College Classes Taught by Your Heroes Sep15

College Classes Taught by Your Heroes

If you’re not looking forward to going back to school, here are some classes you may want to add to your timetables. 1. Steve Rogers – American History Not only is Steve passionate about his homeland, but living through much of its history is one of the perks of being 95. 2. The Tenth Doctor – Physics “Physicsphysicsphysicsphysics physics! I hope one of you is getting all this down.” 3. Galadriel – Astronomy She’s so good, she can put starlight in a bottle. 4. Yoda – Communication Difficult, it can be. 5. Hermione Granger – Literature The type of literature is irrelevant. Hermione knows it all—or if she doesn’t, she’ll stay in the library until she does. 6. Spock – Statistics Nothing illogical will be tolerated in this classroom. 7. Sherlock Holmes – Criminal Justice It’s elementary, my dear students. 8. Rumpelstiltskin – Legal Studies No one’s better at making a deal than the Dark One—just make sure your homework doesn’t include signing one of his contracts. 9. J.A.R.V.I.S. – Computer Science He knows computers inside and out. 10. Wonder Woman – Classical Studies She’s straight outta Greek...

Darth Vader and Beauty’s Beast: Loving the Unlovely Aug16

Darth Vader and Beauty’s Beast: Loving the Unlovely...

I missed the original release of Star Wars by a decade and the first printings of Beauty and the Beast by several centuries, but both stories have marked me with their retellings and reiterations. Fairy tales are famous for being re-imagined, but “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” has more in common with “once upon a time” than one might expect. The same stories keep getting retold despite an endless appetite for novelty. I believe it’s because people ache to be rescued; humanity keeps telling stories about how we can be saved. The stories of the Skywalkers, Belle and the Beast evoke a slippery mixture of loss and longing that is difficult to articulate but all too easy to identify with. Much like Darth Vader, the Beast lives in a tortured silence; neither is what they once were and each lives a half-life. Vader is the emperor’s weapon, more machine than man, and the beast hides in angry shame. Both villains live with longing, and so Vader disobeys orders and spares Luke’s life while the Beast risks his life to save Belle from ravenous wolves. At the heart of both stories is a tale of redemption, about how the unlovely can be loved better—and become something beautiful. In both cases, these villains choose redemption, not because they were heroes all along, but because of sacrifice. Growing up, I naturally identified with both Luke and Belle. I was an imaginative, bookish kid who longed to go beyond the backyard that was my moisture farm, my little provincial town. As I’ve read and lived more I realized I wanted to be them not because I saw myself in them, but because I wanted to see myself in them. Ever since I discovered...

Introducing Non-Geeks to Your Fandom Aug04

Introducing Non-Geeks to Your Fandom...

One of the best parts of having a fandom is introducing new people to your favourite characters and worlds. Having someone to share your enthusiasm is great, but take the wrong approach and you’ll ruin it for them. Here are a few things to avoid when recruiting new fans. Never introduce them to the wrong point in the story—especially if it’s a series. You’re not a Harry Potter fan? Oh! Here, let me read you the best scene in book six. You’ll cry buckets! You’re going to love Doctor Who! We’ll start with the first Doctor—William Hartnell—and his granddaughter Susan. The show doesn’t really pick up until the third Doctor, but if you don’t watch the later episodes first you’ll never get all the nuances. Pro-tip: Any episode of The Starlost is the wrong episode to start with—that’s why you’ve never heard of it. Never assume that they’ll love a fandom just because it features actors they like in other properties. You like Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone, right? You’re going to love Demolition Man! If you think Han Solo was a great character, wait until you meet Rick Deckard. Yeah, John de Lancie was great in Next Gen, but he was completely awesome as Discord. Pro-tip: Don’t try to sell someone on Interstellar just because Elyes Gable from Scorpion has a bit part in it. Never use their non-geek interests to introduce them to your fandom. You like weddings? You’re going to love season three of Game of Thrones. Politics is your thing? You’ve got to see the senate scenes in Attack of the Clones. Pro-Tip: Don’t try to sell them on the Saw movies based on their interest in anatomy. Never tell them they’ll like a fandom because they remind you of...

Ahsoka Tano: The One with Enthusiasm Jul28

Ahsoka Tano: The One with Enthusiasm...

