I Can Review That: Friends Who Move

28 Aug

This week we’re reviewing something that has become very relevant lately, especially among the young-adult demographic! Hopefully by the end, I’ll be able to let you know if this is for you or not.

If you missed the introduction to this series and want a refresher on how my reviews work, follow the link to my first I Can Review That. In general, it’s pretty self-explanatory: I review the things that don’t get the type of “ratings”that most entertainment media does. I try to use a topical rating system since the range of subjects is so wide.

Today’s Topic: MISSING YOUR FRIEND SO MUCH YOU FINALLY LISTEN TO THE BOOK-ON-TAPE RECOMMENDATION THAT SHE MADE TO YOU IN 2015 AND THEN SENDING HER A MEME INSTEAD OF, LIKE, REACHING OUT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION

I can review that

  1. Presentation 1/5 – This does not appear at first glance to be a productive or fun way to spend time, so presentation is low on this one.
  2. Mouthfeel 4/5 – As generally melancholic as the spirit of this activity was, it was the romantic kind of melancholy, the book was wonderful, and the actor reading it was the perfect choice. Plus the meme was in great taste, of course.
  3. Plot 2/5 – This event did not advance the plot or lead to any positive changes (yet?), so from an efficiency point of view, I can’t say it was the ideal choice, but it was nice interlude to show the mc’s character and motivations.
  4. Softness 5/5 – This was the softest event of my summer thus far. Picture me, sitting on a blanket in my tiny living room, with my reading volume loud as hell as I mumble, “Geez, Miss Angorian, literally every time you show up it’s an imposition, just leave,” and paint a lighthouse on a cool rock I found that morning. Nothing softer.

Overall: 6/10 I enjoyed it and would do it again. If any of you are wondering if it’s worth the trouble to have a cherished one move to another state, I would say to you, do you have control over that? Wow man. You have a lot of power. Anyway,  don’t force your friends away from you – you really need to let them do them. People have to move around to find where they belong and who they belong with, especially in their twenties. It sucks sometimes. You’re going to have plenty of other relationships stretch to uncomfortable lengths whether you like it or not, and you should really appreciate the people in your life while you have them in your life. Then that way, when they’re a little harder to reach than before, at least you get to have moments like these where you just roll around in the good kind of nostalgia and end up with some very cool painted rocks. I think I’m going to mail one to her.

That’s what I would say to you, anyway.

Hope this helps

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Trailer Breakdown for Slaughterhouse Rulez

26 Aug

Happy Sunday! This trailer came out last week, but I only watched it this morning, so as far as I’m concerned, the announcement has begun anew. I’ve only recently become a devoted enthusiast of Everything-Simon-Pegg-and-Nick-Frost, so this preview has come to me right in the middle of the honeymoon phase. I’m loving it.

Join me! Take a look yourself by clicking here for the official trailer, then come back here for a much, much closer look at Slaughterhouse Rulez.

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We open on a large and unnecessarily pretentious school somewhere in England. Let’s see if anything, anything at all, bears a resemblance to some other serialized story that many of us have seen twelve years of trailers for.

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“Did you get my note about the no-go areas?”

An authoritative school  official wearing an anachronistic robe. Okay, okay.

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“Um,”

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I have to say, when the first shot of the plucky young heroes is of them screaming and running, my interest always goes up about 23%. It’s something to do with Psych, I think.

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“I cannot have pupils wandering about in the middle of the night.”

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So, students in distinctly-colored ties are sneaking out of their high school dorms in the middle of the night to be terrified of various things in the forest. These nods are getting pretty Blues-Clues-level in difficulty, right?

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Terrorism Response Level: Heightened

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“These things always end up in a bloody mess.”

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“Welcome, all, to Slaughterhouse!”

Anyway. I think we all know. The first class of Murder Hogwarts is in session. Though to be fair, with the injury rate of regular Hogwarts, the “Murder” bit might be redundant.

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I love the emotions on display in our first clear view of the main characters. I was stoked to see Asa Butterfield was in this movie, and honestly? I can think of no better pupil for Murder Hogwarts than Ender Wiggins. That’s my bOY right there

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“This is the school pecking order: at the top, we have the Bat.”

And they have… bats? If this is how names are assigned, I want to be called the leather satchel

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“In the middle, Clemsie Lawrence.”

Okay, so it’s clearly not the only criteria for the name. Unless this chick has a smaller girl named Clemsie she carries around all the time. Which would be rad.

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“Watch where you’re looking.”

Do you guys remember that part in A Very Potter Musical where Draco just rolls around on the ground for like twenty minutes? If they don’t keep that part in, I swear I’ll

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“And then, down at the bottom, Whitton.”

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“Who’s Whitton?”

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“That’s Whitton.”

“Hello.”

Everyone out of the way. I’m taking care of Whitton now.

And in case you thought I missed an opportunity, I’m not going to say he “must be a Weasley” because, quite frankly, it’s 2018. We can’t keep doing this.

