Sunday, December 26, 2010

Face To Face With Humanity

I always wonder what people think about when they're alone. When they're alone with themselves in the silence and they recognize the person they are. When you look into the mirror and remember the person you've been, see the person you are.
I think it's a moment everybody -- no matter status, race, religion, gender, or location -- experiences, even if it is only for the briefest of moments. It's a moment where one comes face to face with their humanity.
It could provoke existential questions, but it doesn't have to.
I'll be honest and transparent with you right now. I know when I have these moments I embrace them. I don't embrace them because I love these moments, but quite to the contrary, because I hate them. I haven't always embraced them. I usually drown them out with music. That's essentially my drug.
I embrace them now though. I'm tired of running from who I am and who I've been. I want to feel. I want to feel something real. If all life is is pain and we spend it trying to numb the feeling because it's uncomfortable to come to terms with it, that's not living. It's not even dying. It's living in a state of death.
I have resided in this living death for too long. I'm tired of running. I'm tired of trying to put a smile on and forgetting about the pain, or just wallowing in the pain and not facing it. Not accepting the fact that there is change. I'm tired of being afraid of putting forth the effort to change; to stand up, and fight my way out of Hell.
I have been facing my humanity this Christmas break so much and I'll be honest, it's not been a fun break. It's been hard. I've been hurting.
I'm not writing this for pity or affirmation.
I'm not writing this to say I have it all figured out, or that I've even started the hard work. In many ways I haven't.
I'm writing this in hopes that maybe one person who is struggling with themselves can realize that they aren't alone. So if this hits home with you, I want to tell you this.
There is hope. There's always hope. The mess you and I have made of life is salvageable and there is life to be lived. But it is something that must be fought for. It is something worth fighting for.

Peace. Love. Respect.

-Andrew

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Farewell, Film


Comedy films are fun. Actually, to rephrase this: comedy films should be fun. The majority are disappointments, some have potential but are disappointments, and the winners are few and far in between.

Modern society seems to have an obsession with diminishing standards of morality and intelligence when it comes to telling stories through the medium of film. Dinner For Schmucks was an awful, detestable, uncomfortable, and profoundly insulting film, for example, -- not because of the amount of smutty content (defining what qualifies as "smutty content" could very well be the cornerstone for a college philosophy course, so I won't go into what I mean by it...) -- but because of the degree the filmmakers go to to get a laugh.

It's as if the director and writers know the movie has no chance of being funny, so they hire some high-profile actors (Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, etc.), attach them to a script which is idiotic and unbelievably prepostorous, and then cash in on society's bastardized expectations of what a comedy film -- more accurately what a film in general -- is.

Using Dinner For Schmucks as a measuring stick for cinematiItalicc achievement however, is ignorant and ultimately pointless, as in the big picture, if Dinner For Schmucks was never made, there would be literally no difference in the development of film. Perhaps though, it could be looked at as an example of how not to make a film; but no matter, what's been said has been said.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mel Gibson ... The Conspiracy?


It was an interesting time when The Passion of The Christ came out in theaters. I remember I was in like, 8th or 9th grade and I saw it... It's not really something I consider a ''film.'' It's not critic-proof, so in that sense it's an actual film. I dunno though, it's still up for debate.

However, this blog entry is in fact, not about The Passion Of The Christ. No, it's not even necessarily about something of substance. But it's an interesting thought...

Mel Gibson was accused of Anti-Semetism after releasing the film, as it portrayed Jews as the ones who killed Jesus. There are many theories ... conspiracy theories, I should say...

Which leads me to my next point. Mel Gibson was in a film called Conspiracy Theory. Coincidence? I dunno. Conspiracy is planning to commit an illegal act at a future time. Perhaps he was trying to send us a message when he acted in CT. Who knows?

Well, there is one thing I do know: Mel Gibson can never be forgiven for the atrocity that was and is What Women Want. Goodness sir, you wore flippin' stockings and and women's clothes ... just a few years before you were leading your people to victory in Scotland winning battles left and right and being an actual man ... but you let us down.

I think Mel Gibson is guilty of conspiracy. While filming Braveheart, he was probably thinking, "Oh man, I'll blow America away with my directing skills and then screw 'em over when I'm washed out with nothin' left in my creative noggin."

Well played Mr. Gibson. Well played.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Fight Club-ish Thought


"Let GO! Look at you, you're pathetic." This scene always gets me when I watch Fight Club. It's where they're driving a car, and Brad Pitt's character is telling Eddie Norton to just let go of the steering wheel and literally (and very figuratively) "let go" (as they careen into a ditch almost killing them all...).

I'm bad at letting go. I hold on to things and am dependent upon others' opinions/affirmations to keep me going and I let their thoughts of me dictate how I feel.

I'm writing this to encourage you to let go. Let go of what's holding you back from moving forward. If it's relationships, crushes, people, friends, bosses, co-workers, etc. Let go of emotional attachment with them if it's not helping you grow individually. Invest in relationships and friendships which help you make forward strides and grow -- not the relationships which cause you to not be growing.

It's comfortable to rely on others for affirmation and sustenance. But we're not called to be comfortable. We're called to grow. And so I leave you with the words of a friend of mine who is much wiser than I: "Being comfortable inhibits growth."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coldplay's, "The Scientist,'' and Danny Wilson's, "Second Summer of Love"




Both these videos keep me up at night. Well, not literally, but I think and ponder how the crap they were made. I mean, it seems simple enough, right? Record the video forwards, play it backwards and put the music to it. But how on earth do they get the mouths of the folks to sync up with the track going forwards when they record the video forwards. Because if they record the video forwards and they sing the song forwards, then when they reverse it, their mouths would be moving backwards and unable to sync with the music track!

The only explanation is they must learn the song backwards. BUT HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!??
There's an article in an MTV magazine saying Chris Martin (of Coldplay) learned the song backwards and it took him a month.

There's either magic afoot, trickery abounding, or just sheer ignorance on my part because it very well is possible they learned the songs backwards.

We all know the story of the little boy who asks a turtle, an owl, and a host of other beloved cartoon forest creatures, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?" Well, I will have to throw in my hat and echo the ever resounding and relevant words of the omnipotent and wise narrator, "The world may never know."

The Scientist (Coldplay)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmjPrdTNxQ0

Second Summer of Love (Danny Wilson)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJxIblwPKJE


Public Transportation


I've flown on an airplane a couple times alone during the past couple years of my life, and every time, without fail, I am ridiculously scrupulous to a fault. From the time I enter the airport doors to when I sit in my seat on the plane, I ask directions, what I need to do, etc. literally a good 4 or 5 times.

Is this my fault? I'd like to think not. I mean, really, the systems our country has worked out to keep ''order'' when concerning public travel, it's ridiculous. You've got a thousand metal detectors to go through and a million people to show ID and tickets to at airports; poorly marked roads/highways; not to mention railway systems and bus systems.

I'm probably naive, dear reader, and you're probably reading this wondering how I can be so critical of something so simple, and you're probably right. However, I try and keep in mind whenever I'm lost somewhere, the folks who engineered the navigational assistance for whatever mode of travel I'm utilizing, they made it so it was usable. I guess I'm just a few fries short of a happy meal...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Unity, Protestantism/Catholicism, And Some Commentary On St. Augustine


Recently, I've had a lot of free time on my hands. I've heard it said, "Free time is Satan's playground." Well, whoever said it, they were more right than they know. It's so easy to dig yourself/fall into pits when you've got free time. To be blunt, you do really stupid, illogical things and make for hasty and not-thought-out decisions.
I've been reading a lot lately, and the one book I've tried to read some of every day is St. Augustine's "Confessions." Augustine was a brilliant man. His ideology, articulation, and beautiful illustrations of God's love are so profoundly stated they are cross-denominational. So many Catholics & Protestants have very intense feelings about the differences between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church (really, churches, as indeed, Protestants do have thousands of denominations). Regardless of the differences and conflict throughout history however, we are called as followers of Christ to be united as One in the body of Christ, in true community and fellowship.
The reason I bring this up is to not preach a sermon, nor to strive up feelings of controversy, but rather to make this point: God is bigger than denominations, ideas, our grudges, frustrations, and yes, believe it or not, any authority on earth. His providence and sovereignty supersedes our incessant tendency as humans to say because we ''know'' we're right, God favors ''us'' the most. But contrary to this ideology, God is God, humans are humans, and the only universal and eternal difference between any two people is whether or not they have accepted Christ in their heart.
So, back to St. Augustine, while he was indeed a Father in the early Catholic Church, His writings are so personal, transparent, and bluntly honest, anybody can read them and truly enter the innermost heart and struggles of a man who was after God's heart.
As I said, I brought up the Catholicism/Protestantism not bring up controversy, but to get across the point that God is God, and we are people, and it's petty to pass judgement on the writings of people who follow God because of their denomination as a Catholic or Protestant. I say this not to point the finger, but because I for so long refused to give any ear or thought to anything which had to do with Catholicism. But there are so many faithful Catholics and so many faithful Protestants -- BOTH faithful followers of Christ -- who have encountered Christ and love Jesus and have Jesus in their hearts. To ignore this fact is selfish, prude, and immature; casting judgement on truth and writings which God can speak to us through because we're too proud to do something uncomfortable -- put aside our stubbornness and truly heed to Paul's plea in Ephesians to be united in Christ.
I'll leave you with this writing of St. Augustine (which I was initially going write much earlier in this post ... I apologize for the vast ADD and jumping around this post has taken):

"You awaken us to delight in your praise;
for you made us for yourself, and our heart
is restless till it rests in thee."
-St. Augustine, "Confessions: The Glory of God"