Wednesday, January 20, 2016

7th Time Viewing Experience - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Disclaimer: I rarely write complaining blog posts, but this series of events was darkly amusing.

Confession: I’ve never seen a movie 7 times in the theaters before, so this is an all new experience anyway.

Conclusion: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an excellent movie, but perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead.

Explanation: The theater experience left several things to be desired.

1) I don’t think they bothered turning on the heat for the 12 of us in the theater. I don’t actually blame them for that part though because it’s probably very expensive to heat a large cavernous space like that.

2) 10 minutes into the start of the actual movie, a family of 3 comes in and takes a seat directly in the row in front of me. Of course, the father—a pretty big dude—sits directly in front of me so that his head is now front and center of my view. There are like 100 empty seats all over this theater, mind you.

3) Okay, so no problem, get up and move, right? Yeah, well, about that … I move to get up just as the guy sits back to relax. Problem – this theater has reclining seats that move back about six inches, so my head meets this guy’s chair. Result – headache. Solution – Advil which I haul around with me for such random occurrences.

4) I move over two seats, and wind up in front of a man who ends up kicking my chair every half-hour. Fine, whatever.

5) Two seconds later, one of the kids’ phones lights up. To add to the fun, the kid must be texting because for a time the phone does that happy pinging noise of a received message. I know they missed the beginning courtesy statement about not keeping your phone on because the lights are distracting, but geez, have they never been to a movie ever? And I’m pretty sure it takes about a quarter second to turn the ringer off. If you’re staring at the dang thing, you don’t need the notification ping.

6) About ¾ through the movie, during a slow, sentimental moment the phone finally goes off, but then the kid starts yammering. “I love Star Wars. Star Wars is awesome.” Father – “Shut up.” Kid – repetition of similar statements for about 5 minutes straight. Me (*thinks*) – I would be more ticked off if this were my first time seeing the movie. Turn your phone back on. (It’s amazing what you can consider the lesser of two evils when it comes to movie annoyances. Phone light and noise vs kid shouting = phone wins for less annoying.)

Life Conclusion: You can’t control all the crazy in the world. And perhaps I need to see the movie and 8th time just to reclaim the good viewing experience :-).

Closing Comments: If you haven’t seen Star Wars Ep VII: The Force Awakens, go check it out. Odds are good that your theater experience will be better than mine.

*Spoilers ahead*

Favorite Moments and Quotes this Round (and a few Questions):

- Rey sledding down the sand is still one of my favorite moments.

- BB-8 navigating stairs is kind of fun.

- BB-8 falling on Finn when they all try to hide. I also find it funny that they left the poor droid in that hole. He had to use his grappling hooks to escape.

- Rey flying the Millennium Falcon during their escape.

- Rey running away from Kylo Ren the first time before she’s captured. She grows increasingly frustrated as she fires about 10 shots at him.

- The end of the Rey/Kylo Ren duel.

- Finn: “I can do this. I can do this.”

Rey: “I can do this. I can do this.”

- Finn: “We need some cover!”

Rey (confident): “We’re about to get some!” (whispers) “I hope.”

- How come the Resistance doesn’t have more of a scrap with the First Order near Maz’s temple. Leia’s ship arrives about 3 seconds after Kylo Ren’s takes off. They’d probably be in the same airspace for a moment.

- Does Poe’s first X-wing fighter have a self-destruct mechanism? It kind of blows up easily.

- How did Rey get her small gun back? Or is the one she’s wearing at the end of the movie just the same model as the one Han gives her earlier?

Friday, January 15, 2016

6th Time’s the Charm … Things I noticed in Star Wars The Force Awakens

*Note: article contains spoilers.

For my 6th viewing, I finally saw it in 2d. The only one I’ll be skipping is imax because I’m pretty sure that would make me nauseous.

As always, I don't own the pics. I found 'em online.

New things I noticed and Random Comments:

-During Rey’s visions, she hears Yoda or Obi-Wan (I think) talking about how the force surrounds everything and binds everything together. I’m paraphrasing because I only noticed it this time around and it’s almost lost beneath the sound of pounding rain. Obi-Wan definitely calls her name.

-Rey’s visions, which are cool in and of themselves, seem to encompass both the past and the near future. One scene is of Kylo Ren lighting his lightsaber and showing up in snow-covered woods.

- I still couldn’t tell where the first hallway of her vision is from. Had to look it up on the internet.

- Rey sees Luke’s mechanical hand touching R2D2. Did anybody notice that R2 wakes up when Rey gets to the resistance base?

- When Rey’s climbing the Jedi stairs she has the gun Han gave her in a holster.

- Rey’s outfit is vaguely Jedi-esque.

- That girl is gonna get a very weird tan. She doesn’t seem to believe in covering about a 2 inch part of her upper arms. While very cool for costumes, odd for tanning, esp on a place like Jakku.

Things I wonder:

- How many times did Daisy Ridley have to climb those darn stairs to get those shots? That is a lot of stairs.

- How does Hux get Kylo Ren off the planet before it explodes? The place is falling apart while he’s frantically asking the Supreme Leader what he should do. Soon after Poe says he’s got eyes on them, they fly away and the planet goes kaboom.

- How did Rey find her way back to Finn’s fallen form after running all over the woods fighting Kylo Ren? (good sense of direction from being a scavenger??)

- How did Chewie find Rey and Finn? (Follow the lightsaber duel??)

- How did Maz Kanata get ahold of Luke’s/Anakin’s blue lightsaber?

- Why is the New Republic confined to 1 system?

- What’d Finn do with the blaster Han gave him? Did he set it down when he was going to run away to the Outer Rim?

- How did Kylo Ren end up with his grandfather’s mask? These should make some really interesting Expanded Universe stories.

- Has Rey used mind tricks before to survive?

More Favorite Moments and Quotes: (I’d really need a list of like 50 things to catch everything. Overall, this movie has a great sense of comedic timing.)

1) Han: “Jakku? That junkyard?”

Finn: “Yes!” *turns to Rey* “See? Junkyard.”

2) Hapless First order officer getting Force pulled across to Kylo Ren’s hand. His shoes skip along the ground with the pull.

3) Rey climbing inside part of the Starkiller base. (She initially climbs down to avoid being seen by First Order Stormtroopers, but then she notices a place to crawl into.)

4) Han pointing with his chin while Finn’s trying to explain his grand plan. Finn’s outrage at being ignored then his look of joy when he see’s Rey scaling the side of base.

5) Putting thermal detonator like things around.

6) C-3PO repeatedly calling General Organa, princess. His usual charming tactlessness.

7) Han: “It’s true. The Force, the Jedi, all of it.” (paraphrase)

8) Rey trying to talk sense into BB-8 about not following her as she runs away from Maz’s temple cantina thing. Then the First Order shows up and her first instinct is to run back to see what’s up.

9) Poe Dameron blasting like 10 Tie Fighters in a row. Finn said it best “That’s one hell of a pilot!”

10) Rey’s look when Han hands her a gun. Han: “Do you know how to use it?”

Rey: “Yeah. You pull the trigger.”

Han: “It’s a little more complicated than that.”

11) Kylo Ren apologizing to his grandfather’s mask about feeling called to the Light.

12) Finn: “Stay calm. Stay calm.”

Poe: “I am calm.”

Finn: “I’m talking to myself.”

13) Finn and Poe’s escape – when they get caught on the fuel hose or whatever that is.

14) Rey: “Where do you come from?”

BB-8 says something.

Rey: “Classified. Really? Me too. Big secret.”

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Top 11 Favorite Quotes and Exchanges from Star Wars Ep VII: The Force Awakens

Pic taken from internet...prob still belongs to Disney/Lucasfilm.

Disclaimer: I’m doing this from memory. I saw the movie 5 times, but I don’t have the novel to refer to or anything.

*It should probably go without saying, but this is definitely gonna have spoilers.*’

1) Poe Dameron: “Why are you helping me?”

Finn: “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Poe Dameron: “You need a pilot.”

Finn: “I need a pilot.”

2) Finn: “What about that one?”

