Refuse to be Passive

Archive for the ‘Movies with a bit of TV’ Category

The List of Beneficial

In Food, Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV, Uncategorized on October 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

“Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” It’s a riff on 1 Corinthians 10:23, and it’s been running through my head for nearly two weeks now. Every few months I like to take a quiet morning on the weekend and sit down to consider this, to apply it to my own life. Where am I going on a tangent, sapping my energies with wasteful endeavours, when my true purpose lies elsewhere?

It’s been chilly this past week, and when I say chilly, I mean that a blanket of white has covered the town of Jasper and the mountains that surround it. Just looking outside makes me want to stay home. It’s kept me from the gym, the library, and even from the stitching club that started up last week. I’ve been coming up with creative excuses for not going out, and my fridge is starting to like pretty pathetic. I’ve done an excellent job of using up what I’ve got in the house.

Beyond that, the past couple of weeks my personal spiritual practices have fallen into a bit of a slump. I finished my book by Shane Claiborne on The New Monasticism—I highly recommend it, even if you’re not leaning towards the lifestyle. I’ve started sleeping in later instead of taking time to get up and read my Bible in the morning. I’m not sure what it is about the morning, but it’s just so much more darned productive for me than if I come home and try to do stuff after work. I much prefer mornings for almost everything.

Due to the fact that I tend to want to relax after work, I’ve gotten into this horrible habit of turning on the TV or booting up my laptop and finding a television show to watch. It can suck hours from my life, and it also means that I’ve fallen into the trap of eating in front of the TV or computer. This is highly detrimental considering my endeavours to lose weight.

Not everything is bad though. It’s easy to focus on the bad and forget about the good. After reading the book Forks Over Knives, I’ve decided to adopt a plant-based diet for a year. Basically I’m going vegan, reducing my sugar intake, and reducing my intake of processed foods. Many people hear this and give me a pitying look, but I look at it and see it as a step in the right direction. If it reduces my risk of heart disease, breast cancer, obesity, and diabetes, I’m in. If it means that less carbon dioxide, monoxide, and methane are being pumped into our atmosphere, I’m in. If it means that factory farming and the abuse of animals can be clear in my conscience, so much the better. After all, God gave us the earth to care for it, not abuse it to fit our whims and Westernized lifestyle.

For many Christians, it seems much easier to take a concept like that and justify it, essentially burying our heads in the sands. But look at how well that works out for the ostrich.

Back to the task at hand! Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Well, I’ve taken a look at areas in my life where what I’m doing isn’t beneficial. Now, it’s time to look for the change. Now, it’s time to make a list of beneficial. This is a list of things that are permissible, that will enhance life rather than make me lazy and suck the hours away. So here it is!


1)      Get involved in the community—volunteer with a cause you connect with

2)      Take part in local clubs and initiatives, ones that will allow you to network and build skills i.e. a stitching club, Toastmasters, or a swimming club

3)      Increase your vocabulary—start doing crossword puzzles. Not only will you learn new words, but you never know when useless facts will come in handy. Slumdog Millionaire anyone?

4)      Knowledge is power—If you’re like me and at the beginning of your career with some thirty years of work stretching in front of you, then now is a good time to recognize that our culture and economy is built on knowledge. While the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” may hold true in many cases, if you change that adage to, “It’s what you know and who you know,” then you’re a shoe-in. Start reading, and not just in your area of expertise. YouTube also has some great instructional videos for things like the internet and social networking. And if you can’t get it for free, you might have to pay for it. Learn while you work—Google continuing education.

5)      Recognize the value of the spiritual—humans are more than just physical forms, they are also composed of the mental and the spiritual. Take time to develop your relationship with God. Learn to meditate, read, and write. Learn to converse with the master of the universe who loves his creation beyond what we can imagine. After all, who doesn’t want God on their side?

6)      Get fit!—This one doesn’t need much explanation in a culture that is obsessed with physical appearance. Just make sure that getting fit also means getting healthy. Remember, it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping the people on the couch.


That’s the list of beneficial for now. If you’ve got anything to add, feel free to comment!


