Some like-minded folks and I have developed the habit of posting on twitter as Star Wars characters. In effect, our interaction on twitter has developed into a sort of real-time RPG, with all comments limited to 140 characters.
Some of the more enterprising Star Wars twitterers have put together a blog to keep track of the goings-on of the characters. Here's a sample of what you might find there-
Hello Kitty Man-Panties of the Sith
A day before the enjoyably chaotic event that was @ariabrisard's Friday night costume party, there was a different, perhaps more troubling disturbance in the Force...
Anakin Skywalker, aka @Every1HatesAni, wears a public face of cool competence and unshakable confidence, a man of deep talents and even deeper thoughts. A complex, complicated soul who relishes pondering the more profound mysteries of the universe, as demonstrated by this excerpt from his secret diary:
" today I was awesome & my girlfriend was hot. Then Dooku was mean to me. I hate everyone!!!!!!!"
But despite his aura of intellectual prowess and iron-firm will, it appears that our Jedi Knight hero has a chink in his armor...
While on a brief sabbatical on Future Tatooine, the stalwart Jedi Master @MaceWindu_ made a startling discovery: @Every1HatesAni has a fetish for Hello Kitty. First-hand accounts vary, but one common, pastel-colored thread runs through all of their stories. All witness describe a sense of soul-crushing anguish and horror at viewing the evidence.
Exhibit 1- A custom lightsaber hilt, complete with Hello Kitty stickers.
"It was like some awful collision of worlds," one witness claimed. "Like a peanut butter and sardine sandwich.. Hello Kitty and Star wars DO NOT KARKING MIX!"
Often depicted on the holonet as a courageous and rugged fighter for truth and justice, young Skywalker is viewed by most as the epitome of manliness. This image is at risk of being shattered, however, by the discovery of his secret stash of Hello Kitty man-panties.
When reached for comment, @Every1HatesAni responded with his trademark cool, collected professionalism- "WTF?!?! THOSE AREN'T MINE!!! It must be that kids....yeah...@Jysella_Horn or something....."
In reply, @Crazyben_kenobi, custodian of this horrible secret, was heard to say " be careful anakin, hate leads to the dark side. The dark side leads to hello kitty."
While shocking to most, this discovery came as no surprise to one of the twittervers' more observant residents. When reached for comment, the vivacious and lovely @Biddygirl, was heard to say "...now that you mention it...I'm not really surprised."
But even for her, acceptance dosen't come easily.
"Why would someone make those underwear? Now I know how @obiwankenobi feels when he bleaches his brain."
Indeed, biddygirl. The whole situation really is hard to swallow.
I made a promise to myself to take a story that's been kicking around in my head for the past few years, and turn it into a novel. THIS YEAR. Well, my PC crashed on me a few weeks back, taking everything saved within to that great big matrix in the sky.
Months and months of work, consisting of the vast bulk of my free time, gone just like that.
My first impulse (after I stopped cursing) was to just trash the whole project. I do NOT relish the idea of trying to replicate everything, especially considering how long I sweated over the most trivial turn of phrase. I figured it would be impossible to recapture the little glimmers of awesome that made the prose worth reading.
My second instinct was to just condense the thing into a short story, or novella. After all, some of my notes were backed up on external drives, so the framework of the story still exists.
My friend Jen suggested biting the bullet, and trying to reconstruct what was lost. After all, as she correctly pointed out, re-drafts are often much better than the original.
Right now, I'm on the fence. I WILL complete the project in some form, and I will do so before the year is out. The question is, will it be full-length, or shortened?
Rebuild Of Evangelion, or Evangelion Shin Gekijōban, is a 4-part movie series retelling the story of the EPIC anime series Shin Seiki Evangelion, a.k.a. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Part one, You Are (Not) Alone, premiered 2 years ago in Japan and quickly made a mark for itself. And at long last, it is coming to the U.S.!
The impending Region-1 DVD release of Rebuild Of Evangelion has this series top-of-mind lately. In fact, I've been inspired to take another stab at a synopsis. It's pretty tough though... discussing the most salient points of the series would involve major spoilers. Anyway; here goes--
Setting: The near future. The Dead Sea Scrolls foretell a coming apocalypse- Angels will be sent down by God to usher in the end of Humanity. The scrolls tell of 3 major events in the history of Humanity:
The First Impact, or creation of mankind. The Second Impact, or warning that the final countdown has begun. And The Third Impact, which will be The End.
