31 A Year for Fun: Pilot the Millennium Falcon

As you know from my last post, I was recently at Disney. The trip was great, and in fact, let me hit several things on my path to do 12 fun things while being 31. Today I’m going to talk about piloting the Millennium Falcon!

If I’m being truly honest, the majority of the reason why I wanted to go to Disney was the new Star Wars area. I love Star Wars, like my father before me. The idea of going inside Stars Wars whilst helping my sister cross off a bucket list item was a win-win. Star Wars is a new area at Disney and it only had one ride open, Smugglers Run, where you and other riders take the Millennium Falcon on a smuggling trip. The cool part is what you do affects the ride. You can, and if you’re me will, in fact crash the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid!

First of all, the whole area is incredible! You feel like you are in the movies! There’s almost too many photo ops. There’s droids, speeders, TIE fighters, and the greatest hunk of junk in the Galaxy, who did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs (even though a parsec is a unit of distance not time so that makes no sense), the Millennium Falcon. There were also Storm Troopers patrolling the area!

We were very lucky that the line was less than an hour, but honestly the line itself is incredible! Not only do you have amazing views of the Falcon herself while you wait, but, there’s cargo that you can pretend to move to help the Resistance/photo op, there’s incredible details in the line area like what looks like rust, oil leaks, and controls. When you finally get to the end, you can even sit at the table in the Falcon, but sadly no chess set.

There’s 6 people per ride and we were a group of 6, so perfect! There were 2 pilots, 2 gunners, and 2 engineers. My dad and I insisted we pilot and, as I would have been angrier than a Wookiee losing chess if I were not a pilot, no one stopped me. Dad insisted on sitting in Hans spot, so I was the right pilot.

Throughout the ride I had to move the Falcon up and down while Dad moved it left and right. Again, we could crash! Occasionally directions would be given to us, for example, right pilot punch it into hyperdrive. Which I did! Once successfully and once unsuccessfully, which was honestly more exciting because I got to say it’s not my fault because it wasn’t. On our way back from smuggling cargo we obviously got caught in an asteroid field, which thankfully no one told me the odds of successfully navigating. Dad and I more or less successfully navigated it, though we did hit a few asteroids including one that hit us on top. So, I got to say it’s not my fault, even though it was. The point is I was basically Han Solo! We damaged the Falcon a bit but after repairs we still walked out ahead. Our group celebrated at an incredibly realistic looking cantina at 11am for a drink.

Bonus! See below for Chewie himself thanking us for our hard work and Vader trying to intimate me, but me taking none of his nonsense because I remember when he was an incredibly hot but incredibly emo teen (These were honestly the two best characters I have ever met at Disney).

31 A Year For Fun: Be Ariel

Longtime fans of the blog will know that I love holidays, and Halloween is definitely in my top 3! My favorite part of Halloween is the costumes. This year’s Halloween was very special because I went to Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Now, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been on my sisters bucket list for years, and this year we finally did it. The whole trip was awesome and will inspire many blog posts in the weeks to come, but today I want to talk about being Ariel at the party.

The Halloween party is the one time a year that adults can dress up at Disney World. So I decided to take full advantage and be my favorite Disney character Ariel. I have loved The Little Mermaid since before I can remember, but have never been her for Halloween.

Despite the fact that I was less than a year and a half old when it came out, I actually saw The Little Mermaid in theaters. Legend has it, the prior summer, my Grandparents had to pick up my sister early from day camp. The day camp was at a movie theater watching a screening of The Jungle Book. My Grandparents were also watching me. We went to the theater to pick her up but we’re early, as this was my Grandparents M.O. Anyway, the guy at the theater said we could go in, but Grandma said no, thinking I’d not be quiet (which was a decent bet). Eventually, as the guy kept insisting, she relented and I was mesmerized (much to Grandma’s shock)!Grandma told my Mom and I got to see The Little Mermaid when it came to the theater that fall.

