Thursday, April 10, 2014

Musings of an Extrovert

Being the social media butterfly I am, I read a lot of blog posts.  One of the things I’ve noticed is that social media such as blogging and facebook is a great way for introverts to have a voice and connect with a a lot of people in a way that works for them.  There have been a lot of great blog posts and what not that I’ve seen from introverts about the frustrations and joys of being introverted.

That is so great.

But why should introverts get all the fun?!  Here are some thoughts I wish more introverts understood.

I'm not allergic to books. I'm allergic to Stephanie
Meyere.  There's a difference.

1. We're deep people!

The assumption is often made that extroverts are shallow and not particularly intelligent people.  This is couldn’t be any further from the truth.  The excited extrovert at a party just likes high energy and likes to take a break from the realities of life.  We are great people to talk to about deep subjects depending on the environment and situation in our life.  Being silly/obnoxious for the sake of fun at a party doesn’t mean we don’t care about the relationship with your mother, important humanitarian efforts, or string theory--we just may get exhausted by that stuff and need a break.

Also, not all of us don't like books. I love books. I just finished one the other week about Steven Holcomb's inspiriting story of overcoming trials. Extroverts just tend to have a lot of interests. For me, I do like sports I just have so many interests beyond sports I don't really spend much time or energy on them.
Dang it, I read that wrong again. Can you just come over?

2. Talk to us face-to-face.

Yeah, we like texts, phone calls, and emails but nothing is better than face-to-face communication.  We get a lot out of it and it is important to us.  It’s easier for us to understand what is being communicated. Chats, emails, and texts are great but sometimes can be difficult to interpret. Like introverts, we can sometimes read too much into typed words and get the wrong idea.

3. We're not ignoring you.

If we get caught up spending a lot of time with friends and in groups, we are not ignoring you.  We haven’t forgotten you.  We haven’t abandoned you.  Where introverts can get drained from being in crowds we can actually get energy from it.  The other day I hosted ward prayer at my place for my singles ward and I got really excited about having people over.  I actually got a lot of energy out of it.  If you feel ditched at a party with a bunch of people you don’t know understand we’re just soaking up the buzz of what’s going on.  It says nothing about you.

In addition to that, many of us will be friends for life. Months can go by without us talking to you and we'll still be your friend. For some it may be awkward at first trying to pick things back up but even then it doesn't usually take long.

4. We need a little validation.

A lot of extroverts actually don’t mind reaching out or being the initiator.  We do it all the time and it’s natural for many of us to do.  I have a lot of close friends who I know love me even though I am always the one keeping in touch and reaching out.  Though we may be willing to be this friend we still need validation and responses from time to time.  If reaching out is too much for you please still do whatever you can to let your extrovert friend know that you care for them and that they are still important to you in your life.  Just like we need to learn your love languages we also really need you to learn ours.  

An introvert has his space invaded by his extrovert friend.

5. We're not (always) needy.

Extroverts can be really intense in relationships.  We can sometimes be the friend that always seems to have drama and the lover whose arguments somehow turn into make out sessions.  If it feels like we want to hang out all the time it doesn’t mean we’re emotionally needy.  It doesn’t mean we feel bad about ourselves and are clinging for love that we can’t find in ourselves.  (In some cases, this may actually be the case but not always.)  We thrive off of connection.  If you can’t give us your time when we ask for it, schedule it.  We are great schedulers!  Trust us, we have to figure out how to attend all those parties we love.  We won’t let anything get in the way of quality time and trust that you won’t.

6. We make great friends.

The dynamic of an intro/extro friendship.
Extroverts really know how to have fun.  Some of them are shallow and the kind of friends you get when you just need a break from the harsh realities of life.  Others are fiercely committed to your friendship and will stand by you in painful moments of life and help you find joy again.  They can help you make more friends and network when it feels so exhausting for you.  We make great wingmen too.  Yes, we can also be challenging and take you out of your comfort zone.  Communicate your boundaries and we’ll observe them.

7. We love (and need) introverts.

A funny thing about extroverts is that some of them actually feel like other extroverts are generally needy, shallow, and intense.  As much as we may love people and being out we may also find other extroverts uninteresting and not challenging enough.  (We like challenges, aren’t we nuts?)  Most of my friends are actually introverts!  I love introverts because they’re, generally speaking, aren’t shallow and some of the most compassionate people I know.  I love the process of becoming close to introverts because they tend to be vulnerable with very few people in their life.  It’s like climbing a mountain and finding the Shangri-La of quality friendship.  Being close to someone who is closed off to so many others is very affirming for an extrovert.

Introverts and extroverts can learn so much from one another.  You may find that we actually are not all that different after all.  Even extroverts like a small intimate gathering instead of a big exhausting party.  I’ve learned from some introverts it goes the other way too.  Yeah, maybe we can be exhausting and challenging sometimes but we’re totally worth it.  ;)
-Stephen



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Expert - Short Comedy Short from Youtube

Sometimes, I've had the fortune (or misfortune) of being called an 'expert' at something.  This video seems to capture exactly how frustrating it can be.

Enjoy!


Monday, April 7, 2014

How I Met Your Mother

First, let me start this post with stating that I have every intent of spoiling the finale to the TV show How I Met Your Mother. So if you're one of those people who are watching it on Netflix and are waiting until the 9th season gets added, then do yourself a favor and bookmark this post (cause it's gonna be legen-wait for it-dary!) (Or maybe not.)

Second, despite my renewed love for Batman from reading the Hush series (thanks to Joe for letting me borrow it along with the recommendations from my bishop and his first counselor) as well as having started playing Batman: Arkham Asylum finally, I will be going with this recently ended TV show.

Now...here's a picture to take up more space just in case you're reading this and need to stop because I may ruin the story for you...





Keep scrolling


Go on...


This is not the spot you are looking for...



Maybe now....

 

Okay, let's get to it. I know where I stand on the finale. And I know why I stand there. And like the show, I may confuse you until I state where I am. Let me start by saying I hated the first half of the finale. Holy crap! They broke up Ted and Robin? Meanest thing ever! And then for Robin to basically dump Lily's friendship in the trash because of Ted's "happily ever after"? Grr....


And then you hit the second half of the finale. Oh, so who was shocked that the mother was dead? *does not raise hand* If you were watching the show, it was pretty obvious. Especially in the episode "Vesuvius" when Ted and Tracy were at dinner in 2020. At the end of Ted's story, he refers to Robin's mother showing up to the wedding and how everybody was surprised. Tracy, in her very wise way, says, "What mother would miss her own daughter's wedding?" It doesn't take a genius to know why Ted starts crying. Even Tracy gets teary-eyed. Hello! Tracy's dying at this point! (Although not for four years, which makes me assume that she's dying of cancer.)

Okay, so we knew (by about the 5th season) that this story was not about Ted finding the mother. It's about Ted being okay with things not ending up the way he expected...only they do.

And here's why I feel like the ending was true to the story and I actually really like the way the show ends.

The show is about Robin. Yeah, I'm stealing this from a tv.com blog post. They make the point that the show is about Robin and how negative of a thing that is. Here's my simple question: DID YOU WATCH THE FREAKIN' SHOW, DUDE? Because the whole show was about Ted and Robin no matter what you say.

Let's look at some of the things throughout the 9 seasons of the show:

Season 1: Ted pines for Robin. Pretty simple. Barney, Lily, and Marshall do what they can to help Ted move on because it doesn't seem like Robin and Ted are going to work. And Ted does end up with Victoria (who is my all-time favorite despite what others may say). I also still wish Ted ended up with Victoria. But she'll come into play later.

Season 2: Ted and Robin date. Oh, what a nice season that is for the Ted/Robin fans. But in the end, Robin has too many things she wants to do with her life before settling down. (We'll come back to this.)

Season 3: Ah, the Have You Met Ted game has returned. And then we meet Stella. Oh Stella...she was my 2nd favorite. Partially because Sarah Chalke as Elliot on Scrubs was awesome. But I digress. Stella is that girl that you don't think you have a shot with, but you try anyway. And Ted did. And he did win. But let's look at the other important piece to this story: Barney sleeps with Robin. And how did Ted react? Oh, like a jealous ex-boyfriend despite dating someone else. Hmm....

Season 4: Ted and Stella are engaged. Yay! They're gonna get married. Yay! They invite their exes...Ya...wait what? And there were two options here: disinvite each other's ex. Or disinvite their own ex. The latter option led to Ted being left at the alter. And look at who that ex was....Robin. By the end of the season, you see Ted deciding he needs to move on with his life.




Season 5: Barney and Robin attempt to date for the first part of this season. They end up with one of the worst relationships either has been in. And because Ted cares about them both (they are his friends) he and Marshall enlist Lily's help to break them up. Oh thank goodness. Of course, Robin ends up dating Don for a bit. Ted and Barney both want Robin back. Hey look, they both want Robin. (Anyone else fighting replacing Ted with Ross, Barney with Joey, and Robin with Rachel and season 5 with season 8/9?)

