What Thanksgiving Means To Me By Way Of Hashtags, The Bastard Child Of Zumba And Crossfit, A Little ENDWORLD, A Few More Hashtags And A Life Less Extraordinary

Well Good Evening, Morning or Afternoon to you ALL. Happy Thanksgiving Eve, or #HappyThanksgivingEve to those of you that love a good Hashtag. I, myself, really REALLY love a good Hashtag. I use them religiously across all of my Social Media platforms. I don’t know if I really understand the whole Hashtag thing–mine vary from one devoted to my youngest minion–#NatNatBoo–to one devoted to my every-other Saturday morning routine–#Crumba. Yes, #Crumbaisathingnow, or so that @fmarshauthor guy Tweets. For those of you that are wondering what Crumba is, Crumba as the bastard child of Zumba and Crossfit: Two activities that participants are fervent, and in some cases militant about. I hold nothing against the practitioners of both. In truth? I’m a bit envious. My idea of activity right now is yard work, cleaning house, doing laundry, playing with my minions and trying to top 10K steps daily on my Fitbit, something that I’ve only managed to achieve two or three times in the six months since I bought it. So let’s get that out of the way now. Dear Crossfit and Zumba peeps: Keep on keepin’ on. Keep rocking those deadlifts and “ooh ooh’ing” to “Uptown Funk.”

There are a probably a few of you reading this right now that are wondering “hey, where the f*ck has this guy been for the last year?” You’d be right to wonder. My last blog post (incidentally also a “What Thanksgiving Means to Me” ponderance) was on 11/26 of 2014. That’s an eternity for a guy that used to pride himself on writing every day. What can I say? The same thing I always say when I disappear off the literary radar for a bit: Life, man. Gul’darned, cotton-picking LIFE. It gets in the way. Between being a good Branch Manager, being a good dad, being a good husband (all things that I’m always trying to improve upon) et al et AL, writing with any sort of consistency has been a tough thing to do. The good news? Over the last two weeks, I HAVE been writing more. CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD mainly, otherwise known as #CHILDRENOFENDWORLD in my own, subjective Twitterverse (#Amwriting #Homestretch, baby). If everything goes the way I hope it to, I should be done the first draft sometime within the next few weeks, so those of you that have been waiting patiently for the continuance of William’s story? Your patience will soon pay off. And if you want to Beta read it, message me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. I’ll be lining up about a dozen once it’s fully edited and ready to go.

Is it any good? That’s a tough question to answer. I’d be lying if I said I personally didn’t like it. I actually like it more than ENDWORLD. A LOT more. I’ll be honest with you: While it continues William’s story, it’s a very different story. Darker. But deeper, too. More spiritual, really. In fact, spirituality is a huge theme in it, one that I expect will carry over into Book Three, HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD (#HEAVENANDENDWORLD #Areyougettingtiredofthisyet). Okay. I’ll ease up on the Hastags moving forward. #Acceptmyapologies #STOPF*CKINGHASHTAGGINGEVERYTHING!

Anywhos, I digress. Focus. Focus and we’re back on point. I’m not here tonight to write about my writing. I’m here tonight because I cannot let a year go by without a “What Thanksgiving Means to Me” blog post. It’s tradition. And LIFE cannot get in the way of traditions. The thing is? It’s been a rough year, friends. At times REALLY rough. It’s definitely had it’s high points: Disney World with my minions, my wife and my in-laws, a new Mad Max movie (still the best movie of the year, IMO; at least until the new Star Wars movie comes out next month). There’s more but my head hurts a bit too much tonight and I’m sure you don’t want to read 5000 words about every little, piddling good thing that’s happened to me this year. Back in April, I passed a Kidney Stone and it hurt like a MOTHERf*cker. See? That’s a good thing but do you really want to read about it? Survey says: HELL no.

In truth? It’s been for the most part a challenging year. Sick loved ones, saying goodbye to my childhood home (booyakasha, Maple Street and J-Town: RESPECT), turning 40, turning 40 and did I mention turning 40? Yeah. That’s a tough pill to swallow. #Thisis40 and let me tell you the Judd Apatow movie was on. F*cking. POINT. The only thing it was missing was the overabundance of white hair and a sagging stomach. That said, it’s a bit tough to ruminate on the good when so much of what has happened this year has been… well? Not great. But ruminate I will because if I’ve learned one thing over my now 40+ year life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence it’s that it could always be worse. And at the least? There’s THAT to be thankful for.

So what does Thanksgiving mean to me… hell, to ANYone in a less-than-spectacular year? Well, it remains a time to give thanks for the basics: Family, friends, good health, a roof over my head and food in my belly, a new Mad Max movie and NOW a new Star Wars movie to look forward to, a six year old minion that enjoys reading and writing as much as I do (and has her mom’s aptitude toward Math and Science, as well; it’s a powerful combination), a three year old minion with a propensity for “twirly skirts,” princess crowns and “squeezy hugs” and a wife who at 35 is just as appealing to me as she was when we started dating 14 years ago this month (11/11/01, a day that had lived and will continue to live in infamy). But it goes deeper than that, perhaps moreso when you’re coming down the #homestretch of 365 daunting days and already looking forward to embracing 2016 with open arms and a plea: Dear God please do NOT be like 2015. Pretty please? Thank you, Baby Jesus. Like CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD, there’s something spiritual about it.

I can’t really describe it save for through experience. Feeling. It’s that experience… that feeling of wandering out to the curb on a chilly night after you just got done making Sauteed Apples and Cornbread (or as #NatNatBoo calls it “Corn Cake”) for Thanksgiving Dinner, lighting a cigarette, looking up at the full moon, inhaling deeply and smelling wood burning in a fireplace somewhere near. For no reason whatsoever a little smile graces your face and a little bit of serendipity wells up inside of you despite your pounding head and dire need for a good night’s sleep. As Creed sang back in the days of my wayward youth in a song that STILL has meaning for me today, “There’s a peace inside your soul/Let it be your friend/It will help you carry on/In the end/There’s a peace inside your soul.” That peace? It’s what sustains me through the tough times.

But there’s more. I’ve come to realize something over the course of the last 11, soon to be 12 months. I feel it every time I see my girls after a long day at the office (and man? Some of them have been really, REALLY long; maybe not physically but mentally? Aw hell yes; a few have taken me to the brink of passing out), get a “squeezy hug” from Natalie and I hear about Cara’s mandatory Three Things she must reveal to Nicole and I every night that she did at school that day (which usually revolve around a subject–Math for instance–recess and either Spanish, Music, Art, Library or Computers depending on the day). That feeling? The aforementioned “more?” Simple, friends. Love with a capital “L.” It wells up inside of me to the point where I can barely suppress it and focus on driving, or making dinner, or giving Natalie a bath and spotting Cara while she showers. I look at their Cherubic little faces–still so much like Nicole’s and for that I remain grateful–and listen to them speak, or sing, or even bicker. And I smile. Maybe even shed a little tear (though I’m quick to disguise it from their view; they hate it when I cry). And I think to myself: Thank God for them. For my wife. For my friends who I can still talk to about any and everything from the most mundane–Rousey losing to Holm for instance–to the most complex–discussion of the respective books we’re working on. For my family who I can still call if I need advice.

