Whoah, that’s heavy.

I want to apologize for an unexpected outage in my blog this week. As was embarrassingly brought to my attention, my website was completely taken down after an adventurous hacker decided to delete everything. Some content was lost. Luckily, a backup of the majority of things existed, and my wonderful brother got things back up and running.

No big deal, that’s just a mannequin. In a spacesuit. Listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” IN A TESLA CONVERTIBLE. IN SPACE. ON A FREAKING LIVESTREAM.

So, now that my content is actually live again, I want to address the piece of history that took place on the Space Coast today. If there’s any consolation to living in a small, conservative town, it’s hosting rocket launches in your backyard. And so today, I was treated to the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. I’m sure you know by now that Elon Musk put his personal Tesla onto the rocket, complete with an astro-mannequin in homage to the one and only David Bowie.

To boot, the radio, playing “Space Oddity” on an endless loop, reflects the most important rule needed for any space travel: DON’T PANIC.

There may be so much crap going on in the world, but today, something truly spectacular happened and we stepped forward in our scientific development. Maybe it’s the copious amount of Star Trek I’ve been binging lately, but there’s just something about it that makes me shiver with joy. Humans can be amazing.

Solo: A Star Wars Trailer

I can pretend like I’m not excited for this movie, but honestly, Star Wars owns my soul. The teaser last night during the Super Bowl was outstanding, and this trailer just confirms how much I am going to get hyped for this movie. I will reserve judgment on Han (honestly, who can fill those shoes? It’s the reason we can’t recast Leia. Impossible.) Looking forward to this being awesome. What do you think about the new trailer?

Wet

I sit here, legs curled into one another, and eyes still adjusting to light. It’s 10:30, and I am wide awake. It’s the rain. I open the door to assist the dogs in their first freedom of the day, as I accompany them onto the back porch.

I think at first I am alone, but then the slow pace of casual raindrops quickens, and within moments, I am surrounded by the echoing hum of a downpour.

We have needed rain so badly here in Florida. Drought conditions have caused hundreds of wildfires, road shutdowns, and watering restrictions. The wildlife suffers along with us, and even the snakes are invading homes in the hopes of finding water.

Florida has always been wet, and a few years ago, you could time the afternoon thunderstorms to the hour. As the world changes, and time passes, the climate here has transitioned and our cold winter month is now only a few days. But rain, rain is something that is a constant in this pseudo-tropical climate, so when we miss out on nearly 11 inches of expected rainfall, it’s fairly damaging to the area.

But this morning, it’s raining. The rain is falling so hard from the clouds above us that the forest is shaking with delight.

My Pathfinder Initiative: A Road Bump (Month 3)

Today marks twenty-five days past my self-imposed deadline for the next entry in the Pathfinder Initiative I began to better my life. I’ve managed to nearly skip an entire month, and as the days stretch, I feel the increasing pressure to produce something for accountability. (IT’S WORKING!) Unfortunately, I’ve attempted the entry a dozen times, and I can’t seem to get past the lede. Continue reading “My Pathfinder Initiative: A Road Bump (Month 3)”

Wee First

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Wee friends

This past weekend, we finally had the chance to experience my verra first Highland Games, thanks to some wonderful employees who helped cover the bar for us. I’ve been battling a cold, so it was a bit of a struggle to get out the door early enough for a full day. Still, we managed to squeeze in nearly five hours at the games themselves, and the fresh air seemed to do wonders for my allergy-induced cold.

If you don’t know already, I am unabashedly, profoundly, and deeply in love with Scotland. I love their weather, their vegetation, their food, their drinks, their accents, their fashion, and their wildlife. Scotland has always fascinated me, and the love affair blossomed when I visited in 2013. (More on that later.) And so, the Highland Games were satisfying in so many ways, from the haggis-flavored everything, to the throngs of kilted kin tossing, pulling, and pushing heavy objects everywhere. Continue reading “Wee First”

Here comes the General

264981_10100610153264917_986997695_nGrowing up, I always wanted to be a princess, but for some reason, the “princess mold” never fit well with me. I preferred blue jeans and baseball hats, balanced with tea parties and makeup. Perpetually mouthy, I use my sarcasm and self-deprecation to diffuse any situation. Like millions of others, I grew up loving Princess Leia – my snarky, no-bullshit role model. And like those millions, I am heartbroken that the fearless, courageous, and inimitable Carrie Fisher is now gone.

