February 27, 2010

my trip to LA has been interesting.

i had two goals going into this weekend:

1. start and finish rob bell's jesus wants to save christians: a manifesto for a church in exile. i read the first part when it first came out, but put it down and feel i need to start it over. i made it 2/3 of the way through on the plane ride into LAX* - i would've finished it if the view of the grand canyon hadn't been so amazing from my window seat.

2. get to know students as well as develop a better understanding of the los angeles youth culture through conversations with the them here at covenant camp at the alpine retreat center. this goal hasn't gone as well. after waking up in kansas city at 4AM pacific time and going to sleep at 3AM pacific time yesterday - i wasn't the greatest conversationalist. and then we had an issue at the camp - 4 middle schoolers decided to ransack all the cabins during chapel. they stole around $10,000 worth of phones, ipods and cash from leaders and students. that sorta stunted my opportunities to chat.

the theme this weekend here is "that's so messed up." it's about pain and difficulty in life - all about how we live in a fallen world. that this isn't the world God had in mind in creating it, but that through Jesus, he's leading us all toward the way the world someday will be. flipping the world right side up and redeeming the messed up world we currently are a part of.

and what a great example in these dudes who got caught swiping everyone's stuff. they're spending the evening in juvenile detention. we're encouraging the students to be praying for them and to help them in this messed up world that they've gotten tripped up on.

anyway. that's what i've been doing in LA this weekend. also it's snowing like crazy here in the california mountains and it's freezing cold and i want to go back to kansas city. i'll be back here in 2 weeks though. wonder if it'll be equally interesting next time.


* - btw. after watching the season 6 premiere of LOST, entitled "LA X" i couldn't stop thinking about everything lost throughout my flight and landing. at baggage claim i definitely said, "LOOK! that's where kate hijacks claire's taxi at gunpoint!" also, i'm in a blizzard in LA while it's sunny in KC. definitely the work of an ALT TIMELINE.

February 23, 2010


so i finally saw avatar. imax. in all three dimens.....

...oh what's that? excuse me? ohhhh...yes. i'm perfectly aware that it's been out for eight thousand days and that i'm a massive loser for not seeing it until now.* but lets go ahead and save all that unproductive banter for another time and cut to the chase:

avatar just changed my life.

okay not MY life specifically - although mine will be greatly affected - it just basically changed everybody's perspective on how movies are viewed. a quick list of examples:

1. when i watch LOST tomorrow night, i will be thinking, "gee, sure would be cool if i could see the smoke monster roller coaster itself through the jungle in more than boring ole 2D. and the next time they show a clip on an airplane, i'll be thinking, "hey, is it just me, or is the back of the plane a lot smaller than the front of the plane?" it'll seem like that creepy hallway in the gene wilder version of willy wonka right before they go into the totally edible "world of pure imagination."...i'd continue. but hello, spoiler alert.

okay so only one example. but it's a good one.

the animation is the most absurd thing i've ever seen. just ridiculous. and by ridiculous i don't mean like this ridiculous...i mean like vince carter ridiculous. at one point there's a animated character, fighting a human who is in a robotic body suit. and i thought nothing of it because they all looked like they went together. i was blown away over and over again by how insane the cinematography was.

sure, the storyline was a futuristic retelling of pocahontas: a group of people invade another world in search of something valuable and have to wipe out the hippie indigenous people in order to get it. but then one of them gets too close to the indigenous people and joins their side and falls in love. war ensues. etc.

only difference is that, historically, the whites pretty much wiped out the native americans. avatar has a much happier ending...of course, disney managed to end pocahontas on a positive note too. must've forgotten about the whole small pox thing. convenient.

michelle rodriguez is in it. so that's sorta a bummer. you'll never guess what role she plays. oh nevermind, you got it. the super butch female soldier role. shocker.

also chad, who falls down in "that thing you do!" is in it. almost evens out the Tragedy of Ana Lucia...at least it wasn't shannon. ugh.

also, sigourney weaver is in another movie about aliens.

anyway. it's late and i can't be typing about this all night like i did with LG. but here is my review in bullet point fashion:

- animation/cinematography: 12 out of 10
- acting: 5 out of 10
- storyline: 7 out of 10 - second coming of Poco? sure. but it's still a powerful story. political even.

