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Showing posts from 2010

Book Review: Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker has created another thrilling novel that brings God's love for his people to life in vivid colors that will forever stain his readers' hearts.
Toma Nicolescu is a servant of Her Majesty, the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, living in 18th-century Russia. He is a war hero, acclaimed throughout the land for being able to dispatch of any human foe. He and his servant Alek are sent on a special mission to Moldavia (today modern Romania) to watch guard over the Cantemir twins, beautiful Lucine and Natasha. His mission is to watch them but stay away from them, for they are notorious for seducing young men and spitting them out. The Empress wants her soldiers to remain protective but professional. Toma has taken a vow that he will not love either lady.
Lucine and Natasha are beauties, but Natasha is the passionate seductress type who lives for pleasure. Lucine is the sensible one who carries herself with dignity and hasn't allowed herself to get involved with any …

Movie Review: Last King of Scotland

The movie Last King of Scotland addresses things we don't like to hear about. It tells about a man who commits one of the most heinous crimes of all: bringing false hope to a people desperately in need of hope--betraying his own people. They believe that he is different, that he will be the one to finally bring peace to their country. He does as the former rulers, however, and only ends abusing his power and bringing a new form of dictatorship.
The story of Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker), a former dictator of Uganda in the 1970s, is told through the eyes of a fictitious doctor, named Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy). Last King of Scotland is based loosely on true events. Garrigan has recently graduated from medical school and has no interest in helping his father with the family practice. Instead, he randomly chooses Uganda as his new place to live, work, and play. He ends up working in a small village with tribal people as his patients. Garrigan is the typical idealistic youth. …

Movie Review: Damned United

The film Damned United (2009) did not make a big stir in the United States. That's because the events it covers were not big events in American culture. Rather, these events were important to our Brit neighbors. They love their football (soccer to us) like we love basketball and American football. The movie is about Brian Clough (Michael Sheen), a coach that took his original team, Derby United, from the bottom of the 2nd division to the top of the 1st division. He took Derby United from a team with no game to a team with game to spare. In fact, after a time, his team beat THE team to beat, Leeds United. 
But back up, because we don't know how important that is until we know that before Clough raised his team from the ashes, Clough idolized Leeds United and their coach, Don Revie, until Revie snubs him by not shaking his hand at a game on the home turf of Derby. We see Clough, ecstatic that Revie is coming. He carefully scrubs every inch of the away team's showers, places…

Rethinking the Purpose of Dating

I have been on this odyssey of self-discovery and, at the same time, trying to understand how to navigate this tricky road of male-female relationships. Obviously what I have been doing isn't working. I have had several long-term relationships that lasted 2-3 years. Most of them lasted way too long, but by the time I figured out it wasn't going to work, I was too invested to just call it quits. It seemed easier to stay and try and work things out rather than start over with someone new. Of course, every time you are in a 2-3 year relationship that isn't going anywhere, that is 2-3 years you have put off meeting someone else that could be right for you.

So I started looking at how I had been dating. I was dating to marry. If I met a guy online or wherever, I would line him up with what I was looking for in a husband. He had to be stunningly handsome, a strong Christian, and financially secure. And if he had tattoos, a motorcycle, or played the guitar, it would be a bonus. I…

Enabling: What's the Problem?

I remember when Dr. Phil first came out, one of his "hot words" was enabling. This is a word I know all too well. I am a recovering enabler, and I know many, as well. I am here to speak out against enabling, explain what it is, what's the problem, and what you can do about it.

What is it? At the very basic level, enabling means that you don't allow someone to deal with the natural consequences of their behavior. Every time we make choices, there are consequences or effects of making those choices, whether positive or negative. Based on the consequences, we can then decide if we want to continue to make the same choices or choose something different. If you stick your finger in a light socket, you get a shock. More than likely, you won't choose to stick your finger in there again, unless you like pain. Enablers take the consequences of a loved one's choices upon themselves. Here are some examples:Your son tells you that he has homework, and he has to go to the …

Book Review: Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

In this dual perspective book, we have Lucius and Aurora telling an updated version of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.  Lucius, known by his classmates as "Hooks," is an amputee.  He lost both of his hands in a chemistry accident which forced his family to leave home and start a new life in a new town.  Aurora is a beauty, a dark angel, that has a kind and loving heart.  She and her father have recently lost her mother to cancer.  They start a new life in this new town, as well.

Aurora is instantly welcomed by her classmates; Lucius is instantly rejected.  Yet they form a connection from the moment they lay eyes upon each other on the school bus.  They just know each other.  Still, they end up running in different circles at school.  Lucius becomes a loner.  His only friend is the school security guard who used to be a football hero before he blew out his knee.  Aurora runs with the popular crowd, but sees the shallowness of her companions and watches Lucius from afar.

