Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Everyday Use of Emperor's New Groove

Time for a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I think it’s a pretty Mormon thing to be into Disney movies. And I’m a big enough of a Disney geek that at my last job (at the Mission Training Center Bookstore) that I’m fluent in Disney quotes. I’m especially good at Emperor’s New Groove quotes. Let’s face it; there’s a good Disney quote for nearly every situation. As a result, today I have some Emperor’s New Groove quotes for your everyday LDS life (not non-LDS life, they’re pretty versatile).

"You threw off my groove!"
            Useful for pretty much every day. Someone cuts you off in traffic, your roommate is in the shower when you need the bathroom, or that one guy in Elders Quorum brings up his mission leadership experience AGAIN.
"No touchy!"
            Pretty much whenever you need some personal space. Or when anyone of the opposite sex gets too close to a missionary.
"Take your pick; I've got more."
            A more enjoyable way to say “etcetera”. I’ll occasionally use this after running out of ideas in a list.
"It's my birthday gift to me! I'm so happy!"
            Pretty much whenever I buy something for myself. I got really happy when I was able to use this quote for my plans to go to Disneyland after graduating from BYU (that trip is finally happening in September). It’s my graduation gift to me! I’m so happy!
"Well, I suppose there's time for dessert."
            Pretty much any meal as a missionary. “We need to run to another appointment… but I suppose there’s time for dessert.” I don’t know if I ever had a meal as a missionary that didn’t include dessert.
"Arg! I gotta go wash something."
            Anything frustrating: work, relationships, lack of relationships, or the upcoming presidential election.
"I don't know about you, but I'm getting all funned out."
            When work is nearly over. Or when someone goes over during their talk in Sacrament Meeting. Or at the end of a long plane ride. Take your pick; I've got more.
"And that's... Bad?"
            How I feel at the Hill Cumorah Pageant when I see the protestors making claims about Mormons and Joseph Smith and anything else about the church. Some of them end up being true, but they try to spin them in a weird light, so I just brush it off.
"Look at me and my bad self. I snatched you right out of the air."
            Whenever I lose my grip on something and miraculously save it from landing on the floor. Especially food. Can’t let any food go to waste if
“Now I feel bad. Bad llama.”
            Whenever I sarcastically feel bad. Of course this one isn’t complete without the weak self-slap.

Alright. That’s all for now. Next week more Marvel. Unless I come up with something better.

Side note: Can we talk for a second about the apparent psychic
powers that Pacha's kids have? I mean they had visions of their
dad's journey with Kuzco! And they made it down the hill fast
enough to ambush Yzma along the way down. Just saying.

Monday, July 11, 2016

3 Reasons to Play Pokemon Go

Ah! There's a Golbat in my shower!
So I’m minding my own business, getting ready to perform in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. All of a sudden, I see on Facebook that the long awaited Pokemon Go had been released. Within 24 hours, I downloaded, already putting me way behind other players. Ever since, I’ve been playing it between rehearsals and devotionals and everything. Even though I haven’t become addicted to it yet, it looks like the rest of Facebook has. If you haven’t started playing Pokemon Go yet, here are three reasons you should download it now.

First off, you’ll make friends. I’ve been out here in Palmyra and there have been plenty of other people in the cast who have taken up playing Pokemon Go around the Hill, but even more than here, I’ve seen pictures on Facebook and community building just over this simple game. Even though I’m out here still, I’ve already joined at least three Facebook groups for players of Pokemon Go, including one for all of Utah, one for Southern Utah County, and one for Utah Team Valor. All over the place I’m seeing pictures about people getting together at PokeSpots and making friends by playing Pokemon Go. I even saw one article about a guy getting a date with a girl he met while searching for Pokemon. Imagine meeting your soulmate because of Pokemon!

Someone left the window open.
Second reason to play: Many people weren’t expecting Pokemon Go to be an exercise app. However, I’ve seen many posts already about how much people have been walking for Pokemon Go. Not only are people having to get outside and walk around to find Pokemon, but in order to hatch eggs found at the PokeStops, people have get up and walk up to 10 kilometers. And then there are the PokeStops themselves; sure you can drive to them, but lots of people are walking to PokeStops, so that they can catch all the Pokemon along the way. Next time I go for a run, I’m definitely taking Pokemon Go with me to hatch an egg or two.

Third and most important reason to play: To be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is your real test. To train them is your cause. (If you don’t understand all that, you’re probably too young to appreciate Pokemon as a whole) In all seriousness, isn’t the childhood nostalgia the reason this game exists? So many of us played Pokemon in the 90s and wished we could go on a Pokemon journey and collect all 150 (back when there were only 150). Now that is more or less a reality. Now we all have a new goal to catch these people, raise them, and stake our team’s claim at gyms around the country.

