they seem to feel, as the audience does, the power of D'Amato's words. As the speech hits an apex the music does too, igniting the fervor of the team as D'Amato pushes them, as does the editing, into their final game.
These scenes are only a few of the examples that show how editing empowers the movie. These strategies are repeated over and over again to liven up all of the emotional and powerful moments that saturate Any Given Sunday. The best way to fully appreciate these well orchestrated edits are to imagine the movie without them. It would end up being a rather mundane, slightly exaggerated documentary on football. One without much of the power. Or emotion. Or flow. Using properly structured jump cuts, slow motion, and sound throughout Any Given Sunday, editing empowers the moment. Editing empowers the movement. On any given sitting, atypical motion can be made epic through carefully twisted editing. Through properly placed sound. Through effective time condensation. In Any Given Sunday, editing makes it epic.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My speech went well

I am the attendence wizard. As a director of class mediations and the such, I am expected to be thorough and all-knowing as it refers to speaking. As I am the wizard, and wizards should have special powers. And I do. My speech was powerful, perfectly lengthed and featured a potent visual aid - my broken foot. Despite this, my speech was a full functioning sprint.
Things started well on the day as I opened up the class with my speech as to not allow excess buildup of stress or tension that comes with delivering a speech in front of 150 people. I manuevered my way into a expressive dialogue detailing the process of me breaking my foot which I think people were interested and intrigued by.
As the speech hit the middle portions things got a little more involving as I detailed the kindness inherant of all people which surely sapped on the heart strings of the ladies (and bored the guys) . I delivered this part in perfect fashion, slow, but not too slow, alowing power to emerge from each word.
My conclusion properly lead the reader into a theme statement and message to never take anything for granted, again emphasized by slow, strong words to go with a decisive ending sentence. A quick applause made note of the attentiveness of the audience and the power of the speech of the whole.
Nobody is perfect, however, and my speech unfortunately had a few minor issues that needed tweaking. My words often poured out a bit TOO slow, and the beginning portions of the speech lacked gravitas and could have used a bit more spicing up. I also displayed some obvious reoccuring nervous energy, sliding around on the floor. Next time I need to focus myself and not show that weakness as a speech attendence wizard.
Overall the speech was good and an obvious improvement over my first narrative. As things lead into the third and final speech I expect a complete, engrossing dialogue that will grip the viewer from start to finish - without having to concentrate on my gimping appendage. Hopefully it won't limp. Hopefully I'll sprint all the way through.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

headphones

The best part about headphones
Is the suspension of reality
When the volume is high and the dementia is low

How yelling like a banshee in a fully packed ballroom,
Seems acceptable

As long as Silverchair's Neon Ballroom
Is orchestrating your screams.

How saving the universe is palpable
On the back of a landspeeder
Somewhere on the planet Bumblebee

As long as the theatre's thundering stereo
Is managing your dreams.

The best part about reality
Is the suspension of headphones
When you scream like a banshee

And your mother screams back
Get the fuck out.

So you do.
On the seat of your landspeeder,
Back to your home on the planet Bumblebee.