Thursday, September 30, 2010

George Lucas Stole Chewbacca, But It's Okay

Anyone who appreciates Star Wars will love this article. BONUS: If, like me, you get a high from the creative process of design or writing then your giddiness while reading will be multipled exponentially.

There is nothing more to say, just read it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Look at me mom (Pic)

I done be gragiated!

Okay, so I've had my degree for a long while, but finally got around to picking up my diploma.

Obama on Why He is a Christian (Vid)

What are your thoughts? If you've been under a rock, here's the video followed by my own thoughts:

Elena brought up some very interesting thoughts on his tone of voice. There is a very clear shift in his voice, louder and more confident, when he arrives on a topic that is more familiar territory for a politician. For better or worse, I would say his answer is raw and spontaneous from the heart.

Out of the gate he wasn't off to a good start; some vague ramblings, commending Jesus as a philosopher and good moral teacher.

But then, he pauses, almost as if he's making a concious decision to continue on into his next thought, which I also think is the most significant portion of his answer. He begins to stumble through humanities depravity, and God's grace demonstrated through Jesus.

He very clearly professes allegience to these truths, more so then many Christian pastors do on Sunday morning.
But then, when he tries to make a conclusion to his answer, things got really messy with some ramblings about "seeing god in others" and "helping them to find their grace". I think he might have been getting at something I would agree with, but he used some really sloppy vocabulary that could be interpreted a million different ways.
I also came across the following quote that seemed relevant, and familiar after watching this video: from the 2009 National Prayer Breakfast:

“I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became... an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

I didn’t become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck – no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Young Christians Seek Intentional Community Among the Poor

Huffington Post picked up the Barberry Village article originally published in the Oregonian.

It's funny that they used a picture from a previous article written over two years ago.

Crazy Motorcycle Road in Moscow (Vid)

Simultaneously explains my overwhelming desire to own a motorcycle and why I should never let myself buy one:

And I post enough of these the way it is, so I'll just lump in this bonus link for some more gorgeous Russian local just for kicks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gospel of Wealth

This is a great Op-Ed piece at NYT. Best concise deconstruction of how the American Dream has influenced Christianity I have seen.
"When Europeans first settled this continent, they saw the natural abundance and came to two conclusions: that God’s plan for humanity could be realized here, and that they could get really rich while helping Him do it. This perception evolved into the notion that we have two interdependent callings: to build in this world and prepare for the next.

The tension between good and plenty, God and mammon, became the central tension in American life, propelling ferocious energies and explaining why the U.S. is at once so religious and so materialist. Americans are moral materialists, spiritualists working on matter."

Anybody read David Platts book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream?

When I went to the Amazon book page, I remembered I had encountered this book once before when I posted this video.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

For God or With God?

The message in this video is as foundational as it is profound (in a back to the basics sort of way).

I use this video as an introduction because I believe it rightly defines the Christian life. The complete work accomplished in Jesus live, death, and resurrection restores our union with God. Resultantly, the Christian life should never be defined by what one does for God. It is always defined by the grace expressed through Jesus.

But we still have a life of growth ahead of us, living with God, ignitied by a purpose of magnificent and Divine proportions. If this growth is not defined by a need to perform for God, how should we understand it?

Spiritual formation, (Santification in theological terms, but my preferred laymens term being "Spirit-led formation") has never been given much air time in my life experience. I grew up with a strong sense of justification, but never had many opportunities to explore the "now what?" question. As a result of not asking the question, I was largely shaped by the current of the world around me.

By the time I was a young adult my life had become independent from the faith I professed. Through a series of events I found C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity in my hands a light was shown into the depths of my being.

Since this point I aimlessly pursued Spirit-led formation, with the help at times by mentors who I am eternally grateful for. It was not until recently that I realized I had never really stepped back and evaluated what Spirit-led formation is.