Season 6: Other than some of the most emotional episodes (Count Down) as well Ted's awkward relationship with Emma Swan...no wait...Zoey...(meh, same actress), this season is about Ted having moved on from Robin. There's very little in their relationship (that I recall). The season where the writers (and series) make you forget about Ted and Robin. Did they do this intentionally? Meh, who cares. But Ted is just trying to live his life. Also, what's so awesome about a season with Katy Perry (other than playing the personality so many of her haters expect to see.)

Season 7: So, the previous season ends with Barney and Nora. You are to assume that Barney is marrying Nora in the future. And you get Robin dating Kevin, her therapist. But more than anything, you get the most important moment in the past few years: Ted still loves Robin. What? He's still in love with her? Yep. He really is. But he needs to find a way to move on. Oh and look who's back....Victoria!!!!! Yeah, you get to see the end of the season moment when Barney's bride (who you're assuming is Quinn) wants to see Ted, only to find out it's Robin!

Season 8: Yes, if I were Ted, I'd marry Victoria and ditch Robin. That's what Victoria wants. But Victoria has a strong point: Ted is not over her. Robin was the reason Ted broke up with Victoria before. She's the reason Victoria breaks up with Ted. :( But really, you have Ted thinking he's over Robin...until you get to the locket. This locket is actually so important, it's not even funny. But despite it, Ted convinces Robin to marry Barney still.

Oh but wait....Ted, in the very beginning, states he is a believer of signs and omens. And Robin, is not. Let me tell you this, when a couple stays together long enough, they will start to adapt some of the things that they see makes the other person as quirky. Robin looks at the lost locket as a sign. And what does Ted do? He does the one thing any man in love would do: give her what she wants.

Season 9: The theme of the locket is there. It's in the opening episode of the season. It's in the ending episode. It's been buried in an illegal spot and shocking that no cops did anything about all the digging they were doing. Sorry, I digress. The 9th season is about this locket. It almost causes Barney and Ted to split as friends. It's an argument between Lily and Ted. Season 9, though, is about Ted moving on completely from Robin. He does not to be suffering any longer. By the end of the season, he is over her.

Ted is absolutely and completely over Robin. So when he meets Tracy, there is room for him to love her. And not like he loved Victoria or Stella or Zoey. No, he really is in love with Tracy. And he has completely moved on from Robin.

Which is why he is telling this story to his kids in 2030. Yeah, he did move on from Robin. But as a dad, it makes perfect sense for Ted to try to talk Robin up (for a REALLY long time) and explain how he really did love these kids' mother. But there's nothing wrong with Ted not wanting to be alone, as it has been six years.

And yeah, I also predicted Ted stealing the blue french horn for Robin again. It was actually something cheesy I would've written, to be honest. That's why I knew, when he was buzzing for her, that he had the horn in his hand.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer in 1995. My dad stood by her through this illness. All the way until she passed in 2002. Yeah, my dad will always love my mom. But her loss made him miserable. In 2010, my dad got remarried. Finding his new wife a few years ago, my dad is a lot happier than he has been in a long time. There's nothing wrong with him not wanting to be alone in this world any more.

As Mormons, we believe that marriage can be eternal. And I know my parents' marriage is. But there is nothing wrong with having a companion to be with for the rest of our days. Sometimes, that person is someone we have not met yet and sometimes, it's someone from our past.

Okay, that's my ten cents on this.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Five things I want to do in video games

For me the biggest problem with video game is serving size. So many games require almost 100 hours to complete, with all the side quests, collections, and even the story itself! Because of that I've never hit 100% on any game, since I have things like a female and I'm getting an education. While most things in games I have no problem skipping (Who can get all those stupid Riddler trophies?), some I'd like to see if I can get.
Since this list is only five long I actually did order them sequentially this time so feel happy that the thing I want to do most is number one in case you really really wanted to know.

5: Beat one of the survivor modes on a fighter game
I like fighter games, but only if they have super heroes I've heard of before and/or Pikachu. Each one though has a challenge mode where you have to get through all the characters one by one without healing, and I can rarely get through it without switching the game to "easy for a deer to play" mode. I'm not the BEST at these fighting games, but I don't ALWAYS button smash...







