11.25.2009

Live-blogging Thanksgiving?

Heh... just joking on that one. My wife would never allow it. But I may tweet bits and pieces throughout the day. If you're on Twitter, you can find me HERE. (Yes, I know, @ niccasey - so imaginative.)

In the meantime, I've compiled a 12 song playlist in the sidebar to your left. (if you're reading this in facebook, you'll need to click the link that says 'View Original Post' to see it) This will be playing in the background in my house during dinner. Take a look, perhaps you'll see something you know and love, or discover something new and interesting. And maybe you'll just think I have boring taste in music.

And if you don't here from me tomorrow, I sincerely wish you all a pleasant day of gratitude.

11.22.2009

Literary Quiz

Name the author:

"It was a gorgeous evening. A full moon drenched the road to the lustreless colour of platinum, and late blooming harvest flowers breathed into the motionless air aromas that were like low, half-heard laughter."

a. Ralph Waldo Emerson
b. Stephenie Meyer
c. Philippe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspé
d. Francis Scott Fitzgerald
e. Agatha Christie


Answer to come later this week. (Someone remind me if I forget)

11.16.2009

The Un-Friend

For the first time in my history with facebook, I unfriended someone. Such an odd word "unfriend." Sounds heavy. Sounds icky. Sounds spiteful. Sounds like "you spilled soda on my favorite pair of jeans so I don't like you any more." I've been unfriended before and it usually is for petty reasons. It is my opinion that most people unfriend their friends for inconsequential happenings.

I never thought I'd do it. I'm fairly discriminate in selecting my facebook friends. The people on my friends list are mostly family, coworkers, friends from church or Boise, fellow HBO regulars, and old friends from high school. There are only four people on my list that I've never met or talked to. (One is a writer I admire, one is the spouse of a friend I met via HBO, another is a friend of a friend, and finally a guy who played in a band with one of my best friends.)

I don't request to be added as a friend or accept friend requests without a good reason. There's never any anticipation that some day this friend is going to say something that will make me want to disassociate myself with them. I believe that the people I'm facebook friends with are truly interesting people and I have fond memories of many of them. It would be nice someday to sit in a coffee shop somewhere and catch up with some of these people - many of whom I haven't seen in 10+ years. But since we're scattered across the states, facebook serves as the next best thing. Since I can't kick back and reminisce over a double shot white chocolate mocha with them, I get their status updates. There is a diverse spectrum of beliefs and ideologies represented - some I agree with and some I don't. Regardless of our varied opinions, I appreciate (and am often entertained) by the thoughts and tidbits posted. It is a little glimpse into the humanity of people I have (at some point) shared a fraction of my life.

So why on earth would I willingly choose to end that? The victim was someone I grew up around - a family friend. He is more of my dad's peer, but his son and I used to hang out so he is someone that I respected. That's why his status update caught me off guard.

Let me put something into context first: When I said the views represented in my friends list were diverse, I used that word in the most literal way I know how. Various religious and political stances have a home there. I don't take offense when someone posts something I that opposes my opinions. In most occasions I find it challenging.

But this update was a doozie. First - a command to pray for Obama, followed by a biblical passage where David asks God to kill David's enemies.

I get that there are many people who don't like Obama. It doesn't bother me that people are opposed to Obama's agenda. The freedom to speak out against the president is part of what makes our country unique. Even those who say they hate Obama don't disturb me. I get it. But praying that God kills Obama? Really? That, I don't understand.

When Paul wrote in Romans 13 that we (as Christians) should submit to governing authorities because they have been established by God and that it is necessary not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience... when Paul wrote "If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor"... I don't think this is what Paul had in mind. How is praying for the president's death fit in line with Paul's teaching? It doesn't. And I can't stand by someone who thinks like that.

11.13.2009

Movie Review: 2012

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to set up a bank of TVs and simultaneously play a bunch of disaster flicks on them? The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Armageddon, The Poseidon Adventure, Dante's Peak, and Hard Rain on a stack of six big screen TV's... I'm sure you haven't, but just in case you have wondered - Roland Emmerich was thinking of you.



Emmerich threw down the gauntlet when he blew up the White House in Independence Day. He is the man who set the standard for the modern era of the disaster genre. Yet, he's never quite lived up to the expectations he created. His movies have been more hype than substance (the quirky Godzilla and the plodding Day After Tomorrow are a couple of examples). Now with 2012 he aims to out do himself (and every other apocalyptic movie ever made) in both it's epic scale and epic duration.

Yes I said duration. It is a long movie. I'd recommend using the facilities immediately before the opening credits. Despite the long running time (158 minutes) Emmerich fills that time wisely. It's not the "when will this movie ever end" kind of Transformers 2 long... just the "my bladder is going to burst at any moment" kind. If it wasn't for the one liter of Mt Dew I chugged prior to the movie's beginning, I would have barely noticed the length.

The scenes of destruction (of which there were many) were evenly spaced - unlike some other movies that pack it all in to the fist 20 minutes of film (I'm talking about you The Core). While the dialog is not Oscar worthy, it's not a distraction. The conversations were practical (all though mildly predictable), punctuated with intentional humor, and a self-parodying outlook on the concept of cataclysmic events.

