Under Pressure

Well, my mom is finally laid to rest.

But I’m not at ease. I was under a lot of pressure from my acquaintances back home on what to do about all the property that’s left behind in the rainforest now that my mom has died. I say “was” because I’m kinda washing my hands off the whole thing. I know my acquaintances will insist on coming back to the topic about selling the house and furniture, and storing the remainder in a safe place, just so burglars won’t have a go at it.


The problem is it isn’t worth the effort and money that all this entails.

Let’s see… For starters I’d have to go to the Consulate in Houston (again,,,) as it’s the only place where I can go to perform the necessary legal actions. This would represent an investment of X days and a Y sum of money that I’m absolutely sure it’s a complete waste.

Why X and Y?

Because as it’s always the case with my home country’s government you never know how long it will take and how expensive it may be in the end. But I can give some estimate figures. First there’s the matter of the trip itself ($100, by bus nonetheless.. and you know my Pavlovian feelings toward buses, guys), then I’d have to get some legal assistance from a sleazy lawyer knowledgeable in my country’s equally sleazy laws (could be $200 or more), plus the costs of my stay in Houston (food, local transportation, et cetera), which could run up the bill to unimaginable levels, as I’m not able to determine the exact amount of time this would take. Plus the legal fee this will take ($100-$300), plus another extra $100 to ship the whole damn thing (just ONE piece of paper!) back to my country.

And that’s just to keep things at the lowest minimum cost possible. The house by itself is worthless; by the time I left, property values in the area were at their absolute lowest due to the reigning conditions: A) bordering a large patch of rainforest, B) poor electricity and NO water and C) now the place is a rampaging crime zone. Even if somebody was deranged enough to buy it from me, I wouldn’t be able to do anything with the money since there’s a currency exchange restriction that would prevent me from getting my hands on it. Of course, I could go to the local friendly Black Marketer, but that would dilute the whole thing to just about a couple hundred bucks, even if I’m lucky.

And what about the furniture and books, you say? Most of it are just mass produced, particle board things, but there are at least two pieces (real wood and all) of furniture down there that I cared about as they were kinda family heirlooms and I’m rather fond of them, but I can’t see a practical way to recover them without bankrupting myself in the process.

And the books (hisses in pain) is what stings the most. I’ve been a reader for the better part of 4 decades and I had been stockpiling a ton of books and reference material. My mom was the same, and her personal library was nearing the thousand books.

There are at least three books I’ll certainly miss from my own collection: one was a vampire tales anthology, an imitation leather-bound copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and my signed copy of Shay Addams’ book about Richard Garriot’s Ultima game. But most of all I will miss is my IDEA! book, just a huge college notebook where I jotted every single notion for all my future books. Yeah, I could sort of rebuild it from scratch, but it also acted like a massive index to all the comic books, Sunday funnies, other books et cetera that I left behind, and without all that source material the new notebook would be rather useless… sigh… quite a nice catch 22, I guess.

As you can see, I’m just writing to get this off my chest and justify my attempt to cut down my losses. I know some of you may say “it’s just stuff”… bu t”this stuff” represents all my past and the last ties I had with my mom, so letting go is terribly painful and leaves me feeling quite inadequate, so bear with me for a while.

Until next time, guys and guyettes…

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Dark Tidings…


In loving memory of Friederike Stark (7/13/1937-7/3/2016)..

It has been a very rough month; you see, I was told that my mom had died on July the 3rd, just ten days before her seventy-ninth birthday. I hope you never get to deal with the grim details involved with having to perform funeral arrangements from a distance, which is what I’ve been doing for a while.

I had to travel to Houston urgently, mainly because that’s where my home country’s consulate is. There was a lot of paperwork to be done, especially a document that would allow one of my mom’s oldest friends to represent me in my affairs back in that accursed land. Kathryn and I traveled there by bus (airfare proved prohibitive) and we spent two days in Houston until all the legal knots were neatly tied and everything was A-OK (a cozy illusion into which we deluded ourselves; there never is an A-OK state whenever my country is concerned).

