Letters to Holly

Monday, July 16

Robot Sentinels of DIY Justice

Another outdoor dinner on Friday. We're making Jason's our regular pre-weekend haunt while the weather holds out. We get rain just about every day even though we're in a technical drought. The potatoes are gonna get yanked up within the week, maybe the day I come back from the Tampa wedding.

I ran Saturday, completing three miles for the first time since July 4. A lunch at Pescado Burrito followed. It was good; I chose the beef over the fish. Your Sis wants to take you there the next time you visit. We drove down to Target for more school clothes for her, a new running top for me, and more closet organization materials for her office. I stopped by Lowe's to buy more chain for Kempas. The weekend caretaker didn't call, so the dog must still be chained and OK.

We attended a cookout held by some new friends, and we met a slew of new people. The host is trying to get me to run with them along the Davidson River. I dunno about this; these are big guys, muscular and former military. I am an illustrator with a well-worn PS2. This has slapstick written all over it. The cookout was fun, and Your Sis estimated that I drank a half-gallon of beer. We had to leave when the sight of the firepit flames made me dizzy.

Sunday was a zombie day of staggering as my body tried to process the beer. The weekly frappuccino was a bad idea. Your Sis continues her office reformation, and I took it easy. We cooked leftovers from our own cookout and watched the commentary track for Empire Strikes Back. I noticed a few things:

1) There's no reason to show the Emperor in this film. He should have remained a mystery. I also prefer the Alec Guiness performance in the Vader chamber over that of McDiarmid, even thought the latter matches the third film's Emperor.

2) After watching the prequels, one might assume that Yoda and Ben don't care about helping Luke reach his potential so much as taking down Vader in ice-cold revenge. The training scenes on Dagobah now feel like Yoda is sharpening a blade more than helping Luke evolve. And now that I think of it, The Matrix has the same feel. Morpheus only cares about Neo because the latter's success would validate his faith in the Oracle. Neo himself means nothing to Morpheus, and all the training bits are really Morpheus's way of kicking the tires.

3) The film moves quick. So much happens, and it moves well. That's a good editor and director combo. You can definitely see how well Ford and Fisher get along. She especially adds a lot of nice touches as Solo outsmarts Leia at every turn. I love it when she talks to herself when he leaves the cockpit after saying "I ain't got time for anything else."

4) Great lighting. There's a red undertone subtext throughout to suggest the danger that always surrounds the heroes.

5) When the admiral's body is dragged off by a bridge crew, you can clearly see him stand up on his feet even thought he's supposed to be dead. Vader should reel around, bark out the order to stop, and force choke the guy just to make sure. "OK, he's done. On your way. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. You're in charge, Admiral Bullsye. Best of luck. Update your will."

6) Luke is a cypher; the film gives no reason to invest in him. You have to remember what he went through in the first film to care about him.

7) Helluva movie.

Picture of the Day
On the way home Friday, we noticed that someone had pimped out one of the walk-sign control boxes to look like a robot. I advocated raising money by auctioning off the rights to each box to a local artist so they can decorate them. I wonder how many people will notice this and how long the robot can stay together. I also like the idea of a robot crossing guard at each intersection.

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