Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Far from Miserable

For last night's FHE, my ward went to see Les Misérables at my alma mater, Bountiful High School. Though I first heard the songs a few years ago, it was my first time seeing this musical performed live. As far as high school musicals go, it was one of the better ones I have seen.

My Improvables colleague, Kevin Johnson, stole the show - in my opinion - with his enthusiastic portrayal of the Thenardier/the priest. I already knew that this kid was talented, but I learned that he can sing, too. The actresses who portrayed Cosette, Eponine, and Fantine all have excellent singing voices, to boot. Props also go to my neighbor Alma Smoot, who was the conniving Javert.

As someone who has performed in community theater, I hope that you get the chance to see and support this show during the next two weeks (if you live in or near the Davis County area, of course).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Tractor Beam, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jane Austen


Anyone who has seen the Star Wars movies knows about the Death Star's tractor beam. This device, which could pull aircraft as large as the Millennium Falcon into the Death Star, could also do it from a considerable distance.

Though a tractor beam has the strength to pull in large aircraft, I have learned that it has no effect - like some Jedi mind tricks - on pulling most women into the world of the galaxy far, far away. In layman's terms, girls (generally speaking) don't like Star Wars.

Case in point: A group of friends and I recently learned that there were some people with two X chromosomes (okay, young women) in our ward who had never seen even one of the seven Star Wars films. Two of these gals even (apparently) boasted of this fact and high-fived each other over it.

So, we determined that a "Star Wars Induction" must be held as soon as possible. Nick volunteered to host it, organized everything, and sent out invitations.

We did have a handful of girls at our party last week. But all of those who came had seen Star Wars before. Not a single one of the "uninducted" showed up to be inducted. We were left only to imagine that they were off somewhere, holed up in someone's basement, braiding each other's hair, perhaps eating ice cream out of the container, and watching any one of a dozen Pride & Prejudice adaptations (a real "attack of the clones") for the 97th time, possibly high-fiving each other once more and sobbing as (surprise!) Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth got together at the end.

Granted, that was just one evening and one party. But it exemplifies, I think, a kind of perceived female indifference about Star Wars that men have - whether right or wrong - and one is a little disappointing.

Here's my point: When the girls in my singles ward get married - whether or not they find their own Mr. Darcy - they will most likely have a husband who is a Star Wars fan. It's a guy thing, just as much as P&P is a girl thing. I'm sure they will want their husbands to watch P&P with them at least a few times, if they haven't already done so, or Miss Congeniality or The Notebook or any number of chick flicks currently being produced by Hollywood. Watching Star Wars is meeting us halfway.

By the way, for those who don't know it, the Han Solo/Princess Leia love story in the Star Wars films is, essentially, the same love story from Pride & Prejudice: Boy meets girl; boy and girl instantly detest each other; girl likes different boy; girl finds out he is her twin brother (okay, so that part isn't in P & P,) but there is kind of a parallel when Elizabeth finds out that her soldier guy is actually a creep); girl makes incorrect judgment call about first boy; girl learns she was wrong; boy does things to endear himself to girl, like coming back and saving the day; galaxy is saved; and everyone lives happily ever after.

If that doesn't appeal to P & P fans, then I don't know what will.

Might I also add: Harrison Ford (Sabrina), Ewan McGregor (Emma, Moulin Rouge!, Miss Potter), Natalie Portman (Where the Heart Is, The Other Boleyn Girl), Liam Neeson (Nell), and Keira Knightley (Bend It like Beckham, Pride & Prejudice - gasp!) are all the stars or co-stars of both Star Wars and some beloved chick flicks.

In case you don't think I know what I'm talking about when it comes to P&P, I have both read the book and have seen several incantations of it on film. I will admit that I have enjoyed them all and that Jane Austen is one of the better authors I have read. I was even among a test audience that saw the LDS version of P&P in the fall of 2003, which I enjoyed a lot.

Sorry if this sounds at all proud or prejudiced. It's just the opinion of one scruffy-looking nerf herder.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jumping Onto the Bandwagon


I have always had a hard time keeping up with technology.

My family didn't get a computer until my senior year of high school. Until then, I had to go to my friends' houses or stay after school to print out papers. I got my first CD burner only a few years ago thanks to my good friend, Pepe.

I didn't get my first cassette tape player until I was 11. (Good times, those.) And, after that, I didn't get my first CD player until the mid-'90s.

When I came home from my mission, everybody had and used the Internet. (It was completely non-existent before. Of course, I had been living in the third world for two years, so everything old seemed new again.)

I was the last person in my family to get a cell phone and, even then, it is one of the oldest models you can get.

Now that everybody and his dog has their own blog - yes, I have actually seen blog sites belonging to pets - I suppose it is time for me to give it a try.

Well, here goes.