The Star Wars Virgin

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The Star Wars VirginOk, so I know I haven’t blogged in a while. Honestly, I’ve been really busy. I also haven’t had much to say. But something interesting happened today.

Earlier today a friend shared this Star Wars video with me on Facebook. It was all six Star Wars movies playing simultaneously. I thought it was kind of cool, so I reposted it. Soon afterwards I received this Facebook message from one of my closest friends. (I’ll call him “P”)

P: ooooooh. I’m sooooo renting star wars tonight.

Me: lol

P: You know I’ve never seen it.

Me: What?!? Any of them?

P: I’ve seen chunks here and there.

This really came as a surprise to hear. I remember seeing Star Wars in the theater in 1977. I loved it as soon as I heard the first downbeat of the overture. While I’m sure the sound was coming through the equivalent of an AM speaker, to me it sounded like the gates of heaven were opening.

When “Empire” came out in 1980, that led to three years worth of schoolyard speculation. There are certain things in life that can only be experienced once, and that three year cliffhanger was one of them. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to experience it again. I figured experiencing it through somebody else’s eyes would be the next best thing.

P: Here’s the question.
Should I watch them in the order they were made? Or the order of the plot?

Me: I was just wondering the same thing. I’m going to post that question on my wall for the other Star Wars nerds to comment on. Don’t worry. I won’t reveal your identity.

And so it began. I posted the question to Facebook and received some great recommendations:

Since IV and V are the only ones worth watching I’d start there.

This is tough but I am going to say plot order…. and I say this because they get better. If I were to sit down through 4 5 and 6 then get introduced to jarjar in a short period of time I might lose it.

I’d recommend 4-6 and then skipping the prequels all together. The quality of the writing takes a massive hit. The quality of everything, actually.

Then there was my personal favorite:

I think of it the same way I do the Foundation series. I think it’s important for the characters and events to grow in size and legend, so you know why leaning the history is important.

But overall, there seems to be quite a bit of support for The Machete Order. Basically, that’s IV, V, I, II, III, VI. This article explains why.

So after discussing some options with “P” he insisted I not provide any spoilers. I never realized that there might actually be spoilers to a story that’s so well known, so I asked him what he already knew.

P: Darth vader’s his dad.
Leia is somebody’s sister.
Teddy bears live in trees.
Han shot first.

Me: Do you know where “Han shot first,” came from?
(Because that’s not really a spoiler. It’s more of a culture thing.)

P: There’s a poker game or something and an alien starts a fight. Only originally he didn’t start the fight, he just pissed Han off and he shot him
I mean, I’ve see the Family Guy star wars episode and that kind of stuff.

Me: OMG. This is like one of those interviews where you ask a seven year old boy to tell you about kissing.

P: I hate you.

Me: LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!
I’m having too much fun at your expense. I’m sorry.

P: no, it’s fair. I opened myself up to it.

Yes. You did open yourself up to it, P. And now you’re the subject of a blog post (as I mentioned you would be.)
So stay tuned. I’ll be posting P’s reactions to the movies one at a time – including the order in which he chose to view them. At least he understands it’s not an easy task to become Star Wars educated.

P: one does not simply walk into … Tatuine.

Me: Tattooine.

Me: You have much to learn, my padawan. (Including the definition of “padawan.”)
Nice mashup of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, btw.

P: I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings.

Me: Dear God. Are you living under a rock?
I’m turning you into a sci-fi/fantasy case study. There are going to be actual medical journals written about you.

P: I have a bad feeling about this.

Why do I create?

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Although I love writing, I make a living as a graphic and web designer.

I was at a local graphic designer’s social mixer last night. These gatherings occur semi-frequently to encourage networking and idea sharing. Since I’m always on the lookout for new clients and new ideas, I was handing out business cards and getting to know people.

My business card has a rather unique shape for a business card; it’s a 2.75″ diameter circle. I designed it to attract attention and it does its job well. I’ve grown accustomed to getting some kind of comment as people realize I’m handing them a business card and not a plastic-laminated coaster. I’m not ashamed to admit that I look forward to the attention my card gets. It’s nice to be noticed.

One of my encounters this particular evening was with a software developer. We exchanged handshakes, stole glances at each others’ name tags, and casually exchanged business cards. When I handed my card to my new acquaintance, however, I was surprised at his reaction. He turned it over in his hand and read the front and back. Instead of making a comment about the card’s unique shape, he looked me straight in the eye and asked me what I do.

