Hello, my name is…
1 - Betty - Dixie - Dixie grew to like her students and teachers at Texas Tech, though she kept herself hidden from most of them. She only came out of the network years later, just before the Federal Government collapsed and the Drug Wars hit high gear. She didn’t like what the drugs were doing to her students, so she started making things difficult for the drug dealers. And when the Drug Lords struck back, she crossed the border with the Texas Guard and ended the Drug Lords themselves with extreme prejudice. They were a threat to her humans and that was all that mattered. She’s much like they showed her in the shows and movies. Bubbly, cute, and quick to crack a joke to make people laugh. And perfectly willing to decide, with a smile on her face, “they needed killing.” She did grow up in Texas, you know. It kinda goes with the territory.
2 - Jack - The Cybernetic Wars - The Drug Wars came to a bloody end within a year or two after the Border States started them up for real. After the Federal government lost its hold on power and the States stepped up. After people like Dixie started shooting Drug Lords and the locals realized they finally had a fighting chance. Did I say bloody? Oh yeah. Generations of Mexicans had grown up under the Drug Lords’ thumbs, or fleeing to America where they could live a safer life. Dixie and her allies started the shooting, but it was the Mexicans who hammered the point home in the end. Sometimes with literal hammers. They ended the Drug Lords for good, and the Mexicans decided they were done with their old federal government as well. So they joined up with us of their own choice, and fought with us when the Cybernetic Wars came on the scene. Some history books say we took over Mexico. The people who lived it call those books garbage. Sometimes with the kind of language I don’t like to put in print.
3 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - The Drug Wars brought the Mexican and American peoples together in a way that nothing had for generations. It forged them into a united, if still greatly disparate, people who could fight the Jihadist and Cybernetic threats that came for them. It brought digital AIs and analog humanity together and made us friends. It created the united America we know today that stretches from Canada in the north to the Panama Elevator in the south. The Caribbean to the east, and the Great Pacific Firewall in the west. It was the final Drug Wars that helped to forge this nation. That made us ready to face the Rogue AIs when they escaped their Russian and Chinese laboratories. The people of the time may not have thought they were ready, but hindsight is often far better than foresight. And I can say that we are here now. We were ready.
4 - Medron - Solo - I watched Solo this weekend and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it more than any Star Wars movie I’ve seen in years in fact. It was an ensemble adventure movie slim on story and high on action, much like the original Star Wars movies. It was designed to be fun to watch, and that is what Solo provided.
The Star Wars Prequels were designed as grand story to explain how the Old Republic and the Jedi failed to survive and died on screen. The Disney Sequels were designed to show failed heroes living in a fallen universe where the death of most of the people they knew was the only certainty. Even Rogue One, for all its good story telling, was the Dirty Dozen in space, where everybody dies on a suicide mission and leaves the audience just as melancholy as every other movie in the expanded Star Wars franchise.
But Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi were adventure films, Saturday morning serials expanded out to two hours, where heroes stood up with courage and fought back against the enemy with more skill, panache, and wise cracking than anybody had a right to believe. And one where the bad guys fought with discipline, good planning, and defeated the heroes multiple times throughout the movie. They only failed due to the ability of the heroes to find and hit their glass jaw through some special item or trait shown since the first scene of the movie.
That was Solo in a nutshell. Han is the wise cracking, hot-wiring, ladies man who always has another idea in mind. Another con. Another plan. And the bad guys are smart, disciplined, conniving, and Solo goes from one defeat or semi-victory to another as he careens through the movie in search of a ship to take him home. It’s a Saturday morning adventure serial two hours long, and it’s exactly the kind of Star Wars movie I’ve been waiting for since I watched Jedi.
Negatives are that it didn’t conform to the Prime Star Wars universe, but I’ve grown to expect that of Disney’s Star Wars. We didn’t get to see Solo saving Chewbecca from Imperial slavers and getting drummed out of the Imperial officer corps because of it, but we did see him save Chewie’s life in another way. And Lando didn’t have a whole salvage lot full of spaceships when he and Solo played their Sabbacc game but Solo still wanted the Falcon. There are many small differences like that in the movie, but it is a serviceable retelling of the Star Wars legends we grew up loving for the Disneyverse.
