Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

I (finally) saw Where the Wild Things Are yesterday. I walked away not sure if I loved it or if I hated it. So, the good and the bad:

It was beautiful. The photography of the scenes were easily the most beautiful i have ever seen in a movie, period. There was nothing at all wrong with the way it was shot, the backgrounds, the costumes, lighting, etc. I loved it for that. Also, as much as I do not care for Karen O, the soundtrack accomplished what I believe a soundtrack should. It emphasized the emotion of what I was seeing. It made my heart race when it was supposed to. Well done.

The message(?) It might just be that I am in a particularly melancholy state of mind these days, but i was overwhelmed at how sad it was. I breathed a sigh of relief when the end credits rolled. It was so sad. Max has a few moments of elation as he engages the teenage boys in a snowball fight, only to have his hope and joy destroyed with his hard-earned igloo. The "wild rumpus" goes swimmingly, allowing him to think that there might be hope, only to end in his being trapped in a cave of Wild Things, not able to breathe. It seems the director was saying that Joy cannot exist without sorrow; that joy is the absence of inevitable and more prevalent sadness; that joy can even cause sorrow (dirt clods fight.)

When Carol asks Max, "Will you keep out all the sadness?" he's essentially setting the movie up for its principle message. That message seems to be something like, "Sadness is reality, joy is fleeting, cling to love." Love is the point. Max sees that there can never be a perfect world, that he can never make everyone happy. He sees that what is true and right and worth pursuing is the love he has for his mom. He abandons his fantasy world of sadness and disappointment; a world that he had complete hope in, for the reality of home. Even though home came with loneliness and hurt and neglect sometimes. I think I want to believe this about Jesus. I want to believe that there is love in Him that I can hold onto. He won't keep all of the sadness away, he won't keep me from sorrow, he won't make me happy with everything. But He is love. He will love me, he will have his arms wide open indefinitely for as long as i remain a wanderer. I see myself in Max in this regard. I run from the loving arms of my father to find something better, only to realize through a hell of a lot of pain that those arms, that home I ran so vigorously from is the place where everything is made right. Those arms are perfect definition, lasting validation constant value and relentless love. I want so desperately to really grasp this, and to be changed by it. And so the saga continues...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Typical Adventure; We Quest for the Quest Itself or, "Characters" or, "I don't think this guy is actually Kenyan"

My friend Joe and I had an idea. We would wake up at 4 in the morning on (last) Sunday, climb in my Ion and make a 7 hour trip to Kissimmee, FL to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play (beat) the Atlanta Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports. Everything started off great, we were wide awake for most of the trek, had some wonderful Cracker Barell breakfast, and saw the sun come up across the Southeast Georgia swamps. We arrived at the park at 11:30, pulled in, walked to will call where I picked up the 4 tickets that I had purchased, originally expecting Graham or Matt or Lee or Josh to be with us. That wasn't a problem, though, as the game had been sold out and I had no problem selling the extra seats to some eager fellow Cards' fans. Anyway, we walked in to the park and watched BP. After the typical pregame festivities, the game started. But, much to our dismay, the rain had other ideas. Twenty minutes into the resulting rain delay, we, soaked and satisfied, decided to head out. After another twenty minutes of waiting in line to leave the park (we weren't the only ones with that idea,) we finally got back to the car and pulled out. That's when the magic started. Leaving the park, I rear-ended a Ford 4Runner that I thought had pulled out into traffic as we were turning right. The girl driving was frazzled, but not hurt, thankfully. Her car had a tiny dent in the bumper, and she was able to carry on as normal. The same can't be said about my Ion. The hood of my car had essentially wedged itself under her bumper, smashing in my bumper, crushing my headlights, and pushing back my hood. It was a disaster. The cops arrived, filled out the paper work, I called AAA and got a tow truck to come. 30 minutes later, Louis showed up with his tow truck, and a thinly veiled Cuban accent. He told me of his friend's service center that was 25 minutes away, in a tone that conjured memories of pushy Mafia Dons from movies. Frustrated and soaked, I went against my better judgement and let him take us there. When we showed up to Rossy's Complete Auto Service, "Rossy" was there waiting on us (which is significant seeing as how it was 2:00pm on a Sunday.) He walked me through what had to happen and how long it would take, etc. After it was all cleared up, Joe and I waited around for an hour (with "Rossy," because he didn't want to make us stand out in the rain) for the cab to show up. Finally, the cabbie showed up. Draped in his New York accent, he explained the subtle details of how he moved his family from the dangerous streets of New York City to the palm trees of Orlando, Fl to protect his 4 year old from the lifestyle there. He was a shady fellow. But, we arrived safely and un-taken-advantage-of'd at Hertz to pick up the rental. HH Dahtanni, who, according to his nametag was from Kenya (but there's no way he was actually from Kenya,) walked me through everything. I guess he liked me somewhat, because he hooked us up; Joe and I got to undertake the seven hour drive back in a 2010 Volvo S40 Sedan. It was the second nicest car I've ever driven.
Finally, at 1:45 am, we pulled in to 579 Martin Lane. My car, still in the Garage of Rossy's awaiting redemption, should be ready for pick up by my weekend, when I'll have to make the same trip all over again. Hopefully, without the suck this time. We decided that it was the most failed road trip ever, considering that it lasted 22 hours, for 22 minutes of Spring Training Baseball. We left with a taste for adventure, we returned soaked up to our waists and missing a car.
In spite of all the loss, it was a great trip. As Joe said, "Another classic Mondo and Joe adventure!" Can't wait until the next one...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Friend

