Archive for April, 2007

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 20 (Part 6)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 30, 2007 by jedicouncil

What a Monday.  It started off like any Monday and ended in personal tragedy and personal injury.  All in a day’s work.  I woke up this morning and did my usual thing and got ready for school.  I am a little excited because for the first time in a long time, I’ll actually have a full week with my students and I’ll be able to catch my classes up on their video projects because the library will be free to do so.  Yeah, research!! The teachers pet and the students envy.  Anyway, I got to school today and got ready for a normal day as always.  My classes went as well as expected and some of my classes are doing really well with their workbook work.  After school, there was still work that needed to be done.

My tech crew met me after school and I was really proud of them because they all showed up.  That made me really proud of this crew.  Not only did they do a great job during the performance, but when it came to volunteering to take the set down, they all show up.  It made me a proud man.  Then we got out on stage.  They helped out here and there, but my students were too interested in goofing around.  It was a little upsetting, but I understood where they were coming from.  They were excited as they felt that we pulled off an amazing performance and they should be allowed to release some steam.  We got the entire set down and most of the backdrops put away.  Exactly as we wanted and things went well.  All things should be ready for the concert in two weeks.

While I was tearing the set down, I got a text message from Heather.  She let me know that I got my lightsaber from Lind Lightsabers and that I could open it when I got home.

So, this was motivation to get home quickly.  As soon as the set was down, I headed home.  Not only to open the package with my new lightsaber in it, but I had to hurry and get ready for our Franklin Graham Festival class that Heather and I were going to go to between 7 and 8:30 tonight.  I took out the lightsaber and looked at it briefly.  I forgot that it would use AAA batteries, so I couldn’t test it just yet.  But it looked pretty impressive, that’s for sure!  I decided that since I couldn’t play with my lightsaber I would go downstairs and work on my Mando costume, in particular the gauntlets.  Well, when I got down there, I was working in my messy shop and I managed to step on a screw and slice my foot open.

At first I thought it was no big deal.  I thought I could just “walk it off” as I’ve done in the past.  Then I got upstairs and took my sneaker off and realized my sock was full of blood.  We decided to clean it an see what we could do.  It was bad.  It was deep and in the worst part of the foot.  Right in the fatty part of the tissue just under my big toe.  We decided to go to the walk in clinic.  The doctor said there wasn’t much he could do.  He suggested some aspirin and that I cover it well with gauze.  He said that if he did put a stitch in that part of my foot, it would simply rip out because it would be between the muscle of my big toe and foot and would do me no good.  Heather brought me home and then did me a favor and got some materials at Wal Mart.  You see, the tragedy behind all of this is that I dropped my gauntlet in the process of getting hurt and it shattered into about twenty pieces.  Crap!!

So, while Heather was out,  I “hobbled” my way downstairs and set up my T.V.  See, it was delivered today as well from Rent Way.  It happened this afternoon while I was working on striking the set at school.  I can just say that it’s nice to have my old T.V. back.  Heather got back from running out and I started to work on a second version of the same gauntlet again.  I’m in extreme pain from my foot and now I have to deal with the concept of starting over on a gauntlet that was very close to completion.  What a day, what a night!! I’m exhausted!!  I gotta get myself to bed and try to rest up for what could be a really long day on my feet tomorrow.

Okay, last part of this book.  Let’s start talking about Part 6 of Chapter 20 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Traviss…..


Chapter 20 (Part 6):  Zey even told Etain that she may take one squad member if she wished, that’s when Etain realized she was being tested.  As she sat and decided, the ARC trooper insisted the gunship needed to leave.   As they unloaded, he gave Niner and Etain time to talk.  Niner asked if she would be joining them on their next mission and she said she would be staying on Qiilura with Zey.  Fi was upset saying that this was typical military to get a good unit together and then break them up.  Niner saluted his commander out of respect.  They left Darman behind and Etain explained to him that she was not their type of commander.  Etain told him that he could leave his team and join her.  He refused and they told each other to take care.  As the gunship lifted off, tears ran down Etain’s face.  She realized that these clones helped to shape her into the Jedi she had become.  She didn’t know if she’d see Omega Squad again, but she did know that every clone would be a human life to her, now and forever.  She walked into the field and watched the gunship lift off into the sky.

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 20 (Part 5)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 29, 2007 by jedicouncil

I woke up a little early this morning to finish some last minute spray painting before I went to church.  My armor is so close to being done.  I have a feeling that by next weekend I will be able to put the entire costume together and should be able to take pictures of my full costume.  That’s my hope, anyway.  We all got ready for church, ate some breakfast together and loaded up the car with girl scout cookies and some things we needed to take to the church for their rummage sale.  We got to church a little late, but it was my fault as I’m not used to trying to get the kids ready for church by myself.  Lesson learned, my wife does a lot behind the scenes to get the kids ready for church, including doing the girls’ hair.

