Saturday, August 29, 2015

Star Wars Saturday: The Failures of Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of my favorite characters in all of the Star Wars saga. Let's just ignore the fact that he was played by Ewan McGregor (*swoon*) and Sir Alec Guinness. He fights, offers sage advice, and takes a huge role in the Skywalker family drama.

I used to see nothing wrong with Obi-Wan. Back when it was just Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, I saw Kenobi as a man who sacrificed himself for his young apprentice and then came back a couple of times to aid the same apprentice in his path.

But now that I'm older, thoughts and opinions change things. Oh, and the prequels.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is a deeply flawed character in so many ways. It's almost depressing for someone who proclaims Kenobi as her favorite character of the prequels. When he says "I have failed you, Anakin," in Revenge of the Sith, he is almost making an understatement.

Let's take a look at the evidence:

The Phantom Menace

We meet Obi-Wan as a youth on the verge of becoming a full-fledged Jedi Knight. He's more calculated than his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, and often is taken into scenarios with which he's not thrilled (Jar Jar, Anakin).

But after he takes on a Sith all by himself and wins (something that had not been done in over 1,000 years), he rushes to his dying Master and, in his grief, quickly agrees to his Master's dying wish without really even considering it.

What was his dying wish? Oh yeah - train a 10-year-old boy to be a Jedi even though the Jedi Council decided it was a bad idea.

Attack of the Clones

We see here that Obi-Wan's training of Anakin hasn't gone well. While Anakin has definitely improved in his powers - probably more than Obi-Wan was anticipating - he is still emotional, attached, and disrespectful. You wonder how many times he silently wished he hadn't just agreed to his Master's dying request.

While Obi-Wan is trying to contain Anakin's outbursts, he's also, in Anakin's words, "holding me back!" Instead of using Anakin's strengths to the Jedi's advantage (at least at this point, before the Clone Wars), he's trying to fit Anakin into the small box of conformity the Jedi at this time were so strictly following.

I have a (bad) feeling that Obi-Wan was aware of the relationship growing between Anakin and Padme as well, but chose to turn a blind eye to it. Even after the Battle of Geonosis, Obi-Wan only casually mentions to Mace Windu and Yoda that Anakin just so happens to be escorting the senator back to her planet. Did Obi-Wan see how passionate Anakin was during the Battle of Geonosis about Padme's safety? Why didn't he speak up?

Revenge of the Sith

During the Clone Wars, the relationship has changed between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Instead of master-apprentice, they are more brothers, wisecracking and taking down the galaxy. One of my favorite sections of the Star Wars novelizations is from Matthew Stover's take on Episode III. He says:

"Anakin and Obi-Wan will be there any minute. They say this as though these names can conjure miracles. Anakin and Obi-Wan. Kenobi and Skywalker. From the beginning of the Clone Wars, the phrase Kenobi and Skywalker has become a single word. They are everywhere...Younglings across the galaxy know their names, know everything about them, follow their exploits as though they are sports heroes instead of warriors...Together, they are a Jedi hammer that has crushed Separatist infestations on scores of worlds."

So it's heartbreaking to see when Anakin is being pushed by the Jedi Council (which Obi-Wan is on) to spy on Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's dealings, while Anakin is having visions about Padme's death and Palpatine is telling him all these ways he can save her. When Obi-Wan has the chance to really have a talk with Anakin, who is at his most vulnerable and probably should not be left alone, Kenobi leaves to settle things on Utapau. Yes, he pretty much ended the war, but he also left Anakin to finally turn over completely to Palpatine and the Dark Side, killing much of the Jedi Order in the process.

There's also the duel on Mustafar, when Obi-Wan says those tragic words, "I have failed you, Anakin."  While he was Anakin's brother, he also laid a blind eye on his personal life. Because of that, Anakin was desperately trying to keep his personal life together by finding a way to save Padme, leading him down the dark path.

And when Obi-Wan had the chance to kill Anakin and end the threat...he couldn't do it. His personal attachment for his brother was too much. He had failed Anakin, and continued to do so by letting him be resurrected as the half-android we know as Darth Vader.

