Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Meanwhile, Meg celebrated her half-birthday by completely refusing to eat rice cereal. Maybe she's holding out for chocolate cake?

Take that, idyllic scene

Meggie turned six months today!

Picture the scene: it's a perfect, (surprisingly) cool morning. We're on our way to drop off Jonathan at work before Meggie's doctor's appointment. We're on time, Meg has a cute dress on, the sun is kind of shining, and two little yellow birds are twittering midair over the road. Tweet, tweet-


Yep, Olwen ran them right over. One left a little smudge on the windshield.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A remarkable movie

In keeping with our anniversary tradition, we celebrated by having a steak and watching a Pixar movie. :-) We watched Wall-E the day after we were married, Up last summer, and so this afternoon we went to see Toy Story 3. It's pretty good. Not my favorite Pixar ever of all time, but it probably is my favorite among the Toy Stories, and we might well get it when it comes out.

It had some funny moments (flamenco!!). It had its nods to The Great Escape and Star Wars (prison guards! trash compactors!). We met a handful of great new characters, like Bonnie and the classically-trained Shakespearean actor hedgehog, and Chatter, a phone I knew years ago in the old Trinity church nursery. For the climax they found a Tolkienian eucatastrophe, a sudden joyous turn, without being random - they tied in a plot element from the first movie to save the day. I also liked the way the bad guy got his richly-earned comeuppance without the good guys having to take revenge. Good stories work themselves out that way.

And I really loved how the friends handled certain death. They had nothing else they could do to save themselves, so they held hands and looked death in the face. I haven't seen heroism like that in a film in a long time. And when you hope you can die as well as a Slinky-dog -- well, that's a remarkable movie.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Date night

Quite a bit has happened in the last two weeks: Heather and Aaron got married (a very pretty wedding), we started Meg eating real food, and Jonathan started working full time.

One night, his mom kindly came down and watched Meg, and sent us out on a date. We went to the U of R lake and walked around. It was a gorgeous night.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In its natural habitat

I found this post about the papilio cathedra quite charming. I'm reminded of my own leopard-spotted specimen; it was a good friend, and I'm not entirely sure where it flew to. My current house may not be its best habitat. Kentucky, maybe?

Hat tip: Design.sponge.

I totally married the right man

Jonathan was in great form this morning. "Nihil intellectu quod non prius in sensu." He threw a sheet over his head. "Non sensu! Non sensu! NON ESSE!" The sheet slid off. "Ah. Possum esse."

Meg looked from her father, to her hilariously amused mother, and back. Eventually she decided it must be funny, so she started laughing too. This definitely qualifies as proof I married the right man. I mean, how many dads can make a funny all in Latin, amuse the baby, and mock John Locke all at the same time??

Sunday, June 13, 2010

VBS and Star Wars

We got to decorate for VBS again! I'd thought we wouldn't get to due to scheduling conflicts, but then stuff happened, so we had a surprise free afternoon which Jonathan and I spent making giant saguaro arms (Jonathan), cactus-scapes (me, mostly - one with cottontails, one without), teepee poles (Jonathan), three lizards (me), one snake (me), a pile of taken-down and neatly rolled quilt thingies (Jonathan), and a pile of deconstructed wooden pallets for picket fencing (Jonathan). I might have gotten more done, but Meg was having internal distress; or I might not have. I really got into my cactus-scapes and bunnies.

It was great to see Jen again, and there weren't even any bomb threats this year.

Around three we started having emotional meltdowns, so away we went home to an actually pretty lousy Star Wars book, Medieval Total War 1, lovely leftovers, a book of poetry, and two episodes of Eureka just put up on Hulu. Oh, yeah.

The Star Wars book to which I refer is part of the Legacy of the Force series. I think I've read all but one of them now, and they're really not that good (as part of Star Wars - in and of themselves, the Karen Traviss ones are really well done). Jonathan and I have discussed this at some length. The old Star Wars, the ones we like, have good guys and bad guys. Some times good guys fall, and sometimes bad guys get redeemed, and of course things get complicated, but basically good guys shouldn't do dark side stuff or they'll fall and become bad guys.* And, if you're a good guy, it's good to fight the bad guys. That's what you do. And, because you're in that kind of universe, you can and must fight the bad guys without falling to the dark side. This holds true even in the more abominably written earlier Star Wars books.

And then the prequels came out. It's not just that they had awful plots, dialogue, and acting, too much CG, etc., etc., - they were telling an essentially different story. The new story didn't have any good guys, per se. Everyone was corrupt or incompetent (except maybe Amidala and the droids). You can tell a story about power and politics and big government corruption, and it might even be a good story, but it's really not the same as a good guys versus bad guys story.

I think that the newer books are more like the prequels. More competently done, but still telling that muddled type of book, where the good guys do shadier and shadier things because the evil they're fighting is so monstrous they feel they must do anything to stop it. And the evil is that bad. But now the good guys are evil too. And what's left?

I speculate that the reason they sent the Star Wars story arc this way for a couple reasons. First, they're very sensibly pandering to readers' appetites for more and weirder battles, flying around, explosions, lightsaber fights, and general action. But second, it would be very hard to write stories about creating a serious galactic peace worth protecting. It would be especially so if you actually believe the philosophy in the prequels, especially the bit about there not being any good side.

I think, according to the original trilogy, the Empire was something essentially different from the Old Republic, a wicked thing created by ambitious wicked men, and not something so quiet and similar to the old regime no one even noticed like in the prequels. I dislike the Yuuzhan Vong intensely, and I don't like what it did to the characters (especially Jacen), and I don't like the way the Legacy series just devolves into brawling political factions with a secret service and no solid goodness to cling to anywhere. Everything just spins deeper and deeper into the general muddiness.

So there!

*Zahn and some of the other authors wrote some really amazing villains, like Thrawn and Pellaeon and Daala. But no matter how much we love them, they're still the villains and the good guys pretty much have to fight them. Work with me here.