A multi-national group of scientists, religious scholars, and historians takes the prophecy seriously, and they have been preparing. And then one day, a cataclysmic event occurs that wipes out nearly half of Humanity-- The Second Impact.
The doomsday clock is now ticking.
With the foretold Angel Attack quickly approaching, he multi-national group, called NERV, steps up it's efforts to stop the apocalypse. Their main tactic- to create a trio of gigantic, super-powered humanoid robots to fight against the angels, and hopefully stave off the apocalypse. As their work progresses, many nations view their efforts as a misguided waste of resources, until one day, the truth is thrown into their faces. A gigantic, fearsome being descends to rain destruction down on the city surrounding NERV headquarters.
The Angels are real. The Prophecy is true.
After the best efforts of the military are shown to be ineffectual (not even atomic bombs will work against the angels), the U.N. decides that NERV had it right all along. The economic and military resources of every nation on Earth are channeled to NERV. The world unites to support NERV in its desperate, last-ditched effort to stop the unstoppable.
The first episode of the series opens during this first Angel attack. A teenage kid named Shinji is on his way to join his estranged father, who happens to be one of the guys leading NERV. And then the shit hits the fan. Long story short, Shinji is pressured into becoming the reluctant pilot of one of the aforementioned Super-Robots (called Evangelions, or 'EVAs' for short). The EVAs are used by NERV to fight against each of the angels that comes to end humanity. And meanwhile, a complicated web of sub-plots is slowly revealed, coming to a head in the series' jarring and shocking conclusion.
This series truly is worthy of the label 'Classic'. Disguised as a Giant Robot show, Evangelion is in reality a complex, no-holds-barred study of the human condition and our yearning for connection. It also presents a realistic portrayal of our tradgic tendency to sometimes sabotage our own attempts at connection. I recommend checking the series out; it really is an amazing ride. Or at the least, check out Rebuild Of Evangelion- You Are (Not) Alone, Available from Funimation this Fall.
I recently found out that Funimation, the U.S. license holder of the Rebuild Of Evangelion films will be releasing the DVD of Evangelion 1.0- You Are (Not) Alone this November! Looks like I wont have to buy a R-2 DVD player after all.
In my last post, I mentioned pictures. Guess I was counting my chickens before they hatched-- the damage done to the car has been repaired, hence no photos. LMPD pretty much blew the incident off, so there go my dreams of retribution.
But I guess I should count my blessings. I got the car back, and insurance covered my rental and repairs.
About 10 years ago or so, I stumbled on an anime series that, for better or worse, left a lasting impression on me-- Neon Genesis Evangelion. Most folks who have at least a passing familiarity with Japanese animation are aware of the series. Among those in the know, there isn't much of a gray area when it comes to opinions on the franchise-- folks either love it or hate it. I happen to be one of the former-- I am a HUGE fan.
Eva is one of Japan's most well known anime properties; its popularity can be compared to familiar U.S. pop-culture icons like Star Wars and Star Trek. When it comes to anime shows in Japan, Evangelion is one of the big boys. It's popularity abroad is something of a phenomenon as well. Even today, almost 15 years after its initial release, the franchise is still going strong, spawning a load of merchandising materials that would make George Lucas jealous.
So, what is it that makes Evangelion so special? As far as I'm concerned, the answer is fairly simple- Eva was like the Perfect Storm; when it hit, it filled a niche that didn't exist in Anime. Some might argue that it filled a niche that didn't, and still doesn't, exist in any form of pop-culture, be it animated or live action; on televison or the big screen. It rode into the public consciousness on the wave of popularity created by an anime staple- the Giant Robot Show. And once it got the audience hooked on its apparent 'monster of the week' premise, it dropped its mask to reveal its true face: a thought-provoking, controversial, well written, and well acted study of the nature of humanity. All with a liberal sprinkling of philosophical, psychological, and religious themes.
And all of the series' intricate plot-twists and turns were built on a simple yet shocking premise: A band of humans fighting against the forces of God to stave off the prophesied end of the world.
