Saturday, July 7, 2018

July 2018 - Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain was entirely off my radar when he was alive. I knew the name and had a vague notion that he was a figure in the culinary world. Netflix has his show ‘Parts Unknown’ available for streaming, and I’ve been watching in the last couple weeks.

The first thing I noticed was the cinematography. It’s exquisite. I don’t know how much input Bourdain had on the aesthetic of the show, but the low-key, high vibrancy, tightly focused, fearlessly gritty style is incredibly striking.

Secondly, I found Bourdain to be supremely likable. He was thoughtful and interested in people. He allowed the show be about others, other cultures, other culinary traditions. 
Without hesitation he would try foods that make me uncomfortable to look at. He asked some tough questions, but with respect.

This morning I’m watching the Jerusalem episode, and there’s a moment where he’s walking to the Damascus gate and he (a non-religious man) jokingly tells the chef he’s walking with that “Well, it’s too late for me” and my brain shifted context to his suicide. My breath caught.

I know that several of my friends were tremendous fans of Bourdain. I don’t usually get emotional over celebrities, and I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m grieving with you today. I think the world is lessened by his exit. We need more people who are willing to go far outside their comfort zones and be vulnerable and kind beyond their own demographics. I hope I’m getting there in my own small way, too.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 2017 - Pensive Peccary

This winsome critter was wandering along the trail just behind my offices. Thankfully, my office-mates are prepped to signal me whenever there's a wildlife siting. It's rare that I see a javelina in good lighting, so I'm delighted that the opportunity presented itself.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 2017 - Corbijn style

My wife and I attended U2's Joshua Tree 2017 Concert last night. The stadium has camera restrictions, so I didn't take photographs worth sharing here. But while listening to the band go through their iconic album, they had visuals blazing behind them on a wide screen that stood three stories tall and almost stretched the width of the football field. Anton Corbijn's images and videos breathed with the music, and I was mesmerized.

I decided after the concert to re-process a photo I'd taken to see if I could mimic his style - high contrast, often low-key, with graininess, and sometimes a striking use of depth of field. The image I chose to process doesn't use an interesting depth of field, but otherwise, I think it works.

Edit: for those interested in Corbijn's style, you may get value from this article. Something I hadn't considered is that he uses a slow shutter speed (1/60 - 1/30 sec) and takes his shots hand held, allowing a sense of movement and imperfection to define part of his imagery. Some people have the magic.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 2017 - photos from the long commute

I get a lot of feedback about the length of my commute (just over 100 miles per day). I try to explain that I love my commute. The drive is scenic and for the most part, I have my cruise control set to 80 mph. I put on an audio book, podcast, or some tunes, and it's like a mini road trip four days a week.

A couple photos from today's commute:


Sunday, August 27, 2017

August, 2017 - Theology Nerd Beer Camp

When the end of December comes around this year and I start to reflect on my journeys in 2017, it will be fairly easy for me to pinpoint my weirdest vacation this year. Possibly ever. Theology Nerd Beer Camp, at Platt Park Church in Denver Colorado.

 I really enjoyed filling out that vacation slip a few months back. "Wait. You're going where?"

"Theology Beer Camp."

"For real?"

"Oh yes."

"I know what those words mean ... individually ... but what?"

And that conversation has been repeated frequently since then with mild variations. To explain - the guys behind the Homebrewed Christianity podcast put on an event where they did a live podcast, met fans of the show, fans of theology, fans of beer, or of some combination of those things. I consume both theology and beer at amateur levels and I listen to a lot of podcasts, though I haven't listened to this one. I think I will though.

Panel at Theology Nerd Beer Camp. From left to right, Ryan Miller, Tripp Fuller, Peter Rollins, Dan ?

The podcast hosts, Tripp Fuller (2nd from left) and Peter Rollins (standing) subscribe to different theological schools. Without diving too deep into each theology, Fuller espoused Process Theology, while Rollins advocated Pyro Theology, unless I misheard, which is possible. Rollins is Irish and I was inebriated. By the end of the weekend, I decided that I didn't agree with either, but leaned towards Fuller's ideas more than Rollins', but I bought two of Rollins' books and none of Fuller's. It was a confusing affair, but I met a number of ministers and (past and present) missionaries who seemed to be in need of the fellowship from ... not precisely like-minded believers, but believers who were also seeking something more.

"Biggest sexiest bartender in Denver"

I needed that weekend. As I said, I didn't agree with either speaker's theology - both seemed to be based more on the works of 19th century German philosophers than on scripture - but gaining even a dim understanding of their worldviews was soothing to my soul.

Over the past few years my faith has been shifting away from the modern American interpretation of "Evangelical" to something more conscientious of my cultural biases, and more aware of issues of social justice. As I study church history, I think I fit in near where Evangelical was in the 60s and 70s, trying to occupy a middle ground between liberal theology and fundamentalists. Today Evangelicalism has moved so far into the Fundamentalist camp that the terms are virtually synonymous. I think the event I attended was much closer to the Liberal theology camp than I fit, but they were more welcoming of my fumbling faith than the Evangelicals are these day. I'm not sure there is a great fit for me somewhere in the vacated middle, but I do see a lot of other people feeling similarly displaced out there. Maybe we'll start to find each other.

Philosopher Trading/Collector Cards. These were hidden about the church for us to find.

More Denver trip photos to come.