Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Solace

You know all that commotion over that proposed mosque near the former site of the World Trade Center?
I think President Uchtdorf says it best:
"It seems only right and proper that we extend to others that which we so earnestly desire for ourselves."


You know that other quite prominent issue that has our church under fire? The one that particularly pertains to California at the moment? Try this one on for size (same talk, President Uchtdorf):

"I am not suggesting that we accept sin or overlook evil, in our personal life or in the world. Nevertheless, in our zeal, we sometimes confuse sin with sinner, and we condemn too quickly and with too little compassion. We know from modern revelation that 'the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.' We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more than we can measure the span of the universe. Every person we meet is a VIP to our Heavenly Father. Once we understand that, we can begin to understand how we should treat our fellowmen."
Just a friendly reminder I suppose. Words from a prophet, seer, and revelator. I love that I can find words like these for comfort and inspiration. I love that I can whole-heartedly agree. I love that even though they are primarily spiritual, they are completely applicaple from a secular perspective. I sincerely hope that there is evidence of me acting upon these words somewhere.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it."


Each summer, I try to become more culturally literate by blazing through as many classic pieces of literature that I can. Last summer, I read The Color Purple by Alice Walker. That is one that I'll never forget. It's difficult to stomach at times yes, but its message is hard-hitting and presented completely devoid of arrogance.

Here's what I learned from it:

You are you.
You cannot be anyone else, and nobody else can be you.
Everything in life can make you stronger...
...or it can kill you.
You choose.
You need to love,
and you need to love people.
Nobody else can love the way you can.
Some people need you.
You exist.
You're here.


I was reminded of this book and these lessons because of the recent events in Fantasia Barrino's life. If you haven't heard, she tried to take her own life a couple weeks ago. Fantasia played Celie in the stage adaptation of The Color Purple on Broadway and was so popular that she nearly doubled ticket sales and performed at several stops on the national tour. If her understudy went on, people would walk out and demand a refund. She had never seen a play before being in it. She received rave reviews.  My favorite line from any review of hers? "Whatever power is at work here, it's enough to confirm your belief in the divine."

She released her third album this week, the final track being the song "I'm Here" from The Color Purple, which I downloaded today. Even after living through Celie's story hundreds of times, Fantasia apparently forgot that she's "here." She forgot about the uplifting and inspring nature of her other-worldy talent. She forgot that she's a mother. Please, don't ever forget that you're here and here for a reason. You may not know that reason now, you may not ever know it. Regardless of what you believe, what you don't believe, or what you may or may not want to believe, you are human. And you ARE here.

"I may be poor, I may be black, I may be ugly, but I'm here."



"I'm thankful for each day that I'm given. Both the easy and hard ones I'm livin'."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Departures



I've wanted to blog about the film Departures (Okuribito, its original Japanese title) for a long time...

...but I cannot find the words to express my thoughts on it.

Listen to the little bugger at the top of this, let that do the talking for you.
Then go watch it.

If it's hard to track down, come over to my house and we'll watch it on Netflix.
I've seen it twice and am itching to see it again.

It's about life, death, happiness, loss, passion, family, forgiveness, and...well...everything.
It'll haunt you forever.



おくりびと

Monday, August 9, 2010

Some More YouTube Shares



If you haven't heard of Antoine Dodson before now, where have you been? Let's get one thing straight: this isn't a funny situation. The guy really is commendable for saving his sister. However, I dare you to watch this without laughing. Be sure to check out the Bed Intruder Remix which is, as of right now, the #34 song on iTunes (and as of 8/20/2010 #89 on the Billboard Hot 100!). Awesome.



The Hiroshima anniversary was a couple days ago. I always watch this when I need a little humility in my life.



How much do I love Audra McDonald? Too much. A cruise ship in Mexico, conducting the audience, two unexpected key changes, flipping off the pianist, and absolutely rocking it. She is simply a living legend. How can you not love her?



This is so my little brothers.



So, I'm not a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. At ALL. And I'm REALLY not a fan of Phantom of the Opera....not one bit. I laughed when I heard he was writing a sequel (Love Never Dies, currently playing in London). I laughed even harder when I heard the premise of the story. He did cast two of my favorite performers, Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo, in the lead roles. I've heard most of the music; it's pretty bad. This song however? Incredible. Easily my favorite song by Webber. And, can I just say I want to be Ramin when I grow up? Ladies, brace yourselves before you watch this.



Me, Myself, and I has always been one of my favorites. Anyone that denies her ability as a vocalist is deaf.  She's not particularly difficult to look at either. This one's more calm and controlled, this one is just plain fierce.



This is my favorite music video. It always makes me think.



I remember hearing about this story in the news years ago. I remember everyone talking about this guy in church and how he was such a great example. I don't think I appreciated his story until I saw this. Prepare yourself before watching it. It's difficult to watch, but carries the most beautiful message imaginable.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Quiz

Edit: Thanks for all the responses. I've loved reading them. If we're being fair, I need to voice some of my own responses. They're in bold. Keep commenting if you're reading this just now!