A New Hope

But what about the end of Revenge of the Sith? Obi-Wan brings Anakin's son, Luke, back to Tatooine, likely to train him in secret. But thanks to Owen Lars' stubbornness, Luke isn't trained and goes for almost 20 years without realizing the power he has inside himself. (Someday we'll see this conflict between Owen Lars and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the screen, and I can't wait to see it.)

When Luke finally decides, after the death of his aunt and uncle, that he wants to be a Jedi, Obi-Wan decides not to tell him that Darth Vader is his father. This was a good idea in the long run - Luke would have prematurely rushed in to try and "convert" his father, only to fail - but Luke is left reeling after realizing that Obi-Wan lied him...or told the truth, from a certain point of view.

(Sidenote: on my last viewing of A New Hope, when Obi-Wan and Darth Vader are fighting and Obi-Wan catches sight of Luke, he looks from Luke to Vader with a most peculiar look. Alec Guinness' expression there is fantastic in retrospect, since it really implies that there is a connection between those two people...even if they don't know it yet. End sidenote.)

The Empire Strikes Back

Obi-Wan has connected with the living force, but still can advise Luke on several occasions. He leads Luke to Dagobah, convinces Yoda that it is up to him to train Luke (something Yoda probably assumed would be Obi-Wan's job), and then tries to keep Luke from confronting Vader on Cloud City.

All of these things are good. However, Obi-Wan is given the opportunity to tell Luke about his parentage, and decides that now is still not the best time, even though Darth Vader has discovered it for himself. Instead of it being revealed to Luke in a controlled environment, Luke is instead thrust the information by his own father...after he'd cut off his son's hand.

Talk about traumatic. We can blame Luke for being reckless, but Obi-Wan had a part, too.

Return of the Jedi

Obi-Wan, when confronted by Luke after Yoda's death, could just confess he was wrong to hide his parentage from Luke. Instead, he tries to backtrack and claim that what he said was sorta true. Plus, he decides that now is the time to tell Luke that he has a sister, and it just so happens to be that princess he was crushing on!

The Jedi Master is also convinced that the only way to defeat Vader is to kill him (something he couldn't do 24-ish years earlier). Luke, after a year of deep thought, thinks otherwise. He can sense the good in his father, and feels he can turn him back to the light side of the Force. In the end, it's Luke that is correct, thanks to something that Obi-Wan couldn't understand: the love of a father for his son.

It was always so sad to hear Darth Vader say "Obi-Wan was wise to hide her [Leia] from me. Now his failure is complete." I'd always just assumed that was Vader being a jerk. But looking back at all the ways that Obi-Wan chose poorly (to quote another famous movie franchise), Vader is really being truthful.

Obi-Wan's missteps end up leading to a triumphant end least that's what we believe before we know the events of The Force Awakens. And, in a movie sense, if Obi-Wan had done the right things we wouldn't have such a great set of movies to watch. But Obi-Wan was a flawed character from start to finish. His actions created, and then destroyed, the Empire. He had to live with that every day on Tatooine, and probably still "lived" with it as the Force ghost.

However, I still love the character. He is devoted and caring and never gives up. He is well-rounded, showing strengths as well as weaknesses. And in the end, we see him as a hero.

At least, I do. From my certain point of view.

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or 

More Star Wars articles by Claire Nat:
Fears and Star Wars
Why Star Wars is the Best Trilogy Ever

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Music Zone V

Greetings! It has been far too long since I did a Music Zone, and it's time to bring a few more recommendations for your music playlist!

I Wanna Get Better - Bleachers
This is my current favorite song. It's just weird, and the video is weirder. But it's a good one to listen to after a rough day and just sing the refrain over and over again to pump you up for the next day.

The reason I like it: The verses are crazy, but the refrain is fantastic. It starts off soft and almost distorted, and then the refrain kicks in and the volume goes up a few notches. (There's no interlude in the actual song.)

Boom Clap - Charli XCX
This was a song I heard in the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars, and it worked perfectly. So much so that someone made a video using the font from the book cover, since the two are forever linked.

The reason I like it: It's a good song to get me pumped up. Plus, who doesn't clap?

Start a War - The National
This song I heard while I was binge-watching Friday Night Lights, and it was used at the end of an episode in the fifth season. Not many of the FNL songs were very catchy, but I heard this one and immediately looked it up.

The reason I like it: I've been looking for a good melancholy slow song, and I finally found it!

