once more… with feeling.

Okay, now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to digest it, I’ve found myself on a high-horse about this Rise of Skywalker movie. So here are some brief points I’d like to sputter out:

1. Stupid name. Even if Rey was a skywalker, which it turns out that she isn’t, this makes no sense as a name as far as the story goes.
2. lightspeed hopping. Oh, come on now… purely dumb. As has been stated very clearly, when traveling through hyperspace, you need to stay away from objects, you also usually seem to need to be a bit out of the way before jumping. Hopping back and forth from planet surfaces seems like something that would end in instant death, plus, you couldn’t really program that jump in…… This ridiculous hopping was totally unneeded, awkward, and dumb.
3. Snoke/Palaptine. Palatine is dead… Face it. Snoke was a fine replacement, in fact, better than Palaptine was in the first place. Trying to now angle snoke out of the way and replace him with tired dumb old paplatine is a terrible idea.
4. Oh my god! The attack against the sith fleet! There’s hardly anyone who will help the resistance, then suddenly a zillion ships appear out of flipping nowhere! In one of the hokiest looking scenes I’ve seen in a star wars movie…
5. Um. It makes no sensse that the star destroyers can’t fly Up without a navigational beacon… They’re fucking spaceships. Now they cant find space when they’re floating in the atmosphere?
6. Rey’s parents. I never believed Ren when he said that rey’s parents were nobodies, obviously that wouldn’t make much sense. But the solution was even dumber than it would have been if they were nobodies.
7. Most of all… Where the hell is Rose? She was the best character in Last Jedi. And she was propelled into a key role, and then plopped in the background of Rise of Skywalker like a cardboard cutout in the distance… Was she too good? She was humble, always hopeful, strong, honest, did the right thing like 100% of the time, regardless of risk, self-sacrificing… Exactly how a resistance fighter should be. Lame, so lame, that she was dropped out in the next movie. While that annoying Poe guy still gets to stick around and be all jerky all the time.

Here’s my new order of the series:
1. Solo
2. Rogue One
3. Star Wars
4. Empire Strikes Back
5. Force Awakens
6. Last Jedi.

Six, that should be enough for me…

But what about those 5 other movies that bear the name?

1. Return of the Jedi, a hokey and silly piece of junk that Lucas made to get back at those sneaky dudes for making a great and serious film (empire) while he was busy in California
2. whatever that “episode one” is called: revisionist history* BS
3. the next one: revisionist history bs,
4. the third one: revisionist history BS
5. Rise of Skywalker: revisionist history BS.

Stop with the revisionist history. Star Wars, Empire, Last Jedi are the best versions of the story! Stop trying to unmake them with garbage followups…

On the other hand… It’s all done now, so I can have my movies and just stop worrying about the rest.

* revisionist history (what the more generous people call Retcon), retroactively re-framing something that already happened and undermining the experiences of those which came before you, with an intent to mislead or control the debate.

no, it’s a module…

Having a conversation with a co-worker yesterday, of a similar vintage as myself, I realized that we both shared the same approximate Dungeons and Dragons time, about 1981-1987. he mentioned that he had usually DM’d and they that had bought, and gone through, most of the modules.

Unfortunately, as most of my time gaming in the 80’s was solo, I didn’t use the modules much (its hard to DM and play at the same time…), but I always liked them and bought them when they stood out. As I have been finding fun in my personal AD&D 1Ed resurgence I’m been having the last year, I’ve thought about modules, and thought about the ones I never got, but would now like to have. Not that I’m only looking at AD&D modules here, and no offshoots, not even Dragonlance

I still have all of mine, so I thought I’d take a stroll down Module lane to see what I’d like to consider. Just for kicks, they’re order by year first and then catalog number… And note that I have highlighted the ones that I have… Which is 20 published between 1978-1983 and one published after 1983.

Continue reading no, it’s a module…

Star Wars, the real deal (as per a close-minded old purist).

So I am an unrepentant know-it-all purist when it comes to Star Wars. I hear people criticize things that they should not criticize, and accept things that they shouldn’t accept and it’s got to the point where I can’t listen to anyone say anything about the franchise anymore as I haven’t found anyone who views it just like I do.

Like everything else, to each their own… If you love attack of the clones, good for you. But they aren’t part of my Star Wars universe. I’m sure that if you got rid of hayden christenson and jarjar, those movies would be a fine scifi adventure, but as far as Star Wars goes, they are, at best, an alternate history. An alternate history that is so alternate that it derails the whole story… And is a kinda boring one… And one that doesn’t make any sense when seen in the same space as the Star Wars movies.

So how is it that I view it? Well, let me tell you.

The only part of Star Wars that is truly canon is, ahem, Star Wars (the movie). And, for the most part, the thoughts and writings that Lucas did regarding the story prior to the release of the film can count as well. Anything that contradicts Star Wars (the movie) or changes the story is a lurid poison upon the world. Empire Strikes Back is basically canon as well, except for one thing where it seriously counters Star Wars… Darth being Luke’s father. I can ignore that moment in the movie where he says that (as, aside from that, the movie is great) but it still doesn’t sit well.

Recall in Star Wars where Obi Wan says “A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father.” He wasn’t being tricky and saying “well, anakin’s conversion to Darth kinda was the end of anakin, so you could say that he killed who he had been by becoming who he was now.”. But that isn’t what Obi-Wan meant when he said it in Star Wars. He was being literal… anakin and Darth were separate characters and the merging of them is a key key key key failing that led to oh so many disasters afterwards.

So aside from that blip, which you can kinda ignore as it only rears its head again in Return of the Jedi (which is basically so bad that I can’t watch it anyway), Star Wars and Empire can kinda both be considered “true” Canon and, as such, are untouchable and unchangeable.

But the biggest problem of all is that the movies and the original stories were made quite clearly as “From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker (or Starkiller)” but then 20 years later Lucas decided to do major revisionist history and rebrand the Star Wars saga as “the tragedy of Darth Vader”… Then he had the gall to try and pretend that was his intention all along (which it wasn’t).

So the three issues I have with Star Wars (the franchise), are:
1. Star Wars (the movie and the series) is the story of Luke Skywalker, not of anakin or Darth.
2. Darth Vader is not anakin (though I can ignore that in my watching as it doesn’t really come up)
3. Star Wars (the movie) is the beginning of the story, not the fourth episode.

Anything at all, anything… that contradicts those is hurtful and is utter garbage in my book. So the so-called prequels don’t even exist. Mayhaps they take place in some other part of the empire with some other person who happens to be named Anakin Skywalker. With trillions of humans, there are certainly more than one with that name… But I don’t care, as they’re not part of the Star Wars story.

So this explains why the prequels are the three biggest piles of poo in the universe, because some jackass decided to completely redirect, derail, and even lie about, the story that was, bar none, the most important facet of my childhood from the ages of 9-13 (and then snub his nose at the old fans basically saying that he didn’t care what they thought, even though they’re the ones who made the series the success that it was… Even thumbing his nose at the National Film Registry).

But how does this explain my love for everything of the Disney Star Wars movies? Because, almost without exception (key exception being that painful episode numbering), they completely ignore the fake anakin story and return the focus to Luke, aka, the actual story. Plus, they go out of their way to connect to the real Star Wars story (heck, Abrams even brought Starkiller back! Going even more OG than Star Wars itself!). Why do I love the terminally unpopular Solo? Because Solo is really fun and is an unabashed reference to Star Wars (the movie). Everything about Han from Star Wars is explained in Solo, thus giving great attention to the real story and continuing to completely ignore the sins and lies lucas made between 1978 and 2005 (all of which must be condemned: “a new hope” “episode IV, V, and VI numbering”, “prequels”, darth as anakin, the special editions, those shit movies made between 1999 and 2005).

For my fan book, you need to ignore all of that (or better yet, condemn it) and instead honor the eight movies that we have that tell the correct and intended story (assuming that you can stand to sit though return of the Jedi, which I can’t):

Aside: Solo
Prequel: Rogue One
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes back
Return of the Jedi
Force Awakens
The Last Jedi

p.s. if you care about any of this at all, please read The Secret History of Star Wars…

p.p.s. Okay, I went and saw it. My review is 50/50. As Force Awakens was like a redo of Star Wars, Rise of Skywalker feels like a redo of The Return of the Jedi. However, not as bad, so… However, it’s another good chance to keep my my old movie blog going…

pulling out every one of my teeth, or at least 32 of them…

Ah yes, Table (III.E.) Special.

I am a huge huge fan of the Dungeon Masters Guide (1979 edition). I got my copy in, I suppose, 1981, and I am convinced that it is one of the great works of imagination out there. Not just the best RPG book (which it is), but just a great creation in general. The scope of it is vast, the rules are deep and strange… It’s an amazing, breathtaking piece of work. I loved it as a teenager and to this day, even through over 30 years of not playing any RPG’s, I find it to be irresistible to page through and reread. I just fricking love it. If anyone ever says “Oh, ad&d 2nd ed, or D&D (any edition from OD&D up to 5e) is better than AD&D 1e!” I know that they’re wrong. Sure the game might be better, but the existence of the original DMG all by itself makes up for any shortcomings of the game. I love it. I’m not going to wax on here about GG, who is the sole credited author, because we all know that he didn’t come up with all of it on his own… So I’ll just stick to the book itself.

Of all the wonderment I get out of its 230ish pages though, the part that stands out the most, my all time favorite bit… favorite to read and favorite to ponder, is the “Treasure (Random Determination)” section on Artifacts and Relics (that would be the already mention Table (III.E. Special) on page 124, and the descriptions of the items themselves (pages 155-164).
Continue reading pulling out every one of my teeth, or at least 32 of them…

… and i’ll take the low road.

So as I may have mentioned earlier, I started a AD&D campaign. 1st Edition, as that’s what I played back in the day and what I prefer. Okay, I actually started it as a Basic D&D (because of the kids) but rapidly converted it to AD&D as soon as we started. Well,, started is a bit of a misnomer, as it implies that it’s something that is actually going on. In truth, we only played once. My wife (who had never before done an RPG) liked it, but the kids were not so into it so it kind of stopped mid-adventure and never started again… since we don’t have anyone to play it with.

Anyway, I digress. In the months since our adventure faltered, my number one hobby has become fleshing out my campaign environment. I’ve written some 30,000+ words of: religion, history, demographics, rule clarification, npc’s, etc etc. And, as everything becomes fleshed out, I realize that I’ve created a realm that is very low magic. Well, that’s what I’d call it anyway.
Continue reading … and i’ll take the low road.

some things just never make sense…

As someone who has been using the command line (okay, on and off) since before DOS, and who started using email more than 25 years ago (long before webmail), and who has used Pine, and Eudora, and squirrelmail as their primary email client at some point or another, I would think that I could wrap my head around this… But I just can’t.

Squirrelmail seems to be disappearing, which is what I’ve used for email for years. Bluehost is throwing up Horde and Roundcube as alternates and so I’ve tried both, but don’t like either of them.

Looking at Horde today reminds me of something that I think of every time I see it. Something that really bothers me and makes the program basically unusable.

In Squirrlemail, and in common sense as far as I am concerned, when you go into your inbox the newest message is right there at the top and, as you go down the list, the messages get older, hopping onto other pages the further back you go. So if you have 102 emails in your inbox, and you are set to view 50 messages per page, the first page will show you the fifty most recent, going newest down. With 50 more messages on page two and then the last two, oldest, messages on page three.
Continue reading some things just never make sense…

Whither the tomes…

Well, my AD&D thing has now become a bit of a fixation. In the time spent online, both putting together my campaign environment and also just catching up on what’s been written out there, I have learned that there are a lot of resources that I find intriguing.

I have gained a good number of downloaded PDF’s as resources, both freebies from Drivethrurpg, and lulu and elsewhere, but also some purchased (from the same sources). But, as an oldster, I still fixate on printed media.

As I am really working to stop feeding the Amazon monster, I’m trying to figure out the best places to acquire actual printed books.

I’ve heard some people question DrivethruRPG.com, but not enough info to take them off my list. But I have actually placed two orders… One for a Hardbound book from Lulu.com “Petty Gods: Revised and Expanded Edition”, so I’ll be curious to see what it’s like when it arrives. Lulu tells a good story about their support of authors, so if the book looks good, then that may be a good source.
Continue reading Whither the tomes…

sciffle…

This was going to be a post for my old Movie blog but, let’s face it, I’m never going to have that up and running again so I may as well post it here…

A couple of months back I went to a movie gathering and it got me to thinking about movies in a more social sense again, so I wanted to do a little blurb about Science Fiction movies… Specifically, my Top 20ish Science Fiction films.

What is science fiction? Technically, it is a sub-category of speculative fiction that deals with characters in an environment that is affected by advances in science or technology, natural laws… Advances that, generally, are realistic or at least plausible. There are nice ideas of science fiction being used to explore ideas, of philosophy, of human nature, etc. But, while those are nice, they are not requirements.

In terms of what someone else has to say. While I tend to disagree with much of what she wrote in this post, I do this that Jo Walton hit the nail on the head when she said:
Continue reading sciffle…

Winter has come… And gone. Phew!

Okay, so I blew it on most all counts… Sansa did end up Queen in the North, but all my other ponderings failed. Though I found it surprising that Yara fell back into the seven/six kingdoms… Especially after Sansa got away with saying that she wasn’t going to.

I was also hoping that GRRM had completed the next book and had planned a secret release for it on Monday but, alas, that’s not the case either. Anyway, finally, the show is over. I’m fine with it, generally. A couple of comments though…

1. The whole bit with Tyrion straightening the chairs and the make-up of the small council and that ridiculous bit about the Song of Ice and Fire… That was all just plain dumb and unneeded. That said, as Ser Davos is one of my two favorite characters of the series (and books) I was glad to see him end up still living and prosperous.
Continue reading Winter has come… And gone. Phew!

Beyond the Bells, the future of the Seven Kingdoms…

After the disaster of The Bells, I think I have finally realized what resolutions are ahead for Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms…

Dragonstone: Daenerys and Drogon fly on to Dragonstone. She goes in and never comes out, spending decades descending into a badly stereotypical Crazy Cat Lady until, in her 80’s, she is eaten by Drogon.

King’s Landing: Jon Snow remains as The Hermit King, wandering the streets awash in his guilt, and making delicious home cooked meals for any travelers who dare to enter the ruins, and who are patient enough to listen to his endless stories…

The North: Ruled by Sansa, The Queen in the North
Continue reading Beyond the Bells, the future of the Seven Kingdoms…

Up from the basement and out the door…