You just finished reading Tomorrow! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
The sun rises and sets as it did yesterday, but every today it comes a little later, and leaves a little sooner. And where once the sun rose with our breakfast it now hides until we’ve started work. And we work the jobs we always have and do the thing we did yesterday. And all day we wonder, where is the sun? For it leaves before we do.
Our eyes open and we’re the same as we were before. And the morning is the same as it always was. And nothing ever changes. And the sun rises and the sun sets and we read new books and watch new movies and experience new things. But every day we wake up and we’re the same.
Our eyes open and it’s tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. And every tomorrow is just another today. And when the busy world we’ve created breaks like the clouds revealing our lost sun, for the briefest moments we remember the sweet promises of youth.
The promise of a first kiss that never came. A dream we held tightly until one day it had passed. We’d practice for days, planning out the perfect moments and then tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
The promise of the many books we said we’d write. The stories we always told our friends but never the written page. The Tolkeins and Rowlings were mere preludes to the epic tales we would tell. And then we opened our eyes to another blank page. The cursor forever blinking, blinking, blinking atop a vast sea of white.
The promise to explore a world before unseen. To cross the oceans by plane or boat. To land in a place where the language is new and the people are weird. We would try something new and it would be delicious. We would celebrate the world created by these strangers and drink deep the sweet culture. But tomorrow always comes.
Our eyes open and we’re silent before that person. Our pages are blank. And our feet remain planted firmly at home.
Our eyes open and it is today. And it always will be.]]>
You just finished reading Topics of conversation! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
I want to start writing again. I’ve got the itch down in my soul and it’s time to start scratching.
I’m interested in finding out what you want to know. I’d like to broaden my appeal away from personal finance.
Here are some of the topics I’m interested in:
These are broad, but important, topics. I’m interested in finding out what you want. I can’t promise I’ll actually write on the topics you suggest, but I’d like to see what the people who still follow this blog are interested in. Not just reading about but discussing.
I’d like to learn from you, discuss the world with you, and expand our horizons together. I’d like to dive deep into otherwise taboo topics, but do so in a civil and honest manner.
So what are you interested in? And knowing my writing style and knowing me, what do you want to read about?
With Gratitude,Alex Humphrey]]>
You just finished reading Please pray for Matt! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
Matt Rawlings, is a Christian brother who has asked us to pray. You can read about everything that is going on with him at the link but the short version is he’s stuck on bed rest and is looking to go through his 4th surgery in a year.
While I’ve never had the opportunity to meet Matt, the interactions I’ve had with him on his blog, through Facebook, and by listening to his sermons have greatly impacted me. I’m more-or-less a nobody who randomly started writing to him and he’s taken the time to encourage and promote me as I work through life and faith.
He is a man of God, an insightful movie/TV critic, and a bibliophile who’s recommended more amazing books than I’ll ever read (though that hasn’t stopped me from adding them to my Amazon Wishlist).
He’s a pastor who loves the least of these and who responds to hardship with humility and grace. He challenges everyone he meets to serve and honor God in hardship.
He’s fiercely dedicated to the Word of God, the Love of God, and true apologetics.
He loves politics and reminds me that Christians are suppose to be in the world.
Ultimately, he’s a man I’d like to see well and continuing the good work.
Will you pray with me?
Pray that as he suffers through this hardship that he would trust in God and be grateful for the impact he is able to have from his bed rest. Pray for his wife, that she would know both the love her husband and the love of the Father and that she would never be forgotten by the body of Christ. Pray for his son, who is still fairly young and probably struggles to understand what’s going on with his dad. Pray that Matt’s suffering would be used by God to teach his son about humility, love, and total obedience to the Father. Pray for the leadership in his church who have stepped up to the plate and have not abandoned him (something I have seen at far too many churches).
But most of all, Pray that Matt’s wounds are healed and that the pain he suffers will go away. I believe that God answers prayers and does miracles.
You just finished reading The Video Dating Tape of Desmondo Ray! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
Not the best reason to write, honestly. Pretty selfish and mostly foolish.
Instead, I’ll make you feel without writing a single word. I think I’ll turn comments off on this one too.
You just finished reading Blogging...! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
This space has been far to sparse for far too long.]]>
You just finished reading Why Oz The Great And Powerful Sucks! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
(Note: This review has spoilers near the end. I will announce spoilers are coming before I get to them)
On March 8th, Oz the Great and Powerful hit movie theaters. If you’re like me, you’ve been excited for this one since you first heard about it last year. After seeing it last night, I walked away disappointed. This morning, after thinking it over, I want to let you all know why I didn’t like it and see if anyone else agrees.
