Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Playing Ebert

Josh noticed the lack of pictures of him on this blog so I thought I’d indulge him by showing him doing something awesome...some rock climbing in Columbia, CA. I think they were pretending to climb into Mordor.

So, The Bridge To Terebithia - I officially take back my previous blogging about the movie being different from the book. The movie trailer is actually very different from the movie which is very faithful in spirit to the book. A warm, funny, sad story about a friendship between two misfits in a small, rural community. Some nice special effects to highlight the children’s magical kingdom but very well done. I recommend it.

Also, One Night With The King - Amie and I rented it just in time for Purim : ) As a movie, it was better than I thought but not as good as it wanted to be. Did it take too much liberty with the story? I mean you gotta take some liberty don’t you to make an interesting movie. I found it a bit plot confusey and a little too happy about it’s “Lord of the Rings” like sweeping special effects shots but all in all, it wasn’t an awful viewing.

And finally, An Inconvenient Truth - OK, not bad. Mr. Gore presents some compelling evidence, good food for thought and hopeful seeds for change. By no means do I eat tree bark in my cereal but I know there’s things we can all do better. As americans, we tend toward a lazy, irresponsible view that leads to sleepy, excused actions. He addresses those issues that conservatives raise about the natural warming cycle of the earth as opposed to what’s happening now. His facts are based in credible studies and the film was well done and caused me to think more about my way of life. So...I liked it and recommend it.

So that’s that...two blogs in a day and two “Lord of the Rings” references in this blog. I know...I’m a nerd...I don’t care.


This past week we have hosted a team from Canada brought by my friend and mentor Dave Skene. He brought 6 university students as part of a leadership training program put on by our friends in Global Youth Network up in Ontario. They are all interested in justice issues around the world and gave up their Spring break to come and work with us here in Modesto. Here’s our week...

Saturday - It was the nicest day of the year so far and since the team had come from the Great, White North, we took them into San Fran to fisherman’s wharf and to see the ocean. But what we really did was sit in traffic and get lost. They were good sports about it even though we didn’t have time to drive by the “Full House” house.

Sunday - They attended our New Hope service and then we went to our “formerly of the 9th St. Motels” friend Dean’s apartment building and threw a BBQ for his whole neighborhood. We all had a great time meeting folks, sharing some good chili dogs and helping Dean meet his neighbors.

Monday - We cooked the team a nice breakfast and did a bit of orientation. After lunch, we took them on a tour of poverty in Modesto and discussed the issues that keep people down.

Tuesday - A family that we know recently got a house and moved out of a 9th St. Motel. The house is trashed and definitely owned by a slum lord but we went to clean up an area in the yard for the 7 kids that live there to play soccer in. We cut, mowed, stacked, chain-sawed, dragged and played our hearts out. The team even bought them a new soccer ball!

Wednesday - We worked and worked and worked at the church...cleaing up a bit of the junk pile in the back field and preparing the garden area to be planted.

Thursday - Rain kept us from finishing the garden...we got a good start on it though. We watched a great documentary called “It Was A Wonderful Life” about women who are homeless in L.A. then the team helped with our Thursday bread run.

Friday - We had a bit of a debriefing session where we got many encouraging comments from the team about the week. They made us poutine for lunch, a wonderful Canadian delicacy of fries, cheese and gravy and then we prepared for a BBQ on 9th St. A lot of people showed up to eat...120 burgers and 60 dogs later we packed up and took the team out for dinner at the taco trucks.

Saturday - Jimmy and Aaron took them to see Yosemite National Park

...and at 3am Sunday morning, I took them to the airport. We had a great time with them and made some new friends. They are gone now and I’ll definitely miss them but after church, I plan on sleeping the rest of the day.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A bunch of stuff

Amie’s Surgery - You may or may not know that Amie has a pacemaker. Well, she does...since she was 13. She just came through her 4th surgery to renew her batteries and everything went fine. She’s all healing up and stuff, has a lot more energy and should get her stitches out on Valentines day...heart...valentine’s day...there’s a joke there but I couldn't think of one good enough. Aaron wants me to fast bad jokes for lent.

Fresno Zoo - We spent a day down at a nice little zoo in Fresno. It was cheap, the animals seemed happy and cared for, the kids loved it...we’ll definitely be back. Not quite as daunting as a trip to the bay area and it was definitely a better experience than the Oakland zoo. While they had most animals that you look for in a zoo, ironically, there was no gorilla...

Terebithia - The boys and I (by which I mean Josh and Sam) are reading The Bridge To Terebithia in preparation for the movie release this Friday. The trailer looked cool so we decided to read the book first. The book is a nice story about a friendship between a boy and a girl in the fifth grade. We are 3 chapters from the end and so far, there has been none of the cool stuff we’ve seen on the trailer. I’m thinking that the movie will be nothing like the book...oh well, what did I expect? It is a sweet story...kinda “To Kill a Mockingbird”ish but much more simple.

A Perfect Day - I had the realization that this past Friday was absolutely perfect. Everything I want to do and experience, I did on Friday. I was up early to order my day and start it right, I exercised, I did a little manuel labor at the church, I did a little office work, I met a new youth pastor for lunch, went with our team to share food, friendship and Christ with our friends on South 9th St., came home to a nice supper, had some good time with my family, some time reading and early to bed. Ahhh, I gotta do that more often!

Bacon-wrapped, Deep-fried, Caffinated Balls of Sugar - Years ago, on a mission trip to new Orleans, some friends and I tried to come up with the most unhealthy food imaginable and this is what we imagined. Later, we shot a commercial for the imaginary product and tried making it for the skit. As it turns out, they're not bad! You take a chocolate donut hole (providing the caffine, the 'deep fried' and the 'ball'), wrap them in freshly cooked bacon, sprinkle them with icing sugar and've got a very unhealthy, tasty treat! If you're turning up your nose right now just think of the taste when you dip your bacon in pancake syrup. It's the same kind of effect. I made them for a friends going away party we had a youth group last week and most of the group liked there.

See these five paragraphs...they coulda each been an entry but I can’t just do things simple can I? No, I have to wait and wait and take a bunch of time to do it all at once. I’ll learn some day...