Holidays in Space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex - Happening Now

Hi, everyone. Merry Happy! Last Friday night, I attended the media preview of Holidays in Space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. I'm going to review the experience here and include a link where you can buy tickets.

But first, a disclaimer.

I'm a fangirl. I love everything. Sincerely. I've been called a Pollyanna (and much worse) for being an eternal optimist. And listen...I get it. Times are weird. It's tough out there. But I made the decision to turn to the light side of my geekdom long ago and it hasn't failed me yet. That being said...

Holidays in Space is a delight. Let me tell you why in three parts.

Part 1 - Pretty lights good.

Holidays in space is a pretty little set-up right next to the building that houses the Shuttle Atlantis. It feels like a party. (If you're reading this from the far reaches of the world, Atlantis alone is worth a trip to Florida. Especially if you're a NASA nerd.) There's festive lighting, delightful photo-ops, and best of all, a bright video wall.

Every fifteen minutes, it plays a mini-documentary that teaches you just how far we've come technologically. It's happy, it's nostalgic, and the video had an interesting effect on the audience. Every time it played, it turned strangers into friends. Before the video, people were sticking to their groups. Afterward, they'd literally turn to the people next to them and ask things like, "Do you remember when...?"

Part 2 - Nostalgia? Good.

Guests of all ages will love a day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors complex. But if you're of a certain pop cultural ilk, you'll find extra joy being amidst reminders of Space Camp, Apollo 11, and the countless other space movies you may have enjoyed in your childhood.

Part 3 - The reality connection.

In a couple days, we're all gonna trek to the multiplex and see a Star War. Half of us will love it and half of us will hate it. The world is getting weird that way. Or maybe it's always been weird and I just grew up in a bubble because I was born in 1982 and lived 18 blissful years without the internet.

Whatever the reason for the division, one thing's for sure, sci-fi fans love the idea of space. We love progress and adventure. Or at least, we used to? The photos from Hubble still make me misty-eyed with awe and wonder. I never met an episode of Nova I didn't like. The research done during the shuttle era of NASA changed the world.

Whether you're a Trekkie, a Star Wars nerd, or both, there's something indescribably moving about being at Kennedy. It's hallowed ground. For all the emotional investment we put into our fandoms, here's a place that's making our sci-fi dreams come true every day. Rockets are launching. Landing systems are tested. Heck, KSC sits amidst a gigantic wildlife preserve. The surrounding area is pristine. Bald eagles thrive there. It's almost a cartoon of patriotism.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex represents the best of what we have to offer as people and as a country when we put our minds to work. Technological advancement? Check. A clean environment? Check. A safe haven for animals? CHECK. Sci-fi fans want to believe in a better future. We want to believe that humanity will stop its petty squabbling and clean up the planet. And KSC is a test run that proves we can do it.

It's easy for the holidays to feel, well...hollow. We're accustomed to artifice. I've lived in Florida for almost a decade now and I've seen every light show and fireworks display at every tourist attraction you can imagine. Holiday shows are typically themed to a vague, non-offensive idea about being unselfish or treasuring your family. And that's great. But Holidays in Space is a sweet little ceremony centered around massive, measurable human progress. We sent people to the moon, you guys. THE MOON. We're going to Mars. Along the way, we've discovered medical treatments and everyday conveniences and everything in between. Every astronaut who's ever taken up residence on the space station talks about how differently they see the world when they've seen it from above, how it makes them feel familial about every human on the planet.

This is real science with real results and it matters. That's worth celebrating, right alongside the ideals of generosity and family.

Honestly? I wish they could transform Holidays in Space it into a pop-up and take the show on the road with a few dancers in retro sixties costumes with some living historical characters that could mill around and educate the audience. Or they could set it up like a party in school gymnasiums. A SPACE PARTY. Just try and stop me.

In the meantime, go to Holidays in Space. It's a happy place with warm feelings. See the movie at night, when the lights are at their most vibrant and the many photo ops are most effective.

Tickets are available for purchase here and the event runs until December 31st. Please do yourself a favor and go.

Here are some other things I've made about The KSC Visitors Center:

A Playlist for Visiting KSC


"She does her own stunts."

"The studio doesn't like it. It makes them nervous, but when you can get that kind of action on camera actually performed by your leading lady, it's priceless."

Movies geeks know these beats well. We hear them in behind-the-scenes special features and documentaries allllllll the time, from Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider to Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow and most recently, the astounding Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Special features never cease to thrill me or remind me to throw some weights into my workouts. I love stunt actors and stunt performers and the actors who are willing to train for their roles. But this was happening much, much earlier than most of us realize.

Enter Lillian Gish, silent film star extraordinaire. Admittedly, I know more about Louise Brooks and Mary Pickford. But when I heard the movie Way Down East mentioned in an episode of Downton Abbey, I got curious. Silent London did a fantastic story about the film and the lengths Gish went to create a convincing finale. Very worth a read.

Here's Scarlett Johansson's Heidi Moneymaker

Too Busy To Post about GOT

Shocker, but I'm working a lot. This should suffice while I'm busy paying bills. 


Happy Monday! (no sarcasm intended)

I am emotionally WIPED OUT, in a good way, after Endgame and GOT this weekend and I just...I really needed this. Thanks, Last Week Tonight.


Three of the Beautiful, Jubilant Weirdos Who Got Me Through High School in the 90s

1. Imani Coppola

 2. David Bowie

People hate the techno-pop phase, but not me. I LOVED it and I'm not sorry.

3. Bjork


Let's Dance

Last week was difficult, this week will be long. Most of my problems are happy. One can hardly whine for having too much client work, can one? But still, I sure did lose myself in a lot of World of Dance videos this weekend. The purpose was two-fold because I have my head in a dance routine I get to inform creatively for a client. Which is...a literal dream come true.

It's my second time working with dancers (at a distance and only in generating the initial ideas) and even though I've been dancing my entire life, I still feel so unqualified. When I feel unqualified, I have to hang onto joy by seeking inspiration. It's the only thing that keeps me from running out of the room.

I'm still feeling too vulnerable about the Star Wars preview to even talk about it. I can't even think about it without crying. But we're all fine here now thank you...how are you?

Let's start with a classic to warm up.

Now, onto the World of Dance. 

The song they're using is from this number, and it's phenomenal. Imagine if Lord of the Rings had musical numbers, that's what it's like.

And finally, the brilliant master craftsmen, Les Twins.


Sore Thumb

Howdy. This was a Patreon early release months ago. I decided it was time to publish since I'm in the process of searching for an editor. This essay was originally written for the spoken word and I haven't quite stuck the landing/ending yet. (That's where the editor will help.) It also means I'm presenting it to you with somewhat non-traditional paragraph chunking, a trick I learned at Hello Giggles to help with emotional emphasis.

I hope that even in its unfinished state, it makes you laugh.


When I was a kid, I was self-conscious. Not a great revelation, I realize. We were all kids, and to some extent, we were all self-conscious. But my sensitivity was different. How different?

Let me tell you a story.

One frigid February morning, our kind fireman neighbor gave me a ride to grade school in his pickup truck. He got into the driver's side. His two youngest daughters climbed into the middle of the front seat. These girls were everything I wanted to be. They were stylish, pretty, and popular. They were good at sports and they smelled like Jean Nate. Their family was comprised of five beautiful sisters with blonde, silky hair, just like Barbie. And whether I was wrong or right to think this, I felt like Igor anytime they were around. 

Because I was this:  

I hopped into the truck last and closed the passenger door behind me—on my right thumb.

But that’s not the weird part.

What’s weird is that I looked at it and decided not to say anything. It’s only a few blocks to school. It won’t be that bad. I turned to face front and when I did, in my peripheral vision, I saw our neighbor and his daughters staring at me, horrified.

“Is that your thumb in the door?” the middle daughter asked, her side ponytail jostled just a bit as she talked.

I tried to play it cool, “Huh? Look at that. Whoops!” I opened the door, calmly removed my thumb, which was happily housed in a thick knitted mitten, and shut the door again. I looked back at them and laughed a little, shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes like, what are you gonna do? The old body part slammed shut in a car door problem

When I got to school and removed my mitten, my thumb was red and bleeding. But I still didn’t say anything. That is the kind of self-consciousness I mean. 

You’re probably wondering why I so desperately needed to fly under the radar. That’s a question I still ask myself, but it’s at least partially because I faced a rising tide of social anxiety. I don’t mean run-of-the-mill self-awareness, like, “Oh, do I have something in my teeth?”

Nor do I mean the mild fear of disapproval your average Jane experiences from time to time. 

