10/31/2008 10:08:00 am

How the Public Have Turned

Posted by Tom French |

So all I wanted was a little equality in the blogosphere, a few comments to help my failing self esteem.

But now Lesley has mounted a campaign against us. A campaign with no end in sight. A boycott with no desired outcome. She has no exit strategy.

Mil has now said that she won't comment for at least a week or until we stop asking for comments.

Even my Mum supports the campaign even if she still reads my blog.

Well let me say, I give in. I bow to the demands of the public, even if I'm not sure what the demands are. I give in. The boycott has worked. Please don't comment on my blog unless your spirit whispers "Comment". Listen to your heart. Don't let my feelings get in the way of your actions. I'll be ok.

I give in to this boycott in the hope that all boycotts around the world will be just as effective. I give in in the hope that Lonely Planet will stop telling people to go to Burma. I give in in the hope that Cadbury's will start buying fairly traded coca beans. I give in the hope that Proctor and Gamble will stop worshipping the devil. Actually I think we might have given up on that boycott in the 80s.

I give in for the people of the world.



On a side note, it turns out my comment counting thingy is a little faulty. My comments are still at 4199 but clearly you've contributed comments since the last count. So it seems this whole thing was started from something which was broken in the first place. Is that irony? Lesley?

10/30/2008 11:56:00 pm

Tax

Posted by Tom French |

I did my tax return today. It was most enjoyable. E-tax brings me joy, I love pressing those buttons, typing those numbers, paying for roads and schools and hospitals and fighter jets (but only ones used peacefully). Plus I'll get some money back. I'm hoping I actually save this return. Savings is not my middle name.

10/30/2008 10:11:00 pm

C'mon peoples, show some love

Posted by Howie |

Comment here

10/29/2008 11:40:00 pm

4212

Posted by Tom French |

We just checked Howie's total blog comment numbers, it's 4212, as opposed to my 4199. Anyone care to lend a guy a hand?

Say "G'day", tell me your favourite quote, write a recipe, gossip about me, get me at least 14 more comments and you'll save me from having to go through my archives and comment on long dead conversations. Plus if you meet me in person I'll even let you get your photo taken with me. I'm a man of the people.

Oh and don't comment on Howie's blog for a while, just so I can get ahead.

10/27/2008 03:10:00 pm

Arrogance

Posted by Tom French |

I was driving along the other day (I think I may have been with Ryan) thinking about how humble I am. And while resting in the warm glow of my inner humility, I figured the most humble thing to do would be to work out if, and how, I might have a hint of arrogance in my life. Because how much more humble can you get than admitting you're arrogant? What a winner! I decided that if there is any place where I am likely to be arrogant it's in regards to theology.

I know most people don't think about it, but in some Christian circles we have a high degree of theological arrogance. I think Bible College is especially good at breeding it in people though it's not exclusive to Bible College. There are lot's of places it can be found, usually among the Bible literate.

I think it might be generally due to the fact that when we theologically align ourselves with different camps where there are plenty of people around to give you theological support and agreement giving you a feeling of superiority to everyone outside your camp. But the arrogance then gets honed and sharpened when you diverge from your dominant theological camp, giving you theological superiority over the people in your primary theological camp, as well as all the others. You become the person with the best theology because you've found exactly the right balance.

For example theologically I fall into the reformed evangelical, charismatic, social justicey groups*. Meaning all of them have their separate camps but I borrow from all of them. My primary camp would be the Reformed Evangelical camp. But because I have a bit of charismatic leaning, I'm obviously better versed on things such as gifts of the Spirit and miracles, etc. But then I'm also into the social justice thing a bit too (if only as a badge, rather than much actual involvement). So when you add it all up, not only do I have a correct view of Jesus, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, but I'm a good person to boot. I'm pretty much theologically perfect.

Theological arrogance is kinda fun. It's really enjoyable to sit around and pick someone apart because of their bad theology. Not only do you come out feeling superior, but you look superior too because you've been able to display your astute knowledge of the Bible and/or of a particular doctrine or two.

But in the end theological arrogance leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Theological discussion and debate is, for people like me, generally rather fun. But theological arrogance gets boring because there's never a chance of you being bested (at least in your own eyes), and there is never a chance that you'll learn anything new, because you already know everything anyway.

