Chasing Amy, Finding Alyssa, And Revenge Of The Shit

So I worked on a little bit of a side thing.

I wouldn’t have even called it a project, at first. As you know, I finally watched Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy not too long ago and, as a result, it did something my brain. So, one night, I was thinking about the last part of the movie and this rather, shall we say, fucked up parallel occurred to me.

Originally, it was going to be a post written on Mythic Bios after I got the article that I intended to do, for tonight, right on here. Then, as per usual, my brain asked me: “What would happen if you made this into a Twine?” Then I got silly. See, I had this plan. I was going to cut Holden McNeil’s infamous scene with Banky and Alyssa Jones: with Anakin Skywalker jumping into Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber blade, getting amputated, and igniting on fire.

Alyssa and Banky Scene

Then I was going to end it with Holden McNeil coming out of a movie theatre, having just watched Revenge of the Sith for the first time, and say something smart ass about how bad it was. The implication, of course, was that the film and the prequel Trilogy was so bad to Holden, that it brought back terrible memories. You know the ones.

This short Twine of few scenes, mostly quoted lines with that ending, was going to be called Revenge of the Shit. Personally, I think it’s a title that some of Kevin Smith’s film characters might have appreciated: among other disgruntled Star Wars fans. And yes, I was tempted to put a certain … demon of excrement into the story somewhere: perhaps asking him how the movie was.

Of course, I also came up with another — more grim and random scene — right after that which would have taken the piss out of the comedy right then and there. But, really, what I planned could have been done better by someone with actual video editing and splicing skills: of which I have neither.

It was supposed to be a throwaway project: a one-off. It was supposed to be something that was fun and light and made light of a fictional character’s ridiculous choices and suffering.

But, as usual, I can never really do anything simple.

The fact of the matter is, the little bit of fan fun and snark mutated out of my control: and into something else. At the same time, it took precision to find those quotes, describe those settings and character feelings, and build something from it. It became something else. I realize that even though these characters and lines belong to Kevin Smith, George Lucas, and now Disney, I actually had something of a story to tell.

And I had fun telling this fan homage genetic freak, bordering on a crack fic — an off-the wall story– that I hope also says something meaningful.

My Twine making skills haven’t really progressed since The Looking Glass, save for learning how to format fonts in Twine, but as always I tend to focus on story and pacing the amount of text, of making a rhythm through each hyperlink more than anything else. But before I go on, there is one more thing I’d like to say.

There is one part in this Twine story where, should you choose to find it — and it isn’t hard to do so — Holden enters something of a “What If” or “Infinities” reality with regards to Chasing Amy. There was one story I was so tempted to tell, or outline: where Holden is so overcome by Banky trying to sabotage his relationship with Alyssa, and finding out about Alyssa’s past at a point where he is not mature enough to deal with it that he actually leaves both of them — and his old life behind — without a word.

Holden

Alyssa ends up coming to his and Banky’s apartment to find out where Holden was, even as Banky is left in the lurch with regards to their creative work Bluntman and Chronic, as well as their own friendship. Alyssa demands to know what Banky told Holden after he admits that he said something to him about her past. Suffice to say, she gets mad when she finds out, while Banky gets defensive.

Alyssa decides to go looking for Holden, actually concerned that he has had some kind of mental breakdown. Banky also goes with her and, reluctantly over a car trip start working together. Unlike Holden, she warns Banky that she will do more than tell him to “shut up” if he gets out of line. Banky tells her that the reason he dug into her past, to get “evidence” on her, was because he was protecting his friend: that he was afraid she was just using him as “a sexual phase” or some kind of game. Alyssa actually calls Banky out on the fact that he loves Holden and sees her as a threat.

But they do bond, and perhaps meet some weird characters along the way. At one point they realize that they could have actually been friends if this hadn’t gone down after they begin exchanging more stories. They realize they have a lot in common in addition to their bad experiences with women. At one point, they seem dangerously close to being intimate with each other, but they both go “Nah” at the same time. Banky says something about man-hating lesbians, and Alyssa counters him with misogynous (closeted or not) gay men. It’s Banky that admits he hates the fact he never saw Holden smile more than when he saw him with her. He realizes he hurt his childhood friend badly and, for the first time, actually starts to cry. It occurs to the both of them, in a poignant moment, that they love the same man.

Holden, Alyssa, and Banky

Alyssa also tells Banky that the reason she wants to find Holden is that she’s worried about him, but that if something like her past is enough to get him to leave her, he should do the opposite of being “chicken-shit” and make it clear: giving her closure. So to spoil the ending of this alternate universe “What If” story I’m never going to write, these two flawed but genuine human beings do locate Holden. He has been in the middle of nowhere, in a barnhouse: pretty much acting like J.D. Salinger, the creator of his namesake and working on a new comic. Chasing Amy is that comic: as he had seen Jay and Silent Bob before he left. He’s spent a while regretting having left, but by his logic he “needed some space.”

Holden’s peaceful yet sad Old Ben persona (see what I did there with “Ben”) is shattered as Alyssa brings her fury on him along with Banky. It’s been a while, so Holden doesn’t really know what to feel any more. Alyssa storms off. Holden tells Banky he feels bad about leaving their partnership in the lurch and tells him he’s done with Bluntman and Chronic: giving him his share of the intellectual property which he has prepared in writing and had prepared to mail to him. Banky takes it, and then tells Holden that Alyssa went through the fire to love him, and that he is making a mistake: that he remembers how he smiled at her. Banky tells Holden to go after her. And the story ends right there.

I would have called that story Finding Holden. But this is not my Twine. Instead, my Twine is called Finding Alyssa and I hope that you will enjoy it: for what it is.

Star Wars: Preludes and Interludes Of A Space Opera

I think that if I were a Time Lord, I’d be a unique one that specializes in travelling to alternate timelines: not because I originally intended to, but due to the fact that these are places to which my senses are attuned.

Lately, not to mix metaphors, I’ve been thinking about Star Wars. I mean, when aren’t I? But bear with me. Imagine, in that period between 1980 and 1983, when The Empire Strikes Back made people truly want to know what happened next, George Lucas came up with a plan: a long-term plan.

We already know and suspect that by Return of The Jedi, Lucas was planning on heavily merchandising the hell out of his universe. Some people even think the addition of Ewoks in the last film was an attempt to particularly appeal to children and their love for toys. Even after the sixth film, we had cartoons like Ewoks and Droids.

But what if it didn’t stop there? What if aside from the made-to-TV Ewoks films George Lucas had wanted even more merchandising. At the time, LucasFilm was in the process of developing its special effects technology that would be utilized not just by itself, but by other companies and film productions as well. Even so, by the time of the cartoons it had only been a few years since Return of The Jedi and people — particularly children — were still fresh off of a galaxy far, far away and wanted more. More than that, and I can speak for myself here, fans had questions: about the Jedi, about the Republic before the Empire, and the Clone Wars themselves.

