Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keeping it Simple

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, simple is not easy. Keeping things simple these days is hard work. It's a conscious effort. One of my co-workers stated one aspect of this last week when he said to a student,"If you want to be lazy, you have to be organized." Being disorganized is easy but it makes getting things done far more complicated, ie ,"not simple". (PLEASE go take a look at the "ie" link. LOVE oatmeal.com. Might need to look into buying a t-shirt from there when I start running out of fuel for this blog)


Today's shirt has a simple message but it's not an easy intention. Human nature focuses on the negative and the easiest thing for most people to criticize is themselves. I've spent a lot of my life self-hating aspects of myself, largely physical ones, and it takes effort to remind myself that what I judge as lacking or aberrant isn't necessarily what matters in the grand scheme. Many of my students have a hard time liking themselves in school because they don't see themselves as successful compared to their peers. I probably annoy a lot of them with my persistent cheerleading but if they aren't going to talk themselves up internally, I'm gonna do it for them externally, loud and proud and in their face.

The shirt is courtesy of Rooster Teeth (because there's NO other way that their logo could be interpreted... nooooo) and the geniuses behind the Red vs. Blue (aka RVB) online video series. Arguably, Season 1 was the best (I haven't seen the most recent series) but Halo fans deserve their own entertainment niche as much as the next game culture. And the RVB episodes are extremely accessible to non-gamers. The creators seem to have a good time with the stand-alone PSAs that come out every once in a (timely) while too:

 
To tie it all back to the title of this post, I refer to the very first episode of RVB:


In the commentary on the DVD, the creators explain that the very first shot in this very first episode (0:00-0:06 approx), a "simple" pan up to the Red sentries before they start talking, was the most difficult and frustrating shot of the episode, possibly of the season because the "camera" character had to be balanced on the barrel of a tank and then raised up to create the panning effect. Apparently, the game engine never thought that "balancing on the barrel of a tank" would be a needed trait in their characters and the "camera" kept falling off ... and dying. "Take 196, anyone? And action! Aw, crap, we're dead again."  So once again, simple does not mean easy. Simple is a craft. Easy is a default.