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Friday, May 29, 2009


Some of you know about the Sooper Seekrit project and some of you don't. If you know keep your mouth shut.

I'm very excited about this project. It's been a cool creative outlet for me, over the past months, thinking, developing, refining, and finally executing.

I wish I could say more. I want to wait til we're up and running before I start to give the whole thing away. Things have really started coming together over the last 2 weeks. The logo for the project came in, which allowed the website to be set up and then that allowed me to send letters out. And I've already been receiving responses from the letters, which is very encouraging for the project.

I really hope to fully launch the project in the next few weeks. A few more things have to fall into place before that happens. I have high hopes for where this is going to go and for the people who will be able enjoy it. Don't worry I will announce everything here when it is time.

I hope you are as excited as I am about this.

Be ready to win stuff too. (OK that was a freebie)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Today's post is two movie reviews.

I love being associated with KCRW, whom I've blogged about in the past if you recall.

Being able to go to movie screenings is a great perk.

In the past two week's they have treated me to 2 movies. So I'll review them for your pleasure.

The first movie I saw was called Away We Go, starring John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, and co-starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels and Catherine O'Hara. Directed by Sam Mendes. Considering how much I didn't like Sam Mendes last film, Revolutionary Road, I was really hoping that this one would redeem my opinion of him as a director.

Luckily for me, I really enjoyed this film. After the first 15 min of the film and me telling myself "this is not Jim, this is not Jim" (from the Office) I was ok. It's a fun tale of a 30 something couple who finds themselves with child and now are forced to take stock of their lives and make sense of where they are headed. They embark on a cross country journey, seeking a new home and a new life, along the way they encounter old friends and gain glimpses into the personal and diverse family lives of those they encounter.

This movie was adapted from a book, and that clearly shows throughout the film. Yet Mendes makes it work, while you can pick out the chapters and segmentation of the story, you are still drawn to the characters and the over arching path that they are on. the performances are spot on. Maya Rudolph gives a refreshing performance that is both reflective and funny, she carries her character well. John Krasinski is a bit more one dimensional, yet he brings his trademark funny man humor to the party. He adds a necessary timing and lightness to the film in portions where it is appropriately needed.

Many of the supporting characters are a delight to watch, most of them uproariously funny. And ultimately these characters help our forlonged couple sort through a range of emotions, fears, hopes, and dreams as they search to find the right balance, self confidence, and understanding of themselves as they prepare to be parents.

Overall a great little film. I don't see it winning any awards, or even being all that popular. There's not real reason to see it in a theatre other than being able to see it now, instead of when it comes out on DVD. The soundtrack I think many will enjoy. For me personally it was a little monotonous, mainly due to my musical preferences. Alexi Murdoch, who is a great musician contributes his own music for the good majority of the film. It sets the perfect tone, only I am very familiar with his work, yet have become tired of it. So that, for me personally, detracted from the film, but I could see it adding a layer especially for those who aren't as familiar or unfamiliar with his work.

I say if you have time and are looking for a solid film to go see this one while you can. You might have to track it down, but if you like movies that are character driven and fully of laughable moments then this one is for you.

The movie that I got to screen tonight was called Moon. 1st time director Duncan Jones (who happens to be Davie Bowie's son, soo cool) turns his eye on the sci-fi genre, but not in the way you expect. In a desolate space station on the moon, we find a man, Sam, who is ending his 3 year contract, Sam must struggle to understand himself, his life and his family as the sole inhabitant of the station. Sam's only companion is a computer named Gerty. Sam is played by Sam Rockwell ang Gerty is voiced by Kevin Spacey. Duncan pays homage to many of the classic sci-fi films of the late 70's and the 80's. On a shoestring budget of 5mil, Duncan is able to create an immersive story and breathtaking visuals. With inventive uses of both miniatures and CG overlays, Duncan captures the desolation of space. Without giving too much away, this movie is a great example of a classic sci-fi movie without the need for "monsters" or over the top suspension of reality. It's very rooted in the mind and the understanding of human nature, set across a space backdrop. The soundtrack was phenomenal, scored by Clint Mansell who is responsible for many of the scores to Darren Aronofsky's (a director who I love) films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler. It sets a perfect tone for the film. We were lucky enough to have Duncan in the theatre with us and he was gracious to stick around for a Q&A after the film. He's a gracious guy was super eager to answer questions and relate to the crowd. For a first film it's quite a piece of work. This film I could easily see making waves over this year. Possibly even come award season, Sam Rockwell's performance is spectacular, especially considering what he had to do for the film, you'll have to see it to know what I'm talking about. And I have even more respect for it, knowing what their shooting was like. This is a for sure go out of your way to see. It doesn't come out until July, but mark it on your calendar. I appreciate this movie very much, for the scope, for the themes, for the acting, for the honesty, for the cinematography, and for it being a piece of art. Find it, see it, tell others.

