Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s not about you…

Or me.

Only a couple of days ago, I was sitting in the Driver’s Testing centre just off the Lougheed Highway. I hadn’t been there since my own driving test almost five years ago.

This time I was there because Eldest Weasel was taking her theory test, to see if she was ready for her L plates so she could start learning to drive*. As I sat there, I realised that a lot of the experiences here in Canada have become less about me and Mrs Dim – our new jobs, buying and maintaining the house, struggling with various bots of red tape and so on – and more about the Weasels. They’re doing all the important things that kids do, making and losing friends, finding their way in school, changing up to bigger schools, choosing their life’s directions, trying to balance the things they love with the things they have to do.

Laurel in the garden Oct 99

It’s nothing revolutionary, this realisation. It’s just something that has grown from the first day I left Eldest Weasel at playgroup, a tiny figure alone in a vast ocean of carpet, surrounded by distant shores of toys and an archipelago of playgroup leaders. It doesn’t mean you stop being the star of your own story and have to settle for a bit part. Doesn’t mean your job is finished. It just means that there will be times when you need to remember, it’s not about you.

She hasn't changed a bit.

She hasn’t changed a bit.

 

*She passed.

Dear Disney: An open letter about the Boba Fett movie

DSCN7100Dear Disney (or at least, the parts of Disney under the Lucasfilm banner),

I read on the internet this week that there is some trouble over the proposed Boba Fett movie. Problems with a satisfactory script, say the rumours. Well, it’s the internet isn’t it? Who can believe what they read there?

But in this case, I think I can see there would be an issue.

My friend on G+, Eoghann Irving, says the problem is that Boba Fett is an over-rated character – two dimensional and actually uninteresting. It’s certainly true that he doesn’t get to do very much in the films that actually feature him : “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”. In the first he is merely persistent, tracking Han and Leia to Cloud City and taking possession of Han’s frozen body for delivery. No action at all. He does get to fight and fly in “Return of the Jedi”, but he’s not very impressive there, using a cord-projector to try and trap Luke Skywalker, who has no trouble cutting the cord with his lightsabre, then getting knocked off the skiff and into the Sarlacc pit by Han Solo even though Han’s still blind.

Despite this lack of brilliance, Boba is beloved of fans, and even before the prequels gave us Jango Fett showing a more combat-savvy Mandalorian fighting style, there were legions of Boba wannabes building their own dented helmets and jet packs.

Mandalorian

I suspect the problem you’re having with the movie is that you want Boba to be the hero. You want him wisecracking, and fighting for good. And you want him winning some fair maiden’s hand. And taking his damn helmet off, too.*

The fundamental dichotomy here is that you have a niche character, and you want to make him appeal to a huge demographic so they will all pay lots of money to see his movie. But that’s not going to work. Boba achieved iconic status DESPITE his lack of action, and the fact he only speaks a handful of lines in the trilogy. (I would bet that kid-Boba has more lines in “Attack of the Clones” than his elder counterpart has in the two movies that feature him…) To make a good Boba Fett movie, you have to have him BE Boba Fett, not Indiana Jones in a dented helmet and jetpack.

My appeal to you, Disney (and I know it’s no more likely to succeed than my letters to Microsoft or the UK Revenue) is to let Boba do what Boba does best. Send him off on a hunt for a bounty. Stop thinking he’s a hero, and start thinking ANTI-hero. Hell, why not model him on Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Western character, the Man with No Name? I can see Boba playing two sides off one another in a war so that the way is clear for him to collect a whole bunch of bounties.

The point is, you’re not going to end up with a movie that you can use to sell plastic toys to seven year olds. I mean, sure, you can make the toys and sell ‘em, but the movie should not cater to kids that age. It should cater to kids like me, who are forty odd years old, and have loved Star Wars since our first visit to that galaxy far, far away. Boba’s a bounty hunter, just a working stiff trying to make his way in the galaxy. We don’t want to know more about his motivations and his back story – we want to see him in action, shake off that “Vader’s lapdog” image and be the badass we all hope he really is.

If you want a better idea of Mandalorian culture, go read Karen Traviss’ books. She took those brief hints from the movies and created a warrior race to be proud of, complete with language and traditions. You could do a lot worse than use her ideas in your movie. A lot worse.

Boba Fett: A Practical Man: Star Wars (Short Story)

Please, whatever you decide to do, don’t go with “worse”.

 

May the Force be With You.

