Thursday, October 05, 2006

Good Monsters

"[This record] was born out of many experiences and conversations between addicts, failures, lovers, loners, believers, and beggars. And so the language of recovery and the honest discourse about our attempts to live apart from God and apart from each other is a theme. Engaging people who are doing the hard work of laying their lives open to others, and avoiding isolation, has allowed me to see that there is both immeasurable evil and unfathomable good mixing under my own skin and it is grace, mercy and freedom that allow me to not simply be a monster, but to be a good monster.” -Dan Haseltine (lead vocals for Jars of Clay)

The new album Good Monsters by Jars of Clay is awesome. One thing I appreciate about this band is they may not write new songs in music that is "popular" right now, but they always write good music. I also love that they always try new things. They may not sound like they did in their first album, but I'm glad they've still been able to make quality stuff that's made a huge impact in the Christian music community.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I'm trying to get my posting habit back. I was talking with Luke this weekend trying to figure out why blogging slowly phased out of my interests. He brought up my first days of blogging and the reason why I took it up in the first place: to improve my writing skills.

That point made me realize how far I've drifted from the original intent of this blog, yet I can hardly see it as a bad thing. I look back on my posts in 2004, and I almost cringe reading them. It just feels like I tried too hard. Well, that was the point, I guess.

Now the blog has turned into something very common - a space on the web where someone writes about the dailies in their lives. Sometimes about things very ordinary, but it's usually extraordinary (who likes to read about ordinary things all the time?). Most of the time it isn't written particularly well. But that's okay. I'm fine with that. I don't need to be intellectual in every post, but I darn sure hope I do in some of them...and I hope it's a fluke because it's just cool to be smart on accident.

Well, look at time. Now it's off to to bed...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm back...or am I?

Hey, guys. I've been taking a hiatus from this blogging thing. It wasn't intentional, but it happened. Anyway, I feel like I owe my loyal readers another post. That or I'm sitting here Joe and Luke and they're giving me a hard time for not posting on my blog. Either way, it got me posting.

So life is good. I wish I could write a detailed journal of my happenings for the past two months, but that would just be way too long. Just know that life is good. That doesn't mean everything is going my way, but everything is going God's way. That makes life good.

I'll try to write more in here. See you guys around.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Okay, I finally got those darn pictures up on Flickr. Hurray!

Click here to find the sets.

That is a nice place to have your pictures displayed. I think I'll use it more often.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The itsy, bitsy spi-SMASH!

I went to the bathroom and found a spider hanging in front of the mirror. It was quite a monster, actually. Looked different from any spider I usually saw. Had like a black back and some red on it. I guess a lot of spiders have that, but I got all sketchy about it. I was almost tempted to let it bite me to see if it did a non-super powers type of way. But instead I took toilet paper, smashed the spider with it, threw the papery-spider-gutsy wad into the toilet, and urinated all over it. I'm sure I'll be haunted in my dreams later tonight.

Later I went on the internet and looked at pictures to see if I killed anything worthy. Nope. Wasn't a black widow or a brown recluse. The recluse, actually, gives me the creeps. I mean, have you seen pictures of recluse wounds? (Warning: the picture is REALLY gross!) Anyway, so now that I've totally scared myself of recluse destruction, I'm going to be checking my bed about three times before sleeping. I'm a wuss.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

They're my friends too!

It's midnight, and I will begin the third season of Friends. Thanks Nem!

UPDATE #1: It's 3 pm on the first day, and I'm half way through the season. I love summer!

UPDATE #2: After a long break, I started watching again in the late evening and killed all but two episodes. It's 2 am. I'll finish it tomorrow.

UPDATE #3: Done! I managed to finish a whole season of Friends in less than two days. It's like when I watched Dawson's Creek: Season Three with Tim Machlan in three days. That was heaven.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Melting pot.

Last Friday, I had the privilege of eating out every meal. Yum.

Breakfast was with Luke at a Panera Bread restaurant. It was a simple meal of an everything bagel with sundried tomato cream cheese and a coffee. Nothing special, though Panera is a great place to get bread-like things; you can go there for more than just breakfast.

