I am Han Solo: The ‘Star Wars’ personality test

I’m Han Solo—at least that’s what the new Star Wars personality test told me when I took it.  A friend of mine told me that The Blaze did a story on a new Star Wars personality test by www.Zimbio.com which was actually more sophisticated than I thought it would be.  The questions are involved and pretty good about bringing to the surface the raw nature of a person’s personality as related to the Star Wars film series.  For instance, while taking the test I thought I’d come out as Obi-Wan Kenobi—whom I personally admire for his love of wisdom and the philosophic chess matches he tends to play on a galactic scale.  But Han Solo has always been my favorite character and that trait emerged during the test even though I was consciously aware of avoiding it.  So it was a pretty neat test.  At the end of The Blaze article linked below it was revealed that most of the staff at The Blaze including Glenn Beck, Doc Thompson and Skip LeCombe had taken the test and were enthusiastic about their results which they promised to cover on air.  I thought this remarkable because it provides insight to all that I have been saying lately about the cultural impact of Star Wars and the future of our society.  There are few things which can unite minds quicker than Star Wars does in discussions with other people and it’s not just nerds anymore—but mainstream acceptance.  NFL football used to be that topic item breaker that anybody could discuss with any other person in business or other affairs, but quickly Star Wars is overtaking it.  It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know about Star Wars who is under 55 years old and doesn’t have an opinion about the film series.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/18/are-you-a-yoda-luke-skywalker-or-maybe-a-princess-leia-take-the-star-wars-personality-test/

I took the test while on the road at my sister-in-law’s house with many family members present so we all took the test and had a good time with the results.  I was surprised how many of them came back as Yoda, and the young men who took it mostly came back as Boba Fett—which was remarkably accurate.  There were no Darth Vader’s in our group which says a lot about the quality of our family.  That much didn’t surprise me—but the number of Yodas did—my wife included.  It could not be ignored how many of our family members instantly understood what the test was and the intent which reflected the response of The Blaze staff.  Star Wars is something that touches just about everyone as good memories of their childhoods flood back to them upon the mention of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia.

I remember what it was like to be a kid in the late 70s and early 80s.  Star Wars was everywhere—it was on the radio, it was at the stores, it was on television, it was in comics, magazines—it defined popular culture from about 1977 to 1985 when it began to subside just a bit.  Even popular films like Back to the Future and ET the Extra Terrestrial made frequent Star Wars references—so it was a huge part of that 8 year period and anybody who was a child during that period knows what I’m talking about.  That doesn’t mean that everyone was an open Star Wars fan.  Many of the kids in my school made fun of kids who openly loved Star Wars—kids like me who had Star Wars notebooks, wore Star Wars t-shirts, and drew pictures on my homework papers of Star Wars space ships.  I didn’t care what other kids said, once I got past the 7th grade, I was never picked on for Star Wars again because I had so many fights at school that kids stopped trying.  The more they made fun of me the more I rubbed it in their face.  I had a Star Wars shirt for every day of the week—my favorite was a Han Solo shirt that I never got tired of wearing.  I wore it so much that it fell apart.  I developed a rivalry with another kid in Junior High school at Lakota who was a Star Trek fan and hated Star Wars.  We actually had fist fights over Star Wars and which movie was better.  It got so bad that I shoved the kid right into the principles office as he was trying to escape me after I was waiting outside his bus in the morning to catch him with a confrontation before class started.  He had previously declared during lunch period that Captain Kirk would beat Han Solo any day of the week—so I was going to teach him otherwise. I’d give him some real life Han Solo through me—and as he was running away from he thought he’d get safety inside the principles office—which he didn’t.  I took the fight straight there shocking all the other kids in the hallway and the adults alike when I grabbed hold of the Star Trek lover by the back of his shirt and threw him right into the front door with the principle and secretary standing right there.  Nobody had been so audacious before—and nobody knew what to make of it.  Nobody understood that I loved Han Solo that much because the character represented everything I wanted to become when I grew up—and calling him names was the same as calling me names—and I wasn’t going to stand for it.

My brother and I had so many Star Wars figures that we set up our basement with elaborate hand-made models featuring Star Wars toys. Every Christmas and birthday was an opportunity to increase our holdings for these gigantic Star Wars set-ups.  On Friday and Saturday nights our friends would come over and we’d build new Star Wars buildings and ships late into the night staying up until 3 and 4 AM in a world of our own making inspired by Star Wars.  My parents couldn’t afford to give me a Millennium Falcon like many of my friends had, so I built my own out of a cardboard box.  That creation was destroyed during my late teens—and I never got over it.  During the Christmas of 1995 my wife finally bought me a Millennium Falcon when Kenner re-released the old toys with minor updates in anticipation of the Special Editions to the films which occurred in 1997.  The world we created in that basement had so much reverence for me that I wanted to do little else but create my own world in the context of that one.  We had entire areas around our set-ups in the basement sectioned off with black felt to simulate the darkness of space and on the ceiling was white felt to simulate clouds.  We had our own power supply, there were floating asteroids, and epic worlds re-created to model scale.  It was the happiest place for me on earth.

I was never shy about my admissions.  Star Wars represented limitless possibilities and an escape from oppression and Han Solo was the kind of guy who was full of confidence and a never say die attitude.  He was the model of a man who I would grow up and become.  Many other kids one-on-one loved my enthusiasm, but would never admit it in the light of day.  But privately most of them felt as strongly as I did, they just didn’t show it publicly.  I carried this love into my adulthood and it never really subsided.  With my children I raised them on Star Wars, and now with the Disney acquisition of Star Wars, my grand children will benefit—and with everything I just described, the cultural impact under Disney’s guidance will far eclipse my experience.  There will be more toys, more clothing, more music, video games, posters, magazine articles-virtually everything in our society will be touched by Star Wars and a whole new generation will find solace within the story lines.  Unlike me—who had good parents who really cared and behaved in a traditional sense–kids today have broken families, step parents and lack structure as a result of progressive social engineering policies.  The strongest thing to a real family a lot of modern kids will have is the characters of Star Wars—which as sad as that may sound—is absolutely true.

The character of Han Solo was never intended to be a hero in the way he turned out.  Fans of the films were supposed to yearn for Luke Skywalker, not Han Solo, but I could never relate to Luke’s naïveté.  I wanted to grow up and become the space pirate Solo who is more like a character out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged than any other creation ever put on-screen.  A lot of people thought this was destructive, but it has made me into an interesting adult—one who thought I’d be more like Obi-Wan Kenobi than Han Solo as more mature years are now upon me. But upon seeing the test results I was actually relieved to see that many of my core values are still intact after all these years and I can honestly say that I’ve lived my own Han Solo type of life and behaved in a very similar way when pressed.  The difference between being a young person and an old person is the experience.  People are drawn to certain types of things based on their core personality—something this Star Wars test is attempting to uncover.  When I was a kid I hoped that when faced with perilous situations that I would behave with the same valor and skill that Han Solo did in Star Wars.  Now as an adult, I no longer have any doubt.  With a string of car chases, crashes, narrow escapes, and perilous follies of virtually every type now behind me, I can rest easily now knowing I measure up to the highest hopes I had as a child.

It is for that reason that this Star Wars test is flooding office buildings and places of business with a fury.  Most of the adult population had similar hopes for themselves, and they want to know how they measure up after all these years.  Now with some of the social stigma of fandom removed, people want to know how far they have fallen from their childhood dreams.  For me—not far at all.  I would have considered Obi-Wan Kenobi to be a concession—an honorable one—but a concession.  Han Solo, out of all the characters in Star Wars was my target, and now as a grown man who has grandchildren of his own—I have hit the bull’s-eye, and for that I am very, very proud.  Setting those high standards actually made me a better grown-up than Han Solo—considerably.  But under pressure—and when it really counts—it is good to know I’m still more like Han Solo than Obi-Wan Kenobi.

And I was there……………….Han shot first!

