Saturday, January 30, 2010


I watched the Bourne Identify this evening, what a great film. It reminded me of a story I had to do in school last year. It had to be short, that was pretty much the only requirement. I think I pulled it off. It took some hard work at the time but I think I'd really enjoy doing some more stuff like this in the future. I doubt anyone will read this but just in case, here is the story.

Reality Check

The sweat came rolling down my face and dripped on to the steaming asphalt. I hardly noticed though, I was more interested in escaping. Cameron was running next to me panting hard, we couldn’t do this much longer. Three shots came whizzing by our heads and lodged themselves in the wall directly in front of us. The only avenue led to the right, turning quickly, we sprinted head long down this new path, hoping it would lead to safety. Cameron stopped, hefted his glock and positioned himself behind a large trash bin. “ Go!” He said, “I’ll hold them off.” I hesitated and looked back, our pursuers had just turned the corner. Cameron popped up and fired off two rounds, catching one of them in the chest. They shot back just as quickly: Cameron was hit. His breath rushed out in a gasp and his eyes closed. My head began to spin and I wondered how it had come to this?


We’d been stationed in one of Britain’s Islamic communities, in connection with MI6. We were part of team working to discover who was supplying fake identification to small radical Islamic factions in America. A thankless and dangerous job. I was head coordinator on one of the sting units. While Cameron was the one who actually took the unit into the field. We’d been tipped off about the location of possible cell leaders and were eager to investigate. The tip was good, we decided to move. Operation scalpel was put into motion. We hoped to catch ring leaders, but it didn’t work out that way. Everything went terribly wrong…….

I was jolted back to reality by another burst of gunfire. I grabbed the gun from my friends hand, lifting my own as well. I could mourn later. With speed born of adrenaline I jumped up and began to pump off rounds. I turned and ran, firing backwards as I did so. Shots followed me like angry bees, one striking my leg. I didn’t notice. Someone had to make it back to base alive. I made a left this time, there was no other choice. I ran a few yards only to realize it was a dead end! On a roof, three stories up sat a man with an Ak-47. “This is bad.” I thought. I was considering firing, when three men came up from behind. One of them was Cameron.

“Don’t bother with the guns,” said one of the men in a very strong Arabian accent. I just stared, “how?” Was all I managed to choke out. Cameron pulled up his shirt to reveal a Kevlar vest. “I don’t understand?” I said bewildered. “They pay better,” said Cameron with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders. All of their guns raised as if through a fog. Fire spat from the barrels.

I sat bold upright in bed, sticky with sweat. Someone had turned the lights on. Cameron stood over me with a worried expression. Then his face hardened. Operation scalpel launches at sixteen hundred hours, you’re behind schedule!
I shook of the dream, Surely, that’s all it was……….

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Lovely Bones

I had the opportunity to see the "The Lovely Bones" today. Here is my opinion.

Suzie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is our protagonist. The movie, (which is based on a book) is the story of her murder and how her family struggles to work though their heartbreak. The catch? Suzie isn't quite gone. She remains connected to this world, but not directly in it. She resides in a sort of glorified limbo, which is still connected to earth but shares not of its natural laws (Gravity etc.). In the film it is simply Referred to as "the in between" because she either in heaven nor hell.

The viewers are assured very early on that Suzie has a place in heaven for her as soon as her earthly affairs are sorted out. Here's where things begin to fall apart.

I didn't really mind the spiritual implications of the film, even if it was total tripe. I also didn't mind the whole "Ghost Whispers" element either. For me though, Suzie's "In between" was simply too bizarre. It was beautiful, I'll give it that much, but in a Tim Burton sort of way.

The film isolates between both worlds, with Suzie playing narrator. She tries to help her father (played by Mark Wahlberg) unravel the mystery of her death. The audience knows exactly what happened, causing the suspense element to suffer. Though the film shies away from graphic detail in order retain it's PG-13 rating, we're left with a pretty clear idea of what occurred. However, we are never told if she was raped.

So why don't I like the film? I can get past the strange spiritual element but that's not the only issue. The biggest quagmire is the story itself. The beginning is fine and it ends rather well to but everything in between feels off.

It reminded me of Lighting McQueen from "Cars" (a movie I love). Remember that scene where he refuses to change tires and winds up blowing all four in the final lap? That's exactly how this film goes, minus the dramatic finish. Everything just lopes along without direction.

It's a shame really. Peter Jackson has done some exceptional work in the past and I was disappointed to see him fail like this.

The strongest redeeming element was the acting. I'm no proper judge of anything, least of all acting, however I felt like every single character was believable. Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci (the murderer) and Saoirse Ronan all did outstanding jobs in my opinion. I'm looking forward to see what 15 year old Saoirse will do with her acting carrier. I loved her character. She pulled it of wonderfully. Hopefully we'll have the chance to see her in something more successful in the future.

So there is my Opinion on the film.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sports: Why We Watch

Would someone please explain to me why people become so interested in sports? I really have a hard time understanding it. I admit that I do become excited over some things. After all who couldn't help but enjoy watching Michael Phelps win all those gold medals?

But a football or basketball game? I couldn't care less. OK that's a slight exaggeration. I can become interested, but it doesn't hold my attention enough to watch sports on a regular basis.

Perhaps it's because I've grown up in home that doesn't watch sports. Maybe it's my personality type.

What is the big attraction? Is it the sense of community? When you're in a stadium cheering with the thousands of other spectators it must breed a sense of unity.

However, I think it's a combination of things.

Everyone likes superheros, even if they don't read graphic novels. For some people it's historical figures, Churchill, William Wallace, Mother Teresa etc. Then you have those people who get labeled as losers because their biggest heroes don't actually exist outside of comic books.

Logically then, affinity for a given sports team is just another example of hero worship.

Though I don't think so myself, many people find sports exciting. It's a situation in which one doesn't know the outcome. There are no life altering consequences for the loss of a sports team. When the patriots lost the Superbowl, their fans were upset, but it wasn't the end of the world....for most of them.

Sports permits the observe to delve into a world where their real problems are obscured by the struggles of another. The victory belongs to the fans and players in equal parts. The fans are the heartbeat of the sport. They breath life into mere games.

No matter how many times a team loses, they always come out to play again. They are a constant in a reality rife with turmoil. Everyone needs a constant.

Anyway, that's what I believe. But who I'm I to commentate?

Thanks for reading


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back To Blogging Part 2

I suppose this could really be considered part one, after all I've procrastinated for 2 weeks. Anyhow...

Life's good overall.

It's been really neat this past week to see the level of international support for Haiti. As a regular volunteer with the American Red Cross, I'm very proud of the role our organisation is playing in the relief effort. Hopefully this catastrophe brings to light the terrible conditions in Haiti.
The country is currently the poorest in the Western hemisphere. Imagine trying to get by on $30 or $40 a month and you'll have some idea of what Haiti is like.

On the one had I pity country, yet on the other I have trouble comprehending or sympathising with their needs. I've grown up in the richest nation on earth. My idea of starving is going more than five or six hours without a full meal.
Or course part of my apathy stems from my selfish sin nature. When coupled with my Bourgeois childhood, sin makes me want to sit back and ignore the suffering.

This concept of selfish living v. helping others has been on my mind a good deal lately. What do I want to do with my life? Help people or further my own kingdom (to use a Christian metaphor).

For instance, Law is a field I'm considering. Without trying to sound arrogant I believe i have the potential to excel in a such setting. But, would I have the courage to take the thankless cases-to find justice for those who will never get it otherwise. Or, will I choose to take the easy route and only help those with largest bank accounts.

I pray that I will have the courage to do the right thing. Yet it doesn't start when when I'm an adult, it begins now. Rejecting the apathy and reaching out to those in need is a choice, one I far to often ignore.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Back to Blogging Pt. 1

My blogging career has been on hiatus for the past couple of weeks, due to a "vacation."

After Christmas my family and I packed up and headed down to Texas. Why to Texas you ask?

Back story:
In seventh grade I developed a friendship with a loudmouth military brat. Since then we've been close friends. However, in 2008 his father's job called them away to Texas.
So for the past year and a half I've had to live without him. Until now....

The drive down took over 20 hours, it probably qualifies as one of the top five most tedious experiences of my life. But it was all worth it.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when we got there, but here is what happened.
We got out of the car, walked up the front door and rung the bell. The reunion was quick, mildly awkward and nothing like a TV show. That said, I was shaking like a leaf.
Simply because it wasn't a Kodak moment doesn't mean it wasn't awesome. For the past week I've been enjoying his company.

Of course he doesn't live by himself. Bob (that's what we'll call him) lives with his parents, sister and there loving dog Lucy.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip:

Bob's truck: Wow. Man it's big! His truck is a Chevy 2500 with off-roading tires and four-wheel drive. Put briefly its a BIG Truck. Perfect for dear hunting in Texas. Unfortunately it's ugly as all get out on the inside, but the enormous subwoofer makes up for that.

My Birthday: On the 30th of December I turned 16. I don't think I could have dreamed up a more perfect scenario. We all drove into San Antonio to see the Alamo. Besides enjoying the history we also saw NC congresswoman Virginia Foxx touring with her grandchildren. Actually it was my dad who spotted her.

Anyway. After we finished there, we all went down to the "River Walk" for some Birthday BBQ. Now in Texas when someone says BBQ they mean beef ribs slathered in sauce. For the record, I love Texas BBQ.

We ate at a place called "County Line." It was delicious. The waiter stuck us in the very back of the restaurant which meant we had a beautiful view of the "River Walk" and where next to all the brewsky. In fact my friend's mom was actually surrounded by the stuff, it was very humorous.

Anyway, I proceeded to let my inner caveman emerge free for the next 30 minutes as I stripped the ribs of all their savory meat.

Once this exercise in tribalism was completed, we promptly proceeded (did you notice the alliteration) to Starbucks where I got my coffee fix satisfied.
Yes I said coffee. I'm not addicted, I just love the stuff, I mean genuinely love it.

From There Bob and I hung out by ourselves at a bookstore before going to see "The Blindside." It turned out to be a really good movie, in fact I might do I review sometime soon.

To rap up the day we came home and savored chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. To top it all off I found out from my parents that I will be getting my Licence! WOOHOO.
All in all it was a perfect Birthday.

I'll post more later, but for now I'll let this be it.

Thanks for reading (assuming anyone did)