Archive for the IB – Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) Category

‘Cloak of Deception’ – Overview

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 14, 2006 by jedicouncil

Okay, today was a fun Saturday before Easter Sunday.  We had fun with my parents and of course my dad and I had plenty to do.  First we went over to the church at 10 a.m. for an Easter Egg Hunt.  It was fun and my kids were good “givers” because they gave up some of their eggs for children who showed up late and didn’t have a chance to participate in the egg hunt.  I thought that was very generous of my kids and very Christian-like.  I guess I’m just a proud dad.  When we came home, my father and I started to work on my wife’s “honey-do” list.  The first thing was to put up a clothesline.  It sounded like a simple enough task, but it’s never as simple as it sounds.  We started to work on getting the clothesline put up, and we ran into a “snag”.  We got the pulleys put up and started to unwind the two-hundred feet of line, when we realize that parts of the line were actually falling apart and were unwinding.  So, we had to go to Lowes to try and get another two-hundred feet of line.  Then we decided to get another set of hooks, pulleys and another clothesline tightener so we could put up another clothesline for my wife (apparently she wanted two).  However, we failed to secure another clothesline tightener at Lowes, so we had to go all the way into the city and got to Agway to get one.  Apparently someone at corporate forgot to order them for Lowes (at least according to the INSANE salesman at Lowes – I think the guy was a few marbles short of a full bag).  Anyway, we got home and finally got both lines put up.

I decided it was time to actually get something to eat for lunch.  We then discussed how we were going to get the old fridge downstairs so Heather and I could use it for keeping wine, or beer….uh, I mean soda’s (“Tommy Boy” reference) cold downstairs.  Well, we decided we couldn’t go down the regular basement stairs and we couldn’t go out the side door of the kitchen.  So, it was the “hard way”.  Out the front door, into the side door and down into the basement.  BUMMER!! Not easy and it was time to look for an appliance truck.  SO, we went to Taylor Rental and rented one for $10 for the day.  Of course, we only planned on using it for an hour or two.  Well, two short hours later, and the fridge is in the basement.  We went and returned the appliance truck and came home.  Now it was time for dinner.  Phew, what a day!!  Well, when we got done with dinner, we decided to finish the Star Wars Easter Eggs and Hello Kitty Easter Eggs we started yesterday.  Yes, that’s right, we did Star Wars and Hello Kitty Easter Eggs this year and they were actually pretty cool.  You can find pictures of those eggs in the Album, titled “Easter 2006”.  Check it out!!

After that, grandma and pappa took us all to a new place we discovered here in Binghamton called “Suzie Q’s” that is a great ice-cream shop on Chenango Street.  If you’re ever in Binghamton and want some great ice-cream, I highly suggest going there and getting some ice-cream.  Anyway, we had a great treat (thanks grammy and pappa!!) and then came home.  My parents watched “The Passion of the Christ” with me tonight as well.  It was emotional as always and was hard for me to watch even the second time around.  But I did figure out what bothered me about the whole movie.  I didn’t like the movie because it was so depressing.  And the reason it was depressing is because the movie focused on the wrong thing.  It focused on the beating and crucifiction of Christ.   It did NOT focus on the main joy of Easter, and that is the resurrection of the body.  That is where the real story is for Christians and this movie completely missed that.

Okay, onto my overview of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno…..


I ultimately did like James Luceno’s book, “Cloak of Deception”.  When I got done reading this book I felt as though I really began to understand the significance of the beginning of “The Phantom Menace” more.  I really began to understand what the beginning of that movie was emphasizing.  Would I have completely understood it without this book?  Maybe.  I wouldn’t have understood all of the politics that were played behind the scenes, however.  This book was well written and kept me intrigued throughout the entire story even though I had a pretty good idea what the final outcome would be.  Obviously, Valorum was not going to die and he was not going to be removed as Supreme Chancellor.  Yet, I was very intrigued by the potential outcome of the book.  I also liked how some of the future products of “The Phantom Menace” were presented.  For example, the ideas for droidekas, or droid armies.  The concept of the taxation of the trade routes of the Outer Rim and the other politics were what made this book exciting and demanding on my concepts of Star Wars.  I do feel that this book made the movie “The Phantom Menace” even more compelling.  Because of all of this, I give this book an 8 out of 10.




‘Cloak of Deception’ – Chapter 38

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 14, 2006 by jedicouncil

Good Friday.  The day that Christ was crucified.  I can’t help but be depressed every year on this day.  It was because of our faults and our disbelief in the Son of God that lead to Christ’s suffering.  I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the Jews had released Christ instead of Barabbas.  Maybe our whole world would have been changed.  I know that Christ had forseen it and it had already been written in the books and the story already told, but you still wonder what if.  A lot of work got done around the house today.  I was able to get most of the kids’ rooms in order and I was able to get the basement into some assemblance of order before my parents are arriving tomorrow.  The kids worked hard and I worked hard to get things cleaned up.  Of course, I don’t think my wife will realize just how much work was put into it all, but she never seems to notice that.  I guess I expect more of an audience because I’m a musician and I live for audiences to listen and see the work I’ve done.

We went out for dinner tonight to Wendy’s and my wife rented “Saw II” for me tonight.  That was kind of cool.  It was interesting, but didn’t seem to be as interesting to me as the first “Saw” movie was.  It was almost too predictable by this point.  There was a twist at the end I didn’t expect, but I did in a way considering the other “Saw” movie had a twist at the end as well.  I do not think that this ending should warrant a “Saw III”, although it appears that they are setting it up that way.

Tonight I plan on reviewing the final chapter of our latest book, “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno.  When I am done with this, I will do my overall viewpoint on the book tomorrow night and give it a one out of ten rating based on what I thought of the book.  I will then review the E-Book:  “Darth Maul:  Saboteur” by James Luceno.  That review will be broken into three sections followed by an overall review.  So, with that in mind, time to talk about Chapter 38 of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno……


Chapter 38 – We begin with Lord Sidious congratulating the new Viceroy, Nute Gunray, on his promotion.  Gunray is aboard the “Profiteer”.  Sidious asks if Hal Chaor has been filling their orders for battle droids, and the Neimoidians say “yes” but complain of the prices.  Sidious suggests the Trade Federation retaliate for the taxation bill passing.  He suggets invading Naboo.  The Neimoidians agree to continue serving Darth Sidious.

‘Cloak of Deception’ – Chapter 37

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 13, 2006 by jedicouncil

I am mentally exhausted today.  I got done grading final exams and papers all day today.  I am drained and I have also been disgusted with what I noticed this quarter as to previous quarters.  I have twelve students who did not take the final exam at all this quarter.  I don’t know if they were simply trying to avoid it or if they missed it simply because vacation happened this close to the end of the quarter.  But I’ve never had this many students NOT take the final exam.  I hope this is not a sign of things to come.

I watched the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” tonight as I finished my grades.  Not a bad movie, but definetly let me down about my viewpoint of the Crusades.  Some of the points of the movie were realistic, and some were overdramatized for Hollywood’s sake.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but I wanted more from a movie about Christianity’s fight to keep Jerusalem.  There didn’t need to be a whole lot of special effects, just an accurate account of the tale.  Besides, did anyone pay attention to the siege towers in the movie?  Man, those looked an awful lot like the one’s used in “Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King”.   Coincidence?  I think not, considering they came out within a year of each other.

Hopefully tomorrow I can relax some before my parents get here because my wife is already making the “honey do” list for this weekend and it’s not a short list.  She also thinks some of these things will get done in a matter of moments and I think some of them may have to be put off until next weekend.

Well, onto our discussion of Chapter 37 of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno, only one more chapter to go after this one……


Chapter 37 – This chapter starts with Adi Gallia and Valorum discussing issues in Valorum’s Senate office.  Here Valorum reveals that he has a deputy, Mas Amedda, that he has to answer to for all of his actions.  We then go to the High Council chambers in the Jedi Temple.  They agreed that Havac must have set-up the Chancellor with the gold ingots.  The Council believes there are forces at work behind the scenes of this whole incident.  They agree that worse times are ahead.

‘Cloak of Deception’ – Chapter 36

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 12, 2006 by jedicouncil

YEAH!!!  It’s finally time for what I call Easter Break and what others call “Spring Break”.  I think we need to get rid of all of this political correctiveness.  Anyway, I am so happy to be done with giving final exams today.  Of course, now I’ll have to spend the whole day tomorrow grading those finals so that I can get my report card grades in on time as well.  I’m happy to be done with this quarter, but I can’t believe we’ve gotten to the fourth quarter already.  Man, how the school year just flies by!!  It seems like it was just yesterday that we started this school year and it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I moved my classroom (which really was only four months ago), but time seems to be flying by.

