Middling

The fancies and reflections of a loquacious ninja

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Let us pray

As a new school year rolls around and classes begin anew, I’m willing to bet that we all have friends, maybe even family, that are going away for the first time to college. I know I do.

Some are going far away, some right around the corner. Some to extremely prestigious universities, some to extremely obscure schools. Some to communities filled with godly Christ-seeking people, some to places of absolute depravity and spiritual emptiness.

All of them need our prayer.

Let us pray that they will have smooth transitions and adjust quickly into whatever their new situations may be. Let us pray that God will bring the right company to them, that they can pour themselves out into and likewise be poured back into in fellowship. Let us pray that God will use their new circumstances to challenge them, both spiritually and intellectually, but in a way that builds them up and makes them stronger, not in a way that only serves to discourage and dishearten them. Let us pray that wherever they are, God will shine His light through them and use them for His glory, that they would be bold and go looking for opportunities to spread His name further.

Let us pray for them.

A word from Thoreau…

  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Tribute to the JabbaWockeeZ

Meet the JabbaWockeeZ.

miamiheatfan06.glogster.com

They are without a doubt my favorite dance crew of all time (and yes, those are masks they’re wearing). I can’t say I know a paparazzi-load of information about them, but some of the things I know they’ve done:

They’ve danced on shows like So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Got Talent. They made an appearance in the movie Step Up 2. They’ve toured Australia. They now have their own hit show in Las Vegas. I know them mainly because they were Season 1 Champions on America’s Best Dance Crew.

xarj.net

There were some amazing crews on ABDC Season 1, but in my mind, the Jabbawockeez set themselves apart right from the beginning. First, the masks. Their explanation: When you wear a mask, you become faceless. Thus an audience cannot watch a crew of masked men as a bunch of individuals, but is forced to look at them as a whole (or so the theory goes; I just think they look cool).

In every team (and dance crews are no different), a balance is needed between the group itself and the individuals that make it up. The Jabbawockeez have struck that balance flawlessly. Every last one of them is an amazing dancer, and what I love is that they let each other shine. They show each other’s strengths, but they do it in a way that doesn’t take away from the group as a whole. When they’re dancing as one unit, no one person looks better than the others or stands out from the rest. When one person is soloing, that person and that person alone is in the spotlight. When they go from one solo to the next, the last person melts seamlessly back into the group and the next person steps up (and the fact that you can’t see their faces only adds to the whole effect). I also love how together they look even when everyone is doing something different. It’s hard to describe… They just ebb and flow as a group so well.

I’m not sure if they have any particular connection with Lewis Carroll’s poem that inspired them to call themselves the Jabbawockeez (something about appearing, killing the performance, and vanishing), but here’s what I see: When they dance together, they’re so in sync with each other that it looks so unreal. When they really get into their choreography, they’re so good at performing while making you forget you’re watching a performance, it’s like being transported into another world, one created by masks, gloves, and pure style. And if ever there was a crew that could match the creativity and whimsy of Carroll’s writing, the Jabbawockeez are the ones.

vegaschatter.com

From a dancer’s perspective, I find it impossible not to love the JabbaWockeeZ. Their near-perfect unity in movement, their amazing musicality and ability to dance not just with music but to music, and their very unique style. I love how choreography-grounded it is; they craft so much creativity into each of their routines. It’s also an extremely versatile style; whatever they take on (be it popping, locking, breaking, stepping, whatever), it becomes their own.

I suppose between the masks (some people find them creepy) and their uncommon style, they can be a bit of an acquired taste (especially to someone who isn’t familiar with urban dance). But I think their sense of theatricality and body language is one that anyone can enjoy and appreciate. They have so much body expression, it doesn’t matter that you can’t see their faces; if anything, the way they dance just employs the masks to express their personality even more.

jabbawockeez.glogster.com

Around the time of the ABDC season 1 auditions, a beloved member and mentor of the Jabbawockeez, Gary Kendell (also known as Gee One), passed away. At the time, ABDC only allowed crews of seven people or less (there are 11 Jabbawockeez total I think, including Gary), and the seventh crew member was originally going to be him. As a tribute to Gary, the Jabbawockeez now end every performance by pointing to the sky in his memory. His obituary ends with these words: “To the lives you touched, to the rhythms you followed, to the footsteps you left behind, and to the talent that will never be forgotten. Here’s to a beautiful life lived. We love you Gee. We will miss you. Dance for us in Heaven.”

As I saw the Jabbawockeez throughout Season 1, I noticed a few things in how they interacted with other. They always got everything done, as was made obvious by their consistently stellar performances. At the same time, they always found time during rehearsals to joke around and have fun. What astounds me the most about them is that for all the episodes they spent on America’s Best Dance Crew creating a new performance every week, they had no established leader. They really treated each other as equals; all contributed choreography ideas, and all ideas were respected. I guess they kind of just passed the baton of leadership around with no problem. They were so tightly knit as a dance crew, and as a group of people who loved each other. It showed in how they interacted with the other crews even and after they won the championship as well. They maintained their reputation as down-to-earth guys who knew the meaning of good sportsmanship and humility, even in the wake of great success.

