Category Archives: blogging

just another word of encouragement

A few days ago I had some fun posting and commenting on various “alternative” images of Jesus that have become increasingly popular on the Internet. I titled that post another jesus. If you follow this blog at all you know I occasionally write on religious topics, mainly because I am a Christian trying to sort out the differences of my cultural Christianity from my faith. This is part of my overall journey in search of Truth, wisdom, and an authentic Christianity. So with that in mind, I had a recently amusing and disconcerting experience the other day which has prompted me to change my comments policies for now (they’re now moderated).

On that “another jesus” post I got the following comments (I made some slight changes to make it less offensive. I apologize if any here are offended.):

Hello i dont know who ur but i warn u if u display such kind of pictures and if u display jesus in very wrng ting…if u do this i will kick ur a** through visiting ur place ur mother f**ker….jesus is real son of a god he cures us and he helps every moments and loves us all the times…..f**k i kill u …ur a** f**ker….contact me if u have guts

Apart from the fact that this is actually a death threat if taken seriously, there are a lot of things one could say about these comments. At first I thought it might be a joke. In my experience such comments are so the opposite of what a Christ follower would say or do that I just new they couldn’t be serious. But then I realized, no, this commenter thinks he/she is defending Jesus. I could be wrong – maybe someone knows different.

Regardless, this commenter’s thoughts/assumptions/insults have given me some pause. Here are some attempts at understanding this helpful soul:

  • The commenter means to be giving me a word of encouragement, but the only English he knows was learned from watching Quentin Tarantino films. I realize Rohith is an Indian name. It could just be a “cultural divide” kind of thing. I need to be more sensitive to these things.
  • Maybe I should have known that “jesus is real son of a god he cures us and he helps every moments and loves us all the times” means we personally don’t have to worry about curing, helping, or loving – since he does that for us. That must be why he can immediately follow that sentence with “f**k i kill u.” It’s because of the freedom he has in Christ.
  • But then, he does say “son of a god” – a god. Which god does he mean? How many gods are we talking about here? I will try to keep an open mind.
  • If I don’t email him back do I not “have guts”? Is that what it takes these day to be evangelized? To “have guts”? I’m assuming here that what he really means by wanting me to contact him is so he can let me know God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.
  • It could be that he really is not a Christian (surprise) but is, in fact, a new-age dialecticist who is hoping to create some new religious synthesis through confrontation and this is just his way of inviting me to his new religion. So this could be a very sophisticated Hegelian tactic, just cleverly disguised as something opposite.
  • Grammatical clarification: Can “ur” mean both “you are” and “your” in the same comment? Is that legal? It certainly makes it difficult to understand what exactly he means by “ur a** f**ker.” Of course, if I had guts I would just ask him.

Maybe you have some additional thoughts. Maybe you “have guts” to contact Mr. Fancy25585 and carry on a meaningful dialog. Let me know how it goes. As for my part, I’m already on to other things.

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Filed under Art and Faith, blogging, Christianity, religion


>I’m taking a few days off from blogging. Just too much going on to blog. I think you know the feeling too.

“Darling, I know you’re having such a nice time with your harp, but doesn’t it look like the house is burning down?”

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The leaves are beginning to change around here. So is my blogging. Gradually I am changing PilgrimAkimbo too. The changes are not specific or planned, and they are slow going. This little blog has been a creative outlet for me, and has had a positive affect on me. PilgrimAkimbo began mostly as a cinema-centered blog, with the occasional personal post. But cinema has ceased to be its primary focus. For some time my other interests have been creeping in more and more. I have even wondered if I should create a new blog, but have decided against it. My conundrum has to do with just how much should my blogging be personal, even journal-like, rather than mostly at arms length as it were. Either way expect changes.

*painting by Piet Mondrian, Gray Tree (1911)


Filed under blogging

>to blog . . .

