Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Clone Wars -- "Wookie Hunt" (Ep. 3.22)

-- A great student is what the teacher hopes to be.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

Continuing last week's story of Ahsoka's capture by the Trandoshans...

She's still captured. Well, if you can call being set loose on a planet to be hunted "captured." This episode adds a new wrinkle: Chewbacca!
It must be nice, actually, to have such long-lived characters that you can introduce them in various ways to different story lines within a property. And, hey, everyone loves Chewbacca and the wookies, and there is already an established animosity between the trandoshans and the wookies. the trandoshans being slavers and all and somewhat specializing in wookies.

Chewbacca is brought in to be a means of escape for Ahsoka, because they had established that there really wasn't any way for her or any of the Jedi younglings to get off the Trandoshan hunting preserve. We get a very E.T. moment as Chewbacca cobbles together a transmitter to call for help.

It occurs to me that these two episodes are a combination of story ideas: Ahsoka gets "misplaced" and the Jedi have to teach the natives to defend themselves. In this case, Ahsoka gets abducted then has to teach the younglings, who have spent their time just hiding and trying to stay alive, to stand up for themselves. To fight back. There are losses.

It's a good couple of episodes, but much more time is devoted to the action than to ideological thoughts behind what's going on. Which is fine. The action is good. I suppose I've just found myself in a more philosophical turn than usual. The ending... oh, okay, I won't spoil the ending, but it does provide a good lesson, so to speak.

Monday, August 29, 2016

What If This Song Was Number One? (a local color post)

Last year right about this time, my wife and I went to see Michael Franti in concert. You can go back and read that post here.

I'm still as impressed with Franti as ever. He has a new album out, Soulrocker, and it's pretty great. The above song is one of my favorites. Of course, it's one of those situations where whatever song I'm listening to is my "favorite." Well, not any of the songs, but he has, at this point, at least half a dozen tunes that are my favorite when I'm hearing them. However, the above song, from a life philosophy perspective, pretty much nails it.

If that doesn't tell you enough about what Franti's music is about or about him, take a listen to this storyteller session of his song "My Lord." This album has a bit of an old fashioned spiritual vibe to it, and this song is one of the reasons.

If you get the chance to see Franti in concert, I highly recommend it. He puts on a good show, walking out among the crowd frequently, and has great music. Seriously, don't miss it.

The opening act was a singer by the name of Zella Day. I'd never heard of her before, though, upon some research, I see that's she's had some high profile features these last couple of years. I really liked her sound. I'm in the process of giving her music a good listening to, so, until I can come to a more conclusive decision about what I like most, here's a song that I like the sound of:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rebels: "Call to Action" (Ep. 1.12)

"You're finally getting the hang of this. There's hope for you yet."

After just covering Tarkin's first appearance in Clone Wars, Tarkin makes his first appearance in Rebels. As Grand Moff. The writers make a point of him saying something about how he knew actual Jedi, which makes me glad I just watched the Citadel arc in Clone Wars.

What brings Tarkin to Lothal? Our rebels, of course. Because they have begun to be bothersome enough that a Grand Moff has to make a special trip to deal with them. This means nothing good for the leadership on Lothal nor for the Inquisitor, who has not managed to deal with Kanan and Ezra. Not that Tarkin believes that there's a Jedi involved, but the Inquisitor does, and he hasn't dealt with the issue.

Now, it's not like Tarkin is travelling around stopping on cells of rebel forces; he's not. Mostly, they are disorganized groups of what amount to terrorists. But not the group on Lothal. They're different, which is what draws Tarkin to the planet.

The interesting bit is that it is because of the Empire that our little Lothal band is coming together in an organized manner, Planning and choosing strategic targets. Of course it's because of the Empire, you say. And, yes, of course, because they don't like the Empire. But, specifically, it is because the Empire begins to target them and go after them that they really begin to coalesce as a group that does more than just raid supplies.

And the show really feels like it's coming together at this point with an actual direction and ongoing plot.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clone Wars -- "Padawan Lost" (Ep. 3.21)

-- Without humility, courage is a dangerous game.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

I don't tend to be a huge fan of short stories, but there are a few that have stayed with me since I was first assigned to read them in school: "The Most Dangerous Game" is one of those. Of course, "The Most Dangerous Game" has been highly influential as a piece of literature and has spawned many movies and movies based on the idea of hunting "the most dangerous game." Predator may be the one that has been the most successful, at least in a pop culture sense. "Padawan Lost" is the Star Wars entry into this theme and, I would say, owes a lot to Predator, too.

