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21st September 2005
10th September 2005
Exorcism of Emily Rose
Last weekend, I went to see the horror rag "The Skeleton Key," starring Kate Hudson. It wasn't really that scary, mainly because I didn't believe the crap that was happening; a bunch of "hoodoo bayou magic". I was , however, really frightened by the end of the movie. :
Kate Hudson's character is tricked into trapping herself in a ritual that causes her mind/soul to swap into the body of an older woman. One of the final scenes of the movie shows Hudson standing up from the ritual, only to reveal to us that she is now the older woman. Early on in the film, it is stated that hoodoo only has power if you believe in it. It's not until Hudson is gradually haunted into believing in it that she is trapped. "It's gettin' harder and harder to get'em to believe in it, isn't it?" the mind-swapped Hudson asks her partner-in-hoodoo at the end of the film.
This is what really scared me about the film. As if evil had no power until we believed in it. That's the beauty of the film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." The film is based on true events surrounding the possession, attempted exorcism, and eventual death of a 19 year-old farm girl. The Catholic priest who attempted to perform an exorcism ritual on her is charged with neglectful homicide and put on trial. The story follows the defense lawyer, played by Laura Linney, and her journey of belief.
I don't expect people to walk out of the theater completely converted to believing what was presented to them. To those who would scoff at what they had seen, I'd remind them that Emily knew that her death would present her story to many. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I'm just excited to see a film that presents the way I look at the world come out of Hollywood.
Now, what does this have to do with "The Skeleton Key?" Plenty. Allow me to borrow a line from the film "The Usual Suspects":
The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing us he didn't exist.
Evil can exist whether you believe in it or not. That means that when someone tries to tell you that morals don't exist and that what you think is only your opinion, they can be wrong (and so could you). Truth is something that doesn't depend on human opinion, emotion, or investigation to exist. There can be a wolf behind me and just because I don't see it, or want to see it, doesn't mean it's not there. For the unbeliever in the spiritual, or even the Christian, does it sound like I'm begging you to believe? Maybe it's that there's something that inherently connects with what's going on here. Could I be wrong? Sure. And so could you. It's exactly this point that "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" so eloquently brings us to. And that's the main reason I'm recommending it.
"If my answers frighten you Vincent, then you should cease asking scary questions." -Sam Jackson to John Travolta regarding their discussion of a freak occurence/miracle in "Pulp Fiction"
6th September 2005
Napoleon Dynamite Validates Christianity
No, I don't believe what the title of this entry states. However, it's an attitude that I know I held onto at one time, and wanted to respond to when I saw this: : http://www.navpress.com/Store/Product/1
I don't know the exact intent of the authors of this book, and I don't doubt that, to some degree they'd probably agree with me. They're probably just trying to help kids get interested in Christian faith. However, using "secular" sources to make the Christian faith seem relevant and valid can marginalize Christianity is an approach to faith that won't yield much growth.
I think this stuff is a very Arminian response to living in secular culture. "Let's pick something that is seemingly unrelated to God and find God in it! Let's make our faith valid in the eyes of the world!"
God doesn't need us to validate him. Granted, these books can be used for good, I don't doubt that. However, if one stays at the level of faith where you're constantly looking to stay "relevant" to the world simply by "finding" God in things without realizing that God is in everything already, then you're not going to fully experience who God is.
Why not let God show you who He is, rather than tell Him where he fits in?
27th August 2005
Yes kids, it's that time again. Camp finished up well, though I'm EXHAUSTED, and I have arrived home. :
Memorable highlights from the summer (just a few):
-Going to San Francisco, buying Chinese action flicks in Chinatown
-Flying to San Diego for the International Comicon. Met some cool people who make the TV shows, video games, and comics we know and love.
-Bought a used Apple G4 Power PC, so I can actually make my own movies.
-Spending a week in a campers' cabin with kids from Oakland and the roughest part of San Jose.
