Saturday, February 07, 2009

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Ok I am not a movie critic who analyzes all of the details of a movie, so I am just going to give you my impression of Slumdog Millionaire.

Briefly, the film is about a boy who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, going through a number of traumatic experiences, and as a young man appears on the India version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." He does extremely well and ends up arrested right after the show because the show's host thinks he cheated. So the storyline is about 30% in the present, being interrogated by the police, and 70% flashbacks to explain his life and the reason he knows all the answers to the questions in the game.

First of all, I am really drawn to films that show life in parts of the world that are very different compared to the U.S. The film was shot in Mumbai and Agra India, mostly in the slums, so it seems like we get a real depiction of what slum life is like (as compared to cities in Africa I have seen). The camera will often sweep up and show the developed city as a contrast to the slums. The camera work was really pleasing. I also enjoyed the completely different culture that was shown in the movie. I am not an expert on Indian life, but hopefully the director was true to it.

Of the last 3 movies I have seen in theaters, Kirk Cameron was the only person I recognized. I appreciate films that do not have any well known actors because it doesn't distract from the story at all. Slumdog had all Indian actors, and Captain Abu Raed had all Jordanian/other middle eastern actors. Beth and I really loved the children actors and the lead actor was very talented and likeable.

The story itself was very intense, ranging the full spectrum of emotions. From real joy to the sick feeling that you get when you see children abused/exploited in various ways. And actually it jumps between those two quite often. Your heart is broken for the children because you know this is really going on in the world today, and is enraged at the adults who have no compassion and only care about their own profit.

Overall, I loved the film. Beth liked it too and knew that although it was hard to watch, we benefited for it.

The film is not without controversy though. One that wikipedia mentions is that some are offended by the title, which implies that people living in slums are dogs. While I cannot relate to how they feel, I think that after watching the movie I understand the title; the police were clearly expressing their prejudice that I think is a real attitude in the world.

Another controversy is that Hindus feel that their beliefs and life are not depicted accurately. The scene that I think this refers to is when a mob of Hindus attack a Muslim neighborhood, killing and setting buildings on fire. The concerned people feel that this is a one-sided portrayal of the religious conflict in India. While I do not know the specifics of the Hindu-Muslim conflict. I have heard first hand accounts of Hindu brutality towards Christians in India from a missionary though, so I know that they are at least capable, and even inclined towards what is shown in the movie.

Conclusion: See the movie!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We recently took a long weekend and flew down to Ft. Myers, FL to visit some friends. Specifically Duane Crumb, who we traveled to Africa with this past summer, and his wife, Kathy. We also got to see some of the missionaries who were serving long term in Narok, Kenya as members of the organization that Duane is a part of, NMSI (link on the right under Links).

Ft. Myers is in a great location, nestled between the gulf and a river that runs all the way through Florida. We didn't get to see much of town other than their neighborhood, but we did get to check out a great sunset at the beach. And we got to see the largest Banyan tree in the continental U.S. The Banyan tree is pretty amazing, "It's pretty much my favorite tree." It is native to India, I guess the story goes that Thomas Edison brought this one to his winter home in Ft. Myers. Here's us with good 'ole Tom:

What you see behind us may look like a forest, but it is in fact one tree. These vines grow off of the main branches and once they reach ground, they dig in and form these new trunks. The tree can then support the branches which grow more horizontal than vertical, 100+ feet from the main trunk. It just expands forever.

So what you see behind us is one of the longer branches that has a ton of these secondary trunks growing down. There is one in Hawaii that is a little bigger than this one.

Anyway, Florida was warm and nice. We could go back :)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Paint Shop Pro

We got Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 for Christmas. We have been wanting to do some editing of our travel photos, so now we have the tool! I used it to create a new blog header as you can see. Hopefully I can make it look less "amateur" soon.

By the way, it has been almost 5 months to the day since I last posted. Did anyone actually notice?

Thursday, August 07, 2008


We knew that there was a small chance of seeing one of these, but we didn't really expect to. So far the things you have seen were before 9:00am!


Sunday, August 03, 2008


We happened upon a den of Hyenas. There appeared to be 4 of them. The adults are much bigger than we expected. The young are much cuter than we expected.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Zebra Migration

Here we are driving through a herd of zebras (pronounced zeh-brah) that is traveling through the Maasai Mara on their way to... somewhere else. We were told that each year the zebras migrate through the Mara, and then a month or so later, the wildebeests come through. All of this grass that you can see will be eaten by the time the migrations are through.


The zebra's favorite pose is kind of rude...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today on Animal Planet...

We will start slowly so that you don't get overwhelmed with the awesomeness of God's animal kingdom. And yes, I have a voice made for narrating nature videos.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pictures are up

You can now view the pictures from our Africa trip at: or by clicking on the link at the top right.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Still working on something substantial

I still haven't sat down to type out something in the form of a summary to post. So in the place of a summary, I will provide you with some other reading options.

Nick Haywood and Jake Blair driving around the country visiting National Parks/Forests and other places of interest. They are really struggling for interesting stuff:

Brian "Pervis" Dunn biking the TransAmerica Trail to raise money for Compassion International. Brian spent the last 2 years in Ntungamo, Uganda working for Compassion as a Peace Corp Volunteer. God is doing some cool stuff on the trip:

Pictures of our trip are coming soon.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Greetings from Kenya

I have no pictures to post at this time due to the fact that I am in an Internet cafe in Nakuru, Kenya, but I promise that we are here. I will keep this short because I imagine that anyone who reads my blog also gets the email updates. But anyway, we have 2 more days in Nakuru, Kenya, then we are on to Narok, Kenya and then Uganda each for a week. So we will be home in 17 days or so. Kenya is wonderful and we are still healthy and really enjoying this time of learning and growing in God's plan.

Hope all is well with you and I will update the blog probably when we get home, but maybe before we leave Africa.