Dying Briton ‘wrote killer’s name in blood’

May 5, 2009

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Pretty messed up story I came across today…
– FlashAddict

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LONDON (AFP) – A British student desperately tried to scrawl the name of his German love rival in his own blood as he was being stabbed to death, a court heard on Tuesday.

Matthew Pyke was knifed more than 80 times by German office worker David Heiss, who had become obsessed with his girlfriend after getting to know the couple through a computer games website, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Jurors were shown a photograph of Pyke’s computer with the first three letters of Heiss’s first name scrawled in blood on the side in what the prosecution says was an apparent attempt to alert police.

The object of Heiss’s affection was Joanna Witton, 21, who lived with Pyke.

Heiss, also 21, from Limburg near Frankfurt, denies murder. He claimed he stabbed 20-year-old Pyke in self-defence at Pyke’s flat in Nottingham on September 19 last year.

The German said he was fighting Pyke for his knife in the moments before he allegedly murdered him.

“He charged at me. I was trying to push his arms away so they wouldn’t make contact with me. I stumbled back and fell on the table,” Heiss said.

“He lost the knife when it fell to the floor near the table. He tried to crawl towards it but I tried to prevent it by sitting on him. After a few seconds I got hold of it.

“He started kicking me in the back and he was looking at me angrily. I was lucky that I was still alive. I was almost sure that if I had lost the knife it would have been my end.

“I don’t know if it was adrenalin but I managed to get my arm away and then I stabbed him.”

Heiss, who lived with his grandmother, used to spend up to eight hours a day on his computer, the court heard.

He met Pyke and his girlfriend through the warscentral.com website and managed to obtain their address. He visited them several times in England but the couple grew increasingly annoyed by his attentions.

The prosecution says that Heiss eventually flew to Britain and lay in wait outside Pyke’s home, pouncing on him after seeing his girlfriend leave for work, before changing his clothes and fleeing back to Germany.


N.S. woman admits she strangled daughter to keep boyfriend

January 30, 2009

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This is one of the most tragic stories I have ever read…
– FlashAddict

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‘Mommy, don’t’: girl’s last words revealed as Penny Boudreau sentenced

Last Updated: Friday, January 30, 2009 | 12:58 PM AT

Penny Boudreau sobbed as she apologized in court Friday. She was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 20 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Penny Boudreau sobbed as she apologized in court Friday. She was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 20 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

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A woman from Bridgewater, N.S., has been handed a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 20 years for strangling her only child after her boyfriend gave her an ultimatum.

Penny Boudreau, 34, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of 12-year-old Karissa Boudreau.

The girl’s frozen body was found on the outskirts of Bridgewater on Feb. 9, 2008, about two weeks after her mother reported her missing.

Boudreau, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, told the court, “I’m sorry.”

When asked about the apology, Paul Boudreau, Karissa’s father, said bluntly: “Crocodile tears.”

“Justice has been served,” he added.

Justice Margaret Stewart, who handed down the sentence at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, said Boudreau can no longer call herself mother.

Karissa’s relatives sobbed loudly as Crown attorney Paul Scovil read out the grim details of the girl’s final moments in an agreed statement of facts.

The court heard that Boudreau’s boyfriend, Vernon Macumber, told her she had to choose between him and her daughter if she wanted to save their relationship.

Carried body to river

It was dark and snowy on Jan. 27, 2008, when Boudreau drove the girl to a remote spot on William Hebb Road in Hebbville, near Bridgewater.

They got out of the car and argued. Boudreau tackled her daughter, knelt on her chest and strangled her with a length of twine.

Boudreau could feel the girl’s hands digging into the ground as she struggled.

Karissa’s last words were, “Mommy, don’t.”

Boudreau then put the body in the car and threw away the twine in a coffee cup.

She drove to a spot along the LaHave River, and as she dragged the body, pulled down Karissa’s pants to give the impression the girl had been sexually assaulted. She then rolled the body down an embankment.

Karissa Boudreau, 12, was a Grade 6 student at Bridgewater Elementary School.
Karissa Boudreau, 12, was a Grade 6 student at Bridgewater Elementary School.
(Bridgewater police)

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Boudreau later tossed several pieces of Karissa’s clothing in the garbage can at the local swimming pool.

When she got home, she told police her daughter had run away. She also called friends and teachers to spread the story.

Paul Boudreau is still trying to comprehend what happened. Karissa was living with him at one point but moved to Bridgewater to be with her mother.

“I can’t call it anything other than a senseless act,” said Boudreau, adding his ex-girlfriend had options.

“Had I known this was going to happen I would have never let her go back. But what parent is going to say, ‘No, you can’t go back and see your mother,'” he said.

Penny Boudreau was charged with first-degree murder in June 2008. At the time, police said they believed Karissa knew her killer.

Scovil said he agreed to the lesser charge of second-degree murder to give the family some closure and avoid a trial.

Murder carries an automatic life sentence. Both the Crown and defence recommended parole eligibility after 20 years.

“All in all, it was the right thing to do,” Scovil said.

As for Macumber, Scovil said there was no evidence he wanted his girlfriend to kill her daughter. He said Boudreau made it clear that she was solely responsible.

“We suspected very strongly that he must have had an idea. But there was no evidence to suggest that he either had concrete evidence or assisted in any way,” Scovil said.

Undercover police investigation

The grim truth of what happened to the girl came out as a result of an undercover police investigation.

Boudreau gave the details to officers posing as organized crime bosses, who said they could help her destroy evidence held by police.

Karissa’s story has gripped the small Nova Scotia community ever since her mother made a tearful plea at a news conference for her daughter’s safe return.

Boudreau said they had had a fight in the parking lot of a grocery store, and when she came back to the car, Karissa was gone.

Several searches of the area turned up no sign of the young girl.

Two weeks later, a passerby discovered Karissa’s frozen body on the bank of the LaHave River.

Paul Boudreau said he had suspicions about his ex-girlfriend from the moment Karissa was reported missing.

“Any parent knows their child, and when a child does something way out of character, you know from Day 1 it’s not true,” he said.

Penny Boudreau can apply for early parole after 15 years under the faint-hope clause.


What this project means to me…

January 19, 2009

As I was driving up Burnaby mountain yesterday, I was trying to think of the best way to showcase what my main intent of the project and the fact that everyone has a story – whether it be good, bad, heartfelt, scary, horrifying, uplifting…and the thing that came to my mind that could best exemplify this thought was the movie, “Bowling for Columbine.”

There is a scene where Michael Moore interviews shock-rocker Marilyn Manson and why the power structure and media in the United States held him responsible for the terrible tragedy that happened in Columbine. The most poignant part of this scene and the entire film for that matter was when Michael asked Marilyn what he would say to the Columbine kids if they were there right now. His response, “I wouldn’t say a single word to them – I would listen to what they have to say and that’s what no one did…”

Everyone wants to tell their story to someone and I am here to listen.


Video Art – Thursday @ Emily Carr

January 16, 2009

Labyrinth – Jim Henson

– behind the scenes making of video
– his son Brian is a master puppeteer
– needs a multitude of people to rehearse in order to match the actor, facial features and voice over to synch
– 75 pound costume giant ogre type monster
– large orc costume for Humongous – weighed several tons
– reminds me of Return of the Jedi behind the scenes footage with 3-4 guys in the Jabba the Hut costume/contraption
– there was one midget pulling back and forth on an oar lever for hours and hours on end to move Jabba’s tail

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Tell it to the Fishes – http://www.Futureshorts.com
– Dylan Moran fand the Indian daughter rom Run Fatboy Run
– great short film

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Arcade Fire – Miroir, Noir, Neon bible Archives – by Vincent Moon

