Happy 4th Of July

As has been my tradition for years, here it is-the whole Declaration of Independence, repeated yet again to make it clear where we started from.

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Getting Back Onto Schedule

Last week was a little frustrating and confusing because I had to puppy-sit and that threw a lot of my scheduled life off in directions that I didn’t expect.

But, it gave me a chance to shake up how my life is.

The Winter Solist has been making process, not as quickly as I would like, but it’s getting done. And, discovering the joys of eye strain, the whole “wrapping a steel band around your head” annoying pain thing.

And, going to see a friend on Sunday, which will be good.

Hopefully, this week, I’ll share some of the ideas for the RTS Isekei idea, and there’s another Isekei story idea that is percolating in my brain. And it’s one of those ideas of…

…look, I love Japan. I think it’s an awesome place. But I know what the limitations of the country are and its people. Two of these big limitations? Racism and bullying. Something which this story idea is going to take head-on. With bells.

Back to the writing monkeygrinder, busy times.

I’m Not The Sharpest Pencil In The Box…

…I will admit to that. I truly may not be the sharpest of pencils. I might even quality for more of the “exotic crayon” category.

(With the caveat that I am hopefully all thirty-two colors in the “Dogs Of War” set from Cryhavocolor. Even the “Friendly Fire” Grey crayon.)

But, even this particular crayon knows that when you’re in a hole and it isn’t the hole you want, stop digging.

Case in point, the Star Wars franchise. Understand this, I have been a Star Wars fan from when the first movie came out and I was possibly pooping in my own diapers when I saw it (still learning bowel control, I was a kid). I loved the movies. I enjoyed the Original and Prequel trilogies. I had probably my best ever time at BayCon was in 2008 when I got to watch Star Wars on LaserDisk. The original theatrical cut, which you can’t find anymore if you just want to buy it. Spent the entire night watching it, with a pretty and smart girl from OSU (science major, if I recall right) who spent the entire night drinking margaritas, snuggling, and curled in my lap.

I saw Revenge of the Sith at the Brenden Theaters in Concord with another awesome lady that made me feel like a normal human being at the time, and I still have fond memories of that evening.

So, yes, I have some very damn good memories of the franchise. I remember when West End Games did the Star Wars RPG and it was just…fun. Good, honest fun that was enjoyable and they wrote it well and it played well. It was good.

And then…Disney buys the franchise. This is where the digging commences, and Disney clearly was trying to get a world’s record in seeing how quickly they could destroy the franchise.

I liked Rogue One, I thought it was as close as we’d ever get to a West End Games RPG session as a movie. Where if you weren’t a Jedi or had a kilometer of plot armor, you ran from the Sith. As fast as you could, remembering that old saying that you don’t need to outrun the lion, you just need to outrun everyone else.

I went to see The Force Awakens…and something was wrong. Han died like a punk. You don’t kill people like Han Solo like a punk in this kind of franchise, because you need to use him to properly pass the torch along to the next generation. You don’t wreck the relationship between Han and Leia, you don’t throw Luke off to an ending cameo, you don’t make everything they fought for worthless.

And, it was in that moment, that I felt the briefest twinge of that dangerous wind blowing from the East. The wind of the Mystery Box. Of deconstruction theory. That you need to kill your heroes and kill the past, because the past will hold you back. The gust front of the Millennial Fallacy, that you need to make it all end before you can start again.

And then, I saw The Last Jedi.

That the movie theater is still standing, because I didn’t burn it down to the ground to try and contain the disaster. Mostly because it was already too late. Far, far too late.

I refuse to talk about why The Last Jedi was bad. It’s like reliving the worst day of your life, over and over and over and over and over again.

I like Rian Johnson and he makes good movies. He was not the director for something like this, and it showed. Oh, GOD did it show. You could have cut a third of that movie and still had enough space and budget to fix everything. The writing was horrible. The set-pieces were terrible. And…what the crucified fuck did you do to Luke Skywalker?!?

I am sorry that Carrie Fisher died. Especially with The Last Jedi as her very last film credit. Nobody deserves that. But, if you wanted to save the franchise, there was time to reshoot the ending, bring Luke back, and give Leia a dignified ending. Save something from the disaster that was about to unfold.

But, of course, they couldn’t. Because the past has to die, and you have to kill it if you must. And, the Force is female, and Luke was an evil old man and all of those old, tired theories.

I still have not seen The Rise Of Skywalker through in a complete showing. I…just can’t. I’ve seen it in bits and pieces, but I have seen it through from one end to the other. And, if there is a story in there….I can’t find it. At all, beyond…at the end of the day, Palpatine wins. His heir has everything, even the Skywalker name.

I watched Solo and there was a movie there I might have liked…if it wasn’t a dumpster fire from end to end and to the sides and to the bottom.

And then…and then, The Mandalorian

….which was a shock because it was actually good. It was well-written. It was paced properly. It used practical effects as much as possible. I liked the cast, they were chosen well, and they were fun to watch. And, the return of Luke Skywalker at the end of the second season, how it was paced in such a way as to hide what was going on-and to frame Luke as being an even bigger badass than his father. (Seriously, watch that episode and pace it with the fight scene with Darth Vader in Rogue One. Vader may slow down, but Luke never breaks stride. Not once.)

I had hope again. That there could be good Star Wars stories.

In theory, I should have enjoyed The Book of Boba Fett…but, it was just…horrible. One of the most dangerous men in the Star Wars universe. Someone that can challenge even weak Jedi and Sith-and hold his own-got a plot that could be a horrible mash-up of Dances With Wolves and The Godfather.

Then, the cycle was complete with ObiWan. I had to watch it, because everybody around me likes it. They enjoy it. They think it’s fun. They don’t see the plot holes that are a mile wide. They don’t see how some of the biggest heroes and villains have been turned into small and crass people…because the people in charge don’t believe in heroes, not at all. Unless the “heroes” are their perfect Mary Sue characters that are never wrong, always right, and always win somehow.

And, we saw the promos for Andor. Tell me this-if you weren’t told, specifically, that this is a Star Wars series, just on the visuals alone…would you think it was? Would you think that maybe this was a SyFi original series with maybe a bigger production budget? And, isn’t that a huge insult?

Let’s not even talk about the tie-in materials and games. My blood pressure is already too high.

I should be mad right now. Truly, I should be. But, if anything, I’m just tired.

Tired of bad movies.

Tired of bad TV shows.

Tired of people that have no respect being given the keys to the kingdom…and burning the kingdom down to the ground. Because they can. Because they think it is good and proper to destroy things. Because the only way they can feel joy is to destroy what other people have made. And laugh when you get angry when they destroy things.

So, yes, I’m out. No more Star Wars for me. I’m that theoretical abused spouse that has just had enough and is walking away. Giving my divorce papers, even if I’m going to be leaving with nothing but the clothes on my back. No more.

They’ve dug the hole, it’s going to collapse on them, and I don’t care what happens to them in that hole. I cannot raise a single mote of empathy for them, not at all.

They dug this hole. They destroyed what I loved.

And now, that hole is going to be their grave.

Happy Father’s Day!

Just that. Happy Father’s Day to everyone that has been, currently is, or is working on being a father.

It’s a hard job. Lots of time, lots of work, but it’s worth it. Or so I’ve been told.

Short post today, I had to re-arrange my schedule for the week and it’s got me a bit thrown off.

Will talk more about writing soon.

So, What’s Next?

That’s the big question, isn’t it?

What’s next?

New job has been a good, busy time all around. I’m currently on my first week of full-time advertising work, and discovering the limitations of the mediums that I work in.

Not the least of which is what happens when your boss doesn’t believe in them.

Waiting on my diploma to arrive. I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony because I didn’t want to get stuck in a crowd of coughing, sick people.

I hate the idea that I might be too old for conventions. I went to FanimeCon and KublaCon this year and I was not impressed. Or happy that I put the effort in to go to them. It might also be that I haven’t been to a con in nearly two years, and I’m out of practice.

Could be both.

Writing for The Winter Solist has been progressing. Not quite as fast as I’d like, but I’m getting there. Note-taking for A Roman Solist has been continuing.

…and, going back to the gum, starting off at three days a week and working my way up.

Fingers crossed.

The Edge Of The Horizon

I’m done with school.

It feels weird to say that. I’m done with school. I finished my last exam, put in my last paper (extra credit), and barring some massive mistake that I don’t know about yet, I’ve got my degree. It’s done.

It might have taken me longer than I planned, but I’ve finished college.

Now, a little time to rest, relax…and get started with my new job, full time.

And, then, more writing. I’ve taken notes and done some editoral work on The Winter Solist, and I’ve got my notebook for A Solist In Rome to work on and write things down.

Progress will be made.

Headaches And Headaches

For the longest time, I was on stimulant medication to handle my ADHD. Then, about two years ago, my newest therapist tried out a different combination of medications (namely off-label heart medications), and I was doing a lot better for the issues that the ADHD meds were supposed to work on.

But, I had the fun of what I called the “adderal headaches” happen again, starting about a year ago.

It has to be the fact that I’ve been long-term detoxing from the medications. It’s not the fact that I’m going back to school again, and having to make the long-ass commute down to San Francisco twice a week.

Or a new job. Which I’m still learning the ropes and getting myself

Or that I’m short on writing time.

Or that I’m going to have to deal with a number of switch-overs in the next few months. Health care, primarily (and out of pocket, the new job doesn’t have enough people to interest most health care providers). Still going to be cheaper than my commute costs down to SF a few years ago.

Or that I’m trying to get back into shape and exercising again.

Or that we’re having car trouble here, at the worst possible time (Honda isn’t as bad as BMW, but when they do go bad…)

Or finally being able to do real conventions with the return of FanimeCon and KublaCon…and their crazy COVID policies.

But, I’m almost done with school, almost at full time with my job…and the job doesn’t make me want to pinch my nose and pretend that I’m actually doing something worthwhile.

It’s not exactly the progress I want, but it is progress.

It’s Been Far Too Long

I’m going to be glad when I finish with school, because I will be leaving campus at speed once I’m finished.

Look, I don’t pretend to be the most intellectual of people, but when you start pulling together gestalt theory and pointing out how The Hero With A Thousand Faces codified most of these things…and your professor doesn’t know what you’re talking about, there’s an issue. There’s a whole year’s subscription and the Swimsuit Edition in there.

…I’m going to graduate college. Finally.

I have a job again. A real job! Doesn’t have many benefits, but it pays and I can get what I need otherwise.

The writing for The Winter Solist has stalled, mostly because it’s reminding me so much of school and my day job. And, I might have to do another plot revision. It’s also why A Roman Solist is going to have a formal, no joke outline.

I might even go down to FanimeCon this year.

There will hopefully be better news, soon.

Every Time You Think You’ve Gotten Out…

…you get dragged back in again.

So, between school and my internship and running errands and chores, I’ve had very little time to write or make blog posts, or do anything other than…

Well, school, internship, and running errands and chores.

But, I have Spring break and because gas prices are so insane, I won’t be going anywhere except my internship (I could take the time off, but I need the experience) and I could get stuff done, such as my various writing projects. I’ve had to put a lot of them on the back burner because I needed to stay on top of my homework.

…then, a few weeks ago, my father broke one of the bones in his foot and it’s been healing very slowly. His doctor extended the time he has to remain in his boot and not doing any heavy work, so I’m having to do more and more of it.

But, that’s fine and we’re ahead of schedule…

…then Mom get diagnosed with diabetes. And, now we have to change everything around here-diet, sleep times, habits, and guess who gets drafted in to help…because, I’m clearly “not doing anything.”

I don’t mind helping, it’s Mom and she should have been getting out a bit more, exercising more, long before this and I can’t even use a cookie-on-a-stick to provide some small amount of motivation for her to walk around the block with Dad.

…it’s been a long three, almost four months. But, I have to admit there are some good things. I’ll be getting my degree in May, I will have options for work, I might even have some actual fun at FanimeCon this year.

…but, something is going to happen, I’m just afraid of that and the dread doesn’t help any.