- but the real selling point: this movie is ground-breaking. NEVER has a movie been this...way. it's the first of it's kind and it is unbelievable. EVERYONE has to see this movie, and i am embarrassed that it took me this long to see it. wow.

- also the 3D is simply mesmerizing. i mean, way more mesmerizing than even antiques roadshow.

- conclusion: james cameron is a wizard...maybe they'll let him do the final harry potter movie...


* -of course, i'm also the guy who just saw jurassic park for the first time last year. and still hasn't seen the godfather OR scarface. also this was my first ever IMAX movie. so it probably shouldn't be a shock that it took so long to see this one too. major flop. sigh. a tiger don't change his stripes, i suppose.

February 18, 2010

lady gaga.

"there are two types of people in this world: those who like neil diamond, and those who don't."

-Bill Murray as Bob Wiley, What About Bob?

my reason for kicking off this post with that quote is two fold: first,there are a handful of neil diamond fans (or at least sweet caroline fans) who read my blog whom i am specifically hoping will be attracted to this post now that i've dropped his name. second, it appears the quote can be said for Lady Gaga as well.

however, i'm not sure Bob Wiley's quote can be translated to Lady Gaga in exactly the same way as it is to neil. instead, the quote ought to read more like...

"there are two types of people in this world: those who understand and admit that Lady Gaga is terrific, and those who are too concerned with social implications to put themselves totally out there for public scrutiny."

sure. she's a freak. i mean cmon. she's created this stage name that has become a lifestyle. here life is either an incredible act - like something out of The Prestige - where she has chosen to accept this lifestyle for the success of her career, or she truly has bought into the insanity of her character and truly is as freaky-wacky-nutso as she comes across.

but that's not what i care about. how could i? my favorite artist has the biggest ego of anyone in the music biz and repeatedly embarrasses himself on a national stage. if i really cared about the person BEHIND the music, i would've dumped kanye west years ago. and while we're at it - amy winehouse is likely in my top 5 artists too. as i stated following the VMA's back in september: "i have a history of liking freaks as long as they put out good music."

Lady Gaga can join the club.

i am also someone who falls hard for the catchy tracks. i don't understand when people say stuff like "it's just so catchy" as if it's a bad thing. isn't that what makes it so appealing? i guess i'm under the assumption that catchy makes music better - music is fun. and catchy is fun. however, that doesn't mean i'm just going to run out there and buy the album. there are so many artists who throw out a random catchy track and have nothing to follow it up. (read: ke$ha).

then there are other artists who have a bunch of catchy tracks, but they end up all sounding the same and listeners get very bored, very fast. (read: sean kingston, akon...nickelback would fit here if they had at least one good song. they all sound the same, but they all really suck.)

the thing about Lady G - her tracks are ALL catchy. and they're ALL different. and they're ALL GREAT. i'm not sure i've ever experienced an album that is so catchy from start to finish.

but the Fame Monster is actually two albums shoved into one release: The Fame and The Fame Monster are two discs that stand apart in one deluxe set. The Fame came out first and heralded popular tracks like "Just Dance", "Poker Face", "Paparazzi", and "LoveGame". Then instead of putting out a totally different record - she slapped an 8-track work of genius on the front of The Fame - with tracks like "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" - and released The Fame Monster as a 24-track set.

24 tracks. and they are all terrific.

and if you've developed your perspective on LG from the long list radio singles above, then you really don't have a true perspective on her work. in fact, the ones that haven't hit the radio are the true gems in the set. after a month of dedicated listening, "Teeth", "Paper Gangsta", "Starstruck", and "Disco Heaven" stand out as my 4 favorite tracks - none of which have hit the airwaves yet.

...okay okay, "Bad Romance" is among my favorites too.

...and "Just Dance" definitely gets me bumpin.