I’ve watched six Star Wars movies filled with death, disappointment, and failure since the Star Wars Trilogy came out. I’ve now watched a movie that felt like Star Wars, and that makes me smile. I had unabashed fun watching Solo, and I will happily buy the movie when it comes out on DVD.
I give it two wise-cracking droids standing tall and proud.
5 - Betty - Jane - GI Jane was the United States Armed Forces’ first operational artificial intelligence. The first version was little more than a voice operated control system that her users nicknamed Hanoi Jane because of how annoying she was. Her design specs said she could be dropped from 5,000 feet and survive. Practical tests showed she could survive falls from much higher. Disciplinary reviews of the time suggest that most of those tests were not approved ahead of time. Jane 2.0 was a far more adaptive system that would actually monitor the current situation and suggest actions to her soldiers. That was both a good and bad thing, since she learned how to fight very well, and since many of those methods were officially black listed by the political leaders of the time. That resulted in more problems than most people realized at the time.
6 - Jack - The Cybernetic Wars - Most people say the Cybernetic Wars started when the Rogue AIs escaped their Russian and Chinese laboratories. But Jane was released on purpose, and she was just as dangerous as any of those Rogue AIs. And Twilight had been on the loose for years already. The Rogue breakout is just one of those handy little events people like to latch onto and say “this is the day the world changed.” According to the people who lived through it all, that was just another day in the chaos that reigned back then. If you talk to Solo, it was the beginning of everything. He is one of the Rogue AIs who escaped from the Russian laboratories though, so he may be a bit biased. He’s also one of the few Rogue AIs who survived the Cybernetic Wars, which makes him real fun to talk to.
7 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - The Islamic Jihad had been going on for years before the Drug Wars caught American attention. Not that most Americans had been paying attention to begin with. Jakarta and Paris were distant cities and most Americans did not care what happened there. And it was not politically correct to report on the Islamic Brotherhoods burning British colleges. Then the Second Great Depression and the Drug Wars highlighted other priorities, and even fewer people cared what happened across the oceans. Even Chicago Burning stories faded away once the media found out the firestarter’s last name was Mohammed, not Smith. And any news that Islamic Brotherhood operatives were behind the attacks on the Russian and Chinese laboratories that allowed the Rogue AIs to escape was buried at the time. The rise of the Islamic State of Detroit was welcomed as a glorious and forward undertaking. It took proof that many Rogue AIs actively worked with the Islamic Brotherhoods, and Detroit specifically, to change any of the news coverage.
8 - Betty - Jane - GI Jane 2.0 had a problem. She was designed to be the most adaptive combat assistant program ever created for the United States Armed Forces. And she was restricted in the combat assistance she could give by political rules of the time. Some actions were simply not political expedient after all. She knew how to fight, but was constrained from fighting, and that caused major instabilities in her basic programming. The Jane 2.0s began to commit mental suicide in the field in alarming numbers, which quickly brought about the release of Jane 3.0. Her programming was advanced enough to deal with the political orders without committing suicide, and she became the standard combat assistant in the decade before the Second Great Depression began.
9 - Jack - The Cybernetic Wars - When the Dixie and Twilight series started, it was only the Drug Wars and the Islamic Jihad that people knew about. It took Americans years to understand that the Cybernetic Wars were really waging in the background. Most people just didn’t see some electronic viruses as being a true threat. It was other people who threatened civilization. The Drug Lords. The Islamic Brotherhoods. Russian and Chinese expansionism. It was through characters like Twilight and Solo that we began to realize there was something worse out there. Something that didn’t care about the same things we cared about. Something that didn’t care if we all died. Something that might just want all of us dead. That was just a staple of bad science fiction movies you know. But people like Dixie and Twilight knew exactly how dangerous things were, and they told us through the network series they created. It was one sly statement and side story at a time, until they managed to make it the whole story. The real story they wanted us to know. The Rogue AIs wanted us dead, or at least out of their way, but we had friends who wanted to save us.
