The Lost Scribe: Where Is Brad?!

Bradscribe Has Vanished… 

UNBALANCED: "Why did he leave...?"
UNBALANCED: “Why did he leave…?”

Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight 

The Stars before him from the Field of Night, 

Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strike

The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light” – Omar Khayyam.

He was blogging along merrily as usual until – all of a sudden – readers drifted away and the Stats plummeted. It is hard to believe how one so cosmic – so totally with it – could have just upped and left… 

But Kismet decreed that if there were to be no readers, there would be no incitement to write. For the time being, at least. Thus, these unforeseen circumstances provided an ideal time to recharge his creative battery, and prepare for a stupendous comeback, when he would – like Ant-Manbecome bigger and better than before. 

And so, the past few weeks presented the opportunity for him, and his fabulous wife, to detach themselves – albeit briefly – from the technological trappings of the “modern age.” And escape, literally, into the Middle of Nowhere. To seek out the Centre of Knowledge. 

They “got away from it all” – yay, Mr. and Mrs. B got off the grid. 

No surprise, really. It’s as if he has completely fallen off this quadrant… 

Most likely, he skedaddled to the Outer Rim – even his ol’ mate: Maz said: “There, you can disappear…”

Some say there were rumours – nay, stories – of him traipsing off on some foolhardy pilgrimage across the galaxy to the Mojo Temple, to rediscover what he had lost…  

THE WANDERER: "Seeking out the poorer quarters Where the ragged people go, Looking for the places Only they would know."
THE WANDERER: “Seeking out the poorer quarters, Where the ragged people go, Looking for the places
Only they would know.”

“He probably enjoyed being a man of mystery. He embraced the allusions in his life just as much as those that appeared in the many stories he wrote” – J J Furie. 

STARDATE: 04.05.2559.

They left the land-speeder halfway up the mountain – the gradient seemed far too steep to climb. Sure, it was really hot, but still too early in the morning for the sun to have reached its searing zenith.

Out there – in the back of beyond – you would be lucky to have any electricity, let alone a reliable internet connection. Among a cluster of wooden chalets at the summit, the guru awaited their arrival. She had sought his counsel many moons ago; he had read several of his inspirational articles in the papers – this monk seemed like the right Ajarn [teacher] to visit at the right time… 

There was no time to linger and inhale the incense in the Inner Sanctum. 

All three talked for ages. The Scribe had countless questions on philosophy and spirituality – too many for that session – so promised to return one day soon… 

And before the westerner departed, the easterner asked him if he would – at some point – consider becoming a monk…

As the sun gradually diminished that evening, the world-weary wordsmith reclined to view the glorious blood-red and orange sky – it’s not every evening you can watch something as awesome as that back in the Western Regions.

And he beamed heartily at the Field of Night, safe in the knowledge that most of his stress had dissolved…

And all those pursuers were far, far away…

BRAD'S ARMY: He fights the dreaded Zandokan Shokk Troopers... so you don't have to.
BRAD’S ARMY: He fights the dreaded Zandokan Shokk Troopers… so you don’t have to.

“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about” – Arthur C. Clarke.

Meanwhile, halfway across the galaxy… 

The elite division of Shokk Troopers stood aside, allowing the dreaded Dark Lord: Zegreatme to stride forth.

The denizens of that spaceport dared not look directly at his visor, for fear that – with one flick of his glistening bionic hand – he would order their instant execution… 

The Zandokans stopped outside the Ravenous Greedo Cantina – yeah, this looked like the sorta crummy dive that blogger would frequent. The Troopers burst in, laser-rifles at the ready; the Dark Lord drummed his talonic fingers on the hilt of his laser-sword impatiently as he surveyed a cluster of i-monitors along the far wall. 

His agents detected high levels of chocolate cream around one console, indicating that quite considerable cake consumption had occurred in this vicinity, very recently. 

And the nacho crumbs proved to be a dead giveaway…

Their sensors revealed a half-completed Captain America: Civil War review saved in the hard drive. The Dark Lord face-palmed, knowing only too well that the Scribe had fled not long before their Imperial Skorpion Kruiser had landed…

“Vhere ees Bred now?!” he growled.

Gesturing manically to his minions to get back outside and question each and every passerby, stopping any denizen to ask them THAT question proved to be a futile move.

