31 August 2010

Lessons Taught

We were sitting in the living room in the house where I grew up: a conversation between a kid and his granddad. I had just graduated from high school and was feeling pressure from every which way to get a job and start saving for a two-year mission to a place at that point known only to One. Don't rush getting a job just yet, Leon. Once you start working, you'll be working for the rest of your life. Although the parents probably didn't appreciate this advice, I sure did. I spent 2 of the next 4 weeks at Lake Powell, burst an ear drum, played a lot of Final Fantasy 7 or maybe 8, and finally found a job working graveyard shift as a night stocker.

Approximately 13 years earlier, I was taught another magnificent truth: Chuck-A-Rama. For those of you that don't know, it's a glorious buffet from whence most Utahans obtain those extra pounds that keep them warm during the cold winter months. For a 5-year-old on his birthday, it was like walking into a land full of macaroni & cheese, chocolate milk, and endless desserts, for that is exactly what it is. Leon, you must eat a bowl of ice cream before and after each course, including dessert. It preps the stomach. Again, something the parents may not have appreciated. Something my stomach may not currently appreciate; regardless, I still take his advice to heart each time I eat at a buffet.

After my dad rolled an ankle right before a fathers-and-sons outing, he stepped in as proxy. There were two valuable lessons learned: 1) a hotdog is called a tube steak, and 2) if someone threatens you with a knife, it's not tattling to tell someone, such as an adult. We camped in some campground called The Old Church (which, I admit, freaked me out), roasted tube steaks on the fire, I played hide-and-go-seek with some other boys, one (punk) of which threatened me with his pocket knife, and we spent the night in the back of his old yellow Chevy Silverado on top of wooden closet doors, and I listened to him snore all night. I kept a watchful eye outside the window directly at the old church to make sure no ghouls came to attack us. I hate ghouls.

This morning that man was called on his next mission: to rejoin with his kin and close friends, to rest from his earthly labors, and to continue sharing the good news of the gospel to those in need. Poppy, I love you and I will miss you! Thanks for the support you always gave me and all of the invaluable lessons you taught! And if you get the chance, let me know if they have ice cream in heaven. Until we meet again.
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30 August 2010

My Hero

I recently watched LOTR (if you don't know what that acronym stands for, you are unworthy to be reading this blog. Go on! Shew! Get out of here!) and loved every second of it. That's the nerdy side of me.

At one point, the critical (jerk) side of me popped out. Near the end of the 3rd film (about an hour left), they (if you don't know who "they" are, get out) are discussing a plan to help the ring-bearer succeed. Dialogue.

Gandolf: He's suffered a defeat, yes, but... behind the walls of Mordor, our enemy is regrouping.
Gimli: Let him stay there. *Let him rot!* Why should we care?
Gandolf: Because 10,000 Orcs now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom. I've sent him to his death.
Aragorn: No. There is still hope for Frodo. He needs time... and safe passage across the plains of Gorgoroth. We can give him that.
Gimli: How?
Aragorn: Draw out Sauron's armies. Empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate.
Eomer: We cannot achieve victory through strength of arms.
Aragorn: Not for ourselves. But we can give Frodo his chance if we keep Sauron's Eye fixed upon us. Keep him blind to all else that moves.

(Interjection. Brace yourself.)

Legolas: A diversion!!

Well said, Legoman. So I just did a google search. You know how google [likes to think they are taking over the world] will give suggestions to help you finish a search query? I typed "legolas a" and the first suggestion that came up was "legolas a diversion." Apparently there are cults focused around his brilliance. Examples.

  • Urban dictionary, definition #3. I am not responsible if you are offended by anything you see there.
  • A facebook group. Caution: organizers of this group love Legolove so much they like to use colorful language. Again, I am not responsible.
  • And a well-made video on YouTube I stumbled across. Lovely.
So, in honor of Legoland, I'm going to start throwing in the phrase A Diversion! wherever I deem it the most appropriate.

Next episode: I will discuss yet another brilliant statement by Legolegs (disguised William Turner) when he, trying to sound bright, throws out the obvious answer to an inquiry by Ichabod Crane. Barbosa!
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This Is My Annoying Post

Man I'm a slacker. I don't mean this to be a non-gender-neutral post, but it sure started out that way. OK, so I'm thinking I need to start blogging again. And not just once a month or so. I mean really start blogging. Here's why:
  1. What else am I going to do?
You thought that was going to be a longer list, didn't you? It's not.

Also, I'd really like to start getting more traffic to this little site. Like 10 visits a day instead of 4. I think to do this, I'll just write a few words for which people frequently search. Such as...

