My mother once picked up a book called From a Certain Point of View, as a Christmas gift for me. It’s a collection of short stories set in the Star Wars universe. The book’s short stories tell the plot of Star Wars from the point of view of minor characters. For example, in the first story in the book, the captain of the escape brigade gets the point of view, which is neither the droids C-3P0’s or R2-D2’s, nor Princess Leia’s. It is the same plot as the first scene of the film.
The book is celebrating Star Wars‘ fortieth anniversary, so I am taking the understanding that the book is a 2017 volume. 2017 was the year of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
The Last Jedi took a different point of view that was a departure from styles of the previous Star Wars films. It recreated Luke Skywalker as a figure afflicted with existential angst. The book only contains scenes from the 1977 Star Wars film with a yowl from Rogue One to begin the book.
I don’t know why I haven’t read it sooner. I think the interest in Star Wars for me returned with the Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett. Thinking about the desert planet of Tatooine through the eyes of Boba Fett got me feeling good again about Star Wars. Boba Fett’s the character whom Lord Vader used to freeze and transport Han Solo back to Tatooine, to the palace of Jabba the Hutt in the second and third movies of the original trilogy.
Star Wars is an unusual fantasy. With the film, picturing each second from these brief tales ought to be a breeze.
A TikTokker followed me, this weekend, with the offer of a shoutout if I were to follow her account, and to tag three friends and to share her video to get an upswing startedhttps://vm.tiktok.com/JN4odUw/
“Are blogs still popular in 2020?”
“Yes, blogging in 2020 is still popular and is serving even more purpose than ever before. …68% of marketers now see blogging as a useful marketing tool.”
Just so we’re on the same page. 🙂 It’s a decent rivalry.
It is now summer. Even though the winter doesn’t usually get too severe here in Southern Ontario, we have summer which feels pretty scorching, and that is surreal. That aspect is well-intensified by strange circumstances. Writing this, in July 2020, I am beginning year no. 9 of writing my blog.
time and tide wait for no man
A blog, as you know, is long-form writing. It’s the opposite of microblogging, like how blogging is on Twitter. A Personal Plan on WordPress, an option on the blogging platform, lets you design a blog by choosing from among a variety of special themes, that shape how your blog looks.
On WordPress, as mine is, a regular domain doesn’t look bad, but a more ambitious blogger might start with a Personal Plan if you want a more professional-looking blog. In fact, in WordPress, the Block Editor is the design page that helps you put together blocks of paragraphs, to make writing a post easy.
I use a lot of white space, to keep my blog readable, and to keep it feeling like typewriter text transported to a computer screen, which is what early word processing programs were like. If you know about adventure games in the nineteen-seventies and -eighties, like, for example, the game company Infocom’s game Zork, or a different, earlier, hit game called Adventure, you know they consist of a paragraph of descriptive text followed by a blinking parser, at which you would enter a two-word command to play. I have that period of gaming as a primary concern, one wellspring of motivation.
My intention presently is to reach several dozen people or so with each post, possibly a hundred visitors per post, which is the typical reach I have at present. I appreciate that the odd post I’ve composed gets a couple of guests, to boot. With WordPress, the stats dashboard gives you an idea of how many visitors have turned up for your blog posts, and what they are saying their country of origin is.
I have had this blog for eight years. That’s the level of expertise I have with it, Level Nine, you might put it.
In the first edition of the former game company TSR’s classic game Dungeons & Dragons, Level Nine was known as Name Level. That is the famous tabletop game. It features in the plot of the Netflix hit Stranger Things.
Name Level means that your Dungeons & Dragons character has made a name for himself, as in “Merlin” becoming “Merlin the Wizard,” to take from Arthurian mythology an example. In Arthurian mythology, Merlin is the wizard who helps King Arthur rule at Camelot. Like Merlin and King Arthur, here on WordPress, I am leet.
Likewise, with different parts of life, you have goals with your blog, and blogging makes unobtrusive notoriety for yourself (as it is the Name Level guidelines in Dungeons & Dragons sway interaction.)
On occasion, I draw extra thoughts from patterns I see via web-based media, stages like Twitter and YouTube, and TikTok. On WordPress, I get to blog as much as I make time for it, which is a luxury I know many aspiring writers would enjoy themselves if they had it. With that sort of extravagance, I am happy with the opportunity to continue without too many time limitations. I am not too hard on myself.
