I got into Italo-disco because it's an ancestor of spacesynth, a genre of usually space-themed music that all sounds the same but in a good way. Italo-disco itself sounds a bit more diverse. I think all these tracks are Italo-disco, but I don't know much about music genres, I just know what I like, so sue me if I'm a little off.
Charlie - Spacer Woman
A classic in the venerable "love from outer space" theme.
Crazy Gang - Every Sunday
This song is either about being abused by clergy or just being bored at church, I'm not sure which. Maybe it's deliberately open to interpretation.
Damian - The Time Warp
An even more upbeat cover of the song from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Italian Boys - Forever Lovers
I have nothing to say about this one but it's catchy.
Kano - Another Life
I have nothing to say about this one but it's catchy.
Kano - Cosmic Voyager
I like any piece of media with a reference to outer space in the title.
Koto - Dragon's Legend
Based on the infamously challenging Don Bluth-animated 1983 video game Dragon's Lair.
Koto - Star Wars
The most danceable version of this theme I've ever heard. The entire album "Koto Plays Sci-Fi Themes" is great but I had to exercise some restraint.
Ottawan - Haut les Mains (Donne-moi ton couer)
An English version also exists, but obviously Italo-disco should be in French.
RADAR - China Darling
I suppose the title alone is politically incorrect by today's standards, but there's nothing racist in the song.
Radiorama - Aliens
The lyrics are in such broken English that I'm not sure what's going on, but I think the aliens in this case are supposed to be scary.
Radiorama - Vampires
Again, the English is broken, but it's more clear this time that the vampires are supposed to be scary, especially because they're vampires.
Robert Barre - Neanderthal Man
If Neanderthals were alive today, they would listen to this kind of music and be overqualified to run for political office.
Wish Key - Orient Express
Last but by no means least, this one has really grown on me. I especially love how the male and female vocals blend.
A while ago, as I mentioned, I was moving through the interview process to be an FSY counselor until suddenly there were no openings because several sessions were canceled due to low enrollment. As part of that process I had to prepare a five-minute devotional based on a section of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. So I read through the pamphlet again for the first time in years. I think it teaches good values for people young and old people to live by, but as the cynic and skeptic that I am, I don't agree with every single thing in it, and now that I'm no longer trying to become an FSY counselor I'm free to say so. It's not like anyone should expect it to be perfect or timeless - the first edition, published in 1965, was very different and is kind of a laugh riot now. (My favorite part is "Pants for young women are not desirable attire for shopping, at school, in the library, in cafeterias or restaurants.")
Having said that, I can only remember six parts in the current edition that I disagree with and I'm not going to read the whole thing again, so this will be a short post! And again, it does contain a lot of good stuff. The pamphlet, I mean, not my post. Insert your own quip about none of my posts containing a lot of good stuff here.
"Young men generally take the initiative in asking for and planning dates."
This is true, of course, but it shouldn't be. Young women should be encouraged to go after what they want instead of passively hoping someone will offer it to them. This sentence is only descriptive, not prescriptive, but still it offers implicit encouragement to an uncool status quo and could be deleted without losing anything of value.
Dress and Appearance
"Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance."
The sexist double standard here is so obvious, it would be funny if it was funny. The reasons this section gives for dressing modestly are to "show that you know how precious your body is" and "show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him." Yet this passage shows what the writers really believe: that dressing modestly is far more important for women because they have a responsibility to help men control their bestial urges. It's nice that they, unlike many people in the church, didn't explicitly state this toxic and false belief, but it needs to be scrapped altogether. Either make a detailed list of clothing that men shouldn't wear, or be equally vague for women.
"Young women, if you desire to have your ears pierced, wear only one pair of earrings."
I stopped believing that God cares about this when I read Leonard J. Arrington’s diary and learned that General Authorities in the 1970s disagreed among themselves about whether it was even okay for women to have one pair of earrings. My thoughts were a. why the hell was it any of their business and b. why should I believe what they said publicly about earrings thirty years later?
Entertainment and Media
"Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way."
Nobody in the church follows this ridiculously un-nuanced standard unless they eschew entertainment and media altogether. It would rule out any movie that depicts Jesus Christ being tortured and executed. It would rule out any movie that depicts Joseph Smith being murdered. It would rule out Star Wars, which the local Institute had no problem screening at an activity even though it literally has "wars" in the title. It would rule out any Peanuts cartoon where Lucy yanks the football away and makes Charlie Brown flop onto his back.
"Choose not to insult others or put them down, even in joking."
I could quibble about how Jesus insulted people all the time, but it's really the "even in joking" part I take issue with. This happens to be how I bond with my friends. Without my snark, sass, and sarcasm, few of them would notice that I exist. And in fact, multiple studies have found that romantic partners who tease or roast each other are happier. I observed this principle years ago when Dale G. Renlund and his wife Ruth spoke in the USU Spectrum. They roasted each other constantly and I thought it was way more romantic than the "My wife is a literal goddess and I am unworthy to kiss her feet" spiel I usually hear from LDS men. I wish I remembered all the specifics. I just remember that he teased her about the time she thought it would be nice to frame his stethoscope and then her mother almost died because he couldn't find his stethoscope, and he teased her a lot about being a lawyer, and then he said, "I know, I know, it isn't fair to judge the entire profession based on four... or five... hundred thousand bad apples."
"Homosexual and lesbian behavior is a serious sin. If you find yourself struggling with same-gender attraction or you are being persuaded to participate in inappropriate behavior, seek counsel from your parents and bishop. They will help you."
As I have recently explained, I don't believe that homosexual behavior is a sin because in my observations, for the most part, gay and lesbian members who pursue committed monogamous same-sex relationships against the church's wishes seem considerably happier than those who pursue lives of celibacy or marry someone they're not attracted to. I expect this passage will be reworded with a bit more sensitivity but not really changed for some time. Seeking counsel from parents and bishops is a bit of roulette. In the past, parents might have "helped" by throwing their child out on the street and bishops might have "helped" by arranging some kind of conversion therapy. Things have vastly improved by now but there's still no standardized training to ensure that parents or bishops in the church know what they're talking about. In a recent study, gay Latter-day Saints said the most helpful thing bishops can do is show love and empathy, and the least helpful thing they can do is remind them of church teachings and policies that they're already perfectly aware of.
