Saturday, August 27, 2011

Movies And Books

Tonight we watched the extended edition of The Two Towers. This is the film that Peter Jackson took the most liberties with and I still cannot quite understand why. I am sure I have mentioned before that I do not like what he does with the character of Faramir. In the book, he has no desire for the ring and he stands in stark contrast to his brother, Boromir, who trys to take the ring. The movie turns him into Boromir II in many ways. He is redemmed somewhat at the end of the film, but for me the damage is done by then. Elves at Helm's Deep? The ents initially deciding not to attack Isengard? Rohan hesitant to go to battle? I think not. I know that Jackson made changes to make the films flow "better", or to add excitement, but I still have a hard time with this film, especially this time after having just completed reading the book again. Still, these things have been debated ad infinitum for a long time now, so I should probably just learn to let them go. "It's only a movie, it's only a movie."

Good 'Scott as screw up' dreams last night, or at least none that I remembered this morning. Could it be because I didn't have work today? Who knows, just glad it did not happen.

Merilee and I went to Borders today. I feel kind of bad picking over the remains of a dying business, especially one I have enjoyed so much. I have always liked books and book stores, and now I am relegated to  Barnes & Noble. That is not a bad thing, but I wish I knew of a local bookstore that carried a good number of new books. I try to get to the local used book stores when I can because I like to support local businesses, but I will definitely miss Borders. I managed to get a copy of Familyhood by Paul Reiser for just over $10, Kate Bush's Director's Cut CD for $7.99, Anathem by Neal Stephenson for $2.99 (hard bound replacing my paperback copy), and one real find, a book about Spy Magazine (one of my favourites in its time) for a whole 40 cents. I was especially pleased to find the Kate Bush CD.

Tonight as I write this I am enjoying the sound of thunder outside. I am hoping it cools off tonight because it is almost too hot to sleep comfortably; for me, anyway. I like thunder. It is especially amazing while camping in Zion National Park. It just rumbles through the canyon and it can be so loud you can feel it. It is an amazing experience. Tonight's thunder sounds a bit distant, but I am enjoying it none the less.

Four more days.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Subconscious Hates Me

OK, so maybe hate is too strong a word, but the other night's flood dream was followed by another weird dream last night. This time I am at home and people start showing up for a meeting that I supposedly agreed to have at my house. The problem is I do not remember setting up the meeting and I am on vacation. The meeting is with clients and I have to hurry and make myself presentable. All the time more and more people keep showing up and I am certain that I am going to lose my job over this.

I seem to go through periods like this where I have one dream after another where I am completing screwing up, or I am in situations where I am in a struggle I have no chance of winning and losing is not a good think at all. It's quite frustrating because I wake up feeling beaten and the day has not even started. Try dealing with angry people all day when you already feel like you can't win. It's not fun. I don't know how long this will continue, or why it even happens, but it is terribly disheartening. At least it is the weekend.

We went to another football game tonight. Timp lost again 31-13 to American Fork, but we had a good time anyway. Next week they play Herriman and we'll be there supporting our neighbor.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Short One

Didn't sleep well last night, so I am extremely tired tonight. I am so glad that only a single work day remains in this week. Only six more until Labor Day weekend. That will be such a nice break. After that, less than three weeks until Capitol Reef and heirloom apples. I can hardly wait. That camping trip still seems a lifetime away tonight.

I hope I can get some restful sleep tonight. I'm not sure how I made it through work after last night. It can be hard enough to deal with people when I am rested, let alone when I can barely keep my eyes open. Last night I kept having dreams that I was in house where water kept coming in from under the baseboards. I was trying to save stuff while I watched things I liked (book, photo albums, comics, etc) get soaked to the point I knew they were ruined, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was horribly frustrating and I woke up feeling like I had actually lived my dreams all night. I can really do without something like that tonight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Into The Final Stretch

One more week to go in my grand experiment in blogging. With the end now in sight, I'm sure (barring any unforeseen catastrophe) I will make it through and finish out the month. Looking back a bit, I'm not entirely sure how productive it has been beyond forcing me to actually sit down and write. That, in itself, is a good thing.

I'm struggling with a few things this evening. One is deciding what to say in this post, but the others will remain unnamed for now. I'm not certain how I will resolve these struggles. Destinations have never been a problem for me. I can see where I want to be clear as day, but I have always had a hard time seeing the path. I don't know if it is because I let worries and fear cloud my way, or if I just lack faith, but it has always been hard for me to just strike out and let what happens happen. I think a lot of that comes from the results of the first great chance I took in my life; getting married the first time. That ended very painfully and now I have a habit of wanting to make sure everything is just right before taking any kind of chance. I do not take disappointment well, so I tend to shy away from any chance that it will occur. That's probably more than I should share, but that's what is on my mind at the moment.

