Monday, October 28, 2013

The Halloween Mood For Your Monday

I've been planning on doing a Halloween blog post for a while and I remembered that Assassin's Creed 4 is coming out tomorrow. Since I plan on getting Assassin's Creed 4 early tomorrow morning and I will be pretty much unreachable after that (because I'll be playing it non-stop), I figured today was the last free day I have to make my Halloween post. I've been gathering stuff from all over the internet to help get you in the mood for Halloween. Let's jump right in...

1. Halloween Prank. What is Halloween without a good, scary prank? My favorite one so far has to be the flying reaper that is starting to go viral on YouTube right now. It's great to see how people react to a reaper chasing them around... even better when he's flying. Check it out: (or click play on the video below.)

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas. As I was falling asleep last night playing Pandora, I had two songs come on the station I was listening to and they were remixes of songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I've heard them both before but they do help you get the Halloween spirit (plus a nice dose of nostalgia if you grew up watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.)

All-American Rejects (Jack's Lament):

Evanescence (Sally's Song):

3. Pumpkin Carving. Looking for some good patterns for your pumpkin carving? I found a site with over 2.8 million designs and I've browsed through a few of them. There's some pretty good stuff. Check it out if you're not really sure what you want on your pumpkin this year.

Of course, I still think one of the coolest pumpkins ever was made by my little sister last year at my request. Behold, the Geek Squad pumpkin!

4. The Walking Dead. Netflix recently added Season 3 of The Walking Dead. If you haven't started watching it, check it out. New episodes (Season 4) are on Sundays.

5. The Origins of Halloween. It's always good to Wikipedia things for an interesting read. Here's the direct link to Wikipedia's Halloween page: Like other holidays, it likely had pagan roots and was later "Christianized" to become All Hallow's Eve.

So there you go. Five steps to help you catch the Halloween spirit. They may not work for you, but they work for me. I would add costumes into the mix but I haven't dressed up for Halloween in a long time. A couple of years ago, I was actually fixing computers until pretty late (working for the Geek Squad.) I keep saying that one day I'll dress up as an assassin, but I forget almost every year until its pretty much too late. Maybe next year. :-P Happy Halloween everyone.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Parable From My Past: Some Things That I'll Never Understand About BYU

So I stumbled on a post I made on one of the old forums I used to frequent. It's from back when I was 18 and I had an assignment from my New Testament class to write my own modernized version of a parable. I actually explained what I thought of the entire experience pretty well so I'm going to copy a portion of that forum post:

"Well I was in my New Testament class today and we had an assignment to write a modernized version of a parable in the New Testament or write a 5-10 line parable. Most idiots just copied parables from the New Testament word for word and then changed all the "behold"s to "listen up" and the word "verily" to "we was chillin" and crap like that. There were a few gold ones though. Here's one that I liked:

The Lost Shoes
What think ye? If any woman among you have 100 pairs of shoes and she lose but one, will she not leave the 90 and 9 and go after that which is lost? And when she finds it she calls her girlfriends and rejoiceth. Likewise shall there be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over 99 just persons which need no repentance."

The funny thing is that I found the parable that I wrote for that class too and it gives some pretty good insight into what I thought of BYU students at the time. My opinion of them hasn't changed all that much since I was 18 (which was, crazily enough, almost a decade ago.) Here's the parable that I wrote for the class:

The Pharisee and The Publican
Two students went to the BYU testing center, one an honors student and one on academic probation. During the test, the honors student lifted up his eyes and said to himself "God, I'm grateful that I'm so talented and smart and not like everyone else in this room... especially this idiot on academic probation. I study four hours a day and always complete my assignments weeks in advance." The student on academic probation would not so much as lift up his head but cried in his heart "God be merciful to me, an idiot, I tried to study this time." I say unto you the idiot went home justified.

It still cracks me up. I guess the point of this is that people can tell when you think you're better than them. It may be true of some things, but the hilarious thing about BYU students is that MOST of them think they are so much better than all the other people at the exact same school who are taking similar classes, living their lives in a similar way, and so on. I know there's some variance because of genetics and the way you were raised, but it is impossible for everyone at BYU to be as good as they think they are at everything.

A while back, there was a kid who stood in front of the JSB building in the mornings and sang. He wore a Lord of the Rings elf cape. Some people complained, other people then supported him, it ended up in the newspaper and "cape boy" became a kind of popular that only going viral can bring. It's funny how many people decided to ride that bandwagon once he was known campus wide that had no idea who he was or probably mocked him with their friends before he made it to the newspaper. If BYU students really are as awesome as they think they are, explain to me why cape boy didn't have any friends before he went viral? Explain to me why on the one or two occasions that I forgot to shave (literally for ONE day) that everyone felt justified giving me such dirty looks? I didn't have the plague... and I understand that most BYU men don't have the level of testosterone to grow a decent beard in one day like I do but... really? (I was actually asked on a couple of occasions if I had a beard card.)

Hugh Nibley, a professor at BYU and a brilliant academic, gave us this little gem before he died: "The worst sinners, according to Jesus, are not the harlots and publicans, but the religious leaders with their insistence on proper dress and grooming, their careful observance of all the rules, their precious concern for status symbols, their strict legality, their pious patriotism... the haircut becomes the test of virtue in a world where Satan deceives and rules by appearances." I think he understood the BYU campus pretty well, because many of them are like the Pharisees. I'm not a leper, but on those rare days when I forgot to shave... I definitely felt like people looked at me like I was one.