The Thing (1982)

 

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Spoilers

In 1982 at the remote US Outpost 31 in Antarctica, twelve men stationed at the base are suddenly accosted by two men in a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base.  The two Norwegian men attempt to shoot a dog as they chase it over the frozen valley towards the American camp.  In the ensuing confusion, the two men are killed, leaving the American team puzzled and in need of answers.  They fly to the Norwegian base and discover a massacre, everyone’s either dead or missing, the base is on fire, and they find the remains of a strange creature burned outside.  What follows is a tale of gripping paranoia and cosmic horror that’s sure to entertain.

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They don’t make horror like this anymore.  For starters the tone, its dark and hopeless.  These men are trapped, there is no help coming for them no matter how much they radio for it.  Outside they’ve got temperatures hitting in excess of fifty below.  While inside they have primal fear driven by a creature they can barely comprehend.  A creature that hides within the bodies of their friends, men they’ve known for years.  This causes intense paranoia and mistrust, making the men as much of a danger to each other as the thing is to them.  The thing knows this, and uses this to its advantage as it tries to keep suspicion off of itself, pushing the humans to suspect each other instead.Garry_assures_the_men_of_his_innocence_-_The_Thing_(1982)

This dark and hopeless tone is amplified by the use of music.  From the beginning of the opening scene you’re hit with this powerful haunting score with a thumping bass note that sounds almost like a human heartbeat, perhaps foreshadowing whats to come.  There isn’t a lot of music used in the movie, but when it is used it helps to enhance the tension present.

One of my favorite things about his movie is the practical effects used.  There’s nothing CGI, everything was built ranging from puppetry to stop motion.  The creature designs are amazing.  Take the Norris-Thing for instance, this guy was assimilated by the thing and has a heart attack.  One of the doctors in the group attempts to revive him using a defibrillator.  The thing, unfamiliar with the concept of a defibrillator perceives the shock as an attack and fights back, by opening up Norris’s chest revealing a large mouth that rips off the doctors arms.  This is just one of many amazing designs used by the production to create this story. Vlcsnap-2011-12-30-07h27m52s226

The characterization is another standout for this movie.  Whereas with horror movies of the modern era, you wind up with cheap jump scares, writing that makes no sense, or characters that make stupid decisions just to move the plot.  With The Thing there’s really one jump scare, in the aforementioned part about Norris and his chest mouth.  The characters are pretty smart in this.  They try hard to do everything they can to survive the situation they’re placed in.  There’s only one instance where you could claim that  someone did something dumb and that’s when this guy runs off into the night after someone that he suspects is the thing.  This goes completely against character for this individual as earlier on he was in a position where he had multiple armed men with him yet he refused to confront what he suspected was the thing behind a closed door, wanting to let it freeze to death instead.  The sudden change in character or “stupidity” can be explained by the common fan speculation that the guy didn’t care about running off alone because he was actually the thing by that point.

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The Thing is a timeless movie that only gets better with age.  It is a film that was panned by critics during its initial release, but in the years following has gained the respect that it deserves.  I consider this movie to be the greatest horror movie of all time.  It has everything I want in a horror movie, from the great monster, the effects, the characters and the setting.

10/10

-Andre

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Universal Class – Bartending and Mixology 101

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Here at the Fountaindale Public Library we have a vast selection of databases in which one can choose from.  These include ones that fall under specific categories of research as pertaining to such topics as Articles & Research, Arts & Entertainment, Auto & Home,  Business & Employment, Consumer Information & Finance, Education & Homework Help, Genealogy, and Government & Law…just to name a few.

Today I will be looking at those that fall under the category of Education& Homework Help.  These include Universal Class, Mango Languages, Lynda.com, and Gale Courses.  Specifically, I will be discussing Universal Class and my experience with it and using it.

Universal Class is an excellent resource for anyone looking to further their knowledge and education.  Universal Class offers a staggering 500 online continuing education courses with real instructors.  Some of the courses include such diverse subjects as: Computer Training, Personal Finance, GED Training, Business, Pet and Animal Care, Professional Development, Health Services Training, Music and Painting, and many others.