I got stuck doing the sound yet again.  I just can’t ever seem to get out of doing that.  I took the kids up to the balcony with me and they helped me a little, but tended to be a little disruptive in the pews in the balcony just because every move they made seemed to echo throughout the church.  A little more than three quarters of a way through the service, Heather text messaged me and let me know that she was almost home.  I text her back and let her know that I was heading to PA after church to get gas and then Lowe’s to return an item and then would meet her at home.  I did all of those items and met Heather at home.  She took a brief nap while I worked on some more of my costume.  She then joined me downstairs and decided to help with the costume building.  She put the Velcro on my vest and helped me get all the chest pieces on and placed.  We also worked on other aspects of the costume and came up with ideas.

We worked well into the evening getting portions of my costume done and together.  It truly is amazing how far the costume has come in one weekend.  My gauntlets are close to completion and the costume itself may be done by the end of the week.  I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself!!  A good weekend and things are looking up.  To make my upcoming week even better, my new lightsaber from Lind Lightsabers should arrive tomorrow as well.  Can’t wait to test that lightsaber out either.

Okay, almost done with this book.  I’ll have two more posts on it and then I’ll review the book and give it a rating out of 10.  Then we’ll move on to Timothy Zahn’s “Star Wars:  Outbound Flight”.  Okay, until then, let’s talk about Part 5 of Chapter 20 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Traviss…..


Chapter 20 (Part 5):  As they walked back to the gunship, Etain was bothered by several things.  She couldn’t believe how realistic Niner mimicked a dying clone and figured he had seen that at least once.  She also realized why attachment was forbidden to Jedi now.  Etain got to the ship and handed Zey, Fulier’s lightsaber and told him that Omega Squad and recovered it.  Zey told Etain that he knew what she was going through and attachment would be rough as you will look troops in war.  Etain said there was no way to turn off the fact that clones are still sentient beings.  Zey said this was all part of being a commander.  Etain asked if she could follow Omega Squad on their next mission.  Zey said The Republic would not abandon the Gurlanin on the surface of this planet and implied that Etain join their fight.  Etain asked when support would arrive and Zey said they would need to dissappear from the planet.  This made Etain wary about helping Qiilura.  Zey then told her she had the choice to stay or go with Omega Squad……

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 20 (Part 4)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 28, 2007 by jedicouncil

Heather didn’t get a chance to sleep in today and in some ways, I didn’t either.  Heather got up a little after seven and headed out to Enterprise to get the rental car to go to New Jersey.  On her way back, she stopped at the bank and got me and Austin some money to go through our day today.  She even had my day mapped out, in a way.  Once home, she finished packing and then took Austin over to the church to drop him off for a Boy Scout trip to a museum in Utica today.  After that, Heather left for New Jersey.  I went back to bed for a brief while.  I got back up and painted my armor some more and then started working on cleaning up the house with the girls.  We ate lunch together and then decided it was time for us to go shopping.  I started at Lowes and got some extra lacquer that I need for my armor and some tools that I need to finish my custom gauntlets.  I then headed to Radio Shack. 

I had a few plans.  First, I needed a fan for my helmet to get some air circulated in the helmet and to keep the lens from fogging up (hopefully).  The second plan was to find an antenna that would fit onto my custom gauntlet.  The computer fan I found rather quickly and I was able to find all the parts that would make that fan work.  Basically you have a fan hooked up to a nine volt battery and a battery holder in the helmet.  I put the fan on in intake hole and try to blow air into the helmet to help circulate the air inside the helmet.  I looked around for an antenna for my gauntlet and was coming up short.  I found plenty of larger antenna to end up putting on a custom backpack that I plan on making later, but I wasn’t interested in that size of an antenna for now.  Then it dawned on me.  I found a really good deal on a range extender for my home wireless router.  In order to put the bigger antenna in, I would need to remove the smaller antenna which is about the size I was looking for.  The good news is that I got the extender for $9.99 when it would normally cost $29.99.  I’ll take a $20 discount any day!  I came home and started to work.

