A Thought on Alderaan

I want to take a moment and share a couple thoughts I’ve been having about the fateful planet of Alderaan.

Alderaan Star Wars

When we are first introduced to Alderaan (in Episode IV: A New Hope) it is the home world of the one and only Princess Leia. Which in and of itself is enough of a reason for us to care  about it’s fate, but beyond that we know nothing. We don’t know what it looks like, whether it’s a rocky planet or a lush planet, whether the people get along on Alderaan. Do some people side with the Empire and others with the Rebellion? The fact is, in those early moments of A New Hope, we know so little about Alderaan. Therefore, the fact that an entire planet is destroyed is tragic, yes. But we are not deeply invested in Alderaan itself.

Jump ahead to the prequels and the Clone Wars and Rebels and the comic books and the many novelizations both canon and legend that are out there. Some are chalk full of information about the mysterious planet of Alderaan. And just like that, years later…posthumously, we come to care for it quite a lot.

A Thought on Alderaan blog post Star Wars

We see what it looks like in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. We know more about Bail Organa and the upstanding man he is. The kind of man who would take an orphaned Leia and raise her has his own. The kind of man that believed in the Jedi to the bitter end. The kind of man that died on the planet of Alderaan that sad day when Governor Tarkin chose to use it as an example to keep the galaxy in line.

Bail Organa a Thought on Alderaan Star Wars blog post

It’s no longer a mysterious planet, it’s a tragic, ill-fated planet. Obi-Wan sensing that not only an entire planet full of people had been killed, but an old friend as well means that much more when we start to see the whole picture.

In some story telling, we may be treated to the whole picture from the get go. Like say…starting at the beginning and working through to the end, but not with Star Wars. No, we start in the middle of the story. Not knowing about Darth Vader and his past as Anakin Skywalker, hero of the Clone Wars. Not knowing about Alderaan, the peaceful planet with the beloved Bail Organa on it.

The more the picture broadens, the deeper we understand. The more we care. It’s what I love so much about Star Wars. It’s what keeps the expanded universe going. It’s what makes it so interesting.

Catalyst STar Wars book club December 2016

I’m currently reading Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel with my Goodreads book club, in preparation for Rogue One’s release on Thursday night. It deals directly with the creation of the dreaded Death Star and we learn that there are other planets that were sacrificed in order to create that monstrous weapon. Another poignant reason to remember poor Alderaan. I went back and watched A New Hope with this brand new information on my mind and it made the destruction of Alderaan so much more tragic and unbearable.

Alderaan…you went too soon. And we didn’t understand at the time or care as deeply as we do now…in the aftermath. But yes…now we know!

The more you know gif

Bun Challenge

#12Days of Star Wars Instagram Challenge Nerds

Perhaps you’ve seen the popular Instagram account @willitbeard and if you haven’t, prepare to be delighted by Pierce Thiot and his beard. Pierce posed the question “Will it Beard?” And has set out to see exactly what kind of everyday objects, foods, toys, etc will fit in his beard and stay in his beard. Check it out:

enhanced-buzz-32085-1392048457-15.jpg

enhanced-buzz-9209-1392048574-19.jpg

enhanced-buzz-28745-1392048348-9.jpg

Pierce inspired me and gave me an idea for #12DaysofStarWars …

I call it the Bun Challenge and I’m asking you… #willitBUN

Here’s the gist: What can you strap to your head that will give you Princess Leia buns. Cinnamon buns (rather obvious), toy tires, buns made of Lego, buns made of cookie dough? Let your imagination take you away and make sure to post pictures to Instagram (@nerdinthesand) and Twitter (@nerdinthecity) with the hashtags #12DaysofStarWars and #WillitBun

I have an awesome giveaway and every picture you post and tag me in will get you an entry! Giveaway winner will be chosen on 12.8.16 at midnight! Happy Bunning!

Here’s the first one I came up with today…rather easy and obvious, but ya gotta start somewhere!

Star Wars Instagram Bun Challenge #WillitBun STarbucks bagels PRincess Leia

Bagel Buns (bagels fresh from Starbucks and yep…I bought 2 bagels just to pin to my hair! That really happened! It’s called dedication!)

Can’t wait to see what YOU come up with!

