Saturday, July 08, 2017

Chicago 2017

Hey All!

Another Summer, Another Trip to Chicago!
The 3rd Annual Ferris Bueller Memorial Painting of the Windy City RED!

Pete, Emily, Kris & I crammed so much into more or less 48 Hours.
Food, Fun, Foolery!  What a great time.  Good to see old friends, make new.
Great weather, great restaurants, great times. ^_^
Aunt Patty & Selma's slideshow to Egypt is about to begin...

Happy Summer!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Star Wars

I have a Theory.

A Tale of Two Skywalkers.

No!! Not Luke & Leia...

but Anakin Himself!

Let's play...

I am a huge fan of Matthew Stover's novelization of Revenge of the Sith, based on the story & screenplay by George Lucas, Del Rey/Balantine/Lucas Books, 2005. I cherish my hardcover. I lend it out with Absolute Seriousness. "Do you want to Enjoy Episode 3???" I've always got it back as well.
We need to remember that George Lucas did reshoots of the Finale, the showdown between Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Lucas did some redacting. Irregardless after April 2014, the novelization "lost" its value becoming "non-canon" and part of LEGENDS, the umbrella term for the formerly known as the Expanded Universe.
Info Different from the Movie:
  • Names and details are given for the lightsaber techniques the characters use in their respective duels. All the seven lightsaber combat forms are mentioned and described except Form VI.
  • Anakin wants to access the Holocrons of the Archives to know more about Darth Plagueis so that he can learn how to save Padme. As the Holocrons are only available to Jedi Masters, this explains his outrage over not being promoted to the rank of Master when put on the Council.
  • Palpatine deliberately tricks the Council into sending Obi-Wan to Utapau using reverse psychology by suggesting they send Anakin. He knew he needed to get Obi-Wan off Coruscant before he could turn Anakin to the Dark Side, so he used Grievous as a trap to lure Obi-Wan away. This proves necessary when Anakin's reaction to learning that Palpatine is the Sith Lord. Anakin's crisis is to think "If only Obi-Wan were here - Obi-Wan would know what to say. What to do. Obi-Wan could handle this". Right then, Anakin knew he couldn't.
  • Anakin actively protects Padme from Palpatine's "wrath" from being on the "other side of the Aisle".  Or think he does, and says it to her.  He's a little overtired from Nightmares.  He's pissed off already for not becoming a Master with Councilship, the Holocrons he can't read to save you Padme!  See Palpatine's strings better?  The Phantom Menace?  
  • Obi-Wan grieves Anakin's death before his and Yoda's return to the Jedi Temple, assuming that Anakin must have died during Order 66.
  • Towards the end of the movie a conversation takes place between Obi-Wan and Yoda in which Yoda tells the younger Jedi that Qui-Gon Jinn has "returned from the netherworld of the Force", and is ready to teach the pair of them how to do the same. In the novel, Qui-Gon's return is described in full during a significant conversation between his spirit and Yoda. During the discussion, Yoda laments having had reservations about the headstrong master prior to his death: "A great Jedi Master you always were, but too blind I was to see it." He then declares, "Your apprentice, I gratefully become", as he prepares to embrace the Force in such a way as to retain consciousness after death.
And my observation includes this: Anakin gets back his sense of humor. When murdering the Gate Master Jurokk, he is basically asked, "Is there anything wrong?". After turning his lightsabre on then off under the Gatekeeper's chin, Vader nonchalantly replies, "you have no idea..."
When Padme & Threepio (and Obi-Wan) are landing on Mustafar, Sidious advises his new Apprentice, "be mindful. I sense a disturbance in the Force". Vader makes the conscious choice to yellow-down his eyes and adopt Anakin's face to greet his wife. He does not shed a tear. He turns off his comm-link and arrogantly states, "peh...I am a disturbance in the Force". Finally believing his own press...
What are your thoughts?
Are all the novelizations of the Movies now non-canon or only this book? Does this mean in Episode 1, Anakin before we meet him on-screen, never saved the Tusken in the Dune Sea in the book's Act 1? Color Me Unimpressed if that the case. The novelizations get a latitude unafforded the novels. Cheers! ^_~

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Whatcha Reading?

So who still reads?
I do.
I love it.
I get in as much as I can.
I love unabridged audiobooks read to me via my Audible account.

Here are just a few.  Got any suggestions?

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Tao of Sully

On Coping...

I'm pretty frank on my blog here.  It's a side effect of being me.
I think I have a Story to Tell.