I found a blog yesterday written by a woman who wrote over 4000 words (I counted) because the youth pastor of her church was going to a conference using church money that encouraged some Catholic contemplative practices. She was complaining that he shouldn't be going to a conference teaching such dangerous ideas. She had a problem because the guy thought he might be able to learn something from the theologically bankrupt emergent church. The guy should really find someone with good theology and learn from them.

This woman seems to be at the more extreme end of theological arrogance. So much so that people with divergent theology shouldn't even be engaged with, except maybe to angry blog about them. When I see that I tend to be encouraged to head in the other direction. There is too much out there to write off everyone who doesn't see eye to eye with you theologically. Disagreement, exploration and discussion are too fruitful to only stick to your preferred doctrinal flavour.

My task, in my fantastic humility, is to pay attention to what other people have to say; To take what's good, leave out the rest, and love the people. Chances are the person loves Jesus even if they love him differently to me. And I need to acknowledge that even those people I profoundly disagree with, even the people who I worry might not even be Christian, are probably many times smarter than me and could kick me around the theological paddock till the cows come home.

That's not to say that good theology isn't important. Paul tells Timothy "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." Theology saves. At least correct theology and lifestyle does. But how we meet with and speak about those we think are incorrect is also important. Not everyone can be right, but that doesn't mean everyone can't be loved.

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." I think the key is to have knowledge and love. Because because being puffy and loving sounds best, kinda like a marshmallow and everyone loves marshmallows, at least in concept if not in taste.


*I realise that while I may want to put myself in the Reformed Evangelical, Charismatic, or Social Justice camps, I probably wouldn't be allowed in by the hardcore gatekeepers of any of them, I'd be too watered down for all of them. Oh well.

10/26/2008 09:36:00 am

24 - 10

Posted by Tom French |

It's all over. I'm at work now. I drove here straight from the McBennett's and fell asleep on my office floor for two hours. Now I'm up, showered and ready to go for a brand new day of ministry excitement.

The climax was a little bit of a let down. It may have been because it was only reaching me through a thick fog of weariness. Still I survived on zero energy drinks so I'm happy with that.

I should probably go to work now.


Killing Final Score Card
Hour 24

Good Guys - 80
Bad Guys - 162 plus nuclear meltdown with unconfirmed casualties.

Energy Drink Count - 10

10/26/2008 05:58:00 am

24 - 9

Posted by Tom French |

The sun's coming up. The day is looking nice. We're almost done. Had a snooze for an hour after some tricky work so we could have larger break. I feel pretty gross. It's hard to feel excited about anything much, except when the lesbian assassin got punched in the face by Black Jack.

Almost done.

6am-7am is waiting for me.


Killing Score Card
Hour 23

Good Guys - 80
Bad Guys - 162 plus nuclear meltdown with unconfirmed casualties.

Energy Drink Count - 10

10/26/2008 01:45:00 am

24 - 8

Posted by Tom French |

Argh. Getting tired. Had a nap for about 10 minutes out of a 40 minute shut eye. Dreamt about 24 the whole time.

There's a new President now, and he's stupid. And there is a lawyer from Amnesty who came and stopped CTU from torturing a suspect and in doing so held up the good guys in their hunt for the missing nuclear warhead. Still Jack found the guy and tortured him anyway. It's interesting how everyone who is stupid and weak in the show is against torture and all the strong ones are fighting for freedom!

I love 24.

Killing Score Card
Hour 19

Good Guys - 75
Bad Guys - 152 plus nuclear meltdown with unconfirmed casualties.

Energy Drink Count - 10
Torture Count - 7 people
Innocent people torture count - 4
Jack Bauer Angry Eye Squint Count - 85

10/25/2008 10:28:00 pm

24 - 7

Posted by Tom French |

Matt and Beck just left. Our first pikers. But good on them for hanging around for so long.

Air Force One may have just been shot down. I'm nervous maybe the boring pasty faced President is dead. I want President David Palmer. He was black and could win against any other head of state in a street fight. This guy just sits on Air Force One and get's up dates.

Two people so far have been stabbed in the back of the neck. Jack does it better.