So give into your nostalgia and download Pokemon Go. After all, it’s free. What’s the worst that can happen? Happy hunting!

Lots of landmarks and churches and
stuff are PokeSpots and Gyms, like
the Hill Cumorah Visitor Center.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Top Ten Best Fantasy Worlds to Live In

10. Dinotopia
I've talked about this before, but the Dinotopia series features a fantastic world where sentient dinosaurs work side by side with humans in a utopian society (Dinosaur Utopia- get it?). Helping this fantasy is of course the beautiful scenes painted in the children's books of massive ancient cities and people just having fun side by side with dinosaurs.

9. Oz
Yes, they'res a Wicked Witch. And Yes, there's the Rollers, those scary things from Return to Oz, but if you ever read the books, Oz is less of a villain of the week place but is usually an incredibly peaceful place ruled by benevolent magic users with a great transportation system running through it.

8. Harry Potter Universe
Yes, again, there's evil here. But overall, it's kept in check by a massive community of witches and wizards. Reading the Harry Potter books made thousands of kids want to go to Hogwarts, even if they were far over the age of ten. Fun fact: The reason most of us didn't get our Hogwarts letters was because Voldemort wiped out all the Ministry's records of Muggle-Born wizards and witches born from 1985-1998.

7. Pokemon World
It doesn't really matter what age you are, who wouldn't want a team of cute animals as your friends and weapons of destruction? The Pokemon world, when not threatened by global disasters thanks to idiots in matching berets, is a place where you get to own and train Pokemon. I won't lie, if I had the chance I'd be a Pokemon trainer in a second.

6. Animal Crossing World
For those who haven't played the video game, pretend you run a small town in the world of Zootopia. Everyone gets along and as mayor you make most of the town income from fishing and picking apples. It's like being on a vacation all the time with your animal buddies, where the hardest decision you have to make is how to decorate your house.

5. Star Trek
Yes there's wars, but for the most part the United Federation of Planets is a Utopian society where anyone can literally be anything. Artistic and scientific pursuits are seen as equal, especially since money has become a thing of the past. Travel to the most distant stars or settle down at your personal vineyard, your future is yours.

4. Firefly Universe
Joss Whedon's Firefly universe is a lot like the Star Trek universe, but its a little more earthy and real feeling. Money is still around, but some argue that it's what makes the adventure even more sweet. Just grab a Firefly class ship and keep flyin'.

3. Avatar Universe
No, not the blue people. Avatar the Last Airbender universe. Imagine a world where half the population is born with the ability to manipulate the elements. Even if you're not a bender, you can still kick major butt. Plus if you start where Legend of Korra left off, there's a whole new world of spirits to meet and explore.

2. Every Studio Ghibli World (Except Mononoke)
Studio Ghibli worlds are full of whim and beauty that only the master Anime director can imagine. I clarify not the Princess Mononoke world because that world is just depressing, but could you imagine working at the bath house in Spirited Away? How about Totoro helping your garden? Or maybe traveling in a moving castle? Where could you go wrong?

1. Looney Tunes Universe
From its conception, the Looney Tunes world has been one I've always wanted to live in. Nobody dies, even from a direct gunshot to the face. You just turn your bill back to the front of your face and you're good to go. Play with the characters that brightened up your childhood? Yeah, I'm in.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Third Doctor

HALLEJIAH! I’m done with school! That last class I was doing is over and now it’s time for being an adult and for me that means plenty of overtime hours to pay for Disneyland in September. Gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right? In the meantime, how about some Doctor Who? This time I’ve got some Third Doctor for you.

The "other" Brig and Liz look a little
trippy in "Inferno".
Season 7
Top Story: Inferno
Inferno was unique in this part of the Third Doctor era because it played with the TARDIS more. It jumped to a parallel world and actually used the TARDIS, which was rare during the Third Doctor era, especially this early on. It was quite interesting seeing Liz and the Brigadier in the parallel world. Gotta say that the Brigadier looks better with the mustache.
Flop Story: The Silurians
The Doctor teams up with Liz and
the Brigadier to stop the Autons in
"Spearhead from Space".
It’s very possible that I didn’t care for this story because I’d seen the Silurians in Matt Smith’s era of Doctor Who. Because of the reverse order that I was introduced to them, I felt like this Silurian story was basically the same as the Matt Smith one: Humans meet Silurians, the Doctor tries to negotiate between them, and the humans screw it up. Maybe I’d have liked this story better if I had watched it before I watched the Matt Smith one.
Honorable Mention: Spearhead from Space
This story not only introduced the Third Doctor to us, but it also introduced the UNIT-based storyline, which would be the basis of Doctor Who for the next five seasons, as well as many stories over the years since the Third Doctor. It brought the Brigadier back as a main character, last seen in "The Invasion".

The Doctor essentially takes on a
devil in "The Daemons"
Season 8
Top Story: The Daemons
This story brought a season’s long back-and-forth with the Master to an end. It was kind of interesting to see the Doctor toy with everyone, pretending to control Bessie with magic. It was one of those episodes that toyed with the Doctor’s understanding of the world: does magic really exist or not? Also, as a side note, Sergeant Osgood, who appears in this story, was intended to be the father of Petronella Osgood, who works for UNIT in the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor eras.
Flop Story: The Mind of Evil
This one was another convoluted plan by the Master to rule the world. From what I remember of the story, it was kind of repetitive and it didn’t engage me too much in what I was watching. Granted, maybe I was watching it on a grave shift and I just don’t remember it properly.
Off the ground and the Doctor is dealing 
with space politicsin "Colony in Space"
Honorable Mention: Colony in Space
First time off world since the Doctor was grounded! Yay! Though he didn’t have control over the TARDIS yet, but instead was at the mercy of the Time Lords. All the same, it got a little bit of the space travel back into Doctor Who. It also showed the Doctor’s new sonic screwdriver for the first time. We’d seen it on occasion in the Second Doctor era, but it was this Doctor who made it a more frequent companion.

The Doctor gets interrogated in
"Day of the Daleks"
Season 9
Top Story: Day of the Daleks
So we get some more time travel shenanigans here, as well as the return of the Daleks. This story got top marks from its creative use of time travel. I liked having the little twists from the visitors from the future. It was also the first time in years that the Daleks had appeared and we all know how important the Daleks are in the Doctor’s life.
Flop Story: The Sea Devils
It felt like this story was "The Silurians" all over again, except this time we had the Master. So same formula as before: Humans meet Sea Devils, the Doctor tries to negotiate between them, and the humans screw it up. Maybe I didn’t give this story enough of a chance, but that was my impression about it at least. Plus it took forever for the Sea Devils to even show up. This story was honestly a lot more about the Master.
Discrimination still exists in "The Mutants"
Honorable Mention: The Mutants
Nice somewhat political statement about overthrowing the native population. It’s also just this crazy idea that we think we know other people, when really they’re just in the middle of their process. The settlers thought the mutants were deadly and evil, when really they were only like that because someone screwed up their metamorphosis. Undergone naturally, the metamorphosis turned them into something beautiful. There’s a gospel metaphor in there somewhere. I’m not sure where.

The Master tries to hypnotize Jo in
"Frontier in Space"
Season 10
Top Story: Frontier in Space
Not too long after regaining the ability to travel in the TARDIS (we’ll get to that in a second), the Doctor and Jo end up in the middle of a war between the Draconians and Earth. It was an interesting, mind-twisting plot. The humans were deceived into thinking the Draconians were attacking them and the Draconians were deceived into thinking the humans were attacking them. However, in reality, the attackers on both sides are the Ogrons, masked by a hypnosis device. They’re led by the Master and, surprise, the Daleks (who we see more of in the next story). This was kind of a sad story in hindsight because it was the last appearance of the Master, as portrayed by Roger Delgado. The Master wouldn’t be seen again until the Fourth Doctor era.
Flop Story: The Green Death
This could have been an amazing story, with Jo falling in love, saving the world, and leaving the Doctor. However, instead it kind of came across as a tree-hugger story. I have nothing against tree-huggers… except when it’s overdone. Also it doesn’t help that because of disputes about her character, Katy Manning wouldn’t return as Jo until 2010 when she appeared in the Sarah Jane Adventures.
The Second and Third Doctors have
to work together to stop Omega.
Honorable Mention: Planet of the Daleks
This story directly followed “Frontier in Space” and it also served as a sequel to the First Doctor story “The Daleks”, showing what happened with the Thals after the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan left Skaro. As a story itself it was great, but it was also just cool to see it tie things together, both with the previous story and with one of the first First Doctor stories.
Special Episode: The Three Doctors
Honestly, this one could easily have had Honorable Mention, so I had to put it in its own category to be fair. To start out Season 10, Doctor Who had its 10th Anniversary Special, which featured the First Doctor, the Second Doctor, and the Third Doctor. The Time Lords set the three Doctors against Omega to stop him and in return they reward the Third Doctor with his knowledge of how to pilot the TARDIS again. So after this story, it’s back into the Time Vortex for some adventuring.

