Saturday, June 27, 2009

Virtuality: An Unexpectedly Awesome Show

Holy crap!

Lately I've been watching some John Stewart and a few movies on hulu.com and today saw an advertisement for a movie I had never heard of called Virtuality. It looked interesting and since I didn't have anything to do tonight [ : ( ] I watched it. Having never heard of it, I wasn't expecting anything at all.

Virtuality is a space-type movie about 12 people in the not-too-distant future on a mission to another star system. The mission is supposed to take 10 years. So basically stick 12 people in a metal can for 10 years and see what happens. Oh, and mix in some neat sci-fi techno scenes for kicks.

The movie sure was aggressive in laying ground for character development, relationship development, and a lot of great psychological drama. I was completely hooked after the first few minutes!

45 minutes or so into the 1.5 hour feature I started wondering how they planned on wrapping all of the plot up in the next 45 minutes. To me, it seemed things were moving awfully slow in order to end things nicely...

To my amazement the movie ended on a complete and utter cliff-hanger. Seriously, there could not possibly be a worse cliff-hanger in all of movie history.

What the crap??!

This is easily the worst ending ever, of anything, forever.

In my anger I googled the movie and pulled up the wikipedia entry:

Virtuality is the title of a series pilot written by Ronald D. Moore and produced by the FOX Network.[1] Moore co-wrote the script with Michael Taylor. The two-hour pilot episode, directed by Peter Berg, aired as a movie, June 26, 2009

In an instant this became the most excellently awesome TV series ever. You really must watch the pilot (which I thought was a stand-alone movie.)

I sure hope this goes viral so that fox won't cancel it after one season like they did to firefly. (A sin the world may never forgive them for.... except now it's different.)

Watch the Virtuality pilot episode for a short time at hulu.com.
(No, I'm not getting paid to advertise for them. I wish!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A More Godly View of Creation

I have long held that only an Omnipotent Being could be the master of evolution and the physical properties of the universe.

The fact that evolution works and that all the sciences harmonize so beautifully to allow intelligent life to exist is one of the biggest evidences for a God, not against. (This concept is known as The Anthropic Principle)

My faith is strengthened by science - in fact, I can't imagine science affecting me in any other way.

The article I've linked below introduced me to another way of thinking about creation. God is more similar to a gardener than a magician. Is it no wonder that Jesus taught using farming metaphors so frequently? It is by patience, effort, and miracles that God affects the world, so wouldn't his creation mimic this pattern?

Perhaps under this premise, "evolution" is a more Godly view of earth's origin than "creationism?" (Where "evolution" and "creationism" correspond to the trenches of the ridiculous debate that continues in some parts of the religious and secular community.)

I thought this article was enlightening and worth reading. I hope you'll agree.


Excerpt:
"...How can we value this Earth if we believe that it was an act of a wanded magician rather than a gardener? Is it any wonder that those who hold to a cheap creation also seem to be the first to ignore the peril of our planet? Who argue that we can ignore the global ecological crisis and be assured God can reproduce another planet like our Earth like a rabbit out of a hat?..."

An Unexpected Advertisement 2

As I was reading through some articles on the interwebs today, I ran across the following advertisement intriguingly placed on a computer how-to website.


"Self," I thought, "that font looks familiar." So I clicked on it.


No way! The LDS Church (of which I am a proud member.... but not that kind of pride, sheesh) was advertising on this computer website! I couldn't help myself, so I clicked to watch the movie, "Finding Happiness" that they were advertising.

It is a lovely little movie. I was thinking the whole time I was watching it how I might receive it if I was just a random guy reading a computer article and clicked on the nice Asian lady's face out of curiosity. I really think that it approaches those with little or no belief in God a very aptly, very logically but honest manner. Here's an example:
"Something in our heart tells us there is more to life, that real happiness and peace could be ours regardless of our circumstances, if only we knew where and how to find it."
So, I share this for a few reasons:
  1. I was highly amused that the Church was advertising on a computer website, and this blog is for all the various things that amuse me.
  2. I liked the movie quite a lot and this blog is for things that I like.
  3. I'm always trying to help people better understand and not fear or suspect the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I hope you'll enjoy the movie as much as I did:

video

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran: Seeing Our Heritage in Their Struggle


In the past week Iran has been a very exciting place. This rigged election fiasco has the potential to drastically change Iran's government, but has already improved Iran's image in the eyes of the American people.

Despite having never had to physically defend the liberties given me here in America, I, and I'd claim most Americans, feel a strong, almost guttural need to be free - and to do whatever is necessary to preserve that freedom. Maybe it's the American education system, or maybe it's because our ancestors were that way. But it really is, from my perspective, a very integral part of each generation of Americans.

But, Americans are often accused of being a self-centered country. We only watch American TV, listen to American music, and care about American news. I agree. But the reaction among Americans to the Iranian protests this week has been very different - we're glued to our TVs watching the events unfold with incredible reverence. In a way, we imagine ourselves watching our ancestors fighting for freedom back in the 18th century. Truthfully, we're somewhat puzzled by the extreme differences between our cultures and we can't just forget the hateful and ignorant rhetoric coming from the Iranian government. But amazingly, Americans are finding that we understand, sympathize, and even relate to Iranians more now than ever before. We don't speak the same language, have the same religion, or eat the same foods - but when we're lied to and manipulated by the government so clearly, just as they have been - we freak out and demand change just as they are doing now.

The Iranian people are, in essence, building a camaraderie with Americans - we're anxiously watching and hoping that they'll keep protesting - that they'll keep putting their lives, reputations, and lifestyles on the line for this, a cause that is truly important - one of the few causes worth dying for.

In a strange way, this upheaval of the Iranian government may lead to a less-extreme and more world-friendly Iran. To say it bluntly, this could be the best way to prevent the United States from eventually going to war with the almost-nuclear-armed Iran.

From one pseudo-pacifistic American to the world: I do not want war with Iran. I want Americans to like Iranians and Iranians to like Americans. I want our governments to tolerate each other and interact peaceably. When our nations throw insults at each other and when they refuse to talk to each other because they're enemies (which, in my opinion is the stupidest idea in the entire world), or when they beat the drums of intimidation and war I believe that we, the regular folks in the ditches, lose big time.

I can only anticipate the situation getting worse as time goes on. Already this unrest is leaving the realm of a rigged election and entering the realm of a complete government overthrow. Of course, we Americans do not want to see anything in Iran that is not in line with the will of the majority of the people.
We're not trying to overthrow the Iranian government - we're just secretly holding our breaths in the hope that the Iranians really don't hate us as much as their government says they do.
Is this the start of a truly democratic Middle Eastern State? Boy, that'd be great.