cricketmuse

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Archive for the tag “celebrations”

Movie Musings: Risen


What would the Resurrection story be like from a weary Roman tribune’s point of view? From a hardened soldier whose main aspiration is to gain power in order to retire to the country to find peace, to live a day without death?

This is the premise of Risen, which came out in 2016, featuring Joeseph Fiennes and Peter Firth. Most, if not all of the Easter films I have watched, focus on events leading up to the crucifixion. Risen starts afterwards, beginning with a convincing skirmish with Roman soldiers and the released Barrabbas.

Image: Amazon.com

https://youtu.be/R-R9JY4le7k

Clavius, a career Roman soldier, played by Joseph Fiennes, is the one who is sent by Pilate to speed things up, to end the “rabble” noise. Clavius does so by going to the site of the three crucifixions taking place. He orders two of the three to have their legs broken, which painfully quickens the already excruciating death on the cross. As the third victim is about to suffer the same, Clavius notices a group of women weeping, and learns it is the mother. This is where the audience sees beyond the tough exterior of this Roman soldier, setting up the film. Clavius instead orders the pilium, and the suffering ends immediately with the swift piercing.

From this point on Clavius remains involved with this man’s death. He is sent to have the tomb sealed, and when the body vanishes, he becomes a dectective trying to solve the mystery. This is a brilliant, if not unique way, to present the Resurrection story.

As Clavius, Joseph Fiennes, projects a weariness from his 25 years of soldiering, that begins to soften his judgement, yet his professional training remains intact. As Clavius searches for the missing Yeshua, he begins to find truths that he cannot reconcile with what he knows, and this truth changes him as searches for answers.

Having watched the Easter films of the past, The Robe through The Greatest Story Ever Told, and even The Passion of Christ, I was at first reluctant to watch yet another film about a story I knew so well, that whenever I watched a retelling my emotions absolutely pulverized me: joy, awe, anger, devestation, exultation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through it all once again, even though the story is ultimately uplifting. Risen, having now twice watched it, creates a sense of wonder, a sense of satsfaction, one of peace.

Joseph Fiennes brings his polished acting skills to the role, providing subtley to his part. A sigh, a flick of an eyelid, a wary side look, a folding of arms all say so much when he says so little. This Roman, this Clavius, is a man of action, one of precise movement and logic, yet events he becomes involved in as he searches for Yeshua at Pilate’s demand, renders him watchful, cautious, and we see him slowly transform as he realizes he will never be the same.

I appreciate Sony’s dedication to producing intelligent, thought-provoking family films that take on inspirational subjects. The stories are well-written, finely directed, and showcase notable actors. Most find their way to the theatre circuit and do well, which sends the message that family entertainment with a message is valued.

He is risen, and I hope you and yours embrace this season of wonders.

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O Me, O My, My Birthday


Here is a math problem:

“Person X, soon to have a birthday, realizes this birthday will be the same chronological year as the birth year. Person X also realizes the birth year and achieved age are flipped numbers of the year of high school graduation. Given the birth year, chronological age, and graduation year, how old is Person X.”

I think I had this math problem in my eighth grade textbook.  This is probably why I decided to major in English.

But it’s true: I realized something unique about this year’s birthday–I shall turn the age of my birth year, at least the last two digits. When I compute that in my brain it sounds like I’m much older than I really am. What it comes down to is this:
I’m not sure how I feel about this particular chronos marking.

  •  I’m not old enough to retire, although some establishments elect to grant me a discount.
  • I’m past AARP’s initial invitation.
  • I’m old enough to know better, yet still have the gumption to still give it a whirl. Then again, it depends on the “it.” Bungee-jumping requires a deeper consideration these days as does the all you can eat buffet.
  • I can remember the “when I was”, although I am amazed at how long ago the when truly was, plus some of the details are fuzzy.
  • I no longer look forward to birthday cake because I only see calories laughing at me under all those candles.
  • Speaking of candles, the little skinny invids have been replaced by the fat doubles. I find this an insulting truism of my present state of figure.

My mother raised me thinking birthdays were really extra special.  Part of that reasoning stems from waking up and seeing flags hanging up all over town and in front of everyone’s house. I never questioned my mother’s ability to achieve this. She was that kind of mother. It wasn’t until I turned about twelve that I learned June 14th signified Flag Day and hanging out the flag was expected. Please no comments about my naiveté or lack of American holiday knowledge. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I discovered another disenchantment–birthdays are only really a big deal up until the age of 21.