A TV Fast

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on January 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

I kind of despise TV. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch it. Maybe a more accurate statement is, I despise how watching too much TV makes me feel. When I watch too much TV I feel sluggish and lethargic. I also feel slightly pathetic, like I don’t have much of a life compared to the people on the screen. But then I have to remember, it’s all make believe. My life would be entertaining to if you chose only to show the exciting parts of my week and only had to look at my typing on a computer at work for 5 seconds before switching to another event. Also, I tend to get sucked into TV shows and develop relationships with the characters in the program. I feel bad for them, am happy with them, often empathize with them, and on occasion have to thank them for a revelation. That’s why it’s hard for me to sit down and watch just one episode if I have an entire season at my finger tips. And if I watch the entire season, I’ve lost a weekend I’ll never get back. Because of this, I am, once again, going on a TV fast– including TV watched over the internet. I’ll be more productive in everyday life, and probably feel better about myself in general. It should be delightful.


TV Series and such

In Movies with a bit of TV on September 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I’ve lived for the past two weeks without TV or internet in my house, and up until now it hasn’t been a problem. This is largely in part to the friend/tenant living upstairs who has been feeding me entire seasons of TV shows to watch on my laptop. Let me just say, the first season of Buffy had brutal stunt work and was only partially redeemed by Angel, played by the fabulous David Boreanaz. Know the name? He also plays Booth in Bones and I think it’s one of my favourite series out there right now. He’s gone from playing a kick-ass vampire with a tortured soul, to a kick-ass FBI agent, ten years older but still awesome.  Also on my watching list was the entire first season of The Big Bang Theory. Can anyone say fabulous? This has got to be the funniest show I’ve seen in a long time. It’s better than Glee, The Office, and whatever other comedies are out there right now. I know this may put me up to ridicule, as both Glee and the Office fans tend to be violently in love with their respective shows, but this is just how I see it. And now, new seasons of shows are starting up! Too bad I won’t be able to watch them.

A New Week and Leonardo DiCaprio

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on June 28, 2010 at 10:07 am

I skipped swimming this morning after a restless night due to car alarms, police sirens, ambulances, and all sorts of noises coming in through my window. I don’t think it quieted down until 2 am, which was annoying.  In a rare move, I got out of bed only half and hour before I had to leave for work, but I still managed to be the first one into the office. My weekend was excellent, consisting of brunch with friends on Saturday, Jazz in the Park in the afternoon, some time hanging with my sister, looking at a basement suite for Fall, as my sublet is up in two months, and then watching Shutter Island in the evening.

I really love Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese movies, because you expect those brilliant twists and turns, but there’s usually an extra one at the end that makes you unsure if the ending is “right” or not. I love it. I also like the suspense without the guts and gore or promiscuity. DiCaprio has really chosen some great films to do in the past few years. From Revolutionary Road, to Blood Diamond, to Shutter Island, you always come out with a feeling that it wasn’t just entertainment, but you learned something. That’s what makes a truly good movie. Fluff movies are a dime a dozen, but one that keeps you enthralled while making you think? That’s worth it’s weight in gold. It’s interesting to me that the guy who did Titanic and The Beach (neither of which are my favourite movies) is now putting out quality. And he’s never plastered in the gossip columns. It’s like the guy grew up (I suppose he is 36, so maybe that makes sense) and decided that a life in Hollywood could be a life where he could make a difference, while keeping the drama on screen and not off. Granted, I really don’t know that much about the guy, but that’s the general gist of what I think about him, and I can’t wait for his next film Inception. DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan? It’s bound to be brilliant.

My Sister Looks Like Hilary Swank

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on June 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Now, I might be the only one who thinks this, but my sister looks like Hilary Swank. They both have straight brown hair, similar smiles, similar builds, similar face shape and complexion, but I think it might be mannerisms more than anything else. The way they tilt their heads or when they look startled. Sometimes when I’m watching a movie, I actually think I’m seeing my sister.
Those of you who know my sister may completely disagree. But after watching Freedom Writers last night, I’m more convinced than ever that my sister, and by extension me, might be long lost relatives of Swank. How cool would that be?

Sorry I don’t have pictures for you to compare. It’s a shame.

My Jane Austen Complex

In Art, Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on January 31, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Like many women in this world, I adore the writing of Jane Austen. In fact, I think she might be one of men’s greatest enemies. Why? Because the characters she writes are so vivid, that the people reading the books (mostly women) start pining after fictional characters, like Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingly, Edward Farrars, Colonel Brandon, or _______– fill in your favourite name here. And while all of these characters have their faults, as are often pointed out, still they come across as something special. They create hope. And so, after enjoying Pride and Prejudice once more, I find myself longing to live in the English countryside and find my own Mr. Darcy. I have a Jane Austen complex, and right now, I really don’t mind.

