One Faith, Many Paths: Jannah Leah

jannah

This is my first interview with an Eastern Orthodox Catholic. Thank you, Jannah Leah.

1) How was your childhood?

Fairly average, I guess. About the biggest thing that impacted me was my parents’ divorce when I was six. I was also bullied all throughout school, which affected my self-esteem. To this day, I still suffer from self-esteem issues.

2) How did you become a Christian?

Really it was a combination of a few factors. I have suffered from depression for most of my life and in some ways faith has aided with that.  I also have an interest in history, theology, etc.  Religion is a subject that I’ve always found quite fascinating despite my family’s own irreligious background.

To give the short answer, I chose to become Christian because the messages were appealing to me.  I also found the historical evidence for Christianity, particularly Orthodoxy, to be overwhelming. No other religion can claim their historical figures performed public miracles.

3) How has your family taken your conversion to Christianity, given that they do not share your beliefs?

It’s been mixed. My mother is of the mindset that it’s a good thing if it’s what makes me happy. Others still don’t really know since they’re not particularly fond of religion.

4) You said that you used to be somewhat of a troll. What led to the change?

I guess the easiest answer would be that I simply grew bored of it and matured.  It also got rather tedious to have to constantly create new Facebook accounts.

5. When were you diagnosed as autistic?

I was fourteen I believe. Somewhere in my early teens.

Continue reading “One Faith, Many Paths: Jannah Leah”

Film Freak: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

fantastic beasts

Back when JK Rowling was originally writing Harry Potter, there were often gaps between books because the books got longer with each volume. During one of these gaps, she wrote two books that supposedly could be found in Hogwarts’ s library: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (writing as Newt Scamander) and Quidditch Through the Ages (writing as Kennilworthy Whisp) Although I wondered what these two “writers” were like, I never thought they’d be a subject of a movie. But here we are, with a new set of prequels for the movies. The movies were a mixed bag as adaptations go, but how would these people fare with an original script?

Some might even wonder why Rowling has gone back to the Harry Potter universe again. My theory is that it’s because The Casual Vacancy, her attempt an adult novel, bombed. So why not use something that actually did make money to pay the bills? And unlike the more hipster-ish fans out there, I don’t think it’s bad that she’s making money again. However, I was among the many that didn’t like Cursed Child. So what about this?

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40 Years of Star Wars: The Kenner Toys

star-wars-figures
The Entire Star Wars Toy Line From Kenner

Not only did Star Wars change how movies were made, but also how they are marketed.  Remember that while VCR’s and Cable TV were around in the 1970’s, it would be quite some years before either became as prominent as they would in the 80’s and 90’s. In fact, Hollywood was completely against cable television and ran ads in movie theatres (and ironically enough, on TV) telling people how bad an idea Cable Television was. They were worried that more channels meant that cinemas would receive less money from people.  Toy makers saw little value in making toys based on movies. They didn’t have the staying power as TV shows or comics, once the movie was gone from theatre, it was believed the toys would not sell anymore.

George Lucas wanted to change that. He had to, because he’d spent so much money on A New Hope’s effects that he had to find some way to compensate. He did it with licensing. And not just toys, but later, comic books, tie-in novels–all kinds of stuff. It was, as the Star Wars parody Spaceballs famously put it, “Where the real money from the movie [was] made!” In fact, Kenner was the first toy company to even take the risk. I had some of these. I had the Emperor’s Guards (who started working for Skeletor after I got them because I figured “well, they had to get work somehow”), some Stormtroopers, and of course Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and even Wicket. (Yes, I liked the Ewoks, so what?)

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Jason’s Jukebox: Soul Asylum

soul asylum

In 1992, Soul Asylum released their breakthrough album, Grave Dancer’s Union, beginning a brief brush with fame. But in reality, the band started in 1981, eleven years prior. In 2016, they released their newest album, Change of Fortune. I figured this would be a good time to look at the history of the band so far.

The current line-up is:

  • Dave Pirner: vocals, guitar
  • Michael Bland: drums, backing vocals
  • Winston Roye: bass, backing vocals
  • Ryan Smith: lead guitar, backing vocals

clarence

Say What You Will Clarence…Karl Sold the Truck (1984)**

Singles: “Walking”, “Happy”, “Religiavsion”

This was the first of three albums on the Twin/Tone label. The “Karl” in the album’s title is Karl Mueller, the band’s first bassist. It has a rather rough sound, and is kind of meh.

Best Tracks: “Dragging Me Down”, “Religiavision”, “Broken Glass”

made

Made to Be Broken (1986)**

Singles: “Never Really Been”, “Tied to the Tracks”, “Made to Be Broken”

1986 was quite a busy year for Soul Asylum, as they released three albums, one of which was cassette only, and will not be covered in this article.

Best Tracks: “Never Really Been”, “Tied to the Tracks”, “Long Way Home”

while you

While You Were Out (1986) ***

Singles: “Crashing Down”, “Lap of Luxury”, “Never Too Soon”, “The Judge”

This marked the end of the Twin/Tone era. “The Judge” was covered by the Wildhearts and “Closer to the Stars” by Automatic 7.

Best tracks: “Crashing Down”, “The Judge”, “Sun Don’t Shine”, “Closer to the Stars”

hang time

Hang Time (1988) ***

Singles: “Marionette”, “Little Too Clean”, “Cartoon”

This was the band’s major label debut, this time with A&M records. Dan Murphy temporarily joined the band with this album.

Best tracks: “Little Too Clean”, “Cartoon”, “Endless Farewell”, “Marionette”

clam dip

Clam Dip and Other Delights (1989) * (EP)

The title of this EP is actually a parody of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights, a nod to their record label’s founder, Herb Alpert.

Best Tracks: “Chains”, “P-9”

and the horse

And the Horse They Rode in On (1990) ****

Singles: “Brand New Shine”, “Easy Street”, “Veil of Tears”, “Nice Guys (Don’t Get Paid)”

Their final album with A&M, and one of their best overall.

Best Tracks: “Veil of Tears”, “Something Out of Nothing”, “Easy Street”, “Be On Your Way”

Continue reading “Jason’s Jukebox: Soul Asylum”

Bookworm: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

cursed childYears ago, I reviewed all seven of the original Harry Potter books on this site. Last year, two new stories were added to the mythos, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s only right that I review these on this page as well. Since I just finished it, I’ll start with Cursed Child.

Cursed Child is actually published as a play rather than a novel. I realize that using the script as my source for this review may not be the best way to review a play, but I probably might not get to see an actual performance, so here we are. Oh, and spoilers from here on out. You’ve been warned.

Let’s start with what I like. The story starts by replaying the epilogue from Death Hallows. It is now 19 years later.  Hermione works for the Ministry of Magic. Ron has taken over Fred and George’s joke shop. (since one of the twins died in the last book, in case you don’t recall.) The story mostly focuses on Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Draco Malfoy.

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The Fictional Spectrum: Data

dataIn 1987, Gene Roddenberry took a big gamble.  He created a spin-off of his cult classic TV series Star Trek, but without Kirk, Spock, or anyone else from the original crew.  Instead, a whole new crew was created, in order to better comment on the changing social climate of the 80’s and inspire a whole new generation. One character on this show that I came to identify with the most was Data, an android portrayed by Brent Spiner.

Designed by Dr. Noonian Soong (who was also portrayed by Spiner), Data was meant to be as close to humans as possible. He lacked emotions because Soong was unable to implement the same microchip he’d given to his “older brother” Lore. (also played by Spiner). Considering that Lore turned to evil because of his emotions, perhaps it’s just as well.

Data has many characteristics that aspies exhibit.  He has a tendency to info-dump and will often ramble until told to stop. He has a highly intelligent, even creative mind. This is evident in his deductive reasoning, causing him to admire Sherlock Holmes. (the show was unable to use this admiration much due to the character still being under copyright) He has interests in various fields, but escpecially those pertaining to science. He will even focus on a task to the exclusion of all else.

Data is also socially awkward. He often takes things literally, especially idioms. He cannot read body language, and has often been deceived not just by Lore, but also by people he thinks he can trust. He is also incapable of lying, but is forced to go against this protocol in the episode “Clues”, when a paranoid alien race attacks the ship. He often has a hard time understanding humor. In fact, what makes him such an entertaining person for me is that he often doesn’t realize how funny he actually is. (That changed in the movies when Geordi activates his emotion chip. I didn’t care for this development as it led to many forced humorous moments that just weren’t as natural as when he didn’t realize how funny he was)

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One Faith, Many Paths: Trevor Justin Gawthorne

trevor

This month for my “One Faith, Many Paths” project, I decided to interview one of the members of my Autistic Christians group on FB. Here’s Trevor Gawthorne from Down Under!

1. How old were you when you became Christian? When I was 16. I got bullied a lot over it.

2. What was your childhood like? It was all right. Most of it was decent. Eight years old was the last time I remember it being good.

3.When were you diagnosed with autism? Did you receive any help? I was diagnosed at 6 with autism and ADHD.

4. What is your current job? Unemployed.

Continue reading “One Faith, Many Paths: Trevor Justin Gawthorne”