My speculations on ‘The Last Jedi’

I wasn’t a big Star Wars fan as a kid, I only saw the original trilogy properly as an adult in the nineties with the remastered films when they came out.

But as my kids have grown, I’ve seen the prequel trilogy and The Force Awakens and Rogue One. The kids like Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars too.

So, before there’s too many spoilers after the Premiere in Los Angeles yesterday, I have questions…

Who is Rey?

We know she’s a force wielder, we saw that in The Force Awakens. So, she’s gotta be related to a Jedi.

Her story starts on Jakku, a desert world. Like Tatooine, parallels to Skywalker, Luke and Anakin, but, we know there’s a descendant of Anakin with The Force in Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, so can she be Luke’s daughter or a previously unknown child of Leia and Han?

We might be led down that path, but we know Rey waited for someone to return and Maz Kanata had that awkward chat with her about knowing they wouldn’t return. So, we can speculate that it’s not Luke or Leia.

But she’s a Jedi?

So who else can she be related to? Obi Wan Kenobi?

That assumes an affair before the events of A New Hope and around the clone wars period, and there’s the fondness of Obi Wan Kenobi with Dutchess Satine Kryse of the Mandalorians and that could make Korkie Kryse (Satine’s er.. Nephew..) a possibility as Rey’s father. It’s a stretch but The Clone Wars is official Canon, so there’s that.

Other Jedi possibilities are Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridget from Rebels. Kanan is close to his Hera Syndulla and is closer in age to Obi Wan and Anakin rather than Luke and with Rebels season four as yet unfinished, we don’t know his fate before the events of A New Hope or whether Kanan was about at the time of films 4,5,6 in the ‘original’ middle trilogy. Ezra would be very roughly a similar age to Luke, but again, we don’t know his fate.

Other speculation in-Canon involves Doctor Aphra from the comic book series, her age could fit as mother to Rey, but who’d be the father? I’m not fond of the theory that Rey is daughter of characters from the Star Wars Battlefront II video game either.

It is wide open, and we can throw in random answers such as, are there midi-cholrians on the loose to just make Rey a Force wielder? Is she a product of Emperor Palpatine? Is she something to do with Snoke?

I like the Obi Wan theories best, but we’ll see.

There’s a great theory out there on her name too.

Finn?

The question is whether Finn is related to other characters. Mace Windu would make a fantastic Jedi connection, but if Rey is related, then Finn being too is stretching it. The speculation on Lando Calrissian is splendid too. I liked Finn with the light sabre though and I guess we’ll see if there’s anything beyond the first order plucking out infants at birth.

Snoke?

I’ve seen the Kanan Jarrus is Snoke theory and I don’t much like it. Kanan is many things in Star Wars Rebels, but I don’t see him turning to the dark side and I don’t see him going as far as leading a faction of the former empire and creating the first order. It is still possible that Kanan and Ezra (also mentioned as a Snoke possibility) might not survive the end of Star Wars Rebels.

My take is that Snoke is something but not necessarily related to other characters. Quite what I don’t know, but as a being he seems different to the Emperor and Vader and exists differently to them and the empire.

The Last Jedi?

Who? Is it plural?

After Order 66 and the great Jedi purge, we know that at the start of A New Hope, that there weren’t many left, save Obi Wan and Yoda in hiding. The story of Kanan and Ezra in Rebels predates that time and we don’t know their fate, similarly Asohka Tano is presumed dead.

Luke therefore is that Last Jedi, he was trained by Yoda, he is a Jedi Knight. We can fairly say that he trained Kylo Ren, but Kylo rejected his teaching. Rey isn’t a Jedi and Force Wielder isn’t quite the same. They are close to being Jedi but not yet.

If we look beyond them there’s Kanan who was a Padawan and might be a Jedi Knight after the events at the temple on Lothal and has certainly fought and survived Maul and Vader. Ezra is probably a Padawan in very rough terms under Kanan’s tutelage. Asokha is certainly a Padawan that rejected the Jedi Order, but didn’t return. All have been involved against the empire as part of the earlier stages of the rebel alliance.

