Mongol – the Genghis Khan story.
Beautifully shot, this Russian-made film tells the “untold” story of the early life of Genghis Khan. The characters are well-formed, and it ends up being a very human story. Yes, there are big set-piece battles, and there’s a fair bit of gore, but even that seems more of a dream sequence than having any sense of being overwhelming: they’re soothing, almost soporific in the way they’ve been shot.
Branding the Youth in the Totalitarian State – when you’re trying to control the hearts and minds of a people, it stretches even to the way that you present your children’s books, and their schooling. Some examples of how this was put into practice last century.
Another semester has drawn to a close. And so, to celebrate, I’ve upgraded wordpress out of beta mode, and then, despite my best intentions, kept the template exactly as it was. I have, though, done some long-overdue pruning to my blogroll: let me know if you think you should be on there, or if you’ve definitely given up on blogging, but still remain on the list.
After so many weeks spent cramming Greek vocab into my head, it’s strange to be able to read whatever I want: I’m working my way through Ideas by Peter Watson, which is a fascinating book, recommended by a recent acquaintance, and provided as a birthday present very generously by some of my in-laws. The Greek hasn’t been completely abandoned, though, I’m preparing a sermon for Sunday week, so it’s back to Mark chapter one – it’s been about six months since I was studying Mark 1, but the way I read Greek has already changed somewhat.
Kel and I celebrated the end of exams by watching the RiffTrax version of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with some friends: a few laugh-out-loud moments, and in general a good way to relive an old favourite movie.
We also managed to fit in a visit to some friends, a church mystery lunch, and to catch up with someone from my blogroll who, perhaps, I least expected to see. Now all that remains is to get back on top of all the housework that has been a little neglected during all my study (and perhaps to put all the notes from the semester away).
The Happening is really not worth your time or effort. Though it has a great sense of creepiness throughout, the poor characterisation, plot, and premise make for a time in the cinema spent wondering how this project was approved.
If you do bring yourself to watch it, you’ll find the things that are good about it summed up in this Roger Ebert review.
Greedy landlords turning pensioners into cheap, environmentally friendly oil, and it’s completely legal: how it can save you money.
In an effort to avoid spending the whole weekend studying Greek, and to make sure we caught up with friends before their son grew up too much, we spent the majority of the long weekend down in Canberra.
I still remember those childhood fireworks nights: the bucket of sand and bucket of water handy, the anticipation, the sparklers. Being told not to touch the sparkler when it was still orange, as it would be very hot.
It didn’t occur to me that it would still be hot for a long while afterwards, so I tested the theory. I missed a few of the fireworks that year, with my mildly burnt fingers under the cold tap. After that, I watched that year’s fireworks from inside the house.
It’s been a lot of years since it was legal to have backyard fireworks in Sydney, but in Canberra, it’s still okay. Though Sydney manages to put on a fairly spectacular show each new years, there’s something about being close enough to feel your eyes sting that takes you back to childhood.
This time, though, I remembered not to touch the sparkler after it had burnt out.
Don’t waste your life is the best book of its genre I’ve read for a while. A man in his 60’s becomes convinced of the truth of Christianity, and is struck by the awful truth that he has wasted all of his life in secular pursuits. John Piper expertly weaves together a range of other authors’ works to put together a compelling argument for living consisstently with what you believe to be true.
MIT computer science graduate Mark Hurst has put together a book here that details ways for the average person to be able to cope with the massive influx of “bits” – of digital information – that press in on modern life.
Easy to read, minimally technical, there are a lot of practical ideas to be absorbed here in terms of “letting bits go”, and working more productively with a computer, and with bits in general. I recommended this one for the library at college, and it strikes me as good reading for people who are intending to work in full-time-ministry, not just those who are working in an office.
Iron Man is mostly a movie for kids, though it has a little too much violence and innuendo in it to particularly commend itself. Unusually, I found myself craving popcorn about two thirds of the way through: it’s just that kind of movie. A fun distraction, and really seamless special effects, but a little less substantial than I was expecting, especially with the hype around The Dark Knight.