Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Raimi Taking the Reigns of “The Hobbit”?

It is looking like Sam Raimi of the Spider Man trilogy may indeed be the director of the long anticipated "The Hobbit". At least I wouldn't be resentful if the rumor is true, but I must say, I will miss seeing the big bearded man rolling around on the set in the "behind the scenes special extended edition" DVD of The Hobbit. Of course with all the weight Peter Jackson lost, that dream had already been crushed.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins.

At first I found myself angry with the man, boiling at the claims he was making. Not boiling at the obvious lies he was spewing, but the potential truths he appeared to be stating. His words pierced deep. Words which appeared to be indisputable logic. His words that pinched my very soul were the pinch I needed to rouse me from the drowsy slumber I was falling into.

Dawkins exploded onto the science scene with his book The Selfish Gene in the 70's in much the same way he has more recently entered the philosophical arena with his book The God Delusion. As you can imagine, he is a very prominent outspoken atheist who has been rallying support of fellow atheist to "come out of the closet" and proudly renounce the "illogical" existence of a God. His debates have been welcomed with open arms among the internet community. All the while fanning the flames of such websites (that physically make me sick to my stomach) as http://www.blasphemychallenge.com/.

All this being said, I have grown to have a new found appreciation for people like Dawkins. He is challenging peoples faith. Forcing people out of a casual faith that they were simply born or married to. Sadly, and it really does pain me to say this, he is more effective at this then many pastors.

One of my new favorite authors on Christian thought, N.T. Wright, explains God's gift of the Bible as being a way "of pointing out to each generation that we need to grow up, to become more fully human beings, in our thinking." The Bible is provided as a conduit through which we can continue to delve deeper in our faith, through "words which force us either to retreat into shallow, shoulder-shrugging denial or to think more deeply, to work out what he is up to and what he wants of us."

Dawkins, and his colleagues, force people out of a shallow faith.

I can only pray that individuals take the avenue of endless excitement, exploring the mysteries of God, when broadsided by people like Dawkins and are not driven down hopeless dead ends.

I pray people like Dawkins could be a stimulus to those who have casually taken on Christ's name, without truly embarking in pursuit to understand Christs will in their life and for this world, to delve into a deeper reality.

I pray people like Dawkins could be a wake up call to many Christians who have fallen into a slumber.

I pray God could use people like Dawkins to bring individuals closer to Him.

David Knepprath

Here's a video of one of his (many) debates if you are interested. Richard Dawkins on the Late Late Show.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Driving Madness

We know how to handle the snow out here in P-Town...that's for sure.

Whats even better, that is King5, in Seattle, reporting on how pathetic Portland drivers are.



Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Snow Stricken World

I write this post as I prepare, physically and mentally, to do the unthinkable. I am embarking on a dangerous, possibly deadly, journey. But the urgency of the situation calls for drastic measures. After being rendered immobile from the horrendous snow storm, my family is running low on the necessary supplies to survive. Someone must brave the silent snow stricken world which has brought life, of all forms, in the Portland Metro area to a screeching halt.

I'm driving down to Safeway to pick up some milk. I'm psyched because I haven't left the house in the last two days! Only a minor case of cabin fever...


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Movies of 2007

After seeing my first movie in 2007, Children of Men, and having waited the better half of 2006 to see it, the bar has been set high for the year. I put together what turned out to be a pretty decent list of what else I'm looking forward to in 2007:

Children of Men (January) - Spectacular social commentary on where our world is headed.

The Last King of Scotland (January) - Intriguing story based on Idi Amin's dictatorship in Uganda.

Hot Fuzz (February) -
From the masterminds who brought us Shaun of the Dead!!!

300 (March) -
Another movie based on a Frank Millers graphic novel, the movie just looks badass.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (March) - There's hope, it is completely computer animated.

Ratatouille (June) - Next Pixar Movie

Oceans 13 (June) - Apparently 2007 is "The Year of The Trilogy".

Live Free or Die Hard (June) - NICE!

The Simpsons Movie (July) - There is no denying Groenings genius.

Transformers (July) - Hopefully Steven Spielberg can balance out Michael Bay for some sweet action sequences AND a good story.

Spider-Man 3 (May) - Sandman

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End (May) - Can Captain Barbossa help save Jack Sparrow and their livelihood, piracy itself?

Rush Hour 3 (August) - Hilarious duo is back!