Season 11
The Doctor takes on a stegosaurus in
"The Invasion of the Dinosaurs"
Top Story: Invasion of the Dinosaurs
Before I watched this story, I thought it sounded really silly. When I watched it, it looked silly, with all of the plastic dinosaurs. It was beautifully horrific special effects. However, the story wasn’t what I expected. Somehow I imagined dinosaurs invading London and having that be the plot. Instead, that’s just the diversion. Somehow I didn’t see that coming, at least not at first.
Flop Story: Death to the Daleks
It’s hard for me to say that any Dalek episode is bad, but this story was just hard to follow. Perhaps this was another that I watched during an overnight shift at work, but I just couldn’t get into it. It’s a shame really because this was Sarah Jane’s first off-world adventure and the first time she met the Daleks. I would have hoped for a more spectacular story.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane help out
the Queen of Peladon
Honorable Mention: Monster of Peladon
Reaching back a couple seasons to “The Curse of Peladon”, the Doctor and Sarah Jane travel here to visit, only to find out that many years have passed. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Jo’s adventure to Peladon, this one was kind of cool, as it played as a sequel to that original story and it gave Sarah Jane some great personality. My favorite, as she said to the Queen of Peladon, “There is nothing only about being a girl.” As far as female characters go, Sarah Jane is great!

Third Doctor Companions:
Liz                   Spearhead from Space - Inferno
Jo                     Terror of the Autons - The Green Death
Sarah Jane       The Time Warrior - (4th Doctor)

Jo became quite resourceful while
she worked with the Doctor
Favorite Companion:
Having watched modern Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures, I’d have thought that Sarah Jane would be my favorite Third Doctor companion. However, as much as I liked Sarah Jane, I loved Jo Grant. She started out as the ditzy blonde, but she grew and matured and became stronger and braver. Her character development was wonderful, turning from a dumb blonde to a clever sidekick for the Doctor.

No one's sass can match up to Liz Shaw
Least Favorite Companion:
It was hard to choose my least favorite companion of the Third Doctor, because I liked all three. However, if I have to choose one it would be Liz Shaw. Liz was great and I loved her sarcasm and sass. The problem is that, unlike Jo, her character was kind of flat. She was a skeptic when she met the Doctor and that never really changed, even after seeing some of the workings of the TARDIS and alien creatures. That being said, Liz only stayed for one season. If she had been a companion longer and had a proper trip with the Doctor, maybe things would have been different.

Alright. That’s all for now. I’m headed out to the Hill Cumorah Pageant later this week. I’m going to try to post still while I’m gone, but since I’m going to be super busy, I make no promises. If not sooner, I’ll see you again in the second half of July.

Decades later, Sarah Jane and Jo met over the supposed death
of the Doctor, but the Third Doctor's companions knew better

Friday, June 24, 2016

To shave or not to shave?

Beards are making a weird comeback in popular culture. Even the weird curly mustaches are starting to be popular, yet if you have a beard some church members will think you're an immoral Satan worshiper unless you take a razor to your whiskers.

Let me back up: I'm not in any way criticizing the church, church policy, or the gospel, and frankly, outside of the mission field and BYU honor code, beards are not against any standing church policy. In fact once upon a time missionaries were encouraged to grow beards in order to look older and more mature, which isn't such a bad idea. Have you seen the 18 year olds going out? I sometimes wonder if they're just dressing up Sunbeams...

But I digress.

So if anti-beards aren't in the scriptures, church handbook and haven't been brought up in a conference since the 60's, what's the problem? Well the problem starts in the 60's, when beards were no longer seen as a professional and mature symbol, but as a symbol of deviance and counter-culture. Not having beards made elders look different and more dignified.

The First Presidency at the time said that the policy was fluid, not doctrine, and is based on the culture at the time. In 2016 the beard has become more mainstream, as a more casual look has become the new adult. So if someone wants to have a beard and has a job where it's seen as perfectly acceptable, are they unworthy?

The answer is no. In no way shape or form are they bad because they have a beard. It is facial hair, let's get over it.

Now I'm not going against any bishop or stake president who says that beards need to go for their specific areas. I'm  just some guy with a blog and a lot of free time. But I hate it when culture and doctrine get twisted together and good people doing what's right take on shame and anger because someone is stuck in the wrong age. Bishops and stake presidents, I implore you. Are you acting based on the spirit, or based on a tradition you grew up with?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mormon Geeks Coloring Book!

Hay folks,
Coloring has become so hot among adults the United States is actually having a colored pencil shortage! Not one to be behind on trends, here is the official Mormon Geeks Coloring Book. Most of these were combed from Pinterest so we don't actually have rights to distribute for profit beyond the wild west laws that govern the internet, we just compiled them for free. So here you go, have fun, make cool coloring books for your kids, and send in your coloring projects. :)