Walter vs. Bilbo

walter-mitty

Let me fill you in with a little of the backstory.

I was in 5th grade, I’d just got the reading bug & had recently finished Ruth Park’s More Adventures of the Muddle-Headed Wombat, when the Junior School Librarian decided to sit us down & read us the opening chapter of The HobbitBilbo’s hole sounded warm & comforting, and I thought it might be another lovely kids book like Wombats. It couldn’t have been any more different, but that didn’t matter, because I was hooked!
I whizzed through the Hobbit, ate up Lord of the Rings, and followed it up with a steady diet of Ursula Leguin, Dragonlance, Bram Stoker, any anything else I could get my hands on.

Having finished my HSC & not knowing what to do, my love of the world opened up to be through books was so great that I went & did library studies at TAFE!

Knowing that my early career had its genesis in the reading of this one book, the reader can understand that I have felt like I have an investment in this series, waiting for each movie to come out. Fear at what they might do. Excitement at what might be…
It’s also helpful to note that I was not overly scathing about LOTR….

Now, Walter Mitty is a different animal. I hadn’t heard of it, the modern version, or the 1947 one until I saw a preview on Apple Trailers. The music suited the trailer perfectly, the preview was both dramatic & slightly comedic… I was interested.
I’ve had a theory, I think I’ve shared it here before, that comedic actors (particularly the ones you don’t like that much) have one truly great movie in them. If we write someone off because “I don’t like Joe Bloggs movies” we run the risk of missing that gem. Will Ferrell’s “Stranger than Fiction” certainly alerted me to that!

Now to the review. (Hopefully no spoilers)

I saw the Hobbit just a day or two after it was released. I’d been ummming and ahhhhing about which movie to see first, and the old favourite won out.
As it started, I couldn’t help but feel that the opening credits were a little uninspiring. I know they went with the same style as the LOTR movies, but it seems a little like it had been dialled in.

Things never got better.

Rather than go blow for blow, I’ll just mention my major issues.

  1. Odd Characterisations: I felt like they made really bad decisions on how to portray different people. Beorn was a great example. I was left wondering why they left him in at all. They may as well have cut him like they did most of the Tom Bombadil stuff in LOTR.
  2. Love interests: Why they decided they needed love interests in the stories, particularly such odd choices, is beyond me. Really distracting and didn’t really help the story much at all…. except for….
  3. Making more changes to cover for changes: I felt like they dropped interesting stuff so that they could make more time to rationalise some of the stupid changes they made. It felt like there was a good quarter of an hour of a chase scene that was only there to rationalise the love interest that they added as well as the …
  4. Reoccurring bad guy. He doesn’t help. He’s stupid and, again, distracting.
  5. The sets looked too dark & the acting felt a little too much like they had done too many takes & the passion was gone.

That’s about all I can say without ruining the story for you. Now to Walter Mitty.

WOW!!!!!!

I was hooked when I thought it was just a story about a workaday guy who has a big adventure, but it was so much more than that.  It made me gawk at this over the top world that Walter lived in, as well as appreciate the extraodinariness of my world.

The cinematography was just stunning. The opening credits, elements of which were reminiscent of “North by Northwest” were breathtaking and the Characters were well crafted. I am not in love with either Ben Stiller or Sean Penn, but they were both brilliant. The few scenes that they shared together were just magical!
If you want to be lifted up, if you want to dream bigger, if you need to feel exhilarated, then The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is for you!

Christmas…

A little late, but I know there are at least a couple of people who’d love to see one or two Christmas pictures, so here we go…

Early morning opening
Early morning opening

The downside to having a dad as a minister is that the kids all have to get up pretty early if they want to open presents when I’m there. The upside is… who ever heard of a kid who didn’t want to get up early on Christmas Day?

Happy little twinnies
Happy little twinnies

They are pretty happy with everything!

Painting
Painting

Bethy is both a great artist & a patient cousin. Great job on a butterfly!

Pat the dog...
Pat the dog…

I think this might be the closest we have ever got Gumnut to a dog.

Final work
Final work
Love
Love

I love this picture.

Mother & daughter (how do they grow up so fast?)
Mother & daughter (how do they grow up so fast?)

