mellicious: (Wonder Woman)
2018-12-04 06:16 am

Movies! (part 1)

Well, the last time I talked about movies here was apparently in May. (Did we go see Infinity War three weeks in a row? Good lord.) I've been keeping a list that I think is more or less complete. So here's a sentence or two about everything we've been to see since that. I feel like I haven't been going to that many movies but this is actually a surprisingly long list, so if I get sleepy before I get through this, it may end up having two parts.

(Also take it as read that Rob is going to almost all the horror movies, meanwhile. I always think I should keep track of that, too, but then I forget.)

Solo - huh, actually, I have written down "Solo x2" so I guess that means we saw it twice. I'd completely forgotten that. We didn't hate it, obviously. I didn't totally love it but I did really like parts of it. I certainly didn't think it was as awful as everybody was making it out to be. (Favorite part: Phoebe Waller-Bridge's robot)

Ocean's 8 - liked it a lot, I'm totally ready to see it again. I wasn't sure ahead of time how much I would like it but I really did. For one thing, I'm a total Met Gala junkie so I loved that part. I loved that Cate and Sandra were quietly a couple. I liked Awkwafina, I liked Rihanna, I liked all of it, really.

Incredibles 2 - really liked this, too, but honestly I don't totally remember it too well, months later. Obviously it's time to see this one again, too.

Ant-Man & the Wasp - I liked this, too. It wasn't as good as the first one but it was pretty good. (I did have a definite gripe with the Infinity-War twist in the credits, but it does make sense. It's just depressing.) I liked the woman who played Ghost, whose name I keep forgetting - and I've already looked it up more than once so I'm not going to go look it up again. (It was Hannah! and something with a hyphen! John-Kamen, something like that, I refuse to go look, seriously. I do know that she was also in Ready Player One.)

(Side note: if you're put off by me repeatedly saying, "I liked this... and I liked this too," then you're probably just never going to like what I have to say. Basically, I only go see movies these days if I'm convinced I'm going to like them decently well. If not, I just don't bother.)

Mission Impossible Fallout - we always go see these movies - at least in recent years - and I always enjoy them and then later I can't remember them at all. I don't particularly like Tom Cruise, and when they started making the MI movies with him (years ago now, I guess!) I was profoundly uninterested, and early on we didn't go see them. But somewhere along the line the reviews started getting better - I think it may have been along about #4, but it's hard to be sure since, as I said, the plots are all pretty interchangeable, and I can't tell them apart except as "the one where they're rappelling up & down the building" and things like that.

OK, I'll pick up with BlackKKlansman (I don't know if I've got the capitalization quite right on that) tomorrow.

mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
2017-12-17 12:48 am


NOTE: this is all very hastily written and stream-of-consciousness, and I'm not going to apologize for that, really. But let me just repeat that it is also totally FULL OF SPOILERS. I put it in the title but if you read it in my journal style the title is not very noticeable.

I'm not going to even try to write anything spoiler-free about The Last Jedi. I... liked it pretty well, that's all I can think of to say that's spoiler-free. But it also had some problems, and a hella lot of surprises, and all that is obviously spoilers, so I'm just rolling with that. Oh, also, lemme say that I don't even know the names of a lot of these characters, and I'm sure I'll figure all that out later (because I've watched The Force Awakens about 17 times and Rogue One maybe 10 times, so I think we can assume I'm going to see this in the theater at least one more time) - and probably I'll look at IMDb and figure some of this stuff out, sometime soon. But right now I'm not worrying about all that. 

I love the surprise of it - it just went off in directions you weren't expecting. (There, a whole basically spoiler-free sentence. Although I suppose you could say that that in itself is a spoiler.) Like Luke at the end - and Luke at the beginning, for that matter, with the lightsaber and the crazy. Also the question of which way Kylo will jump, light or dark? And then they give you a false answer on that for a minute, too, and then switch again. Although I do think the answer they ultimately came up with is the one that feels right to me. I don't much buy that he's savable. (I do buy that he would want Rey as his queen or whatever, but it'd never last 'cause she's too mouthy and he'd want to shut her up eventually. He's that kinda guy.)

Can I just say, OH THANK GOD, NO MIDICHLORIANS. I know, it wasn't in the last movie either, but this was the first (and by far the best) explanation of the Force that I've heard since the very first movie. But I hated the whole idea of the damn midichlorians.

