The Shredi Master

My Photo
Location: Iowa, Afghanistan

See my website...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Shower Ho!

No, not that you wierdo - this:
The lighting is all in and is very super sweet. YOu can tell you are a dork when new lights really get you excited. They are cool though - really! We went with an air tight Halogen low voltage design. The lights last foever, use a fraction of the electricity and put out a really vibrant white light. And you can even aim them up to 30degrees in these housings. I chose a bunch of different MR16 bulbs to try out different wattages and different beam angles. ANYWAY, they have been up for a long time. We insulated the room nicely and had to do some plumbing rennovation after the big flood before the wedding. I have one more sub-floor panel to put down. The shower pan is in as is the plumbing and the piping. Ang and I insulated the ceiling and as soon as we get the cieling up (beadboard) we'll hit the small patches of wall by the shower. Then it's time to put up the shower enclosure and start takling showers. We're both excited for that day. Well, here are a few pictures.

Flower Power

Ang and I bought some nice Tulips on clearance and I managed to plant them a few weeks ago. Here are some cool pics of them while it was still nice out. You can click for a larger view:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

United 93.

Last week Ang and I finally managed to go see "United 93." I had wanted to go all week and ended up being really excited by the time the big night arrived. I can;t even say precisely why I was so excited; I knew it wouldn't;t be a laugh fest, and I knew I already knew the plot. I had read a lot of bloggers reviews and read both sides of the controversy that surrounded the movie. Would it be true to life? Would reality be "toned down" so that we didn't offend anyone? Would a particular bias slant the movie one way or the other? And what about the reports of dead silence at the movie's end, or of people sobbing in the theater or in the bathroom together? I had seen the Passion and I very well knew what it was like to see something that impacted people on a level much deeper than "art" usually does. I knew about tears and sorrow and a feeling of conviction. So what was I looking for with this movie?

The "action" of the movie almost solely comes from the fact that you already know the story. Or you think you know most of it. Suspense, rather than action, keeps you from leaving to go to the bathroom. I honestly don't think I've ever had my heart pound as hard during any movie as it did during this one. You know... But you still hope that maybe the outcome will be different. It isn't.

The movie itself is very finely done. My sole criticism of the production itself is that the director followed the trend (and that's all it is - a trend) of using hand held cams for a lot of the film. So you get shaky pictures and at the beginning for most of the establishing stuff, you feel grateful when they cut to a slow pan shot or motion control or anything but the shaky shots. I can't wait until this trend dies it's rightful, inevitable death. That aside, the production and casting and everything else are great. Even the score, though unmemorable, supported the film well. The first half of the film deals with the FAA and the tower controllers and the shocking realization of what was happening with American 11. After the towers are hit, the second part of the film focuses on the United 93, as it was the last to take off.

I read that "every high school student in the US should be required to see this film." I would certainly agree. I think though that every adult should go see this film. It shows some very important things very clearly; a few of which I'd like to touch on. First, Evil does exist. Despite the claims of the moral relativists and atheists, the is absolute truth. This film does a good job of showing Islam for what it is - an affront to civilization. The Koran does not teach Muslims to peacefully co-exist with Christians and Jews and Catholics etc. - it teaches that anyone who does not convert to Islam is an "infidel." There is no such thing as an innocent to a Muslim. And as such, the nearly 3000 people killed on Sept. 11, were a blessing to Islam. The "infidel West" had just suffered a blow that we thought was impossible. Evil does exist.

Second, bureaucracy is inefficient. Government is the worst manager of any program. Other than what was specifically called out as federal responsibilities in the Constitution, there is no program that the government can do better than the private sector. This movie shows point blank the cluelessness of the FAA and NORAD and the excessive red tape of the military and the irresponsibility of the politicians. Even when they did figure out what was going on, the agencies couldn't'; communicate or make effective decisions, much less make things happen. Turn something over the the government and you'll get a top heavy organization where no one wants to take responsibility and thus decisions are passed around as people cover for their careers.

Third, the is also "good" in the world. In stark contrast to the bureaucratic government agencies, the people aboard United 93 figured out what was going on and took action. You have to have leadership or nothing gets accomplished. Watching the passengers take down their captors was probably the most satisfying moment I have ever experienced from a film.

