Haiku Me Friday! Podracing

The wind in my hair
I fly by the flat, still sands
Here, I am at home

Prior to this year, I had a daily Star Wars calendar where I flipped each day off and saw something new. It was so fun and some years were better than others, but it was always a highlight of my day. I didn’t get one this year for the simple fact that I didn’t get one for Christmas. It makes my Christmas request list every year and I meant to go buy it myself when I didn’t receive it and I forgot.

The point of this is that these pictures were always what inspired my haiku’s on Fridays. Whatever picture landed on a Friday, that’s what I would end up writing about.

Since I don’t have it this year, instead I make sure to listen to every single Star Wars soundtrack on shuffle on Spotify on Friday’s. When I pull open my blog post, whatever track I’m listening to is what I write about.

Right now, it’s the marching music as they lead the flags out in front of the podracers.

It’s a little coincidental that I am writing about podracing when I had written about my younger diary entries yesterday with the specific podracing dream. OR MAYBE IT’S THE FORCE GUIDING ME. Yes, I like that explanation better.

 

The memories of that dream, which some parts are still so vivid almost 20 years later, made me think about if I have a happy place in my life right now.

Anakin was at home when he was flying. He had never flown a ship before so he had to settle on flying podracers. He had Jedi reflexes which helped him, as no other human had the knack for them.

I realized while thinking about this that Anakin is the only character that we see in the Prequel Trilogy that drives and flies ships consistently. He is close matched to Obi-Wan, but usually it’s Anakin that takes the wheel if they’re together. We rarely see Padmé fly on her own, though we know she can.

In some ways, Anakin reminds me of my husband. He loves his car, it’s everything to him and he is constantly detailing it out in our driveway. He notices the slightest scratch or paint transfer, and God forbid if it has swirl marks! My husband loves doing nothing better than getting in the car and “just go for a drive”. (Whereas I’m sitting there silently freaking out because … I mean … there’s no destination? What? This is SO not organized)

Anakin, too, took meticulous care of his podracer that he built from scratch. He handled other ships with care and you could tell that he did not damage them unless his life depended on it.

One of my favorite moments in The Phantom Menace is when he’s flying the N-1 Starfighter and shouts, “Now this is podracing!” While others saw it as a corny line, I saw it as a line of pure happiness and a boy confident and at home in what he was doing.

Where is the podracing moment in my life? Where is yours? Do we have one? Or is it something some of us lose as we get older?

 

Haiku Me Friday! A pivotal scene and the need to control

The hatred flows through
They took her away from us
My anguish blinds me

As much as I have trouble enjoying Attack of the Clones and finding moments to like about it, I do enjoy the part when Anakin goes in search of her mother, kills the Sand People and cries about it to Padmé.

It’s this tense chase we are on with him and I think Lucas does a great job of NOT showing us Anakin killing the sandpeople. As an audience, we are put in suspense until he reveals to Padmé that he did, in fact, kill them all. To make matters hit home, the fact that Anakin killed both the women and children as well was deftly played by Lucas.

I think it was hard to feel sorry for the Sand People and hard to connect with them as a species. We never see them doing anything interesting; much less have feelings towards them one way or another. For the most part, the Sand People were annoying to me. They always showed up at an inconvenient moment as a plot point to spur the movie along. In fact, they are kind of like savage animals.

Yet, by having Anakin kill the entire village of sandpeople, and confess to doing the unthinkable by killing the women and children, we now feel pity.

Who kills women and children?

Even in war, it’s deplorable, almost everyone can agree to that. It’s part of what makes the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki so heart wrenching. There were thousands of innocent people living in those cities. On top of being innocent people, there were women and children – the future.

By killing the Sand People’s women and children, Anakin is preventing further life, preventing the future. And with that, George Lucas spins how we feel about the Sand People. Anakin says “They are like animals. And I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them!” Yet, now we feel pity and sadness, which brings the Sand People to a human status.

We also feel foreboding towards Anakin’s actions. This anger and rage comes from his feeling of powerlessness. He wants to control everything around him, including death. How can you control death? It is the one certainty in life – that everyone dies. Yet Anakin does not want to accept that.

If you watch Padmé’s face during this scene, you can see that she has fear. What has happened to Anakin? Who kills women and children? Why can’t he understand that it was out of his control and that Shmi’s death was not his fault?

