A picture is worth a thousand words…

It was an experience really. I really am lucky to have had the opportunity to have this camera in my bare hands and to use it. 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to shoot with a Bolex Reflex H16. Remember the camera I wrote about couple of weeks ago? Well, I signed it out from school, loaded the film and got ready to shoot.

I really had no idea what to shoot but once I started to pull the trigger, I really could not stop. I finished the whole film in one night. I took advantage of the Friday night vibe and brought my friends to do the famous mannequin challenge that is going on right now. It was Friday night and everyone was happy, so I think I could say that it was a productive shooting and everyone was excited about participating. Hopefully the results will be as exciting!

Unfortunately it takes  a couple of days to develop the film and so I could not post the video here. But, just like the title says: A picture is worth a thousand words.

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This is me preparing the BOLEX H16 Reflex for shooting. 

The only thing that is in my head right now, is the fact that I am not sure if I measured the light correctly. I mean, it was indoors and I was always checking on the lenses to make sure the aperture was right. But I mean, either way there is nothing I can do about it now.

Tote.

The weirdest dream …

As I’m waking up this morning, I’m still thinking about my dream. It was almost the weirdest dream I’ve had over my lifetime.

The dream took place in different locations (and I mean countries). There were family, friends, family of friends and aquatic animals involved. I really cannot explain my feelings towards this dream, but anyways, here goes:

meh-ro11706

It all began when I was swimming at the beach with my family (mom, dad and brother) when suddenly the sky began to turn gray and the water started to move more than usual. The clouds started to get heavy and it looked as if it was about to rain. But it didn’t. I think a seaquake was forming and all the fish were swimming by the shore. [if that’s even possible].

As I was approaching the shore, I kept looking down to the clear water and I saw sharks of all sizes and different kinds of fish that I have only seen on TV. Suddenly, someone behind me screamed: RUN! RUN! And as I looked back, everyone behind me kept running as fast as they could because they were starting to get caught by a big wave, obviously I started to run too. For some reason, there were kind of like a coast police who had formed a human wall. I don’t know when this happened, but while on shore, I saw this human wall created by the police and everyone was out of the water in like a minute.

I don’t know how far we all were from the sea but the water was crazy, the movement of the water reminded me of when there is something liquid on the blender and the blender is on the max speed. Yes, just like that.

spiral-sand-15082623
Sand Spirals kept dragging people in. 

Unexpectedly, the water calmed down, everyone was excited to get back into the water, however, when people left the human wall [created by the coast police], some kind of sand spiral formed and was dragging people into the sand. And if you tried to help, you were also going to be dragged along with them. It was messed up!

I don’t know why, but I think I woke up at some point during the night, because all of this beach drama happened (or it looked like), the beaches in Venezuela. And suddenly I was in the Philippines.

In a small house in the Philippines, I found one of my friends who had been dragged by this sand current spirals and was trying to take her to her family, when I ran over zombies (?) and obviously they were following us. At some point we lost them and ended up in the streets of Manila where we met real people [humans].

I don’t know how, when, or why, we ended up working as florists and somehow a girl at the flower place recognized me and said: I know who you are, you were all over the news last week, you were the one who survived the sand current and the crazy seaquake by that beach in south America –what are you doing here? To be honest, I got so scared I thought they were going to kill me, or send the zombies or something. But it wasn’t as bad. They just put me on a plane back to Venezuela where I was then reunited with my family. [who had also survived the seaquake].

Tote.

Good Bye Uni days…

As my university days start to get shorter and shorter, I lie down in my bed and think about what’s about to come.

For some reason, the beginning of this week has been tedious for me. I feel like I don’t have any more energy to even wake up in the morning. Lots of people have told me that its because of the season and blame the time change from last weekend. I agree, the fact that it is getting dark by 4.30pm that kind of ruins my day. By 5.15-5.30pm you can already see the stars and the sun is completely gone. I know I am one of those people who just want to get in bed once the sun goes down.

Anyways, I am starting to get tired and lazy and don’t even feel like finishing up homework. The only thing that allows me to keep going is the fact that once November is over, I won’t have to write any more papers or worry about the deadline for assignments…For now.

While I was lying down in bed this evening, I thought about how my life was going to be a year from now. I looked around my room and thought to myself that by January 2017 I don’t even know where I will be sleeping. As homeless as it might sound, that is actually how I am [lol], because I don’t really know what I am going to do once I finish my last semester of university.

Yes, I have plans. Plans that included obtaining another degree/certificate starting in January. However, if I don’t get accepted into the programs I applied for then I guess I will have to start looking for a job and a place to live. (No like I don’t have to anyways).

