TLJ: The Resistance Story Line & Characters

This is Part I of IV in an ongoing series where I review The Last Jedi.

 

I watched The Last Jedi again over the Christmas break and I came away feeling much happier with the overall movie. The first viewing definitely felt disjointed for me, but it flowed a lot better the second time around. I understood both a) Johnson’s direction and why he could have chosen certain routes, or b) character motivations.

Now that I have two viewings under my belt, I’d like to go into a TLJ series and delve a little deeper into the different storylines and characters we met or got to know better.

 

The Resistance

The Resistance was pummeled again and again in TLJ. It’s a very dark, desperate movie for most of our protagonists. The wins for the Resistance are small, and even though they ended up destroying so much of the larger ships of the First Order by the end, I still did not feel like the Resistance by any means won or came out ahead. It felt more like they barely escaped, which essentially, is the truth of it. I think this movie showed us more about the “wars” in the Star Wars title than Rogue One.

I felt a slight stab to my heart when they released the beacon at the end of the movie but no one had come to their aid. I wonder how that will play into the next movie. Were other supporters tracking what was happening and saw them lose more and more members and realize it may not be worth it? Will they rally around when they see Rey with her lightsaber, a sign that a Jedi has returned, a sign of hope?

With the main Resistance plot, I had two slight issues with the First Order tracking the them through hyperspace: 1) It reminded me strongly of the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, almost to the point of a rip-off and, 2) it takes away the strength of lightspeed. With ESB, this was cleverly done by having the Falcon’s hyperdrive malfunction/break. With TLJ, it seemed like a cheap way to spin old plotline.

That aside, we’ve never had the Rebellion/Resistance stuck. Just stuck. Nowhere to go, losing fuel, with more and more members being killed off by the First Order. It was very painful to watch. I think this movie drove home the fact that you lose lives in war more than any other Star Wars movie. It’s something that underlies the other movies but not something that is blatantly obvious. With TLJ, you get that point in the first 15 minutes and it breaks your heart. I thought the beginning battle sequence had a slight ROTS similarity, but the death of Rose’s sister and her sacrifice for the Resistance was gut wrenching. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I was punched in the stomach that quickly into a Star Wars movie.

Poe

Poe is given a larger role in TLJ than he has in TFA and I enjoyed his character more. Thank goodness they gave him that scene in the beginning of the movie because otherwise he would have been a sitting duck the rest of the two hours. I’m glad we got to see some more of his pilot skills and some slight humor once more when he was bantering with General Hux.

I liked having Poe as a brash pilot who thinks and knows he’s that good that he can get away with what he wants. But he also strongly believes in taking the chances they have, which unfortunately ends up losing more lives than General Organa would like.

What I enjoyed immensely was how often he was put in his place by both Leia and Holdo. I feel like a lot of fans were upset about Poe’s treatment, which I understand, because we glorified the cocky, handsome pilot with Han but are punishing Poe. It’s easy to romanticize characters like Poe who are awesome at what they, but Poe is a working member of a military organization. If you are not obeying the rules of unity of command, then you are putting lives at stake and deserve to be demoted. He made constant mistakes throughout the movie by not being patient and it cost lives repeatedly. I believe that it was nice to see his behavior is not allowed and there are consequences for what he did. He lost too many lives for one chance. Was the chance worth it? Yes. But what if every good pilot was taking chances and not listening to orders? It can’t be allowed. And if it happens, there must be consequences.

Vice Admiral Holdo

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Vice Admiral Holdo. I thought she was a good addition in the sense that it was nice to see Leia have a female friend and I liked seeing another high-ranking member of the Resistance be a female.

In my first post after watching TLJ, I could not understand why Holdo did not tell Poe her plan and strategy. I was upset about it. Yet after reading some tweets between fans, I realized that the only reason I wanted her to tell her plan was because Poe is a main character. At the same time, it contradicted what I have just mentioned about the military organization. Why should a high-ranking officer tell a brash pilot their plan? Especially someone like Poe who can’t seem to be patient and respect a higher rank?

Holdo’s sacrifice towards the end of the movie drove home again the desperation of the Resistance. They finally catch a break and head toward Crait in transports only to find themselves getting destroyed. Holdo turns around and saves the remaining members of the Resistance by sacrificing her life. I wanted to cheer and cry at the same time.