So who is the most dangerous game in the Star Wars universe? The Jedi, of course. And who are the people who use them in a Predator-like manner? The Trandoshans. But not actual, full Jedi, because they are too dangerous. They just go for the kids, instead, the younglings. They, of course, count those as Jedi kills.

In case you don't know, youngling is the lowest level in the Jedi Order, followed by Padawn. Ahsoka is a Padawan, but she's young for a Padawan due to her exceptional skill. It's no surprise, then, that Ahsoka is mistaken for a youngling by a Trandoshan hunting party and captured. Right in the middle of a battle.

Of course, Anakin has no idea what happened to her. She's just... gone.

And Ahsoka finds herself, well, not quite alone.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dream a Little Dream... Or a Big One

Do you have a "dream"?
Do you even know what that is or what it means?
Is it a dream or a fantasy?
Yeah, I want to make a difference between those things.

But first:

I've been doing this a while, now, the whole author thing and, with it, the blog thing. I've changed the way I blog since way back in the beginning when I used a lot of my time to go and search out other blogs and be very interactive in the whole blogging process. It's time consuming, and I got to a point where I had to ask the question about what my dream was: Was it to write or was it to blog? But that's beside the point, though worth noting. The short of that was that I changed the way I blog, and I no longer go out searching for new blogs by other authors to get involved with.

The point of me telling you that is that I want to note how few blogs show up in my blog feed each day, now. Back when I was being heavily involved in blogging, there would be dozens of blog posts in my feed each day. It was seriously difficult to keep up with. When I changed the way I blogged, I didn't stop following people (even if I did stop visiting all of them), so all of those posts still showed up in my feed each day. Now, though, today, there were only two new posts in my feed. Monday, the heaviest day of the week, there were only eight, and there were none from Saturday and Sunday. [All of these numbers are as I write this on Tuesday, August 16.] Days without posts used to never happen. Never.

Sure, some of the missing people moved onto other platforms (InstaTwitter or whatever), but many of them just gave up on writing. Probably most of them. Okay, actually very certainly most of them. If I go down my list of people who no longer blog, most of them no longer do anything. They just quit.

And that is because of the difference between a dream and a fantasy.

For our purposes, we're going to call a "dream" something you yourself can accomplish.
We're going to call a "fantasy" something that happens to you.

So you can have a dream of buying lottery tickets, but any thoughts of winning the lottery are fantasies. Winning the lottery is not something you can achieve; it can only happen to you. Likewise, you can have a dream of being a writer (because you can sit down and do that), but you can only have a fantasy about being a rich and famous writer. You can be the best writer in the world and never become rich and famous because, as with the lottery, that is mostly luck. Maybe completely.

The problem is that it's easy to subvert your dream with the fantasy. Those things can be easy to confuse. When you believe your dream is the fantasy, you can become disillusioned. I know of several writers who quit, just gave up on it, because, after publishing a couple of things, they didn't become household names. It was crushing to them, and they just quit writing. They had a fantasy of becoming rich and famous and allowed it to take the place  of their dream. That's a dangerous thing, allowing your fantasy to squash your dreams.

How do you deal with that kind of thing?

Well, the first way is to identify your dream and recognize the fantasy for what it is.

However, it is perfectly reasonable to have a dream of being "rich," but you need to identify that as your dream. Your actual dream. If that is your dream, you need to choose a path that enables you to work toward that as a dream and, let me just say, writing is a poor path to riches. Pun totally intended. You could even choose fame as a dream, I suppose, although fame is a very elusive thing, and you need to find avenues that lead to that more readily than writing. I would suggest giving Will Smith a call. Evidently, he followed a very specific plan to get to where he was in the 90s.

Now, I want to take all of this back a step farther: What is your real dream? I mean, writing is my dream, but there is a deeper dream, Let's call the dream the "deep magic," but there is a "deeper magic," the thing that supports the dream. That dream for me is the dream of leaving something behind. Something lasting. Something for my kids but also something that goes beyond just them and, in one way or another, everything I have done in my life has worked toward that.

Let me put it another way:

My grandfather was a great man. I'm going to go into why that is because 1. it would take too long and 2. it's unnecessary to what I'm going to say. He was a great man but, once I and the rest of his grandchildren are dead, there will be nothing left of him. Nothing beyond a notation in a genealogy file somewhere. And a birth certificate. Nothing that anyone will ever take note of in the future. Even the farm he poured his sweat into and the house he helped build are all gone now, burned to nothing in the wild fires that swept through East Texas a few years ago.