Into the Blue

Pulpit rock
Pulpit rock

We’ve been off the grid for the last week attending CMS (Church Missionary Society) Summer School. I am lucky that I get study leave for the week, but, truth be told, I’d take holidays if they didn’t offer it.

Things to love about Summer School:

1. My Boss: Allan & his family also attend. For the last couple of years, they have also shared accommodation with us, allowing us to stay at the house of a friend of theirs. It’s been incredibly generous of them (who wants 4 little kids humming around them for a week?) and we’ve enjoyed it both times!

2. The Missionaries: So, the story with Summer School is that CMS supports a bucketload of missionaries. When they are back home on furlough, they come along & do a bunch of different seminars about their work & mission in general. It’s also an opportunity for supporters to meet them in person.

3. The talks: Each year they get a key-note speaker. This year it was a guy called Andrew Reid who took us through the book of Exodus over 7 sermons. It’s great to spend a week in an intensive, hearing a new talk each morning.

4. The People: The main auditorium holds a couple of thousand people, and the children/youth programme caters for about 1000 kids! It’s wonderful to sing in the big hangar with so many people, and it’s great to see so many kids being challenged in their Christian faith.

5. Mountains weather: The Blue Mountains are not cold  by US mountain standards, but in the middle of summer, it’s lovely to have cool days and nights.

6. Time with Family: It’s full-on, but it’s great to hang with the kids for the week, and I love the opportunity to sit next to my wife during sermons!

So, we had a great time, but now it’s back home. How lucky am I that I also love home, and work!

Back again

It’s 37 degrees today (100 fahrenheit) and I’m sweating in my office, trying my hardest not to move, and wishing it was the weekend already, so I could be up in the Blue Mountains, where we have a better than average chance of some cooler temps!

It’s been a busy year, 2013. I can’t believe it’s 2014 already. Christmas is done & dusted, and I’m thinking about what the next year is going to look like.

As usual, I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon, but I do have aspirations.

Again, as usual, I’ll make up for it with some recent photos.

Birthday Boy
Birthday Boy
Seals for Gumnut's's Birthday
Seals for Gumnut’s’s Birthday
It wouldn't be at trip to the zoo if we didn't have a pic on the Elephant!
It wouldn’t be at trip to the zoo if we didn’t have a pic on the Elephant!
Zoo nood
Zoo nood
Lazing...
Lazing…
Peacock
Peacock
Sunburst
Sunburst
The Boss
The Boss

More fun when it’s family

Love...
Love…

On Saturday afternoon, Mum, Dad, Amy & I headed down to the Middle Harbour Yacht Club to celebrate my cousins Michael & Sanam. They’re heading off to Dubai to get married!

But….

To make things legal in Australia, they needed to get married here too. Why do something like that at a registry, if you can ask your ordained cousin to take the wedding for you?

I enjoy most weddings. It’s a time to see people who are head over heels for each other, and, despite it being a stressful time, they are fun gigs to facilitate. Weddings for family are even better though! To welcome a new member into the family, to get a front-row seat to the festivities, and then to get the first selfie afterward!

Awesome.

Nice to be together (but missing Phil)
Nice to be together (but missing Phil)
The Boys
The Boys

Creativity

 

I guess I churn out my fair share of stuff. I write at least one sermon a week. I write an article or two for our e-news, maybe another for our parish newsletter, and occasionally write stuff for our diocesan newspaper. I’m not banging out Shakespeare or anything, but it all takes creativity, and you have to work out a new subject for everything. I find myself looking for an interesting angle on articles in the news, or rethinking what it was that I did over the week.

What turned the corner for my photography (sadly, lapsed IMHO) was just doing more of it. It helps to have an eye for photography, but the more you shoot, the better  you get at it and the less times the shutter needs to flip to achieve your intended result. You start to see the patterns in the world around you. You grow in your appreciation, not only of the foreground, but what surrounds the centre of your attention.

I’m trying to embrace every opportunity I have to write about stuff. I love the fact that, the more you think about the stories that live in the world around us, the easier it is to see them. I hope it will make me a better illustrator during sermons, it could make someone a better conversationalist, and I hope it might encourage my kids to see a bigger, brighter world.

 

And not a single picture was taken.

I had a massive weekend. I had intended to take shots of everything, but never got around to it.

