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Tonight marks the 2nd time for both Kerrie and I watching this movie (The Cove). Last time I opted out of the mass porpoise murder scene at the end, but tonight I felt ballsy enough to do it. What shitheads.
Anyway, for the people-lover in you, peace and love.
We started off talking about Bilbo Baggins today and the Lord of the Rings. It was something that I think has been one of my favorite classes. I’ve taken several classes in linguistics and pedagogy, but never a class on a Fantasy book. Well, I’ve done several of the online Brandon Sanderson classes, which have all been fantastic. But I’ve never been able to be in class reading one of my favorite books.
There are those out there who say that if you haven’t read the entire LoR trilogy, you’re not really a fan. Well, bah humbug to them, because dammit I am a fan, and I’m not a fan because of the movies. I’m a fan because I love the lore of it all, I love the adventure, the journey, the quest, the magic, the frilly banter and eloquence of Gandalf the Grey and all of the other beautiful bits that come along from existing within Middle Earth (Today I saw it written ‘Middle earth’, with the lowercase ‘e.’ Is that right?).
The day was great. There are only six students in all taking this lovely three-week course (can you believe that?), and they were all very much into it, asking questions, presenting opinions, contributing. What a lovely bunch of kids we had – I love when they group aren’t forced that they have to be there. It’s not like some of the language courses (my gosh, to put someone through a language course who does not want to be there – what cruel dealings we give one another) where the students are forced to take a language. It’s basically a very long and focused elective – you elect to take the class. What a concept!
But that was that. Anyway, the schedule is just as simple as ever, and it starts off with something called ‘no homework.’ Does it get any better? We get to class, read a few hours, take a two-hour lunch, read The Hobbit a few more hours and then go home – with no homework.
It’s exquisite; there’s just no other term.
We just started the whole thing today and it was, as I’ve elucidated in the above, very nice.
We started off the day today discussing all of the ins and outs of the Hero and his/her journey, as described by Joseph Conrad, most succinctly in his opus, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. It’s not something I’ve ever personally read, but I do get some of the references. Conrad, as one of our team paraphrased today, says that if one were to amass all of the stories of mankind up to this point, one would find that they all follow a very similar pattern. They include things like a hero/protagonist, villain/antagonist, an ordinary world, a mentor, an ally, etc. Now, those are all their own words, of course, and each of them has specific meanings which separate them from the others, and again, I’m not quoting anything here. I’m just paraphrasing…paraphrasing what Rick paraphrased. An interesting concept, all the same. Perhaps I should bring in a copy or two of the Conrad book and we can look at some different quotations or segments from it.
Fantasy literature has changed. We were able to discuss that briefly. I was actually talking about this with my brother several nights ago. He was saying how back in Tolkien’s day, fantasy (as he created and mastered it – the LoR is a pillar of almost all of modern fantasy today, one could argue) was more black and white. There was a good guy and a bad guy, and it was a very simple visual from the starting point to the finishing point. Today, with wondrous stories like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, it’s not all that clear cut. There are people backstabbing others, there’s betrayal, there’s schemes and machinations for one party to dominate over another. It’s much more in-your-face, much more cutthroat than it was back in Tolkien’s LoR days. Not to say that the older ones are outdated and, by today’s standards, of poor quality – good heavens, no. It’s just more that taste, rhythm, and the arc of modern-day entertainment has changed.
What else is there?
The point is that this is me getting out the fact that today was superb. I spent my working day talking about something that I adore and have adored since I was quite young. I personally didn’t get into the reading game of fantasy until I was in my early twenties, but I was always into the lore, the world, the, well, for lack of a better word, the fantasy of it all.
Back to work tomorrow, starting from page 8. Let’s see how good it does to turn Gandalf away. Just as I remember. Ohh, this is getting good.
Dear Life, Dear God, Dear Universe, Dear Fill-in-the-Blank,
Here I am – a fully capable, fully formed and apt manifestation of you, who in all reality, are me. I’m here just as You/I’ve created, with all the parts, tools, and beauties that I require for this journey. I’m capable of extending to all beings your infinite Love, Peace, and Joy, I’m capable of building higher, stronger, better, faster, I’m capable of learning and growing, and helping others, my brothers, my sisters, my neighbors, those who also share in your/my own reflection and image. I’m capable of giving, and sharing, and asking for nothing in return, capable of making others laugh, and feel loved, and that they are cared for, and not alone. I am capable of physical feats unmatched by other species who also share this wondrous plane of existence with me. I’m able to swim, run, sprint, squat, crawl, lift, and climb, I’m able to transport, assist, and afterwards, rest and recover, so that I may perform anew.
I’m able to be patient, to sit for long periods of silence, communing at any time, with You alone, returning to my origin for focus. I’m able to hear, see, and touch your/my very beauty every complete millisecond that passes from future, through now, and into the past. I’m capable of channeling the energy of my being so that the dreams of others may actualize. I’m able to make the world around me flex to the demands of your/my heart, my mind, and I am able to smile as I watch the unfolding of you with every sunrise and sunset.
I’m capable of sending blessings, to all beings, in the purely concentrated order (not hope) that they are actualized and that my orders (your orders) are followed through to the utmost degree.
I’m capable of acting, in good faith, in all that I do, upon the seemingly whimsical but divinely precise words of my heart when it speaks of the betterment of this place, this plane, this world, this blue and green (north , south, east, west) home that I have been presented as a gift.
I’m capable of sending love, of healing, of treading lightly upon the carefully wrapped gift of a planet, upon which I have been allowed to roam and conquer myself, to find who I am. …In all ways, love.
Yet, I’ve simply found a better use of my time.
I’ve found that it’s easier to not help feed the hungry, not to take out the trash, not to close the door behind me, turn off the music, or be on time. I’ve found that it’s not worth my time on this rock to pick up the trash around my area, clean up after myself, wash my own dishes, or even make my bed. Those things – all those things and many more, I’ve simply decided to place in my own category called “Nah.” I’ve decided that it’s only worth my time if I get paid for these things, and even then, let’s face it, I’m going to try and get them done in the most expeditious (it was probably too much a waste of my time to even write that word – expeditious) manner possible. Quality? You’re going to have to pay me extra for that. Let’s put it into perspective of luggage on the airplane. I don’t know what took them so long, but see? they figured it out, nothing is free in this world.
Care for the homeless? Easier to look the other way. Sorry. I mean, I’ll write about helping them out. I’ll write about anything. I can do that. It’s just the whole… I dunno….yeah, even handwriting, or spelling. Fuck that. Seriously? You want me to take an extra half hour to pick up a pencil and actually write a letter?! Hell no! Next thing I know ,you’ll be asking me to sharpen my pencil on my own or erase a word that I didn’t spell correctly and rewrite it. Yeah right. Not today, Grandpa. It’s called e-mail, it’s called sending a text. Even that’s too long. It’s called “texting”. It’s called spell check! It’s called “convenience.”
It’s the just way of the world – convenience. Wash my own car? Iron my own clothes? Do my own homework? Recycle? BZZZZZ! WRONG!
Cook my own food?
Get to work/school/class on time?
Reading big, stupid, awkward, shitty-smelling books?
Do what I’m “supposed” to do, what I was “hired” to do?
What’s convenient, is me sleeping in, ordering delivery in my underwear, paying for a bunch of ethnic minorities to wash my car, jerking off, e-readers (even better, audio books), video games, styrofoam non-biodegradable (that’s a mouthful – that’s what she said! LOL!) containers that I can leave around my apartment and have the “so-sorri-no-speek-englis” cleaning crew pick up after me. I can leave the toilet unflushed as well, to make ‘em earn it. What’s convenient is subscribing to like, all of the 8th-grade level national newspapers (because I need to sound smart).
I mean, if someone really wants me to do all that other “integrity-human-decency-honor-respect-for-my-fellow-man” horseshit , they better pay me. ‘Cause otherwise it’s like just not worth my time.
So, Dear Life, God, Universe, Whatever,
Sorri, but muney taks.
Outside the window pane,
The air is white with snow,
A peaceful sight, if I may,
And I might just take a walk or
I could also build a snowman,
With a carrot nose,
Or leave some angels on the ground.
I’ll likely have so much fun that I’ll forget…
Oh, what was I going to say?
Anyway, it’s a snow day, and,
For now I’m worry free,
Let the frets of past and future days,
Trouble themselves mad,
But this day’s all for me.