Monday, August 30, 2004

The Great Sasquatch Hunt

When they said I was having “freshman orientation” on Thursday night, I very quietly freaked out. Images of shaving cream, alchohol, severe beatings, and duct tape flashed through my brain. Contrasting that were images of running through campus in my whitey tighties. Suffice to say, I was freaked out.

Oh, and one more thing I should mention. Miller (my dorm) is the only all male dorm on campus. The others are sectioned off by floor, but miller is the only one that houses pure testosterone. Keep that in mind.

My floor went around together to do the different “challenges”. The first one, understandably machisimo, was to pick up a girl. And I’m using the word “girl” very liberally here. We found Carletta, lying on the ground showing a lot of his, I mean her, legs. Apparently we were supposed to use subtle lines or whatever “hey, I’ve seen you around campus, etc…” you know, conversation starters and whatnot. But we didn’t worry about those.

So after picking up the he-she, we did fairly normal things like making a pyramid (I was on the bottom, of course) and climbing a rope wall. These, unlike the previous exercise, actually served their purpose in showing teamwork. I know I for one would not have been able to make it up to the top without help from the other guys.

Then came the crossing of the swinging bridge…with our shirts pulled over our eyes. Then the piggie-back rides over back to the other side; through the water. For some odd reason, my partner decided to lift my 200-pound frame onto his somewhat scrawny shoulders, thus causing us to fall forwards into the creek.
But none compare to the great Sasquatch hunt. The Sasquatch is the legendary creature that lives behind our dorm. Or at least that’s what they told us. To me, he looked a lot more like a really hairy guy in a speedo with Vaseline slathered all over himself. We had to catch him, hoist him over our heads, chant masculinely, and promptly drop him. Well, actually we didn’t have to drop him, but we did anyway. Yeah. He appreciated that a lot.

Well, if this is any indications, there are a lot more Sasquatches in my future.


I’m not sure what on earth that means, but I’m scared as crap.

Friday, August 27, 2004

First Day Of Camp…us

After 7 hours of driving, 3 fast food stops, 2 suitcases of my worldly possessions, and much coffee, I arrived at Messiah. After about a complete day or so as a college student, I have one question. Why on earth does this feel so much like a summer camp?

I mean, it may be the exact opposite; all the summer camps I’ve ever been to have been at colleges, and felt a lot like college. But there’s something different about this one: It really is college. But for some reason I’m getting into the whole summer camp mentality. I meet people, and for some reason feel like I won’t see them after a week or so. In fact, the opposite is true. I’ll end up hanging out with these people for the next 4 years. I’ll become best friends with these people. Yeah…weird.

I figure it’ll stop feeling like a summer camp by the time classes start.

But anyhow, I’ll post a bigger post later about what all has happened. There’s a lot that’ll make a good post. Yeah… this is gonna be alright.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Closing

When you’re working the lunch hour at Chick-Fil-A, You want a lot of chicken. Sandwhiches fly out of the chutes so fast, it’s all you can do to keep up with the orders. As soon as a batch comes up, you need another one to go down, or you’ll run out. You don’t worry about holding times, food costs, or anything. You just want chicken, and you want a lot of it, and you want it fast.

But at the end of the night, things are very different. You want to call as little as possible; just enough to get by. You want to make most things to order, and barely get chicken at all.

The reason for the contrast is because you’re in a completely different mindset at close. It’s different because things are ending. The store closes at 10, and all chicken has to be thrown away at that time. You don’t want to have too much left over from earlier, or it won’t mean a thing after it’s all done.

For some reason, I have that feeling right now. My life in the wonderful little Commonwealth of Virginia is coming to an end. I feel it more in the little things. Things like not being able to wear nice clothes because most of them are packed. Things like saying I won’t be able to go to movies or concerts with people because I’ll be in another state. Things like playing synth on Sunday for the last time. Things like seeing friends for the last time. Things like going to Care Group for the last time.

Things like working at Chick-Fil-A for the last time.

