Star Wars Trying to be More and Coming Up Less

Well, I finally watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  I am not viciously angry as so many fans have been since I really did not expect much after Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the failures that were the prequels.  My first impression was heavy handed.  Yes there was a strong push for social issues but that was only a small part of the problem for me.  I do not have any particular concern with social issues cropping up in movies, as long as, they fit the story not the story being twisted to highlight the issue.  I will say; however, that if I hear “Hope” one more time, I am going to scream.

The plot was plodding and silly because you ended up with what amounted to a slow speed space chase without OJ.  In addition, you had some characters running off to a casino and coming back in the middle of the battle.  Oh yeah,  they almost forgot what they were there for and the immediacy of the task. Adding to the irritation were the constant child written physical humor gags.  For some reason, both George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy both feel you have to seriously dumb down the humor for American children.  Don’t get me started about the Porg, an alien species created just for the comic scene of Chewie trying to eat a Porg, while sad eyed Porgs guilt trip him.  I love how there legs make them look like a wooden statue when they are grilled.

Then let us talk about an Admiral of the resistance command in a sexy evening gown during battle, just like every soldier does.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Laura Dern in a sexy dress, but it is not appropriate for commanding soldiers.  For me, this also goes back to The Force Awakens and a question for me, why are only a few people are resisting a grave threat to the entire Republic?  The New Republic is only a few decades old and they are already ignoring dangerous situations.  What situation is more important than wiping out the remnants of the Empire.  Also, there are a lot of unnecessary conflicts and tensions created between characters in the resistance.

There is more I wish to say at a later date, but I do not have the time for now.

To continue, did I mention the overuse of childish sight gag humor, even awkward teenage prank call comedy.  While we are on the subject, how many times does the First Order fall for the obvious delaying tactic.  They put the poor-shooting Stormtroopers of the original trilogy to shame.  Not much of a fighting force in my eyes.  But the Resistance has its crappy battle tactics too.  How lame are the new bombers in this movie.  Dead eye WWII style bombers to hearken back to G. L.’s ideas for the Millennium Falcon’s escape scenes.  Did they not watch the actual first movie and the Tie Bombers in The Empire Strikes Back?  Things move faster in the first trilogy, which made sense for the futuristic technology of the universe.  Oh, by the way, in WWII, those kind of bombers were not very effective against ships

In addition, Princess Leia can survive a vacuum and fly back to safety while unconscious.  No big though.  Don’t forget all the brilliant ideas that work and then fall through.  Only to lead to other ideas that work and fall through, which is almost a running gag throughout the film.  All to lead to an updated rendition of the battle of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, almost plagiarized.

I did not address one of my major grievances; however, the early ending of the major villain just like the prequels did with Darth Maul.  The first movie built up the Snoke character as the successor to the emperor even though we never get any background on where he came from and how he became such a powerful figure.  Now halfway into the movie, when he seems to be in control, he is killed off.  That’s it, no deep revelations of his and Ben Solo’s relationship and how Ben outsmarted him.  Boom, Snoke out and Ben in.  But when cool calculating Ben sees Luke again he turns into a babbling, petulant ten year old again.

I probably could go on, but I feel like wrapping this up.  Shocker, I actually saw some things in the movie that could have made it a great picture if the weeds of the gags and heavy handed social agenda could have been pulled to let the good material grow.  The force connected push/pull scenes between Kylo and Rey could have been deep comments on their relationships to each other and Luke.  If the actions of Luke toward Ben Solo could have been fleshed out more, they would have added greatly to the story, even been the focus of the movie.  The three circling around each other as Snoke manipulates things.  The movie would have been a character driven piece like Empire.  Take those pieces, rework The Force Awakens to feed into them then conclude the arc in the last movie.  My thought on Luke trying to kill Ben was that it was rubbish.  He learned too much about that in the first trilogy; however, that he failed as Ben’s teacher in some other way still could have been used.  Maybe not being able to deal with Kylo’s anger.  Oh well, we will never see those movies.  Anyway, this is my two cents worth.  If you have any thoughts you want to discuss, feel free to comment.



