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wise or unwise

The trivia team left as the bar emptied, leaving me and a buddy sitting at a table for eight. I haven’t seen this friend for a couple of months, but more importantly I haven’t sat with this friend to catch up on life, in over a year. I was tired, but I was there. It felt good.

We started with the standards, “How you doing?” and “How’s work?” Those quickly stemmed into deeper conversations, like convos with good friends often do.

“I’m beginning to see that life is less about living a life of right versus wrong. Life is more about living wise or unwise.” shared my friend. “Now, don’t get me wrong, there are definite wrongs in the world, but I’m talking about the career choices you make, the friend choices, the social schedule choices. There are wise ones and unwise ones. We are given the freedom & responsibility to choose.” he concluded.

I liked this reflection on life. It made sense. It was scary & appealing all at the same time. It freed  me from the legalistic thought that was engrained in me. Yet as it sunk in, it sobered me. I am the master of my own domain. What I choose to do is my own. And now, as a young adult, I find that intimidating. But as I’ve made wise decisions & have ridden out unwise decisions I see that both are okay. (One is more preferred then the other, but both are okay.) I can live through both.

This convo with my friend was timely. I’ve found myself asking if I am living rightly or wrongly? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Now, I see that I’m supposed to be doing whatever I choose to do. And that is relieving.

Glory to God, Lessons Learned

A Daily Juxtaposition

We live in this juxtaposition of pace of life. We are encouraged to slow down, to take it all in, to rest and reflect, to be in the moment. Yet, the pace of life sweeps us up, pushes us further, consumes us in the chaos, moves us faster than ever thought possible. The result is us zooming through life as we pine for rest and the time/space to take it all in. A juxtaposition.

I experienced this juxtaposition first hand working a new year’s conference. I was charged with the task to capture the experience of the conference on film. My footage would then be used to make a recap film, and several promotional films for the following year. I loved the potential and opportunity in this task. Before the conference I was excited for the opportunity to film everything, yet fearful of the task of creating good films.

Slight backstory: I’ve been making videos ever since college (8 years.) Fun ones and parodies of stuff. I progressed seriously into this hobby two years ago with the leadership and vision of a good friend of mine. He would dream up an idea, direct/edit and operate the camera, while I would write the script, locate actors and locations, and produce the films. We are a good team together, and I love making films in this manner.

So back to the current task. I’m on a team but the roles are reversed. I’m the director while another creative is the editor and producer. This is the first time that I am directing the films, getting the shots, operating the camera. Rightfully so, I feel out of my element. My fears of creating good content was alive and justified. So I prepared as best I could, planning outlines, watching video tutorials, asked a ton of questions, and tried not to lose sleep over it all. Our team got to the conference early and crafted a game plan: brainstorms, whiteboards, checkboxes, lists, they all came together before the storm. The arrival of students the following day.

When that day dawned it was GO TIME! I ran from meeting to meeting with my objectives in mind yet the execution of them was all left up to me. This was the part I was scared of! Getting a good picture of what was actually happening. My mind was flooded with technical language: ISO, white-balance, rule of thirds, zoom, etc. My eye was overloaded with what was happening and how it looked. My imagination was on overdrive, trying to reinvent the wheel with each shot. And right as I was about to enjoy this unique high of the creative senses I was lead to a new location/shot/objective. And again, and again, and again.The checkboxes and the never waning energy of the students kept me going. And yes, at times against my will.

But then there were these rare moments of bliss. My body would demand me to take naps midday. As I was falling asleep my mind would be reeling of to-do’s, should-have’s, and what-it’s. I would steal away a few minutes to recharge. When I awoke I wanted to resume the exhaustive lists of things to do, but instead my mind would wander to this thought of appreciation and thankfulness.

“Isn’t it awesome that you get the opportunity to do all this? Run around dreaming and filming.”

This thought would dominate my mind. It would halt all previous thinking, moving and actions.