Many of these questions had been answered with the new CGI Clone Wars cartoons and the Prequel films — albeit with some gaps even now — but there was a gap of at least, what, seventeen years or so, between the films: where many of us waited after the re-release of the Old Trilogy to find our answers and immerse ourselves into new Star Wars.

Yet what if during that time, we had something else to tide us over during near two decades of waiting?

Indulge me and imagine this. After the last film and the initial cartoons, LucasFilm decides to release oncoming series that takes place during The Clone Wars. Perhaps Lucas calls them, collectively, Interludes. During this time, we get to essentially see the Republic and the Separatist Crisis, and the Jedi Knights. We get to see a young Obi-Wan and Anakin actually growing together but, more importantly, we get to see something else as well.

Jedi Team

We are witness to other characters — other Jedi and galactic denizens — and we get to watch them grow. We are introduced to the clone troopers early and see them as individuals: while always wondering why they look so like and unlike stormtroopers. And there are hints of Anakin’s back story and how he met Padme. At this stage, perhaps a few seasons or an interrelated series of cartoons (perhaps aided in the 90s by one young Genndy Tartakovsky) and live-action programs: space opera serials not unlike the material from which their structure was derived. Can you imagine that? Coming home from school to watch your Star Wars show?

And yes, the intervening years between the early 1980s and the late 90s might not have much in the way of advanced graphics or special effects by our contemporary standards but imaginary worlds have been built on much less and with more attention to detail. I mean, look at some anime from that period, or even the Old Trilogy and how immersive it was for looking all run-down, and world-weary and real: letting our minds fill in the rest. I could have seen LucasFilm making a lot of money during this time. I mean, think of an Interlude series of Star Wars: Clone Commandos playing alongside G.I. Joe. Don’t tell me that wouldn’t be bad-ass.

Clone troopers

So during this whole time, you have all these background characters getting built up, living, and dying. You get immersed in their lives. Shaak-Ti, Aayla Secura, Kit Fisto, Plo Koon and the other Jedi have many adventures and you get attached to them. You see the Jedi Initiates as children and you want to be a Jedi: relating more to you directly as a child than even Luke does in the movies. Hell, you might even want to be Clone Troopers, have their special armour and play Clones Verses Droids along with Rebels Verses Imperials in the playground.

Of course, there would be comics and books as per usual. And then periods where there are no cartoons or shows. It makes the audience wait with anticipation. You build on the culture that you have already cultivated and created. The important thing is that you leave the questions. You have Anakin refer to his time on Tatooine and being a slave and you never know everything that happened. He has moments of darkness and you don’t know what caused them. You can tell Palpatine is doing something, but you don’t know where it all began or what even started the Clone Wars at all. Then there are the other questions about what will happen to the Jedi: particularly your favourite Jedi and their friends and comrades in the clones.

1999 comes around. Perhaps there has been some intervening years where the Interludes — The Clone Wars cartoons and live-action serials — have died down. Everyone is waiting. Now take the movies know from our timeline. If you want, imagine that the ideas created by George Lucas were written out by other writers: as he had those in the Original Trilogy. Maybe he even has others giving direction to the actors: those who can relate to them and have them react in believable and human ways. Scene-sequencing is interspersed with equal amounts of dialogue and action. CGI is cut down considerably and used sparingly: with a greater reliance on prop development and real world scenery.

The Phantom Menace reveals Anakin’s origins and just why the Jedi think he is so important. Attack of The Clones, three years later, shows us how The Clone Wars began. And, finally and heartbreakingly, we have Revenge of The Sith: where not only do we see Anakin fall, but all those Jedi characters that survived up until this point are mercilessly cut down by the clone troopers that we have, despite our better judgement as adults and adoration as children, grown to love.

Think of the impact of this alternate timeline. Think of how much we could relate to the death of Aayla Secura if we had seen her in various shows fighting for worlds and having her private moments with Kit Fisto. Think about Plo Koon and his time being a part-time mentor for Ahsoka Tano — perhaps even tutoring her in piloting — only to have his ship blown apart by one of his own clones. And the Younglings, those children you saw becoming Jedi … think about the horror in that.

How would you have viewed even the Prequels that we have now if there was all that build-up to the tragedy — a well-written tragedy — that was their Trilogy and the beginning of The Empire.

So now the Prequels are over. You know what happens. And yet … there are still some mysteries. Some Jedi are still alive or unaccounted for. A Rebellion has yet to form. LucasFilm, and perhaps Lucas Arts as it might still be around this alternate timeline can play with that. The fans are devastated by the impact of the Rebellion and Luke Skywalker is felt even more keenly. You watch the films again to know that the Empire fails.

Perhaps Star Wars cartoons and shows are divided into the Preludes — those dealing with the events before the Empire — and Interludes — those focusing on events during the Empire. Maybe some of these shows happen after the Prequels in real-time and others during the 80s and 90s. This is all you have to go on so far.

But everyone wants to know what happens next. They want to know what Luke and Leia do after the Empire falls. They have only had their appetite whet with the Clone Wars and the origins of the Empire. They want more.

And then, after 2005, ten years later after more shows and merchandising — and perhaps with the aid of Disney’s resources — we have: the Sequel Trilogy. The New Trilogy.

Of course, many people might have their own alternate ideal Star Wars watching timeline. Maybe there were no Clone Wars or Prequels. Perhaps the Sequel Trilogy happened right away. But there is something else to consider and it took me a while to personally understand and accept this.

It was Tony Pacitti in his pop culture memoir My Best Friend is a Wookiee that made me consider it. Perhaps one day, if not right now, there will be a new generation of children born. These children might watch The Phantom Menace and Attack of The Clones. Then they might watch The Clone Wars. Then Revenge of The Sith. Then the Old Trilogy. And the New Trilogy. They will see all the standalone films. And right now, it is all open to them. It isn’t perfect and there are gaps and questions, but they have mysteries to explore and wonder to consume.

It would be like us discovering the magic of Star Wars for the first time and their experiences would be different but similar to our own. They have so much more to see and know. They get to do what we can only dream of doing: living a life of imagination inundated by a variety of Star Wars: decades of Star Wars. And no matter way you look at it, this will be their first step into a much larger world.

