My Oscar Predictions

The Academy Awards are in a few days and although if a movie or actor that I picked doesn’t win an award my opinion on the movie or their performance won’t change I am going to make my predictions in the 24 categories as a mental guessing warm up for March Madness.  Brackets will start being made in a few weeks and I need to sharpen my lucky guessing skills.  If my Oscar picks yield good results then I am already ahead of the game for March Madness since I’ve only seen 3 of the 9 films nominated for best picture (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi and Les Mis), Brave, Skyfall and Wreck-It-Ralph.

Best Picture – Argo

Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Director – Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

Supporting Actor – Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway (Les Mis)

Documentary – Searching for Sugar Man

Documentary Short – Redemption

Foreign Film – Amour

Animated Feature – Brave

Cinematography – Life of Pi

Makeup & Hairstyling – Les Mis

Production Design – Les Mis

Original Screenplay – Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Adapted Screenplay – David Magee (Life of Pi)

Animated Short Film – Paperman

Live Action Short Film – Death of a Shadow

Visual Effects – The Hobbit

Costume Design – Lincoln

Film Editing – Zero Dark Thirty

Sound Mixing – Les Mis

Sound Editing – Zero Dark Thirty

Original Score – Life of Pi

Original Song – Skyfall by Adele (Skyfall)

-Jacob

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Is Happiness “Boring”?

If you watch Downton Abbey and have not seen the season 3 finale yet or if you plan on watching it anytime in the near future DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST.

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Season 3 of Downton Abbey was by far my favorite season thus far.  Although with the untimely and seemingly unnecessary death of two major characters, Sybil and Matthew, I really was upset with the show and have no idea what they will do in season 4.  This is undoubtedly one of the reasons I love the show, you never know what to expect.

But after reading an interview with show creator Julian Fellows on the reason for killing the character of Matthew Crawley played by Dan Stevens I was shocked as to the reason why.  Both the actors whose characters were killed did not choose to renew their contracts with Downton Abbey so the writers and Fellows decided to kill them off particularly in the case of Matthew because “portraying a contended marriage between Matthew and Lady Mary would have been little interest for viewers”.  You can find the full interview with Fellows on this matter here.  But his interview leads me to believe that even if the actor had decided to stay on the show that we could’ve expected some kind of problems, possibly divorce, with the couple anyways.  Buy why?

Why is happiness, and in this case marital happiness, considered boring in our society today?  I get that the show is a drama and that Fellows said later that it is hard to “dramatise happiness” implying that it didn’t fit well with the overall type of show.  But come on, even in a show about drama there can be a little happiness.  We need that so we don’t get so down in the dumps.  Think of the Thénardiers in “Les Mís”.  They give us a much needed comic release in a very sad book/movie.

And this isn’t just the case in this PBS period drama.  Recently, on NBC’s final season of The Office, Pam and Jim have been having some potential marriage problems.  Now, I realize that this is real life and that couples have problems.  But I just felt that personally, in the shows last season, that we should keep to things that we know and love and give us all one last “hoorah!” as the show said goodbye.  Instead, Jim and Pam are having marital issues, Erin and Andy break up, Andy becomes a huge jerk and a disliked character and we’re seeing like nothing from characters like Stanley, Phyllis, Oscar and Toby.

Is happiness boring to society?  Why is that?

-Jacob

 

American Internet Sucks

American internet sucks!  I spent four years at a college that although it provided me with a great education and wonderful memories it also had some of the crappiest internet access I’ve ever experienced.  And during all my years there if my biggest problem was not being able to watch Teen Mom 2 one day or taking a few extra minutes to load a YouTube video then I would say I had it pretty easy even if it was annoying at the time.

But I’m recently learning more and more about American internet and how much it sucks compared to the rest of the world.  In Hong Kong you can get 500 mbps for around $25 US dollars a month.  That is way faster than the internet you can get here in America and I pay about $40 a month for my access at home.  Um…why?  There are even some areas in America where you cannot get internet access.  I didn’t even know that was a reality in this day and age.

This interview with Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation is where I got a lot of my information and was shocked by a lot of what I heard.

As for right now there is no online petition or anything that I know of where you can sign to help increase awareness or demand more, but hopefully in the near future there will be and we can see a change in internet availability in America.

-Jacob

Missionaries in Rwanda

Back in the summer of 2010 I spent three weeks in Rwanda, Africa with a small team from my hometown church in Friendswood, TX.

