Monday, September 24, 2007

2 Links and a Surprising Note

First, another facebook photo album for those interested.

Secondly, this article pretty well defines my views on the whole Christian/Secular art thing. I've blogged about that enough but thought it was a good article (although I noticed some typos... c'mon editor!)

Note - going to the rain forest this week! Leaving tomorrow night and not returning until Saturday or Sunday or something! I'm psyched. Only found out today... made for a good surprise.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Four sets of Three

I watched the same movie three times today. They had three different titles.
1. Die Hard 4
2. Next
3. Transformers
All contained:
1. Saving the world.
2. Cool brainy computer people that can do impossible things.
3. Great special effects.
Unfortunately, watching these movies did three things:
1. Lowered my IQ.
2. Fulfilled my American stereotype of liking crappy movies.
3. Wasted 5 1/2 hours of my day... actually, I rather enjoyed all of them simply because I miss movies.
I realized the following while movie watching today:
1. 24 is the new Die Hard. Now they must co-exist.
2. If you haven't seen Next don't read this comment - the whole "you just watched a movie about something that didn't happen" thing could be seen while watching the trailer, it's been done [in various forms] too many times, and it's a cheap trick all together.
3. Watching Transformers again only re-emphasized my previous thoughts (3rd point) on the film. I do like Shia LeBouf though.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Only a Link... Not Exciting. Or is it?

OK so apparently today marks the 10-year anniversary of Rich Mullins' death. Now I'm not claiming to have known a lot about him when he was alive although I do remember where I was when my mom told me he had died in a car crash.

Regardless, I read this article/blog thing about him and (although heard he was sweet before) I realized just how cool of a guy this Rich Mullins was. He was authentic cool Christian before it was cool. Way to be.

May we learn from your life without idolizing it, Rich.

My Relationship with Music; a Simple Essay (this has nothing to do w/Ecuador)

I like music. I like music a lot. I like the way it can create a mood. The way that it can give me goose bumps. The way that melodies can get stuck in my head for hours or even days. The way that it can make me feel better. The way that when I listen to an old, favorite album, I will hear something I have never heard before and it will make me like it all over again. Music can do a lot for me.

I currently play zero instruments. This is a sad fact considering the amount of music that I like to listen to. Why wouldn’t I want to create it (or at least re-create it) on my own? Shouldn’t the love of music drive me instinctively to an instrument in which I feel nothing but orgasmic pleasure pulsing through my finger tips or lips or whatever body part the instrument requires? I’m not for sure.

Anyhow, in seventh grade, I decided to take music lessons. Actually, my mother told me I had to take a year of music lessons and I wasn’t opposed. If you don’t remember, the late 90’s and early 2000’s were filled with the tunes of ska music. More specifically for a youth group type kid who’s only friends were from church, the Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, and Insyderz were quite popular. So I chose trumpet. The thought had crossed my mind that I would learn to play the trumpet, my friends would play the other instruments, and we would form an awesome ska band that would be immensely popular (like the Supertones; because they were huge).

I don’t remember a whole lot about my lessons and when it comes to actually playing the trumpet, I remember even less. I do remember going to Schaffer’s music in downtown Brighton once a week for half an hour. I remember my borrowed trumpet (thank-you Kacie (then) Gentry). I remember my teacher looking older than music itself and carrying an aroma to accompany it. I remember my lips hurting a lot and feeling ashamed when my teacher knew I had not practiced a half an hour every other day of the week. I remember playing Jingle Bells and the theme from Chariots of Fire and feeling pretty good about myself.

As good as it felt to play a few forgotten songs, I quit the trumpet. The end of spring came and I knew my current teacher’s job was heading towards a pink slip. I thought about taking lessons again or at least practicing some more, but it never happened. My ambition (and dreams of ska stardom) dwindled into more important matters such as indoor soccer and talking to girls on the phone.

And there went my musical career. Besides a few stints with the guitar, I never picked up another instrument. This brings me back to the start. To the degree I enjoy music, I should enjoy playing it, no? Is my lack of musical ability simply due to a lazy attitude? Maybe I do not hold the God given skills to play an instrument? Or perhaps there are players and there are listeners. Each equally important roles. Whatever the reason, I’m OK with my relationship with music being on the listening side. One day in the future, I may pick up an instrument, put in the time, and be able to call myself a [insert musical instrument] player. For the time being, I am content with only enjoying music through my ears.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Un otro album

Meant to post this in the last one:

The camp album

Go crazy.

Steve Almighty

Alrighty, so I just watched Evan Almighty with a bunch of peoples who speak Spanish... thankfully they used Spanish subtitles and just watched it in English. It's glorious knowing the dominant language sometimes. I guess I appreciate it a bit more when it's taken away.

My notes on Evan (I didn't actually take notes but perhaps you could call them mental notes):

First off are a few things I liked about the movie....

The cast. For some reason, I just loved seeing so many random actors all together. Wanda Sykes as a secretary? Jonah Hill goes from Evan Almighty to Superbad? That dude (John Michael Higgins) who played the uptight lawyer on Arrested Development as practically the same character? Lorelai (OK, Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls) as a normal mom? John Goodman playing himself as a jerk (j/k John). Andy from The Office! Molly Shannon thrown in for a few laughs? Morgan Freeman (the only returning main character?) as God. And of course, Steve as Noah. It was all too much for my finite mind.

There were parts that I laughed. A movie entitled "The 40 Year Old Virgin Mary" advertised. Wanda (as annoying as she is) made me laugh a couple times. The sight of Molly Shannon makes me laugh. And honestly, I think the dance clip during the credits was worth the whole thing. Seeing the whole cast (note previous paragraph please) going crazy was incredible.

This movie will get some discussions going. No doubt 'bout 'dat.

With that said, I had a couple complaints...

OK, why'd all the animals have to come if it was a "flood" the size of the city? Unless there's a zoo nearby, I'm pretty sure monkeys, lions, and giraffes don't live in the Virginia/D.C. area. I'm usually not a stickler movies being 100% logical in every area... but c'mon, this didn't even remotely make sense.

This was a family movie. I wish there was some label on it saying so (or maybe the PG rating was the label). I knew this before watching it, but I can just see a bunch of people who loved Bruce Almighty or Steve Carrel and coming out of the theatre (or now, returning their Blockbuster/Net Flix rental) a bit pffd that the "series" switched genres without letting them know.

As for me, I could have done without the cheesy jokes and Sunday School lesson. I'm finding myself to be a fan of movies asking questions. Or perhaps hinting at what is right. The lesson is so blatant that a 6 year old could pick up on it (hence it being a family movie). I think the first movie did a decent job at this. In addition to not sugar coating it, the first film wasn't quite as message-y.

I also see a possible Evangelical TD being made (and the extra point is good!). I'm glad this is made by an almost entirely non-Christian cast and studio (at least not outspoken Christians). Seeing another Passion or (not quite as popular) Nativity Story wouldn't do it for me. I think those movies have merit but I just see it as a "win" for the "Church side." [Now if only we can crank out 5 more "Christian" movies next year then that'll be enough to counteract the "secular" movies.] We gotta be careful making "sides" out of those who call themselves Christians and those who don't. Now I know the director or producer (I'm not for sure and it's too late to check) is a Christian. But the fact that he's working with a cast that's actually known for some raunchier movies (Steve Carrell, Jonah Hill, Molly Shannon) makes me glad. Basically, I'm glad Kirk Cameron didn't star in this one. To sum up this last paragraph, I think we (as Christians) need to see movies for their truthfulness, what is being said (whether it is blatant or subtle), and even their quality in total production (a crappy movie forfeits a lot).

OK, I think I have a couple more things but it's midnight:15 and I have to work tomorrow so out of respect for my mood tomorrow, I'm calling it a night.
G'night and G'luck.
(I also love comments... so feel free to respond)

Friday, September 14, 2007

More pics.

I finally got my pictures to load on facebook. That was exciting.
3rd Album
And the Fourth

Ate at Pity's with friends and my ['dor] brother happened to be there (apparently he runs into Ruf a lot in this half-mil sized city...). Food was good, nothing to write home about... even though I'm writing home about it.

Jordan bought Blades of Glory (and then I followed) for $2 and we watched it. I'm happy with my purchase.

Tomorrow's plans include camping on some property out of town. We all know I'm such the rugged type so I should love the whole nature thing. For real though, it'll be good times.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

D-Mil is the man.

In true post modern form, Donald Miller, while talking about his upcoming book and screenplay (yeah, screenplay), made a case for story by using the Bible as an example of a book void of bulletpoints. With this, he said something along the lines of:
when we live great stories [great lives] we are teaching people what is good in life, what is worthy to live for, what is foolish to pursue, what is good to pursue.

I thought it good when he explained that Jesus simply lived and taught (using stories).

Check the short interview here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Work, Lit, & Vacations

Aight so I just finished a little papes papes for my practicum. Approximately 3.5 pages (mostly single spaced too). It feels good to have actually done something. Unfortunately, come this afternoon when I discuss it with my boss and/or person I'm working with, it'll most likely prove useless. I'm going to enjoy the feeling for the moment and eat lunch. (Oh, I also stayed at home so I could 'research' on the internet... this = 10 x better than being at the office.)

Other noteable events: I think I'm going to go for a English Lit minor. Full semesters from here on out but something I enjoy (although I don't have a whole lot of previous knowledge). Figuring out my schedule has been my only interest in the past two days. Oh, it's exciting.

Also, found out today that TU should be financing our trips this fall to wherever we go. For our "big" trip (week tops) we'll be hitting up the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands (either of which would be amazing although I think I prefer the GI option). Other "small" trips (couple days, weekend?) include Quito (Ecuador's capital - 10 hour drive to the North) and/or the beach (yay Pacific Ocean/warmer weather!). In addition to seeing more of S.America, I just like chillin' with the other TU students and trips mean nothing but TU students.

OK, I think we're grilling out today. I don't know what that means. Peace.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Amedex Insurance would cover my seizures

So the most difficult part about being here has definitely been my practicum. There has been a lot of reading Spanish text books about Insurance and feeling lonely while at said practicum's office. Thankfully, my boss gave me a couple policies to read in English this weekend. I love English.

Although, while reading the policy (I need to get familiar with a lot of the policies this particular broker deals with) I realized I will most likely never work in insurance. Maybe I'm being fickle but it seems pretty boring through and through. I do like the broker part of it. (For those of you unaware (like me a week ago), a broker is the middle man between insurance companies and people wanting insurance. The broker picks best plan for person looking for insurance.) There is a lot of human interaction and it is not monotonous. Unfortunately, this part is difficult for me here because I speak 8 words in Spanish (which cuts down on the number of real sentences I can utter).

Basically, I finished reading a policy, was on the verge of breakdown (due to boredom) and decided to blog it instead of relapsing into a series of seizures which 13 page policies sometimes cause (similar to the effect of those strobe like anime cartoons).

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I realized a lot of things today and they're all bouncing around my head like electrons go around the nucleus in those atom models they have on tv or chemistry class.

I'm going to number so as to add some structure to my electron-like thoughts.

1. I need to live for the day. Even if I'm not enjoy whatever I'm doing as much as I may enjoy doing something elsewhere, God has me where I'm at for a reason. Well, perhaps God can use where I'm at is a better way of describing it.

2. I rely on relationships a lot. I hadn't realized to the degree this is true until now. I don't find fault in this. I actually think this is good. But I hadn't thought it to be quite such a big deal when leaving.

3. As a person who prescribes to some of the emergent church beliefs, part of which is that of accepting and loving all, I often find myself resorting to disliking people and pursuing already existent friendships. Although I see this is, in part, due to personality (I dig deep with those I know well) I need to look past petty discrepancies I see in people and engage.

Alright so I really like people I can relate to. This happened today between my TU friends and I (especially Ruf). This also happened between my host family and I. Good day.

I believe that's all for now.

(PS. Tom Smillie is being put in the label part of this blog b/c he wanted a shout out. Hey Tom.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Here’s a few things I like about living in Ecuador:

  • My host family.
  • Hot chocolate or coffee for breakfast or dinner that is yummy (made with milk).
  • Being here with 4 other Taylor students.
  • Having ties to a strong church which is looking out for me here in Cuenca.
  • The views.
  • My host brother rapping my name.

Here’s a few things I could go without:

  • Being cold 24/7. They said it was cold. I thought they meant cold for a S. American country. No it’s just cold.
  • Lack of really hot water.
  • My practicum. This may come off this list but right now it’s looking difficult.
  • Being away from Taylor. I’ve only got three more semesters at TU (and 1 semester with my older friends). Why is college only four years? I could easily go for 6 or 8 and learn more things and be with people I like. Instead I have to graduate.

I’m so bi-polar on my stay here. Somedays (yesterday) I was ready to come home. Other days (today) I’m loving it. I think it has to do with how much interaction I have with the other Taylor students. They seem to provide an outlet for me to ramble and be dumb and understand me. So I think I’m looking forward to starting business classes in October simply because that means chillin’ wit my homies on a daily basis.

I realize I tend to abuse the blog thing (what is this, like blog 6 in the last week and a half?) but I’ve got nothing better to do with my wireless … so deal.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Alright a couple highlights from the past day or two.

Yesterday: my brother's (Cesar Jr.) birthday. Party at the house. Talked to a kid named Justen who is planning on coming to Taylor next year. His parents are Americans (and he himself has American citizenship) but he has lived here his whole life. It was nice to have a conversation in English and talk about Taylor. I almost felt like I was introducing a freshmen onto the wing (something that I have missed this fall).

This afternoon: my sister made a couple pizzas for lunch. Delicious and I had Sprite to drink. I don't mind the food down here but a little Americanization is nice every now and then. I believe I had four pieces.

Later this afternoon: after watching a couple episodes of The Office with my brother and sister (they fell asleep...) we went to play soccer. Sweetest court of all time. Turf floor and gates around and netting ceiling. Took me back to the good old days of indoor soccer (except we were outside). They weren't lying about the altitude thing though. I was gasping for air in seconds (it usually takes minutes). I played keeper for over half the time and did fairly well at the beginning. Later on I let in a few easy goals but I was pleased with my overall performance. Perhaps I'll do some jogging to be able to breathe? Probably not.

OK, I think my family made hot dogs (I think they think I love hot dogs b/c I worked a stand all summer...) Peace out.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Oh, a few things and links to facebook albums

They told me in speech class that starting a speech off with a quote both captivates the audience and adds credibility to your oral essay. I assume the same applies to blogs so...

"Hey Brother" -Buster, Arrested Development.

Today was great and all. Visited a Supermaxi grocery store. Bought new shoes. What else could a gir... er, I mean, a man want?

Ruf and Kevin came over and we watched Ocean's 11 with my brother and sister (from down here). Found out that this is the sweetest house of all time as mi hermano set up a projector in the upstairs living room and we watched George Clooney (in all his handsomeness) big screen style. I also realized that I may be able to hook up my computer (with Season 4 The Office episodes soon to be uploaded). This promises a reason to stay in Ecuador alone.

Tomorrow is my brother's birthday. I got him a Spanish worship CD. I hope he doesn't read my blogs somehow... Anyways, they're big on worship music. They love Hillson United. Yeah, who knew?

Enjoy something today.

Oh, I almost forgot. If you happen to read my blog but are not yet taken up in the Facebook revolution and want to see some of my pictures (the chances of someone meeting all three of those requirements cannot be on the postive side of the number line) then these links should take you there:

Album 1
Album 2