Holiday Vibes

The new year has begun but I’m still in the holiday vibes. Everyone is posting on social media how horrible 2016 was, how 2017 is a fresh start. Do people always bash on the old year and hope for a fresh start? Or is this truly a 2016 occurrence?

I truly enjoyed this Christmas and New Years. My girlfriend and I spent Christmas on Vancouver Island close to my family but before that we attended some awesome holiday parties. My friend who does sales for  Vancouver Wedding DJs invited me to his work party and it was awesome! He’s friends with all the DJs that work for the company, some were so eager to attend they from out from places 1-2 hours away. Not to mention the roads were in white-out conditions, so I’d say that’s dedication. What an awesome group of guys and girls.

Another party I really enjoyed for different reasons was my girlfriend’s work party. The reason being is that they had an open bar 😉 and it was held at the Sheraton Wall Centre. Fancy-pantsy….

Sheraton Wall Centre

Sheraton Wall Centre, via www.sheratonvancouver.com

Finally, the least fancy party was my own work party but it was definitely the most fun! We did a potluck dinner with lots of wine and beer, perhaps a little too much. But that made the game of Cards Against Humanity all the better.

But let’s get to the point folks…

Best Holiday Movies of 2016

Office Christmas Party

This movie really has hit a bit of a low point in the holiday movie tradition. It has a 6/10 rating on IMDB and 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. In reality, most Christmas movies since the Metropolitan have really been only mediocre. Okay, okay Home Alone was an exception…

Jennifer Aniston’s style of acting hasn’t really changed and if are a loyal fan you’ll appreciate that. The plot line is not riveting but kind of fun and we can all remember one Christmas office party that went terribly wrong.

Almost Christmas

A very similar rating of 6/10 on IMDB and 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, Almost Christmas is certainly nothing to rave about as well. Beginning to see a trend in recent Christmas movies? Hollywood needs to step it up, I think otherwise I think I’ll have to get off Christmas movies for good.

The plot follows the pre-Christmas time of a slightly dysfunctional family. The father has recently lost his wife and he asks for the adult children and grandchildren to get along. They each have their personal struggles to get through but finally things dissolve into a great Christmas holiday.

 

The holidays might have become ultra mainstream (you might say I’m too hipster) but I think we can all agree that sometimes it’s good to tune off your brain – especially with relatives hollering at us! 🙂

WestWorld

Straying off topic with my second post… However, I can’t contain my excitement about a show I am currently watching.

Of course, it’s HBO. It’s called WestWorld, a fictitious park, clearly meant to be an amusement park for people. The park’s amusements, however come not from rides, candy cotton or water slides. The people who visit this park are attended by hosts who are actually robots. But so far into the future is this world set that robots are completely life like. They blood, hair, eyes and skin. They can die and compose their own thoughts and opinions (within certain limitations.)

The Crux

The plot of the story begins to unveil when various character hosts being doing strange things. Usually, the hosts reiterate through the same plot every day and new guests arrive and interact with them. For example, the sheriff is always posting a “wanted” poster for famous bandit in the town square and giving a reward for his capture.

Things slowly but subtly change over a couple episodes when the hosts begin to acts strange. In the early episodes this is attributed to a code update that the park’s creator has released. Updates are meant to alter the hosts behaviour so that the plot lines change or their behaviour becomes more life-like. The head of the coding unit notices this change in the behaviour of the hosts but doesn’t tell upper management about it due to his deep loyalty and respect for the park creator.

In an example of how a host changes their behaviour is Delores, the parks oldest host. Delores is programmed not to be able to pull the trigger of a gun. Also, her memory is erased after every night so that she has no recollection of what happened the previous day. Somehow, due to the update she is able to, over time, recollect small bits and pieces of her previous experiences. When, one night, another park host is about to abuse her, she is able to remember some of the horrific experiences she overstep her code so that she pulls the trigger of a gun and shoots him.

Meanwhile, the park creator is becoming increasingly strange. He hints of grandiose plans he has for the park to the park board, represented by a middle aged woman from upper management. The park is in financial trouble due to its high maintenance costs and the board is looking to the creator for answers.

 

Westworld

The creator of the park, WestWorld, played by Anthony Hopkins. From TheVerge.com

 

Is the strange code update causing the hosts to act out of line part of the creator’s plan? What does he want to do? The hosts continue to act more human-like but it sounds like he wants to destroy the park in a grand finale.

The Goat’s Horn

One aspect of Bulgarian history that has shaped much of it’s culture; past, present and future is the fact that it was part of the Ottoman empire. I can’t claim to be an expert in history but I will recount how this, I believe parallels some of Canadian culture in the way of oppressed groups such as the Aboriginal communities or the Quebecois.

A good movie my girlfriend recently showed me, called the Goat’s Horn (Bulgarian: Козият Рог) was about the personal story of one farmer who had lost his wife to a brutal act of rape and murder by the Ottoman overlords of his village. Bound on revenge, the main character burns the family house with his dead wife and goes off to the hills to live with his daughter, tending goats. He raises his daughter as a boy, teaching her how to fight and wield a knife. Years later, they get their revenge. The story turns around when the daughter, instructed to take the life of her mother’s killer sees him interacting in a human way with his dog and wife.

I won’t give any more away!

What can be said as to parallels, besides the obvious? In cases where grave acts have been committed on the large scale such as the enslavement of a whole population and their systematic assimilation into the lording one, there are also billions of small scale crimes such as rape, murder theft that are not accounted for in history due to the lack of a human story. This movie puts a human story to those small scale crimes so that we can examine how a story of revenge can become one of lost love.

The human desire for power will never cease and therefore neither will large scale acts against humanity, but in remembering what those are we should always put a human face to the story. Otherwise it’s just another history lesson.