No One Shoots First: Star Wars The Annotated Movie

George Lucas always said that Joseph Campbell and his idea of “the monomyth” — of the hero’s journey that exists in all the myths and legends of the world — greatly influenced Star Wars. In that sense, long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away doesn’t merely evoke the sentiment of “once upon a time,” but both of these opening sentences draw on something older and archetypal in human storytelling. However, Star Wars is only one of the many stories that draw from this pool of myth and, in turn, many of these short stories, novels, comics, television series and films have informed George Lucas’ creative mind as well as those of his artistic team and his mythos.

Long, longer ago, there were other galaxies that existed far and farther away and Michael Heilemann has taken it upon himself to trace them to before Lucas’ opening crawl recedes into the distance: to those places that came before they even roll onto screen. Heilemann, an interface director of the content management system Squarespace, is in the process of tracing The Ancestry Of Star Wars through an ongoing work that will become the e-book Kitbashed. The latter is a title taken from the concept of kitbashing of taking pieces of different models and making something new from one’s own unique engineering and creativity. These new pieces can be added to a model that already exists or can be made to create something entirely new.

It is a nice analogy for Star Wars and myth-making in general: especially in that Heilemann himself goes into explain in the About section of his site that “using existing model-kits to detail spaceship models for films” is a “technique” that was perfected during the production of Star Wars. But Heilemann takes the point further. Armed with a “Despecialized Edition” of Star Wars: A New Hope (for we all know how difficult it is to find an original version of the Trilogy of any decent graphic quality), Heilemann has managed to illustrate his points in video form: juxtaposing and sometimes transitioning scenes, images and sounds from different films and media so that we can see how they might be related side-by-side.

The AV Club’s title of their own article about Heilemann’s work says it all: This annotated Star Wars video is the best special feature the DVDs don’t have. And, unfortunately, the writer of the article John Teti also makes a valid point in that “It’s the kind of thing that ought to be on a special-edition Blu-Ray release but never will be because of copyright issues.”

These copyright issues are not merely the result of LucasFilm when you consider that Heilemann includes elements from films, television serials and comics such as Lucas’ THX 1138, Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Forbidden Planet, The Hidden Fortress, The Searchers and many other works. As such, if you are interested in viewing the video links in this article please do so soon before they are removed. While the sample that Heilemann provides is, by his own admission, not as complete as it could be it certainly illustrates what he is trying to do.

Because Heilemann’s work isn’t kitbashing. Lucas and his artists were the kitbashers here. No, what Heilemann is attempting to do is go beyond even Lucas’ prototypical The Star Wars rough scripts and give us something of a blue print: not for Star Wars, but for the creative and historical process that went into making this mythology. As someone who is fascinated with the origins of myths and geekery, who explores as much as possible, I have to admit that this understanding and the work he has done so far makes me feel somewhat jealous.

But ultimately and if nothing else, what Michael Heilemann demonstrates is that no one ever truly shoots first.

Star Wars Legends: Crisis In Infinite Galaxies

It was a little while ago that Star Wars fanatics were informed, by LucasFilm, that the Star Wars Expanded Universe of novels, comics, video games and other multimedia would no longer be considered canon in the Great Holocron of that Galaxy far, far away. The Star Wars canon, such as it is, has been culled down to the current six films, The Clone Wars animated series and the upcoming Rebels.

For the most part, all other materials belonging to the Expanded Universe have become Legends: stories that have, for all intents and purposes, been regulated to the status of galactic apocrypha. I wrote something on the subject at GeekPr0n, where I was fairly tongue-and-cheek about the entire matter, but I have to admit I had a few more thoughts on the matter.

You see, it’s not the first time a major franchise has rebooted, or attempted even a partial reboot, of itself: where stories that fans have followed for ages become either the relics of Gold, Silver and Bronze Ages, or non-canon entirely. Say what you will about Star Wars Legends becoming different “points of view” in examining that galaxy, that fans will “always get to keep their stories,” or that they will be consulted for those creators making the “new continuity.” I can even sympathize and admit that there were some Expanded Universe elements that simply didn’t make sense or, frankly, were very badly made.

But that all said, despite my own feelings that I wish the Prequels and The Clone Wars CGI series should be relegated into the realm of Legends (because, frankly, I don’t like the majority of their elements) I feel that there is something very cynical about taking a story and characters that people love and saying that they are no longer legitimate. Oh, they get their Legends and you can still read them but, chances are, you will never see them influence mainstream Star Wars and even if they do, they will not be the same. Your stories and characters are no longer in continuity.

For me, and in the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, this news felt “as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.”

Obi-Wan

But why stop there? Why simply stop at placing all of the Expanded Universe into its own Legends pocket dimension and go further?

That’s right ladies, gentlemen and other beings throughout the multiverse: perhaps LucasFilm should have “pulled a DC” and created their Crisis In Infinite Galaxies.

I mean, the tools were all there. There were already Star Wars Infinities comics: the very same that are, ironically enough, in Legends right now. But instead of a series of What-ifs, they could easily make a big What-If. And let’s make it a big one that functions a little something like this:

Imagine that each story arc: The Dawn Of The Jedi, Tales Of The Jedi, Knights and The Old Republic, The Star Wars Prequel books, The Clone Wars, Republic Commando, The Force Unleashed, X-Wing, Thrawn all the way to Visions Of The Future, Young Jedi Knights, Star Wars: Jedi Knight, Dark Empire, The New Jedi Order, The Dark Nest Crisis, Legacy Of The Force, Fate Of The Jedi, Star Wars: Legacy, the original Marvel Star Wars comics, The Star Wars, and all other multimedia adventures are their own Galaxies: including the novelizations of the films. Think of them all as alternate timelines and realities like the different Ages of DC and the parallel universes of Marvel.

Star Wars Expanded Universe

And each of these realities contains alternate versions of our favourite characters, and some unique characters as well. We take these characters and settings and, through some deus ex machina — through the art of the crossover stolen from the traditional comic book superhero genre — we do what Star Wars does best: we engineer a plot-driven conflict and destroy every reality until there is only one: the accepted one.

Think of this as the premise: there is an imbalance in the Force. In the Splinter Galaxy, an archetypal and primordial power known as the Kaiburr Crystal has been taken from its place in the Temple of Pomojema on Mimban and split into pieces by the forces of the Light and the Dark. Because of the separation of this Crystal and its removal from its resting place, the hyperspace disturbances on the edge of the Galaxy fluctuate.

Kaiburr Crystal

Meanwhile, in other Galaxies the ancient Celestials and the Rakatan Infinite Empire become aware of this shift in the boundaries beyond their Galaxy: or perhaps a hyperspace lane that one of them is manipulating warps into an unstable portal in the Deep Core. The Celestials proceed to explore while the Rakata mobilize their fleet and their Dark side-fuelled technology for invasion. The spirits of Obi-Wan and Yoda appear after a mysterious rift opens up near Endor and give Luke Skywalker a new mission. Then you have the Force Priestesses that taught Qui-Gon Jinn and Master Yoda ascension, along with The Ones, the anchorites in the Clone Wars Galaxy sense the destabilization of reality and summon the Chosen One and his allies to deal with this issue from Mortis.