Rey: “That one’s garbage!”

*other ship explodes*

Rey: “The garbage will do!”

3) Rey: “What do they look like?”

*Finn and Rey almost run into a Rathtar.*

Finn: (takes Rey’s arm) “They look like that.”

4) Finn: “Hurt him? He almost killed me six times!” *Chewie grabs Finn* “Which is fine.”

5) Kylo Ren: “The droid stole a freighter?”

6) Han Solo: “Listen, Big Deal. You’ve got another problem. Women always figure out the truth. Always.”

7) Rey: “Where are the others?”

Kylo Ren: “You mean the traitors, murderers, and thieves you call friends? You’ll be relieved to hear I have no idea.”

8) Snoke: “The scavenger resisted you?!”

Kylo Ren: “She is strong with the Force. Untrained, but stronger than she knows.”

(conversation continues a little)

Snoke: “Bring her to me.”

(reminds me of KOTOR)

9) Kylo Ren: “I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?”

10) Leia: “Rey, may the Force be with you.”

11) I just had to add an 11th. Han: “Escape now, hug later!”

Review of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Soundtrack

Picture found on the internet, rights prob belong to Disney.

Summary: Soundtrack to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.


- It took me a while to get into it. I listened to Rey's theme on loop from Youtube for like 2-3 weeks. Listened on spotify to the other tracks, but nothing really stuck.

- Once I finally bought it and reordered the tracks in my prime library, it got a lot better. It's kind of strange that the order makes such a difference, but try the playlist.

- I don't think this is my favorite Star Wars soundtrack, but it might be. It's got nothing as iconic as The Imperial March, but it's still got some gems.

- Rey's Theme, Torn Apart, and March of the Resistance are my favorite tracks.

- Suggested playlist for "best" flow. (Disclaimer, this is completely my opinion, I tried to group songs that sort of went with one another. If I could just listen without knowing a track changed, I kept it.)

Main Title and the attack on the Jakku Village (4/5 stars)

Rey's Theme (5/5 stars) - beautiful, lighthearted, contemplative, and actually one of the few memorable tracks on here

The Scavenger (4/5 stars) - good companion piece but not as good as Rey's Theme

That Girl with the Staff (3/5 stars) - starts out soft, ramps up midway through to lead into a fight or a chase or something

Follow Me (4/5 stars) - soft, again ramps up about halfway through to lead to a chase scene

The Abduction (3.5/5 stars) - full of discordant beats; fits the movie situation but not exactly a soothing theme

Finn's Confession (4/5 stars) - soft, thoughtful

Rey meets BB-8 (4/5 stars) - soft, sweet, but not particular notable

The Starkiller (4/5 stars) - oddly soft, sad, reminiscent of the themes they played behind Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith.

Torn Apart (4.5/5 stars) - interesting, evocative, oddly beautiful

On the Inside (4/5 stars) - I think this is the one where Rey's running around in the base, could be wrong about that. Theme is nice, not quite as good as the ones I've marked favorites, but decent.

I can Fly Anything (4/5 stars) - brash, bold

Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle (4/5 stars) - mix of dark and lively

March of the Resistance (4.5/5 stars) - Nice, bold, brave, fairly screams, "good guys coming"

The Ways of the Force (3.5/5 stars) - mysterious

The Rathtars! (3.5/5 stars) - some discordant parts but also some pieces very similar to The Falcon

The Falcon (4/5 stars) - Lively

Scherzo for X-Wings (4/5 stars) - totally had to look up what the heck "scherzo" was but this is the score accompanying

X-wings...I think it was during the attack at the end. Lively, reminiscent of the old school themes.

Han and Leia (4/5 stars) - Sweet, sad, definitely sounds like Han's theme

Snoke (3.5/5 stars) - ominous

Maz's Counsel (3.5/5 stars) - nothing particular memorable, it's soft, I guess good for a talking scene, does have a small bit that's got a Jedi-like theme. I think it turns most moving when Rey's actually running away from Maz

Farewell and The Trip (4/5 stars) - bittersweet, close to my favorites, but I'd have to add like 5 to the favorites list if I was going to include this one.

