Slap Me with a Wet Fish!

Yes, that’s right. The title of this post is, in fact, “Slap Me with a Wet Fish.” That is also the name of a film I made last semester with two classmates. It was our first project in the excellent class Cinematography and Lighting and my only experience shooting on actual film.

My major was “Digital Cinema Arts” which is basically a pseudo-film degree. I say “pseudo” because we didn’t actually use old-fashioned physical film and because most people think you have to go to California to get a film degree.

Having never shot on real film before, this project was quite an interesting little challenge. There was no LCD viewfinder. No deleting or ignoring bad takes. No instant playback of our footage. And no helpful displays of any kind. It was just a plain old box with film inside and a lens on the front.

We had a single 100 foot reel of 16mm film which equated to approximately 3 minutes of footage at the standard 24 frames per second. We had no ability to edit our footage so each shot had to be done in one take and in sequential order. There was no sound recording either which is a shame because I feel like it could really do with some old-timey music.

The footage looks kind of like it was recorded from an old VCR (that’s what we used before DVDs players and DVRs, kids) for two reasons. For one, this was shot on an old Russian camera which is the source of the flashes and the jittering. Secondly, it has undergone transference from film to digital which is never a good thing for quality.

In the words of Tom Ostertag who graciously took it upon himself to convert the footage of everyone in class, “The color, resolution, and dynamic range suck compared to the real thing” so keep that in mind when watching. Even though the transfer is less-than-ideal, these wouldn’t see the light of day at all without his hard work. Thanks, Tom!

Like all projects I did in school, this one began with a great idea. Oh, no wait. I mean it began with the complete and utter absence of ideas.

Actually, that’s less true of this project than most. My original idea was to shoot a chase sequence of some kind but given our limitations I think it’s probably good we didn’t attempt that although one could say we sort of ended up with a slow, creepy chase scene of sorts.

My other idea was the “crosshair” shot. Ever since I saw the banisters in the theater building at Lindenwood I wanted to shoot something like that. They always looked like crosshairs to me but that’s probably because I’ve played too many shooter games. Since we were in the theater building for this project and it fit the story we were doing, I suggested we try the shot. I wasn’t sure it would work but I think it did fairly well.

I’m also quite fond of the first shot where we see the stalker’s face. It’s good old-fashioned monster lighting. Reminds me of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein monster.

We came up with the title by using some sort of random dialog generator online. The generator, of course, spit out total nonsense. The phrase “Slap me with a wet fish” stuck out to us. Marie, the female lead, couldn’t stop laughing about it the whole time. I think it’s wet part that does it. Imploring someone to slap you with a dry fish just wouldn’t be as funny.

We used Tom’s Macbook to shoot intertitles. We basically wrote the dialog at random as we came to it. We didn’t really know why Tom was displeased or why he was stalking Marie until we shot the end.

Assorted Thoughts on Suffering, Mortality, and Heaven

Last night my thoughts drifted toward a terribly serious and scary subject. That’s right: the future.

If my perspective is right, the future shouldn’t be scary. Death should be least frightening of all. It is our passageway out of this fallen existence. For the Christian that is a wonderful thing. But that isn’t the first thought in my mind when people talk about the dismal possibilities of the future. I am too bound by things of this Earth in my thinking for that kind of right thinking.

The thing that set me off was a couple of headlines. I didn’t even read the articles – just the headlines. I don’t remember them exactly now. Something about Israel, Iran, and war. I honestly don’t read too much news and I read even less about geopolitical conflicts and maneuverings. But I know enough for the stuff I read to be a little disconcerting.

What I don’t want to talk about here is the specifics of world politics or the validity of the idea that war might be on the horizon. What I want to talk about is where those thoughts took my mind and what that says.

What if conflict does happen in the Middle East or anywhere? What if it escalated? What if it comes here? What if we experience another World War?

I live a very comfortable life. I’m not “rich” by American standards, but I’m not going to starve or go homeless. I don’t have to work nonstop to make ends meet. I get to spend a fair amount of my time doing whatever I like. For those reasons I should count myself very blessed. Something like a war could threaten all of that.

People of past living peaceful lives weren’t planning on dropping everything and going to war but it happened time and time again. Why shouldn’t that happen now? The world is only superficially different. Some people think the world is ripe for such a conflict and they are not without evidence for a case.

The immediate thought is: what if I die? Well, that’s easy. I’m going straight to Heaven, right? That’s what I believe, isn’t it? If death is nothing then what do I have to be afraid of?

