Thursday, December 21, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Thoughts - The Graceful Closure That Never Was


*image from www.rottentomatoes.com

Like so many Star Wars fans of old, who qualify themselves with how long they've held on to the mythos close to their hearts through the years of lull between Return of the Jedi and the Phantom Menace, I also align myself with the old SW fanbase. I didn't get to see Star Wars in a movie theater, but actually stumbled upon it in a video rental store in the early 90's without having anybody recommend it to me.

My parents and relatives weren't exactly movie buffs, but when I watched it on Betamax, I knew it was gold. The obsession over some space warfare tale between rebels and Empire storm troopers and dogfights of star fighters had already been primed, thanks to my certain fondness for Iron Eagle and the Last Starfighter. Eventually, I kept on renting the movies on VHS, until the big ass Laser Discs came along (in THX quality). I probably rented the SW Laser Discs 30+ times through my elementary school life.

I rated Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) a 2 and it wasn't out of intent to troll as Disney would like the public to believe in its attempt to do damage control. It's rare to see a movie so highly liked by critics do poorly in the eyes of movie viewers. In the case of SW: TLJ, it's as genuine as it comes and people can simply browse comments threads of pages on Facebook to see that there is a legitimate movement frustrating over the turn of events in this installment of the SW Saga, which technically outgrows the preceding mythos held true in the hearts of many fans through the decades by stomping out the old and boosting the new characters like some shocking WWE promo to push an up-and-coming rookie wrestler at the expense of old stars who instantly become jobbers. Even Admiral Ackbar wasn't spared, sadly.

As I advance in this critique of mine, I should point out that these are my opinions and it shocks me to see millennials viciously attack the dissent by asking the old fanbase to "grow up", "let the past die", and "let go". The sentiment held true by the old fanbase is a consensus opinion (seemingly similar) and these are obviously not facts but filtered interpretations of these facts, as we saw and felt ourselves when we watched TLJ. We are not that Comic Book guy who cynically detests anything mainstream and generalist in presentation. Obviously the numbers point to a chunk of the audience liking the movie. $450.8 million in the box office as of this date.

 *image from http://www.relatably.com/m/img/comic-book-meme-generator/fbz_d180812f261bfb8d4cacca82dcb23558.jpg

At some point it would’ve been time to move on and the old fanbase was ready for the passing of the torch. It’s not the old fanbase clinging on for the sake of doing so, we were expecting something more glorious, ambitious, and genuinely purposeful even for the bad guys, who were meticulously built-up by JJ Abrams.

I liked The Force Awakens (TFA), if that means anything, because supporters of TLJ seemed to be convinced that those complaining about TLJ also hated The Force Awakens and will never ever concede to any new material for Star Wars to move forward. That is simply not true. And for the record, as well, while the general consensus was Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (TPM) and Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (AotC) were bad movies, I personally like Episode 2: AotC the best maybe because it built so much of the mythos regarding Jedi Knights on the movie screen. TPM, meanwhile, was ok, even Jar Jar Binks was okay and it really would've blown my mind if indeed Lucas proceeded to follow through with his plan to show that Jar Jar Binks was actually a Sith agent. It would've been so 4th wall to have the most hated character in the SW Cinematic Universe turn out to be a Sith, because it extends to whatever bad vibes on film Jar Jar elicits from the audience to real life feelings.


To me, the movie just undid the lore of Luke and discarded so much of what the old fans hoped to extend through character development. These were instead used as plot instruments to bolster the new characters, while the old fans were only beginning to enjoy the new ride

Everything seemed to be discarded so fast to push the new characters, that the old fanbase couldn't even relish the return of Luke. I have this theory that it's because Disney’s vision is to have kids and millennials get on the SW train ASAP so it can monetize the IP and its new characters at the soonest. 

Graceful closure is probably what I wanted to see and feel, as an old fan, through this revived cinematic experience. What I got instead was a euthanasia with a time table. “It needed to be done to advance SW”; “let go of the past”, it’s kids telling the old fanbase to “grow up”, but it’s just as cruel as putting us in a retirement home to silence whatever opinions we also should have not because of entitlement but because we’re fans too, who are very qualified to voice out our mourning of how the world is moving on and that we can’t do anything about it.

I can only speculate that Disney pushed the discarding of everything connected to the past (but also making the movie good for millennials and kids) so they can finally fully monetize the new characters. TLJ’s pace was fast and brutal. A lot of deaths of the old guard, even Admiral Ackbar didn’t see the trap coming. We had survivors though, the young generation who would definitely connect to kids and millennials and who represent the bulk of defenders of TLJ on the Internet. Meanwhile, we have the old fanbase who have been labeled as trolls for voicing their dissent.

