Friday, April 12, 2013

Braaaaaaiiiiins

Lately I've been on something of a "zombie kick" when it comes to my entertainment choices. And as I've looked at those around me, it occurs to me that I am not the only one. So I'm curious why zombies have suddenly become such a huge cash cow in our society...

(although a movie trailer, the following clip might not be for all audiences.)


Thanks to George Romero we have what is widely held as the cannonized zombie rules, or "true doctrine". Yup it all started with "Night...........................of the Living Dead!" Since then the dead have been given a dawn, a day, a land, an island, and many other environments in which to eat sweet sweet brains. (On a side note George Romero was once asked how he felt about the new and fast angry zombies, he responded by saying that the reason his zombies couldn't run was because their rigamortis inflicted bones would break at the effort. So yeah, pretty scientific.)




The handguide also supports this idea. Also on a side note, it says that the best weapon combo is a semi-automatic rifle and a machete. Food for thought (get it?) when everyone trys to get the chainsaw to defend themselves with. Many are probably thinking "I am not obsessed with zombies, and how dare you insinuate so?!" Come on, be honost, you've though about what you would do in case of a zombie related emergency. What areas would be the most strategically fortafiable, what on hand object would be best to defend yourself with (for me at the moment my best bet would be to use my roommate's wood carving currently under the couch as a blunt object.)

I assume this has a lot to do with the obsession our country seems to be under:






But why is it that zombies have remained a culturally relevant fear since the 60's? My personal theory is that while Freddy Krougar is killing us in our dreams, and Bloody Mary is creepin' in our mirrors, and Bigfoot is stomping in our woods; zombies are taking our humanity. Like vampires and werewolves, zombies take away everything that is good about being human (music appreciation, complex decision making, and dental hygiene) and turn us into mindless angry people biters. Also like vampires and werewolves, zombies have recently become the love interest in movies geared towards teenagers:





Any itrovert would agree zombies are the ultimate worst case scenario:



Romero gave us a much more realistic thing to be afraid of, the neighbors. When it boils down to its most pure form, zombies are an introvert's perception of other people. Scary, aggressive monsters that want nothing more than to cause you discomfort.


It can also be argued with some validity that zombies are: communists, republicans, or apple fanboys.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Creative Writing Essay: Pluto

Pluto used to be a planet. It was discovered in 1930, and retained its classification until 2006. Its life span was respectable. Not many people born before 1930 lived to see 2006; World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all had a significant influence that. Maybe it’s not all that impressive, given Pluto’s passive aggressive nature. He never fought in any of those wars. That’s not to say that he was a draft dodger; whatever they might have been, he had his own reasons to stay aloof from conflict. A popular demotivational poster states that, “the tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut.” Pluto certainly adopted this philosophy in his own life. He spent his whole life trying to stay out of the lime light. Small and unimposing, he hoped to avoid too much attention. In the end he proved too good at being small. Since a discovery of a larger-than-Pluto non planet in the late 1970’s, debate has been held as to whether or not this small friend deserved the distinction of “planet.”
After much debate and contemplation, Pluto was killed at the ripe old age of 76. For the first time, the shortest blade of grass was cut first. Jupiter, Saturn, and all the other giants smiled at the irony. This inspired an outcry from both the internet, and Elementary school students the world over. How could scientists kill everyone’s favorite little planet? The ever helpful phrase “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” suddenly became useless. How could any 2nd grade student be expected to remember the names of the planets without the important word “pizza”? What did my very educated mother just serve us nine portions of? Angry letters were written and ironic t-shirts were made. And through it all, Pluto just kept on making his 6.39 day rotation. Pluto is a small ice covered rock; he doesn’t care what you think.
McDonalds cares what you think. McDonalds cares so much about what you think that they are willing to pay millions of dollars to an old woman for spilling coffee in her lap. In the 1999 movie, Fight Club, the Narrator makes the following observation: “When deep space exploration ramps up, it’ll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.” McDonalds would not be far behind them in the corporate space race. In fact, given that many of those companies are steadily slipping from dominance, the only ones to have a leg up on Mickey D’s would be Virgin Mobile, or maybe Redbull (both of which currently have, or have had a presence in space). McDonalds has served over 1 billion hamburgers. They care what you, the consumer, think. If they did not, they would not have sold so many burgers. They are adaptable, able to change. If someone makes a movie showing how unhealthy their food is, they introduce salads. FDA introduces new laws? No problem, just include calorie counters on every wrapper.
Pluto is not adaptable. If an astronomer tells him he is too small to be a planet, he cannot will himself to be bigger. But even if he could, would he? At their closest, most intimate moments, Earth and Pluto are a mere 2.66 billion miles apart. If you could take a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive at the speed of light, it would take just under 4 hours to travel that distance. If you were able to walk that distance, it would take 101,217.656 years. Suffice it to say that within the next few decades humans probably won’t be taking small steps or even large leaps on Pluto’s nitrogen ice surface. Given this separation, why would Pluto care what Earth thinks? It is much more likely that he would care about the opinion of his on again off again girlfriend, Neptune (they are constantly swapping positions in distance from the sun). Pluto doesn’t care what Earth astronomers think.
BYU students care what others think. Roommates, boyfriends or girlfriends, Bishops, professors, TA’s, parents, the list goes on and on. Of course, there’s always a few trend breaking hipsters that remain aloof; but deep down, everyone does care. Even if you don’t care what the vast majority of people think about you, someone exists somewhere; someone, whose opinion is very important to you. If you didn’t, you would not have a facebook account. If a person truly didn’t care about the opinions of others, they would not update their statuses, and follow everyone’s tweets. BYU students care what people think. If people were more like Pluto, Earth’s surface would be equally icy, albeit a metaphorical iciness. One difference between a student and Pluto: if a student changes their name, Illinois state legislature won’t be passed that creates a holiday in honor of their original name.
The closest to come to Pluto’s mind set would be a dog. A dog named for the small, recently demoted, non-planet. In 1930, presumably after the “planet’s” discovery, Walt Disney introduced Mickey Mouse to a new pet. A loyal, loving, golden dog (supposedly a Pointer) named Pluto. Like his icy namesake, Pluto doesn’t do too much outside of his own interests. He tolerates Mickey because Mickey provides food and shelter. When was the last time anyone saw a dog accept sub servitude to a mouse under any other arrangements? (On a side note, it’s interesting to consider the relationship that would exist between Pluto and Goofy…) Regardless of what anyone tells him to do in respect to the visiting kitten, Pluto’s going to chase the cat because that’s what Pluto wants to do. Pluto sleeps when he wants to, and he has spin off cartoons when he wants to. Pluto doesn’t care what you or Mickey thinks; he just takes what he wants.
According to Jeff Winger, “We’re the only species on Earth that observes Shark Week. Sharks don’t even observe Shark Week, but we do. For the same reason I can pick up this pencil, tell you its name is ‘Steve’ and go like this-” [breaks pencil] “and part of you dies, just a little bit on the inside. Because people can connect with anything. We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, and we can give Ben Affleck an Academy Award for screenwriting.” Just like you connect to “Steve,” you connect to Pluto. Pluto is a rock flying through space, he doesn’t care. He can be called a planet, a dwarf planet, Pluto, 134340 Pluto, or “Steve.” It won’t change his opinion of Earth. But just like Pluto is free to accept or reject his new title at his leisure, you are also free to wear your shirt with the slogan: “It’s ok Pluto; I’m not a planet either.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Take us to yall's leader.