Of course, this does not go unnoticed by the Dark Side. In addition to the Rakata you have Abeloth from the Fate Galaxy rushing in past the remnants of the Centerpoint and Sinkhole Stations: where a rift opens in the Maw and her realm “beyond shadows.” It gets worse, of course. Palpatine from the Dark Empire Galaxy seeks all of his alternate selves and plans to drain their knowledge and become a god, whereas the Sith Emperor Vitiate from The Old Republic Galaxy plots to destroy, devour all life everywhere and do the same.

Now imagine a young Luke Skywalker meeting all of his alternate selves: including the older Jedi-Bendu version of himself from The First Draft Galaxy, the swashbuckling hero from the Marvel Galaxy, and his Jedi Master selves from the others. Envision Han Solo’s genuine shock when he sees a reptilian version of himself that tells him about the odds. Perhaps Starkiller from the Unleashed Galaxy meets Annikin. The clones from Republic Commando run into their The Clone Wars counterparts. Even now I can see the Delta and Omega squads stating, “Brain chips? Brain chips!? What the kriff is this load of osik?”

Then you have Revan from The Old Republic Galaxy meeting The Clone Wars Anakin Skywalker and making the latter wonder what it is to be the Chosen One. Or Darth Vader encountering his First Draft counterparts: the general sharing his name, Prince Valorum of the Knights of the Sith and the prototype demonic artist’s version of himself. And just imagine the Force spirits of different Galaxies meeting each other: such as the young Anakin and the old Anakin many of us grew up seeing.

Star Wars Conceptual Drawing

And the Space Fortress and Death Stars band together, all survivors band together as a terrifying amalgam of World Devastator and Sun Crusher technology — something with a name like the Cosmic Obliterator — crafted from a Galaxy where a Droid Revolution or an Abominor invasion succeeded, or perhaps even the Star Forge gaining its own sentience and independence — obliterates one Galaxy after another in its quest to reunite the Kaiburr Crystal shards and gain unlimited power.

Star Wars Zombies

Or worse … perhaps the malicious Mnggal-Mnggal, coming from the Unknown Regions Galaxy, is seeking to expand its pain, suffering, and self-awareness across all the flesh in existence utilizing the Sith and Imperial-created Blackwing Virus to infect and infiltrate beings in all currently enmeshed realities — the only thing stopping it being a united Kaiburr Crystal. Or the strange and transdimensional Waru, from his Crystal Star Galaxy is drawn into the madness and wants to just go home. That’s right. I went there. I definitely went there. And yes, the blob gets his own Galaxy of that book title’s name. So there.

Yes, I am being incredibly sarcastic. But why not? If each story is no longer canon or set within a Star Wars continuity, why should there be a causality inferred between them? Of course there are copyrights to consider and more fan rage, but just consider the stories you could tell with this attitude. And imagine if the stories were told well. Think of all these characters and their interactions, the stories they themselves can tell. Imagine them making fun of, but respecting their own origins for what they are. And when they die, they can die with some kind of meaning: something more than simply being told they no longer exist.

Star Wars Explosion

And even with the cop-out of the reunification of the Kaiburr Crystal in the centre of the First Draft Galaxy’s most potent Force nexus repairing and “rebooting” the Galaxy of long, long ago erasing the characters’ knowledge of past events, does it really matter? Because if they don’t know of the struggles, if they no longer exist as the credits and the epic music roll heralding a new and uncertain reality, we will remain. We will know.

Jedi-Bendu

We will mourn the passing of the strange teleportation, time-travel, advanced droids and lost civilizations of the Marvel and Dark Horse Galaxies, the origins of the Je’daii civilization from the Dawn Galaxy, the short and meaningful lives of Frontline Combat clone commandos, the insane pinnacle of Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker who finally comes into his own, beautiful Zeltrons, the varied lives of bounty hunters, scum and villainy, and the love and passion between worlds.

Or, maybe this could be the process by which future writers will decide what goes into the new primary Galaxy. Who knows.

I will tell you now: this is the stuff of fanfiction. But I won’t make this story. I can’t. I recognize my limitations. But if something has to end, it should go out with a bang and everyone should have their time. I salute anyone who can, is, or will be running with this mad jigsaw idea of a crossover.

My rant has turned into a homage. Thank you for reading it. The Force be with you. Always.

Reflections On The Return of the Sixth

DSC00099

I had a busy weekend.

It was the most social I’ve been outside of the Internet in a while. First, I went to the Global Game Jam Videogame Expo at Bento Miso where I presented my Twine game: The Looking Glass. Next to the 3D and cell-shaded games, mine looked pretty “under-dressed”: especially near the corner of the room. It looked a lot like some strange, old, lost game that you’d find in a creepypasta.

Even so, some people played my game and we talked about it. I was told that my writing is flowing like a river and it has a poetic rhythm. Of course, that is only a sample of the kind of writing that I actually do but it was still good to hear.

I had fun walking around, talking and playing some other people’s games. I even got an opportunity to draw on the white board. I drew a spiral and some words underneath it. I wrote: “A mark appears on the wall. You are Agent Red and you have a choice to make.”

Unfortunately I didn’t think to bring my camera with me to take a picture and the one picture of me that came from the event is … less than flattering.

This same lack of foresight on my part is also the reason why you will find no pictures of me at the GeekPr0n Third Anniversary Party. It’s just as well, really. Compared to my compatriots, and not unlike my game from the previous event, I was very under-dressed.

But I had a lot of fun. I’ve been working at GeekPr0n for a while now and it was only that night I got to meet most of my co-writers and fellow staff for the first time. After I realized all I had to mention I was “Staff,” I got a VIP mark on my wrist and I went to the back section where I hung out with these really nice, geeky people that I’ve come to know. Over the excellent mixes of DJ Misty, I geeked out with them–mainly about Star Wars–and then slowly and inexorably found myself relaxing.

We even got some presents: specifically action figures. I got a figurine of Smiley Bone and a Manhunter from the Green Lantern.

It’s funny how things work out.  A year ago, at another location, I attended GeekPr0n’s second anniversary as a fan. I’d been a long time since I went to any club downtown. This year, GeekPr0n had their third anniversary at the Velvet Underground: a club I used to go to a lot. In fact, it was the first club I ever knew about that had gothic music. We had a lot of history together, but most of it was me dancing in the background and being known by very few. The rest of it was the results of belatedly growing up.

Years later, I find myself in the VIP section of the club eating snacks and chatting with my fellow GeekPr0n staff members who are friendly, nice geeks like me. And it made me realize something. All those years ago, when I went out to these places on my own, lonely, young, afraid and wondering, what I was really looking for were friends: and a family.

And even though there is so much more to do and many details to consider, looking back on all of this and in the words of Darth Vader, “The circle is now complete.”

Though, of course, given that there will be three more Star Wars films and extra media, I think the circle is expanding–becoming a spiral, if you will–and hopefully not a rabbit-hole. But that, my friends, is a post for another time.

Star Wars: The Canon Unleashed

We at GEEKPR0N would like to inform you that we have some good news and some bad news.

Before we do so, however, our beloved GEEKB0T has brought us the following statement issued from a galaxy far, far away:

“In order to ensure the security and continuing stability the Star Wars galaxy will be re-organized, into a whole new canon, for a safe and secure continuity!”

This will be a work in progress.

All right. Now that the dramatic John Williams’ level music and cheering is over, allow us to tell you the bad news. Chances are, you already know what it means. It means that everything that isn’t the six current films and the cartoon series — from books, to comics, to video games, and other multimedia — is all non-canon.

This isn’t particularly surprising, unfortunately. It has been made clear throughout the years by Lucasfilm that the Expanded Universe beyond the films, The Clone Wars cartoon (and the soon-to-be Rebels) would always come second to the original source material. And then you also need to take into consideration that much of the EU has been pretty contradictory. For example I’m sure there are some fans that won’t miss the Emperor returning in clone bodies and converting Luke to the dark side in the comic series Dark Empire, the superweapon of the month club spectacles of Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy or Leia accepting an arranged marriage in The Courtship of Princess Leia, or Chewbacca being killed by a moon in Vector Prime.

And there will be fans that will totally miss this.

There will also be fans that miss the adventures of Kyle Katarn, a whole other Jedi aside from Luke, fighting to discover what he is in the Dark Forces series, or the odyssey of Revan and friends in The Knights of the Old Republic, or looking at the origins of the Jedi Order itself in the Tales of the Jedi comics series and Dawn of The Jedi. There are the X-Wing and Wraith Squadron series with wise-cracking Rebel and New Republic pilots that will also become non-canon and a truly excellent series called Republic Commando written by Karen Traviss which truly fleshes out the Grand Army of the Republic’s clone troopers as actual characters and human beings in a wartime situation and the moral ambiguity of them being essentially slave-soldiers.

Palpatine’s origins in Darth Plagueis will be shrouded in mystery and half-truths again, Darth Vader will never have a secret apprentice such as Starkiller from The Force Unleashed and even the future of the Galaxy with regards to Cade Skywalker and the Imperial Knights in the Legacy comics is now called into question. All of these stories and adventures will be given the designation Legends and, perhaps, Lucasfilm will utilize some of these Legends’ characters and elements in their own way.

I know for myself that it will be hard, in a lot of ways, to watch the next three films, the spin-offs, and read the new books without thinking about some of the old. It would have been nice if Lucasfilm had gone through its Great Holocron and found some of the characters and stories that worked. It would have been even better if they had asked their fans to vote on what they wanted included into the canon. Of course, that last idea would have been problematic at best as we, as fans, all have “a certain point of view.”

But now GEEKB0T has ordered me to tell you the good news. The good news is that with the Expanded Universe eaten by the World Devastators, these figurative superweapons that technically no longer exist will be creating new stories and content that not even the best Force Adepts among us can farsee. And as I said, perhaps we might see some of these “Legends” manifest again. Perhaps Grand Admiral Thrawn still had campaigns during the thirty years between Return of The Jedi and the new films. Or maybe a certain red-headed Imperial assassin named Mara Jade encountered the last of the Jedi and helped train the first of the new.

One can only hope. But, as I have been further instructed by GEEKB0T, if this news does not cheer you then perhaps this new video made by the Nerdist, Revenge of the Threesome, will.

And with those vintage 1980s action figures to soothe you, we at GEEKPR0N wish the Force to be with you. Always.

Oh, one last thing…

GEEKPR0N’s Star Wars themed anniversary party is tomorrow night!  Tickets are on sale now and are also available at the door, however if you buy your ticket in advance you’ll be entered to win a BRAND NEW PS4!!!

party

Today is the last day to buy advance tickets!  Get yours today!!

Star Wars: Rebels and “Lost Missions”

It’s funny that though I am a big Star Wars fanatic, I’ve not really found the opportunity to really talk about the series on G33kPr0n until, well, now. And today, I find that I have a lot to talk about.

I’ll admit I’m mildly surprised, and at the same time not, that Star Wars: Rebels is still going to happen. Between Disney buying LucasFilm, LucasArts closing down, the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and especially the Lucasfilm Story Group’s “re-organization” of Star Wars canon into a potentially cohesive sense of continuity, I know that I assumed Rebels would just be another abandoned project. Aside from the introduction of the unidentified “Inquisitor” character, who seems to be a Dark Side Adept, member of the Inquisitorius and antagonist in the series, along the release of some really fascinating Imperial propaganda posters, nothing else was really known about the plot until recently with the revelation that one of the show’s lead characters will be a Jedi survivor of Order 66.

I’m not exactly sure what to think about it myself as a Star Wars fan. Even though Obi-Wan Kenobi’s exact words to Luke Skywalker were “Now the Jedi are all but extinct,” which doesn’t necessarily mean that he and Yoda are the last, this idea has been done before. In fact, if you look at the character he is kind of reminiscent of a young General Rahm Kota from The Force Unleashed games. Even the idea of the Inquisitor being an agent sent by Darth Vader to hunt down the remaining Jedi Knights is eerily similar to the tasks that he entrusted to his own secret apprentice Starkiller. Of course, these characters are different in and of themselves and there will be other main characters to consider as well. But a former Jedi as a gunslinger with perhaps looser morals could be interesting to watch in action. And the forces of evil can never have too many minions. I just hope they will give this Inquisitor a name of his own.

But while Star Wars: Rebels isn’t a lost mission, The Clone Wars are. “The Lost Missions” are thirteen previously unreleased episodes of the cancelled Season Six which will premiere on Netflix in North America on March 7. I myself had mixed feelings about the program itself, but I will admit that its teaser scenes in the trailer below are very intriguing when taken in themselves.

What do a “malfunctioning” clone trooper, a mischievous AWOL ancient Jedi Grand Master, an unknown bounty hunter, and a lightsaber found in the dusty remains of an abandoned ship with ominous Dark Side music in the background all have in common?

For now, just a common sense of mystery and one that many fans will look forward to exploring.

