Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Lost Survivor

So, for some of you LOST fans, you have already heard the bulk of this, but there is something very important that I need to post about (actually, this is just another TV post, Ry). We all know by now that no show compares with 24. There are two shows, however, that will come back on the air next week. The most famous returning show is LOST, the complicated story of a bunch of survivors of a plane crash stranded on a mysterious deserted island. Karina and I got into the show during the first season. After a while I joked with her that the show bore a certain resemblance to Survivor, which we both enjoy. When I said it, I didn't know how true it would become. Please follow me through this journey.
When I first joked that LOST was very similar to Survivor, I joked that the survivors were going to find out that there was another tribe at the other side of the island, and that they would end up coming together and doing competitions against each other. Well, as you may know, in the second season it was revealed that there was another group of people on the other side of the island. This follows the basic format of Survivor. The competition between the two separated tribes was, basically, the "others." Of course, the main tribe did much better than the far tribe in these opening competitions. Many of the far tribe's members were lost to the others. So, when the tribes came to together (the merge, much like Survivor) the far tribe came in without the numbers. They were short. In a normal Survivor season, the result of this would be that the stronger, bigger tribe would pick off the weaker tribe's members one by one. As you may know, this happened on LOST, culminating in Michael killing Anna Lucia and Libby. And finally, Echo died. Now, normally Echo would have been taken out first, since he was the strongest and the biggest threat to the main tribe. However, he made himself valuable, and, in essence, kept winning individual immunity. His time finally came, though.
Maybe all of that is not convincing to you, but let me continue. The most recent winner of Survivor, Yul, bears a striking resemblance to Jin, from LOST. Just take a look:

Now, you might be thinking, "They don't look that much alike." But they are both good-looking Asian guys, who are physically fit. And, come on, they do look a little alike. With some creative make-up work, Jin could be revealed to be Yul, and he could just be playing them all. If you watched Survivor: Cook Islands, you know that Yul is a slick character.
So, maybe that last one was not my strongest point, but let me continue. In Season 1, the big mystery near the end surrounded "the hatch." Everyone wanted to know what was in the hatch, what the hatch meant, if there were other hatches. Do I need to go on? Are you seeing where this is going? Who is the most famous Survivor contestant of all time? It is the original winner. And what was his name? Richard Hatch!

Are you gonna tell me that this is just a coincidence? If you were like me, when they blew up the door to the hatch you knew that it was only a matter of time before Richard came strolling out to tell them the key to getting off the island. Believe me, he's coming. He's going to be the swing vote to blindside Charlie. It's coming. Of course, Richard Hatch will not win LOST. He's just too big a threat. After a couple of betrayals, he's gone. He just doesn't have the history with the tribe.
If you are still not convinced, here are some other connections between the shows: (1) Fire and torches have significance in both shows, (2) the LOST tribe argued about where to build their shelter, as happens every season of Survivor, (3) each show has a cast of diverse, good-looking people form different backgrounds and professions, (4) both shows bring out the best and worst in people.
Now, the only question left to answer is, "Who will win LOST?" Not a tough one. You want to know how it will go down? After Hatch ousts Charlie and Claire, and then the tribe turns on Hatch, Locke will be the next to go. His annoying rants about the meaning of life will be his final demise. Jim and Sun will be too obvious about their alliance, and will be voted off in sixth and fifth place, respectively. Hurley will be kept around until the final four because he is not a physical threat, but he will finally be cut loose in fourh place, after he loses a fire-making challenge against Sawyer. The final three will be Sawyer, Jack, and Kate. Kate will be in prime position, because either guy would take her to the final two. Sawyer will win the final immunity challenge (an endurance challenge, of course) because he'll get Jack so riled up that Jack will take himself out of the challenge to try to fight Sawyer. As soon as Jack loses, Kate will "accidentally" lose so that she won't have to be the one to make the decision of who to bring with her to the final two. Sawyer will vote off Jack, but Kate will win the jury's votes in a landslide, 7-0.

