Saturday, November 28, 2015

Star Wars Saturday: Fears and Star Wars, Episode II

Many moons ago, when the cast listing was first posted for The Force Awakens, I posted a brief article about my worries about the future of Star Wars. No big issues - just some concerns about the returning cast players and how everything was going to fit in.

With three weeks left till the movie opens in theaters, I can't say I've shaken off all my worry about the film and the future of the franchise. Yes, I am excited to get new Star Wars, but I am also apprehensive. People are treating this movie like The Greatest Movie In The Galaxy. I even read in this week's Entertainment Weekly about the movie's Oscar implications!

Let's be honest. No one has seen this thing. Anyone outside of Lucasfilm that has seen it is going to say it's amazing. They could be lying! It could be a giant dose of fanservice, resulting in a hollow film that tries to give us everything we want in a Star Wars film and nothing that we need - i.e. solid character development, a great story, and some surprises that genuinely surprise us!

We fans are great at reading too much into things. We tend to do that for the parts of the story that rub us the wrong way. (I've got one: Luke's fake kick in the Jabba's barge scene that wasn't edited properly. I wince every time I see it. My internal reasoning? Force kick!!) I don't want to spend the six months after the movie seeing half the fans skewer the movie, followed by the other half explaining the faults away. I just want everyone to enjoy it!

It's almost like people put too much hope in this one movie. Like, this movie is going to channel the year 1977 somehow, when everything about Star Wars was perfection. In this day and age, it's going to be difficult to bring back anything like that from almost 40 years ago. We aren't wired that way any more.

When I think about all my fears, I know what I have to do: let go of the fears. It's that simple. I have to go into the movie ready to enjoy a solid film about a galaxy that I know and love. I can't think about other people's reactions, or online ranting, or negative points of the movie that don't jive with my internal headcanon. I've spent a year (since the first teaser aired) trying to map out the movie, and where the characters are, and what's going to happen.

It's time to stop.

It's time to grab the Buncha Crunch, sit in a comfy chair, and let the music drive all the doubts away.

Inevitably - as Yoda once said - fear leads to suffering. I'm not going to suffer for a movie's sake. I'll enjoy whatever comes my way, and I'm encouraging you to do the same thing.

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Should Write Something

It's quarter to seven in the evening. My pajamas are on, I'm wrapped up in a blanket, I've eaten dinner, and I've caught up on my television shows.

I should write something.

Now, what to write about? It's not Saturday, so writing about Star Wars is out. Besides, people are probably getting tired of my constant references to the Greatest Ever Movies Series (GEMS). Just ask my parents.

I've written about running recently, too, so I should hold off on that for a couple weeks. I only ran 9.5 miles yesterday, after all. If I'd broken double-digits in miles, then I would have something to talk about.

Music, and the fact that I've rediscovered one of my favorite radio hits, "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac? Nah.

I could get serious. I could bring up a topic that requires several revisions, multiple mental logjams, and the fear that someone else is going to tear everything I write down.

I could, but I'm in too good a mood to get serious.

I got it! How about my most recent anime addiction, Shingeki No Kyojin (AKA Attack on Titan)? It's like I graduated from a fun kids' show (Naruto) to an adult action-gore-fest. Seriously - there's a lot of gory trauma in this thing.

Hm, maybe not.

Sports? No.

Church? Nope.

Politics? Never.

My cat? Well, she has been pretty crazy lately. But no.

Thanksgiving? No, everyone writes about giving thanks this week. I'll write about thankfulness one of the other 51 weeks of the year.

Well, I really thought I was going to write something tonight. But apparently I don't have anything about which to write.