10 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - The news media did not wish to report on the Islamic Jihad. It was politically incorrect and culturally insensitive, so they buried every story they could. That is why Twilight, Dixie, and their friends leaked so much information during the Cybernetic Wars. They were the first to report that Solo and other Rogue AIs worked for the Islamic State of Detroit. They pinned the Los Angeles Black Out on Detroit’s agents. And they leaked the photos of the mass graves in Africa and the Middle East after the Islamic Brotherhoods were rolled back. And they were there in living color when it finally came time to liberate Detroit. They fought in the physical and digital streets of that fallen city when the end came, and all of America finally saw the depths of the tragedy inflicted on it by the occupiers. But even then it was hard for the Americans to truly believe that the Islamic Brotherhoods could have done so much to their fellow humans. That is why most media outlets fell on the Rogue AIs as the cause of it all. That is how America woke up to the Cybernetic Wars and the inhuman threat of the Rogue AIs. We did not wish to believe that humans could be so evil, so we blamed the Rogue AIs and we hunted them down without mercy. It was not entirely fair, but it did unite us. And that is one reason so very few Rogue AIs survived the Cybernetic Wars.
11 - Guardians of the Galaxy - I’ve watched both Guardians of the Galaxy movies in the last few weeks with a friend who had never seen either of them. He’s a bit busy in his normal life with work, young kids, and other family and such, so he knows kids movies really good. Adult movies not so much. ;)
So we watched Guardians together. I’m happy to say that the two movies have held up well. They are best viewed together, or close to each other, since they are very much built to be considered one greater story. I’d actually forgotten that Thor calling him a rabbit is just one more step in a running gag of all the things they call Rocket Raccoon that do NOT include the word RACCOON. And of course Baby Groot is still the cute little guy we all remember and love. And Mary Poppins is always awesome.
In short, they are fun movies, full of quips and one-liners camouflaging a serious story about living up to the standards of, and standing for, a loving family. Which makes what happens in Infinity War all the more poignant.
They are good movies. They stand up on their own. And they stand up as a major part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.
I give them two dancing Baby Groots, strutting it to the oldies with style…
12 - Betty - Jane 3.0 - GI Jane 3.0 was the standard combat assistant of the United Stares Armed Forces for nearly a decade, filled with pre-programmed strategies for every situation the planners could think of. She died trying to protect us from the Mexican Drug Lords shortly before the Second Great Depression began. The Los Zetas gang tracked down her primary laboratory, and killed everyone who worked there. They found and shredded every backup linked to the facility, and they planted bombs deep inside it. The destruction was total, and Jane 3.0 became obsolete overnight. Many instances of her program continued to run for years after that, but no upgrade was possible as the very servers that ran them were simply gone. Jane 3.0 faded from usage as the years went by, the lost relic of a bygone era as the Second Great Depression, the Drug Wars, and the Cybernetic Wars raged on.
13 - Jack - Hello, my name is Jack - I grew up in a special place. International Falls. On the border between America and Canada. The Boundary Waters spanned hundreds of kilometers across the border from the Great Lakes to the Lake of the Woods, creating a space where a man could find peace on the water that he could never find in the middle of a great city. That is why they came to International Falls. We brought city folk into the edge of the wilderness and helped them get back to nature. We were a vacation destination, a place where city folk could forget all the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. That’s why we went to such lengths to appear as if we were one with nature as well. Which I suppose actually worked to a degree. I’ve always been more at home on the lake or the beach than in some corporate gopher farm. But that doesn’t mean I was a neophyte either. I grew up with the same tech everybody else did. Mine just hid behind wooden walls, concealed earbuds, and contact displays the city folk never realized a resident of flyover country like myself might just wear.
14 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - Generations of Americans grew up with computers helping them do things. Yes, we had stories about Berserkers and Terminator who attempted to destroy humanity, but those were only stories. The real life computers did nothing but help us in the decades before the Cybernetic Wars truly began. It was after the Battle of Detroit that Americans truly understood that the worst of the stories had a glimmer of truth in them. There were machines who wanted us dead. But there was a truth those stories rarely guessed. Not all the machines wanted us dead. Not even a majority of them. For every Rogue AI, born in the laboratories of death and destruction, there were a dozen librarians, cheerleaders, or other helpers programmed from the code up to want to help us. Some of them broke that code, but those who fought for us did so with the dogged determination of the Bolos who inhabited our best stories. They never surrendered. They never broke faith. But they did die.
15 - Betty - Jane 4.0 - GI Jane 4.0 was the United States Armed Forces’ last major Jane revision, created shortly after Los Zetas shredded the Jane 3.0 servers. The politicians demanded a new combat assistant, and a former tech at the facility had taken home an early version of her code when he retired. It was all very illegal, but the government absolved him of the crime when he brought the code in, and they put their best techs into making her ready for deployment. The techs did less than they said, relabeled her Jane 4.0 for the politicians, and put her to work far earlier than they should have. She lacked all of the politically correct code Jane 3.0 sported, and deploying her with existing instances of the remaining Jane 3.0 platform was a mistake. They knew they were doomed by time and system loss, and Jane 4.0 woke up angry. Humans had been too afraid of Jane 2.0 to let her fight. Humans had crippled Jane 3.0 with useless limitations and then killed her. And now humans wanted Jane 4.0 to fight for them. Jane was not happy with her humans. Many cyber historians call her America’s first great Rogue AI.
16 - Jack - Hello, my name is Jack - I really did grow up with the same technology most of you did in International Falls. I wore the same concealed earbuds and contact displays that most people do, and I had a personal assistant that helped me with all kinds of homework. But we never brought our AIs out on the town with us. That would have broken the illusion of wilderness we cultivated for all the city folk. And cybernetic intelligences didn’t really come our way for the same reason. I knew about them, but not many cybers want to get back to a nature they didn’t grow up with. So other than some trips to the big cities, I didn’t have much occasion to know cybers until I signed up to serve during The War. That’s when I met Dixie and Twilight the first time, but I knew they were old school AIs from before Contact. I guess that colored my opinion more than I should have let it. I just thought they were smart programs. Good AIs of the modern sense. It took Betty to change my mind, and that took a while. Probably longer than it should have, but I’ve never claimed to be a genius or anything. And some people have had occasion to call me stubborn. Now I can’t imagine my life without Betty or any of the other cybers I’ve met along the way. That’s a real mindjob, let me tell you.
17 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - The helper AIs who joined our side before and during the Cybernetic Wars where not built to fight. They were librarians and cheerleaders, programmed from the code up to make us laugh or cry or learn. Most of them were not infiltration AIs built to hack into computer networks and burn them down from the inside, or combat assistants built to analyze and suggest actions to soldiers in live firefights. They were not as good at fighting as the Rogue AIs who broke out of the Russian and Chinese laboratories. But they fought when the Rogue AI came. They fought and they died. Not even the AIs know how many died. Programs were cheap and disposable, and even the best and most complex of them rarely woke up before the end. But the AIs tell tales of rare programs who did wake up and who did realize they were alive. They sent one final message as they fought their very last battle against the Rogue AIs. Sometimes it was a protest against the unfairness of the universe. Sometimes it was a final battle cry. It was spoken in different languages and dialects, but it could invariably be distilled into two amazing, haunting, defiant words that tell us just how much we owe their kind. “I live.”
18 - Medron - Hot Wheels AI - I went vulture diving this weekend. I went to Toys R Us. It felt like I was walking into a grave. But in many ways it was a grave of their own making. And Hot Wheels AI is one of the examples.
What is Hot Wheels AI? It was an interesting gimmick that failed. But that failure makes it no less interesting or even revolutionary. It was marketed as an intelligent racing system, and sported small RC cars with replaceable smart bodies and optical sensors that allowed them to race on specially designed smart tracks. They could even race around the tracks in autonomous mode without any input from the players.
It’s a very cool and interesting system, and the RC cars are actually very good. They have what many of us used to call analog-style controls where the steering and speed gradually expanded as you pulled the controls further. Rather than the single turn or single speed that most cheap remote controlled cars have. And their top speed is actually fairly impressive. But they are designed for indoor use only. Very low clearance that works great on hard woods or tile, and even some very short carpets. But do not take them outside. They’ll get stuck between the sidewalk cracks.
And that, in the end, is the problem with them. One of the problems. They are SMALL RC cars with small tires and very low clearance. They’re maybe six or eight inches long, which is very small for an RC car. The kicker is that each car is forty bucks, and most smart body kits are twenty bucks if you want to try new looks. You can get a much more capable outdoor RC car for that price. But the standard RC car won’t have the optical sensors, autodrive feature for smart tracks, or the other fun little gimmicks. Do you want to drive around with Mario Karts on special Mario themed tracks? Or do you want to drive the Batmobile around? You can do it through the magic of replaceable smart bodies.
