Apr 20, 2024

War & the Long Peace

This is a somber, but ultimately insightful video. Watch until the end to see how it flips to the positive.

Many of us never experienced World War 2, or fully  understand it. Recent, and developing events are quite concerning, but it helps to zoom out to see just how good the world has been.

The Long Peace may end, but not likely. Humanity have learned and and evolved since WW2...hopefully. We may worry about the future, but we can rely on knowledge of the past; peace has benefited generations. We are better than we have ever been. We don't know what will happen, but we can take solace in the fact that the odds of continuing the Long Peace are much higher than its end.

Then again, the specter of WW3 haunts us.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." 

Albert Einstein 
ZEROSVN Tech Enthusiast

Apr 12, 2024

Movie thoughts: 12.12: The Day

My all-time favorite movie is Kingdom of Heaven. It is a story of righteousness and honor, even in defeat.

Life is fraught with trials and tribulations: struggles beyond one's ability to cope and control. So, how do you fight and continue to fight for the right things?
Where do you draw that courage from? Religion? Hope? Those you care about? Or is it honor?
Kingdom of Heaven asks these questions and provides some good answers.
Beyond good acting, inspirational dialog, awesome cinematography, and great direction, Kingdom of Heaven sort of became my moral compass. It was THAT good.

Cut to November 2023 when I saw 12,12: The Day.
This movie was shaping up to be another Kingdom of Heaven for me. It's more visceral, dark, but the fight was similar. Two sides vying for power. Good guys vs kinda bad guys.

It's been a hot minute since I first saw Kingdom of Heaven. In the intervening years, I've become older, hopefully wiser, but definitely more jaded. My view of the World isn't as positive or naive as it once was. Life has a tendency to grind you down. I've become more tired, jaded, less hopeful than I was, but that fire to do the right thing still burns inside. The mantra of "Be the change you wish to see in the world" still resonates deep within me.

I watched 12,12 without knowing much about it. My wife told me it's some Korean action/drama about a real event, but that's about it.

Boy was I surprised. I sat through the movie and increasing became anxious as it unfolds. I immediately identified with the good guys, but I also understood the "kinda" bad guys, and everyone in between. Wow! This movie got deep and complex with so many characters. I love it!

As I was munching my popcorn, I found myself getting drawn into the event more and more. The many fights and surprises kept me on the edge of my seat. Good stuff!

Then the end came. Holy smokes! What the hell?! Noooo!

Spoiler Alert: The side I rooted for in all this struggles lost! After so much struggles and pains and support...how can it end like this?! I was shocked and distraught.
The ending hits me hard and shook me to my core.

I always thought doing the right thing is worthwhile. I always believed that light will be at the end of the tunnel. No matter how long or how dark it is, hard work perserveres. Yet, here is an outcome where it doesn't. Doing the right thing here, even for people waffling in the middle, didn't work. It was an utter failure.

Then comes the next shock: this was a real story that actually played out in Korea. What results is a regime of "bad guys", but it wasn't that bad. I mean, life went on and it was fine. The balance eventually swung back, but even before that, it was fine..

This is when I found myself asking an existential question: does it even matter to fight hard for the right thing?
It made me question my constant push to do the right things and to make the world better (at least in whatever capacity I have).

Do I give up now? Do I just go with the flow because it's not that bad either way?

The lessons from this movie are tough for me to accept, but it is real life. I have since embraced it while not giving up on what I think is right. All the things I know and appreciate are worth fighting for, so I will continue to fight.

Being middle-aged, I find myself still learning and growing. This is an experience that adds to my definition of right and wrong, and the path forward.

Wow! What a movie!

ZEROSVN Tech Enthusiast

Apr 9, 2024

Movie thoughts: Civil War

This is Alex Garland's (director of Annihilation & Ex Machina) latest and last movie. He specializes in movies that make you think.

This movie depicts a fictitious future where civil war breaks out in America.
Written in 2020, Civil War is fictitious, but there are some parralels in real life (recent border crisis led to renewed talks of Texas seceeding). It's scary, but let's focus on the film.

My wife and I saw it last night. Wow! What a visceral depiction of war on American soil. The suspense/stress in some sequences is unreal. The movie does a great job at putting you in the war. It's an odd feeling, but it gets to the point where you'd want to hear gun shots to put your mind at ease, because it's away from you. Crazy to think of it as daily life for some folks.

I've seen many war movies, and Michael Bay films. I'm no stranger to explosions or the sharp "pings" of bullet shells, but this movie makes it feel so real. The constant unease and restlessness you experience is hard to describe.

When we got out of the movie, we both felt relief and a certain level of PTSD. Thank God it was just a movie.

We've also traveled to countries where we saw real destruction & military presence in civilian life. Serbia stood out as they still have big holes in bombed out buildings and burnt rubbles. Our bus was stopped at military checkpoints in Russia, a tourist police with gun accompanied us in Jordan (to keep us safe), and we saw men with huge semi-autos guarding McDonald's in Guatemala. Heck, I used to find bullets while foraging for copper as a kid (yes, that's a thing in 3rd-world countries). All that is to say: I've experienced real bits and pieces of war-torn places, but that's all after the fact. Nothing prepared me for the feeling of being in it like this movie.

This is an A24 movie so it makes you think, but this "thinking" is accompanied by such a visceral feel. Its cycle of fear, relief, suspense, fear, stress, shock...becomes a sort of wartime state of mind. Even as you become desensitized, the humanity in you questions who you are as crazy things happen around you, then you realize it doesn't matter because you might not live though it.
In our daily life, we have alot of control. In war, you become a ragdoll, thrown around, kicked around, and just existing until some future point where it hopefully stops. Hopefully you are alive at that point. Even then, you won't be you anymore.

This film takes us into a future of what could be. Now we get to think about why and how we can prevent it.
There are plenty who romanticize war & idealogy. This movie is a counterstatement to that romance.

Reminder: we have several wars going on in the world right now. In fact, on my upcoming vacation, I am going near one of them. Hopefully things don't get crazy. One realistic war movie is enough, I don't need to experience the real thing.

Oh shoot, I forgot we have an upcoming election where...nevermind.
ZEROSVN Tech Enthusiast