Book Update for July 2015

by Jetsi

maxresdefaultHello to all my fellow Jedi!

There has not been much writing in the last month with the Younglings still home from school.  With them returning to the Academy in 3 weeks or so I am  looking forward to more writing time then.

Since I haven’t had the time to commit large hours of my life to writing I have been busying myself with finalizing some book proposals that I am getting ready to submit with the hopes of achieving a traditional publishing deal.  If there are no takers then I will proceed through one of the self-publishing routes and start with an e-book.

San Diego Comic Con 2015 is now in the history books.  I had been hoping to see a new trailer for The Force Awakens, what we instead saw was a reel of behind the scenes footage from filming.  If you didn’t see it on our Facebook or Twitter feed you can see it here or watch it below.

Some routine website maintenance has been going on as well when I have the time to optimize the experience for you as well.

Until next month!  May the Force Be With You!

Book Update for June 2015

by Jetsi

My apologies for the delay in the monthly update.  Between work and the Younglings not being in school things have been quite hectic this month and July doesn’t look like it will let up much at all.

There has not been as much writing as I wish, but I have been making copious amounts of notes of items that need to be written about, edited, or changed.

Thanks for your continued patience.  But now it is time to run out the door.

Categories Book Review, Site Updates, The Jedi, Training
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Memorial Day

by Jetsi

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States, a day where we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  These fallen soldiers were Jedi, whether they used, believed, or maybe were even unaware of what a Jedi was.  The majority of these who died for their country did so for just causes while some died in wars that did not need to be fought, but that is not the focus of this post.

The focus has to deal with flags and their effect on us as a species.  In a quote often attributed to Patton but actually from the movie of the same name, the character Patton said, “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.”  In this case flag and country are synonymous.  Why are we so willing to fight and kill over what makes us different?  Flags, lines on a map, religion,  political affiliation, and skin color are just a few examples of ridiculous things to fight and go to war over.  Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot does a good job of putting this into perspective.

So what is the solution?  One I believe in would be a flag for the planet Earth and the human race as a whole, one that would unite our species and help us realize we are all in this together.  There has been a recent proposal for this, as well as numerous real and fictional variants throughout history as well.

Would this work?  I don’t know but I would be willing to give it a try as a short term initial trial run.  But I feel that this would always act as a dividing line.  The minute we encounter an alien race our flag would indicate that they are not part of our group.  Where do you draw the line?  Our galaxy, galactic cluster, the entire universe, or maybe even different dimensions?  I hope you can see the folly in this.

There is no real direction to this thought train, it is simply a rambling investigation of our attachment to our identity.  This will be discussed further in the book when I discuss the Republic, my term for our collective in the universe.  What are your thoughts on this?  Am I a traitor to my country or a patriot for my species?  Or something in between?  Let me know in the comments.  And if this made you think a little please be sure to like and share it.

Book Update for May 2015

by Jetsi

Hello to all my fellow Jedi!  I hope you had as fun with Star Wars in May as I did.

First, we had a day for the 501st Legion and the rest of the Empire.

 

Then we celebrated May the Fourth.  I personally celebrated by watching the Original Trilogy while a very large cauldron of Rootleaf simmered over the fire.  Okay, maybe it was just a large pot on top of the stove, but it was in my personal Dagobah that day so it all depends on your “certain point of view”.  While preparing this Jedi feast I listened to a random playlist of music from all of the films.  Following Return of the Jedi, the family and I sat down at the table for dinner and some blue milk, although from the picture you can’t really see the blue color.  It was a glorious day, and with the upcoming release of The Force Awakens and the Rogue One and Boba Fett Anthologies in the works I can only see this day being celebrated by more and more people in the following year.

It was a good thing we were all rested from our day of leisure as us Jedi needed to be wary the following day.501st

Once the festivities were concluded, it was time to work on the book once more.  I noticed a few new little things while watching the OT again but I felt I still needed more information regarding Luke’s training on Dagobah during TESB to move forward in the chapter I was working on.

It took some searching but I eventually came across a Dark Horse graphic novel called Star Wars Adventures: Luke Skywalker and the Treasureof the Dragonsnakes.  This info is no longer canon as it falls under the Legends banner now, but this short comic contained some good information.  The only thing I will reveal here is that Yoda even thought his cooking was bad, saying, “Terrible is this soup.”  (But do not worry, the recipe we have is delicious)  The rest will require you to read the novel yourself or wait for my book to come out.

When I get past these little stumbling blocks the book flows easily.  I look forward to sharing more with you soon. Until next month.

