Archive for February, 2012

An Epitaph for King Edward the first

I had to write an epitaph for King Edward as an assignment for Potter’s School. Here’s how it went:

“Edward died on 7 July,

Not a Scot a tear will cry,

To hear that Edward he did die,

Since many of their necks he did tie.”

Brilliant isn’t it!

Book review: Hearts of Fire

Hearts of Fire is a book that tells the story of 8 different women who lived during the 20th and 21st century, and who outspokenly shared the gospel with those around them, no matter the risks.
This book has many examples of people who stood up to their ungodly rulers, choosing the hard way of Jesus rather than the easy way of the world, but the story that struck me the most was the story of a young woman named Mai, who immigrated to Hong Kong to escape from communistic Vietnam, in hope that she would soon be able to go to “the West” to have a better life. She stayed in Hong Kong for almost 5 years, and was converted while she was in a refugee camp there, but just weeks before she was going to leave Hong Kong, she felt that God was calling her back to her homeland. All of those around her thought that she was crazy, as no one wanted to go back to Vietnam, only out of it, yet she stuck to her conviction, and returned to the troubles and, since she had become a Christian, persecutions of her homeland. I thought that that was amazing! How many people would go back to a place of suffering unless they had a good reason? Mai had the best reason of them all!
Hearts of Fire is a very convicting book, one that I would give 5 out of 5 stars for older readers.

2 year anniversary!

Yikes! It was 2 years ago today that our Youtube channel was created, and almost 2 years and one month after my mom told us about the Lenny contest, which first got us started making movies. A lot has happened since then!

Rachel on Paul the Hero

The reason I wore a costume in this movie is because I was playing ‘pioneers’. (before Adam dragged me away to make a movie) I have NEVER, EVER worn a costume before because Adam has no style. He didn’t even let Hope and I wear princess costumes in The Highwaymen!
Actually Adam has a style all his own. (:

Paul the Hero- BTS

Paul the Hero was the most effects heavy of any of our movies. It may not have been all that obvious, but I spent more time working on it’s effects than any movie beforehand, and this behind the scenes movie explains some of the effects, and gives you a little glimpse of how the SixSibs production company gets it’s actors to work.

Paul the Hero

Here is the latest (and greatest??) movie from the six siblings. It’s our first movie that has any Christian elements whatsoever, and I think it turned out pretty good. The story line is pretty similar to The Case of the Missing Cheese, with Paul as the, well, hero, but it has a twist, and I think you’ll enjoy it!

Francois the Mouse, Chapter 8

Frank, following his role in the plan they’d laid, crept closer to the alligator’s nest. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he failed to notice the rock that was blocking his path. He fell flat, alerting the alligators of his presence, and he tried to jump up and run, but he seemed to be rooted to the ground, immovable. The alligator lumbered forward, it’s cavernous mouth opened wide, ready to swallow him whole. The alligator was upon him, it-

Francois woke up, his brow bathed in sweat. It was only a dream, he thought to himself. But try as he might he couldn’t get the idea that their plan wasn’t right one out of his head. Would killing really bring peace?

It was a long time before Francois went back to sleep.