I think I still have more questions then answers. But what was once blurry has began to take shape, and I have found great peace in this.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

October Sky

Continuing my 1956 theme, after posting home video footage of a July 1956 family vacation to Disneyland, I recommend a movie based on the true events that took place later that that fall in a small West Virginia coal mining town.

The movie is very close in nature to my favorite Bollywood movie, 3 Idiots. Though the movies takes place in a different time and culture, the point is the same. The struggles of youth engaging in what I call constructive rebellion.

I see this as a necessary process of escaping from the cocoon one is raised in. The cocoon is constructed to keep one safe during the formative years; hopefully nurturing with the core essentials for the next leg of the journey.

As youth come of age in an ever changing world, it may very well be necessary to break out of the expectations of the social structures they grew up in. This constructive rebellion is not purposefully destructive, as much as it is evolutionarily (totally didn't think this was even a word) necessary for one to mature.

Youth need to be able to explore and discover their own identity in this changing world. Often times the previous generations expectations can be extremely burdensome and constricting to the creativity and growth of the next.

As you may very well know first hand, this process will be abrasive. The raw beauty of this process is expressed effectively in both October Sky and 3 Idiots.

What do you think about this idea of "constructive rebellion"? How has this been true/false in your life experience? What other movies or books have you seen this portrayed in?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Disneyland Dream" 1956 Family Video

Words can't describe how happy this video makes me. Especially being that Elena and I just completed a very similar vacation 54 years later, seeing the same sites like: Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and of course, Disneyland. 

The following 30 minute video is a fantastic snapshot of Disneyland and America in the 1950's. Soak in the clothes, the cars, the environments and landscapes, the technology and the unspoken values from this thrilling time in U.S. History. And once in Disneyland, it's fun to see how much has changed, and what hasn't (particularly Main Street, as well as the entrances to Adventure Land and Frontier Land.)

Without further ado, enjoy the home video of the Robbins and Meg Barstow family vacation to Disneyland courtesy of "3M Cellophane Tape":

I must say, our hotel wasn't quite as nice. They don't make hotels like that anymore.

And you didn't miss the childhood appearance of Steve Martin, did you?
“At age eleven I worked at Disneyland. I sold guidebooks at the park from 1956 to about 1958. I am as positive as one can be that I appear about 20:20 into your film, low in the frame, dressed in a top hat, vest, and striped pink shirt, moving from left to right, holding a guidebook out for sale.” - Steve Martin
I hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. What's your response to the video?

Friday, September 17, 2010

God is Not a White Man (Music Vid)

It's catchy and playful in a They Might Be Giants kind of way (the song and the animation).

There's beautiful truth in that song.  What do you think?

Thanks for the link Sam.

In case you all did't know, he's the student body president of Multnomah University - he's a pretty big deal. And he finally has a girl friend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 16 is Unofficial Jobs Day

Not the type of jobs that pay a wage, rather the Steve variety.

September 16th 1985 Steve Jobs was ousted/resigned from Apple.
September 16th 1997 Steve Jobs was reinstated as CEO of Apple.

Wired put together an excellent overview of the events sorrounding this monumental day in the history of technology (and society?).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Radiolab - Limits of Body, Mind, and Science (Podcast)

The subject of human limits has haunted me since child hood.

One of my earliest really vivid memories in elementary school was the limits of science. Have we reached the limits? Are we close? Not in these terms obviously, but regardless, I was an odd kid. The catlyst event was peering out the window of the car up at a helicopter.

In middle school I was haunted by my memory, or the lack thereof. Everything was important but nothing would stick. I developed an addiction to post-it notes. I continued to this struggle into high school, unable to do rote memorization of details so I delved all the more deeply into understanding concepts inside and out.

Then in high school I was challenged by cross country to enter the gauntlet of physical limits; time after time pushing my body harder, further, and faster then previoulsy imagined.

This hour long episode explores these subjects more thouroughly then I ever imagined possible.

I have loved every episode of Radiolab as much as the last, but I'm finally going to put a stake in the ground and say this is by far the best episode yet.

