So I Watch a lot of Netflix…

Like most of the people that I know, we have decided that we no longer need tv. As a teenager and little beyond, I would probably have been considered a tvholic. In college, my roommate and I were the only people that we knew of that actually paid for cable. But my new outlook on life helped me to finally reach a decision to cut the cable. But now there seems to be a bump in that road: hulu and netflix… and there doesn’t seem to be an end to the library at my fingertips.

Now this isn’t just a post about how much I love to be lazy and watch movies, it’s an opportunity for me to share what has captivated me lately. I like to recommend movies to friends, and this will be an easy way to share with a wider audience. As I was drafting a list, I realized all are really documentaries, or tv documentaries…so hopefully you are into those.

Recent Documentaries I Enjoyed:

Unmistaken Child (2008)
I have seen this film twice, and have recommended it countless times. It follows a Buddhist Monk named Tenzin Zopa who is searching for the reincarnation of his master, Lama Konchog. He follows the advice, and signs from fellow monks and travels to the country lands of Nepal & Tibet, and more specifically to his hometown. He is only given a few clues as to who this child could be (location, what letter the father’s name begins with, possible age) but is determined to find a child that could be no one other than his master. The scenery is beautiful, the spiritual nature is inspiring, and the story is just captivating. I recommend this to anyone who wants to be swept away by a great story.

Unmistaken Child

Praying with Lior (2007)
I should preface this by saying that I cried so much watching this documentary. Mostly happy tears, but sometimes I was just overcome with emotion. It follows a jewish boy with down syndrome, Lior, who is getting ready for his bar mitzvah. He is the light in his family, school and synagogue and is loved by everyone. He says some really profound things, as do those who are close to him. A very heart warming story that I think anyone can enjoy.

Lior with His Friend Shawn

A State of Mind (2004)
This documentary follows two young gymnasts and their families as they prepare for the national Mass Games of North Korea. The Mass Games are put on for a number of special occasions in the country, and involve thousands of performers. Before watching this film, I knew nothing about North Korea. Watching this will give you great insight into their daily lives and their unique history. There is also amazing visuals involving these talented young ladies.

Mass Games

Documentary TV Shows We Caught Up On:

Dogs Decoded Nova Special (2010)
The moment after watching this special, I sent a link to all the dog lovers that I know. Nova specials are always so interesting, and the great thing about Netflix is that they post new ones pretty regularly. This one is all about dogs and their connection with humans. It was completely fascinating, and further confirmed my beliefs that dogs can truly understand us. You won’t look at dogs the same way again, I promise.

My Dog

Buster (My Dog)

30 Days (3 Seasons)
I just began watching these yesterday, and already we watched about 8 of them. This show was created by Morgan Spurlock, the man who made Supersize Me. It places someone in a foreign situation for 30 Days to experience what life could be like. It reminds me of Wifeswap in a way because it tends to place someone who holds a certain belief in a situation where they are confronted directly (minuteman living with illegals, right-winged Christian living in Gay San Francisco). But what I respect is that they take people who are educated and willing to learn. It is a really well made show and covers really interesting topics.

Hunter Spending 30 Days as an Animal Rights Activist

Out of The Wild (1 Season)
For those who love wilderness specials, this is perfect for you. It follows 9 people who love the outdoors, but don’t have much experience and places them in the Alaskan wilderness with a mission to find civilization. They are out in the wilderness for a month and have to do almost everything by themselves. They are pushed to their limits, and overcome so much.

Out of The Wild Cast

……

I feel like there are many more that I could recommend, many that I have watched throughout the last 2 years, but I think this is a good list for people to start with if they are looking for some recommendations. Maybe later I will recommend some more.

Advertisements

My Life as a Vegetarian

As I am coming up to my year anniversary of becoming a vegetarian, I am starting to realize how happy I am with the choice that I made.

At first becoming a vegetarian, was a leap of faith, something that I would try again, but this time with effort. Now it is an easy lifestyle, that makes me feel great. Before becoming a vegetarian, I honestly looked it as something I would love to do, but couldn’t find the strength. What is most interesting to me, is how my mindset has changed in some areas, almost completely. My reasons for not become a vegetarian sooner are so trivial, and now seem insignificant. If you are thinking that changing your lifestyle to a life without meat is impossible, then I would hope that you take a closer look at your reasons.

Originally I became a vegetarian because it seemed like something that I was meant to do. Not everyone looks at vegetarians and vegans and thinks “I want to be like that.” So that in itself was something. However, while in the beginning I made the decision based on how I finally realized I didn’t need meat, and I didn’t really like it, now I am concerned mostly with animal welfare and the farming industry.

If you were like me, and played with the idea, I strongly recommend that you read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, visit www.FarmSanctuary.org, and do research on the state of agricultural America. Most people do not know where their meat comes from, or their food for that matter, and I strongly believe that if more knew, more would make more conscience choices when it comes to food that they eat.

A quick note about positive thinking

Honestly, everything that you have heard about positive thinking working for you is true.

Through out the spring tour with ABE, I battled with caring too much about money, jobs, bills, etc. But towards the end, I read a book about living in the now. Creating a new consciousness in the world. People all over are waking up, and realizing that we can change our situation.

Once you decide that you want to live in the present moment, and forget about the past experiences that you have been told make you who you are, you have freedom, to break the cycle and become a much happier person. This may only apply to people like me, who although I considered myself to positive person in the past, I was guilty of keeping grudges, judging others, and having feelings of worthlessness. Yes, like many, I was considered to be depressed. Now though, I feel that depression is an addiction. It is something you are conditioned to think is ok. Every day, you go through the same song and dance, of feeling like crap, and this ironically becomes comforting.

Then one day, you can tell yourself, your true self, that is not you. You are not defined by sadness, but by peace. I believe our true nature is to be happy with what is around us. Not to ignore what “bad” is out there, but to ackowledge it, and not indentify with. After all, everything passes, happiness and sadness, good and bad. So, in the end, once you consider the present moment to be full of peace, you suddenly find youself in a consistent state of peace.

So that is my new realization. Though this is vague, I just hope it can inspire a few to see that positive thinking can free you. In the last month I have tried my best to stay positive about my situation (no job, broke, etc) and through it can happily report that I had work opportunities, and enough money to continue to live out on the open road supporting Bryan and A Billion Ernies. I believe this is what I am called to do, and the more things work out for the better, the more convinced I am doing good.

Blessings From Texas

I am convinced that Texas is one of the best places to be. Texans are genuinely happy people who love to help you out. While I was writing my last blog entry, I was in Amarillo watching ABE play a small coffee house. When we first we arrived at the small, but very cool venue, we weren’t sure how the show was going to turn out. Again, God showed us his amazing grace. While the show was small, the crowd was in love with their music. People began to draw nearer and nearer and started to bob their heads and tap their toes to the beat. After the show, so many people came up and bought a CD, told the band how much their enjoyed their music, and even hung around just to talk. It is really amazing. Everyday we are fed and have a place to sleep. I am convinced that this is what ABE is meant to do.

KISS

Keep it simple stupid. I can’t remember when I first heard this, or even why, but nowadays, it seems to be the one clear message that God is sending me. Everyday we complicate things to point of confusion. When you take a moment to step back, and list out what it is that you did during the day, do you ever feel like 80% of what you did will not matter tomorrow? For me, I realize that if I spend my time stressing, counting the diminishing funds in my bank account, I will have wasted a precious day of my life. Everything that have been given is a gift. Even if you don’t believe in God, you do realize that you time here is limited. Are you creating a history for yourself that you will be proud of?

While I embark on this next journey of my life, I want to truly keep it EXTREMELY simple. I want to treat others as they should be treated, see the country, marvel at God’s creation, and create lasting memories. These are simple pleasures, that even a child can enjoy. I feel called to again, take a step back, and remove myself from this shell that I created for myself during the last two years.