Re-reading The Hobbit

Gianna's Lord of the Rings Poster

I just finished re-reading the Hobbit.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read it, but it still holds a lot of magic for me. When I was really little, my mom used to sit me down with fairy tales and myths, and when I was about 4 or 5, we read the Hobbit together. I continued to read stories filled with magic and fairies and elves . . . and still do today, obviously. I doubt I would have become so enthralled with the fantastic if my mom hadn’t instilled a love of wonder and mystery in me from an early age.

Of course since I have Gianna, I think about stuff like this nowadays. She’ll probably be a fan of fantasy to some extent, but who knows? She’ll certainly grow up being surrounded by it. I mean, she was both a princess and Ary Stark at MisCon 26 and at 19 months old has already attended a couple science fiction conventions. She doesn’t really have a chance, I guess.

Fantasy will probably be her sports team.

So a few days ago, I got out my Nook, and downloaded the Lord of the Rings trilogy in one volume. I haven’t read the Lord of the Rings since the movies came out. It’s been a while. Unlike many people who have good memories, which I usually do, I tend to forget a lot of parts of stories that I read.

In terms of rereading, this is excellent. The HOBBIT was sort of fresh read for me, even though I generally knew what would happen. In terms of discussing the Hobbit with friends, it’s not so good, but I don’t care about that.

I didn’t intend to reread the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy but I guess I sort of am. I’m surprised about a few things that I’ve encountered so far and I think it’s because of seeing the movies enough times without having to reread the original story. The first thing that jumps out at me is that from the time Bilbo vanishes on Frodo’s 33rd birthday, 17 years pass before Gandalf returns.

That’s a long damn time!

I also forgot all about the Sackville-Bagginses and Frodo getting his affairs in order as “Master of Bag End” after Bilbo’s vanishing. And they spend a lot more time escaping the Shire than I ever remembered.

In the movies, it’s easy to get caught up in Elijah Wood’s youthful Frodo with his big blue eyes and desperate expressions. The novel Frodo doesn’t seem like that to me (although I loved the movie Frodo).  And in my reread, I can’t help but see Sam Gamgee as Sean Astin, but that’s fine because I really thought he did a great job as Sam Gamgee.

Anyway, so far I’m enjoying my reread of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the Hobbit, even though when I see some of the dwarves in the movie, they don’t remind me of Fili and Kili and Bombur and Bofur.

Huh. Maybe in another 10 years I’ll reread the Hobbitt and Thorin is going to look, to my mind’s eye, just like the actor in the movies.

Gianna’s First Parade

Gianna Watching the Parade with Grandma

Yesterday we went to Gianna’s first parade, the University of Montana’s Homecoming Parade.

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I’m not at all a football fan, nor am I a fan of annoying sports-crowds. But I agreed with Melissa and my mom that Gianna would like going to a parade, so we took her. For the occasion, I dressed her in her princess dress from MisCon and her Christmas hat from last year. It still barely fits.

She was scared of the first marching band (it was noisy), but she quickly got used to what was happening and had fun.

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First, Be Happy.

Many people want to force you to be who they want you to be. They want you to agree with their politics, their religion, their life choices, whatever.

Don’t worry about that stuff.

First, be happy.

Before you worry about what other people think, look out for yourself. Look out for your own happiness.

Then consider your family and friends. I’m not saying you should do reckless things just to be happy. I’m not advocating hedonism. I’m saying that you shouldn’t let other people’s desires make you unhappy by trying to project their desires onto you.

You should pursue happiness without hurting other people. Take a stand against people who want you to conform to their standards or beliefs.

Be yourself!

Seize the Day!

Gianna Posing Outside

Having a kid constantly reminds you that time is slipping away. Nothing stays the same. You don’t, your family doesn’t, your friends don’t, your pets don’t. The world doesn’t.

Seize the moment and enjoy where you’re at, who you’re with.

Right now, Gianna is changing every day. She’s talking quite a bit, and I find myself being a little sad to see it (simultaneously, I’m happy, of course). But it’s easy to get a little melancholy about seeing her lose cute behavior and become more like the rest of us. She just started saying an emphatic, “Uh huh!” instead of just nodding or making this weird, cute little “yes” sound that she’s been making for a long time. It’s imposible to describe adequately, but it’s sort of a nasal click that she vocalizes. I’ve never heard anyone else make a sound like this–it’s just hers.

Or it was.

It’s gone now in favor of regular language.

So seize the day. Enjoy what you have while you have it.

The Great Divide: Smugness, Stupidity, and Villains.

The Great Divide

This is for all the arrogant, self-righteous Americans among us.

Stop being smug, get down off your high horses, and think about improving the world. People who disagree with you are not fascist followers of Adolf Hitler (if they’re conservatives) or socialist Josef Stalin (if they’re liberals). Disagreeing with you doesn’t make someone evil, or stupid, or un-American. Stop clamping your hands over your ears and ignoring people who don’t agree with everything you stand for. I’m talking to everyone here–right wing whackos, left wing loonies, and the idiots in the middle.

We all have enemies out there, maybe politically, maybe religiously, whatever. But not every atheist, Christian, Muslim, liberal, or conservative is an evil bastard, whether we’d like to pretend they were or not. Some people are bad. Some ARE anti-American. But it’s not because they’re pro-life or pro-choice or worship God 5 times/day (or never) or go to mass or whatever.

I’m a critical, judgemental person. I love to argue, and I love to debate. Like most people, I know I’m right and you idiots are wrong. But over time, as I’ve been exposed to more people with different viewpoints, I’ve learned to be more open to other people’s ideas. Even I’m tired of being part of widening the Great Divide between the right and the left.

I’m tired of being part of the problem.

As the election draws near, we’re becoming even nastier. The Opposition has morphed into the Dark Lord Sauron. They’re even more un-American, evil, and stupid than before. They don’t understand us, they hate us, they want to destroy our way of life, enslave our children, and make us just like them. Of course we’re smug, self-righteous, paragons of society, and since we’re always right, we clamp our hands over our ears and ignore everything they say (while screaming in their faces).

Actually, we would scream in their faces, except for the fact that most of us don’t usually spend much time with the Enemy. We do see them on Facebook, though, so we attack the hell out of them, troll them, smear them, call them stupid, etc.

After all, they want to destroy America.

So stop being so smug. Stop calling anyone who disagrees with you “stupid.” Your opponents aren’t all nasty villains bent on ruining your country.

Talk to people who don’t agree with you. Be objective. Stop widening the Great Divide. Have discussions. Figure out why other people think differently than you. Let’s figure out how the hell to improve the world instead of just tearing it down.

Above all, stop being smug.

*End of Rant*