Starcraft 2

OK, maybe one of those is a lie. And maybe I ran out of things to write. And this post is going no where. So basically I'll leave you with a few drawings. Let me know what you think. Or don't. And make sure you follow this blog if you haven't already! Or not. Whatever.

This is my new car, Vivi Ornitier "The Black Mage." Yes, that is the full name.

This is when I almost fell in a monster's pit.

Me and my new bff/gf Ramona.

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14 August 2010


You've heard it said before. What goes around comes around. Personally, I never believed this statement...until last night. Keep in mind as you read this post that I'm not trying to brag about the kind and valiant things I've done. I mean, I'm just a really good person, and it's in my nature to be nice to everyone! If you don't believe me, just become my friend, and you'll be surprised at how much cool stuff I'll buy you. I take that back. I'm on a budget now, so I won't be buying you anything. In fact, I think it's YOU that should be buying stuff for ME!

Now that that's settled, it's time I move on to the next portion of the post, called the next portion of the post. I went out to Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago for a [undisclosed event]. I was told that [undisclosed criticism] and [more undisclosed criticism] and that I just wouldn't work out for them. Feeling kind of discouraged, I went back to the airport to get the rental car (a Toyota Yaris!) and made my way out to Shane-and-Alese's. Some events cheered me up over the next couple of days:
  • Endless Starcraft 2 gaming with Shane
  • Eating at my favorite Mexican restaurant with some of my favorite people on this Earth
  • Being challenged to eat the hottest hot pepper I've ever eaten at said restaurant by one of said people and spent the next 10-15 minutes with the hiccups, sweat pouring down my face, and I believe I my face had turned red (either from the hot pepper or embarrassment)
  • Being challenged by the same person to practice not accepting challenges (i.e. Mountain Dew Challenge, Hot Pepper Challenge) (it was probably good that I accepted this last challenge because this past week at work I was challenged to drink an entire bottle of Shotgun Pete's XXX HOT BBQ Sauce. There's a warning on the label that says "Warning! Avoid contact with eyes or other sensitive areas at all costs!" One of those sensitive areas must be your mouth, because one tiny drop that you taste-test by barely skimming the top-most surface with your finger and licking it off burns hotter than the sun at midday, or any other time of the day since the sun burns the same temperature then too. I don't think the $20 I was offered to complete the challenge was worth death.)
Eating the hottest hot pepper. I don't remember that wall
being purple. Probably because everything looked red
after consuming the hottest hot pepper.

Fat-face after the pepper (end still in hand).

Still trying to "play it cool" 2 minutes after the pepper.
This angle makes my face look weird (it's not the angle, dummy!).
  • Laser-engraving things and showing them off (in particular, the watch...picture to follow) to everyone I met
Just in case you forget what it is.

Advertisement for Water-Resist Shane.

Represents me very well: Zelda, anime, video games, Apple,
sword-fighting, shield-wielding, coolest person on Earth, you name it!

  • Hanging out with Shane-and-Alese AND Robbie-and-Ali two nights in a row (!)
  • Starcraft 2 with Shane
  • Breakfast
Basically, it was my favorite. The whole trip. Except for the [undisclosed criticisms] that [undisclosed person] gave me. And the coming back to reality part.

As I sat there at the airport, I glanced around at the countless souls, with banners and balloons and well-wishings and tears and laughter and signs that read "Come Back Soon!" and "Best of Luck!" My heart swelled and my soul warmed at all the people who came to see me off. Tears. As the plane took off, I noticed the mountains smiling at me from below and clouds that can change their appearance at will transformed into shapes that looked like a group of close friends sitting around playing Starcraft 2, laughing, smiling, yelling encouraging sayings at their allies. The closer the plane got to Missouri, the more grim and dull the scenery. Crops normally shaped as squares or circles suddenly appeared as hands with one finger extended, clearly telling me I'm unwanted. The crowd at the airport stared daggers as I stepped off the gum-wrapper plane, all dressed in black with fangs and long, pointy fingernails. As one of them advanced, I ran for it, barely catching a taxi who became the only person I could trust for the next 3-6 minutes, as we ventured back to the economy lot to find my car, untouched, unscathed by the harsh weather conditions and bad attitude of this place.

And suddenly I realized that this post wasn't supposed to be about my adventures in Salt Lake City or my slightly strange trip home based very loosely on true events. Nay, it was about the chain of events that I will tell now, and your sympathy is appreciated in the comments section.