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“I’m afraid Mr. Prague will be unable to teach today, or ever again. He died here. Alone.

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Anyway!”

Oh my gosh I love this. And anyway, the turnover rate at this school means that Simon Pegg’s character should make principal by the end of the term, so why shouldn’t he be smiling?

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“There’s something in the woods!”

Everything’s in the woods. Have you ever seen the woods? What about Dateline? Have you ever seen Dateline? Don’t go in the woods

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Look. Here’s my idea. Take car. Go to mum’s. Kill Mr. Prague, grab Whitton, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.

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“What the devil…”

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Putting characters on the wrong side of caution tape is the sixth love language that only film directors have.

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“That hole… It’s a gateway.

Is that one of those “Anonymous” masks?

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And it leads straight… down…

I think it is. He’s like an edgy twitter avatar.

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To hell.

Next he’s gonna tell us capitalism is a prison.

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Now! Who wants to buy some drugs?”

Nick Frost is a star and I love him

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That’s in two months, by the way, who wants to carve pumpkins with me, please,

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“They just ate half the upper sixth!”

Our second shot of the monster is such a classic shadow shot that I’m almost led to ignore the sticks holding up its lower jaws.

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Course, I don’t think anything is holding up this guy’s jaws at all.

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Did you guys like that joke? I didn’t even plan it! It just spilled out! I am so happy it ended up that way with the shots I included that I barely care that it was a very dumb and sort-of-obvious joke! What an absolute pleasure!

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“Now we can blow shit up?”

Whitton!

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“Language, Whitton!”

Thank you, Simon! He’s like two years old! Careful what he’s exposed to!

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ah

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I! Love! This!

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“Children! Save yourselves!”

I!! Hate!! This!!

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“To the Skoda!”

Yes… that will… save you… If you don’t friggin blow a tire pulling out of the driveway…

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such quality vehicles… love em…

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“Hurry!”

“I’m going as fast as I can! You’re making me nervous!”

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(Roaring)

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(Screaming)

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“Seatbelts, everyone.”

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“Stop worrying! What are they gonna do, eat you alive?”

Hot take: Parents trying to be reassuring are the harbinger of every high school horror scenario.

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More shadow play. I’m here for it.

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“Delicious.”

Right?

I’m really excited for this movie. Movies that come out around Halloween are almost always designed to be the Worst Movies for Me to Watch, and maybe that’s why this seems like such a delight to me. On the other hand, I might just not be over how good Shaun of the Dead was. It started out as a satire of a zombie movie and ended up being the best and final word on zombie movies (Don’t @ me). I know this is a different movie, a different director, not to mention a different decade, but this trailer made me happy and I am 100% sure that that’s what a good movie trailer is supposed to do.

Happy Halloween everyone, you’ll find me eating candy corn out of a cereal bowl with a spoon tonight.

Auntie Blog

14 Aug

The other day I heard someone react to being called “a mommy blog” with offense and discomfort. Yes, that’s my intro. Let’s dissect.

She was called a mommy blog because she was a mom who ran a blog and who blogged about being a mom. It didn’t seem like an insult. So we can assume one of two things about the woman who took offense:

1. She doesn’t like reading other mommy blogs

or

2. She thought she ran a different blog

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In the event of number one, it is fair to say there is a sizable sub-culture of people who hate something, become part of the thing to mock it, and then lose their way. That’s understandable. Hi, I’m Mikayla and I asked someone to take a picture of me dabbing a few weekends ago.

In the event of number two, well, she must have noticed at some point that she was both a mommy and a blogger. (I apologize for saying “mommy” so much)

Look, no judgement either way. But hey, a mommy blogger is not the worst thing to be.

I’ve felt like a mom in disguise ever since my own mother divulged to me that I have the frankly terrifying potential to be one someday. Fortunately, I am not yet qualified to be a mommy blogger, but I am more than cut out to be something very similar.

Auntie blogger.

This market is wide open.

I’ve never heard of an auntie blog before but I’m not naive – this is 2018 and I’m streaming my dumbass thoughts directly into your head via computer pixels, so I’m sure that an auntie blog exists out there. But let’s pretend the impossible has happened and I’ve had an original idea – I’m imagining what an auntie blog would look like and just how amazing I would be at it.

Look, If a mommy blog gets away with the occasional good-natured but dead-serious jab at her kids, how much more could an aunt do it?

mommy blog: “I would die for my kids, but I think they’ll be the death of me first ;)”

auntie blog: “I would die for my nephew, but he is objectively disgusting and if he were to try to touch me after eating, I would for sure punt him as far as I could.”

Mommy blogs write for other moms with advice about how to get their alone time, how to stop tantrums, and what the best kind of snack foods are to keep the kids from getting hyperactive.

Aunts? Could not care less about any of those things.