1: Saturday morning, 6am: The sun is up early, the surf was fairly big, and Colin, Aaron & myself headed out to the point at Copacabana. I’ve always been a “no pain…. no pain” person, avoiding anything that might hurt too much, so surfing on a point (waves breaking over a rock ledge) has been a bit much for me. But the waves there were great!

If I could have taken a picture, it would have been of the first duck dive I did under a big wave, only to see the rocks a couple of feet under me.

I didn’t get dumped onto rocks (though I did end up in about 3 feet of water at one time) and it was a great morning. The only downside was that it was short because:

2: Saturday morning, 7:45am: St. Bede’s was having a mens breakfast. Dominic Steele was speaking on “how to really love a woman” and he did a pretty good job. It was nice to see some younger blokes from our evening congregation there, and it was nice to have pretty much a full house. I was able to stick around for a while, but had to head home to spend an hour finishing off a sermon before:

3: Saturday morning, 11:30am: We were off to have lunch with some friends/friends parents/parishioners. Connors, Garrards and Fryirs, in sunny Fountaindale. It was a yummy & relaxing way to spend my afternoon. It too didn’t last too long, though, because Dan had to take a wedding & I had more to fit in my day…

4: Saturday evening, 6:30pm: 20yr School reunion! I headed in to pick up Matty, then we were into darling harbour for drinks on the HMAS Vampire, followed by some time in the Maritime Museum.

The HMAS Vampire

It was awesome to catch up with some old friends, and lovely to chat to people who I wasn’t friends with at school. It all went in a little bit of a blur, and I had to leave a little early because:

5: Sunday morning, 8am, 9:30am, and Sunday evening 5pm: I was preaching three times on Sunday. I got home from the reunion at about midnight, then was up at about 5 getting ready for the morning. I’ve really enjoyed our 2 Corinthians series, and, thankfully, felt on top of the passage. After 9:30 there had been an intention that I might be able to get an hours sleep in before the evening service, but that went by the wayside because of the strangest thing in my weekend (but wonderful).

6: Saturday afternoon, 4:30pm, then Sunday morning 9:30-2pm: As I was heading toward my reunion, I got a call from my long-lost brother Michael. He’s moved down to Sydney, and was interested in catching up. He ended up coming to hear me preach on Sunday morning, then spent lunch with me & the family!

The last time I saw Michael was the day I got married, so it was wonderful to catch up on everything he has been doing & what his plans for the future are. I would have loved to spend more time with him, but with the evening service looming, I had to be ready for that.

7: Sunday evening, 5pm: It’s always hard to work out at SE@K. With 5 minutes to go, it was almost an empty church, but by 5 past, we were pretty much full! In the last couple of months, we’ve had a whole lot of new people join us. It’s great being able to get to know new people, to encourage and be encouraged as we seek to know more about Jesus.

I was wrecked when I got home. I fell asleep in front of the TV & finally woke again at midnight to go to bed.

It was a good weekend though.

And it all starts again this morning.

Back in the Saddle

I keep threatening to get back into the blogging saddle.

I have a plan this time, and we’ll just have to see if it works.

meantime, I have a bunch of photos of my kids (the only thing I take photos of these days) that might entertain.

1. Would you believe the twins are over 1 now! Boss is doing a fair bit of walking, and the bear is threatening to do so. Here are some pictures from their birthday & their birthday Zoo visit.

One today!
One today!
Birthday muffin!
Birthday muffin!

Traditional photo

Four Eyes On Cake
Four Eyes On Cake
Yay, cake!
Yay, cake!

Friday is my day off.

It’s a lovely little tradition to be able to walk down to the coffee shop, stop & feed the ducks on the way, then have a run around in our old Church grounds on the way home…

Run Forrest
Run Forrest
Hug it out
Hug it out
Feeding the ducks
Feeding the ducks
Babycinos
Babycinos
Dragging the boss
Dragging the boss
Whole lotta love!
Whole lotta love!
Kisses
Kisses
Merry Go Round
Merry Go Round

 

Life, otherwise is busy, but good. Lots of stuff to do at work. Lots of catching up to do with friends & family, and a 20th anniversary reunion for school this weekend!

Here’s a couple of final family shots.

 

Happy reading
Happy reading
Bird is the word
Bird is the word
Playground
Playground
Awesome foursome
Awesome foursome