I admit I was a bit taken aback. “What do you mean, ‘What do you do?'” I thought. “You just read my card. I’ve taken the liberty of printing it for you.” Not really expecting the question, I didn’t have a response. I mentally listed ways of describing what I do without making him feel like an idiot.

My response came unnaturally. “I design; I create.”

“Why do you create?” he asked; a second unexpected question.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I’ve never really thought about it. It’s what I love to do and it’s what I do.”

Not wanting to be rude (and not wanting to look like an idiot myself) I casually steered the conversation back on him and we went on to discuss the merits of web apps versus downloadable apps on mobile devices.

Our conversation was interrupted by a presentation and we went our separate ways afterwards – handing out business cards and shaking hands. Our dance was over and it was time to switch partners. But my mind lingered on his question.

Why do I create?

 

 

Where have I been?

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Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written here.

 

No, I don’t know why that’s the case.

 

Yes, I’ve still been working on my short stories.

 

Yes, you might see them here.

 

No, I don’t know when I’ll post them.

No shovel required

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Growing up in South Florida I never entertained the possibility of snow on Christmas Day. It just didn’t happen. Every Christmas I remember was accompanied by the gentle hum of our central air conditioner turning on at some point. That’s just the way Florida winters were. I do remember the occasional cold night. My mother would cover me with an extra blanket and turn on the heater. “Stay warm,” she would say. “It’s supposed to get down to forty tonight.”

So this past Christmas Eve when the streets were clear and the grass was visible, I didn’t really notice that it hadn’t snowed yet this year. The forty degree heat wave felt just like Christmas to me. My oldest son thought differently though. His lone Facebook post on Christmas Eve read, “lost all hope of having snow on christmas :(“. This, of course, allowed me to spring into one of my favorite pastimes: a rousing rendition of, “Why, when I was your age…”

He was legitimately upset and didn’t find my game very amusing. I tried to introduce some levity to help ease his mood. I suggested we get a wood chipper and blow hard cheese on the front yard like they did in “Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh” but he didn’t like that idea. I also suggested we move Christmas back a month when our chances of snow would be increased, but of course that would mean a delay in presents so that idea flopped too. The only thing we could do would be to celebrate Christmas without snow, which of course we did.

All in all, it was a good Christmas – even without the snow. The kids got what they wanted with a few extra surprises thrown in and we had family and friends drop in throughout the day.

This evening, I took my son out to do some clothes shopping with some of his Christmas money. School starts back tomorrow and he needed some long sleeve shirts. As we were walking from the mall to our car, snow started falling. “There’s your Christmas snow,” I said.

“It’s no fun when the first snow is after Christmas,” he replied.

“So was it a good Christmas anyway?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he replied. “I guess so.”

That’s about as deep as a young teenager gets, so I took it as a good sign. When we got home I jumped onto Facebook to see what was new. I was greeted with this recent status update: “snow isnt any good if its like a week AFTER christmas >:(”

Listen, kid, when I  was your age…

I resolve not to resolve

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Everybody talks about the ups and downs of New Year’s resolutions, but comments are rarely  made without somebody talking about how they’re frequently broken. One of my favorite New Year’s quotes is by Mark Twain:

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve begun a New Year with resolutions to lose weight, clean up after myself regularly, finish that book I started a hundred times, or just be a “better person” (how vague is that one?). Time and experience have shown me that no matter what kind of New Year’s resolution I set I’m going to break it. I’m still overweight, I still leave piles of paperwork laying around, and I currently have bookmarks in no fewer than three books. The “better person” resolution? Dunno. My wife hasn’t left me yet and my kids still give me hugs, so I guess I’m doing ok there. Although that reminds me of another quote by one of my favorite dead people, Ben Franklin:

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”

I can probably handle that one. But since I hit forty this past year I should probably throw in this quote by André Gide as well:

“But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year-old habits.”

So anyway, I think I’ve decided not to make any resolutions for the new year. I’ll just stick with my process of trying to be a better person. But this year I’m going to do it a little bit differently. Instead of trying to eliminate my flaws I think I’m going to follow the advice of Ellen Goodman:

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

May 2012 be the year of recognized potential for us all.

Happy New Year