Annie Skywalker or: How I Learned to Stop Hating and Laugh at Episode I

A few years ago in our house in L.A., I showed my daughter the original Star Wars Trilogy on VHS and explained how the DVD versions were spoiled and the prequels were awful.

Eventually, she wanted to see the prequels anyway, so we watched the first two.  She laughed at the first one and hated the second one.

I found myself laughing along with her, and afterwards, we discovered that Episode I is actually a comedy!

The problem was that, when it first came out, everybody was expecting a deep, serious movie – and thus, everybody was very disappointed.  So watch it again, expecting silliness, and you may be surprised!

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Load Runner

If you fondly remember Load Runner on the Apple ][, you can now play it on the web:

Even better, the source code is on github, so you can download it and run it locally, when you don’t have web access!

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Unanswered questions from The Force Awakens

I moved the list to this page, so I can maintain it as each new episode answers old questions and raises new ones.

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The Force Awakens

I’m very satisfied with Episode 7.  They did a great job bridging the gap from Episode 6, Han Solo finally got what he was supposed to get at the end of The Return of the Jedi, and the ending left us hanging for Episode 8.  However, even though the finale finally gave us the explosion that we should have had at the end of A New Hope, this is the last time I will tolerate seeing a big round ball blown up in the finale.  It’s time for the series to try something new:)

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Semley’s Necklace

Reading one of Le Guin’s short stories is like enjoying a glass of fine wine. I’m reading The Unreal and the Real, Volume 2, and Semley’s Necklace is the best example I have ever read of science fiction appearing to be fantasy. It is truly a work of art.

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Star Wars saga

After finding some old rants on YouTube about the Star Wars saga, my dissatisfaction finally crystalized.

Of course, episodes 1,2,3 are the worst offenders and need to be fundamentally restructured:

  1. There are Jedi everywhere, not just a small group on Coruscant.
  2. Most Jedi have families.
  3. Padawans are not allowed to marry until they graduate and explicitly choose not to be a monk/nun. Only monks and nuns are eligible for seats on the Jedi Council.
  4. People can enter Jedi training at any age. (This also allows Kenobi to train Luke as a young adult in episode 4.)
  5. Remove all references to the Prophesy, Django Fett, R2D2, C3P0, Jar Jar Binks, Count Dooku.

With this, the story arc could make sense:

  1. Palpatine basic strategy remains the same.
  2. Palpatine notices Anakin because Anakin is simply a very promising padawan.
  3. In order to corrupt Anakin, Palpatine introduces him to Padme. (She is not a queen.)
  4. When their relationship is discovered, Anakin is expelled.
  5. Palpatine uses this to convince Anakin to serve him.
  6. Palpatine sends Anakin off to kill Jedi to keep Anakin from discovering that Padme is pregnant.
  7. Padme joins the rebellion. When she gives birth, Kenobi takes Luke to Tatooine. Leia stays with Organa but sometimes sees Padme, which explains Leia could remember her mother in episode 6.
  8. The war on the Jedi takes years because there are so many of them, but even Jedi cannot survive a war of attrition against an endless army of clones.
  9. Anakin loses a hand in one fight and receives a severe head wound from a blaster in another fight. Kenobi is not responsible.
  10. Jabba is involved in rooting out Jedi from star systems controlled by the Hutts. Boba Fett, along with many other bounty hunters, is also involved in hunting Jedi.
  11. Padme is killed when Leia is 3 or 4. Kenobi eventually realizes that the war will be lost and retires to Tatooine. Similarly, Yoda retires to Dagobah. These are not the only two surviving Jedi, which leaves everything open for episode 7.

At first glance, it seems like episode 4’s climactic battle has far too few tie fighters, but I believe that this can be explained by the Empire’s arrogance. Commander Tarkin was clearly never worried that the rebel fighters would be a problem, so why bother to launch more than a few tie fighters?

Episode 6 needs some adjustments:

  • Don’t kill Boba Fett on Tatooine.
  • Ewoks should only be forest guides, not combatants.
  • The second death star should be destroyed by large bombs detonated at its most incomplete spots.
  • Han Solo should die on Endor to save the mission, to match with his earlier feeling that he wouldn’t see the Millenium Falcon again.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in episode 7!

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Finding Nemo

I suspect that the name of the big shark, Bruce, is homage to Monty Python’s sketch about the Australian University of Woolloomooloo.

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