13 Assassins: Takashi Miishi

13assassinsI love Japanese samurai films. Old, new, it doesn’t matter and this is one of my favourite of all time Takashi Miishi films to boot. 13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku) is the story of a group of samurai warriors who band together to kill an evil lord in the twilight years of the Tokugawa reign. And when I say evil, I mean like hack off a woman’s arms and legs to use her as a sexual plaything evil. The swordplay is exquisite as are the costumes and the characters. When I think of the evil lord, Naritsugu Matsudaira, I often think of Yukio Mishima and his romantic vision of the aristocratic heritage of Japan’s Tokugawa Shogunate system. The Lord, after using an entire family as targets in archery practice speaks of how the punishment of servants is the obligation of the nobility and necessary for the preservation of harmony. Unlike Mishima, however, Miike makes sure to inject heroes from all walks of life; indeed, one of the heroes of the tale is a disfigured peasant whose gross irreverence of samurai and their pretence stands in stark contrast to the duty bound nobility.

Samurai Spy is later tonight!

Photography Courses

One of the benefits of being at home this week has been the ability to take advantage of Adobe’s Creative Live and Lynda’s Photography courses. I’m finishing up John Greengo’s Fundamentals of Digital Photography. A great overview course that covers types of cameras, sensor size, light, and composition. A great course that was both instructive and good to salve some of my creative juices since I’m stuck here at home. This, plus Ben Long’s Photography: Composition series at Lynda.com, has kept me busy the last few sleepless nights. I did try to do some macro work here but, alas, even that tuckered me out. Tough to be creative with a sinus headache.

I am still in the decision mode as to whether or not to upgrade my GH2. I’m not sure yet as to the upgrade to the GH3 (Choice 1), the new Nikon D7100 (Choice 2), or going straight to full frame with the D600 (Choice 3). Choice 4 is to stick with my GH2.

I’m still at sticking with my GH2 since I haven’t any good reason, yet, to update my equipment…. although my upcoming trip to Rome is beginning to alter my decision!


I decided that after watching The Hobbit last night in glorious 1080p that I would re-visit the book. I had forgotten how wonderful a writer that Tolkien was! An excellent way to spend an afternoon! 🙂

Books I’m Reading

One thing that I do want to continue to blog about is the books that I am currently reading.

Ian Wei, Intellectual Culture in Medieval Paris: Theologians and the University, c.1100-1330. Cambridge University Press, 2012.

One of my favorite subjects in grad school was medieval history, thanks to Dr. K.Fianu. I was, and still am, quite interested in the emergence of various corporate entities such as towns and universities, and how these entities emerged to form such powerful and long lasting intrusions into human cultures and our societies. Ian Wei focuses on the emergence of Paris University and its contribution to early European intellectual history. I’m not done yet but will give more details about this fascinating subject!