Boldness of The Skywalker Saga: Where’d You Go?

Dedicated to a love of Star Wars, Celebration this month in Chicago flabbergasted fans.  The assembly included panel discussions and all manner of Star Wars exhibits, and also celebrity appearances, a teaser for Episode IX, along with trailers for EA’s game Jedi:  Fallen Order, The Clone Wars S7, and The Mandalorian.  The celebration also took a look back at The Phantom Menace, embracing the sci-fi franchise once again.


StarWars.com

I took in some of it owing to its availability on YouTube.  Celebration, I recall, is nine years in the running, and in 2019 it highlights Episode IX.  Celebration revealed the title of Episode IX, and a teaser trailer.  There is excitement in the business sector of the entertainment industry, being the introduction of Disney+.  Disney+ is making available animated features from Disney’s history of films, along with Marvel Cinema Universe titles from the last ten or eleven years, and the Star Wars films, of which by now there are several.

The reason I enjoy Star Wars is that when J. J. Abrams directed The Force Awakens, I felt the excitement that Star Wars was again back speaking to me.  It seemed to again be a film series to be passionate about.

The response following Celebration did not completely line up with the positive outlook of the fortunate people who went to Celebration in person.  While most everybody there loved what’s going on, some of the YouTube channels who discuss Star Wars have mixed feelings, to say the least.  Geeks + Gamers criticized the teaser for Episode IX, The Quartering was dismissive, and a union of voices on the Internet ridiculed reactions that were exuberantly emotional.  All that is best measured against the outpouring of support for the franchise.

It is almost as if there is a guilty conscience about being part of the Fandom Menace and hating The Last Jedi, but still wanting to see what Episode IX is about.  I am sure the average fan does not feel this way.  I waited for The Last Jedi to go to Netflix, but I enjoyed it.


Photographer:
Tim Mossholder

The influence of Star Wars is hard to comprehend, but there is a war indeed between the feelings a fan has for Star Wars in the nineteen seventies and eighties, and equivalent satisfaction with the new trilogy, however much it taps into your experience of Star Wars and however deep it runs within you that the original films were perfect.

Rian Johnson directed The Last Jedi, and while that film was a commercial success, the popular response to the movie, as, for example, those voices on the Internet made known on Rotten Tomatoes, divided the fans.

None of this will be settled until December, but there will be a lot of excitement that grows this summer and fall.  As is typical of hot takes, animosities, apprehension, and outrage for Star Wars will be evident in the backlash that is going, “to battle,” for whatever reasons.

Publishous this month presented the Where’d You Go writing prompt.  Publishous is an 11,000-strong Medium newsletter which presents and highlights Christian writers who seek to make it, in the sense that they are writing because of the compulsion they feel to do so.  Although I’m not a member of Publishous, I look over articles they present, which provide some inspiration to blog in light of their writing prompts.

I am also a volunteer at a cemetery, Maple Lawn Cemetery, and I am their SMM.  You can find out more about us here: http://www.maplelawncemetery.org

Thank you, and please feel welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.  All the best.

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Star Wars Celebration on YouTube: Where’d You Go? Chicago

It’s Good Friday, and I’m having browser issues.  Microsoft put up an alpha version of its Edge browser, and I tried, like a web developer, to surf it before it’s finished, and it lasted maybe three days.

Star Wars Celebration went on from April 11 to April 15 in Chicago.  The celebration is an army of devotees sharing a love of Star Wars.  This year Star Wars Celebration premiered a teaser for Episode IX, a preview of Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the cinema for Jedi:  Fallen Order, and a trailer for S7 of The Clone Wars.  It is all interesting.

Being that this year is 2019 and that Lucasfilm put The Phantom Menace, a prequel film to Star Wars, in the cinema in 1999, the twenty-year anniversary of Phantom Menace was observed.


Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace score
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Five days is a long time to spend with Star Wars, but between Thursday and Monday a viewer watching the events on the Star Wars YouTube channel got to see the panel discussions each day at 12:00 and 4:00 Chicago time.  Celebration, which I think is nine years running, moves around the US, but this year they put it on in Chicago.  Given the audience’s enthusiasm, it seems like that worked well for them.


Photographer:
donterase

Jedi:  Fallen Order is the name of the EA game that is the first new Star Wars game since Battlefront II.  EA is a notoriously difficult game company.  The decisions EA makes are known to send gamers away.

I suspect Disney needs Episode IX in December to be a sensation if they want their investment in Disney+ to succeed.  Disney+ is the streaming service available this fall, in November, when Disney is making available their animated features, along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the Star Wars films, and The Mandalorian.  Disney+ could rival Netflix, and it is expensive for Disney in the short term, so it is reasonable to think that if Episode IX is a major success, it is an indication Disney+ will do well.

It is hard to anticipate what Netflix is planning in response to its rival.  If there is already talk about what Netflix is going to do, I haven’t caught it.

I believe that Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy is leading Lucasfilm for the next ten years, and her decisions to put a lot of roles that are empowering for girls affect her hold on the Star Wars fanbase, because a large number of male fans of Star Wars have made a backlash owing to the perception that they are “toxic.”  A space opera such as Star Wars has a lot of male fans, so the response has been loud about how Star Wars has met its “demise” in the sense that there will never again be a great trilogy.  The next trilogy of Star Wars films is going to be directed by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

The Last Jedi was the film that divided the fanbase, perhaps deliberately.  That said, there was a backlash to the Star Wars Prequels, which subsided, so the same may be true of the problems facing the Star Wars Sequels, the films The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and now Episode IX, concluding the Saga.  Be that as it may, The Mandalorian, continuing Return of the Jedi from 1983, looks fantastic.  Some of the success of Disney+ is probably going to be affected by whether Episode IX proves to be a giant.

Good luck to Lucasfilm.

You’re welcome to “like” this, to follow, and/or to comment.  The inspiration for Where’d You Go? is from the Medium publication newsletter Publishous, 11,000 strong and available every week or two.

SciFi Fandom Pride: Where’d You Go? “He tends to say whatever comes into his circuits.” – Cassian Andor, Rogue One

The Force Awakens

To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.

The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977.  George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie.  The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.


Photographer:
One Idea LLC

The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring.  In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch.  For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.

The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication.  Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.

Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.

There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens.  Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility.  There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.

The rest of Star Wars will be history.

There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer.  Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way.  Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q

In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.

If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky.  I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.

You are welcome to click “like,” to follow the blog, and/or to comment.

Will this be the #spring in history that sees curtains for YouTube?

While the protests and the petition signatures were clear, the directive to restrict copyrighted material, known as Article 13 in the EU, received a “yes.”

Video on YouTube will likely no longer include “remixed” content once individual nations of the EU establish how they’re going to legislate protection for mainstream media, its images, film clips, and music.  For years now, the Internet has taken liberties in the name of freedom, to borrow from established media and then return to it transformative work, for the purpose of review, satire, parody and other kinds of humor.  This will likely end.

On YouTube, content filters for video uploads could become stodgy, and uninventive.  Removing freedoms to speak with ideas recycled from mainstream media inhibits Internet creators’ ability to articulate.  These come in the form of memes, even when it is an upset to the original, and identities in solidarity with views closely held to championed archetypes.  In the face of traditional media protected by Article 17 in the EU, emerging voices can and will fall by the wayside.

School bus pausing at Louth United Church, St. Catharines

If the nations of the EU no longer can upload or view content that contains copyrighted elements, for YouTube, a platform that facilitates hundreds of millions of hours of new and original video every day, doors are closing for what is a livelihood for hardworking creators.

In addition, the possibility that social accounts would be charged fees to link to webpages is a terrible limitation for small bloggers, with pages that have no hope of affording such a privilege.  This was the spring, 2019, that Articles 11 and 13 became Article 17.  There is every possibility that the restrictions on uploading copyrighted content in the EU will drift into the same freedoms available regardless where the Internet is accessed and overtake them.

A content filter is complex; it could be, despite how valuable original content is for Google and for Facebook and Twitter, that content filters will only function effectively if they are applied universally, and not just in the EU.  This could be a matter of months or years from now, but the challenges facing the EU, by creators on YouTube, and users enjoying social, and the right of Google to chart the world as it’s understood online, should be informing you.  You should at least consider the possibility that you need to be informed.

Photographer:
Kelly Sikkema

An Internet structured around Article 17 will heavily favor the promotion of mainstream media.  Independent voices will lose the opportunity to include portions of copyrighted media, and this could mean a “talking head” style of video on YouTube rather than video containing the freedoms we enjoy now.  All art and video would be required to be free of copyrighted material, which I think is a practical impossibility.

There are creators who thrive on the “remix” of media images or industry music or PC games.  Formerly, they were smart enough to make a living doing that, and exceptionally.  Their opportunities are going to disappear.

The outcome of Article 17 in the EU is only just beginning to take shape, but there will be changes for Facebook and Twitter and YouTube that Article 13 is necessitating, the requirement to filter content video users upload.  Users on the Internet, with the support of the infrastructure of YouTube and Google, will have to strategize differently once Article 17 goes into effect.  It is a sea change.

You are welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, and/or to leave a comment.  Whatever your age, if you are interested in tech, you stand alongside the brightest minds challenging the narrative of the mainstream media.

How a #spring ruling on Content Curations made me a better person

My sister and I write friendly letters to each other by email, every other month or so.  She wrote to me this spring that she lately read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  She said the book impacted her interpersonal interactions at work.

Yesterday morning I opened my content curation tools on the internet, and to my surprise, the app appeared completely redone.  I had little idea of where to start.  If I’d never taken the notes that I did, I would have been at a disadvantage given that I needed to start over.


Photographer:
Jeffrey Betts

I work in a mostly volunteer capacity at a cemetery off the beaten track.  We operate a graveyard.  I put in duties as an SMM in order to reach the outside world.  http://www.maplelawncemetery.org

What the app revamp did was to require me to get honest about what I am interested in doing.  The reality of whether the more fringe areas of my research were or weren’t going to fly in the face of other people squarely confronted me.  Some of my ideas just weren’t going to work, I saw.

Our Facebook page is small, only sixty-five or seventy people, but those people aren’t going to be swayed, I now believe, by where I was putting my nose if I am being transparent.

There is an idea in business that employees don’t work for the boss, that in fact, the boss works for the employees, and it is true with our page.  I am an SMM, but I work for the people who like the page.  I don’t have the freedom to indulge every avenue I want to if I don’t want the people I speak to laughing at me, and it is probably true that new people I might interest will have similar sensibilities to those who are already involved.

If I’m not confident in my ability to bring my interests to the attention of those I work for, the people who like our Facebook page, I realize now that I can’t expect any newcomers to have any different opinion than those with who I already have a connection.

This is how the spring ruling for the content curation tools instantly makes me a better person.  

I am lucky.  While the reworking of the content curation tools is for relevancy’s sake, and while my hands are tied as to how to go forward from here, facing a truth that I wasn’t formerly comfortable with facing is now a solution.  I hadn’t been aware this was a problem, and without my input a solution presented itself.

I had envisioned that I would find a strategy to make this work when the time came, and the time came yesterday.  With fresh eyes, I began to see how to use the tools going forward.  In the process, I became, in a small way, a more honest person, at least more honest about what I am doing on Facebook and on Twitter.

As the Buddhist maxim states, “Never lie, cheat, or steal.”  I got a little more spiritual, yesterday, you might say.  It was unexpected all the same.

Maple Lawn Cemetery is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited 

Maple Lawn Cemetery

I’m on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons  

My content curation tools are provided by DrumUp, an app found on the world wide web at https://drumup.io (a shoutout).  The DrumUp starter plan is inexpensive and it offers a lot of use for someone with a business model utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn.

You’re welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, or to comment.  Have a great spring.

Every #spring a St. Patrick’s Day

2018-032-15

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m a Canadian every other day of the year.

When I was a boy, my godmother bought me a coffee table book celebrating Ireland.  It followed that in grade school, I thought to turn a work assignment about other countries into homework on the subject of Ireland.   I flipped through the book to do the research (that I could do at that age) for the teacher.