Film question:

Who is your favourite Mr. Darcy?

Matthew Macfayden or Colin Firth?

For me it’s Colin Firth– I wish he was twenty years younger.

Stranger Than Fiction– A Film Review

In Movies with a bit of TV on December 15, 2009 at 4:43 pm

For the past couple of years, one of my favourite movies has been Will Ferrell’s Stranger Than Fiction. This semester I decided to take a course in Film and Literature, and have been thoroughly enjoying it. One of the last films we watched was Stranger Than Fiction, where we tackled postmodernity in film. The prof had mentioned that this film tended to get rather poor reviews. I couldn’t believe this, so I started tracking down reviews from various sources, and sure enough, the good reviews were few and far between. I took a bit of offense to this, as it seemed that the reviewers were attacking what I loved in the film. It wasn’t your normal chic flick, action movie, or family drama. It dared to step outside the lines of the ordinary. And it got slammed. This movie is brilliant. It’s better every time you watch it, from the GUIs that give us insight into who Harold Crick is, to the slightly despressing character of Karen Eifel, who is trying to determine how to kill her main character (who turns out to be Harold), this movie is a pure delight. It’s funny, but not crass.  It’s original, but not plain weird. It’s all around fantastic. No, it’s not your typical Will Ferrell movie, and if you’re looking for one of those peices of _____, then feel free to move on. But if you want a good, insightful, original piece on life and art, this is your stop. Watch it, you won’t regret it.

Note: I am bias. I have an English degree and love to bake…you’ll get it. But I also have other people who will back me up on the fabulousness of this movie.


In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on November 16, 2009 at 10:22 am

A month and a half after canceling my cable subscription, they finally disconnected me. No more TV for Maria. And, as I own relatively few movies and lack both a DVD player and a VCR, my TV is getting no use. Actually, I should qualify the “no DVD player;” I do have on on my laptop, which I use on a semi-regular basis. But goodness, what a lot of free time I have now! The evenings seem to be much longer than I remember them, and I’m getting a lot more done…I think. Somehow I still feel like I’m running a little behind, but maybe that’s because I’ve picked up reading again. Books used to be the TV of the world. It kind of makes me look at reading differently, as well as genres of reading. Can you imagine studying TV programs in university? Actually, come to think of it, some people probably do, but not nearly as a many as those who study English literature. And the literature English majors study are like the quality TV shows, rather than the trash. Although, these days the trash seems to be piling up. So, if TV is the reading of the past, what shows should be studied in university courses?

Random, I know.

To Watch, or not to Watch?

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on August 16, 2009 at 4:48 am

I’m seriously considering giving up watching movies (and TV?) in my home for the next year. It may sound a bit crazy, but it’s true. I love movies. TV isn’t so bad for me, but I love movies. I probably watch two per weekend, at least…sometimes up to four. I’m starting to think it’s unhealthy, that I’m trying to live vicariously through characters in movies. They’re not even real people for goodness sakes! Instead of living through fictional characters, maybe I need to learn how to live my own life. One of the brilliant things about movies is that you never see the boring bits of a characters life, and the pieces you do see, always fit into the story line. Real life isn’t like that. We don’t just skip the boring bits, otherwise two weeks of our lives could probably also fit into two hours. And our lives don’t work in a clear order, working towards an ending, where every move brings us one step closer to the finally. Life is filled with bredth, it’s not a narrow path with one tiny storyline. At any given time we can be living four movies at once, if not more. Life is not one-dimensional. So maybe it’s time for me to wake up and see life for what it is, and movies for what they are. Life holds more joy and sorrow than a movie ever could. It’s not to be missed. And sitting in front of a screen means I am probably missing out on something right now. Maybe it’s time to stop living vicariously through fiction, and embrace the realities of life.

Lights, Camera, Action!

In Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV on August 13, 2009 at 9:03 pm

This week, a film crew is in filming for a new series on TV. The other day I wandered into work and was met with a visual onslaught of technological equipment, from cameras, to sound boards and mics. I have to admit that I’m very impressed with the people doing they filming. They’re professional yet cheery, and are very kind. On top of that, they’ve got their own chef with them who works out of a catering vehicle parked in front of the university. This chef apparently likes us too, as this afternoon he surprised us with chocolate mouse in baked wanton wrapper bowls (although some people think it’s phillo, I maintain they’re wanton wrappers). Delightful! These people can come and film here any time they want.
Now I”ll have to watch for the series when it airs. Fun!