Jan 31 2010

a case of turtle wax

Earlier this week, I did maybe the geekiest thing I’ve ever done (so far) in thirty-six years of doing geeky things.  I took the first step in auditioning to be on Jeopardy.  It was an online test, and it was intense.  There were fifty questions, with a maximum of fifteen seconds to answer each one.  Fifteen seconds is not a long time.  After half an hour of blankly staring at the test page and impatiently watching the timer count down to the appointed time, there was a flurry of typing until abruptly there were no more questions.  It was over in about ten minutes.  I barely remember any of the things on which I was quizzed.  I know that an eight-letter word for a French police officer that starts with the letter G is “gendarme.”  And I know that the vision receptors on the retina that aren’t rods are cones.  But somehow I drew a blank on the area code for the White House, which anyone who has lived just outside of Washington for almost a decade and a half should know.

So now I wait.  I don’t know my score.  And they’ll never tell me.  I could win a million dollars on the show and they will still never reveal the results of my online test.  I just have to wait and hope they call me – at any point within the next year – for an audition when they visit the area.  That’s when this pipe dream will end.  I might pass another test, but there’s no way I’ll make it past the interview and personality screening.  It’s for the best.  My appearance on the show would probably go something like this.

If – someday, somehow – I do get to meet Alex Trebek, I sure do hope I don’t have to square off against an architect.  Those guys are crazy smart.


Dec 6 2009

my sunday afternoon

Fuck the Raiders.  Fuck the ***skins.  Fuck Dan Snyder.  Fuck the Just Us League.  Fuck Dabysan.  And fuck Cap’n fucking Crunch.  I hate football and I got a lotta anger to spread around.

[UPDATE: Okay, so the Saints held on and managed to keep my Monday from being utterly miserable.  But you know what?  Fuck the ***skins anyway.]


Sep 3 2009

my greatest achievement…

…was turning my lousy draft position into one of the strongest teams in the league.  I drafted tenth of ten teams, and I knew going in that all the best running backs would be gone.  I decided to draft the best available player and let the RB’s take care of themselves.  So I took Drew Brees and Andre Johnson, who was the top receiver on my board.  (I think the Cardinals are going to take a step back this year and the Texans are going to contend for the playoffs in a tough division.)  We’ve got some real knuckleheads in the Just Us League, so I was also hedging my bet on a few idiotic decisions (like the guy who drafted Ryan Grant sixteenth overall).  I was able to pick up Marion Barber and Pierre Thomas with my next picks, and Willie Parker and Ray Rice to back them up.  I feel pretty good about my running back corps.  I’ve got Anthony Gonzalez and Braylon Edwards lining up with Johnson, and while I’m not overly bullish on Butterfingers Edwards, he was a good value pick.  Plus, I’ve got a trio with a lot of upside backing them up.  My tight end, kicker, and backup quarterback aren’t flashy, but they’re serviceable and consistent and they’re not going to lose me any games.  My only somewhat questionable move was a slight reach for the Steelers Defense/Special Teams in the ninth round.  But hey, they’re the best defense on the board (not to mention the NFL) and they’re the Steelers.  I never said I wasn’t a homer.

I’m feeling really good right now about my prospects for bringing home the JUL Trophy for a second time.  I look forward to the six weeks or so it will share space on my shelf with the Ramsey Cup.


Apr 23 2009

here i go again

One of my cycling friends is an unapologetic (and unironic) fan of hair metal.  Still.  He stopped listening to new music in about 1990 because, apparently, there was nothing new worth listening to.  Now, I like some hair metal too – but in that detached hipster "I used to be soooo uncool" sort of way, natch.  Anyway, I spent most of last Saturday riding with him and we got to talking about music from twenty years ago.  Somehow, we landed on Whitesnake, which would have been my first concert in eighth grade if my parents had allowed me to go.  I loved, loved, loved that self-titled record.

You probably see where this is going.  I've written about Whitesnake before, but not after re-visiting their signature record.  In the wake of that thirty-mile conversation, I became curious.  So I listened to that album this afternoon for the first time since high school, and I am pleased to report that it's terrible.  Everything about it is terrible.  The lyrics are terrible.  The guitar solos are terrible.  Even the sequencing is terrible.  And I actually laughed out loud when this song came on.  I used to be soooo uncool.

