Archive for the ‘Critical Observations’ Category

Galactic Discrepancies

My children LOVE all the Star Wars movies. My son specifically is absolutely smitten with the whole franchise, to the extent that every time we are trying to explain something to him, he finds a way to equate each element of the conversation to an event in one of the 6 Star Wars movies. “So you mean like the time the Chancellor was trying to convince Anakin to turn to the Dark Side and he became uglier and sicker, that’s what happens to us when we hold on to angry feelings?”

I remember the “orginial movies” with fond memories and have throroughly enjoyed sharing the Ewoks, Chewbacca, a handsome Harrison Ford and R2D2 with my kids. Unfortunately, for me, the family bonding has been somewhat marred by the blatant inconsistencies in the sequence of the 6 episodes. I realize that The Phantom Menace (TPM), The Clone Wars (TCW) and The Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) were made 30 years after the older A New Hope (ANH), The Empire Strikes Back(TESB) and The Return of the Jedi (ROTJ); which of course means that they will be considerably more impressive technically and in the area of special effects. But in watching all 6 I have come to the realization that there was little attempt made to even try avoiding the inconsistencies.

Although I am sure that there have been hundreds of notes and article written about this very topic in the world of fantasy and galactic novelty, it’s on my mind right now and since I have a minute, I thought I would share the things that I find most irritating about the “New vs. Old” Star Wars movies.

1. Princess Leia tells Luke that she remembers her Mother as being beautiful…but at the end of The Revenge of the Sith (ROTS), Queen Amidala dies giving birth.

2. Luke Skywalker was born at the end of ROTS and at the beginning of ANH he is merely a teenager; yet Obiwan has aged several decades. Anakin was very young when he turned to Darth Vader but at the end of the ROTS, yet Luke sees his father without a mask while he is dying and he is clearly more than 20 years older than he was when he put the mask on.

3. IN TPM little Anakin is friends with Padme, maidservant to Queen Amidala. Later in the next movie we find him meeting Queen Amidala again and she is referred to as Padme, with no explanation as to why she was pretending to be a servant in the first movie, even when he tried to say goodbye to his “friend Padme” and Queen Amidala said she would pass on the message when Padme returned…weird.

4. In TPM, Anakin leaves his droid C3PO with his mother when he leaves with Qui Gon for Jedi training. And yet, somehow C3PO ends up in the care of Princess Leia at the beginning of ANH.

5. At the end of ROTS, ObiWan and Yoda decide to hide the children from Darth Vader and the Emperor, and yet they choose to keep his last name as “Skywalker”, doesn’t really seems like a very good idea.

6. How do Yoda  and the Jedi council know everything about everyone; and yet have no idea that Anakin is slipping to the dark side, that Chancellor Palpatine is the Sith, Anakin is married to Padme and she is super-sized pregnant>>>?

7. In TPM, Darth Maul and Darth Sidious are discussing that they will “At last have (their) revenge”, but their is no explanation as to why they are seekign revenge against the Jedi Council.  Also if the Sith come in pairs, why does Darth Sidious have Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus and Anakin as his apprentices all within the space of one movie?

8. Why did ObiWan and Luke Skywalker both “have to face Darth Vader”? Why was that necessary? I don’t understand.

9. When Luke and ObiWan received the SOS message from Princess Leia through R2D2 and decided to go to Alderaan, why didn’t ObiWan mention that Luke had a sister and that this was her? According to the final scenes in ROTS, ObiWan was part of the decision to split Padme and Anakin’s twins and he would presumably have knowledge of the family she was placed with…and yet he didn’t seem to make the connection in ANH. 

10. Why does Chewbacca have such a connected friendship with Yoda in the ROTS and heavily involved with the resistance movement and yet in movies 4, 5, 6 he appears to have no knowledge of the Jedi or personal interest in anything but making money with Han Solo?

I am positive that there have been other inconsistancies and issues throughout the 6 movies and specifically occuring in the gap between Revenge of the Sith (ROTS) and A New Hope (ANH). If I have missed things that have irritated or confused you also, please feel free to leave them here in a comment, as I’m sure somthing you catch will spark my memory! Thanks for bearing with me through my little rant….may the force be with you! 😉

Supermarket Society – Part I

Ok so as a wife and mother of two, I spend a fair bit of time in the grocery store. Not by choice, I mean, I would prefer to buy my groceries once a month and avoid the lines, impulse shopping and rambunctious children all together. Unfortunately, despite my efforts to plan menus and organize shopping lists, I inevitably forget several things and have to return at least a couple of times throughout the week.  In my travels up and down the supermarket aisles, I’ve come to the conclusion that grocery stores are a representation of so much that is wrong in the world today.

