23 January, 2012

Chinese New Year, More Thoughts On Star Wars, And Other Random Things

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!


The year of the Dragon has arrived.

Dragons are, according to Wikipedia (and I hope you'll excuse me for using that as a source) "Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome."

What's your Chinese zodiac animal?

(Me, I'm a Rat.)

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Last week, I posted my thoughts on Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Several of you said you wanted updates on what I thought of the movies, so here's another list of things I learned after I watched Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (and once again I shall endeavor to loose no spoilers, for readers who have not seen any Star Wars):

1. Yoda talks like Fozzie Bear--they're both done by Frank Oz, actually. I didn't know that before. My brain has trouble with this and I cannot picture that voice coming from Yoda after watching The Muppets. all I can picture is fuzzy and orange with a red and white scarf, not wise and green. This is what I was thinking while he was talking:

"Do or do not. There is no try. Wocka wocka!"

2. I don't really like Luke. He was interesting in Episode IV, but in V I just couldn't get very attached to him.  Half of the time I thought he should be doing more, and during the other half I thought he should stop what he was doing.

But I suppose it is the hero's journey, after all; it's supposed to show the character struggle and make mistakes. I'm hoping I'll like him more by the end of the trilogy.

3. And on the other hand, I like Princess Leia more and more. She's my favorite character in the trilogy so far.

Only one more movie to go in the original trilogy, now--hopefully my hold will come in at the library and I'll be able to watch it next weekend.

That just leaves the question of whether I should see the prequel trilogy. I'm not quite sure--a lot of you did not seem to enjoy it, based on last week's comments, and I'd hate to let something taint my opinion of episodes IV-VI. I put up a poll in the sidebar, so if you think I should or shouldn't, feel free to vote!

**********

Picnik is closing down. I'm very sad. Where else am I supposed to find a photo editing service that has a status bar that says "Buttering sandwiches", "Warming breezes", and "Applying sunscreen" to go with their outdoors theme? Or find all kinds of cool fonts/effects/stickers for images? Or have a blast playing around on the homepage? That site has a fun personality. Relatively few others do.

*sniff*

(But they are giving users access to all the Premium features--something you had to pay over twenty bucks for in the past. So that's a bonus . . . until they're gone on April 19th.)

**********

Since I know many of you readers are fans of The Hunger Games, I thought I'd mention that the awesome Larissa over at Howling Turtle is hosting a Hunger Games Read-Along. There will be people posting on different chapters of the books and THG-themed giveaways from January 29-March 21. Hop on over and check it out!




**********


So, what's your opinion of the hero's journey? Do you enjoy stories that follow that path, or do you think it's cliche/overused? What did you think of Luke Skywalker, if you've seen Star Wars?


And do you know of any good photo-editing sites?


-----The Golden Eagle

64 comments:

Emily R. King said...

My baby will be born this year, meaning he'll be a dragon. I'm excited! Hopefully it means good luck for him, and me!
BTW, I'm a rat, too. And yes, I am horrible with money. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I actualy don't know what my Chinese zodiac animal is. I knew it once upon a time but have forgotten

Cherie Reich said...

Happy Chinese New Year!

My sign is the dog. Being a dragon would be so cool, though.

I generally like the hero's journey. True, it might be a bit cliche, but there are only so many basic plots out there. I've only seen bits and pieces of Star Wars, so I can't really comment upon it.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any good photo editing sites either. It's a shame Picnik is closing.

Adam said...

I was born in 1988 so I'm a dragon

Jess said...

In my POV, the Star Wars Trilogy is my favorite movie ever! I never really liked Luke very much, and despite what everyone says, I think the Prequel Trilogy is better. But to me, Star Wars says it all.

I was born in year of the rat, too!

laughingwolf said...

overall, i'm disappointed with the whole 'star wars' series... while i like individual characters, i don't see them working well together... so for me, the thing is one big suck! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

gung hei fah choi, ge :)

i am horse ;)

Christine Rains said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you too! I'm a Rat as well. A Water Rat, actually. I've been told that the element is important in the overall zodiac too.

I like the hero's journey, but it can be done in so many ways. I'm not a fan of Luke himself either. I'm a big Han Solo fan.

L.G.Smith said...

Yay Dragons! That has to be the coolest sign.

I think I'm actually a rabbit, but I wish I were a dragon. :)

And I'm all for the hero's journey. It still makes an interesting story arc for me, though I suppose it is all dependent on how well the character is portrayed and what the stakes are.

