The Dark Knight Has Risen: A Trilogy’s Fitting Finale

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It’s rare that I can go see a film I am really looking forward to, watch it, and then write about it; but I seem to be doing it more and more. I generally have to go see such a film more than once, and sometimes, more than twice.  I’ve got a lot of respect for folks like John Nolte, John Hanlon, and Christian Toto at Big Hollywood for their skill and ability to do what is a greater challenge for me.

How do you end a series of films like Nolan’s Batman, especially when there is such expectation because of the across-the-board excellence of the previous film?  You end it where it began, so the circle is complete.  That’s what Nolan did by bringing the League of Shadows (Assassins) back into the picture and tying the final film to the previous one via the character of Harvey Dent, whose presence is still largely felt in the consequences suffered by the characters, and to the first film by resurrecting the League.

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When 30 Weeks Became 30 Years: Creating Margin in Life

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A few months ago I turned 30.  Conventional wisdom tends to spout that reaching such a milestone is something important, something to be celebrated.  I took the day off to wait for the cable guys to visit me and set up cable in my apartment.  On that day thirty years prior, I was born at 30 weeks development.  While the irony and relative gravity of this realization got through to me I didn’t give it much thought until a few months after when visiting with my friend Andy Piscotti.

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After Quitter: Mind what you’ve learned, help you it can…

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Two weeks ago I jumped on two flights to travel down to Nashville, TN to spend 36+ hours in a new city to attend the Quitter Conference.  The Quitter Conference is a conference hosted by Jon Acuff, the author of the book Quitter and a member of the Dave Ramsey team at Lampo Press.  It’s 36 hours of Acuff and friends extrapolating principles from his book and expounding on them; finding passion, chasing dreams, and then some of the practical ways to do that (not to mention obstacles that need to be overcome).  It’s a chance to hear from a pervayor of wisdom like Al Andrews – the Kenobi to Acuff’s Skywalker – and dream chasing success stories like Jeff Goins, Matt Chambers, and Ali Worthington. Additionally, the band Seryn played a show for the attendees; the band reminds me a lot of Madison Greene, which is a great thing, but Seryn is a bit less tribal sounding.

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The Grimm Reality of an Unseen War

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Imagine a world where a police detective solves murders committed by monsters from fairy-tales, but only he can see them, only he knows what they really are.  To the rest of the world they’re shopkeepers, lawyers, factory workers and the like.  Welcome to the world of Nick Burkhardt a police detective in Seattle who also happens to learn he is a Grimm; an individual of special bloodline and ability who can see these fairy-tale baddies in their true form and not the illusion seen by the average human.  Now in it’s second season, Grimm is an interesting blend of the police procedural and fantasy genres of television.  As the first season starts, Burkhardt learns who he is and begins to wrestle with this revelation in relation to both work and home life.  As the season progresses he becomes a central target in a centuries-old shadow war between factions with a presence in Europe and the United States.  A war few even know is raging, much less comprehend it’s global implications, wherein nothing is what it seems and heroes are really villains and vice-versa.  As with most shows, while each episode is in a way self contained – some are not – there is an over-arching plot (much like Smallville, Doctor Who, Warehouse 13, Once Upon A Time, and many others).

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Pain, Perserverence, Passion, and Purpose: My Journey as a Sermon Illustration

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While I was in New York City this weekend with my family, the story of my journey was featured as part of the “One Another” sermon series at National Community Church.  The sermon focused on the “one another” from Hebrews 10:24 – “Spur one another on…”  Believe it or not, I was glad to be away this weekend, as I feel that the Father “got me out of the way” so He could do as He wished with my story, taking care to ensure I could in no way be an impediment or distraction that might take away from what He intended.  In a phrase, I think He became more and I became less; He increased and I decreased.  I can only hope that the story spurred others on…to love, to good deeds, to dream, to pursue, to encourage, to be agents of renewal, to do, and to inspire.