Ahsoka: So, what’s the plan?  Anakin: Oh, I thought you were the one with the plan.  Ahsoka: No, I’m the one with enthusiasm. You’re the one with experience, which I’m looking forward to learning from.  From almost the moment Ahsoka first appeared in Clone Wars, stepping off a shuttle that landed in the middle of a war zone, I adored her as a character. Promoted at the young age of 14 to Padawan status, Ahsoka left behind the safety and serenity of the Jedi Temple and was thrust headfirst into a new world of war, struggle, heroism, and heartbreak. As the show continued, she faced challenge after challenge head on, with that same indomitable spirit that she displayed from the start. I was 12 when the film premiered in theatres, and suddenly I—a young girl, just on the cusp of entering into a new world of my own—had a character I could look up to; a character I could identify with. Don’t get me wrong—I admired Leia and Padme, and took some inspiration from them, but they were much older than I was, and it was difficult to relate to them because of that age gap. But not only was Ahsoka close to my age, she was a Jedi. For me, a girl who spent much of her free time challenging neighbour kids to lightsaber duels, this was even better than getting a kitten for Christmas. But what really sealed the deal for me was her exchange with Anakin early in the film: “I’m the one with the enthusiasm”—that line has just as much of an impact on me now as it did the first time I sat wide-eyed in that theatre. At the beginning of her character arc, Ahsoka is eager to learn, good-hearted,...

Dear Anakin, I wasn’t promoted Jun23

Dear Anakin, I wasn’t promoted...

Dear Anakin, I’ve been working my butt off for a big promotion at work for a few years now, but I just found out my boss gave the job to someone else in my department who is way less qualified than me. How should I handle this? Yours truly, Overlooked on Ryloth Dear Overlooked on Ryloth, You deserved that promotion. You showed your bosses you were willing to work harder, longer, and smarter than anyone else to prove you were worthy of the position. You were entitled to it, and now that they’ve made their mistake, it’s time to make them pay. Start by becoming close, personal and invaluable friends with your boss’s boss. Find the department manager, or better yet, the CEO, and buddy up to them. Once you’ve spent some time in their inner circle, it’s only natural to mention the promotion you were denied, and once your new friend hears about how unfairly you were treated, he or she will surely want to help you—that’s what friends do. Ideally, your powerful friend will simply force the other managers to bring you on, even if that position is ceremonial and unrequired. Everyone else in your department will know how important you are because you’re there whether they want you to be or not, and they will never, ever cross you again. If you’re interested in seeking more detailed advice on how to rise through the corporate ranks, I recommend seeking out The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Just don’t ask a Jedi, it’s not a story they’d tell you. With hate, Anakin Need some career, relationship, or life advice? Email dearanakin@geekdomhouse.com and ask your own...

The Forgotten Mothers of Star Wars May12

The Forgotten Mothers of Star Wars...

As origin stories go, the Skywalker twins have it fairly rough: they were orphaned not once, but twice. I don’t know much about the Organa and Lars families, but when I watch Luke and Leia, it’s clear they’ve been taught good values, and I wonder how much their mothers had to do with it. “My wife and I will take the girl. We’ve always talked of adopting a baby girl. She will be loved with us.” —Bail Organa, Revenge of the Sith Breha Organa, the queen of Alderaan and Senator Bail Organa’s wife, appears for a few seconds in the closing montage of Revenge of the Sith. The music swells, reminding me of Leia’s journey to come, and I imagine how Breha might have mothered the iconic princess. Breha wants a daughter, not just to train as an heir, but to love. Bail would have been busy on Coruscant for weeks or months at a time, resisting the Emperor as he siphoned away the Senate’s power—hardly a safe place for a young girl. Even though Breha was queen of a whole planet, I doubt Leia was reared by droids in a lonely nursery. “As a girl growing up and seeing Star Wars, of course you want to be Princess Leia. And to know that I’m actually playing her mother . . . I just kept thinking about those buns! . . . Maybe I taught her how to do those buns!” —Rebecca Jackson Mendoza, the actress who portrayed Breha Organa in Revenge of the Sith Leia’s title isn’t “junior senator” or “representative,” or some other role connected to the Senate. It’s “princess.” Early drafts of A New Hope name Leia as the daughter of Queen Breha, almost 30 years before her on-screen debut. Leia...

