Friday, May 19, 2006

Apple Envy

The new MacBooks are out. They make me hate the whole nature of computers. A couple of months ago, I purchased a refurbished iBook - which Apple is no longer making - and I love it! But, now they come out with the new MacBook, which features the Intel processor (translation: 5X faster), the new iLife '06 software bundle, a built in webcam for video chats, a remote that can control iTunes and the DVD player, and a magnetic power cord to prevent accidentally tripping over the cord and pulling the laptop off the table and onto the floor. The entry level one is about what I paid for my refurbished laptop. Curses! If I had just waited a little longer, I could have the new fancy one. But I know that a few months after that, they would have come out with something else to make me envious yet again. It's a never-ending spiral downward.

Plus, the new 24-hour Apple store opens today in New York City. It features a glass-cube at street-level, with stairs that descend into the store. There you find lots of computers and toys that you can try before you buy. If I ever make it back to NYC, that will certainly be a stopping place. You can read more and see pictures here.

I do love the new Apple commercials, though.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Two nights ago Marcy and I finished watching our TV addiction of choice for the year, Prison Break. It was the season finale, and boy, what a great season it was. The plot centers around Michael Scofield, whose brother - Lincoln - is on death row, having been framed for the murder of the Vice President's brother. He robs a bank so he can get put in jail to help his brother - and others, as the show progressed - escape. It's a very intense show, and most of the episodes ended with a cliffhanger, causing me to wait with baited breath for the next week's episode. Every Monday I would say to Marcy, "You know what today is?" She would answer, "It's Monday." To which I would reply, "And you know what that means?" "Prison Break," would be her answer. And I would be giddy with anticipation.

I am also in the process of reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Now, before you question my Christianity or my wisdom, read my post below about this book. Anyway, Brown's writing style is a little annoying to me. I know, the book has sold a bajillion copies, but his chapters are each only a couple of pages long, and practically every one ends with some sort of cliffhanger:
  • Langdon could not believe the words that were scrawled on the floor.
  • Collett saw that the keys to the Land Rover were missing.
And so on. I know these fabricated sentences don;t make a lot of sense by themselves, but in the context, they would make one think, "Oh, I can't wait to find out what happens next! I must read the next chapter, all two pages of it!" It simply gets a little tiring after a while. It might work for an hour-long TV drama, but for a novel, I just don't think it works as well.

These two pop culture elements of my life have caused me to think about life in general. What would life be like if it were like Prison Break or The Da Vinci Code? What if, every hour or so, or at least every day, we had this huge cliffhanger in our lives that we had to deal with? I wonder how many of us would be able to deal with that kind of pressure on a regular basis. One minute, we lose our job. The next, we find out we've been set up. The next, we find out it's part of a huge conspiracy. The next, we discover that it is a conspiracy that we actually set in motion. And so on, and so on. By the end of the day, I would be curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb. Thank God for the comparitively mundane-ness of life. Thank God that when I go home, I can simply kiss my wife, hug my child, and pat my dog on the head without having to worry about the government agent showing up at my door with a gun. Thank God that most days, the most exciting thing that may happen is that I get an e-mail from a friend or discover what great salad Marcy made for dinner. Thank God that the excitement of my life comes from an occasional great sporting event or roller coaster, and not from someone holding a knife to my throat. Cliffhangers are great for TV, not so great for novels, and distressing in real life.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pac Man

If you have ever been a fan of the video game Pac Man - or even if you haven't - you will likely love this video of two people reenacting Pac Man in real life. It must have been finals week...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I ran across this blog entry when it was republished in Christianity Today. It was written by Barbara R. Nicolosi, a scriptwriter, author, and speaker. She has some very opinionated things to say about The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Her basic premise is that we should stay far away from the book and the movie, as utilizing it for discussion purposes or to educate ourselves with it for those purposes would be similar to arguing with the Devil himself. She likens a discussion with anyone advocating DVC to an exorcism of demons. She criticizes those that might fall away from God because they did so "over this cartoonish, illiterate, dishonest piece of hack drivel..." instead of something bigger and more important like a love affair. Her depiction of "typical DVC inspired dialogue" paints the advocate as a close-minded, rude, sex-crazed, demon-possessed individual. Wow! Nothing like being open-minded, eh?

I just got The Da Vinci Code out of the library (the huge, illustrated, coffee-table version, since it was the only thing left) and started reading it the other night. It's an OK book so far, not great. And I plan on seeing the movie when it comes out, either in the theater or more likely on DVD (since I have a baby now). Why? Not only do I really like Tom Hanks as an actor and Ron Howard as a director. I also need to be prepared. I have heard much about the book, but have experienced none of it first-hand. I need to be prepared to know what I'm talking about when the topic comes up. And come up it will. If I were to take Ms. Nicolosi's high road, and one of my students were to approach me with questions about some of the so-called facts that the book or movie espouses, how would I respond? "Sorry. I didn't read or see it. It is spiritually-unfit for me to consume. And just the fact that you are asking me about makes you the Devil!" Come on! Let's be a little less closed-minded and impractical. Jesus Himself in Mark 5 not only communicated with the demons, but also granted their wishes by casting them into a herd of swine. I am not putting myself or anyone else on par with Jesus, but this book will open conversations with people about God, even if they have skewed opinions of Him. 1 Peter 3:15 exhorts believers to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that in them, and with humbleness, not pride. I would much rather be prepared to dialogue and give an answer for my hope than to condemn...