Out of a silly concern for people's privacy, I used to give pseudonyms to everyone I wrote about on my blog. So when I wrote about my group from Shanan Ballam's Fall 2015 Poetry Writing course, I gave the members stupid pseudonyms: Bracelets, Redhead, and Glasses. And then Bracelets was the only one I wrote about consistently but I think I did mention the others once each. Anyway, I hate those nicknames now, so I'm going to come clean. Their names are Lauren, Clara, and Joe. That felt weird. I called Lauren "Bracelets" because she wore lots of bracelets on both arms, as well as hats with big, floppy brims and other generally fabulous clothing. She liked to be fabulous, but she wasn't conceited or anything. She was responsible for the formation of our group when she said those of us who happened to sit near her on the first day of class should just be a group, so she shaped my life in some ways with that thoughtless act. She also became a fan of my blog and more than once the only reason I continued writing it every week despite its very underwhelming performance. I would have given up back then, a few months after starting, but because of her I didn't, and now I've sunk too much time and energy into it to give up despite the paltry returns on my effort being nowhere near worth it. Thanks, Lauren, I say sarcastically.
On my phone, she was and remains listed as "Lady Lauren" because she had an affinity for the romanticized version of the Middle Ages that we all know never really existed. I don't even remember why, but she once told me, "You're my knight in shining armor." And I told another woman about that and the other woman said, "Dude, either she likes you, or you're really deep in the friend zone." Women are allowed to say "friend zone" unironically without getting their heads bitten off because reasons. But Lauren was just big on being a lady and being treated like a lady and stuff. In her phone, I discovered one day that I was listed as "Christopher Aspie Friend". I posted on Facebook, "Today I found out that my crush has me listed in her phone as 'Christopher Aspie Friend'. I'm not sure how I feel about that." I felt safe posting it because Lauren didn't have Facebook. A couple months later, some random lady liked the post. The random lady, upon investigation, turned out to be Lauren's mother.
I think I'm still listed as "Christopher Aspie Friend", and I'm torn between wanting to keep it that way for nostalgia's sake and wanting to change it because I now know that Hans Asperger collaborated with the Nazis by knowingly referring children with disabilities to be murdered at the Am Spiegelgrund clinic. (Nobody knew this in 2015.) I have ceased using Aspie or Asperger's as a descriptor in any other context.
I never mentioned on my blog how she broke my heart, but I did cryptically allude to it with some very melodramatic language that's still better poetry than any of the actual poetry I wrote for our poetry class. Around that time, though, I saw Disney's Inside Out and learned that it's okay to be sad sometimes, and that was powerful. She started dating the guy she'd called "basically my brother" and then that ended but I still didn't have a chance. Anyway, we remained good friends but we argued sometimes because I got frustrated with her sometimes. I won't talk about why because I don't want to criticize her, and I'm sure she had legitimate reasons to be frustrated with me too, and I didn't fully appreciate the toll that the hardship she was going through must have taken. Let's just say we weren't great at communicating. We stayed in touch after she graduated and moved on, and I got her into the Star Wars fandom and found out she was already in the Legend of Zelda fandom, but sometimes she stopped responding to texts for months at a time and I still don't know why. I have another friend who was like that for the better part of a decade, but it was because she periodically relapsed into heroin and felt embarrassed to talk to me, so I don't know what the deal was here.
Most recently, Lauren stopped responding for about twenty-six months. In late 2019 I was texting her once a week with no response, and then in early 2020 I told her to have a nice life, which, even though it sounds like a nice thing to say, is actually a rude thing to say. My frustration this time around stemmed in large part from waiting indefinitely on the feedback she had promised for the book that I'd sent her in April and she'd finished reading in July or so. I still texted her happy Easter 2020 and then in October 2020 I texted her to mention that I had a dream where she told me why she'd disappeared for a year, and I was very disappointed when I woke up. But I just accepted that she would probably not be part of my life again and I didn't know why. I didn't expect anything to happen when I texted her Merry Christmas this year. And nothing did happen for three days. But then -
So this was a really, really nice surprise. I do hope she'll stick around for a while. I haven't asked about why she disappeared or why she didn't give me feedback on my book, and I'm sure I will at some point but first and foremost I'm just grateful to have her back and I have no hard feelings whatsoever. I value her friendship very much. I don't even feel like my former romantic interest in her was a complete waste of time like most of my romantic interests have been. Her kindness, her intelligence, her thoughtfulness, and her sense of humor, besides just generally making her a good person to associate with and a positive influence on my life, have helped to shape my vision of the kind of woman I'm going to marry. The thing I like most about her sense of humor is how we can take a joke that isn't all that funny and play along with it so seriously that our seriousness about the joke becomes the joke. Anyway, maybe I can't adequately convey what I'm trying to convey in this post to those who haven't met her, but our reconnection is the greatest thing that's happened to me for a while and though it came out of the blue, I'm sure I was prompted to text her Merry Christmas, and it increases my confidence in the glorious promises God has made me if I can just be patient and stay close to Him.
If you've been following my blog for longer than I think anyone except maybe one person has been following my blog, you remember that I created many scripts for comic strips that I had neither the time nor skill to actually draw. I more or less abandoned them because they weren't going to pay any bills, a lot of them weren't that funny, and the real-life events of the last couple years were kind of impossible to incorporate into the story I already had (which spans from 2004 to 2024 with an epilogue in 2054). But I was looking at my big document with all the scripts recently, and remembered the potential they had. I might have shared some of these, I don't remember, and I'm sure no one else does either. Previous blog posts about them may be found under this category, and holy crap, turns out the last one was over four years ago. Where does the time go?
To recap, the core cast of the Cracroft family is:
Alvin - the boring straight man
Rachel - his mentally challenged wife
Tyler - his bratty daughter
Bill - his serially divorced brother
Susan - his lonely sister
George - his right-wing father
Connie - his bland mother
Bigfoot Country (2008)
Alvin: Bill, Rachel and I need a vacation. Could we borrow your camper?
Bill: Sure thing, Al. Just bring it back in one piece.
Bill: Where were you fixing to go?
Alvin: Camping in Oregon. We really need to get away from here.
Bill: Driving that distance with a two-year-old? Are you insane?
Alvin: No, just very poor.
Panel 1 (and only)
Alvin: And we're on our way to Oregon! I sure hope we don't die of dysentery!
Rachel: Who's Terry, and why is he so sensitive?
That joke is so oblique and unfunny that I had to think about it. Dysentery - dissin' Terry - get it? Ugh.
Alvin: Excuse me while I jump out into traffic.
Rachel: Don’t be silly, Alvin, you’ll get hurt.
