Monday, December 22, 2008

Five Things

1) I just saw a spider crawl up my bedroom wall and stop on the "W" of the Hollywood sign poster I have. Then I thought about how creepy it would be to see giant spiders on the actual Hollywood sign. I think that's actually a terrible horror film already....

2) This Christmas I am re-discovering my affinity for playing the piano and baking lemon squares.

3) I got to hold two newborn babies in the past week.

4) Leaving home is going to be harder than I thought. Emotionally and financially.

5) Here are the 6 major films opening nationwide on Christmas day, in order that I am most excited about them:

1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. The Spirit
3. Valkyrie
4. Frost|Nixon
5. Marley & Me
6. Bedtime Stories

More thoughtful posts coming soon to a computer near you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Late Night in Swain

Far better than any of the late night television shows, there is "Late Night in Swain." This is what I have dubbed the small community of filmmakers that squirrel themselves away in the tech-laced building at all hours of the night perfecting our small, but meaningful (to us) creations.

Overheard recently:

"It's 1 am - I may start gesticulating wildly for no reason." -Zac

"....that's what she said." -Everyone

"I will render all. All to thee I freely render" -Me

"I will show you fear in a handful of dust." -T.S. Eliot

"It's business time." -Kris

"I like girls. They smell nice." -Zac

"Some parts are really really fun to get into and some parts aren't. Didn't you think that last part was fun, Tim?" -Kris

"I was poking around and I was like, 'Man! That is exactly what I want!'" -Zac

"No! No! No! I lost these files!" -Everyone

"Until recently I used to mispronounce 'cacophony' and 'mogul.'" -Me

"I hate audio." -Everyone

"I like hot keys. They're hot." -Kris

End scene.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Mmmm. This is my heart right now. (Click on it to watch.)

And for those of you who don't like country music, unfortunately, this song by Gary Allan is also quality:

i'm still learning how to pray
trying hard not to stray
try to see things your way
i'm still learning how to pray
i'm still learning how to trust
it's so hard to open up
and i'd do anything for us
i'm still learning how to trust

i'm still learning how to bend
how to let you in
in a world full of tears
we'll conquer all our fears
i'm still learning how to fly
i wanna take you higher
i'll be there till the end
i'll be your lover and your friend
i'm still learning how to bend

Mmmm. Lessons.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

For Your Consideration

No, this is not a post about the Oscars. (Though one is soon to come, I assure you.)

This is to spark dialogue about a piece of unhealthy propaganda and its consequences. What say you?

The Evidence
The original letter - James Dobson writes a heinous 'Letter from 2012 in Obama's America"
The response - Jim Wallis writes a well-articulated response, in my humble opinion.

What's your stance?
5 words or 5 paragraphs...whatever. Just chime in!

Elections + Links

Elect the President.
Interesting link to a Sojourner's article by Shane Claiborne about the elections and endorsing.

"Elect" religious leaders.
I want to read this book (linked above). Generally, Rob Bell says some pretty dead-on stuff about life, love & freedom. And, of course, I like things that call us to a new way of doing this thing we call "church."

Consider this paradox that prefaces this latest book: "There is a church not too far from us that recently added a $25 million addition to their building. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago about a study revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers."

"Elect" a career path.
I'm interviewing on Thursday for an internship in Hollywood through UNC (linked above). I really would like to do this (fingers crossed) and live in the City of Angels making movies and loving the community around me. Patience.

What are you electing?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Surprises

I came home today to pick up a picnic basket for my final film project that we're filming this afternoon. And when I came home I had two surprises waiting for me.

1) My dog is dying. It's sad for me, because even though I don't see her that often anymore, I really love her. Her name is Herriot, like James Herriot the British vet (in both senses of the word) around World War II. He wrote a series of short stories about his veterinarian days, the most famous collection of which is All Creatures Great and Small. Quite a history for a small dog.

Herriot's a beagle. She was a little porky, but now she's bones thin and not eating. She used to run around in circles when anyone came home and gave her a biscuit. Now she creeps around the yard, very frail.

I grew up with this dog since I was 8. We had a lot of fun times together playing outside. Here's a picture of her and me 4 years ago:

Farewell, my good friend.

2) I found a short book in our guest bathroom called Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley. Wow. It is exactly what I need right now. The subtitle is "Who Wins when Family and Work Collide."

