Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I may be a tad existential...

hullo everyone, it's a wonderful, snowy early spring day. the kind of day that just makes you want to grab your winter gear and go out and enjoy the day...or puke!

ok, this post is my little attempt at being somewhat of a philosopher and throwing out big words such as existential, and philosophical...the reason that i'm writing is because last night i was hit with inspiration. yes, it was inspiration from a movie...no, it wasn't a crappy sap-tastic (scrap-tastic?) movie that's meant to make everyone cry because the little boy finally made it... no, it wasn't even an emotionally charged movie that's sole purpose is to lure the eyes and ears of women to display unrealistic, emasculated men (also read: Hugh Grant/Jude Law/Robert Pattinson) and force their male companions to sit through only to tear up and utter the words, "he loves *sniff* her soooo *sniff**sniff* much... (no he doesn't, it's a movie, it's fake, it's ridiculous).

nope, this movie was of the action variety (and before anyone of the female equation starts commenting how action movies are more unrealistic than romance/crappy movies i know, that's what makes them so great. there's no reason for 25 cars to blow up on the interstate in the opening chase scene in bad boys 2, but it's cool to watch). the movie is "equilibrium". most people don't remember it/never heard of it, and that's alright. it stars heart throbs christian bale and taye diggs. it's a big brother/post apocalyptic government flick. the story is that after WW3, the human race decided that it cannot withstand another WW, and also came to the conclusion that the reason for all the hate/rage/violence was from emotion. so, they developed a drug to be taken multiple times a day to keep people from feeling emotion. anyone found guilty of "sense offense" is then arrested and if found guilty of willfully missing the doses, are burned or at least imprisoned.

so the story follows christian bale's character. he's a high ranking enforcement official (a cleric) that leads teams into the nether regions to find and eliminate sense offenders. he's the best at it. his cleric partner (played by sean bean) has been missing doses and has fallen into deep sense offense. he's gone as far as stealing a book of poetry and driving into the nethers each night to read in an old half-way demolished cathedral. eventually christian bale finds him and executes him, but is haunted by bean's final words a quote from the poet William Yeats: "But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

in a mishap the next day, christian bale misses his morning dose. that particular day their forces fight another coupe of offenders, burn a room full of illegal contraband (such as paintings, music, a snow globe), and eventually start killing dogs (because they don't know what the people were breeding them for). when he returns to his place that night (after being barraged with all of these emotion triggering events) he lays down to sleep. he dreams nightmares of when they took his wife and wakes up in a cold sweat. when he wakes up it's morning, the sun's rising and for the first time in his life he feels the sunrise. he experienced it. this is the point that i wanted to get to.

the reason i'm writing this is because last night when i was watching this movie, it came to this scene. right after this christian bale's character rushes into the bathroom where he has his dosage waiting, he hurriedly loads the injector and puts it to his neck...but decides to not inject. and i wondered, when's the last time i experienced a sunrise? and am i inadvertently rushing into the bathroom to inject myself because i don't want to experience it? probably not, but if i don't acknowledge the day and its events (such as a sunrise, the impending snow storm, the calm breeze that blows across the lake) i am missing out on the beauty that is lying in wait for us each and every day.

and it doesn't necessarily have to be that we're missing it completely...maybe just partially. for example, i like to drive around the lake, it's a great five to ten minute endeavour that treats me to some nice looking houses and of course the beautiful lake. for some reason i have always gone counter clockwise around the lake. i don't know why, it's just when i come to the turn, i always take a right. well last sunday i was early to town for an event and i decided to drive around the lake. it wasn't that i planned on taking a left this time, it just happened...and oh my goodness...the drive was one of the most beautiful things i'd seen in a while. it may have been the calm of the lake, the way the sun shone on the houses, or maybe just because it was a different view...it was great. it was the same exact stuff that i'd looked at countless times before...just a different view. just like in the movie, it was the same sunrise he'd seen in the past, but until he acknowledged it was there, it had no meaning.

now maybe i'm stretching this a bit, but my point is, we need to take time to notice the beauty around us. maybe it's the cool springtime breeze, maybe it's the pitter-patter of the rain, maybe it's the big heavy snowflakes falling for the last time until november, maybe it's the beauty of your significant other. whatever it is, we need to notice it. and unless we decide to start noticing the details that god has set before us, we're going to just coast through life...missing it.

start noticing the world today...start living in the beauty tomorrow.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I don't claim to be...at all...

