Wednesday, December 27, 2017

And now that Chrismas is FINALLY over...

Now that Christmas is FINALLY over, and I actually have more than 7 seconds of free time in a day, I'm back to writing.  On Christmas day I wrote a short 10K word story called The Man from Medan that's a sort of sci-fi/horror/mystery type thing, based on the Ourang Medan incident in 1947.  It's a pretty cool story if you have time to look it up, and it made a pretty decent sci-fi story out in space too.  I've submitted that to a magazine or seventeen to see if anyone wants to buy it.  I spent Tuesday doing all of the editing work on that.  And today I wrote a good 3k words on the rewrite of Spires of Infinity, though what I wrote today was to replace a chapter I tossed out because it wasn't very good, so I'm still at about the same general word count, just with a much better chapter added in.  I haven't done much work on the second draft of Memories of What Never Was since before NaNo, and I think I'm going to finish up the Spires rewrite since I'm on such a roll with it before I get back to it.  Originally I was writing Spires while Editing Memories, but then NaNo happened, and then work happened, and you know, life and crap.  So that's what I've been doing this week.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas at the Post Office

Fourteen years ago, I worked my first Christmas as a mail man.  I was a replacement carrier.  I worked for people on their days off, sick days, and vacations.  At that time, with 0 seniority and only knowing two routes, I worked two days a week if I was lucky.  Most of my income came from my night job as a projectionist at a movie theater, which paid surprisingly well for the amount of actual work that you do on a normal night.  You’re paid well to be able to fix problems if they happen, which, if you’re good at the job, they rarely do.

Anyway, 24 year old me was completely floored by how many packages I had to deliver between Veteran’s Day and Christmas.  I was delivering mail out of my Geo Prism at the time, and most days I could barely fit all of the packages in.  Once or twice I had to leave a few for a second trip.  I complained bitterly.

This year, what 24 year old me complained about as being the worst, most horrible month of his postal career, is a normal day outside of December these days.  The volume of actual mail may have decreased since that time, but the volume of packages has gone up so much that these days, the normal amount of packages per day looks like Christmas when I first started.

So what does Christmas look like now?  Well.  It’s a nightmare.  On a typical day I deliver 120-150 packages a day, ranging in size from small things that fit in a mailbox, to medium sized ones that fit into parcel lockers, to harge ones that have to be taken to people’s doors.  These days people will buy just about anything online.  I have a man on my route that buys all of his groceries from Amazon.  And really, I can’t complain, because I do the same thing.  The convenience of being able to buy online and stay seated in the comfort of my home, rather than going out to a store full of people that may or may not have what I want is too irresistable.  Ever since Veteran’s Day this year I have been delivering 400-500 packages a day.  On top of that, package runners have been taking an additional 100-200 from my route every day because I can’t fit them into my mail truck, and even if I could, there’s not enough time in the day to deliver them all myself.  I’ve been working 10-14 hours a day.  My scanner gets so much use that the battery started dying around noon.  It got so bad that the postmaster actually had a scanner charger installed into my mail truck so that I could keep going without having to come back to the office and swap out scanners.  Now, 500-700 packages for a route might not sound like a huge number, but consider this: there are 776 houses currently on my route.  Some days this month I have had a package for almost every single house on my entire route.

24 year old Eric would have dropped dead just seeing the packages stacked up at his case in the post office in the morning.  Even just 14 years ago, Christmas at the post office was a completely different beast than it is today.  Today it is a soul-crushing nightmare that gets worse and worse every year.

That being said, after 14 years of being a mail man, I kind of just hate the entirety of the Christmas season.  I’m not angry or bitter at those who order all of their Christmas gifts online.  It is because of those packages that the Post Office can pay my salary.  But boy does it hurt sometimes.

So, with another Christmas over and done with... FINALLY... Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and bah-freaking-humbug to all.  Enjoy it, but don’t expect me to.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

In Defense of the Last Jedi

So I went to see The Last Jedi.  I really enjoyed it.  Is it the best movie ever?  No.  Is it the best Star Wars movie ever?  Not really.  Is it the best Star Wars movie since Empire?  Nope.  I’d probably rank it as number 5 out of 10 (counting the Clone Wars movie).  It’s basically average, not extraordinarily good, not is it extraordinarily bad.  It’s solidly in the middle for me.  Empire first, obviously, A New Hope, The Force Awakens, Jedi, then The Last Jedi I think.  

So I checked out the internet to see what other people thought of it, and HOLY CRAP!!!  I mean, like, the sheer amount of hatred this movie is getting is kind of ridiculous.  People are saying that The Last Jedi is worse than the prequels.  Really?  When was the last time you watched the prequels?  Because I watched them last week while re-watching every Star Wars movie to hype myself up for the new one, and, well, it wasn’t anywhere near that awful.

Anyway, I watched a lot of youtube videos of angry fanboys complaining about the movie, and I found that, while some of them did have valid criticism for the movie, and I’ll get into some of that later in this post, most of them were complaining about things that were perfectly explained within the movie, and made perfect sense.  So I figured, as a sort of rebuttal, I would write out a post addressing every bit of criticism that I felt was incorrect about The Last Jedi, and why I feel that way.
Needless to say there will be spoilers for pretty much the entire movie.  So if you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading now.

So first off, let’s get the obvious one out of the way.  The Porgs.  Look, I get it.  If you’ve been steaming with rage over Star Wars merchandising for four decades, power to ya.  I don’t agree, but I respect your opinion.  But really?  Porgs are the last straw for you?  They have less than 3 minutes of screentime in the entire movie.  Yes, they exist for no other reason than to sell toys, but, I mean, are you honestly trying to tell me that none of the other movies had things in them solely for the purpose of merchandising?  If you are, you can shut the hell up, because Star Wars has been all about the merch since day one, forty years ago.  That was how George Lucas was PAID for directing the first movie, he put all of his pay as director into the special effects for the film, because Fox didn’t want to give him any more money for the movie, and so he asked for the merchandising rights as his payment for directing the film.  And do you want to know what?  When it came time to make Empire, George Lucas put up more than half of the budget for the film from his own pocket, because Fox refused to give him any more money for it.  So guess what?  The Empire Strikes Back exists, because George Lucas paid for it out of his own pocket, and where do you think he got that money?  FROM MERCHANDISING!!!!  If you’re honestly bothered by the blatant merchandising, I’m sorry, but don’t try to tell me it began in this movie, because it didn’t.

All right, lets start at the beginning and work our way through.  Next thing I’ve seen people complain about is the humor.  There is a lot of humor in this movie.  A lot of characters are cracking jokes at what seems like inappropriate times.  Luke is very cynical and openly mocks Rey once or twice is rather amusing ways.  Yoda pokes fun at Luke.  And there’s a whole lot more.  Here’s the thing, though.  I didn’t see it as a bad thing in the movie.  This is a very dark and very intense story.  The characters are under a whole lot of pressure, and many of them are fearing for their lives.  Haven’t you ever cracked a joke or two when you were nervous, on edge, or frightened?  I certainly have.  Look at the exchange between Poe and Hux at the beginning.  Poe goes on for some time dicking with the guy.  But it’s serving a purpose to the plot.  He’s buying time for the rebels to evacuate, and for his booster engine to charge up.  Also, look at the guy.  He’s a wreck.  He’s sweating.  He keeps taking deep, calming breaths.  He looks like he’s having the worst day of his life.  He’s trying to break the tension so he doesn’t screw up and get himself killed.

The next thing people complain about is Leia in space.  So, let me get this straight.  In a story about SPACE WIZARDS, you’re angry that a SPACE WIZARD uses her SPACE MAGIC to saver herself?  Really?  So, Luke, Rey, Snoke, Kylo Ren, and that slave boy at the end all use telekinesis in this film.  Are you complaining about all of them using the exact same ability?  No?  Why not?  They’re doing the exact same thing.  Or is it just Leia that can’t do it?  It’s been previously established or at least hinted at in three previous movies that Leia has the Force, why is it so objectionable to see her use it to save herself?  Does it look silly?  Yes.  It does look silly.  But, I mean, YOU’RE WATCHING A MOVIE ABOUT SPACE WIZARDS, some things are going to be silly.  There’s silly things in every one of the Star Wars movies before this one.  Also, in other sources, such as books and comics, Jedi are able to protect themselves from the vacuum of space with the Force for short periods of time.  Sure, none of those are cannon anymore, but guess what, it’s in the movie, so I guess it’s cannon again.

Why is Hux content to follow along after the fleeing Resistance?  Why doesn’t he do something else.  Well, that’s simple, because he doesn’t need to.  It’s clearly explained in the movie at the beginning that the rebel ships are faster than the First Order ships, but they’re low on fuel, and the can’t jump to hyperspace because that will basically be the end of them.  They can stay out of the effective range of the First Order guns, but they can’t get away.  Hux even says, “It’s only a matter of time, keep firing to let them know we’re still here.”  He doesn’t need to do anything fancy to catch up to the Resistance.  All he has to do is follow them until they run out of fuel, and then blast them to pieces.  He loses nothing but time.  None of his people or equipment are put in danger.  If you can win a fight without risking anything, and all you have to do is wait, you’re going to wait.  Furthermore, Hux is far too young to have gained his position as leader of the First Order military through skill or merit.  He’s a figurehead.  He’s a true believer behind a pretty face that can scream Nazi bullshit with a straight face.  Snoke didn’t choose him because he’s an excellent leader or tactician.  He quite literally says in the movie that Hux leads the military because he’s a rabid dog, and even rabid dogs can be useful.  So, I would put forward that, not only is simply following the Resistance and picking them off as the run out of gas the best plan for the situation, Hux probably wasn’t capable of coming up with anything better.  This is all stuff in these two movies that you can see if you’re paying attention.

