Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Jedi and the Sith

(This is the third in a series written by THE BOY.  This writing prompt was of his own choosing, the expanded world of Star Wars)Jedi_vs__Sith_by_Kaelir_of_lorien

The Star Wars galaxy is huge. There are movies, a TV show, books, even comics about it. Here are some facts you might not have known at all.

For over 25,000 years, the Jedi and Sith have been battling for control for the galaxy. Jedi want freedom, peace and justice; the Sith want slaves, passion and a 100% Jedi-Free galaxy. Both sides, light and dark, are trying to get everyone to fight on their own side. The Jedi are the light, hoping for peace, and the Sith are the Dark side, hoping for slaves and power. With more Jedi than Sith, the Dark side needs the power for themselves.

Many people know 3 or 4 different lightsaber colors, but that’s not all. Few know about the lightsaber’s meanings. I’ll only do 7 of the colors. I’ll also mention Jedi and Sith as examples of users for that color of the blade.

#1: Red. Ever wonder why the Sith only use red? The reason is most lightsaber crystals grow on a planet called Illum. Both Jedi and Sith could not harvest the crystals in the same area. Picture a Jedi and a Sith of equal power going to the same place at the same time. Red crystals do not grow naturally. They are synthetic. Red crystals are also compatible with the dark side of the Force; so compatible that there is a chance that their opponent’s lightsaber’s matrix can get overwhelmed! This is a rare event. Users include all the Sith, Adi Gallia (a Jedi using a Sith color?) and Galen Marek.
#2: Yellow. This is the color used by the Jedi Sentinel. These Jedi go undercover, keep a low profile, and destroy traces of the dark side. You can see some in the last of the season 5 Star Wars: the Clone Wars episodes! Users include Plo Koon, Bastilla Shan, and Yarell Poof.
#3: Purple. Jedi with light and dark side relations wield this color. They can use aggressive forms with a lower chance of becoming a dark Jedi. Users include Mace Windu, Mara Jade Skywalker, Jaina Solo, Jaden Korr, and the Dark Woman.
#4: Gold. The gold blade is used by Jedi who use high Light Side abilities. Obviously, this is a rare lightsaber. Only used by Qu Rahn.
#5: Bronze. Once again, a rare color used by only two beings. Jedi who use this color rely mainly on physical strength. The only two who used it were Lowbacca and Freedon Nadd.
#6: White. This color is used by force users who have a narrow (thin) mind on the Force and serve a master. These were honestly common after Episode VI of Star wars. However, they were only used by all the Imperial Knights in the Legacy Series.
#7: Silver. This is the color used by very calm Jedi that rely on the force as a hole. While I do know there were two Jedi who used this blade, I can only remember one of them; Corran Horn.
A Sith destroying a lightsaber is rare, possibly being a 1 in 5 trillion chance of occurring.

The Jedi and Sith also use Force Powers when battling. Possibly the best known power is Force grip. This allows Jedi and Sith to lift objects ranging from pebbles to houses and maybe even planets! This would be great for rescue missions as it would clear rubble. I believe this is a great power and can come to great use.

Another well known power is force push. The push power can repel anything that can be lifted with grip, depending on the power the user has. It is useful for removing flying rocks out of one’s way, trapping targets, and disarming beings with weapons.

Force lightning. This is mainly a Sith power. Force lightning is when bolts of electricity shoot out from the user’s hand, ranging from rendering the victim unconscious to turning bodies to ash! Someone strong enough could use force storm, causing entire fleets of ships to get wrecked. I do not see any good use for this power, yet some Jedi use it.

Jedi mind trick: my favorite. This one only works on the weak minded, but it can get anyone with a weak mind to do what they want. This should not be used for getting money or having someone doing wrong causes. It should be used to distract, get someone to stop doing things that are unnecessary or to get soldiers who are looking for you to believe you are not yourself.

These lightsaber blade color meaning and Jedi/Sith force powers wrap it all up. I hope you enjoyed my essay on Star Wars.

(Find the information I have written down on Star Wars expertEvanova95’s YouTube channel: huge shout out to him.)

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Courage!!

It is 3:47 and I am absolutely NOT watching the clock.

I am helping a friend at a bookstore while The Boy is at the pool, and the clock on the wall is in no ways causing me any stress.  It would be foolish, after all, to be concerned about something which is still 30 minutes away and which I have convinced myself is really 45 minutes away.  It is 3:49 now

The Boy is going to ride his bike from camp to the store, and there is no way that my brain is conjuring all of the worst case scenarios.

