(Written by Jerrod Kaplan, grade 4)
Two ships are in battle.
The Star Cruiser I against the evil Megoton ship.
The Megotons feel they should be able to own the universe. But the Star Team, a group of millions of freedom fighters, think they shouldn’t. So this is where they met.
The Star Cruiser I slowly falls back. Then the Megoton ship locks on forward lasers and blasts Star Cruiser I into space dust.
The Star Team at the Academy are feeling very low. The commander decides to do something about this loss of ships. So he orders workers to make 20 Star Cruisers and fourteen squadrons of Star Fighters. He knows he can’t locate the Megoton ship with scanners because of the Megoton ship’s amazing ability to block all scans.
As soon as the Star Cruisers and Star Fighters were finished, he ordered three squadrons of Star Fighters and Star Cruisers up to Star Cruiser 10 to be launched. It took about two hours before they all got launched into space to try to seek out the Megoton ship with Micro-scannic binoculars. It took about four hours to even have a Star Figher pilot think he saw the Megoton ship.
The commander had enough. He took the Academy at light speed and tried to find the Megoton ship along with the Star Cruisers and Star Fighters. Then a Star Fighter from squadron 2 saw the Megoton ship at the farthest range of Micro-scannic binoculars. So the commander ordered all ships to the landing bay. He decided to send two men into the Megoton ship by one of the Megoton ship’s fighters, a Star-Destroyer.
So the two men go and they find the Megoton ship was a little bigger than they thought. They had to follow other Star-Destroyers so they could get in. It was dark in there. There was a little torch lit so they could see their way around to find some infra-red glasses. Once they found them, they put them on. They expected everything to be a bright red. Instead it was like someone turned on a 100 watt bulb!
Their mission was to knock out all scanners so the Academy could attack. They finally found the scanner room, and they found a few guards. So out came the blasters set on stun, and before the guards knew it they were in the recovering room.
They searched around until they found the right scanners. They didn’t want any more damage than necessary. When they found the right scanners they marked them with tilonite. Then the blasters came out. Set for blast, they shot beams that made the tilonite along with the right scanners went boom. Then they got out of there as fast as they could.
It was a little hard finding their way out. They took about 4 wrong turns but finally found their way out. But they heard footsteps! Guards! They looked around and up. There was a siranite door, the strongest material they knew. There was a target for a blaster to hit, so the door would close. They shot a beam up, and the door shot down. Just in time, too. They heard firing against the door. They went to the landing bay, but their ship was gone! So were all the others! But one was coming in. As soon as the ship landed, the Megotons got out. They set their blasters to kill, and the Megotons went ouch.
They took the ship and went back to the Academy. Since they were going back to the Academy they might as well do a little homework. So they shot down 4 Star Destroyers on the way back. As soon as they landed at landing bay the commander took the Academy light-speed to the Megoton ship. It was about 30 minutes before they got to the Megoton ship.
The commander sounded battle stations and a red alert. They fired all attack lasers and set fire to parts of the ship. Then the Megoton ship found out what was going on. The Megoton leader ordered to fire a destroyer ray at the Academy. It didn’t hurt much because of the shields. The commander of the Academy ordered to lock on forward lasers and fire but a beam came out of the Megoton ship that blocked forward lasers. Then one of the lasers from landing bay turrets hit the Megoton ship’s fuel tank and KAABOOOMMMMMCCCCC!!!!!
There was a lot of celebrating at the Academy for the victory of Star Team.
It occurred to me almost a week ago that there was a very good chance I would be completely alone this Christmas.
My roommate would be out of town. My family is scattered throughout the hemisphere. The other family I had, the one that I thought I’d be spending Christmas with, doesn’t exist any more. So it was looking likely.
That, and there were no elements of Christmas that I was used to. No tree. No decorations. This place where I’m living isn’t home; I’ll be moving in a week. Decorating just wasn’t worth it.
So I would be alone, in a house that was about as non-Christmassy as you can get.
And I decided I’d be okay with that.