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Mar 27 2009

episode III: revenge of the sith

Senator Organa has been invaluable in the mediation between the Separatists and Loyalists, but since the the assault on Kashyyyk, solidarity has been the order of the day in the Senate.  A small but vocal faction of radical Loyalists insists that the attack was the handiwork of the Separatists in an effort to bring about chaos and Civil War, which, of course, is flatly denied.  In order to garner good faith that they were uninvolved in the attack, the Separatists are willing to concede nearly anything.  The Radicals push for the creation of a new office in the Senate – at, in fact, the head of the Senate – with more executive power that is believed will allow the Senate to respond more decisively to further attacks.  The Wookiee delegation nominates Senator Palpatine, good friend to the slain Tarfful, for the position, and popular support for the martyred Wookiee carries the motion easily.  Palpatine is now Chancellor of the Senate.

On Mustafar, Anakin is doing his best to maintain his ability and attitude, but after nine months in exile, the isolation is beginning to take its toll.  One day, on his training regimen, Anakin comes across a squadron of clones – a highly irregular encounter as the harsh environment renders the planet nearly uninhabitable.  He manages to avoid being seen and tails them to a remote industrial facility.  The clones are monitoring the harvest by a host of droids of volcanic ions, invaluable as star fighter fuel.  Knowing this to be a key resource for the clone army, Anakin feels as if he must act.  With no native vegetation to speak of and his trusty light saber in Obi-Wan's possession, Anakin can arm himself with only the rocks he finds on the ground but he still manages to – spectacularly, of course – dismantle the operation.  A routine monitor droid records the action and transmits to the Jedi Council.

Upon hearing of Anakin's feat, the newly elected Chancellor insists against the will of the Jedi Council on traveling to Mustafar to congratulate the young Jedi and award him a Republican Medal of Honor.  When the Council objects, Palpatine reminds them that they serve the Republic at the request of the Senate, and that his new position as Chancellor grants him veto power over even them.  After some debate, the Council defers but requests that another party and a Jedi accompany him, to which the Senator agrees.  He selects Organa to join him and (at Obi-Wan's urging; he is anxious to visit his old friend) the Council selects Obi-Wan.

Princess Padme has relocated permanently with her handmaiden to Coruscant, where she can more easily conceal her very-pregnant self from those many, not least her mother the Queen of Naboo, who are unaware of her illicit marriage to a Jedi knight.  Obi-Wan has given her his word that none shall learn of her condition and no matter the circumstances, he will return to Coruscant when the birth of her child is imminent.

On Mustafar, Anakin is granted an audience with Chancellor Palpatine.  He commends the young, though disgraced, Jedi for his continued service to the throne, and assures him that because of his actions, talk among the Jedi Council of expelling him permanently from the Jedi Order has ceased.  This gives Anakin pause, he questions the Chancellor.  Palpatine assures him that those who were pushing for his expulsion of the Jedi Order because of his marriage and impending child have ceded to those who are willing to look the other way, provided Anakin faithfully serves his time in exile.  Anakin, having told no one but his former Master of his relationship with the Naboo Princess, feels Obi-Wan has betrayed him.  Palpatine leaves Skywalker and Obi-Wan – who has been waiting anxiously – is given permission to see his friend, but is greeted with a cold reception.

As Obi-Wan and Organa return to Coruscant, Palpatine tells them of his intention to return to Naboo for a festival honoring his selection as Chancellor.

On Geonosis, Darth Sidious and Darth Plagious are meeting.  Darth Sidious informs his master of his plan to attack multiple star systems with his clones simultaneous with a smaller attack on the capital of Coruscant.  Believing the Jedi will recall all of the their order to protect the capital at all cost, most of the galaxy will be ripe for the picking.  Plagious agrees and commends Sidious for his devious plan.  The discussion turns to Sidious' apprentice.  Sidious announces his intention to turn Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side of the Force.  Plagious mockingly disagrees, and strongly urges Sidious to find another candidate – one who is not so strong with the Force.  Sidious is not amused.

Padme enters labor.  Obi-Wan and her handmaiden rush to her side for delivery.  To the surprise of all three, Padme delivers twins – a boy and a girl.  Darth Sidious slips into the private chamber of his master and murders Darth Plagious as he sleeps.