Kate, LOST's sole survivor

At this point, Kate would have a million dollars and Jack and Sawyer would be waiting to see which one she was going to choose. But then Desmond would sail up in his ship, she would run over and hop on, and they would sail off to Australia to live happily ever after.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


So, who loves school? Come on, I know you're out there. This picture is back from when Matthew was only a couple months old (Moffat, sorry to have a picture of my kid; I know you don't think kids are worth blogging about (check Ry's comments on the MLK post)), and I was reading a G.K. Chesterton book to him. By the way, his take on the book was that it was clever, but a bit obscure and theoretical. I included this picture because I love to read, and I tried to include Matthew in it even when he was really young.
New semester started up this week (at least for me) and I am excited about my classes. I finally have a counseling class that I am excited about (I have been a bit let down in the past), I have a great theology class taught by the illustrious Dr. Baylis, and I also have a class called Ministry Management and Development that I think will be really beneficial.
I'm excited about learning new stuff. In a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago, one of the pastors (I think it was Lenny) mentioned that one older man he had met said that it is good to learn something new each year. The man was currently in his sixties or seventies and was learning to play the violin. I thought that was something great. It made me make a list of things that I want to learn. I want to learn to change my own oil and work on my car (don't laugh). I want to learn to play the piano (maybe). I want to learn things in areas in which I am totally clueless.
I haven't made anything happen in most of those areas, but I took a little step. With a Borders gift card I bought a book called America on Trial and it is a large book about the most important trials in American history and how the each has impacted the way we practice law today. It has been interesting because it is new and fresh. I am enjoying that.
Anyway, stuck in a rut? Maybe God would have you branch out and explore his world in a way that you previously haven't. Just a thought.
For those of you who are in school: Press on. . .and enjoy!

Monday, January 22, 2007

MLK - One Week Late

Well, last Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday. Ever since I moved up here to the Portland area, each year I have thought, "I would like to celebrate MLK day by going to some speech, some rally, some event in his honor. Up until this year I either did not have the opportunity or did not have the diligence to find something. This year, thankfully, I was able to find an event in his honor (one that has been going on for about 22 years). It was at the Highland Christian Center in Portland, and it went on all day. There were performers, speakers, booths with information, and tons of people. I had decided to go for a while with Matthew, and I called my friend Mark Harris, and he also came with his daughter Maya. Because of the kids, we were not able to stay too long, but it was amazing for me to get to be a part of something. Next year I hope to go again, and to bring a bunch of people, and to be able to stay for much longer and connect with people who are passionate about this celebration.
I have always associated the word "hero" with those who were bold and sacrificial with regards to unpopular decisions. I think Dr. King definitely deserves this title. I think it would be sad if we relegated him to being merely a great orator. He certainly was, but he was also a leader and a hero. And his words and life still have an impact today. As Jesus said in John 12:24: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." It is easy to see this as a statement meant only to refer to Jesus, but it is not unlikely that Jesus was also speaking proverbially of a general truth. Many times, when someone dies for a cause, fruit is borne out of that person's death. This was true of Jesus, and of many of his followers. It was true of John Huss. It was true of William Wallace (at least in the movie). It was true of Dietrich Bonhoffer. It was true of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you are interested, here is a link to a web page containing Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. It has the full video and also the text of the speech. I encourage you to listen to it. If you have heard it before, there is a good chance that you have heard only part of it. Check it out: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well, the Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, pretty much everything has been shut down because of snow (or, as Matthey calls it, "hnow"). This has been a mixed blessing (or, pretty much a complete one). I have got to stay home and help my pregnant wife take care of our son. I have still been able to work from home, writing small group lessons. And also, I have got to play in the snow with Matthew on both days.

On Tuesday, it snowed pretty much the whole day, so we were outside while the snow was coming down. We throw snow balls together. They wer mostly powder, but Matthew still got a kick out of it.

On Wednesday, it didn't snow, but it was cold enough that the powder has solidified a bit, but was not icy. We had a ton of fun. As you can see below, we made a snowman ("hnowman).

This picture cracks me up because I had not noticed that the snowman was pretty much exactly the same height as Matthew. Matt helped me pack it together, and it was so much fun. I know that this will probably not be something that he remembers down the road, but I will never forget it.

Something that cracked Matthew up was when I did a snow angel. He didn't totally get the concept of what I was doing, but the fact that I was on the ground, in the snow, pretty much made him belly-laugh. He tried to imitate it, but this mostly consisted of him falling down and rolling in the snow. Either way, it was pretty cool.