Well, I guess I won’t miss everything.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

God Bless the Indian Summer

Click here, scroll to the bottom. I'm suddenly less apprehensive aboutgoing to messiah now. Free Pedro.

And on that note: I'm quite proud of myself. I believe I've just had the most flawless working of song lyrics into convesation. Observe:

Mondenkind 33: u know, u think spring semester is gonna be warm mostly
Mondenkind 33: but fall is actually warmer
Mondenkind 33: sept is beautiful
Mondenkind 33: and last year we had an indian summer like halfway through nov
Mondenkind 33: it was crazy
MovieMakinHobbit: Yeah
MovieMakinHobbit: God bless the indian summer....

And on that note, God bless the Indian Summer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Movie Review: Napoleon Dynamite

I’d just like to say this up front. I wanted to see Napoleon Dynamite before anyone else. I saw an online ad, went to the website, looked at the production stills read the production notes .pdf, etc. Then when I heard from other people that it was funny, I wanted to see it even more. I’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite twice now, and I think I can safely say: this is a good movie.

To be quite honest though, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would (at least the first time). The plot centers on the title Napoleon Dynamite (played by Jon Heider), and his older brother Kip, Uncle Rico, and Friends Deb and Pedro. And I use the word ‘plot’ quite loosely, as what little there is, is only there to serve the characters. Normally in Hollywood, you see the exact opposite, and it may be a good thing to know going in, that you will only like this movie if you like weird characters.

And by weird, I mean WEIRD.

I am not exaggerating at all when I say that EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in this movie is so outrageously out there, it’s not even funny. Or, to be more correct, it‘s incredibly funny. In most movies, a character like Uncle Rico would be outrageous enough to be the “weirdest” character. But in Napoleon Dynamite, he may be the least odd. The sheer oddness of all the rest of them completely overshadows any one character.

But then, I think that’s just what I didn’t like about this movie. It’s not that we’ve never seen a movie with a bunch of weird characters, but all of those have at least one character that’s in touch with reality. A “straight” man, as they would say in Vaudeville. That was the formula they used. The straight guy would set up the jokes, and the, umm, I dunno. Gay?… whatever guy would give the punchlines.

In Napoleon Dynamite, there is no “straight” character; Not a single character in the movie is a member of the “real” world. This gives the film a bit of a surreal feel to it.

And unfortunately, because of this, we miss the human element. We laugh at Napoleon (actually, we laugh a LOT), but we almost never feel truly sorry for him, because he just isn’t ‘real’ to us.

But I digress. This movie is freaking hilarious. If the only reason you want to see this movie is to laugh at a curly haired geek fall all over himself, and say funny things, then by all means, go see this movie. Great storytelling this is not, but funny, yes.

And one little note: Some unnamed people have called this movie “Indie”, and calling all who didn’t like it “mainstream”. Let me tell you something: when a movie has MTV splashed all over the leader, a flashy website, and it’s stars are presenters at the teen choice awards, it’s not strictly an “indie” movie anymore.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

It's a bird, it's a plane...no, it's a gay governor (in fact, a gayvernor!)

Yahoo! News - N.J. Governor Resigns, Admits Gay Affair

This is what Felicia, our resident New Jersey correspondent, had to say in reaction to today's news:

Stars Blind Eyes: if bush was gay i would cry
Stars Blind Eyes: cus hes sexy
Stars Blind Eyes: in a wrinkly sort of way

This has been an Agnax special report.

Movie Review: The Village

Going in to see The Village, I had been hearing rather polarized reviews from both camps: People either loved it (Richard Roper called it an early Oscar contender; Chris Haggard liked it too) or hated it (Roger Ebert gave it one star, called it boring and monotonous; Whitney Rusnak didn’t much care for it, either). This makes sense, with it’s Tomatometer Rating at 44%. So going in, I expected to be either really let down, or completely blown away.

