Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Break

I can't believe how quickly this thing died when I started law school. I would make promises to do better next semester, but, with our baby being due and a new church calling, I am going to be a busier boy next semester than I was this last one. Maybe I can talk Sierra into either contributing on here or starting a new family blog so we can keep everyone updated on what is happening... We'll see. No promises. I am not the boss of her.

Anyway, this Winter Break has been awesome so far. Right before finals we bought a couch, nice big TV, and I got a Playstation 3. Then my sister Ali came into town and helped Sierra do the whole design show thing with our family room and kitchen/dining room. The place looks amazing and I love being downstairs now (we used to hang out more up in the loft, because the TV was up there).

Since school ended, I have been doing oddjobs around the house, finishing painting from when we moved in (doing touch ups and what not), and getting the house ready for a baby. It has kept me pretty busy, but I am glad for that. The couple of days when I have vegged out were nice at first but that grew old. This break is too short to not get this stuff done.

Alright. I had better run some errands. I will get back on here tomorrow or Wednesday to update you on some recent enjoyments and frivolous goals I have set for myself to accomplish during the break.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Improv Everywhere

Man. I absolutely love these guys for doing this. The moment where the two little kids are shown made me so happy to think about the magic those two must have been feeling, seeing Darth Vader and Princess Leia in real life. They may be old enough to understand that it is not real, but the thought made me happy nonetheless.

If you have not already experienced the joy of Improv Everywhere, go spend an hour or two on their website. It is wonderful.

Here they re-enact the opening scene from Star Wars: A New Hope.

In this one they re-enact the library scene from Ghostbusters.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Papa's Poem Corner Episode 35: Stefu Financial Advice

I don't plug other people's blogs on here too much (more like I don't think I ever have before). I guess I figure you all already know each other and read each other's blogs. In case this is not so, let me tell you about Stefu Investing. My good friend (whose name I will not write in its entirety just in case he would not want me to) runs it and he gives financial advice on how to save money and plan for the future. He does this while making it fun to read, which is an art in and of itself, because for some people talking about financial matters is like getting your teeth pulled.

Check it out (and thanks Stefu for all the timely, tantalizingly tasty tips). In honor of your financial goodliness, I wrote a poem for you.


Sir Stefu, If It Please You


Sir Stefu, if it please you,
continue to lob your soft bloggy blobs
of wisdom at my brain.

I want to purchase many things:
rings for my Wifey and comforts for my lifey
and maybe someday go to Spain.

But first I'll have to learn to save,
for good times and those rainy days
or be caught in a world of pain.

So let me give my hearty thanks,
singing your praises indeed, post haste
Thank you Magic Money Man, Sir Stefu The Sane.

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Nine: Dark Magics Not Served Here

It's back! The one, the only... John's old boring essay! I think I can wrap this thing up in two more installments. Que gozo. <-- Spanish for "What joy." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In fact, compared to many popular science fiction movies, the magic of Harry Potter seems less extraordinary. Star Trek presents a futuristic world in which space travel is possible to a far greater extent than our current technologies allow us to go. Yet, bad acting seems to be the largest complaint made against the show. Star Trek presents the imagined technologies available to them as of the future, and society accepts it as perfectly acceptable. Harry Potter calls it magic and the complaints start pouring in. Mike Hertenstein argued that "if it makes a moral difference to you whether the carpet is powered by pixie dust or a dilithium crystal, I would suggest you're missing the point" (qtd. in Osling 6).
In the world of Harry Potter, "magic is a matter of training..." (Ostling 10). Great emphasis is placed on discipline and mastery. The greatest of wizards and witches must train and study for years to master the art. It is the tedious nature of learning that brings the amount of self-control necessary to wield such great power. Magic which is mystical in nature or easily obtained is looked upon with disdain by the magic society. Take for example the way Professor Trelawney, whose main area of expertise is divination or in essence fortune-telling, is treated. She is mocked and set aside more as novelty than as a legitimate source of magic. One reason for that may be the lack of control she is able to have over her magic. It is wholly dependent upon supernatural phenomenal forces, thus it is considered silly to pursue it as a legitimate study of magic. Lindy Beam remarked "An odd phenomenon it is when, even in a book about magic, the Western value of reason and accomplishment is held up over the supernatural as a source of power" (qtd. in Ostling 10).
In fact, great effort is given to distinguish occult dark magic from "technological" magic in both form and application. Those wielders of dark magic are pointedly different from the rest of the magic world. The Death Eaters (Voldemort's band of evil power-hungry followers) are not pleasant people. They are largely border-line insane and egotistical. They are self-serving and most often "racist" in their pure-blood status. The types of spells they use not only bring harm to others; they also differ greatly from the spells used by good wizards. In fact, even the ingredients used in many of those spells are strange and dark. In order to purchase those dark ingredients, they have to go to seedy scary locations. Rowling effectively illustrates the differences between dark occult and good "technology" based magic. Good magic helps others and its basic use is convenience. That being the case, then perhaps Harry Potter is guiltier of promoting laziness than witchcraft.

Previous: Part Eight

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 Trailer

Oh how I wish I was not at work right now, so I could scream out loud the joy that is burning within me. Please take this trailer offering and love it as much as I just did. I shall now go watch it at least 3 more times.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What Just Happened? (Part 2)

Let's continue our discussion (here is part 1) focusing in on one thing: Jack as the main character.

Old Jackie Boy

It should surprise no one that Jack is the main character of this show: his is the first flashback, he becomes the Protector that destroys The Man in Black (which ensures the safety of the island and allows Kate, Sawyer, et al to finally get off of said island--we assume), the show begins and ends with his eye opening and closing. The fact is that Jack is our guy.

Why does this matter? Jack's story arch is the most important, because it dictates the show's direction. The other characters have interesting story lines, they may be more enjoyable to us than Jack, but the only reason they are important ultimately is that these characters influence and change Jack through their interaction and relationships. They influence Jack's decisions and help shape who he becomes.

Jack's Hang Ups

So what are Jack's issues? These are the two most important:

1. Faith vs. Science - Jack is a man of science; he can't believe unless he has proof or he fully understands something (you may remember the question "Why?" being a common utterance of Jack's throughout the show's 6 seasons). He and Locke spend so much time pitted against each other for this very reason; Jack is not a man of belief.
2. Jack can't let things go - This stems from his relationship with his father; Jack feels like he doesn't measure up, like he doesn't have what it takes. So he is always trying to "fix things" and prove himself...to himself (because he believes his father's assessment that he "doesn't have what it takes").

By the end of the show we see Jack confront and resolve these issues: Jack accepts what he does not fully understand--he believes Jacob and he acts according to that belief--and he and his father embrace and express their love for each other at the chapel. All of Jack's experiences lead up to him being able to finally, truly let go of his resentment and feelings of inadequacy with his father and his being able to believe and act on that faith. Jack's issues epitomize the show's theme of letting go perfectly.

Jack's Eye

Jack's new-earned faith allows him to act without knowing exactly the hows or the whys. It allows him to accept that some things just simply are. As this happens, certain questions stop being asked (like the 3 I listed earlier, which I still want to know), because Jack now sees that they are no longer important. In the end, does it really matter what the island is or where it gets its power from? No. For Jack it is enough to know that the island is special, it has power, and that power needs protecting. He accepts it and moves on--he lets go. We as the audience are forced into doing the same (which has been and will be difficult for so many of).

Any lack of explanation is due to Jack's not having received it himself; we are limited to Jack's understanding in the end. Just as Jack is forced to accept a few things on faith, we as viewers are as well. Jack is our eyes, our window into understanding this show and this is shown to us rather beautifully through the opening and closing shots of the series; the show opens as Jack's eye opens, and closes and his eye closes. We realize that we have been watching the entire show through Jack's perspective, through his eyes.

Fantastic Finale

This is why I am at peace with the show's finale. As much as I am still curious about things and still have questions, I realize that the questions that mattered were all answered. Besides, why is it bad for there to still be questions when a show ends? I almost wonder if I'd feel less fulfilled if there was no reason to still be thinking and writing about this show. The show's ending leaves me satisfied yet still curious and excited--the same feelings that made this show so wonderful during the 6 seasons I spent loving it.

Still To Come

I do intend to go over the actual events of the final episode, but my guess is that by the time I get there, it won't be so necessary. Until tomorrow (or sometime very soon), namaste.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Just Happened?

Much of my yesterday was spent discussing Lost with those who loved the finale, those who hated it, and those who just ended up feeling like they didn't get what had happened. Let me put myself firmly in the camp of those who loved it. Yes, there were still unanswered questions, but as Jimmy Kimmel so eloquently said, "If you care about the answers, you missed the point."

Let me do my best to explain what happened and why I am satisfied with the ending despite not getting my three questions answered.

Context

We have to approach understanding Lost from the correct context. Thus, a few things are important to remember as we look at what was going on.

First, this show has always been, is, and will always be--at its core--about characters and their emotional baggage or "hang ups." The first few seasons showed us what those hang ups were and how characters reacted poorly to life's little hiccups because of that baggage. The middle to later seasons showed us growth on the part of the characters with some progressing further or faster than others. The final season showed us the characters finally letting go and moving on (at least most of the characters).

Second, the medium of flashes--Flashbacks, Flashforwards, and Flashsideways--is how we learn about the characters baggage and growth. This functions through both parallels in characters' past or future lives to what was going on in the island and through contrasting behaviors that were different from what we were seeing on the island.

Third, while Flashbacks were in the past and Flashforwards were in the future, Flashsideways existed outside of time; the characters were dead already and in a state of purgatory during the Flashsideways. Obviously this means that the Flashsideways were occurring after each character had died in reality, so it could be correct to call them Flashsuperforwards, but the events of the island still seemed to have an effect on characters during the Flashsideways (i.e. Jack's neck bleeding after fighting Locke) so somehow they were both far in the future and yet connected to the now.

The Island

Being about character growth and ultimately learning how to let go, The Island, whatever it was, served as the catalyst to understanding the characters. It prodded, pushed, poked, and provoked them and the characters reacted. The Island thus provided the scenario where the characters were forced to face up to their issues, confront them, and either move on or succumb to them.

So What Happened?

The final season of Lost took us to that place where all of the characters were ready to let go of their emotional baggage: purgatory. Characters continued to live in an "empty" existence--all were dissatisfied in one way or another--but they had no memory of their previous life (or "real" life as I shall call it. Purgatory will be called "side" life). Remembering real life was triggered by coming into contact with someone important from real life and sharing in a deja-vu-style moment with them. Once that remembering occurred, then it seems like most characters were ready to accept what was and cannot be changed and move forward with the person/people most important to them. The obvious exception was Ben who had begun a relationship with Alex and Rousseau but whose relationship with them was not yet fully developed to a point where they could all move on together. There is something important in that notion of moving on together that should not be overlooked in understanding what happened in Lost.

The Point

"John," you say, "that is all fine and good, but I still don't understand what happened. Desmond was pulling stone corks out of light holes and Jack and Locke were killing each other. What was all this Protector stuff and why did The Island need it?" These are great questions, but unfortunately I don't have time to get to them today. I will do my best to get to those tomorrow, but the truth is, I believe it is pointless to try and understand all of that stuff unless we first have a clear understanding of what drove the show and what was at its core: characters letting go and moving on. The Island, its powers, its protectors, etc. were NEVER as important as the Characters that learned to overcome the weight that held them back. So the first answer to the question of what happened is: Jack & Kate, Sawyer & Juliet, Locke, Desmond & Penny, Charlie & Claire, Hugo & Libby, etc. etc. learned how to let go of their issues and be at peace.