-Seeing Sufjan Stevens live at The Attic in Santa Cruz, with my lovely girlfriend (who was also present at several of the other events I'm listing).
-Getting so many bug bites that I had to be taken to the doctor.
-Buying my first David Bowie album.
-Writing, shooting, and editing a video project I actually was proud of. So what if I was just trying to copy Sergio Leone's old spaghetti Westerns.
-The amazing people who made my summer what it was.
School starts Monday. See those of you who are attending there.
18th July 2005
Here's my current playlist. :
Miserlou-Dick Dale & His Del-Tones
Making Time-The Creation
Can Anyone Be Hypnotised-Icecream Hands
Seven and Seven Is -Love
Sea of Heartbreak-Johnny Cash
Accidents Will Happen-Elvis Costello & The Attractions
High Noon-DJ Shadow
King & Queen of Siam-Frank Black and the Catholics
Surgical Focus- Guided By Voices
Indie Rock & Roll- The Killers
Slow Hands- Interpol
Virginia Reel Around the Fountain- The Halo Benders
Suddenly Everything Has Changed- The Postal Service
Bit Rate Variations in B-Flat (Girl)- Beck
Wave Of Mutilation-Pixies
10 A.M. Automatic -The Black Keys
3rd July 2005
Album of the Year? Sufjan Stevens...
The year is only half over, but amidst the great crop of new music we've had so far (White Stripes, Beck), it looks like Sufjan Stevens might take the cake, yet again. Last year, his third full-length LP, Seven Swans, got great reviews from some of the toughest music critics and one of his songs, "To Be Alone With You," made it on to the OC soundtrack four. :
Now,Sufjan has outdone himself, with the album Illinoise! Building on his state-themed albums that he began with his album Michigan, he creates an album of orchestrated folk pop that is intense, intimate, and still manages to give you room to breathe. There has been some problems with the album's original artwork, featuring an unlicensed likeness of Superman, so the original pressing has been recalled. Hopefully, they'll get things redesigned shortly, so you can get your hands on this fantastic piece of art.
Check out Sufjan at http://www.soundsfamilyre.com/soundsfam
27th June 2005
Earthboy Jacobus Review!
Earthboy Jacobus Review! :
I got a copy! It's a steal at 13 bucks for 272 pages of the best comic book (graphic novel) you'll ever read. Here's the review I posted on Amazon:
Reading Earthboy Jacobus is like watching the sci-fi action adventure story you've been waiting for Hollywood to get a hold of for years. One of the finest graphic novels, both in story and artwork, I've ever read.
Comics are a fantastic medium, in that stories of every subject matter are readily available, no matter what you're into. It's also this aspect of comics that makes it so difficult for me to find anything I like. It's rare that you find someone who's storytelling ability matches their ability to illustrate.
Thankfully, Doug TenNapel is one of the few people who can do this (for others: see Eric Powell, Jeff Smith, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller).
Splashes of classic character design with TenNapel's trademark hyper realism. Fans of Creature Tech will wet their pants when they get a load of the terra-whales and Ectoid vehicles. Visual nods to Jeff Smith and Mignola also rear their heads in the most beautiful and appropriate of places.
In my review of Tommysaurus Rex, TenNapel's Eisner-nominated graphic novel, I complained that the pacing was too rapid, and I've heard a similar complaint of EBJ. At 272 pages, the book is already massive, and lest TenNapel become the next Jeff Smith with a 12-year Bone saga on his hands, we'd better forgive the pacing and give the man some leeway. He's done a GN a year for the past two years and I certainly hope his pace doesn't decrease.