Mental Health is something I cherish, being a Seeker of that I think my whole life and not some elusive Spirituality.  Some real peace of mind.  Some real balance.
Yet recently, I've come under real challenges.
And the Struggle is Real.  To Us.  The ones that needed some help in coping with the Mad, Mad World the Rest of You have so much effortless grace in  ^_^

It's been 2 1/2 years since I've stopped Talk Therapy.  I'm open about the experience and its impact on me chronicled here.  Since I started Talk Therapy, I was assigned an SSRI to help me cope with the Tipping Point I encountered.  Eventually, she decided on 40mg/Day.  So for the past few years....clear sailing.  Yet I came upon a real challenge and I couldn't handle it.

That was Odd.  I've been Nigh-Unflappable for about 4 Years.
Now...panic attacks.  Nightmares.  Waking up sweating out, getting sick to my tummy.
Why?  What's Different?
A new professional stressor met something Bigger.
My precious salty waters on my brain.
As the old cliche goes, I could feel it in my water.
Something was Wrong.  Like really Wrong.

What once caused Eustress was now producing Distress.
What once strengthened my Resilience now produced my Anxiety.

Coming to a few weeks ago, a new Tipping Point.
I awoke.  Sick to my stomach, nightmarish and sweating out.  Woke up Tired & Fatigued.  There goes all my electrolytes, I thought that morning.  It was 33 degrees out when I left for my 20 minute walk to work.  I was layered up.  Yet feeling baby-weak.  It was horrible.
I get to the kitchen, HK to us in the know.  I have about 13 different First Things to Do at 7AM.  Kick the Tires, Light the Fires so by the time the Boys show up, we have a fully-rolling kitchen.  I take the spent fryer oil out to the oil dumpster in the parking lot.  These are usually between 25-40 lbs of liquid canola oil that reeks of usage & derivative battered seafoods but iDigress...
I do this, as I do every week and I completely sweat out again.
And I catch a chill.

Imagine this.  4 linecooks, cooking.  3 in shortsleeve cotton button-up kitchen shirts.
Me in two hoodie sweatshirts, with both hoods up and shivering in the heat of the kitchen.
I had to go home.  I was sick.
Yet I knew what was really wrong.
I could feel it in my water.
My Meds are Clobbering Me!!!
My body is being crushed by Bad Signals.
From once was negotiable becomes unbearable.

So...I cut my pill in half.  and after "Listening" to this Med that's helped me...I knew when to rein it back a bit.
Now I'm feeling better.  Lots better.  Back to work with no problems.
Crushing It is better than being Crushed By It.
So if this is how you live life as well...then learn to listen to your body.
Stress is only Natural.
And if anything, I could always check in with my doctor.
Yet I haven't needed to.
She gave me the Gift of Resiliency or rather showed me the "Way".
It's up to me to walk it or not.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Get in my Belly! EMERGENCY RIBS!!!

Snowy Daze Bring This Out in Me!!
Comfort food.  The Ultimate In...
RIBS!!!  Sully-Style.
I love to Share,
Please share with anyone.
These are pork ribs.  Any rib would do esp beef ribs need time braising before your sauce and serve them.
I have a simple technique.
I have taken the thinking out of it for anyone lucky enough to follow.
It's All You Too!!!
Your BBQ Rub.  Your Flavors.  Your BBQ Sauce.
This is Personal!!
So get a rack of ribs in that VacPac.
And follow some simple steps:
Time, Low Heat, Tight Foil.
275degF is Suggested.
My BBQ is Modest.  I hand measured the Kosher salt as if I was seasoning the rack.  Added normal paprika, common dark chili powder, garlic powder, cumin then an almost equal notion of brown sugar,  Placed the Garlic Cloves then covered the rack in Rub.
Then tight sealed.
The rest is in the pictures.
Cheers.  ^_^

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Star Wars

Empathy for the Devil

Hey everybody.  I'm in a Lattes With Leia kinda mood to spin Star Wars thoughts.  

I experienced an unintended empathy with a literary hero/villain, depending on which story side of the coin lands but iDigress...
Let's get Our Own Empathy. What happened?
Sully got a boo-boo! Simple.
Yet it opened a window in my mind to feeling for someone else.
I got a burn on my hand.
Tiny, on the tip of my left ring finger. Under where my print would be, slightly above the inside of the first knuckle.
Not just once but twice in the same spot.
How? Simple.
I grabbed the eggs pan with a badly swaddled towel.  My bare finger barely barely touches the inferno-hot handle. Then minutes later again in the same spot.  Stupid, Sully.  Tres Stooopeed, "Chef".  
In the middle of a brunch service, a professional cook cannot waste time or attention on minor burns. Its simply a workplace hazard. Cuts too. If it doesn't require immediate emergency medical attention...you just gotta deal with it.  Cuts are a lot more serious yet I've seen chefs cauterize simple, bleeding fingercuts on the six-top burner stove by rolling his finger over the cast-iron stove top.
My "Enfant Terrible" happened at the start of service.
For the rest of the day I had to stick my hand back into fire the pain was excruciating!  
Something so small hurts so badly it ripped the attention away selfishly to myself.
Between orders I kept my finger submerged in a six pan of ice.
I got through it.  I mean how could I not?  It was the grandest of inconvenience yes!  But what was I going to do...sit on the bench?  Are you kidding?  In the middle of a HK Sunday Brunch?

Later on, looking at this Small Wonder.  Now out of the fire and feeling better, healing.  In awe of such a small thing making such a big hurt.
And as all things churn in my big, bald head...I usually think of silly Sully things in Star Wars.
Like "What Colour is Your Lightsabre"?  (My Choice: White, like Asohka's Shoto & Daito)
So I thought this...
Anakin Skywalker.  Former Hero.  Sith Lord.  Amputee and Burn Victim.  
He has lost both his arms and both his legs.  His remaining head and torso were horribly immolated by the lava rivers of the planet Mustafar.  I'm of the opinion he got his Wedding Tackle burned off too.  
From here I want Further Context.  This is a Human, Non-Fictional Link to a Site regarding the Managing of Pain after a Burn.  
I thought this to be a great standard on how to Empathize With Darth Vader.  His day-to-day life.  The agony of living in his charred & damaged humanity.  
Anakin is a walking, talking, feeling Avatar of Sarte's Hell.  He is one Giant Itch He Cannot Scratch.  This is Art.  This is an Existential Nightmare.  This is Metaphor.  And there is also a touchstone of Reality to it as well...Suffering.  

My burn was so small.  So tiny.  So healable compared to what befell Anakin Skywalker.  
I felt not Pity...yet Empathy for him.  For poor, deluded, doomed Anakin Skywalker.  So handsome, so funny, so loyal.  Trapped between a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Being Played by a Master Manipulator for sake of the Story.  Yet the Flesh, the Blood, the Person Underneath that Helmet.  The daily agony of his burnt flesh magnified by his self-loathing.  
My little boo-boo has to pale in comparison to Darth Vader's daily life.  
Does he deserve it?  For Killing Younglings, his Wife and countless others since?  
That's for a Jury of his Fictional Peers to decide.  
Me...I was simply pleased to meet him.  
Guess his name?   
Hero or Villain?
Human in Pain, all the same.  


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Star Wars...

So OCHO...
What STAR WARS thing are you tuned into?

What did you think about ROGUE ONE?
Spoiler Alert On!  Let's Talk!
Have I even gone on about it?
I tried to read the set-up book CATALYST which I gleefully bailed on, mid-way.  
I then endured all Eleven Hours of the Rogue One Novelization.  I read book on the Audible reader.  The only scene not in the movie that was in the book was the famous cut Jyn Erso vs TIE Fighter at the Finale on the Skarif Tower.  It must have been one of the last things to be cut and reshot.  
Actual (not) Cut Footage!

Cassian Andor is given a smidge of character depth with an inner struggle regarding blowing away his Act 1 Informant.  And the Set-Up to CLIMB!! in Act 3, By The Way but iDigress...
Baze & Chirrut share a Brotherhood of the Guardian of the Whills.  Yet I think we all like the ambiguity of the film better regarding their relationship.  

I liked the Bad Guy.  So insipid,  So Better-Than-You.  Director Orson Krennic.
Once Again...Actual (not) Footage from the Film!!

As a life-long Asthma suffer, I can only feel True Empathy for Saw Gererra.
The Droid didn't steal the show but he earned his keep.
The real comic relief was Donnie Yen as the blind Guardian of the Whills, Chirrut Imwe.  And his unmistakable contribution to Our Star Wars Lore...
"I am One with The Force and The Force is With Me."
I liked the ending.  A lot.  It was like a real War Movie.  It put War back in Star Wars.  It was like a Samurai movie.  
I loved the cheese and I loved the costumes & sets.  It was a time machine to a Galaxy a Long, Long Time Ago...1977.  The haircuts.  The costumes.  It was all water-tight to fit next to the opening crawl of Episode IV A New Hope.
These are Our Rebel Spies.  

Every planet has it name put in the frame upon arrival.
Except One.  
Where Darth Vader's Castle is Located.  In the book...Director Krennic is simply summoned to Mustafar.
If you know your STAR WARS REBELS, Mustafar is a creepy place where legend says its where Jedi are taken to die...

So Rogue One the Movie, definitely pretty good.  The book?  Ugh.  As a Star Wars fan, I'm glad I could get through it.  I'd reread the Prequels but not this one.