Tuesday, August 30, 2005
  Acts of the Holy Spirit…
is how our pastor Hunter apparently likes to refer to the book that is placed after the Gospel of John. He started a series on it this past Sunday and talked about the apostles question "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

I pulling from memory here as the sermon isn’t online just yet and I don’t take notes like I should, but one of his main points was that we are still asking that question.

Some of us believe that he has restored the Kingdom of Israel in the church fortifications that we have built. We worship in places that are combination meeting hall, school, coffee shop, movie theaters. We never have to leave the church to face the culture outside. There’s no need to be threatened in our faith by stepping outside the church doors except to go home and to work.

Others believe that he has restored the kingdom in this great country of ours. Of course opinions differ as to whether we are a Christian nation that has fallen far or one that is under assault but is coming back into its strength. No matter what you believe I have to tell you that we as Americans are not part of the Kingdom by birthright.

As Hunter pointed out, the Kingdom is bigger than all of that. Jesus tells his men that now isn’t the time, but that we’ll have the power needed to go and be witnesses. Apparently that wasn’t enough though. Like Animal at the end of The Muppet Movie, God has the angels shout “GO HOME! GO HOME!”.

Rather than stand around wondering when Jesus is going to come back and what our place will be in the Kingdom when he does, we need to put our feet to work.
  New Story
My buddy Rock and I wrote a story together. We did it in a rather unique way, each of us taking turns writing alternating sentences via email. It's short, bloody, and raises a couple of more questions than it answers but I think it's good.

Go here and give it a read.
Monday, August 29, 2005
  Mini Reviews...
You probably know the synopsis and if you don't you can click the movie title for a breakdown.


I liked this movie a great deal. Paul Giamatti was wonderful, managing to be interesting and likable in spite of his character's depression. TH Church was also quite good and avoided the trap of being a stereotypical likable scoundrel in spite of being just that. The movie was absolutely beautifully shot. The pace was great. The only problem I had with it was where Jack broke down. I was sure it was an act the whole time, but I guess he was being sincere. I loved the scene where Miles retrieves Jack's wallet and the ending was perfect. 9/10

Ginger Snaps Back

Thia was a pretty well done horror movie. I've only seen part of the first movie so I wasn't going in completely blind. Lots of gore and good jump scares. Not as much tension as it should have had and I was a bit annoyed with the fact that the girls seemed stuck in the 20th century character-wise. 7/10


The funniest movie I've seen in a while. Ben Stiller pretty much steals the show, but the rest of the cast does very well. Justin Long was my favorite "Joe" even over Vince Vaughn. I loved the "alternate ending" on the DVD and the were great too. Go rent this puppy now. 9/10
  My new baby...

Here she is, my new work PC.
2.8 GHz P4
512 MB RAM
40 Gig HD (Not quite as big as I'd like but it is a work PC.)
17" LCD Panel
8 USB ports (not a PS2 port in sight)

I think I'm in love.
  Le Weekend
Movies seen - 3 (Sideways, Ginger Snaps Back, and Dodgeball) reviews to come
Alcohol drank - DFH Chicory Stout, Natty Green's Pale Ale, Jack Daniels
Work around the house - put up organizational junk, 3 loads laundry, sweeping and mopping
Sleep gotten - not enough
Sermon attended - One on the beginning of Acts.

All in all not a bad weekend.
Friday, August 26, 2005
  Wittenburg Door
Pretty funny stuff here.
Apparently drinking beer and "peach brandy", smoking cigars and playing cards until midnight (okay I was out of chips by ten, but it was fun to watch) doesn't make it easy to get out of bed at 6:30, but I managed. In the words of my esteemed colleague, "Thag tard."

Be that as it may I am going to try hard to put up another Stranded post today.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled time wasting activities.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
  Hits map...
I'm not sure how accurate this is but this is a map that my site meter has and it shows hits geographically.

The colors represent the order. Red is the last visitor, green the last ten, and white is beyond that.

As always, if you stop by feel free to comment!
More Stranded action over at Scott's Brain. Maybe I can get back up to posting there every day.
  Bullets, Blood, and Babes
I like me some Bruce Willis, Benicio del Toro, and Michael Clark Duncan. I also enjoy noir and Jessica Alba is hawt so I figured what the heck I'd give Sin City a spin.

Up front I'll say that I have never read any of the comics.