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If an aunt were running a blog like that, their advice would be about what phrases are funniest to teach kids, and which vines compilations are best suited for littles under seven. If I found a auntie blogger or youtuber who could teach me the sneakiest ways to film my niece when she’s singing without her noticing and stopping immediately, I would be all over it. And don’t tell me that’s creepy. No one is going to believe me when I tell them she knows all the words to “Gloom Boys” and I NEED them to it’s IMPORTANT to me and it SHOULD BE IMPORTANT TO HER BECAUSE THAT’S SICK AND SHE SHOULD BE PROUD

Aunts and uncles need more media-based support! We need advice! Especially for a certain subset of us, who are required to be better aunts and uncles because we’re kidless ourselves.

It’s not that we singles owe any special effort to the kids or to ourselves, but we do owe a debt to someone. We owe a huge, crippling debt to the sibling that bit the bullet and gave our parents grandkids so that the pressure would be off of us.

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For that gift alone, we really have to be amazing.

You know those “if you’re free, thank a veteran” bumper stickers? It’s like that. If you’re watching episodes of the Punisher on full volume in your home that stays clean until you mess it up, thank the brother or sister who spends all their free time raising tiny human beings.

Lastly, a mother’s love is great, but it’s a totally different brand from an aunt’s love. That’s not to say it’s not better, obviously (I have not ever spent 24 hours in excruciating pain in a hospital for my niblings’ sake; and if I ever do, you can bet I’m going to resent them for it), but it is miles different. Kids need moms, but they need tall friends who can tell them stories about their moms too. That’s what I’m here for.

It’s good to have that kind of variety when it comes to affection.

Plus, there’s a bonus for the parents too! Since an aunt’s motherhood is vicarious, all the negative motherhood-related emotions are significantly lessened; shame from over-posting the kids on social media, disgust from cleaning up a toy that has been covered in mysterious slime, frustration from getting an angry two-year-old into bed; it all registers a different way. For us, it’s novelty. But my mom?? and my big sister??? Doing what I choose do for 3 hours a week but every single day and all in a row and because they have to????

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(and also thank you)

I adore my niece and nephew with all my heart. It’s not always fun, but hell if it ain’t good. We as aunts and uncles need to remember that any babysitting now is a direct deposit towards a future good buddy that we might not have to load up a carseat for. That’s enough to keep me going.

Here’s to my fellow aunts and uncles! Here’s to being cool while kids still think we are. Don’t forget: every one of our respective nieces and nephews are the cutest in the world, but mine most of all and the rest of you can get dunked on xoxo

I Can Review That

7 Aug

Today is the first of a new recurring series.

Let me introduce you two.

I like review blogs and I use them a lot, whether to decide whether or not I eat at a restaurant,  whether or not I use a service, or to scope out the plot of a horror movie that I’m too scared to actually watch with my own two eyes, but need to understand memes from.

However, there are a lot of things that I wish had reviews and ratings that don’t. I’m talking about that everyday stuff that doesn’t quite fit into an entertainment category. This series centers around that need of mine to furiously scope out a situation before I allow myself to enter it. I call it:

I can review that

 

This is, by nature, going to be a wide range of reviews, so I’ve included four criteria that I feel confident will be applicable to anything I post in this series.

  1. Presentation (A 5 on the presentation scale means that the subject was attractive and inviting. A 1 means it was very unpleasant)
  2. Mouthfeel (A 5 on the mouthfeel scale means the texture of the subject was good. A 1 means it was all wrong)
  3. Plot (A 5 means the subject was intriguing. A 1 means it was hard to follow or lost my interest)
  4. Softness (A 5 means that the subject felt good. A 1 means that it snagged easily and was uncomfortable)

In addition to the four ratings, each subject will receive an overall score to be rated on a scale of 1-10.

This new review system was born out of both my afore-mentioned affinity for review blogs and the fact that I am trying a lot of new things this year. Trying to branch out, you know? Anyway, to today’s topic.

PUTTING OUT THE RECYCLING EVERY WEEK ON WEDNESDAY AND OH MY GOSH, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, TRYING TO KEEP TRACK OF WHETHER IT’S THE GLASS OR THE PAPER BINS THAT GET TAKEN THIS WEEK

I can review that

  1. Presentation 3/5
  2. Mouthfeel 2/5
  3. Plot 1/5
  4. Softness 1/5

Overall: 3/10 Can’t my neighbors do this every once in a while

Hope this review helps you guys decide whether or not it’s worth the trouble to not constantly have piles garbage in your home. See you next time

Twenty-Five Hundred Denzel Washingtons |One Nerdy Turn Deserves Another Vol. 6

5 Mar

Dear Jen, These posts are all about being timely, right? As far as both the date and whatever it is you’re currently loving? Well, we do our best.

It’s Monday, the fifth of March, 2018!

Today, you’re 25 years old!!

Happy birthday!!!

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Um, how could I forget?