After a while, I got a call from the Boy Scout unit and they said they were running late.  We got another phone call when they were getting closer to home and I went and picked up Austin.  We went out and ate dinner at McDonalds since Ruth had a coupon she had earned at school for a free meal.  We then went out to Wal Mart to get some more Unleashed figures for my collection and to search for some 30th anniversary packaged figures.  I had no luck with Wal Mart, so we headed over to Target where I hit a jackpot.  Found Unleashed figures for less than five dollars and an R2 in 30th anniversary packaging.  I also found some cheap Star Wars pencils, pens, and all sorts of stuff for a buck a piece.  We then came home and I got back to work again.  We all went to bed early as tomorrow I need to got to church with the kids by myself.  No other adult to help me at church.  It should be okay.

Let’s talk about Part 4 of Chapter 20 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Traviss…..


Chapter 20 (Part 4):  Niner told Darman that he cut that close and looked at Fi and asked him where he was.  Fi said he saw Darman and Etain approaching and figured he was okay. Fi then went over and took Master Fulier’s lightsaber and gave it to Etain.  Etain was still in shock at having killed the Mandalorian and Fi held off from making any remarks about it.  Instead he collected the helmet he had been promised.  Niner saluted her and said thank you and she replied saying that it was an honor.  Darman radioed General Zey as they trotted off toward the gunship…..

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 20 (Part 3)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 27, 2007 by jedicouncil

Friday.  End of the week, but my day was not going to be easy and I knew that from the minute I woke up this morning.  I woke up a little late because I was just so gosh darned tired from this past week.  I snoozed the alarm twice which I haven’t done since long before Christmas.  I got myself ready and headed to school.  I kept my lesson plans simple for today.  My eighth graders watched videos on the “History of Jazz” by Ken Burns.  My seventh graders did a lesson on music history and my sixth graders watched video of Season Six of “American Idol”.  This helped my school day go along smoothly.  One of the tech crew that has been helping me this year is a high school-er.  He’s a student I had in Marching Band and it’s been good to see him again.  Well, he showed up right after school and offered to set up the sound and light systems while I went home for a little bit.  I was glad for the help and thankful that he was willing to do this.

I came home and took a very brief nap, just to get through tonight.  I also worked on spray painting armor and then we all ate dinner together.  We got back to the school in plenty of time for the musical.

The students did another amazing performance tonight as well.  It was a great send-off to such a hard working cast and crew.  I was very proud of both performances and can’t believe that the performances are over.  Tonight, Ruth ended up being my camera person and I hope she did okay.  She really seemed to know what was going on.  She became really worried because she ran out of battery on the end of the last song.  I told her not to worry about it and that it was far beyond her control.  At the end of the musical tonight, we all got our “thank you” cards and Heather and I got one to AppleBees.  So, we figure we’ll go out on a date night while my parents have the kids in June and go to AppleBees and then a movie.  Haven’t even decided which movie yet, but it’s a good time away.

We got done packing up the essentials tonight after the performance.  For me, this took some serious amount of time.  I had a lot to take care of.  Dry ice, crock pot, mics borrowed from the church, radios, and much, much more.  While I did this, Heather took the kids home to a neighbor who was supposed to meet her at our house to babysit the kids.  Well, she was running late and I ended up locking the doors and turning out the lights to the auditorium as well.  I left a mess behind in my room, but figure I have Monday morning to take care of that mess.  Heather came back to the school and helped me get a bunch of the equipment into our car.  We then headed over to an “adult” party at Ruby Tuesday’s where we had some adult beverages and had some nice conversation.  It just felt good to wind down after such a long week and stressful month.  Heather even got invited to a day of “pampering” while I go to Rochester for the Lilac Parade in a few weeks.  This will help her not remember that I’m gone with the kids.

Okay, let’s talk about Part 3 of Chapter 20 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Traviss…..


Chapter 20 (Part 3):  Ghez Hokan had little ammunition left.  He had a vibroblade, lightsaber, and two Verpine rounds left.  He felt a pain in his arm and realized he was bleeding.  He wondered what kind of wound it was that would make his adversary scream like that.  He heard the soldier screaming for his sergeant, and equal to screaming for his mother Hokan thought.  Hokan couldn’t help but end his life because he couldn’t let a Mandalorian die in such a wimpy way, even if it was a clone.  Hokan got close to the clone and decided to pull out the vibroblade.  The lightsaber would be too earily like Jengo’s death on Geonosis.  As he raised his arm, Hokan heard the sound of a lightsaber.  It was too late!!…..

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 20 (Part 2)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 26, 2007 by jedicouncil

Thursday and it was play premiere day.  My day started like any other day would expect to be started.  I was still exhausted when I woke up this morning but got myself going, as late as it was.  I got to school and told myself that I would not go out on stage till later in the day.  I held my promise and checked the temperature for later tonight to see how cool that stage was.  It was plenty cool which is important for the dry-ice to work.  Once school was over, it was time for me to work on other aspects of the auditorium.

