Wednesday, 31 December 2008


I've reverted to the default colours. Really, I didn't think the greens worked for my template. I will tweak the colour scheme as time goes by, but I should go to bed now. I have an early morning tomorrow (returning to school).

Monday, 29 December 2008

American Gods

I just finished American Gods (see the post "Christmas Haul"). I have moved on to Rat. I have a few post upcoming: my day at the butterfly place, and reviews of Wall-E, Love Actually, and maybe some others. Also, a review of American Gods, and maybe an analysis of the comma.

In the meantime, here's a line from American Gods:

"One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless.
"The tale is the map that is the territory.
"You must remember this.
"—from the Notebooks of Mr. Ibis"

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Movie Review: Money Train

For this review we harken back to 1995. This is most certainly a 90s cop movie. We've got all the necessary elements: difficult authority figures, sexual rivalry between friends, trademark 90s barscenes, a positive representation of the police force, and those sweaters. It follows a pair of adopted brothers who deal with the various criminal elements in the transit system while the transit commissioner seems above the law, so long as you're in his tunnels. The younger of the two, played by Woody Harrelson, is constantly getting into gambling trouble, needing rescue from Wesley Snipes' character. Add into the mix the new-comer to the team, the sultry and flirtatious Grace Santiago, who doesn't seem to mind getting it on with either guy, a psychopathic pyromaniac played by Chris Cooper (the Bourne series' Conklin, Breach's Robert Hansenn, The Patriot's Col. Harry Burwell), and some unfriendly loan sharks, and you get a decent movie.

What makes this movie interesting is that it's the cops who are constantly plotting to rob the money train and not any particular criminal mastermind. The bad guy is the boss, not the crook. The relationship between the Snipes and Harrelson is interesting, to say the least.

It's a solid movie. It's not award-winning stuff, but it's enjoyable. To a certain extent, I miss good old buddy cop movies like these.

Movie Review: Burn After Reading

As with Cleaner, I had no idea what to expect when I began watching this movie. I really mean that. I did not know what genre it was, or anything beyond the title and that George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Brad Pitt were in it. After having watched it, I still don't really know. It's a comedy, yes, but also a spy movie, maybe.

The plot revolves around a CD, on which is written the incoherent and largely irrelevant memoir of a low-clearance ex-spy, found by gym trainers who try to return it to the writer of the memoir in exchange for enough money to pay off one character's cosmetic surgery. The ex-spy, however, doesn't know anything about the disc, considering his litigous and frosty wife has made it in preperation for her impending divorce. Things start getting out of control, people start getting paranoid, people start getting divorced, people start getting shot, and no one ever gets the complete picture.

What is interesting about the movie is not its bizarre plot, but its even more bizarre characters. George Clooney plays Harry Pfarrer, a paranoid, womanizing-yet-uxophilic illiterate who works for the treasury and jogs. Francis McDormand plays Linda Litzke, a plastic-surgery-obsessed gym trainer who who believes in positive thinking and has a weird metaphor for every situation. John Malkovich plays Osbourne Cox, the foul-mouthed, axe-wielding screw-up ex-spy with a drinking problem. Tilda Swinton plays Katie Cox, the vicious adulterous wife of Cox whose bedside manner makes her previous role as the White Witch look like the Tooth Fairy. Best of all is Brad Pitt, who plays a goofy, incapable gym trainer who has the most can-do attitude Linda Litzke has ever met. Each of these characters, not to mention the secondary characters and even many of the bit parts, are flawless gems, honed to perfection.

The movie is quirky, surprising, and very bizarre. The hilarious characters and situations turn these traits into its best characteristics. I suggest it for anyone who can handle unorthodox films.


I thought this up last night:

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what your country can do for the world.

--adapted from Kennedy


I went to a butterfly place today. I'll give you the whole story later. For now I'll throw you this photomanipulation of a chrysalis picture I took.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Movie Review: No Country for Old Men

[Note: spoilers]

No Country for Old Men: This is quite the tense movie. There's lots of shooting, lots of close calls, and lots of old Southern grit. It has some witty dialogue and I really enjoyed watching Moss and his wife. They were an interesting pair. What it lacks is any sense of resolution. The absence of any score highlights that, especially at the end, since this is where we expect music to ease the transition into the credits. There is no such transition here. The ending just...comes. For everyone, too. I did not expect the way in which characters died or lived.