All of this to say, I am happy but at the same time anxious that university will be over for me soon. Happy because one stage of my life will be completed but anxious because I am afraid I will not be ready for what is coming. At this point, days keep getting longer but I think it is because of my anxiety of wanting this year to be over. I have got to the point where I just want to get to bed no later than 9pm, and if I do, I will be the laziest person to wake up the next day for my 9am class.

To be honest, I don’t know what happened. I used to be a muni-lifeorning person and I usually stayed up late watching Netflix or playing video games even though I had class the next day. But today, I just can’t.

Anyways, I am going to open TheSims on my computer and play until my body tells me to stop. [Which will be probably be soon, considering is almost 9pm].

Tote.

The objectification of the female body

Because I haven’t been on the blog lately [which is something I am supposed to be doing every day], I am posting today a rather long analysis of a music video. Yes, it was an assignment for class. But because I think it is an important topic now a days, I am posting it for people to read it and know a little bit about how I think.

In today’s society, dominant ideas about the objectification of women are a big part of our daily lives. I will be writing about the music video of Salt and Peppa – Shoop. The reason why I chose this specific video for my analysis is because I think that this music video can provide with an idea of how both the male, but more specifically, the female body, are objectified with the purpose of giving visual pleasure. The question I am raising in regards to the concepts from the video is, in today’s society where we live in a constant hyper-sexualisation of the female body, what is the response then, when society itself tries to do the same with the male body? The hegemonic sexualisation of the body has the automatic effect on the society to perceiving the body as an object.

There were so many reactions when I first encounter this video. Aside from the fact that I had never seen it before, I was really focused on the images and how every person in the music video was physically attractive and had desirable bodies. Also, there is equality in the sense that girls are looking at the boys in the same way boys are looking at the feminine body. By not knowing the lyrics to the song, I only focused on the images and the dancing that was happening. After watching the video a couple of times, I finally realized what the lyrics were about. Salt-N-Pepa are singing about taking a certain boy home and doing sinful things to them. ”…Lick him like a lollipop should be licked…” (Shoop, Salt-N-Pepa). From my point of view, however, the relationship between seeing and listening is clear and concise since we see men ‘modeling’ for the girls on the beach and there are the girls dancing for the boys on the street or on the stage.none_of_your_business_by_salt_n_pepa_cover

The first part of the video, which I am going to call the introduction, gives the viewer a sense of what the video is going to be about, a group of girls get off the car, to encounter a group of boys playing a game on the street to which they [the girls] are walking to and start flirting with them showing off their amazing defined body. Another part of the video I believe is key to understanding the music video along with the lyrics is almost at the end of the piece when the three girls are by the beach and one of the singers completely removes her sunglasses in order to have a better view or perception on the tremendous black men that is coming straight for them.

The targeted audience of this music video is black middle class heterosexual young men and women, with enticing bodies, whom have the ability to get any black woman/men they want. I think that this music video was created by a black male who was trying to portray the message of how black women can get any man she wants. This music video from the 90s can be appealing to the targeted audience because of its ability to portray what is believed to be the relationship between heterosexuals in black culture. It is clear how the image of the female body dancing in the streets and showing it off for men to be amused by it, makes the theme of this video clear and straight to the point of having the female body be an object of admiration.

The message that this music video is showing is how both female and male bodies are being objectified, it does a good job providing the watchers with images of almost naked bodies, which will clearly be admired by either male or female viewers. This video reflects hegemonic ideas in the sense that it shows beautiful and attractive female and male bodies since that is what people want to see and follow. A hegemonic idea is a dominant idea that has been created because of social context, which in this case is the idea of bodies, either male or female, being sexualized. This video does not rebel against hegemonic ideas since it is conforming to the sexualisation of bodies in a clear and concise way.

The way in which this video conveys ideas about gender is by presenting every gender in its specific role, men showing their muscular bodies by walking around shirtless playing basketball, while women walk around ogling them. Its effective way of portraying these hegemonic ideas makes the audience understand that that is how heterosexual couples get along. I think this video explodes gender ideals because it shows that men and women are in the same level in society, when in reality, women are the ones staying home taking care of their men, though in this video we see how women are effectively looking for men by basically throwing themselves to the sexiest men in the street. Even though this video does not really reflect on intersectionality, it can be seen how the race that rules in the video is the black race. As far as I am concern, there is only one white boy in the video that appears in the background when they are exercising by the beach.  On the other hand, this music video along with the lyrics of the song, reflect on how a black woman is feisty with her feelings towards the man she wants.

By watching this video then, we as viewers, can come into realization that the hegemonic sexualisation of the body is what makes us enjoy this music video by having the bodies as objects of visual pleasure.

Here is the video:

Tote.

How to use a Bolex 16mm movie camera…

Today in my documentary workshop class we learnt how to use a Bolex 16mm movie camera. To be honest I had no idea these cameras existed before I took the class.

0b3bc84373615f700d42549b7f810b53    I have to admit it was kind of interesting and exciting to be working with these cameras, especially since I have never used one before. The school has four sets of camera equipment that contains four different bolex movie cameras. Each one is a different model, comes with its sekonic light meter [which I am going to talk about later], and different lenses.

These cameras are very heavy, especially the older models which have a cast iron base. Also, the viewfinder in these cameras is very tiny in comparison to the modern cameras. The focus in these viewfinders needs to be adapted to each eye. What I mean by this is that the viewfinder in the bolex is different for every person filming. So, today while we were filming in class, every time a different person took the camera to shoot, the viewfinder needed to be adapted for each eye. I mean, it was kind of annoying, but if there is only person working with the camera there is no need to change it each time.

Another thing I found amusing about these bolexes is the fact that some of them [not all], can work with something called superimposition. This is basically placing a thing over another, in this case, two different shots placed together. This is done by shooting something first, then literally rewinding the film, and shooting again. By doing this, there will be two different scenes projecting at the same time. After learning and understanding how to work with all of these, we were sent out to shoot. We had to load the film and ‘load’ the motor of the camera. Yes, these cameras don’t work with any electricity. They work with something I would like to call a ‘manual motor’, which usually lasts for 30 seconds and you need to load it every time so that you can continue shooting.

Ok now, light metersekonic_401_399_l_398a_studio_deluxe_iii_435535

This is also another curious object I studied when I was working with 35mm cameras. Today, most of our modern cameras have their own light meters. The light meter measures the amount of light needed to shoot. With the light meter, you will set up the proper exposure [on your lenses], it can be used to take pictures or for film. The numbers shown on your light meters should match the ones on your lenses. I know, it probably sounds confusing, but believe me with the light meter and your camera in hand, it will make more sense, trust me.

To be honest, I did not really have a topic for today. But because I was fascinated by the bolex, I wanted to write about it just in case I forget how to use them, since I will be working on my final project for this class with one of them.

Tote.

You Know what Really Grinds my Gears…

Apparently after four years in university, I don’t know how to write.

This is about one of my professors. I don’t really pay much attention to this and I could care less.

I honestly just go to class, attend and participate during seminar hours and hand in my assignments in time. Not every professor in university is the same, everyone has their way of teaching and level of expertise in their subject. However, this semester I had to take a class with a professor I have been avoiding since I met him on my first semester of university.

I remember just like it was yesterday, the first time I had class with him. The course was an introduction to Cultural Studies, where they were talking about how music and cultural studies were related to each other and how one complements the other. Anyways, he was just invited as a speaker to talk about music and his experience with it. He is a musician and honestly I don’t remember how many instruments he plays, just that he is focused on Jazz music. I am not going to deny it though, he is a good musician, but when it comes to being a teacher -I am sorry, he should just stay with his instruments. [yes, he kinda sucks]

First of all, he talks really fast and you can’t really understand what he is saying because he really does not open his mouth to speak. He just mumbles. Aside from this, I think he is just living off caffeine [don’t get me wrong, I do too], but he just can’t stand still for a second or even stop talking and that really grinds my gearsyou-know-what-grinds-my-gears-memes (thanks, Peter Griffin). Besides all of this, he does not follow the syllabus and basically talks about whatever he wants during class and seminar time. He also says that our high-school years were full of sh*** because every paper we hand in are not good enough for him and that we don’t know how to write. Yes, it is good that he gives us feedback and does not really care about deadlines or grades, but come on, when am I going to hand out a paper that is good for him?  I really have no time to be doing the same assignment over and over again just because my writing is not good enough for him, do I? Literally, every paper I write is marked with a big RW – which means ‘Rewrite’.

Also, I am not talking about myself specifically. My classmates feel the same way too [I think]. Today, for example, he got to class and said: -I’m not talking about anything today, today I will just be ‘yelling’ at you because clearly all of you are not getting the point of this class. He went on for 40 minutes [and I’m not exaggerating], and started to talk about our way of writing (that is all bs, according to him) and the way we should not be using certain words in our papers. Sure, you can argue that counts as feedback, which in some cases is not bad. But come on, if the whole class is ‘having problems’ with papers, assignments and understanding, is it the student’s fault?