THAT’S what Thanksgiving means to me at the ripe old age of 40+ guys and gals. It’s a time to give thanks for all of the intangibles that I have. Money? Fame? Success? All are wonderful and I’ll never stop pushing myself to achieve the highest level that I can achieve and obtain of each. But all of those things really are secondary. In a way I’ve come full circle. When I was younger, I didn’t have ANY of those things. I learned to live and learned to love without them. I grew from a boy to a man and suddenly those things were there in spades and they WERE important to me. To a certain extent they remain so though the thing… the THINGS that are the most important to me now are not the amount of money in my wallet or my title; not whether I sold 1000 copies of ENDWORLD or 10. Family. Friends. Those little moments of peace like standing by moonlight on a chilly, Autumn night, the smell of burning wood in my nostrils and the taste of Apple Cider on my lips, waiting for my girls to return from a hayride to the Witch’s House (booyakasha, Linvilla Orchards: RESPECT) while I chat with a close friend. Or lying in bed next to my wife at midnight and laughing ourselves to sleep with anecdotes. Even sitting here tonight, typing these words while listening to the soundtrack to the Rocky movies (it’s called “The Rocky Story” if you want to pick it up or better yet, stream it via Spotify, iTunes et al et AL) and discussing with Nicole between paragraphs how the f*ck we’re going to get out and see “Creed” in the near future when we can’t get a babysitter and all Cara and Natalie want to see is “The Good Dinosaur” and in Cara’s case, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

Life, friends? It doesn’t have to be extraordinary all the time. Sometimes a life less extraordinary is better for the heart, mind and soul. It teaches you humility… teaches you to really, REALLY appreciate the things you have. By the cold light of a full moon on Thanksgiving Eve 2015 while a cigarette hangs from one corner of your mouth, you realize that once upon a time…

‘Cause all good stories begin as such…

You thought you’d never have the things you have today. You were miserable. You spent your days and nights pining away for an ideal that really was nothing more than a fictionalized autobiography of your life. What you envisioned, not the really, really REAL world. The really, really REAL world is a what waits for you inside your little, two story Colonial on a sleepy little street in Suburbia, US of A. It may not be the dream you originally dreamed–the sometimes impossible dream–but guess what? It’s the dream that THAT dream became while you weren’t looking. And amazingly enough, you realize as you flick your cigarette out into the street and turn and stroll up your driveway, your shadow cast in front of you in full relief that this? THIS was what you always wanted. A home. A family. Consistency. They’ll always be a little part of you that yearns for a bit more. Use it, friends. Let it drive you. Never give up. Find peace inside your soul… let it be your friend, but never totally stop reaching for the stars. If you grab ‘hold of one, make it your b*tch but never, EVER neglect what you already have. #Noregrets, folks. To quote the great Paul McCartney, “money can’t buy you love.”

And with that? I’m spent. #Itsgettinglate #IvealreadyneglectedNicolefortoolongtonight. But I’m glad I did this. And I’m glad that if you’re reading this right now, you once again came along for the ride. I appreciate you in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Your support. Your candid feedback both good AND bad. I oft times end these little ponderances with a long list of arbitrary thank you’s but tonight? I’m not going to do that. #Keepingitreal. I’ll just end it with one. Thank YOU, friends, readers and fellow sh*theads. And have a Happy Thanksgiving.

#THEEND.

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Dora the Explorer – A J. J. Abrams Film

So the word on the street today is that J. J. Abrams–he of the TV shows “Alias,” “Lost” and “Fringe” and the movies “Cloverfield,” “Mission Impossible 3” and “Super 8” among others–is planning to direct the new Star Wars movie–Episode VII–coming out in a few years. For many of the people like myself who endearingly refer to him as “J. J.” and have embraced seemingly everything he has done since popping on to the entertainment scene a little over a decade ago, this news is great news. After all, look at what he did for the Star Trek franchise a few years ago and what he’s hopefully planning on doing with it this year (the sequel, “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” is due out in May). He’s taken once-dry material and made it fresh and new again. Who wouldn’t want him to do that with arguably the most beloved, movie franchise in cinematic history? Something to help us at last wash the dual tastes of Jar Jar Binks and springtime on Naboo out of our collective mouths. Not to mention Anakin/Darth Vader’s primal scream at the end of Episode III. Brrr. I get shivers just thinking about it and they’re not from the bone-chilling cold outside.

In truth? As a lifetime aficionado of everything and anything Star Wars, the only director I’d personally want to handle this daunting task more is Joss Whedon, endearingly referred to by many, including myself, as just “Joss.” But he is otherwise preoccupied with making the Marvel multi-verse completely bad ass right now, so J. J. is, for me, a more-than suitable replacement. He’s arguably one of the two best, young directors in Hollywood presently (the other, Ben Affleck, was apparently vetted for the job but not chosen; s’cool for him, though. Word is he’s been tapped to direct the Justice League movie in a few years which could, conceivably  be equally as bad ass as “The Avengers” if the right superheros are chosen).

But not everyone is as ciked as I am. Por ejemplo: I’ve seen a lot of people who hated J. J.’s reboot of Star Trek online today, trolling the entertainment sites and lamenting the fact that this is happening. The term “Lens Flare”–a filming technique that he has been criticized for overusing–was even trending on Twitter last night after the news was officially announced. Still, most people appear to be cautiously optimistic about it. I guess we’ll all know all in a few years but for now, let the speculation about a story line and a cast begin. Josh Holloway (Sawyer from “Lost”) for Han Solo, anyone? Lord knows if J. J.’s involved, you’re not going to know anything about Episode VII’s plot until it is released.

But this announcement has gotten me to thinking. J. J. has already taken on one beloved franchise. Now, he’s taking on another. Whether or not the Trekkies and the Star Warsies go to war over this remains to be seen (I classify myself as “both” and “neither” at the same time and as for what that means, I have no frackin’ idea). One reviewer classified it as the equivalent of owning Coke and Pepsi with Dr. Pepper (the Mission Impossible franchise) thrown in for good measure and you can imagine what that would do to the fans of both, can’t you? Coke and Pepsi can not be made by the same company! We need to retain some measure of capitalistic competition in this country, people! 

Okay, maybe not. But it got me to thinking anyway: What if J. J. were to take on another, beloved franchise but not a franchise beloved by Geekdom. Rather, a franchise beloved by, say, children? ‘Know which one I’m talking about? The title of this blog entry says it all. Without further adieu, I give you one madman’s speculation on the possibilities inherent in:

Dora the Explorer: A J. J. Abrams Film

The opening shot of the movie is a close up of a blinking, brown eye. The camera pans out and we see our heroine, Dora’s face. It is streaked with dirt and she is laying in a corn field. She is wearing her customary purple, nondescript belly shirt and her equally nondescript orange capri pants, but her sneakers have disappeared (she is still wearing her yellow socks). She sits up and looks around her but the area in which she finds herself is unfamiliar. She honestly can not remember how she ended up there. She stands and calls out to her best friend, Boots, but receives only silence in response.

She again surveys her surroundings. Instinctively, she reaches behind her in an attempt to remove Map from Backpack and get her bearings. With a gasp she realizes that Backpack and, by association, Map are gone. She considers what she should do. In doing so, she realizes that there is a small structure of some sort at the edge of her vision. She squints: It looks like a shack. Why had she not seen it before? She considers it as she starts off in a trot toward it.

Ten feet or so away from the onset of the shack’s ramshackle porch there is a line of what looks like gray ash piled in her path. She pauses before it, looks left and then right and realizes that the ash frames the entire property. Tentatively, she steps over the line but nothing happens. She runs the last of the distance to the porch of the shack, gains it, and raps on the old door that hangs loosely from its hinges outside. A raspy, male voice tells her to “come in” and she does.

She opens the door, and immersed in the shadows that fill the structure’s interior she sees someone or something sitting across from her in a rocking chair. She can not tell much about the figure’s appearance at first: It seems to be made of shadow itself. But slowly it takes shape. She then recognizes the figure that leans forward in to a single beam of light as her friend Benny the Bull.

She asks him what has happened; asks him where her friend Boots is and what has happened to Backpack. Benny informs her that apparently, Swiper’s experiments with Red Matter–a hobby of his when he’s not swiping–backfired and created a singularity which he fell in to. It carried him back in time to the exact day that Dora’s Abuela first gave her Backpack. Seeing an opportunity to improve upon his future self’s situation, Swiper swiped Backpack before the exchange could be made and ran away. He disguised himself, traveled to his childhood foxhole and gave Backpack to his past self. Thereafter, he vanished, never to be heard from again.

Said alteration of the original timeline of Dora’s life set in motion a series of events that caused the new timeline within which she finds herself, a timeline in which Boots and her never became friends and she never received Backpack. Dora the Explorer is, in fact, plain ole’ Dora Vasquez. As for why he is imprisoned within the timeline, as well, Benny is unable–or unwilling, Dora thinks–to provide Dora with a reasonable explanation in the time allotted them. But he assures her multiple times that they are not in Purgatory. 

Dora asks Benny what she needs to do and Benny tells her that she must travel to Swiper’s foxhole and confront him. She must then use the Red Matter–which Swiper still dabbles in–to create her own singularity and travel back in time. Once there, she must either prevent Swiper from swiping Backpack before it can be gifted to her, or she must swipe it back from him after and give it to her younger self. As for which one, the choice is hers, Benny tells her. The end result in both cases, he reasons, is the same. She asks how she’s going to get to Swiper’s foxhole without Map Quarterbacking her through it and Benny gives her a GPS device. He also tells her that she may have to get bloody. Dora tells him that she’s not afraid, and that she’ll do whatever she has to do to restore the original timeline. After all, she tells him, Explorer, not Vasquez IS my middle name. 

Benny advises her that actually, Vasquez always has been her last name and Explorer is more of a title than a last name. Dora thanks Benny for his help and turns to leave. Before she can do so, however, Benny calls to her. She turns back at the door to look at her friend, who warns her that the path to Swiper’s foxhole, even with the assistance of a GPS device is fraught with peril. Dora suspiciously–because she has been wondering about him since she first saw him–asks Benny how he knows this and watches, helplessly, as Benny de-materializes in to a black smoke cloud, wisps around her once, and blows out the door in a flurry of grinding, mechanical clatter.

Dora switches on her GPS device as she exits Benny’s shack but quickly realizes that she has been duped. Benny the Bull’s GPS runs Apple Maps which, she knows, will get her no where near her intended destination. How on Earth will I find my way to Swiper’s foxhole now? She asks herself. At that precise moment, a single engine plane lands on the ground before her and she sees that her friend Isa is flying it. But Isa, Dora quickly realizes, is not her friend in this alternate reality. In fact, Isa’s pilot’s uniform–little more than a set of gray overalls–has what Dora understands is Swiper’s insignia–a mask with two beady eyes peering from within it–upon its lapel. Isa takes Dora in to custody. She binds her hands and feet and puts her in the back of the plane. She then takes off. Well, Dora reasons, I guess this is easier than trying to find my way there without Map or a functional GPS device. 

Some time later, Isa lands her plane next to what looks at first like a towering pile of junk in the shape of a foot. However, Dora quickly realizes (as she is forcibly removed from the plane) that the “junk” is actually the sum total of everything that Swiper has swiped and not used since he first swiped her Backpack years before. Toys and appliances; clothes and Tupperware. Everything and anything that she can think of is represented in the makeshift structure that Swiper has framed his foxhole with. Swiper emerges from within his “castle” to greet Isa and Dora sees it hanging from his shoulders: Backpack.

Backpack! She shouts and tries to rush Swiper but is quickly restrained by a collection of overall-clad, automatic rifle carrying guards with red shirts beneath, wearing masks similar to Swiper’s. Swiper orders them to place her under arrest pending termination. No sooner has he done so then a wormhole opens up directly to Dora’s left and the “over there” version of her steps through, flanked on either side by her friends Tico and the Big, Red Chicken (who are played, respectively, by Michelle Rodriguez and Jorge Garcia). Each is armed with a phaser and they immediately open fire on the guards trying to restrain Dora. They fall quickly, but not before one of them gets a shot off and mortally wounds the Big, Red Chicken (‘like what I did there with the color red, Trekkies?). Swiper flees in to his foot-shaped foxhole, followed closely by Isa. Dora, Dora and Tico pause for a moment to tend to the Big, Red Chicken but it is too late. He has expired.

Come on, Dora says to Dora and Tico, let’s go get Backpack AND some retribution. Dora and Tico agree. Dora takes the Big, Red Chicken’s phaser and follows Dora and Tico in to the foxhole. After a few moments, they corner Swiper and Isa in one of the interior chambers of the foxhole next to the large, sphere of Red Matter that Swiper dabbles in while he’s not swiping. Swiper holds out Backpack in one hand and a turkey baster with a single drop of Red Matter in the other. You want this? He threatens, then come and GET IT! Before Dora, Dora and Tico can react Swiper drops the drop of Red Matter on to the floor before him and a singularity opens up which he and Isa subsequently fall through.

Dora moves to follow him but Dora and Tico pause. Come ON, Dora shouts, we need to get Backpack back so we can restore the original timeline. But Dora and Tico look at each other and shake their heads. To do so, they tell Dora, would be too much of a risk and could potentially cause the collapse of not just the alternate reality in which they currently are in but “over there,” and all realities. We will wait here for you to return, Dora says to Dora. Tico nods his head and says dios velocidad which translates to God speed. Dora leaps in to the singularity, phaser in hand, and lands a few seconds later…

In the same room. No, Dora realizes, it is not the same. It is brighter and the decor is outdated. I’m in the past! She understands. But which past? She considers, and how far back? She runs out of the room and follows the tunnel which she had come down in the other reality with “over there” Dora and Tico up to the surface. She emerges in to the sunlight. The items that had comprised the foot that had framed Swiper’s foxhole are gone and she can see Swiper and Isa fleeing down the road about 100 feet away from her. She runs after them as fast as she can and finally catches up to them. She orders them to stop and they do so. Swiper turns, Backpack still in hand, and holsd the turkey baster–also still in hand–up to it.

There’s still a little left, Dora, Swiper cautions, one squeeze on Backpack and it’ll cease to exist, which is another way of saying that once again, YOU’RE TOO LATE! Simultaneously, Dora hears something mechanical clanking in the trees to her right. She turns, just in time to see the big, black Benny smoke cloud come roaring out of the woods. It targets Swiper and Isa, swirls around them, picks them up and throws them screaming in to the distance before it stops swirling, and re-materializes in to Benny the Bull on the road before her. Benny holds up his hand and Dora sees Backpack hanging there.

Backpack! She cries and moves to take it, but Benny steps back and holds it away from her. Not so fast, Dora, he says gruffly, I will give this back to you so you can complete your adventure and restore the original timeline but in exchange, I need something. Dora skeptically asks him what he needs and Benny replies, quite simply with your body.

THIS vessel has outlived its usefulness, he tells her. I need a new vessel before it expires and I would like that vessel to be you. So, Dora asks,  you’re not really Benny the Bull? Benny the Bull? The Benny-thing says, no. What I really am is far older and more difficult to explain. Dora tasks him to try her and he replies that he cannot explain it thoroughly in the time allotted them. He assures her once again that they are not in Purgatory, which makes absolutely no sense to Dora since they weren’t even discussing Purgatory, but she dismisses it. She looks longingly at Backpack and thinks of her good friend Boots. After a moment’s consideration, she reluctantly agrees. But only after I give it to past-Dora, return through the singularity and make sure that things have been restored to normal. Benny agrees and gives her Backpack. Benny tells her that he will see her shortly, morphs in to a polar bear and runs off toward Swiper’s foxhole. 

Dora travels the last of the distance to her Abuela’s house and arrives simultaneously with Swiper. Instead of chanting “Swiper no swiping” like she always does she opts, instead, to shoot him with the Big, Red Chicken’s phaser before he can enter and swipe Backpack. It works. She watches, hidden in the bushes with an incapacitated Swiper beside her as her Abuela gives her younger self Backpack. Once satisfied that the exchange has been made, she binds Swiper’s hands and feet with the rope stashed in her version of Backpack, throws him over her shoulder, and runs quickly back to his foxhole.

