Star Wars: Rogue One – Review

As much as I’ve been absent, I feel that some things are worth returning for. Upon seeing the latest film in the Star Wars franchise, I knew I had to throw my thoughts out there. I must warn you now, THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. If you don’t want anything spoiled, stop reading when I say to. That being said, I’ll give my base thoughts first, and my nitpicking second.

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OK, I’ll start with the basics. This movie is a direct, and chronologically very close, prequel to A New Hope. The plot revolves around how the rebels obtained the death star plans that played such a key role in Episode IV. The script, I thought, was pretty excellent. There was a lot of great dialogue, the scenes flowed well, and the overall plot was pretty solid and interesting. The acting was awesome too, though I’d have liked a little more development for some characters, but I don’t feel any performances or characters were lacking. I just feel like I’d have liked to see more from some of them. The special effects, specifically the CGI, was some truly top notch shit. I loved that much of the tech in the film was very much like that seen in Episode IV. They didn’t fancy it up and make it look too advanced, it all felt right at home.

Overall, I absolutely loved this movie. It was exciting, thrilling, beautiful, and moving. I’m not gonna lie, I got choked up a few times. This really gave the early rebellion some great depth and showed it in a far more realistic light than the other films did. I can’t wait to watch this over and over again.

SPOILER ALERT!!!! STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE!!!-

Are they gone? Sweet! Now, let’s dig in. First and foremost, I’m gonna nitpick some minor things that bugged me after seeing it.

The first was the cameo from threepio and artoo. In ANH (A New Hope), threepio said his last master was captain Antilles, who is in red squadron and part of the space battle at the end of the film. If he was their master at that time, why was artoo not in his x-wing during the battle? When pilots fly for a time with an astromech droid, they work better and better with them. Why would he give that up for another unit?

Second, at the end of the film we see that the plans were manually handed off to those on Leia’s ship, and they blast their way outta there. Vader is present, and seemed aware that they were handing off the plans. Two parts of this bug me. Why didn’t he use the force to take the plans? He saw what was happening, and was handily dispatching the guys fighting him (in what was likely my favorite scene in the whole fucking film!!!), so why let it go? Also, seeing that the plans were handed off, why would he suggest that the transmissions were beamed to the blockade runner in ANH? He’d know from the analysis of the capital ship captured at the end of Rogue One that the transmission was beamed to THAT ship, and not re-transmitted. It doesn’t track. I do like that they showed it was handed off manually, which would explain why the imperials said that no transmissions were made when they captured the blockade runner in ANH. I always assumed they had somehow scrubbed the logs, but this seems more plausible. Granted, it’s never revealed in ANH how Vader knows the transmissions were beamed to that ship, so I guess they wanted to somehow tie it in, but I think it’s a bit of a plot hole.

Lastly, the new stuff. The U-Wing was featured pretty prominently in this film, but isn’t seen in any others. Also, the black stormtroopers are seen in this film, and not in any others. Seems odd that both of these fell off the map during the subsequent films. I know they have to add in new shit to sell toys, but come on, at least make it more canon. Also, the imperial shuttle was more like Kylo Ren’s ship than the standard Lamda class shuttle used in the other films. It doesn’t fit chronologically.

OK, nitpicking aside, HOLY FUCK THAT VADER FIGHT SCENE!!! I mean, seriously, that was some badass shit, and the only time Vader actually fights anyone aside from a lightsaber duel in any of the films. It really showed how truly powerful and badass he was. Loved it!

The new droid, K-2SO, was great! He had some great lines in the film, and Alan’s delivery was spot on! The wee beast cried like anything when he died.

Now, onto what was a hot topic for the last film, the nods and tie-ins to other films. In this film, I thought the cameos were great! They weren’t overdone or cheesy, they all had relevance. Even the stormtroopers talking about the new T-15’s was a nice touch, as other troopers were heard talking about the new T-16’s in ANH when Obi-Wan was disabling the tractor beam. This film didn’t really follow the same formula as the others, at least not in the way Episode VII did, which I thought was awesome.

The plot was, in my opinion, well done. Granted, we all knew the fate of pretty much all involved, but that didn’t lessen the impact of character deaths for me. I gave enough of a shit about them to still be sad when they bit it, especially Donnie Yen’s character and his companion. I think it was great that the flaw in the death star was intentional, and put there to give the rebellion a fighting chance. The acting really brought that to life as well, and all the acting was spot on. I did feel one bit was off, when Jin was watching the hologram of her dad telling her about the flaw. She just starts crying and losing it while he’s talking, but his words aren’t really all that laced with emotional impact. It just seemed a little incongruous at the time.

