Leap Year

Group Project 1.

www.leapyeartravel.wordpress.com


Reflection

Media: website.

“Intervention”: encouraging post-secondary students to take that time away from the comforts of home to go explore a whole new world (in a different part of our planet). The perspective it brings is worth it and typically critical for personal growth.

Easier said than done, I will admit. To hark back to earlier in the course, travelling during, just before or just after post-secondary requires and demonstrates privilege. It takes time, incredible budgeting, and a certain attitude to be able to travel like an explorer or adventurer or some such image.

Personally, I’m not sure I took much away that was new. Twitter and WordPress, though relatively new to me (I’ve only been using the latter for about three months), I was quite familiar with. I also know that travelling is one of the best experiences for students or new graduates, and is best done around this season of life. The only thing I have yet to do is actually go away and practice what I preach! I’ve only gone abroad for leisure or family vacations. I planned on doing a semester abroad, but my schedule declares it a forbidden love.

If anything, doing this project has renewed my conviction to travel after I graduate. Planning, budgeting, saving, is now a more real and more serious notion than it was when travelling was merely an ambitious dream. There’s still some of that — a lot of that — but I’m one step closer to making it a reality.

Maybe one way this project could have been extended, was to make a kickstarter or crowdfunding video. “Send us abroad!”

That route certainly wouldn’t be an uncommon one. Filmmakers, entrepreneurs and many others are using this kind of media to engage the online community with their creative products on an unprecedented scale. Once again, the internet is reshaping our way of life in big ways.

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First Podcast!

Here’s the story that predictive texting helped us create in the end:

What are your parents and I got in the basement of your academic institution?

Hey dude that is privileged material for me.

Alright well I’m going back to the future of our lives and then you can just do our own project.

Well you still have some fun things to consider before we begin by on January.

Time flies when we are having problems that can arise.

We will provide you with the chemicals that you need of the past year, or if you want me to check the box for the drug dealer…

How are they gonna donate their “green beans” to the future generations of your fellow citizens with everything about to go down?

I don’t know how to burn the people that you have been eating.

Whatever happens after this is not to be confused with other things that the government should consider using.

OK cool I’m going to wait and stuff after the government has been generated.

I’ll email you the best and most popular stories of the galaxy on your computer and then I gotta prepare for the future. Okay? So you can just vent and I will give you guys that day off.

Thanks for getting me the best thing ever.


Reflection

Assignment 7. This assignment is probably the one I had the most fun making for this digital portfolio. We had to make something using a form of media we had never used before. It was a little nerve racking, putting something like this online, but I’d never actually start the podcast I’ve been meaning to start, if I never tried. The embarrassment wave is sure to hit me sometime soon…

For me, writing is much more digestive, for lack of a better term, for thought processing. I can take my time to chew and reflect on whatever experience I had. I can have the time to make connections, draw parallels, go back and fix something, clarify something, whatever it may be. With a podcast, you’re very much a prisoner of time in that you can’t really do those things, you can only edit things out later. You’re forced to live in the moment, because for better or worse, that moment will be frozen and preserved thereafter.

As a result, I can tell these podcasts are going to be much lighter than my Light Within posts. Conversations with people, stories and narratives with a more “authentic” feel in that nothing on the podcast will ever be as structured and crafted as blogpost content. But you never know. In a way blog content is an exposure of the internal processes, and the podcast is an exposure of the external. Listening back, I hadn’t realized how different these processes are for me.

Feelings aside, there’s a lot of media going on here. Podcast, Skype, Texting and a strange narrative to tie it all together. I can share a podcast with the internet world — a scope too large to properly comprehend — and even 5 hours apart, the media can still connect two friends. The internet is like a wormhole, bringing two distant points in space through some higher dimension together, creating a shortcut between them.

But what speaks most about our culture’s integration of, obsession with, and dependence on screens is the predictive text feature on many of our phones. Yes it’s a fun game to play across any distance, but how does the existence of this feature make meaning?