Lunch was at some Japanese restaurant with Phil and Alisha. It was a much simpler and casual Japanese restaurant than I've usually gone too, but it was still tasty. Teriyaki beef with rice, tempura, and California rolls (would have gotten sushi, but it wasn't in the combo meals...oh well).

Dinner was spent with Joe, Nate, Kathryn and her sister Emily at a Thai place called Renu Nakorn. It's actually frequented by many Biola students, and even more frequented by Joe and his MC gang. Had a meal called Pad Thai, which was a lot of noodles and veggies and peanut sauce (at least, I think that's what I tasted). Awesome. Loved it.

Of course, it was Friday night after that, so I couldn't be a loser and just go home. Time to party! Heh, not really. But the group from the Thai dinner went back to Nate's place and watched a Bollywood movie called Veer-Zaara, which was surprisingly good. I thoroughly the story, and the acting wasn't half bad either. It REALLY bugged me, however, that the voices they got to sing for the actors (it was a musical) didn't match with the actors voices at all. Also, it was three hours long. That didn't gel with me much either.

Then we followed that up with a wonderful Hollywood-ized movie called Mean Girls. I love that movie.

So I sort of embraced like four different cultures in one day. Well okay, it's more like three if you don't count Mean Girls. I did because it was about a girl who homeschooled in Africa. That's good enough, right?

The pictures of my outdoor extravaganzas haven't been put up yet! I need to find a computer with some kind of image-editing capabilities. It's pretty frustrating to be around computers good enough to run such programs, yet they don't have any of them installed! Ugh!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What a nerd!

Just came back from watching Superman Returns. What a fun movie! I don't know too much about the Superman story from the comics, so I can't say too much about that. But coming in almost completely clueless about Superman lore, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I guess I can understand why X-men 3 was such a big hit for those who aren't dorky enough to delve themselves in the X-men comic book universe.

Anyway, I really liked how it paid tribute to the classic Superman movies from the Reeves days. I smiled when I saw the cheesy fonts for the opening credits, and Clark Kent is a total dweeb. Lots of fun moments. I did think that Lois was a bit irritating a lot of the time, but I didn't know if she's supposed to be like that or if that was just Bosworth's acting; however, it wasn't hard to get past that, and she was, for the most part, likeable. The rest of the characters were spot on from what I could tell (Spacey is too awesome as Lex Luthor).

I sort of dragged Joe into watching it with me because I didn't want to watch it opening night by myself. I mainly wanted to see it so soon because Oli is in Indonesia and I want to rub it in his face that I got to see it opening night and he didn' he's done to me countless times before.

Also, I hate the movie audience these days. The whole clapping and cheering thing when something cool happens is way too annoying. One real treat was seeing the new Spider-man 3 teaser on the big screen, but I didn't need everyone clapping at the end of it. "Lameness" is the word that comes to mind.

I've been doing a lot of outdoorsy type things the past week, and I have lots of pictures to prove it. I just haven't had time or been in a place that has proper programs to let me edit the photos so I could upload them. I'll let you know when I get them up finally; I hope to upload them by the end of this week. I'll probably end up doing the Flickr thing, so I'll tell the stories of those trips through the pictures and captions instead of writing a blog about them. That would be more fun, I think.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A gathering of Faith.

Oh, right. I still have this blog up on the web - I guess I should write in it then. Especially when I get lame comments in my blog like "yawn" or "post post post!" But they're usually from the same people who have nothing better to do with their lives, so I guess it's okay. ZING!

The result of the wedding in Minnesota was A-okay. It was better than that, actualy, it went very well. There was a lot of stressing going on with the bride and her family, and it was kind of humorous. Heh. I did help with some of the prepping, but not much. I was the photographer. For some reason, people think that makes me a very delicate thing too valuable to give other, trivial tasks. Not that I'm complaining.

Anyway, the wedding was fun. Like all weddings between two kids from Faith Academy, it was like a mini high school reunion. It was good to catch up with some people I knew from five years ago...when the only thing you worried about was who to ask to the Junior/Senior banquet. I got to hear knews about who got hitched and what others in our class are doing now they're out of college. All of us even went out to Chili's after the wedding for dinner, and I ate a whopping meal since it was the only thing I had eaten that day (except strawberries and bananas with those chocolate fondu fountain things that are the new rave for weddings now). We all didn't go to Starbucks, though. That would have been the most corny Faith pastime for us to do.

