Monday, January 28, 2008

snow! -- kind of

This morning, the local news is claiming we're in a major snow storm. Schools are closed or are opening late. There are traffic problems, etc. Unfortunately, inner-Portland is usually that last place to snow. There is no visible snow from our window, traffic is fine, and no signs of ice. So Scott and I are having time sympathizing with the snow-storm-2008 news coverage.

Yesterday, Scott and I found snow not far from Portland in the Columbia River Gorge. Here is the Vista House at Crown Point as seen from the Women's Forum viewpoint:

IMG_6108.JPG, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

The entrance to the Menucha retreat was also very beautiful:

IMG_6180 copy.jpg, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

There Will Be Blood: D

there will be blood, originally uploaded by idealterna.

I'm trying to see more of the Oscar nominated films, so I dragged Scott to There Will Be Blood. Within the first few moments, I knew it was a mistake to bring Scott. He has never let me live down 2005's Capote which I liked, but Scott thought was long and boring. Blood is nothing but long, slow, moody scenes with an annoying soundtrack.

I think I'm a good sport and am always willing to give a movie a chance to tell its story, but I really see no point in this movie's story. Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis does a great job portraying a bipolar, alcoholic, sociopath with few redeeming characteristics. And yes, the cinematography and setting were well done. However, none of the characters were sympathetic and the story was obvious and unoriginal. I left just feeling the movie was a waste of time.

There was an obvious compare and contrast between Lewis' oilman character and a young pentacostal preacher. Both men evangelized their audiences for their own self-serving goals. And there was some much needed humorous moments when the oilman and preacher each find themselves needing the others' support at certain points in their lives. However, i can't really say that was interesting enough to salvage this film.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cloverfield: B

The Cloverfield Monster!, originally uploaded by

Scott and I saw Cloverfield with his coworkers yesterday. It was one of the best monster movies I've seen. Like J.J. Abrams' Lost, this Abrams-produced movie teases the audience and doesn't spell-out the story.

The movie starts-off setting-up the lives of a Friends-like cast (but with a non-white person) of 20-somethings dealing with typical mundane life issues at a loft goodbye party. Just when party scene was getting too long, the monster attacks. I've read another review somewhere describing it as a Godzilla movie as told from the perspective of urban hipsters. Apparently, all of New York City is only filled with 20-year-olds with cameraphones.

My only criticism is that the movie couldn't live up to its hype. Back in July, when I became a little obsessed about the clever marketing gimmick. I suppose no movie could live up to the online speculation about what the movie was about. Ultimately, is was basically what we thought it was going to be, a generic monster-attacks-NYC-movie.

I can't wait to see what Abrams does to Star Trek.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Star Trek XI teaser

The long-awaited first images and teaser for the new JJ Abrams' Star Trek movie have been leaked. Although it's only a teaser, the unbelievable rumors that the Enterprise was drastically re-designed for this retelling seem to have been exaggerated.

The image shows the original Enterprise being built on a planet -- not a space dock as seen in the prior movies. That seems to be a minor departure from Gene Roddenberry's vision. He wanted the Enterprise to be a spaceship that would be too unwieldy to be mistaken for any Earth-bound vessel.

J.J Abrams Enterprise, originally uploaded by William Moore.

Here is a less than clear version of the teaser on YouTube. Although if it is pulled off YouTube, is a good source for tracking the latest leaked Trek media. The trailer is running with Cloverfield which Scott and I plan on seeing this weekend.

Only 341 days until Christmas.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

proof that I'm a flaming liberal

I found this "What's your theological worldview?" quiz via the blog as were some of you. It's not really surprising since I've been a big fan of John Shelby Spong for a long time. Here are my results:

What's your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Modern Liberal

You are a Modern Liberal. Science and historical study have shown so much of the Bible to be unreliable and that conservative faith has made Jesus out to be a much bigger deal than he actually was. Discipleship involves continuing to preach and practice Jesus' measure of love and acceptance, and dogma is not important in today's world. You are influenced by thinkers like Bultmann and Bishop Spong.

Modern Liberal




Classical Liberal


Neo orthodox


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Roman Catholic




Reformed Evangelical




I also completed the Belief-O-Matic personality quiz at

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (98%)
3. Neo-Pagan (91%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (85%)
5. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (85%)
6. Reform Judaism (85%)
7. New Age (80%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (79%)
9. Secular Humanism (75%)
10. Bahá'í Faith (70%)
11. New Thought (69%)
12. Taoism (69%)
13. Scientology (65%)
14. Jainism (63%)
15. Sikhism (58%)
16. Orthodox Quaker (57%)
17. Hinduism (52%)
18. Nontheist (49%)
19. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (46%)
20. Orthodox Judaism (46%)
21. Islam (42%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (31%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (30%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (27%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (24%)
26. Roman Catholic (24%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (8%)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

US Dem primaries, OR gay setback, PDX council

There are so many blogs devoted to politics that I don't feel the need to add to the clammer. Here are the top political races that are on my mind:


Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama (by Evan Vucci/AP), originally uploaded by Stijn Vogels.

Oregon's Democratic primary is fourth to last (May 20), so it's likely the nominee will be decided by the time I vote. Compared to Bush Jr. and the Republican candidates, all of the Democratic candidates are preferable. I have to admit that my enthusiasm for a candidate has changed with the primaries. Unlike the 2004 in which I went from a excited Dean supporter to a reluctant Kerry supporter, I can see myself supporting any of the three Democratic front runners. Right now, my order of preference is Clinton>Obama>Edwards. A Clinton-Obama campaign would be my dream ticket.

Oregon Gays Domestic Partnerships Unexpectedly Delayed

On Friday, December 28, 2007, anti-gay groups succeeded in delaying Oregon's domestic partnership law that was to take effect on Wednesday, January 2, 2008. A federal judge issued an injunction delaying the law until February 1. Basic Rights Oregon has a timeline of the case, Lemons v. Bradbury. Amazingly, the judge ruled that anti-gay groups would be harmed if the gays had domestic partnerships.

There are interesting legal issues involved in the case. Anti-gay groups argue that signing a petition is a fundamental right like voting. I support the petition system, but signing a petition on a street corner with a private, paid signature gatherer is not the same as submitting a ballot to the election office.

Portland Council

Three of the five city council positions are open. Sam Adams is likely to be our next mayor. I haven't heard any reason why I should or shouldn't vote for him and no other prominent local politicians are running for the office. Businessman Sho Dozono recently announced his campaign, but even he seems like a reluctant candidate.

So far, I've heard prior council candidates Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish are running both of whom I could support.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Atonement: B


Scott, ma, and I started our New Year's day watching Atonement. I loved this movie's story, although I thought the first half of the movie was so tedious that I began to regret not choosing The Golden Compass. I became even more weary when the story focused on a sitcom-ish scenario of someone accidentally sending a lewd note to their romantic interest. However, the story began to pick-up its pace and jumped ahead a few years. The story's conclusion was unexpected and bleak, but believeable. Scott even liked the love story's sad ending.

The performances were great. Oddly, Romola Garai reminded Scott and me of BSG's Katee Sackhoff. So it was like watching Starbuck in a World War II movie, but Scott and I might just be gay nerds who can't distinguish between our blond actresses.