Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Up"ception Trailer

This is brilliant! Read my review of Inception and you'll understand.

Friday, July 30, 2010

August 1st is Dave's Day!

FREE entree at Famous Dave's BBQ for anyone named Dave (David or Davy, too). Half off if your middle name is Dave.

Mmmmm...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who Knew Battery Chargers Could be Sexy

The brilliant thing about this is it shatters the overpriced Apple accessory stereotype. It actually undercuts similar chargers on the market (Just the 6 batteries that are included at $29 makes the price point competitive) and significantly innovates on durability and efficiency.

In other Apple Product news - I love trackpads after 4 years on my MacBook. Am jealous of all the new MacBooks with their nifty multi-touch gesture. Problem solved.

Here's a great review.

I never cease being amazed at how consistent and forward thinking Apple is. The don't sway in the wind with whatever is the latest trends. They set trends because they have a vision and relentlessly pursue after perfection for decades. Desktop track pad on the 20th Anniversary Macintosh in 1997. I'm also thinking of the Newton started in the late 80's and today's day iOS devices.

Here's a quick analysis of the latest iMac and it's competitors...their websites at least. It's interesting how fundamentally different Apple views and communicates their products to consumers.



If these links float your boat, I highly recommend DaringFireball.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception Review & Analysis

Simply put, it's an adult sci-fi psychological thriller spin on Pixar's wonderful Up.

Okay, so it's not as derivative as Avatar was with Pocahontas, but there is a strong parallel all the same. Allow me to elaborate.

But first - Warning - this is where the spoilers start.

I'll begin with a brief review of Up. A male protagonist who has lost his wife is catapulted into a thrilling other-worldly and dangerous adventure with a youthful companion who's vibrant enthusiasm and persisting hope leads him on a path to find redemption in the form of liberation from the guilt and regret of his past percieved failures to his wife. In so doing the protagonist is able to move forward in life, unfettered, embracing his new day to the fullest.

Starting with that solid base:

  1. Add one half mind blowing reality vs. perception bending sci-fi elements of The Matrix
  2. Add one quarter chopped Casino Royale for arousing imagery, locales, and suave characters that has both feminine and masculine appeal.
  3. Mix in 1/8 Italian Job and 1/8 Oceans Eleven for a compelling team based heist element to allow for a complimentary cast.
  4. Serve with an epic heart pounding soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
There's a rock solid recipe for cinematic success. Not my favorite movie of the year, but very good by all standards.

Now for my take on the meaning of the movie. You may note my parallel to Up significantly informs my analysis.

I'm trying to avoid getting hung up on a seemingly futile effort to find secrets in the dream levels and timeline (at least not until I can find a solid flow chart of events to review with clarity...come on blogosphere, get on it). I believe many people are getting hung up on this and distracted from the point. In fact when you step back and take it in from start to finish, it's all quite simple.

Cobb himself is the recipient of Inception.

That's it - the singular movement of the entire movie.

It seems fairly clear that Grandpa Cain is the orchestrator of the Inception which all begins with the opening job. The architect and the Japanese business man have staged this premeditated failure and the following proposal for the big job that requires inception.  Grandpa Cain knows this will drive Cobb to him so that he can plant his hand picked architect. Fischer Jr. is merely a tool to accomplish the true goal. His character reeks of this the entire movie.

All of this is for the purpose of Cobb being able to internalize the idea that Mal's death was not his fault and that he needed to let go of the haunting regret filled memories that had him in bondage, preventing him from (literally) facing his children.

I must admit, it is an unsettling thought that the strong protagonist, seemingly commanding his own destiny, is actually walking in the steps of a bigger master plan. This is easy to swallow for a tool like Fischer Jr, but Cobb? Maybe the very fact that this is unsettling is reason enough to ponder further.

Written while listening to Inception (Official Sound Track):

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inception

Loading the soundtrack (Great work Hans Zimmer!) onto my iPod to help me process a reflection review.

Meanwhile, check out this video on the "sounds of Inception":


"Inception" Sound for Film Profile from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thoughts on Short Term Missions

I hope this is as constructive and inspiring as it is challenging and convicting. Let me know what you think.

I began writing this almost exactly two summers ago (07/29/2008), but never posted it. In light of the Internet Monks Open Mic on Short Term Missions, I decided to resurrect it. It still seems relevant.

For sake of transparency, I have been on two short term missions trip. One service trip to Post Katrina New Orleans and another to do an English camp in Ukraine. I treasure both of these experiences and am eternally thankful for them being a catalyst of discovery in my faith.

The following words are from a debrief of any one of thousands of short term mission trips that have been or will be sent this summer. If you've ever been on a short term missions trip or attended a debrief I'm sure you these words are familiar:

"Amazing experience, amazing stories, looking forward to going back..."

They are clear to communicate it's not the traveling to foreign countries as exciting as that is. It's not the interaction with new cultures, as eye opening as that is. It's not unique experiences, as fun as those are. It is:

A time of unity
A time of prayer
A time of encouragement
A time of shared purpose/mission
A time of extraordinary community
A time of serving
A time of intense growth
A time of testimonies to the power of the Spirit
A time of building relationships
A time of supernatural energy
A time of passionate living
A time of reaching out
A time of loving

And it's for these reasons they can't wait to go on another short term mission trip for 2 week next summer.