Let me take you on a imaginary tour of the local grocery store to illustrate my point. So I drive into the parking lot and find myself faced with offender number one; the Inconsiderate Driver. Turning the corner in front of the store entrance finds me immediately stuck behind a vehicle dropping a woman off. The woman is in her 30’s, seemingly able-bodied, running quickly in the front door of the store, bags in hand. I ask myself, why didn’t the driver simply pull into an available parking spot and let the woman out there? Why the need for proximity to the entrance? She seemed to be perfectly capable of walking the 100 feet from the closest empty spot to the store. hmmmm? At this point I am waiting for the car to move towards a parking spot, allowing the cars behind him (myself the closest waiting car) to pass him and get on with the tasking of parking. To my dismay and irritation, I see that the driver has put his vehicle in park and proceeded to make a phone call on his cell, with no sense of urgency. I am forced to wait for the cars behind me to pull out from behind my car before I can back up and pull out around the offending vehicle. Having lost three free parking spots to the vehicles that pulled out from behind me, I can only find a spot much further away now in which to park my vehicle.

Offender number two; the Buggy Rebuffer,  is not so blatantly rude, as much as I find it irritating that other people don’t think to be courteous. Most of the grocery stores near our home have coin deposit/return devices on them. People push a quarter into the buggy and it releases the lock, upon returning the buggy to the corral, your quarter is returned. Simple. Generally when I am entering the store and see someone loading their groceries into their car, I offer to exchange my quarter for their buggy. It seems a simply courtesy to me, I need a buggy and they are finished with theirs. I am walking into the store, and I can save them a trip back with their buggy, seems logical. So why is it that no one ever offers to take my buggy and save me the trip?  Ah well. as my husband likes to point out, not everyone thinks like I do.

Upon entering the produce department, I am faced with offender number three; the Disrespectful Fruit-handler.  I approach the tomatoes and begin to gently test the firmness of each piece of fruit. I do so with the understanding that many people will have touched these before me and I will definitely need to wash them before I use them at home. However, I also keep in mind that just because I am not interested in every tomato and therefore discard many in my search, I need to do so with care and respect because there will be many people who come after me who would rather I not treat their tomatoes roughly. This is exactly why I find it so unpleasant to see the woman beside me shoving the unwanted tomatoes to the side as she squeezes every one with vigorous enthusiasm in a haphazard careless way. As I reach down to pick up the rogue tomato that she has pushed to the floor (or perhaps it jumped off the pile in an effort to avoid the insensitive manhandling that was being visited on the more docile tomatoes) I came face to face with the child waiting in her buggy, and I realize that this woman actually guilty of TWO offensive behaviours!

Besides holding the Disrespectful Fruit-handler office, she is also a Thoughtless Thief!  As I have two small children myself, I am always interested when I see other people’s children sitting patiently in the buggy without causing a stir. To my dismay the woman handed her child a bag of grapes and said, “Go ahead, eat these, Mommy’s almost done!” I couldn’t believe it! I spend a lot of time teaching my children that stealing is wrong, that “tasting” the produce without paying for it, is in fact stealing. Don’t get me wrong, as a busy Mom, I often end up with cranky hungry children in the store and open a box of crackers or cookies to tide them over until my shopping list is complete, but those things have a barcode that can be scanned even if some of the product has been removed. Grapes on the other hand need to be weighed to determine the cost, so every plump and juicy grape this child placed in her mouth was one more piece of fruit for which this mother had no intention of paying!

This blog entry has become longer than I originally intended, so I am going to break it into 2 parts. Stay tuned for Part Two of Supermarket Society, to find out who else I encounter on my adventure through the grocery store; including the Express Lane Lout and the Inconsiderate Pedestrian.

The Adventures of Online Shopping

Ok so I have to admit that I am a sucker for a good garage sale, a good thrift store, craigslist, kijiji, and networking Mom’s that pass along and sell their children clothes, toys etc. So there, I admitted it, I like to get a good deal, there’s no shame in that is there?

