Sunday, February 15, 2009

Entertainment Rundown for the Weekend

This weekend was for the most part spent indulging in entertainment, be it cinematic or literary. Save for a short stint of work involving disposing of paint and some much needed shopping, I fed the mind. Items and thoughts follow:

Thursday Night: Some say the weekend starts on Friday eve....not in my world

King of King: A Fistful of Quarters

This is an amazing documentary. You may think that you don't care about video games, but you are wrong. One evening with these characters and you will be sucked in. My application to Twin Galaxies is currently being reviewed. Down with Billy Mitchell.

Friday Night: Feeling anti-social, time to catch up on my shows.

Criminal Minds
CSI: New York

That is the order I watched them in. CM was good, but not the best. Scrubs is always hilarious, except Todd Bosley. I am not a fan of Todd Bosley. It's personal. 24. Now that is a show that is picking up speed. I can't wait to see what happens on Monday.

Saturday Morning: Time for some humor.

Be Kind Rewind

Coop said it best. Very funny, but no wrap up. It left me feeling dissatisfied with my morning choice. The re-makes, however, were awesome.

Saturday Afternoon: Time to turn off the tube, and read a book.

Cross by James Patterson

In the brain candy department, this is a favorite. The series, starring Alex Cross, a street-smart and brain smart detective from Washington D.C., began with Along Came A Spider. I have followed it ever since. Does it change my world view? No. Does it relax my brain and let me have some fun. Yes. Is it about serial killers? Yes. Is it normal to "relax" while reading about serial killers? No.

Saturday Afternoon: Took time out for the K-State/KU game

It was an entertaining game, but I would have liked to see K-State win. I hate KU.

Saturday Evening: Some peeps came over, time for some culture

The Motorcycle Diaries

This is a favorite of mine. I had seen it before, but many (if not all) of the others had not. While it gives a very whimsical picture of Che Guevara's mid-twenties trip across South America, it is a beautiful story. On top of that, the cinematography is fantastic. The scenery as Guevara and Granado travel is breathtaking. It is enough to make a fella want to travel the world again.

Sunday Afternoon: My morning was my own. Mind your own business.


Monk was okay. Psych was grand. It spoofed Friday the 13th. And it showed on Friday the 13th. And it was hilarious. That show is brilliant.

Sunday Evening: Time for the reel thing. Haha. I went there. Reel thing. I am a genius.

The Strangers

After Psych, I knew I needed the real thing, so I grabbed one of my current Netflix movies and settled in for horror. I was somewhat impressed. It was a bit slow at first, and then traveled at break-neck speed through the end. Two big jumps for me, the rest was just good and creepy. Oh- and the "based on true events"? Well, if you believe Wikipedia, which I am hesitant to do, it was based on a series of break-in robberies in writer/director Bryan Bertino's home town. The killer profiles were influenced by Helter Skelter and the Manson murders. All in all, not a bad way to spend 1 hour and 26 minutes.

Born Into Brothels

I went in a completely different direction to end my entertainment weekend. I had never seen this film, and I must say, I was impressed. I felt that it did an excellent job of portraying the children without trying to play on their emotions to make the viewer connect. We did not have to see the children cry or tell us their horrible stories, we just had to look into their eyes, and listen to their responses about how their lives would turn out. And while some have said that this was a western propaganda movie showcasing India's problems and presenting the West as the only solution, I disagree. It was one woman's response to the pain she saw. She saw a problem, and she worked to fix it. And yes, that is a bit "western". We want to fix everything. That is how we roll, and it gets us into trouble. But I will take someone who acts first and fights hard to save a child over someone who wants to wait and see what will happen any day. So to those who think that solution must be thought over more, you are probably correct. But I will applaud those who move while you hash out the answer. Let me know when you are ready.

So that is the end. I have more movies to watch, more books to read. But I also need to get to Colorado, do some fishing, and hike the Konza. Perhaps soon I will have an "Active Weekend" to counteract my entertainment one.

Friday, February 13, 2009

There are many things in this life that I love. In fact, there are so many things that I have a strong desire to list them here.

However I won't. Not tonight.

Tonight I want to talk about a love of mine that is growing. With the proximity to V-Day, you might think that this will be a confession that there is a special lady out there that has stolen my heart.

Her name is....

But what I am really writing about is my growing love for two fine instruments.



And the

I have always appreciated these instruments. The ability of a piano to bring joy to any event astounds me, and I always watched with jealousy as friends who could play bellied up to the keyboard and pounded out a tune for all to appreciate. And I had a friend growing up who could play the violin very well, and I loved to listen to her. My great-grandfather could also play. He was a fiddler, and a damn fine one. I loved listening to him get out the fiddle and bow and knock out a tune.
But as late I have come to truly crave these two instruments' sounds. Perhaps it comes from listening to public radio. Perhaps it is because of the cd my friend Natarj gave me. Or perhaps it is just a time in my life where the value of these amazing instruments is starting to break through.
Whatever it is, I love it. I want more of it. I have begun looking up great performances on You Tube. I have one on right now.
They both speak to me differently, the piano and the violin.
The piano holds for me excitement. It seems to exude energy. Whether it is being used to liven up a dance hall or impress relatives, a piano being played immediately becomes the center of a room's attention. As fingers glide from key to key, it is as though entire stories are being told. The piano physically brings thoughts to life. The tales that a piano player can tell are endless, without ever opening his or her mouth, and I love it.
The violin is also full of energy, but for me, it is a smoother, more concentrated energy. It seems to envelope me in warmth. A violin, seems to draw me to it. it is as though all within the sound of its music are under its care. It ties the world around it to it as is smoothly caresses it with the haunting melodies that slip from its strings. While the piano livens a room, the violin seduces. It makes those listening want to feel the emotions coming forth purely to be on the same wavelength of the player, to be a part of the player's dream.