Killing Score Card
Hour 16

Good Guys - 70
Bad Guys - 71 plus nuclear meltdown with unconfirmed casualties.

Energy Drink Count - 9

Courtney wants you to know that we've gone through three bags of rubbish and one cupboard of recycling (who measures recycling by the cupboard?)

Nathan wants a mention. He's good with a remote. Sam's being well behaved. Tim is excited. Anmol is generous. Anika is taking over the world. Johnny turned up late but he's fitting right in and we've forgotten he's a blow in. John dropped by. That's everyone I think.

10/25/2008 08:43:00 pm

24 - 6

Posted by Tom French |

Dinner was fantastic. Jack still kills people with awesome efficency. I'm yawning. Should have slept more than five and a half hours last night. The blu-ray player pauses at every chapter.

Now for a guest appearance from Johnny and Anika.

Tom: So Johnny, how are you enjoying the Twenty Four 24?

Johnny: It's action packed.

Tom: You came late you dirty slacker. What's up with that?

Johnny: I'm a busy man. I had important things to do.

Tom: Like what?

Johnny: They were really important alright.

Tom: Fine. I'm talking to Anika. Anika, how are you enjoying the extravaganza?

Anika: It's awesome.

Tom: Good.


Killing Score Card
Hour 14

Good Guys - 56
Bad Guys - 67 plus nuclear meltdown with unconfirmed casualties.

Just for those who are wondering the kill count is for the number of people each team has killed. So the good guys have killed 56 people. The bad guys have killed 67. Some have been bad guy suicides, which we've counted as bad guy kills because they have benefitted the bad guys.

Energy Drink Count - 8

10/25/2008 06:20:00 pm

24 - 5

Posted by Tom French |

I'm feeling remarkably chipper after 12 episodes of 24. Watching with people has meant I have people who can laugh at Jack Bauer with. I think it helps.

Not much has changed in the plot. Sam's getting upset the the nuclear symbol is upside down.

We're on dinner break. Matt and I went for a walk earlier and saw a lizard.


Killing Score Card
Hour 12

Good Guys - 43
Bad Guys - 59 plus nuclear meltdown with unconfirmed casualties.

10/25/2008 03:20:00 pm

24 - 4

Posted by Tom French |

Tony turned out to be an alcoholic, but he's still good with a gun. There's a nuclear reactor melting and 5 more to come. What's going to happen?

Matt's falling asleep but everyone else is looking awake if a little depressed. The energy drinks are about to make their first appearence. Jack isn't doing much talking so I'm not too annoyed at him. I'm having a good time.

We're powering through at the moment to give us a good dinner break. It's not quite in the spirit of things but I'll get thai.


Killing Score Card
Hour 9

Good Guys - 36
Bad Guys - 55 + Plus Nuclear reactor meltdown

10/25/2008 01:48:00 pm

24 - 3

Posted by Tom French |

Tony Almeda just turned up and we all cheered. I'm falling asleep a bit. Some nuclear reactors are about to melt down. I'm worried.


Killing Score Card
Hour 7

Good Guys - 36
Bad Guys - 53

Good guys are coming back

10/25/2008 11:42:00 am

24 - 2

Posted by Tom French |

Lunch time. Jack's about to play chicken with a guided missile save his girlfriend and her dad who happens to be the Secretary of Defence. It could be tense.


Killing Score Card
Hour 5

Good Guys - 4
Bad Guys - 46

10/25/2008 09:44:00 am

24 - 1

Posted by Tom French |

We just finished episode three. Jack Bauer just snapped and has decided to rob a service station. He's only killed two people so far, but it's early days yet.

Personally I'm feeling optimistic that Jack can do it. I'm feeling a little sleepy. I didn't get much sleep last night. I was too excited about the prospect of today coming. Now that we've started I'm trying to stay awake. Only 21 hours to go.

Killing Score Card
Hour 3

Good Guys - 2
Bad Guys - 45

10/24/2008 02:19:00 pm

Censorship

Posted by Tom French |

The Government is planning on getting an internet censorship thing going at an ISP level. I've been reading a little bit about it over the past few days. The idea is that they'll block illegal websites at ISP before it get's to us. There will be two levels, the one that makes the net "child safe" (ie no porn or violent material), and the one that only blocks illegal sites. You can opt out of the child safe one but not the illegal one.

