Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Legacy Lives On, Despite the Curse

Just finished reading the latest edition of the fandom than will not die, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

To start off you have to understand this is NOT a Harry Potter novel.  This is a special edition of the script for the play that is currently running over in the UK.  While Rowling had a hand in creating the story, the official playwright is Jack Thorne.

The play picks up right where the books and movies left us off, with Harry sending his son off to Hogwarts for the first time. Right away things take a noticeably different turn than what one would have expected and then goes to some places that seem out of place for the stories that led to this point. I had heard that it read more like fan fiction than Rowling's style, and I do have to agree with that conclusion.

There was a noticeable amount of finding ways to include a great deal of characters and scenes that seemed to be there because it is stuff the fans would want to see.  While the story itself is not bad all-in-all, there are some aspects that feel forced and a lot that seems to be in there just to give the fans their fangasms. A lot of it felt rushed (going through three years in just a hand full of scenes), especially in the beginning, leaving a feeling of plot holes being left and ideas that should have been resolved earlier in the timeline if one uses basic logic. If a family takes over three years to get around to dealing with problems like these, then that is one unhealthy family.

My curious nature, having done stage work and enjoying stage plays, left me really wanting to see the show mostly to see how they pull off all the needed effects on stage.  You name a spell seen in the books and movies, it is most likely here. There is a fight scene where with everything in the room flying around.  We have magic blasts flying every which way.  We have the Patronus spell being used.  We have Dementors flying about, doing their soul sucking.  Poly Juice Potion being used.  Ghosts and underwater scenes and just so much.  I am actually more interested in learning the stage of it all than anything else at this point.

It was very clearly a project done for the fans. The die hard Harry Potter fans are most likely going to love it just because it is the official continuation of the story, but it is not going to draw new fan in nor does it give anything to pull in anyone who didn't like Harry Potter to begin with. I found it enjoyable enough, but it was nothing special and could have been much better.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

My Theories From The Force Awakens

So by now the whole of mankind should have gotten out and seen Star Wars The Force Awakens.  Seriously by this point there is no excuse at all to justify not having seen it.  If you have been stranded on a deserted island for the last year, then you better get your act together and get caught up with society. I'll let you take a break for a few hours and watch it before you continue reading...

Ok, so now everyone reading this has seen The Force Awakens.

One big thing a lot of people don't seem to understand is that this was planned as the first part of a new trilogy.  That means they can plan out the story in a way that they do not need to give us all the answers right away. I actually like it that way, even though I have heard some complaints about how much was left unexplained. I'm a patient person for the most part and I can handle my story be stretched out. Of course if we hit episode 9 and there are still the same unanswered questions, then we have a real problem.

The big question is 'Who is Rey?'

I personally believe she is Luke's daughter.  I am going to put in here that I fully believe her mother is Mara Jade. Since they are already reintroducing Thrawn to the new canon there is no excuse why Mara Jade can't be in there as well.

Now to go into why I believe this and how I see the story going.

We know Rey is strong with the Force and the Skywalker lightsaber responds to her.  The Star Wars saga is so far the story of the Skywalker family and Rey is clearly the main focus of this trilogy.

Now here is my back story.

When Rey was born, Luke knew to keep her hidden, as there would be a great deal of folk out there who would go after her to get to him.  So he kept her hidden from the public eye.  My money is on only a few knowing her to be his daughter.  She did start Jedi training when she was a child and was most likely highly gifted.

When Ben Solo betrayed the Jedi and became Kylo Ren, Luke did some Jedi mind stuff on her to hide who she was and bury her Jedi skills, unless needed.  Then he had someone take her into hiding, telling her that someday her family will come back for her.

I am guessing things did not go as planned. Luke for whatever reasons was unable to retrieve her. There are many logical reasons as to why that could have happened.

Then Luke went into hiding, leaving R2 behind, one of the few beings in the galaxy that knew the whole story and had known Rey. R2 was to shut down until the time was right to find Luke.

So here is all I have seen to back this up.

Rey clearly had some impressive fighting skills from the get go.  Someone had to have trained her for that. When she gets a hold of a lightsaber she already seems to know how to use it.

The only times she displays Force skills is after another Force user attacks her through the Force. This really makes it look liker her Force powers at this point are a defensive action.  She seems highly surprised by these abilities, yet we know that level of skill has to be taught.

The timing as to when R2 becomes active again is when Rey is near him for the first time.  That really is the only noticeable new factor at the time he reactivates.  He could have been programmed to sense when Rey was near and get her to her father. This fits with the timing of it all.

I would bet Leia knows who Rey is.  She would be one person Luke would trust fully. It would also explain why Leia went to Rey after Han's death.  She was comforting her niece, her family (still wouldn't justify her not comforting Chewie, but that was just a poor directing choice).  But it would not have been her place to reveal anything to Rey.  She would know to leave that to Luke.

And Luke is clearly at a lost for words when he sees Rey.  What do you say to your daughter that you put into hiding years ago and for whatever reasons did not go back for?

So that is how I would be writing the story if it were up to me.  There would still be a few coincidences left in there for the story to play out that way, but that seems to be the way the Star Wars universe works.  You have to accept a lot of that and write it off as the way of the Force.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pokemon Go... Where?

I am going to start off this post by putting a simple fact out there that will give everyone a point of reference for where the ideas of this post is coming from.

 I am not a Pokemon fan on any level.

I remember when it first came out I received some promotional video in the mail for some reason telling me all about it. I was extremely under impressed by what I saw. I could not envision this being anything more than a total bomb of a concept. I mean taking the whole concept of cock fighting and  making it appealing to kids... If the kids even got into it, I foresaw some major protesting over the concept itself. The toys looked lame and I found the cartoon to be one of the most boring things to watch and the first movie was just poorly thought out on so many levels, and the video game just felt pointless.

So somehow it has been around nearly 20 years now and my basic opinions of it all has not changed.  I truly do not for one moment understand the overall appeal of Pokemon.

So last week Pokemon Go hits the world and everywhere you turn you're hearing about. People are getting outside and being active and a sense of community is forming over this new game to a franchise I have had no real interest in. I admit I was curious.

My girlfriend was also curious it turns out and she downloaded the game just a few days ago to check it out herself.  She came over last night and the two of us spent some time yesterday evening roaming around my neighborhood hunting Pokemon.  As a natural gamer, I quickly found myself getting into the mechanics of the game.

Today my boys got back from an out of state camping trip. Both of them had downloaded the game, but had not had much time to play it. I promised them that we would get out and do some Pokemon hunting this evening.

We ended up at a local park that had a lot of Pokestops. We roamed the park, along with at least two hundred others, catching Pokemon. The park was noticeably crowded, with a lot of people who were clearly having fun and being social. We ran into friends and had polite, friendly exchanges with strangers as well as enjoyed walking around as a family.

So my whole experience with this game has been highly positive on every level.

On Facebook I keep seeing memes mocking those who play Pokemon Go for some reason. There seems to be an attitude that "I'm not into this game and don't want to play it, so all those who are playing it should be made fun of." Where does that come from? I am not a Pokemon fan, yet I have never put down those who enjoy the franchise for their enjoyment of it.  And even before I played the game, I had already seen the evidence of all the beneficial aspects that the game was promoting.  Even if I had not gotten into playing the game, there was no denying the positive influence the game is having on many levels. This is clearly the kind of thing we as a society should be promoting. Yet somehow we still get stuck with individuals who have to take that extra step to be difficult for no good reason. If you're not into such a game, then don't play it. There is no need to put others down for enjoying it when it actually is doing no harm, while doing a lot of good.

While I am still not a fan of a franchise as a whole, I will say that I have been enjoying Pokemon Go.  I do plan to play it as I can. My money is on us seeing dozens of the socially interacting games like it coming out over the next year and that there will be a evolution of this style of game taking over, making us more active with each other. I do recommend everyone at least give it a try and see if its their thing or not. If it doesn't draw you in, it was free and uses the phone you already have, so it is not going to cost you anything but some time to find out.  And if you do get interested in it, then there's a good chance you'll get more exercise and meet some neighbors.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ghostbusters Reboot Has "Ruined My Childhood"?

It seems that Sci-Fi fans are often the most troubled people on the planet.  The Red Wedding from Game of Thrones destroyed their lives. We had the creators of South Park claim that Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull left them feeling 'raped'. And now without the movie even having made it to theaters, the new Ghostbusters reboot has already gone and in some incredible twist of time travel, ruined people's childhood. Now that is a truly powerful movie.

So far for the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, due to hit theater in the near future, all we have had is a couple of trailers. Yet even before that, just because it was announced that the reboot would feature an all female team, the 'fans' came out in mass numbers to claim how awful it was going to be and  started the clams that their childhoods were ruined.

WTF is wrong with these people? Are we such a messed up misogynist society? Oh no, we can't have women entertain us...

And this was all started without any knowledge of story or even having seen one piece of actual film. After the trailers finally showed up the BS just seemed to keep pouring in. I watched a review of the trailers that seemed to ya 'I ain't about to give this movie a chance because it isn't the same cast as the classics.

Once more, WTF is wrong with these people?

Nothing in the trailers has turned me off from the reboot. In fact it looks like they might have made a few improvements on the origins of the team, as the original movie was a little awkward in that area.

But how does the idea that you are going to dislike a movie that has not been released yet, ruin your childhood? Even if it sucks, there has so be something seriously wrong with you if that somehow destroy the joy you had as a child over the original movie. The Star Wars prequels and the mistakes made in the Special Editions did not ruin my enjoyment of the classic trilogy or have any effect what-so-ever regarding my childhood. I actually felt the creators of South Park were over reacting to Indy 4 in a truly offensive way.  Was it as good as the original? No. It has its flaws and weaknesses, but I personally find it more enjoyable  than The Temple of Doom, which was filled with flaws add poorly thought out concepts. Never would I use the word 'raped' to describe my disappointment with such films.