It is 3:52.  Why is time moving so slowly?

This morning, I locked The Boy’s bike up at camp.  We had gone over the route many times over the past couple days.  He seemed eager and I gave him a jaunty wave as I left him there, backpack, bike helmet, lunch and that fragile body.

3:53

I slowed leaving the parking lot.  He was introducing himself to some kids, they were laughing at a joke and I as always, I wondered if he was laughing as well because he GOT it or because THEY were laughing.

(Did the clock just go backwards?)

The pool closes at 4:00 pm.  If history is any judge, he will be the last person out.  Then he will take forever changing from his bathing suit into his street clothes  So he’ll leave around 4:10 maybe?  In twelve more minutes.

It is an easy one mile from the pool to the store.  I did it a million times when I was his age.  But surely I was more aware, more grown up than he is now?  There weren’t as many cars on the road then, right?  I pick up my phone and press 9-1- ready to put in the last digit if he is not here at 4:30 on the dot!!

4:02

My heart is racing.  How do I explain this lack of parenting oversight to my wife?  my parents? the in-laws?

4:07

Someone is talking to me, obviously unaware that if I move my eyes from the clock for a second, all will be lost!  Life as I know it will be…

“Hi dad!”

There is the soft clunk of his helmet as he swings it against the door.  It is 4:15.  He is not a stain on the road.  He has not been abducted.  He did not get lost and end up in Canada.

“Hey buddy, how was the ride?”

“Great!”  He is preening with pride, reveling in this longed for freedom.  This boy, who can’t remember a name and had a melt down about gnats is glowing in a new light of independence.

My heart slows and I hug him.

“I’m proud of you buddy!  I knew you could do it!”

After the Successful Ride

After the Successful Ride

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It’s a Dog’s Life -ish

As punishment for using all of the data in the world, the boy has been tasked with writing some essays/stories based on writing prompts I have given him.  It is an excuse for me to get him to do something I think he is good at but which he hates.

Today’s prompt:  Write a story about a day in the life of a dog from the dog’s point of view

I am a German Sheppard. This is a day in my life.

7:00 A.M; this is the time I often wake up. My lazy parents are still asleep. I give Mommy a good kiss to remind her it’s time to feed me. I am so glad I did because she wakes up Daddy and we go downstairs for our breakfast.

They tell me they are going out to stay with strangers I don’t know and will be home for dinner. Wait. There’s bacon on the ground? It is my job for it to not go to waste… so I eat it. Then I saw that they left the front door open, and I saw Zeck outside. I burst out of the door saying hi. After we got together, we did activities.

We saw a lot of slow, tasty squirrels in out neighborhood. Only 2 were lucky enough to escape us. The rest we either ate or stored in our stash of food. All of a sudden, we see a toy. We run, grab, and play tug-of-war. This is what our ancestors used to do to settle arguments. We won twice each, and then I tagged Zeck. That signaled a game of tag. Zeck got faster the last time we met, because he caught up to me and tagged me. Luckily, we only had energy for one more tag each, and then I said goodbye to my pal, went home, and napped.

I heard my parents’ car; then I knew what to do. I walked to the door, waited for them to open it, and when they did, I jumped onto Daddy and gave him kisses. I was so happy to see them! They hugged me, but then went to stare at something bright and colorful. I wanted to join in so I leapt onto the couch and started cuddling. Then I see a cat. I have to get it so I run to the window and yell at it. It goes away, but then I feel really sleepy. I walk to bed, lay down, and go to sleep. What a day!

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Summer School

The Boy is studying a book, closely examining the words and pictures.  Finally, he turns to me.

“I don’t get it,” I take a look at the book.

A troop of British soldiers is is in a line,  one with eyes very wide.  The caption reads”

“Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775: An unfortunate twist of fate for one young Redcoat. Charles “Bugeyed” Bingham was not knowing that the opposing American general had just uttered the historic command ‘Don’t fine until you see the whites of their eyes'”

We have just moved to New England and one of my great joys is sharing with him my limited knowledge about the Revolutionary War.  So we chat about Col. Prescott (the quote is sometimes attributed to him, sometimes to General Putnam).  The circumstances surrounding The Battle of Bunker Hill, the cause of the revolution, the practicality of the order, and all of this from a Gary Larson cartoon.