It has been another long, trying day and I am quite tired, so I think I will end here. Here's hoping for a nicer day Thursday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tired Tuesday

Nothing like ending a day at work by spending an extra 15 minutes or so filing a complaint. Two minutes before my shift ends, and I get a complaint call. My job is nothing if not unpredictable in its predictability.

So I have been wracking my brain for almost an hour now trying to decide what to write and I have come to the conclusion that I just don't have much to say today. I'm tired, brain dead, and ready for a read and some sleep. I know that makes for a dull, boring entry and that it hardly counts, but I did write, so I am counting it =) It's hard to believe, but in eight days I will have written something here for an entire month. Who knows, I may just keep going!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Monday

Yet another Monday has come and (mercifully) gone. I keep trying to change my attitude toward my job, but then I have a day like today and I have to start trying all over again. After today, I wanted to start adding, 'It's not my fault' to my call intro. 'My name is Scott. Remember, it is not my fault. How may I help you?' Not much longer and everything may change. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and holding out for Labor Day and camping in September and October. I can certainly use the rejuvenation.

In the 'If it sounds to good to be true....' department, Merilee saw an add in the Thrifty Nickel for a house in Santaquin for $49,000. She called the number and today found out that it is a manufactured home in the worst trailer park in Santaquin. Payments on the house would be about $600 per month, but there is also $200 per month for the lot. Needless to say, we decided to pass on this one. Looks like we are doomed to be apartment dwellers for life.

Well, that's about it for tonight. Nothing exciting, I'm afraid. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Metaphors And Allegory In Church

"But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." - J.R.R. Tolkien

It seems to me that if you are going to use a story as a metaphor, or create one to be allegorical (by the way, I agree with Tolkien about allegory), you must make your story comply with the given facts you are trying to mirror and have it based in reality. You cannot create a new set of only vaguely related facts and force a comparison. The reason I even bring this up is because we had a talk in church where the speaker shared a story that I, personally, feel was rather inappropriate.

In summary, the story tells of a world-wide plague that grows quickly from one isolated area until it begins to circle the globe (the fact that the last place it arrives is the US is rather contrived in my opinion, but then so is the whole story). The plague is 100 percent lethal. Doctors in the US discover a way to cure the plague, but it requires the blood of someone who is free of infection. People are all tested and a young boy ends up having the correct type. The doctors tell his parents that they must sign a release for the doctors to take the child's blood....all of it. For the good of all, the parents do so and try to explain to the boy why he must be sacrificed for the good of everyone. After the cure is made and the plague is conquered, the parents are dismayed when the world forgets the sacrifice their child made.

The speaker has shared this story...and it is much more detailed and longer that what I have talks during church twice. His stated reason is that it illustrates that we should think of Christ always. My objection lies in the way the story is not based in reality, it manipulates emotions, and it does not really apply to the sacrifice Christ made for us. For one, he knew who he was and he knew what he was here to do. He made the decision fully aware of what the Father required of him. The story uses a boy who has no idea what is going on until his parents explain it to him. They make the choice, not the son. The doctors would never have taken all the child's blood, so it is deceiving in its message. Yes, a sacrifice is made for the good of all, but the circumstances are so vastly different that the story serves no purpose in my mind. It is simply designed to elicit an emotional response, and I find that inappropriate. I could not sit through it a second time, but had to get up and leave. Make the person an adult, who is allowed to make the decision of his own free will, and the story makes sense, but it loses its emotionality because the victim (and I cannot think of another way to describe a child consigned to death by his parents) is no longer someone we see as inherently innocent. I don't mind stories with talks are often filled with them...but stories designed to manipulate me emotionally are valueless to me. Besides, isn't coercion Satan's way?

I know that there are those who may vehemently disagree with me. I know that many people may find the story moving, but to me it clearly falls into Tolkien's definition of allegory. The author's will is imposed on the listener and conclusions are drawn for the listener, not by the listener. There is a big difference to me between being emotionally assaulted and feeling the Spirit. This story was the first, not the latter. Personally, I hope to never hear it again. I am incredibly thankful for the Savior's sacrifice for me, but this story is so far from what He did for us that it does not apply, but rather detracts from the speaker's message.