Aftermath: Unwanted Gifts

(Reprinted from the Metro Spirit 12-28-15)

On December 26th, the world awakens to an obvious fact, but one that sometimes gets lost in chaos leading up to Christmas Day – Holiday shopping doesn’t end with Christmas Day.  Families all across America awake the day after Christmas to the reality that several received items are unneeded, unwanted or just plain bizarre.

It’s difficult to place blame over this circumstance.  Gift giving is a very difficult enterprise, and honestly, some folks don’t make it any easier.  Everyone has that person in his or her family that says, “Oh, I have everything I need.  Whatever you get me will be fine.”  So we give it our best shot.  And while we all act with the most sincere of intentions, unfortunately many of us end up asking the question, “Do I really need a Star Wars themed bread maker with a custom BB-8 butter softener?”

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Gifts I Didn’t Know I Needed

(reprinted from the Metro Spirit 12-21-15)

Well, let’s just start with the obvious…

Obvious #1 – The Force Awakens opened last week, and yes, it was AWESOME!  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, what are you waiting for?  By now, all the uber-fan nerds have stopped seeing the movie in costume, so you shouldn’t stand out too badly.  It’s a good film, go see it!  BTW – You’ll get bonus points if you spot the Stormtrooper played by Daniel Craig.

Obvious #2 – Merry Christmas!!!  I hope that you and your family are enjoying the holiday season!  While I have to submit this article to Amy a few days before Christmas, I’ll go out on a limb and say we had a wonderful time.  Of course, there’s always a chance that the hoverboard burst into flames…

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The Only Way to Shop

(Reprinted from the Metro Spirit 12-15-15)

If you haven’t been paying attention, you might have missed this.  The observed differences are so subtle, no one would be surprised if it escaped your attention.  The events leading to this change occurred over a number of years.  Some would argue that no real difference has actually happened.  However, search your feelings – you know that things are different.  I can illustrate it with one simple example.

Did anyone drive out to Augusta Mall this past weekend?  Continue reading

The Disturbance is Getting Stronger

So first, and more importantly – only 14 days left until Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, what are you waiting for?  Do you really want to be the only person you know that didn’t go see Star Wars?  If you are worried about revealing your inner geek to everyone, forget about it.  Everyone either already knows or doesn’t care!

Over the holiday weekend, I was able to read a few of the Journey to Star Wars books.  If you are not familiar, these books are set in the time period after The Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens.  Each book provides a little bit of insight into environs of the new movie.  What exactly happened right after the Battle of Endor?  Did the Empire just crumble away?  Where did that Star Destroyer come from?  Where did Kylo Ren get that totally wicked lightsaber?

Both Aftermath and Lost Stars were easy reads – I recommend them both.  Many Amazon reviewers didn’t like Aftermath, but I didn’t see any problems.  Lost Stars was a better story, but I suspect that Aftermath contains more relevant information to the movie.  However, my favorite character is found in the short story The Perfect Weapon.  I not sure how this character is going to fit in, but I can’t wait to see!

The Star Wars folk are releasing other media that contain background stories.  The newly released Star Wars Battlefront video game has an option for an add-on pack for the Battle of Jakku.  Also, a comic book series called Shattered Empire tells a post-Endor story, and plants a few seeds for the new movie.

So you say that you really don’t want to spoil the movie with all this supplemental material.  Not a problem.  Other ways exist to get into the right mindset.  The existing Star Wars films are peppered with nuggets of wisdom.  Now is a great time to pull those nuggets out and weave the many famous one-liners into our daily lexicon.  For example,

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this” – This line almost qualifies as the universal catch phrase of the first two trilogies.  It is also what came to my mind when I first realized that Jar-Jar was a principal character.  The real life applications are numerous, everything from going on a blind date to eating the unknown leftovers sitting in the back of the fridge.

“Do, or do not.  There is no try.” – This famous line from Master Yoda was spoken to a skeptical Luke Skywalker during his training.  A favorite around the Baker household, this phrase helps to encourage youngsters when attempting a challenging task, such as cleaning up their room.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – This classic Vader line underscores the respected demanded by the Sith Lord.  Closer to home, this line is also a common retort to CMA Technology team members that question the wisdom and guidance of their supreme leader.  

“A Jedi craves not these things.” – Another nugget from Yoda, said to Luke Skywalker when Luke was having one of his more impetuous moments.  My wife and I also say this when trying to convince each other that consuming a second serving of desert is not a wise course of action.

And so the list goes on – “It’s a trap!”, “I feel the good in you.”, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.” – all these words of wisdom have a place in Augusta of the 21st century.  Search your feelings…you know this to be true.  Let them flow through you.  Don’t be afraid – fear is the path to the dark side.  And one last thing…

May the Force be with you.

@gregory_a_baker