The movie doesn't hide the fact that Muslim terrorists took over United 93 to fly it into the White House and kill everyone onboard. They do a good job of factually presenting what happened without venturing too far into conjecture. Whoever you are, reading this right now, you should go see this film. It's not gory, it's not boring, and it's not something you'll easily forget. Comedies and Action film come around everyday; take a break and see something that will have an impact on your life. You'll be thankful that you did.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Slow like George Clooney

So I'm running a little slow at the whole Blog posting thing. It could be worse.

I'm going to try to ID 6 weird things about myself like Ang and Mel and Natalie and so many have already done. Bear with me, I'm normal. (Right Ang? Right!!!??)

1) Matt's theme music.
When I was younger and living in California, I always either walked to school or rode my bike. This is in elementary school mind you. It was a pretty long walk, but I was short back then, so it took what seemed to be forever. Anyway, enough set-up: I always created theme music in my head. When I was walkign to school I'd imagine I was the central character in some really cool action movie or show. Maybe I'd borrow the A-team theme or Night Rider or even MacGuyver, but I had music running up there. That continued into middle school when I'd walk or take mass transit. And it would reappear any time I visited the trainyard on weekends to hang out.

2) How do you listen to music??
I can sing the lyrics to a lot of songs, but I usually have no idea what they mean or what the song is about. When I listen to music or songs, it seems my brain is always focusing on the arrangement and the instruments and such. I focus on the lyrics as a part of the song becasue that's usually where the melody comes from - so I think that's how I can sing the words. Anyway, I'm always deconstructing. Always seeing how the different instruments interact with eachother and picking apart each individual performance. This comes in handy when I want to sing or whistle something back. I can whistle the main part of most songs I've heard, including fills and instrumentals.

3) Playing with trains or being a craftsman?
I will "play with trains" until I die. Or until I can't see anymore. I used to feel guilty about not going out on a Friday night with high school friends becasue I wanted to go up into the attic and work on a model. I guess you start "playing with trains" and you can elevate it into an art form. Laugh away, but we call it "craftsman modeling." There's something great about dreaming up a structure, building it almoist from scratch, and then making it look so real you can't tell the difference. I often thought building models for movies would be an awesome job. But then I'd have to live in Hollywierd. So anyway, I still "play with trians."

4) Typing flaw?
When I type on the computer I look solely down at my keyboard and not at the screen at all. Maybe I'll check it if I think I made a mistake. I also type mainlywith my index fingers and thumbs, but I can rival most 10 fingered typists for speed. Hmmm. When I read stuff on the internet I aslo have to highlight text with my mouse and then unclick it and just keep doing that. I don't highlight what I read, I just highlight stuff.

5) Holiday Overboard
When Haloween rolls around I don't want to sit at the door and give away candy - I want to create a haunted house (or church) that has spooky things people cant figrue out! It's got to be realistic! For Christmas I need to create something way over the top and try to keep it tasty as well. Though Ang and I will definitely end up disagreeing on what "tasty" is. But we're not decorating a tree - no way - we're decorating a few trees and then doing the outside of the house up! Yeah!

6) Theme time
If I could live in a Disneyland enviroment or a hollywood set - I would. I love theme environments. I like them to be real - but to be completely out there. Some of that comes from Disney, some from parks as a kid and a lot from the House on the Rock. One reason I bought the church/house is becasue it is wide open and lots needs to be redone. I wanted the openness so that I could create something insane. I wanted the basement to be like walking down backstreets in the city. What!? Yep. Signage, outdoor lighting, brick weathered exterior etc. I wanted out entryway to have 2 story fake trees and a waterfall and be forever set in "night time" with darker blue lights and fake firefly's that glow. Insane? maybe. Wierd? I like to call it "unique."

As a bonus bit of "wierdness" I will add that I have already built a 1:18 batmobile:

Dave, the designer for Hotwheels/Mattel who designed the car off the WB's original told me this model is "how it should have turned out." That was a cool feather in the hat.

And I will build the car in full size as well :) Like mi amigos Kevin, Jack and Rusty from CLTC (who are each working on their own). Below is a replica: