Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Life Day

Tis the season, as we all know, and time for all that comes with it-- family gatherings, chestnuts roasting, crappy TV Specials... In one of my routine Star Wars research sessions, I came across a delightful little number: The Star Wars Holiday Special.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the infamous TV Special, and I decided to expose myself to all it's glory in honor of it's 30th birthday. Officially, it has never been released to DVD, VHS, or any other kind of medium (probably because the creators wish no one would remember it), so I watched it on YouTube in twelve parts. The Special itself is only two hours, but it took me two days to take it in.

Basically, it is a variety show contained within a loose story set in the Star Wars Universe. The story goes like this: Han Solo needs to get Chewbacca home for Life Day but run into some trouble from the forces of the Empire. While Chewbacca is being delayed, Chewie's family (Malla, his wife, Lumpy, his son, and Itchy, his father) tries to pass the time by talking to Luke or Leia, or by watching The Jefferson Starship. Imperial forces come to their house in search of the rebel Chewbacca, but Chewie and Han arrive just in time to save them and to celebrate Life day.

The opening credits advertise that the program stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones, and Peter Mayhew, but each of them show up for about 3 minutes each. The 'Guest Stars' are the real stars of the program; Harvey Korman, Art Carney, Diahann Carrol, Beatrice Arthur, and The Jefferson Starship all made extensive appearances.

The Program opens with stock footage of the Millenium Falcon being pursued by TIE Fighters, but quickly cuts to Chewbacca's family on the Wookiee Planet. After about 15 minutes of watching wookiees growl back and forth, Lumpy watches the Hologram Acrobats, while Luke and R2-D2 show up via video comlink.

Malla tunes into Gormaanda, a cooking show bit done by Harvey Korman. Then, Art Carney drops by the house and drops off some Life Day presents. He gives Itchy a virtual reality experience that quite frankly was really weird. I felt like I should not have been watching it. Leia and C-3PO call via video comlink to assure that Han would get Chewie home safe when a knock at the door ends their conversation. Lumpy answer the door and two Storm Troopers and an Imperial Officer are waiting, weapons at the ready.

They are looking for any rebel activity and suspect that the missing Chewbacca is a sympathizer of the Rebellion. Art Carney distracts the Imperials by putting another Holo-Presentation: The Jefferson Starship. The Imperial soldiers tell Malla to keep Lumpy quiet, so Malla calms Lumpy by letting him watch his video viewscreen (this cartoon is the first official introduction of Boba Fett).

The Imperial search of the house is halted when the viewscreen activates with a required message for all Imperial Forces. This required message is apparently an awkward cantina scene in which Bea Arthur sings a song called "Good Night, But Not Goodbye." The song itself is nice. But still weird setting.

After the required viewing, the Imperials are called back to the base, however they leave one trooper behind. The trooper harasses Lumpy out onto the balcony, just when Chewbacca and Han arrive. Han disarms the trooper and causes him to break through the railing and fall to his death.

After a quick reuniting of Han, Chewie, and Chewie's family, everyone somehow meets up magically in space at the Tree of Life. All the wookiees are dressed in red and after Leia gives a speech about Life Day and the Tree of life, she sings a song set to the Star Wars Theme.

Honestly, I enjoyed it. It was kind of like watching a house burning down; it isn't a good thing The variety show aspect of just fine, I thought. I enjoyed the numbers, but it all felt so out of place. It would have been perfect if the program was intended to be parodic, however it was not, and most people regretted it, including George Lucas himself.

At an Australian fan convention, George Lucas was reported saying, "
If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it." He admits it is not the brightest moment in Star Wars history and that he will just have to live with it. I'm with you George. We all make mistakes.

I think if you like Star Wars, you should see this. It is a goofy mix-up, but I have to admit that I have an awkward fondness for it. You don't have to watch it all in one sitting. In fact, you could watch one part on each of the 12 days of Christmas and make a little Christmas tradition out of it. If you watch it with an open mind, I guarantee that you will have a good time.

Happy Life Day everyone!

Friday, December 5, 2008

"That's L.A. you know..."

Last Friday I went to a Q&A session for the Disney College Program. Only about four other participants showed up. It was conducted by the Mesa Community College Campus Rep. Team. They are all alumni of the program. It was very informative and it got me very excited to go. The only problem I had with the whole experience is there are no reps from the College Program at Disneyland. All of them attended the College Program at Disney World. This is due to the fact that the College Program at Disneyland is much newer than the program at Disney World, so there are less alumni.