And I kind of love the idea that Luke burns (or well, Yoda does) the whole Jedi library, and Rey hasn't read it and doesn't appear to have any training about it either, and she has no clear notions at all about the old Jedi traditions, so from that standpoint Luke is actually the last Jedi. I really got the idea more from playing a Jedi in The Old Republic game than anywhere else, that the Jedi traditions kinda suck. So there will be Force-users from here on out but no old-school Jedi. (ADDED: I saw a video that said Rey secretly saved the library, so all of this may be technically untrue, in the end. But clearly the idea that the Jedi are changing is correct.)

-- I kept waiting for them to say that Benecio Del Toro's character was actually the guy they went to find, but no. They don't actually say one way or the other, but as far as we know he's not, really. We see some other guy who's wearing the flower or whatever it was, for like two seconds. My theory was maybe the other guy had stolen his pin and Benecio was the real guy, but who knows?

-- I've watched a couple of YouTube videos and I agree that the whole casino thing slowed the movie down. (I also told Rob that rich people are the new bad guys, because, you know, who else is left, I guess?*) I liked Rose, and I liked Rose and Finn as a team, but that plot was just ill-conceived, I thought. That whole thing seemed like they didn't think they had enough plot so they came up with this whole big red herring about needing codes. (Also, were they implying Rose/Finn there at the very end? Oh, and then you get Oscar being all, "Hey there, I'm Poe," to Rey, and I'm going, wouldn't these characters have met before? That was mainly why I noticed Finn hovering at Rose's bedside in that scene.)

-- Here's another thing: Did Gwendoline Christie just not want to put a lot of time in on these movies, or something? Because I have a Phasma bobble-head, and I feel like she's ultimately such a minor figure that I wouldn't have bothered if I'd known. (I wanted to collect female Star Wars characters, for a while, and I got up to three - Rey, Leia, and Phasma - and then I just kind of gave up on that. I eventually added Obi-Wan and some random robot, and decided to stop there, because Funkos, much as I love them, kind of take up a lot of room that we really don't have.) I thought she would have a big scene in the first movie and then when she didn't, I was expecting it in this movie, and instead you get about 10 seconds of fight and she's dead. (Another late addition: I'm kidding myself to say I "collected" the Phasma bobblehead in particular - I got it in a Funko box and I think it was limited edition, but I didn't actually pick it out. I think it was more that I got the idea from having the Phasma, and then I went and ordered the LE Rey from Hot Topic to go with it.)

*When I was growing up the bad guys were communists. Then later the bad guys were Iranians or Al-Qaeda or something. I'm kind of glad to see them getting away from the whole ethnicity aspect of it, but while I'm complaining about tax cuts for the rich as much as anybody else, I also think that's kind of an easy target, what with Trump and everything. I don't guess "bad guys" as a concept is going away any time soon, so it'll be interesting to see if rich people or Russian oligarchs or something sticks - we could go back to the Russian accents for that one - or if somebody will come up with something else.)
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (star wars)
2017-12-12 01:44 am

Lazy Monday

 Not really bored, I just wanted a Star Wars icon. Honestly right now I seem to keep finding entirely too many ways to waste time, which is partly why I'm behind on Holidailies.

Yesterday we went to see "Coco" and I don't know why I didn't expect to like it so much, but I really did. They did a good job of sticking with the themes and the traditions (as well as I'm able to judge) of Dia de los Muertos as well as just using the color scheme and the skeletons, as some things seem to do. (I haven't seen "The Book of Life" so I'm not secretly comparing that or anything.) It was a two-hanky movie, at least for me, but you can't make a movie about family and death without some tears, I guess. (Well, I take that back, somewhat - I'm sure you could, but this is Pixar we're talking about.)

We were going to go to the mall today but I woke up with a headache and Rob said he was just fine with staying home. We may go to the mall or we may just go out to eat tomorrow - Rob has two days off so I feel like we ought to do something or other. (I wanted to go to Paper Source, was why I suggested going to the mall. But now I can't remember the particular reason I wanted to go to Paper Source anyway.)

One of the things I've been wasting time on is Portal Knights - terraforming in Portal Knights seems to be how I destress, these days. I also have been spending a really ridiculous amount of time reorganizing my Pinterest boards since I got the new "sections" feature. I think that's how I always wanted Pinterest to be arranged. And I had a lot of boards and a lot of pins so it's taking a while. Still a work in progress, though.