Probably the best part of the script, for me, is how it paints the rebellion’s early years. It shows them as they would have been: militant. They performed raids, assassinated people, and were much more shady than the altruistic club depicted in the original trilogy. I’m glad it was shown to be an imperfect and sometimes divided group, struggling to find common ground with each other and agree on a direction to follow. It really shined in that.

Now, the CGI I spoke about before. Tarkin looked pretty fucking amazing! Granted, he did look CGI to me, especially with his mouth movement and his skin texture, but it was REALLY close. Had I not known he was CGI, I may not have noticed. Same with Leia. Seeing her back at the end got me emotional to begin with, but when they showed her face and it looked just like ANH Leia, and she spoke, I got all choked up. I couldn’t even talk to anyone for a few minutes after because I was emotional over it. Granted, I get like that often enough, but this was freaking Star Wars!

I’ve loved this franchise since I was little, even when most people had pretty much forgotten about it, I was still watching the movies weekly. Granted I hated the prequels, but to me that was more fanfic than true SW. So much was wrong with it, like the advanced tech, the Woo Ping gymnastic sword battles, the atrocious acting and script, etc., that I had difficulty getting through it even with Rifftrax. Episode VII brought it back to life, and I thought it was up there with Jedi in terms of greatness. I’d say, in my opinion, this film surpasses it. I wouldn’t say it rivals ANH, though, as that had deeper banter and characters, and a more sweeping story. Still, this movie is not to be missed if you have any love for Star Wars. It was fantastic, and a truly great ride. Don’t take my nitpicking as any sign of disappointment, either. I could nitpick the fuck out of the original trilogy, and they’re some of my favorite movies of all time. Apparently people agree with me, too, since it made $71 Million in the opening weekend. I’m very happy to have been a part of it! So encourage others to see it, and go see it again. And, as always, may the force be with you!

Post election ramblings

I’ve previously kept quiet on here about politics, mainly because not much has kinked my knickers quite as much as our recent election here in the US. Now before I get started, I’d like to preface this by saying that I didn’t support ANY candidate during the election. My vote was purely a preventative measure towards a slightly lesser evil, though it didn’t make a difference. Below I’ll be reposting two posts I put on social media. One was done last week following the election, and the other was posted today.

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These crack me up….

The first:

I’m gonna sum things up the best I can.
He got elected.
If you’re just about anything but a white dude, it pretty much sucks balls.
No, there isn’t gonna be a miracle on December 19th where they elect her instead. We’re stuck with it.
Violence and riots solve nothing.
Protect yourselves, and stand up for those marginalized by this hateful rhetoric and biased actions.
Don’t stand idly by while others are oppressed by this new administration. Fight against it. We should be free and equal. If you see someone is getting treated worse than you are because of their color, religion, gender, identity, etc, don’t turn your head silently away and be thankful it’s not you. FIGHT for them. SUPPORT them. Help them be seen and treated as equal. Be a real person, not just some animal that gives in to their ID more often than not, thinking their personal world is all that matters. Be a part of this world, as an empathetic human being and a member of a community. If you go around preaching about communities not being what they were, then do something about it.

Oh, one last thing, this is America. Our country was never about “assimilate or get the fuck out”. Our constitution isn’t about that either. When people don’t like something, they protest it, whether it’s by marching, sit ins, or yes even flag burning. Believe it or not, this is what our country is about. Fighting for change, to always move forward, to make things better, and to right the wrongs of our predecessors is the American way. Keep that in mind when delving into the “get off my lawn and outta my country” attitude.