My crew showed up to my room right after school and we went out and did what needed to be done for tonight’s performance.  We set up the microphones and the light system and got things going.  We also taped down all the cords on the floor to be OSHA compliant.  That took some serious time as we were dealing with all the cords for the light and sound system.  The cords backstage as well as all the cords for the crock pots for the dry ice.  We prepped everything and then Heather showed up with more materials we needed.  Including a huge block of dry ice that we’ll use tonight and tomorrow night.  After we were done getting the auditorium ready for tonight’s performance, we all took some time to eat.  We had pizza, chips, soda, and cookies.  All the things a growing teenage boy needs!!  After a while, the cast and directors started showing up.  My crew got a little over excited, but that’s to be expected.

The performance tonight went amazing!!  The cast surprised even me.  Honestly, they put my heart and mind at ease.  I was really proud of both the cast and crew.  The tech crew did as well as I had expected of them.  It really was a well put together performance and all the audience gave us a standing ovation at the end of the performance.  I always tell myself that this is why I do this and volunteer on top of it all.  We got done with tonight’s performance and I was exhausted.  I came home and went downstairs with Heather and pretty much crashed for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow night is another performance and I  know I’ll be exhausted all day tomorrow.  But, tomorrow is another day.

Okay, even in my exhaustion, let’s talk about Part 2 of Chapter 20 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Travis.  BUT, BEFORE WE DO, AND IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT NEEDS TO BE MADE.  TO MAKE YOU ALL AWARE, THE NEXT BOOK WE WILL BE REVIEWING WILL BE “STAR WARS: OUTBOUND FLIGHT” BY TIMOTHY ZAHN.  THE CHANGE HAS COME BECAUSE THE BOOK WAS RECENTLY RELEASED IN SOFT COVER.  MY BLOG WILL REFLECT THIS SOON……


Chapter 20 (Part 2):  Suddenly Darman realized he wasn’t getting a response, just like on Geonosis.  He told Etain that their helmets were offline.  Etain insisted they were alive, but Zey said they had to go.  He reminded her that the Trade Federation now knew of thier presence and Uthan needed to be treated.   Etain insisted that they can’t abandon these clones, she knew they are alive.  Zey looked upset and told her she was comprising the mission.  Etain said that these men are not expendable and Zey said they are all expendable.  Etain retorted saying that she is then expendable too.  Then Darman stepped in and offered to go and told Etain to stay with Atin.  Suddenly, Etain pulled out her lightsaber, ignited it and held it close to the power conduit.  She told Zey that either they all get off Qiilura or no one does.  The two Jedi argued further about the lives of soldiers, men, and clones.  Zey then backed down.  He told Darman to follow her and the others.  Etain said she knew this was gross disobedience and that this would probably mean she would not become a Jedi Knight.  As they left into the woods, Darman looked back at Zey who looked on with a proud grin……

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 20 (Part 1)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 25, 2007 by jedicouncil

Wednesday and things are starting to slow down a little.  I had a typical day in the morning.  I got up and got ready and headed off to work.  I had to change my schedule a little for school this week as I can’t get in the library Friday for research for students’ video and podcasting projects.  So, that means I’ll have to double up on research days next week and catch up in that regards.  My students took this change well considering it will alter how much time we have for the videos and podcasts.  Heck, it may even limit our time.  Hopefully we’ll be able to catch up next week.  Last night, amongst my painting I did for my armor, I also painted some of the props for the musical at our school.  I brought them in today for the director and took them up there to her this morning for her approval and she really liked how they came out.  The day went as expected and I had a little bit to do after school.

We got done with the school day and I joined our two directors to sit down and talk with the cast about tomorrow night’s performance.  We just talked and did not practice at all.  We decided to do this a few years ago as we’ve found that a practice the day before a performance is just not productive anyway and the adults leave frustrated at the situation.  So we talked them through the situation and then let the cast go.  I called Heather right away as I realized that I forgot to tell Heather about the meeting and let her know what was going on.  I got home and I took a brief nap with Heather.  We both needed it as we were both exhausted from the last month.  Once we got done, we all ate dinner together and did our “Girl Scout” scramble as I like to call it.  While Heather was out running girls around, I continued to tape and work on my Mando armor.  It’s starting to look pretty sweet.  I’m now onto the shoulder bells and I’m brainstorming what I need from Radio Shack this weekend. I want to add an antenna to my custom gauntlet and I also want to add a fan to the inside of my helmet.  All in good time, and since Heather will be at a wedding this weekend, I figure it wouldn’t be hard for me to run to Lowe’s and Radio Shack and start putting some extras on the costume as I’m going.