She arrives to find the singularity promptly closing. She leaps in to it with Swiper in tow, and arrives back where she started. The sphere of Red Matter is gone and “over there” Dora and Tico have vanished. They probably took it with them to protect it, Dora thinks. The singularity closes behind her with a “pop” and she lays Swiper down on the floor  just as he is waking up. She loosens his bonds and informs him that she is going to cut him loose. The alternate version of you and your cronie alt-Isa are trapped forever in the past, and the Red Matter is gone, she informs him, if I so much as SNIFF you doing anything but swiping in the future I’m going to come back here and finish what I COULD HAVE finished before. She holds the phaser up so he can see it, points to the switch–labeled “Stun” and “Kill” which is currently set to “Stun”–and asks him if she is clear. Swiper stands up rubbing his wrists, snaps his fingers together and says, “aww, man,” but he agrees. Dora swings Backpack on to her shoulders and leaves him that way, cowering in his foxhole.

She emerges on to a hillside. There is no foot shaped pile of swiped items around her. Standing a few feet down the hillside are her friends Isa, Tico, the Big Red Chicken and Boots! She shouts his name as she rushes toward and embraces him. Boots embraces her back and asks her what has happened. Dora states that she will explain it to him over a banana and a cup of Abuela’s non-alcoholic Sangria. She reaches behind her and touches Backpack. Backpack says “yum, yum, yum, delicioso!” Map? She asks and hears the familiar refrain of “who’s the guy you need to know when you’ve got someplace to go,” and smiles. She releases Boots, and is about to exclaim that “we did it!” when she hears a mechanical clanking behind her. She turns and watches as the black Smoke Benny cloud re-materializes in to Benny the Bull.

I was wondering when you’d show up, the Benny-thing says, I have fulfilled my promise to you and you DID IT. Lo hicimos! You have completed your adventure. The timeline has been purified. Now, are you ready to fulfill your promise to me? Reluctantly, Dora agrees that she is. Boots inquires about what is going on and Dora turns to him and explains the accord that she reached with Benny while in the past. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, Boots, she states. Boots is saddened, but he understands that any contract, even one between a black smoke thing and his best friend is binding and he reluctantly agrees to let her go. Or the one, he replies and Dora nods. They embrace again, and a few tears are shed. Dora hands Backpack to him and tells him to give it to Diego. It’s time for him to become more than just plain Diego, she says and Boots agrees. Dora says goodbye to Backpack and Map and also embraces Isa, Tico and the Big Red Chicken before she turns back to the Benny-thing and informs it that she is ready. Benny thanks Dora and tells her to close her eyes. The camera zooms in on Dora’s brown eye: The same one it had zoomed in on at the beginning of the movie. And as she closes it, the screen fades to black and the credits role.

The End. 

I’ll concede that it’s more “Lost” than anything else but there are echoes of J. J.’s other shows and movies in it, as well. At least I think there are. Anywhos, that’s my take on how J. J. would treat the Dora the Explorer franchise were he to get his hands on it. There’s the potential for so much more. Whatever the case, please do not mistake this as a portrayal that mocks J. J. Abram’s style. It isn’t. If anything, it is an appreciation of that style. I can’t wait to see what he does with Star Wars. And if he happens to get his hands on this treatment and decides that it resonates with him, this next part is for him. Dear Mister Abrams: I admire your body of work greatly. I think the Lens Flare is an awesome filming technique and do not feel as though you have used it to excess. If you are interested in collaborating on a reinterpretation of “Dora the Explorer” please drop me a line either here or via email (madchronicler@verizon.net). And if you’re not? Well, sir, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Sincerely, Frank Marsh, alias (‘like how I did that?) A Big Fan.