The Four(ce) is With Luke

Each day I have a conversation with my son Luke.

He tells me he’s a Jedi.

He tells me he’s a Wookiee.

But he’s quite insistent that he is not a Wookiee Jedi.


Because he’s never seen a Wookiee Jedi in any of the Star Wars movies.

Luke turned four and his knowledge of Star Wars scares inspires me. He can make Star Wars jokes. He can quote lines of dialogue. And he loves to point out errors in his Star Wars books (of which there are plenty).

But Luke’s abilities this past year have not just grown in relation to Star Wars. He’s a lot better able to carry on a conversation. He can tell stories and jokes. He can clean up after himself. He’s going to school every day and he likes it. For the most part.

I hope this next year is a good one for him. And that he eventually gets to see a Wookiee Jedi in a Star Wars movie.

Hope’s Sixth Crazy Year

I feel it says something that Hope’s sixth and fifth birthday posts are on the same page.

Well, it’s been a busy year. Since Hope’s last birthday, she:

  • Went to the beach for the first time
  • Went to her first Weezer concert
  • Started Kindergarten
  • Learned to read
  • Learned to write
  • Has become a regular helper in the kitchen
  • Has seen her first Star Wars movie in the theater (six times)

So yeah, she’s growing and becoming this awesome little person who’s fun to hang out with (and is already asking me when the next Weezer concert is).

Happy Birthday, Hope!

Returning to the Galaxy Far Far Away

When I was five years old, I anxiously awaited the arrival of Return of the Jedi to the movie theater. And I wanted to fly the Millennium Falcon.

Thirty-two years later, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of the sequel to Return of the Jedi to the movie theater. And I still want to fly the Millennium Falcon.

As the release date of Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens gets closer, the hype keeps increasing. I was a fan during the dark times of the late 80s and early 90s. I couldn’t wait to see the prequels. But that was different. We knew where the Star Wars story was going. The prequels were all history. The story ended (discounting Expanded Universe) with Return of the Jedi.

Now, here we are, 30 days out from the debut of the official continuation of the Star Wars saga. A new entity owns the Star Wars universe and has big, long-term plans for the saga and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve read a few articles recently similar to one published in Wired, which claimed that the story is ongoing, I’ll never see its end.  You know what? I’m fine with that. Star Wars has been a huge part of my life. It’s fueled my imagination and taught me to dream and to be an optimist. It’s been with me throughout good times and bad. And I’m happy the story won’t be ending. I’m happy that I’ll be able to share it with my kids.

The next 30 days can’t go by quickly enough.

The Birthday Luke’s Been Waiting For

Don’t tell my son Luke this, but his third birthday is today.

He’s keenly aware of the fact that he’s three. It’s just, according to him, he’s been in birthday mode for a few weeks. It all started a few weeks ago, when we were talking about birthdays and telling him his birthday is coming up, to which he replied that that day was his birthday. That led to him repeatedly singing “Happy Birthday” to himself. In an effort to have some fun with him, I told him that day was my birthday and started to sing to myself. He promptly cut me off, looked me in the eye and said “Happy birthday to not you.”

Every time since then, whether it was in a restaurant where the wait staff sang to a customer or at the zoo where we passed someone telling a kid happy birthday, Luke has told me that that day was his birthday. I’ve dreaded/anticipated the follow-up, him going up to the person and giving them a “happy birthday to not you,” but mercifully, that hasn’t happened. Thankfully, he’s kept that to just me. So it makes me feel special.

Anyway, happy birthday, Luke!

Happy Birthday Hope!

Happy birthday to Jedi Knight*, mermaid* and the snappiest dresser in her family, Hope.

Just today, Hope and I were gardening- she was actually helping me put some plants in the ground and I thought to myself it’s amazing that she’s not just mimicking me, she’s actually performing a task. And I realized how much trouble I’m in now that I have a five year old on my hands.

The past year has been a blast. And looking back at last year’s Hope birthday entry, there is an item to update- Hope has seen all six Star Wars movies, so we’re ahead of schedule on that**. Nice to know I’m doing one of these parenting things right.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the next year. And not just because I’ll be watching a new Star Wars movie in the theaters with one of my children.

Happy birthday, Hope!

