Napoleon, Hitler, And Now Me

A number of years ago, I played RISK with my then-future-now-ex girlfriend, Sarah, and a few mutual acquaintances.  On my way to global domination, I completely and mercilessly decimated a sweet young 18 year-old who had never played the game before, and who I barely knew.  I have not played RISK with Sarah again, but I have with that poor 18 year-old.  Many times in fact.  Currently, she has me on a bit of a loosing streak, which continued with our game this weekend.  In my most recent defeat I started out strong, conquering South America faster than Francisco Pizzaro and maintaining a commanding presence in Europe.  My eyes then turned to Russia, and the sparsly defended Asian continent…

It was a long game.

An Ode to Marriage

This is what marriage is really about:

We cannot think of a better friend and ally

Obama buys maple cookies

Obama buys maple cookies

Yesterday, President Obama found himself in a place that Theresa and I often find ourselves wishing we were: Canada.  In general, Canadians love Obama (even more than we love our Prime Minister and more than Americans love Obama, actually), and I count myself among my fellow countrymen who were excited about Obama’s first foreign visit as President.  The visit, of course, focused on important policy discussions on such weighty topics as the war in Afghanistan, trade matters and the environment, but the aspect of the trip that had a greater impact on me, as well as many other Canadians I would venture to guess, was Obama’s unscheduled, yet admittedly orchestrated, pitstops.  One these outings, Obama consumed the Canadian pastry known as a ‘beaver-tail” at a local bakery, purchased souvenirs (a keychain and snow globe) for his daughters from a merchant, and bought a batch of maple cookies for his family.  Sure, Obama was pandering to the Canadian masses with these publicity stunts, but at least he is trying.  His predecessor didn’t even visit Canada for the first four years of his presidency, and when he did he did little to counteract his negative reputation north of the 49.  Also, the fact that Obama buys tacky souvenirs for his kids and brings cookies home to his family makes him seem more like a, to use a popular phrase, “Joe- sixpack” than trying to act as stupid as most politicians seem to think we are.

Album Club Reminder

February is now more that half over, and I would like to remind you all once again of my album club.  Basically, I choose an album for the month, and you listen to it.  Then at the beginning of the next month, I’ll write a post about what I thought of the album, and I invite you all to write comments about what you thought.  This month we are listening to Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective.  Here are a couple of points about the club:

  1. I will generally choose albums that are generally accepted as good albums.  They could be old or new.  I have a bias towards indie rock/pop, but I will try to experiment in other genres as well
  2. I encourage you all to give it at least one good listen, where you give the complete album your entire attention.  However, if even this is too much for you – listen to the album however you want.  I personally enjoy going for a walk with the album playing on a pair of half-decent headphones
  3. If you aren’t willing to spend much on this club, I direct your attention to LaLa – its a good service where you can listen to all of their songs once for free, then you can pay like 10 cents to have unlimited access to the song from their website (you can’t download it or put it on your ipod or anything); or you can pay 80 cents to download it and put it on your ipod etc.

Our Funny Valentines

Theresa and I have a  tradition that goes back to the first Valentine we spent together, when we were dating.  At the time Theresa was an FHE leader in our singles ward, and planned an activity involving making paper Valentines.  However, the week before our activity had involved an game using pictures of various famous and historical figures, so she included them in the Valentine card supplies.  This turned out to be a huge hit, and everyone in our group ended up making great funny valentines featuring unlikely protagonists: mine, for example included a picture of Stalin.  Since then, we have continued the tradition of making unusual valentines from pictures cut out of magazines.  Here are this year’s additions.  Happy Valentines Day!

 

Theresa's Card

Theresa's Card

100_1394

 

Randal's Card

Randal's Card

100_1395

Just in case you don’t get the punch-line in my card, just watch the following video.  Lil Wayne is a very famous and critically acclaimed rapper, but has decided he wants to make a rock and roll album next.  The first single, Prom Queen is, without any doubt or the slightest hint of exaggeration, the absolute worst song I have ever heard.

