Like My Father Before Me

I think it’s just my slight contrarion nature that makes me dig my heels in about Empire. I get that it’s objectively from a filmmaking perspective the best movie. But it doesn’t move my heart the way Return of The Jedi does. (I realize that after tomorrow, we can no longer just call it Jedi…that’s kind of weird…)

Anyway, here’s some stuff we get:

  • Jabba The Hutt and his weirdly psycho sexual den of inequity. This also leads to Twi’lek slave girls, and of course, Leia in that damn bikini. (But also Leia the Hutt Slayer)
  • Han and Leia are an official couple! YAY!
  • Luke is a Jedi (almost) though Yoda and Obi-Wan’s ghost claim that he can’t be a real Jedi until he kills his dad. I mean, I love them and all, but that’s a real dick move. (Turns out that in order to be a real Jedi, all Luke has to actually do is stand up and declare it.)
  • Obi-Wan reveals that Luke has a sister. Luke thinks about it and notes that he only knows like one girl, so it’s probably her.
  • We meet the Emperor. So that’s pretty cool. He’s a huge asshole. He no longer controls everyone around him, but he still thinks he does.
  • Yoda dies. After the rebels win, Luke sees his ghost standing alongside Obi-Wan’s, and suddenly, Ooooh, his father, who appears as his sexy-pants, 20-something self. (This is controversial, a lot of people are made very angry by it. I think it’s sort of dumb, but eh.)
  • Vader straight up refers to Luke as “My son” the whole movie. This is because he is awakening to his true self.
  • Luke never attacks in that light saber fight. It’s not the Jedi way.
  • Everytime that I see Luke burn Vader’s body now, I think about how weird it is that Kylo Ren went to Endor and took the helmet all melty like so that he could mope in front of it begging for guidance to the dark side.

That’s it for the original triology! Tomorrow we’ll  talk about The Force Awakens, and then OMG YOU GUYS! The Last Jedi, comes out tomorrow! WHO’S EXCITED!

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Do Or Do Not, I Know, I am Your Father

Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is largely regarded as the best of all the Star Wars movies. I quibble with that. (I have very strong feelings about A New Hope) But it’s a very good movie, and I always enjoy watching it.

Let’s dive in!

  • Luke is a Commander now. Way to get promoted Luke. He’s also been continuing his Jedi training somehow…instinct? Those holograms that Kanaan and Ahsoka used to teach Ezra? Kanaan or Ezra themselves???? (SHUT UP THIS IS MY HEADCANON!)
  • Obi-Wan’s force ghost shows up. Hello first Force-Ghost!
  • Han and Leia have a thing going on. It develops into a full on love affair. She finally says she loves him as he’s about to be frozen in carbonite. He responds with “I know.” Women everywhere fall on the floor.
  • Speaking of swooning, we meet Lando Calrissian, smoothest opperator in the whole dang galaxy.
  • Luke goes to Dagobah to train with Yoda. Yoda has, kind of lost in seventeen years of exile. He’s still a badass, but he’s on the bonkers side. He and Obi-Wan have some force ghost chats.
  • Luke faces a phantom version of Darth Vader in a cave. When he strikes it down, his own face is revealed inside the mask. FORESHADOWING!
  • Vader is looking for Luke, and decides the best way to find him is by torturing his friends. I assume he comes up with this plan because you know, it’s what he, Anakin Skywalker would do.
  • Luke goes to Cloud City to save Leia and Han, thus falling into Vader’s trap. Vader cut’s off his hand, reveals that he’s his father, and that he has a plan to overthrow the emperor together. (Anakin is BAD AT PLANS. Vader is SLIGHTLY BETTER AT THEM, but this one seems not so great.)
  • Yoda eludes to another who could help with the whole restarting the Jedi bussiness. (This means Leia.)
  • While Leia and Han are on the run, they are pursued by bounty hunters, including one Boba Fett. I wonder, does Vader recognize Boba as the brother clone of his former troops?
  • This is also the first instance of Wedge Antilles! (WEDGE!) And the use of the “Rogue” call sign (ROGUE!)