Oh, well.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Star Wars Saturday: Shattered Empire Review

 At the start of this calendar year, Marvel comics began running several comic book series that fit canonically into the Star Wars universe. Unlike the series that preceded them, these books were official canon - that is, anything that happened in the comic books could carry over into the books, TV shows, and movies.
To keep us interested in Star Wars - but keep us away from anything spoilery when it came to The Force Awakens - Marvel's series revolved around the time surrounding A New Hope. The main comic, Star Wars, takes place after the Battle of Yavin (and the destruction of the first Death Star) and revolves around our three main protagonists: Luke, Leia, and Han. A second comic takes place during the same time period, and follows the antagonist, Darth Vader

A third series that is still going is called Kanan: The Last Padawan and follows a Jedi Padawan named Caleb who has escaped Order 66 (from Revenge of the Sith) and is laying low while the Empire forms and grows around him. (He changes his name to Kanan, which is why it bears that title. He's one of the main characters from the Star Wars: Rebels TV show.) 

There have been a few limited runs, like Princess Leia, Lando, and one that is going right now, Chewbacca. All of these titles have stayed close to the time before The Empire Strikes Back. Even so, they have revealed little pieces of information that might prove useful when we see the new movies. 

Something else that I enjoy is the way they incorporate prequel mythology, technology, and stories into the original trilogy timeline. It's helping to join those two trilogies into one complete saga, and I can appreciate that. 

But finally, in September, Shattered Empire was released. This comic series took place in the months immediately following the Battle of Endor (and before the Battle of Jakku). Before this comic (and Aftermath, the novel I reviewed earlier) the events following Return of the Jedi were gloriously dark. As in, we had no idea what happened. After the earlier novels and comic series were declared "Legend," the timeline went from being incredibly convoluted to blissfully bare. Shattered Empire was one of our first glimpses into that time. 

While Aftermath spent its time talking about characters I deem secondary, Shattered Empire used one central figure and wove her story around the three main protagonists. Her name is Shara Bey, an A-Wing Rebel fighter who took part in the Battle of Endor and many others. 

There's only four comics in this series (it's not ongoing), and I really enjoyed the stories they told. We see the final moments of the second Death Star through the Rebel pilots, as well as a few other battles they had to fight. We see Han, Leia, and Luke after all the events of the original trilogy wrapped up. (I won't spoil what they're doing, but they definitely fit into their final film characterizations well. Well, except for Leia, who is characterized much better.)

The author of this series is Greg Rucka, who has written tons of comic series and books. I know him from his Batman series, and he also wrote Batman: No Man's Land, a novel I still own and love, and he also wrote Smuggler's Run, a Han story that came out on Force Friday. He does battle scene dialogue better than most - you really feel like you're in the middle of a dogfight, even though nothing is moving on the page. The characters all speak like you feel they should, too. It does bother me sometimes when I read something and I go, "That's not what _______ would ever say!" 

What I loved even more was the art by Marco Checchetto. He did most of the art for this series, and if you want battle imagery in a comic book, he's the one to get. His visualization of the Battle of Endor is incredible. Mix that with Rucka's writing and it's as if we're just watching Return of the Jedi from a different angle. (Which is amazing, in my opinion.)

Angel Unzueta fills in for the Leia/Shara storyline, and while it looked more realistic, it also kind of took me out of the story. I love Checchetto's work that I wish he'd been able to do all of it. However, it's not bad. I almost didn't realize the artist had changed! I did appreciate the fact that they made Leia look like she did in her comic miniseries, which I mentioned previously. 

My favorite book of the series was #4, because Luke finally made his appearance. He and Shara went on a secret mission, and we got to hear Luke as the wise Jedi. He's still fierce, but any traces of doubt are gone by this time. This is the Luke I loved from the Timothy Zahn books (now deemed "Legacy") and it was good to see him again. I hope we get even more of him as his wise old self in the movies. 

I won't tell you much about the plots of the books, because I want you to go out and read them for yourself! Check out the amazing art and spot-on writing, and see what our favorite heroes have been doing since we heard the last strains of "Yub Nub." You can get the individual issues from or, or wait for the trade paperback, which has all four stories in one and just came out last week

Check out a preview for Shattered Empire and an interview with Greg Rucka here.

