Thursday, December 14, 2006

Duran Duran

Yes, I admit it - in the 80's I was a huge Duranie. I was obsessed with the Fab-Five and I couldn't get enough. I had everything I could get my hands on - Records (they didn't have Cd's then), videos, posters, anthems, button (tons of those) worn on the lapels of sport jackets, fedora hats, wildly colored hair, bandanas, O-ring bracelets, concert tickets, magazines, etc. I had over ten years worth of memorabilia collected and stored in my parents attics when I left home. Unfortunately, I lost it all when their house burned down.

I'm not saying that I'm still a Duranie, in fact - I probably wouldn't listen to their music today. I haven't listened to anything from them since they broke up in the early nineties. The last of my collection featured things from the Powerstation, Arcadia and Andy Taylor's solo album (which I'm still a little miffed that he cancelled the concert he was supposed to have in Atlanta. I had saved up money for weeks to get the tickets... and then he cancelled.)

All this brings me to a conversation I had with a friend last week. He spoke of finding a baseball collection he received from his father when he was younger and had been stored in parents attic. When his father passed away, he found the old collection and discovered the true treasure of it. Not that it was not well worth thousands of dollars, but because it was a piece of his childhood and something in it that had brought him joy. It was the memories attached to it that was priceless.

His story brought back memories of my own collection and the heartbreak of not being able to share that with my children today. I told him of my collection and how it was now gone. I also told him how me and my children had been flipping through channels at home and came across a musical countdown of music from the 80's and Duran Duran was listed in the top three. Seeing those few familiar clips of the video 'Rio' brought back a flood of memories. My children had no clue who Duran Duran was and I wanted to be able to pull out that lost collection and share a bit of my childhood with them, but I couldn't.

Yesterday, I received a very good surprise. I opened a package that had no sender's address, no card and no invoice from I nearly started weeping when I pulled out a video collection called "Duran Duran - Greatest". It contained most of my old favorites and some of the new stuff that I never saw. Over twenty-one videos, all the albums, alternate versions, interview footage, pictures, lyrics, etc. It was a majority of my collection on DVD and CD.

My faith has been restored that men really do sometimes listen. I never asked for this collection and probably wouldn't have ever bought it for myself - but it's one of the best gifts I've ever received.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Eragon - The Movie

I can't wait! I see the promotional videos at least a dozen times a day and I find myself very anxious to see the movie.

I'm so jealous and so proud of Christopher Paolini. I first read Eragon a few years ago and was very impressed with the story, instantly falling in love with the characters and couldn't wait for the next installment. Then I found out that the author was only a teenager and astounded at the measure of talent this young boy had.

Since then, I've been excited to see Eragon soar to the top of the best-seller's list, then watch Eldest do the same, and now I'm even more estatic to see the release of the major motion picture and video game. I couldn't be more proud of Paolini, even if he isn't one of my own children.

I'm also so very jealous. This kid is living my dream. He deserves everything he's got, because he did such an excellent job with his story. I don't want what he has... I just want the same for me. He's an inspiration and clearly one of my favorite writers. I wish him much success, though I don't think he needs any more wishes. He's clearly very successful. I wish him wisdom and guidance in his success.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend Movie Reviews

I watched a couple of movies over the weekend and I really enjoyed them both.

The first - The Nativity Story -

While the story fell flat on excitement and adventure, it was a beautifully woven story that really hit home with me. I found myself crying at the birth of Christ and wanting so much to join the sheperds in their worship.

The content of the story was very well-written. I was afraid that the movie makers would "Hollywoodize" this momentous event, but they stayed true to the story and I was pleased. I think this is a must-see for anyone who celebrates Christmas.

Many parts touched me, but I want to focus on the talk of 'gifts'. When Mary and Joseph were outside of Jerusalem, on their way to Bethlehem, they met a Shepherd who offered the warmth of his fire and spoke of waiting for a gift. That evening he received the gift the world had been waiting for and he was priveledged to see it. This story touched me, because I felt like that shepherd - waiting for the gift, deliverance and mercy of God - to find that it came in the middle of the night.

I also loved how they kept referring to the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12 - "The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."

This is so profound. The world looks for the power and might of God in the mighty and strong things, but most often God is found in the soft and simple. The Jews look for a mighty warrior to deliver them and be their king (much like when they chose Saul), but God sent his son as a newborn baby. The deliverance he promised was not of a physical nature, but spiritual one. This still goes on today.

I also saw the parallel between Joseph (Mary's husband) and Joseph - the son of Jacob. Both were son's of Jacob, both dreamed. Both went into the land of Egypt and then brought deliverance to their people. Both worked with their hands (one an archetect, the other a carpenter).

I loved this movie and recommend all to go and see it.

The other movie I saw was quite the contrast - Casino Royale -

While this movie was filled with action from beginning to end, it never disappointed. I think this is possibly the best Bond I've seen to date. I don't think Sean Connery (who has held the crown in my opinion as the best Bond) could have pulled off this movie. Connery's bond was more suave and debonnaire and his mind outweighed his brute force. This new Bond (I haven't got his name yet) balanced brain and brawn together and created one heck of a secret agentman.

Most women would love him and most men would want to be him. Excellent job!

Well, that's been my review of this weekend movies.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray