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.

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.

The Melancholy Of The Long Distance Writer

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance or the energy to blog, and that’s mostly because blogging is resembling my (theoretical) day job, i.e. internship, i.e. not a bad thing to do right now in comparison to school.

School? I’m not sure if I’m just better medicated and able to handle things, or the classwork has been watered down badly, but I know that I’m doing very well with my classwork and my classes. But, the commute has been terrible and horrible and boring and dull.

My writing work has been slower, but I am making progress with The Winter Solist and the outline for A Solist In Rome.

Got to go home early today, so I’m not as exhausted with a full work and school schedule.

Fingers crossed that there will be more progress soon.

Everything Feels Like A Copy Of A Copy Of A…

I read Fight Club in ’97, if I remember right. Back when it was still edgy and cool, but before the movie and before everybody started making stupid quotes about the book and thought they were hot for being able to quote the Fight Club Rules.

(I can still remember them. Damn the author for creating something easy to remember.)

Anyways, there’s this moment where he describes insomnia and the mental state you’re in. Everything in your life, to the insomniac, seems like it’s your life. But, it’s like your life has been taken through a copier, a copy made, then the copy is put on top of the copy tray, a copy made, the copy is put on top of the copy tray, a copy made…

In short, it all starts to get blurry.

Surreal.

Disconnected.

And, that describes my last week in a lot of ways. First time I was back in actual, physical classes and what should be campus full of students is empty by any standards. I have to ride the bus there and back, and I do not miss at all being on the bus system, both of them. And, work.

Here’s the odd thing-I’m either doing exceptionally well at my internship, things are going great. Or I’m being set up to be the scapegoat for something to go terribly wrong. And, it says something about my previous employers that I am not sure which is more likely.

My writing has been going a little sideways. Because when I come home, I’m frazzled. Do I bring my laptop with me, because I have one teacher that is strictly no-electronics and the other requires you to have your laptop? But, if I carry it around, that’s additional weight I need to think about when I walk across campus for my classes, then up four flights of stairs (in groups of two) to get to my classes. I could take the elevator, but I have this opportunity to climb four flights of stairs two days a week, so I will make the most of it. I have to physically restrain myself from engaging in massive loads of snark. Sharing my unguarded and far too honest opinion.

I’m counting the days to the end of class. I have a countdown sheet. I cross the numbers off every day, like I’m counting days before I’m let out of prison.

But, I’ve also put in my paperwork for my graduation. I just have to make it through the next twelve or so weeks, enjoy the hell out of Spring Break (which I will probably do by working full-time at my internship so I can chew as much of that time away ASAP), and…finish something that I’m writing. Somehow.

(I hate authors that start out with good ideas and ghost on you, never publishing again. I don’t want to be one of those authors.)

Time to enjoy this weekend, by hook or by crook.

Back To The Grind

Writing has been tricky when you have school, an internship, and soon enough a three hour commute to and from school two days a week.

(I’m not a fan of Zoom and online meetings in general. You’re very disconnected and a lot of people covertly or overtly record the meetings. And, there’s that whole sense of performance that you have to do on screen and on camera and that’s not a happy-making thing. But, I’d live with that for not having to make a three hour commute by bus to and from school.)

So, two days a week, I wake up at a slightly unreasonable hour, take the bus down for two classes, and catch the bus back home. Could be worse, I could have to do this again for work, on a “regular” schedule (which would require me to wake up at 5 AM rather than 6 AM), or more days of the week.

And, the internship…that’s been an experience (which is the point). I’m learning a lot of how marketing works at the ground level and trying to stay on top of creating content, keeping track of the content I’ve created, “got a minute?” projects…

It’s been busy. So busy that I’ve had a hard time keeping up on my fiction writing, which annoys me. But, I’m hoping that once I settle into the class/commute/internship routine and don’t have to worry about all of these problems…I can get back to doing some serious writing.

Fingers crossed.