On the Dangers and Merits of Sequels: Or a Post in Post-Haste

This post is late. Actually, I’ve had to redo this post at least two or three times already in that I had no idea what exactly I wanted to write about. In fact, I wasn’t sure I was even going to write about anything.

It’s been those kinds of days.

Usually I have some posts in reserve–as I’ve probably mentioned before–or I get one done the very day of Monday or Thursday. In fact, I think some of the few times I’ve been late with an entry have been on special occasions such as holidays: you know, like New Years. This was not New Years: at least I really hope not.

I have been busy. I recently finished writing an article for Sequart which I plan to send to them with some associated images once it gets a look over. I actually got all fancy and annotated it: doing some of the very academic things I swore off because of how tedious and infuriating they can become. Still, it’s kind of like creating a formulaic ritual around your words: either keeping the forces of skepticism out, or binding them inside the circle.

My analogy of academics as formulaic magic aside, I’m pleased with how it has turned out so far and I look forward to showcasing it: one way or another. I’m also now brainstorming more elements for the plot of my Secret Project: though there are some details–both practical and otherwise–that I have to get before I can go forward. I am also working on a short story and doing research for that. In addition, I have had to reread some of my Twine rough draft notes so that I can eventually go back to working on that lovely monstrosity. I almost gave up on it because it really has been a while, but my plan involves finishing one or two “chapters” and then work on one “chapter” that I can experiment with Twine proper. This one chapter will be an excerpt for people to read and play through: or a standalone piece of game writing. I think focusing on this one part captures the spirit of what I want to talk about and will be a good example of what I want to do. So there is that.

As for the rest of it … I guess I can sum it up like this. Sometimes an event in life is like a film. And even if that film becomes “a downer,” it can still be a very good and detailed work of art: something complete in and of itself. Despite the highs and the lows, that film is unique and it has a happy ending: in that it actually ends. Unfortunately, in most cases a film interests people so much that a sequel is created and most sequels tend to be shoddy and derivative shadows of their predecessors. The story should have just been ended while it still had some dignity. But there is another phenomenon to consider: that of trilogies. While some trilogies are degenerations of that first movie, more often than not it is the second film that serves as a bridge to that much more effective and satisfying end story.

So the way I see it, right now my life is The Empire Strikes Back–a very good sequel–and maybe, just maybe I can get to the place where I can blow up AT-ST chicken walkers with teddy-bear Ewoks.

I have quite a few things to look forward to and not the least of which being next week, on Tuesday, when I finally get to meet Neil Fucking Gaiman. Anyway, that’s it for tonight. I’m glad that I got to end this on a more positive note and I will see you all later.

Take care.

Looking Outward

Star Wars: Different Forms of Revenge and the Knights that Could Have Been

I have to be careful. If I keep this up, I will have to make an entire section for Star Wars. But I really wanted to articulate something that I have–throughout the years–discussed time and again.

The Jedi Knights.

When I first thought of the Jedi Knights, with what little we were told through the Old Trilogy, I pictured them as something not unlike the X-Men–people born with strange powers–who are somehow also like a galactic police: in that they have their roles as peacekeepers, but they are also a distinct people and citizens of the Republic.

Of course, in the gap between the Old Trilogy and the New, there were other details that formed as well due to the Expanded Universe. Tales of the Jedi established that, at the time, there were many decentralized enclaves of Jedi: with some ancient and wise teachers guiding multiple students of various species, genders, and social backgrounds. Some Jedi had families, partners, spouses, and children while others served as full-time guardians, scholars, and diplomats. Some were born into the Order, others adopted, and still more joined voluntarily. They also had ties to the Galaxy: to people who were not Force-sensitive, while others investigated the glorious mystery that was the galactic energy field known as the Force and defended against the abuses of the Dark Side and injustice.

I admit, I was probably one of those people that was pretty spoiled by reading the Expanded Universe stories after Return of the Jedi and getting used to how Luke Skywalker developed and ran his Jedi Order, and thought it and the precedent in Tales determined how the Jedi Order had always been before its first destruction.

But then, like many others, I found out I was wrong. I found out that the Jedi Order was essentially a highly centralized monastic organization that took children from their parents–mostly willingly–when discovered to have a “high midichlorian count” in their bloodstreams, and trained them to essentially be apart from Galactic society while also somehow still serving only the Republic and, well, being a part of its judicial branch. Jedi were not allowed to own anything save their lightsabers–and apparently “the lightsaber is their life” though I always used to think true mastery of the Force was evolving past needing to even use it anymore–and they were not allowed to marry, or have children of their own: though they could have relationships provided that their duty to the Order and the Force came first.

Basically, in the Prequels the Jedi Order became a religious group with various psychokinetic abilities that somehow served to enforce and mediate a Galaxy of secularism and a multitude of other beliefs. And while they were encouraged to accept the diversity and multiculturalism of the Galaxy at large as peacekeepers and diplomats–trained specially to know that everyone and everything has “a certain point of view,” for the most part they couldn’t really apply this philosophy to themselves and their own internal practices.

In short, from my perspective the Prequels made most of the Jedi bland, unrelatable, forgettable and, some cases, really unlikable. These Jedi, compared to the ones of Luke’s time and the ones that predated even them, do not seem to have passion for anything, they do not fight as well and only defensively (which mostly is not in their favour against Dark Side opponents), they seem to have a whole lot of prohibitions–more than just being mindful of your feelings–and they make themselves separate from people who are “not like them.”

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There are exceptions–such as the Cerean Master Ki-Adi-Mundi having a polygamous relationship to help save his species–and I even admit I understand the structure involved too. After all, you would want to regulate a group of people with advanced abilities and keep them from potentially misusing them–even by accident–and they have to be very careful in what they do. But there is a point where reasonable caution becomes fear. The irony of course is that in the films and the books, the Jedi like to say that, “Fear is a path to the Dark Side.” But here the Jedi are, trying to eliminate the potential for attachments and conflicting interests in their initiates before they are even cognizant of them for fear that they might turn to the Dark Side out of passion. Essentially, they were forced to ignore the will of the Force–in their basic reproductive and emotional urges that most life is programmed with–in order to serve the will of the Jedi Council and the Order.

There is interesting story behind the Order becoming an almost purely monastic one: in that there was something called the Ruusan Reformation: where after a major galactic Dark Age the Order instituted all of these reforms after the Sith supposedly “destroyed themselves” to prevent or at least diminish the potential of more Dark Side-users rising. Basically, it is like our world: in that when we have times of peace, we tend to be more liberal as societies, whereas in war or great tragedy we tend to become more repressive or, at best, conservative with many groups within these structures becoming both self-censuring and self-policing. But as I said with regards to the Jedi, this was still something motivated by fear and, well, fear at least indirectly led to the inevitable.