– long continuous shot as they emerge from their dressing room on their way up to the stage
– they pause in the elevator and breakout into the song even though they are squished together
– at the end of the concert, they walk into the crowd itself like a traveling band
– drummer ripping the magazine in place of hitting a snare and he just had enough pages to last till the end of the song = Serendipity
– Montreal based band and large number of members

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Requiem for a Dream – Darren Aronofsky

– split screen shot showing conflict between mother and son
– keyhole mask shot looking into the other room showing her son’s drug crazed rant
– Requiem for a Dream title dissolves into dust like heroin (will be used for rest of intro credits shortly)
– son walks the gauntlet of the other retired widows in their lawn chairs in front of the apartment building
– used carrot on a stick type camera shot to look back at characters as they walk (reverse shot wobble cam)
– shows the brutality of drug addiction in the full light of day
– opening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the film – sense of desperation – develops character conflicts
– physically painful to watch this film – which is a powerful and tangible reaction to feel
– adds to the theme about the depths that drug addicts will sink to in order to fuel their habits

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– otherwise known as Miss Tint because she would go to the hardware store and purposely pick out the missed tint paint colours that no one wanted
– Big Vagina Clapping Mouth = epic win!
– massive installation mural is shown at the 4:55 mark of the video
– had no pre-conceived plan for the mural, just let inspiration flow out of her
– likes to do a lot of outdoor environmental work – abandoned corrugated metal buildings
– Barnstormers in North Carolina

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Mister Lonely – Harmony Korine

– otherwise disjointed imagery, themes and plot lines that are linked together into a collective piece

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– upload website for minute long short films
– impressionistic extrapolation of dream state imagery
– again, otherwise disjointed imagery, themes and plot lines that are linked together into a collective piece
– photography/video overlays

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Michel Gondry

– Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet scene on the couch
– row row row your boat, gently down the stream…merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream
– duality between the nursery rhyme and the dream/memory sequence
– Jim Carrey as a 4 year old boy and Kate Winslet as his babysitter (love the knee high go-go boots)
– false perspective used to show height/size differences
– they take on the aspect of their memory characters – Jim starts acting like a 4 year old

Scene 2
– drive-in sequence as they start erasing his memories
– car disappears – then the fence – then the faces of characters

– similar to Let Forever Be – Chemical Brothers video directed by Michel Gondry as well

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Gummo – Harmony Korine

Rabbit Junkyard scene

– IMBREEDERS – po white trash on display

Tap Scene

– kid looks like the imbred boy from Deliverance
– weightlifting with taped up cutlery as dumbbells
– oh god he’s working out to Madonna’s Like a Prayer
– got his balls popped?!?!?
– this kid has the longest skinniest face I’ve ever seen
– his mother is doing the funky kitchen

Gummo & Spaghetti

– OH MY FUCKING GOD – this is sick
– mmmmmm there’s some good eats there
– love the shot of the spiked up shampoo hair slowly dropping to end the scene!
– was this shot scripted? I highly doubt it, which gives it greater value and emotional attachment
– cinema verite structure = this is a snapshot of poor, uneducated america – this stuff probably really does happen

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GRADIUS III – SNES Video Game by Konami

– the 7-11 in Tsawwassen got a $hit load of money out of my pockets due to this arcade game
– clean + simple + effective = my design/artistic philosophy

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INSOMNIA – by Christopher Nolan

– quote from the original article Pacino: The Legend Speaks – “A scene like that shouldn’t be perfect. It should be spontaneous. That’s what it’s about.”
– this scene actually makes the audience hold its collective breath
– the imperfection of the scene adds to its value – the scene should not be staged – instead it should be allowed to unfold as it naturally would
– theme of chance and its role in film is important to consider and how it can affect the plot
– just the general premise of having the typical premise of a cops and robbers chase scene, yet having it situated on rolling logs completely takes it to a new dimension of complexity

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– cinema verite video documentation of major bands doing live musical performances in speak easy type locales

