Saturday, June 30, 2007

Job searching

I had a job interview yesterday. I did not get the position, but the experience was still valuable, and I felt that I did what I could in the interview. But I've never really gone job searching before. I have gone through applications for camp and interviews, but I have not endured the process of hoping and applying and interviewing and waiting and writing letters and being ready for rejection. It took me several months to get even to the place where I could go through this process, and it is much more intense than I had thought it would be. I think the part that is the most stressful is the not knowing where I'll be, what I'll be teaching, or whether I'll even have a classroom of my own. But I have decided that regardless of how this all turns out that I am better for enduring this process, and that it will help make it easier the next time I have to look for a job. To myself, and to those looking like me, I wish "Happy Hunting!"

Friday, June 22, 2007

I (heart) SK

I went to my first Riders game in ten years tonight. It was a preseason game with no meaning in the end, but the Riders won 23-21 over the hated Stampeders. It was great to finally go to a game again, but do not ask me why it has been a decade since I last went - it was probably because the opportunity to do so was never removed, meaning that there was no urgency in attending a game. As we were sitting in the highest row of the stadium - which meant that we got a very scenic view of the city of Regina - something struck me. I have missed something in not going to games all these years. I have missed part of Saskatchewan. Football - especially the Riders - is a big part of this province. I take Saskatchewan for granted. When I have the opportunity to see it through the perspective of others who have not grown up here or who are visiting, I begin to realize anew how unique our culture is, and how special Saskatchewan really is. I am proud to be from Saskatchewan, and I (heart) SK. I even have a T-shirt that says it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

At wit's...err, world's end

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. It does have a very epic and appropriate ending, as well as some very well-crafted sea battle scenes and an enjoyable cameo by Keith Richards. The movie unfortunately emulates its predecessors in having some odd and awkward scenes (this time by portraying multiple Jacks in conversation), several convoluted plot developments, and some interesting perspectives on the spiritual and supernatural. But, despite its flaws, it did redeem the second film's mistakes, and gave the trilogy a good ending. Even if it was fairly open-ended, and will lead to a fourth romp on the high seas. But why do movie studios push their luck and make that extra movie? Think of all the bad fourth movies: Batman and Robin, Lethal Weapon 4, Star Wars Episode I, Alien Resurrection. Rocky V, Star Trek V and Star Trek: Insurrection both followed what were essentially trilogies in their respective series, and they sucked. And soon we will have Live Free or Die Hard (which we can hope is the movie that finally forces Bruce Willis to go into hiding for several years) and Indiana Jones 4. There is a reason there is no Godfather 4 or Back To The Future 4. Why studios attempt to override our natural preference for the aesthetically pleasing nature of triads is beyond me, even if there is money to be made. Of course, there are movies that did not make it to the trilogy (Ghostbusters, Wayne's World, Bill and Ted), but the statute of limitations should have run out on those franchises (though the talk of the first two still surfaces every once in a while). But they were probably smart to quit while they were ahead; after all, the trilogy drive is what gave us classics like the Ninja Turtles going to ancient Japan and the upcoming Rush Hour 3, which is destined for greatness (Please note the sarcasm in that statement). Plus, you can watch a trilogy in one night, for the most part. Though by the time the Turtles are fighting Samurai in medieval Japan, most people have already checked out. Just like we all should for the fourth movies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Small world

It never ceases to amaze me how small this province can be. I discovered today that a lady that has been working at our camp for the past few weeks was my aunt's teacher in Grade One. Or, in another recent example, an old friend from Regina showed up as a sponsor with a youth group a few weekends ago. I suppose that I do know a lot more people than others do, and that I have spent my entire life in this province, but it's still just weird sometimes. And, of course, it's never going to get any bigger here. I suppose that is why I will need to get out fairly soon, so I can appreciate this quirk of Saskatchewan that much more when I come back.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Caught up

There is a certain satisfaction in being able to spend some time catching up on things that have been waiting for some time to be completed. This weekend, I watched some movies I have been meaning to watch; I finished reading a book; I listened to a CD a friend gave me a long time ago; and I cleaned out my car. It was very good to uncrastinate and get some stuff done, although I still have a lot left to do to thbe "caught up." But that is part of the good thing about being at camp: although I "miss" things in the outside world, I can catch up on past tasks because I do not start anything new. And, really, anything that is worth catching up on will still be around in the fall.