4: Collect all the characters in a Lego game
I'm convinced that the Lego video game franchise isn't about Legos exactly. Sure, everyone is made of Legos but that's more of a general style than a plot point anymore. I think what Lego games are really about are letting you play your favorite characters from different franchises in a way that's fun and childish that doesn't need top of the line graphics. Each game has every major character, minor character and random tangentally connected guy in their universe as unlockables. What's disappointing is that most of the unlocked characters are just palette swaps of the characters you unlock in the story so gameplaywise they're isn't much point to it except to play the levels you just finished playing with a different characters to unlock more stuff. Still would be cool to play Lego Marvel again with Deadpool though.

3: Play one Civilization game from beginning to end
This is the game series where you start out with a group of villagers and advance until your flying spaceships to Alpha Centari, so it's long because you're basically playing all of human history. It's incredibly fun, but it takes endless hours to get through a game, even on the lower settings, so it's easy to get distracted. I'd still like to win this thing one day.

2: Watch a Sim live out its entire lifespan
This isn't just from when I drop them into a neighborhood and make them get into fights with the neighbors. I want to have a Sim make a Sim, raise it, watch it go to school, go to college, move out, get a job, fall in love, marry, make their own Sim, then die. Call me the most boring gamer on the planet but I think it would be fun, and I hear trying the real thing is fun too!

1: Collect all the Pokemon
We are now up to over 700 Pokemon in this franchise, and each one has its own way to level up. Since I've convinced several friends to buy 2DS's with me and play the latest game I honestly think I may be able to get this thing, however if I'm ever found passed out and malnourished with my game in one hand and my stuffed Charmander in the other you know what happened.

I would say that I wish my list was longer, but I actually don't. I like video games, but so many of them are either so incredibly long or the stuff you can do is so incredibly needless that it's hard for me to want to do more than hit the story and move on. Some games I like, some I want to finish, but many I just can't get interested in because it always comes down to the same thing: Would I rather play this video game or go play a board game with my roommate and that gal I'm getting ready to marry? Not many games win this debate.
-JOE

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bullying

Hay folks,
Earlier this week I saw a video about a young man being harrassed for bringing a My Little Pony backpack to school and how the school banned his backpack because it was causing a "distraction". I hate bullying and I hate how often the victim is blamed for being bullied, so I made a little video in support of the kid and just sharing some of my views. Check it out!
-JOE

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dinotopia: One of the awesome parts of my childhood

The other day I was looking for a new background for my new laptop. The problem is I have so many interests and hobbies I can never decide on one for long. My last computer shuffled through over 1,000 images it automatically shuffled through, but since that helped slow it down to a crawl.
Anyway, I went searching for a cool dinosaur pic when I came across a painting I hadn’t seen in almost fifteen years: Dinotopia.
For the uninitiated: Dinotopia is an island where dinosaurs are not only still alive but sentient and live in harmony with humans. The books follow several humans brought to the island by dolphins as they learn about Dinotopian society and history and have fun adventures with their new dino friends.
I’ll be honest, the stories for me were really more of a context for the art. I must’ve checked out every Dinotopia book my elementary school had at least a hundred times. I was a dinosaur kid back in the day (Still am, I go to Vernal’s Dinosaur National Monument anytime I can) so this was right up my alley.
One of the things I loved about Dinotopia was that it’s a utopian society. The entire island is at peace, even the carnivores. When an herbivore senses it’s about to die it wanders into the valley where the meat eaters live and offers itself as sacrifice. Humans live on fish and plants, like the dinosaurs, and spend their time bettering the society. Utopians are hard to find in fiction, since dystopian societies are a greater source of conflicts. There aren’t any villains or massive world-shaking conflicts for the characters to stop. The main stories are usually the characters just exploring the dinosaur’s island, meeting new dinosaurs and learning about the island’s history, and honestly when you’re dealing with a world where dinosaurs will talk to you while happily letting you ride on their backs, a villain will only get in the way.
I mentioned the art before and I’ll mention it again: ART! The illustrations are full paintings with rich detail only a master artist could come up with, and considering we’re talking about people riding pteranadons that’s saying something. The artist James Gurney never seems to think of his subjects as silly or ridiculous, and thus the scenes are always these grand scale pieces emphasizing the beauty of Dinotopia. To me it’s how kids see dinosaurs, big, beautiful, and full of wonder.
This series is a spectacular piece for children and parents alike. The art is perfect. The story is full of hope, beauty and adventure without the usual darkness comes with fiction, and the escapism is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. In the immortal words from Reading Rainbow: “You don’t have to take my word for it…”
We’ll see you next time!

-JOE