LOTR_sand_castle

A young man in California, although I have no idea how young or where in California, named Joseph Alvenaz, but that’s hardly the important part, built this sand sculpture of the Minas Tirith castle from the Lord of the Rings movies. That’s somehow important, that it’s from the movies. I’m looking at this thing, via FilmDrunk, and it is giving me all of these feelings! Like, obviously, this guy is very skilled at stuff. I could never make a thing like this! (Well, not never. Give me some credit. I could do this eventually. A thousand monkeys typing on a thousand sand castles would eventually write this sand castle.) But so at first you are like, sure, neat, good job. Then you get a little twitchy. You are like, OK, but if you can make something like this, why don’t you make something better? I mean, sorry, it’s your life to live and you should do whatever you want, but this kind of seems like a waste of your talent. But then you take a look in the mirror and you realize that maybe you’re just talking to yourself. Maybe you have your own fears and insecurities about the great unspooling of time, and you lie awake at night with this deep existential panic about “doing something great” with your life, as if people who have done things that you consider great were ever any less distraught or sad or worried or messed up. If anything, the people who do something great are the ones most likely to put a shotgun in their mouths (miss you Papa!). And this reminds you of the Tibetan buddhist practice of Mandala art in which they use sand (HELLO! SAND?!) to create beautiful and impossibly intricate mosaics that can take months to complete, and the moment they are finished, the sand is blown away, to remind us all of the impermanence of things, and the Sisyphisean struggle to make what we can while we can and then let it all go. So, you know, I don’t even know anymore. Did we solve it? Is there anything to even solve anyways? Ha. Ha. Ha. Life is a many funny things.

Comments (26)
  1. It’s probably a hobby and it’s probably fulfilling to Joseph. And it’s exposure to have his name floating around the net as this talented individual. And maybe it inspires other young budding artists to pick up a grain of sand and make their own castle. So it’s A-OK.

  2. Gabe seems a little down, you guys. Maybe we should do something to cheer him up?

  3. “Less sand” – Gabe

  4. I’m pretty sure I could never have the skills to produce a show like Two and A Half Men, but it doesn’t mean I’m impressed by it.

  5. “[I]f you can make something like this, why don’t you make something better?”

    But this is a basic artistic tenet. Technical prowess and artistic ability can often be mutually exclusive. While they coexisted in Michelangelo, they did not in the Ramones or (most of) the Velvet Underground or Jackson Pollock (a notoriously bad draftsman).

    Joseph Alvenaz may well be one of those people who can build anything — just not from his own imagination. I’m sure that has its own fulfillment, though I’ve never understood the pleasure.

    Honestly, it reminds me of people who build airplane models. You work for days or weeks and in the end you have the thing the instructions told you to make. Perhaps its a personality thing, the emphasis on doing vs the result.

  6. “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.” -Frodo

  7. “to create beautiful and impossibly intricate mosaics that can take months to complete, and the moment they are finished, the sand is blown away, to remind us all of the impermanence of things, and the Sisyphisean struggle to make what we can while we can and then let it all go.”

    Wait…. Gabe, are you really talking about the internet? Because if you are that is some pretty meta shit, my friend.

  8. Like sands through the Aragorn, so are the Lothlorien of our Ents.

  9. I mean this is one great thing about the internet. It can give permanence to sand castles, which are probably a top 5 symbol of impermanence?

  10. …and so castles made of sand fall into Mount Doom eventually.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW5zPy73gWk

  11. Nine-ish years ago I went on a couple dates with a girl who was fluent in Elvish. She could spout complete sentences and I don’t mean quotes from the movie. She also wore Galadriel’s pendant (but not ring! too tempting!) and had a LOTR screensaver.

    I desperately wanted the Elvish to be a turn-on but I kept wondering what kind of person spends hours learning Elvish and, worse, what kind of person is desperate to be turned on by it.

    Anyway that was her sand castle and I don’t know what it was for me. My Mount Doom? My Orthanc? (I had to Google around to find that word just now.) My Mirkwood? Probably it was my Mirkwood.

    May this post fall into the sea.

    • Are you sure she just knew them off the top of her head? If you are not also fluent in Elvish she could have just been really good at spewing convincing gibberish. I’ve one that before.

      • That occurred to me! But she was quite confident with it. She also got really mad when I asked how to say mundane things like “I hate to do laundry.” She was not to be trifled with on Elvish! So in a larger sense, it didn’t matter if it was just gibberish.*

        *It was.

  12. I stared at this photo for a long time but it never started doing the Harlem Shake.

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