The unexpected birth of twins startles Obi-Wan, who is already shaken and a little suspicious of Anakin after the frosty reception on Mustafar.  He is disturbed by his sudden lack of trust in his former apprentice and without notifying the Jedi Council of his destination, he returns to the Dagobah system to seek the advice of Yoda.  After explaining Anakin's strange behavior to Padme, he takes their daughter with him, just to be on the safe side.

The Clone Army attacks Coruscant.  Not only does the Jedi Council recall all of their Knights to defend the capital, as expected, but Chancellor Palpatine insists that Anakin be returned from exile to assist with the defense.  When the Council balks at this unprecedented stay of sentence, Palpatine assures them that the likewise unprecedented assault on the capital requires the presence of every last Jedi and that Anakin will be returned to his banishment once the attack is quelled.  Ultimately, there is nothing the Council can do and Anakin is summoned to Coruscant.  He is not, however permitted a light saber, and is issued a blaster.

The Jedi-led Army of the Republic fights valiantly and defeats the small contingent of clones.  Wielding his executive power, Chancellor Palpatine negotiates the conditions of the clones surrender.  After long hours, he emerges from the negotiations and assures the Senators that Coruscant is safe, but not necessarily their home systems.  He urges them to return to their homes for the time being, where they may be more useful in the defense of the galaxy.  After all, what good is a Senate that represents conquered star-systems?  Most of the Senators return home to their planets under the rule of Clone army.

Mace Windu, leader of the Jedi Council, and Bail Organa are irate.  They burst into Chancellor Palpatine's quarters, accusing him of the highest order of treason.  Organa argues the the ability of the Senate to govern will be greatly diminished with its members spread throughout the galaxy.  Palpatine shows his hand, crying "I AM the Senate!" and revealing himself as Darth Sidious for the first time.  A duel ensues.  Mace Windu is killed and Organa is taken prisoner.  Sidious keeps Windu's light saber as a prize.

Palpatine summons Anakin and tells him that Organa has double-crossed the Republic and has been working for the Separatists all along, that he has slain Windu and the Jedi are not safe.  He convinces Anakin to surrender to him a list of Jedi sanctuaries within the Galactic capital.  The Chancellor's private guard travels from safe-house to safe-house, rounding up Jedi for their supposed protection.  Most of the Jedi are brought to the temple against their will.

Anakin travels with Palpatine and his private guard – with a shacked Bail Organa in tow – to the Jedi Temple where the knights are assembled.  He tells them the same story he told Anakin but a well-respected
Jedi named C.J. Thorpe, who was once Windu's Padawan learner, catches a glimpse of his former Master's light saber on Palpatines sash beneath his robe and knows that the Chancellor is lying.  He moves quickly to strike, but Anakin, reacting instinctively, intervenes and blasts the Jedi.  Though momentarily stunned, the Jedi turn on Anakin.  During the melee, Organa is freed and escapes.  Though outnumbered, through Anakin's skill and the assistance of Palpatine's guard, all of the Jedi are killed.

Organa makes his way to Padme, and tells her what has transpired.  He needs to locate Obi-Wan as soon as possible.  She tells him that Obi-Wan is on Dagobah, and Organa sets out to find him.

Anakin is very upset and afraid by his unexpected rage.  And he is worried about retribution when his actions become known.  Palpatine convinces him that the Jedi Order is bordering on obsolescence given the executive power of the new senatorial position of Chancellor and though initial an public outcry will occur, they will soon forget as they go about the business of their daily lives.  He urges Anakin to return to Mustafar for the remainder of his exile and by the time he returns the Jedi would be entirely forgotten.

On Dagobah, Yoda feels a great disturbance – a thousand souls crying out and suddenly silenced – in the Force.  He tells Obi-Wan he fears something terrible has happened to the Jedi on Coruscant.  Obi-Wan is concerned and is prepared to return to the capital, but Yoda tells him nothing more can be done.  Obi-Wan thinks of Anakin.  Believing him to still be on Mustafar, he heads out to ensure Anakin's safety.  He leaves Leia on Dagobah in Yoda's care.

Anakin goes to Padme and sees his son for the first time.  He tells her they must go to Mustafar to hide from Organa and the Separatists, who are hunting the Jedi.  She is suspicious because she has seen Organa and their stories differ.  She is beginning to doubt her husband, but accompanies him anyway.

