J.J. Abrams: A New Hope?

So, last week it was confirmed that J.J. Abrams has been hired by Disney to direct "Star Wars: Episode VII". I really enjoyed his work on Star Trek, and if he has as much respect for the lore of "A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Away" as he did for the 23rd century, there is some hope that Episode VII will be pretty good.

That said, I have some misgivings. First and foremost among them is that George Lucas is apparently happy about it. I'd personally prefer Lucas was livid about the choice, given what his thoughts on what a Star Wars film should be (as evidence, Episodes I, II, and III). Also, the humour and banter in Star Trek worked for that setting (especially given the precedent of Bill Shatner's ham acting), so I hope that isn't an Abrams trademark. He seems to like the over-the-top action so that has me slightly worried also.

Yet on the other hand, Abrams, being not a lot older than me, grew up with the original trilogy and has said "As a kid, 'Star Wars' was much more my thing than 'Star Trek' was." So in that context, if he was able to "nail" Star Trek the way he did, he just might knock Episode VII out of the park. As the owner of my local hobby store wisely wrote "despite being the "visionary" behind them, I don't think George Lucas actually likes Star Wars. If he does, then he doesn't know why. He doesn't understand what people like about it. He doesn't understand what makes it good. If he did, he wouldn't have done [anything he's done in the past two decades]." Whereas a guy like Abrams who grew up with Star Wars KNOWS what people like about it and can therefore deliver same.

I thought the glory days of Star Wars were over. I have new hope. My oldest son will be 9 in 2015 so maybe we can go see Episode VII in the cinema together.

P.S. Check out this review of Episode III: http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/


Update # ???

It's been another few weeks without a lot posted here, but I'm finally getting healthy, I think. On the other hand, we're moving to a new home as I believe previously mentioned. With that said, here's your update:

1. Tomorrow evening, starting at 9pm Eastern time, will be the second show of Swords and Space Radio. the link is: Swords and Space Radio II: A Game of Thrones 01/29  | Blog Talk Radio

2. Speaking of S&S radio, as of writing this, the Canticle for Leibowtz show has 575 downloads. The average post to the blog gets about fifty reads, according to Blogger's stats tracker. So, considering about 10x more people listened to the inaugural episode, with the fact that it's actually less work and more fine to do a radio show ... I anticipate that posts to the blog will continue to decrease and more focus will be placed on the radio show. I'm still going to post fiction and pictures of my toy soldiers, though.

3. I'm going to try doing some "flash fiction" (1000 word or less short stories) to get some more fiction out there than I can share with my readers. Why not throw me a couple ideas or themes/settings that you'd like to see?


Post Mortem on Swords and Space Radio Episode I

Thank you to all readers who listened to our show last night, and thanks again to Marc Ratusz for joining me as guest. There were a few hiccups with out first show, but overall it went quite well.

Unfortunately my regular co-host, Stephen Heiner, had a flight change on his way back from Australia and was in an airplane at the time of broadcast. In addition to a malfunction with the music, I forgot to invite listeners to join us again in two weeks for the next episode: Swords and Space Radio II: A Game of Thrones 01/29 | Blog Talk Radio

Interesting coincidence: during the show, Marc mentioned Our Lady of Guadeloupe Monastery, a traditional Benedictine monastery near Silver City New Mexico. Well, looking at Google maps, and comparing it's location to the Abbey of St. Leibowitz's location according to the map at the front of Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, they are very close.


Indulging in Hobbies

My latest Warhammer 40K project in progress

One of the very few blogs I read regularly, The Art of Manliness, had a good article today entitled "45 Manly Hobbies", which starts with the following:

Back in the day, leisure time was not thought of as a chance to “veg out,” but as opportunity to pursue one’s passions and interests, an outlet for the sides of a man that were not stimulated in one’s career. Unfortunately, we now often spend our leisure time camped out in front of the TV or computer. We say that modern life has become too stressful, that when we have free time, laying on the couch is all we can manage.

The truth is that spending our leisure time in satisfying pursuits, “fun work,” will refresh us far more than a non-stop marathon of playing Call of Duty. Hobbies can bring you joy, increase your eye for detail, keep your mind sharp, expand your creativity, and help you meet friends and learn valuable skills. They add interest to your life and help you become a more well-rounded man. If you’ve been feeling depressed, restless, or apathetic, the problem may be the lack of having something in your life you feel passionate about, something that brings you needed fulfillment.

I definitely endorse the above, and would apply it to my very geekish hobby playing with "toy soldiers" (Warhammer 40k). Although it's becoming more mainstream, it's still something that's viewed, at best, as a curiosity or at worst something silly and childish. But it does bring me a lot of entertainment and satisfaction at seeing a job well done. I believe in using the talents one's been given and I am pretty good at painting these little guys -- it certainly expands my creativity in a way that I cannot do with my work. But most of all it has opened up a source of good friends -- and I find that the "group" that plays Warhammer 40,000 tends to be very decent people. And best of all, it is a hobby that I will be able to share with my sons. My oldest, who is 6, already has his whole army picked-out for when he's old enough.


Announcing Swords and Space Radio

I'm happy to announce a new endeavour -- taking Swords and Space onto radio. After a year of Restoration Radio (with a few episodes that overlapped into S&S territory) my good friend Stephen Heiner and I decided to create a dedicated Swords and Space Radio since the sci fi/fantasy shows have a different audience. Also, a 45-minute radio show actually takes less time/effort than the average blog post (which can take around an hour) so it's a great way for me to generate more content for the blog. We'll be doing the show every other Tuesday evening at 9pm Eastern. Here is the link for our inaugural show:

Swords and Space Radio I: A Canticle for Leibowitz 01/15 | Blog Talk Radio

We'll be starting at 8pm Central/9pm Eastern. Note that the same link can be used to access the live feed, or to download an MP3 recording later if you are not able to join us at the appointed time. If there's anything that you'd like us to cover in the show, please post it in the comments box here or on Facebook at  facebook.com/swordsandspace

Previous Radio shows:

Snow White and the Huntsman
The Hunger Games


Happy New Year and Going Forward into 2013

I apologize for the lack of posting over the last six weeks or so. I've continued to be sick (to varying degrees) since November and the time has finally come (probably came a long time ago) to finally go see my family physician to get it sorted out. It's been all I can do to get through work and my duties as a husband and father for a while, thus the lack of posts. This will change in 2013!

Stay tuned for an important announcement soon.
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