Nike ad campaign and it’s implications…

The Nike ad campaign is obviously designed to stir people up and create a buzz about the Nike product.  But when does advertising cross a line in the messages they sell and market to the population?  In the past rock musicians have been put on the spot for the content of their songs.  For example, the band Judas Priest was put on trial for lyrics that supposedly drove two fans to commit suicide.     Ozzy Osborne also had to deal with such accusations.  There have been many controversial ads in past years.  Some have been removed because people have found them offensive such as the H&M “Coolist monkey in the jungle” sweatshirt.   But this particular ad encourages people to throw caution to the wind and not think about the consequences to themselves or others.  Is this a good message during a time when the US has become so polarized?

My husband was browsing through people’s reactions to the ad campaign and read it allowed to me.  The first thing that came to mind was the Twin Towers in New York City.  I felt sick at the thought that this very phrase could encourage such darkness.  Average people think about their actions and how these actions will affect their future and their loved ones.  I am assuming that Nike was trying to encourage athletes to do their best, but  “Believe in something” does not stipulate that it has to be something positive or kind.  Something could quite literally mean anything good or bad.  They are also telling the public they should “sacrifice everything” and “just do it.”  I wonder how hard did they really think about what they were encouraging in this day and age of constant media bombardment.  With Internet trolls, school bullies, intense political hatred, and concern over social media and it’s affect upon US elections as well as our younger generations, is it wise to send this message to a fragile soul who may be on the verge of just doing something and sacrificing everything?  This is a message of extremes.

So my husband and I started brain storming of various situations of where this ad campaign could be used as a call for action.  We easily came up with some rather dark figures from history and I am sure we are missing many examples, but we started to grow concerned that there was no one positive that we could call upon.  We really had to think hard.

These are the dark and somewhat foreboding ideas that we came up with.  I think they speak for themselves.

The event known as 911.

 

 

 

Here are what I would deem as positive examples.  These are all tied to famous people, but I can imagine that many firefighters, police officers, rescue workers, and soldiers would also fall into the positive category of someone who believed in something and literally risked their lives to do what they believed in, but risking their lives does not mean sacrificing everything which would also include the people around them.  So it doesn’t quite fit.  The people that hid the Jews and other people hunted by the Nazis were actually taking a risk that would sacrifice everything, but I don’t know the names of these brave souls, so we used Anne Frank as an example of their belief in something.

Anne Frank, victim of the Holocaust during World War II – she was hidden by people who dared to defy the NAZI party.  We used her picture to stand for the unknown people that risked everything.

 

Jesus Christ – religious figure ( I think you can find information on him on your own.)

There are also many characters in literature that would go to extremes to get what they want.  Some would risk dying to obtain their goals and risk everyone and everything around them.  Someone so selfish has to be at the apex of what is described as evil.  Hopefully, you will enjoy the humor of this character being used as an example for this ad campaign that is encouraging people to go to extremes without a thought for anyone or anything else.

Sheev Palpatine – the ultimate villain in the Star Wars Universe.

 

G. Winkler ©2018

PS – Remember this is just my opinion, and I am not encouraging anyone to go to extremes.  Please think before you go off and do something stupid.  Think!

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Culture, current events, Marketing

Senator McCain

I am not a Republican.  I am not a Democrat.  I am non-partisan.  I can make my own choices and do not need a group to tell me how to feel or think.  I can do that fine on my own.

During the 2000’s I discovered that I was having health problems, so I decided since we didn’t have much money for doctor visits and had sporadic healthcare that I would make healthy changes on my own.  One of the things I decided to remove from my diet was High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  I had to throw away a lot of food items.  I was shocked how this stuff had been added to so many things for no apparent reason.  I also discovered to my dismay that I was actually addicted to the product.  I craved it like I was starving to death.  I had never had any addiction before to anything and this was quite new and very disturbing.  To honestly feel as if one is starving to the point of becoming angry is…..disturbing.  Why would anyone put this into their product?  Did they know what it was doing? How could the FDA approve of such a product?

I started writing to manufacturers of my favorite products such as Pepsi, Dreyer’s Ice Cream, various breakfast cereal companies, and Nabisco Oreo Cookies.  One never got a satisfying reply from any of these companies, but for every person willing to ask or show concern, there about 99 others thinking the same thing but are too lazy to write.  So I did.  I tried to increase the knowledge of others about this product.  I even posted a collected page of pdf articles on my own website that discussed what High Fructose Corn Syrup was. http://www.observationpost42.com/html/wendells_cubical_wall.php

It is the Internet, and one can say just about anything, so I collected various sources to show the different perspectives of the product.  And during this time I fought with the strange addictive qualities that would pop up from time to time.  (It took over a year to get the stuff out of my body.)  Absolute hunger for no reason and nothing would satiate that feeling……except something with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it.

Then Hurricane Katrina happened.  The stories of the strange desperation and violence that was shed upon the victims of the storm.  Over a 1000 people died from that storm.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina  And the stories in the news about the violence was disturbing.  It was often said that many of the victims were poor people.  And during that time many poor people would buy fast food such as burgers, french fries, fried chicken, pizza, and so forth because at the time it was pretty affordable.  I know.  My husband and I used to by the $1 Burger King Whoopers during the early 90’s because we didn’t have much money to spend on food.  So we did what we could.  I am sure the food in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina did the same thing.  I also had to give up eating fast food because the High Fructose Corn Syrup was in the ketchup, the fries, the buns,  even the meat sometimes, the sauces, the pickles, and the sodas…..  I actually made the mistake of eating fast food during this time because we were helping a friend move and the only place to eat was McDonalds.   We were in an isolated small town.   I felt strange after about a half hour of eating the food and then my legs and feet swelled and my stomach felt wrong.  I could not go to the doctor because at that time I didn’t have healthcare.  I also don’t think the doctors would have understood what happened.  I stayed in that condition for two whole months.  It was awful.  There was something in the food.  (We now suspect it wasn’t just HFCS but also MSG and high salt content that contributed to this extreme body change.)  But imagine how powerful these chemicals are on one’s body to have that kind of affect.

So back to Hurricane Katrina….I started thinking about how the people behaved angrily and violently as if they had a right to do what they did.  Some complained on TV that they were starving.  Some of these people that complained were very overweight.  An overweight person should have calories to burn in difficult situations unless their stomach and brain was telling them something else.  They were all more than likely addicted to High Fructose Corn Syrup.  It wasn’t that they were fat pigs or stupid poor people….they were suffering from an addiction that they were not even aware of.  The relief workers were probably handing them bottles of fresh clean water that could not satiate their thirst for HFCS.

When this realization came to me, I decided to write to someone in the public service that would understand suffering and have some kind of power to say or do something.  I wrote to Senator John McCain.  He was not my state senator.  He was one of the candidates for President, but he had the right stuff to be able understand my concern.    I knew other people were worried about this stuff as well, but no one was listening.  The High Fructose Corn Syrup lobbyists were obviously very powerful and they actually tried to change the name of their product at one point, which was after I got my letter out and things started to happen.

Now I am not saying that my letter was the only one that mattered or that I know for sure that Senator McCain did something about the problem.  I just know that about six months after I sent that letter I started seeing bread with marketing blurbs on their product saying no HFCS.  It started to grow from there.  I like to think that in some small way I helped to get the word out and that Senator John McCain or someone in his staff helped in some manner to make the citizens of this country a bit more healthy.  Something changed for the better.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is not allowed in Europe.  It is also illegal in Mexico as well.  That is why there is “Mexican Coke” products.  I don’t have the cravings anymore, but I still have problems with my body knowing when I am full and when to stop eating.  Something was damaged by the chemicals in that product, and I am stuck with it….as far as I know.  I just have to consciously monitor how much I eat.