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Hey! Check? You? Out? What a birthday girl.

Honestly, you deserve the best birthday. I hope it’s everything you love, happening one thing right after another. Some kind of a shindig.

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Turning twenty-five is a big deal! It’s a good strong number. And, as we’ve discussed, your frontal lobe is now fully developed, so you know what that means.

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So sick.

You’re a quarter of a century old now, kiddo. But don’t give me any of that trash about being old or not being able to learn as much as before you hit that 25-year mark. I can’t use that “damn dirty lies” gif from Bob’s Burger’s due to the cosmic laws of our birthday posts, but still, that mindset is, in fact, a damn dirty lie. It’s deceiving.

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And by the way, shout-out to that weirdo I know who?? snapchatted me??? while she was doing pre-algebra????? for fun?????????

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Nothing. There’s nothing you can’t do.

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Oh and also

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Here’s to a new year of podcast referrals, care packages, HQ play-alongs, and lighthouse pictures. I wouldn’t have you any other way, unless maybe you were a little closer.

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I love you so much Jenzie! Happy birthday.

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Trailer Breakdown for a Wrinkle in Time

19 Jul

The good news is that this year, the Disney D23 expo didn’t stop for breath. There was the Edna Mode feature, the bite-sized Wreck-It Ralph 2 teaser, the Star Wars Ep. VIII Behind-the-Scenes featurette, and way more. However, one bit of news caught my attention the most, and to no one’s surprise, I’m about to start yelling about it.

A Wrinkle in Time,  my long-time, all-time favorite book is being adapted for the big screen (in a second and hopefully better-fated attempt). I promise, I could not be more excited.

Feast your eyes on the official Wrinkle in Time trailer here, then head back here for circle time. I have one or two discussion points I want to go over.

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Yeah, um, okay is it too early to start talking about symbolism?? And subtext??? Meg Murry, this wonderfully screwed-up girl who has such a huge image problem that she purposely exhausts her audience by never shutting up about it and picking fights at school because it’s the only thing she can think of to do with her personality help I’m shaking????

 

“What if we are here… for a reason?”

Oh my gosh. I literally could not be listening closer. Talk to me about greater purpose, I’ll eat it the hECK up

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The cinematography is already making me cry, but through my joy-induce bleariness, I can tell that Calvin, mister-star-of-the-basketball-team is probably in this scene, staying hidden until he’s relevant (and aren’t we all).

“What if we are part of something truly divine?”

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“Imagine! Ninety-one billion light years traveled – “

I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that this number has some special significance. Look, Mr. Murry, after a certain amount of “billions,” all normal people hear is “a lot.”

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” – Like that.”

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(Nightmare version of Sweet Dreams begins to play)

I wasn’t sure until this moment in the trailer, but I am over the moon that Disney has this movie taking the trippy route. This book wrote the book on trippy.

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Starring the winter night sky in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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“Your father has accomplished something extraordinary.”

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The book began after Everything With Dad™ went down, so I’m stoked we get to see Meg and her dad looking happy. That warms my heart.

Kay now let’s get to the spooky stuff

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“Also dangerous.”

LOOK WHO JUST BECAME RELEVANT

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Let me explain something real quick. I loved Wrinkle in Time and its characters for a number of reasons, but up there in the top ninety-one billion was how protective of each other Meg and Calvin become after 9.1 seconds of getting to know each other.

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That in mind, I usually try not to include dark, cloudy screenshots in these breakdowns because a fading scene means it’s time to start thinking about the next scene, but I’m just not ready to stop thinking about this scene

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Turn up your screen’s brightness, I’m talking about THIS SCENE RIGHT HERE

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Okay, all right, there are more things that happen in the trailer. Like isolation and darkness.

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“He’s trapped by a darkness…”

Hearing Oprah’s voice creeping through a voiceover is eerie and calming at once. I guess that’s what the book was all about.

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“… That’s actively spreading throughout the universe.”

Still,  Oprah’s Book Club means something new to me now.

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Here, we get our first look at Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, and the house of actual dreams.

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Calvin and Meg make up exactly 2/3 of the people that I should see in this scene. #OperationFindCharlesWallace

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“And the only one who can stop it -“

Mrs. Who is looking for Charles Wallace too

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“Is you.”

MY GIRL

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“Be a warrior.”

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“I’ll try.”

MY *sniffs* GIRL

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Mrs. Whatsit makes an appearance! Using her semi-psychic powers to find Charles? Time will tell.

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Honestly the use of colors and sharp, angular imagery gives me a lot of hope that this movie is going to be the Dr. Strange of children’s science fiction movies. You know what I’m talking about?

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I’m there.

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Found: One six-year-old boy. Answers to Charles Wallace. Please tell his family and any concerned parties that he’s okay (except for the imminent danger)

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Also Found: Three possible angels. Answer to light telepathy and quotations from long-dead poets.

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Aunt Beast?? Malevolent creatures??? Various strange beings???? I’m sold I don’t even care

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While I don’t know if anything or anyone will ever beat his performance as the Joker in Lego Batman, I’m still pretty fired up to see Zach Galifinakis play a walking pun.

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The more landscape scenes we get, the more years are added to my life.

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“You’re going to be tested every step of the way.”

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HO BOY

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These scenes are getting to be rapid-fire now. I’m kicking into brief-analysis mode. Calvin’s in trouble (probably because he and Meg are not holding hands)

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Meg’s upset (probably because she and Calvin are not holding hands) and Charles Wallace is just sort of preparing for death

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Mr. Jenkins is making the most Mr. Jenkins-esque face possible (confused, ill-tempered, and almost crying)

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Chris Pine is in agony

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“Trust nothing.”

The quick pace grinds to a halt as we enter the neighborhood from that one suburbia episode of X-Files, or maybe the neighborhood that Edward Scissorhands’ girlfriend was from. Or it could be place where Chuck  Bartowski and Sarah went undercover in their second season. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s like, 1000% evil, and that’s all I know.

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“Darling! Time for dinner!”

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Do you think Charles Wallace wishes he were tall enough to be in any of the shots? Or do you think he’s above that kind of thinking?

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“Are you lost?”

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Literally or emotionally? (in either case, the answer is yes)

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Me when people tell me I’m being too dramatic

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In every shot of this trailer, Meg looks more ready to face monsters than she did in the last. Which, I think, makes Calvin’s expressions even better by comparison.

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New Zealand is just the place to be if you want to be a magical creature fighting evil, I guess. Look out for hobbits.

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The youngest Murry makes a final, fierce appearance to make sure you don’t forget that you wouldn’t have even MET any of these people if it weren’t for ME, Meg, you wanted to hide in the house and cry about drifters in the neighborhood and how you weren’t pretty enough and Mr. Jenkins hated you and oh my GOSH

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“The only thing faster than light is the darkness.”

One cheerless quote to tie it all together.

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On that note? Join me for a glorious story about love, family, and hope in the spring of 2018.

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I’m gonna be there, and I’m gonna be screaming.

Field Guide to North American Office Staff

7 May

Regardless of how true it is that every person is unique in their experiences, interests, and strengths,  everyone’s had an unexpected deja vu when shaking someone’s hand for the first time.

Whether it’s a face or a personality, humans are always drawing comparisons from people we are meeting to people we already know. That feeling goes away the better you get to know someone, but first impressions take a while to shake, particularly if that impression was that you might as well have already known the person in question.

I’ve worked in a number of offices (Do you like how I won’t reveal how many? I think it’s cute), and I’ve met a number of interesting people there (Do you like how I won’t revealing how many? I think it). What I have really found interesting though, is that you get to meet certain people again and again when you go from office to office.

It may be that a certain kind of person gravitates towards office jobs, or it may just be a small world. You tell me. Here are the people you meet in an office, Five-People-You-Meet-in-Heaven-style.

Related image1. The Walking Dead on AMC

This person shows up bright and early every morning with a face they probably pulled off of someone else for a snack on the way to work. It’s hard to tell if their expression is calm or angry. They seem to know everything; and if they find something they do not know how, they dismiss it as unimportant. How long have they worked here? Longer than anyone can remember.

How to Identify One: Ask them how it’s going. If they’re a Walker, they’ll respond, “Oh. It’s going.” Bonus points awarded if they then proceed to take the longest sip of coffee you’ve ever seen in your life.

Variant: Warm Bodies. This version of the Walking Dead has a heart of gold. Slow and decaying, but golden.

2. I Don’t Break Pens I Destroy Them by Saint MotelImage result for pen chewing gif

This person spends a lot of time on the phone; they spend a lot of that time looking for something to do with their hands. They spend the most time disfiguring, chewing on, and snapping writing utensils into numerous sections. No one is sure if this is a sign of aggression or boredom, but it’s taking its toll on the office either way. The Pen Destroyer will often pat the desk and demand to know where the pen they were using went – it’s on the floor. It’s in eleven pieces.

How to Identify One: Try to check out their pockets or purse before they leave work. Are they sneaking a few pens home for further torture? Report them immediately. This can’t go on.

Variant: Michelangelo. The Michelangelo sub-type couples every phone message with an elaborate drawing of geometric angles and/or anime beta flashes.

Image result for youtube storytime gif3. The Youtuber

No one in the office is sure when, how, or why they know everything about this person’s life, but the fact remains that everyone does. Didn’t the Youtuber just start work last month? Have they been talking the whole time or something? There’s no way that you’ve had enough time to get to know this person as well as you do now. You feel a little creepy for knowing so much about them (and you’re not sure they know anything about you), but they don’t seem to mind. Sharing is caring, after all. They must care so much.

How to identify one: You do not have to observe this person for long to understand where they are on the spectrum of office life. You do have to listen for a while, however.

Variant: Olan Rogers. The stories an Olan Rogers Youtuber tells are off the wall. You know you found one of this sort if you actively avoid work so that they can keep talking.

4. TobyImage result for the office toby gif

They’re like…. an evil snail. You hate so much of the things that they choose to be. Why are they the way that they are?

How to identify one: Chances are if there is a Toby in your life, you already have them in mind. You don’t need my help here.

Variant: Michael Scott. This is more of a reflection upon the person identifying than it is upon the identified. It signifies the moment when you realize that the person is no worse than you are but maybe you’re kind of a jerk. However, sometimes people are just evil snails; that’s the way the world is, son.

Image result for mom gif5. Mom

Don’t be fooled – this is not a gendered role within the office. Male or female, the mom is the only one a Walker will go to for help, and the only person that doesn’t seem fazed by any of Toby’s Toby-ness. They know where all the pens are and they have the courage to tell the Youtuber when it’s time to just hush, please, for the love of all that is holy. They’re the person you would talk to if you were calling in sick, and the person who would definitely bring cough drops for you when you came in afterwards.

How to identify one: This person is between the ages of 35 and 56. They’re always busy because they’re working through a long line of people trying to get advice, training, and hugs from them.

Variant: Mom, but Mad. You’ll know this one when you see it. Don’t use that tone of voice around her.

This handy identification guide should get you through your first few days near a cubicle. It’s good to have some familiarity right off the bat, but please avoid my mistakes and enjoy responsibly; like anything that generalizes human souls into nifty pop culture references, it has an expiration date and goes sour the second you realize that the people around you are people too (yeah, even the zombies).

Happy Almost-Monday!

From Where I Stand

14 Apr

Everyone who’s spent eleven minutes in a first grade Sunday School class knows that you’re required to bow your head and fold your hands when you pray. It’s a requirement that gets less strict as you age. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly meant for littles to keep them from whispering while you bend the ear of the Great Creator to thank Him for letting you be in the same room as the food you’re almost allowed to eat.

I was okay with this rule as a tiny one, but I didn’t really get it. As I grew up and found out God could hear you regardless of what position your hands were in, I started to think maybe praying eyes-open-and-face-forward was superior to it. in any case, it seemed like the way big kids prayed. Folding your hands feels very first-grade after a while.

Now, flash-forward a few years to one of the maybe nine things I know now: the cool thing about praying is that there’s no wrong way to do it, as long as you’re being honest and know that you’re talking to the one who made you.

But still – I think posture does matter. Bear with me. Kick out that image of Mia Thermopolis being told that Princesses don’t slouch (weren’t you thinking of that scene? Get out of my face I’m always thinking about Princess Diaries).

Let me go ahead and point at some other people who say this better than I do.  I have a distinct memory of one middle school church service in which we were asked to assume a “posture of reverence” before praying. I also remember blinking a few times while I processed the request. Look, I was homeschooled, I wasn’t dumb. I knew what the words meant, but I only sort of got what he was saying. Mostly, it was a strange thing to hear from the person who said it – i.e., the game leader, i.e., the coordinator of so much sixth-grader on sixth-grader violence.

It was interesting to see how the group responded to our leader’s suggestion. A couple dozen middle school kids channeled their respect into their respective positions – some bowed their heads, some tilted their heads back, some closed their eyes, and some nodded through the prayer. Obviously, I peeked or I wouldn’t know this at all. Sorry James.

But I get it now.

Another church leader I knew just a few years ago used to ask the congregation to stand when he read from the Bible. This one was a jolly good time because in the bigger crowd of a grown-up service, there were more reactions. You heard a couple of complaints from the people behind you who had “just gotten comfortable” and you saw a few people hop to their feet like they were about to welcome in a bride on her wedding day. Still, everyone stood all the same.

(they got it then)

In the Good Friday church service tonight, the pastor talked about Jesus’ sacrifice. What else can you talk about on Good Friday? We talked about a crown of thorns being pressed down over Jesus’ forehead. We talked about how a man was mocked, flogged, nailed to a cross, and impaled.  We talked about how all this was done to Him not because of anything He had done or hadn’t done, but because they didn’t believe He was who He said He was.

Quick aside: I wonder what people outside of the church must think when we start to wax eloquent about this topic. Does it sound as morbid as I think it sounds? Look – I’ve been going to church for twenty years. If I know anything, I know that we use way more blood metaphors than is probably healthy.

But the thing about the story of Jesus is that just where it gets morbid, hopeless, and dark, it gets brilliantly bright. Jesus is alive. That’s why Easter is a celebration.

When the singing started again, there was a burst of energy in the mood. People danced and laughed and cried. As we slipped into the chorus of the song, our pastor asked everybody to raise their hands as a sign of surrender to God; I swear, arms went up so fast anyone would have thought they were waiting for permission.

It wasn’t just some mob mentality. It wasn’t a tired group of people following orders. What happened tonight, and what has been happening for thousands of years when Christians get together, was a posture of reverence. It was a physical reaction to a spiritual sensation.

Bodily posture isn’t the moral of this story. It’s wonderful, and it’s a form of worship, but mental posture is where we really need to hold that respect. Everything we do comes from our attitude and our intentions. It’s really what all communication is about. How would your manner change if you were about to have a conversation with the person who created the universe with all its sunsets and birdsong and oceans and orange trees and mountains – and then felt it just as necessary to create you? The person who loved you so much He died for you?

Someone I want to be when I grow up once said, “You will never fail to meet God if you bring Him with you.” It’s worth a mention that God does not groan about having “just gotten comfortable” when you ask Him to come along. So why are you hurting yourself? Why are you waiting to be better before moving forward?

The work is done. The battle is over. Jesus already won.  Even as you think it’s gotten too dark to see, it’s about to be too bright to take. It’s only Friday. To borrow a phrase used by hopeful people the world over, Sunday is coming.

I don’t mean to shove a sermon in your face because I know I’m not qualified to do that. What I do know is that my posture needs work; in a world that has been slouching for years past and for years to come, I want to encourage all of us to stand up straight.

Your posture of reverence may well look different from mine (and I’ve got a bad habit of peeking, so I’ll know when it does), but the important thing is that we have that reverence and let our worship come from it.

One last thing before you go: Happy Easter! Here’s to Jesus and eating chocolate until we’re sick.

Trailer Breakdown for Justice League

26 Mar

It’s common knowledge that the best thing for anyone’s worldview is to develop a habit of gratitude. It’s not always easy to cultivate; however, life just gives you things sometimes. This is one of those times. On this beautiful March weekend, DC delivered to us the first official trailer for the Justice League movie.

As you well know, my mom raised a polite little sweetheart, so I already wrote my thank-you note (you’re reading it). Have you screamed about DC today? Take a peek at the long-awaited trailer by clicking here. When you’re through, you know where I’ll be.

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We begin on a cliff and a lonely figure. Seems very like a superhero we already know.

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“We have to be ready. You, me, the others – there’s an attack coming from far away.”

The voice says Bruce Wayne, but the clothes say Snart, Captain Cold.

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Oh well. You can’t win them all.

“Not coming, Bruce. It’s already here.”

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You know when Wonder Woman narrates the scene right before yours, something’s going down. It’s not a matter of if, but when.jl6

In this case, it’s when your air conditioning unit starts to levitate.

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It’s when Terminator creeps up out of your wall like a termite. You have to get used to these things.jl8

“The others – where are they?”

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“Arthur Curry. The Aquaman.”

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Have you ever had one of those times where a friend asked you, “Hey, what’s your type?” and you were like, “I don’t know, but I know it when I see it?”

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I’m just thinking about that today, I guess.

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See, this general water-based violence is something Marvel’s Prince Namor would be into. The difference is that his tiny ankle wings would be flapping like overworked canaries while he squealed about his bloodline. I’m glad things turned out the way they did.

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“It’s on him.”

Real nice of him to offer to pay for your drink that was actually just the last dregs of someone else’s drink. That garbage is 60% backwash now, but you do you.

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“Organic and bio-mechatronic body parts… He’s a cyborg.”

I’m not going to say anything about the innate lack of imagination in Cyborg’s naming history. Hey, 1980 was a busy year. Pac-Man came out! John Lennon was shot! The last thing on my mind would be giving a cyborg a name that wasn’t just literally “cyborg.”

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“You should probably move.”

What a guy! This is the best advice any superhero has ever given any civilian, and it should be given way more often. See also: No one should live in Gotham City.

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“Barry Allen.”

I’m here to talk to you about the Justice League… Initiative.

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I love these snapshots of each person’s powers. Thank you for the clarification – for the uninitiated, Barry Allen is the one who goes nyooooom

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“Whoever you’re looking for, it’s not me.”

I know, but Grant Gustin wasn’t available. Look, for real though, no beef. I adore the CW’s Flash, but Grant Gustin or Ezra Miller, if you put on that red suit, you become the light of my life.

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Mr. Wayne feels a little different about the whole light-of-my-life thing, but I’m sure that will change by the end of the movie.

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I’ve had two Quiksilvers and one Flash already. This scene is so familiar and cozy it makes me want to throw on pajamas and fix tea.

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“You’re the Batman?”

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Just “Batman.” It’s cleaner.

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“They said the age of heroes would never come again.”

“It has to.”

All right, show us the lineup, The Batman.

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We got Cyborg®™

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Wonderful Woman

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and Big Boy

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(Cried DC executives while checking the success of their last movies)

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When it’s moving, it looks a lot more badass and a lot less like a video game glitch. Trust me.

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Look at my beautiful girl sweeping the knee; I might cry.

