Review – Black Mirror

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Our “Black Bathroom Mirror”. Please don’t make that a show title.

If some of you have recently seen people walking around in a trance as if pondering life’s deepest questions, it’s probably because they just finished an episode of Black Mirror, and thus, are doing just that.

I was exposed (for better or for worse) to this show about two weeks ago on a ski trip. It was late, about 12 AM, but we decided to throw on an episode anyways before hitting the hay.

Black Mirror (BM) almost always begins innocently, with well rounded normalcy in the lives of  each character. As you continue watching, you’ll start to realize every episode features some aspect of technology blown way out of proportion. Whether it’s a device implanted under your skin that captures every memory you’ve ever had, or being able to rate those around you based on interaction, BM delves into the shadow cast by technology. And it’s strangely intriguing.

The episode finished, and each of us realized we were in the fetal position sporting a thousand yard stare. The show isn’t for the faint of heart.

Anyways, if you like sci-fi but wonder what could potentially happen if technology “took over the world” this show is for you. Just make sure your mind is ready for the inception roller coaster*.

(*Note, some episodes, in my opinion are much better than others. If you’re trying it out for the first time, try USS Callister, Nosedive, or overly risque Hang the DJ. Those are my top picks).

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A quick update

Monday, the 8th of January. I write this sitting at coffee shop, surrounded by the hum of steady conversation and a soft munsell yellow blanket of light. One rather stocky gentleman with small white studs in his ears seems to take up the entire room with his laugh. I’ve put in headphones.

My random goal for this week is to write one blog post each day until this next Sunday. Should be interesting, seeing as I have no planned posts and creativity is somewhat of an elusive creature in these post-holiday times.

Today I was thinking a lot about the future. I know you “shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, for you do not know what it may bring” and such, but it’s so hard not to think about what my life is going to be like in this coming year. A LOT has happened this past 365 days, to say the least. Graduation, weddings, and a new job to name a few. I’ve made New Years resolutions this year, as I usually do every year, but this year feels different. I think I actually have the drive to succeed, and have been maintaining them thus far (a whole 8 days, wow!)

Anyways, I wish you all in the blogging community motivation and perseverance in whatever goals you have for the year. The stocky dude just laughed again. That’s my cue to head home.

True Community

This past weekend I embarked upon a Campus Ministry (Outpost, or Chi Alpha) event called Men’s Advance. Nearly 100 gents packed into a mansion overlooking a misty lake set in the Fall scenery. Games were played (last night we got no less than 12 noise complaints from the surrounding area.. Don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed about that haha), wrestling was had, clay pigeons shot, and Jesus preached.

Throughout the trip as I met and shared life experiences with these guys one thing stuck out to me. I noticed how different each person was. Different backdrops, different personality types, different appearances, and different lifestyles were all represented here. Normally a situation such as this would not host abundant diversity. Like personalities would have split off, forming their own “click”, and authentic bonding would have been no more than a figment of our imaginations.

The thing that brought us all together was outside of any of us. It was Christ that united what would otherwise have been a group of guys searching for true meaning. This unique bond was created between everyone on the retreat, forged only through our pursuit of Christ. This, to me, felt like true community. I didn’t know half of the guys and yet felt as though we understood each other. We were brothers running after truth, touched by love and purpose that only God can provide. This truth transcends just men’s advance. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and occupation/major, we’re all united in Him. I can’t wait to see what God does in each of our lives throughout this next year, but I know it will be exciting, nerve racking, and all together rad. #Mensadvance2k16.

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Some bros sitting listening to the morning sermon preached by Alex Rodriguez.

 

Don’t Give Up

My good friend and I decided to go “surviving” this past weekend. This is a term I use to describe trekking out into the Colorado woods with nothing but warm clothes, a knife, tinder and flint, and a rope. Food? Nope. Water? We brought a pot to boil any water we found. A tent? No chance.

