LEG of the week, er, month……fine it’s been 3 months.

23 01 2010

Wow, it’s been way way too long since I’ve last updated here.  I really don’t have much of an excuse beyond the whole “I’ve been too busy” farce. But, let’s not dwell on the past any longer. Time to get back in action! Carpe Diem! Liberty! Equality! WordPress-ity…………….umm, let’s get back to business.

Well, considering it’s been so long since I’ve last brought you anything remotely interesting, I think it’s time to relinquish one of my favorite LEGs(Laugh-Eliciting Games) of all time.  This is one that has brought endless hours of fun to me, be it on a road trip, a red light, a really long post-office line, etc. You get the picture. What is it, you may ask? Without further ado, I give you:

Random Happenstance.




What, no applause? Where are you going? Oh please, come back here, it’ll be fun. I promise!  You may have played random happenstance before under different disguises, but let me explain it just in case.  The gist of it is proposing an unrealistic instance occurring in a  realistic locale.  Something crazy random based out of something or somewhere slightly plausible.  It’s up to the other person to express what they would do in the situation, or just retaliate with a happenstance of their own.  No one wins, it’s just an attempt to create even better happenstances as the game progresses. Let’s have our old comrades Elsington and Smithers model the game for us:

Elsington: Okay, What if, as we were sitting at this red light, a 747 drove down the highway in front of us?
Smithers: Eh, that’s rough. I’d let it slide, but point out that it’s left turn signal was on.

Smithers: What if, as we were driving down this highway, we saw a large epic battle between two armies break out around us? I’m talking thousands of soldiers, no holds barred. A straight up brawl. As you’re driving you come to a toll-booth where two men, one from each army were standing there, and asked, “which side do ye fight for?”
Elsington: I’d ask who was winning.
Smithers: Curse your wit!

Elsington: What if that hole in the ground just opened up and devoured that house?

You see the infinite options we got going in here?  You can do *anything* you want!  This is all about imagination and quick responses to the happenstance in question. Have fun!

Ok, So I promise there will be much content in the very near future. The blog may have stalled, but my mind hath not! To the future! (PS: is it bad that there are more LEGs than serious posts at this point? 🙂 I hope not.)


I’m alive, I swear!

22 01 2010

Wow, that last post was a long time ago, and I take full responsibility. End of/beginning of semester shenanigans are fun, but time-consuming. However, starting now, school is pretty miniscule for the rest of the semester, giving me time to write again. I apologize for the drought, and promise many LEGs, reviews, serious and humorous essays, and much, much more. Stay Tuned!

The Following Entry is Rated PG-7

20 10 2009

(The following entry is written mostly in jest, but expresses very real sentiments.)

Ratings are a funny thing to me.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re definitely a needed service in entertainment today, though occasionally very flawed(rant for another day: how does Transformers 2 get away with PG-13, having tons of sexual humor, crude and colorful language, and violence, while a movie like Slumdog Millionaire gets an R rating? Because Slumdog  happens to use the F-word more than once). Nevermind that right now, though, I just think they might not be rating the right stuff. Let me explain.

There are many different ratings. G(General Audiences Permitted), PG(Parental Guidance Suggested), PG-13(Parents Strongly Cautioned), R(Under 17 Restricted without adult supervision), NC-17(No one under 17 permitted).  Ratings are based on objectionable content. Language, Violence, Sexuality, Alcohol or Drug Use. You get the picture.  Ratings are also based on the premise that the older you get, a) We are more personally responsible for the content we watch, and b) We can handle objectionable content with more maturity than a child could.  It all makes sense for the most part.  Until we bring in another factor: emotions.

I rewatched the Count of Monte Cristo this past weekend(Fantastic movie), a movie I have not watched since I was 10 or 11. For those who don’t know(minor spoilers ahead), the plot of the movie revolves around a man getting revenge against his former friend who steals his life, his wife, his job, everything.  The opening of this movie is the beginning, set-up, and execution of the friend’s betrayal.  I remembered it all from the last time I had seen it.  What I didn’t remember was how hard it was to watch.  Me — the person who never gets emotional about movies, stories, or much in general — felt his heartstrings being tugged at.  This wasn’t the first time, either. Don’t get me started on the beautiful, yet heartbreaking intro to UP, Henry Poole’s struggle in coming to terms with his faith in Henry Poole Is Here, Szpilman’s survival of the Holocaust in The Pianist, and many other movies I’ve seen in the past year or two.  Movies that I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash during when I was a child, yet find my throat tightening during now.