Porg bbq was funny but, yeah, I wasn’t happy with the direction of the plot and its impact on Luke’s legend. The movie was well made, and that’s that. I shouldn't be labelled a troll for not thinking it was so good, because a cinematic experience is supposed to also connect on an emotional level, not only through visual or audio appeal. When I watched it, with the entire mythos in mind (not even including the Expanded Universe), it didn't feel right. It probably really is an outstanding movie, more so if I saw it as a stand-alone movie like Rogue One, which was an extremely excellent film btw, but contextually, it's supposed to be a part of something bigger and I felt it should've been a homage to the old fanbase who looked forward for so long to see something that cherishes the stories of old and not simply moving on like we were yesterday's milking cow.

In my view, from how things are turning out; it's the original fanbase vs millennials. It's like the time when the Dark Jedi emerged after the First Great Schism. Unfortunately, this lore may not be canon anymore and has limited chance to get reinserted in the future. For the fascination KOTOR and KOTOR II inspired in me, everything's in the trash bin sadly.

The most obvious portrayal of this policy was the burning of those Jedi relics...sanctioned by a Jedi legend in Yoda himself, conveniently.While people point out that the texts were retrieved by Rey anyway and put in the Millennium Falcon, the message was as clear as that Force Lightning, Disney is ready to burn the past to start a profitable future and you old fans should love Rey for sparing your precious Jedi manuscripts and their (un-enumerated) contents because your history and your fandom legacy is in her hands.

I didn’t like TLJ for what it purports to continue. The storytelling was good but the impact to the entire mythos left a bitter aftertaste. Let’s be realistic though, as much as the old fanbase longed for new adventures and to see Luke probably live longer in his legend, us old fans cannot hijack the franchise from Disney. It’s theirs to continue and we’re merely tagging along for the ride. Even other materials aren’t canon anymore, which is a shame because I liked KOTOR, KOTOR II, and the old comic prints. We can only mourn and get pissed about it, but just as how they overemphasized diversity and twisted comicbook details in Spider-man Homecoming, the world we knew it is moving on and we can either decide to stick with what we held dear or just see if the next corner of this franchise brings back any magic we once genuinely felt.

The message of The Last Jedi, it seems, was to forget everything and start over. Spit on old fans’ passion to know things, whether they intended things to be canon or not, as Disney had previously said. This was the most concrete depiction of that policy. I’ve learned to accept that whatever hodge podge Lucas approved in the past deserved to be reorganized but to anticlimactically rush Luke's departure like it was some inglorious and pedestrian wave of the hand (after decades of knowing how his role was so significant) turned me off.

So it's Admiral Ackbar and his legend...with a whimper, like some pedestrian after thought. The new material was clearly meant to expand to the younger generation and profitable demographics, it’s just sad that they had to pull the rug under the old fanbase by making most novels and comics and other lores non canon. I hope Disney reinserts them soon. It’s like being stripped bare naked. Old fans have so little to cherish and remember about the Expanded Universe with this abrupt and rushed passing of the torch.

My mind would be blown if Rian Johnson has been keeping mum with Mark Hamill and JJ Abrams about their surprise plan for Luke because TLJ pretty much abruptly ended the Skywalker saga, which has caused alienation among us old fans from decades past. Were they planning this all along as a true trilogy with plot twists and revelations and is JJ going to fix it with some clever plot maneuverings?

Thanks Disney, the world's moving on for us Star Wars oldies sadly.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Antonio's Tagaytay Restaurant 2017

We chose to dine at Antonio's for our couple's anniversary. Right off the bat, we were welcomed into a driveway that revealed a modest-sized manor. Instantly, I figured that the experience would be a warm and hospitable one, as if visiting a gracious host's house.

http://amzn.to/2wwZRIv


Now, I would like to get this out of the way before anything else, as this was sort of a pet peeve with any other restaurant who does this. I am to admit that this was my first time at Antonio's and like a lamb left unattended in the fields, we were there to enjoy the evening and run with it, i.e., whatever was to be found on the menu. That also meant we were quite agreeable to suggestions. While the menu was pricey, it was a trivial matter since we were there ready to spend anyway. After a brief orientation from a server, we explored the menu, during which we were suggested to have some "house juice", i.e. some special dalandan juice with exquisite pulp frozen in the ice cubes. We said yes to that, but eventually when the bill got to us, it was then that we realized how naive it was for us to expect the item to be free or at least priced sensibly to our expectations. I mean, it was for a pitcher of native lime juice after all. So for anyone planning to dine, beware of suggestions and make sure you're ordering what you expect to pay for. The pitcher of juice was about $20 by the way 800 to 1000 Php from what I recall. That's all I'm saying.

 




On to the experience; I would say that the service was superb. All servers were trained to know how the dishes are cooked and prepared. They were attentive, at least when they were looking at our table's direction, as it seemed that there were a lot of shuffling and movement for servers on the floor. They kept tabs on the progress of our dining to know if it was time to serve the next part of the course. They would pleasantly ask how the food was, eager for feedback as it was probably for protocols' sake as well. 


We had a soufflé for our appetizer, the gruyere and portobello soufflé. It was an excellent start as it had that "meaty" taste and texture simulated by the mushrooms and of course the thick cheese that made it all the more tasty.


As we had ordered an entree designed to be served as a course, we were served a house salad next. It was all right, although I had dreaded they would put arugula in it as the menu seemed to show that they had a penchant for serving arugula in their ala carte salads; I was right. And so I ate less those leaves, as there was no love lost.



There was some soup, too, but regrettably forgettable.










We ordered the Grilled Dry Aged Angus Prime Rib Eye Steak for our entree and I can absolutely say that this was an excellent dish. In fact, once we began eating, I found it hard to recall the last best steak I had; and trying to remember now, it's maybe a bit better if not as good as the steak from the timed-buffet we had in Rokkasen in Tokyo, Japan. Tender, tasty, and juicy, the flavors were enhanced with how they pre-prepared the beef. No condiments were needed, but they had 6 beside the platter just in case. It had horse radish, chili, mustard, a special sauce, salt, and garlic cloves.

As for the desserts, the course meal allowed us to choose whatever we wanted and so we ordered the dark chocolate soufflé and paired it with a scoop of amadeo coffee ice cream. The combination was definitely meant to be.




The venue's ambience was tranquil and the pace was calm. No one was rushing anyone and the word I would use to describe the atmosphere is "pleasant". The seats were comfortable and the table size was appropriately generous. The washrooms were decorated and maintained well and every other customer seemed to genuinely have a very good time. Antonio's is a must-experience restaurant.







All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


http://www.play-asia.com/nintendo-classic-mini-super-nintendo-entertainment-system/13/70ban1?tagid=385751

http://www.play-asia.com/nintendo-classic-mini-super-nintendo-entertainment-system/13/70ban1?tagid=385751
When everything seems to have been lost in the frantic hunt for a Nintendo SNES Classic, one online retailer, Play-Asia.com, comes along to save all nostalgic Gen-X and Gen-Y gamers. Click on these links and find success! 😎


As a matter worth sharing and to spread the word, Gen-X and Gen-Y people are absolutely distinguishable in personality, approach, and perception in life. We are not millennials. Credit to Patrick Hipp for putting into words the alienation of the 80's and 90's kids; our distinct pre-Internet/dawn-of-the-dial-up-Internet-age group that disappeared and got conveniently lumped together with these millennial-kids, as labeled by some egghead who made a (FIELD OF HUMANITIES NOT HARD SCIENCE) journal article out of this oversight.





 
All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dismantling the Nature of Racism



The imperialist-colonial history of the world has made certain groups of people believe that they are entitled dominion over lands and other groups of people. This collective belief of supremacy now extends to racism, fascism, and Nazism. It's a socio-economic disease of the mind and of perception that they are born better.

And if not blessed by society with any degree of wealth or power when born to this world, right wing extremists blame the "unfairness" (despite today's world being built mostly on slavery and imperialism, anyway) and congregate as a group based on "genetic homogeneity" (regardless of what race or nationality is grouping-up, insert supremacy) to launch attacks on those who fight for equality if not practical equity and sprinkles of charity. It's racial/tribal competitiveness at the heart of this social issue, fueled mostly by competitive people who were born believing they deserve to have dominion over lands and resources based on lineage and history (if not alarmingly based on Divine Right) and plot to do so by rallying people through hate and rationalizing everything else when conducive.

 DIVINE RIGHT

 

So what IS the bottom line of this post? How does one shield one's self from the lures of racist sentiments and tainted supremacy inspiration? I don't claim to have the cure to this psycho-social virus, nor do I think I'm enlightened enough to say these are absolute truths, but my belief is it's a matter of conditioning one's mind, body, and perception.