Friday, June 08, 2007

End of the world

Lately, I have been intaking a lot of material that has to do with the end of the world, or at least some kind of dystopic future projection of our world: watching movies like Children of Men and 28 Days Later, reading George Orwell's 1984, and wasting a lot of time watching this hilarious and profane internet flash animation. What really strikes me as interesting is how different people predict the end of the world, and how those all, to varying degrees, agree that humans will be responsible for the conditions in which we find ourselves. Though there may be some other inciting force that will make things worse (eg. the lack of reproduction in Children of Men), it always seems that human nature is to blame for the atrocities to come. Some provide a place for God, and some deny that He ever was purported to have existed, but most of these narratives acknowledge the basic depravity of humanity and that, left to our own devices, humanity will be the cause for its own destruction. This parallels a lot of my thoughts about my life as of late, as I have celebrated some accomplishments, and in doing so have realized that anything I have tried to do without help (whether divine or temporal) has led me closer to my own undoing. Like humanity in these narratives, I am responsible for the evils that could lead to the end of my world...or at least its functioning less efficiently and effectively. But unlike these stories, I know that there is a place for God in my life, and that that place is the only reason that I can do any good at all. Were I left to my own devices, I could see these stories with a cynic's eye, that is, pessimistically. Instead, I see them as cautionary tales with a ring of hope that can help us prevent the events they predict. I know some people find these kind of stories draining to consume, but they energize me and renew my faith in God as systematically dismantle my faith in humanity. After all, to err is human, but to forgive is divine.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Choke may never come again

In many ways, this year's Stanley Cup playoffs were a major disappointment. There was only one seven-game series (Vancouver vs. Dallas), in which many of the games were flat and boring after the Game 1 4-OT thriller. There were no great comebacks, or tales of perseverance, or guarantees of victory. There were no Cinderella stories, nor were there any stars that rose out of the bowels of the third and fourth lines to stardom. There were, however, a lot of chokes. Nashville, San Jose, New Jersey, Buffalo, and the most classic chokers, who had the chance to choke on the biggest stage this year, the Ottawa Senators. It was a choke for the ages, and this may be the closest that us Leaf fans get to celebrating a Stanley Cup for awhile, as that joy might be the only joy that exceeds watching the Senators choke it away. The playoffs, like much of the season, were boring, plodding, and predictable, and the team I called (the Ducks) from Day 1 of the season and playoffs won out. And so, for all the Ducks fans out there, I salute you with a hearty "Quack!" And for Sens fans, there's always next year...to choke.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pomp and circumstance

It seems all too easy to eliminate most ceremony from our lives nowadays. Everything we do is privatized, individualized, and circumcised to the point at which it is devoid of much of the sense of significance. That is why, when I walked across the stage today to have the hood placed around my neck and to hear the University Chancellor say "I admit you" at my convocation, there was something special about the occasion. There was a sense of awe about the proceedings, that this celebration truly was an extraordinary event. And with one simple walk, I am now a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, having earned my Bachelor of Education (with Distinction) and my Bachelor of Arts (with Great Distinction). I now have letters behind my name, and I am glad to have gone through the ceremony to receive them.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Some kind of zombie

There is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly butchering of a man, and the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from the body, and leaves it standing in its place…. Neither is it true that this fineness of raillery is offensive. A witty man is tickled while he is hurt in this manner, and a fool feels it not.
- John Dryden, “A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire”

From the ancient Greeks to 18th-century writers such as Jonathan Swift to filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, satire has long been an established part of our ability as a society to analyze itself, make social commentary a matter of public concern and even to cause change. But it seems that self-serious figures like George W. Bush and Michael Moore have perpetuated a culture of fear toward satirical hallmarks such as wit and subtlety, and that true satire is fast becoming an endangered species in mainstream entertainment.

Read the rest of my article at Relevant Magazine dot com.

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