Shmi’s death is a turning point in Anakin. He always feared loss, even in TPM when Yoda points it out to him. When Shmi dies, and then he has dreams about Padmé’s death in ROTS, it spurs him to use his hate and anger to try and channel it into what he thinks is something good.

Shmi’s death and this scene is so important to the entire saga. I often overlook it due to my frustration with AOTC but it shapes Anakin as a character and is a pivotal step for the Skywalker story.

I, too, can be a control freak. I like everything to be just right and when something disrupts my schedule or plans, I don’t deal with it well. I think most of the arguments I have with my husband come from when I have something in my mind of how it should go, and he has something different, and I have a hard time being flexible.

In some ways, it’s a good thing. My control helps me be extremely organized which helps me run my business, keep my daughter at home most of the time, and be a wife.

Yet the need for constant control seeps into a lot of our daily lives. I believe the need for control does stem from fear. Fear of losing control, but a deeper level, fear of not looking like I have it “all together” or that I’m easily handling everything. It’s a fear of loss, though different from Anakin’s. It’s a fear of losing face, in some ways. I think having a child has made it better (they really are unpredictable!) but now I have new aspects to try and control which raises stress levels.

 

Do you or do you know anyone who are controlling? Who has fears that drives them to dangerous points like Anakin? Or, honestly, do you have any advice for me or others similar to myself?

Why TPM Is Important For Children

Most people of my generation were brought up with the Prequels and most (but not all) find them perfectly okay.  Maybe not as great as the OT, but still worthy of watching.  However, I think the general consensus is that the Prequels should be held off for a while and you should have your children watch the OT for the first few rounds of Star Wars.

I have mentioned before that while I love and enjoy The Phantom Menace, it’s hard for children to watch because of the amount of talking anakin-and-kitsterand politics that are involved.  This came from an experience I had watching it with a 5 year old Star Wars fan.  He enjoyed the movie but got insanely distracted and bored during any of the senate scenes, or really…any scene that had a lot of talking which is quite a lot in TPM.

Yet I was thinking about TPM a few weeks ago and realized something that has been so obvious from the beginning: TPM is the only Star Wars movie that has a child in a leading role. Not only does it have a child in a leading role, it also has a cast of much younger characters than any of the other movies.

TPM boasts a cast of children that we see in multiple scenes, namely Anakin Skywalker.  On top of that, we have all of Anakin’s friends who show up when he is working on his podracer and his best friend Kitster also appears in many scenes, showing us that Anakin is quite a normal young child, despite his abilities.

One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 Timothy 4:12,

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Though this was in reference to an early (“young”) church, many people use it when teaching children in Sunday School.  It shows children that they too can be an example to others, even though they are so young.

The importance of children in TPM cannot be overlooked.  It is similar to the Bible verse in that when you show TPM to a child, you are showing that this galaxy far, far away has children who went on to do an extraordinary things.  Not teenagers, not adults, but children.  Of course, I’m talking about TPM only and not the rest of the Prequels/OT because I’m not sure little Ani’s Jedi wipeout is considered “extraordinary”.

padme-tpmThough I would not label Padmé as a child, I think she is still an important figure for children to see in the movie because she is the next step up.  We see such broad age ranges of people in TPM that it doesn’t take much for children to make a leap from Anakin, to Padmé, and then to Obi-Wan.

With Anakin, we see a young boy who can create and repair giant podracers.  He then makes the hard decision to leave his mother, whom he may never see again, to go on a different life path.  At the end of the movie, he saves the day by blowing up the Trade Federation Battleship.

Padmé is fourteen in TPM, a young teenager, and we see that she rules an entire planet as its queen.  She also disguises herself and goes along with the Jedi on Tatootine so that she can know exactly what is going on with the mission.  Towards the end of the movie, she makes the brave decision to return home to her planet against advice and enlist the help of an alienated race.

Obi-Wan is in his twenties in TPM and you get to see how even though he’s in his 20s, he’s not quite old enough to be independent.  He still needs to follow the rules set out for him by older Jedi until he passes his training.  This shows younger children that there are still limits that you have to work around even when you are older.