Visually the film is very interesting. It really is like someone took a graphic novel and made it 3D. The use of black and white with shocking bits of color is arresting. I have no doubt that Frank, Robert, and Quentin had a bucket of fun making it.

The acting is generally pretty good, as good as it needs to be to get the job done. The story lines seem to be right in line with the noir tradition. The gun fights are okay (usually pretty one sided) and there are more gorgeous babes than you can shake a stick at. This movie should have at the very least be fun. It's not.

It lacks heart. It elevates revenge, prostitution, deceit, and hatred. I can't really find myself caring for any of the characters, well maybe Hartigan (Willis) but that's probably just because I'm a fan. In something that tries hard to be gritty, it just ends up being grimy.

The look of it gets annoying after a while. This is probably a nit pick, but why can't all the blood in this film (and there are buckets of it) be one color? Kill Bill did that black and white scene ostensibly because of the amount of blood in that fight, but at least the blood was black.

One character, Marv (played by Mickey Rourke and seemingly a cross between Mike Hammer and the Thing), finds the purpose in his life to be getting revenge for a hooker who shows him a good time in spite of his ugliness. I should at least feel some pity for him, but it generated zero emotion.

Hartigan (Willis) is a detective that right before he retires rescues a girl from a serial killer. Because the killer happens to be a senator's son, Hartigan ends up taking the wrap. After eight years in prison (where he gets a letter a week from the girl, honestly what parent would let their little girl correspond with a convicted felon?) he gets out and looks for her. Even though he was a detective for thirty years he doesn't figure out that his being released was a trick until he gets to see her. And she hides from the killers while becoming a stripper in the town where she had been kidnapped. I will grant that the resolution of that plotline makes more sense than any other part of it. The only thing I felt here was sorry for the little girl.

The whole thing was as flat as the comic book it was brought from. Maybe if I were a teenager I would have enjoyed it more, but anyone who would let their teenage son watch this misogynistic festival of blood probably deserves to raise a serial killer.

For inventiveness and bringing a comic book to the screen while maintaining the feel of it I give this five points. I really can't think of anything else that could add to its score so we'll leave it a 5/10.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
  Zombies, zombies, zombies...
So the next movie on my list was Shaun of the Dead.

I grabbed it off the stack and stuck it in the player with glee (also used my hand). This thing came highly recommended and since I love British comedy and love, love, love zombie movies I was set and I was NOT disappointed.

You basically have Shaun who is drifting through life, content with a dead end job, hanging out at the local pub (the Winchester) with his cute girlfriend (of three years) Liz, his loser mate Ed, and Liz's friends Diane and David, and a less than stellar relationship with his parents. Liz isn't happy with that at all and decides to dump him after he fails to change his ways. During this whole setup we see that a zombie invasion has begun. Shaun keeps noticing little things like weirdness on the news and a bum in the park eating pigeons, but life keeps getting in the way of him realizing what is really going on.

Once he does (it takes a zombie little girl and a big zombie attacking his flat to wake him up) he and Ed round up friends and family and head for the Winchester. Along the way we served up heaping helpings of dry wit, massive amounts of head trauma dealt out by cricket bat, people getting eaten, and some actual character development.

The comic timing between Simon Pegg (Shaun) and Nick Frost (Ed) is fantastic. I don't know how much these guys have worked together in the past but they were a real team. The weakest link was probably Lucy Davis who played Diane, but even she gets a really good scene where she teaches the group how to act like a zombie.

The gore factor is pretty high as it should be. This shouldn't surprise you (if you watch any scary movies at all) so I wouldn't call it a spoiler but at least one of the group gets eaten and when he does it's blood and guts everywhere. In this case it's David and since he looks so much like Harry Potter I didn't mind really.

There's some nice dramatic acting by Pegg. When Shaun has to make some hard choices you really get it. The romantic chemistry between Pegg and Kate Ashfield is also really good. Their relationship stays out of Lifetime territory and never feels forced or stereotypical.

Is the movie perfect? Not at all. You definitely see some things coming. Of course that's mainly because they stay true to the tennents of zombie movies (holing up while the zombies beat on doors/windows, friends turning into zombies, valiant last stand). The ending betrays that a bit, but it is a comedy in addition to being a zombie film. I suppose if there are any big points that bugged me it was the last few minutes. It felt tacked on and went a bit too deep into silly territory (of course since one of the first weapons used against the zombies in the beginning was an LP of the Batman soundtrack I suppose not much deeper than the rest of the film).

I'll give this a solid 8.5/10. I'd give it a half-point more but a 9/10 may set expectations too high and it puts it on par with some greats.

Oh and as a DVD this had some nice bonuses, out takes, and the menus were great. Definitely need to add this to my collection.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
  Movies, movies, movies...
So the wife's away and I'm trying to squeeze in watching a view movies. Thanks to some friends I rented Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Sideways, and Shaun of the Dead. Last night I watched Anchorman.

This and Elf are the only Ferrell movies I have seen. I enjoyed him in SNL and Elf was very funny (more in a big bunch of smiles way, than a rolling around on the floor way). This movie had some laughs for me and more than a few smiles so I'll say as a comedy it was effective, though not as funny as I'd thought it would be.

Christina Applegate was great in this. She was gorgeous and very believable. By the last I mean that Ms. Corningstone wasn't quite the caricature that the other characters were and she was in that regards a breath of fresh air.

My favorite character was probably weather man Brick Tamland played by Steve Carell. He's slated to play Maxwell Smart in the Get Smart remake (I'd go off on remakes here but I'm taking several deep breaths). He also plays in Office. He plays "clueless" really well and should be good as Max. Brick had some of the best moments in the film "Love lamp." being one of my favorites and a deleted scene where he gets his hands on the mike.

My favorite scene in the movie was the fight between the various news factions. Caricatures were flying thick and fast.

I suppose my biggest problem with this movie and perhaps why I didn't enjoy it as much would be that it's a bit like a Weird Al song only it lasts for over 90 minutes. It's a great premise and I understand that most of the characters are incredibly shallow by design, but it doesn't have the same "fun quotient" as say Airplane. It's not really mean-spirited which was a nice surprise, but it felt really...heavy. And some of the jokes (particularly the teleprompter gag) were reaaaallly telegraphed.

I really did enjoy the film a great deal and there were moments of brilliance. The snipes back and forth between Burgundy and Corningstone as the credits rolled on their news show was fantastic. The bits that they gave Fred Willard (who played station manager Ed Harken) regarding his kids was most humorous. Those and the aforementioned gang fight pulled this out of suffering the same fate as most SNL flicks. What also helped was the fact that Ron wasn't a complete black hole personality-wise. Ferrell managed to give him some humanity and genuine vulnerability (as he did with Buddy) that kept him from being entirely two dimensional.

So taking the good with the bad I would say that this gets a solid 7.5/10. Glad I saw it, probably wouldn't watch it again unless I was with a group of guys and beer was involved.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Pimping both TLTW&TW and Narnia Resources with my bannerage.
  Heaven (2002)...
I saw this movie last night thanks to the Turnau's (missionaries from my church to the Czech Republic). It wa beautifully shot. The acting was excellent. The story was a bit thin and I had to suspend my disbelief in spts, but that wasn't too hard. I strongly recommend it. The themes of repentance, grace, and rebirth are strong but not overpowering. Go rent this.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
  My Spiritual Journey (abridged version)...
Ispired by Sleight of My Hand

My family was nominally Christian growing up. I went to church only when I visited my grandparents or a friend who was a regular church goer. I did go to church during my 11th year but that was my choice. I was baptized and made a confession of faith, but pretty much left that in the dust until my sophomoree year of college.

I then started to search for my faith in earnest. I always believed in some sort of God, but really had no idea as to what that was like. I returned to my Christian roots in my search but also looked at most of the other world religions in a mostly academic way. I went back to church (mostly for comfort and a sense of belonging) and found a group of nice people who wanted to do nice things for other nice people as long as you dressed right, talked right, and where otherwise presentable. Left that place after about a year.

I met my wife (she was raised very conservatively and pitched her values overboard during college) and after a while we both decided that we needed church (not so much God). We went back to that nice church and eventually got married there. After a while we left that church and decided to find somewhere that really wanted to challenge us and teach us the Bible.

Today we are part of a wonderful Presbyterian church and God finally has a hold of us. It’s not been an easy journey and it’s not over yet, but it has been interesting.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
  Devouring each other...
Click here to read a rather distressing story about a youth pastor who was first offered a job as a church janitor after he contracted dengue fever on a mission trip and then fired after he talked to a paper about it.

Then click here for an excellent article in Chrstianity Today on the "Sin of Talking to a Reporter".

Words fail me. I mean I know that a church can't meet every need. My own church has helped my family a number of times over the past 5 years when we've needed it. They couldn't always help us financially, but that wasn't out of lack of desire. But if one of your staff contracts a disease while doing the work of God you can do better than cutting him off and then offering him a job he can't (and shouldn't have to) do only because the law makes you. In fact the people surrounding him have done a lot better than that and the body of his church could have done the same.

It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song:

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

Matthew 5:46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

We aren't any better than the "pagans", in fact we may be worse, if we can't even love our own body.

Galatians 5:14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."[b] 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Pray for our body. I know this is just one example, but a jarring one.

Incidentally I read about this here first.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Based on this I got at least 2 hits from people visiting from foreign countries. Cool stuff. Hey if you stop by, love me or hate me, leave me a comment!
  "Morbid Bit of Fun...
Don't take life (or death) so seriously. Some great advice over at Tentpegs.
  Liberality for All...
MMorse has interviewed the creator of a new ULTRA-conservo comic book here. It's a great interview and I eagerly await part two. Maybe we'll see if this guy's a straight shooter (and a whacko ultra-neo-bizarro-conservative) or has a head for really wicked satire.
Friday, August 12, 2005
I've been working on a short story for Chud.com and so have been expending my writing energies there. For the three of you a week that read this or the one a week that reads Scott's Brain, I apologize and will update many, MANY times next week.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
  New picture...
for my profile. That's me age 10. Aren't I cute (Air Force Dependent issue glasses and all)?
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I am continuing my serial. Please continue not reading and not commenting. ;-)
Monday, August 08, 2005
Last night I got pretty down. Between our financial situation, the stuff with the van, and sleep issues life has been an uphill battle.

It can be difficult even in the best of times to remember that I am a son of the most high. Leigh said as she was stroking our cat Bean that she wished she was God's cat, content with the daily allotment of food and lap time that our feline friend gets. Being God's son or daughter is a lot more complex than simply being God's cat would be (assuming He has one) and as a result its benefits can be more difficult to grasp and its inherent struggles easy to see.

I've often wished for a "simpler" life, usually when I hear one of my friends bemoan their boring single lives (looking at you Pat). That's just plain wrong. I spent a lot of time this weekend listening to my children laughing and seeing their smiles. Granted I also got to hear the tears and defiance that spring up from nowhere in the lives of your typical 3-5 year old, but even that had its goodness as I got to calm them and wipe the tears away.

I work hard to try and get our head above water financially. I spend a lot of time mowing other folk’s lawns and working on their computers. That has a tendency to turn things I love (yes I enjoy mowing/weed eating) into something to be despised, but necessary. That's wrong too. I need to approach those things with the same love that I give in working for my own pleasure. I mowed my next door neighbor's yard without asking her and not even as a favor really. It was a natural extension of what I was doing already (mowing my own). That's how all work should be, including working for the kingdom.

I spend too much time looking for something I don't have or wishing for something I used to have and not enough time simply enjoying what I do have. Why is that? Well I suppose I really know the answer to that. It's what we do as humans. So here's to taking a break from that!

Mt. 6 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
  Van news...
The insurance company is willing to buy it out for 2800 bucks. That means I need to find something equitable quick, fast, and in a hurry. Pray that what we find is dependable.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Now they are saying Thursday or FRIDAY!!!!! I HATE INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!!!!
  Day Eight....
of Stranded is up at Scott's Brain.

Special thanks to Rock who is keeping me inspired to write.
Monday, August 01, 2005
  Hulk hate puny insurance companies...
Make hulk head hurt with talk of "liability" and "voice mail". Hulk smash puny humans.
  Revenge of the Sith...
seen. (I know I know...) It was pretty good really. I found myself last night with time on my hands and two bucks in my pocket. I'll say it was the best of the three PTs. I didn't get any tinglys and I should have so that's why it doesn't break an 8/10. Visually it was stunning. The dialog wasn't as awful as everyone has said (it wasn't good though). I really wish that the second movie was spent building the friendship beween Obi Wan and Anakin. It would've made the friendship more believeable and the endiong more tragic, but whatever. It's done and I'm glad. That euns totally opposite to my feeling at the end of ROTK. Where are my Hobbit and Silmarillion movies dang it!!
  The Real Ultimate Power...
This is awesome and totally not about ninjas but still totally sweet!

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