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Star Wars Criticisms

At the end of 2013, things were pretty slow in my office.  I took advantage of the down time to catch up with movies.  Yeah, I know, pretty sneaky, but my computer can play DVDs and what the hell, right?  As long as I was at my desk, no harm and no foul.

 

Two of the movies that I caught up on were Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.  I try not to watch the Trilogy too much because I don’t want to start taking them for granted, but it had been too long since I’d seen them and it seemed like a great idea.  Unfortunately, I ran out of time to watch Return of the Jedi.

 

It was a great idea to watch them, but seeing them at my desk, where the screen was between one and two feet from my face and Leia’s eye makeup was noticeable, I came away with three complaints with the two movies I watched.  I realize that complaining about the Trilogy has become sort of an amateur sport, especially since the production of the prequels, but I think my three complaints are unique.  At least, I’ve never heard them before.

 

I still consider the Trilogy as one of the greatest cultural influences on my life, so don’t think of me as a Star Wars Hater.  With that, here are the three points I want to raise:

 

  1. At the beginning of New Hope, we see the classic opening scene, the starship chase.  The Star Destroyer catches the rebel ship (the Tantive IV).  The Stormtroopers break into the captured ship and live up to their reputation as the galaxy’s most fierce and effective military force.  Princess Leia is captured.  All of this is part of Darth Vader’s mission to recover the stolen plans to the Death Star.  It is realized that an escape pod escaped during the fight and Vader personally orders a detachment to go down to the planet’s surface and retrieve the plans.

               

We then see the Stormtroopers on Tatooine.  They are milling around the crashed escape pod.  What everyone remembers is that line, “Look sir, droids.”  That solved the puzzle of why there hadn’t been any lifeforms in the pod.  However, what I noticed were the Stormtroopers that were riding the giant lizards.

 

Those lizards are called dewbacks and their presence in the scene is my first complaint.  What the hell?  Did the Stormtroopers stop at the local dewback farmer and purchase and/or requisition them?  Or do Imperial Star Destroyers keep a stable of dewbacks on board just in case they need to search a desert planet?  Did the Stormtroopers really find it necessary to take the time to get the dewbacks when they know that Lord Vader himself ordered the mission?  In any case, are Imperial Stromtroopers trained in how to ride giant lizards?  If you need mobile troops, why use dewbacks when you have AT-ST walkers or speeder bikes?

 

The whole scene only lasts a few seconds, but those giant lizards really annoyed me.

 

  1. At the end of New Hope, good triumphs over evil.  Luke, who has trained as a Jedi for a whole three days (this could be a complaint in its own right), uses the Force to shoot that money shot into the thermal exhaust port, which sets off the chain reaction that blows up the Death Star.  This is possible because Han Solo had surprised everyone by showing up and blowing up Darth Vader’s wingman just as he was going to kill Luke, which caused the wingman to clip Vader’s TIE Fighter and send the Dark Lord spiraling into space.  The survivors of the battle go back to the base on Yavin 4.

 

What we get next is the big celebration and the medal ceremony.  I had a major issue with this.  No, not because Chewbacca didn’t get a medal.  Lots of people have taken issue with that oversight.  I had an issue with the ceremony itself.

 

The Death Star wasn’t just a rogue space station.  It was a ship and part of the Empire’s fleet.  Governor Tarkin, commander of the Death Star, would have notified the Empire when he had discovered the rebels secret base and informed him of his plan, which was to blow the holy hell out of the moon that the base was on.  You just don’t go into an engagement without telling someone.  So, after the Death Star was blown up, it was just a matter of time before a whole fleet of angry Star Destroyers, all of which lacked that thermal exhaust port, showed up.

 

The rebels responded to this threat by putting on their dress uniforms and gathering together in formation for a ceremony.  Luke is shown in a completely new outfit, so it’s fair to assume that he was able to take the time to catch a shower and clean up.  Leia, who just happened to have a princess dress laying around, certainly did.  While all of this was going on, some unnamed craftsman had to create the medals themselves.

