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Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm pooped

That's what happens when you spend most of the past 24 hours in a place that sees on average about two or three immaculate conceptions a year.

(That's what the staff told us, anyway...)

So... did I miss anything?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Unborn Grace" music video brought Chris to tears!

Got word tonight that the new music video for Faye Smith's song "Unborn Grace" stars a friend from my college days, the incredibly talented and exceedingly beautiful Candice Irion!

So I hit the link and watched it.

And this is only the second music video to ever make me cry. I'll let it be an exercise for the reader about what the first one was.

From the album Deeper Still and gorgeously directed by Mark Blitch, here is "Unborn Grace"...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DOCTOR WHO Season 7/33 first trailer!

Lookee what popped up on the Intertubes while I was unconscious yesterday! The first trailer for Season 7 (or Season 33, if we're counting all the seasons since 1963) of Doctor Who...

Not much, but still nice. Wondering if they filmed this Western-ish episode back in the U.S., like last year's mind-blowing "The Impossible Astronaut"/"Day of the Moon" two-parter.

And doesn't that town look more than a smidgeon like Hill Valley circa 1885 from Back To The Future Part III? Maybe we're gonna finally get that Doctor/Marty McFly fight that we've always fantasized about...


Hello, I am currently blogging while on the backside of some horrid food poisoning, which hit in the wee hours of early Monday morning and I'm only now gaining some semblance of coherency from. Based on the symptoms it might have been salmonella, because I had all the classic signs except blood in the diarrhea stool. And there might have been that anyway, I didn't bother to look that closely. One of the more prominent things was that it left me extremely dehydrated, that I almost had to be hospitalized. Probably would have, maybe even died, had Kristen and Dad not been here. Gotta be thankful that God put such good people into my life who will talk sense into me when male machismo wants to be stubborn :-)

I'm not going to eat that Bhut jolokia pepper, or any other super-hot pepper, like I've been making plans to for awhile. I don't want to risk anything that could make me anywhere that close to being sick as a dog again. This was the WORST health-related experience of my life (yeah even worse than that flu I had in '96 that had me saying all kinds of... funny stuff).

Me go rest some more. Then I'll tell y'all about MythBusters on Tour that we saw on Sunday night :-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mom's memorial marker

Today was a milestone, of sorts, in my life. It was eleven weeks ago today that we had Mom's funeral.

The grave marker was put in place today.

And now, for the first time in my life, I know what it is to gaze upon the tombstone of a parent...

The plastic covering is to protect the cement until it fully cures. It's not visible in the photo, but the base of the marker has the names of my sister and I, noting that we are Ruby and Robert's children. In the background you can also see the tombstone belonging to my grandmother and grandfather.

I still haven't broken down and cried like I had expected to long before now. Was it because I was there for her at the end, as she slipped away from us? Did that make it easier to accept her passing?

Or could it be that, my faith is much greater now than it has been ever before in my life? I like to believe that. That I sincerely do know that this marker, it doesn't signify Mom's final resting place at all. Mom isn't here at all. She's somewhere else, in the company of all the family that have gone on before. Waiting for us to join her. Waiting for me someday.

And yet, I will probably find myself at this marker a fair number of times for the rest of my life. I can someday bring my children to it, and tell them all about the grandmother that they will not have had the pleasure of meeting yet.

Once more, I have to thank the fine staff at Wilkerson Funeral Home for their exceptional service to our family, which included the very fast installation of the marker (we only ordered it last week).


This might be one of the extremely rare occasions where for various reasons, the movie is better than the book. And the book is plenty good (read my review here).

I've never seen a movie theater as packed with kids during a school day as I saw today at the Grande in Greensboro for the 1:15 showing of The Hunger Games. There were six or seven girls in costume as Capitol citizens (including one as Effie, complete with shocking pink hair). It was nearly a sold-out show and the showings tonight were already sold out when I bought my ticket.

The film adaptation takes a scarce few liberties with Suzanne Collins' megaselling novel. Those are so minor that you generally won't miss them (I was a bit let down that the muttations during the climax at the Cornucopia didn't resemble the deceased tributes). But the film also adds considerably more to the narrative that we didn't see in the book, particularly with Donald Sutherland's portrayal of President Snow: positivalutely one of the most menacing and chilling villains that I've seen in quite awhile.

