How to Ruin Rogue One

Over the weekend, my husband ruined Star Wars. He’s always been more of a Trekkie, but this was low.

Several remixes of the Rogue One trailer have been floating around the Internet, but this one is the most memorable I’ve seen so far. It’s brilliant. There’s no doubt about it. But imagining Rogue One with Jar-Jar Binks is just terrifying. And funnier than it should be. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed and cringed so much at the same time.

So enjoy and be thankful that we don’t have another Star Wars movie with Jar-Jar on the way.

Nerd Propagation (Or, the BB8 Lovey)

So my best friend is having a baby. It’s very exciting, especially because she and her husband are fellow geeks. This child will be brought up well.

Since I tried my hand at an R2D2 lovey for my nephew earlier this year, I decided to give it another shot. However, good ol’ R2 isn’t quite the right fit. My best friend is obsessed with BB8. Like ready to sneak onto a soundstage and borrow one. Okay, that’s really hyperbole, but you get the idea. So, for that reason, I had to make this lovey a BB8, which was definitely a little tricky since that meant some alterations to the pattern.


The first trouble was finding the right shade of orange. What I ended up with still is a little darker than BB8, I think, but it’s close enough that someone would know who it’s supposed to be at a glance.

I skipped 4 rows (of the 36 stitches) on the head part of the pattern to give it the rounder, smaller look that BB8 has. Obviously, the difference in colors also means that there’s no switching back and forth between the white and blue partway down the head (where the “eye” is). I’m not best at switching yarn, so that’s a bonus.

One mistake I made and wish I had realized was the second set of front post triple crochet stitches. I didn’t include them since they weren’t needed for aesthetics. I didn’t realize that they were functional, providing a place to start the blanket portion. If you make one, you’ll want to include those for your own sanity.


So there it is. A BB8 lovey. Now here’s to meeting the little one when he arrives in the next few weeks.

The Adventures of the Intrepid: Part 2

So much for posting the next part of the steampunk story every two weeks. These characters had a lot of thoughts about who they ought to be, so they needed some extra time. However, there is now a title of some sort of the story, so that counts for something, right?

Savannah followed Minerva through the lamp-lit streets. Pausing, she shifted her luggage from one hand to the other. Minerva slowed and shook her head. Savannah thought she had packed light, but the walk to the airship hangar was further than she expected. At the moment, she felt less like an adventurer and more like the prissy girls she didn’t want to be like.

More people roamed the streets in the twilight than she expected. Deliverymen and laborers headed to work while dust-covered miners headed home. She hesitated once more, trying to change hands without stopping this time.

“Almost there,” Minerva said as she nodded towards a nearby domed building that towered over all of the others.

Inside, the rest of the team was waiting. Savannah recognized most of them already. Ambrose McLeod had been the catalyst for the team. He visited the house where Minerva worked often because was the son of Mr. Barlow’s colleague and was a budding scientist himself. A year and a half ago, while Minerva was serving tea, she overheard Ambrose’s interest in exploring the New Territories. Minerva immediately told Savannah, who found an excuse to call on the Barlows the next time Ambrose visited. When she explained that her parents had explored parts of the New Territories, Ambrose was immediately interested and helped organize the team.

Now, he hurried across the hangar and took Savannah’s luggage. She thanked him, not letting on how grateful she was not to carry it a step farther.

“I’m so glad you’re here!” he said as he led them towards the airship.

Lewis, a longtime friend of Minerva, joined them next. They had worked together in the factory and he had been like an older brother to her. Once she went to work in the Barlow’s home, they managed to keep in touch. He beamed as he chatted excitedly with her.

When they reached the airship, Savannah felt like she was home again. She half expected her parents to climb down the ramp, arms wide open.

Instead, Ambrose’s cousin, Henry, did. “Welcome to The Intrepid!” He clapped his cousin on the shoulder before taking Savannah’s hand. “It’s good to see you again, Miss Farage.”

“It’s good to see you again too,” Savannah replied.

Minerva nudged Savannah. She realized that she must have been blushing. She wondered if Henry had noticed.

While he greeted the others, someone else stood at the top of the airship ramp, staring. Savannah glanced up and froze. Of all the people, Owen Wisp was the last person she had expected to see. The glared down at her. Memories of the last time she saw him flooded her mind.

It had been after her parents had died in the airship accident. His father had been with them, acting as their pilot. Though she was only seven then, she remembered what he had told her: “If it hadn’t been for your parents, my father wouldn’t be dead. I’ll never forgive them for it.” She had never hoped to see him again.

“Minerva,” she whispered, gesturing towards the ramp.

Minerva frowned. “I didn’t know how to tell you. He and Lewis have been friends a long time. Owen’s one of the best airship mechanics out there. We need him to come.”

“Did he know I would be coming too?”

She glanced over at Lewis. “Maybe?”

As Owen disappeared into the airship, Savannah sighed. “This is going to be a long adventure, isn’t it?”

Love Conquers All?

I’ve been reading The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson for a while now. To my defense, they’re three huge books. Exactly how huge is hard to tell since I have them on my Kindle. The progress through all three books is measured in a percentage on the bottom right of the screen. Currently, it’s just 56%, and I have no idea how much longer I’ll be in book 2.

