Thursday, November 29, 2007

John Powell

There have been very few movies in my life that I've watched on such a regular basis as the Jason Bourne trilogy. There are even fewer movies that I'll play segments of over and over again, just to hear the soundtrack. The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum are just such movies for me.

John Powell is the ridiculously-gifted composer behind over 40 movies, including X-Men: The Last Stand, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and the Bourne Identity trilogy. The Bourne Supremacy soundtrack is top of them all, in my opinion. The movie itself raked in an easy $176.2 million dollars in the US, $288.5 million worldwide. And the movie would not be what it is without John Powell's genius. He so accurately expresses emotions and sequences of action in melody and rhythm that he tells the whole story on an almost subconscious level.

I don't really have a point, I guess (no spiritual parallels or "ah ha" moments). It's just definitely worth the $10 download- especially if you liked the movies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quote from Thomas Hobbes

"For as in the middest of the sea, though a man perceive no sound of that part of the water next him; yet he is well assured, that part contributes as much, to the Roaring of the Sea, as any other part, of the same quantity: so also, though wee perceive no great unquietnesse, in one, or two men; yet we may be well assured, that their singular Passions, are parts of the Seditious roaring of a troubled Nation."

-Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pet Peeve #3

Nothing makes me want to throw my phone across the room more than the post-message message now attached to 90% of cell phone voicemails:
"Hi, this is Ryan, please leave me a message, thanks."
(And just when you think it's going to beep...)
"If you'd like to leave a message, please stay on the line; to page this person, press 5 now; to leave a call back number, press 7... (dramatic pause for effect)... you can leave your message at the sound of the tone; when you are finished with your message, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options... ~BEEP~"

I have one friend whose voicemail actually says all that AND THEN repeats it in Spanish. I wish I was kidding...

10 year olds are hacking space stations with their iphones, and we're still being told how to leave voice messages. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"All of These Mysteries"

I have a good friend who I've worked with for several years now on songwriting and recording projects here in town. His name is Pete and he's just recently posted a song that he and I wrote together called "All of These Mysteries" on his myspace page. If you're interested, check it out and copy the link to your friends (Copy/paste this link into your browser):

"All of These Mysteries"
(Verse 1)
I prayed for rain, but You sent a storm
I asked for victory, and so came the war that is raging in me
I prayed for strength, You carried me through
And all of these mysteries I surrender to You
All of these mysteries I surrender to You

(Verse 2)
Sometimes I pray with hope in the ends
But better I pray for hope in Your means of getting me there
God, have Your way in this broken man
Command what You will of me and will Your command
Command what You will of me in this broken man

How long will I fail to wait and pray?
How long until You become my stay?

I prayed for rain, but You sent a storm
When I prayed for patience, Lord, You had me wait
And all of these mysteries I surrender to You
And all of these mysteries I surrender to You

Words & Music by Ryan Brasington and Pete Warren (c) 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stress Threshold

When it comes to stress, I've decided I'm a sprinter, not a long distance runner. Some people thrive on stress like most of us depend on coffee; if we have it, we're productive and satisfied, if we don't, we're irritable and worthless. And while it's not a healthy state to be wired for hyper-productivity, it's got certain enviable qualities: these people accomplish more in one year than most could get done in ten with three clones, no sleep, and a robot named Rosie.

I'm more a sprinter, I guess. I can handle large volumes of stress, dozens of sleepless nights, back to back 14 hour days, and still manage to love my work and my life- but I inevitably hit a wall somewhere around the three month mark.

The break-neck pace began for me in August and shows no sign of slowing down until Christmas is over. And just
today I reached my threshold- a whole month and a half shy of the finish line. I have no choice but to continue to keep up, but sometime between midnight when I went to bed last night and 6:30 when I woke up this morning, my brain switched to auto pilot. I know from past experience that there is still one final phase of stress coming that will signify the end (one way or another): when my eye starts twitching, then it's all over...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Harvesting Wisdom

"But, as respects the majority of my corps of veterans, there will be no wrong done, if I characterize them generally as a set of wearisome old souls, who had gathered nothing worth preservation from their varied experience of life. They seemed to have flung away all the golden grain of practical wisdom, which they had enjoyed so many opportunities of harvesting, and most carefully to have stored their memories with the husks." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

This is a tragic scene. Aged men, despite the benefit of many years and experiences, who never learned the value of wisdom. In his introduction to The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne employs the metaphor of a harvest to describe, profoundly, the sad nature of the elderly men who ruled the town of Salem: "they enjoyed so many opportunities of harvesting [wisdom], and [yet they] most carefully [stored their memories with the husks]."

The real depth of this metaphor is in the motion of the words "practical wisdom," "harvesting," "stored," and "memories." In a wide-angle lens, the words themselves have a certain progress from seed to sowing to reaping: throughout our life experience, we will be given opportunities which are seeds of practical wisdom... we will either plant those seeds to bear fruit, or we will store them, where they will be tossed aside, wasted and forgotten with the husks... if we sow the seed, we will reap a proverbial bank of wisdom in our memory, where wisdom has been multiplied each day and distributed by the Holy Spirit, according to His most excellent use.

God doesn't tell us to manufacture wisdom, He tells us to "make [our ears] attentive to wisdom" and to "seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures." (Prov. 2:2,4) That is, God provides the seed by His Word and by His work, but only the wise man will recognize its worth; a fool looks at his lot and sees something trite and insignificant, but a wise man sees the harvest that is to come. And this kind of wisdom, being far better than merely practical wisdom, can only be informed by the Holy Spirit.

When we become believers in Christ, whose outer shell was broken, whose body was planted in the ground, and whose resurrection fruit has sprung up to eternal life, we are given a new imagination- a new wisdom. Those who have been transformed by the radical work of Christ will no longer blindly hold that the experiences of life- whether wonderful or unbearable- are merely meaningless kernels of wheat in their hands. But those who have tasted the Fruit of the Spirit have eyes that have been opened to the Paradise before them; they are suddenly made aware of the shame of their own nakedness so that in all things they may see the glory of their Provider's covering. As a consequence, the Christian will not wallow in the misery of his misfortune because he knows that his present suffering is not worth comparing to the joy he will know on the day of the harvest (Rom. 8:18); the believer's hope is not in a painless sowing, but in the Lord of the Harvest who is making all things new. (Rev. 21:4-5)

As a Christian grows in the image of his Father, he becomes a harvester by nature. As such, he will continually discipline himself to plant every action, every fall, every victory, and every defeat of his life firmly in the hope of Christ's redemption. And when this man is old, his memory will be a storehouse of wisdom, full of countless treasures, that are readily dispensed by the Holy Spirit.

"He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in the harvest is a son who acts shamefully." (Prov. 10:5)