My intentions, also, are to keep posting in a way that other people might relate to. When WordPress offered a fourteen-day prologue to composing verse, quite a long while back, I composed through that fourteen-day arrangement. Actually, at the time, I was kind of pleased with a few of the ideas I came up with, as I think my approach is a touch singular.
I in some cases loan support to other little bloggers. I have seen that quite a few bloggers do that. Those are probably the kind of people that I am trying to reach.
Another source of inspiration, outside WordPress, is the real world Nashville Tennessee writer Jeff Goins, an inspiring voice in blogging circles. I think Jeff Goins worked in marketing when he decided he wanted to begin writing. In fact, for his first book, he presented the title You Are A Writer.
The Art of Work is a book that explores all kinds of inspired case studies, of people who bring a special touch to the work they do. It became a bestseller. I think Goins wrote that unless your heart is in your work, it isn’t right.
As well, my father’s sister’s husband, Rick, and his wife Sue, both residing in Nashville, have written some books. They are my godparents.
To the reader, if you have ever read my blog and are returning, by all means, thank you. Such a great hobby. You’re welcome to comment or to follow.
Have a wonderful day and a terrific summer. I wish you well!
Great news, I saw this evening, the WordPress Discover challenges are back. Every day of April 2020, there will be a Discover prompt to help people keep blogging when there is so much consternation about them, and throughout the world.
The Discover prompts invites bloggers to give their handle on the idea of “open,” when something you wish open is in fact closed. I guess that sounds obvious.
I have a persistent interest in what’s happening behind the scenes at Disney. I was there once as a kid, in 1991, with my mom and dad and my brother and sister. As you probably suspect, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are closed.
I hear Disney talked about on YouTube, and actually, the channel Clownfish TV talks about Disney quite a bit. I take it the two Clownfish TV hosts are into movies and that kind of thing.
Actually, the other day, they reminded their audience that they have taken no interest in watching The Rise of Skywalker. To me, that’s strange because a general interest in Disney would usually include an interest in Star Wars, but they are just so discouraged at Clownfish TV with the sequel trilogy that they have zero anticipation for at last seeing Episode IX. They said it didn’t get the greatest reviews, but for me, it’s hard to relate to the idea that they could just never see it and live happily after.
I just like to think about how nice it must be spending a day at one of the Disney parks and that kind of thing. I don’t believe much that I’ll ever return to Disney World, and perhaps to them at Clownfish that reality might not be a reality, that they could possibly relate to.
I was really surprised by some people afoul of the Star Wars backlash, which I presume will never end. I thought the worst of the incalcitrant attitude to what happened with the sequel trilogy might fade away, but maybe that won’t be the case. To be more honest, I imagined that the backlash would rear its head occasionally when new Star Wars stories were put to film and video, but it really is a pervasive phenomenon, I think now.
I am glad for the Discover challenges to have reopened, and I just wanted to say that the businesses I would have most liked to overcome the difficulties posed by the crisis are the Disney theme parks. It just wasn’t possible, it is clear. I hope to get in on the Discover challenges some more, while we continue this quarantine.
The Stupendous Wave on YouTube said yesterday that John Boyega’s people have said that an official trailer for Rise of Skywalker will air at halftime during Monday Night Football, and go to YouTube at the same time.
I wanted to say something more about the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, played in 2017 again by Mark Hamill.
Luke Skywalker wanted there to be more Jedi Masters, heroes of the Light Side of the Force, who help police their galaxy.
The word disciple often refers to people dedicated to learning about The Bible from Jesus Christ, of course. The Last Jedi retells how Jesus could do only so much, as when Luke is unseated by Ben Solo, son of Han Solo, and Leia Organa. Ben Solo has betrayed Luke and murdered the other disciples, becoming Kylo Ren.
This is not that different than the Apostle Judas betraying Jesus to Pontius Pilate for thirty pieces of silver. Unlike Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans, Luke has enjoyed the freedom to retreat to Ahch-To. He is done with enlisting potential Jedi, at least until Rey seeks him, and tells him what she knows is happening in the First Order, across the galaxy.
The difference between Ben Solo and the other Jedi disciples Luke was trying to train is that Ben is the son of Leia and Han. Luke had known when training Ben, that the young man could be trouble for the galaxy if the Dark Side of the Force continued to grow in him.