I think I forgot to mention who the two people were who got married. Oops. It was Steve Krueger and Amber Larson. Congratulations to you both!

Here's a shot of all the Faith Alumni that attended the wedding because we like to take that picture. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Oli called me tonight telling me that he's at the airport heading off on his missions trip to Indonesia. I completely forgot that he was leaving soon, so it was a bit of a surprise. It was fun, though, to talk to him a bit before hanging up and continuing with playing Settlers with the guys. Him going off overseas just made me wish I was out of school now and going out documenting some extreme situation in a missionary's life. It'll take me a decade or two to get to that point, I imagine. Oh, well. As long as I get there.

I am also flying out to Minnesota on Thursday to photograph a wedding during the weekend. Two old high school friends are getting married, though they were not a couple in high school. To be honest, I didn't expect them to be an item...ever. I don't know why; I guess I never thought about it till it happened. Anyway, it's exciting to see two high school buddies get hitched. It's a bigger plus since I'll see a lot of my other high school friends at the wedding.

Problem: I don't really have a game plan as to how I'm going to shoot this thing.

Usually, I have some kind of idea what I'll do. By now I would have organized my camera gear and made sure I have the appropriate things to make me an effective wedding photographer. I didn't really do much preparing yet for this trip. Same thing happened last weekend where I photographed a wedding up North in Sacramento, but at least I partnered up with another friend to shoot that one. It went extremely well, and I was excited (and a bit relieved) that the pictures turned out so great. I hope I am that fortunate this weekend. I'm not too worried. God is watching over me. :)

I didn't vote today for the California Primary Elections, but I did photograph it. Does that count?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Why are they doing this to me???

X-MEN 3!!! YES!!!

Okay, this will most likely contain MAJOR spoilers to X-Men: The Last Stand. If you haven't seen this movie, then please please please don't read this post.


What can I say...There is nothing better than being really inspired by a movie to bring me out of a blog-fast (actually, it was more blog-laziness). But I just have to say that X-Men: The Last Stand sucked so badly that it is a disgrace to the X-Men story.

However, I will say first that, if seen as purely an action flick with nothing attached at all, it's a pretty good movie. That said, I feel that the director, writers, and producers have no respect to the X-Men story. Twenty minutes into the movie, I was hunched over in my seat with my head in my hands sobbing quietly. I was willing to let Cyclops' death go when it happened, but when they started killing Professor X, making Mystique lose her power, and introducing Multiple Man as a bad guy, I just about lost it. I seriously considered walking out of the movie when Professor X died. You just don't kill Professor X!

I really don't understand why the story was written the way it was. I think they were trying way too hard to finish up the movie franchise, and they had to kill off everyone in order to make it conclude. Everything about the film was like an anti-X-Men movie. It bugged me that Wolverine took on the leadership role. Magneto losing his power at the end and being remorseful ("What have I done?") was way out of place. Storm was incredibly annoying. Rogue decided to be injected with "the cure"! Everyone was TOTALLY out of character. There is no way Wolverine could be a good leader for the X-Men. No one really seemed to stand strong in their beliefs on the issue at hand. The X-Men were totally against using the cure, but they ended up using it anyway to stop Magneto. It was too confusing introducing Angel as a boy at the beginning of the movie when you hardly ever see him for the rest of the movie. Phoenix looked more like she was demon-possessed instead of...well, a phoenix. It was like Brett Ratner had never seen the two previous movies or read any of the comics and did everything on his own. The movie didn't feel right and was too rushed all the way through.

Also, everything was so unresolved by the end. You never know who Iceman decided to be with. (Which is, by the way, the only subplot I enjoyed in the movie. It reminded me so much of Dawson's Creek. Yeah!) You don't find out if Angel's father apologized to his son and changed his ways, or still believed that mutants were infected with a disease. Pyro disappeared. I actually don't remember what becomes of the whole issue of the "cure," but I just might have missed it because I was so pissed about everyone dying in the dumbest ways possible.