 

Merry Dapper Day: 11/21/2017: “The Wilderness Mus Be Explored”

I’ve gone on seven trips to Disney World in the past 2 years, and the one thing that surprises people more than, “and you don’t have children?” is when they ask what my favorite thing to do is, and I say, “Walk around Animal Kingdom.”

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My Disney trips have had me fall head over heels in love with the Animal Kingdom, and this was even before Pandora opened and gilded the lily as it were.

And this day, this magical wonderful day, had us (mostly because Juli is something of a genius.) really diving into exploration of the park.

We started the day in Pandora, at 8 AM sharp. We had a 9:10 fastpass for Flight of Passage, so we started on Na’vi River Cruise, which I really love riding, it’s such a beautiful and peaceful and lovely experience. I also love the woven queue, the explanation of the various animals you’ll see on the cruise, and of course, the incredible Shamaan Audio-Animatronic.

Then we did some running around and exploring, before our fastpass came up, and then we did Flight Of Passage.

I’d wondered if maybe, maybe I’d with the long wait, and hype for it, been overwowed by Flight Of Passage.

I no longer feel that way. This ride is exceptionally wonderful. It’s beautiful, well executed and didn’t even make me queasy this time around. Hooray! Then we stopped by Pongu Pongu, to get some snacks. I was excited to try the Lumpia, and I also grabbed the Mo’Ara High Country Ale, since I’d tried the Grog Ale last time, Dom got the Grog Ale, and Juli got the Night Blossom, for the Insta of the thing, and also, because it did not occur to me when I ordered it, it wasn’t yet 10 AM. (Our early start had my internal clock off by a bit.) Ah, whatever, it was vacation, if you can’t drink at 9:30 in the morning on vacation, when can you?

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Juli with her Night Blossom

The Lumpia is really good and I get why people were freaking out about it back when Pandora first opened. I’m a sucker for anything desert-y with a cream cheese base. I also liked the beer, again, I’m a sucker for an Amber. Though I preferred the Grog Ale. And if I had a choice, I’d go with a Safari Amber instead.

We then decided to begin the “Wilderness Explorers” part of our day, which allowed for much of the exploring that we did. This was something Juli insisted on, and she was absolutely right! We chatted with the Explorerer troop leaders in Pandora and took a boatload of pictures, before making our way to Harambe to check in for our brunch at Tusker House.

Tusker House has a mixed internet reputation but it’s Kristi’s family’s favorite and my friend April also counts it as a stand by for her family. Plus in these seven trips in two years, I hadn’t yet done a character meal.

really loved this restaurant. The layout is a market style for the buffet with lovely thick wood tables where we sat. And of course there’s the characters in their safari finest!

During the meal we met with Goofy, Daisy, Donald and Mickey. This was our third encounter with Goofy and we were thrilled about it. Specifically though, I was psyched to meet with Donald and Daisy, since I was wearing my Webby Vanderquack Disneybound this day.

The food is really interesting and cool, and we specifically book at 10:45 so that we could get a taste of both the breakfast and lunch options. Also, the drink options at Tusker House come from Dawa Bar, which means I got to have a Sugar Cane Mojito, which, as I’ve stated before, is my favorite bar made mojito I’ve ever had. (Disney is one of the few places I let myself have rum, because my opportunities to be ah “friendly,” the way I tend to get when I drink rum, are limited.)

Once we finished there, it became clear that it was about to rain, and we decided to head in to Festival Of The Lion King. Neither Juli nor I had done this show before, and I think that I’m going to fit it in to every itinerary from now on. It’s truly spectacular.

