7/29/17 I'm Ready

I've been anticipating this for awhile - and obviously this site has been around for awhile if I can reference previous posts to this blog. But finally, FINALLY, there is a trailer for "Ready Player One." And it looks great. That doesn't speak to the quality of the plot or the acting or anything else, but the look of it, which is what interested me on a base level, is great, I think.

The film is bound to divide. All films and all properties based around books are bound to divide. That's ok (I think). People always have different opinions about everything. It's why we live in such a varied world. But, I think differing opinions are ok because the book already exists. The movie, any movie, cannot remove that book from existence. The book and the movie may appeal to different crowds. Hopefully for the crowd that gravitates toward the book, the movie entices more people to read the book.

I don't remember the details and the ins and outs of the book anyway. I roughly remember a fun overall story. I plan on using that vague familiarity to further my enjoyment. If an event happens in the film that didn't in the book, that's ok with me because I understand that the book and the movie have to appeal to different audiences and also, like I said, I don't remember exactly what happened in the book. As long as it's a quality film, I'll enjoy it. And, so far, it looks like a quality film.

Speaking on a more logistical level, the film had to move from it's original release date this December to March 30, 2018. That stinks, ahhhh! But, it moved for Star Wars, The Last Jedi. I guess that's ok. I mean, I would have watched them both in December but I understand that they want to make more money and appeal to more people and blah blah blah. Fine. I'll wait anxiously a little longer.

More than a Game 7/18/17

It seems fitting to discuss this on a day not normally designated for this topic. It's because this topic supersedes compartmentalization. It applies to everyone from the Red Keep to the Wall. This theory posits that the larger narrative of Game of Thrones is really an allegory for climate change. And I have to say it’s a fairly good theory. I also have to say, it doesn’t really matter what the show-runners or the author conceived when imagining it, because it still applies. It still disects the dichotomy between the strategy and politicking necessary on one front, all the while, on a different front, an all-encompassing larger threat looms. A threat that threatens every land and every kingdom alike, from Dorn to King’s Landing. 

“Vox” distributed this video that details the idea. Watching the video persuaded me. It’s short. If you watch Game of Thrones you might want to watch this video too. And, since the overall point is an all-encompassing threat, even if you don't watch Game of Thrones you should probably still consider what this video posits.



by Jason Decent    

    On some unknown whim from above the world changed. Not quickly. Slowly and steadily over hours. Fresh snow fell and continued to fall, and persisted, more, unrelenting. At night, I gazed out the house window, from the cozy vantage of warmth, the constant barrage of snowflakes reflecting the light of the street lamps as they drifted down, creating a real-life snow globe to stare at. Or did I peer out at the snow from within a warm globe? A matter of perspective I suppose. The day before gray, dreary cold had dominated. Then, the overnight addition of a significant layer of cotton made everything, the exact same setting otherwise, appear fantastical. 

    A park, just a few blocks from my childhood home consisted of two distinct areas. In the forefront, obvious and along the road, some of the normal dressings of recreation immediately apparent to any passerby: a tennis court, a half-basketball court, a playground, and large spans of well manicured grass. However, these playthings preceded an unexpected and untamed wilderness (sort of, a wood-chipped trail and bridges over the streams were obfuscated by the plethora of plants) behind them noticeable upon more intimate exploration. Wild juxtaposed with, and camouflaged by, order. The natural path that disappeared into the woods wrapped around a pond deep within the foliage. But, without knowledge of what lay beyond, the path mysteriously receded into nothingness?

    The path around the pond furnished an orbit. The pond: the sun or earth or some other central heavenly body. Me: a spaceship or the moon or some satellite circling the earth, or the earth around the sun... The cold beauty and the silence resembled space as well. Noise seemed out of place. The snow created natural sound proofing that sucked up ambient noise. White silence. My elaborate vestments specifically tailored for combating the snow the equivalent to, a likely much more elaborate, space suit that an astronaut might wear in response to outer space. 

    It seemed a shame, after a fresh snow fall, to tarnish the pristine beauty. Polluting the purity and cleanliness with travel and sound. An affront to nature by humanity. It looked like clouds had descended upon the park and now my voice, and crunching tracks, would ruin the heavenly perfection nature had created. 

    Trees and branches arched above the trail. They provided rustic ledges and shelves to suspend some of the fresh snow. In dense areas, entire tunnels of winter existed. My own fantastical passage to Narnia. Instead of pushing through an old, nondescript wardrobe, I walked down a mysterious path of possible nothingness and into another world.

    Despite the implications of my trespass, the park provided the perfect setting for my dog to run. It also provided me with the opportunity to slip into that beauty and avoid the chores and homework normal life required... for awhile. Instead of my usual, earthbound, routine existence, I could escape and explore. I could let my dog freely sprint through the woods. She could dart around and investigate. The white powder that stuck to her nose when she looked up resembled cocaine, amplifying her excitement over unencumbered roaming. Simultaneously, I could disappear with legitimate justification: providing the dog exercise! A strong argument in support of my infringement. Every time the opportunity presented itself I decided to heroically don the mantle, embarking into the harsh, apathetic nature to bear the burden of the presumed violation.

    I took my time there. Marveling. Walking slowly and deliberately. Internalizing the surroundings. A family of ducks gracefully floating in one of the few pockets of open water on the otherwise frozen pond. The solitary foot prints of a deer or rabbit crossing the trail to memorialize its passage at some earlier point in time. A song bird up above, perched in the sparse brambles, singing a sharp but beautiful song amplified by the desolation. Each instance wondrous, highlighting the awe the place could inspire, and each enhanced by the minimalism. But, eventually reality prevailed as I reached the end point of the circle. Back where the journey began I faced the choice of repeating and extending, or surrendering and returning. Awareness of the lingering responsibilities of life slowly began to seep in and permeate my mind as the cold began to permeate my outerwear. The new universe relented to the old. The demands of normal life harkened to recall me.

    Still, I knew the place would continue to exist. The next snowfall would transform it back into outer space, into Narnia. And then, I could again escape and explore. 


"It's gettin hot in herre"

The childhood fascination with fire probably, at least I would guess, arises from a false sense of control. Sure, maybe it served another purpose evolutionarily. Something super elevated and important. But that view, like a tall shelf, extends beyond the reach of the majority of children. In general, control of most things avoids children. Adults usually try to maintain control for the benefit of the children. In fact, when and how much control to afford a child precipitates many arguments among adults. Although a child may believe that the element of fire can be controlled, like many children themselves, it cannot.

But, regardless of why the fascination occurs, it occurs. And it occurred with me too. A friend across the street, whose parents smoked, could often easily access matches or a lighter. Sometimes I could obtain some other source of flame from my house. Although my parents weren’t smokers, creators of fire amount to useful household tools in general. The grill, candles, the basement’s wood-burning stove…lots of things benefited from on-demand fire summoning.  If we could not obtain the necessary purveyors of heat we would even resort to old fashioned means by using a magnifying glass to focus and direct the sun. Whatever the situation called for, our obsession dictated that we create fire. Stolen from the Olympian Gods and given directly to us. To me.

We constructed appropriate housings for the flames when necessary. These were not large bon-fires or blazing camp-fires, instead they were small combustions tantamount in size to the elementary schoolers creating them. Dried grass or leaves confined by the setting we deemed proper, some random bricks or rocks to create a tiny, make-shift wind block. Some suitable surrounding for our pyrotechnic machinations. 

The Fourth of July presented a unique opportunity to exercise our mastery. Fireworks developed into an accepted method of patriotic celebration for some absurd reason. Our family, and many others, purchased an armory of cheesy little snappers and poppers to annually mark the occasion. Along with a few bottle rockets and roman candles. Whiz, boom! 