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What comes under your name?

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One of my favorite shows in TV is a show called Burn Notice on USA Network.  It follows the adventures of a former spy (Jeffery Donovan) who once worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before he gets “burned” (blacklisted) by them.  He gets dumped in Miami, Florida and begins a journey to uncover who it was that had it in for him.  However, he’s not alone in this as his former girlfriend (Gabrielle Anwar), an old friend and ex-Navy Seal (Bruce Campbell), and his Mom (Sharon Glass), are part of his world again and get caught up in the situations he finds himself as he takes jobs to help those down on their luck.  Yes, it helps that Bruce Campbell is in it and plays himself wearing a Hawaiian shirt and drinking mojitos, and that I happen to know the guy who edits the show (the great Zack Arnold), but – those things aside – it’s just a fun show about a guy trying to do right by the world as he clears his name.

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Be a Hero, not a Dwarf

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I’d imagine that many across the United States may be taking time this Fall to re-read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien because part one of the silver-screen adaptation releases this December.  I’ll be the first to say I’ve already done that with a long standing reading group in Washington, DC – associated with National Community Church – called The Inklings.  Our group is named after the reading group that both Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were involved in that met at a pub in Oxford, England and previously we’ve joked about putting a “2.0” or “Reloaded” after it.  *Insert lame reference to The Matrix Trilogy here*

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The Sleeper Must Awaken: Arise and Be a Quitter

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“…a person needs new experiences.  They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow.  Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” – Duke Leto Atreides of Caladan, in Dune by Frank Herbert

Quitter.  Say it with me, “Quit-ter”.  This is another word we hate; maybe not as much as “humility” but we still hate it.  It implies weakness, a lack of perseverance, loyalty, focus, and maybe even a micron of entitlement (i.e. “Luthor Syndrome“).  No one wants to be called a “Quitter “…until now.  “What?!  How can being a “Quitter” be a good thing?  Why the change in perception?  Did you go in for one of those paid psychology experiments that happen in college campuses?” someone might ask.  What changed my view of the concept was reading a book by Jon Acuff that, irony alert, is actually called Quitter.  In this book, Jon gets his faux-pride on and admits that he is likely better than the rest of us at two things: 1) Quitting his job and, 2) The Reverse Superman.  Acuff admits that he’s quit more jobs than most of us have ever had and that he’s really good at transforming himself from motivational super-dude to average guy in the confines of a bathroom stall after a weekend of traveling and speaking at a conference.  Apparently, this can be blamed as an unintended consequence of the lack of public telephone booths in America; at least that’s what I think…

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Humility and the Death Star: If you don’t build it, it can’t blow up on you.

Posted on by Aaron in Comic Books/Superheroes, Star Wars | 3 Comments

Humility.  If you’re honest with yourself you’ll admit you don’t like this word very much.  You might even admit that you hate that word; not just it’s meaning. but the spelling and sound of it too.  Chances are the feeling of loathing might come from more than just “It’s the word that lost me the school-wide spelling-bee in 4th Grade”  Forget using the word in a sentence; if a sentence were the center of the universe, this word is the farthest thing from it.  It conjures up images foreign to the 21st Century “culture of self-celebrity” we’ve created for ourselves.

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NBC’s Revolution: A Future where the Power is…off.

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Imagine a world where wherein all the electrical power suddenly shuts off and doesn’t turn back on…and no one really knows why.  Welcome to the new Monday night drama on NBC.  In truth, the pilot doesn’t air until this coming Monday night but it has been available to watch free online for a week or so now.  If something like a worldwide Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) actually occurred what might happen to society as we know it?  Would governments remain stable?  How might people react?  Where would be the safest place?  Who might rise up in the midst of a confused “techno-planet” and restore order?  Revolution attempts to grapple with these questions and more as it flashes back and forth between the past (right after the power goes out) and the present (15-years after the incident).

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