It was great times, and the snowman is still up in our front yard. If you live in the area, I hope your snow days were as fun and memorable as mine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lots of Stuff

Well, I was thinking today that there are about five different significant things that I could blog about right now. The weekend of January 5-7 was our college winter retreat, and it was a great, great time. Then I was down in sunny California (actually I was in Mammoth in sub-zero temperatures) for ET07, which pretty much rocked. I also got to go to an MLK day celebration yesterday, and I will probably post on that later in the week.
To what will probably be no one's surprise, I will post first about 24. Sunday night and Monday night were the 2 night, 4 hour season premier. Here are some official comments from this fanatic.

I'll start with the high points: The final episode of the four-hour premier (9:00am-10:00am) immediately goes into my top-five of all time. The ending was unbelievable. It took me a while to release all the tension I had going.
If you have not seen it, and don't want spoilers, don't read anymore from this
point on.

Okay, if you have seen the first four episodes, you know why I have the picture of Curtis on the left. At about 9:50am he was yet another victim of 24's commitment to making the audience feel that no one is safe. Let me just say that I called this after seeing the first two episodes. Many of you heard me and can confirm that I said, "Tonight Curtis is dead. 100%." I can't exactly say that I am glad that I was right. I was not surprised that Curtis died, but I was surprised at how it happened. It was gut-wrenching to see Jack have to take out a friend, a good guy. One of the most compelling strands of 24 has become Jack's tortured soul. In Season 3 (in the greatest episode of all-time) Jack had to execute his boss, Ryan Chappelle to appease a terrorist and obey an executive order. In season 4 he had to make the call to let Paul Raines die in order to have doctors save a guilty man who could help CTU find the main bad guy (Habib Marwan). Now Jack had to actually shoot and kill Curtis. While I felt bad for Curtis, I felt absolutely sick to my stomach for Jack. I almost cried. No wonder he said that he was out.
Curtis was not one of my favorite characters. I liked him, but was not incredibly attached to him. Still, the death scene was unforgettable. It was done right (unlike Tony; okay, I'll get off that one).
Another high point was, of course, the mushroom cloud. I still have chills. I was so dumbfounded when the bomb went off. I just did not see it coming, and I love that. So powerful.
Third high point: Jack doing what he has to do to escape from Fayed. Wow. It was one thing to see Jack cut someone's jugular. But to see him bite someone's jugular was new territory. I was amazed, disturbed, but very respectful to Jack because it was his only option.
The final high point: Jack working with Assad. I love it when Jack is partnered up with someone. It worked great with Chase in season 3. It worked better with Tony (R.I.P.)in Season 4. It worked nicely with Wayne in Season 5. Assad pretty much rules, and is probably right now my second favorite character (if you need to ask who is number 1, give me a break).
The low point for me so far: Wayne Palmer. The writers have some work to do. I am just not buying it, and, at times, the White House strand has been pretty boring. I think it will improve when we continue to learn more about how Wayne got into the White House, but it was overall weak for the premier.
Anyway, I can't wait for next week. My favorite line-that-has-not-yet-happened in this season:
Man-Being-Choked-by-Jack: You're hurting me.
Jack: Trust me. I'm not.
Have a great day, and I'll be back later in the week.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

24 Quickie

Since Season 6 comes out this weekend, I thought I would post this now. It is an article by Stephen King on 24. He has seen the first 4 episodes. Don't worry, there are no spoilers, but it is an interesting and funny article.


The time for reciprocation is upon us. Last week my friend Seth Chase wrote a post on his blog about my blog. This week I am posting on my blog about his. If you want to read his post about mine, you can go to ttp://fadicalblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/my-friend-dan.html
While you are there, you also need to click on his archive from 2006 and scroll down until you see the post about deep thoughts. They are hysterical, especially the one about the swan. Seriously, check it out.
A while ago, I anointed Seth my best-friend-that-I-never-see. When I first moved up to Oregon, Karina and I attended 2 or 3 weeks at the 20-somethings group at our church. The first week there I met Seth, and I remember thinking, "I have met some cool people up here, but this will be my first real close friend. I connected well with him. Over the next six months or so, we tried to hang out, but were thwarted by seminary, schedules, and other things. Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that Seth would likely be one of those people who I really connected with whenever I saw him, but I would not see him much.

During the Summer of 2005 I was roped into leading a mission trip to Lithuania. When Seth and his wife Trina showed some interest I was thrilled. I was thrilled mostly because I was thinking, "This means that I will be able to hang out with Seth for two weeks. Awesome!"
Here's some reasons why Seth is one of my favorite people:
1. He loves movies. He is a film guy, and he makes short films. He and I have had some movie nights, and we have generally had pretty similar taste in movies. One time in Lithuania we were talking about movies and I threw out to him a movie that I love, but that no one else I know has even heard of. The movie is called The Zero Effect. I wrote a post about the movie back in September of '05 if you want to check it out. When I mentioned the movie Seth simply said, "In college I had the poster of that movie up in my room." It was an awesome connecting point.
2. Seth is very honest. We have shared our struggles, and, in particular, our theological struggles. I have shared with Seth some things that I don't share with anyone but Karina, because if I shared it too freely people might fear that one of their pastors was a heretic. On the other hand, Seth doesn't mind having a friend who might be a heretic (and apparentely, Karina does not mind having a husband who might be one (by the way, I don't think I am)). Seth and I have great and deep conversations and we are really able to sharpen each other and let our guards down.
3. Seth is the most self-defacing person I have ever met. He tells hysterical stories. We laugh so hard when we are around each other. The stories end with me thinking, "Seth, I am sure you didn't do something that stupid." And I am usually true that he is playing it up a little, but he totally loves it, and does not take himself so seriously that he becomes embarrassed.
4. I call him Sethas because in Lithuania, all guys' names end in -as. We made up stories about him being a celebrity in Lithuania because he plays guitars. We also made up a series of children's stories about Sethas. Some of them are:
Sethas Plays his Guitar
Sethas Goes to the Zoo
Sethas Runs away from Home
Sethas Signs with an Agent
Sethas Learns to Exploit Teenyboppers
Sethas Opens for the Rolling Stones
Sethas Starts a Cult
It became a fun joke for us, and so I still refer to him as Sethas, as if that is his alter-ego. Sethas and Danas also plan to tour Lithuania under the name of Tegul Tavo, so keep an eye out for us.
Seth liked my blog, but he ripped on it for being too narrow, and making people scroll down a lot. So, in response, my one critique of Seth's blog is that 2006 is not archived month by month. It should be. There you go, sucka!
I don't know why I just said that.
So, Seth and I think this blogging about blogs is really going to take off, but we want to patent it, so if any of you post about other blogs, you have to give us each a quarter. Come on, fair is fair.
Seth and Trina are going to Africa soon (maybe leaving in March). That bums me out seriously, but I am excited for them.
In conclusion, check out Seth's blog. I give it a 8.6 because he gave mine an 8.5 and I am just that kind of guy. Also, I think he is really funny.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year's Wedding

Well, December 29-30 was fun for Karina and me because we got to go up to Mount Vernon, Washington to be a part of the wedding of my best friend, Dave McAllister. Dave and I have been friends since college, we were roommates in Israel, he was one of the groomsmen in my wedding, and he have been in close contact for ten years now. Dave is one of those guys who really pursues people in friendships, and I have been a beneficiary of his commitment to our friendship.

After the rehearsal dinner on the 29th, most of the wedding party went to this indoor mini-golf place. It was pretty hysterical because it was located in an outlet mall. Discount shoes, discount books, mini-golf. Seriously. Here is a pic of Dave and his new wife Kelly.

And here is a picture of the four of us goofing off. I won, by the way. I know you all were wondering.

And, finally, here is the happy couple at the reception. It was a blessing to see such a close friend tie the knot (I got to stand next to Zac, another close friend, at his wedding just this past July). Dave, congrats. Can't wait to connect more with you guys as a couple.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fun Stuff

Well, we had a fun Christmas Break. A lot of cool things. The first cool thing happened on the 22nd when I woke up, went into the bathroom, and saw this on the counter:

I know it is pretty fuzzy in the picture, but, if you can't tell, it is a positive pregnancy test. Karina is now pregnant with our second child. This was not a huge surprise to most people (it was pretty much the worst kept secret in the world that we were trying). Sorry if this is the first you are hearing about it. I hope you are not offended that you are first reading about it in a blog.
Finding out about the pregnancy was great timing because my mom and dad were visiting, so we got to tell them, along with Karina's parents and sister, in person on Christmas eve. Here are some pics of Matthew with his grandparents during the holidays.

Amongst his many, many gifts, Matthew got a trike. His counsin Jake got one too. He loves it. He cannot fully ride it yet (his legs aren't long enough), but before long he will be bringing about even more destruction than before.

Our first four Christmases as a married couple were in different places each year, but now we have celebrated three in a row at our house. We are very grateful. Hope you all had a great Christmas also.