Why didn’t Admiral Holdo tell Poe what the plan was?  Basically the first thing that Holdo says to him is that she doesn’t trust him.  Are you going to trust a subordinate who was recently demoted for insubordination with secret plans?  And why were those plans secret?  Because it is heavily implied within the film that Holdo believes there’s a traitor among them, telling the First Order where they are.  She does not find out that the First Order can track them through hyperspace until the end of the movie when Poe tells her about his plan with Finn and Rose.  This is something said IN THE MOVIE to have been thought impossible until recently, and it took Finn and Rose a bit to figure it out.  The technology is new enough that not everyone is going to know about it yet.

Why didn’t Poe tell Holdo about the hyperspace tracking?  Because she just publicly humiliated him.  Which is something military commanders are known to do from time to time.  Why would he?  Sure, a lot of problems in this movie could be solved if people would just communicate with each other, but here’s the thing.  People don’t always do what is right, or what is smart, especially when their pride has recently been wounded.  And, uh, he DID tell her, near the end.  Did you step out to use the restroom during that part?  I mean, I wouldn’t blame you if you had, it’s a pretty long movie.
What is up with Holdo’s hair/dress?  Okay, this is one that I completely agree with.  Holdo’s appearance is just plain awful.  And that isn’t a slight on Laura Dern.  It’s entirely the wardrobe and hair.  They went through several concept drawings for uniforms, but Rian Johnson wanted her to wear something more feminine.  Okay, here’s the thing.  You can wear something that is both feminine AND appropriate to your rank and station.  Wash the purple dye out of your hair, and put on something a little more respectable than a freaking evening gown there, Admiral.  Is it any wonder your subordinates don’t respect you?  Anyway, this is supposed to be me defending the movie, so, moving on.

The dice on the Millennium Falcon.  Okay, why are there dice there to begin with?  Um, have you not been paying attention?  Those dice have been there IN EVERY MOVIE IN WHICH THE SHIP APPEARS.  Why did Luke steal Han’s dice?  He just found out that his best friend was murdered.  He’s taking something to remember him by.  Have you never lost someone before?  It’s sort of something that you do as part of grieving, moving on, and remembering.

Matter transference through the Force.  Okay, this is a really tricky one, because it requires you to pay VERY close attention to the movie.  There are two instances where it appears as though objects have been transferred across great distance through the Force.  First is the rainwater Kylo Ren feels after talking to Rey, and the second is the dice that Luke gives to Leia at the end.  Here’s the thing, though, both of these things were just illusions.  They felt real, but they weren’t actually there.  Watch the water as it falls from Kylo Ren’s hand very closely.  The drops disappear in midair.  And the dice, that one is a lot more obvious.  After Kylo Ren storms the rebel base to find it empty, he kneels down and picks up the dice, which then disappear.  Aparently Force projections can feel solid, but once the one projecting them is no longer doing it, they fade away.

Leia uses the force to melt down the door to the bridge to get at Poe.  Okay, this is the one complaint I feel is absolutely stupid.  This one deserves all kinds of contempt.  Just the sheer stupidity that went into this one is monumental.  So, youtube vlogger who shall remain nameless, you are a complete idiot.  That is NOT what happened.  You think that maybe the two guys with her holding smoking weapons might, just maybe, HAVE CUT THE DOOR DOWN FOR HER?  Just, omg dude, you are an idiot.

What’s the deal with Snoke?  He was a really wasted character.  Okay, here’s the thing.  Let’s hop into the Wayback Machine here and go all the way back to 1983.  Return of the Jedi has just come out, and the prequels are barely a gleam in George Lucas’ eye right now.  What, exactly, do we know about the Emperor?  He was killed without a single bit of back story given.  He’s just the old evil master behind Darth Vader.  Well, guess what, so is Snoke.  He’s just the old evil master behind Kylo Ren.  We don’t NEED to know his back story, and in the case of the Emperor, it made him kind of less cool as a villain to know it.

Rey’s parents are no one?  I actually expected that to be the case after the first movie.  Why anyone wouldn’t is beyond me.  This reveal has two very powerful messages attached to it.  The first is that a nobody can still rise up to be a hero.  And the second is that Kylo Ren came from a family of heroes, and yet, he is the villain.  While Rey came from nothing, and is the hero.  The part with the dark side mirror has a pretty telling message in it.  Rey is searching for something.  She thinks it’s her parents, but the mirror shows her, what she’s really trying to find is herself, and how she fits into everything.  She says as much earlier in the movie.  It’s a pretty notorious line from the trailer also.  And I also see a lot of people saying that Kylo Ren is just lying to her, and it’ll be revealed that Rey’s parents really are important in the next movie.  But, um, watch that scene again.  It’s not Kylo Ren who tells Rey who her parents are.  She says it first.  They’re nobody.  But that doesn’t mean she has to be nobody.  She can rise up to be a hero.  It doesn’t really matter who her parents were, or weren’t.

Why did Rian Johnson take all of J.J. Abrams’ mysteries and just throw them all away like they meant nothing?  Hi, um, did you happen to notice whose name was attached to the executive producer credit?  Rian Johnson did not ruin all of the mysteries that J.J. Abrams set up.  J.J. Abrams was in charge of the film.  Every creative decision in the entire movie went through HIM first, and he approved of them before filming began.  The fact of the matter is that J.J. Abrams has a pretty long history of building up mystery that never has a satisfactory payoff.  Did you watch Lost?  He’s good at the mystery part, and he’s terrible at the reveal part.  He likes to build mystery around things that, frankly, aren’t all that mysterious, and so when they are revealed, you wonder why he even bothered to begin with.

A ship in hyperspace cannot collide with objects in real space.  Oh, really?  Which movie does it say that in?  Let’s head back to A New Hope, shall we, and I quote, “Traveling through hyperspace isn’t like dusting crops, boy.  Without precise calculations from the navicomputer we could bounce too close to a star or supernova and that’d end your trip real quick.”  That line suggests that it is possible to hit things in real space while in hyperspace.  Also in the book Tarkin, which is one of the new books and thus considered cannon, it is said that “a ship with a hyperdrive is the deadliest weapon in the galaxy.”  And if that still isn’t enough for you, Holdo wasn’t actually IN hyperspace when she hit the First Order fleet.  Did you see a tunnel of swirly blue and white light?  I sure didn’t.  All I saw were star lines.  She was accelerating toward hyperspace, but she had not yet entered it.  This is further proved to be the case at the very end as a boy on the ground watches a ship jump to hyperspace in the sky.  It visibly streaks across the sky before disappearing into hyperspace, therefore, objects remain in real space for a time of acceleration BEFORE entering hyperspace.

Why didn’t Kylo Ren notice that Luke wasn’t actually there at the end?  Um, you’re kidding right?  Did you happen to notice his state of mind at the time?  The dude was tripping all kinds of balls.  It’s basically the explanation of how Rey beat him in the first movie.  The dude had just murdered his own father, on top of having been shot in the belly with Chewie’s gun that, earlier in the movie, was throwing people into the air.  On top of Rey having been shown to be a competent fighter with melee weapons earlier in the movie.  How do you think she beat him?

What was up with Finn and Rose’s storyline?  Okay, you know what?  I totally agree.  And I’m a little bit annoyed too. Finn is my favorite character of the new trilogy.  He’s not a powerful Jedi, or an ace pilot.  He’s the guy that mops the floors.  And yet, when faced with a  choice, he decided to do the right thing.  I love that he’s an actual character instead of just the token black guy.  I found him to be very entertaining, and I felt that he had a very good story in the first movie.  But his story in this movie feels really out of place.  Every time it switches over to it feels like the movie grinds to a screeching halt.  It’s necessary to the plot, but man, it just doesn’t seem to fit into the movie well AT ALL.  I really like Finn, and Rose started growing on my too, but they just had nothing interesting to do in this movie until the end.

Phasma did nothing… again…  Yeah, all right, that one’s valid too.  If you’re going to get Gwendalyn Freaking Christie for your movie, FREAKING USE HER!!!  At least she got a fight scene this time.

Okay, now we get to the big one.  Luke.  Why did Luke have to die?  Because he was using a Force ability notorious for killing the one that uses it.  Even Kylo Ren says earlier in the movie that were Rey to do such a thing, the strain would kill her.  It’s called foreshadowing.  And, really, the movie is called THE LAST JEDI.  What did you think was going to happen at the end?  If there are two Jedi, neither can be the last.  One of them had to die, and, well, this is no longer Luke’s story.  Rey is the hero now, so Luke had to die.  His death also serves a greater purpose.  Did you even pay attention to the ending?  Luke has become a martyr.  He became a legend.  Again.  And this time, he’s a legend that can inspire hope in those oppressed by the First Order.  Something that he felt he could never live up to as a living man.  Why didn’t Luke just jump in his X-wing and fly there in person?  The thing has been submerged for years.  Do you really think it’s operational still?  Or that he has fuel?  Or that he could actually make it from the “most remote place in the galaxy” fast enough to make a difference?  Plus, his death scene was just gorgeous.  Him sitting there, watching the sunset, with his theme music playing, just like that scene in the original movie.  That was beautiful.  I felt that he had a very fitting death, and that the filmmakers treated it with the respect that it deserved.  I felt that he had a far better ending than Han did.  Why is Luke being such an old cynical asshole?  And why did he run away?  Well, think about it.  He set out to rebuild the Jedi order, and he took the son of his sister and his best friend, and he basically made him into Kylo Ren.  I love the part where Luke apologizes to him for that.  He looks so ashamed of himself.  Man, that was some really great acting on his part.  He couldn’t face them and tell them what he’d done, so he ran away, and as the years passed he grew bitter and cynical, and came to the conclusion that the Jedi were good for nothing, and that the galaxy was better without them.  It all seems like a very logical character progression to me.  It takes Rey to shock him out of it, and get him back into the fight where he sacrifices himself. 

Here’s the thing about all of the hatred Luke is getting in this movie.  I think that a lot of people are expecting him to be book Luke, rather than Last Jedi Luke.  But the thing about book Luke is that he is a WILDLY inconsistent character.  This comes from being written by literally dozens of different authors, each with their own vision of who he is as a character, and what he wants out of life.  Some authors don’t really care for him much, so he fades into the background while they focus on other characters.  Others romanticize him and his abilities to such a degree that you feel like maybe they have a really unhealthy relationship with a Luke Skywalker plushie.  But the thing is, that as more and more Star Wars books came out, he sort of stopped being a character, and devolved into a loose collection of vacant platitudes about the Force.  It started before the New Jedi Order, but that’s where it really became apparent.  It is as if the Star Wars authors collectively decided that he’d grown all that he could as a character and they just didn’t need to bother anymore, and he became something horrible, and boring, and soulless.  Is that really the Luke Skywalker you wanted to see in this movie?  Sure, he whips out his lightsaber and does some cool shit every once in a while, but he’s so bland, boring, and soulless.  I mean, the guy barely bats an eye when his nephew murders his wife.  I feel that the way Luke was portrayed in this movie was a very logical step, decades later from where we last saw him in Return of the Jedi.  All of his decisions and how he found his way there are laid out pretty plainly in the movie, and I felt that his character arc was interesting, and fulfilling.  He’s lost his faith in himself, and in the ability of heroes to live up to their reputations, and then he learns that it’s all right to fail.  It’s through failure that we learn.  Running away and hiding from failure helps no one, and so he returns to fight one last time.  I thought it was a great story for him.  And let me tell you, I grew up on Star Wars.  The first movie I can remember seeing in the theater is The Empire Strikes Back.  I’ve been a lifelong fan.  I was Luke Skywalker four years in a row for Halloween.  I had a Return of the Jedi lunch box I took to school with me every day for years.  Luke Skywalker was my hero.  I wanted to be just like him.  And I felt that this movie was the perfect end for him as a character.  It was emotional, beautiful, and fitting.  If you hated it, I’m sorry.  I really am.  But me, I felt that it was perfect.

And those are the things I’ve seen people complaining about with The Last Jedi.  Most of them can be explained by just watching the movie and paying attention to what people are saying and what people are doing.  To me, it seems like a lot of people hyped the movie up to such a degree that they imagined exactly what the whole movie was going to be in their heads, and when the movie that they got wasn’t the one they imagined, they got angry.  That’s the trap of too much hype.  If you let it grow too great, no movie is ever going to satisfy you.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It’s my day off and I don’t want to get up and do anything so...

So I thought I’d rank all of the Doctors from Doctor Who in order of how much I liked them and why.

0.) Jodie Whittaker.  I’m leaving her aside in the 0 position because, well, I’ve never seen her play the Doctor.  I don’t know how good, or bad she may be at it, and I don’t know where she will fit into my lineup. I don’t really care about any of the outrage or politics or percieved politics surrounding her casting as the Doctor.  I’ll wait until I see her in action before I form an opinion on her.

13.). Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor.  Yes, that’s right, New Who fans.  I absolutely hate Matt Smith as the Doctor.  He is my least favorite of all the actors who have played the character.  I consider him a blight upon the show, and he annoys me more than Adrick does.  Yes.  I just said that.  I would rather watch any number of episodes centering around Adrick than I would a single episode featuring Matt Smith.  I don’t like how goofy, childish, and oblivious he plays the character.  He’s not the Doctor.  He’s a child trapped in the Doctor’s body.  And his performance is not helped at all by the writing for his character, which was absolutely horrible.  I can’t even think of a single episode during his entire run that I actually enjoyed.  I chuckled a bit when Rory said, “Shut up, Hitler,” Before locking him in a closet.  Honestly, throughout Matt Smith’s run, Rory really is more the hero of the series than the Doctor is.  I somewhat liked the 50th anniversary special, but not because of the writing or the Matt Smith.  I liked it because David Tennant, my favorite of the new Doctors came back, and because John Hurt is just amazing in everything he does.  Plus getting to see Tom Baker back was great too.  But, you know what, I felt that the Peter Davidson written and directed spoof the Five-ish Doctors that was released at the same time on You Tube was a far better, and far more entertaining, tribute to 50 years of Doctor Who than the actual 50th anniversary episode, so there you go.

12.) William Hartnell, the First Doctor.  The problem with William Hartnell is that he was the first.  He was there before the show really figured out what it wanted to be.  He had some really great stories, and introduced two of the Doctors longest running enemies, but he’s kind of a douche.

11.) Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor.  I think his problem was that he just wasn’t around long enough for me to get to like him.  Again, like with William Hartnell the new series started with him, and at the time, it seemed like it just hadn’t really found it’s stride in the new format and era yet.  He’s not bad in the role, but I never really saw him as THE Doctor.

