Jen Haley

Jen Haley is probably my favorite artist out there right now. The way she can feather out her colors to such perfect transitions, it's instantly recognizable. If she had an instructional DVD, then little Ophelia is just gonna have to cut back on formula this week (wow, .....SSSSSSSSO kidding there.)

Needs moar pictures.

Since this is gonna be primarily for painting (but not only) there needs to be more pictures to dazzle you with. So let's have some pics, shall we?

First, my workstation over the years:




and its current incarnation:

I made gunk

One thing acrylic painters learn to do is add crap to the mix to get what they want. Matte and gloss mediums, flo aid, blending medium, on and on.

One thing though is that at the dilution I paint with (10:1 and thinner sometimes) I decided to just make up a big batch of additives and put it in a dropper bottle.

it's 50% distilled water, 25% matte medium, 15% slo-dri blending medium, and about 5 drops of dishwashing liquid. The water helps thin the paint, the matte medium keeps things satin and keeps the pigment from separating in the water. The slo-dri blending medium helps when mixing colors together on the model, and the dishwashing liquid sounds weird, doesnt it?

it acts to break the surface tension of water so it flows easier without just pooling up into little bubbles of paint.

So far it works pretty well, just lay out 5-10 drops of it onto my palette, and then 1-2 drops of paint. depending on application, I may add more medium or more paint, but its a good starting point.

Painting status

Well, here's a quick rundown of where I'm at on painting.

The big project is the two Blood Bowl teams I've got, filed down and prepared for priming. Theyll be painted in Packers and Steelers colors, because I can.

I've got a company of German panzergrenadiers from Flames of War. I dont usually paint 15mm, but these are popular.

currently on the table though is an old lady with a shotgun from the ancient (1982) Grenadier Call of Cthulhu line.

There is also Reaper's Perseus Greek Hero in the finishing stages, just some cleanup and detail work.

A squad of Wh40k Gretchin are waiting to be completed, and so are the rest of my Sisters of Battle army.

I normally use acrylic paints, switched about a year ago from Citadel to Vallejo, and I doubt a team of horses could drag me back to Citadels. However, that's not to say I'll never try something new, so I bought a set of oil paints from Daler Rowney, just for something new for wet blending.

Technology is the Devil

I am now going to launch into a tirade of such magnificent splendor, all shall love me and despair.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm fairly tech savvy. I'm not saying I can hack the world wide webs, but I know my html, I can keep computers running long after they should be dead, and I can build/tear apart/Frankenstein nearly anything. I've been gaming since 1979 and on PCs since 1986 and online since 1995. I know how to run my wireless network. Hell, I even got my cell phone to do a few things it wasn't designed to do.

Unfortunately, none of this is out of some deep love for computers. In fact, I despise these loathsome machines the way Bedford T. Forrest despised anyone with a suntan: absolutely and with great rancor. However, here we are, living in the future. We waltz around with the Cray supercomputer in our pockets, ensuring our balls are microwaved to prevent future generations from having to deal with the horrific nightmare which is trying to make all this crap stay running.

That's where the problem is. When my network is running smoothly and my gaming ping is nice and low, everything is right in the world. Happiness is the emotion here. When I get full signal bars on my cell phone, and everyone is coming through nice and clear, again... happiness.

But you know what? The crap doesn't frackin work. Sure, it may work for a little while, or in little pockets of time, momentary fragments during which you'll try to cram as much into as possible. My cell phone hasn't had reception in 5 days. I live just north of a major metropolitan area in a highly populated state in the most prosperous nation in the world. My cell phone provider is one of the largest in said nation. And yet... no service for days on end, with no explanation or reasoning why.

And that, my dear friends, is the heart of the matter. In the last 15 years, we have seen an explosion in personal electronic gadgetry, tiny radioactive devices we shoehorn into our lives so we can... kill zombies with plants, I guess. Every day, technology grows exponentially. Imagine an iPhone in 2005. It would probably be grounds for being burnt at the stake as a witch. Now, not only is it a common sight, we are all expected to own either an iPhone, or one of the myriad "smart" phones the market has been completely clogged with. The cold, lifeless efface of soulless corporations like Apple try to cram as many gadgets and widgets into their little phone, some fairly thoughtful and useful (GPS), some downright useless to the point of being offensive (every app that isn't GPS). Meanwhile, one major factor has been completely overlooked:

In the rush, everyone forgot that this crap is all about as reliable as a sandcastle in Tunisia during a sandstorm. A fragile network of satellites and antennae around the globe (and by globe, I mean big cities in first world countries only) is all that stands between me and a complete contact blackout. That's not a big deal when it's just checking facebook, but when a cell phone is your ONLY phone, as it is for so very many of us these days? So now you've got a cell phone network, promulgating this myth that 4G is better than 3G because it's... yknow... one higher, when in reality they're both using the same network, same method of connection: antennae and satellites. If I were to call my parents back in Kentucky from out here in Washington (Washington ALLEGEDLY being a tech heavy state) on an old fashioned land line phone, guess what would happen? I'd talk to them, as though they were in the room practically. Sure I'm tethered to my home and it's immediate surroundings, but since all my time is spent on the DHO website, who cares? Now, let's make the same call using my 1 year old cell phone.

