A rough draft of "Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars" is now posted here. It is a very rough draft. It needs a lot of criticism to point out its weaknesses and omissions so it can be fixed. In my defense, the source material I had to work with was not the greatest. I took that as a welcome challenge.
As of July 11th, I have lived in Utah for five years, and because I have five fingers on each hand, this erroneously feels like a more special number than four or six. Of course more has happened in that five years than can possibly be recounted here, and a great deal of it I would just as soon permanently forget anyway. It seems sometimes that not enough has happened, since I'm still not a college graduate, a returned missionary*, or a famous author. But my music collection is much larger than it was back then, and I have a bit more money, and my life is no longer on the brink of irreparable collapse, so there has been some growth and development and yadda yadda yadda that's enough of that.
*This is the proper spelling because it's the one that makes any sense. When people say "return missionary" I want to say "Return him where?"
By now I've forgotten most of what I learned my freshman year, other than a few of the life lessons that I learned such as classes, such as this: most stereotypes exist because they're true. If you see a scrawny pale guy with glasses, for example, you can safely assume that he probably likes Star Wars, and not just because liking Star Wars is suddenly cool again. (People are upset about how the same people who used to make fun of them for liking Pokémon are now obsessed with Pokémon Go. I had a similar experience many years ago when my classmates took a break from bullying me for liking Star Wars to get excited about "Revenge of the Sith".) This was borne out again at a recent game night when five of six players made that assumption during a game of Imaginiff, and were correct. Debbie was the sixth, and she was like "Well I didn't know, I don't know him" and I was like "You can't tell just by looking at him?" and he wasn't even offended. He nodded.
I've found it very difficult to trust Debbie, even though she's earned it by demonstrating that she isn't like other people, at least with me, at least in Utah. When other people say maybe they'll do something, they never give it another thought. When Debbie says that maybe she'll do something, she's tries her best to fit it into her busy schedule and usually succeeds. When other people say they will do something, they tentatively put it on the bottom of their priorities list and bump it off the moment anything else comes up. When Debbie says she will do something, she does it, and if something else comes up she tells them she already has plans. Naturally I'm astonished beyond measure by this unprecedented behavior and have a hard time believing that it isn't a temporary fluke. But I owe her that much trust because she has given me far more. While walking last weekend, she made us change direction or cross the street whenever we came near anyone of the male species, and that prompted this conversation that should have been awkward but wasn't.
Me: You don't trust me to protect you?
Her: I trust that you would try, but if he has a gun, we're both out of luck.
Me: Do you not trust any of these guys, or just the sketchy-looking ones?
Her: No, but it depends on the time of day too, like if it were midday it wouldn't be an issue.
Me: Do you trust me?
Her: I'm with you, aren't I?
Me: This feels like a huge responsibility.
Her: To not turn and attack me?
Me: I just mean – I know I'm trustworthy, but you don't know that. You're taking a leap of faith. And what if you take that leap of faith with someone else who isn't trustworthy? So I feel like, even though I'm trustworthy, maybe you shouldn't trust me because you just shouldn't trust people.
Her: And I'm more likely to be assaulted by someone I know well.
Days later, she flinched very hard when I reached over her to pick something up.
Having her neighbor around much of the time that we hang out hasn't turned out to be an unbearable nuisance as I thought it would be, either, since she makes a visibly conscious effort to be equally inclusive of us both. If anything, I am the guilty party for paying more attention to her than him, but still he has graduated in my mind from “friend-in-law” to actual friend. So I started inviting them both to stuff instead of just her, and when she couldn't make it to something and it was just me and him I didn't even mind. We bonded over our shared love of Homestar Runner and our shared ambivalence toward the latest Star Wars movie.
The Mormon Section
Richard Dawkins has written, "The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."
From this I came to wonder if Jesus experienced all of this pain during the Atonement. It seems self-evident that the Atonement covers animals because they will be resurrected. And they are no more deserving of pain, and less so in many cases, than humans. So did Jesus take their burdens upon Himself too? Did He intimately feel, for example, what it's like to be a rabbit experiencing sheer terror and adrenaline as it runs from a fox, only to be overtaken and torn apart? My answer is yes, but like, that's just my opinion, man. And I think there is a self-evident parallel between the necessity of suffering to create species and ecosystems and the necessity of suffering to create gods.
Star Wars Call Me Maybe + Fred Huggins - I Like You
A little over four years ago (so not as ostensibly significant as five but at least it's something), this cover of "Call Me Maybe" was released, and I heard it before I heard the original in its entirety, and it's still my preferred version even though it's just a catchy song in general.
Bonus: The song that goes "I really really really really really really like you" is even catchier, but it reminds me of the Fred Huggins show, which Carly Rae Jepsen presumably watched as a preteen.
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C. Randall Nicholson
This is where I occasionally rant about life, the universe, and/or everything. I'm a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate me without guilt, but I'm also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual.