Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Clone Wars -- "A Distant Echo" (Ep. ?.6)

-- Wars are not won with superior weapons but with superior strategy.

Padme is sexy nose art on the Bad Batch's spacecraft, and Anakin is not pleased. Ah, the amusing things this show throws in and just another reason I'm still sad it ended.

Rex believes Echo is still alive and mounts a covert operation to rescue him, so covert even the Jedi Council doesn't know about it... because, well, they said "no" to the idea of the mission in the first place. And, of course, if there's something going on that the Council has said no to, it's a safe bet to assume that Anakin's involved, which he is. It's also a safe bet to assume that Obi-Wan knows about it but is standing the side. I just realized I don't know what I think about that.

Basically, Obi-Wan, by repeatedly allowing Anakin to disobey the Jedi Council without consequences, has completely undermined the authority of the Council, at least in regards to Anakin. Maybe it's no wonder things turned out the way they did?

But I digress...

Though there's not much left to say about the episode other than that it looks as if it was introducing a creepy new type of battle droid. It's too bad those didn't make it into a final version.

Oh, and Rex gets into it with one of the members of the Bad Batch.

Good stuff.

"Hope nobody's scared of heights."
"Well, I'm not scared of nuthin'. I just... When I'm up real high, I got a problem with gravity."

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Waiting (part 5)

This is a view of a small part of the fire from downtown Santa Rosa one week after it started.
That's miles away.

It was the waiting that was the killer. 

You can find the rest of this piece here:


It's at this point, I suppose I should say that if you want to help with the fire relief efforts that there are ways to do that. I would suggest Redwood Credit Union, but there are plenty of other trustworthy places to go through for donations.
Before doing that, I would actually suggest supporting the relief effort for Puerto Rico. In the long run (and the short, for that matter), they need it more. I mean when we have a #fakepresident who is actively undermining the relief effort, it's time for the people to step up and do the right thing. I'm not telling you not to help with the fire relief effort here but, if it's a choice for you, support the relief effort in Puerto Rico.
Also, just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that there is some kind of mandate that you send help to... well, anywhere, BUT, if you want to... That's all I'm saying.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Grass (a book review post)

One of the modern myths of American protestant religion is that God wants to have a personal relationship with you. With you, specifically. The best part about that is that "christians" think that's how it has always been, that that thought about God has always been there. But that's just not true. The idea of a "personal God," a God who wants to be "friends," originated with Enlightenment thinking and has only been around a couple or few centuries, but didn't really take off till the middle of the 20th century through evangelists like Billy Graham and his whole inviting Jesus into your heart schtick.

Prior to that, the thought about God had been more... communal. God didn't know or care about you as an individual person, only as part of humanity. That's the reason in the Catholic church you didn't appeal to God directly but worked through advocates. God didn't have time for you, but St. Joseph or St. Matthew might. It's something like the owner of a large company not knowing who every employ is, but your manager knows who you are and you can talk to her with any concerns.

As such, according to Tepper's presentation in Grass, people don't have individual purposes handed down to them by God. People have a purpose as a race, and God isn't up in Heaven handing out purposes to everyone like ice cream cones. It's up to the individual to help make sure the purpose of humanity is fulfilled, and that's as close as you get to having a purpose.

I like Tepper's view. It makes sense.

Not that that's how she presents it.

But if mankind were to have a purpose, what would it be? Something like taking care of the Earth, maybe? Which we have done a piss-poor job of and many of us, especially those in power, try to pretend like everything is perfectly fine. Nope, no climate change happening here! Move along. Because, you know, it doesn't really affect them, and they all have the money and position to avoid the negative consequences of the global devastation that is already beginning to happen. If they, the rich and powerful, are going to survive, why worry about anyone else or curing the plague at all?

And, now, I've told you a bit about the book without telling you anything at all. I suppose you'll just have to read it to understand what I mean.

Which brings us to the question of whether the book is worth reading...
I would say yes. It's a quite good book. Generally speaking, Grass is regarded as Tepper's best book, though I would say The Gate to Women's Country is better. I can't do better than that; those are the only two of Tepper's books I've read so far, though I do have a couple more on standby and just discovered that Grass is the first of a trilogy, so I'm going to have to look into the other two of these, also.

What I can say for sure is that Tepper is under appreciated as an author, and I can't really figure out why that is. Unless it's because she was a woman writing in the male dominated sci-fi field, and I'm not saying that, but I probably could, and could probably make a strong case for it. As someone who's read a lot of sci-fi (A LOT), I would say that Tepper is among the best I've read. But, then, I wouldn't expect The Gate to Women's Country to be raking in the male fans, and men and the patriarchy don't fare much better in Grass.

None of which is to say that the book isn't without its flaws. She gets a little overly explain-y when she gets into the plague, what causes it and... all of that (no spoilers!). Also, it takes a while to get to what the point of the book actually is, but, then, the protagonist, Marjorie, takes a while to come to grips with that herself, so I suppose that's understandable.

But the flaws are slight, like coming across a salty bite in your eggs, a momentary unpleasantness before returning to your scrambled goodness.

I would mention, though: Tepper seems to like telepathy and mind powers. Out of two books, so far, both have had elements of this. And I'm assuming the next two books in the Arbai sequence will also contain these elements since they're sequels to Grass. On a personal level, I'm not sure how I feel about all the telepathy and stuff. That's still something I'm dwelling on.

Anyway! Read the book! It's good!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Clone Wars -- "The Bad Batch" (Ep. ?.5)

-- The battles are over, but the heroes live on.
Thank you Clone Wars fans.

It's been a while since we've had Cody and Rex together in an episode. Thinking back on it, it seems that it's been that Cody has been missing for a while. Or not mentioned. Rex pops up here and there, but I can't remember the last episode with Commander Cody. Sure, yeah, I could go look it up, but it's not that big a deal, just an idle curiosity now that they're teamed together again.

Against our old pal Admiral Trench... who just keeps coming back. He's worse than Grievous.

They're joined by a squad of defective clones, Clone Force 99. If you remember way back to season three, you might remember clone 99, for whom the squad is named. These are clones who didn't turn out quite right but who have beneficial, let's say, mutations. Sort of like the X-Men of clones. Basically, they have a special mission, and they need a group that is a bit... unconventional. You can't get more unconventional than Clone Force 99.

Of course, things go to hell almost immediately.

And then we have an echo of an old character long thought dead...

That's all I'm going to give you. The hint should be enough.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 35 (a future history)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Nothing is getting better. And so much stuff is happening that I can’t keep up with it or figure out what’s going on. I’m going to spend the weekend trying to figure out how to get out of here. Maybe I can take the train, but the train station is all the way downtown, and that’s a long way to walk.

The other thing I didn’t say about Tuesday is that it wasn’t just my school that had all the vandalism. It was all the schools. I didn’t find that out until later though. We were the only school that the soldiers came to, all because of Caleb, and we were the only school with an incident. An “incident.”

The only school with an incident on Tuesday.

Because then Wednesday happened.

Wednesday morning, one of the Nazi bastards came to school early to see if he could catch anyone putting graffiti on lockers. Evidently, Caleb and all of them had been talking big about staking out the school and catching people in the act, but Trevor was the only one of them to actually show up to do it. And he did do it. He caught a group of the basketball players vandalizing Caleb’s locker and burning his stuff.

But he was alone, and they beat him up. Bad.

That’s all we know, and we don’t even know that, because Trevor said it was guys from the basketball team, but they all say they didn’t do it. It didn’t matter, because the soldiers came and took away almost the whole team. All of the black boys on the team. Until they can “sort it out.” None of them have been back to school.

Things like that happened at a lot of the schools. Like gang fights. Gang fights with Nazis.

Parents are protesting.

There was a riot Wednesday night that was supposed to just be a protest, but soldiers went to it and there was fighting and a bunch of people got shot and some of them were killed. Mostly black people.

It’s really scary because I wanted to go to the protest, but mom wouldn’t let me. We had a big fight, and I tried to march out the door anyway, but dad got involved and threatened to lock me in my room except for school if I went out the front door and, like a dummy, I said I would just go out the window, so, now, he’s going to buy bars for my window. That’s what he says, anyway, and I kind of believe him. All I know is that I don’t want to end up locked in my room all the time like some kind of Rapunzel but without all the long hair.

But, then, I was glad I didn’t go because mom was listening to the stuff about it on the radio, and I was listening but trying to pretend not to be listening, and all of the gunfire started happening and there was screaming and all kinds of chaos and mom turned the radio off because she was crying and didn’t want to hear any more of it and all dad could say was how they all deserved it.

And I don’t even know what he meant by that. Black people deserve it? People who protest deserve it? People who don’t like what’s going on deserve it?

I hate my dad.

And that makes me sad when I think about it, because I didn’t used to hate him, but it’s like Trump being president has made him into the worst person he can be. I never knew he was all racist and stuff before Trump started running for president. And I know he used to play football in high school, so now I wonder if he was one of those horrible kind of jock guys that bully people and use girls.

And it makes me wonder what my mom ever saw in him because she spends a lot of her time crying, now, and they hardly ever talk to each other anymore. So I don’t know what’s going on at home anymore either, but I don’t know if I care because I’m leaving. I’m going to. I can’t stand being here, and I’m going to go to California.

As soon as I figure out how to get there.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Turandot (an opera review post)

The 2017 opera season is underway. This is a short season, only five operas which will all be presented this year, but that's because the San Francisco Opera is presenting Wagner's Ring Cycle next summer! I can't wait. This is such a big deal that we had to purchase the tickets for it LAST YEAR. I have almost an equivalent anticipation for this as I did for The Phantom Menace or Raimi's Spider-Man. But none of that has to do with this opera, so let's get to that.

Turnadot was Puccini's last opera; in fact, he died before it was finished. That he died is just part of what makes this particular opera problematic and, often, controversial. The ending most often performed is by Franco Alfano and was written from Puccini's notes; however, that did not keep it from feeling inauthentic to me, not least of which was because the ending is happy. I'm not saying the ending wasn't good, and Puccini may have intended a happy ending for this one, but it didn't feel quite right to me. It's not really what he's known for.

That said, the opera was amazing. Turandot contains one of the most famous arias in all of opera: "Nessun dorma" or "None Shall Sleep." In the role of Calaf, Brian Jagde (seemingly becoming the SF Opera's tenor De Niro) performed it admirably.

The other big issue with this opera -- skipping over the issue of the name and the disagreement about how it should be pronounced -- is the... Well, I don't know if it's accurate to call it racism, but it certainly caricaturizes the Chinese. In fact, the opera was banned in China for a while because of it. But, then, the opera is kind of a cultural muddle, for which there are reasons of a sort, but you can look up the origins of the story on your own if you want to know about them.

At any rate, seeing that we are much more culturally sensitive these days than people were in the 1920s, and rightfully so, the San Francisco Opera staged it as a fairy tale. Of sorts. Which has a basis in the original story, so it all works out.

With that in mind, the sets were amazing! I mean, they were seriously amazing. I've commented previously about how great some of the sets have been at the SF Opera, but I think Turandot has had the best set design of any opera I've seen. By far. It was almost like watching a dream. Especially the scene during which "Nessun dorma" is performed. It was like a fairy forest with a bridge... Well, it was really great.

And the costumes were also really good, especially Turandot's. Actually, a couple of her gowns rivaled the sets.

The only possible negative I have about this presentation is that there was actually a lot of that whole standing and singing thing. However, possibly due somewhat to the richness of the sets and that, often, there were background chorus people milling around, it didn't often feel that way, and, when it did, it felt more natural.

This production of Turandot is definitely one of the best operas I've seen so far.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Power (part 4)

Theoretically, my wife was supposed to go to work. Theoretically, she was supposed to have been at work on Monday, too. She had almost gone on Monday, a half hour commute north, but had made the decision to work from home, something that hadn’t much happened due to the power loss and poor internet reception. It had been a good thing, though, because they had shut down the freeway north of us about half an hour after she would have arrived at work. The freeway was still shut down on Tuesday morning, so she would have been stuck there overnight with no way to communicate with us. That would have been a nightmare.

You can find the rest of this piece here:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Silent Night (part 3)

That said, Monday was a waiting game, like being stuck in traffic behind a terrible accident. But a terrible accident involving a bus full of people you know. All you can do is sit and wait to hear if there are casualties, but you know that emergency services are having difficulty getting there because of all the backed-up traffic.

All of our information was coming through the radio and my wife’s phone...

You can find the rest of this piece here:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Clone Wars -- "The Big Bang" (Ep. ?.4)

-- If at first you don't succeed, destroy it.

This may be my favorite Clone Wars story arc in terms of sheer enjoyment. Many of the arcs, even the good ones, will have an episode that's a little off, but not this one. Each episode contained topnotch dialogue, and I frequently found myself LOLing. Actually, dialogue is a big thing for me. Justified is my favorite TV show in large part because of the excellent dialogue throughout the entire series (and I think it must be difficult to sustain that kind of great dialogue through five seasons of a show since so few shows manage it). This arc is like that: excellent dialogue throughout, especially the banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin.

It doesn't hurt, too, that this arc teases things to come in the movies. Most of The Clone Wars is self-contained and, other than the characters, does not relate to the movies at all. It seems the thrust of season six was to change all of that. Between the opening arc with the ties to Order 66, the Yoda arc, and, now, this one; I get the impression that the creators were working to bring the series into closer synchronicity to the movies. I like it.

And, again, it makes me sad that they pulled the plug on the series because, if season six was a taste of what was to come, The Clone Wars was only getting better.

"Cavalier! You're cavalier all the time and no one says anything about it."
"I'm just better at it; that's all."

"It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't get captured."

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Red Glow in the Sky (part 2)

I left her to do the research on what was actually going on while I took the dog out. The dog, too, was up early and wanting to go out hours before she usually wants to do that. Agitated, I guess.

We, the dog and I, went out the door into the pre-dawn darkness and made our way to the end of the driveway and turned north to go up the sidewalk…

…and the sky glowed red against the black of night.

You can find the rest of this piece here:

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Smell of Smoke (part 1)

The smell of smoke was in the air. Strong, like sitting around a campfire, but the smoke haze in the air had no obvious source. I thought back to the plume of smoke we’d seen from the highway on the way home from the south Bay earlier in the day. Not that we’d agreed that it was smoke, but I’d thought it was smoke.

Still, as far as I could tell, there was nothing to see...

You can find the rest of this piece here:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Clone Wars -- "Crystal Crisis" (Ep. ?.3)

-- Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

"Size matters not," seems to be a concept that more than just Luke struggled with. Maybe it's more of a theory? I don't know, but Anakin and Obi-Wan debate the issue as they deal with the massive Kaiburr crystal they've found themselves in position of. The quality of the dialogue and banter continues to be topnotch in this arc.

I think it's safe to say that the events in this arc are the direct precursor to what's happening on Utapau in Revenge of the Sith. I wouldn't say it's necessary viewing, but it's certainly interesting. More than one person finds out what it's like to cut a deal with the Sith. Yes, the emphasis is on purpose.

Also, while not the direct precursor to events in Rogue One, I think it's safe to safe that we're seeing some of the events that lead in that direction. Of course, the Death Star is also teased in Revenge, so this is still part of that path.

I don't know that I would say this arc is significant in the same way that I have said that about other arcs, but it's certainly one of my favorite at this point. I'll reserve judgement until I finish part four.

"Next time, I'll bring Master Windu."
"Yeah, 'cause he's loads of fun."

"Aren't you being adventurous today."
"Not by choice, I assure you."

Monday, October 9, 2017

"Creative Differences" or White Male Privilege at Work

If you follow any Star Wars news at all, which I do...
Okay, that's not exactly true, as such. I don't actually follow Star Wars news or do any searching out of Star Wars news or follow any Star Wars sites. This is much different from my younger years when I did all of that stuff but, mostly, these days, I don't want to know anything ahead of time about the movies or what's going on, so I don't keep up on that stuff. Or any of the Marvel stuff, either. However, when there's news that makes the mainstream media cut, I notice it and, depending on what it is, I might go read it. Never, though, if it's talking about plot stuff or leaked stuff or anything stuff that has to do with the content of any project still in development.


If you notice Star Wars news at all, which I do, you might have noticed recently that a couple of projects that are in development have lost their directors. The first was Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow and the second was the directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who were set to direct the upcoming solo Han film. [no, I'm not apologizing] The reason given in both circumstances was "creative differences."

But what does that even mean?

Or, you know, what does it mean in this particular circumstance? Because, based on things said, especially by Lord and Miller, I can tell you. It means that the directors believed, based on the fact that they were hired at all, that they should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they wanted to do with the movies without any regard to what Disney hired them to do. It was white privilege at work (because the guys who do this kind of shit are always white dudes who start whining about how they're not being allowed their creative freedom).

Now, I'm not going to get into the minutia of how Disney catalyzed the problem by trying to hire hot, new directors and offering them some amount of creative control (like allowing them to take part in the writing process (something that has had two non-successes so far)), because this is about doing the job you're hired to do.

So let's start with Lord and Miller, the guys behind The Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, and a bunch of other comedic offerings. Yeah, in hindsight, maybe not the best fit for a Star Wars film, but Disney wanted the Han Solo film to be a bit heavier on the humor than previous Star Wars movies, so they hired some guys who had shown themselves capable. And Lord and Miller were riding a popularity wave after the Lego thing.

Here's your analogy:
Disney hired Lord and Miller to paint their Han Solo room. They told Lord and Miller they could paint the room however they wanted to do it as long as they stayed within the provided color palette and didn't include any clowns. And, so, Lord and Miller start painting neon green (not an acceptable color) clowns everywhere. When confronted about it, they do the classic, "Let us do what we want or we're gonna quit!" Disney showed them the door.

And Trevorrow? His claim to fame is that he wrote and directed one of last summer's biggest movies, Jurassic World. Of course, he "wrote" it by re-making Jurassic Park. Yes, they are basically the same movie. Who knows what he wanted to do with Episode IX, but it wasn't what Disney told him they wanted, but he figured he was a big enough hot shot to not have to listen to Disney, so they let him walk, too.

And I get that some of you might think I'm reaching when I say this is white privilege at work, but you don't get this kind of attitude from little nobody people unless they're white dudes. Seriously, Trevorrow? I'm still trying to figure out why they thought he was a good idea in the first place. The guy's a hack with almost no experience. And, while Lord and Miller have been around awhile and made some movies that have been noticed, they're not exactly household names. All of them were hired to do fucking Star Wars, and they couldn't get their heads out of their own asses long enough to realize what was going on.

Probably some of you are going, "But millennials...," right about now, but none of these guys are millennials. They're all gen-x white dudes. Really, it's not millennials who think they're all special; it's mostly just white dudes. Of all kinds of ages.

I mean, seriously, you have to think pretty fucking highly of yourself to try to hi-jack a Star Wars movie to make a name for yourself. Outside of the fact that if you're hired to do a job, a specific job, you DO THE FUCKING JOB you were hired to do. You don't get to do some other job that you'd rather be doing. And when it's Disney and Star Wars... Did someone hit these guys in the heads with a hammer?

But, then, that's the kind of culture we've put in place, a culture where white cops get to shoot people of color and walk away from it. A culture where a white man brags of sexually assaulting women and white men vote for him to be president.

White dudes are always going on about millennials and how they think they're all "special snowflakes," but the only ones I see out there acting as if they're special is white dudes, which just makes me sad to be a white dude. And when you're such a white dude that you can't manage to collaborate on a Star Wars project... Well, there really aren't any words for that kind of assholery.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 34 (a future history)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I’m going to run away. I’m really going to do it. I don’t care if I don’t have enough money. I’m not staying here anymore.

This week has been shit.

Tuesday morning when we got to school, we found out that all of the little Nazi boys had had their lockers vandalized. All 18 or 20 of them. I don’t even know how many there are, though I think they’re adding more. yay It was all stuff like

Fuck Nazis
Nazis suck cock
Nazis are LOSERS

Most of us thought it was pretty funny.

Caleb didn’t. Caleb was going around school calling it terrorism and demanding to know who’d done it. Like anyone would tell him. No one liked him before he had his Nazi goon squad, and everyone hates him now. But Caleb whined to daddy. He actually went to the office before school had even started and called him, so there was a special emergency assembly called during first period. It turns out that Caleb’s dad isn’t just in the National Guard but is a captain or a sergeant or something and is the Nazi in charge of the Nazi babies.

Captain Nazi gave us a long speech about how this kind of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated and that the people responsible should turn themselves in to avoid horrible punishment. He also offered a reward for anyone who would turn in the people who did it.

So there’s this guy, Evan, who’s kind of a smart ass. He’s always saying disruptive stuff in class and making teachers mad and, sometimes, making them look dumb. He’s super smart and he knows it. He doesn’t care about any school stuff because he already knows it all. But he really doesn’t try to make people feel stupid. Except for teachers when they act like they’re right because they’re the teachers or people who are really just being stupid. I think he likes the attention he gets from being a smart ass in class because he’s so bored with being in school.

So Evan stood up, just stood up as soon as Captain Nazi-pants offered a reward, and said, “I know who did it.” Everyone got real quiet, and I’m sure whoever did do it was scared. I would have been scared. But I also wouldn’t narc on people bashing Nazis and couldn’t believe Evan was going to, even for a reward. Evan didn’t say anything. He just kept standing there. Everybody was looking at him, and I think he was enjoying it.

Eventually, Nazi-pants said, “Well?”

And Evan smirked and said, “It was your momma.”

Which doesn’t sound very brilliant coming from Evan – that’s the kind of thing a 6th grader would say – unless he was trying to say the thing that would most piss off Nazi-pants. Or almost the thing that would most piss him off. Because Caleb started yelling, “You take that back! Take it back!” And Evan looked at him and said, “And your momma was watching and sucking a big black dick while it was happening. Two of them, in fact.”

Nazi-pants lost it. He went flying off the stage in a rage but some other National Guard Nazi guy had Evan by the arm and was pulling him from his seat by the time Nazi-pants got there. Caleb was right behind his dad. Evan was freaked out and trying to get away. Caleb’s dad grabbed Evan and punched him in the face. Just punched him in the face! Blood hit the wall and Evan collapsed. Caleb started kicking him and no one stopped him.

Evan is just a kid. Really a kid. He’s in 8th grade, but that’s because he skipped a couple of years of school. He might only be 10. I don’t know.

I think everyone was too shocked by what was happening to do anything, but the soldiers weren’t shocked; they just didn’t care. Eventually – and it probably wasn’t really very long, but it felt like a long time – Mr. Chambers started yelling for them to stop and headed that way, but soldier dudes got in his way. But Mr. Chambers is a big guy and used to play football and wrestle and stuff, coach stuff, and kept pushing his way through. Then the soldier dudes started attacking him, and he was knocking them all down until one of them pulled out his gun and told Mr. Chambers to freeze.

By that time, Nazi-pants was arguing with the principal, and a few moments later, the police and an ambulance showed up. I guess someone must have snuck out and called 911 during all of the fighting and confusion with Mr. Chambers. Nazi-pants didn’t want to let the ambulance take Evan away, but the police made him leave them alone. I think they may have been trying to arrest Nazi-pants, but I don’t really know. All I know is more police came and, when the more police got there, they made all of us clear out.

At some point, between the police getting there and the more police getting there, the soldiers took Mr. Chambers away. He hasn’t been back to school. Neither has Evan.

Evan, though, is in the hospital. The school did let us know that so that any of us who want to can go visit him. I want to visit him, but I wasn’t really friends with him, so that seems awkward to me. Especially since he can’t talk because of the broken jaw. And broken nose. And cracked ribs. And internal bleeding. His dad is someone kind of important, I think, so I hope he makes bad things happen to Captain Nazi-pants.

No one knows what happened to Mr. Chambers.

So far, nothing has happened to Nazi-pants, at least according to Caleb. He’s been bragging, now, about how his dad can do whatever he wants and no one can do anything about it or stop him. And, according to Caleb, that means he can also do anything he wants and no one can stop him, either. It seems like the teachers believe it, because they are letting Caleb get away with everything, even telling them what to do.

Mom is calling for dinner. More beans and rice, probably. That’s all we’ve had to eat for a week, and I’m sick and tired of beans and rice. But I’m also hungry. Mom is talking about getting chickens, but dad keeps saying no. Mom says we at least need them for the eggs because it’s been almost three weeks since we’ve had any meat, and it was two weeks before that.

But, anyway, all of that was JUST Tuesday, but I’ll have to talk about Wednesday later.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Act 1 -- New Game (or) Music To Write By

A couple of months ago, I posted about a song my son composed. You can read about it here. And you should, too, because it's a really great song. A song he wrote and just sprang on us, as I sort of implied in the linked post. "Aurora Daedalus" is something I can write by, and I can't listen to much music when I'm writing. But I digress...

Over the next couple of days, he wrote a couple more songs:
"Eternal Voyage"
"Love Me and Despair"
That's the last we heard of it.

He's kind of tight lipped about what he's working on so gentle probes didn't get any results. Then probes that were less gentle still didn't get any responses, so we quit asking.
I have to come clean at this point and say that he probably gets that from me. I'm not as bad as I used to be, but I tend to not want anyone to see my work until it's finished. Or even know that I'm working on something. So, yeah... It's familiar behavior.


Last week, he asked me for help with PayPal, which was kind of weird, especially when he went on to say that he needed a business account. Wait. What?
He's produced a whole album of music and had it all set on a hosting site and everything, but they require a PayPal account to deposit money into.
Fortunately, I have a PayPal business account.

Shameless boasting:
This is the part where I'm going to point out that this is the son I wrote the long education series about and further point out that he's only 16. Sure, it's not like he's Mozart or anything, but I think this is a lot of talent for 16.


His album, Act 1 -- New Game is available through bandcamp, and you should definitely go check it out. Seriously, give it a listen. And, then, give it a purchase. It's only $5.00, and, hey, it's music to write by. Or cook by. Or whatever. No, you can't sing to it (since there are no lyrics), but it's pretty nice background music.

Oh, also! He did all of the art. Here's the tricky part: You have to click the link for each song but, when you do, the page for that song will come up, and each song has its own piece of pixel art. Yeah, it's pixel art, but he likes it, and it's GOOD pixel art.

Look, as I tell me kids when it comes to tasting food, what have you got to lose? It's not going to kill you, and you might find something you like. Go. Now. Give it a listen and check out the art.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Clone Wars -- "In Search of the Crystal" (Ep. ?.2)

-- The journey is often more important than the destination.

[No notes this time. Go back and look at last week's episode if you need to know what's going on.]

Remember when Ahsoka quit the Jedi Order? Remember how it didn't really come up again after that happened? Well, that was more because the season six stories went off in other directions, directions that didn't focus on Anakin, than because it was forgotten. But now we're back to Obi-Wan and Anakin, and they're dealing with the fallout of Ahsoka's decision to leave.

Well, you know, as much as they can in a 22-minute episode.

This episode sustains the great banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin that the previous episode had. It literally had me LOLing, as my son would say.

We find out what Tu-Ahn was investigating on Utapau, and it's not good. Well, not good for the Republic. I would say more, but I don't want to. I mean, I do want to, but I also don't want to, and the "don't" is winning. I will say this: I'm pretty sure the events in this arc are a pre-cursor to some of the events in Rogue One, which raises some interesting questions since, supposedly, the continuation of the movie franchise hadn't yet been confirmed when Disney bought Lucasfilm and, certainly, not any non-trilogy films. Though, again, this is all part of the run-up to Revenge of the Sith, and maybe that's all it is. Maybe.

Also, we finally get to see what happens when "someone" is looking into the tube of a lightsaber when he turns it on. Sort of.

Also, also, never trust a Sith -- oh, wait, NEVER trust a Sith! -- when your bargaining and he says he will "give you what you deserve."

"...as usual, you went rushing in." (and got our mounts killed)

"Ahh... So you're the only one who can think on his feet."

"We're always in a ventilation duct, every ship we go in!"

Monday, October 2, 2017

Day 31 (a future history)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Trump announced his new America for Americans program this morning. I’m not really sure what it all means, but it sounds like it’s something special for white people to help white people live all together without anyone who is not white. He said if you’re white and live in a place where mostly minorities live, you can apply to have the government move you to a white neighborhood. They’ll even make sure you get a better house because houses in minority neighborhoods are always trashy. Or something like that.

He also said that if you live in a white neighborhood and have people in it you don’t like being there, minority people, you can apply to have them removed. I think he said relocated. Yeah, relocated because they’re going to have relocation camps.

The scary part is that he made that crying Nazi guy in charge of something called hud. Hud is going to be the organization making sure that America is for Americans. That’s how he said it. But the Nazi guy, when he got his turn to talk, said it was about making something he called a pure ethno state. Something like that. He said ethno state a lot. And he wore some kind of Hitler armband, which was the really scary part, because he was right there on the TV with the president wearing a Nazi thing. AND EVRYONE WAS OKAY WITH IT!

Then, he gave Trump some little gift pin thing, and Trump put it on, and it was also some kind of Nazi thing! He just put it on and everyone clapped and he called it beautiful. It made my stomach hurt like I wanted to throw up and there were people in the auditorium who were crying, but I don’t know who it was or how many.

Then all the stupid little Trump Youth Bastards started cheering and Caleb got up and said he was going to write everyone down – everyone, even teachers – who wasn’t cheering. And he did, too. Or, at least, he pulled out a notebook and started acting like it. Everyone started standing up and there were some claps, but Trump was still talking, so the Asshole (that’s Caleb) started yelling at everyone to shut up.

That didn’t make people quit crying, though. I could still hear sobbing.

It made me think of my friend Tamira, and I quit wondering why they suddenly moved away. I want to move away and I’m white! It all made me sad. I miss Tamira. She didn’t even say goodbye. They just left.

Lots of people have just left. But no one who is white.

And I think some people are just disappearing. Like Mrs. Madison. Because I don’t think she’s ever coming back, and no one is talking about it. Maybe they took her to a “relocation camp.”

Oh, the relocation camps.

Trump made someone called Arpieo in charge of the relocation camps. Arpieo is some other asshole that Trump pardoned, someone who has had his own concentration camps. Or something. I kind of remember when that Arpieo guy got pardoned, but I didn’t care, then. And I didn’t know he was running concentration camps and throwing Mexicans into them. It sounds like he had everything except the gas chambers. I don’t know; it just makes me sick, and I want someone to do something about it, but I guess people are trying to and that’s why we’re in a war.

At the end, Trump says we are now going to be called the American States. The real American States. It was just something he said at the end, but I think that means there is no more United States, which makes sense, I guess, since some states were smart enough to get away from Trump and all of the stuff he stands for.

It’s confusing to keep up with, though, because we’re at war with China and Trump says that it’s China that has taken over those other states, which I know is a lie, because why would you change the name of the country if it was someone else who had taken over part of your land. And Russia is at war with China. And maybe something happened in North Korea, but I don’t know. All I know is that Trump said we were going to do to our enemies what we did to North Korea. And maybe there’s a war in Europe, too, but no one seems to know, only that the “war in Europe” was mentioned at some point.

It all makes me feel stupid because, back when I could know stuff and find things out, I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything happening in the world or I was trying to pretend that nothing was happening in the world. I thought everything was just going to be okay because this is (was) America and everything is always okay, even when bad disasters happen, like those hurricanes last year and everyone was freaked out but, after a little while, everything was okay again. And I just want everything to be okay again.

But I guess sometimes things are not just okay and if you want them to be then you have to do something to make it better. I just don’t know what to do. I’m only in middle school.