Rebels: “Spark of Rebellion: Part 1”

I don’t remember too much about the first season of Rebels. I didn’t watch it quite as it came out, but I think I binged the whole season in between it finishing and the second season starting, and I’ve only watched it once; unlike The Clone Wars, which I’ve seen through many times.

Season: 1
Episode: 1
Score: B+
Timeline: 5 BBY
Disney Plus
Wookiepedia

Minor spoilers contained for: Rebels, Jedi: Fallen Order

I definitely didn’t remember the show opening with a shot of some Imperial Star Destroyers (as all OT content should, tbh) and Darth Vader telling the Grand Inquisitor that while “the Jedi Knights are all but destroyed”, the Emperor has foreseen a new threat: The Children of the Force. Having Vader be the first person to speak is a great way to tell us what kind of Star Wars experience we’re about to have. The Empire is at its strongest, the Jedi are extinct, but there are still some force sensitive kids out there, and this show is going to be about that.

Cut to Ezra Bridger, who at this point is basically an Alladin-style street rat (referred to disparagingly as a Loth-rat, because all animals on Lothal (Ezra’s homeworld) are just called whatever they’re normally called with Loth- before (did y’all notice the loth-cat in Ep 4 of The Mandalorian???)). He pranks some imperials to help a fruit seller, but takes some of the fruit once the stormtroopers are gone, just saying, “Kid’s gotta eat”. Fair enough, Ezra.

Things get interesting when Ezra finds himself on a roof watching the crew of the Ghost executing a plan to steal some Imperial crates. I love this as an intro to Kanan, Sabine, and Zeb. We get to see them in action right away before properly ‘meeting’ them, and seeing them as a clever, efficient band of Rebels is a great first impression. Of course, Ezra only sees an opportunity for himself and steals a couple of crates from the rebels. A fun chase sequence follows during which Ezra initially gets the best of Kanan and crew, but then gets rescued by the Ghost once he’s cornered by a few TIE fighters.

What happens on the Ghost here is the least interesting part of the episode. There’s not much character development beyond Zeb is big and angry, Kanan isn’t exactly saying everything he’s thinking, and Ezra starts crushing on Sabine as soon as she takes off her helmet (which is really the only eye-roll moment of the episode). Eventually, Ezra goes with (or, is taken along by) the crew to deliver the crates to what’s essentially a shanty-town outside the city. We learn that most of the crates are full of food, which they give away for free to the impoverished citizens. Ezra has a nice humbling moment when he’s thanked profusely, but just says to himself, “But, I didn’t do anything.”

Meanwhile, Kanan and Hera Syndulla (yes, she’s the daughter of that Syndulla) deliver a crate of blasters to their informant Vizago, who pays them half and offers intel about some Wookies in exchange for the other half of the payment. The rebels accept this deal as they’d been eagerly after that intel, and before long they’re back on the Ghost chasing down a shipment of Wookie slaves that they’re eager to free. Ezra gets dragged along as they don’t have time to drop him back home, but only after he follows a humming sound into Kanan’s bunk and grabs Kanan’s Holocron and lightsaber. Kanan catches him holding the lightsaber and makes him give it back, but Ezra gets away with the Holocron, although Kanan clearly intended that and says something like, “Now we’ll find out” as Ezra walks off.

Ever since Ezra first laid eyes on Kanan, the show has strongly been hinting that he’s force sensitive, and the call of the Holocron is obviously because of that. Kanan’s suspicions (up until this scene) were less obvious, but at this point, it’s pretty clear that he’s testing Ezra for something other than just being a street rat. It’s also not exactly hard to connect the dots between this and the Vader’s opening bit about “the children of the force”, so early on we get to foresee a major conflict between our Jedi(ish) heroes, and the Inquisitors.

But that conflict will have to wait because the Ghost is actually walking into a trap. A Star Destroyer appears once Kanan, Sabine, and Zeb have boarded the slave transport, and Hera has to plead with Ezra to run over and warn them. Ezra, who has presumably been on his own for a long time, tells Hera he doesn’t understand why he’d stick his neck out for some total strangers, which would be a more understandable thing to say if he wasn’t also being tractor beamed onto a Star Destroyer with them. However, the hero has to refuse the call to adventure, and Part 1 ends with a close up of his face as he makes his decision.

Overall the episode is a good intro into a new Star Wars world, and while it’s not immediately as good as The Clone Wars was at its best, neither was The Clone Wars. There’s good tension set up both in the immediate cliffhanger, and the broader storylines foreshadowed for the show. Over its run, Rebels deals a lot with the mystical side of the Force, something we only got hints of in TCW (with the notable exception of the Mortis arc and the last few episodes), and I think that’s something I didn’t really appreciate enough as the show aired.

