Odds & Ends for July 27, 2020
Hi, there. As I write this, it’s early afternoon here in my corner of Florida, and boy, it is hot outside. According to my phone’s AccuWeather app, the current temperature is 89˚F under mostly sunny skies. With humidity at 66% and a southwesterly breeze of 4 MPH (with occasional 7 MPH gusts), the “feels like” temperatures are 103˚F in the open and 97˚F in the shade. We might have a few thunderstorms later; hopefully nothing too bad.
Today is one of those I’m tired because I stayed up too late last night and woke up too early in the morning days. I didn’t get sleepy until after midnight; I finally dozed off while watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I didn’t even manage to see the first scene with Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso; I remember watching the prologue where we meet Orson Krennic and Galen Erso, as well as the introduction to Diego Luna’s character, Andor Cassian. I got sleepy just as the segue to the Wobani Labor Camp began.
Well, that’s my reward, I suppose, for not having watched it at an earlier time so I could have stayed awake to see it. Rogue One is, after all, one of my favorite post-George Lucas Star Wars movies, but as I grow older, I find that it’s more difficult for me to do things that I did before 2010.
Books and Starships
Speaking of Star Wars, I’m expecting to get a few additions to both my Star Wars action figure collection and my already substantial library of novels, comics, and tie-in books.
Today, for instance, Amazon is delivering the Millennium Falcon and a Han Solo 3.75-inch action figure from Hasbro’s Solo: A Star Wars Story line. I wasn’t planning on that purchase, but a friend said that my 1979-era Millennium Falcon – one of the few spaceships I still have from my original Kenner Star Wars collection – looks a bit the worse for wear. I tried finding a newer version of the Original Trilogy Falcon , but the only one I found on Amazon is from Hasbro’s Star Wars Vintage series, and it was priced at over $300.
As much as I love the OT Millennium Falcon, there’s no way on Earth I’m going to spend that much money on one, even if it is in mint condition and from 2004. So I settled on the one from Solo. Hasbro calls it the Millennium Falcon: Kessel Run. Or is it the Kessel Run Millennium Falcon? Either way, it shipped last night and it’s due between 2:15 and 4:30 PM today. (Right now it’s almost 3 PM, so I’m guessing it’ll be here by the later ETA.
As for the books, well, Amazon shipped the two new ones that I’m expecting tomorrow: William Shakespeare’s The Merry Rise of Skywalker and Marvel Comics’ trade paperback omnibus edition of last year’s 4-issue Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren. The former, of course, is the final book in Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series, which is based on the idea that the Skywalker Saga was written by William Shakespeare during The Bard’s lifetime. I have the other books in the series; I started buying them late in 2014, beginning with The Royal Imperial Box Set collection with the original Star Wars trilogy’s Shakespearean version, then moved on – in 2015 – to the Prequel Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy after that.
The latter, I presume, is a flashback that delves into Ben Solo’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force and his apprenticeship with Supreme Leader Snoke. I’ve seen a few panels from it on posts in a Star Wars group on Facebook – one of the moderators is a Kylo Ren fan – and I was intrigued enough to pre-order the paperback omnibus edition back in January.
I’m still in a slight funk over the fifth anniversary of my mother’s death and the various reasons as to why I am not living in the townhouse she strove so hard for me to inherit. I miss my mother terribly, even though I’m glad that her physical and mental suffering ended with her passing. I’m also relieved that she did not live to see either Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency in 2016 or the COVID-19 pandemic that still affects us. She would have been scared, angry, and confused over those two developments, plus she would have seen her two adult children at each other’s throats still.
And while I’m on that topic, I think that the estrangement between my half-sister and me is the main source of my discontent. My on-and-off conflict with Vicky is one of the few constants of my life, and it is perhaps the saddest and most vexing.
I don’t know when the relationship soured; Mom and I were long bedeviled by Vicky’s behavior, so I can’t really point to an exact calendar date and go, “Eureka!” I do know that perhaps the only relatively happy period in which we all lived under one roof was between the summer of 1969 – when Vicky graduated from a now-closed all-girls’ Catholic high school in Parkersburg, WV and rejoined us in Bogota, where we were living at the time – and the spring of 1972, which is when Mom and I returned to the U.S. and Vicky decided to stay behind in Colombia and live apart from us. (And even then, I must say, there was quite a bit of mother-daughter drama. I was too young to understand much of it, but there was quite a bit of yelling and door-slamming going on in the two places we rented back then.)
My mom and I often had long conversations about our stormy relationship with Vicky; as her closest blood relatives, we were both perplexed by her oft-contradictory nature. My half-sister was devoted to our mother, and during Mom’s last five years as a bed-ridden semi-invalid, Vicky did help me take care of her. Not as well or professionally as I would have liked, and more often than not she got in the way of the rest of the caregiving team, but she did help. And at times she was nice to me, as well, although with the passage of time and the approach of Mom’s death, her pleasant side became less evident and was overshadowed by her darker one.
Mom was an intelligent and perceptive person, more so when it came to understanding her two children. She loved both of us, but she was vexed by Vicky’s mercurial moods, her oft-rebellious behavior, and her penchant for manipulation, constant lying and self-aggrandizement. She was proud of her daughter’s achievements in life – Vicky was, after all, the only one of her two kids to graduate from college, and was one of the few active nurses with cerebral palsy in the U.S. at the time of her retirement early in 2015.
But Mom was mortified by the long catalog of broken friendships, emotional turmoil, and overall negativity that my half-sister left in her wake. Vicky’s life-long habit of badmouthing Mom to anyone who cared to listen was a constant irritant between them, and the way in which Vicky’s toxic sibling rivalry had marred our family’s harmonious relationship cut our mother’s soul to the core.
Once, in a long conversation that we had In 2013 – a time in which Mom was still in command of most of her faculties – my mother said, “Alex, I never wanted to tell you this before, but I think Vicky treats you so badly because she knows that, deep down, you’re my favorite kid. I’ve always tried to be fair to both of you, but you and I get along well – despite your penchant for being messy – and we enjoy each other’s company. Sadly, Vicky and I clearly don’t have that closeness. She senses that, and because she can’t take out her frustrations solely on me, she targets you instead.”
I didn’t start this conflict with Vicky. I did not seek it, and when I was younger I was not even aware that we were at odds with each other. The current breach began long ago – in the spring of 1987 – and was triggered by an event so bizarre that it would require an entire blog post to describe. Tragically, it was I who had to settle it by severing the sibling-bond after Mom died, because if I had not, I would not only have lost my house involuntarily, but right now I’d be confined to a nursing home for the disabled.