Naturally, the first order of business is to express my grief at the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, age 60. Why do we treat celebrity deaths as such a big deal? Frankly, because they are, especially this one. With her timeless portrayal of the not-so-distressed damsel in one of the most successful franchises of all time, Carrie Fisher has touched probably billions of lives, certainly more than I ever could hope to even if my wildest dreams of writing success come to fruition. Now there's no need to make up a bunch of sentimental pretentious filler here. Suffice it to say that I love Star Wars and I love Princess Leia Skywalker Organa Solo. Of course the question now is what they'll do with Episode IX, and that's not a selfish or insensitive question at all. Star Wars is Carrie Fisher's biggest legacy and it will keep her memory alive for as long as human civilization exists. Which might not be much longer, but let's not think about that.
Steve Martin Tweeted this tribute: "When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well." He deleted his kind and thoughtful Tweet after feeling the venom of several cyber-denizens who purport to be feminists but are in reality a special breed of demon, because they felt that it was sexist. Fun fact: very few people have magic vision to see your personality and intelligence when they first notice you. Another fun fact: most people want to be attractive and appreciate it when someone says they are. Someday if my wildest dreams of writing success come to fruition, I'll commit a "gaffe" of this magnitude, and when people become outraged I'll tell them in no uncertain terms to bite me. But if Steve wants to not offend people, he should have said something like, "What? Carrie Fisher had like a mortal physical body and stuff? Weird, I never noticed because since I was a young man I've been too busy looking at her personality and intelligence. I just assumed it would live forever."
As Pauly Van Nostrand wrote, "Only in 2016 can a compliment offend people who have nothing to do with the compliment."
Yesterday I went with my father and sister to watch “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Without getting into any details or spoilers, permit me to say that while time will tell whether this film ranks in my judgment just behind “The Empire Strikes Back” as the second greatest Star Wars film of all time, but I can say that I consider it to be a hundred times better than “The Force Awakens”. That film was decent but it didn't feel like Star Wars to me and I wasn't impressed with how it ripped off virtually every element of the plot and settings from "A New Hope" and still fit in an overabundance of ridiculously obvious wink-wink-nudge-nudge moments to it. I think this one has more of a Star Wars feel while still being new and fresh and pushing the boundaries of special effects technology as far as they can go. Boy, did it ever. I'm still in awe.
The Christmas church service involved six hymns and a musical number. It was a little excessive, to be honest, but I did thoroughly enjoy the spirit there. I have nothing against white people, but I do love the rare opportunities I get to see people of multiple ethnic backgrounds gathered together because frankly it's beautiful. My parents' ward has more diversity than my entire Utah stake, even though the student body at USU has equal or greater diversity. I noted two black people, one with five mixed-race children, and at least twenty Asians, mostly Chinese I think, one of them also with five mixed-race children. No Hispanics because they have their own branch (for language, not ethnic, reasons). I enjoyed it so much that for the first time in years I felt like going back to a family ward someday, with or without a family, may not be so bad.
My sleep patterns motivate me sometimes to cry out, “What idiot designed this thing?” There's no correlation between when I get up and when I can fall asleep, I don't have any say in when my brain decides to wake up the next morning, it takes me a week to recover from Daylight Savings Time or a time zone shift, and I can be woken up by someone talking on the sidewalk outside my window. While I'm wearing earplugs. Which I do every night. Other times, I just wake up for no reason and can't get back to sleep for two hours or so. I try not to be a jealous person, but when I see someone able to fall asleep in public, within less than an hour, I immediately despise them. Oh, you like to sleep, do you? How would you like to sleep forever? So getting up at quarter to five after already having woken up twice for no reason while still sick after a week of being sick so I could catch the bus to catch the plane to go to Indiana and be woken up by honking trains thrice nightly and then a final time by the creak of a floorboard as one of my sisters gets up at 7ish, which is still 5ish for me, was an adventure of sorts.
I remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed and energized. It was in April 2009 the morning after a nine-day trip to Spain. Somehow the major time zone shift and our crazy schedule canceled each other out. I yearn to achieve that feeling again, and that's another reason why I don't concern myself about getting married, because I think one impossible goal is enough for a person. In the meantime I wake up every morning feeling like a dead battery and fantasizing about having an "off" switch that makes the same distinctive sound as our old computer when it shut down. Before I get up and adrenaline/the grace of God takes over and gives me some semblance of functionality, I'm in a state of mind where I couldn't be held accountable for anything I think or do. I'm being completely serious when I tell you that this was my last thought before getting out of bed on Monday: "The girl I was watching spontaneously combusted, Anakin. Don't you hate when that happens?"
The Cracrofts' First Christmas
It's been a few weeks since I shared anything from this scripted-but-not-drawn comic series, so to recap, it's a scripted-but-not-drawn comic series (previous posts here). This is the storyline I alluded too once that's loosely based on "The Gift of the Magi", and it's the first Christmas that Alvin, his dim but lovable wife Rachel, and their pet Komodo dragon Steve all spend together, so that sets it in 2004, which turns out to be relevant in this case. It went unfinished for over a month until I threw the rest of it together yesterday and today, so it needs work and I'm not at all satisfied with the humor but I wanted to share it now instead of waiting almost a year for another suitable time.
Alvin (looking at bills, thinking): Well, crud. It looks like money's gonna be real tight this end-of-year. I hope I can still get Rachel something great for Christmas.
Alvin (thinking): I bet she'd like a swing set in the front yard... I could push her, she could push me, we could ride side by side... but looks like we'd be cutting it real close, budget wise.
Alvin (thinking): Aaargh! Why must money get in the way of everything?
Rachel: Thanks for taking care of all this financial stuff, Alvin. It always stresses me out.
Alvin (thinking): Hmm... I bet my Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10019-1 Rebel Blockade Runner would fetch a decent price on eBay...
Alvin (thinking): Good thing it didn't come with any minifigures so I don't have to look into their distraught little faces...
Alvin (thinking): I never fancied myself the bounty hunter type, yet here I am selling the Rebels to the highest bidder.
George (on phone): A swing set? How old is she?
George: I got your mother a book on zoology and a collection of poetry. You know, intellectual stuff.
Alvin: She doesn't like to take herself too seriously. Are you going to help me move it or not?
George: Does it gotta be on Christmas Eve? We could do it any other day; she wouldn't know the difference...
Alvin: Who pissed in your eggnog, dad?
Rachel: Steve, I think I know exactly what to get Alvin for Christmas. Promise not to tell?
Rachel: A Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10030-1 Imperial Star Destroyer would look great chasing his Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10019-1 Rebel Blockade Runner. Eh?
Rachel: Hmm, you're right, it's not in its usual spot. He must be cleaning it.
Rachel: I don't want to spend Alvin's money on his own present, but I haven't got any of my own.
Rachel: Think, Steve. We'll have to be creative. I must have some natural asset that I can sell for a quick buck.
Woman (on phone): I'm sorry, ma'am, but we are not interested in your saliva.
Rachel: What about Komodo dragon saliva? It has over fifty kinds of bacteria.
Alvin: No need to get me anything, Rachel. I got you this year and that's enough for a lifetime.
Rachel: Oh, shush.
Alvin: No, really, it's fine...
Rachel: I'm not listening.
Alvin: Well, just saying. By the way, you've been wearing that hat for three days now, haven't you?
Rachel: It's all the rage this season.
Alvin: Open your eyes! Merry Christmas, Rachel!
Rachel: A swing set! Alvin, you're such a doll!
Rachel: I can't wait to tell everyone that we're swingers now!
Alvin: Maybe we should keep this to ourselves.
Alvin: A Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10030-1 Imperial Star Destroyer! Rachel, you shouldn't have!
Rachel: Told you I wasn't listening.
Alvin: This must have cost a small fortune...
Rachel: I guess I can take this off now. My head is getting itchy.
Alvin: Ah. That explains a lot.
Rachel (bald): Good thing you didn't get me a hairbrush or something, huh? That would have been awkward.
TV headline: 9.3 Magnitude Tsunami Strikes Southeast Asia
Reporter (on television): Preliminary estimates have at least a hundred thousand dead or missing...
Rachel: Judas Priest...
Rachel: Alvin, would you be terribly offended if I sold the swing set and donated the money?
(Alvin looks at her in awe of her kindness)
Alvin: I guess that's the true meaning of Christmas. I'll pitch in the Star Destroyer too.
Rachel: And what about you, Steve? That's your neck of the woods, right?
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia - Life Day Song
I intend no disrespect or tastelessness with this tribute to Carrie Fisher. Yes, the Star Wars Holiday Special, which has come to be associated with Christmas even though its one and only broadcast was during the Thanksgiving season, sucks beyond comprehension. And it has the distinction of being the only film where Mark Hamill was prettier than her, owing to the excessive makeup necessitated by his recent car crash. And she was visibly coked up for the duration of her small role (who can blame her?). But I've always honestly kind of liked this part. She prefaces it by announcing, "This holiday is yours but, we all share with you the hope that this day brings us closer to freedom, and to harmony, and to peace. No matter how different we appear, we're all the same in our struggle against the powers of evil and darkness. I hope that this day will always be a day of joy in which we can reconfirm our dedication and our courage. And more than anything else, our love for one another. This is the promise of the Tree of Life."
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.