Ezra, at 14, is about halfway between the ages of Anakin and Luke Skywalker when they respectively began their Jedi training, and, like the Skywalkers, already has a number of traits considered antithetical to the Jedi way. It’s not hard to see how his selfishness and lack of discipline could lead him on a path to the Dark Side, even at this early stage (the dude just stole a Holocron, after all).

Notes

  • For whatever reason, the musical sting when the Rebels logo shows has always grated at me.
  • I didn’t talk about Agent Kallus at all, but I don’t think it would be possible for me to finish this review without mentioning his sideburns.
  • I saw an article the other day about how Sabine’s willingness and ability to take off her helmet around people doesn’t coalesce with The Mandalorian‘s whole deal about how he can never take it off around anyone. Considering Dave Filoni (who is an executive producer on both shows) has basically written everything there is to write about canon Mandalorians, I’m not exactly willing to see this as a plot hole. As we learn later in Rebels, Mandalorians are tribal and different tribes have different rules. We’ll probably learn more about this in The Mandalorian, but my guess would just be that his tribe just functions differently than Sabine’s.

Seven Days Later

Okay, folks, so I live in Seattle now. Mostly.

I’ll have an apartment starting on Friday, but I won’t spend a night in it until Sunday following a weekend-extraction mission for my stuff down in the Rose City. That aside, I somehow managed to find a reasonably (for the area) priced 1-bedroom literally across the street from the office and just a block away from the Bellevue Library, which, let me tell you, is by far the fanciest library I have ever seen with my god-given eyes.

Spending a week in a new place with the knowledge that it’s soon going to be your place is very different than spending a week in a new place with the knowledge that you’re just there visiting. Instead of looking out for potential things to do in the moment, tonight, or tomorrow, you’re looking for potential routines. You’re thinking, “What would my life be like if I sat in this spot five times a week for the foreseeable future?” You’re wondering what that place will mean to you in two years, five years, ten(?) years.

You’re not just thinking about the spot as it is, either, you’re thinking, “If I choose to adopt this spot, and make it my spot, how will I truly make it mine. What will differentiate this chair, this table, this park bench from the others around it so that it is my chair, my table, my bench.”

You wonder how many other people have had the same thought about this very spot and you are struck by the history of potential in every chair in every room. By how many people before me have envisioned their lives passing by from this view of NE 10th Street. By how many of those lives have already been lived.

As you stand there, stopped in your tracks by the narrative weight of every imagined schoolchild, grandmother, and new parent who has settled into, regularly, on schedule, this very chair. How even as they’ve gotten older and left so many of their childish habits behind, they never abandoned this spot. Very little remains of the them that first sat down on this particular patch of blue upholstery, and in a way, the chair is more a part of their history than their own childhood. And as they sit there one last time, before going off to college, or the military, or some job, they wonder what they’re leaving behind in this inexplicable moment.

You think this with every place you go, staggered by the weight of the millions of lives lived and not lived. Unable to truly comprehend that anywhere you attach significance to, here, has already meant more to so many others who you will never know. Perhaps even more daunting is how this first impression will color your everyday life. Because that’s where routine comes from, right?

In its own moment, the significance isn’t there at all. You have a nice meal or maybe a brief but pleasant interaction with a stranger, then go about your day without thinking too much about it. But the next time you’re on that block, you find yourself walking in again, remembering your last time there. You notice the stool you were in is open, so why not sit there again? It worked last time, right? You’re maybe a little bit aware that this is how things start, that you’re developing a habit, but there are so many more things and places and spots to try out that you couldn’t possibly be committing to anywhere yet.

But then it’s somewhere you know, so when you meet someone new, or when someone old comes to visit, you take them there knowing they’re likely to have a nice time, just like you always do. Just like you allways do there. Maybe just like you allways will.

8/11, T-8

I never seem to get these up until after midnight, which makes the date-based naming scheme a little awkward, but I think we can all live with it for the next week or so.

Packing has begun in earnest. My apartment is currently a disaster with boxes strewn about like I’m some sort of cardboard fetishist, which is presumably a thing that some people are. A friend and I made the trek all the way up to Broadway today to eat lunch (technically brunch according to their menu, but it was like 2:30 PM) and have one last mason jar drink before moving. This week feels almost like a farewell tour; trying to make sure I go to all the places, and see all the people, I want to see before moving away.

Beyond packing and apartment hunting, I’m starting to take other steps towards designing my life post-move. I’ve been setting up a game of the FFG Star Wars RPG to play over Table Top Simulator with some people, and also have plans to start an epic Football Manager save with some other friends in which we’re going to be playing the South African PSL. I’m excited for both of those weekly or semi-weekly activities, both as a means to keep in touch with people, and also because they’re both things I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now have a great excuse to make happen. Shout out to all of the people involved in those things if y’all are reading.

This is a very short post, but I’m out of things to say and tired, so I guess short and pointless is better than not done at all.

In which this becomes a travel blog

The sunset over Northern Canadian skies

Like all great vacations, it started with a cold.  I woke up the day before leaving and knew I had caught something, but luckily seemed to have avoided it being something serious. Just keep in mind that throughout the timeline of this post my throat is as raw as your favourite diss track mixtape.

Most of the pictures below were taken by Tyler, but a couple of them were mine.  We both have the same phone with the same camera, so, good luck picking out which are which.

From Portland

We arrived at PDX around 1pm for our 3:30pm flight and swiftly ran into our first #issue of the trip: The TSA machine wouldn’t take our digital boarding pass because the date was written the European way (03/10/2018) and it didn’t recognize that as meaning October 3rd, the day that it actually was. A quick trip to the Iceland Air counter for printed boarding passes was all it took to solve this one, though, and before you could say, “It’s astounding that TSA can’t service euro-style dates at an international airport” we were through security and ordering up some Ramen at the Hisho Sushi in the D concourse.

I got the spicy ramen with pork, Tyler got the regular ramen with chicken. It was, idk, fine. The pork was very dry, but the noodles and broth were pleasant. I’d say maybe 6.5/10? I asked Tyler just now how he’d rate his and he said, “6.5/10? Maybe a seven?” so clearly this is objective truth.

The plane that brought us to Iceland
The plane that brought us to Iceland

The flight from PDX to Reykjavik was pretty uneventful. I was greeted with this bottle  (background) of actually really good water (PH 8.5, a little basic, but smooth), and this kind blanket (foreground) whose messaging was a little off considering I was going towards Iceland, not leaving it.

It was a good blanket. Misguided, but good.
It was a good blanket. Misguided, but good.

I slept for about 90 minutes of the 450 minute flight, woke up to see the sun finish setting (see cover) at, what would be for my internal west-coast bioclock, about 5pm, and then was hopelessly awake for the remainder.

I’ll take this moment to deliver a brief aside that will become relevant again in (presumably) the final entry in this trip log. On every leg of our transatlantic flights we have seats 27A and 27B. PDX-KEF was a Boeing 757 with two columns of 3 seats, and we were lucky enough that there was nobody in 27C, so we spread out over the whole row. I took window and Tyler took aisle with the understanding that we’d switch off on future flights.

To pass the time, we amused ourselves with the various pleasantries included in the Iceland Air seatback literature. Examples include this horrifying beige woman escaping disaster in a very safe manner

I feel like we should be escaping from her

and these fun, quirky snack descriptions.

All chocolate bars are silent-looking to me.
All chocolate bars are silent-looking to me.

I ended up watching ‘The Croods’ to pass the last ninety minutes or so, and it was fine in a way that, under any other circumstances I would have regretted the significant waste of time, but considering I was deliberately attempting to waste time, it served my purposes well enough.

To Iceland

And then we landed in Iceland. First off, I’ll tell you that it was still dark (about 5:30am local) so I can’t tell you how pretty the island is or anything. That said, I can definitely tell you about the oddities of Keflavik Airport.

For example, the actual terminal building is very small, and there aren’t near enough gates for the amount of planes that come in and out. So when we arrived, we just parked out in the middle of the tarmac and deplaned on to a pair of busses which shuttled us to the main terminal; a trip we estimated took about 7 minutes.

Inside wasn’t any less strange. The bathrooms are in the basement, there was a (very good) mens choir performing in the middle of the concourse, and the food options were: A supermarket that specified it was only for departing passengers (you had to show your boarding pass when checking out, apparently there was a separate market upstairs for arrivals), a tapas/alcohol bar, and a sandwich/juice bar. Tyler grabbed some food from the supermarket (or, as we called it, the Weird Store), but I ate on the plane (vegan tortilla wrap; tasteless but fresh feeling, 8/10 as far as airplane food goes) so I just grabbed an Icelandic orange soda which tasted kind of like emergenC in a good way.

The man on the wall was clearly trying to read over my shoulder
The man on the wall was clearly trying to read over my shoulder

When it came time to find our gate for the flight into London, we found it downstairs, which was slightly concerning because we were already on the ground level and you don’t often find planes underground. Lo and behold, after going through the ‘gate’, we walked back upstairs into a small room that is used exclusively for queueing onto more busses, which then took us to our plane which was once again stationed out on the broad expanse of tarmac.

A North Sun was kind of rising

This plane was a Boeing 767 with 3 columns in a 2/3/2 formation, so we once again had a whole little ‘row’ to ourselves. I took aisle this time as it was Tyler’s turn for window. I did my best to doze off as we took off, but about 30 minutes into the flight I was bumped by a baby walking up the aisle. I closed my eyes again, and was borderline asleep until I got bumped again, and now there was this large man on one knee next to me, holding the baby, conversing with the woman in the seat across the aisle from me. This would have be okay, I guess, except that he was simply too big to be kneeling and holding a baby in the small plane aisleway and ended up not only repeatedly elbowing me, but effectively shoving his baby in my face-space. After a few minutes of this, he somehow, like, shook the baby enough to make it cry and he ran off to try and make it stop. As if it wasn’t bad enough that there was a baby on my flight, this dude brought it inches away from my face and then made it cry. Definitely this trip’s first 1/10 experience.

Also, we ended up landed a bit late, presumably because of delays at the airport, as we just did some loops a bit north of the city for a while. While not the best thing that’s ever happened on a plane, it wasn’t terribly inconvenient as we weren’t running late for anything, and also we got this amusing map on the in-flight tracker.

To London

But then we were in London and got to experience the joy of passport control, which actually moved pretty quickly, and then a very long ride on the underground. It was long because we flew into Heathrow, which is rather west of London, and our AirBnB is on the east side of town, so we had an approximately 90 minutes, two-transfer trip ahead of us.

Our first train was “a Picadilly line to Cockfosters” which in its own right, is very funny, or at least was to our jet-lagged, travel-addled brains. Then, we transferred to the Jubilee line at Green Park, and then to a DLR train at Canning Town, but we actually messed that one up and got on the wrong train, so we ended up getting off at the next stop and Ubering the last mile or two to our AirBnB.

Our host met us there to check us in and was a totally pleasant chap overall, even walked us over to the nearest pub so we could grab a bite.  We both ordered the same beer (Hop House Lager from Dublin) and the same meal (Beer Battered Cod), as we were, at this point, too tired for independent thought.

The beer was very good, smooth, profoundly drinkable, and the cod came out as an absolutely massive portion.

Mother of cod…

For the record, and I feel like I normally wouldn’t have to clarify this, that is a regular, full-sized plate with regular, full-sized utensils.

Needless to say, we had leftovers because there was no way we were eating that much cod in one sitting. I wasn’t too hungry to begin with, and also eating was hard because of my aforementioned torn-up throat. So after eating a bit, we walked back to the apartment and promptly both accidentally fell asleep for a few hours.

We woke up at about 9, but were still tired so opted for a night in and to get good rest for a presumably full day tomorrow.

For the record, we both just had midnight-snack of our leftover cod and we’re pretty sure we each have at least one full meal left of it.

I’ll leave you with this panorama Tyler took off our AirBnB balcony.

Bad Lads FC: Attack of the Clones

Hello and welcome to Episode 2 of Bad Lads FC. Last weekend, we played Cancho FC in our second match of the Spring Season. [If you don’t know what any of those words mean, you’ll probably want to go back and read my previous post in which I explain the league, and what this post series is about.] To refresh everyone’s memory, here’s what I wrote about Cancho last week:

Cancho FC – Cancho are one of two new teams in our division. Cancho was founded this Winter by someone who left our team to start his own. He took with him a few of our other players. I wouldn’t go as far as to say there’s a grudge between our teams, but I would say that I think both teams will have something to prove when we play them. Our first meeting is this Saturday and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

 

I’m eager to talk about this one, so let’s dive right in.

Continue reading “Bad Lads FC: Attack of the Clones”

Bad Lads FC: A New Hope

I’ve been neglecting this blog since last September. It’s fitting, in a way, that while I am no longer in last September, my site is. You’ll get that reference once Mike and I finally get around to releasing our EP. Or maybe you won’t, who knows?

One of the #ThingsIDo is manage and play on a Sunday league soccer team. We play in GPSD, and our team name is Bad Lads FC, but I’ll talk more about that in a bit. What’s most important is that the Spring Season just started, and I’m going to do my best to chronicle it here. That’s right, pity thyself reader (who am I kidding), for this is about to turn into an amateur soccer blog for the next few months.

First, some background on the competition. GPSD has two divisions in its open age bracket (I’m 24, so, we definitely don’t play in Over 30s). We play in Division 2. This season, Open Division 2 has six teams; it’s a ten game season, so we play everyone twice. Our first match was this past Saturday, March 10th, and our last match will be June 24th, unless we finish in the top two spots and make it to the final. GPSD plays three seasons a year; Spring and Fall are 10 matches each and features promotion/relegation, Winter is five matches and does not.

The six teams are as follows: Continue reading “Bad Lads FC: A New Hope”