(I was happy to see that the early reviews on "The Last Jedi" were positive. I guess we will go see it Saturday if we can get in. I said I was going to buy the tickets ahead and I still haven't done it. A far cry from two years ago when I bought the tickets over a month ahead!)
mellicious: pink manicure (retro-style holiday lights)
2016-12-24 11:01 pm

Christmas Eve Gift

Well, the junk first of all: If you went to movies a lot in the '80s, like we did, this is a stupendously easy quiz. (A 50-question quiz that 11% of people get 100% right can't be too difficult, after all.) (I did have to guess on a couple, but they don't even make guessing terribly hard. I am kinda the queen of the educated guess.)

We went to see Rogue One again (still love it) and ate lasagne and watched the first episode of Stranger Things. That was our Christmas Eve. Honestly, it beats most Christmas Eves cold, at least the ones of recent years. Tomorrow we have to do the family stuff. I've washed my hair and I need to do my nails and I'm sure I'll think of ten other highly-important things I have to do before bedtime. I can't much make myself care, though.

Stranger Things was pretty awesome, although more of you probably know much more about it than I do. (Does that sentence make any sense at all? I'm not sure, but I'm leaving it like that anyway.) We finished Jessica Jones yesterday (also awesome) and I told Rob that we could watch Stranger Things next if he wanted before we go on to Luke Cage. I don't know that Rob knew anything at all about it, but *I* knew that he would love Stranger Things, it's totally right up his alley. (Speaking of '80s.) It's very, um, early Steven Spielberg crossed with Stand By Me. Or something like that.

Col and I played Marvel Heroes for a while. He is playing Luke Cage and is surprised that he likes it. I liked Luke too (not to mention that he's stupendously hot in Jessica Jones, but I hadn't seen that yet when I was playing him) so I'm not too surprised. Oh, having seen Jessica Jones TV now, I realized suddenly what she's wearing in the game, the other day - it's the "Jewel" superhero outfit that Trish is seen in the series trying to get her to wear. She's been standing talking to Ben Urich in Avengers Tower since I've been playing, and I always wondered what the hell that was she was wearing. (I believe you can also play Jessica as a team-up but I haven't tried it; I'm pretty sure she's wearing something else in that incarnation. And Ben Urich in this game is a younger-looking white guy, in contrast to the older black guy who's in the first season of Daredevil. Reconciling all this now that I've watched half - exactly half - of the existing Marvel Netflix stuff is kind of weird.)

Also (still on the Marvel Heroes track) I spent some money on costumes last week and I now have the girl version of Thor and a couple of Christmas costumes (Daredevil and Squirrel Girl). I'm probably going to feel like I wasted my money on Christmas costumes later but I really like the female Thor. There are actually two female Thors; the other one is Jane Foster (who I think becomes Thor for a while in the comics?) but the one I'm using is the Earth X version, which I really know nothing at all about. She says something about Loki having tricked her into the new body (but she also says she kind of likes it.) Either I read somewhere or Col told me (I have no idea which) that this version, or maybe both versions, won't let anybody call her Lady Thor or anything like that; she's just Thor, still. That's about all I know about that, although I'm interested that they bothered to do two different female voices for Thor. He has a buttload of costumes, too (although not as many as Iron Man) - some of the male ones might have "enhanced" (aka different, rerecorded) voices, too, for all I know. I haven't paid much attention. But I tried playing regular Thor with the default costume and I stalled out about level 30-something. So I was hoping that the different take on Thor would propel me along, and it has - well, I'm still not all that far along in story progression but she hit level 60 tonight, so that's definitely an improvement. I'm not sure why it makes that much difference, exactly, but apparently it does.

OK, that's enough for tonight. I need to go do my nails. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, or other holiday/nonholiday of your choice. Or Christmas Eve Gift, as my grandma used to say. (Family phrase of unknown origin; I think I end up explaining that one pretty much every year.)
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
2016-12-19 05:17 am

Yeah, I'm still obsessing about That Movie.

Actually, I've been watching stuff on YouTube about Rogue One off and on all night, but the last thing I watched was about The Force Awakens, and it's awfully good.
It's not a series I was aware of before, I may be watching the Fury Road one next.

I started this one last night and finished it tonight (and Rob watched a good bit of it with me, too) but I still can't believe I sat through the whole thing: an HOUR AND A HALF of Kevin Smith and some guy I've never seen before rhapsodizing about Rogue One (and in case you're not otherwise paying attention, this is WAY SPOILERIFIC).
(Obviously I've never seen that series before, either, or I would already know who this other dude is.)

I watched some other stuff: nail polish, more nail polish, music videos (which I won't link to til I get to the next Music Advent post, probably tomorrow), somebody obsessively breaking down the GotG vol.2 trailer, more Rogue One stuff. Way too much YouTube, clearly. Oh well, I'll get over it in a few days, I imagine.

Oh, and I forgot to say that we watched two more episodes of Jessica Jones, before all of this. (Hey, it wasn't on YouTube, at least!) I think we have three or four more hours of that left, I've lost track.
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (Buffy quote - bored)
2016-12-18 05:59 am

Rogue One, and its place in the Star Wars universe

(I'm starting here pretty spoiler free, if I get spoilery I'll put it under a jump.)

I'm sorry, I can't talk about anything else, because we saw Rogue One a few hours ago and it was pretty mindblowing. I'm not saying it's the best movie I've ever seen or anything, but damn, it's pretty good. I saw somebody trying to rank the Star Wars movies in order of quality, and while it's really way too too early to judge... well, let's put it this way. I, II, and III are at the bottom, certainly. I haven't seen them in years so ranking those is iffy. Mostly I just try to ignore them. After that you get to VI. Then IV and V are the top, and I waffle around about which is better, although basically it's just love of the original that makes me do that. I think Empire is pretty unequivocally the best, as a movie. And then the two latest installments are somewhere in between VI and IV. Much better than VI. In case Roman numerals are too confusing, let me do a seat-of-the-pants list.

This is starting with WORST, and the numbers are worst to best, not the chronological ones.
8. Attack of the Clones
7. The Phantom Menace
6. Revenge of the Sith
5. Return of the Jedi
4. The Force Awakens
3. Rogue One
2. A New Hope
1. The Empire Strikes Back

I don't know why I feel compelled to do this. I don't like that either; it makes more sense in my mind to do it in tiers: prequels, then (lesser but still better) Return of the Jedi, then (bigger jump in quality) The Force Awakens, then Rogue One almost approaching the quality of the first tier, which is A New Hope and Empire. But I don't know, I may feel differently about where Rogue One fits in later. We are already making plans to go see it again - I said, "Next week" and then I thought and said, "Oh, no, we can't, it's Christmas" because we do have plans... so we'll probably go again some time during the holiday week, after Christmas. Luckily Rob liked it a lot too.

Hmm, this may be where I should put the jump. I wouldn't recommend reading further if you haven't seen it.

Rob said it was better than The Force Awakens (which I reluctantly agree with, but bear in mind that I liked that movie a lot as well). I think he liked it more because Rogue One is really a war movie. I compared it at some point to The Dirty Dozen, beforehand, and, well, I was more right than I knew. It has a lot in common with that movie. (Movie and book, both, actually - I think I may have mentioned at some point in the past that I was allowed to read that book when I was twelve. I don't know what my mother was thinking, except that she was (a) used to my father's reading habits and (b) didn't realize how adult of a book it was.) It had sex, it had violence, and while I don't remember how many of the dozen survived, it wasn't many. I think it was maybe even less in the book than in the movie. But with that in mind, I was almost prepared for the death count of Rogue One. I thought they'd let a token few get out, though.

Somehow I didn't find that quite as wrenching as I might have. I did keep expecting some ship to swoop down, in that last scene with Jyn and Cassian, and magically ferry them out (again), because that's how most movies work. But I wasn't in tears, even, and I'm a person who cries pretty easily, so that's saying something. It just seemed... realistic.

I expected Tarkin to show up, partly because he was in that book that I was talking about yesterday. Half of the stuff I thought was tedious in that book was Krennic and Tarkin vying for the emperor's favor. (Although it was clear that Krennic had to ultimately lose, because you don't see him on the Death Star in A New Hope, after all.) They did a good job with Tarkin; bringing a dead man back to life isn't an easy thing. I've heard people say it took them out of the movie but I thought it seemed entirely appropriate. I had more problems with the surprise Leia appearance at the end - it seemed like not as much care was taken with that brief shot, maybe. I don't know. I was excited to see the way it all fit right in with the beginning of the "next" movie, certainly.

