A Star Wars Soliloquy

  On my 10th birthday, my Dad gave me a lightsaber.

   On the eve of the (re)awakening of the Force, I find myself with a bout of nostalgia. There are some who say that Star Wars is just a movie. Well, for me, and the millions of nerds like me, it’s about a bit more.

I first saw Star Wars IV when I was 7 or 8 years old. Up until then, my cinematic education had been a lot of glass slippers, big libraries, and a Great Lion. Then one fateful day, Dad sat me down to watch a new movie.

A_long_time_ago

Good thing he waited until I knew how to read

Suddenly, there were droids, lightspeed, a Millenium Falcon, scruffy-looking nerf herders, and something called the Force. But more importantly, for a young impressionable person like myself, there was an underdog ready to take on the galaxy, an unwilling hero, and a princess ready to save herself.

leia_02

Step 1: Make hair into cinnamon rolls.  Step 2: Sneak Death Star Plans off ship. 

Princess Leia introduced to me to feminine bad-ass-ery. She’s an interesting blend of sass and diplomacy. She doesn’t give in to torture, or attempted mind-probe by the Empire, she lies to Governor Tarkin to his face. During a battle, she’s in the control room, or out in the thick of it. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, and she’s not afraid to make anyone angry.

Leia is more than a sarcastic second; she’s the leading sarcastic second. She is the accidental force that gets Luke to become a Jedi. If she hadn’t have put those plans in R2D2, Luke never would’ve talked to Ben (ok, that’s debatable). She is the one with the access to the resources they needed to keep going. She risks getting killed multiple times, and goes undercover to save her scoundrel.

princess-leia-stormtroopers.jpg

And you said what about my hair?

So why do we like Star Wars that much? It compels us to imagine. Because in the midst of all the bad things, we still need the reminder that the underdog can win. That the farm boy can become the Jedi Knight. And also y’know, that one day I can have my own R2D2.

I could talk about Star Wars for hours, and sometimes I do.  I could go into all of the other things I love about Star Wars, like Chewie, R2, the Force, my love for Han Solo, or why I terrified of Yoda as a child (He was so scary). Because Star Wars, 1-3 excluded, are great movies. Even though the stories took place in a galaxy far far away, they were believable.

 Maybe they are because we want them to be.

The Force will be with you, always.

-C

 

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So when are you going to have children? Why aren’t you pregnant yet?

These are things you are NOT allowed to ask. Period.

The decision on whether to have children, and when to have children is the decision of the couple involved. Not yours.

You may think you’re just trying to make conversation, but really its a very personal question. And its not something that I personally want to discuss with anyone other than my permanent roommate.

For all you know, we’ve been trying to have children for a year, and cant.

For all you know, I’ve had a miscarriage.

For all you know we’re have fertility issues.

Either way. This is a huge discussion that you are not privy to. The decision to bring a child into the world is life changing. It is a decision that only involves me, and my husband. (Even my mother knows not to ask)

Here’s the thing, and it may come as a surprise, but there are a lot of things I want to do with my life before I bring a child into this world. The last thing I would ever want to do is be bitter about having children too early. I want to write things, I want to travel, I want to do many things that currently do not involve having a small human following me around.

To put it bluntly: If you are not involved with the making of the baby, you are not allowed to ask about when the baby is going to be made.

Peace, Love, and Sunshine,

-C

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Memorial Day Memorandum.

I used to think that I understood what Memorial Day was actually about. Not grilling, or shopping sales, but about remembering those who have fought for our country. We have parades to celebrate them and everything.

Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day”, it was created after the end of the Civil War, as a desire to honor the dead on both sides. You can read more about the history of Memorial Day here.

I thought I understood Memorial Day.

Until I spent Memorial Day with a WWII veteran in France.

At the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach

At the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach

My Grandfather was a pilot in WWII, he flew on D-Day. He’s been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, he’s received awards from France for his efforts in WWII, he’s been inducted into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame, I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things (Yes, my grandpa is cooler than your grandpa). He’s also a Lieutenant Colonel (retired). Did I mention he still runs two and a half miles every morning at 93 years old?

So there we were, our first stop was Utah Beach, where there is a WWII museum, that has the same plane that my Grandpa flew in WWII. You can learn more about the museum here.

Barbed wire, still standing  at Utah Beach.

Barbed wire, still standing at Utah Beach. The museum is in the background.

Utah Beach

Utah Beach

 

A WWII vet, and an original B26 Bomber. (Not the same plane he flew, but the same kind)

A WWII vet, and an original B26 Bomber. (Not the same plane he flew, but the same kind)

Myself, Uncle, Aunt, Grandfather and I went to the museum because of the plane pictured above. It’s a B26 bomber, and it’s the same kind of plane that my Grandpa flew in WWII. My Grandpa, and the rest of us, got into the museum for free because of him. He was wearing his B26 pilot hat, and his B26 polo. A museum attendant immediately went up to him and gave him, and us) the grand tour of the museum. Grandpa of course even got to get into the B26, I however, still had to stay outside the velvet rope.

Here’s where things got a little more real:

The airfield my Grandpa flew out of after D-Day.

The airfield my Grandpa flew out of after D-Day.

We drove around Normandy for a while and found the airfield my Grandpa flew missions out of after D-Day. It’s just an empty field now.

And then there was Omaha.

Omaha Beach. Now the US cemetery.

Omaha Beach. Now the US cemetery.

United States Cemetery at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France.

United States Cemetery at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France.

Acres and acres of white crosses dot what was once a battle field. None of the pictures I took really did it justice.Normally, cemeteries don’t bother me at all. But not this place. It was an overwhelmingly eerie, haunting place.

Memorial Day is a great day. We get to spend time with family, eat a meal together. But more importantly, it’s about those who sacrificed everything for us.  So in between stuffing your face with a burger or hot-dog today, thank a veteran.

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U.S. airfield in France.

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron (spoilers)(duh)

This will be coming at you in parts. Because that’s just how my brain is right now.

1. Overall: 9/10.
Superhero movies are Joss Whedon’s super power (also being the ruler of the geek-world). The beginning of the film was gorgeous. The whole thing was gorgeous. The effects, the sound, CGI, it just worked.
The movie is 2:20, and I didnt even notice. I knew that it was long, but sitting in the theater watching, it doesnt feel like it. Why? Because of damn good writing. The overall flow of the movie is because of an almost flawless superhero story. Whedon even takes the time to take about Pepper and Jane, even though they aren’t physically in the movie. So the audience knows that yes, they’re still present in the story. Also, it seemed at the end of Ultron that Stark and Hawkeye were retiring from the Avengers. Only time will tell I guess. Especially with the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, in which we already know that Stark and Cap are gonna go at it.

2. Hawkeye.
Joss Whedon has this beautiful ability to make superheroes less super, and more human without taking away any of their powers. Whedon takes the time to focus on characters that havent gotten a lot of screen time, Hawkeye, and Black Widow (also Bruce Banner, because we are ignoring the two hulk movies that came before).

When Hawkeye takes the Avengers to a “safehouse”, and it turns out to be his house, it’s great. Clint has a family, and the only one who knew about it was Natasha (and Fury, but he knows everything).  Someone asked him in the movie if he had a girlfriend, and he says no. Because he doesn’t, he has a wife and three children!
Clint doesn’t have any “super” powers like Thor or Cap, or a suit like Tony. But that doesnt mean he isnt important. It’s more like, that’s why he’s more important. He doesnt need a suit, or norse-god powers, or science-experiment-gone-right powers. He’s human. In Ultron, Whedon takes time to show us that yes, Hawkeye is lovable and snarky (I love it), he also provides a support to the group that no one else can proide. Yes Cap is the leader, the science bros are the brains, Thor and Hulk are the muscle, and Natasha is, well, Natasha is a badass. Clint is the opportunity to show the Avengers that there’s more to life than just avenging.