I've been struggling lately with what is a healthy balance between time with people and work. A couple evenings ago I had an intense conversation with Kris where I realized I'd been neglecting both him and my other friends. For what? To do work? So not worth it.

When I get to the end of my life, I want to look back on relationships that I've invested in and cared for the people around me. As great a legacy as it would be to make a billion award-winning movies, it's not good enough. I think I can do both - I want to do both. But I need to prioritize my relationships and set aside some time for them.

So I apologize to the men and women I have neglected this year. I have been selfishly caught up in kickstarting my career and haven't looked around to see the beautiful people all around me. But I hope to change that in the coming weeks. Do you mind hanging out with me again? ;)

"when success is equated with excess
our ambition for excess wrecks us
when the top of the mind
becomes the bottom line
when success is equated with excess

i want out of this machine
it doesn't feel like freedom

this is my american dream
i want to live and die for bigger things
i'm tired of fighting for just me
this is my american dream"


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Bites

Why is Beverly Hills Chihuahua the box office topper AGAIN this week? WHY?

Good for Disney, bad for my intellect.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

One Flick A Day...

...Keeps the Homework Away!

Movies I Watched Today:
1. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (opening)
2. The Happening (non-theatrical release)

1) N&N was okay. Not brilliant, but not terrible. The music was the best part as was the relationship between, surprise! Nick & Norah. However, I found the surrounding setting and story a little lacking. Watching a hurling, drunk best friend and tons of underage people partying really didn't appeal to me.

However, I did like the characters of Nick & Norah. Like me, they didn't drink underage and they were more chill - playing music and taking care of their friends. I also like how their awkwardness meshes and they help each other overcome weaknesses. Kind of reminds me of someone else I know...

One of the best lines was Norah explaining an old Jewish saying that essentially, "The world is broken into many pieces. It is our job to find them and put them back together again." To which Nick supplies, "Maybe we don't have to find the pieces. Maybe we are the pieces." I like that.

Have you ever read This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley? Very good. That quote reminded me of his call for us to care for each other and redeem the broken pieces of the world.

2) The Happening gets a bad rap. Poor M. Night Shyamalan. He is a creative genius and he often gets bashed. Even after seeing the film, I still think he is still a brilliant artist. I'm glad Amanda, my creative roomie, agrees! She will have to borrow my book about him and my favorite of his films, Lady in the Water.

As for Happening, I agree it wasn't his most well-done work, but it wasn't THAT bad. His work is always art, always deeper. So the acting was a little stilted, but it usually is to convey his points. It jars you out of this expectation of perfection into thinking about why things are done the way they're done. Why is there blue in every scene (props to Amanda)? Why do characters repeat certain things? Why are shots framed the way they are?

The suspense and the death toll were still frightening. Good job with that. And there was still enough humor to offset it and remind you of M's quirky humor.

While the film geek in me loves to think about the making of the film and the semantics of it, the kicker really is in the theme. I loved the concept of the environment warning us to take care of it and live in harmony or else it would fight back. The blue featured throughout the movie and with the mood ring stands for peace. The foliage wanted there to be peace again between them and man.

I want that, too. It just seems really complicated. Sure I recycle, ride my bike, use a car-sharing program, shop with reusable bags, drink out of a Nalgene, etc. But there are bigger things at play. How do we advocate for radical environmental care?? These issues seem so, so big!

I also liked that scientists admitted that we don't always know why nature does things. Oh, and that the bee-thing is actually happening.

Okay. Time for some actual school work. Less than 8 months until I'm making movies for a living!!! I might pop Lady in the Water in for some inspiration...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

LA Bound

Yes, I am going there for Fall Break and am most delighted! Each day is one day closer and I can feel an excitement building. When I read Ashleigh's blog about her experiences on the West Coast or watch Katie, Garrett & Casey's movies in my COMM classes, I am so ready to be there - away from here, building my NEW life.

College is almost over. The rest of life is calling.

And it is full of adventure!

(These pesky classes are so annoying. Off to study cultural theory.......)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


At InterVarsity tonight Alex Kirk is talking about "Why We Rest." At lunch this week he, Sarah Vanderpool and I dialoged about this and what it means.

