You should sign up. Really, you should. It's pretty much amazing.
( Tuesday, February 08, 2011 )
Brought to You By the Letter "A"-wesome
I recently purchased what I consider to be one of the finest published works of the last, oh, 100 years. Quite a claim, you say. I need not defend that statement. The pictures speak for themselves.
(I wondered what had happened to Bruno. And now I know. RIP Puppet Garbage Man.)
(Yeah. There's a whole two-page spread about Tina Fey. Just when you think the book couldn't get any more amazing.)
(Oh, and they even answer that age old question:)
Total cost for this masterpiece?$12. Chapters. Do it.
( Monday, January 31, 2011 )
Back in August--in the year of our Lord 2010--I mentioned that I had had my first short story published. Well, 5 months (and a whole 4 posts) later, I wanted to let you (yes, you, the Anonymous Abyss that is the Internet) know that I've had my second short story published, by the fine folks at Mapple Tree Literary Supplement. Considering the caliber of work they publish, I feel like a preschooler whose childish splatters of paint earn a knowing pat on the head and a place on the kitchen fridge. It's an honour. It's also humbling.
The story, "Bed Pan(ned)," is what some might call "Creative Non-Fiction." And by "some," I mean me, and the people who created the catergories for the journal. Others might be inclined to challenge the designation, taking issue with such words & syntax as "Creative" or "Non" or "Fiction" or "-" or "quotation marks." They should direct their concerns to my lawyer. And by "lawyer," I mean God Almighty.
( Wednesday, January 26, 2011 )
For Want of a Decision
I saw my life branching out before me like a green fig-tree in the story.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and off-beat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig-tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
(Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar)
( Saturday, January 22, 2011 )
( Wednesday, January 19, 2011 )
Talking Kitchen Appliances
The other day my girlfriend used the expression "The pot calling the kettle black." I had never heard it before. She was aghast. Apparently it's very common. All the kids are using it these days.
So, I'm conducting an informal, non-scientific poll: have you (yes, you) heard the expression before, or is it new to you too? I need to know where I stand.
( Friday, January 14, 2011 )
I found a fantastic site today that I thought would be worth sharing (and considering how rarely I "share" on here, I think that should count for something--right?). It's called [footnote]. Basically, they make 25-minute episodes/shows, and they're shown on WGN (it's a cable channel -- I'm not sure if I get it though, and anyway, they play at 2am).
Rather than try to explain what they do myself, I'll defer to them:
Every week on Footnote, we come up with a different subject and then we let different people tell their stories about that subject, and we keep those stories as creative and honest as we can. Each episode is a little like a documentary, but just documenting people's stories isn't enough for us. We want to explore these stories, with all the characters and emotions involved; stories that matter to us and make us see the world in a different way. They might be sad or funny, they might make us mad. They might give us hope. Mostly, stories that are, in the deepest sense, true.
And, even though we go to a lot of trouble to find rare and unique stories, we want stories that expose the things that tie us all together. The little things under the surface. The tiny truths that we sometimes forget to notice. The important things. The footnotes.
Really, it's great stuff. You can watch episodes online, and their first three are up. I just finished watching their latest, "NSFW," which is all about porn -- a porn star, an ex-porn producer, Craig Gross (the pastor from xxxchurch.com, who is (in)famous for his "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" Bibles/shirts and going to Porn Conventions, among other things), and even a study about the effects of porn. (The whole episode is fantastic, but I think the stories from the porn producer got to me the most--just incredibly sad.)
They have amazing production quality, great stories, and are impressively meaningful. And look at that, no need to pay. The docu-addict in me rejoices.
I was talking to my mom tonight, and she reminded me about this post I'd written who-knows-how-long-ago. I had completely forgotten about it, so while she was talking I kept thinking, "I'm pretty sure that wasn't me."
Turns out it was. Many moons ago, back when I was much smarter and certainly better looking, I had another blog, which I lovingly christened Multum-in-Parvo (Latin for "Much in little" -- which I liked to think summarized my petite physicality and gigantic ego). Apparently I wrote a few posts that actually went beyond the usual gibberish I've been spewing out on this blog. Such is life.
Anyway. I found the post--written back in May of 2005--and it seemed like an appropriate reminder to myself. How about that?
~ * ~
The Swing O' Life
In my last post I mentioned how much I loved to swing (on the swings). I also said I like to go for walks. Well, the other night while I was trying to waste some time I did both. I like walking at night because it's usually quiet, and it's nice and cool, and it just feels very peaceful -- good thinking time. And cigar-smoking time. MmMm.
