Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Christmas Time in Norman!

I love Christmas.
I love Christmas lights.
I love Christmas trees.

This Christmas tree served at the Air Force Academy for some time, fulfilling its important duty to bring Holiday cheer to one Brian Thorn. It was decorated with Air Force colors back then.

I put up the lights with tape and paper clips. It looks good, and it hasn't fallen down yet. I will say, however, that the air unit pushes the ornaments against the branches and causes noise at night. That's annoying, because I'm the lightest sleeper in the world.
But anything for Christmas. A little less sleep, a little more Christmas-time.

This is the obligatory Myspace-photo where I take a picture of myself taking a picture.

Remind me to take a picture of the lights from across Lindsey Street. My room is super-awesome because it faces the stadium, the Honors College, Gaylord--everything. You can see it from the telephone booth outside of Dale Hall.

Here's a photo looking north toward Lindsey. The telephone booth is circled in red.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Top Five Pixar Movies

Hopefully all of you remember my controversial note on The Best and Worst Pixar Movies.
Some of you might remember the sketchy ending to my note, where I neglected to say which Pixar movies were my favorites. That was to leave you hankerin’ for more!
I originally set out to identify the top two and bottom two Pixar movies, but I'm expanding my top list to FIVE. Some of you will welcome this. Some of you will hate it, because your favorite still won’t make the top five. For this, I am most cry.
I have four disclaimers about this discussion:
a) After I publish this note, I may mentally rearrange which Toy Story movie I think is the best. But there is a method for my madness in arranging them the way that I did.
2) There are no right and wrong answers to “which Toy Story movie is the best?” Like post-modern people say, “It’s all relevant.”
d) The Incredibles will never breach my top five, even if I watch it again and decide that it doesn’t belong at the bottom of the Pixar pile.
5) Did you like how I arbitrarily started italicizing the movie titles halfway through the last note?
The Top Five Pixar Movies
Toy Story 2 The opening scene with Buzz Lightyear and Zurg was fantastic. What?! Buzz doesn’t die! Buzz does, however, breath like Darth Vader. The use of Star Wars sound effects, and other Star Wars nods in the movie, was great. Zurg is Buzz’s father? That makes total sense. After all, Zurg has a battle station with the destructive power to annihilate an entire planet.
Other quotables:
“But I don’t want to use my head!” (Rex, right before using his head as a battering ram.)
“Well, we tried.” (Rex, at seeing the traffic blocking them from Al’s Toy Barn.)
“Father…” (Buzz, after watching Zurg fly down the elevator shaft.)
I used to play the Toy Story 2 Gameboy Color game all the time. Too much fun. I can still hear that glorious music, in Gameboy Color surround sound, complemented with an HD screen showing cutting-edge graphics…
…although it may have been awhile.
Toy Story 3
Many of you will be angry at me that I put Toy Story 2 before Toy Story 3, because you believe that Toy Story 2 belongs at the bottom of the pile. Not so.
Toy Story 3, however, was a stunning finale (?) to the Toy Story series. Spanish-mode Buzz, Tortilla-Mr. Potatohead, and enough stirring character scenes to make a 22 year-old man cry made THIS Toy Story movie one of the three most memorable Pixar movies of all time. In fact, it ranks along with Toy Story 2 and another movie in the top three best Pixar movies of all time. What’s that other movie? Well…
Toy Story
Toy Story may surpass all other Pixar movies, just because it was the first, and because it was so hilarious and visually stunning. It introduced us to Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Rex, Mr. Potatohead, and the rest of the gang. And who can ever forget the toy-soldiers-reconnaissance mission? Pure gold.
Monster’s Inc “Mike Wazowski!” “She’s out of our haaaaaair!”
Why articulate an argument for this movie when I can just quote it? I still have all of the toys.
A Bug’s Life
“Oh! Look at the beautiful colors of the…blood.”
“We drew a picture of one of you dying to make it more dramatic.”
“Don’t look at the light!” “I can’t help it, it’s so beautiful…AAAAAH!”
Now, I may be slightly biased about A Bug’s Life, because it’s been around for so long and I’ve watched it so many times. It’s possible that Up might be better, but I’d have to watch it again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I miss my friend.

Last night I found out that one of my childhood friends passed away.

It was completely unexpected. I’m trying to understand what it means that he’s gone. I’ve known him for around ten years.

We went to different universities, and we both have busy schedules, so it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him. I think the last time I saw him was Christmas of 2008 or summer of 2009. I can’t remember.

I wish I could remember the last things we said to each other. It was probably “Goodbye” or “God bless,” and it was definitely after a good time.

My friend loved to play Risk, he loved bowling, he loved the Dallas Cowboys, he loved the NewsBoys, he loved the United States of America, and he loved Jesus Christ.

I can’t remember when I first met my friend and his family, but it was probably connected to homeschooling. As a homeschooler in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you get to know everyone. If there’s someone you don’t know, you know someone who knows them.

We became good friends. We went to each other’s birthday parties. We went to AWANAs together at McKinney Memorial Bible Church.

He lent me his NewsBoys CDs one time.

We loved to talk about the Dallas Cowboys. We got excited when the Cowboys won.

We talked about Jesus and the Bible.

He introduced me to corn dogs, and we would go to his house to play chess, play Risk, and eat corn dogs and brownies and chips and salsa and drink sodas.

He let me play his guitar when I went to his house.

He liked Star Wars. And he liked LEGOs too, way back when. And he liked the Lord of the Rings.

He had a wonderful Texan accent. He was a friendly, compassionate, humorous young man.

He taught me that “Cake is good, too much cake is not good.” When he said, “Cake is good,” he would rub his tummy. "Mmm, good." When he said, “too much cake is not good,” he would shake his head. No, too much cake is NOT good.

He was my friend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Best and Worst Pixar Movies

The release of the new Cars sequel gives me an opportunity to write on a subject that has consumed the passions of everyone in my dorm:

-=What are the Two Best and the Two Worst Pixar Movies of all time?

If you haven't heard about Cars 2, or you haven't seen the trailer, let me point you in the right direction: Cars 2 Trailer I have two disclaimers about this discussion: a) I arbitrarily chose "Top 2" and "Bottom 2" Pixar movies when I introduced this topic of discussion last night. I may expand that number to 3. Or maybe not. I'll figure that out soon enough. 2) There are right and wrong answers to this question. Get emotional. d) All of the Pixar movies are good. Therefore, when I say "worst," I'm referring to "the worst of the best." But feel free to use my words against me and accuse me of hating The Incredibles*, because it's definitely the worst Pixar movie ever. *Writing this at the start of my note is called an "inflammatory tactic": it's to get you to read more. Is it working? Before I list the best and worst Pixar movies, I will provide a comprehensive Pixar movie list for your convenience. (This list is from wikipedia, which we know to be divinely inspired.)

1995-Toy Story You are a sad, strange little man. I bid you farewell.

1998-A Bug's Life I saw the trailer for Star Wars Episode I when I watched this movie in theaters. Adrenaline rush.

1999-Toy Story 2 I am your father.

2001-Monster's Inc She's out of our haaaair!

2003-Finding Nemo Duuuuuude!

2004-The Incredibles The trailer promised so much. The movie failed to deliver. Incredibles fans, are you incensed?

2006-Cars Came out during the '06 World Cup. Brian and my dad absolutely love this movie. Road trippin' time.

2007-Ratatouille Took me forever to spell this title right. I was emotionally compromised when I saw this movie, and I only saw it once. But there's a reason I only saw it once.

2008-WALL-E I wish I had been on a date when I watched this. Apparently it was the best date movie ever.

2009-Up The opening sequence to this movie is perhaps the most perfect piece of cinematic history ever.)

2010-Toy Story 3 My generation grew up with Andy, we went to college with Andy, so we all cried a lot. And we laughed, thanks to Spanish Mode Buzz.
They planned this movie for over 6 years, because I remember hearing about it at DisneyWorld in 2004. And by the way--Are you classically trained? -=What are the Best and Worst Pixar Movies? This is a difficult question, not only because so many of you will be angry at me for what I am about to say, but because it's easier to identify the worst than to identify the best. So I will identify the worst first: The number one worst Pixar movie of all time:

The Incredibles I have mathematical reasons for disliking The Incredibles. These mathematics consist of numbers. Numbers and math are science, therefore I have scientific reasons for disliking The Incredibles.

Scientific reason #1: The affair/adultery theme in the movie. I was not prepared for such a heavy theme in a Pixar movie. I know that the superhero-father-guy never actually did anything with the skinny-blond-lady, but the potential was always there, and that potential affair was a plot device. You can blame me for "not-being-prepared," but I am part of the audience, and content creators are supposed to know the audience. For example, I know that many people in my audience like The Incredibles, so I should be eliciting a response. Know your audience.

Scientific Reason #2: What is up with the flaming demon baby? The flaming demon baby was disturbing AND the movie was already over! The fight scene was done! The world was saved! We don't need a last minute kidnap/opportunity for an exorcism. Say no to the flaming demon baby.

Scientific Reason #3: A lot of people, heros and minions, died in The Incredibles. Again with the know-your-audience issue--I was not expecting Star Wars-level action in a Pixar movie.
Scientific reason why The Incredibles is not an unredeemable movie: Frozone. Frozone uses ice and stuff, and ice is studied in chemistry.

Other scientific reason why The Incredibles is not an unredeemable movie: Edna. 'Nuff said. The Incredibles needed more Edna, more Frozone, less affair, and less flaming demon babies.

The number two worst Pixar movie of all time:


Ratatouille just simply did not impress me. There were two great parts to this movie:

1) The opening short with the alien spaceship, Lifted.

