Friday, December 20, 2013

Why So Whiny?

About a month ago I wrote a post about how I show my love of Star Wars by finding justifications for the things that some people find off-putting in the movies. Today I'm going to delve a little deeper into a topic I mentioned in that post. Namely: why Anakin is so whiny (and why I'm okay with it).

First off, part of Anakin's whiny-ness is natural. He's a teenager in Episode II. In case you don't remember being a teenager (or haven't been around any teenager ever), here's a newsflash: teenagers are whiny (okay, not every teenager is whiny, but they all have moments of whiny-ness). That being said, I don't think what was shown in the films was over the top.

Secondly, you must understand just how damaging being a child slave and the death of his mother was to Anakin. The movies did a good job of pointing out that Anakin was upset by his mother's death. If you don't believe me, just ask the clan of Tusken Raiders he slaughtered in Episode II.
"Here's Ani!"
That he was upset about being a slave was better covered during the Zygerrian slavery story arc in season four of The Clone Wars cartoon than in the movies.

Any way you slice it, Anakin is hurting emotionally. He does not trust others to make right decisions because anyone in power of him when he was young abused that power. He's lacked control all of his life so his way to compensate for that is to gather all the power and control he can over others. He wants to make things "right," no matter the cost. Thus, whenever he is frustrated in these attempts to gain more power and control, he appears whiny, just like a child (since that is where his emotional maturity was stunted).

When it comes to Episode III, Anakin is less whiny. That probably speaks more to the matuirty that comes with age than any emotional growth that has been made.

The Jedi order does not exactly appear to be nurturing to Anakin. Even well-meaning Yoda tells Anakin what to do, rather than helping him to help himself during their Episode III therapy session. What he was saying was wise counsel, but not counsel that Anakin was ready to hear in his emotional state.
"Two of these midichlorian chewables you should take. Then call me in the morning you will."
Yoda was coming from an emotionally healthy point of view. Most of us are too. Sure, we've had lousy stuff happen in our lives, but we've adjusted and learned to handle our emotions in mostly healthy ways. For example, we are saddened when he lose a loved one, but we don't go out and kill someone in revenge. When we say we would do "anything" to save a loved one, we don't mean that we would kill a bunch of children to make it happen.

However, unlike most of us, Anakin had a really manipulative father figure pulling the strings behind the scenes. Anakin was persuaded to believe that the Jedi were truly evil. If you think about it from a twisted point of view, it makes sense. The Jedi order talked about being peacekeepers, but they sold themselves out to lead a war. They talked about not seeking power, but were reluctant to share power with Palpatine (nevermind that it turned out to be with good reason). From what Anakin could see - at least what Palpatine/Sidious let him see - the Jedi were a bunch of hypocrites bent on abusing their power. Growing up a slave, Anakin hated this. Add to this the side benefit of becoming powerful enough in the Dark Side to save his wife, killing off a bunch of evil Jedi seemed like the "right" thing to do.

Working with troubled teens, I've seen kids do some horrible things and feel completely justified because of what they learned from their family/life experiences. 99% learn to overcome their past, but some can't or won't.

Being "whiny" is key to Anakin's fall. No emotionally healthy individual would make those same choices. I for one am glad George Lucas created him that way. It makes sense that he would become Darth Vader. Not only that, it makes Darth Vader that much more intimidating - rather than less - because with his emotional instability you don't know what his limits are.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Zazzle

I recently tried to make a shirt to sell on Zazzle to fellow Star Wars fans. I thought it was genius idea. However, Zazzle seemed to think it infringed on a copyright (which is probably true).

So, since I can't make money off of this for Christmas, I'm going to share the image for free:
This image of a bottle of "Midichlorian Chewables" would have been on the front of the shirt. I had a couple different versions made up for sale. On the back of each shirt I had different captions, such as "Juicing Your Count Since 1999" and "The Secret of the Skywalkers."

Like I said, I thought it was clever, but certain parties seem to disagree. Anyway, you can now enjoy the image for free.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What It Means To Love Star Wars

In the interest of full disclosure, I am the sort of Star Wars fan that loves all six films. I don't make outrageous claims of George Lucas "raping" my childhood by tweaking the original trilogy (OT) films or by making the prequel trilogy (PT) films.

Rather, I choose to view the overall story as something to embrace and love while not getting hung up on the minor things that others choose to nitpick at.

"But I only rant about (insert concern here) because I love Star Wars," say certain fans.

Oh, really? That's like a man saying he only beats his wife because he loves her - that sort of logic is ridiculous!
"Relax Padmé. I'm only choking you because I love you."
Yes, I'm comparing your relationship with Star Wars to your relationship with a significant other. It is as if you "just learned the terrible truth" about her past (i.e. the PT). Now you have a decision to make: Either break up or figure out how to embrace it. Remember that you are not perfect, so you hardly have the right to demand that your partner (in this case Star Wars) be perfect either.

In the words of John Eldredge: "No woman wants to be analyzed, and many marriages fail because the man insists on treating her as a problem to be solved, rather than a mystery to be known and loved."

If you spend your time analyzing Star Wars you can find plenty of problems that you want to solve. However, it is just going to drive you crazy in the end. If you really feel George Lucas and Star Wars are so horrible, then get out of this abusive relationship and find something else to love. But don't come around me whining and criticizing what I love. It just makes you look bitter and unattractive.

If you want to claim to love Star Wars, then you should work to embrace whatever you find off-putting and try to view it as a "mystery to be known and loved." That is one reason I wrote the post about how I rationalize Padmé's death in Episode III. I'm hoping to write a few more posts in the future about how I not only justify Jar Jar's existence, but actually embrace it. I also plan to write about why Yoda would quit his fight with Darth Sidious in Episode III.

Here is one common complaint: "Anakin was so whiny in the PT. I can't respect him as Darth Vader now," Well, Luke was pretty whiny too, if you remember anything about his wanting to go to Tosche Station. Honestly, an emotionally healthy person would not likely fall to the Dark Side. I appreciate that George was smart enough to make Anakin flawed (or "whiny") because otherwise I wouldn't have believed the story of his fall.

So why do us old-timers tend to rip on the PT and not the OT? Probably because we have a tendency to view our childhood through rose-colored glasses.

For example, we overlook that Yoda told Luke, before he left Dagobah in Episode V, that his training was incomplete and was reminding him of his failure in the cave. However, the next time Yoda sees him, he's telling Luke that he knows everything he needs to know to be a Jedi. I didn't see Luke get any more training, so, which is it, Yoda? Make up your mind! Maybe Yoda was just lonely and looking for any excuse to keep Luke around so he'd have someone to talk to. Hmm?
Yoda: "Luke! Leave me do not. Lonely I am."
Speaking of which, why do we believe that Luke was nearly fully trained through his short stay on Dagobah? Since this training occurred in the time span that Han and Leia were in the asteroid field, he couldn't have been there for more than a day or two. Even being generous with the clock, you would have to assume his training lasted less than a week. So how did he learn so much in that short time when it took Anakin - and every other Jedi - years of training to get so good? I haven't seen something happen so fast in so little time since I saw Belle fall in love with the prince in one day in Beauty and the Beast (Seriously, watch the Disney film. She goes to the castle one night and by the next night she's fallen in love with him).

We complain about Jar Jar, but seem to forget how annoying people used to consider C-3PO. Admittedly, I do not consider Jar Jar to be annoying, but I should note that my kids find him hilarious and love him - just like we embraced C-3PO as children.

Another issue with the OT is that we're supposed to believe that Princess Leia is a diplomat. Well, what sort of diplomat insults the opposition the way she ripped into Tarkin? If this had been in the PT, we would have cried foul, but in the OT we're perfectly fine with it.
Making fun of another person's stench - a classic way to start peace talks.
Lastly, I would like to point out that, even though Han had a head start on his way to Cloud City in Episode V and was flying the "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy," somehow the Empire beat him there. Lando even says, "They arrived right before you did." Well, how is that even possible?