All in all, the trip represented a $600 expenditure, including fares, hotel room and the legal costs of composing the document, having it stamped and sending it to my mom’s friend back home. We were lucky that one of our writer friends lived in Houston and could be bothered with driving us around town, which proved of great help. Thanks, Julie.

And thanks to my wife, too, for being there when I needed her. Love you, mi gatita…

Kath and I then returned home, and we paid an exorbitant fee of $75 to send just one sheet of paper to South America. Finally, my mom was laid to rest on July 29th, after almost four weeks of legal wrangling.

But the problem doesn’t end there; my mom died without any kind of insurance, leaving behind her an absolute legal and economic mess. My mom’s friend incurred into a ton of expenses while helping me in this terrible affair; I was able to wire her some money, but I have the strong suspicion that whatever sum I sent her will not suffice. And there’s the additional matter of all my mom’s stuff, the house in the middle of the rainforest and several other assorted knickknacks and legal issues that lay in the wake of someone’s demise while residing in my country.


This just represents a ton of present and future expenses that I can not even begin to fathom at this point. I guess I should consider myself satisfied that my mom has been at least buried, but the feeling of impotence concerning all these extra unfinished business will gnaw at my brain for the longest time.

Anyhow, I set up a crowdfunding campaign to help me cover a few of these expenses. If you guys are willing to assist me, you can share the link ( http://www.gofundme.com/2gzwmxt8 ) around through your social media. That little click you can do to Tweet or Facebook it will be greatly appreciated.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off





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Who you gonna call?

I’m having a blast while reading the nasty (and somewhat angry) reviews that the Ghostbusters 2016 movie has garnered during the past few days. Of course, you can dismiss a few of them as reviews coming from disgruntled fanboys, but that doesn’t detract from the fun I’m experiencing while reading through their rambles.

I agree with some of these, specially the one that claims “this movie has no right to exist” (I kindly replaced the stronger word the original review used with “movie” so you won’t get ofended).

However, most of the fun I’m having comes from the fact that I once wrote in 1993 a potential Ghostbusters III screenplay (of which I’m planning to post the opening snippet below) and that it would have been something the Ghostbusters franchise would have been proud of… It’d have been funnier movie and I suspect Bill Murray would have loved the screenplay as it placed him in the central spotlight, giving this actor a very meaty lead role, indeed.

However (sigh), it was never meant to be. Although I had submitted several dozens of screenplays to various minor movie production houses, I was never able to get a direct address to Columbia Pictures to send this one at the time, so the damn silly thing just sat in my hard drive until now, gathering mold as years went by. Besides, Hollywood doesn’t seem to fond of dealing long distance with writers residing in South America.

However, not all was a loss. I was able to recycle most of the fantastic scenes I conjured up for this screenplay into my book Fermata Girl vs The Medallion of Doom, though I must admit that I faced  a small problem when it came to adapting for a female heroine the scene in which Peter Venkman would dig into his trousers to find out if male ghosts still had a certain part of their anatomy, but I guess I managed quite right.

Of course, what I’ll share here is not and actual screenplay, but a cineplay, which is a general layout of the entire movie, plot, props, background scenario, camera effects and motions and what is done to who by whom. I suppose that I may end up publishing this one in a FanFiction site one of these days. Without much further ado, the opening of my never read movie script.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off


How to write a real Ghost******* screenplay

by Edwin Stark

NOTE: Any respectable ghosthead can easily replace the asterisks with the missing word and suitably guess who are Peter V, Ray S and Egon S, those incredible characters so masterfully played by Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis.



This first scene opens in a desert. Anywhere with lots of sand so we can pass it as an archeological digging site. The camera slowly pans over the horizon. Real moviegoers will feel a cold sting as this will remind them of the opening scenes of the Exorcist. Suddenly, from a hole in the sand, excited and frightened shouts start to come out. A middle east type runs out of it, stumbling and shouting.


