dvd: The Adjustment Bureau

January 15, 2012

I hadn’t heard much about The Adjustment Bureau when it came out, but picked up the DVD for around £5 so gave it a go.  It is a story of a politician who meets a ballerina by ‘chance‘.  This one meeting inspires him to make a speech that changes the course of his political career, or at least will in the long run.  That was the plan.  However, three years later he ‘accidentally‘ bumps into her again.  They fall in love, but that’s not in the plan.

This is when we meet The Adjustment Bureau, who put small changes and alterations in our lives to make sure things don’t deviate from ‘the plan‘, which is written by ‘the chairman’.  So a spilled coffee, missed bus, etc. can alter the course of your life.  Which raises the question of who is the chairman, does this refer to God, are the Burea angels, do these adjustments remove ‘free will‘.  It is in fact a story of the spiritual search for ultimate meaning, and course for your life.

Do we choose our own path through life or are we predestined to a set path from which no alteration can be made.  What if we do make that step off the path, can it be corrected and put right again?

We both enjoyed this movie very much, it was thought provoking, exciting and engaging.  Another good sign is that at the end I thought it had been a good action adventure with a bit of a love story and D turned and said “that was a chick flick”  – so everyone wins :-)

 

[the DVD prefix is a new idea for blogging since I’m going to the cinema less but still like to remember my reviews of movies,  I don’t plan to write up every movie I watch at home as that would simply take too long, but we shall see.]


wedding – food – music – busy Saturday

October 10, 2010

To the SECC for the Scottish Wedding Show!  For some reason people seemed surprised that I would be interested in going to this at all.  I wasn’t the only ‘groom’ in the room but I do think D might have gotten more out of it if she was with her bridesmaid(s).  Lots of cars to sit in and try to have an opinion about, many cakes, dresses, wedding bands, photographers, etc.  what there wasn’t much of was things that are a little out of the ordinary or quirky – so I don’t think we came away with any new ideas.  There really is a massive industry built around weddings and I don’t think I saw anything today about making your marriage last after that one day, or the commitment involved in the sacrament of marriage, which is a bit sad.  Perhaps there is room for a christian marriage preparation course to market itself at an event like this.

After an exhausting afternoon going up and down the isles of this exhibition we had a bit of a rush to get into town and had to grab some place quick to eat before the concert.  We almost walked past Dragon-i, but had a quick check of the menu and from then on everything was quick – and excellent!

Dragon-i is on Hope Street (across from Theater Royal) and is a modern fusion Asian restaurant with influences from Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The pre-theater menu (at £12.95 for two courses) had more than enough choice for us and we had hardly started our complementary crackers before the first course arrived.  Between the two of us we had nothing bad to say about anything we ate.  The service was quick, friendly and efficient, the garlic rice was lovely and flavorsome.  We were slightly rushed but I would certainly like to go back to Dragon-i – my new favourite Asian restaurant!

Lastly, the slight gamble of the weekend was a surprise for D, we went to an RSNO concert in the Royal Concert Hall.

Nice’n’Easy was billed as a celebration of your favourite hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s by such songwriting greats as Bacharach & David and Henry Mancini.  …Music to Watch Girls Go By, Soul Bossa Nova, Do You Know the Way to San José?  The Girl from Ipanema, Strangers in the Night, etc.  This was a fantastic evening of great performances and lots of fun.  Most of the music was nice and familiar with a few new arrangements of songs.  There were lots of nice highlights in the evening but the standout performance was certainly from Peter Grant, check him out if you like that style of music.

By the way – I found out about this concert and got two tickets for the price of one through the 5pm email list!  5pm often has good deals worth being reminded of.


new post on Christian Visualist blog

June 28, 2010

case study: Michael Trotter gig 26 June 2010


book: John Bevere “Under Cover”

April 19, 2010

Yes, I have read a ‘Christian lifestyle’ book.  This is something I tend to avoid having gone through the obligatory period of reading every trendy christian book I decided that they are all the same.  While each one might in fact have a genuine insight into something or other, generally their entire thesis can be summed up in a paragraph or two but they love to spin out lots of stories most of which I find it difficult to relate to.

