Geek Fuel January 2018

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Helm’s Deep

“At last Aragorn stood above the great gates, heedless of the darts of the enemy. As he looked forth he saw the eastern sky grow pale. Then he raised his empty hand, palm outward in token of parley.

The Orcs yelled and jeered. ‘Come down! Come down!’ they cried. ‘If you wish to speak to us, come down! Bring out your king! We are the fighting Uruk-hai. We will fetch him from his hole, if he does not come. Bring our your skulking king!’

‘The king stays or comes at his own will,’ said Aragorn.

‘Then what are you doing here? they answered. ‘Why do you look out? Do you wish to see the greatness of our army? We are the fighting Uruk-hai.’

‘I looked out to see the dawn,’ said Aragorn.

‘What of the dawn?’ they peered. ‘We are the Uruk-hai: we do not stop the fight for night or day, for fair weather or for storm. We come to kill, by sun or moon. What of the dawn?’

‘None knows what the new day shall bring him,’ said Aragorn. ‘Get you gone, ere it turn to your evil.’…

There suddenly upon a ridge appeared a rider, clad in white, shining in the rising sun. Over the low hills the horns here sounding. Behind him, hastening down the long slopes, were a thousand men on foot; their swords were in their hands. Amid them strode a man tall and strong. His shield was red. As he came to the valley’s brink, he set to his lips a great black horn and blew a ringing blast

‘Erkenbrand!’ the Riders shouted. ‘Erkenbrand!’

‘Behold the White Rider!’ cried Aragorn. ‘Gandalf is come again!’

“Mithrandir! Mithrandir!’ said Legolas. ‘This is wizardry indeed! Come! I would look on this forest, ere the spell changes.’

The hosts of Isengard roared, swaing this way and that, turning from fear to fear. Again the horn sounded from the tower. Down through the breach of the Dike charged the king’s company. Down from the hills leaped Erkenbrand, lord of Westfold. Down leaped Shadowfax, like a deer that runs surefooted in the mountains. The White Rider was upon them, and the terror of his coming filled the enemy with madness. The wild men fell on their faces before him. The Orcs reeled and screamed and cast aside both sword and spear. Like a black smoke driven by a mounting wind they fled. Wailing they passed under the waiting shadow of the trees; and from that shadow none ever came again.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers pg. 170 & 172-173

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We Need More Eucastastrophes

“Eucatastrophe” is one of my favorite words. What? You don’t have favorite words? Weird.

Anyway, “eucatastrophe” is a word that was coined by J.R.R. Tolkien. It refers to the moment in a story when all hope seems lost and suddenly light breaks through and the tides turn in favor of the protagonist. It’s Gandalf at Helms Deep at the break of dawn. It’s the breaking of the Stone Table and Aslan’s return. It’s the moment in the story we’re all waiting for.

It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

It gets me thinking, what if eucatastrophes happen in real life?

Catastrophes are easy to spot, just check the news or your social media feed. The world seems like it’s only getting worse.

But look closer.

When I think of real life eucatastrophe, the first thing I think of are the births of my kids. I watched things get worse and worse for wife but in an instant all that changed when she held our kids for the first time.

I also think of the story I heard about the cellist of Sarajevo.

The truth is, I can’t think of too many eucatastropes in my life or in our culture.

Let’s change that.

Let’s be someone’s eucatastrophe.

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“How Then Should I Live?”

That is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. It often feels like I have my feet in two different worlds.

One is full of magic (both the Disney kind and other kinds), superheroes, comics, science fiction, fantasy, writing,  collectibles and cons.

I could very easy go deeper down this rabbit hole but I have the other side of me full of bills, a wife, two kids, home improvements, a job and community events.

And here’s the thing: I really like both worlds (well, except the bills).

I like being an adult and I like indulging my fantastic whims. But so often it seems like I have to choose one part of me or the other but not both.

I’ve wrestled with this for years but now I say, “No more!” I am both. I am a fantasy fan living in the real world and this blog is my attempt to find the balance between the two.

I’ve kept up with this blog sporadically over the years, but a new year is as good a time as any to restart. I want this to be a place where I can chronicle my journey into both worlds. I hope to post 3-4 times a month. If you want to see what I’m up to on a more regular basis, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

I am, by no means, an expert at this thing called life but you are welcome to join me on this journey. I’d love to have you.

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Captain Phasma Was Not Just There To Sell Toys

According to the internet, fans are strongly divided on whether they loved The Last Jedi or hated it but I think we can all agree that Captain Phasma was a poorly used character.

A few lines in Episode VII and a few more plus a fight scene in Episode VIII does not a compelling character make. But everyone seems to writing this off with, “She was just there to sell toys,” which is, at best, an incomplete thought.

News flash: All of Star Wars is there to sell toys. Star Wars and merchandising have been bosom buddies since the very beginning (if you don’t believe me, ask Mel Brooks). Luke, Leia, and Han are also there to sell toys.

Yes, those characters are also used to telling a compelling story but let’s not pretend merchandise isn’t a HUGE part of the Star Wars legacy.

No, Captain Phasma is certainly there for more than just selling toys. She’s also there to try to convince us that the Star Wars universe (and the people who tell it’s stories) are diverse.

“Look at us! We made a leader in the First Order female AND we didn’t make her suit look feminine! Yay us!”

That’s the message that Disney/Lucasfilm wants to get across to you and if you don’t believe me, ask yourself why Qwendoline Christie went out on the press trail with Daisy Ridley, Jon Boyega and Mark Hamill to market the movie. What is it about her character that is suppose to make us want to watch the movie?

Certainly her Game of Thrones fame is part of it but that can’t be all of it. There has to be something about her role in Star Wars that is worth putting her in press interviews.

Is it her compelling character personality? I hope not. Is it her story arc? What story arc?

The only thing that can be said about her is that she is female leader in the First Order who’s suit doesn’t look feminine.

That’s shallow and, as much as I love Disney, I’m calling them out for doing something shallow and calling it diversity.

Do better, Disney.

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Immeasurable by Skye Jethani

I picked up Futureville a couple of years ago on a whim. I had never heard of Skye Jethani and, to be completely honest, I didn’t fully realize what the book would be about (I thought it was going to be about technology).

But my mind was blown and my world rocked at this new vision of what the future would be like and how I can be a part of making it happen.

Since then I have read both of his other books, With and The Divine Commodity and listen to him weekly on The Phil Visher Podcast so I jumped on the opportunity to be a part of the launch team for his new book, Immeasurable: Reflections On The Soul Of Ministry In The Age Of Church, INC.

I would have read this book anyway, but it is especially pertinent to me as my day job is leading a college ministry at the local university.

Unlike his other books, this one doesn’t flow from one chapter to the next. Rather, it is a collection of essays, reflections he’s had on the state of the church and church leaders.

The reality is, our culture, both inside and outside of the church, have changed drastically over the years and Skye uses this book to explore those changes and how we should respond to them.

If you are a church leader or work in any sort of ministry, I highly recommend this book. You can buy it on Amazon or his website.

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November Goals

It’s normal to start setting goals in November, right? I mean, who waits until the New Year?

In an effort to put into practice some of the things I learned while reading Jon Acuff’s Finish, I want to start setting goals at the beginning of each month and sharing them here, so here are this month’s goals:

Writing: 2 blog posts for the Disney blogs that I contribute to
2 posts for this blog (which is great because this is the second blog for the month already.)
2 posts for the blog that I share with my wife
My other writing goal is to finish laying out the plot and characters for my novel

I also have a weight loss goal: My actual goal is to go to the gym four days a week but, in the spirit of Jon Acuff telling us to cut our goals in half, I’ll set my goal to two days a week
Ultimately, I’d like to lose five pounds by the end of the month, which includes Thanksgiving weekend.

I’m also excited because I’ve set up some rewards for myself for meeting these goals, namely these guys.

Here’s to the month of November!

Do you have any goals this month?

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