10.) Peter Capaldi, the Twelth Doctor.  Here’s the thing about Peter Capaldi.  I really like him as the Doctor.  I really like how he plays it.  The problem is that he was let down by the writing in a huge way.  He took on the role right as Steven Moffat hit full speed in his nose dive in the quality of the series.  During Capaldi’s run Doctor Who became a parody of itself.  I haven’t even watched two of his three seasons because I was so insulted by the ending of his first season’s finale where they took the freaking COPRSE of a much beloved character from the original series, whose actor had passed on recently, AND TURNED IT INTO A ZOMBIE CYBERMAN!!!  Way to show your disrespect for a fan favorite character, and for a man who spent more than a decade as a supporting character in the old series, there Moffat, now find the nearest convenient fire and go die in it, you hack!  It is because of this that I have refused to watch another new episode of Doctor Who until Moffat is gone!  That was unforgiveable and inexcusable and I refuse to support the show again until the man that thought that that was an acceptable send off for a recently deceased actor tied to the series has been shown the door.  The episodes of Capaldi’s that I did watch were just terrible.  They were just plain awful.  There is not a single one that was in any way good.  I mean, Kill the Moon?  Really?  Can anyone honestly look at that episode and tell me that Moffat is a good show runner?

9.) Paul McGann, the Eigth Doctor.  I like Paul McGann.  I really do.  He’s a great actor when he’s doing something he’s clearly invested in.  Unfortunately he’s clearly NOT invested in being the Doctor.  But wait, you say, he was only in that one movie, how can you form such an opinion from just that?  Well, head on over to  They take actors who have previously played the Doctor and make up new stories for them in audio format.  Paul McGann is heading into his Seventh season over there titled “The Time War” for all you New Who fans that really want more of the Time War.  Some of his seasons are really great.  I reccommend Dark Eyes, The Time War, and season four of The Eigth Doctor Adventures.  The problem is that McGann clearly doesn’t want to be there.  He’s so boring and lacking in energy.  You can tell he’s just doing it to pay the bills and isn’t really invested in the character.  He comes off as really bland, and somewhat lacking in personality.  The stories may be good, but the actor playing the Doctor doesn’t seem to care.

8.) Peter Davidson, the Fifth Doctor.  Peter Davidson is kind of on the low end of the middle for me.  He’s got some really good stories, like Earth Shock, Spare Parts (Big Finish) and The Caves of Androzani, but during his tenure, the BBC instituted some budget changes that really killed his run.  They didn’t have the money they needed to do the stories they wanted and had to cut a lot of corners.  And Davidson himself is a little boring in the role too.  To be fair, it would have been nearly impossible to follow up Tom Baker, but he did well enough.  He wasn’t a bad Doctor, but he wasn’t exactly great either.  And most of his companions really annoyed me.  Uhg, Tegen, Turlough, Adrick, no thanks.

7.) David Tennent, the Tenth Doctor.  Of the Doctors in the new series, David Tennent is my favorite. I thought he was a little too hyper at first, always running and talking a million miles an hour, but he grew on me as hsi run went on.  He’s the only one of the New Who Doctors that ever really FELT like the Doctor to me.  Peter Capaldi COULD have, had the writing been better, but David Tennent succeeded where he failed.

6.) Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor.  What’s this?  Tom Baker isn’t number one?  Nope.  He was a great Doctor.  He really was.  And he’s probably the most iconic Doctor of them all.  I like his personality, the energy he brings to the role, and his ability to break the fourth wall without it feeling like he’s pandering to the audience.  He always seems so upbeat and jovial, even under the worst of circumstances.  But the truth is, there are other Doctors I like more than him.  He may have had some GREAT stories, Genesis of the Daleks is probably my favorite of his, and he was the Doctor longer than any other actor, but he’s not my favorite.

5.) Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor.  Despite having a bit of a rocky start, Sylvester McCoy turned into an amazing Doctor before the show was cancelled.  I really like how cold, and calulating he is.  He’s a big schemer, and he has usually won before the story even starts, because he was so smart he was able to foresee his path to victory before the game even began.   Definitely check out Remembrance of the Daleks, a call back to the very first episode of Doctor Who, that ran for the 25th anniversary of the series.  I also really liked his companion Ace.  She took out a whole squad of Cybermen with a slingshot and a bunch of golden coins, and beat a Dalek to death with a baseball bat.

4.)John Hurt, The War Doctor.  John Hurt only showed up in two episodes of the new series, but he did get out one twelve episode season of The War Doctor at Big Finish before his death, which was excellent.  I really like his personality as the Doctor.  He’s very sarcastic, and tortured, and kind to those that deserve it.  His one season of the War Doctor is probably one of the best that Big Finish has ever released.  I really enjoyed it, and John Hurt is really great in the role.  You can tell that he’s a fan, and having the time of his life.

3.) Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor.  Well, number three ended up in the number three spot.  When Jon Pertwee took over, the show was completely reinvented.  The Doctor was banished to Earth by the Timelords, so there was no more travel through time and space.  Instead, he joined with Unit to protect Earth from the Master and many other alien threats.  His era has a really cool, old-timey spy drama feel to it, with a sci-fi twist.  And one of the all-time best companions was introduced near the end of his run, Sarah Jane.  He was like Sherlock Holmes to the Master’s Moriarty.  And I really like dhtat.  Plus I really enjoyed the way he played the Doctor.  Smooth, confident, and able to whoop some ass whenever the occasion demanded.