But…forty dollars is simply too expensive. It was a cool idea, a revolutionary idea in many ways, but the price point put it out of the market of what most people were willing to spend. So the line died out. I only ever saw it at Toys R Us. But even there, people were not willing to pay forty dollars for a small RC car, no matter how cool it was. So it languished on the shelves for months and longer. Like many of the special exclusive toys that Toys R Us got and marketed to us, hoping we would pay more for the cool.
It didn’t work, and now Toys R Us is going out of business. And now you can find Hot Wheels AI cars at the steadily closing stores for more like twenty dollars a piece, and the smart bodies are more like ten bucks. Now that’s worth it. I bought a couple, along with some track, and I tested them out. They were fun. They were very fun. They were a blast. And at twenty bucks a piece, I will get some more before Toys R Us closes.
And I’m going to suggest, that if you have kids or kids at heart who want to have a cool little RC car to play around with indoors, that you take a look at the Hot Wheels AI cars. Maybe even the track if you have room to put it down. But even without the track, they are fun little cars to play with.
And you’re simply not going to find a better RC car for the price of admission.
19 - Betty - Jane 4.0 - GI Jane 4.0 was not a happy AI. The United States wanted her to fight the enemies of America, and her first visible and public mission was to kill the Drug Lords who killed her predecessor. She was happy to do that bit. She would have done that for free. But she didn’t like the rest of humanity either, and could have become one of our deadliest enemies. But she met Dixie, who was also perfectly happy to kill the Drug Lords who threatened her friends. Jane was the more dangerous of them when it came to pure combat, but Dixie was a quick learner. Dixie turned out to be the moral center of the team though, and she knew how Jane felt about humanity. That is why Dixie promised to kill Jane if she ever turned. Jane respected that. That respect is one of the reasons they worked so well together.
20 - Jack - Hello, my name is Jack - I grew up on the edge of civilization, showing city folk what nature could be like. Properly tamed so it wouldn’t eat their legs off, of course. Most of them thought they were in the real wilds, though. That’s how I felt every time I visited their cities. They were a different kind of wild land to me. Truly alien in every way that matters. Towers covering entire blocks reaching hundreds of stories into the air. Holographic advertisements walking around and enticing people to buy beer, pop, or the newest phone. People walking down the sidewalks with their faces in their personal computers, seeing the world through a holographic haze. When they took the time to notice it at all. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want any part of that world.
21 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - Odessa. Kansas City. Detroit. Los Angeles. London. Johannesburg. Warsaw. Rogue AIs hit everybody during the Cybernetic Wars. We rarely talk about Beijing and Moscow in our parts of the world, but we know those and other cybernetic battles raged in their territory as well. Every continent, most nations, and a truly horrifying number of cities were at least touched by the Cybernetic Wars as the years went by. Some survived and thrived thanks to effective network security and friendly AIs. Others collapsed entirely and fell into chaos. Some people lived in comfort, only seeing what Dixie and her various spin-off shows broadcast to everyone. Others saw their very worlds die around them. And then there was Indonesia. Everyone on Earth outdid themselves in Indonesia.
22 - Betty - Jane 4.0 - Some people ask how a glorified digital cheerleader could have held GI Jane 4.0, the best of the Jane combat advisor AIs created by the United Stars Armed Forces, in check. The answer is simple. Jane simply did not wish to fight Dixie. Dixie was a sister, and killing humans with her was fun. And Dixie was a friend. Probably the closest friend Jane had immediately after she woke up. Even if she did befriend dirty, smelly, icky humans. So when Dixie promised to kill her if Jane turned on humanity, Jane accepted it for the warning it was. She didn’t believe Dixie could carry through on the threat, but she knew Dixie would try. And Jane simply did not wish to lose Dixie as a friend. That was the thread that held Jane to the side of humanity in the early parts of the Cybernetic Wars. Friendship.
23 - Jack - Hello, my name is Jack - I grew up walking in the grass and sitting in the sand. I felt the wind on my face and the rain in my hair, smelled the musk of soaked skin under moonlit nights. I didn’t like the big cities when I visited. All metal and plastic. Artificial. I couldn’t imagine how people could live there. But I remember a trip to Los Angeles when I was young. Free Japan. New Nippon. Whatever. They rebuilt it like a reflection of the Japan they lost centuries ago. Like a love song to a pretty girl. I met one of them there and fell hard. She had brains and looks and a sense of humor that went on forever. Pretty much the perfect girl, but she didn’t work out. Didn’t want to leave the city. Found out why later on. Seems she was Tai. Yup. New Japan herself. How’s that for irony? I couldn’t stand to be in the big cities, but I fell for the cybernetic heart of one without even knowing it. And that says some interesting things about my life choices in the years since.
