Trae Stratton's Blog

February 16, 2018

**Spoiler Alert**

Do not read this post if you have not already seen The Last Jedi.

Okay:
So you've seen The Last Jedi?
Me too.
Great effects, it would have been a good science fiction movie. On its own, it could probably have started a new franchise. As a Star Wars movie: I believe it was awful. Together with Force Awakens, it has done more to destroy a beloved franchise than Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks combined.
And I like the new characters!
I love Finn and BB8, I really like Rey, and Poe is pretty good too.
What disgusts me, absolutely disgusts me, is what they have done to our beloved heroes Han and Luke.
How can it not? The Reboots of 7 and 8 (that's right reboots- I'll get to it shortly) have turned these legendary heroes to zeroes.
Let's say this straight so there is no mistake:
HAN SOLO ABANDONED HIS WIFE TO FIGHT A NEW INTERGALACTIC WAR ON HER OWN- and this he did after she lost her planet and everyone she loved.
Great guy that Han Solo.
What a jerk.
Awww... did the little boy go all dark side on you? That's the time to step up Dad! Basically Han Solo is just like all those deadbeat dads who abandon their kids and their mothers in the inner city.
Luke also had his legacy destroyed. Maybe not as bad as Han, but LUKE ABANDONS HIS ONLY REMAINING FAMILY TO FIGHT AN INTERGALACTIC WAR BY HERSELF! This he does after taking down the Emperor and redeeming his father Darth Vader? Really? He thinks Kylo is less redeemable than Vader? Way to go Uncle Luke!
I can't stand it.
I hate what they have done to Star Wars.
Are you disgusted too?
If so, your prescription is to read the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn- first book is called Heir to the Empire.
That three book arc is the true ending to the Star Wars saga- and I can promise you, despite lots of ups and downs, triumphs and sorrows: Han tries to be a good dad and husband, as well as a respectable General, and Luke becomes a great Jedi Master.
You can think of it this way-
You know how they say the Original is always better than the remake or the sequel?
The THRAWN TRILOGY IS THE ORIGINAL and this awful story that's being called canon is the failed reboot.
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Published on February 16, 2018 17:03 • 93 views • Tags: bb8, disney, finn, force-awakens, han-solo, last-jedi, luke-skywalker, princess-leia, rey, star-wars, the-last-jedi, thrawn, timothy-zahn

August 17, 2017

American Heroes.

You have to think about what that means a moment as it pertains to the Civil War. It is hard to imagine now, but as it regards to the South and the Confederate States, they wanted to become their own country. What if they succeeded and sided against us in one of the ensuing World Wars? How many would have died? No way of knowing the answers to any of that of course. After all, the Confederate States could have become friends with England and joined the Allies while the North sided with the Axis.

My point is, the world as we know it would be completely different. It is so hard to see the South as a different country, but that's what they would have been and how would we feel about Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis then? It's easy to see them as Americans now, but in a very real sense, they fought not to be American and preserve an unacceptable way of life- slavery.

I know America did not invent slavery, although it seems the world media wants to make us think so. And there is a good chance slavery would have continued at least into the 1900s if we didn't defeat the English and gain our Independence. America was simply the last country to rely on slavery, and so it is America that is remembered. Does anyone care about the slaves who built the pyramids? Doesn't seem that way does it?

Still, it's worth remembering the South lost the war, and thankfully, none of our enemies at the time, including England and France, were ready to sail over and take over, and if they did, slavery would have continued. But they didn't. Slavery ended. The country was at a perilous peace and facing an uncertain future- enter Lincoln's genius. He didn't demand restitution, He knew America needed to hug it out, and the best way to do that, was to let the South be the South sans slavery- hence their monuments and memorials to Confederate Heroes.

Now that time is passed. And maybe it's time to take that statuary down, but they're still history and need to be preserved in museums. Think about the Holocaust Museum- is that a tribute to Nazis? No it's not. There are lots of countries that had crazy leaders, mad kings and queens or czars and caesers and their statuary remains- not as a tribute to insanity, but a piece of history.

Emotions are raw, especially among liberals who can not get over Trump, but on this I feel they're on the right moral side of history. I just wish the left would stop turning to violence to make their points. I imagine there are lots of people on the right too who feel the same way about the statues coming down, but the media has turned it into a Democrats want to tear them down and Republicans don't. Why? To stimulate their voters of course and make it seem like a fight when there is none- hence we have the Phantom Menace.

See the video of everyone beating the statue that came down? I think they are emotionally beating up Republicans, not Confederate Heroes.

Stop turning to violence please, especially when you have a winning argument- and please don't listen to anyone who tells you violence is the way; It most certainly is not.

VIOLENCE FRIGHTENS ME. IT MAKES ME STOP LISTENING AND COMPELS ME TO VOTE AGAINST ANYTHING YOU ARE USING VIOLENCE TO STAND UP FOR.

Dialogue and debate.
That's how our forefathers did it and that's how we should do it too. Remember what happened the last time everyone stormed out of the room and resorted to violence?

Civil War.

There are crazies on the right and the left. They're the ones who kill cops, shoot at congressman playing baseball, shout down free speech and drive cars into protesters.

Stop listening to the crazies before it's too late.

We are all the Loyal Opposition, and when we're done, we should all be able to go out and have a drink, watch a game, or talk about Game of Thrones.

That's my America.
Land that I love.
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Published on August 17, 2017 11:09 • 5 views • Tags: civil-war, confederate-states, democrats, jefferson-davis, phantom-menace, republicans, robert-e-lee

July 19, 2017

In my opinion, Hysteria was a weak Def Leppard album that marked the beginning of the end for a great band.

I hope Russian Hysteria will mark the end of the slanted non-news coming from CNN and its affiliates, and the slanted bashing of CNN's non news by Fox.

How many times can anyone fall for a "big story" to find out later it's nothing? It's the same joke over and over- and the joke is on us people, not Democrats, not Republicans- all of us.

Isn't it crazy to put on CNN and listen to them revealing hidden conspiracies and breaking scandals just to turn on Fox and have them totally debunk the conspiracy? This goes on ALL DAY LONG!

Ugh!!! Where is the rest of the freaking news???

They say it's a small world but something has to be happening somewhere that doesn't involve Russian conspiracies right? Isn't there a big fire out west? There is always a fire this time of year. How about technology? Is the jet-pack I've been waiting my whole life for coming out anytime soon? Any truth more states are going to tax hybrid owners for driving hybrids? Or did that pass nationally already? Who won the last round in the global warming debate? Is the skyrocketing stock market heading for a crash? What's this world tour stuff about a boxer fighting a UFC guy? Is it true? Is Doctor Who a woman now?

The news cycle used to be news- emphasis on the new every day. Now it's the same thing over and over and over.

Seinfeld reruns are fresher than the news these days and it's exhausting.

Things are happening folks. Lots of things. And it seems like the news stations we used to trust to tell us about it have other ideas. Maybe that's because only 5 or 6 people own all the networks in the USA.

Did you know that?
Look it up while you can still trust Google a little.

You think those 5 or 6 people ever sit down to dinner or have a conference call to decide what they want us to know and/or how they want to tell us so they can influence how we think and/or what we want to buy?

Now that's a freaking secret meeting people.
That's a legit secret meeting.
Who do we have reporting on that?
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Published on July 19, 2017 22:04 • 40 views • Tags: cnn, conspiracy, def-leppard, doctor-who, fox, global-warming, hybrids, russia, seinfeld

May 16, 2017

Like most, I really enjoyed Rogue One. I believe it hit all the beats. When I discuss it with friends I often refer to it as the SW version of a WWII suicide mission movie like The Dirty Dozen. That said, I really think they dropped the ball with the lead in novel: Catalyst. That book should have been rife with espionage and cat and mouse. It wasn't written that way and unfortunately, the choices they did make made it plod. I wouldn't know for sure, but I never blame the author when they do tie ins. This time I blame Disney/Lucasfilm for an egregious lack of foresight and focusing on the revenue stream of the Rogue One franchise instead of the plot. To the point, the book does give Krennic a chance to shine a bit, but I think it would have been much more exciting if it illustrated opposing genius' trying to outwit and out maneuver each other (Sherlock and Moriarity style). It also could have featured a daring escape by the Ersos as they went into hiding while satisfying Krennic in giving him what he wanted (apparently). What a missed opportunity.

But we do have Rogue One and all the great cameos. Especially the finale which no doubt pleased every Vader fan across the globe.

High hopes for Episode VIII and Han Solo!
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Published on May 16, 2017 16:04 • 16 views • Tags: catalyst, darth-vader, rogue-one, star-wars

October 13, 2016

Isn't it great when you meet a celebrity and they are as cool as you always hoped they'd be?

Such was the case at NYCC 2016 when I hit the autograph que for the 11th Doctor and Clara- that would be Matt Smith and Jenna Louise Coleman for those of you who don't know what a TARDIS is.

I was only going to go on Sunday, but when I found out 11 and Clara were there Thursday I had to go- After all, I did feature them in my Second Star to the Right fan-fic for a reason. (If you want to read the story it can be found on my website www.traestratton.com).

So...

To my great fortune, there was a child on line in front of me on the Matt Smith line. To actually hear him "be the Doctor" in person for a moment to the sheer delight of that little boy was amazing, and made me feel like a kid again myself. Which, in fact, is why I still watch the show, only on weekends, only in the morning, and with a bowl of cereal when I can. For that hour I am 10 years old again, and obviously that kind of feeling is a rare, rare thing indeed: perhaps something only a Time Lord can accomplish.

Jenna. Sweet. With a mischievous mix of Classy-Sassy. And that Smile. I wish she would get a show here in America. How she is not on television once a week is beyond me.

In between autographs I methodically patrolled that Javits Center show floor and absolutely could not find that damn Topps booth for the second year in a row. Very annoying for a daily digital card collector like myself.

Still I did find lots of great collectibles: Exclusive Batman and Boba Fett ornaments by Hallmark, autographed prints, autographed comics, limited edition pins.

Artist Alley was again a treat where among the many other prints, novels and comics I had signed I picked up a limited edition Star Wars print (#241 of 250) by Jason W. Christman, an autographed print and graphic novel from Mouseguard creator David Peterson and a signed print from Karen Hallion of the Doctor helping Aurora take down Maleficent (which is so damn cool!)

Why am I bringing all this up?

I suppose it's because I had such a great time. Everyone is so friendly, they're all trying to sell you something so there is that, but all the artists and creators are willing to chat and smile, take photos and are generally quite pleasant. Most of them even autograph your prints, comics and novels FOR FREE which is nice too.

If you have never gone, and you're thinking about it, consider this a definite shove to get you to go. You won't regret it. You're feet will probably hurt at the end of the day. But you won't regret it.
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Published on October 13, 2016 18:50 • 52 views • Tags: david-peterson, doctor-who, jason-w-christman, jenna-louise-coleman, karen-hallion, matt-smith, new-york-comic-con, nycc

August 2, 2016

Guns n Roses.
The big three together again.
Saw them in Philadelphia.
Fantastic.
Everything a Heavy Metal Concert should be.
Great set list. Great vibe. And ON TIME!
If you are on the fence about seeing this show in any way leap into the stadium without delay.

I will certainly miss the days of seeing Slash and his new band in small venues. Those shows were full of shredding guitar solos and passionate play by the entire band- totally amazing. Saw Axl once, despite his incredible voice-not nearly as good, too much November Rain and Don't Cry. In the end though, there is just something undeniably epic about GnR. It's such a shame that the megaband of this generation imploded. We can only hope that all these sold out shows convinces them to record some new music. Could happen, in fact, I say 75-25 that it does. The reason I believe this comes down from something I read in Slash's book: He's always writing, especially on the road. Paradise City and Sweet Child were both born in a van on the road...

So maybe Duff and Axl hear Slash playing something that catches their ear and BOOM!

Metal Magic.

The kindling is set, hope with me and maybe we can help fire the spark that leads to a new album.
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Published on August 02, 2016 16:19 • 38 views • Tags: axl-rose, guns-n-roses, slash

March 5, 2016

So I'm still cruising along on my next novel, and by cruising along I don't mean like a cruise missile, I mean like Grandma on a Sunday afternoon.

I'm thinking now that I am about a third of the way through of what appears to be Book I of a duology. You might find the fact that I don't have an outline as I move forward remarkable, but that's how I "cruise." With the top down, enjoying the sights, taking random detours on occasion- and not just listening to my Navigator's instructions (the outline.)

Stories and scenes come at random, and sometimes not as fast as I like them too, which probably accounts for how slow I write. But when they come, its so damn exciting and energizing! The absolute bliss of a sudden breakthrough, resolution or plot twist is so rewarding that it puts me on a high for days- and I just don't think I could get that with an firm outline.

My most recent "moment" was in fact, just a couple of days ago- the realization that I've finished Part I of Book I. I've even got a name for it: StarFall. That's right, no space. This is especially important to me because, as yet, I still have no title ideas for the book itself!

How funny is that? Is that funny at all? Is that tragic? It's new to me because my story ideas usually come with titles. Not this time. I'm not too worried. The name for Part I came with a bonus- the name for Part II. I expect the title will eventually present itself- and I'll celebrate when it does.

Self-Published Writer's Tip of the Day: Enjoy the process as much as you can because the glory of independent publishing fades quickly into an endless Marketing Quagmire. The memories of the struggle and the "chapter victories" that got you there will make publishing sweeter and last forever.

So there you go. Some real musing from the lair, at the keyboard, of a novel in progress and how the pages are going from blank to filled.
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Published on March 05, 2016 08:32 • 26 views • Tags: novel-in-progress, outline, self-published, writing-tips

February 24, 2016

When I see the Goodreads Updates on my home page I always wonder how so many people can read sooooo fast.

It boggles my mind.

Honestly. I couldn't read as fast as the Goodreads Community at large if I was in prison.

On the other hand. The only person I know in real life who does read that fast, can't tell me anything about the book a week later, even if I've I read it and try to jog his memory!

So, if that's the trade off then I say: No Deal.
In the meantime, I'll keep reading graphic novels so it looks like I'm zooming toward my Reading Challenge like everyone else....
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Published on February 24, 2016 22:11 • 11 views

January 16, 2016

SPOILERS AHEAD.
IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN FORCE AWAKENS DO NOT READ THIS POST.

I liked the movie. I get the feeling that you might not think so in a few minutes but I really, really did. Lots of great moments. But compared to the Expanded Universe now dubbed Star Wars Legacy, it pales in comparison. To me it was a feared and inevitable conclusion because of the time frame the plot required to force Luke, Han and Leia into the movie. My hope, was that it would be different but good, like trying your favorite dish in a different country. And that hope was fulfilled.

Still, in my opinion the reworked plot of New Hope into Force Awakens should have been reconsidered. Do we really need a new Ultimate Weapon scenario? And could you explain to me how after losing the Galactic Civil War and two Deathstars they could even build such a thing without being attacked in the first place. Mythologically speaking the Starkiller Base also sadly renders the history of the Death Star battles into a footnote. Why does every Imperial Officer have to strut around like an prickly lawyer or accountant?

So who is the bad guy? I love the idea of him being a resurrected Darth Plagueis who realizing he could not defeat Palpatine, subsequently used his mastery over life and death to create Anakin to destroy him and the Jedi Order, paving the way for Plagueis to return and step into the void.

I can't stand the name Supreme Leader. That's the best you could do? If you read my previous post "Names" what I'd really like to know is what tombstone they found that on. LOL. Captain Phasma? That must have come from a porno star tombstone. It annoys me because I love Gwendoline Christie and the job she does on Game of Thrones as Brienne. I detest and fear the idea of her character becoming a cosmic joke. Hopefully the refrain of the Empire kicking ass in the middle episode remains true to form and she gets to do a lot of the kicking. I would love to see her go on a rampage killing rebel after rebel until an armor-less old west type final showdown with Finn.

The dogfights were spectacular and we are blessed as moviegoers for such scenes to even be possible.

Lots more to say on each of the characters but that's all for now because I want to touch on how anxious and excited I am about the X-Files coming back.

I don't even want to speculate on possible stories but I will say that the Graphic Novels of Season 10 Volume 1 and 2 were very well crafted with interesting and plausible plot lines that brought them out of retirement (still together I might add). Reading them has been a nice primer to get back into the show and I highly recommend them.
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Published on January 16, 2016 12:58 • 20 views • Tags: darth-plagueis, force-awakens, x-files

August 20, 2015

Coming up with character names is rarely easy. Sometimes, when you're lucky, they come out of nowhere and they're perfect. Usually though, it's a struggle. So when I read this interesting, helpful nugget, I thought I would share it.

In a recent interview about naming characters for the new Star Wars movie, JJ Abrams mentioned strolling through a cemetery to find inspiration for names.

WHAT A COOL IDEA!!!

You get fresh air, the change of seasons depending how often you go, a striking atmosphere to fire the creative brain cells and yes; names, names and more names. Perhaps the best thing about it, they're all already sorted by year! so if you're writing a period piece you can instantly scan for names from the period you writing about, or at least go to the right cemetery to find what you're looking for...

There you go. I may be slacking, but the brain is always filing, and this is a good one to remember.
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Published on August 20, 2015 22:44 • 15 views