Friday, November 27, 2020

#PrequelMemes

Everyone has their opinions on the Star Wars franchise at this point. Some people like the prequels. Some people like to complain about the sequels. Some people are just around for Baby Yoda. Despite all our differences, I think we can all agree on how great prequel memes are. Any line taken out of context can become a great meme, whether it's a "high ground" meme, an "I am the senate" meme, or something else altogether. So here are a few wonderful prequel memes for your enjoyment. 














Monday, November 23, 2020

#GiveThanks

     The tradition of posting online what you're grateful for around this time of year is nothing new, but did you notice that before Friday the November gratitude posts seemed a little more scarce than in earlier years? It's almost as if it was hard to think of things to be grateful for in 2020. How odd I wonder why....

    President Nelson's call to give thanks has ignited this year's wave of thanksgiving posts right on time. The holidays were just not feeling all that holiday this year, since at time of writing gathering with those outside of one's household is off limits in Utah and the numbers of COVID-19 infections are still going up. This was starting to shape up to be one of those cheesy holiday specials where somebody comes by and steals Christmas. 

    Which brings me to the geeky side of my post: This reminds me of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", the original animated piece not the Jim Carrey one or the CGI thing.  If you remember when the Grinch is listing all the things he hates about Christmas (Which I get) at the very end he says "And those Who's big and small will stand hand and hand, and start singing". After the Grinch steals Christmas he stands on his mountain, hand to his ear to hear the misery his great theft has caused. This was the world last week, as the holidays grew closer, the joy robbed and distorted in them. Anxiety uncertainty and fear raged as it looked like the holiday spirit just wasn't going to come. 

    Then, over the hills, the #GiveThanks posts started arriving. Like the Who's song, "it came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages boxes or bags!" It came because of the call of a prophet, reminding us that the holidays don't come from a store, or tradition, or normality, the spirit comes from within us. It comes just the same. 



    This is the first time in a very long time that the Christmas movies are right, that the holidays are in danger. Thanksgiving looks pretty good but once however it's celebrated happens let's try to keep the momentum going and remember what's really important about this time of the year. With the holidays pillaged we need to double down on what's really important, prove that we don't need the excess to celebrate, that we don't need a good year to have a good Thanksgiving, what we need is our faith, in each other and in our Father in Heaven. 

-JOE


Friday, November 20, 2020

Sorting Disney Princesses into Hogwarts Houses (2/3)


It’s been a year since the launch of Disney Plus and a year since the premiere of Frozen 2. So with Disney and the Ice Queen herself on our minds, I want to dive into another round of the sorting hat with our Disney Princesses. This time we’ll have another six princesses, including one unofficial princess. If you missed the sorting of the first six, check them out here.

Ariel - Gryffindor

This month marks the thirty-first anniversary of Ariel’s adventure on dry land and since then she’s become the only Disney Princess with an on-screen child. When I went into this movie, I was thinking she’d be Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw because of her blind loyalty to Eric or her curiosity of the human world. But instead she just wanted to explore and adventure with the humans. She came off very Hermione-ish in the end, so she ended up in Gryffindor. You can meet her at Magic Kingdom in her Grotto and there’s an Ariel’s Grotto character meal you can attend at California Adventure.


Merida - Slytherin

She’s one of the few official Disney Princesses to lack a Disney Prince, despite having three suitors. Instead of being married off for political purposes and accepting her fate as a typical princess, Merida demonstrated various Slytherin traits in order to change her fate. She’s resourceful and cunning and she was determined to preserve her identity. That sounds pretty Slytherin to me. You can find her near the Princess Pavilion at Disneyland if you ever want to meet her.


Anna - Ravenclaw

Throughout Frozen and Frozen 2, Anna wasn’t your typical Ravenclaw. Her blind loyalty to Hans and Elsa could have easily placed her in Hufflepuff, but she reminded me a little too much of Luna Lovegood for that. She demonstrated individuality, creativity, wit, and wisdom throughout their adventures. In fact her wisdom was enough that Elsa felt comfortable leaving this Ravenclaw in charge of Arendelle at the end of Frozen 2. You can find her at Epcot or you can visit her at the Animation Studio at California Adventure.


Elsa - Ravenclaw

Like her sister, Queen Elsa showed herself to be a Ravenclaw. She was sharp, wise, and creative in how she defended her kingdom. And honestly she’s a classic overthinking, like plenty of Ravenclaws I know. With her ice creations in both movies, I don’t think anyone can deny her creativity either. All these things put her in Rowena’s charmed house, Ravenclaw. Like her sister, she can be found at Epcot and California Adventure.


Rapunzel - Gryffindor

She may look like a naive Hufflepuff, but the more you watch Tangled and its television show Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, the more you’ll see her as daring, brave, adventurous, and chivalrous. Throughout all her adventures, she had to do what was right. Even if it meant believing in her lost friend Cassandra. That type of chivalrous honor is exactly what Gryffindor stands for. You can find her at the Princess Pavilion at Disneyland and at Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom.


Giselle - Hufflepuff

She may never be an official Disney Princess, but she’s our honorary princess for today. I was tempted to put her in Gryffindor, because of her brave and chivalrous display in saving Robert. However, her central character traits centered more around those found in Hufflepuff: loyalty (to her prince), diligence (in searching for him), and fairness (in how she treated even strangers). If there were ever a stereotypically Puff Princess, it’d be Giselle.

Only five more princesses to go. Where do you think the remaining heroines fit? And how do you feel about the princesses sorted thus far? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Seven Most Insane Moments of The Boys, Season Two

Spoiler alert: This article contains major spoilers from The Boys Season Two, which is totally insane!

And yes, I mean truly insane. The only thing crazier than the supes is Billy Butcher himself! Well in honor of the Seven, grab a Fresca and read the top seven most insane moments of The Boys Season Two, available now on Amazon Prime.

7. A Nazi Stormfront

Well, if you think Homelander is bad, wait until you meet Stormfront! I mean, it's one thing to be racist. But they made her a Nazi, for Goebbels sake! I mean, she kills that guy in 1972 and says something racist. She kills Kenji and says something racist. She kills all those people in the projects, and just proves that she's racist. Girl has got to go! Maybe somebody should give her an Almond Joy?


6. Ryan gets pushed too far

There’s something about watching Homelander with Ryan that is so unnerving. Cute kid, super evil father. And Antony Starr nails that queer feeling like a boss. But when he pushes Ryan off the roof to see if he can fly? And then Ryan just plops on the ground? What made Becca’s screams and pleas for help even more disconcerting were Homelander’s easygoing attitude about the whole situation. Ugh, talk about unsettling!


5. Lamplighter’s lamplight goes out

Okay, I still think of Shawn Ashmore as Iceman from X-Men. But instead of freezing things, Lamplighter burns things. We all saw that he was going crazy, he was depressed, his mental health was deteriorating. And we knew something big was going to happen. But self-immolation? While Hughie just stood by watching helplessly? That was sad. Burn, baby, burn.


4. The Deep talks to his gills

Things with the Deep are always a little weird. I mean, the guy talks to fish. But talking to his own gills? That’s just super strange. And having Remy from Ratatouille voice his gills? Now that’s just the icing on the cake. But hey, whatever helps him develop some body positivity, amirite? (As long as we don't get a similar scene from Love Sausage. Yikes!)


3. Everybody loses their head

Like, literally. We watched as Jennifer Esposito’s head exploded out of nowhere just as she was about to reveal Some Important Information. I may have choked on my buffalo spice popcorn at that moment. But when the entire courtroom had heads exploding left and right? And then people were slipping on the brains and blood and gore? Oh my goodness, cleanup on aisle seven! Court is adjourned.


2. Girls Get It Done

In the a show called The Boys, it's refreshing to see girls doing the pummelling. And what makes it a truly girl power moment, none of the women use any of their superpowers. When Maeve shows up, she joins Starlight and Kimiko and they just throw punch after kick after uppercut to the Kraut. It's powerful and raw, and so simple. Indeed, they really did stick their boot up Stormfront's Nazi kitty! (Huh?)


1. The boys impale a whale!

This whole sequence was just insane. It was crazy-stupid when stole that ill-fated dolphin in season one. But the sperm whale? It was epic to see him riding Lucy in. But then when it’s clear that Butcher is going to ram the whale? Oh my goodness, that was just outrageous! And darkly humorous to see Hughie covered in whale entrails (always with the entrails), just taking a break from life inside Lucy, like a modern day Pinocchio.


There you have it! Seven insane moments. Makes you wonder if Pippi Longstocking used Compound V...



Monday, November 16, 2020

There Should Be Enough

    The Shire is a place where want is scarce, and toil is usually only found in your front garden. So picture two hobbits, in the middle of the wilderness within Mordor, having lost friends and seen dangers they'd only heard about in stories from the safety of an inn or around a campfire, and still a long ways to go before the end. 

    In the midst of this, our heroes, Frodo and Sam stop for food. Sam gives Frodo a portion of the Elvin Lembas bread, as he says that he's not hungry for it and that there should be enough. 

"For what?" Frodo asks. 

"The journey home" says Sam. 

    A year ago we lived in a version of the Shire, where we could go wherever we wanted without fear. We could see anyone we wanted, we could travel, and fear was relatively rare. Now, like the hobbits, we have been on a journey. This year we have seen horrors we never imagined. Some on the news, some right in front of our faces. We are tired, and we still have so much further to go. Blaming 2020 is all well and good but let's remember, that on December 31st at the stroke of 12 the spell will not be broken, the world will not magically go back, we will still have a long way to go. 

    So do we have enough to get back? 

    Frodo was so focused on the journey, on the one step in front of another with the ring weighing down his soul, that he never thought about going home. In that moment though he realized that Sam was, that this wasn't going to be the end and that one day they would see the Shire again. 

    So what is sustaining you right now? What are you doing to remind yourself that one day the world will change and families will be reunited, trips will be take, and connection will be reestablished with the world? Are you making plans for the world after? Are you rationing for the journey home, or are you lost in the quest? 

 

  

Friday, November 13, 2020

Moroni: The Champion of Isolation

 “And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not.” (Mormon 8:3)

As we approach the end of 2020, we finish off a very interesting year. Pandemic, riots, elections. But let’s not forget that we also had the Book of Mormon as our Come Follow Me study this year. And what a year for it to be. 

With social distancing and isolation, it can be very lonely. Whether you’re single and have little human contact outside of zoom meetings. Whether you’re married with kids and can’t find a spare second to yourself. Or whether you’re working from home and your walls are closing in on you. Loneliness comes in many forms, but remember that you are not alone.

Moroni, son of Mormon and final author of the Book of Mormon, spent countless years on his own. His people had been killed and he was being pursued by his enemies. Even before his people had died, they had spiritually killed themselves by rejecting God. He must have felt isolated from the very start. 

And yet he had hope. 

As we finish off the Book of Mormon this year, remember the hope and faith that Moroni had. He spoke of faith, hope, and charity. Even though he had no one left. He didn’t know whether he’d be slaughtered, starved, or translated. But he persevered. 

Mormon and Moroni knew this time would come (see Mormon 8:35) and they knew we’d need the words they’d write. They knew we’d need hope in lonely and trying times. So here are a few scriptures that I love about hope. And I hope they help you.

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)

“For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.” (Jacob 4:4)

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)

“Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.” (Moroni 7:42)

Because of Jesus Christ, there is always hope.

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Price of Heroism

Breath of the Wild has already been discussed to death on other media outlets, it being the flagship game of the Switch, one of the best games in the Zelda franchise, and one of the best games of all time. Today though, I want to talk about something I realized when I beat the game. 

Ahoy, they be spoilers ahead. 

The Heroes' Journey

A quick recap on the story of Breath of the Wild

Link wakes up in a tomb (been there) and finds out he's been asleep for about 100 years. In the interim Hyrule has gone to crap due to the castle being taken over by Calamity Gannon, a giant ghost-pig monster that has dreams of ending the world. He's being held back by Princess Zelda's magic, but her strength is starting to wain so Link has to get his life together and start saving Hyrule. 

Along the way he's got to get armor, stamina, weapons, hearts and giant magicpunk robots operational to take the enemy down. He also needs to collect photos on his magic tablet that will help wake up his memories of his life, particularly his love of Zelda. 

I Have Priorities I'm not Lazy

Now the game has two endings. The true ending is if you beat Gannon and regain all your memories, and Link and the princess will live happily ever after. Now I'm not a completionism in video games... Or anything really.... I take what I like then leave the obsessive collecting to those with more patience. The part I skipped was collecting all the memories, because I just didn't care I was having fun fighting monsters and doing the puzzles. When I got the incomplete ending though the scene went as follows: 

Link and Zelda stood on the plains, Gannon defeated, and Zelda asks if Link remembers her. Link looks awkwardly at her with Zelda looking disappointed and saying "Oh". The fade to black happens and the game is over. 

Self vs Others

So pretending I'm not lazy let me rewrite the story based on the alternate ending. Link wakes up and is told he is the legendary warrior. As he adventures he sees the land devastated by the darkness unleashed by Gannon. He is driven by his quest to free this land that he vaguely remembers. He's told that he could restore his own memories, but the question is why? The memories have no combat value. They have no access to a secret weapon. They only provide a distraction from the main quest, a quest that already has enough distractions in it with all the people Link is trying to help and little leaf critters he finds. 

In this version, Link sacrifices his memories for the good of the kingdom. He's focused solely on saving Hyrule and its people, and he will figure out his own life once that is over. 

I like this version of Link a lot more than previous versions. Now I fully understand that Link is supposed to be an avatar on which we are meant to project ourselves onto, hence why he never really gets a voice or a personality. In fact in writing this blog I've had trouble keeping the tenses straight and not referring to Link as me, because I was the one making the choices for Link and not him. That being said I projected onto my Link a hero who wants to save the kingdom no matter what, not just potentially sacrificing his life but sacrificing his own sense of self, his own sense of identity. Link thus has a reason to be a blank slate, because he chose his kingdom over himself. 

Happy Ending? 

The argument against this is "What about Zelda?" She's been waiting 100 years for Link to show up and help put Gannon in the ground, and now she's got a blank faced elf and a wrecked castle to deal with. Where's her happy ending? The thing is, this may be the only way they can have a sincere relationship. From the flashbacks we get (well that I did unlock during the story), we see that their relationship was completely based on their quest to stop Gannon. With him gone though they can build a real relationship based on who they are and not what purpose they serve. 

So I say this is the better ending because they get to start fresh. They get to have a relationship with each other, and not always planning a war. They get to be a real couple, and I have no doubt that the two could go on their own quest to fill out Link's photo album, making new memories along the way. 

Followers