Update (from my Patreon page)

Sorry I have been a little quiet.  My copilot decided he needed to bring fleas into the house to liven the place up so I have been doing a lot of cleaning, including my copilot who was not very happy about that.  In addition, I have been working to get another job and on setting up a print project account on Patreon.  Any spare time has been spent working on the Termanicz project.  So, flea problem is getting better but not gone.  I have been offered a position and the print project is close to completion (have some issues to think about though); Termanicz is moving along.

I recently watched a behind the scenes video on Youtube for the original Star Wars trilogy that I had not seen before and I learned a trick to use on the Termanicz painting.  When they were trying to differentiate the larger from the smaller ships, one of the tricks they uses was to give the bigger ships more lights to look like windows.  The regular star destroyer models had around a hundred thousand fiber optic windows.  In Empire Strikes Back, to make Darth Vader’s star destroyer look bigger they made about a million lighted windows.  However, because a hundred thousand fiber optic windows pushed the limit of what they could get into a model, they had to come up with a different solution.  They decided to etch the openings for the lights and light them from a single source.  My plan is to do something similar to give the buildings in the background more mass and distance from the main character.  Watch for more updates.

Is it a Repeat, Is it a Political Post, or Is it Other (from my Patreon page)

“I was talking to a co-worker the other about healthcare in the US. He understands the issues but he took exception to a statement some on the left used. They said that “healthcare is a right”. His point is that no one is borne with a God given medical team at their service, which is true. No doctor was born specifically to take care if me. Hell, Adam and Eve were supposedly the only humans alive, where was their HMO.

At the time, I had no argument for this because he was right. Too often loud mouths on the left and right spout things off as being God given rights without understanding that what they call a right is a product of civilization and governmental abilities to enforce them.

So my answer now would be, no, healthcare is not a right, but it should be. That is what civilization and government is about. Too bad the greedy one percent has subverted the roles of both to mean supporting only them.”

When I finish this post, it will also be posted to my facebook page where I wrote and posted the above quote originally.  So is it a repeat?  Well, yes and no, because the intention of this post is to expand on the ideas in a similar yet different way.  Now looking at the content of the above quote, you would be led to believe this post is a political one.  Well, again, the answer is yes and no.  Yes, this is something I believe and feel that America should really think about.  No, I am not including the quote in this post mainly for that reason.  The correct answer is actually other.

I am including this quote because I want the followers of my artwork and writing to see what makes it up.  The above quote gives them a view of how I think and reason, as well as, what I value.  I admit that I have been thinking of starting a separate blog for my thoughts on politics, religion, and science; however, a part of me thinks that would be lying or hiding to or from my followers.  The truth is what you see in my art and writing is derived from my 51+ years of being on this earth.  All the views that were forced upon me before I was old enough to build my own, all the views I have since developed, and all the views I have gained from forces beyond my control are all a part of my creations.

My works are an amalgamation of the history I learned and the history I experienced.  They reflect the views I created from my formal education in history as an American and the views that grew from learning the truth behind the public histories that was swept away or covered up because the picture was unflattering.  My works contain derivations from daily life experiences that show the reality I see as opposed to the fiction displayed and worshiped by the masses.  They also contain things that fascinate me, catch my eye, or make me laugh.  My creations are full of the absurd, the beautiful, and the evil.  They are criticisms, warnings, and hopes all wrapped up in one.

So, the true reason of this post is to share what makes me, me and what makes my creations what they are.  I want to share all that goes into my works, even the whining you see on occasion.  Yes, I am aware that my pleas for patrons to My Patreon Page at times are very whiny in nature but there are reasons.  First, I am desperately unhappy in the job I am doing now.  Not that the work is that difficult other than the shear volume of it, but more for the fact that it wears on my moral fiber and is so mismanaged that I am often frustrated.  In addition, financially, I am sliding backwards.  That is why I am trying so hard to bring my creativity to the fore in a way that I can feel good about and hopefully become my livelihood.   Second, when you see my whinier posts understand that I am at my lowest ebb.  Either work issues, physical pain, financial woes, and/or frustration have combined to cause me to despair for my future and you are getting the overflow, sorry about that.  Finally, all of the above also becomes part of my creations.  Contrary to what some fans would like their favorite creators to do, we do not live in vacuums, separated from the rest of the world.  If we did, our collective output would be garbage.

To conclude, I will be posting as much of everything that I think and do on this site as I can.  I suggest that those who are really interested in what I make take a look at the entirety of this blog to see where I have come from and how I look at problems.  That way you will have a richer understanding of my works.  Bones.