In general, the camera work was great, the plot was engaging and original, and the acting was superb. The villian was excellent, if strangely reminiscent of Ledger's Joker. His voice was so creepy and yet still basically human.

I don't have much to say about this one.

Christmas Haul

Well, in the absence of any profound religious realizations this Christmas, and in light of the absolute ineffability of family bonding, I'm looking only at the consumer end of things right now. As far as that goes, Christmas was pretty good, though I have a lot of reading to do in the coming year. A lot.

1) A cloth snowman full of candy. This is traditional.
2) A box of Mike & Ikes or whatever they are.
3) A Tide stain spot remover thingbob.
4) A large coffee table book of rainforests.
5) Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
6) American Gods by same.
7) Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury,
8) Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (same guy as Empire of the Sun, I believe)
9) Rat: How the World's Most Notorious Rodent Clawed Its Way to the Top by Jerry Langton.
10) Luxor Mahjong, a computer game by Mumbo Jumbo.
11) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (vampires, I think).
12) Monsters and Mysterious Places by Abbeydale Press.
13) Allen's English Phrases of the Penguin Reference Library.
14) The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes, said to be the next Dan Brown.
15) The Ultimate Guide to Digital Photography, 2nd edition.
16) The Joy of Photography, by the editors of Eastern Kodak Company
17) a President's Choice gift card
18) a Coles-Chapters-Indigo gift card
19) jeans
20) socks
21) Shawshank Repedemption
22) Get Smart
23) quarter "shares" in a board game called Such & Such.

Which seems to me to be a more than ample haul.

I gave, let me see, a calendar to my mother, a graphic novel and bag of coal to my brother (candy coal, that is, though when he was experimenting with blacksmithing, real coal would likely have been well received), and helped pay for a gift card for my Dad and a book of Rick Mercer's rants. There were other gift cards in there, too. I'm not a huge fan of giving gifts cards, but I often have difficulty thinking of anything else. And I'm too poor to get stuff for my friends at school right now.

Other things that are happening now is that I'm trying to get through the book Through Black Spruce, which won the Giller Prize. My university has given a copy to every English Language and Literature concentrator at the school, which includes your truly. It's an enjoyable book, but it takes time to get through.

Also, my brother and I have spent some time discussing a graphic novel we're working on. I wrote the script, and he's doing the art. The script will require editing, likely in the form of drastic cutting and condenscing. There are too many static scenes which work for pure dialogue but may not be visually interesting, cut with action sequences that will be exhausting. You can go to his blog to see some of the work he's done for it. That's here, here, here, and here.

There has also been time spent with family (extended and immediate) and with my dog Copper. When she's excited, Copper will put her nose and sometimes whole face under your arm--given that you're sitting and have your arms out ahead of you, as though you were typing or eating a meal--and then trash her head around, often beating her fuzzy brown skull against your torso, the table edge, etc. Or she'll give a more artful flip of her nose, which removes your hand from the mouse and onto her head. These are her key attention-getting techniques. Right now she's just lying on the floor, though.

That's been my Christmas holiday so far. I hope you've enjoyed the post.

God bless to all,

English Clergyman

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Movie Review: Cleaner

I went into this movie with no idea what to expect. All I saw was the cast, and that was a fairly good sign: Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendez, Ed Harris.
It's about Tom Cutler, an ex-cop who cleans up the mess of the recently deceased (and other biohazardous materials). He cleans up a routine homicide commissioned by the police, except when he returns after forgetting to leave the key under the mat, he discovers that the clean-up was not so routine after all...

