Archives for category: Star Wars

If you know me, then you know that I like to play dress up. The more refined nerds call it ‘costuming.’ If you’re not one, then you’ve at least seen one. You know, they’re the grown folks playing dress up, as if any day is Halloween.

Adam and Eve

This costume looks even worse on black people.

I came across a comment made by a friend of a friend (on Facebook, where else?) who said that he wished he could afford costuming. I have to admit – that’s the worst excuse I ever come across when it comes to playing dress up. I suppose what these people were saying is that they really wish they had the money to do a really great, detailed, “screen accurate” costume. But still, I find it disturbing.

First, it’s a bit of a misnomer to believe that expensive costumes are good, and that cheap costumes are, well, cheap. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you’ve ever been to one of those Halloween shops, you’ll know that they’re shoddy (at best) and expensive for what they are. And yes, I’ve bought costumes at those places (for my kids, FOR MY KIDS!!!) Mostly because I didn’t have the time to make my son an Optimus Prime costume.

Sure, it looks like I'm defecating, but I'm really chasing a bounty.

On the flip side, there are plenty of ‘cheap’ costumes that don’t look cheap at all. I know a girl that made a great Zam Wesell costume and she did it fairly cheap. I don’t remember what she spent on it, but for roughly what she would have paid at a costume store, she got something immensely more ‘realistic.’ Not to brag, but I made my own Vader costume. Yes, it cost quite a bit (around $600 total), but only because I spent $100 on a helmet, $100 on a saber, and $40 on boots. I suppose that still sounds like a lot of money, but it wasn’t all at once. I bought pieces here and there. And in the original version, I used a turtle neck tshirt and sweatpants for the undersuit. I upgraded to vinyl a few dollars later.

My point is that you CAN spend a lot of money on a costume, but why? If you have the time and patience, you can really knock out some good looking costumes for relatively cheap.

The balance is where to put your time and effort, and where to spend your money. If you’re looking to make a Jedi costume, you could make your own saber, but it may be worth the time and money to order something online. Unless you’re a whiz with circuits and batteries and stuff…

A Jedi costume is probably one of the easiest costumes to put together. My biggest suggestion is to shop around at fabric stores until you find the fabric you want at the price you don’t mind paying. I know some guys won’t settle for less than wool lined with silk, and that’s going to be expensive. But you can get some cheaper material and not line it and come out with a tunic that is less than $20! Compare that to the Halloween shops, and you’ll soon realize that this is the way to go for anything resembling a ‘real’ costume.

I’ve done a few Jedi tunics, and I have some suggestions. If you live in an area that’s typically warm and possibly humid, I’d really suggest that you stick with natural fibers. They breathe, whereas the synthetics get stuffy quick – especially if you’re working on your jump flips and saber twirls.

Oh, and look for fabrics with texture. They really add a lot to the look. Steer clear of broadcloth. It’s synthetic, hot, and looks really plain. Trust me on this – my first one was made with some beige broadcloth. But, I spent all of about $10 on fabric, so not a total loss.

Dresses. Jedi's love 'em.

One of the benefits of the Jedi costume is that you don’t have to go with one look. If you watch the Geonosis Battle in Episode II, you’ll see that the overall look is similar, but they’re all different. In fact, that one Jedi is wearing a DRESS!!!

The thing to keep in mind is that Jedi need to stay with neutral, earth tones (I disagree with the greens, but hey, it’s your Jedi.) The main thing is that you have a tunic, tabbards, sash and light saber. It’s also smart to match the colors. Have different colored tabbards and sash, but make sure they go with your tunic…

Pants. This should really be the easiest part of the costume. Grab some khakis and go with it. I have a pair of thin piped corduroys that work well for a Kenobi costume. But just about any khakis should work. I saw a guy at Celebration III who had a fantastic Jedi Tunic, but was wearing blue jeans. WHAT? The kid could have just headed out to Goodwill and picked up some khaki pants! I dubbed the guy “Casual Friday Jedi.” Don’t be that guy.

Now, there are a couple of pieces to this costume that can be done cheaply, but can be expensive as well.

BOOTS: I was able to pick up some Frye boots for $75 on ebay. I’ve worn them a lot, and they need to be resoled (bonus to ‘real’ boots.) But I’ve seen plenty of costumes that use the cheap $20 vinyl pirate boots that typically show up at those Halloween stores. The downside is that they aren’t very durable and will ultimately crack and fall apart after any extended use, but for the price you could get about 6 or 7 pairs for what you’d pay for cheap ‘real’ boots. And then there’s the whole “detail” part. If you look at Anakin’s and Obi Wan’s boots, you’ll see that they have some neat details that you don’t get with the cheap boots. That’s the trade off… Unless of course you’re a boot maker.

BELT: I’ve seen belts on ebay go for over $100! Which is insane, considering it’s just some leather strapping with some detail parts. I made my first belt. I looked through women’s belts at various stores until I found something that would work. One side had a suede texture, and the other was a marbled leather look. So I separated the front and back and then cut the belt to the size I needed. And, I was able to make pouches with the left over material. I used a buckle I found at a fabric store, and never got around to putting the food capsules on, but no one’s ever noticed. Except the guys thinking I should join one of the bigger costuming groups.

Hopefully you’ll be on your way to making a Jedi costume soon. If you are and need some advice, ask and I’ll be glad to help out.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you just have to know where to spend your time, and where to spend your money. I suppose if I were to make a Star Wars analogy, I’d say that buying your costumes is like the Dark Side – quicker, easier, more seductive. Making your costume from scratch is like the Light Side, patience, my young apprentice.

Sony HeadphonesThey’re Sony. Sue me.

I have a set of cheap Sony headphones that I use when I’m recording video to monitor the sound. They’re actually my second pair. First pair broke. The current pair are fine, but they’ve seen better days.

Earlier this year, I saw a pair of headphones that were pretty cool. And another friend just recently got a pair of these. I was looking around the internet this morning, and found that there is a third company producing headphones.

Yes, three different companies are putting out Star Wars themed headsets – Taito, Funko, and Coloud. I found it surprising that there was more than one company making headphones, but even more so when I found the third. I don’t understand it because LFL tends to just go with one company to produce an item. For instance, Master Replicas (now Factory Entertainment from what I see) used to make the Force FX sabers. Now Hasbro has that job.

I have you now.

These were inside the pilot's helmets.

I’ve gotten to hold the Funko Rebel Alliance headphones. It was some time ago, but they seemed nice. A little smaller on the ears than what I’d need for what I’d use them for. They seemed like a good pair of headphones to have just for casual listening. I definitely wouldn’t consider them studio monitor worthy. From what I remember, these were semi embossed, but they may not be. There’s quite a bit of detail on some of the headphones, but on others, it looks like a stencil or sticker stuck on the side. The Boba Fett ones look really cool on the band, but the ears seem to just have a sticker of Fett on it. That seems sort of cheap to me. Also, each earpiece has a wire coming from it. I try to stay away from these types, because the dual wire setup gets caught on things. Many times I’ve plugged things into my camera THROUGH that loop. Annoying. They’re listed at $25, but you may find them for $20 on the ‘net.

BooWeep

With all the bells and whistles.

I haven’t gotten to see or use the Taito versions, but they seem to be a little bigger and a little more durable. A friend of mine who got the R2 version said they were nice, but a little plastic-y feeling. The R2 headphones are chrome, with blue earphones and top (felt?). The sides are the top pattern of R2’s dome. I can see why they feel cheap and plastic, because they are. The chrome on it is that same chrome you seen on kids toys. The C-3P0 ones are similar, but the sides are 3P0’s eyes, they’re gold, and the ears and top are black. The Vader ones just have a red stencil of Vader’s helmet, and the ears and top are red on a black set of headphones. I can’t tell by the pictures, but it’s highly possible each headphone has a wire coming from it. And as I mentioned above, I find it annoying. Listed at $25.

Heavy breathing

I hope these play more than just heavy breathing.

Lastly is Coloud. Apparently all they do is make merchandised headphones. They have Hello Kitty, NHL, Marvel, and Fame (Really?). They have three different Star Wars headphones. Vader – black with red accents (see pic). Star Wars – black with gold Star Wars on a flying starfield. Rebel – white with orange and black accents. They also feature the single wire from one side of the headphones, which is really a plus. They also feature a coiled wire which allows for some tension and less tangling with normal use. I was impressed with these (although I’ve not used them) because the website actually has specs for these.  But these come at a little higher price – $40. If I get a chance to test these out (which I believe to be better than the Sony’s I’m using now), I’d be able to really decide how good these are. The single, coiled cord is worth it to me, really. Add the Vader on the side, and to me it’s worth the $15 extra bucks – everything else being equal.

Each of these headphones seem nice enough. The Funko headphones seem to have the edge to the casual listener, because there are quite a few of them to choose from. Some of the designs are really nice, but others seem to be nothing more than a stencil/sticker on it with color coordinated plastic parts.

Irony

Does anyone else see the irony in this picture?

The Taito ones seem to be a bit more detailed than the Funkos, but there are only three versions. The two toned look is a plus, and the 3P0 and R2 designs seem to be rather inspired.

Burnt.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and we all end up like Owen and Beru.


The Coloud ones are not as inspired as the Taitos, but the quality seems to be there. The higher price tag would probably turn off the casual listener, and the hard core fan would probably shy away from the designs. For instance, I prefer the Funko Rebel headphones to the Coloud Rebel headphones based solely on the design. But the Coloud Vader seems much better than the Funko or the Taito Vader.

Overall, the Coloud headphones are worth the extra $15, simply because they seem like headphones first and Star Wars ads second. The other brands are more dedicated to the fans, and for a casual mp3 listener, they’re more ‘involved’ than the Coloud. Taito has a good offering with the droid headphones, but for a Fett fan, the obvious choice is Funko.

UPDATE – I think I found out why there are three different companies making headphones. Coloud is based out of Canada, Taito is either Japan or China, and I think Funko is here in the States. I may be wrong on this all around, but it’s all I could figure.

I went to bed about 12:30a this morning. Mostly because I stayed up playing Halo: Reach. Hey, we had a good team and we were dropping opponents all over those maps. Big Team Battle, if you’re curious.

HaloReach

How can you sleep when there's so many kills to get?

I fell asleep almost immediately. Next thing I know, it’s 6:30a and it’s time to get the kids up and rolling. Christy got up and got ready to head over to the doctor’s office.

Quentin was especially grumpy this morning. He didn’t want his cereal. He didn’t want to get up. He didn’t want to get dressed. He didn’t want to go to Nana’s. He did, however, want to play Xbox. As much as I would have loved to sit next to him and make that happen, it just wasn’t the time.

Spider-Mug

The only way my mug could get cooler is if it spit webs.

David and Zada did well. I had to prod Zada a bit – she’s always a little slow to make it happen in the morning. She’s actually been a little groggy in the morning, not sure why. But by ten after seven, we were all ready to head out.

But I couldn’t find my coffee mug. CURSE YOU MISSING MUG.

We got to the school, David and Zada got out, and they were both excited because they knew they’d see their new sister this afternoon. David was talking about how he was going to tell his whole class. Zada told her class yesterday. Makes me feel good, because I wasn’t the only one who didn’t catch that it was supposed to be today. Apparently there is something to the miscommunication between men and women.  Hopefully we’ll be able send some pictures to school with them tomorrow. Pretty sure we won’t be sending Macy tomorrow.

Bom bom bada bom bom.

Quentin may one day dance as great as the Late King of Pop.

I dropped Quentin off at my mom’s, but he wasn’t too pleased about it. I’m not sure where he wanted to go, but it was not Nana’s at that point. He got out of the car and put his backpack on (diaper bag). Then he just froze. He stood there. I tried to pull his arm to get him to walk up the steps, but he wasn’t moving his feet. It was rather humorous, really. Think Michael Jackson in “Smooth Criminal.” Eventually I got him inside and I grabbed my mom’s keys to put the booster seats in her car. She’ll be picking up Deezo and Chickie this afternoon.

When I was getting Q’ball out of the car, I spotted it. My MUG!!! Sweet. Caffeine will be mine!!! Needless to say, I was pleased.

I pulled up to the hospital and headed to Christy’s room. She was already set up and ready to make things happen. The nurses hadn’t hooked up the IV and they were still doing the blood work. I was still sleepy, so I tried napping in the rocking chair. No go. Then the nurse pointed out that the arm of the couch slides out and makes a cool little bed. So I took a little nap. About 30 minutes worth. A little longer than I normally do, but refreshing.

Puzzle

This game is fun, especially when you're waiting on a baby.

Christy’s been hanging out, just watching TV. Waiting. I got some coffee, came back. Played on the iPod (which, by the way, the hospital’s verification thing doesn’t like Safari), went and got some more coffee and called my sister in law to give her the heads up. She said she wanted to call, but because she has a bad habit of calling as the baby is coming out, she’d wait until we called her.

When I got back into the room, Christy told me they started the Pitocin. That’s good, means we’re progressing. The nurse popped in to see if the doc had stopped in. He hadn’t. Apparently he’s performing a C-section right now. So, we waited.

chicken dinner

Almost exactly what I ate for lunch.

I looked up and realized that it was almost one o’clock. I realized that there was a chance that the cafeteria may close soon and I didn’t want to have to leave the hospital to grab a bite. Seems like last time I was here, I tried to get to the cafeteria but missed it. And I didn’t miss lunch. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and a soda. MMMmmm good. I didn’t tell Christy, though. Didn’t seem right. They’ve given her broth, jello, and water. Yum.

No, no, NO!

I may forget to bring diapers, but I usually don't substitute fruit.

Just before 2p, my mom called. She was running out of diapers for Quentin. I thought I had enough, but who knows. Apparently she either changes a lot of diapers or she changes no diapers. There’s no rhyme or reason, apparently. I usually get about 3 or 4 a day, sometimes. But I’m not sure how many were in the bag. I do know that I had gotten some out to take with us but forgot to take them… oops.