 

It seems perfectly reasonable to me that if the rebels really wanted to have a medal ceremony, they could have done it after setting up at their new secret base that a bunch of angry Star Destroyers weren’t heading toward.

 

  1. I understand that New Hope was the first movie in the Trilogy.  The Empire Strikes Back is a much more solid movie.  Still, having said that, here’s the issue I had with the film.

 

The rebels have a new base on the ice planet Hoth.  Their base is discovered and the Empire attacks with the swarm of Stay Destroyers that probably got diverted from Yavin IV.  The rebels, after fighting a losing ground battle, evacuate.  However, before Princess Leia can get to her ship, the Empire blows up the main power generator which shakes the base and caves in the hallway, forcing Han Solo to get Leia out on his ship, the Millennium Falcon.  They escape and find themselves in an asteroid field, which was alluded to when the base commander commented earlier on the meteor activity in the area.

 

Anyway, to fast forward, the Millennium Falcon hides within an asteroid-worm thing and then on the back of a Stay Destroyer.  When the fleet breaks up, the Falcon floats away with the “rest of the garbage”.

 

Han comments that they need to find a safe port and Leia asks where they are.  He replies that they are in the No-ad system and they decide on Bespin to see Han’s old friend Lando.  Within this little bit, there are two massive issues, because the Falcon’s hyperdrive motivator is damaged.

 

First of all, there is no way that the Falcon could have been in a different planet system.  Remember, they couldn’t jump to light speed, meaning that as fast as the Falcon is, it was limited to sublight speed.  It takes an unmanned probe about five months to get from Earth to Mars.  Hell, it took the Apollo astronauts three days to get to the moon!  The Falcon had only been out of Hoth’s atmosphere for a few minutes before they ran into Star Destroyers and the asteroid field.  Therefore, they could not have been in a different planetary system.

 

Further, there was no way they could make it to Bespin and Cloud City.  Again, without light speed, interstellar travel is impossible.  So, when Han says, “Bespin’s pretty far, but I think we can make it,” he was showing his lack of ability to read a star map.

 

If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, things you’d like to see me comment on, or something you would like to discuss, you can contact me at angryhappytruth@gmail.com.

We don’t need no stinkin’ gov’ment!

Hey all,

Isn’t it reassuring to know that we the people don’t actually NEED a Federal government?

Seriously, fuck you Republicans!  Make no mistake, all of our Federally elected leaders have fiscal blood on their hands, but this issue of the Federal shutdown is mostly the fault of the Republicans.  As I write this, two days before we hit the debt ceiling, there isn’t any vote for a budget agreement because the House Republicans couldn’t even agree with each other!

Actually, let me rephrase myself.  Fuck you Tea Party!

True to Self

In August this year (2013), I had some medical issues.  Out of nowhere, all of a sudden, I had testicular pain.  It was horrible.  It hurt the most when I was sitting down which made driving difficult.  Since I drive about 130 miles a day for my commute, that was certainly not an optimal situation.

 

I saw a doctor on a Friday and she gave me antibiotics.  Two days later, on Sunday, I got my second surprise.  Fire engine red explosive bloody shit.  Now, suddenly, my balls ached and I was shitting blood.  I didn’t know what was up anymore and the possibilities of what COULD be were buzzing around my head.  Cancer, internal bleeds, spontaneous combustion, all of these seems possible to me.

 

It wasn’t until Wednesday, three days after I was shitting blood, that I could get into the doctor again.  Well, the office.  It’s sort of a roulette game on which actually physician you see.  As luck would have it, this was a different woman (in point of fact, the first doctor was only a nurse practitioner) and she cleared up the sore testicles with a single shot.  She also got me an appointment with a gastroenterologist, who I saw the next day.  He diagnosed the bloody shit as hemorrhoids. 

 

The result was surprisingly trivial in nature.  However, for three solid days, I was having two medical issues about 6 inches apart in my body.  Those three days of non-knowing represented the first time I’ve ever faced anything like that.  Like what?  Like those medical issues which makes you look at your life in review.