The reasoning behind it makes sense. When we’re kids, we just haven’t had many life experiences yet. We haven’t felt the pain of losing a friend, seen the aftermath of a war-torn country, or experienced much loss at all.  We know it exists, there’s just no personal connection to it, and it makes no difference whether it happens or not, as long as we get our chocolate and kill Cobra Commander.   Simply put, the pain and complexity of life have not had time to be fully realized in us yet. Having experienced these things now, as we enter and live in adulthood, we connect with the characters, the pain, and the loss these characters experience.  We might think of the unrequited love in our life when we see the same thing happen to Average Joe on the screen.  It’s the reason why I’m debating whether to watch Finding Nemo again. I’m not sure I can make it through that brutal intro. =)

So here we go. I propose a new ratings system. It’s your call, we can either replace it with or use it in tandem with the current ratings system. I will heretofore call it the ECRS, the Emotional Content Rating System.  It’s very simple.  Just like our current rating system, ECRS is based on the content in a movie. But not the objectionable content. The Emotional Content in it.  For example, something mindless like Transformers will be rated G(All Audiences), as it doesn’t challenge the mind, or tug at the heartstrings much.  However, a movie like UP would be rated PG-7(Parental Guidance suggested for those OVER 7 years old.) We just can’t handle that heartbreaking opening.

Maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe it’s good to feel these emotions. Maybe getting in touch with our emotions through a movie can help us cope better in a real-life situation. Maybe I need to man up, shed some tears, and enjoy these emotionally complex thrill rides like everyone else.

…..Maybe I should call the US Patent Office for the rights to ECRS right now.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off below!

Can you believe it? I can’t. LEG of the week!

18 10 2009

Time for another good ol’ LEG(Laugh-Eliciting Game) of the week.  This one’s a little odd, but we’ve gotten some fun times out of it.  The concept is simple, execution is not. The game is called “Non-Rhyming.”  The gist of it: take a well-known song lyric or poem(one that you’re sick of for more satisfaction), and keep the meaning of the line without the rhyme.  Elsington & Smithers will show us how it’s done:

Elsington:(Viva la Vida) I used to rule the world, seas would rise when I tell them to, Now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets I used to walk down.
Smithers: (You Found Me) Lost and insecure, You found me, You found me, lying on the ground…
Elsington: Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that i’ve heard of, once in a dream…

I find that the best ones are abrupt, matter of fact, and break the timing of the song.  Trust me, it’s all in the delivery. When you come to the non-rhyme, raise your voice and say it as awkwardly as possible.  The possibilities are truly endless.  That’s all for now. Let me know of any great LEGs of your own, or a good moment spawned by a LEG.

From the Archives: Typical

11 10 2009

Change. We all want it. We all need it. Who can’t say that there’s something in their life that they want to change, whether it be a bad habit, a sin, a temptation, or even our very lifestyle? No one’s life is perfect, and therefore, all of us, in some capacity, want to change. We’ve completed the first step toward resolution, i.e. identifying that we have something we need to change. That’s great. And in some cases, that’s a very important part. This particular part, however, is where most of us stop on our road to resolution.

I don’t know about you guys, but for the most part, I live my life at the end of this first step, never crossing the line. I’ve acknowledged that I need to change, but I never take the actual step onto new ground. I assume many of you may be with me at this stop. Why is this? I want to change. I know I need to. In fact, I get plenty of opportunities to change. We all do. But we sit on our butts, watching the opportunities come and go, never grabbing onto them. Some may say it’s not our fault, maybe we have a genuine inability to change. Maybe the devil is stopping us, or our responsibilities are in the way. But that is just false. Why aren’t we changing?

Because we are complacent beings, who live in our complacency and our typical routine, and we are comfortable there. We are habit-formers who love our habits. We are sinners who love our sin. And as much as we want to change, our want for typicality overcomes it. We’re so grounded in our fleshly nature that the routine and the typical become dictators in our lives, to the point where change starts to seem lightyears away. How do we stop this it? How do we break the spell we have cast over ourselves?

How do we cut ourselves off from complacency? How do we break free from things, albeit, things that may not be inherently bad, but in our stationary lifestyles, are hindrances? How do we let God take control of our lives and not the god of Routine? How do we grasp change, and release ourselves from the bonds of complacency?

By Standing up.  I hate to relate all my thoughts to songs, but Mute Math couldn’t have said it better in their song, “Typical.” The song struggles with the same things I’m writing of. The want to change. The need to change. the prison of sitting in our routine lives, content with being content. “When does it all turn around?” the singer pleads. It almost ends on an uncertain note. If it weren’t for the minute or two long musical interlude between this song and the next. The song has a voice echoing, repeatedly asking, “When can we start over?” Over and over it repeats. The only words it says. Even this, on its own, ends on a sad note, with no completely clear answer. Unless you read the title of this musical interlude. When can we start over?

“After we have left our Homes”

Change begins when we stand up and leave our homes. Not our real homes, mind you, though they may be part of it. Our metaphorical, proverbial homes. The places, things, or people that contribute to our complacent lives. The video game that we’ll spend half our day playing. the friends that are content to do no more than play football and get through high school. the cool hangout spot where you spend your entire day. It can be anything, really. Sports. Church. Friends. If these things contribute to a complacent life, you need to rethink them. I think we all need to rethink some things. We may need to leave these homes, stand up and start anew. That is our first step to changing our lives, and beginning a new life, not grounded in complacency, but in a relationship with God, and glorifying his name.