Intellectually, it’s just another day. But on an emotional level I’m still, in some part, a traditional Midwestern boy, and I love my holidays. However … Christmas is a family holiday. And while I have a crowd of great people who offered to take me in … they’re not family. I could have found a plane ticket to Arkansas and spent time with my dad, like I did last year, but …. no. So it’s not like I didn’t have alternatives, and it’s not like I didn’t have family willing to invite me to have Christmas with them. It just didn’t work out.
I planned on maybe going for a hike. Maybe going for a drive downtown. Wishing a happy holiday to whoever I ran across.
But that didn’t happen.
Last night was a fantastic Xmas Eve Dinner surrounded by a great group of friends. Today I managed to sleep until 10, followed by yogurt with pomegranate seeds and stuff. Then I went to a movie with some friends. Then, later, another movie, with more friends. It was a full, fun day.
It didn’t fit into the preconceived mold I have for what Christmas is supposed to be like. But it was still a great day. I’m sure there’s a lesson that will sink in, there, eventually.
I haven’t used Tumblr in … how long? A year? I guess I’ll just use it from now on for big events. Like marriages crumbling.
(I began this a few weeks ago. I’ve decided to finish it by just listing the facts. Anything else seems pointless.)
A six-year period of my life has ended in a one-year marriage and brutal break-up. Well, brutal is relative. No screaming matches, no throwing pieces of her mother’s china. Just … sudden, unapologetic ending. Last night, I cleaned the whole house and went shopping to cook a nice birthday meal. I didn’t get far before she came home. She immediately started packing. She told me she’d being staying at a friend’s place, and that she could no longer be around me. She wanted to split permanently after Thanksgiving.
Fortunately I have a kind of self-preservation instinct that makes me go emotionally numb.
This is the culmination of a break-up that began, probably, a few months ago. We had our first real breakdown on our honeymoon, in Kauai, when little nagging logistics stressed us both out. It was then that she finally vented to me about things that have been going on since we met. Some of the things she’s tried to tell me before, but I didn’t fully understand. These problems all existed before The Girlfriend … but it wasn’t until she came into the picture that Omy had a frame of reference to know just how dissatisfied she was. With me.
She insists The Girlfriend (heretofore referred to as TGF) has nothing to do with her decision. But the timing is too close to dismiss as coincidence.
Since Hawaii, she’s tried to end things 3 or 4 times. I convinced her to reconsider each time (with various degrees of help from friends or family) … but this time, her mind is made up.
I moved out. We’ve had little communication since then, mostly because I’ve been avoiding it. I miss her like hell, but dragging out the physical and emotional separation would not be beneficial.
The other day I dropped off a few things at her place, while she was setting up the Christmas tree. TGF was there (naturally), but she thankfully kept her distance. (Side note on TGF: I wish I could bring myself to hate her or something. She actively pushed to end my marriage, which is pretty unforgivable. But I can’t. She’s actually a really cool person, and her actions weren’t driven by malice.) While I was there, I set up a different router to restore their wifi, and hung out with her kids for a bit. It was nice. But weird. Like a glimpse into another life that isn’t mine anymore.
Christmas will suck. This is a fact. But I’ll make the best of it.
Maybe I’ll just use Tumblor as a dump for movie reviews from now on. Might as well use it for something.
We went to see Girl with a Dragon Tattoo last night. It was odd, since I just saw the original movie a week or so ago, and loved it. (For clarity, I’ll refer to them as Mark I and Mark II. For further clarity, this does not refer to anyone named Mark.)
In short: Mk I was better. But not by much.
Mk II was definitely a solid movie … I just don’t think Fincher has the patience to do a murder mystery. He whizzed past (or glossed over) some fairly important — albeit boring — plot points. If I wasn’t already familiar with the story, I would have been totally lost. Mk I’s pacing was smoother, more fluid, but not more exciting. Mk II had more style, but there was no sense of discovery as the characters unraveled the mystery.
Some of the changes were interesting, from a film-making perspective. The time line was tweaked very slightly. I think it was a good change, and I’m impressed that they thought to do it. The ending though … not sure what happened there. The ending of Mk I was left open, hinting at further adventures. Mk II’s ending went on for several additional minutes, and hit a fairly bleak note. It may have been truer to the book, but the bittersweet mood they were going for seemed out of place.
