Thursday, September 30, 2004

Forced Perspective

Saw a link to this guy's website, Parking Spots.

Here are examples from the site.

Pretty interesting photos.

He creates and collects photographs that force toy and/or model vehicles into real environments.

He also allows people to submit their own shots. I'm thinking about trying one. Of course, if successful, I'll post it here. Stay Tuned!

Films watched recently:
Paycheck (2003) dir. by John Woo
Interestingly, a different kind of "forced perspective."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Buy it from Amazon This just released yesterday from Slanted Records. Slanted is a brand new division of our record company in Nashville, Spring Hill Music Group. Most of what Spring Hill releases is in a Southern Gospel/Inspirational genre. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just not generally my "cup of tea." Slanted will be Spring Hill's Christian Rock label. And this girl does, indeed, rock. Her name is Charity Von. The album is "Charity Von," produced by Billy Smiley (yeah, that guy from Whiteheart).

She never tries to escape her own skills, but still manages to have a good bit of variety on this CD. There is straight out Rock in The Narrow and Weight of the World, Soul in Alone and You Make It Fine, and Worship in In Your Presence and You Make it Fine. Most of the writing is by Charity Von and Billy Smiley. The only cover on the album is Shine that was made popular by Collective Soul (even if you don't think you know it, you've probably heard it.), and Charity tears it up (that's good, I think).

Anyway, I recommend it.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Purpose Driven Life

OK, so our church is beginning Rick Warren’s study, The Purpose Driven Life today (9/26). I am naturally skeptical about most things and this is no exception. I’ve heard good things about this book from people whom I respect, but I’ve also seen about every church between Anderson and Alexandria have their church signs indicating that they are undergoing this study. It seems trendy to me. I’m not saying that the study wasn’t valuable to those from whom I have heard good comments. I’m not saying that the study won’t be valuable to me, either. It just seems on par with any other trend. "Have you been to the new Italian restaurant in Indianapolis?" "Have you heard the new single from Dave Matthews Band?" "Has your church done the ‘40 Days?’ No?? Oh, you’ve just GOT to try it, it’s wonderful!"

Who me? Skeptical? Naaah...In addition to that, I can't help from noticing commercial aspects to all of this. I can't help but notice the little ® next to every reference to "Purpose Driven." I also can't help but notice that the little ® doesn't seem to be referenced to "Purpose Driven Life," but rather just "Purpose Driven." Hmmm... I can see it now. "The Purpose Driven® Church." "The Purpose Driven® Faith." "The Purpose Driven® Prayer." "The Purpose Driven® BMW." It's Jabez all over again. Seems like there were two full aisles of Jabez-related product last time I was in our Christian Bookstore. "Jabez for Women" "Jabez for Teens" "Jabez for Dummies"

Having said all that, I am sincerely going to give this my absolute best effort. I'm reading the book (I even signed and had Christy witness the "My Covenant" commitment at the front of the book), attending a small-group (Tuesdays at 6:30AM, mind you), and attending our normal Sunday services, at which time, the sermons will be related to the Purpose Driven Life. We'll see what happens.

In other news:

Films recently watched:
Schindler's List (1993) dir. by Steven Spielberg

This DVD had been sitting on my shelf since I bought it in March, 2004.

I saw this theatrically not long after it was released. There were definitely images from this film which were forever imprinted, but much of it was lost. Somehow, I remembered Oskar Schindler as an absolute hero and Amon Goeth as an absolute villain (interestingly, #'s 13 & 15, respectively on AFI's "Heros & Villains" list for what it's worth). I think my brain wanted (or needed) to compartmentalize these people into "white" and "black" but I now see more grey. As it is said on the documentary, Voices from the List (contained on the DVD) Oskar was no angel. He began his work in order to make his fortune and he did. Not until the end did he spend that fortune to redeem those on his list. Amon Goeth, while clearly the villain in this film, was also more complex than I had remembered. He clearly had conflicted feelings toward his Jewish maid Helen and toward Schindler's efforts to save those on the list.

After seeing films like Life Is Beautiful (1997) and The Pianist (2002), the shocking images from Schindler don't resonate like I remember from the first viewing. Don't get me wrong, though, it is absolutely a moving story, brilliantly directed by Spielberg. Another thing that struck me with this recent viewing was the beautiful camera work. The high-contrast black & white images are as striking as the story itself and well-presented on the DVD release.

This is one of those films that I thought I'd never see twice (in a good way, not the same way as "I don't ever want to see Corky Romano again." :)). Now, having seen it (Schindler) a second time, I'm glad that I did. Still, 11 years in between was probably about right .