Oh... wait... I can't, no reception. Ok, well let's just pretend, shall we? I'm going to call across just shy of 3000 miles using the miracle of modern technology that should perform SO much better than my silly old landline. Except now, instead of talking to each other, we basically have to talk as though it was over a CB radio, the lag is so bad. There is sometimes upwards of a 2 second delay between me speaking and the words being received by my folks. And we are content with this, because they jingle keys in front of us, Zynga inspired non-games that we can download to our cell phones using our neat-o penis enhancing 4G networks, nevermind the fact that the PHONE element (which...yknow... is the POINT) is little more than a glorified walkie talkie at times. I don't want to start having to refer to my Dad as The Bandit and saying "Over" after every sentence, as much as he may enjoy it.

Well, "Ma Bell" has been the enemy of mankind for a century now, why should anything be any different now? Why indeed. So let's look back at the miracle of the webses. My internet provider charges me just shy of $70.00 a month for my high speed service. Considering that without my internets, I'd basically be emasculated, I happily pay. All I ask in return is the service. Thats it. Just do what you're supposed to do, take my money and give me what I'm paying for.

Sounds oh so simple, doesn't it? I can sometimes go as much as an entire week with service, which is great and wonderful and makes my nipples as hard as diamond studded codpieces. But then you know what? that bastard of a little greenish yellow light just winks out in the middle of harvesting my farmville crops. I'm offline. In 2011, that's a horrifying notion. Bing! the little connection light comes back on! Whew, crisis averted! let me just wrap up what I was doing and... light's out again.

and back on!

and out.

Around this point I'm regressing into a toddler, bashing my fists uncontrollably on the desk, as though it's a conspiracy of desks everywhere to prevent me from clicking "Like" on a status. I'm just trying to make my gaming clan laugh at a stupid joke, internet! Why won't you let me!?

Light's back on.


and back out.

Now I'm in full on rage. It's not a matter of counting to ten. I thirst for blood. My $70 a month goes from being little more than a tollbooth to being everything that is wrong with this planet and the horrific mutations that have evolved upon its surface to spread their diseased Dancing with the Stars references where once was only joy. So what do I do now?

The same thing I always do; swear off all technology, for all time. Well, that lasts about 3 seconds, just long enough to wish World of Tanks had an offline mode. But, I do decide to take a short break from all this "connectivity" and the wonders it brings. So I think "Well, I've been playing games since 1979! The internet has only been around since the end of the war of 1812 (James Madison famously emailing Lord Liverpool the first lolcat), so surely I should be able to play some NON-online games right? Let's fire up some Company of Heroes!

Let's indeed. So since I'm a modern man, my copy of Company of Heroes was downloaded via Steam. Because it's not complicated enough buying a computer, buying a game, buying a modem and router, hooking it all up, contacting an ISP to being taking away my money, I *ALSO* need another program to run interference. Fortunately, Steam has an offline mode. So I log in offline (wait...what?) and fire up some CoH. And wait. And wait. Then a big popup smears my screen like a sweaty teabag telling me I can't play my single player game offline because... because...

And there you have it. Nobody is making products anymore, they are making services. You can't buy a game, you have to subscribe to a game, hopefully for the rest of your life. As if all this wasn't bad enough, I need to have an internet connection capable of high speeds that is incapable of ever going offline even for a fraction of a second in order to enjoy all these wonderful miracles of modern technology. And every day a new miracle comes out, tantalizing you in the worst imaginable way, kinda like any episode of Epic Mealtime. But the infrastructure? you know, the behind the scenes boffins that keep all this up and running? how has that improved at all since my dial-up days? It's still a crapshoot if I'll connect, still a crapshoot that it'll be a full speed, still a crapshoot that a game or app will even LET me use it when not constantly connected to their demon servers, apparently located in The Third Ring of Hell.