Movie Review: Ghost Writer

Ghost Writer is a suspense movie that Hitchcock fans will enjoy.  There is political espionage, a femme fatale, suspicious looks, and signs swinging on a dark stormy night.  Ewan McGregor has been hired as a ghost writer for fictional British Prime Minister, Adam Lang, played by Pierce Brosnan.  Lang is facing criticism for his interrogation techniques used on alleged terrorists, and so his image consultants decide he should write a memoir.  The memoir is partway finished, but the original ghost writer was found dead on the beach, and the book needs to be finished.  Ewan, known only as "The Ghost" in this movie, is hired to complete the task.  He is a loner with a cynical streak, which makes him the perfect ghost writer.  He has no family, and no real social ties, except for a previous relationships he calls "complicated."

The Ghost is brought to Lang's beach house where he alternates between interviewing Lang and writing in isolation.  Also staying at the hou…

Movie Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is one of my favorite movies, and I watched it last week with some friends that had never seen it before.  I truly love this movie.  It is quirky and touching, funny and heartbreaking.  I always sob at the end, it makes me so happy.  Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) meet on a random day (we think) on a train.  They strike up a conversation and spend the day and night together.  They have just met, and yet they can't seem to live without one another.

Flash back and we realize that Joel and Clementine have met before, although neither of them remembers this fact.  They are a couple that has broken up.  After an argument, Clementine, who is impulsive, decides to get brain surgery and forget ever meeting Joel.  The doctor goes into her brain and removes all traces of Joel.  Joel finds out she has done this through a mutual friend and decide he wants the procedure done as well.

During the procedure, the doctor begins to methodically remove the memories, starting fro…

The L*** Word

Be careful when you say the L* word.  You know the one.  I loooooove this, I love that.  I love him, I love her.  I love cats.  I love french fries.  Oh come on, you know you like to say it.  It feels good to say it.  It comes off the tongue so easily.  What could feel better than saying you love something or someone?

Why do you say it?  That's what I am asking.  What does it cost to say I love you?  It costs nothing.  But does it cost the other person something?  Do you say it to create an outcome?  Do you want them to say they love you?  Do you want them to do something for you?  To make you feel good?  To fulfill your desires?  To know if someone loves you back?  To demand something?

Love is not conditional upon what the other person does.  If that person walks out the door, you will still love them if the love is pure.  It is not pending upon what the other party does.  Love is a gift.  It is given by God and there isn't a thing you can do about it.  Once you love someone …

Quote from Ender's Game

"[That wall] might be breached sometime in the future, but for now the only real conversation between them was the roots that had already grown low and deep, under the wall, where they could not be broken.

The most terrible thing, though, was the fear that the wall could never be breached, that in his heart Alai was glad of the separation, and was ready to be Ender's enemy. For now that they could not be together, they must be infinitely apart, and what had been sure and unshakable was now fragile and insubstantial; from the moment we are not together, Alai is a stranger, for he has a life now that will be no part of mine, and that means that when I see him we will not know each other."
Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game)

Book Review: Taken by Edward Bloor

Taken is an exciting, original book that fans of Anthony Horowitz or Gail Giles books will love. In a futuristic world, the classes are more divided than ever. Kidnapping has become the norm, a social contract between those that have and those that have not. The kidnappings have rules, and if the rules are followed, everyone gets what they want without violence.

Charity wakes up strapped to a stretcher in a van. She knows she has been kidnapped, but feels calm because if she just remembers the rules, she knows she will be returned to her family safe and sound. In order to keep herself calm, she conjures up memories from happy times, and these memories intersperse with details about what is happening in her present. The memories hold important clues that readers can use to discover the identity of the kidnappers before Charity does.

But this kidnapping doesn't seem to be going to specification. And Charity tries to talk to her guards to see if she can negotiate her own deal…

Movie Review: In the Mood for Love

I want all of the dresses that Maggie Cheung wears in In the Mood for Love. In this film, she looks so beautiful I want to cry. She has such elegance, such beauty, that it is shocking that anyone would want to cheat on her. But I get ahead of myself.

Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung ) and Mr. Chow (Tony Leung ) live next door to one another. They discover their spouses are having an affair. We never see the infidelities occur, for what is happening with Chan and Chow is much more compelling stuff. After they both discover that the other knows the secret, they begin to spend time together and pretend that they are the ones having an affair. They do not intend to sleep with one another, but they are trying to understand how it began. They go out to eat and order what each other's spouses would order. They role play walking home so they can imagine who might have made the first move. They practice accusing their spouse of having an affair so they can imagine what they will say when the guilt…

Movie Review: Teenage Dirtbag

Teenage Dirtbag (2009) attempts to answer the question: what would have happened if Bender and Claire from the movie The Breakfast Club had met during class instead of detention in the library? Thayer (Scott Michael Foster) and Amber (Noa Hegesh) attend the same high school and are always seated near each other since their last names are close alphatically. Amber is a cheerleader and popular at school. Thayer is a troublemaker. After an offhanded remark Amber makes, Thayer seems to try his hardest to make her as miserable as possible. He does, at least, until they begin bonding in creative writing class.

Because of their troublesome homelives--Thayer has an abusive father and older brother and Amber is ignored--they both feel put upon and find a strange solace in being together. But the ol' social caste system says they can't be together. They try to negotiate their friendship, and it works out how it will work out. But the story doesn't end there. Amber and Thayer meet ag…