Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Tron Taught Me

Spoiler Alert:  The following post contains some of my musings after seeing the movie Tron: Legacy.  While I am not writing out a summary of the movie, my musings will definitely reveal many of the plot points.  If this offends you turn back now, or proceed at your own risk.

The Company I work for has a fabulous tradition of going to see a movie sometime in December during the work day.  This tradition is what is commonly known as awesome.  This year the movie of choice was Tron: Legacy.  It was a fun movie, not life changing or anything but I did notice some important life lessons as I was watching the movie.  Here are the things I discovered in no particular order.

Programmers have Phenomenal Cosmic Powers
Kevin Flynn was seen by all of the programs as a messianic character.  They showed him reverence as their creator.  No program I have written has ever worshiped me, but apparently that's only because in our world the programs are sets of instructions that just do what they're told.  In the computer world, a simple binary translator program could be rocking at a light cycle game or chilling at the bar.

In the same way, in our world I have to write code to make stuff happen.  In the computer world I just hold up my hands and magic happens.  I don't think anyone in our world appreciates how cool programmers are.

I Want one of These
I'm just sayin'

Bad Guys Glow Red
I think our world could be improved if bad guys always glowed red and good guys glowed blue or white.  Imagine if a sketchy salesman was trying to sell you something.  Is he glowing blue?  You can trust him.  If not, just walk away.  (I know, that one dude that betrayed them wasn't glowing red but he wasn't glowing at all so I'm pretty sure you can trust people if they're glowing blue.)

My brain is in HD
This new movie had some super sweet graphics for the light cycles and the other contests.  The strange thing is that when I saw the original Tron as a little kid I'm pretty sure the graphics were just as cool.  At least, I remember it looking cool.  But I went back and watched the original Tron and it turns out that my brain had upconverted the picture that I saw as a little child, because the movie itself is pretty ghetto.  Who knew?

Thirteen is in the computer world
On the TV show House, the character known as 13 vanished quite abruptly.  It turns out she was in the computer world the whole time.  Not even Dr. Gregory House was able to figure that one out.

That's all the information I learned from watching Tron.  Do you have anything you would like to add?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Puzzle

One of my favorite Christmas traditions happens to be a tradition that Robyn despises.  You see, ever since I was a small child I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of feeling each gift, shaking it, listening to it, and deriving every bit of information that can be gathered without actually opening the gift.

To a seasoned present questioner, it's amazing how much information can be gathered without seeing the present.  A simple shaking can reveal the weight and the dimensions.  A little feeling can reveal shape and texture.  Once the basics have been found it's just a matter of querying the database in your brain.  You don't have to cross reference the information against everything in the world, you only have to cross reference it against things you want.  The important thing is that your brain should have stored all the information about everything that you want in a database table.  Then your brain just has to run a simple SQL query.  Something along the lines of "SELECT title FROM desired_items where width='x' AND weight='y'".  (If you don't understand the SQL query, don't worry, I just put that in for the benefit of the nerds.)

Robyn doesn't like this game.  She doesn't appreciate when I solve the puzzle.  She didn't like watching me pick up each present and then tell her what they were.  She doesn't understand the complex algorithms that are going on inside my head as I figure out height, weight and so on.

I have to say, despite her not liking this particular game, I was impressed with her skill.  Knowing of my excellent present shaking skills she did some work to hide the true information about some of my gifts.  One gift in particular, she put a small ziploc bag filled with Cap'n Crunch inside the box.  Thus when it was shaken, all that could be heard was the cereal.  Of course, I knew right away I was hearing cereal, but I was unable to pick out the proper sounds.

My mom, who has witnessed my skills for longer than Robyn has, especially enjoys the thrill of challenging me.  She had one particular gift that she handed me and dared me to figure it out.  I have to admit, she defeated me.  How could I possibly know that there could be this level of coolness?  Here is me with my cute new pet Cthulhu.
(If you don't know who Cthulhu is, he's an evil demon thought up by H.P. Lovecraft who telepathically enslaves people or drives them mad.  He's also very cute, as seen above.)

Of course, my mother didn't stop there.  She also challenged me with another gift.  She wrote a note on the outside saying, "This will help make it easier to have children."  Again, I couldn't guess this one.  She gave me this awesome binky that makes a baby look like a vampire.
She has me there.  Who wouldn't want to make their precious baby look like a vampire?  What she failed to take into account was that I make a pretty precious vampire myself.  I bet she didn't see that coming.

Isn't Christmas great?  Of course, there are many reasons to enjoy Christmas besides presents (and solving the great mystery of presents.)  I enjoyed spending the day with family and loved ones.  I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Magic of Work Parties

Thursday was a day of love.  It started with me going to the Salt Lake Temple where Robyn's sister Megan was sealed to her new husband Graham.  I've written before about my excitement about their wedding.  It was so fun to see how happy they are together.  It brought back memories of my own wedding and the feelings I felt.  It is possible, however unlikely, that they are actually more precious than Robyn and I.

It would be impossible to convey the full preciousness to anyone who wasn't there.  So to help you understand their preciousness I have included the following picture of Meggy Weggy and Grahamy Wammy in their most precious state.
(Robyn and I were in charge of making their wedding video so I scanned lots of precious pictures.)

But, if you thought that was enough love for the day you would be wrong.  I now must share with you the tale of Chase and Lauren.

You see, while I was celebrating the fact that I had gained a new brother in Graham.  Chase took his girlfriend,  Lauren, on a super sweet date.  On this date, he asked her a very important question.  No, he didn't ask her who her favorite Star Wars character is.  (But that would be an important question as well.)  He asked her to marry him, and she said yes!  This means that not only do I get a new brother-in-law in Graham but I get a new coworker-in-law in Lauren.  That is a lot of love.

(Chase has not put me in charge of scanning pictures of him, so I don't have precious pictures.  I scoured his facebook page to find a pic of him and Lauren, but I couldn't find one.  So here is a pic of him with Boba Fett.)

To fully understand their story, you need to know a bit of my story.  Three years ago, Robyn and I had our first date to a work Christmas party.  The following year I went to the same Christmas party with her as my wife.

Chase and Lauren went on their first date after Chase's mission to a Summer Barbecue hosted by our work.  Now that they are engaged we see the power of work parties.  I don't know if they have magic at every company but they certainly do at the company I work at.

I tried to explain the power of work parties to my other coworker, Ben.  (The one who is mistaken about Frosted Mini Wheats)  He took a girl on a first date to our Christmas party this year.  I hope he is ready to marry her because we know that's what will happen.

That, my friends, will be a lot of love.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Christmas Card

I like Christmas cards.  Whether it's a silly dancing Santa, some sort of awkward penguin or a precious family picture it's always fun to know that friends are thinking of you.

I received a Christmas card from my friends Josie and Bart (and their son Dave).  It had a precious picture of them on the front.  But, more important was the wisdom that was shared on the back.

These are the immortal words of the Christmas Card.
Jeff + Robyn = awesomeness

So far so good.  I've tested that hypothesis and found it to be true. The card continues:

I also concur with that postulate.  I'm starting to see where this is going.  Finally, the conclusion of the card:
Without Jeff and Robyn, Christmas wouldn't exist. 

That is good logic.  It tastes good.  Do you see how they used the transitive  property of mathematics to come upon that conclusion? (whenever A = B and B = C, then also A = C.)

I have such wise friends.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Magic of Christmas

Christmas is two weeks from yesterday. It is a magical time of year. Ever since I was small, there was always something magical about Christmas.

I remember once when I was around 5 or 6 years old I began to doubt the existence of Santa Clause. I determined that what I needed was empirical evidence to either confirm or deny that Santa Clause was the source of my presents. I was very small at the time (as opposed to the towering monolith of manliness that I am today) and so I could squeeze into tight places. I determined that I would find a good hiding place in view of the Christmas Tree where I would wait out the night on Christmas Eve.

I figured that I would either see Santa Clause or my parents, and this would provide me with the evidence I needed to determine once and for all if there was a large elf who could travel at faster than light speeds delivering presents to all 6 billion residents of the planet in one night.

Well, as I lay in my hiding place the time marched on. From the perspective of my child brain I remember laying there for hours upon hours. It could have possibly been days or even weeks. Of course, judging from how children that I know view the world, it was probably 15 or 20 minutes. But after that eternal amount of time I began to doubt my doubts. I thought that if there was a Santa Clause he would probably be aware that I was watching. He probably wouldn't come because I was there. I decided that I wasn't willing to risk the pain of not receiving presents. It wasn't worth it, even for the knowledge gained. I retired to my bed, bested by Santa Clause.

I suppose a part of me didn't want to lose the magic. Since then, I have been in the room when my mom put the presents under the tree. As a teenager I apparently stayed up later then my parents were willing to wait. I rebuked them for ruining the magic, but I'm sure they were just assisting Santa. He does have a lot of people to visit.

The magic still lives today, but it's no longer about Santa Clause. I wanted to share a few of the things that still feel magical to me.

Robyn doesn't like snow. While she was growing up, their version of a white Christmas was a foggy day. I told her that California doesn't have real Christmas. There's something about a freshly fallen Snow, and the Christmas lights as they shine through it. I love the feeling when you stand outside as the snow is falling and the world looks completely clean and untouched. The snow all around has never been stepped in, it's like the world has been born again.

I love to receive presents, I'm not gonna lie. But I also really love giving that perfect gift, the one that surprises and delights the receiver. Robyn says I get a "sneaky face" when I give her that gift. Our first Christmas together I apparently had the sneaky face on Christmas Eve and it caused her to wake up ridiculously early, and then quietly and pleadingly wake me up and ask "can we open presents now?"

There's something magical about being with those you love. You can relax, laugh together and feel all the warm fuzzy feelings that make Christmas amazing.

The miracle of our Savior's birth and life
The greatest Christmas gift any of us has ever received is the miracle of forgiveness. Our Savior paid for our sins so that each of us could become clean and be allowed to live again in our Father's kingdom. Through him we can overcome death as well as our own wretched sins.

I hope you all have a wonderful merry Christmas. What are some of the things that you think are magical about this time of year?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Sign of the Trident

I'm pretty sure I'm a demigod.  I know that sounds crazy, but how else do you explain the signs I've received?  I'm getting ahead of myself, I suppose I should probably explain the miraculous signs.

There is something you should know before I tell my story.  First, I feel that Sheldon should explain the difference between a fork and a trident.  Watch this video:

As Sheldon so eloquently puts it, "tridents are for ruling the seven seas."  Well, that brings me to my story.  On Thursday night Robyn and I went out to dinner at Mimi's Cafe.  They served us dinner, but they also gave us this:

I joked to Robyn that I didn't know whether I should eat or rule the seven seas.  But beyond that, I thought nothing of it.  Then last night, we had the company Christmas party for my work.  It was a very fancy and delicious dinner, but when I sat down I noticed this.
Well, obviously since I just joked about it the night before, the sign had to be sent again.  It is very reminiscent of the book The Lightning Thief (not the movie, it was a sad rendition of the book).  Percy Jackson got in an awesome sword fight where he beat everybody up.  When he stood in the water it healed all his wounds and he looked up and saw a glowing Trident above his head, it was sent from Poseidon to let him know that Percy was his son.

Clearly Poseidon was sending me a message.  I am meant to rule the seven seas.  I think this means I should take more trips to the beach.
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