“Captain, Lord Vader demands an update on the pursuit.” – Communications Officer to Captain Needa, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Two posts in as many days. I know! When will the madness stop?
So I realized that I needed someplace that I could “quick a minute” jot things down as I do them regarding this
crazy completely understandable and realistic mission that Red Leader and I have undertaken (possibly at my bull-headed insistence). Dog on a bone. Fly swatter to any argument. Resistance is futile and all that. Yes, I will in fact poach from other franchises if it suits my purpose. I’m an equal opportunity geek.
We’ve been watching Enterprise again on Netflix, by the way. Can you spell T I M E - W A S T E R? PL’s favorite is Lt. Reed and his “hey baby” houndog style and DW loves Tucker’s no-nonsense engineer ways, although both perk up significantly whenever T’Pol has to get yet another anti-microbial rundown after visiting an alien world (this happens surprisingly often). While I find Hoshi to be a kindred spirit, I think Doctor Flox is hysterical.
So I popped up a public OMK Facebook page [link fixed now] (some monster already took the FB obimomkenobi nickname – razzlefrickenskortig - so I had to modify) to keep track of what I’m doing. I’ll do a general overview here once a week, but if you want the real nitty gritty, stop over there (maybe even like the page! – ooh, the excitement) to get the updates. Wouldn’t want to annoy all 10 of you passionate readers with minutia.
EV-9D9: “How many languages do you speak?”
C-3PO: “I am fluent in over six million forms of communication, and can readily…”
EV-9D9: “Splendid! We have been without an interpreter since our master got angry with our last protocol droid and disintegrated him.”
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi
Well, let’s be honest. I speak one language, English, and a smattering of Dutch. I can get around a menu, buy some groceries, read a short kids’ book, and be polite, but really speak Dutch… Nah, not so much. I’ve been at this in fits and starts for (shamefully) decades now and have pulled out all the excuses you can imagine: too little time, raising a family, working, no one nearby to speak with anymore, we’ve (not so recently) moved, the damn cat puked on the carpet again, there’s something good on Netflix, I started that new engineering-related website, the usual.
I have, however, recently acquired a commitment from Red Leader in a game of chance to move to Belgium for 3 months (the maximum stay allowed) after Padawan Learner and Wedge Antilles graduate from high school and are off on their own, making their way in the world. Gosh darn it, we’ve earned ourselves a little R&R – a little learning-for-me time – a chance to work towards something lovely and interesting and important for reasons that have nothing to do with college applications, ACT/SAT scores, core competencies, getting child X to activity Y in under Z minutes, or anything so wholly unrelated to us (to mis-quote the brilliant Elizabeth Bennet).
Since Belgium has two national languages (French – her target language) and Flemish (a dialect of Dutch – mine), sits between France and the Netherlands, and is an easy train trip into either language region, it will be ideal for our purposes. She will be able to rely on me in the Dutch-speaking regions and I on her in the French-speaking areas. While we will, of course, visit all the main tourist spots (hello again, Paris and Amsterdam) where English could be spoken if we wanted to – BUT WE WILL NOT WANT TO – learning our target languages well will allow us to visit and enjoy the non-touristy spots that are so often bypassed due to the language barrier.
Because of this travel plan and language-learning need, I am going to be using some of this space for a bit of recording keeping and public accountability. Please feel free to give me grief is I don’t update my progress regularly. I apologize in advance if you just don’t give a hoot about this goal, because you’re going to hear a lot about it.
Luke Skywalker: (via Hologram) “Greetings, Exalted One. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and friend to Captain Solo. I know that you are powerful, mighty Jabba, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for Solo’s life.”
(Jabba’s crowd laughs)
Luke Skywalker: “With your wisdom, I’m sure that we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation.”
Hurrah! I’m back to part-time – that which I originally applied for last May. My part-time co-worker and occasional partner in mischief, Hermione Bagwa, was looking for a full-time position now that her classes are over, so we decided to swap out spots. We’re going to do a graduated switch over for the next six months while she gets a feel for running the store, managing the staff, overseeing the volunteers, processing donations, and taking care of the building’s regular maintenance tasks, but at least now I’m home in the afternoons and we will both have a long weekend every other week.
Of course, because I have finally passed a much longed for cross in this road, I have come down with a massive cold to compliment my sudden-onset seasonal allergies. What can I say, it’s what I do.