Electric Love - BORNS
You may have heard this one earlier this year when Hulu used it in their commercials. That was also my first taste of it. But what got me to buy the song was when I was flying a redeye to surprise my parents at home back in May. I got a rental car, and this was the first song that came on as I was driving back home and the sun was starting to come up.

The reason I like it: Sometimes things mix just right and create that perfect moment - this was one of those moments.

Clark Gable - The Postal Service
This was recommended as a good running song, since the cadence is pretty fast. I do enjoy it for running, but I enjoy the song itself for its very unique lyrics. Fun Fact: the singer for The Postal Service is also in the band Death Cab for Cutie.

The reason I like it: It's synth-pop vibe is different from other stuff out there, and reminds me a lot of Owl City. (And it's great for runs.)

Still Hurting - Anna Kendrick
This song was taken from the Off-Broadway musical The Last Five Years. It turned into a movie starring Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, but this song opens the whole thing and pretty much tears your heart out (her husband leaves her). It's beautiful...except when Kendrick sings the word "better." But I can get over that.

The reason I like it: Because it was an Off-Broadway property, the instrumentation is very light. At the same time, the string part of the song really helps make the piece beautiful. The video below is from the movie.

Hey Ya - Obadiah Parker
I just finished rewatching Scrubs, and this was performed by Sam Lloyd (Ted!) at the end of the vacation episodes in season 8. As a matter of fact, I'm going to put that version here as well. I like it better, but you can only purchase the Obadiah Parker version legally. It's pretty good. But it's not Ted.

The reason I like it: I really don't like the Outkast original, but slowing down the song and stripping out the instruments makes it so much better.

Cecilia and the Satellite - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
I don't know too much about Andrew McMahon, but this is a great song. Many people I know really enjoy Andrew McMahon...maybe I should start listening to more of his stuff.

The reason I like it: The song feels ethereal without using weird synthesizers or anything. But when he sings "and you're the sky," everything just opens up.

Light and Day - The Polyphonic Spree
This was another song heard first on Scrubs. I watched that episode right before I graduated college, and now that song reminds me of graduation day - which was fantastic!

The reason I like it: The Polyphonic Spree is an interesting group, consisting of over 20 band members in what they call "choral rock." That unique choral rock sound is why I like this song.

A Model Day at Disney Parks - AKA Good Morning Cleveland - Daniel Holter & Matt Smith
I first heard this one on October 1, 2009, when the DisneyParks Blog released it on the anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World. I was really into all the Disney sites at that time, since I was researching for my first trip in 10 years, and I just loved the look of the tilt-shift video along with the perfectly appropriate music.

The reason I like it: The song is a feel-good song, for sure, and combining it with the Magic Kingdom just makes it a feel-GREAT song.

We'll return with a special version of The Music Zone very soon! Be sure to go back to our previous Music Zone posts, listed below!

The Music Zone
The Music Zone II
The Music Zone III
The Music Zone IV
The Christmas Music Zone

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Star Wars Saturday: Obsession

Welcome to my first Star Wars Saturday post! Set aside your Saturdays this fall for football and my newest article about Star Wars!

Why am I doing this? Well, it's because I am impatient. I have watched the original Star Wars trilogy three times this year (once special edition, once original, once with Rebel Force Radio commentary) and don't want to wear myself out by watching them too much.

I have caught up on all the recent Marvel Star Wars comics, which are helping to explain what happens between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. I listen to quite a few Star Wars podcasts and follow a fair share of Star Wars bloggers, podcasters, cast members, and fanatics on Twitter. My screensaver is all the Star Wars fanart I've found, and I daily check Pinterest to see how many new Star Wars pictures have been posted.

In other words, I am obsessed.

Two years ago I had this same sort of thing happen when I started watching Doctor Who leading up to the 50th anniversary. Even my students picked up on my obsessive behavior - it was hard to miss, seeing that I had them name their groups after things found on Doctor Who and had TARDIS coloring sheets and called one special day each quarter "Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Day."

But this is worse, I fear. I mean, it's better. Much, much better. Doctor Who was a yearlong binge which I wholeheartedly enjoyed, but once the series settled into its eighth (and now ninth) seasons, the glisten was gone and it was just another TV show. (Just goes to show you that I much prefer the Russell T. Davies era and would gladly watch those four seasons over and over again, unlike the current Stephen Moffat era.)