Some changes just sucked … in particular the climax between Lizbeth and Mr. Bad Guy. In Mk I she made a crucial decision; in Mk II, she was a spectator. Lame. And her backstory was cut almost entirely, perhaps to make room for the not-all-that-interesting-or-relevant new material at the end.
Oh, and Noomi and Rooney were equally hot, even though they screwed up Rooney’s eyebrows in Mk II.
Helicopter tour of Sedona Omy and I took after our wedding.
I guess this is a good excuse to type words into Tumblr.
11.11.11! Omy and I got hitched. Here was the plan: drive up to Sedona mid-morning, relax a bit, set up moderate and tasteful decorations at the insanely perfect location next to Oak Creek. Begin ceremony at 4pm, relax and chat and toast champagne and nibble cake for a couple hours in the clearing by the gazebo as the creek babbles beautifully in the background, then head leisurely over to the restaurant for dinner.
Here’s what happened.
We left late, of course, but still in plenty of time. Omy and her kids were in her car, my brother, the dog, and the wedding cake were in mine. We had to make a stop to get clothes for Estevan, which cost us 20 minutes or so. But we were still leaving Phoenix before noon. The weather, which was making a mild threat of wind and rain that day, was instead pleasantly sunny. My brother and I stopped for gas just out of town, putting Omy about 15 minutes ahead of us.
I fired up Google Navigator, and noticed a red warning light I’d never seen before. Touching it showed me a warning a few miles ahead. Several miles of nearly stopped traffic. We found out later that a lettuce truck had overturned on the highway, blocking the right lane and clogging about ten miles of road. Navigator estimated the 90-minute trip would last about 3.5 hours. We hit the traffic soon, and inched along. Consulting the map, I saw what was, in theory, a shortcut that would take us past the vast majority of the back-up.
We’d gone about half a mile in the past thirty minutes. Up ahead, people were getting out of their cars and stretching.
I signaled and took the exit. In seconds we were traveling faster than the highway traffic.
In a few more seconds, the asphalt ended and we were driving on a dirt road. Keep in mind my car is a light, sporty Celica, and has as much ground clearance as the average vacuum cleaner. But it was a smooth road.
Less than a mile later we were passing people going the opposite direction, waving frantically. One stopped me. “There’s no way through! You have to turn around!”
“Great! Okay, thanks!” I said, and continued onward. Most helpful people are dead wrong at least once.
Eventually the road ended, and I, following Navigator’s advice, ducked my car through a roughly car-sized hole in the scrubby desert trees. It was at that point that the “path” became composed of grapefruit-sized rocks, and Derek pointed out that this wasn’t really a good idea at all. But we’d gone a mile or so by now, and had passed so many cars on the highway, I felt obliged to press on.
The rocks ended, but the dirt was uneven in wildly undulating ways. We tilted 45°, then tilted 45° the other direction. We caught up to a brave driver ahead of us, who was in a black Hyundai sedan. He was helpful in navigating my low-profile tires around the terrain they were never designed for. My brother managed to silence his doubts for the most part, but he kept his legs clenched tightly the whole time.
At one point the road became more roadlike, and I could see the highway; even at our low sports-car-on-a-rough-dirt-road pace, we were flying past the traffic jam. Navigator said we were nearing the end of my dangerous, but genius, shortcut.
Then we came to the river.
It wasn’t a real river, this being Arizona, but it was a steep slope down into 100 yards or so of bowling ball-size boulders. The black sedan ahead of us stopped and questioned his sanity. Derek vocally questioned mine. Again.
Slowly, the sedan plunged down the slope into the riverbed, and I followed, somehow managing not to bottom out my car on a sharp boulder. We could see the road sign for the entrance back to the highway. Almost there….
Somehow … we made it. No damage to the car at all. Unfortunately … remember how the cake was riding with us? It didn’t enjoy the jostling at all. We didn’t learn that until later though.
Half a mile later we were past the scene of the accident. There was a lot of lettuce.
I stopped at a rest area. We were pretty hungry by now, and the snacks we’d packed were all in Omy’s car, so we waited for her, removing much of the time we’d gained from my wonderful shortcut. (Our officiant — officiator? — and photographer were still far behind Omy, so we couldn’t start without them anyway.) We burned about half an hour there … before Omy realized she had locked her keys in her car.