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St. Patrick

The photos in the book illustrating Irish women helped shape my attitudes to the fairer gender, as well.  I briefly visited the UK in the fall of 1999, but I didn’t go to Ireland.

There is a friend I know whose parents are Irish.  This friend is not fond of the English, despite what I know from grade school about the role the English played shaping Canada.

At the same time, this person has a different understanding of how the Irish fared in history than I have got.  That said, when my mother asked me the other day whether I am prouder of Dublin or Belfast, I found myself answering Belfast.  Until then I didn’t know I felt that way.

I was born in 1977, two days before St. Patrick’s Day.  My mom and dad named me Patrick, after my father’s late brother Patrick.  This uncle died when he was a young man, in a motorcycle accident (he was riding).  My name remembers this Uncle Patrick of mine, and of my brother and sister.

My mom and my father’s mother had a bond.  When my mother was young, the two women would speak to each other privately having a coffee or Coca-Cola together or the like.

Another time In grade school I was instructed to ask questions about the family line. I brought to my paternal grandmother the question of the origin of our name.

I never knew my paternal grandfather.  He’d died before I was born.  I suppose I assumed we are an Irish family.

My grandmother let me know that the surname she took when she married is Welsh, of all matters.  At that age, I was not aware that Wales is a principality of Britain, or otherwise knew anything about it.

Many years later my brother took a strong interest in the Irish.  He went backpacking there with one or two of his friends.

He later researched our family line, and he learned of many of our living relatives in Ireland.  I am sure it is an Irish family, whether the surname is Welsh.

I work for my father as a cemetery groundskeeper.  When we were at the cemetery yesterday, handling a funeral, for which we were responsible, to my surprise, as we wrapped up our clean-up, we saw a hailstorm!

Louth United Church and Maple Lawn Cemetery

The spring solstice ahead:  it doesn’t feel like it.  Last week my father reminded me of the old expression, “In like a lamb, out like a lion.”  That’s what my father was predicting for the month of March here.

About Ireland, I know it is hard when times are tough, and I am empathetic of others experiencing suffering.  If you are Irish or love the Irish, God bless you.  It’s your chance this day, as it is every year, to be Irish.

I hope you’re having a great day.  Naturally, you are welcome to “like” this post, to follow my blog and/or to comment.  Thank you for having an interest.

The cemetery where I work with my father is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited  My duties for the work I do are nominally tied to the posts I publish in this blog.

Mermaid’s March 2019 WordPress Tea Party

The Little Mermaid is a site which entertains bloggers who bring together their thoughts on a theme suggested by the moderator.  These tea parties, the setting for discussion, began several months ago. The Little Mermaid is on a new site now, found at https://www.thelittlemermaid.site/tag/tea-party  For the tea party, March’s theme is fashion.

Personally, I am fashion-challenged, by which I mean I haven’t let fashion out of my bag.  I don’t have a memorable sense of fashion.

Aiming to define fashion reminds me, for example, of an Internet dating profile, where a user is invited to assess his sense of fashion in a field drawn from a list of narrow but conventional approaches.

Photographer:
Nordwood Themes

I wish I’d made the decision to dress better when I was younger.  If you don’t invest in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?  In a media-hungry capitalist structure, it is important to be “cool” by wearing a wardrobe that both help you feel good about being seen in the street and identifies your lifestyle to people who speak with you.

I believe it’s important, and I would have liked to be more fashionable.

A rule for wear is that clothes must mostly fit.  This sounds obvious, but it isn’t necessarily easy to determine that clothes which cultivate a brand for you are far superior to dressing at random.

I am less interested in making an outfit look good than I am, I feel, non-discerning about social mores.  That’s how I haven’t let it out of my bag.

I do experience mild anxiety about looking shabby when I ought to be feeling fine, but something in my psychology prevents me from being able to coordinate a wardrobe.  That’s kind of funny, eh?

I hope you are not disappointed.  You are welcome to click “like,” to follow my blog, and/or to leave a comment.

The Little Mermaid’s tea parties provide inspiration and heighten my interest in others for who her tea parties are likewise attractive.