Now before you start jumping into the comments screaming that he’s not a racist or whatever, consider this. It’s true that you don’t choose who endorses you, however if your rhetoric inspires negativity in others, and enables them to express that negativity in relief that their actions and words are justified, then that speaks volumes. My words were not simply of fear, my words were about standing up for others should you see them being treated badly or persecuted. It’s not just the president elect that I referred to, it’s his administration. Pence has said and done some pretty bad things relating to those with “alternative lifestyles”, and the transition team and cabinet are filling rapidly with those of similar thoughts on the subject. For the record, I’m not a HRC supporter whatsoever. However, if you see her rallies and supporters, you don’t see people throwing around racial slurs and vulgar hate speech the way they did at Trump rallies. Playing devil’s advocate, let’s say he’s not racist or a bigot or sexist. That doesn’t make his rhetoric OK. Also, if he’s not any of those things, and is against it, then it says quite a bit about his character that he encouraged these people further instead of telling them it’s not OK. By doing that, he proved that he cares more about votes than about what’s right. He had TONS of opportunity to build bridges during his campaign, to reach out with understanding and love, to bring a divided nation together. Did he? No. He drove the wedge of division further in with his baseless accusations and hateful words, and now there are people out there being targeted not only by potential legislation against them, but by others in their communities who have targets for their hate and anger, and have been enabled to feel justified in expressing it by the president elect and those he surrounds himself with.

And now, the second:

So last night, something dawned on me, and I think it may have relevance right now. I was talking with Cat about how people are upset that those they love voted for DT in the election, and by doing so they said with their vote that his rhetoric and behavior are acceptable. They are excusing these things because they feel that he might do good things, and that the good outweighs his bad. I was following this line of thought, playing devil’s advocate, and I think this comparison will explain quite a bit.

Anyone ever heard of House M.D.? House was a complete asshole, total narcissist and completely volatile and destructive person. However, he was the best at what he did, and his actions saved lives even though he was a total dick about it. Perhaps people see DT like that, someone who is overall a pretty terrible human being, but will do the good that needs to be done in order to help our country prosper. When seen in that very specific light, I can understand it.

The problem is, that’s a spotlight, and we need all the lights on. House rarely dealt with patients, because he was such an asshole, and regardless of how good he was, he’d never have been allowed to speak to patients the way he did in the show and get away with it. It’s fantasy. Also, he didn’t inspire the worst traits in those who supported him. DT can’t say the same.

The issue is that there’s really no proof that he’d be able to make good on any of his promises, especially to the working class. Trickle down economics have been proven to not work time and time again for a reason that people don’t seem to understand. It’s the same reason that I believe he’d take payoffs regardless of his supposed personal wealth. Rich people have a very high tendency of being greedy, and all they really care about is making more money. Sure, some to a lesser extent, but he’s always shown himself to be the greedy sort, and he’s known among those in his circles as being a con man and scam artist. He’ll do what serves him best, not those on our level, and certainly not those under us. He’s screwed tons of small businesses and individuals, and doesn’t give a shit about it whatsoever. This man will not help us, he will only help himself, and his failures as a businessman prove that his supposed “skills” are not worth the rhetorical wrapper surrounding them, especially since merely touching the wrapper in order to get to what’s inside causes us to become poisoned and sick.

Consider this: He’s a builder. If you’re building a structure, what’s more important, a stronger penthouse or a stronger foundation? His vision, and those of many other rich elites, is to build our economy on mud, and try to drive the columns through to bolster the narrow platform on top. He’s advocating a wine glass, where the bottom base is wide but thin, then a stem of narrow glass holding up the very top, where all the wine resides. That’s not gonna work for us. We need to build ourselves to where our base is firm and strong, and our middle is more of the same, something more reminiscent of an obelisk. We need to be strong, and this man and his policies will not do that. They will bolster the top while taking more away from the bottom. We need someone who will build us strong and repair our lower levels, not someone who will perpetuate our current economic game of Jenga, cuz that’s just one step closer to making us topple over.

Basically, my point here is that this mediocre businessman, who built his wealth by conning and/or screwing people, who started not with peanuts, but rather with millions, is NOT worth the package he comes in. People are focusing on the potential he has to help our economy, and not on the social poison he’s injecting into our populace which is further bolstered by those in his administration. By doing this, his supporters are sending one simple message which further proves the incredible lack of empathy in our society: Our money is worth more than our society on the whole.

Don’t get me wrong, our economy certainly isn’t great, and wealth inequality is huge, but his policies will make that worse, not better. Just look at history. Trickle down doesn’t work, it’s a delusional fantasy, similar to that of pure free market capitalism and pure socialism. They all look good on paper, but that leaves out the most important factor of all…the human factor. People don’t always act in the best interest of the whole, and many tend to act the opposite of that, scraping together what they can while ignoring the world rotting around them.