I thought that this was a good movie. It was not your standard cop movie in that it did not have any action sequences. It was more like a detective film: ex-cop gets in trouble, tries to solve mystery, deals with family troubles, and delves into his own past. Even in that, though, it wasn't quite the same. It had less clue-following, in that Cutler tended to stumble into to clues and ask the wrong questions.
The filmwork was solid, though generally unimpressive--the highlights were the cleaning episodes. The acting was strong, which is necessary in a character-driven mystery. Samuel L. Jackson, when not being ridiculous, is usually impressive, and this was no exception. Eva Mendez was good, as were the supporting cast. Most interesting of all was the gradually unfolding of the characters' backstories. These were excellent.
I really have little else to say. The occupation is disgusting, but fascinating. Death-curiosity, I suppose, is a strong draw. I almost wrote that it would make a good exploitation flick, but then realized it would not. A good exploitation flick would not be able to deal with someone who cleans messes instead of makes them.

Given that it's Christmas Eve...

...I get the sense that I should write something all religious-y. I haven't done that in a while, which maybe doesn't upset too many people. However, it seems seasonal and I don't know how much I'll be writing tomorrow. That being said, I don't know that I have much to write about. It's really one of those things where I'd only produce a post if I had something in mind to say, and I don't suppose I do right now. Unless it's negative, like smashing Dawkins or saying where religious groups are going wrong with the Christmas furor. That all has its place, but I tend to think of Christmas as a time of peace, not of criticism.

Well, so much for seasonal.

Movie Review: Starship Troopers

[Note: spoilers]

Starship Troopers: I watched this one because I heard the book was one of the most important science fiction novels of all time. You know, one of the top twenty-five to have defined the genre. It's about war and its effects on people and society, written by a vet. You can see that influence in the movie itself, though I have to wonder how much of the genre-defining qualities were lost in the page-to-film translation. It comes out, for the most part, as a simple science-fiction bug-shooter blended with an army movie, but for little touches that make you forced to wonder how much more there is to it. For instance, there's the scene where the enroller says of the man character's acceptance into the Mobile Infantry, "The Infantry made me the man I am today," and then rolls back his chair to reveal that his cyber-prosthetic arm is the tip of the iceberg to his two missing legs. This makes you think a little more about the rhetoric of manhood and nation- or identity-forming through the military, but the moment is fleeting. Add to this the brutal training methods at boot camp and the creepy fascist undertones (particularly the Intelligence guys in the Nazi SS getup), and you get pro-war, pro-America jingoism played in enough of a minor key that you're forced to get that there's a bit more to it than what's on the surface.

There are two elements that make this movie really stand out for me, one good and one bad. The good comes first.

The romantic interest story in the movie, while fairly simple, is one of the most convincing I've seen. Boyfriend and girlfriend each have interests on the side; the guy has a girl from highschool after him who he's pushing away, and the girl has a guy from another school flirting with her to whom she's more than willing to give, shall we say, attention. After winding up in different arms of the military, she dumps him via a Dear John video. He falls into the other girl's arms--she's been assigned to his squad--and she's already started a dalliance with that other guy, who's her superior officer. The main girl (Christmas Jones from The World is Not Enough, incidentally) thinks the main guy dies, and things go on from there. But then the two side interests, after finally getting what they're after, up and die near the end of the movie, getting themselves conveniently out of the way for the inevitable reunion between main guy and main girl. Except that that reunion is never explicitly romantic, or the romantic side of it doesn't happen onscreen, at any rate. There are two other movies to deal with that, but I don't know for sure that they're in those movies. Anyway, that part of the story was actually enjoyable and not taken for granted by the scriptwriters.

The part I had trouble with is also near the end, so don't read if you want to watch the movie. The bugs have in their colonies a caste dubbed 'the brains,' which are old and intelligent insects that organize the bugs' attacks and defenses. They also suck out human brains either for analysis or for augmentation to their brain power; I'm not sure which. Anyway, by the end of the movie they catch one and the protagonist's best friend from highschool, a sensitive, manages to read its mind. With dramatic pause, out of the sunlight scene of victory, he says of the disabled creature, "It's . . . afraid." Everyone cheers. After this we see the three highschool friends chumming it up, reunited at last, and celebration goes out for the army trainer who finally made private. Yay! And then we are subjected to a news video montage about the progress of the war, the advances being made, the brave commanding troops, a call for enlistment, etc. Included is a shot of the brain bug in a lab being subjected to obviously painful experiments. All of this is packaged like the optimistic news war reports of the 40s-60s, with pluckly music in the background. And then we see starships flying out into space with a rising score almost akin to the famous introduction and conclusion music of Star Wars. And this makes me queasy, because all I see is this bug being tortured and terrified by oppressive captures. I realize this is the same bug that killed Christmas Jones' bf through brain-sucking, and that it instigated a reign of terror on several humans, but I still have a hard time dealing with the plucky and again jingoistic treatment of cruelty, even on enemies. What makes it even more disturbing is that I can't tell whether the film is intended to be understood this way, or whether it is at this point meant to be read on surface level. Any suggestions from folks who've seen the movie?