Then it was on to more Wilderness Badges, this time, by going to Gorilla Falls again, then after that, we had Everest Fast Passes, and completed those badges. It was then on to my favorite (very super favorite) thing in Animal Kingdom, The Maharahja Jungle Trek. Unlike Gorilla Falls, the trek is almost never crowded, it’s tucked back in a weird back corner of the Asia section, rather than in a highly trafficked ride exit dump, and it’s residents are a bit more subdued. We talked to a cast member about the tiger cubs. (I was really hoping we’d see them.) He explained that they’re not on display yet, as they want to limit human contact with them. Disappointed but understanding we were happy to at least see their proud papa wandering around.

We had a truly magical moment, however, as we reached the aviary. I’ve walked the Jungle Trek many times and never, have I seen this area so alive. Birds were zipping above our heads, skittering around on the ground and perched happily singing in the trees. It was exceptional.

Post Jungle Trek we headed to Disney Springs where we all did some shopping, and then back to the hotel, where we picked up dinner and relaxed in the room. (And had one of those quiet exhale moments that I’m so crazy about.) We headed back over to the park to experience Pandora at night and Rivers Of Light.

I was head over heals for Pandora having only seen it during the day. Seeing it at night just further cemented my love for Animal Kingdom. Seriously, I’m obsessed. Maybe someday I’ll have an Animal Kingdom trip, where I stay at lodge and only go to Animal Kingdom, except for one night when I go over to the Poly to have drinks at Trader Sam’s. (This is not a logistical reality, just something that I fantasize about.)

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Then it was off to Rivers Of Light. We stopped by the Thirsty River Bar first, where I tried to Himalayan Ghost, which is, I must say, incredible. I really do need to incorporate Guava Juice into my home mixers.

The show was spectacular. I really like it, and I think the only reason that it will never eclipse Illumiations as my favorite is because I don’t have childhood memories of it. (And for the moment, it’s sort of a pain in the butt to see.)  It’s so beautiful and interesting and well done and the song is great.

After that, it was time for our party to part ways. Juli and Dom were getting up super early to begin their drive home, and still had packing to do. The park was still open for about an hour, so I decided rather than be in their way while they packed to further explore at least in some fashion.

I knew I had a few options, but I landed on heading to Nomad Lounge and having a night cap, and then hopping on line to ride Na’Vi River Journey one more time.

Settling in at Nomad I had a Night Monkey and chatted with the bar tender, before settling up and heading over to River Journey, where I talked to a family as we wound through the cue, and then headed out to the bus and back, where I crashed out.

BONUS Departure Day:

I had a 9:42 flight. I didn’t book it that way. I’d booked in the afternoon hoping to get in a morning at Studios to do Star Wars stuff. (Juli and Dom have no care for a galaxy far far away and I wasn’t going to force my super-fandom on them) But, American Airlines changed their flight times, so, here we are. I skipped Magical Express, since it was picking up at 5:35 AM for the Holiday rush, and I knew I didn’t need that much time.

I got up, took some pictures of the room, and grabbed a Lyft to the airport and then it was home, with no hiccups.

Overall, this was an incredible trip. Longer than I usually do, and much more strenuous. Coming up later in the week, we’ll do a hotel review & favorites, and then I’ve got a special, things I’ve learned in my Disney Year post!

But for now, well, as they say, See You Real Soon!

Our most desperate hour, final confrontation and ALL THE SEXY

Hey guys! We’re into Star Wars: Episide IV: A New Hope (also three posts today, whaaaatttt…) also know as simply Star Wars.

This is the one that started it all…and what a start it is!