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I’ll chase them anywhere/there’s time to spare/

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Let the Justice League share this whole new world with you/

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“What are your superpowers again?”

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“I’m rich.”

Don’t you read comics, Barry? Rich-Man has the proportionate strength and ability of a Swiss Bank Account.

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From here on out, the scenes in the trailer get very fast and hard to capture, so let me walk you through it. Batman breaks into some sort of a machine that has him flipping around.

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“Now it’s my turn.”

Now it’s his turn.

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This… Um, I think a moonbase colony is attacking the Justice League. Not the people of the moonbase, but like, those buildings that are all linked together on other planets in science fiction movies. You know?

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I really have no idea here. This shot is a complete mystery. What is going on??? I don’t know but I’m bored

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Wonder Woman flexes after beating Batman in an arm wrestling match. Aquaman looks on and feels admiration along with a little something he doesn’t recognize – is it love?

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Barry Allen dropkicks the timeline and ruins everybody’s lives.

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Lois Lane makes the face I made during the football scene.

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This chick shows up to remind me how little I really know about DC lore.

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Barry tells his dad he still believes in him. Hey! I know one or two of my last explanations may have been conjecture, but this is a sure thing. Take this one to the bank. “No, dad, you’re innocent. Don’t give up.” See you in November, nerds. I’m gonna be right.

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For a battle I know nothing about, this battlefield looks incredible. I mean, what do we even know so far about the villains from the trailer?

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We know their eyes glow. We know that they’re metal. We know they broke some poor chump’s air conditioner (jerks). We know that we’re rooting against them – so maybe we know all that we need to.

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“Shall we?”

I’m so there, Wonderful.

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GLORIOUS.

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“It’s good to see you playing well with others again.”

Right back at you, J. Jonah Jameson. Is the Daily Bugle gonna be okay without you there to yell at it?

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“Dressed like a bat. I dig it.”

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“Maybe temporary.”

The arm wrestling match with Wonderful must have left him a little bit of a sore loser.

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“Yeah!”

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I live and breathe unlikely friendships. I’m already in the theater guys, let’s do this thing.

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COME AT ME NOVEMBER. leave the 3D behind but COME AT ME WITH EVERYTHING ELSE. I’m so excited for this! Comments? Questions? Concerns? I’m sure a lot of people have all three, but this movie looks incredible. And for my part, I don’t mind not getting to know the villains very well as long as they take the time to love on their main characters without having to use on-screen fact sheets (cough, cough Suicide Squad cough, cough, which was still you know, cough cough, a fun movie, but like, cough, not good).

Let me know what you think of Justice League so far! Here’s to an anticipatory six months, kiddos.

There Has to be a Reasonable Explanation | One Nerdy Turn Deserves Another Vol. 5

5 Mar

[Historical context -my birthdays: 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. jen’s birthdays: 20, 21, 22, 23]

You know Jennifer, sisters are known for being able to speak in a series of jokes only they understand or being able to communicate through glances. I’m stoked that we’ve gotten to experience that over the last couple decades – but I’m particularly stoked that now you know what I’m talking about when I mention such well-loved TV episodes as “the one with exploding pus” and “the hate him, wouldn’t want to date him one with witches.”

Under the circumstances, I can think of no better way to celebrate your birthday than with X-Files. Can you? No, you can’t. Do you want to know why?

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My girl is so right. Let’s go.

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Jen, look at you hitting that twenty-four-year mark! You’re absolutely killing it.

Yeah, I could only briefly look for a gif to match that phrase.

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I have to draw lines, I really do. This is a birthday, and a birthday calls for something more cheerful than gifs about alien deaths. Wholesome images! Images about life and its possibilities!

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By the way, I love what you’ve done with yours. Even if Jen-smiling-in-front-of-a-lighthouse has pretty much become a meme back here in the Beaver state, we’re always so happy to see pictures of your cute face.

For your birthday, I’m gonna get you so many things. I’m gonna get you Moana. I’m gonna get you something yummy to eat. I’m gonna get you to look at this gif.

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Best present of all, right? Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh haha wow I have to stay on topic. What was this post about? You? I think so. Let’s talk about you! Let’s talk about how you’ve spent the last 24 years being a top notch 10/10 human being. You make people comfortable, and you make them laugh, and for that everyone who knows you would like to thank you.

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It’s weird to have you so far away. I hope you’re making good choices without me to keep you in check with regular Doctor Who nights and that one pancake recipe I know. If you ever feel unsure, just don’t forget what you learned in Oregon before California ever got its paws on you.

If you ever do lose your way and get yourself in trouble, just be honest.

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Keep working hard, taking it easy, smiling, and trying new things. Who knows what you’ll see?

Jesus loves you, I love you, and frankly, I don’t think California can resist loving you. At the end of the day, what more could anyone want?

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You’re 24 today. One more time – Happy birthday. Don’t forget to treat yourself, kiddo.

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