Christy suggested I go get some and drop them off. So I headed to the house, picked up the ones I pulled out originally (still neatly stacked on the coffee table) and headed out. I pulled up to my mom’s, knocked on the door, and went in. Quentin was sacked out on the floor, as he normally does. I put the diapers on the table, grabbed a soda, and then helped my mom get him into the car. She was about to head out to pick up D and Z. I headed back to the hospital, and she off to the school.

snoozin

Despite the decor of the delivery room, the seating arrangements were no where near as comfy.

I came back and everything was the same. No doc, no baby. No nothing. The lights were out/dimmed, which made me want to take a nap. I did shut my eyes for a minute. Who knew waiting would be so tiring?

And for the next two hours, we just waited. Christy’s contractions were coming about every 3 minutes. No real change, and no doctor. It’s rather disappointing. I was hoping to have been celebrating by 5pm. Christy was really tired of being stuck in the bed.

It’s 5:30p right now – and there’s no baby…

I’ll post more later. Sorry no baby yet. 😦

Phoning

So, when exactly do you think Lucas lost his mind?

Yesterday I wrote this. I basically talked about what I’d do if handed the task of redefining the prequels. This sparked a
conversation with a friend about just following something blindly – not religion (besides, I don’t consider faith blind, more on that later) – but specifically dealing with Star Wars.

I remember the exact moment when I stopped believing in Star Wars blindly. I don’t remember the exact date per se, but I do remember the exact moment.

TIE Pilot

The big gun doubles as a crutch.

It was in 1996. Kenner/Hasbro had just launched a whole new set of Star Wars figures. I found a whole bunch at the Wal-Mart in Ft. Walton Beach. That should have been my first clue – hundreds of figures on the shelves. I had a cart, and I was putting two of everything into the cart. I remember looking into the cart and realizing that what I was doing – at that specific moment – was the same thing thousands of other Star Wars Fans were doing at the same time.

Hording. “Collecting.” Stockpiling.

And I definitely wasn’t the only one. In that store, there were other people doing something similar – at the same time! For some reason, we all thought these were going to be worth something. We all thought that we were going to be able to sell that one figure for hundreds of dollars. We all were looking to capitalize off the popularity. And I’m sure a lot of us were looking for that nostalgia. But I personally couldn’t get very nostalgic when Luke and Han looked more like Hans and Franz.

I still bought a bunch of figures. I still have them. Some are boxed, some are loose. I used the loose ones to decorate my room. They’re neat, but I have no misconceptions that they’re going to be worth anything. I have pretty much taken the idea that they’re all going to be worth less than what I paid. As in, I probably couldn’t give them away.

Bendems.

And you thought Jar Jar was a bad idea.

There was nothing even remotely nostalgic about these toys. They didn’t feel magical. They didn’t look magical. Sure, the 70’s version of Luke and Vader were far from “screen accurate,” but they had that magic that enabled little boys and girls to use their imagination and pretend that Luke could bend his elbows and that Vader could slash his saber without looking like he was strapped to a board. Telescoping sabers were fantastic – you really couldn’t lose one unless you really tried. What we ended up with were pieces of plastic that would adorn some geeks wall as a tribute to his “fanhood.”

That’s not to say that the Star Wars toys now aren’t fantastic – they are. Marvels. I found one of the HUGE Millennium Falcons on clearance at Wal-Mart once. It’s magnificent. The new AT-AT looks to be just as awesome. But to me, at least, they don’t have that magic.

The one thing that really dealt a blow to my ‘faith’ had to be the Bend’ems. This were little rubbery figures that you could shape and move. They also said they were “collectable,” (they meant collectible) which really was a slap in the face. There was nothing worth saving with these things. No craftsmanship. Not even reasonably attractive. The original Kenner figures were far more attractive, even with only 4 sometimes 5 points of articulation.

Sam I am. Hot Damn.

I can't believe I bought a Mace Windu Bend'em.

But because I’m not into the gluttony of “collecting” Star Wars, it doesn’t preclude me from still loving what I loved originally. I can respect a fan’s opinion, and I can respect the different aspects of Star Wars that someone may be into. What I can’t respect is the sad devotion to an ancient religion collection. No one is above reproach. Even Lucas, who has bestowed upon us arguably the most influential movie in the 20th century, is not above skepticism.

At the end of the day, I owe Lucas a huge amount of gratitude for giving me access to what I consider to be the greatest thing a young boy could ever dream of. I owe him gratitude. I don’t keep gratitude in my wallet.

The moral of the story is that it’s okay to enjoy something, but don’t let that appreciation blind you to the bad things. I love Star Wars. I always will, but I don’t let that love trick me into buying everything that has a Star Wars label on it. I love what Lucas birthed into the entertainment world, but I don’t let it blind me. I think it was fantastic that George Lucas gave us his Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean I have to love everything he shoves on us.