Personally I'm not much of a fan. As a good Christian I feel like I should be supporting any plans by the Government to block porn and illegal material from our computers. But I don't really feel that way. I think filters are a good idea. And if people want to install their own filters they should go for it.

But I don't really want the Government deciding what I can and can't access. Not because I think we should be free to access everything. I think some things should be blocked because they profit from the abuse of innocent, non-consenting people, especially children. But blocking access to illegal material won't actually stop people from getting their hands on it. There are always going to be ways around the safeguards. Blocking access isn't going to cut demand and it's not going to make people better. To me it seems smarter to put resources into tracking down the users and creators because I doubt putting filters on everyone's internet will stop the people they're actually designed to stop.

I also think it sets up a dangerous precedent. The problem for governments with the internet is that they can't control it. They can't decide what people do or say. What's great about the internet is that it is the most pure form of free speech we have. It democratises communication. Now people can say whatever they want, to everyone they want, and there isn't much anyone can do to stop them. If we allow the Government to have a say in who says what to us, conversely we are beginning to let them decide what we can and cannot say to other people. Of course at this stage I doubt there is much I want to say or do on the internet that the Government would want to block. But I'm not sure that's the point. I'm into minimising the potential abuse of power rather than realising too late that they can do what they want and no one stopped them.

Ultimately you can't legislate people into being good. You can't make laws that will change people's hearts or desires. Censorship like this just seems to be a clumsy attempt at making the people moral.

10/24/2008 10:52:00 am

Stupidity

Posted by Tom French |

Tomorrow I am going to the Twenty Four 24. This is twenty four hours of season 4 of 24. We're going to watch every episode from 7am on Saturday to 7am on Sunday, starting each episode at the correct time. It's going to be kinda nuts.

Anyway, I just thought I'd let you all know that's what I'm doing, because I knew you'd all be interested. I'm going try and blog during the day. I've been trying to watch season 3 lately but Jack Bauer annoys me so much I've only made it through four episodes. Who knows if I'll survive twenty four hours with the infuriating man. But it'll be good. A story to tell the grand kids... like they'll care.

10/23/2008 07:12:00 pm

Life Verse

Posted by Tom French |

I've heard a few American's talk about "life verses" recently, and it's not something we talk about much here in "Aussie". In fact I didn't really know what people were talking about till I Googled it and then I decided I don't want one. But at college today I decided if I did have a life verse, it'd be this:

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" - Mark 9:24

But I don't want a life verse so I'll just let this one be special. Special like many others.

If you wanted a life verse, what would it be?

10/21/2008 11:58:00 pm

Pashon

Posted by Tom French |

I got my hair cut today. And then I went to see Louie Giglio and his band of Merry Singers at Passion Conference tonight. It was pretty good. We did a lot of singing, and a bit of praying and we heard some talking. They never turned the house lights on so it was a little strange singing in the dark, and they preached with the house lights down too. In fact the message started and I didn't realise, I thought it was Louie about to introduce the next section, and it was only when I realised that the illustration about TV was going on a little too long for it to be a segue that I tried to pay more attention.

None-the-less Louie was inspiring.

People kept saying "I'm convinced God is raising up a generation for himself." It gets to me a tiny bit when people say that. Not because I don't think God is raising up a generation, but it implies that God is acting out of the ordinary. I think he is continually raising up every generation to do his work and to make him famous. The very fact that we are here telling the story of Jesus 2,000 years later is a testament to the faithfulness of God's continual generation raising. But I'm happy to be part of this particular generation, playing my part in this little bit of the story, so I shouldn't really complain.

I did actually have a good time, and I was moved and affirmed in my devotion to Jesus so I think they may have done a good job with me.

10/20/2008 05:46:00 pm

Did Much

Posted by Tom French |

Had an action packed weekend. I want to blog it just because I'm so impressed with myself for being so interesting and diverse. I will make a list of everything I did because lists are good.