We saw little boys on the way out arguing vociferously over plot points. I think the next generation of fans is all taken care of. I was thinking that Lucasfilm and then Disney did a genius thing with the animated shows - even some not-so-young kids were raised on Clone Wars, and more recently on Rebels. That's why this franchise (it might be more approprate to call it an empire) isn't in much danger of generational dying-out as seems to be happening with the Star Trek franchise these days.
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (yoda)
2016-12-17 05:38 am

It's Rogue One day!

It's Christmas, as far as I'm concerned. We're even having Chinese food afterwards.

(We work til 9:30 on Friday so that left a tight window to go to any movie then. We just got the tickets for 7:00 Saturday instead.)

I don't think I mentioned that I actually read the Rogue One "prequel" book that came out a month or so ago. It's called Catalyst. It's not a great book but it was pretty interesting. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody but rabid Star Wars fans, really. It's the backstory of Jyn's childhood and how her father - who wasn't at all interested in weapons design - got roped into the Death Star project. It has a lot of back and forth between Galen, her father, and Orson Krennic, who's trying to get a weapon built for the Death Star. Kind of the most interesting part was a lot of detail thrown in here and there about the building of the Death Star. It took them years and years to build it (which is logical but I've never heard anybody say so before) - they started out with a flat circle and built from there, and the early part all had to be done by robots since there was no air. That was honestly the part I liked the best, not all the bickering and politics between Galen and Lyra (Jyn's mother) and Krennic and Tarkin. I'll be interested to see how much of that backstory made it into the movie.

Added after seeing the movie: having read the book did help me understand why Krennic pretty clearly went into the confrontation at the beginning of the movie planning to shoot Lyra unless she shut up and came quietly. He blamed her for - well, basically he was trying to pull the wool over Galen's eyes about what he (Krennic) was trying to do with Galen's research, and she kept making Galen wake up and see. And she masterminded the getaway scheme that resulted in them escaping the Empire (temporarily) and taking up farming.

I went and looked and Rogue One made $29 million on Thursday night previews, which is not surprising, really.

I watched "The Force Awakens" just now, since I am so firmly in Star Wars mode. Oh, and also I put on my Star Wars nail polish - which I actually forgot about last year. It's called These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For. I was already wearing dark-blue polish so it goes really well over that.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (Buffy quote - bored)
2015-12-29 05:59 pm
Entry tags:

Star Wars meme

This came from here (it's a "friending meme") but I'm not exactly participating in that part. I mean, anybody who wants to is welcome to friend me but I only make periodic appearances here at LJ these days.

The Basics

name: Mel
age: *cough* older than I want to say - let's just say I remember when the first movie came out

Star Wars

favorite prequel trilogy character (s): I'm not much of a fan of these - Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, I guess. I like Padme at times and the rest of the time I think she's an utter idiot.
favorite original trilogy character(s): the "legacy trio" - isn't that what they're calling them now? - of Luke, Leia, & Han. I can't say that I like one more than the rest, really.
favorite sequel trilogy character (s): Rey
favorite ships: Han & Leia (I'm tempted to say the Millennium Falcon)
favorite movie in the series: the original one (A New Hope) and Empire Strikes back, almost equally
favorite scenes/moments in the series: man, that's hard to choose. Han being encased in carbonite. The battle scene when they escape (are allowed to escape) from the Death Star in the first movie. (I started to add something from the new movie but I can't think which one to pick.)
favorite actor/actress(s): Carrie Fisher
Contribute to the fandom in anyway?: no. I didn't even know it existed in such an organized way, for a long time. I never had much to do with the Expanded Universe stuff at all, either. Although I did play SWTOR for a while, does that count?
Darkside or Lightside?: well, light-side, theoretically, but light-side tends to be kinda boring. In real life we've all got a bit of both, I would say. (Sorry to bring real life into this.) In SWTOR I played both sides. I had a sith who I played for dark points so she had to do bad things periodically in order to get those. Most of my other dark characters I didn't really play as particularly dark. And for that matter, I played some of my light-side characters fairly dark, too. What it comes down to is, I'm just contrary.


other fandoms: fandom communities tend to make me insane - ship wars, all that stuff where people think their opinion is the only possible one. Because of that, I tend to hang around on the periphery of various fandoms but never really get heavily into them. That said: Buffy, Harry Potter, X-Files, among others.
other ships: My OTP is probably Mulder & Scully.

mellicious: pink manicure (Nablopomo - Yoda)
2015-12-20 05:09 am

Late night thoughts on That Movie

Short version: I saw The Force Awakens. I loved it.