Obi-Wan arrives at Mustafar before Anakin and is surprised to see Anakin's quarters vacant.  He waits and the Skywalker family soon arrives.  Anakin is by now nearly deranged with guilt and fear.  He immediately besets Obi-Wan for allegedly betraying his trust and informing the Jedi Council of his wife and child.  Obi-Wan refuses to fight him, which only enrages Anakin all the more.  Pamde is terrified by her husbands display and now understands that in fact it had been Organa who was telling the truth.

Bail Organa arrives on Dagobah and locates Yoda.  He tells him what happened on Coruscant, and Yoda tells him where Obi-Wan has gone.  Yoda instructs Organa to take Leia and to go into hiding.  Organa goes to Dantooine.

When Anakin's back is turned, Padme informs Obi-Wan of what happened on Coruscant.  Obi-Wan becomes angry and challenges Anakin, who no longer denies his actions.  Anakin uses the Force to retreive his light saber, which Obi-Wan has been carrying on his sash all this time and the duel begins.  During the course of the battle, the Jedi slash through a bunch of stuff with their light sabers – most notably a couple of key structural columns.  The building they are in begins to collapse.  Anakin and Obi-Wan manage to escape, but Padme is not so lucky.  She sacrifices herself to save Luke from the falling rubble.  And Obi-Wan and Anakin continue to duel.  They come closer and closer to the fiery lava and Obi-Wan finally slashes Anakin's limbs to bits.  Burnination ensues.  Anakin screams at Obi-Wan, who collects his old friend's light saber and child and departs.

On Coruscant, a much larger Clone Army force attacks.  This time, the planet is overrun.

Writhing in pain, Anakin looks up to see Darth Sidious, who had been watching from afar.

Cue the imperial march and the black suit.

Obi-Wan arrives on Tatooine and begins the search for an appropriate foster home for Luke, finding Owen Lars staring into the sunsets.

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Mar 26 2009

episode II: the defense of the republic

The
situation in the Senate is dire.  Support is growing for the
Separatists as more systems from the Outer Rim begin to feel that the
Republic does not adequately represent their needs or beliefs.  It is
only the careful diplomacy of a small group of moderate Loyalists, led
by Senator Palpatine of Naboo and Senator Tarfful of Kashyyyk that prevents the Republic from collapsing entirely.

Meanwhile
in the Kessel System, a small but enterprising band of pirates and
smugglers has established a blockade of the valuable spice mines,
eliminating all trade until their steep ransom is met.  Obi-Wan and
Anakin are dispatched to deal with these bandits.  They sneak into the
pirates' ground base by disguising themselves as smugglers.  Once inside, Obi-Wan uses his stealth to disable the sky net blocking the
trade route as Anakin steals a fighter and spectacularly –
single-handedly – destroys all of the embargo droids and the pirates'
flagship.

This last
demonstration of skill and bravery is all the Jedi Council needs to
determine that Anakin's Padawan days are over and declare him a true
Jedi Master.  Anakin's advanced level of accomplishment
leads the Council to decide that he is ready to take on a Padawan
learner of his own.  He is the youngest Jedi ever to be so honored, and he takes on young Qui-Gon Jinn as his apprentice.  However, because he
is so young, Anakin and Qui-Gon are given a fairly easy first
assignment: they are to guard and protect the Loyalists – particularly
Palpatine and Tarfful – from any danger that may arise as a result of the crisis
in the Senate.  By remaining on Coruscant, the Council is able to monitor and guide young Anakin should he need assistance.  Obi-Wan
requests that the Council hold off on assigning him his next
apprentice, as he remains concerned about the mysterious painted man,
and wishes to investigate further.  The Council agrees.

Anikan and
Qui-Gon visit Tarfful at his quarters and make their introductions, and
then proceed to visit Palpatine.  When they arrive, Palpatine seems
surprised and nervous to see them.  Out of the corner of his
eye, Anakin spies the painted man through the curtains on the terrace
outside Palpatine's flat.  When Anakin questions him, the Senator
hesitates for a moment and then cries foul play.  Anakin instructs
Qui-Gon to fetch Obi-Wan and gives chase.  The painted man leaps from
the balcony into the speeding Coruscant traffic.  Anakin follows.  A
chase through the capital city byways ensues, and Obi-Wan arrives on
the scene when they reach the spaceport.  The painted man escapes, but
Obi-Wan manages to plant a homing device on his ship and departs in
pursuit.