12 Days of Star Wars

#12Days of Star Wars Instagram Challenge Nerds

Nerds!! There are only 11 days left till our eyes behold the next installment in the Star Wars saga. (10 if you plan on going on Thursday night!) This Star Wars is going to have a decidedly different flavor than the 7 that have preceded it. There will be no scrawl at the beginning of the film. It’s going to take place in a timeline that we are familiar with but with a whole slew of new characters. And I, personally, am on the edge of my seat waiting for opening night!! I can barely contain my excitement!

I’m doing a Star Wars Challenge over on Instagram to give myself an outlet for all my Star Wars joy! Come play! @nerdinthesand #12DaysofStarWars

#12Days of Star Wars Instagram Challenge Nerds

What are you most looking forward to seeing in Rogue One? Brand new characters like Jyn Orso, Captain Cassian Andor, K-2SO and Director Orson Krennic? The return of familiar characters like Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and Darth Vader himself? Perhaps you’re pumped to see how it’s going to set up the story to lead right into our beloved Original Trilogy? I can’t decide which part I’m most excited about.

I just know that every time a new Star Wars comes out I feel like I did in 1999 when The Phantom Menace came out and my friends, family and I waited in line for hours for that midnight showing.

I grew up with Star Wars (this you already know) so there was never a time when it wasn’t a part of my world. I don’t remember the first time I saw Episodes IV, V and VI. But I do remember when the news hit that George was finally going to give us a prequel trilogy. The impossible had become possible. There would be more Star Wars in our future!! I felt almost the same way in 2012 when Disney announced it’s acquisition of Star Wars and that  the purchase would mean that once again, the Star Wars universe would be expanding.

So yeah…I’m pumped! There is no fandom that hits me the way Star Wars does. No fandom has ever come close. And I think…no fandom ever will.

Get your tickets for Rogue One TODAY!

Insatiable Wanderlust by Disney

I used to blame Disney for my fanciful, romantic dreams. Princes and ballroom dances and true love winning out. Don’t get me wrong…I still occasionally dream those dreams and I still blame Disney for them!

But there’s something else and I didn’t even realize it was Disney’s fault till I saw Moana this weekend and that still small voice inside me was awakened by the song “How Far I’ll Go.” The thought of something out there calling to me, it hits home. It always has.

Disney characters have long been looking out and asking “Is there something more for me?” Some don’t have to go very far to find what they’re looking for. Others, like Moana, have to sail across the sea. Some are searching for princes and others for destiny.


Snow.jpg


Alice.jpg


Ariel.jpg


Belle.jpg


Pocahontas.jpg


Quasimodo.jpg


Hercules.jpg


Mulan.jpg


Tiana.jpg


Rapunzeljpg.jpg


Merida.jpg


Moana.jpg


Sure, I can’t blame it all on Disney. God’s the one who put that call in there to begin with. But the House of Mouse sure knows how to hit the chords that make you dream. And growing up watching the entirety of Disney’s animated film collection, well…they created a “monster.”

A “monster” who is constantly thinking “There must be more than this provincial life” and my life isn’t even provincial. But sometimes, when I’m doing something plain and ordinary like laundry or desk organization, I sing that to myself. I wonder what’s “Just around the river bend.”

If I was a Disney character, there’d be a perfectly timed song and the lyrics would help me realize my next steps and it would be inspirational and you’d be singing it for months. As it is, we mere mortals have to figure it out without catchy tunes and perfect hair. Darn it, Disney! What have you done?

Prequels and Sequels and Spinoffs, Oh My!

If you are someone who is tired of seeing the same 7 or 8 franchises roll into theaters time and time again, I feel bad for ya, son. I got 99 problems, but that is definitely not one of them!

I LOVE them! And I’m not saying all of them or any of them deserve Oscars.

Look…it’s true, some of them are not good at all! But for every stinking sequel there’s a Force Awakens. For every sloppy spinoff, there’s an Agent Carter (her cancellation is not her fault!) or a Rogue One (which I’m already certain will be blowing us all away in under a month.) And for every poorly written prequel there’s a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And I’d watch a thousand bad prequels for the chance to get something as delightful as Fantastic Beasts in front of my eyes!!

Fantastic-Beasts-And-Where-to-Find-Them.jpg

We are certainly living in the age of reboots, re-imaginings and big budget franchises. But again I say, I LOVE IT! When word broke that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and there would be a slew of new stories from that galaxy far, far away I was overjoyed. I love expanded universes. The deeper a story goes, the more involved it gets, the more I can lose myself in the fiction. That’s what makes the worlds of Harry Potter, Marvel and Star Wars so compelling and why they inspire the ticket and merchandise sales that they do.