Though I have never stared it in the face, I don’t fear death. That is to say, I don’t fear the thought of it.

I don’t fear death. Theoretically.

What I do fear theoretically is suffering.

One of the most horrifying parts of The Lord of the Rings didn’t make it into the movies. Toward the end of The Return of the King, the Hobbits return to their home in the Shire to find it in ruins. All the trees have been cut down. The hobbits living there are enslaved. And Saruman is running the show.

That’s what I don’t want. I don’t want war to find my home. I don’t want to go through the ruins of my town, my neighborhood, my house and see the destruction. I don’t want everything I’ve ever known to be uprooted.

Is this natural? Absolutely. Is it okay? I’m not sure.

On the one hand, I don’t think scripture prescribes the sort of detachment Yoda recommends to Anakin in Episode III: “Learn to let go of everything you fear to lose.” On the other hand, scripture says to be “in the world, but not of it” along with many other such admonishments.

We have to be in the world. We are. To deny that fact and act in ignorance – or worse – in opposition to everything the physical world presents us is wrong. This the mistake of the Gnostics who believed that, in a nutshell, all things spiritual are good and all things physical or material are evil.

Paul addresses that belief in Colossians by emphasizing that Christ was both fully God (spirit) and fully man (physical). Jesus certainly enjoyed some small physical comforts now and then. He enjoyed the pleasure of food and wine. He expressed gratitude toward Mary sister of Martha when she anointed his feet with some expensive perfume.

So I have a problem with the thought that enjoying life for its physical comforts and pleasures is a bad thing. Yet that is the extreme I jump to when presented with the idea that it might all go up in flames. Indeed, in the end it will all go up in flames if only to be replaced with something better.

Through this thought process I have identified two great problems in me. One: I love my present comforts far too much. I would rather die than lose them through suffering. Two: perhaps even more fundamentally, my mind fails to grasp the future blessings which will come in spite of whatever suffering might occur in this life. If we could only truly and fully understand the depth of our depravity, the goodness of God, and the blessings to come, it would be much easier to live the life we are called to now.

I like C.S. Lewis’s concept of “shadowlands” – that the Earth we are living in is but a shadow of the true Earth to come. This idea is well presented in The Last Battle.

Two-thirds of the book detail the destruction of everything I’d come to love of the world of Narnia as described in the previous six books. Basically Narnia gets wrecked. The last Narnian king fights a losing battle as the bad guys of the series take over. All the while there’s this weird syncretic cult which combines Aslan with the false god of the series. It’s basically Lewis’s take on Revelation and I hated it as a kid. It gave me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach to see beloved places and characters suffer and seemingly lose. I reread all the other books, but never this one.

But the last couple of chapters talk about Aslan’s return and explore Lewis’s ideas about Heaven and the afterlife. They’re really great.

After the characters have come into Aslan’s Country (i.e. “heaven”) they look below and see England and this exchange takes place:

“Why!” exclaimed Peter. “It’s England. And that’s the house itself – Professor Kirk’s old home in the country where all our adventures began!”

“I thought that house had been destroyed,” said Edmund.

“So it was,” said the Faun. “But you are now looking at the England within England, the real inner England just as this is the real Narnia. And in that inner England no good thing is destroyed.”

I always liked that sentiment. I kind of suspect it has a lot of truth to it. Revelation speaks of a New Heaven and a New Earth – not completely new and different places. The implication is that they’ll have some relation to the lesser Heaven and Earth.

Whatever the case I am sure of this: all our speculation is missing the mark. We lack the capacity to properly understand eternity in any intimate way. Nevertheless there is one more wonderful quote from The Last Battle which I’d like to share.

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.”

This Earth is not home. I fear pain, suffering, and loss because they are personally difficult. But I also know deep down (as I think we all do) that suffering is not meant to be. It is the result of evil and we must all suffer its consequences.

I believe suffering is coming in some form. Things are fairly ugly on the world stage right now. Something’s got to give. It’s simple cause-and-effect.

The truth is a lot of the time I enjoy my possessions, relationships, abilities, and comforts because they allow me to believe I have control of my life independent from God. I can do what I want. I can be happy in the way I want. That is a truly damaging and false line of thinking.

To enjoy the blessings of prosperity and cherish them to a degree is not bad so long as I am not kept from the task at hand; so long as I recognize and give thanks to the Creator of the gifts and not fall into the trap of thinking I had something to do with it.