Lord, help me as I’m learning to leave some of my homes.

It’s amazing, it’s unbelievable, it’s the LEG of the week!

11 10 2009

It’s that time again, for a new LEG(Laugh-Eliciting-Game) of the week! This week, we have a very quick and simple game, playable on the road, even better at a traffic stop. It’s called “Driver Emotionating.”  As you’re chilling in your car, drinking some coffee, or fumbling to unwrap a chalupa, start looking at all the cars around you. The object of the game is simply to describe the emotion or attitude of the driver of a car in one word.  Don’t understand? Let’s have Elsington and Smithers help you out with an example:

(Cars Passing)
Elsington: Angry!
Smithers: Exhausted…
Elsington: Frustrated!
Smithers: Mad at the red light in front of him…
Elsington: Cheater! One word only!
Smithers: Mad that I cheated!
Elsington: Hey! Don’t emotionate me!
Smithers: Embarrased at being emotionated.
Elsington: You do that one more time, and I’ll–
Smithers: Threatening me.
Elsington: stop. Stop. STOP!

You get the picture. That’s all for now. Have a great week!

From the Archives: Stare at the Sun

7 10 2009

Just thought I’d post some writings from the annals of time. This place needs some more content, so content I shall give it!  I wrote this last year, after a less than satisfying movie:

So I just watched Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, a pretty cut and paste(though eccentric) kid’s movie about a toy store owner who’s owned a magical toy store for hundreds of years.(spoilers ahead, if you really care about this movie)  He tries to pass it onto his apprentice, because he is going to die soon.  His apprentice resists at first, unable to believe that she can run the store without him.  After many useless antics, and time-wasting scenes, Mr. Magorium “lives his life to the fullest”, and prepares to die.  The apprentice wants to sell the store, not believing that she can do it.  But in the end,  She “learns” that all she needs to do is believe in is herself and the magic will happen.  It ends with a grand, robust, theme as she restores the store to its former glory, and they all live happily ever after, and I’ve wasted my evening, or so I thought.

Cut! Not whimsical enough!

Cut! Not whimsical enough!

Me and my dad got into a discussion afterwards.  Now, I didn’t think it was horrible, in fact it had a couple monologues that almost touched on profundity, but in the end it resulted in what I like to call “the Disney Crapfest”.  Believe in yourself, express yourself, and believe in what YOU can do and everything will come into place and you can do whatever you want.  I normally just shrug it off, stick it in the crap file, and move on with my life.  But we discussed more about what’s behind it.

On the positive side,  it does move past the nihilistic standpoint of “there’s no meaning to life and nothing exists for us to believe in.”  It recognizes that we’ve been given life, and we need to live it the fullest.  However, with that phrase, there comes a given.  And that given is that we’ve been given life. Therefore, there must be a giver.  But this world, our society, has rejected the thought of a God who loves us, who cares enough to send a Son to die for us, and the idea that if we believe and put our faith in HIM, not ourselves, we’ll find our real purpose in life.

My dad put it very well when he said we live in a ”Post-Christian society.”  If this movie came from a culture that didn’t know about God and what he’d done for us, it would be the valuable step towards Christianity(e.g. you recognize that we need to believe in something.  Here is that something.)  But in our “Post-Christian Society”, We already know about Christianity, we have rejected Jesus as the one true way to salvation, and are back at square one.  We’ve turned our backs on that one answer, and are now left wondering what to believe in.  Left with nothing else, we say that we should believe in ourselves, and live our lives to the fullest, and everything will come into place if we just put that faith into ourselves.  And maybe in that movie, belief in ourselves brings new meaning and life to our, well, lives.  But in the real world, we are dancing around, dazzling ourselves with the idea.  But ultimately, we are still just as empty as before.  It’s like we’ve been running a race. And we’ve taken all the right steps to the finish line, and once we get there, we run around it, rejecting that it could possibly be the finish line.  And so off we run from what we want, and try to find the end to our means, what our goal is, and run a path that will never bring meaning or wholeness.

One of my favorite bands, Mute Math, put it well in one of their songs:

“And we Stare at the Sun
But we never see anything there
Just a glare has become
All that we’ll ever see there.
The sky is always wondering
What are these arguments about
You think we would notice
Our eyes are burning out
We should’ve learned by now.”

We’ve looked past our goal, and are now looking for meaning, when we’ve already passed it.  Now all we do is Stare at the sun, burning our eyes out in hopes of something to hope for. But we never see anything there. And without coming to a full understanding of the selfless love of Christ, we never will.

And so after this “uplifting, whimsical” movie, we’re actually left with one of the saddest worldviews.   Eat, drink, and be merry(and believe in yourself), for tomorrow we die.