Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Since my life has become a whirlwind of sorts due to extensive work-related travel, I’m rarely afforded time to sit back and really soak in my experiences. One night I’m driving from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, TX, the next I’m embarking on a 3-hour journey to Laredo to stay at a hotel that literally hugs the Mexican border. I’m constantly in motion, and my free time is typically spent either planning my next move or fulfilling social obligations that I refuse to let fall to the wayside.

Fortunately, a YouTube-related work project has stationed me in San Francisco for the past few days, giving me the chance to not only reflect on the great places my career has taken me—both physically and mentally—but to truly enjoy what I do. Of course, when your work takes you to Lucasfilm and Skywalker Ranch, that enjoyment comes easy.

For reasons I can’t disclose here, this week I was able to tour the Lucasfilm offices and see firsthand where Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) has crafted some of the most spectacular visual effects of all time. Additionally, I was afforded the opportunity to visit Skywalker Ranch—the epicenter of George Lucas’ multimedia empire and arguably the Mecca of nerddom. As trite as it is to call my trip to Lucasfilm a “dream come true,” it really is the best way to describe it. I mean, come on: the original Yoda puppet! The Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! A life-sized remote-controlled R2-D2! Such iconic relics from my childhood seemed to present themselves to me at every turn, and even as I write this blog entry two days removed from that tour, I’m having a difficult time wiping the smile from my face. Then again, why would I ever want to?

It was only appropriate that my trip to the hallowed halls of Lucasfilm and the lush landscape of Skywalker Ranch came on January 12—my 28th birthday. It was nearly 25 years ago to the day that my parents introduced me to the original Star Wars trilogy, turning me into a hardcore geek at an early age and instilling in me a passion for science-fiction and fantasy storytelling that has only grown in the quarter-century since. In a weird way, my first (and perhaps only) visit to Lucasfilm was a homecoming of sorts for me, reminding me why I love these films so much and why they helped turn me into the person I am today.

While looking out over “Lake Ewok” at Skywalker Ranch’s main house—where Lucas’ personal offices are housed—I couldn’t help but whisper a quiet “thank you” to the man that introduced the world to “a galaxy far, far away” on May 25, 1977, as well as all of the people and circumstances that made the trip possible. Heck, I’m still thanking them.

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