I had hopes of recording Special Edition #2 for TJCS over vacation, but looking at the time I have and the amount that I need to get done, I’m not sure that is going to happen in the time frame I would like it to.  Just be aware that Special Edition #2 may be late coming out this time around.  I have our musical happening on April 27th and 28th and I’m not sure I will have the time to get that show recorded on time.  Only time will tell.  I have yet to actually be late with a broadcast, but I guess everyone has their time when a show doesn’t get produced in the time frame they want and maybe it’s my time to be late.  All well, gotta roll with the punches on this one.

Tommorrow I plan on spending the whole day grading tests and papers and I hope to get all of my grades into the gradebook so that I can focus on relaxing for the rest of vacation.  Friday I plan on spending most of the day cleaning the house.  My parents are arriving on Saturday and our house looks like a train crashed into it and dumped all of it’s materials over the floors of our rooms.  I suppose it’s time for some spring cleaning around here.

Okay, onto our discussion of Chapter 36 of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno…..


Chapter 36 – This chapter takes place in the chambers of the Supreme Court.  During the hearing it is revealed that gold ingots were moved through Valorum’s secret account on Eriadu.  They also note the amount equals the amount the Trade Federation lost at Dorvalla.  Then we go to Taa’s quarters there he reveals to other Senators that they know about Valorum’s indiscretions, but wanted to see the taxation of trade routes passed in the Senate first.  Taa proposes they nominate Palpatine Vice Chancellor in hopes of installing him as Chancellor once Valorum is removed.

‘Cloak of Deception’ – Chapter 35

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 11, 2006 by jedicouncil

Not much happened today at school or at home.  In many ways, that is the way I like it.  I was a little sick to my stomach today and have had an upset stomach all week.  I believe a lot of it is stress related.  Gave music final exams today and will be finishing them tomorrow.  I’m really looking forward to the upcoming break.  I’m gonna need the break and I’m going to need to take the time off from all of the work that I’m getting bogged down doing right now.

Had to stay after school again today until 5 p.m.  I have to do that today for the last time until after break.  Thank goodness for that.  It’s getting old and it’s getting hard to coordinate everything with just one car at the house.  Man, where is that government money?  Something tells me that it’s just not going to come.  I don’t know why I think that, but the last time it took this long, New York State decided they didn’t like how much I was paying on my student loans, so they simply took my tax return money.  It’s amazing how much power one government agency can have.  I will be releaved and less stressed when that money finally arrives and I am able to get our other car on the road.  Of course Heather keeps making all of these arrangements to go here and there for the summer.  Including a trip to Rochester, Richfield Springs, and down south to camp.  Of course, I keep trying to remind her that we’re not going anywhere if that car is stuck on the front lawn.  She doesn’t like to hear that and that’s why I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t be the one handling the money around the house instead of her.  But hey, there’s not much money to be “handled” because we constantly seem flat broke!

Okay, onto our discussion of Chapter 35 of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno…..


Chapter 35 – We are in a press conference with Valorum and Sei Taria.  Taria does most of the talking for Valorum.  Taria blocks most of the reporter’s comments.  Taria and Valorum discuss the statement they will release about the vote, when they are met by Bail Antilles who informs Valorum that he is to appear before the Supreme Court on charges of corruption and illegal enrichment.

‘Cloak of Deception’ – Chapter 34

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 10, 2006 by jedicouncil

Well, today was a really crappy Monday in many regards.  Nothing seemed to go my way at school or for all of the other stuff in my life today.  It was just busy in general and my students were on edge all day today.  Had to stop TWO fights at school today and they just seem to be getting worse the more the school year goes on.  I then got a phone call from my wife around 2 p.m.  She didn’t talk long because she couldn’t.  She accidentally broke our car key off, IN the ignition.  The car key to the ONLY car we have working at this point in time.  So, she came to me and picked up my key (which is the original) and left to go take care of the problem.  A local company wouldn’t let her stick around while they were fixing the car, so she came back to the school for play rehearsal and we called AAA from here.  They sent a guy out from a local company who fixed the problem within about five minutes.  He basically took out a pair of long nosed tweezers and pulled the pieces out of the ignition.  Gees, if that’s all he was going to do, I could have done that myself.  Then we got the bill.  $45.  $45 for five minutes worth of labor!!!  Man, what I wouldn’t give for that kind of paycheck.  I just know I’m in the wrong business!

