The Last Jedi–Movie Review–Yes, it’s been out awhile.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yes, this has been out awhile.  I’ve waited to put my thoughts down.

(The movie has been out long enough.  There be spoiler’s here ma’tey…)

Star Wars is unreviewable.

It doesn’t really matter what anyone writes about Star Wars people will still see the movie.

But I am an addict.

I have issues.  I have seen every new Star Wars movie at the earliest possible showing since Episode 2 Attack of the Clones.  And back in the day of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, those were the midnight showings baby.

With The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now The Last Jedi thos first showings became 7 pm the Thursday before the real opening night.  I like those times better, I’m too old now for midnight showings.

I do those showings because I know myself.  I would have no ability to stay off social media and the internet to see what people are saying about the movie.  If I go to the very first showing I can see the movie with just mine and the audience’s reaction to it.

Me running to get tickets for the first showing.

A for a while the only people that went to the first showing of a Star Wars movie were the true fans.  Now it’s become corporate.  Literally.  There were businesses there as a group outing with their Star Wars badges and pressed dressed pants.  Ugh!

New idea.  In order to see the first showing of a Star Wars movie, you have to come dressed up as a Star Wars character.  That’s the level of geekdom you need to have reached in order to see it first.  Not because you hit your sales quota for the month.

So on December 14 at 7 pm I went to see The Last Jedi.  I was there among my people.  I saw a guy dressed up as Luke from The Last Jedi.  It was quite an impressive cosplay I must admit.

And here is my overpriced BB8 cup just before the movie started.

Let’s get straight to the point.  The Last Jedi.  I loved it.

I was befuddled and confused the next day when I began to see the serious backlash against the movie.

I felt like I had seen a completely different movie.

So on December 15, I went and saw the movie again at a 2 pm showing.  Just to make sure.


I was right.

It was a great Star Wars movie.

It wasn’t perfect.

Rian Johnson had two chances for complete and total knock punches and he totally pulled his punches.

Let’s get it out of the way: Space Leia.

I think the reason people really hated Leia’s space return is that the audience was cheated out of a great death of their princess.  The theater was silent.  SILENT!  When Leia was sucked out into space.  If Leia died there Johnson could have had the best Star Wars movie ever.  But he cheated a little.  We all know that Leia has Jedi abilities from being Luke Skywalker’s sister, and from her ability to hear Luke in Empire Strikes Back.  She has Jedi powers.  That’s not the issue.  But Johnson took a great death, and then pulled the punch.

Unfortunately he did it again at the end of the movie as well.  Finn was all prepared to sacrifice his life for the rebellion.  The camera holds on Finn’s face, cuts back to the machines, then cuts back to Finn’s face.

I remember thinking, “No, don’t kill Finn!  He can’t kill Finn!”  Which means he probably should have killed Finn.

But instead Johnson pulled his punch and Rose comes in for the rescue.

Those two things kept The Last Jedi from being the best Star Wars movie.

Luke, like Yoda before him, has gone into hiding after failing their Jedi trainees.

When people complain that Luke wasn’t like we thought he would be.  Well, he is thirty years older.  Lots of stuff happens in three decades.  You’re not the same person thirty years down the road.

Plus, Episode 7 sets Luke up.  Han tells us that Luke blamed himself for Kylo Ren, so he went into hiding.  This isn’t a happy-got-himself-together Luke.  This is a sad and depressed Luke we are told about in Episode 7.  Rian Johnson didn’t set this up.  JJ Abrahams did.

Luke is a monk.  I freakin’ love that!  Luke is a monk, living among monks.  This is what monks do.  They hid up on the mountain and contemplate life.

Luke’s Force projection is the most ultimate of Jedi skills.  He came through with the most bad-ass Jedi ability ever.  Luke could your kick ass, and not even be on the same planet as you.  That is epic.

And I gotta be honest, the shot of Luke standing alone before the Imperial Walkers gets me teary.  That was the greatest image in the whole series for me.  The Empire stops because Luke was standing there.  And he WASN’T EVEN THERE!  He made the walkers stop!  Stop!  And he wasn’t even there.  Wow.  That is power.  That’s why that scene works.

Rey’s parentage was the punch to the gut that Johnson did give us.

When Kylo Ren says “You’re nothing.  You mean nothing to this story.”  I feel that pain.

Now, I’m not sure that I believe him.  We know that Kylo is a liar.  Why wouldn’t he be lying here?  I don’t know.  But I know I felt it when he kicks Rey with her parentage.

