Category Archives: Art

The Great Teacher

If I understand my subject matter but not my students then I will fail as a teacher.

If I understand my students but not my subject matter then I will fail as a teacher.

If I understand both my students and my subject matter then I will become a great teacher.

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I Love the King!

hugh-fox-i-love-the-king

A1 Sized Lamination in Bangkok

I wanted to laminate some HeroClix maps and I live in Thailand. Large sized lamination is very common in North East Asia and the US but finding a place in Thailand is not easy. Bangkok Blueprint can handle A1 sized (594 x 841 mm/23.4 x 33.1 in) lamination.

A1 sized Lamination in Bangkok 1

Bangkok Blueprint has several locations. This post is aimed at farang living in Thailand and all farang know where MBK is located. Take the BTS to the National Stadium BTS Station. Do not take the MBK exit but take the exit to Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. You can actually see the side of the Bangkok Blueprint building from the exit as the photos below show:

A1 sized Lamination in Bangkok 2 A1 sized Lamination in Bangkok 3

The office hours are in Thai only but seeing the office hour sign does let you know you are at the right office. Bangkok Blueprint is open M-F 8:30 am – 7 pm. Saturday 8:30-6 pm. Bangkok Blueprint is not open Sunday.

A1 sized Lamination in Bangkok 4

Again this article is aimed at farang like myself that live in Thailand and don’t know Thai. The Bangkok Blueprint has four other locations but you will need Thai to figure out where they are using their website but I am providing the link anyway:

http://www.bangkokblueprint.com/

 

 

Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer

Below is a picture of my very small home bar before I decided to Zootopia it! The small bar includes Kahlua and Baileys for drinks for the girls. Whiskey and coke is the drink of choice for most men in Asia. I am a Chang beer guy myself. The Gilbey’s vodka and gin are there more to frame the composition than for consumption. The small home bar was practical but not very exciting visually.

Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer 1

I bought a Nick Wilde action figure for half price at the Isetan toy department in Central World in Bangkok. Whiskey really should be in the freezer anyway so putting the whiskey in the freezer, opened up a space for the Nick Wilde figure. My last name is fox and there is no way I was letting this impressive fox figure get away! I do collect small PVC miniatures and do have a place for the Nick Wilde and Finnick mini character pack that I bought at the same time.

Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer 2

I don’t really have a place for an action figures in my small studio apartment and never will. I like minis not action figures. I remembered that lots of stalls in Bangkok sell key chains with various miniature beers. The cans are made out of paper and not the same scale as the bottles so I skipped the cans. The bottles and cans include Leo, Sinha and Chang and are made of plastic and there is attention to detail in their production. They come with a miniature bottle opener.

Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer 3

The bottles do have hole in them where the key chain part is stuck on. The holes were used to insert a small cable tie and attach a Heineken bottle and bottle opener to the hands of the figure. Better but still not all the interesting visual.

Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer 4 Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer 5

I remembered buying some toys at 7-11 a while back and they came in chests. I bought the toys for the chests not the contents since chests are usual for any sort of diorama involving minis. I put the bottle is the chest which is acts as a miniature cooler visually. The best part is I now have an excuse to buy miniature beer bottles of brands around the world as souvenirs in the future! The chest can be replaced with a miniature bookcase(s) down the road. I stuck an extra mini bottle in my coin purse in order to keep future additions more or less to scale. The finished project below:

Nick Wilde of Zootopia has a Beer 6

Mysterious Cartoon Ninja Fox

Ninja Fox 1 Ninja Fox 2

I pride myself on being the ESL Pop Culture teacher and especially an expert on all pop culture fox things because my last name if fox.  Can anyone out there give me any information about the PVC miniature character pictured above?  I think this is supposed to be a ninja fox.  Based on the artistic style I would say some sort of Japanese cartoon character.

Ten Types of Literary Conflict Table

Ten Types of Conflict Table

Introduction

Aristotle posited four types of conflict. Three types were external including man versus man, man versus nature and man versus society. Aristotle treated internal conflict as a category in its own right and this internal conflict is generally labeled as man versus self. This is an attempt to revamp Aristotle’s thesis and suggest there are actually five major conflictual topics and each topic can have an external versus internal perspective.

1) Man versus machine (external) – Character is in a struggle against a robot and/or computer. The Terminator franchise and the comic book hero Magnus, Robot Hunter would be examples of this type of conflict.

2) Man versus machine (internal) – The character is a cyborg and struggles to maintain a human identity despite the computer implants in their brain. Deathlok and the Robocop franchise are both examples of this type of struggle. The converse version of this type of conflict is a robot that strives to be human. Data of Star Trek would be an example of this type of struggle.

3) Man versus man (external) – The character struggles against another character or characters. A common subset is good versus evil. Batman versus the Joker would be an example of this sort of struggle. The struggle may have psychological accents but is mostly physical.

4) Man versus man (internal) – The struggle between the characters is not physical but psychological. A good example of this sort of struggle is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf by Edward Albee.  Commonly a character has a psychological problem that causes conflict with the other characters this problem can be alcoholism, neurosis, a personality disorder, or even a character flaw. The conflict is internal but the audience see’s the manifestation of the internal struggle via the effect of this conflict on other characters. Watching an alcoholic talking to himself in a room is a lot less fun to watch than watching an alcoholic at his birthday party.

5) Man versus nature (external) – The character struggle against the forces of nature. The Old Man and the Sea is an example of this sort of struggle.

6) Man versus nature (internal) – The character struggles with the animal within. The protagonist of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes must inevitably follow the dictates of social Darwinism in order to survive. There is an animal inside man and in the struggle with nature this animal may have to be unleashed for us to survive. Some Vampires may want to control their thirst for blood but the animal within is too strong. The humanity of the vampire in conflict with the vampiric urges of the vampire seems to be a recurring conflict in the works of Anne Rice and this is especially true in the case of her character Louis de Pointe du Lac.

7) Man versus society (external) – The character struggles against an authoritarian system physically (The Hunger Games).

8) Man versus society (internal) – The character resists the socialization, institutionalization, seduction or even brainwashing of an authoritarian system. Joker in Heavy Metal Jacket takes part of collective punishment to Pyle and becomes part of the system he had previously derided. Chief accepts the system in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Chief is huge yet chooses not to talk because his shackles are internal not external. The character struggles not to become institutionalized or socialized but the struggle may in turn make the character more ruthless and similar to those in the system.

The external struggle against society and the internal struggle are juxtaposed in the theme that “He who fights dragons becomes a dragon”. In Star Wars the empire provides external conflict. The Sith Lords provide external conflict with light saber duels but more importantly the Sith Lords endeavor to create anger in the Jedi and cause them to fall to the Dark Side.

9) Man versus universe (external) – The character is in a struggle against cosmic level forces such as the supernatural (The Shining), fate (Slaughterhouse Five) or even God (A Canticle for Leibowitz). Lovecraftian horror is also an example of this type of struggle but the struggle has a large internal dimension. The most common version of this cosmic level struggle is actually not with God but with the Devil in deals with the devil stories. Man is hopelessly outmatched in terms of power in this type of struggle and cannot win via power but must rely on his wits and/or luck.

The realization that the universe is absurd is generally treated as an existential crisis that falls under is (5) man versus self. However, in some cases the universe is absurd due to an external cosmic level change. The very nature of reality has altered due to unknown and often unknowable mechanisms. The TV show The Twilight Zone specialized in this type of man versus universe scenario. In the very first episode of The Twilight Zone, Where is Everybody?, a man finds himself alone in a town. All the people have mysteriously disappeared. Rod Serling, the writer bothers to come up with an “explanation” of why there are no people in this episode but in other episodes the universe has changed and no explanation is given and this is much more disturbing. In The Twilight Zone episode, And When the Sky Was Opened, astronauts start being erased from existence one by one and no real explanation is given and this lack of explanation makes the episode all the more disturbing.

Perhaps this is why zombie stories are so disturbing. One level of conflict in a zombie story is man versus man in that the protagonist must fight other humans in the struggle for resources but also must deal with the fact that the impossible has happened. Our scientific world view precludes the existence of zombies but the character must deal with a universe gone mad and this struggle is perhaps more disturbing than the struggle with zombies. If zombies are explained using a disease model as in the case of The Walking Dead then a cure might exist. However, George A. Romero realized that living dead that exist as an ontological puzzle are much more disturbing than a voodoo based or science based zombie. In Day of the Dead, Romero explores the ontological puzzle of living dead in more detail. Is the fabric of reality a fragile thing that can suddenly change? We like to think this is not the case but when the Aztecs fought the Spanish they also fought a change in their world view that perhaps was more harmful in the long run.

10) Man versus universe (internal) – The protagonist struggles with madness but the madness is so pervasive that he or she cannot tell what is real or not real. The Aviator would be an example of this type of conflict.

Handout at:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/279638847/Eight-Types-of-Conflict-Handout

 

 

Ten Common Themes

Ten Common Themes Table

1) Adversity leads to personal growth – Adversity may lead to the loss of wealth and status but lead to inner growth that would not have happened otherwise.

2) Crime does not pay – No matter how smart a criminal is the perfect crime is impossible. This may not necessarily be due to a hero but due to accidents, lack of honor among thieves and internal flaws that are part of being a criminal.

3) Death is part of the life – Literary works with this theme show how death and life and intricately connected.

4) Family comes first – Family is more important than wealth, career advancement, personal happiness, nationalism and/or other important things.

5) Good always triumphs over evil – The good guy always wins no matter what resources the villain has at his or her disposal.

6) Love conquers all – Love conquers all despite economic circumstances, geography, family objections and other obstacles.

7) Relationships requires sacrifice – This is the idea that you can’t have friends if you don’t act like a friend.

8) Revenge is poison – Revenge ultimately destroys the person who pursues revenge.

9) Sacrifices brings reward – Sacrifices and hard work pay off in the end, despite the challenges along the way.

10) Truth and happiness are not the same thing – Sometimes you have to choose between the truth and happiness. Oedipus finds out the truth about his father and mother but at the expense of his happiness.

Handout at:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/281448320/Ten-Common-Themes-Handout