I was obsessed! I had Little Mermaid everything: clothes, birthday parties (yes, multiple years), sheets, drapes, dolls, and books. That love has never died. Is the story technically about a girl who literally gives up her voice for a man? Yes. Is it also about a girl who knows what she wants and goes after it despite what others tell her? Yes! Are we going to focus on the latter? Yes!!

Anyway, due to the revealing nature of the costume, I’d always been a little scared to do Ariel, but as mermaid everything is a thing now, it was easy to put the costume together. My friend has a cricut machine (thanks Amy) which is essentially a machine that makes custom iron-ons and made the shirt. I got the leggings online. It looked so good, one kid did think I was the real deal!

I had a blast at the party! I got to ride The Little Mermaid ride (highly recommend and there surpassingly no line), see my main man Eeyore in costume, and see the best fireworks display I have ever seen at Disney (this was only my 3rd time but still).

Fitting with the nautical theme, it actually poured for a good chunk of the night but I was Ariel so I’m fine with the water. Also like Ariel I was wishing for legs that are required for jumping, dancing and so on. I re-injured my foot, which I broke a few years ago, giving me a lovely piece of footwear for the trip! See pic below. Despite that I had a wonderful time and am glad I finally got to be Ariel!

I’m a Little Over Halfway Through Game of Thrones and I Wanted to Share My Thoughts

Hi All!

As you may recall, I have recently started watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I watched a few seasons when the last season was airing and I could borrow an HBO password, but the show, ended the subscription was canceled, and I was forced to wait until the opportune moment to get my own HBO access. September seemed good as the vast majority of summer TV has ended but fall TV hasn’t quite started yet.

My thoughts on the first 4.5ish seasons are below, organized by house *spoilers ahead*

The Starks

Thank God I knew Ned was going to die or else I’d be distraught, but he never actually does the meme. He doesn’t stand there with the sword and say “Winter is Coming”, disappointing!

I knew there was a Red Wedding. I guessed when Rob’s wife was pregnant it’d be soon. Still though, I watched the wedding as was like what a nice wedding, too bad they’ll die at a different wedding soon. Like how dumb am I? In my defense I thought the little Stark boy was there with them. I don’t know why.

What happened to the little Stark boy? Will we see him again?

Will the Stark children see each other again? Will they know that most of them are alive?

Why is Catelyn Stark so mean to Jon Snow, be mad at your husband for bringing home a bastard? Also, why didn’t Ned just tell Catelyn the truth? (I know some spoilers)

Speaking of spoilers why are people mad Bran is the king. If you’re buying ice cream for a large group and you can have 1 flavor, you guy vanilla. Bran Stark is the vanilla ice cream of people. Nobody’s favorite, but nobody dislikes him, he hasn’t murdered people. You want you king to be vanilla ice cream. Also, it seems like having a king who gets visions from a 3 eyed raven, who is sought after by the Kid from Love Actually (RIP buddy, also hope you don’t look like you’re 14 some day) and an old man living in magical tree roots is a strategic plus.

Why haven’t we seen Bran in half a season? You just meet the 3 eyed raven/tree man then disappear?

When does Sansa get to be as awesome as everyone thinks she is?

Also Sansa has bad odds for engagements 2/3 are psycho!

Aria’s cool, but like waaaaayyy too much vengeance/ murder for a teen!

Why did the Night’s Watch vote for Jon Snow? He’s great and all but he hasn’t been in the Night’s Watch very long and half the time he was falling in love with a Free Folk (keeping it PC with my terms).

Finally, I think Ned and Catelyn messed up as parents in that they taught their kids that while they should be good and fair the world is not. They probably wouldn’t get screwed over so much. Though if Ned wasn’t so trusting he’d probably be alive still.

The Lannisters

Tyrion is the only good one. I hated Cersei and Jamie so much in the beginning. I felt for them more then they do something awful. Jame had some great moments with Brienne, saving her life but then he rapes his twin sister/ lover in front of their (their meaning both of them not a preferred pronoun situation) sons corpse! Cersei deals with the patriarchy and sees her son die but then uses a religious order to imprison people who are in her way.

Kudos to everyone I know who has seen the show for not spoiling the fact that Jamie loses a freaking hand! Then the episode just ends and you’re like how am I supposed to get to sleep now?!?!

Tywin’s death was amazing! To see a powerful man murdered by the son he loathes whilst pooping! Phenomenal!!

The Targaryens

I don’t know why everyone thinks Daenerys actions at the end of the show are so out of character. So far she has: 1. Let a man be attached to her horse, naked, and walk behind her until he died 2. Basically set is up so her brother was murdered. 3. Burned a woman alive because when asked if she could bring Drogo back from the dead said sure but you won’t like it. She did and Dany didn’t like it. Sounds like not a problem! Also that woman was raped by Drogo’s people repeatedly, enslaved, and saw most people she knows be murdered by Drogo’s people, so you can’t blame her for not going into specifics of you won’t like it. 4. Bought the Unsullied to then have them destroy the city so she didn’t have to pay for them. She freed them yes, but only after they destroyed the city. 5. Had 163 people crucified because of their social class. 6. Had her dragons burn and eat someone alive. My point is she cray cray and violent and powerful! The only thing that surprises me is that nobody killed her earlier

The Baratheon

Robert was such a drunk slut! So many bastards! Thank God someone finally told Gendry! Poor guy is just walking around like why does everyone want to murder me? It’s cause you have a claim on the throne son.

Stannis needs to get away from this lord of light nonsense!

How did Stannis get North of the Wall? One minute he’s in Bravos then bam North of the Wall. Confusing!

Why is Mrs Stannis mean to their kid?

How didn’t everyone figure out the kids weren’t Roberts? It’s pretty obvious!

Everybody Else

Brienne is amazing! Why with all the GOT kid naming is everyone not naming their girls Brienne?

I’m so mad at Theon that I’m only slightly upset about the toy that he lost *wink wink nudge nudge* and how he’s being treated.

Can we just kill Ramsey already?

I love Grandma Tyrell! She holds her own with Tywin and Tyrion. She ends homophobia by being like what Tywin you’ve never had sex with another man, how weird? Iconic! She takes matters into her own hands to make sure her family is ok but how exactly did she and Little Finger kill Joffrey? Also, do not go to a Westerosi wedding! High death rate! I thought the Dothraki had violent weddings but I was mistaken!

How is The Hound not dead?

Finally Some Alternative TV Shows/Movies

A prequel family dramedy about the Starks, except Jon is really a cousin who’s living with the Starks for some reason (parents dead, out of the country, doesn’t matter) and Theon’s Rob’s friend, good kid from the wrong side of the tracks (basically Sean Hunter with worse hair). It’s a little less preachy than 7th Heaven, but only a little cause I bet Ned gives a good speech.

Basically The Hangover, but with Tyrion Sir Bronn, and Podrick. Then the sequel, basically Planes, Trains, and Automobiles with Podrick and Brienne. (I give you Pod and Brienne are basically living that plot except much less funny and it’s called Sometimes We Have Two Horses and Sometimes We Have One Horse.)

A sitcom about The Hound as a single father raising Aria his teenage daughter. Possible episodes: The Hound has to not kill Aria’s first date, The Hound takes Aria to buy a bra.

A teenage coming of age movie a la Superbad (Not American Pie because it made playing the flute and having had gone to band camp so much more difficult for years!) for Jon, Samwell, Would Be Hot if He Had Better Teeth, Chin, and Pip, who I called The Other One until he died. They’re trying to get someone before the battle at Castle Black. Only Jon succeeds, but Sam and Gilly go steady and there is no battle so no one dies (RIP Would Be Hot if He Had Better Teeth and Pip).

31 A Year for Fun: Get in the Water!

Hi All!

Welcome to the second part in my series of doing 12 smallish fun things to celebrate my 31st year. This one is a little different for a couple reasons: 1. I started doing this before my birthday 2. It’s something I did all summer as opposed to a discrete event.

I have always loved being in the water, pools, lakes, the ocean, doesn’t matter. Legend has it, it was quite warm the summer I was born, so my family would go in the kiddie pool every night. I’m assuming I was held in a safe manner as I was literally a new born at this point.