If Radiolab is new to you:

“Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seashore (Free Mac App)

Looking for a free yet polished and sophisticated entry level alternative to Photoshop?

Seashore is it.

Recently reworked with a spiffy Cocoa user interface (ie. it has that fantastic intuitive and native Mac feel) that makes for a great learning environment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You Love Your Mac

That's why you drive a clunker.

Maybe you are looking for a witty way to validate your junker.

Since I slapped this on my car back in June I've received enough compliments to necessitate both hands to count (but haven't had to resort to toes just yet). That is exponentially more compliments then I have ever received on the car itself.

I figured that was enough reason go public with the bumpersticker to try and make a few bucks.

So support your local amateur graphic designer and pick one up, your self-esteem will thank you for it. Unless of course you ride is worth more then your computer, in which case you should consider picking up a maxed out 12 core Mac Pro ($17,317) with a pair of Apple Cinema HD Displays ($1,799 x 2) for good measure.

Then buy one of my bumper stickers.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dolphins Deserve Equal Rights

Sounds like someone read (and took a little too seriously) "The Second-Class Citizen" by Damon Knight; one of the many brilliant short stories I read in The Last Man on Earth collection.

Meanwhile, Dolphins seem pretty content chillin with the iPad.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Portal 2 Co-Op Trailer

Portal was one of the most mentally stimulating games I have ever played. A compelling story combined with brain teasing puzzles. Adding a co-op mode just blew my mind. 

And here's the original Portal 2 Trailer:

Lost, Star Trek, and Portal posts all on the same day. I have thoroughly geeked out for the day.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Combine Multiple PDF's Into One (Free Mac App)

This is particularly useful if you would like to search for keywords across many different PDF's. Or if you need to combine multiple PDF documents into one for ease of use or sharing.

Combine PDFs makes it super easy to drag, drop, sort, orientate, preview and viola - one shiny new PDF.


Monday, September 06, 2010

"I Sold Everything To Buy A Lamborghini And Drive Across The Country"

"Richard Jordan had everything he was told to want: cars, a new house, and a fiancee. Then his fiancee left him. So he sold everything, bought a Lamborghini Gallardo and set out across America. This is his amazing story."

Full story at Jalopnik.

Great piece for reflecting on the American dream and questioning purpose in life. Why do we have to be pushed to our limits to step back and see the trite goals our society impresses on us for what they really are?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Latvia: Manufacturing Happiness

I love this branding for Latvia at the Shanghai World Expo.

The following is just a sampling exploring the identity.
Much more at Brand New.

England had my favorite structure at the World Expo.

I know this is old news, but I'm clearing out old tabs and this one was too good to close without posting.

Friday, September 03, 2010

What is Diaspora?

Anybody else going to check out Diaspora on September 15th?

I'm a sucker for early adopting new technology, especially when it's free.

Heck, even Mark Zuckerberg donated to the cause (not a literal Facebook Cause, but ya, you get the point).

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts

I have always appreciated the "breathing" status light on my MacBook. On multiple occasions I was consciously aware of being calmed by its rhythmic presence nearby on the desk when cramming for an exam.

If you have never seen or noticed the status light on a MacBook, here's a quick video:

I recently came across an article discussing a patent Apple filed back in 2002 describing the tedious science behind just the right rhythm - the average respiratory rate for adults. This highlights the human touch in Apples attention to details that so many appreciate, sometimes without even being aware.

This is not cold hollow technology to be understood. This is technology made human, that understands us. This is the intersection of technology and liberal arts. It meets us on a level of general cultural concern in our daily lives. This is the basics of classic design principles - Dieter Rams style (this single element arguably fulfills all 10 of Dieter’s design principles)

“We’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, so that they really fit the users – the users don’t have to come to them, they come to the user.”

—Steve Jobs
Until another company starts taking a holistic approach to designing their technology, you can be sure to see a Mac on my desk and an iPod in my pocket. I’m not afraid to put my money where my mouth is, even if it means I have to drive a junker to afford it.