The Stigma of Jupiter’s Red Spot Mar27

The Stigma of Jupiter’s Red Spot...

The plot hole that bothers me the most in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the lack of health care. No, I’m not kidding. Bear with me. I recently read this fantastic article, “Did Inadequate Women’s Healthcare Destroy Star Wars’ Old Republic?” that suggests most, if not all, of Anakin’s fear for Padmé’s life could have been avoided if she had seen an obstetrician. For those of you who have no desire to relive the prequels, here’s a refresher: Anakin has a dream in which Padmé dies from childbirth. In an effort to save her life, he turns to Emperor Palpatine, all but solidifying his move to the Dark Side. How do I know Padmé didn’t receive any prenatal health care? When she confronts Anakin towards the end of the movie, she asks him to help her raise their “child” ‒  not their “children.” Padmé doesn’t know she’s going to have twins, which means she didn’t get so much as an ultrasound. How is it possible that Anakin lives after losing three limbs and nearly burning to death, while his wife dies from childbirth? (And, please, read the article mentioned above before you bring up how Padmé simply lost the will to live.) How is it possible that the Star Wars universe, which is scientifically advanced, doesn’t have proper reproductive health care? Anakin’s fear for Padmé’s life could have been avoided if she had seen an obstetrician. In this case, I don’t think it’s a problem of the Star Wars universe itself, but rather an oversight by the movie’s creators that resulted in lazy writing. When it comes to fantasy and sci-fi, female characters are often still an after-thought. I’m sure proper reproductive care wasn’t even on the radar when the writers thought out...

42 Ways to Say “I Love You” in Geek Feb10

42 Ways to Say “I Love You” in Geek...

It’s the time of year for Love Potions, Heart Pieces, and those three magical words. (No, I’m not talking about “Use the Force” or “Beam me up.”) Whether you’re looking for a geeky way to ask your date out to a video game symphony, or planning to print your affections on a Luvdisc-shaped Valentine’s card, here are 42 ways to say “I love you” in Geek. (Why 42? Because it’s the answer to all mysteries in the universe, of course. And love may be the greatest mystery of them all.) 1. If you were a starter Pokémon, I’d choose you. 2. Are you a fairy? Because you fill all my heart containers. 3. All my base are belong to you. 4. I’d travel there and back again for you. 5. You’re my final fantasy. 6. I’d take an arrow to the knee for you. 7. I-it’s not like a l-like you or a-anything… b-baka—! 8. Be my Beka/Faye/Vincent Valentine. 9. Ruby is red, Neptune is blue, hope I get put on the same team as you. 10. You’re the hero Gotham deserves, and the one I need right now. 11. When I looked in the Mirror of Erised, I saw you. 12. You’re my precious. 13. SoH Dughajbe’bogh jaj rur Hov ghajbe’bogh ram. 14. Hello, Sweetie. 15. You are the center of my mind palace. 16. I know. 17. I’d volunteer as your tribute. 18. You were expecting Dio, but it was me—your Valentine! 19. Without you, who else will I have ice cream with? 20. With you, my life is 20% cooler. 21. *Wookie sounds* 22. You’re my player 2. 23. You fill me with determination. 24. Like a Headcrab, you’re always on my mind. 25. You’re the arc reactor to my heart....

Losing Star Wars to Legend Feb08

Losing Star Wars to Legend...

Picture this scene: a short, scrawny Korean boy with glasses sitting on a bench in a middle school locker room, talking nerd stuff with a tall, gangly, bushy-haired classmate. Day after day, we’d broach topics like Japanese film adaptations of fighting games, whether dinosaurs really could be made from mosquitos trapped in amber, and how there was this great game called Doom, but it required a boot disc. Of all these conversations, though, the most significant one to me was when my friend told me there was an “expanded universe” to Star Wars, novels that pushed the stories of our heroes further. I swore to myself that he was lying. He had to be, right? There couldn’t be more Star Wars, could there? Of course, there was more. So much more. I asked my parents to take me to a local bookstore and bought the very first novel I ever read for personal reasons, Heir to the Empire. That book, and the rest of Timothy Zahn’s trilogy, blew my mind. And that was that—my love for reading and my obsession over Star Wars was sealed. What I grew up loving was no longer canon, no longer true. So you might understand why I felt like I was being tortured by force lightning when Lucasfilm announced that the EU would now be called “Legends.” Legendary stories are those relegated to myth and folk tales, to narratives that might have been true but probably weren’t, or else were so mutated over the years that they only match the historical fact in bare bones. No longer was there a Mara Jade Skywalker, nor the Solo twins. Grand Admiral Thrawn has returned through Rebels, but doesn’t bring with him ysalamir or the clone C’Baoth.  And Chewbacca didn’t die;...

