This May Be My Most Controversial Post Yet

CAUTION: THIS IS ALL ABOUT STAR WARS INCLUDING AND NOT LIMITED TO ALL THEATRICAL RELEASES, TV SHOWS, AND NOVELS (I HAVE NOT PLAYED ANY OF THE VIDEO GAMES). THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make. I like the sequel trilogy. I also like the prequel trilogy. And the stand alone films. And the originals. Now, that does not mean I do not recognize the problems the films have on an individual level. I just want to be entertained. If a movie or book or whatever has enough things that I enjoy, then I will like it. I do not indulge in sci-fi and fantasy to be taught some deep. psychological lesson. I want to see cool fights and sappy romance. You know, the good stuff.

I know the sequels are the hot thing to hate right now. But, the writers did take from the extended universal novels (that are no longer cannon but still really good to read), and a lot of those novels are not great. I mean, there is a whole arc that Luke goes up against a Palpatine clone that has gone insane. So, yeah. Disney tried to use some of the ideas that we already were familiar with. The main issue there, in my opinion, was using multiple directors who did not want to work together on plot line apparently.

Let’s take a look at the films and TV shows (that I have seen, sorry Rebels) in chronological order, shall we?

  • Episode One: The Phantom Menace: We were gifted with a super cool villain in Darth Maul, the BEST piece of soundtrack ever with “Duel of the Fates”, introduced us to Padme Amidala who is pretty awesome, and gave us Qui-gon who was definitely a gray Jedi. Jar-Jar and dialogue were big problems (“Now THIS is pod-racing”), but the characters and action made up for that.
  • Episode Two: The Attack of the Clones: This is the weakest of the prequels. Padme does get to be a badass, and Ewan McGreggor is the best thing to happen to Star Wars. BUT, the best pick up line Ani can come up with is “I don’t like sand.” The guy has clearly never spoken to a female before.
  • The Clone Wars: If you have issues with Anikin’s character arc in the films, you need to watch this animated show. There is so much depth in the different relationships and the slow dissolve of the republic. Still not sure why Ani was not granted the rank of master when he had a padawan, but whatever. There’s an episode with dark Yoda that looks like a creepy Smeagol thing from nightmares.
  • Episode Three: The Revenge of the Sith: Best of the prequels, and not because of the memes. Epic light saber battles, betrayals, more bad dialogue. But most importantly: Darth Vader arises. I do have MAJOR issues with Padme being reduced to a weak pregnant lady when I think she would still be badass. That wasn’t cool.
  • Solo: I think this one suffered because it was released so soon after The Last Jedi. Donald Glover was great. I think the guy playing Han did a good job. The story was fun; there was some fan service in there. BUT THE ENDING. I want there to be a follow up somewhere, because I literally punched my husband in the arm repeatedly when I saw Maul.
  • Rogue One: The best of the Disney era. I honestly cannot think of a big issue with this one. The characters are awesome, all loose ends are tied up, and there is a beautiful transition to the original trilogy. Darth Vader steals the movie. His scenes are terrifying. We finally get to see how powerful he really is.
  • Episode Four: A New Hope: Han shot first. Also, Luke was able to use the force pretty easily to destroy the Death Star for someone who had like three lessons with Obi (or is it Ben?). Chewy deserved a medal. That was rude.
  • Episode Five: Empire Strikes Back: Yoda is a creepy little puppet frog, but he’s cool. Lando is fun. Things happen. Han and Leia do their thing. Honestly, this one is probably my least favorite of the movies (besides episode eight).
  • Episode Six: Return of the Jedi: Leia killing people in a bikini is a mood. We get a great wrap up of things in this one. Anikin’s character arc is complete- he is the one to bring balance to the force. Everyone is happy and the evil empire is gone… OR IS IT?
  • Star Wars Rebels: I have not watched this yet, but I’ve heard it’s good.
  • The Mandalorian: Who doesn’t love a good space western with heists and the most precious baby alien you have ever seen in your life? My only complaint is people die too soon. Side characters are a guaranteed one episode only thing. Oh, and it’s pretty much confirmed Ashoka will be in season two which will be awesome.
  • Episode Seven: The Force Awakens: Ben is actually one of those borrowed extended universe ideas, but he was Luke’s son (I wish Mara Jade was in a movie). Yes, it follows the same formula as A New Hope, but I honestly thought the setup was good.
  • Episode Eight: The Last Jedi: The only part of this worth watching is the throne room scene. Canto Blight makes no sense. The force bond is neat, but they did Luke dirty. Also, Leia was trained in the force and used a lightsaber in the extended universe novels. I think Kylo makes for an interesting character with his struggle between good and evil and being a confused mess.
  • Episode Nine: Rise of the Skywalker: I think this one did the best it could after trying to pick up the scattered pieces episode eight left behind. Really, one director should have been in charge of this. And, I will repeat myself, clone Palpatine was in the extended universe. Probably force healing too, I’m really not that sure. I did not like how they further reduced Finn and Poe to be comedic relief. They’re better than that. Also, this is the first time all of them are together and their like instant best friends? And why didn’t force ghost Ani show up and be like “grandson, you’re being stupid.”

Now, if Disney continues to bring in things from the novels (I will not pretend I have read them all), I think they have some strong stories to draw from. Thrawn is the greatest villain character in the universe. Revan is a fun one. Mara Jade. I love Mara Jade, but I guess she can’t be married to Luke so not sure what we can do there. Basically anything set before the prequels would be fun to see. Or more Darth Maul. I love Darth Maul.

I am not trying to make excuses for any of these movies. I just think Star Wars is Star Wars and having more Star Wars is awesome. Also, if you don’t like something, you can always fix it in your own fanfiction. Just don’t start fights with someone just because you think Disney ruined Star Wars. They did not. They aren’t giving us perfect Star Wars, but it was never perfect.

I do highly recommend going to Galaxy’s Edge when you get the chance, though. That is a fantastic area.

Create Gratitude

So, this was not going to be my next post, but with everything going on, I believe it’s more important than what I was planning.

I am an avid listener to a relatively new podcast called The Upside with Callie and Jeff. They are big on the topic of gratitude and finding the upside in the everyday, and they make a point to be a break from the news that clogs our social media and other outlets. I started listening to Jeff almost 20 years ago when he was a radio DJ in Atlanta, and I cannot recommend them enough.

Anyway, a lot of what I am writing here comes from what I have gotten out of that podcast, hence the quick plug. Gratitude is so important in the world we live in. When everything seems dark and negative, a simple “thank you” can change someone’s day. You can show gratitude in other ways as well- an act of service, being there for someone who was there for you, a smile, whatever. You are not restricted in this area.

Start keeping track of what you are grateful for. My planner has a section at the back of each month that I can write what I am thankful for and why. I have included things like my crock-pot, my husband, my cats, working from home, and milkshakes. It doesn’t have to be something life changing. But keeping up with it will change your view on life.

Right now I am thankful that my position allows me to continue to work remotely during this global crisis. As most of the world is stuck at home, please think about those who still have to show up:

  • Doctors, nurses, other medical professionals
  • Our military
  • Our first responders
  • The customer service reps who are trying to help you reschedule your spring break plans (my heart goes out to my fellow cast members who are dealing with thousands of calls)
  • The grocery store clerks that cannot control what is out of stock
  • The other service workers such as trash collection, mail, deliveries, etc.

If you interact with someone in one of these professions, remember that they are human too. They are not the business that told them to come in. They are working for their paycheck. They are tired. Treat them with kindness.

On the other side of the same coin, check in on the local businesses that may not have the resources to survive the shut down. I know of a few bakeries and restaurants that are still open, but only serving carry out and delivery orders. Show them gratitude, even if you don’t order from them- comment on a post on Facebook or something.

But the best way to show gratitude right now? Do not go out unless you have to. Remember that there are other medical emergencies going on, and the hospitals are not only dealing with this virus. Stay away from beaches and crowds. We are trying to slow the spread for the benefit of our community. By working together, we will be able to go back to Disney World sooner rather than later.

Here is the link to The Upside if anyone is interested: https://www.callieandjeff.com/

Creating Health Goals

So, being an accountant means that I basically sit on my rump 40-50 hours a week (including commute time). Then there is Netflix and other non-active activities to engage in when I’m home. This has led to being at a state of health that I do not like. I have tried combating it with spur of the moment diets, halfhearted home gym work outs, and even a personal trainer. Nothing has really stuck. 2020 is the year I change that.

