Archive for the ‘Friends’ category

What Does It Take?

November 30, 2008

What does it take to make someone write on their blog?  Why do people write about the useless things in their lives?  Does it make people feel that they are special because their life is now recorded in such a way that the whole free world can view it if they wish?  Does allowing others to be partakers make our actions somehow more glorious?  Or do we think that our life is already so special and we are simply doing the world a favor by publishing our woes, fears, hopes and misshaps?  And while we are at it, why do people eat smelly cheese anyway?

For myself, the reason I am moved to blog seems to be connected to how much fun I seem to be missing in the world.  I am sick.  My nose is clogged, my ears are clogged, my throat hurts, and I was somewhat nauseated the past couple days.  And all this on the holiday where the primary celebration is to eat.  I was a veritable vegetable over Thanksgiving.  While I enjoyed the food and all that, it did not have that much of a taste unless I excavated my nasal cavities every ten seconds or so.  We sat around and watched movies for most of the day (The Big Sleep, The Nativity, and two episodes of Cowboy Bebop).  I snuffled my way through these movies and was almost able to forget that I wished to not be sick anymore.  Even calling family was a bear as it required speaking, which was somewhere between a nuisance and a literal pain in the… throat.  All in all I spent all my time wishing to be better.  It is hard to be thankful when one is hyper focused on a rather simple desire.  I spent most of the day being desirous, and the Day of Desires just sounds like something you would find in the 50 cent bin outside of a used bookstore with a busty woman on the front doing something steamy.

Now all this would not be so much of a problem if I did not know that other people out there were having fun without me.  Here I was stuck at home feeling grumpy, while friends and family were getting together and actually enjoying themselves.  How dare they!  How dare you!  Why didn’t you know that I was stuck at home with my wife and her crazy brother?  He kept on asking me to play games and talk about Lord Of the Rings like I was a geek or something!  She kept on telling me to call my family and to sit down so she could get me something!

Yup.  That is why I blog.  To let all you know that you are a bunch of meanie heads for having fun in areas where I am not.  It therefor stands to reason why I never blog.  I am far too nice of a person, who only ever focuses on the sunny side of things to stoop to such debasing actions more than once every three months or so.

Thinking of you all, and hoping you had a great Thanksgiving!  It is good to have friends and family around.  We miss you.

But really.  Get back to me about the smelly cheese thing.

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Never One For Opera…

June 13, 2008

Yesterday (being Thursday, the 12th of June) my wife and I went to see the opera “The H.M.S. Pinafore” at BYU.  I am not much of an opera fan really.  I have seen two live and one on video, and each one because of my wife.  She is a small time opera fan, and the first date that we went on that didn’t have chaperons (other than a room full of BYU students of course) was to an opera.  There are good points to opera, but I tend to enjoy the descendants of the opera a little more.  That said, I had a great time yesterday and thought that the music was really good.

My wife works with the costume department so we get cool seats for free.  So we were right at the top of the balcony, and could see everything pretty darn well.

One of the coolest things about the opera though, was that I discovered that both Indiana Jones and Chariots Of Fire quoted from it.  “I Am The Monarch Of the Sea,” “A British Tar,” where both sung by Sallah in Raiders, and Abrahams sang “An English Man.”  While many of you out there probably already knew all this information, it was new to me.  The songs were all very good, and I enjoyed them.

Definitely  the coolest thing about the opera though was the absolutely amazing oboe section.  I am not joking!  I do not think I have ever heard such amazing oboe playing in my life!  It simply soared above the rest of the orchestra, like… an oboe!  It was amazing.  It was certainly without a doubt the best oboe section I have ever heard in my life.

Anyway.  I am learning to appreciate the art of opera.  It is taking a little time, but I am starting to like it.  The problem for me is that it is simply so hard to follow a plot when every major interaction between the characters is conducted through a song.  Sure I like musicals, but they are different.  They are not always singing, they are just usually singing.  See the difference?  No?  Okay, maybe there really is not much of a difference.  But growing up there sure seemed like there was.  Opera was for old fat people.  Musicals were for young hip people.  I mean, only the really groovy people liked musicals.  With age and experience I believe I am turning into an old fat person though, so I guess Operas are probably okay, and maybe musicals really were for squares all along.  Ah well.

Anyway, that is really all for now.  This if you are stunned by the random and nonsensical nature of this post, just throw money, and I will be appreciative.  Adieu.

In Which The Author Rants

June 5, 2008

This blogpost is going to be something of a rant. I generally speaking attempt to avoid ranting too much in blogposts. Part of this is because many of the things that people rant about are either: 1. Too stupid to take a second thought about, or 2. Too important to discuss in polite company. But this just subject happens to have bothered me enough to keep me occupied while still being of little enough import that I think I can rant about it.

This has something to do with the blogpost written by my beloved brother, which you can read about here. To sum up quickly and much less elegantly, I believe that the purpose of fantasy is to recall the mind to real greatness. There is a yearning and a longing for a land higher and holier. There is a desire for heroes who are truly heroic. As a Christian I believe that all these longings are echoes of the desire to understand God, to be like Him, and to dwell where He is. Thus fantasy, myths, legends, etc. all seem to have common themes. They are all telling the same story of heroism that is the true story of Christ.

Now comes the stretch. I role-play for the exact same reason as reading fantasy. Several of my friends have made fun of me in the past for always playing paladins, knights, Jedi, or whatever the equivalent form in every RPG (Role Playing Game) that I play. The simple fact is that it is mostly true. The furthest I have ever strayed from playing a holy, faith-filled warrior of virtue was when I played a drunken cop who believed in doing the right thing but simply messed up too often (based on Same Vimes). Whenever I start a new role-playing game, the first thing I usually do is research to find out what the greatest good in that imaginary world is. Then I design a character that is a member of that order. In some games there are no such orders, so I pick the best god, or simply make a character with a strong personal code of ethics. There is not a single character that I have ever played or designed for a RPG that has not followed this same basic pattern.

I play RPGs because I want to be a hero. Every character I have ever designed has been something of a Mary-Sue. My mind is drawn back to that terrible old LDS film Saturday’s Warrior, in which a young artist sings about the pictures he draws and about the kind of man he would like to be. Cheesy. Very cheesy. I never claimed that I was not a cheesy person. I like the song, and I have always empathized with it. In fact part of my love for drawing came from that film. If anyone has ever looked through my sketchbooks they would find that most of my drawings are the faces of strong-jawed men with bright eyes looking upward and off into the distance. My art and the characters I make in a game are reflections of what I want to become. All my characters usually are designed with certain flaws and strengths that I feel I possess blown into heroic proportions. The characters I play are usually what I wish I would be like in that mythic situation.

The problem that inspired this rant came from my most recent RPG campaign. The GM (Game Master) is a good friend of mine who was GMing for the first time. We were playing D&D 3.5, which is not my favorite game, but when done right is enjoyable enough. The GM was doing a pretty good job. I had fun every time, and was usually excited when the day came to play again. There was one player that I had issues with. He was a friend I have known for a little while, we were even members of a Club together at BYU. I knew before the game started that I was not fond of his role-playing style, but I was willing to work with him. I always felt that was part of the game, working with the other players to have a good time. So I tried hard not to be rude, even when his character was being secretive and slipping notes to the GM all the time. He was playing a sneaky character, and I figured that he was just trying to enhance the whole experience.

Well, just the other day the GM told me that the game was canceled. Two of the players had moved away, and a third would not be able to make it anymore. Then the GM went on to tell me everything that was going to happen. That sneaky player was playing an evil assassin who was plotting to kill my character for the right to be initiated into a Vampire Guild. A player was plotting to kill another player’s character. In fact the player had already made one or two attempts at my characters life (while I was not at the game session because of work). The game ended before he could make another attempt. The GM also went on to tell me that he was planning on immediately killing the assassin character afterwards, so I feel somewhat vindicated, but still a little upset.

To me that simply breaks the whole idea of role-playing. I can understand the desire to play a Han Solo sort of character. Good guys with edges are an important part to any good story. What would fantasy be without characters like Boromir, Edmund, Wolverine, or Ulysses? Peoples is peoples, and shady characters add depth and reality to the world. It is fun to play the heroes with rough edges. I generally do not enjoy it, but I can understand the desire. Those characters are still members of the team, and are still striving for something good. Anti-heroes are still heroes at the end of the day, no matter how reluctant. Playing villains though, that I do not get. I do not understand why anyone would want to put themselves into the shoes of someone who thinks evilly. GM’s have to do it to a degree, but the purpose of that is to inspire the heroes onto to greatness in overcoming the foe. Playing an evil character serves no other purpose than selfishly getting enjoyment at the expense of others. While society does say that there is no other way to get enjoyment, as a Christian I have to disagree. Heroes are those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for others, or simply their wants for the desires of another.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that there is ugliness in the world, but I do not need to pretend to be ugly. Yes there are people out there who are horrible, but I feel no need to take on the aspect of being horrible to have a good time. In fact I strongly feel that I should not take on that aspect lest I should find that I enjoy it, and lest I should offend or hurt one of my brothers or sisters. I role-play to celebrate what is good in life, and to help in some small way make me into a better person.

So that is my rant. Perhaps many of you readers will consider this one too to be insignificant. But if you have gotten this far I thank you for taking your time to read an attempt to understand what is bothering me. It is a little thing, but so too is a paper cut, and those can be really annoying sometimes. Again, thank you, and until next time, adieu.

Star Wars Party

January 24, 2008

Greetings. Another year has come and gone in my life and I am older now. People kept asking me whether or not I felt different now. I have never felt like getting older has actually done anything to change me at all. Change tends to be a gradual thing, and a birthday as more of a marker than an actual moment of change. The closest thing that I had to a crisis about getting old was about six or so months after my sixteenth birthday when I discovered that my hairline was indeed receding. Since then I have had no real problems with getting older.

However, the actual point of this blog was to talk about a party, and not to randomly muse about subjects which no one would voluntarily read about. To celebrate my aforementioned birthday, my wife and I planned a Star Wars party. The inspiration for this came from the old theme parties that were thrown by friends of mine (The basic idea is to pick a theme then make foods and wear clothes in accordance to it). At one of these theme parties, My Good Friend With The Mustache (before he had the mustache oddly enough) mentioned how cool it would be to have a party like that only based on Star Wars. We fell to discussing what kinds of food could be made and eaten, but by the end of the party did not really think more about it. Years later My wife and I decided to pick out foods and make the party work.

-Episode I: “Don’t do that again.” A plate full of small fruits (plums would have been best, but my birthday is in the middle of winter).

Episode II: “If Master Obi-wan saw me doing this he’d be very grumpy.” Pears sliced into large circular pieces.

Episode IV: “What if this Obi-wan comes looking for them?” Blue milk (my wife watched the scene again to make sure we got the right shade of blue).

Episode V: “How you get so big eating food of this kind?” We wanted to get Power Bars, but they are expensive and taste really nasty, so we just got some granola bars instead.

“Good food, hmmm. Good?” A pot of stew. This one almost did not make it onto the menu, but I spoke to my Friend With The Mustache on the phone and he inspired me to get it. Both my wife and I are glad we did, it was a big hit.

“We would be honored if you would join us.” Brownies and chocolates. I have a still photo of the scene where Vader blocks Han’s shots, and the table is full of brownies and things like that. I guess Vader has a sweet tooth.

Episode VI: “Aieeeeee….” A vase full of gummy frogs. We actually ended up using octopuses because we could not find any frogs. But they are close, right? We wanted to fill the vase with water too, but figured that on one would want to eat the candy if we did that.

“Goon-dah.” Saltine crackers.

“I don’t know. Yeah Chewie, it’s just some kind of dead animal.” For those of you that know me from my youth, you may remember the stuffed-up “dead” cat that my aunt got for me. For those that do not, then I guess the joke simply is not funny and you just will have to accept that fact. Sorry

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Here is the latest of my Jediness.

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My Wife in her Padme Costume.

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Close-up on the hair.

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And my Friend With The Mustache came as a rebel trooper. The hair is not exactly regulation I am told, but the Rebellion is too short handed to say anything about it.

That is all for now. Until next time. Adieu.