First, written language was done by hand — on stone or wood, then paper. Then we learned to type with ten fingers. Then we learned to type with two thumbs. Now we’re not supposed to type at all? For any conspiracy theorists out there, this predictive text feature is teaching our devices to think for us, to learn our language, bringing us ever closer to “the singularity,” or the point when our technology becomes our masters.

For now, AI and robots taking over the world are merely great pieces of science fiction, but in many ways, the singularity has come and gone. What are we to do without our smartphones, our laptops, the internet, WiFi, GPS? Even self-driving cars are on the horizon. Society at large has become totally dependent on our toys, a life without them seems unbearable, dare I say impossible.

The toys and tools are not bad in and of themselves of course, but asking them to do everything for us seems to me to be a symptom of bigger issues within the human condition: a deep need for connection and community, and a subconscious awareness of our futility. If everyone is forgotten in the end, let’s preserve our activity. But also, if the fruits of our labour will wither when we do, why bother labouring in the first place if we can build something that can do it for us?

I’m exaggerating a little, but not by much.

Media and technology have invaded, and for better and worse, we have welcomed them with open arms.

“Cup Song” Throwback

Assignments 9 and 11, remixing and bricolage.

Listen and sing along with the score. Orange play button is on the bottom left.


Reflection

My first mash-up! All of the songs in there seem somewhat dated now, but they weren’t when I first started.

For this project I used an online program called Noteflight, which I hadn’t really touched since my time in the Trudeau Wind Symphony (high school).

I’d been thinking about starting a “real” YouTube channel for some time now, and I’m a little closer to getting there, but at the time of starting this particular project, the “cup song” from Pitch Perfect was all the rage. With a new creative cover of the song appearing every time I signed in online, 2012 me thought I’d do an a cappella cover of my own. I was supposed to perform and film it with some talented friends but never finished it until now.

I first learned how to do the cup beat from the movie to Nothing But the Blood, a classic hymn, which is what got this whole cover ambition going. Alas, as with many of my grand ideas, very few of them get executed, and of those, even fewer are completed. While I learned to actually put a mash-up of 5 very different songs together, I think for me, this assignment was more about confronting my tendency to abandon ideas before they’ve been played with, before their potential has even been explored. After three odd years of gathering dust, this mash-up isn’t where I thought it would be, but it’s finished, and I like it enough. Maybe it’s time I gave all my “rejects” another chance — or rather their first chance.

As for bricolage, changing something’s meaning, that almost happened by accident. I was challenged last week to further my media literacy by using it to actually say something. Playing and exploring is an important first step, but now that I’ve discovered the tool, how am I going to use it?

The 5 songs I used in the mash-up are really only related by their tempo and time signature so that they could match the beat. Otherwise, their styles and their genres are all fairly different. Each story the lyrics tell is different.

When I’m Gone by Lulu and the Lampshades. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction. Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars. Nothing But the Blood by Robert Lowry.

It’s hard to tell without the lyrics actually being sung, but once every song has been showcased, the lyrics meld together at the end to say this:

When I’m gone, this is where the healing begins. What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus, ’cause You’re amazing just the way You are… and that’s what makes you beautiful.

Not to alienate anyone who doesn’t share my worldview, but it seems to work its way into most of everything I do, and I think the gospel is a story worth over and over again. Our brokenness can only begin to heal when we take our eyes off ourselves, and that healing is possible because of Christ’s blood on the cross. Not Santa Claus Jesus who ought to give you everything you ask for, not military Jesus who only gives orders or penalties, but Jesus as He is, the perfect Lamb who was slain in our place… and that’s what makes us beautiful, whole again.

In a society that’s becoming more and more secular, not only have people developed a deeper yearning for some sense of spirituality, but shamefully, I’m finding myself to be more apologetic for my own. The gospel isn’t popular in this day and age, or else I wouldn’t be apologizing.