For the frightened locals just stared in bewilderment and uttered the same response:

Bradscribe…?! I thought he was a myth…”

NOT AS BRAD AS IT SEEMS...: "And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up..."
NOT AS BRAD AS IT SEEMS…: “And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up…”

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life” – Marcus Aurelius.

Bradscribe will return…

 

………………………………?? 

“Watch Your Back! Stay On Target!”: How To Be An Ace SF Fighter Pilot.

All Wings Report In. 

vanity-fair-star-wars-03

“Fairly early on, the idea of a space dogfight came into play. Wouldn’t it be interesting to take that kind of visual excitement and put it in outer space? We [at ILM] began to focus on the fact that we would have to create a different technology in order to accomplish that” – George Lucas. 

With 100 days until the release of the Most Anticipated Movie of the Decade, a discussion of what Episode VII has to offer seemed like the obvious topic to thrash about tonight. However, considering how stingey Lucasfilm and Disney have been in handing out juicy titbits for eager hacks like meself, there is still hardly any cool data to fill a tweet, let alone expand into a whoppin’ great blog Post.

Nuts…

So, after a particularly gruelling week (so far!), something light and easy was in order. This is not so much letting off steam, but going to bullseye womprats in my T-16. (To this day, still haven’t got the foggiest idea what that means, but it always sounds kinda liberating. What do womprats look like anyway? Are they hyphenated?)

One of the most common staples in recent science fiction movie-making is the dogfight. Okay, so what if in outer space such lightning speed and deft manoeuvres (not to mention those cool laser sounds, or any lasers, for that matter) would be as highly unlikely as any of us getting a walk-on part in Star Wars Episode VIII? Popularised in Star Wars Episode IV, these sequences have featured in numerous other subsequent good (and bad!) sci-fi movies ever since, all boldly defying countless rules of physics, and logic, of course.

Right, on with the mission.

Don’t get cocky; don’t try practicing half-assed victory rolls or any of that bunk! And there is NO EXCUSE for being too frickin’ complacent out there neither! 

NEVER fly straight and level for more than thirty seconds in a combat area! 

Accelerate to attack speed. 

x-wing-fighters-sw7

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“Squad leaders, we’ve picked up a new group of signals. Enemy fighters coming your way” – Rebel Control Officer. 

Keep up your visual scanning; this cannot be emphasised enough. 

Don’t place all your trust in your scope. With all the jamming in the target area, the enemy fighters will be on top of you before your scope can pick them up. You see, to become an ace pilot, you have to learn the ropes pretty darn fast. Or “they” will have you for breakfast. It’s a case of spring chicken to shitehawk in one easy lesson. 

And for pity’s sake: swot up on your sci-fi jargon! When Gold Leader spouts: “They’re coming in! Three marks at two ten,” rather than get blown to pieces in a volley of laser-fire (because you frowned in bewilderment for far too long), you’ll be expected to suss exactly what that means. In a split second as well! And then act accordingly!

Stabilize your rear deflectors. Watch for enemy fighters. 

If you harbour any notion of becoming (one of) the best pilots in the outer rim territories, take control of yourself. And your fighter. 

Stay on target. 

Remember, you can’t always rely on young novice pilots like Wedge to be there to watch your back!

Blast it, Biggs, where are you? 

vader_tiefighters

darth

“Several fighters have broken off from the main group. Come with me! Stay in attack formation!” – Darth Vader. 

Switch all power to front deflector screens. 

Stay close.

Stay focussed. 

Stay. On. Target! 

Keep your eyes open for those fighters!

“No sign of any- Wait! Coming in point three five.” 

If you pick one up – watch it! Increase speed full throttle!

Am going in – cover me. Select target.

Ready.

Aim…

Just DON’T switch off your targeting computer if you begin to hear frickin’ voices in your head…

That’s it. 

Once the target is obliterated in a spectacular (if a tad overdone) CG supernova, it’s back to base for cake and medals.

Huzzah!!

27A450D800000578-0-Red_leader_Oscar_Isaac_whoops_as_X_Wing_pilot_Poe_Dameron_still_-a-9_1429624568818

The Force is strong with this one…

“Evacuate?! In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!” – Grand Moff Tarkin. 

x-wing-gif

It’ll be just like Beggar’s Canyon back home.

The Man From S.C.R.I.B.E.

I Spy With My Little ’60s Eye.

bond epix 4

“This organisation does not tolerate failure” – Ernst Stavro Blofeld. 

It was only a matter of time before we got around to the ubiquitous spy thriller. Preferably, any such fare produced these days worth its bespoke tailoring has to be set in the 1960s: arguably the best period for Bond movies – the franchise to which any thriller teeming with dapper-suited agents, beautiful yet mysterious femme fatales, guns and gadgets, must inevitably be compared.

In my relentless quest for quality sci-fi, should spy thrillers be counted here? Of course, the gadgetry wielded by 007 during his Sixties heyday, heralded – some say directly inspired – this more technological era in which we live and work.

The covert world of the spy – the colder the war, the more dangerous the assignments – was given such a ridiculously glamorous edge, thanks in large part to the fiction concocted by Ian Fleming. Ultimately, the “spy” was elevated to the status of becoming “what every woman wanted and every man wanted to be.”

“Shocking… positively shocking…”

napoleon-solo

“Not very good at this whole subtlety thing, are you?” – Napoleon Solo. 

Amidst the heavy revival of the spy thriller genre this year is a revitalised rejig of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This slick and (lightly) enjoyable ride starring Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander and Armie Hammer has thankfully stayed rooted in the ’60s, immersing itself in the fashions, music and politics of that so-called “swinging” era.

It’s directed by Guy Ritchie, which means that you can expect his unique quotient of style to shine through. Cavill cuts a suitably devilish dash as the debonair illicit-art-dealer-turned-CIA agent: Napoleon Solo, who goes up against high-strung Soviet powerhouse: Ilya Kuryakin (Hammer) before they are forced to collaborate in thwarting the usual nasty plot involving that old chestnut of – oh yes – “world domination.” Yet behind the predictable postcard locations, champagne and caviar-coated glamour and the – oh nosame old dodgy Russian “accents,” there is neither any drama, nor tension. 

The major flaw here lies with the script; it lacks that necessary edge of substance and sophistication. Sounds therefore like the perfect mission for the White Rabbit, aka Agent Brad.  

The earliest Bond pictures were especially blessed with sensational music by John Barry; in keeping with that essential element, this film does come with a cool soundtrack. At least Ritchie‘s U.N.C.L.E. certainly beats sitting through that present-day-set blockbuster featuring a diminutive Scientologist hanging from the side of a plane. 

“This never happened to the other fella.”

shirley-eaton

“You come over for dinner… and I’ll cook you a wonderful angel cake” – Miss Moneypenny. 

Apart from the ludicrous-yet-painfully-predictable “model-like hotel clerk submit[ting] within minutes of casual proposition,” one of the highlights about the Man From U.N.C.L.E. is Alicia Vikander. She plays Gabby Teller, the daughter of “Hitler’s favourite rocket scientist” whom Solo and Kuryakin must find. Having already made waves in the impressive Ex Machina, this Swedish actress is particularly good in this feisty female lead, first seen working as a car mechanic in East Berlin, and later proceeding to try and melt Ilya’s big cold heart.

Just as well, for the majority of women to have crossed the path of this gentleman spy – emphasis on the gentleman, you understand – were cool and confident, quite the opposite of the archetypal “Bond girl,” who invariably played the feeble screamer and not much else. 

“I must be dreaming.”

Forever fit and well-attired, the Man From  S.C.R.I.B..E. can be found propping up the bar with a cool White Russian. And that’s just the drink…

What is my secret? Why, its top, and well-kept, obviously. And just what does the acronym: S.C.R.I.B..E. stand for exactly? That’s Classified, like most of my best missions, of course. 

“Do you expect me to talk?” 

Well, the ‘C’ has to stand for ‘Cake’ – the best bargaining chip an(y) agent could have in this business; the ‘I’ denotes ‘International,’ naturally – a perusal of any one of my passports would tell you that; while the ‘E’ would have to be ‘Enjoyment’ – otherwise, what’s the point, eh?

Hang on – sniff, sniff – what’s that burning? Will this blog self-destruct in five seconds? 

No, this spy has just accidentally sat on his own exploding pen…

“Oh, the things I do for England…”

VIKANDER2

Licenced to thrill.