Johnson did something never done before in a Star Wars movie, when Rey and Kylo fought together against Snoke’s guards. That fight is invigorating.  It is both visually beautiful, with the red of the room, the red of Kylo’s lightsaber, and the red of the guards.  As the fight ends, the tension is palatable.  They just spent the last few minutes on the same side defeating Snoke, now Johnson has us back to wondering who will turn.  This is what Johnson did superbly, holding the tension.

Just beautiful.

The Last Jedi is one of the better Star Wars movies.  I find it more interesting when things don’t go the way we expect that is more interesting.

It is more interesting and compelling when it is called Star Wars: The Last Jedi not Star Wars: Everything is Exactly as you it expected it be.  

And that’s better for the whole galaxy.

The first chapter from my next book–Charlotte Morgan and the Great Big Math Problem

This is my next book.

It is currently being copy edited, (so there will be the occasional typo in this version).

The characters use math and describe their math thinking as they work through problems.  I am a former 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade teacher, so I used my experience and background from those years as I wrote this.

The book is also available for preorder on Kindle.


Charlotte Morgan is a third grader who likes numbers, and she is in a club called The Number Investigators.

My name is Charlotte, and I have a great big problem.  You see in two weeks, or 14 days, or 336 hours or 20,160 minutes, or 1,209,600 seconds is our big Turing Elementary School Math Bee.  A math bee is like a spelling bee only with math problems.

Why is this a problem you ask?  This is a problem because I don’t like getting up in front of the class.  And if I do good in front of the class, then I have to go in front of the whole big school.  And most of the time I get the best math grade in my class.  There are twenty-two other students in my class, which means there will forty-four eyes looking at me.  I forgot, forty-six eyes, Mrs. King, my teacher, will be looking at me too!

And also, did I mention my dad is a math teacher?  That’s a lot of pressure.  He will be very disappointed in me if I don’t do well.

Parent’s Notes went home last week about the math bee, and my dad got really excited.  He teaches algebra and calculations at Middlebury High School, at least, I think it is called calculations.  Anyway, dad, or Mr. Morgan, as his students call him, has started quizzing me constantly throughout the day.  He’ll say, “Okay, Tambourine, what is 4 times 3.”  And I reply “12.”  It is getting annoying.

He calls me Tambourine because when I was little, like two or three, I would walk around the house shaking and banging a tambourine.  I don’t do that anymore, but the name stuck.

My mom calls me Charlotte, and Charlotte Morgan when I am in trouble.

I go to Turning Elementary School, and I am in the third grade  As I already said Mrs. King is my teacher.  She tells me I talk a lot.

But if it wasn’t for me she wouldn’t remember that she left her pencil behind her ear.  That poor pencil would just stay there all day—poor pencil.

Today is Friday, and school is about to start.  That means there are 14 days until the Turing Elementary School Math Bee.  That’s 336 hours.

Writing in a bookstore window–I am fascinated by the story of Harlan Ellison

I am fascinated by the story of Harlan Ellison.

I wrote a post about him five months ago.

And I am really interested in his writing in the window of a book store.  He wrote stories in the from the start of the day to the end of the day and he would put the pages up in the window as he finished them.  And the pages would be clean and error free.


He did this many times over the years.  Apparently some of those stories he wrote in a window won awards.  But as of this moment I am not sure which ones those are.  Now Ellison won a lot of awards for his short stories.  I just wish I knew which ones where written in a store window.

One story I do know that he wrote in a window was Objects of Desire Are Closer than They Appear.  And the premise for the story was given to him by Chris Carter.  Carter gave him the phrase a 102-year-old pregnant corpse.

Some began to believe that Harlan was cheating by already having ideas for his stories planned out before he sat in the bookstore window, so eventually he would get people to give an idea.  Robin Williams gave him the phrase “Computer Vampyre”  and Ellison wrote the story Keyboard.

I find that fascinating.

Ellison did not let writers block get in the way.  Writing is fun.  Writing in enjoyable.  And more than anything else, writing isn’t about rewriting to get it perfect, a lot of his stories he taped to the window as he finished them.  Remember this was on a typewriter, not a laptop.


Harlan writing at the Booksmith in May of 1994 at the Booksmith in San Francisco. 

Just cool as all get out.

Finals: The Dolbin School Book 4 is now available in paperback and Kindle

The latest book in The Dolbin School Series is here.

The Kindle version came out in December.

But the paperback version took a few tries to get the cover correct.  Come to find out there was a bug in the latest version of Photoshop that caused vertical type to be processed incorrectly when turning the PSD file into a PDF.  But now we have it fixed.

The book is enrolled in the Kindle Matchbook program, so you can buy the paperback and get the Kindle version for free.

Click here to get the book on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

Didn’t “Win” NaNoWriMo–But so what!

I didn’t make it.

I guess I am supposed to feel bad about it.

I don’t like that feeling.  I don’t like at all.

I don’t write everyday.  I have a six-year-old that I want to send time with.  It is very hard to write when you don’t have a home office.  I get most of my writing done in a Starbucks or library.

My kid was out of school for two early in the month for parent-teacher conferences and a teacher workday.  Two days gone right there.

Then there was that whole Thanksgiving thing.  Three days of family, writing gone.  And one day, I worked all day on formatting my next book for paperback.  Formatting my books is something I haven’t outsourced yet. and maybe I should.  But books need to be formatted.

So there was five days gone.  And I don’t write much on weekends, a few hundred words here and there.  But I really need to be by myself to get tons of words done.

I did manage somewhere in the 24,000 word range.  That’s a Goosebumps novel right there folks.

That’s more than the Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly, thank you very much.

I appreciated the push, and learning how to get more words done in a session.  I started actually writing notes by hand about what I was going to write that day, and when I did that the words came easier.

The point is to write.

And I wrote.

NaNoWriMo 17,000 words–wow–I am behind

I am still trying NaNoWriMo.

But I don’t think I am going to hit the deadline.  I am currently just past 17,000 words,  I should be around 27,000 words at this point.


I am not liking this stress.  I have missed a few days for various reasons.

But I am learning how to get more words done in a session.  Over the last two days, I have begun sketching out what I am going to write about that day.  That gives me a road map for the writing session.  As opposed to my normal, let’s just see where this thing goes.

I get the sense that NaNoWriMo was started to help people finish a book.  I have finished books, but I am not liking this pressure of 1667 words everyday.  A 1000 words s day, no problem.

I know there are many that would read that and laugh.  Doing 1667 words a day is normal.

I’m not there.

I can do between 1000-1700 words Monday through Friday without a problem.  Saturday and Sunday become an issue when my kid is home from school.

Oh, well, the book may not be finished by November 30, but it will be finished.

NaNoWriMo–11,635 words down. A little behind.

I am still attempting NaNoWriMo.

But I admit.  This week was tough.

I’m feeling the pressure.

My daughter was off from school for two days this week.  So that changes the schedule just a little bit.  She did spend a fair amount of time at her baby sitters, but the change in schedule just threw me.  It happens.

And then I got sick the last couple of days.  I got some stomach virus, and as I write this I think I got it from the children’s museum I took my daughter to on Tuesday.  I’m surrounded by dozens of kids, there’s bound to be a rogue germ around there.

So, I’m behind.  By about 5,000 words.  On the 10th of November I should be at 16,670 words.  So I’m behind.

I’m going to keep trying, but we’ll see.

NaNoWriMo Day 4 only 263–That’s cool

Day 4

Not a big writing day.

263 words

263 words. There is more to life than NaNoWriMo. At least that’s what I tell myself to keep from curling up and crying in the corner.

Did other things for business today.

Also tried to mow the lawn before it started to rain.

You know regular Saturday things.

I pulled out the laptop and went through I what I wrote yesterday and added some new things.  That got me another 263 words.

That won’t get me to 50,000 words in 30 days.

But 250 words a day, over a year gets you 91,000 words, which is enough for two small novels a year.

Which is two more novels a year than 99% of people who say, “I want to write a novel.”

NanoWriMo Day 3–2083 words passed 6,000 words total

I got started later today.

My choice of Starbucks to write at was poor.  It was too crowded.  I went to write on their outside porch.  It was too cold outside to write.

So I drank my coffee and did some morning pages, where I just write in a stream of consciousness to clear my brain before I begin writing a novel.

I then made it to my normal writing spot the library.

There was no world series yesterday, so I got more sleep, and therefore I cranked through til 1 pm.

Ended the day with 2,083 words.

Bringing my total to 6313.  Which is cool, I am over 10% through.

I don’t I’ll write as much on the weekend.  I like hanging out with the family.

But we’ll see.

NaNoWriMo Day 2 1883 words–stayed up too late with the World Series

I got 1883 words done today.

That’s above the recommended pace of 1667 words per day.  But it’s less than what I want to hit of 2,500, that allows me to skip Saturday and Sunday if needed.

More than needed, but not what I was hoping for.

Today was a fun writing time, because I was able to get all these words done, between 9:45 and noon.

I stopped at noon.  I’ve been running on too little sleep watching the world series.  Congrats Houston you deserved it.

(I am useless…)

today was fun too because I also added Dragons to the story.

I needed a reason for why things are bad in the future.  So why not aliens that attacked earth and call them Dragons.

Me writing:

Okay, I need something to have attacked the world from space.


No that’s been used in Starship Troopers and Ender’s Game…

Dragons from space.

Sounds good to me.  Keep going.

Remember this is play.