In a world filled with smoke and mirrors, infected by selfies and photo filters, there aren’t many real people anymore. Carrie Fisher stood out among the masses with her middle fingers and punchy remarks; she was a true leader of the rebellion against bullshit. I’ve followed her on Twitter for some time now, clinging to every emojii-filled quip, and adoring her cheek, or simply, her beloved dog Gary.

But last week, the world became an emptier place when Carrie suddenly passed. Fucking Christmas. Unfortunately, Carrie didn’t leave the hospital, and she left us mere mortals to fight 2017 alone. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years young. She was less than a year older than my own mother. That’s too damn soon, people. Just last year, she proved to everyone in Hollywood that you absolutely CAN age as a female actress and be a total fucking badass, beautiful heroine. She was flawless, and I loved every moment of General Leia on the big screen. Through tears, I watched as she lost Han, not knowing just one year later, I’d be crying because I lost her.

Roller Derby Leia, at Star Wars: Celebration
Roller Derby Leia, at Star Wars: Celebration

Quite frankly, this is the hardest celebrity death to hit me. I’ve cried more over this than over people I’ve known. I always had the dream to meet Carrie, but I never had the money to stand in line and get the pleasure.

I’ll never forget attending Star Wars: Celebration here in Orlando; she was a guest and her autograph line spanned the length of the exhibit hall. There was no way I was meeting her. We stood about 20 feet outside of the autograph and photo spaces, attempting to peer in between the inch-wide cracks in the curtains just for a single glimpse. Was that … that’s Mark Hamill, isn’t it? OH MY GOD IS IT? WAIT, IS THAT? AHHHHH.

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Leia and Han’s love story was the main inspiration for our 2012 wedding. I even walked down the aisle to Princess Leia’s theme.

It was a few minutes after we identified a pair of shapes as “probably” Mark Hamill and “maybe” Carrie Fisher that a friend trotted up to us with a tale. He had been in line for Carrie Fisher. A gentleman ahead of him pulled out a giant Star Wars poster with almost all of the Star Wars cast autographs on it. We’re talking old-school autographs, acquired over a period of years. The poster was plastered in sharpie scrawls, and Carrie Fisher was one of the last autographs it needed. Carrie, being as spectacular as ever, obliged and signed the poster … except … she signed it: “Suck my dick.”

This threw the guy into such a fit of rage that he ripped the poster up, to the horror of all. I remember hearing that story and realizing at that moment just how much I loved Carrie Fisher. While she could have simply signed her name and fit within his mold, she broke away and left her characteristic sass emblazoned on the paper. That poster would have been worth so much money with that unique sendoff, and it’s a story I will never forget.

So that’s how I’d like to remember her, my princess, and my general. She may have drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, but she will forever remind me to rebel, hope, sass, and most importantly, never apologize for telling a stranger to fuck off.

Thank you for everything, General. And until next time, keep those stiffs on their toes.

Fifteen After Fellowship

It’s incredible to think that FIFTEEN years ago, I was sitting in a movie theatre in Columbia, South Carolina with my parents, waiting with baited breath for The Fellowship of the Ring to begin. It was a midnight showing, and my awesome parents (who united back together for a night to honor our love of Tolkien) took me, a hormonal 15-year-old, to see it.

When the music began, my skin shivered and my heart began racing. The sultry tones of the opening monologue heated my blood, my mind began to scatter, and I was in it. As I watched my favorite creatures (hobbits, duh) come to life on the big screen, and no longer solely in my imagination, I dazzled in delight. There was a sharp intake of breath as I watched Samwise Gamgee – my favorite book character to date – breathe life onto the screen. There he was, my Samwise! It’s known that I have crushed on Sean Astin since his Goonies days (I just want to remind everyone he kissed a girl named Andrea so really what did anyone expect) and I applied to Notre Dame solely because of the influence Rudy had on my early years. So when Samwise waltzed onto the screen, with his golden curls, and his perfect intonation, I did like any normal teenager – I squeeeeeeeed. Thankfully, my parents ignored me to save me embarrassment.