That's the movie wrap. Hope you enjoy these suggestions. Let me know what you think of these films if you see them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Saw this meme over on Ryan Kemp Pappan's facebook page so I thought I'd do it for everyone's enjoyment.

The instructions were as follows: 15 books you will have with you the rest of your life that knocked your socks off.
Try not to think about it too much.
This list should take less than 15 minutes to do.

(in no particular order)
1 1984 by George Orwell
2 Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
3 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
4 In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen
5 The Lord of the Rings series (including the Hobbit) by J.R.R. Tolkien
6 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
7 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (short story) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8 Can You Drink the Cup by Henri Nouwen
9 Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
10 Liquid Church by Pete Ward
11 William Shakespeare (various plays)

my mind ran blank, so here's 4 books I've always wanted to read but haven't
1 The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
2 Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
3 The Divine Comedy by Dante
4 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (the unabridged version)

Feel free to either blog your own answers or leave one or two in the comments.

ghetto 118 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm sad to relay the message from Mark Oestreicher that he is ending his blog.

Marko, who I've talked about many times here, has been an inspiration/hero/friend to me for many years. It is sad to see the blog go, but as he says:
"i’ve been having a value stand-off, between what i say my values are and how i’m living my life. and it’s eroding (and threatening) my long-term happiness, and the life i really want.

let me get to the point:

1. i’m going to stop nurturing the whole “ysmarko” thing. which means, starting today, i’m going to stop using facebook (i’m planning on deleting my facebook account tomorrow), and stop twittering (i’m going to delete my twitter account tomorrow), and this is my last blog post on ysmarko (at least for the foreseeable future, though i’ll leave the blog sitting here for now).

2. i’m also reframing what “essential travel” is for me, which is allowing me to cut back 50 - 75% on my travel. i won’t be traveling internationally in the next year or two (or ever?), other than our canadian convention. and i’m cutting back on all other travel, other than a few truly essential things as well as family-related and personal stuff.

i know this is going to be hard in many ways, and i’ll likely go through some form of withdrawal. but i’m also excited about the new focus, extra time, and relational presence i expect to experience in the coming months.

Your online presence will be missed. Though I'm sure we will see each other soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Feeling like I don't have much to say today so here's a link to check out.

vendrTV a cool internet show about vendr carts around the country.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Here I am at 3a in the morning and it's the point where I decide if I want to get up in time to make it to church. Here in lies, my dilemma. I'm really having a problem deciding if I believe in the "institution" of church any more. In no way am I saying that I have lost faith or am giving up on everything. It is more of a crisis of understanding and connection.

More and more I feel discontented with the current state of church. I do not connect. I do not feel like I fit in. While many may say that if I don't like what's going on around me, I should change it. Well, all good said, but much more difficult done. I feel that I'm not in a place where people are wiling to listen to the ideas that I have when it comes to change. Maybe because the place where I am isn't ready to change.

I'm at a loss as what to do. I don't want to go. Yet I want to do something. I miss the days of being employed by a church, where I could spend my days in deep theological thought, and being in charge of a group where I could cast my vision for ministry. Yet I cannot find a church that feels like a good fit for me to be employed by. I am ever so grateful for being a part of the middle school ministry. Though I'm starting to remember that it becomes hard for me to be the role of support and not the position of being able to direct. I have nothing negative to say about the way the middle school ministry is being run. It's just that I know I have the training and desire to run my own ministry. It's a longing that I've had for a very long time. And something that I miss dearly. I'm at a point where I'm not sure I've ever going to get back to that place.

I'm running out of hope for the idea of church. I have plenty of hope for faith and what God's doing in the world. I just don't know how much of that includes "church" these days. Maybe I'm out of line for saying so. Maybe I'm just ahead of the curve when it comes to realizing this.

I'm tired of the old ways, I'm tired of hearing stories of the marginalized and outcast, both from inside and outside of the church. I want to experience passion, I want to live out what I've been reading about all these years. I want to see people excited about their faith. I want to live in activity instead of passivity. Pews are good for sitting, which usually isn't good for doing. Sunday is just a day, just like the other 6. Why do we treat it so special. Why don't we go out and "do things" if we're conditioned to "set it aside". Why only show up. Sit there. Pretend to listen. And then go back home. Why not organize, collaborate, activate, and spend our Sundays out in the world. Engaging those who we work with. Those who are in need. Those who just need someone to listen. Don't "preach", don't "convert", don't "evangelize". Be. Hear. Listen. Act. Seek. Find. Do. Give. Serve.

I do not claim to have it figured out. I offer ideas. I offer vision. I offer passion. I need people to surround me who desire the same things. I cannot do this alone. I hope to find community amongst people who share these values. I hope that might be here in LA. Though it is proving hard to find like minded people.

I still have not come to a conclusion about what I am to do on Sundays. I guess I will continue to follow my heart. I find it hard to show up if my heart is not in it. I will do so when I feel that I am capable. Do not hold it against me. Do not tell me "I should" or push me to do something I am not ready for. Ask me about me. Ask me about what's going on in my life. Do not say "it's good to see you" when I show up, yet do not call when I am gone. This journey I am on is not straying from who God is and what God is doing. The mere act of showing up to church is not going to solve the issues that I have. Do no insist that, showing up every Sunday is the solution. Join with me in envisioning. Join with me in creating. Join with me in dreaming.

These are my thoughts of now. These are my feelings. Please accept them for what they are. Please pray with me. Please journey with me. As I journey with God.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Lazy Saturday. Weather was pretty much perfect today, really enjoyed that. Tonight I'm off to play in this little tetris tournament that happens once or twice a year. I'll update later on how I do.

update 2:55a 5/24/09
The bar was hopping with some bands and a party, alongside the tetris fun. People were playing casually, and it didn't seem that many of them knew that there was a "tournament" later in the night. All said and done, it turned out to be the 3 people I came with who ended up in the tournament. It was a bit disappointing since we had been playing with each other all night and were hoping for some outside competition. Though at the same time it made it fun. Mark the organizer, set us up and we began. Time was running short so the tournament ran very quickly. Bobby vs Jenny, with Bobby taking that round. And myself vs Katie, who beat me out, when I made a few dumb errors. Part of that was switching formats. We moved from a "arcade-ish" self contained Tetris, the kind where you just plug a controller with the game straight into a tv. To an official Tengen (look it up if you don't know your tetris varients) version on an NES, with NES controllers, and we moved to a projector, which didn't help the eyes. All said and done Katie took 1st for the night, right as the bar was getting ready to close. They actually kicked us off, which meant that Jenny and I didn't get to settle who would finish 3rd and 4th. All and all it was fun. Hopefully we will have more events in the near future.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I've been thinking about the implications of facebook's "like" feature. Where instead of leaving comments on people's blurbs, you can just click the "like" button to show your favor for whatever has been posted.

I'm wondering what the implications for such things are. Is it reinforcing a passive ability for us to be involved in other people's lives. The idea of social networking is for us to be involved with each other. Though it seems that even less effort and energy is needed to "like" something, than it is to actually take the time to comment on something.

If you know me at all, I love the social media. But I try very hard to use it to expand and deepen the connects I have with various people. The use of it to be involved with people who may or may not be a part of my physical community is something that I really like. I do take the time, if I am going to interact with people to do so on an intentional level. I guess the question becomes, is it then better to simply "like" something, and use that as a "interaction" instead of doing nothing at all? Or is it more meaningful to truly take the time to interact with people on a level, that at least has taken the time to write a comment, no matter how short or unimportant it may seem?

Questions to ponder. Your thoughts?

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I want my life to amount to something. I want to think back and know that I made a difference in the world. Not for self fame or riches, but to know that I didn't waste what time I had. I have a deep desire to give to others. To take a stand when no one else is doing it. To be a person who cares more about others than myself.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing much. Sometimes the task seems too daunting. Sometimes I wonder what will be said of me in the end. Maybe it's lack of motivation. Maybe the opportunity has yet to be presented to me. Maybe it's the small things instead of the big things. Yet maybe I'm still waiting for the larger thing.

These are my thoughts, my dreams, my hopes, my desires. Only time will reveal the answers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Last night I finally watched An Inconvenient Truth. I feel a little late to the party and I'm guessing that it didn't have as much of an impact on me as it might have had a few years ago.

It all seemed like stuff I already knew. I never went "WOW that's astonishing!!!" Maybe it's just that I feel fairly educated about such things and that I've also had a number of years to hear about such things that are featured in the documentary.

I'd definately reccomend it to someone who feels like they don't know much about climate change and are interested in learning more. Gore is somewhat entertaining to watch and I'm glad it's a passion of his, though I know there are others out there making a difference inthe world and it would have been nice to see some of their efforts highlighted as well, instead of just hearing about Gore's presentation the whole time.

We're in a bit of a pickle and I'm excited to see what creative and inventive people are going to come up with in the next few years to combat climate change.

We'll see...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I've been a terrible blogger of late.

There are plenty of reasons for such. But there's not a lot of need to get into them.

Here's the goal: I'm going to write something, anything, everything once a day for the next 30 days.

Hopefully it will re-ignite my passion for writing on this blog.

As always I have wanted this place to be a space, where I can share, think, dream, and process things. I love interacting with the readers of this blog. I love the way you challenge me, question me, support me, and love me.

Feel free to leave questions or topics or anything you would like me to comment on and I will do my best to address it.

Here's to the next 30 days.