Take the Star Wars Test for yourself and see who you are most like.  CLICK THE LINK BELOW.

http://www.zimbio.com/quiz/Ukldm8Pi5Ub/Star+Wars+Character

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

 

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game: Pizza, Coca Cola, and Strategy, the cornerstones of a happy life

At Mos Eisley Radio these guys not only talk news concerning the most recent Star Wars Game X-Wing Miniatures, which I am crazy about, but a lot more.  Have a listen to them for  in-depth looks at classes, guilds, lore, and everything else fans care about in the galaxy far, far away.  But related to this article, they go into great detail about the strength of ships and strategy of the game for those who are prompted to get more involved by the conclusion of this article.   Have a listen while reading the below text!

star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game-milennium-falcon

While it’s true that many of the people I know are locked into the very real and immediate danger of a real-life rebellion, which is covered at this site extensively, the way I endure the stress of such a thing is to fill my life with interesting hobbies, that also help build up my strategic ability.  I share some of those hobbies from time to time in hopes that others might become inspired and do the same for themselves, not by copying my suggestions so much as in finding something that works for them to give themselves a break so to endure the rigors of life just a bit more efficiently.  I have shared glowingly my love of the strategy game Pirates, the Constructible Strategy game by Wiz Kids.  My family has spent many hours buying, building, and playing that game till the very small hours of the morning.  I can remember one very fun Holiday week after Christmas where my kids and I with a small army of other kids bought every single pack of WizKids pirate ships on a cold December afternoon at Cincinnati Sci Fi in West Chester, Ohio.  The delighted store clerk even brought out a new shipment of those ships which had just arrived that was in the back while we were in the store, of which we bought every single one.  So needless to say, we love those types of role-playing games as a family, and as individuals.

Recently while on vacation in Florida my nephews along with my kids, my wife and I played a very cool Dungeons and Dragons type of role-playing game called Heroscape over pizza from the best place in Central Florida till the late hours of night with the condo door open to the ocean outside.  We had turned our large dinning room table into a war zone and found ourselves intensely engaged in mortal combat with dragons and warriors.  Like the referred to pirate game, I enjoy those types of games that allow you to play with several live players around a dinner table.  It is a great way to bond with other family members and actually speak to each other, while exercising the brain. 22_Top I find those types of games to be stimulating in a similar way to reading a novel, or playing a great video game.   The difference is that you have to work with other people in a way that is only possible with this type of strategic gaming.  For many years these role-playing strategy games have increased in popularity from a sub-culture of Dungeon and Dragon players, to what is now considered mainstream geekdom at major conventions all over the country.  The transition came officially from the popular game, Magic the Gathering.  The gaming industry in that market has never been the same, which is wonderful for the human race.  A short history of this type of gaming can be seen at the link below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons

However, for me, I always loved that Pirate game from Wiz Kids the best of any that I have played in the last twenty years.  My entire family was deeply into it and our playing time together represent some of the most fun we’ve had together, which is quite a statement.  So I have missed it as Wiz Kids stopped making the game in the format we enjoyed, and time and distance has moved us away from the contents.  However, I recently received news from Lucasfilm about their latest version of a Star Wars Role Playing game by Fantasy Flight Games which I thought at first would be gimmicky, but upon investigation quickly found that it was a quite in-depth game that actually combined the type of game play that I enjoyed so much in  Pirates, the Constructible Strategy game by Wiz Kids and the Heroscape.  The new game is called Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures Game recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios.

Whatever the chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast and visceral gameplay that puts you in the middle of Star Wars fiercest firefights. Each ship type has its own unique piloting dial, which is used to secretly select a speed and maneuver each turn. After planning maneuvers, each ship’s dial is revealed and executed (starting with the lowest skilled pilot). So whether you rush headlong toward your enemy showering his forward deflectors in laser fire, or dance away from him as you attempt to acquire a targeting lock, you’ll be in total control throughout all the tense dogfighting action.

Star Wars: X-Wing features (three) unique missions and each has its own set of victory conditions and special rules; with such a broad selection of missions, only clever and versatile pilots employing a range of tactics will emerge victorious. What’s more, no mission will ever play the same way twice, thanks to a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes. Damage, for example, is determined through dice and applied in the form of a shuffled Damage Deck.1XW For some hits your fighter sustains, you’ll draw a card that assigns a special handicap. Was your targeting computer damaged, affecting your ability to acquire a lock on the enemy? Perhaps an ill-timed weapon malfunction will limit your offensive capabilities. Or worse yet, your pilot could be injured, compromising his ability to focus on the life-and-death struggle in which he is engaged…

The Star Wars: X-Wing starter set includes everything you need to begin your battles, such as scenarios, cards, and fully assembled and painted ships. What’s more, Star Wars: X-Wing’s quick-to-learn ruleset establishes the foundation for a system that can be expanded with your favorite ships and characters from the Star Wars universe.

More can be learned at these links:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=174

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/103885/star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game

The hook for me was when I saw the game’s version of The Millennium Falcon which is for me one of my favorite fictional symbols in film history of rebellion.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE.  I remember vividly when I toured the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to see the actual model of the Falcon in a traveling display that was set up there.  I traveled to Washington that weekend just to see the Falcon.  I spent nearly two hours looking at it, photographing it and memorizing every pipe, dent, and burn mark on a ship I had watched so many times in the feature films.  It was for me one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life.  When I saw the level of detail that Fantasy Flight Games had poured into the Millennium Falcon game piece for the X-Wing Miniatures role-playing game it called to my mind memory of that original model in sheer detail and I instantly fell in love.  I immediately bought a starter set of the X-Wing game and launched my family onto a new generation of game play that is sure to engulf for many years. In the game players can fly the legendary Millennium Falcon into fast-paced battles for the fate of the galaxy! The Millennium Falcon™ Expansion Pack for the X-Wing™ Miniatures Game allows players to blast through hyperspace with Han, Chewie, Lando, and more. The Millennium Falcon comes with four pilot cards, thirteen upgrades, and all requisite tokens. New rules expand the X-Wing galaxy to include large ships and modifications. With its pilots, upgrades, and lovingly detailed miniature, the Millennium Falcon Expansion Pack is a beautiful addition to the X-Wing game!  It may be the coolest thing I have seen in years regarding this kind of thing.  It is a marvel to look at and unbelievable to have as a game play option.  I consider it stunning.

If the Millennium Falcon didn’t close the deal for me on the new X-Wing game the promise of the next ship did.  It doesn’t come out until the end of August, but when it does, I will buy it immediately.  It is the HWK-290 designed by Corellian Engineering Corporation to resemble a bird in flight, the “hawk” series excels in its role as a personal transport. The HWK-290 Expansion Pack comes with one detailed miniature at 1/270 scale, a maneuver dial, all necessary tokens, six upgrades, and four pilots, including the renowned Kyle Katarn. Each HWK-290 provides a wide range of support options for your squad and can be outfitted with both a turret weapon and crew member.  The reason this ship is significant for me is because it was the featured spacecraft of the main character in the video game Dark Forces.  pic1394907_lgIt never appeared in a Star Wars film, but was the home craft of the video game character Kyle Katarn, who would later become a Jedi Master in the novels years later.  One of the very first video games that my oldest daughter ever played was Dark Forces.  It was a first person shooter that came out in 1995.  My daughter was only 6 years old at the time and helped me play it by pressing the space bar on the key board when I told her to which caused my character to jump.  She was too young for the complex shooting and strategy it took to win the game, but she knew how to hit the space bar when I told her to and it was that game that launched her into a lifelong love of video games.  She and I will always share that unique father/daughter experience, and I will always think of her when I think of the HWK-290.  I was dazzled to learn that Fantasy Flight Games was actually inserting that ship into the game mythology before other types of ships, which let me know that the game designers were very serious about expanding the Star Wars experience of role-playing gaming in a format that hasn’t seen such a level of attention since our beloved Pirate Constructible Strategy Game.

Now that I’m going to be playing, it won’t take long before other members of my family will also and soon we will be ordering LaRosas pizza late at night and lining up 2-liters of Coke along our kitchen counter playing Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game well into the night.  It doesn’t matter that everyone playing will be well over 20 years old and in my case their 40s.  I still get a thrill about purchasing new strategic game pieces that can be used under battlefield conditions that have infinite possibilities.  I do not feel this kind of passion for other types of games.  The reason is that the role-playing games allow for complete independent freedom of strategy, unlike board games where the path is set and random chance puts players often into a position to win the game.  With games like X-Wing Miniatures all the conditions of battle are set and designed by the player, and that is why I love these experiences so intensely.  For me the game is only part of the fun.  I enjoy often reading the stats of the cards and infinitely considering various strategies before hand.  The game only proves a theory good or bad. 

 

I have played these games with people who are really good.  They are very quick with their mind and spend a lot more time playing the games than I ever will.  It is fun to watch these kinds of players at tournaments and conventions.  I will never put the kind of time into these games that they do, but I admire their efforts.  Too many adults in our modern age believe falsely that games are for kids and that such things should be put away as adulthood consumes our lives.  Games are not for kids, they are for minds.  Games like the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game feeds the mind with more than entertainment, it provides mental exercises that are invaluable to real life.  I can’t say how many times I have been locked in epic political struggles and other situations where I resorted on the practices used in these strategy games to apply some skill I tried and won with in theory, against real opponents in real scenarios. 

 

So as I sometimes take breaks from the rebellions of the real world to embark on these flights of fantasy, even in my leisure, strategy is an important part of my life.  It is far safer to make errors in judgment among friends and family over pizza and Coca Coke than when it really counts in real life. 

And with that said, I am ecstatic to see this new Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game available at what might only be termed, an essentially important period in my life.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I am so glad that the good people at Lucasfilm put the short playing clip of the example with Wil Wheaten and Seth Green up so I could see the Millennium Falcon playing piece for the first time and become enticed enough to investigate further.  That investigation will yield tremendous benefits that can only be found when adults play the games of young people and further develop their minds against the antagonists who have lost such abilities to their own detriment.  Sometimes being good at strategy isn’t about being better at the game itself, but is due to working against un-armed opponents.  Those who don’t play these kinds of games find their minds unable to think strategically enough to compete when it really matters, and every time a new game like Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game comes out, I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to feed my mind with the contents that have benefits which extend beyond convention.  When a vacation is needed, it’s not just the body that needs rest, the mind does also.  But the mind enjoys stimulation, not stagnation, and often a game like this can provide the crucial ingredient that the mind seeks with abundance in all the best scenarios.

 

To get the gist of what I’m talking about read this review from Boardgamegeek.com.  It reveals why this game is so much better than most other games, and why it will become one of the most enduring games of its type in this generation. 

 

 

 Harrowing dogfights, family drama, shootouts, a tender moment, amazing monsters, humor.

There’s a tempo to Star Wars. We all remember Luke screaming NOOOOOOO at Vader. For different reasons, we remember Anakin turned Vader screaming NOOOOOO. But we also remember Leia offering a little cracker to an ewok. We remember first seeing Darth Maul’s double lightsaber. And we remember Han saying “I know.”

It is NOT all pew-pew-pew. It is NOT all Vrusssshhhhhhhzwwwmzwwwmmm. It’s a cycle of teasing action and drama.

Even though the X-Wing Minis game plays out some incredible dogfight sequences, the play of the game is NOT a straight forward flow.

I’ve got dozens of rounds under my belt now, and I’ve been wanting to write a review, and it finally came to me what it is that makes this game such rip roaring fun.

It’s not the astoundingly detailed minis. And anyone complaining about scale needs to take a close look at the movies, where the scale of the ships to each other changes from shot to shot due to the compositing techniques used at the time.

The minis are awesome. I’m somewhat surprised that different ships use different plastics, but I understand why. That denser stuff used on the X-Wing would collapse a Falcon into itself.

The prepaint jobs are incredible. The cards gorgeous, the components just off the scale. Even with the bit more they must pay in royalties to Uncle George, the massive appeal of this game allows them to make a ton of copies and the price, while at first glance seems daunting, isn’t a lot for what you get.

What makes the game work is the pendulum swing. The rhythm.

First, the setup. The agonizing squad building. Is it worth 2 points to raise this pilot’s skill, not knowing what the enemy force contains? It could easily be two points that have ZERO effect on the game. Terribly tough gambles. Now that wave 2 is out and you could just as easily face a hulking mothership like a decked out Slave I or a swarm of the world’s most annoying TIE fighters, you really have to prepare for a wide contingency of opponents.

This setup is tense. You want flexible. But strong. Synergistic support between squad members, but not so much that the loss of a key ship means defeat. And you ALWAYS want about 3 more points for that perfect build. No matter how many points you choose to fight, you will kill for another 3.

So it’s got that whole squad building aspect down great. Especially now that there’s a ton of options. Who knows what your opponent will bring?

But the flow of a turn is brilliant.

Everybody chooses their maneuvers. No downtime. But here in the game is where you are playing cat and mouse. Maybe psychologically toying with the opponent, making them think your plan is A when it is actually B.

Hidden agendas and secret moves. That’s the next game that plays out after the squad building math.

Then the wonderful move system. Everyone slowly reveals their moves, in what might be the games most questioned rule. The lowest skilled dudes go first, and eventually the better skilled dudes, which mean they have a fairly good chance of accidentally hitting and losing their action, where the lower skill guy might pull it off.

But it works in the long run, because it keeps higher skills in tailing positions.

Bit in this phase of the game, again, very, very little downtime, as the nefarious plans and maneuvers are revealed.

Squeals of glee and grunts of horror abound as unexpected collisions happen and skillful turns are executed.

But then comes the start of your devastating on the spot decision making. While plotting your squadrons moves, you had an overall plan. Now, each ship must choose it’s precious action.

Evade? How many guys might end up firing on you? Target? Are you clear to get the shot this or next turn? Focus – the all purpose “Egads, I need help” token. Or maybe that barrel roll or super freakin cool new Boost – move a bit maybe out of a firing arc or -surprise – snap someone into your arc. Maybe you execute some trick of your specific pilot.

Here is where you are tempering your odds. Things that will alter the upcoming luck sequence. carefully guiding the gods of luck to your favor.

The tokens build up on the board as actions get selected. At first, this is a pile of confusing cardboard. In a few games, the counters become invisible, simply reminding you of who plans what.

Whew. So, strategic planning in the squad build, then the secrecy of move plotting, then the agonizing action choices. What more does this game need?

Raw luck.

Bring out the dice. Or the iPad app, if you prefer.

Its Star WARS and the dice bring on the war. Now MORE decisions that hurt. Do I spend my focus token to get that extra damage possibly in, or hold on to it to help me avoid possible damage? What if I hold it and no one fires? What a waste… Two hits coming in… Do I evade? Or hold on to the evade since a crit might come next?

Hopefully, you’ve pile bonus upon bonus on your fighters. Distance, skill, weapon, focus… Or maybe all you’ve got is a shot in the dark.

Fire away.

Even defenders are active, choosing focus and evade moments.

Again, very little downtime. Lots of whining and cheering. Little downtime.

Start the cycle again. Hidden choices, movement reveals and actions, combat.

I think THIS is why X-Wing is such a stunningly successful design. It bobs and weaves each turn. No phase is long enough to overstay its welcome. And you must juggle and balance each phase to support the others.

An excellently designed system that overcomes any of it’s perceived problems due to the overall strength of play.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/942443/why-it-works-review-after-wave-2

Listen to Star Wars gaming news at Mos Eisley Radio broadcasting straight from the Outer Rim!

http://moseisleyradio.com/category/mos-eisley-radio/

Rich Hoffman

 www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com

Give yourself the gift of ADVENTURE.  CLICK HERE!  

Building a Real Millennium Falcon: At a cost of nearly $15 million dollars

I will admit this one time that during the entire car chase of my upcoming book Tail of the Dragon that I thought of the scene above from The Empire Strikes Back. Although my chase takes place in a car, it is my love of that space ship called The Millennium Falcon which pushed me along to create what I hope to be remembered as the greatest car chase in car chase history. I have been absolutely in love with The Millennium Falcon since I was 9 years old and I don’t think there has been a day in my life where I haven’t thought about it at least once. Because of the article I did yesterday about building a real life U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek and other circumstances of the last couple of days my interest has been renewed for an idea that I have had for many years about building an actual life-sized Millennium Falcon.

My thoughts on these matters are always present, but stronger now that the Star Wars yearly celebration is happening right now at Hollywood Studios in Florida. For a long time I have had in my mind that if I could come up with $15 million dollars extra that I didn’t need, I would build that ship, and for a purpose–to take it every year to the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando and allow it to be toured by the thousands of Star Wars fans who attend every year. My intentions have been to build it as a complete full-scale prop to contain large eye bolts concealed under the armor in the top attached to the frame and to helicopter it from my home to Florida each year.

But that is not my only intention. Years ago I started a company called Cliffhanger Research and Development which was intended to rediscover many of the technologies that we have forgotten from the past. I am of the belief that at some point human beings understood the technology of anti-gravity, and that’s how Baalbek in modern-day Lebanon east of the Litani River was built. No modern scientist in their right mind can rationalize that the tremendous stone foundations of that temple were built by rolling those gigantic stones across logs of timber. It’s simply ludicrous. They might attempt to explain Stone Hinge this way, and even the Great Pyramid in Egypt, but Baalbek would have been impossible. Baalbek is to me evidence that there was a technology on earth that allowed for levitation of rock, which is why many temples and pyramids were built to such extremes, because they could. I believe this technology is hidden right in front of our face and is simply waiting for us to rediscover it. And I started Cliffhanger Research and Development to uncover that kind of technology.

But I found myself in court more than making money and discovered that politics of the current time prohibited such commitment to innovation. It would take a tremendous amount of start-up capital just to pay off the politicians and bureaucrats at the FFA, and other regulatory agencies to get the project off the ground let alone to actually discover it. So I put the idea on hold till some later date when I could return to it more financially viable, and politically able to deal with such a project. Currently one of my old business partners is using the name of Cliffhanger to start a ranch in Southern Virginia. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE. My hatred over government interference has its roots in my personal experiences. And my recent completion of Ayn Rand’s great novel The Fountainhead had me thinking about this all over again prompting me to actually put my thoughts into words. So this little exercise is more for me than for my readers here. It helps to see it on paper so the visualization process can take the next step.

When I obtain the funds I intend to build my own full-scale version of The Millennium Falcon and it will serve as my permanent office as I restart Cliffhanger Research and Development. It will be a moveable office that I can set up and transport anywhere I wish. But there will be a dual purpose. I intend to hire three out-of-the box scientists who are super Star Wars and Star Trek geeks and have a great understanding of quantum mechanics to use the engine room of my Millennium Falcon as their research facility to discover the secrets of anti-gravity levitation making The Millennium Falcon the test vehicle of rediscovered technology. I believe the actual craft shape of The Millennium Falcon is of sufficient size to generate tremendous electromagnetic fields capable of reversing the effects of earth’s gravity, which I believe contains the secret by reversing the polarity of gravity in controllable increments.

This thought matured during a treasured evening with my family on Saturday night and really ignited in me this desire to build a full-scale version of The Millennium Falcon. I raised my daughters on science and dinosaurs more specifically and we all had a wonderful time looking at the full-sized dinosaurs of Kings Island’s Dinosaurs Alive exhibit. I was actually shocked a couple of times during our tour of the exhibit which is the best that I’ve ever seen. For a long time I was very enchanted by the Jurassic Park exhibit at Universal Studios but this set-up at Kings Island just stunned me. One specific dinosaur called Ruyangosaurus was so massive that I couldn’t believe it was real. The Ruyang Yellow River Dinosaur was 72 feet long, 12 feet wide and 40 feet high, and it moved and made noises. Its chest cavity expanded in and out like it was breathing. I stood there for over 15 minutes admiring this wonderful work of art as my family moved on down the path leaving me there to think. A little boy stood next to me aged 7. He had on khaki pants and a little hat that made him look like a scientist. He held a small notebook where he pretended to write down details. He and I had an intelligent conversation about dinosaurs and how he was going to make them some day like in Jurassic Park. As we spoke a group of teenagers 14 to 16 came by and mocked the noises the animal made. I felt sorry for the 7-year-old, because I realized that his school would probably beat out of him this natural curiosity for dinosaurs and make him into those teenagers, where the mysteries of life are taken from them and replaced with biological impulses of primitive sexual ritual. But then my hope came back alive as a young woman aged 22 stood next to me and the boy with tears streaming down her face. “It’s so beautiful.” She was a paleontologist major at the University of Cincinnati waiting to go on a dig to the badlands in South Dakota. My oldest daughter motioned for me to come up the hill, “Dad, you’re going to love this!” I left the two science hopefuls behind and went to see what she was talking about and behold, there was a Tyrannosaurs Rex in full-scale, and abundant glory. I have words to write for every occasion and every circumstance, but I cannot find them to convey my love of that T-Rex dinosaur at the Kings Island exhibit. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

As we walked around the park after that exhibit my mind was racing. I thought of the little boy, the young paleontologist and the feeling my family had over just seeing some mechanical dinosaurs set up in the woods. It helped to see those full-scale dinosaurs and I realized that such an experience for those particular young people would probably advance science just a little bit. When I was a kid, nothing like those animatronics dinosaurs existed, not at the level of sophistication shown at that exhibit. It was worth every bit of $5 a ticket. My family was back there on the trails for over 2 hours, and I could have stayed all day reading everything and just looking at the dinosaurs move.

My family knows when I get that far off look that my mind is active and I don’t remember saying two words for the rest of the night. I’m sure I did, but my mind was on the full-sized Millennium Falcon of my dreams and the renewed idea of giving 3 geniuses the work place inside their dream vehicle the commission to make it come to life—to make it fly. Not to make it fly with nuclear power, or fossil fuels, or aerodynamics requiring thrust and drag to create lift. But to make it fly repealing the earth’s gravity instead of being prisoner to it, by making it fly smoothly through the air using earth’s magnetic field to do so. To have The Millennium Falcon fly from anyplace in the United States and land at Hollywood Studios and the yearly Star Wars Celebration without the aid of a helicopter.

It helps to have a visual reference to frame the mind to a difficult concept. The dinosaur exhibit at Kings Island can certainly do that for scientists who want to see the results of what all that time spent in the dirt have yielded. But for Star Wars fans who are striving to make into reality the thoughts that those films have given their imaginations, there is a strong yearning to make it real, because the mind has thought it, and now the hands want to build it. I think having a full-scale Millennium Falcon would capture the imagination of thousands who are on the edge of great scientific discoveries in a world that laughs at them and mocks their passion, like those teenage boys making fun of the Ruyangosaurus. The world is made up of such second-handlers, but the girl with tears on her face, and the young boy with the notebook and passion to discover the next great thing, I want to hire, and free their minds to change the world. I promise to do it as soon as I can come up with $15 million that I don’t need. Because I think we’re close, and all it will take is the love of an object well-known to be seen, to be touched, to be beheld in every way possible to unleash the unimaginable that will carry mankind to the next great discovery.

Everything starts with an idea, and the passion to make that idea into a reality.


____________________________________________________________

This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

Just finished the book and am sweating profusely. Wow, what a ride !!!  Fasten your seat belts for one of the most thrilling rides ever in print.

While you wait for Tail of the Dragon, read my first book at Barnes and Nobel.com as they are now offering The Symposium of Justice at a discount which is the current lowest price available.

Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

New Novel Set in the Great Smoky Mountains: The Famous Matt Clark interview on “Tail of the Dragon” with Rich Hoffman

On Sunday May 6, 2012 I spent some time with Matt Clark of the Clarkcast Radio Network to talk about my new novel Tail of the Dragon which is about to hit book stores everywhere. Matt had read an early version of the novel before I signed with my publisher and enjoyed it so much he called me personally to say just how much he loved the story prompting us to discuss it well in advance of its release to the public. When the book was close to release, we spoke about doing the interview heard and seen below as it aired on Talk 1600 WAAM in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Check it out!

On a special note, during the interview, I say “WE” quite a bit. This is in reference to either my wife who has been on many adventures with me and has been a big part of the writing process–or its in reference to my publisher and the team who has worked with me to bring this book to life. Its a process that involves a lot of people, so saying “WE” seemed appropriate.

Even though Matt and I spoke about a lot of topics that make Tail of the Dragon a unique and timely novel, where the events of this intense story are paralleling the tensions of our current nation, a lot of what we wanted to discuss didn’t make it into our interview. If it had, our talk might have gone on for hours. So to further elaborate the content of the Tail of the Dragon I have a longer version of the interview to enjoy while the final stages of production are completed prior to the release of the book in The United States and International markets. 

Enjoy!!!!!!

Q: What is your new book Tail of the Dragon all about?

A: I set out to write the book I’ve wanted to see written for a number of years, an action packed good ol’ car chase that was filled with excitement. They used to make lots of those films in Hollywood years ago, and of late, even with the strong video game market from the Need for Speed series and the popularity of the Fast and Furious films, studios have been shy about tackling those types of projects.

When I was growing up it was films like Smokey and the Bandit and The Dukes of Hazzard that dominated movie and TV sets and I always felt that those types of entertainment mediums were healthy for American culture since questioning the merit of the law is important to our checks and balances as a society. And for me, it is kind of sad that one of the greatest car chase films of all time is The Blues Brothers which was made back in the 70’s. So I set out to write a story to contribute to this starving deficiency, and I purposely set out to write the most exciting, and intense car chase story in the history of car chase stories. If early readings of the book are any indication, I’d say that mission was accomplished.

Q: After reading this novel it seems that there is more to it than just a car chase. These characters are in deep peril. The politics of the novel seem to be a very direct commentary to real life.

A: I think of this story as a modern pirate story, where the main character Rick Stevens has been hired as a privateer much the way England and France hired privateers to harass the Spanish Main during the 17th century leading to the golden age of piracy. This gave rise to the great privateer/pirate called Henry Morgan. In a way I see Rick Stevens as the modern counterpart to that historic character. Stevens has been hired by political interests to harass the Highway Patrol in Tennessee for political reasons—to prevent a presidential run to the White House of the current Tennessee governor. So in that respect, there is a contemporary storyline.

Q: But you don’t deal with party politics, you keep it neutral.

A: That’s right. I make no mention of Republicans or Democrats because to me they are all kind of the same thing. If there is a political meaning to be taken from this particular story it’s that the political system is broken beyond repair and a small number of characters are intent to correct that system with a rebellious upheaval which causes this grand car chase.

Q: Isn’t it a hot dog that starts all this in motion?

A: Yes, Rick Stevens accepts the bet of a hot dog in a race that triggers off the chain reaction of events that lead to the next civil war in America. This time the battle lines are drawn between those who want government to continue to expand, and those who want to see it withdrawal from their lives. But yes, the whole thing starts over a bet for a simple hot dog.

Q: But this isn’t just a tough guy car chase; you have romance in it too.

A: Yes, Rick Stevens and his wife are on a trip to Gatlinburg to shake the dust off their marriage, which is a very popular destination for that kind of thing, and while there Rick wants to run his new motorcycle on the Tail of the Dragon which is a road on the western frontier of the Great Smoky Mountains that has 318 curves in just 11 miles. It’s considered one of the most extraordinary roads in the world, so it’s a very popular destination for high performance bikers and automobiles. In the novel this is the destination for this middle-aged couple as they reconnect romantically now that their oldest son is off and married.

Q: Ok, so that brings up the question, how much of this story is real? How much of Rich Hoffman is there in Rick Stevens?

A: There’s a bit there, especially in the first couple of chapters where the couple is traveling on their way to The Dragon for the first time. I’d say those chapters are a bit autobiographical. When my wife and I traveled to the actual Dragon I was amazed by the culture that was there. There was a real hunger for personal freedom that I found refreshing so I knew I had to make my next book about that extraordinary place. That same summer my wife and I traveled over 10,000 miles on our motorcycle as I started writing this book so that I could get my head into the mind of a character like Rick Stevens. We traveled from the shores of Lake Erie to the tip of Key West by motorcycle and many places in between. On those trips this story was born in every aspect. When you travel by motorcycle and speak with other motorcyclists at gas pumps and rest stops there is a respect that is undeniable. Where Rick Stevens and I part ways is that Rick does not have the same outlets as I do. I write, and read a lot, but Rick invests his time in cars and engines and doesn’t have mechanisms to relieve the stresses he feels in his life. I would never snap the way Rick Stevens does, but there is a part of me that really understands his reasons and motives for the behavior that becomes the greatest car chase in human history.

Q: So you and your wife rode 10,000 miles on a motorcycle all over The United States to research this novel?

A: Yes, but our riding stayed on the eastern side of the Mississippi River because most of the traveling was on long weekend trips that were close to our hometown of Cincinnati. But yes, our trips to The Dragon being some of the most interesting experiences I have had on a motorcycle. While on the road you meet a lot of people who want pretty much the same thing that you do, a sense of freedom, which is the appeal of traveling by motorcycle, and are the reason that motorcyclists wave to each other when they pass on the road.

The character of Rick Stevens is such a freedom loving person and to understand him correctly I found that he came to life for me somewhere between the Smoky Mountains and Key Largo, Florida. In fact, my wife and I stopped by a McDonalds in between Key Largo and Key West after several days on the road with our tent and a weeks worth of supplies stacked our motorcycle luggage rack and there was a profound sense of freedom that I felt at that moment that I used to create the character of Rick Stevens. I had to ask the question, what if a person lived like this every day? What would happen if a man who had such a profound sense of freedom and a determination to stay that way found himself pulled into a political whirlpool involving a presidential run to the White House. The result is this novel, Tail of the Dragon.

Q: Didn’t you have a lot of trouble with the law yourself, so isn’t there more of Rick Stevens in you than you’re admitting?

A: It’s true I grew up in trouble with the law quite a bit. I’ve received about every type of speeding ticket, and reckless operation citation a person can get, and I’ve been to court more times than I can even remember. Like Rick Stevens I had lost my driver’s license under state mandated suspension till my late 20’s. I do love speed, which is very obvious by the pace of this novel. But after I started raising a family and was driving family type cars, I drove just as fast–I never did slow down—even today. But I stopped getting tickets because the police do pull over a certain kind of driver, and certain types of cars. This is what confirmed my suspicions that the law was crooked in selective enforcement, and that traffic violations have nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with “revenue enhancement,” which is one of the central themes of this novel.

But Rick Stevens unlike me expects the world to be fair and he refuses to budge off the line of what is right and wrong. He’s a very determined character who expects logic in the law, and when he doesn’t get it—watch out.

Q: That brings us to another compelling character in Tail of the Dragon. We’ve talked about motorcycles, but this isn’t a motorcycle chase with the police, it’s a car chase. The car in this novel is unlike anything ever created.

A: That it is. In the story Rick Stevens has been trying to save up the money to fix up an old 1977 Firebird he has from his youth, but he could never come up with the money to restore it, since he was raising a family. So the car was in the garage collecting dust waiting for Rick to come up with the money. He gets it from a political enemy of the Governor of Tennessee who gives him $20 million to fix up his old car and turn it into the supercar that’s in the book.

Q: And it truly is a supercar.

A: Well, it had to be. Again, I think of it as the ultimate pirate ship for the ultimate pirate. Stevens takes the $20 million dollars and converts his old Firebird into an armored tank that can travel at speeds of over 200 MPH, which would be needed if he was going to pick a fight with the state of Tennessee and their highway patrol. He knew that the police would use lethal force to stop him once the chase got started so he put so many gadgets into the car that it would make James Bond jealous.

As a kid I always loved the car in Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, where the car could do just about anything, including fly, so in that spirit the old Firebird in Tail of the Dragon is a tribute to those great cars designed by Ian Flemming in his literary works that became the early James Bond films and set a level of expectation that hasn’t been matched. So with this story, I wanted to top it. I kept imagining how cool the Hot Wheel car of this Firebird would be in the toy aisle for a 10 year-old-boy, and I designed the car to appeal to all the children under 12 and adults over 30 who have old cars in their garages that they are trying to restore for all the reasons that Rick is, and are finding that money is hard to come by. This is the kind of story that fathers can share with their children in equal joy because both young and old love a cool car that is a strong character of its own.

Q: But what’s most unique about this car is that it’s the first hot rod of its kind that’s “environmentally friendly.” It doesn’t run off fossil fuel, but off of “vegetable oil.” Is that right?

A: Yes, the car has had a Lemans race car engine installed that is based on real technology from Puguet where they have had great success in developing diesel racing engines that can run on biodiesel. They have one engine that they currently use that produces 700 HP, so that gave me the idea to use that technology to solve a unique problem that always comes up in car chase stories—how do the bandits get gas, because in long, involved, and violent car chases, the last option of the police would be to shut down all the fuel stations along the chase route to starve the bandits of gas? So if a bandit/runaway pirate like Rick Stevens wishes to survive a massive car chase, he has to solve the problem of how he can refuel, otherwise he will simply run out of gas and he’d be gunned down with no place to go.

One thing that is very common, especially in the American South are lots of free-standing fast food restaurants that have plenty of waste veggie oil they keep in large containers behind their buildings. Rick hopes that by resurrecting his beloved car to a diesel engine power plant with a vegetable oil conversion kit, which is actually technologically feasible, then he can solve his refueling problems no matter what the police do, because law enforcement won’t be able to deny him of that source of fuel while on the run.

Q: So this is the first car chase in history that is “environmentally friendly.”

A: You could say that. Veggie oil is an alternative fuel that makes no sense to me why we don’t explore it as an alternative to diesel fuel. If I were a truck driver in America, I’d be pretty upset by the cost of diesel fuel, and I’d be looking for alternatives. So I wanted to make that technology known to a wider audience by making it a central story point in this novel, so people could learn that there are options to traditional fossil fuel available right now. Using those alternative fuel sources will help drive costs down by relieving demand and creating a more competitive market in the fuel processing businesses. So it only makes sense as an option that I think people should be utilizing. In Tail of the Dragon Rick Stevens uses veggie fuel to stay one step ahead of the law.

Q: I don’t want to give anything away, but I will have to say that I didn’t know how this story would end. It’s intense right up to the very last paragraph and I couldn’t put it down, especially the last 80 pages. There was just one cliffhanger after another and the story didn’t stop. There were action scenes that were just incredible, that’s the only way I know to describe them.

A: Well, I’m glad to hear it, because that was my intention. When I was a kid I played with a lot of toy cars, and I imagined every imaginable chase sequence possible by the human mind, so when I sat down to write Tail of the Dragon, I was able to go back and relive those childhood moments with the wisdom and reality of being an adult that has spent over 20 years traveling at a high rate of speed. So the car chase in this novel is a culmination of 44 years of playing on my behalf with the idea of the car chases that are in it. I wrote the scenes the way I’ve always wanted to see them, but so far every other story ever made has fallen short in some way.

I’ve read a lot of books, and car chases don’t typically play out well in literature, but as a tribute to my favorite car chases from movies, I wanted to apply one to literature as a mechanism to advance a very intense plot. So I thought of the great car chase stories like Road Warrior, Thunder Road, Vantage Point, Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper and many others and wanted to bring them into the modern world of advanced police tactics and superior technology. I didn’t want the police to be stumbling buffoons like they are typically in the old 70’s car chases, but worthy adversaries, which greatly increased the level of tension and made this story one of a kind. I’m very proud of what ended up on the printed page and the images it congers up in the mind.

Q: And that brings us to the point of the book. Without giving anything away, what is the point, because to me this novel works on many different levels? I mean you can blast through this novel in one sitting, or over a weekend. And you can read it several times and still take away more on the third and fourth reading. There are messages in it that seem to resonate to a much deeper philosophical yearning.

A: For me the point of the book is to get to the final pages, literally the last four pages. All the billions of dollars of destruction, the carnage, the audacious disregard for the law is to take the characters and the readers on a journey to a place beyond the law of mortal human beings to a place I believe all of humanity is clamoring for, but they just don’t know how to get there. We have a culture that is addicted to safety, to laws; too many chains we willingly place upon ourselves in a grand scheme to have an advanced and fair society. But that’s not what we’re getting; we’re finding our freedoms being eroded away slowly and beyond our control, and the common cause is in our tendency to be driven by our fears by politicians and social do-gooders.

So the characters in Tail of the Dragon decide that life is moving by too quickly and they have a shot to pull those chains off for the first time in their lives, and they make the leap for freedom even if it means their death. This is why the planned provocation of the highway patrol takes place on the Fourth of July because the characters are declaring their freedom, even though they are fully aware they probably won’t live to see a sun set. The yearning for freedom is that important to them.

As a literary device I used many mythological symbols to take the characters to the edge of social acceptance to arrive at a life beyond the laws of mankind to learn the meaning of their existence, to touch the face of what they were meant to be. To step beyond the limits that all the social devices of our age place upon us as shackles, the characters had to break all the rules and reach for their human potential beyond the reach of the law to truly understand. The point of the chase is actually a metaphor for how society as a whole seeks to hold individuals to the limits of the law. And to the point of Tail of the Dragon, the law is made up primarily of social reformers who have control and manipulation in mind, and not the needs of the people in general. So the conflict works at many levels, and the characters are both running to it and from it so they can smash through some invisible social barrier they have no way to understand, until it’s too late.

Of course if everyone in society acted on these impulses, there would be chaos. But in the name of art, we can explore these emotions through these characters so that the reader can break free like Rick Stevens into the world beyond politicians, legal manipulation, and guilt ridden morality to a place where the human being can be everything that it was meant to be. And in Tail of the Dragon, even though the results are tragic, the hero quest is in the pursuit of this freedom that is uniquely American, a freedom I touched on so often during my motorcycle trips, that exists just out of our reach.

Q: So when does it come out and what’s in the future for Tail of the Dragon? What about a sequel, or a series? This has to become a movie.

A: Well, again, not to give anything away, I don’t think there could be a sequel. That’s all I can say about that. But the book should be out within months. The publisher has not given me a firm release date yet, which was pushed out in the last-minute because of a change by me to the manuscript during my final reading approval. But it will be very soon. As to a movie, I think that may be a possibility. But for now, I mean for it to be a literary experience that is very personal to the reader. This is a journey that is intended in a language only a book can provide. I envision that there will be many readers clamoring for a taste of freedom on long motorcycle trips like the ones my wife and I enjoy going on that will pack this book in their side bags and pull off at that McDonalds between Key West and Key Largo and just rest for a while and cool off while reading Tail of the Dragon over a Big Mac like I’ve enjoyed doing over the years on many occasions. I have no doubt that the visitors to the mountain cabins around the actual Dragon will buy the book and enjoy reading it in the early morning mist that hovers around the mountains and contemplate the grand adventure of Rick Stevens and his epic car chase. A book is a personal journey that is deeply intimate for the reader, and as a lover of books, I put everything the written word can articulate into Tail of the Dragon to provide for readers an adventure they will never forget and yearn for again and again.

Stay tuned!!!! –And pass this on to a friend!

For more information and video about the actual Tail of the Dragon from The Discovery Channel and Good Morning America, CLICK HERE.

This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

Just finished the book and am sweating profusely. Wow, what a ride !!!  Fasten your seat belts for one of the most thrilling rides ever in print.

Check out more by CLICKING HERE!

Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com
 

“Believe” in Eric LeGrand: The Tampa Buccaneers make a BOLD move that will change the world

When I first heard that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had signed DT Eric LeGrand to the 90 man roster my first thought was that it was in bad taste to appeal to the world and sell tickets to my favorite team for the upcoming season by exploiting a young man’s depilating injury. LeGrand was severely injured during a special teams tackle while playing at Rutgers and broke his neck paralyzing him at age 20 from the neck down. Doctors gave LeGrand a 0 to 5% chance to ever regain any feeling in the neurological systems of his body.

But Eric is a tough kid and shortly after his injury, he insisted to be taken off his breathing machine. Then he gained feeling in his hands. LeGrand worked every day to move a part of his body and now he can actually stand for periods of time, which is an absolutely tremendous achievement. Coach Schiano who was his coach at Rutgers when LeGrand went down with the injury has been helping the young man stay focused, along with the fantastic support of a mother who refuses to quit, and it is becoming clear what forces have helped give Eric LeGrand the inner strength to beat these impossible odds to recovery.

Coach Schiano is now the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that is loaded with talent, but lost their way last season with a lack of focus and leadership. My love of the Buccaneers stems from the ownership of the Glazer family, and how innovative they have been in their approach to the game of football, and the NFL in general. When they hired Schiano after many interviews with many coaches, some who had taken their teams to last year’s playoff games, it was evident they saw something special in Schiano that would resurrect a level of greatness that the fans of Tampa Bay had come to expect.