Here’s the juxtaposition: my circumstance and environment called me to endless action yet my mind/body would hold me in the appreciation and refreshment. Oh, the tension it truly is!

Then just as suddenly I found myself within this state, I found myself back worrying about every shot and cut needed. Back to the creative grind I went, yet now a little wiser in appreciation for it all. Those moments of appreciation were few and fleeting but they made the whole ringer of the creative process worth it.

I saw that I felt alive running to and fro capturing each moment even while in the moment I was exhausted. I feel alive when I get to tell a story that’s meaningful and full of life. The grind to get it all in and done is exhausting but the process and the outcome of the process is rewarding.

Yes, the juxtaposition doesn’t make sense but when you push into it, you experience the life that you’ve been created for.

[This incredible photo of everyone at Cru Encounter 2014 was taken by kylepost photography]

Writings

indie game, me too

Just watched Indie Game, a documentary that follows two indie games that are to be released. It’s a compelling story of three developers as they pour their heart & souls into their respective games. Indie video games are a genre of video games that have gained popularity ever since game development has turned industrial. Indie games aren’t the polished flagship epics of each platform (Halo, Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed, etc.) that are created by teams of thousands of developers. Indie games are built by few people and dreamed up by even fewer. These games usually take a stylistic bent towards arcade games of the past (Mario, Tetris, Zelda, MegaMan, etc.) Indie game developers desire to bring the heart and soul back to gaming. They do so by pouring each of their own into them.

indie_game_characters

Phil is the brainchild & indie game genius that has been developing his game, Fez, for the past 4 years. Phil is an opinionated creative that demands perfection from himself as well as his craft. To him Fez is art & needs to perform as such. He’s been heavily criticized in his continual delay of debuting Fez, taking each criticism personal. Edmund & Timothy are the team behind Super Meat Boy, which has been in development for 3 years. Edmund is a long time indie game developer that has created “dark” & “off the wall” games all his life. Timothy, Edmund’s programer is a reclusive creative that lives to program, desires the best for his family, & nothing more.

Now, I’m not a gamer myself but I’ve been a fan of the craft for a good bit now. But I am a story teller and an observer of the human condition & it’s struggles. The documentary walks you through the process of developing an indie game, the task it is to dream it, create it, code it, play it, develop it, doubt it, recode it, replay it, submit it, and then wait for it. The struggle that each of these men face with just trying to create something, is so genuine, so pure. Hopes & dreams are expressed; some lived out while others are dashed. They spend all their waking hours programming to give the public something enjoyable to play yet to them the characters, levels, mechanics, story, and game play are all personal.

Take Edmunds & Timothy’s game for example, Super MeatBoy. The main character is a boy that has no skin just raw red flesh. (Hence the name Meat Boy.) At first glance it can be a disturbing cosmetic choice but it’s more significant then that. Meat Boy is all flesh because Edmund resonates with feeling exposed. He sees everyone as exposed, living life with their emotions & thoughts out in the open, racing to find cover. Figuratively & physically.

Sure it’s wrapped up in geeky dreams, developer lingo, and gaming blogs but the desire to find meaning to life is at the core of each of these men’s creative process.

The doc presents these artist’s struggles based in reality. Bleak is their struggle and hopeful is their desired outcome. Weirdly I desire this same bleakness. I desire to be so involved in a creative project that I lose track of the days, become so consumed within an alternative narrative than life itself, sacrifice all relationships in the dire attempt to present a final product that I am proud of. And hopefully people will enjoy just as much as I enjoyed creating it!

The struggle is real for Phil, Edmund & Timothy and the hope of the final outcome is real also.

It might even be worth it.

Glory to God

a groom’s moment

[Last week I had the privilege to be apart of a best friend’s wedding. The following is a moment that I will never forget. Congratulations Amanda & Tyler! I love you both.]

