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Sat, 07 Feb 2004

LotR

Many of you will look at those letters and say, Huh?  Others will quickly pick-up on what it means either because they already know LotR or they're quick on the draw.  No matter, as LotR stands for Lord of the Rings you all now know what it means.  I can't remember not knowing about The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.  My father is a high school English teacher and at the time he regularly taught from Tolkien's famous books.  I would see him sitting in his chair reading these fabulous books but I wasn't allowed to read them myself as they would travel to work with him.  Finally, I found a copy at the school library and I quickly devoured the tales of Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo and Strider.  Since then, I have traveled with them almost once every year.

Scenes from that first read still float vividly in my memory:  The ever famous party at Bag End (the first one).  Elrond reading a map by moonlight.  Orcrist and Glamdring glittering in the eternal night of the goblin tunnels.  Gandalf telling Beorn of their travails.  The terrors of Mirkwood and of Smaug.  Most vividly I remember the death of Thorin Oakenshield.  No one I loved had passed away before and now I was losing a dear friend with whom I had traveled the darkest paths.  I was angry, I cried, I couldn't pick the book up for days and so at eight I learned some of the sorrow of death.  During March of 1980 I read the Lord of the Rings.  I shuddered as the four hobbits lie in the Barrow Down.  My night's were full of terror as I read of the Nazgûl at Amon Sûl and I whiled away the hours as the four companions dwelt in Rivendell.  I watched as Gandalf battled the balrog and fell into the chasm and cowered with Frodo on Amon Hen and again I cried at the death of Frodo by Shelob's sting.  I rejoiced at the march of the Ents and as Éowyn slayed the Witch King.  I laughed aloud at Pippin and Merry when they greeted the Lord of the Mark at Isengard and I cried for joy as the Lords of the West honored the Ring Bearers.  Of all these things, the scene that troubles my mind most, that causes me to choke with joy and sorrow is that of the Grey Havens and the parting of Frodo and Sam.  Even writing about it makes my throat tight and causes my eyes to blur.

The closing scene is so hard and joyous for me because of all that it holds:  Frodo and Bilbo will see the Undying Lands, live among the Eldar and Valar for the rest of their days and be truly freed of the burden of the Ring.  Merry, Pippin and Sam must part with their dearest friend, knowing that they will not see him again in life. I, the poor reader, must concede that this is only a story no matter how much I might yearn for it to be otherwise and so I too must part from my beloved friends and place them back on the shelf.

This entry authored by Tyran at 09:29

Wed, 11 Feb 2004

Towel Day!

Today is Towel Day, the 42nd day of the year.  Towel Day is also celebrated on the 25th of May.

This entry authored by Tyran at 18:00

Wed, 18 Feb 2004

Pain in the Butt

Back pain is a serious pain in the butt, neck, leg, you name it.  We went and bought a bedroom set from Pier One Saturday night (pictures at a later date) and on Monday we moved the old out of and the new into our bedroom.  All of that went rather smoothly.  Yesterday morning, however, the truth came out as Shanna's back decided it had been overworked and strained the day before.

The long and the short of it is that Shanna, once her back settles, will start practicing Yoga with me to help out her back.

This entry authored by Tyran at 11:18

Sat, 21 Feb 2004

One cannot run forever.

I do not enjoy writing at all.  If I can turn my back on an idea, out there in the dark, if I can avoid opening the door to it, I won't even reach for a pencil.

But once in a while there's a great dynamite-burst of flying glass and brick and splinters through the front wall and somebody stalks over the rubble, seizes me by the throat and gently says, "I will not let you go until you set me, in words, on paper."  That's how I met Illusions.

Richard Bach, Illusions

While not entirely accurate as I do enjoy writing and the Whinery is not on the same level as Illusions, the excerpt above does illustrate the wrestle I've had since early January.  Rather than deal with the actual issue from January here (I'll write it up on the Everyday Yoga Blog) I want to deal with a couple of the more recent issues which have been haunting my thoughts dealing with the most recent first.

I have mentioned before, albeit in passing, that my father encouraged me to be curious about the similarities between seemingly unrelated myths and legends.  Are the similarities due to both stories actually describing the same event, do they point to some deeper truth that is being expressed by different cultures or is there some other explanation?  To be honest, as a teenager I despised those discussions because I never seemed to get it right.  My view was always different from my father's and he was always intent on making sure I understood why his interpretation was correct and my was . . . well, flawed.  He saw it as instructional and I saw it as oppressive.  As he an English major, he had the benefit of educational experience to mold his views whereas I had only the seemingly inferior experience of my own short education and life.  The thing we both forgot, however, was that literature – any art form for that matter – can rarely, if ever, be judged with a truly objective eye.  Our own experiences, social mores, and even our current mood all vasty influence our perception of everything.  Is it any wonder that my father and I rarely agreed upon our interpretations of the meaning of any specific piece of literature?  This, however, continues into another discussion for another day.

I have always been intrigued by stories of incredible civilizations existing in antiquity.  Plato spoke of Atlantis and it's desire to rule the world, there are the stories of hidden societies like Shangri La and the Hyperboreans, all terribly thrilling and exotic and each holding a promise of freedoms far beyond the dreams of a mere teenager.  Since there is, unfortunately, very little factual information on Atlantis and the like, I began studying other ancient societies.  Rome and especially its decline became a favorite study.  In my study, it seemed that the fall of Rome was presaged by its ever deepening degeneracies.  Was it the orgies or the Circus or the vomitoriums or the gluttony that cause Rome to fall?  Unlikely, to me they seem only to be symptoms of the true problem.  In my view, it seems that the true downfall came from the wanton indulgence of whim and fancy.  A society whose sole goal is to satisfy the appetites of the individual is doomed to fall as it has no integrity to fortify itself.

Fantasies of Atlantis, the mystery of the Mayan and Incan Empires and the allure of ancient Egypt aside there is little doubt that western civilization and society represent the pinnacle of humanity's achievements to date.  Given that belief and my thoughts on the fall of Rome, I am concerned that we may have achieved or be near to achieving not a pinnacle of development but a zenith.  Western society has similar hallmarks as those of Rome during its decline.  The rights of the individual often outweigh the needs of the whole.  We don't have the Circus but we do have Fear Factor, Survivor, Joe Millionaire and the rest of reality TV.  We don't have the orgies (at least not to the same scale) but we do have pornography, web cam sex houses, swingers and same sex marriages.  Is the world coming to an end?  Do I have a sign saying, Repent!  Armageddon is at hand!  No, I don't but at the same time, I am concerned and it would not be the first time that a seemingly unstoppable society came to a screeching halt.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:06

When it rains, it pours!

Here we are, just minding our own business watching The Two Towers when we hear a bubbling sound in the bathroom.  Shanna bolts from her chair because that sound means the sewer line is blocked and rinse water from the washer is about to flood the utility room.  The next move is to get someone in here with a long snake (we've a six footer but it's too short to reach the blockage) to clear the line.  Just to make matter even more interesting, we won't be calling for a plumber until Monday as we don't want to pay more than the $50 it will cost to have them come by during regular working hours.

This entry authored by Tyran at 23:03

Sun, 22 Feb 2004

The Eye of the Beholder

See if you can guess what this word R_PE is based on the following clues:

  • Red
  • Twisted
  • Sin
  • Death

The word you pick will depend upon a number of things but boils down to your own personal interpretation of the above words and their possible relations to the word in question.  The phrase Beauty is in the eye of the beholder indicates that what one person finds beautiful another may find ugly, the difference depends entirely upon the individual and not with the item being observed.  I would like to take this a step back and say Meaning is in the mind of the beholder.  Were I to say Sugar daddy you might think of a candy by that name, a dotting old man or a lascivious old fart, it all depends upon your experience.  Your personal experience, your internal filter as it were, will even cause you to interpret a word out of context, e.g. when was the last time you heard a rooster called a cock or a donkey called an ass?

With that in mind, be aware of how you react to the things people say around you.  You may well reveal more about the workings of your mind than you might wish.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:09

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