Anyway, finished play rehearsal, got my dinner from Heather (a Wendy’s salad on the go) and went to SMASH rehearsal and ate at SMASH.  Luckily, the director gave me a ride home.  I was exhausted by the time I got home and had to take a 45 minute snooze before I worked on grading papers for the rest of the night.  I’m really worried about my students this quarter.  Even though the quarter was longer, they seem to be less prepared for the final this quarter than the previous two quarters.  Maybe it’s this particular group of students.  I worry about how they will do on the final.

Okay, onto Chapter 34 of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno…..

Chapters 34 – 38:  The Inner Circle

Characters:  Qui-Gon Jinn, Viceroy Nute Gunray, Senator Lott Dod, Supreme Chancellor Valorum, Lieutenant Governor Tarkin, Senator Palpatine, Padme Naberrie (Queen Amidala), Captain Panaka, Sei Taria, Senator Bail Antilles, Senator Orn Free Taa, Senator Tikkes, Mot Not Rab, Adi Gallia, Yoda, Yarael Poof, Depa Billaba, Oppo Rancisis, Mace Windu, Darth Sidious, Hath Monchar, Rune Haako, Commander Daultay Dofine

Ships:  The Profiteer

Planets:  Eriadu, Naboo, Coruscant


Chapter 34 – We start with Qui-Gon and a judicial discussing the matters at hand.  The judicial notes that the Nebula Front has disbanded.  They also reveal that Tarkin insists that Eriadu would execute the investigation.  We also learn that Havac was an Eriaduan and his real name was Matalis.  The entire plot becomes clear to the Jedi including the new battle droid.  We switch scenes to Palpatine meeting the new Queen Amidala for the first time.  Amidala introduces Palpatine to the new head of security, Captain Panaka.  Amidala and Palpatine discuss the upcoming vote about taxing the trade routes.  Finally, we follow Palaptine and Valorum’s discussion about that vote.  Palpatine feels the incident at the summit has only solidified Valorum’s stance on taxing the Outer Rim.  Then Palpatine tells Valorum that he cannot vote for taxing the trade routes.

‘Cloak of Deception’ – Chapter 33

Posted in IB - Star Wars: Cloak of Deception (8) with tags on April 9, 2006 by jedicouncil

Happy Palm Sunday!!  I don’t feel that we say that enough as Christians.  We are always so happy about Easter Sunday, we forget the other celebration that we should focus on and that is Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem.  We really should have Palm Sunday parades.  I’m amazed that never became an American tradition.  All well.  Today was quite the day at church.  It was emotional and exciting and sad all at the same time.  It happened several times over.  First, my pastor last week announced that they had their home robbed and had several personal items taken that meant the world to them.  This Sunday, they announced that the items were found and they caught the guy who stole it all.  On top of that, the church that was sharing our sanctuary, which was Episcopal, had finally found a new building to move into.  We have had a great relationship, but it is good to see a church starting out on their own and starting a successful future.  One of the most emotional moments of the morning was finding out that our church was going to return to them the rent they had been paying for the past several months to help them on their way.  It was a small token by our church, but I think it meant the world to this fledgling church.  It made me extremely proud of our elders and deacons for having made such a decision.  On the other side of things, however, today’s church service was LONG!! We left at our typical time to meet at church at 9:30 a.m. (so I could be there for choir rehearsal as I sang and played trumpet this morning), but didn’t get home until 3:00 p.m.  OUCH!!  We normally get home at noon, so we were beat and by the time Heather and I took a nap and then started to get going for our “day” it was almost 5 p.m.  Needless to say, our day was shortened.

Okay, onto our discussion of Chapter 33 of “Cloak of Deception” by James Luceno…..

Chapter 33 – We start this chapter following Qui-Gon and Boiny trying to find the sniper on the walkway.  Some Eriadu security forces join them as well.  While searching, Boiny comes running towards Qui-Gon and one of the security agents pulls out his blaster, hits Boiny in the chest and injures Qui-Gon.  Qui-Gon then uses his lightsaber to cut the supports on the platform to tilt it toward the floor.  Meanwhile, in Valorum’s box, the musicians stop on the floor because of the shouts of panic from the audience.  Adi Gallia and Vergere rush forward, with lightsabers ignited, to Valorum’s side.  In the Neimoidians box, the security droids go to their readiness mode, and the Kutai activates the force field.  We then switch to Cohl and Havac in the media center.  Havac then reveals the real target was not Valorum, but the Trade Federation.  A struggle ensues and Cohl kills Havac finally.  We then switch to the floor where Qui-Gon witnesses Neimoidians in the summit booth get cut down by their own security droids.  The Jedi, Judicials, and audience are caught stunned in silence.