My to do list now that I’ll have more free time is growing by the day. First up though, get back to my Dutch language lessons. I want to be speaking it, writing it, reading it, and understanding it on a conversational basis by New Year’s Day. Not fluency, not perfectly, not like a native – but good enough to read a newspaper, listen to the radio, hold a casual conversation, and send/receive emails in Dutch without the other person feeling like they need to switch to English (a rather large problem when communicating with the Dutch). Yes, I know it’s only 6 months, but I have a decent head start and (hopefully) the motivation to put the time in.
Luke Skywalker (via hologram): “As a token of my goodwill, I present to you a gift: these two droids.”
3-PO: “What did he say?”
Luke Skywalker: “… Both are hardworking and will serve you well.
3-PO: “This can’t be! R-2, you’re playing the wrong message.”
Star Wars VI: A New Hope
Yesterday was a special day, a glorious day – a SPA day (ok, a spa afternoon but still!). Dad Windu and Padawan Learner took pity on me and presented me with a gift certificate for a shoulder massage and some foot reflexology for mother’s day. It was much needed, much appreciated, and I may have become hooked. I sounded like a piece of aluminum foil was being crinkled up for the first time when she began working on my back. I, perhaps, should have had this done a long time ago. All those hours of work at shoulder level appear to have caught up with me. Lesson learned. As for the foot reflexology, it was so relaxing that I almost fell asleep while she rubbed warm oil into my parched skin and worked hot stones across the soles of my feet. Ahhhhh. Just thinking about it again makes me relaxed. Thankfully, she was very careful around the broken pinkie toe that is still mending. For the record, a broken pinkie toe is the best reason – ever – for having to wear flip-flops to work for a couple weeks in a row.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: ”Our presence here will be invisible, M’Lady. I can assure you.”
Captain Typho: ”I’m Captain Typho of her majesty’s security service. Queen Jamilla has been informed of your assignment. I am very grateful you are here, Master Kenobi. The situation is more dangerous than the Senator will admit.”
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
Dad Windu and I, as not to be left behind all alone, headed off to Tucson, AZ to visit his parents who were over-wintering there and get in a bit more Old West history under our tourquoise-encrusted, over-sized, yeah-these-aren’t-to-touristy-right? silver belt buckles. Despite it being COLD there much of the time, we had a lovely time dodging tourists in Tombstone – the historical museum is quite good, by the way, even if the town itself is a collossal waste of time. The drive from Tucson to Tombstone is quite pretty, with lots of long and winding roads through both desert and high mountain passes. Our little rental speeder with approximately 2.9 gungan-power didn’t enjoy the drive much, but we sure did.
We took a roundabout way back and stayed over in Sierra Vista so that we could visit the Military History Museums located within the Fort Huachuca Army Base - only to realize that our rental car company messed up our paperwork so we couldn’t enter the base. In fact, we were technically driving illegally as the rental agent put down the wrong experation date – for the day before we were there! And let me tell you, Fort Huachuca is the ONLY reason to be in Sierra Vista that I could find. It’s one giant ode to Big Box stores and almost every possible National chain. After a bit of hunting and pecking, we did find a delicious, local Mexican restaurant – La Casita – and cute little coffee shop – Gelato Java Stop – where the owner messed up my order a little bit but was so nice and friendly that I didn’t even tell her.
Meeting the receptionist at the The Sierra Vista Convention and Visitors Bureau, however, was worth the lackluster overnight stay, she told us about a few local ghost towns (including which ones required a 4×4 to reach), great restaurants which sadly we didn’t follow up on because we were sooo full from our late lunch at La Casita that we didn’t even want any dinner that night, and even more about the museums at Fort Huachuca. You know, so that we really, really wanted to see them the next day… only to find out that we couldn’t. Grrrr.
On our way back to AZ, we backtracked a bit and stopped to see the ghost town of Fairbank, the closest railstation to Tombstone and several other local mining towns on its way to Tucson and points further west. This really got DW pumped, as it was certainly a place that his Old West “friends” – Virgil and Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and Major Clum to name a few – would have passed through on their travels. There are only a few buildings left, but we roamed around the area for several hours visiting the very untouristy burial grounds atop a high hill with a spectacular, clear view of the surrounding shrub-lands,
the town remnants – please note the sign propped up against one of the buildings – love the quotes around DANGER by the way,
the crumbling rail depot next to the converted rails-to-trails recreational path, and the San Pedro River which was, of course, key to the survival and location of the town.