Let’s Talk About Consistency. (from my Patreon page)

Let us talk about internal consistency in writing science fiction or fantasy.  One of the more egregious mistakes I see in science fiction television and movies is a lack of consistency, which is why, to me, Star Trek the Next Generation does not hold up nearly as well as Babylon 5.  Also, by not maintaining consistency on such things as alien natures and historical events in your writing, you miss out on spontaneous ah-ha moments that can make memorable scenes.

One of the things that kept me away from re-watching Star Trek the Next Generation and some of the following series (except for Enterprise, which many fans panned) was the episodic nature of the shows.  For the most part, each episode was like a stand-alone movie that did not necessarily depend on anything that had gone before.   Yes, there were a few things they would remember from earlier episodes and would from time to time give a nod to or reference, but for the most part it was as if the slate had been wiped clean after each show.  The strongest episodes to me were the ones where they came back and explored aspects of earlier episodes from another angle.  Examples of that are when they spent time exploring the aftermath of Picard’s capture by the Borg while the Enterprise was being repaired and Tasha Yar’s Romulan daughter from the episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise”.

Babylon 5; however, spent a lot of time on consistency, mainly because it was a fully planned story from season one to season five.  Yes, there were a lot of changes during the course of the series, but the overall plan helped to minimize the problems.  I believe that they even had plans set up to cover situations like losing a lead actor.  What is more important is that aspects of character’s personalities, species histories and natures, and episode histories were kept consistent.  Unlike STNG where characters who were portrayed one way in an episode suddenly are portrayed another way just for the sake of the episode.   I don’t mean to jump too hard on STNG because at the time I did enjoy many of them, but as the series and then DS9/Voyager continued, I saw a phenomenon that really turned me off.  To me it seemed that major characters would fall deeply in love with a different character every few episodes.  It felt like the producers were watching the internet, checking to see who fans felt show be couples.

Look at the Worf, Riker, and Deanna relationship.  First it was Riker and Deanna while Worf loved a Klingon, having a child with her before she died.  Riker and Deanna moved on and Worf moved into a deep relationship with Deanna.  Then when Worf moves on to DS9, Deanna is just gone and he ends up marrying Jadzia Dax.  Just because you may not be able to get the former actor for a role doesn’t mean you should just drop the history you created.  For example, look at how J. M. Straczynski handled the loss of Richard Biggs and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5: The Lost Tales.   When asked about G’Kar, President Sheridan says “He is off exploring beyond the rim” and is later told that Dr. Franklin has gone with him, handled simply with a line that fits the characters without changing or warping other characters to fit into some new reality.  Also, in the final episode “Sleeping in the Light”, Garibaldi, Sheridan, and Franklin shared a funny story about a Pak’ma’ra that takes advantage of the species traits established much earlier in the series.

Another good example, so far, of consistency comes from Brandon Sanderson’s Mist Born books.  In creating the world, he set down very specific rules for the system of magic used by the people.  In some ways this codification of magic rules could have tied down what characters could do, but Sanderson found ways in later books to accomplish new actions using the same rules instead of ignoring them to write the scene he wanted.  In other words, he allowed the limitations of the world he created to define how he wrote the scenes.   Another example of attention to details comes from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies directed by Peter Jackson.  Just watch the extras to see how much time was spent catching continuity errors.

Consistency can have a strong effect on people who watch movies or read books a lot, possibly damaging their opinions over time by confusing them or forcing them to make rationalizations for errors.  Star Trek and Star Wars are ripe with those.  I find myself cringing every time someone says how good Rogue One was because I want to say “but did you see…”   So, while I still mostly enjoy many commercial science fiction and fantasy offerings, even when consistency is an issue, I find myself irritated more as I grow older.  I even choose to forgo some offerings because I just don’t want a good memory tarnished by sub-par efforts, even from the original creator.

Put Your Word Where Your Mouth is!

Here is a little over six month review of the changes made to this blog since I began reflecting content from my Patreon page here:

Blog Followers are up from 114 to 166, a 31% increase

Blog Views are up from 344 to 527, a 34.7% increase

Blog Visitors are up from 260 to 346, a 24.8% increase

Blog Likes are up from 149 to 277, a 46.2% increase

The take away is that the seven month numbers are substantially up against the entire year of 2016, which happened to be the best year ever for this blog.

Why do I bring this up?  Well, because I have to ask you a favor.  When I started changing this blog it was in support of the launch of my Patreon page that I hoped would become a vehicle for achieving a measure of artistic success and hopefully supplement the income from my day job.  As part of this attempt to have an artistic life, I gave myself a year from the beginning of 2017 to make it an  ongoing venture.  Over six months have gone by and while the blog is enjoying success, my Patreon site is not.  There are going to be some things I will look at shortly to make the page more attractive, maybe even switch to a per project model.  Your feedback would be most helpful; however, your support would be better.  If not financially, then by word of mouth, because the more people who visit this blog, the more chances I have of gaining patrons.

Please, if you like what I am doing, tell your friends who like science fiction/fantasy art and writing to visit this blog.  Send them a link.  I come from a long history of retail work and one thing I know is that out of the people who shop, only a small percentage actually buy, so the more you get to shop the better your chance of a sale.  With enough shoppers you can make a living.  I need to make a living.  Please help me get more shoppers.  Promote my site on your blog, tell your friends, become a patron,or even give me advice.

If the situation does not improve, I will have to switch gears and look for a second job to get my financial situation under control.  I will probably find little time to work on projects or post to the blog, which is something I enjoy.  So send me your starving science fiction fans.


I will leave you with a content breakdown so far from my Patreon page Robert Garbin’s Patreon page:

7 Short Stories

18 image files

Painting Projects Completed 2 with one nearing completion and another far along

Two Art Projects in Preparation

Poem in the works

Horror Story started


Lights, Camera, Planet (from my Patreon page)

Getting down to the finesse work on the current project.  The basics are all set, it is now just a matter of adding little touches that will make the image really pop.  I have not been spending as much time on this as I wanted to because I got myself hooked on a youtube channel for science fiction space ship modeling.  I admit to being a model spaceship fan.  What a surprise.  The channel is called Trekworks and I created a link to it on the left of this page.

The creator, Boyd Crompton, is a serious model builder who has some stunning Star Trek, as well as other franchise, models.  What I enjoy the most is that he adds lighting and sound effects to the models.  His Star Trek the Motion Picture Enterprise build is amazing and the fact that he knows many of the people who created the actual model for the movie is even better.  So if you like small versions of iconic movie vehicles, definitely check out his site.

Question for Those that Follow this Blog

As you know, from following this blog, I am trying to start making money off of my creative output, both written and painted.  The whole tenor of this blog has changed from thoughts on life, history, and politics to discussions on the mechanics of art and writing.  One of the things I recently did was to create a Patreon page to gain financial support through sharing exclusive content with patrons of my site.  One of the other ways I planned to turn my creativity into a business was to create prints of my work for sale.

To that end, I would like to ask a question.  Would you be willing to pay up front for a print of my work?  The reason I ask is that I would not be able to sell a print to you now without getting the money first to pay for the process.  My thoughts are that I could talk to a printing company, get quotes and a test print of certain images (to make sure the quality is there) then post a price based on a reasonable profit margin.  I would also personally sign each print beyond the signature I have in the painting.  However, I would have to get the money for the print and shipping beforehand since I do not have the cash to make a bunch of prints and sell them.  I basically would order the print as the money came in to pay for it.

At this point, you can buy some prints of my work at my deviantart page but the sizes are limited and I don’t feel they do the work justice.  I am hoping that if the test prints turn out well then I can make the prints in larger sizes to properly show off the detail.  So, if there is enough interest, I will start checking into the possibilities.  The works I am thinking about can all be seen as large size images, except for Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability which can only be seen as part of my finished in 2016 recap, at my devianart page.  The images to consider are:

Mystics and Misfits cover with no typography

Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability

Universal Eyes – Infinite Sadness

Denouncer cover with no typography

As I create more works, I will expand the list, but these are the ones I feel are worth printing and have no legal issues attached to them. Princess for Ever After; unfortunately, would require asking Disney for the right to sell it and the same for Juliette and Josephus needing legal rights to sell.  If there is enough interest, I will consider checking into the rights.  For now, the ball is all yours.  Let me know what you think.