The Jedi Steps and Finale (4/5 stars) - beautiful, fit the scene of the movie very nicely

Conclusion: If you give it a chance, you may like it more. Like I said, it took me a couple of weeks warming up to it. But now that I have it, it's worth it.

October Launches

Tough Choices by Terry Ambrose

Stars Pono

Marty Fitch might be living in paradise, but he's operating in a world where lies are the norm, retribution is swift, and danger lurks around every corner. With the police on his trail, a killer hunting him, and a friend's life in the balance, Marty must choose his next move carefully. Otherwise, his new career as a crime-fighting video blogger might be over before it starts.

Tough Choices takes place during Black Jasmine and Shattered Palms. The story brings Pono to Honolulu for a temporary assignment on an interagency drug task force.

Dead Flow by Malcolm Aylward

Stars Gabriella Texeira (spinoff)

After a local hula girl is found murdered in a brutal, ritualistic style killing 0n Oahu, Gabriella (Gaby) Texeira, Lei’s cousin from California, is assigned the case. As the body count continues to rise, she tries to recruit a reluctant Polynesian antiquities expert, Jake Kahanamoku, to help locate and stop the killer before any more innocent lives are taken. Lei and Michael make an appearance in Dead Flow, as well as cameos by Marcella Scott, her partner Matt Rogers, and Lei's faithful dog Keiki.

Dead Flow takes place between the Lei Crime Novels SHATTERED PALMS and DARK LAVA.

From Goodreads: "If you love a great story with crime, drama and romance, I highly recommend you read this book."

Hoakoa Moonshine by Laurie Hanan

Stars Dee Maltin

When Dee Maltin bought the little beach cottage on Maui, all she wanted was to leave her memories behind. Now, fifteen years later, things are starting to go awry. Why does everyone else deny hearing the feral cats that keep Dee awake all night? What’s the smell that permeates her house no matter how much she scrubs? Why does her strange neighbor, who hasn’t spoken to her in all these years, choose this moment to strike up a conversation? A woman shows up at Dee’s door looking for her birth mother. Is she a con artist, or just deluded? Dee searches for answers and is soon over her head in one big Hawaiian-kine mystery.

Rocky Bluff by Kim Hornsby

Stars Michael Stevens and Lei Texeira

Murder is suspected when a giant moon prop falls to the stage and kills a cast member during Maui's theatrical production of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. When detective Lei Texeira's friend, Kali, an actress in the show, confesses recently seeing the deranged stalker who once made her life hell back on the mainland, Lei doesn't think the killing is a coincidence. She suspects the "accident" was meant to terrify Kali.

Stevens is assigned the case, but Lei can't keep her nose and her theories out of his investigation especially when she learns of Kali's strange past with this scorned lover.

Lei goes undercover in the bizarre theatrical rendition of a narcissistic transsexual and his band of weirdos to protect Kali and soon the danger factor goes sky high.

Following clues from both Kali and a mysterious resident of the Iao Theater, Lei and Stevens struggle to apprehend the killer before another life is taken in this game of terror. But the suspect stays several steps ahead of the police until the Iao resident intervenes and Lei finds herself conspiring with a dead woman to uncover a plot that takes on international proportions beyond Maui.

Award-Winning Mystery/Thriller/Paranormal Author Kim Hornsby brings you ROCKY BLUFF.

Although it's not necessary to read Lei Crime Series to enjoy Rocky Bluff, Kim highly recommends the series. Rocky Bluff takes place between TORCH GINGER and BLACK JASMINE.

Unforeseen Danger by Patricia Logan

Stars Jack Jenkins

Kaua’i Detective, Jack Jenkins, has just settled into married life with his new wife Anuhea and he loves his job in the laid back island paradise. When he hears his brother Lane, an undercover LAPD cop, has gone missing while on assignment, he flies to the mainland to help locate him.

Jack immediately rubs Lane’s partner Brennan the wrong way. Brennan has no need of his help, and he fears his intrusion will put Lane in even more jeopardy. Jack is not easily swayed when it comes to protecting family and when Bren finally realizes he’s not going to be able to shake the tenacious detective, the men vow to find a way to work together.