Here's a spoiler-free synopsis:
In the near future, a cataclysmic event called The Second Impact nearly wipes out the human race. Floods and climate changes eventually result in the human race being drastically reduced, and the survivors eventually rebuild a pale copy of the society that was.
There are some who believe that a mysterious organization calledSelee had prior knowledge that the Second Impact would occur, and that they know the true cause of it. Some say that they gathered this information from lost books of the Bible called The Dead Sea Scrolls. There are also some who believe that a Third Impact lies in the immediate future. Presaged by the appearance of a series of Angels, the Third Impact is rumored to be the final judgement of God.. The apocalypse that will mark the end of Humanity.
Selee also seems to pull the strings of a shadowy military organization called NERV. NERV's purpose- to combat a string of gigantic, awe-inspiring beings called Angels, who's appearance is foretold by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The logic being if the Angels can be stopped, the end of the world can be prevented.
To combat the Angels, NERV has created a secret weapon- a group of gigantic, humanoid fighting machines known as the Evangelions, or EVAs for short. Without giving too much away, all I can say about the Evangelions is... well; keep your eye on them. Things aren't exactly as they seem...
One side note on the EVAs-- They can only be controlled by pilots chosen from a group of kids born around the time of the Second Impact. NERVE has 3 main units in its arsenal - the bright-red Unit 02, piloted by a volatile German/Japanese orphan named Asuka, the blue unit 00, piloted by a quiet, enigmatic girl named Rei, and the bright purple unit 01, piloted by the show's protagonist, Shinji Ikari.
As the series opens, Shinji is going to live with his father Gendo, who has been distanced from his son ever since the mysterious death of his wife.
Cold and stern, the father also happens to be the apparent leader of the mysterious organization known as NERV....
After Shinji successfully proves the effectiveness of the EVA's in combating the Angels, the world's remaining governments decide to entrust NERV with their defense against the otherworldly threat. As the clock ticks down to the impending 3rd Impact, Shinji and his comrades find themselves fighting a war on two fronts-- they are tasked with defeating successively stronger Angels, as well as defeating their own inner demons and insecurities...
Earlier, I mentioned that most folks familiar with Evangelin either love it or hate it. I think that most of the hate comes from the way the 26 episode series wraps up. For the first 24 episodes, the story is told in a fairly straightforward manner. The action continues to ramp up, and as the stakes get higher, progressively larger bombshell-level revelations are unveiled. But as the story reaches its climax, viewers are not given the payoff they expect. Instead of providing a straightforward depiction of the show's endgame, the resolution is only alluded to. Paying close attention (I'm talking 'sitting in class taking notes' kind of attention) to the last two episodes will answer the viewer's questions about what happens, but the experience isn't as visceral as the events leading up to it. Put another way, it's as though the director spoon-feeds the story to you bit by tantalizing bit up until the end; at which point the spoon is rudely yanked away and we are told to wake up, think, and figure things out for ourselves.
Needless to say, this story-telling style rubbed many fans the wrong way. Fortunately, (or perhaps unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the last 2 episodes were re-made in the form of a film called The End Of Evangelion. The movie recounts the events of the last two episodes, but from a different perspective. While the television series ends with the viewer safely experiencing the story's resolution from inside the protagonist's head. The movie cuts away this safety net, and gives us a raw, unpolished depiction of events.
Both the TV series, and the film End Of Evangelion are available on DVD from pretty much any movie retailer.
My car was stolen from my apartment complex last Friday while I was warming it up for work. Fortunately, it was recovered on Sunday less than a mile from where it was taken.
Based on the interesting smell that issued from my heater when I was driving it back home, the thief was a BIG fan of the 'ol mary-jo-wanna. Which just might explain why he/she left a fingerprint-ridden CD in my car stereo.
If the detective on the case is true to his word, my nemesis might be heading to prison... the kind of prison they refer to in that film Office Space. I'm talkin about the scary Federal P.U.I.T.A. type of prison.
The only TV show that I feel compelled to watch on a regular basis finally returned last night. Some quick thoughts--
Really great episode, and on so many levels. A real roller-coaster ride, with some high points (like the date between Lee and Dee), and many, MANY more low points. At times, I felt like I was watching a Shakespearean tragedy, and at others, like I was watching a train-wreck--Horrible to see, but at the same time, too fascinating to ignore.