Rachel: Wait, this is really Oregon? We just crossed the border illegally?
Alvin: No, it's just a state, Rachel, not another country. You just drive on through.
Rachel: So you're saying I brought our passports for nothing?
Alvin: Those are checkbooks, Rachel.
Ranger: You folks came at the right time. There’s been lots of Bigfoot sightings around here lately.
Alvin: How convenient. They bring the tourists, eh?
Ranger: Well, they’re probably just bears, but you never know. It doesn’t hurt to believe, does it?
Alvin: I suppose not. Bigfoots – er, Bigfeet have never hurt anybody.
Ranger: Well, actually there are some stories about –
Alvin: We’d better go get set up before dark. Thanks, sir!
Alvin: We’re here! Fresh air at last!
Rachel: About time!
Alvin: Look at all the beautiful trees, and – what’s this? An enormous footprint? Looks like Bigfoot’s been here! Heh heh... heh...
Alvin: Uh, how strong do you think this camper is?
Rachel: Alvin, you’re scaring the baby.
(In a boat, fishing)
Alvin: Remember in “A Goofy Movie” when Goofy hooked a steak and caught a Bigfoot with it? Heh... good thing that can’t possibly happen for real.
Rachel: You seem a little on edge, Alvin.
Alvin: It’s nothing... it’s just that when I was little, my family went camping and Bill pranked me pretending to be a skunk ape. I wet my sleeping bag. I still remember it vividly.
Rachel: Haha! I mean, aw, that’s rough.
(Night, around campfire)
Alvin: Bigfoot can’t possibly be real. There’s no way a population of animals that size could go undiscovered for so long... right?
Alvin: That footprint must have been from a bear. A bear with surprisingly humanlike feet. Granted, bears are dangerous, so that’s not very reassuring.
Alvin: Aaaugh! What was that??
Rachel: Dear, we came here to relax.
Alvin: Yawn. I slept so peacefully last night, Tyler’s screaming didn’t even wake me up.
Rachel: Yeah, me neither.
(Alvin and Rachel stare at each other)
Alvin: Aaaaaaaaaagh! Where is she??
Rachel: How rude. She didn’t even leave a note.
Now that I think of it, a two-year-old shouldn't still be screaming every night. I guess Tyler's just extra needy.
Alvin: Tyler! Tyler, where are you??
Alvin: Tyler! We’ll buy you any toy you want if you come out right now!
Alvin: Oh no... she must really be gone...
Rachel: Or she’s waiting for you to raise the jackpot.
Alvin (thinking): This is, without a doubt, the worst moment of my life. I never knew I could experience such a depth of despair.
Alvin (thinking): My baby, lost and alone and unprotected... she could be hurt, every bone in her body broken, crying out for help and finding none...
Tyler (playing with leaves): La la la la la...
Panel 1 (and only)
Alvin (kneeling): Dear Lord, I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but please... please keep our little girl safe and bring her back to us.
St. Peter: Oho! Looks like Mr. Cracroft suddenly isn’t too good for us anymore!
Clara: What are you talking about?
St. Peter: He’s sent us a prayer for his little girl. She’s lost in the woods. Want to take care of it?
Clara: Tyler can take care of herself. But I’ll speed things along so her father doesn’t worry.
St. Peter: Actually, maybe he deserves to worry for a while.
Clara: Sometimes I feel like you’re not suited to this job.
Clara Cockcroft is Alvin's ancestor from the 1600s who was introduced as his guardian angel in a Christmas storyline where she stops him from killing himself, and then retconned into a bunch of other stuff. St. Peter is her boss and also kind of a jerk.
Bigoot: Sniff sniff!
Tyler: Hewwo. Are you a Wookiee?
Tyler: Yeah? Will you take me to your ship?
Rachel (crying): Judas Priest, this is all my fault... I’m the one who wanted to go camping...
Alvin: It’s not your fault, Rachel. Tyler is very cunning for her age.
Rachel (crying): I should have known, when I got to sleep for a whole hour uninterrupted, that something was wrong...
Alvin: We both should have. But blaming ourselves now won’t help anything.
Rachel: Well, what will help anything?
Alvin: I wish I knew.
(Bigfoot taps Rachel on the shoulder)
Rachel: Not now, Alvin, I’m trying to think.
(Bigfoot hands Tyler to Rachel)
Tyler: Aww... I wike you more than Mommy.
Rachel: Oh! Oh, thank you so much, Mr.?
Tyler: I call him Chewie.
Rachel: I’m glad he didn’t call you chewy.
Alvin: Tyler! My sweet baby! Thank God you’re okay!
Tyler: Of course, Daddy.
Alvin: But that – just now – was that – it couldn’t have been –
Rachel: Yeah, I didn’t think Wookiees were real either.
Alvin: It must have been a bear.
Tyler: I’m bored now. Can we go home?
Alvin: Yeah, so, all’s well that ends well. But you might want to check the lock on the camper.
Bill: Sheesh, Al, you must need a vacation after that vacation.
Alvin: You can say that again. But not until Tyler is older, I guess.
Bill: You think she’ll stop getting into trouble when she’s older?
Alvin: I can dream.
Occupy Wall Street (2011)
Alvin: What do y’all think of this “Occupy” movement?
Bill: It looks like a lot of fun.
Connie: It looks unsanitary and dangerous.
George: It looks like a bunch of whiny brats who don’t even know what they’re protesting about and can’t be bothered to get a job.
Alvin: It looks like the sort of thing you did in the late sixties, Dad.
George: That was a long time ago!
I incorporated a lot of real-life events into the storyline, which got old fast for a few reasons. First of all, a lot of things are really difficult to joke about without crossing boundaries of good taste that even I'm reluctant to cross. Second, a lot of them are just plain repetitive (e.g. school shootings, police brutality). And perhaps worst of all, Alvin usually just ended up as a puppet for my own views, striving to be the most reasonable and nuanced character, which I found preachy and annoying.
Alvin: I have to admit I agree with some of the movement’s grievances... I mean, for those folks who do know what they’re protesting about.
Alvin: The income inequality in this country is pretty disgusting. I don’t think we should fix it by stealing money from the folks who rightfully own it, but there must be something to do.
Alvin: To say nothing about income inequality throughout the world. Most of the US is in the 1%.
George: Join a commune, son.
See what I mean?
Alvin: Where’s Bill today?
George: Oh, he went off to join that stupid protest. He thought it would be glamorous or something. I’m surprised you didn’t join him.
Alvin: Hey, I’m not a huge fan of this movement. I just said I understand some of where it’s coming from.
George: That gives you one up on Bill.
(New York City)
Bill: Yeah, I like money. Rich people suck. Where’s the food around here?
Emily: Dude, so you don’t actually know, like, why you’re protesting?
Bill: Uh, no.
Emily: Me neither! We can be, like, friends! I’m Emily Barnes, but my friends call me Star Child, mmkay? What’s your name?
Bill: Bill Cracroft.
Bill: Uh, is there a bathroom somewhere?
Emily: Like, try that spot over there. It totes worked for me.
Star Child and Emily were two different characters that I introduced at different times and then retconned into the same character. I retconned a lot of stuff. That's one advantage of not actually publishing things. I also recognize that if this were an actual comic strip, Emily would most likely be as hated as Jar Jar Binks, but I like her and I won't apologize for it.
Emily: Like, don’t tell anybody, but this is actually my first protest ever.
Bill: No way! Mine too!
Emily: Far out! We have so much in common! Hey, dude, want some special brownies? I, like, baked them myself.
Bill: Thanks! You know, it’s great how we’re walking the walk here. We’re like a big family, and we’re sharing our wealth.
Star Child: Just make sure to use them up so no one, like, shanks you for them tonight.
Bill: Wait, what?
(Emily takes out her guitar)
Bill: You’re a musician, Star Child?
Emily: Totes! This machine, like, kills fascists, as they say.
Emily: GATHER ‘ROUND PEOPLE, WHEREVER YOU ROAM! AND ADMIT THAT THE WATERS AROUND YOU HAVE GROWN!
(People throw tomatoes at her)
Emily: See? Sharing the wealth.
Bill: Let me try that. I’m starving.
Alvin: So how’s fighting the power going, Bill?
Bill (on phone): Michael Moore spoke at our protest today, cheering us on and bashing the 1%.
Alvin: The same Michael Moore who’s a fat millionaire from lying in documentaries?
Bill (on phone): Yeah, I didn’t get it either.
Panel 1 (and only)
Protesters: #@$% THE USA! #@$% THE USA! #@$% THE USA!
Bill: I’m suddenly a lot less comfortable with this whole thing.
Emily: They’re just, like, letting off steam, mmkay?
Bill: It was great to meet you, Em– er, Star Child. I hope I see you around. What are your plans?
Emily: Going back to college. I just started. I don’t actually, like, go to classes and stuff, but I gotta represent, mmkay? And you?
Bill: Going back to my dad’s print shop, Prints Charming. So if you ever need anything printed...
Emily: Hey, yeah! You can, like, print the signs and pamphlets for my next protest!
Bill: Well, if it’s a cause my dad approves of.
Emily: How’s he feel about baby seals?
Bill: I’m back! So, can I get my paycheck for the days that I missed?
(George stares at Bill)
Bill: Right then.
Connie: Phyoo! You still smell like Occupy.
Emily Visits Blue Haven (2012)
(At the door)
Bill: Star Child! What a surprise!
Emily: Hey Bill. I was just in the zone and thought I’d, like, stop by, mmkay?
Bill: It’s great to see you.
Emily: Likewise, dude.
Bill: Uh, what’s with all the suitcases?
Emily: I was hoping you needed, like, a roommate.
Bill: Well, I guess you could stay for a few days... there does happen to be a vacancy, since I just finalized my divorce.
Emily: Oh! Like, tragic! How long were you guys together?
Bill: About two months.
Emily: Uber tragic, dude!
Emily: So I’m, like, almost finished with classes and I need a job for the summer. I was hoping to find something around here so I could be near my best friend, mmkay?
Bill: You know, it so happens that I did just see something.
(Bill hands Emily a flyer)
Bill: There’s an opening for counselors at Camp Itchyfoot, just a few miles away. I noticed it because I have fond memories of that place. I visited every summer when I was twelve to eighteen.
Emily (reading flyer): So, like, there's a boys' camp and a girls' camp?
Bill: Guess which one I visited.
Camp Itchyfoot was the name of the camp in a story / sing-along cassette tape that a family in my hometown played in their car sometimes when I was with them. It had fun songs for kids, including the version of "The Cat Came Back" that ends with the human race, but not the cat, getting nuked out of existence. And speaking of existence, the only evidence of it for this cassette tape that I can currently find on the entire internet is a reddit post cross-posted in two subreddits asking about it with no success. What. The. Crap.
Bill: You remember I told you about Star Child, Mom. I met her at the “Occupy” rally last year.
Connie: I refuse to call her that. What’s her real name?
Bill: Emily, but –
Connie: Emily! So you’re living with a barely legal girl named Emily. That you met at a conglomeration of socialist riffraff. How delightful.
Connie: My son, cohabitating! Where did I go wrong?
Alvin: This bothers you more than all his divorces?
Emily: I’m, like, standing right here, dudes.
Connie: Well, George? You usually love to talk and criticize folks. Why didn’t you chime in?
George: I’m sorry, it’s just – I was having such a flashback. It’s incredible how much she reminds me of my high school girlfriend Moon Nugget – er, Stella.
Connie: Oh, by all means, don’t let me interrupt your daydreaming about Stella.
George: It’s not like that, Connie, it’s just – thinking back to when we were so young, and reckless... nostalgia burst, you know? I got a lot of fond memories with her.
(Connie is furious)
George: Er, but not that fond.
Alvin: Uh, I’ll leave you two alone for a while.
Bill: Sorry my parents are so – uh, square.
Emily: Hey dude, they’re just, like, looking out for their son, mmkay? I got mad respect for that.
Bill: They don’t think I can take care of myself at this age. They don’t think a man and a woman can be just friends. What kind of trouble do they think we’re getting into, anyway?
Emily: How’s about I bake you some of my special brownies, mmkay?
Bill: Oh, yes please!
Spoiler alert, Bill and Emily always remain just friends. I think that's kind of beautiful.
Emily: So, like, I got the camp job, and I’ll be moving there in a few weeks.
Bill: Great. I mean, great that you have a job.
Emily: Yeah. And then I’ll be back to college in Connecticut. So let’s make the most of our time together, mmkay?
Bill: Yeah. You wanna see the sights?
Emily: There are, like, sights around here? Like, no offense, but looks like a big long drag to me, dude.
Bill: Well, it’s better after a big long drag.
Susan Gets Laid Off (2018)
Boss: I’ll cut to the chase, Susan. My niece wants a job here. We’re going to have to let you go.
Susan: But I need this job... I’ve put my heart and soul into it...
Boss: I know it’s hard. Times are tough all over. But you’ll bounce back! And I’m sure your husband can help with –
Boss: Oh. Right.
Susan is a real estate agent, in case anyone forgot or didn't care.
(Susan is cleaning out her office)
Susan (thinking): After all my time with this company, they just throw me out like a used tampon so some snot-nosed unqualified kid with a connection can take my place...
Susan (thinking): What could be more degrading than that?
Boss: Oh, can you train her before you go?
Susan: So, the first main principle you’ve always got to keep in mind is –
Niece: You can hold it right there, ma’am.
Niece: Save your time and I’ll just tell my aunt you trained me real good. I’m just going to be playing “Doom” on my office computer all day every day anyway.
Susan: Are you #@$% kidding me?
Niece: I know the graphics stink, but you can’t beat the classics, all right?
The only reason it's "Doom" is because of a Dilbert comic I read from one of my dad's books long before I had any idea what it was. Dilbert schedules one month to build the product and five months to play "Doom".
Susan: I always prided myself on having built my own successful career without depending on a man. Now here I am, forty-four years old, and suddenly I don’t have a man or a job.
Susan: I can’t find another real estate agency hiring in this state, and all the other decent jobs are asking for thirty years of experience in fields I know nothing about. I don’t know what to do.
Alvin: You could always come join the rest of us at the print shop.
Susan: I’ll keep looking.
Tyler Starts a Band (2018)
Tyler: You know what would be cool? Let’s start a band!
Tyler: We’ll be called “The Purple Stars” and play a mix of punk, metal and Gothic rock. I’ll be lead singer and guitarist, Becky will be on bass and backup vocals, and David will play drums.
Becky: You’ve already put a lot of thought into this, huh?
Tyler: I didn’t want you guys to ruin it with your lame ideas.
David: Can I have purple hair?
In fifth grade I had a crush on this girl who totally snubbed me, so in sixth grade when she started a band called the Purple Stars I started a rival band called the X-rays and determined that we would crush them. Each group wrote some songs and to my knowledge never got futher than that.
Tyler: Let’s see... we’ll need to come up with pretentiously nonsensical album titles and art, psychedelic music videos with no coherent plots, and provocative antics for our live shows.
Tyler: We’ll need a band logo and licensed merchandise... T-shirts, pencil cases and so on... a tour van, groupies, media coverage... anything I’m missing?
Becky: Instruments, musical abilities and a song repertoire?
Tyler: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Alvin: Tyler, if you’re really serious about starting a band, I’d be happy to buy you a guitar. But I need to know you’re committed.
Alvin: Being a musician isn’t all fun and games. It takes hours and hours and hours of practice. You need to work on memorizing chords until your fingers are calloused.
Alvin: Will you do that?
Tyler: You lost me at “isn’t all fun and games”.
George: Hang on, Tyler, I think I’ve got my old guitar in the attic somewhere... I was in a band once, you know. “The Friendly Ogres”, we called ourselves.
George: Yep, here it is! We’ll just need to tune it and it should be good as new.
Tyler: Wow. It’s beautiful.
Tyler: How can I ever thank you?
George: By not practicing at my house.
Tyler: Dad, can the Purple Stars practice in our garage?
Alvin: Er... well...
Alvin: I guess you have to practice somewhere... I wouldn’t want to stifle your creativity... this is a great thing you’re doing... um... well... okay, sure.
Tyler: Good, because we’re already set up.
Alvin: Rachel, if you need me I’ll be out of town.
Tyler: So we haven’t written anything yet. I suggest we start out like most people do, with covers of already existing songs. Here’s a favorite: the 1992 version of “Temple of Love” by Sisters of Mercy.
David: A girl band?
Tyler: No, they’re all guys, though this song has guest vocals by “the Israeli Madonna”, Ofra Haza.
Becky: Never heard of her, but those sound like big shoes to fill.
Tyler: You’re doing her part. I’m the lead, remember?
Tyler (singing): With the fire from the fireworks up above / With a gun for a lover and a shot for the pain / You run for cover in the temple of love / Shine like thunder, cry like rain...
Becky: Wait... “shine like thunder”?
Becky: How is thunder shiny? It’s a sound. Did they mean “shine like lightning”? That would make more sense.
Tyler: Becky, it’s artistic. It doesn’t have to make sense.
David: But they put so much thought into the “shot” pun...
Tyler: You’ll be the one getting shot if you guys don’t quit interrupting!
For real though, I love this song.
Tyler: Do you guys think I sound most like Tarja Tarunen, Anette Olzon, or Floor Jansen?
David and Becky: Who?
Tyler: The original lead singer of Nightwish, and her successors. Their vocal styles are very different, because Tuomas Holopainen felt Tarunen was irreplaceable.
Tyler: Whichever one I sound most like will determine whether we do “10th Man Down”, “Escapist”, or “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”.
Becky: I feel like you started a band just to show off to us.
10th Man Down is the first Nightwish song I ever heard, Escapist is the second, and Endless Forms Most Beautiful is profoundly spiritual to me (as well as reflecting Tyler's interest in biology).
Susan, Tyler, and Becky Go to Camp (2018)
Tyler: Now that we don't have to go to school, we can go anywhere. I vote for China.
Becky: You can afford that?
Tyler: Well, no, but –
Becky: Do you speak Chinese?
Tyler: Stop trying to ruin my goals, Becky.
Becky: Would you settle for accompanying me to summer camp?
At the end of first grade I told my class I was going to China, and then I was upset that my mom made a liar out of me by saying no. Also, setting up this storyline, which I really loved when I looked at it again recently, is the whole reason I shared the above storylines.
Bill: Yo, Susan, Star Child’s working at Camp Itchyfoot again this summer and she says there’s still another opening. Want me to have her put in a good word for you?
Susan: Thanks, but no thanks. I’m looking for something more... respectable.
Bill: And what have you got so far?
Susan: Uh... well...
Bill: I guess you could always come join the rest of us at the print shop.
Susan: Tell Emily that I accept her generous offer.
Susan: Well, I got a job as a girls’ camp counselor for the summer. I guess it beats flipping burgers.
Alvin: Who knows? You may end up loving it.
Susan: Living out in the woods with a bunch of angsty, hormonal adolescent girls? Not likely.
Alvin: Hey, on that note, you can get Tyler away from us for a while! You’ll give us a discount, right?
Susan: I would if I didn’t know you were desperate.
Emily: Hey, dudettes. So, like, welcome to Camp Itchyfoot. I’m your counselor, Emily Barnes, aka Star Child, and this is my assistant, Susan Cracroft.
Susan: Hello ladies.
Emily: So, like, find your cabins and set up your stuff and, like, meet back here, mmkay? We’re gonna have a stellar time this week.
Susan: We have lots of fun activities planned!
Emily: Just be careful of snakes, skunks, skunk apes, bears, wolves, cougars, the lake monster, poison ivy...
Tyler: There’s poison ivy everywhere.
Susan: They don’t call it Camp Itchyfoot for nothing.
Emily: Right now, y’all put your cell phones and tablets and, like, electronic stuff in this basket here, mmkay? We’re gonna get friendly with nature this week.
Susan: You’ll get used to it! You’ll have so much fun with nature, the week will be over before you know it!
Emily: Time for a hike, dudettes! And, like, we’re off!
Becky: I’m gonna die if I don’t check Instagram in the next thirty seconds.
Tyler: Do I even know you, Becky?
Emily: A-HIKING WE WILL GO, A-HIKING WE WILL GO...
Susan: Quite. Er, I’ll just go find Tyler and Becky.
Emily: They’re missing?
Susan: I can guarantee without turning around that they’re missing. Tyler’s my niece, remember?
Tyler: Ooh, paw prints! Let’s follow them!
Becky: I used to follow people... when I had a phone...
Susan: Tyler! Becky! There you are!
Tyler: Hi, Aunt Susan.
Becky: It was her idea, Mrs. Cracroft!
Susan: I don’t doubt that. Look, Tyler, I know you’re not a group person, but stick with us, please? Your parents would skin me alive if anything happened. They wanted to get rid of you, not get rid of you.
Tyler (glancing at rustling): Sure thing. We’ll hurry back right away.
Susan: W-what’s that?
Tyler: Probably whatever left the tracks. Coming?
(At the picnic tables)
Emily: So, like, what craft are you making, Tyler?
Tyler: An AK-47 that will shoot pinecones.
Emily: Ha! Mad respect for your ingenuity, dudette, but, like, give peace a chance, mmkay?
Tyler: A well-armed summer camp is a polite summer camp.
Emily: Ha! Cute! Like, Susan, come see what your niece is making!
Susan (off-screen): I don’t particularly want to know.
Becky: I made a phone. It’s better than nothing.
(Around the campfire)
Emily: Right, dudettes, it’s time for campfire songs! Like, what do y’all like? I can play Guthrie, Dylan, Lennon, Marley, Yankovic, Seeger...
Tyler: Hey, Becky and I are musicians too!
Becky: Well, we just started this year.
Emily: Far out! Nice to meet some sisters of soul! Listen, you wanna get far, you gotta, like, expand your mind and see things different, mmkay? All the great artists did it. But not ‘til you’re older, mmkay?
Emily: Try this on for size, y’all. COME GATHER ‘ROUND PEOPLE, WHEREVER YOU ROAM...
Girl: Can we tell scary stories instead?
Emily: Y’all want scary stories? Like, I’ll tell you a scary story, mmkay? You think you’ll grow up and change the world, but it’s all, like, just a scam. Rigged by Big Brother and the fat cats who fund him.
Emily: They’ll never do what it takes to stop climate change. And even before then, their nukes will probably, like, melt us all like Popsicles. We have, like, maybe a century left on this planet, mmkay?
Becky: That is a scary story.
Tyler: Only if you think the human race is worth saving.
Becky: Emily, you said something about a lake monster, right? What’s that about?
Emily: Ah, I’m glad you asked! So the monster is, like, some kind of aquatic dinosaur or whatever, mmkay? And he lives just over there, like a half mile away, in the depths of Lake Gammagoochee.
Emily: This monster isn’t sociable like his cousin in Loch Ness. He’s, like, an actual carnivore. He’ll pin you down and start, like, tearing out your organs while you’re drowning.
Tyler: Good story, but you need to flesh out the juicy details, no puns intended.
Emily: Have you ever, like, dissected an innocent frog? It's like that, but messier.
Emily: Night, dudettes! If y’all need anything, like, just come and holler at my cabin! But don’t ever, ever come in without, like, knocking first, mmkay?
Tyler: Fair enough.
(In the girls' cabin)
Tyler: Good night, Becky. Good night, Stanley. Wait – aw crap, he’s gone. Help me look.
Becky: Look for who? Who’s Stanley?
Tyler: A snake I met earlier.
Becky: Not funny, Tyler.
Emily: So, Susan, you have, like, a boy toy? Or, like, if you swing another way, I’m totally cool with that too. Just wondering.
Susan: Ah, no. I’m currently single.
Emily: Hey now sister, you’ve come to, like, the right place, mmkay? Star Child will show you all the, like, tricks of the trade. I’ll have the boys, or whomever, lined up around the block for you.
Susan: Er... thanks.
Emily: Oh, that reminds me, Frank, you can, like, come out now.
Frank (popping head out from under bed): Thanks. It’s stuffy down here.
Tyler: You know, Becky, this isn’t really my idea of a camp. Anything with showers and flushing toilets isn’t camping in my book.
Becky: Then screw camping. I happen to like modern plumbing.
Tyler: Well, I’d still like to up the ruggedness factor a bit. You down for a little midnight adventure?
Becky: What do you have in mind?
Tyler: Skinny-dipping in the lake.
Becky: I had to ask.
Susan: Tyler! Becky! You’re supposed to be asleep!
Tyler: So are you, Aunt Susan.
Susan: Yes, well, things got a little awkward in Emily’s cabin. Her boyfriend is with her, and they’re... uh... well...
Susan: …smoking pot.
Tyler: Thank goodness. For a second I thought it was something inappropriate.
Tyler: We’re going skinny-dipping in Lake Gammagoochee. Wanna come with us and feel youthful again?
Susan: Well, the thing is, “Jaws” long ago cured me of any desire to skinny-dip at night.
Tyler: There are no sharks in landlocked freshwater lakes, Aunt Susan. And even if there were, they never deliberately hunt humans like in that movie.
Susan: I know. It’s not a rational thing. You know how childhood fears can be.
Becky: Of course, there is the small matter of the lake monster...
Susan: Exactly! Er, just kidding, heh.
(In the water; everyone is shown from the neck up)
Tyler: A monster in this lake is even less plausible than in Loch Ness. It’s much too small for a population of surviving plesiosaurs or whatever the hypothesis is.
Susan: I’ll take your word for it.
Tyler: I don’t think any of the cryptids are real. They’re all too large to still be undiscovered by now.
Susan: Your mom says Bigfoot saved you when you were a baby.
Becky: Really? I wanna hear that story!
Tyler: She also says “Lord of the Rings” is a documentary on feudalism, so...
See, this is literally the whole reason I shared the Bigfoot storyline.
Becky: Ack! What was that?
Tyler: What was what?
Becky: Something just moved in the water over there!
Tyler: Relax, Becky, it's probably just Jason Voorhees.
Becky: Th-th-that's not f-f-funny, Tyler.
Tyler: I beg to differ.
Susan: I'm gonna swim away from you guys for a while.
Susan (off-screen): Tyler! Becky! Where are you??
Becky: Right here! Don’t worry!
Tyler: Now quick, head for shore and steal her clothes.
Becky: What? That’s terrible!
Tyler: It’s just a harmless prank. We’ll all laugh about it tomorrow.
(At the shore, still in the water)
Tyler: Unless, of course, she stole ours first.
Becky: I’ll laugh tomorrow if I haven’t frozen to death.
(Tyler sees a dark shape with eyes in the water ahead of them and talks to it)
Tyler: Well played, Aunt Susan, well played. I see you take after me more than I thought.
Susan (off-screen): Who’s that you’re talking to, guys?
(Tyler’s and Becky’s eyes bulge)
Susan (off-screen): Guys?
Becky (looking down): This water got real warm all of a sudden.
Susan: Emily! Did a couple of naked campers run through here? I tried to catch up, but –
Emily: Hey now, sister, be cool, be cool. We’re all, like, one big family, mmkay?
Susan: Pull yourself together, Emily! We have a responsibility for these girls! Gah, your breath reeks!
Emily: Have you ever looked at your hands, Susan? I mean, like, really looked at your hands?
Susan: Oh, never mind, I see them up in that tree.
Emily: Heh, of course! Like, where else would they be?
Tyler (off-screen): Can we agree to never speak of this moment again?
Becky (off-screen): I’m itchy.
Tyler (writing): Dear Mom and Dad, Becky and I went skinny-dipping at night, Aunt Susan stole our clothes, we almost got eaten by the Lake Gammagoochee monster, and we ran naked through poison ivy.
Becky (off-screen): AIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!
Tyler (writing): On the plus side, we found Stanley.
Becky (off-screen): TYLER CRACROFT!
Tyler: So one of our counselors gets high at night, which is horrifically negligent of her, and the other one is my aunt, which is lame. No offense, Aunt Susan.
Susan: Some taken.
Susan: You’re right, though, Tyler. Emily should be fired immediately. And I might just resign. I need a job, but this is even more stressful than I anticipated.
Susan: You know, I heard Principal Donaldson wanted this job too...
Tyler: I meant “negligent” and “lame” in the most affectionate possible way, of course.
Emily: Listen up, y’all! The boys across the lake have challenged us to, like, a multi-event sports tournament! So we’re gonna, like, grind up their kiesters into organic burger meat, mmkay?
Tyler: What happened to “Give peace a chance”?
Emily: Sports rivalries are, like, a special case.
Becky: There’s a boys’ camp across the lake?? Crap, Tyler, do you think they saw us skinny-dipping?
Tyler: Doubtful. It was pretty dark.
Tyler: Unless – of course! They pranked us! There was no monster! And tonight, we’ll go back and prove it!
Becky: Nuh-uh. I wouldn’t go back in that lake if you paid me.
Tyler: Learning from your mistakes now? That’s going to make you less fun, Becky.
Becky: Sue me.
"Sue me" is a great punchline that can be used in so many contexts. I first learned it from Gary Larson.
Susan: Do you girls wanna be in the three-legged race together? I heard you like to run.
Tyler: Hardy har har.
Susan: Oh, but can you still do it when you have clothes on?
Tyler: This is a new side of you, Aunt Susan.
Cheerleaders: Go team, go! Beat ‘em beat ‘em beat ‘em! / Go team, go! Defeat ‘em ‘feat ‘em ‘feat ‘em!
Cheerleaders: Call the plumber! And call the ‘lectrictian! / ‘Cause Camp Itchyfoot’s in a winning position!
Becky: I love how we’re so loyal to this place we’ve only been at for a few days.
Tyler: “Plumber”? “‘Lectrician”? What the crap?
This cheer comes verbatim from the aforementioned cassette tape. I guess in order to sue me, the creators would have to first prove its existence.
(Yelling at the boys’ camp counselors)
Emily: Are you, like, blind or something? That was totally in, mmkay?
Susan: Maybe if you paid attention to your own players instead of ogling ours!
Emily (off-screen): Not that I’m like, prejudiced against blind people...
Tyler: Sheesh. Adults get so worked up over sports. It’s just a game; who cares?
Becky: I think I see David on the other team.
Tyler: Really? Then let’s pulverize them.
Emily: Tyler, do you, like, still have that AK-47?
(Boy kicks a soccer ball)
Emily: And it’s going, and it’s going, and... oh no! That idiot boy kicked it, like, right into the lake!
Susan: Want to go get it, Tyler? I heard you like to swim in that lake.
Tyler: Okay, that’s actually pretty funny, Aunt Susan. Fine.
(At the lake)
Tyler (thinking): Don’t soccer balls float? Then why don’t I see –
(The deflated soccer ball lands at Tyler’s feet)
(Back at the game)
Susan: Well? Did you find it?
Tyler: Anyone for chess instead?
Emily: And the winner is... everybody! Because, like, we’re all winners! Trophies for everybody, mmkay?
Emily: Naw, just kidding. We totally, like, kicked your trash, boys. Suck it.
Susan: Yeah! Suck it!
Tyler: Sorry about that, David.
David: I think the swelling’s starting to go down.
Emily (off-screen): Dudettes, I’ll be in my cabin, like, celebrating.
Susan (thinking): I don’t know how Emily’s lasted six years here without getting fired, but that ends now. Tomorrow I’ll report her irresponsible behavior.
Emily: I just wanna say that you’ve been, like, a great friend and I’m sure we’ll have a great summer together. And I’ll try to help you find a boy or whomever, mmkay? Though honestly, boys are cray-cray.
Emily: No offense, Frank.
Frank (under bed): None taken.
(Tyler is staring forlornly at the ground)
Becky: I know it’s difficult to let go of Stanley, Tyler. But it’s for the best. This is his home. Sometimes in life we have to let go of the ones we love for their own happiness.
Becky: He needs to make his own way in the world. He needs to travel, to explore, to find mice and mates and whatever his little snake heart desires. But even though he’s gone, he can always stay in your heart.
Tyler (pointing): Becky, he’s still right there.
Becky: Don’t ruin this moment for me, Tyler.
Based on a true story. On a Boy Scout camping trip, we found a salamander and named it Sam after a girl from our church district (equivalent to a stake which is equivalent to a diocese, is what I've heard, though I don't otherwise know what a diocese is) because that was a gender-neutral name. On the last day we released it back into the wild and one guy gave a little speech like this and another guy ruined the moment by pointing out that he was still right there.
Emily: Bon voyage, dudettes! Remember, fight the power and, like, stick it to the man, mmkay?
Susan: I’ll see you around, Tyler.
Tyler: Shh, I’m pretending I don’t know you.
Tyler: Why aren’t you checking everything on your phone?
Becky: Hey, yeah! I had so much fun with nature, I forgot all about that!
Tyler: I guess this story has a moral after all.
Becky: That was the only moral you got out of it?
Alvin: Thanks for taking care of Tyler, Susan. But I heard a rumor that the other camp counselor got drunk every night. Anything to that?
Susan (on phone): Ah, no. Emily did not get drunk.
Alvin: Well, that’s a relief.
I was very proud of my first Fiction Workshop story. It was about a world of robots who start contracting a highly contagious computer virus, so they have to stop interfacing digitally and communicate face-to-face. Get it? It's funny because it's like Covid, but the opposite. Very subtle, sophisticated humor there. Charles and classmates loved it too. But one classmate, in his written feedback, dinged me with a PLAGIARISM WARNING! because a character in the story said the words "Life finds a way." This was, of course, an allusion to Jurassic Park that I expected almost everyone to pick up on. I wasn't trying to pass off anyone else's work as my own, and even if I had, I think this phrase is too brief and generic to legitimately claim as one's exclusive intellectual property. So I thought that was funny and I made sure that in my second story a character said the words "Clever girl."
That was the high point of my second story. I'm not as proud of it. Actually, it makes me cringe and I want to burn it. In it I sort of tried to emulate what I perceived as the style of Catch-22 - a relatively flat protagonist with a simple goal just moves along from one absurd situation to the next until the story ends. And Charles said it felt like Catch-22 without being anything like Catch-22, so mission accomplished. But I wish I had finished it sooner and left myself with more time to revise it into something adequate for public consumption. During the break I wheeled my desk, which is attached to the chair, which has wheels, over to Kylie to discuss rescheduling our viewing of Return of the Jedi that she bailed on to fill out another MFA application at the last minute. And then she invited Mia or Mia invited herself, I don't remember, and that was nice since it permitted us to use Mia's TV instead of Kylie's laptop. I said she could invite the whole class for all I cared, so she did.
The missionaries came over on Wednesday and roleplayed teaching me a lesson about prayer. I could have given them a real hard time, but I decided to play nice. I only asked "What if I pray and nothing happens?" and if they couldn't come up with a half-decent answer to that question, they would've had no business being missionaries. I could have hit them with some harder stuff. "This all seems like a bunch of confirmation bias to me. If you pray and get the desired outcome, that means God is real and loves you. If you pray and don't get the desired outcome, that means God is real but has a better plan because he loves you. If you feel good feelings, that's his presence; if you feel nothing, you need to be patient and keep trying. He's set up to be unfalsifiable, don't you think? And speaking of prayer, look at these Brigham Young quotes about black people." I understand B.H. Roberts played a similar trick on greenies when he was a mission president. The meeting lasted about ten minutes, and they asked if I had any less-active or non-member friends they could talk to. No, I didn't, because most of my graduate school friends have already been members.
Greyson still is one, so while I wasn't as close with her as some of the others, I recognized that I could talk to her about a few things that I wouldn't talk to the others about, spiritual things that might just sound crazy to someone who doesn't believe in them even if that person is determined to be respectful. We had lunch on Thursday. I wanted to buy for both of us to thank her for her time, but she wouldn't let me. She's too nice. Last semester she borrowed my copy of Naked Barbies, Warrior Joes, and Other Forms of Visible Gender because she'd left hers in Georgia, and when she returned it I found among its pages a little handwritten thank-you card in a little envelope. Who does that? But we had lunch and talked about things and after I got off on a tangent about my distaste for the post-World War II gender roles that past church leaders taught as eternal truths and current church leaders quietly downplay, she invited me to her institute class because she had a cool teacher who said that women can decide for themselves whether or not to work outside the home.
We went to the class, and a slideshow was up with the title "The Role of Intimacy in Marriage". Greyson apologized and said I didn't have to stay. I did anyway because I'll never grow if I always try to avoid discomfort. Fun fact, one of my former students was there.
Greyson had never seen any Star Wars, which was even less Star Wars than Kylie had seen. I invited her to watch Return of the Jedi with us, and since I knew she was just being excessively nice in not wanting to be an imposition, I had to push a little and then backtrack from my pushiness, and she was over an hour late but she did come for the social aspect. Mia referred to it as a "watch party" and I had no idea how seriously she took that appellation until I saw the three boxes of pizza, breadsticks, Cheetos, potato chips, Pita bread, and carrot sticks she had provided for the four of us who showed up (me, Kylie, Greyson, and the guy who gave me a plagiarism warning). Greyson asked a lot of questions and Kylie answered a lot of questions like she was a lifelong fan and didn't just learn most of that stuff from me the week before. I was very impressed. And then after the movie she was like, "Wait, so who's the actual Chosen One? Is it Rey? She's not even one of the original characters. That's lame." Yes, Kylie, it really is.
She made us watch the SNL Kylo Ren Undercover Bosses sketch again, so I made us watch the seagull song.
I did an endowment session at the temple for an actual family name, not from my family as far as I know, but one I brought to help out a friend who doesn't have as easy access to temples. It made the experience a little more meaningful, I think. I got a really good feeling throughout and felt really affirmed in the state of mind I've chosen in response to my current trial. And maybe now this guy on the other side of the veil, Christian Friedrich Grimm, will help me with my German studies. No, of course he doesn't owe me anything for providing him with an essential ordinance to enter God's presence. It's just a funny thought I had.
P.S. Feliz Geburtstag to an estranged friend who probably isn't reading this.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.