During a recent reading session, I found myself in the middle of a familiar situation. The protagonist had to choose which of the two men in her life that she loved.

Up until this point, I thought we would avoid this sort of decision. The protagonist is not a typical damsel facing a fraught romantic relationship. She doesn’t have it all together, but her motivations are noble. She’s trying, and I think she’s going to make it in the end.

But then it happened. The run-away-with-me moment. The moment when she has to decide which man she loves more and act on it immediately.

I have to confess, I sighed and set the book aside for a moment. I get it. Love is tough. Sometimes loyalties are divided and decisions need to be made. Sometimes it’s time to move on. In stories, though, this sort of situation often annoys me. I understand that it is justifiable sometimes, but other times, it feels like it’s just thrown in for the sake of cheap conflict. Not because it’s the best decision for the story.

Or maybe it just annoys me so deeply because of my parents’ counseling background and the advice I grew up overhearing. Because I’ve watched struggling couples make it through hard times and be better for it in the end. Because I know from experience that the things that try to pull you apart can actually pull you closer together. Because some things are always worth fighting for.

In any case, it took me a couple of minutes to muster myself and pick the Kindle back up. I half breezed over the next few lines only to find, much to my surprise, that the situation changed drastically. In a nut shell, the run-away-with-me moment transformed into something true to the protagonist and completely satisfying. I was shocked. Pleasantly shocked. Brandon Sanderson hadn’t let me down after all.

So now I continue to read The Mistborn Trilogy with a new appreciation both as a reader and a fellow writer. Maybe other authors believe that, as the saying goes, love can still conquer all too.

Do you have a pet peeve in storytelling? Do these sorts of decisions drive you crazy too?

On Linguistics (or, Why Don’t We Read Beeks Instead of Books?)

Today is the first day of school, and what a fun one it’s been. I love seeing so many familiar faces and welcoming the new ones as well. Instead of retreating to the middle school wing, I helped everyone find their classrooms. My first French classes start soon.

Transitioning from teaching middle school English to high school French has been an adventure. Some things are the same. Other things are very different. One thing that has come in handy in both classes, though, is my love of linguistics.

I wish I had time in college to take more linguistics classes, but the one on the history of the English language was enough to whet my appetite and make it into a lifelong pursuit.

Recently, I found a TED-Ed video on English’s plurals system. You thought it was confusing the way it is? Just think of what would have happened if the Norse hadn’t streamlined the language after invading!



New Teaching Adventures

The last couple of weeks have been full of preparations for the school year to begin. There’s much to do on the administrative side (which I now handle), but there’s also a great deal to do as a teacher.

This year, I’m in new territory. For years, whenever anyone asked what I taught, the answer was simple: 7th and 8th grade English. When French I was added last year, I only mentioned it sometimes. Now, though, I hesitate every time someone asks me. I’ve handed my middle school English class off to a new teacher — one who’s more like a younger version of me. One who will continue to relate well to the students, I’m sure. After all, she plays Pokémon Go.

Amid the other administrative duties that come with summer, I’ve been working hard to learn more about French culture around the world to improve the French I that I’ve already taught and create a solid foundation for French II. This means my books on the French has only grown in the last few months.


Just some of my books on French or in French.


One that I’ve been thoroughly engrossed in is Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau. While I have French lineage, my family came to the New World in the early 1700’s, when the Huguenots were kicked out of France, so there’s not much French culture left in family traditions. (Not that any of it would look like the modern French since modern France really started with the French Revolution in the late 1700’s.) It’s fascinating to read how differently they view things. In some ways, it feels familiar. In other ways, their culture is as different as Japanese culture is from ours.

So here’s to a new year filled with many familiar faces and new adventures.

The Cat Days of Summer

Every morning, we wake up to a cat. This morning, we woke up to three.

Monti comes up to see us as soon as the alarm clock goes off every morning. Once we start getting out of bed, he coaxes us downstairs, where his empty food bowl is waiting. I think he knows that he’s irresistibly cute so we can’t help following him.

This morning — like most mornings — I lagged a little behind, and Monti was waiting patiently for me to join him at the bottom of the stairs. Once assured that I was there, he meandered back to his food bowl.

As he did, I heard muffled meowing. I knew it wasn’t him, so I figured it was a video my (fellow) cat-obsessed sister-in-law had sent to my husband. When I joined him to see what he was looking at, it was tech news, not a video.

Then I heard the muffled meowing again, and our cat was sitting at the sliding glass door, staring outside.


On the porch were two more cats. One was orange — sort of like Monti. I’ve seen this one before, a long time ago, and mistook it for my cat. Since Monti was just a kitten at the time, I was afraid that he’d sneaked out of the house after us. Turns out, Monti was safe inside. I’ve only had a rare glimpse of his doppelganger since.

The other was a kitten, and he’s the one I heard meowing. First, they wandered on the porch, where they stared at Monti, my husband, and me. Then they took to climbing up the tree in the back yard.


Within a couple of hours, they had gone. Hopefully back home to people who love them. But since their appearance, Monti has kept a close eye out for his new friends. It makes me wonder what he must think of it all.


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