For Carrie and For 2016

Like so many other folks, I grew up watching Star Wars. My first celebrity crush was Mark Hamill (later replaced by my true, undying love for Spock, sealing the deal on whether I’m more Trekkie than Warsian), but Princess Leia was my first role model of some sort. I’d say “feminist role model,” but the reality of Leia’s character is marred by sexism. Han Solo spends a significant part of the trilogy pursuing Leia despite her resistance, jealous of Luke, and ultimately joins the Rebellion because of her. Leia could shoot a blaster, but was still squeezed into a tiny, metal slave outfit that’s become the fetish fantasy of many fans.

I really fell in love with Carrie Fisher after seeing her her one woman show for HBO, Wishful Drinking. She’s very honest in the most vulnerable sort of way, shedding light on the experience of being Leia, which included some notable lines like “There’s no underwear in space” and “Galaxy snatch,” as well as being told that she needed to go to Fat Camp to get the part. She talks about her mental health and alcoholism. It was the first time I’d gotten to hear her authentic voice. Not only did she become human in that moment for me, but she became one of those celebrities who I felt would “get me” if I ran into them in a coffee shop and didn’t act like a bumbling idiot.

In the media blitz of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Carrie made the talk show junket, beautifully using her voice to illustrate issues surrounding her memories in a way that distances the audience and forces them out of their fandom and into their awareness. I’ll call it “Carrie-splaining.”Here’s Carrie Fisher Carrie-splaining on GMA a year ago.

My Facebook feed is full of Carrie memes today, from memorials to honoring Carrie by normalizing mental illness and taking down a fascist regime. Word of her passing is hitting hard. Not only was she a true love, but her passing comes at the end of a year when a lot of notable people have died. I’d barely moved into my new apartment, I was still surrounded by unpacked boxes, when I saw the news of David Bowie’s death. There’s even a meme about how this tore the fabric of the universe (in which case, The Doctor has some ‘splaining to do). The deaths this year have been influential people: Bowie, Fisher, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Gwyn Ifill, Gene Wilder, Prince… For some reason, each more surprising than the last. In our media-saturated culture, we didn’t see them coming.

2016 has been a notably difficult year. I’m sure someone will do a Year in Review (I’m looking to you, NPR). There’s something happening that suggests a major shift on the horizon. This shift has been coming, but the exit of the artists and the entrance of the Trump Administration gives 2016 a difficult flavor. 2017 already feels a little less bright, and it isn’t even here yet. There’s some serious shadow shit going on; the American Shadow is strong and needs to be addressed.

Carrie, along with everyone else who left us in 2016, left us with some valuable words and memories. We can carry these into the next year and beyond in our Bag of Holding, reaching in whenever we need a little light. These folks are beside us on the journey through time. As long as we remember, there’s always hope.

I don’t take credit for this, but it’s posted on the Daily Mail.Somehow, this seems appropriate as we near the 50th anniversary of this album.

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Lego Disney Castle, Part Two

I’m still not finished yet, but on track to be finished this week. I am intentionally not building it in one sitting to give it some time to sink in.

Phase Three

This one too about an hour to build. This phase gives the castle the first set of walls and the main door. Not too much to see here.

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Phase Four

This one also took about an hour to build. This phase is a little more exciting than Phase Three, in that there is a lot more detail than we saw in the previous sections.

This one has a movie reference:

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There’s Merida’s arrow, quiver, and the target from Brave. The best part? Those little tan circles represent the three cakes that her mother and brothers eat to turn into bears!

Main entrance chandelier:

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A Grandfather clock:

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As an interesting bit of trivia, all of the clocks in the castle are set for 11:55, locking the castle in the last exciting few minutes before midnight.

A vase of flowers:

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While not technically a movie reference, I can’t help but imagine Bedknobs and Broomsticks when I look at the suits of armor.

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And all together:

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Phase Five

This phase only took about 40 minutes. Minnie joins Mickey:

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And the castle gets some walls:

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Phase Six

This one took an hour-twenty (I’m tracking the time, because I’m curious how long the total project takes).

A reference to Aladdin (the carpet and lamp):

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More walls:

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Phase Seven

Just under an hour at 50 minutes. The front is coming together now:

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Phase Eight

This one took an hour. I constructed both Phase Seven and Phase Eight during the third presidential debate. Building Legos made the show of the debate much easier to deal with. And perhaps with a bit of irony (given that I was watching the debate), Donald Duck joins the castle cast:

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And the walls start growing towers:

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Phase Nine

And then I took a couple days off to get ready for a conference this weekend. This phase took almost an hour, and the towers got flags:

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To be continued!

 

The Up Series

My post the other day about The Truman Show inspired me to see if 56 Up was streaming on Netflix yet. Since it is, I treated myself to watching it yesterday.

The_Up_series_DVDThe premise of the Up series (of which 56 is the latest installment) begins with the philosophy of “Show me a boy at 7 and I will show you the man.” Director Michael Apted initially interviewed a collection of British children at the age of 7, showcasing a slice of British life and classism. This series continued to follow some of these children, checking in with them every 7 years. Through this series, we’ve watched them grow up, seen their opinions and attitude change with age, watched their successes and failures. Even though we only see them every 7 years, somehow they feel like they are our friends and family.

But they’re not.

Each installment is edited in a very creative way that highlights some aspect of British society–the inherent classism, political attitudes, etc. Through this careful editing, Apted or someone one his team, makes a statement at the expense of these people. And that has been the criticism against the series, coming from, among other sources, the subjects themselves. Some recognize that they only participate in the program at this point because it is an opportunity for them to advertise for their cause. One man, Nick, has said that he’s going to be remembered for the series, not for his work in Physics, and finds that a little sad.

In a way, Michael Apted has given us a real live version of The Truman Show. We see these people forĀ a short period, but we watch their stories unfold with the same engrossed entertainment that we watch reality television, that the people watched Truman’s story unfold.

But, just as with Truman’s story, there is a tragic side, and that’s the way that the series has impacted the lives of the people involved. One man, Peter, left the series after 28 because there was a negative publicity campaign about his comments (seemingly spun to be a criticism against Margaret Thatcher) that impacted his work. (He came back at 56 to use the platform to promote his band.) Another man, Tony, a professional cabbie, told a story in 56 about a time when he was driving Buzz Aldrin and another cabbie asked for his autograph. Tony assumed he meant Buzz, but the cabbie really just wanted his autograph! (Ok, that’s a positive story, but it speaks to the level these people are getting recognized.)

I enjoy the Up Series. I want nothing more than to start a campaign to help Jackie, and to send sweaters to all their grandbabies. I want to ride in Tony’s cab, and take a class from Nick. Their lives are captured forever in these little documentaries, these little nuggets of hyperreality. This is why we think the Up participants are our friends, and it’s the same reason we watch every 7 years.

I started watching the series because I was curious. I continued to watch the series because I was captivated. I am not oblivious to the political spin each installment is given. But what do we get from it?

Exciting changes

It’s spring! A time for new beginnings. I’m celebrating this spring by making some changes to this site. Exciting new things are in the works.

One change is that you’ll notice, if you have ever visited my site more than once, that my portfolio is disappearing. I am taking it down to work on a project I have in mind. But I’m also taking it down because it doesn’t fit with the future Mythic Thinking Xx.0.

I wrote in my biography a couple years ago that I’ll contemplate what “About Priscilla” means once my dissertation is complete. In the months after my defense–we can call this the postpartum period–I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grow up.

I do now.

So stay tuned.