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James Pedrick
31 July 2006 @ 05:45 pm
I'm listening to R.E.M. while watching CNN. Paula Zahn is doing a special report on Christians who think we're moving into the end times, rapture, tribulation, and armageddon. Not yet sure where Mel Gibson's tirade against Jews play in but.. boy do we look stupid. Seriously.

Oh wait... Jerry Faldwell is on...
James Pedrick
22 July 2006 @ 09:43 pm
I think I may actually have the capability of controlling other people. It's a pretty unbelievable and quite scary thought. And I don't even think it is something I do intentionally, but it seems that some recent events and reminders of past ones leave me wondering just how influential my "strong" personality is. Of course, we all have some control over how we relate with others - but to what extent does that control then influence how others relate to others?

My roommate just started reading "A Separate Peace" and it reminded me of Phineas, a very outgoing and charismatic personality who naturally influences and leads other. By the way, he also gets a broken leg.

Anyhow -- something I am exploring. I'm cookin' up a nice little entry that has to do with salvation... but we'll pause a bit and post it later. Sorry for not spending more time with you.

James Pedrick
What do you do when a friendship loses its initial purpose? I don’t even like to think about the subject, because it seems so self-focused, but I think it is a fair question at the same time. Friendships don’t just happen, they are created by something: close proximity, similar interests, life circumstances, etc. There’s a catalyst that develops any friendship. The friendship then centers on a purpose, often similar to the catalyst. But what if the catalyst is removed? Some friendships transition from one purpose to another purpose… but what about those friendships which lose their purpose, their meaning.

Now, I have had friendships that have changed purposes: friendships once about proximity that have moved to similar interests or similar life circumstances. Some have even grown stronger when proximity was removed. These have been good changes, positive transformations. Of course, there are also changes that seem to be for the worse – such as the classic friendship to romantic transition, where it is difficult if not impossible to move back to being friends.

But it seems most of my friendships which have lost their initial purpose have eventual phased away completely, often without any awareness or concern to it. And many people seem fine with this – content to abandon all friendships when proximity is removed, circumstances change, interests fade. Admittingly, this was me.

Now I am not so sure. I don’t know what to do with friendships that don’t seem to have much reason behind them, or associations that seem to lack any purpose. What do I do when I realize I am gaining nothing from this person or that group?

I am more aware now but less sure and less confident. If I abandon, am I being selfish? If I stay, am I being wasteful? And what are these friendships? Friendships with people? Or with similarities?
James Pedrick
05 July 2006 @ 02:05 pm
To be honest, I am growing fond of brokenness. This wasn’t always the case of course, but now I am viewing it as an amazing opportunity to grow closer to God and to others.

If you look in the Bible, God often works most through people’s brokenness. This is perhaps most apparent in the Gospels. Jesus’ ministry and healing targeted those who were broken by physical, mental, social, economic, and moral brokenness.

My latest encounter with brokenness has been physical: a broken leg. In many ways, this experience has been rather easy so far, actually quite positive. My spirits have been relatively high, and I feel it has brought me closer to many people. It has seemed much less difficult than other “broken experiences,” perhaps because a physical infirmity is so apparent and obvious – asking for help is less work and needing help is much more prominent. It could also be easier because it is so evidently temporal – I know this will heal, especially with the medical resources around me.

Already, I have had many valuable lessons through this all. The relatively short period of extensive pain helped me understand suffering more. Between breaking my leg and reaching the emergency room, I reflected on the pain Christ must have endured on the cross and where his mind must have centered throughout his suffering. I am also learning what it means to need other people and to ask other for help. And I am learning how to appreciate others – what they do for me, but even more, who they are to me. I have been blessed to have more quality time to spend with my Dad and to rely on new and old friends.

Brokenness really is not that bad with the right mindset. I think I am more worried with how I treat richness. What will I do with the blessings that God has made me rich with? Will I use it too to draw closer to God and others, or will I hoard it for myself? Too often, I fear, it is easier to do the latter. To take pride in my richness, as if it was all my own doing.

Perhaps the spiritual and relational poverty we often feel has a lot to do with the richness we are blessed with and how we respond to God’s blessings? In this regard, perhaps it is better to remain in brokenness… or perhaps the brokenness can help us see our richness differently.
James Pedrick
28 June 2006 @ 12:26 pm
I think I would have been pleasantly surprised by this film – had it not been for those positive reviews out there. I am amazed at how many good reviews and how good some of the reviews are for this film. The trailers, casting, and story left me with pretty low expectations for this film. The only excitement being Bryan Singer as director. (Though I really really wish he had directed X-Men 3 instead.) The positive reviews gave me a bit more hope… though I wish they hadn’t.