However, I walked out of the theater, realizing that I was neither. The premise (which I will not go much into, for the sake of those yet to see the movie) was, quite honestly a flimsy one, kept mostly a secret until the end. Some said they could see it coming; I think they’re lying. But whatever the case, the movie is saved by Shyamalan’s once again strong directing.

The village is more of a character study than his previous movies, dealing more with human nature than with supernatural creatures and the like. This is made possible not only by Shyamalan’s skilled writing, but also by the phenomenal cast. Ron Howard’s daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, is exceptional in her screen debut as the blind heroine. Shyamalan cast her without an audition after seeing her in a broadway show. From the first moment we see her, we know he made the right choice.

But she’s not alone. Shyamalan chose an all-star cast for this picture, including Academy award nominees Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver, and Academy award winners William Hurt and Adrien Brody. The acting is good all around, although I was not very impressed with Adrien Brody. He plays (or OVERplays) the mentally challenged village idiot. What could have been a very challenging and dramatic role for him, ends up being more comic relief than anything. One part in particular when he does something not at all funny, I found the people sitting next to me laughing (I’m being vague on purpose).

But, Brody and the less than gratifying ending aside, the movie’s saving grace lies, as I said, in Shyamalan’s directing. Even with a less-than-perfect idea, he crafts a thoroughly watchable and engaging movie. Not nearly as good as the sixth sense, or even signs (I have yet to see Unbreakable), but still a good movie.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

..'Til the day when we live in a video

I've seen a couple movies recently, (The Village and Napoleon Dynamite) so I'll be posting reviews on them as soon as I type them up.

Friday, August 06, 2004

notebooks

I was cleaning out my room last night, and came across my old school notebooks. I opened them, and memories came flooding back.

Memories of an awkward 14-year-old going on a spring trip to pennsylvania, memories of that awkward 14-year-old making friends and being accepted anyway, of choirs starting and choirs ending; of study halls that were supposed to be used for practicing, instead used for talking and building friendships; of Drama classes where that awkward 14-year-old was called apon to actually DIRECT a play; of trips to north carolina spent doing nothing but taping the prank wars between two brother's cabins; of wanting to tell someone something, but not being able to. At least not until the school years done, and even then only being able to do it over IM; of Chemistry classes spent suprememly goofing off; of Spanish classes spent slacking, and then getting a D, and then working my butt off to get a C; of all the Mrs. McCarthy-isms(Lo-and-behold); of FINALLY, after years of trying, being exempt from the final math exam; of the many, many debates on predestination; of a senior year that will never be forgotten, although perhaps for the wrong reasons; of an extremely memorable speech and debate class; of an unbelievely fun year of leading a praise band; of a crazily well-performed choir concert, unaware that it was my last; of how the mistake of one can, and will, affect hundreds; that leadership is a gift from God, not meant to be abused; of friendships made, and broken; of friend's friendships made, and broken; of singing 'Army' at the top of our lungs; of prom; of 'the' dance; of laughing, of crying, of loving, of hurting...

......of her.....


I threw them away.





...should I have?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Matt on the Road pt. 11 –6/26/04 8:17 AM El Paso Time

Well our last day in mexico was a long one. We went to the market, and I got ripped off several times. I bought a bullwhip for 12 dollars, only to find that someone else bought the same one 3 for 11. Also, I bought some sunglasses that happened to break on the way home. Stupid Mexicans.

Anyway, I think it’s about time to wrap up this mexico blog thing. My final thoughts on the trip are: I’m glad I was on team B.

At first, I was hoping I could be on the A team, but now that the week’s done, I can see how it would have been completely different. I would have never gotten to know the people I did, being on team A. I would have hung out with the friends I already had, and never met (or re-met) anyone new.

It just goes to show you how God uses things you expect to be bad for good. Or something like that. It’s late.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Movie Review: The Bourne Supremacy

When I first saw the trailers for the Bourne supremacy, the anticipation immediately started building; which is quite interesting, seeing as I hadn’t seen the first one. A movie gallery rental later, that was remedied.