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, November 17, 2015

Michigan Football Is Ruining Me

Dear Michigan Football,

I don't get it.

Really, I don't.

I have been a fan all my life, watched countless games on television, been to the Stadium a bunch of times, and even went to Madison to watch you play. But this season, when I want to watch you in your first season with Jim Harbaugh, you always suck.

And then when I don't watch, you guys rock.


It all started with game one against Utah. It was on a Thursday night, but I was at church and the pastor has cable in his office. So before I had to be at the church service, I was watching the game.

And you sucked. This Jake Rudock kid was playing quarterback and I realized how few of the names I recognized and Utah just dominated down the field and you guys did nothing.

Then I turned it off.

I watched and enjoyed the Oregon State game, but the next four games either weren't available or I had other plans. And, of course, that's when you dominated. That's when you went on your 3-game shutout streak. And I couldn't watch any of it.

Then came the Michigan State game. It had started before I had gotten home from a baby shower, and you was doing well. I turned it on, and Michigan State immediately scored.

I turned it off. I decided to listen to the game instead.

It was very pressure-filled, but with time running out you stopped MSU on fourth down. I was relieved, so I decided to watch the last few minutes of celebration.

Big mistake. Big. HUGE.

Because I ended up watching the offense go nowhere, and the punter flub the snap and hand it right over to MSU in the end zone.

I watched it.

Let's not forget, of course, two weeks later, when I spent more time on my computer than actually watching my Kindle Fire, where I had the game going. I checked over there at the end, and you were stopping Minnesota in the final play of the game.

You let me see that one. That was nice.

Indiana's game was not so nice. You scored on the first series you had...before I could start watching it. The first half was pretty nice to watch, except for Indiana's running game just demolishing the defense. Holes, second efforts, and bad tackling led to a slaughter of that line in the second half. Indiana came back. Indiana took the lead. You missed a field goal. Indiana scored a touchdown with under 3 minutes to go to take the lead 34-27, and I'd had it. I'd written an entire article in the amount of time you spent blowing this game with penalties and bad tackling. I didn't want to watch you over dinner.

So I turned the game off.

After dinner, I turned it on, just to see if the game was done. Honestly? It was to see if my little theory had worked: Michigan wins when I don't watch, and loses when I do. In the most ridiculous ways, mind you.

But there were still 11 seconds left, the announcers were proclaiming an Indiana victory, and I saw the score still was 34-27. I was disgusted at you. So I turned you off again, and didn't give it a second thought.

Two hours later...

I had just had a nice time watching some videos, and decided to check Twitter.


And I think to myself, Whaaaaa?!

They won?!

But there was only 11 seconds left - how?!

Then I check back and see that Rudock hit Jehu Chesson with TWO SECONDS LEFT to tie the game, and send the game into overtime (...and then to another overtime). In the end, you stopped an Indiana pass (why would they pass when they've been running all over you?!) in the final down to clinch the game.


I am never going to watch you win, am I?

Me, one of your loyal fans. It's like you are embarrassed when I watch or something and automatically start to suck when you know I'm there.

So do I watch the next two games? I could - the Penn State game will be on an ESPN channel, and most likely, the Ohio State game will be, too.

But now I wonder...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Star Wars Saturday: Preparing for a Movie Marathon

October 19, 2015. I am sitting in my living room trying to secure tickets for the first screenings of The Force Awakens. The websites keep sending me error messages. I'm starting to mildly panic. Earlier that afternoon, I finally figured out which movie theaters in my area were showing the seven-movie Star Wars marathon, and I figured that if I got a ticket, that would be cool, but I wouldn't be distraught if I didn't.

The first showing I secure is a 3D showing at a theater I can't stand - one of those theaters that has dining and makes you choose your seat (the seat of which I chose isn't that great). I make sure I can get a refund if I get a different ticket.

And then it happens. I finally find the website for the movie marathon nearby, and I'm getting through. I put in all my information, wait impatiently, and then boom. They confirm my ticket for December 17!

