When to Steal a Taco?, Darkness Must Pass

So, the Cleveland Cavaliers got smacked by the Golden State Warriors once again. With the Warriors now leading the NBA Finals 2 games to 0 and the series shifting to the city of Cleveland for games 3 and 4, I can’t help but wonder: Will I be home in time to get my free Doritos Locos Taco? For those of you who don’t know, Taco Bell does a special deal during the NBA Finals called, “Steal a game, steal a taco“. If a team wins on the road in the NBA Finals, Taco Bell gives out free Doritos Locos Tacos for a day. It’s pretty likely that the Warriors will win game 3 on Wednesday because the Cavs suck. I have no idea where the closest Taco Bell is to campus, but I leave on Thursday. So, depending on when Taco Bell opts to make “Free Taco Day,” I might not get one. 😦 Or maybe I will. 🙂

My group project grade came in today, and I guess my professor got my email, because I ended up with a B overall on the project, which THRILLED me considering the way it went down. I actually got a C on the presentation that I came up with in 5 minutes, but I managed a 100 on my paper (which was worth half of the total points on the project, the presentation was the other half). So, yeah me!

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A quick pun because-let’s be honest-we could all use some extra stupid humor in our lives right now.

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I believe I’ve mentioned before that there are few fictional characters I find more inspirational than Samwise Gamgee. But, if I haven’t: There are few fictional characters I find more inspirational than Samwise Gamgee. I found this quote particularly helpful with my finals looming in the next two days. I believe that everyone has many moments in their lives where they feel that terrible things will not ever end. There is, however, a line: “All good things must come to an end.” That’s true. Which means, that all bad things must also come to an end. Make no mistake, life is colossally unfair. But, it never fails to come through for you in the end. Whatever challenge you are facing, whatever anguish you are feeling, know that it will come to an end. Knowing that it will end is the best way to get through it. In fact, that was the mindset I used during my International Baccalaureate exams last year. That resulted in an IB diploma. So that mindset makes a huge difference. It calms your nerves “at an elite spa level” (Tim Curry as Nigel St. Nigel in PsychAmerican Duos). Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it is surprisingly comforting to know that no matter how badly something goes, it will end. Just ask the Cavs…

Side note: My campus reminds me a lot of The Lord of the Rings: everyone is high and/or drunk the majority of the time (with the exception of me, of course. I guess that makes me…Elrond? I actually don’t recall any of the elves smoking pipes in Middle-Earth. Can anybody confirm that for me?).

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the NBA Finals and/or on today’s quote of the day and/or on whatever else is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, that too shall pass when you become a follower. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.

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Movie Conspiracy Theory: What if Lord of the Rings is actually a Love Story?

The New Year is still about an hour away for me, so I’m looking for something to do to kill the time until midnight. I know I said I would give my 2016 in numbers, and I will, but that will be tweeted instead of posted on my blog. For those of you who read my blog but don’t follow me on Twitter, check out my Twitter account (@TheHaysWay) at midnight to see that. Now on to the theory:

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This may sound kind of ridiculous because of all of the fighting, adventure, and orcs in The Lord of the Rings. However, think about the focus of the story: all of the fighting, adventure, and orcs are the result of a ring. I know the ring (paralleling a wedding ring) itself is a stretch, so allow me to explain myself more. I’ll start with the history of the ring.

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“One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.”

The ring was forged in the fires of Mount Doom as “the ring of power”, or “the one ring to rule them all”. There is a parallel saying about love: “Love conquers all.” The villain of the story is Sauron, who forged the ring. He uses the ring to control everything and everyone. That, unfortunately, is how some bad relationships go. The fact that he is the villain for using the ring in that way could easily parallel a discussion on misusing love. After Sauron is defeated, multiple others obtain the ring. In the movies, we only get to see what it does to three people: Gollum, Bilbo, and Frodo. While each of them are in different states in their lives, all three get there because the ring changes them. They all come to be obsessed with the ring and it drives them crazy. Another parallel saying about love: “Crazy in love.”

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Cast of The Lord of the Rings from left: John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Dominic Monaghan (Mary), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Sean Astin (Sam), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Bean (Boromir), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Orlando Bloom (Legolas)

Now let’s look at the supporting cast. Sam is Frodo’s best friend who accompanies him on his journey with the ring. There are many times throughout their journey when Frodo claims that he wants to give up and turn back. Each time, Same picks him back up and gets him back on track. This is likely very similar to a best friend helping their friend win the love of a girl, especially if he is wanting to propose. I’ve never proposed to anyone before because I’m too young, but from what I have heard, that’s a pretty big life decision. I doubt anyone goes through that process without rethinking it or wanting to give up at some point like Frodo does on his journey. Now for Gandalf. He is the one with the benefit of wisdom. He is the most capable character when it comes to seeing the end game because he has the most experience. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel that Frodo is too young to see, kind of like those married people who say, “Love has a way of finding you” or, as Sir Elton John puts it, “There’s a time for everyone, if they only learn, that the twisting kaleidoscope, moves us all in turn.” Finally, the ring wraiths. The ring wraiths are the primary obstacle to Frodo throughout his journey, as they seek only to stop him from destroying the ring. People who fall in love often experience obstacles that seek to destroy that love in a similar fashion. Some examples of obstacles may be location or different life goals.

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Mordor: Eye of Sauron (left), Mount Doom (right)

The setting of the story also draws parallels to the realities of chasing love. The hobbits start out with a simple way of life, living in the shire. As the story progresses and Frodo gets closer to where he wants to go with the ring (Mordor), the setting gets darker and darker. That draws parallels to relationship “tests” as a lover learns more and more about their partner and are tested to see if their love is strong enough to withstand the darker, less appealing aspects of their partner. Mordor is the darkest because in order to cast the ring into the fire (or take the step of marriage, in the case of a relationship) one must accept the deepest and darkest secrets that their partner has. The setting then returns to the light after the ring is cast into the fire because once one accepts and protects their partner’s deepest and darkest secrets and has their deepest and darkest secrets protected in turn, the couple reaches the happy “true love” area. This area is then amplified with the trip to the immortal realm, into the west.

Don’t let the orcs, marshes, and battles fool you, The Lord of the Rings fits the same molds as a typical love story. This includes the symbolism, setting, and characterization in the movie. However you perceive The Lord of the Rings, there is no denying that it is a great story. I brought it up because it’s a New Year’s tradition in my family to watch all three of the movies. My theory holds legitimate arguments in my head, and I hope I did a good enough job of describing it to make you think twice about the purpose of the story, too.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on my theory and/or on a theory of your own about The Lord of the Rings (it can be even more outlandish than mine if you want, I’d love to hear it), along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to enjoy more movie conspiracy theories in the future. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow and a pleasant New Year!

#16: Faith, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Ranking ONLY! NO spoilers, I promise!), and More…

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“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King Jr, Civil Rights Activist

Faith is probably one of the most tricky concepts I have ever experienced. Faith is why there are so many different religions on Earth; We all put our faith into different things and different people. Personally, this analogy basically encapsulates the reason that I typically don’t exercise faith. I live my life with far too much logic and doubt. What if there is no whole staircase? What if you take that first step, and the next step is off the cliff. I have put my faith in people many times. More often than not, I ended up falling off the cliff. As I write this, I realize that I haven’t entirely stopped putting my faith in others, but I generally expect that my faith will not pay off. However, faith is also the reason that friends and family are so important to me: they are they less often that leads to a whole staircase. Faith is one of the riskier endeavors in life.

What kind of experiences have you had in which your faith did (or didn’t) pay off?

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Into the West. This Lord of the Rings-ian concept is a curious one. I don’t know a ton about the subject because I’m more of a Star Wars buff, but I’ll give it a shot. The song “Into the West” accompanies the ending of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, when multiple characters (including Elrond, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Frodo) all sail into the west (shocking, right?). The action of sailing into the west in Middle Earth was created to access Valinor, which was essentially the home of the Gods. Originally, all species in Middle Earth were invited to Valinor to live with the Gods because the Earth was flat. However, many rebelled against the Gods and left Valinor to return to Middle Earth. Following the betrayal, the Gods bent the Earth and removed Valinor from the surface to prevent mortals from sailing there. The newly bent Earth still allowed immortals (such as elves) to sail a straight sea to get to Valinor, though they were no longer permitted to return to Middle Earth upon reaching Valinor. It is commonly referred to as “the afterlife”, because sailing into the west was what gave species (like the elves) their immortality, as they left behind the mortal life of Middle Earth. Curiously, this ties in quite nicely to the topic of faith. Those who sail into the west don’t see the whole staircase because they don’t know what lies in wait for them in Valinor. It seems very Adam & Eve-esque to me. The mortals get kicked out of a heaven-like place for rebelling. Also, it’s interesting how in both stories, the mortals betray the faith of the Gods, only to be forced to reciprocate the faith following their betrayal. Like I said, faith is a tricky subject. This whole discussion has thoroughly confused me. This is my source for all of that LOTR lore.

I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, yesterday. PHENOMENAL. I don’t want to spoil the story for any of you who did not see the premiere because you do not feel the force as strongly as I do, so I will simply tell you that it was high on my ranking of all Star Wars movies. I have it neck-and-neck with Return of the Jedi for 3rd best Star Wars movie. Obviously, A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back are 1st and 2nd, respectively. I HIGHLY recommend that you go see it. Preferably, before I see it for the 2nd time this weekend.

How would you rank the nine Star Wars movies in canon (Episodes I-VII, Rogue One, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars)?

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Kansas City Chiefs

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Founded: 1960

All-Time Winning Percentage: 51%

All-Time Record: (404-388-12)

The second half of the rankings of the NFL franchises by all-time winning percentage kicks off with the Kansas City Chiefs. One of the powerhouses in the NFL this season, the Chiefs have a tradition of being…well…average. That’s probably why they are in the middle of these rankings. They played in Super Bowl I and won Super Bowl IV, but they have yet to return to the biggest game in all of sports, since. They thrive of off past-their-prime veterans, such as C Mike Webster, QB Joe Montana, RB Marcus Allen, and QB Warren Moon. A modern-day example is current Chiefs QB Alex Smith. They also tend to have great LBs, like Hall of Famers Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, and Derrick Thomas. Current LBs include Pro Bowlers and All-Pros Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, and Justin Houston. After impressive inter-divisional victories over the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, the Chiefs look like they may have the potential to get back to their first Super Bowl in 47 years.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on faith and/or on LOTR lore and/or on the daily quote and/or on the daily song and/or on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and/or on the Kansas City Chiefs and/or on the daily questions, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to sail with me into wherever we want to go. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.