13th June 2005
White Stripes-Get Behind Me Satan
From Pitchfork: :
Even with a generous handful of tracks that easily rank alongside the White Stripes' best work, Get Behind Me Satan remains a confounding record, one that wears its "transitional album" tag like a heavy peppermint-striped crown. One can't help but feel that if perhaps the White Stripes had seen fit to take the necessary time to give cuts like "Forever for Her" or "The Denial Twist" a sincere revision or two, we might've been looking at a stone classic. As it stands, there's more than enough here to give Stripes fans cause to celebrate, although it may not inspire much faith that the duo will ever find the patience necessary to deliver upon their promising new innovations.
From Paste Magazine:
Get Behind Me Satan finds The White Stripes at an interesting career crossroads, as the desire to branch out in new directions meets the impulse to duplicate past successes and stay true to the roots of a decidedly roots-based sound. In trying to do all of that at once—keeping things simple, yet altering the building blocks in subtle but profound ways—the band takes a sidestep that’s as easy to admire as it is hard to love.
Rolling Stone: Gave it four and a half of five stars.
These guys are right, it is a transitional record. Jack White seems to be pressing at the seams of his minimalist yoke, and, frankly, I dig it. It's not a solid piece, like my favorite White Blood Cells, or Elephant (the two stripes albums I own), but we are seeing Jack's creativity. Yes, it's a bit unpolished, some songs are too long, but, as a fan of the band, I totally appreciate it. I sometimes get frustrated when bands change, but I think Jack is a true artist who has earned his stripes (haha) and can experiment, while still doing what he does well. It's incredibly rare that an artist reaches this point, and I'm thankful that the Stripes are a band that I've been able to grow to appreciate. To me, the earmark of a good artist is that people often either love or hate their work. The Stripes aren't a band that leave many sitting on the fence. I think that those who thought the garage rock trend sucked because of The Hives and The Vines can pick up Get Behind Me Satan and see past media hype to find a band that is truly becoming an American classic. Yes, an American classic.
One thing I felt that these reviews missed is that Jack has started branching into some almost-straight up pop on this album, and it works well. The album doesn't hang like the two previous albums do, but it works, if you're not expecting another lineup like "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," followed by "Hotel Yorba," or "Seven Nation Army," followed by the equally city-leveling "Black Math." There's a little more country and blue grass on this album, too, which is quite welcome, adding to the palette that Jack uses to populate this album. Check out track two, where a marimba induces an eerie, Tom Waits-esque vibe.
The White Stripes are growing and changing and they're letting us in on the process. Don't begrudge them. Give it a listen, take some time, and realize what's happening. No, it's not another Elephant, but they've pulled off something rare: a good transitional album.
10th June 2005
Hilarious Political Comic
Doug did it again! He's started posting comics on his blog. This one concerns the backward logic of the intolerant tolerant. Enjoy. :
6th June 2005
Earthworm Jim Creator's New Comic!
My good friend Doug TenNapel (www.tennapel.com) is preparing to release his most recent graphic novel (comic book w/ self-contained story) from Image Comics. Doug is best known for creating the video game Earthworm Jim and currently creates comics and works at Nickelodeon his soon-to-be released show, Catscratch. :
Earthboy Jacobus is his fourth comic book outing and I can personally vouch for it's quality. When Doug was here in April, he brought the finished Act two with him. I was amazed. I've read his work faithfully over the last year and a half, and this is the biggest thing he's ever done. It's over 270 pages and His artwork continues to bowl me over, as if classic cartooning met with Bill Watterson's highly rendered work.
Those who read Tommysaurus Rex and were awaiting the return of the typical TenNapel quirk, this is the work for you. The plot follows a police chief and his adopted son, who falls from the sky while being chased across the galaxy by some of the coolest, most evil looking bad guys I've ever seen.
The comic is a steal at less than $13. I hope you will take the plunge and get the book. Everyone loves a good comic. Having read part of it, I know it's got action, humor, and tons of heart. Heck, it's an epic. Doug is hoping to sell the movie rights, so you collector's can get the first printing before the movie comes out, then sell your copy on eBay and pay off your college loans or buy that sweet set of turntables and a new mixer you've been eyeing.
Some of you might be saying, "He's only promoting the book because he's Doug's friend." WRONG. I'm promoting it because I like Doug's work, first and foremost. I was his fan before I was his friend, and his work still moves me like it always did.
Earthboy Jacobus on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de
Yesterday, I purchased the Rolling Stones album Between the Buttons. What prompted such a purchase? My favorite movie director is Wes Anderson. In his film The Royal Tenenbaums, the characters Richie and Margot sit in a tent together, listening to this album after Richie's failed suicide attempt. As Richie leaves the tent, the song Ruby Tuesday plays. This song is not included on the Tenenbaums soundtrack, unfortunately (but a lot of good artists like Nick Drake and the Ramones are). :
[side note: Stones songs are continually left off Anderson's soundtracks, probably for copyright cost reasons]
Why would I purchase an album for one song? Well, I wouldn't. I own a couple other Stones albums and know that they're quality, even if they don't immediately catch on. Let It Bleed took me a few listens, but I now consider it one of the most cinematic rock albums ever (see opening of Monkey Man to see what I mean). I find that discovering new music is fantastic. I have a friend who actually mails people mix CDs, and he's got me into doing the same. I know I'm a music snob, obsessed, whatever, but I find that going back to the classics and seeing the roots of so many bands is really enriching. It's great to listen to the Strokes, then listen to the Stooges, and then to early Stones and see the line of inspiration and wonder where it is headed.
Your assignment for the week: listen to some classic rock, blues, and jazz. Make connections to modern music.
Also, a big thank you to everyone who's been reading my blog. I'm close to 1,000 views and I've only had it since March
31st May 2005
It's been a few months since I bought my Sasquatch! Festival tickets to the Gorge Ampitheater, so when we arrived, I was stoked. I wasn't too excited about any of the side stage bands, but I was there for four reasons: Wilco, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, and the Pixies. The Pixies are one of my all-time, top 5 favorite rock artists of all-time, so to see them was going to be on a similar level of seeing Paul McCartney. :
Wilco was pretty mediocre, but I also didn't get up close for their set. I laid on the hill, got sunburned, and took a nap before Kanye's set. He was pretty energetic, and it was just he and a DJ, so he didn't have a lot to work with. He gets props for playing Rick James and Al Green during his set, though. Wilco's main problem, in my eyes, was that what makes their album work so great was totally missing. It was like they could have stood there and played the CD's with cardboard cutouts of the band on stage. Perhaps Jeff Tweedy has grown comfortable in what he does and isn't injecting the same passion into his work that he used to.
Arcade Fire was all I'd expected and more. There were eight of them on stage, and everyone played at least two different instruments during the show, including the drummer. They had tons of different instruments, even a cymbal, which, during one song, two band members played simultaneously. They played all songs from their album, including one Regine (lead singer's wife) sang. The only non-album track was No Cars Go, from their ep and iTunes single. They had tons of energy and passion, were very gracious, and more than lived up to their reputation. They opened with "Wake Up," which got everyone singing on the opening vocal chorus, and closed with Rebellion (Lies), which is my favorite song on Funeral. I left with a massive smile on my face. I bought their shirt, which glows in the dark!
Modest Mouse's set was just as the sun was going down. They played only four or five songs that weren't from Good News: Paper Thin Walls, 3rd Planet, Tiny Cities Made of Ashes, Doin' the Cockroach, Dramamine, and one other I didn't recognize. Isaac played banjo on Satin in a Coffin. They didn't play Dance Hall or Bury Me With It, but most everything else was from Good News: World at Large, The View, Black Cadillacs, Float On (while the sun was going down behind them over the Columbia River Gorge), Ocean Breathes Salty, and Bukowski. I'm sure I forgot a few. I'm scared to ever see them live again, because what I experienced from them here would be so difficult to top. One of the best live performances I've seen. Modest Mouse is truly one of the most relevant bands around. Perhaps this generation's Pixies.
Then the Pixies were up. I had been standing since Kanye's set ended, so we were already tired, but the wait for the Pixies was worth it. More than worth it. To see Frank Black and company from a mere 100 feet away was incredible. Their stage presence was confident, yet gracious, and they plowed through the songs like they knew they had too many songs to play, and everyone wanted to hear them all. They are in such great form.
Remember my constant quoting of "Is it better to burn out than to fade away?" These guys are still burning. Opened with the Lady in the Radiator song (In Heaven), which brought the purple stage lights down low, with a soft spot on Kim Deal as she sang "In Heaven, everything is fine..." absolutely chilling. Then they went into the slow version of Wave of Mutilation, which they reprised towards the end of the set, only in the album version. Other standout tracks... heck they were all standout tracks. They played Where is My Mind pretty early on in the set and closed with Debaser, after a brief walk off stage. They also played Velouria, Ed is Dead, Hey (a personal fave), Gigantic, Bone Machine, and Gouge Away. Actually they played most of the Doolittle album. During Monkey Gone to Heaven, I got to scream along "And God is seven! And God is seven!"
One of the best concerts I've ever been to.
26th May 2005
When Dave "Went Crazy"
So when Chappelle went AWOL to Africa, you heard all about it. He apparently has released some info on how he is and why he took off. Read the story at msn: : http://entertainment.msn.com/tv/art
25th May 2005
5 Questions with the Ryan
1. What has been on your stereo lately? :
I've been getting into some electronic music lately...stuff like Anna Ranger, Joy Electric, and Travelogue. Also, I've been listening to alot of post-punk, hardcore, and metal. The Chariot, The Evaluation, Q and not U, My Life with the Spaniard, Flee the Century, Reflux, The Showdown...
2. What was the first album you bought?
The first album I ever bought was probably "Nu Thang" by Dc Talk. The first album I ever owned was "This Means War" by Petra. I love Petra. I didn't know music existed until I heard that album.
3. A gun is at your head. What is your favorite album of all time?
Blaster the Rocket Man's "The Monster Who Ate Jesus." This is the Star Wars of music. I can't think of one bad thing to say about this band...except shame on them for breaking up.
4. What is the first story or character you ever remember really relating to? Why?
"Utopia" by Anonymous. This is the story about little Teddie Nugent and his adventures growing up on the Savannah. When the Animal Liberation Front seeks to remove the animals from the family big game farm, little Nuge must make a dangerous trek to the ALF compound in Western Europe to try to stop them. Along the way, Nuge encounters such crazy characters as Old Man Cheston, Clint of Eastwood, and Lemmy from Motorhead.
This story related to me because I like to eat meat.
5. What are you working on currently?
Writing new music for both bands, playing shows, Narwhal Productions, finding a new stick so I can run more boxes through, and expanding my cash flow for Cornerstone 2005.
23rd May 2005
Star Wars Episode III thoughts
George Lucas worked his technical magic, unfortunately writing well seems to elude him. One of the things that really connected with me in the original trilogy was the simplicity of the good vs. evil battle. In episode III, he starts getting all post-modern on us. "Only the Sith think in terms of absolutes," "From my perspective the Jedi are evil," etc. I had a really hard time believing that Anakin truly became evil. Granted, he eventually brings balance to the force, but he left a path of destruction in his wake, something that, in my book, deserves a full transformation to the Hitler he was portrayed as in the original trilogy. :
I certainly enjoyed the viewing experience of episode III, which is more than I can say for episode II. It was the best of the trilogy, and was a blast to experience, but I think Lucas' ideological shift punched the largest hole in this movie, one greater than a whiny Hayden Christiansen could ever dream of.
21st May 2005
On a forum where I'm a member, someone is talking about how great a new Indiana Jones movie would be. Everytime I read this, I get angry because of how Lucas took a dump all over the Star Wars legacy and now he could ruin Indy. It's like Weezer making more albums, a fourth Back to the Future Film, a new Rolling Stones tour. :
It's summed up best by Barry, Jack Black's character in the movie High Fidelity (which will never, ever have a sequel):
"Is it fair to judge a formerly great artist by his latter-day sins? Subquestion: Is it better to burn out than to fade away?"
I'm thinking "burn out." That way you don't have the chance to tarnish your great works with junk you'd put out after the fact. I remember watching a documentary on Jimi Hendrix, and I caught the drift that what he did after the Experience broke up was nowhere near what he did with the Experience. I can't think of an artist that was consistently as good after their "initial run." Even the Beatles only lasted 7 years.
Thank goodness some people have sense to keep the integrity of what they do, like Bill Watterson, the guy who created Calvin and Hobbes, which is a piece of commercial art that I'm willing to get into fistfights over. Watterson had a long battle with his people over whether or not C&H should be marketed. He talks a little about it in the book "Calvin and Hobbes: The Sunday Pages." Thankfully, he created one of the greatest pieces of commercial art I've ever experienced.
It seems that people like Watterson are really rare. Probably because, if you want to get your work out there, you're going to have to compromise. You have to earn the right to get your licensing rights, the final cut, the last rewrite.
All this being said, I think making art for commercial purposes is great. The challenge lies in creating something with some truth and craft to it. Now, this is easy for me to say. I'm an arm-chair creator and some kid with a blog. Just call me "Magnoliafan" (see Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Wait, no, please don't). I haven't created anything more than maybe a hundred people have seen. However, I guess this is the goal of some commercial artists: to create something sincere and entertaining. Appealing to a mass audience is incredibly difficult, and I tip my hat to those who can do it, even if I don't like what they produce.
"Some days I want to throw the country A-K rack out on the street and go work at a Virgin Megastore."-John Cusack, High Fidelity
14th May 2005
Dreams of Chappelle
This will probably seem a little off-topic from my normal blog topics, but it's one of those things you just want to share. :
Many of you are probably aware that comedian Dave Chappelle has gone AWOL. A couple days ago, he informed Comedy Central that he is in a psychiatric facility in South Africa. The third season of his show, Chappelle's Show, which us fans have been waiting for fervently, has been pushed back again. Thankfully, the legendary second season, comes out on DVD at the end of May. We can now watch the Rick James, Li'l Jon, and I Know Black People skits to our hearts' content.
Some people may wonder why a conservative Christian would be a fan of a show like Chappelle's. I'll agree, he crosses the line of taste sometimes. But I feel that he offers an honesty in his social commentary that is missing in today's overly PC society. And when the man makes a funny skit, it enters the nation's conscience. I remember, back before he became really popular, having to explain the skits to my friends when I would say things like "OK! WHAT?!" and "He loves his momma. And PCP." Now, if I'm like "Charlie Murphy!," everyone knows what I'm talking about.
OK, here's the real reason I posted this. I had a dream about Dave last night. I don't remember exactly where I was or why I was there, but I'm pretty sure I was at an airport. I'm standing at the ticket counter, and I look to my left. There's Dave. Of course, I was like, man, you're supposed to be in South Africa! He didn't really explain why he was still in the States, but he looked fine, calm and collected. I was really relieved and happy to know he was OK. We chatted for a few minutes afterward and he wasn't mad that I'd recognized him.
Now, I haven't been sitting around worrying about Dave Chappelle, but when someone takes off fand doesn't even tell his network where he's going, something serious is going down.
Dave, my prayers are with you and your family.
12th May 2005
Birthday List Update
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou DVD is no longer on my list. :
Thanks, Julia. :)
11th May 2005
Beck's new album gets the rating of "Best Chillout Album, so far, of '05." "Guero," which means "white boy," is, as I'm guessing you've heard, bit of an update of his ground-breaking album "Odelay." Beck's quirky, yet killer beats do abound on the album, but he hasn't forgotten where he's been the past few years since we all started saying "Where it's at, I got two turntables and a microphone." Some songs have the acoustic backing that is similar to his work on his previous album "Sea Change."
