Monday, October 4, 2010

What I've Been Wasting My Time Watching and Reading and Bible post

Warning.  This post contains no vintage and a whole lot of TV and movie talk.  I swear I need to make another blog to just focus on my thoughts about what I watch and read, but I can barely keep up with one blog as it is.   And after writing everything down, it was about the size of a book, so I decided to split this post into two parts. Maybe somewheres down the future I will create a new blog, but for now its a once a week post.  I know there are some people somewhere out there that read what I write:)  Alrighty, so here we go in this weeks episode of What Caitlin's Been Wasting Her Time On:
 Firefly (2002)
This show was created by Joss Whedon, otherwise known as the master of all sci fi awesomeness...also creator of Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, and internet phenomenon Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  Firefly is my very favorite show he created, but sadly this masterpiece only lasted about 14 episodes:(  Joss Whedon has a way of finding practically unknown but fabulous actors that all have great chemistry with one another, and his show (for the most part) are mostly about family.  Firefly is what you would call a space western, if you can imagine such a thing.  It takes place in the far future, obviously, after earth had been used up and the people went to terraform other planets and galaxies.  In the first episode there was a unification war that was focused on the creation of a central government called The Alliance to rule all of the different colonies.  The main character, Malcolm Reynolds (charming charming charming), fought in the war but against the unification.  After the war he is left defeated and faithless.  He, along with Zoe, a corporal he fought with, now run a transport ship "Serenity".  Zoe, who is like an amazon woman,  is married to the Wash, the pilot who is the light hearted and funny one of the group.  There is Jayne, the "public relations" muscle arm of the group.   Inara is a companion.  Basically it is a legalized prostitute, but they kind of make it  into an artform.  She rents a  shuttle from Serenity, to conduct her business, but is still a part of the crew.  There is a lot of sexual tension between Mal and her.   A lot. And Kaylee rounds out the crew.  She is the mechanic and also the heart of the ship.  She's like everyone's little sister.  They make a living transporting things, whether legally or illegally, and staying on the run from the Alliance.  In the first episode they land on a colony and pick up a few passengers to make some more money, 2 of which become permanent characters.  There is Shepard Book, the religious one of the group.  Then there is Simon.  Simon is probably my favorite character if I had to choose.  He is very young, but a brilliant doctor who came from a very rich background.  And he risks everything to save his little sister, River.  River is practically a genius, but a little crazy.  One might say schizophrenic, and shows signs of psychic capabilities.  When she was 14, she was invited to a government learning facility where her family thought they would  nurture her abilities.  However, they kept River, and all the other children, separated from their families and did experiments on them.  Simon gives up his future in medicine to risk infiltrating the school to save River.  He does, and smuggles her out in a cryogenic chamber which he brings aboard Serenity.   After this happens, everything about Simon is basically defined by River.  Every move or decision he makes, he has to think of his sister first.  Some things happen, which I won't go into detail about, and Malcolm discovers her hidden in the chamber.  From there, Malcolm decides to keep them on, since Simon is a  brilliant doctor, and the rest of the series, and movie, is about the whole crew staying on the run from the Alliance, while still trying to make a living.  This is about as realistic sci-fi as you can get.  Besides them living in space and different planets, the worlds are very grounded in realism and there are no crazy space monsters that are trying to take over.  And even though it is in the future, on some planets, you feel like you are watching a Western, and others you feel like you are watching a Victorian era show. A+
Legend of the Seeker Season 1 (2008)
This show is kind of made of awesome.  It is based loosely on a book series called The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind which a few people on facebook recommended me expect those books to pop up in the next few weeks when they come in at the library.  Each episode is kind of epic in its own right.  It must have cost a lot to film.  It is shot in New Zealand, which I mean, come on.  We all know that land is gorgeous, from what we've seen in Lord of the Rings.  Am I right?  The soundtrack is absolutely stunning, and the costuming and set design for each episode is fantastic.  So the story, though I may make it sound convoluted, goes a little like this:  One day a mysterious woman, Kahlan, is running away from D'Haran soldiers (the baddies) and Richard, a farmboy (the extremely well built goodie), sees her.  She gets trapped at the edge of a cliff, and Richard rushes in to save her.  But she doesn't really need help because she is a confessor.  If she grabs someone's neck and looks into their eye, she can "confess" them and make them do her bidding.  She can also tell if someone is telling the truth or not, but that doesn't make an appearance until later.  Anyways, she confesses one of the soldiers, blah blah blah, Richard and Kahlan get away.  Richard obviously has a lot of questions, about what he just saw, but she doesn't answer them.  He runs home and asks his father, he explains some but sends him to an old man, named Zed.  Zed is a wizard, and Kahlan also is looking for him and tells him that it is time for the Seeker to come.  Guess who the seeker is...yep your right.  Its Richard.  But, he doesn't have a clue that he is the seeker or what the seeker is.  There is a prophecy about the seeker that he is the only one who can bring down Darken Rahl (the evilest baddie of all and ruler of the D'Harans).  Along with being kind of just all around awesome, he gets to read some ancient language that others can't read, and he gets a sword called the Sword of Truth that he can use to defeat evil.  