Star Wars: The Phantom Confession

At last I will reveal myself to the internet. At last I shall have catharsis.” – Darth Me


The Phantom Menace premiered in theaters on May 19, 1999. I had just turned 12 two months before and I was ecstatic to see this new Star Wars film. You have to remember, in those days, Star Wars was a trilogy, a finished masterpiece in three volumes. It had been since 1983, four years before my birth. For my entire life, Star Wars was the best set of films there were for a nerd, young or old. It was “this colossus, this great legendary thing”.

A new film, a new trilogy, was announced. I scoured the young internet for news, images, clips, rumors and at dial-up speed, fuzzy jpegs revealed themselves for my viewing pleasure. Articles kept me fascinated. There wasn’t much being disseminated, remember, again, this was before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and every other network. We had no smart phones, no texting, no social media. I remember reading articles in actual magazines and the newspaper about this new Star Wars film. I cut out pictures from pages and savored images of Qui-Gon Jinn, whom I mistook for Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Jake Lloyd and Ewan McGregor whom I thought were playing Anakin Skywalker. I also remember savoring images of the Naboo starfighter: graceful, sleek, and deadly. Much of my information also came from LEGO, who had just signed a deal with Lucasfilm to produce Star Wars branded and based Lego sets. Most of my early spoilers came from LEGO fan club magazines that depicted ships, characters, and locations in brick form. Pepsi had also made a marketing deal in which every can of every variety of soda featured a different character image with a printed backstory that you could collect. Even Taco Bell got in on the marketing with their stupid chihuahua.  It was all glorious and amazing and wonderful. I annoyed my family and friends silly because I would not stop talking about the new Star Wars film. It was to be the best thing EVER.

A few days, or weeks, I don’t remember exactly, into the premier my dad took myself and my brother to a Saturday afternoon showing of The Phantom Menace and I floated into the theater. I absorbed every sound, image, and musical cue with delight … except … except, something wasn’t quite right. Jar Jar Binks wasn’t funny, like he was supposed to be. There were fart jokes, in the middle of John William’s grand score even! Some bits blew my pre-teen mind – Darth Maul versus the Jedi – podracers roaring around Tatooine, but mostly it was boring with a shine and long with excitement. I didn’t realize it then, but every time thereafter that I saw it, my smile was less broad and the twinkle in my eye shrank. I remember visiting my grandfather, perhaps the next summer, and convincing him to Pay-Per-View rent The Phantom Menace. It was a day long thing, where you could watch it over and over again for 24 hours. I must have watched it 8 or 9 times that day. Over and over again. It was amazing! It was Star Wars! but it wasn’t quite the Star Wars I loved and had grown up with.

Truth is: I loved The Phantom Menace. Even with Jar Jar and the fart joke. In those early days, I couldn’t get enough of it. It wasn’t until 2002’s Attack of the Clones that I began to become disillusioned. 2005’s premier of Revenge of the Sith arrived and I was in college. It failed to end the new trilogy properly, but I had lost my love. Star Wars was nothing more than the Old Trilogy, as it was now known, and the new films were dead to me. I even spent time methodically watching Menace, Clones, and Sith and tearing them systematically apart on my blog (which you can still read under the Star Wars tab). I made a reputation among friends and a presence online by hating the prequels.

But. But. I did love Menace. I thought Clones had good parts. I figured Sith was mostly there. I don’t know when or why I let other people’s opinions and acidity eat through my heart of enjoyment. I like plenty of badly written movies that are chock full of bad performances and cheesy effects. So I suppose now we are here, at the end of my vitriol to admit a love I once held dear.

I haven’t watched the Prequel Trilogy in years, now, and I feel a strange urge and longing to do so. Maybe it is the 11 year old in me that collected Mountain Dew cans for their images of Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn. Maybe it is the 12 year old that convinced my grandfather to let me spend a day watching a movie ad nauseam. Maybe it is the 13 year old that treasured old LEGO magazines and their pages of colorful LEGO Star Wars sets.

At least I am willing to admit it to myself, and now, the world that reads my blog: unabashed, unashamed, unfettered: I loved Star Wars The Phantom Menace a long time ago, and may yet love it. And that’s ok.

Embrace your famdoms, nerd out, rock on, love what you love. It makes you you and no one else. And that is the best thing ever.

On Weddings

red-wedding-dress-taffeta-tulle.originalMy ma is attending a wedding this weekend for my cousin on her side, and at the end of the month, a paternal cousin is to be married. I will unfortunately miss both weddings, the latter making me most sad as I’ve been fairly close to that cousin. But the occasions have been making me ponder nuptials, and having been through one myself, I’ve got some thoughts on another, should I ever get the opportunity (which I doubt I will).

I will present my ideas as “Thoughts on “whatever” ” and in a heteronormative way. This is because I am heterosexual, and most familiar with the “classic” Western wedding. But weddings are becoming, and rightfully so, so much more what you make them with whomever you decide to marry and that is a Good Thing. Weddings shouldn’t be blind tradition. They should be a union of what makes you collectively you. To hence:

Thoughts on The Ring and Rings: maybe Tolkien has soured me on rings, but I don’t like the idea of giving my future bride an engagement ring. It seems to be little more than a Western bride price, dowry, or guarantor of the marriage. If my future bride cannot “reserve” herself for me without me spending a bunch of money on what is probably an overpriced conflict diamond or cheap synthetic, then she isn’t the one for me. Furthermore, why do we need wedding bands? I don’t understand jewelry as a symbol of love. Make it hurt, and I’m being serious here, get matching tattoos. They don’t come off, can’t get lost, cost a bit depending on what you get, and are a forever memory literally etched into your flesh. Now, having been through a divorce, this scares me because “what if, round two” but if you are unwilling to get tattooed, you probably aren’t willing to go through the long haul and tough it out when it really, really hurts either. Let’s just say I still can’t imagine my ex getting a tat, for any reason. If I’m wrong, she can send me photographic proof.

