Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guilty Pleasures...

I'm going to incriminate myself slightly in admitting something that I can't seem to get enough of...

I cannot get enough of the Hobbit.

Now this may come as a puzzling revelation to some. As most know I'm not much of a Lord of the Rings fanatic. I definitely appreciate the films and the epic story, but for whatever reason I just couldn't relate to Frodo as a character I could see myself in. I also felt like there wasn't enough comic relief for me. & that's not Peter Jackson or Tolkein's fault. By default, the trilogy is not a light-hearted adventure like Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia.

Which is why I was surprised how much I loved the Hobbit. And I really love it! I've seen the film a total of 3 times, and I'm actually contemplating seeing it for a 4th time on Saturday.

Why did I love the Hobbit when I felt indifferent towards Lord of the Rings? I mean it's almost the exact same story right?

I think there are a few reasons why the Hobbit spoke to my soul far more than the Lord of the Rings. First & foremost, there's Bilbo Baggins, who is a timid, cautious soul who is comfortable in his hobbit hole surrounded by good food, good books and good comforts. However, there is a part of him, however small, that does yearn for an adventure, though at first he fights against it and doesn't want to admit it. The truth of the matter is that he became so used to his life and what others expected of him that he buried those feelings of longing deep within him until Gandalf comes and changes his mind.

For being as faint-hearted as the other dwarves seem to believe he is, Bilbo surprises them slowly and time after time. He proves himself over and over again as a plucky, resourceful and clever hobbit.

The other reason I loved the Hobbit as much as I did was Gandalf. He's always known for his deep and insightful one-liners but there were several in this film that really stuck out to me.

When Gandalf gives Bilbo a sword, Bilbo is decidedly uncomfortable and says "I've never used a sword in my life."

Gandalf replies, "And I hope you never have to use it. But remember this, true courage is knowing, not when to take a life, but when to spare one."

Bam! Way to go Gandalf! There is so much truth in that simple statement, and I had honestly never thought of it that way before.

The next memorable moment with Gandalf is when he's explaining to Galadriel why he chose Bilbo for their quest. He admits he's not sure, but then goes on to say, "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That's because I am afraid and he gives me courage."

This also hit home to me, not only for the Gospel references it alludes to, but also how remarkable one solitary person can be. Bilbo didn't have any extraordinary skills or abilities to contribute to their adventure--he was afraid for the majority of the film, and yet Gandalf gleaned great courage from Bilbo.

Something that has always been a huge contributor for my love of movies is the soundtrack. And Howard Shore does not cease to amaze me. The Misty Mountains by Richard Armitage was fantastic! & still gives me goosebumps. Over Hill is the very essence of an epic quest track, almost making you want to head out with the rest of them!

Another reason why I loved the Hobbit was because of how much comic relief was in the film. I actually laughed out loud on several occasions! I couldn't remember that happening while watching Fellowship or Two Towers. Radagast the Brown was hilarious! The dwarves were loud, raucous and delightful. Even Gollum made me chuckle several times.

Lastly, I loved the dwarves. Not only were they hilarious, but several of em were pretty doggon good-looking too! Thorin Oakenshield, Fili & Kili, & even Bofur were pretty hot!

So there you have it. The movie that I continuously go back to over & over again is a movie based on a book I wasn't a fan of, and part of a franchise I didn't particularly care for.

It's amazing how even at 23 I think I've grown up, and have specific tastes intrenched in me, but I continually surprise myself with realizations like this.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Life

Recently I've looked over all of my blog posts from the past few years, partially because I'm bored, and partially to see how pathetic and mooney-eyed I'd get over idiotic guys. And boy, I sure didn't let myself down on that one.

I have changed quite a bit over the past few years, in some ways for the better, in some ways for the worst.

I have gotten better in standing up for myself, in sticking more to my guns when I feel I'm vindicated and justified. However, this has lead to a multitude of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. It's even escalated to an emotional public flogging at ward prayer.

At first I felt as if someone had just struck a blow to my face; it shocked me and took me completely by surprise especially since it had nothing to do with the responsible party--it didn't involve them in the slightest. I had never experienced someone to go out of their way to be cruel. It came off as being calculated and well-planned which also added to my horror.

As I thought on it more, and prayed for my heart to heal and not harden against these people, I realized that there are shades of both light and dark within every person. And that maybe the things that I took pride in, the things I thought I was resilient to, were the things that even I could be at fault for, like the people I had blamed for the very same blunders I had just committed.

It was a healthy dose of introspection that I think I needed.

I've also noticed that I incorporate song lyrics or music videos in about 80% of my blog posts, which I also find interesting. And this post will be no different :)

I've rediscovered my love of the musical, Jekyll & Hyde featuring the talents of Anthony Warlow and Linda Eder. Everyone knows the story, it's been parodied and redone in dozens of versions over and over again. But the music is absolutely incredible, and the addition of certain characters really enhance the story in a way that I don't think Robert Louis Stevenson could've done himself.

In the story, Jekyll meets and forms a friendship with a prostitute named Lucy, played by Linda Eder, and as the two get to know each other, they begin to realize the similarities between themselves. Lucy is trapped in a life she can't seem to get out of, a life she wishes she could trade in for another.

This leads me to a song that I've grown to love the older I get.

A new life,
what I wouldn't give to have a new life,
One thing I have learned as I go through life.
Nothing is for free along the way

A new start,
that's the thing I need to give me new heart
Half a chance in life to find a new part
Just a simple role that I can play

A new hope,
something to convince me to renew hope.
A new day,
bright enough to help me find my way

A new chance
one that maybe has a touch
of romance

Where can it be?
The chance for me? 

A new world,
this one thing I want
To ask of you world
Once before it's time to say "adieu", world
One sweet chance to prove the cynics wrong

I love the combination of the melody and lyrics intermingled as Lucy/Linda sings her heart out. She's so desperate for a fresh start, for a clean slate, to wipe the blood in her ledger clean. I've always been drawn to this song, and recently it's rang truer than it ever has.

Another song, and another character I've been captivated by is Jekyll/Hyde. He is also a prisoner of his own shortcomings, of his own evil tendencies. Just like Lucy, he wants to recompense for the crimes he's committed, though he's not sure how to do it.

In this song No One Must Ever Know, Jekyll/Anthony grapples with himself to try to carry on and finish his work, and to get back to the place he was before he got disillusioned.

Could it be?
Have I really lost my way?
Have I lost my mind?
Will I lose the day?

Am I a good man?
Am I a mad man?
It's such a fine line
Between a good man and a bad...

Somehow I have to get back
to the places where my journey started.
Find the course I charted
when I first departed.

Somehow I have to hang on
to the vision that first inspired me,
to the hope that fired me
when the world admired me!

I'll find a way back to the higher ground!
And see the view I saw before....

Somehow I have to rebuild
all the dreams that the wind have scattered.
From what fate has shattered-
I'll retrieve what mattered!

God! You must help me carry on!
When it seems all hope has gone,
I have got to carry on!

Anthony Warlow has such a powerful voice that shakes me to the very core. He sings it with such desperation, such passionate pleading it really makes you believe he can do it-- he can conquer the evil he's unlocked within himself.

Anyway, now that I've geeked out here, I'll just close by saying there is a fine line between a good man and a bad man, but that it's also not too late to create a new life for yourself. Each day is a brand new life, and the past can only hold you back as much as you let it.

The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased, it can only be accepted.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Soundtrack for my Winter

1.) On Fire by Switchfoot
2.) Run by Matt Nathanson feat. Sugarland
3.) The Last Time by Taylor Swift feat. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol
4.) Find a Way by SafetySuit
5.) Sooner of Later by Mat Kearney
6.) Distance by Christina Perri feat. Jason Mraz
7.) I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston
8.) Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band
9.) Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
10.) Love is Blindness by Jack White
11.) Same Old Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg
12.) Turning Tables by Adele
13.) Kiss Me Slowly by Parachute
14.) Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer
15.) You Don't Know Me by Ray Charles
16.) Begin Again by Taylor Swift
17.) Miss Me by Andy Grammer
18.) Skyfall by Adele

Pretty much sums everything up. If anyone has any new music they'd like to share, leave love.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Same Old Lang Syne

I hate winter, regardless of what month it is. I mean, let's face it, the only good thing about the winter is Christmas. But once Christmas is over, it's no longer a Winter Wonderland anymore.

It downright blows. Literally. The wind is bitter and biting, the ice is terrible and dangerous to drive on & it's almost painful to breathe at times because the air is so freaking cold.

But apart from all of this, January, wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for a glaringly obvious reason. To start off with, I came home last night to an apartment that was warm (for the first time in weeks) but to no water. A pipe had burst while I was at work from the cold (surprise, surprise) and now me and my roommate are without water. For 2 weeks.

In addition to this inconvenient disaster, I'm starting to lose faith in my future, in my career and in my personal life. Really the only thing I still have faith in, other than the Gospel, is my writing. I still feel like this novel I'm writing really is something special. I've lost faith in a few of my guy friends who I thought would always be there for me, & I've come to realize that a few of them only call and text me when they have nothing better to do, and not necessarily because they want to see how I'm really doing or hang out with me. Which is fine, I get it; if they're not gonna date me what's the point in keeping in contact with me? I completely and 100% understand their thinking. But the fact is, there's one huge reason why I depend on them, rely on them much more than any other person would.

The anniversary of my father's death is coming up in less than 2 weeks and it's dawned on me that this will be marker 12.

12 years. 12 years since I last saw my dad. It's even more ironic because that was the same age I was when he died. 2 months before my 13th birthday, which coincidentally, his birthday is the week before mine.

I shouldn't doubt as much as I do, but everything's changing. One of my good guy friend's is now engaged, one of 2 that I could always count on for anything, and while I'm so happy for him and so grateful that he's found someone who treats him right and who is genuinely in love with him, I realize that nothing will ever be the same again. And that happens, it's life. But it's dawned on me just how much I really do depend on my friends, particularly my guy friends, when it's probably not healthy to do so.

Sometimes I try to glean exactly why I miss Europe so much, really what I miss about Europe and I think I've narrowed it down to this: I was free, free from a lot of personal weight and baggage. I was so comfortable being out of my comfort zone. I loved the spontaneity of not knowing what to expect, but I think I especially loved not feel shackled to responsibilities, bills or relationships.

And now that this new year has started and everything's unclear, in combination with my dad's death, I feel helpless & lost. Both emotions I despise having let alone showing.

That's the main reason why the title of this newest blog is Same Old Lang Syne-- should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot and old lang syne?

Well, I'm not sure about that. What I am sure about is that I miss my childhood. I miss my innocent perception of the world. I miss trusting people unequivocally and irrepressibly  I miss my hopeless romantic fantasies I used to have when I'd watch Beauty & the Beast or the Princess Bride.

& especially I miss my dad.