Here’s what we get:

  • It’s been 17 years of Imperial rule. Luke Skywalker intends to enroll in the Imperial Academy, to get the eff off Tatooine.
  • Princess Leia is also a senator (badass) she’s also a spy! (Awesome!) She also sends the Death Star Plans to Obi-Wan in R2-D2! (She’s the best) unfortunately her badassery leads to her planet being blown up.
  • Alderaan blows up
  • Han Solo (he of all the sexy) transports Luke and Obi-Wan to blown up Alderaan in order to circumvent the bounty Jabba The Hutt has placed on him.
  • Obi-Wan gives Luke Anakin’s Light Saber. Also tells him a big ol lie about Darth Vader murdering Anakin
  • Speaking of, Obi-Wan and Vader face off. Vader kills him, he becomes One With The Force.
  • Luke blows up the Death Star (with a defensive assist from Han) Vader proves that he’s still a great pilot.

So that’s that! I wish I had more to say but most of what we’re told in this movie gets laid out in the prequels.

Stardust, One With The Force and Hope

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is never going to be my favorite Star Wars movie. It’s not even my favorite Star Wars movie to come out this decade. It’s really good though.  It’s also grown on me quite a bit.

Here’s some stuff that’s dropped in.

  • Empire’s bigger and scarier than we’ve ever seen it. Countless people come, they compel Galen Erso into completing the Death Star, but he tricks them, by building in the self destruct sequence that of course, sets of the course of this whole exercise, into the station.
  • We learn that there are people who were NOT JEDI who still followed the way of the force, they include Jyn Erso’s mother, Donnie Yen (I do not know this character’s name, I can’t remember it. I’m sorry) and Donnie Yen’s awesome friend.
  • Because he is the DARK LORD OF DRAMA Darth Vader makes his home in a giant black tower on Mustafar. You might remember this as the horrible lava planet where he choked his pregnant wife to death, and then his best friend cut off all of his limbs and left him for dead. Seriously, if there was any doubt that the man Anakin Skywalker still exists, this is the proof. “THIS IS THE SIGHT OF MY LARGEST AND MOST DESTRUCTIVE TEMPER TANTRUM! I SHALL MAKE IT MY HOME!” “But why?” “BECAUSE I MUST WALLOW IN ALL OF MY WORST FEELINGS AND IMPULSES! HAVE WE MET?”
  • The Rebel Alliance is kind of a mess, which is also sort of great. It is however run by Bail Organa, who declares that he is going back to Alderaan. (DON’T GOOOO! Stay on Yavin IV, which is, incidentally where Poe Dameron is from.) and Mon Mothma. As previously noted Bail Organa DOES NOT MESS AROUND, so the alliance holds
  • Everyone in this movie dies, pretty much, which is why we never see any of them again. This was a very good plan.

We’re into the OT this afternoon y’all. (Yes, I doubled this up with A New Hope last night.) HOORAY!

Merry Dapper Day: 11/20/2017: “That Time Of Year”

If there’s one thing that I’ve done in this year of Disney that I do not every feel the need to do again, it is the 4 Park Day.

While very fun, these marathons are exhausting, and made more so by the discontinuing of the Express Bus Service. (Seriously, such a bummer that this isn’t a thing anymore.) If other people I’m with want to do it, I’ll nope out at lunch time and take a nap.

Anyway, all this to say, that I’m glad I did both of my 4 Park Days this year, but I am not doing it again for a very long time.

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So, we got up early, there was a 7 AM extra magic hour at Animal Kingdom, and we drove over. We were through the gates by 7:45 and on Kilamanjaro Safaris by 8. After the safari, (which went well, again, I don’t know that I’ll ever top February’s safari trip, but again, this one was very good.) and then did Gorilla Falls, before grabbing a fastpass picture and then driving to park at the TTC. (We planned on finishing the day at Magic Kingdom, so this made the most sense.) Then we caught the Monorail to Epcot, since we had some Fastpasses (and a burning desire for some Via Nappoli Pizza.) there. We rode Living With Land, then got on The Friendship Boat, and hit Italy, hoping for a walk up to Via Nappoli. We got a table in about 10 minutes (I always forget how fricking HUGE that restaurant is) and a pepperoni pie and a bellini made the whole day a little better. (I was feeling my hangover from the day before, LET ME TELL YOU!) We then backtracked to the Land pavillion again, to ride Soarin’ and followed that up with a ride on Imagination.