So anyways, today I got back a paper with the words: -please take this to writing skills.

I asked him what does that mean? And he said: well, take this to the writing skills center and they will tell you what is wrong with this paper. I got really angry and upset and told him, so are you telling me I don’t know how to write? I wrote it this way because you asked me to, and its simple writing because you asked me to. And his reply was: just take it to them.

Really? Are you telling me that just a couple of weeks away from graduating I don’t know how to write. Come on.

To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to write about this, but I got really offended and annoyed and thought that writing could help.

Cheers,

Tote.

Let’s talk about men in the gym …

Come take control, just grab a hold / Of my body and mind, soon we’ll be making it, honey

This morning I went to the gym pretty early. I thought to myself that because is Monday around 8.30am there will be nobody working out. Clearly, I was wrong.

Most of the machines and the weight section were filled up with big, muscular, tattooed men that I could not help but look at. I’m not going to lie, sometimes is good to ‘look’, but sometimes you are just filled up with the same image over and over again that you just get tired of it. And this is what happened to me this morning.

I mean working out among these men just kind of make me feel a little bit intimidated. I don’t, but its just the feeling of having ‘all eyes on me’ kinda feeling. It could get a bit uncomfortable I must say.

I know it is not the same for everybody. Some people like being looked at and some people just don’t like being the center of attention. However, there are some women though, who just like showing off their sculpted bodies [please tell me if I’m wrong]. And just as I was putting back my weights, I noticed a girl massaging herself, literally. She was just firmly grabbing her buttocks individually and making circular movements to each, all of this while checking herself in the mirror. I’m sure she thought I was checking her out or something, because at some point I think we made eye contact [super awkward]. And just as I was leaving, I noticed most of the men [mentioned above], checking her out, no shame.

There is nothing wrong with looking at people when they are working out, but there is the look (this is the one that means, ok you are cute) and there is THE LOOK (this is the one that means, I wonder how she is in bed * bites lip *). I don’t want to get into details, but it looked like this girl mentioned above was getting THE LOOK.

And just as I was leaving the gym, passed by the front desk, reception area, one of the girls behind the desk asked me –did you see what happened there? And confused by what she was asking, I said: I’m not sure, but I’m leaving.

So anyways, will see how the gym is tomorrow morning. Hopefully there will be ‘normal’ guys I can look at.

ps: I did not write during the weekend, and that was done on purpose, I took a break from my computer and realized I shouldn’t have. I will try to stay put the rest of the month.

T.G.I.F…or not ?

Four years ago when I started my university career, I remember anxiously waiting for Friday to come. Every week[end], I would go out on Friday and Saturday (sometimes even Thursday). Those were good years!

I enjoyed going out with friends, enjoyed drinking at someone’s house for even two nights in a row. I am sure I was not the only one though. The first year of university or college for young people is always a way to enjoy freedom [or at least that’s how I look at it from my perspective]. However, once you realized you are not a kid anymore, those party days become shorter and shorter, and at some point they disappear. And by the last year of university/college, you give up a day of partying to stay in bed under covers watching a movie with a cup of tea. Am I wrong?

I am not saying this happens to everybody, I am just relating it to my personal experience!

Today I have friends coming over to my house, (and when I say friendS, I mean two or three of my closest friends- its not a party), we are just going to get some groceries, go to the liquor stkeep-calm-drink-wineore –buy some wine, cook something, just to stay in and enjoy the tranquility of my tiny basement room, watching Spanish [dramatic] soap operas, while laughing at them. For some people, this might sound boring and uninteresting, but that is how ‘upper year’ university students enjoy their Friday night, instead of going out to getting drunk on a sticky-environment on a downtown club.

I might be the grandma of the group, but believe me, at this point, I enjoy going to bed no later than 11pm and waking up before 8am. If I go to bed past midnight, I will be on a bad mood the next day and will most likely be taking a nap for at least two hours in the afternoon. I do enjoy a a warm cup of tea [sometimes wine] before bed, while on Netflix. [no chill included]

All of this to say, I am not really anxious for Fridays or the weekends anymore. Is it really bad to feel this way about Fridays? Or am I just growing old? –Don’t get my wrong, I do enjoy nights out, and if I DO go out, the hangover will last, at least, a couple of days before I can go back to ‘normal’. Unlike the first two years of university when I could drink almost every day of the weekend and not feel a thing.

 

ps: I know I should not have an excuse, but I didn’t find a time to post yesterday, Thursdays are a bit hectic for me [specially since it is the last day of the week, for me].

I’m not an artistic person… or am I?

This thought came to me this morning while I was in class. Classmates were presenting their marvelous projects while I was sitting there looking at mine like: the pictures are not even related to each other… Too much light, too much color…the arrangement does not make sense. Finally, when it was my turn to present, I honestly had no idea what to say. My mind froze for seconds that felt like hours, and at the end, I ended up talking about each picture and what they meant to me.

When I say artistic I am referring to the art of drawing or taking ‘artistic’ pictures. A musician, is an artist. I like music (I even went to music school when I was a kid, learnt how to play a bunch of instruments), I like taking pictures and making movies too, which can all fit into the category of being artistic. However, there is one thing I do consider art and its COOKING.

COOKING is an art of itself, just like not anyone can create a sculpture, or a painting using watercolors, not everyone can cook. I mean, I could be wrong. But I am sure at least one of the individuals reading this, knows someone who does not know how to cook. I do cook, and I wish I could do it as much as I would like. Oh, and I also like eating [obviously].

The reason why I am talking about cooking today is because I made a delicious breakfast this morning. I don’t do it often, but today I felt like I had the energy to do it. So I made banana pancakes with peanut butter. I know it sounds strange, but believe me, it is DELICIOUS! And it only took me 20 minutes, so is a quick breakfast too. I will post the ingredients just so people have an idea of what to expect.

Banana Pancakes:IMG_0253.jpg

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup instant oatmeal
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of flaxseed
  • Splash of milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Just blend everything together and you have the batter. I cooked them at a medium-heat using non-stick cooking spray.

I once met a chef who told me “the secret for a good recipe is to be creative”, and isn’t creativity a big thing for an artist? He also talked to me about having the ingredient list as a guide; however, once you are MAKING the recipe, feel free to add more ingredients, to change the quantities, etc. just imagine the bowl for the ingredients as your canvas and you can do what you wish with it.

Cooking is also something I like to do on my free time. When I was home last week and didn’t have to worry too much about doing homework, I took my camera, went grocery shopping and made my favorite Venezuelan dessert, Three Milk Cake. And because I had “a lot of time”, I took my camera and filmed the whole process. There isn’t really much room in this recipe for ‘creativity’ though I was wondering if you could make the cake with a different set of milks? – I would have to try that.

Here’s the video:

Tote.

Thinking above the clouds…[while eating cookies]

“Change not only was inevitable, but usually brought its own rewards.” – Nicholas Spark

As I’m sipping on my tea during this cold[ish] day in Peterborough, I remember looking out the window from my seat en-route Frankfurt-Toronto and thinking about the month of November. There is a reason whIMG_1194.JPGy November is my favorite month, not because it’s my birthday -don’t get me wrong, but because it is the month where you know the year is about to end, and you start figuring out plans for Christmas and New years (if you haven’t already).

Also, it is a month where you can seat back and think about what you’ve accomplished throughout the year, and if nothing, well you still have November (and December) to accomplish something. Even the smallest thing counts.

November is a fun month too. There is literally something happening everyday. Such as, Cookie Monster’ birthday (Nov 2nd), the discovery of Tutankhamen tomb (Nov 4th), GunPowder Treason Day (Nov 5th) [remember, remember the 5th of November], Remembrance day (in Canada) (Nov 11th), Mickey Mouse birthday (Nov 18th), MY birthday (Nov 29th). What other reasons do you need to NOT like November?

Why am I talking about this? – Looking back, I remember making bullet points about the different goals I wanted to accomplish during the year of 2016, though, I don’t think I actually did. I procrastinated [A LOT]. That is why I decided to start writing so that I could accomplish AT LEAST one of these goals, which was to start and to not stop writing on my blog.

Today November 1st, I am making some drastic changes to my daily routine, the most important being- productivity through the day. I put together a schedule highlighting the most important things I NEED and WANT to accomplish during the month. Things like, going to the gym (I also created a different schedule for my workout routine) going to class EVERYDAY, keeping up with my readings and assignments, and of course, writing. *I was thinking about showing a picture of my fabolous schedule, but its handwritten and is kind of a mess* #sorrynotsorry

42a66d37a4e26c3cb685491ea429a8ecI have been up since 5.30am, workout for two hours, came home had breakfast, went to class [four hours], had lunch, had a snack…and as much as I am thinking about taking a nap right now, it just won’t happen. I would leave the house, if necessary, just so I don’t fall asleep. Productivity, remember?

 

ps: I bet you never knew Cookie Monster had a birthday huh? -me neither

 

Tote.