Do you like Daniel Craig? Do you go weak in the knees at the sight of Harrison Ford? Have you ever watched a old west movie and thought to yourself: "This is pretty good...but it would be better with aliens!" If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, then you'll probably get at least mild enjoyment out of the 2011 movie Cowboys and Aliens. So this was one that came out during my mission that I really wanted to see. Not only because of my heterosexual mancrush on Harrison Ford, but also for my love of things comic book and scifi. So how was it you ask? Let me respond in this way: Daniel Craig has a very good american accent, Harrison Ford is a mildly racist cattle rancher, Olivia Wilde is attractive as usual, and the aliens are basically the aliens from District 9 on steroids. The movie kept me entertained for it's duration. There are a few plot problems. For example, the aliens' presence on our planet is due to their desire to mine gold. Harrison Ford's character points out this flaw with "what, so they can buy something?!" To which a non commital "it's as rare to them as it is to you" is thrown out to try and disregard the plot hole. Also, it was a bit depressing just how strong these aliens are in comparison to the humans. At the end the humans lead an assault against the invaders, and the aliens wreck whole-sale tush. Just trashing them. But this movie has good special effects, it's cool to look at, and it is unarguably the best movie out there that pits cowboys against aliens. So, if you've got 2ish hours to kill, why not watch a new take on the old west?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Well, I'm Back.

I've been putting off returning to my blog. I feel like I've needed to wait for some sort of huge profound knowledge to throw down and blow some minds. Share some sort of heart wrenching tale from the mission, a valuable life lesson learned, how I'm a completely different person than before, but at the same time the exact same person. But this isn't an obituary. I don't need to be particularly loquacious and impressive, this blog isn't about impressing. Heck it doesn't really have a purpose apart from providing me a means of creative outlet. So, just like my return to the dating scene, I'm going to take things slow. My current state of character can be observed over the coming weeks and months.

So, I'm back.

Now for what this blog has become (or rather, would become, if anyone read it) famous for, movies. Last night I took a frolic down memory lane by watching the age old classic that is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That's right, from 1990. They don't make movies like that anymore. Cheesy, rubbery costumes. Forhead slapping puns. 80's lingo such as "tubular", "radical", and Master Splinter's favorite: "cawabunga!" Alright Master Splinter! Not to mention awesome fights with ninjas and teens weilding hockey sticks. With such timeless elements, it's a wonder how anyone could not love this movie. There was also an interesting debate with one of the more intelectual roommates about at what rate the turtles age compared to humans, and whether or not the term Teenage was actually acurate. Yeah, serious stuff. At any rate I realize this holds no importance to anyone, including myself, it's just what is currently on my mind because it happened last night. Good movie. It's cheesy, it's dumb, it's awesome. If you haven't seen it go grab you're old leg warmers and get ready for some post 80's greatness.

So yeah, I'm back. Here's to what I'm sure will be a long and happy acquantanceship internet community.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The End

Hello One and All, Well, I'm done. I've bought the farm, I've kicked the bucket, I've gone belly up, and a wide plethora of many other metaphors for dying. It's crazy hard to believe that my mission is done. Although last week was filled with partying, I can honestly say that I feel I gave it my all and sprinted to the end.

I don't really have the attention span right now to fill in the details of last week. So let me close my last letter from the field with this:

Over the past two years I have dedicated every waking moment to preaching Christ. I have made mistakes along the way, I have had successes along the way. I can't speak for anyone else, but as for me I have been changed. I know that the message I have shared is true, and I know that the Savior's Atonement is real. If we will turn to Him and open our hearts, He will heal us. It doesn't matter what it is, Christ can take it away. I know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, because He heard and answered mine. I won't say these have been the best two years of my life. They have been the most challenging, stressful, and exhausting two years of my life. They have also been the most rewarding two years. I echo the sentiments of a general authority who stated: "The mission was the best two years FOR my life." I look forward to the next big adventure that awaits me. I thank all of you for all the support and encouragement received. This is the true church, it is led by our Savior. I so testify in his name. Love, Elder Stephen Hunt Richards

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Last Week

Hello One and All, Well, it's pretty crazy that I'm finally in the last week of my mission. It's happy and sad all at once, but mostly I am at peace with the idea that it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life. Really the only frustrating part left is how every night at dinner when people ask me how long I've been out I have to say oh, I have x amount of time left, (because it's easier than saying 23.whatever months). But oh well, I suppose I can't complain. Last week was a good one. We stacked cheese as far as lessons are concerned, and I'm hoping to do a repeat of it this week so I can go out on top. We found a lot of solid and good investigators as well. It's pretty crazy how much we've gotten done in the transfer we've been here. We've greatly expanded the teaching pool and found a lot of really cool people. I wish I could have spent some more time here to really establish some close relationships with the people. The members are awesome (for the most part) and the hispanic investigators are the bombs. The bishop here is a younger guy, really cool family. We drive past his house at least once a day because it's on the main street. They are always having pool parties, literally every day. And on saturday night we drove past and the pool was packed to capacity and a sheet was hung on the side of the house for an outdoor pool movie projector. That one was hard on me, but that's ok, I'll have plenty of time for things like that in a week. In the mean time I am getting stuff done. We've also taken to visiting yard sales on saturdays, because saturday afternoons are pretty well dead, so we go where the people are, and check out fun trinkets along the way. On sunday I came down with something, I'm not sure what it was but I felt terrible, but Elder Calder helped me push along till the end of the day, I went to bed a little early and now I feel much better, so there'll be nothing in my way. Well, the time just flies. I'll send out my last letter next week. Love yall and have a good week. Love, Elder Richards

Monday, July 23, 2012

Winding Up To Wind Down

Kathy Richards Message flagged Monday, July 23, 2012 1:33 PM Hello One and All, So to start off, the picture is of this ridiculously loud bell we found outside a door saying "impaired hearing, use hanging bell or knock loud, thanks!" It made me think of getting one for mom...and to answer your question in the picture the member sent, that is my current and final companion. He's killin' me off right. So another good week passed on by. We have taught a ton and been running all over benton city. The spanish work is booming. One cool experience we had was that we knocked into a woman named Maria who spoke little spanish, she spoke a dialect called Mysteca, from Mexico. We went back yesterday for our appointment, and she knew enough spanish that we were able to have a really good discussion with her. The spirit was pretty strong, I always like it when there is a need to keep things simple, like when teaching a child, or someone who doesn't speak spanish or english. We also found a woman while tracting. Something of a miracle because she was on the verge of moving into a shelter due to inability to pay rent. We've since gotten her into contact with the church and she is receiving help and coming to church as well. Now then, I can tell the difference between someone using the church and someone who legitimately needs help and doesn't want to take advantage of the situation (probably because I run into both instances a lot working with hispanics). She's a tiny little thing that is suffering from health problems, hopefully we can help out. Zone Conference was way cool. My last which was a little strange, but it went well and I enjoyed myself. Seeing all the old homies and whatnot. Gave my departing testimony which was strange. This friday I'll be having my exit interview with President Greer, so everything is wrapping up nicely. But I'm still working my tail off. Happy Bday to Eric, hope it was a good one. Happy Bday to Jacob(?) hopefully. Can't wait to see everybody again, have a good week and keep on keeping on. The church is true, the book is blue. Love, Elder Richards