Emily Rose said...

Happy Chinese New Year! I'm on Ox:P

"Do or do not. There is no try". That's my favorite line from Star Wars:)

I was devastated when I found out Picnik is closing. Buttering sandwiches, flying kites, hanging mistletoe, you'll all be missed.

David P. King said...

I'm a dog. I'm my own best friend. :)

(now I want to watch Spaceballs again)

It's the year of the dragon and I'm revising a novel right now about a dragon ... this could be a good year! :)

Carrie Butler said...

I'm a fire tiger. :)

laughingwolf said...

not sure charles, you're either dog or pig... i'll go with dog....

Connie Keller said...

I was born in the year of the horse. But I've been told that it was a "special" horse year--the year of the fiery horse, which happens only every fifty years. Apparently women born in that year are known to kill their husbands. :) I guess my husband better watch out.

Liz said...

I'm not a fan Chinese astrology (mostly because I'm a boar).

I always liked Luke. I had issues with Han Solo. Of course, Princess Leia is the best.

Krispy said...

Ah, I'm sad about Picnik! I love them!

I like the hero's journey generally. I mean, there's a reason it's an archetypal cycle; it resonates. But because it's been done so much, I need it to be dressed up a bit or disguised some. I think Star Wars worked out because it's set in such a fantastic world.

Also, I think you should watch the prequel trilogy. I liked seeing events play out that led to the situations in the original trilogy, and like I said, I love the Star Wars universe. So it's cool seeing it expanded and skillfully rendered. It's some of the pacing and some of the bad acting and the really cheesy writing that makes people unhappy with the prequels.

Luke is okay. He's kind of whiny...like Anakin, unfortunately. (Though in the Clone Wars cartoon series, Anakin's actually quite likeable and a badass. I kind of hate him in the prequel trilogy though - partly because of the writing, partly because of the acting.) Princess Leia is awesome though. Strong heroines ftw!

Anyway, Happy New Year! I'm a tiger. We clash often with dragons apparently. :P

Susan Roebuck said...

You a rat GE? I'm a goat LOL. Wish I knew a photo-editing site too. Wait! I don't have any photos! Great post as usual.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Empire is the best of the trilogy!
If you want my honest opinion, I'd say skip the other three. Of course, you'll want to know how it all began, but you've been warned it all goes downhill from there.
Then again, I was raised on the first three, which also led to the second three being a bit of a disappointment.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you too, Golden!

I was born in the year of the OX, so I plod along, but get things done.

I couldn't be any more earthbound, my zodiac sign is Taurus. I guess I am bovine all the way! One thing for sure, I am stable and reliable.

Old Kitty said...

I'm a rooster!! LOL!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!

I say watch these original star wars THEN watch the prequels (and WEEP!! LOL!). Seriously!!

Princess Leia is totally brilliant!

Take care
x

Ciara said...

I can't remember, but I think I'm a rat, also. I'll have to look that up.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a horse.

When I first saw the Star Wars trilogy, I admit I liked Luke better.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I thought the same things about Luke and Leia. :)

You should see the first prequel. It's fun! Skip the other two. They're not fun. More like maddeningly frustrating.

Shallee said...

Happy Chinese New Year to you too!

Your Star Wars thoughts made me laugh out loud, because my son is OBSESSED with the movies right now, and I've had some of the same thoughts.

And I love using GIMP for photo editing. It's a free software you can download, and I use it for all my photo editing.

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

Leia is awesome.

Once you finish the series, you should check out Robot Chicken's Star Wars spoofs.

tfwalsh said...

I attended a dragon dance this morning at a temple near by who were celebrating Chinese New Year - a lot of fun:) My sign is the Ox - doesn't sound as glorious as the dragon.

Brian said...

Happy New Year to you! I like the Star Wars stuff...may the furs be with you!

Carol Kilgore said...

I have no answers for you. But I love the dragon photo!

Claire Hennessy said...

I'm a Tiger which I have always loved so, of course, I think the Chinese zodiak is fab. Mind you, I'm a lion normally (Leo) so cats are definitely me and might account while I am nutz over them :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

One of my sons is a dragon and it's so right on about him.
I was never a big fan of Luke in Starwars. Hans was always my favorite and he traveled the hero's journey too and reformed.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm a tiger :)

I love the SW movies, but Luke can be a bit of a pill at times. Love Leia, R2 & of course Chewie and Yoda.

Trisha said...

I'm a monkey, born in 1980 :)

I think you should see the prequels, just so you can judge for yourself. But yeah, the originals are way better.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow a dragon is sure a lot of things, puts everything else to shame.

Yeah, he did get a tad annoying after the first one but you'll appreciate him so much more after watching the crappy prequels. Unless you fall asleep, which might happen.

anthony stemke said...

Happy Chinese New Year Golden, don't know what I am animal-wise.
Wishing You a great successful year.

Belle said...

I looked mine up and I am a tiger, which pleases me. They are so beautiful and dangerous. I'm not sure I always like the hero story, but I do like Luke Skywalker's journey. Princess Leia is a favorite of mine too, I named my dog after her! I don't know any editing sites I'm sorry to say.
I do think you should watch the other Star Wars movies. I liked them, although they seemed a bit fake because of all the CGI used and the actors weren't as good. But I loved the story.

farawayeyes said...

Happy CNY to you too. I'm a rabbit. No idea what element, but maybe water since I'm Aquarius otherwise.

Big Star Wars fan. IV - VI much better than I - III, but I would watch them anyway. Big Han Solo fan. I always thought Luke was weeny and whiny.

Melissa Bradley said...

I am a Rooster, more specific an Earth Rooster. Happy New Year!!

I hated the prequels, but everyone should see them at least to compare. I personally think Lucas messed with his own mythology too much with the latter films.

try pixlr.com for photo editing. I like it.

Scarlett Clay said...

Leo!

I really want to see the SW, I saw the trailer last Fri. when I went to see Sherlock Holmes (for the second time)it looks great, funny about Yoda though :)

Joshua said...

I'm a monkey. Kind of fits me, but not really...maybe.

Luke's not my favorite. In fact, my favorite is not in either trilogy, but part of the Expanded Universe.

Sarah Pearson said...

My daughters are Rats, too. I'm a Dog :-)

Misha Gericke said...

I'm a Dragon. :-)

I somewhat liked Luke, but preferred Han and Leia.

I'd say watch all of them. In fact, I would have suggested that you see I - III before the others. Makes them easier to stomach.

Susan Fields said...

I never realized that about Yoda and Fozzie Bear, but you're right! I'll never look at Yoda the same way again.

Stuart Nager said...

Goat. Hmmm... "the Goat (or Sheep) symbolizes such character traits as creativity, intelligence, dependability, and calmness. Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds, Goats enjoy being part of a group, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center."

OK...I can live with that.

I agree with you re: Luke. Not my favorite, esp in Empire. Hans all the way.

As to the hero's journey, some of the best are, imo, the anti-hero's. Elric and Thomas Convenent come to mind.

catherinemjohnson said...

I think I'm a tiger. Happy New Year! I prefered the old Star Wars to the latest ones. Return of the Jedi was my favorite.

Reece said...

I don't remember why my year was in the Chinese calendar.

However, as far as the prequel Star Wars trilogy goes, I have this to say: the biggest problem with them is bad dialogue (the script, not the delivery). Every film has a corny line or two that make you cringe...those three just have a lot more of them.

Other than that, I wasn't a fan of Hayden Christensen's performance (I just don't think we was right for the character...and was the weak link in an otherwise solid cast), and Jar-Jar Binks really does get on your nerves, but the stories are worth watching.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Happy Chinese New Year. I forgot what my sign is, its either a dog or a rat.

Southpaw said...

I hadn't heard of Picnik.

Happy Chinese New Year.

cherie said...

My little boy (who's almost 4) is a huge Stars Wars fan so I had to re-watch all the movies with him, and it brought so many pleasant memories. I was so young when Star Wars became a hit, so while I remembered being deathly scared of Darth Vader, I didn't remember all the other details and scenes in the movies. So hooray for the little boy who brought Star Wars back to my life!
I love the old trilogy. I actually thought Luke's struggles made him seem more real--after all, he was really just a teenager when his aunt and uncle were slaughtered, and he was off rescuing a princess and finding out the truth of his parentage. The boy had a lot to swallow in a short time.

My 2 cents! :D

Maria McKenzie said...

I'm a tiger! Don't know of any photo editing services, but you can download Gimp for free. It's like Photoshop. here's the link: http://getgimp.com/lp/index.php

Colene Murphy said...