Thoughts on Sex/Wearing White (Purity): This is so wrapped up in draconian ideas of sexual ethics and shoddy economics that I don’t really want a bride wrapped in a white facade. I don’t believe in saving sex for marriage, and since I’ve already been married and had sex (spoiler! also, sorry ma, but well, we all know it happened at least once) what am I to do? Maybe my future next Mrs. Martin (also a point to be discussed) will be a virgin when we get married, but I kinda hope not. I mean, if we are getting married, have the tattoos, what is there to wait on? Sex just isn’t that important to me as a symbol of anything, or an act to be preserved, so what is the point of wearing white to pretend she is somehow “pure”? Especially if she is going to have sex that night, or soon thereafter anyway, does she then lose that purity or something? I don’t believe it transfers to the husband or anything, so again, point being? Be colorful! Again, be you and if you like white, go for it, but I’d like my bride in scarlet, or bright yellow, or something bright and happy. White is boring.

Thoughts on The Isle: So, it goes like this: the groom waits up at the front of wherever, the bride walks up toward him, arm in arm with her father, who hands her off, and after whatever, the bride and groom walk down the isle together. NO. This is clearly, and explicitly in traditional services, the father giving the woman to the man and the man accepting her and taking her with him. NO. The implication here is she is property, bought with the ring, and duly delivered and accepted and transferred. NO. In my wedding, if I get one again, we will enter from the sides, as equals, and go forward together and come back down together as a unit never again to be separated.

Thoughts on The Name: Afterwards it goes “I present to you Mr and Mrs Groom’s Name Only” NO. Is the man the only thing that matters in western society and weddings?? (Really, the answer still is yes, but to hell with that. This is the 21st century. We need to act like it.) I have a friend who took his wife’s name, but that is just inverting the binary. Wipe it out altogether. Get a new name. Or hyphenate (though who goes first?). Or, shockingly, keep your own name. Or something, but I really don’t like the wife surrendering her identity into that of her husband’s for the rest of her life. The woman is important all by herself and that desperately needs to be honored.

Thoughts on The Church: Even the religious these days are eschewing the steeple for the seashore, or prairie, or wherever. I’m not getting married in a church because the church does not rule over my marriage, and, well, I’d rather be married somewhere in nature, not necessarily in a building. If it’s raining, we get wet. I’m open to negotiation on this point, but I have strong preferences.

Thoughts on a Few Other Things: Invite who you want to be there, not who you are related to or feel obligated to invite. I get there are lots of politics here, but it’s your day, do what makes you happy. Have a fun cake and eat it. I don’t want it mashed in my face because I am not two anymore. I won’t mash it in her face either because she’s not two. Also, she worked damn hard on that makeup (probably) and I don’t want to ruin it with icing and sugar. Do what else has meaning for the two of you, and not what is “traditional”. Don’t spend money on glitzy things for the wedding, the party, or the wedding party. It’s just a wasted expense. Decorate in a fun, not expensive, way. If you want to do something meaningful for meaningful people, do that. I had a birthday cake at my first wedding because it was my grandmother’s birthday and I wanted to honor her at the occasion, and I’m glad I did. Having a birthday party at my wedding was probably the most “me” thing about that wedding. (And it wasn’t about me at all, my idea of perfect.)

And that’s all I have to say about that. For now. Thanks for listening.

checkUp twenty17: Junly

Yeah. So there’s that. I haven’t updated since June 18th with my Wonder Woman review. In my own defense, I have been busy, but I’ve thought a time or two “I should write” and I’ve not, so I don’t get completely off the hook here. I mean, it’s taken for it to be 0404 on a Friday morning with insomnia to get me writing. How bad is that? Or maybe good? I dunno. Anyway. Here goes…something….

Every month I try to do some or all of the following: #1: Writing, #2: Reading, #3: Building, #4: Art and #5: Activities. This is a check up for June and July.

#1. Writing. I did write an update in June, and a review of WW. But I didn’t write at all in July. Combined score: 5-10.

#2. Reading. I finished St. Francis: In His Own Words, a compilation of writings by the monk St. Francis of Assisi. I am also working through another book. I’ll get most credit, but not all: 7.5-10.

#3. Building. I didn’t build anything, but I did spend the months organizing my LEGO minifigures and accessories. Now that I write that it sounds so grown up! but fuck you, little voice in my head. Anyway, it will help further endeavors, so again, partial credit? but it is also what kept me from building. So, one step back, two forward? Sounds good to me: 7.5-10.

#4. Art. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nunca. No excuse here. I’ve had opportunity. 0-10.

#5. Activities. I’ve not missed a day of work, continued meeting with my friend, and even had a friend over for dinner So, that gets me full credit. I know the idea is to get out of the house and do new stuff, but that’s hard with two jobs and little extra time. Full credit on this one: 10-10.

Hmm. It’s been an interesting summer, but so far, so good, I guess. Crunching the crunchables I get: 30/50. 60% for the months, and I think 74% for the year. Still not terrible. August is already looking better because I’m writing! and I have a commission for a LEGO portrait that I can work on, a book to finish, and probably an activity or two, plus some art this weekend? We shall see.