Monday, November 14, 2011

Documentary :: Nazi: The Occult Conspiracy

On the coattails of the inspiring Allied soldiers' stories from my recently reviewed D-Day To Victory,
Nazi: The Occuly Conspiracy is the scariest documentary I've ever seen.

Symbology, pagan rituals replacing Christian festivals, controlling bloodlines and Norse mythology detailed like never before, explaining the more bizarre of Hitler's tactics during his rise to power and how ancient stories helped his elite fuel Hitler's God-like influence.

The documentary discusses how pre-WWII Germany's belief in the occult was strongly tied to anti-Jewish sentiment, 
the possibility that the Aryan race was the remains of the people of Atlantis,
and even the influence of Hindu reincarnation beliefs were all brought together by the Nazi party. 

I had no idea that Heinrich Himmler funded expeditions to find the Holy Grail (unsuccessfully) and dozens of other ancient beliefs that the Nazi party used to solidify a nation under their new religion during the lead up to World War II

The ultimate manipulation of rhetoric. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

TV :: D-Day To Victory

I somehow managed to go through high school having never learned about World War II.

Whether it was my own fault for mixing regular classes with "advanced" ones,
my social studies curriculum never once mentioned the atrocities that occurred all across Europe
or Hitler's name.  Once or twice I saw a horrified look on a grade 12 teacher's face when I mentioned this oversight to them.

Luckily, I have a curious nature and am an avid history fan in my own right.

Over the years, I've taught myself to some extent,
absorbing many a documentary about WWII (adding on The Great War & the Korean conflict as well).

This November, it was fated that I would PVR a stunning 6-part documentary on the History channel that changed the way I looked at World War II.

D-Day To Victory is a collection of in-depth interviews with the last surviving soldiers who fought during the war, set to painfully detailed, beautifully recreated scenes of the actual explosive armaments the men actually used and archived footage of the trenches themselves.

The slow-motion reenactments of the explosions and artillery fire interspersed with elegant close-ups of the former soldiers telling their stories are the most impressive I've ever seen, brilliantly used to tie together the soldier's narratives with countryside carnage of small towns torn apart and massive exploding tiger tanks.  So many awe-inspiring sights set to the real stories of some of the only Allied men remaining. 

According to Macleans magazine, the explosions were staged at CFB Gagetown, where historical battle sites were recreated and then blown up for the cameras.  Builders crafted replica concrete pillboxes and bunkers from the beaches of Normandy, recreated the streets of Berlin as they would have appeared, and erected fake French church steeples similar to those destroyed by bombardments.  
The sets were then blown up using era-specific weapons including grenades, flame throwers, Schmeisser submachine guns and Katyusha rockets.

 Hal Baumgarten (featured in the image above) was one of my favourites, as well as one of the most memorable.  Unabashedly truthful and spirited, he retells his stumbling journey through the battlefield of D-Day
 (injured 5 times in an hour, including having a hole blown through his cheek and teeth by shrapnel).

All and all, their stories really are the heart of the documentary.  

Omitting their current ages is one of doc's smartest tactics ( expect for military men old enough during WWII to be officers (now admirably in their 90's) ).  During their interviews, each man's personality and memories of the same events differs so drastically from the next.  Many tell stories of becoming a man in a matter of days after being dropped on the beaches of Normandy and losing their best friend, while others appear more stolid as aloof  RAF bombardiers.  I almost laughed out loud when one episode juxtaposed an RAF man talking about the exhilaration of their first assaults in the Netherlands with that of a foot soldier who had to hide under a tank while the Allied planes overhead accidentally bombed a field that was the same shape as one farther down the road.  

The black and white photos of them during duty make it clear how very few were over the age of 25 when thrown into combat.  I had to keep reminding myself that the majority of the interviewees were octogenarians who had lived decades of their civilian lives outside of those faded photographs.  They spoke as if it happened yesterday.

I finished the 6 hour long episodes feeling like I'd heard countless stories that, for many of the veterans interviewed, were told for the last time.  I found them to be a set of well produced, very moving tributes to each and every one of their sacrifices.  The series is truly a legacy and a gift to the veterans, future historians and viewers alike.  I can't say enough about it.

The D-Day To Victory website is super interactive, taking you through 3D environments to hear many of the stories highlighted in the doc.  Please do visit it below, as it's one of the most impressive sites about the war I am yet to see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sometimes I question whether I have accomplished enough at my age.
Whether or not I am on par with my peers.
Whether or not I can achieve greatness.

But then I remember this picture of Bill Gates exists & I don't feel so bad.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interactive Advertising :: LIGHTS

Ellie Goulding is a gorgeous 24 year-old up and coming British singer you may not have heard of (yet).  

I love her voice.  The talented singer, who won the BBC Sound of 2010 poll and was also awarded the Critics Choice Award at the 2010 BRIT Awards, will be the only singer to perform at the reception.  She rose to even bigger stardom in England when the Royal newlyweds invited her to perform at Buckingham Palace at the after-dinner party. 

'Lights' is decidedly my favourite song from her 2010 album (Lights).  I have had the UK Album Chart's number one ranking chart topper on my iPod for at least six months now, but only recently found this gem of an interactive website via her Facebook feed.

Clicking the 'Play' button treats you to the beginning of a monochrome field of flickers, globular spheres embedded as you travel through the landscape as a little ball of light (the song blaring in the background).

As the chorus mounts, a seizure-enducing, beat-activated explosion of colour jumps up and morphs into at least 6 more environments to navigate through with the click of a mouse.

Most interesting is the sea of Twitter screen names you randomly fly through, adding a self-rewarding social media experience for users who retweet the website on their accounts.  

Small pay off, but I still replayed the song twice more to find my name.  
Ergo, repetition tactic successful.

I am yet to find my own name, so I can't account for how long the turn around is from tweet time to it showing up in the psychedelic song trip.  Hopefully you will.

This is the best GIF ever, BTW.
The animation isn't the most advanced, but it serves the purpose.  As a promotional tool for the song, I found it a simplistic, fun, (and most of all) an interactive song experience the likes of which I'd never seen before.

Even if you're too busy holding the mouse down to Starfox-barrell roll the hell out of that cursor, the song is still playing loudly in the background and the subliminal marketing effort behind it says the song will be slightly more recognizable the next time you hear it.

(Plus, the balls wedged in the ground reminded me of the Voltorbs & Electrodes in 1999 nintendo cult classic Pok√©mon Snap.  Is it just me?)

Click [ HERE ] to visit the site.
( Muting it and playing the voice of the "Double Rainbow" guy over the animation is optional )

Graph :: Kill Da Wabbit

Friday, November 4, 2011

Video :: Doot-Doot Doot Doot Doot-Doot

A great promotional video for the Manitoba Museum's very exciting big top adventure,
Circus! Science Under The Big Top (now until April 9th, 2011).

I'm very excited to see it and walk the steel cable suspended 2.7 metres (8.85 feet) in the air.

I'd like to think I've got the guts.  

I'll probably wind up being a tiger instead and squeezing myself into that tiny box. 
I know myself pretty well.

[ credit goes to my peers & heroes, 
Jeremy Williams (listed as a member of the Shaw TV team) 
Caitlin MacGregor ]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Video :: Happy Ham'O'Ween

The pigs from Angry Birds have the same costume idea as Charlie Sheen.
They are only slightly less gross and laden with self-exploding debauchery.

Since I forgot to post this yesterday, it serves as a reminder of why you shouldn't be a pig with the candy you may or may not have left from last night.

Good night to the sweet pumpkin patch.
Hello to the scratchy facial hair of Movember.