Friday, January 26, 2007

Foreign Films and Some Other Stuff

The two best foreign films I've ever seen I saw as part of my "20th Century Eastern Europe" class at Western. One was "Before the Rain," and the other was, "No Man's Land." Check them out.

After watching the Spanish film, "Volver," these are still the two best foreign films I've ever seen. But "Volver" wasn't bad. It was kind of a chick flick, but it kept me entertained... although be warned because it was really weird at first. I was a couple seconds away from walking out, but then I realized it was a comedy and that made it better.

I have more reading to do this weekend than any weekend ever in the history of my education. That isn't going to stop me from visiting my friend Andy, who moved down to my neck of the woods last weekend. He's about an hour plus away from me, but it is nice to have a good friend down here.

I really want to catch the Zags tomorrow against USF. I also need to catch the UW game tomorrow. I'll be terribly dissapointed if we don't get two teams from Washington State in the tourney. I want three though.

Here's a good Pacific Northwest film... well, music video. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oscar Nominations

I've really been out of the world for a while. In fact, I feel quite disconnected and a bit unorganized. First, a week long silent retreat, then a trip to Orange County, then a week of some classes, a trip to San Fran and now more school. My head is spinning.

I didn't even realize that the Oscar Nominations came out. Now I like movies a lot, but have never really gotten that excited about the Awards. For some reason though, perhaps because I'm immersed in Hollywood, I'm interested this year. Here are the nominees.

I will be cheering for Babel for best picture. I saw it in theaters and wrote a bit about it here.

I'm also excited to see that Abigail Breslin got nominated for Little Miss Sunshine. I'll be crossing my fingers that she takes it home. Hilarious.

I think I'll also be supporting Mark Wahlberg for The Departed. The grandpa from LMS was great (and funny), but I really liked The Departed and thought that it deserved a bit more.

Anyways, Its almost 9 and I have a lot of work to do, so I'll leave you with this clip from Pearl Jam performing "Nothingman."

Monday, January 22, 2007

San Francisco

As always, I'm hesitant to post this because it has to do with a hot moral issue. But the purpose of this whole blog thing is to let people know what I'm up to, so it would be wrong for not to post this. If you disagree with me on this, thats fine. You don't have to be offended. Contrary to public oppinion, I can still love you even if I think you're wrong (and I believe the same is true of you).

I'll open with a quote from one of JPII's encyclicals... please read it and do not be afraid. (thanks to Amy Welborn for showing me this quote).

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life. (99)

This post will be brief from here on out. Last weekend I was in San Francisco for the Walk for Life West Coast. It was the second time I went, and hopefully won't be the last. Myself and two other guys packed up the car Friday Morning and went to San Francisco. There, we met up with some other seminarians from the Seminary in San Fran. First thing we did was head to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Beautiful Saints Peter and Paul church in SF. Here are some pictures I found on their website... it was beautiful.
After I was done praying we went and visited with the people from the parish... and it turns out we knew some of the same people from my home diocese. It is definately a small Catholic World we live in.

We got up early the next morning to head to Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral. This was one of the highlights from the trip, watching people (mostly young) stream into the church. Afterwards, I had a special treat to drive one of San Francisco's auxilliary Bishops to the march. We had a great conversation.

We came to Justin Herman Plaza and one thing was immediately clear. This was going to be bigger than last year, when there were 15000 marchers. Here is a picture I took. I took a picture of the crowd from this same spot last year and almost fit everyone in one frame... this year, it took me three frames and people were still streaming in.
After some speakers, most notably Fr. Pavone and Rev. Clenard Childress (when I find the links to their talk I will post them), we went out and started marching. This event is notable for the "intesity" of the "hostility" between the protesters and Counter protesters. Yes, there are a lot of counter protesters, but when you are marching, it just doesn't seem that intense. Yeah, there were people simulating all kinds of sexual acts, expecting that to intimidate us or something, and there was a lot of cursing going on, but it just doesn't really matter. This was pretty much the worst of it:
At the end of the walk it was again apparent that we had a lot more people than last year. I haven't heard anything official yet, but I have heard from some places 25,000 people marched total. Here is a quick shameless plug for my former University and Newman Center (see link on right). They sent 20 students down for this thing. Also, there were three of us alums down here marching as seminarians. Here we are, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the Background... I'm on the right, and my friend Matt is in the middle (studying for my diocese) and the guy on the left is Brother Matthew studying for the Dominicans.
Not much else to report really. Shout out to Thomas Aquinas College, Stanford Students for Life, and Berkeley Students for Life for having good numbers. TAC had about 200 students there, I think. It was a great experience and I hope to attend again next year. To all the WWU folks there, it was great to see you and I can't wait to see you all again.

Thats all I got. If you have any questions, or want to call me out on something you disagree with, feel free to email me. Take care.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I'm out the door...

to San Francisco for the weekend. Take care and I'll tell you about it when I get back.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Classes

I'm still thinking about that stoopid basketball game yesterday... like the time when the St. Mary's director of Spirit or whatever explained to us how to make a diamond with our hands every time a player on their team whose name almost sounds exactly like Diamond (its really Diamon) makes a good play. Brilliant! You know what they do at Gonzaga for spirit? They win 50 straight home games (and counting)!

The semester started today, and from the looks of it so far it should be a good (but extremely busy) semester. My courses:

-Spanish: I'm learning Spanish.

-Moral Theology: Learning about the implications of divine revelation on human behavior. We have some good stuff to read in this one, including Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae, two encyclicals by John Paul II. My professor's goals for our class is that we will 1) know what the Church teaches and 2) know why the Church teaches it... can't ask for more than that, can you?

-Christian Anthropology: The systematic study of man and woman in light of Jesus Christ.

- Church history to the reformation: I majored in history at Western Washington University, which means I'll probably get picked on in this class... picked on a lot actually. I'm not really looking forward to this one, because of it.

- Field Education: Every Wednesday afternoon I will be visiting a nursing home to visit the elderly. This is no doubt a great experience, but it is physically and emotionally tiring. We also have a class once a week to help us reflect on our experiences.

- Pauline Lit.: Letters of St. Paul. Pretty straightforward. Will be really difficult because of the professor.

- Homiletics: Public speaking... picking up from where we left off last semester.

I'm out for a meeting...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Shoe

I just got back from a great weekend down in Orange County. I met some seriously cool serious Catholics (not a typo) and spent some time walking around the harbor with my iPod. It was awesome.

What wasn't awesome was the Seahawks losing. But you know, I'm not really all that upset about it. Personally I felt the team overachieved this year, and I'm happy with that. Its way better than cheering for underachievers. First off, they had that whole "Super Bowl Loser Not Making the Playoffs Curse" thing to work against and they found their way in. They also battled more injuries than any other team in the league, I think, playing 4 games without their starting QB and starting RB, among many other key players. Then they make the playoffs and win a playoff game after having lost their top 3 Cornerbacks in the final game of the season. Then, they take the number 1 seed, who they got blown out by earlier in the year, into OT where they lost on a 50 yard field goal. It was hardly a game these guys should be hanging their heads over (and it is hardly a game the Bears should be over excited about). I, for what its worth, am pretty proud of these guys. I can't wait for next season, with hopefully an improved Offensive line and maybe a little more depth on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, the Bears will lose to the Saints next week and I'll personally be cheering for Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy to win it all.

In other sports news, Saint Mary's redefined Mediocrity when they stormed the court, not once but twice, after beating an unranked 12 and 6 team in a relatively meaningless conference game on Monday Night. Oh wait, maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was ESPN's Spirit week... No, it is probably that St. Mary's (the college, not the Mother of my Lord) is stupid. Not Cool St. Mary's. I hope you had fun... don't be surprised when Diamond Dallas Page asks for his trademark back.
La Revolucion has predicted that the Zags will go into the tournament as a number 8 seed. I'd be happy with this. I think we are better than this, and I think we will really be better than this when Micah Downs starts getting more involved, and I think a number 9 will be no problem. When this starts coming together, I can't think of a number one seed that will want to see the Zags in the second round.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Newman Center

This one is for the WWU crew. When I was back in the Ham for break I got to check out the Western Washington University Newman Center. It was the first time I have been in it as the Newman center. I even got a few pics:

Here is one of the Living room area...

Oh, the copy machine is broken? Oh we aren't allowed to buy a new one? Well Booyah!

Now this is cool... a library for students to study and/or check out some books to learn about the faith.

Here is the PM office. PM stands for Peer Minister. Looks a bit better (or at least cleaner) than the time I was there. But check out the picture right above it... yep... thats my PM team.

Here is the Chapel. Unfortuneately I couln't get a great shot of this... because the divider was up. Basically, its a big room, and for daily Mass they open up the divider so more people can sit there. When Mass isn't going on, its more of a small devotional chapel. Its was a little cramped in the sanctuary, and that window doesn't help the space become any more manageable, but it is a start. Also, those PMs should keep that vigil lamp lit.

So overall, this is pretty cool. The space is very good... and its our space. There are also two apartments in the back where a few students can live. My brother told me that students have been showing up between classes more often and that the space is being used almost every night. Can't wait to see the ministry flourish. (I'll be seeing 20 or so students in San Francisco next weekend! more on that later... maybe)

Because this song is playing in my ipod, I'll post it. It has nothing to do with this post or anything else though.

Midnight Mass

I didn't go to Midnight Mass on Christmas. I begged my family to go, but instead we went to the "Children's Mass," even though none of us are children. My brother, at age 21, was the youngest there, then me, then like mid 30s or something. Afterwards, everyone wished we went to Midnight Mass.

I did get home in time to watch the entire Midnight Mass Liturgy from St. James. It was pretty much awesome.

I also watched a movie called Midnight Mass, a Vampire movie I saw on On Demand. I thought about rating it A through F minus, (since I know first hand from one of my history classes at WWU that F minuses do actually exist), but I'll just rate everything on a scale of 1 to 2... 1 being "Not the best ever," and 2 being "The best ever." This poor film has really been shoed on on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Amazon, so out of charity, the 1 to 2 scale really applies, I think.

Acting:1
Script:1
Special Effects:1
Everything else that makes a movie good:1
A display of evil and the power of the Sacraments of the Church destroying evil:2

Seriously, I recommend this movie to any Catholic because the Eucharist dominates evil in the end. Its about how Vampires begin to take over the world, and so this Atheist and this Priest team up and decide to fight back. The priest, who had been falsely accused of pedophelia, returned to his parish to find that the vampires had taken it over as their lair. The priest goes in during the day and starts to fix it up, and a few of the parishoners come and help. After it looked presentable, he celebrated Mass, with profound reverence (although he had to improvise a little by using a Pepsi can as a chalice, because the dang vampires stole it). Right as he is finishing the consecration, the Vampires come in looking for a fight. The Eucharist kicked the trash out of them, and everyone celebrated in the end.

I thought the movie portrayed evil well. It showed evil to be mainly a distortion of good, and a twisting of the sacraments. There were at least 4 sacraments that were perverted, including Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, and Holy Orders, which is happening today without vampires running around. I think the writer gets it.

If you are not Catholic, you might not want to bother with this one. But if you are, it might be worthwhile, if you're in the mood for a low budget independent film that in most categories scores a 1 out of 2. It also might best viewed if you have nothing else to do. If you aren't, and it is still on On Demand, at least play it and fast forward it like an hour and 10 minutes to get to the Blessed Sacrament restraining evil.

No videos of it on Youtube, but you might want to read some reviews of it on IMDB.

Here is an old favorite, explaining pretty much the same thing:

Edit: I should add a caution that there is some nudity and some swearing and some drug abuse in the film.

WWU Note

Well, the silent part of my retreat is over, and the rest will finish up tomorrow. It has been very refreshing, and I thank you for all of your prayers. I have a lot of posts I want to make, and will probably get around to about 2 of them before I leave Saturday Morning for the OC (Orange County, CA for my non-american readers... I have a few actually).

Here is a hilarious note I saw while walking through Haggard Hall at WWU over break. It is funny because... well just read it. It describes exactly what I love about Western. It makes me miss the people there, even the ones who dislike Christianity.
For those of you who don't want to strain your eyes:

Hi, I'm a 25 year old female looking for a place to park my 35' school bus that I will be living in. It has a stove and furnace and runs well. It has a bathroom area, but I need to find a toilet to install. This bus is in good condition. I can pay a small amount for rental space but not tons, cuz I'm on ssi. If you have space or even a tip of a street thats out of the way where no one will care, please contact Rain at: *******. I'm pretty quiet and won't be bothersome.

P.S. If you can think of an action (protest) to go to by packing abunch of people in a bus - let me know.
Good luck Rain, and I mean that.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Silent Retreat

Silent retreat begins Tomorrow (it should have begun tonight, but our director got stuck at an airport, so it will begin tomorrow). Once silence begins, there will be no internet, so I won't be here. I do have about 25 or 30 posts I want to make though, so Friday after guys start taking off for their long weekend, I might catch up. Read the post below for the event that will no doubt distract me throughout my retreat.

If you could, please pray for me and my classmates during this time, that we might come to love our vocations more and more, and that we may become holy priests for our dioceses.

Thanks... see you in a week.

Seahawk Post

Hey folks, I'm back in Cali safely.

Well, where should I begin. How about by saying that that was definitely one of the best sporting events I've ever attended in person. WOW!

Now I know we were a bit lucky, and we got outplayed, but I don't care. That was as insane of a game as anyone will ever see. As some of you know, its been a difficult year of sports for me. Gonzaga's NCAA tournament loss, UW's NCAA tournament loss, last years ND vs. USC, this years ND vs. USC, it all stank in the end. The Seahawks were my lone bright spot last year and then that whole Super Bowl thing happened that bummed me the heck out.

So I'm gonna take this one and not have any regrets about it.

I went down to the game with my buddy Scott. Before the game, we were walking to the Stadium and heard someone on a microphone call out a familiar name. It was This guy, Mike Ennen. I went to high school with him, and now he is a pro-wake boarder. Here is a nice article about what he was up to in College. We heard his name over the loudspeaker because there was a demo set up outside the stadium where some of our local pros could do a couple tricks. We hung out in back so we could give him a wave when he walked by, and didn't really get a great pic of him in action but here he is getting ready... exciting, I know.


Onto the game...

Our seats were incredible. Couldn't have gotten anything better from ticket master. We were on the 30 yard line in the Southwest part of the Stadium. If you watched the game, I can tell you that it was close to the place where the Seahawks recovered that fumble in the end zone that was initially called a TD, but was challenged and turned into a Safety. Here is another (bad) picture:
Seahawk DT Craig Terrill sang the national anthem, and the crowd went nuts as some of our soldiers overseas were shown with signs supporting the Hawks... it was pretty cool. About 6 Chinook helicopters buzzed the stadium (I'm pretty pissed, because I got a sweet video of it and accidentally deleted it shortly after... oh well).

It has been widely reported that Seahawks Stadium is loud. Well its true. Awesome and loud. The game is honestly a blur. The loudest it got was when we thought we recovered that fumble for a TD. The botched play at the end may have been, except for the fact that it was completely chaotic and nobody really knew what was going on. Some people weren't even watching the play because they were either too nervous, or they were too busy trying to figure out what the seahawks needed to do to get into Josh Brown's field goal range. It seemed like more confusion than excitement. Whatever it was, it was wild.

I wish I had more pictures to share with you, but unfortunately my camera was inadvertently stolen. I got it back though, so no worries. No worries at all. The story behind that is that my camera slipped under the seat in front of me. The guys in front of me got booted out for sneaking in some Liquor. The girl next to them, seeing the camera and thinking they left it behind, chased after them to give it to them. Rather than saying, "This isn't ours" they just decided to keep it. Luckily for me, my dad is kind of a nerd and, foreseeing my own stupidity, put my name and phone number on it not once, but twice. The guy called me later that evening and I picked it up, and all is cool. Thanks Dad. I'll never make fun of you or your label maker again.

As I said, the night's a blur. Its one of those nights that stick in your mind, but you can't quite explain to anyone else. It was worth every cent I paid for a ticket, and I will probably remember this forever.

Here are the highlights:
And here is a clip of the botch:

Awesome... If anyone can tell me where I can download that humming sound going on in the background to harmonize with the crowd... let me know. That thing was awesome.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Almost out...

I'm trying desperately to enjoy my final couple of days home before I fly back to Cali. Its not so easy when the weather is awful, even by our pacific northwest standards. The other thing ruining my break is that my teams are all simultaneously choking. ND stank it up in the Sugar bowl. Gonzaga hasn't played all that well, but they've been playing some good teams. UW has lost three in a row. Meanwhile USC, my Yankees of College Football smoked Michigan. It was terrible.

The bright spot was watching Boise State win the Fiesta Bowl. Incredible.

But there is another potential bright spot. Seems a buddy of mine has scored some Seahawks tickets... and yes, I will be attending the game. Looks like I'll be a little hoarse when I return to seminary on Sunday evening. Looks like I'll also probably a little sick, since I am betting that I'll get something standing out in this wind rain for a few hours (it looks like our seats aren't covered).

Anyways, I really don't like my parent's computer for some reason, which is the main reason for my non-writing. I'll probably make a few posts when I get back to school, although I won't have that much time to do so. Sunday night at 7:30 we go on silent retreat for the week, which means no computers and thus, no blogging. But on the plus side, I get a week long silent retreat, which I'm very very excited about and ready for.

Go Hawks.