Let that sink in for a couple minutes. What are we communicating? What are we modeling to the youth of the Church? What has been modeled to us as the appropriate fulfillment of the mission of the Church? WHY are we settling for something SO much less. When I look at the list of attributes that typify short term mission trips I see a list of attributes that describe a time of true authentic Christian living.

It is clear there is something so appealing about the time that is experienced on a mission trip. But how and why have we structured our lives at home to not facilitate this. And why don't we think about restructuring our lives so that we can?

Is it because of distractions that we aren't willing to cut out?
Is it because of costs we aren't willing to pay?
Is it because of risks we aren't willing to take?
Is it because of comforts we aren't willing to let go of?
Is it because of pleasures we aren't willing to sacrifice?
Is it because of ourselves that we aren't willing to surrender?

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Out of My Hands

New Jars of ClayFREE download.

After hearing their new single I'm excited for their upcoming album The Shelter (October 2010). The sound is classic Jars of Clay that first stirred my soul years ago.

What do you think?

Couldn't find the lyrics anywhere online. In my excitement, I decided to type it up myself:

It's Out of My Hands
by Jars of Clay


I wasted a rescue,
abandoned the mission.
I’ve failed by my own hand
and watched it all go wrong

You said you could save me
that I couldn’t save myself
You said that you loved me 
no matter what I’ve done

When the light is gone
and life is just a day we take
Still the fight goes on
to give my heart away

And It’s out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what you’ve done for me x2

You lifted my head
Set me apart

In light of what you’ve done for me
This is what you’ve done for me
It’s out of my hands

You grow where the light is
Like trees in the highlands
We’re bent by our own plans 
to keep us in the dark

And I act like an orphan
Forget that you found me
but you came like a whisper 
and saved me with a spark

When the light is gone
and life is just a dare we take
Still the fight goes on and on
to give my heart away

And it’s out of my hands
it was from the start
in light of what you’ve done for me x2

You lifted my head
Set me apart

In light of what you've done for me
this is what you've done for me

It’s out of my hands
It’s out of my hands

There’s nothing in the world that I can offer
nothing in the world that I can stand apart

Apart from you, apart from you

There’s nothing in my life, 
nothing in my life that you haven't given to me

It’s out of my hands
It was from the start

In light of what you've done x2

You lifted my head
You set me apart 
In light of what you've done
In light of what you've done for me

Ohhh It’s out of my hand x2
In light of what you’ve done for me x2

You lifted my head,
set me apart
In light of what you've done for me
This is what you've done for me

It’s out of my hands x2
Everything I have Lord
Everything I gave
It’s out of my hands x2

Oh it's out of my hands

Old Spice Man Video Replies

I'm about 1/3 of the way through his 185 hilarious videos.

Great work Wieden+Kennedy. Makes me proud to be a Portlander - even prouder to wear Old Spice deodorant.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fruit of Divine Love and Patience

After I posted Dan's perspective on doing ministry at Barberry with children, I recieved a text message from a friend who was going to return a scarf we left at his house. He said he would swing by the apartments this week. My first thought was "How will we ever coordinate being home when he can stop by?"

Then I realized, it doesn't even matter! Without a second thought I told him he could leave the scarf with neighbors anywhere around us. Yes, in Rockwood. At Barberry Village.

As I clicked send, it sunk in how radical this is. How many people can even say that in their comfortable safe suburban neighborhoods?

We love our neighbors.

And what a difference a healthy amount of Divine love and patience through sacrifice can make - in any community.


Originally posted at Barberrian Villagers Blog.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Marriage Is... (Poem by Elena)

The following is a video of us reading the poem Elena wrote (and I helped edit) at our cousins wedding:





Marriage Is...
By Elena Knepprath



Marriage is the mumbling of "I Love You" when first awakening
Nothing is better than facing the morning in each others arms

Marriage is breakfast together - pancakes, eggs, juice
Coming back for one last hug before setting off for the day.
It is the awe of the ideas conjured together
Ideas that grow like a wildfire

Marriage is listening
The story of your days
listening and learning about each other

Marriage in the ultimate metaphor of faith

It is patience and dying to self
The realization that pleasing the other is the greater calling
Sacrificing desires and understanding the beauty of grace

It is beauty in forgiveness, comfort in letting go
The unconditional support to pursue dreams
And the accountability to stay pure

Marriage is balancing friends, understanding family
Creating and being family
Becoming one.

It is in the silly and in the profound
Brushing our teeth, dancing around
Hospitality and chores
Time in the rain and in the sun

Marriage is a gift to be cherished
It is a treasure to be kept close
It is love, passion, and pleasure
Commitment, attention, security.

Marriage is beautiful. 

It should be said this is the rated G version of the original poem. We decided to tone it down for the audience at the wedding. Maybe someday we will share the PG-13 version.