Chances are the Ghostbusters reboot will not be ass good as the original, but that does not mean it will be a bad movie. Ghostbusters is one of those truly unique films experiences that can never be recaptured. We need to stop trying to get that same feeling we had the first time we saw the film, a that is just not going to happen. Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark are the same type of film, and none of the equals will ever live up to the originals.  Empire may be the better movie, but the impact of seeing it was not the same as the original Star Wars.

It is also clear that we as a society need to grow up. I find it hard to believe that there is such a over powering misogynist prevalent in our culture after all this time, but it is there and it is an insult to the rest of us.  A-holes need to stop claiming their childhood is ruined just because they are unable to deal with reality.

It is also a commentary on just how caught up in fictional universes people get. Having an emotional reaction to a death in a move of TV show is good.  Claimed your life is ruined because you don't like the way a story goes or a remake has made changes you dislike, well that seems to suggest a more serious problem. While I love entertainment, I am able to separate reality from fiction and not let my feeling about fiction mess with my real life.

And I will finish by saying some people are just assholes and want to make big deals about everything for attention. They are best left alone and ignored.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Collecting For Value vs. Just Getting Cool Pieces

Recently, due to life events, I had to look at my various collections and estimate a value to them.  I have never been one to collect as an investment and rarely worry about the actual value of the pieces in my collections. Due to that mentality, I have large collections that do not have much financial value to them. They look impressive and massive, but I would have hard time making in real money off of selling them.

With-in that I have a handful of valuable pieces, but nothing outrageous or life changing in value. If I had any of those pieces, I would have a hard time justifying keeping it in my collection. Yet I know people who are first and foremost concerned with the value of the collection. I have had people look at my collection and instantly assume it is valuable and are often surprised when I tell them that is not a priority for me.

I would rather have interesting pieces with some story behind them than just valuable pieces.

One of my favorite interesting pieces to show people is my vintage inappropriate C-3PO card.


It is a mystery as to how this card got approved for production, but it did. No one knows just what was going on, but it looks like part of the costume was falling out of place when the picture was taken. Once it was realized that the picture was a little suggestive, an airbrushed version was released. However, this is a case where the less rare, original version is actually in higher demand than the rarer airbrushed version.

I have both in my collection.

I won them in an auction about 18 years ago, for less than $20 for the set of two.  When I was trying to value some of my pieces I went on-line to see what they were going for now and saw them on ebay for minimum of $30 each, with some auctions asking for $100 or more for the inappropriate version. So this is one case where I picked up a piece because I thought it interesting, and it ended up becoming more valuable. I blame the increase in value to the internet, as it was not too commonly known outside of diehard collectors until the internet came along and allowed for knowledge of the card to spread.

But for every inappropriate C-3PO level collectable I have in  my collection, I have a good hundred or so pieces that are so not in demand that I would have a hard time giving them away, many of which are interesting to me even if no one else desires them.

One of my biggest value loses would be the Star Wars Franklin Mint Chess Set.

Each piece was $20, so I will let you figure out the end all cost to complete.  You got two pieces every other month until you completed it, if you stayed with it that long. Complete sets are not that common really, but there is no real demand for the set. It is not close to being worth what I paid for it, but it is still a nice looking piece to have on display.

When you collect for the enjoyment of collecting, it becomes very hit and miss in the value of the pieces, but that has never been my concern.  I would rather have an interesting collection above a valuable one. If the pieces end up being valuable, cool, but no big deal as I don't really have any desire to sell off any of my collections.

In the end I can honestly say I have enjoyed acquiring the pieces in my collections and that to me is what the heart of collecting should be about.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Geeking Out The House

With all that has been happening in my life, I decided to go and really geek out my house. It has been a fun process of going through my stuff and getting it out on display.

Here we have my Star Wars wall

 And this is my Marvel Comics wall.
More is already getting added to it

Here is the start of my Dr. Who wall. 
Already plan to add more to this one

This is the bookcase I have put in my living room.
Filled with all manner of my geeky collectables.

I am finding it highly relaxing to walk trough my house and see my geeky interests reflected everywhere. My boys have also been enjoying all the redecorating. I have been making sure to include them in some of the decision making in this.

I am going to finish up this post by promoting The Fifth Di... You can find my story 'This Crime Immortality' in their March 2016 issue.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Now That is How You End a Series

Last night we saw the end of a great, short lived cartoon show, Gravity Falls. In just two season we were given a great, complete story of two twins spending an incredible summer with their great uncle.

Producers need to take note of how and why Gravity Falls ended. The show's creator ended the show because he told his complete story and was not about to mess things up by keeping the show going after the story is told. While that meant we only got two seasons of this remarkable show, it also means we got a full story and we get to end the show with a proper ending that was clearly how it was always to end.

The final episode had it all. You see real growth in all these characters, even minor ones. All the stories came together, giving us a feel that every episode mattered.

And we really did care about what happened to all the characters.

If you are not familiar with the show, then I recommend you get out and binge watch it. Only two seasons and a batch of shorts, so it is any easy one to get caught up in.