I think a lot. I've been thinking about some things, some serious, but mostly trivial. I have questions and I want to hear the answers from YOU. Don't even try to get away with reading this and not commenting. I KNOW YOU EXIST! I look at the traffic on my blog and I have nearly ten times as many views as I have comments. I'm not mad about it by any means. I'm actually quite happy that people that I'm unaware of are reading this. BUT if you are frightened to leave a comment, don't be. I don't care if you're my best friend or if I've never heard of you, I want your responses on these, just for fun. 

Some have no right or wrong answer, some do. Answer as many as you wish or feel compelled to answer.

  • Why do we have private blogs? Really though. The internet is public domain. Social networking sites offer loads of privacy settings in order for you to stay privately connected with your friends. What's the harm in having a public blog? Isn't that why you create one? I think letting a select few people read your big ol' self-indulgent blog posts is, well...self-indulgent. Create a blog, prepare to be stalked. Actually, there's no such thing as blog "stalking." That's my philosophy anyway. Agree?
    • Private is private. :)
  • We're always getting on pre-missionaries' cases about "filling the canteen" before their missions, but why are we so proud of girls that collect missionaries like Silly Bandz?
    • Rachel, I love that answer. Missionaries don't belong to anyone but the Lord. They are not "your missionary." Sorry, but I don't have much sympathy for girls that are torn up over "their missionary" leaving. That's covered in a later question.
  • It's politically incorrect to refer to someone of African decent as just "African." The correct term is "African American." Why is it that I am always, always, always simply refered to as just "Asian"? Apparently I'm not American, despite being born in the country.
    • I'm really not upset about this at all. I just think it's peculiar and wanted to hear your thoughts.  I agree, Shannon and Rachel being "politically correct" is silly.
  • Name three African nations off the top of your head.
    • Bravo.
  • Give me three distinct differences (cultural, culinary, language, etc.) between China and Japan. Can you do it?
    • Shannon, you rocked this one. Sometimes I want to give a copy of Ai's handout to everyone I know. The differences are there, and easy to notice. Ignorance is the only thing that can blind you.
  • So Miley Cyrus (just an example) is now the sleaze of the century. Is she entitled to the kind of art she is currently producting? Is it wrong? Are you upset about it? Why?
    • I really have no opinion one way or the other. It's not hard to look away.
  • How does same-sex marriage harm you? (NOT playing devil's advocate, just curious).
    • I'm starting to think the best policy on this issue is to keep my mouth shut. I do advise everyone to really examine themselves on this and every issue. It is very important to be politically aware. Don't use your religion as a cop-out and don't choose the trendy side of the issue. What do you think is best? Why?
  • I think feminism killed chivalry.
    • Good one Joni. Feminism comes in all varieties, which also mean chivalrous expectations vary as well. Which means there is a bit of trial and error that has to take place....dang.
  • Name three Canadian provinces.
    • You made me look really dumb, Aimee.
  • Where is Latvia?
    • Phew, ya'll are alright. Do you know what the other Baltic nations are?
  • How do you justify being someone's biggest fan? A groupie, per say. You know who you are.
    • I was being far too specific on this one, yet you still nailed it on the head, Shannon.
  • Do you like authority?
    • Too general. My bad.
  • Which culture is yogurt from?
    • It's (drumroll)....Turkish!!
  • What language do they speak in Ukraine?
    • Good job.
  • The United States has no official language. Do you get upset when people can't speak English at McDonalds?
    • I'm torn on this one.  Really, I don't know what to think.
  • Lady GaGa. What do you think?
    • Quit reading my thoughts Shannon. The woman IS talented (acoustic covers on the piano anyone?). And I enjoy that she can be emotionally provocative. However, there is a line that she crosses again and again and it makes me like her less and less. Showing up to a Mets game in your underwear, swearing, screaming, and flipping people off so much to the point that you are moved into Jerry Seignfeld's private suite (not yours) ain't artistic, it's trashy. Normal people would've been kicked out in an instant. Enjoy what you can, Wendy. I don't think that's hypocritical at all.
  • What language do they speak in Brazil?
    • Haha, I asked this one because I remember one of my friend's telling me they "speak a little Brazillian."
  • What's a veto?
    • Sheesh, this question makes me sound like a snotty third grader that got second place in the spellling bee.
  • In the LDS faith, we're (males) taught not to steady date until after we serve a full-time mission. What's the severity here? Is someone that drinks coffee just as condemned as the high school senior with a girlfriend? Why?
    • Going back to the previous question. THIS is why there shouldn't be any sorrow over departing missionaries. It's all in the words of the prophet. Choose your battles.
  • Why, why, why do we lose socks in the laundry?
    • ?

I guess that's enough for now. I may get too carried away.

Go. Answer, respond, do something.

Just watch. Nobody is going to comment on this post, now that I've asked.