3. Hulk & Black Widow.
I was skeptical of this. But it totally worked. We see that there’s something between them when Cap (I think, it couldve been Hawkeye), said “It’s time for a lullaby”. In which Natasha goes up to the Hulk, puts her hand out and waits for the green rage monster to come to her. It basically gets the Hulk to calm down enough become Bruce again.
It works so well because the Hulk is a reflection of the monster that Natasha sees herself as. You will recall that in the first Avengers, Natasha kept repeating “I’ve got red in my ledger”. We also learn that as a part of her graduation from assassin school, she was sterilized. “One less thing to worry about”.
Well, the Hulk has green in his ledger. Err, veins. And skin. He is a big green rage monster. But he’s also a very quiet, brilliant scientist. He doesnt know how to flirt, and has no idea when when Natasha flirts with him. Because she doesn’t, she talks to him. Natasha trusts Bruce, even though Bruce doesn’t trust himself.
“You’re adorable, but I need the big guy”
I loved that line. Bruce is there to rescue Natasha and she’s all nope, we have things to do first. But then Bruce runs away and now I am sad.

4. Science Bros.
The most interesting part about Ultron is that Ultron himself is basically Stark’s creation. Tony’s idea is for an Artificial Intelligence first line of defense. So that the Avengers don’t have to deal with everything themselves. Which is a nice theory, but clearly not in practice.  So, inside of Loki’s staff they find the vision stone. Tony, with Banner’s help, reverse engineer it and download it, trying to create this line of defense.
Anyways, there’s this great montage of Tony and Bruce working together, trying to get this thing to work. Which of course it doesn’t. But, the more interesting part is that Stark still won’t listen to Banner. He wants Banner’s assistance, just not his opinion. Obviously because of the plot Tony has to succeed in downloading Ultron. but come on Tony, quit being such a nark.

5. Ultron.
Leave it to Whedon to create such an unsettling, crazy, android, jewel-powered villain. His introduction is most unsettling. He stumbles into the room where the Avengers have been playing grab-the-hammer, with fluids dripping from his half-torn off arm. Also Ultron appears to have murdered Jarvis upon is awakening.  Which begs the question, is it murder if it’s artificial intelligence? The Avengers certainly seem to think so.
James Spader as Ultron is pretty brilliant. Spader has this rumble in his voice when he speaks, it’s slightly unsettling. And awesome.
Spader’s interpretation of Ultron is fun. He’s a villain that we love, but hate. He is a creation of Starks, but he hates him. And in turn, hates the entire human race because of him. He is an excellent villain.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ultron. It was also a very nice tough to have a bunch of WWII and Vietnam Vets at the Avengers party. I think that may have been my favorite part. (Well, one of my favorite parts).

Currently Whedon is not slated to directed either of the sequels that follow UltronCaptain America: The Winter Soldier co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo will direct the two-part Avengers: Infinity War. Although Whedon has stated that he wants to work on something that’s entirely his own, which I would be immensely excited for. However, could this mean that Whedon will direct an upcoming Star Wars movie?

We can only hope.

Peace, Love, & watch your language,

-C

P.S. How many more days till Christmas?

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Jupiter Ascending & Why We Need Better Heroines. (Spoilers)

Dear Hollywood.

I demand better.

But I think this may be a turning point

Jupiter Ascending:

 .

I was pleasantly surprised by Jupiter Ascending as a whole. Mila Kunis does a nice job with the character Jupiter, and Channing Tatum lived up to expectations. (Even if he was a little too broody) Sean Bean doesn’t die (woo!), and the captain of the ship that rescues them, Nikki Amuka-Bird, is excellent. And holy crow, is Eddie Redmayne creepy and awesome as Balem Abrasax.(So so good). I loved the music, of course I did, because my favorite composer Michael Giacchino, wrote the score.

Channin Tatum’s character,, Caine Wise, was an interesting one. He was a human-wolf splice, and by the end of the movie he had wings. So he’s a wolf-eagle-man? Whatever. He had cool moon-boot-speed-skates that made for some interesting action scenes. Also he lost his shirt for about five minutes of the movie. Which, for some people, is enough to get them to see the movie. I however, was concerned that he was going to get a boo-boo by being shirtless. No really, he was running around in a swarm of bees, he was going to get stung. However, I can see how a shirtless Channing Tatum would make more people go see a movie.

I just read iMDb’s description of the movie, describing the title character of Jupiter as “destitute”. The last time I checked, someone who lived in a house, and had a job, and had food, was not destitute. While I can appreciate that being a maid is not what Jupiter wants, the audience has no vision of what it is she wants at all. Except that she wants a telescope. To me, to show that Jupiter is unhappy, but to give her no drive to change her situation, even though “I hate my life”, is incredibly exasperating.

I would also like to point out that when Caine essentially  kidnaps her, she’s basically like yeah ok, this is cool. And goes with him. And she doesn’t demand answers, like one would, if one was kidnapped and told that one’s planet was not the only one that was inhabited.

I do like Jupiter. I do. What is frustrating to me is that time after time we have to wait the ENTIRE movie for the heroine to find her mojo. Seriously? Jupiter is tough, and she doesn’t believe in fairy tales. And it takes her an hour and a half to realize she can beat up the SOB that’s trying to murder the population of earth? I find her gullibility to be unbelievable. Like she didn’t know that Titus was going to pull a fast one when he said that marriage was just a political contract. A guy who wanted to marry someone who looked exactly like his mother wasn’t a tad creepy to her?

I did like this movie, I did. I love that it is an original story in Hollywood. I love it. However. There are plot holes that I do not appreciate. Even in A New Hope, the audience say the power of the Death Star. But in Jupiter, even though the Abraxas family harvests planets, we don’t see how they do it. So, where does their power stem from? How did they get it? The film tried to make a connection with your everyday movie goers, and because of plot-holes, it did not succeed. There is also some super campy dialogue between Caine and Jupiter that was just not as cute as it was intended to be.

Jupiter Ascending had the ability to be the next great Sci-Fi franchise, and it didn’t quite make it there. It seemed like the visual effects were meant to distract us from the plot holes (Including, but not limited to Channing Tatum’s abs). I can see that the Wachowski’s want to set up a sequel. Which, hopefully, exceed my expectations (which are set too high, according to some people…)

We need better heroines. We already have good heroes. We need better heroines because the damsel-in-distress is boring. How many times will Mario save Peach before he realizes that she’s just having an affair with Bowser? How long before Rapunzel cuts her own hair and climbs down herself? How much longer until Sleeping Beauty wakes up by her own damn self and realizes that she is more powerful than her curse?

What we need are more Hermione’s, more Zoe’s, more Scout’s, and Princess’ who don’t take sh*t from scruffy looking nerf-herders.

Dear Hollywood.

I DEMAND A HEROINE WORTHY OF HER AUDIENCE

I am tired of waiting.

Peace, Love, and Impatience,

-C

P.S. Brown dog thinks there needs to be more canine sidekicks. Where is the dog representation here?!

P.P.S. I have very high expectations for Avengers 2. We won’t even discuss Episode VII.

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Fired

I’ve been pretty radio silent on this. But I think I’m ready to talk about it now without getting too angry.

Caution: Sarcasm ahead. (If you don’t know that by now, you shouldn’t be reading this)

It’s a really surreal feeling, getting fired.

How are you supposed to move on, when you aren’t sure why? How are future employers going to look at you now that you’ve been fired? What if they ask you about it? What are you supposed to say? Deep. Breath. Breathe. Ok, I’m good. I’m fine. We’re all fine here, how are you?

My sick twisted brain immediately thought of this while I was actually getting fired: 

Except, Yzma was crazy and had a secret lab. Man, I wish I had a secret lab.