The film follows up on Superman II, which I can respect. Basically, Bryan Singer and his butties thought of creative ways to expand upon the Kryptonian crystals and Supes/Lois one-night stand to develop a far-fetched Superman III that could never be manipulated into an Office Space spin-off. On the bright side, Superman I and II were good, but there’s really no reason to go through Superman’s origin, so continuing that story isn’t a terrible idea. I didn’t buy the “whole five years gone” and “Lois has a baby” things though. They just didn’t seem like natural steps for the Superman/Clark and Lois Lane portrayed in the Superman films. There never is a good explanation of why Superman would go to visit these remains and never seems to be an explanation of what these five years were like and how they affected him. Plus he has so many answers with the Fortress of Solitude… it would make much more sense in the Smallville plotline than here. And I just cannot picture the Margot Kidder Lois Lane falling in love and getting married (maybe there’s a reason she’s so attached to a Superman.) I just need some more background to make it buyable.

In general, I did respect the casting of Superman and Lex Luthor. They reminded me a lot of Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. But Kate Bosworth was a poor choice for Lois Lane and didn’t come anywhere close to reminding me of Lois Lane or Margot Kidder. With the other casting similarities, it made it even more difficult to accept her. While the casting was reminiscent, it seemed to make it harder for them to really make the characters their own too. I felt it was Kevin Spacey playing Gene Hackman playing Lex Luthor, for instance.

I also thought the dialogue and character development was real weak. One could say this is more common of the ‘80s Superman films, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Sure, those had corny dialogue at times, but they seemed to still have some patience in developing characters and relationships – and where this lacked the most in Superman Returns was the Lois/Clark relationship. There was a big deal over Superman being gone for five years – but Lois didn’t miss Clark more than an acquaintance. For following up on the first two films, this relationship fell short. Also, I thought the weak dialogue limited the actors – especially Brandon Routh who makes a good Christopher Reeves, but whose performance fell short because of either acting or script.

Now there were some areas where the film moved away from the previous two – but these seemed very unoriginal at best. Lois Lane hooks up with Perry White’s pilot nephew? Reminded me way too much of Spider-Man 2’s relationship between Mary Jane and the Daily Bugle editor’s astronaut pilot son… which only raised the question: was this plot twist nothing more than trying to compare with what Spider-Man has done to both the comic book and movie genre? I don’t know if the Lois Lane fiancé story is based on anything in the comics… but I know Lois Lane never had a son! With comic books being these characters’ real life, this is the equivalent of life imitating art… rather than art imitating life.

Positives: the special effects were amazing! The airplane sequence was an awesome improvement. I also enjoyed small little references like the “SUPERMAN IS DEAD” and “SUPERMAN LIVES” newspaper headlines, and really enjoyed recycled movie lines and soundtracks. Also, I liked the costume changes and felt they did a good job all around with the Superman look and flying and all that.

The one other critique, and from a post-modern this might seem much, is I don’t like the loose sexual morals creeping into iconic superhero characters. They already did the dirty deed in Superman II, so Bryan Singer just maximized that, but now we have a constant reminder of how we really can’t count on our superheroes to live in a fantasy world focused on good and evil, but without conceding to cultural grays and moral changes. The Batman and X-Men movies also moved away from fidelity too but at least those are pre-designed for an older crowd, and all three franchises have done so without batting an eye.

So that just leaves Spider-Man I guess… which leaves my absolute final note on the nerd-block: the trailer for Spider-Man 3 looks awesome. Spider-Man 2 is my absolute favorite super hero flick with Spider-Man 1 right up there as well. What I like about both is this: they are great character films even without being a comic book film, they speak to a diverse range of audiences, and they have great and real themes to deal with. Spider-Man focuses on tough decisions around power, responsibility, and sacrifice. It doesn’t avoid the grays, but doesn’t seem to compromise either. Afterwards, you look at a movie like Superman Returns and you have to wonder: what’s the real point?
James Pedrick
28 June 2006 @ 08:29 am
I am really sad I haven’t spent time blogging over the last few weeks. I’ve had a lot of stuff worth sharing but haven’t seemed to have the time or energy to write it out… everything has always been a thought-in-process and/or shared/elaborated with friends. Kurt has been a nice addition to the house, giving me a 24-hour opportunity to share myself.

All that said… I might have some more time now. If you haven’t heard, I broke my leg.

