In between issues

Cars

We watched Cars on DVD recently. Call me childish, but I really enjoyed it. Just a really good tale, and some brilliant computer-generated scenery. I wish we'd reviewed it for Issue 5, because it's got some great urban/rural themes going on. Some neat "person"alities, too.

Urban or rural?

Issue 5 is out and looking beautiful. I've put a selection of the content online, so check it out. It's a slightly shorter issue than sometimes, though I reckon the quality's at least as good. If you can, please get your friends to subscribe or contribute.

And if you haven't yet seen Comet McNaught, have a look outside on a clearish night just after sunset. It's going to be visible for another week or so. To the right is a sweet photo of the comet over Wellington.

WORLD + Warehouse?

Speaking of WORLD (see our interview with them), here's an interesting combination: WORLD joins The Warehouse to raise money for the Starship Foundation.

Quite a contrast to The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart.

Prism 4, Fashion

It's out, and it should be in your hands soon – early reports say it's looking really nice. I'm itching to see it myself. Feel free to comment here once you've had a look.

In the meantime, check out the table of contents and the handful of articles we've already put online, or have a listen to the WORLD interview.

Upcoming goodies

We're pretty excited about Issue 4 Fashion: we're planning an insightful feature article, an interview with Brian Tamaki, an inside look at World with chief designer Francis Hooper, a wine review, and lots more. Check out our draft table of contents.

Have a think about buying your friends a subscription!

Slavery

We watched the film Osama yesterday. Apparently it was the first film made in Afghanistan after the end of the Taliban regime (which banned film-making), and it's about the hardships (enslavement?) of women under the regime. As the rating said, "content may disturb". But it's pretty authentic, I think the lead actor was a begger girl that the director more or less picked up off the street. The film's in Arabic but subtitled, and it uses cinematography I thought was quite different to most western movies.

Speaking of slavery, yesterday at work we were talking about a missionary couple in Khartoum, Sudan who bought some young girls at a slave-market, freed them, and helped them start a new life. (Yes, slave-trading is definitely still around.) But the question was, is this a noble act, or is it tacitly approving the slave-trade by buying them and perhaps even helping raise their prices?

Fashion

We had a meeting of most of the Prismatics the other night, and Issue 4 is shaping up to be really good. The theme is "fashion and clothing", but it won't be just your ordinary take (modesty and the like). We've got a lot of interesting stuff planned, so look out for it. If you'd like to write, send us a line!

Comment Magazine has a great section called "On Craft", in which someone will look at their job as a craft and explain what it's about and why they're passionate about it. Particularly interesting was The Craft of Newspaper Making.

Walking south

In just over a month I'm heading south (with my beautiful lady, of course). Hopefully we'll be able to recruit some Christchurch talent for Prism as a result. Our editorial meetings will have to be more e-like, but that shouldn't be a problem.

On the film front, Franci and I recently watched Walk the Line, about the first part of Johnny Cash's life and career. Quite moving and very well acted, but it doesn't look at his (possibly later?) Christianity. In reading about him later, I discovered that Cash is attributed to a quote I like: "I'm not a Christian artist. I'm an artist who is a Christian."

Comment on Issue 3!

So Issue 3 is finally out. What do you think? Please have your say comments and critique welcome.

It's surprisingly hard to find printers who care. With each issue there's been some new problem with print quality. This time we ended up going with the "best print quality" people (see my editorial), as they didn't cost more, and the draft we got was perfecto. Then when I got the 100 finals they'd squished it down 10% and the edges of the text were all dotty. Oh well I'm hoping it's pretty hard to spot unless you know (oh, but now you do :-).

Time, time, time

Just letting you know why Issue 3 is over a month late. Our layout person has had major problems with his laptop, and the manufacturers have been very slow at fixing them.

We aim to have it out as soon as possible, of course. Probably about two weeks.

Just remember that Prism is a completely volunteer venture, so we don't exactly have hundreds of backup staff (or laptops) for when these things do happen.

O bearded one

Thinking again of Tim Sterne's Shaving Grace from Issue 2, here are some insane pictures of beards from the Beard World Championship.

