Archive for July, 2012

Doing All Things to the Glory of God

Posted in Bible with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2012 by Alex

Well,  I am relieved to know that work has somewhat calmed down.  Binary is no longer spilling all over the floor.  This is a good thing.

Last night I started reading a short story called “Grimble” (by Clement Freud) and found that I simply could not get through it.  It’s not a bad story by any means.  In fact, it’s actually a very charming tale.  But my heart is not in it.

I need to rest to the glory of God.  Even though work is manageable, life feels tremendously misaligned.  So I need to rest to the glory of God.  I wanted to review “Grimble”, but I can’t do it out of a sense of obligation.  I want to do it out of joy.  That’s simply not possible right now.

I don’t know if I’ll be back to post on Monday,  I like to state those sort of things upfront.  I just need, for those dozen of you who keep coming back to read this little corner of the ‘Net, to let you know I love each and every one of you.  Even these fabulously interesting souls connecting from the UK and the Philippines.  Wow, I love you!  I want to bless you.  So I’m going to do so by taking a break.

What’s missing is not more of doing this or more of doing that, it just needs to be more of Christ.  More joy.  More satisfaction.  More dependency.  More longing.  The pursuit of God will always be satisfied and, in a certain way, dissatisfied at the same time.

I’ll let you know what I find on the other side.

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Engineers, Cats, and More Engineers

Posted in Humor with tags , , , , , on July 11, 2012 by Alex

I am not wild about cats because of my allergies, but I am amazed by their agility and personality.  This video delightfully captures the feline character and runs it through the bone dry lingo of the engineer.

Heck, here’s another at no extra charge.  I like engineers and as of the last couple days, I’ve found Valve Software’s wildly popular Team Fortress 2 exhilarating for the first time.  So in response, I give you: Meet the Engineer.

It’s a short film that features smooth Southern drawl, lots of color, and fully automatic sentry guns.  Each of the “Meet the XXXX” videos educate the viewer on the weapons and tactics of a playable classes but, more importantly, entertain.

They’re almost on par with Pixar’s shorts (if not exceeding them in some cases), but of a darker, and far bloodier, spirit.  And given that that they run on bangin’ 60 spy movie music, the series resembles clips from “The Incredibles” that were cut because of their violent and risque nature.

Valve just recently concluded with the delightfully grim “Meet the Pyro” and because of the series’ success, it’s often thought TF2 would make a great cartoon on Adult Swim.  But us fans can only dream…

I will warn you though that if animated blood and severed cartoon limbs make you uncomfortable, it’s best to turn away at this point because they range from PG – PG-13 in terms of content.

 

If you’re interested in any of the other TF2 “Meet the XXXX”, you can find all of them right here.

The Genius of God in Creating the Sexes

Posted in Bible with tags , , , on July 9, 2012 by Alex

Today I found myself astounded in the way God has created the two sexes.  I don’t get these insights every day.  I just remember thinking… wow, I’ve been taking these little things for granted.  Why not just one sex?  God has designed us in such a way that we need each other.  Why not more than two?  God didn’t want factions.  He wanted men and women together.  Not rock, paper, scissors in a perpetual war.

Men and women fit together.  They complement each other.  Heck, they’re even shaped for each other.

I am simply blown away at how the sexes’ forms, temperaments, interests, and functions harmonize with one another.  Like a violin playing a chord.  Or, under a certain light, the Christ and His bride the Church.

The Lord made creation good.  And at its climax in the making of man and woman, the Lord called  it “very good” (Gen 1:31).  He really is a genius!

What, dear reader, has God done that left you suddenly and without warning surprised?

“The Amazing Spider-Man” Movie Review

Posted in Movie Review with tags , on July 6, 2012 by Alex

It’s been quite a while since my last movie review.  “Secretariat” was such a terrible movie that it kept me from blogging for almost an entire year.  No?  Not buying that excuse?  Yeah, neither am I.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” was actually not a terrible movie.  In fact, it was pretty good.  I like movies that have been pruned down to where they need to be.  It was 2 hours and 16 minutes of tightly paced superhero action and teen drama.  So it’s a wonderfully lean and nimble movie.

In terms of origin stories, this one gets it right.  At no point is Peter sat down with a talking clipboard explaining to him his new abilities.  Instead, we learn along with him what can and cannot be done.  Its a very organic superhero film and others would do well to take notes.

Furthermore, its got faces.  Real faces.  Andrew Garfield perfectly captures the lead role.  I say this because I have met his Peter Parker.  Uncomfortably asocial, grungy, irresponsible, and brilliant.  Not quite the romantic image of a lone wolf, but not so accepting of his own limitations to actually be anything.  I’ve met this man.  And that just made it for me.  It was real!

Emma Stone, playing the lead lips, earns an A+ in my book for her ability to draw the audience in but not seem sugary and precocious.  In one scene (scratch that, a moment) she pulls of surprise, disgust, and delight all at once purely through non-verbal gestures.  Exceptional job.  My only complaint was that of her wardrobe.  She dresses like a “professional” woman.  It was silly and distracting.

The two antagonists are also well cast.  Rhys Ifans plays a genius “can’t look away from his stump” amputee who turns into a freakish lizard through the “help” of science.  Denis Leary plays a loud mouthed cop who happens to be Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy’s father.  Good actors playing decent roles.

My main complaint of the movie is that it came out too soon.  “Spider-Man” has all the right ingredients, they’re just undeveloped like a warm cake.  Not a hot, delicious, and juicy cake, but a warm cake.  It was taken out of the oven just a tad too soon.

I have a problem with the Lizard.  We are lead to believe his dilemma is not unlike that of Jekyll and Hyde, but there is hardly any complexity to his struggle.  We see wrath and envy, but no grief, woe, or frustration.  I know Rhys Ifans can pull this off because he has some serious chops, but it’s just not in the pen and ink of the script.

There are also interesting elements that the movie plays with that I wish it would just commit to.  For example, at one point we see Spider-Man confront the Lizard in an unmistakably arachnid-esque way.  This wonderful idea has one scene and the rest of the story is devoid of its implications.  What would a Spider-Man be like that approached things in a very spider-like way?  One can only guess.

Now for my above complaints, their solutions could be tucked away in a hypothetically superior, future draft of an already expensive screen play.  All the right actors and crew showed up, it would just seem that the writers were being hurried.  It could be a powerful story, but they ran out of time and money.  A sad fact of all too many movies and virtually all collaborative entertainment.

So overall, a good movie that will make you walk away with dreams in your head.  It has no problems in pacing and that’s a big deal in my book.  I never felt bored, but, on the other hand, I was not always impressed.  It doesn’t have a place in my Canon because of what it could have been, but it is a delightful, warm meal.

A Root of Humor & The Joker

Posted in Batman with tags , , , , on July 4, 2012 by Alex

I would really think humor, at least in one sense, is about the unexpected.   We laugh when something surprises us.   I remember sitting at a retreat with a dozen people, one being a 5 year old girl.  She was a delight to be around and someone said, “We’re glad you came here.”  Her reply was a very dry, “Oh, my parents made me.”  And the natural reaction was one to laugh.

You see, we’re trained as adults to do somethings and avoid others.  We know to sing songs as they are written.  Children don’t.  The indicated dynamics of soft and loud are determined on the spot.  They will sing with great volume when they want to.  They will also repeat phrases over because they like the sound of them.  We find this humorous.  I would argue because it throws us off.  We expect “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” not to suddenly become “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  But we laugh when children slide right into it.

In the case of the 5 year old girl, we laughed because we weren’t expecting her reply.  We are used to polite mistruths and when someone betrays that rhythm, we laugh at its unexpected nature.  Check out this little snippet that details something Louis C.K. said on Leno:

See, we like the joke because it breaks what we’re used to.  So I ran this by a good friend of mine: the Clown Prince of Crime.

The Joker finds everything quite funny.  And it would be my theory that the reason he finds everything so humorous is because of his chaotic view of the world.  We laugh at things because of little bits of chaos that find their way into our meticulously ordered lives.  But the Joker’s life is only that of chaos.  So when something happens, it’s always unexpected and thus very funny.

What makes him crazy, aside from the obvious fact that he’s a murderous psychopath, is that he never gets used to the chaos.  And so, by default, everything is really quite funny.

My question for you readers, what is your favorite type of humor?

A Wrecking of the Soul

Posted in Bible, Trinity with tags , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by Alex

So we went through some major restructuring last weekend at work.  We migrated all the data from one machine to another.  The process was long and I had to come in on Saturday evening.  It did not go smoothly.

Monday morning we found some major errors.  Our salesman were not able to search through their contacts.  And some people weren’t able to clock in for their shift.  We found a band-aid solution and, eventually, the source of the problem.  Quite simple.  It only takes a tiny hole to sink a submarine.  Or a human soul.

This day (read: the whole weekend) was absolutely awful. I want to emphasize that.   But this is the passage that gave me a tremendous source of comfort.  You don’t have to read it all if you don’t have time.  I’ll bold the most memorable part that stuck with me.  I include the rest for the sake of context.

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

~Mark 6:30-45

What kind of teacher would tell you to go ahead in the only boat?  What would you ask?  Heck, how would He have responded? “It’s fine.  I’ll just walk there.”  What kind of teacher is obeyed by the wind?  What kind of teacher walks on water?  Seriously, what kind of teacher could do that?

I look at this passage and find tremendous encouragement in it.  God puts us through these trials so that we might know Him more.  In the case of the apostles sitting on the other side of the resurrection, none of it made sense.  But on our end, it’s very clear.  God is here and He has provided Himself as the Bread of Life.  And the comfort from knowing that is truly heavenly.

What was it that made today so stressful?  It was a rotten day.  But it became a joyful thing to know I find my sustenance in Him.  Not in whether our server is leaking binary all over the floor.

I think there are plenty of times to cry and to worry.  Let’s not forget how Christ suffered immense spiritual trauma on the cross.  But we can’t be given over to it.  We just have to know Jesus is here.  And take heart in that sustenance.  He is much more than just a good teacher.

My question for you reader, how is Jesus sustaining you?