Posts Tagged ‘Chinatown’

Sometimes all I can do is smile and laugh like the Joker at small blessings in life.  Star Wars came roaring back into theatres this weekend with the 3D release of Episode I:  The Phantom Menace.  Naturally, I went to see it – twice.  Driving the FENX to Chinatown this afternoon to meet my friend Isaac for the second screening, the wind was howling and the snow flurries were flying.   It wasn’t until after the film was over and dinner at Fuddrucker’s had concluded that it got really interesting.  As I neared Union Station, I happened upon a group of teenagers from England.  Having never seen anything like the FENX before, their reactions were exclamations of awe, wonder, and one “It’s like Artoo-Deetoo or something”.  At this, I of course stop, pop the canopy, and inform them that I was driving home from just seeing Episode I in the theatre.  Somehow they weren’t that surprised.  As we all continued along the same route, I see one of them running alongside me to keep up and I slow down upon hearing music.  Popping the canopy again I realize the young fellow is playing the Star Wars theme on his phone, and I tell the group “yeah, I actually listen to that a lot when I drive this” to which the chaperone of the group asks “but can you make it in less than twelve parsecs?”    Pausing just for a moment, I tell him “here’s the thing, a parsec is a unit of (and he repeats with me) distance not time”.  Suddenly one of the teenagers shouts to the adult “You just got Star Wars-ed”.

After that, I couldn’t stop laughing as I continued to drive on home into the distance (obviously minus the binary sunset); just another day in the life, I guess.

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is one of my favorite Star Trek movies. But anyone who knows me knows I’m more of a Star Wars fan (kinda like J.J. Abrams; didn’t he direct a Star Trek film?). At this point I can hear the “snap/hiss” of lightsabers and phasers being set for kill all over the world-wide-web. How in the word can a Star Wars fan love a Star Trek movie? Well, the sci-fi genre has always been one to take issues of the time away from Earth and tackle them in a safer environment; Star Trek VI does this. At the time Star Trek VI released (12.13.91) the Chernobyl incident had occurred, the Berlin Wall had come down, and the Iron Curtain had recently fallen. The story in Star Trek VI mirrors this with a energy disaster on a Klingon moon and the need for peace between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets. Add to this plot great performances by the Trek cast and additions like Christopher Plummer as General Chang and David Warner as Chancellor Gorkon and things get better. Throw William Shakespeare quotes into the dialogue and make it relevant to the plot and it’s amazing. Now, how does this relate to the FENX? Well, one of the themes to Star Trek VI is fear of the unknown. Peace between the Klingon Empire and the Federation was a scary thing for some because it would change the galaxy.; it was something folks just couldn’t understand.

A few weeks ago I was driving the FENX home from the movie theater in Chinatown when some hooligans decided that it would be a lot of fun to cause me grief by messing with me and the FENX while I was trying to drive. Both incidents happened so fast I didn’t have time to do anything about it, but I was upset. I was very thankful that I wasn’t alone and my friends who were with me made sure the law enforcement officers knew what happened. I was angry, that’s an understatement. It’s tough being defenseless. It’s hard accepting weakness and being forced to trust my circumstances to One greater than I am. The FENX sticks out, it attracts attention from droves of people who don’t understand it. Just like in Star Trek, and life in general, folks fear what they don’t understand – attracting the attention of the K9 unit of the Capitol Police because they think the FENX is a weapon is certainly an example of this. Trying to do something new, trying to change the way people think about handicapped folks and transportation is difficult, some people aren’t going to get it, others give you grief; but like Spock said to Kirk when Kirk and the Enterprise were volunteered to escort Chronos One to the signing of the peace accords – “Only Nixon could go to China”

Greetings after the cockpit!  While on my routine test route this morning (Chinatown, the National Mall, Union Station) I got the bright idea to see how the handicapped ramp up to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum would handle the FENX 4.0.  Surprisingly, the attempt turned out quite well – not to mention how giddy I was at the thought of actually going inside the Museum with the FENX 4.0.  Unfortunately I haven’t attempted that, yet.  (It might happen tomorrow morning actually).  My dad has the genius idea of me making a donation to the museum – driving in, making the donation, and then leaving – if they don’t let me in.  We’ll see.  I’d love to get a picture of me with the FENX 4.0 and Spaceship One actually.  I still marvel at people’s reactions, at least the ones I pay attention to when I can afford a split second of not concentrating of driving the machine.  It was a good test run, I am still looking at a solid three hours running time on a charge, probably more actually.  More tomorrow after I try and get into the building.

Riding towards eternity,

Aaron