I must give thanks more diligently for God’s blessings. I must be prepared to lose some of those temporal blessings. It is time I stopped holding on so dearly to the shadow of things to come.

I think the Apostle Paul sums this whole thing up best.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18, NASB

That’s pretty well put, Paul. Were you divinely inspired to write that or something?

Lincoln Trailer

Happy Friday!

It’s been a busy week. Work, paperwork, more work. Yeah. I haven’t really had time to do as much writing as I would like so you get this instead of one of the other posts I’m working on.

Enjoy the new trailer for Steven Spielberg’s latest film Lincoln. Or don’t. You could hate it too. Tell me if you do, I’d be curious.

I am indifferent, personally. I was quite excited about this movie and now I’m merely interested. The trailer’s a little too… feelgood for me. I tend to hate trailers for being silly oversimplifications of the movie or giving too much away or just being terribly cliched. I’m hoping this one is an oversimplified representation of a complex story and character.

Abraham Lincoln is a controversial figure. Maybe not in the general public, but with people who’ve done deeper research he’s either very well liked or despised, at least from what I’ve seen. History majors, poly sci people, or those otherwise obsessed with the Civil War period tend to have pretty strong opinions on the man. Some are of the opinion that Lincoln was more of a pragmatist than a great crusader. Ending slavery was politically expedient so he did it. Others believe he did it of a deep moral conviction. This trailer seems to lean heavily toward the latter depiction of the man.

I don’t know. I expect the truth is somewhere in between. One thing all historians agree on: Lincoln did not hunt vampires.

Well hopefully it’ll be good. It does have top notch production value and a slew of great actors. So that’s promising. And Spielberg’s done some great historical films in the past like Schindler’s List and my favorite war movie ever, Saving Private Ryan. I guess I’ll be cautiously optimistic for this to be really good.

What else is there to get excited about this year? The Hobbit? Pff. I was starting to get excited about that but then Peter Jackson had to go and make it a trilogy. Now I almost don’t care. I’m sure my tune will change closer to release. I have to stop myself now before I rant about that.

As a funny aside: I started typing “Lincoln vs.” into Google. The first three autocomplete suggestions were “zombies,” “Cadillac,” and “vampires.” The fourth suggestion was “Lincoln vs. Douglas.” Oh the times we live in.

Manning Up

While skimming my Facebook feed I saw this article entitled “A Call to Arms for Decent Men.”

At first I assumed it was one of the many articles posted by a Christian friend. It’s been a fairly popular sentiment among some in the Christian community that males in our culture have trouble maturing into men –  a lot more trouble than girls do becoming women.

The usual take by Christian commentators asserts that many men do not grow up after high school and college. They stagnate in boyhood. They aren’t driven toward marriage, a career, or ministry. In a word, they are aimless.

I pretty much agree with that sentiment. Our youth-idolizing culture has the tendency to promote behaviors and mentalities which are counterproductive to maturity. Unfortunately, I am a victim, collaborator, and perpetrator of this trend to some degree.

To my surprise, the article in question was actually not from a friend, but rather a show on gaming culture and design philosophy that I’d liked on Facebook. Huh. That’s kind of the last place I expected to see something like that. This article is a secular take on the problem of eternal boyhood which intrigued me so I read it.

I wouldn’t call it a good article, but it is pretty interesting if only because it’s (for me) from an unexpected source. It’s centered on bad behavior the author has witnessed in online gaming.

Communication in online gaming and particularly the Xbox Live service has a reputation for filthy and immature users. The stereotype is that these services are filled with thirteen year old boys whose favorite insult is “gay” and don’t tolerate losing, girl gamers, or anything that doesn’t fit their shallow, limited view of masculinity. And they say horrible things about your mom a lot, apparently.

This is a problem with more than just kids on Xbox Live

I don’t know how accurate that is. I tend to play single player or PC games online and the culture is quite different there so I’ll take this guy’s word for it.

While I’m glad to see this is being addressed in some manner, I do have concerns with how it is addressed in the article. He kind of undermines his own point in a couple of ways.

For one, he asserts that men have it better than women. As a rule, he asserts, men have more political and social power than women have had and currently have. I’m sure he’s right in many ways, but in making this point he calls the occupations of teaching and nursing – professions where women outnumber men – “dirty and underpaid.” I donno. Maybe he’s right about that too, but that could easily be construed as a insult toward people of those professions. I know a lot of nurses and nursing students and max respect to them. That’s a hard major!