Can We Forgive Rogue One’s Heroes? Jan18

Can We Forgive Rogue One’s Heroes?...

In a film about good intentions, heavy consciences, and tainted legacies (also, lasers), the cry for redemption is what stood out to me the most. The line between scoundrel and hero is blurred in Rogue One. Galen Erso, the lead scientist behind the construction of the Death Star, wonders if history will remember him as one of the Galaxy’s greatest villains. Unwilling to die like his wife (who makes a stand rather than be a slave to the machinations of the Empire), he makes a deal to help complete the Death Star, believing his actions will be justified by adding a kill switch in secret. Guilt, when faced head on, transforms its subject into a willing sacrifice for good. Captain Cassian has compromised so much of his conscience as a saboteur, and he wonders if there will ever be a momentous enough victory to justify those actions. If he kills for the ideal of freedom that never appears, is he no different than an empire filled with men following violent orders in the name of a peace that is never established? Saw Gerrera, a fanatic, leads a militant terrorist-like group in the face of the Empire. Gerrera has fought too long, making too many compromises to feel like a hero. When in possession of a turncoat Imperial pilot who brings news of the Death Star’s flaw, Gerrera tortures him. While he saved Jyn Erso as a child, he abandons her when she comes of age in a perhaps misguided effort to keep her identity hidden. It’s another difficult choice to weigh heavy on his conscience, but made with good intentions. Desperate circumstances have led these men to embrace disgraceful methods, and they are all of them ashamed. The Turning Point Galen Erso, Cassian Andor, Saw Gerrera, and many of the Rebels...

Mara Jade, a Redeemed Villain Jan04

Mara Jade, a Redeemed Villain...

There was a time when Mara Jade had it all. She was a favoured agent of Emperor Palpatine, called by the title “Emperor’s Hand.” She enjoyed a life of privilege, which included a personal starship, a droid companion, and private quarters on Coruscant. All she had to do was carry out the Emperor’s will. Acting on Palpatine’s behalf, she eliminated corrupt Imperial officials, Jedi who survived Order 66, and anyone else the Emperor deemed worthy of death. Although few in the Empire knew about her, they would have been jealous of her if they had. She was, after all, advancing the Empire’s interests. Then Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance ruined everything. When Palpatine died at the Battle of Endor, Mara’s life crumbled. She blamed Skywalker and made it her life’s ambition to kill him. It seemed like the right thing to do. Not only is she flawed and human, but she also finds redemption. When Timothy Zahn first introduced Mara Jade in Heir to the Empire in 1991, he could not have foreseen her popularity. She has become a fan favourite and has appeared in novels and comics well beyond what Zahn originally intended. Her backstory—which he sketched out in his novels—has been extensively documented in other stories. Ask any group of fans about her and one or two of them will likely say, “Mara Jade? She’s awesome! I love her.” Really? Why? She was an assassin; a tool the emperor used to destroy his enemies. That hardly qualifies her for “role model” status. I think part of the appeal is that she is a strong, complex character. We can identify with her struggles. She commits evil acts, but her heart sometimes betrays her and she is drawn toward the light. In other...