Francois the Mouse, Chapter 7

Frank awoke late the next morning, and as he walked into the kitchen, the only one he found was Chubba, who was washing dishes.
“Where has everyone gone to?” Frank asked.
“Oh”, Chubba said. “Outside. I think they’re all uh swimmin’ at the moment.”
“But what about breakfast?”
“What about breakfast? It’s almost noon boy! Almost lunch time! We waited and waited for you to get up, but a body can only go without food for so long!”
Longer in your case than others, Frank thought to himself. He didn’t think that Chubba would appreciate it if he said it, so instead he asked for something to eat.
“Late as it is”, Chubba said, “Might as well trot down to the beach and tell all of them water rats to come up for lunch!”
Frank obeyed, and they soon gathered around a table loaded with wonderful things to eat. After Stubba blessed the food, they all began eating. There were turnip greens and green beans, corn on the kernel and corn bread, baked shrimp, boiled crab, fried okra, key lime pie, and home made root beer, which Stubba was very fond of, guzzling pint after pint.
There was a great quantity of laughter an belt loosening during the meal, but after it, talk turned to serious matters.
“So where’d yuh go yesterday?” Bubba asked Frank.
“I went to scout out the location of the nest.
“You could’ve scouted out the location of every nest, twig, bird, bush, and rock in the time that you were gone from here!”
“Yes, I had a few mishaps that impeded me from making a swift and timely return.”
“Such as?”
“I accidentally fell down a weasel hole.”
“What else? You could have fallen down 50 weasel holes in the time you took!”
“Well, I must admit I was rather fatigued, so I took a short rest.”
“How short?”
“Well… I meant to only close my eyes for a second, but I suppose I slept an hour or two.”
“Okay! I did!”
“Wall, that’s fine, just as long as yuh got back. But what did yuh find out about them thar gators? Does yuh know whar thar nest is sitcheated?”
“Yes I do.”
“Good. Then I guess we can begin our plans of attack. Right little mousy?”
Puffing out his shallow chest to prove that he wasn’t that small, he replied.
“Yes. I believe that, while it will be a hazardous and difficult undertaking, it is not an impossible one if it is undertaken with a due amount of care, caution, and clear thinking.”
They all then began forming a plan, using due amounts of care, caution, and clear thinking.

Francois the Mouse, Chapter 6

The sun was nearly overhead before Frank, cursing himself for his laziness, woke. He sat up tried to get his bearings. Everything around him was unfamiliar, but, at least he saw no alligator tracks. Knowing that he’d been swept downstream, he proceeded to head in the opposite direction, knowing that, if he walked far enough, he would reach the place where he dove in. It took him some time to reach the spot, and when he did he was relieved to find that the alligator was no longer there. Since he was already very late, he decided he might as well find where the nest was hidden.
He simply had to follow the alligator tracks. 100 yards from the stream he found the nest- and 2 full grown alligators who were guarding it jealously. He inched closer to have a better look, totally engrossed in what he was seeing. He didn’t notice the rock that barred his way, and tripped over it, falling flat. Instantly the alligators were alerted, and swayed their heads back and forth, searching for the intruder. They spotted him just as he scrambled back into the tangled undergrowth, and both went after him with a low, guttural roar. They may have looked clumsy, but they ran at great speed, and would have overtaken Frank if he hadn’t fallen down a small hole. The two beasts thundered over him, and soon he could hear them no more. As soon as his heart stopped beating quite as fast, he started to look around his surroundings.
He was in a small hole, hardly tall enough for him to stand in, yet it didn’t quite feel like a hole- it was too dry and clean smelling. He barely had time to make these observations before he heard a scratching sound followed by a puff and a flash of light. Frank whirled around, and saw, facing him, a small furry creature.
“Who are you?” Frank asked.
“Who are you?” The creature said in answer, “and what are you trying to do, jumping into my house like that?”
“I didn’t mean to fall in”, Frank said. “I was being chased by alligators and fell in by accident. As far as who I am, I am Francois Arborio de Felinie, but around here I am known simply by the name Frank.”
“Hi!” The creature said. “My name is George. I’m a weasel. What are you?”
“I am a mouse”
“I didn’t know that mice live in these parts.”
“They don’t. I and 16 others of my kind were wrecked on your shores. We are staying at the home of the chipmunk brothers.”
“Oh yes. They’re good friends of mine. But they don’t live anywhere near here. How did you end up here? You’re over 3 miles from their house!
“I went out to do some scouting and information gathering.”
“Well, the information that I gather is that you’re lost- right?”
“Sadly, yes.”
“Well, I am just the weasel you need! I’ll get you back home in two shakes of a frog’s tail!”
It was nearly dark by the time Frank got home, and George told him to go in by himself.
“I need to be heading home, and if I stay it’ll be midnight before I can start back! Once Bubba starts talkin’, he keeps talkin’ for a long, long time!”
Thanking his newly acquired friend, Frank dragged his weary body the last few feet until home. He knocked once, and was about to knock again when the cabin door flew open.
“Hey fellers!” Lookee here!” Bubba was standing in the doorway, with his pudgy face all wrinkled int a smile.
“Looks as if Mr. Mouse has finally got himself back! Yee haw! Ain’t I glad tuh see yuh! Com in Mr.! Tell us all ‘bout the ‘dventures ya’ve been uh havin’ while we’ve been uh waitin’ here! Get yourself some stew! Pull up a chair. Get warm! How’ve yuh been managin’ without us?”
Frank was bewildered by this barrage of questions, and just stared blankly. Bubba realized Frank was a bit flustered, so he said, “Wall, I guess all them thar questions can wait. You’ll be able to answer ‘em better with a full belly!”
Frank gratefully sat down to eat the steaming bowl of stew Chubba offered him, suddenly realizing that he hadn’t eaten all day. At first he shovelled food into his mouth at an astonishing speed, but gradually sleep proved more powerful than hunger, and the spoon dropped from his paw, clattering to the floor.
“Wall”, Bubba said to himself. “I guess all them questions will ‘ave tuh wait till tomorrer. This feller needs his rest.”
Heedless of the mud that was covering Frank, Bubba lifted the sleeping mouse from his chair, carrying him past the other mice, who looked as curious as Bubba felt, and into the small alcove where Frank’s bed was. Bubba lowered him down onto it, and as he walked out, he turned back, looking at the small, mud covered mouse. Thars somethin’ special ‘bout that mouse, Bubba thought. Wonder what it is? He walked out, pondering that question.

