Mar 142019
 

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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

Mar 112019
 

Some folks may have noticed I’m not posting that much on Facebook and Twitter. I’m not sick. I’m not in protest. I’m taking a break from all social media. I thought about saying something in a tweet or a wall post but then that would be using social media. Therefore, to avoid the dilemma, a brief blog post would suffice since WordPress auto-posts to Twitter and Facebook. In fact anything you see on either of my feeds will be generated posts.

I’m not gone permanently; at least I don’t think I am. In my 2019 intentions post I mentioned I would be trying to use social media less because it causes too much stress. Facebook and Twitter are toxic and I hope to feel more relieved by late April that it’s no longer something I feel compelled to check. I seek nobody’s approval and that’s all social media is. Everyone behaves like children seeking attention and approval by behaving badly.

In the meantime I can get my news the old-fashioned way. Google. I’ll see you all in a few weeks. Until then you can email me, text me, or (heaven forbid) call me.

/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

Mar 112019
 

Several new stories keep popping up on social media that Disney (or J.J.) are calling in George Lucas to “fix Luke”. Apparently Luke’s character evolution did not appeal to many people. This isn’t just some other thing the manbabies cried about on social media; some of my friends have made similar comments. Luke’s behavior is exactly what I was expecting so I’m not sure what needs to be “fixed”. You’ve heard the idiom “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”; well I believe Luke isn’t broken in The Last Jedi.

The Trailer and TFA Made It Very Clear

When the trailer came out, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one watching it multiple times. However, I must have been watching a different trailer than other folks. There is plenty in the trailer (and The Force Awakens) to suggest that Luke is despondent. Luke, being the first of a new line of Jedi, would feel obligated to begin training new Jedi. His hubris would be his downfall when he fails with his own nephew. Yoda and Obi-Wan also went into exile when they failed the Jedi Order, Ahsoka did it when she left the Jedi Order. Luke doesn’t need to be fixed, he’s reacting as any human being would react; he’s reacting as even the most powerful Jedi reacted.

Look, I get it. I wanted to see Luke pick up a lightsaber and mow down some First Order and watch Kylo Ren soil his emo pants. However, that wouldn’t make any sense based on the events of The Force Awakens. It’s also against Luke’s character to be this Jedi harbinger of death. It would also make him like his father, whom he doesn’t want to be. So much so that when he was tempted to destroy Ben Solo, he exiled himself instead. His attempted murder is the catalyst for Ben Solo to become Kylo Ren. We all wanted to “fan girl” around Luke as he wields the Force with indestructible tenacity, but it would be completely incongruent with the story. The point is making a movie like Star Wars isn’t about pandering to the fans, it’s about telling a story.

Disney’s Perpetrating False Rumors

My other theory is that Disney is using this “power of influence” grip social media has on the world and intentionally stirring the pot. People are so gullible they will believe anything they read on Twitter and Facebook. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there are people employed that knew just the right words to use to incite rumors and speculation. The point isn’t to reveal anything about the movie, just simply to garner attention and discussion.

If you think I’m stretching then let me provide some examples of conflicting reports. Around the 17th of February a story came out where Abrams stated any of the “complaints” [alleged] fans had with The Last Jedi won’t affect Episode IX.  Less than 10 days later the reports of George Lucas coming in to “fix Luke” started surfacing. Upon further observation of these two stories I noticed something interesting. The former is from a reputable source (aka. Screen Rant) while all the stories related to the latter are rumors concocted by bloggers, vloggers and theorycrafters. Which leads me to believe they are just wishful thinkers and bellyaching “fans”.

In all honesty, I trust Kathleen Kennedy and the folks at Lucasfilm. I’m open-minded when it comes to these movies, unlike all of those fair-weather fans. I love all of the sequel trilogy movies and if they allegedly “fix” Luke, then that’s cool by me. As long as the story still makes sense (and they don’t kill the droids).

/MTFBWY

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

Mar 042019
 

Leia: Princess of Alderaan (Star Wars)Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
My rating:

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book to read it. After the passing of Carrie Fisher, I felt like reading this book became an obligation. In fact I had a bit of a lump in my throat when I began reading it.

The 16-year-old Princess of Alderaan is ready to make her claim for the throne. It’s her Day of Demand and she must declare her three challenges if she wants to become queen. As she embarks on the quest to fulfill these challenges and joins the Apprentice Legislature in the Senate, her world suddenly changes. She stumbles on to a plot against the Empire and Emperor Palpatine and her parents are at the center of it. Can she continue a facade of innocence to protect herself, her parents, and her people?

Biggs’ Review

I really enjoyed this book, much more than I was expecting. The events in this book occur 2-3 years prior to the beginning of A New Hope. I enjoy Claudia Gray’s writing style and story telling. It kept me engaged with every page and the story is very compelling.

I really love how she ties in Rogue One and The Last Jedi movies. There are references to Saw Gerrera’s actions and how it impacts the Rebellion’s attempt to remain clandestine. There is even a small cameo from The Phantom Menace. One of my favorite character mentions is Amilyn Holdo. In The Last Jedi we meet Holdo for the first time as she assumes command of the Raddus while Leia is unconscious. She commands authority and definitely has some history with Leia.

Finally, the presence of the Force is subtle and sublime. I don’t know if that was the author’s intention but I love how it enigmatically influences Leia’s actions. Some times even Leia seems unaware that her strong connection with the Force is driving her actions.