Just before I got back to my house I stopped and sat on the swings for a little while and thought about life, yadda yadda (all of my introspection must be making some of you sick by now). And I was thinking about why it is I like to swing so much. See, the thing about swinging is that it's something that requires work, but the pay off is visible, it's noticeable. Once you're on the swing, you have to put in the effort to get yourself moving -- but once you do, you get to experience the reward. I think that is life in a super-condensed form. It seems to me that anything worth having in life will require effort, hard work. Sometimes the effect may not be obvious, it won't be visible, for a little while, but it's there nonetheless.
I think the swing set is a good description of the hard change of going from kid to adult (stick with me here). When you're a kid, you want to be pushed. You don't want to have to pump your legs, do the work, get yourself moving. You don't want to put in the effort -- you just want the result, to feel yourself swinging high and fast. When I worked on the Reserve in Fort Nelson, a lot of times we'd take the kids to the park for an afternoon, and the kids always wanted me to push them on the swing. But there was only one of me, and I could only push so many so fast, so some kids just had to wait. I tried to teach them how to get the swing going on their own. I even showed them. And I think a couple actually learned. Yet even after all that, none of them would do it -- they just wanted me to push them. Kids are like that. They don't want to put in the effort, to work for anything -- they want dad to do it for them. And believe me, that isn't a bad thing. That's a part of growing up (both for the parent and the kid).
There's an age, though, where dad isn't there to push. No one is there to do the work for you. And you have to decide, is it worth the effort to get the swing going or not? I think that moment of decision is a line that has to be crossed to move from kid to adult. Awhile ago I wrote about how I still felt like a kid, and how would I know when I wasn't? I quoted 1 Corinthians 13:11:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
I think the moment you decide that you're going to do the work yourself, you're going to stop relying on someone else to push the swing, that's when you begin to put "childish ways behind [you]".
I think the swings give a lot of other parallels to life. I was thinking about how long it feels like since I've sat on the swings with another person (other than the kids at work). The swings can be a solitary place or a place shared with someone else. In life, I think there's going to be a lot of time where it needs to be solitary. Being alone is, I think, a basic requirement (a temporary one, yes, but important) to learn self-identity and learning to know God and how He sees you and growing into that adult mindset that you had to embrace when you began moving the swing yourself. But somewhere down the line, the swing beside you is going to be occupied by someone else. Remember when you were a kid and if you were swinging beside someone and happened to get in the same rhythm as them everyone would say you were "in the bathtub together"? (Or was that just me?!) Well, in a non-sick way (though technically, if you're married, it could mean...oh never mind) I think it's pretty true -- that other person is going to be swinging right beside you. And I think that's what love really is -- it's sharing the same rhythm, being right beside someone else. And when they can't swing anymore, when they don't have the energy or they're hurt or confused or broken, you get off your swing and go give them a push. I think that is how God wanted marriage to be.
Ok, I gotta go to work now. Feel free to chew on this or spit it out.
( Wednesday, May 26, 2010 )
Recently people have made disparaging remarks about me and my lack of blog posts. Some have gone so far as to call me vicious names, such as "Inconsistent" - "Lacker of Content" - "Potentially Mediocre," and even "Crap-face" (frankly I'm not actually sure Geoff knows my real name). Being the people pleaser that I am, I feel I must do something. And how!
Yeah, I could post another funny video, or the solution to a thousand year old math problem that has driven mathematicians to madness, or a poem that would break the hardest of the hard and the emotionally-bankruptest of the emotionally-bankrupt.
I had planned to do all three. But then I noticed that almost a year ago I had posted the trailers of several movies I was looking forward to seeing during the summer. So I closed the video, deleted the math, and trashed the poem, and decided to write up my reflections to those movies, on this the [almost] one year anniversary.
1. The Road Let's just get it out there: everyone hates when someone says, "Well, the book was better." Those pretentious sons-of-pretentious-mothers, we know it was better. It always is. Providing you like to read. Because if you don't, even the greatest works of literature would suck compared to the film adaptation. I'm not one of those people. It's not that I've read every book that's been made into a movie, and know definitively that this maxim holds true and should never be challenged. It's just that, well, books are better than movies. And I love movies, so that's saying a lot about books.
Anyway. I digress. The Road was an intense movie. It was a heavy movie. You will not feel happy and buoyant and ready to tackle third world debt upon leaving the theatre (or turning off the DVD, at this point). You might even feel like you were punched in the face. Truth is, I thought it was solid. It was relatively faithful to the book, as far these things go (though not nearly as faithful as, say, No Country For Old Men, another Cormac McCarthy novel-turned-movie -- that was almost word for word). Because it was so heavy, I actually think I prefer the book on those grounds alone. I remember having to put the book down a lot and just let the scenes soak in. It was bleak, as bleak if not more bleak than the movie, but one of McCarthy's brilliant strengths is his ability to break through this foreboding darkness with little but powerful rays of light. Every book of his that I've read shares that characteristic, of black-black-black and the light that punctures it. (Remind anyone of a verse? "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" --John 1:5.) Another reason to prefer the book: McCarthy's writing is pure poetry. A movie just can't capture that, no matter how technically accurate it is.