This obsession with Star Wars, however, has waxed and waned over my entire lifetime. I watched it for the first time, I rewatched it (mostly Return of the Jedi) over and over again, I played it with my brother, I read the liner notes on the soundtracks, I watched the prequels (I'll save May 1999 for a whole other article). Star Wars never left my consciousness - it sometimes faded into the background and it sometimes pushed its way back to the front.

The only time I wasn't really into Star Wars was after Revenge of the Sith came out. I, like most people, considered the saga complete. There was a TV show covering The Clone Wars, but it wasn't the stuff I loved.

It wasn't until the sequel trilogy was officially announced that I started looking back into Star Wars again. (You can even read my articles and sense the rebirth here and here.) I was cautious, but my optimism was growing.

It grew stronger when I started listening to Star Wars podcasts. It grew stronger after a day bingeing the original trilogy one blissfull birthday. It grew stronger after teasers 1 and 2. And it grew so strong that I ended up watching those Clone Wars episodes and realized how awesome they were.

Now I have less than four months to go. September 2 is the first publication where the story takes place (officially, canonically) after Return of the Jedi. (It's a comic series called Star Wars: Shattered Empire.) September 4 has been named "Force Friday" and is when all the toys are released. Do I care about that stuff? No. But I do care about the other items released that day: several new Star Wars books, one of which (Star Wars: Aftermath) details what's happening after the destruction of the second Death Star and the deaths of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Toys give you a few little glimpses into what the new movies might bring; the comics and books tell you what to expect when the movie comes out.

I hope that after September 4 they won't let up on dropping hints. For so long the director, producers, and marketing executives have provided very little to whet our appetites, but that method is doing just what they were hoping would happen: we are craving more.

I am a little worried that I'm going to be so hyped up on Star Wars that when the opening crawl appears on the screen, I am going to burst into tears. Like, ugly-cry tears. Months and months of pent-up excitement all is finally released thanks to the triumphant John Williams fanfare.

Then, the true test begins. Do I love the movie, despite its (bound-to-have) flaws? Or am I so disenchanted that I scrub 2015 from my fanbook and never look back?

At this point, the excitement overshadows the worry, infatuation dominates the brain, and glee prevails over disappointment.

Because to me, this "obsession" provides me hours and hours of happiness. What's the problem with that?

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or 

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Mom's Coffee

I am not a mother. To say I understand what a mother's role entails would be incredibly false. Nothing convinced me of that more than my visit last week to see my sister, who recently gave birth to a baby girl.

I knew that motherhood involved rotating your entire life to the whills of your child. They're hungry? You need to feed them. They're tired? You need to put them to bed. They're wet? You gotta change them. You can postpone things or push them off - they need to get done, and they need to get done now.

I spent a majority of my visit helping out wherever I could - from cleaning up the dinner dishes to taking turns with my niece to just stepping back and letting the master (i.e. my sister) do her work.

On Thursday my sister took me with her and my niece to a clinic where they hold something every week called "New Mom's Coffee." Naturally, I was the only one there - besides the leader - who came without a child. All the children present were six months old or younger - a few were mere weeks old. The mothers were of all ages and backgrounds, and shared something with my sister - they were raising a new child and would do everything in their power to make sure their child was taken care of.

Now, I could have suggested that my sister not go to this session since I was present. But since she is starting a new schedule this week, this would be her last time attending, and she was really wanting to attend.

Some moms might think that getting together to talk about what they're doing in the realm of raising a child would be low on the scale of importance, but seeing these moms get together made me see how important that connection of mothers is. An older lady or a motherless woman might give these moms advice because they think they know best, but they don't. When a mom holding a three-month old tells you advice, you can trust it because of what she's holding. She's been through it, and she's telling you how it was.

Each mom introduced herself and her child to the group. The room was large with floor chairs for the moms and thick cushions for the babies. The moms would bring their arsenal of items: diaper bag, extra change of clothes, diapers, bottles, and maybe even additional items. As each mom talked, they expressed moments of triumph as well as times throughout the week where they were struggling. Other moms would offer their advice and words of encouragement as babies slept, ate, were changed, or snuggled with mommy.