Now, this seems like a tangent, but trust me it relates, I lived a few blocks from a totally different place. Partially manicured and partially wild, it lacked any of the human dwelling structures found in the surrounding, like my house. The space produced a park amidst the residential sprawl. A hidden wood-chipped trail encircled a natural pond deep within the woods, all set well behind a roadside playground and tennis court and half-basketball court. The place’s true purpose, for us, disguised to any passerby. Just a park. Just some boring old woods behind a playground and other plain park-type-things. Nothing else to see here. Just go about your normal business please. Thank you.

The location developed into the hidden home-base of extra-residential activities for my friends and I. In the middle of the suburbs it provided the opportunity to completely disappear. Someone somehow magically maintained the trail that circled the pond. Once a year we arrived to discover fresh wood chips along with cleared brush and a trimmed path. Maybe special trail elves visited in the night? At two points, streams connected to the central body of water. Ingress and egress for the pond. Solid wooden bridges across the streams provided easy passage. 

Almost daily I ventured into this place to let my dog run freely. She loved it. I loved it. The scenery seemed to block out reality. Friends and I often gathered in this secret wood. It belonged to us. So it developed into a place where we felt free to act naturally. For a time, acting naturally meant attempting to start small fires.

Along one of the streams we discovered an old tree-trunk, remnants of a past forest sentinel, now just two or three feet tall, sticking out of the mud. Inspired, we felt that a wooden tree trunk might provide appropriate fire fuel. Still, so much water surrounding it cast doubt on its potential efficacy. But it took little to move us to action after that “spark” of inspiration. Once the idea flickered it quickly fanned into a question of “how” not a question of “if.” To combat the doubts the surrounding water roused, we accumulated a wealth of currently available fireworks from our various residences. We packed them into the trunk, along with dried leaves and twigs and whatever else we found laying around, hopeful to create a mass of combustable energy.

Like the fuse to a bomb we lit some of the dry kindling we had added and backed far far away from…( I don’t know what we expected, a perfectly contained but amazing display?) it. From just beyond ground zero we watched the fire start slowly. First just the leaves and grass smoldered and smoked within an un-embroiled wooden shelter. The wet wood of the trunk denied its participation. Fairly anticlimactic given our grand expectations. But finally the heat escalated beyond the trunk’s ability to resist. Surrendering, the trunk itself erupted into flames. From nascent to hearty. For a brief second I felt pride in our accomplishment. Man marshals fire! But then the heat activated some of the fireworks. Sporadic shots of fire into an environment consisting of all sorts of fuel, and, to add to the spectacle, emanating from a central hub of fire.

Something more than fear engulfed me. Immediately I imagined the evening news reporting my participation in burning down the entire park. Concern for my own wellbeing sublimated to concern for my pride should I survive the catastrophe. Starting a huge forest fire for no legitimate reason. I could only point to my own musings as the motivation for the significant chaos. Surely not a legitimate justification for the devastation, for casting shame upon all associated with me. 

We immediately leapt into action spurred on by the display. The tree trunk was luckily rooted right next to the entering stream. My friend began splashing as much water as could be enticed by his cupped hands from the reservoir. I removed my shoe, the only vessel I perceived capable of containing any significant amount of liquid, and began using it to hurl water at the inferno. 

Apparently the combustion lacked the actual power we imagined it might contain. Our efforts successfully extinguished the blaze before it could expand to the whole park and then encompass surrounding homes and then the rest of the city and then the entire state…

Now I remained, standing in a muddy stream, slightly on an angle, facing a smoldering tree trunk that emanated wisps smoke. I stood there silently beside my friend. Both of us wet and frightened, reminded by the lightly smoking tree trunk of what could have been. How our lives came so close to being so different. How we had come within seconds of becoming fugitives from the law. How clearly fire could not be controlled.



What you see is not necessarily what you get

It’s an illusion

It plays with your expectations

It’s Magic


A tank of water

A deck of cards

Steel rings

A large box and a saw

All tools of the trade


“Um, well, you see, there are…”

Blah blah blah

Eventually someone will figure it out.

Someone has the answer. 

Someone will explain why it’s a sham.


Is it mirrors?

Must be mirrors.

Is it smoke?

Must be smoke.

Is it magnets?

Must be magnets.


How about lasers?