 

Some people come out of medical weirdness like that and think, “I’ve got to get right with God.”  Some people think, “I’ve got to get right with my family and friends.”  I came out of it and thought, “Holy shit, I’ve got to get right with myself.”

 

Looking back on my life, I was appalled at where my beliefs were, where I was living my life, and how apart they were from each other.  I made it a point then and there to start living my truth and manifesting more of my core beliefs.  Here are some highlights:

 

  1. I stopped eating meat (well, mostly) and went six weeks without any animal products.  I believe that the method used to produce 95% of American animal products is unethical.  Animal cruelty on giant factory farms is not the ethical outcome of thousands of years of evolution from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.  It’s a money grab by corporations and I refuse to participate.  I refrain from calling myself a vegan or a vegetarian though, because I am still willing to hunt and fish.

 

  1. I’ve cut a few people out of my life.  I stopped texting or calling some people that dragged me down and I’ve purged my Facebook page a bit.  I didn’t do anything horrible like walk right up to someone and say, “You suck and here’s why.”  I simply cut them out.  No fanfare, no mess, and no more drama either.  Fuck those people anyway.

 

  1. I radically changed my wardrobe.  I used to dress in black a lot.  Now, it’s almost exclusive.  I’m into the Goth subculture and I’ve stopped pretending otherwise.  I have moved a lot of shirts out of my closet, bought a few new things, and have generally darkened everything up nicely.  It’s not due to depression, it’s because I allow myself to acknowledge that there is beauty in darkness.  Note that I don’t call myself Goth, mostly because I don’t want to come off as a poser, but I’ve had a lot of independent validation from others.

 

  1. Speaking of Goth, I’ve made big changes in my music.  I listen to a lot of dark cabaret and Goth rock and have recently purged my CD collection of all the 80’s hair band stuff that I used to listen to.  Trust me, I don’t have any desire to listen to AC/DC anymore.  They’ve been replaced with stuff like Delain, Lacuna Coil, and Epica, and I’m much happier now.

 

  1. I’ve gotten out more.  I’ve been to shows two shows in the last three weekends.  One was RuPaul’s Battle of the Seasons in Indianapolis.  The other was Kamelot with Empire and Delain in Louisville.  I know, they don’t go together, but I wanted to see them.  What’s the big deal?  Well, for the last few years, I’ve allowed myself to find reasons not to go out.  It’s time I find reasons to go instead.  I did in those cases, and I had a great time both nights.

 

  1. Finally, I got my ears pierced.  It’s not the start of a trend or anything, but I have wanted to do that for a long time.  The ears pierced two days ago.  I was worried about it in my job, but here I am in my office, and no one has said anything.  Still, the studs, which have to stay in place six to eight weeks, were the smallest ones they had, not the big loops that they first showed me!

 

All of this might not seem like much, and it really isn’t.  Here’s the thing.  I’m almost 40.  If it’s taken me almost four decades to live my life like a mundane Republican, despite my inner beliefs to the contrary, then I’m not going to change everything in a few weeks.  I’m working on it though.  Big changes that I want to make are career and home related, and those changes take a little more time than it takes to visit a tattoo and piercing shop. 

 

If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, things you’d like to see me comment on, or something you would like to discuss, you can contact me at angryhappytruth@gmail.com.

All Right?

My mother asked me an interesting question today, via a text message.  She asked if I’m all right.

 

I’ve been thinking about that question.  The idea of what is and is not “all right” is mostly subjective and depends on the point of view of the person asking a question.  I say “mostly” because obviously, a gunshot victim is not “all right” if he’s bleeding out of his gut, a baby is not “all right” if he’s crying, and a truly mentally ill person is not “all right” if he hears voices telling him to castrate his neighbor.

 

Assuming that there are no obvious signs of non-all rightness, then the question of whether or not someone is “all right” depends, as I said, on point of view.  For instance, to answer my mother, I am all right.  I’m doing things in my life that are making me happy, my job is steady (well, disastrously soul crushing, but that’s neither here nor there), my family is housed and fed, and things are going pretty well.  If you took my mother and put her in my situation though, she may not see my life as “all right” at all.  In fact, not that I’m doing anything immoral or illegal, but she might have some serious questions about my all rightness if she got to live my life for a week.

