12.29.2006

how do you make extra money?

i was telling jen today about my frustration with not knowing how to go about making extra money beside what's a part of my regular paycheck. that money is spoken for (bills, food, etc.) but there are things that i'd like that don't fit into any of our budgetary categories (musical gear, computer upgrades, big gifts, etc). so, you career folks, you family folks, what do you do for those special purchases? what creative options have you found?

the resolution to end all resolutions

one of my favorite things to do is whatever i want to whenever i want to. while this may not sound surprising, it is also not uncommon. that is why we all make new year's resolutions. it's a way to feel good about ourselves because of a choice we make, that doesn't actually require action until a later date. this way, if i know i need to spend more time with my kids, i decide to make it a new year's resolution. this decision asuages my conscience for now, but by the time i need to start actually doing something about my decision, the urgency i felt is dissipated, and i settle comfortably into the same pattern i've been in for as long as i can remember.

that's why i decided never to make new years resolutions. if it's time for a change, it's time for a change. if i need to spend less $ and save more, why not spend less today? if i want to get my body healthier, why not work out today? plus, and this may be exclusive to me, but somehow i doubt it, if i don't make a change now, it's not gonna happen. the urgency i feel at these watershed moments is crucial to my actually making a change. if i miss this early momentum, the chances that i'll carry through on shear discipline alone, i'm sad to say, is slim at best.

so i say ditch the new year's resolution. today's as good a day as january 1st.

12.28.2006

new atheism is the new "revelation"

i'm reading a story in wired about new atheism, an agressive belief system championed by richard dawkins. they are making a case for the fact that not only does god not exist, but that the belief in any god is damaging and must be stopped.

one of the arguments i just read was that slavery was once considered morally acceptable. the contention is that morality should be superseded by logic. it seems strange to point to such beliefs as a definitive nail in the religious coffin. after all, didn't science and reason tell us that putting leeches on open wounds was a good thing? hasn't science sold us as many "lies" as religion? are we still so narrow-minded, selfish and blindly impassioned that we cannot recognize that what we know now, today, may not be the entire story?

i expected to read this article casually and have found instead my mind racing and my heartbeat a crescendo, thinking of not only the defensiveness i feel having that which i hold most dearly called evil, but the obvious fallacy in the argument that seems to be ignored in favor of the cliched traditional arguments of the god people versus the rational people.

i'm gonna finish the article. it's long, but worth a read.

four-eyed monsters


i came across something about this movie in wired. looks interesting, like the website, really like another querilla campaign to promote a film. the more the indie film industry picks up steam, the happier i am. i love a good film. i love to not be sure what's gonna happen next. i love not knowing all the actors. i love stories that are willing to linger in discomfort longer than the surveys recommend and i love the general lack of one-liners and crotch shots that most indie films steer clear of.

truth be told, i really want to be a part of this thing i love. i want to make a film that's unique. i want to tell a story in a creative way. i've got ideas. believe me, i've got ideas. i've got the necessary gear and knowledge to at least do something. the one thing i lack is a belief in myself. i expect to be disappointed with something that i produce. this has happenned before, but it's because i didn't take the necessary time to properly set up and carry out the idea. i rushed it, as i often do, in favor of quick results instead of quality results. bummer.

so, here's the one i did before. you'll see what i mean. good idea+hasty execution=still just a good idea

12.27.2006

i've got nothing to say...yet

i've been following the progress of my e-buddy brant at kamp krusty. he and his have stopped attending church in favor of being the church. i like it. what i really love about it is the endless fodder for dialogue and diatribe. with such a cultural/religious/personal/philosophical issue, there are bound to be as many opinions as people, maybe more. check it out and join in the discussion. if for some reason you're interested in my perspective on any of this, ask. i love nothing more than to talk about myself, obviously.

12.22.2006

cd release party for tennis's "singles & doubles"

tonight, jen and i were out on the town and wandered into our favorite downtown hangout, downtown crossing. as we approached the door, to our jubilee we learned that tonight was the first night in a 3 show series release party for tennis's first record, singles & doubles. the show was awesome. The first set included a handful of tunes from the record as well as a handful of covers ranging from radionhead's my iron lung to devo's whip it. the performance was spirited, the music was excellent, the atmosphere was very, very nice. if you live in the sandpoint area, stop by downtown crossing tuesday through saturday after 4 and check it out...and if you're in the mood for some good-time-funk-rock-soul, pick up singles & doubles. it'll have you volleying to the beat before you know it!