Realizing this made me rethink my decision on waiting until ARM is older for her to watch the Prequels.  Perhaps it would be smarter to introduce TPM when she is younger, maybe as soon as she can understand plot flows and larger concepts.  I don’t think the ages of characters is something that will be obvious to her, but perhaps subliminally it will be a good message.

tpm-anakin-skywalker

Haiku Me Friday! Whine, mope, and anger…

Brooding Kylo Ren An uncle and grandfather Runs in the family

Brooding Kylo Ren
An uncle and grandfather
Runs in the family

I’m so mopey today.  I’m mopey and angry and annoyed at my health.  I finally saw a specialist yesterday for my ongoing issues and I have chronic sinusitis.  It’s basically a cold that has a bacterial (as opposed to viral) component which is why it’s not going away.  I was excited to find out that I could get treatment in the form of super intense antibiotics…and then he told me he can’t give me anything because I’m breastfeeding and they would affect the baby.  So he said I would have to make a decision to either quit breastfeeding or continue breastfeeding and then either hope it resolves itself or get the antibiotics when I’m done.

On top of that, I’ve had two weeks of pain from mastitis and other breastfeeding issues.  I’m on my second round of antibiotics in 1.5 months (first was for strep throat last month) and I’m coming to this weird decision on if I even want to continue breastfeeding.  My goal was one year but things change.

Anyway, this honestly got me thinking about the whiners and mopers in the Star Wars trilogies.  We have some fabulous ones, so here they come:

 

In third place we get…

KYLO REN!

kylo-ren-darth-vaders-helmet

(said in an announcer’s voice…think Price is Right)

Kylo Ren is a brooding, dark wannabe Sith who likes to spend long hours pondering why he feels a pull to the light side.  He mopes about his draw to the light side and when he gets angry, he takes his lightsaber out to destroy crucial equipment!  When in doubt, slash it out!  Give a hand to our runner up – Kylo Ren!

billy-dee-clapping

 

The second place award goes to…

LUKE SKYWALKER!

luke-skywalker-tosche-station

A fine young man who doesn’t mope as much, but really likes to whine when things get down.  He’s not satisfied with having to do an honest day’s work like most normal people – instead he wants to go to Tosche Station to pick up power converters!  The cherry on top is when he wistfully stares out into the sunset and you can internally hear his moping and whining that he’s stuck on Tatooine.  Though he improves over 3 films, he gets second place for his wonderful, beautifully delivered Tosche Station whine.  Give it up for Luke Skywalker!

britney-spears-clapping

 

And you must know who the final winner is now!  Our coveted first place award goes to…

ANAKIN SKYWALKER!

anakin-skywalker-crying

It must run in the family, folks.  Anakin Skywalker whines, mopes, gets annoyed, and angry in every movie of the Prequel Trilogy!  You can’t beat that.  He starts off as a young boy annoyed at the Jedi Council with a little bit of cheek; he then moves up to a sulking teenager who whines that everyone is holding him back; and finally becomes a man that is so angry he turns into Darth Vader.  Nothing beats his whining and moping in AOTC though!  Almost all his dialogue is some form of a whine which makes him most deserving of first place!

minions-clapping

 

Okay, that made me feel better.  You can go about your business…

Fan Art Friday! Groovy Jabba

This month’s Fan Art Friday was chosen by yours truly by opening the Star Wars coloring book to a random page.  Genius, eh?

I really liked how Mei-Mei had a theme for her Southwestern Rebel Mandala because these pictures can be so interpretive.  It’s different from something like the Leia portrait that we both did because Leia is a distinct character and there’s only so much you can do to change up the picture.

But with these cool looking, kaleidoscope-esque pictures – the whole world is your sandbox!  Or, however many colored pencils you have.

So I decided to take a leaf out of Mei-Mei’s book and go with a theme as well.  I decided to try to make this picture reminiscent of the 1970s and have a “groovy” feel with the colors.  I’m not sure I completely succeeded but my inspiration was the Scooby Doo show (the original! not the remakes), movies like American Hustle, and my grandparents house in Connecticut, which sadly has never been renovated and is still stuck in the 70s (they love it though and still think it’s modern haha).

jabba star wars coloring book

I’m not sure if I succeeded but I do like how with these pictures, it’s not as big of a deal if it doesn’t come out how you intended.  I was so frustrated with the Leia picture but I found I was a lot easier on myself with this one.

My favorite part of this was the two circles, which I assumed were the Tatooine suns.  I combined two colors in an on-purpose rough look and the suns came out this beautiful blood orange – just like the bottom right sun when Luke is staring out into the sunset, frustrated to still be stuck on Tatooine for another season.  Success!

luke sunset tatooine

Be sure to check out Mei-Mei’s interpretation as well at her post.