But enough of that

I allowed myself two days of mourning. After that, get over it. There is life to live and it does not include sulking over a job that was unfulfilling both spiritually and mentally.

I still have trouble comprehending how I worked in an office for the last 2.4 years. It’s like a rat maze in there. It felt like we were part of some kind of science experiment. Like, how many days can a person say inside, staring at a computer screen, before they go postal? How many times will you staple paper packets together until you start stapling yourself just to feel alive? Fortunately, I don’t have to find out.

What I learned the most about working in an office, is that I hated working in an office.  There are forms after forms after forms. And then, there were more forms. I guess you would say we were in the business of killing trees. It’s nice outside? Too bad, there are forms to be filled out! Working 40 hours a week, regardless of whether or not there were things for you to do? Horse hockey.

There were two things I liked, working in an office: the friends I made, and the steady paycheck

Now that I am unemployed, for the first time since I was seventeen, I’m  not sure where my next paycheck will come from. But I do know that there is no point in worrying about it. Worrying solves nothing. It does no good to your mind or body to worry or stress. It happens though, I come from a long line of worriers. Fortunately, I also come from a long line of badasses.

The people in my life who love and care about me, haven’t been asking me questions like “What are you going to do?”, or  “Aren’t you concerned?”. They’re saying things like “It’s going to work out”, and “good riddance”.

I think the line people tend to feed you that  “God never gives you anything you can’t handle” is a load of crap. Because God knows the desires of your heart. And he knows how to get you there. Even if you don’t.  The path isn’t straight, or without it’s obstacles. But the problems that come before you, aren’t always because God has something he wants you to do. Christians forget that our battle is not against flesh and blood. What I do know, is that even though I don’t have a steady income anymore, I do have this freakish sense of peace. And even thought I’ve cried a few more times than I’d care to admit over the past week, and I’ve had anxiety, loads of anxiety, my soul is peaceful.

Bad things happen to good people. But good things happen to good people too.

I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Life finds a way”

-C

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Finding the End

I’ve been working on a manuscript on and off for the last oh, six years. Most of my college career this draft and I had a torrid love affair. I’ve finally felt like I’ve been making leeway on this immense document sitting on my computer. I’ve written. And erased. And been frustrated. And Laughed. And written. And erased. So it goes.

But I can’t find the end.

I thought, I naively thought, that I knew where I wanted it to end. But now, the characters have taken on a life of their own. They became a lot different than I had originally intended for them to be. The heroine and I have had so many arguments. I want it to go this way, but clearly, the character should go another way. I’m basically arguing with myself. That’s not weird is it?

Where is the closure that I owe these characters?

Last night, instead of looking at the pages I’ve read so many times, I started another project. An idea for another story popped into my head and wouldn’t shut up so I had to write it down.

What most people fail to understand about those who love the written word is that we think about it 80-90% of our day. Words consume us. Words sustain us.

On my run last night, I wrote in my head. I caught myself making faces as I did it. Trying to find the ending is a like like my four-mile run last night. The first two miles are ok. The third one, I start feeling pretty good. The last mile, is almost agony. I’m so close to being done that I just want it to be over with. I just want to stop running. But I keep going. I might be sweating through my shorts, but I keep going.

“Write drunk, edit sober” is a quote usually attributed to Hemingway. I’m not sure who said it exactly, but there’s something to it. Write when the idea is fresh and new in your brain. It’s not going to make a helluva lot of sense, but it’s still there. It’s still on paper. Edit sober, when the idea has sat around for a few days, or weeks, and the pieces start to come together.

But how to find the end. I feel like my brain is depleted  and it simply cannot regain it’s momentum. But I’ve felt like this before, and gotten through it. Its just one more mile that I have to run.

Maybe a glass of wine will help.

Peace, Love, Words,

-C.

P.S. Brown dog doesn’t like reading. Unless he can eat it. Then he’d probably like it.

P.P.S. Nanu nanu.

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