General-Leia Updates and Other Teas-es

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the passing of Carrie Fisher. She can be seen in her last big roll as General Leia Organa in the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. Jedi has been pulling in big bucks at the box office but has a hugely mixed reaction from Star Wars fans.  One thing is fore sure, it’s great to see Carrie Fisher in her roll of Princess Leia, now as General Leia Organa. I would have loved to know what she thought of this as her final roll.

The movie itself seems to spark love or hate reactions, and I’m feeling a little of both. Overall I really liked it and thought it was a fun movie. Lots of entertainment value there! Adam Driver goes shirtless and other stuff. There are really only a few scenes and plot twists that I have problems with. I can deal. (But I would fix those if I could.) Overall, I think it depends a little on which of the previous Star Wars movies are your favorite.  Folks who love Return of the Jedi probably really like The Last Jedi. Folks who love original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back or even The Force Awakens may have a few problems with it. But it’s going to vary based on personal tastes and expectations, so just go see it for yourself.

I saw it on opening day, December 14, at an AMC Theater where we paid extra for the Fan Event. “Fan Event” really just translated to get-to-see-the-movie-one-hour-earlier-than-other-people, get a small popcorn, and a pack of three “collectible cards.”  Plus there was a few minutes of film on the music of John Williams in Star Wars. We didn’t know exactly what to expect. The description was pretty vague.

When we purchased these “special” tickets I really pictured this as being more of a fan event. Like perhaps they would have something special going on. And at the time of purchase we knew we’d get a “concession stand offer,” but didn’t know what it would be. Previous fan events have had large popcorns and drinks included. The John Williams film was advertised as “special content.” Plus I pictured something more substantial for the collectible cards. We’re used to Magic The Gathering card packs where you might get 15 cards in a pack plus a foil, etc. So overall, this Fan Event seemed more expensive than others we’ve read about and with fewer goodies. It felt like AMC was trying to take advantage of big Star Wars fans. I’ll think twice about doing another Fan Event with AMC and will explore other theaters in general for that matter. AMC grabbed enough of our movie money for a while thankyouverymuch.

That said we enjoyed the actual theater where the fan event was held. It was a Dolby Cinema theater with laser projectors, great sound, and comfy reclining seats. I would see a movie in a Dolby Cinema showing again. That part was nice and worth a few extra bucks. The only down side of the Dolby Cinema was that we had middle-of-the-row seats, so when everybody else was reclined with their feet up, it was nearly impossible to squeeze down the row to our seats. I let the family sit while I went back out to get our popcorn. There was a break in the rows right behind us, so I just climbed over the backs of the seats. It was faster and inconvenienced fewer people.

Fast forward a bit and Christmas 2017 has come and gone. I don’t know how it manages to come and go faster each year, but it does. We had a nice Christmas split between home and visiting my mom.

I got to see Santa very briefly as he exited an elevator I was entering. He’s our favorite mall Santa and was returning from his dinner break. A few minutes later I saw that he was saying “hello” to the kids standing in line. I waved and told him how many years of photos we have of him. He was kind enough to pose for a selfie with me, but my phone died before I could take the picture. Ugh.

I searched high and low for an Etch-A-Sketch for my daughter for Christmas. Ya know, red plastic rectangle and turn the white dials to draw a picture? One dial for vertical, one for horizontal. We had these as a kid. They could be fun and frustrating. It was super easy to draw a staircase! Not so easy to draw a circle. Modern kids can see Etch-A-Sketch featured in the Will Farrell movie, Elf. My daughter is one of them. So she wanted one for Christmas. I think everybody else must have felt this way too because I could not find one anywhere. I visited no fewer than six Targets! Walmart! Craft stores! And two regular toy stores and asked many questions of employees along the way.

But it was like gremlins visited each store right before I arrived. I searched online websites to see who might have them in stock before I visited each store, yet they disappeared by the time I got there. Amazon had them for a while, but reviews were mixed, so we worried about quality and cheap knock-offs. Yet I would have purchased from Amazon if I knew it would be so hard to find them in an actual store. In the end, I was only lucky enough to find two mini-Etch-A-Sketches that we’d have by Christmas. These will have to do. One is the “World’s Smallest” and one is a little larger with a clip that allows it to be attached to backpacks, etc. My daughter liked both and appreciated  tales of the Etch-A-quest. I braved traffic, quicksand, and the darkest asphalt jungles!

Along with a lot of other holiday shopping I visited a Teavana tea store a couple of times. If you like Teavana, then know that some stores will close by December 31, so they are having clearance sales. Those stores now have EVERYTHING in the store 75% OFF!  Tea and tea ware is selling very quickly at these prices! I got a great price on some really good Oolong a few other things.

Some Teavana locations will remain open into February and possibly March. Those locations may have some sale prices, but not everything 75% off. Those locations will, however, have a much larger selection of tea and tea ware for now. So if there’s a favorite that you really want then visit a location that is scheduled to remain open longer. You should be able to call stores to find this out. If nothing else, visit the closest Teavana and ask them questions. There are some great deals in tea! But I’m still a little sad to see Teavana leaving.

That’s it for now.

May The Force Be With You … Always! And Happy Holidays!




So Long, 2016, And All that You Took

You were here and then you weren’t. I could say that about the year and a lot of other things — quite a few celebrities died plus our Mojo kitty and our hamster, Prarrie Dog, who passed several months ago too.

We miss our kitty dearly. He had the best character arc ever (especially for a cat). I think about his cuddle-bug personality daily.

David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Ron Glass, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, John Glenn, George Micheal, and more. All gone. Perhaps this year seemed so harsh because I knew who all of these people were, and I was used to having them around. They were popular for my generation. Plus so many of them weren’t even old. It seems unfair.

Carrie Fisher is the celebrity death that hit me the hardest. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passing the next day only upped the sadness. What heartbreak for the family and all their friends.

I first loved Carrie Fisher in Star Wars, a movie that came out when I was nine years old and blew me away. It made me a different person. I could probably date my life “b.SW” and “a.SW”. Or maybe BS and AS. Anyway, it sparked my love of science fiction (though some may debate calling it science fiction) and my love of (most) things Star Wars that would follow. 

I had seen Star Trek before Star Wars, but Star Wars prompted me to watch Star Trek again. I was hungry for adventure and outer space. Star Wars ignited the hunger.

Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia was a strong woman, a leader, who could save the guys as much as they saved her. (Somebody had to get them into that garbage chute. You can’t just shoot all the stormtroopers.) She was the original self-rescuing Princess. If there were others before her, I don’t remember them. She’s the one that mattered to me. 

Carrie Fisher kept up that theme throughout her life. She became so much more than just Princess Leia. From her honesty about mental illnesses to her insanely funny interviews to her witty and amazing writing… 

And I really mean amazing. She wasn’t just some celebrity who decided to write a book and isn’t that cute. Her writing was awesome — funny and compelling. And it was more than just books. Carrie Fisher was a script doctor, a person the studios could call in to rescue lackluster scripts for movies and such. She knew her craft. 

She kept at it and excelled. 

She melded with Princess Leia in ways that made her own the character and allowed Princess Leia to become part of who Carrie Fisher was too. She was more than the sum of her parts.

And then she was no more. She will be missed. 

2016, I’m sure I will miss parts of you too. Other parts not so much.

May those of us who made it through, have a rich and wonderful 2017 filled with love and laughter, joy and peace. May we rise to the challenge.

Copyright Deb L. Kapke 

The Wrong Star Wars Costume

So I decided to dress up for Halloween this year. My office has a Halloween party with a costume contest, and I’ve also dressed up to go trick-or-treating with my daughter (though maybe she’s getting a little old for that these days).

I almost purchased a Princess Leia costume, but then changed my mind because:

A.) I’ve been there, done that several times.

B.) I’ve cut my hair short enough now that I can’t really pull off Princess Leia buns or even good Mini-buns without adding fake hair or a wig. Right now my buns would look more like crumbs.