As an addition to the movie, I’m not sure if Holdo was the strongest character, but I did appreciate her end. I went from being annoyed at her to admiring her. For a short amount of screen time, that’s impressive.

General Organa

The first time I watched TLJ, I was waiting for Leia to die the entire movie which made the movie a little distracting. Some of me wishes I had known she was not going to die, because then I could have watched her scenes with more interest, instead of trying to become slightly detached because I knew her death was imminent.

There is always one scene in each of the new movies that I can’t stand, and in this one it was Leia floating through space to get back to her ship. In a way, I thought the fake-death was a fitting ending for Leia’s character. Her son does not kill her, but it still gets her death out of the way early in the film. I also think it would have made Vice Admiral Holdo’s character stronger. Instead, she survives her stint in space while somewhat frozen, and propels herself back to her ship using the Force. It was just…silly. This is one of those scenes where people tend to either love it or hate it. I am going for the latter.

I enjoyed Leia’s character development for most of this movie. We saw her as a mother, a leader, and a friend. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that combination before. In TFA she was a mother, a lover, and a leader. It was nice to see her friendship with Holdo, another woman, as I mentioned previously. Her connection to Ben showed her strength in the Force, so much so that she knew he was going to shoot her ship, but then decided not to. When she demoted Poe in the beginning of the movie, it also kind of reminded me of her leadership in ANH, when she was being rescued by two kids who needed her rescuing more than she needed theirs.

My only disappointment with Leia, and I know so many people felt like this, is that the movie did not give her a satisfying death. Since we know she will not be in Episode IX, it would have been appropriate to find a time where she could die and work that into the storyline.

Crait

The last scene on Crait was interesting, mostly because it reminded me of a Star Wars Rebels episode. I’m finding as I continue to watch these movies under Disney, I see traces of how they are pulling the canon into a cohesive unit. Together, but separate. I liked that it was in old Rebel base so it tied back to the Original Trilogy and the Vulptexes (crystal foxes) also reminded me of how Rebels often finds ways to bring animals into their storylines. The most important part to take away from this scene/ending (other than the Luke/Ben showdown), was that Poe was taking over in command. It’s almost as if Leia gives her blessing when she tells everyone to follow him instead of looking to her. It’s a small moment, but I believe it will be critical to how we view Poe in IX.

One of the most important lessons I took away from TLJ was to always do the right thing, no matter how hard it might be. I talked with a lot of people who thought the overarching sentiment was to never give up hope. Yes, I believe that is true, but I came away with the fact that you never, ever give up doing what you believe is right. Even when all the odds are against you, you keep at it because that is what will produce the hope that others need.

 

What was the lesson you took away from watching the Resistance and it’s characters in TLJ?

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#MyFirstPostRevisited

Lately, I’ve been less likely to do these WordPress tagging games but this one struck my interest. Thanks Mei-Mei!

Only because…I HIT MY 5 YEAR BLOGGERVERSARY A FEW WEEKS AGO! (Is it blogoversary or bloggerversary or blogversary? Anyone know?) And I kept meaning to make a post about honoring that exciting day but never did.

So here we go.

 My First Blog Post: July 24, 2012

Honestly, we don’t need another Star Wars blog, and I understand that.  But I’m dissatisfied with the Star Wars blogs out there and I want a place to write real thoughts, ideas, and viewpoints of how my life is connected to Star Wars.  Also, I did have another Star Wars blog, but it got shut down on starwars.com (shakes fist), so I’m starting fresh and new on WordPress.

First of all, there will be many times when I can be quite cynical about the movies and the fan base.  I thought I should put that out there as a disclaimer because some of these posts may not be all roses and “I LOVE STAR WARS ALL THE TIME.”  I do love Star Wars, I really do.  I’ve loved Star Wars for going on 15 years now and sometimes, when you love something so much, you can’t help but poke fun at it or be slightly cynical.  Because at the end of the day (and I hope no fans hate on me for this)…it’s a movie.  It’s a brilliant, wonderful, amazing movie…but it’s a movie.  It’s fiction and I love that it can take me to another world, expand my imagination, and have me still fall in love with the saga time and time again…but it’s still a movie.

That being said – a little bit about me and my love of Star Wars:

I have been working on an Old Republic Jedi Knight costume because I hope to join the Rebel Legion.  If you don’t know what that is other than in the movie sense – look it up.  However, I’ve been saying that for about 6 years now, so we’ll see where that takes me.  It’s really hard, especially as I am definitely not good at sewing (in fact, I hate it with a passion).

I’m not your stereotypical geek, but I do have a love for sci-fi and fantasy that draws me to conventions and cosplay (if I had loads of money).

I used to have another Star Wars blog on starwars.com, but they discontinued their services.  Alas.  Well, I paid for it, and if you know me, I am notoriously cheap so after two years I stopped using it.  There are so many free blogging sites out there, so why pay for what you can have for free?  Sigh, story of my life.

Along with Star Wars, I love Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter (notice how I did not mention Twilight?  That’s because Twilight is a poor excuse for fantasy and a copout), so if I ever get any followers and people are also interested in those topics – shoot me a note and I’ll devote a post to it every once in a while.

A lot of these posts are just going to be honest thoughts and not too many pictures or one liners.  I want to create something that is slightly interesting to the above average Star Wars fan, but not too high level that I lose anyone who only likes Star Wars for, well, Star Wars.

Ok, the introduction on me is over.  I hate introductions, but it’s done and now you can get to know me through future posts.  Have you noticed I also like using parentheses?

I wasn’t sure what kind of pic to put, so you end up with  me writing this post in my home office au naturale (aka no makeup)

How Has My Blog Changed Since Then?

I do use pictures. Sometimes I even use gifs! The horror!

But in seriousness, I’m curious as to why I thought I wouldn’t use pictures. The only thing I can think of is that I wanted my posts to be in the style of essays.

I think I have done that in some posts, but I think one of the main factors that prohibited me from doing them ALL the time is that,

  1. The posts take a lot of time, and
  2. Not everyone is interested in reading all of it

That was a hurdle I kept hitting. Sometimes I would devote so much time to a deeper post, only to have no one interact with it. Then I would spend 30 minutes writing up a shorter post on something I had a thought on – and it would explode! It was frustrating.

So what I do now is write down possible blog topics in my phone and pick and choose based on how I’m feeling.

Another way my blog has changed is definitely in consistency. I used to blog twice a week for a few years. Then in 2015, I quit my full-time job and went solo with my business and it took a lot of energy out of me. In 2016, I had my daughter which took out whatever other energy I had left.

It’s been a blow to the views for sure but I continue to blog because as long as I get some interaction every once and a while – it’s still fun. It’s a creative outlet for me and a way to talk about Star Wars as I’m surrounded by non-Star Wars lovers. Hopefully that will change as I raise my daughter in the Force, though!

I’ve never written about any of the my other fan loves, though…not much on LotR (unless it relates to Star Wars), not much on BSG (unless it was in reference to a con), and definitely haven’t written about the Hunger Games or Harry Potter (barring when I went to Universal). Oh, but funny I had to blast Twilight in my first post.

The Rules for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop

  1. No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love… the first post only.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).
  3. Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine, but NO editing.)
  4. Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  5. Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  6. Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  7. Include “the rules” in your post.

 

So, I’m horrible, but I never actually tag people in these things because it annoys most people.

That said, I’m really curious to see L. Palmer’s first post, so she is the only one I’m tagging – just because. She’s been around WP long enough, I’ve even communicated with her a bit via email and she always has something wonderful to contribute (when she’s not working her butt off, which she currently is doing). (And I “know” her well enough that she won’t do this anyway so not holding my breath. I’ll probably have to go search through the endless bowels of her blog to find the first post…but I’ll never know how her blog has changed waaaah!)

 

HAPPY FRIDAY ALL.

Preparing for a Con 101

I feel like there are a lot of posts out there about cons that include recaps, panels, cosplay, etc., but going to these cons takes preparation and it’s not often touched upon.  So I’m sharing some wisdom I’ve learned over the past 5-6 years of conning that could help newbies and experienced con goers prepare for a comic con.

 

First Timers

I have two main pieces of advice for first time con goers: 1) Plan your time wisely, and 2) Don’t worry about how you dress.

Agenda

Buy your tickets in advance.  Some places say they may have tickets available at the door, but I wouldn’t suggest that unless it’s a small con that is really only catered towards the locals.

If this is your first con, I wouldn’t suggest going all out.  My biggest piece of advice to first timers is to look at the agenda before going and figure out a schedule.

If it’s a large con like San Diego, Celebration, or NYCC, be prepared to wait in line.  A lot.  You probably are only going to see 2-3 panels at most in one day.

In between waiting in line for 2+ hours for a panel that could be only 45 minutes, you’ll need to eat and sometimes it can also be a pain to find food at these places as well.  You can either buy in the convention center, which might also have a line, or outside the convention center which depending on where it’s located, you may need to do some exploring.  I’ve found the larger conventions often have food trucks, but those lines can be quite long and crazy as well.  Way back when (I sound old), they used to let you bring in snacks and your own drinks but I’ve begun to realize that some of them are starting to crack down.  It’s really not fun when you bring food and drinks in a backpack, only to have them throw away all your Chex Mix and water (waaaaaaa!).

One of the lines at SWCA (back when I had completely brown hair!)

One of the lines at SWCA (back when I had completely brown hair!)

I also suggest First Timers check out the exhibit hall.  No matter what kind of convention, you can almost always find something unique and different in the exhibit hall.  One of my favorite trinkets was from ConnectiCon where I bought these cute little Mario Kart keychains for my siblings and I.  I also got some delicious Dr. Who tea at Rhode Island Comic Con.

You can see why I say first timers should really plan out their day(s) well.  If you aren’t used to a con, it can be quite exhausting and before you know it – it’s time to leave and you didn’t get to see everything you were hoping to.

Dress

At my first cons, I only wore Star Wars shirts.   I still do sometimes when I want to “dress down”, but I think it’s more fun wearing a shirt with your allegiance/passion than attempting something more elaborate.  Once you have the rundown of cons and are a more experienced con goer, you’ll have a better idea of cosplay if you want to go that route and you’ll begin to make connections in that group to help get you started.

Keep it simple in the beginning so you can get into your groove.  Wearing something that shows your passion also helps spark conversations between people in line and you can make great memories that way.  Don’t be afraid to chat it up!  Most people waiting in line are just as bored as you are.

 

Not Your First Rodeo

I would not call myself an experienced con goer (now that I’ve had my little Jedi, I haven’t been to any cons this year, sadness), but I’m definitely not a newbie anymore either.  I cosplay occasionally in my Old Republic Jedi Knight outfit, which I guess may put me in a more intense category.

I created a “con packing list” for when I go to cons because I have forgotten things too many times, separated on whether or not they are day trips or I have to travel for them.

Day Cons

I classify “day cons” as cons that you can drive to and back from within a day.  Though you may go over multi-days, you don’t need to stay overnight in a hotel.  My day trip list consists of:

  • Convention pass. Don’t forget it.  I never have but really.  Don’t forget it…that’s why it’s on my list.  It’s one of those things you say to yourself, Cosplay is not consent“I’d never forget it,” and then you show up without it.
  • Backpack. I have a drawstring backpack with the Battlestar Galactica logo where I keep random things.  It’s also great for anything I buy there, but please note – I do not use my backpack when I cosplay unless I have no other choice.  Usually my friend who comes with me takes his backpack and is nice enough to let me store some stuff in there if I decide to cosplay.
  • Water and granola bars. Like I mentioned, some places are cracking down unfortunately, but I still try to get away with it.  You’re going to get hungry!!
  • Glasses. This is more personal to myself, but I hate contacts and glasses mess up my cosplay if I wear them all the time.  Yet I want to be able to see the panelists so I have to bring them separately.  Though the glasses might not apply to you, it’s similar to thinking about where to store your car keys, wallet, etc., if you cosplay.
  • Travel brush/touch up face paint. I wear my hair down a lot so throughout the day, my hair gets tangled.  The mini brush comes in use so that I can make my hair look great again, especially if there are photos!  This is the equivalent of someone who has painted their face for their character.  Instead of a brush, they would need to bring touch up paint because you do tend to sweat if you’re wearing a heavy costume.

Out-of-State Cons

Traveling for cons is a headache in and of itself.  There’s so much more to think about on top of your normal clothes and toiletries.

  • Convention pass. See above.
  • Oversized cosplay accessories and getting it to the con. I realized my error when I was packing for Celebration and my lightsaber blade would not fit in my suitcase.  I was so sure it would…but, nope, too long.  I had to leave it behind and only go with my hilt which was a bit of a bummer. But any kind of oversized accessory usually needs separate packaging to be checked in on the plane or shipped directly to the convention.
  • Makeup and/or facepaint. This is a given, but can be easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of getting ready.  If you are going as a character like Darth Maul, can you imagine if you forgot the iconic black and red facepaint?
  • Costume(s) and shoes. I mean, duh, but it’s on my list anyway.  For some reason I tend to forget the shoes, so I like to have that on the list.
  • One “dress down” outfit. I know a lot of people who cosplay a different outfit every day of the con, but I like to have one “off” day where I’m more relaxed.  In that case, I bring a Star Wars shirt, jeans, and sneakers to explore the con.

ricc-2015-gotsw

There you have it.  Conning 101.  I hope this helps someone along their Internet netherworld travels!

If you are interested in finding cons near you, a good place to start would be Eventbrite.  You can find events and comic cons in your area by searching keywords and by your location.

Did I forget anything?  Give me a shout-out if I’m missing a key thing here!

Haiku Me Friday! Droid Starfighters (and ramblings about AI, losing our privacy, etc)

Not flown by people Similar to BSG This has a droid brain

Not flown by people
Similar to BSG
This has a droid brain

Okay, one of the not-so-great haikus I’ve written, but the Droid Starfighter showed up on my calendar today and I needed a topic.  And then I began to think about jets being flown completely by Artifical Intelligence…and my post formed.

Doesn’t the Droid Starfighter look similar to the BSG Cylon ships?  And the BSG ships are also robots.  Look at them side by side.  Okay, one of them is curved more, but I feel like the concept is the same:

 

This all got me thinking about our real life little Earth…I did some research and currently, the Navy and Air Force are working on their next ships to have AI installed within them.  They wouldn’t have AI completely driving and flying the ships, but instead would have them as a co-pilot.  Their argument is that having the AI as a Chewbacca frees the pilot to focus on fewer tasks, giving them an advantage over the enemy.  The jet will be called F-X (Air Force) or F/A-XX (Navy).

Concept art for the Navy's F/A-XX

Concept art for the Navy’s F/A-XX

Am I the only one blown away by this?  It also makes me slightly nervous.  I feel like there’s a lot that could go wrong.  Obviously, I’m sure they’ll have an override, but remember Hal in 2001?  Yeah, we’re inching towards that.  Further, what if the AI feature can be hacked by enemies?  Oh goodness, that would be horrible!  I feel like that’s always a risk with anything computer oriented.  Even if the AI is just a co-pilot, the enemy could hack in, turn off the override feature and the pilot would have no control.  If the AI is completely in control of the plane and it gets hacked, uh-oh.  In the words of Threepio, “We’re doomed.”

Maybe I’ve been watching too many movies.  I think AI can be a good thing, honestly.  At other times, AI pisses me off.  A lot.  Like yesterday when I was on the phone with Apple support for a client and the robot transferred me to a department that was the wrong one.  Usually not the biggest deal, but when you’re on hold for an hour with crappy music, I thought I was going to break down when I finally reached someone and they told me they were going to have to transfer me.

Do we want AI in our cars, fighter jets, or even fridges?  (Yes they make “smart” fridges now)  At what point will we want our privacy to return?

CortanaMy Surface Pro/Windows 10 has Cortana built into it.  I wanted to use it because I’ve heard great things about it…but in order to use it, I need to let Cortana access my location.  And for some reason, I really didn’t want to.  I’m not sure why I don’t mind so much with my phone – probably because it’s portable and I have a GPS on my weather and maps app so it feels okay.  But on my home tablet/laptop?  Really?  Just so you can spew more ads (“recommendations”) at me?  No, I don’t want that.  I would like to keep my Surface blissfully ignorant of where I am on this planet, thank you.

When is AI useful?  When is AI too much?  I guess I’m not sure of the answer.  I have my limits, clearly.  My fridge and TV are not “smart”.  My phone is riddled with AI and probably knows too much about me.  I refuse to connect my phone to my washing machine or thermostat though both have the options to do that.  Most of the time I don’t even think about it, though occasionally when I’m out, I wish I could turn up the heat slightly so it’s warmer when I get home.

The Trade Federation loved AI.  They were all about droids as were the Separatists.  General Grievous was practically a droid himself.

But then why did Palpatine decide to move to human intelligence?  What are the advantages?  The disadvantages are clear – as we saw with FN-2187.  But the advantages could be that there is common sense and the ability to sense when something is not right/gut feelings.  The Clone Wars did an excellent job in showing us why human clones are a better choice than droids, especially with the camaraderie they build making a better team.  Living beings can’t really be “shut down” or hacked like robots can.

 

What are your thoughts on AI?  Is our American society striving too hard to have everything become easier, but instead, we are only losing more of our privacy?  Is it something we should just accept and let it assimilate into our daily lives?

Tosche Station Finds: June

June is the beginning of summer around where I live.  May is nice, but it can still be on the cooler side.  June means lazy, hot days, time by the beach/pool/pond/lake, bbq’s and much more.   

If you are lucky enough to live near a coast (I take it for granted way too much) or are visiting the beach this summer, lucky you!  There is something about the beach air and ocean water that is so rejuvenating.  I always sleep like a baby when I get back from the beach.  Even if all you get to is a pool this summer, enjoy it!  There’s no season like summer.  It’s my favorite.

When I go to the beach, I have a checklist: sunscreen, beach chair, bathing suit, towel, water, and a bag that carries my books/magazines.

There’s not much I can do about Star Wars sunscreen, but there’s always an option of just taking the sunscreen bottle you have and covering it with Star Wars stickers.  Haha.  However, I can definitely help with everything else.

Bags don’t need to be fancy when you go the beach.  In fact, I’ve never carried one of those huge ones.  I always rely on my little nylon Battlestar Galactica bag, which has been my friend at many conventions as well.  It fits books, wallet, water bottle, keys, and any other essentials.  It’s similar to this Star Wars one by MichelesMarvels, so I know I can recommend this.   Make sure you include all of your favorite EU books for some adequate reading.

Hmmm...what should I bring in this to take to the beach? (bag by MichelesMarvels)

Hmmm…what should I bring in this to take to the beach? (bag by MichelesMarvels)

 

I don’t want you to get dehydrated, so be sure to pack your water in these great water bottles by SwirlyTwirlyDesigns, personalized with your own name (of course) so no one confuses it with the other Poland Springs out there.  And why do these have to be for kids?  I love them!

As for lounging by the beach, check out this AWESOME beach chair by emmanddoubleyas.  Of course, it would be hard to pack that into your car and take out again, but it was too cool not to put in here.  I found a good variety of foldable Star Wars beach chairs on ebay, but most of them were for kids!  This was the best I could find for adults from ThinkGeek, and it’s Artoo, so what’s not to love?

When it comes to bathing suits, there are quite a few options.  Do you go bikini or one piece?  If you go one piece, Summersonic has quite a few different kinds.  Check out their whole page, they definitely have cool geeky bathing suits!  Bikinis…well…I’ll save that for someone else to go into.

(side tangent – why do girls always have to look super sexy when wearing a bikini??  Why can’t we just look normal, like we’re reading a book on the beach?  Or, and here’s a novel idea, just pose in the bikini with your hand on your hip.  There’s no need for these ample bosoms and junk-in-the-trunk being thrust out while standing/kneeling in a what I’m sure is a terribly uncomfortable position.)

Finally, you need the beach towel.  There are tons out there.  But these from newegg really struck my fancy.  They are pricey, but you get four towels and I love the Han Solo in carbonite!  The only danger is that someone might steal them while you’re walking the shoreline…

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Do any of you guys have some Star Wars beach stuff?  I’m trying to think if I do, and I actually don’t think so.  I used to have a beach towel with the Naboo starfighters on it, but that’s long gone.