Category Archives: Star Wars

Why I love R2D2 (and why you probably do too)

r2d2I had the good-timing fortune of being at Disney World in Florida a few days ago for a “Star Wars weekend,” the now-annual month-long celebration of the movies held at the Hollywood Studios park. Part of the festivities included a parade of characters from the movies and some of the actors who voiced them. While it was nice to see the likes of Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Warwick Davis (Wicket) in the flesh, my favourite moment was when R2D2 wheeled down the parade route making his trademark beeps and bloops.

He was obviously being controlled remotely by someone nearby, but I didn’t care – seeing “him” made me giddy and even a little misty-eyed. It activated some sort of child memories in me.

Then I remembered that it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. I had the same reaction the first time I saw Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace back in 1999. I couldn’t help but squeal with joy when R2 made his debut in the prequel, saving the day as usual.

Fans of the original trilogy had been waiting a very long time for more Star Wars, me included, and it turned out the thing I had missed most was that plucky little droid. Watching the parade at Disney World years later, I had an odd epiphany: I love R2D2. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in movies, robots, Star Wars


Review: Sandcrawler the best Star Wars Lego set yet

sandcrawler1Is there a better way to celebrate May the 4th than with some new Star Wars Lego? I certainly don’t know of it, which is why I went down to the local Lego store bright and early Saturday morning to pick up the brand new Sandcrawler. The 3,296-piece monstrosity is the first big, new, original-trilogy vehicle in some time, so I was naturally jazzed for it. At $349, it’s pricey, but it is one of the biggest sets Lego sells – not just in the Star Wars line, but overall. (Anyone wondering at this point why a grown adult may want to play with Lego should probably read this before continuing on).

I was immediately impressed upon cracking the box open to find 20 plastic packages of Lego, as well as a thick, 315-page booklet that resembles a car manual more than a set of toy instructions. It’s clear the Sandcrawler is something special, with a six-page introduction giving some background on how the Jawa scavengers of Tattoine use their rolling factory to collect and sell droids, plus an interview with model creator Olav Kroigaard. I’ve never seen such a preamble in a Lego instruction book before.

The first few hours and plastic packages were the most enjoyable part of the build since, with a big set like this one, you’re never really sure which section you’re starting with or why. It was obvious that the vehicle’s base was up first, but I couldn’t help but wonder why the instructions didn’t start with the tracks. This only became clear several hours later, once a strong foundation had been established upon which the rest of the Sandcrawler – including its locomotion apparatus – would depend. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on Review: Sandcrawler the best Star Wars Lego set yet

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in lego, review, Star Wars


Me and my Lego Star Destroyer

sd13The whole concept of gift-giving around Christmas seems to get tougher with each passing year. It’s not that I have trouble figuring out what to get friends and family – that’s usually pretty easy – it’s the reverse that’s always a challenge. I’ve been pretty lucky in life, so I have most of the things I want or need. The few things I do desire are usually so expensive or frivolous that I have no business in asking anyone to get them for me.

Case in point: the Star Wars Lego Super Star Destroyer. Here’s a $500 toy that no sane adult really should be playing with, much less coveting. Yet, if you’ve followed me on Twitter at all this year, you probably know that Star Wars Lego is something of an obsession for me (original trilogy only, none of that Jar Jar-era or Clone Wars crap for me).

It turns out I’m not crazy – or alone – in having this offbeat hobby. I wrote a story about adult Lego aficionados earlier this year and, in speaking with company designers and toy industry analysts, found that the brick sets are actually pretty popular with more than just kids.

Adults like Lego for the same reason that other grown-ups are attracted to gardening, car mechanics or wood carving – it’s a physical hobby that lets you work with your hands. For those of us who deal in the digital world and stare at screens all day, it may be even more important to actually exercise our tactile capabilities. Yes, it’s nerdy, but it’s better than completely zoning into the Matrix, right?

I put all that together as my official rationalizations for finally buying the Super Star Destroyer a few weeks ago. So yeah, I’m not ashamed. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 14, 2012 in lego, Star Wars


Me and my Lego Death Star

Luke and Leia about to make their perilous swing. Lego-style.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for two major events in my life. Firstly, this weekend I’ll be getting married to my lovely fiancee Claudette down in New Orleans (we’re actually down here right now, enjoying some jazz and Hurricane drinks). Secondly, and probably considerably less important, was doing my taxes. Believe it or not, the two ended up becoming related, resulting in a Lego Death Star.

In looking at my past year’s expenses, which I track very carefully now that I’m a freelancer, it became clear to me that I’m fairly miserly. I grew up poor, which has made me a tightwad when it comes to spending money. So, with the wedding coming, I figured why not go out and buy something frivolous?