C.) I already have a Princess Leia Costume but have misplaced parts of it over the years, and I don’t want to purchase another one because (see options A and B).

So I managed to find a Rey costume in my size, and I got that instead.

I love Rey, the protagonist in the 2015 movie Star Wars, The Force Awakens. She’s a strong, smart, energetic, and talented female character. YAY, Daisy Ridley and  J.J. Abrams et all for bringing her to life!

Plus the movie didn’t suck. It was a lot fun! I liked it more than the previous three Star Wars movies. And, probably, at least as much as Return of the Jedi. Though my favorites are still Star Wars and The Empire Strikes back. I’m pretty sentimental about those.

So, the Rey costume fits. It’s reasonably comfortable too. While it’s not a high-end, cosplay-quality costume, it’s fine for Halloween and even for wearing to occasional movies on opening nights. I even kinda-sorta managed Rey’s hair (though mine is messier and a few shades lighter with, um maybe, a couple of gray streaks).

But I had the costume on today, and I realized I had gotten something I had not expected.

Rey Costume packaging

The package looked like a Rey costume. The label said “Rey.” But somehow in my package I managed to get a Rey’s middle-aged mom costume instead. Well, crap. I don’t even remember that character from the movie. Maybe it’s really Rey 20+ years in the future?

Me in the “Rey” costume. More like Rey’s mom or perhaps Rey 20 years in the future. No Princess Leia buns, but there are buns.

A lot of my co-workers haven’t seen The Force Awakens. I think they’d recognize Princess Leia or Darth Vader, no prob. But some wouldn’t recognize Daisy Ridley if she showed up in person with BB8 while wearing a genuine Rey costume. So yeah.

A group of my co-workers dressed as the adult card game, Cards Against Humanity. They each wore large cards containing select, office-appropriate words that were either a question or answer. They could pair up together for humorous question & answer combos. I think I may need to check this game out!

The Cards Against Humanity split the contest winnings with some other co-workers who dressed as “Food Groups” — chips & salsa, milk & cookies. Get it? It was cute.

I think I’ll have to hope that Rey’s mother shows up in a future Star Wars movie. I mean, there are speculations about Rey’s parents, right? My costume is ready! I’d like to see those Cards or food groups show up at a Star Wars movie opening night, so there!  (Okay, maybe as snacks and games to play while waiting for the movie, but you know what I mean.)

And hey, my Rey costume looks better without my glasses. Shoulders back. Suck in my tummy. Hid my behind … behind me. My hair even looks reasonably close-ish to Rey’s in this lighting. (Can’t see the gray unless you look really close.)

Rey hair and lightsaber. Looks better without my glasses. I think I need new glasses.

Oh and, I wore my hiking boots with the costume, so my feet are crazy happy. They’re all like, “OMG girl, why don’t you wear these thangs every frickin’ day?” Are those mom-feet talking or what?

Rey with hiking boots.

Bun Practice

I have a billion things I should be doing this morning. Not a single item on my list has anything to do with trying to create Princess Leia buns again. But that’s exactly what I did.

We have tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this week.

I don’t know if we really NEED to see it opening day. I’ve gotten a little wishy-washy about seeing movies on opening day. I need my sleep. But there are enough potential surprises in Force Awakens that I don’t want any spoilers. I’ve been purposely avoiding articles on overseas trailers and such to keep myself guessing. I like it that way.

Opening day is also the perfect time to wear Princess-Leia-Cinna Buns.

My hair is totally long enough to pull it off, but not nearly thick enough. So I tried a couple of buns using a pair of socks as a foundation.

It worked a lot better than I thought it would.

I was expecting to have a hard time wrapping my hair to adequately cover the sock, but it wasn’t bad. It took only a few minutes.

It helps that I regularly wear my hair up, and I have gobs of practice putting my daughter’s hair in a bun for her ballet classes. Practice makes perfect (or at least pretty darn good).

One sock is sticking out a little in the back on my right bun, but I’m pretty sure I can fix that kind of thing on the actual day of the movie.