Aaaand the long version better be under a cut, I guess, because SPOILERS.

(I guess you can still do an LJ-cut. I haven't tried it lately!) )

Also, I posted this on Twitter, but Daisy and John and Carrie were all on the Graham Norton show this week, and that is worth watching if you're interested. (No real spoilers there. The version posted on ONTD that I'm linking to does not even include a clip.) (Also includes bonus David Beckham.)
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (star wars)
2015-12-04 07:04 pm

These are not the droids you're looking for

(I had to hunt through my collection of icons to find something Star Wars related - that one is a Buffy quote but it's obviously germane. The only other one I saw was an old NaBloPoMo one with a picture of Yoda, which I'll probably end up trotting out before the end of the month, too.)

So I feel like I've been grouchy on paper - well, virtual paper - so far this month, and I thought I would talk about something that does not make me grouchy, and Star Wars seemed like a good candidate. I was pretty sure that I had told the (SW-related) story about my freshman orientation at UT fairly recently (right here, from last December) so I won't repeat that in its entirety. The shorter version is that Star Wars came out when I was 17 and about to go to college, and I saw it multiple times that year and, I think, into the next, because they kept re-releasing it - because that's how it worked back in the day. There weren't multiplexes all over the place and digital prints and all that stuff, so the system was a bit different. (I think nowadays they just keep a giant hit movie like that in circulation rather than doing the re-release thing - and I guess we will find out because unless it turns out to utterly suck like... Prometheus, or something, it looks like it's going to be a gigantic hit.)

(You can argue with me about my choice of Prometheus as an example, but it was a highly-anticipated sequel which got mediocre reviews and was "disappointing" at the box office, which is about the worst I can see happening to The Force Awakens at this point. Of course you could also point to Avatar, which got mediocre reviews and was a pretty mediocre movie, in my opinion, and still went on to make megabucks. Prometheus was more problematic - I think the phrase "hot mess" pretty much describes it. Avatar was just bland.)

I don't see much need to go through each movie one by one. I'm sort of an average Star Wars fan. Love the original trilogy, mostly hate the prequels. (The prequels have fairly good parts interspersed with bad or just stultifyingly boring parts. I don't think they even deserve "hot mess" which implies a more interesting sort of badness.) I'm not one of the fans who got all worried about light sabers with a cross-piece. I don't usually nitpick. I am going to be miffed if Luke turns out to be Kylo Ren - I think that's the name, right? - unless they have an incredibly convincing backstory explaining how that happened. I'm hoping Disney has made sure that there's a solid plot to this thing. (Disney used to be known purveyors of poorly-plotted pieces of crap, but they've improved over time to the point that I am not too terribly worried about that. Don't prove me wrong, Disney-and-JJ.)

I actually thought of this topic because I saw a compilation of many trailers on YouTube, and it made me very nostalgic. It didn't actually make me cry, although I do think there were some tears involved back a couple of months ago when the last big trailer came out. I think this may be the compilation I was watching, although I'm at work so I can't watch it to see for sure. Watching them all in a row like that did make me more aware of some (theoretical) plot points that people have been talking about, like who's related to whom. But I'm not going to go on about that now because, hell, in a couple of weeks we'll know for sure. Rob and I have tickets for the 19th.

mellicious: pink manicure (UT tower)
2014-12-15 09:14 pm

1977 - they called it paradise, I don't know why

I felt like the 70s should have an Eagles entry for Music Advent (just like I felt like the 60s should have a Beatles entry) and Hotel California was the Eagles album that was a huge thing in 1977 (although I think it was officially released in '76). I didn't especially want to be so obvious as to pick "Hotel California" the song, so instead I picked "The Last Resort," which was really my favorite one off that album anyway:

1977 was the year I graduated from high school. (Yeah, I know, I'm old, in case you hadn't figured that out already. I seem to be the oldest person doing Music Advent so that makes me feel it every day.) This entry from 2007 talks about how I ended up going to UT rather than somewhere else, so I won't repeat that. I wasn't at the very top of my class because I was kind of a slacker, but I was firmly in the top 10% and I had good SAT scores, so basically I could go just about anywhere I wanted, short of Harvard or Princeton. I was in All-State Choir that year and I was pretty full of myself, but I was geekier than ever, too, and I only turned 17 a month before graduation, so that kind of balanced things out. ("Obnoxious and immature" probably about covers it.) (The entry I linked above also talks about how my parents tried to get me to go to school somewhere closer to home, because I was so young. But I was adamant and I won that one.)

(I keep wanting to reference these: the posts I wrote for holidailies one year - 2007, apparently - about music: grade school, the breathing issue (which you could also call high school part 1), high school part 2, college ) Basically, I've been talking off and on this year about choir and how much I loved music and stuff, but I didn't try to tell the whole story about that, because I knew I had done that previously. So in case anybody is actually interested in hearing all that, there it all is!)

So, I had gotten into UT and I had gotten accepted as a music major, which was a whole separate thing, and sometime in the summer I went off to Austin for freshman orientation. You registered for classes and I think you could take advanced placement classestests, which I did, and they took you around on tours of campus and taught you the words to "Texas Fight" and all that kind of stuff. I mostly mention this because it intersects with the biggest cultural phenomenon of 1977, which was the original Star Wars. Somehow - I would really like to know how - the RAs running orientation had gotten their hands on a Darth Vader mask, and there were Star Wars jokes all over everything. (I particularly remember them acting out the Force Choke sequence.) I knew that there was a movie called "Star Wars" that had come out, and I think I knew that it was probably something I would like, but I hadn't seen it yet. Most people hadn't, I don't think. But you can bet that I went running to see it as soon as I got home (and for a miracle, it was actually showing at home). (Possibly they had subdivided the one big theater into several smaller ones at that point, anyway - and cineplexes were starting to pop up in Houston, as well. So it was not as hard to get to see movies as it had been previously.)

Is it necessary to say that I loved it? I loved it. I didn't buy a bunch of merchandise, because I was supposed to be too old for that kind of thing and because I was a poor college student and never had any cash, but my big Christmas present in 1977 was a stereo and at the top of the pile of albums was the Star Wars soundtrack. (The stereo also had an 8-track player, but 8-tracks were on the way out by then, although I obviously was unaware of that at the time. I think things I had on 8-track included some Aerosmith album with "Dream On" on it, and maybe some Steely Dan. But the Star Wars soundtrack was on vinyl.) It was also the first movie that I went to see multiple times in the theater, mostly with various groups of kids. My mother never understood going to see movies more than once, and for that matter she never understood Star Wars, - I remember at some point in the early 80s watching it on TV, maybe on cable, by that time - and my mother being flabbergasted that both my sister and I knew all these lines from it. (My sister was not what you'd call a geek, at all, so I think I was a little surprised by that one myself.)

Anyway - I duly moved up to Austin in August (and except for a couple of summers early on, I would stay for the next decade or so) - I lived in Jester, for those of you who know what that is (here's the inevitable Wikipedia article) - and actually you can more or less see my room in that picture. I lived in the smaller wing facing the picture there, on the first floor - which was not the ground floor, on that side. Our room was right above the entrance on that side and some previous occupant had painted a longhorn on the window, so it stood out. It was all girls at my end of that wing, but right down the hall were boys, which was sort of radical at the time and frankly I'm not sure my parents knew about that when they let me live there. (Mostly we didn't interact with them much, anyway.)

Oh, I almost forgot to say that my freshman year at UT was also Earl Campbell's senior year, and UT was ranked #1 going into the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame - which we resoundingly lost - but Earl won the Heisman and football season was a blast. The football players lived in Jester East, which was the other building, and normal students didn't actually have much interaction with them, unless they happened to be in your classes or something. They even had their own dining hall. My one personal interaction with Earl was running smack into him in a stairwell later on - about all I can tell you is that he was huge. It was like running into a wall.

I was looking at 1977 in music and I don't see a whole lot there that I'm moved to talk about and this is plenty long already anyway. Well, maybe a couple of things: somewhere in that entry I linked is a note that "You Light Up My Life" is from that year and in fact is the #1 song of the '70s, which I'm not sure I knew. I do remember that it was a huge hit, and I really kind of liked it (I had the sheet music, inevitably), although we also mocked it a great deal. Another album that I know I had - I think I bought it when on some trip to Austin earlier in the year - was Dan Fogelberg's "Nether Lands" which I adored. I may get around to talking about him later in the next couple of entries, because he was one of my favorites for years. He was more or less in the same sort of country-rock genre as the Eagles - nobody called it that at the time, but there were definite country influences there - but more... bombastic than the Eagles. At least some of the time. Here, I'll give you an example. (Bombastic was kind of in at that time, anyway - I may get to another couple of examples, coming up!)
mellicious: pink manicure (buffy quote - death star)
2011-12-05 01:07 am
Entry tags:

It's the end of the world as we know it (or maybe just a short maintenance period)

I have just come from the end-of-the-world party (that's what they were calling it) at the SWTOR beta. That's Star Wars: The Old Republic, for those of you who don't follow such things. I played right up til about 20 minutes to go, and then I went to the skill trainer. For no good reason except that I wanted to see what the new skills were, really, but I did. Then I went and joined the party, which was on the Senate Plaza in Coruscant, which is, of course, a completely fictional/virtual place. And that's sort of what I wanted to talk about.

More of you probably know things about Star Wars than know much about MMOs (although with a blog audience, it's hard to be sure about that). It's strange, millions of people play MMOs, and Chuck Norris is currently starring in advertisements for one, but they still seem to be an almost underground thing, for the most part. I talk about it some, to people I talk to in real life, but a lot of people don't seem to get it. Usually I don't talk about "MMO's" to real-life people, I say things like, "I've been playing this Star Wars game online." After all, most people do understand computer games nowadays, to one degree or another, even if it's just something like Farmville.

And of course, most people do get Star Wars, to one degree or another. Or if not, they at least know what it is.

I was 17 when the first Star Wars movie came out. I was only vaguely aware of its existence until I went up to Austin for freshman orientation at UT - you know how they do those corny skits for things like orientations? Well, in 1977 at UT, those skits were All Star Wars, All the Time. They even got hold of (or possibly made) a Darth Vader costume somehow. I suspect that most of the incoming freshmen hadn't seen the movie yet, but I'm sure a lot of them were like me and ran right out to see it when they got home. And I loved it, of course. I'm not sure who I went to see it with - maybe my sister or my friend Amy. I remember going to see it a second time when they re-released it in the fall, though, and then a third and fourth and fifth. It was the first movie I ever went to see over and over like that. I'm sure part of that was the timing - I was finally old enough that I had a driver's license and then shortly after, the freedom of college (although no car there). I could do things like that that my parents would think was slightly odd. (I remember my mother being baffled later on by the way my sister and I could both recite all the lines from the first movie, and my sister is no science fiction fan. I don't think either one of my parents ever got Star Wars. Certainly not my mother, anyway.)

I do know when I saw the 2nd movie - that one was with Amy, and it was at the old Alabama Theater in Houston, and we had to stand in line for a couple of hours. And I saw Return of the Jedi in a very crowded theater in Austin - I have this vivid memory of standing in the concession line with my friends, for that one.

Oh, also, I think the fact that I had the album of the soundtrack is fairly important. I remember blasting it on the stereo in my dorm room often that year. I think I also bought the one for The Empire Strikes back when it came out. I never really got to the degree of fandom that involved buying the series of novels, later, though. I don't know why, but I never got interested in those.

This is all by way of saying that I am a Star Wars fan, going all the way back to the beginning - but not an utterly fanatical one. I know the basic canon. I don't know the names of every single minor character or every planet that's ever been mentioned, like some people do.


Well, the people who came up with this MMO were the fanatics, I'm pretty sure. It was all done in association with LucasArts and it's utterly faithful to canon, as far as I can tell. All the familiar species are there, although I still couldn't tell you the names of most of them. I suspect that if you ask me in a couple of months, I will know. Assuming we keep playing this, and that's a pretty sure bet, it's going to be like a total-immersion course in Star Wars lore.

This is why I said the soundtrack was important: because when you FINALLY get to play the game (after the usual hours of downloading and installing and then waiting in a queue to get in and then creating your character) the first thing that happens is that you see a screen, just like in the movies: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

And then the main theme starts up. And I swear, I get chills every time. That's why I've been thinking so much about this, about my history with Star Wars and maybe I have more of a reaction to them because of that. I did actually watch the original three movies last weekend when they were on. (I wondered if the timing was not an accident, that they were showing them the same weekend as the SWTOR beta weekend.)

I have more to say about this, particularly about the game, but it will have to wait until later. It's past my bedtime.