Monday, June 25, 2012

$0.02 on "Brave"

We went and saw "Brave" on Saturday.  It was our first attempt as a family of 5 to get through a movie - it was a success all around.  This movie is wonderful.  Some scary parts but a great movie.

There is a big scary bear, immediately. It's a key part of the story so it isn't there for no reason or merely to startle. To me this was similar to "Up" being incredibly sad in the first 10 minutes. It would be unnecessary in a kid's movie, but this isn't a kid's movie - it is telling a story and it is part of the story. A key part that is built upon.

Pixar is masters at story telling.  They have made one movie that I thought was poor (Cars 2), not terrible but they have set the bar so high that it was disappointing when they missed.  That experience left me curious if they could still deliver or had somehow been tainted by Disney.  Did the Disney machine, which is relentless in churning out pointless sequels and cheap Tinkerbell movies, grind up Pixar and make them assimilate?  The answer is NO.

Beyond the previews leading you to believe this is a just a tom-boy struggle to fit into a Scottish clan society this is really a movie about family and pride.  It is a tale of being stuck in your pride.  The men are full out buffoons but it is still a great story of family.

I also thought it is a monumental leap for being a mother-daughter movie that every guy will enjoy and appreciate too.  The father-son movie has been done well ("Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs", "How to Train Your Dragon") in the kid movie realm and outside.  I can't think of any mother-daughter movie that didn't firmly drop in the realm of "chick flick".

Pixar has been nominated before for "Best Picture" which I think was just a gesture of kindness to "Toy Story 3" and the full saga.  I think that "Brave" could be a strong contender and at the very least might make Hollywood reflect on what their main business should be - telling stories.

And elsewhere, and in all ages, in braver fashion, under cleaner skies, the same eternal tale-telling still goes on, and the whole mortal world is a factory of immortals. -GK Chesterton

Friday, June 22, 2012

Engineer's Theme Song - Elmer's Electric Tricycle by Phredd

I consider this my engineering theme song (or at least one of them when I'm really motivated)

I can quickly think of 5 reasons why this song rocks -
1.  It's catchy
2. It's on ukulele
3. Phredd (Fred) and Keilah sound great.  I hope to built father/daughter moments like this.
4. "workin' not shirkin'"
5. It reminds me of "Andrew Henry's Meadow" which is just a fantastic book.

Enjoy the song!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

...on Father's Day

This past Sunday was Father's Day.  Often a "Father's Day" sermon consists of one of two messages (sometimes both).
1) "you suck, get in the game" - a message of how important fathers are; meant to motivate you because you aren't doing it good enough.
2) "let me tell you how to do it right, because you suck" - a message with the 5 skills, or 3 attributes of a good father.

I find it imperative to quickly note that I have failed at being the perfect father, I will fail at doing it today and tomorrow too.  I used to try for that perfection - now, if I have my wits, I don't try.  Not that I don't do the "good dad" things, I just don't try to measure up to that perfection.  Trying to measure up to an impossible standard is a formula for failure and guilt.  I am still getting my head around not trying (in pride) to establish things on my own strength and then failing, rather than completely yielding to God.  Motivated by joyful obedience rather than rules.

Sunday was a different "Father's Day" sermon.  Our pastor shared from his life about his grandfather's chair and the joy of being gathered around it.  It was simple reflections on a good father.  It then segued to "if you had a good father or not, you have a great heavenly father".  This got me dwelling on two things.  Rather than dwelling it was more that it fueled one fire and started another blaze altogether.

1) Stories. 
Stories connect.  Generally stories work by either relating to you somehow, or expressing some truth that is slippery to get exact words around.  "The kingdom of heaven is like.....".  The nature of truth is that it rings something within us, so in a sense truth works in the same way; it relates.

I hear (and have myself) people who struggle with "sharing their faith" because they do not have the perfect words, or don't feel knowledgeable enough.  The simplest solution - instead of formulae or methods - is to simply share your faith.  What has God done for you?  What difference has Jesus made to you (in you)?  The reasons for belief are important but are not a substitute for the faith.  Tell your story.

I've lately (6 months?, 1 year?) been dwelling more and more on the Bible as one continuous story.  I don't think it is said outright but the Bible gets cornered into Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, and/or a collection of examples (good and bad) in which God reveals how we should live.  Pushing King David into a story about adultery flattens him from being a real person who was after God's own heart.  He was great and greatly flawed; he was human.  I've been trying to see Genesis to Revelation as the unravelling of one story.  It has been overwhelming as it has worked together.  This is probably why "The Jesus Storybook Bible" has become one of my favorite books.  The Bible relates in new ways.

2) Fathers as the everlasting story element. 
Not unrelated to item 1 is that everyone can relate to a story with a father, or a lack of one.  All verbal descriptions of God will fall short, but they can help us understand a facet of Him.  But when he is described as the Good Shepherd; I miss out. I've never tended sheep.  I can understand protecting, leading and feeding; but that is a far cry from doing it.  Understanding how to ride a bike is greatly different from the experience of riding a bike.  So that if something was called not just a good bike, but The Good Bike.  It will ride fast and leisurely, smooth in all terrains, effortless to navigate and manage.  Wheels grip, grips stay on handlebars, bars do not bank you in nasty spots, pedals will not break, and brakes always work even when wet.  Having ridden a bike (and failed with resulting bloody knees) I have a deeper understanding.  The experience and trials of where it has fallen from the standard helps me understand how great that level of perfection is.

Now having some years as a father I understand the importance of a father and how to do it right.  Most importantly is to help my children to understand that their hunger for a good father needs to go beyond me.  There is a Father much more important, and who does it better.  He loves perfectly.  Once grasped it is like riding a bike, you never forget.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Give me a ticket for an airplane.....

I was digging thru a few draft blog posts and came across this.  It is rather meaningless but here it be.

I was flying back home from Bakersfield and started to wonder how much I've actually flown.  It felt like a great amount.
So here's my list from the best of my recollection -

Lancaster-Florida - Disneyworld (8? y/o)
Lancaster-Boston - mission trip & amusement park (16?) -
Pgh - Guatemala - mission trip - incredible
Pgh - Birmingham - construction equipment seminar
Pgh-Kansas City - TWA interview
KC - Wash. DC - camping trip with friends
KC - Lancaster - family visits
KC - Wisconsin - ultimate tourney
KC - Phoenix - ultimate tourney
KC - Pittsburgh - family visits
KC - Seattle - Boeing training
KC - Seattle - Boeing training (composites)
KC-WV - Bombardier interview
KC-Pgh - USAir interview
Pgh - LA - aircraft training at UCLA
Pgh - Harrisburg - family visits
Pgh - Cancun - vacation
Pgh - Cedar Rapids - friend's wedding
Pgh - SanDiego - friend's wedding
Pgh - SanFran - Becky had training
Pgh - Minnesota -
Pgh - Florida - Becky had training

Pgh - Wisconsin - work, install
Pgh - Saskatoon - work

Pgh - Houston - evaluate equipment
Pgh - Chicago - ERP evalaution
Pgh - Edomonton - equipment evaluation
Pgh - Bakersfield - equipment startup part 1
Pgh - Bakersfield - equipment startup part 2