– guerilla style type musical performance similar to Arcade Fire – Miroir, Noir, Neon bible Archives – by Vincent Moon – as seen above
– using found musical instruments on site and meshing them into the music
– haha the neighbours came up to complain about the noise level – hilarious $hit!
– erosion of the cult of celebrity

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Self Portrait – Jenny Saville

– definitely in your face painting – no stone left unturned as it were
– interesting and dynamic angles and shapes are created by the folds and curves of the muscles limbs
– makes her look intimidating as she looks down – the scale of the painting as well intimidates the audience (7′ x 9′)
– Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible album cover


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The Science of Sleep – Michel Gondry
Dream Sequence

– my classmate isn’t interested in the plot or characters per say but in the costume and set design used for the film
– turns out it was only a dream – windows opening turn out to be his eyes

If you rescue me

– the main character’s brain says, “I’m exhausted…I’m gonna wake up now” – brilliant line!
– recycled material used to create backgrounds and props – just like Urban Source here in Vancouver

Virtual Morality

October 17, 2008

I came across this essay yesterday and I think it definitely fits within the realm of our class discussions – when it comes to online / video game universes:

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“Either we will be forced to concede that as long as no ‘other’ is being harmed, people are free to do absolutely anything (torture, rape, molest, murder, etc.), or we will conclude that morality does indeed have a place in virtual worlds.”

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Technology is dragging morality into some deep and murky philosophical waters, forcing us to reexamine our understanding of it as many of us choose to become actors in virtual worlds. By putting choice and consequence in closed virtual worlds where we can kill without harming others or facing punishment ourselves, we are forced to reconsider the case for moral behavior. New videogames such as Grand Theft Auto IV and online communities such as Second Life, invite an increasingly large percentage of society to participate in fantasy worlds where we are invited to experience life without rules – to be the bad guy or the sexual deviant. The implicit suggestion of these products is that, like gravity, morality does not necessarily exist in a virtual world. Morality and consequence can be switched off. Anything goes. It’s an attractive proposition, one that undoubtedly contributed to the record breaking sales of Grand Theft Auto IV, which took in over $500 million in its first week. Morally questionable behavior provided by the game now includes lap dances, sex with prostitutes, killing prostitutes, killing cops, and of course, stealing auto

Although Grand Theft Auto IV allows you to kill anything that walks, you cannot (yet) sex anything that walks. Sex in the game is restricted to prostitutes who willingly engage. This design choice has allowed the game maker, Rockstar Games, to negate some particularly unsettling in-game situations such as virtual rape or virtual pedophilia. Though I believe there would be a public outcry if such morally repellent things were included in the game, explaining exactly why virtual sex and murder are acceptable – while virtual rape is not – is a difficult argument.

The issue typically discussed around violent games such as Grand Theft Auto is that the violence or sexual behavior of the virtual worlds will surface in the real world – that violent games will eventually create violent people who do horrific things (videogames were repeatedly blamed following both Columbine and Virginia Tech. massacres, for instance). But there is another concern that has gone largely unaddressed that will become increasingly perplexing as videogames create better, more immersive models of reality: am I free to do anything I want in a virtual world, or are some things inherently wrong?

The Matrix Revolutions hints at the complicated relationship between morality and virtual reality through a subplot involving a husband, The Merovingian, and his wife, Persephone. Set in a future age where simulations of people – programs – are largely indistinguishable from real people, the Merovingian has a sexual tryst with a stunning blonde-haired program. Persephone takes revenge on her husband for his sexual dalliances by betraying him to the story’s protagonists. In the scene of his betrayal, The Merovingian confronts Persephone, demanding to know the cause of her disloyalty. Persephone suggests her cause was her husband’s own sexual disloyalty. Unable to refute her claim, the Merovingian points out that he has not been with a woman, he has been with a computer program. “It’s just a game,” he says. The essence of his argument is that morality is meant for governing how people interact with people, not how people interact with machines. Persephone offers no counterargument, and none is required. Regardless of any philosophical arguments, she feels offended by her husband’s infidelity. This is one example, albeit a fictional one, which dispels the notion that virtual behavior has no real-world consequences.