As summers went on we continued to enjoy the kiddie pool in the backyard. We also had a swing set (because my backyard as a child was > your backyard as a child (unless you are my sister, then my backyard as a child = your backyard as a child )) and my Dad would put the pool under the slide, throw the hose on the top of slide and boom! Water slide! My Dad would also throw a bunch of pennies in the pool and have us collect them competitively and then return them to him. This is more fun than it sounds!

Outside of our pool, I spent part of my summers as a small child at a Boy Scout camp as my Dad ( who is apparently the MVP of this post, which makes sense as the man was such a lifeguard he professionally trained lifeguards) worked there. There, we could swim every day in a pool and sometimes we even got to swim in the lake! I quickly earned my full swimmer buddy tag and was able to use the deep end!!

When I got too old for the kiddie pool in the incredible back yard, my next door neighbors, who had a daughter a few years younger than me, invested in larger kiddie pools until they eventually got 4 foot deep above ground pool. Aka a preteens dream! Since I was good friends with the daughter, I used the pool all the time! I remember swimming multiple times a day, screaming underwater (which often, unfortunately, started above water), and my hair turning a little green.

Sadly, they moved, not far though, we literally got together a few weeks ago. Luckily for my swimming, there was the youth swim at the park district pool, which I could easily walk to. You had to wear a bathing cap, but the cloth ones are less uncomfortable, so I persevered. They had a diving board and you just had to swim the length of the pool once (easy peasy since I had earned swimmers buddy tags forever ago) and they’d let you in the deep end and use the diving board!

In high school, my parents took us to the Wisconsin Dells aka the Water Park Capital of the World (‘Merica!). We stayed at the Kalahari, which at the time had the worlds largest indoor/outdoor water park. Not to be confused with the worlds largest water park or the worlds largest indoor water park (Again ‘Merica!). We’d go for a long weekend and spend a few hours every day enjoying complimentary access to the water park featuring the worlds only (at least at the time) indoor/ outdoor water rollercoaster among other slides! My sister and I would try all the slides while my parents floated in the lazy river.

Then I got older, summer jobs turned to real jobs, and I honestly haven’t spent a ton of time in the water for close to half my life. I changed that this summer. My local park district had a water aerobics class called HIIT the Water! (FYI HIIT means high intensity interval training so great word play!) Two nights I week, I was able to do many of the things I love in a pool, whilst watching the sunset, in the name of fitness! Things like jumping and running in one direction to move the current and then switching directions. The class only ran for 2 months as it is an outdoor pool. I had initially signed up for only 1 month, and, were it not for a change in my employment, I would not have been able to do the second. Luckily things changed I was able to do the whole summer. It was wonderful! It was like returning to a piece of myself I hadn’t realized I lost long ago.

31 A Year for Fun: Silent Disco

Hi All!

Last week I did the first of 12 of the smallish fun things I plan on doing this year. I have a list of slightly more than 12 activities, but this one wasn’t on the list. It came upon it by happenstance.

Last weekend was the Taste of Chicago, which is a great event in the city where a bunch of restaurants put up booths and you can try all different kinds of food. It’s great! You can try food from all over the world in just a few blocks. The event has pretty big bands (like Weezer) you can see for free.

My sister and I knew we were going on Saturday and realized there would be a silent disco. We both have heard of it before and decided it would be fun! If you don’t know a silent disco is a dance where they have a DJ, or DJs in this case playing music, much like a normal dance, but everyone is listening on headphones. So if you don’t have headphones on you hear nothing. Assuming I understand how to upload things you should be able to see in the video below.

It was pretty crazy! We did a lap around trying to find the headphones and it was so weird to watch. At one point they were almost all doing the electric slide, but again, I heard no music. We then got our headphones and started dancing! The headphones had 3 different stations, one for each DJ. Your headphones lit up a certain color based on what you were listening to. So if you saw someone rocking out you could see they were on the Blue station and switch yourself to that. Interestingly enough, the most popular station seemed to be what I would define as wedding reception music.