G. Winkler ©2018

 

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Posted in Culture, current events, Inspiration

The Star Wars Enigma

So you may have heard rumors of all kinds of drama involving Star Wars and the fans of Star Wars…you think….who cares?  If you are not a fan of the Star Wars Universe, then that attitude is understandable.  You are not going to understand  or care about what is going on.  But I am a big fan of Star Wars, and I am not sure I understand what is going on.

I have been trying to piece it together and understand what exactly is happening.  Some of it seems fan driven while other aspects seem more like a marketing department’s tactics.  Much like our modern day politics in the US, I am suspicious of so called grass roots upswing of unrest.  The surge of almost violent hatred is curious since my past experience with Star Wars fans has been very positive.  No matter what costume you wear, even opposing forces, have been positive.  The fans are often like a big family.

So what is the problem?  It seemed to start with the Star Wars Solo movie, but in reality stripping away the marketing nonsense…it starts with The Last Jedi film.  What was wrong with The Last Jedi?  Okay, this topic could require me to write a book that a non Star Wars fan would not be interested in reading.  (I am assuming I have an audience of fans and non-fans.)  The first problem with The Last Jedi is probably no George Lucas involvement.  He was the guy that invented the whole Star Wars thing and worked with many creative minds and put together an amazing Universe of characters, settings, and concepts.  So this stuff was established.  People loved it.  The next problem is probably the set of films referred to as the Prequels.  The three Prequel films explain how we ended up with the most iconic bad guy in our current pop culture.  Darth Vader is known throughout the world, and probably parts of distant galaxies by now…  So what was wrong with the Prequels?  No much.  Some superficial problems with too much CGI, comic relief character Jar Jar Binks a bit too stupid, a child actor that seemed too young to play the role believably, and of course the Midichlorians.  I think I hate the Midichlorians the most because they alter they way the established story worked.  The other stuff did not affect the story line or the quality of the story telling.  The acting and artwork was great.  So what happened?  I suspect with the blossoming of social media popularity and everyone wanting to share their opinion whether it was worth listening to or not, came a great deal of complaining and whining about the Prequel movies.  I liked them.  Sure, those items above were what I thought was less than perfect, but the stories were still good.  I imagine that it must have been very difficult to play Anakin Skywalker as a young adult.  Hayden Christensen had to make someone be appealing to an intelligent love interest enough for marriage and children to happen while slowly being turned into something dark and sinister.  Not an easy task.  I have noticed that he tends to avoid media  contact and the child that played the young version of Anakin, Jake Lloyd, actually ended up in jail for a while.  The young actor left acting due to the fact that he was being bullied by classmates.  We live in dark times.  I think the complaining about the Prequels opened the door for more aggressive behavior.

Imagine now, being in George Lucas’s shoes and being harassed by these strange so called rabid fans of Star Wars.  I have my doubts as to whether one could actually call them fans.  The toxic nature of their behavior is curious.  What has happened to people?  In the old days when people didn’t like something, they just stopped watching and buying stuff.  The creators either fixed things or gave up.  The business people simply move on to something else that will make money, but it is a bit harder for artists to simply walk away.  Most art is created out of love and the desire to share.  So when the fans became toxic, it actually hurt the artists involved.  Some decided to move on to other projects while others needed to separate themselves from what was causing them pain.

So what does this stuff have anything to do with current Star Wars and what is happening now?  One needs to understand the history behind the fandom before understanding what is happening now, and that is what I am attempting to do.  I don’t understand why Disney and their writers decided to do what they did with the story line.  It feels more like marketing a product than creating something out of love and a desire to share.  What they have put together lacks soul and appeals to current dramas being played out in current events here in the US while still trying to make a quick buck off a very popular franchise.  This is not the mindset of a person who wants to create an amazing story wrought forth from the very depths of their soul and heart.  If you don’t understand what I am saying…then you are not a writer or an artist.  And that’s okay.  We are all different, but I am trying to explain what I think is going on.  It bothers me because I do love Star Wars, and I have written work that is based in the Star Wars Universe.   And mind you not simple fan fiction.  Lots of research involved in this process.  Lots of effort to be mindful of previous artists’ work.  One does not ignore the foundations established by earlier artists.  Respecting established character development and setting development is important and vital for a work to be truly part of an already established fictional Universe.  One does not simply make Captain Kirk into a black woman because they think she will appeal to people and make a lot of money.  One develops new characters if you need to.  One does not destroy the beloved heroes and villains that fans have been enjoying for most of their lifetime.  It pisses people off, and to be honest I think it is lazy.  If you see a need for a particular hero or villain from a portion of the population, you don’t rob Peter to pay Paul.  You make something wonderful and original.

So when I watched The Last Jedi wanting those amazing moments with Han, Leia, Luke, Chewy, C-3PO, and R2D2….I did not get them.  They killed Han Solo off  in The Force Awakens and painfully ignored a major cinematic moment when Chewy and Princess Leia should have embraced each other in tearful grief over the loss of their beloved Han Solo.  Instead, Chewbacca and Princess Leia walked past each other and Leia embraces Rey, a girl she barely knows.  It didn’t make sense.  Strangely enough, I was actually hoping that Han had been rescued miraculously somehow by Mara Jade or Lando Calrissian and would show up in The Last Jedi.  That didn’t happen.  Why would I think that?  Well, you see there are books that have been written about the years after The Return of Jedi movie that have been very popular with fans.  The Mara Jade character was one of the new characters added along with Grand Admiral Thrawn.  People love these characters and wanted to see them.  So understandably they were disappointed.   I think Star Wars fans were hoping that something awesome would occur with their favorite characters.  I think they still had open minds to the possibilities even with the obvious changes made in The Force Awakens.  Curiously, in the new movies most of the original characters are kept separate of each other or having been given such minimal parts that they are barely noticed.  So the super hero trio was basically kept apart.  Weird considering their on screen chemistry was part of what made the films so enjoyable.

So what am I getting at with all this stuff about character development?  Well, Luke Skywalker is an iconic hero, or at least he was.  The boy next door who has a heart of gold and tries to do the right thing.  I think Finn is supposed to be one of these characters as well, but he keeps wanting to run away all the time, which is weird.  The dark nature that the Disney writers placed upon Luke was as if they were trying to take advantage of Mark Hamill’s successful depiction of the Joker, the Trickster, and Fire Lord Ozai.  Luke Skywalker is a pure hero, not a fallen one like Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader.  To change a character so drastically was disrespectful to all the artists who had worked on the 40 years of Star Wars Universe films, books, and comics.  And like I said, we live in dark times.  We don’t have many heroes.   For example Bill Cosby being a sexual predator, Matt Lauer being accused of inappropriate behavior in the work place, and the too numerous antics of sports icons behaving in less than admirably such as the Olympic star -Ryan Lochte.    And these people at Disney decided that it was okay to rob people during dark social times of a hero that people looked upon as a role model.  I wish we had more people like the original Luke Skywalker.  We need them.  People from all walks of life loved Luke.  Contrary to marketing people’s thoughts, you don’t have to be a straight white male to love, look up to, or aspire to be like Luke Skywalker.  This is fiction and we can escape and be whomever we want while watching these movies or reading these books.

I was actually depressed for two months after seeing The Last Jedi.  I didn’t say anything because I thought people would laugh at me or say I was being silly about finding joy in fictional stories.  But in dark times, we need inspiration that lifts our hearts so that we can continue on.  We need those heroes whether they are Captain America, Captain Sisko, Wonder Woman, the Airbender Aang, or Doctor Who….we need our heroes and the inspiration they inspire within us.

I think this is just one of the reasons why there is so much angst going on within the Star Wars fan community.  We need our role models even though they may not be real people that look exactly like us.  It is their actions and journey of transformation that inspires us.

