Jake Lloyd, Mental Illness, and Laying Off on the Bullying

Jake Lloyd, the actor behind Episode I’s Anakin Skywalker, was recently moved to a psychiatric facility after spending ten months in jail following a high-speed chase with police in South Carolina in June 2015.  While the information has been out there for a while, the fact that Lloyd suffers from schizophrenia is once again in the news, perhaps in a higher profile way than it had before.

There are about a hundred things we could talk about with this.  Psychiatric facilities versus jail, support for mental illness, lessening the stigma of mental illness.

Because let me tell you guys something.  As someone who suffers from a mental illness herself?  It sucks.

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Bake It So: Come to the Dark Side – We Have Waffles

This review provided by our friend Raul.

With what started as a harmless Facebook “Share” from my sister not so long ago for a holiday not that far away, I was gifted my very own Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker[1].  As it was a early Christmas present, and given the permission to use it as soon as it arrived, I armed myself with my trusty box of Jiffy baking mix (which, in my opinion, makes excellent waffles and hotcakes) I did what any self-respecting gay does on a Sunday: Brunch.

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The Force Awakens: A New Hope

Star Wars was my life growing up.  I could quote all of the movies, and then one Christmas an aunt bought me Shards of Alderaan as a gift, and I realized there was an entire expanded universe out there for me to read.  And holy cow, did I read them.

I’ve talked about what it was like to grow up as a geeky teenage girl before, and therefore why it’s so important that Star Wars feature women.  At that point, Lucasfilm hadn’t yet been sold, and the prospect of Episode VII was still something that would never ever happen.

And yet, here we are.  We stand ten days away from Episode VII, which, to all appearances, features a lead female character.  It features an African-American actor as one of the leads, and a Hispanic actor, and Jessika Pava, the Hapa Pilot Queen of Bria’s Heart.  The commercials for tie-in products have featured girls challenging antiquated gender roles–one using that exact phrasing, mind you. The Campbell’s soup commercial for the Star Wars chicken noodle soup features a little boy and his two dads.  A Disneyworld commercial shows an adult African-American woman playing with a lightsaber.  This Halloween, I saw X-wing pilot uniforms for little girls.

Matthew made a compelling argument in his TFA hopes column that Star Wars has been a signpost for the way the movie industry moves.  If he’s right (and I see no reason to think he’s wrong), it’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan.

As most of you know, Shane and I had a Little Jedi (though my Imperial sympathizing husband might give her a different name) at the end of August.  She is a beautiful little girl who had a Wonder Woman onesie for Halloween, complete with shoes (with capes on the back).  My best friend cross-stitched the Avengers logo on a onesie for her.  Brian and Nanci bought her a BB-8 plushie.  Shane and I bought her a DC friends Golden Book.  One friend works at the Marshall Space Center and sent NASA merch.  Another friend sent Superman and Batman bibs.  The very first thing I got for her–and the way we announced that we were expecting a little one–was a Green Lantern onesie.  Oh, and we’ve already shown Little Jedi her first episode of Star Trek.

This child is already close to peak geekiness, and she hasn’t even learned to crawl.

But as she gets bigger, she’s going to have options.  She doesn’t have to go hunting in the boys’ section for t-shirts with Green Lantern symbols.  There is an entire line of Star Wars clothing for girls, thanks to Her Universe. She will see girls playing with Star Wars toys on television.

So if there’s one thing that I hope for out of TFA (other than a really awesome Star Wars movie), it’s that I hope that the incredible combined media power of Disney, Lucasfilm, and the Star Wars franchise continues to have an impact on the way our society sees girls, women, and their interests.

My little Jedi deserves that.

Walmart’s Star Wars Commercials Challenge Antiquated Gender Roles

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching daytime television while I’ve been on maternity leave, which means I’ve seen some commercials I haven’t seen watching prime time.  The first one I saw made me smile.  “The Circle Is Complete” starts with a dad bringing home a Kenner action figure for his son in 1983.  Fast forward to now, the little boy is now a dad and brings home a TIE fighter Lego set–for his little girl.

This thrilled me.

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Review: Aftermath’s Prose

AftermathI usually hate reading present tense prose, at least in professional fiction.  It’s always lent itself to fanfiction in my mind for some reason, so when I read the first excerpts of Aftermath when they were released, I wasn’t impressed.

Boy, was I wrong.

I read Aftermath in between feedings and diaper changes of our new little Jedi-in-training, and every time I set the book down, I looked forward to picking it back up again, and had the book come out before Little Jedi’s arrival, I probably would have read it all in one sitting.

Many of you know that I am, by trade and training, a professor of literature.  So while the rest of our staff has reviewed Aftermath based on its content, I want to focus on the style and why it works so well for this novel.

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Bake It So: Boonta Eve Podracing Pie

This weekend is the first picard with hatweekend of May, which means it’s time for The Race.  You know the one, where all the best line up at Churchill Dow…I mean, Tatooine…and make the run of a lifetime.  And if it happens to be be time for that other race too–the one with the horses and the hats, well, so much the better.

Having discovered that I have been transplanted into a heathen land that knows no such delectable as this particular pie, I bring to you Boonta Eve Podracing Pie (aka Definitely Not Kentucky Derby Pie).  (Also: there are several versions of this recipe out there, and I’m not entirely sure where ours came from.  So if you see one similar, let me know so I can give credit.)

Yophoto 1u will need:
1 9-inch deep dish pie shell or 2 9-inch regular pie shells
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
1 tbsp. bourbon (optional)photo 2

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Laying out your pie shells, layer your chocolate chips evenly across the bottom.  (I used two pie shells for this recipe, as this pie is very rich).

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs together with sugar, flour, and melted butter.  Add vanilla and bourbon, if desired, and mix in nuts.

Carefully put your filling in the pie shell on top of the chocolate chips, doing your best not to dislodge the layer of chocolate chips.  I used a soup ladle for this purpose, as it helped me divide it evenly between my two pies, but if you’re using one deep-dish shell, put all of it in.

photo 3Let your pit droid lick the bowl.  (Note: we do not recommend organic beings consume raw eggs.)

If using a deep-dish pie shell, bake pie for 1 hour or until filling is set.  If using regular pie shells, bake for 30-40 minutes or until the filling is set.

This pie is best served warm with some whipped cream and a mint julep or cold out of the fridge with whipped cream and a mint julep.  Depends on your preference.

The best part of this pie is that it is just as customizable as your podracer.  Not a fan of walnuts or pecans?  Use macadamia nuts, and substitute white chocolate chips for semi-sweet.  Not a fan of nuts at all?  Use butterscotch or peanut butter chips in the same place.  Do make sure that if you are using regular sized chips of any sort, chop them down photo 4into smaller pieces, as giant chunks of chocolate, while delicious, aren’t really Der–Podrace Pie.


RIP Leonard Nimoy

It is with great sadness that we tell you the news that Leonard Nimoy, the great Spock, died earlier today from the end stages of COPD.

We can only say this: lines from Spock’s funeral from The Wrath of Khan:

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.

MLB offers Star Wars fun and bobbleheads

r2 bobbleheadMajor League Baseball gets into celebrating Star Wars each year with Star Wars nights at selected ballparks.  This year, Cincinnati Reds fans can get this R2-D2 bobblehead with a view level ticket for $25.  The night also features Star Wars music and firework show, character visits, and (usually) an appearance from the Ohio Garrison of the 501st.

Star Wars nights at MLB ballparks also help support the charity StandUp2Cancer.  Other teams hosting Star Wars night during the 2015 season include the Mets, Dodgers, and Cardinals.  Keep an eye on your team’s schedule to see if they’ll be hosting a similar Star Wars night (and ticket deal).

David Prowse Reveals Dementia Diagnosis

Darth-Vader_6bda9114In an interview given with The MirrorDavid Prowse, the man inside Darth Vader’s costume, revealed that he has dementia.  He commented that he would have loved to have been a part of the films, but he worried that he would have forgotten his lines.

He does tell The Mirror that “I would have loved to have done something in it – even if it was just a cameo.”  This, I believe, confirms that Prowse will not be seen in Episode VII.

Dementia is a disease that is difficult to live with, both for the patient and for their families.  Please keep David in your thoughts and prayers.

X-Wing and TIE Fighter get a modern digital release.

Wedge flying in the Battle of Endor

You wanted to be him.  You know you did.

It’s time to find that old joystick and hope it still works, because the old TIE Fighter and X-Wing games are finally getting re-released.  Kotaku reports that they’ll be released for $10 each on Good Old Games, possibly as soon as tomorrow, though that remains unconfirmed.

Update: The games are available right now on GOG.com! Also available are Knights of the Old Republic, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. 

So buckle up–it’s time to get back to some of the best story lines Star Wars has ever seen.