Over the summer, I ran in a Tough Mudder event. The place was filled with all sorts of people, from average couch potato schmucks like me, to fitness junky dude-bros, and all those in between. I expected it to be survival of the fittest, but it wasn’t at all. Everyone was driven by the goal of making sure others could succeed while they succeeded. Every obstacle was loaded with people of all types helping others overcome the obstacles. Those who knew how to do it taught others, and those who couldn’t do it were helped out and supported so they could get through. Then, the ones who struggled would pass it on and help more people. That day, it wasn’t about who you were in the real world, or what kind of person you were normally. That day it was all about succeeding as a whole, and the sentiment was inspiring and infectious.

Just ask yourselves this, who has a better chance of success: A group of people working as individuals to attain stability and wealth in a specific geographic area, with no regard to one another, OR, a group of people working together in a specific geographic area to raise themselves up and attain stability and wealth as a community, one that cares for its own and includes us all, one that may see people not pulling their weight or struggling and helps them learn and bear the weight? My point is, working independently here isn’t a mindset that drives a prosperous community. We need leadership. We need role models. We need people like the runners on those obstacles, working as a team, showing people the way, climbing to the top only to reach down and help others lift themselves up, because in an environment like that we will all succeed in more ways than just one.

State of the union

I’ve obviously been MIA lately, mostly due to just not being overly motivated to post stuff. Lots of stuff has happened, yet the status quo is still about the same. We said farewell to our old home, but still haven’t found a new one, so we’re kind of in a state of flux. I’ve watched a bunch of movies I should do reviews on, like Suicide Squad and whatnot, and I’ll get to those soon. I’m also trying to keep myself from posting political shit about the upcoming election, mostly because I could write pages and pages on the subject and none of it would serve any purpose. As of right now, shit goes like this:

  • No new house.
  • Saw movies, will do reviews.
  • Played games, will do reviews on Addicting Pixels for them.

That said, there IS some good to talk about. I’d spoken recently with a few friends about doing a web series on YouTube. I was resistant at first, but think it’d actually be fun now. The only caveat is this: I’ll do it ONLY if the Lish does it with me. She’s intrigued as well, but neither of us know what to base it on. For now, we’re gonna brainstorm some ideas. We’ll likely start out with an idea in mind, and then probably try some other stuff as time clicks on. Once we make progress and get an idea of what we’ll be doing, I’ll let you both know. Deal? Nice! In the meantime, keep being awesome, and I’ll rant at ya soon!

Saying goodbye to our home

As you probably remember from last year, we’re in the process of moving (yes, still…). We’re living in a rental, and we close on the sale of our old house tomorrow. Last night we had our final farewell to our first true home, and it was completely fucking brutal. What makes it worse than just selling our home is the fact that we can NEVER see it again. The new owners will be demolishing the house and building a whole new one on the property. The home we lived in, loved in, laughed in, cried in, started our family in, partied in, etc will be completely erased from existence, only to be seen again in pictures and video from our time spent there.

Many of you already know that I’m an extremely sentimental person. As such, this is incredibly painful for me. You see, this is the third place the Lish and I have lived since we got married. The first was a one bedroom co-op that we lived in for 3 years, and the second was a small house we lived in for about a year before moving into this one. About a year after we got married, I developed a horrible panic/anxiety disorder. I was really bad for a few years, going to therapy once or sometimes twice a week, taking medication, etc. We were really in flux, and there were some truly dark times where shit was REALLY bad. By the time we were moving into this house, we were hitting the tail end of it. I finished working out my shit, and we started to rebuild. We hit our stride here, settled in, and started our family.

This was a house of firsts. We had our children here, raised them for a few years here, and watched as they hit their milestones here. We sat on the back porch while the kids played and just talked about anything and everything. We had amazing parties with our incredible group of friends. We adopted Sully, and said farewell to him. There were BBQs and birthdays, Christmas and Easter. I started my arcade hobby there, and built my side business there. We went there before we even moved in, with close friends and my mother in law, to read the latest Harry Potter book when it first came out. I spent some awesome times with a good friend remodeling our kitchen after I got laid off. It was the only thing that kept me sane during a really rough time. I remember sitting on our sky chair on the porch every weekend morning in the summer while I had my coffee. There were thunderstorms spent on that porch too, watching the rain fall and the lightning with the kids.