 

G. Winkler © 2018

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Posted in Culture, Mental Health, Star Wars

Jango Fett on Safari

I have been doing digital photography of action figures for many years now.  I do it for fun.  It’s a nice creative outlet that tends to cheer me up when I am feeling down.  I actually did an online comic series with action figures called Landsknechts Gone Wild!  It was a story about office frustration and what would happen if 1500’s mercenaries showed up and how they were not like the modern world.  It was silly, but I had fun doing it.  My husband helped me with some of the set creation.  http://www.observationpost42.com/html/year_2008.php  I did this for five years until we moved and had no space for the massive setup process.

So I have a love for Star Wars and my husband likes to collect action figures, so we started collecting the 6 inch Hasbro Black Series.  These figures are nicely made.  Some have better posing powers than others, and I think that is natural considering all the different types of clothing and gear that the characters wear.  Some figures I tend to use more often than others.

So the other day I took Jango Fett with me on a hike.  I will do this once and awhile for fun to encourage me to think….there is a problem solving process that happens when one stages these figures for photos.  The goal is to make them look realistic like these fit in with the natural setting.  I think this is a process that every movie director must go through to create an illusion of certain events.  So, one needs to be mindful of objects that will break the illusion.  This may require proper placement and angle or sometimes simply cropping out the offending object, but sometimes that’s impossible.  Planning ahead is better.  It’s part of the composition process that all artists have to do to make good artwork.

So I thought I would share some of the photos that I got of Jango Fett.

Jango looks pretty good on this rock, the background is blurred so that helps to take the attention away from recognizable plants such as sagebrush, which could ruin the illusion. His shadow looks nice and in this photo his pose makes you wonder what he is focusing upon.

 

Different angles are useful for creating that illusion and feeling of telling a story.  The photo turned out nice and clear.  Even for pictures of real people the lessons I have learned while working with the toys has been helpful.  But I can seldom get my “human models” to behave so perfectly for me. 🙂

 

Don’t be afraid of closeup shots.   So often we take family photos that are too far away.

 

I like this shot, but…. the helmet seems a bit blurry and the angle and lighting of his gun hand completely hides the weapon.  These strange things happen that are not always noticeable out in the field.  It made a great picture into an okay picture.  At least in my opinion.

 

I really like this shot and I did it on purpose….but can you see that Jango has a little visitor?  I had to be really quick.  And I am not the best photographer with my cell phone.

 

Everything looks pretty believable in this photo, and he has a fun action ready posture.  You can see all his gear clearly and the small blades of growing grass seem plausible.

 

Still trying to get that facing forward shot but the gun and helmet seem blurry or perhaps washed out.  Maybe some work in Photoshop would help….tried lowering the brightness level and increasing the contrast….it did not make it any better.  Professional photographers will take many multiple shoots of the same view to try and get that perfect moment right.  Also action figures can act like tiny drunks and fall over a lot!

 

One more try…and the laser pistol is still blurry.  Oh well.  I can’t let this get me down.  I can always try again some other time.  This is part of the journey of learning how to take good images of objects or people.

Now I have been doing this a long time and I started because my husband some years ago showed me an online comic that did digital photography, and I was inspired.  There is another group of people who do amazing photos with this series of toys.  They are known as the Chip Monsters on Twitter as well as facebook and Instragram.  I discovered them on Twitter.  Their work makes my photos look ridiculous.  I think they are some of the best out there.  Here is a link to their Twitter page, so you can check them out. https://twitter.com/thechipmonsters?lang=en

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my photos of my hobby.  And yes, I took all these pictures with a cell phone camera.  Perhaps you will find something that inspires you to take fun little photos to share with friends.

G. Winkler  ©2018

 

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Posted in Art, Digital Photography, Inspiration, Star Wars, Toys

Back to Arrowcreek trail

It’s been a while since I lasted did a post.  I have been busy working on several novels.  I am in one of those break periods when an author should spend some time away from the manuscript, so that later, one can edit the project with keener vision.