I'm gleeful. I had already adjusted my work schedule for that day, and now I would be taking advantage of this day off.

So, when do I need to be at the theater?




2:25 am?!?!?!?!

Okay, so this throws off my entire sleep schedule for that day. The confirmation e-mail suggests I arrive 30-45 minutes before showtime. Ha. That's for normal movies. This is Star Wars! I'll probably have to be there a good hour beforehand to ensure a good seat.

My normal movie viewing experience isn't going to work in this instance. I'm going to have to prepare a bit more.

So now I'm training for two Star Wars marathons. The one in January is an actual running half-marathon, but the one in December is a movie marathon. And it's going to take a lot of prep.

1. Clothing

Jeans and a t-shirt aren't going to work when I'm in one theater for 18 hours. I am going to need comfort, especially if I plan on getting any sleep during Attack of the Clones.

I have a really nice pair of sweatpants with a thick liner that will work perfectly. There's elastic, and they fit great. For the night portion of my marathon, I plan on also wearing my stormtrooper pajama pants. I got them for Christmas last year, and they are wonderfully comfortable. This is the perfect time to wear them out in public. (Don't let my sister see that I wrote that.)

I have two Star Wars shirts that are perfect for this occasion. The first is a Rebel Alliance logo shirt, but it's one size too big. This will be great for the night portion. During the hours when I actually should be awake anyway, I can change into my "RUN MORE" shirt that's written in the Star Wars font. Not only is it comfortable and show appreciation for my fandom in a subdued way (the best way, in my opinion), it also implies that, on normal days, I do more than just sit on my butt and watch movies.

Since it's December and it gets pretty cold around here at night, I'll wear good
socks and my comfy winter boots to the theater. However, I will have a backup pair of socks, as well as flip flops to wear in the theater. The worst part of this marathon would be to suffer because I'm overheated.

2. Sustenance

I have a pretty great Contigo plastic water bottle that I will bring into the theater with me. It's important to stay hydrated, even while doing nothing.

I do plan on splurging for movie theater food - something which I never do (just ask my family) - because it's a special occasion. But hopefully the theater will allow me to bring in some healthy food, too, like carrots or apples (in between movies, due to crunchiness) or bananas.

And if a giant bag of my favorite theater candy of all time - Buncha Crunch - gets inside, too, then I'll be one happy camper.

3. Communication

I have already decided that the week The Force Awakens opens, I will be going on a no-technology exile. Considering that a few overseas markets will be seeing the movie before the United States, I can't risk seeing spoilers, even if by mistake.

However, I do plan on tweeting between movie showings (even if I don't check everyone else's updates). I'll be taking notes on pad and paper, too, for a fantastic Star Wars Saturday follow-up article.

I read somewhere they'd be having 1/2 hour breaks in between each movie, which is perfect for bathroom breaks, exercise of some sort, and jotting down some notes about what's happening at the theater. I checked a few days ago - my theater sold out of marathon tickets. It's bound to be quite the experience. (Follow me @CeePipes on Twitter that day!)

4. Seating 

I'm guessing that my early arrival will ensure that I'll get a decent seat. I probably won't get my prime seating location (upper section, front row, right in front of the railing), but my hope is to get an aisle seat, or a seat in the middle. I'm not one of those people who like being in the far back, and I also don't like the idea of craning my neck upwards while in the very front row. I had to do that for The Fellowship of the Ring, and that was enough.

I will definitely be doing some scouting of people waiting for seats. People loudly arguing why the prequels suck? Not sitting by them. Crazy fangirls with which to share my glee? More likely to sit by them. Hipster couple with toddler? Nope. Nope nope nope. Nope times infinity.

5. Sleep

My Christmas break officially starts on Friday, December 18 at noon. My Wednesdays in December are insanely hectic from 8:00 am till 9:00 pm. With both of these things in mind, I am going to try to get a few hours sleep once I get home from my crazy Wednesday, if I can quiet my mind. I'll try to get a few more winks during Attack of the Clones (as previously mentioned) as well as during any break times. I can't fill up too much on pop, since that will increase my bathroom breaks.

I'm sure that I'll be awake enough to watch all of The Force Awakens. I'm not sure, however, how long I'll be up after seeing it. Luckily, I only have a 1/2 day of work the next day (a Christmas party, thank goodness), and then it's the weekend. I'll find ways to get my sleep where I can, but I'm someone who has pulled all-nighters to study and drive and fly (not at the same time), so I'm about 80% sure I can do this with minimal nap breaks.

6. Experience

I find it incredibly neat that I will be watching The Phantom Menace at almost the exact same time of night that I saw it the first time in the theaters. What's even more exciting is the fact that I will be able to watch The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi for the first time on the big screen! I only saw A New Hope when it was re-released in theaters back in 1997, but didn't feel the need to see the other two. Now I can watch it all unfold on a giant screen with surround sound and the musical soundtrack blasting in my face.

Plus, by watching all these movies in such a short amount of time, I hope that I'll be able to pick up a few small details that are carried over into The Force Awakens. Because at the end of the day, that's the movie I'm there to see.

...And I'll be there to see it the next day at 3:00 pm, as well. Because I already got my ticket. Mild panic makes you do crazy things!

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wacky Wednesdays

Wednesdays have always been an interesting day of the week. Two days down in the normal work week, and two days to go. Sometimes it can be the kickstart to a great end of the week, and other times it can just remind you that the weekend is so far away.

I guess I've always felt this way. Back in grade school one of the books that was always making the classroom rounds on library day was Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss. It tells of a child who wakes up to everything being incredibly out of place, but no one seems to notice!

I found a video of the book - you can watch it if you're not familiar with it:

Since I read this book so many times, perhaps it's always in my head that Wednesdays will be abnormal days. This has especially come true at my most recent job. It's not like it's a bad thing - it's just that I really notice it nowadays.

Wednesdays are the weird day of the week. We open the day with chapel instead of just a normal classroom devotion. This means we have to be ready by 8:30 and get into church. Of course, it feels like Wednesdays are the day when everyone is running late, so most of the kids are still not out of their jackets or in the classroom until after 8:30, while I'm trying to get everyone lined up!

We also have hot lunch on Wednesdays. Unlike most schools, children bring their own lunches every day of the week. But on Wednesdays, parents come in and cook for the kids who purchase the lunch. It's a treat, but it also isn't normal. Kids get rowdy during the morning because they can smell what's cooking down the hall. The line sometimes takes a while, so they get pushy as they wait to get their food. If there's a big mess in the lunchroom, it's probably on a Wednesday with the hot lunch. Luckily, parents are a big help in cleaning!

This is the day for my musical group practice. I am the director of the tone chime group, and we meet on Wednesdays at the end of the school day. I think the biggest problem is that it's at the end of the school day, but there's really no other place to put our practice. The kids have to set up the equipment during the lunch recess, and then we only have a short amount of time to rehearse. I need to make sure that we are pretty much playing nonstop, because if we stop playing for even a few minutes, the room explodes (almost literally) with conversations, yelling, and weird noises (don't ask). Today I was trying to explain something and had to stop because a boy was doing a Michael Jackson dance...for no reason!

So why are my Wednesdays wacky? Every week I actually look forward to the uniqueness of Wednesday, and by the end of the day I'm exhausted and cursing the fact that Wednesdays exist. Every week this happens!

I haven't even mentioned the special Wednesdays - the ones during Advent and Lent - where I also have to coordinate church suppers, church services, and choir rehearsals in one evening. Those nine Wednesdays of the year are by far the most tiring of all. Sometimes it's a good tired, and sometimes I am just wishing that Thursday would get here faster.