1. Went on a Road Trip 1 - Friday Night

For youth group on Friday night we had a mini road trip where the youth decided where we would go by voting at major intersections on Left, Right or Straight Ahead. We ended up at Fox Stuidos (via Lindfield, Chatswood, Cammeray and North Sydney), where we sat in Love Sacs, and I sweet talked our way into a bar. I have to be the coolest Youth Minister in the world taking a bunch of 14 year olds to a bar. We drank Coke and at Beef Burgers and were almost the only ones there. Amazing. We ended the night with a violent game of spoons back at church. I'm inspired to play more spoons with my friends who I have more liberty to assault in the name of victory. Damn child protection.

2. Watched too much West Wing - Friday Night to Saturday Morning

I watched the end of season 4 and beginning of season 5 and never found out why Zoe was actually kidnapped. If only Aaron Sorkin hadn't left a plot hole that big wouldn't have been left gaping. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 4:30am still disappointed that I don't know who took Zoe and how the FBI found her.

3. Movies - Burn After Reading - Saturday Morning

I went with Lesley to see this little gem. It was most enjoyable and very funny. Cohen Brother strike cinematic joy again!

4. Wrote a Script - Saturday Arvo

I wrote a script about Teen Male Pregnancy and watched some more West Wing. Both were inspirational.

5. Shot a technical pilot for a TV show - Saturday Arvo

I don't know how much I can say. But I'm involved in some Christian Television brilliance, showcasing my own, and others, comedy genius. Anyway we shot the pilot on Saturday arvo and I wasn't as funny as I would have liked, but it's early days yet. This could be the start of a Christian Television revolution.

6. Went on a Road Trip 2 - Saturday Evening

I picked up Martin and Jem and we drove to Wollongong to meet Mil, Ryan and Jess so we could all go see Michael Franti and Spearhead. We ate fish and chips on the way down without any fish.

7. Danced All Night - Saturday Night

Michael Franti and his mates were excellent fun. We danced with an energetic, a bit drunk and a bit high crowd. Highlights included watching the Bourbon and Coke Boys grind with Ryan and getting whacked in the goolies by the drunk bald man. The sound was terrible, but the music was fun none-the-less and Michael "keeps rockin till the early mornin'" almost.

When it was all over we drove home and I went to bed eventually.

8. Went to Church and Stuff - Sunday Morning

I was remarkably sprightly at church on Sunday morning. I gave my boys their teen male pregnancy script to do and there was much funnies and silliness. I think it'll be a good little piece of absurdity.

I also managed to have lunch, watch more West Wing, have a meeting and a snooze all before youth group. Special.

9. Played Ultimate Frisbee - Sunday Arvo

We had an excellent game of ultimate frisbee under the gathering storm clouds for youth group yesterday arvo. It was high energy, high scoring and I'm not sure who won. But we did sweat a lot so I think it was probably productive.

We had hot dogs for dinner.

10. Went to Church - Sunday Night

Stephen and the Six30 Team gave us their vision for 2009. It made me sad I'm not going to hang around next year because it's a good vision. But as my moving on seems to be part of what God is doing at St Stephen's I doubt I could stay and help the vision anyway. So if I believe in the vision then I need to go. Not that I was reconsidering, but I guess it makes me happy that I'm playing my part in the growth of the church by leaving the church if that makes sense.

11. Watched More West Wing - Sunday Night to Monday Morning

Howie visited me while I was watching my second episode because he couldn't sleep. I think he went to bed too early. We chatted for a while while watching the menu screen once the episode finished. It was kinda like old times but I was fully dressed.

And that was my weekend.

10/18/2008 02:54:00 pm

Why I don't like Season Five

Posted by Tom French |

This young man is asking for freedom. It's what this country was built on. Everyone's from somewhere else, some place less free. That's my argument. - CJ Cregg on why a North Korean man should be allowed to defect to the US.

10/16/2008 03:15:00 pm

Good God

Posted by Tom French |

I was talking to Peter yesterday and we were discussing the fact that our understanding of God only comes from God's revelation of himself. That means God controls the airwaves, and so God is obviously going to portray himself in a good light. And while I believe in the goodness and truthfulness of God and his self-revelation, it did lead to the question: If you found out that God wasn't as good as he said he was, would you still follow him? Would you try and live out the teachings of the old, false but good God, or the new, real but not so good God?

It's a question that I know lots of Christians would find uncomfortable to even consider. I think it's because when it comes to things the Bible says people often don't like to hypothesize, especially when it involves God's works or character, and this involves both. It seems somehow blasphemous.