My social anxiety back then certainly didn’t fit the current definition of geek or nerd. Words that now make you imagine Tina Fey, Rivers Cuomo, or the latest Silicon Valley billionaire. I want to tell you what it was like to be a nerd before being a nerd was cool, and at risk of repeating myself here, it has a lot to do with self-consciousness.

The Other Side of the Geek Coin

This entry is vulnerable. You've been warned. It's 100% okay to skip this and poke around for the normal, happy geek stuff.

Well then, let's continue.

A few things have recently given me pause about claiming my identity as a geek. Not because I'm sorry or planning on changing it, and not because I'm deep and introspective, but because my therapist is literally making me. I struggle with anxiety in a way that's totally changed the course of my life and I think some of that has to do with the other side of the geek coin.

1. I've been editing an essay about the pain of standing out. It was originally part of my thesis...which was also about being a weird little kid. I'll post it after this. I want it to be funny. I want all the essays from my book to be funny. It's okay to laugh, healthy even. But there's something else.

Many people have remarked about how different the world is now and how much easier it is for those of us who love comic books and action movies and sciencey stuff. But it wasn't always that way. And it wasn't just pop culture that earned me my moniker. It was this.



Like...my face. And my clothes. And my clumsiness, social anxiety, and awkwardness. Everything was, in a word, terrible. (At school, anyway.) Until I met new friends in junior high who adopted me and taught me a little bit about how to blend. I desperately wanted to look like a girl and not like a sickly little boy, so the fact that my first new friend had a mom who was a professional hair stylist definitely proves there is a God and he is loving.

My efforts since that semi-traumatic childhood to reclaim those years of deep-seated vulnerability are what lead me to become a writer. I churned out nerd stuff for content farms starting in 2007.  It was my day job. Because what else are you gonna do with all that knowledge sitting in your head from years of watching movies and tv? That content came out as half movie/tv reviews and half deep, psychological, trauma-based tips and tricks.

We had a friend over recently and we were looking at terrrrrrrrible old YouTube videos we made for a laugh. Even within some of my early theme park stuff from a decade ago, I was talking about panic attacks as a "joke". There are plenty of embarrassing entries here where you can really tell I'm trying to work something out psychologically.

And still today, I try to shrink myself away. I hide. I'm over-sensitive. I'm certain people hate me. I'm desperate for approval and belonging. That makes me a perfect mark for bullies sometimes. I can't even believe I'm saying that as a thirty-six-year-old woman. But I still do people's homework for them in a lot of ways. I still wear a kick-me sign, even if it's invisible. I'm petrified of getting in trouble or doing the wrong thing. And I HATE victim noise. But I'm telling you what anxiety has done to my life. I'm working really hard to change it. But it's been shockingly difficult.

It's...it's not cheerful experience is what I'm saying. It's deeply, deeply stressful. And sometimes very sad to see people roll their eyes and look relieved when I walk away because I'm such. a. spaz.

2. Yesterday, when I was searching for some public speaking tutorials for a client, I stumbled across this. And it ripped my heart out. Please be warned, this isn't for the faint of heart. I cried for a long, long, long time after I watched it. Steel yourself.

I have a loved one who survived a school shooting incident recently. It changed them forever. They're resilient and young and funny and beautiful. They'll be 100% fine with time. Maybe not 100%. Life chips away at everyone, right? But definitely 99%.

I'm watching them deal with some of the feelings I once struggled with in my youth, but like...times a million. Because theirs is mixed with the very real fear that they might die because they stand out. I don't want to say anymore because I respect their privacy so much, but I know that millions of kids...kids, you guys...are feeling the same way. And it just breaks my heart.

It's not a coincidence that my career has taken me into the world of simulations, where I spent three years poking and prodding at people's feelings, trying to get them to be more compassionate. I don't know where this entry is going. I just know that I'm in a moment in time that I hope is brief. I'm starting a new kind of therapy called EMDR. I tweet and delete about it all the time. But I'm wondering if this journey I'm on might help someone else. So maybe more tweet, less delete going forward.

That's where I am today. Kinda raw-nervey. Kinda sleepless and anxious. Writing down bad memories and identifying triggers and looking, really looking, at how much my life has orbited around the sensitivity that developed from the early traumas of standing out in a negative way.

I don't have a neat little wrap-up for this right now. But let's see where this goes, eh?