All the big deal birthday milestones take place in this order:

1. turning one: not too cognizant but it’s a big deal nonetheless
2. turning five: Yay! Go to school!
3. turning ten: Wow! double-digit
4. turning thirteen: All right! Teen Time
5. turning sixteen: Yes, I’m gonna drive my car
6. turning eighteen: Yay! Get out of school! Oh yeah–vote for important stuff too.
7. turning twenty-one: Omigosh! I’m considered an adult–all kinds of perks.

After twenty-one there are some milestones to consider such as thirty, forty, fifty–okay, I’ll stop there. All those in between and beyond years are rather tedious and accumulative. Yes, it is nice to get cards and presents, and okay, one small piece of cake.  The wake up to ME day (check out the Dr. Seuss book) isn’t happening anymore.  Is that sad or a state of reality?

image: Amazon Dr. Seuss put the special into that yearly event with his Happy Birthday to You!

For instance, instead of relaxing and trying to encourage the Queen for a Day mode, I allowed myself to get talked into proctoring for the ACT–funny how extra money is a motivator when the car is acting up. This is not how I envision the first part of my birthday. Lounging in bed definitely was part of that vision. Oh well, I don’t sleep past 7am anyway.
The MEPA assured me the rest of the day will proceed better. A muttered “kidnapping” floated my way. I’m not sure if this is a threat or a promise.

How do the rest of you spend your birthdays? Are they still big deals or just a tick on the age stick?

Just Another Smalltown Graduation


One thing about living in a small town (under 8,000) is how everyone comes out to cheer on our graduates.  Rain or shine we hold the ceremony out on the football field so that as many people as possible can stand, sit, recline as they root on children, siblings, friends, neighbors transitioning out from high school to the “real” world–I ponder this expression, but shall save for another post, another time.

This year the weather remained in the perfect mid 70s with a touch of balmy breeze.

I volunteer as one of the staff crowd control, which involves trying to look imposing enough so that anyone trying to edge up beyond the perimeter rope won’t even think about it. The look and stance usually last about the first fifteen minutes before someone sneaks past and then the inevitable breach occurs. Crowd control is annoying as well as fun.  Telling people “please stay behind the line” when they only want a quick hug and photo op makes me feel a bit heartless. Yet, chaos would ensue if there wasn’t some attempt at decorum.  Did I ever tell you about the time someone handed a grad a lit cigar as he approached the admin gauntlet and he blew cigar smoke in the principal’s face?  Well, that’s one reason we now have a perimeter rope. It’s a rowdy crowd.  I’m always amazed at how loud  people can whistle, yell, or airhorn their sentiments to the exiting grads. I think having the ceremony on the football field must influence the enthusiasm.

We don’t invite in a fancy shmancy speaker–it’s all student-generated, except for a brief commentary from our principal. There is the Senior Class President, student nominated speakers, plus the valedictorian and salutotorian.  Each speech varies in its focus. The range is humorous with last-minute digs at admin and staff and students to sentimental and sincere (“Thanks, Mom.”).

Then the pomp and circumstance and parade begins. In a twinkling all too soon, students cross the stage and emerge as adults stepping into the next phase of their life. As they turn up the ramp to take their bleachers there are last-minute congratulations and hugs.  And the inevitable, “Please stay behind the rope–okay, make it quick.”

Yup, gotta love the small town celebration of life’s accomplishments.

image: blog.sparefoot.com

Chocolate Fortune Cookies


This week is one of celebrations: school is out for the year (Yay!); I celebrated a double-digit birthday of significance (Nice!); and the blog rolled out 3,000 hits, 70 followers, and 65 posts (Way Cool!).  This calls for dark chocolate.

My MEPA (most excellent personal assistant) spoils me by providing dark chocolate when I most need it: when I’m stressed and when I’m happy.  Not any dark chocolate, mind you, the best dark chocolate.  Bars are now in the past, lately my favorite brand comes out in bag style with individually wrapped morsels awaiting tasting and savoring.  The chocolate part is gratifying; however the best part is that each wrapper offers a profound, even witty saying–basically I’m partaking in chocolate fortune cookies.  Yummmm…

Here are my favorites so far:

  • Chocolate therapy is “Oh, so good.”
  • Stir your sense of pleasure
  • Be the first to hit the dance floor
  • Take time to notice the color of the leaves changing
  • Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
  • Your smile is your best accessory.
  • Stop and enjoy the chocolate aroma.
  • Remember the simple pleasures in life.
  • All you really need is love, and a little chocolate doesn’t hurt!
  • The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
  • Renew your sense of discovery.
  • It’s OK to be fabulous AND flawed!
  • Feel free to be yourself.
  • Chocolate speaks the international language of love.
  • Life is good.
An added bonus of this chocolate therapy is if I buy two more specially marked bags I will receive a movie ticket.  Dark chocolate and the movies–almost as good as a book and my hammock.

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