Mine! Or I’ll help you not!

I watched The Empire Strikes Back again recently, though this time it was on a big screen with the Cleveland Orchestra accompanying it live–that experience is always a pleasure.  We had left our toddler at home, but it felt like he was there with us as I watched the scene where Luke meets Yoda on Dagobah. If you are a parent or have spent any length of time around a toddler, you will likely recognize these attributes:

  • Likes sticks
  • Likes hitting things with sticks
  • Picky about food
  • Likes flashlights and will indiscriminately shine them in his own eyes
  • Short and cute
  • Speaks non-standard English that can be hard to parse
  • Yells “MINE” a lot, even for things that are not actually his

Yes, that’s correct: Yoda is a toddler.

In the scene where Yoda is introduced, he behaves exactly like a three-year-old.  This had never occurred to me until I rewatched it as the parent of a toddler. It is interesting how being a parent sometimes gives you a new perspective on familiar things.  I was immediately reminded of my kid, who this morning screamed “MINEEEEE” about a toy car and a banana peel.

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But Yoda doesn’t maintain the toddler behavior for long.  He begins to speak and act (more) normally in his hut when conversing with Obi-Wan’s spirit, and we don’t see Toddler Yoda at any other point in the movie, or any other Star Wars movie (though he does still have his quirks).  So why the act?  

I had never really thought about Yoda’s extra-peculiar behavior in this scene before.  One theory is that Yoda’s quirks have become exaggerated after so many years of living in isolation on Dagobah.  But I don’t think Yoda has gone completely around the bend. I think it’s strategy.

As many parents will probably agree, I find toddlers to be the world’s greatest test of patience.  So upon meeting Luke for the first time, what better way to take his measure than go full on toddler and try to push all his buttons?  I guess I wouldn’t advise this strategy when meeting new people in real life, but I would think you can learn a lot about someone’s temperament by seeing how they interact with misbehaving children.  I’m certainly learning a lot about myself as I figure out this parenting thing. 

Therefore, as soon as he concludes Luke is unsuitable (no patience, reckless, too old, as he says to Obi-Wan in the hut), he drops the act.  The test is over, and Luke has failed. Although he does change his mind and agrees to train Luke, he was correct about Luke’s temperament, which is shown when Luke rashly abandons his training to save his friends on Cloud City, only to walk into a trap.

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Yoda is shown in the prequels to be an excellent teacher of younglings and clearly has great respect for children.  “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is,” he says when one young student provides an answer that the adults could not see.  So is it really any surprise to see him try to figure something out from the perspective of a child?

And you know he totally had fun doing it, too.

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If you want to watch the antics of Toddler Yoda set to a catchy tune, please enjoy the Bad Lip Reading video “Seagulls!” which I wrote about previously here.

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Fan Art Friday: Stormtrooper Calaveras

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

This month I am welcoming fall with a Día de los Muertos themed picture.

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I had so much fun with this one! I decorated the stormtrooper heads as calaveras in the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) tradition. This holiday is celebrated in Mexican communities on November 1, corresponding with All Saints’ Day. The Disney movie Coco is a good depiction of the Día de los Muertos traditions.

Calaveras are decorated skulls, often made of sugar, that are a symbol of the holiday. I love the idea of stormtrooper calaveras because the helmets look a bit like skulls. I had a lot of fun thinking up designs for the calaveras. The first one I did was the top right one, which started out a bit rough, but I got better as I went along. It was a nice change from the normal blocks of color that I do for these.

For the rest of the image, I wanted to represent the colorful spirit of the ofrendas, or altars, including the traditional marigold flowers. There is one spot that I colored blue and now I wish I had done red, but otherwise I like how it turned out.

Kiri also had the idea of using patterns in her image! I love the colors she chose this month, it came out great.

Here is the coloring in progress:

Lens-Artists Challenge #65 – Pick a Place: Skellig Michael

The highlight of my trip to Ireland in 2015 was a visit to the rugged island Skellig Michael.  I had wanted to visit for three reasons.

First, it is home to many species of birds, including Atlantic puffins, gannets, kittiwakes, and others.  I was able to add some cool species to my life list and get very close and personal with these birds that are not afraid of humans.  It was even puffin breeding season.

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Second, the island is historically and culturally important, being the home of ascetic Christian monks for several centuries.  They built the winding staircases up the rocks and also built stone dwellings.  It is now a UNESCO heritage site.

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Third, the island stood in for the Jedi refuge of Ahch-To in the new Star Wars films.  They had been filming there the year before I went, and even though the movie The Force Awakens hadn’t even come out yet, I was excited to visit a Star Wars filming location.  And I loved seeing and recognizing the footage of Skellig Michael on the big screen later.

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But in the end, the reason that Skellig Michael is most memorable to me is the mental journey I took to get there.  You can read the whole story of my trip here, but I will just say that I will always be proud that I was able to overcome my anxiety to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You can find more special places at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Fan Art Friday: Colorful Clone Trooper

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

I was not feeling particularly inspired for this one, so I picked most of the colors at random.  I think it came out pretty well, considering.  I’m not crazy about the red designs on the sides; I think they look like crab claws.  My favorite part is the blue halo part around the trooper’s head–I think it looks like he’s going into hyperspace or something.

You can check out Kiri’s simple and elegant version here.  She also used blue to highlight the trooper’s head.

My kid also decided to join in this month!  Here’s an attempt at Boba Fett with an excellent color palette:

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Fan Art Friday: AT-AT Blues

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

Can you tell what this month’s mandala is made up of? It has parts from an AT-AT walker, including the feet, head, and joints.

AT-AT stands for All Terrain Armored Transport, and they most notably appears in The Empire Strikes Back during the Empire’s ground assault on the Rebel base on Hoth. Seeing the AT-AT brought Hoth to mind, so I used a lot of cool colors to represent that frozen, snowy place.

I was intending to be a little more daring with this one, but I really ended up playing it safe, using a standard limited color scheme and a lot of symmetry. But I still like the way it turned out, even if it is a bit boring.

You can check out Kiri’s summer fiesta version here.

If you want to see more of Hoth, enjoy this Bad Lip Reading of the Battle of Hoth put to song. I even analyzed the rap for you.