There are a couple of cheese ball moments (The Governator Schwarzenegger's cameo and an obnoxious fissure that splits a couple after the man mentions feeling like there is something separating them) but those clips are few and do not take away from the grandeur of the total and inescapable destruction that Emmerich celebrates for nearly an two hours and forty minutes.

As California sinks into the Pacific, a cruise ship and aircraft carrier are upended in tidal waves, buildings collapse, Yellowstone explodes, and Woody Harrelson goes crazy, you can't help but think how awesome it all looks. And while we know the story is completely implausible, we enjoy it. We know a puddle-jumper plane can't outrun (outfly?) a pyroclastic flow, but we sit on the edge of our seats to see it happen. We know that the earth will not open up to swallow the Vatican, but it makes compelling cinematography. And amidst the chaos is a plot. A decent one. And while some disaster movies center on one story, 2012 takes on a few. The strength of family, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Political and humanitarian ethics. Sacrifice and hope.

And with all that is splayed on the big screen during 2012, one of my favorite moments came after the movie was over (and I'm not talking about Adam Lambert's caterwauling during the closing credits). On my way out of the theater, I overheard two teen-aged girls talking.

"What sucks is like this is totally going to like happen like three days before Christmas," one of them said. (I wish I was joking.)

First of all... it's not. 2012 is a work of fiction - not a documentary. I won't get into the details, but the world will not end on 12/21/12. Astrophysicists, anthropologists, geologists, and many other scientific peoples have easily discounted the proposed meaning of Mayan prophesies. It is well documented. Google it. So I got a good laugh at the girls' academic naiveté, but I am also a bit puzzled by their arithmetic. The end of the Mayan long count calendar is December 12th of 20012. Last time I checked, Christmas falls on the 25th of December... every year. So, if I do my math correctly, 25 minus 21 is 4... not three. And the movie wasn't vague about the date. But I digress. The movie is well worth the price. Emmerich not only lives up to the expectations, but surpasses it. The sad misguided conversation of two girls who are prone to believe anything is just icing on the cake.

(And (Warning: plot spoiler) good news for dog lovers, a few corgis survive along with a king charles cavalier. Good news for alien lovers, so does District 9)

11.07.2009

bonus post

I could not resist... (and I can't believe my dad sent this to me.)

How long could you survive after punching a bear in the balls?

Created by Oatmeal

Identity

Today's blog post is on my other blog What's Inside.

11.06.2009

Rules for Karaoke

Under normal circumstances, I have a moral objection to karaoke. I'm convinced that karaoke might be a Japanese word meaning 'people who think they can sing like angels, but sound like circus seals.' However, with extended family visiting from out of town (cousins that Bekah hasn't seen in years) my wife hoodwinked me into going out with the family.

Did I sing? No. At least not with a microphone in my hand. While my moral objections would preclude me from stepping up to the mic, it does not excuse my ability to sing along as a member of the audience.

This is the first time I've "gone" to karaoke. There was one time that Jeff and I were eating in a Denny's and over heard some Japanese business men singing from an adjoining bar (one who was singing I'm too Sexy... filarious!). But that was more of witness by proxy, not actual attendance. So for my first true karaoke experience, I made a few observations. I've compiled those observations into a list of rules. These are rules that I think should be applied to anyone singing karaoke.

1. For all intents and purposes, Stairway to Heaven is the song that never ends.
2. So is Hey Jude.
3. Rockin’ Robin is a bad song choice when you are intoxicated.
4. If you unintentionally change the lyrics of Don’t Take the Girl to Don’t Take the Squirrel, you had too much to drink. Please take a cab home.
5. If your voice sounds like a tranquilized Fozzie Bear, you should not be singing karaoke. However, people will still cheer you on.
6. Don’t sing serious songs.
7. Singing as a duet or group is a great idea. The other voices mask any flaws in your own voice.
8. When the majority of song choices have been in the country and classic rock genres, Filter’s Hey Man Nice Shot and anything by Rob Zombie would be considered odd picks. You might think it’s a good idea, but it’s not. Trust me… it’s not.
9. Do not ever shout the words “I rock” during the instrumental break. Especially when singing a country song. Especially when the words “I rock” are the only two words that you didn’t slur.
10. If you sing a song by Hank Williams Jr, don’t be surprised if someone in the crowd mocks you.
11. Falsetto is not recommended.
12. Please, no Janis Joplin imitations… if you’re a guy.
13. If your singing voice isn’t that great, it is always better to follow the “holy poo that was atrocious” guy than it is to sing after the “hey she’s kinda good” girl.

Did I miss any rules?

11.03.2009

When I grow up...

Christian announced his lifelong career goals today.

"Daddy," he said, "when I grow up I want to be a storyteller. That's right, I want to tells stories to people ever day when I'm a grown up."

His aunt Miriam would be proud.

11.01.2009

Useless Talents (post Halloween edition)

I meant to post this yesterday, but I got caught up in the festivities. So what if it's a day late.

Useless Talent: I wish I could lie to people and scare them for a living. And get paid for it.