Oh, and seeing the three tombstones of Xavier, Cyclops, and Jean Grey was like a big slap in the face. In just under two hours, I witnessed three of the original X-men die. The whole movie I was like, "Why are they doing this to me?" I felt like the writers were trying to figure out the best way to destroy the X-men story and piss off fans of the comics. Plus the story to this movie wasn't even that good! Mainly because they tried to do two main stories, but neither of them developed well. They should have just stuck with either the cure or with Phoenix. Too many mutants were introduced that it was like an overload and we didn't get to know any of them really. The only person I really cared about at the end of the movie was...hold on, I didn't care about anyone. Wolverine was cool, but I couldn't get past the idea of him being one of the leaders of the X-men now. That's Cyclops' job, gosh dang it!

I am angry at Ratner. I am angry at Halle Berry for demanding to having a larger role. I am angry at Bryan Singer for leaving to do Superman and never finishing what he started with X-men. I am angry at James Marsden for tagging along with Singer. I am angry that Marsden again for deciding to come back at the last minute, so Cyclops' character was sort of forced into the movie only to be killed in such a lame way. I'm am angry at Stan Lee for letting this movie get produced. I'm even angry at just being angry.

There are good things to the movie, though, but I won't go into those because they're just petty things compared to the bad. This movie is an abomination. It's another one of those things where you deny it ever existed, like The Matrix was never a trilogy or there were never Episodes 1-3 in the Star Wars saga. At least in the first two movies of X-Men they never comprimised the characters personalities to fit their story. I agree that you got to leave room for directors to make unique stories for the movies, but X-3 didn't give any respect to the comics whatsoever, and I'm insulted by everything that happened in that movie.

What a freakin' waste! By the way, I did stay to the very end of the credits to see that Professor X does indeed survive by tranferring his mind into another body. That is also unacceptable because now we have a Professor X that isn't bald and in a wheelchair. That is just dumb.

Significantly changing story is bad. How would LOTR fans respond if Peter Jackson decided to make Faramir give up his integrity to please his father or had the elves come to the rescue at Helm's Deep? Oh, wait a minute...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Let my contrite heart rejoice.

God, be merciful to me,
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

My transgressions I confess,
Grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace
And provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just,
Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

Some guy - Richard Redhead, I believe - wrote music and put the lines from Psalm 51 into it, and it's beautiful. I have to thank Jars of Clay for singing this song in their Redemption Songs album because I don't know if I've ever heard it before. Anyhow, it's had such a huge effect on me that I've read Psalm 51 as a prayer for the past few days now.

As Easter nears, I've been thinking a lot about how I've been dealing with my actions and my sins against God. Sometimes I feel I am taking advantage of Christ's sacrifice and abusing God's mercy and grace. Jesus' death and resurrection shouldn't be taken so lightly to sin so freely yet do nothing about it. This has been on my heart.

This hymn has been a wonderful song of repentance and redemption to me. I read Psalm 51 with such sincerity it almost brings me to tears. Sin is rampant in this world; it is rampant in me! Let's all remember Easter everyday of the year, and let's always go through everyday in a Christ-like manner. It's impossible for us, but something we should strive for.

I am evil, born in sin;
Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
Teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow,
Wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice
And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A God-made shower.

How come no one told me that Magnolia was three hours long? I started that movie at 9 thinking it would be over around 11 pm, but noooooooo! Interesting movie. Not sure if I understood the point of it all, but that's okay. I was thoroughly entertained trying to understand it.

I was going to write a lot more than this, but now I can't remember exactly what I was going to write about. Something profound or interesting I observed today. I can't remember. I'll say that the rain was very welcomed despite the fact that it canceled all the baseball games I was planning to photograph. I stood outside for a while with my face towards the sky. It felt like God was crying about something today, but it was like a joyful cry because I felt very happy to be standing out there. Everyone should enjoy rain outside rather than inside.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

As David would title this, "Tidbits."

Brooks demands a lot from us poor students. It's nice that they want to make these classes as close to the "real world" as possible like having assignments with one-hour deadlines and all that jazz. But it sucks when you don't have a laptop and can't transmit your photos while out in the field. I guess it's expected that you have a laptop by the time you enter your final year here. Unfortunately, I haven't quite given into taking out an extra hefty loan just to buy myself a laptop. They make us buy our own digital cameras along with its accessories, it's pretty absurd that I would have to go out and spend an extra $1500 for a decent laptop.

