Out Of The Box – 314

weekly stick figure web comic Hanukkah Out of the Box 314 Tell Your Friend Veronica

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Out Of The Box – 313

Out of the Box weekly stick figure web comic 313 No Such Thing

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Out Of The Box – 312

Out of the Box weekly stick man web comic thanksgiving 312 Simple Thanks

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Varieties Of Love

heart tree

Ah, l’amour.  It’s a subject of which I’m quite fond of writing about, whether it’s regarding movies or life or women.  Ah, l’women.  Two months ago, last night, I asked out a gal named Sydney… and as the story goes, she’s now my girlfriend.  Fantastic story, isn’t it?  Well, I think it’s flippin’ fantastic🙂.

I love her.

This is the first public declaration of something that has already been spoken in private, I now realize, but that isn’t the point of this writing — only a fun bonus.  So, I love her.  I love other things, too, though.  I love God.  I love my friend, KB.  I love the cute dogs I saw yesterday.  I love Inception.  I love receiving massages.  Love is a variety pack of expression, a mixed bag of both extremes and intentions, and now that I’m in a place I’ve never been before (in a relationship/totes in love), I’m really seeing the stark differences and subtle tones of the variations.

If I tell you that I love pizza and later on say that I love my friend, I think it would be quite clear that I mean different things.  The types of love are different, in that I enjoy the taste of pizza but not having conversation with it, and I enjoy chatting with my friends but not licking them.  So, love varies both in intensity AND meaning.  The Greeks had many words for love: “eros” is sexual and passionate, “agape” is selfless and extended to all, “philia” is the deep camaraderie between friends, etc..  We don’t, though.  I can refer to loving my enemies, my girlfriend, and that fluffy white cloud in the sky, and it’s all the same darn word.  Semantics aside, however, what I have really discovered, firsthand now, is just how different some of these closer variations of love can feel.

When I first wrote here about finding my Sydster, I made mention of the fact that it was an odd experience for me in terms of noticing other women.  My internal radar has been piqued by gals for most of my life, so transitioning to where I finally had one of my own was strange.  In actuality, I still notice women pretty much as often as I always have.  I still enjoy seeing attractive women, too, and that was not necessarily what I expected would happen.  Perhaps, logically, I understood it, but emotionally I felt as if finding someone would erase that.  Instead, what it erased was my “need” to seek out the opposite sex.  Sydney is all that I need in a woman, and then some, so I don’t need to fill that gap in my pavement anymore.  However, I still find women attractive, so when I spy a cute gal walking down the street or some hot babe shows up in a movie, I notice, appreciate her beauty for the moment that I see her, smile, and carry on.  Sydney and I went out on the town Friday night, and when she came in all dolled up and looking absolutely stunning (a most appropriate use of the word, let us be clear), I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  I may not have blinked for a few minutes.  All night long, I kept looking at her… her lips, her eyes, her neck, her legs, her backside, her front-side, her side-side.  Gorgeous.  I know her, though, as well… I have feelings for her.  Looking at her is so much more powerful than taking in even the hottest babe ever photographed, because not only does she look amazing physically, but I already feel so connected to her on other levels that her beauty is enhanced tenfold.  I love women, but I love Sydney.

KB, my BFF, has been in my life for 7.5 years.  We’ve had some interesting times together — picking her up from the hospital after a car accident, helping her move a few times, talking to her about my first date and years later my first kiss.  I’ve always thought she was a looker, sure (see the preceding paragraph and 9 years of MarkMushakian.com posts for clarification on how I feel about nice-looking women), but from the first day we met, we clicked like gangbusters.  Back then, I was so emotionally starved for female company and romantically inexperienced, that I muddled up my feelings about her into having feelings FOR her.  I didn’t know that at the time.  I thought I might be in love.  Sure, under different circumstances I would’ve asked her out and we might’ve gone on a few dates, but I can now laugh at how poorly that would have worked out😉.  But I DO care about her.  So much.  I describe it as almost a brother-sister relationship.  Her victories are mine as well, her struggles are something that weighs on me.  Not long after I met Sydney, though, my girlfriend became my favorite person.  There had always been several categories of folks throughout life, based on how excited I was to talk to them or spend time with them, but Syds came into my world and created a new one.  A distinct line began to form between those I cared so much about, like KB, and then the one I cared most about, Sydney.  I love my friends, but I love Sydney.

These variances continue on, of course, on obviously less-close subjects.  God is, rightly so, the most important thing in my life.  He has blessed me immensely, and one of those blessings just so happens to be my girlfriend.  As much as I value my relationship with God and enjoy praising Him with my life, I don’t think He’s sexy or want to cuddle up with Him and watch a cute movie.  I love God, but I love Sydney.  I walked out of the theater after seeing Doctor Strange filled to the brim with imagination and the desire to pretend, but then I went home and made out with my girlfriend.  I love movies, but I love Sydney.

The biggest realization of the nuances of love and affection have, understandably, come to me in regard to the female angle.  Women in general, female friends, and now The Syds.  I am not only entirely enthralled with this woman — I want her, I want to be with her, I want to share everything with her — but I have also been learning so much about myself and life during this time, as well.  My best friend still means as much to me as she did before, there’s just someone who means more.  I still think women out in the world look amazing, there’s just someone who looks even better to me.  For so long I had imagined that these loves would diminish to make room for a romantic interest, but that’s because I had no concept that my love for someone could be that much MORE than what I already felt for others or things.  I never knew that my love for other things wouldn’t lessen when I met someone, but rather that my love-potential would grow and multiply.  The ceiling of how I love has been raised and altered, so that I not only love more but in a way that I had never even known existed.  It’s absolutely fascinating!  Just as with the idea of having to explain the Internet to people from 1,000 years ago, I simply had no concept of what this actually feels like, and so I tried to interpret the idea of relationship based on my limited understanding.

I love a lot of things, but I love Sydney.

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Out Of The Box – 311

Out of the Box weekly stick figure web comic 311 Don't Forget To Floss

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Out Of The Box – 310

Out of the Box weekly stick man web comic 310 President Trump

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Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange magic shields

Doctor Strange
Time/place: 7:05pm showing at Krikorian with Sydney and Korkie

The Marvel universe is a fun playground wherein a man in a mechanical suit, a super soldier, a tragic scientist plagued by an internal monster, and a whole slew of others run around together and entertain us.  Doctor Strange, though it comes very late in the game, is not only a fairly small character piece but also introduces a very new and exciting element to this collective world of movies — magic.

In other Marvel tales we have seen aliens pull off tricky trickery and watched unnatural enhancements create sorcery, but in Strange we are invited into a world of normal human beings who are able to conjure magic simply by accessing the power of other dimensions.  And that’s about as scientific as this movie’s explanation of its magical powers gets.  It’s a movie filled with true sorcery… ancient artifacts imbued with magic, tomes of spells — and all it takes to conjure these powers is study and practice.  Of course, there are also some very exciting details of this magic which allow Doctor Strange to bring some fantastical elements and storyline-potential to future Marvel movies, but you’ll have to see the movie to find out about all that… or just read the spoiler section below😉.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular Stephen Strange- [“Ahem, it’s Dr Strange.”]  Ah, yes, Dr. Strange.  Sorry.  Anyways, Cumberbatch plays Strange wonderfully.  The character has a very strong arc throughout the story, but what really made it fun to watch is that he also impacts those around him and it is hardly a straight progression.  Of all of the bigger character arcs in the Marvel world, Strange’s feels the most natural, and I very much enjoyed seeing him develop not only his spectacular skills but also his spiritual well-being.  While the humor in the movie was a little too big and broad a lot of the time (I did get several chuckles, though), the emotional undertones were much more subtle.  The villain has motivations that are mentioned but never dwelt on in a strong-handed manner.  Strange has at least a couple of great character moments that play through visually.  Really, the whole movie enjoys making great use of the fact that film is a visual medium, and I appreciated that part of that was aimed at the character development.

Of course, it also all looked really neat-o, too🙂.

Doctor Strange is easily the trippiest Marvel movie, yet, as it deals with the bending of reality and even features one heck of a hilarious and insane seemingly-LSD-inspired trip.  Adding to the bizarre nature is the score, which I leaned over to my viewing partners during the end credits and commented on, asking, “What the heck IS this score??”  It’s absolutely brilliant, but it’s not exactly par-the-course.  Not much in this movie is, though😉.

I was actually really impressed by how much the element of faith plays out in this story, as well.  For a universe that has been so much about courage, abilities, and technical prowess, the simple fact that our character succeeds by embracing humility and having faith… well, that’s a new one for Marvel movies🙂.

I’ll go on about the movie in more detail below, where I can safely spoil story elements for those who have seen it or don’t care, but while this movie wasn’t perfect it DID create an atmosphere in which I walked out of the theater walking lightly on my feet as I hummed the music, wanting nothing more than to be able to wave my fingers around and create magic.  More than any of the other Marvel movies so far, this one left me brimming with the desire to play and pretend I was a superhero — and there are few things more magical than that!

Doctor Strange is just another Marvel movie, sure, but it is also fresh, interesting, touching, and a real visual treat.  The humor elements can be hit or miss, but the overall tone treads the line of serious and light very well.  I am very excited to welcome Strange to our Marvel world, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) Photo Credit: Film Frame  ©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Grade: A-

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