The point is: the characters found resolution. Their experience on the island helped them to do so.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost

Well, it's over.

I am satisfied with this ending. I liked it a lot. If I refrain from shouting out my undying love for the ending it is simply because some of my main questions still were never answered (I'll get to those questions in a minute). I am ok with that fact, though. As Matt pointed out to me (although perhaps not in the same exact words), this was a supernatural, sci-fi, what-the-crap-just-happened? kind of show, but it was always the characters that drove it. It was a character show spiced with intriguing elements. To have the series finale focus in on what mattered most--the characters--is a great way to end things. I applaud Abrams, Lindeloff, and Cuse for putting together the most amazing show I've ever witnessed. It has been a delight. I applaud the writers who kept it interesting and flowing and didn't temper my enjoyment of the show with lame dialogue. To the actors (with the exception of Anna Lucia--oh how I cannot stand Michelle Rodriguez): well played. Special shout out to Locke, Richard Alpert, and Ben: you three had some of the most electrifying performances I have ever seen on TV.

Now, to my short list of gripes (SPOILER ALERT!!!!). I feel slightly cheated not knowing the following things. To be fair they are HUGE things that would have possibly required another two season to fully explain. Then again, maybe just another hour would have done it... who knows? They are:

1. WHAT IS THE FREAKING ISLAND? We just spent 6 years there, talking about it as though it had a mind or at least will of its own. It was "the island" that was bringing people to itself and I don't feel any closure as to how this can be. I don't need a scientific answer--I am fine with the supernatural--but I would like to know more of the mythology behind this islandic entity.

2. What is the light? It is the source of the island's power and the heart of the island--fine. What IS that power? How does it stop The Man in Black from leaving? They have rules, but Ben tells Hurley that he doesn't have to run things the way that Jacob did. So the rules seem to be made by the one protecting the island, but how is that Protector able to enforce them?

3. Where does Jacob's (then Jack's, then Hurley's) power come from? The island? Where does THAT come from? The show ends with the ever-so-easy "all religions work just fine" state of purgatory--fine--so does that signify a God's involvement in this islandic program?

To close, I love Lost. I will miss you.

Also, I made up the word "islandic." Feel free to use it. I give it to the world.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Cover Game: Part Deux

After last week's rather difficult jam, I thought we'd reign it in a little bit and throw some of you a bone. This may still be difficult for many, but I'll be shocked if nobody gets it.

So, if you need a refresher on the rules, go here. Otherwise... Who is the original artist of this song?

The Deftones - "No Ordinary Love"


DING DING DING! We have our winner! Well done, Sir Matthew, on correctly answering Sade as the original artist of this song. Here is a video of her performing it live.


As for your prize... EASY. I actually--and rather coincidentally really--finished developing a pill that will do just that for you. Text me or Tweet me or blog comment me or Facebook me or call me about it anytime.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Harry Potter And The Muggle Struggle Part Eight: Imagination And Technology

The greatest opposition towards the series still lies in its theme of magic; parents feel that it promotes witchcraft. The series undoubtedly deals with magic, wizards, and witches, but does that mean it is about or promoting witchcraft? Might there be more to it than just that? Many critics in the field argue that the series isn't about "magic" at all, but that its deeper meaning is conveyed through the symbolism of magic. McVeigh speaks of Rowling's own declaration "that her books are not about 'magick' in the sense of Wiccan practice, but about imagination" (198). Imagination is a very suiting subject for a children's story, and what better way to get those imaginative juices flowing in a young child's head than by creating a world for him/her full of mystery and surprises. Imagination isn't the only theme proposed, though.
The magic of Harry Potter may also be symbolic of our own technology. In his article entitled "Harry Potter and the Disenchantment of the World," Michael Ostling critiques Rowling's novels as "no cause for concern for Christians, because it is not 'real', occult magic. It is instrumental rather than religious or mystical and parallels technology" (6). That may seem a stretch, but a closer look confirms that most of the magic in the stories mirrors current technologies or near-future technologies. A self-shuffling deck of cards is no more magical than the self-shuffling programming found in almost every household computer (Ostling 10). It is important to see that difference. Mystic, traditional magic is found in the stories, but on rare occasions. Generally, the magic we encounter is completely explainable in our own world. A flying car is a novel idea, but hardly worth noting compared to the jets and rockets we launch every year.