Oz The Great and Powerful follows Oscar Diggs, aka Oz, a clever but selfish circus magician who swindles his crowds with claims of true, powerful magic but when asked to actually help someone, he runs and hides. Oh, and he’s a womanizer who tricks pretty girls into being a part of his act (and falling hard for him) before he tosses them to the curb.
Oz has to run for his life in a hot air balloon after a girl’s husband finds out that Oz wooed her. Thank to the magic of tornadoes, he ends up in The Land of Oz where he’s quickly proclaimed to be the great wizard who will defeat the wicked witch and lead the people into a future of peace and joy.
I had 3 major issues with this movie. The first two aren’t spoilers, so keep reading if you’re curious.
While the story itself made sense, it wasn’t written well. Instead of a story that takes specific steps from one event to the next, Oz is thrown from place to place for no reason. Once he gets there, his motivations are ambiguous at best. At no point is something on the line. At no point does Oz really seem to be in any real danger. It’s a magical world after all and stuff just happens to move him from one plot point to the next.
This may be the biggest blow to the film. There is no richness to any of the characters. And short of Glinda the Good Witch (played by Michelle Williams), the actors phone it in (though, a few do the best they can with a lousy script).
None of the characters really develop. All their emotions are told to us. “I am really upset”, “I am really scared”, “I am at the end of my rope.” Everyone says what they are feeling and no one shows it.
In addition, several of the character motivations and personalities change from scene to scene. The only person who doesn’t change is Oz, the character who’s suppose to grow because of his experience! Which leads me to the main reason I walked away from this film disappointed…
Warning, this part contains spoilers.
After Oz makes his way into the Land of Oz, he quickly meets Theodora the Witch (Mila Kunis). Like the women of Kansas, he quickly woos her with a gift (no one’s ever given her a gift before) and asks her to dance (something she’s never done). The people of Oz are afraid of witches and so she’s never really been shown kindness or interest. Add to the fact that he saves her life when they first meet and the girl falls hard for him. It’s even insinuated that they sleep together (something else I’m sure she hadn’t done before).
Later in the film, he blows her off for Glinda, the pain giving her a mental break down that ultimately leads (spoilers) to her becoming the Wicked Witch of the West. She turns from a sweet girl into the most cold hearted woman in Oz.
And what does the great wizard do to rectify this situation? Does he feel remorse? Does he attempt to redeem her? Does his personality change in any real way? No. He makes out with Glinda and tells Theodora, “You can come back if you decide you don’t want to kill the people of Oz anymore”.
He’s a scoundrel who never becomes a hero. He’s a manipulator who never sees Justice. He’s a fake who never becomes real. And worst of all, he abuses an innocent woman.
There are a few really good moments in this movie. The first scenes between Oz and Theodora where he’s wooing her are very good. There are great scenes near the end where Oz is becoming The Wizard of Oz that is exciting and cool. Many of his interactions with Glinda are well done. There’s a good movie hanging around the edges of this one. Unfortunately, these brief moments don’t make up for a forced plot, bad characters, and an Oz the Great who isn’t great at all.
I wouldn’t recommend this for adults who enjoy these types of movies, and because of the character of Oz, I wouldn’t recommend taking children to see this either. He’s not a fool who becomes a hero, he’s a scoundrel who wins for some reason.
2 out of 5 stars.]]>
You just finished reading Why did my paycheck shrink in 2013?! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
Why is my paycheck smaller?
Turns out, the middle and lower class took a good hit under the new tax deal. A fairly substantial tax increase occured when Congress decided to let the payroll tax-cuts end.
In 2010, payroll taxes dropped from 6.2% to 4.2%. This gave my wife (and many others) over $1000 dollars in kept income over the course of a year (think of the things that kind of money could do in an IRA or going towards a nice vacation). Now that money is going back to the US Government.
If my taxes increased, why does everyone say there are only tax increases on the rich?
Congress and the President can tell you tax hasn’t increased for the middle and lower class because no new tax occured. Instead, they just didn’t continue a 2-year-old tax break. Basically, they can lie if they word it right
Why should I worry about $100 or so a month tax increase?
Because over the course of a year, $100 dollars turns into $1200. And $1200 dollars buys a lot. Think of what would happen if you put that money into an IRA, towards the purchase of a home, or saved it up all year to spend at Christmas time (saving yourself from the dreaded Christmas debt).
I’m not bothered by a tax increase, but when Congress goes around saying it has only raised taxes on the super rich while allowing everyone’s taxes to increase 2%, they’re lying and that bothers me.]]>
You just finished reading Review of Who Do You Think You Are by Mark Driscoll! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
This review is based on a free book I received as part of the BookSneeze review program. For info on how I do these reviews, check out my disclosure policy.
Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ is the latest book by Mark Driscoll. In it, he works through the book of Ephesians using the letter to reveal the true Christian identity. The audience is anyone who struggles with their identity in Christ.
