Sunday, July 24, 2011

Media Matters

A couple blog posts ago I wrote down how I had finally taken the plunge into totally embracing my geekieness (if I spelled that wrong I'm sorry, but spell-check doesn't have "geekieness" in its databank). I had started reading comic books and totally loved it. I loved the stories, the artwork, and the fact that I sometimes felt like a little kid again. This last part was important as school can sometimes make a person feel too grown up, and start to lose touch with their inner child. If I'm not careful I'm afraid this will result in me becoming more stiff and boring than a game of Monopoly at a retirement home; and we don't want that. In fact, my family might have noticed hints of me trying to counter this by trying to reclaim some of my inner "9 year old Darin" while we were at our last trip in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I was on a three week break from school, and I had to store this up in preparation for the next trimester. I practically begged my family to go laser tagging, as I can't think of any better remedy to calm my "boring old man" fears. I mean really, you're in a dark room, with other team members, shooting lasers at each other for points. If that doesn't make you feel like a little kid again I don't know what will. Lucky for me my incessant begging like a sweet eyed puppy dog paid off as we went multiple times.

Anyway, enough of side tracking. I love reading comic books. I love the stories, the art work, and the fact that superheroes are saving the day on a usual basis. Comic books are just a fun concept. The thing is, there are some comic books that have excessive violence, and some of the costume's can be a little risque. I can try and quickly breeze through these pages, but the I still have to see the drawings.

Honestly, the longer I had the types of immoral and violent comics in my apartment, the more and more I could feel the Holy Ghost not being as present and strong in my life. I noticed a difference with how I felt. I was praying one night, asking what I needed to do to get my apartment to have a stronger present of the Holy Ghost. Leading up to this prayer, I had been confused because the TV shows and movies I watched, as well as the music I listened to, are pretty clean. I also was reading my scriptures and praying to Heavenly Father on a regular basis. Regardless, I knew something was off. I had never connected what was happening with how I felt spiritually to some of the comic books I had in my apartment until I had the very strong answer to my prayer that I should throw them out. This I immediately did, and I cannot tell you the difference it has made in the overall spirit and feel of my apartment.

The reason I wanted to write this down is so that I, and those who happen to randomly read my blog, will think more about what type of media we allow into our lives. Many times we justify the things we read, watch, play as video games, and listen to. We justify it by saying, "Violence doesn't bother me. I'm not going to go kill someone because of what I watch or play." Or we say, "I hear swearing all the time at school and work, so what does it matter if I hear it in the movies I watch, the games I play, or the music I listen to?" I am not saying that we need to throw everything out and only watch Disney movies and listen to classical music. What I am saying is that, from personal experience, we need to be aware of how the media we have in our home affects how we feel and the spirit of our home. If we know it affects us in a negative manner, we need to get rid of it and throw it out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Very Best Family Vacation

Here is a link to a slide show of a photo shoot my family had professionally done while were were vacationing in the outer banks of North Carolina. I wanted to put this up here so I can always reference it. I have such an amazing and wonderful family who I love very much. I don't know what I did to be born to such wonderful parents and siblings (and to have such a great, kind, and thoughtful person as my twin brother), nor do I know what my siblings did to marry such amazing and uplifting people, who also helped give my family such adorable, talented, and sweet nieces and nephews. However it happened that we all ended up together as a family, I'm sure glad that it did. Enjoy the video.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meow...

These past three weeks I was on a much needed vacation. I only get three weeks off for a break from school in the summer (which in my professional opinion as a student, I think should be longer). During that time, I started and ended my vacation by staying with my brother Devin and his wife Deanna in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Now, before you all get visual images of podunk USA full of toothless rednecks who can't formulate a clear sentence, I must say that Knoxville is actually really nice. It's nothing like my ignorant mind imagined. There are great restaurants, it's a clean city, the people were friendly and great to talk to, and it is close to the Smoky Mountains (which happen to be absolutely beautiful). But no vacation can be perfect, and this vacation was no exception. The reason why? Leroy the cat.

If you were to describe, in general, how cats behave, what words would you use? I know what words I would choose. The words would be solitary, loners, quite, loners, self-maintaining, loners. Oh, did I mention that I think cats are loners, as in they usually like to be alone? I did? Three times you say? Well, that is because every single cat I have ever met has been a loner. They like to be alone. You get within twenty feet of a cat and they run away like Usain Bolt running the forty yard dash. Dogs, on the other hand, will gleefully run towards you while they simultaneously try to smash their stinky hairy body against you, with their tongue sloppily lopping around in a dopy grin in the hope to be petted before you even finish your first step of walking into the room. Dogs crave attention like a drug addict craves heroine. Dogs want us to love them, while cats think that they are too good for us. They make us earn their love (which boggles my mind why someone would want a cat for a pet, but that's a whole other blog entry by itself). It's what makes dogs great and cats silly as a pet. But Leroy? He is no typical cat. He's more like a cog; body of a cat, mind like a dog. It sounds great, and in most ways it is; but there are times it can be absolutely terrible. And the absolutely terrible is what I am writing about.

This morning at 6:00, my brother Devin left for meetings for church. This posed only a slight problem as I was sleeping on the couch in the front room after traveling the whole day before. I was extremely tired, so falling back asleep seemed inevitable. I of course forgot to calculate that there was a cog awake in the room. Leroy, who is very awake and active at this fine early hour of the day, decided to voice his sadness of Devin leaving. This would actually make for a really cute story if it were in a ABC Family children's movie, or if no one else where around. Unfortunately it wasn't a cute children's movie, and I happened to be around. Leroy, like a dog, sat by the door that Devin just exited. And, like a dog, Leroy was vocal about his displeasure of his owner leaving him. Leroy meowed, again, and again, and again. Not just for 5 minutes, for that would be tolerable. Nor for 30 minutes, which would cause only mild agitation. No, Leroy the cog meowed for a whole hour and a half. Non-stop, no break, of straight meows at 6:00 in the morning. I even got up and locked Leroy in the bathroom as an ill attempt to put him in some sort of a time out. It made sense since dogs get the cue that they are being punished. Leroy didn't quite understand that he was in trouble, which proves that he does possess some cat-like characteristics, so the vocalization of his displeasure only continued louder now that he was away from his coveted front door. Long story short, for the duration of the hour and a half, I slept for five. Leroy was let out of his time out after two minutes, and immediately went back to his position in front of the door. There he continued his lamentation of his departed owner.

I think it is sweet that Devin is loved by his cat. I even think it is kind of neat that Leroy acts more like a needy dog than a loner, self absorbed cat. But having a cat meow for an hour and a half in the crack of dawn doesn't cause you to think about the positives of a cat acting like a dog; it makes you want to throw the cat in the middle of the street and pray that a stray raccoon discovers its new toy.