Previous: Part Seven
Next: Part Nine

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some More The Matches

It has been a while since I've posted anything. Welcome back, me.

I stumbled upon this video today on the youbetubes and loved it. Just thought I'd pass it along for all y'alls who also love and miss these guys.

The Matches - "Point Me Toward the Morning" (acoustic)

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Handsome Men's Club

If you haven't already gotten your invitation... sorry. We're pretty exclusive.

You are likely wondering why I am not featured in this film, but that is because I was with Clooney doing that orphan thingamabobber (I drew the short stick and got stuck with him). Anyway, enjoy.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Cover Game: Part Deux

After last week's rather difficult jam, I thought we'd reign it in a little bit and throw some of you a bone. This may still be difficult for many, but I'll be shocked if nobody gets it.

So, if you need a refresher on the rules, go here. Otherwise... Who is the original artist of this song?

The Deftones - "No Ordinary Love"

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Answer You've All Been Waiting For...

Apparently this first test of your music knowledge skills was just a little too tough and obscure. We only had one actual guess (thanks, Ryan), which (sorry, Ryan) unfortunately was incorrect. I guess that this means that I win the prize this week! As the inaugural grand prize I am treating the winner (me) to free dinner, my treat. Yay!

Here is the original by... A-ha. Give it a listen and see just how different these two versions are.


Thanks for playing everyone. The Cover Version can be found here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Games With Covers

Alrighty, friends of the desert. I had an idea for a fun new game called: Guess Which Band Wrote the Original Version of This Cover Song. I will try to make them a little bit obscure so it is not so easy for all you music buffs (i.e. generally they will not be things like 311's cover of "Love Song"). Occasionally--if it is a cover that is so awesome that it just deserves some attention--we may get one that for some will seem easy. Ready for the rules?

1. Use your memory and knowledge of music here people: NO WIKIPEDIA. No searching for lyrics on Google. No cheating via internet search of any kind. Either you know it or you don't. It's the honor system; put that in your pipe and smoke it.
2. You can ask real people. This means you could use the internet (like Google Chatting with your cousin Marcos Enseñanza de la Pubertad) or you could ask a real life human being either in person or over the phone (like a co-worker or someone you need to distract with a difficult trivia question while you pickpocket their wallet). We will call these Life-Linears (I don't want to get sued for using other game shows' lingo). If you used a Life-Linear, give the person credit for their knowledge.
3. The first person to comment the correct answer wins. Again, if you used a Life-Linear, give the person credit in the comment (unless that person is running from the law or otherwise inclined not to have their name published on the interwebs).

What do you win? I don't know. Maybe at a future point when I have sponsors there will be a real prize. For now, it will likely be limited to spending quality time with me and my wife. We could sit down and share some PEZ together (my treat, I've got a lot of PEZ), or maybe we could fingerpaint pictures for each other to hang on our respective walls. Maybe you just want to watch Sierra and me do our Yoga X workout on a Thursday night (always guaranteed to be a doosy--i.e. not for the faint of heart). Each winner will certainly be allowed some say as to how they celebrate their win. Think of it as a collaborative prize. Yeah...that makes it sound less lame.

Sound good? Excellent. Let us begin.
Today's cover artist is Kings of Convenience with the song "Manhattan Skyline" and it ought to be pretty difficult for most of you (I thought we'd kick this thing off strong-like).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some News For Your Tuesday

Well, Sierra and I have decided to attend UNLV's Boyd School of Law. I begin in August. We are excited and, despite my initial desire to go to D.C. for law school, are feeling quite at peace with our decision to stay. What this also means is that we will be in town for a long time to come (although it is possible that we could leave Vegas after law school if offered an incredible job somewhere else, we have no intention of leaving Las Vegas if it can be avoided; we like it here). So, we have begun the process of buying a house.