My goal in bringing these points up is not to disparage the OT. Rather, I want to point out that none of these films are perfect, but I love them anyway. Rather than nitpick, I try to find a way to love the weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I try to look at all six films as a "mystery to be known and loved."
Leia: "I love the prequels."
Han: "I know."
So for the love of all things Star Wars, try to use your imagination as you watch the movies. Find ways to make the so-called "weaknesses" fit. For example, on the last problem I mentioned, I assume the Empire called a nearby battalion of stormtroopers to go to Cloud City so that Lando could honestly say, "They arrived right before you did," while Darth Vader was still on his way.

In conclusion, go out and enjoy all six films. And if you can't get yourself to do it, then at least stop coming to me to bash some part of the series... I'm in a committed relationship and am trying to make it work for the sake of the children (i.e. - the Sequel Trilogy).

P.S. - If you hate my point of view, the best way to get even with me is to buy a copy of the The Complete Bubby Anthology. Honestly, I will totally feel your wrath if you just do that one little thing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Re-Branding Yourself

Remember a few years ago when Taco Bell was being sued for false advertising over the percentage of beef content of the meat their used in their food. The claims were that their "Taco Meat Filling" was only 36% beef. The rest was fillers. Taco Bell fought the suit and it was eventually dropped. However, I feel like this was a lost opportunity for the folks at Taco Bell. Just think about the possible advantages for them to have gone along with the claims of the law suit.

1) They could have marketed their menu items as "vegetarian friendly." This would have brought in a number of health-conscious customers.
Come on, this food has to be fit for vegetarians!
2) They could have marketed their menu items as "diet food." I can't think of a time that I've eaten their food where I feel like I didn't end up losing more in weight than I ate after the subsequent trip to the bathroom. Possibly they could have chosen to market their food as a laxative in a tortilla.

Speaking of laxatives: Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bears. Just read the product reviews. I am surprised that they haven't already thought to embrace the reviews and repackage these gummy bears as some sort of stool softener.

Now that we've gone down this disgusting road, you may wonder how this applies to anything on this blog. Well, I'll tell you.

When I published The Complete Bubby Anthology, I decided to embrace the fact that it was not ever going to win any awards or land on the New York Times bestseller list. I've gone so far as to admit that the book "sucks."

So, unlike the aforementioned products, I've embraced the negative side of my book. However, I think my lack of sales results more from not re-branding the negativity as something strangely positive. Perhaps I'm struggling to identify a positive spin because I am too close to the project. So, if you have any ideas, let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Human I Am"

As part of my continued efforts to nab a spot on a Star Wars podcast (see this and this), I have begun writing my thoughts on that universe to show those podcast hosts that I would be a great Star Wars conversationalist.

Full Disclosure: This idea was originally proposed on an episode of Rebel Force Radio (though I cannot recall which one).

So, without further ado, I present to you: "Human I Am: The Truth Behind Yoda's Species."

One of the mysteries of the Star Wars universe has to do with Yoda's species. For one thing - we don't know what it is. That is to say, George Lucas won't tell us and won't allow authors to explore the idea. Which leaves us fans in the lurch. Amazingly, the answer has been in front of us the whole time.

In Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, Yoda tells Luke, "When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not." In other words, Yoda is explaining to Luke that this is what really, really old humans look like.
"Teach you how to become super handsome as an old man, I will."
"But humans can't live to be 900 years old!" you say? That may to true of us commoners, but Yoda has the force on his side. When it comes to his imminent death, at which time Luke tells Yoda he can't die, Yoda explains, "Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong." In other words, Yoda is explaining that he has kept himself alive this long through using the force, but he cannot stave off death forever.