I would love to adjust my Wednesday schedule to make it a little easier. But it seems everyone senses the weirdness of Wednesday - people are a little more cranky, the weather decides to act up (did I mention we got 6 inches of snow this morning?), and my work pile seems to have doubled since the previous day. Even moving stuff around wouldn't make much of a difference.

And let's not count those months when the "Hump Day" GEICO commercial was around, so all my kids would go around yelling "Hump DAY!" all day.

How are your Wednesdays? Are they as wacky as mine? Well, take heart, my friend. Another Wednesday is drawing to a close, and the weekend is closer than ever.

Plus, it's inevitable that I'll just believe that next Wednesday will be better.

Maybe I'll even get rid of that shoe on the wall.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Star Wars Saturday: Bold Predictions

In this week's article I am going to do some predictions for the upcoming movie The Force Awakens. Some of these are based on rumors that are floating around so you might not want to read if you are avoiding those rumors. My predictions aren't spoilers, but if you're trying to keep your mind clear...I'll see you next week!

So that I can make sure those spoiler-phobes are truly gone before I post anything that would make them angry by just glancing at it, I'll share this very cool video that I caught on YouTube. It kind of goes with the first point that I'm going to make. Enjoy!

Prediction #1: Luke Skywalker isn't the villain.

Much of the Internet is speculating that Luke isn't in the poster or trailer because he's the bad guy of the film. I'm going to say they're wrong, and not just because Luke is my favorite Star Wars character (possibly all-time character).

After all of the character growth in the original trilogy, it would be horrific to see the hero, who boldly declared at the end of Return of the Jedi that he would "never turn to the dark side," pulling the strings on such terrible events.

It would be hard for me to see Kylo Ren working under Luke, because Kylo seems to have a Darth Vader problem, not an Anakin Skywalker problem. His lightsaber would probably be better constructed if Luke had been teaching him - after all, Luke put his second lightsaber together and had no problems.

It's possible that Luke had some sort of hand in things going awry before the events of The Force Awakens, but I don't think he's turned to the dark side.

And if he is, my little fangirl heart will break into a million pieces. Take note, J.J.

Prediction #2: Rey is Luke's daughter

Most people point to Rey being Han and Leia's daughter, but I don't think so. Rey has much more in common with Luke. Her wistful look into the sky as ships are taking off, her abilities as a pilot (we've seen pictures of her in control of the Millenium Falcon), heck, even her clothes are pretty similar to Luke's in A New Hope!

I don't think Han and Leia would keep their daughter on Jakku while they're fighting the First Order - they're not that dumb. But what if Rey was born on Jakku? Listen to her - she has an accent. Perhaps Luke fell in love with a former Imperial who stayed on Jakku after the big battle?

Prediction #3: Kylo is Han and Leia's son

This would ruin people's thoughts that Kylo and Rey are siblings, but do they really have to be? Just take a look at Kylo's name. One of the podcasts I listened to mentioned that Ky is from "Skywalker" and lo is from "Solo." A reach? Possibly.

Prediction #4: Starkiller Base is...just a base. Not a giant weapon

If you look at the current trailer, there is quite a bit of fighting on a snowy planet with something that looks like a deep trench that's man-made. On the poster, a spherical shape is on the upper right-hand corner that looks a lot like a Death Star.

I don't think the producers are dumb enough to revive the Death Star idea in the new Starkiller Base. I do believe that this is the First Order's base of operations, hidden inside a planet to shield it from detection until the time is right.

It may have destructive weapons, but nothing large enough to blow up an entire planet. Or star. They've moved on from that.

Prediction #5: Finn rescues Poe

We've seen a couple of shots where it looks like Poe Dameron is being held against his will in a First Order facility and getting his head checked out by Kylo Ren. How does he get out of this predicament?

Well, the stormtrooper named Finn probably helps him out. My guess is that Finn finds out some life-altering information while on duty that turns his whole world upside down. In his panic (and we've seen plenty of panic by Finn by now), he decides to spring the Resistance prisoner loose and escape.