Basically from here, Kahlan, Richard, and Zed set off to defeat Darken Rahl.  The evilest baddies is played by Craig Parker.  If you are a LOTR geek like me., he played Haldir in the first two movies.  Each episode is kind of self contained, but contribute to the larger picture.  There is a lot of character development, which I have come to love in scifi/fantasy shows, a little romance, though there is complications, and a lot of interesting characters that come along.  Kahlan is a very strong female character, with a lot of power, but can be very vulnerable as well.  Richard is very smart and cunning, very brave, and very very charming.  And Zed is a freaking giant of a wizard, and tends to be the comic relief, but is very much the fatherly influence in the group.  Some of the acting and dialogue is a little cheesy at first, the first few episodes take a while to get going, but once it gets into the meat and heart of things, it takes off in a whirlwind and you won't regret watching it.  The ending is kind of epic.  A-
Up in the Air (2009)
Up in the Air is a George Clooney movie.  I am not a George Clooney fan at all.  I do not understand the world's obsession with him.  I liked him on ER, about 16 years ago but that was about it.  I think he seems like a perfectly nice man, but thats it.  There is nothing mystifying about him, that I can tell, and I definitely don't like his politics.  Anyways, this movie is about a guy who works for a company that other companies can hire out to fire people.  George Clooney's character is very good at his job and is constantly flying to business across the country to do just that.  He meets Vera Farmiga's character on one of his trips and they form a non committed relationship.  Anna Kendrick's character joins the company and brings fresh ideas on how to make the job more grounded and based at home by firing people over webcam instead of in person.  She follows George Clooney's character around and he tries to convince her that there needs to be a personal connection with people.  I can say that I enjoyed this movie enough to watch it the one time that I did, but I would be okay if I never watched it again.  B-
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
I love A Streetcar Named Desire, but it is not exactly what you would call light fare. I tend to like movies directed by Elia Kazan...East of Eden, On the Waterfront to name a few.  And it introduces us to one of the greatest actors of all time.  So basically, if you don't know the story, Blanche (Vivian Leigh) is a fading southern belle, who has gone through some sort of trauma and it has left her in a crippling mental state.  She goes to visit her sister pregnant Stella, and finds that she is married to Stanley (Marlon Brando), a unrefined young man who has quite a temper.  He is quick to anger and slightly physically abuses his wife.  Blanche's expectations and way of living do not please Stanley and he slowly creeps into her mind and tears her apart emotionally.  When Stella leaves to go to the hospital to have her baby, Blanche is left alone with Stanley, and there is no limit on what he might do.  This movie is emotionally exhausting, though the ending I do not feel is realistic if you have done any sort of study on the cycle of abuse.  That being said, Marlon Brando lights up the screen with his portrayal of Stanley Kowalski and it is worth it to just see that.  A- 
Fame (2009)
Fame is a remake of an 80's movie about a performing arts school about kids who supposedly are super talented in their respective fields.  But this movie focuses on so many kids that there was practically no character development.  It was filled with cliches, and I couldn't tell you one thing about any of the kids that make them special.  And the girl with supposedly the outstanding voice that you don't hear everyday...meh.  I wasn't impressed. C-
Mistwood, by Leah Cypress
Mistwood is a book about shape shifters so I kind of expected to fall in love....but I didn't.  It takes place in medieval times and it focuses on a prince (Rokan) who searches in the Mistwood for the shifter.  He finds her at the beginning of the book and binds her to him.  The shifter (Isobel) is immortal and always serves the true king.  He brings her back to the castle and has her hide as a noblewoman.  She forms human emotions and thoughts and she loses (for a bit) her ability to shift.  She doesn't remember her past life helping the previous king, but slowly remembers and untangles a web of deceit and mystery.  I did not really enjoy reading this book.  It focused too much on plot and not enough on character development.  I didn't really feel any sympathy for Isabel's character at all.  She is supposed to be the reluctant hero that we need to feel for. and root for.  But I don't feel anything at all.  No sorrow for her plight, or happiness when she uncovers truths.  Rokan, for being the alpha male lead, is never really described in a vulnerable or accessible light.  The only character that was slightly interesting was Rokan's sister, Clarisse, who is kinda evil and manipulative.  I'm glad I just rented this from the library.  C+
Prophecy of the Sisters, by Michelle Zink
Prophecy of the Sisters takes place in 1890's New York.  It begins with a set of twin girls, Lia and Alice, burying their father who has died mysteriously.  A mysterious marking appears on Lia's wrist, but she tries to hide it.  She has a boyfriend, James, whose father is a bookkeeper of sorts.  He uncovers a mysterious book that tells about a prophecy of sisters where one is the guardian and one is the gate...translated into one sister has the power to bring Samhain to earth, and the other sister has to use her powers to keep the others power in check.  So, this is a serious, or supposed to be, subject for a book, but it just felt on the whole...not serious enough or not pressing enough for me to really care about the one sister who can bring Satan to earth.  Lia is the character we are supposed to identify with and care about, but the way she is written, she is so distant and emotionless, that I don't really care which sister is which, or what the keys are, or how they can get to the spirit world...blah blah blah.  And there was no passion between her and James at all.  I won't continue this series.  C+  

