Anne Notations

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

In a galaxy far, far away

Waiting in line to see "Attack of the Clones"

Indianapolis. Star Wars Celebration III. Four and a half days of bonding with a group of warm, sassy women from all over the U.S. and Canada. Walking miles in our sneakers and sandals. Standing in lines for hours. Waiting outside under umbrellas at 6 a.m. to hear Hayden Christensen by phone from Italy at noon.

One square meal a day, and plenty of bottled water: more than enough! Adrenaline too cranked up to feel hungry.

Did I already say amazing women? Instant friends after years of e-mail about Star Wars. Age range: 31 to 59. Single women, moms, grandmother. We laughed, confided, screamed, held hands, pointed out the rare cute fanboy, flirted with stormtroopers, posed with Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker doubles, bought SW postcards and Vader figurines.

Darth Vader and yours truly

Lots of fan costumes to ogle:

We saw everything we had hoped to: George Lucas, the master of all masters himself. Rick McCallum, producer and cheerful noodge. Hayden by telephone. "Attack of the Clones" on the last night with a couple thousand other SW fans and an awesome sound system. "Star Wars in 30 Minutes" (hilarious half-hour play based on the original film trilogy). Nick Gillard, stunt wizard and swordsman. The guys who played Jango Fett and his younger clone. A fan in costume who could have been Anakin Skywalker's twin.

Crazy Midwest weather: 85-degree heat the first day, then rain and cold wind, then spectacular thunderstorms, hail, a tornado nearby. Then two days of bitter cold and snow flurries. Then, on my way home by bus, a blizzard in Indiana and Ohio.

Me with a storm trooper buddy.

We all cried when we said good-bye on Sunday. For nearly five days, we had lived like college roommates or summer campers. We didn't cook, do laundry, or help anyone with homework. We had the entire Star Wars universe on display inside the convention center for us to enjoy, along with some 40,000 (!) other fans, and --most memorable of all, as it turned out -- each other's company.

Best. Time. Ever. Bring on C4!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My inner geek

My name is Anne. I'm 53 years old, and I'm a Star Wars addict.

Despite my children pleading with me to lie and say that I'm going on a business trip next week, I embrace my latent geekdom. I say it loud:

I'm going to the Star Wars "Celebration 3" fan convention in Indianapolis, and I'm proud!

Three years ago I fell so truly, deeply in love with "Star Wars Episode 3: Attack of the Clones," I went to the movies all summer long and saw it 13 times. That's not including the two times I saw it in the later IMAX version, and the many times I've watched it on DVD at home. I joined a few online SW discussion groups and became one with the Force. Or at least with the fans.

I incessantly quoted (and still do) corny lines from the movie: "You must JOIN me, Obi-Wan, and TOGETHER we will DESTROY the SITH!" Obi-Wan hisses back in his iciest Alec Guinness accent: "I'll never join you, DOOKU." Then there's everyone's favorite pick-up line, uttered touchingly by young Anakin Skywalker to the beautiful Padmé Amidala: "I hate sand. It's rough and coarse and irritating, and it gets everywhere."

Don't get me started. I can spout this stuff all day.

Because of my little panic problem with flying, I will leave next Tuesday via Amtrak and Greyhound, and be gone nearly seven days total. I have never been away from my family for that long in the nearly 30 years that Michael and I have been married. I'm nervous and excited and looking forward to meeting the other Star Wars "sisters" I've gotten to know via the Internet. I can't wait to watch all five SW movies on big screens at the convention with these cool women. I can't wait to buy SW tee-shirts and other stuff for the kids... and for myself. I can't wait, truly, to see George Lucas live, in person, talking about the astonishing, silly, rich, complex, and mesmerizing universe he has created over the course of his filmmaking career.

After I return from Indy, there will be only a few more weeks until the premiere of the last, yes, the very last, movie in the Star Wars saga: "Revenge of the Sith," opening May 19. It will be the best one yet. I'll probably cry a lot (some really bad stuff is going to happen to our Jedi heroes). I'll probably see it 13 times this summer, maybe more.

This year it's good to be a geek.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Spring hopes

Early April, and I'm a fool. You'd think a native New Englander would know better, but I do it every time. I start believing that spring is here.

Never mind that so many Aprils, and even some Mays, have slapped us with snowstorms, with sleet, with stinging cold winds. I live off Hope (Street) in a state whose official motto is "Hope." As the sun begins to shine longer each day, many of us can't help ourselves. There's some green grass! (Pay no attention to the salt-killed brown lawns bordering our streets). It's going up to 50 degrees -- break out the shorts and flip-flops!

In our neighborhood this week, hope is springing up, bearing specific names:


Through brown leaves they poke, peeking out from behind rocks, clustering near doorsteps. These hardy flowers may be clichés, but they're enough to get me through another month of metereological roulette.

Emily Dickinson wrote that hope was the thing with feathers. The songs of robins and cardinals assure me she was right. But I know hope is also a crocus, yellow or purple or white, now playing in a yard or garden near you. To such small promises the winter-weary grab on tight, like those early Rhode Islanders who emblazoned the 1664 colonial shield with an anchor and a single word, a pairing likely inspired by Hebrews 6:18-19: "Hope we have as an anchor of the soul."