 

 

*It’s like this : I’m a Judge Dredd fan, and I saw what Stallone did to that character. Karl Urban did a stand-up job, but seriously, Sly, what the hell? Did you even READ the source material?

And yes, I am writing a screenplay for a Boba Fett movie. Why, do you know someone who might be interested?

Fan Expo Vancouver 2014

Thor and Loki, fighting as usual...

Thor and Loki, fighting as usual…

This was our third visit to FanExpo Vancouver, but only the second year we actually got inside. We’d been planning the day for ages – tickets bought well in advance, Weasels’ costumes worked out – but the last couple of days before were a blur of activity. Somehow, this did not include me getting the adjustments to my own costume done. Next year. Maybe.

Tiny Weasel had settled on a version of Ana from Frozen who is only onscreen for a few moments during the song “Do you want to build a Snowman?” but it came out pretty well, thanks to Mrs Dim’s sewing skills and some decorating on my part.

Tiny Weasel on the right, with a borrowed Olaf, meeting an older version of Ana.

Tiny Weasel on the right, with a borrowed Olaf, meeting an older version of Ana.

Middle Weasel had chosen the slightly more obscure computer game character Juno Eclipse. I built the hat, the gun rig, the rank badge and belt buckle, and Mrs Dim produced an awesome uniform jacket that will see plenty more use in everyday life.

These two members of the 501st made a good honour guard for Middle Weasel's arrival.

These two members of the 501st made a good honour guard for Middle Weasel’s arrival.

Eldest Weasel is usually quite shy and retiring, but she wanted to be a Time Lord, so Mrs Dim produced some fabulous robes, and I put together a headpiece based on the one worn by Timothy Dalton as Rassilon. She walked everywhere with an amazing poise and confidence, even though she was stopped every few feet by people wanting photographs – even at Subway!

This TARDIS cosplayer has used latex to make Gallifreyan writing appear burned into her skin. Amazing job.

This TARDIS cosplayer has used latex to make Gallifreyan writing appear burned into her skin. Amazing job.

This year the venue was larger, and we arrived early on the Sunday, so things were quieter for the first hour or so. We had a good chance to wander the booths and chat to the vendors and exhibitors, and saw some of the big names arriving for their signing sessions – Tom Felton, Charisma Carpenter, Eliza Dushku, Robert Englund…. (No photos of them this year, sorry!)

Attending in costume, even if only through the Weasels, was a very different experience to last year’s plain clothes day. There’s more of a sense of cameraderie with the other cosplayers, and it’s such fun meeting with other groups and taking photos together, or swapping notes on costume choice and construction.

I’m going to end with a photo reel without comments : These pictures have been posted on my Facebook page and my G+ account, so I’m all commented out, but feel free to ask for explanations or identifications!

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10 amazing facts that are completely UNtrue

1. The word “Succubus” wasn’t added to the English language until 1975.

2. The Parthenon in Greece is built to the exact measurements of Noah’s Ark, as described in Genesis.

3. The Guillotine is actually a French corruption of the name of its Irish inventor – Gill O’Teen.

4. In the first edition of “Monopoly”, there were no green properties, and the playing pieces were a top hat, a tram car, a bucket and a fishing rod.

5. Thanks to the internet, it is now possible to order a pizza while aboard the International Space Station. And it’s bound to be free, since delivery will almost certainly take more than half an hour.

6. The Inuit have no word for “Eclectic Dimorphism”.

7. As well as the Game of Thrones saga “A Song of Fire and Ice”, George R R Martin has written 47 children’s books about Riffo, the Kung-Fu bunny.

8. Artichokes were originally cultivated because their leaves were used as felting material for the millinery trade.

9. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was actually restored to the vertical on June 13th, 1910, but after a public outcry, it had its lean returned less than a year later. Attempting to “fix” the tower is now a crime punishable by imprisonment.

10. Hoping to ensure its long-term survival, the American Constitution was first written on bits of broken Roman pottery, since those things have survived both time and volcanoes. Later it was transferred to something even more durable – a rich, old white man’s sense of entitlement.

Hey, Random Citizen….

Citizenship.

When we told folks we were emigrating to Canada, many of them asked us if we were going to get Canadian citizenship. At the time it seemed a ludicrously precipitous question. We needed jobs, schools, houses, short scruffy dogs, that sort of thing. But citizenship? No, not really.

