Could Jar Jar Have Been Less Jarring?

jar jar vaderCame across this article about the actor who play Jar Jar Binks. Gotta pity the poor guy who played Jar Jar. At least, unlike Hayden Christensen, nobody actually saw his face. In fact, until I read this article, I didn’t know the name of the actor who played Jar Jar.

In the article’s comments, there’s some discussion regarding what would have made Jar Jar a good addition to the Star Wars universe, instead of something reviled. One suggestion being that like the aliens in previous films, Jar Jar not speak English.

Maybe, but the issue goes beyond linguistics. The problem with Jar Jar, as I see it, is that he’s used for over-the-top, kiddy-friendly, comic relief and is tonally a bad fit. Star Wars was obviously geared toward a younger crowd, but young doesn’t mean preschool or elementary. In fact, I remember, as a child, finding some aspects of the Star Wars (New Hope, et al.) films rather scary. The crispy bodies of Luke’s aunt and uncle, for instance. Or the severed arm in the cantina. Nowadays, I’m a total gorehound, but back then, when I was a delicate little flower, that was some frightening shit.

Star Wars tone is lightened by the antics of C3PO and R2, and sometimes, Chewie, but the humor never (rarely?) gets infantile. Jar Jar’s idiocy, obviously geared for paste-eating demographic, drops like a ton of silly bricks on a serious story line. I mean, the prequels are the tragic downfall of Anakin Skywalker, the kind of plot that demands drama, not the SF equivalent of the Three Stooges.

Adding insult to injury, Jar Jar’s entire species is treated as a joke, rather than a living, breathing culture. Basically, you’ve got the addition of a character and his people whose sole purpose is to make the preschool set happy and distract from all the war n’ schtuff.

Could the character still have retained the funny and been a good fit? Sure, if the humor was derived from smart, snappy dialogue rather than slapstick gags.

Ultimately, George Lucas was so busy making the world of the Star Wars prequels absolutely beautiful, that he forgot to populate it with actual people. Jar Jar Binks is pretty much a feature, not a bug, of the prequels.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So…Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Saw it. And…

Liked it.

star wars the force awakens reviewWhaat? I do like things–sometimes*. Yeah, I hated Jurassic World, a movie universally loved by people of questionable taste everywhere. I mean, seriously, people? Did we see the same crap fest of bad CGI, uneven (read: “adolescent”) plotting, and horrible characterization? Jurassic World was the “Let’s serve up a shit sandwich and see if the audience will eat it” kind of movie you’d expect from Michael Bay. Except, he didn’t direct it. (Or did he? Me, I suspect he stealth directed the fuck out of it.)

But, I digress…back to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s fun, fast-paced and exciting. Kinda fluffy and fun, in the same vein as the original trilogy. Back to the basics with a simplistic depiction of good vs. evil, and archetype-driven characterization (the loveable rogue, the reluctant hero, the orphan with a destiny, etc.). It even recycles the “droid is the McGuffin” plot. Back too is the “Scruffy, rag-tag rebels versus the mighty war machine” conflict.

With that comes Continue reading

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Corrales Starving Artists Holiday Art Sale 2015

Corrales Holiday Art Show Sale 2015Tis the season…to make windchimes.

On the eve of what will be Adobe Dragon Design Studio’s last craft/art show of 2015, I’m in a last minute panicky rush of makin’ schtuff, namely windchimes. I first made chimes a couple of years ago, just five, and they sold out in the first two days of the show. Since then, chimes have become a staple in my art repertoire.

The best thing about windchimes is that I really enjoy making them. Even certain overly popular designs–Kokopelli, quails and roadrunners, sigh. And my bestsellers, greyhounds (greyhound folk love their needlenosed hounds.) No two are ever alike, I experiment with different colors and types of glass and metal beads, charms, and wire wrapping. The latter being a challenge because I string them with bailing wire, which is stiff and not inclined to delicate styles of wrapping. The operative word here is “rustic,” which is appropriate since my style is best described as folk art.