I shouldn't complain. I'm the one who chose to come to this school. What was I thinking???

Anyhow, things have been pretty hectic. Friday and Saturday were especially crazy, and I was completely burned out by Sunday. Being a bum never felt more rewarding than today. Yesterday I had a gig with The American Enterprise Magazine to shoot four family portraits for an article. The growing Catholic community has created its own sub-culture in Santa Paula, and so they needed someone to get portraits of the families and the Father of one of the churches there. The pictures turned out okay. They could have been better, but then again...they can always be better. Because the lights I brought malfunctioned, I was stuck using my one and only flash. Oh, well. Things happen. I'm getting paid for this, so I'm happy. Hopefully the art director of the magazine will be happy too. :P

A couple weeks ago I watched the entire Firefly series and Serenity. I've been meaning to do that for a while now, and it was well worth the three days spent watching it. One of the better sci-fi shows that came out in the last few years. It's a shame that it got canceled after its first season. Fox should have known better. Well, Fox should just know better about a lot of things.

I also saw V for Vendetta last week, and Inside last night. I enjoyed both of them. Natalie Portman never ceases to amaze me with her superb acting skills and her awesomely good hotness. Clive Owen is the bomb. Denzel Washington actually plays a role where he's calm 90% of the movie and isn't screaming at the top of his lungs. It's sort of funny the only role that Hugo Weaving can land is one where he doesn't show his face, but he played V very well. The action is good in "V for V." Inside Man is clever and the story was well-delivered.

Oli and Nem came to visit for Saturday, and that was a lot of fun. We went out to lunch at the Habit. Hung out and watched lots of Family Guy. The Bozarths threw a party to honor Morgan's acheivement in running in the LA Marathon last week. Makes me feel like a bum. Oh wait...I am. Anyway, Oli and Nem didn't mind the party much, but I could tell they didn't have a blast. That's okay because we left early to watch Inside Man. We win.

Oh yeah, I finally compressed a video slideshow of my photographs over the years for the web, so you can view that now here. I threw a link to it on my blog a while back, but I sort of did it in a subtle way; and only the most keen of internet surfers could catch it. Anyway, that was a low-res version of it, this one is a higher-res and much bigger version. It's about 30 mb, so be patient.

Enjoy life!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What the deuce?

I'm up at 3 am blog surfing. I'm so awake, and I don't know why. I'm going to blame Starbucks for their mocha that I had at 8 pm. You would think that coffee couldn't keep you up for seven hours, so it must have been something else. I'm not willing to just blame myself, so I'm going to blame Bush because everyone likes to blame Bush.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gatorade, Cash, and Barbie-Doll Legs

Gatorade is the bomb. I may like it even more than soda, which is saying a lot, but I get a better feeling like I'm being more healthy drinking Gatorade. Soda is just bad for you overall and makes no attempt to being beneficial, at least Gatorade gives the illusion that it can fuel you for the day (without using caffeine).

Anyway, I'm in sports photography this session. Now I need to go out and actually photograph people and go up and talk to human beings. Not because I want to get to know them, but because I want caption info. Who do you think I am, some kind of people person? Though, I'm looking forward to taking pictures of sports since I like them in general. I'm hoping to cover the track and field event at APU tomorrow, and I'm going down to LA for the marathon on Sunday. Awesome. I'm already hoping to take some pretty dang awesome pictures. I just wish my Nikon D70 was cooler than it is right now, which is not very cool at all. I'll manage.

Tim and I jammed last night from 7-10. That's a pretty long time to mess around on guitars and drums, but it was good. We mostly played worship music, and it was nice to do that for three hours. Not only is it good to sing praise to God for three hours, but it was a good time to practice. We even hooked up a mic, and I got to hear what my voice really does sound like when we play. You get that whole, "Oh my gosh! Is that what my voice sounds like" realization, and I didn't want to sing ever again. Oh, well. It's FUN to sing!

My last blog entry got some pretty negative responses regarding the album cover to Youth. Sorry if it really did offend anyone, but I've been putting album covers to lyrics I quote ever since the beginning. No need to be inconsistent because someone's Barbie-doll legs are on there. I've seen worse, and it isn't that bad anyway. C'mon, people. They're just legs.


Nevermind, you're right. I won't put covers like that on my blog again.

Ray Charles just came on my iTunes singing Georgia on My Mind. Now I feel like I miss a place I've never actually been to. Ray just reminded me to say that I finally watched Walk the Line last week. That movie and Ray gave me full confirmation that rock stars should NEVER be idolized. (Warning: Slight spoilers) I didn't like Johnny Cash's music that much, but I pretty much dislike him as a person now. Ray wasn't any better; in fact, he was worse in my mind. All this infidelity is really sickening, and Cash was totally ruthless to his first wife. The first three-fourth's of the movie I was just yelling at him, "Just divorce her already!" What a punk. His infatuation with June Carter felt more like an obsession than true love, as some would see it. But maybe I'm just being too critical of the man. He did change his ways later, and that's cool. Nothing like some redemption in a movie. And overall, it was a great movie about a musician's life. I just don't approve of the way he lived; I'm glad his latter half of his life was a bit better.

Okay, that's it. This blog is a little all over the place. Sorry about that. Maybe I should organize my blog entries like Mac does with titles and sections and stuff.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Better Now

Better Now

I'm newly calibrated
All shiny and clean
I'm your recent adaptation
Time to redefine me

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

In between.

I apologize for the lack of posts on this blog. I just haven't been in the mood for it lately. It's probably because of a mixture of WoW, late-night television, hanging out with friends, and school. But it's probably mostly WoW.

So my session is over. I'm in the middle of break week, and I'm not doing anything special or going anywhere far away. I did debate whether or not to go up to Nor Cal, but I'm really low on money. Oh, well. I really wanted to see the family, but that is what you get for choosing a school 500 miles away. I managed to finish pretty strong in my class, pulling out an A- on my final project (5-10 minute documentary piece). I pretty much procrastinated till the very last week. I filmed for like three days of that week, then edited it all in one very long night. I'm so awesome. The teacher told me in the critique that the video was..."not bad." That's a compliment coming from him.

A friend of mine graduated after this session, and it made me realize that graduation is not far at all. It's a little scary to think that I won't be doing school anymore, and I will have to depend on myself from now on. I won't be able to pull the "Ask Mom and Dad for money" move after then. I'll need to find a good place to stay, pay my own bills, actually eat decent meals...being grown-up is a lot of doing things that aren't very fun. But then again, being a not-grown-up is a lot of that as well. I guess life won't be better or worse; it'll just be different.

Maybe I'll take that job at CityTeam.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Oh, man.

I felt like writing a blog right until I opened up the blog text box, so I'll just say some brief random things:

-Moulin Rouge is an excellent movie. It was hardly what I expected it to be, but then again I didn't know what to expect.

-Adult Swim on Saturdays suck except new episodes of Full Metal Alchemist and Aqua Teen Hunger Force

-Metallica sounds dang good with the San Francisco symphony playing behind them.

-Kareoke rules.


Monday, January 30, 2006


I'm inspired to write up a top ten movie list of 2005. I won't go into much detail like I did in last year's post , mainly because as I was looking up what was made in 2005, I only viewed a fraction of what I really wanted to go see. This list could be much better, and I'm not too thrilled about writing it (I just feel it a little necessary). I just didn't have the cash this year to go to the box office, so I'm adding in movies I saw on video as well as one's I've seen this month but were made in 2005. Otherwise, my top ten will look even more pathetic that it does already.

10. Lord of War - I never saw the ending, but I'm sure I would put this as my tenth favorite movie of 2005. It was interesting, twistedly humorous, and had to do with guns. I thought it was an interesting view on war and why wars still happen today.

09. War of the Worlds - Though I love Spielberg and his style in movie-making, War of the Worlds only made it ninth. The story was really interesting till after Tim Robbins enters the scene, then it got insanely crazy - it was almost like watching a high budget episode of The Twilight Zone. I didn't like how it ended either as far as closure went. The character's development was good at the beginning, but then it seemed to hit a brick wall all of a sudden and left stuff hanging.

08. Cinderella Man - I remember someone noting how having Russell Crowe in the lead acting role and Ron Howard directing made this movie A Beautiful Mind 2. It was pretty funny. Anyhow, this is the sports drama movie of the year for me. I liked Ron's edgy approach to filming a boxing match, and again Crowe almost convinced me in the movie that he is a real sweet guy in real life.

07. The Great Raid - More WWII movies! Yes! Good movie about a rescue mission that took place in the Philippines. I liked it because it showed the importance of a good plan and higher commanding officers who don't do much grunt work, but they are definitely needed behind the lines. Also, historical war movies will always have a special place in my heart.

06. Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith - Redeeming close to the Star Wars prequels. Unfortunately, Hayden's acting still wasn't top notch, and Natalie became a helpless, mourning "housewife." Ewan was really good, though. I still think Lucas can't write, but can think up really good story. The "You're breaking my heart" and "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" lines brought a smile and a groan to my confused face. Sometimes I wonder if Lucas is doing it on purpose like Jessica Simpson seems to act like a total moron on purpose. But then I realize he isn't...just like Jessica isn't.

05. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - These movies just get better and better, especially with that little touch of Dawson's Creek in them. Adventure, magic, high school drama - it's all good, baby! No, really. This movie is a very good watch, and it doesn't feel like 2+ hours when you're watching it.

04. Crash - The quality of this movie isn't only found in the ensemble cast. The story, the way it's told, and the issues it addresses is disturbing and really gets you thinking about how you view people. The movie does give a hope in the end, but it's still hard to grasp that hope when you think about it after the credits are done rolling. Movies that make you think afterwards are always great in my book.

03. Batman Begins - The Batman movement is starting up again, and this movie is the reason why. The origin of Batman is a good story, and it's taken too long for someone to make a movie dedicated to that story. The casting was awesome too, and I can't wait to see them return in the next film...except maybe for Katie Holmes, though she was good eye candy.

02. Sin City - Another movie based on a comic book (or graphic novel...whatever), and I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it's brutal, it's gruesome, it has nudity, and there are really disturbing images in this movie, but I feel that they were necessary parts for the plot and story. The violence and nudity wasn't thrown in just to get a couple more people in the theatre seats. A lot of people didn't see what the point of the movie was, but I thought the idea of vengeance justice and what is right and what is wrong to do was very interesting...even if I don't agree with them at all. The movie is also visually intoxicating with its special effects and how still images were adapted to motion picture.

01. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Heh, what a strong contrast from the runner-up. I was very pleased with this movie because I was so scared that it would butcher the book to pieces. Everything in the movie did the exact opposite and was a strong movie adaptation to the book. There were a few added scenes I could do without and more screen time was needed for Aslan. All in all, however, it was a great movie. The Christian themes were definitely there, though you would have to look for them (the book is no different), so I'm glad that no one made an effort to try to take them out. Not that they could, really; Lewis just had so much of it in the story that it wouldn't be the same story without them. Anyway, it was the movie I enjoyed the most from 2005.

And there you have it. There were A LOT of other movies that I wanted to see. I'm sure if I saw movies like King Kong, Walk the Line, and Munich, they would have a place on the top ten, but this is just how it is. Booooo!

Go to David's list and Oli's list to see what they liked and didn't like last year.

Here is the list of movies I saw that were released in 2005:

The 40 Year Old Virgin, Assault on Precinct 13, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Brothers Grimm, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Coach Carter, The Constant Gardener, Corpse Bride, The Family Stone, Four Brothers, Guess Who, Hitch, Hostage, Ice Princess, In Good Company, In Her Shoes, Just Like Heaven, Kingdom of Heaven, The Longest Yard, Madagascar, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Must Love Dogs, The Pacifier, The Ring 2, The Skeleton Key, Stealth, Unleashed, Wedding Crashers

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lem Returns

I'm back in Ventura, California. I arrived in San Francisco on Friday. I drove down today. The only thing I have to say about the trip back is this: After watching four movies in a row, drinking one bottle of white wine, drinking one bottle of sake, and eating two airplane meals, I learned that choosing to watch four movies in a row, drink one bottle of white wine, drink one bottle of sake, and eat two airplane meals instead of sleeping is a grave mistake.

Now for a random Chuck Norris fact. (I have the guys to thank for finding this.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

From beach to mountains; from shorts to pants.

The family took a long weekend and spent time in at the Zambales beach for a couple days, then Baguio city for a couple more days. Actually, spent probably a little more than a day at each location; the bulk of our trip was probably spent driving. Nevertheless, it was a nice trip and we enjoyed total relaxation at the beach and being total tourists in Baguio.

The Malabuyo kids at the beach. Typical sibling pose. (I love it!)

Oli and I excited about the Baguio market.

I won't write a whole blog about our trip because I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (and I'm incredibly lazy right now). Again, Oli has put up a lot of pics of the trip on his Flickr account under the "Zambales Beach" and "Baguio" sets.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Init dito!

So it’s the fourth day of 2006. It doesn’t really mean a thing to me as it would to a lot people – people who speak of resolutions or starting over. I find resolutions to be futile, and one day that starts a new calendar year by no means wipes your past clean so you can rebuild your life. However, New Year’s Day does mark that it’s been 2006 years (give or take) since our Christ’s birth, and that is something to always remember. I also like to see it as one more year closer to the Second Coming, which is an overly optimistic way of seeing things since we have no idea when that day will be, but this is one thing I have no problem being optimistic over.

New Year 2006 was also a marker for three full years where I didn’t visit the Philippines. Kuya, Oli, and I spoke several months ago about visiting during the holiday season, and it slowly got more and more serious as the months went by. Unfortunately, Kuya and his family weren’t able to come, but Oli and I had the privilege of going. So Oli and I took off in the late morning of Dec. 30, and arrived in Manila just before the birth of 2006. We wanted to get back to Auntie Emily’s house before the fireworks kicked off, but we ended up driving the roads as bottle rockets, OG’s, fire fountains, and cobras (small fireworks chained together to explode in quick sequence) lit up the streets. Smoke and debris filled the roads; it looked like a war field.

We arrived at Auntie Emily’s around 12:30 am, where the party was still going on. The loudness of Filipino chatter and the high volume of the TV made me feel right at home. I sat down at the dining table and immediately grabbed a plate to serve myself some authentic Filipino food goodness. Half the things I had no idea was, but I ate it anyway. It all tasted fine if not good, even when I found out one of the dishes was ox tongue, which gave me the thought that most of what people think tastes bad is purely based on the knowledge of the food. I always thought it was strange when people don’t eat food if they see the head of the animal. It’s still fish. It’s still beef. It’s still pork. What difference does it make if you can see its face? The ox tongue was still good, the taste doesn’t change just because I know it’s ox tongue or not.

Anyway, we left the house to my parent’s place around 1:30 am. There we opened up the Balikbayan boxes we brought with us. Throughout our missionary years, Balikbayan boxes have become a sort of giant goody bag from the States. It’s filled with State-side candy, clothes, canned and packaged food, and other things that you can’t buy here in the Philippines. Most of the stuff is provided by our relatives, so opening up these boxes can’t wait till the morning.

We pulled out the Christmas presents from friends and family from the States, and Mom, Dad, and Rachel opened them all and loved them. Mom and Dad especially liked the Caleb photo album that Kuya and Chesney put together for them, and Rachel loved her new dress from Auntie Nene.

That was our first few hours in Manila.

The past few days consisted of visiting Mom and Dad’s church, having the relatives come over to Mom and Dad’s for dinner, and going to Greenhills Mall where Oli and I hung out with Khup and Nem and had dinner at Chili’s there – one of the several restaurants that we considered very nice places to dine way back in high school.

It’s been a lot of fun being with the family and being able to participate in their everyday living. Rachel made a friend here who is very much like her best friend back in Escondido, so it’s almost like visiting them in So Cal…except the Philippines rocks and So Cal is only so so. Ha!

This weekend we go to Baguio, but till then we are heading to Mega Mall to enjoy the five stories of Philippine retail goodness. Yes!

If you want to see pictures, Oli has posted our day-by-day living of our trip on his Flickr account.

P.S. I dropped my camera on its lens back at the SF airport. I do this a lot, so I wasn’t too worried, but I picked it up to find that the UV filter cracked in two places. Luckily, the actual lens is perfectly fine. The only problem now is I think the UV filter bent on the inside because it’s now jammed onto my lens and I can’t get it off. I’ll have to take it to a shop to get it off…or stick it into a vice. I suppose either option would work.