Hilarious short film that gets major geek points for having the Wilhelm Scream in it. If you don't know what the Wilhelm Scream is, look it up and fall to sleep tonight with the smug knowledge that you are geekier than when you woke up.

2) The scene with the food critic remembering his own childhood, when he ate ratatouille.

The rest of the movie was forgettable. That's why I can't remember why I don't like it.

-=Moving On

Now, I already told you about my "inflammatory tactics." I'm about to introduce three more tactics:

a) The cop-out (in which I will surreptitiously end the note without telling you what I think are the two best Pixar movies are.)

2) The teaser, where I hint that I might reveals those top two in another note.

It is easier for a camel to enter the kingdom of heaven than for The Incredibles to borrow a needle from a rich man.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arranged Marriage

This post is dedicated to Cameron, because he asked me to explain my views on arranged marriage.
Disclaimer: this post may or may not reflect the author’s deepest convictions about love and marriage. It may reflect the author’s intent for you to perform a double-take and have a headache thinking about this issue.
I’m a huge fan of arranged marriage for a number of reasons, but I must first explain my definition of arranged marriage.
Steven’s definition of arranged marriage: letting your parents choose your spouse for you.
That concept is horrifying to a lot of you. I find that concept appealing for a number of reasons:
1) The current dating setup is far too stressful. You have to guess whether or not someone likes you before you ask them out (unless you’re willing to be rejected).
You have this awkward dating period before you have the DTR (Define The Relationship) talk.
There’s too much room for self-deceit, and too much room for emotions to cloud your judgment.
2) Arranged marriage puts the responsibility of choosing a spouse into the hands of my parents. My parents are older than me, smarter than me, and wiser than me. They can see past my feelings of infatuation, and my mom would really prefer to choose my wife anyway, because only she really knows who’s good enough for her little boy. (The true answer is that no girl is good enough for her little boy, but eventually the desire to have grandkids will win out, and then she will want to choose my wife for me.)
3) I trust my parents’ judgment.
Some of you may not trust your parents’ judgment, in which case you’re not in favor of arranged marriage at all. That’s understandable.
Some of you trust your parents’ judgment but don’t like arranged marriage for other reasons:
1) You don’t think arranged marriage leaves room for love. I think this argument comes from a flawed understanding of what love is. People who subscribe to this argument think that, while love may come after marriage, marrying someone you’re not in love with is so not romantic. What they fail to understand is that you lose your twitterpated feelings after marriage and have to learn to live with someone. Arranged marriage is just like that—except without the twitterpated feelings to deceive you. Which sets up my conclusion…that I can’t share yet, because it’s my conclusion.
2) You think I don’t want to man up and ask a girl out. Fair point, but wrong. I’m afraid of many things, but rejection by a girl is not one of them. I get knocked down, but I can get up again…and again…and again…
3) You’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof.
Conclusion I could go into more depth on this subject, but my attention span is wearing out.
Final two thoughts:
1) My thoughts about arranged marriage are irrelevant for me because my parents refuse to arrange my marriage
2) If I manage to get married, I could always arrange my kids’ marriages.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thank You, October 29th, 2010

This past Friday, October 29th, I turned 20 years old. I'm no longer a teenager. I talked to my mom over the phone on Friday, and she said, "I guess you're a man now."

Weird. 18 and 19 couldn't do it--but I didn't have to wait until 21. I'm a man now at 20.
20 is like the neutral zone between Federation Space and the Romulans (or the Klingons). It's not this or that--it's just there. But it DOES mean that I'm not a teenager anymore. That's good.

I was going to go trick-or-treating on Friday night, but my friends who were going to accompany me all had parties to attend. Epic disappoint.

And yet I was not to be dismayed. I entertained myself in the morning by playing the guitar and writing music. In the afternoon, I went into work (on video editing, which I love). I also dressed up as Harry Potter all day (lots of fun). My plan was to get things done, have fun, and hang out.

The guys on my hall made the day far more special than I had planned. In the morning, we went to Couch Cafeteria for Caf Breakfast Birthday (we go every week for Caf Breakfast Tuesday, so this week we double-dipped). That was fun.

What was even more unexpected than that was the birthday present some of my friends got me. After having a long phone conversation with my Grampa, two of my hallmates came into my room telling me they had a surprise for me.

They presented me with a Star Wars Clone Wars gift bag! HUZZAH! I love the Clone Wars. But GUESS WHAT? There was even something INSIDE the bag!

They bought me a guitar tuner, which I really needed. Too legitimate to quit. They also got me a card of a singing, dancing, cowboy hamster.

Then my friends took me out to dinner at Hideaway Pizza. We talked about the virtues of arranged marriage (some in my party disagreed with the idea, but they have time to change their views).

After dinner, we went to a haunted house put on by some of our friends. It was really fun, and a little bit scary. The girls who hosted the event did a wonderful job.

All in all, October 29th, and the month of October as a whole, was FANTASTIC.