Do you run the risk of overkilling something people dearly love? Of course. But the alternative is putting that franchise up in a box never to be touched. Never to be reimagined by someone who comes along and loves the world JK Rowling has created as much as JK herself. Art imitating and inspired by art is such a cool thing.

16732_une-apple-watch-sur-le-bras-de-jj-abrams-lors-de-la-conference-star-wars.jpg

JJ Abrams grew up on Star Wars, got into movies because of Star Wars and there he was directing his very own Star Wars movie. No matter what you thought about the film itself, doesn’t that inspire you?! JJ is one of us, one of our people (we the geeks) and he got to do what so many of us have only dreamed.

Just think, Harry Potter fans…think of the possibilities that the Wizarding World of JK Rowling holds for you. That world is not closed off. It’s not a 7 book, 8 movie story. There’s so much more and that means big things for you and your imagination!

So I say, prequel it up all you want, Hollywood. Just use Fantastic Beasts as a barometer on how to do it and do it well.

Land of the Free

unnamed-1.jpg

It’s Election Day! I hope you get out there and exercise your right to vote for who you want to be Senator, Congressman, Comptroller…President. You are free to do that.

I’m reading a book called “The Girl with Seven Names” by Hyeonseo Lee. Hyeonseo escaped from North Korea and a brutal life under a dictatorship. She didn’t even know the extent of her own bondage until years later. She lived in fear of things like the mandatory home portraits of Kim Il-sung and his son, Kim Jong-il getting dust on them and the almost assured punishment that would follow such a disrespectful crime. She lived in a dark world where information was restricted, lest the people of North Korea form free thoughts and opinions. Hyeonseo was not free.51dOIBoNRrL.jpg

My fellow Americans, do not be deceived, we are free. Your life may not be perfect. There’s still work to be done in this country, I’m not saying it’s a perfect world. Your life may not be what you want it to be, but you are free to change it. You are free to speak against our President, against our government, against our very Constitution without fear of punishment or retribution. Hyeonseo was not. She wasn’t even free when she finally escaped to China, constantly under the watchful eyes of the Bowibu looking to bring back escaped North Koreans. Hyeonseo had to watch her back, had to hide in plain sight, had to change her name seven times in the course of her life just to stay alive.

I’ve heard a lot of negativity in this election cycle. A lot of talk about how scary our country has become and how much people are wishing for the “good old days.” I hope you think about what the “good old days” looked like for so many people in this country. For minorities, women, immigrants…they were not good days.

Freedom comes at a price. The price is moving forward. The price is allowance and tolerance and understanding. That is a price that North Korea refuses to pay. And a price that America paid a long time ago. Think before you talk about this great nation. We don’t need to be made great, we already are. And those who are still fighting for rights deserve the chance for the same freedoms that I (a privileged, white, American, female) take for granted.

Reading Hyeonseo’s story has me thanking God for my own, flaws and all. And doubly has me thanking God for my country. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Don’t let anyone tell you different. If you spent a day in Hyeonseo’s shoes, you might think differently about this great nation!

Vote well. Vote wise. But most of all VOTE!!

voting-pin.png

“O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!”      –‘Let America Be America Again’ by Langston Hughes

Channeling Your Inner Darryl Dixon

bikerev-1445004367.gif

There are a lot of differing opinions when it comes to the best mode of transportation in a zombie apocalypse. Most agree that it’s gonna be boats that keep humanity alive. But unless you’re already living on the “True Love” or “Boaty McBoatface” then you’re gonna need to get around on land first. Here are some options:

  1. Personally, I like to stay on foot. No technology or mechanics to rely on, except the good old-fashioned, God-made mechanics. Easy to hide and easy to run. You are more exposed, but I really think I’d prefer to stay on foot for the majority of the apocalypse.
  2. Sometimes, you just need a little more horsepower though. If you’re toting a family around and can’t just go it alone, may I suggest an RV or a mini van. The problem with bigger, clunkier vehicles is the potential to get trapped in it on the road to freedom. But if you have littles to care for, this is really gonna be your best bet for keeping them safe till you can sail off into the sunset.
  3. Next up is your classic 4-wheel drive vehicles. Trucks and cars. They’re great for making supply runs to neighboring areas. In my opinion, food scarcity, personal safety, the safety of your designated apocalypse squad, wondering if there’s a cure for this hell on earth…there’s a lot to think about. I wouldn’t want to add worrying about a steady gas supply to my ever growing list of worries. But it really comes down to a personal choice.
  4. And finally, we have the trusty bike. Loved by the Darryl Dixon’s of the world. Whether you choose to motor or pedal, next to pedestrian life, I’d choose the bike. It’s easy to abandon if there’s a malfunction or if you’re happily biking down the street and encounter a hoard. Imagine trying to complete a 3-point turn in an RV with a zombie hoard approaching from the North. Never mind, don’t imagine it. It’s not a pretty picture. Of course if you choose motor bike or motorcycle, you will have to worry about that pesky gas issue again. But I’d take the chance on a bike.

