Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “star wars”

Towel and Star Wars Day — Celebrate both!

No new news on the job front.  My Cadre Manager was supposed to get back in touch with my ERO counselor but that didn’t happen.  I have been given lots of really good advice and had friends recommend a lot of options.  I’m keeping everything open at the moment.  I’ll continue fighting for what’s best for my family and me.

So, since there’s really nothing new, I’ll just wish everyone a Happy Towel Day and Happy Star Wars Day.  Towel Day is for fans of Douglas Adams and his “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy” (all six books) and in memory of his death on this date in 2001.  Star Wars Day marks the anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope in 1977.  35 years ago….wow, I feel old.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read Douglas’ books (not just the H2G2 series) as well as listened to the radio shows, audiobooks, and watched the movies.  Douglas Adams also worked on episodes of Doctor Who and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  You can tell I’m a big fan, huh?

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen the original trilogy of Star Wars.  I even have the theatrical releases on DVD because I can’t stand watching all of the added on stuff from 1997.  I remember seeing the movies in the theater, when that was the only option, and then recording them off HBO onto our Betamax player (yes, I really am that old) and watching them every day after school.

Hey, when your dad is the principal of your school, you don’t hang out with a lot of people, and you’re focused on keeping your grades high you find yourself as one of the biggest geeks doing what geeks do best — reciting movie lines.  After I’d seen each of the original three over 500 times each, I quit counting.  I still have no idea how many times I’ve seen them all.  In college I could win bets by having people play a part of the soundtrack and begin to act and recite the exact scene just based on the music!  Okay, it was only good for winning bar bets and has never helped me in any sort of career, but it was fun all the same!

So all you hoopy froods, get your towels and grab a bottle of Old Janx Spirit (from H2G2 or SW, your choice) and head out to Millyways!

Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all. — Douglas Adams


Sleepover Survivor’s Summary

Last night was hysterical!  Youngest Son had two friends over for his first “group” sleepover.  One of his friends wasn’t able to attend but the other two were more than happy to make up for the missing energy in the room.

Oddly, they wanted to start the evening by watching the DVD we have of this year’s school musical.  Youngest Son and his friend Leonard were both in the show.  Leonard was the lead actor and had not seen the DVD yet (the show was produced in November 2011).  Youngest Son, Leonard, and Sheldon were having a blast watching the show, telling backstage stories, and re-winding the action to see the goof-ups and other silly things going on during the performance.  Sadly, the student they “hired” to make the DVD only filmed one night out of the three productions and had a field day with the zoom button.  Let’s just say that if you get motion-sick easily, you do not want to watch the DVD.

After that we ordered pizza.  I made sure each of the guys brought their own bottle of soda or other suitable beverage because I didn’t want to go out and buy a lot and have a bunch of caffeine-laden sodas (which I don’t drink at all) lying around the house.  Three large deep-dish pizzas lasted a lot longer than I thought they would.  Teenage boys are notorious for scarfing-down anything that’s covered in pepperoni and cheese but there was still some left this morning.  After the pizza-snarf began, they decided that they wanted to watch a real movie.  Leonard had never seen Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope which just completely baffled me since all of the guys are pretty well-versed in nerdy/geeky genre information.

Quick  note here — you may recognize the names of Youngest Son’s friends from a television show.  They call themselves “The Big Bang Club” at school and each kid has a character and they even call themselves by those names.  They even added a female friend of theirs (as Penny) so they’d have the whole core cast.

Back to the story.  Since I’m also a huge Star Wars geek (seen the original trilogy movies over 1000+ times each), I asked if they wanted to see the awful 1990’s “remakes” with “added special effects,” the original theatrical version (my favorite), or the latest Blu-Ray release for the 30th Anniversary.  I was impressed that they picked the theatrical release.  So, I popped-in the DVD for them and waited for them to be amazed with the movie.

That didn’t take long.  Not the being amazed part.  The being interested part.  I forgot that teenage boys also have a short attention span and when it came to watching the entire movie, that wasn’t going to happen.  Youngest Son and Sheldon wanted to prank-call Penny because Leonard is upset he broke-up with her and they wanted to leave a message on her voicemail about it.  (No, I’m not kidding.  “Leonard” and “Penny” really were “dating” and have broken-up now.)  Then they each wanted to play with their Nintendo DS units.  Then they saw Youngest Son’s Chess 4 set and wanted to play that.  All of this while the movie is still playing in the background.  Husband agreed to be the fourth so they could play Chess 4 — a game designed, you guessed it, so four people could play chess against each other at the same time.  Sheldon said he knew he was going to be slaughtered because he and Youngest Son play chess at school all the time and Youngest Son beats him easily.  And he did again on this version — he wiped-out the other three players in almost no time.