We do not know if Luke sought out Jedi survivors after the events of Return of the Jedi, even assuming there were a very few left. How Luke framed his new Jedi academy or found Force sensitive trainees is unknown. It leads to a guess that Luke travelled to seek out Jedi or those with Force Powers after the empire fell.

So, there’s not hidden Jedi out there, Luke is probably the Last assuming no link to the Rebels characters.

Where can we go after The Force Awakens?

Well, the First Order and new Rebellion need to face off after the destruction of the Starkiller weapon and the new republic planets.

Rey and Luke. Pupil and Master? Luke returning to Leia and the rebel side? Can it be that simple if Snoke can manipulate Kylo Ren, then are further complications afoot?

We have Poe Dameron and Finn and others. Can there be links and connections to other series in a multiverse way? It’s a question of how the LucasFilm Story Group in charge of the canon and how the film ties into the greater saga and all of its parts.

Early comments sound promising, but can this second film in the sequel trilogy match into the lore, will it be the new ’empire strikes back’ in terms of story and content?

Advertisements

Common Weal – Nationalising Scotland’s Railways

I sometimes start reading something and then it jars.

‘Ellie Harrison – “Bring Back British Rail.”‘

Hmm.. that’s the ‘Glasgow Effect’ women who got that grant. Hmm..

Then this..

Without naming the High Speed Trains they are criticised on their age.

A sweeping statement made over their replacement too.

The issue with this is that it’s a direct rehash of the trashing of the High Speed Trains made in the Sunday Mail/Daily Record.

A trashing that is unfounded as the HSTs will offer a real difference in performance and passenger comfort over the current DMUs on the routes north to Aberdeen and Inverness from the Central belt.

No mention of the trains already having been life enhanced with newer greener engines compared with their original or that the sets, engines and carriages are being fully refurbished and upgraded before they enter service.

Of course, the authors won’t have knowledge of the diesel multiple units that have been tried as replacements for the HST or, the fact that they don’t measure up.

The upgrade from a HST tends to be electrification and given current ‘rolling’ programme and assuming progress continues, there may well be such toward Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen over the next two Network Rail Control Periods.

I could go on at length at the ‘competition’ that HSTs have see from other diesel multiple units and there have been batches of voyagers and super voyagers (classes 220 to 222), Coradias and Adelantes (classes 175 and 180) as well as diesel Desiros (class 185) and the various turbostar units.

None of these have displaced the HST status as a high speed diesel train.

Great Western’s replacement Intercity Express Trains have seen issues in introduction leading to an apology from Manufacturer Hitachi.

These are bi-mode units as electrification hasn’t progressed as far or fast as intended.

Bi-mode or perhaps even clean hydrogen power might be the future. The present is that these trains are being rolled out.

It is arguable that over Scottish tracks and with what manufacturers can currently produce there isn’t a better option in the market to improve the long distance city to city routes in Scotland without full electrification.

In other terms Common Weal made points that were easy to agree with on the abstraction of income from the franchise, levels of subsidy and international comparisons as to how Railways in Scotland could be run, but making easy hits on the HST isn’t necessarily fair and i do appreciate the point on the leasing cost of the units and the likely abstraction over the period of the lease of the trains as compared to public ownership.

Anyway. One day the politicking will be more informed..

Glasgow Airport Access Project

Herald Article http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15666572.Airport_rail_link_will____do_more_harm_than_good___/#comments-anchor

Interesting piece has surfaced on the Glasgow Airport Access Project.

The thought being that the airport rail link will ‘do more harm than good’ with knock on effects to timing of trains described as full from Ayrshire and empty from the air port and that there’s no capacity at Glasgow Central and that there’s knock on harm to things like electrification to East Kilbride.

Here’s some quotes

“The latest scheme to build a multi-million-pound link to Glasgow Airport has hit the buffers after experts warned it would do more economic harm than good.

Local and national government officials last year threw their weight behind a £144m tram-train connection from Central Station to Abbotsinch.

Our sister title The Herald reports that the scheme was a cut-price alternative to the Glasgow Airport Rail Link or GARL axed by the Scottish Government nearly a decade ago amid grave concerns over its value for money.

However, now consultants hired to review the business case for the new link have queried both the proposed costs – and benefits – of the new scheme.