We want to stay in the Green Valley area, but are also looking just outside of it in the Black Mountain area. Thus far, we have seen some pretty cool houses. I will let you know how the house hunt goes and we will try to post some pictures on here once we find a place. That is all for now.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Demetri Martin, I Like I Like

Brighten your day with a little Demetri Martin (from Jimmy Kimmel Live).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Love This Show

Fight Science. It is a new show on National Geographic. Pretty dang cool. The First episode (the twice-as-long pilot) shows all sorts of awesome science to determine which fighting styles pack the biggest punch, kick, or whatever. The second one compares MMA fighting techniques against more purely specialized techniques. Very cool stuff.

Check it out.

New Music For Ya'lls

I want to spread the word about and love for this band/artist named Taughtme. It is actually just the one guy (Blake Henderson) who sings, writes, records, produces, etc.

I first stumbled upon him, listening to the old Provo Podcast. He was sold out of his album at the time, but I downloaded the 4 songs he had up on HisSpace (remember MySpace? Ha). Well, today I found that he is still going strong and actually has 3 albums available (which I will be purchasing as soon as the "John's Music Fund" budget gets replenished). Anyway, please take the time to enjoy this video that has three of his songs from the new album Lady and a brief interview afterward. Also of note, the girl playing with him (they dated in the past and for all I know are still currently dating) is Aubrey Trinnaman, who took Sierra's and my bridals & groomals photos. These two are going to have some amazingly talented/artistic kids if they end up making marriage sauce.

Here again is the link for the video. It is from Chasing The Moon (a podcast). Keep listening even if you think the first song is stranger than your tastes would normally enjoy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Crocheting The Night Away

Back sometime before Christmas, Sierra and I decided to try our hand at crocheting again. It was not the first time that either of us had crocheted before (Sierra is actually pretty good), but my crocheting experience was limited to when my grandma taught me at age 7 and when ChelSTD taught me at age 23 or 24 (during that fantastic 24 marathon many of us did, watching seasons 1-4 in about a month).

Anyway, enough chatter. Here are the fruits of my labor:
A potholder and a beanie. The beanie is a little large so I shall be gifting it to Jung's giftedly-large head.

In the sake of full disclosure, the beanie came out well for my first attempt, but it was by no means perfect. It has a large unsightly ridge in the center, which would be perfect for this guy's head (yes, that is will.i.am), but may not work as well for Jung's perfectly shaped dome.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entertainment News

Here are two very unrelated bits of Entertainment News:

1. Conan O'Brien will not continue to do the Tonight Show when Leno takes back over that 11:35 spot. Sad news. Good luck, Conan.

2. Elijah Wood hosted an eating competition called "The Lord of the Wings." Ha.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Will Arnett Makes Me Happy

Comingsoon.net is reporting a confirmation by Will Arnett that an Arrested Development film is currently being worked on. A finished script is not yet ready, but he believes that the filming will begin by year's end. This is excellent, EXCELLENT news.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Papa's Poem Corner Episode 34: Wisdom From The Jaw Of Matthew

At work today, my uncle (and boss) was gifted a rather large tube of elk meat. A massive sausage if you will. I am a tremendous fan of all things meat, so naturally I began salivating and dropping hints that the sausage, myself, and my uncle would all be best served by the meat falling into my hands. Thanks to the kindness of my uncle, fall that meat did, right into the aforementioned "my hands."

I then had the fun adventure of wandering around the office with a large tube of meat. As I shared this tale with Matthew, he pointed out that my actions were probably more than just a little intimidating for many of my coworkers. Yet, that was probably good, because then they must have known who was in charge. Said he, "Speak softly and carry a large piece of meat."

Words to live by.

