Mar 022021
 

Dwindling Supply of Physical MoviesWhen I was in college I had a ritual every Tuesday. After classes were done for the day I drove to Best Buy. Tuesday’s is when new releases hit the store shelves and they were always on sale the week their first week. Lately I’ve noticed a terrible trend. A dwindling supply of physical movies in stores.

I’ve noticed it at Best Buy, Meijer and Target. The movie section used to span several rows of motion picture delectation. I’ve also noticed a dwindling presence of Blu-ray players available for purchase. This is all very disconcerting! I don’t always feel like streaming a movie. In fact, I rarely feel like streaming a movie!

Streaming Services Ruin Everything!

I’m not opposed to streaming services; actually I really enjoy them. We have accounts on several of the main services available, but I mostly use them to stream television series. My problem is I prefer to watch movies using my 4K setup with my own Blu-ray, sound system and television. I don’t want to always rely on an Internet connection to stream a 4k movie. Also, I don’t trust the steaming companies. They like to add things (ex: “MACLUNKEY!!”) or remove things to suite their political agenda.

It’s also not easy to find the movie I want. A lot of these streaming services cycle movies and no single streaming service has ALL the movies. Basically, if you want more variety, you have to subscribe to multiple services, which gets expensive. I got rid of cable so I didn’t have to pay the high price for television. I’m not going to turn around and pay the same amount of money subscribing to 14 different streaming services so I can access any movie I want at any given time.

Amazon still sells physical movies, which is fine, I can order it online and it’s “usually” delivered in about 24 hours. However, sometimes I don’t like to wait. Like most people these days, I want instant gratification. I’m curious about what the future of “home video” will look like. VHS replaced betamax, DVD replaced VHS, Blu-ray replaced DVD. Are streaming services on course to replace Blu-ray and, in turn, any form of physical movie? I’m not sure I’m a fan of that.

/cheers

The things that go through my mind when I’m alone with nothing but my thoughts for entertainment is dangerous. Some might even say eccentric. Consider this your warning about today’s Random Thought of the Day

 

Feb 282021
 

First a few qualifying statements. I know I’m not a gifted blog writer however I just write for fun; nobody pays me. Also, this isn’t a blanket statement because there are plenty of good blog writers. Most of my observations have been various writers for Star Wars blogs, though I have seen the occasional tech writer or other cultural blog writer whose prose and research are abysmal. Bad grammar is a common offense, which is shocking. Learning basic grammar is not difficult and using it is even easier.

Grammar is so important and I cannot emphasize that enough. In a world where social media has such influential power, grammar even matters on your Facebook posts. Potential employers will research you and they will judge how lazy you are or even how intelligent you are simply based on your Facebook posts. If I were a hiring manager or if I am screening potential candidates, I will research your social media. I don’t expect people to have the grammar prowess of an Oxford English professor but I do expect people to know proper comma usage and punctuation.

By the way, I know many hiring managers and recruiters that do check social media, such as Facebook, to learn about potential applicants. If you’re not careful with social media, it can hurt your job candidacy and safety. The dangers of social media is a different topic for a different time.

Research Or Know Your Canon!

Honestly, based on most of my observations, it isn’t grammar that is the greatest offense. It’s research! This is most common in several of the Star Wars blogs I’ve seen. The inaccuracy of some of these blog writers is astounding. Sometimes I question whether the author is actually a fan or if they were just assigned a topic by their editor. Honestly I hope that’s what is happening. It would be more disconcerting if these authors really are “fans” because then I question their knowledge of Star Wars canon.

I admit that I don’t know everything there is in Star Wars canon, however I research what I don’t know before I make any assumptions or comments. These Star Wars authors are sacrificing accuracy for clicks, which is a shame because finding accurate details doesn’t require a lot of research. The other explanation is worse, however. Clickbait websites thrive on gullible and obtuse users to drive up their visitation. Websites like “We’ve Got This Covered” and “Collider” are some of the worst offenders. DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING FROM THESE SITES! Also, be careful of other blogs you read that might use these sites as “references” or “sources”.

The most sickening thing I’ve seen are blog authors taking advantage of the fan divisiveness to attract readers. Instead of reporting accurate information, they tailor facts to prey on people’s emotions simply to manipulate them to read their awful articles. This isn’t a prevalent blog but I still won’t sacrifice quality just to attract more readers. I will never manipulate the facts and I will never try to disguise my opinion as fact. I’m concerned this is a microcosm of all journalism.

If you want loyal readers then use basic grammar, do the research and know your canon.

/cheers

I Have Spoken!

 

Feb 162021
 

We’re now six episodes into this series; which means only three episodes remain. I began watching this series with mild interest and now I’m fully committed. I hadn’t intended on writing more about it, however the puzzle in this show is making the discussions fun so I don’t mind writing more on Wandavision. I do not like spoilers so I will provide sufficient warning or redaction when it’s needed.

The puzzle is becoming more interesting as well as a lot of the theories I’ve been reading. In fact there are so many theories and ideas I hardly know where to begin.

spoiler alert!!!

The following content contains spoilers for Wandavision.

Who Is Agnes?

I think, one of the biggest mysteries, is Kathryn Hahn‘s character. Who is Agnes? I noticed, in the first episode featuring Darcy, nobody mentions Agnes when they were assembling “the cast of character”. In fact her character is rarely, if ever, acknowledged by any member of S.W.O.R.D. Is Agnes only visible by Wanda and the other “cast members”? There are fan theories that believe she is Agatha Harkness. Agatha Harkness is a powerful witch from the Salem witch trials that mentors Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) in real magic.

Perhaps Westview is Agatha’s “training ground” for Wanda. Listen for the pronouns. A lot of times the “cast members”, when not under the spell, refer to “her” but never Wanda by name. Could “her” actually be Agnes but S.W.O.R.D believes they mean Wanda? I realize that Wanda leaves Westview to confront S.W.O.R.D but what if that is Agnes using a veil to perpetuate the ruse?

What If It’s A.I.M?

I do like that theory but I have another one. What if it’s not just S.W.O.R.D that is watching Wanda? What if A.I.M is also watching? In fact, what if A.I.M. has people on the inside? By the way, Advanced Idea Mechanics is the evil counterpart to S.W.O.R.D. and is first mentioned in Iron Man 3. Perhaps Agnes is from AIM? In fact, what if Wanda’s “brother” is also an AIM operative? It would explain why he was “re-cast”.

Regardless, I do not think Wanda is turning into a villain. It seems that Kevin Feige is trying to lead the audience that way but I think its misdirection. I think she is dealing with her grief of not only having lost her brother but also the man she loved. I think there are nefarious forces taking advantage of her vulnerable state but to what end? Is A.I.M trying to turn her evil and weaponize her? Agatha Harkness isn’t a villain (at least not in the comics), so perhaps she’s trying to mentor Wanda amidst all of this but she doesn’t know who is trustworthy. Maybe she thinks S.W.O.R.D. is A.I.M. which is why she confronts them veiled as Wanda?

Allegedly the last three episodes are all an hour long and I think they are going to be intense. Are there any Wandavision theories you would like to share?


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams

Feb 082021
 

Cloak of DeceptionCloak of Deception

by James Luceno
My rating:
(Click here to view on Goodreads)

James Luceno autograph

I’ve had this book since Star Wars Celebration III (circa 2005). I actually met James Luceno (in fact this book is a signed copy), he’s a great guy. This is also the book that I began reading last year and I was 40% away from completing to hit my 2020 Reading Challenge. I should have pushed myself harder to finish but November and December is always a busy time of year. Be that as it may, I’m always a sucker for some backstory, especially in the Star Wars universe. While I’m not aware of all the books that take place in the prequel era, this book is potentially as far back as I’ve gone in Star Wars canon (aside from the KOTOR games), with the possible exception of Dooku: Lost Jedi.

Biggs’ Synopsis and Review

Supreme Chancellor Valorum’s trade route taxation policies are highly criticized. So much so that attempts have been made on his life. A particularly nasty syndicate, called The Nebula Front, seem to be involved with these assassination plots. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, attempt to track down and thwart these terrorists before they succeed.