Friends and family were invited and even encouraged to come. Of the five people there, only one person brought their parents, ofr maybe their parents forced their child to invite them to come. This person is going to the Disneyland College Program in Anaheim and will work in costuming. She is very excited. Her parents are not as excited. Now keep in mind that this girl is twenty years old.

They came late and asked a lot of questions. So many in fact that the meeting would have only lasted about ten minutes. Instead is lasted forty-five minutes. They asked questions like, "Will there be other people working with her after the late night parades at one or two in the morning?" and, "Are there stores and things to buy your food?" I wanted to answer them for her:

"No there aren't any stores there. Anaheim is kind of a recent development, so you should come prepared for the entire eight months. Also, your daughter will be working all by herself at Disneyland at two in the morning. Absolutely no one else will be working there."

They asked a bunch of questions, most of which can be answered in the pages of information that came with the acceptance letter or that can be found online.

They were upset that none of the reps had done their Program at Disneyland, so they couldn't answer every question with 100% certainty, to which they asked their daughter why she hadn't applied at Walt Disney World? Sure it's 2200 miles away, but at least some of these people could answer our questions.

Really, it didn't bother me all that much. They are just very concerned parents who care about their twenty year old daughter.

I did find one thing pretty funny. They asked about the transportation and if their daughter would be safe traveling home if she had to work late. The campus reps told her that she would be there with many other people and most likely she would makes friends who have cars, but worst comes to worst, she would have to use the Public Transportation. After the reps finished their explanation, the parents offered this entertaining piece of dialogue:

Mother: I've been to Orlando and Downtown Disney at midnight or one o' clock and it is very safe. I've also been to Downtown Disney in Anaheim and well... (trails off)

Father: That's L.A. you know... (said with a 'no-nonsense' disposition and an informative tone)

Unfortunately, I thought that he was being sarcastic, or maybe he was poking fun at his wife, so I laughed. I received a prompt stare from the Father. At once, I morphed my laughter in a fit of coughs.

Honestly, though. Those are some seriously protective parents. This girl is twenty years old, and they will be going to Anaheim a week early to make sure that she knows where to go for food, how to get to Disneyland, and who to talk to when she has problems with her roommates. The poor girl was quite embarrassed.

Before the parents showed up, the girl said she could not wait to move out. She told us that her parents would not let her see rated R movies and she was twenty years old. I thought, "Wow...controlling, but how bad can it be?" Then the parents showed up and then I understood.

I just thought it was funny.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Report

I know that traditionally Thanksgiving is a time to be with the family, however this Thanksgiving I was invited to spend the holiday with my friends Carson, Ashley, and her family. I did feel bad about ditching my family, and I missed them quite a bit, but I still had a very enjoyable time in Utah.

I flew up on on Tuesday night, and my flight arrived 15 minutes early. Carson, Ashley, and Alando came to pick me up. I received quite the welcome. Ashley just about broke my jaw when we hugged. It has been about seven months since we have seen each other, but we made up for it in that massive hug. We ate some Wendy's and played some Egyptian Rat Killer, and then retired for the night at Auntie Terri's (Carson's Aunt).

We woke up to Breakfast at Terri's, followed by a visit to a fine little Christmas/furniture/decoration shop with a garden in the back (I am unsure of the actual name of the store). After a quick photo shoot in the back garden, we departed for Midway. We arrived in the early afternoon, and I could not have felt more welcome. Ashley's parents were waiting with open arms.

On Thursday, we went down to Provo and met up with some other friends at a dinner more the homeless and the impoverished. We all took turns singing Christmas songs fo
r them while they enjoyed a free Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great Thanksgiving day activity. It really gives you a lot to be thankful for.

We spent the rest weekend playing Rock Band, watching movies, making gingerbread houses, singing, swimming, and making a lot of noise. It was a fantastic weekend. When it was time to leave on Sunday night, I was actually pretty sad. Ashley's parents made me feel so at home. I was away from my family, but I didn't feel out of place at all. It was a fantastic weekend.

Here are some photo highlights of the weekend:

Ashley in the Garden being Mulan

Ashley in the Garden on the bench

Me and Ashley

Carson being the Statue of Liberty

A cottage that inspired my gingerbread house

Thanksgiving dinner

Me and my gingerbread house