My Visit to the Texas Border

Today I met “Gloria”. She illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States of America when she was thirteen years old. She has spent the past twenty years living in a makeshift neighborhood called a colonia, located ten minutes inland from the Starbucks, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and shopping malls that populate McAllen, TX. Continue reading


A Video Essay on Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life”

I saw the “The Tree of Life” three times in theaters.  The first viewing resulted in an experience that I only know to call… transcendent.  That is to say I found something internally had been awakened.  Deep places of emotional territory, the areas that connect me with all of humanity and all of creation, had been stirred.  So I returned a few nights later to see if the experience could be repeated.  If I was dunked under the water again, would I emerge changed a second time?  A third?

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Breaking Bad Men: The Ascension of Walt and Don


“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”

―J.M. Barrie,The Little Minister

Spoiler Notification: This post assumes you’ve watched the entire Breaking Bad saga and are caught up through six seasons of Mad Men.

In our secular age where there is purportedly little regard or need for the sacred, there is the increasing idea that religion might be dying in America. It is certainly dead in our era’s greatest TV shows. Walter White and Don Draper, our alliterated TV icons, operate as there is no moral authority, no gods in which to fear. This is not to say that good and evil don’t exist in the worlds of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. In the end, there are consequences for unrighteous acts.  But the crux of each show hinges on  leading men who, in the absence of any real authority, become their own authority… and become god-like. Continue reading

The blog/sandbox of Eric VanValin