Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wedding Receptions

Just as a reference, there are big differences between what I call a Utah wedding reception and a regular American wedding reception. The regular American wedding consists of a large room, such as a chapel with a lot of pews, a long procession of people, and the song “Here Comes the Bride”, well, that is what we called it when I was a kid. After that there is a large dinner where the bride and groom along with their families sit at a large table in front of the room and people toast one another for hopes of a great marriage. Then after that there is usually a wickedly awesome dance party.

The Utah wedding reception is nothing like this. A good number of people in Utah are members of the LDS church and many of them get married in an LDS temple where it is a very solemn ceremony with few people in attendance. After that everyone goes over to a large building or outdoors, the bride and groom stand in a long line while everyone they know and do not know come over and shake your hand and tell you how great you look. The people in line basically sit there for eight minutes to wait for this five second opportunity, they then go over and grab some cake, talk with their friends for five minutes about maybe asking the bride’s maid or the best man out, and then leave. Let’s just say I find Utah receptions lame.

Why do we put ourselves through this torture? I can only talk on the side as a guest, but seriously. I am now at that age where many of my friends are getting married, so I am going to a lot of wedding receptions, especially Utah ones. I get boarder every time. I go sand stand in a line, give the bride and groom my corny congratulations with my strange humor, I go get some food, and then have an awkward ten minute conversation with the bride’s uncle who I have never met in my entire life, and then leave. I go to these receptions to show support for my friends and their new spouses but is that my only logical reason to put myself through so much?

On the bright side, wedding receptions are always happy, everyone is nice, and there is always some crazy funny guy doing something insanely humorous. But hey, in the end the receptions exists just to let all the old people you have known since you were a kid come over to say “my, look how much you’ve grown, I remember when you were this tall and you set fire to my lawn.” So let’s continue this tradition for the old people!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Movies

The end of the year is enjoyable not just because of all the fun holidays, but also because of all the movies that we get to see. They are not those lame movies either that usually come out in the middle of March or August or one of the other lame movie months, they are great movies that one can actually enjoy. Recently I saw two of these movies and they were great! I am not usually a person who goes out and sees a movie the first weekend it comes I also usually wait until it hits a dollar theater, and then on Tuesday nights I go to the 50 cent showing of those movies at the dollar theater, (yes I am a cheapskate) but a good movie, I am willing to go to the $5.50 matinee.

The first film I saw was Avatar. This movie is getting great reviews from all sorts of people, I have to fully agree with those reviews. If you are living under a rock and for some reason this is your only form a communication which means you have not heard from anyone about this great film, I will give a short background on the story. It is your typical bad guy turns good guy film, much like Dances for Wolves or the Last Samurai, only it takes place on a world call Pandora between humans and the natives of this world called the Na'vi. The film is called Avatar because the humans have the ability to create genetically altered bodies of these Na'vi and the humans control these bodies as if they were actually that being. The idea of an avatar is a being with the consciousness of another being, like ancient religious ideas of a god taking the form of a mortal, that is why the movie is called Avatar. Well the main character ends up getting in to a tribe of these Na'vi, falls in love with a girl, and then fights with them to save this world from the evil humans.

The movie has incredible action scenes, stunning camera shots with special effects, and a nice flow to the story. The story was fairly predictable and there was no actor that stood out as an Oscar potential and the dialog was actually quite bland, but it was a good movie and I recommend anyone to go see it. I would give this movie 4/5. They actually had to invent new movie making techniques and technologies to make this movie which are expected to revolutionize the movie industry.

The next film I saw this holiday break was The Blind Side. This was by far my favorite movie of 2009. The movie is actually based on a true story of NFL player Michael Oher and his struggles growing up before he entered the NFL. I really have no complaints about this movie. The actors were perfect for their parts, the story kept you in your seat, and the dramatic timing was perfect. This is saying a lot, considering I got to the theater exactly when the previews started, all of the good seats were taken, so my friend and I sat on the second row on the far left side. I had to crook my neck to watch the entire film, after about ten minutes in to the film I was so glued to the sliver screen that I forgot about my neck position. Sandra Bullock plays the female lead and I definitely think she will be getting an Oscar nomination for her role. This film gets 5/5.

The film deals a lot with good values to help others since the main family in the movie takes in Michael Oher who literally has nothing. The film deals a lot with racial issues and shows how those can be greatly overcome. It also gives hope to anyone in a hard situation.

I am trying to figure out what it is about real stories in movies that make these kind of movies so good. It could be the drama or anything like that, but I also think that we can actually connect with these films, because it is real life, the stories have actually happened and they inspire us in so many ways. I hope more movies like The Blind Side are created, I just love these kind of movies so much.

Get out there and go see some good movies, there are a lot of good ones out there for crazy college students to full blown families. You will love the time to just get away from life for a while.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas, and Santa Clause is Real!

Christmas is such a great holiday! For many, it is a time to come together with their family and to enjoy some quality time with them. For a lot, that also means a lot of fights over the leftovers in the fridge and what to watch on TV, but that comes in line with having a great family. Would we really want to spend our time with boring people who are perfect all the time? No sir, I love spending time with my siblings and getting in fights with them over which Nintendo game is the greatest of all time. But in all seriousness, I can attest to how great it is to be with our families during this great holiday season. I was in Brazil for two Christmases and I was not able to be with my family for that time and it changes the feeling of the season, I was not depressed by any means, but it certainly was different, I can better understand how some people feel when they just do not have the means to be with their families during this special time.

Christmas is interesting with its vast commercialism and ability to drive people crazy to get to the next big sale (aka Black Friday), but for me, Christmas has another special meaning as well. I have strong faith in my religion and in Jesus Christ, I believe that he is the savior of all mankind and I testify of that. So this holiday is special for me not only for the reason that I can spend time with my family, give gifts, and also get a lot of cool stuff, but also because of what it represents about Christ. It is a special time for me to remember the miracles of his birth and the great teachings he has left us.

The traditional idea of Christmas is very much tied up in Christ’s doctrines. During Christmas there is a stronger emphasis on charity and showing love for others. We always hear the phrase, "it is better to give than to receive." People in general are just happier and they are more prone to forgive. Many of these desires to love others were taught by Christ and are greatly emphasized in his teachings. I see Christmas as a seasonal time that the teachings of Christ are actually fulfilled more often than any other time of the year, and what is great about it is that these expressions of love occur not only amongst Christians, but people of other faiths or lack thereof as well and we can see many great redeeming qualities of mankind. Now if only we could only have the spirit of Christmas all year long?

By the way, Santa Clause is real! I do not care what anybody thinks. Everyone who tells me he does not exist has lied to me in the past about other topics, so why would they tell me the truth now? They are just jealous that I am always on Santa’s nice list. Plus when I was like five, Santa told me at the mall where I went to see him that he was real! Santa has never lied to me and I love him. Just to prove that he is real, I will have an expedition to the north pool to see his elf-sweat-shop factory. I will bring back large candy canes as proof that I visited good ol’ Saint Nick. I will need volunteers to aid me on my journey; people may send me their applications to go on a journey of a lifetime!

Merry Christmas everybody, I hope it was enjoyable for everyone.