Rest is something that our fast-paced Western culture does not do well. It's something that specifically our stressed-out UNC-Chapel Hill community doesn't do well either.

Personally, I am thrilled by all the amazing things I get to do during the day - CUAB film stuff (shout out to Lindsey and whoever else Google alerts "CUAB" ;), Carolina Production Guild work, projectionist work, paper grading work, sometimes school work, and on and on.

All of these things are very fulfilling and enjoyable, but they are never completely satisfying. It is imperative to "play" hard just as much as we work hard. But more than just "playing," we need to be able to rest. Literally, we have to be able to say no to whatever is demanding our time, get some sleep and recharge our inner batteries... or else we will run ragged.

Some things don't seem productive, but they are integral to sustaining us - time with friends, reading a good book, spending time in prayer and silence, listening to some music, going for a run, sipping tea, relaxing. The catch is that these things don't just happen - we have to be proactive and intentional about making time for them. My problem is that I keep my commitments to everyone else but not to myself to stay well rested.

So keep me accountable, okay? Invite me to put aside work for a few hours and do something fun. Let's have a healthy balance of rest and work!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Barf Jeans

Event #1: SATURDAY - At the football game, a girl three rows up projectile vomits on the people right behind Kris and me.

Event #2: MONDAY - On my way up Franklin to Starbucks, a man steps out of Blue Lounge onto the sidewalk and vomits right in front of Ashley and me.

Event #3: TUESDAY - On my way to class this morning, I tripped and fell in vomit on the sidewalk by the ATMs.

What do these disgusting events have in common? The same pair of blue jeans.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 3 = the pants bring misfortune and distasteful circumstances to the college-age women. Think the WB will bite....or barf?

Friday, September 19, 2008


Every year I end up writing a post that only really says one thing - it's autumn.

And it is.

I finally feel it in the crisp air around me and in the smell of dying leaves lighting up the world around us before they blaze out of sight. Time to take a deep breath and enjoy the waning beauty of summer. It is a poignant season. For some reason I feel alive. Time to pull out Jon Foreman's "Fall" EP and listen to any of the insightful and melodic tunes.

All this reminds me of the haiku given to me at our CUAB retreat a few weekends back. It warmed me:

In just a moment
Before you go to L.A.
You'll rock our socks off.

Thanks, friend. Let's all shine together before our college years wane thin. The spring of post-graduation is right around the corner.

Well, it was a little more than an autumn announcement this year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have recently been awakened to the joy of poetry. People I admire have always loved it, but I am just beginning to turn phrases and rhythms over in my head like sweet morsels.

I went to see Billy Collins read some of his poetry with my roommate Amanda and fell in love. Although... we did muse on the way back as to what constitutes "poetry?" Any thoughts?

Here are two of my favorites so far. One I found two years ago on the subway in NYC, the other a Billy Collins piece that captured me Monday night.


Utterance by W.S. Merwin

sitting over words
very late i have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever been spoken
still spinning in one syllable
between the earth and silence

Litany by Billy Collins
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tell Me How

The title of this post comes from the Rosie Thomas song by the same name. I've been listening to it a lot this week and I'd like to share:

How am I to live this life
When the only certainty
Is that death is waiting for me at the end
Everyday that passes,
I know time is running out
And I fear I may have failed what I'd been given

Oh how (x4)
Tell me how
Oh how
Am I supposed to live

How am I to define what faith is to a child
When the only explanation lies within
How am I to tell them if they never follow Christ
That heaven doesn't hold a place for them

Oh how (x4)
Tell me how
When I'm no better than them

Oh how (x4)
Tell me how
Oh how
Am I supposed to live.

I suppose my fascination with this song comes at a good time since I recently finished The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. In it he paints a vision for BEING the church. The how instead of just the complaining. I'm sure in posts to come I will be fleshing out this "how" as it is really taking root in my heart and breaking through the concrete into a veritable garden. So I'll leave this morning with a brief quote from the introduction of this book that has so rocked my world. Live, laugh, love today, friends!

New prophets are rising up who try to change the future, not just predict it. There is a movement bubbling up that goes beyond cynicism and celebrates a new way of living, a generation that stops complaining about the church it sees and becomes the church it dreams of. And this little revolution is irresistible. It is a contagious revolution that dances, laughs, and loves." -The Irresistible Revolution

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Tooth Fairy for Her

I am really excited to be helping out with a group this summer in downtown High Point. It's called "Learning Together/Aprendiendo Juntos," and it's a program for mothers to learn English while their children get childcare and also learn. (Thanks to Tom Bost and Paula Thomas at Christ Church for letting me know about it!)