More disturbing than that, however, is the author’s forceful tone. He stops just short of inciting violence and slander against people who he accuses of violence and slander. Fighting fire with fire doesn’t seem right or smart particularly when many of the perpetrators probably aren’t bad kids. They just lack good examples.

There’s lots of interesting starting points in this article for additional discussions: topics like online anonymity, dealing with bullies, and, of course, male maturity. Those all deserve their own posts or series of posts at some point in the future. For the moment this is some fuel for thought.

The Walking Dead (Seasons 1 & 2)

I hadn’t really watched any of the recent slew of high-quality, critically acclaimed cable shows. Then, Netflix happened. *dun, dun, dun*

What did I choose to check out first? That zombie show, of course!

Well, strictly speaking that isn’t true. I tried to watch Portlandia which was recommended to me, but I really couldn’t stand the sketch comedy format and despite growing up in the nineties, I think I was missing the big joke of that show right from the get go.

So I clicked on Walking Dead out of sheer impulse. I’d also heard good things about it. And it had this awesome promo image attached to it.

NetflixHow could I resist? I don’t love zombies, but I do love post-apocalyptic, survivalist, skin-of-the-teeth dramas. Well, some of them. I generally love the settings if nothing else. There’s just something really interesting to me about poking around in the remnants of civilization all rules and objectives having been removed except survival and whatever else (if anything) is truly important to the characters.

The zombies, I thought, I’ll just put up with. Besides, I’d heard that the show was just as much about the dangers posed by the other survivors as by the zombies and indeed this proved to be true.

“Days Gone Bye” has got to be one of the best pilot episodes of any show I’ve ever seen. There are precious few shows that have engaged me this much from the very first episode. I usually find I have to be more patient with television. I realize it’s a serial medium. They’re taking it slower than cinema and often that’s very rewarding. So unless I am finding no enjoyment at all, I usually give shows until halfway through the first season to grip me. That wasn’t necessary at all with Walking Dead.

It wasn’t until I’d watched a few episodes that I realized the show was produced and adapted for TV by Frank Darabont, the director behind the well-known and regarded Stephen King adaptations Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile (also The Mist, but let’s not talk about that). I’m probably slightly less bullish on Darabont’s films than the next guy (which isn’t to say I dislike them) but I have to admit that his ability to tell compelling and memorable stories-within-stories is a huge strength when it comes to a television series. I sometimes felt like Shawshank and Green Mile were being drug out like a TV series.

Darabont’s cinematic experience shows especially in the first episode and all throughout the first season. The season plays out like a long movie and, with the exception of occasionally dodgy CGI (which is forgivable), the show looks cinema quality as well. That’s pretty cool.

I want to play Left 4 Dead with these characters. Actually they mention Portal at one point which is funny because I’ll bet L4D doesn’t exist in The Walking Dead universe.

The best thing about the first season is its sense of urgency and mystery. There are always a couple of important questions the characters are trying to answer in these kinds of stories like: how widespread is the infection? Are there any safe places left? Is somebody working on a cure? Or even just the basic survival question: will I get eaten today?

And even though the answers to a lot of these questions are vague or standard, that last lingering question of survival is always there. The show builds an environment where you really don’t know who will live and who won’t. For that reason I really recommend you avoid any and all possible spoilers if you want to watch the show.

Something that constantly bothers me in fiction is when the writers let characters off too easily. If you build up a big threat and topple it without the slightest bit of trouble then you’ve pull all the teeth from your story. I will no longer believe anything you say when you tell me something is dangerous or threatening.

The Walking Dead has no such problem. There are consequences for all of the actions of the characters and consequences that are merely inherent in the harsh post-zombie world. In fact, this might be the only show I’ve seen where the writers could stand to be a little nicer to the characters. But, hey, seeing someone go through hell is a lot more interesting than seeing them go through Candyland… unless it’s full of zombies too.

Even if someone doesn’t die, there are nearly always negative consequences to plague the characters. Sometimes dying isn’t the worst fate.

Season one had me absolutely hooked from the get-go. For me it was the television equivalent of a “page-turner.” Do we have a phrase for that? We need one.

Then came season two.

I liked it. I watched it with almost as much enthusiasm as the first, but I also watched it directly after the first season without waiting a year. I imagine if I had been anticipating season two for a whole year I might have been disappointed with what I got.

The more you anticipate something, the more you expect of it and are likely to be disappointed with the actual outcome. It’s an interesting little bit of media psychology. I guess it relates to everything though, but it seems especially true and obvious when it comes to media. I saw the Matrix films years after they had all come out so I wasn’t nearly as disappointed with the sequels as most people.