Fortunately, Arizona rest stops are great places to find people who know how to break into cars. We had a dozen or so people helping at one point. It only took an hour or so before one of them managed to flip the door lock with a long piece of metal.
Off we went. We made it. We were only ten minutes or so late for our own wedding.
There was a flurry of activity … unloading vehicles, introducing family members, setting up decorations. Omy began the dressing process, which apparently takes a while for girls on their wedding day. I threw on my tux, the kids got dressed, we went back to the clearing with the gazebo, and just as the light was starting to fade, Omy came down the stairs, looking hot.
Robin started the ceremony. Fortunately Stephan had found some electric lanterns; it got dark quickly down in the valley under the trees, in the shadow of the mountains. Kai read his poem/blessing, my mom belted out a song a capella.
I wasn’t really prepared for the emotional impact all of this would have on me. All these people traveled so far, just for us, for this. I’d avoided freaking out by imagining it wasn’t that big a deal; we were just having a ceremony to cement what we’d already decided, after all. But it was a big deal. We said our vows to each other, we exchanged rings, Robin closed the ceremony with a beautiful Sanskrit poem (I could see her breath in the light of the lantern at this point), and we kissed. And it was done.
Hugs happened, and we popped open the champagne. The cake was beautiful … only because Omy’s sister had done pastry surgery on it.
We did a cursory clean-up and left for the restaurant. In short: food was fantastic, they handled the large party quite well, but they couldn’t get Omy’s name on the reservation right even after three corrections, and I have a feeling they charged us almost double what they agreed on.
They served our cake too. It was amazing.
Definitely a most memorable day.
Honeymoon donation center
The cost of my recent computer upgrade is entirely justified just by watching this video in HD. I feel I should point out that a tracking shot while shooting time-lapse is way friggin’ difficult.
I went jogging the other night, here in downtown Salt Lake City. Alone. I picked paths at random, choosing well-landscaped lawns of public buildings over car dealerships. I’m in a strange city I’ve never visited; my feet had never before landed on those spots. And I entered some strange zone, the same mental state that made Paris so enjoyable for me. Maybe a combination of slight fear of an unknown place and curiosity of seeing new things? I become totally centered; my mind stops wandering. I just look, and listen, and feel where I am.
This state of mind is something I’ve only successfully found when I’m traveling alone. I wish I could get it at home, but familiarity seems to be the enemy here.
On the 81st Day of the year 2011, did The Creater waketh up in a terrific mood. And he did say, “I think I’ll pick some dude at random and shine My good luck down upon him, that he may know I am Awesome.”
And so it was that the dude He picked liveth in Arizona, and was named Jerrod, and Divine Luck did shineth down upon him in the form of Ricardo.
An old washer and dryer did sitteth upon Jerrod’s yard, where they had sat for two days since a new washer and new dryer arriveth. Jerrod knew not what to do with them, and was filled with despair. And so did Ricardo looketh upon Jerrod’s yard, and did see the old washer and old dryer, and did asketh unto Jerrod, “You no want? Ees okay I take?” And it was then that Jerrod knew that Divine Luck was shining upon him.
“How much you want both?” Ricardo did asketh unto him.
And then did Jerrod shruggeth his shoulders, for he knew not how much to ask.
“Fifty?” did spake Jerrod.
But Ricardo wailed and gnashed his teeth, and clutched his chest, and raised his face upward, for fifty was too much, and would leaveth him with no money for gas. “$30 ees okay?”
And then Jerrod furrowed his face, for he thought that was how haggling was done. He shruggeth again, and said “Okay.”
So Ricardo did giveth unto him a $50 bill, and did ask for a $20 bill in return, and Jerrod knew again that luck was shining upon him, for a $20 bill was unto his wallet, even though he never ever has cash on him.
And then did Jerrod and Ricardo rejoice, and did loadeth the old machines into Ricardo’s truck. And Jerrod kneweth at that moment that the day would be filled with Awesome.
This isn’t as much a funny video as it is evidence that Peter Weller has created a new level of Awesome.
I can’t watch this enough. Something about the look of sheer terror as she feels her career unravel through her mouth.