News of
Anakin's heroic thwarting of the attempt on Palpatine's life reaches
Naboo, and the queen invites her Senator and his Jedi bodyguards to
Naboo for a feast in Anakin's honor.  Tarfful accompanies them.  Upon
their arrival, Padme is ecstatic.  She and Anakin spend most of there
time together and when the time comes for the return to Coruscant,
Padme – under the guise of raising support for the Loyalists' cause –
convinces the queen to allow her to return with the politicians so that
she may be closer to Anakin.  The next time Palpatine returns to Naboo,
the Jedi of course accompany him – as does Padme – and Anakin and Padme
are secretly wed.

Obi-Wan,
meanwhile, tails the painted man to Geonosis and spies on him speaking
to another man in a hooded cape.  There he learns that the painted man
calls himself Darth Maul, the other man is Darth Plagious, and they
speak of a third: Darth Sidious.  They are, in fact, Sith – just as Obi-Wan
feared.  He contacts the Jedi Council to inform them.  They trust him,
but insist he be absolutely sure they are Sith before raising any
alarm.  They suggest he visit his master, Yoda, on Dagobah for counsel and meditation.

Palpatine and
Tarfful manage to sway Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan from the side of
the Separatists.  It is a major coup for the Loyalists, and could
possibly spell the end of the Separatist movement.  Suddenly, a
transmission from the Wookiee planet Kashyyyk informs the Senate they
are under attack by the Clone army that escaped from Naboo.  Believing
this to be the opening shot in a Civil War waged by the Separatists,
the Senate dispatches all Jedi to Kashyyyk to defend the system. 
Tarfful insists upon traveling with Anakin and Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan is
summoned from Dagobah to rendezvous with them on Kashyyyk.  Before
departing, Anakin meets with Padme and she informs him that she believes she
is pregnant.

The
Clone Army
is under the control of Darth Maul.  A horrific battle ensues.  Obi-Wan
is intent on capturing Darth Maul, convinced that will lead him to
Darth Plagious, who he believes to be in charge.  He recruits his
former
apprentice and companions to join him in pursuit.  They become
separated – Obi-Wan and the others - and Lord Maul and his guard manage
to capture Anakin, Qui-Gon, and Tarfful.  Anakin is well aware of
Obi-Wan's desire to capture Maul alive.  Obi-Wan is sneaking up on the
party in the ventilation ducts, intent on staging a rescue.  Anakin
sees him and acknowledges his presence and silently agrees to bide his
time until the moment is right for Obi-Wan.  Darth Maul, however,
decides to make an example of the Wookiee and electrocutes him with
bolts from his hands.  Upon Tarfful's
death, Anakin becomes enraged, breaks his bonds with superhuman
strength, regains his saber – and his opponent's - and besets Maul with
all his fury.  Ultimately, he has Maul nullified,
with two light sabers crossed at Maul's neck.  He looks back to his
former master before striking.  Obi-Wan, knowing what is about to
transpire, screams
for Anakin to stop, but to no avail.  With his last act, Maul is able
to use the force to send a large heavy object careening in to Anakin's
young apprentice's head.  He is immediately knocked cold.  Darth Maul's
head rolls from his body.  Anakin rushes to Qui-Gon's aid, but it is no
use; his Padawan is dead.  The Wookiees and Jedi win the
battle, but fail to vanquish their enemy.  Civil War has begun.

Anakin is in
serious trouble.  His blatant disregard of Obi-Wan's strategy resulted in the death of his apprentice, to say nothing of the dishonor of
slaying an unarmed foe.  After much deliberation, Anakin is permitted
to remain a part of the Jedi order, but is sentenced to two years in
exile on the volcanic planet of Mustafar.  He is required to relinquish
to his former master all Jedi articles, most especially his weapon.  As
Anakin prepares for exile he confides in his old friend his secret
marriage to Padme and her impending pregnancy.  Obi-Wan is unhappy, but
swears secrecy.  As he surrenders his light saber, Anakin requests that Obi-Wan give it to the son he is certain Padme
will bear in the unfortunate event he – Anakin – should fail to return.

We see Darth
Sidious for the first time.  He is communicating with Darth Plagious,
assuring him that the loss of his apprentice Darth Maul is unfortunate,
but merely temporary.  He shall have a new apprentice very soon.

Anakin exits his shuttle and walks from the hangar, gazing for the first time upon the molten landscape of his new home.