Under Cover‘ is all about biblical Authority, how submission to differs from obedience, and how all worldly authority – government, police, employers, church leadership and family – is put in place by God.  Therefore how to submit to Gods appointed authority and when and how not to go along with such authority.

I was reading this because this is what we will be covering in the current three Deeper meetings, and I did find it a fairly good read and it explained the theories very well.  However, I did find it rather tedious at times especially passages like this:

“A few years ago I went into my office at 5:30am to pray as I’d done so many mornings before.  Yet before I could begin, I heard the Holy Spirit’s directive: Go to Luke chapter 17 and start reading from verse 5

There is very little in this sort of statement that I can relate to – getting up at 5:30 is only one of them, a church with several pastors and massive staff, such a precise ‘directive’ etc.  and I find these sort of statements make ‘normal Christians’ feel inadequate if they can’t live up to those sort of standards.  There is an underlying message that we aren’t doing enough if we aren’t reading our Bibles from 5am – 7am before getting our children up for a family Bible study (single Christians or any without children also aren’t as ‘holy’)….

OK so aside from my own hangups about books that tell you how to live your Christian life this is a good book with an important message.


Online Bible Reading – YouVersion.com

April 13, 2010

Yea, I know I don’t tend to post much faith stuff here.  In fact perhaps this should be over on the Christian Visualist blog but it isn’t really visual so here it is.  When looking up the bible online I’ve often used Biblegateway.com and it is still fine at what it does.  However, I have recently been experimenting with the oddly named YouVersion.com.

YouVersion isn’t only an online bible that you can search for passages, read sections and switch between translations, it also adds several tools to aid, encourage and sustain regular bible reading and personal study.  Here are a few of the features I’ve found useful:

Readability: The panel on the left shows the passage you are currently reading and it is possible to quickly and easily find a passage and change translation.  However, as you read down the text this panel seamlessly continues through the Bible from Chapter to Chapter and even across books.  I haven’t seen this anywhere else where getting to the end of one chapter means clicking on a link and waiting for the next section to load.  It is a subtle improvement which makes reading much more natural and you don’t notice how much you have read and aren’t as aware of chapter boundaries.  It is also possible to read two different translations in parallel and although I only used this a few times it is useful.

Reading Plans: There are currently around 30 reading plans, such as ‘Gospels in 30 days’ or ‘Chronological in a Year’, etc.  Using these you can access the readings on the youversion.com web site, via RSS reader or on your mobile.  The plans help you keep track of your progress while allowing you to read on  or catch up as necessary.

Note Taking: There are a number of ways of making notes in YouVersion just like underlining or scribbling in the margin of you Bible.  You can bookmark or add tags to a verse or passage to remind yourself of something or for more detailed notes use the Journal feature where you can have multiple journals – so far I’ve got one for a reading plan and have just started another one for a new series of sermons at church – I’ll see how it goes.

Mobile Access: This is how I first discovered this site.  The YouVersion App for Android, iPhone or Blackberry gives you access to your account on youversion.com and therefore your reading plans are updated if you read the passages on your phone.  It is also possible to quickly look up any passage and switch versions.  As I’ve discovered more features of the web site I would like to have seen more of these available via the phone and indeed it is still being developed.  Ideally I would like access to my Journals in order to make notes during a service rather than pulling out a laptop which so far isn’t something that happens easily at our church.  It would also be good to have a default translation on the phone itself rather than always requiring a mobile signal in order to read anything (this kills reading a passage during the commute to work via underground).

Cost: did I mention this is all free?

One of the features that I haven’t really got a handle on is the social networking side which seems to be part of the conception of this site.  I can see how it might be useful for a group or church but as I’m using it this doesn’t seem an important feature.  That said, the Contribution sections easily lets you see who has made a Contribution (or comment) on the passage you are currently reading.  In my opinion it is interesting to see other people’s thoughts, and some of the comments seem to come from churches in the form of sermon recordings, videos or extensive notes but as you can take or leave it.

Those are my thoughts, I would be interested to hear what other people use for online, ubiquitous bible reading or study and any pros or cons of these?


Time Flies… (+ve or -ve)

March 20, 2010

So many things happening that I only have time for a quick +ve  or -ve update…

  • +ve visited my sister and family in Dunoon.
  • -ve had to pass through Gourock :-(
  • +ve went for a nice drive in the country
  • -ve my car is falling apart
  • +ve I get to go car-shopping soon
  • -ve I had a large ‘fry-up’ last night
  • +ve it included (in fact was caused by having) Charles Macleod’s Stornoway Black Pudding
  • +ve helped friend with video project that has worked out really well
  • +ve not stressed at all about Deeper this weekend
  • -ve probably forgotten something for Deeper this weekend
  • +ve attended an excellent reading and book signing by Simon Varwell of his book “Up the Creek Without a Mullet”
  • -ve I’ve already read it
  • +ve finally got hold of a CD of Seasick Steve (listening to it now – excellent!!!)
  • -ve sister’s been not well  :-(
  • +ve been in touch with a couple of other folk who do Worship VJing
  • -ve going to the dentist this week for the first time in many many years :-<
  • +ve was sunny today and I spent some time in a park sketching, then doing some guerrilla filming on Byres Rd.
  • +ve stuff I can’t blog about ;-)

OK, so to tally up…   11 +ve  /  7 -ve   …so all is well and good with the world.  So here is a photo of Jake and I relaxing during the morning service last week (sorry about the messy background, what can you do)!


2010

January 5, 2010

I thought of doing some resolutions but really what is the point?  By the 3rd I had already broken ‘no chocolate’, ‘no fried food’, ‘exercise every day’, and a few other default type resolutions so I’ve been thinking more about things I would like to aim for and work towards this year to be a thought now and something I can look back on at the end of the year and either laugh at myself or tick as achieved!

I would like to go to more movies! I always aim to go to see more films on the big screen but either I don’t organize to go with anyone or want to go but can’t be bothered with the idiots who you have to put up with, etc.  So now, if possible, I will only go to the Grosvenor or GFT to avoid the prats.  I was surprised to total up last year and see that I’ve only seen 6 movies at the cinema, so it should be easy to improve on. Also, I’ve been given a GFT membership which knocks £1 off admission and is just enough incentive to get me back into the habit.

Similarly, I would like to see more live music.  Live gigs are fantastic (but again you have to suffer the idiots who think that they will somehow get more out of the music if plastered)!  I already have tickets for a concert in May and plan to go to at least two gigs in Celtic Connections… but if anyone has suggestions for concerts they are looking for someone to go to then let me know.

Be able to play Bass with some confidence.  I started to learn electric bass guitar earlier this year and really haven’t put enough effort into it.  I have never been able to play any musical instrument or to read music or know anything about music theory and I don’t intend or aim to be a breath-taking musician.  However, even the little that I have learned has helped my VJing stuff simply by adding more attention to what is happening musically and not just following the words/tune.  So I would like to know more, practice more and be able to at least be a back up player for a church band by the end of the year.

VJing – I do enjoy VJing and Visualist work (which I define more widely as having an overall visual design for an event than VJing which is more about mixing videos during an event).  The main regular event for this is the Deeper services at St Silas, but I have done a couple of under-18 club nights this year, and worship events out with St Silas.  My aim for this year is to get better at the practicalities involved in this – we struggle a lot with the current software so may well change it, and also need to spend a lot more money on equipment so I need to find more paid-for gigs to build up a budget.  Lastly on this topic to post more on the Christian Visualist blog and try to make more contacts with the others I know doing the same sort of thing worldwide.

Use Time better – I need to make more effort to meet up with and keep touch with friends and family, by the end of the year I should really have gone to my sisters and even better if I manage to visit all the MacLeod clan in Lewis.  A proper holiday is always in the back of my mind but I really don’t think I will change enough about myself to make that happen.

Church & Faith – I have nothing to say about that for now, so perhaps the aim should be to have something more to say about it.