A Princess to Follow Dec28

A Princess to Follow

When I was growing up, I didn’t want to be the helpless princess in a tower waiting for someone to come rescue me. I wasn’t the Maid Marion or Snow White type. You’d never catch me in the forest chillin’ with the animals and singing “someday my prince will come.” Well, actually I did do that once, but it was straight parody. I wanted to be Robin Hood—or at the very least one of the Merry Men, the knight slaying the dragon, the spy defeating the despot, the rebel saving the galaxy from the Empire. I don’t meant to say that I wanted to be a dude—that was never the case. I grew up with brothers and cousins and now I have sons, and I am more convinced than ever that boys have cooties. But, in my mind, I could be a girl and a hero. I credit this sensibility to my healthy diet of stories with strong female characters. For every helpless Disney princess, there was Eowyn, Wonder Woman, Joan of Arc, or Judith (who lobbed off Holofernes’ head in the Bible). Plus, God made man and woman equal, both in God’s image and likeness, and there were tons of kick-butt heroines in the Bible. Every little girl who has the heart of a warrior will have a place to draw inspiration from. The Star Wars franchise portrays strong women in various ways throughout their movies. I particularly appreciated the roles of the Rogue One ladies. Lyra Erso was a wife and mother who believed deeply in the Force and tried to prepare her daughter for the likely return of Imperial baddies. When Director Krennic came and threatened her family, she didn’t cower. She died trying to protect her husband and daughter. Mon...

Putting the “Special” in Holiday Dec16

Putting the “Special” in Holiday...

There are a few franchises that get away with what Star Wars could not, but here are a few stories that none have attempted (yet). The Avengers Advent Spectacular Tony Stark whips up a high-tech light display and turns the Avengers HQ into a Christmas tree for the city. The Hulk and the Black Widow star in a touching remake of The Gift of the Magi where he gives up his superpowers to buy her bullets and she pawns her gun to buy him an ultra-stretchy pair of pants. Captain America complains about how Christmas was better when he was a scrawny kid. When Bucky Barnes shows up, he and Cap sing a sweet duet of The Little Drummer Boy. And Harvey Korman appears as a cross-dressing intergalactic TV chef. Battlestar (Christmas) Carol-actica It’s Christmastime in the fleet and Commander Adama just isn’t feeling the spirit of the season. He’s too focused on feeding and protecting the survivors of the Cylon massacre. Apollo tries to get him to lighten up, but is chased off by Adama’s cries of “Humbug!” That night, in his quarters, Adama is visited by the ghost of Colonel Tigh, who mysteriously died just in time for the Holiday Special. Tigh warns Adama that he’ll be visited by three specters. In quick succession Adama’s sleep is disturbed by visitations from Gauis Baltar, President Roslin, and Number Six. Just as he’s about to give in and reclaim his Christmas spirit, Adama realizes that it’s a Cylon trick. He finds and destroys the Basestar and proves that grumpiness is a true superpower. The show ends with Harvey Korman appearing as a cross-dressing intergalactic TV chef. Doctor Who Christmas Special The Doctor… wait a minute.  We live in the universe where the Doctor Who...

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide Nov25

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide...

Christmas is coming, folks. And we know gift shopping can be a hassle. What to get your geek buddies that they don’t already to have? What to ask for because no one knows what to get you? We did a Gift Guide to Geek Art already, but thought you might be on the lookout for other ideas too. We did the research for you and have compiled a guide to satisfy every fan’s dream. For the Anime Enthusiast We know RWBY‘s not technically an anime because it’s American; calm down, folks! Calm down. Also, our Small-size editor’s wanted that Attack on Titan hoodie for a long time. Just sayin’. Attack on Titan Hoodie – $34.99 RWBY Ruby Figure – $34.95 Works of H. Miyazaki – $188.99 Crunchyroll Subscription – $6.95/month Princess Mononoke Art Print – $28 Eevee Earrings – $13.16 For the Tabletop Titan No one can understand why the board game organizer is so awesome unless they are a board gamer. Escape: The Curse of the Temple – $70 Dice Bag – $9.95 RPG Dice Set – $9.98 Dungeon Master Screen – $15 Board Game Organizer – $15-$50 King of Tokyo – $39.99 For the Comic Cavalier Marvel’s taking the Star Wars universe to great places… need we say more? Plus some other cool stuff. Star Wars Comics – $4.99 Inky Superhero Art – $30-$75 Superhero Fingerless Gloves – $25 Nimona Graphic Novel – $15.99 Ms. Marvel Comics – $2.99 DC Comics: A Visual History – $35 For the Fantasy Fiend That handmade Falkor, though! Lindsey Stirling album – $9.99 Elf Ear Cuffs – $27.75 The Name of the Wind – $10.79 Handmade Falkor – $131.83 The Grisha Trilogy – $36.53 Game of Thrones Dog Tag – $14.99 For the Sci-Fi Supporter The closest you can get...