One of the quotes that stuck with me was said by the leader. She mentioned that a mom should get out of the house at least once a day, even if it was just going outside on the porch. Being a mom sometimes feels like isolation, and getting those moments outside or with friends can be a very freeing feeling.

That made me realize why my sister loved going there. Not only was this a chance for her to communicate with fellow mothers, it was her chance to get out from the ordinary routine. We weren't able to do much because of my niece, but we didn't just sit around the house repeating the change, eat, sleep steps over and over again. Things like New Mom's Coffee gives the moms some relief, no matter what their home situation is like.

I learned a lot about being a mom during this trip, so much that I texted my mother in the airport, thanking her for being such an awesome mother to me.

Her reply just summed up what motherhood is like - something I'm seeing in my sister and my best friends as they become mothers this year:

"Aw, thanks honey! It was a labor of love."

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Quick Vacay

School is just around the corner, and I just felt like a getaway. So I went to the mountains!

The reason for this trip was because of a ticket that I purchased for a concert at Red Rocks Ampitheater. If you are unaware, Red Rocks is a highly touted concert venue in the Front Range of Colorado, near Denver. If you are a major artist on tour, a stop there is almost required.

My first Red Rocks show couldn't be anything but the best, and when I saw that the Colorado Symphony Orchestra was performing, and that they were going to be performing video game music (as part of the touring series Video Games Live), I knew that I had to go.

I purchased a general admission ticket for $25, and all that was left was for me to figure out how to get there. Since I love on the eastern side of Denver, getting to the mountains - especially at rush hour - can be long and challenging. This has also prevented me from getting to Red Rocks for a lot of sunrise runs. Getting there before 6:00 a.m. is easy, but trying to get back after 7:00 is not.

Therefore, I decided to join these two Red Rocks adventures into one trip, combined with an overnight stay in Breckenridge in between. Here's how it went:

Part 1: The Run

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning and was on the road very soon after that. Earlier this summer I missed the sunrise because it was happening around 5:30, but in August the sunrise occurs around 6:00. Many of the people gathered at Red Rocks were there solely to watch the sun rise in the east - and Red Rocks offers the perfect view.

The first part of my run did require me to go around people in sweats who were just trying to get a good picture. I did think about jumping right into their shot, but then reconsidered. About 15 minutes later, all the sun watchers were gone and more people were coming in to work out.

I start from the top and weave my way down the rows - probably the easiest way to work out at Red Rocks. The rows are not even, however - one end is higher than the other - so every other row required me to do some slight uphill climbing. Another way people run is straight up and down - I don't have very good coordination, so I would probably trip and fall ten rows down and get banged up.  Others combine climbing with push-ups, squats, and other strength-training exercises.

The park isn't "officially" open till 10:00, but so many people come to exercise that it's really open around 6:00. I was done with my workout by 7:30, and was ready to head west!

Part 2: Breck

Instead of dealing with Denver traffic, I headed in the other direction and worked my way west on I-70 to my favorite town in Colorado: Breckenridge. My relatives graciously let me use their condo for the day, and I needed it to feel clean again!

Around 10:30 I was feeling refreshed and decided to head down to the town for a bit of walking. The last time I had been down there it was the middle of ski season, so everyone was out and about. But Breckenridge has quite a touristy quality in the summer, too, and while most people were taking the gondola up to the "Fun Park," I stayed and went up and down the street.

My first purchase was a sliver of fudge - I am not a big enough fan of fudge to get a giant block of it, but I do enjoy it in small doses. The fudge sliver was about $2, and I nibbled on it before lunch and after supper.

I went back to my living quarters for lunch and a nap, and around 4:00 I decided to take the gondola up to the base of Peak 8 - one of my favorite ski locations, but currently it had been transformed into a Fun Park with a putt-putt golf course, zipline, roller coaster (kind of) and slide. All of those things cost money, but I knew I wanted to get up and see the snow pile that was a ways up the mountain.

There was a staircase they built to help people get up there, so it actually wasn't as hard as I first thought. There were a lot of families up there throwing snowballs, and it provided a great view of the resort below.