I don't know what kinds of dreams my grandfather had; he was more than a little laconic. But it makes me sad that he will be forgotten one day. I want to leave something behind, and my writing serves that dream.

It's not that I have a dream of being the Shakespeare of the age. Or, even, the Tolkien. Or, even, the Lewis. But I would be more than happy with being a MacDonald. See, you people don't even know who that is, do you? Here, I'll help: George MacDonald. See, it doesn't matter how unheard of he is for the most part, because his books are still out there and he still influences people. Probably in more ways than we can even imagine.

So, yeah, I choose the dream of writing to fulfill the dream of leaving something behind that lasts. And, well, if fame and riches follow, well, that's a nice fantasy, but it has nothing to do with my dream.

So what is your dream? Is it small or is it big? And can you separate it from fantasy?

"'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rebels: "Vision of Hope" (Ep. 1.11)

"...I have a feeling. Today's the day."
"Well, I have a feeling you're going to get stunned if you don't stay in the moment. This moment."

Ezra has his first vision. Visions of the future are all the rage, you know. Of course, visions are difficult, at least visions of the future are. As Yoda said, "Always in motion is the future." And there's the question of whether Ezra is just seeing what he wants to see.

But, anyway, our rebels are all alone, operating completely independently of any other groups and without any kind of funding or support. They're doing it because they hate the Empire and what it stands for. That does not, however, mean they want to be operating independently of anyone and everyone else. In fact, they really want to be tied into a larger network. And this episode brings them that hope...

We also get to see one of Ezra's cadet friends from that episode where he went undercover in the academy.

The series is beginning to have the feel of being an ongoing story rather than being a series of single episodes, so that's good.

"Wait. You know what I smell like?"

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Clone Wars -- "Citadel Rescue" (Ep. 3.20)

-- Without honor, victory is hollow.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

I think fighting a Jedi is somewhat the equivalent of trench warfare during World War I. You just keep throwing more and more men at it until one gets through. Or gets an opening. Or a lucky shot. Or whatever. But sometimes they do fall.

There are two things of interest in this episode:
One is the continued discussion from the previous episode regarding the Jedi not really being suited for war. This is, of course, Tarkin's viewpoint. He believes that the Jedi Code folds them back from being able to achieve a true victory in many cases. Unsurprisingly, Anakin tends to agree with Tarkin. Obi-Wan's response is to question whether victory is worthwhile if you have to sacrifice your honor to attain it.

It's an interesting question, all of it, and it hearkens back to an earlier question about what good it does to maintain a stance of non-violence if it gets you dead. Which is the higher measure: keeping your honor or staying alive?

The second is a conflict over the information that Even Piell was tasked to bring back to the Jedi. In an effort to protect it, he shared the information between himself and Tarkin so that if one of them was captured, the information would be useless. You'd have to have both of them. The issue, then, is that once Tarkin has part of the information, he refuses to divulge it to anyone other than Palpatine. Did Piell have no inkling that this could be an issue? Tarkin never held back about his feelings about the Jedi, so sharing the info with Tarkin seems to be a poor choice for a Jedi Master to make.

Okay, sure, it's probably just a plot device that the writers didn't think through all the way, but it does raise some questions.

Mostly though, as I said in the review for the previous episode, this arc is an action arc, and the philosophy is kept to a minimum.

Monday, August 15, 2016

"Herbert West: Reanimator" (a book review post)

This is by far the longest piece by Lovecraft that I've read so far. Not because I'm avoiding his longer works but because, after reading several of his short stories, I decided to read his works in the order in which he wrote them. I don't know; I guess I just wanted to see the evolution of his writing.

It is in some ways disingenuous to say that this is a longer work. It is in actuality six short stories about the same two characters, Herbert West and his narrator assistant. Each story begins with a somewhat distracting recap of events which is meant to string the events of each episode together into a coherent whole. This is only partially successful as there is no need to have read any of the stories to be able to read any of the other stories except for the last one, "The Tomb-Legions," which requires that you have read all of the other pieces.

I have to say that this... I don't know, let's call it an experiment... was unsuccessful. Lovecraft called the story a parody of Frankenstein, but I don't think it succeeds even at that. It's too clumsy, both copying the novel and being unrelated to it at the same time. And, in the end, Lovecraft pulls in some of his unexplainable otherworldly esoterica to draw the story to an unsatisfying conclusion which is so unrelated to anything in Frankenstein that it manages to undermine any claim that this is a parody.
 It turns it into a poor attempt at stealing this particular story idea, that of bringing the dead back to life.