That’s not to say we were opposed to the idea, but it wasn’t something we were really prepared to think about. Like asking a twelve year old about their pension plan. Sure, they’re going to think about it sometime , but right now? Nope.

But over the last year or so, it’s been more of an issue. We’ve been here long enough to apply, we’ve met other ex-pats who DID apply, and the question of electing people we actually WANT in government has become more interesting. To vote, we need to be citizens.

So we underwent the gruelling form-filling and document finding, made all the more gruelling by the fact that we were duplicating a lot of the effort we had to make to renew our Permanent Residents Cards (turns out the “permanent” only applied to our residency status, not the life of the cards themselves, which need renewing every five years…)

We’d been told that processing the papers took a good length of time, so we were very surprised to find an invitation to attend our citizenship exam on April 1st. Surprised and, of course, suspicious. April 1st? Really?

But it was true. I can’t go into details about the exam itself, or I’ll invalidate my own application, but I will say that the booklet “Discovering Canada” is a great source of information. Mrs Dim and I learned a lot about our new home country, as well as discovering that learning new facts has become harder now that we are old and set in our ways (by which I mean “used to Googling stuff we don’t know, so we don’t have to remember it”) I was seriously worried about retaining all this information – Canada’s history, political system, cultural icons…. For a young country, it’s been busy!

On the fateful morning we lined up outside the building with a wonderful variety of folks from all ethnic backgrounds. The test itself went by in a whirl, and then we had a brief interview before our details get passed to an immigration judge. Mrs Dim and I took advantage of our mutual time off to walk through Downtown and admire the city that is our home.

Just a house in Downtown Vancouver...With the most amazing Magnolia tree.

Just a house in Downtown Vancouver…With the most amazing Magnolia tree.

Whatever the final result of the test, I’m happy to be living here, to have the chance to walk through Vancouver, or over Burnaby Mountain. Most of all, I’m happy that my Weasels have the chance to do these things.

Free e-book!

TroubledSouls006

Yesterday I started writing “With this ring”, my new romance novella and the last e-book I’m intending to publish for a while. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Troubled Souls”, my collection of short fiction from the male perspective, for a week starting on the 3rd Feb (Monday!)

Find it at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/17RZzOH
amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/11dk92A
and Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/14bcozq

Still alive…..

I’ve seen a few headlines in the last couple of days about the potential return of the Black Death. If you’d asked me about that last week, I would’ve told you I was patient zero.

The terrible thing about sick leave is having all this time off work and being completely unable to enjoy it. I have several books remaining in my stack of romances that I thought I might read, and I also had some new Script Appraisals to work through. Unfortunately for me (and my customers) I wasn’t able to raise my head off the pillow for the whole of that first week. The doctor did examine me and confirm I’d had some kind of chest infection, but he was reluctant to administer antibiotics, instead giving me some nasal steroids. “A couple of weeks of that,” he said ” and you’ll be fifty percent better…” And have a terrifically muscular nose into the bargain….

So it’s only now, in my second week of leave, that I’m feeling up to sitting in front of the computer and catching up with my workload. Time’s ticking by, so I’m not going to go on with my reading. I’ve learned from the eight books that I’ve read that there is no magic formula. Romance novels are like any other novel, with the exception of the love story being central and irrevocable. The two romantic leads always end up together (something that doesn’t always happen in other novels).

Thanks to Mrs Dim sacrificing some of her time for work, I’ve been able to rest, and I may be able to start the actual writing this week. We have Tiniest Weasel’s birthday coming up, and there are preparations to be made for that, so I don’t have a lot of time, but I do have a story in mind.

I’ve also decided that, success or not, this will be my last e-book for a while. I think I’ve spent somewhere near two years publishing e-books, and while it’s been fun (and I won’t withdraw the books from sale) it’s proved that selling books is not my strongpoint. Writing the book is only the beginning – you need to package it well, and then you need to sell the book, and keep on selling it, over and over again. That’s not a process that happens by itself, even in this age of social media and mass-communication. The answer is not having a blog, or a certain number of Facebook friends, or reading a particular book. The marketing needs to be well thought out and continuous. Mine hasn’t been.

TLC have started the year with a video conference and agreed we have some ground to make up. Plans are being laid for two pantomimes and other projects have been raised as well. I’m sure there are some plays I can write if I try hard enough, too, and those already have an outlet in the form of Lazy Bee Scripts.

Almost time to try being a playwright again.