After that they talked and laughed and watched the last minutes of the movie before the credits started to roll.  Once the movie was officially over, they decided to play games on our PlayStation 3.  We have some that are for up-to four players, so they each grabbed a controller and started playing.  After they tired of one they’d put in another.  Soon they wanted to play Lego Star Wars and took turns trying to play in co-op mode when only Youngest Son knew how the game worked.

Finally, around 11:30 p.m., I told them they needed to get off the PS3 and get their sleeping bags out.  They didn’t necessarily have to go to sleep, but I was going to bed and wanted to be sure that they got some rest since Leonard’s parents would be by early to pick him up for church.  Husband had already fallen asleep, so I went to bed to read while listening to make sure the guys were okay.  A pillow fight broke out between them.  Actually, to hear them tell it, it was a “pillows versus ‘bag of wet cement’ fight” since Leonard’s pillow was a lot firmer than the other two’s.  Soon they teamed-up and it became a pillow ambush.  They finally decided to watch Star Wars: Episode VI, Return of the Jedi because Leonard had never seen that one either and wanted to know why everyone thinks the “It’s a trap!” jokes are funny.  He stayed awake long enough to hear “It’s a trap!” in the movie and then drifted-off.  Sheldon fell asleep and then woke up and went back to sleep after the movie was over.  Youngest Son stayed-up for the whole thing and turned off the TV and DVD player when it was over.  I had already passed-out in bed after the beginning scenes had played.

I got up at 5 a.m. like I do every morning to take my medication and let the dogs out for “walkies.”  I could tell the boys had tired themselves out because there wasn’t a peep coming from the living room floor.  Either that or Cat had slept on their faces and killed them, but I was pretty sure that hadn’t happened.  Usually there’s a little snoring out of Youngest Son, but he was too tired to do so.  After going back to bed and getting up a couple of hours later, Leonard was awake and playing on his DS; Youngest Son was just starting to awaken; and Sheldon was still crashed-out on the floor.  I ordered them up and to get ready so that we could go out for breakfast at the worldwide-franchised evil clown fast food restaurant just a couple of blocks away.  While the kids ate, Husband, Celeste and I sat and had some breakfast as well while waiting to return the boys to their parents (who were to meet us there).  Husband said his coffee was McCrappy and realized why he never goes there for breakfast anymore.  Ever.  Once the parents had retrieved their offspring, we returned home.

Fortunately the guys didn’t mess-up the house and things were easily put back in order.  We thought about taking Celeste to the self-service dog wash a few towns over but they’re closed on Sundays.  So, I went and took a nap.

I remember the days of sleepovers at my house and going to parties at friends’ houses.  Everyone believed they could stay up all night and not have to sleep and sometimes punished those who did by dunking their bra in water and putting it in the freezer.  At least the guys didn’t do silly things like that at our house — although one admitted they wanted to try the “hand in the bowl of warm water” trick.  The only reason they didn’t was because Mythbusters had already proven it didn’t work.  Lucky for them.  If they’d tried it or if it had worked on my hardwood floors, there would be three “geeks” learning to sand, stain, and seal 79-year-old wood with their toothbrushes.  And I don’t believe there’s an app for that.

Tale of a “Play-Well” videogame addict

Okay, okay….I’m hooked.  I’m a middle-aged person who has become addicted to videogames.  And not just any videogames — I do have some sensibilities about myself.  I play on the computer, my PS3 and my PSP.  I even enjoy watching Youngest Son playing and trying to find the things going on in the background that are designed for those who are just observing and not the actual players.  But I’m not addicted to MMORPGs (I do have a life).  First-person shooters are fun and can be great stress relievers when needed.  Platform games about Italian plumbers, lombaxes, bandicoots, and hedgehogs just aren’t my style.  And while I love a great puzzle game, sometimes I don’t want to think when I’m playing — I just want to play.

And don’t get me started on the new motion-capture devices that have been added to new gaming systems to make you feel as if you’re really “in” the game.  True, some can be used as an exercise program for those, like me, who don’t feel comfortable sweating it out in front of others, but I also enjoy having nice items hanging on the walls and sitting on the shelves in my house.  I moved away from an earthquake zone a few years ago and don’t really want to feel that kind of shaking in my house again, especially when it’s my fault.

No, the games I’ve become hooked on have a story.  They have many characters.  They’re based on movies I’ve loved for years.  And they’re even cute when you blow-up part of the scenery or another character.

I’ve become enraptured with Legos.

I must explain that I’ve always loved Legos and those little blocks were lots of fun when I was a kid.  I enjoyed them much more than my Lincoln Logs because I could never build anything other than the basic cabin shown on the canister.  And don’t get me started with Tinkertoys — those things would splinter and crack as if they’d been shipped with their own termite infestation in every box.  I could never build anything sturdy with them and if you got a rod stuck in one of the holes, you were doomed to have a wheel forever.

Legos when I was a kid was just a bunch of colored blocks and you had to use your imagination to decide what to build.  Somewhere along the way, the creators decided to include instructions with certain kits and you could recreate objects and places from famous movies.  I loved that my kids loved Legos — it meant that I got to put them together for them which was always a thrill for me.

Years ago, Lego had tried to entice kids into becoming movie producers when they sold a special set that had a stop-motion camera and software kit.  If you were lucky, you even got a minifigure that looked like Steven Spielberg.  Suddenly, adults were creating stop-motion movies based on popular movies.  Star Wars, Star Trek — not much was off-limits.  You can even find remakes of scenes from movies on YouTube done in Lego that are better than the originals.

But the geniuses behind Legos, video game corporations, and the movie industry got together and started a marketing frenzy.  Not only could you build little sets and scenes from the movies you loved with actual bricks, you could now immerse yourself in a movie brought to life through animated bricks!  Plus, the minifigures in the games don’t speak, so you get to imagine what they’re saying (or quote it verbatim in your head if you’ve memorized the movies as I have).  And when you destroy something, it breaks apart into separate Lego pieces — no blood, no gore; it’s good, wholesome fun!

I’ve played them all.  I relived my childhood while playing Lego Star Wars II because we all know that Episodes 4-6 are the only TRUE Star Wars stories worth watching, no matter how much George Lucas thinks the prequels sated our appetites for more adventures in a galaxy far, far away.  And, yes, I did play Lego Star Wars and bought Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.  I bought Lego Indiana Jones and thoroughly loved getting to recreate the first three movies.  Even after Lego Indiana Jones II was released only so you could implausibly survive a nuclear blast in a refrigerator as seen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I bought and played the heck out of that game.  Lego Batman gave me the chance to prance around as a superhero with my underwear on the outside and create a lot of havoc one can only wish to accomplish in real life.  And Lego Pirates of the Caribbean — let’s just say that my habit of watching every rerun of the movies on cable made it easy to finish.

However, there’s another Lego videogame genre that has a tighter hold.  Youngest Son had all of the Lego sets that went with the first two movies in the franchise and when he outgrew them we sold them on eBay for a hefty sum (all went to one buyer).  He and I each have our own copies of all of the books and he has the Lego Nintendo DS version while I’ve got PS3, PSP, and Windows — just so I can see the differences in them all.  I can play it for hours and not notice the time passing.

My name is Jackie, and I’m a Lego Harry Potter addict.

Years 1-4 weren’t enough.  I dashed-out and made sure to get Years 5-7 as well and have worked hard to get 100% completion without having to go online.  I’ve collected every minifig and extra power and additional spells.  Yes….because of me I know what’s in J.K. Rowling’s appointment diary at every available space — “Count my money.”

And it’s a kids game!  I should be playing Portal or something that makes you think, not just button-mashing.  But, no, I sit and giggle every time I get Lego pieces to explode.  People don’t like to do the cooperative play with me because I’m determined to explore EVERY inch of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and every other place they create because I want to find all of the secret pieces.  Youngest Son has gotten frustrated when we’ve played together and he can’t move forward through a maze because I’m still poking around in every corner for Lego studs so I can attain True Wizard status.

If only I could bring Jar-Jar Binks over from Lego Star Wars and watch the Harry Potter spells and traps blow him up, I’d be rolling on the floor with laughter.

Sadly, however, I must now wait to see what new Lego videogame franchise will be introduced.  I’ve finished all the ones I have and even though they have hours and hours of “freeplay” levels to complete, once those are done you just don’t know what to do.  The newer games have Lego Creator additions where you can build your own levels.  But that requires the aforementioned thinking that I don’t always want to do when I sit to play a game for pure entertainment.

I will add, though, that Youngest Son has enjoyed his newest games immensely and I’ve begun to wonder just how well I could challenge GLaDOS.  Perhaps adding some extra thinking to my playtime will be good for me.

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