If you liked the book, you're going to love this. If you haven't read the book yet, I think you'll still get plenty of thrill out of The Hunger Games. It's a beautifully shot movie (filmed entirely here in North Carolina, with Charlotte playing the Capitol and the mountain area used for District 12 and the Arena) that brought to life the look and feel of Panem's despotic realm. Jennifer Lawrence is spot-on perfect as Katniss: the girl who volunteers for the Games in place of her younger sister. I genuinely came to empathize with Lawrence's Katniss, and even knowing how the book ended I caught myself wrought with fright when the Hunger Games begin. From the getgo it is a brutal contest. Maybe even unsettling for some people. Children killing children with such savage relish isn't something that I like to think most audiences are used to.

A very, very solid movie. One that treats its viewers with intelligence and respect. I'm looking forward to seeing it again this coming week.

Playing catch-up

Wow. Didn't mean to go so long without writing a blog post. But I rather enjoyed my unplanned respite. Didn't go anywhere. Just... felt led to spend time away from the keyboard, letting God lead me to contemplate some things.

So now that I'm back...

1. Elton John at the Roanoke Civic Center last week was the most electrifying concert that I've ever been to. From the moment he took to the stage he performed for darn nearly three hours without stopping. It has to be said: this man is show business personified.

2. The season finale of The Walking Dead, I watched with my girlfriend Kristen and her mom. All three of us were screaming throughout and I dang nearly went berzerk with giddy excitement when we got our first look at Michonne (with those two zombies in tow). Going out of Season 2 by showing us the prison, well I don't know what else to say: Bring on Season 3 and the Governor!

3. Congratulations to one of my best friends Steven Glaspie on his engagement to his sweet and lovely girlfriend Allison! Steven went all-out for his lady. Remember that diamond that Superman crushed from a piece of coal in Superman III? Yeah it's like that.

4. The next few months will prove to be interesting. Parse that as you will.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The only thing that I can come up with to write at the time being

There is no such thing as either "conservatives" or "liberals", but there are too many imitators of each.

Friday, March 09, 2012

ActionFest 2012 reveals official poster and opening/closing films!

ActionFest returns in just over a month to beat the snot out of Asheville, North Carolina (I mean that in a good way). This will be the third year for the world's only film festival devoted to action movies and the people who make them possible. I am thankful to have been at the inaugural event and then last year's festival. And I'm looking forward to being at ActionFest 2012 as well :-)

Here's the official poster for the festival...

The opening night's film is gonna be Solomon Kane, and ActionFest will close out with Wu Xia. I've been looking forward to seeing Solomon Kane for awhile now and I've only heard insanely good stuff about Wu Xia.

Punch here for the press release that just went out. And I'll be seeing you at ActionFest! Go there, or perish in flame. It's your choice. But, not really.

Who is Joseph Kony... and why should I care?

It shouldn't have to be said, but it looks like it needs to be...

Viral videos do not bring down bad guys.

Charities do not bring down bad guys.

Silly little bracelets do not bring down bad guys.

Celebrities sure as hell do not bring down bad guys.

When push comes to shove, YOU having the will to say "no" brings down bad guys.

YOU defending yourself and your loved ones brings down bad guys.

YOU being vigilant brings down bad guys.

If all else fails, YOU being the one who aims the gun and pulls the trigger, brings down bad guys.

Americans seem too unwilling to care about their own children here when they are being controlled. Why should they care then about children being controlled by someone they've never heard of before, in a country that many if not most Americans probably couldn't find on a map?

I'm not saying that what Kony has done isn't evil. But there's only so much that any of us can do... and God has given us plenty of responsibility already. Responsibility that for the most part, we have shirked horribly. Perhaps even unforgivably.

Could it be that the greatest part of the "Get Kony" movement is because we have been made to feel helpless to do anything about our own situation, and are desperate to latch onto whatever it is that can make us "feel good" and empowered?

People, we've been empowered all along. We aren't free by the whims of man, but by the grace of God.

Now, when the hell are we going to finally realize that there's no shame in admitting that?

And what are we going to do about it?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Hammer and Depp as THE LONE RANGER and Tonto

Jerry Bruckheimer just Tweeted the first official image of Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in character from Disney's upcoming The Lone Ranger movie:

Oooh-kaaaaay. That's certainly a bold turn away from what I guess everyone was expecting. I don't know which is the bigger shock: the Lone Ranger wearing black or Johnny Depp apparently trying to simultaneously channel Captain Jack Sparrow and Alice Cooper.

But hey, this movie can't possibly be worse than the last time a Lone Ranger film was attempted, right?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"Mantyhose"?! What the...?!?

Folks, what I'm about to show you is so disturbing, some might even call it so obscene, that for the first time in The Knight Shift's history I am NOT going to show it to you outright. Instead I am at last going to make use of the "jump break" feature, and give you the choice of whether or not you really want to look at this aberration from the natural order of the universe.

(And in case you're wondering, blame falls on my girlfriend Kristen for finding this. It wasn't me who stumbled upon it, honest!)

Ready? Brace yourself...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Ralph McQuarrie has passed away

I cannot begin to imagine what the Star Wars saga - and a lot of other movie and TV franchises - would have been like had it not been for Ralph McQuarrie.

He started out at Boeing, and then was hired by CBS to create animations of the Apollo program as NASA was preparing to land a man on the moon.

Some years later McQuarrie was approached by a filmmaker named George Lucas, who was planning a movie about a galaxy far, far away and needed to populate it with a unique assortment of heroes, villains, robots and spaceships. And had it not been for McQuarrie's visual conceptions, what was at the time merely "Star Wars" might never have been picked up by any studio.

But thanks to Ralph McQuarrie, it was. And in addition to creating the looks of Darth Vader, Chewbacca and R2-D2, McQuarrie would go on to further flesh out the look and feel of the Star Wars saga. He also worked on the original Battlestar Galactica series and then again for Lucas and Steven Spielberg when they set out to produce Raiders of the Lost Ark. Along with many other movies and television series.

The sad news this morning is that Ralph McQuarrie passed away this weekend, at the age of 82.

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family this morning.

Thank you, Ralph, for sharing your talents and visions with us...

Friday, March 02, 2012

Dad gets his turn in the newspapers

That's my father Robert Knight in the photograph on the right, sitting next to friend and fellow farmer John Ashe, in a pic taken for a news story that's gotten national circulation (The Republic out of Columbus, Indiana has it along with a whole slideshow of photos) about tobacco farmers trying to stay profitable in spite of new trade deals.

I've known John for most of my life. He's a solid dude and everyone around here is proud of the success he's had as a farmer. It's really good to see him getting coverage like this on behalf of farmers everywhere. But I want y'all to click on the link and see the full photo taken by Ted Richardson. The entire pic of Dad and John sitting on the tailgate of Dad's truck, it's just a classic pic about modern farming. I'd even say "award worthy" :-)

These roller coasters give you the ride of your life... and maybe your LAST one

The Swarm, a new roller coaster set to open at an amusement park in London later this month, might have to be toned down a bit. This after crash test dummies put on the coaster had their arms and legs torn off by the horrific G-forces the Swarm generates during ride.

And then there's this lil' baby...

The Euthanasia Coaster, designed by Lithuanian engineer Julijonas Urbonas, is a concept (it only exists on paper, thank God) intended to give terminally ill people one last thrill ride.

After a precipitous drop, the coaster would take its passenger through a series of ever-tightening loops that increase the forces on the person's body, starving him/her of oxygen until death results.

Read more about the Euthanasia Coaster here.

Can you imagine one of these things at Disney World? Well, maybe under Michael Eisner...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

ASSASSINS CREED III cover art would make James Fenimore Cooper proud

I've never played an Assassins Creed game. I have no idea what this series is about. But daaaaang if this cover for Assassins Creed III isn't hella awesome...

Playing as a Native American with a tomahawk, scalping British soldiers during (presumably) the American Revolutionary War. Now there's a direction that I can't remember video games ever taking.

Kinda makes you wonder what a Nintendo adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans would have been like, huh?

Thanks to good friend Drew McOmber for spotting this!