Revenge Of The Sith

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Every site on the web is now reviewing Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith. I saw it last night at 12:40am with Bruce Q. As I have nothing huge to add to the deluge of reviews, I’ll keep this simple.

No spoilers follow.

  • Better than Episodes I, II or VI. Not better than Episodes IV or V.
  • George Lucas can direct, but an untrained baboon could write better dialog.
  • My friend Mark’s advice to me was spot on. “Try to sleep through the love scenes.”
  • Almost as dark as Empire Strikes Back. Almost as good, too. Coincidence?
  • General Grievous is very cool. His name is not. Neither are “Darth Sidious” or “Darth Vader” or any other contrived names. Come on. And “Commander Cody?” What the FUNTH? I heard that name and wondered when the Lost Planet Airmen would show up.
  • Ian McDiarmid, thank you for the great acting. Ewan McGregor, you do a pretty good job considering the material you’re handed. Hayden Christensen, I … never mind.
  • ILM get better and better. Amazing SFX.
  • Yoda kicks ass. My favorite Star Wars universe character. Kinda like a small, green Jet Li crossed with Buddha and given funny ears.

In all, an enjoyable movie. Better than its predecessors in many ways, worse in some others. But watching Anakin succumb to the Dark Side is a lovely denoument to a 28 year ride I began at age 12. That summer of ’77 I will always remember as my Star Wars summer. I was at just the right age to be wholly captivated by it. It became a parallel universe for me, as it did to many my age. And looking around the theater last night, I realized that fully 90% of the patrons were not even alive in 1977. A testament to the enduring appeal of Lucas’ vision.

And, oddly, in 1977 we all came away from A New Hope hating Darth Vader. He was a great and eminently loathesome villian. But, it now turns out that the Star Wars saga is entirely about Vader. His rise, his fall, his redemption. The character we all saw as antagonist in the first movie (which he was) turns out to be the protagonist when viewed in the context of the whole. Interesting.

Venerable Punnaji’s iBook

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Bhante Punnaji, my first teacher of Buddhism, was in town last week to give a series of dhamma talks at the Oregon Buddhist Vihara. I had planned to attend at least one if not all three, but fate intervened.

Upon learning that I’m a sysadmin by trade, Punnaji asked if I could take a look at his laptop, which was malfunctioning. Sure enough, the screen would come on, then go off, then come back on, then off, then back .. you get the idea.

As the laptop had a VGA output for an external monitor, I brought Bhante and said laptop to my home, hooked up a spare monitor, and everything worked splendidly. The problem was definitely with the internal screen. Looking at the screen from an angle I could make out an image being displayed, but not backlit. Bad inverter board. Backlighting is sporadic. Told Punnaji he would have to get a new inverter board, and that would have to wait until he was someplace long enough to wait for delivery to a repair shop and turnaround.

Meanwhile he had caught sight of woo’s 12″ G3 iBook. He was impressed with it, and certainly I was enthusiastic about getting him off Windows (for obvious reasons). He took the plunge, and now Bhante Punnaji is the proud owner of a 14″ G4 933Mhz iBook. He got it (lightly) used. It’s cosmetically perfect. He’s happy.

However, that meant that the last four days of last week were a whirlwind. Pick up iBook. Install OS and apps. Configure everything. Take that to the vihara and train him over the course of a few nights. Reformat the drive in the old laptop so his personal data isn’t on it. Et cetera, et cetera. Long, long days.

As an added “bonus,” Bhante picked up a new cell phone that was on the iSync-approved list from Apple. A Motorola v550 from Cingular. He wanted an easy way to get phone numbers into the phone, and “Address Book + iSync + Bluetooth = a great solution.” Trouble is, Motorola changed the device ID string when they fab’ed the phone for Cingular, and iSync now does not recognize the phone as valid. Grrrr. Motorola, send your changes downstream, please. This is causing consumer frustration.

But in all a fun week, though exhausting. A good kind of tired, however, as putting the tools to write and convey his wisdom into the hands of the man that is my Yoda is probably the best work I have done all year.

Wish I had heard the dhamma talks, though. Ah well, I think I have convinced him to spend the 2006 rains retreat in Portland. I’ll hope for that.