 

A better question may be, “Do you feel okay?”  That’s more specific.  “Are you all right?” is answerable so many ways.  I could go on and on about my job, my family, my social life, my hobbies, or maybe the state of my mind.  When you ask, “Are you all right?”, you are usually asking, “So, are you carrying some infectious disease that I’m going to catch and/or have you been stricken by crazy voices that are telling you to eat my face since I last saw you?”  So cut out the middle man!  Ask, “Do you feel okay?”  Then I could say, “I feel okay as best as I can without a major changes in my life.”

 

That’s what you get for asking such a vague question anyway!

 

If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, things you’d like to see me comment on, or something you would like to discuss, you can contact me at angryhappytruth@gmail.com.

Inertia

A body at reset tends to stay at rest.  A body in motion tends to stay in motion.  These are phrases that have their basis in Newtonian physics, but they have been stolen and applied to human lives.  As I sit here, writing the 30th installment of the Angry Happy Truth, I understand why they were stolen.

 

I haven’t meant to go three months without an essay.  It’s just that once you stop doing something, it’s easier to stay stopped than to get up and get moving again.  I find this to be true regardless of the passion for the thing that you stopped.  Another way of saying it is, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”

 

I’d love to tell you that my absence has been caused by my massively busy work environment or my having to run off to join the Rebellion against Lord Vader’s Empire or something, but the truth is much more shameful and involves a lot of Candy Crush.  That doesn’t mean that I suddenly don’t care about the Angry Happy Truth, only that I’ve been a lazy enlightened being.

 

I’m going to make a point therefore of writing an essay twice a week.  Every Monday and Thursday, assuming that I’m in the office and not gallivanting off somewhere, I’m going to write an essay and post it that night.  I actually have a lot to say and it’s time to get some of that stuff out.

 

I will let you know, Dear Reader, that I’m going to change the direction of the Angry Happy Truth somewhat.  I have been sort of political in the past, and while those positions are still valid and important, I want to focus more on personal truth and getting a positive message out there.  Questions of who we are, what we are here to do, and is there any food that bacon does not better are going to be my focus.  Well, not so much the bacon as that answer is self evident.  Bacon does make all food taste better.

 

So, there really isn’t anything earth shattering in this essay.  I just wanted to break out of the “tends to stay at rest” inertia that has captured me.  I’ll be more interesting in a few days, I promise.

 

If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, things you’d like to see me comment on, or something you would like to discuss, you can contact me at angryhappytruth@gmail.com.

In Memory of Ashley Kruiz

Hello boys and girls.  I apologize for taking so long to post.  The truth is that life has been pretty busy.  Since writing you all last, I’ve been to an overnight quest for a job interview and been to Chicago for a national conference related to my work.  Yeah, those are reasons, not excuses, but still, I do most of my writing for Angry Happy Truth at work, and truthfully things have kept my attention focused on work and not on my blog.

 

Today is sort of slow though, so I thought it would be a good time to write something.  While I was in Chicago, I thought of a couple topics.  I thought I could write a post about a conference survival guide, which would include a suggestion to wear comfortable shoes.  I also thought it would be fun to list my top five favorite cities that I’ve ever visited.  Hint: Chicago is my new number one (Sorry Boston!).

 

I will eventually get to those topics and my usually sarcastic self.  Right now though, I want to write about something else.  Be forewarned, as I write this, I’m slightly tearing up.  Also, be forewarned, I’m sort of coming out as, well, potentially strange.  That’s especially true if you happen to know me in real life.  As a former colleague of mine often said, it is what it is.

 

On Sunday night, I attended a club near me because they were having a memorial for a lady named Ashley Kruiz.  Ashley wasn’t an ordinary lady, in the most literal sense.  She was a drag queen and had turned that aspect of herself into a successful career.  Ashley had followings in both Lexington, Kentucky and in Atlanta, Georgia.  It is not for me to go into what killed Ashley, but seeing the memorial, which consisted of performances, speeches, and stories from those in the audience who had known Ashley, it doesn’t matter.  She was loved and her death brought together, for one night, several people and performers from clubs in the Lexington area that spend a lot of time infighting and bickering each other.  That was what mattered.