In October, I started going to OrangeTheory Fitness. I go twice a week as my work schedule allows, and I really enjoy it. OTF is an hour long HIIT group class that utilizes the row machine, treadmill, and weight floor in order to improve muscle and cardio. The coaches are super supportive so far, and I feel like I can modify as needed, depending on what my body tells me. You also earn “splatpoints” which is a great pull on my competitive side and makes me push harder.

On the food side of things, I am working on snacking less and eating more veges and fruits. This is a huge challenge, and it’s where I am the weakest. I am using MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros, but I know I am not doing enough in this area to really get me where I want to be.

Now that the setup is complete, I give you my health goals for 2020:

  • Lose an overall 10-15 pounds
  • Move to a jogger from a power walker
  • Complete my first 5K with a time under 50 minutes (which, I actually have signed up for one at the end of April)- I currently have a 16.5ish minute mile.
  • Complete my first 10K with a time around 1 hour 45 minute (the original plan was only to do the 5K, but I managed to snag spots for the Wine and Dine 10K in EPCOT in November!)
  • Cook with more fresh veggies
  • Less SUPER processed foods for meals (I love my Chef Boyarde ravioli in a pinch, but I will not be unrealistic and say all processed foods. I’m still human)

I have dedicated a page in the back of my planner to keeping track of my progress when it comes to OTF. Every month I update/ choose new parameters for myself. Basically, as my fitness gets better, my speed on the treadmill and weights on the floor increase. I know it’s not always going to be a linear thing- it is very import to listen to what your body tells you. One day I be able to jog a few minutes, the next power walking may be a struggle. The progress is in the long game.

To everyone in their own health and fitness journey: may we all suffer together and support each other. This is a team sport, y’all.

The Word of the Year is Create

I am a big fan of having a word of the year. And after having more “serious” words the last few years, I decided to do something more fun. My 2020 word is “create.”

I am not sure if you can read all of the headers, but the pictures above say “In 2020 I will Create…”

  • Stories
  • A Healthy Lifestyle
  • Ears
  • Better Relationships
  • A Loving Home
  • Memories
  • Stable Financials
  • Gratitude

I have four blank columns left, but all of these correspond to some goal I have for myself this year. I want to work on what makes me better as a person, which means I need to create the habits and hobbies that will get me there. I have also noticed that I have stopped spending time doing the things that make me relaxed an happy, which is why you see stories and ears at the front of the list.

And by ears, I mean Mickey. I have started making my own, because even with my cast member discount, those things are expensive. Plus, it’s fun to design and make. It’s putting my sewing machine to good use. I’m not making them to sell, though. I am no where as talented as some of the people I see on Etsy.

I will post about each of these areas- either separately or a couple at a time. There is a lot that will go into each one, but some are hard to describe/ explain correctly. Plus, some just seem to go together so well that it would make sense to talk about them at the same time. I encourage you all to have your own word of the year. I find them to be good motivators.

The Complete List of Books of 2019

I am so sorry it has taken this long to reveal the full list. I read 42 books last year, and my Goodreads goal was 40. Yay me! Here they are in order that I read them:

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  25. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
  26. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
  27. Wicked by Gregory Maguire and Douglas Smith
  28. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
  29. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
  30. Finale by Stephanie Garber
  31. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  32. The Thorn Princess by Bekah Harris
  33. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
  34. Loki by Mackenzi Lee and Stephanie Hans
  35. Heir of Iron Hearts by Bekah Harris
  36. Game of Shadows by Bekah Harris
  37. Reign of Darkness by Bekah Harris
  38. Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
  39. On Writing by Stephen King
  40. The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
  41. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  42. Everafter Song by Emily R. King

I would say that Song of Achilles and Spin the Dawn remain my top recommendations. Both had amazing storytelling, and I am still thinking about them almost a year later.

On Writing and No Plot? No Problem! were books I chose to help me with my author related goals. If you want to learn more about becoming a writer, especially if you plan on doing National Novel Writing Month, you should put these on your must read list. I have a couple more that I plan on reading this year as well. Do note that On Writing is about 50% autobiography of Stephen King. It’s a really interesting read.

Bekah Harris was a Kindle Unlimited find. I devoured her series on there. It’s a fun, quick young adult story dealing with fairies. I am mad at her for doing something to one of my favorite characters that I believe was not necessary, but that’s spoilers so… yeah. If you want something good and quick for a beach trip or school holiday, check her out.