Hymns and Heroes: 10 Matches Made in Heaven Oct07

Hymns and Heroes: 10 Matches Made in Heaven...

Not many fictional characters stumble into church (except to set the existential mood), and even fewer actually practice Christianity, unless we’re talking Nightcrawler or Nicholas D. Wolfwood. (No, Sephiroth, being a Jenova’s Witness doesn’t count.) But imagine if our favourite characters were—for no particular reason—suddenly forced to choose their epic theme songs from a hymn book (or else face cricket-chirping silence during their otherwise awesome advents). We’ve got a hunch that these 10 hymn-meets-hero mashups might, literally, be matches made in heaven: 1. Obi Wan Kenobi —”Higher Ground” He takes “plant my feet on higher ground” literally. Maybe if Anakin had given this hymn (or, y’know, his Jedi Counselors) a listen, he’d have fewer artificial limbs. 2. Prince Zuko — “Thine Honor Save” Change thy haircut whilst thou art at it. 3. Aerith Gainsborough — “Holy, Holy, Holy” That was the plan. To her credit, the evilest seraphim did eventually “fall down before her.” 4. Light Yagami — “Is My Name Written There?” You’ll know in about 40 seconds. 5. The Night Guard (Five Nights at Freddy’s) — “I’ll Stand By Until the Morning” …if I’m lucky. 6. Edward Elric — “Small Things Count” Except Ed isn’t “small”—he’s fun-sized. I hear arms and legs count, too. 7. Gandalf — “He Lives” And now he comes in more colours. 8. Link — “Must I Go, and Empty-Handed?” (1) Yes, though it is dangerous. (2) No, take this! 9. Goku — “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand” 100,000,000. Now that’s a power level. 10. Ned Stark — “Winter is Coming” Yes, this is an actual hymn, though it’s more about ice than...

Dear Anakin, My fiance doesn’t agree Jul29

Dear Anakin, My fiance doesn’t agree...

Dear Anakin, My fiancé is a great guy and we’re madly in love, but he refuses to agree with me that a beach wedding is the greatest way to get married. Just think about it, the sunlight on the water, a cool breeze, and the warm sand between our toes. He wants to get married indoors somewhere, which I just can’t believe! I really love him and I don’t want to come across as a bridezilla, but I can’t imagine getting married inside when the beach is calling our names. What should I do? Signed, Looking For Love In Alderaan Places Dear Looking For Love In Alderaan Places, That’s a real problem. First of all, don’t compromise. Any time you compromise in a relationship, it shows weakness. You should be compelling your loved ones to act in a way that serves you and your desires at all times. When speaking to your fiancé about the issue, stare at him wordlessly, without blinking, and sneer until he eventually accepts your demands. Don’t stop even if he asks you explicitly—he will break first. Your love should be the most powerful thing in the universe and if it’s not, you’re just pretending. That being said, as much as I agree with your desire to control the outcome of every event you’re involved in, I have to disagree with the concept of a beach wedding. I hate sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. If you get married on a beach you’re basically inviting the worst thing in the galaxy into your marriage. Powerfully Yours, Anakin Send your requests for relationship advice to...

Restoring Relationships (and the Force) May04

Restoring Relationships (and the Force)...

Like all relationships, the ones in Star Wars have their challenges. In A New Hope, the first meeting between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in almost twenty years isn’t as emotional as I imagine it should be. After all, Obi-Wan basically raised Anakin before eventually slicing his legs off. Emotional stuff. Instead, they simply speak a few short utterances to each other in cold tones. There’s no love between the two; their cords have been completely cut, and as such, they no longer see each other as human. For Obi-Wan, Darth Vader is “more machine now than man,” and for Vader, Obi-Wan is just another obstacle to tear through. In this bond built a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I see a challenge being forced upon me, to look at the broken relationships in my own life and think about how they became that way, and what I might do to repair them. In an imperfect world, we’re all bound to have broken relationships. I’ve said many things that have hurt others, and people have driven me away, too, either by cruelty or by simple indifference. The thing is, the longer I let time pass without reconciliation, the more bitterness will take root, and the harder it becomes to heal the damage. The task of pulling it up becomes too daunting to even try. And soon, the person I’m split from has become a memory to me. Any relationship we had dies, wasted and transformed into a nothingness, like the emotional space between Vader and Obi-Wan. Luke makes the sacrifice that restoration costs. Of course, it doesn’t just take realization to reconcile; it takes action. And action requires selflessness. I find that whatever reserve of that characteristic I have in storage...