"You have to keep carrying the fire." —The Road
2. District 9 Without a doubt, one of my favourite movies of 2009. I thought it was original, smart, well-executed, and very well made for such a [relatively] small budget and unknown writer/director.
As an aside, I took a screenwriting class with the same teacher who taught Neill Blomkamp (the writer/director) at Vancouver Film School. Not that there was any pressure or anything...
3. The Boat That Rocked Actually, I still haven't seen it. I heard it wasn't all that great, but it's got Nick Frost in it (Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/Spaced), so I'm holding out hope.
4. Where the Wild Things Are Mmm. I'm not sure how I feel about it.
I didn't have any real attachment to the book when I was a kid, so I wasn't interested in the movie for sentimental reasons. I just thought it looked great. I loved that the Jim Henson Company made the monsters and they weren't made in cursed *shudder* CGI. And I really like Catherine Keener (she won me over as Harper Lee in Capote). So those two aspects of the movie I looked forward to, and ended up really liking.
On the other hand, I couldn't get into the psychotic kid/monster kingdom/semi-overly-serious tone. By the end, though, I was enjoying it more than I was during the first hour or so. I just can't say I was all that crazy about it. Maybe it would take another watch to appreciate it, but the problem is, I don't want to watch it again. So there you go.
5. Public Enemies Definitely not what I was expecting, but also, in a way, a typical Michael Mann movie. He uses the same filming technique as in Collateral and Miami Vice. I used to hate it (when I first saw Collateral I thought it was a joke), but have kind of fallen in love with it since. In the hands of Mann, at least. I'm not sure too many directors could pull it off. But he has a knack for realism, and the filming style does that. Especially in this movie, it feels true-to-life most of the time. Even his bullets sound like actual bullets, not Hollywood bullets recorded with pots and pans in a sound studio.
The movie was a lot slower paced than I thought it would be, and I think that's what threw most people off. That's the problem with trailers in general, I guess -- they're a marketing ploy to bring in the most people possible, not to bring in the right audience.
6. Moon Another of my Top 5 movies of 2009. It was just incredible. I've always liked Sam Rockwell, and in this case, he just proved his ability to act. So good. What else can I say? (This is also another win for non-CGI based movies -- they went old-school and relied on physical models, miniatures, so everything would look real. They succeeded.)
7. Terminator Salvation Horrible. I'm not even going to waste time explaining why it blew chunks of suckiness. Suffice to say, Christian Bale is no longer one of my favourite actors.
8. The Brother's Bloom I fell asleep a few times while watching it, so I'm not really sure what happened or if it was any good. A few people I've talked to loved it. It's probably worth seeing again, this time from start to finish. What I did see, though, looked potentially-good. Maybe it was just too long. Or, you know, I was just too tired.
-- ~ --
And there you have it. My thoughts. My post. My return to Content. I hope you're happy.
For this summer, there is really only ONE movie I am completely and unabashedly excited for. And I know you're all crazy-excited for it too.
( Tuesday, May 25, 2010 )
NEWS FLASH! UPDATE! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!
There are currently three ways to find this blog. One is the old http://thinkversusthought.blogspot.com. That's ridiculously long, and frankly, I can never remember if it's "versus" or "vs".
The other two ways are new domains I bought. Both take you here. Why two? Because I couldn't decide which I liked better. Sue me.
Whenever I have the time (before my children are born? fingers crossed!) I'll be revamping (no, that has nothing to do with vampires--sorry Team Edward) this place to include both my cute little stories and my epic and brilliant works of literature that will stun the Internet and suburban housewives alike. Or be largely ignored.
( Saturday, March 06, 2010 )
A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever
I put this on my Facebook, and that should be enough, but frankly I love it so much I have to post it here too. Just because I can.
Here's a fun fact: the first real "indie" CD I ever bought was by this band, In Medias Res, a long time ago, back when I was in Bible College. They're from Vancouver area, and one of my friends knew them and loved them and shared them with me.
As far as I know, they've only made one album. And that was back in early 2000-some-time-or-rather. Maybe 2001. I don't know. It matters only because it's a crime they haven't released another yet. I mean, a crime against humanity. Yeah. That's right. The entire human race suffers for their lack of albums.
Anyway. I just heard they're finishing up a new one soon, and they released this song/video around Christmas. I am in love with it.