"But humans aren't green!" you say? Well, maybe not you and I, but have you ever noticed how the hair of some elderly individuals turns blue? Who are we to say that our skin can't turn green as we age?
"Look better as a green man, I do. Prefer me that way, the ladies do."
"But humans aren't that small!" you say? Well, there are two arguments for this issue. First: he could be a dwarf (otherwise referred to as "little person," "midget," or "person of restricted growth"). However, if you don't feel Yoda is affected by dwarfism, there is a second case to be made for his height: we humans tend to shrink as we age. After 900 years, wouldn't it be logical to assume we would grow closer to his diminutive size?
The eight life stages of man... skipping forward about 800 years between the seventh and eighth.
Finally, as an added bonus, consider Yoda's language. Researchers have found that original human language sounded a lot like how Yoda speaks. Odds are, Yoda lived through the transition to modern speaking styles, but just preferred to kick it old-school.

Impressed yet? Then shoot a message to the fine folks over at Rebel Force Radio, Full of Sith, or any other Star Wars podcast and tell them they should have B. P. Draper on as a guest.

Not impressed? Well, just wait until some point in the future when we explore the implications of Yoda's humanity (which will probably not be published until April Fools Day, since I don't really believe the argument I will be making).

Friday, September 6, 2013

Kindle MatchBook

Amazon has recently introduced a new program called "Kindle MatchBook." Essentially, if you have purchased a new copy of any of literally thousands of books that are sold on Amazon, you will be able to obtain a discounted copy of the Kindle edition of the same book for $2.99 or less.

So why am I writing about this? Because I've decided that The Complete Bubby Anthology will be participating in this program. All you have to do is purchase a paperback copy of the book now (which is currently discounted). Then, when the MatchBook program begins in October 2013, you will be able to purchase the Kindle edition for a mere 99 cents.

That's right - only $0.99. I'm knocking two dollars off what mainstream publishers will likely charge you. Why? Because you bought my book - which means I like you.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Why Did She Have to Die?"

As you may recall, several months ago I expressed my desire to be a guest on a Star Wars podcast. Preferably Rebel Force Radio or Full of Sith. I would also accept an invitation from ForceCast, but they haven't been the same since their previous hosts left to start Rebel Force Radio.

Alas, the more I listen to these podcasts, the more I realize their guests are generally well-known for something. I however, am not well-known - I would have to sell way more books in order for that to happen. Since part of my plan to sell more books is to go on a podcast to drum up support, you can see where the cycle leaves me.

Since my book is not selling, the next best move is prove to them how great a Star Wars conversationalist I would be on their show. So, without further ado, I present: "Why Did She Have to Die?: The Real Reason Padmé Kicked the Force-Bucket."

First off - SPOILER ALERT! Anakin is Darth Vader. His wife, Padmé, dies in Episode III. Okay, now on to the lesson (prepare to have your minds blown!).

The common belief is that Padmé died of a broken heart. Why? Well, probably because that is what the script says. However, this strikes people as being a little lame. However, because of my love for Star Wars, I was willing to accept the premise, since George Lucas is known for his love of cheesy, old-style movies where a broken heart really could kill you. However, it turns out that a broken heart actually can kill you, according to WebMD.
"Obi-Wan, I looked it up on WedMD... I can die of a broken heart."
Nevertheless, the common argument against Padmé dying this way is that she had her children to live for. People also note that she tells Obi-Wan that there is "still good in him," in reference to Anakin. If she really believed this, then why would she give up? Why would a powerful woman - a queen and a senator, no less - just give up?

Why? I'll tell you why. And it is exactly because she is such an amazing, powerful, and caring woman. Padmé knew Anakin was having nightmares about her dying in childbirth. She knew he was obsessed with saving her. She knew of the horrific things he did in order to save her. She must have believed that the only way to stop him would be for her to no longer be alive for him to save. Her life in public service taught her to "fall on her own sword," as it were, to serve the greater good.

