Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Voyage

The sea voyage to the Promised Land for Lehi and his family... could be considered less-than-stellar.  And I bet you can guess who they had to thank for that.
Yep.  Laman and Lemuel.
The voyage actually started out pretty well.  They were making good time, and things were relatively peaceful.  Perhaps too peaceful, because that was when Laman and Lemuel, along with their wives and Ishmael's sons, decided to get drunk and party it up.  Nephi started to worry that God would be angry with them, and tried to get them to stop.  And they agreed, and everything went well from then on.
Laman and Lemuel tied Nephi up.  Apparently they were still nervous enough about the last time they were told off that they didn't try to kill him, but they weren't above injuring him.  But, thanks to their rebellion, their compass, the Liahona, stopped working.  Even then, with everyone pleading for them to let Nephi go and the stress of their rebellion nearly killing Lehi and Sariah, Laman and Lemuel were too stubborn to admit they were wrong.  That is, until a giant storm came upon them for four days and they were on the brink of capsizing.  Then they were finally scared enough to untie Nephi.  The first thing he did was thank God, and the second was to grab the Liahona and see if it would work.  Once it was established that it was working again, Nephi prayed, and the storm finally died.
Finally, finally, they made it to the Promised Land.

Fare thee well, friend!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Huge Mistake

The other night I realized I have made a huge tactical error.
You see, the mythology behind my book involves lots of scary, nasty creatures.  And the scary, nasty creature I use most prominently in the book is the giant spider (and yes, I am well aware of the fact that this has been done by both The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.  No need to point that out).  Well, I was writing one of the spider scenes, and I realized in order to properly describe giant spiders, I would actually need to look up pictures of spiders.  Enlarged, close-up pictures of spiders.  And this was half-an-hour before I needed to go to bed.
Shelob has nothing on the internet!!!!!

Fare thee well, friend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Farewell to a Fish

We didn't plan on taking him.  He belonged to our last roommate, Kah.  But of course, when one is moving to California, it can be difficult to pack a fish.  Thus, Kay and I inherited a little blue beta named Dr. Seuss.
He lived a full, happy life.  By the end he'd known several tripod frogs, and a pair of large snails.  But eventually all good things must come to an end, and last week, our dear Dr. Seuss passed away.
Though in all fairness, we could all see it coming.  He'd been acting weird for days, and he was a reeeeaaaally  old beta.  He had a remarkably full life. 
And now, thanks to our marvelous Sarnic who works at a pet store and therefore gives us info on the pets there, we have a lovely new orange-and-blue beta named Agent (we're fans of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, in case you can't tell). 

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nephi Builds a Boat

While resting in Bountiful, Nephi received a dream from God, telling him to go to a nearby mountain.  When Nephi got there, God instructed him to build a boat to take the family across the ocean to a land of promise.  Now, Nephi could have balked a little at this point.  Across an ocean?  To a land we know nothing about?  But of course we all know Nephi better than that.  :)  I think the bigger temptation would have been to ask, "Okay, so where are all the tools I'll need to build the ship?"  A big problem that faithful people run into is that they expect God to do everything for them.  It's not a bad thing to rely on God, but He does want us to learn to be independent and make our own choices.  Instead of asking where the tools were, Nephi asked, "Okay, where can I find the right ores so I can make the tools I'll need?" 
Please excuse me while I squee for a moment.
HOW AMAZING CAN NEPHI BE?!  He was willing to start from scratch, without complaining.  How long would it have taken him to make all the tools he would need?  And how long after that would it take him to build a ship?  And then sail it across an OCEAN?  Hard-working, patient, AND faithful!
Okay, squee moment over.  Thanks for your patience.
Of course, Nephi's patience was tested by his older brothers.  Again.  Nephi had never built a ship before, and Laman and Lemuel were both convinced he was going to fail in a big way.  They were bad enough that they refused to help him work, even when everyone else was giving Nephi a hand.  Finally, Nephi had to chastise them.  Again.  And they decided to throw him in the ocean so they could kill him.  Again.
I think God must have been really irritated with them at this point, because when they went to grab Nephi, he was filled with the power of God, and he had to warn them to stay back, because if they touched him they would die.  He proceeded to thoroughly chew them out, and then (this is the reason I think God was annoyed), God told Nephi to touch his brothers.  He assured Nephi they wouldn't die, but they would be shocked pretty badly.
Laman and Lemuel didn't dare go near Nephi for days afterward, and when the ship was finished, guess who had to admit that it was actually a really good design?

Fare thee well, friend!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hanging Storage

So, when my apartment decorated for Halloween, the first thing we put up were spiderwebs.  They are a necessity for Halloween, after all.  And of course, we had little spiders to stick up with it.  Unfortunately, I was at work when they went up, so I didn't know just how they were placed.  I found out later that all my roommates had to do was throw the spiders at a spot in the webs, and they tended to stick pretty well.
That's when things got fun.
One day someone got the idea to throw a pen at the webs, and it stuck.  Well, we have a story we've been writing, and we each have a specific pen, so we chucked those at the webs and started using them as storage.  You can imagine how things went from there.  At the moment we've got a couple rubber snakes and a ribbon up there as well. 
It's gonna be a great disappointment when we have to take those down.  At least until I start decorating for Christmas. ;)

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eight Years in the Wilderness

Soon after his dream of the tree of life, Lehi had another dream where God told him it was time to start traveling in the wilderness so He could guide them to a land of promise.  When Lehi awoke the next morning, there was a curious device outside his tent.  It was a little ball, with writing on it and two pointers to show them where to go.  It was called a Liahona.
Lehi and his family spent eight years in the wilderness, during which time Ishmael died, Lehi's sons (and Zoram) married Ishmael's daughters, and each family was blessed with children.  Including, incidentally, Lehi and Sariah themselves.  They had two more sons, Jacob and Joseph, named after Lehi's ancestors. 
Presumably they had many incidents while in the wilderness, but the one recorded was when Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel all broke their bows and couldn't hunt for food.  Everyone, including Lehi, started complaining, asking how God could let this happen to them.  It got so bad the Liahona stopped working.
And what did Nephi do? 
He made himself a new bow.  It doesn't mention it, but I have to imagine there was quite a bit of eye-rolling on Nephi's part.  After that he went to Lehi and asked him to pray about where he should go hunting.  Just an insert, I think this is incredibly significant.  Nephi could have just said, "Well, I'm done with all of you whiners" and asked God himself.  Instead, he chose to honor his father and spiritual leader, and maybe give his father a gentle reminder of his responsibility.  Lehi did pray, and was pretty well-chewed out for complaining.  Then God told him to look at the Liahona.  The writing had changed, and they learned the Liahona only worked according to their faith.  If they trusted God, the Liahona would point them in the right direction.  If they didn't, it would stop working entirely.  It was a sobering moment for everyone.
At the end of the eight years, Lehi's family finally reached the seashore, in a place they called Bountiful.  Not sure how long they stayed here, but it was a wonderful place to rest and relax before the final stretch of their journey.

Fare thee well, friend!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Top Ten Disney Deaths

So, I've seen these lists all over the place, and I thought I'd put my two cents in.  Just a note, I did actually plan on doing this on Halloween, but instead I ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Let the deaths begin! >:)

Number 10: Mother Gothel
As much as I love Mother Gothel as a villain, her death disappointed me.  Apparently she died of old age, but Disney used the whole villain-falls-from-an-extreme-height trope to keep from traumatizing kids.  I get why they did it, but I honestly thought it made the movie a little confusing.  It took a few views to figure out she had turned to dust before she hit the ground.  It's redeeming qualities, however, include Gothel tripping over the hair she once prized, and Rapunzel reaching out for her as she fell in spite of everything.  That poor, poor girl.

Number 9: Queen Grimhilde
The Evil Queen was hit by lightening, fell from a tremendous height (again, trope), and was subsequently crushed by the boulder she was trying to use to kill the dwarves.  Oh, and anything left of her after that was eaten by vultures.  Again, not one of the greater deaths, but this woman just gets one horrible thing after another.  Guess that's karma, huh?

Number 8: Scar
Eaten by your own evil henchmen?  While flames are flying around you?  Yikes.  An added bonus is the image of the shadows on the wall behind him.  Perfect way to imply violence without actually showing it to the kiddies.  Seriously, though, Scar is the prime example of why you shouldn't betray your henchmen.  There are a million of them, one of you, and they will not hesitate if you don't follow through.  There is a reason these people are henchmen and not sidekicks (ie, they go for the highest bidder.  Loyalty for them is bought, not earned).

Number 7: Gaston
Again, a Disney villain falls to their death.  However, this scores high on my list because it has delicious irony (and I am a sucker for irony).  The fact is, if Gaston had taken Beast's offer, he could have gone back to his poor provincial town and married one of the ditzy blondes that actually liked him.  Instead, he decided if he couldn't have Belle, no one could, and he went in for the kill.  AND THEN, he didn't even die because Beast pushed him off.  He fell because he was stupid enough to attack Beast while they were both hanging off a balcony, and he lost his grip during Beast's writhing in pain.  Sorry to say, Gaston, you deserved what you got.

Number 6: Maleficent
The thing I love about Maleficent's death is that it's deliberate.  So many Disney heroes only kill their villains accidentally, which is great, because it shows you shouldn't take a life lightly.  However, I also believe it's important to show that sometimes you have to do the hard thing.  Phillip could choose to kill the angry dragon and save Aurora, or he could choose to let the nasty witch continue to ruin people's lives.  When the time came, he did what he had to do and stopped evil before it could do any more harm.  That takes guts, and Phillip has them (in case you can't tell, I'm sort of in love with Phillip :D).

Number 5:  Ursula
Again, this is a deliberate death.  What makes this one great is that at this point Ursula looks completely unstoppable.  She looks like she's about 70 feet tall, wields a giant trident, and is about to fry poor Ariel.  The problem is, she thinks she's invincible as well, and forgets about the attractive, resourceful prince long enough for him to find something sharp and pointy.  And then proceeds to attack his girlfriend.  That is rule number 376 in the list of ways for villains to get themselves killed: threaten the romantic interest.  Ursula's overconfidence is her undoing.

Number 4:  Shan Yu

Mostly I love this for the absolute shock Shan Yu must have felt.  It looks like he's about to win: the random woman soldier is holding a freaking fan.  Then he lunges, and his sword is gone.  Next thing he knows he's looking at a tiny dragon with a giant rocket strapped to his back (keep in mind up to this point the only person who has seen Mushu for what he really is would be Mulan herself).  Then, while he's distracted, afore-mentioned woman trips him, pins him with his own sword, and he's hit in the gut with afore-mentioned rocket.  Things for him went from awesome to death in about five seconds, and I would love to see his thought process through this!

Number 3:  Turbo
Mostly, this hits my top terrifying list because Turbo knows exactly what is going to happen to him, but is completely helpless to stop it.  I would say I feel bad for him, but honestly, he was going to make Ralph watch as Vanellope was eaten by giant candy monsters.  My sympathy for him is zip.

Number 2:  Facilier
Okay, this one is uber-creepy.  There are neon green and pink lights, creepy dolls with pins sticking out of them playing drums, and gravestones coming to life.  What makes it even better is that throughout the entire movie, Facilier looks like he's in control of everything.  The second Tiana breaks the amulet, his facade crumbles.  He is absolutely terrified for the first time.  Villains losing their cool?  Awesome.  Also, speaking of thought processes I'd love to see, can you imagine what Tiana must have been thinking when this started: Take that you rotten OH CRAP THERE ARE LIGHTS AND CREEPY DOLLS WHATISHAPPENING?!?!

And number 1 (drumroll please):  Frollo
Ah, the death of Judge Claude Frollo.  I mentioned before I'm a sucker for irony, and this is the perfect example.  Throughout the movie Frollo prides himself on being more righteous than anybody else.  His final words: God shall smite the wicked and cast them into the fiery pit.  Yes, yes He will, Frollo, but look at who fell into the inferno you made of Paris?

Yeah, so this was a creepy post, but hey, I did say it was supposed to be for Halloween!

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nephi's Vision

After Lehi related his dream to his family, Nephi was curious.  He wanted to see it as well, so he went off on his own and prayed for the chance to see his father's vision and know what it meant.  While he was praying, the Spirit of God came to him and showed him Lehi's vision.  Nephi was also given the interpretation of the symbols in the vision: the tree was the love of God for His children, and the fruit was eternal life, the greatest gift God can give.  The iron rod was the word of God, which leads people to His gospel.  The river of water was the filthiness of the world, and the mists were temptations.  The great building was the pride of the world, where people mocked those who partook of God's goodness.
Nephi was also shown what would happen to his descendents.  They would be led to a land of promise, and his children would live there for many years.  In fact, they would even be visited by the Messiah after His death in Jerusalem.  However, eventually pride and the love of the world would lead to his people's ultimate destruction.
After his vision, Nephi was so overcome that he went back to his tent and collapsed.  He only came out after he heard his brothers arguing about what Lehi's dream meant.  He asked them if they had prayed about it, and their response was that God never made such things known to them (to which I respond, really?  It might be hard if you don't even ask!).  Poor Nephi could only beg them to try to repent and remain close to God, but I don't know how much hope he had for them.  You see, in his vision, it was Laman and Lemuel's descendants that eventually destroyed his own people.

Fare thee well, friend!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spooky Stories

Since elementary school, I've learned it's better for me to avoid scary stories.  Why?  Because I have a tendency to half believe everything I hear.  I can tell you it makes Tower of Terror an absolute nightmare.  In any case, as I've grown up, I've decided it's silly to be scared of spooky stories.  They're only stories, after all.  Why, I deal with stories all the time!
Which is why I was so excited when I found out my friend Heather would be performing in a Halloween story contest hosted at our local library.  I'd heard the story she would be telling before, and I really enjoyed it, so I went to the contest with high hopes.  Even ran into Coach, who waved me over and offered a seat so us fencers could sit together.
By the end of the night I was struggling not to hide behind him.
Seriously, the stories were amazing!  Really well done, and appropriately spooky.  And the next day I was late to school because it was still dark when I woke up and I was convinced that as soon as I got out from under my covers, something was going to come eat me.

Fare thee well, friend!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Your Hair is Down?

I had an interesting conversation the other day.  My Welsh class is right after my Irish Dance class, which means nine times out of ten, my hair is up when I go.  Or, more accurately, every day besides Halloween, when we weren't actually going to be dancing because everyone was going to be in costume.  Since I was going as a witch, I thought I would leave my hair down (which is actually fairly unusual; I'm too vain to cut my hair, but leaving it down gives it opportunity to get frizzy).  No one really said much about it, which is what I expected.  I mean, I'm used to having long hair.  But then, after Welsh, my friend and I were heading to the parking lot when our professor passed us.  He stopped, looked at me in surprise, and said, "Do you usually have your hair up?"  I guess he just wasn't used to seeing me with long hair.  Though I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.  Usually it's in a bun, which hides length pretty well.  I just thought it was funny he didn't realize I actually had long hair.

Fare thee well, friend!