Friday, December 23, 2016

One's Rogue Thoughts

I took the Toadrollers to see "Rogue 1, a Star Wars Movie" last night.  I've since had a million thoughts popping into my head from as if from hyper-space and thought I'd jot them down while they're still fresh.


  • The Empire should really look into better passcode verification algorithms on their shuttles.  I can't believe how many times in these films Rebels have made it past the Empire's most guarded gates with last week's password.
  • About CGI and Grand Moff Tarkin: I sat there watching the scenes with him and wondering to myself, "isn't Peter Cushing dead?" and "How'd they do that?"  So from my perspective, totally fooled. 
  • Still no clarification on what a Moff is, by the way, and why there should be a Grand one.
  • These recent Star Wars movies have been fun thrill rides.  Sure, there are plenty of plot holes and "why didn't they just..." moments, but they've basically been good fun and adventure on a Star Wars set.
  • It's pretty clear to me that there won't be a sequel to this one.  Or a prequel.  One Toadroller wittily indicated that George Lucas had directed the sequel already; called it "A New Hope."
  • It's also clear that these aren't the "Rei's parents" you're looking for.
  • About three quarters of the way through the movie it dawned on me just precisely where it was going to end.  That was my Movantik moment. Shit!
  • At what point in the Empire's corporate ladder do you get your own shuttle?  Since each one is personal, is it kind of like sitting down for a portrait?  Does one work with the design team or do you leave all that to your executive admin?
  • Star Wars Episode 2, "The Clone Wars," was generated from an off-hand comment by Kenobi to young Luke while Threepio shut down to conserve power.  "My father fought in the Clone Wars?"  This was a moment of mystery that did not need exposition via the second worst film ever made.
  • Star Wars Rogue 1 (are the kids calling it R1?) also tells a back story, but one I never expected to see, and didn't mind seeing in the least. I thought it was generated from the line "many people died to bring us this information," but research (searching YouTube) proves this line was from Return of the Jedi, and about the second Death Star.
  • We bump into some familiar characters in the movie, but without the usual"that's right kids, we put this in here too!" fanfare.  It was intriguing to see Red Five give up his slot.  If I'm looking to have point-to-point connections being drawn, Threepio talking with Luke in Uncle Owen's garage ties back to R1's Threepio / Artoo cameo.  But to be honest, there's not much to tell.
  • Weird that they put forth all that effort to pull a Betamax tape out of the world's biggest storage tower.  And seriously, tape backup?  I guess it was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
  • I'm pretty sure that Jakku is not Jedha is not Tatooine, but their travel brochures sure look the same.
  •  X-wings rock!
  • Young Toadroller Jack claims he saw Hera's freighter Ghost in the big space battle.  I wish I'd seen it too.
  • I entirely appreciated the lack of using the old Force crutch to flip every damned switch on and off.  It was a very minor character.  Not a midichlorian to be found.  Lots of good blasters at people's sides, though.
  • That said, it was weird to have the force show up as a mantra-prayer through a blind Tibetan monk-acolyte.  Guided through a firestorm of blaster bolts only to bump into a table?  Awkward.
  • In the same way, it was nice to see a Star Wars movie almost entirely without light-sabers.  Less was more.
  • Vader sounded older, but then James Earl Jones is 40 years on from the original.  His helmet and balaclava at the neck just looked wrong.  
  • In the previews for other films, we saw five previews for sequels to various franchises and one for an original film pretty obviously hoping to become a franchise.  All while waiting for the 8th installment of this franchise.  
  • The force will be with us, always, apparently.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


It was my freshman year in college when, forced to do laundry on my own for the first time, I started making change for quarters.  What good will two dimes and a few pennies do when your weekly budget is somewhere around eight dollars and your bank balance is just under forty?  You need quarters and so you make change for them. 

Fast forward a few years to living on my own in Denver and the challenge was the same: things were tight; I needed quarters.  Whenever I bought something at the local Safeway, I'd pay in cash and add in the extra 13 cents in order to get quarters back.

Along the way, I developed a habit of checking the quarters I received.  In 1976 they coined a bicentennial quarter and they were conspicuous by their difference from all the others.  Easy enough to do: take the quarters in your hand, flip them over and glace at the back-sides.  Drummer-Patriot image?  Fantastic!  A smile on your face.

Over the last decade or so, whenever I've come across one, I've set it aside in a drawer, doing my little part to deflate the currency by slowly take them out of circulation.  I come across one or two a year.  2016 has been a bumper crop.  I've probably received five of them in change. 

Some habits are hard to break.  I still find myself making change for quarters.  It's a satisfying little obsessive-compulsive thing to do.  There's something proper about getting three quarters back from a purchase.  But these days I drop the quarters from my pocket into a big old jar.  Who knows what we'll do with that?  Or when? 

Mrs. Toadroller's mother was diligent about putting quarters into her own (rather large!) piggy bank every week, regularly, for years.  One for each child and maybe one for the coffee pot as well.  As we went through her things, we all had fun stacking, sorting, counting, and finding the occasional rare pre-1965 quarter.  And that fun may have been worth more than the monetary value of the collection.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Charging ahead

If one were optimistic, they'd look at the third alternator in 256,000 miles and 19 years and say, "wow, 123,000 miles per alternator, not bad!"  or "wow, 9.5 years per alternator, not bad!"  The sad truth is I got 252,000 miles and 19 years on the first alternator and 4000 miles and 6 months on the second.

Regardless, it's in.  I may have tweaked my back.  Tomorrow and the weekend will tell.  I did snap a bolt on re-assembly,* and let out an "ahhhh, shit" worthy of Grandpa Toadroller.**   All told, four hours of labor and a quart of lost antifreeze later, she's back where she was a week ago.   She does great shifting gears!  It's still risky to take her out of state, but I'm stupid that way.  I'll keep her local until she proves seaworthy.

Oh, and I just remembered which bolt I didn't tighten.  Dang it.  I think I should be able to drive her up on the ramps and get to it without too much disassembly to access the guilty bolt. 

Is it time, is it a hobby, or is it a lifetime car?

* Because I just knew I was going to snap it but didn't stop.
**You've been given a title!  It was one of those moments when you hear your father's voice in your own.