Some of the tragedy of The Last Jedi, tragic in the sense that the events of the story are irreversible, and of an ill-nature, is that what Luke could teach caused the apprentices’ demise. The Jedi dedication to the Light Side of the Force could not combat the darkness in Ben. Supreme Leader Snoke has corrupted young Ben Solo, as a transformation into Kylo Ren begins, not too different than the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, in the prequel trilogy.
Snoke, a new character in The Force Awakens, has origins unclear, and likewise murky in The Last Jedi, but is an evil mentor to Kylo Ren, the opposite to how Luke was a mentor to young Ben Solo.
Not a big surprise, Luke Skywalker is my favorite character in The Last Jedi because of the reminders Mark Hamill creates of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke`s powerful abilities with the Force, begun in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, and explored in the next two films, are what fans like about him. For Luke to be teaching the ways of a Jedi Master is great because Luke learned from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, the ways of the Force.
“Pass on what you have learned,” Yoda finally tells Luke in Return of the Jedi.
The Star Wars audience knows of events in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens because they have been told to Rey by Han Solo when the two are aboard the Millenium Falcon after Rey leaves home. If Luke`s other disciples had known of Snoke`s influence, on Luke, and his protégés, they would have become afraid. No one facing death would surrender life voluntarily when a pressing objective very much requires the opposite: the objective to become Jedi Masters and to protect the galaxy.
Luke`s remorse is evident. Mark Hamill displays the emotion perfectly.
Recollections of the murders are present in The Last Jedi, but that movie would have been better if it were more clear what Luke searched for in his years of travel before the events of The Force Awakens. Luke is a Jedi Master who can deter the First Order if only he can teach Ben Solo the importance of the Light Side of the Force. That can`t be done, not even by Luke Skywalker.
How is it that Luke, with everything he understands about the Force, can make such a dangerous error? Luke has decided, I think, in The Last Jedi that to wield the Force, with as much ferocity as he has, is an act of hubris. If Luke had reached Ben Solo on any other level than of training the young man to become a Jedi, the sway of Snoke on Ben Solo might have been dispelled, with Ben never joining the First Order.
Although the conflict in Ben has made unrest in the galaxy that Luke, Leia, Poe, Fin, C-3P0, R2-D2, and Rose together combat in The Force Awakens, Ben`s path could have taken him elsewhere instead of to the very center of the battle against tyranny in the galaxy.
Appropriate fear is usually an emotion evoked by the Dark Side of the Force on one vulnerable. That same emotion could have prevented tragedy and kept both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker alive. Luke`s powers mostly fail him in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader confronts him on Cloud City in Bespin, after Jedi Master Yoda has told Luke that he isn`t ready for such an encounter.
In The Last Jedi, Leia has told Luke that she desires for him to teach the Light Side of the Force. If Luke could have drawn insight from what Yoda at the last had to say about teaching with wisdom the Force, long before Ben precipitated the murders of Luke’s apprentices, the drawback of overconfidence in Luke Skywalker could have meant a better outcome for all.
You`re welcome to like this post, to follow the blog and/or to comment.
The Skywalker Saga draws to a close this winter beginning December 20.
Even if summer crowds at Disneyland were on the “light” side, I have a hunch they have been reinvigorated by Rise of Skywalker on Christmas Day.
Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in 2015, I’ve realized it’s very interesting to look deeper into how Star Wars is going. The people who are dismayed by what has happened, The Fandom Menace, observe all manners of affairs characteristic of the unparalelled sci-fi film franchise, and I thought I would point attention here and now to Star Wars Land.
In the summer, Disney theme park enthusiasts were only beginning to look forward to the Rise of the Resistance attraction.
The Geeks + Gamers vlog showing Star Wars fans embracing the Rise of the Resistance exhibit could well be read as an admission, finding Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suspect, referring to the likelihood that the film will be wild.
As I understand it, Disney+ includes the existing ten Star Wars films, two directed by master film director George Lucas, seven by others, and the brief series The Mandalorian. If the franchise pales, Star Wars could be more of a hindrance for Disney rather than a gold mine. Never mind Annual Passholder blackouts.
I wrote a few words about a couple of leaks for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that are kind of characteristic of what the Internet is doing in terms of how perceived discontentment with Star Wars will return to the same passion that other Star Wars have generated.
This is better than eighth grade arts classes. Thanks for reading. You’re welcome to “like,” follow, and/or comment.
By video research, I mean watching video content to gain information about a topic. To render the inscrutable meaningful, I am trying to re-envision specific ideas I have about video research. To try to make this fun, I am re-envisioning 15 ways that the progress I try to make utilizing video research actually makes an impact (for me).
This will include examples of why it is I am conjecturing the phrase video research isn’t dropped onto the page constantly.
The first thing that I am focusing on is when I actively became aware of the possibility of video research. You might say the stars aligned (nearly) and I think it was when I was compelled by my younger friend B. pointing out that I could listen to youths crying out with the Internet. This is so sensitive. In my defense, I both saw I could get into hard-to-tackle specifics with a computer, and also I discarded the idea to pursue B.’s style of research, which is a misnomer, as it wasn’t video being researched, it was more like gamer hack-and-slash. In B.’s defense, he became a teacher for a living. [I hope he is still doing that. He dropped off Facebook a long time ago (without an explanation).]
With an awareness like that, it has to be tempered with the recognition that humans require respect. Interesting uses of Internet video express things which are unfathomable and also perhaps too sensitive to extrapolate. The very most interesting experiences with the Internet, I think, and when outside elements of the world beyond the Internet enter and, I suppose, reflect the viewer experiencing the video, which is hard to concisely explain. If there is a simple explanation for this, perhaps from lecture halls or elsewhere, and you know of such a thing, forgive me. Leave me a comment if you like. On the simplest level, people can leave user comments for a creator who responds. I am pretty sure I have a few variations of that straightforward element of the Internet.
I think in 2018 WordPress turned 15 years old, didn’t it? A technique for growing your blog readership, if you’re on WordPress, is to leave user comments on other bloggers’ work. The point is that if you do this respectfully and consistently, eventually sympathetic or otherwise interested bloggers who you have contacted will reciprocate by interacting with you. Now you may ask me, and I am prepared for this in the eventuality it happens, “How do you know that? You don’t seem to have much readership of note.” “Yes,” I will reply, not impudently, “but I simply have not devoted the focus to constantly read blogs and interact with them. My blog, as yet, is an amateur effort.” At that point, I hope you do not disappear abruptly, although if this is the case, that is fine, as I hope to better strategize in 2019 than I have in the past.
I hope to pursue this as long as it is a possibility. What I’ve observed is that WordPress techniques are not the same as those on a more characteristically “social” platform. I would argue that during what I’ve learned, I’ve enjoyed the process. I am tempted to leave this point there and then, but even with confirmation bias indicating that if I am predisposed to a set of beliefs that highly values an “art for art’s sake” attitude, the argument I want to make is that this specific confirmation bias is perfectly fine and I want to run with it in 2019. How then, what can you, you might ask, do to make your blog more readable? Well, you can take it on Facebook and ask people you’ve met to read it. That’s a tactic that can help you start a blog and potentially get results that are interesting for you.
We’re beginning to talk about video research, but the first thing I think of trying to approach something that’s sensitive is some obvious problems coming up right away. These fifteen points are geared to getting your attention away from what you should do with the video you watch, and what you are already doing with your blog, or how it is you could start a blog. The conclusion that can be drawn, and it’s not science, but a method, is that you can draw on video research to formulate something that you’d like people to read and you can put it on WordPress.
I had quite a bit to say just to introduce this, so I am ending this post shortly below and picking up in the next blog post.
This first part of the 15 ways has been about a few generalities that have worked for me and a few tips that could apply to what you are doing.
These first five points are trying to get to the point, saying you can take video, turn it into blog content, get a running start with your blog, and go from there. I am going to return with what shall be two more posts, aiming to illustrate ten more ways that you can do something more with video than just watch it.
Thanks for reading.
When I last asked my niece to let me have a photo, she was in high gear to play a frivolous game of Candy Land. She suggested I show her in the midst of unpacking the enduring board game. My niece is in the third grade.
For the month of April 2020, WordPress has reopened its Discover challenges to help bloggers find ideas to write about. I didn’t see their prompt this morning. I set an alarm to wake me, got myself up and at my computer, with a cup of coffee to start me going, and I simply overlooked the prompt.
I thought to look back at the Discover feed to see if a Discover prompt had finally launched. I was dismayed but had an idea.
I saw the prompt for today is the word “below.” I looked back at my blog, and I saw that five years ago I wrote a post, when I was just setting out on WordPress, that fit the theme. While not changing the title of the post, I decided to update it with the word “below” in mind.