Once we were done with all of that, Heather and I actually went to the basement together and relaxed for the first time in a while and watched our usual Wednesday night T.V. shows (“Jericho”, “Criminal Minds”, and “C.S.I.:  NY”).

Okay, let’s continue this discussion on Star Wars.  Time to talk about Part 1 of Chapter 20 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Traviss…..


Chapter 20 (Part 1):  “I know that the true enemy is when you compromise your principles.  Your primary principle is to look out for each other.” – Kal Skirata – As Darman approached the gunship a medic met him and put Atin on a stretcher.  Darman explained the wounds and what he did.  The medic told him to get on the ship as another trooper took Uthan from Etain’s shoulders.  General Arligan Zey also came off of the gunship and nodded in the direction of Etain.  A Valaquil also came off the ship and commented that Atin was collecting more scars.  The Valaquil told Darman that it was anxious to meet with Jinart to discuss their adventures.  The Gurlanin left and disappeared into the woods.  Zey told Etain she has done very well without a Master to follow.  Etain asked where Niner and Fi were at.  Zay asked who and she explained that it was the other two clones.  Darman said they’d be here and radioed fo the others to get moving…..

‘Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact’ – Chapter 19 (Part 6)

Posted in IIB - Star Wars: Republic Commandos - Hard Contact (10 with tags on April 24, 2007 by jedicouncil

Okay, it’s Tuesday and it’s the last chance.  It is the last chance for us to go over the play before performance time which will be Thursday night.  I’m nervous and excited all at once.  I got up for my day today and everything went as normally expected.  I got to school and the pressure was on to clean up from last night’s practice and get ready for my classes as well.  Needless to say, I’ve been running behind with getting things prepped.  My classes went as well as expected.  I’m actually enjoying this quarter so far as I don’t seem to have a class that is really getting on my case.  But, it is only the second week of the course and things have been messed up schedule wise since last week.  We got done with school and ran play rehearsal.

Things went amazingly smooth.  I am now excited about Thursday night because there were few to little problems with the rehearsal today.  The dry-ice seemed to work very well today which excites me.  The only problem we ran into is one of the church’s back-up mics has started to become staticy.  I thought I would let pastor know about it, as it has been this way since we got the mic from them.  We tried to do some repairs but couldn’t seem to find the problem with the mic.

I got done with rehearsal and the family and I went to Wendy’s to eat dinner.  We did that because that was the only fifteen minutes Heather and I got together all day.  We finished eating dinner, Heather went to work and the kids and I left and went home.  By this point in time I was totally exhausted.  I even went downstairs and simply crashed in the chair for a little bit.  Normally I would work on the Mando armor first, but tonight,  I just didn’t have the energy right away.  Once I took a little nap (fifteen minutes) I then got up and started working on my Mando Armor.  It’s quite possible that I’ll start putting a majority of the costume together by this weekend.  Hopefully, when Heather gets back from New Jersey on Sunday, we’ll be able to put all the armor onto the vest and start piecing this costume together.  I’ve decided that I’m not going to post any more pictures on here until I’m closer to putting the costume together.  As  soon as I have a “full costume” pic, I will be putting it on a post on this blog.

Okay, let’s talk about Part 6 of Chapter 19 of “Star Wars:Republic Commando – Hard Contact” by Karen Traviss…..


Chapter 19 (Part 6):  Then they lost sight of Hokan.  Fi was regretting having ditched the E-Web.  As shots two shots were off target, Fi told Niner to go right of him while he keeps Hokan busy.  Niner crawled through the grass as the Verpine gun singed the grass tops.  Niner knew that once Uthan got to the EP, the gunship nor “The Majestic” would wait on them.  Niner then radioed Darman and found out they were ten minutes from EP.  He told them to wait for him and Fi to say goodbye to Ghez Hokan.  Darman offered to come and help, but Niner refused.  As Niner moved for cover he saw a flash of gunfire and then everything went black.  He thought he was hit, but realized his helmet’s HUD went dead.  He took off his helmet and found out that Fi had done the same, using his night vision scope.  He realized they got hit with an EMP grenade.  Niner crawled back to Fi and explained the sit. rep.  He told Fi that the Deeces still work at least.  Fi then found Hokan and asked Niner how far he could throw and I.E.D.  Fi decided to throw as Niner drew his fire.  Niner went to detonate the I.E.D., but nothing happened.  They continued to try to come up with ideas.  Finally, Niner told Fi he would draw Hokan out by acting as a severly wounded soldier.  Hokan couldn’t resist slitting his throat.  This would bring Hokan out for Fi to shoot.