A dusty tent, with a portable generator on the side opens up to show the dirty face of Egon S. whose serious mug we should not be able to recognize yet, for he is hiding it under a scraggy turban. Inside the tent we see the most advanced equipment you can build from the special effects department – with gauges and brilliant lights so you will be tempted to press the first button you can put your finger on. Also, a 13 inches black and white TV set, showing some silly stuff, like I love Lucy translated into arabic. The guy

under the turban knows something has happened. He starts to run toward the hole. An excited bunch of guys with turbans and moustaches and filthy beards crawl out of the hole so fast they make one another stumble on the hand made ladder. When the excitement subsides to an annoyed murmur, Egon S. gets closer and starts to climb down. He glances around, to see what scared the heck out of his workers and he catches a golden glimmer. He grabs a brush and starts to remove dust with it. An ugly snout comes out of

the dirt an a crazy smile shows in Egon S. face. He grabs the medallion he just uncovered with a handkerchief and climbs out of the hole. Holding it high in his hand (can we have some Indiana J. music, please?) as a prize, the annoyed murmur is replaced by an angry chant. Egon vigorous pace toward his tent is almost interrupted when a scared worker runs away shouting his lungs out, as if he is calling for someone.


Egon places the medallion on his desk and plugs a probe on it. He flips a switch and a sudden sparks blows up all his equipment and leaves him in the dark. All goes black but the dim image of static in the b&w TV set and a lamp that barely shows us the outline of Egon profile. He taps the lamp and it sparks, regaining some more light. He looks scared, enough to jump because of the scare the TV set gives him when a weird face replaces the final credits of  I love Lucy. It nastily glares at Egon an then disappears.


The crowd grows more restless.


Egon glances out, wondering what to do. The final credits give way to Psychic World, and Peter V. appears on the screen smiling wickedly as we love it. An arabian voice over translates what he says about this week topic.


Egon’s face raises its brows in surprise and he stares at the medallion.


An arabian boy comes running to Egon tent, and he gives him a few coins and a package with tons of stamps glued to it. He says something in arabic and the boy runs away with the package.


Egon looks relieved. He unfold a canvas chair and dusts off some of his equipment. Peter V.’s Psychic

World is gaining momentum with awful jokes impossible to translate into arabic. Whatever Peter is doing, it surely makes him rich enough. Out of sudden, a troop of guys with semi automatic guns trample inside

the tent. Egon nervously notice they carry on their fingers an ugly ring with the medallion’s face engraved on it. He makes a nervous joke.

EGON S.: Whoa! A crash party. I think I don’t have enough potato chips and dip for every one!



Eerie note plays while New York City skyline fades in and the POV slowly gains speed toward it.

The camera knows where its going and sweeps through a window in a luxurious apartment on

Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, a spooky tune with playful touches plays in the background.


The camera glances everywhere, trying to put together the pieces of the people living here.

Covers of numerous magazines, framed for display, are placed along the wall. (If we are lucky, the studio jerks will still have in file the covers and headlines used in the first movies’ montage) Some of them mention the break up between Peter V and the Ghost******* after they dealt with Vigo. The camera continues its sweep toward a coffee table and on its top lay copies of books written by Peter V. The camera barely allows us a peek, but their dust jackets read “My dinner with Elvis” and “My date with Marilyn”. (Possibly a book  can be named “Jam Session with Jerry Garcia”, but Deadheads could get p.d. off).


The counter of a personal bar. A wedding picture of Dana B and Peter V sits on its beautiful marble top. Everything tells us the guy is loaded and his wife most responsible for the good taste of the furniture. Suddenly, the noise of keys fill the air and someone pass through the POV and drops the mail on the counter. Junk mail and a partially opened package sprawl on the top of the bar, but


the parcel finally breaks up and the WEEEEIRD medallion and a note slip out, the medallion bounces on a bar stool and clings near its legs. The camera keeps playing its silly games of telling us the outlines of things, when we can partially read DANGEROUS and MEDALLION. Just to make us suspect something about it. Anyway, the box is addressed to Egon S, not Peter V. care of the GHOST******* with lots of Middle East stamps clinging on it.


A general view of the back of a well dressed man. He’s calling out someone while slowly turning toward us.

PETER V: Honey, I’m home  (Possibly a cheesy The Shining voice)

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A matter of routine…

Oh my…. Three months since my last post…

It’s not that I’m being particularly lazy about writing something to put on my blog; there are at least a couple of dozen false starts for potential posts residing in my computer’s hard drive, posts that I began to compose but somehow managed to lose steam as I wrote them (this one almost went into the Recycling Bin).

It happens that I’m currently leading a lifestyle with only a few minor details to complain about (and I already did on an earlier post), and none of them relate to the The times and life of an author who lives in a rainforest motto, which is now a complete thing of the past.

To be honest, I don’t really know what to do with this blog anymore, as it was a way to vent my frustration of being stuck in the middle of a tropical jungle.

Anyway, my hands are full as I do my best to get acclimated to my new, more civilized life. Most of it is getting used to do things. My daily routine in the jungle was getting off bed at sunrise, go outside to either hit the road to scavenge metal or hack my way through overgrown greenery to see if I could find something to eat… then take a break when the heat was too oppressive to continue and then resume activity when the temperature reached more manageable levels.

These days my routine involves tinkering about the house, tightening loose screws, unloading the dishwasher, exercising, pulling crabgrass and try to grow some vegetables in the backyard (the soil here looks very fertile in spite of its desert-like qualities but I’m on a wait-and-see attitude here, folks).

Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound much of a routine but it’s a hundred times better than the one I was doomed to carry while living in the tropics.

One thing worth to mention, though, is the fact that I’m slowly adapting to deal with people again. This specially true whenever I go outside for a walk or with the goal of buying something in the supermarket. You see, while living in Cholondron, every time someone popped in my neighborhood, be it a stranger or someone I knew, it usually meant baaaad news.

Presently, whenever I interact with somebody, I keep telling myself: “okay, cool now… not everyone is a backstabbing sunofaB that wants to exploit you, like everybody back in the jungle… take a deep breath…”

What am I aiming for here?

Well, if you keep a car parked on your driveway for a year, you wouldn’t just board it and hit the road without first checking if everything is in working order, would you? You’d charge the battery, check the tire pressure and oil levels and that squirrels hadn’t decide to make a nest out of one of the back seats.

That’s exactly what I’m doing with my life at this moment; slowly revving up a piece of machinery that had been left to rust in the jungle for almost seventeen years.

Just be patient… the ride will be amazing once I’m done with my checklist.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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My upgrade path towards Windows 10

For the past year or so Microsoft has been tooting the marvelous qualities of their exalted Windows 10 upgrade, but so far this little beasty has left me unimpressed. Since the end of January I’ve been trying to install the damn silly thing into my hardware getup, for I wanted to test run the software and how it supposedly runs so well in ancient hardware.

It would have been easier, of course, if I had gone the just-update-it approach that the Windows 10 upgrade offers all earlier version users, but I wanted to see how well this digital creature cohabited with Windows 7 in a multiboot setup without actually wrecking my computer data, since most of my old software barely runs in that particular environment already. Especially since I wanted to test the 64-bits waters and have full access to the 4 gigabites of memory  inside my aging HP 435 computer.

So I bought a new, larger hard drive where I could reserve at least 240 Megs in a separate partition so Win 10 could sit there comfortably; then I spent almost six weeks fiddling with cloning software to see if I could migrate all the contents and data inside my old hard drive without much hassle. Which didn’t happen. You see, whenever you try to clone a hard drive, being able to copy the Master Boot Record (MBR) properly is a pain in the caboose. The MBR is the most crucial part of your operating system, telling your computer how to boot up. I tried to use several repair disk utilities, including the one that came with the cloning program to no avail.

I was about to give up.

There I was, going nowhere with a hard disk that wouldn’t boot up no matter what I tried. Then, in a sudden burst of inspiration, I decide to create a bootable USB flash drive, so I would be able to install and run Windows 10, letting him detect the earlier Windows 7 version and force to rebuild the MBR for me.

I’m so clever. And stubborn. *chuckles*

Now I got exactly what I wanted… So I thought. However, one single issue remained (isn’t it always that way, folks?):

Windows 10 takes too long to boot in an old computer like mine; it takes a full minute to get to the selective boot menu that lets me choose between Windows 7 and 10. Then it takes even longer to successfully boot Win 7 and a little more to do the same with Win 10.

That’s unacceptable.


I guess I’ll have to restore my old computer setup to its prearlier configuration, and keep on tinkering with Windows 7 for a while longer, until the situation improves and I’m finally able to get myself a faster, newer computer model without actually flinching at the idea of buying one.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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I’m enjoying a moment of ironic epiphany. Of late, I’m writing once more, which is a great relief since I thought my writer’s mojo had dried up somewhat. The irony is that my current project will be written in the Spanish language, closing the circle I started about three decades, when I was a teenager. I began writing in Spanish, dreaming of perhaps becoming the next Gabriel Garcia Marques… and I’m now doing it again, after oh, so may years.

This story is something I could have easily chosen to write in English, but ever since I toyed with the idea, I had the strongest feeling that language wouldn’t lend itself well to the rather gritty topic, which will be about cockfighting in South America.

The central premise behind this tale is very silly, so I won’t get too deep into it here, but what I wrote so far promises to be my usual writing foolishness, only this time covered with a respectable veneer of prosaic plausibility created by the mere use of the Spanish language. Sigh. I know that in the end no one will ever read it, but no one would have read it in English anyway, so the notion of writing it either language doesn’t matter much. The main thing is that I’m writing again.

Oh, yes. Progress is painfully slow, as I no longer churn out 10 000 words every day as I used to do in the past. Back on those days I had absolutely nothing else to do but write, since I was stuck in the middle of the rainforest. These days I’m more into meaning, rather than bulking my daily output, so it is more like a leisurely pace of maybe 200 or 300 words, 500 tops if I’m able to get into “the zone”, which is the term we writers use to describe that place where we achieve to see every single story detail, event and character with laser-sharp clarity for a brief moment before committing the words to paper.

You know? That was something I really did miss…that instant when my writer’s mind eye is able to take a snapshot of the life of people that don’t really exist, and paint them against the backdrop of improbable places and more impossible times… and yet be capable of making them come to life, fixing all these bogus alternate realities into words.

Yep… I was certainly missing that feeling. I couldn’t wake up that mental eye for the longest time.

All this may not amount to much… but at least I’m writing again…

I’m back in the saddle, which is the only thing that matters…

Edwin Stark
Signing Off

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One last remaining problem…

For the past month my life has improved exponentially; I came to the United States and married Kathryn. The food store is just a couple of blocks over, not a ten-mile walk away. I don’t need to ration anymore. I no longer need to extract coffee from a safe deposit box prior using it. I don’t have to reuse coffee filters at least a dozen times before having to discard them. Electricity is good and stable. The best of all is that I can walk in the streets without fear of being mugged, assaulted or bugged because of how I look.

You paranoids out there may think that sentence sounds silly; that every stranger you meet out in the street is a potential mugger, blah, blah. The problem in this case that was the absolute truth in my home country: due to the ongoing crisis that the accursed place is experiencing, every man, woman and child  is a prospective menace (even toddlers in baby carriage are a threat; one tried to steal my wallet at gunpoint a couple of weeks before I left the country). Scratch all that. Well, yeah, the enhancement of my lifestyle is vast. Of course, there is the huge responsibility of Kathryn’s kids attached to it, but so far we’re doing fine in that department (I think they kinda dig me).

However, one last problem weights me down sometimes; one last bit of a worry that still ties me to that Titanic of a country that Aleveznue is:

My mother.

She’s still on that sinking ship.

For the past six months before I left that accursed place, I tried to convince her to come along. First, I’d settle down and attain my permanent residency, then I’d get a job and then we’d get her started on all the necessary paperwork to follow me. Alas, she was adamant and refused. I kinda understand her decision; to her, bailing out from Aleveznue* would be conceding defeat and that there isn’t anything salvageable from the entire situation.

But she’s a 78-year old woman and she’s stuck in nearly the exact jam in which I was just a couple of months ago. Very, very stuck… which ain’t decent.

It’s not a topic I like to talk about much; every time the topic comes up in conversation, the general consensus is that hopefully (hopefully!!!) my mom will eventually change her mind and decide to tag along. It’s evident they don’t know my momma at all. She’s the kind of woman who would be up late at night, more than four hours past her bedtime, to fix a particularly pesky stitch that wouldn’t come right at the sewing machine. I mean it; she’s a very stubborn woman. Same situation here.