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Colours

I've changed everthing into Christmas colours to match the season; I'll keep it up until the New Year.

More Phun on Photoshop

For this one I chose a photograph that had a more colourful subject. It turned out to be fairly difficult to determine what all was the flamingo I had chosen and what was not, so it may not have turned out so well after all.

Anyway, here it is.

Movie Review: Aeon Flux

[Note: spoilers.]

Aeon Flux: Perfectly mediocre. I did not expect much, and that's what I got. It's a serviceable sci-fi utopian deal, and the secret past gimmick was not a huge surprise. As always, they got the technology a little wrong--as with The Island, there's no reason cloning should work like that--but whatever. And the female assassin bit worked exactly as I expected, so nothing wrong there. I was a bit surprised when she was overcome with lust for her archenemy and proceeded to lay him, and I was also a little surprised when she handily killed him afterwards--but then didn't after all. I expected a bit more interesting characterization when she strangled him, but maybe I oughtn't have.

One thing that bothered me (as with Daredevil) was characters' ability to move at peak human performance despite crippling injuries. Aeon's four-handed sidekick managed to continue acrobatics after getting her hand-feet pierced by those nasty grass-razors, for instance, and the male lead managed to assault his clone-brother despite his bullet-wounds. Unlikely.

Everything said and done, it was an enjoyable movie, but not one that you should feel any qualms at all about missing. Likely, you've seen enough similar movies already that you needn't see this one. Unless you really care to see Charleze Theron in those bizarre supposedly futuristic outfits, which often double for no outfit at all (left). I'd also be interested in hearing ecocritical readings of the film.

No More Vacation

Apparently I am not traveling this Christmas after all. Well, that might just mean more blog posts. I will not bother changing my scheduled posts, though. They'll come when they come.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Movie Review: Daredevil

I have seen a few movies lately, so here are my thoughts on them (as promised). I'm going to space them out a bit at a time, because my reviews are sometimes long and because I'll be absent for a week or two around Christmas due to a vacation, so I'll be preparing content early and scheduling it to be published when I'm gone.

They all contain spoilers, so I wouldn't read them if you care.

Daredevil: This was not as bad as most people make it out to be, though I think I know why they recall it as being bad. The showcase fight scene, that one that has the most money put into it and has the most nifty bits, was awful. The graphics were poorly executed, the choreography was insufficient, and I just didn't feel it very much. This might have been because the villian involved was unimpressive. I enjoyed him where he was demonstratably evil, but in his assassination attempts I was simly unimpressed.

But let's look at the good parts: Affleck was decent in this, and Gardiner was more enjoyable in this movie than I usually find her. The story line was OK, and the "superpowers" were slightly more swallowable than, say, Spider-Man has been producing. I enjoyed the suit, and I enjoyed most of the characters. Michael Clarke Duncan, the man who played Kingpin (below), is always impressive. The sound-vision was also interesting, though it should not have revealed anyone's pupils. It had enough decent elements to make it enjoyable.

And where it went wrong: Elektra 'forgave' Daredevil way too quickly once she realized who he was. This should not have been a 'oh, well, if it's him he couldn't have done it' moment, but a even more horrible sense of betrayal. Her acceptance made no sense, since she'd have no more reason to believe him innocent after taking off the mask. Then the fight in the cathedral was poorly done, as described above. These two elements, one narrative and the other cinematic, were unfortunately positioned to colour the remembrance of the entire movie, as one is the emotion linchpin and the other is the special-effects extravaganza. Thus people recall it poorly. I can also see people being disappointed with Daredevil's decision at the end, but I thought it was inevitable--or, at least, it would have been a whole different movie had he acted differently.