I also think that these back stories, while really clever, are obviously retroactive and kind of a cop-out by George Lucas: made specifically to help the plot in Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the Dark Side. You can name a whole of cultural precedents for me in our world–the Knights Templar, the Vestal Virgins, the Guardians of Plato’s Kallipolis and many other orders of monks, celibates, idealized communal police forces and their roles–but I still think it is a cop-out.

There were many ways that the Jedi could have been left as peacekeepers and equal galactic citizens while also retaining the tensions that would have led to their destruction. Things that would have allowed them to remain, at least to me, as human and relatable beings while making their deaths that much more horrible. Even Anakin’s fall could have been made even nastier this way. I understand that film has different requirements as a medium for expression as opposed to books and that an idea simply conveyed–especially in a really clear archetypal form–can be the most effective, but that still doesn’t detract from my point.

I’m going to tell you now about the fall of the Galactic Republic as I imagined it. I saw the Jedi living side by side with other Republic citizens: some revering them and others fearing what they can do. Hence my X-Men reference. Palpatine manipulates his way into power and engineers the Clone Wars as per usual: save that when I heard about Clone Wars I thought both–or all sides–used clones in their battles as terrifying and disposable legions of soldiers. It does not take much these days to imagine whole lifeforms being engineered simply for the purposes of warfare: threatening the very nature of the Galaxy and life itself. That is what is at stake.

In the meantime, Palpatine is slowly and surely turning the populace against the Jedi Knights. He is being clever and not coming out and outright saying anti-Jedi rhetoric, but he has others do it for them. Pretty soon, members of the Order have to be watched, are excluded from places, and measures are taken–a few from the EU–to make areas and situations where their powers can be neutralized. Incidents happen where people get into fights with Jedi and, save for the Masters–and in my vision I thought that Masters were the pinnacle of a Jedi’s power and wisdom and on par with Yoda and Obi-Wan–they cannot prevent the conflicts.

Anakin is Luke’s age when Obi-Wan finds him on Tatooine: and he trains him. Yoda is Obi-Wan’s Master and has long evolved past his need to use a lightsaber. Owen Lars is Obi-Wan’s brother: which explains their strained relationship in that Obi-Wan had the Force potential and was the hero, while Owen was essentially a “mundane” and liked being a moisture farmer. Anakin and Obi-Wan go around the Galaxy together and eventually become drinking buddies and friends. Anakin is exposed to all of the conflict going on and he does get befriended by Palpatine. Anakin also meets Padme, or whomever at the time I thought would be his wife, and they plan to have a family and Anakin flat out tells Obi-Wan that he wants his son to have his lightsaber should anything happen to him. I could see Anakin a lot like a combination of Han Solo but with moments of wise Luke: a far more relatable and likeable person than in the Prequels.

But War takes its toll and Anakin starts to go crazy: each conflict inflicting a toil on his stress level and mental well being. Obi-Wan tries to save him, but they are fighting on Mustafar and Anakin accidentally falls into a volcano or gets burned and injured. Obi-Wan thinks Anakin is dead and takes his lightsaber. But Anakin lives on through sheer hate and the belief that Obi-Wan tried to kill him and abandoned him to die. Palpatine retrieves Anakin and influences him further to blame Obi-Wan and the Jedi for the entire War and for Anakin’s injuries. Then we see the slow, painstaking physical transformation of Darth Vader. Then in the third film we see a cybernetic Darth Vader leading an assault on the main Jedi Temple–with now Imperial troopers who can also be birth-born recruits because we all know that normal people can commit atrocities just as well as any clone–and slaughtering powerful Jedi we have come to relate to and care about. You know: the Jedi Purge we expected.

Purge

In the meantime, we see Jedi children being taken away by the new Imperial government to places unknown: along with adults and Jedi sympathizers. Collaborators turn them in for bounty and out of fear. But some are still sympathizers and try to hide them. We also see Purge troopers and Jedi hunters come up with energy cages and ysalamiri: creatures that can neutralize the Force around a captive Force-sensitive. This is a nice lead-in for the Dark Times where we see the Jedi fugitives fighting for their lives and being murdered by Darth Vader and friends. It is also made clear that only penultimate masters of the Dark Side can use Force Lightning: and not everyone and their grandmother. And then we see Bail Organa hiding and raising Leia and Obi-Wan taking Luke: and we know that there will be hope for some kind of justice and restoration … and eventually the return of those strange and wonderful Jedi Knights.

I know there is a great irony implicit in this essentially fanboy rage article: in that my previous post dealt with how I hated how dark Star Wars had become beyond what was necessary. However, I recognize that the events leading to the Empire and Darth Vader and the genocide of the Jedi were not pleasant moments. But it could have still been Dark and very real: something visceral that people could relate to. What would you relate to more: seeing a bunch of distant Knights you barely know get shot by some command predisposed clone troopers, or some characters you know and families you saw even tangentially being carted away to the Imperial Palace for death … or worse. Or even seeing some well-developed characters die because of how they were born. And then when Luke has his confrontation in the Old Trilogy, you know what is at stake and you see Vader too beginning to actually realize what a fool he has been and we could have watched as he acts accordingly. You also see that even though what Luke and Anakin do can never truly make up for what was lost, there is a least, you know, “a new hope.”

Instead, we got a cookie-cutter “Execute Order 66” on some people we barely knew and saw a bunch of relatively forced characters fight. That is how I feel, and the sad thing is I also feel like it could have been so much better than it was. I was really disappointed about how the Jedi were portrayed. I expected better. A lot better.

I am almost finished this. I could easily end this off by stating that my issue with the Prequels and the Jedi in them was not that they were the lead-up to a tragedy, but they were a lead-up to a very contrived tragedy. No. I think what also really annoys me is what happened afterwards.

In the Expanded Universe, there was a book called Traitor. It was written by Matthew Stover, before his excellent adaptation of Revenge of the Sith. And in this book, Darth Vader’s grandson Jacen Solo essentially touches both sides of the Force and is taught through some hard, brutal but necessary lessons that the Force has no sides. The Light and Dark Side come from within the practitioner and not the Force itself. It was a well-written and well-reasoned book. Unfortunately, writers afterwards came to take Vergere — Jacen Solo’s Master’s — words as complete literal truth: that “everything I tell you is a lie.”

It turns out that Vergere was a secret Sith and she was feeding Jacen something called The Potentium Heresy: a philosophy that states that as long as a Force practitioner intends no wrong, they can do no wrong. In the end, Vergere was working with another Sith who eventually turns Jacen into something like his grandfather: even though he should have really known better.