Kahlil Gibran - "My Friend" (The Madman)

My friend, I am not what I seem.
Seeming is but a garment I wear --
a care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings
and thee from my negligence.
The "I" in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence,
and therein it shall remain for ever more,
unperceived, unapproachable.
I would not have thee believe in what I say nor trust in what I do --
for my words are naught but thy own thoughts in sound
and my deeds thy own hopes in action.

When thou sayest, "The wind bloweth eastward,"
I say, "Aye, it doth blow eastward";
for I would not have thee know that my mind doth not dwell upon the wind
but upon the sea.
Thou canst not understand my seafaring thoughts,
nor would I have thee understand.
I would be at sea alone.

When it is day with thee, my friend,
it is night with me;
yet even then I speak of the noontide that dances upon the hills
and of the purple shadow that steals its way across the valley;
for thou canst not hear the songs of my darkness
nor see my wings beating against the stars --
and I fain would not have thee hear or see.
I would be with night alone.

When thou ascendest to thy Heaven I descend to my Hell --
even then thou callest to me across the unbridgeable gulf,
"My companion, my comrade,"
and I call back to thee,
"My comrade, my companion" --
for I would not have thee see my Hell.
The flame would burn thy eyesight and the smoke would crowd thy nostrils.
And I love my Hell too well to have thee visit it.
I would be in Hell alone.

Thou lovest Truth and Beauty and Righteousness;
and I for thy sake say it is well and seemly to love these things.
But in my heart I laugh at thy love.
Yet I would not have thee see my laughter.
I would laugh alone.

My friend, thou art good and cautious and wise;
nay, thou art perfect --
and I, too, speak with thee wisely and cautiously.
And yet I am mad.
But I mask my madness.
I would be mad alone.
My friend, thou art not my friend, but how shall I make thee understand?
My path is not thy path,
yet together we walk,
hand in hand.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Let This Be My Prayer

"Oh! my Lord Jesus, though I do not understand it, though I cannot grasp it, though my struggles avail nothing, I am not going to let Thee go. If it is possible for a sinner on earth to have Jesus every day, every hour, and every moment in resurrection power dwelling in his heart, shining within him, filling him with love and joy,--if that is possible, I want it."

- Andrew Murray, "Jesus Himself"

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Absence of Mr. Glass

Thanks to, I just got finished reading "The Abscence of Mr. Glass" by G.K. Chesterton. It was clever, and I enjoyed it. I've heard of this Chesterton before, and I at least knew that he was a turn of the century apologetic, and apparently pretty well respected in his time. But this short story I read seemed devoid of any Christ-centered apologetic themes, or anything identifiably close. So, I looked him up on wiki, and found this:
Chesterton's writings consistently displayed wit and a sense of humour. He employed paradox, while making serious comments on the world, government, politics, economics, philosophy, theology and many other topics. When The Times invited several eminent authors to write essays on the theme "What's Wrong with the World?" Chesterton's contribution took the form of a letter:

Dear Sirs,
I am.
Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton[12]

Chesterton here combined wit with a serious point – that of fallen human nature and humility.

Donld Miller broaches this topic in Blue Like Jazz, which I'm currently reading; this idea that the problem with humanity is a problem within each individual human being. The idea that if everyone in the world faced their own depravity and sin, then the world would know far less suffering and struggle. So, off I go to figure out if I really believe this about myself.