But let me also say, sometimes I think the idea that “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” can get a little silly.  My hubby is a big fan of the online garage sale sights like craigslist and kijiji, he can sit for hours and flip through their listings for computer stuff, musical instruments, tools everything and anything that appeals to your average man. So I’ve recently taken to checking out some of their “free” listings just to see what kind of “deals” I could find….let me tell you there’s lots of good stuff and a LOT of weird stuff.

So since I spend many a time giggling to myself in the basement at what type of items are being generously given away online, I thought I would share with you all some of my favourite finds. Come with me, let’s take a walk on the wild side…These item listings are exactly as they appeared on the web sites, comments in bold are mine.

1. I have nine individual cartons of Southwestern flavored Eggbeaters. The expiry date is Feb 14th, but they have been frozen since before that. They are still good, just take up too much room in my freezer. Hmmmm so they are only 6 months PAST the expiration date….tempting….

2. I am looking for a free pleco fish,can anyone help give me any just so that it can clean the green and brown stuff from the tanks?  It seems like you are going to great lengths just to avoid cleaning the fish tank..no?

3. Free Diaper Bag. Yours for free. Please pick up before Friday. It’s ok, just throw it away…really, no one will think badly of you.

 4. WASHER STOPPED WORKING YESTERDAY (not sure why) AND DRYER WORKS = BUT TAKES REALLY LONG TO DRY. We are planning to get a new set MUST TAKE BOTH => BRING SOMEONE TO HELP AND BRING A VAN/ TRUCK. So really what you are looking for is a volunteer to come and carry all your junky broken down ghetto appliances out of your apartment b/c you don’t want to do it?

5. Air Conditioner (broken) Big A/C. I think It’s 12,000 BTU. Fan works. Refrigeration doesn’t. Wow, a broken Air Conditioner, well I guess if the fan works, at least I can use it to suck all the muggy hot air from outside INTO my house!

6. Free for pickup is our Sony TV. It just stopped working all of a sudden. Good for anyone who can fix it. Yes, I see, someone else who can’t be bothered to dispose of their own garbage, so looking for a volunteer to help them out.

7. I have a pint of vanilla So Good, a soy-based dairy-free ice “cream.” It was purchased on Friday and has less than a scoop missing. It was bought by someone who thought it was real delicious ice cream, or at least yummy frozen yogurt. Alas, it’s pretty gross. I have no desire to eat it, but if you’re a vegan and fan of So Good, then it’s yours for free!! email for pick up. I swear, no joke. So not only has the package been opened (but with LESS than one scoop missing, granted), but it’s also really GROSS! Hold on, I’ll be RIGHT OVER to pick it up lady!

8. Garage Sale Leftovers. Bunch of things that can go to Value Village tomorrow. Pick it up for free today in my driveway; Kitchenware, books, exercise bike, old speakers, tables, etc. Get it today, free to good homes. So you couldn’t unload your junk at your garage sale, it’s sitting in the driveway now unwanted, it’s getting donated to a store that sales other people’s unwanted junk, but when we come to get it, you’re going to ensure that it goes to only “good homes”?? hmmmm

9. Broken Stove-Free! FREE Range (needs new switches, burners removed, oven heats up fast) Sitting on driveway, FREE for the taking ! Seriously people…take your own stuff to the dump!

10. Free BBQ to give away. Not in working condition – needs a new gas line – but great for a handy person. Pick up only. Why yes, I’d be happy to stop by your house and pick up your broken down BBQ, and I would be honoured to take it to the dump for you. I mean I’m going anyways to dispose of a broken Sony TV, burner-less stove and broken washer and dryer I picked up today too!

11. Old Leather Wallets. Old and worn. Nothing special. Really? Old, Worn AND Nothing special? I’ll be RIGHT there!

12. Free scrap wood with lots of nails from a basement renovation in progress. In addition to nails, some pieces of jagged metal here and there, and, of course, plenty of splinters, so you’ll need a good pair of work gloves to move this stuff. How much for a side of Tetanus?

13. A Delonghi Deep Fryer for free. Needs a really good cleaning, works fine, will deep fry chicken, french fries or whatever. So now you want me to clean your appliances AND take them away????

14. ThighMaster – hey, giving away my wife’s thigh master cause she’s nice and thin now and wanna pass on the health! Can I interest you in a dirty deep fryer, since your wife can afford to live a little?

15. 7 great armless metal and padded red cloth chairs. Perfect for your office or meeting room! It is like you are getting six chairs plus one thrown in free, except they are all free! WHAT, it sounds like a deal…but is it 7 FREE chairs, or is there only 1 FREE chair and I have to buy 6…I’m confused???

16. Hide-a-bed couch – A well loved, but still comfortable couch that pulls out into a bed is in need of a home. There are a few tears in the fabric and one cushion is missing, but it will work just fine for someone in need of a big navy blue couch/guest bed. Wow, from the less-than-appealing description, you really need to “hide-the-bed” so no one ever sees it!

 17. 4 toilet bowls and tanks. Seats included. Just replaced 4 of my toilets with the water efficiency ones. The old ones still in a good condition. Wow the seats included!?! It’s unheard of…That’s just an offer I can’t refuse!!

18. 4 Drawer Lateral with pull out file sorting shelf. non locking. Note: bottom drawer I have never opened or used.  as it is on the driveway beside the house. Hmmm sounds fishy…why have you NEVER opened the bottom drawer? And why mention it? What is IN the bottom drawer, and do the contents have anything to do with why the shelf has been relegated to the driveway?…hmmmm very curious…

19. Have a variety of vegetarianism pamphlets and stickers that are used to hand out at info events that I won’t be using any time soon. Will recycle them if it’s not picked up within a week. “If no one picks them up, I will dump them on my way to Montana’s for a big steak dinner! Forget vegetarianism!! Viva la Beef!

20. Book and Beans. well the first item up for grabs is a large can of PRIMO mixed beans. I bought this for chili, not realizing it contained chick peas.. i dont like them so…. the second item is a new book entitled “mr t vs Chuck norris” which contains 400 facts about the baddest dudes in history EVER. You know how those “dudes” got to be the “baddest dudes”?? BY EATING BEANS!

21. Free T.P. I bought this toilet paper on sale at No Frills, it was on sale and I had a cheap attack. I have a delicate bum and this stuff is just a bit too harsh for my tender nether areas. If you have a tough bum, or are looking to toughen up your bum and associated nethers you can have seven… that’s right seven rolls of scrubby toilet paper! I know, I thought it was a joke too….but it’s for real!

“Too Much Stuff”

So we’ve just finished with the Christmas season and that means that it’s now that special time of year…the time for purging! In our house, every year we receive new toys, books, gifts, clothes etc. and that means we can throw out or give away some of the things that have been accumulating for the last year in our closets, cupboards and drawers.

Although I am a bit of a pack-rat and am organizationally challenged, I have married a very orderly man who has a knack for shelf-building and loves to throw things out. So he has spent the last 2 weeks cleaning out the closets, building more shelves into them and purging all the things we no longer need or want to make room for our new items. Our home takes on a general cleaner, neater feeling, and I am grateful for his special skill in this area.

Inevitably this time of year stimulates discussion regarding how many toys the children have and whether or not we are spoiling them with too much “stuff”. The truth is they probably have too much stuff and they are more blessed than many, many children around the world. That is why we try to teach them the virtues of gratitude and thankfulness and take measures to instil in them the value of hard work and saving their money for things that they would like.

I have never understood the concept of giving children an “allowance”, what are we allowing them to do? How does giving them money each week just for being our children teach them anything about life in the real world? I also don’t believe that children should be paid to do all manner of chores and jobs around the house. I think that living together under one roof and being a productive part of the family involves participating (willingly) in things like, setting the dinner table and clearing the dishes, picking up toys and books, keeping their rooms neat and tidy, helping to carry in the groceries etc. In our family my son has been learning that we all share the responsibility to keep our home neat and to help us out where needed to achieve that, it’s about teamwork and loving each other by helping whether the task pertains to us personally or not.

On the other hand, there is a specific list containing tasks for which he is paid a small sum of money each week if he consistently completes the jobs without complaining or the need for Mom’s coercion. Things like picking up after the dog, feeding and walking the dog, handling the recycling chore etc… these are jobs that my son completes and in return is paid $5.00 a week. His paycheque is the money he has earned for doing a pre-determined list of jobs. We hope that he will learn the value of hard work, and also learn that by setting and reaching a goal he can earn the money he wants to buy his own wish list. The lesson being that the harder he works the easier it is to reach his financial goals, and hopefully he will learn that he should not take anything he has for granted.

The world we live in now is so focussed on material things and driven by consumerism that it can be difficult to raise grounded humble children in spite of the incredible affluence around us. But I believe it is vitally important for the next generation to build a good work ethic and not grow up with a sense of entitlement or greed.

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