...And I know it won't be a "Movie of 2007", but my list wouldn't be complete without it:

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (May 2008)

...and two more to look forward to in 2008:

The Brazilian Job (2008) - Italian Job Sequel.

Indian Jones 4 (2008) - Will the wait for a solid script be worth it?


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Texas: Bible Back In Classroom

I recently read an article concerning Ector County Texas in which the school district voted high schoolers will have a course published by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. The Bible study will be under the category of "history and literature".

Many are up in flames about such a decision. I can practically hear the shouts roaring across the country over this "abomination of the separation of church and state".

It is to such individuals that I write the following:

However you feel personally, whether you believe it or not, whether you LIKE it or not, the contents of the Bible radically changed the social/cultural/philosophical/spiritual landscape of our world. We study vastly less significant events in history then this.

The Monroe Doctrine of 1823. The Bourbon dynasty of the 16th Century. Heck, I even remember being taught about Henry Rose, the man who invented the barbed wire fence!

Even more, the Bible is a central piece of literature in the history of our world. Good luck trying to understand Shakespeare without a basic understanding of the contents of the Bible.

The life of Jesus, and as it is documented in the New Testament, was a pivotal point in history.

To try and blindly deny its very existence and gloss over the impact it had, and is still having today on history (based on your personal view of its contents or your negative stereotypes of those who believe it) is to be a close minded arrogant fool.

Time for 2 hours of 24 goodness.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

The iPhone

...in all its beautiful/functional/intuitive/genius/revolutionary glory:

On an even more glorious note, a two hour delay because of icy roads couldn't have fallen on a better day. All classes before 10:00 were canceled. For example, a 9:00 Spanish 102 class would be canceled. For some people, this class is potentially their only class of the day resulting in a full blown all out SNOW DAY! But alas, some parts of life must go on, which is why I am sitting in my cubicle at working posting this blog.

My sincerest apologies go out to all who received snow and below freezing temperatures in vain.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2007 NAIAS

Gotta love auto show season. My personal highlights from the 2007 North American International Autoshow:

Best Production Vehicle: Cadillac CTS

Need I say more? Actually, yes. Just wait for the CTS V-Series!

Best Concept Vehicle: Chevrolet Volt Consider the hybrid reinvented. The Volt is technically a "concept car", but the idea is being prepared for production. The vehicle is completely driven by electric motors allowing it to run off virtually any power source. Plug it in (pulling electricity from such sources as wind, coal, hydro-electric, nuclear, geothermal, etc.) to charge and travel 40 miles purely on battery. If you need to go further you can fill up the built in generator with any number of fuels (ethanol, gasoline, biodiseal, and conceivably hydrogen when that day comes) to recharge the battery on the fly, allowing you to travel significantly further and achieve 150 MPG!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Spiritual Growth Obstacle

Pretending my wants and desires are Gods.

It seems really basic but it is tricky in application. It is so easy to become frustrated with life when things don't go my way if I tell myself that my intentions are right, pure, just, even holy. I should be pursuing all of that in my decisions, but I often need to be reminded that God's plans are so much greater then anything I can imagine. Originally, the problem stemmed from me telling myself that God thought my decisions and desires were good and right when God wasn't even at the center of my life.

It is one thing to know and intellectually understand something, but it is a whole other thing to feel it in your heart, and live it. That is the part that takes patience, time, and a whole lot of pursuing God's heart to reshape your own. Important to understand is this process will never be complete, how boring would that be anyhow? And how much more exciting is it to always be growing closer to our Father, with revelation after revelation, understanding him and his will for this earth better?

I was really humbled by how far I have to go when I had a conversation with a homeless man named Kevin in Portland. I have met up with him a few times at a shelter that sets up regularly on Friday nights underneath the Burnside Bridge (Nightstrike). He was explaining to me what it is like to be homeless and how it has helped him in his walk to grow closer to the Spirit. He has learned to accept the reality that is set in front of him without frustration or complaint when things don't go as he had planned. He completely relies on God to provide and in turn seeks God's will in whatever happens.

This is a guy who has some interesting views on Christianity. He is far from having "solid doctrine". At different points in his life he has been sucked into Wicca, Mormonism, and New Age thought, but he is seeking the true God. That's another thing he likes about being homeless. He can just wake up in the morning and read the Bible for hours on end with no interruption. Anyhow, the point is, while you might say he is pretty far off base in some of his beliefs, he has one thing right for sure. His willingness to follow Gods plan in his life is a solid truth, and I am striving to apply it in my own.

