Daedalus Howell: A Star Wars Story

Daedalus Howell: A Star Wars Story

Ever since the new Star Wars trilogy became a reality, the Internet has been abuzz with speculation about what new Star Wars plots might contain. So far, so good — the team doing the latest threequels clearly learned a few lessons from the prequels: Don’t use kids. Don’t use amphibians. Bravo. And the A Star Wars Story spin-offs movies, Rogue One and Solo — also well done.

Given the sense of ownership fans have for the Star Wars universe, producer Kathleen Kennedy might consider somehow including a fan or two in other Star Wars-set films. A fan, say, like me. To help out, I’ve written up some notes for my own A Star Wars Story spin-off sure to make writing me into one easy as shooting womp rats back home.

A long time ago, in a pipe dream about 15 minutes from here…

Obviously, anyone who’d pitch a Star Wars flick based on themselves would hail from the oilier side of the galaxy. I accept this. There you’ll find me as Lando Calrissian’s PR guy, having somehow discredited myself as a reporter at the Dagobah Post Dispatch (we’ll get back to that). I’d have my own humanoid protocol droid (“E-3PO,” the snarky silver one from The Empire Strikes Back the tells C-3PO to eat his heart out) and maybe a pet Ewok with a drinking problem (for comic relief).

Things are copasetic, that is until house-sitting Lando’s bachelor pad gets out of hand. Let’s just say a small house party for a couple hundred close friends turns into mayhem when some Wookies crash it. Meanwhile, Rivoche, the ravishing adopted daughter of Grand Moff Tarkin seduces me and makes off with my boss’s prized Kyber Crystal, the ultimate McGuffin in that it enables practitioners of either side of the Force to raise the dead. But we don’t know this yet. No one knows this, which is why it’s just sitting on the mantle.

So, I’m basically screwed when the boss comes back unless… Rivoche calls – she’s blackmailing me for the crystal. She agrees to meet me and my droid at some fancy Coruscant bar to discuss a price. And she brings her partner in crime, Boba Fett. Unfortunately, he’s all business. Our negotiations don’t go well (Boba doesn’t negotiate so much as nod his head a lot and shoot stuff). E3 panics and farts a smoke bomb. We run. They follow. We get in the Millenium Falcon (Lando left the keys) and they get into his Slave One. Space chase!

Some Wretched Jive about Bums and Japery

E3 and I crash Lando’s beloved Falcon on some desert shithole called Tatooine. There, we evade capture by Boba by disguising ourselves as Jawas. This leads to the inevitable line, “Aren’t you a little tall for a Jawa?” from the plucky gun moll and eventual love interest we meet at Bib Fortuna’s nightclub while on the lam (Note: At some point, Boba should fall into the Sarlacc Pit again and say something pithy like “Deja vu all over again!”).

I try to do something chivalrous for the gun moll, like light her space hookah,  but quickly learn that my mere presence is messing up her months-long investigation. Turns out she’s an undercover space cop for the New Republic. And a probably a princess. BUT NOT MY SISTER. She’s been tracing a Sith-led conspiracy to bring Darth Vader back from the dead. And they need the Kyber Crystal. Hijinks ensue in which I make the Kessel Run in 11 parsecs (that’s right, 11, suck it Solo) and I blow up the third death star (“Third time’s the charm”) and then, you know, I defeat a reconstituted Darth Vader with – get this – Ben Kenobi’s lightsaber (the irony!), which the slave-girl-space-cop-princess gave to me. Also, she tells me …wait for it… it was her dad’s. Chills, man.

By the end, E3 is shined up, the Falcon is repaired, my Ewok gets sober and I put the Kyber Crystal back on the mantle just as Lando opens the door. He walks up to the crystal, takes a hard look at it, then says to me: “Why, you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler.” Then he laughs and gives me a big hug. The Force is with me. Fade to black.

Yeah, it’s basically, it’s Risky Business with the latter half of the Harry Potter series and some other shit I liked. But, you know, set in Star Wars. So, Kathleen, whaddya say? Help me, J.J. Abrams, you’re my only hope.

How to use Corporate Personhood, Disney and Copyright Law to Live forever.

A friend suggested that “corporate personhood” shouldn’t transcend the length of the human lifespan. She was generous, and suggested 100 years as a good round number, after which corporations would be liquidated. All and all, it seemed somehow fair that legal personage be subject, like us, to the laws of nature.
Then it occurred to me that, once Disney’s lawyers got involved, they’d do the same number on the human lifespan as they did on copyright extensions with the result being the legal lengthening of our lives. Fine by me, as long as I can show the statute to the Grim Reaper when he comes and explain that the Mouse House says I’ve got another 50 years, or whatever. Continue reading “How to use Corporate Personhood, Disney and Copyright Law to Live forever.”

How to Take a “Nomaday”

Cheap thrills.
Cheap thrills.

I’ve heard Wine Country described as “Disneyland for adults,” though I’ve never heard Disneyland described as Wine Country for kids. My inner child, the one who stole sips of Carlo Rossi Vin Rose when the parents’ theater troupe wasn’t looking, somehow resents this. Though Disneyland’s adjacent “California Adventure” theme park makes an attempt with its “Wine Country Trattoria” decorated like a mini Sonoma County and boasting a wine list that would make Charles Shaw blush (that is, if Shaw made a rosé), both me and my inner-kid prefer the real deal. Yes, I accept that I’ll never be invited on another press junket by Uncle Walt for saying so, but alas, I’m not 8-years-old either. Besides, I live in the “Disneyland for adults” and seek my immortality whilst bobbing in wine, not liquid nitrogen.

The fact that Sonoma is the destination du jour for our thousands of annual visitors is somehow affirming, though it begs the rhetorical question, “If this is the place to be, why go anywhere else?” Given the current financial climate, we shouldn’t go anywhere else. We should stay put and keep our dollars in local circulation. Having sidestepped my own economic downturn, which accounts for the recent move of this column (call it musical chairs, bed-hopping or both, I’m no longer arranging deck chairs, which is a relief while assembling a crib), I can relate implicitly. Moreover, the marketer in me sees a bounty of opportunity. All we need is our own snappy term to make the place seem perpetually novel to ourselves. Consider the popular “stay-cation” (staying near), or “gay-cation” (staying near a same-sex partner), or the not-as-popular “hay-cation” (rolling around in a field). Forget the so-called “Che-cation” (putting your Che Guevera T-shirt in the laundry) and “nay-cation” (just saying “yes” all the time). We can do better, Sonoma. I suggest losing the “-cation” part entirely and plucking the suffix from “holiday,” the Anglophile’s synonym for “vacation” but redolent of lavender and Merchant-Ivory films. If your room with a view is anything like the one in which I’m presently writing – a garret above a light-industrial facility, sufficient for script to screen gigs and occasional runs to the taco truck – “going on holiday” has a certain ineffable charm.

To wit, I’m going to take a “Nomaday,” a micro vacation that takes the “So?” out of Sonoma while contributing to the local economy. Here are some pocketbook-friendly notions for enjoying your own Nomaday. Sonoma and the surrounding area brims with Bed and Breakfasts, but it’s difficult to justify the expense of an overnight stay when one lives here. However, if our B&Bs offered hourly rates, like the no-tell motels of yore, many of us would gladly visit for a little snooze and a snack. Call it a “Nap and Nosh” and watch the travel mags clamor for the inevitable “trend piece.”

After your Sonoma-style siesta at the N&N, it’s time for a spa treatment, but without the expense of either the spa or the treatment. Somewhere between a spa and schvitz, the Sonoma “spritz” squeezes an entire spa experience into a single, atomized spray, finished with a solid slap on the back to suggest the vague muscular soreness that follows a good massage. Of course, the same effect can be achieved by walking into any of a number of local taverns wherein a common salutation is a misty, beer-tinged greeting followed by a back-cracking bear-hug. Both are cheap and somehow therapeutic.

No Nomaday would be complete, of course, without sampling some of our local wines. Here’s a tip – many tasting rooms waive their fees for locals.

For a deeper pour, drop my name. If, for some unearthly reason, my name isn’t recognized, spare us mutual embarrassment by invoking a foreign accent. Should you be asked your country of origin, say that you’re “from Disneyland.” It’s a small town after all.