This course, but this assignment in particular was definitely a challenge and an exercise in vulnerability. First going back and fixing what I had written off as a failure, but more importantly taking a risk and being myself without apology or compromise.

Think Before You Act

poster_from_postermywall

Group project 2.

Guelph, like most of Canada, is culturally diverse. Perhaps not to the same degrees as other larger cities like Toronto, but diverse all the same. We wanted to promote this diversity in Guelph’s restaurant industries, to encourage citizens to taste and experience other corners of the world.

Click the poster to see where to go!


Reflection

We’ve all heard someone tell us, “think before you act,” at some point in our lives. But sometimes, we think a lot, but don’t end up doing any of the action.

For this interventionist project we used PosterMyWall to create the poster, and google maps to geotag. Geotagging is relatively new to us, and the poster website is something we had never heard of before.

We thought about using Photoshop of course, which we were all familiar with, but I was surprised at how easy it was to find an free online program that accomplishes the task. Certainly, we were more limited, but I suppose less choices make for less dilemmas and a quicker result with more or less the same quality.

Changing the world seems like a daunting task, but with the right tools, it is a lot easier to get started than I used to think. The very words, “changing the world” seems to connote big breakthroughs and grandeur, but it’s easy to forget that nothing that changed the planet started as an elaborate scheme.

Touching new media, taking a step forward to changing this city for the better… it’s a small step, but it’s still farther than I where I was before I did this project. I didn’t expect to get much out of this assignment, but now that I’ve seen how easy it is to get started… possibilities and ideas are starting to open up. My online activity is mainly about expression, but maybe it’s time to use it for action too. As they say…

In a world of talkers, be a thinker and a doer.

Destin Sandlin

Dragon Eyes

To see a world in a grain of sand, and Heaven in a wild flower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.

William Blake


Reflection

Assignment 5: A five shot video diary.

I used Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects for the first time to create this video. First impression, fantastic. I played around, I watched some tutorials, a whole other world of endless possibility seemed to open up to me. I’m excited to make more videos, short films and stories.

In truth, I wasn’t thinking about the assignment because I was so overwhelmed with how cool doing this was, so my five shot video isn’t so much a diary as much as it is a montage of interesting things I wanted to try with the camera and the program.

Nonetheless, each of the five shots show how I like to perceive the world. I don’t always see things this way, but it’s thrilling when I do.

First, my eye and my large pupils. I’ve been told many a time that I have big eyes. When I was young and everything was still not quite proportionate, my eyeballs must have been too big for my head because you couldn’t see any white. It makes for some interesting pictures.

My Grandpa used to say that I had li zye longan, eyes like a longan fruit — which itself means “Dragon Eye.” A bit of a stretch, and no one ever calls me that, but it struck me that I do see differently. Or at least I try to. I can sit in a room for hours thinking about a new story and a new world — which is why I’m not picking up the phone in the video.

In the second shot, a cherry blossom grows and falls. It’s basic science with crystals and a super saturated solution, but it’s beautiful. And how much more amazing are the slow moving giants in our yards.

In the third shot, a small gift from someone you love always means more than it seems.

In the fourth shot, every snowflake looks like a uniquely cut diamond. Infinite in number, and wondrously beautiful.

In the last shot, time goes by that fast when I’m working on a script or a story. Those eight hours might as well have lasted those handful of seconds. To get a little circular, I was also writing this post in that video.

What I love about film making and storytelling is that you can start with having something to say, but the story always seems to tell itself. It tells you how it wants to end, it tells you how and when it wants to move. It’s much like sculpting in that sense. The sculptor isn’t just turning a block into a statue, the statue is already inside and the sculptor is just digging it out of the block.

I suppose the whole “message” of the video relates to this new venture into editing. Video editing is about crafting and framing how audiences see the world on the screen. I’m not the only one to see the world with a bit of imagination, but for those who don’t, this is the invitation.