I know precissely what is necessary to be done to convince my mom to come here. Alas, it would be rather costly and probably fruitless, forcing me into more expensive and time depleting maneuvers to finally succeed. Then I have a look at my available funds and that makes me realize there’s no feasible way (not at the moment) to solve this conundrum.

I guess she’ll stay there for a long, long time.

Meanwhile, I worry incessantly…

Edwin Stark

Signing Out

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FEDX YOU! (The Great Paper Chase, Part II)

Okay, major update here… My life for the past six weeks or so has been a whirlwind of events that, even when the dust is settling now, I feel my head is still spinning. Some would say that a tornado had just transported me to the magical land of Oz, but let’s leave it at that

In chronological order, now. And limiting myself to a few events/topics at a time

Yes, my interview at the embassy went fine and I got the K-1 visa issued, no problem there.

Yes, I had some problems getting my passport back since the embassy insisted on using a private courier service to deliver this important travel document (instead of reasonably allowing me to pick up at a convenient time). And the local courier services don’t exactly love me, for they don’t care for my convenience at all while still stuck in the jungle.

As an example, during the month before my visa interview, Kathryn and I had to send back and forth a ton of documents through Fedex (hence the colorful title of this post)… and I ended up doing a lot of phone calls and a lot of walking (twice!) as the local branch basically doesn’t want to deal with the problem of delivering the parcel to me.

First, they argued the place I was in wasn’t in the list of “covered” areas. So Fedex washed its hands by relaying all the papers to another courier service… who doesn’t deliver to the rainforest either, mind you. Of course, this led to the initial flurry of phone calls, as the tracking service that this new company offered through its website was vague at best,  and it was basically reporting that they were ping-ponging the whole silly thing between two different services. Finally (finally!) I was able to convince these idiots to drop the pack of documents in a final pick up point so I could be able to put my grubby (😉 )little hands onto it.  Of course, this pick up point was in the most inconvenient of places; thirty miles away and with a typical Aleveznuan address that would make Santa swear off of delivering presents forever: Past the Fireman Station, past the Levi’s Wharehouse, next to the Pandock company. (And believe me, I was half considering Santa as my first choice to deliver these documents, but he only works on Christmas and he’s a fictional character… the same as a reliable Aleveznuan postal service is fictional. mind you). This was particularly. Also, a quick consultation of Google maps didn’t yield any results, as the data is severely outdated… or non-existent.

Luckily, one of my neighbors (a guy who sort of lives at the entrance of this abandoned housing development) knew where this place was and offered to drop me off there on his way to work. While he drove me there, I noticed that the Fire Station gave absolutely no indication that it was such, Levi had closed down its warehouse there and that the Pandock company was no more, If I didn’t have help… how was I supposed to figure that out?

Of course, I had to endure this trip (and all the phone calls it represented) at least two times more… with the main difference of having to deal with a wacky official website to get my passport back… I even had to ask Kathryn for some remote assistance for this!)… And some extra poignancy is in order: my passport was supposedly to be sent my way during the days right after Xmas… and a little before New Year’s Eve… when the entire country is shut down for good till January…

(BTW, this Little ordeal added up another 350 miles to my final mileage count!)

Stay tuned!

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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I have a very bad feeling about this

I start this blog by titling it with my favorite Star Wars quote (apart from “a more wretched hive of scum and villainy” which I use to aptly describe my home country) because I really have a very bad, bad baaaad feeling about The Force Awakens.

It’s okay if you don’t want to believe me, but I had the same sensation when I went to watch the first prequel. The Phantom Menace, and we all know how “great” that particular mess went, don’t we all? Hmmm?

I still recall the hype and the manner in which most Fanboys were making the Internet hum with excitement the last couple of weeks before the first screening ever… “Ohhhh, a new chapter in the SAGA!!! Squeeek!!!” and all that…. but I particulary recall the way how they blasted Lucas’ latest offering afterwards back at the time… “Childish!” “It sucked ass!” “The pod race is padding!” (though I may be remembering it wrong… perhaps the gut who wrote that was saying the “pod race was pudding” but that doesn’t actually make much sense, does it?)

The thing is that I read the whole bunch of reviews back then and I decided to watch The Phantom Menace in spite of all, midochlorians and all… Yeah, well, it had some Star Wars innit…. The lore… Jedi stuff… lightsabers… laser blasts…. two key main characters in their prime… A younger Yoda…. How the trade dispute with Naboo trigger the events of the original trilogy… But it didn’t actually feel like Star Wars, you know what I mean?

Ok, to wrap it up… I liked it (mainly as a writer, but not as a Star Wars fan) because it filled many gaps in the Skywalker’s Family Saga (just don’t ask me what my thoughts of Jar-Jar Binks are, please) but once more, I couldn’t call actually put my fingers on what or where did George Lucas screw up the whole works.

Now, after seeing all the Fanboy Buzzing that The Force Awakens is generating now, I’m having that very bad feeling about it, reliving it, so I may decide to skip seeing it on the big silver screen this time, thank you. I’m especially uncomfortable with the idea of seeing how the heroes of my childhood have grayed and grown fat, wrinkled or gone balding (Chewbacca must have a great hair transplant doctor or buys Grecian Formula by the wholesale to look that way, almost 40 years later!) as it kinda rattles the feelings I have about my own mortality of late, you know…

I guess I’ll satisfy myself with reading the bad IMDB reviews this time..

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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The Great Paper Chase (Part I)

In exactly six days (and 8 hours) I’ll have to wake up at 2 AM in the morning, as I’ll have to board a bus headed for Caracas so I can go to my Embassy interview and fulfill the last step of the road Kathryn and I started nearly a year ago: my K-1 Fiancé Visa.

Yeah, I know it sounds like a great milestone… but what did it entail?

Well, my inner Accountant has kept track of every detail. It took:

16 failed trips to the local bus station from Jan through May, 2015… mostly done through bad roads and bad weather (I nearly caught a cold a couple of times). And when I mean failed I really mean it. I walked the distance between my house and the bus depot only to find out I wouldn’t really make it: if my bus didn’t get out of the station by 4:30 AM, well, just forget it (I recall mentioning somewhere that if I didn’t arrive to the San José Registry before sunrise to start queue-ing, to pick up one of the only 20 numbers those SOBs distributed to citizens who require a Birth or Death Certificate, it would be completely useless trip). @10 miles each trip, you can add up 160 miles walked.

4 succesful trips to the bus station, when I was able to board a bus at 4AM and it departed Caucagua at 4:15 or less…. But which doesn’t mean that I was able to reach the Registry on time… @10 miles each, equals 40 miles walked, plus 100 miles aboard a bus per trip, it represents 200 miles walked + 400 miles on board a bus, equaling 600 miles of travel.

1 successful trip (May 11th) in which I managed to catch one of those measly 20 spots in queue for my Birth Certificate… YAY!!!   @10 miles walked +100 miles by bus, which brings it all up to 710 miles traveled just for a piece of paper.

Wait! It doesn’t stop there! I also had to request a Police Background Check (30 miles by foot to find a cybercafé to print a letter) + 10 more miles walked + 100 miles by bus just to pickup the actual document, totaling 850 miles (250 walked + 600 by bus).

Luckily, I had most of the other documentation at hand in my house: I had taken care of the boarding passes early on, by making some preventive Xerox copies (though one faded a bit because it was printed on thermal paper), plus my High School diploma to prove they weren’t going to bring a completely uneducated moron into America the Beautiful, plus my grades plus plus plus whatever piece of paper that I could think about…. However, what was missing were my vaccination records, for which I can really thank my dad (the SOB actually destroyed them). Finding a decent place in Caucagua to copy all these paper took me another 5 trips to town, adding 50 miles walked to my total score…

Grand total so far: 300 miles walked + 600 miles by bus = 900 miles.

Well, that sort of covers it for this blog post.

Stay tuned to discover how much mileage I did rack up in the end of this oddysey!

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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