Caedus EA

Of course, neither this Heresy nor the “shades of grey” approach are mutually inclusive things. The fact is: whether the Force has two exact sides is irrelevant. If you seriously take the time to look at your actions and guide them appropriately, it is beyond this really simplistic binary opposition of black and white. No person is either pure good or pure evil. The view of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force is really Manichean–an absolutist dual morality of good verses evil–and even the Old Trilogy questions it when Luke almost a few times gives into his anger, but ultimately looks deep into himself and stops. Hell, I can even argue that just as the Force influences peoples’ actions in Star Wars, people’s actions influence the Force and create its Light and Dark Sides: though that becomes a question of the chicken or the egg.

And also, in the Expanded Universe, there are species that have no concept of Light and Dark and have different forms of morality. Some have entirely different spectrums: like the Aing-Tii monks. So how do you deal with that?

There are some who said the retconning back to an absolutist Light verses Dark mentality after Traitor was due to the dislike of some fans, but I also read somewhere that it was Lucas himself, or his company, that essentially towed the line of the Force having a Light and a Dark Side, and nothing in-between: which was what Revenge of the Sith was apparently made to illustrate. And this in itself doesn’t even have to downplay or render everything someone like Jacen learned. As I said, the Force–no matter what it is or midichlorians or not–is only part of the equation. There is the freewill, sentient part of the character to put into question as well: the very thing that makes a person stand out. Especially a Jedi Knight.

Of course, you can argue that this last part of my post is neither here nor there: in that it is not a part of the films. But all I am saying is that the Jedi Order, and the Force itself, could have been handled in a much more mature and nuanced manner–one that adults and children could have related to–than how it had been.

I am only hoping that the next films at the very least allow Jedi Knights to have families: to have a network of friends and allies so that nothing that happened in the Revenge that was, and the Revenge that could have been, will ever happen again in the same way. It is one of my only hopes.

A Place Where Writers Come to Write Upon the Revenge of the Sixth

May generally hasn’t been a very good month for me. It’s not so much that bad things tend to happen to me so much as it is a time when things end: and end hard.

So I will tell you now that there was lead-up to this weekend and that what followed didn’t just happen from nowhere. It started slowly and gently as I’ve begun taking out books from the Thornhill Village Library. And not just ordering books, but actually walking across the main road in the good warm weather to pick them up. It may seem like such a small thing, but it isn’t.

Sometimes something like this can mean all the world. Also, have I mentioned that the Thornhill Village Library is purportedly haunted? So of course it is one of my favourite places. You can read a story of mine where I make mention of it.

I’ve been feeling very argumentative lately and as such I have been in “Geek overdrive.” One major site of this resurgence of fiery spirit has been on Sequart: a non-profit site that publishes and promotes scholarship on the comics medium.

You can find the Link to their site on my Blog as well, but what I want to say is that Julian Darius had a look at one of my comments and suggested that I interact more on Twitter and email.

It was then that I didn’t so much realize what I had to do as I felt like I needed to act. So I went on my Twitter account and linked Sequart and Julian to some of my Miracleman articles. What followed was Julian replying back to me and asking why I wasn’t writing for Sequart. So, at some point I am going to be doing some writing for the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization. I have been told that re-posting is not an encouraged practice, so I will be making some original articles for the site and, I have to say, I have a few ideas. I always have a few ideas.

So after this exchange, more people started adding me on Twitter: including Gregory Guy Gordon whom–among many other things–was one of the producers for the Los Angles Sacred Fools Theater Stage version of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere that I’d been hearing about lately. At this point, I went on Facebook and started telling people that I had gotten more Twitter Followers. And that was when a few friends, who didn’t know I had Twitter, added me: including someone really special who hadn’t talked with in a while who told me in response that she, “Finally Found the Place where Writers Come to Write.”

I can’t put into words how much that means to me.

And then the weekend began. On the weekend, two things happened. First, I got my schedule for my Volunteer Hours at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. I did mention that I volunteered last year as well: which led to me meeting and writing about Sarah Powell’s comic, among other things on this Blog. I look forward to seeing what I will find this year at panels, events, and booths. But the second thing that happened this weekend is I did something I hadn’t done in a while.

I went downtown for more than a few hours: specifically to go to G33kpron’s Second Anniversary Event.

It was the first time I ever took the streetcar from Queen Station down past Queen and Spadina: at least from that direction. I was a bit lost–for a change–until I ran into a Lethan (red) Twi’lek, her female Darth Maul companion, and their photographer friend. I decided following them was the wisest course of action. I even managed to make some conversation: though given my companions everything I was saying geek-wise was neither that novel nor so insightful on my part. Even so, it was strange and nice to walk through Downtown Toronto under the light of the Summer Day-Star again.

So we talked with some people and then I danced for a while–something I have no done in a bloody long time–and I watched people also dance and I wished I had a lightsaber like most of them seemed to. I felt kind of naked without one. That said, when some of that music came on, it felt like my Imagination and Enthusiasm Stats Modifiers were increasing through the roof. I felt this raw power coursing through me and … some other emotion too. To be honest, I felt like a fucking god.

However, I still have a flesh body. After a while, I started to get tired. I forgot that when you dance and you are around a lot of people that you can get really tired and dehydrated fast. I also realize that I’m not exactly in my middle or late twenties anymore. It started to feel about that time and I was about to leave until, finally, the feature event happened.

I was coming back up the stairs when I heard a remix of Palpatine’s voice issuing his fateful edict around the same day he became Emperor.

And that was when I saw the Nerdy Stripper perform burlesque for the first live time ever.

Yeah. Suffice to say, I will never look at Order 66 the same way again. Many Jedi died happy that night. 😀

It was at this point that I realized that my mission had been complete. I was glad to see so many people having so much fun again. I said goodbye to one of my new friends–whom I never really gave my name to, and whose names I did not ask for, because who am I kidding, I am still shy–and walked to the streetcar in the night almost-summer air.

So I had a good weekend and I am in a better mood now. It’s like I Regenerated in the distant golden light of Thornhill’s old places. I realize I don’t just carry my Hell with me, but something else as well: something warm and infusing. I’ll have plenty of time to be a bitter old man at some other point. Maybe there is still hope for me yet.

And before anyone comments, I happen to like Revenge of the Sixth as a turn of phrase. I do not understand why it has to be the Fifth for some people and I am sure they have a perfectly good reason for it, but I think it is perfectly acceptable to call it such today: as acceptable as any pun is anyway. So expect to see some new links from Sequart and such here in the near-future. But here is my Twitter Account in case you are interested in looking me up and seeing some really random thoughts: I’m MKirshenblatt.

As I said before, May has traditionally been a time of endings and near-endings for me. But perhaps this time around, it will become the start of some new beginnings.

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ETA: After this event, I realize that I really need to find a good costume again. Or get some good makeup.