The Boy and I frequently find ourselves using odd books to initiate conversation.  Far Side cartoons frequently make obscure or dated references.  He want to laugh at the jokes, but is too honest to laugh unless he “gets” it.

Calvin and Hobbes creates conversations about empathy, imagination and bullies.  In addition, the language the eponymous characters use is very advanced.  A few years ago, when The Boy was only six, he looked at me close to tears, asking why Calvin knows all these words that The Boy does not.  After comforting him that it was not written by a six year old, he focused on improving his vocabulary.

Comics are not our only unusual source of study.  Two years ago, The Boy started taking karate.  A year later, I joined him and we both embraced the martial arts.  Since moving here, we started studying Tae Kwon Doe.  This has lead to talks about Korea, Japan and their relationships, the way traditions transfer and grow and change to fit environment.

Great learning comes from conversation.  My greatest teachers were the ones who were engaging.  It also requires a point of access to ask questions.  And if Bill Watterson or Gary Larson or Herge are these points, I’ll not complain.CalvinandHobbes

The Boy’s Take on The Move

When I thought about it, the moving to VT was horrifying and made me cry because all my friends lived there. I had moved before, but this is my first time I REMEMBER moving, making me used to MD. Before we found a permanent home, I spent 3 days with Dad’s best friend. It was good except 2 problems for me (no offense Bobby, you are awesome). One was two cats (allergies), the second one was 4 kids! Being a single child, I was not used to many kids. They annoyed me like heck because they were talking so much and telling me stuff I already knew, and the second night I puked! I was 100% ready to leave.

Unfortunately, we did not yet find a permanent home, so we stayed at a hotel. The service was great, with only a few things wrong; no food at the entrance, and a bad pool. Other than that, it was good! We also found an affordable home, which was the first one we had our eye on. =)
After only 2 days, we got settled in our new home, which had some neat features which belong to our landlords; a koi pond, hang dryers, a mudroom, and a duck (quack!) farm. Our house is cheap, large, and there are a lot of rooms! Hang drying saves us some money and is great for the environment.

For me, the bad news is internet connection is horrible because its 25 years old. I want fast internet connection so YouTube videos won’t use up data or buffer as much, I can play multiplayer on my games, and so I can Skype my friends. I was not using Wi-Fi so I had to stream my videos and use up data. I didn’t know how much I used until dad said I used $200 worth of data! I felt so stupid! That also meant no electronics unless otherwise noticed. I have to write an essay like this to get my electronics back, iPod first. I was able to hold in my sadness until I talked to mom. I still get tears when I mention it.

Luckily, Downtown Brattleboro is a bike ride away! There is a pool, a great snack place, some activities, and many biking/walking trails. 12,000 people means less careless people and hopefully less law breakers. I honestly love this place!

Dull Old Dad

This post was originally written about three weeks ago, but due to connectivity issues in our new rural environment, I was not able to publish it.  So don’t worry, you have not stepped into a time warp when you find that other post seem to be following rapidly

I have been teaching the boy the art of boredom recently.  To be fair, he brought this on himself.  He is the one who, despite countless warnings to the contrary, used up almost $300 of mobile data by streaming You Tube videos about Star Wars and Minecraft.  So we are all on a data diet and he is prohibited from using electronics.  He will be earning them back gradually by providing weekly essays, which I will post here.

Still, he has plenty of options for entertainment.  On nice days, we can bike to the pool, or take the dog for a long hike.  He has plenty of books to read and toys to play with.  He can practice his karate and his music and of course, work on those essays.

I came across a fun acronym (of course, all acronyms are fun!):

Be creative

Outside play

Read

Exercise

Do something nice for someone

He has all the tools he needs to keep himself occupied, but still I hear “There’s nothing to do,”  After he moans that a couple of times, I go over with The Boy (for the thousandth time) all of his options.  But is it wrong that I take pleasure in him staring at the ceiling, thinking?

I remember how my imagination raced on those days when I was bored as a child.  I recall my parents not being able to provide constant entertainment.  I recall coming up with diversions which grew into obsessions.  One winter, my room was strewn with over 100 paper airplanes of a variety of designs.

In this family, we love technology.  I know my son has more “screen time” than many of his peers, and I am okay with that.  But I also like when he is pushed to find his own interests in the real world.  I sometimes think that we, as parents, feel the need to provide a constant source of stimulus.  But sometimes boredom is a powerful tool, and laying back, watching clouds, is the best way to spend a day.