My mother’s parents bought me the action game Wings for the family Amiga 500 computer when I was a young teenager. The game grew on me, lending itself to a sense of being more deeply involved in playing games.
Much of Wings consisted of dogfights. The box for the game contained factual information about WWI, and a narrative within the game took you through to victory in the year 1918.
I liked playing the game. I just didn’t like being nailed by enemy fire.
Playing the game required extreme player ability. The dogfights were mad. You flew with a view from over the shoulder of the pilot, in the cockpit of your craft.
Soon the pilot would turn his head. Enemy aircraft was nearing, and the time was then to go in that direction. If bullets hit your plane, you knew you were in trouble.
Then it was time for diving away and getting as far from the dogfight as you could. If you could get an enemy in front of you, firing a volley ahead of him often meant he would fly right into it, and your trouble would be solved.
The gameplay meant that you were likely to get shot up no matter what happened. The game fascinated me, but as soon as your pilot met his end, the game required you to begin the war over. No one would wish for that, particularly with my Amiga computer’s loading time.
There was a workaround that would mean evading death, and hence becoming one of the best pilots of the war, to rival even the famed historical pilot the Red Baron–but it meant cheating, or what you call a “creative workaround.”
I found out by intuition that if enemy aircraft defeated me, I could hit the hard reset command for the computer, and then rebooting the computer would sweep away the game. What was the upshot? The diskette wouldn’t save the destruction of the mission, and I could try again.
With successive missions, your pilot became better at combat. With this method, playing even the hardest missions could be handled with an extraordinary pilot in your control.
No one should treat war lightly, and if the game reflected the time in the life of a teenage pilot at the outset of World War I, I would have gone to the grave. I am sorry, of course, not that I would have been shot down, but that I was so insensitive. However, I appreciate that my grandparents’ gave me the gift, and I reason that they had different views on war (and not computers) than someone from my generation.
How NPC is that?
I suppose I’ve done worse. Anytime I’m challenged in a game, I want to play with a competitive spirit–maybe I get that from my father.
Playing Dungeons and Dragons is something I enjoyed as a child. I named my Twitter findingenvirons. My WordPress is findingenvirons1. The name findingenvirons is two words, finding environs. The first initial of each of the two words combined is Fe, the designation for iron. But that isn’t the reason.
The idea of finding environs refers to mapping. I had a basic nineteen-eighties edition of the game Dungeons and Dragons. As a matter of fact, naming game characters is part of the game, but that’s not the reason for findingenvirons, instead of my actual name or the name of my organization. The reason is that in 1987, the game company TSR, Inc, published the volume In Search of Adventure, by Aaron Allston. It was culled from game dungeons that had preceded and remade into an expanded game format for the purpose of playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was fascinating.
In Search of Adventure was about going from the town of Threshold to the city of Specularum. The way through the wilderness between the two dominions was threefold and fraught with peril. In Threshold, there was a merchant named Clifton Caldwell. He had a small castle controlled by monster goblins, an example of the game. Meeting the goblins there was the game.
Another possibility for gameplay was going to the desert to play in a sand city, which was elaborate and dangerous. The sand city was a long way around between Threshold and Specularum. It was a complex city in the desert, with many hazards. It provided many hours of play.
A famous tournament among players of the game was provided as well. In this case, the game took place in a forest where witches held sway over a fantastic castle which stood tall in the sky where lived a fabled dragon. The witches’ castle was rife with danger, and the tournament from the mainstay of the game’s popularity could be recreated for fun.
If the game was a success, and the players were good at the game, the city of Specularum would be found and the evil guild The Veiled Society would challenge the players. There was intrigue in Specularum, and saving the life of Archduke Stefan was ultimately the order of the day, as the heroic players walked hand in hand with royalty.
These adventures were all in the context of playing Dungeons and Dragons.
So, finding environs to me is safety, and findingenvirons the name of my Twitter, and a year and a half later findingenvirons1 is the name of my WordPress. Why the 1? The number one is a homonym to won and my WordPress parallels the idea of finding environs won, for the times the players of my childhood game earned their safety and accolades, in the grand duchy of Allston’s In Search of Adventure book. Some of my best times having fun as a child were behind my cardboard game screen rolling polyhedral dice playing Dungeons and Dragons.