It's implied that Finn crashes on Jakku and then meets Rey. Poe could be with him, but we've never seen any indication that Poe ever was on Jakku. My thought is Poe found another way out thanks to Finn's distractions.

Prediction #6: Leia and Han haven't seen each other in a while

From some of the "Journey to The Force Awakens" books, we hear that Han has been traveling around with Chewbacca tracking down pirates, and Leia is now a general and is addressed as "General Organa." I like to think that their embrace in the most recent trailer is one of a sad reconnection. Maybe Leia sent Han out on a mission, and he failed. Or Han volunteered for a mission Leia didn't want him to do, but he did it anyway and it turned out badly. Either way, it's been a bit of time since they last saw each other.


Prediction #7: This movie will be good...but not incredibly amazing awesomesauce - but give it time

Some people are hinging on this movie with all they've got. They say that it will bring the story of Star Wars out of the prequel pit and back to the original trilogy's roots.

The problem is that many of us Star Wars fans have created our own wonderful Star Wars story in our heads, and it's even better than what is actually on the screen. We claim all these wonderful things, and we talk about its depth and emotional impact, but the true story is that we made those aspects important.

The story is going to be simple, but done well. The tropes will be things that we've seen before. There will be moments we'll see coming a mile away. We're going to enjoy it and say we love it, and then we'll recognize its flaws, and then, only after a few months or years, will we truly begin to appreciate its place in the Star Wars galaxy. But it's going to take a while. And some fans are going to hate it because it's not what they envisioned.

So take a chill pill, and appreciate the movie for what it is - a continuation of a saga, not a rebooting of a franchise.

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, November 3, 2015

Running Etiquette

It hasn't taken me long to understand the rules of the road when it comes to running. Or the rules of the trail. Or the rules of the sidewalk. There's a good understanding between the drivers and pedestrians of Colorado, considering Colorado is one of the top states for outdoor exercise.

There are always thing to keep in mind when running. Here's some things I've learned:

Wait Till You've Seen the Whites of the Driver's Eyes

When crossing the street at a corner, it's easy to assume that the drivers see the runner. But there are way too many times when drivers look only at the road and not at the sidewalk. You need to make sure the driver acknowledges that you're crossing the street before going. It doesn't matter if you're running for speed; always make sure you see the driver see you before going.

Wave to Other Runners

You're both in the same boat. You're forcing your body to run way more than it wants, and all it wants to do is sit down and eat unhealthy food. The least you can do is acknowledge each other.

Avoid Bikers

Usually people on bikes pass by so quickly there isn't much time to wave to them. No matter; I consider people on bikes to be the equivalent of snowboarders: always in the way.

Ignore Horn Honking

It doesn't happen very often to me, but every once in a while a car will pass and honk. About 95% of the time it's just some doofus trying to get you to jump, and 5% of the time it's someone you know.

Have a Lot of Music - and Variety

I have a good 5-6 hours of running music that I work my way through, and it helps me from hearing the same songs over and over and over again. I'm always tweaking my playlist so I'm not hearing the same songs one after the other. It's good to be surprised by the song that comes up next.

I also make sure to have different kinds of music in my playlist. Too much of one kind of music is not good for running - it allows for boredom. Changing it up means you never know what's coming next. So I've got some pop, some classic rock, some instrumental soundtracks, some alternative rock, and some Japanese hip-hop ("Japanese hip-hop?" you say?...Well, I'll save that for a later post).

Always Wear Sunscreen and Always Bring Water

Here in Colorado, the sun shines brightly almost 300 days of the year. And since we're in high altitude, it can really hurt your skin. I actually just bought a new tube of sunscreen in October - a time of year where you'd never think it was necessary.

It's also important to stay hydrated, no matter where you live or how the weather is. Any runs longer than an hour require some sort of food or drink to keep going.

I'm always learning something new when running. If it helps me get better, then I fully embrace the education!