Feel free to ask me about any of the books on my list. I promise to give honest reviews. I cannot wait to tell you all about what i am reading in 2020. My goal is 50 books, and I am currently at 17. I’ll do a post when I hit 25.

Productions of Starkid Productions, Ranked

In honor of Black Friday being uploaded to YouTube, I give you my ranking of Starkid musicals. Please note that these are subject to change at any time due to unexplained shifts in time, portkeys, and/or enslaving hive minds.

  1. Twisted
    1. The title song features the best villain cameos
    2. No one remembers Achmed
    3. SO MANY FEELINGS
  2. A Very Potter Musical
    1. It’s totally awesome
    2. Draco Malfoy everything
    3. Zefron
  3. Holy Musical B@tman
    1. I want to be somebody’s buddy
    2. Sweet Tooth is the greatest
    3. The puns are everywhere
  4. The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals
    1. 5 o’clock can’t come soon enough!
    2. I cannot relate to the main character, but that’s okay
    3. Between evil baristas and disturbing songs, there’s a little something for everyone
  5. A Very Potter Sequel
    1. Mamma Umbridge!
    2. What’s your favorite color vine besides green???
    3. Time travel?
  6. The Trail to Oregon
    1. It’s literally a musical based on the Oregon Trail game
    2. Jack Bauer (they got different names from the audience every show and made it work. You guys, it’s amazing)
    3. Alternate endings!
  7. Black Friday
    1. Dylan is back with the voice of an angel
    2. What if Tickle Me Elmo was a demonic toy?
    3. The vocals, omg.
  8. Starship
    1. The puppetry work is out of this world
    2. Epic romance
    3. I want to be a Starship Ranger…
  9. Firebringer
    1. Duck is lord
    2. Female power
    3. Everyone is beautiful and amazing
  10. A Very Potter Senior Year
    1. Darren Criss is back!
    2. Also Evanna Lynch
    3. We’re the wizard cops!
  11. Ani: A Parody
    1. Star Wars prequel
    2. He’s trying his best
    3. Now this is pod racing

Note: Me and My Dick is not on this list as I have not seen it. Yes, I am a bad Starkid fan.

Are our lists the same? Do you even know who Starkid Productions is? If not, then you need to go to YouTube immediately and educate yourself. Darren Criss would not be where he is today without them. The Langs are some of the most talented writers to have ever write, and Jeff Blim is… Well, he’s Jeff Blim. You’ll know what i mean when you watch him in action. there are SO MANY talented beautiful human beings involved. Lauren Lopez, Joey Ritcher, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Corey Dorris, Robert Manion, Joe Walker… The list is almost endless (but it does, eventually, end as there are only so many productions).

Please, go check them out. Love them. Stalk them on YouTube and on their website. Once you do, then you, too, will be totally awesome.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Better Late Than Never!

Good bye 2019! This past year was definitely my renaissance (which happened to be my word of the year. I chose well). So much happened!

  • Got my CPA license
  • Got the job offer from Disney
  • Left public accounting
  • Moved to Orlando
  • Bought a house
  • Went on an Alaskan cruise
  • Surpassed my reading goal
  • Basically made playing in theme parks my new hobby
  • Started going to OrangeTheory Fitness
  • Survived our first travelling Christmas with very few casualties (only 5 presents left in Orlando. I had a 10 minute freak out about it but what are you going to do when you are 8 hours away?)

I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. I am not going to go into all of my current goals and projects in this post as this is just a “Oh crap, I haven’t updated in months” thing, but I promise to post my 2019 reading list the hope for the future soon.

I will get better about posting on a schedule, I promise!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!

NaNoWriMo 2019 Planning Update

I finally have a title! Golden Soul

One of my main characters’ name means empty light and I think that is the coolest.

While filling out a character sheet on Scrivener:

That’s right. The devil’s occupation is…. DEVILLING.
I cracked myself up with this one.

Right now the story is going to be set in Victorian era with a steampunk feel, but I may make it set in the future just so my MC has to have a music off in Hell with Elton John (I love Elton. It’s just a thing in my story that all musicians and script writers are in hell. ESPECIALLY the anyone who creates a musical. My devil is super into theatre.)

Just over a week before NaNoWriMo starts! If you are also taking the challenge, add me as a buddy: Destinydalma.