Tag Archives: Star Wars

Top ten list of things I hate and love about going to a movie theater these days

Greetings, readers. When I was a teenager, I would go to the movies on a Friday evening about twice a month. These days, if I go to a movie theater twice a year, it is a lot. Today’s top ten list are reasons why I don’t like going to the movie theater anymore… Plus a few reasons why I do. So sit back, grab some popcorn and a soda, and get ready for today’s list.

#10. The overall quality of films today [There are still a lot of good films out there, but unless you’re into Marvel comics… which I am not, I have to search for something I am willing to spend beaucoup bucks on.]

#9. The lack of fan interaction [Unless you want to stand in a long line on opening night, most film showings play to half-empty theaters. To me, if there is no fan interaction, and the film is not ultra-exciting, it can be a most boring and expensive 90 minutes.]

#8. The price of a ticket [Now I know it was more money back then, but I remember the good old days when $1.50 got your matinee ticket and two dollars bought you an evening show ticket.]

#7. The price of popcorn and other such snacks [Continuing along the line of money, I find it absurd to pay 5 to 8 dollars for popcorn, and slightly less for a large drink. Not everyone is made of money, and can spend it just to see a flick.]

#6. The size of the theater [In 1977, when Star Wars came out… oh, I am sorry… Star Wars: A New Hope, it played at the Garden Theater which probably sat up to 250 people or more. It had the ground floor filled with seats, plus a big balcony. Today, many theaters will have rooms for perhaps 100 people. More rooms = more films = more money!]

#5. All the sequels lately [Star Wars has had its prequels and sequels, Star Trek has had numerous films with old crew and new; and dare we not forget the gazillion Fast and the Furious series. Let’s think of something new.]

Okay, now for four reasons why I still do enjoy going to the movies.

#4. Full theater surround sound [Today, when you are watching an action-packed film with plenty of explosions or sci-fi laser fire, it is so great to hear it all around you. This is something that you just could not get back in the 70s and 80s.]

#3. At least in my small metropolis, we have relatively new theaters [Sure, there was something wonderful about the classic old theater with its beautiful balcony, but the aforementioned Garden Theater caught fire due to old and faulty wiring. It was such a great loss.]

#2. Most movie theaters around here are kept up to a high standard [I cannot remember the last time I walked into a movie theater and it either smelt bad, or was excessively dirty. I’m not going to count the few popcorn kernels which fall out of bags that kids are carrying. Kids will be kids.]

#1. Even though it is outrageously expensive today, if the film is good, the theater is a great place to take a family and enjoy an evening out. [If you think it is expensive now, wait five years. Some people will be paying their entire week’s paycheck just to take a family of four to the movies.]

Well, there you have it. That’s today’s blog entry for you. I hope you enjoy it. It is the first top ten list which I have done solo, and I’m not sure how smooth it’s going to be. Until Wednesday, when Rebecca returns to help out, I bid you a wonderful rest of your weekend, take care, love one another and happy reading.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story is a hit, despite the boycotts

Greetings, readers. Last night I went with friends to see the latest Star Wars flick. I had heard mixed reviews and quite frankly was expecting to be disappointed. I was not! As the first film in a possible trilogy, I liked Solo: A Star Wars Story as much as Rogue One, if not better. I do have a few light spoilers below.

Alden Ehrenreich did a wonderful job in my opinion of making the viewer believe that he was the younger version of the character Han Solo. He had all the mannerisms down correctly, and even looked like he could be Harrison Ford’s son. The only problem I had with him is he also looked like, in certain scenes, Chris Pine from the new Star Trek film series. But I easily gave that a hand wave.

Another major player was the younger version of Lando Calrissian played by Donald Glover. He also looked and sounded even more like his character than Alden Ehrenreich sounded like Han Solo. Of course for all Star Wars fans, we were introduced to Chewbacca who was not, unfortunately played by Peter Mayhew. His health would not allow all the walking around and physical things for the part. The growling voice, however, sounded identical. It could be that Peter did the voice acting for Chewbacca. When we were introduced to our furry friend, played by Joonas Suotamo, he was the bad guy’s pet, kept in a dungeon filled with mud on the floor. Han Solo was thrown into said pit to see how long he would survive against “the beast”.