If you're on the road or need some background music, I think this will be the album of the summer. Definitely recommended.
Upcoming releases for 2005
-Built to Spill
7th May 2005
I've provided these handy links, so you can purchase them on Amazon and have them sent directly to my house. No gift wrapping needed! :
The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 1 DVD: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de
Looney Tunes DVD:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t
Life Aquatic DVD: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de
Flight, vol. 1 & 2: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A
The Goon: Heaps of Ruination TPB: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de
Ramones shirt: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de
Subscription to MOJO magazine: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de
And, of course, money is always accepted.
I listened to the first two songs of the entire album "Make Believe," which is posted on myspace and I wasn't disappointed. However, I'm scared to like it. Weezer has let me down, twice (green album and maladroit). :
I also read the Rolling Stone cover story, and it doesn't quell my fears. Rivers is a hardcore meditator and way into Eastern philosophy. It's amazing to me that Rivers still functions in society. He sounds about as detatched from reality as you can get. How the band puts up with his meditation schedule and controlling demeanor is beyond me.
But at the same time, IT'S WEEZER. I mean, these guys revolutionzed my youth. Pinkerton is one of the greatest rock albums of all time. So it's with this that I may resign them to the "Star Wars prequel" category of things that were formerly great. To quote Jack Black in High Fidelity (which is a movie every man should see): "Is it fair to judge a formerly great artist for his latter day sins? Subquestion: Is it better to burn out, than to fade away?"
I try not to discriminate against bands, but weezer has been so dear to me in the past that when they let me down like these guys have, at the hand of Rivers, no less, I have to work on forgiveness. Do I sound like I've thought about this too much? Guess I'm not doing anything to keep my friends from comparing me to Seth Cohen on the OC.
Oh well, it's indie rock and roll for me.
5th May 2005
Evil Is Not a Thing
How can evil exist is God is good and can only create good things? Is God just in allowing suffering? A tough concept to ponder. I found this great explanation of this issue over at www.str.org: : http://str.org/free/commentaries/apolog
A quote that sums up some of the article:
"Augustine knew that evil was real. Independent evidence (natural theology) was enough to convince him that God existed and that everything He created would be good. Evil, then, must be something real, but not a "thing" in the conventional sense. Evil is not a created thing, but spoiled goodness made possible by the free moral agency of rational creatures. Evil is not something present, but something missing, a privation."
Another great quote:
"It appears that a deeper, more profound good results when virtue is won by free, moral souls struggling with evil, rather than simply granted to them as an element of their constitution"
30th April 2005
Nothing Esoteric About Art
Well, nothing esoteric about art if you want to make a living at it. I had the chance to spend some time with personal hero/favorite artist Doug TenNapel and his friend/Joe Pesci look-alike Mike Dietz this week when they lectured at my school. We spent some time talking about art and making a living. These guys are the real deal. They're far from being household names, but they're involved with projects you've probably had in your household, like TV shows and video games, and they've been doing it for over 10 years. :
Doug and Mike don't mystify the artistic and creative processes, so I'm going to share a little of what I gleaned from these guys: When it comes to wanting to be a "professional artist," ie get paid for making art, you need to have a skill set, just as a programmer learns computer languages and a grocery bagger learns that eggs don't go on the bottom. The process is different, but the concept is the same. No one is going to hire some fine artist who shellacs dirty laundry to pictures of missiles to create TV shows.
Now don't get me wrong, fine art is all well and good. It's just when people use the fact that they're "self expressing" to elevate them above other people. Doug and Mike are regular guys and have worked on some fantastic projects, but they don't think anyone owes them anything. They have to put food on the table and have honed their creative skills to the point Nickelodeon, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg have paid them to make entertainment for the masses.
On a side note, Doug brought along act II to his latest graphic novel Earthboy Jacobus. If you don't buy this, you're nuts, even if you think you don't like comics. The story promises to be a tear-jerker, with plenty of action and aliens. Pre-order it by clicking the link at the bottom of this blog post.
For more on Doug and Mike, check out www.tennapel.com and www.slappypictures.com.
Earthboy Jacobus on Amazon:
26th April 2005
Stop Dating, Start Kissing
OK, don't start kissing just yet. :
In high school, I read the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris. While I still appreciate his high view of sexual purity, I don't put much stock in the "God will bring me the right person at the right time without me putting in any effort" mentality. Now, this may not have been what Harris meant, since I haven't read the book in a long time, but that's what I walked away with, and I think many other readers did, too.
A personal hero and good friend of mine challenged this view and, though it took me a while, I finally decided to use the cajones God gave me and stop using the idea that being inactive in my search for a spouse as a way to generate self-righteousness. That view also helped perpetuate my fear of trusting people, especially girls.
I've gotten rid of my old view, and it's made a world of difference. Her name is Julia, and I can't wait to see her at lunch. Even more importantly, I've learned more about God.
I found an article that discusses what I'm talking about. Hope it sparks some thought. I'm not promising you'll find someone right away. Far from it. But I think that this is a subject that can cut us to the core of our being, leading us to learn more about God in the process. I sure have.
(link to the article, from Focus on the Family's Boundless)
Also recommended, the book Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge
25th April 2005
5 Questions with The Eef
Eef, also known as Ethan Nicolle, is an illustrator, graphic artist, and bassist/vocalist for the punk-influenced metal band Lunaractive. Check him out at www.eefdotcom.com and www.lunaractive.com. Listen to Lunaractive at : http://www.myspace.com/lunaractive
1. What has been on your stereo lately?
I listen to allot of blue grass actually... my favorite bluegrass group of
the moment is a highly unknown group called "Crooked Still" who is awesome,
the lead singer has this soft voice that maes you just want to kiss her.
Other various music I have been listening to: Kelly Jo Phelps, Blind Boys of
Alabama, Breaking Benjamin, Damien Jurado, Stretch Arm Strong.
2. What was the first album you bought?
Ever??? Oh man... I think it was out of one of those $2 bins at payless
when I was about 9 or so. It was called "Megaforce" and I think it was the
soundtrack to an 80's action movie. I used to play that tape and set up my
ninja turtle toys in the bathroom and use flashlights to do "shadow shows"
by making the toy's shadows dance on the walls to the Megaforce soundtrack.
I actually forced my family members to sit and watch this.
3. A gun is at your head. What is your favorite album of all time?
"Homecoming" by Craig's Brother. I am not a big fan of pop-punk, but
Craig's Brother does it right, and they have tricky guitar parts with
awesome vocal harmonies and thoughtful lyrics. This album had a huge impact
on Lunaractive's sound and it's one of those albums I just never grow tired
of even thow I have had it for 6 years.
4. What is the first story or character you ever remember really relating
Harold and the Purple Crayon. I absolutely loved those books because that
was what I wanted to do... just draw whatever and make it come to life. I
used to spend hours and hours decorating my basement with different themes,
when I was about 4 or 5. I'd do an underwater theme and make the basement
look like I was underwater then I'd act like I was swimming around. Harold
could live in the world he created with his crayon. That's what I wanted to
5. What are you working on currently?
Well, the band is always writing. We have a new song that is just about
finished up. As far as art goes, my two main projects have been a graphic
novel and an on-line animated series. Both are at the writing/concept
stages at the moment, but I am very excited about both of them because this
is the first time in quite a while I will be working on my own characters,
telling stories that I made up. In fact, I need to quit answering your
questions and get to work!!
Thanks for helping me get this section started Eef!