Saturday, 31 December 2011

Dreams

Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don't all have the courage to confront our own dream.

Why?

We are told from childhood onward the everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it's still there.
 ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

As 2011 draws to a close and we head towards a new year, may we all have the courage to chase our personal calling, digging up what we may have buried for far too long.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Freecycle . . . revisited

I have on several occasions extolled about the virtues of Freecycle (see here and here too) but I think today, I got the most exciting and amazing Freecycle item yet.


And if you're wondering what it is? It's an Ashford spinning wheel, used to make yarn (yes, the knitting kind) out of fibres.

I had been thinking of learning how to spin in a while now but have never gotten around to starting or purchasing a spinning wheel. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw it on offer on Freecycle this morning, and nearly passed out from excitement when I was told it was still available, and at a place only about 30 minutes drive away!

The spinning wheel is rather dusty (the lady bought it in 1989 - 1989! - used it for a while and then kept in storage ever since) and it needs to be put together like an Ikea furniture, with an allen key and everything. I have been assured that even though it is in pieces, it still works and isn't broken. But hey, I got myself a spinning wheel.

I am so excited! Best Christmas present ever! Ok, maybe not ever, but it's certainly at the top of the list! And look how stylish I'll be spinning yarn in the future!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Managed to catch The Day the Earth Stood Still last night and while it wasn't the best movie in the world, it still kept my attention and got me thinking. Enough to actually write about it.

From what I can gather, the movie is actually a remake of of a 1951 film, which was an adaption from the 1940 short story, Farewell to the Master.

It started off as one of the natural calamities Armageddon-type show, but soon became a sci-fi Armageddon-type show. Unfortunately, while I didn't mind it, we immediately lost my housemate who didn't like sci-fi/alien shows (and felt thoroughly deceived).

You can read the plot here.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

What really struck me about the movie isn't the strong storyline (which there isn't much) or the fantastic acting (it was ok, and well, one can't fault it much when an eye-candy like Keanu Reeves is involved) but just how reminiscent it is to the story of Jesus.

I suppose you could argue that in the end, almost all stories are like the Christian story, Good versus bad. Redemption. Grace. Forgiveness. Sacrifice.

But it was still interesting how the alien Kiaatu is "born", somewhat immaculate and somewhat like another being taking on human form, so that he can communicate better with humans. (When Helen asks Kiaatu what his original form is like, he replies "it will only scare you", somewhat akin to how humans cannot "withstand" the glory of God.)

Humans are all too willing to conclude that because the alien is more powerful and unknown, it is therefore malevolent and must be destroyed (the first thing they do when he emerges from his "spaceship" is shoot him).

It's a great statement on human nature, of how we fear things we don't know and instead of seeking to understand it, decide to eliminate the perceived "threat". But it's also reminiscent of Jesus' life - misunderstood, persecuted, eventually killed.

Oh, and somewhere in the movie, Kiaatu walks on water and raises the dead to life as well.

I suppose the main difference between this movie and the Christian story is the reason why Kiaatu is here. Jesus came to save the human race. Kiaatu came to save the earth from the humans.

And yet, there is something that Kiaatu said that resonated with the environment lover in me:
If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth survives. There are only a handful of planets in the cosmos that are capable of supporting complex life. This one can't be allowed to perish. We've watched, we've waited and hoped that you *would* change. It's reached the tipping point. We have to act. We'll undo the damage you've done and give the Earth a chance to begin again. 
This isn't about climate change (ok, maybe it is a little), but more about the fact that by our very actions, we are destroying the earth. If there really were guardians of Earth out there, how would they perceive us?

One last similarity between the movie and the Christian story? Kiaatu falls in love with the human race, realises they aren't so bad after all, and sacrifices himself to save them. In the hopes and belief that they will change for the better.

The movie implies that it is only Kiaatu's human body that "dies", but not Kiaatu himself. Instead, he rises above earth in his spaceship and returns home.

Somewhat like another guy I know, this one real and not fictional, whose human body was killed, but who was resurrected and whose reason for dying was to sacrifice himself for our sins, granting us a second chance at life and an amazing opportunity at life everlasting and filled with hope.

By the way, my all time favourite scene in the movie? When Helen had her back turned and an army guy swoops down behind her from a helicopter, engulfs her in this ginormous bear hug and both of them are winched back into the helicopter, way above the tree lines. The retrieved Helen ends up seated in the helicopter, a bewildered look on her face.

I'm not doing much justice describing it, you have to watch it to enjoy it. I loved it so much, I watched it about four times, and laughed out loud every time.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

She's perfect!


I've just started using Facebook's Timeline and it has been interesting looking at posts I've made from way back in 2007.

Most of them are pretty mundane "I'm going to the gym", "I'm hungry" kind of stuff. But there were some not too pleasant whinging about people or life as well.

One of the thing that Timeline does when you start using it is give you a seven-day grace to go through your old posts and decide what you want to show and what you want to delete. So I ended up deleting all the negative not-so-nice posts.

But it got me thinking about our online persona. If you're anything like me, things that are online never accidentally land there. There is a specific reason why they're there. And the sad, nasty or truly private stuff will never see the light of day.

It's the mundane, the amusing or the "perfect" that we tend to see. How we treat our Facebook pages/blogs are exactly like how photos of models get airbrushed before they get published in magazines. It's not . . . real.

And yet, it has a tendency for us to feel inadequate or imperfect when we look at other people's lives, when we stalk their Facebook pages, to see them so happy, so content, having so much fun. But it's not real and all it does is give us this feeling of inaptness and dissatisfaction.

I'm not saying social media's bad. I still like stalking my Facebook friends (tee hee!). I'm just trying to remind myself that I really have no need to compare it to others or desire what I feel I don't have.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Help?

How easy do you find it to offer help to someone?

What about asking someone for help?

When a friend calls me up for "a favour" or even when I see a perfect stranger struggling, I don't generally have a problem offering assistance. I don't see it as an issue, and one really does get some sort of warm fuzzies when you've done that good deed for the day.

But when it comes to asking for help, life isn't quite so rosy.

I hate asking friends for favours. I feel like I'm encroaching on their time. I feel like I'm being a burden. I feel like I'm being difficult. I feel like I'm inconveniencing them.

I just hate asking for help.

And yet, one cannot go through life without ever asking for help. And perhaps I need to give my friends the credit that when I do ask them for help, they don't think about the trouble they have to go through. Instead, they simply want to help because that's the kind of people they are.

The Bible says, "You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand" (Galatians 6:2).

If every one of us were self-sufficient, how in the world are we ever going to offer anyone a helping hand?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Alumni?

This is an appeal to anyone who is in possession of the Macquarie Dictionary.

If you can find the definition for the word "alumni" or "alumnus", can you kindly tell me which page it is on?

For the life of me (and three others), I cannot find the word any where in my Mac Dictionary.

Does the word not exist? Is it not really a word? Considering I've graduated from uni and have always thought of myself as an alumni, what am I now?

Going through an identity crisis?

p/s: And don't be a smarty-pants by giving me the definition of "alumni". I know what it means. I just want to find it in my dictionary.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Tangerine Tango


Pantone has announced their colour of the year for 2012. I actually find it worthy to blog about not because I'm a colour nerd, but simply because I'm partial to orange.

So I bring you Tangerine Tango, the 2012 Pantone Colour of the Year. "Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward."

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to incorporate the colour into my life next year, or if it will even feature much. I'm just glad orange finally gets a mention. It's a colour that doesn't feature very much in everyday items (why isn't my favourite colour pink?!) and so I always get extremely pleased when it shows up some where.

And "spirited", "energy boost", "move forward" . . . these are all words I could use as this year draws to a close and we head towards 2012.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Always read before you publish


Thank goodness I have an editor too. Otherwise, this might have gotten through:

"It is from Noah and his family that the entire human race has descended. Evidence for this global catastrophe can be seen in the geological strata . . ."

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A reminder

"Many of us are inundated with the Internet, whether or not we carry it around with us. It’s not all bad, of course. But even the good aspects of the Internet can lead us to unhealthy patterns. The gift of connection from sites like Facebook and Twitter can lead to comparisons, judgment and self-centeredness. At their worst, these phantoms of true connection makes us more lonely, not less.

Or, if you’re like me, you’re addicted to creative blogs and sites like Pinterest. But even these can lead me to discontent and greed, making me wish I had more stuff or money, or was a better mom, or wife, or cook, or could craft memorable Christmas gifts out of vintage lace tablecloths and tree bark.

The Internet gives us a lot: information, communication, entertainment and creativity. But it also robs us of the precious gift of time and true relationships. Real creativity and inspiration usually find us when we step out of the technological haze and engage with God, creation and those around us"

Taken from Relevant magazine's "When Everyday Habits Turn Deadly", by Bonnie McMaken
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