10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Watch The Force Awakens Apr01

10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Watch The Force Awakens...

The Force Awakens comes out on DVD this month! Should you be excited about it? Nah. Here’s why not. 1. Who needs strong female role models like Rey, anyway? 2. That warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia when you see the Millenium Falcon again isn’t worth beans. 3. We want a villain exactly like Darth Vader. Kylo Ren is too different. 4. John Williams did the score. Blech. 5. Chewbacca is still impossible to understand. 6. Luke should have just updated his Spacebook profile with his location. 7. They gave us a cute, voiceless droid instead of Jar Jar. It’s like they didn’t learn their lesson from the prequels. 8. Who cares that Han Solo even came back? Can’t we write any new characters these days? 9. Too many cool action scenes. Needed more politics. 10. You might as well just watch how it should have ended where Han vaccinates Kylo with...

To My Daughter: Be Like Rey Mar07

To My Daughter: Be Like Rey...

Ah, my dear Madeleine, asleep in your fuzzy tiger costume and strapped to my chest. You are a scant six weeks old, and your life consists entirely of sleeping, eating, bouncing in your parents’ arms, and the occasional bout of thunderous flatulence. For now you have no time for books or movies, and you can barely grasp my finger, let alone an Xbox controller. You are a very, very long way from climbing trees and learning karate. Someday, though, you will have your own adventures, and you will learn to love stories as much as I do. In these stories you will find your heroes, models who show you how to live a good and just life. To that end, I submit to you Rey, hero of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as a candidate for your first hero. Rey has a great many qualities that every young adventurer should aspire to have, no matter where they come from or where they are going. She is adaptive, resilient, and clever; she is tough as nails, smart as a whip, and incredibly brave. Our hero has many fine qualities, but they alone were not enough to defeat Kylo Ren. Yet most pivotal of all in Rey’s heroic qualities is that she is a dreamer. She is a romantic, though not in the modern sense of day-dreaming infatuation; Rey longs for adventure. She doesn’t just want the old stories of Jedi and the Force to be true; she wants to be a part of them. Her shelter on Jakku is lined with artifacts from the Rebellion and she dons the helmet of a Rebel pilot as she wistfully stares at a ship leaving the planet. Like Luke Skywalker before her, Rey hungers to be part of...

Finding Child-Like Wonder Feb15

Finding Child-Like Wonder...

The first time I saw A New Hope and Jurassic Park, I was captivated. I had never seen anything like either film. They were pure movie magic, taking me to a new and unknown place, one I desperately wanted to revisit again and again. They ignited a flame of child-like wonder within me. Child-like wonder—that sense of awe that sparks my imagination beyond the jaded world that I’m accustomed to experiencing. It’s the stunning fireworks display or the dazzling Christmas lights that takes me back to a moment in time when I believed in magic. I have never outgrown that desire to be enthralled or excited. I want to believe in magic again. I’m a movie fan, and when all the elements fall into place and wonder bursts from the screen, it’s a rare and wonderful gift. The Force Awakens and Jurassic World tried to recapture that movie magic. Jurassic Park gave us dinosaurs like we’d never seen them. I was as awestruck as the characters in the film. In an attempt to rekindle those feelings, the writers of Jurassic World tried to maintain the old while sprinkling in something new. They came up with a hybrid dinosaur with upgraded abilities such as a camouflaged heat signature. But more abilities doesn’t necessarily translate into a more engaging experience. For me, the bells and whistles took away from the experience. The regular old dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were terrifying, and the film didn’t rely on turning them into supersaurs to make them so. If not for child-like wonder, we wouldn’t dare to dream of something better. Weirdly enough, though, The Force Awakens did almost the exact same thing, but it worked for me. The Death Star made two appearances in the original trilogy for a...