Relevance

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While there’s little inherently wrong with learning how to help yourself or take care of our planet, more and more churches are serving up the issues du jour with such fervency and flair that they compete with or even drown out God’s word.That’s not cultural relevance. That’s elevating the temporal above a timeless God, relegating Him to back burner status. – Reverence vs. Relevance…at Church

Chump Change

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On June 24th, Disney-Pixar’s Cars 2 skids into theaters. This time, Lightening and Mater have accelerated past Radiator Springs on their way to a road trip around the globe. The movie’s trailer (found here) exhibits racing, travel jokes, and a spy-theme overlay. Will Cars 2 signal the end of the Pixar-touch?

Take a look at Pixar’s current release schedule:

  • Cars 2 – June 24, 2011
  • Brave – June 22, 2012
  • Newt – 2012 – Cancelled
  • Monsters University – June 21, 2013
Notice that there is only one new storyline/ concept being offered. The other two films are sequels. For awhile now, Pixar has seemed to be interested in delving deeper into the sequel goldmine. Perhaps they have found a rich vein of creativity they think they can tap into? More power to them. However, who made the decision to make a sequel to Cars? Cars, which is an average Pixar film in my opinion, was not deserving of a sequel. Especially when the previous film released by Pixar, The Incredibles, almost screamed for one. I personally think that Pixar is not being driven by creativity and imagination anymore; No, I think that Pixar is being driven by the almighty dollar. Do you disagree? Check this out:
Estimates from the New York Daily News indicate that sales of Cars merchandise two weeks out from the release of the film amounted to US$600 million. Estimates put out in November by the Walt Disney Company peg total sales for the brand at around $1 billion.[27] 
Cars merchandising is huge! Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on such a thing? In the midst of all this branding and merchandising business, who is profiting? Disney. So, is Pixar really the driving force behind the sequel-itis it seems to suffer from or is it Disney? Either way, on life’s highway, I can only hope that Pixar doesn’t lose it’s soul.

Traffic

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On a recent visit to Southern California, I was quickly reminded of my hatred for traffic. Cars, cars, and more cars flood the streets and freeways. Everyone is in a hurry to go no where.

Returning home to East Texas, I could not help but compare the two traffic-wise. Growing up, my Dad had an average commute of an hour to get to work. Random accidents and the traffic created by them would easily increase his commute time. In comparison, I only travel a combined 20 minutes a day, to and from work. I love it!

Traffic doesn’t have to be something that we just accept. I mean really, who wants to deal with a 2+ hour commute everyday? There are other options:

  • Moving closer to work, if possible
  • Moving to a more rural area that does not have traffic
  • Use mass transit

I do realize that these options are often not realistic due to money, job location, and proximity to mass transit. There are bigger picture things we can move forward towards:

  • Encouraging urban planners to build towns/ cities around mass transit. Also encourage sidewalks and bike lanes to be built to accommodate those that are close enough to walk/ ride to work.
  • Pushing our local and state level politicians to push for mass transit items like trains to be built.
  • Funding Google to perfect the Google Car concept. If everyone had one of these we wouldn’t have anymore accidents…unless there was a total computer failure.  🙂 I know, I know, I can dream can’t I.

PSN Customer Appreciation Program

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All PlayStation Network customers can select two PS3 games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

  • Dead Nation
  • inFAMOUS
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Super Stardust HD
  • Wipeout HD + Fury

For PSP owners, you will be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

  • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
  • ModNation Racers
  • Pursuit Force
  • Killzone Liberation
Full post here.

On the Verge

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So here we are, standing on the verge of another week; another week of the mundane mixed with unexpected adventures.

Went to church today and listened to the California Baptist University Choir and Orchestra. The group played and sang quite well! I enjoyed the experience most when the choir members came out and sang a few songs mixed-in with the audience. Talk about stereo sound!

Rewind!

The rest of my weekend was very relaxed. Saturday night my wife and I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow: Part 1. Overall, the movies pacing, intimate moments, and build-up to the final confrontation and battles made it a thousand times better than the dreadful Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film. Seriously. I had thought that the Harry Potter film franchise was sunk after watching Prince. Thankfully director David Yates found his bearings and cranked out one of the best Harry Potter films yet!

Otherwise, I didn’t have much time for video games this weekend. I did however have a chance to sit down and read some more of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. The political intrigue has finally begun!

So here we are again on the verge of a brand new week. Are you ready?

RIFT Impressions 1.1

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"Nirvana is coming, the mystic portal awaits."

Ah, the smell of a new MMO! The joy of playing through starting content and actually seeing fellow human players running around completing quests. I had forgotten what this feels like.

During my first play session last night, no matter what, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be playing World of Warcraft instead. I mean, there is nothing inherently wrong with RIFT. I fear though that years spent in the refined lands of Azeroth somehow set a mental bar in my head. Why should I play anything less than the perfection that is WoW?

After leveling to level 4, I called it quits last night. That is, until a few minutes later…when I sat down again and played some more. Call it the MMO pull or the relaxation that mindless tasks (kill ten mystic dudes) bring, but I continued to play until I hit level 5. By then my laptop’s fan was screaming and the base of the computer was super hot.

The last time I really dove into an MMO, besides WoW, was with Warhammer Online. Warhammer had something special going for it. At least I thought it did. The public quests, dark art style, and a land perpetually at war drew me in. Heck, the fact that it was something other than World of Warcraft was enough for me. As I progressed through the levels however, I soon came to the conclusion that Warhammer was a shallow affair. My friends quit shortly after the first few months and I did too. Warhammer was fun while it lasted.

I‘m still not sure what I think of RIFT. Can’t tell if it is just more of the same or if something “special” is just over the next horizon. Like I said in my first post, I’ll keep you updated. Until next time.