A man in a suit stands, adjusting his cuffs. A man of confidence and control. But today he is far from being in control.
It’s his wedding day. And he’s about to see his bride. His hands shake, his heart pounds, his mind races.
Months of waiting have lead to this day. The whirlwind has ceased, all is calm.

He panics. He paces back and forth, throws his shoulders, shakes out his shakes. Through prayer he quiets. Instead of fleeing he stays with his emotions. Excitement, joy, fear, all whelm within him. Fleeting they may be but this groom decides to bask in them.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”

This verse clings to the forefront of this groom’s mind. Reflecting on his own family. How they’ve raised him, what they’ve taught him, and now send him off to start his own. Sorrow fills him.

He ascends the stairs. To gaze upon his bride for the first time. And in due time dwell with her. On the stairs he’s suspended in time. Fighting off panic, yet allowing it to take him. Walking away from his family yet running to his wife. Mourning the conclusion of one chapter yet celebrating the next.

Taking the last step, he arrives.

At the beginning.

Lessons Learned, Writings

elephant in the room

Okay, so I didn’t keep my word on finishing reviewing/summarizing the Eighth Season of Doctor Who.

My list of reasons seem justifiable to me but they’re just excuses to you. So…

Sorry every buddy! I continue to bite off more than I can chew. My apologies.

So here’s the plan. There isn’t one. I’ll write & post when I can. I know this isn’t the best news but we’ll all be able to sleep soundly because of it.

Here we go. All ahead full!

Adventures, Doctor Who Explained (a series), Writings

Listen – Doctor Who Explained

[This post is of a series: Doctor Who Explained. It’s the fourth installment. Read the prior one’s here!]

There are episodes of Doctor Who that are fun loving but plain (like last week’s episode, Robot in Sherwood.) And then there’s episodes that blow up all expectations. Episode 5, entitled: Listen, does just that.Fear is a superpower

Steven Moffat the current director (show-runner) is known for writing the most intriguing episodes of Doctor Who. So when I saw him as the writer for this episode I was excited. And he did not disappoint.

[This next bit will make the most sense if you have watched the fourth episode of Season 8. Entitled: Listen. Go watch it on Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime, I’ll wait for ya! SPOILERS!]

Listen, is an episode that shows how complicated time travel can and should be. Some of Doctor Who’s episodes boil down time travel to simple placement within a story and ignores the implications of every action. Listen, is not such an episode. Its a glimpse into timelines collapsing in on each other and shows the danger of meeting your future and past self.

Not only does time come alive within this episode but the Doctor comes alive as well. Several iconic traits of the past Doctor’s come out within this adventure with the 12th.
One of these traits is the Doctor’s pure joy in discovering the unknown! He is so delighted to make a hypothesis and then prove it. He get’s so wrapped up in the pursuit of discovery that everything else becomes a blur. All smiles, he plunges into anything & everything without fear. The Doctor latest theory, that everyone has feared of something lurking under their bed at night. Like a mad scientist he is driven to near insanity in the pursuit of finding this creature. And when he does, it’s wholly underwhelming.
Every once in a while there’s a moment where compassion & love shines from the Doctor. This is when the Doctor comes alive for me! He becomes the best of everything within the universe. This happens in this episode when He gets eye to eye with a fear driven Rupert and speaks words of encouragement & love into him. The Doctor sees the flame of humanity flickering within Rupert. He comes alongside and stokes it into the all consuming fire that is the human spirit. The never ending, never yielding, uniqueness of being human. This time it is the power that comes from fear! As we fear we are propelled much like a superpower. A superpower that we can only feel & wield. Oh the timing of the Doctor and his deliberate words!

All the while, Clara is driven to her own madness. As they ride her timeline, Clara begins to meet critical people in her past and future. As she sees these points of time unfold, she takes hold of the present, trying to right her wrongs. Which in turn collapses in on itself. Bringing more complexity into the mix, and yet all the while keeping the Doctor in the dark about what is really going on. (I was screaming at Clara to tell the Doctor what’s actually going on!)

And with a last ditch effort to straighten things out, Clara finds herself underneath the bed of a fearful child-timelord. She’s the “creature” under the bed that a fearful adult-timelord is driven mad to discover. Surrendering to defeat, Clara consuls the child with the only words that she knows are true.

“Fear is a superpower. Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger… It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed or in the dark so long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it… You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. But that’s okay because fear can bring us together. Fear can bring you home.”

Holy Smokes! What is happening in this season! Just when I thought I had a grasp of something, it leaves me! Ha! Here’s the list of question that I still have:

  1. Who is Missy?
  2. What’s the Doctor’s catch phrase?
  3. What did the Doctor see at the last planet?

Let me know what you thought of the this episode. What questions do you have that are left unanswered? And what parts of the Doctor do you wish to know more about?

Adventures, Doctor Who Explained (a series), Writings

Robot of Sherwood – Doctor Who Explained

[This post is of a series: Doctor Who Explained. It’s the fourth installment. Read the prior one’s here!]

“If you had a time machine where would you go & who would you meet?” It’s a classic imaginative question. Time periods, or specific events might have been suggested but most of the time, people are mentioned. Famous people.Clara & Robin Hood

Doctor Who plays with this every once in a while. Either the Doctor treats his companion to a treat of meeting Shakespeare or He gives them the choice to visit who they want. Agatha Christy, Picasso, Churchill & Dickens have all been visited and its a been a joy to tag along.

[This next bit will make the most sense if you have watched the third episode of Season 8. Entitled: Robot in Sherwood. Go watch it on Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime, I’ll wait for ya! SPOILERS!]

Within this episode, the Doctor gives the reins over to Clara, to go wherever she wants to go, meet whoever she wants. Her answer takes a turn to the bizarre as she requests to visit the fictitious charter, Robin Hood. To prove that he doesn’t exist the Doctor takes her to that time and is promptly met by the guardian of Sherwood forrest!

The Doctor is thrown into confusion while Clara is loving every minute of it. The Doctor turns on his detective skills, trying to get to the bottom of why Robin Hood actually exists. In his pursuit for the truth the Doctor acts peculiar, he’s starving for attention, bickering with Robin Hood the whole episode. It’s atypical of the Doctor. Through the dialogue between the three, childish charm dominates their speech & actions. So much so that Clara & the Doctor begin to realize that they speak in rhyme & rhythm.

Ironically, a spaceship has taken over the Sherwood township, fueling the legend of Robin Hood to this comical state. It is unclear if Sherwood is real or only a projection. As we prance through this fairy tale it is revealed that a race of robots are using the Sheriff of Nottingham for their own selfish gain. They desire to repair their ship so that they can reach the Promise Land, an actual planet. Swashbuckling and witty dialogue ensue. The story frolics to a happy ending where the Doctor, Clara, & Robin Hood defeat the robots and they live happily ever after.

As custom to historical figures that the Doctor encounters, Robin asks him one question, “Is it true, that I’ll be forgotten as a man but remembered as a legend?”
And as the Doctor explains as much as he knows, Robin challenges Him. Robin awards the Doctor with the title of Legend. The Doctor can’t fathom such an endearing title.

Once again, just as the Doctor helps another being find their way, his question of “Am I a good man?” gains another layer of complexity.So far, the answers have been:

  • you’re different
  • you’re a good Dalek
  • you’re a legend

But! We have answered a question we’ve been asking, “What is Paradise?” It’s a planet! And apparently, everyone wants to go there. But questions still remain:

  1. Who is Missy?
  2. What’s the Doctor’s catch phrase?
  3. Did Sherwood actually exist?
  4. Why must every hero reject endearment and posses a dark side?

With foggy thinking, we push farther into the adventures of the Doctor and his companion.

Let me know what you thought of this episode. What questions do you have that are left unanswered? And what parts of the Doctor do you wish to know more about?