Most of the women who come are actually refugees from Sudan with a few Latina women as well. Tonight was my first night, and I'll be working primarily with the kids (some born in Sudan, some here)- letting them play outside, snack time, reading books with them, etc.

It's a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to getting to know these families more. The kids are so sweet. Definitely rambunctious (ages 2-9), but also very loving. As I learned from working with the kids in Anacostia, D.C. this Spring Break - it is HARD work!

But they win my heart. And I have so much to learn about their lives. Like when Mira* laughs proudly when they talk about her brother being in jail. Or when Pati says he wants to be a criminal when he grows up.

Yet these are the same kids who lovingly share the tricycles with each other. And there are some kids like Saira who wants to be a nurse or Jasmine who wants to be a teacher. Wheat and weeds.

Jasmine was especially interesting tonight. She's a cute snaggle-tooth. When one of my fellow volunteers asked her if the Tooth Fairy came to visit her she laughed and matter-of-factly said that "No, I just threw them away." Fair enough. No celebration of baby teeth departure in her home.

But when I asked her how she lost them she simply stated, "My brother punched me." And then went on gleefully riding her tricycle.

I have a lot to learn about their lives.

*All names were changed in this post.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Thank you, Derek Webb.

(P.S. There's a link to an article in his name.)

Webb is just one of many voices that I am discovering that join in proclaiming the true gospel of a Kingdom come. Recently I read This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley. Now I am halfway through The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Next up: Practical Justice by Kevin Blue.

Thank you all for a Gospel that I can live out. A Jesus who speaks to the whole world, and not just a tiny subculture of it.

He offers more than just personal salvation for a coming eternity.
He offers restoration of broken places here on Earth.
He offers Life and Love.


the kingdom of the heavens
is now advancing
invade my heart
invade this broken town
the kingdom of the heavens
is buried treasure
would you sell yourself
to buy the one you've found?
two things you told me
that you are strong
and you love me
yes, you love me

your love is
your love is
your love is

our God in heaven
hallowed by thy name
above all names
your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven

-jon foreman, "your love is strong"


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dos Decades

Yesterday I completed two decades of life on this Earth.

Contrary to popular opinion, I am not quite 21 yet. But as I have reached the monumental double decades, I would like to make a top 20 list of the best moments of my 20th birthday as brought to you by amazing friends:

20) Pranks from the 1st Floor of Joyner: funny, however extremely juvenile they were
19) 131 birthday wishes from Facebook (??)
18) Professor Croce assuming I knew what I was talking about in Finance
17) Andrew Morgan's birthday wishes without the knowledge of Facebook - impressive
16) My first meeting as CUAB Film Chair going swimmingly - amazing committee
15) Karen Mesoznik, my director, announcing my birthday to the entire Cast & Crew listserv :)
14) Sushi lunch in the "Gryffindor Common Room" with the Grilled Cheese King
13) Dinner @ Maggianos with the HJ Ladies from Freshman year
12) Eating Maple View ice cream at sunset with my dear Ashley Nicole & Liz "#1" Pittman
11) Kristopher Eric's card
10) Call from Grandma Jeannette!
9) Kate Jessup & Ashleigh Greene wanting to take me out for my birthday!
8) Ashley Nicole's cupcakes & brilliant producer gift!
7) Lunch at Ye Olde Waffle Shop with my amazing family
6) Cake with my fun-loving Bible study in Cobb (also Happy Birthday to Emily, thanks to Cara for the cake, and thanks to Mariane for sharing my icing fetish ;)
5) Walking around campus with Rebecca Ashley and talking about Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution
4) Gentle rain in the afternoon
3) Katie coming to find me and bringing a sweet gift from Sugarland
2) The "you have 7 minutes left of your birthday" adventure with Kris
1) And the unbeatable, cherished always moment - Betsey's thoughtful door decorations/pictures

As my friend Dallas Morgan used to say, "Thank you for these beautiful people I get to do life with!"

Yes, thank You indeed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Own "Daily Dose"

Noted: I saw a deer and its baby in the woods today.