Bible Readings
Well last week, I worked my way through 2 Samuel and I just want to focus on two events: David and Bathsheba, and David and Mephibosheth.  
2 Samuel 11: 2-4; 14-15
"Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, "She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite."4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her"
"So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver.15 The letter instructed Joab, "Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed."
So what we have here is David giving into lust and taking what is not his.  I read this on a site and it sums it up perfectly: "He saw, he sent and inquired. And he took."  How many of us are overtaken by temptation.  Bathsheba was the temptation, and David gave in.  David desired her, but he did not have to take her.  When we desire something, we have two options:  we can leave the desire as it is, pushing it aside, or we can act on the impulse and give into temptation.  And David, a man after God's own heart gives into impulse and sin and commits adultery. Although awful and unimaginable, I think this is a perfect example for saying that humans are not perfect creatures, no matter how much we strive for perfection and holiness, it is unattainable because it is in our nature to sin.  This is not permission though, or free for all to sin in whatever way you see fit because you know that you will ask for forgiveness just doesn't work that way.  And to top it off with David, after Bathsheba finds out she is pregnant from him, he tries to cover up his original sin with another sin by arranging for Uriah's (Bathsheba's husband) death.  I don't think David really recognizes his wrong until Nathan arrives and tells him the parable of the Rich Man with many sheep stealing the only sheep of a Poor Man to  feed himself.  When Nathan tells David that he is the rich man in the story, David immediatly acknowledges his guilt.  Isn't that how it is in your life.  You are sinning, but you try to hide it and then it just becomes a part of your life.  And, it is not until someone else points it out to you that you realize your sin and guilt.  It is important to have accountability in your life.  No one is perfect, and you need friends of faith to help build you up.  But what can we ultimately learn from David and Bathsheba.  For me, I think that we can learn that when we are willing to admit our wrong, our guilt, we are forgiven through God's grace and unfailing love.

2 Samuel 9:7
“Don't be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table"
 So, Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, but he was crippled in both feet so he couldn't walk. David doesn't really owe him anything, but because he is Jonathan's son, David shows great concern for him and provides for him through unconditional love.  One of my favorite bands, Leeland wrote a song based on this story.  It is called Carried to the Table.    And instead of me trying to write some sermon that no one but me will understand, I am going to copy what Leeland said about the inspiration for the song, because I think it sums things up perfectly:
"Inspired by the story of Mephibosheth, a man blessed by David in Second Samuel, Leeland Mooring explains. “We’re broken people. We have sin in our lives and we outcast ourselves from God’s kingdom. But God’s love is constantly chasing after us, kinda like how David sought out Mephibosheth. I think when we are taken in by God’s love, we are brought into his kingdom and brought to his table. We’re saved by grace. No one can see that we are hurt because we’re covered by the blood of Jesus. That’s so relevant to us even now.”"
Wounded and forsaken
I was shattered by the fall
Broken and forgotten
Feeling lost and all alone
Summoned by the King
Into the Master’s courts
Lifted by the Savior
And cradled in His arms

I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore
When I’m seated at the table of the Lord
I’m carried to the table
The table of the Lord

Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I’m healed and unashamed

You carried me, my God
You carried me

 Oh, and I changed my blog signature to Time Lark to go along with my etsy store, so if you see that, it's me.  I might change it back to Caiti.  We'll see.  I feel like its more of a play on Doctor Who (Time Lord) than anything.

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