As Jack plunges into the unfamiliar world where Lane’s gone undercover, from the biker bars of the Inland Empire to the gay bars of West Hollywood, he uncovers evidence that perhaps Lane has more secrets than he’s been prepared to face.

With unforeseen danger lurking around every corner, Brennan and Jack form an uncommon brotherhood with one goal, taking down the bad guys… while getting Lane out alive.

(Unforeseen Danger takes place after Rip Tides, Book 9 of the Lei Crime series)

Of Rainbows and Butterfly Wings by Ron Logan

Stars Dr. Phillip Gregory

Fifteen years ago…

Before he was Maui County Medical Examiner, Dr. Phillip Gregory was a recently divorced assistant medical examiner who moved to Hawaii and fell in love with a gorgeous woman named Amy Kawela.

Then, she disappeared without a trace, proving his lousy luck in finding life-long love.

Present day…

A woman who looks a lot like Amy winds up on his table. Shaken by the likeness, Phil leaves the lab in the capable hands of his longtime friend, Dr. Leslie Tanaka, and flies to Honolulu to voice questions he should have asked ages ago. Why did Amy leave him? What really happened to her? Is the dead woman Amy?

He’s finally seeking a truth that’s always torn his heart out. The answers could free him of his burdens, or they could kill him.

Can he discover the truth, survive long enough to tell the tale, and finally find the true love his life’s been lacking?

"Of Rainbows and Butterfly Wings" takes place between "Rip Tides" and "Bone Hook."

Revenge Makes it Sweeter by Julie C. Gilbert

Stars FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott

Revenge is a lot of work.

When the original plan for his ex-wife goes awry, Martin Cantrell turns his mind toward a sweeter revenge: stealing their daughter’s affections. But he’s not the only one plotting, and his enemies are better at keeping to the shadows.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Marcella Scott gets a late night summons to the hospital to speak with a gunshot victim. She knows to expect almost anything, yet he still surprises her.

“Agent, if I die, save the girl.”

The girl turns out to be Katelyn Cantrell. Marcella’s not the only one protecting her, and the other person has no problem killing to obtain their goals.

Can Marcella prevent an assassination and catch a killer?

Find out in Revenge Makes it Sweeter. This story comes several months before Black Jasmine of Toby Neal's original Lei Crime Series

Ti Leaves and Moon Cakes by A.J. Llewellyn

Stars Abe Tordufu

Can Abe trust Tony with his life…again?

In this follow-up to Coffee and Kukui Nuts, Maui explosives expert Abe Torufu wants his sister Meleny’s wedding to go off without a bang on the beach at Waikiki. But before the kahuna can bless the big day with a traditional ‘awa and ti leaf ceremony, a suspicious buoy washes ashore, threatening to wreck the celebration.

Not only that, but a shocking photo snapped by Abe’s date for the wedding, his Lieutenant, Cherry Joy Omura, reveals a surprising face in the crowd.

When somebody starts taking potshots at Abe, he once again joins forces with U.S. Marshal Tony McCracken to track down a master criminal. Can Abe keep his shirt and his underpants on this time? Can he figure out why he offered Cherry Joy a date involving moon cakes? And most of all, can he get to the er, bottom of why he hates Tony’s new boyfriend?

Coconut Island by J.L. Oakley

Stars Wendy Wantanabe

Memories are dangerous.

Investigative reporter Wendy Watanabe is no stranger to mysteries, but can she handle one steeped in her own family’s history?

A box of letters from a WWII soldier stationed on the Big Island is found at the Hilo Historical Society and unlocks painful memories for Wendy’s Great Aunt Bee.

Bee’s older sister was swept away in the 1946 tsunami, but now Wendy suspects she was murdered first. As she delves into the mystery, Wendy meets a group of nonagenarians who were at the USO center on Coconut Island during the war. One is a hero. Another is a cold-blooded murderer.

When the threat turns to Bee, Wendy seeks the aid of Detective Leilani Texeira and together, the women race to catch the killer before he claims another life.