Quoted: "The only way to gain much is to risk much." -Finance professor M. Croce

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Somebody's Baby

I’m crying and I don’t know exactly why. It’s just worthy of mourning.

I’m listening to “Somebody’s Baby” by Jon Foreman. It’s about a homeless woman.

This Sunday I thought a lot about what it means to be in that position and what my role is as someone who does have means to care for those who don’t. How does that play out in a generous yet wise way? Not just a handout to take my mind off of the real problems, but understanding what’s driving these problems. Getting to know people, and investing some time, not just throwing money at someone’s plight.

“More than just your cash and coin, I want your time, I want your voice.” –Derek Webb

I love my family and I’m so glad they visited me. But I see the people we passed on the way to our nice Sunday lunch. I see the woman on the side of the road with a broken down car. I see the supposedly homeless guy with his dog. We didn’t stop for them to see if we could help – make sure the woman was okay, see if the guy who wanted money would like a meal instead. I wish we would have.

Here are things from the song that get me. Snippets that make this woman real to me (Full lyrics here):

“if you were homeless, sure as hell you’d be drunk…when people don’t want you…”

“her name was November”

“every now and again when she’s sober, she brushes her teeth”

“she’s somebody’s baby girl, and she’s somebody’s baby still”

A good book on the subject I read a year ago is Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski. Here’s the book on Amazon. Here’s their website.

Thoughts? Reactions?

Monday, February 11, 2008

What is Home?

I am a sovereign prince of Egypt
A son of the proud history that’s shown
Etched on every wall
Surely this is all I ever wanted
All I ever wanted
All I ever
-The Prince of Egypt

This is such a poignant song of longing and belonging sung by the character of Moses in this recent adaptation of the age old Exodus story. But the true beauty of this story, is that these sentiments are not the end. Character development, right?

Up until now, this is all that Moses has wanted. To belong here in this comfortable household. But God is calling him out into the unknown. Out on this journey that will through all its hardships and joys, teach Moses that his desires were in fact, too small. He actually will come to desire the LORD in that way. Surely THIS is all I ever wanted.

I think of Moses’ journey and this song especially right now as I’m nearing so many changes in life. Though I am not graduating in 3 short months, many of my close friends are. Their lives (and mine) will be altered forever. I follow in little over a year to a place of being uprooted from this dearly beloved and comfortable haven of Chapel Hill. What I have once considered home, will be so no longer.

I’ve gone through this before, when I left Jamestown to come to Chapel Hill. It was a process of letting go of my original concept of home, and realizing where my TRUE home lies. I think as humans it’s easy to find contentment where we are and in the comforts that surround us. The fact that I’ve lived in Joyner for two years is comfortable to me. I’d like to stay here. Walk past Davis library and on up the steps into my home. Have a cup of cider in my room, across from my lovely, funny, vibrant neighbors. Go for a run in the forest. Stay up until 2 a.m. in the first floor lobby – a veritable living room of sorts. So much like I imagine the Gryffindor common room.

But God periodically calls us out of our comfort so that we will realize our dependency on Him, just like He called Moses. Right now my vision has been for Joyner and Chapel Hill as “all I ever wanted.” Through the next few years, God will be painfully prying loose my fingers from what I hold dear, to see that only He is “all I ever wanted.”

I can follow Him next year to Connor, or wherever else I end up living. It will be a precursor to the even bigger move of following Him into the utter unknown of Los Angeles the year after.

I am excited to see “the change You sow” as Caedmon’s Call sings. I can’t wait to see the incredible things God does in my life and the lives of my friends. Change is exciting for the possibilities and also because it stands in direct contrast to the “Only One” that never changes (like Lifehouse sings).

For anyone interested in reading what I thought about the concept of “home” at the end of my freshman year of college, check out my old Xanga here. Another interesting post is what I wrote right after my first semester of intense transition. That link is here.

Have a beautiful day, my friends! Be shaken up by the unsettling Love.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I just turned in my computer to be fixed. When your fan sounds like a lawnmower, it's probably time for a tune-up.

Thankfully, ITS here at UNC will repair it for free since mine is under warranty. However, they are currently out of loaner computers.

So, I am without a computer for a day or so. I still have my hand-held Palm calendar, my jump drive full of files, my iPod, and obviously I have internet access because I am typing this at a library computer. BUT, after this, I'm going to try and rough it for as long as possible.

It's kind of exciting and freeing to be somewhat unplugged in these days of zeros and ones.

Maybe I'll read more.
Enjoy face time with people.
Go outside.

You know, things that people do when they aren't plugged into technology 24/7.

Be liberated and full of grace today, my friends.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mustang Film Festival, Part 3

And now... for the final installment of my film watching extravaganza! Dialogue about the movies is appreciated and encouraged.

The Last 10
16) Best Location - Twelve Angry Men
"This fighting. This is not why we are here, to fight. We have a responsibility. This I have always thought is a remarkable thing about democracy is that we are - what’s the word? Notified. We are notified by mail to come down to this place to decide on the guilt or innocence of a man we have never heard of before. We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. This is one of the reasons why we are strong. We should not make it a personal thing. Thank you."

17) Best Reverse Redemption -
Pretty Woman
Edward: So what happens after he climbs up and he rescues her?
Vivian: She rescues him right back

18) Best Actress -
Million Dollar Baby

19) Best Supporting Actor -
Charlie Wilson's War
"These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world...and then we fucked up the endgame."

20) Best Coen Brothers -
Raising Arizona
(Shameless plug here for No Country for Old Men, which I saw slightly before my movie fest. Go. See it now.)

21) Best Local Director -
"It’s a hard grape to grow, as you know, right? It’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. And in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. And then, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ancient on the planet."

22) Best Quotes Amidst Sketchiness -
The People vs. Larry Flynt
“This country is founded, at least in part, on the belief that unpopular speech is vital to our nation."

23) Best Copycat -
National Treasure: Book of Secrets

24) Best Awkward End Credits Song -
The Golden Compass

25) Best Incredibly Long Dance Sequences -
White Christmas

And, that's a wrap!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stings + Healings

Have you ever felt really small?

Or just that you don't fit in anywhere?

I told a friend last night that I don't really have a "group" and I'm a sort of floater who has friends from different circles. Which is true.

But it's also true that when I have often tried to spend time with people in a couple different tight-knit circles because I'd like to know them more, I get the distinct impression I'm not as interesting or wanted as those who are already in the "circles of trust" (thank you Meet the Parents for popularizing that statement).

I thought feeling left out and unwanted was a thing of the past. Dead and buried with the high school bells ringing every 50 minutes. But the truth is that cliques hurt, no matter your age or station in life.

So I thank God for quality people who are selfless and inclusive even when it's inconvenient:
-Kristen Greenholt who talked to me and prayed with me at the latest IV retreat.
-My roomie, Ashley Sauls, who so graciously invites me to any and everything she does.
-Joseph McCormick for diffusing an awkward party moment and asking deeper questions.
-Bethany Limpach for her relentless pursuance of me and for taking a chance and finding a "kindred spirit."
-Sarah Vanderpool, Kate Jessup, Ashleigh Greene, Katie Smith, Mallorie Price & Asa Mair for wanting to spend time with me and making it happen.
-Betsey Smith for understanding me about as well as a person could.

It is my prayer that I, too, would love so fully and selflessly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mustang Film Festival, Part 2

And now I continue with the films I watched over break. Many thanks to Netflix for this semi-free opportunity.

The Next 10*
6) Best Use of Color - Amelie

7) Best Music - The Royal Tenenbaums
“I wish you’d’ve done this for me when I was a kid."

8) Best Camera Blocking - Rear Window

9) Best Dramatic Pause - Children of Men

10) Best Steven Spielberg - Minority Report
"What good is a justice system that instills doubt?"

11) Best Fake Shooting Scene - North by Northwest
“Well wouldn’t it be nice if my problems and your plans were somehow connected? Then we could always stay close to each other & not have to go out in separate directions. Togetherness. You know what I mean?”

12) Best Random Acts of Violence - Pulp Fiction
"The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."

13) Best Use of an Animal as an Integral Character - I Am Legend

14) Best Motivating Scene - The Great Debaters

15) Best Adam Sandler (ever) - Reign Over Me

*Do keep in mind that these "superlatives" are only out of the films that I watched. By no means do I mean that Minority Report is the best Steven Spielberg movie of all time. Jaws, Schindler's List, E.T. all are further ahead on that list. But it was, however, the "best" and only film of Spielberg's that I watched in this movie fest.

