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First off, welcome to all of our newest Facebook members.  I wish I would have had the time to do something when the page surpassed 1,000 likes (you can find out why I didn’t in the next paragraph), but I hope to be able to celebrate the next milestones with a little more pomp and circumstance.

Progress is slowly being made on the book. I had to spend almost 3 weeks away from writing as there was an issue with this website that could have resulted in the entire website being deleted due to mysql database problems. For some reason the databases suddenly were experiencing exponential growth in file size and I was exceeding the Terms of Service limits. I tracked the problem down to the forum (What forum? The one you are carrying inside your rusty innards!) that I had locked away. Some malicious bots had gotten hold of it, I think, so it was easier to destroy than fix. I decided a few years ago that I would never make the forum operational so there is no real loss. Anyways, I am still pressing to be done by Celebration in the ebook format at the least.

Besides all the website updates provided, I have also procured some more website addresses, namely beajedi.com and also .org. Along with my first and local website, milehighjedi.com, these automatically redirect to this site for now. I wanted an address that was shorter, catchier, easier to remember, and that could be put on a t-shirt (pomp and circumstance, perhaps?). I am thinking of a new logo as well, I just need screen time to try it out. I will put it out for reader response when I have the opportunity.

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Lastly, I just had the opportunity yesterday afternoon to play the new Star Wars Battle Pod arcade game. Having never played it before, I was quite surprised to find I was at the top of the leaderboard when I stepped out. I am pretty sure I heard Darth Vader say, “The Force is strong with this one.”  Then again, maybe it resets every day if they turn the power off.

My thoughts on the Star Wars Battle Pod game, in no particular order, are this:

  • Having the fan blow in your face while on the speeder bike is immersive. Having the fan blow in your face while flying in a space ship is strange. Even more so when flying as Darth Vader in his Tie Advanced x1. That face hadn’t felt a fresh breeze in many years.  After a while it was getting warm in the pod so I wish it would just run continuously.  To really up the wow factor, maybe it should blow out scented air.  Forest and swamp from Yavin, Pine trees on Endor, a little ionized air on Hoth, whatever a Sullustan smells like while flying into the  second Death Star.  You get the point.
  • I was initially a little surprised by the graphics.  They reminded me more of a Nintendo GameCube as far as graphics power than something newer and more powerful.  But you only notice it during the intro and selection screens.  Once the action begins things are moving so fast that the graphics look great.  Or maybe it has something do do with the curved screen or just the immense size of the screen.  The pictures included allow you to really notice the curve of the screen and the graphics quality.  I wish I could have gotten better pictures but that was the vantage point from where I sat.
  • I would like to see a game like this developed with a little more open architecture.  In the game you basically are fine tuning the nose position of your craft as you fly around.  I would like to have the opportunity to take an arcade setup like this and make it an open world environment.  Something along the lines of the X-Wing series developed for the PC, perhaps.  Imagine a couple pods paired together, allowing head-to-head combat between Rebels and Imperials or allowing combat against AI if no one else was around.
  • I think the game is expensive.  It really never said what I was paying every time I swiped my Power Card but I estimate I spent $10 to play the game.  Could I feed the machine a roll of quarters  like I used to feed many of the arcade games of my youth?  No.  But it is definitely a treat worth playing at least once.

If you have the opportunity to play the game, I highly recommend giving it a whirl.  If we feed projects like this there is a good chance we will see other good things follow in its footsteps.  Have you played this game?  What did you think of it?  Let us know in the comments.  As for me, I will now put down the game controllers and get back to the keyboard.  Until next time, may the Force be with you!

Greetings Jedi,

I hope the new year is treating you all very well..

I apologize for the lack of last months update in a timely fashion.  The holidays, a funeral, and a wrist injury that hampers typing were all contributing factors.

The book continues to grow and evolve.  But I am doing my best to ensure the product is done well.  Have you watched Star Wars Rebels lately?  When Kanan and Ezra are in the Jedi Temple on Lothal Ezra asks, “You’re putting your life in my hands?”  To which Kanan replies, “You put your training in mine.”

I find this line and sentiment to be highly appropriate.  I am not taking the fact that people are using information from this website and in the future from a book lightly.  To be honest the thought is quite sobering. I am doing my best to ensure that I do not lead you astray or let you down.

In other news I am looking into adding a few new web URLs, something that is easier to remember and definitely shorter than this website’s address.  Something that can go across the back of a t-shirt with a new logo, perhaps?  You will just have to stay tuned.

Until next month, keep watching Rebels and keep up with your training.

The recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have caused much public outrage and raised many questions.  I received this message from James last week:

Hey, I’m a college student and big fan of your blog. I hope things are coming together well for your book. I do miss your daily posts, especially the ones concerning recent events in the world. Right now in the news media the Brown and Garner cases are huge topics that are fueling a lot of debates concerning larger issues. With all of these different opinions and sides I find myself lost and uncertain. I was wondering what would a Jedi knight do in this situation? What stance would he take in this debate?

I gave James a quick answer, one that I could type out on my phone.  But I realized that I have had this discussion with my children as well and thought that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.  So I am going to expand upon my answer to James.

First off, these two deaths were completely avoidable.  Had both of these men complied with the police officer’s requests, they would have been arrested and had their day in court.  But they didn’t comply.  They both resisted arrest.  And in doing so the responding police officers did what they had been trained to do, they attempted to restrain these men and take them into custody.  Had I been in Brown’s or Garner’s shoes, I would have complied with the police officer’s demands and the incident wouldn’t have even been a blurb or a sound bite on the evening news.

Following these two unfortunate incidents, grand juries were formed to determine if any charges should be made against the officers.  In both cases, the officers were not charged with any criminal acts.  This caused outrage in the community, but the outrage is based upon a trial by media and not all of the facts.  Many years ago the police were very much a family that would try to protect one of their own.  But recently this has not been the case.  If you don’t believe me, ask a police officer in Internal Affairs how popular they are among their peers.  If Internal Affairs and an impartial grand jury didn’t find enough cause to take these officers to trial for their actions then I accept their decision.

That is my take on these two situations.  But before you crucify me, hear me out.  My take is based upon who I am.  I am a white male, a man who carries a badge and who is the son of a police officer as well.  I am not a black male.  I am not a member of a group that is treated so very differently than I am.  So I can understand how their actions, born of distrust and fear, would be very different than mine.  Remember this quote from Obi-Wan:

Luke, you are going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

My point of view is that the police are there to serve and to protect.  My point of view is that the police as an entity are a safe and secure group.  My point of view of the police is different than the point of view of other people.  And this isn’t just a difference between white and black.  It crosses gender, race, social, and economic lines.

Opinions and points of view are also being shaped and, dare I say, manipulated by local, national, and social media.  The news is being written and delivered in a way that attempts to polarize the community with anger and hatred and incite further protests and violence.  Instead of trying to heal this wound, relieve tension, and mend the community, it either causes cries of “police brutality” or “inner-city criminal”.  Social media does no better.  I see posts and pictures that are supposed to be funny, or to show the irony or hypocrisy of the actions of both sides.  But even if they do make you laugh, chuckle, or smile, those pictures are unconsciously trying to deepen and widen the divide that exists between both sides of this issue.

So, what is a Jedi to do?  What stance would a Jedi take in this debate?  In this situation your role as a Jedi is to act as a healer, mediator, and arbitrator, helping both sides come together.  How does one do this?  Keep reading.

First, you need to search your own feelings and be honest with yourself.  Are you choosing a side?  Don’t misunderstand me, the police need to be held to a higher standard because they are there to protect us.  They are to be Jedi themselves, whether they like Star Wars or not.  But a badge and a gun doesn’t give them the right to invade and violate your own rights.  If you do find yourself choosing one side or leaning to one side, spend some time meditating to try and understand the thoughts, views, opinions, and feelings of the other side.  By fostering this sense of empathy it will allow you to connect to both sides with compassion and help them meet in the middle.

Next, when given the opportunity try to act as as a mediator.  If a family member, friend, coworker, or a crowd on the street expresses an opinion that is indicative of a highly polarized view in either of these cases, try to understand where they are coming from and then help them release their anger by showing them that their own point of view, while not wrong, is clouding their judgement.  Talk to them, listen to them, let them know that you understand their point of view.  But then try to help them understand the opposing point of view.  You wil find that the majority of their issues are rooted in fear, and the same goes for the opposing viewoint as well.   Police officers are not killers intent on genocide and all people not of your race are not criminals and thugs.  Yes, there are bad cops and there are criminals, but we can’t stereotype and assume that all people of a certain group are.  There can be no trust when there is fear involved.  Instead, reach out and be a bridge between both sides.   When one can see both sides they can then meet in the middle.

Many will not listen to you, desperately clinging with attachment to their anger and hatred, but you will make an impression on a few.  Remember these words by Mother Teresa:

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Your empathy and compassion will open the hearts of others.  They will begin to understand interdepence, the understanding that there is a symbiosis and interaction between all people and events, and that what one does to another is the same as doing it to onself.  This will remove the fear, anger, and hatred, and replace it with love, trust, and understanding.  And then they too will act as you did, and an awakening will slowly happen across this country and eventually to the whole world.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

That is what I feel a Jedi would do.

I would like to thank Jamie for the question, and I would like to thank you for reading through this post.  I hope it inspires you to go out and make a difference.  Share your message and get the word out.  May the Force be with you!

Book Update for November 2014

by Jetsi
Obi-Wan reading an advance copy of my book, perhaps?

Obi-Wan reading an advance copy of my book, perhaps?

Everything is progressing well on the book front.  I had a small epiphany in late October, and since that point the material has been flowing from my mind onto the keyboard and it is all meshing together nicely.

Things are progressing so nicely and quickly that I am now deeply delving into the process of what it takes to get a book published, both with and without an agent.  I will pursue both paths for now and see where it leads.  I am prepared to self-publish if necessary so don’t you worry, I will have it out soon one way or another.

I really want to get the book completed so I can return to the somewhat daily musings I had been doing before starting out on the book front.  There is so much Jedi news out there right now that I want to talk about.  It will all return soon.

Nothing huge to report here, just letting you know that I am still hard at work.  Enjoy your winter holidays and I will report again next month.

 

Time flies so fast . . . .

Whoops!  Where did the time go?

I was under the impression that my new schedule was going to give me some extra time to do some writing.  As for September, I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  Work was extremely hectic and fast paced.  The first part of October wasn’t much better as I not only worked a hectic schedule but also had to deal a sick wife, sick Younglings, and do some extra studying outside of work.

But now things are settling in and . . . . . . . . .

FINALLY!

So, enough of the excuses.  On to what the Jedi really want to know.

I have made a few more technology changes that will facilitate writing the book even more.  I have embraced the cloud and given myself numerous options as to what platform and which computer I can now write on.  I find this extremely exciting!

So what does that mean?  Even with my frantic schedule I did compose the outline for the final and as-of-yet unwritten chapters.  I then went in and did a very dirty rough-rough-rough draft.  The data in the final chapters is more notes and thoughts, but from these fragments the chapters will spring forth.

Thanks for checking in on this update, and may the Force be with you!

Book Update for August 2014

by Jetsi

I nstar-wars-death-star-hologramow hold all the knowledge in the palm of my hand.

Don’t get too excited, though.

I have just completed compiling all my notes and creating the outline of the final few chapters.  Instead of them being on my PC, Evernote, my iPad, and my iPhone (in pictures, voice memos, and notes), everything is now compiled into one source.  And I went really old school on this.  It is on paper.

With this tedious yet so important task completed, I am in the final push to finish up the last few chapters.  With the first few chapters in a “highly polished” state I am also ready to begin courting publishers.  Don’t worry though, even if no publisher picks this up I will be self-publishing a limited number of copies and creating an e-book.

With the Padawans back to school and my work schedule changing to where I will have lots of time sitting in a hotel room to write I am now making the final push to completion.

It is not a massive amount of information but it does show that the finish line is near.  Thanks for your continued patience.  You will have your book soon enough!

Categories Miscellaneous, Site Updates, Star Wars
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Book Update for July 2014

by Jetsi

forceforchangelightsaberMy oh my!  The summer sure does bring about some busy times if you have Younglings in the house.  Even with the little ones and work I have been able to make some edits to the book.  These edits are thanks to the change by Disney/Lucasfilm to rename the Expanded Universe as Star Wars Legends and to remove its status as canon.

The change in status left me in a quandary for some time as I tired to figure out how to incorporate  these changes into the book and whether the loss of canon status was going to require me to rewrite significant portions of the book.  However, after some contemplation I realized that it truly didn’t matter and may even work to my benefit.  Throughout the book I am referencing Joseph Campbell quite extensively.  I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that the change from the EU to Legends happens tie in nicely with the underlying training theme of the book.

Another nice tie in with the book is the Star Wars Force For Change program.  This program allows fans of Star Wars to give back to the Republic while garnering opportunities for some pretty intense prizes to be given away raffle style.  As of this writing there are less than 2 days left to participate in the program.  If you wish to participate you can click here to make a contribution.  It will go to UNICEF, a very worthwhile cause.  You can forget about being in the movie, however, I am winning that one particular prize!

With the Younglings returning to the Academy in less than a month and changes to my work schedule and domicile I will be returning to writing more in the near future.  I understand that sounds like a broken record to those who have been following this for a while but I thank you for your patience and promise you a book that you will find enlightening and enjoyable to read.

May the Force be with you!

Book Update for May 2014

by Jetsi

Not much has changed on the book front since last month.  I still haven’t done any writing since the  beginning of April due to work constraints.  However, that is now over.

On Friday I successfully completed the last stage of training and have been released to the line.  Said another way, I have made the transition from Chewbacca to Han Solo.  This doesn’t mean I am going to be hanging around in dive bars in Mos Eisley waiting for a charter or a smuggling operation to come in.  Instead, I will be sitting in Chicago, Illinois waiting to be called out on a trip.  Not quite a wretched hive of scum and villainy but it is close.

 

I anticipate sitting around a lot during this time, and this will be a good thing.  It will give me time to get back into my Jedi training and establish a good rhythm, one that has become quite discordant in the last two months with all of the other training I have been going through.  And, more importantly to you, it will give me time to write.  It will give me time to get this book finished, illustrated, and edited.

I thank you for your patience throughout this entire ordeal.  Once the book is completed that will give me the opportunity to get back to writing here on a daily basis.  And with all the latest news there will be lots to talk about.  Did I mention I have a working theory that Boba Fett wasn’t the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy?  Not quite Jedi news but I might be able to sneak it in somewhere.

I wish you the best in your continued training.  May the Force be with you.

Book Update for April 2014

by Jetsi

“…Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  -Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker

Remember this quote when I give the following update:  I have not done any writing in April and will not write until after May 8th.

Is this good news?  Is this bad news?  Or is it just news?  Is it even news?

On April 4th I learned that my promotion at work was finally becoming a reality.  I started training that day for that promotion and began my actual classroom training on April 17th.  There simply has been no time to write between 8 hours of classroom instruction or work and then studying in the vast majority of my free time.

Why would this be bad?  Because I am not writing the book that I know so many of you are looking forward to.

Why could this be good?  This job promotion will allow me the financial opportunity to work on other aspects of this website and give me publishing options that I didn’t have before.  It will also give me many training options and opportunities that I can discuss here on this blog.  Also. once my training is complete I should then go from having no free time to having an ample amount of time to write.

With these changes I anticipate the book being ready by late summer or early fall if I will be self-publishing.  I will still be looking at other alternatives as well so that may cause some delay but it is too early to tell.

Lastly, I will be training on Star Wars Day.  I am not very happy about it as I had planned a Star Wars marathon by watching the movies in order while enjoying some of Yoda’s Rootleaf Stew and some blue milk.  I still will be making the stew for dinner and I recommend that you do the same but I will not have the luxury of watching that many hours of Star Wars.  There is always next year.

Thanks for reading.  I will give another update next month.

My, that is a long title.  But it is appropriate.  Let us dive right in.

I posted on Facebook and Twitter not that long ago that the chapter on the Jedi Mind, the longest and most difficult to write, was finished.  Then I watched the lost season of The Clone Wars on Netflix.  This made me have to go back in and do some editing.  So, the Jedi Mind is almost complete again.  As Han likes to say, “It’s not my fault!”  The changes are all for the better, I can assure you of that.  The additional information gained from some of those episodes tied in directly with the book very well.

Before I had started my editing to The Jedi Mind I had started on The Jedi Body.  I thought I knew how I wanted to proceed with that but the writing just wasn’t flowing from me and I felt I needed something to tie it all together.  And then, thank the Force, it was dropped right in my lap thanks to Rootleaf Stew.  For those who aren’t familiar, Rootleaf Stew is the meal that was served to Luke Skywalker by Yoda when he first went to Dagobah.  You can find the recipe by clicking here.  I have made this recipe and it is very good.  I will be making it again for International Star Wars Day in May but this time I will use stock instead of water and be more generous with the pepper and salt.  I don’t want to give too much away but if you look at the recipe it will provide some hints as to what you can expect from the chapter regarding proper nutrition.

Also going with The Jedi Body chapter is this offer I received in my email a few days ago.  It is for 38 Bodyweight Exercise ebooks, all for $37.  I purchased it immediately when it became available.  I did so because I was already looking a few of the ebooks but hadn’t gotten around to pulling the trigger on the sale.  But when I saw that the entire bundle was less than the one ebook I really wanted I knew I had to buy it.  My intuition served me well in this matter.  Take a look at the bundle by clicking here but don’t delay, this deal ends in a few days.

Thanks for reading.  I will be posting another update in a few weeks.  Until then, may the Force be with you!