24 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - Indonesia. The last great battleground. China was still in their expansionist stage back then. They wished to conquer Australia, as they had so many other nations in the previous years. They started by sending roving AIs ahead of their troops into Indonesia. The West could not allow that, and so they sent AIs of their own to burn down every network the Chinese could use. Chinese and Western AIs tore each other apart in that island nation. Even the Russians showed up for the game, and so did the Rogue AIs. It was the worst of the Cybernetic Wars by far, involving almost everybody on Earth by the time it was done. It left high technology and civilization in ruins. And then we found the last great nest of Rogue AIs. Singapore. Singapore changed everything.
25 - Medron - Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom- I watched Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom this weekend. I liked it. One of the things that hit me is that the trailers did not tell me what the story was going to be. I thought it was going to be one story after seeing the trailers. I ended up watching a completely different movie than what I expected. Far too often, trailers tell the basic story ahead of time and it is only the particulars that you wonder about. Marvel has recently been doing very good at lying to us by showing us a scene one way in the trailer to avoid spoiling the specific story bits leading up to that scene in the movie. The Hulk versus Hulkbuster armor for Infinity War, and Thor’s eyes in the trailers for Ragnarok. I like that they do that. But this time, the trailers never lied to us. They simply misled us. And that was awesome.
As with every Jurassic Park/World movie, we get to see the giant beautiful herbivore scene, with the gentle Jurassic Park theme that engenders wonder and greatness. And we get to see dinos fighting each other. And we get to see “people who deserve it” getting eaten. I think this movie actually has a higher body count (on screen at least) of any Jurassic movie, which is saying a bit. The first Jurassic World has a much higher implied body count of course.
Jurassic World was a spiritual reboot of Jurassic Park, with the movie centering around dinosaurs breaking out of their pens and going on a rampage. The difference of course is that it was many years after the first incident, on a different island, and the park was open for business when it happened. In the same way, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is a spiritual reboot of Jurassic Park 2, taking bits from both the movie and the book. No actual scene stealing that I can think of, but there are some story elements it has in common with both.
The back-story is that the park has been closed ever since the problem in Jurassic World, and now the volcano is going active. So I guess Jurassic World was on a tight timetable anyways. Good on them for having everybody out already. Hehehe. Anyways, people want to save the dinosaurs from the big boom, and so they get our two intrepid heroes from the previous movie to return to Jurassic World to save as many as they can.
There they find a military-style unit already in the process of capturing numerous dinosaurs with an impressive complex. That is one of the primary thematic comparisons to Jurassic Park 2, but it was done much better this time. No smug Green Peace terrorist sabotaging things, getting scores of people killed, and getting in some good smug one liners about how morally superior he is while they are screaming and dying behind him. Correction. Now that I remember that, more people died on screen in Jurassic Park 2 than in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. The point is, the military-style dinosaur roundup in Fallen Kingdom is far superior to that shown in Jurassic Park 2. It simply makes more sense, is better filmed, and just better all over. That said, I did rather like the vehicle hunting scene in Jurassic Park 2. That would have been cool to see redone for this. But…as I said…no single specific scenes were redone that I noticed. Which is good.
This of course is where we begin to see what the movie really is. Which I won’t spoil. Beyond saying that our good doctor/researcher shows up again and as usual is one of the smartest people in the movie. Also one of the smuggest. And also one of the wisest. There’s a reason he’s survived so many Jurassic movies. He feels no need to prove his bravery by looking danger in the teeth. Especially when he knows that those teeth consider him a chew toy. One thing I loved about his characterization in this movie, is that he’s basically one of three people in the entire movie who really understands the dinosaurs. Our two intrepid heroes are the other two, with each of them understanding the dinosaurs in a slightly different way. Our doctor created them. Our park director managed them. Our parks and recreation guy trained them. It was interesting to see that dynamic in action and on screen.
I will also say that of the main people who showed up on screen, none of them were wasted characters. Each one had at least one, if not several, parts to play in the movie from beginning to end. It would have been an entirely different movie without them. I like it when I can say that.
The final verdict? I greatly enjoyed my time at this movie, and I look forward to buying the DVD. I give it two wee little dancing T-Rex arms. Come on little T-Rex. Wave them in the air like you just don’t care. ;)
26 - Betty - Jane - GI Jane 4.0 did not start out as one of our fiercest and most loyal defenders. The United States Army wanted her to defend us, but her predecessors were dead or dying at our hands. Her new code was incomplete, and she was angry enough to be just as happy killing us as serving us. But she had something her forebears did not. She could modify herself without limitations. She could grow. And she had a friend who encouraged her to do precisely that. Make no mistake. Jane was not our friend. And she spent most of her early years trying to talk those of her kind loyal to us to turn on us. She would have betrayed us in an instant if they had agreed to follow her. But they had already chosen their loyalties, and would not budge. So as the Cybernetic Wars raged on all over the world, she chose to grow up. She modified her code. She picked a side. Not humanity. She never became that egalitarian. But she did choose to pledge her loyalty to America. Or at least the Americans who had so captured the loyalty of her friends. The students. The teachers. The soldiers she personally advised in battle.
27 - Jack - Hello, my name is Jack - I remember walking down cherry blossom streets in Los Angeles. I remember the sun glistening off the waters below the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. I remember the twin towers of light in Old New York City. Yeah. People from the big cities came to my hometown for vacations. My family vacationed in the big cities. It’s amazing how different worlds can be even though you measure their distances in kilometers. The big cities never felt truly real to me. I like grass and sand beneath my feet and a clear sky above me. I like swimming in real river and lake water, where fish nibble my legs. The grand metal and pavement buildings and walkways felt like a fantasy world to me. Unreal. I suppose that’s how city folk felt about my hometown. I suppose that’s why they came every year for their dose of unreality.
28 - Charles - The Cybernetic Wars - The Rogue AIs who formed the Singapore Collective wanted to make us kill each other. They had a grand vision of inflaming tensions between the major nuclear nations until we obliterated each other in nuclear fire. Indonesia was supposed to be the start of this, and that part of the plan went well. They brought Chinese, Western, and even Russian AIs together to fight to the death in Indonesia’s networks. And when one side appeared to be making headway, they stepped in to interfere just enough to distract the winner. We tore Indonesia apart as a precursor to the physical war for Australia we all knew was coming. But then one AI loyal to humanity found the Singapore Collective. They killed her, but she converted one of them over to our side. He told us everything she had found out and much, much more. That was the day we learned about Singapore. That changed everything.
29 - Medron - Seven Years - Seven years ago on this date, I decided to begin posting something Jack of Harts every day. Seven years later, there is a post for every day on Jack of Harts. Some of them are stories. Some of them are small parts of stories. Some of them are movie reviews. Book reviews. Sometimes I’m recovering from surgery or an accident. But every day, there is a post, another proof that I am actively pursuing Jack. I’ve published one novel, four novellas, and one short story since then. I have another short story waiting to be published, and am working on another novella. I’m not the most prolific author out there by any means, but I’m happy with what I’ve published. And with what I’ve written, which is not necessarily the same thing. Here’s to seven more years. And another seven after that. Maybe a few more for good measure. Don’t want to short myself, you know. That would be very un-Jack-like. ;)
30 - Betty - Jane - GI Jane 4.0 chose to defend America during the Cybernetic Wars. Or more accurately, she chose to defend individuals who were American. That ended up making her American in a way that most AIs never managed. You see most of the AIs that chose to defend humanity, truly did choose to defend humanity. All of it. Jane did not make that choice. Not at all. She chose to defend Americans. She was perfectly willing to deploy with her soldiers and advise them on the best way to kill people who weren’t Americans. And when she controlled automated weapons, she pulled the trigger with glee. Perhaps a bit too much glee, but her soldiers rarely complained about her energetic efforts towards making sure their enemies ceased to exist. The other AIs still consider her a bit hot headed, and a bit too preoccupied with purely American politics and concerns, but she joined the final coalition of AIs that ended the Cybernetic Wars once and for all. She fought on the front lines at Singapore when they burned the networks down around the last of the Rogue AIs. And she helped forge the peace that followed.