Eventually, I plan to see Elektra.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Phun on Photoshop

I originally took these photographs at the African Lion Safari, and then photoshopped them.
By the time I got to the ostriches, I knew to change the colour balance before I touched desaturated and then history brushed the desired area. However, I did not do this below. I started off desaturating and realized when using the history brush that the colour needed tweaking. Thus, when I changed the balance of the eagle, I also wound up changing the colour of the background. I am sure there is a way of doing this, but I don't know what. The first is the final copy, the second is before I tweaked the colour.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Google Image Labeler

So I've been playing Google Image Labeler lately. If you're curious, there's a Wikipedia entry (of course). Basically, it's an on-line game that pairs you with an unknown person across the Internet, and you try to match words labeling an image. It's easy to play but takes time to learn, and also helps Google improve their image search accuracy.

Some things I've learned and encountered playing and watching my folks at home play:

1) You sometimes get paired with people who are deliberately unhelpful.
2) Some people will not type in anything for half a minute and then want to pass, after you've put in virtually an entire dictionary.
3) If you put in a very low-pointer, like "blue" or "woman," you can guarantee the other person has put in the same low-pointer, and you'll get only 50 points instead of forcing the other person to try harder and earn 140 points on, say, "amphibian". I'm not sure which is the best tactic.
4) You cannot expect people to know celebrities.
5) You certainly cannot expect people to know semi-celebrities.
6) "Sexy," for any young-ish woman whatsoever, is an almost guaranteed 140 points. Yay to commonly-accepted answers!
7) There are commonly-accepted answers (and not the illegit ones the Wikipedia article mentions), such as "girl" and "tie" and "bikini" and "trees."
8) Some people are very good at realizing that text in the image is fair game and an easy high-points match. Other people are not.
9) Cars, scantily-clad women, unclad women, and poorly executed manga sketches come up a lot.
10) Typing is hard.
11) Plurals are always a good idea. Even when there's only one of an object in the picture. I once matched on 'pyramids' when there was only one pyramid in the picture.
12) The Hensel twins have come up twice for me, and that's strange. Neither time did my partner know their names, nor did their names ever appear in previously matched words.
13) When people are labeling quickly and just putting down what comes to mind, they are actually very biased, race-oriented, chauvinistic, and judgemental. Which makes a lot of sense, considering the filter shut-down.
14) Spelling is trickier than it seems.
15) People are generally not as knowledgeable about animals as I am, but more than I expected.
16) Google apparently has porn on it. All pretty standard, though.

16 things is enough for now. Have fun playing, if you do.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Home for the Holidays

I am the title.

Sunday, 14 December 2008



Sorry I haven't posted lately. I've had brainwaves for shockingly intelligent posts, but I really haven't gotten around to them and, anyway, since I don't actually recall what I was going to write about, perhaps they wouldn't have been so staggeringly stupendous after all (see, now I'm just being silly).

I might have wanted to write about the Grindhouse movies, or Aeon Flux, or Daredevil, or Starship Troopers. Actually, I know I wanted to write about Starship Troopers. I wanted to explore why that movie made me shiver in horror at the end. It may not have been intentional, but there were some scenes there which chilled me ("It's...afraid."). I might write about that.

However, I have an exam tomorrow and, like last time (did I tell you this?), it requires more than I anticipated. Apparently my easy-peasy-Miss-Louisey exam period isn't as easy after all. (Noticed: "as easy after all" is iambic.) I'm now preparing for it more than I wanted to, by which I mean wasting time before I prepare for it more than I want to. As usual.

However, as soon as I click "Publish Post" I really will work on this exam, and finish any studying I may want to do, and then I can goof off as late as ten or eleven, so I can get to bed and sleep for a reasonable amount of time.

So, yeah, go have fun or something for me. And don't spend too much money this Christmas! Spend time instead! Save the world!

I'm serious, by the way. Go save the world. It needs saving.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. The recent political duldrums in Canada helped make the president-elect of our friends south of the border look much more attractive. The world was finally feeling safe with America as a superpower--no more wanna-be cowboys in the driver's seat any more. The Americans as a people seemed to have made a good decision, and we were all pleased with them.

But that number of people who must have stepped out while the vote happened started talking again. It would mar the pleasure of Obama's victory, except that the elite stupidity of the people with keyboards and an Internet connection has confirmed for me that Obama actually did win. It has a sort of ring of the familiar that tells me this is the same world is was in October, just with the promise of a little more.

Monday, 8 December 2008

On Why Writing My Take-Home Is So Painful

[Warning: this post contains whining about my life on-line. If this does not appeal to you, get off the Internet entirely.]

I'm writing a take-home exam. It consists of three questions, each regarding three thinkers and consisting of roughly four pages, as I cannot exceed twelve altogether. The process has so far been more time-consuming and painful than I had anticipated.
The reason is not limited to the fact that I don't find the topic very interesting. The reason is not limited to the fact that this process consists of lots of skimming through the texts for relevant material. The reason is not limited to the fact that I do not feel like I am in any way contributing to the academic community while writing this. The reason is not limited to the fact that my boredom incites me to eating unhealthily and unnecessarily. These are all contributing factors, but they have not essentially ruined the last two days for me.
No, the reason is that I have no focus, and therefore spend upward of a third of the time allotted for "working" on ridiculous forms of procrastination that are only mariginally more satisfying than the work itself. Had I had the concentration to just finish the miserable question all in one shot--or even in two intensive shots--I would then be able to go and do something I actually enjoy. I could read a book, or work on something creative, or play a game, or whatever. But I could then spend a significant amount of time on some activity that I could walk away from and say, "I'm glad I did that."
Instead, though, I waste time on Facebook applications. What a stupid way of spending the day. I also researched who the Crazy Babysitter Twins are. (They were credited to the Grindhouse flicks, and apparently they're a big deal right now. I suppose if you're willing to do photoshoots like that, you would be.) I also spent better than an hour on Penny Arcade got some attention, as did the blogosphere (some readers will note comments from me on their own blogs). I watched the fake Grindhouse trailers on YouTube. I am pretty sure I spent time on Wikipedia, but I don't actually recall what I did there. Oh, and I looked up the list of fetishes from the xkcd comic I posted previously. Yeah, weird, I know. But I had to know. You can look it up yourself you want. "Deviant Desires," I think, and throw in "fetish map." A Google search should get you there. The domain name has been removed, but enough people have blogged about it that the original image and some of the content are still available, at least at the time of writing this.
So I theoretically remember everything I did. I can guarantee, though, that I won't look back on today and think, "I am so glad I did that. It satisfied me deeply." No. If I look back on today at all, I'll think, "What a slave I am to the computer. And I abused time so badly. And I pushed my computer to it's physical limits, more than likely. How horrible."
I feel unclean, somehow.
But tomorrow...
I have a study class thing for an upcoming exam. That will get me out of the house and will force me to interact with people I haven't seen for more than a week.

And I have Running and Reading, which will force me to run and discipline children and walk long distances in the cold in running pants.

I will also do more of my take-home. But tomorrow might be worth something. More, at least, than today was worth.

To make up for the unhappiness, I will post some pictures that should hopefully improve everyone's mood.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

It Hurts...'s so funny. And true.
I'm thinking about this one:

But this one will do:

Oh, and this one! This sucker's pretty deep nerd. I was proud at first that I got it--you have to have a basic knowledge of the philosophy of mathematics--but then I realized how very very low I've sunk into nerdom that I was proud that I got a xkcd reference that I doubted many others got. It's something I'll have to live with, but...
And everytime I hear Whitehead is still imagine him as a giant pimple.

[Edit 7 Jan 09] Because of the remote possibility of a new democraphic of people reading this blog, I've removed certain elements from comments to this blog. Let's just say I didn't want anyone's feelings getting hurt. It's highly unlikely that it's you we were talking about, so there's no need to be paranoid; also, it wasn't all that bad; you'd probably just prefer you weren't used in the discussion at hand.