I used dark socks so that bright white bits wouldn’t stick out. Brown or tan socks would probably work best in my hair, but I used black ones with small green dots because that’s what I had handy (and clean).

If a sock pops out it may look more like a green-spotted black slug is hatching from my buns than some form of underwear breaking free. I think that’s better. Ya know, like maybe a space slug or something. It could work.

I was inspired to try the buns again this week when I read a blurb about Billie Lourd. She’s Carrie Fisher’s daughter and will appear in the new Star Wars movie wearing her own rendition of the classic Leia duo buns.

Apparently she’s also in a show called Scream Queens where she regularly wears ear muffs as an homage to her mom’s awesome roll as Princess Leia. (Strongest character in Star Wars!) I’ve never seen Scream Queens but am temped to check it out just to see the ear muffs.

I have to say, the hair feels pretty good. (And my ears are nice and warm right now too.)

I’m pretty happy with the sock-enhanced buns. Now I’m trying to figure out if I should attempt to go out of the house like this today. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

My daughter is helping me make the most of my buns. First with bunny ears, then antlers, then her own awesome silly face. No cinnamon was harmed in the making of these buns.

Three Songs, a Trilogy

It’s the song you hear when Darth Vader walks into a room, The March. It’s there instantly telling you how to feel about this tall man, if we can call him a man, in a mask and dark robes. It’s energizing and pulls at both our fears and our sense of awe and wonder. There’s power there. At this point only a few notes are needed, and that part of our brain is engaged.

The Star Wars Main Theme does about the same. Those first few notes and you are there — transported, instantly, not just to the world of Star Wars but to that time in your life when you had all that awe and wow and popcorn grease on your fingers. And you didn’t know that Luke Skywalker was quite as whiney and cheesy as he would turn out to be. And you didn’t know how dangerous it was to fall for guys like Han Solo — you can change them in the movies but maybe not so much in real life. Those pesky scoundrels. Those bad boys. And you didn’t yet know that when Leia would kiss Luke in Empire that they would turn out to be siblings.

So those two songs, if we can call them that. I’ve never been sure. Do songs have to have lyrics? Those two songs are an important part of my life. From middle school through nearly all of high school I’d set up the album on my good ol’ record player and fall asleep listening to the music of Star Wars.

There’s one more significant song, again from Star Wars. It plays when the droids are escaping at the begining of the movie. I don’t know why, but it always resonated with me. It was, maybe, a song of friendship and adventure and rescue (or escape) and safety. So that when it would come on I would be transported, as I could by the Star Wars Main Title and The Imperial March. That third song isn’t as easily recognizable in an instant as are the other two, but it could nonetheless take me to another place. I’d set up the record payer with the machine set to turn off when that side of the album stopped and drift off to sleep. It was a reassuring lullaby that would ensure my dreams were neither boring nor too scary. I could let go and drift off like the droids in the escape pod.

Popular music has not had the same effect on my psyche, though there are many songs I like and some may creep in as favorites. My tie to the original Star Wars sound tracks is hard to beat even today — a time far enough in the future that Star Wars has actually become “long ago.” I had a friend who had the Imperial March as a ring tone. I’ve thought about that, but at this point I don’t want to hear it too much for fear that it will become too ordinary and loose it’s ability to transport me to that other world. I have a Doctor Who ringtone instead. It works well for my blue phone. But perhaps someday that will change.

Editing to add that this was for WordPress Writing 101: Third Assignment: Write about the three most important songs of your life. In the order that I wrong about them, the Songs are:
The Imperial March (Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, original soundtrack, but the march notes can be heard on many tracks of the soundtrack)
Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner (Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, but Main Title/The Ice Planet Hoth from ESB is similar and ranks up there. I might even like it better than the original. Probably do.)
Imperial Attack (third track on Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, I had to look up the title of this one because I remember it being the music that played while R2D2 and C-3PO were escaping to Tatooine from the boarded rebel ship early in the original Star Wars movie. I associate it more with the droids than with imperials.)