After parking the car on the side of a bumpy dirt road we decided to get to high ground and scope out any areas we thought could provide water. In the distance the slight shimmer of a small lake caught our eye. We hiked through a forest of fallen trees and shrubs for the next hour and a half and finally stumbled upon a small stream. Screw the lake, it was time to make a shelter. We pieced together a basic lean-to structure with an entrance that opened up to a small fire ring. Soon we had a fire and began to boil water. A dash of pine needles made for a faint taste of tea. Heck, we were living in the lap of luxury here.

Just before dusk we decided to explore the area and make sure we weren’t on private property. Earlier that day we had seen keep out signs and headed in the opposite direction. Unfortunately the evidence was clear: Salt licks, a chained up picnic table, and quite a bit of untouched firewood not 3 minutes from where we had set up camp. My hopes sank as I realized we had to high tail it out of there. To get busted for trespassing let alone making a fire on private property is serious business. We quietly packed up what little we had and bid farewell to our shelter.

By this time the sun was well below the rim of mountains around us. The moon provided little light but not enough for us to see very far. We headed for the first ridge back to where we had come. An hour and we would be back to our parked car. Stars poked their way through the blackness around us and the moon fabricated shapes with which to navigate. After the first ridge we headed towards the next. And the next. Before long the shadows blurred and the ridges loomed. The car surely was just over the next crest. Time seemed to slow. It had now been three hours since we left the shelter. Jordan and I were exhausted. No sooner had we stopped to rethink our navigation when a light illuminated the darkness. We had found the road.

There was a point in the hike where fear wormed it’s way into my head. Would we make it back, or spend the whole night in the cold without a shelter? We both wanted to give up. But we kept hiking and finally made it back to the car. We could have just sat there in denial and let the night take hold but we suppressed the temptation and soon found our way back. In what situations do you feel like giving up? How can you overcome that temptation?

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Jordan and I at the site before our trek back.

 

Bridging the Gap

As I prepare for my second week of school, I can’t help but reminisce over my experiences during the last month of summer. I returned from geology field camp on the first of July and immediately began work for a demolition company in Denver. I soon realized my list of extensive duties included filling up a small dumpster with trash from a site, taking the trash to our truck, and dumping it at a local scrap yard. Yes, I know, very extensive. Though the tasks may have seemed dull at the time, the job allowed me to interact with local workers whose daily, monthly, and yearly income depended on this demolition job.

Most of the guys I worked with spoke solely Spanish and had little knowledge of the goings on outside of their respective communities. I fortunately obtained a minor in Spanish recently and was able to communicate with the “hombres” throughout my time there.

Each one of these men allowed me to catch a vague glimpse of the world through their “lens”. I learned a lot about what each person values, the difficulties they experience on a regular basis, and their aspirations. This opened my eyes to further realize how interconnected we all are despite race, language barriers, and opportunities. I wish I could spend more time with these guys to understand more about their lives, but sadly, life must move on, and here I am back in college for my last year. Consolation lies in the memories I have of these great fellows.

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Most of the guys I had the privilege of working with for a month this summer.

Fads

I know it’s been a little while since Pokemon Go hit smartphones around the nation, but I thought I would give my thoughts on this subject.

To me, it’s interesting to see just how fast fads can take shape in the modern world. The internet has made it extremely easy to see what the latest fasion, gadget, news item, or viral video is beginning to attain popularity. Pokemon Go sets a shining example of just this. In slightly over a week this app exploded its way throughout the United States, leaving parks strewn with “zombie” like people engrossed in their game.

After talking with a friend and proponent of the game I was still unconvinced of downloading the app. I can see that it gets people out of their houses, into the fresh air, a bonus of the app. Developers of the app also have extreme influence over where to send these players, mainly placing Pokestops in parks and natural areas. This is all good, but for me, in an age of distraction, the least of my concerns is dumping my time into another sinkhole. I’m sure with a little more of this time, we can foster creativity and find other more productive ways of entertaining ourselves. Until then, Pokemon Go remains a fad that I’m sure will slowly fade into the library of fads before it.

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Two young people trying to play Pokemon Go on the top of my car. This is getting quite out of hand… (Thanks to Ben and Rachel, my brother and sister, for posing for this pic.)