The parts of the posts that were fine, and need to be given for the following posts to make sense, are as follows:

Jon Wong says: Ick, while I don't pretend that comic 513 never happens, I don't like it because it gives nice guys a bad rep. I have a hardcore, anti-nice-guy friend (if you can believe it) who can't seem to break out of her extremely set conviction that all nice guys behave like that guy in comic 513.

English Clergyman says: The reason I posted it is because it's something I would have attempted in an earlier, stupider, more selfish and obsessive incarnation. Thus "It hurts". And that guy's not really a 'nice guy.' He's actually just a coward. There's a difference.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Computer Illiteracy

Apparently I am computer illiterate. I just spent 1 hour trying to rip Big Fish from DVD to my harddrive, and failed entirely. Well, no, not entirely. I did manage to get some garbled and useless files. What I did not get is anything I can use. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

DVD copyright protection: 1
English Clergyman aka petty criminal: 0

Recently and Soon


1) I postponed writing my take-home exam some more. I really need to play catch-up tomorrow.

2) I watched Donnie Darko for the first time. It was enjoyable, though less creepy or confusing than everyone claimed. Also, it has re-enforced my dislike for Jake Gyllenhaal's face, though he's admittedly a good actor. About the biggest deal for me was that Donnie wasn't just crazy; his visions were partially true, even under most interpretations. [EDIT 05/12/08: If you want to read about more interpretations of this film, you can go to the blog of a friend of mine; he's written something that should be on this page somewhere.]

3) I rewatched Big Fish, which was yet again enjoyable. I also watched some of the features, and was sad to see that they didn't have anything about how they animated Ping & Ying. That's something I was disappointed about. Nonetheless, I want to write things like that movie now (and also like Stardust, incidentally).

4) I rewatched The Fellowship of the Ring the other day, and enjoyed it more than my previous reviewings. I really felt the setting this time, and it made the movie more engaging and real to me. Similar rewatchings of The Two Towers failed to create the same response, possibly because the settings were less familiar to me, being more extravagent.

5) I bought friends nanaimo bars. They were cheap and good, and helped these friends de-stress (I hope).

6) I read some of Lake Effect from the library. I am excited!


1) I am going on a "Downtown Encounter" tonight with my small group. This will be a way of thinking about the urban poor and engaging in Christ.

2) Tomorrow I am going to do extra work on my take-home to make up for the lack of work these days. In fact, I may start after small group tonight!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Truths to Write

I have a piece of paper, and at the top of it I have written a paraphrase of C. S. Lewis:
Do not worry about being original...
tell the truth, and you will find that you will be original as a byproduct.
Below this I have listed a list of things I consider "truths" about which I would like to write:

  • No good has ever come without sacrifice. This is not sacrifice in the sense of payment or investment. This is sacrifice for someone else, without the expectation of return.

  • Sometimes people do not need help, but to be asked for help.

  • Look to your needs only as part of the means to the end of helping others. This may, of course, be a very important part of those means, because you are human.

  • There is beauty is simplicity.

  • There is also beauty in complexity. This truth, and not the previous one, explains beauty in the world.

  • You must be observant.

  • Just because someone doesn't do what they should do does not free you from your obligations to them. It only makes those obligations harder.

  • The world may look ugly and bleak. This is either because it is or because you have been taught to think it is. In the first case, imagination and false hope are paramount to ethical behaviour and survival; in the second case, imagination and hope are necessary to uncover the true beauty of the world.

We'll see how that goes! It may not, or it may. We shall see.

And some marginalia I wrote about, The Fellowship of the Ring, which I was watching while compiling the list of truths:

  • There is nowhere I'd rather be than the Shire.
  • 0:10:24 or so when the little hobbit girl runs up yelling, "Gandalf! Gandalf!" is maybe my favourite moment n the whole movie. [up until 0:10:55, Gandalf's smile]
  • "I think in his heart Frodo's still in love with the Shire."
  • "He is summoning all evil to him. Soon he will have an army large enough to [conquer?] Middle-earth."
  • "Where are you taking us?" "Into the wild."
  • Write a landscape you can see.
  • When Frodo is in Rivendell, feeling homesick, we know that he's hardly begun. This is the sad part. "I am ready to go home." By the end of the trilogy, that dream will lost forever.
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