I decided yesterday, since good things happened at work this week, that I would take donuts in to celebrate. That's nice, right? And I've been dying to try out this new donut shop that just opened up next to my apartment. I walk in, feeling quite cool and studly in my nerdy shirt and tie (my normal dress-down-Friday apparel), after I remotely honk the horn of my car, signifying locked doors and the armed-function set to on. As it normally happens when I walk into an eatery, or as it normally happens in my retellings of the events, I was greeted with smiles and discount codes and a large selection of beautiful donuts. I got 24, including 4 Crème-bavaroise-filled ones and 2 apple fritters the size of your face.

Chants of hip-hip-hurray and for he's a jolly-good fellow were exclaimed from the rooftops as everyone's hero walked through the doors of his office carrying a box filled with [undisclosed variety of donuts]. I then proceeded to get all of my work done with time to spare and waste on the practicing of pen-spinning tricks.

After work, I took the missionaries out for dinner at Shakespeare's Pizza Eatery Place, one of my favorites here in Columbia for two reasons: 1) good ambiance, and 2) you get to keep (!) your cup. I headed back to my place afterwards to get the cursed donuts-that-remained that I'd forgotten to take to the missionaries, and took them instead to @kremlincardinal-and-@spousalunit's for 8:30 showing of The Crazies. I stepped out of my car, grabbed the box of donuts, laid my precious iPhone on top of the box, shut the door, went to lock the car, and I hear a slight whimper. "Oh no!" it cries out in fear. SMASH! My phone had just fallen to the Earth, the unforgiving cement from whence no fallen iPhone may return. I can still use it. Ish. Through a ziplock bag, unless I want to cut my fingers or my face.

Moral: If you do something nice, like buy donuts for people, you will break your most precious possession. And with that, friends, I wash my hands of this weirdness.
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03 August 2010

Watch Your Language

Did you get picked last for kickball? I never did. All the kids in all the grades knew that I had an unstoppable leg that kicked the ball further than, say, those mountains over there. Alas, I cannot empathize with you if you were one of the unlucky souls the mean kids would pick last.

Getting picked last for Starcraft 2, well, that's a different story. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will already know this story, and the rest of you probably don't care. Since I'm the one in charge here, and since you were always picked last for kickball, you really don't have a say in this. Do you?

Story. I'm sitting there on the couch with my trusty lappy on my lap (her name is Rinoa Heartily, if you must know). On the other side of the room is the one and only codename: Trisha with his lappy on his lap. The ambience is that which you would imagine Trisha's apartment to manufacture, that of happy explosions and little men yelling "Go! Go! GO!!!" and robotic voices chanting ever-so-robotically, "SCV Ready." or "Our base is being attacked."

Before you skip the remainder of this post, and before I go numb writing it, I'll get to the point. As many of you know, some more newly than others. I can sometimes get on a tangent, which would be the line that touches (does not intersect) a given point on a curve. Then the slope of the tangent line is the derivative evaluated at that point. See how good I am at math? Maybe I should become a teacher. Maybe I should get back to the story.

So with lappies on laps, guns in holsters, and dews on coasters, we're locked, loaded and ready to go! We sign in. We choose 2 vs 2 mode, Trisha is on one team, I'm on the other. Two unknown humanoids join in. The match begins. 3. 2. 1.

I start clicking the mouse buttons faster than Maverick drawing his 6-shooter. My fingers are dancing all over the place giving the illusion of Tom Hanks playing chopsticks on a oversized toy piano as an overgrown 12-year-old. Nothing is happening. The Terran jerks aren't scuttling to and fro collecting minerals. The command center isn't training any more Terran jerks. My ally's type-face appears at the bottom of the screen:

Derrick Brennon (DB): WTF? Do something!!

I ignore him. Who is he to abbreviate that word anyway? Guess I could have told him how his intelligence was shining brightly through the words he was typing on my screen. Trisha and his ally were rapidly training Terran jerks and creating modes of transportation equipped with unparalleled destructive power quicker than Vanilla Ice can feed feasible rhymes in both vision and feeling. They attack DB's base first.

DB: Help?
Leon: I'll send what I have.
DB: Too late. You suck!!!
DB has left the game.

In retrospect, I can see 2 reasons why he quit. 1) He's a quitter and will never grow up/mature/get a college degree/lose his I'm-too-stupid-to-know-any-proper-insults attitude/go anywhere at all in life and will wither and die an unhappy noob, or 2) I really am terrible at the game, and all players/jugadores/joueur/giocatore who are my allies should follow the DB and leave the game. Thanks for your honesty, Derrick!

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