Blender Train test

Here’s an animation of the train model that I posted a picture of a few days ago. The smoke isn’t very good, but I’m working on it.

Book Review: “Start Here”

Start Here is  the sequel of Do Hard Things, which I reviewed yesterday, and covers many of the same subjects that were covered in it, except in greater depth. It’s always hard to review sequels, as I find myself always trying to compare them to the original book without even trying to, but I guess I’ll just continue in and compare the two books anyway! This book focuses more on the practical side of doing “hard things”, and covers more real life examples, rather than Do Hard Things, which had a lot of examples, but wasn’t able to have as many as are in this book since not as many people knew about their concepts. I like this book almost as much as the original, but the fact that it does focus more on the practical means that it doesn’t have as many spiritual concepts, which were nice to read about in the first book. It also isn’t quite as original and groundbreaking as the first, so if you absolutely had to choose between one or the other, I’d say that Do Hard Things would be the best, but I would also  highly recommend Start Here as well, and I would give this book 4 out of a possible 5 stars.

Book Review: “Do Hard Things”

Do Hard Things is a book that was written by two teenage guys to encourage other teenagers like them to “do hard things”. These “hard things” could include anything, whether it be raising $30,000 to build a well in Africa, or simply doing your homework when you’d rather be doing something else, or choosing to be respectful to your parents and siblings, and that is their point- it doesn’t matter how “big” the thing that you set out to do is, it only matters that you set about it to the glory of God.

These guys have started a movement called the “rebelution”. The word is a mixture of the words rebellion and revolution and reflects what they want their movement to be about- it’s not just another way that teenagers can rebel against society, but it’s a way that teens everywhere can rebel against the extremely low expectations that society puts on them. They say in their book that the teen years of your life shouldn’t be a time where you just goof off and party, but it should be a time when you develop skills that you can use later in life, and work to make yourself a better person.

I really enjoyed how Alex and Brett Harris not only tell how we should go about rebelling against the low expectations that our culture puts on teenagers, but it shows how they and those they know have already gone out and put their principles into practice, showing that their concept isn’t just a nice idea that they came up with while they were sitting around with nothing to do, but a concept that, if used, can actually do things that can impact people.

I really enjoyed reading this book (3 times!) and would give Do Hard Things 4.5 out of 5 stars

Encounter with some squirrels

One morning before we ate breakfast, Adam noticed a squirrel sitting on our back porch, eating acorns. It was very interesting to watch it eat. It sat up on its hind legs,and held the acorn in its paws. It chewed very fast, and spit the shell out between bites. Another squirrel soon joined it, who seemed more energetic then squirrel one. Squirrel two alternated between climbing a tree and eating acorns. A few minutes later, they ran off. Then, two different squirrels appeared and they played for a while, before they scampered away as well. We haven’t seen any squirrels that close before. Squirrels are very cool and interesting animals, unless they get into your ceiling, which happened to us one time.

