“…and who’s this, Buddy?”
“R2D2 is his friend. They go in space togedder.”
For his bedtime “story,” my son had chosen his copy of Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, and so I sat with him on his bed, elated and proud to be discussing A Galaxy Far, Far Away with my four-year-old. Last year, I figured there was no better opportunity than Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), for the Twins’ inaugural viewing of Episode IV, and since then, they’ve been enamored with droids, Light Sabers, and “Deaf” Stars. As we turned the page, my son instantly recognized the next character. “Dat’s Princess Leia.”
He took in the two-page profile on Leia, which includes photos of her in the various costumes she wears throughout the trilogy. Then, after a moment of careful consideration, he cracked a goofy grin and pointed to the one of her as Jabba the Hutt’s scantily clad prisoner.
“I like THAT one the best,” he smiled.
I braced myself. “How come, Buddy?” Continue reading
1. Opening a Bottle of Beer
2. Pouring a Bottle of Beer into a Darth Vader Pint Glass in such a way as to Minimize Foam
3. Drinking a Beer out of a Darth Vader Pint Glass
4. Taking a Picture of a Beer in a Darth Vader Pint Glass
5. Compiling a Non-Exhaustive List
After four years of non-stop nerdery (which predates both the Twins and this fine publication), I finally defended my dissertation on Friday. I know I left you in terrible suspense all weekend by withholding the results, but I’m ready to break the silence. Are you ready?
Well, guess what? I DID IT!
If you so choose, you can now call me Dr. Pseudonymous. John Pseudonymous, PhD will also work. I will also respond to “Doctor,” “Doc,” and “Hey, you with the diploma!”
To commemorate this momentous occasion, I thought I’d remind you how excellently I’ve chronicled this journey and thus, from beginning to end, here are some of my favorite PhD-flavored Twincidents, for your re-reading pleasure. If you don’t read them now, they may disappear into the Disney Vault forever, as after acquiring Star Wars, a Disney-Twinfamy merger seems to be the most logical progression.
On any given night, from about 10 pm to whenever gets the job done, you’re likely to find a single light on in my house–one in the living room by a recliner we inherited from my wife’s grandfather. And in that chair, you are likely to find a disheveled, stubbly-faced thirty-something man hunched over a laptop, cussing out a Microsoft Word document at a volume that will wake neither the sleeping three-year-olds around the corner nor a pregnant woman passed out on the nine-pillow sculpture she has meticulously perfected over the past few weeks. While verbally abusing his own abused verbiage, he’ll likely be nursing a craft IPA or a bowl of ice cream (or both)–you know, just to take the edge off.
In case you haven’t already Sherlocked where I’m going with this, the insomniac in question is me.
While sleep and I are super duper BFFs and take cute selfies with each other like every single night, I elect to stay up after corralling the kids into the bathroom so they can spend 15 minutes whining about not wanting to brush their teeth and two minutes actually doing it; after reading multiple bedtime stories and refusing third encores; after watching my unborn child kick around my wife’s uterus while taking in whatever’s on our DVR; after my wife crashes in the middle of a show and I’m fighting sleep myself even though it’s only 9:30. Yes, despite all of this, I stay up because I have unfinished bidness. Even though I’ve found a big boy job I absolutely love and am working it full-time, I still have that all important, all-encompassing, all-kinds-of-psychotic last step of my PhD to plow through–my dissertation.
I’ll admit I take weekends off, and even a weekday here and there, but since about May of this year, I’ve been on this late-night regiment for a consistent four nights a week. Come 10 pm, I’m in that chair. Thinking. Number-crunching. Writing. Chasing. Snoozing. Wiping the drool off my face. Deleting the full page and a half of letter W’s my dead hand made while I was unconscious. Taking a sip of beer. Taking another five sips. Sighing loudly. Thinking. Number-crunching. Writing. Chasing.
In mid-September I cleared the first hurdle and laid the first draft of my thesis to rest–all 229 pages of it–and turned it into the chair of my committee for his feedback. Then came revisions, which bled into October, and once that was finally done, November’s late nights have been spent tackling the slideshow for presentation at my defense.
For those unfamiliar with the process, after writing and revising your kajillion-page dissertation, you are then asked to “defend” it to a committee of faculty chosen by you. This committee reviews your thesis, and then, at the “defense,” you present your findings in person, followed by the committee asking questions to challenge the validity and thoroughness of your work while barraging you with paintball guns to break your concentration. If the committee is satisfied with the answers you provide, 99 red balloons fall from the ceiling and Bill Murray inexplicably wanders in from the street to shake your hand and congratulate you on becoming a doctor just before performing an impromptu karaoke rendition of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” On the other hand, if the committee is not satisfied, you are handcuffed by an enormous sluglike creature named Jabba and shuttled out to the middle of the desert to be cast into a Sarlacc pit for all eternity.
Repeated viewing of any movie allows you to catch things you didn’t notice the first time, and so when one has seen a film enough times to recite it ad nauseum, one is bound to look beyond the suspension of disbelief most viewers enjoy, dissect its every nuance, and discover gaping holes in the story’s logic. If there’s any movie that fits this description for me, it’s Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Not only do the Twins request it at least three times a week, it was also a VHS my two younger sisters would loop at least three times a day when we were growing up. (Fun fact: When the Twins are at my mom’s house, they watch that very same VHS. It still plays perfectly.) It has recently occurred to me that–by my half-assed calculations–this incessant exposure to The Little Mermaid places it comfortably at the top of my all-time most-viewed movies list. While I’d prefer my chart-topper to be something badass like The Empire Strikes Back or Back to the Future, I guess it could be worse, right? (I’m looking at you, The Chronicles of Riddick.) Anyway, apparently watching The Little Mermaid has become my life’s work, so I feel it is my duty as an expert in this field to share the following observations I’ve made over the years, to further enhance your own Mermaid-viewing experience: