Review, Uncategorized, WordPress Trending

Spoiler Alert: The Force Awakens is Awesome!

No really, major spoilers ahead. If you don’t want to know intimate details about Star Wars Episode VII, turn back now.

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I went in not expecting very much, but still feeling hopeful for JJ Abrams’ vision of the Star Wars franchise. To be frank… It was the perfect throwback! From the opening crawl, I could tell that the whole product was created with respect and reverence to the original trilogy and the fans. The invasion of a Star Destroyer (or as I call them, Imperial Cheese) called the Finalizer across the screen gave me my first true sense of scale that had previously not been demonstrated, despite the prequels’ best efforts.

Scale is a cinematographic motif Abrams uses to paint a picture of the galaxy. The life-size Millennium Falcon is absolutely radical, and he constantly uses vast landscapes to contrast the intimate personal interactions – Rey scaling the crashed Star Destroyer, the tiny salvage yard on Jakku, the size of every battle matching the scale of what I imagine D-Day and the subsequent European land battles.

This Episode also parallels A New Hope (and Phantom Menace) with intent and precision. It follows the classic Hero’s Journey structure, allowing both of the new main heroes to experience the journey at nearly the same pace. To be honest, this was a risky move due to the nature of movie viewership. I found that the second iteration (which each character performed, neither lead overtook the other) always felt a little bit late. But without showing the two scenes side-by-side this would be impossible to fix.

The story beats line up with Episode IV naturally. However, what I loved even more was the cinematic parallel. The dogfighting was just an enhanced and more chaotically real version of what we saw back in the day, and the return to cockpit-view of the action took my breath away. A combination of long shots and jump cutting between specific characters allowed me to feel an emotional connection to the battle, and therefore the characters within the battle whom I had yet to meet. It was also a perfect way to surprise us with Po’s fate.

The First Order is a perfect evolution of the Empire that truly captures the grandiosity of the organization, while showcasing the evils of the dark side and casting in a [canonically] new villain in Snoke, who the truest of Star Wars nerds may have already identified, with a new hologram style that just fucking rules. The interactions of Dark Siders – specifically Kylo Ren – really had me on edge. We finally got to see on screen some of the dark side power that earned it the moniker.

Among the parallels to the previous trilogies, the meeting of Han and Kylo Ren on the bridge perfectly mirrored the meeting of Vader and Obi-Wan. The movie clearly laid the groundwork for their relationship and as soon as I saw their meeting, I knew this was that scene for Episode VII. The main cast watching the battle happen and reacting… I mean, the whole thing felt like a shot-for-shot remake of the same scene on the Death Star (and the lesser version in Phantom Menace) but on the way more epic Starkiller Base.

Without giving away too much, this episode had superb writing and timing. One of the things about the dark side is how it compounds itself. Things just pile on and on and emotion becomes the only fuel you can run on, and that’s when you turn completely. The pacing of this movie reflected that exactly and it made certain scenes way more dramatic. There was no respite for our main cast, hero and villain alike.

I find it beautiful that I can already tell the relationships of certain characters whose bonds remained unspoken throughout. It speaks strongly to the power of acting without dialogue as well as blocking, gestation…. it shows the balance between actor and director and the teamwork it takes to make a movie all it can be.

The introductions of the old cast were all surprises – I didn’t expect any of them to show up when they did. When I realized we didn’t have time to get exciting Luke stuff, I started to dread his inevitable cameo. But once that scene reached its pinnacle, the breathtaking view of that massive Island with oceans crashing into the rock faces brought that perfect contrast against the two of them standing there, silently acknowledging that the moment had arrived. I didn’t think anyone in the cast upstaged anyone else; character treatment felt extremely balanced, honest, and fair. But goddamnit, Mark Hamill, you just stole the whole fucking show for me, you sly dog.

Anyway, I could gush for hours about how great it was, but the bottom line is that the movie did everything I was hoping it would and addressed a lot of complaints by the fans. The reduction of fanservice, all clean and unmistakably Abrams cinematography and production (Bad Robot) left me feeling satiated by the movie in a way that I honestly hoped I would but expected not to. They didn’t reach too far, but they didn’t “play it safe” either. They clearly looked at the source material and – in true Disney fashion – took the best elements they could find, struck the rest from the record, and set the grounds to build a beautiful new galaxy. I have high hopes that this new trilogy will turn out to be the strongest yet.

As for Rogue Squadron and the other spin-offs…. I’ll wait to pass judgment until I actually see one. That feels like a reminder that Disney is evil and will drain our love of everything we ever cherished until there is nothing remaining in the human soul and we are but slaves to the entertainment conglomerate…

 

Anywho….

 

Bye!

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Flash Fiction, Just for fun, Over 500

Is She Joking?

“So, how are you feeling now?” The doctor stared down her nose at the patient.

“I don’t understand the question,” the towering blonde replied.

“You’ve been on medication for six weeks now. Do you feel better?” She eyed the man, slumped down into his chair, and began to scribble something on her clipboard.

“I don’t… know… I haven’t been able to feel since I began taking these things,” The man’s Norse-like dreadlocks kept him company. He twisted them back and forth between his palms, tightening the locks one by one. “What are you writing?”

She stopped mid-stroke and looked back to the man. “Nothing bad; don’t worry.” She put the clipboard in her top drawer and folded her lanky fingers neatly into each other. “Tell me about your lack of feeling.”

 

He took a look around. When he first came into the office weeks prior, he’d noticed the solid black frames holding pictures of Greek mythology, painted on period vases, probably from a museum exhibit. He’d notice there were lilies and sunflowers on the short table behind her.

Her thick Russian accent charmed him, as did her hard jaw and set facial features. Her curvature matched what he imagined for his ideal woman. And she had proper style to accent it. Even her soft white scarf managed to draw attention to her sculpted frame.

Rich Corinthian leather covered the soft, marshmallow-esque cushions of the couch. The chairs designated for clients had an interesting cross-hatch – more a weave. The material had escaped him but the thing that stuck out was the patterning… Five colors of thread blended seamlessly together to create a single shade of cloth. The first time, he’d stared at that pattern for a full minute before she forced him to engage.

It had been an exciting and promising moment that he’d hope would lead to a better future.

 

Now, he saw some pictures. There were flowers in room. Their fresh-cut aroma made no impact. The couch… eh, black is always a safe color. The psychiatrist, she seemed pretty hot but he didn’t notice anything particularly outstanding. When he tried to focus on the chair, his vision blurred. He no longer saw the individual threads. Everything just seemed duller than it once was. And he didn’t care. And he didn’t care that he didn’t care. And it pissed him off to no end.

“I can’t… I reach for words and they disappear. The thoughts are in my brain but, they’re scrambled. It’s easy to lose it. I’m just not as sharp as I was.”

“You’re also not as depressed. Now you can join the rest of the world and experience life as you should. Isn’t that worth anything?”

Who the fuck are you to tell me how I should experience life? What’s the point of being normal? Why would anyone want to sacrifice their ability to communicate, to articulate, to see reality… just to feel” normal”?

He tried to argue with her. All he could muster was a grunting “uh-huh.”

“Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Isn’t this an improvement from being unable to move from your bed for weeks at a time?”

Not even close, bitch. It’s like imprisoning my mind in a body that disagrees. I’m trapped in this bullshit and I can’t even feel how shitty I feel.

“I have no opinion on life now. It’s just… I feel…” he struggled to find the word. It was somewhere in his brain. He’d thought it before he spoke but, somewhere between brain and mouth, it disappeared.

“How do you feel? Is everything okay?”

Of course not. I thought that was pretty fucking obvious, myself.

                “No.”

“What is it?” Her gaze softened. He wasn’t sure if she meant to play him into opening up or had become genuinely concerned.

“I can’t say. It’s up here,” he tapped his skull. “It’s definitely here,” he patted his left breast, his heart. “I just can’t figure out how to make it come out.”

“Just say it?” She politely offered.

I fucking can’t goddamnit. You’ve killed my ability to do that with your stupid fucking rope… er… pills. Wait… What?

“The words… they don’t make it. I want to be frustrated but I can’t. I mean, I am, but my body isn’t. It’s like some kind of reverse… the… the body works. The brain just can’t make it.”

The gravity of her concern escalated. She leaned forward, causing him to emulate the motion. “That doesn’t make any sense, Val.”

“I know. That’s the point. I’m just cloudy and useless in this state,” he places his forearms on her desk and his head fell into their soft comfort.

“I can’t eat, I can’t shit, I can’t interact the way I normally do. People are abandoning me, I’m a different person and it’s all because of this fucking medication.”

“You can find new friends, people who would abandon you for…”

“For having a drastic change in… fuck!” he slammed his fists on the desk and beat his head into his arms. “It’s… Goddamnit! It’s how you act, who you are, that whole thing.” Thumb and forefinger clamped on the bridge of his nose as he struggled to find the words buried in his mind.

“Personality?”

“I’m just constantly frustrated and exhausted and I’m not the same person. Or I am. I can’t tell. I am inside. But does it matter? I can’t show my inner self anymore. I feel like a zombie.”

The doctor snickered at herself for a moment.

“What?”

“It’s nothing…” she stifled herself.  “Just that..”

“Out with it!” he demanded.

“I just think zombies are pretty good at showing their insides.”

 

 

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Exercise in, Style, Under 500

Why Bother?

Okay, y’all. I’m going to call this “Why Bother?” It’s an “initiative” I guess… the idea here is that I get exhausted by the plethora of people who question my every action, decision, ideal, moral, or whatever else they don’t understand. So, I’m just writing a blurb about why I bother with something people ask about. 95% of my facebook friends won’t see this but, it doesn’t matter. I’m doing it anyway because this is the internet and YOU CAN’T STOP ME! MUAHAHAHAHA!

Now, on the facebook version, I tagged a bunch of people… taking for granted that everyone on WordPress is a writer to some degree, this is a call to action for all of you. If you read this, please like and/or comment to let me know if you will be writing about something you’re driven towards. I’d like to make sure I read those!

 

Without further ado…

 

I don’t need a flat stomach; I need a strong core.
I don’t need to be big; I need to be powerful.
I don’t need to win the fight; I need to end the conflict.
I don’t need to change others, I need to change myself
I don’t need perfection; I need progress.

I practice Aikido because before I ever studied it, it had been established along the path I sought. I practice Aikido because it’s impossible for me to do without finding a way to improve. I practice Aikido because the art takes problems and creates solutions. The Aiki mind is never stumped, for there is always another way. The Aiki spirit is never trumped, as there is always progress to be made. The Aiki practitioner can only be defeated by the self and that is the central struggle we all face. Aikido leads the person you are to the person you will become and, if you are mindful, that person will become exactly who you intended.

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Poetry

To Forge A Man

You know me, I just write to keep writing. Have some stream of consciousness.  I didn’t necessarily want a specific cultural vibe for this one. I mostly focused on keeping the comparison accurate while being vague enough to encourage . Hopefully you can see the connection in the development of the two. Let me know how you like it!


To forge a man is to forge a sword.
Both require the patience and skill of a warrior-saint.

Heat and pressure lead malleability.
In this state, one can be folded –
One can be molded into the proper form.

Each strike of the hammer precisely
shapes body, mind and spirit

A quick dip into a pool of cold water hardens steel and soul
The proper temperment has been achieved
Finally, honing the blade to a razor’s edge, a man is complete.
He is sharp, he is tempered, he is flexible, and he can only be broken if he lacks skill.

To be a man is to be a sword.

Make sure the wounds you inflict
Are the wounds you intend.

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Uncategorized

Off-topic.

The way it works is, a series of questions with unrelated answers. As far away as you can.
Example:

“Who is running in this year’s election?”
“I think the mailman is stealing my coupons.”

Why do this? Because real conversations are not usually direct and on-point. You may think you’re discussing one thing when in fact, another topic is the focus. (If you’ve ever dated, you already know this).

This is just an idea to get the juices flowing. Try to imagine a character and how they would answer this question

“How many chefs will be present at the affair?”
“105, but only ten of them are even hot”

If you’re still not following, think about the pie in Men In Black 3. That’s exactly what this is. I just exaggerate for (hopefully) clarity. Give it a try though. If you come up with one, share it!

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Uncategorized

Confessions of a Boring Man – a game, an experiment, and a study

I want to get some serious active commenting from those who read. IF YOU READ THIS POST, PLEASE COMMENT. Even if you have nothing to say, just comment a smile or a frown or something. I’m going to compile some data on this. I want to know WHO is reading my stuff so I can spend some time crafting more fun interactions. I want to know WHEN people are reading so I can make sure to post during busy hours. And lastly, I will take one or more of the ideas and create another post with several flash fictions or a single short story about this character and his secret life. (And you should too!)

  • I don’t go outside unless I’m travelling to another indoor location
  • I don’t “hang out” with people. I only focus on my work
  • I would never drink, smoke, or break any laws.
  • I have a dog named Cat and a cat named Dog. I thought that was the funniest thing ever when I thought of it.
  • You could call me a professional penny-pincher.

 

So, tell me about this guys secret life. Is he a bank robber, a super hero? Does he work for a private organization? Is he God? Feel free to post your own story about him! The important thing is that if this guy were to own this blog, he would say any of the bulleted statements.

 

I wonder how this is going to turn out.

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