Reconnecting

Two summers ago, I finished my very first manuscript with an 80,000 word first draft. After about a week of celebrating, I chopped that word count in half after changing my mind (again) about the story, and then shelved it. I haven’t begun the rewrites, but the world I built there is still very close to me.

For assignments 10 and 12 for this class, intertextuality and creative commons, I thought WattPad was a great vehicle for me to demonstrate both of these. I used a social media website I’ve never used before (despite having an account for years), as well as reconnected with a story that I’ve been meaning to work on.

The prologue for this “spinoff” series is actually the last chapter of my unpublished manuscript, but slightly modified with some expositional details. Of course, is it really a spinoff if the text it is spinning off of doesn’t publicly exist? Who knows.

You can read it HERE.


Reflection

The intertextuality is clear in my allusions to the people who created and inspired the Sherlock Holmes mythology. Artistic license has been taken of course. In my story, Dr. Joseph Bell, the inspiration for Sherlock, has just solved his best friend’s murder with the help of my own character, Wilbur Henderson. A young Arthur Conan Doyle even makes a brief appearance.

Wattpad, being a fantastic resource, network and community for creative writers, has an option to apply a creative commons license on published stories, and I chose the Attrib. NonComm. ShareAlike CC license.

Originally I was going to write something self-contained rather than serialized, but it seems Wattpad is designed for series. It is a place where fiction (mostly) and blogging meet. We’ve conditioned ourselves to feel pleasure when receiving a like, comment, share, view, etc. on social media, and Wattpad is no different. How many reads and hearts does your story have?

While some might say this practice is only perpetuating our enslavement to online social networks, I also think it’s important that writers get their work out there, to not be so precious about the worlds and fantasies they spend so much time in. The creative commons licenses help overcome that worry of having works stolen. But the benefits of publishing aren’t so much for exposure, but for practice the writing craft, exchanging feedback and connecting with like-minded people. I’m new at all that myself, but having something officially “published” certainly gives me an incentive to keep writing, to not let my story well run dry. People might be reading. People might want to know more. Even if they don’t, I do.

Wattpad is also filled with fan fiction. Though not taken very seriously, which is sometimes well founded, the practice of taking an existing world and adding to it, modifying it, merging it with something else, can be a great creative exercise. It’s almost like growing homemade salt crystals. It starts small, but when submerged in a supersaturated solution, it grows and builds upon itself. Audiences can expand the world of the story and explore the characters, see what they can do with it, test their creative writing chops.

One of the many working slogans for this course certainly applies here: you’re only limited by your imagination.

Around the World in 80 Hashtags

Assignment 8 and 13.

When we played with google maps in class, I quite literally “discovered America on the map” #creoleexpression #noonegetsit #crickets

Folksonomy and Geotagging.

I never participated much in folksonomy — tagging and hashtagging, but seeing tweets or a status with a paragraph of them always makes me #smile.

Of course, this class is about trying new things, new media, and new technology. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a class whose name alone aptly summarizes the course: Approaches to Media.

We have approached different media, experimented with it, #played with it, #failed at it, and #learned from it.

As such, this post is going to have a #hashtagoverload as I try to use tagging or folksonomy in a way I never have in the past. I also set up a Delicious account here before people could finish explaining to me what it was. (#excited #impulsive) Being able to access bookmarks on any device with internet access is more than useful and personally, the best part of this experience. However coming up with a list of tags when prompted becomes conflicting. I don’t want there to be too many categories to keep track of, but I still want there to be enough of them to make a nice tag cloud.

I hesitate to put these fake #hashtags into the actual WordPress tag cloud for this post because it keeps track of these tags that I will likely never use again, thereby tainting the efficiency of my tag cloud. A little overdramatic perhaps, but here is my logic. Tags are like drawers, organizing things by similar themes or content as dictated by my OCPD tendencies (I don’t actually have this personality disorder). Too many drawers almost defeats the purpose of grouping and organization. But here’s to #exploration, a simulation of what it would be like to use hashtags in a blogpost about geotagging. #segue

Geotagging, literally tagging the world. I decided to #dream a little and map out the cities I’d like to visit on a hypothetical year abroad after graduation. Click the map below for a closer look.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 5.11.49 PM

21 cities or locations, 12 months, unlimited resources.