Liberty City, the virtual world of Grand Theft Auto IV, is a much simpler virtual reality than that of The Matrix, but the essential questions of the role of morality within it still apply. The Merovingian’s argument for sexual infidelity – it’s just a game – is presumably the same argument used to justify Grand Theft Autos IV’s virtual lap dances and killings. To be sure, the killing of a fictional character in a videogame cannot be judged on the same moral grounds as the killing of a person in the real world, but The Matrix suggests that morality and consequence cannot simply be ignored in virtual worlds.

The 2002 film Minority Report, based on Phillip K. Dick’s short fiction, also projects a future in which there is a convergence of sexuality and technology. Minority Report imagines brothels of the future where people purchase sexual fantasies made possible via technology. The film doesn’t explore the moral implications of such technological innovation, but rather provides a picture of how technology can complicate our ideas about sex and what constitutes moral sexual conduct. In the wake of this kind of technological innovation, individuals as well as entire religious bodies will be forced to clarify exactly what it means to be faithful to one’s partner. A second, perhaps more difficult question, also quickly follows: what kinds of fantasies should be condoned?

This question was recently debated in the online community of Second Life when it was found that certain members who presented themselves to the online world as children were engaging in virtual sexual acts with adult characters. This may have been allowed to go on, except that some actual child pornographic material was uploaded into the virtual world. Something interesting happened when Second Life’s creator and controlling company, Linden Lab, issued a warning that such activity would not be tolerated. Some of the participants became angry, suggesting that Linden Lab has no business moderating the kinds of fantasies consenting adults participate in. It’s a fight between people who see no moral boundaries in virtual worlds, and those who maintain that there is a place for morality in virtual worlds.

Religion takes an entirely different approach to morality than the model which governs society. Our legal systems attempt to enforce a moral standard upon the way people interact with each other. The purpose of state-imposed morality is to prevent harm. While secular morality condemns actions that harm others (precisely because they harm others), religion is more concerned with what offends God. From a religious perspective, harming your neighbor is wrong not only because it causes your neighbor pain, but also because your action makes God angry. This perspective shifts the gaze of morality from other to God. The first five commandments of the Decalogue do not address the mistreatment of one’s neighbor (e.g. lying, stealing, murdering, committing adultery), but rather man’s approach to God (e.g. creating idols, taking the Lord’s name in vain, keeping the Sabbath day holy).

When Jesus began teaching and interpreting the moral code of the day, he radically redefined adultery, translocating the sin from the physical realm of actions and words to the virtual world of the mind and imagination. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” What Jesus teaches is that God is concerned not only with what plays out in the physical world of actions (reality), but also with what takes place in the virtual world of our minds. A sociological approach to morality judges murder wrong because it harms an innocent person. A theological approach to morality finds murder sinful not only because of the physical act, but also because God is offended by an angry mind as well as violent hands. The humanist or secular view of morality is concerned only with what we do. True religious morality is concerned not only with what we do, but with who we are, with what we desire to do.

In virtual spaces, questions of moral behavior seem to have been passed over entirely, perhaps because, until recently, few games have been specifically designed to allow people to virtually participate in morally reprehensible behavior. The record-breaking sales of the Grand Theft Auto series guarantee that this will soon change. Such a huge market for the game has shown that there is a collective desire to immerse oneself in virtual misbehavior. The market demand for virtual lawlessness guarantees that developers will soon be rushing to the marketplace with games that offer increasingly realistic worlds and potential for morally suspect behaviour. How we will act in those worlds, and whether we object to their content, will stem from our understanding of the source of morality. Either we will be forced to concede that as long as no ‘other’ is being harmed, people are free to do absolutely anything (torture, rape, molest, murder, etc.), or we will conclude that morality does indeed have a place in virtual worlds.