Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Walking Contradiction

I love music.

I love just about all styles of music aside from Rap, R&B and twangy country. And when I say that I LOVE all other styles of music, I don't just mean that I'll listen to it if nothing else is on, but I really, truly, passionately (or "truly, madly, deeply" in the words of Savage Garden) LOVE each style for what they are and what they have to offer me, as a listener.

I was thinking about this during my run this morning and came to the conclusion that I, my friends, am a walking contradiction. In my previous post, I spent a long time rationalizing why movies should be made of tougher stuff to be considered great, particularly when it comes to character and morality. However, I don't hold these same high standards for myself when it comes to music. I really love heavy, heavy music.

There it is. I said it.

Linkin Park

The list goes on... and on. But I have to say that of all of the heavy music that I like 311 and Incubus are my favorites. Why? Because when they came out, what they were doing was new and different and fresh. Not just straight rock but alt-rock meets hip-hop meets rap meets ska meets raggae meets funk. Gotta love it!

However, we all know that heavy music isn't always paired with moral messages (unless you're listening to Christian Rock, which I do on occassion to try and get my fix without the negative lyrics.) Does this stop me from listening to this type of music? On occassion, and definitely if my kids are around. Does this stop me from LOVING this type of music? No. Absolutely not.

Let me know if you feel this way too, but I am really MOVED by music. In a way that nothing else can move me. And I find it much easier for male singers to move me than female ones. There are only a handful of female pop singers that I actually like (not all from this era) and all are because they move me and speak to me. I don't know, I guess when I hear a woman sing, I really want her voice to be beautiful because of the types of emotions that I want to experience when I hear a woman sing. A man, however, is a totally different ballgame. Sure, I like it when men have beautiful voices too (my husband has a beautiful voice), but there is just something about a man with a gravely singing voice.

I think I got a little off-topic so I'll just end it with this: apparently it's easier to entertain me with music than it is with film.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I think that I've earned the title of movie snob among the ladies that I serve with in Young Women's. I don't always go crazy over the same movies that they do (Twilight) and of many that are deemed great movies by most people, it seems I'm the only one that has anything negative to say about them (Seven Pounds.) I have to admit that the art of a movie can only take it so far, as well as the acting, plot, etc. Yes, I want to be moved emotionally or intellectually challenged; drawn into a love story or sitting on the edge of my seat; heck, I don't even mind being totally confused at the end of the movie. But, for me personally, it's hard to justify the greatness of a movie without taking into account the subject matter. That's probably the clencher for me, right there.

For instance, Seven Pounds was an excellent movie. It was well-made with very insightful camera shots and lighting. The acting was superb and I even cried in the end. But I have two major problems with the movie: first, it was rather predictable and, second: when you strip it down to the bones, it's just a movie striving to glorify suicide. Granted, I have NO IDEA how I would react in a similar situation, but come on guys - suicide is suicide no matter how many people you save or help along the way. You can disagree with me all you want, but I think that if you sit back and think about it long enough from a religious standpoint, in the end the guy made a poor choice. Noble, yes. Sacrificial, yes. Damning, yes. Killing yourself intentionally to save someone else is simply not the same thing as jumping in front of a bullet to save a comrad in arms. A soldier who takes a bullet for a friend isn't the one holding the gun. Enough said.

To illustrate the kinds of movies that I deem great, I want to talk about a movie that John and I watched last night. Has anyone else out there seen Fireproof? It's made by the same guys that did Facing the Giants. Fireproof was a superb movie (and not just because it was about firefighters, whom hold a special place in my heart.) Yes, the acting was a little cheesy at times, the quality might have been sub-par, and the focus on the cross might have made me a little uncomfortable, but I would still rate this as an excellent movie for several reasons. First of all, it's about a disfunctional marriage on the brink of divorce, something that many people can relate to. Secondly, and this is a biggie for me, this movie doesn't shy away from talking about religious matters in any way whatsoever. It's a religious movie that takes religion seriously and it's not afraid to openly discuss God and Christ and our relationship with them. And of course, I thought the storyline was great. Those are things that I look for in a good movie. It doesn't have to be a happy movie or have a happy ending for me to like it, but it should have some sort of moral spine to it, for sure.

Having said all of that, I wanted to challenge myself to come up with a list of 30 movies that I deem great, just so you guys will know that there really are several movies out there that I love!

1. Harry Potter (all, but especially 1,2 and 5)
2. The Lord of the Rings (wonderful "good vs. evil" story)
3. Star Wars (the originals - hokey but ultimately good)
4. Willow
5. The Fugitive
6. Unbreakable
7. Superman I (the original)
8. Superman Returns (even though they took out "Freedom, Justice and the American Way")
9. Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version)
10. Emma
11. Much Ado About Nothing
12. The Twelfth Night, or What You Will
13. Fireproof
14. Dan in Real Life
15. E.T.
16. Beauty and the Beast
17. Sleeping Beauty (and most classic Disney movies)
18. Toy Story (and most Disney/Pixar movies)
19. Batman (the original)
20. Batman Returns
21. South Pacific
22. The Sound of Music
23. My Fair Lady
24. The Others
25. Father of the Bride
26. Ever After
27. Saints and Soldiers
28. A League of Their Own
29. Swing Kids
30. Rudy

See, there are plenty of movies that I love! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Girls Camp 2009

Well, I survived girls camp and I have to tell ya, I had a blast! I had my doubts once I got a good look at the inside of our cabins, but the rest of the camp grounds were so amazing that our nasty bunks were soon forgotten... until bedtime. I had so much fun getting to know the girls better and spending time with them; there's just something about spending a week together that brings you closer. I especially feel that way about the three other leaders that I was there with... you gals rock!!! Can't wait to do it again next year! If you'd like to see some pics, then go here.

Oh, and the song that I have playing in the background is my new fave. It's titled "Emma" and it's all about Emma Smith and her life. One of the most spiritual experiences that I had at camp was when this song was played behind scenes of the "Emma Smith: My Story" movie... very touching. Especially in the last few seconds of the song which says "I bet your heart breaks when some people still say somewhere down the line you lost your faith. How much can one heart take?" That line really got to me because I've always been one of those people who felt that way. I was wondering why we were focusing on Emma Smith as a woman of light when she eventually strayed from the truth. This song combined with the very stirring images that were shown has brought about a complete change of heart in me. I love you, Emma Smith; I'm sure the angels did stand in reverence as you prayed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Little Hero

I know that a new post from me has been a long time coming, but believe me when I say that I've tried. Let me just blame it on our internet and be done with it.

Steven turned 4 last month and we celebrated a few weeks ago with an AWESOME superhero party. The kids got to come dressed up as superheros then we played some fun games in the backyard. Steven was, of course, Batman for the party and he looked so cute... oh, I mean, he looked so TOUGH and SUPERHERO-Y. I think he really enjoyed his day. Thanks to everyone who came and made it so special for him.

The Superman invitations that I made

"Pass the Kryptonite" relay race

He looks so heroic with his cape blowing in the wind!

"Capture the Super Villians!" - Villian #1
(Emily, you look soooo evil!)

"Capture the Super Villians!" - Villian #2 and #3

Tie up those villians!

The cake - Thanks Michelle!

The cupcakes - Thanks again, Michelle!