12.20.2006

attempted posts

while we were in Florida over Thanksgiving, i wrote a couple posts in that network-forsaken land that through one glitch or another, never made it to this page. so, without further ado (or re-reading them first) here they are.

Happy Feet

I’m watching a piece on fox news right now about the animated film, happy feet. They’re critiquing the film for making a “far left,” “political” statement, apparently about global warming. Their point is understandable about not wanting their kids getting a message that they disagree with. The thing that kills me is that they act like this is the first time such a thing has happened. I get the impression that, in reality, they’re not mad that the filmmakers use the film to propagate a specific message, they’re just pissed because they don’t agree with it. Don’t get me wrong, liberals do the same thing, claiming that free speech is paramount…except if it’s along judeo-christian lines.

Maybe someday parents will decide to take these opportunities to have a conversation with their kids instead of making them such a big political deal. And remember, seeing happy feet or participating in any art viewing for that matter, is voluntary. If you don’t like it, don’t patronize it. If they don’t make any money, they won’t do it next time.

And why can people not recognize that they controversy has the exact opposite effect? I mean, I’m interested in seeing happy feet now, and wasn’t before. The davinci code was a mediocre movie that became a blockbuster because religious people made such a huge deal about it. If you don’t like, tell your friends not to waste their time and money. Going on tv to complain will only stoke the fire.

The Schema of the Grandparents' World

Stated assumptions:

  1. the moisture from a bath towel left to dry in the house will cause some damage. Better to hang them in the garage.
  2. unplug hairdryers and curling irons whether they’re on or off. It’s just not worth the risk.
  3. no matter what your plans, always take a jacket. Might as well.
  4. don’t spill anything anywhere, including water droplets on the counter next to the sink.

12.19.2006

a great magazine

i almost called it new, but i don't think it's very new, just too hip for me to have noticed...until now. it's called adbusters and features everything from well-written sarcastic prose to thought-provoking photo layouts. i saw it a couple weeks ago in our local grocery but neglected to pick it up due the high cover price [8.95! ouch!] but today i splurged and am very glad that i did.

one layout features the stark contrast of the depth of suffering in the forgotten regions of the African continent against the banal debauchery of spring-breakers playing drinking games to their oblivious little hearts' content. ["it's all fun and games until somebody gets date-raped"] [yes, i know that was harsh and i'm a little sorry, but only a little.] the caption to the spread reads something along the lines of "...our biggest goal in warfare now is to keep it as painless and insulated from our lives as possible..." although it's stated ever so much more artistically and powerfully.

my favorite idea so far from this issue is the suggestion of giving away "no gift" vouchers for christmas. basically, and i hope i remember this a year from now, jen and i are gonna hand out vouchers to our family giving them the gift of not buying us anything, the goal being the decommercialization of christmas.

anyway, if you have even an anti-establishment molecule in your body, i highly recommend picking it up, or even subscribing.

12.10.2006

most recent netflix

our most recent netflix was dave chappelle's block party (as you may have guessed from the picture). this is a great example of the previous few posts. the music is spectacular. when common, mos def and kanye west are all on stage, i could sense the energy of the show. my heart beat fast as i was transported there, waving my hands in the air, hoping i wasn't dancing too stupidly. the comedy is minimal, but colorful. the sexually charged humor is minimal, but still there. and how should i respond to the racially charged jokes? it's funny. (how many white people does it take to screw in a light bulb? none. they get a n*%&$@ to do it for them.) but does my enjoyment of that humor perpetuate the racial tension that exists in our country? or is it, as dave chappelle suggests, important for us to laugh at ourselves and not take life too seriously? i think yes to both. so then what? do i just skip it for fear of content that is "over the line?" do i watch it like a quick draw artist, remote in hand, ready to fast forward any questionable humor? do i just let it go and find some way to justify it (which i could do, no problem)? do i watch it and then process what was appropriate and what wasn't?

the bottom line is that i really enjoyed this movie. it does contain content that i wouldn't call uplifting, and there is no shortage of the tradition four letter words, but in the end, i felt uplifted after watching it. the energy of the live music, dave's excitement in putting together his dream show, watching the interaction of the artists and yearning to be a part of a group experiencing that level of artistic synergy...it was awesome! i don't know if this system works or not, but i think i'm gonna continue to judge art based on the holistic picture. the sum of the parts may not add up to much, but as a whole, if something is uplifting to me whether by broadening my perspective, shattering some paradigm or simply making me feel good to be alive, i think that means there's more on the positive side than the negative side and that wisdom would suggest that such pieces be enjoyed, digested and shared.

12.09.2006

upon further review...

i found the previous post's video to be more crass than originally noted. the video was hilarious, and yet riddled with sexual commentary that may be considered sub-appropriate, depending on your personal convictions inr egards to these matters.

anyway, just wanted to warn you.

incidentally, i had a great conversation with jen last night where we discussed our priorities and standards (actually, my priorities and standards) in regards to, specifically but not limited to, what i choose to watch online, on tv, in a movie, etc. jen feels that my standards have fallen and that i would be wise to reevaluate said standards. the real questions is, what sort of criteria can one use to define such standards? for me, the days of simply avoiding the big four-letter words are gone, but are there benchmarks that can replace the old black and whiteness that is so simple to spot?

in your life in regards to music you listen to, movies you watch, youtube entries you pass along, and tv shows that you tivo, how do you determine whether it is worth your time or not? and especially in times when values conflict (humor and appropriateness for example) how funny does something have to be to make the crassness okay? how inappropriate does something have to be to override the comedy?

12.07.2006

this video made me laugh hard 13 1/2 times

triumph, the insult comic dog, apparently voiced by robert smigel, which i'm sure everybody but me already knew, joins a bunch of star wars fanatics and makes fun of them for 10 minutes. it's hilarious!

12.05.2006

sometimes, it's just not your day

i mean, you finally get your whole background set up, the camera, the lightingand everything else just right...

the true meaning of christmas?

i got an email including the following poll results. well, at least we're aware of our problems...and that's the first step to recovery.

"my name is justin and i'm a stuff-a-holic."

Gift Giving vs. Gift Getting

  • 40% of those surveyed felt pressured to buy presents for the sake of giving a gift.
  • 85% of Americans said they like spending time with friends and family a lot, while only 17% placed the same priority on getting lots of presents.

Great Gifts Don't Have to Be Expensive

  • 82% of Americans surveyed would rather have a photo album of times shared growing up than a store-bought gift.

Spending

  • 92% felt that Americans spend more money than they can afford to during the holidays.
  • 64% would personally spend less money during the holidays if their family would make changes.

Debt

  • 47% of all those surveyed reported going into debt last holiday season. Of those, more than one in five was still paying off that debt eleven months later.

Stress

  • One out of every three hours spent during the holiday season was devoted to doing things that made survey respondents feel stressed or uncomfortable.

Advertising Aimed at Kids, Family Pressures, Add to the Problem

  • 63% said advertising aimed at kids causes Americans to spend more than they can afford on the holidays.
  • 49% felt pressure from family to overextend financially during the holidays.

Commercialized Holiday Takes its Toll on the Environment

  • 86% said that the commercialization of the holidays leads to excessive packaging and trash, causing environmental damage.
  • 88% didn't think enough people are paying attention to the problem.

# # #

* Poll Commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream and conducted on November 4-5, 1998 by EDK Associates of New York. The survey was administered by phone to 800 people nationwide. Findings from the survey have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent with a 95% level of confidence.

12.01.2006

it's not about telling people how cool jesus is

i just read this blog about stephen baldwin and his new found christianity. it seems he's all amped on making the gospel "gnarly." i'm very excited to see that he's found christ. i also want to acknowledge that there are many different ways to reach people with the gospel message; and yet as i listened to him talk and read this blog i realized that his story is a perfect example for a theory i have.

i believe that when it comes to the church being relevant (whatever that word means this week) it's much more important for us each to be who we are rather than create an image of what we think will make the gospel attractive. the fact is that the bigger deal we make about how cool we are, the harder the fall when whatever's cool about us goes out of style. i think this is what stephen is trying to do as he states that these extreme sports are the things he was into before he became a christian. i just wonder if him making such a big deal about how "gnarly" this stuff is, may someday look less cool to him than it does today.

i guess what this is really getting at is the dichotomy between trendy and classic. some like it hot right now, some like it to still be tasty in 20 years.