So I took a hike back to a spot that I photographed some years ago.  It was back on May 13, 2014 and was called Lower Thomas Creek Trail.  I tend to call it Arrowcreek because of the housing development that is in that area.  Looking back to the photos that I took then….not much has changed.  I think it is a little greener due to the better water conditions.  Some of the vegetation is denser, but there were less flowers.  I also think the old car had aged more and it had more vegetation growing up close to it.  If I wait another four years to see it again, I may not be able to find it.

I hope you enjoy some of the images I took on this little hike.

There were more of these back in 2014…

Mt Rose looks pretty in the distance

The water was running more aggressively this time, which is good for the area in general.

Here is the old car. My Mom thinks this got lodged here during a flash flood that happened during the mid sixties. There were no houses in this area during that time.

Trail comes back to a nice little park good for kids.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

G.Winkler ©2018

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Posted in Digital Photography, Flowers, Nevada, Photography, Travel

Thistles

These are probably some of the most unapproachable plants in the area.  They kinda remind me of a Sarlacc pit with all those pointy things poking out towards the sky.  But they do have a lovely color and an interesting yet prickly construction.  So this morning when I saw a bunch of the dreadful things while taking a walk, I thought…..Oh hey, I should take pictures of these.  And here are my results.  These thistles do lend themselves as being great for photographic subjects.   I left the images large you you can enjoy the detail that I was able to capture.  I hope you enjoy my little collection here.

G. Winkler  ©2017

This one especially made me think of the Sarlacc Pit on Tatooine because of all the center point inside.

 

 

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Posted in Art, Flowers, Nevada, Photography

Fake Calls for Help

This morning my elderly Mom just got a call for help from a young female that sounded like one of my nieces.  The sobbing female said she was in jail after being in a car accident.  This woman skillfully got my Mom to ask if she was one of my niece’s and say the name.  My Mom said that she didn’t sound  like herself and the sobbing female instantly said that she had broken her nose and could not talk correctly.  There was a great deal of “I’m so sorry to ask you this,” “I need money for bail,” “I only have one phone call,” and she wasn’t very clear about where she was calling from only that it was a jail in California.  She said a man would call back who had been assigned as her public defender.  Now mind you, her crime is being in a car accident without a driver’s license….hmm.

Needless to say is that this is a fraudulent call for help.  This type of scammer wants to victimize people who want to do good for their family and friends.  After getting off the phone, my first inclination was to call my niece’s mother and truly determine if she was indeed missing.  It was discovered that my niece was at her work and perfectly fine.  The message here is double check everything.  Depending upon your family or your friend, there are a number of avenues that you should take before believing such a call.  What gets me is that this upset my elderly mother and these people direct these type of scams at seniors.

So if you have elderly people in your life, sit down with them and discuss these types of phone calls and make them aware.  Make plans to have a secret password or series of questions that should be answered to prove you are indeed their loved one.  This could also affect younger people as well wishing to help friends in emergencies.  This person on the phone was a good actor and highly skilled at keeping the situation at a heightened level of distress.  When I got on the phone I attempted to calm her down and re-assure her, which strangely enough didn’t work.  I also tried to get a location of where she was supposed to be and she skillfully started crying and changed the subject to not wanting to tell her father.  She could not concentrate enough to tell me where she was, but was able to give me a case number using very clear language to make sure that I didn’t get confused on that number.

We later checked the phone ID number and it was a series of zeros.  I don’t answer blocked phone numbers or numbers that don’t give a proper ID.  This is something else that should be discussed with family members as well.    There have been scams like this before on facebook with someone trapped in a foreign country needing help.  These are not new, but when they happen to you personally, they take you by surprise, and that is why I am blogging about this so others will be able to recognize this as a scam more readily.

Remember double check these kind of stories or else you may be taken in by a good actor, who someday will find that karma has a way of finding them.

G. Winkler ©2017

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Posted in Consumer alert, fraud