Friday, December 28, 2007

Juno Review from Home


As the title would imply, I went to go see 'Juno' during my five-day, whirlwind trip home. It was amazing. I know that I'm just adding myself to a long list of Juno-lovers, but it affected me in a way that no movie has done in a long time. Of course, the acting was solid (complete with Dwight Schrute, and Michael and George Michael Bluth), the photography was beautiful, the writing was wonderful; all of the elements of a great movie were in place. But, the real reason that I loved the movie was the way it made me feel. I can't remember the last time that my emotions were so strongly effected by a film. I love it. It stirred up feelings of love and hate and regret and hope, within me. The impact of the movie was unique, and not one that I will forget. Go see Juno.

Home is good. No, home is great. Its hard to see HWY 40 go.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Christmas Experiment

As a test/gauge of manhood, here is what I looked like on December 25, 2007 at 7:30 am. Progression to follow.



And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours. I pray that the joy of family and sharing will define not only this day itself, but the year that follows it. God Bless. Home I come.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Charlie Brown Christmas


Last week, I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas with the Barretts and a couple fo friends upstairs. I hadn't watched the 1965 Christmas special in many years, and I was suprised by its impact and beauty. The message and delivery of it struck me as genius in its simplicity, as well. In the film, Charlie Brown is disillusioned by the over-commercialization of Chrismas and is depressed because he doesn't understand its true meaning. Upon hearing the story of Jesus' birth from his boy Linus van Pelt, and realizing what Christmas is really all about, Charlie decides that he isn't going to let all of the commercialization ruin his Christmas, and he runs back home to decorate his sorry little tree. Its amazing how something old and simple like that can bring such gut-wrencing conviction. The Peanuts creator, Charles Schultz seems like one of those guys that I wish were still alive. He spoke truth.

I'll be home in 2 days, 11 hours. What a whirlwind 2 days, 11 hours it will be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Brazilname

Check this out, this site tells you what your name would be if you were a brazillian soccer star. Fitting, considering my only aspiration is to someday be a Brazillian soccer star. Henceforth, call me "Romondaça."

www.minimalsworld.net/BrazilName/brazilian.shtml

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chris Farley Day


I wanted to post an entry in honor of Chris Farley, who died 10 years ago today. He was funny.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Parkour

I can't get enough of this crap. Apparently, Parkour started with some French dudes playing around with martial arts and escape tactics. Parkour eventually evolved into what they call Free Running which employs many of the same tactics, but is meant to be more aesthetically pleasing than allusive, according to Sebastian Foucan in his interview with the Urban Freeflow Team. Its all about fraternity and personal freedom, and overcoming obstacles. Either way, I wish I could do it. Check it out:

Fasting


Recently, I've been actually reading the articles in my Relevant Magazine. One article that I read was about an expirement in fasting by a guy named Adam Smith. Mr. Smith tried to last for 40 days, only consuming liquids. He only made it to day 20, but provided some excellent wisdom through his experience:

"It's becoming apparent just how much of a culture of instant gratification we live in. In light of this, fasting seems practically counter cultural. It refuses to give into the prevaling sentiment that we are entitled to fulfill our desires the very moment we feel them, and that the experience of eating will fill some kind of deeper spiritual hunger. Fasting doesn't seem like such an ancient discipline in that context. It seems like something Americans desperately need to embrace."

Sounds like habitual fasting deserves a try. The Issue had some good articles on why Christmas sucks, and why it shouldn't

To read: A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Secret Art of Graffiti Removal

This, as I'm missing the city today:





check out more grafitti removal photos on flickr.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Case you Missed It

When did Snoop Dogg turn into Maroon 5?



p.s. I hate Snoop Dogg.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weather

This, according to weather.com, is the next several days' weather for Augusta:


Hello, winter.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Love, or 'Yes. I am still a tool.'

If its possible to be in love with a web site, I've fallen in love with phonezoo.com. There, you can upload mp3s from your desktop and convert them into ringtones. It seems too good to be true/illegal, so I'm waiting for the catch. But so far, I love it.

To Be Fair

In response to the post below, here's the Christmas goose to my Ebenezer Scrooge.








I guess Christmas is alright, all things considered.

Why I Hate Christmas


My systematic jihad against Christmas time has become an annual sort of thing. So, this year, in an attempt to break up the monootny of my holiday disdain, I give to you the "List of Top Ten Reasons Why I Hate Christmas." by Mondo Davis.

10. Crowds. Traffic, cashier lines, bumping shoulders with strangers while trying to pick out a movie. I hate crowds.

9. Ads. There are few things as degrading as sorting through 2-3 lbs of advertisements in my mail, as if all I'm worth and capable of is buying things.

8. Money. Christmas is one of the few times a year when I think to myself, "Mondo, you don't make enough money."

7. America. Christmas brings out the worst in Americans. Consumerism, greed, ugliness, etc., all reach their peaks.

6. Santa Claus. Over 96% of school kids can identify a picture of Santa, making him the most recognized individual in the world (light years ahead of The President, Pope or even Jesus,) and highlighting the greed that our children have encouraged within them.

5. Origins. Christian imperialism spawned the holiday in response to pagan winter holidays, just like the forced-conversion of the Native Americans, or the colonization of the Hawaiian Islands.

4. Political Correctness. Christmas always comes with asinine stories of the warriors of 'seperation of church and state.' We always hear of carols being banned from schools, nativity scenes and crosses being taken from public places, and the Christian Right lobbying to have control over everything and everyone. And don't get me started on Kwanzaa. 1966?

3. "Christians." Its either self-victimization from the Christian politicians or the hypocrisy and nominalism from Christmas-and-Easter Christians. Both are painfully unattractive to an unbelieving world.

2. Commercialization. Christmas is something sacred and holy, that is corrupted by profiteering and seeking financial gain. Sound familiar? And its nothing new. Cheapening of Christs birth was the topic of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1850 book, 'The First Christmas in New Englad'.

And, the number one reason that I hate Christmas is...

1. Me. No matter how much I denounce it; no matter how hard I try to love my family with my words and actions instead of my wallet; no matter how much I believe that the world is fallen and I am not, I am as much a part of the problem as anyone. I am a consumer, through and through. I am that American demographic that spends three times as much during the Christmas season as during any other time of year. I have bought into the idea that how much I care about my family and friends is determined by how much I spend on them. I am America, I am Christianity. I am the problem.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Things that Went Through My Head Today


Kevin Drew is the coolest man alive.

Metaphor of the day; America is a "Windsurfing Nation," because "all we want is the feeling." From Broken Social Scene.

The best lyric of the day; "first the mother bathes her child, then the other way around. The scales always find a way to level out." - Bright Eyes

"International" is my favorite word.

So taguchi could very well be the single greatest man to ever wear a Cardinals uniform. Not because of his athletic ability, or his humanitarianism, but because of what he stood for. We'll miss him.

The Navy is like an anvil, connected to a noose, connected to my neck as I'm trying to swim accross the ocean.

There's a certain level of relief that I feel when spending time with people my own age.

I wonder if Fred's Lingering theory is true or not.

Dystopia


I just finished watching Michael Bay's 'The Island' yesterdsay. It's a story of a futuristic world where the rich can afford to live longer by buying clones of themselves and swapping out organs when the time comes. It was interesting, and very much in line with my recent literary pursuits. I have been reading and watching a fair nummber of dystopian literature and movies lately: classics such as 'Brave New World,' 'Farenheit 451,' 'and 1984,' and movies such as 'The Island,' 'Children of Men,' and 'A Scanner Darkly.' It is intriguing to think that some of the greatest creative minds of this and last century all seem to have similar opinions of the potential of the human race. In most of the futuristic art that I have seen or read, there are always extreme abuses of power, disregard for the sactity of life, and the complete and god-like rule of men over other men. In American Lit in my junior year of high School, my teacher Mrs. Singer rold me that she believed that the human race was evolving, and that some day we would find that utopian balance of love and peace that could set everything right; that we could someday eliminate wars and famine and tyrany and pop music, etc., just by obligaoy social evolution. Popular opinion of the world's greatest social commentators holds to a far more pessimistic future, however. According to them, we may never achieve the cultural euphoria that we seem to believe ourselves capable of. It's all fascinating, either way. And it will be interesting to see how close society comes to these futuristic, control driven anti-utopias that authors and filmmakers envision.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