Fozzy and Yoda are the same!? Well...now that I think of them together...right. Sure. Huh...weird.

The last one was my all time favorite! I wore that VHS OUT when I was growing up. The box looked like a dog had gotten a hold of it from the wear. I hope you love it!

Mark Noce said...

Happy Year of the Dragon! I'm a boar, but a dragon sounds the best:)

Nick Wilford said...

I didn't know before, but now know thanks to Trisha's comment I'm a monkey (born in 1980). I like that! Also the year part II was made. It's my favourite. I like the training sequences, but now I'll not be able to look at Yoda the same way again!

I agree Luke can be a bit annoying, but I would probably act the same in his shoes. So I kind of like him.

Jen Chandler said...

Happy Chinese New Year!

I'm a snake :D

The Hero's Journey is a fascinating concept by Joseph Campbell (and yes, I am nerdy enough to know that AND have enjoyed the class I took on it). Star Wars, and Luke especially, is a perfect example of it.

As for the prequels...hmmm...my honest opinion is that I'm not a fan. I'm glad I saw them because there were a lot of things I've questioned about the originals that are answered in Episodes 1, II and III. I say watch them and make your own decision.

Cheers!
Jen

Deborah Walker said...

I think I'm a monkey.

The hero's journey is very interesting to me. I'm always interested in stories that have been proven to work. Whether or not I can apply it to my own work.

The Golden Eagle said...

Emily: Awesome! :)

LOL. I tend toward the opposite end of the spectrum, despite my rat status.

Charles: Can be hard to figure out, since the years don't exactly match up . . .

Cherie: Thank you!

I agree. Though I like being a Rat. :)

Good point--there are a lot of other basic plots besides the hero's journey!

Adam: Must be your year, then. :)

Jess: Well, last time I checked the poll there were more votes in favor than against . . . it looks like I might be watching the Prequel Trilogy!

I'll have to post about it if I watch the movies.

We must be the same age, then. :)

Laughingwolf: It's too bad you didn't like the series!

Thank you!

Cool. :)

Christine: I'm a Fire Rat.

I like him because he usually knows what he's doing--unlike Luke, who usually flounders about.

L.G.: Indeed!

My mom is a rabbit. :)

I agree. I don't really have anything against the hero's journey, as long as it's done well.

Emily: Thank you!

It is a great line. :) I just have to try not to think of Fozzie Bear while he says it . . . LOL.

Definitely!

David: Not a bad thing to be. ;)

Spaceballs?

I'm hoping it will be a good writing year for me, too. I'm rewriting a novel.

Carrie: I'm Fire, too!

Laughingwolf: (I'd agree, just based on the descriptions of the different animals.)

Connie: That's cool! About the rarity, anyway--not the husband-killing. LOL.

Liz: It's Elephant in Northern Thailand. :) That's not so bad . . .

I love her spunk!

Krispy: Me, too.

I agree. And it was one of the first major hero's journey stories--at least, one of the few that made it into popular culture to such an extent.

I'll have to keep that in mind. :)

That's one of the problems I have with Luke. He does complain an awful lot . . . and during the scene where Vader tells him he's Luke's father, he just stood there screaming "NO" for so long. :P

Thank you!

Hope there's not too much astrological conflict in 2012. LOL.

Susan: No photos at all?

Thanks! :)

Alex: Hmm. I'm thinking about watching the Prequel Trilogy, anyway--even if it's terrible, I DO want to find out what happens to the characters. But I'll just have to see by the end of the original trilogy . . .

laughingwolf said...

connie, the fire horse returns every 60 years...

legend says many asian mothers abort their children during fire horse years... nothing about husband killing, though it's possible :P

you have to remember, animal years occur in 12-year cycles; 50 does not divide evenly with 12....

The Golden Eagle said...

Michael: Thanks!

That's a good trait to have. :)

I'm Capricorn--the goat.

Old Kitty: Thank you! :D

Well, I hope I don't weep if I see them . . . LOL. I'm not sure how I'd explain that!

Ciara: Hooray for the Rats. ;)

L. Diane: Second one here!

I'll have to see if my opinion of him changes. I haven't seen the final movie yet.

Peggy: So, the first prequel is good, the others are terrible? :P

Shallee: Thanks! :)

Glad it made you laugh!

For some reason, I thought GIMP was just for Mac. But I just looked it up and I see it's for Windows. Thanks for the tip!

K. Turley: Agreed. :)

I love spoofs--will have to see them!

Tfwalsh: That does sound like fun! I love dragon dances.

Brian: Thank you!

Furs . . . LOL.

Carol: Glad you like it. :) From commons.wikimedia.org--and the image is in the public domain.

Claire: LOL. Maybe!

I just hope I don't go bananas over rodents at some point now. :P

Susan: It's interesting how accurate (and/or how wrong!) astrology can be.

That's an interesting point--Han does have his own journey.

Jemi: Cool. :)

R2-D2 is so cute!

Trisha: So . . . you're a Metal Monkey? (The elements and the animals always sound odd, put together like that. :P)

Pat: It does, kind of! Dragons seem to have a lot of the bases covered.

LOL. Crying, falling asleep--they must be interesting movies.

Anthony: Thank you! :)

Belle: Now that's an apt description of tigers!

I wish I had a dog named Leia. :D

Farawayeyes: Thanks!

My mom is a rabbit as well. She's Metal.

Han Solo doesn't really help that, does he? He rather dominates Luke . . .

Melissa: Thanks!

It's always frustrating when an author does that, isn't it? At least be constant in your own world!

Thanks for the photo editing suggestion. :)

Scarlett: I've enjoyed the first two movies in the Original Trilogy, A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

I need to get his voice straight in my head. LOL.

The Golden Eagle said...

Joshua: Second declared Monkey here. :)

I will have to check that out!

Sarah: Cool!

Misha: I guess it's your year, then!

So far, I prefer them too . . .

I wasn't really sure where to start--I just decided to jump in with the original trilogy, since it was the one that came first. :P

Susan: Hope that isn't a bad thing!

Stuart: I notice creativity is the first listed trait. :)

I'm always intrigued by antiheroes. Particularly now, since I'm thinking about writing one . . .

Catherine: Tigers are awesome!

Thanks. :)

That's the one I'm planning to watch on Saturday. Can't wait for the weekend, here.

Reece: I have noticed that in the two movies I've seen . . .

It seems the majority think I should watch the movies. :)

Rachna: Thank you!

Hope it's a Rat, since then we'd be the same sign. :)

Southpaw: Head over and check it out--they have some great features, and their Premium service is free for users until they close in April.

Thanks!

Cherie: That is awesome. :)

That's true--he IS young for all the stuff that happened to him. Got to allow for that.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Maria: I'll have to look into GIMP.

Colene: Yup. :P They are a galaxy apart in character, aren't they?

Thanks!

I love VHS. It's so much more durable than DVD.

Mark: Thank you. :)

It does, doesn't it?

Nick: Awesome!

I hope it hasn't changed for the worst . . .

Yeah, I don't think I'd be the master of charm if I had been through all he went through. But I still cannot get myself to really like him.

Jen: Thanks!

I watched his Power of Myth series; Joseph Campbell is quite interesting.

Deborah: There are a lot of Monkeys here. :)

It interests me--I've never directly tried writing one, but there are always firsts!

The Golden Eagle said...

Laughingwolf: That is true about the numbers. And then there are the five different elements . . . so, yeah, it would be every sixty.

S.P. Bowers said...

No one likes Luke.

My hubby is a HUGE Star Wars fan. Huge. We have ships hanging from our ceiling. The movies are part of pop culture. The first three movies had more money and more technology to make the cinematography better than the original three but the acting is horrible and the plot, well, it's still Lucas writing them. They're fun if you don't take them seriously.

The Golden Eagle said...

S.P: LOL. Now I feel bad for Luke. :P

You have ships hanging from your ceiling? I wish I did.

I'll have to remember that about the prequel trilogy.

Annalise Green said...

I like the hero's journey, but I think that it's not always well-executed! In fact, because it's so common, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd and not grate on readers. I think it's definitely questionable if Luke is sympathetic or annoying...I found him to be both ;)

Hmm, reading the comments here made me realize that I'm a dragon. That's awesome!

The Golden Eagle said...

Annalise: I agree.

Definitely cool! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi GE .. I thought I was a rat - but just checking I'm a pig as I'm born early in the year .. and Yin and Fire .. not sure of the rest of the characteristics .. I'll have to check! Interesting to read .. thanks Hilary

The Golden Eagle said...

Hilary: You're welcome! :)

Thanks for coming by.