Waiting for It to Feel Real

A refinery blew this morning in the city where I work.

As of this writing, there have been injuries but no fatalities, and there is an ongoing evacuation of the surrounding area.

I drove into work this morning with no knowledge of the event, living across a bridge in a neighboring town. The first I heard was from a coworker at the college library, who asked me to keep families of the victims in prayer, and from there the news grew.

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I Scream, You Scream, Maul Screams, We All Scream for Kenobi

A companion post to an essay for Eleven-ThirtyEight

On one hand, I feel bad for Ewan McGregor. I mean, I’m allowed to change my hairstyle and get in shape without thousands of people interrogating me about my career path. For Force’s sake, let the man grow facial hair without demanding he fulfill all our fan-based desires.

On the other hand, I too am belting out a scream of “Kenobi” to rival even Darth Maul’s vocal acrobatics. I really, really want that Obi-Wan Kenobi movie.

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Self-Worth in Star Trek: “Plato’s Stepchildren”

“Plato’s Stepchildren” is best known for two things. It is the episode with the famous, (almost) first interracial kiss on TV between Kirk and Uhura. It is also hella weird; Kirk slaps himself dramatically (as only Shatner can), spends some time as a horse, and Spock does the flamingo dance, I think.

…This is starting to sound like a Snark Wars recap…

But I digress.

“Plato’s Stepchildren” is also my favorite episode in the Original Series. I unironically love it, because this episode stars the best one-off character in the entire show: Alexander. He’s a rare one-off character who gets a proper arc and agency within said arc.

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels “Twin Suns” – Part 6 – Overtime: Sudden Death

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Unmarked The Last Jedi Spoilers in this installment.

No other portion of this episode has been broken down quite as much as the final lightsaber duel. A thousand think pieces and YouTube videos have been made talking about Akira Kurosawa and the parallels to Qui-Gon’s death. As such, there’s not nearly as much that I can add to the conversation beyond what has already been said. Well, not as much in comparison to every other part of this close read. God willing, this installment might actually stay beneath 4,000 words.

So let’s start with a common topic broached when discussing this fight – classic filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

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To the Dead, Dignity – Sci Fi Flash Fiction

I am officially a published science fiction author!

Read on Splickety’s Lightning blog!

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels “Twin Suns” – Part 5 – Fireside Chats

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“I think [sound design] adds so much to your storytelling,” Dave Filoni said in the “Twin Suns” audio commentary, “so I devised these cuts so that we’re going from a feeling of emptiness to very full [with] the sand and the chaos, and [then] we go back to emptiness.”

The cuts he’s speaking of are when Ezra treks out into the desert after Maul, where the sound environment consists of “a very full-sounding shot and an empty-sounding shot.”

“[T]hat’s Ezra’s mind. The chaos in his mind right now as he’s being beaten down… and again just crashing out into a feeling of emptiness. So, y’know, if Ezra was wishing for the storm to stop, well now it has and now the sun is punishing.” (Filoni, audio commentary, 12:00)

These two sound choices evoke an edge to the environment, painting it as unwelcome and harsh. This changes once Ezra wakes up to the campfire. Audibly, the environment is mellow. Not the harsh silence of the wastes or the overwhelming roar of the sandstorm. Instead, it’s a warm sound. The gentle crackle of the fire, the ambient noise of the planet’s night critters, the soft huffing of the dewback, which evokes (sorry, Zeb), the Lasat’s snores from the episode’s beginning. The sound environment is welcoming.

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District 9: Family, Waiting

This was originally written for the online magazine Christ and Pop Culture. My second draft, and the one published by CAPC, was different enough that I now had two, stand-alone articles on District 9. You can read the CAPC article here.

You’ll miss it without subtitles, but the very first line of District 9 is about family.

“Attention, Mr. Hayes, your wife is waiting at the station.”

It’s simple background chatter to establish the atmosphere of the MNU corporate building of the opening shot, and  it’s overshadowed by the protagonist Wikus van de Merwe mentioning his own wife, Tania, just seconds later. However, the mention of family in this specific context, in that of waiting, is a stronger overarching theme of District 9 as a whole.

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