Lovecraft has some stylistic choices which specifically don't work in Herbert West:
1. Lovecraft is a "teller," not a "show-er." This robs his stories of immediacy and works against them being true horror. They might leave you feeling creepy, but it's difficult to ever feel any real fear for the characters since everything is told from some far removed point to the actual action.
2. He almost never uses dialogue, resorting, instead, to just telling us what was talked about. This follows point 1.
3. He cheats on descriptions (CONSTANTLY!) by telling us it's too unspeakable for words. Sorry, as a pattern (which it is), that's just deficient writing skills. Every once in a while, that can work to heighten just how horrible something is, but, when that's your go-to descriptive phrase, it shows that you just can't come up with anything.

The above points don't cause problems in any individual short story, but they cause longer works to drag and become uninteresting. Thankfully, even as a longer work, Herbert West wasn't all that long, and I was able to finish it, but I was glad when I did. I kept thinking as I was reading, "Geez! Just get to the point!" Unfortunately, the point wasn't really worth getting to.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Rebels: "Idiot's Array" (Ep. 1.10)

"Smuggler's such a small word. I'm more of a galactic entrepreneur."

I don't tend to think of Star Wars in comedic terms. Sure, there are funny moments, and characters who have been inserted specifically for comic relief -- not just Jar Jar -- but this is the first episode of any of Rebels or all of The Clone Wars that really had me laughing out loud. Not just once.

We get to meet a young Lando Calrissian (actually voiced by Billy Dee Williams!) and to say that hi-jinks ensue would be an understatement. We get to see sabacc being played for the first time. At least, it's the first time I know of that the game has been shown onscreen anywhere. "Idiot's Array" refers to a sabacc hand. Of course, playing cards with Calrissian can get anyone into trouble, and that's what happens here. The rest of the episode is trying to get out of said trouble.

Lando, as you might expect, spends the episode trying to sweet talk the ladies. The guys, as might also be expected, react poorly to this. I think each of them says something to the effect of "I hate that guy" at least once. And, of course, Lando puts them in a situation where they're forced to defend him and rescue him from, well, himself.

Oh, yeah, and to get Chopper back, which is what started everything off, Zeb losing Chopper to Lando in a game of cards. The big question is whether Chopper wants to stay with Lando or not.

That's all I'm gonna say. Oh, except that we find out a cool thing about Ezra's lightsaber.

"Mine doesn't do that."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"The Quest of Iranon" (a book review post)

"The Quest of Iranon" is the most interesting of the Lovecraft stories I've read so far (I'm somewhere in the two dozen range). I'm not saying it's the best, but it's the only one that has give me a "huh, that was interesting" reaction. [Ignore the image. This is in no way a horror story.]

This will be full of spoilers and, actually, I'm going to ruin the ending, so you should go read it before going on with my review.

To put it simply, Iranon is a dreamer. He's a singer of songs and a teller of stories. And he's on a quest for his homeland, a land he remembers from his infancy, a land in which he was a prince. But he was for whatever reason left to be raised by another family, and he now seeks home.

During his journey, he acquires a travelling companion, a youth who wants to move on to a better place than where he lives, another dreamer, though not one who dreams as deeply as Iranon. They travel together for years, until the youth passes Iranon by in age and, eventually, dies, all the while Iranon ages not a day. There's no explanation as to why Iranon doesn't age, so it's to be assumed that it is because he is of a people of another place, a superior people.

This is the bit that's interesting to me (and here comes the real spoiler), because, at the end, Iranon, still on his quest, stays with an old man, an old man with whom it turns out he was friends with during his childhood. The old man only has distant memories of the boy, Iranon, who used to tell fantastic tales, tales about being a prince from a far off land, but tales that couldn't be true because he and everyone had known Iranon since birth,

Hearing the truth deprives Iranon of his eternal youth, and he becomes the old man that he really ought to be. The general interpretation of this is that Iranon had stayed eternally youthful because he was a dreamer, and that it is the death of his dream that causes him to grow old. I suppose this is a logical interpretation and it is what it presented in the story.

However, if you look deeper, it's possible to see that Iranon was only youthful in his own eyes. He was, for a while, a famous and popular entertainer in the city Oonai, but, eventually, the people turn to a new group of entertainers. It is pointed out in the story that these are young people. Iranon, no longer feeling appreciated, leaves the city. But, maybe, he's just grown old and he's the only one who doesn't see it. It's an interesting question.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Clone Wars -- "Counter Attack" (Ep. 3.19)

-- Anything that can go wrong will.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

This is an all action episode as Anakin and Obi-Wan continue their efforts to rescue Jedi Master Even Piell and not-yet-Grand-Moff Tarkin from the Citadel. To say that it's rough going would be an understatement, as the opening quote reveals. They don't end up better than they started.

Thinking about this arc of episodes, I think they are to balance the previous arc, which was slower and more thoughtful. I guess you follow an arc like that with one that is mostly action but, again, I'm reminded, we're doing a prisoner rescue. Interestingly, Tarkin makes a comment about how well designed the prison is in regards to how difficult it's being for them to get out. A bit of foreshadowing for you.

There is one brief moment of philosophical exchange between Anakin and Tarkin about the effectiveness of the Jedi. It's enlightening, to say the least. And it's interesting to watch the seeds being planted for the relationship between the two men, especially considering Tarkin's view on the Jedi.

All of that said, there's nothing essential in the viewing of these episodes. They're just action fun after what was a pretty heavy on the metaphysics story.

I'm not going to pull the links, but there's also more of our misfit clone trooper squad. For good and ill.

Monday, August 8, 2016

"Barachiel" Revised (or Done Or Raw)

I mentioned recently that I lost a computer. As in, it passed away. It gave up the ghost. Well, if computers have ghosts to give. It kicked the bucket. Or whatever passes for a bucket. It went to the light. I know, because it quit making any of its own. It gave its last gasp. Which I actually heard. It's in cold storage, now. Literally. The hard drive is. It's in my freezer, kind of like Walt Disney, waiting for a day when it can be resurrected. Or, at least, have its data carefully removed like donated organs. I just can't afford that transfer, right now, because all of the "normal" means of data retrieval didn't work.

But this post isn't about that. Go back and read the other post if you want to know more about all of that.

I spent most of July restoring documents from other sources. That's an adventure, let me tell you. [Okay, it's not, really. It's like the complete opposite of an adventure.] One of the things I could not just restore from another source was "Barachiel." I actually had to buy "Barachiel" and re-type it from my Kindle. Which is the point of all of this...

There's a reason authors (and other artist types, I would assume) declare things to be finished. It's not because they are finished, not necessarily, but because there's a point when you have to decide to quit working on something because you are no longer making any notable changes to the piece, whatever kind of thing that is, from a painting, mural, short story, or novel. As my wife would say, "Done or raw, do the chaw."

Supposedly, that saying comes from Texas and passed down to her from her grandmother who grew up there. I, too, grew up in and around Texas, though, and I never heard that saying until my wife said it. I still think it's kind of weird. And, yes, Texas is a big place, and her grandmother grew up in a different part of Texas than I did. But I digress...

"Barachiel" is a good example of all of this, because, as soon as I started re-typing it, I started fiddling with it. Not that there was anything wrong with it, because there wasn't -- okay, actually, I caught two errors: one missing space (after a comma) and one missing letter (leaving only an "a," which can be a difficult error to catch, sometimes) -- but, now, even just a few months after writing it originally, there were phrases that, I suppose, I wouldn't say quite the same way. Evidently, that's true, because I changed some. And I added in a few things here and there. Why? Because I was looking at it again, and I couldn't help it!

That's why we declare projects finished and we don't go back to them!

Seriously, I couldn't help tweaking! [Tweaking! I said tweaking!]

It was right there in front of me, and it just happened.

If I picked it up two weeks from now, I'm sure it would be the same. And again two weeks after that.
Because we always change, and the phrases and words change, too.

So, no, there is nothing significantly different about the revised edition of "Barachiel," but, just because, I'm going to make it FREE! for a couple of days. If you've already read it, you can get the new version and compare and, if you haven't read it, here's your chance to get the ever so slightly improved version. For FREE!

So, yeah, go pick up your copy of "Barachiel" today!
And, as always, please leave a review!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Rebels: "Path of the Jedi" (Ep. 1.9)

"Why must you be Jedi?"

Kanan is forced with a difficult decision after the events of "Gathering Forces." Has Ezra touched on the Dark Side? Has he stepped onto the path? Is Ezra still capable of becoming a Jedi? Kanan needs to know. He needs a Jedi Temple...

So he has Ezra find him one. Through communing with the Force.

And, then, Ezra has an experience very reminiscent of Luke's experience in The Tree on Dagobah.

On the one hand, it's all very cool. It's a good episode in that respect and brings up a lot of questions (like "What has Kanan been doing since the Purge?") that I hope we get to see answered. Ezra's experience in the Temple is well done and is very revealing about him as a character. It's a great step forward for the show and it definitely has my attention (and approval) at this point. Although still obviously geared for kids, it has stepped above being merely a "kids' show."

On the other hand, there are some things I find annoying in a more global sense. What we know about Star Wars in general is that Anakin was the most powerful Jedi ever, even more powerful than Yoda. That is, until Luke was born, and Luke is supposed to be even more powerful than Anakin (even though no one ever took his midi-chlorian count), but what we're seeing from Ezra is stuff that goes way beyond Anakin or Luke. Stuff that makes Kanan fearful of his ability to teach Ezra.

From a global story perspective, you are driven to do this kind of thing, because the natural inclination is to take things to the next level, not show things you've shown before, but I think you can do that without making each new character the most powerful ever. So I hope that's not what they're doing, but it does look like it's headed that direction.

Still, taken in the context of this one show, it's very good, and I am, now, looking forward to each new episode we have time to watch.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Clone Wars -- "The Citadel" (Ep. 3.18)

-- Adaptation is the key to survival.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

At some point in the past, probably the far past, a prison was built -- it sounds like it was built by the Jedi -- to hold Jedi who turned to the Dark Side. Having been built to hold Jedi, it's a very secure facility, the kind of secure from which no one has ever escaped. I'm inferring from the presentation in "The Citadel" that the prison has been unused for quite some time. That's probably why the Separatists were able to get their hands on it.

It's also of note that the Separatists haven't put the prison to use holding Jedi any earlier than this, but that's probably because, really, they just kill Jedi rather than taking them prisoner. Mostly. Maybe it's because of Grievous' earlier failures at holding Jedi captive that Even Piell has been taken to the Citadel for torture and questioning.

We don't get a lot of background information on the Jedi in what is now canon material, so this is an interesting piece to pick up. Both that the Jedi at one time took precautions against themselves and that they haven't had to use them in so long that they have no recent records of the interior layout of the Citadel.

This is also what I think is the first meeting between Anakin and Tarkin. And Tarkin's first appearance in Clone Wars? I can't remember (having already watched the entire series before confuses the issue, and I'm not going to do the research, right now, to find out). At any rate, it's an interesting meeting and beginning to what will become one of the essential pairings in the Star Wars universe.

All of that and carbon freezing, too!

"Are you sure this thing is safe? I don't want to end up a wall decoration."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Tuck Watley: Freedom Fighter Fighter (a book review post)

My wife thought the title of this book was hilarious as soon as she saw me reading it. That says a lot right there, which you would know if you knew my wife.

But let me tell you a story:
My daughter plays softball. She's really good. Recently, there was a, let's call it a disagreement, between myself and her head coach over,  let's call it his mistreatment, of my daughter during a tournament. During the, let's call it a discussion, in an effort to insult me, he said, rather vehemently, "Why don't you just go read a book!" In fact, he shouted that at me twice, as if that somehow afforded him a victory in said "discussion." This amuses me because he intended this as some kind of insult. I, in fact, was holding a book at the time. I'm sure, though, that it was an "insult" because he has never read a book. Nor would he. I mean, you don't yell, "Why don't you just go read a book," at someone as a disparagement if you place any value in reading. He obviously does not.
Which explains a few things...

How does that relate? Well, there are a couple of jocks who get into a fight in Tuck Watley over the use of the word "nerd." You might think this is over the top, but, I assure you, it is not. I probably found that bit more funny than I should have, but it cracked me up. It's funny because it's true.

That said, this is not my favorite work by Pedas and Meyers, but it's very good. Funny enough for some actual laugh out loud moments. Just the premise, which I'm not going to say because it's kind of spoilery, thought it's right there in the title to some extent, is funny enough to warrant the book.

As always with Pedas and Meyers, the book is filled with kooky, stereotype characters. Of course, it is that they are stereotypes that make them so funny. I think in this one my favorite is the teenage girl who dresses and acts as if she's 50 years older. Although the group of scientists are pretty close. And the taco guy. Yeah, there's a lot of funny in the book.

If you're looking for serious, literary achievements, though, you should go somewhere else. This book is not that. However, Pedas and Meyers have a rather eclectic list of works, so you can probably find something you'd like from among their other offerings, either solo or duo projects. But, if you like comedy and if you think there are aspects of our secret government organizations that are ridiculous, this is a book you should pick up.