Season two’s production, from what I understand, was plagued by budget cuts and the ousting of Frank Darabont. It shows. It’s not that the production quality decreases. The focus just narrows. The entire season takes place in more-or-less the same location rather than covering a lot of ground like in season one. So the sense of discovery is lost to a great extent. It is replaced by an increased focus on interpersonal drama and the supporting cast both of which are welcome… for awhile.

Unfortunately, the show also gets a little too bogged down. A little too slow. And characters start making the kinds of stupid decisions common to horror which really flies in the face of the caution exhibited by the survivors in season one (well, generally speaking).

There’s one point where a character who is in no position to leave the group goes off on her own because… I donno. She took stupid pills, maybe? Heck, when I was growing up we weren’t even supposed to go out on our own at scout camp and there were a lot fewer zombies there. Maybe only 50 or 60.

Of course they never call them zombies

Ultimately the story arc of season two proves rewarding although it gets even darker by the end. So, yeah. This isn’t a show for the faint of heart… in case you didn’t summize that from the – y’know – zombies and mass destruction.

It’s quite bloody and gory. I mean really bloody and gory. It’s probably average for zombie stuff, but I don’t watch horror myself so I wouldn’t know. Apparently there’s no such thing as blood borne illness in The Walking Dead or zombie fiction in general because these people are regularly covered in blood and gore but nothing happens to them so long as they aren’t bit.

The show is also quite tense and filled with conflict. So if that kind of thing gets on your nerves then you won’t like that aspect of the show either. I know some people object to such infighting when the characters are faced with overwhelming odds. But it’s pretty hard to argue that people (especially untrained people) don’t tend to act rationally or calmly when they don’t feel safe.

While it is far from unique or groundbreaking to incorporate Nietzsche’s well-known adage “be careful when you fight monsters lest you become one” as a theme, it works really effectively in Walking Dead. As one critic said, the show it at its best when it’s not being subtle.

The surprising theme of the show is family. It’s actually quite sweet and heartfelt many times. There were individual scenes in the show I could picture my mom really connecting with… in between the scenes of zombies eating people’s intestines. Seriously! The themes of sacrifice, family, hope, and faith ring true most of the time they’re explored. Maybe it’s because it’s set in the South, but the show seems to be actually quite steeped in traditional values when it comes to family and the roles of men and women. That’s a refreshing change of pace from some of the more “progressive” shows which are clearly pushing for new paradigms in gender roles and family values (although is it just me or do all the women seem either heartless or abused?)

Family is a surprisingly big theme for a show featuring so many entrails

There’s one really touching scene in the first episode of the second season where a woman begs God for help and you really feel the desperation of not only her situation but of the entire group and humanity as a whole. I at least saw this as symbolic of how truly desperate humanity’s plight is. Our society and our transient accomplishments blind us to the need for reliance on God but stripped of that these characters must put their faith in something or else become suicidally hopeless or inhumanly monstrous. Of course the show is more interested in exploring “faith” in that silly, hollow, trite way television does, but I’ll take what I can get. It’s not like I expected The Walking Dead to be the show that gets theology right.

The show has hooked me. Season three starts in October and I’ll be happy to have a current drama to watch again (my last was Stargate Universe which I’m still mad at SyFy for canceling just when it was getting good). It does feel like it’s going in a bit more comic-bookie direction. Yes, I know it’s based on graphic novels, but I’m worried that they might start doing “cool” stuff for the sake of doing cool stuff. Hopefully instead it will continue to be well-written, unpredictable, and thrilling. For the most part, it has been so far. I finally like zombies for something more than video game target practice.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Candyland zombie movie pitch to work on.

Minecraft? More like Mindcraft!

I’m late to the party on this one. No, I haven’t started playing Minecraft nor will I. The game, if you can call it that, seems like a gigantic time suck. It’s the sort of thing I could get into if I had unlimited time on this earth and didn’t feel guilty about such things.

I found this video while poking around Shamus Young’s website. Shamus is a interesting commentator on gaming, game design, programming, and nerdy stuff like that. His community has their own Minecraft server which is featured in this quite impressive video.

Minecraft, for the uninitiated, is a strange open world game focused on building. The graphics are kept very basic. It looks like it could have come out in the early days of 3D gaming.

See what I mean?

