Posted in Television and Film

The Herculean Task: My Top Ten Star Wars Characters

You can almost smell it in the air, the culmination of a year’s worth of anticipation. It’s everywhere, on the radio, on commercials, like a song you can’t get out of your head, and wouldn’t want to even if you could.

It’s Star Wars season.

Okay, so maybe it’s not technically as culturally(definitely not religiously) relevant as Christmas. But there are a lot of similarities: redemption, corruption, the all-reaching power of an empire, the journey of the chosen one.

Anakin’s no Jesus, but at least in terms of timing, George Lucas knows what he’s doing.

Pretty much anybody who has known me for any amount of time knows how much I love Star Wars. I was reading Star Wars novels at 9. I dressed up as a Jedi Padawan for multiple Halloweens. I have tiny Star Wars figurines hidden throughout my bedroom, my car, even in the pots of my plants.

Man. This is turning out to be quite the therapy session.

Anyway.

I thought that since this is a Star Wars second weekend(though I still haven’t seen it so if you spoil me, I will do unspeakable things in revenge, don’t even try), I would give you my official countdown of the best characters in the movie franchise(not counting anything else, because that would take a million years).

And don’t worry, there’s no Jar-Jar on this list. Meesa not an idiot.

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10. K-2SO

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Regardless of your stance on whether you thought Rogue One was good or not, K-2SO has cemented his place as my all-time favorite droid. Even if the promise of Alan Tudyk walking around in a robot suit wasn’t enough for me, he went far and beyond expectations with that improvised slap. The saltiness of C-3PO with the innocence of BB-8 gives him the first slot on this list.

9. Rey

Please remember that I haven’t seen the newest film yet, so based on the first of the new trilogy, this is where Rey falls. I love her can-do spirit and her ability to both work alone and with others – def reminds me of Luke that way. Plus, her hair is so cute! And she’s so brave! And Han Solo loves her!

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8. Finn

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Again, haven’t seen the new film yet, but I’m hopeful he lives up to the promise of the previous film. He’s got a redemption arc! He’s sassy! He doesn’t understand why anybody wants to go back to Jakku, and neither do I! Plus, he’s a really good and loyal friend – we all need more Finns in our lives.

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7. Every Ewok Ever

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So technically not *a* character, but look at how cute they are! Does it matter which one is my favorite? Heck no! They’re like aborigine teddy bears! Half of them are played by Warwick Davis! What’s not to love?!?!

6. Princess Leia

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The sass alone is legendary. Walking carpets? Only liking nice men? Minus two points for a slave outfit, plus 1,000 for cinnamon bun hair. If your fav’s hair doesn’t look tasty, then what are you even doing with your life?

5. Han Solo

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What makes Han Solo rank about Princess Leia? The fact that Harrison Ford made up about 95% of his lines. There’s really no other reason. He just single-handedly saved George Lucas from his own curse of wooden dialogue.

4. Padme Amidala

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Queen with a capital Q. As the highest-ranking female on this list, I consider Padme to be highly underappreciated by the general public. Have you seen her outfits?? AND she prefers diplomacy to swinging around little laser sticks?? My kind of girl, I’m telling you(plus, she’s the only person who knows how to deal with yousa-know-whosa).

3. Qui-Gon Jinn

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Long-haired Liam Neeson = mentor goals. My favorite thing about him? He LIVES for drama. Go ahead, throw around the words “chosen one” all over the place. Let a child podrace for his freedom. Die in somebody’s arms. One thing’s for sure, Qui-Gon never does things by halves.

2. Yoda

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The Methuselah of the SW universe. Who doesn’t love a hungry old hermit who lives in a swamp? And he’s so small?? He could fit inside a sweatshirt like a baby kangaroo. Also, he’s a Jedi who’s seen the downfall of the republic and lived in hiding for years, and instead of being bitter and mean, he’s just gotten really, REALLY weird. Speaking cryptic crap all over the place.

Basically, when I grow up, I want to be Yoda.

1. Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Anyone who knows me fairly well will have realized who’s at the top of this list.

Light of my life. Keeper of the high ground.

Hello there.

What makes Obi-Wan my favorite Star War character? Similarly to Yoda, he’s someone who has SEEN things. His master murdered. His apprentice and best friend turned to the dark side. And yeah, he does his own little stint in hermitage, but you can tell that he never gives up hope. After all, he’s still willing to take on the whiny son of his even whinier enemy.

Can’t ever say that the man held a grudge.

Plus, throughout it all, he keeps his dry sense of humor.

Obi-Wan, we do not deserve you.

 

Posted in Music

Crazy for Christmas Carols – A Theory

It’s December, so now I can officially wish everyone a “Merry Christmas.”

Yes, I am one of those people who refuses to start celebrating Christmas until December 1. No, it’s not because I lack Christmas spirit: I love Christmas so much that I want to keep it special. Christmas ceases to be Christmas when it lasts 1/4 of the year. It’s like eating dessert for three months straight.

Simply stated: when you play Christmas music in October, you ruin my Christmas.

Now, because I’m out of the dorms for the first time in four years, my Christmas has not been spoiled, and I’m ready to listen to Christmas music again. But right before I hit play, something occurred to me.

Why are people so crazy about Christmas music, anyway?

Other than the fact that it’s verboten for eleven months of the year. Several theories quickly sprung to mind, each one more credible than the last.

Theory One: Somebody’s favorite song of all time is a Christmas song.

We all know the many virtues of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You. Or maybe you’re a classicist, choosing Perry Como and Bing Crosby over that new canned stuff. Or, maybe you’re a suburban Michael Buble mom. No judgment.

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The point is, maybe Christmas songs are your Kryptonite. Christmasite.

You know what I mean.

Theory Two: The only instrument someone knows how to play is a jinglebell.

Not really a theory.

Just wanted to be mean.

Theory Three: Nobody ever has to relearn the words to Christmas songs.

This is the strongest of my theories, aka the only viable one. The reason why people love Christmas music so much is because they know all of the words by heart, and people are by nature stupidly lazy.

Plus, there are rarely new Christmas songs to learn.

Hear me out on this one: when was the last time there was an original Top 40s yuletide hit? “All I Want for Christmas is You?” “River?”

It’s been a while, folks.

Not that people don’t try to write new Christmas songs, mind you. Almost every Christmas album is 95% Christmas covers with one or two originals thrown into the mix.

Doesn’t mean they’re any good.

Doesn’t mean they’ll stop trying, either.

But as creatures of habit, we naturally gravitate toward what we know. There is something really comforting about turning on a radio station and knowing the words to every song, and having everyone around you know them, too.

It reminds me of when I was in middle school and I was only allowed to listen to Family Life Radio and NPR. I so badly wanted to know all of the songs that my friends did, to be part of the cool crowd, to understand their references so I could laugh along, too.

Probably still guilty of these sentiments today.

So, enjoy your Christmas music, lemmings. Drink your cup of good cheer. Go ahead and wassail or waffle or whatever it is you do.

I will sit here with my sensible, prudent, and well-timed festivities-you gotta be a Grinch BEFORE your heart grows two sizes too big, you know.

ALSO, if you feel like getting into the Christmas spirit in a timely fashion, here is my go-to Christmas playlist with zero repeat songs(there are only so many versions of O Holy Night that a person can stomach on a seasonal basis). Also, zero repeat artists, because Michael Buble does not deserve premium space every Christmas season. Plus, I’ll be adding to it throughout the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Meredith Investigates

Meredith Investigates: 23 Lessons, 23 Years

Don’t you just love how I’ve turned the term “investigates” into “self-centered blog post?”

What can I say, I’m a millennial.

Now that I’m officially a year older, I, in my infinite wisdom, have decided to impart my vast knowledge to you, highly significant reader.

Or. You know. I ran out of ideas for blogs or whatever.

That works, too.

Before we begin, I just wanted to tell you that 23 is my favorite number. The reason behind it is pretty stupid – one year I won a wall calendar after guessing a number between 1 and 50. I guessed 23.

The number was 2.

But I won anyway(and it was a dog calendar, so trust me, I won BIG). And from then on, it’s been stuck inside my head even since. It’s not in the Fibonacci sequence, but it’s a prime number, and it’s one of the number on Lost, so there’s that.

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It was my jersey number when I played volleyball in high school(take that, Michael Jordan). I look for it on the string of lucky numbers on the back of fortunes from pseudo-Asian restaurants. If I try, I can see it everywhere.

And here I am – I’ve finally reached my favorite number. But what does that mean to me?

Here are 23 lessons I’ve learned in 23 years(though, let’s be honest, most of them I’ve only learned in the past few months).

  1. When in doubt, drink more water.

This is admittedly a weird one to start with, but it’s my only practical piece of advice. Literally half of my stress and anxiety problems are immediately solved after a good 8 ounces. Bottoms up.

2. Anxiety = failsafe, but failure doesn’t keep you safe.

I have a very healthy sense of fear(probably the healthiest thing about me). Anxiety, at its core, is a good thing-the body’s natural response in self-preservation. But it can also sabotage you, and it’s no guarantee of safety. The key is in learning what kind of fear helps you, and what hurts you. Which one to trust is a whole other battle.

3. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish.

As an introvert, I can’t be around people all the time, even the ones I love. Believe me, if I’m spending time by myself, it’s not because I’m angry, or sad, or trying to cut you off. It’s actually more for you than it is for me; you don’t want to see me when I’m drained, and I definitely won’t want to see you. Give me two hours, and I’ll be right as rain.

4. Pick your battles wisely.

Earlier this week I reminded someone at work that “it takes two to tango.” There is a way to be both kind and strong, pleasant but resolved. It takes a balance of both to earn the respect of others.

5. Kindness is a choice.

I am not a naturally kind person. That’s why I make it a priority in my life – even going through the motions. I want to remain soft to this world, like when I was young.

6. Your company dictates your actions.

I’ve had a lot of different kinds of friendships, but what they’ve taught you on VeggieTales and Adventures in Odyssey was no joke: choose your friends carefully. Even if they don’t change your character, they will change your behavior. I’ve literally cut off friends because of this: if I want to be kind and strong, then I need to surround myself with those kinds of people, too.

7. Nothing excuses unacceptable behavior.

I’ve sometimes made excuses for people in my life for the ways they’ve mistreated me. A bit of empathy goes in long way in these kinds of situations. But  just because there’s something “wrong” or “bad” in someone else’s life does not mean they get to treat you badly. If anything, it should show them how to treat you better.

8. Cut toxic people out of your life.

There’s a point at which, though redemption is possible, it seems unlikely. Newsflash: it’s not your job to save people. If you’re close to someone destructive, let them know they need help, and get the heck outta there. Their actions are their responsibilities, not yours.

9. Friendship is a two-way street.

This friend thing should go both ways. If you feel like you’re doing all of the favors or all of the work, it’s time to re-examine the relationship. Your time is too precious to waste on people who do not care about you as much as you care about them.

10. Relationships are more important than being right.

Moral disagreements are one thing; petty disputes are another. Too often pride can keep us apart from people we need and who need us. Don’t burn bridges when all you need is a little spit and elbow grease. Put in the work first.

11. Romance isn’t everything.

After 23 years of spinsterhood(save for a brief fling in preschool), I feel like I know just a little about being single. And honestly? It’s freaking great. I can watch whatever I want on Netflix. I can make plans whenever I want. I don’t have to figure anyone else’s wants or needs in my life, which is good, because I need all the clarity I can get.

12. Beauty does not equal love.

Like my mom always says, “a lot of funny looking people get married.”

13. Success does not equal happiness.

Duh. But this lie is more prevalent than you’d think. It’s found in families, churches, jobs, relationships, etc. Don’t be fooled – you can have all these things and still be miserable underneath it all.

14. Emotions are temporary.

As in, most emotions only last for a certain amount of time. One bad day does not a bad existence make. On the other hand, if you are consistently miserable, then obviously something needs to change. Maybe it’s your attitude; maybe it’s your life.

15. Change is necessary, but not always.

It’s good to get out and experience new things, but it’s not for everyone all the time. I moved across the state to go to college only to get a job in my hometown after graduation. And it’s everything I wanted.

16. Travel broadens the mind.

Maybe it doesn’t do much for your wallet. But I want to travel when I’m young(remember that responsibility thing? Yikes!) Relatively speaking, I’m pretty poor when it comes to leisure travel, but there are still ways to make it work.

17. Work for what you want.

This one is twofold: if you want something, you’ve gotta work for it to understand the value of it later. And if you’re not working for it, is it something you really want in the first place?

18. Responsibility is a habit, not a skill.

No one is born with the natural tendency to turn a light off when they leave the room. But there’s also no excuse for forgetting, either, once you reach a certain age. That’s what it means to be a grown-up: no excuses.

19. 85% of adulthood is doing something you don’t really want to do.

See your dentist. Make that phone call. Pay your car insurance. It’s like anybody else is gonna do it.

20. Youth is a mindset.

Take it from the girl who still played Pixie Hollow in high school. There’s more immaturity found in how you act than in what you like.

21. Expression comes in many forms; choose one and make it your own.

It doesn’t matter if it’s blogging or singing or dancing or acting or folding tiny swans out of gum wrappers. You are only here for a limited amount of time; use it to affect others for good using your unique talents and experiences. Tell your story in the best way you can.

22. Let yourself grow.

Circumstances aren’t the only things that change. You will, too. And that’s okay. You’re supposed to become a better person as you grow older, one that has learned from your mistakes. As long as you’re making progress, there’s room for the new you.

23. Stay humble.

You don’t know everything. You’re not good at everything. You’re special, but so is everyone else. You’ve been given your own individual gifts and opportunities; don’t waste them by focusing solely on yourself. Reach out. Tell your story in the best way you can.