>My own observations tell me one of the most common topics amongst those who blog is the question “why blog?”. I ask myself this question. I see others doing so. I see some questioning the validity of blogging, some quiting their blogs, some taking extended breaks from blogging, and many writing about their reasons for blogging as though they are justifying their actions. I also see many expressing a kind of obligation to provide blog content; they apologize for not having posted in a few days or a few weeks. I see some stating they are re-committing themselves to their blog. Some of those do, and some do not. I frequently see blog posts explaining why other things, mostly life, crowd out the time otherwise used for writing blog posts. Some of those life “things” are big things, like a death in the family, or a birth. Other times those things are rather ordinary, like a busy week at work or preparing for final exams at school. And I see many blogs continue to exist largely because those who provide their content do so out of a kind of obsession; those blogs exist because, in some deep way, they must.

So why blog? Blogging is a somewhat new thing. Writing and journaling is not new, but in historical terms blogging, and its technological underpinnings, are very new. On the other hand, blogging is just another form of personal expression, and there are few things in all of human existence as old as that. The reasons people blog are as numerous as those who blog. And yet, the reasons are universal as well: humans need to, and will, express themselves, extend themselves into the world, seek meaning for their existence, and connect with others. If not blogging then something else will fill the gap. When bloggers give up blogging they do not give up expressing themselves. They go down new routes, other pathways of expressing. But blogging is a great path, and so many blog.

For those with an aesthetic sense, which includes everyone but in some it is more pronounced, blogs allow for some design around the verbiage. In some cases blogs will consist only of images with almost no words. For others, blogs are about the words and the ideas they can express. In any case, blogs are generally about ideas, about existence, about the present, about being human. A catalog of blogs would show, most likely, a rich cross-section of all that it means to be human, both specifically/uniquely and universally. Blogs breathe and bleed our humanity.

Why do I blog? Like most people there is a story behind my decision to begin blogging, and the reasons I continue are also drawn from my life. I came to blogging by way of curiosity and a “need” for some creative outlet. I put need in quotes because I can also say blogging became a diversion from what I truly needed to be doing a the time I started blogging, that is, writing my thesis and getting myself graduated. Regardless, I wanted to do something that was more creative and connected myself to others in some way. Fortunately I also finished school.

But there was a bigger reason for my starting to blog. In January 2006 my second child died. We had spent a great amount of time in hospital caring for her. Months had been devoted to her life, and then there was nothing more we could do. This was a crisis for me, and my family. The process raised a lot of personal issues and question, not least of which included questions of who I was and who did I want to be? I realized I had gone down pathways that, step by step, moved me away from my love of the arts, and more specifically, cinema. This may seem like a lightweight realization in such a context, but it reached all the way back to my childhood and brought up a host of deeply personal issues. It was not, needless to say, the only realization I experienced, but I digress.

I had studied art history, film history, and film production at university. I received two undergraduate degrees and one graduate degree in those fields. I had planned on getting my PhD and then becoming a professor at a film or media studies department somewhere. As the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. So there I was, a long way from my old plans, working at a software company, reacting to the loss of a child, and wondering who I was. I wanted to start connecting to like minds, reconnect myself to my love of cinema, and learn more about on-line communities. Mostly I just wanted a creative diversion that might also mean something.

I began with MySpace. I created a page and used their blog tool. I grew tired and frustrated with MySpace for a host of reasons and switched to Blogger. Sometimes I am frustrated with Blogger too, but here I am almost a year and a half later. I am considering switching to something like WordPress. It may not be worth the trouble, or it may.

Like many bloggers I wonder if I have anything to say, if what I have to say is worth the fuss of creating and maintaining a blog, if blogging is worth the time and effort when I could be doing other things, and I wonder just how permanent is my blog. The click of a button could take it all down in an instant. So far I feel that blogging has been mostly good for me, but I also am thinking of moving somewhat away from it and try to channel my energies more toward action rather than words. I would rather my daughters know me as a father who interacts more often with them more than the father who is always at the computer. I also want to be a more active person, get outside more, do more of the things I dream of, like climb mountains, go snow camping, take my kids to ball games, hang out with my wife, etc. Regardless I do know this, in one way or another, I will continue to express myself.

For now, PilgrimAkimbo continues on. I have begun to include other topics of interest to me beyond cinema. I see this blog as becoming my public journal more than merely my way to connect to the on-line cinephile community. My desire is still for a creative outlet, but my needs have been changing. I do hope this blog continues to be a means of enriching my life, and I hope, in some small way, it might actually enrich the lives of others. And yet, who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Wilder says, get outside!

Wilder at the park while her papa keeps her swinging.


Filed under blogging, family, Life

>contemplate cinema

>A reminder . . .

. . . about the upcoming 2nd annual
Contemplative Cinema Blogathon, Sunday 6th – Sunday 13th, January 2008, at Unspoken Cinema.

[Image above from Zerkalo (1975), Tarkovsky]


Filed under blogging, movies

>PilgrimAkimbo turned ONE


bon anniversaire!

On Tuesday last week my little blog became one year old. I was too busy to notice.

Like many of you who also blog, I have wondered at times why I do this and if I want to keep going. For now I do. Sometimes I worry about being too personal, or that my interests are too far afield of other’s. Sometimes I feel a sense of obligation to blog, especially when it’s been a few days since my last post. I don’t know where this obligation comes from.

If you have kept up with PilgrimAkimbo you know that it is primarily a personal blog that has, more or less, a focus on cinema and the arts. This was intentional for two reasons: 1) I didn’t want to write a personal blog that became a kind of diary of my life. Others do those kinds of blogs very well, but I just didn’t want to got there. So, PilgrimAkimbo is personal but with some limited constrictions. 2) I have had a long standing love of cinema and the arts, but in the past few years life has conspired to keep me from them more than I like. This blog is a way for me to reconnect to something I love, however small that reconnection might be for the time being.

One of the greatest joys of writing a blog is the people one meets. This has become the big payoffs of having a blog and visiting other blogs. Blogging is something new; it’s like letter writing, or journaling, it’s like sharing pictures or recipes, it’s a kind of desktop publishing, it also something like a personal barometer. But it is new and is changing the landscape. I find this exciting.

Which brings me to a thought: If you are a blogger like me, then you find comments on your posts like little nuggets of gold. I get an email notification for each new comment, and I tend to drop everything so I can read the comment. I also try to respond to every comment. I am guilty of lurking, that is, frequenting blogs and not commenting. That is a common practice. Often we are too busy to comment, or we just don’t feel like or don’t have anything to say. But I want to comment more, and I want others to comment on my blog more.

The essence of my thought is this: there is something MORE going on here than just “blogging.” There might be a kind of distance between us created by the medium, but there is also a connecting, a communing that is going on. The technology involved is merely a tool, like pen and paper, like a car, like a kitchen, that we can use as we create lasting and meaningful bonds between us. The meeting of minds is one of the great gifts we discover in life. Know this, your comments on PilgrimAkimbo are welcome.

Here’s to another year of PilgrimAkimbo!


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>not genius

>I have been making some changes to the layout of PilgrimAkimbo. As you can tell, I’ve changed the colors, header, etc. I’ve also added Google’s AdSense, which allows advertisements on the blog. All of this is an experiment. I don’t know how I feel about ads on my blog, but I’m giving it a try. Apparently if someone merely clicks on an ad it’s good for me ;-), but I’m not entirely sure how it works.

I am generally less than happy with Blogger for its very limited design options. I plan on making a wholesale change to another product in the future. I am looking for suggestions. A lot of people seem to use Typepad, some use WordPress, and some of the French sites use CanalBlog (I don’t see an English option for that one). Please let me know what you’ve tried, and what you like or don’t like about the different blog editors.

In in the near future I plan on adding a booklist that links to Amazon. We’ll see how that goes too. I figure that as long as I keep fiddling with this blog eventually I’ll produce something of genius. Ha!

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