It is really amazing what natural disasters, even those that don’t transpire, do to us. Just being warned of the possibility we buy things we’d never otherwise buy, & the news cycle churns ceaselessly. We go indoors and just ride it out, hoping that our greatest fears do not come to pass. And why all this fear and preparation? It’s because we want to keep hold of those things with which we define our lives. The thought of losing power and all of the other important things we can so easily take for granted rattle out of us the insecurity that tells us we really don’t rule this world, despite all of our inventiveness. But in truth, such revelations can be good for us. Like New Orleans after Katrina or Manhattan after 9/11, we are brought together in times of trial. And for a moment, we can look to the future with eyes wide open and see what matters most to us. Hope for a better future, embracing life in each of it’s miraculous yet fleeting moments, the relationships we have and further hope to form.

But then the storm passes. We return to our lives, and quickly forget our inspired moments of commitment. I know that Hurricane Irene wasn’t as bad in Philly as it was in other areas, and for that I can only give praise to God. And in that I thank him again, because at least for this moment the storm has made me look with new eyes on the simple windswept beauty of a calm morning.



Given the fact that one will often watch a documentary based on interest, it is hard for one who sees a documentary to give give it a totally impartial review. Therefore the truly great documentaries work to the same goal as any great writing. They bring out new found passion for things we’ve never even given thought to. And, just as Stieg Larsson can make us have a great interest in Sweden’s banking and judicial systems, so to can the movie Senna for someone who’d never even heard of him.

Now, Granted, I would consider myself a passive fan of F1. But in coming to my previous conclusion, I look to my brother and father. I went with them to see it this Friday, and walking in they knew sparse little about F1 or Ayrton Senna. But they walked out just as awestruck and impassioned as any of the F1 buffs who crowded the halls upon our departure, the hallmark of any good film – not just documentary.

The film follows the life of Ayrton Senna over the entirety of his career, from it’s ambitious beginning to it’s tragic end. But, the events of the film are not what make it so compelling. The power of the film rests on two things – the individual and the style.

The style of the film was singular, and in it we find a great way to tell a more visceral story of such a storied man. Most documentaries will feature a few glimpses of stock footage, overlaid in brief segments, to add context to filmed components such as dialogue or scene. Yet, senna takes a complete 180˚ turn. Almost none of the film is shot, deferring totally to impeccably edited stock footage. This is then brought to life with great bits from poignant interviews recorded more in the present day. The value of these samples is self-evident, giving careful insight to various events of senna’s life in a dialectic of hindsight.

The value of using well picked stock footage is also seen in how the film paints the picture of Ayrton Senna himself. In using film from both racing and moments in his personal life, we get a look into the life of a thoroughly interesting and respectable person. The film gives a look into the progression of Senna’s life and in it we can see a great example of enduring humility. Coming from a wealthy family and having a meteoric rise to become a three time record crushing F1 Grand Prix Champion would inflame the pride of many – but not senna. He was amazing in his ability to separate himself from his own fame, a trait so rare in the day of Lebron James. Though he may have been aggressive on the track, he was never incapable of shutting that intensity off when he took off his flame retardant racing suit. And it was in this humility that he became so well loved worldwide.

It comes as no surprise when we see that at the heart of this man we see a man of faith. In many of the interviews shown with senna, we see that God permeated so many of his conversations. He new he lived life on the edge, and that it was God who held him there.This passion for God is most well said in the sadly ironic quote across his tombstone

“Nothing can separate me from the love of God”

For it was in his fatal last race that a crash would bring him as close to God as he could ever hope to be.

Senna is out in theatres now. It was directed by Asif Kapadia & written by Manish Pandey

Back Home

As my Dad and Brother departed for New York this afternoon, I knew that I was once again on my own. While I can still call them and I have been greatly blessed to share in the company of wonderful friends in Philly, there is something primordial and irreplaceable outside the relationship one shares with family – despite any faults and fracas. In hindsight I can say I felt a bit similar this time last year, and after a bit of digging I found a rather simple poem that I wrote to capture the essence of my mood at that time.

At rest in a cloud,

a drop home among many.

Yet time presses on,

and sacred spaces change.

Pressures increase,

and many fall away.

Until one day,

to earth we fall,

striking the ground,

to be a drop in life’s river.

Flowing through quickly,

little is familiar,

until settled in a stream,

which we can call our own.

Comfort we make,

yet we yearn long for home.

I feel better about where I am now, coming back to Philly for my second year of dental school and for that, I only have God to thank. Especially after this weekend with My Dad & brother. We got to see Philly at it’s best, seeing the Rembrandt exhibit at PMA and the wonderful movie Senna in the Ritz Theatre – not to mention sharing in a great sermon at Liberti this morning. These memories, atop all the others form this summer, will keep me going until I see them again. But in the meantime, with God’s help, I should work to growing more deeply with my Philly Family.

Packing – Thursday, August 18, 2011

Packing. It is an event I approach with nearly as much excitement as one would approach an impending colonic. It is not the mere tedium of the act – if it were only that. It is that queezy feeling of foreboding. That feeling that causes you to say “well, I guess that’s it” as you attempt to squeeze what’s most important to your identity and sense of peace into a few boxes and bags. Its been a good summer and I feel immensely blessed and satisfied. But there is always that lingering feeling of “could I have done more, neigh, should I have done more?” But as any practitioner of Zen will tell you – the past is passed and the future is a mystery.

As I prepare for my return to Philly I feel unchanged. Alas, my time in God’s word has not been what I would have hoped, and I feel that I have left much undone in living out my faith. But in faith, I pray that I may find a lesson in this time and in that grow closer to a true Christian walk. God only knows what the future holds for me upon resuming my life in Philly, but for now I feel blessed to have this last day at home with friends and family.

Starting Off – Wednesday, August 17, 2011

As summer draws to it’s close, the time seems right to get a blog up and running – as it is something I’ve wanted to do for some time now. It’s been a great two months and I am looking forward returning to my second year of dental school (Temple). This year is going to be tough, but I feel that with a creative outlet such as this I can have a release for any angst or creative confinement that I may feel as my workload grinds back into action.

This summer I’ve been doing all of my favorite things, with some of my favorite people. I went with my Dad and brother to Maine, Montreal and the Adirondacks for ten days in July. The rest of the time I’ve been running, biking and relaxing in the blessed company of my friends and family back home in Goshen, NY. It will be a bit uneasy going back to Philly, but I know it won’t take long to settle back in once I am there. In fact, I have loved my first year in Philly. I have met and gotten to know a host of wonderful people in both school and church. With regards to that church, Liberti is the first place that I’ve ever attended where I have felt like an active member in the community. It is easy, especially for myself, to go into a church and feel like another face in a crowd without any sense of real connection. So I feel blessed to have met and shared with some of Liberti’s great people, and I am looking forward to becoming a member this coming September.

As to the future of this blog, the shape it will take can only be told by time. For one, I have just finished a six week writing course at Gotham Writer’s Workshop. As such I am intent to post here as I begin to hone the craft of freelance writings – with essays, poems short stories and possibly even chapters of prospective novels. Additionally I love to cook, so invariably some of that will make it here. But this is by no means a food blog, there are plenty of people out there who are much better. Also, I’m a big fan of music, movies, books and various explorations of artistic enrichment. Ultimately, this will all be new to me, and your invited to join in the experience.