A good read about a man who relied on God wholly, in every situation, is God's Smuggler. This book helped me immensely in my effort to overcome this spiritual barrier.

David Knepprath

Proverbs 3:5-12 (The Message)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline;
don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;
a father's delight is behind all this.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Music of 2007

I'm sure my list will grow - immensely - but for now, here are the highlights:

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
Kaiser Chiefs - untitled
Linkin Park - untitled

Relient K - Five Scores and Seven Years Ago
Bright Eyes - Four Winds (EP)

Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Interpol - Moderation

Moby - untitled

And for a supreme climax to 2007, Coldplay is scheduled to release an - as of yet untitled - album in October. That alone is enough to get me through 2007!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Memory That Wasn’t

First are a few pictures from snow shoeing on Saturday followed by a late Christmas-esque post (aka. Old psychology paper that relates to Christmas. I find it quite humorous myself, so humor me and please do read!). Enjoy!

(Mary, Jenn, Myself, and Mark)

The Memory That Wasn’t

While our memory, and the art of collecting the information served to us, is beautiful in its complexity and hierarchical structure of encoding, storage, and retrieval - the art of forgetting these memories is equally alluring in its own mysterious seemingly random manner. The information that we perceive in our day to day lives goes in to our memory through a simple process of encoding, being the mental interpretation of our senses, storing the memories in our brain and retrieving these memories if needed. While this all sounds very logical, something often goes wrong in our imperfect brains between these seemingly simple steps.

Forgetting is the process of memory loss. There are several explanations that have been proposed to describe this phenomenon. Some of these explanations chalk it up to difficulties in encoding, while others emphasize a flaw in storage or retrieval.

For multiple reason our earliest memories have often been shaped, distorted, created, or erased. The most obvious explanation for this is the decay theory. This is constantly happening to every memory we have. It maintains that with time and disuse, the physical memory trace in the nervous system fades away. However at this young age our memories are easily shaped and distorted by other influences. Our minds are so open to accepting anything they are fed.

One such example of this was when I was 6 years old. Every family has those stories that get told over and over again. At social gatherings, whether its friends, family, or strangers. One particular story known as “The Collar Bone Story” in my family was about my older, by 6 years, brother. The story goes that when he was 4, he would sit upside down in our rocking chair while, well, rocking. My parents thought it was a riot, until he did a backwards upside down summersault. Three hours of endless crying commenced, pain relievers were distributed, and he finally feel asleep, only to wake the house up again in the middle of night with blood curdling screeches. At this point he was rushed to the emergency room where it was made aware that he had broken his collar bone. So there you have it, “The Collar Bone Story”.

As you can imagine, by the time I hit 6 or 7, I had heard this story retold on countless occasions. Well, it was Christmas Eve, the family was gathered around the tree and some distant relative “had to hear ‘The Collar Bone Story’”. Me all googly eyed, wholly entranced by the glittering decorations and the sparkling lights on the tree, unwrapping the presents with my eyes, by chance, caught the story being told. Vivid pictures of our rocking chair, with my brother hanging upside down like a baboon and pulling a perfect backwards upside down summersault like an Olympic gymnast flashed through my head. Bursting in laughter I shouted, “I remember that!”. You would have thought everyone had just seen Santa Claus. The room went dead silent, with all eyes on me. If you have been doing your math up until this point you would know that 5, being his age at the time of the accident, minus 6, how many years my brother is older then me, equals, -1. That’s right, I was negative one year’s old when I was sitting on the carpet, of a house I had never lived, witnessing “The Collar Bone Story”.

To this day I have not lived that story down. At the time, being young and na├»ve, I had heard the story so many times before that I could vividly picture it in my imagination. So vividly in fact, that in a split moments mistake, I confused imagination with memory, at which point I made the dire mistake of saying that I remembered witnessing an event that I wasn’t even alive for. This confused my little mind for years. How could I remember an event when I wasn’t even alive? Maybe, I was in my mother womb? No, I already checked up on that one. Now, I like to entertain myself and pretend in my “wisdom” and “knowledge” that I can explain away my mistake of yore. Retroactive interference, which occurs when newly acquired information interferes with the ability to recall information learned at an earlier time. I had acquired the information of “The Collar Bone Story”. It had been pounded into my long-term memory, every minuet detail, through the years. As a result, it skewed my ability to remember events from years earlier. Yes, those two words, retroactive interference, solve my life-long dilemma. But I remember it.
David Knepprath
February 15, 2006