Hon’s love interest, Qu’ra played by a marvelous British actress named Emilia Clarke was in the first part of the movie and then reappeared a while later to be happily reacquainted with her love, but she had secrets to hide.

The movie came out a couple of weeks ago, and unfortunately in its third week the box office sales have fallen off the table. My good friend’s brother told me that this was because many people were very upset with the previous Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, and many people boycotted the Solo film; it is a shame. I give it a solid 8 out of 10, with good acting, a reasonable storyline, and plenty of action.

Well, after reading this you may or may not want to see the film. For those of you who are die-hard Star Wars fans, trust me, you will love it. Don’t boycott it. Go treat yourself.

I’m taking a personal day tomorrow, so Rebecca will have the blog entry up. Until next Wednesday, have a great week, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: My day so far, May 4, 2017

Hi, Joe’s readers. I would have started this blog entry earlier, but I had to wait for Microsoft updates to process. After my husband Darren used the computer this morning, it downloaded updates when he shut it down. When I turned on the computer early in the afternoon, it installed those updates – for an hour and a half! I’m not used to updates taking that long. I read a book for a while, Borderline by Nevada Barr, until Darren started playing a video game, God of War Ascension, and I started watching him.

Darren is still playing while I write this. He is occasionally getting his butt beat but is holding his own. Lots of hand-to-hand combat with a few puzzles here and there. I don’t play many video games myself, though I used to when we first dated and early in our marriage, but I love watching Darren play. Sometimes I can see things that he misses, especially for the puzzles, and then it feels like I am doing it too.

I slept in this morning, since Joe is taking a personal day today and I didn’t have to go into work. (I love being able to do the blog from home!) When I woke up, Darren and I spent some time together. We watched The Price is Right while he ate lunch and I ate breakfast. We watched a bit of the news, then I turned on the computer to do this entry, and then waited for the update.

Later this afternoon, Darren and I will clean the apartment. We clean as we go and keep it tidy for the most part, but every other month or so we do a more thorough job. One will take the kitchen and the other will take the bathroom and vacuuming. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to do, which isn’t bad. We used to do it every month, but we don’t get to it that often any more. We probably should though.

I will finish the night with the CBS lineup on television and a check on the internet. Everyday at some point I look at the sites Tor.com, John Scalzi’s Whatever blog, Carrie Vaughn’s Filling the Well blog, Facebook, Twitter, and the web comics Questionable Content, Gunnerkrigg Court, and Girls with Slingshots. I look at other sites sometimes, like PBS, but those are my favorites.

So, that’s my day off. Cleaning, blog entry, internet, video game, television, eating, and my sweetie, Darren.

Joe will be back next week with posts. Until then, as Joe would say, take care, enjoy May the Fourth Be With You Day if you are a Star Wars fan, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Top ten list of favorite Star Wars characters

Greetings, readers. Rebecca had a good idea for the top ten list and I decided to go with it. The characters on the list were from any of the films thus far: Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and The Force Awakens. As it so happens, I did not pick any characters from Rogue One. This list is in no particular order, as with most of my top ten lists. At the bottom, Rebecca put in her list and the list from her husband Darren. There is a lot of overlap, but there are a few differences too. I think you will find it interesting.  So here we go.

#10. Rey. [From Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she is an orphan, her parents were taken away, leaving her on the planet Jakku to fend for herself as a scavenger. While living on the planet, she stumbles across the droid BB-8 and Finn, a storm trooper who turns good, and her adventure begins. I put her on my list because she is a well-developed character, who is brilliant and a strong female lead.]

#9. R2D2/C-3PO. [The droids from the original films are two classic Star Wars characters who everyone knows. Anthony Daniels plays the somewhat winey C-3PO and does a marvelous job. Though he sometimes gets in the way, he always seems to have the answer when it is so desperately needed. 3-PO, as he is referred to, interprets the beeps and whistles of his young counterpart R2D2.]

#8. Lando Calrissian. [Played by famous actor Billy Dee Williams, this character first appears in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He is caught between helping Han Solo and company and protecting his mining operation and city from the dreaded Empire.]

#7. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. [Luke Skywalker’s trusted friend and eventual master, he sacrifices himself midway through Star Wars: A New Hope to become stronger with the Force, in order to help Luke destroy the dreaded Death Star. This character is played by the famous actor Sir Alec Guinness.]

#6. Leia Organa. [Played by the late Carrie Fisher, she was the heroine in the original movie set. The princess of Alderaan, Leia had to be rescued by Luke and Han in Star Wars: A New Hope, before fighting valiantly on Endor alongside Luke and Han as they tried to blow up the second Death Star. She will make her last appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as she completed her filming before she passed away.]

#5. Grand Moff Tarkin. [Played by Peter Cushing, a wonderful English actor, he “held Darth Vader’s leash” as stated by Princess Leia. Working closely with Darth Vader, his plan was to rule the universe with the threat of complete planetary destruction by using the Death Star in the original films. Thanks to Luke Skywalker, he was not successful. Though he was a bad guy, I always liked this one; I think it was the actor’s performance that hooked me.]

#4. Darth Vader. [Darth Vader, AKA Anakin Skywalker, was the morphed machine produced by the evil Emperor after a brainwashed Anakin Skywalker was nearly burned to death.]

#3. Yoda. [Brought to life by the late Jim Henson, Yoda was the Jedi master who trained Luke Skywalker on the planet Dagobah. He taught the ways of the Force, and quite truthfully is one of my favorite characters of all time. In the prequels done later, we can also see that Yoda can wield a mean light saber and is quite proficient.]

#2. Luke Skywalker. [The bored-to-tears teenager who lived on Tatooine was the nephew of a farmer and his wife. His big dream was to go to the academy and train to be a Jedi like his father. Little did he know who his father was. SPOILER ALERT: We have hints that Luke Skywalker is turning toward the dark side as early as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with the black glove covering his mechanical replacement hand. There is also talk in this upcoming movie that Luke may be turning toward the dark side. Dressed in a grey cloak in the trailers, we’re not certain if Luke is struggling with inner turmoil as he fights to stay on the good side of the Force.]

#1. Han Solo. [The old space pirate, as stated by Lando, Han Solo, with his ship the Millennium Falcon and co-pilot Chewbacca, fly across the galaxy, delivering cargo as they can. He has been known to cheat some people, so his reputation is tarnished. Yet in the end, he becomes a hero in not only the original films, but in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. SPOILER ALERT: His death scene caused a few tears in the theatre when I watched it.]

Honorable Mentions: Finn and BB-8 were heroes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In a new plot twist which I loved, Finn, an Imperial Stormtrooper who just didn’t want to kill any more, turns good and helps Rey and BB-8 get where they are going, with the help of Hans Solo.

The Millennium Falcon is not a living character, but to me it has certain characteristics all its own, and as soon as you see this ship you know you are watching a Star Wars film. I equate it to the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek.

For those of you who wonder why I did not add Chewbacca, Boba Fett, or any of the other classic characters, we could only have ten. In the future I might do a part two on this topic, time will tell. Please chime in with your Star Wars characters, either here or on my Facebook page. Here are Rebecca and Darren’s picks.

Rebecca’s top ten, which is pretty much all good guys: #10. Finn. #9. Poe Damero. [A pilot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.] #8. Rey. #7. R2D2/C-3PO. #6. Chewbacca. #5. Yoda. #4. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi. #3. Luke Skywalker. #2. Han Solo. #1. Leia Organa.

Darren’s top ten, which leans heavy toward the bad guys he loves so much: #10. Leia Organa. #9. Chewbacca. #8. Luke Skywalker. #7. Lando Calrissian. #6. Kylo Ren [The bad guy from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.] #5. Yoda. #4. Han Solo. #3. Boba Fett. [A bounty hunter in the original series.] #2. Darth Maul. [One of the bad guys from the prequels.] #1. Darth Vader.

I bid you a wonderful weekend, I’m going to work on my health issues to find out why I’m so tired all the time, so that I can hopefully become more productive. Writing blog entries is fun, I enjoy it, but I want to continue my novel or begin a television episode script. Remember, writers write.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful several days, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things we might remember from our childhood

Greetings, readers. This top ten list was going to be a general list that anyone could relate to, but as the list got going, it seemed to get more specific to the time I was growing up. I’m 51 years old, so I think anyone around my age will be able to remember the same things.

#10. Mom or Dad would say, “Sorry, but we can’t do that. It’s a school night.” [There were many things I enjoyed doing, from playing ball outside to watching that 9:30 TV show, and there was always that cut-off time on school night.]

#9. Snow days. [During the cold snowy winters of the mid to late 70s, I eagerly anticipated each snow storm with the high hopes of those beloved snow days. I know we had to make up the days off from school at the end of the year, but to stay home, warm and cozy, was always fun.]

#8. Older cars and cheaper gas. [Back when American cars were big boats, with plenty of room and large gas tanks, no one thought anything of going for that long Sunday drive. Most big cars were fancy, stylish, and sounded cool. The cheapest gas I can remember was 40 or 50 cents per gallon. Yes that was more money back then, I know, but if you just look at the numbers compared to today you’d get a chuckle.]

#7. Saturday morning cartoons. [When I was a youngster, I could not wait for Saturday mornings. I would run downstairs, fill my cereal bowl, and plop in front of the TV to watch three hours of really good cartoons. The cartoons they make today are not nearly as entertaining to me and some Anime cartoons are quite violent. It is a pity that the Saturday morning cartoon is actually gone.]

#6. That disco craze. [The music of the 1970s was funk and disco. I don’t love all disco music, but some of my all-time favorite songs are from this genre.]

#5. Roller skating. [Before roller blading, there was roller skating. When I was a teenager, roller skating was just on the way out. There used to be a place called Sir Skate here in town that would do a whooping Friday and Saturday evening business. Lots of school kids could not wait to flock to the rink and skate the evening away to good music.]

#4. Going to a Friday evening movie or drive-in. [Many an evening was spent by me going to our local theaters and watching such hits as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the 1976 version of King Kong, Smokey and the Bandit, and of course, the original Star Wars. Ticket prices were cheap, as were the refreshments.]

#3. Baseball games on the radio. [This is more something of the 1940 and 50s craze, but I can still remember my mom listening to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio. In the mid 70s, one of our local TV stations starting showing the games and we began to watch instead of listen to them. My favorite radio announcer recently retired, the LA Dodgers’ Vin Scully.]

#2. Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, John Chancellor and Johnny Carson. [I always associated certain times of my life with certain celebrities. Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show was one of them. I would always watch his opening monologue on Friday nights when I could stay up later. My three favorite news anchors were Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, and John Chancellor. Today the world is so depressing I no longer watch the news. Sorry current news anchors.]

#1. Holidays at home with family. [Some of my happiest memories are at Christmas time as a child. I enjoyed big Christmas trees, lots of presents, Christmas carols and a great holiday dinner. In elementary school of course my favorite part of that time was the holiday break. Three weeks of no school. Back then, yes, it was called Christmas vacation. So sorry for not being politically correct. Lol.]

There’s my list. If anyone has a question, comment or wishes to add your list, please feel free to do it here.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

A low-key day, plus a movie

Greetings, readers. I just woke up from a nap and my eyes are killing me. Sometimes when I sleep my sinuses back up and put pressure on my eyeballs, causing pressure and blurriness. After a while, my vision goes back to normal. This phenomenon makes typing a problem to say the least, but I shall push on.

Yesterday’s entry about taking a favorite old TV show and writing an updated version of it got comments on Facebook, letting me know that two ideas I had are already in the works by other people. It figures. I told Rebecca yesterday that I will find a TV show or movie idea and reboot it and this news does not change my mind. Oh! But don’t worry, if an original idea also bonks me over my noggin’, I’ll most certainly add that to the list.

On to another topic. Today I’m finally going to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’m really looking forward to seeing a Star Wars film without most of the characters I know, such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’m sure I’ll love it.

After I get home I shall call bingo, then I’ll watch a little bit of TV before going to sleep. Next Wednesday I plan on posting that top ten list I’ve been promising. 😉 So until then, take care, have a great weekend and happy reading.

I’m on the verge of a major writing idea :-)

Greetings, readers. I have enjoyed the series reboots of Fuller House and One Day at a Time on Netflix very much. That gave me an idea. Why not think of a series from the 1970s or 80s and write a pilot script for it? Hey, don’t laugh. I know lots of TV shows.

At first I didn’t like the idea of reboots, but they seem to be the in-thing in television entertainment. Let’s see what’s already been done: The Love Boat – disastrous!, Charlie’s Angels – even worse!!, The Bionic Woman… lol. My point is, I know reboots have a tendency not to work rather than to succeed. But I am encouraged to give it a go because of the overwhelming success of these recent Netflix original series’. I feel confident that I can find an old show and bring it back to life.

The key is to add enough new elements to the mix so as to make it my own idea. For instance, The new One Day at a Time‘s family is Cuban, where the original show’s was not. They live in Los Angeles, not Indianapolis, etc. If I can find the right series, with the perfect new angle, watch out! I will once again be in writer’s heaven.

Some of my favorite series’ that I have enjoyed are Cagney & Lacey, The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, and Starsky and Hutch. My first idea this morning, I must confess, was a female version of The Rockford Files. Luckily, the original Rockford Files is on Netflix right now, so I can study the series in-depth. Then before I write my pilot script, I can peak and tweak, create my own new characters, and begin the first draft.

Whichever series I choose, it’s going to be fun. I feel like I am ever so close to finally getting into that writing groove that for so long I have been searching. I even found on Spotify music a movie soundtrack that I used to play over and over again while writing 15 years ago. I can’t tell you how many pages I cranked out to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back record one side two. 🙂

For those of you who were expecting the new top ten list of Air Crash Investigation episodes, that is still in the works and will be put up next week. I’m taking a personal day tomorrow but I will post a new entry a little bit later than usual in the day with Rebecca’s help in editing.

Until tomorrow, I bid you a good Wednesday afternoon, take care, and happy reading.

Want to buy some stuff for cheap? Plus, a joke.

Greetings, readers. Today I am in one of my fickle moods. Things have not bounced my way since this past weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs both lost their playoff games, and I didn’t quite get as much reading done on Four’s a Crowd as I had hoped. Before I get into the particulars, I’ll start you off with a joke.

Q: Why didn’t Han come out with the rest of the orchestra?

A: He was practicing his solo.

Okay, okay, I know that was terrible. Hopefully some Star Wars fans will get a chuckle.

There are days that I am happy and bouncy and everything is right with the world. Today is not one of those days. I’m still having budget problems which seem to be getting worse not better. And big expenditures are on the horizon. As my girlfriend tells me, we just have to take one day at a time. And she is correct. If I really stopped to think about what was coming up in the next three months, I’d probably go crazy. Hopefully by April, I’ll have my new permanent budget in place and money issues will be better. In the meantime, I’m looking around my apartment to see if I have anything to sell.

On a side note, about Keekee’s vet visit last week, I received her vaccination certificate in the mail today. She is now legally healthy for another year as far as the rental office goes. At this very moment, she is staring me down, waiting for her dinner.

Tomorrow afternoon, I have therapy at my new day and time, and will have plenty to discuss with Dr. Joanne. After that, I’ll go visit Traci and we will watch something fun on TV.

With the Pennsylvania primary coming up in the spring, it’s going to be time for me to take a hard look at the candidates. I loath politics. But if I don’t do my part and vote, I’ll have no leg to stand on to complain if the other person wins. I’ve made a joke to several people that if a certain candidate is victorious in the Presidential race, I’m going to move to Mexico. I don’t think I’m going to have enough money to do that. Most people don’t think that he is going to win though, so that is not going to be a problem.

On Friday, I’m going to have a top ten list for you and I’ll dig deep down and make it an extra special one. Tomorrow I’m going to read over several of the top ten lists to make certain that I don’t accidentally repeat myself.

Until then, stay warm if you are in the deep freeze, take care, and happy reading.

Christmas things put away and creative juices flowing

Greetings, readers. For today’s blog entry, I’ve decided to share with you what I did late last night and this morning. I looked at my apartment and literally said out loud enough is enough. My girlfriend, Traci, gave me a storage bin and I used that to put my Christmas decorations in. After labeling the box, I put it in the walk-in closet. With Star Wars music playing in the back ground, I got inspired. I thought to myself, with a little work I could have this place ready for me to begin on my writing projects as early as tomorrow morning.

After putting away all the small Christmas decorations, and putting things back on the credenza where they go, I unplugged my portable speakers and attached them to my record player. Yes, I do still have plenty of vinyl. I’ve always done my best writing with John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra playing in the background. One day I will listen to Star Wars: A New Hope and the next day might be The Empire Strikes Back. I’m very excited about the prospect of creating again. The blog is so much fun, most times I don’t even consider it work, though it is writing.

After I took a short break to rest my back, I tried out the old stereo. Besides the speed being a wee bit fast, it sounds great. With all the holiday goings-on over with, such as light rides, movies, and gatherings, it is now time to sit my butt down in a chair and spend the next several months doing some good creative writing. Even if none of it gets sold, I firmly believe I will be flexing my writing muscles and adding tools to my writing tool belt.

Wednesday will be a day off for personal reasons, but Rebecca and I will be back with our usual two blog entries, one on Thursday and one on Friday.

I’ll be watching the Steelers in the play-offs on Saturday, so go Pittsburgh. I bid everyone a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

A hectic week is almost finished

Greetings, readers. With a combination of three hours of calls to representatives from healthcare.gov, along with working on the website, I was finally able to procure my health coverage for 2016. The second hour and a half call was necessitated by the fact that for a while it looked like I was going to pay much more for my seizure drugs. It turned out that in actuality, they are much cheaper. After I hung up the phone, I did my happy dance.

As this title implies, lots went on this week. Not necessarily a whole lot of writing other than the blog, but important things none the less. One of the things that took place was a walk downtown to purchase a Christmas gift for my girlfriend. In case she reads this blog entry before Christmas, obviously I can’t spoil her surprise by going into detail at this time. After Christmas, all details will be shared.

On Wednesday, I finished my Christmas decorating, and have burnt lots of scented candles this week for the holiday. I’ve enjoyed such aromas as pumpkin pie, eggnog, and mistletoe and pine tree. When the holidays are over, I’m going to purchase candles with scents such as clean linen or ocean sea breeze. I prefer the light scent of a candle as opposed to the heavy spray of an air freshener.

When the holidays are over and all the decorations come down, I’m going to find a permanent home for a number of things in order to clean out dead furniture. There are several stores in town that sell used furniture and I will try there before I go to the more expensive shops. After all, Keekee with her claws will leave her mark on the first day.

Today the new Star Wars movie officially came out. I do plan to see The Force Awakens, but not on opening weekend. I’m not the kind of person who likes to wait in line for three hours or more. Don’t worry, no spoilers. Feedback from my Facebook friends so far has been rather positive. The three prequel Star Wars movies did not impress me at all. Give me the old cast and the Millennium Falcon any day.

On the subject of movies, I have been looking for the remake of Poltergeist and have not seen it on Netflix yet. I’m not expecting it to be better than the original, but I do enjoy movies dealing with ghosts, poltergeists, and the paranormal.

As far as next week goes, we will have one blog on Wednesday, possibly another one on Thursday, and have Christmas day off. I can’t believe the holiday is almost here. Time marches on. Before I know it, I will be making my new year’s resolutions, saying happy St. Patrick’s Day, and packing up to go to Maine. There went half a year in one sentence. Lol.

Until next week, have a great weekend, continue to enjoy your holiday season, take care, and happy reading.