Posts Tagged ‘star wars’

A little Star Wars talk at work yesterday, coupled with today’s review of Green Day’s American Idiot made me want to retell this story. Ok, also because I had nothing else in the oven for today. Oh, and thank you to everyone who left birthday greetings for Todd yesterday. He really appreciated the fact that so many of my invisible friends took the time to do so.

starwarstrilogySeptember, 2004:
I dropped my son off at baseball practice, giving me 90 minutes to kill before he had to be picked up. I knew what I wanted to do with at least part of those 90 minutes but my conscience was smacking me around.

I sat in my idling car in front of the baseball field for a good twenty minutes contemplating what I was about to do. Or not do.

Green Day was live on K-Rock. They were playing their own set of chosen songs. Surrender by Cheap Trick came on and I sang.

Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away….

Every momentous occasion has a song that plays in the background, lyrics speaking only to you. But Cheap Trick was sending me contradicting messages. How could I both surrender to the demon sitting on my shoulder, egging me on, yet not give myself away? To actually do what I was contemplating would be giving away my very soul to the dark side.

To make matters worse, I had my daughter in the car with me. I would be dragging her into this as well and while she could never understand the meaning of all this – coming from an entirely different viewpoint on this – I nonetheless asked her opinion. If I was taking her along for the ride, she had a right to an opinion on the matter.

I slowly explained to her – using fact, figures, historical data and quotes – what the situation was. She nodded in all the right places, threw in a few well-placed mmhmms and, when I was done, said:

“Mom, you are out of your freaking mind. Who the hell spends this much time agonizing over buying a DVD?”

She had no clue. None at all. I wanted to explain to her what George Lucas had done, how he had raped my memories, how he was forcing us to spend more money to….oh, it was useless.

By this time I had wasted nearly half of the 90 minutes and Green Day was now playing The Who’s The Kids are Alright. Maybe that meant my daughter was right? Was I out of my mind? Probably.

It was too late to go all the way to Best Buy. Perhaps my decision was made for me. Then Natalie said that she needed some things for school. Reverse decision! Wal-Mart, here we come! I would have just enough time to drive to Wal-Mart, send Natalie down the school supply aisle and sprint to the DVD section. If I did this all in a rush, I wouldn’t have time to contemplate the ramifications of what I was doing.

I met up with Darth Vader at the front of aisle three. An omen, of course. He stared at me (as much as cardboard can stare) menacingly, just daring me to reach out and touch his display. Who can resist the force? Not I.

My hands trembled as they seemingly floated on their own will towards the silver-hued box. A device on the box blinked red. Buy. Me. Buy. Me. Buy. Me. My hands trembled in mid air. I could have sworn the cardboard Vader said “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” I grabbed the box before the angel on my shoulder could find the words to stop me.

I cradled the DVD in my arms and met up with Natalie near the checkout. She eyed me suspiciously when she saw I was holding the movie. What will people say? she whispered.

I put my things on the checkout conveyor. The belt whirred into action and carried the box towards the cashier. She was just about to pick it up to scan it when I grabbed it out of her hands. It all played out in slow motion and my cry of “NO!” reverberated throughout the store in a long, slow drawl. Nooooooooooooo! The cashier stared hard at me.

“I don’t want to buy this.” I said defiantly. I turned my head towards aisle three to stare down Vader, but I was afraid of being turned into a pillar of salt so I averted my eyes.

We left the store with just some loose leaf reinforcements and a bottle of White-Out. Oh, and with my dignity intact, of course. After we picked up DJ and recounted the whole story for him, Green Day – still spinning records on K-Rock – played Slayer’s Raining Blood. It felt right for some reason.

Of course, I eventually bought the damn DVD, just like I paid money to see Phantom Menace, just like I forced myself through Clone Wars, just like that night I spent with the life sized Boba Fett display…well, not so much like that. My Star Wars obsession has since waned, for the most part. I sold a lot of my toy collection and I no longer think that Darth Vader is real. I still have a death wish for all ewoks, though, and I still think Empire Strikes Back is one of the greatest movies ever made.

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and restore freedom to the galaxy……

One of my favorite thought-provoking questions I’ve ever been asked:

If you could erase your memory of any movie from your mind…just wave a wand and it’s as if your brain never saw this film before…what movie would you choose to erase just for the sheer joy of seeing it again for the first time?

It’s the last part that’s the kicker. Sure, I’d love to erase ever having seen 3000 Miles to Graceland or Kazaam from my head. But the qualifying part of the question – to experience once again the joy of seeing it for the first time – leaves me with only one possible answers.

Star Wars. Episode IV. A New Hope.

It’s not the best among the original trilogy; I reserve that honor for Empire Strikes Back. Yet I did not experience the same level of exhilaration from ESB that I did from SW.

I remember sitting in the darkened theater. Words on the screen:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…..

Then the Star Wars logo.

The music kicks in. John Williams’ Main Theme.

The opening crawl starts up.

It is a period of civil war….

I felt it. Knew it. I was seeing something special. Maybe it was the music. I don’t know. But I felt a sudden anticipation.

And then.

The ship.

Holy shit.

My jaw hung open the rest of the film. This was it. I was in love with a movie. I fell really hard. The second it was over I wanted to see it again. And again. And again.

I still to this day get chills when I hear the opening music and see the first glimpse of that Destroyer.

Yes, I’m a geek.

I’d love to experience that again for the first time.

The only thing that has ever come close for me in a movie was, unsurprisingly, the opening sequence to Revenge of the Sith.