 

The memorial, especially a few of the performances, affected me deeply.  I learned a few things that night.  Well, maybe not so much learned, but reminded and driven home.  I feel that it is important to share those things here.  So, without anymore foreplay, here they are, the three things that were driven home to me by Ashley Kruiz’s memorial.

 

  1.  You are responsible for your own actions

Every action you take, from what you eat for breakfast to whether or not to ask out the cute girl at the bank, has consequences, even if that action is one of non-action.  You can eat a breakfast of half a dozen donuts and that will make you feel different and have different effects than a breakfast of grapefruit and grapes.  You can ask out the cute girl at the bank and let the dice fall where they may or you may leave the bank alone and dateless and lonely.  Most of the time, you have freedom of action, but each and every action will have a consequence.  The consequences will then force you to react and will lead to your future actions.  The cycle of freedom of action and consequences will continue to repeat until you shake off your mortal coil (I tried hard to work that phrase into this post!).

 

Let the philosophers and religious scholars debate whether or not our lives are predestined.  I personally reject the notion of destiny in the way that it is commonly thought of.  The idea of personal responsibility of action was the first thing that was driven home to me at the memorial last Sunday.  The condition that plagued Ashley was a result of her own actions, make no mistake.  No amount of emotional outpouring could have changed that.  She made decisions on how to live her life, just as we all do, and she had to face the consequences, also just as we do.  It was just that some of her decisions had bigger consequences than our typical decisions about breakfasts and bank teller.  Each and every decision has potential reactions and in her case, one of those consequences was a terminal medical condition.  It is true that there are things that happen to us beyond our control, but how we react to those things, well, that goes right back to being our decision.

 

  1.  You don’t know when you are going to be cut down

There are over 7 billion people on the planet right now.  That’s a staggering figure if you think about it.  Michigan Stadium is the largest arena in college football and holds about 110,000 people.  For every person on the planet to see a University of Michigan football game, they’d have to sell out 63,637 games in a row.  If you assume eight home games a year, that would take 7,955 years.  That is, statistically speaking, a shit ton of people.

 

Here’s another even more chilling statistic though.  Every one of those 7 billion people will die at some point in the future.  Every one of those people is mortal.  Yes, dear reader, even you.  Holy crap!  Even me!  It’s a cold, hard fact, and we may take medical actions to stave off our time of departure, but in the end we can’t avoid it.

 

While we know that we will die, we can’t know (except in specific cases, most of which are horrifying to think about) when that time will come.  Death will come when it wants to and there isn’t anything we can do about it.  Each and every one of us could die at any moment.  That fact is what makes life itself so precious to us.  It is time and energy that we borrow from the universe and someday we have to give it back.

 

Ashley knew that she had her condition and I’m told that she lived with it for a while.  What she didn’t know was the time and place where she would die, so it still surprised her friends when she slipped into a coma that she didn’t wake from.  Knowing about her condition and its terminal nature though, she didn’t worry about that coming day.  She continued to perform right through it all and close to the end. 

 

  1. Taken together, Numbers 1 and 2 mean that Intention and Passion are the keys to happiness

“Live each day as it’s your last.”  That phrase is cliché and pithy and incorrect.  If I knew that this was my last day, I would take all my money out of the bank and drink myself into oblivion.  It’s better to say, “Live each day so that if it is your last, you will have no regrets.”  To me, that means to live passionately and with intent.

 

This is the big take away.  Living with intention and passion.  I’ve touched on the importance of these before, and I stand by them.  I argue that intention and passion are just as important as love as emotions because to me, love follows from passion.  Living intentionally and leading a passionate life means taking control and enjoying your life.

