Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
A: Huh. One of my ponies died.
Z: You just need to pray to Jesus and he will bring it back to life.
Z: Just pray to Jesus.
A: Dear Jesus, help my pony come to life. Amen.
Z: Tomorrow your pony will be alive again.
(The pony gets up and starts running around.)
Z: Sometimes they come to life right after you pray.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Here is a website that gives you links and ideas for how to use the upcoming Narnia film to share Christ with your friends, neighbors or small groups. You're going to go through the wardrobe anyway, you ought to take some friends.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
UPDATE: Okay. Now I have partaken of the complimentary music. Here's what you are getting... basically a surfer jam session with some guys who can actually play. It's nice. I like the second and fourth tracks best. I know, I know, you really prefer the first and third tracks. Whatever, dude.
Today was Go Buy A Christmas Tree Day so Krista, the kids, my parents and I all heaped into a couple vehicles and headed for the tree lot.
An eight-year-old kid greeted us and let us know that we should be sure not to pet the pony as it had recently bitten a girl. Apparently I did not look horrified enough because he followed this comment up with, "She bled a lot." as well as, "Would you like some candy canes?" We took two.
As you can see, I encourage the children to hold saws while cutting down trees.
Then we've been home most of the day getting all Christmasy, listening to Christmas music and so on. It's nice. This is my favorite time of year. I like the music. I like the decorations. I like the reason we are celebrating. And to be honest I am really okay with the fact that the celebrating starts on October 15 and goes through Dec 25, midnight. In fact, it is my intention to celebrate Christmas until December 31 this year. So there!
A last thought: I was on my roof tonight putting up lights. It really could have been a last thought, actually, as I am a little clumsy (I dropped three Christmas light bulbs onto the driveway in the course of about six minutes). Anyway, I put up this little light-up angel in the window of our laundry room and even though it's half burnt out and sort of pitiful it reminded me of the fact that the angels came to proclaim the birth of the savior. It does my heart good to see something meant to represent them up on my house.
She said that this was a good, friendly way to show my contempt for the term "Happy Holidays."
"Oh," I said, a little disappointed.
So now I've decided to punch people in the nose when they say "Happy Holidays" to me. Then I'll help them up and say, "Merry Christmas."
First, let me say that it is a holiday tradition for me to go to a movie for Thanksgiving Weekend. So don't come down on me for that!
Gentlemen, here is a guide to How To Enjoy "Pride and Prejudice" (disclaimer: this only counts for the current production):
1) Begin by getting a woman to agree that she will take you to "King Kong" if you will take her to "Pride and Prejudice." Krista claims she never agreed to this, but we will see what she says when she is watching King Kong savagely attacking a tyrannosaurus rex.
2) The acting is actually quite good.
3) If possible, get some Chinese people to sit behind you. We had three of them right behind us and it brought this really funny aspect to the movie. Of course they see no reason to keep quiet during the film since they don't really understand what is happening, and they prattled on happily in Mandarin pretty much the whole time. My favorite moment: they show the main character writing a note and the guy behind us says (really loud) in Chinese: A QUILL! SHE'S WRITING WITH A QUILL! Ha ha ha.
4) You get major points with your significant other. Or, with your potential significant other. Going to this movie shows that you are truly a sensitive, deep, soul-searching individual and not a proud, unflinching, heartless fiend. Do not be surprised if your girlfriend throws herself at your feet after this movie and cries out, "I have misjudged you, sir! Misjudged you terribly!"
5) Listen, because this is true: You will get the same amount of points for watching this (the two hour version) as you would for watching the six-hour version on television. Think about it.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I met Joel Rosenberg this summer and was pretty impressed with the things that he had to say about how he writes and why. His entire goal is to share the gospel with people, and he presents it in an entertaining (NY Times Bestselling) sort of way.
Here's my take. Like I said, I am not a fan of the genre. But by the end of this novel I was deeply moved by Joel Rosenberg's committment to share the gospel and the relevant way in which he did it. If you or a friend like Clancy, you'll like this book. It's a great gift for friends who aren't Christians, too. It's not in-your-face at all. It's a lot of fun.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
My screename is St.Matt (it's case sensitive). So sign up and then challenge me... if you dare!
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
We have all read, reviewed, and discussed your submission, The Hooded One, and we have decided to pass on the story.
Although the story offers some creepy and interesting moments, we feel the story needs more clarity. Some of the imagery seemed off to us.
We do thank you for considering AlienSkin Magazine for publication, and for allowing us the opportunity to read your work.
Do try us again.
Katherine A. Patterson
She's editor of a sci-fi mag called "Alien Skin"
Monday, November 21, 2005
Capybaras are huge rodents (can be up to 130 pounds) living in South America and are considered by Venezuelans a delicacy to be eaten and enjoyed (so they say). I've sent an e-mail to some friends in Venezuela to find out if this is true. Another interesting fact is that the pope (years and years ago) declared the capybara a fish so that Venezuelans could still enjoy this Rodent Of Unusual Size during lent.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
I almost cried when I saw the newest Narnia trailer. It is that cool. Seriously, this looks like a great movie. I am trying to keep my expectations down so I am not disappointed. Of course the best thing is that there could be six sequels if this is well received.
And then there is KING KONG! My friend Sam is working on this film. He is probably the crankiest film critic of all time and he says it is going to be awesome. The trailers tell the same story. Directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and starring Jack Black and Naomi Watts, it brings up an important question: Do we really need to see an enormous gorilla fight a lot of dinosaurs? Yes, we do! Of course we do!
Our multi-million dollar realtor threw a big thank-you shin dig for all of his clients, and the core of the party was a showing of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” the day before it opened. The event itself was awesome… he gave us free popcorn, cookies, beverages and even those Harry Potter “every flavor beans”. There was even a really mediocre magician to attempt to entertain us with card tricks before the show.
As to the movie, let me just start out by saying that I’m not going to comment on the whole “Harry Potter: Good or Evil” debate in the Christian community. My guess is you’ve already made up your mind on that and don’t really care what I have to say about it. I will say that I thought the first couple of books were pretty good and the first couple of movies were pretty lousy, but that’s purely from an entertainment value perspective.
This movie is the best of the Harry Potter movies by far. I went in not caring if I saw it (in fact, was kind of bummed out that the free movie was one I didn’t care about seeing) but came out entertained. Mad-Eye Moody was funny and fun, worth a movie of his own. It was an enjoyable time. It ain’t for kids, though… it’s pretty scary, has some intense violence and cartoony evil magic. The scene where Harry has to fight a dragon was actually pretty cool. And they did a good job capturing the life and emotions of a young teenager (you know, if they were at magic school).
All that to say, if you’re a Potter fan, you’re going to enjoy the movie. If you’re where I was (low expectations and ambivalent about Potter) then you’ll probably like it, too. On the other hand, if you only have one fantasy-movie in you a year, you’re going to want to go to this one instead. I told Krista I’d rather watch the trailer to Narnia again than watch the Harry Potter movie again.
The best thing about the movie, though? Walking out of the theater to see the long line of kids waiting for the "first showing" at midnight. Ha ha ha! Take that, ya Harry Potter freaks!
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
"Dear Mr. Mikalatos, Thanks very much for your submission. I, too, lived in (East Asia) for a while, and still haven't gotten around to writing that (East Asia) story. I did feel that I needed more than a year to get the feel for it though. So I very much look forward to reading your story. We'll get back to you in the (Western) New Year.
Grace and peace,
I guess he wants to make sure that I keep submitting stories forever until he kindly publishes one. What a nice guy.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Somehow last Saturday night we ended up without the kids (Krista's mom took them) and with forty bucks (donated by my parents). Krista and I had a great night out. We started with dinner at the AMAZING Jerusalem Cafe. I highly recommend starting all your evenings there if you are able. Then we bought some snacks at a soulless chain grocery store and headed off to see "Shopgirl", the new Steve Martin film.
I love Steve Martin. And the movie was well done. But I can't really recommend it. It had its funny moments but mostly it was the story of a lot of lonely people having lonely sex (no surprise to those of us who have read the novella).
I will say this, though. I can't shake this one image in the film that shows the main character (Mirabelle) lying in her bed looking up through her skylight, straight at the audience. The narrator says something to the effect of, "What she really needed was an omniscient voice to tell everyone that she was there and that she was valuable, this girl, this one right here, the one that works at Saks in the glove department" and as he speaks the camera pans back and we see that all the houses have skylights and it pans back farther and we see that the skylights are actually the stars in the sky. That picture--every star representing a lonely, detached person in Los Angeles--I can't shake it. It makes me melancholy. It makes me sad for all those poor lost souls out there who don't know the Creator and really honestly have no idea how to find peace, completion, rest, companionship.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
You know what I hate? I hate calling automated machines that make me talk out loud to them. You know, like for the airlines. "Do you want to make a reservation, talk to an associate or buy an upgrade? Just say, 'reservation, associate or upgrade.'" Then they apologize if they can't hear you. And they go bats if your kids are yelling in the background and there's no option for just pressing numbers or talking to a real live human being! Argh! I just want to make my own robot to talk to them and do my bidding. Or maybe I'm just cranky today. Or both.
Krista, Dad and I watched "the Interpreter" tonight. Nicole Kidman, an interpreter for the UN, overhears an assassination plot. Sean Penn gets called in to protect the target as well as figure out if Kidman is nuts or on to something. Along the way the movie deals with themes of loss, grieving, genocide, revenge, love, heroism and how to transform our culture into something human... and does it all subtly, without getting preachy and while entertaining at the same time. Overall, I liked it quite a lot. It's rated PG-13 and passed the "three viewers" test: I liked it (which is pretty hard for a formula-plot film), Krista liked it (which is pretty hard for a thriller) and Dad liked it (which is pretty good for a movie that goes a little over two hours late at night). Three thumbs up from us.
Friday, November 11, 2005
I don't want the Lord Almighty ever to say anything like that to me, but I wonder if he wouldn't have harder words for our country, our elders and leaders and us. I hope to claim some hope from the promise, "Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds." Lord Jesus, make me righteous!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I think I prefer a world in which there are plenty of toothbrushes for all of us. A world in which we have enough toothbrushes to do more than just care for our teeth.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Number Two, if the choice comes down to stale, soft tortilla chips or no tortilla chips at all, I will choose the stale ones. Now that's good to know.
Monday, November 07, 2005
I think it's particularly interesting that the cross wasn't used as a symbol of Christianity until the fourth century. I guess we should see fish in places other than the bumpers of our cars.
Also, if you're the sort of nutty impolite person that doesn't know why we call comments on a blog "threads" (i.e. that the comments have something to do with the original post) I wonder if you might take a moment to leave a completely unrelated message about your own internet sales site. Thanks!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
"Wild Salmon are the canaries in the coal mines of our own world."
Good metaphor, Bill! I can practically see the miners, coal on their faces, little lights on their helmets and in their hands little canary cages with, um, salmon in them. Those salmon aren't looking so good. Quick! Everyone out of the mine!
Perhaps even better than this is the name of the super-villain she created: Crocodile Calculator Black Lightning. Somehow I am rooting for him to make it to the big time.