But these are all just memories, right? What makes that different that childhood memories, or memories of the apartment? Well, I’ll tell you. The difference is that this was actually the first TRUE home I’ve ever had. It was mine. I felt safe here, I felt like I belonged here, and I truly felt like I was loved and wanted. I made this place my own, and it really was the only real home I feel that I ever had. I’m absolutely devastated that we had to leave this beautiful place. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and it wouldn’t work in our family’s best interests going forward, but that doesn’t change what it was to me. At this point, I can’t imagine any future house taking its place in my heart. Sure, I’ll have another home, and perhaps in ten years time I’ll be singing a different tune, but for right now I feel homeless in a way. I think a part of me dies with that house, a part that will likely never heal. It’s as if I’m losing a beloved family member, only to relive our time together through these small windows to the past and the memories they conjure. It hurts more than my words could possibly express, and I know quite a few words.

Last night, after the Lish and the kids left, I decided to have one last fire in the amazingly beautiful fireplace and video tape it. As it turned out, this was much more painful than I thought it’d be. I was lonely, I was broken, I was devastated. I was grieving at the bedside of a dear loved one while they slowly succumbed to sickness in front of my eyes. I wanted to stay until the fire burned down to mere embers, but I couldn’t do it. The pain for me was far too much, and I ended up putting out the fire and going back to the rental.

Now I can imagine some people will read this and think I’m just some sappy melodramatic bitch, and perhaps there’s some truth to that. The reality is that this is literally how I felt at the time, and how I feel now. Like I said, I’m deeply sentimental, and I tend to live in the past, so I have a shitty habit of focusing on what I’ve lost and not living in the moment or looking to the future. I dwell on things. I know I shouldn’t, and I try not to, but for me it’s not that easy. I’m trying to move forward, but it’s hard (haiyoooo). I think it would’ve been easier if the new owners didn’t demo the house. I’ve have loved to show them her beauty, how to care for her, and teach them about all over her little idiosyncrasies. Still, I’m sure that in five or ten years time I’ll be able to look back with love and fondness, and not with longing and despair. I guess only time will tell. Still, I say this to her. Goodbye my very dear friend. We shared much together, and you will live on in our hearts and the hearts of our children (who had a VERY difficult and emotional time saying goodbye). You’ll always mean the world to us, because you were there to provide everything we needed to start our family and grow it right and true. We love you now, and always will, and we truly do wish things had worked out differently. Goodbye…

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Uncle Chooch visits for Xmas 2014

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Lazy days spent chilling out together in the living room.

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Death Row, where my hobby took shape. So many hours spent down there working on games and playing!

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Summertime spent in the inflatable pool!!! We’d sit on the porch and relax while they had fun…until someone started shit and we had to get involved…

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Panoramic view from the sky chair. This is how I spent my summer mornings…

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Hanging out on the sky chair, having fun, relaxing, and being silly!

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Autumn, playing on the big rock. I’d build a huge leaf pile and they’d jump off the rock into it. Good times!

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The view from the couch, watching TV and playing games!!!

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The Lish and I after our first Halloween party in the house. This was our Gods and Goddesses party. My robe says “God” on it…

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First day of preschool!

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Here’s where it all started. We took this the year we moved in and used it as our Christmas card for that year. Seems like soooo long ago…

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Fires on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa, snuggling up and watching holiday movies with the Lish while the wee ones slept and dreamed of beautiful things.

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The last fire this beautiful fireplace will ever know. So many memories of fires on cold nights, so sad it will never know another…

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View from outside during last night’s fire. Farewell my friend, we will always love and miss you…

What was I thinking?!

A little over a month ago, I swung by an internet radio studio to hang out with a good friend of mine while he did his radio show. During the show, he brought out a scale for him and another guy there to weigh themselves. Apparently, they were having a weight loss competition where they weigh in each week. Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to step on the scale. I regretted this immediately, of course.

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The actual scale said “You’re American”…

As it turns out, over the course of just a few months, I had gained 20 lbs. I’m not really the type of person to obsess over my weight for the most part, nor am I someone who always looks in the mirror. As someone with a slight case of body dysmorphic disorder, I try to avoid any chance to actually look at myself, since what I see and what actually is are apparently two very different things according to pretty much everyone I’ve asked over the years. Considering all this, my sudden weight gain came as a bit of a shock.

I’m not really sure why it hit me the way it did, but I got this overwhelmingly shitty feeling in my gut and just couldn’t shake it. All of my current insecurities about my physical condition flooded in, and soon I was drowning in my own inadequacies. I’m now overweight, out of shape, and physically weak. This is kind of a first for me when it comes to two of those. I’ve always been thin or average, and usually kept in fair shape. The clock has been ticking, though, and time is having its fun with me. As for the other bit, I’ve never been a strong guy. I have virtually no upper body strength, and never had any before either. Mostly I’ve learned to use my entire body to accomplish tasks most other dudes could do with one hand, while drinking a beer with the other. I’ve dealt with quite a fair share of shaming and ribbing about this my entire life, so it’s always been a sore spot. Problem is, it’s always been very difficult for me to build bulk muscle. I’ve done weight training before, and my body just doesn’t seem to give a damn about strength. Now, though, this is becoming more of a problem.

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True Story…

After the show, I decided I was gonna try doing something about it. I downloaded an app on my phone called Sworkit, and started working out. I’m just doing cardio, and the app basically chooses an exercise at random, like Star Jumps (aka the bane of my existence) or burpees (an exercise designed by Hitler and the devil). You do that for 30 seconds, and then switch to another exercise. After 5 in a row, you get a 30 second break. I started out doing just 10-15 minutes, and realized rather quickly that I’m a sad, sorry, sack of shit. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without taking short breathers during some of the sets because I either couldn’t catch my breath, or because the pain in my muscles prevented me from going any further. By the end I found myself praying for a burglar to rush in and knock me unconscious. This is why I started leaving the front door open learning to pace myself when I was working out. Eventually I was able to make it to 30 minutes, though I still have to take short pauses and feel dead at the end of it. This was the point I contracted the plague that was going around, and stopped for about 3 weeks.

Now, enter in my coworker who goes around trying to convince everyone to do Tough Mudder with him each year. This time someone asked him if he was doing it this year, and he said he wasn’t because he had nobody to go with. I’m not sure where the stupid idea came from, but for some ungodly reason I told him I’d go with him and I signed up. Since then, I’ve been reading articles on what kind of shape someone has to be in so they can do this, and I’ve come to the realization that I’m pretty much fucked. This thing sounds brutal for someone who rarely makes 5000 steps a day, let alone be in the condition required for this to happen.

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While I’d like to be the guy on the left, I’ll end up being the guy on the right, face down in the shit…

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Let the hate flooooooow through you…

I started hitting Sworkit again, but yesterday hit a wall. After about 21 minutes, my phone died, and I was never so happy about that. I was WIPED. I couldn’t eat, I felt dizzy, I was really shaky, and overall felt like I was gonna pass out. I went to lay down for a bit, and after some time I began to feel better. While I was laying there, though, I came to a realization that I apparently knew but didn’t wanna face. I fucking HATE working out. HATE IT! It’s not the whole being physical thing, and it’s not the pushing myself to the limit part. It’s what I’m actually doing. Whenever the app says Star Jumps, I wanna go to the voice actor’s house and punch her in the face because it’s fucking miserable. I used to rollerblade a lot, like 14 miles a day every day, and that I love doing. Even though it’s brutal and hard to do that these days, I love it, but I don’t live in an area where I can do that right now. I used to do martial arts, and loved that, even though it was physically punishing. But regular workouts suck ass. Part of the reason is because I’m in awful shape and can barely fucking do it without needing an EMT on standby. Part of the reason is because I lack the physical strength to do more than a few of certain exercises, like diamond pushups. And, best I can figure, part of the reason is that it’s just not fun whatsoever. Skating is fun. Martial arts is fun. Just Star Jumps and Push-Ups? No, that’s boring as fuck.

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I dream of a day when I’ll know…

While I was ruminating on all this, the Lish came in to talk to me. I told her how I was feeling, and she said she felt very much the same way when she started working out at the gym. She said she hated it, and felt weak, incompetent, and miserable for quite awhile. After some time, though, she began to love it. Now she goes 4 days a week, and works out at home the other 3 days. She’s in killer shape, and blows me away in endurance. Occasionally she’ll do Sworkit with me, and she’s just a non-stop juggernaut through it all. Anyways, she told me that I’m just being too impatient and hard on myself, and that this will all get better in time. I guess part of my problem is that I don’t see much of a difference right away, and that frustrates me. I feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over, and just not getting any better. I really don’t wanna be the guy at the end of Tough Mudder who’s barely dragging himself along, only to collapse at the end and require medical attention. I also don’t wanna be incapable of pulling myself up over an obstacle or something like that, so strength training is a necessity now too. I’m just as bad at that as I am at cardio. I know a lot of what’s driving me through all this is my own self loathing. I hate myself, I hate the shape I’m in, I hate that I let myself get this way, and I hate that I’m finding it so difficult to progress. It’s so frustrating and infuriating. The problem with using my anger as fuel here is that, with such slow progress, all I end up with is more anger. Soon that evolves into being depressed about my current situation, and then all I wanna do is cancel my registration, say fuck it (preferably out loud), and just accept that I’m a bag of shit who’ll be out of shape the rest of his life.

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Let’s face it, folks, NOBODY wants me reenacting this scene in the buff…

What’s stopping me? Well, the answer is both simple, confusing, and complicated. Pride. I’d be willing to bet that people with depression don’t usually care about such a thing, but sometimes I can be a very contradictory dude. I try like hell to preserve some semblance of pride and honor, and I can’t bring myself to quit this yet. I know it’d be a huge regret in my life, and I’d look back on these years when I’m older and likely sick, and wonder if keeping with it would’ve let me live a longer, fuller life. I can’t handle the thought of that kind of regret, so for now I’m still gonna try. I still utterly hate everything about this right now, but I can’t bring myself to throw in the towel, if for no other reason than not wanting to deal with the shame that will come with it. I’ll try and post a few more times before the run, which is in late July, and I’ll include my progress. Hopefully there is some…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go see it…like, NOW!!!

I’m gonna start this off by saying that this post DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS!!! My TL:DR review for you is that the movie is worth seeing, no doubt about it! Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want it ruined, please stop reading now!

The Lish and I ventured out last night to see the Force Awakens at a local theater. I must admit, I was extremely apprehensive and nervous throughout the film. I was waiting for something shitty to happen that would make the movie worthless or ruined. While I do have things I didn’t care for about the movie, I must say that my fears did not come true. The movie was actually awesome, and I can’t wait to see it again in the theater when I bring the boy with me. My full review is below.

SPOILERS BELOW!!!

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OK, first of all, they stuck to the formula of the original. Droid with plans/map lands on desert planet, meets teen who was left there by someone else, leaves on the Millenium Falcon, teams with Solo and Chewie, and get to the rebel base, all while being pursued by evil force wielding dude in all black with a black mask and a deep voice. Then, a final assault on a planet killing super weapon to prevent said base from being blown up. Sound familiar? Oh, and the whole father-figure mentor being killed in front of the main protagonist is there too. While this was all very predictable, it didn’t make it a bad movie. The acting was pretty good, special effects were good, and the story was decent. I LOVE that they went back to the lightsaber battles being more like medieval sword fighting. The whole Woo Ping shtick they did in the prequels was entertaining, but didn’t have that true Star Wars feel. These were WAY better. That said, there were things that put me off a bit.

First, Kylo Ren was kind of a bitch once he took the mask off. Before that, he was an ominous, terrifying badass who seemed to have his shit together for the most part. When he took of his mask, however, he looked to always be on the verge of tears, and lost all intimidation factor. I get that he was supposed to be torn still, but I think it was a bit much. Also, he got his ass beat by a completely untrained person at both his use of the force and a lightsaber battle. This is someone who Luke supposedly trained, and he got pieced up by a neophyte who didn’t know the force existed until the day or so before.

That leads me to Rey. She’s able to use the force to pull objects to her without knowing how to do it, she knows how to use force persuasion without ever being taught, and is able to fight with a lightsaber and win a duel against a far better trained opponent. Just seemed a little out there. Otherwise, her character was fucking awesome, and the actress did an amazing job with her!

Finn is a great character, and he showed great depth, emotion, and humor. He also had some good growth during the film, which was great. I can’t wait to see where they go with him.

The death scene was expected, but still fucking brutal. My heart still hurts…

For as much as they showed Captain Phasma beforehand, she had barely a bit part in the film. It seems like the character was only there to serve as a plot device to facilitate the dropping of the shield, something I can’t imagine any commander in her position giving in to so easily. Just seemed out of character for someone in her position. Seriously, why was she on the poster in the very center. She had about 3 minutes of actual screen time…

Finally, the general tone and immersion seemed off to me. I’m not 100% sure why, but I have suspicions. Part of it, I’m sure, is my apprehension. Part is the special effects, which were more realistic than fantastical, as opposed to the original. That also might be a product of the times and how filming techniques have changed. Another part is the sound editing and score. The sound and music had much more prominence in the original trilogy, and served to set the tone and add to the story a great deal. It was very memorable. This film didn’t really have that. The sound and music took a back seat, and I think that detracted from the impact and immersion the film had.