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That is a picture of our team on one of our last days there.  While we were there we were working alongside some Friends missionaries who live there; The Thomas’, The Carpenters and Molly Black (also on twitter).  We got to do a lot of different things ranging from building a concrete wall for people, touring the country and serving missionaries from all over Africa at a yearly missionary conference at Lake Kivu.

Last night, Brad and Chelsea spoke at my church.  They have been back in America since September 2012 to help raise support and to give birth to their daughter, Sarai Carpenter.  They play to head back to Rwanda for the next 3 years either mid March or early April.  They were just sharing some of the things they are doing in Rwanda and the plans they have for the next few years.  I really enjoyed it because I still remember that trip vividly.  I learned so much and the experiences that I had there were truly life changing.

I would encourage you to watch this short video about their work over there:

Remember, we are all missionaries doing God’s work.  Some of us live in Africa and some of us live in America, but the work we are doing is equally important.

-Jacob

What We Can Learn From Kai

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If you aren’t very internet savvy then two things are for certain:

1) You won’t be reading this blog post.
2) You do not know who Kai is.

Kai, a hatchet wielding hitchhiker with no last name, has become a viral video sensation thanks to his interview with a Fresno, CA news team.  Kai was catching a ride with someone when that person said they “came to realize [he was] Jesus Christ” according to Kai and ran somebody over.  The driver then began attacking a lady who ran to help so Kai took out his hatchet and “smash, smash, smash[ed]” the guy in the head and saved the day.  Somehow a hatched wielding hitchhiker is the hero of this story.

But it is what he said in part of his interview that is inspiring and a message that many people need to hear.

“Before I say anything else, I want to say no matter what you’ve done, you deserve respect, even if you make mistakes. You’re lovable and it doesn’t matter your looks, skills, or age, or size or anything. You’re worthwhile—no one can take that away from you.” -Kai

I don’t know if Kai came to realize it, but he embodied Jesus Christ there for a second and helped spread that valuable message to literally millions of people who have watched his now viral interview.  We all have value.  We are all important.  We are all lovable.  Don’t ever forget it.

Now lets all sing along with Kai!

-Jacob

What I’m Currently Watching On TV

A lot of people argue that television is only filled with garbage these days and for the most part I agree even though I love a good chunk of that garbage.  But nonetheless, there are plenty of good shows out there and I just wanted to give a quick list of things I am watching on TV and my thoughts on them.

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Downton Abbey – I have heard so much about Downton Abbey the past few months and honestly never thought that it would be something I’d be interested in.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  I started season 1 on DVD last Thursday and got all the way caught up (halfway through season 3) by last night.  Thats a week and a day to watch 2.5 seasons.  And the episodes are an hour long.  I still am not quite sure what is keeping my attention.  I hate or am indifferent to about 70% of the characters and it really isn’t the type of show I’d watch, but for some reason I can’t get enough of it.  Now I have to wait for one episode each week and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do it.

Community – NBC’s Community returned two nights ago for its fourth season after almost a year of back and forth drama surrounding its future.  I absolutely love this show but was a little unhappy with the season premier.  It felt a little different, which is to be expected with the original creator, some writers and one cast member leaving the show.  I will watch the season out of devotion and love for the show, but won’t be surprised if this is the last season even thought I’d love to see #SixSeasonsAndAMovie.

The Office – Speaking of watching a show out of devotion… I have been watching the final (thank God!) season of The Office mainly because I have seen all the seasons up to this point and I felt a sense of obligation to finish it out.  The last season is better than some previous ones, but still a far way away from seasons 1-4.  Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) has been missing for about the past 7 episodes and honestly I think they are better without him.  I loved him as a minor character but as the boss, he just doesn’t do it for me.  

The Bachelor – My weekly reality TV garbage.  I have to have it and this is the show i choose to fill that spot for the next couple of months.  If you aren’t watching there isn’t much I can say.  I want Lesley M. from Washington DC to get picked.

The New Girl – My room mate in college used to watch this show and I never really paid attention.  I thought it looked dumb and just never really gave it a chance.  Now, I love it and wait for it each week.  The cast is amazing and the show is hilarious each week!  Schmidt is my favorite character and I think that Max Greenfield deserves the Emmy he was nominated for the role.

-Jacob