New Year Resolutions

Another year, another chill sesh in the Virtual Hot Tub!

It’s customary at this time of year to make resolutions, usually as we regret the binging over Christmas and promise not to be so greedy in future.  Fair enough, I feel that pain.  And I applaud anyone who wants to make a change for the better.

I do have a small problem with resolutions being so very negative, however.  It’s all “I must not do this” and “no to that”, and so on.  I think it’s much better to have a positive outlook on these things.  So instead of “I’m not eating junk food”, try “I’m going to eat healthier”.  Or “I’m going to reduce the amount of alcohol I drink”, rather than “I’m not drinking at all”.  Make your resolutions a goal, rather than a restriction.

This way, any minor relapses can be balanced out, rather than becoming a failure and evolving into an excuse to fall back into old, unhealthy ways.

But then, don’t take too much notice of Platinum Al – I’m not giving up anything!  Why would you, with your own Virtual Hot Tub and Tiki Bar??!

I am, however, intending to do the following this year:

  1. Play music.  I listen to music all the time, constantly doing my music homework.  I think it’s about time I actually played some music though.  There’s a guitar and bass in the garage that haven’t been touched for years.  Maybe it’s time to start playing a little.  Practice a few tunes.  I might even start a band!!!
  2. Skateboard more.  In 2014 I was rolling a hell of a lot more than the past few years.  But let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger.  I need to skate as much as I can while I can.  So whether I’m doing tricks or just cruising on the longboard, I intend to get out and skate.  Weather permitting.
  3. Buy some more hats.  Top of the list are a bowler hat; a sea captain’s hat and a Native American head dress.  I like hats.

So there you go – let’s see how those little goals I’ve set develop over the coming months.

Thanks again to all who read, follow and contribute to Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  I really do appreciate it!  Your comments and feedback make it all worthwhile.  So stick with me, there’s lots to come in 2015.  All the usual garbage you’d expect, plus possibly a few new areas too…

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015 – have a blast, everyone!

Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub – 2014 in review

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Thank you for taking the time in 2014 to pay a visit to Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Your support, advice and interest have made this all worth while.

Take a look at the report below, to see some of the exciting stats for the past year.  No really, it is interesting!

Thanks again, and stay tuned for more fun in 2015!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Star Wars Episode VII – Why I’m not thrilled about the sequels

Those of you who know me well, will know that I am a fan of Star Wars.  Just ever so slightly.  Oh alright then, I’ve been completely obsessed with that galaxy far, far away since I was five years old.  You may be surprised that this is my first Star Wars themed blog post on the Virtual Hot Tub, infact.  However, you may be more surprised about my feelings for the new Star Wars sequels.

I remember being sat at this very computer on that day in October 2012, when Disney announced it’s acquisition of Lucasfilm – and the planned seventh episode of the saga.  I was not impressed.

Not that Disney being the home of the saga bothered me.  At the end of the day, Star Wars is a kid’s film – and what better home for it than the House of Mouse?  I have no problem with that.

Final Episode

What bothers me is setting the new films after Return of the Jedi.  The sixth episode has been the final episode for a long time.  Sure, I wanted to see more films back in 1983, when I was a kid.  But as I’ve grown older, I’ve been happy with the conclusion of the series.  It’s an upbeat ending.  The Empire is defeated, the Alliance is victorious – peace and freedom from oppression is restored to the galaxy.  It’s exactly what the story needs, and it’s perfect in it’s intention (if not always it’s execution).

But if that’s not the end, then what’s next?  If the battle against evil goes on, then to some extent the sacrifices and hardships of the “middle” trilogy lose some of the potency.  Of course, in a real world, conflicts and rivalries continue.  But this isn’t the real world, it’s a fairy tale – a big, outer space fairy tale.  And there was no “Snow White 2” or “Revenge of the Wicked Step Mother” when that story arc came to an end.

EU-rrghh

I guess I’m most afraid of the horrors of the Star Wars Expanded Universe taking hold in the film versions.  I did read a lot of EU stories – novels and comics – before Episode I was released.  After that, I gave up on non-canon works as they often featured contradictions to what was appearing on screen, such as the origins of the Death Star.

Much worse than any slight inconsistencies, however, were some of the bafflingly bad concepts splurged onto the page by EU creators.  A criticism of the Star Wars EU is a topic for a whole blog post of it’s own – and I admit it’s not all bad.  I was never a huge fan of the Thrawn trilogy (too much of Zahn’s own creations with ridiculous names, not enough film characters), though other series were much worse.  The big problem I had with the EU though, was the lame device of bringing back the bad guys – Emperor Palpatine returns!  Boba Fett didn’t die!

Oh, come on.

I enjoyed many of the comics and the books set within the time frame of the original movies.  And I think this is where the big problem lies: all those brilliantly dastardly bad guys are dead.  How are they going to replace them?  One thing’s for sure – the new writers have a hell of a lot of work to do.  Let’s hope they steer clear of the EU for inspiration.  I don’t even want any sly nods to keep the fans happy.

New Talent

So talking of the new talent: is JJ Abrams up to the job? To be honest, I have never seen anything that the guy has done, so I can’t comment.  The good news is Lawrence Kasdan, who scripted Episodes V and VI, is back onboard. Thank God.  Why was he never involved in the Star Wars prequels?  Any help with answering that conundrum much appreciated.

Another interesting rumour (or more-than-rumour, these days) is the return of the original cast.  There’s been a huge amount of interest in the return of Hamill, Ford and Fisher to the saga.  I’m not sure about this either, sorry.  Baby Darth Vader in Episode I was hard enough to accept – do I really need to see a 65 year old Luke Skywalker?  I’m not sure about seeing my childhood heroes as old people.  I’d sooner they were timeless and forever as they were at the end of Jedi.

Who else will we see return?  R2-D2 will return, it has been reported.  So what about C3PO?  If we have Luke, Leia and Han, then surely we will need to have Chewie and Lando?  Please bring Chewie along, Lucasfilm – you can’t let him die in one of those awful books!

A New Hope

I don’t want to be totally negative about this new venture.  One thing that does excite me is the news of stand alone movies, possibly featuring lesser characters.  These stories could – and should – occur within the time frame (or immediately preceeding) of the earlier six films.  Again, Episode VI should be the end, but I’d love to see the early years of the Rebel Alliance.  That would be very cool.  More on this in another blog post…

Whatever adventures we experience with Episodes VII to IX, I want to be optimistic.  I’m a Star Wars fan, and I hope my fears above are wrong.  I have my doubts, though I would love them to be cast aside.  Will that happen?  In the words of one wise being: “Difficult to see.  Always in motion is the future.”

Let’s hope the Force is with us.