Oh, I know, computers!

Whatever is happening I don’t understand.

But I do know what it's not.

It can’t be magic.

Rogue One: A trailer's story

Now that a day has passed since the Rogue One trailer dropped most of the specific investigation into the trailer has also passed. The trailer alleviates my biggest concern for the movie. None of the concern had to do with plot or Easter eggs. It had to do with the tone of the film. A grittier, band-of-brothers, feel set in the Star Wars universe. I'll let the story tellers tell me the story they choose, I'm just glad we both want that story to be somewhat similar. 

ARod. PHolm? YouMadeItWeird

I listen to pretty much every YouMadeItWeird. At least most. I'm also a fan of the Packers. I like Aaron Rodgers a lot but I'm always hesitant to invest too much in any one particular person or player. While the players may change teams or move on, at least this team probably won't move. But Aaron Rodgers continually does things that endear him to me more and more. I never thought these two interests would ever merge. Then they did. Here.


Weekend wanderings and wonderings


What does it mean to be pure?

To be genuine? To be authentic?

Does it require stripping something bare?


Once bare, is what's left pure?


It is now simple.

It is now the essence.


But what is the essence?

What is essential?

Only the most basic.


Wow, being pure requires a lot.

Being pure is complicated.

Update Re: WELCOME

Back in February I started work on this site. The blog contained a little initial message for those who ventured here. But I accidentally deleted that post. Now it's frighteningly possible that someone could venture on to this page with out any welcome. That's my bad. You, who are reading this, you are truly welcome so I wanted to include a little of what I recall from that welcoming message with some current added embellishments: 

Welcome. Today (that one day a few months ago) is (was) the first day of me working on Smorgasbored. Some may hail its arrival as an epic paradigm shift for all of humanity, nay for the world and the entirety of the human race! While I might not choose to so hyperbolically note it, I do recognize that it represents something new for me and hopefully something you can appreciate too.

The math over the mob

Your college team plays basketball. They’re good at basketball. Not the best, but good. Tonight you stand and cheer for your team in your collegiate arena. The team plays one of the actual best. A perennial contender as the cream of the crop.

But, tonight, your team, at home, gets the best of the usually flawless opponent. As the final seconds tick away it's clear that your team will emerge victorious! Suddenly a cheer, slowly and organically begins to build from the stands. The crowd mocks the opponents, chanting in unison, “OVERRATED. OVERRATED.” 

As the time comes for you to lend your voice to the mass you stop and give question. 'What does an overrated opponent mean?' And, more importantly, because you don't really care about the opponent, 'what does that chant say about your school?'

Calling the opponents overrated implies they are not as good as predicted. As if actually losing weren't enough, now you're criticizing the perception of them! Burn. But, your team currently leads them. The scoreboard already signifies your team's superiority. Taking the focus off the opponents, what does the "OVERRATED" chant say about your own team? It says that the team the scoreboard currently indicates is better, your team, is beating a team not as good as portrayed? How could your group of schmucks possibly beat a team actually as good as others thought the opponents to be?

You love your team. You love your school. You want your team seen as the best! And your team appears better by surmounting the highest peak. The more formidable the opponent appears the better the victor appears.

So, devaluing the skill of the opponent ends up devaluing your own team. Instead, inflating the obviously defeated opponent inflates your obviously victorious own team. To me it makes more sense for the stadium to cheer, "UNDERRATED. UNDERRATED."

It most likely still accomplishes the original primary task of mocking the opponent. The opposing team probably isn't ignorant of the score (they are usually fairly good at basketball after all). Therefore chanting "UNDERRATED" juxtaposes the emotions of losing the game and a sarcastic implication from the crowd. Then it additionally implies that your team deserves to beat the opponent and would realize the same result against an even more highly regarded team.

In the end, I think that chanting, "OVERRATED" stems from a short sighted attempt to injure the opponent without considering the longterm implications. A much smarter, and to my way of thinking, more accurate approach, would actually result in chanting, "UNDERRATED" at the losers. A more sophisticated approach to the mob mentality.