Yes, it does seem odd that the possible solution to this sounds like some dietary program. You can watch the videos below, but you can Google these ideas as well. In my mind, these important philosophies and activities to be reinforced in one's life experiences are:

The Middle Way of Buddhism





OR You can read a blog post I made in the past:



The Golden Rule




Understand Paired Humility and Confidence

I've actually written a blog post on this topic many many years back, entitled:


Here's a video I found on Youtube, but it's most likely a concept based on how the guy below understands it. There may be nuances, but the general tenets are the same:



Train One's Perception by Embracing The Inevitable Truth of Imbalance in Life:

Once more, I refer to a blog post I made many years back. Imbalance and struggle in life cannot be shut out. It is the nature of the beast:



Go To the Gym, Lift Weights... AND KNOW THAT YOUR ONLY TRUE COMPETITION IS YOURSELF

I cannot emphasize this enough. The true experience of knowing that most people, as we do, try their best based on the merits of what gift and limitations they were born with. Some get an advantage with luck or social connections and affiliations (which really dilutes any realistic lesson on how to appreciate hard work, perseverance, and mindset in my opinion).

When you go to the gym and push yourself, perhaps bench pressing 250 LBS, you become aware of your physical exertion and your will power. You may think you trying to engage in a pissing contest with the next random guy at the gym, but truthfully, you aren't even calling out any competition. You are constrained by what your body and mind's physical limits are (no steroids please). It is no one else' problem or fault at the gym that you can't do 300 LBS. All these feats of carrying weights and performing athletic moments are solely on yourself and what you have built on through commitment and hard work at the gym.

Again, the realization cannot start by me telling people to go to the gym. They must be fully willing to understand the mindset of embracing the truth...that one's self is one's only true competition. You may try to compare how heavy the other guy can handle, sure that can be some competitive motivation for one's mindset, but at the heart of it, it's still a battle of your willpower to overreach what you think your body has done and can do.




READ THIS JAPANESE MANGA: VAGABOND 

It's been almost a decade since I stumbled upon this manga by Slam Dunk manga/anime creator Takehiko Inoue. It's the rise, fall, and enlightenment of the Japanese samurai legend Miyamoto Musashi. His obsession to becoming the greatest swordsman eventually leads him to realize that his pursuit was empty and fleeting.

It's an absolute recommendation and a good read. Nothing fancy or magical in this genre, just a good story of a man and his inner peace.



 


All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Net Neutrality Day

As I've already given a piece of my mind many many years ago on efforts to "regulate" or exercise some degree of dominion-based control over the Internet with the SOPA and PIPA agenda:

http://commander-eon.blogspot.com/2012/01/sopa-and-pipa-agenda-few-elaborations.html

It's long been predicted that it would eventually come down to ISP-based discretion and control with regard to packet traffic. It's like putting toll gates on "private" roads. July 12, 2017 marks the day for anyone who has some grain of understanding of the fundamentals and principles at stake to take a stand and air his or her support for net neutrality.

Here's a primer on what Net Neutrality is:



So what can be done? The decision is really out of most people's hands as those in power technically have so many ways to make excuses for their all-encompassing edict on this matter.

The best way is to put it out there. To air the sentiment and maybe influence or inspire people to take a stand. These gestures might as well be trivial, but let it be said that we didn't take this sitting down doing nothing.

Say something, put it on:


It's given me the world and has expanded my consciousness to concepts and ideas that would otherwise be inexistent. The Internet is the greatest democratizing tool that propagates education and awareness to humanity, more so as it pushes American liberal democracy that is meant to stomp out ignorance and opaque multi-partisan philosophies and beliefs that merely divide humanity instead of establishing a realistic spectrum of idealist polarities that people can work their differences with.
 
Our socio-political perspective from left-wing to right-wing requires structure and it is through a medium like the Internet that people are enabled to work and "argue" within a framework and not outside of it, which typically involves anarchist tendencies to tear everything down and prefer chaos over logical form.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nintendo SNES Classic Is Ready for PREORDER

Finally! Everyone was anticipating its arrival. It was inevitable. And it's almost here!

*Update: PREORDER FOR THE SNES CLASSIC IS ALREADY IN THE AMAZON LISTINGS! http://amzn.to/2ubtFKi



September 29, 2017

*Image from http://www.nintendo.com/super-nes-classic


http://amzn.to/2ubtFKi

*Image from http://www.nintendo.com/super-nes-classic


*Image from http://www.ign.com


The preorders will be up for grabs soon and Nintendo just announced they'll be pumping out more, but will cease production by the end of the year.

Honestly, the only real threat here is the army of scalpers who don't really want the unit but will have no problem quadrupling the price of this classic console that has bought joy to the pre-"millennial" generation, i.e. Gen X and Gen Y, and has inspired a movement in video game development through the decades.

There are absolutely so many great titles and it's a shame they will only put in 20 games + a 21st unreleased title in Starfox 2. Rumor has it that there will be less storage capacity for this retro unit to discourage modders and hackers from mashing in tons of SNES titles.

THE REAL SHOCKER HERE IS THE ABSENCE OF CHRONO TRIGGER.

For now, retro gaming fans are anxiously waiting to grab their units before profiteers do.


All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2017. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.