Sunday, February 26, 2006

Movie review: Crash

Denis and I just watched the movie Crash last week. It's been out for a while, but we are on the Netflix delayed viewing plan. We add new movies to our list before they have been released and then they work their way up to the top eventually for us to see them.

You may have heard of Crash, a movie about racial discrimination. It is an ensemble piece with many characters whose lives intersect in a period of 36 hours in LA. This movie is intended to explore the issue of racial discrimination and because of that, it is definitely a very heavy-handed plot. At first I didn't think that I was going to like it, because I don't generally like movies that are really obvious in the way that they make a point. Every scene involves racial discrimination. Some of it is really horrible and blatant and some is more subtle. The targets of prejudice are varied; blacks, latinos, asians, syrians.

This is certainly not a pleasant film. Many of the scenes are hard to watch. The value comes as the characters develop and we learn some of the reasons why they have developed their opinions and views. Some of the problems stem from misunderstandings, cultural differences or past experiences. We are made to sympathize with each character even though we disagree with their actions.

The real payoff comes starting about halfway through the film as each person is confronted with the consequenses of the actions that they have taken. There are wonderful moments of realization in each character's life as they are challenged to question their beliefs. The plot is certainly not predictable as there is always something to surprise you. Denis and I gave it two thumbs up.

This movie is rated R for "violence, sexual content and some language".

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ah, youth!

I just happened upon the blogs of some of the young adults of my church and I am so impressed with them. They are fine, upstanding, zealous for God, industrious, hungry for knowledge of God and passionate about serving Him. I feel honored to be a part of a church that fosters these qualities in its youth.

My pastor has a website with interesting articles by himself and other members and friends. You can find it here.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

What's up!

Denis and I just got back from our first bike ride of the year. We have started to have some nice weather here in the Rogue Valley! So we loaded up the bike rack on the back of the car. (By "we", I mean Denis.) We drove to a nearby park and caught the bike path that the city has following the length of Bear Creek, which runs through town and on to Ashland. The river was high and the path was quite scenic. There were quite a few people out riding, walking and jogging. So we got 30 minutes of excercise in.

We've also taken the opportunity to do some work in the garden. I pruned the roses the other day to within an inch of their lives, but it looks like they are going to survive. We have lots of buds starting to sprout. Two of the irises have buds and our periwinkle plants all have new flowers. Denis is working on a compost pile, and he spread fertilizer on the grass today.

In other news, I went to a scrapbooking party last night. I'm working on getting an album up to date with our current pictures. So far I'm up to Christmas of 2004, so I have a ways to go. But it is exciting to see some progress made and it's fun to see the pictures all in their place.

I hope spring is just around the corner in your neck of the woods too.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Short Seattle Stopover

Denis has to get a lot of hours of continuing education to maintain his PA license. So he signed up for a conference in Seattle that took place this past weekend. Our employer paid for the conference, hotel, travel and some meal expenses, so I went along for the free vacation. We drove up on Friday in a marathon trip (7 hours) and were there till Monday evening. While he was in his classes, I took the opportunity to explore.

On Saturday, I took the bus from our airport hotel to downtown and walked (in the pouring rain) to Pioneer Square. I went on the Underground Tour which was very interesting and I learned a lot about Seattle's history. It was a lot different than what I was expecting and well worth the $9 (I had a coupon). By the time that was ended, the rain had slowed down to a drizzle. I spied a Pho (Vietnamese) noodle soup restaurant on one of the side streets during the tour, so I stopped there for lunch. Yummy! Lo and behold, the sun came out as I was sipping my last slurp of soup so I set out on foot down the waterfront boulevard and then up the steps to Pike Place Market. Boy that place is huge. It took me a while to figure out that the farmer's market section was up at the top. I found a great tea shop there and bought some flavors to try. I had a latte in the original Starbucks and enjoyed some street music.

Sunday I visited some family friends and went to church with them. In the evening, Denis and I got to visit his second cousin who lives in Puyallup. Monday was my other exploration day. I set out on the bus again, but this time I met a woman at the bus stop whose husband was also at the conference. We joined forces for the day and headed to the International District where we enjoyed Chinese pastries and shopped in the Asian groceries. Then we took the bus along the waterfront and walked up to the Seattle Center where the Space Needle is. Unfortunately, we discovered the lamentable fact that museums are often closed on Mondays. We attempted to go to a museum in China town and also one at Seattle Center. So we had to settle for going back to the waterfront and having a snack of Ivar's clam chowder. We were too late to have time to take the ferry across the bay or we would have done that.

Monday we drove to Portland and stayed with friends before driving home Tuesday. A nice little trip. I was going to write from Seattle, but there was always a line at the computer station.