Friday, May 25, 2007
Note: Blogging from my phone was actually a complete disaster. I couldn't figure out how to send it, and even when I did, the message had to be so brief that I hardly got my first thought out. I probably won't use it again.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The story is a wonderful account of a young girls battle with guilt. Living in the Appalachian Mountains, isolated from much of the rest of the world, the Welsh immigrants in her community have carried on a tradition brought with them from Wales when they emigrated. Having a strong understanding of sin and guilt, they follow a twisted tradition based on Holy Communion and the use of a scapegoat who takes the guilt of their sins after they die. Chosen from among them, the Sin Eater is an outcast, yet he plays an important role in the community, absolving those deceased of their sins by taking them on himself. But when young Cadi Forbes struggles with guilt over her sisters death, she longs for the Sin Eater to take her sins immediately so she won’t have to live her life with them. What will happen if the Sin Eater is unsuccessful? How can she ever be free of her burdens?
The movie did not disappoint me. In fact, it was one of the best adaptations of a book I’ve seen in a long time. I couldn’t even tell you off the top of my head what they changed. The acting was superb. No big names, but I thought that kept the characters from being overshadowed by the actors playing them. The message of faith and redemption is strong in this movie, which I loved. There is nothing inappropriate, perhaps a few intense moments and some implied violence, but I let the boys watch it with me. There is also a great scene that reinforces the idea of boys being the protectors of girls, and all the children are respectful of their elders, even when it is undeserved. I applaud director Michael Landon, Jr. and Fox Faith Films for producing such a wholesome movie. Next time, keep it in the theaters a little longer.
Josh asked me a question today. Seemed simple enough. Can't imagine how I forgot the answer. He asked,
Ummmmm ... yeah. According to the calendar anyway. I have nothing . . . or at least . . . I had nothing. Until I went running to Walmart about an hour and a half ago. There I was, standing in line . . . at midnight . . . with my son's birthday presents.
Now I just have to clean house (sort of) for friends coming tomorrow for lunch, wrap presents, decorate a little so Stephen can tell it's a birthday. And tomorrow morning I get to get up and make breakfast.
It's really not my fault. Darn kid had to be born at the end of May, you know? When school gets out and everything is helter skelter. Guess Christmas was booked. I can't wait until this weekend. I get to sleep.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Imagine my surprise when Josh informed me that when he went to get AJ from class, AJ was with the choir, ready to perform!!! When I got to the sanctuary, I just sat down to enjoy the show. He was so funny. He kind of knew the first song, so he tried to sing along. But I could tell he was lip sync-ing. The second song? Didn't know it at all. He tried to figure out where the other kids were, but hey. That song doesn't even sound familiar! I laughed. Not just at him, but at all the people around me giving me adoring looks and admiring how well my son was performing. Little did they know!!!
After church, the choir director came up to me and told me how glad she was that AJ had decided to sing. She said she asked him when he wanted to go with them, "Do you know the songs?"
AJ said, "Oh yeah. I know the songs . . . . What songs?"
Hmmm . . . we call that a clue.
Monday, May 14, 2007
TV viewing for us is not passive. It is definitely interactive. Anyone who doesn't believe that all the problems we are seeing in society are much the result of the media kids are exposed to . . . needs to come spend some time at my house.
And yes, AJ has already come to me crying because he lost a fight. He did get hurt a little, but he was mostly upset that he didn't win the $6 in prize money offered to the champion. 'Course that's what you get when you let your opponent be the ring judge.
So I finally purchased Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. I LOVED Photoshop, but to my irritation, Premiere would not work with my CPU processor. About a year ago, I got a new computer, which I made SURE I could use Premiere on. Premiere loaded and worked fine, but my stupid camera--only accepts a USB 1 cord or Firewire, and of course my new computer has only USB jacks and Premiere only accepts USB 2 feed. I could use Premiere to make really great photo slide shows, but no video footage. Aaaarrrrgggghhh! Do you see where this is going?
Now about Christmas time, we were given money for the family. Our DVD player had been acting up, so finally! I had the solution! I would buy a DVD-R, so I could transfer video to a disk, then load the disk to my computer and Premiere. With Josh having been in this play, I finally had a real motivation to get it working, so we rushed home Friday night to play the video on our TV. But the cord that is supposed to transfer video from the camera to the other thingy you want to play it on? USB of course . . . which my TV and DVD-R have no receptor for, and my computer won't accept because it's USB 1!!!! (I'm feeling like and Abbot and Costello routine right now.)
There was one hope. My camera had Four output holes--USB, S-video, Firewire, and a little round yellow hole. The little round hole was my last hope, so I stopped at Radio Shack today to see if I could get a cord that worked. Mr. Knows-Everything-About-Electronics at Radio Shack looked at me like I was mentally challenged and handed me the correct TWENTY-FIVE DOLLAR cord. But hey! At this point I have about a fortune invested in being able to make these videos, so what's another 25 bucks? I drove home with images in my head of what I would do with that cord if I got home and it didn't work either (they did involve Mr. Knows-Everything). Got home . . . plugged in the cord to my camera . . . plugged the cord into my TV set . . . and . . . we have video! And sound!
I spent Mother's Day copying an hour and a half of video to a DVD, transferring it to my computer, importing it to Premiere, and editing video to my heart's content.
I think it would have been cheaper and easier to just buy a new camera. And oh yeah, Photoshop and Premiere now have a newer version out . . . and they do more stuff. Bet they don't take video footage from my cool little Radio Shack cord.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
So why am I paying for all this extra technology? Is it to make my business more effective. right. To improve communication with important people in my life? There are three of them . . . and none have cell phones. To keep up with my technologically advanced friends? When have I ever tried to keep up?
No. I have technology so I can message myself reminders and pictures.
Best of all? I just found out Blogger has mobile blogging! And I have just signed up for it. Now I can take pictures while were out . . . and blog about it!!!
I love the second (and later nights) of a performance. The cast and crew are really starting to bond, and have lost just a little of their nervousness so that they are beginning to really have fun with the play. The kids were so much fun tonight, and my young assistant Richard and I captured it all on film (OK, digital) and video. Maybe we'll make a U-Tube video to post someday.
Josh really enjoyed himself tonight. The real treat was that his dad and grandparents came, and I was so glad and hoped it made him feel really special. His mic was working better tonight so all his "bear sounds" were projected better, which made him funnier.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
So what'd I like about this movie:
- Amazing special effects and CG animation. You felt as if you were right there swinging along with Spiderman. Even I thought it was cool.
- The message that hatred and revenge are dangerous, and forgiveness is the best choice for our well-being.
- This Spiderman didn't have any wet-dress, upside down sensual kiss scenes in it. (Thanks for wrecking the first, and my favorite of the three films with that!) It did allude to the scene in the first movie, but I was not as uncomfortable with my pre-teen boy seeing it.
- The relationship between Peter and MaryJane Watson moved into greater maturity as Peter began to understand what it means to love someone unselfishly (he didn't throughout the movie, but was learning about it).
- Aunt Mae's very wise cousel on marriage and vengeance.
- Compassion and understanding when someone did very wrong things without justifying or excusing those wrong choices.
- Mostly action violence, although there was a LOT of it, and the Venom villian at the end was very creepy and scary.
- The message repeated several times that a man's choices make him the person he becomes and that we can always choose what is right. While I agree that choices affect the person we become, I think God's Word is clear that our choices actually reflect the person we already are at our core. We cannot choose to do anything apart from who we are (sinners), unless God has transformed us (into new creations).
- Having said this, I did appreciate that there was a strong caution to consider your choices wisely, and the indication that there are things that are clearly right and wrong.
- Some rather out-of-character scenes for Peter Parker where he flirts and does a very suggestive dance with a female character.
- Certain references to religion in an irreverent way.
- The characters were more shallow than in the previous movies, in part because there were so many characters.
- Lots of destructive battles, even though it was all in comic-book fashion, and there was no blood. Younger children could be influenced by all of this. Guess bigger ones can too. (Fortunately, much of this was too intense for my youngest, and he hid his eyes from it!
For a more thorough review I'd recommend PluggedIn Online.
It's easier to deal with boys who have to be still. At least they'll play PS2 and watch movies.
In a day when dads are constantly portrayed as unnecessary or bumbling idiots, this film was like a breath of fresh air. Will Smith is tender but tough, troubled but hopeful. Although there are a few objectionable elements, like a few strong words, some very sad images, and mature themes, I let my two oldest boys watch this because I felt it was important for them to see a dad who rejected the failings of his father and determined to be different by putting his family first. I also wanted them to realize that as difficult as things sometimes seem for us, God has been very gentle on us. I want them to have compassion on the plight of others, and movies like this are one way I feel I can expose them to some of the extreme difficulties others face, while still protecting their innocence to some degree. Even though the story could have been very sad and discouraging, Smith’s constant determination, enthusiasm, and the extreme, sacrificial love for his son are inspiring.
I’m an easy target for movies that are able to capture the feelings of being a single parent with all its demands and frustrations, and this movie did an excellent job of that. But I also loved the strong themes of family commitment, of pressing on under humbling circumstances, and of pursuing happiness not in money, but in doing your best and being all God created you to be.
For a more thorough review I would suggest you check out PluggedIn Online.
Monday, May 07, 2007
The boys loved the silly stuff--dinosaur chases, teeny little guys fighting each other and the "giant" (Stiller), talking statues, and more. I liked the message that eventually you have to just grow up, especially when you have someone you love depending on you to provide stability and security for them. However, I also liked the idea that "growing up" and being responsible doesn't always mean leaving your dreams behind. I was a little uncomfortable with the image that divorce can result in a happy, satisfying life for everyone, becuase I just don't think that's so. There is also some potty humor which the boys love, but which still bothers me some. But nothing in it made me so uncomfortable as to cause me to question my judgement in letting the boys watch it. All in all, the film is accurately rated PG, making it a great family film if you like something a bit silly, but still exciting.
For a more detailed review, I recommend you check out PluggedIn Online.