Friday, January 18, 2008

i want to be like this

i want our IV chapter to be like this.

what do you think?

Mustang Film Festival, Part 1

As some may know, I spent this past winter break watching movies. Lots of movies.

There are so many good movies that I haven't seen, and as an aspiring producer, I decided to take some of my down time and become "cultured" in that sense. The grand total of films I saw both in theatres and out was 25. Plus one entire season of Gilmore Girls.

So in a mock awards fashion I am giving superlatives to all 25 of these jewels (and otherwise). And a favorite quote attached to some, but not all.

I will have three installments. Top 5, Next 10, Bottom 10.

I'd love to hear what some of you thought of these movies if you saw them in theatres over break, or if you've seen them before. Enjoy!

Top 5
1) Best Twist I Didn't See Coming - Fight Club
"This is your life and it's ending one moment at a time."

2) Best Nonlinear but Linear Plot - Memento
"Memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record."

3) Best Thoughtful "Horror" - The Sixth Sense
"I asked her if she was proud of me."

4) Best Foreign Film - Pan's Labyrinth

5) Best Cinematography - Atonement

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Umbrella Covers + Muddy Patches

It's a rainy day here in Chapel Hill.

I love rainy days because they force us to slow down and give us time to think. That and we just get wet.

But, really, rain is a renewing force. Both metaphorically and physically. In fact I was just thinking on the bus yesterday about how in our time of drought in the Southeast, rain is particularly meaningful because it is a tangible sign of grace and relief. Like Jennifer Hagin said this weekend, water is such a significant image in the Old Testament because so often the people and the ground lacked it.

Instead of contemplating the intricacies of rain, though, this morning I was rushing to get to my 8 a.m. class and I dropped my umbrella cover in the middle of Raleigh Street.

Without time to go back for it, I continued on to class. On my way back to the warm haven of my dorm I thought about what I would do if the umbrella cover was still somehow in the middle of the street. It didn't matter that it was gross and muddy now that cars had run over it, and that people would see me picking it up - I was going to pick it up and claim it for my own.

I think that picture of the umbrella cover and my reaction to losing it is a lot of what it means to "own" something. Often I shy away from the concept of ownership because I see it easily corrupted (individualistic, territorial, materialistic). As humans we latch onto things to call "ours" in order to somehow define ourselves. So Jane owns an iPod, a MINI Cooper, and a Northface jacket. Michael owns a Zune, a Volvo, and a Land's End parka. We try to find our security in the things we have instead of who we belong to. But maybe ownership is more about love and investment.

In fact, the umbrella cover reminds me a lot of the way we must look to God. While most people would like to fancy themselves as clean and collected, I think in reality we are very much the dropped in the street, run over, wet, muddy umbrella cover. In the presence of such Perfection, how are we anything but?

Yet the beauty of it comes in the fact that God isn't repulsed by that. Instead, he willingly stoops down and picks us up, bringing us inside to become His. We are His. That is what ownership means - to care for something, to love it.

In stark visual contrast to this sense of ownership affection stands the ground outside of Carroll Hall.

Once upon a time (a year ago) this patch of ground used to be vibrant with green grass. Students would sometimes cut across this grass for a more direct entrance into Carroll, especially when running late. So, there was a small dirt path wearing through the grassy area, but it was still livable.

Fast forward to today. That same plot of land is a muddy wasteland. Construction takes up the rest of that quad area, forcing heavy foot traffic over the ground and effectively killing the grass.

It always used to bother me in a quirky way that people didn't respect the grass enough to walk 5 extra steps around it and stay on the sidewalk. The way no one valued the grass. And now I realize that value is linked to "ownership." Will I "invest" or give up 20 more seconds of my life in order to protect this thing that I value - a beautiful green patch of land?

So here is what I'm saying. A sense of ownership can be really good in that it makes people care about something enough to protect it. We belong to God. The grassy patch belongs to me (and 37,000 of my closest friends). But please hear this, too. Ownership is NOT individualistic. Do I, Liz Hundley, really own the grassy quad? No, but I, along with everyone else who traverses that path, do have an interest in its survival, and that sense of ownership and care for this space should be what motivates us to protect it.