The information in this book is solid. He deals with the test well and doesn’t take bible verses out of context. Driscoll’s heart is evident in the many stories he places throughout the book, stories of individuals and families destroyed by sin, who have found their identity in Christ.
Also, he doesn’t make the “I follow Christ and everything is okay” fallacy. Many of his stories are filled with individuals who are satisfied in Christ while still living in pain and misery. It’s a beautiful picture of the sufficiency of Christ and an encouragement to all who are struggling with identity. Ultimately, Driscoll says, even if life sucks it doesn’t change who you are in Christ.
There’s not a lot wrong with this book. If I had to find one critique, I’d say the writing style is sloppy. The sentences are written the same way Driscoll likes to talk (something he didn’t do in his other books). This means sometimes stories feel a bit confusing or the wording is jarring. It was sloppy enough for me to be bothered by it, but not bad enough for me to forgo reading it.
Who Do You Think You Are? is a great book written by a pastor to a hurting world. It isn’t the deepest theological book to come from Driscoll, but where is it written that everything he writes has to be Vintage Jesus or Doctrine? I enjoyed this book and I will certainly give it to friends as they grow in the understanding of their identity in Christ.
4 out of 5.]]>
You just finished reading 3 Thoughts on Gun Control! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
2. Very few people need high powered rifles. A true ban of high-powered weapons would probably be a good thing. However, the logistics of a ban make it almost impossible. I’m not going to get into every detail, but this article explains why an assault weapons ban is almost impossible. The short version: either government has to ban almost every gun on the market (which no one but the extreme left would support) or they have to create meaningless bans that gun makers can easily get around (which no one should support but many will).
3. A hard look at the data suggests gun laws don’t reduce crime, but gun ownership does. Guns were created so that the 6 and a half foot, 300 pound men can’t walk into the house of the 4 foot nothing, 100 pound woman, rape her and take her stuff. They are the great equalizers. A knife can’t do that. Neither can words. Except for one, all mass shootings in recent history have happened in gun-free zones where the assailant knows he can make the biggest splash. In situations where an average citizen breaks the law and has a gun, these shootings are quickly cut short. Criminals aren’t stupid; they attack children because kids can’t defend themselves.
While there is some good to the idea of gun control, it’s a logistical nightmare for politicians, it doesn’t ultimately protect anyone, and the true data suggests that when more average, good citizens are armed, these tragedies don’t last as long and don’t harm nearly as many innocent.
These are my thoughts after listening to the two sides over the past few weeks and considering the realistic outcomes of either a gun ban or a return to the status quo. I do like the idea of having smaller clips, though I doubt that would make a significant difference in the tragedy in Connecticut where no one but the murderer was armed. I also like the idea of the average citizen being trained in the art of gun use, specifically cleaning, handling, and respecting guns. Could this help take off the stigma of guns or would it train up a generation of murderers I’m not sure, but I would like to continue to talk about the idea.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.]]>
You just finished reading 3 Thoughts on the Music Industry! Consider leaving a comment!]]>
The studios are crippled and their tried-and-true methods have fallen apart like the house of cards they were. If you plan to make it as a musician, you can forget about a studio.
2. Entertainment first, music second. In the past, minstrels would travel from town to town, playing in bars and local establishments, singing songs their audience could sing along too. If they were any good, a Minstrel might find she has a fuller purse and a full belly as reward at the end of her night.
Times have changed, but the ideas are the same. A musician’s audience no longer wants to buy CDs or wait in long lines, they want entertainment. Adele has one of the best shows in the business because she has mini-stand up sets between songs. Lady Gaga puts on one of the most outrageous (and entertaining) shows you’ll ever see, even if you don’t care for her music.
Your audience doesn’t come for your music anymore, they come for you. Musicians who don’t connect with their audience through comedy, showmanship, and especially YouTube will find themselves penniless and abandoning their dreams.
3. More work than ever. There is more work for musicians to do than ever before. Business partnerships are a must. Cold calling and marketing are new and necessary phenomenon for artists. So is developing a personality and learning the ins-and-outs of interesting video editing. When music is about connecting with your audience, the true musician accepts that their job starts at 9am, not as the curtains go up. Practice no longer stops at an instrument.
While it takes more effort, the opportunity is greater than ever. A musician willing to put in the work, learn their market, and focus their entire lives on their craft will learn that opportunity, money, and an audience are waiting.
To say there is more work is not a barrier but an encouragement.
There is more to be said, but this is a good place to stop. Give up your dreams of a studio magically giving you everything you want, work on entertainment with music as a piece of a greater whole, and do the hard work of marketing and partnerships, and you can make it in the music business.
Otherwise, get out of the way. The walls have fallen and many others are doing what you won’t.]]>