Regarding the Starbuck situation: I think things are just as they seem-- the dead body is the "real" Starbuck that we first meet in the Mini-Series. The current Starbuck is a copy with implanted memories. In fact, this ties in pretty neatly with a pet theory of mine.
Here it goes:
ALL of the "humans" are Cylons. Not actual metal robots, of course, but 'flesh-cylons', like Six and Boomer.
What if "The Plan" is just a series of repeated attempts to re-start the human race. With each try, the Machine Cylons decant a fresh batch of clones, or 'human-model cylons', all with ready-made memories and pre-programmed personalities. They set these cylon-created humans loose and see what happens. And they keep a small sample of the human-model cylons close at hand, with at least a partial awareness of their true nature, as a sort of control group.
And each time, the 'new humans' figure out a way to destroy themselves.. either directly (through nuclear holocaust, for example), or indirectly (like by creating yet another type of machine servant, only to have it turn on them).
I'm sure it's been mentioned all over the Internet before, but it's worth repeating:
Sometimes, I feel like I came into the world at just the right time.
Born at the tail-end of the Disco Era, I was lucky enough to witness the ground-breaking theatrical release of Star Wars back in '77. My 7-year-old mind was blown away by EVERY aspect of the film. Until then, the peak of sci-fi on the big screen was 2001, a film that, despite it's artistic merit, just couldn't hold a candle to the sheer escapist fun that was Star Wars.
I was also fortunate enough to discover Comic Books during Chris Claremont and John Byrne's run on The Uncanny X-Men. Dark Phoenix. The Shi'ar. The Brood. Kitty Pryde. This run was, in my opinion, the epitome of what good comics are all about.
Much like Star Wars did for sci-fi movies, the X-Men defined for me what comics should be-- captivating story lines, three dimensional characters, high adventure, danger, and just a splash of humor. And best of all, the protagonists were a band of misunderstood anti-heroes, feared and often hated by society at large. My pre-teen self strongly identified with them.
Since then, I've had a love/hate relationship with many different comic titles, but the one that has never let me down is the X-Men. Even during the weaker runs, the different X-books have stood tall above the competition. And when the creative team is on it's game, all I can say is WOW. JossWhedon and John Cassaday's incredible run on Astonishing X-Men came dangerously close to forever spoiling all other comics for me.
I've discovered a podcast made by a couple of older fans who share my love of the X-Men.
The Uncanny X-Cast is an intelligent yet down-to-earth review of both current and past X-Men titles. The hosts, Rob and Brian, have incredible chemistry; they come across like two old friends who genuinely love good X-Men comics. Their occasional, good natured trading of barbs adds to the humor of the show, without coming across as mean-spirited. Best of all, their discussions are devoid of the ol' Fanboy Blinders: They tell it like it is, and aren't afraid to call out writers or artists who drop the ball with their beloved Mutants.
If you have even a passing interest in the X-Men, and are looking for an entertaining podcast, you ought to check em out.
With J.J. Abram's "re-boot" of the Star Trek film franchise rapidly approaching, the Paramount PR machine is kicking into high gear. Last week, a few hi-res photos from the film were released. Of particular interest to me is the re-imagined N.C.C. 1701, one of the most significant sci-fi icons of the past few decades. Check it out-
I was initially turned off by this design. I have to admit though; it's growing on me. Whoever designed this thing has managed to create a plausible precursor to the Constitution Class Refit Enterprise we were introduced to in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The art-deco curves and flares on the nacelles sort of remind me of the chromed-out hot rods of the 60's. I'm still kind of put off by the protruding deflector dish, but all-in-all, I think that the 'New-Old-Enterprise' is pretty snazzy.
You can check out a larger version of this image, as well as several others, at Trekmovie.Com.
I was thinning out some pictures, and stumbled on some taken at a job-related trip a couple of years ago. It was the usual team-building, idea-sharing, pump-you-up kind of meeting in Orlando. The trip itself was pretty cool-- it's always fun to get paid while spending time at a resort town.
*BONUS*- I got to check out Star Tours.
I don't think the tech involved with any of the props has been updated since the attraction's inception, but it doesn't matter. Seeing semi-mobile replica's of the stars and sets of the film are sure to bring a hint of goosebumps to even the most jaded fan.