After I spent some time up on the mountain, I headed back down the gondola to the city for dinner. I knew exactly where I wanted to go - The Lost Cajun, where I had eaten in two previous trips. This time, I ate outside, because the weather was absolutely perfect, and their outside tables overlooked the river that ran through the village.

I had seafood gumbo and hush puppies, and they were, of course, delicious. I spent about $15 on the meal and every bite was worth it.

I walked off my food and found a nice area to read from my Kindle (The Two Towers, if you're curious) near the performing arts center. There was a chamber orchestra concert that night, so I stuck around the village a little longer and heard some of the performance. They have windows in the back of the center that can open up, and for the first bit (before it got too loud outside) they had them opened a crack. It was very nice to listen to - and for free!

Part 3: The Second Day

I didn't sleep in the second day. Instead, I was up by 6:30 to go on a hike. I'd found a sheet at the Breckenridge Welcome Center that had a few hikes detailed on it, and from that list I'd chosen the Burrow Trail to hike.

The Burrow Trail was right off of the Beaver Run Resort and Peak 9. I had only seen the base of Peak 9 in the snow-covered winter, so it was quite a change to see it in its grassy form! It didn't take long for me to find the trailhead, and it was clearly marked. It wasn't a climb, but just a walk through the forest. Since I was up so early, I only ran into two people on the trail.

The goal was 3 miles from the trailhead - a road that would lead me to further trails, if I wanted to continue. But when I got to the road, I chose to turn around and head back. The round trip was six miles, and it took me about three hours to accomplish. The first three miles were mostly uphill, and I was glad that I could go at my own pace and not feel rushed. Coming back down was easier, and I ran into many more people heading up the trail who had started later than me.

I had lunch at Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant that I had noticed in previous trips but had never tried. Their lunch menu was reasonably priced, so I got the teriyaki beef with vegetable bowl for $8. It was all right - I'm glad I tried it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

I should mention that the most popular place - Crepes a la Cart - was busy every single time I passed, so I chose not to get something on this trip. I did notice that the building next door was getting renovated - perhaps the Crepes stand was getting an addition?

My favorite part of the trip occurred as I was using the free wifi from the Starbucks to check up on things. I was sitting outside on a bench, and suddenly I heard string music. I looked down the street, and a string quartet had set up outside the Welcome Center and was playing Beatles tunes. I was impressed, so I walked down there and found a nice shady spot to listen.

They played all sorts of great hits - my favorites being the more current songs, like "Some Nights" by fun., "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor, "Pompeii" by Bastille, and "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele. But they did do some classic hits by the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and ABBA. They played for over an hour, and I just sat back and enjoyed! I wasn't in a rush to get anywhere, and no one was rushing me, so it was a stellar time.

Push play on the video below to hear one of their songs!

When they finished up, I relaxed back at my living quarters until it was time to pack up, clean up, and get going back to Red Rocks for the concert. I didn't have any troubles getting there, and I found a very nice place to sit just as the concert was starting. They had some cute kid stations at the top level where kids could make video game art, and they let me make a piranha plant from Super Mario Bros. out of construction paper, a popsicle stick, and a heavy-duty green cup. I got a poster as well featuring Ludwig van Koopa.

The concert was wonderful, and I recognized most of the music played. They started by playing music from Castlevania, which has some amazing music in it. They also played music from Kingdom Hearts, Donkey Kong Country, Grim Fandango, Tetris, Journey, and Civilization IV, a song which had won an Emmy!

They started the second act with a suite of music from The Legend of Zelda video games, which was one of my favorites of the night. They followed that up with music from Skyrim, Halo, Final Fantasy VII (entitled "One Winged Angel," I'd heard it before and was excited to hear it with full orchestra and choir!), and Chrono Cross. To end it all, they finished with a piece my brother had played for me before - the end credits from the video game Portal called "Still Alive." It's kind of creepy, but fun, too (can that happen?).

It didn't take long for me to get out of Red Rocks, which was wonderful, because I've been stuck in concert traffic before and it took forever to get back on the highway! But I was back home by 11:00 p.m. from my quick vacay.

It took less than 48 hours, but I had been able to escape city living for a while and really enjoy the nature around Colorado for a bit - as well as some great music! And aside from gas, I only had to spend about $50 for the whole thing! Well worth the trip, that's for sure.