As the movie progressed, I was blown away. I don’t think I even blinked, and I barely breathed, forgetting any basic functions while the perfect world of Tolkien perfectly played out in front of me. But then, the hobbits were running from the Ringwraiths. The tension in the theater could be cut with a knife; everyone was intensely focused on the chase. “Buckleberry ferry!”

The hobbits ran. The Ringwraiths galloped faster. The music rose. The action intensified. YES. THIS WAS AMAZING. I WAS SO EXCITED. MY STOMACH WAS IN KNOTS. MY HEART WAS BEATING SO FAST I COULD FEEL MY SKIN, I …. oh GOD OH GOD OH GOD

I immediately motioned to my parents that I needed to GO RIGHT NOW PEOPLE. My heroic dad ushered me out quickly as I dashed to the bathroom, and proceeded to puke my brains out for a solid five, gut-wrenching minutes.

Looking like I had just endured my own chase through the woods, I slithered out of the bathroom, as pale as ever. I looked up at my dad in defeat and tears, and he knew – we had to go home.

I was crushed.

Today

Ever just have a total shit day at work? I started off not getting enough sleep (again) thanks to a distributor making a delivery mistake. My poor kitchen manager had his windows smashed in, and they forgot to bring us potatoes (most of our menu is potato-based.)

Did I mention I started my period? Oh, I haven’t mentioned my monthly menstrual musings yet? There you go. Quota met.

Pair all of that with the continued stress of life, plus some things going on in the background that I’m not ready to talk about yet, and it becomes the perfect storm.

So when the night was closing out, there I was, sitting at the bar with my glass of water and grilled chicken, feeling pretty low. A minute later, one of my staff came rushing down to me and told me “She knows your song! She was singing ‘I Should Go!”

A lady leaving my bar had heard my Mass Effect song parody, and SHE FANGIRLED. Guys. I HAVE A FAN! Like, that was the most magical, amazing thing that had ever happened. This brilliant human came up to me, excited to meet me, talk to me, and tell me how much she loved my song. It was the most wonderful thing to experience, and I hope she knows how much it meant to me.

So thank you, kind lady, for turning my day into a heartwarming, feel-good, fuck-yeah kind of night. I love you.

The Appendices

Oh, hey, remember me?

It’s been a really long few months. I admit that I haven’t been taking care of myself like I should. September and October in particular left me feeling ragged, magnified further by powerful migraines and chest pain. I had pushed my stress to such a breaking point that anything would set me off into a flurry of tears, tension pain, and hyperventilation. So … let’s just say I wasn’t exactly surprised when my appendix decided to secede from my body and I needed emergency surgery.

Continue reading “The Appendices”

‘Emma Approved’ and Why Web Has Won

The face of storytelling is radically changing thanks to the explosion of social media and closer access to the global community. One of the wonderful upsides of this evolution is the birth of web series, that is an episodic drama or comedy that is published through the web (no film or television.) Some of the best shows I have seen are purely web series, whether it’s The Guild, Dragon Age: Redemption, or more recently, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD.) 

Last year, a company now officially called Pemberly Digital, took a chance on a unique retelling of the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice. In their vision, Elizabeth Bennet was a voracious lady starting a webcam project to detail the story of her life – for educational purposes! The series, which has won several awards and nearly 2 million views on the first YouTube episode, was a resounding success for the company and cast, so when Pemberly Digital announced their next project, the internet awaited with baited breath.

Unfortunately, Welcome to Sanditon truly paled in comparison whether for lack of translation, characterization, or simply a weaker story (I lean toward the latter.) Pemberly’s third series, however, has been an absolute brilliant success that has not only proven their ability to perfectly and beautifully translate a story, but also shown the world how much they have grown and that they’re only getting better.

tumblr_mv6oxsqEdw1qlbyp3o1_500-2Yesterday the finale episode of that series aired, wrapping up several months of perfection from the cast and production team. Emma Approved, a modern retelling of another Austen classic, took Pemberly’s web series model to an entirely new level, incorporating social media accounts and corporate sponsorships for the characters and a fully interactive website/blog to further suspend our disbelief. The lovable, though misguided, Emma was an absolutely perfect modernization of the character.

Without spoilers, the story follows the original closely, and the chemistry (which ended up being real!) between the main characters can’t be matched. 10/10 would watch again. Seriously, GO WATCH THIS NOW!