Saturday, September 25, 2004

My Daughter's Eyes

One of my favorite pictures of my daughter, Hannah.
(and a test on linking photos from Photobucket)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Fans Discover Glitch in 'Star Wars' DVD Soundtrack

"Fans of John Williams are up in arms over an apparent glitch in the new Star Wars DVD set in which the left and right channels fed to the rear speakers in surround sound are reversed in the original Star Wars movie (Episode 4). John Takis, who frequently analyzes film scores for Internet groups, points out that the violins can be heard coming from the left surround-sound speakers and the cellos from the left. 'It is essentially a 124-minute audio glitch,' Takis writes on the John Williams fansite, 'The sound effects are correctly positioned in the surround channels. It's just the music that's backwards.' Takis also takes issue with other aspects of the sound mix for the original movie. 'Remember the awesome fanfare version of the Force theme that kicks off the Death Star battle?' he writes 'Good luck hearing it this time around -- it's virtually inaudible.' "

This glitch has already been discussed at length at the Home Theater Forum in this thread as well as others. The Digital Bits published Lucasfilms' response:

"We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as reported."

We'll see what happens. The argument is: if reversing the music cues in the surround channels was a brilliant, "deliberate creative decision," then why didn't they make the same brilliant decision for Empire and Jedi?

Honestly, I was already aware of the problem when I watched the DVDs. There were a few times when I could tell that this had happened, but I am certain that I would have never noticed it if I hadn't already known. Bottom line in my book, it's not that big of a deal. There was a similar issue with the Back To The Future Trilogy. There were several parts of BTTF: Parts 2 & 3 which had been misframed for the DVD release. Universal set up an exchange program where you sent in the discs for 2 & 3 and received back in the mail corrected copies of the discs. I doubt that I would have noticed the misframing in BTTF, but since they were offering the exchange, I sent mine in and got my replacements without any problem. I'll take the same approach to Star Wars. If they offer to correct the problem, fine. If not, fine.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Any ideas why my profile in the right column disappeared? Could it
have something to do with the Star Wars DVD Package picture below
extending into that column?

Update: Never mind. When I posted this message, the problem disappeared!

Growing Young

That last post made me think of this song, one of my favorites. It's from
The World As Best As Best As I Can Remember It, Volume 2 .

Makes me cry every time I listen to it...

Growing Young
by Rich Mullins and Beaker

I've gone so far from my home
I've seen the world and I have known
So many secrets
I wish now I did not know
'Cause they have crept into my heart
They have left it cold and dark
And bleeding,
Bleeding and falling apart

And everybody used to tell me big boys don't cry
Well I've been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms
And be growing young
Growing young

I've seen silver turn to dross
Seen the very best there ever was
And I'll tell you, it ain't worth what it costs
And I remember my father's house
What I wouldn't give right now
Just to see him and hear him tell me that he loves me so much

And everybody used to tell me big boys don't cry
Well I've been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms

And when I thought that I was all alone
It was your voice I heard calling me back home
And I wonder now Lord
What it was that made me wait so long
And what kept You waiting for me all that time
Was Your love stronger than my foolish pride
Will You take me back now, take me back and let me be Your child

'Cause I've been broken now, I've been saved
I've learned to cry, and I've learned how to pray
And I'm learning, I'm learning even I can be changed

And everybody used to tell me big boys don't cry
Well I've been around enough to know that that was the lie
That held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons
Well we are children no more, we have sinned and grown old
And our Father still waits and He watches down the road
To see the crying boys come running back to His arms
And be growing young
Growing young
Growing young

Copyright 1992 - Edward Grant, Inc., 1992 - Kid Brothers of St. Frank Publishing

Star Wars

Films recently watched:
Star Wars (1977) dir. by George Lucas
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) dir. by Irvin Kershner
Return of the Jedi (1983) dir. by Richard Marquand

Well, I watched them yesterday. It was great to watch these films again. I saw each of these films in their Special Edition Theatrical releases in 1997, but that's really been the last time until yesterday. First, about the changes to these films on DVD...if I didn't follow the production and recent reviews of these films, I honestly don't think that there are many scenes where I would have noticed changes from the originals. The one definite exception is Hayden Christiansen in the end of Jedi, and that really doesn't bother me too much. I agree with the internet community who believe that the original films in their original forms (as opposed to these SE DVDs) should be made available on DVD, but even if both were available, I would probably choose this set. Overall, the changes either improve on the originals, expand the universe, and/or help these films line up with the prequels. There are still those changes (Han/Greedo - which is improved on this set over the SEs; Han/Jabba in ANH - which is also improved over the SEs; etc.) which are unnecessary, but I guess I'm just over it (which is something many fanboys just can't say).