 

 

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The course I took and will be discussing in this blog is Bartending and Mixology 101.     To start you need to register as a new user.  After you have created an account, you then can decide on one of the 31 subjects listed.  Once you have decided on what subject you would like to pursue, below each one is an estimate of how many online courses each subject details.  You can also choose to search through the Course Catalog in the Find Course search box.  I typed in the word “Bartending” and with that it came back with 1 match found.  It could also be found under the main subject area of Arts, Crafts & Hobbies and under the subheading of Cooking and Baking.  It shows that there are 7 Lessons, 11 Exams & Assignments, 3 Hours average time, and how many CEUs.  The 7 Lessons were broken down as Alcohol Awareness, Bar Essentials – Alcohol, Bar Essentials – Additional Requirements, Cocktails, Beer, Wine, and Heated Drinks, Types of Establishments, and Employment.  I joined the course and began.  Each lesson included text, photos, videos, as well as links to certain recommended/essential sites as well as glossary of terms.  Each part is divided into sections that need to be completely in order to proceed further through the course.  After going through the specific lesson each portion would go turn from a red color to becoming highlighted with a checkmark and turning green.  Finally each lesson would end with an exam that would be either multiple choice, essay, or sometimes a combination of the two.  After which, would be sent to the instructor to be graded.  Sometimes it would take a few days other times it would only take a few hours to get your grade back via email to see if you passed to move forward through to the next portion of class.  Eventually, I reached the conclusion of the course and when I received the final email that I had passed and completed the course, I was presented with a Certificate of Course Completion.

 

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The whole class and experience was very rewarding.  I found it to be entertaining, informative, and even fun.  The materials were presented in a way that was very easy to understand.  I also found navigating through the course very easy and user-friendly.  I also liked how the instructor would back all the grades in a very timely manner.  I cannot recommend Universal Class highly enough.  Cheers!

 

-Brian S.

National Poetry Month

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April is National Poetry Month.  Introduced in 1996 and organized by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. The Academy of American Poets’ website Poets.org serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month. The organization also provides free educational resources for teachers in classroom celebrations and activities, and also commissions an annual festival poster.  The Fountaindale Public Library is proud to present this month’s lobby tree display in celebration of National Poetry Month with a plethora of books to choose from as well as a smattering of DVDs and CDs that take a look at all aspects of this unique and wonderful art form.

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Here is a sampling of some of the titles that await you:

  1. The American Night by Jim Morrison
  2. Complete Poems 1904-1962 by e. e. cummings
  3. Ghost Tantras by Michael McClure
  4. The Roominghouse Madrigals by Charles Bukowski
  5. The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac

 

…And, it’s all conveniently located for you on the 1st Floor, right when you first walk in!

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So, come on in and celebrate the art as well as the poets who have contributed immensely to the creative foundation of Poetry.

-Brian

 

Photography

Dia de los Muertos just passed. I have admired this tradition for quite some time. I think it’s a beautiful way to respect and honor your passed loved ones. Someone I knew went to Mexico specifically for this experience. I would like to do the same one day. A while back, I found the most beautiful photos inspired by Dia de los Muertos by John Rees.  Check out more from this collection here.

from Dia de los Muertos by John Rees

Another collection of photography I was fortunate to discover this week is the Ballerina Project.

“The Ballerina Project grew from the idea of New York City as a magnet for creativity; each photograph is a collaborative work of dance, fashion design and photography played out against the city’s landscape.”

Violeta - Westside Highway

You can see more photos on their facebook page.

Brittany - 14th street

Ballerina Project

Beautiful, graceful, interesting.

-Sabrina S.

Ode to Tim Burton

I love Tim Burton.  I’ve been a fan since I can remember. His magical, darkly whimsical movies are beautiful and heartfelt. I can remember watching Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands as a kid. While I enjoyed The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas has been an instant and timeless classic for me. (I even had a watch from Burger King back in the early 90s.)

Danny Elfman does a beautiful job on the original movie soundtrack. There are also cover albums including Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas (2006) and Nightmare Revisited (2008). Nightmare Revisited is amazing and highly recommended.  Amy Lee’s cover of  Sally’s Song is heartbreaking while The Polyphonic Spree give a sinister-yet- fun version of Town Meeting Song.  I will have this album on repeat until Christmas. Which reminds me, What do I want for Christmas? Oh, just this Deluxe Edtion of The Art of Tim Burton, however the standard edition would be acceptable. For an enjoyable experience, take a look at his website. You move his character,  Stain Boy, through the Public or Private Gallery.  Since I missed his exhibit at the MoMA in New York, this is as close as I’ll get for now.

Enjoy his short film from 1982, Vincent.

-Sabrina S.