But I think it's a question worth asking. Not because I believe it's a possibility, but it does challenge us to consider whether we're spiritual pragmatists or idealists. Are we following God because he's God, or because he's good? Are we in it for the salvation or the righteousness?

If we would keep following God because he's God, what does that say about our morality? Maybe we are only striving to be good, loving people because that's what God wants of us and we don't really own the requirement for love ourselves. Does love then become essentially selfish? Or at the very least, no longer selfless?

On the other hand, were we to follow God only because he is good, doesn't that imply that we need God to fit in with our own value system? That means that we have arrogantly put ourselves in the position of judging God. Isn't that a rather dangerous thing to do, even if God isn't as good as he led us to believe?

So either way we're a little bit stuffed. I don't even know what the right answer is. I think I'd probably keep following not so good God, because I'd rather be safe and compromised, than idealistic and in hell. But I think that's just me being selfish.

The good thing is that the Bible never forces us to have to make a distinction between goodness and God. All good things come from God, God is love, love comes from God. When we trust in love and goodness, we are trusting in the character of God. When we trust in God we are trusting in love and goodness. In God ultimate pragmatism and idealism meet. That's pretty good if you ask me. Though, I'm still wondering, what would you choose?

10/15/2008 03:31:00 pm

Disappointing Rocky

Posted by Tom French |

I made a new mix for my running last night which was timed so that I would know from the songs when I needed to finish. I had the theme from Rocky ending right when I wanted to arrive home. This was followed by "Your Body is a Wonderland" and "Love is in the Air" to punish me for not making it home by the end of Rocky. I was so excited about the mix last night that I couldn't sleep. Which meant that I woke up this morning and almost didn't run because I was tired from being up so late imagining me running to the new mix in the morning. But I did run in the end, the excitement won over the sleepiness.

I'm sad to say, I didn't finish when Rocky finished. In fact I was two minutes off my desired time. As I ran along, listening to Rocky I had images in my head from the montage of Rocky running fast through Philadelphia, Rocky running fast along the docks, Rocky running fast up those stairs. And here was I panting along the Pacific Hwy, making "heerrmmp" noises with every breath, two minutes slower than I wanted to be, and I could help but feel like I was disappointing Rocky. I should have put on the slow Rocky music from the first montage where where runs slowly. Then I wouldn't have been so disrespectful to the legacy.

I'm hoping to make Rocky happy in the future.

10/13/2008 07:55:00 pm

Running Up That Hill

Posted by Tom French |

I've started running again, now that I'm in a settled location and what I've discovered is that everywhere west of the highway around my house is on some kind of hill. It's very annoying. My plan is to run 6km but it's all hill, and very tiring. I try and stay off main roads because traffic and traffic lights slow you down. I time myself when I run and I don't like variables out of my control stuffing up my times.

In Enmore I could be having a really good run, on track for my best time, and then a batch of bad traffic on the Princes Hwy would just stuff me up. So now I have to choose between running up hills or letting lights stuff my times. I've decided to go for the hills because that'll be good for me, I'll get massive calves. People will be scared of my calves they're so big and hill strong. I'll get teased for my calves, till people realise that I can crush then to death be just flexing my lower leg. It'll be great.

10/10/2008 11:51:00 pm

Journey into Manhood

Posted by Tom French |

Tomorrow my father is coming over to teach me how to drive a manual. I did once get a few lessons from Jem but I got frustrated and annoyed. I think I was even tempted to be mean to Jemma even though she's one of the nicest people I know, so I decided it was best to stop.

But tomorrow my Father will take me on this last stage to becoming a real man (except for jumping naked over a cow and killing a lion with my bare hands). I know lots of girls can drive manuals (we're borrowing Jenny's car), which is kinda why it feels so unmanly not to be able to "drive stick".

Though that logic doesn't always work. Girls are in general more likely to be able to sew, but it's rare that you meet a guy who wants to be able to sew, because "if girls can sew then it's unmanly if he can't". If he sews we'll all tease him and and make him drink Breezers at our man barbies. So it's probably the fact that it's a car. Natural law dictates that men should be generally more advanced at car things than girls. The only time a girl should be be better at car stuff than guys is if she can burp and fart better than a guy too. Then she gets respect.

As you can see my image of manhood is pretty well rounded, it's all about cars, beer, barbies, burping and farting and those things pretty much sum me up.

10/10/2008 12:51:00 pm

That's More Like It

Posted by Tom French |

I just started reading Without Warning by John Birmingham. After Twilight it's a blessed relief.

In the first 50 pages 300 million people are killed and various planes, boats and cars crash in some freak occurrence, and on page 51 a female assassin kills two evil pursuers in about three seconds using just her bare hands and a scalpel. That's more like it. This book should make up for the last one's criminal lack of action quite well.

10/10/2008 10:39:00 am

Ripped

Posted by Tom French |

I'm pretty sure I won't ever be fully ripped. But I'm thinking about wearing muscle shirts and a bum bag* all the time just to pretend I am.


*Otherwise known as a fanny pack. Heh heh.

10/09/2008 10:40:00 pm

Darknight

Posted by Tom French |

I went to see The Dark Knight again last night. I think I'm more prepared to make a final judgment on the film now. Well maybe not final, but at least more thoughtful.

I think I liked Heath Ledger's performance even better this time. Before I was wary of getting caught up in the post-death fuzzies. But he really did do a fantastic job. The Joker is probably one of the best film villains ever. And while most villains have things to say which are meant to be insightful, but are pretty dull, the Joker seems to have this wonderfully astute perception, even if he is crazy. And Ledger pulled off what was a well written character and just added whole new layers of depth to him. He's funny, he's scary, he's quite insane but quite brilliant. It's great.

Harvey Dent is a good character, but Two Face is a little bit of a leap. The transition from Harvey Dent to Two Face happens too quickly and isn't all that rational. I like the addition of Two Face, but they could have done that better.

Batman is cool as always.

I think the biggest let down of the film is the technology. While the technology in Batman Begins isn't too far fetched, the stuff in this film is just dumb. Like who could get a fingerprint off a shattered bullet? And as if you could turn all the phones in a city into sonar devices and then rig up a 3D rendering of the city from it. Dumb. The whole technology thing just seems lazy. Because the two pieces of technology that are vital to moving the plot along are unbelievable the whole film seems flimsy at the seams. Had they worked harder the film would have been a lot better.

My favourite scene in the film has to be the one with Batman and the Joker in the the interrogation room. It's beautiful to watch. The Joker just dismantles Batman without laying a finger on him. Special.

I did like that this was a darker film, with no happy ending. But all up I think Batman Begins was a better film. It's tighter, more believable, and more consistently cool. Parts of Dark Knight are brilliant, better than the first film, but as a whole it doesn't hold together. Still it's a damn good film, so I'll pay that.

10/08/2008 04:00:00 pm

Mayer Wisdom

Posted by Tom French |

I'm in a good place, I've paced myself pretty well at 30.
I've seen some cool stuff, made a lot of stuff happen for myself.
I made a lot of stuff happen for myself, right?
That's a really cool sentence when you're in your 20's.
I mean, "I MADE IT HAPPEN FOR MYSELF", right?
But all that means, is that I've somehow or other, found a way to synthesize love.
- John Mayer from Where the Light Is

Doesn't John Mayer have a publicist to say "John, don't say that, it makes you sound like an idiot"? They didn't even edit it off the CD/DVD.

Still as always, he plays excellent music, and that's what I listen for. That and to laugh at him a little.



Thanks to L'angostino for whacking the lyrics on their blog.

10/07/2008 11:14:00 pm

Twilight

Posted by Tom French |

I just finished reading Twilight. It's that vampire romance that girls like to read. I read it because most of the girls in my youth group love it, so I thought I should check it out.

I can understand why girls like it but it really didn't do it for me at all. I'd read Jodi Picoult over this any day.

The story is about Bella, a 17 year old high school student who falls in love with Edward a 17 year old looking vampire.

The biggest issue is that through out the whole book there is almost no violence. If I'm reading a vampire book I'm expecting a bit of action. There was almost nothing. I had to wait till the last four chapters before anything remotely actionish happened at all. Then when the action did happen, the main character was unconscious for it, and seeing as it's a first person narrative, we never hear about it. There was only one scene where blood got sucked but it was to save someone's life and it was just out of a hand. What's up with that?

Second I can't see why no one else seems to find it creepy that the vampire is 104 years old, while the girl he is in love with is only 17. Just because he looks young doesn't make it ok.

But the good thing is, even if he is 104 years old, he has the wisdom of a 16 year old and emotions to go with it. He seems to spend most of the book brooding, giving dark stares and having flashes of anger. He keeps saying things like "I need to leave you alone, but I can't. All the time I spend with you I put you in danger, so I'm guess I'm being selfish." You think? You would hope that for a good vampire who is 104 years old he would have figured out by now that just because something makes you feel good it doesn't mean it is good. On the other hand, humans tend to have an ability to be exceedingly selfish all their lives, especially when it comes to love. So I'll give him that. I just don't think it's romantic.

Third Bella is rather annoying. It seems like every time he looks at her or touches her, she forgets how to breath. Literally. It's not even a dumb figure of speech, she actually stops breathing. At one point he's so wonderful when they kiss, she passes out. One feels that maybe you're not ready for a serious relationship if you can't manage to maintain the most basic of human functions in the presence of your love interest.

Consider these genuine quotes:

"He was right there, his face so close to mine. His beauty stunned my mind-it was too much, an excess I couldn't grow accustomed to.
...
He took my face in my hands again.
I couldn't breath."
- Pages 246-247

"He pressed his cool lips delicately to my forehead, and the room spun. The smell of his breath made it impossible to think... His fingers traced slowly down my spine, his breath coming more quickly against my skin. My hands were limp on his chest, and I felt lightheaded again. He tilted his head slowly and touched his cool
lips to mine for the second time, very carefully, parting them slightly.

And then I collapsed.

"Bella?" His voice was alarmed as he caught me and held me up.

"You… made… me… faint," I accused him dizzily."
- Page 279

"Edward's hands lingered at my neck, brushed along my collarbones. I gave up trying to help him and just concentrated on not hyperventilating." - Page 314

You see what I'm saying? At one point they kiss and her heart literally stops beating.

Anyway, I'm glad I read the book. Now I know what the fuss is about. I don't really have a problem with people reading it. But I doubt I'll be picking up the sequels anytime soon.

10/06/2008 11:04:00 am

Bugged

Posted by Tom French |

One of my favourite things on my computer is when a program crashes and then the program that tells me that the program has crashed crashes. It makes me smirk.

10/04/2008 09:35:00 am

In and Out

Posted by Tom French |

I'm back from camp and totally famous!

And now I'm at Black Stump. I'm not actually at Black Stump. I'm at home. This is the first time in about 15 years I'm not camping. But I'm doing the Black Stump thing. I'm going call it a camp though, just so I can say I went straight from camp to camp.

Last week's camp was much fun. I did enjoy myself, the leaders were quality, the campers quality, and there was plenty of laughs so I'm happy.

That could be about in depth as my debrief of camp gets. Probably because it's a whole weeks worth and most of it's not that interesting if you weren't there.

Yesterday however was a tad remarkable. Mainly because it was full. I packed up a camp, had a beer, visited the Pa (Happy Birthday!), drove to Stump, did tech for the Breakthru' show (I was DVD man, "Play,pause,play,skip,pause" in that order) then was calling the next Breakthru' show. The second show was 8 acts long and I was meant to be in the sound and lighting desk on coms telling the lighting and sound guys what to do and when. This was a little stressful because 1) I've never seen the show before, 2) I've never called a show before, 3) I was so tired I was having difficultly stringing sentences together.

In the end the CD of all the music for the show got lost, so the show became 3 pieces long, rather than 8. While this is sad for the Breakthru' people, from my standpoint I was rather relieved. I'm calling the show again today, but I at least am feeling a little less tired.

I did find that getting to Black Stump and being surrounded by a whole new bunch of people, made me miss the ones I was surrounded by for the last week. I guess that's a good response to have to the camp. It probably means I liked the people.

I also found that getting to Black Stump and feeling stuffed made me rather grumpy. I was having difficulty being positive. Hopefully today will be better.

I should probably put some pants on now and get ready for being an amazing tech guy.

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