Train render

Here’s a render of a train that I modelled in Blender. We might use it in a movie later, but don’t get your hopes up!

Book Review: Tortured for Christ

Tortured for Christ.
The title of this book alone can tell you that you’re in for a read that’s not all feel-good and flowery.
This book was written by a man named Richard Wurmbrand, a pastor from Romania who lived under the cruelty and injustice of the USSR. Amazingly, even though he was brutally tortured, and saw many of his friends die because of the atrocious conditions in the jail they were in, he emerged from jail not with a hatred for communists, but with a hatred for communism, not with a hatred of the sinner, but of the sin. Although in his book he repeatedly denounces the evils of communism, he never once even hints that he has the slightest feeling of hatred towards the ones who tortured and imprisoned him. He thought of communism as a disease that destroyed a man’s senses of right and wrong, and said, “I am very sorry if a crocodile eats a man, but I can’t reproach the crocodile. He is not a moral being. So no reproaches can be made to the Communists. Communism has destroyed any moral sense in them. They boasted that they had no pity in their hearts. I learned from them. As they allowed no place for Jesus in their hearts, I decided I would leave not the smallest place for Satan in mine.”
That quote alone is amazing and humbling, but so are many, many other portions of the book, as Mr. Wurmbrand talks about the state of religion in Russia. He said that, “A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for”, and repeatedly asked if we “westerners” would be willing to do as the Christians in the had done- lay down their lives for the gospel.
He told of how there was once a young man who served as a captain in the Russian military, who barged into a room where a pastor of the Underground church was praying. He asked him if he was a Christian, and when the pastor said he was, the officer said that if he didn’t denounce his faith and turn to communism, he would shoot him. The pastor, with a pistol against his head, said that he would never denounce his Lord, and the officer dropped his pistol and embraced him, saying that he wanted to be sure that Christianity was true, and the pastor, by not denouncing his faith, had shown him that it was truly a faith that was worth dying for.
Mr Wurmbrand asked if we would consider our faith worth dying for.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger readers, due to the graphic violence it depicts,  for older readers  I would give Tortured for Christ 5 out of 5 stars, and would highly recommend that you get it.

Redwall poem

Here is another poem I wrote a while ago, and lost. I wrote it as an assignment for my Potter’s School English class.

“I’ll sing thee a song of the Abbey’s Delight’s
There’s good food for all both by day and by night;
There’s succulent shrimp and fine juicy fish,
Many a tasty mouthwatering dish;
There’s chestnuts and acorns and good apple chews,
A seat at this feast you wouldn’t want to lose.
And when you’re done eating grab a chair if it’s handy,
and wash it all down with some elderberry brandy!”

(Disclaimer: I’m not advocating that you consume any alcoholic beverages!)

Francois the Mouse, Chapter 5

The chipmunk brothers had told  Frank that alligators have very poor eyesight, so he was not worried about his position, which was well hidden by the shadows, being discovered. What he was worried about was the possibility of the alligator taking it into it’s head to cross the stream. If that happened, Frank would be in grave danger, as and alligator, he knew, could run 10 feet to every one of his. Much to his horror, the alligator began to lower itself into the water, Frank’s heart raced. He knew he couldn’t run, for if he did the alligator would be able to see him, and would run him down. But, he thought, if he stayed where he was he could be stepped on by the beast, as hi hiding spot was directly in his path. He decided to take neither options, and instead plunged into the water, letting himself drift with the current for some time before he struck out towards the other shore. He reached, and then flopped down on, the muddy bank, wet, cold, and thoroughly exhausted. He tried to fight it, but he soon drifted off to sleep. Hours passed by, and several frogs hopped by the mouse, wondering what he was, but not caring enough to investigate any further.

Francois the Mouse, Chapter 4

Frank was used to little sleep, trained by his life on the seas where one could be called out at all hours of the night, and woke up before anyone else. Last night’s conversation was still fresh on his mind as he pondered what he should do until everyone else awoke. They had decided to send out a scout to reconnoitre the exact location of the alligator’s nest, so Frank thought it would be a good idea to get ahead of schedule by doing the scouting. Besides, he thought, maybe the enemies will be asleep, since it’s so cold an early. Little did he realize his mistake.

Frank crept through the dense vegetation of the bayou, going deeper into it’s heart- and farther from his friends- with every step he took. After he had walked for the better part of an hour, he suddenly found himself staring down the side of a steep bank. To a human it wouldn’t have been too frightening, as the bank was only 2 or 3 yards from top to bottom, but to a mouse like Frank it was a towering cliff- a veritable mountain!

Not being one to do anything without thinking it over carefully, Frank surveyed his surroundings, looking for away that he could slide down without braking every bone in his body.
While he was doing this, he noticed that the thick, glutenous, mud at the base of the bank was a patchwork of footprints. Frank had never seen anything like them before, but he knew without a doubt what they were. They were exact replicas of the tracks of the lizards and newts that he’d seen as a boy, except at the end of each toe was the mark of a long, vicious looking claw- these were no lizard tracks, they were ten times larger! They could have been left by nothing other than an alligator! Proceeding with the utmost caution, Frank walked to a spot where it looked as if the bank had slid down considerably. There, the bank was much less sheer, and Frank could clamber down it with little difficulty.

He followed the alligator tracks with ease until they led him straight into one of the many streams that bisected the bayou. There the tracks all but disappeared, and Frank was about to despair and turn back when he heard a loud crashing sound, coming from the other side of the stream. A moment after he heard the sounds, he saw their sours emerge from the dense undergrowth. It looked like an immense green log on short, stubby legs. It’s entire body was covered in large green warts, except for it’s eyes, which were small and evil looking. This, Frank was sure, was an Alligator!

Francois the Mouse, Chapter 3

Frank woke up to the smells of breakfast. They wafted through the house, creating an aroma that roused all the mice and caused them to unconsciously lick their lips. “Stuffs ready!” Chubba soon said, and all the mice piled out of their beds to get a share of the feast, which was fried pigeon eggs, broiled minnows, acorn coffee, (which none of the mice cared for, due to it’s bitter taste), and oatmeal cakes, slathered with liberal quantities of raspberry jam. The mice ate with gusto, making up for the meals they had missed and then some, and after they had eaten as much as they could possibly hold, they sat back and talked over the last few day’s events.
Bubba told them that they’d landed in the middle of a large bayou in Florida.
“We’ve got a good life”, he said. “We trade with our cousins up north for acorns, an there’s so much food around that really the only work involved in gettin’ it is uh reachin’ up and pullin’ it down. Life’d be just ‘bout perfect if ‘tweren’t for all of them thar gators that live all ‘round. The big un’s ain’t bad, but the little un’s that chase us all over tarnation just for fun! But it ain’t fun, ‘cause if they’d catch us, it’d be all over!”
Bubba slid a stubby finger across his throat to emphasize his point.
“Is there not something that you can do to stop them?” Frank asked inquisitively.
“Wall, if we was to somehow git rid of them gator babies and gator nests, their Pa and Ma might decide that the middle of our land ain’t necessarily the best place to raise their young un’s, and they might just move somer’s else, some more invitin’ place- see?”

Then why has your plan of action not yet been executed?”
“Wall, yuh see, it sounds awful easy like, just ago-in up and bumpin off them little villains, but it’s harder done than said! Little villains have big villains as Mas and Pas!”
somehow git rid of them gator babies and gator nests, their Pa and Ma might decide that the middle of our land ain’t necessarily the best place to raise their young un’s, and they might just move somer’s else, some more invitin’ place- see?”
Then why has your plan of action not yet been executed?”
“Wall, yuh see, it sounds awful easy like, just ago-in up and bumpin off them little villains, but it’s harder done than said! Little villains have big villains as Mas and Pas!”