In the Albuquerque area this Thanksgiving season? Come on out to the Corrales Starving Artists Holiday Art Sale, November 27, 28, and 29. 10AM – 4PM. Corrales Sgreyhound windchime adobe dragon design studioenior Center, 4320 Corrales, NM. FREE ADMISSION/PARKING! Make a day of it, visit Corrales’s fine art galleries and antique shops, and enjoy a meal at one of our restaurants.

Be there, or be overwhelmed by Black Friday shoppers at the mall.

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Corrales Garden Tour 2015

Adobe Dragon Kirby Garden 2015“What if they don’t like the garden? What if they hate it? They’re going to hate it. Oh, crap, why did I do this? My poor little garden!”

The demented wail of the neurotic gardener. It’s quite possible, at the moment, that my level of neurosis would make Woody Allen seem stable.

My garden, aka. the Kirby Garden, in this year’s Corrales Garden Tour, is a work in progress. The main bits of garden are completed–but no garden is ever done. Plus, there’s the perpetually not-stuccoed adobe wall, which is a patchwork of plaster, stucco netting and in few places, crumbling. The wall’s lamentable state being a function of us Kirbys being too busy with regular jobs and our little art business.

I’ve been told–repeatedly–that my garden is lovely. But I’m insecure. So my little garden’s public debut is nerve-wracking. If the garden was an actual debutante, she’d be quite pretty, but with unruly hair that refused any tame hairstyle; her clothing would be colorful but too bohemian among her sleeker, chic counterparts.

Adobe Dragon Kirby Garden 2015Unruly. Chaotic. Cottage garden. That’s the little space the hubs and I carved out in the dry desert sandhills.

It started out with the best of intentions, if “best” is defined as “tidy, everything in its place.” Color schemes were planned, flowering times coordinated.

But plants and disordered minds like mine chafe under rules. We plot bloody insurgency and would see order’s head on a plate.

Stuff died and was replaced with things with the wrong–“Oh, the horror!”–flower color. Things that actually grew well in the heat and survived the freezing temps over winter. In some cases, things that should have failed miserably, but thrived where the perfect plant died in a month. I started worrying less about design and began planting whatever the hell caught my eye in the nursery. “Ooo! That’s pretty. Cha-ching! Buy!”

And feeble order gave way to chaos. Yeah, go Team Chaos!

Adobe Dragon Kirby Garden 2015By June, the garden’s heyday, before the blistering summer heat beats most things into wilted submission, it’s a mess of riotous color. Color schemes are a thing of the past, but the abundant wildlife doesn’t care. The quails enjoy the bird feeder; lizards hunt for insects in the shrubbery, and the squirrels–Fucking squirrels!–snack on flowers.


Zombies rise from the gravel, shy dragons and gargoyles hide among flowers and Pan plays a tune on his pipe. Original metal artwork, made by my husband and I, fills niches along the garden’s walls. A little fountain gurgles in the rock garden.

It’s a garden; it’s filled with life; it’s fun.

Gnome Zombie Kirby Garden 2015Anyhoo, here’s the linky-dinky for the Corrales Garden Tour 2015. Tickets are $10 for a tour of six gardens, including mine. Come out and spend a day in our lovely little community!

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The Passive Aggressive’s Mantra

“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were going to do anyway.” ~Robert Downey Jr.

Even though I’d like to think of myself as given to speaking my mind, the truth is, even now, I rarely do. My default reaction to shit that pisses me off; people trying to give me commands; or plain old human stupidity, is “Uh-huh.”

“Uh-huh” is code for “Fuck you.”

If I think it’s in my best interest to not be a total asshole–because like Captain Mal of Firefly my driving motivation is “what’s of use to me” –I’ll give you a faint smile and lie to your face, feigning interest in your totally wrong point of view or pretending I’m going along with your moronic plan. A frequently-played song in my passive aggressive repertoire.

But…then I’ll go and do the exact opposite of what you proposed.

Because, as the saying goes, it’s easier to apologize than ask permission.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the GalaxyOn watching Guardians of the Galaxy, two things become quite evident. First, Thanos should hire better minions, or he needs to get his bad-ass, mad Titan self off the throne and fetch his magical McGuffins o’power all by himself. Because the hired help, thus far, in Marvel movie ‘verse, just aren’t working out.

Also, if it weren’t for daddy issues, nothing–good or bad–in the universe would get done.

Of course, if it weren’t for dead mothers, no hero would ever get motivated. Consequently, the first scene in Guardians shows a young Peter Quill, eventual Starlord, sitting outside a hospital room, listening to that awkward predecessor to playlists, the mixed tape. His grandfather appears and ushers him into a room where a deathly pale woman lies in bed. Before getting down to dying, Mom rambles about the boy’s father, using the word “angel,” so that you know young Quill is something special.

Mom lifts a trembling hand toward the lad and Continue reading

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The Lone Ranger (2013)

“Well. That was a hot mess,” says my husband as The Lone Ranger‘s credits crawl up a scene of Monument Valley, a dispirited Tonto limping off into the sunset.

The statement is significant, in that my spouse, unlike me, is generally kind to movies. Me, I love excoriating a bad movie, detailing its sins against plot, characterization, cinematography, etc. But the hubs usually just shrugs and says, “It wasn’t good, but there were some funny parts.”

To say The Lone Ranger is a hot mess is to disparage steaming piles of poop everywhere.  After all, certain types of excrement make good fertilizer. Not so, The Lone Ranger.

Possibly taking a page from Continue reading

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It’s Alive

Been AWOL, busy, making like a hippy (growing my hair). And creating art.

Por ejemplo, this little demon, a collaboration between myself and my talented spouse. apologetic demon, yard artLittle demon haz the sad, so he brings rose.







My heart is perfect pendantAlso making jewelery* from scrap metal. This pendant’s my fave.


*”jewelery?” Seriously? Wow. Hooked on Phonics really worked for me.

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Corrales Art Studio Tour, May 2013

dancer metal art by Patricia Kirby

"Dancer" flower pot whimsy

Looking for something fun to do in Albuquerque? Drive just a smidgen north to historic and charming Corrales, New Mexico for the annual Art Studio Tour, the first weekend in May.

This year, me and the hubs will be participating! We will be opening our studio/workshop and garden and exhibiting our metal art. Gardeners: this means you can visit an established Corrales garden, free; get ideas for your own yard; and see what works in my high desert garden. The garden is at its finest mid-June through July, but stuff is starting to bloom now.

Garden gate by Justin Kirby May 2013

Tree of life garden gate by Justin Kirby

The Corrales Art Studio Tour is the first weekend in May (the 4-5) and maps can be picked up at the tent outside of Frontier Mart and at Villa Acequia (Preview Gallery), both on Corrales Road. Maps can also be downloaded here. Did I mention it’s free! Free tour! We’re Number 69 on the tour.

The weather should be great. See you there!

Click on images for larger view.

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Don’t Know Much About Geology

greyhound with rabbit on its head

Give a husband an iPhone and he shall torture the dog.

In which I try to teach the greyhound geology.

The lesson is precipitated by our new granite countertops and because I have nothing better to do (other than laundry, yard work, writing, taxes, etc.).

I’m in the kitchen, having a healthy snack of baby carrots and the greyhound is watching in that bright-eyed, super intelligent way that dogs have been watching humans with food since the dawn of time. I crunch a carrot, chew, swallow and consider the hound.

“See this?” I point at a reddish smudge on the counter. The greyhound, a very tall dog, shoves his skinny nose where I’m pointing. “That’s garnet. My birthstone. Can you say, ‘garnet?'”

Finding no food where I’ve indicated, he flares his ears out like a bat and stares at me in a way that says, “Carrot!”

“No, not ‘carrot.’ ‘Garnet.'”


I try again, finger on a black streak. “This here is biotite, a mica. Can you say, ‘biotite?'” ‘Mica?'”


Because I’m stupid that way, I try with feldspar and quartz. I go back to garnet, because it sounds like carrot.


I give the hound the damned carrot.


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