Amy of the Lioners

n852805721_4452112_6306

Amy

The main reason I haven’t posted for a few day is that I have been busy helping my sister Amy set up a new blog.  The reason why Amy has decided to enter the realm of blogging is because she has also decided to enter another realm: that of her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.  That’s right – my baby sister is traveling to England in order to work as a substitute elementary school teacher (or should that be primary school teacher).  She will be in Leeds, West Yorkshire,  for at least 6 months, and currently plans on staying a year (maybe two).  My sister, who has never lived more than 5 km from our parents, leaves Canada on Feb 16 to travel almost 7000 km (4,350 miles) to the United Kingdom after telling Theresa that she wont move to Vancouver because it is too rainy and she wont move to Toronto because it is too far.

The Lioners

So, Bon Voyage Amy and Congratulations.  If there is anyone I know who is meant to be a teacher – its your.  I know you are going to be great.  And I’m sure you are going to love the old country.  Sure, it may be hard at first, but what an amazing experience you’ll have.  To be perfectly honest, I’m quite jealous: I would love the chance to live in England for a year.  So you better make sure you bring me back a cool souvenir!

If anyone is wondering about the title of this post, head over to amyjmiller.wordpress.com,  where I have written a short introductory piece about this incredibly cleaver title.  Aside from that post, however, Amy will be the sole author of her blog, where she will be recording her adventures in her extremely entertaining writing style that I always enjoy reading ( on my mission, I was always excited to get Amy’s letters, if only to learn which boy she was after that month – or which boys were after her)

Lilia Rocks, Part II

100_1341

This post is a continuation, and should be read after Lilia Rocks, Part I.

When I sent Nathan the cease and desist letter I was 100% joking, but I wondered what he would think about it.  Luckily, it did not cause him to immediately go out and hire a lawyer.  Instead, he replied defiantly, stating that there was no way he would pay any licensing fee.  Instead, he countered my demand with a generous offer to award me 80% of gross box office, DVD and merchandising revenue earned by his film.  Interestingly, he did insert the phrase “This Material is a Derivative Work of the Original Artistic Creation of Randal and Theresa Miller,” as the original letter demanded.

Having received his reply, I took the opportunity to promote a cause that I believe in: Creative Commons.  CC is an organization that creates licenses that serve as an alternative to full copyright protection.  From its site: Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

Here is the final letter I sent Nathan:

Mr. Johnson,

I don’t think you appreciate the situation you are in.  As the owner and proprietor of the original Lilia Dance video, We possess the exclusive right to make derivative works based on it (see USC §106(a)(2).  Your work, though wholesale duplication of the majority of mine, is clearly a derivative work: that you altered the original and added new content does not change this fact.  Therefore, as a copyright infringer, you have no bargaining power.


However, for a variety of reasons (including my kindness, my wish to avoid family conflict, my commitment to maintaining a large and vibrant public domain, and the high quality of your artistic creation) I have decided to forgo the aforementioned licensing fee.  Instead, I have licensed my original work under the creative commons “Attribution and Share Alike” license.  This means that you are free to use and modify my work as long as you attribute me and license your derivative work under the same terms (it is analogous to an open source license for software).  In order to comply with the legal obligations set out in this license, I highly encourage you to include the attached graphic located at this web adress: http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-sa/3.0/88×31.png, as well as the necessary attribution at the end of the credits of your film.  For more information visit creativecommons.org.  Please do not skip the following legal notice.

Yours,
Randal Miller

Legal Notice:
This, as well as any previous communication on the subject, were made purely for the purposes of humor and the promotion of creative commons to fellow digital creators.  Any threat of legal action, although well within my rights and in no way exaggerated, is hereby rescinded, providing that the tenets of the creative commons license is respected.  The author of the forgoing would like to stipulate at this time that he greatly enjoyed the material entitled Dance Lilia Dance, and is looking forward to additional creative works from its author.  All Rights Reserved.