I am not feeling too bad about this leg break. While this was the most excruciating physical pain I have ever felt, I realized it was temporary and nothing compared to emotional pain I’ve experienced. The pain almost felt like a blessing – an opportunity to resonate with suffering and physical hardships, to understand just how blessed we are materially, and to reflect on the suffering that Jesus Christ intentionally embraced on our behalf.

Even more of a blessing, of course, is the timeout. It’s annoying to miss work and a trip and to feel like a deadbeat, but it’s also nice to take some time off, be so relaxed off meds that all you can do is sleep. It would be nice to be able to concentrate through a book though.

And the greatest blessing of all is friends and family. It’s been real nice spending time with my dad and relying on him again. And many of my friends have gone out of their way to show appreciation.

But the greatest lesson for me, thus far, is over needs. And I am not exactly sure what that lesson is just yet. Weeks ago, though, I had found myself losing my motivation for job and for life. Around that time, I found myself grossed out over needs and the human condition. I didn’t like the thought of being needed and I really didn’t like the idea of needing… needs make relationships seem so utilitarian, even less authentic.

With this broken leg, I am forced to need others. And I am hoping I will better understand needs as a result. I haven’t really had a problem with needing others until sometime yesterday. I haven’t really felt guilty about people doing something for me. It feels nice to have people offer to do something for me. But I’ve been feeling a bit guilty asking things from Kurt. It’s one thing to have people do something, but to be completely in need and to have to express those needs and inconvenient someone else is something I will have to learn from. Hopefully it can help me better understand relationships and how to express relational needs.

Well, that is my broken leg blog… I am currently watching Spider-Man 2… great movie and I feel sorry for anyone who disagrees… I saw Superman Returns last night. Didn’t care for it much, but the Spider-Man 3 trailer was awesome… so there’s always looking forward to that. I’ll probably post a Superman Returns blog soon. I also have some developing thoughts on Ephesians and Purpose to post soon… and I have a big Acting on AIDS writing assignment to write by the end of the week which I may just post.

I’m not going anywhere, so drop me a call or email if you got nothing better to do.
Current Location: Tacoma, WA
James Pedrick
12 June 2006 @ 01:18 pm
I miss you so much. I have so much I want to write about, but need to find the time... just know I care.
James Pedrick
02 June 2006 @ 10:50 am
Have not felt well this week. Social and fun meters very low. Energy meter low. Realized environment meter has been depleted for some time. Hunger meter is unusually indifferent. Luckily hygiene and bladders meter have been kept up nicely. I am confused as to what my aspiration is set at – and have noticed few wants and several fears realized.
James Pedrick
30 May 2006 @ 04:26 pm
Or perhaps its a more gradual crisis in need of an ERDM? Of course there are worse crises in the world.
James Pedrick
I saw X-Men 3. I think it's probably more of what the typical X-Men movie would look like: big team, lots of different powers and effects, not as much character development. I'm sure there will still be some hardcore X-Men fans that are not pleased over some continuity issue. I appreciated the movie, but ultimately it gives me more and more respect for X-Men 2 and Bryan Singer's work on X-Men 2.

Really, the reason X-Men 2 was so great boils down to one thing: Bryan Singer's gayness. X-Men 1 offers an introduction to the main characters. X-Men 3 gives us this big climactic ending. But X-Men 2 really dives into exactly what it means to be a mutant, to be stigmatized, to be feared, to feel shame, etc. X-Men 2 has a lot of heart - the greatest part of the whole film is Iceman "coming out" to his parents. And I am convinced its source is Bryan Singer's gayness.

Unfortunately, Bryan Singer left the X-franchise to move to Superman... which all indications will be a disaster.

X-Men 3 does have some strong points. Just as X-Men 2 made you think, X-Men 3 leaves you with some things to contemplate, mostly around ethics and right/wrong. There's a lot of gray in the choices characters make... and if you take a step back, there really are not "evil" bad guys. What the film lacks is really honoring these choices or the characters and their stories. Bryan Singer took his time, so that you felt like he was telling a character's story rather than utilizing a character to fill a role in a story. Singer really showed care and respect for the characters' stories, while this director uses them (both old characters and under-developed new ones) as tools.

One thing similar about both X-Men 1 and 3 is I felt Magneto was the most interesting character in both films. After X-Men 1, I remember thinking about how good Magneto's motivations were. And in X-Men 3, I think I even see and understand the logic and brilliancy behind some of his more "heartless" acts. X-Men 3 shows us that all the characters almost have to compromise their beliefs, do the lesser evil in order for the greater good. Magento, more than anyone, seems to understand and embrace this openly and honestly. There's talk of a Magneto prequel. If they get this right, it could be pretty cool.