Which brings us to Week 2’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival Challenge. Cycling. This is your week to get comfortable on a bike. Because, like the kids in Stranger Things, if you choose to ride a bike it’s gonna become part of your story of survival really fast.

stranger-things.jpg
Photo from TheOdysseyOnline.com

Here are some great ways to get that heart rate going (once or twice a week to start):

-Good, old-fashioned bike

-Trendy Spin Class

-Stationary bike at a gym

Darryl would be proud of you!!

And remember…keep on staying alive, staying alive!!

UUaaoj.gif

When the Music Dies

welcome-to-the-zombie-apocalypse

Here we are in week 2 of the Zombie Apocalypse. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you yet, but there will come a time, my little zombie hunters, when the music will die. This is, after all, an apocalypse and one simply has no time for the finer things in life. Disc Jockeys will be turned, Spotify developers will get eaten and eventually that little battery in your beloved mobile device will peter out. What will accompany you on your frantic runs through the hoards?

Nothing, little one.

Nothing, but the steady beat of your own heart and the gentle lull of your feet against the pavement.

In preparation for this inevitable occurrence, I urge you to get used to that sound. The sound of solitude.

Go for a walk or a run and listen to what happens when you have no option, no song select, no fast forward, no skip, no replay, no loop, no track, no beat, no lyrics, no strings. I’m sorry if this sounds rather grim…these are hard times.

Recently I had an unfortunate occurrence involving my mobile device…it was turned to the dark side, never to return and I was forced to go running without my Dance, Dance Revolution playlist on Spotify (the struggle was real!) I had spent days avoiding the inevitable believing myself incapable of being motivated without my headphones firmly planted in my earholes.

But something wonderful happened, future zombies of America (not you, of course not you…no the person next to you, that’s the future zombie!) I discovered the music of my rhythm. Instead of pushing myself to match the beat of each song and losing steam in the middle of song two, I found that my breath matched my feet. One two. One two. One two. I went 2 extra blocks that I usually do on my first run after weeks of inactivity.

I don’t know if it was the motivation of knowing that at any minute, if I’m not fast enough, I could get my brains eaten by walkers, or if I finally just allowed my body to go at it’s own pace instead of Justin Timberlake’s but it was good…no it was GREAT!!

Unknown.jpeg
Photo from pexels.com

I learned something! We will make it through this, survivors. There’s still music out there if you’re listening for it. The zombies haven’t taken it from us completely. Keep your ears open for your rhythm and your eyes open for biters.

And as always…Stay alive!

Zombies Don’t Care About Rain

A big deterrent to physical fitness is the weather. Mother Nature has her own ideas sometimes about when you’ll go for a run or a walk or a fitness class outside. But guess what…zombies don’t care about the rain.

That’s why it’s vital for you to continue training in all kinds of weather. Listen, I’m not encouraging you to go out in Hurricane Matthew and get a run in just to keep in peak physical condition. (Today’s hurricane threat is a real one…take it seriously.) I’m just saying that if you had to choose between a hurricane and a flesh eating monster, I think you might take your chances with the wind and the rain. (But don’t do that today!!!)

Yesterday, I did a little rainy day recon and I really enjoyed it. The rain was cool on this hot Florida day, making the distance not feel so far. I enjoyed my (non threatening) rainy day run. And now I feel pretty confident that the elements won’t slow me down. If I need to run in a torrential down pour to avoid getting my brains eaten, I’ll do it.

You have to decide for yourself, survivors. Are you willing to do what it takes? Maybe it’s a gorgeous sunny day, maybe it’s pouring out. Maybe you live in Siberia and there’s a freaking blizzard…actually you, Siberia guy…you’re probably pretty save from the zombies. Carry on!