As I mentioned before I love backstory content, perhaps that’s part of the reason I’m such a fan of the prequels. Without giving away too many details, this book describes the events that lead right up to the beginning of The Phantom Menace. I really enjoyed reading more of the adventures of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, Palpatines continued manipulation of the events and some fun, new characters.

View all my reviews

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Feb 032021
 

about John HollisHow much do you know about John Hollis? Many of you are probably asking “WHO??!” because he is probably pretty obscure but a cool character from Empire Strikes Back. He is Lando’s cybernetically enhanced aide, Lobot. His birthday was back in November and several Star Wars Facebook groups shined a light on him in celebration of his life. He passed away back in 2005 but Lobot is a cool character so I will happily talk a little bit about John Hollis.

His Life and Career

I’m unable to find a lot of information about his personal life. He was born Bertie Lyn Hollis in London and he was married twice. He is the father of Sarah Hollis Andrews who is a former English child actor and continues her acting career under the name Holly Hamilton.

His acting career spans 71 credits. It seems he’s most known as Lobot in Empire Strikes Back, however he’s been in a couple of other recognizable films and tv series. He was in four of the six episodes of the Doctor Who Mutants story arc. He plays a bald, wheelchair-bound villain in the opening sequence of For Your Eyes Only but he isn’t credited. Apparently there were legal disputes over the rights of Thunderball. His final television appearance was in 1999, six years before his death.

He seems to always play the minor roles; from a German porter in “The Dirty Dozen” to a Krypton elder in Superman I and II. The connotation of a minor role doesn’t exist in Star Wars. In fact I’m inclined to argue there are no minor roles in Star Wars. While nobody pays any attention to John Hollis in any of his other roles, Star Wars fans still acknowledge his spot in the universe. So much so that we honored him on his birthday.

Is there anything you would like to share about John Hollis?

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

Jan 192021
 

I’m going to take a right turn here and talk about something in the MCU. While I’m not as avid of a Marvel fan as I am a Star Wars fan, both are owned by the same parent company so their fates are partially intertwined. When Disney made the big announcement about all the new Star Wars projects, they also announced several new Marvel projects. Wandavision is the first and, apparently, the series that kicks of Phase Four of the MCU.

What Is Wandavision?

Honestly I cannot say what it is, yet. I believe the mystery is part of the premise of the show. We don’t know why Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) and Vision are appearing in various eras of television. This takes place after the events of End Game so we know that Vision, in theory, is dead and the Mind Stone has been destroyed. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger that suggests someone is orchestrating and observing.

Since Vision is dead we have to assume Scarlet Witch is the target. Perhaps Vision has a piece of information and “they” want to know if he told Wanda. Therefore “they” are putting her through these scenarios to try to extrapolate that piece of information. The end of the second episode gives it a very “Truman Show” kind of vibe.

Classic Sitcom Nostalgia

After the first episode I felt very confused. In fact I had to go watch the trailers and even read a brief synopsis of the premise to begin to understand what is happening. After the second episode it has fully peaked my curiosity. I’ll admit that I’m not going to be flipping on the latest episode as quickly as I was watching The Mandalorian. I’m just intrigued enough, however, that I’ll be watching to see what happens next.

I’m also feeling a little nostalgic because the episodes are using familiar popular sitcoms that I grew up watching. Granted the shows were in syndication because most of them first aired long before I was born. For example (minor spoiler) the first episode takes place in the setting of the Dick Van Dyke Show. While this show was made in the 60’s (which is about 20 years before I was born) I still caught the re-runs growing up. Apparently this will happen often throughout the series, so that’s kind of neat.

My suggestion is that you should check it out. I suspect if you don’t follow along at the beginning you might miss subtle references in future movies. In my experience, those subtle references often create a more immersive viewing experience. For example, there is a character that appears in the second episode who will be in the second Captain Marvel movie. If you want to know who, select or click the following text: Monica Rambeau.

/cheers


When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it’s a point of pride in a weird way.” – J.J. Abrams