Schiano has not disappointed so far, he has made some fantastic acquisitions in the free agency market, and this year’s draft is considered to be one of the best in Buccaneer history. The team has managed to create some cap room to work with, and they have used it to get some really good players to fill the voids exposed during the last season. That is why it seemed like a publicity stunt to see that Schiano had put LeGrand on the Buccaneer 90 man roster. After all, there is no way that LeGrand will play DT for Tampa Bay in 2012 if ever. Even if he could gain the ability to walk again, there is simply no way that he could outperform the hoards of other athletes all competing for the same job who have not suffered a debilitating injury. That is the conventional wisdom of the stats and science in placing an NFL player on the field to win football games. But conventional wisdom does not produce exceptions, and in any competitive endeavor, it is the exceptional that tip the balance of power in favor of a victor.

Great players are a dime a dozen, and coaches, teams and fans are always on the look-out for those special individuals who display leadership in the face of adversity and overcome odds that are insurmountable, and LeGrand certainly exhibits these traits without even stepping onto a football field.

My personal feelings about injuries and the kind of things doctors tell us are well noted here. I believe cancer could be cured tomorrow but the pharmaceutical companies and FDA are more concerned about preserving the status quo for their retirement accounts than actually solving a problem that will change medicine. When it comes to spinal cord injuries and nerve damage, doctors often project doomsday scenarios tapping their patients into the local pharmacy promoting bags of drugs to return the sick to some semblance of a normal life.

I don’t trust much of what doctors tell me, because I find the limits of their medical understanding confining and their belief in the potential of the human body to be deficient. My own doctors and rehab specialists tried to guide me in returning my knee to full function after extensive ACL surgery. I had torn my ACL in a basketball game, and then further damaged my knee by tearing the MCL while jumping through a wall of fire performing a whip stunt. The grass was wet to protect it from being burnt, so when I landed my foot slipped out from under me because there was no ACL to support my leg, and my femur actually drove into the ground leaving a small crater. My knee-joint slipped so far out of socket the bone had no knee in the way to protect it.

Doctors gave me weeks of rehab as the prognosis once they repaired my ACL, but I worked hard to recover as quickly as possible. I had my surgery done on a Thursday; I was walking and back to work on the following Monday. I could have milked time off work for weeks if I wanted to, but that is not how I think. I wanted to recover, and get back on my feet quickly—and I did. I went to rehab every couple of days, and I felt they were wasting my time, like my appointments were simply to provide work for the rehab employees and had very little to do with my actual recovery. I stunned the staff recovering 6X’s faster than the average, according to them. When my insurance company saw my progress with the rehab clinic, they cut the payments to my rehab. And on that day, it was my last session. I wasn’t about to pay for something out of my own pocket that I could do better on my own.

As I was leaving my therapists warned me that I might lose my advanced progress if I did not come to them anymore, in fact, my leg might not be as strong. They were aghast that I refused to take any medication during this time and made it sound as though my leg would fall off if I quit therapy. Within weeks of walking out on my therapists because my insurance company would no longer cover the costs, I was running on my leg again, and jumping through walls of fire—doing what I love doing.

My wife had ruptured a disk in her lower back carrying my youngest daughter the rest of the way up a mountain hike and didn’t realize it until we got home because she had difficulty walking. We went to see a back surgeon and discovered that she was about to become paralyzed from the waist down due to the disk slippage, so she went through emergency surgery.

After the surgery she had lost a lot of feeling in her toes and parts of her leg and was told that those nerves in her leg had been severally damaged, and she may never be able to walk correctly. Well, to my wife, this simply wasn’t an option. She had kids to raise and things to do. We rubbed her legs and feet for hours stimulating the damaged nerves and gradually she regained most of her feeling, and within a month, was able to walk normally. Again, if we had listened to the doctors, she would probably still have problems walking and her body would most likely be addicted to some pharmaceutical product to this very day even though that was well over decade ago.

The injury to LeGrand is much more severe than either one of the injuries described above, but what he has that is in common is a will to recover, to conquer his debilitation and take charge of his own body and its functions, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. For that, Coach Schiano is wise to understand that by placing LeGrand on the very young Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team that the presence of LeGrand will inspire the other players to greatness, to be at the top of their physical prowess, because compared to LeGrand, what does anyone have to complain about. If LeGrand can work out with the Buccaneers players and they see what it looks like to recover from paralysis what does a healthy player have as an excuse to not strengthen a ham string injury, or a sprained ankle?

For the inspiration of having such a positive presence on the practice field, LeGrand is worth the roster spot, and will certainly earn the privilege of playing in the NFL, even if it’s just on the sidelines. Because like most games, the battles are not won just on the field of play, they are won in the mind of the participants before the contest even begins.

I believe that with the positive attitude that Eric LeGrand has, with the support of his very positive mother and mentoring of Coach Schiano, that Eric may very well take his first steps on the practice field at One Buc Place sometime during the upcoming football season. Once Eric is on the field around other athletes, that desire to compete will drive the cells of his body to his cause, and he will walk while in a Buccaneer uniform, and the world will shudder at the miracle. LeGrand will become a shock to the medical industry of the world as new hope will be given to all victims of paralysis. The medicine of positive thinking will begin to get serious reappraisal.

Further, I believe that by the 2013 season, Eric will be running again and will be able to practice on the field simulating plays with the practice squad. And because he will have recovered and worked so hard to come back to that point, he will be a superior athlete, far surpassing what most in his position have otherwise achieved, because he has had to learn to overachieve just to recover.

By the 2014 season Eric will be in the rotation of DT’s in Tampa and he will find that he has surpassed his previous playing ability with a ferocity that defies fear, because he will have a new lease on life and will know that he has survived the worse that can be thrown at him, and he beat it back and the world will gasp at his stunning performance on third downs.

By 2015, just 5 short years from his terrible injury at Rutgers, at the tender age of 27, Eric LeGrand will be the dominate DT in the league and will be the starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many all over the NFL will be comparing him to Warren Sapp and Lee Roy Selmon but Eric will have done something nobody in the history of the world has done, he will have returned from an injury that doctors had doomed him to a life of paralysis to not only recover, but be bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before because he had knocked on death’s door and faced that ultimate fear at the brink, and that will make him unstoppable. And his never-say-quit attitude will carry the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a string of Superbowl wins that will dominate the NFL for a 6 year period up to the 2022 season. And Eric LeGrand will be known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game and he’ll not only change the game of football for the better, but will alter the course of medical science.

If you can think it, you can do it Eric.  (CLICK HERE for more info)

It will all come back to the odd decision of Coach Schiano and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign a paralyzed, but optimistic kid to their 90 man roster in 2012, a decision that will reenergize Buccaneer football in Tampa to a new decade of dominance and inspire the world to the unlimited possibilities of positive thinking. Once again it will be proven that the prizes of life do not go to the quicker, the stronger, or the largest man, but to the one who simply refuses to quit and believes that they can do anything once they set their mind to it and force their bodies to equal the quality of their thoughts.  The strength of heart simply has more value than the bulk of muscle, and is so rare that even if a person is in a wheel chair they can have more value than a whole busload of healthy players that are the best physical athletes of their age, yet lack the inner drive to achieve beyond expectation.  That is why Eric LeGrand will change the world, starting with the fate of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

Fire the CANNONS!!!!!!

 

This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

Just finished the book and am sweating profusely. Wow, what a ride !!!  Fasten your seat belts for one of the most thrilling rides ever in print.

Check out more by CLICKING HERE!

Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com
 

The Pirates! Band of Misfits: A movie review

I am happy, and disappointed at the same time to see that The Pirates! Band of Misfits made so much money, because it is a truly remarkable film. It opened overseas in March and to date has a $58 million dollar gross with nearly $56 million coming from foreign sales. Without question the film will do well in The United States. It’s everything we go to the movies to see, it’s grand, it’s funny, it’s exciting, and was just a whole load of joy on the screen.

This movie was a must see in my family, since any subject that has pirates in it makes it a priority. But in this instance there was an extra incentive. I raised my children on the films of Wallace and Gromit from Aardman Studios, so we were all intensely excited to see a rendition of that type of stop motion animation from that studio. And we weren’t disappointed. The film was just fantastic in every category.

I don’t recall laughing so much in a film for a very long time. As usual, in the tradition of Wallace and Gromit action sequences, there were wonderfully difficult stop motion scenes in The Pirates! Band of Misfits that truly pushed the very edge of stop motion animation, particularly the bathtub scene. Watching it in the scene below does not ruin the experience of seeing it on the big screen in 3D. I would pay money again to see the film just for this scene.

I love movies that depend on good clean fun to tell a story, and nobody today does it better than Aardman Studios. They are truly the best there is. In the world of animation only Pixar is doing anything even remotely as genius as the work seen in The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

The film itself was not a disappointment at all. My kids are preparing for a long trip to go see a play in London next week and then a photo expedition in Paris, so we all got together Friday night to see The Pirates! Band of Misfits before they leave. As we bought our tickets I was very impressed to see that Simon and Schuster was giving out free copies of Carter Goodrich’s new children’s book Zorro Gets an Outfit which was hauntingly reminiscent to my personal circumstances since I am set to become a grandfather soon. The book reminded me of all the kid stuff I was about to become reacquainted with, as my own children have been grown for quite some time now. The book is very good and of high quality as I browsed through it prior to the start of the film. Everything about the theater experience was set to be epic on a Friday night out with my family, a big movie release by Aardman, a book promo by Simon and Schuster, a giant state-of-the-art screen—everything was perfect—except for the audience.

Nobody was there. Besides my family, there were only three other families in the largest theater at the multiplex. It probably would have been cheaper for the theater to gives us the movie print they had in their possession and send us home rather than run the projector for such a small audience on a Friday night. The small audience was not the fault of the movie or the effort of the studios—it was the economy. Nobody was out and about on a Friday night with their kids to see a good old fashion family film, and that said a lot about the state of The United States.

As the film ended and we all got up excited from the wonderful film, I paused a minute to look around at the silence of the theater and I was truly sad. It was only 10:30 PM and the parking lot outside was nearly vacant. If a movie like The Pirates! Band of Misfits didn’t pack the house, not much would. I suddenly understood the reason why Sony Pictures did not release the film first in the United States, but instead focused on the international market—because they didn’t want the poor numbers from America to hinder their box office opening. The big American releases are waiting for May and June when kids get out of school to see movies, because the economy is that weak.

On a personal level I had a wonderful evening with the work of Aardman Studios. Before the film, my wife and I picked up my kids at their house where we had Little Creasers Pizza, and watched a quick episode of Wallace and Gromit from Netflix to get into the spirit before heading to the theater.

Art does reflect the culture it comes from and there is a reason American films were the envy of the world for such a long time, because the culture of America was the same. But that is changing, and the evidence is even in the kinds of movies America is making, the way studios market them and who shows up to see them on a Friday night.

With all considerations included, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a wonderful film that I’d recommend seeing several times, even if you go to see the movie by yourself. However, if you have children in your life, you are wasting time if you are not already in your car and on the way to the theater. Movies simply don’t get any better than this one. Every single frame of it was a delight to the senses.

This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

Just finished the book and am sweating profusely. Wow, what a ride !!!  Fasten your seat belts for one of the most thrilling rides ever in print.

Check out more by CLICKING HERE!

Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com
 

Tampa Bay Hires a New Coach: The philosophy of winning in games, and life

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to write anything positive about my favorite football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Shortly after writing a nice piece about my high hopes during the 2011 season, Raheem Morris lost control of the team somewhere between the game against the San Francisco 49’ers and the London game against the Chicago Bears. Raheem could not get his young players focused after loses to those two teams in the middle of the season and the Buc’s finished the rest of the season going from first place to never winning another game the rest of the season. This left the Buc’s needing to fire Morris who had been with the Glazers since he was a very young man. But when you are head coach, and you don’t win, someone has to pay. So the Glazers not only fired Raheem Morris, but every single coach on the football team, not out of meanness, but out of necessity. The press around Tampa Bay has been ablaze with speculation as to who in the world would coach the Buccaneers in the wake of this devastating termination of the entire coach staff. Many of the fans have been very frustrated that the Glazers interviewed so many coaches from the NFL, but committed to none of them. As January ticked away and time was running out panic began to set in from the fan base. They wanted to know who was going to hold the reigns of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wanted to see how the coaching staff would be rebuilt, and they wanted it quickly. But the Glazers didn’t blink. They held out, they interviewed the held out some more—they interviewed some more, until they finally announced the hiring of Greg Schiano from Rutgers University.
The reason I’m a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan as opposed to any other football franchise is that the Glazers are not afraid to gamble to get exceptional results. This has given them some of the best players in football history, particularly on defense, but some of the best coaches anywhere, many of them still coaching in the NFL. This is because the Buccaneers as an organization put philosophy first and emotion second when they make football decisions, and they use the three basic philosophic axioms to make those decisions, existence, consciousness, and identity. Knowing they were getting old and needed new blood to their philosophy of existence, the Buc’s fired a very good coach in John Gruden to promote Raheem Morris since Morris was being courted by NFL teams all over the country looking for the next Mike Tomblin of the Pittsburg Steelers. The Glazers had lost Tomblin once, and they didn’t want to lose Morris, and since the great defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was leaving the NFL and head coaching jobs were being dangled in front of Morris the Glazers pulled the trigger, dumped Gruden and gave both jobs to Morris, who went on to be coach of the year shortly thereafter. Morris brought in great young players full of zip and poise, but eventually NFL teams were able to spot Morris’s weakness, his lack of ability to adapt and teach his team the kind of discipline needed to adjust a game plan when it didn’t work and constantly relearn plays to present fresh looks. Once teams figured out the Buccaneer playbook, the Bucs were exposed and could not win another game the rest of the year, and that was Morris’s fault. The Buc’s had lost their identity in the axiom of philosophy. This then affected their consciousness as a team and their ability to win games. Many fans of football think that what wins football games are strictly the X’s and O’s. Many sports analysts will also say such things. But they are wrong. What makes a winner on the football field is the same as what makes a winner in politics, in business, in family relationships, in personal endeavor; it’s having a correct philosophy.
The Glazers rather than hire an NFL coach to just come in and win a few more games next year with the same players looked to fix their philosophy in the offseason. They aren’t looking for another quarterback, a free agent linebacker or even new D-backs. The Bucs are looking to fix their philosophy at the most fundamental level. What is the goal of their existence? How do they know they have that existence, which is their consciousness, and what is their identity which unifies those two primary axioms? This is why the Buccaneers as an organization fly that giant flag over the practice field. The Glazers know full well what they are doing. They took a gamble on Morris, it failed, so they abandoned that train of thought not because Raheem wasn’t a great coach, I think he was, but because he wasn’t able to maintain the three axioms of philosophy that the Buccaneer organization is expected to uphold. So the Glazers went out and hired a coach who displayed that he understood what those axioms are.
Winning is not about spending money, it’s not about hiring a “has been.” It’s about being ahead of the curve and seeing what sometimes isn’t there yet. So I’m excited about the new hire of Greg Schiano. I am happy to see that someone outside the box is getting a chance to build a philosophy in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization that not only reflects the success of the past, but the success that is yet to be. I will continue to fly my Buccaneer flags and look forward to an exciting 2012 season which should be quite exciting.
But remember, it’s not just about football, the games we play in life are about strategy and strategy is about winning wars. Whether the wars are ones of blood, ones of politics, or ones of just scores on a board, winning is a philosophy. But the key is in finding the correct philosophy, no matter what the endeavor is. For the Buccaneers, their philosophy isn’t just to win one year or two years, but to have a philosophy of winning consistently. And for us all, winning can sometimes hit us in the face by accident, but winning consistently is a philosophy that must first be identified by knowing our existence, recognizing our consciousness, and rallying being our identity.
That is the way of things………………………. To learn what a Overmanwarrior is CLICK HERE: https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/the-overmanwarriors-eating-fighting-and-philosophizing-the-keys-to-a-good-life/

Rich Hoffman https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/ http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior www.overmanwarrior.com   Watch Rich Hoffman’s favorite T.V. show: http://www.foxnews.com/freedomwatch/