But I am "young" in my love for these instruments. I don't know who I want to listen to. I don't know who the greatest players of our time....or previous times...are. I know a few orchestra's, but I want to know who I should listen to, which composers, new and old.

Now, when my friend Luke posted about his love of sugar cookies, dozens of cookies suddenly appeared on his doorstep. While I do not expect classical music to suddenly appear at my door (or even better, an actual violinist...haha...that would rock) I do expect some input here. Who do ya'll love?

Who plays the best violin today? The best piano? Who is writing the best, most provocative music for these instruments?

Let me hear from ya.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love Love Love Love Love

Today the negativity of the world began to encroach upon me. I awoke to discussions of troubles in Washington.

D.C. not the western state.

The stimulus issue was driving everyone crazy. Apparently the Democrats hate democracy and are lazy for just trying to apply a quick fix and the Republicans hate everyone who is poor...or maybe just everyone. Thus, we are supposed to hate them all.

This morning of bitterness left me thinking about the world I live in. Thinking about the anger and cynicism that abounds. Television shows, especially sitcoms, are fueled by angry people being funny. Songs are full of angry people plotting revenge on those who have wronged them. Movies are all about angry people getting even with their world.

The news highlights the evil in the world for 27 minutes and gives us three minutes of a local good deed.

Heck, this evening I even listened to a news piece about how a group of scientists is trying to keep other scientists from giving fun names to new genes found. Yup, you read right. I bet you didn't even know that some genes have fun names. Well go learn them fast because the joy killers want them renamed to sound professional.


As I pondered this angry world, I began to yearn for some love. And I decided that love has to start here. Not just here within me, but here within my community. I live in a community that is honestly very good at loving people. But I have decided we need more.

So I am issuing a challenge.

Find somebody to love. And no, I do not mean this in the formerly Jessica Biel, now Rosario Dawson, perhaps Freida Pinto, love that I have.

I mean really find someone in your world whose life you can change by loving them. This may be a co-worker. Or a classmate. Or a homeless man you pass on the street. Or a business exec you pass on the street.

Whoever it is, or if you don't have one in mind, start praying for a person to love. Unselfishly. Without reason. Just ask God to give you love to pour out. And together, let's see what that love can do.

I know, even as I write this, that it sounds a little cheesy. But I think it could be a cool experiment. In a world driven my anger, fear, and uncertainty, I think that introducing pure love is a radical move.

For me, I think, it may be a resident who is a single dad in one of my buildings. He busts his hump to provide for him and his son. I see him nearly everyday, and he is a really neat guy. And today, as I was thinking about this love experiment, he came to mind.

So I am going to pray for him. I am going to ask God to give me opportunities to show him love. I will not tell him he is a project or an experiment, because while the radical love idea somewhat is, loving a person is not. I just want to pour God's love into this guy's life, even if he never knows it is coming directly from me.

Well, you have your challenge. Find somebody to love. We all need somebody. Don't you want somebody to love? Sorry.

But seriously. Start looking in your life for who you can intentionally love on that you are not already loving. And see where God takes that love.

And of course, let us all know what He does.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dream a Little Dream

I am, if I do say so myself, the greatest dreamer I know.

In this case I must point out that I do not mean daydreaming or future dreaming, though I am well accopmlished at those as well.

What I am referring to here is nocturnal brain cinema. I have the craziest, wildest, most vibrant and active dreams of anyone I know.

I have dreamed that I was a knight, fighting for a lady's honor. I have dreamed that I was a spy, in danger of being caught. I have dreamed that I was a murderer, and no one knew. I have dreamed that I was a bank robber, and a damn fine one at that.

I have had dreams where I can run faster than any human, and dreams where I try and try to run but get nowhere. I have had dreams where I have lived forever, and dreams where I have died almost instantly.

I rarely fly in my dreams, but often fall, and land.....hard.

I had a reoccuring dream for many years. I was in a house, and no one knew who I really was. Then one night, at dinner, a stranger came looking for me. I ran out the back of the house and jumped in an old truck. When I got in the truck I fumbled to get the right key in the ignition. I always failed, and would be shot and killed while trying to get away.

Then, one night, as I ran from the house, I had an inter-dream lucidity moment and knew what I must do to get out of the dream. I found the correct key as I ran to the truck. When I jumped in, I started it and got away. For the first time in years of having that dream I moved on in it. Several more things happened, and the dream actually was rather disturbing after that, but I have never had it again.

Once I dreamed that I saved a good friend from a very dangerous foe using a claymore sword. It was awesome.

And one special night I dreamed about the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Indeed, she was the most beautiful woman ever to grace the earth. She was Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Aphrodite, and Jessica Biel all in one. And for the life of me I cannot remember a single thing about her. I know she was there, but her beauty was so grand my mind cannot recreate her.

I dream about people I know and people I don't. I always find it interesting when I see people I don't actually know in my dreams. It is fascinating to see what my mind creates.

Some people think dreams have hidden meaning, and I think that is probably true, though I never really try to delve into mine.

When they are disturbing, like my dreams last night, I pray for the Lord to clear my mind. When they are hilarious and odd, like my dream the night before last, I relish them and try to remember every detail.

What about you? Do you dream? What do you dream of? C'mon, tell us. Maybe you can claim my title of best dreamer....but I doubt it.