Old Version pg 1
New Version pg 2
New Version pg 1

A little background: i am a youth pastor. as a youth pastor one of the means by which i communicate and try to reach the youth of my church is through a monthly newsletter. now this newletter (of which i've run 4 issues so far) have been done in a simple format with microsoft publisher. anyone who has run publisher knows it's a fairly simple program that has varous templates that are a far cry from any sort of "WOW" factor. like i said, i've run four issues using publisher and got the desire to make it look better than what it did...

background pt. deux: in college i was able to room with a guy named andrew that was a self taught graphic designer and all around technology genius. he had adobe photoshop on his computer and was willing to give me a pirated copy of the program (he laughed in my face when i asked him how much the program cost). i dabbled with photoshop (keeping my concience at bay about the pirated software) and got less than mediocre at using it. i didn't know how to do much and never really developed it and after i left that particular school in 2004 i really never picked up photoshop again...much less the computer that it's on again.

fastforward to this week: so it came time to put together the April newletter for the youth and i went spelunking around the interweb to find a design program that would be little or no cost to me or the church. turns out there's a program that was developed to basically be "a free version of photoshop" called "GIMP". now all my graphic design friends that read this probably know about this program already, so it's going to be no surprise to them, but i've had a fairly fun time playing around with this program. i've downloaded various additional brushes and a couple "scripts" to help give it a stylistic ability (and trust me, it only took me two days to figure out that i should get these plugins).

all of this to say i want your imput/criticisms. keep in mind i have extremely minimal graphic design experience (i don't think you could categorize it much higher than excessive doodling) and have no training at all. so be gentle, but critical. i haven't figured out all the capabilities to the program and realize that without a tablet i can't use some of the features, but i'm not going to get one and don't think the church will flip the bill on it either. mostly i need imput to see if the extra time that i've put into designing these pages was worth it, or if i should scrap my new idea and just do the old way. let me know.


(ps-i realize that betsy's the only one that subscribed to my blog...so bets, it's up to you!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The beginning to what i'm going to call the end...

OK...post #1...i am bravely stepping into the world of the blogger. the only way i thought i could begin my tenure here in the blog world was to introduce myself and give a little insight to who i am.

1) i do not claim t0 be an expert on anything i write.

2) what i write is going to be a collection of stories, thoughts and ideas that come to me throughout the days/weeks/months that i'm committing to writing this thing.

3) this will NOT be a daily/weekly blog, so don't expect it. i find that people that write each day their "individual, idealistic thoughts" are just putting out a lot of fluff and idiocy. no one can have that many "ground breaking ideas" without being some sort of moron.

4) as you can probably tell, i think caps are largely a waste of time unless wanting to promote some sort of emphasis on a word (it's already too hard to exude emotion in text, so i'll use caps to my best ability).

5) grammar is too hard to understand most of the time...so don't expect perfect or even mediocre grammar in these writings. so everybody's going to have to be okay with my fragmented sentences and tense confusions...but i'll try my best.

6) this blog is not for debating deep theological/ideological/philosophical issues. if you have an opposing view of a particular issue, fine, state your case in the comments...but if i think you are completely wrong, i'll probably delete your comment and make "people like you" the topic of my next rant. BUT at the same time (like i said earlier) i am not the expert on anything i write, so i'm open for opposing views and more than willing to see my faults. but the bottom line is, if we differ, there is a 90% chance that no one is going to change their mind, especially in a comment fight between us, so plan your attacks wisely.

ok, now that everyone's up to speed on the rules we can get started. i hope to see you back sometime soon.