Experts from Jacobs stress the latest design of the link – which would see vehicles run along heavy rail to Paisley and then a new light spur to the airport – would clog up rail networks south of the city.

In a report prepared for the Scottish Government quango Transport Scotland, they suggest trains full of hundreds of commuters from Ayrshire and Inverclyde be would slowed by two and a half minutes to make away for trams carrying far fewer airport passengers.

That modest sounding delay, they added, was would cost the economy £4m a year alone.

Cuttingly, Jacobs experts note that the economic disadvantages of a slower, less reliable service from key commuter areas had not been examined by the council officials who came up with the current business case.

They concluded: “Such an increase may also result in economic dis-benefits to the Ayrshire and Inverclyde region. This issue has not been considered by the Project Team.”

The railway between Glasgow and Paisley was upgraded from two tracks to three – partly to provide for extra capacity for the old GARL scheme.

But a rise in popularity for train travel means all that additional capacity has been used up.

The tram train scheme – dubbed the Glasgow Airport Access Project or GAAP – would also put huge pressure on capacity at Central Station, said Jacobs.”

I think there’s a danger here in seeing a newspaper report without the source material and through the prism of a newspaper journalist.

I’d certainly want to see the whole frame of reference and the whole report.

Worth saying that both Transport Scotland and Network Rail are late to the party as neither were initially involved in the GAAP project and that issues identified by the city deal grouping and certainly readable in their reports was the previous lack of cooperation between the regional team and national organisations.

It has been notable that GAAP wasn’t included in TS or NR documents for Network Rail’s up coming Control Period for 2019 to 2024 CP6 and that an Airport Link wasn’t expressly an intervention in the Scottish Transport Projects Review previously undertaken by TS.

Obviously, both Transport Scotland and Network Rail would have been aware of the proposal and there may already have been shadow reports and thinking without official cooperation with the City Deal.

Certainly as a red-amber-green indicator in their regular reports, the City Deal teams noted the issue of cooperation with both TS and NR.

I’ve never seen anything official from either TS or NR mentioning the project as a factor in their thinking.

As political background, The City Deal for Glasgow came about from the UK Government and until the 2017 council elections, it’s leadership was Labour from the previous rule of administrations and the UK Government obviously is Tory.

The Airport Access Project was the ‘flagship’ infrastructure project for the City Deal and its cancellation would be a major change.

The council administrations have changed in many of the ‘Glasgow City Region’ authorities and after that change, the Transport Minister pledged better cooperation on the scheme .

In terms of some of the criticism in the article, the speed and type of vehicle necessary were known from outset as tram-train, vehicles used in the Rotherham/Sheffield scheme have 67mph top speeds. The maximum line speed between Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Central is 75mph anyway, rail vehicles could be specified to run at whatever speed the purchaser wants.

In terms of speed, the vehicles wouldn’t clog up the rail network south of the river.

The next criticism is that platforms at Glasgow Central would get clogged up.

Since the Paisley Corridor Resignalling Project and introduction of class 380 electric multiple units, the upper platforms 11 to 15 have been used for all Ayrshire and Inverclyde line departures with the new platforms 12 and 13 adding capacity.

Operationally, Scotrail haven’t used two 4 car class 380 trains together and currently only use the longest combination of seven car (4 plus 3 car units) in the morning and evening peaks.

A four car unit is used most of day for services to Ayr with 3 car units to Largs, Ardrossan and Inverclyde.

The class 380 units were 23 metre units and it was realised after introduction that a single four car unit provided much the same capacity as a six car 20 metre long pair of class 334 units.

I think capacity at Glasgow Central is a known issue to both TS and NR and both have previously mentioned such in official reports for future investment or intervention

Another point is the flighting of services, a 1800 Ayr limited stop (bypassing Paisley) precedes an 1804 Ayr all stops (bypassing stations between Glasgow and Paisley) and an 1806 Gourock stopping at Cardonald and Hillington on the way.

This shows that operationally, the most can be made of signalling and platform resources in creating services and that any Airport link wouldn’t necessarily interfere with Ayrshire services.