I recently found an article on the Jabbawockeez with a brief bio of each of the six members that danced on ABDC (not including Gary). And there were two links that ran through all their responses when they were asked about what inspired them. First, they cited each other and mentioned some great dancers, but all of them highlighted Gary as their hero and mentor. Second, five out of six pointed to God as a personal source of inspiration. One of them was even so bold to proclaim that he is a born-again Christian, and that everything he does is to glorify the One up above. =)

Let’s just say that their excellence on the dance floor and the stage has a deeper root, shall we?

mtv.com

But I’ve said too much already (most of which probably didn’t mean anything to you unless you’ve seen the Jabbawockeez before anyway). So now that I’ve raised your expectations impossibly high and put my unabashed admiration of this crew out onto the chopping block for all to see, I’ll let you watch on your own and make up your own mind (having filled it for the last dozen paragraphs with the Jabbawockeez’s praises). Feel free to let me know whether you agree or disagree with me and why. It’s a long video, but in my opinion, worth every minute of it (though the last part of it  just shows them taking off their masks and exciting the crowd).

I hope you enjoy watching them even more than I do.

P.S. Shout-out to my newest blogging friend whisper, pursuer of a different kind of Jabberwockies and lover of all things epic.

Pool picture fun

Pools are fun in the summer.

So are waterproof cameras in the pool.

My cousin Angelique... or her fist at least

Bubbles are fun.

Pictures where the water catches the light are particularly awesome

Especially when it’s a picture of the surface… from underneath.

Here thar be monsters! Or ghosts... You pick.


(note: these are all unedited… so far)

And finally, pictures that have been unrealistically tweaked for the sheer purpose of making them look cool are fun beyond description.

I sincerely hope you find these pictures as awesome as I do. If not, can’t help you.

Hope you’re having a wonderful summer.

~ Timothy

Of troops, walls, giants, and a bronze bow

For you are my lamp, O LORD,
and my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?
This God is my strong refuge
and has made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

  ~ Excerpt from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:29-35)

I love the imagery David uses in this passage: The courage and boldness to rush to meet an entire enemy troop. The agility to leap clean over a wall (I’d love to meet a free runner with that as a life verse). The nimbleness to run as sure-footed as a deer. The strength to bend a bronze bow.

To my knowledge, the Bible never describes David’s physical appearance (except in 1 Samuel 16, as “ruddy, with beautiful eyes, and good-looking” as a young man), but between duking it out with bears and lions trying to steal his sheep, slaying Goliath, being on the run from Saul in the wilderness several years, not to mention the many battles he fought while king of Israel, I think it’s safe to assume that he was pretty competent athletically speaking. And David’s men (about whom another post is coming soon) were the same story; directly preceding David’s song of praise in 2 Samuel is a record of four giants they slew in battle (four individuals, not mobs of men), including one with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot (much more intimidating than the average giant, no?). Case in point: David and his men were probably top notch physically.

Now in light of this, one could argue that all these things—running against platoons of foes, scaling a wall, slaying giants, even bending a bow made out of bronze—while difficult, are not necessarily humanly impossible. Free runners jump over stuff regularly, circus strongmen bend stuff all the time. Sure, we have limits, but aren’t we still capable of some pretty amazing feats on our own?

There’s no doubt that humans are capable of many things, and some of them truly are impressive. But this mentality forgets that there is no such thing as a human “on his own.” Every ounce of strength, every breath, every heartbeat comes from the Maker of all things. He alone gives life to everything (Nehemiah 9:6). No matter how attainable or unattainable you consider a task to be, it’s entirely impossible without God; He is the Provider of all strength, great and small.

As summer swiftly draws to a close and the oncoming school year looms over the horizon (apologies for the ominous reminder), most likely you aren’t at risk of being slain by a giant with an abnormal number of fingers and toes. But do you find yourself faced by giants of a different kind? Do you feel like you’re running up against an enemy troop? Are you faced with a wall that looks too tall to climb? Is there a bow of bronze in your hands that’s too great for you to bend?

Because the God who gives you strength day by day is no different than the God who supplied David and his men with their strength in battle. And the same God who gives your body strength is the provider of strength for your mind, heart, and spirit as well.

Take refuge in Him.

“It couldn’t really be bronze,” said Daniel, puzzled. “The strongest man could not bend a bow of bronze.”

“Perhaps just the tips were metal,” Joel suggested.

“No,” Thacia spoke. “I think it really was bronze. I think David meant a bow that a man couldn’t bend—that when God strengthens us we can do something that seems impossible.”

  ~ The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare