Friday, July 18, 2008

Why so serious?

Kuya, Andrew, Brittany and I went and saw The Dark Knight last night. Wow...what a great movie! I won't go a lot into it because you should just go see the movie and enjoy it for yourself. Although, it was kind of sad for the obvious reason - Heath Ledger's last role before he died.

In fact, it was the role that brought about his death, and that raises some serious questions. How far do you really take your job? For Heath Ledger and the techniques he used in order to play his role effectively, he took it to his grave. It was a strong performance, though. I haven't seen a character so animated and convincing since Jack Sparrow's debut in Pirates of the Caribbean. But is it praise worthy? When people watch this movie, they are literally watching Heath Ledger lose his mind and - safe to say? - his humanity! I guess there are a lot of people who have lost their lives from doing their jobs (soldiers, police, athletes, missionaries, etc.), so maybe it's all conditional. I'm not sure what kind of answer I have for it, but it has come up in my mind lately because of this movie and Eric's mention of this issue.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Right now I'm sitting on the floor in the International Terminal of SFO waiting for my flight at 9:05 am to Seattle. Sure it's only 6:30, but better early than late, right? Thanks to Kuya, I got here very early. I hope that work won't be that bad today since I made him get up much earlier than is reasonable for a working man.

The last two weeks has been a dung-load of traveling. At some point in my life, I'll get tired of all the plane flights and road trips, but right now I've been surprised at how much I really enjoy being in constant motion. It does leaves me in a state unsettledness, which has its downsides (my room is suffering from neglect), but I don't know if I will have the energy later in life to do this much traveling; so I take every opportunity I can get.

Most of the trips I take have been because of business, whether it be for CityTeam or wedding photography, but all these reasons give me an opportunity to be in a completely different place with different people. I think I just like being somewhere that doesn't involve my everyday life. It's new, it's different, and that makes it exciting. But then again...what happens when being somewhere different becomes my everyday life? Traveling all the time could get wearing, but I haven't felt it yet. We'll see if it ever does. But heck, even sitting in airports is fun to me! I guess I'll just have to remember these days when I start to groan about the next plane fight I have to take.

Also, all the traveling is why my blog has been on hold a bit. And the pictures...the pictures! I need to update all of it, but I'm trying. Of course, I always say that. Anyway, Luke should be landing in SFO from LAX any time now. I should be looking out for the guy. We plan to meet up and fly on the same plane up to SEA. We are the traveling masters!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Death and all of his friends

Coldplay has done it! Their new album Viva La Vida is pure gold. I was pretty skeptical about it when they first released "Violet Hill" for free download. It was different, for sure, but I didn't think it was very good. The song was definitely a grower, but it didn't do very well to get me excited for their new album. It wasn't until I saw the new iTunes commercial featuring Coldplay's later released single and theme song "Viva La Vida" that got me more interested and anxious to buy the record.

When I finally got around to purchasing Viva La Vida at Fry's and slipping it into my CD player, I was stunned at how well this record was made. It is just...good! It's definitely a new Coldplay in almost every respect, and I'm really glad that they've taken their music beyond their comfort zone. Their first two albums (Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head) were awesome because of their sound, but by the time their third album X&Y came around, it got pretty repetitive. It was just more of the same old Coldplay, though I can understand that it's hard to follow up an album that came out with songs like "God Put a Smile on My Face," "Clocks," "In My Place," "The Scientist," and every other song that was on A Rush of Blood to the Head. It's a pretty flawless record!

Though X&Y had some great songs, it just didn't have longevity to it. I ended up not playing songs from that album in my iTunes for a long time, and I didn't really miss it either. However, Viva La Vida is different. It is totally new, and the band took their music in a drastically different direction. Instead of Chris Martin's vocals carrying the music through the album, it was all about the music this time. You don't hear a lot of Martin going into falsetto in this one, which I think is very good. It just got old after a while. In fact, in one song ("Yes") he goes lower than I've heard his voice go in any song I can remember from Coldplay. There are a lot of instrumentals going through the whole album. So much other instrumentals, in fact, that there are songs in there where I'm wondering what the guitarists are doing to contribute.

And it all works! I feel the whole theme of this album is the celebration of life and of music. Afterall, this album is titled "Viva La Vida," so lyrically and musically, each song takes you through one aspect of seeing life and then turns you around to see it in a different way - mostly starting about a struggle of some part of life, and then ending by bringing you up to see the joy of living. It's sort of an emotional rollercoaster in that sense, but it's done very well. You will just have to pick up a copy to know what I mean.

But you won't be disappointed. I imagine that Coldplay really pushed themselves to make something completely different and to make it as good as it is, and I'm grateful that they did. By the last song, I ended up saying to myself, "Yeah, this one is a keeper."

Is it better than A Rush of Blood to the Head? It's debatable. I will have to get back to you on that for my opinion.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bible study galore!

Earlier in the year, I was involved in about three weekly Bible studies - One at a friend's church on Tuesday, one at work on Wednesday, and one at my roommate's church on Friday. It was really interesting to see the different styles of approaching Bible studies and the group dynamics of each.

Recently, however, the Tuesday Bible study has taken the summer off and won't start up again till the Fall, and I just stopped going to the Friday one was on Friday. :) So the only one that is left is the one at work on Wednesday, which is probably the one I would have kept if I had to choose. I've become really comfortable with my CityTeam family, and the group I meet with have great insight on the passages we read. The Bible is designed to more help people who are new to the faith better understand the fundamentals of Christianity, so whoever has the turn to lead that week tries to direct the Bible study in that light. Of course, it really doesn't apply well to us since all of us have been Christians for a significant amount of years now, but it's still good.

So the past Wednesday, we studied Matthew 9:35-38, which is a much shorter passage than we usually study. Not that we were complaining, though. I think one of the key points of the passage was Jesus' compassion for the people, and how important it is for us to have compassion for the unsaved. The more I study Jesus' life and his ministry through the Bible, the more I admire Him. Everything he did, everything he said, it was all perfectly timed and had a point to lead to the beginning of the Church and His Kingdom. Nevertheless, compassion was an incredible amount of what drove Jesus to do what He did...especially on the cross! I hope that one day I can have so much compassion for the people that courage to actually reach out to them will come.

I would have linked to one of my friend's/co-worker's blog about the passage too, but alas! she wrote it on Facebook; so if you're not her friend you can't read it. I'll just not bother with linking it completely.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where are the photos?

I know I've been really terrible at posting photos of events in my ordinary life, but I'm trying to get my act together and organize all the photos of the past year and upload them properly on Flickr. I'll let you know when stuff starts to get put up, but know that I'll try to be more frequent with displaying my photos.

Till then, you can look at this picture:

(I'm awesome.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Turn around...

...bright eyes...

Friday, June 13, 2008


After many months of non-posting, I think it's time that I return to this old blog and give it another run. I was pretty burned out on blogging, so I decided to step away from it for a while. I think six months is a good break. I think I'm ready to write on a somewhat regular basis again. At least I left the blog on a pretty good post - a little artsy, kind of feel goody, and sort of timeless. I like it!

The past six months has been a lot. It's been the old job, but done in new ways. It's been hearing the same story through different people, but never told the same way. It's been gaining relationships and losing relationships. It's been sacrifice and suffering, but it's been loyalty and joy. It's been obligation and duty, but it's also care and concern and love. It's been mistakes. It's been good choices.

And after all that's happened in what I made it sound like a lifetime (believe me, I understand that I have no idea what a lifetime feels like), I've found myself pretty much in the exact same place I was a year ago. Some people would find that depressing, lame, emo-sounding, or just plain sad. But it doesn't feel anywhere near the same as last year, and that is what makes it not those things (depressing, lame, etc.).

What makes it feel different? Well, there's always that maturity factor that makes you feel a tad more grown-up with each passing year (yes, even I mature some). And the one thing that probably has matured me the most is God's ongoing lesson to me of suffering. I've been into the concept of suffering for God lately, and this idea that Christians strive to suffer in this world now to gain eternal joy with God in heaven later has become a driving force in my life...sometimes the only driving force in my life.

But what does that mean "to suffer"? I won't go a lot into all that, but I will say this: A part of suffering is accepting what God has given or taken away in our lives no matter what circumstance it brings. It may be in "our favor," so to speak, but it may be not. But it is always in God's favor, and the more we accept the way God has guided our lives, the more we find the joy in Him and not in our flesh or in this world. It also brings about more faith, trust, and courage to lead a more God-centered life.

Of course, this isn't as easy as it sounds. As much as I can say all these right things, it is a completely different story to live it out. I've struggled with this concept from the first day I've really embraced it, I still struggle, and that is all part of the suffering Christians go through in the name of Jesus. He never said the way to the Father was easy. Actually, He makes it pretty clear that it's the hardest thing to do...the most impossible! That is where grace truly shines. We must always remember that it is always God and His good grace and forgiveness that brings us to salvation and to heaven, and I must always be constantly reminded of that when I tell people of this suffering I go through. I will always try to live a life that is totally pleasing to God. I might succeed sometimes, but I will certainly fail most of the time. It's the Spirit that leads me down the right path and God's grace that pulls me back from the wrong paths.

1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Also Jas. 5:10-11; 1 Pet. 2:20-21; 3:17