The journalist’s attempt to show small tram trains delaying Ayrshire thundering expresses is poorly made when looked at in reality and both, TS and NR, were well aware of the Airport Access scheme, it’s proposed vehicles, frequency and the interdependencies with current service provision.

Many already known factors have been flagged up there and the question to be asked is how much of this article states the patently obvious?

“Small tram train would take up as many platform slots as long commuter trains, they said. Projects jeopardised by GAAP would include plans to electrify services to and from East Kilbride.”

“Jacobs estimates that many passengers – such as those going to Queen street station – would still be faster on the existing bus service than on GAAP. And, like successive experts before them, they stress that a simple A to B journey from Central Station to Abbotsinch would not take many people off roads. Most passengers, after all, are not going from the city centre to the airport. The GAAP link, moreover, would not get anyone to the airport in time for many early flights”

“The new link was to have been funded by the City Deal, a roughly £1bn pot for investment from the UK and Scottish Governments.”

“The City Region cabinet – the panel of council leaders hoping to spend that cash – now look set to go back to the drawing board on the rail link.”

“In terms of the remaining quotes, again known factors, only street Running by the tram trains in Glasgow City Centre could serve Glasgow Queen Street. The points on the existing airport bus link and that passengers don’t always need to go to Glasgow city centre to get to airport have already been addressed over the life of the GAAP Project.”

My questions are why was the Jacobs report leaked to the newspaper and for what purpose?

Are TS looking to get the scheme ditched after their initial lack of any cooperation and how political is the thinking?

Are the SNP seriously going to ditch a second scheme to link Paisley and Glasgow Airport to Glasgow City Centre?

Is this merely troublemaking for sake of it?

A lot of the known issues and criticism of the scheme have been out there for years. The campaign groups like Railfuture have links to alternative fully heavy rail proposals such as the often quoted but never shown online Rail Qwest schemes for son of GARL. There is a commentariat that dislike the proposal as ‘it’s not big trains’ and it’s not ‘Glasgow Crossrail’

So, let’s get the GAAP scheme done and if there’s a better bigger proposal out there, then do it next.

I’ve blogged before on the potential of a tunnel from Finnieston to Govan and the potential to reroute Argyle Line Services along the South Bank of The Clyde picking up Govan, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, the Braehead Development, the Renfrew Riverside regeneration area and towards Glasgow Airport.

Yes, that could play a huge benefit in Public Transport terms, but it would be a billion pound intervention and there are schemes in pipelines and that have been scoped and costed already.

Can we have the debate?

Can we see SPT’s modern tram scheme for Glasgow?

Can we see the ClydeMetro proposals in detail?

Can we see the SPTR proposals for capacity at Glasgow Central?

Let’s have an open frank debate on the future schemes necessary.

TfL can do it on their websites, are Scots less capable of reading than Londoners?

Links below show my precious thinking on Glasgow Central capacity and the STPR reports.

https://chicgibson.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/glasgow-terminals-capacity-sptr/

https://chicgibson.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/stpr-glasgow-terminals-capacity-is-extending-the-argyle-line-the-answer/

No Help.

There’s no help.

I can’t email anyone for help when stressed or in pain.

I tried today as I was worried about things and upset.

The council’s social work adult team contacted the police and the very person I didn’t want them to contact.

No HELP and three phone calls to the POLICE which is very stressful. 

The threat of officers to my door or to break in.

ALL as council adult social work are incompetent. I was asked stupid questions on my address and date of birth rather than asked what was wrong. I had said I have Aspergers and am rubbish on the phone.

Then they gave me a VERBAL NIGHTMARE. Exactly the last thing I wanted or needed.

Also contacting a person I didn’t want contacted.

STRESS INCREASED as that individual won’t leave it be. I didn’t want that person knowing I wanted help.

ANGRY. UPSET. ANNOYED.

But hey ho, I still won’t phone your fucking helpline and you won’t fucking answer my emails. 

So, no help and another thing I can’t trust. 

Nothing to Say?

I’m unsure that I’ve had literally or actually nothing to write about recently, it’s more like I haven’t wanted to. 

I’ve been in the routine in terms of work and the kids. I’ve not really stopped for thought. 

To an extent, I’ve tried to fill my head with other things and have been consuming twitter and Television of an evening.