#Toronto #NewYork #Montreal #Glasgow #London #Paris #Nice #Cannes #Barcelona #Rome #Athens #ReunionIsland #Mauritius #Rodrigues #Sydney #Wellington #Maui #SanDiego #LosAngeles #Vancouver #Chicago.

Of course there are plenty of other cities that I would love to add to this list, but this is only round one.

As an #introvert and a #homebody, I found it strange that I’m so eager to travel. But at the same time, why wouldn’t you go see the world? My list of cities is nothing too exotic — famous cities, expensive cities, familiar places. What struck me most about this list are the places my itinerary completely misses.

#SouthAmerica #Africa #EasternEurope #Asia

I realized that I was treating this hypothetical itinerary as a year-long #vacation. Most people take that year abroad to #discover themselves, to #mature, to broaden their worldview and sense of #culture. Others do it to gain international #experience. But for me, this trip almost seems like I’m running away — a #quest for a more interesting life or an opportunity to take incredible pictures just to draw some attention to my Facebook page.

It seems that I’ve always been after an #adventure — not in the adrenaline junkie sense, but rather in leaving the mundane behind. While I think there are healthy amounts of this, it’s also important for me to keep re-focusing and re-centering. The grass is always greener on the side and there are always great things being done here at home, if only I’d look.

When it comes to planning ahead, I tend to be too far-sighted. I’ll look across an ocean for opportunity or I’ll dream about how things will go five years from now, before I even start looking at the short-term plan. Plan ahead, but not too far ahead, I suppose. First things first.

Now here’s the #irony. Assignments 8 through 13 are the media project portion of the course. Therefore this post, the first of these particular projects proves to be a very short-lived “first things first” given that I’m tackling the last one, geotagging, first. Looks like linear ordering is much too #mundane for my subconscious.

So I have explored folksonomy and I have geotagged a world exploration. My first impression of this “new technology” or technology that I’ve touched for the first time feels like exactly that; the same wonder and pleasure when a child experiences playing with a new toy. Granted, not as overwhelming as when I first touched my scriptwriting program or more recently, After Effects from the Adobe Creative Suite.

This creative exercise in media is something that I will definitely try again. I may not have explored a deeper region or layer of my core self or my soul, but it was a welcome #adventure all the same.

The Invisible World Builder

Assignment 6.

When I was first asked to pick an invisible technology and write about it, I was very confused. But as I’m learning, confused isn’t always a bad thing. Essentially, I was asked, “what piece of technology have we taken for granted?”

Interestingly enough, either just before that class or just after it, I watched a short film called Technophobe created by Cyprien, my favourite French YouTuber. In the film, the main character suddenly develops an allergy to ALL technology – he can’t touch phones, computers, ATMs, anything that runs on electricity, and everything that we take for granted today. What I found interesting about the film was that he could touch obsolete technology like rotary phones and non-electric technology like books.

It was a great creative way of showing our generation’s dependence on our screens and gadgets, but there are so many other technological developments that we don’t consciously think about. From mundane things like the ball-point pen to conceptual things like time and language.

The invisible technology that I have chosen is, to me, a phenomenon that compels me to be a screenwriter: the script. Write what you know, as they say.

Most people will never see a script. They’ll see the movie or watch the play, but not many people outside of the ones involved in producing the project will read a script in its original form, nor will they be thinking about the script as they’re watching. If they are, the writer hasn’t done the best job.

By nature, the script is self-effacing, it is made in order to be forgotten or irrelevant. After all, most people will not bother seeking out reading a script if the movie or play can be watched. However, without the script, or some form of story outline, none of the other following stages are possible.

The screenwriter is the director’s director — or at least that’s what we like to think. The director is invisible guiding the scenes, but the writer is invisible guiding the director on the page. Despite the crucial role of the script and its writer, movies are usually attached to the director’s name or a star’s name, but the writer is usually left out of the media in that regard. It does happen of course, but their names are not nearly as well-known as actors and directors.

In terms of technology, a screenplay is the first vehicle for a story, which then climbs up the dimensions in a unique way. Traditional novels will go from two spatial dimensions on a desktop screen to three spatial dimensions — a satisfyingly weighty book in hand. In plays, it goes from two to four dimensions, three spatial dimensions and time. Motion pictures however, have a three step process from two spatial dimensions, to filming in our four dimensional world, and then the final three-dimensional visual medium we know, two spatial dimensions and time. But that’s enough pseudo-astrophysics.

This invisible phenomenon of turning something imaginative into something tangible is one of the biggest thrills of being a writer in the theatrical and cinematic arts. It is human creation and creativity at its peak in that entire universes, worlds, creatures, characters and objects are created — the ultimate converting machine, if you will. Obviously the script is not the only part of this machine, which can include up to thousands of people — but it is no doubt a foundational part in this process.

However even this massive feat of creativity and technology in putting on a production is not where the script’s true impact lies.  That honour goes to the story the script conveys, the heart of the production that offers its audience a unique experience found in no other medium. If well written, a script can leave people and society changed. This is its intrinsic value, its power and its impact. A script can evoke tears, laughter, confusion, awe, wonder and a whole range of emotion as though it were the audience’s puppeteer. Surely world building writers must have a god-complex.

Whether or not this is true, I have observed that humanity’s creative capacities, writer or not, aligns quite well with being the “image-bearers of God.” It’s as though we were made to want to be like Him, to create like the invisible world builder Himself. On the other hand, it seems we are more interested in being gods ourselves rather than God’s children; a desire that subtly manifests itself to this day in everything that we do.

Simultaneously, humanity seems to have a historically consistent desire to escape this broken world and return to a better one. Intuitively, we know that the world isn’t what it’s supposed to be. It’s why we feel the need to change it all the time, it’s why every storytelling medium invites us to escape for a little while.

Personally, movies have impacted my life by immersing me in a brand new world for a few hours, and they keep me coming back, instilling in me a yearning for that escape once more. I know the billion dollar film industry is happy to hear it — my attempts to break into it on the other hand…

It took me longer than one would think to realize that writing movies is an actual profession. After all, amidst the awe at an animator’s special effects, a director’s cinematography or an actor’s realism of character, we tend to forget that a writer, this fictional world’s builder who is invisible to its inhabitants, came up with that particular moment at all.

Storytelling is one of my greatest passions and movies are the among the more impressive storytelling media. The problem is that the industry can never keep up with my yearning for escape, that yearning to experience new stories and new worlds. So I began to write the stories I wanted to watch, the worlds I wanted the explore, the characters I wanted to meet. I had been creative writing since I could form a sentence on a page, but it wasn’t until I wrote with the expectation of the story being physically seen that something clicked. The more I wrote, the more I found that this art, this exercise of creativity resonated deeply with my passion for storytelling, my need to share and express my values, and my strengths of writing and imagination.

The script is truly a formidable piece of technology that is taken for granted. Indeed, it is both my calling and my weapon of choice to change the world.

Come Stay and Come Fail

What is school for? Wisdom or information?

As much as it ought to be wisdom, we get the ironically less useful information. It’s right or it’s wrong. You know it or you don’t. You remember it or you don’t. It’s acceptable or it’s not.

But at the end of the day, or the course, what did you learn other than memorized facts?

Now, facts are good. and essential in some careers. However, there are others where facts are important, but not essential. In either case, wisdom and life’s lessons, are far more useful and applicable.

With information, success is getting the right answer, with wisdom, success is learning from failure.

Learning from failure means we are free to fail. Free to struggle. Encouraged to try, and keep trying, to keep learning the same lessons in different ways over and over again. What an education that would be if every course could be like that. We’d be free of pressure, we’d be free to innovate, we’d be free to express, we’d be free to discover.

It’s a paradox that I wish more teachers, mentors, etc. understood and applied. Tell students to succeed and they will find themselves failing. Tell students to fail, and they will find themselves succeeding.

It’s not about setting a low standard so that more students “succeed.” It’s about extracting wisdom from whatever situation. If you “failed” and got the wrong answer, what lesson did you learn? If you “succeeded” and got the right answer, what lesson did you learn? In that way, the grade or metric or evaluation almost comes before the lesson.

After class today, my music shuffled to Scars by Colton Dixon and the chorus was quite fitting:

Today’s another day, to learn from our mistakes, knowing that we’re not forsaken. They give life to where we’ve been, when we fall and start again, scars remind us who we are.

After discussing wisdom vs information in class, and then hearing the song, and then remembering what the song is really talking about — that is, the the gospel — a connection was made.

In my experience, the best teachers don’t care about what you got on a test or an exam, they only care that you learned the lesson they were trying to teach you. Imagine you were guaranteed a 100% at the beginning of a course – you didn’t earn it, it was given. Striving for perfection isn’t the point. Learning and a willingness to learn is the point. If you got it right away, fantastic. If it took you a few tries at first before you got it, great.

In this class, the first three important things we were given was a good grade guaranteed, an invitation to stay and a mission to learn something more valuable than facts: how to think and how to change the world.

Those who left, turned down the opportunity to wisdom and steps toward self-actualization. Those who stayed, don’t necessarily make the best looking collages or videos, but what is that compared to knowing and embracing our identity a little better?

Not only that, but the small handful of us in the course get closer to each other with every pressure-free attempt we make. We naturally want to encourage each other because we all know none of us are good at this since a lot of it is brand new to us. We don’t celebrate the product of our projects, but the thinking behind it.

Now from the outside looking in, you would think a guaranteed good grade should be incentive to not bother going to class, and yet we all keep coming back week after week, night after night, not because we have to but because we want to. We’re hungry for this “wisdom” that is so different from the unsatisfying and draining amounts of “information” we’re forced to digest everywhere else.

So where do the parallels align?

God demands perfection, but we can’t overcome our imperfection. What Christ’s death on the cross in our place is, is the free 100%, given not earned — His perfection for our imperfection. He invites us in and says if you take it and stay, you’ll get so much more than the 100%.

Those who choose to leave get nothing, those who choose to stay and learn, practice how to think about people differently, how to see through Heaven’s eyes, how to change the world because of the change within us. Of course, practice means failing and learning from our mistakes, and it’s this learning and growth toward godliness that is the real treasure.

So when we fail and sin, we’re caught in a grace that says don’t worry about your grade or your standing, that’s been covered. Just get back up and try again. Also, if you see a brother or sister in Christ, someone else in your community, fail, it becomes natural to encourage them with the same words.

And finally, why not get up and walk away? Because walking away means going back to the emptiness of what the rest of the world has to offer. Once you taste wisdom and truth like this, there’s a hunger that keeps bringing you back.

So the invitation to the cross (and THST 2450) is here: come stay and come fail. It’s worth it.

Watchers

Big Brother. NSA. CSIS. The Machine (from Person of Interest).

I don’t know if they’re watching… and listening. They probably are. But for today… it’s you guys.

Like more or less every filmmaker I am not shooting my movie assignment in chronological order. In fact, I’m doing the fifth shot, the last shot, first. And that is a time-lapse of an ideal day where I get to work and write uninterrupted. Not exactly a day in the life, but perhaps a day in the life of the future. But then again, maybe not.

So for any of you who will see the final video, you are watching me today. In fact you are watching me write this post. Fascinating.