Monday, March 12, 2007

Cars: More Than Just a Kids' Movie

First of all, I adore the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.

For those who have not seen it, here's a brief summary.

And now for the reason I'm writing this blog...

The Disney/Pixar movie Cars is more than just a kids' movie. It's a message to the people of America. That message: We need to slow down and look at all those things we bypass. Basically, "stop and smell the roses."

The main character, Lightning McQueen, is a race car who's only thoughts are about winning, and about speed. In the beginning of the movie he is selfish and his thoughts are about ditching those "rusty cars" who are his sponsors and moving up to a more prestigious sponsor.

McQueen is lost on the highway and finds himself on Route 66 on the way to California. He finds himself in a little "hick town" called Radiator Springs, a city on Route 66 that was lost when the interstate was built, bypassing the city. Because McQueen destroys the road, his punishment is to fix the road before he can leave and be on his way to California.

McQueen soon realizes that in this little town in the middle of the no where, things aren't as fast paced as they are in the city. One of the most important moments of the movie is when the love interest, Sally, asks him to "go for a drive." When McQueen asks where, she simply replies that she doesn't. It is at this point in the movie that McQueen realizes all that he's missing because he lives life so fast, he forgets to slow down and look around him.

Of course, the movie has a happy ending, with McQueen bringing business back to Radiator Springs and putting the city back on the map, but that's beside the point.

I know we all can attest to the fact that we live our lives way too fast. It's almost as if we're trying to get death to come for us sooner. There are people with their cell phone glued to their ear, while driving, while pulling on pants or fixing their make-up. Sometimes I wonder, when I see those people, what would happen to them if they just sat around for an afternoon, not doing anything of importance, and leaving their cell phone off and locked in a cupboard. I think their head would explode.

I remember what it was like when no one had a cell phone, the Internet was still a baby project and wasn't the vast information overload it is now, and parents didn't keep their kids on a leash (literally). If someone had to get a hold of you, they called your house, and left a message, and you would call them back upon returning home. They weren't able to call you while you were in the movies, or spending time with your family or in a restaurant.

People didn't used to walk so hurridly they looked like they would fall over if they tripped over the slightest crack in the sidewalk. I have reason to believe people were more polite, and has stress levels under what people have now.

I almost pine for those days, though I may have caught the tail end of them. I guess what I'm trying to say is: we should all slow down every once in a while, and see those things we bypass every single day while talking on our cell phone or driving 2o miles over the speed limit on the expressway. Where ever you're trying to get to in such a hurry probably isn't that important, and the world is not going to end if you don't speed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cell Phone Etiquette

I don't really like cell phones, even though mine is attached to me like a third year. I don't use it that much, though. But some people abuse cell phones. If I could write the rules for Cell Phone Etiquette, it would go something like this:

1. Never, under any circumstances, answer your phone during a movie in a public place. Or a meeting. Turn it off, silent or vibrate.

2. If you are on a date with someone, don't answer your phone, or text.

3. Turn off your phone during class. I hate hearing people's phones go off in the middle of class.

4. Don't try to use sarcasm via text message.

5. Don't ask out/break up with someone via text message.

6. If you're in a loud place, don't bother answering your phone. It's only annoying for you and the person calling you.

7. If you're hanging out with somene, don't have a 10 minute or longer conversation with someone on the phone. Also, don't call someone else while hanging out with someone else.

8. If with a group, excuse yourself if you must answer your phone. No one wants to hear your conversation.

9. Turn the volume down on your phone. If everyone can hear the person on the other line as clearly as if they were standing right there, it's too loud.

10. Choose your ring tone wisely.

11. Ring back tones are probably one of the most annoying features of a cell phone ever. Don't use them. Don't pay for them.

12. Just incase you forgot, don't answer your phone in the movie theatre. Ever. There is absolutly no reason to answer your phone.

13. If calling someone, pay attention to when the other person answers. Don't carry on a conversation with someone else while waiting for the call-ee to pick up their phone.

14. Leave a voicemail.

15. Listen to the voicemail before calling the person back.

16. If you call someone and they don't answer and you don't leave a voice mail, wait a few minutes before trying to call again. They might have just missed the call and are calling you back right now.

17. Learn how to use the call waiting feature on your phone, mostly for when you're leaving a voicemail for someone, and they are calling you back.

18. Call waiting forces you to choose between two people. Guess who's going to feel less important once you switch over to the other line.

19. Pay attention to people when you're talking to them on the phone. There's nothing more annoying than hearing "What? Can you say that again?"

20. Hang up when using a public service type thing, like ordering food at a resturant or whatever.

21. Get off the phone while driving.

That's all I really wanna complain about right now. heh. Yes, most of these are pet peeves, but I'm sure I'm not alone in most of these.

Cell Phones are annoying.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I'm not very good at updating this regularly. Oh well.

In my Broadcast Operations class, we watched a docudrama/documentary called "An Inconvenient Truth." It's a film adaptation of Al Gore's book of the same name. The message the film was trying to make is that Global Warming is indeed a problem and it needs to be fixed, or the consequences could be devastating.

I'll admit right now that I did not watch the entire movie. I had somewhere to be and couldn't stick around in class to watch it all, but I got the gist of it.

Gore explained that global warming is indeed a natural process. It happens every year in fact. It starts with the sun's rays shining onto Earth. Some of the UV rays bounce off the atmosphere, some enter the atmosphere and bounce out, and some get stuck under the atmosphere. But that's ok. It's normal. The next level of Global Warming is the trees. Every summer, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are lower because of the leaves on the trees in taking CO2 and changing it to oxygen through photosynthesis. Then in the winter, the leaves die, and they release all the CO2 they've been holding, and it goes into the atmosphere. Therefore, the CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere.

He showed a lot of charts of the progression of global warming throughout the years, and it has remained relatively stable. However, in more recent years, the CO2 levels have been increased to an unnatural level. This is causing more of the sun's UV rays to get stuck inside of the Earth's atmosphere, which is causing the Earth to heat up. He showed pictures of glaciers from a few years ago, and now, to show how much they've receded in the last few years. It's insane. He also showed a lake, which used to be one of Earth's largest lakes, that is now dried up to almost nothing.

When I presented this information to my brother (who doesn't believe that Global Warming is a problem) he scoffed at it and expression no concern for the melting of the glaciers. He also stated that there's nothing we can do about it, even if it is a problem. My dad then interjected that because the glaciers are melting, water levels in other lakes and the oceans are going to rise, so the cities all along coast lines are going to have to come up with some way to defend themselves when the levels rise.

In addition to the levels rising, I'm sure we can't ignore the fact that we experienced record numbers of hurricanes this last year, in addition to losing (in my opinion) one of the greatest cities in America because of a hurricane. Who knows what could happen this next summer if the temperatures of Earth are rising, and we have even more of this tropical storms. That's something I don't think we can say for sure will happen.

After watching "An Inconvenient Truth" I briefly considered changing my major, but then thought better of it. I would do terrible at it anyway. Instead, I'll stay with my film/journalism major, and help the environmental science majors spread the message across our country and others about what we're doing to our planet.

With a new found respect for the planet, I really hope we can fix this problem so we don't screw over all the generations of humans ahead of us. Contrary to what George Orwell thought would happen (the complete domination of the government), I believe that before that happens, the Earth is going to have to compromise with Mother Nature. She's truly a force to be reckoned with, much more dangerous than any government.