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 232019
 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Directed By: Dean DeBlois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Kit Harrington

My Rating:

If you have kids then you know that when they are young and they latch onto something, you’ll groan at the mention of its very name. If it weren’t for my daughter I probably never wouldn’t have watched any of the How to Train Your Dragon movies. When she latched on to these movies, I actually didn’t mind. The depth of the world is immersive and suddenly you find yourself talking about the lore and characters. Despite watching all the different series, several times at her request, I actually became a fan. So much so that I, too, wanted to see this movie.

A new threat has emerged, Grimmel the Grisly. He isn’t just after the dragons, he specifically hunts Nightfurys and he’s after the last of them. He has threatened all of Berk to get his hands on Toothless and, as the new chief, Hiccup must protect them. Finding the dragon’s hidden world is their only hope to survive Grimmel’s fixation. 

Biggs Review

It’s a great conclusion to an epic series. It has some heartfelt moments and it wraps everything up neatly. One of the things I noticed is the “camera work”. I realize that’s a bit of an abstract observation since animated films can’t really have “camera angles” like a live action film. However, they seemed to try to create the illusion of live camera angles, even shaking the camera a bit in a couple of scenes. John Powell (also known for composing the sound track for Solo) continues his amazing work on the soundtrack; I never realized how much I enjoy the soundtrack. 

This is one of those series where you hate to see it end but you knew it has to at some point. If you enjoy the other movies, and the series, then I think you need to see how it all wraps up. The story and character progression makes sense as well as the ending. Also, if you haven’t watched any of the series, you need to check them out.

film_reel“The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.” 
– Stanley Kubrick

 

Feb 192019
 

I recently returned to Disney World to take my 4-year-old daughter on her first visit. In 1994 I was 14 and that was the last time I went to Disney World, I had gone at least twice more prior to that. While my memory isn’t that great, I do recollect bits and pieces from each of my previous visits. So here are my adult observations of Disney World; 25 years later.

The Magic Band and Fast Pass

Magic Band

The Magic Band is brilliant. Instead of worrying about carrying your wallet, credit cards and hotel room key, you can wear them on your wrist instead. You can connect a credit card to your Magic Band and simply scan it at the register to pay for items (food, merchandise, etc). If you are staying at a Disney resort, you simply scan your Magic Band to enter your room. So you don’t really need your whole wallet, just your ID and perhaps a little bit of cash.

Plus if you set up dining plans, your Magic Band will store that information for you. Dining plans are pre-paid meals that you set up when you are planning your trip. In fact you can also schedule a reservation at the same time so you don’t have to wait an eternity when its time for lunch. It’s a fast pass for your meals.

Speaking of fast pass; a fast pass is how you can skip the long lines for the rides and shows. It’s like setting a reservation for a ride, but you have to set that up ahead of time as well. However, if you miss your window to use your fast pass, you lose it. Meaning you have to wait in the longer line if you want to go on the ride. All of your fast passes are, again, managed by your Magic Band.

While the fast pass is a great idea for planning your day and trying to get on your favorite rides, it kind of adds a new level of exhaustion. You are literally going from one ride to the next depending on the spacing of your fast pass rides. So if you think you are going to get your Fitbit steps in, you probably won’t. There isn’t much time for meandering when you are going directly from one ride to the next.

Adult Observations

When you’re a kid (even 14 years old) there are some things you don’t really notice at a place like Disney World. There are some things you don’t even think about.

It’s Offensively Expensive

When you were younger and your parents told you Disney is expensive, you probably just shrugged it off. As an adult, returning to Disney … OMGWTFBBQ its expensive. I feel like someone should have bought me dinner first before bending over for that. You are basically spending the same amount of money you would for a decent down payment on a new car. I guess its one of those things you don’t notice as a kid, the price next to each item on the menu. The merchandise is more affordable than food. It was $4.50 for a 20oz Coke Zero! Setting up meal plans and snacks on your Magic Band is your cheapest option.

Alcohol and People Watching

As I was mentally preparing for this trip, I often joked that I need to pack a flask to survive. Then I got to thinking, is there alcohol at Disney? When I was a kid (yes, even at 14 because I wasn’t interested in alcohol) I wasn’t curious about buying alcohol. The answer is, Yes. Every restaurant has beer and wine. Unfortunately I never bought a beer because it makes me tired and I was already pretty exhausted!

People watching is quite revealing too, especially when it comes to line etiquette. There were 10 of us and we were all using the same fast pass reservations. Trying to keep 10 people together in an amusement park line takes quite a bit of coordination. Despite our best efforts, we were inevitably split up by other patrons slipping in line between us. Apparently foreigners do not seem to care if your family is split apart, or they just don’t recognize the situation. I’m not trying to stereotype all foreigners however most of the time, if the intruders didn’t appear to be foreign, they would often allow those family members left in the back to move forward.

Costumed Characters MIA

The most surprising thing I observed is the lack of costumed characters. I know I don’t have the best memory but I distinctly remember seeing Disney characters in the streets quite often. It was especially common in Magic Kingdom and I swear every 10 minutes you ran into a Mickey, Donald or Goofy. The entire time we were there I think I saw a Goofy once, and it was at Hollywood Studios. There are “character encounters”, but they seem to be scheduled, which really takes the fun out of it. It’s also possible that more characters meander during the busier time of year.

The trip was still super fun, even as an adult. Of course I will need to return to Disney World after Galaxy’s Edge opens.

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!