Enter the Death Star. As a $500 toy, there probably isn’t a more frivolous purchase for a grown man.

Nevertheless, Lego – particularly the Star Wars kind – is a growing hobby among adults, as I wrote about in a story for MSN (I’ll link to it once I see it go up). Many of us grew up with the toys, so it’s ingrained in our psyches. The same can be said for Star Wars. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 5, 2012 in lego, Star Wars


Pizza for nerds

Everybody knows nerds love pizza, so it’s a little surprising that this took so long: presenting, the Star Trek pizza cutter. As you can see from the picture below, it’s a pizza cutter in the shape of the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise:

This particular gem comes from the folks at, purveyors of all sorts of nerdly novelty items (i.e. the Tauntaun sleeping bag and the Ladies of Star Wars playing cards). It’s only $24.99 and will make a nice counterpart to that Klingon cork screw you’ve got.

Comments Off on Pizza for nerds

Posted by on September 29, 2010 in food, Star Wars


A real-life lightsaber?

Is there anyone on Earth who wouldn’t want a lightsaber? I definitely can’t think of anybody… and if such a person exists, I wouldn’t want to know them anyway! The lightsaber is only the coolest fictional invention of all-time (slightly ahead of adamantium claws housed in one’s forearms), so it was with great excitement that I read a post on Wired’s Danger Room blog about the “plasma knife.” The article even had a picture of Luke Skywalker sporting his green Return of the Jedi lightsaber.

Danger Room likes to talk about technology the military is developing, and its pop-culture ties. Connecting the plasma knife to the lightsaber, though, is a bit of a stretch. The knife has been developed as a portable surgical tool for troops in the field. It cauterizes wounds, or effectively burns them closed. Sort of like applying a red-hot metal to the wound, like Rambo did in a couple First Blood movies. Still, the device does produce a “blade” of glowing ionized gas, so the comparison isn’t completely out of line.

That said, it would be uncharacteristic of military scientists to concentrate on finding only defensive or palliative uses of a new technology. Surely someone must be thinking about how to take this idea further, to creating true and proper lightsabers. Combine that with some of the new bionics the military is working on, and perhaps some genetically engineered superhuman abilities, and maybe we can get us some living, breathing Jedi knights.

If better and deadlier robots aren’t scaring the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents, why not unleash the Force on them?

Comments Off on A real-life lightsaber?

Posted by on October 21, 2009 in army, experiments, Star Wars, u.s., war, weapons


The Jedis hate our way of life

This blog may be one-third about war, but that doesn’t mean I always have to stick to real war. Today, I’m posting about my favourite fictional war, or wars, to be more accurate. Star Wars, to be exact!

Somebody posted the video below on Facebook the other day, and I laughed myself silly. It’s three stormtroopers talking about their own personal September 11, the destruction of the Death Star (the first one). It’s satire at its finest, with the troopers quoting many of the same lines and conspiracy theories we’ve heard in the eight years since the real September 11. My favourite is the theory that the Emperor was secretly behind the Death Star’s destruction just so he would have an excuse to invade Hoth. “Jedis – they hate our way of life.”

Now, to quote Lance Storm, if I could be serious for a minute…

Like many people, deep down, I still find 9/11 humour a little unsettling. Three years ago, when I was working at the National Post, I had the privilege of going down to New York to cover the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. I interviewed the heads of two financial companies – Cantor Fitzgerald and Alger Management – that had been all but wiped out, yet against the odds they had managed to survive and rebuild.

Interviewing their respective CEOs, Howard Lutnick and Dan Chung, was a profound experience. During our talks, these two grown men became very emotional and came close to tears as they told stories of their slain friends and colleagues. As a business/tech reporter, you don’t often experience real emotion on the job, so the interviews moved me pretty deeply. Although I didn’t lose anyone I knew in the attacks, they did become a little more real for me.

I wish I could link to that story as I think it was one of the best things I’ve written, but alas, it has somehow been scrubbed from internet history (perhaps if any Posties are reading this, they can help out?).

In any event, the beauty of comedy is that above all, it is a medium of truth. Just as court jesters were the only ones allowed to tell the truth in medieval times without fear of execution, so too are today’s comedians and satirists the people we rely on to express things we maybe don’t want to face up to.

At the risk of overthinking this harmless Star Wars skit, it does expose how absurd some of the analysis of 9/11 was and continues to be, doesn’t it?

Comments Off on The Jedis hate our way of life

Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Star Wars, war