I’ve been trying to drink healthier stuff, been trying to not take as much coffee.

I don’t know much else that I can say. I’m dealing with the sensory stuff too as best I can.

 I’ve given up on the ‘blues’, my blue lensed glasses as an answer. I need them on occasion, but I’m trying to limit their use. In some places, no glasses or unfocused vision blurs the effect of lighting.

I’ve had a few things that upset me, I can’t be specific. I don’t want to be obsessive over detail.

As usual, I’m not much further forward with things or generally any happier.

I know moods can fluctuate and keeping a pattern and a regular way of doing things in an ordered way can help. 

Chaos and unexpected things do throw me and I’ve suffered a little as  events unfold.

I’ve been trying to eat better and think around food a little more after my trials and tribulations with trousers recently. I’ve maybe lost some weight.

I feel I’ve slept a bit better recently but with some bad nights here and there.

I’ve stuck to keeping away from disability and the two big ‘A’ words. 

I’ve been thinking on Anxiety and Depression as the key factors that weigh on me and trying little things here and there. 

I recognise when I’m less functional and the way the unknown and unexpected hit me.

Sometimes it’s force myself to get through things and other times not so much. Good days are few, but can and do happen.

I think the pattern of functioning days is ok, not good or great. It’s mainly ‘enough’.

I’d probably benefit from some ‘help’, talking through the anxiety and getting the depression lifted a bit. 

CBT won’t work as the first step is ‘talk to friends’, I don’t have anyone I feel that I could do that with.

I don’t want to use my work health helplines as they will report back or ask my work HR.

I don’t know on understand the function of the Autism Resource Centre in Glasgow and I’m not much minded to go near NAS after the time I’ve wasted talking to them.

I could ring a crisis line, I could do the late night mental health helplines although I don’t think that’s me using them for the right purposes.

I feel pushed on Money all the time, I can’t buy things that help. 

My gas and electric near doubled the other month and I can’t phone for help on things like that without having a meltdown, the stress of phoning to get someone that isn’t an English speaker is too much.

Christmas stresses the hell out of me and I really get upset at the money side of it.

I get thinking that I’m lonely, then I realise the circle I’m in. 

I usually want to be left alone, I try a bit and do what I can, I get rejected/don’t fit with people, I then get frustrated and my behaviours put people off me. 

No friends/ family means I’ll probably never date/go out with a woman in my life again.

I’m likely to be alone and single the rest of my life. I don’t like that idea, but for someone to ‘get me’ understand is unlikely.

I’m now 44. It’s called involuntary celibacy and anything that I’ve seen online about it scares the hell out of me and I find that’s a situation I really don’t want to be in. 

But I’ll need to face it, as I can’t give back the interaction that someone might expect. 

I’ve read the things on the Jo Cox commission on lonlieness and the statistics, particularly on life expectancy and along with the autism/aspergers life expectancy stuff, I’m highly susceptible to these issues. 

Not much I can do. I might be smart enough to realise the trouble in front of me, but I don’t have the abilities to improve things and that depression and anxiety mean my limited skills aren’t at their best in terms of communications.

It’s nothing and everything in summary, not much has changed, nothing is really any better. I guess I can drift along so long and then something goes wrong in terms of demands and mood.

In short, some help would be nice but the way people with my condition are treated means it’s unlikely and I’ll just have to struggle on.

Since my first draft of this, things are even worse. I’m now very very stressed and upset, I’m really feeling in a quandary about using Mental Health resources but there’s no other help available. 

My experience with PIP has me reluctant to contact my GP.  There’s no local help I can see that will help me either. 

I don’t want to have another breakdown but it might be only way to have any help or be given ongoing support. It’s a grim thought and I really just want help in staying as I am rather than going into a real crisis situation.

A life. (Ruined) 

Used to enjoy life a little.

Used to be able to afford things.

Used to go to football matches.

Used to drink sometimes.

Used to have friends.

Used to have a balance between work and home.

Used to not fret over money.

Used not to be in substantial debt.

Used to afford clothes for myself.

Used to afford to run a car.

Used to have a semblance of a life.

Not for a long time. 

Heartless.