And now the poem:


Braunschwanger

Meat is good in nugget or tube.
Meat is good as traveling food.
Meat can be used as a weapon, if needs be.
Meat can be a best friend to me
if I dress it up and paint on a face
then carry it around my workplace.
I can show everyone
the nice work that I've done
but they gonna get popped in the mouth if they try to get they grubby hands all up on my meat. That was a gift. That was a GIFT.



That is all. Merry 2010.

LOTR Day 2009!

Or is it 2010? I don't know whether to count it as a Holiday thing therefore it belongs to the previous year or if it is a New Year's thing. Hmm... this begs some thought.

Anyway, tonight we begin the Fifth Annual Lord of the Rings Day and I am so terribly excited. What is that you ask? I shall tell you. A few years ago we (I don't remember exactly whose idea it was originally and I hardly even remember who all was there to be honest) decided to watch all three Extended Versions (capitalized on purpose cause they deserve it) of LOTR in wide screen in one day. Thus, Lord of the Rings Day. It was a raging success. We started really early, watched Fellowship, took a two-hour break to eat and restroomate, watched Two Towers, took another two-hour break, and then watched Return of the King. We ended pretty late at night (read: early in the morning) and I loved it.

This tradition has continued, being held at the following locales: Matthew Hanks' parents' house, Gemini's crib, Matt and Jen Hanks' first apartment, and Steven and Jenna Smith's first apartment/condo. Last year was the smallest turn out by far, because a lot of people were out of town and timing was difficult. We also discovered that we are getting older and it is harder to sit there for an entire day and not get anything done. So, this year we have broken LOTR Day up into a two-day festival. We begin tonight with Fellowship and will continue tomorrow with Two Towers and Return of the King.

If you are interested in participating, it will be held at my parents' house this year. Call me or comment or whatever and I will give you more details.

To celebrate, here is Bret McKenzie (of Figwit fame) and Jemaine Clement performing "Frodo, Don't Wear the Ring" live. I had not seen this before. It has some fun additions.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lego Matrix

Here is another fun thing I stumbled upon.

Today has been good for stumbling.

Filking About Figwit

It is amazing how little we know about what we don't know. Today, for example, I discovered two new things:

First, I knew that Bret McKenzie (of Flight of the Conchords fame) played a small role in the Lord of the Rings film(s). I have not watched the films since I learned this, though, so I have not actually spotted him in them. Today I discovered that he is actually in both Fellowship of the Ring (FotR) and Return of the King (RotK). In FotR he sits next to Aragorn in the Rivendell council scene and speaks no lines. Some female fan of the films (that almost sounds like a band name... Female Fan of the Films... hmm...) saw him and thought he was attractive. She started a fansite about him, naming him Figwit (he had no name in the film, nor does his character exist in the books). The name is an acronym, and it stands for "Frodo is grea...who is that?!!?" which is apparently what she said at that moment, watching the films. Anyway, long story short, her fansite got attention and Figwit became a sort of cult star in the LOTR fanworld. For this reason, Peter Jackson brought Bret back to reprise his role as Figwit in RotK. Jackson gave him speaking lines and even a spot in the film's credits as "Elven Escort." Anyway, if you are interested in learning more or are as bored at work as I am, go check out the Wikipedia entry on Figwit. It is amusing. One last tidbit is that Bret's wife filmed a documentary on Figwit and his "fame." I really want to watch it now.

Second, I learned of a new music genre today, while reading the Wikipedia entry on Figwit. It is called "filk." The basic summary of it is that is is science fiction/fantasy themed folky music. I don't know if I should be ecstatic or scared of this. It sounds really funny at first glance, but then I started reading the Wiki page on it and saw that people get into large "filking" circles at Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions, sitting around and making this music together. Some things maybe are better just to be kept as ideas and not to be carried out methinks.

UPDATED: I just found out that Bret McKenzie's father Peter is also in the films. He plays Elendil (you can see him in the intro to FotR, battling against old Sauron-pants).
Here is a little article for you to enjoy.