August 29, 2005
Twenty-Five years of Dischord...
Dischord records has always been one of my favorites. They’ve remained a home-grown outfit ever since starting and have always treated their bands with dignity and respect. The bands on the Dischord label are genuine and always have something relevant to say. If you’d like to check out what Dischord is all about, pick up the CD, 20 Years of Dischord (2002). If you don’t like hardcore punk, you probably won’t like many of the Dischord bands. But, if you want to check out some highly energetic, socially pertinent, real music that doesn’t relent, then this is for you.
Julianna and I went to see Four Brothers at the drive-in theater on Saturday night. The movie wasn’t the greatest, but it sure was fun experiencing the drive-in (neither of us have been since high school).
There were a bunch of people there… Some stayed in their cars (like we did) and some sat on lawn chairs and blankets outside. Others had elaborate setups in the beds of their trucks. It was a neat family environment that I hope my kids will be able to experience when they’re old enough — there’s not many drive-ins left anymore.
Anyway, there’s not much point to this entry, except to tell you to go to the drive-in next time you want to see a movie. It’s fun!
(By the way, if you live in the Kansas City Metro area, we went to the I-70 Drive-in — pictured above.)
August 25, 2005
My latest film is online...
If you’d like to take a look at my latest film, “Ordinary Time” click the title graphic below and then look for the video link under August 14. It’s a 15.9 megabyte MPEG4 file, so you’ll need a high-speed connection and the latest version of Quicktime to view it.
I made this film for a recent all-worship church service at Jacob’s Well. If you’d like to hear the sermon audio from that day (which is really, really good), download the MP3 for 08/14/2005.
And, of course, none of this would have been possible without my fabulous cast and crew… The complete credits for the film are as follows:
Director/Cinematographer: Tim Samoff
Writer: Beth Mercer
Composer: Chris Shillito
Producer: Mike Crawford
Actors: Mary Begemann, Rachel Bonar, Carissa Shillito, Chris Shillito, Jacob’s Well Community
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License 2005.
Made for Jacob’s Well Church
Kansas City, MO
August 23, 2005
Daily Dose of Heresy #6 (Where is God?)
This morning, I was reminded of the old Father Guido Sarducci‘s “Five-Minute University” skit on Saturday Night Live (watch it here – Windows Media). In it, he explains how it only takes five minutes to learn everything a college graduate remembers five years after graduating from university. He goes on to describe how this would work and that it would only cost twenty dollars. It’s very funny. The part that I was remembering this morning, though, is in the middle of the skit:
“I’m gonna have a Theology department. You know. Since I’m a priest, it’s only right. And, what you have to learn in Theology is the answer to the question: Where is God? And it’s answer is: God is everywhere. Why? Because He likes you.”He goes on to say that this is a combination of the Disney and Roman Catholic philosophies. It’s very funny.
What struck me was the simple statement that God is everywhere. I mean, this is what most Christians believe, right? And, even though it’s pretty simplified in the Sarducci skit, it is one of the primary facts behind our theology.
But, is God everywhere?Continue Reading...
Well, I guess it's time to tell you all about this...
There’s a new Blog in town:
(And, it’d serve you well to take a look.)
Bob Moog is dead...
This just in from Celebrity Deathwatch:
Robert Moog, whose name became synonymous with electronic music in the 1960s and ’70s through the invention of his self-named synthesizers, has died in Asheville, N.C. He was 71.Read the rest here.
Bob Moog was a sort of hero to me and some of my electronic music-loving friends. He was the one that made analog synthesis accessible and usable. If you’ve listened to popular music in, say, the last thirty years or so, you’ve probably heard a Moog synthesizer on a few of the songs.
People still use Moog synthesizers today and are constantly trying to emulate their sound in software form. They’re crazy beasts to actually play, but can make all sorts of cool noises. Somewhat easier to play was the Minimoog, but you still had to know what you were doing.
The Moog Music website has put up a nice little eulogy on their front page. Also, if you ever want to learn more about this innovative man and the synthsizers he invented, check out Moog the documentary by Hans Fjellestad.
August 22, 2005
Daily Dose of Heresy #5 (The Caveat)
I’m always going off on tangents here, so this should be nothing new. But, it’s not always intentional. Sometimes, thoughts just strike me in the oddest ways.
Case-in-point: Yesterday, Tim Keel delivered a great sermon about the spiritual formation of children. It was very interesting and got me thinking about all sorts of ways that my parents aided in my own spiritual formation (and what things they did that aided in stunting my spiritual formation). But, in keeping with tangents, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.
During Tim’s sermon, he had us read Mark 10:13-16 (NLT)
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.” Then he took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.Now, I’ve read this verse plenty of times. Apparently, I’ve always skimmed past Jesus’ warning in verse 15 without a second thought:
“...I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.”What does this mean to us as believers in Christ? (Believers who, on a large scale, root our faith in “The ABCs of slavation.”)
Does this mean that even if we Admit our need for God, Believe in Jesus Christ, and Commit ours lives to following Jesus that we may still fall short of the Kingdom of God?
Most of the time my faith is far from “childlike.” There are moments when I can feel a childlikeness — a simplicity — that can’t be denied, but for the most part, my life and faith is firmly planted in adulthood. Am I missing out on God’s Kingdom because of this? Where am I when I have faith, but it is not childlike? Is it really faith at all?
Yeah, so, this seems to be loaded with a bunch of questions and no answers. I apologize for that. But, Jesus states his warning plainly: If our faith is not like that of a child’s, then we will never enter God’s Kingdom.
The weekend of bare...
Let me just say this: You know you live in the hood, when twice in one weekend, you see people walking down with their paqnts around their ankles…
The first time was a complete surprise. A woman was walking down 39th Street towards 71 Highway scratching her bare butt. Her sweat pants were around her ankles and, no, she wasn’t wearing any underwear. She wasn’t even attempting to pull her pants up at first — just walking like it was an everyday occurrence (which it may have been for her) and scratching. She did this for a minute or so, and then, as she was pulling her pants up, dropped them again to continue the scratching. After another few seconds, the itch must have subsided, as she successfully pulled her pants back up.
Sunday evening, after doing some grocery shopping, I was driving up Troost towards home and lo and behold… An elderly man was simply walking down the sidewalk, carrying an ALDI bag after doing some shopping of his own, when his pants just dropped down to his ankles. Now, this time, the man was pretty quick in trying to pull his pants back up, but he didn’t immediately figure out that he needed to put his groceries down in order to accomplish the task. So, he walked for about ten steps, holding the bag in one arm and trying to pull his pants up with his other hand.
These are the things that make for good storytelling, folks.
August 18, 2005
Bus Proverb #14
“I thought my lucky number was seven. But, no… That wasn’t it at all. I wore the hat. I wore the hat. I wore the hat.”All Bus Proverbs
August 17, 2005
Another reason to move to San Francisco...
(Because there are many.)
From Wired News:
San Francisco wants ideas for making the entire 49-square-mile city a free — or at least cheap — Wi-Fi zone.Awesome!
Read the rest here.
The Evolution of the Photoshop Splash Screen...
Here’s a fun one to take you back:
This screen is how I was introduced to Adobe Photoshop back in high school. I’m amazed at how little Photoshop has actually changed over the years — I mean, it’s definitely gotten better and faster, added some great new features, et cetera, but the main User-Interface is about the same, as are the concepts behind all of the primary functions of the program (not that I’d trade CS2 for 1.0.7, mind you).
(Link via Paulo.)
August 15, 2005
How will you remember this decade?
Will the first decade of the 2000s be known as the 1960s of the new millenium?
This question popped into my head this morning as I was driving to work, listening to the song, Road To Joy by Bright Eyes. It’s songs like this one, protests by passionate people like Cindy Sheehan, and art by painters like Steve Mumford and Fernando Botero that make me think the answer to this question might be “yes.”
Even so, this will be known as a decade much more subtle than the 1960s. Similar to the 60s, a war has been progressing for far too long. But, quite on the contrary, the world’s youth, too involved in text-messaging and playing their PSPs, can’t be bothered to organize any sort of movement like the hippies of the past did. Their parents, immersed in the throngs of pseudo-politics, commercialism, and the pollution of 90s apathy never were bothered by anything. And their grandparents have all but forgotten about the idealism of their youth. (Of course, sometimes, they’ll remember the days when they sacrificed their middle-class lives and white-bread reputations to speak out against something they didn’t agree with when they watch movies by people like Oliver Stone.)
No, this won’t be an era that future generations will try to emulate twenty years from now (like what happened with the 60s). Sure, The OC and Punk’d might generate some clothing comebacks years from now, but no one will wish they’d lived between the years 2000 and 2010.
Why are the Green Day‘s and the Sheehans so few and far between these days? Why do we look down at the crowd of people on the corner holding up signs that say, “Honk For Peace”? Is our involvement something worth believing in really that difficult to embrace?
I’m no different, you know. I drive past protesters and wonder if they’re really doing any good. I listen to my old punk rock collection and reminisce about the days when things mattered to me. I shop at CostCo and change the channel on the television when scenes of war appear on the screen.
And this is what the current generation is going to be looking back on twenty years from now.
Anyway, if you want to do something, but don’t know what, here’s one idea:
These vigils will take place on August 17, 2005, at 7:30pm. Click the link and find out if there will be a vigil site near you.
If anything, join Cindy and others in prayer for our country and our troops. Pray for those who belong to other countries and find themselves in the midst of a bloody battle. Pray for those who do not have a voice or a country that supports them.
"A minimalist theory of truth"...
You may find some interesting reading/thinking over at Steve Bush’s Blog, Harbinger. In particular, read a recent post called “A minimalist theory of truth.” He also wrote a follow-up post here (and there may be more, so saty tuned).
On Friday afternoon, the Neuropthalmologist confirmed my Optometrist‘s theory that I do, in fact, have Keratoconus. It’s not major, but he wants me to get some “rigid gas-permeable” (i.e., hard) contact lenses in order to try to reshape my cornea. I’ve never worn contacts before and I have a hard enough time when anything gets close to my eyes, so we’ll see what happens.
The picture is of my left eye, shortly after being dilated.
I did receive some great news, though. My Hematologist called to tell me that the tests I took came up negative. This means that I can stop taking Coumadin permanently (and I probably don’t have to go see my Cardiologist for a while now either). Thank, God!Continue Reading...
August 11, 2005
[Book Review] The Road To Xenu
I just finished reading The Road To Xenu – A narrative account of life in Scientology (1991). If you’re interested in learning more about the (secret) inner-workings of Scientology and how they use subversive mind-control techniques to lure people into the cult in order to make money, then I highly suggest this free, online book.
The Road To Xenu is the fictionalized, autobiographical account of Margery Wakefield and how she was sucked into the life of Scientology at the age of seventeen. This story is only “fictionalized” for the fact that it not only pulls from Margery’s own experiences, but also a number of experiences had by others who were, at one time, a part of Scientology. The true story of Margery’s life can be found here. A list of all of her writings is here.Continue Reading...
August 10, 2005
If it's not one thing, it's another...
For over a month now, I’ve had a twitch under my left eye. Now, I’ve had eye twitches before — lots of them. But, they usually only last a few days at a time. This one has happened consistently, every day, every few minutes — in fact, it’s happening right now. That’s why I went to see the doctor.
This illustration shows what Keratoconus looks like. The upper, odd-shaped white area is the cornea. Basically, as an auto-immune response, the cornea develops a small out-pouching. This out-puching can cause irritation and vision problems.
Anyway, the Keratoconus isn’t a huge deal (it’s not too common, but lots of people have it and get along just fine), but it may be what’s causing the twitch (as well as some ongoing vision issues). Likewise, it’s yet another thing that I will have to monitor for the next few years.
At the same time, some focus test results had my doc shaking his head. Because of this, I will be visiting a Neuropthalmologist on Friday. A Neuropthalmologist is a neurologist who specializes in the eyes. Friday, he’s going to see if there is anything wrong with the nerve endings behind my left eye. More fun stuff!
So, Friday, I get to talk to my Hematologist and a Neuropthalmologist. My list of personal specialists is growing. I’m not so sure I like that.
August 09, 2005
Watching the ball of light in the early morning sky transform into the shape of the Space Shuttle was pretty incredible.
Discovery’s trip was considered “historical” and “unprecedented” and a slew of other media-inspired adjectives for a variety of good reasons. But, the thing I’m most excited about is the fact that the space program will most likely continue because of this. (By the way, I’m first in line to take a trip to the moon, if that ever happens.)
Thank God that the astronauts are safe and that nothing disastorous occurred.
August 08, 2005
Mortality, part 7
Two things that I may not have to see for a while:
The current statistics of a “major bleed” for those on Coumadin are 1% to 2% per year (mind you, these stats are more accurate for the elderly). Since I have heterozygous Factor V Leiden, the chances that I will have another one of these are actually less than that. On Friday, after some Protein C & S Activity tests have been run on the blood that was taken from me earlier today, I will know if I can cease use of Coumadin or not.
Actually, I have been off of Coumadin for two weeks in preparation for these tests (they can’t be done while Coumadin is in my bloodstream). This wasn’t the easiest two weeks to enter into — being on any medication for over a year forces one to think that the medication is a necessity for health and well-being. It’s not like I love medication, though — far from it. It’s just that when every doctor you employ tells you that you need a certain medication, you start to believe them.
Anyway, after speaking with my hematologist today, I feel a lot better about everything. No, a diagnosis has not been determined yet — truthfully, one probably never will. But, knowing that I can safely end the use one of the three pills I take every day makes me feel happy (and even a little more alive).
Floating actually means walking...and carrying...and getting really, really tired...
A bunch of us (view a picture here) went on a camping/float excursion over the weekend. It was a lot of fun, but extremely exhausting. The campground wasn’t too bad, although the river-folk who were present weren’t too good (aside from being reacquainted with many fun expletives that I hadn’t heard in a while, I’ve never actually seen so many drunk people at eight o’clock in the morning in my life).
Fun times were had by all (and I mean all) until the wee hours of the morning. But, we did manage to have some of our own fun and get some sleep as well.
The water level of the Elk River was pretty low this year, so much of our canoeing was spent dragging the canoes rather than rowing them. It took us about five hours to make it down eight miles of river.
We took Indy who did surprisingly well. She slept in the tent with us, thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors, and became quite the boat-dog by the end of the canoeing trip (she loved the attention from all of the other boaters).
Thanks, Jill, for organizing this for all of us… We appreciate it! (Click the thumbnail to see Jill enjoying a peaceful morning down by the river.)
August 02, 2005
William Gibson on sampling...
We live at a peculiar juncture, one in which the record (an object) and the recombinant (a process) still, however briefly, coexist. But there seems little doubt as to the direction things are going. The recombinant is manifest in forms as diverse as Alan Moore’s graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, machinima generated with game engines (Quake, Doom, Halo), the whole metastasized library of Dean Scream remixes, genre-warping fan fiction from the universes of Star Trek or Buffy or (more satisfying by far) both at once, the JarJar-less Phantom Edit (sound of an audience voting with its fingers), brand-hybrid athletic shoes, gleefully transgressive logo jumping, and products like Kubrick figures, those Japanese collectibles that slyly masquerade as soulless corporate units yet are rescued from anonymity by the application of a thoughtfully aggressive “custom” paint job.Read the rest here.
(Link via Rebecca Blood.)
August 01, 2005
Our big-tongued new friend...
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we may have found a dog… Well, last Thursday, her foster parents brought her over for an “interview” and then, this past Saturday, we went to pick her up!
She’s been a wonderful dog so far (if not a little stressful, since I want to make sure she’s happy). Her bark is pretty ferocious, but she’s only used it once, while meeting one of the neighbor dogs. Most of the time, she just hangs around and tries to please us by being lovable.
This picture os of Indy while on a walk that was probably way too long for her first time out with us. She did great, though…
Look at that tongue!