While writing this, my little light has blinked out 3 more times, and as of this sentence, hasn't come back on, so hopefully the Gods of Comcast will deign to bless me with the fracking service I'm paying through the nose for. Ah, it just came back on while I was wondering how I could check the spelling of "deign" without actually owning a dictionary anymore and still being off-- oh crap the light went back out again. I'm not even kidding, as I was writing that, it... it's back on. Wasn't this how Freddy killed one of the teenagers in like Nightmare on Elm Street 4 or something? Or was that Freddie Got Fingered? (I don't care what you say, that movie is comic gold)

Fortunately, not all my hobbies require me to be glued to electricity. I paint miniatures, I'll just paint one and let the internet sort its own problems out. Hmm... oh damn, I didn't finish that youtube video of the wet-blending technique I was trying out. crap. Technology pervades our lives, for good or ill. All I wish is that a larger percentage of the trillions of dollars all these collective companies rake in hand over fist was spent on reinforcing an infrastructure to be more reliable and secure (secure as in wont fall down, security as in PSN security I doubt will ever happen)

I guess that's long enough. You get where I'm going with this. However, let me just add this. If you're REALLY tech savvy, and have some sort of excuse about the network or some minor fact that I got wrong ( the only thing I looked up was the name of the British prime minister during the War of 1812) just go ahead and keep that crap to yourself, I don't want to hear it, scab.

George Lucas is the Devil

Ok, let's go ahead and jump into this.

First off, I grew up with Star Wars. I saw all of them in the theater during release, except ANH because I kinda wasn't born yet. The way most kids remember He-Man toys, I had Star Wars toys. When other kids were throwing dice for D&D, I was playing West End Games Star Wars RPG. It wasn't just me, but my whole family. My mother was obsessed with Star Wars, we watched it weekly in my house.

So when prequels were actually announced as getting MADE, I had an erection for about a solid fortnight. The "Special Editions" were fun, just to see them in theaters again (however, nowadays you have to track down an edition where HAN SHOOTS FIRST), but the idea of fresh stories? Sign me the hell up!

And apparently I, along with the rest of the world, was retarded.

Well films are subjective, right? Just because someone hates a movie, doesn't mean it's bad, right? Well, yeah, of course that's true. Some of my favorite movies are by all accounts "bad" films (Evil Dead trilogy comes to mind) despite how many redeeming qualities they have for me. So why crap on the prequels so badly?

well gather round, my lovelies. Let's get this cleared up.

First, let's discuss the NEED for prequels.

The original trilogy's primary strength, in addition to archetypal 2 dimensional characters that any 12 year old boy could immediately project themselves onto, was a huge, elaborate backdrop giving this galaxy some sense of cohesion. Remarks made like "I was in the clone wars the same as your father" gives huge weight to the backstory of what we are seeing on screen. Even non discussed elements like Leia's adoption when it's revealed who her brother (and fellow kisser) is, lend weight to these unseen events. "For over a thousand generations the Jedi knights were the guardians of peace in the galaxy."

So this elaborate backdrop is carefully crafted throughout the trilogy, both invisible and vital to the on screen events. Plenty of other stories have relied on this, from Beowulf (the story, not that crap fest CG flick) to The Matrix. In fact, the ONLY thing that's original about Star Wars is... ok wait a minute.... let's see... oh wait NOTHING. The entire thing, from characters to story to backdrop, are stolen from other films and stories. If you doubt this, you need to familiarize yourself with the films of Akira Kurosawa. He is perhaps most famous for The Seven Samurai, later remade into the western The Magnificent Seven (is nothing original?), but his slightly lesser known film, Hidden Fortress, is literally ANH, just set in medieval Japan. It's about a princess who challenges an evil samurai and his henchmen, and it's told from the perspective of the lowest two men in her employ (later changed over to droids).

This is nothing new, and certainly nothing to get mad over. Really once you begin studying anthropological story telling, especially with Joseph Campbell's infamous book Hero with a Thousand Faces ( ), you realize there really are only about 3-5 stories that keep getting retold over and over. You'll realize there is no discernible difference between Luke Skywalker and Neo... once deconstructed into their basic plot elements. Even the remaining elements of the backstory are taken from other sources. The whole future/space magic backdrop is really a reimagining of Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers type serials, especially when you consider Lucas originally approached Dino De Laurentiis about making the Flash Gordon movie and when turned down, went on to make his own version.

The problem begins when you try to tear away that mystery of "before this moment" in stories like this. Before ANH, what do we KNOW happened?

Let's see... There were the Clone Wars. The Empire came into power and ousted the Old Republic. Obi Wan and Darth Vader/Anakin were good friends. Luke and Leia were split up at or near birth (although Leia remembers her REAL mother, so way to check your own facts, Lucas), and finally, that the Jedi were wiped out by the Empire.

These points all together would make for a fairly boring documentary. The big twist, Vader is Luke's father, was already revealed in TESB, so there goes that. So, to actually FILM this dull story, which only exists to allow Luke Han and Leia to have their adventure, would require one thing and one thing only: a desire for more money. There is no story there! And believe it or not, George Lucas isn't all that great a filmmaker.

Let's look at THX-1138. If you haven't seen this, you're not alone, but you also should think twice before defending Lucas until you do. It's a mind numbingly dull Orwellian future society. Thing is, movies like this were a dime a dozen in the 1970s. Logan's Run, 1984, Westworld, on and on. Look at Sean Connery's Zardoz, same thing. Ok so let's jump ahead to his first success, American Graffiti. It's a decent, solid if unremarkable film, but he kinda cheated on it, basing it on his own childhood. There's nothing wrong with that, but let's not pretend it makes you into a great filmmaker (it's not like we allowed Jean Shepherd to make science fiction movies, just because he had success with A Christmas Story). Really, Star Wars is an extension of that childhood, born out of his desire to film Flash Gordon but being forged by his inability to do so. So Star Wars comes out and, like Jaws, its successful BECAUSE of the director's failings, creating an unintentional masterpiece. Here is honestly where your Lucas fanboyism should be completely dropped: He didn't direct TESB. Irvin Kershner did. Who the hell is Irvin Kershner? He was Lucas' TEACHER in film school! He wasn't known for blockbusters or action movies, rather he was known for intimate character driven dramas. What is TESB? It's the movie that turned Star Wars archetypes into fully fleshed characters. Yes it's BASED on Lucas' idea, but who wrote it? Leigh Brackett... who wrote Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep... yknow... films that are historically significant. Who else helped write TESB? Larry Kasdan, who went on to keep Lucas rich with Raiders of the Lost Ark, RotJ, and a metric shitton of other successes. So to give Lucas any REAL credit for the success of Star Wars beyond the first film is a serious stretch. By RotJ (admittedly the weakest of the original trilogy, but still superior to later crap), Lucas was far more busy focusing on the business end of making movies. In fact, that is where Lucas' strength REALLY lies: he's a businessman FIRST and a filmmaker second. Every single item in the world with a Star Wars logo on it that gets sold, he personally gets a cut. So of COURSE he would want to ensure the money keeps rolling in.

Now, what other movies did he direct? Oh... wait... nothing. He produced a ton of crap, ranging from awesome (Raiders of the Lost Ark, but let's give some credit to Spielberg on that one, the guy craps gold), to mediocre (Willow) to downright horrible (Howard the Duck is still illegal in 16 states), but as far as actual DIRECTING, you know... what he's KNOWN for.... nothing. He did the above mentioned stuff, a crapload of student films with numbers instead of titles, then using this VAST array of about 5 films that he made 30 years prior, he makes all 3 prequels surrounding himself with anemic yes men. Now if ever there was a recipe for success, thats it: an aging businessman surrounds himself with pathetic lemmings and attempts to cash in on the success of his youth, way to go.

In my next post, I will begin work on Episode I: The Phantom Menace, probably the most ironically appropriate title for any movie except for "Snakes on a Plane"

For everyone else capable of discourse, let's continue.

The Phantom Menace is a nonsensical dance through potential marketing gimmicks. It's less of a Star Wars movie, and more like a visual representation of a business meeting.

Why? because the characters are, in a word, crap. There are no characters in the film, even ones previously established like Obi Wan, that are strongly portrayed, or have any sort of believability/sense. Qui Gon Jinn is supposed to be this great Jedi master, but all we do is the same thing we do with every character in these movies: we TALK about how great they are, but NEVER see it. What did Qui Gon do that was so great? risk the future of Naboo by making imbecilic bets with local Tattooine merchants that in no way serve the plot or move the action forward. What about Queen Amidala? She could be played by a cardboard cutout, she has no effect whatsoever. I can do this for every character in this movie, because there is simply nothing to work with. Even characters like C-3PO and R2-D2 are completely screwed up. Really? Darth Vader made C-3PO?

It's not an attempt to tell an earlier story, which would have been fine, but instead it's an attempt to cash in on nostalgia. But it even fails at that, because the story from the prequels does not line up with the story from the original trilogy. Again, Darth Vader made C-3PO. Why? Because no other reason than we, the audience, know Vader/Anakin, and we know C-3PO. Thats it? What use would Shmi Skywalker have with a protocol droid as a slave in the desert? It would make a lot more sense of C-3PO worked for Amidala, and R2-D2 was working for Watto, because, oh I don't know, THAT'S THEIR FREAKING JOBS!? This microcosm shows how Lucas couldn't even understand his own stories. I'm not talking about all the crap people have PLACED into the films, like the entire Expanded Universe, but the stuff that was literally there, THERE, IN the movies.

Ok so what is the story to ANH? Farmboy finds droids with info on them, tracks down an old jedi master, gets caught up in a rescue mission to save a princess, escapes with her, and leads a successful assault on the superweapon. Ok so no what is the story to TPM? A trade federation (what do they trade?) is making an illegal blockade against random planet naboo at the behest of some mysterious robed guy who we know is the Emperor. Jedi get sent in and end up on the planets surface for no good reason, and for some unclear reason need to go to the complete other side of the planet, just for an extended underwater sequence with no real tension or meaning. Then they escape with the queen only because the trade federation seemed to intentionally be incompetent enough to make Stormtroopers sound like a good idea. Then they end up on Tattooine because Tattooine. We see Anakin (there are trillions of planets in our own galaxy, why does the Star Wars galaxy only have 5 planets?) and for some reason hes important, although the only importance he really has is the fact that the audience knows he will be Vader. So now we have to sit and wait while he races a pod for 45 minutes. Then there's a scene on Coruscant where the jedi council have a good idea (dont train the potential sith kid maybe?) and now we're back on naboo. And there's a battle in..some place... for some reason... and while thats going on, two jedi who havent been developed fight an enemy who was developed even less, meaning no real attachment to the fight results. And... umm.. I guess they win? I dunno, it ends up with Boss Nass getting a big glowy ball.

That's a story? That's a plot? Its like trying to read a guide to accounting with every instance of the word "Finance" replaced with "The Force".

Then we have Jar Jar Binks. A lot of people think he's racist, and while that may be true, you don't need to play that card to hate him. He does nothing to further the story. His big moment is leading the two jedi to the gungan city, which is itself a huge time sink that does not further the story. He then tags along for the rest of the film, doing literally nothing. For doing nothing he is made a "Bombat General" and promptly gets thousands of gungans killed for, once again, no good reason. Even in ANH, Threepio and Artoo are crucial to the story on multiple occasions (carrying the death star plans, introducing luke to obi wan, stopping the garbage compactor from crushing the heroes, and actually being funny).

We can keep going here, but really the film is a shitfest from the word go. If all you want out of a film is just a series of pointless action sequences (which are interrupted by lots and lots and lots of pointless dialogue), then yeah I suppose you might enjoy it, but you may wanna get some medical attention, because I'm not sure how long the body can survive without a brain.

Episode II: Attack of the Clowns is next, proving the only thing Lucas learned from the success of TESB is AT-AT walkers look cool.

Ok Episode Deuce: Attock of the Clerns.

Let's get this out of the way: Attack of the Clones wasn't as bad as The Phantom Menace. But that's like saying Jack the Ripper wasn't as bad as Adolf Hitler. He was still pretty douchey. The rotten core of this movie is a love story that seems like it was written by an android with a restraining order against it. Like that one Next Generation episode where Data gets a girlfriend for a while, but then they break up. Only this time Data doesn't recognize the rejection, but also doesn't understand love, much less subtle signs of "Get away from me you creepy plastic man", and eventually ends up with obsessive letters written in binary and ends the way these things always end, murder/suicide.

So while Attack of the Clones flows into Revenge of the Sith pretty well, there is a huge gap between TPM and AOTC that is jarring. Right off the bat, we are told things, but not shown, like Anakin is great (but all we see is a petulant child) or that he and Obi-Wan are 'good friends' when every second Anakin is by himself he nearly starts sobbing about how he cant stand Obi Wan. Because of this huge gap, we don't SEE anything, we're TOLD... which means why did the first movie even happen? The amount of time that passes is so much, that the characters are basically completely different people by the time Episode II rolls around. So by just telling us one thing but then showing another, instead of Anakin being heroic, he is just a bitch. Yes, I know he goes over to the Dark Side, but isn't that supposed to be at the end of a character arc? Shouldn't he clearly be heroic, even if a bit frustrated, so when he does make the switch, it's more shocking (and just having him literally change his mind from one scene to another from being a Jedi to murdering children isnt shocking, its just weird... but more on that for the episode III rant)

Well, maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe Anakin, while important, isnt the main character cuz Obi Wan is. Ok, so then... well... why? Maybe it'll make more sense if we break down the story again:

Ok so amidala is a senator now and her ship blows up killing her decoy, then anakin and obiwan (let's call him ben) are put in charge of protecting her. anakin is a little crap, and since this is a Dad forum, we all know what we'd do if that was our kid. then a shapeshifting assassin ignores her greatest advantage for killing targets (yknow...shapeshifting....) and instead goes with the android delivered window poisonous grubs, cause...yknow... that could look accidental I guess? Anyways then there's a big forgettable chase in the city. and... ummm... the assassin gets killed by the real assassin with some kind of magic unique super duper dart instead of an untraceable blaster bolt. Then Ben can't find any info in the Jedi Archives, but takes it to the first alien he tries, at a 50s diner.

a 50s diner on Coruscant.


and this magic alien recognizes immediately what the Jedi Archives had absolutely no reference to, and can even tell Ben exactly what planet and where it comes from. He knows all about this planet, even their socioeconomic methods, but nobody else does. This is our plot, folks! By the way, the planet is named after a stupid old car with a pickup truck bed from the 60s-80s. So Ben flies over there and apparently have been making thousands and thousands of clones of Jango Fett. Ben suspects him, but rather than just SUSPECT, Jango like a complete MORON leaves his Mandalorian armor in plain sight. I'm not saying he needs a Batcave to keep a vault in for the suit, but he could have at least put it in the closet and closed the damn door!