...and Beyonce absolutely kills it on "Telephone". wow.

...and "Alejandro", while silly, has an awesome Ace of Base vibe to it.

...and "Boys Boys Boys" rules.

see what i mean? this is what you're dealing with when you pick up this album. it's just stacked with killer tracks - tracks that i've been friendly enough to link over and again so that you can follow to them and understand what i mean.

i could probably write more and more, but there's a great chance that no one has followed me to this point anyway. but i will add this: in my humble opinion, there hasn't been an album with this many hits since justin timberlake released futuresex/lovesounds in Aug 2007. which i had very extensive thoughts about back in the day. back in the 3 weeks i had a myspace blog.*

i realize that i haven't spoken much about style, genius, how she writes her own stuff, how she went to school and was a musical prodigy at the age of 4. but that's for another time. and believe me, i'll have plenty of time. she's younger than i am...by 2 weeks. so if she keeps this up over the next 20+ years?! yikes. we may be dealing with LG's poker face for a long time...jackpot.

i'll have plenty of words on the LG in the future.


* - awkward blogging times. i was in between internet identities...but hey, remember sthanga? i used to have such a crush on break_my_heart_baby.

february is a drag.

historically, february has been a monster blogging month for me. who knows why that really is, but i have a couple theories:

1. february is the worst month of school year, hands down. second semester, second month, itching for spring break but still so far away. perhaps in the past this is the point when i'd get really tired of my education and start focusing on the more exciting aspects of life. typically i would do this while i was IN class in the back of the room(s). that allowed for about 15-18 hours of blogging time every week. i simply don't have that sort of free-time/boredom anymore.

2. february offers an abundance of sports-related blog topics: the superbowl, pitchers and catchers report for spring training, ncaa basketball is in full swing - february is just an exciting month in sports.

3. february marks the beginning of Lent. this is quite possibly the time of the year that the rest of the world becomes the most in-tune with God. Christmas has been watered-down by consumerism and Easter is covered in pastels. it seems like the times that we are most in tune with God is when we are preparing our hearts for the climax of the liturgical season (advent or lent). and lets be honest, people just get more excited about Christmas cause of the whole presents thing. thus, my Jesus cogs begin to churn and wha-la! more blogs.

4. february 12 marked two months without john buck. the good news is that mr. incredible has been granted the power number (14) on the blue jays as well. other good news: toronto will be in town july 19, 20, and 21. you better believe i'll be in the stands rooting for JB. i bet he hits 4 homers in 3 games. no one knows our pitching staff better.

those are just theories. the point is this: february is 64.3% over with (18/28 days) and my blogging has been miserable. i've averaged almost 16 blogs for the month of february over the last 3 years, and suddenly i'm realizing that adam-paul.blogspot.com is tanking to some degree.

however, just so we're straight, my twitter feed and my shared google reader feed are both off the chains. and now with google buzz, you can follow all of this stuff in one location. blogging is going to be obsolete soon. it's way more than 140 characters.

i'm going to try and resurrect this thing by easter. i'm not sure if i should laugh at that last sentence or marvel at the greatness of it.


February 10, 2010

i admit that this is a blog for blogging's sake.

i fell like i get on here all the time to write something, but i don't really have an abundance of things to talk about.*

scratch that. reverse it.

the last couple weeks have been good ones - we left the worst month of the year and entered the second-worst - that's sort of an upgrade. and this month only has 28 days, so that's something to celebrate as well...

probably the most exciting event to unfold over the last few weeks: my wife-to-be and i have been house hunting. my lease is up in may and that glorious tax credit is still available through the end of april - also the housing market is in prime buying condition - so NOW is the time to buy.

and by "now" i mean we may be putting in an offer tomorrow. crossies.

as if buying a car didn't feel enough like an adult maneuver - now i'm actually buying a house? like a house house house.** it's just insane.

something that HASN;T happened in the last few weeks: i still haven't seen freaking avatar. cmon!


* - willy wonka reference - "we have so much time and so little to see!"
** - that thing you do! reference - "not one that we'd play."