Right away everyone started this dance circle with various people getting in the middle, but the weird part was we were not all listening to the same thing! So weird to dance to your beat when someone else is dancing to a completely different beat.

Anyway, the circle broke up, as they tend to do, and we all started dancing in our own groups. I really liked the color system since if you felt like your music wasn’t that great you could look around and see who looked like they were feeling their music and switch to that. You could also not dance to the same music as the rest of your group. Finally, when the YMCA was on, I decided to intentionally switch but still dance along when everyone else did cause I could!

One final note, below is a picture of me by Buckingham Fountain looking incredible! Before you ask, yes that is a romper/ jumpsuit. Yes, it is hella comfortable. And yes, it does have pockets!!

31 A Year for Fun: A Prime of My Life

I turned 31 10 days ago. I’ve always loved my birthday (as a child it was regularly the last day of school) and I’ve always been a pretty reflective person. So naturally, every year, on the night before my birthday, as my mom would put me to bed I’d ask if she thought I’d like myself when I was the next year old. She always said yes and laughed off the question, but this was a serious concern for me. Would I like who I became as I got older?

I found myself reflecting on that this year as my birthday approached. I came to the realization that I had actually, really, been doing this reflecting since s bit before I turned 30. It makes sense. Milestone birthdays should make you do that where have I come from and where am I going sort of thing. I also had some life events both good and bad that caused a lot of reflection, read a bunch of memoirs, all that great stuff. The question was not will I like me as I get older but would younger me approve of who I’ve become. I know, dangerous question.

My conclusion was essentially more or less yes. Some things you realize just aren’t going to work. Since I hated college biology being a zoologist wasn’t going to be a good option, stuff like that. The few areas me I wouldn’t have been able to reasonable explain to me as a kid (I was a very easy child to reason with, for real) I was actually already working on. They aren’t all small things, but they can be changed.

Overall who I am is who I want to be (as Reba would say). I care about others. I’m close to my family. I have an amazing group of friends. I pray daily. I’ve traveled a bunch. I’ve seen Mt. Everest! I still love animals. In fact I spent this birthday with some penguins! See photographic evidence below.

So I’m done reflecting for a bit and have decided it’s time for some fun! I’ve decided to do 12 smallish things this year that I think will be fun. I’ll definitely do some big fun stuff, but I wanted to focus on smaller things that I will enjoy. Either something I’ve never done, but have always wanted to do, or something I used to do but haven’t in a while. I initially wanted to do 1 a month but I’ve got a lot going on in June and I literally do not think I can squeeze another thing in. Anyway I’ll post all about them here, so enjoy my year of fun!

Pro-Choice Rally’s: Good for More than a Free Hanger

About a week ago I engaged in something I do ever three years (triannual), I went to a protest. I did the women’s march back in 2016 but missed due to illness, weather, and going to Nepal (guys I went to Nepal!). I know lame excuses, but here we are.

So I went to a protest against the abortion laws that have recently passed in various states. Abortion wasn’t an issue I cared about until recently. I didn’t vote based on candidates views on the issue, since it seemed pretty decided, until now. I don’t want to go on a tangent on why abortion should be legal, but my points are they’ll happen regardless so they might as well be safe. It’s a personal decision so the government should stay out of it. If we want to call a clump of cells human than there are so many other laws that need to be changed besides abortion laws so why aren’t we working on those too?

I really liked the protest and it reminded why I like protests so much, but unfortunately rarely attend. It’s inspiring to see so many people come together for a common cause. It really gives hope in these crazy times.

I get to see liberal old white men, which is exciting, probably because they’re rare. Seeing an old guy holding a super liberal/borderline socialist sign is so inspiring. The old white man usually seems pretty at home so you realize he’s been doing this since his hippie days.

I also love the communist literature. As a Sociologist, it’s pretty nostalgic to read how everything wrong with society is a tool used to keep the working man/woman down. Even when it gets far fetched.

The signs at protests are amazing! People are so darn creative with their catch phrases and whatnot. I’m just not there but at least get a hanger out of pity to have something to hold up.