Her hope was that the good within Anakin would cause him to repent of the dark side that controlled him. Thus she told Obi-Wan that there was good in Anakin. She hoped he could help Anakin see reason now that Padmé would be out of the equation (obviously she was probably not told about how Obi-Wan left Anakin for dead on Mustafar - which seemed to put a bit of a damper on their relationship).
"Gee, Anakin, are you still bitter about me leaving you on Mustafar?"
As for her newborn children, Padmé seemed to be counting on the good inside Anakin to turn him back to the light side and care for their newborn children. She also had good reason to believe that Anakin would not be punished for his crimes since the corruption in the government provided numerous loopholes for criminals to escape jail time. In the worst case scenario, Anakin could plead insanity and serve a few months in Coruscant's psychiatirc hospital.

In summary, Padmé should be hailed for the heroic effort to save the galaxy, rather than being called a sissy for dying of a broken heart - even though her plan didn't quite work out the way she might have hoped.

So, is your mind blown yet? If so, pass on the word - B. P. Draper should be a guest on a Star Wars podcast.

Not convinced yet? Fine, I'll write some more mind-blowing content in the future.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weird Math

Well, there isn't a lot to talk about. I am still working on my drawings for my upcoming children's book. I'm still hoping Amazon.com will recognize that Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other should be listed for free.

So, in the mean time, check out the best score I've ever achieved in ten rounds of Minesweeper.
Do you like how winning 7 out of 10 is equal to a 69% success rate? My elementary school teachers would have cried themselves to sleep if I gave that sort of answer on a test.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is B. P. Draper Actually J. K. Rowling?

We recently learned that J. K. Rowling is actually the author known as Robert Galbraith. It seems that she used a pen name and fooled us all. What an amazingly clever woman! She could be anyone. For all we know she could be B. P. Draper.

Now you maybe wondering, "How will we ever know for sure?" Well, I'm going to tell you how you can find out.

Step one: Buy a copy of The Complete Bubby Anthology.

Step Two: Encourage your friends to buy a copy of The Complete Bubby Anthology.

Step Three: Encourage your friends to encourage their friends to buy a copy of The Complete Bubby Anthology.

Step Four: Once everyone has bought a copy (ideally over one million copies sold), everyone should read the book.

Step Five: I will finally reveal the truth as to whether I am actually J. K. Rowling.*

* Just in case any of J. K. Rowling's lawyers are reading this, I am not actually claiming to be J. K. Rowling. However, if she would like to claim to have been writing under the pen name of B. P. Draper, I wouldn't complain about the extra book sales.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Do Camels Have To Do With It?

Did you know that you can save money on a paperback copy of The Complete Bubby Anthology? At this very moment Amazon.com has dropped the price from $10.99 to only $9.83.

According to camelcamelcamel.com (I'm not really sure what camels have to do with price tracking) the book has been discounted since May 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM. I have no idea how long this price drop will last, as I have no control over it - though I assume my royalties will still be the same.

Anyway, if you've been holding out, hoping to save a bundle, here is your chance.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Concept Art

If you've read The Complete Bubby Anthology as thoroughly as I think you have - which is pretty thoroughly - you've been hanging on the words in the "About the Author" page. Specifically the sentence that reads, "In his spare time he watches Star Wars and Tron and makes up funny bedtime stories for his children (some of which will likely be published one day soon)."

You may be wondering why, after a year, no word has reached your ear of a children's book being published. Well, I'll tell you why - because I'm a lousy artist. Nevertheless, I have managed to "draw" a main character for the first story I plan to release. Here he is:


Let's be honest, my skill with computer imaging is not the greatest - but I'm the only employee I've got. Nevertheless, I plan to persevere to complete this story, even if it pains me to see my drawings.

However, if any one of you would be willing to receive zero compensation for your artistic talents (other than a name credit on the book), let me know. Maybe we can work out a deal - specifically one where I get 100% of the royalties and you get your name out there for other people to want to hire you in the future. When you think about it, it really is a win-win situation.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Tax Man Cometh

With tax day coming around, you're probably trying to identify any charitable donations that you can cite to lower your taxable income. Thus, you may be looking into buying hundreds of copies of The Complete Bubby Anthology to see if spending that kind of money could qualify you for a tax break.

Now, to be completely honest, it is too late to get any more charitable donations, as the tax year ended on December 31st.

Also, a purchase of The Complete Bubby Anthology does not actually qualify as a charitable donation and you could be arrested for trying to convince the IRS that it should count.

However, you are still welcome to purchase hundreds, or even thousands, of copies to see if it gives you the happy feeling that comes from being involved in charitable giving. If it doesn't make you feel any better, try buying more copies... maybe that will do the trick. Probably not... but you'll never know unless you try.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Podcasts

I recently got a tablet. This isn't meant to brag, it's just to show how behind the times I am. It seems a whole new nerdy world has opened up to me. I can read books, play games (mostly Angry Birds), and best of all - listen to Star Wars podcasts. I've just discovered Rebel Force Radio. I love it. It is just like being able to hang out with the Star Wars-loving friends I never had growing up.


Now that I have discovered them, I want to capitalize on the friendship they've shown me by getting on their show to talk Star Wars and shamelessly promote The Complete Bubby Anthology.

I also hope to get on to an NPR show, such as Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Not because I think The Complete Bubby Anthology would appeal to the typical NPR listener, but because they are well-known for throwing money at people who ask them for it!

So, what can you do to help me live my dream? Buy lots of copies of my book so that I become popular enough for shows to want to ask me to come on as a guest.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hey Amazon, Get With The Program!

Smashwords has been helpful enough to list Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other for free on every site it distributes the book to.

So right now you can go to Barnes & Noble, Diesel, iTunes, Kobo, or Sony and download your own free copy.

However, Amazon.com refuses to acknowledge that they should be competing for customers by dropping the price to free as well.

So click on the link that reads: "tell us about a lower price," under "Product Details" and tell Amazon that you want the book to be free - just like it is on the other sites.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Future of Star Wars

First off, congratulations are in order to J. J. Abrams for nabbing the biggest gig in the history of ever - director of Star Wars - Episode VII.

Now for my personal plea to J. J. Abrams, who likely will never read this blog post:

Dear Mr. Abrams,

Please make the movie PG. I've got kids that I want to be able to take to the show on opening night, without having to screen it by myself first. As a grown man, part of me would love the movie to have the action sequences of a PG-13 film. However, the PG-rated fights of the past films have been pretty fantastic. Additionally, it seems that there is a tendency in Hollywood to throw an F-bomb into PG-13 films, since the regulations allow one instance of that particular cuss word. Hollywood seems to think that, just because it can do something, it should. This is just stupid. Please, don't be stupid.

Star Wars is, at its core, a children's story. It doesn't need a bunch of profanity to make it cool. As a wise person once said, "profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully." Just make an awesome story and the crowds will come - especially without the insertion of a random F-bomb. In fact, you don't even need to make a good story. I would happily watch 2 hours of lightsaber fights choreographed to a John Williams musical score.

So, J. J. Abrams, enjoy the new gig. Good luck to you and remember to make a film for your inner child.

Sincerely,

B. P. Draper

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Free Book New Year

Some authors offer a "Free Book Friday," or some ridiculously cheap thing like that. I'm not like that, so I'm going to offer a "Free Book New Year."

Starting now, Bubby I - Wanted: A Hero like None Other will be listed as FREE, for the entire year of 2013.

I began this free listing through Smashwords. So far, only iTunes has matched the offer.

Until the rest of the stores catch price-matching fever, you will still find the book listed at $0.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Kobo, and Sony.

So, if you'd like to, you can still pay $0.99 for the book, or you can get it for FREE here on Smashwords or here on iTunes.