 

 

 

 

solo-quoteIt has been quite a month since the last update.  As far as the book goes, I made great progress on the book for the two weeks following the last update.  However, up until yesterday I was at a difficult crossroads with the book that was resulting in an epic case of writer’s block.  It wasn’t so much that I didn’t know what to write but that I didn’tcelebration-keyart-wide-132889 know how to proceed.  I knew I needed more information to be presented but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to segue from one section to the next.  But, while trailing the wife while pushing the cart in the grocery store and practicing some mindful walking, the Force provided me the insight I needed in regards with how to continue and finish the chapter.  Maybe the writer’s block wasn’t such a bad thing as it gave me some time to watch all of the information coming from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim!

What a weekend SWCA was.  In an unprecedented technological display, 30 hours of SWCA were streamed across the holonet for the enjoyment of those of us who couldn’t attend.  What information did we get?  What did we see?  The new trailer for The Force Awakens was debuted and I must admit that I still get chills when watching it.  There were some bootleg video versions for the new stand-alone film Rogue One, now known as Star Wars fett-600x245Anthologies, to be found on the holonet if one looked hard enough, and that film also looks to be extremely exciting as well, even if one reaches the conclusion that there will be no Jedi in it.  We were introduced to the new characters, and through the trailers and the images the story is starting to slowly flesh itself out while still leaving enough unknown to help build the excitement.  Star Wars Battlefront also released new in-game footage which also looks very exciting, and with it being the new canon one can also determine that Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc.  So much more information came from SWCA than one little paragraph here can cover.  With SWC8 announced for London next year, I am already looking into getting my vacation time in the middle of July to see if I can attend.vaderburnthelmet

That is it for now.  With less than 2 weeks to Star Wars Day I believe that the lack of writing for the last few weeks will prohibit me from meeting my self-imposed deadline.  So, instead of getting false hopes raised, just know that I am writing as quickly as I can to provide a great manual while still raising a family and holding a full-time job.  I can tell you that it will be complete before The Force Awakens is released, that I do know for sure.

May the Force be with you!

Greetings to all my fellow Jedi!  With a pot of Rootleaf Stew simmering on the stove top, I thought it appropriate to get a post in.  So, here is the March update!

First off, as you can see by the pictures attached, I had an opportunity to visit the Yoda Fountain.  If you are unfamiliar with the fountain below I have included an excerpt which I pulled from the 421st revision to the book, or was it the 501st or the 1,138th revision?  Needless to say, between all the adventures and additional revisions I am losing hope that the book will be completed in time for Celebration this year.  However, just past Celebration is Star Wars Day, so that is my new target.  If I get it done before then, I will consider that a big bonus.  I have made great progress towards completion in the last few weeks, plus I had some insightful inspiration occur to me while cooking my stew just a few minutes ago that I can’t wait to share with everyone.  Regardless, I have made what I consider to be the final revisions to the first 5 chapters (except for the new addition below) so I can now include them in proposals in an effort to get this book printed by a traditional publisher.

Now, to the Yoda Fountain.  This small excerpt is in a part of the book where I try to explain the following two questions.  Why Star Wars?  Why the Jedi?  I want to go through this at least one more time to possibly clean it up and revise it some more but I think this is pretty close to how it will appear in the book.  Enjoy!

But just in case all of those reasons were not enough to convince you of the need for heroes in general and specifically the Jedi, let me tell you a story about an experience I recently had.  It was just a short time ago in March of 2015 (it was on Pi day, to be exact) when I went on a pilgrimage to the Yoda Fountain.  For those that are unfamiliar, the Yoda Fountain is a 26 inch “life size” bronze statue of Yoda sitting atop a fountain in a small alcove at the entrance to Lucasfilm, which is located in the Presidio area of San Francisco and just a short distance from the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a beautiful day in the Bay Area, with high cirrus clouds to diffuse the intensity of the midday sun.  My journey to the fountain involved a hike of over seven miles from the light rail station at the Civic Center of San Francisco.  I enjoyed my stroll through the neighborhoods of the City by the Bay even though the trip to the Presidio seemed to be entirely uphill.

Shortly after entering the Presidio area I found the statue after a little searching and took the obligatory tourist photos and selfie, but instead of the other tourists who came and quickly left, I stayed in the small courtyard for a little more than an hour.  While I was there I must have seen at least 100 people stop by and visit their favorite Dagobah resident.  They were ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fans of all ages, ranging from a few months of age to some octogenarians.  They were of all ethnicities and races, and I personally heard Russian, French, German, and the Queen’s English being spoken.  And out of all of these diverse groups of people, all of them, without exception, began to smile when they rounded the corner and caught their first glimpse of Yoda standing atop his burbling fountain.  Their happiness was a palpable vibe that was joyous and overpowering, and you didn’t need to be a Jedi to feel and experience it.  People feel happy and secure and like they are a part of an order when they are around Yoda.  That is why we are drawn to the Jedi.

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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.