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Mar 25 2009

episode I: the secret of the clones

Separatists in
the Galactic Senate are getting restless.  Preparing for Civil War, and
unable to defend their valuable moisture farms while waging their
long-standing war with nearby Naboo, the Hutts - and Tattooine – have
at long last agreed to a peace treaty.  To moderate the negotiations,
the Jedi Council sends master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan learner,
teenage Anakin Skywalker, to Naboo.

While on Naboo,
Obi-Wan and Anakin meet young (also in their late teens) Sidme and
Padme Amidala, the twin daughters of the queen.  Sidme becomes
infatuated with young Skywalker, but because of his Jedi training he
spurns her advances.  Meanwhile, the Hutts' ruthless mercenary, the
dreaded Jar Jar Binks, takes a shine to Sidme and attempts to court
her.  When he is rebuffed, he kidnaps the princess and retires to the
Hutts palace on Tattooine.

The Queen of
Naboo convinces Senator Palpatine to intervene and send Obi-Wan and his
Padawan to Tattooine to rescue the princess.  The Jedi infiltrate the
Hutts' palace and strike a deal with Gordo the Hutt: the Jedi's
apprentice and the vile Jar Jar Binks will meet in a pod race.  The
winner will receive Sidme Amidala as a prize.  The loser will be put to
death.  Anakin, being the finest starfighter pilot in the Galaxy, wins
the race despite Jar Jar's best attempts to cheat, but during his (Jar
Jar's) execution at the Great Pit of Carkoon the execution party is
ambushed by a mysterious red-faced character.  Believing the attacker
to be a Sith, Obi-Wan abandons Anakin, who is left to defend Sidme from
an unshackled Jar Jar Binks.  During the melee, Sidme falls into the
pit and the Sarlaac wraps a mighty tentacle around her leg.  Jar Jar
siezes his opportunity and attacks Anakin who allows both Sidme to slip
to her death and Jar Jar Binks to escape.

Upon returning
to Naboo, Anakin is inconsolable.  He blames both himself for being
unable to save Sidme and Obi-Wan for abandoning him to pursue the
mysterious attacker.  Padme, however, is impressed by his bravery and
approaches him alone in his quarters to console him.  In that moment,
they strike a bond, and in his weakness and doubt, young Anakin drops
his Jedi guard and allows himself to feel for Padme.  And when she
understands the depth of his grief over her dead twin sister, she also
begins to feel for him.  They lean into each other, as if to kiss, but
at the last moment, Anakin remembers his committment to the Jedi Order,
and leaves the room awkwardly and unconvincingly.

Anakin and
Obi-Wan return to Coruscant and report their activities directly to
Mace Windu, the leader of the Jedi Council.  (Yoda is on Dagobah and not a member of the council.)  A meeting between the Jedi and Senator Palpatine also
occurs.  Obi-Wan departs to meet with Windu, leaving Palpatine alone
with young Anakin, who shares with the Senator both his misgivings over
being unable to save Sidme and his dismay that Obi-Wan seemingly
abandoned him in a time of great need.  Meanwhile, Obi-Wan is obsessed
with the identity of the painted stranger,to the point of neglecting
Anakin.  He – Obi-Wan – is convinced their attacker is a Sith lord. 
Mace Windu agrees, but sends Obi-Wan and his apprentice back to Naboo,
in case the Hutts break their treaty and exact vengence upon the Naboo
for the ambush of their sail barge.  Padme is delighted to see Anakin
again so soon.

On a routine
patrol in the forest outside, um, Naboo City, a droid spies the hated
Jar Jar Binks just moments before it is blasted.  This, of course,
calls attention to the droid's report by the Jedi who tail another
guard and discover a secret clonery underwater – under the surface of
the lakes of Naboo, where they find the vile Jar Jar reporting to the
painted stranger.  After infiltrating the factory, the Jedi learn the
clones are being transported to an orbiting spaceport before being sent
throughout the galaxy.  Through a coordinated attack by the Jedi and
the Naboo, they – and by they, I mean mostly Anakin (the best
starfighter pilot in the galaxy, and all) – destroy the spaceport, but
not before most of the completed clones are dispersed.  The painted
stranger escapes, but the wretched Jar Jar Binks perishes in the
firefight.  And there is much rejoicing.

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Mar 25 2009

lego star wars

A few months back, we wrote about the wonderful combination of two of the best things in the world.  Well, we are here today to inform you that it gets even better.  Because there's also a…. wait for it…. video game.  Now, the concept of the Lego Star Wars video game series is not new to us; we have simply been (oddly) skeptical.  We mean: why is it Lego?  But we saw a copy of Lego Star Wars II (The Original Trilogy) marked down at Best Buy a little over a week ago so we picked up a copy.  And it's about the best thing ever.  We mean: what's not to like?  It's Lego!

As you might expect, we have been re-watching the original trilogy in what spare time we have had lately between a busy work schedule and our video game fix.  We've made it through the first two movies and are halfway through Return of the Jedi for about the thousandth time.  Naturally – as we have done so many times since 2005 – we have been reflecting on what a colossal mess George Lucas made of the prequels.  And – as we have also done so many times since 2005 – we've been wishing we still had access to those emails we sent out to the pre-Vox Yahoogroup so we could reflect further on how much smarter and better we are than George Lucas.  Then we remembered that we can, in fact, get at those emails and that we have just been a 'tard (though still smarter than George Lucas) all this time.

So our long-winded point is this: over the rest of the week we will be re-purposing old material and posting a better treatment of the Star Wars prequels than was filmed.  We may or may not update and edit them, depending on if we feel like it at the time.  We'll see.  That was Yoda's motto, right?  "Eh, whatever.  We'll see."

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Dec 30 2008

hanging out with leia on the forest moon

I arrived at work this morning to find a post-Christmas present left on my chair by a co-worker.  It's no Death Star, but it's still easily the best thing I received this year.  Legos were without question my favorite toy until I was about fourteen years old and they were all I ever wanted for Christmas except for the time I wanted a stereo that my parents lied about and made me search the house for before they gave it to me and the time I wanted a guitar which I didn't get.  And all those times I got coal.  In short, as always, Christmas blows.  But I digress….

Anyway, I always liked the space Legos but I never seemed to get many of them.  I always got the buildings (as if buildings are any fun), and every couple years I got another section or two of road so I could continue to make a town with all those buildings.  BO-RING!  Space Legos were the shit, but I never even dreamed that there might one day be Star Wars Legos.  That would have fried my little brain.

So it was with great joy this evening that I assembled my brand new Lego All Terrain Scout Transport.  And it will be with great joy that tomorrow I will return my new toy to my office, where it will stay forever.  I've had a tough enough time as of late convincing girls that they might want to visit my apartment.  I don't need this sort of repellent around to convince them they've made a huge mistake if I ever again succeed.

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Nov 18 2008

hosed

Those of us who were still paying attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers at about seven-thirty last night were treated to an exhilarating end to an otherwise lackluster game.

To the untrained eye, it appears that the best safety in the NFL – Troy Polamalu – disrupted the second of a pair of desperate laterals to cause a fumble and score a touchdown to seal the victory for Pittsburgh.  It appears that way to the untrained eye because that's exactly what happened.  It's not surprising that the play was subjected to review from the replay booth.  It's a little surprising that there was a determination by the official that there was a penalty (forward lateral) on the Chargers which the Steelers declined.  It's most surprising that the call on the field was overturned and the touchdown was negated.  It's surprising because the call was dead wrong.

The sports-blogging corner of the internets is buzzing today with stories of how this affects those who gamble on professional football games, and I see their point.  But I suspect forces far more sinister and nefarious than the gaming industry and its ties to organized crime.  You see, the outcome of the Steelers/Chargers game affected more than just my NFL rooting interests.  My Steelers had the victory no matter the outcome of this disputed call.  But I've got the Steeler defense going for my fantasy football team as well, and this travesty cost me eight points (two points for the recovered fumble and six points for the touchdown).  And it's no secret that I incurred the wrath of my sleazeball fantasy football commissioner last week with my exposé of his underhanded behavior.  That Dabysan would attempt to orchestrate a conspiracy of this magnitude in order to thwart my rise in the Just Us League standings, I have no doubt.  With a win this week, I am back in playoff contention.  I am currently up by eleven points with Braylon Edwards going tonight for my opponent.  I'd feel a lot more comfortable if I were up by nineteen.  Daby is not to be trusted; if I lose tonight, rest assured there will be hell to pay.

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And because he's awesome, here's a bonus awesome video of the most awesome safety in the NFL.  This is another play from yesterday's game that was reviewed but (miraculously, in hindsight) not overturned.  I'm a bit surprised the zebras actually got this one right with all the money Dabysan was sending their way under the table.

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