Despite my pedanticism, the movie was awesome, and is a worthy sequel to the originals! As someone who was a die-hard Star Wars fan his whole life (original trilogy), I’m very happy with what we got. I have issues with JJ’s new Star Trek films, but I think he did this one right. I can’t wait to see the rest of the story unfold. If you’re on the fence, you shouldn’t be. Go see it, even if you just spoiled the fuck out of it by reading this review. It’s worth your time if you’re a Star Wars fan.

Stepping back up to the plate

Surprisingly enough, I haven’t written about this yet, so I figured I’d do so now. Last March/April I got sick. Nothing unusual, just a cold or infection or whatever. As such, I had to take time off from singing with my band while I recovered. Problem is, I didn’t recover. My throat was a horrific blasted wasteland for week after week, and I had issues just talking, not to mention singing. With this happening, and the move about to kick off, I decided to tell my band mates that I needed time off. I told them I didn’t know what was going on, or when I’d be able to play again, and if they found someone else in the interim I’d be totally fine with it. I didn’t want to hold anyone back because of my issues.

I started seeing doctors, and went through test after test. Initially, it started as an allergy issue. I got on allergy meds, but that didn’t do enough. After more tests and discussions, it was suggested that it’s perhaps a GI issue, that I’m having reflux that’s burning the back of my throat all the time. I went on meds for that. Slowly, as the summer ticked on by, I got marginally better. It was a fight the whole way, trying to sing constantly, getting frustrated and angry when I’d be done after a song or two, and then waiting for the next day to try again.

Fast forward to October, and the insanity that ensues during that month for us, I started to forget to take my allergy meds. It just wasn’t routine enough, and it slipped out of my conscious thought. Good thing is, though, it looks like things have gotten better. Not all the way, but enough that I can start rebuilding my stamina and getting my voice back into shape.

This brought up another question: Should I return to the stage? I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Part of me says no, because I’m older and who the fuck really WANTS to come see me on stage and hear me sing, aside from the Lish. Not that I’m really that much older than I was a year ago, mind you, I just hadn’t really thought about it before. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my friends come out to see me perform, and they never complain about it whatsoever. But me being me, I tend to think people only come out because they want to support a friend, and not because of what they’re hearing. If they didn’t know me, would they still come? I tend to think they wouldn’t. I hope this doesn’t come off as me being unappreciative, because I’m not. I love that they come to support me, as I’d do for them. The question is, though, is coming back worth it? Sure, I love to sing and be on stage, but a big part of that is what I get from a crowd. It’s an incredible feeling to play in front of people, and see some of them get really into it, screaming along and exploding with energy. It’s like standing in the sunlight when you’re cold.

On the other hand, there is music still in me that I feel the need to express. If I did go back, I’d want to do a mix of originals and covers. The problem is, I’d want to do a wide range of covers, from metal to alternative to classic rock. My music tastes tend to be eclectic. I’d wanna do some Faith No More, STP, Alice in Chains, as well as Maiden, Metallica, Slipknot, and even some more mainstream shit. I’ve been in bands awhile, and sets like this are hard to come by, and it’s tough finding players all on the same page with something like this.

So I have a decision to make. Do I hang up my mic and just do more youtube covers for my channel, or do I step out on stage again? Right now, I don’t know what I’ll do. To be honest, a part of it, quite possibly a big part of it, has always been me seeking acceptance and validation. Formative years believing I’m not worth a damn cause that to be taken as fact. This belief carried on throughout my life, and is still just as relevant today as it was back then, so I seek validation and acceptance constantly. My logical side wars with this internally, but emotions are silly things, and don’t really give a shit. Being told you’re stupid, ugly, worthless, and disgusting tends to leave a mark. Even something as seemingly provable as being told you can’t sing, or are a shitty singer, leaves its mark. The irony is that when people validate me, I tend to not believe them. I truly feel as though they’re just being nice, or sometimes as if they are patting me on the back and saying good job as if I’m a child in an “everyone gets a trophy” sort of activity. This is made easier because I set high standards for myself, and mostly never meet them, so my emotional response has that in mind, as if everyone knows where my bar is set for myself. Anyways, enough of my pity pot bullshit. Hell, who knows, maybe subconsciously I wrote all this just to garner sympathy and attention. It’d make sense. I guess the real question is this: If my need for validation and acceptance wasn’t there, would I have ever taken that stage in the first place? I don’t have an answer for that one.