As for the less outrageous, which is more manly: a beard or a well-trimmed goatee? (And just for the record, I don't really think Mr Pitt is manly. :-)

Mammon, my bad

I reckon we need a Prism article (or column) on business and money. Maybe it's just me, but as I've earned more (pay rises and the like), I've realised more that how we handle money is a pretty big deal. In the sense that there are lots of questions to ask both of yourself (checking yourself for honest and wise dealings) and of others (for advice).

Is the desire to make lots of money wrong? Is it the task of each of us to invest and grow what we have? (The parable of the talents seems to think so. It's quite a capitalistic parable, in fact. :-) Is it as simple as keeping your sense of honesty and humility as your bank balance grows? In the business scene, what are some examples of people that are passionate and driven, yet humble?

I'm asking more questions than I'm answering, of course, partly just to help my own thinking. What are your thoughts?

And just for fun, did you know the phrase "my bad" was apparently coined by a Sudanese basketball player?

The best a man can get

Hannah Holder (some of you may have met her at National Camp) sent me a hard copy of this funny and inspiring article about a really close shave, The Best a Man Can Get. It's longish, but worthwhile pursuing to the end. Kind of counter-manly to Tim Sterne's Shaving grace article. A snippet:

When I tell my friends that I have switched to wet shaving, they ask three questions, usually in the following order. "Don't you cut yourself? Doesn't it take more time in the mornings? And isn't it expensive to buy all the necessary equipment, compared to a drugstore razor and can of shaving cream?" The answers are yes I do, yes it does, and not necessarily.

Buddhism is easy

Yesterday we had a new co-worker and his wife over for dinner. He's Kiwi and used to go to the AoG church; she's Thai and Buddhist. We got to talking about the five precepts of Buddhism, which are (roughly): do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not misuse sex, do not consume alcohol or drugs. Interesting how four of these are almost exactly the same as four of the Ten Commandments.

She also said that Buddhism was "easy, just living at peace with everyone". I replied that Christianity is hard, because Jesus says that the commandment to not kill also means we can't hate, and the commandment about adultery means we can't lust. What do you think: is Christianity a hard religion? What does that mean?

Another thing I've been wondering recently: if everyone believes stealing and lying are wrong, why is bribery so common in "developing" and non-Western countries? My co-worker and his wife said bribes were common in Thailand (for getting of scot-free for DVD piracy, etc.), and I know my dad's talked about how bad bribes were in Myanmar.

Moral backbone

We had a really good sermon yesterday evening, on Philippians 4:8-9, about how we must think and act Christianly. And if we do practice these virtues, Paul says, the God of peace will be with us. I wonder if us not feeling God-with-us means that we're not practicing virtue.

On that sort of note, recently Franci and I watched a seminar on real estate ethics (or lack thereof) by Neil Jenman. The website makes it look tacky, I know, but it's actually a very worthwhile talk. Whether Jenman's a Christian or not, he's definitely doing some good thinking and with his conscience, not his wallet. Going into business soon myself, it's scary to realise how easily we can throw our moral backbone out the window when it's "just business".

Prism III

Our third issue, Loyalty, is getting ready to be read. It's been great to have lots of help from Matthew Bartlett and Jonathan Marinus (they're now in charge of layout and artwork, respectively).

You'll likely have the paper edition in your hands in a couple of weeks. For now, just a few highlights:

  • Ambivalence, a neat story by Joanna Beresford, a local Masterton writer. Apart from being a mum, Jo is currently writing and trying to publish a novel based on actual Masterton history.
  • Some of Jason Flinn's amazing paintings, and an article by him about art and loyalty.
  • A review of The Godfather, by Daniel McClelland.
  • An interview about loyalty in a Maori context, with the Arahanga family.
  • The first Gardening with Madame Whitefly, a practical column by Janette Bartlett.

Write your letters now!

We've only got 1 (yes, that's one) letter to the editor for the upcoming Issue 3, so if you have feedback, whether positive or negative, please write in.

And if you want to be really helpful, ask all your friends what they thought of Issue 2 and see if they want to write some feedback. :-)

The dawn of time

Well, not quite, but the dawn of the Prism blog, "In between issues". Here we'll try to keep you up to date with happenings, as well as muse on various things, including life outside Prism.

I aim to have a post a day for this first week, and at least one or two posts a week after that.

Anyone at all can comment on these posts, so please do so. And when there's interesting stuff here, email the link to your friends so they can comment too!