Sunday, January 13, 2008


I saw Juno on Friday night with a whole passel of people. It was great; I loved it. I figured I would, and that might be my biggest complaint - I feel a little bit like the movie was too perfect. Like maybe someone made it just to be popular, which I think is the worst form of selling out for the "indie" genre. The only other "problem" was that, as Slate's Dana Stevens said in her review, no one is as quick as ALL the characters in this movie are. But that's part of what makes it so fun; and it is SO fun! I would totally recommend it. Michelle and I are actually considering buying it when it comes out on DVD, and we don't buy many DVDs. On the positive side, there's your obvious stuff - it's hilarious, with great characters. Juno's dad in particular is a great character. I think what I liked most about this movie was that it had a redemptive undertone running through it. The obvious example being that a teenage pregnancy might not be a tragedy ("what you meant for evil I meant for good"?). But there were other examples too, like Juno's step-mom Brenda who was supportive, caring and motherly. Maybe step-parents can be good parents too... I also liked that Juno's dad wasn't portrayed as a relational failure because he'd been divorced. I guess there were subtle encouragements that I really appreciated. It's definitely worth seeing.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Testament of a Fisherman

I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape; because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience; because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant - and not nearly so much fun.

- Robert Traver

Michelle and I went to the library tonight and I found a compilation called Traver on Fishing. The above quote was on a page prior to the Introduction, and I resonated with it. I have since read three of the "yarns" and there were numerous other quotes I would have liked to list, given more time. I am looking forward to the spring already... so much so that I've begun to track the length of day. Since I started last week we've gained more than 10 minutes of daylight. Another couple months and I'll be fishing...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blue Like Jazz

I finished reading Blue Like Jazz a few days ago. I have to say that I was struck most not by what he said, but by the way he said it; by his ability to share as an equal. He did all the talking, and yet I didn't feel talked down to or taught. I actually felt really lucky that I could listen in as he shared about his life. The tone and voice of this book will be wit me for a long time. I have led bible studies and shared things with people, but I think it's always been one-way - sometimes I feel like a conversation killer. But I was blown away by Don's ability to make me feel like his close friend and not his pupil. I was impacted by the things he said, most notably the subtle way that our culture has made love a commodity. It is so natural to reward those who are like us; in appearance, in speech, in mindset. We've developed codes and christian pass-phrases so we know who to smile warmly at, and who will return the favor. It comes so easy, and yet it is so unChrist-like. I've been struggling with how to be warm and affirm the blessedness, as Nouwen says, of those whose lifestyles and experiences are divergent from my own.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sondre Lerche is Cool and So Am I

I've been meaning to write this post ever since a few days after Christmas when I got the Dan in Real Life soundtrack from Michelle. I wasn't aware of it when we went to see the movie, but all the music in the film is by one artist, Sondre Lerche. He's kind of different, fun, optimistic, and cool. Which got me thinking about music, and indie music in particular, and why I don't like it. I remember being told about bands like Wilco, The Flaming Lips, and Pedro the Lion and I couldn't help but feel like they were tokens of membership in some club - I remember brushing off the suggestion that I check them out, mostly because I felt like people liked them in order to be cool rather than for good music. I'm sure they are excellent musicians, but doesn't the indie music scene seem a little superficial and clique-ish to anyone else? Maybe these are just the whiny rants of an outsider, but that's my point - this music isn't music, it's a way of excluding people. I remember when I was working in Mexico I met to a youth pastor who promptly flipped open my CD case to see if I had any good music, i.e. the type of music he listens to, i.e. to see if I was cool or not. Maybe this whole post is a lament about not being cool.

Well, I bring all this up because "discovering" Sondre Lerche made we want to ask other people if they'd heard of him, i.e. show other people how cool I am. And I don't think I like that part of me. So all I'll say is that I really enjoy this guy's music, and if you've never heard of him, don't worry; you're still cool. Probably cooler than me, especially if you own any Sufjan Stevens albums.

PS Do I sound a little bitter? I'm not real proud of my musical insecurities either...