The focus is obviously not photorealism. Rather, the focus is on the core gameplay mechanics. This simple graphical style allows for vast procedurally (automatically) generated worlds to be created which means there’s a vast amount of space for players to build in. There are two main modes: a free build mode focused on creative building and a survival mode featuring enemies, health, and resources more like a traditional game.

The server featured in the video, I believe, is running in the free build mode. And the creations of the players are absolutely stunning. Watching the video (and I watched all 11 minutes which is rare as I tend to get bored of these sorts of videos) I was impressed in the same way I get impressed by large, intricate Lego creations. Man, I love Legos… I could go play with them right now…

Woah. No. Back on subject. The minifigs will have to wait. Like until I have a kid or something.

Here are the points I wanted to make in all this. First, building stuff is awesome. I love it. Legos. K’nex. SimCity. RollerCoaster Tycoon. Minecraft. There are tons of awesome building toys out there and they’re wonderful outlets for creativity and expression. Again, I refer you to the video above. Video games are not all about shooting zombies. Okay, survival mode does feature zombies, but… hey! Look at this picture of Lego Chicago!

Second point: “primitive” graphics are not only perfectly acceptable, they can actually be a benefit. More basic graphics emphasize the player’s imagination. They also allow for system resources to be allocated to generating that huge world map and allowing for vast construction projects which would be impossible in, say, CryEngine 3 or the latest Unreal Engine unless you’ve got one monsterous computer.

I’m not saying anything new here. There have been lots of people arguing this for years. Gaming has, in many ways, lost some of the soul and imagination it used to possess. Partially that’s because the people who say this have gotten older and lost some of the wonder with which children look at the world. Part of this is the natural maturation of the gaming industry. But a lot of it is the relentless pursuit of presentation and the neglect of substance because that’s apparently what sells. Sad, really.

Watching that Minecraft video brought back memories of exploring more primitive, but more imaginative gaming worlds. It also reminded me of my days messing around with RPG Maker 2000 trying to create a game of my own and never really finishing but having a lot of fun in the process anyway.

RPG Maker 2000 – an awesome tool from back in the day for making basic games without knowing any real programming

I don’t want to be unfair. I love me some pretty graphics. But I love this too. We could use more of this kind of thing in gaming. More of this kind of thing in general. People wouldn’t complain about kids playing video games so much if more games inspired this kind of creative interaction. Games need to be about more than “shoot dude, repeat, repeat, repeat.”

While watching I got to wondering if someone could or would make a Bethesda-style open world adventure/RPG game with the Minecraft engine. I would love to explore worlds like that provided there was a story attached. At some point in the future the developer has said he will open-source the engine. Perhaps then?

Anyhow. Now I get the big deal about Minecraft. It’s quite a cool thing. I myself won’t be playing it although I wish I had the time for it or something like it.

The Site Has Landed

Happy Day after Labor Day! Yeah. I know it’s lame…

Even though I’m certain that the vast majority of people who will read this initial post already know me, allow me to introduce myself anyway. *ahem*

Hello there, I’m Matt. (If you happen to be reading this and you don’t know me already check the about page.)

This website is the realization of a long obsession. Ever since I discovered that they’ll let just anyone put a website on this internet thing, I’ve wanted to have my own. Back then (the late 90s) the internet was terribly slow and full of animated GIFs. Now it is less terribly slow and full of image macros. Progress, ladies and gentlemen! Progress.

So now that I have my own site and have become a land-owning lord of the internet with voting powers what am I going to do? Good question!

This website, while subject to change in purpose, is a repository for all of the stuff I’d like to share with the world as well as an ever-expanding portfolio of my work. Basically, it’s the fusion of my fun side and my professional side.

Does that sound like a bad idea? Very possibly. But it’s too much work segregating bits of my personality. If I did that it would consume all my time and I would never produce or share anything with the world. This is part of the reason my previous blog fizzled out. I felt like I could only post on certain topics there because of what I’d done historically.

This blog will have no such self-imposed limits. I hope to write about media, life, art, theology, philosophy, relationships, technology, hobbies, and whatever else comes to mind in an engaging and entertaining fashion. The only thing I’m not planning on talking about is politics and I can’t even promise you that won’t ever happen. But I will promise that if I talk about something politically related that I will try my best not to come at it from an annoyingly partisan position because I hate that and you can get it anywhere else on the big, wide internet.

Finally I leave you with a silly, silly picture of me wearing a Steak ‘n Shake* hat. Welcome to my website!

*Steak ‘n Shake does not endorse this site, but I endorse the combination of the Buttery Wisconsin burger and an Oreo milkshake. Yum.