When the opening crawl to RoTS started and the music began I actually teared up. I swear to you, there were tears in my eyes and I almost, nearly started crying. And I’m not the only one. There was a sense of relief in the theater when the scroll came up. Like everyone sighed at once. Finally, our questions answered. The closure. The scroll and the music is the beginning of the end, and it’s very bittersweet because you know that once the movie starts, you’re on your way to it being over. Not just the movie being over, but the whole Star Wars saga that you spent 28 years of your life thinking about and talking about is over.

That was the closest I came to feeling that magic of watching Star Wars for the first time.

So what is it for you? What movie would you erase your memory of just to be able to experience its magic for the first time?

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It’s not just the irony of Lucas wearing a “Han Shot First” shirt. But he’s wearing it while standing next to Han Solo himself.

Don’t even attempt the “but that his harrison ford and han solo is fictional” comment. That’s not the point here. This photo is going to make my brain explode. In fact, I’m surprised this juxtaposition of things has not caused tidal waves and earthquakes yet.



…. ah, fuck it. If I have to explain it, you just won’t get it.

Being a Star Wars geek is lonely business.

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We rented yet another dumpster.

I have a love/hate relationship with these things. Having a dumpster in my driveway means work is progressing. It means getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. It means things are moving along.

It also means I have to throw things out. There’s something about having this huge trash receptacle in my driveway that just screams THROW THAT DAMN STUFF OUT YOU PACK RAT! So I head into the garage and start eyeing bags and boxes of stuff that I’ve been hoarding since time began.

Over the years, I’ve gotten better at throwing things out. When I moved from our last apartment into this house, I dumped a lot of stuff. It was hard, but I did it. I saved so many useless papers – I swear, I had every single test either of my kids ever took. Hell, I think I had every scrap of paper they ever drew on. I had not just old toys, but the boxes the old toys came in. Board games with missing pieces. Clothes I’d never wear again. 8 track tapes? I wouldn’t even know where to find a player these days. And who listens to Jefferson Starship on purpose anyhow?

Somehow a lot of my junk still came with me to the house. After about two years in this house, the garage started to look like the rummage sale of a mentally ill person. Right after Todd moved here in November, we cleaned out the garage. Threw tons of stuff out. It looked fresh and new and you could almost fit a car into it. So how the hell is it all filled up again? Do all my papers and books and holiday decorations multiply? I don’t understand it.

Well, we have a dumpster. Let’s throw some stuff out. (all conversations herein paraphrased)

Todd: You should ditch all these albums. They suck.
Me: Like you wouldn’t listen to the 12 inch dance remix of Electric Avenue?
Todd: *silent glare*

I thumb through the rest of the albums. This is all the shitty stuff I couldn’t sell on eBay when I went through my “get rid of your valued treasures for cash” phase about seven years ago. And let me tell you how much I regret doing that. But you do stupid things when you are broke and desperate for money and your “partner” doesn’t have a job but convinces you that you could make a killing on eBay by selling YOUR stuff.

Anyhow. A box of vinyl, and the only thing that gets saved is Husker Du’s New Day Rising, which shouldn’t have been in the junk pile to begin with.

And so it goes in the garage.

Todd: Why are you saving this?
Me: I don’t even know what is.
Todd: Isn’t this broken?
Me: Probably.
Todd: Dude. Are all these batteries dead?
Me: I guess I meant to throw them out…
Todd: What the fuck is this thing?
Me: It’s a beanie baby.

By the time we’re done I realize that half the stuff in the garage is being held onto for sentimental purposes only. The beanie babies are ratty looking and dirty and remind me of a zoo in a third world country. But….my kids loved those things when they were little! I know, I know. They’re not little anymore and they probably don’t even remember that I drove all over town trying to get that one elusive beanie.

Into the dumpster.

Then I get into a groove. I get bold. What the hell am I saving these books for? I’ll never read them again. In fact, I hate Dean Koontz and I don’t even know where this book came from. TOSS! Comic books that have no resale value that I’ll never read again? TOSS! Christmas decorations that are held together by duct tape and spit? TOSS! Seventeen millennium falcons from a Star Wars promo Taco Bell did back in 1997? TOSS!

pretty falcons all in a row

What? What did I just do? I threw out STAR WARS PARAPHERNALIA??

Ok. Here’s where I either commit myself or pat myself on the back. Up until now, my Star Wars toys have been holy. Untouchable. Has my desire to have a beautiful home finally outweighed my need to hang on to my pop culture artifacts? Have I…..grown up?

Before I lose my resolve, I start tossing. A Boba Fett with a missing leg. My 5th, 6th and 7th Han Solo in carbonite figures. A broken Landspeeder. And then I blindly toss. Just reach into the boxes and start hurling things into the dumpster. Spider Man toys. A Sonic the Hedgehog doll. A bunch of Hellboy figures. More comic books. More records. Cassette tapes. Controllers for consoles that no longer exist. PURGE! PURGE!

Ohh! My little Angry Beaver figures!!

Yea, like you even thought for a second that I grew up overnight.

I did toss out a whole lot more after that and man, it felt good. The garage is nowhere near clean yet, but I’m guessing that throwing out the Star Wars stuff means throwing out everything else will be easy.

Here’s another thing about dumpsters that suck: Neighbors.

Between the neighbors who are peeking in the garbage to see what we’ve thrown out and the neighbors who are emptying their own garages out into our dumpster, I’m about to throw up a yellow “crime scene” ribbon, write the word FUTURE on top of “crime scene” and let it serve as a warning to anyone who thinks that they can just traipse into my driveway to either dump their crap or to take out the stuff I already dumped. Do you know how easy it is to hide a body underneath seven boxes worth of worthless comics, toys and records? Keep your damn dirty paws off my garbage, you scavengers!

Because we all know I’m gonna sneak out there in the middle of the night and take those millennium falcons back.

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