2024 Denver Broncos Draft Thoughts

By “2024 Denver Broncos Draft”, I of course mean “Bo Nix”. It’s been a number of years since I’ve dedicated enough time to pre-draft research to have informed opinions about any but the top draft picks, and the intervening years have convinced me that even a lifetime dedictaed to researching and analyzing college prospects will only marginally improve your ability to project success at the pro level. A few weeks of crammed reading of others’ analysis might be interesting or fun, but it isn’t useful.

With that said, I do enjoy thinking about team building, and I am a Broncos fan. While I let the Russell Wilson era/disaster go by without breaking out the ol’ blog, the Broncos rarely draft QBs, and have only drafted one higher than the 12th overall pick just spent on Bo Nix – the 11th overall pick used to take Jay Cutler in the 2006 NFL Draft.

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Narrative and Complexity

NOTE: I wrote this on November 11th, 2016, and then let it rot in my drafts folder. I’m publishing it now because, well, why not?

Please excuse this self-indulgence. I’m a well-off white man who lives in Canada who has a great family, a great fiancee, and all of the privilege that comes with those things. If you want to dismiss this for any of those reasons, go right ahead. It’s also worth noting that nearly none of these thoughts are my own – This is merely the attempt I am making to fit them together.

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This is going to be a tricky needle to thread. My relationship with Christopher Nolan’s movies has been had its ups and downs, but it has taught me one lesson more than anything else I can think of – The value of expectations. So let’s go back to his last work.

In the lead-up to Inception’s release, I was wildly excited. Memento is one of my favourite movies, and I had baited breath for Nolan to do another one-off mind bending thriller. I went into the theatre to watch Inception more prepared for a movie than I ever have been. I was going to carefully follow everything, make sure to note every detail. As a result, I hated it. I thought Inception was an bland caper movie with paper thin characters wrapped in the cloak of a “Wow, wouldn’t this be cool” idea, an idea that Nolan spends the first 45 minutes of the movie telling us all about – particularly how cool it is. I had paid super close attention, and knowing from Memento that timelines would be good to track, didn’t have issues following what was happening, so it didn’t really “blow my mind”, either.

Inception was a massively popular movie, almost universally loved in spite of its many problems, and I’m convinced this was entirely due to my unreasonably huge expectations walking into the movie. I am sure that most fans of Inception went in with large expectations, but I would SUSPECT that most of those came from the Batman movies, not Nolan’s more complicated plots like  The Prestige, Insomnia, or Memento.

Continue reading Interstellar

The Unknown Known

One of my favourite documentaries of all time is The Fog of War. In it, Errol Morris uses his clever Interrotron to interview former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The movie plays a bit like a monologue; Morris’ voice is hardly present. The movie is structured on MacNamara’s “11 lessons”, which are given to us as he moves us through his wildly fascinating life. Ever present in The Fog of War was the invisible elephant in the room of Iraq. McNamara had, for the vast majority of his life, maintained that former Secretaries of Defense should not criticize current ones. His rhetoric and general message sure seemed pointed towards the Gulf, however, and shortly before he passed away he changed his mind and spoke publicly against the war. This was after he took part in this film, however. Clearly, Morris had something to say about Iraq with the film, though it stands alone as a study of McNamara’s life and times. Continue reading The Unknown Known

Thirty Flights of Loving

Some games have blown my mind with the quality of their storytelling. Braid’s clever use of familiar cliches told us about how perspective changes everything. Red Dead Redemption told us an amazing tale worthy of Leone. Metal Gear Solid 3 made you pull the trigger on Naked Snake’s mentor, the best use of integrating gameplay into storytelling I’ve ever seen. But I’ve never come across anything like Thirty Flights of Loving. To be fair, I’ve never come across anything else labelled a “Video Game Short Story” either, but Thirty Flights of Loving’s storytelling prowess isn’t fundamentally anchored to its gameplay(or lack-thereof) structure. It’s a proof of concept. It’s not hard to imagine adapting the cinematic jump-cut style of storytelling to a game with adventure mechanics, and a creative designer could adapt them elsewhere. TFoL opens with you descending down a staircase into a bar. You are immediately given a taste of Chung’s quirky style of humour; Mecha-Presidente, Prohibition License, and so forth. As a long time Blendo Games fan, I love this quirky stuff. I’d also recommend checking out the turn-based Homeworld-type game “Flotilla” for more of this, along with a brilliant game.

The music playing sets the mood perfectly. Its tinny nature puts us in the past. This is the kind of bar you are intimately familiar with, despite the fact that you’ve never been in one. You pull a lever disguised as a photo and descend into a hideout. A plethora of cliches assault you. A giant map, boxes of bullets, two compatriots. Interacting with them begins a series of flashes that quickly establishes everything you need to know about the situation. You are part of a crew, these are your partners in crime, they each have specialized roles. But at the end there’s something else. Caterer? Best Man? Whose wedding is this? Was it a job, or something else? Are there social bonds in this crew that go beyond our business? It’s hard to say. You advance to the whimsical aircraft, and are suddenly transported to a room, with your female teammate clicking an empty gun at you, covered in blood, with the game’s title flashed over the screen.

Thirty-Flights-of-Loving-Blendo-GamesDo you have questions? Does my summary so far seem insufficient? Then play this game.

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Grand Budapest Hotel

It is impossible, so far as I can tell, to discuss a Wes Anderson movie without discussing Wes Anderson.  If he were a car company, he’d be Morgan. Are his movies good, or are they simply charming? Is the depth an illusion? Is it too abstract, too inaccessible? Does it matter? There is a uniqueness to his films that is hard to articulate, but completely recognizable. Yes, there’s the symmetry of the shots, the faded colour palette, the 2 dimensional movement of all of his characters (people move either towards/away from the camera or directly across the camera), the whimsical melancholy… But he’s not reinventing the wheel here. The elements of a Wes Anderson movie can be found elsewhere, and yet you can look at a still of a Wes Anderson film and almost always recognize it as such.  What is Anderson’s place in the film world? What does he contribute to the greater medium? How has he influenced other film makers? I have no idea, and I honestly think there is little value to be had in the answers.  On to his latest offering, then.

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Metro Freelancing

As ever, I endeavor to blog more. I have a few topics rattling around in my head, so I just need to sit down and write.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing freelance work with Metro Calgary. Here’s the work I’ve done so far:






The Unreal Summer of Music Continues

Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest


After waiting forever(admittedly, I discovered Boards of Canada after they put out their last material : Trans-Canada Highway) for new Boards of Canada, this album was facing a mountain of expectations. Not unlike their Reclusive-pioneering-european-electronic-duo-who-haven’t-put-out-new-material-for-years-until-this-summer-mates Daft Punk, BoC teased us with snippets of new material here and there, opting for a record store day set of unique records rather than SNL ads. Unlike Daft Punk, they didn’t stray far from what made them who they are.

Continue reading The Unreal Summer of Music Continues