“True”, Frank said, “But there must be some way that we can rid you of these villains!”
“That’s awful sweet of ya’ll”, Bubba said. “But gettin gators ain’t necessarily all game and fun- it’s dang’rous work, and I wouldn’t want any of ya’ll to git busted up just ‘cuz of some little trouble of ours”.
“But, my good chipmunk”, Frank said. “Now that you have rescued us we are indebted to you- your problem is ours. If we must risk ourselves, so be it. We will, right mice?”
His question was answered by a chorus of cheers and exclamations of assent, so Bubba said, “Wall, I guess that’s that. We better start planning the least hare-brained way to go about what we’re gonna do!”
The sun went higher in the sky, and then lower, yet no one seemed to take any notice whatsoever. Everything- lunch, dinner, snacks, bed- were completely forgotten as the 20 creatures sat and plotted. They talked of only one thing- peace to the creatures of the bayou- and they all knew that the only way that peace could be achieved was by the absence of the alligators!

The Lego Party

This is the second movie I’ve done that includes stop-motion animation, and also the second movie I’ve done entirely by myself. It was a challenge to try to film myself, but it was more along the lines of a good challenge than a bad one, if you know what I mean. I think it turned out a little better than Army Men, my first attempt at stop-motion, did, and I hope you enjoy this little project as much as I enjoyed making it!

Series book review: Henty novels

I really enjoy reading novels written by G.A. Henty. He was alive during the late 19th century, and served as a war corespondent for the British in some of their wars with their rebellious colonies. All of his novels are written for boys, as their heroes are always boys, and Henty isn’t squeamish about delving into the “gory details” of fights and battles, but in each of the stories there is also a maiden in some degree of distress, who the hero loves and eventually marries, so there are a few “romantic” parts for any girls who like that sort of thing. The books are all pretty hefty, ranging is size from “small” (300 pages) to “large” (well nigh 500) but they are all worth reading, and make history seem very interesting and vibrant. They will make you expand your vocabulary a bit, as they use some older words and double negatives, but if you take the time to read a few of them, they will become much easier to read and understand, and much easier to appreciate. As I said, these books are all very good, and of the 99 that he wrote, I’ve read 70, but at times G.A. Henty’s theology can get a little bit off. All of his heroes from the 17-1800′s believe that Islam is exactly like Christianity, except that the Muslims believe in one extra great teacher, and when his heroes do discuss religion, they often talk of salvation that is based almost solely on works, and rarely discuss how Jesus has changed their lives, but, when faced with the decision of renouncing their religion or being killed, they always stick by their beliefs, even though doing so will result in their death (SPOILER: although in the end it never does!). Other than that, and the fact that Henty’s heroes are sometimes a bit too “perfect” at everything they do, I would give the 70 books of Henty’s that I’ve read 4 to 5 stars depending on the book. I am not ungrateful that Henty wrote these wonderful books!
Here are a few of my favorites (although all of them are worth reading):

In Freedom’s Cause, which is a story of a boy named Archie Forbes who helps William Wallace in his fight to free Scotland.

The Cat of Bubastes, which tells of a young man who was captured and taken to Egypt, where he meets Moses and learns of the true God.

For the Temple, which tells of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 72 and the events leading up to it.

In the Heart of the Rockies, which tells of the adventures of a boy who accompanies his uncle on a gold mining expedition, and ends up being chased by Indians and taking a trip down the Colorado river.

Beric the Briton, which tells of a young British chief who fights the Romans in the first century, and of the adventures he has in Rome, were he meets some of the early Christians.

And finally, if you’re looking for a really interesting read, you could check out True to the Old Flag, which is a story about the Revolutionary war- but the hero is British!

I’m going to stop listing my favorites, as if I kept going until I’d listed all of them, the list would be 70 books long, but I hope my review of this wonderful series has encouraged you to read at least one of these great, well written books! They’d all make great movies, but it’ll probably be a while before I undertake a project as enormous as turning a Henty book into a movie would be!

Lego Skateboarder Megaramp

Here is one final Lego skateboard animation. I tried to crank up the quality a little bit, and by John’s request, I gave my skater a face. Enjoy!

New boom

This afternoon I fixed a boom that I had started building over a year ago and had given up on. I made it out of scrap wood, nails I’d salvaged when we remodeled our garage, and a garage door hinge that I’d also gotten from our garage remodel. It works much better (well, actually, It just works, it had never worked before) and thought you might enjoy some pictures of it.

Lego Skateboarder falls

Even CG characters aren’t perfect skaters!

Copyright © 1996-2010 SixSibs. All rights reserved.
Jarrah theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress