15 June 2015

Of Our Brush with Fame

A number of years ago, my sister-in-law began telling us about this show she loved that we should try out. She happened to have the first couple of seasons on DVD and would be happy to let us borrow them.

That's cool, we thought, but we had our own series we were in the middle of and weren't interested in investing in something new. A looong while later, we had finished one of these series (of such major importance I can no longer remember what it was) and I mentioned to my wonderfully forgetful husband this show his sister has been wanting us to watch. So we borrowed the first season. And it sat around our house for another few months before we finally returned it, entirely un-watched.

Long story short, by the time she had four seasons on her shelf, we finally decided to really give it a shot.

Thus we watched our first episode of Castle. And were quickly hooked (and just as quickly felt guilty for how long we'd been ignoring her adamant recommendations). Before we knew it, we had zoomed through four seasons, often staying up way too late watching two or three episodes after we laid the kids down for bed.

We anxiously awaited the release of the fifth season on DVD (because it was too late to catch up in real time). But by the end of that series of binge-watching we began to question our use of time, overall, and put all TV-watching on hold.

Until recently. And as we began to realize we were easing ourselves back into a life in front of the television, while also hoping to stay still relatively detached, we also realized, Season 6 is now over on her shelf . . .

And as the kids were visiting grandparents this past week, we binged unashamedly through much of the season. Snuggling together, with popcorn, pizza or chocolate, watching the drama unfold, giggling at pop culture references and congratulating ourselves on successfully naming the killer as soon as they appeared on-screen (hint: it's generally the first person they talk to in the episode).

On Wednesday, we spent the evening with our beloved sister, and actually spent a portion of our time in an in-depth discussion over just how much fun this show is - as though having an artistic dialogue over the merits of Castle.

On Friday, I posted my typical POTD (Picture of the Day), this time featuring just a little of what had become our nightly ritual over the past week.

A photo posted by @wiredangela on

To some this may be even more sad, still, but as we looked forward to an evening in a local bed and breakfast Saturday night, we also anticipated snuggling up to, you guessed it, watch more of our favorite show.

And we watched four episodes during our one-night stay.

As we wrapped up the fourth episode, it was time to check out for the morning and head to our next stop on our getaway weekend: the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (I had a Groupon!).

Of course, Castle was clearly on our minds as I confessed I was beginning to question everything: our safety in the creaky, family-owned bed and breakfast, the sincerity of the guy who took our key as we attempted to check out, claiming he used to work there and we were good to go. In an art museum, as they prepared for the new Faberge exhibit, I felt we were walking into a potential crime scene. Who would be the one to commit a murder in this museum, and why?

I mean, my brain was on serious Castle overload.

Which is why when I saw another museum patron from behind and noted her beautifully long red hair, and then just a glimpse of her profile, I laughed it off with Philip as he, too, turned to me saying, "That girl looks kind of like - "

"I was thinking the same thing!"

We geeked out for a moment over how remarkably this girl, enjoying the museum with a few friends, resembled a character from the very show we had been consuming non-stop for the past week. We texted the very sister who had introduced us to the show: "There's a girl here who looks JUST like Alexis. We would take a picture, but we don't want to be awkward."

Her response: "Be awkward!"

I attempted to do my very best spy work, so she could see what an amazing coincidence this was. But, of course, we didn't want to get too close or too obvious, and we had still only really seen her from a distance and mostly from behind or the side. I used my phone, glad that stalker-photographing has become so much easier these days, when I don't have to point an actual camera in anyone's general direction, and can very easily play it off as texting something super important to a friend, rather than capturing unauthorized images of innocent museum-goers.

Meanwhile, I was freaking out inside, because I recognize I'm no good in the face of celebrity and thought it would be best to leave this poor girl alone who probably had never even seen Castle nor would appreciate random strangers asking her awkward questions.

So, I snapped my stalker-esque photos and we moved on, both of us too nervous to actually attempt to ask about our suspicions.

Yet, as we toured the next level of the museum, I began to hope we'd run into her again, as I worked up the nerve to at least inquire into whether she might be an actress . . . just to open the door to conversation. And, then, our opportunity came. As we attempted to make the decision about the best way to casually locate this mystery red-head, there she was, comfortably sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Here was our chance.

My hands were shaking as I attempted to be polite while rudely, awkwardly interrupting a conversation between this stranger and her friend. Though, at this point, at this distance, there was no question in our minds. We were standing a mere couple of feet from a face we had been watching on our TV screen for a number of years, not to mention this past week, and the four episodes we had seen in the past 24 hours alone.

"I'm sorry, but, are you an actress?"

She lowered her gaze slightly while also giving an understanding smile, "I'm on the show Castle."

Inside: "Aaaaaaaaahhhh. We knew it!!!!!!" Outside: "We thought so! We've been watching your show non-stop for the past week."

And as we bantered a little about some of the episodes we had just seen, this surreal feeling overwhelmed me: this girl was there on the other side of that screen - this was her! And that episode was just another day of work for her, full of embarrassing costume choices and probably even unexpected glitches. She was a real person. And we were talking to her. As strangers who just happened to bump into each other at an art museum.

Of course, we had to complete the awkward fan-dom and get a picture, and, of course, while we had been so nervous to approach a "celebrity" who just wanted to enjoy the museum, she was, in actuality, just as sweet in person as she was on the other side of the screen, happy to oblige a few star-struck fans, as she positioned herself for a photo, while offering her hand, "I'm Molly."

We chatted for just a few moments before offering an official Oklahoma welcome (though, as a Texas native, she said she'd been here before), and giving her her space. We walked away on cloud nine. The most crazy coincidence that felt like a dream.

So, thank you to Molly Quinn for indulging these parents of four who acted like a couple of silly teenagers. We appreciate you and we may be slightly bigger fans than we were even 48 hours ago (and that's saying something).

12 June 2015

Of Becoming a Nerd

Some nights I am a Twi'lek Jedi. But I've been a Wookie Tank, a Bothan Assasin and an Elf Healer. At least that's who I roll the dice for.

And the honest truth: I have a lot of fun.

You need to understand, though, before I was married I didn't know what any of that meant (okay, let's be honest, I still had to ask my husband what those Star Wars characters were called as I wrote this post, because I still don't have a clue). I was a nerd, by some standards, but not a gaming nerd.

At least not outside of Life, Uno, or any other standard family games. I loved party games - Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Cranium. Those were my jam.

Dungeon crawls, MMO's, RPG's? I neither knew, nor wanted to know what any of it meant or how it worked. Because didn't it involve getting super into an other-worldly character and hiding in your mom's basement with potato chips and energy drinks?

The sad truth, though, was I married a gamer. One who knew what all of those nerdy things meant. And thrived on them. One who knew what the next gaming console was going to be, when it would be released, and every game he wanted for it. But he couldn't tell you my favorite flower.

And I was ready to make him choose his time wisely - I was the wife who helped my brand new husband draw up a signed contract regarding how much time he would spend playing video games so I didn't get left by the wayside. Because am I not more fascinating than a tv screen or computer monitor filled with digital creatures of evil?

But I had a friend who did things differently. She's the type of friend who prepares for each new stage in life by gleaning wisdom from anyone who can offer valuable insight. She not only accepts advice, she seeks it out. I am not that way. But I so appreciate being friends with someone who is (because then I don't have to humble myself by admitting I need help, as she just shares all her well-sought knowledge with me without my having to ask. Because friends are awesome).

Before she was ever married,in an effort to aid her relationship with someone of the male persuasion she, wisely, sat down with a male friend who gave her this advice: "Women relate by talking. Men relate by playing. If you want to relate to your man, play with him."

So, when she was married a few short weeks after we were, rather than throwing down an ultimatum to limit his video-game nerd-dom, she sat down and watched him play. She took it in, learned the dynamics, offered helfpul (maybe undesired?) suggestions and helped Link find every Rupee on the way to Zelda's castle. She played alongside him (in a one person game, that's the best you can hope for).

And I started to think differently about how I approached my own husband's interests. After all, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

So I sat down at his computer, overlooking the World of Warcraft, and I became a Night Elf. And it was kind of fun. I joined a guild, I increased my abilities. I made it level 20 and felt like I was amazing (for the record, it's not, but to a newbie like me, it might as well have been the black belt of WoW).

But even more than opening the doors to new worlds, I opened the doors to our relationships. Instead of rolling my eyes at his descriptions of his latest exploits, I could honestly congratulate him for the succes in his latest raid, because I knew what that meant. I could understand why he said he couldn't pause his game to come help me in the kitchen that moment (because you really can't, or you die, and it's so annoying to get your spirit back to your body, seriously), but he would get to a safe place as soon as he could so I could have his full attention.

From there, I discovered card games, strategy games, miniatures and more. I'm still not hard-core. I play the games he's excited about, but I don't go out of my way to investigate the latest in nerd news.

I go out of my way to take an interest in him. And to relate to him.

So I play.

But I don't just sit down grudgingly, because I'm not under-achiever, and because I've honestly come to enjoy finding line of sight to kill his Storm Troopers. I play to win. And sometimes I do.

But win or lose, we're spending time together and I know he's proud that I'm trying. And I know he feels loved. So it's always a win.

11 June 2015

Of the Fool

A couple weeks ago, I was reading through Proverbs, in chapter 26, to be exact, and I found myself amidst verses I had heard many times before. All those ones talking about a "fool" - you know, that other guy, the one who just doesn't get it. Here is a sampling:

"Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
    cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless,
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
Like one who binds the stone in the sling
    is one who gives honor to a fool.
Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone
    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit
    is a fool who repeats his folly. " (Proverbs 26:1,3-11, ESV, emphasis added)

Right around this time, after eleven verses going on, and on, and on, about how useless fools are and how little hope they have in the world, I was kind of done. I am not just being overly dramatic when I say, literally, at this point in my reading I thought to myself, "Ok, we get it."

And then came verse number 12, one I had heard before, but, when read in the context of the previous eleven tiring verses, was rather a sucker punch to the gut:

"Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him."(Proverbs 26:12)

Say what now? Now I'm awake.

Because if ever there was a person who was wise in his own eyes, I'm the girl. I'm the one who can pass any test, solve any riddle. If you have a problem, I guarantee I have a solution (not that I'll share it, because I don't necessarily need to tell you what to do, I just like the satisfaction of knowing that I know). And if you're not solving it the way I would have, I will have an opinion about that. I probably won't share that opinion with you, but, trust me, I've definitely shared it with someone (probably my husband because we kind of shame spiral together into gossip and petty judgments - it's totally a healthy bonding experience).

Wise in her own eyes? Yep, that's me.

And, yet, here it is, plain as day - there is more hope for a fool than for a person like me.

A fool.

You know, that one who deserves no honor, but, rather, a rod to the back. The man whose mouth is not even worthy to hold a wise saying. The one who is like a dog returning to his vomit in the way he continues after the filth of this world.

This man has more hope than I.

Let it not be true. May my eyes be torn out before they continue to see wisdom in my own frivolity, petty thoughts or belittling opinions.

May I see the worth and value in the hearts of others, in the opinions of others. May I no longer seek my own honor or the worthless validation that comes from thinking better of myself than of those around me.

May there be hope for me yet.

Oh, Lord, that you would humble me to hear the words of others more than my own voice. Grant me your eyes to see those around me and ear to hear Your wisdom alone.