Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form – Star Wars – The Last Jedi

I’m a huge Star Wars fanatic. As you can see from the picture above with my home made Jedi robes, plastic light saber, and frosted tips (It was 1999 believe me they were super cool back then). I like Star Wars a lot. I have my Episode I ticket that I camped out for in a 1/4″ thick plastic case. I don’t even really like The Phantom Menace and I’ve seen the movie in the theater 9 times. So of course the release of a new Star Wars film is kind of a big deal for me.

I honestly never thought that we’d get more Star Wars after the critical reception of Episodes I-III. But thankfully George Lucas sold the rights and Disney will churn their Billion dollar making machines out like candy. I started getting super obsessed with Star Wars in high school. I collected the cards, had my mom buy me tons of prequel toys (some of which are worth surprising amounts of money now), and watched the special edition re-releases A LOT. I had my mom make me a Jedi costume (As seen above) for the Episode I premier and I even practiced a choreographed light saber fight with my buddy the entire weekend before. I now am the proud owner of an Obi-Wan Kenobi Cosplay that cost me a shameful amount of money to put together. But I love it and Star Wars.

I really liked The Last Jedi. It was surprisingly funny while still keeping the darkness and gritty feeling that most 2nd movies of the Star Wars triple features usually have. In terms of the overall Star Wars Universe I’d say it’s in my top 5 films. I’ve been thinking about my ranking of Star Wars films lately. Mainly because I’ve been watching Rogue One every weekend for the past month or so. I don’t have any kids and my wife travels to dog shows on the weekends a lot so I have a lot of free time. Sue me.

Rogue One is in my top 3 favorite Star Wars films and probably top 5 or 6 movies of all time. It perfectly captures how I imagine the Star Wars universe to look and feel during that time period. I’ve read almost every Star Wars books and the nixing of what is now termed the “Legends” canon is one of the saddest things about the Disney acquisition. I loved so many of those books but I’ve been voraciously reading all of the new books as well and they are pretty solid so far. Especially anything by Timothy Zahn.

Along with Rogue One I’ve also caught up on the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, which means as usual I’ve got Star Wars on my brain all the time. Rebels has some of the best characters in the Star Wars Universe. Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the best big bads period. He was awesome in the Zahn Legends trilogy and he is awesome in the new timeline and canon. I’m very excited he’s a part of the universe still and I hope he comes back for Episode IX since the finale of Rebels left a lot of unanswered questions. Speaking of best characters ever Ashoka Tano is one of my favorite characters of all time in any universe. so with all that said here’s my rankings of the movies (shows not included but they are awesome).

Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi

Rogue One

A New Hope

The Last Jedi

The Force Awakens

Revenge of the Sith

The Phantom Menace

Attack of the Clones

 

One of the goals I’ve set for myself in this crazy journey to become a writer is to work on/write for Star Wars. Someday It’ll happen.

Ready Player 2018?

2017 wasn’t too bad to live through and it sure seemed to go pretty quickly (I’ll be 36 in April and the years just seem to go by quicker the older I get). After 11 days of a nice little staycation where I left my house as little as possible, but didn’t have to work for the holidays, 2018 is upon us. Other than politics, which 2017 at least helped me learn I need to pace myself in consuming certain types of media, the year went fairly well. I did get some decent work in on my Novel revision during my time off, I’ve got a good path forward, and powered through the chapter I was stuck on writing. But overall working on revision and writing in general was lacking in 2017. 2018 has plenty of opportunities for success in it and I plan on journaling more, blogging more, and writing and revising much much more!

My wife and I sold our first house and bought our 2nd in 2017. Moving sucks in general but it especially sucks when you’ve just bought a new house and have 5 days to get your old one ready to sell. It was quite a hectic few months in the fall but we got moved in and are now nice and settled. Our five dogs are doing much better in a .35 acre yard as opposed to a .17 acre yard. Having a shorter commute is also fantastic, but has definitely cut into my audiobook listening time. Oh well. Changes are a foot at work with a new assignment but Hanford treats me well so I can’t complain.

Border Collies
My wife and I saw this Icelandic tradition where you give books on Christmas eve and then hang out, read, and drink hot coco then rest of the evening. So we decided to partake and start it up in our family. Much to my surprise and delight she got me Ready Player One. Not only that but she got me a signed first edition copy. Getting a signed copy of Ready Player One was a hell of a way to start of this new tradition. Good luck topping this next year! We’ve added a stipulation moving forward that books for this new tradition should be signed (I got her a signed Joe Hill, Horns book) since both of ours were. I read almost half of RPO that first evening and had a hard time putting it down until I had finished it. I love this book so much! The movie comes out in March and I know its going to be different than the book but I’m still freaking stoked anyway. 2017 was apparently the year where I re-read a ton of books. I’ve just recently started up a book club to help find new authors so I don’t think I’m going to re-read as much in 2018 but I wouldn’t be surprised if I read RPO again after the movie.