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Somewhere in there, we managed to take this picture.

I haven’t done either Living With The Land or Imagination since I was kid and they were fun to revisit. Living With The Land is super relaxing and the tour of the Greenhouses is really cool, and honestly, who doesn’t simply adore Figment?

After that we worked our way to the back exit, took a Friendship Boat to the Yacht and Beach Club to check out the Gingerbread Carousel. Juli’s always said that The Boardwalk is her dream resort, where as I lean more Yacht & Beach, and I think after catching a glimpse of Storm A Long Bay, I’ve brought her over to my point of view. (STEP INTO MY WEB!) We then got back on the boat, and headed to Studios.

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Because of lines, we opted out of any of the rides there, but did catch Muppets 3-D, For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing A Long, (which featured a special ending with “That Time Of Year” and “When We’re Together” from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.) We also hung out on Sunset Boulevard and watched the projection show “Sunset Season’s Greetings” which goes onto the Tower of Terror. It’s a really cute show, and I especially appreciated that one of the segments is based around “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” which has always been my favorite version of that story.

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We settled in for Fantasmic after that, and golly, what a good show that is! I haven’t seen it in a while, but it’s Juli’s favorite, so we were definitely not skipping it. We managed to see the actual fireworks from “Jingle Bell Jingle Bam” while we waited, as well as the finale of Illuminations! (Pretty cool stuff!)

Fantasmic really is great though, it’s sweet, and an excellent use of characters and has some great music in it. The five minute long Pocohontas section is a little bit dated. (I mean, I’m just saying it wouldn’t be hard to say, switch that up to be about a young Polynesian girl wondering how far she’ll go…) But otherwise, this is a stone cold classic.

Our final stop was Magic Kingdom, where we arrived just as the lights were dimming for “Happily Ever After.” Our plans were all Fantasyland based, so we saw the fireworks, but not the projection show. (Still really good.)

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Also, got these cool pics with the fireworks in them!

We rode Under The Sea, and then Dom wanted to check out Winnie The Pooh. I’m not a huge fan of that ride, and was wearing my Rapunzel Disneybound, so I went to meet up with Punzie herself (and my girl Tiana!)

As I talked about my “best day ever” with Rapunzel, I thought about how lucky I’ve been this year, to share my favorite place with so many people I love so much, and how happy I am to have made these little touchstones for myself.

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Chatting with Rapunzel = My favorite thing to do on trips. For serious.

Juli, Dom and I met up altogether at the latern photo spot by Rapunzel’s tower, and then we headed out to get to the TTC and then home.

The lines for both the monorail and the ferry were bonkers, so we walked to the contemporary and took the monorail from there. Once we got back to the hotel, we all quickly crashed out.

Our final day might have been my favorite…I’ll get into why when I talk about it tomorrow! (Yes, I’m burning through these write ups…I had to do something to distract myself during the boring/terrible parts of the prequels…so you know…most of the prequels…)

William

Get to know WIlliam Santino! A Gold Ol’ Boy from Pantona, who thinks Marina’s a total hottie.

The Marina Chronicle

I’ve never been one to not admit when I was wrong, and I have to admit my anxiety about returning to Dovetail was completely unfounded. Each night since we came has been delightful.

Every day it feels like new people are pouring in to join the guard, or to pay homage to Annalise, or to present their heirs.

This happens a lot. Provenence leaders, richer merchants and even vassals have brought every son who’s between the ages of thirteen and thirty. Annalise seems to find it amusing and the best part are the nights.

There are dinners and dancing and a great deal of fun. Tonight we finished eating and I was watching everyone start dancing, and smiling more than I had in ages.

“You’re alone more often than I’d think,” I turned and saw William Santino next to me. I felt my face flush. He looks so handsome in…

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