Hope is five


**going to have to write about this sometime.

Only Kids Can Make Bad Jokes Funny

Yesterday I was drying Hope off after bath time. She was complaining that the towel was too rough, so I told her the old joke about the guy and his talking dog. If you’re not familiar with it, here it is:

A guy has a talking dog and brings it to a talent scout. “This dog can talk!” he says. “Okay, Spike, what’s on the top of a house?” “Roof!” the dog replies. The agent grumbles. The guy then asks the dog “what does sandpaper feel like?” “Rough!” the dog answers. The talent agent tells the guy he has one more chance or he’ll throw the guy and his dog out in the street. “No, hang on,” the guy says. “This one will amaze you. ” He turns and asks the dog: “Who was the greatest home run hitter of all time?” “Ruth!” goes the dog. The talent scout boots them out of his office onto the street. And the dog turns to the guy and says “You think I should have said Hank Aaron?”

Hope clearly didn’t get the joke. But she laughed.

A few minutes later she asked if we could tell the joke together, with her supplying the dog’s answer. I said yes, so we told it to The Civee and Luke. The joke went normally, with her going “Roof” and “Rough.” But when I asked “Who was the greatest home run hitter of all time?”, she replied ” Derek Jeter.”

She may very well be funnier than I am.

Teasing Star Wars

This morning was an exciting morning to be a Star Wars fan.

The first teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was posted online. The short teaser doesn’t show much. A few shots of characters and locations (one familiar location, no familiar characters). But by the last shot, where the greatest spaceship in the galaxy loops and rolls over a desert planet, I was drooling for more.

This teaser reminds me of 16 years ago, when the teaser trailer for Episode I was released. That was also exciting to have new Star Wars material for the first time in a long time. That teaser gave a lot more away than the Episode VII trailer does. But times sure are different. Back then, I was in my dorm room, downloading a video file that was about 20 Megs large. The source was some guy’s camcorder from inside a movie theater. Even though the official version of the trailer was released shortly thereafter and has been available on DVDs and YouTube for some time, I think I watched that poor quality AVI file more than any other version.

Here’s the Phantom Menace trailer (the official) version for comparison:

Next to the Episode VII teaser, this is practically a full-length feature. It has dialogue, multiple locations, familiar characters. And it’s about double the length.

To me, while the Episode I trailer felt like Star Wars, after seeing today’s trailer, I can say that the Episode VII one is Star Wars. And the appearance of a certain hunk of junk may have something to do with that.

When Kids Correctly Identify Cultural Artifacts

Earlier this morning, I was at the computer, mesmerized by the following image, purportedly from the trailer of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens:

I asked Hope if she knew what it was. Her reply was immediate: “The Millennium Falcon!”

To which Luke, who was in the next room, responded: “Han Solo!”

Days like this I feel like I’m doing the parenting thing right.

Weezer: Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Everything Will Be Alright In The End CoverI’m like most Weezer fans in that the band’s first two albums are my favorite. While I love their remaining six albums, there’s just something about 1994’s The Blue Album and 1996’s Pinkerton that just gets me.

The Blue Album was the first album I heard where I felt like I had something in common with the performer. As for Pinkerton, as a (then) college student, I could relate to it on a whole different level.

Weezer has released a bunch of solid albums since then, but their latest album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is their first since Pinkerton to feel like the songs all matter to the band. This is an album about something- the songs are about relationships and how everything we build eventually goes away. These are songs written and performed by men with families, writing from that point of view. There’s a concept behind the album and if you’re paying attention, you can see it. As a grown man with a family, I can relate to these themes and songs. As a Weezer fan, it’s always wonderfulto have an album full of great, rocking songs. But it’s even better to be able to relate to the songs.

The album’s first single Back to the Shack has been on available since July. While it’s a decent song, it is by far the album’s low point. It’s an important statement with a great riff, but the other songs are just better.

Take for instance, Lonely Girl, which sounds like it could have been on 2001’s The Green Album, but wasn’t held back by that album’s production choices. Or opener Ain’t Got Nobody, a classic Weezer-sounding rock gem with discernible structure. The album has two historically themed songs, The British Are Coming and Cleopatra, which are both great songs in their own right. The album seemingly ends on Foolish Father, which is the most emotionally deep song Weezer has done since Pinkerton. But after Foolish Father is a three-song mostly instrumental suite, The Futurescope Trilogy which closes out the album with guitar solo after guitar solo.

In a lot of ways, this is the album Weezer fans have been waiting for since 1996. But for those of us who have enjoyed the albums between then and now, it’s nice to have something that takes the good things from those albums and improves on them.

I could close this out with an Everything Will Be Alright In The End style pun. But this isn’t the end for Weezer. And everything will be more than alright.