Blame the Legos

Star Wars.  Yes, I’m a fan.  Not an obsessive, obnoxious fanboy.  Not someone who can’t see the flaws or critical failings of certain aspects of various media and, er, films…  But I am someone who’s read my share of tie-in novels, and comics, played the video games, reveled in the Robot Chicken and Family Guy episodes.  I’ve even tracked down and watched the Star Wars Holiday Special.  As an adult.  Sober.

And there’s this:

Han & LeiaThe photo you don’t see here (because I don’t put the kids’ photos on the blog) features the two of them along with us in their jedi gear to, you know, complete the theme.

Despite this, I haven’t pushed the movies or even the Clone Wars show on the kids.  In fact, I haven’t let them watch the movies all the way through yet because I wanted them to be old enough to appreciate it (and hopefully realize that Jar Jar ain’t cool).

Kids love Jar Jar, though.  Lucas wasn’t wrong about that.

I’m also torn on the whole question of sequencing.  Do you start with the original or do you go in Episodic order?  Seriously, this is an important decision.  See here for more wisdom on this.

Thanks to the Lego Star Wars video games,  the sequencing question is sort of moot now.  So too, any concerns about enthusiasm or pushing my own geek agenda on my kids…

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Books: The Mirrored Heavens

In Brief:  David J. Williams’ first novel in the Autumn Rain trilogy sets a foundation of cyberpunk sensibilities and military sci-fi in 2110.  It’s fast, intense, and sometimes murky.

Pros:  The Mirrored Heavens features a meticulously well-conceived scenario of future political hegemony and military capabilities.  Williams can set a pace and turn a phrase that would make William Gibson or Neal Stephenson proud.  And for anyone who ever wondered what combat would entail if Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit became go-to battlefield weaponry – this is your book.

Cons:  The white-knuckle pace leaves little time for characterization.  Three pairs of characters share the p.o.v. narrative duties, and you may find them blurring together.  Because of the similarities and closeness of these characters, we don’t get to see the political situation unfolding, which detracts somewhat from the sense of espionage-type intrigue.

Review:  The Mirrored Heavens begins with a detailed timeline of the history of the Second Cold War between the U.S. of North America and the Eurasian Coalition.  Reading like the summary of a decent undergrad textbook, the timeline plots out key points in the rise of these two superpowers – their conflicts in Africa and South America, their treaties to avoid all-out warfare, and finally, their agreement over building a structure known as the Phoenix Space Elevator.  This elevator allows materials and goods to move beyond the atmosphere and has fostered a new era of lunar settlement and solar system exploration. Continue reading

Response Plan Needed

The scouting report on John Groce’s Illini is in, and the best conference in the country will now take full advantage.  Hit them hard early and keep hitting them.  Against Minnesota  a karate chop to Brandon Paul’s nose sent him to the locker room for about ten minutes to stop the bleeding.  At Madison yesterday, Wisconsin gashed Tyler Griffey above the eye and he needed stitches.

In three Big 10 losses (including the last two games) the opponents have been physical from the opening tip and Illinois hasn’t responded.  The shooting has been awful, rebounding a joke, and the defense has regressed. We’ve seen this before.  Most recently in last season’s memorable collapse.

Part of this is the inevitable ebb and flow of a season – particularly a perimeter oriented team in a bruising conference like the B1G.  Part of it is identified player deficiencies that that better level of coaching in conference play always seems to hone in on.  But how much of it is attitude and response by the players and coaches?  We will soon find out.

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Supes and Bats discuss stuff over coffee

The guys at – which is worth a youtube subscription – have a new short linked below.  It’s Superman and Batman in the super cafe coffee shop discussing the new Man of Steel trailer.  This is my kind of geeky stuff.

Here’s the Supes trailer if you haven’t seen it.  And of course, it’s all funnier if you can recall last year’s trailer for Dark Knight Rises.

They’ve done a number of super cafe entries over there.  Quality stuff if you’re killing time and want a laugh.  Great dialogue and character knowledge.  Of course their more standard alternate ending videos are good fun as well.

Here’s a link to a recent compilation of older super cafe videos.  Enjoy on a Monday.