 

Ashley lived passionately.  She was who she was and she embraced herself.  In the process, she entertained thousands of people for many years.  She was a beautiful woman and a great entertainer.  She was Miss national in 1999 and Miss Renaissance in 2009.  She was once Miss Gay Orlando and Florida Regional Entertainer of the Year in 2012.  Here is a YouTube video tribute so that you can see her over the years http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcBM4ZfbZE0&sns=em.  Although I never had the honor of meeting Ashley, I will remember her always.

 

If you have any other questions, comments, criticisms, things you’d like to see me comment on, or something you would like to discuss, you can contact me at angryhappytruth@gmail.com.

Coffee Makers Are Easy

Sometimes I write something serious.  Sometimes I try to educate through my writing.  Occasionally, I use my blog to advocate for something, like the destruction of HB279 here in Kentucky, or as I like to call it, a State of Exile.

 

This isn’t anything so serious.  No, Dear Reader, I’m writing today to document one of the single most persistent and annoying occurrences in my office. 

 

Now, I could pick a lot of annoyances to write about, make no mistake.  There’s the almost constant whistling that comes from the coworkers on either side of me.  Or the loud conversations that take place regularly between certain weight challenged coworkers that are too lazy to get up and walk over to the cube right next door to theirs.  Or my neanderthalistic boss who manages our office into a constant state of professional obsolescence.  Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m making it seem like a pretty shitty place to work, aren’t I?

 

Ha ha!  Far be it from my to be such a Frowny Face!  Sorry about that!  Let me get on with the point of this edition of AHT.

 

We have a three warmer coffee maker.  Now, understand that I think that “making coffee” is one of those things that professionals should learn because eventually, every professional will have to make coffee as one of those “other tasks as determined later” skills.  They all work the same basic way.  Put the glass pitcher thing (called a carafe if you ever need to know for your Trivial Pursuit game) onto the warmer.  Put a coffee filter and the grounds into the thingy above the carafe, and pour water into the chamber and watch the magic happen.  Since we have three warmers, every morning some magic elf comes in and repeats that ritual three times, botching it once every day and making one pot of decaf.

 

This morning I went and saw that the coffee was popular today.  Our coffee’s popularity comes and goes, but usually the coffee making ritual has to be repeated a few times until about noon, after which time no one is willing to make more because the coffee making ritual gear has been cleaned and no one wants to get lectured by our HR lady about how they need to clean up after themselves and that she’s done taking care of children.  Oh, back to it.  So, one coffee pot had about half an inch of coffee sitting on the bottom.  The other one had even less.  Note that I don’t even consider the decaf pot in my calculation.

 

So, obviously since the coffee is going so fast, and it’s not quite 9:30 yet, someone needs to perform the coffee ritual, and the kindly elf that makes in the morning before I arrive is not where to be seen.  So, I decided that I’ll make the coffee.

 

Here’s the annoyance.  I pulled the plastic basket out to throw away the used filter and grounds and saw that it was empty!  Someone had come, almost used up the coffee, and then knowingly threw away the used grounds and filter and REPLACED THE BASKET WITHOUT MAKING MORE COFFEE!  Seriously, what the fuck?  The faucet is right there, between the coffee maker and the trash can that the idiot coworker used to throw the shit away.  This happens all the time.

 

What is the fucking point?  What thought process could possibly going through someone’s head?  Is it the case that they intend to make more coffee but they are secretly Batman and the Bat Signal has appeared in the sky right when at the critical point when the old grounds have been disposed of but before a new filter has been inserted?  Is someone taking my use of the phrase “coffee ritual” too literally and considering the act of making coffee against their religion?  Is someone just so arrogant and egotistical that they think nothing of taking the last of the coffee but beneath them to make more and they take evil and sadistic pleasure in knowing that they’re screwing the next wayward coworker who comes in for a cup of coffee?

 

Okay, that last rhetorical question actually makes sense, so maybe I’ve solved the crime.  This seems to be the act of a Neanderthal, right boss?

 

If you have any other questions, comments, criticisms, things you’d like to see me comment on, or something you would like to discuss, you can contact me at angryhappytruth@gmail.com.

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