I’ve seen a website that’s upset me. 

It’s about the condition and uses heartless as a descriptor. 

It describes the experiences of spouses of the condition I have.

It’s brutal. It’s difficult to read and it’s upsetting. It uses quotes from Tony Atwood and Simon Baron-Cohen, it has many quotes from people affected as partners, wifes and spouses.

I can understand why though.

The lack of communication, sometime mutism, difficulty in understanding, lack of ’empathy’, lack of response, inabilities emotional and communicative.

I’ve had that toward me from other humans too, ‘Normal’ people.

From childhood. Mocked, excluded, not part of things, bullied, picked on, taken the piss out of, beaten, hit, verbally abused.

Looks, silences, sudden ends to conversations, not allowed to participate, not asked, ‘not for you’.

I’m not trying to seek sympathy. I’m not trying to score points.

It works both ways, the innate abilities ‘normal’ people have through hitting their childhood developmental milestones ‘normally’ are a gift. 

It’s an ability for life with so much human communication being non-verbal, implied and where people don’t have to speak well to get on.

I don’t have that. 

Never have, so I compensate with what I think is right and proper behaviour, try to be polite and respectful, try to not have one sided long winded chats. 

Try not to be frustrated at things and do what I should do.

And that’s the problem.It’s my brain doing the work, it’s not natural or a given. 

It’s things that I’ve learned or mimicked or picked up. 

It’s now partly habitual as part of who I am. The stilted small talk is part of me, as are the stock phrases about weather or whatever. Is there a point to doing it? I know there isn’t and everyone does it anyway, that’s the human thing.

I wonder about the actual point of the stuff I’ve read. It’s mainly from a female perspective, but warns about females that have my diagnosis too. 

It selects quotes, clinical evidence and examples and it dives in and out of psychology and sociology. 

It has a feature article that equates my diagnoses to being a psychopath. 

It discusses sociopaths and how to spot someone with my diagnosis.

It has quotes from men that meet women and it turns out that man is a ‘bad man with my diagnosis’. 

Now, knowing that you have the diagnosis and not revealing that information to a potential girlfriend/partner is a fairly bad thing in my view.  Of course, honesty and decency means disclosure, especially if it’s known from youth.

All in all, a read that has pretty much put me off from thinking about what I was thinking about. Pushed me a bit closer to my thoughts that I should just be alone.

It’s given me food for thought on my previous failed relationships. But obviously when I was undiagnosed, I wasn’t aware of these bad tendencies that this website about heartless people says that people with my condition have. 

Perhaps, I need to go and ask, ‘ hey doc, I have this, but now I’ve read that I’m heartless and aloof, can you stick me down with some psychotic too?’

I don’t believe I’m heartless. I don’t think my definition of heartless and theirs are the same. 

I’ve previously been selfless to the point of reckless, I’ve been naive in trusting people, I’ve gotten into messes my own instincts would never have allowed, I’ve been cajoled and pushed into things I didn’t necessarily feel were right at the time. 

Emotional blackmail? At some points in my life I have been subject to that and sometimes I don’t even let on that I knew I was being pushed that way too.

If I’m heartless, then I can console myself that I’m not the blackest soul out there. If  I’m without empathy, then I know there are others considered Normal with much less empathy than me. 

There’s the trite old phrase about being ‘as black as you’re painted’. I find over time and with experience that people may not initially like me or want to like me. I’m blunt and honest. I don’t lie and at times won’t lie. 

In the end, at least I mainly do the right thing and mainly try and make things better. It’s not hearts and flowers and honey laden words. 

Maybe I’m heartless, but I’ve been heartbroken enough times to know emotional hurt and the ways and things that people can do in minor and major ways to hurt people. It’s never easy and it’s not nice and certainly I may not always know when I’ve done wrong and exactly how I’ve done it, but I’d wager I’m no different to most ‘Normal’ men.

I can understand the sentiment and reasoning behind the website that I read and I get the hurt and pain and anguish that these void relationships have and I can understand a warning set out to say don’t go near men like that.

I’ll just have to wait and see if I do involve myself ever again. Maybe there are women out there that share my diagnosis too, understanding and acceptance is all I’ve ever wanted.