The original Bourne Identity struck me as a great mixture of character vs. plot vs. action. In many action movies, if not most, the characters are there only to further the plot, which in turn is only there to fit as many cool action/FX scenes as possible. In The Bourne Identity, though, the characters were fully functional and drove the plot of their own accord, not vice versa. And to boot, it had great action and FX.

This thread is continued in The Bourne Supremacy, although I will say up front I didn’t like it as much as the first one. The first one had the advantage of us getting to know the characters, at the exact same time as they were finding out who they were themselves.

Unfortunately, in the BS (which is just a coincidence, by the way. It’s really not that bad…) there is very little character exposition, since we already know the characters. Unfortunately, most of the new characters are given very little depth at all. They’re really only there to provide something for Bourne to do.

For most action movies, I wouldn’t harp on this very much. It’s just that BS had a bit of a rep to live up to (for me, anyway). It had very little characterization, although the amount it did have, I did enjoy.

Sadly, though, the plot was also fairly standard. It wasn’t anything too great, rather predictable in fact. It wasn’t BAD, but it wasn’t nearly as involving as the first.

But as far as action/FX go, words cannot describe (at least spoiler-free, they can’t). Put it this way: if this is your sole reason for wanting to see this movie, then GO SEE IT. RIGHT NOW.

Actually, even if it isn’t, go see it anyway. The action scenes are the one part that I think BS improved on the first. Not only in the direction and choreography of them, but just the sheer creativity of them. Again, in an effort to be spoiler-free, I won’t say any more. But suffice to say, in my opinion this more than makes up for the mediocre parts of the rest.

Conclusion: Go see it. It’s not that deep, but it’s mad fun.

Matt on the Road pt. 10 –6/26/04 8:17 AM Guadalupe Time

There is a dog here. No one knows how she got here, or what to call her. We call her scratch, but the children don’t have a name for her. Probably because they don’t much like her. I’ve seen kids kick her away for no reason.

Now, she’s by no means the perfect dog. She probably has more fleas on her than the entire population of Rhode Island. Not to mention more diseases than a hospital in downtown Manhattan.

But she’s one of the most loving dogs I’ve ever met. All you have to do is show her the least bit of affection, and she’ll love you more than anything. She won’t touch you, but that’s probably a good thing. I don’t know WHY she’s so friendly towards us, since all the Mexican kids are so mean to her. One would think she’d learn not to trust humans.

Not so, which was perhaps her undoing. I just found out that they had her put to sleep. Which in Mexico, as you can imagine, is nowhere near as humane as in the U.S. I don’t know all the details, but it really makes me sad.

Also, she has a puppy. I’m not sure how old it is, or if it’s old enough to be taken away from it’s mother or not. But I think the fact that I even care that some random dog in Mexico is dead says a lot about how much a week can mean.

I said near the beginning about how “Someone said it was a “life changing” experience for them, but I’m not quite sure how much one week can really change your life.” I’m not sure how life changing it was for me, but I’ve really bonded both with the kids from the orphanage, but also people from my church (Rachel Herman is NOT as quiet as she seems).

People that I barely know, or even did not know at all, are now actually my friends. But now I have to leave the ones at the orphanage, and join my friends from church to go back to los Estados Unidos. Part of me wonders whether it was worth it, just knowing people for a week, just enough time to get close, and then saying goodbye, probably forever.

But I think that the fact that I knew them, and became friends outweighs the fact that I’m leaving. So, for better or for worse, we’re leaving the orphanage today.

And what makes it even harder, is to think that I’ll have to leave all the friendships I’ve made and built on this trip with church people in 2 months, as well. College is a weird thing. Soon is the day where I pack my entire life into a suitcase, and leave behind everything that was ever familiar to me, and that I hold dear.

But in all this moving around, It’s a bit comforting to know that God is there all the time. He’ll be here with these kids when I leave, he’ll be with my friends when I go to college, and he’ll even be with me, wherever I decide to go next.

I guess that is a bit comforting, isn’t it?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

BS

Saw the Bourne Supremacy yesterday. Review up soon.