Ok soooo... now let's see... What the hell is going on? Anakin and Amidala are headed back to Naboo. Because if you want to kill someone, you would never ever think of checking their home, would you? Best hiding place EVAR. It's all just an excuse to have silly, hyper-romantic backgrounds (again... 5 planets in this Galaxy) and Anakin says a bunch of awful cliched lines than have never and will never work. "you are in my very soul" sounds great for a crappy play, but in real life its just creepy, especially if you aren't actually *IN* a relationship with the other person. So in between whining about Ben, they have awkward "fun" with pointless unconvincing computer graphics. Han and Leia had all of 2 romance scenes in the entire trilogy, and it's far more convincing. Neither of those scenes are in the ones made by Lucas, who once again we must wonder if he is in fact a robotic flatworm, or perhaps he's actually a lab mouse in a mechanical suit named Brain.

Here we now see what is undoubtedly the dumbest, most idiotic scene in all of science fiction, including Battlefield Earth. Ben is being chased by Jango's Slave I because he tracked him there. How a transmitter small enough to fit in a Jedi's pocket is capable of transmitting across the incredible distance of interstellar space in enough time for him to actually catch up is beyond me, but hey its Star Wars. Anyways the dumb scene. During the chase, Jango lets loose with what I guess would be called Sonic Mines, but Wookiepedia calls them Seismic Charges. Either way, and this is a function of the movie's plot here, they emit huge bursts of sound and smash up nearby asteroids.

Sound... in the vacuum of space. We're not all cosmologists, but you should probably know that in space, there is no atmosphere. It's what we call a vacuum. You see, on earth we're literally wading through atmosphere that we breathe and are surrounded by. When we speak, we're sending waves through that atmosphere than our brains interpret as sound. Without an atmosphere, there is nothing for the waves to travel through. No waves, no sound. There is no sound in space.


anyways they all end up on the bug planet. Here we finally see the villain, played by Christopher Villain. We also see the other villains who are the Separatists, although what exactly they do other than show a desire to leave a republic which most likely hasn't in any way benefited them is never shown. So they're gonna execute the 3 of them Jason and the Argonauts style, because ...I guess because they can? Then we get a long protracted scene of them fending off 3 alien monsters. This sequence is probably the best action in the entire prequel trilogy.

Then POOF! magically the Jedi appear all over the place! yay! and now there are clone troopers too, and the war begins! nevermind the fact that we are talking about three locations now. Geonosis (the bug planet), Coruscant, and Kamino (the cloning planet). Mace Windu (a miserably miscast Samuel Jackson) leaves Coruscant to bring Jedis to Geonosis. Yoda leaves at the same time to check out the clones on Kamino. So how did they arrive at the same time? Yoda would have had to leave Coruscant, fly to Kamino, talk to the kaminoans, find out wtf is going on, get all the clones loaded up onto their ships, get the entire armada into orbit and then all of them fly to Geonosis. I could take this one step further and get some star maps and see how far Kamino is from Geonosis, but I think the point is made. So anyways, here they are. Then theres a big battle for...nothing... fought by two armies made up of... faceless expendable nothings... being lead by Jedis we dont know and Separatists we dont know...

I mean, we didn't know who the hell Mon Mothma was in RotJ either, but her role was pretty damn clear.

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally, Dooku is cornered... even though hes really not since his escape jet is ready literally the entire time, and a big pointless lightsaber duel begins. Obi Wan gets thrashed, and then its Dooku vs. Anakin, except Chris Lee magically becomes a 30 year old with a white wig every now and then. Geezes, for a movie literally 98% digital, they could have somehow made the old man's stunt double a TAD more convincing.

Finally, Lucas squats over our faces and squeezes a huge lump of crap into our mouths by taking Yoda, the beloved counsel of Luke and the cat who laid down some of the heaviest lessons of the entire Star Wars universe, and having him whip out a tiny Yoda sized lightsaber and spinning around the room like a chimpanzee trained by viking dervishes to do an impression of chinese fireworks. "Yoda finally kicks some ass" is about as natural as midway through Gandhi having him pickup and AK47 and mumbling into a microphone "I'm your worst nightmare" just before blowing half of Vietnam away.

Yoda didn't show Luke how to duel with lightsabers, in fact his only reference to the weapon was noting "your weapons... you will not need them" to Luke before Luke showed the rest of us how stupid he was and triggered a boss battle in the evil cave. Now we have Yoda flitzing around like a sparrow stuck inside the department store. Why? I really have no idea. It was totally unnecessary, added nothing, and at the end he went back to limping with his little cane! Ok you know the Gandhi comparison I just made? switch it over to Stephen Hawking I guess, I dunno I give up. In the end, we see the entire thing was all part of Sidious' master plan (what is this a 20 year complicated plan to take over the galaxy? does he have notes? how would this possibly ever work?) and then we see Anakin and Amidala getting married... cuz.. you know... we were TOLD theyre in love, I guess... I dunno.

Wow. Lucas seriously thinks very little of his fans.

I'm gonna need a break before going into Episode III: Revenge of the Slit.

I can't take much more. I've seen the prequels in the theaters and on DVD multiple times, but sitting here reliving them from memory literally registers as pain in the human brain. Its easy to say I'm the bigger fan because the prequels bother me so much, but that's not really true is it? Sure, anyone under the age of 25 was probably more exposed to the prequels, so their level of critique for it is lower, perhaps becoming more accepting of the huge plot holes, wooden acting, and awful overuse of computer graphics. I don't know. Most people have the response of "They're watchable" or "They're not THAT bad." but there is never a stronger response than that. It's just all very vanilla. Everybody saw them, nobody cared. Nobody is a big enough fan of the prequels to offer up any real defense for the films, or even a coherent argument against the stuff I've listed here and thousands more legitimate complaints.

Ultimately, it was the grandeur of the original films that makes the prequels so terrible.

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship"

People have this love/hate relationship with science fiction. Maybe it's because as an artform it's only existed since Mary Shelley's seminal Frankenstein in 1818, and didn't solidify into a cohesive form until H.G.Wells and Jules Verne, all fairly recently compared to how long stories of love, drama, war have existed (hint: it's longer than civilization has existed). Everyone loves the idea of visiting another world, but many are quick to denounce fans of such fiction has nerds and geeks, and ignore any cultural significance these works may afford. Sure, nobody today is obsessing over Buck Rogers, but let me put it this way:

There is a story. A story about a man and a woman talking about their feelings. But they're doing it inside of an automobile. The story however was written in 1568. (this is not a real story)

That's science fiction, because of the automobile, not because of the people talking. Now let's take a different story.

There is a different story. A story about a man and a woman talking about their feelings. But they're doing it inside of a space ship in another galaxy. However the story is written in 2011 (this is not a real story)

So what is it that makes a story science fiction? is it purely the disposable technology? If you took a story like the Spartans at Thermopylae and replaced their spears with lasers, would it then be science fiction due to that one change? See, science fiction relies very much on the cohesion of the fictional world in which it takes place. It is vital that the universe seems unified, like this kinda stuff happens all the time. In Star Trek, the universe is very well defined, after 6 series and 11 movies have defined it. Star Wars is also well defined, after 9 movies, 4 series defined it. Both are further defined by a plethora of books, games, and magazines. But when you remove that universe and its cohesion, the story must still stand alone.

Look at ANH. Take away all the science fiction references, and what you have is a story about a farmboy who gets caught up in a rebellion and helps to stop the evil empire from unleashing its might. Look at TESB. the empire routes our heroes. the farmboy realizes success cannot come so quickly and learns from a wise master. his friends are captured by a turncoat who later redeems himself. in a moment of headstrong youthful rebellion, the farmboy attempts to save his friends, only to be destroyed in the process (wow, its the exact plot of Gangs of New York, actually). When you remove the science fiction element, the story is still enthralling. Even ROTJ works: The farmboy, now fully in control of his faculties, recovers his friends (some older tales would have him find new ones) and begins a new assault on the empire. however he must confront the evil inside him, this time by challenging the source of that darkness, his own fallen father. This challenge takes on a literal meaning when its decided through an emotional lightsaber duel (and by far the BEST fight of all 9 movies), meanwhile his restored friends carry on with their assault and win the day without their hero, because ultimately its not the heroes that fight our battles, but ourselves. simple, but a nice cap to a great trilogy. The science fiction elements are just a means to an end, a theme for this myth to play out upon.

The prequels on the other hand, don't fare so well. take away the science fiction elements (read: eye candy) and what do you have?

a knight and his apprentice are supposed to stop a trade federation from blockading a seemingly innocent city/planet. When discussion doesnt work, they immediately attempt to save the queen and bring her to safety. they do and then go right back in with no support. on the way, they meet a child with great power, and bring him for training, which their council denies.

Then years later, the apprentice is now the knight, and the child is the apprentice. they are in charge of protecting the queen, when someone tries to assassinate her. they track down the killer to find an army is being raised (kinda a stretch without the cloning, but im trying here). they then follow the killer to discover who he was working for, where they find another army is being raised. so they fight the first army with the other army... i dunno.

then, as the war is nearing its end, the knight and the apprentice... do some stuff, i dunno i haven't done my episode 3 rant yet. but you can see the story really falls apart quickly once you take away the science fiction elements.

Personally, I love science fiction because it can so easily reflect our own world, because really its all just based on our world. ok, ill write that rant now.

Episode 3 sucked.

it was just a bunch of pointless crap, including a ham fisted emperor talking anakin into being sithy, and obi wan riding a bird lizard. let me reiterate, Obi Wan Kenobi, once portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness, is seen here riding a bird lizard. and then a way too long and self indulgent lightsaber duel. the last 5 minutes of the movie starts to look like Star Wars, but then its too late cuz its over.

ok, kept it short because apparently I'm blowing your minds. I'm spitting GOLD here and its wasted on you plebeians!

Darth Vader is a Good Guy

Darth Vader is now a good guy.

Deal with it. The horrific visage of evil incarnate that haunted the dreams of everyone under the age of 40. The icon of darkness. Even AFI, known for their ridiculous top 100 lists which are so completely out of touch had to recognize Darth Vader's powers and placed him at #3 (#2 was Norman Bates, and while I love Hitchcock...c'mon. and #1 is Hannibal Lecter, another c'mon. Our #1 villain is a guy who eats brains.... OOOOOH scary. So does every zombie in a Romero flick)

With the completion of the prequels (or as many of you call them: "The Abomination") we now have Anakin's backstory. Basically he was an ignorant spoiled little whiner. Yay! of course that sucks, but with further development it's beginning to come around (watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars cgi series to see what I mean).

Before, Vader was just "Twisted and Evil", whose only goal was to eradicate our rebel friends. He didn't need to evolve past that until the 2nd half of episode VI. We didn't need to think about his actions or his choices. But now, not necessarily from Lucas' "masterful" 6 part saga watched in order, but from the prequels as well as novels, cartoons, etc, as well as just having to live with the new movies, Vader's character starts to change.

Anakin Skywalker was a little bitch, but he was good. He always had good intentions, and even his reason for following Palpatine would be noble for anyone that was not a Jedi. 19 years of being naughty can change a man, sure, but watch his actions in the original trilogy with this little caveat:

He knows who his kids are the whole time. That's not canon, it's just musing. Things start to make sense. He is still the Emperor's right hand, he can't just say "oh hey! I'm your Daddy, let's go snag the Ice Cream truck!" So when he sees Leia aboard Tantive IV, he scolds her, like a dad would. His own daughter, a part of the Rebel Alliance. His voice even breaks a bit when he says "Take her away!"

Then an officer says "she'll die before revealing anything" to which he replies "Leave that to me" which is more or less "I'll handle my dauhgter how I see fit."

Later, after Dantooine's a bust, Tarkin says "Terminate her, immediately." but the scene cuts before we see Vader's reaction. Later, when they snag the Falcon, he says "She may yet be of some use to us" which is a sly way of protecting her without revealing himself to anyone.

It also explains his apparent glee in strangling Imperial Officers. Their loyalty to the Empire reflects his betrayal of the Jedi, and their smugness is born of his sins, so he would probably just be waiting for the chance to dust a few. Note that he rarely (and never in the films) strangles a Stormtrooper, since he was in the clone wars after all, and even though not all snowmen are clones, he may still feel some attachment, especially since they never show their faces either, like a kinship.

How about "The Force is strong with this one" during the trench run? or what about "I want them alive, no disintegrations" to Boba Fett? With the thought of Anakin, still trying in a small way to control his destiny, suddenly the usual movie cliche of the villain never killing the good guys becomes something intentional. Even in ESB when Chewie is trying to save Han from the carbon freezer (could you imagine infomercials for that thing?) Vader lowers Fett's blaster, saving Chewie who would protect Leia.

It's all just a stretch, and his motives are still unclear. We know that Vader may respect Palps, and is loyal to him wholly (till about 30 seconds before Palpatine finds himself falling down a hole) but we know that he wants to overthrow him, not solely due to the whole Sith 'Rule of Two', but to place himself as Emperor with Padme at his side. His power has waned since his skin grafts and whatnot due to his cybernetic nature, else he would take him on by himself. If Vader knows who his kids are, then maybe much of the first trilogy (at least through ESB) is him basically trying to chase and scare them into the right direction so that he can rely on their power to aid him in taking out Darth Sidious (kinda like his 'false' promise to Galen Marek, his secret apprentice).

Just some musings. Officially, Vader is still just a robo-psycho who doesn't realize Luke's his boy until ESB, but it's fun to rethink certain aspects. Kinda like in episode 4, when the X-wings go through the death star's magnetic field, the comms get all garbled, yet everyone else can send holographic images over countless billions of light years without so much as lag. It's obviously a movie, it's obviously a fuck up, but rather than point out the flaws in the magic show, it's more fun to play along.

May the Force be with you.

the point

the point? there is no point, i just needed a place online to toss musings and crap. welcome.


here's my intro! yeah baby!

anyways... hi.