My goal for 2017 was 40 books and I finished 28. Not quite where I want it to be but I’m going to set it at 40 again for 2018 and hopefully hit the goal this year. 2017 was definitely the year of the re-read for me. The books I re-read in 2017: Dune, Harry Potter books 2, 3, and 4, Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear and Ready Player One. I even ended up reading Name of the Wind twice in 2017 because they released the 10th anniversary edition at the end of the year. In 2017 I also got 3 books deep into The Expanse, tried out Terry Pratchett for the first time, read a new Crichton novel for the first time in a long time, and continued to read the Jim Butcher Furies and Dresden series. I also read quite a few Star Wars books, with Thrawn by Timothy Zahn being the best. I also made sure to read some comics in the form of Rat Queens and Calvin and Hobbes.

I started a book club with my buddy at work in late 2017. We’re looking for new authors and stories to read and decided to start with some Hugo Award winners. We’ve only read one book so far, The Fifth Season, but we’ve got a nice long list of potentials to be read and a goal to meet monthly. I’m currently finishing up our second entry, Blackout, for our book club and it’s interesting so far.

I also won this awesome Kindle Fire tablet through The Portalist that had 10 YA Sci-Fi Fantasy novels on it and got through several of those. I’ve been making myself use my e-readers more and I’m definitely getting used to it, but still prefer an actual book. It’s nice having options though, especially for travelling. Speaking of travelling, 2018 has some potential good times lined up. We also had some good R&R in Kauai this year, I got my tweet shown on the fan photos on the Mariner’s broadcast while at Waimea Canyon and it was so epic! I’m planning a 10th anniversary trip with my wife that may take us to Canada or maybe somewhere a little more tropical, we haven’t decided.

Joe-Waimea

I’’ve decided I’m going commit to going to at least one writing convention this year. I need to coordinate with my writing friend at work, Bob Brown. He has a new anthology out of political speculative fiction stories, Alternative Truths and More Alternative Truths. Go check them out they’re a lot of great stories. If things go as planned 2018 could be big for my writing so networking sooner rather than later is going to be a good way to make sure things keep moving forward with Harbingers. I’m considering some projects for the blog to help with a regular writing schedule, it’s good to just write everyday that I can. More to come! That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m going to be utilizing Cuppa more this year and possibly even upgrading my blog, so expect to hear from me more. I’m considering posting chapters of Harbingers on the blog if it’s upgraded.

Dresden Files #7 – Dead Beat

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7)Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Arguably my favorite of the series so far. I really liked the new characters and plot developments in this one. Butters, Lasciel, Thomas, Mouse, Bob. I can’t wait to hang out with them more as the series goes along. POLKA WILL NEVER DIE! Also the T-Rex, how freaking cool was that part. If you haven’t checked out Dresden Files yet, or any of Jim Butcher’s writing, and have even the slightest inkling about reading a wizard detective series, start reading these books, like yesterday.

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Calvin and Hobbes!

Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat: A Calvin and Hobbes CollectionHomicidal Psycho Jungle Cat: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recently re-read this stand alone Calvin and Hobbes Collection and I love it so much, If you’ve never read Calvin and Hobbes before I highly suggest you give any of the collections a try. My wife got me the complete collection a few Christmases ago and I’ve been making my way slowly through that as well. Arguably the best comic of all time.

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Dresden Files – Death Masks

Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5)Death Masks by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time I pick up one of the Dresden Files books they just hook me in and I have a hard time putting it down. This was one of my favorite of the series. We get a new big bad, Nic, and learn more about what exactly has happened to Susan. Michael is one of my favorite characters and we get to learn more about the order that he belongs to. Once again Marcone shows up and plays a vital role and we also get some background on him at the very end of the book. I’m so happy I have 10 more of these to read and book #16 coming out in this series soon. Jim Butcher is effing awesome!

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New Crichton, Old Feeling

Dragon TeethDragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was skeptical of this new Crichton Novel when it was first announced but I finally gave in and picked up a copy. I then had a hard time putting it down and ended up staying up way too late to finish it. It was fun, adventurous, and IMO definitely Crichton. He is my favorite author of all time and this new tale did not disappoint. I’ve been working on a reread of all of his works over the past few years and this book has gotten me back in the mood to dive back into it. I wish he was still around to write more amazing stories.

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The Art of War…and Revision

The Art of WarThe Art of War by Sun Tzu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had, much the same as everyone else I’m sure, heard of this famous writing on warfare by the ancient Chinese General and philosopher Sun Tzu. I had never read it though for some reason. From the thickness of this specific edition of Tzu’s writings I thought it would be much longer, but the book is broken up into two sections. The original writings of Tzu are the first section and then the translator’s notes and historical context of the translation are provided in the 2nd half. The writings by Tzu really are timeless when it comes to warfare, even though modern tactics are quite a bit different than ancient Chinese strategies.

I was doing some research for revision that I’m working on with my current novel and I can honestly see myself reading this again and I took quite a few notes and highlighted many passages that I think will help make my book better and more militaristic. With the length of the original writings of Tzu there really is no excuse to not give this a read, you will probably learn something and be entertained at the same time.

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