I was like, 9 when Return of the Jedi was released. I enjoyed watching these films again yesterday, but it's nearly impossible to recapture the awe and wonder of a nine-year-old boy watching a Star Wars film for the first time on the big screen. I've grown up (a little, at least), moved on. Star Wars is timeless, but unfortunately, I am not.

On DVD, these films couldn't be much better. They look incredible! The clean-up that went into these films was extensive, but it was worth it. Even on our 25" TV, there is detail and color on these films that just hasn't been seen before. They sound great, too. The 5.1 surround remix works on these. There are other films that have been updated from their monaural original elements that just don't sound right. Of course, if ever there was a movie that needed surround sound, it is Star Wars (though, I understand that in some theaters, an early prototype of surround sound was used). The opening fly-by of the Star Destroyer, the laser blast in the trash compacter, the music, the explosions...these films have never sounded better!

I am listening now to the commentaries. So far, the comments by Irvin Kershner on the Empire commentary are more interesting than most of the commentary on A New Hope. I've looked a little bit at the special features, but have yet to watch the main documentary, Empire of Dreams.

Possibly more comments to come on other elements...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Found something, I have...

I took an early "lunch" and went to Muncie Best Buy to pick it up. I still had a Best Buy gift card that my Sister gave me for my birthday in May. So I used that, plus I got them to price-match CompUSA's price from their weekly ad. They were also giving away copies of Star Wars Insider Magazine:

Not too shabby, I'd say.

Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, I'll be finished watching "A New Hope" and be about half way through "The Empire Strikes Back." Yes, I'm taking Wednesday and Thursday off from work (pre-approved - I'm not calling in "sick.") and watching these movies at home. I know, I'm a geek. But, hey, in a way, I've been anticipating this day for about 20 years. Let's just call it a well-deserved vacation. :)

I'm sure I'll post more about the discs once I've had a chance to check them out.

Monday, September 20, 2004


This weekend, I did some reorganization of my DVD and CD collections.
Target had a "two-fer" sale on some bookshelves so we went Friday
night and picked up a couple.

I put one of them together on Friday night and transferred DVDs from
under the TV in the entertainment center to the bookshelf. I'm happy
to have them all visible and in one place. There should be plenty of
room for future expansion, too.

Saturday night, I put together the other bookshelf. I moved most of
my current listening material to the shelves. Sunday night, I moved
and organized the rest of my CDs including company comps, etc.

While putting together bookshelves and organizing stuff, I was able to
watch a few DVDs that I had borrowed from the library:

Notorious (1946) dir. by Alfred Hitchcock
Jackass: The Movie (2002) dir. by Jeff Tremaine
Brazil (1985) dir. by Terry Gilliam (yes, the Monty Python guy)

The bad news...I stayed up WAY too late all weekend. 2am, 3am, 3am
respectively on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. That's gonna
catch up with me.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Good Times, etc.

The primary reason that I now have this blog is because I got together with a couple of buddies from College last night. I met with Ryan Prinkey (who also has a brand-new blog) and Pat Hannon. We went out for dinner and then walked around campus a bit. Pat was in town doing his class-work to begin his Doctorate work. Pat's had his blog up and running for a while now, and encouraged both of us to give it a try. So here we go.

Prink showed us a funny Star Wars fan film called Pink 5.

You'll have to forgive the Star Wars nonsense for a few weeks. See, the Star Wars Trilogy is coming out on DVD next Tuesday, September 21, 2004 (as if you didn't know :)). Honestly, I haven't watched these movies in almost 10 years. I still have my VHS copies of the Original-Original-Trilogy (OOT), but they are Pan-'N-Scan. I am glad to have them, but ever since I learned about widescreen films, I can hardly stand watching films that are not shown in their Original Aspect Ratio (OAR). Next Tuesday, though, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi will be released on DVD for the first time ever. These films have several major modifications and scores of minor modifications. These are NOT the films that you may have seen in Theaters in 1977, 1980, and 1983, respectively. Furthermore, these are NOT the Special Edition (SE) films that you may have seen re-released in theaters in 1997 for the 20th Anniversary of Star Wars. These DVDs have additional changes from the 1997 SE's supposedly to line it up with the Prequel Trilogy, Episodes I, II, and III (III coming to theaters May, 2005). This:

is likely to be considered the biggest change (Yes, Hayden Christiansen was, like, 2 years old when Return of the Jedi was released in 1983). It is at least the most noticeable new change on this DVD set. Regardless, I'll be picking up the DVD set on Tuesday and hopefully watching them on Wednesday and Thursday.

May the Force be with you...

Testing E-Mail posting

Is this thing on??