If I had to Write a Thesis Paper:


In response to an entry from Marta's Blog about the limits of our acceptance of impurity in a culture that we actively pursue, Marta and I went back for a bit in the comment thread. Read her entry first. Then check it out:

Mahndo said...
to the pure, all things are pure...

Marta said...
what does that mean? that the movie is not intrinsically impure?

Mahndo said...
Titus 1:15. "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled." I have little to no idea what it means.

Marta said...
so...what do you think about the whole movie thing? what's your perspective?

Mahndo says...

I've been struggling with this question for years now. Basically, if we are called to be in the world but not of it (John 17:16, Matt 13:30), how do we reconcile the parts of our culture that are clearly not pure nor righteous? Philippians 4:8 tells us to fill our minds with what is true and what is beautiful (The Message). It is hard to argue that there is no beauty or truth in the art and the film and the literature that has come out of our culture. So, our strategic position and our pursuit of beauty make it difficult to avoid the product of an ungodly culture.
The best that I can come up with is that, by the grace of God, we have been given the ability to see the beauty in all things, through the eyes of a perfectly beatiful God. With this perspective, we also have the ability to see evil and ungodliness for what it is.
Now, what we do with that is the question. Take Boogie Nights, for example. The hopelessness of the characters' lives, along with the communication of the reality of a lives completely devoid of Christ's redemptive love are true and are beautiful. It is a harsh reality that I can see and recognize as a recepient of said Love. In spite of the beauty of it, there are still very ugly scenes and themes that litter the film. How do I as a Christian watch and interpret and react to the film overall?
I think what it comes down to is exactly what Paul was addressing in 1 Cor. 10:23-31, when writing about believers' freedoms in regards to the food we eat. It is a heart issue. The level that we are effected by the impurities of the world should determine our acceptance of the things of the world. I know what I can watch, mostly, and not be affected by. I know what kind of images and words and body parts I can see on film and not have turn over and over in my mind for weeks to come. And the closer I get to Christ, the shorter that list becomes.
Or something like that. We are free to enjoy the beauty of God's created world. But we are called to pursue righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11) and flee impurity. I believe that the closer we grow to Christ's design, the closer those two pursuits become. That's the best I can do at this point in my journey.

Also, let me say that I LOVE The Message translation of the word by Eugene Peterson.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Day In The Life


Numbers, as I'm feeling rather uncreative of late.

24 - Deposits that we have in for our summer Young Life camp to Frontier Ranch in Colorado

22 - Days until I get to go home

0 - Full eight hour shifts that I've had to work in the last 2 weeks

6 - MO Tigers BCS ranking

55 - minutes until Young Life

22 - David Eckstein's number, a number that will never again be seen in Cardinal red. Good Luck Ecks

3.85 - dollars that I spent on some Chik-fil-a sweet tea today

2 - weeks since the last new episode of the Office

4 - games the Cards are playing in Atlanta in July

4 - games I intend on watching the Cards play in Atlanta in July

2.5 - hours in between me and Charleston Southern University, where my brother Lee is going next year

18 - times I've listened to Nickel Creek's farewell concert on NPR

I wish this had been more entertaining. I promise to come up with a rant on something interesting like the debauchery of the Christmas season. Enjoy yourselves.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Fun Whilst it Lasted


My heart is broken over the end of the 2007 Missouri Tiger's BCS championship. It ended after a loss to the superior Oklahoma Sooners. But all is not lost. The majority of this Tigers' starting team are Juniors, ensuring that most of the team will be back next year. So, watch out OU, and the rest of the Big 12. Chase "Big Ass" Daniel and his boys are coming for you next year.