Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games...

I found a bandwagon and jumped on. It was the Hunger Games one. I feel a bit superior in that, I have never even looked in the general direction of the Twilight wagon... oy vey. But the Hunger Games, I went for.
Of course, I read the book first, because...

I firmly believe you should always read the book first.

And I am glad I did. One of my pals, who also believes the above policy, we planned on hitting the movie once I finished her copy. It didn't take long, three days. I give the book 5 stars, and A+. It was a really good read. You were drawn into the characters, sometimes without knowing it. The heroine, Katniss, is not portrayed as some sexpot 16 year old. In fact, her looks are made little of, and her brain much. I like that. It made her beautiful in my mind's eye. Then there is Gale, whom we just like from the word go, because he is Katniss' friend and hunting partner. That leaves poor Peeta... what to say about Peeta. You come to love him in the book. The author does so with the proper weaving of her words, and as if she is knitting a blanket around you without you knowing it, but you like it, and appreciate it when she is done. That's Peeta. You don't even know you are rooting for him until the end.
This is a book for middle school mature kids or above. Its low on the teen angst, high on adventure. It is violent, but if you are a mom of boys like me, you will take bombs over boobies any day of the week. (That is not a widely spoken of motto, more of a silent rule, round the casa.)  The movie makers thankfully, saw fit to leave this as it was in the book, and not add in gratuitous and unnecessary sexual scenes. Thank you Hollywood. I hope all your box office dollars are speaking to you loud and clear on this count.

Now that is all I want to tell you about the book, because, well... I think you should read it.  I am purposefully leaving out lots of details.

The movie... was... eh. I liked it. It was ok. I would not like it AT ALL if I hadn't read the book. Without the book you miss so much of the thoughts that a character had that made you like/hate them to begin with. The casting was the first issue. Katniss and Gale were cast splendidly. Perfect even. But Peeta??? NO NO NO. Hollywood got him ALL kinds of wrong. First off, he was shorter than Katniss. I will just leave that there. Second, without all the detail of home life in district 12, you miss out on who he really is. In the book, he comes off as a bit cocky at first. You aren't rooting for him, he keeps you guessing... does he really love Katniss, or is he this smart about the games? The way he was cast, makes him more of a "lovable loser" type. In the book, you are hoping the teen crush angle is real, in the movie, you are like, "Go home to Gale!".  No chemistry. Boo Boo Boo. I felt like when I was watching The Help and kept asking if someone mixed up Mary Steenburgen and Allison Janey's scripts! Not the right guy for the part.

The highlights of the movie is Stanley Tucci. I've always liked him, and he does not disappoint in this role at all. In fact, the movie people should give him a bonus. Dear Stanley, please come to dinner at my house sometime. Ok? Ok. Thanks. 
You should also go prepared for cinematography that makes you a bit nauseous. Oh.My.Word. Blurry shots, shaking like an 92 year old with a camcorder. on a caffeine high. in a moving vehicle. Maybe I am not hip enough to get this new filming mode, and that's ok, I'm a nerd.  I was really glad I knew the final outcome, because the last scene was so poorly shot I had no idea who was who, who was winning, and gave up trying.

In conclusion, if you like Stanley Tucci, see this film. 


Birth of a Book from Glen Milner on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I seriously do not know how to start or continue or end a post or series of posts on my trip to Africa.  I know the words "it was life changing" sounds so cliche, but...

I went to visit our church's carepoint, that we sponsor through Children's Hope Chest. This is truly a GREAT organization to work with. If you want more information on sponsoring a child, or getting your church involved with HopeChest check out their website. They are the real deal folks.

Here is a copy of the post I wrote for our church's blog after our first day... I think it is a good place to start.

“It will change how you think,” I was warned. A visit to Africa will in fact, do just that. It happened to me today. We went to the CarePoint and enjoyed playing with the kids, singing, doing crafts, and taking photos (and if you know me, you know there were LOTS of photos.)
But what got me the most today was the home visit. We each paired-up with a member of the Discipleship Team and each took food to a home of child who visits the CarePoint. We got to meet the family member/caregiver and sometimes even the parent of a child who we sponsor.
I grabbed a bag of cornmeal and hit the dirt road with Deli. We didn’t go far before we met a woman and she opened the gate to her home. “This is not bad at all!” I thought. The house seemed large and nice. I was genuinely surprised. I even commented to Linda, the little boy who lived there how nice his house was. But then, we kept walking. Right past the house, toward what I really thought was a barn or shed of some sort. Surely this is not where they live. Well, it wasn’t. Only HALF of the “shed” was their home. This space could not have been more than 4-6 feet wide and 10-12 feet long.
We met Linda’s mother and she sat to chat with us. In addition to providing for Linda, she also feeds her two nephews. After we gave her the food staples, she beamed and simply said, “I prayed for this and I KNEW God would provide. Praise God.” She was happy and thankful, but she was not surprised.
I was moved beyond what I can convey with the written word. If my boys were hungry and the cupboard was bare, I would probably cry out, “Lord, why have you forgotten us?” This woman had no doubt that the Lord would take care of her needs. How easily I doubt him over little matters. I was convicted, encouraged, and embarrassed all at the same time.
On the walk back, I asked Deli, “Is it hard for the people of Swaziland to have faith because they have so little and are often hungry?”
Deli’s response, “No. The people of Swaziland are very faithful. They HAVE faith, BECAUSE they have so little.”

 This is Linda and his mother. The photo at the beginning of this post is him as well. He was quite the character really. Kept all of us laughing, and he was always smiling... despite his circumstances. I think Linda has a better grasp on the joy of the Lord more than anyone I know...

Saturday, March 03, 2012


this is a miracle you are looking at. a carry on only stuffed for 10 days in Africa.
I was pretty proud of myself until my Micah noted how "fat" it is and said, "they may make you check that at the gate".
That is wrong, just wrong. I've rolled and re-rolled and repackaged, and taken out.
Dear airline, if you are reading this please let me stuff my groovy carry in the overhead bin.

pack rat Jude :)