2.) Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor.  And two lines up with second, nice.  Patrick Troughton was one of the best.  He’s an amazing actor who put his all into the role.  the budget may have been low, and the effects and costumes silly, but that man could act circles around it like you wouldn’t believe.  He plays the Doctor as a bit of a jokey trickster that can be serious when he needs to be.  Unfortunately huge numbers of his stories have been lost, and only about half of them remain intact.  Which is a shame, because he really is great as teh Doctor, and he has my all time favorite compainion Jamie.  The two of them are like the ultimate and original space bros.  I also liked Zoe a lot too.  His final story, The Wargames, is one of the longest ever Doctor Who serials at ten episodes, and it is GREAT.

1.) Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor.  Okay, so, Colin Baker is usually on lists of people’s most hated things about Doctor Who, and I completely understand.  The show was complete crap during his run, and it was entirely not his fault.  The BBC was being run by a man that hated Sci-fi and was actively trying to kill the show off.  He succeeded.  HOWEVER, I really like his personality as the Doctor.  He’s arrogant, sarcastic, kind of a dick to everyone, but he does it in a really likeable way.  He kind of reminds me of the way that Robert Downy Jr. plays Tony Stark.  He also has a great sense of humor, and good comedic timing.  During his run on the tv series, his stories can be sorted into one of three categories.  Crap.  Less crap.  And watchable.  BUT, when  you get to his audio shows with Big Finish, I have not listened to a single one of them that I didn’t love.  The Apochalypse Element is amazing, the Last of the Cybermen is awesome, the Light at the End is great (that was the big finish 50th anniversary special and featured Doctors 4-8). The Trial of the Valeyard was extremely entertaining, mixing a lot of comedy with some very serious, and dark story elements that work surprisingly well together.  And they even made an actual regeneration story for him in  The Last Adventure.  If you didn’t like him much on TV, you may like him in the Big Finish stuff.  He is my favorite Doctor.

And there you have my Doctors ranked, and I killed twenty minutes waiting for the shower to be free.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaNo Day whatever it is + other stuff

So Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer came out this week, and well, there went any plans to spend my free time writing until I finish it.  I did hit the 50,000 goal, and I do plan to spend some time finishing up the first draft in week four after I’m done reading, but man, I can’t put this book down.

Anyway, to the real reason for this blog post:

I deliver mail to a man who came up to me yesterday and gave me a change of address form.  He is being deported, which somewhat shocked me.  It shocked him somewhat more than it shocked me, unfortunately.  His parents were Vietnamese refugees fleeing the war in Vietnam.  They fled to a US Army base, and were rushed onto a plane, which landed in California.  He was born on the plane, in the air.  When the plane landed, he was given a California birth certificate, and his parents were told to be proud of their son, because he was an American citizen.  He grew up in the USA.  He’s spent his entire life in the USA being told that he was an American citizen.  He has a freaking California birth certificate, a social security number, and all the other bells and whistles.  The only language that he speaks is English.  He served in the Army during the first Iraq war, and was awarded a bronze star for dragging three downed men to safety under fire.  He owns his own business, which employs twenty-seven other people, who are now going to lose their jobs.  He’s very active in his community, coaching children’s sports, and was the one who set up their neighborhood watch program.  He votes in every single election no matter how big or small, because he feels that it is the most important thing an American citizen can do.  Six months ago he recieved a notice that his citizenship had been downgraded from citizen to refugee.  Last month he was informed that he had exceeded the legal term in which a refugee could claim solace within the United States.  This week he will be sent to Vietnam.  A country he has never seen, that speaks a language he does not know.  He has no relatives still living in Vietnam.  They all either died in the war, or later in the USA.  All of this because of an executive order that President Trump signed in March.  This order changes the way that refugees are handled by the USA, and the immigration status given to them.  It, basically, stripped him, and thousands of others, of their US citizenship.  This man has spent nearly 50 years as a US citizen, a prime example of the American Dream, and Donald Trump undid it with a single signature, and a complete misunderstanding of the implications of literally EVERYTHING he has ever signed.  This man is a freaking US Army hero for god’s sake, and he’s being deported because his refugee status is being revoked?  Refugee status he never had before march, because before march he was considered to be a fully legal, born and bred, US citizen?  Does that make you angry?  It sure makes me angry.

Look guys, we live in a democray.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like it’s working most of the time.  But a lot of the time that happens because people like you and me don’t use our rights as citizens and our voices.  If things like this piss you off, TELL YOUR CONGRESSMAN!!!  TELL YOUR SENATORS!!!  VOTE FOR THOSE WHO WILL UPHOLD THE THINGS THAT YOU WANT, RATHER THAN JUST VOTING ALONG PARTY LINES SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT!!!  If none of the candidates represent your ideals and way of thinking, RUN FOR OFFICE YOURSELF!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

NaNo Day 12

50,000 BWAAHAAHAA. I kind of skipped chuch and just powered through the last 8k words I needed to finish.  There's still two relatively big climactic action scenes to write, and the resolution, but I'm going to take a day or two off to recover.  I wrote 50,000 words in 12 days.  My brain kind of hurts.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

NaNo Day 11

3644 words done today.  Not as much as I was hoping to get done today, but people decided to invite themselves over to my place tonight, because reasons.  I mean, is it so much to ask to text first before you crash at someone's place and watch netflix all night because you're too cheap to shell out the $9 a month yourself?  Anyway, my total for the month is 42,218, so I'm down to 4 digits on my words remaining to 50k.  Woohoo.  And the manuscript itself is up to 68,049 words.  I don't think I'm going to reach 50k tomorrow like I was hoping, but it won't be too much longer.  BWAAHAAHAA.

Friday, November 10, 2017

NaNo day 10

Uhg.  I feel like I'm kind of running out of steam today.  1881 words done.  Writing 40k words in 10 days is really kind of mentally and creatively draining.  On the bright side, I did finish up all of the stuff leading up to a big battle scene.  The battle scene itself should be relatively easy to write, as I've already got a pretty good template to use from the previous version of this book.  It being Veteran's Day tomorrow, I'm off for a long weekend, so I should have plenty of time to write and get through it. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NaNo Day 9

Only 1850 words today.  Not great, but any writing is better than no writing.  Had a follow-up appointment for my surgery last month, and physical therapy for my back, which took up a good chunk of my free time today after work.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NaNo Day 8

3028 words today.  Not bad, considering I took an unintentional nap after work.  Sit down.  Lay back in my recliner.  Wake up two hours later.  Haha.  Anyway, My NaNo total so far is 34,843.  Getting close.  Just a little over 15k left to go for the 50k goal.  And the manuscript itself is at 60,894 words.  So, things are going well.  I hope to hit 50k over the weekend.  It being Veteran's Day on Saturday, i have a long weekend to write through.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NaNo Day 7

6329 words down today for a total of 31,814 for the first week of NaNo.  Over 60% of the way there in one week.  BWAAHAAHAA.  Back to work tomorrow, though, so I'll probably slow down a bit until the weekend.  Hopefully I can hit the 50k by the end of next week.  And finish the entire first draft sometime before the end of the month.

Monday, November 6, 2017

NaNo Day 6

Did 6390 words today, which brings my total up to 25,485.  I'm over halfway there, and it's only day 6.  Woohoo.  The total manuscript is currently at 51537 words, since I did have around 26k already written before the start of November.  It's looking like this book is going to end up right on target between 80k and 90k words.  I've got just a couple more chapters before I start gearing up for the climax, a huge battle scene, followed by some funky time travel mischief.  Which is kind of the opposite order from the original version of this story, but I figured it worked better with the new version to swap them, since I have cut out nearly half the cast.  There's nothing I need those cast members to be doing while the ones I kept are off saving the universe.  Anyway, it looks like I'm definitely going to finish NaNo this year.   So yay for that.  Tomorrow is my normal day off, so I'll try to knock out another big chunk then too.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

NaNo Day 5

2276 words today.  Better than yesterday, but again, didn’t have much time today between church and  a family dinner at my parents’ house.  I know it’s probably bad, but I spent the whole 3 hours of church completely zoned out thinking through what I was going to write when I got home.  I didn’t hear a single spiritual word the whole time.  Shame on me XD.  Tomorrow I’m off work for a followup appointment for my surgery last month, so I should have plenty of time to crank out a bunch of writing tomorrow.  I’m getting into an easier section of the story to write, so I should be able to get a least a few thousand words.

I usually find the quieter, more character driven moments the easiest to write.  It’s the larger action-y parts that take a lot of time and meticulous effort, because there are a lot of extra details that you normally wouldn’t care about that have to go into them.  But two characters talking with each other about what drives them, I can do that all day long.  Heck, half of what I’ve already written for this book is characters taling with each other about what drives them.  I usually end up just stretching those types of conversations out to ridiculous length, and then i go through later and trim it down, leaving in just the best, most relevant bits.  It’s usually nice to be able to pick and choose.  I like this line from him, I like that response from her, let’s put ‘em together and delete the rest and there we go.  You can’t really do taht with action scenes.  You have to already have a pretty good idea what is going to happen in an action scene, and exactly how all of the elements come together.  I can spend a whole hour just getting a single paragraph done because I’m having trouble getting across exactly what character A is doing to character B.  I usually already have it pretty well mapped out in my head before I write it, so I usually get them done really fast, but every now and then I hit a snag where something doesn’t feel right, or something doesn’t really gel with the rest of it, and I have to sit there and work through it and it takes a lot of time.  You don’t really get that with character building conversations.

And I’m rambling.  It’s past midnight.  I think I’ll go to bed before I say something stupid.