star wars

Lightsabers, Lightsabers, LIGHTSABERS!!!

When I was but a young lad, I dreamed of owning a lightsaber.

And then the wheel of time turned ever-onward. I grew older and taller and hairier and started noticing young ladies. And I dreamed of owning a lightsaber.

Then I became a man. I put childish ways behind me, put on a suit and tie, and hit the job trail. I built my resume, interviewed at accomplished institutions, and worked diligently to support myself. And I dreamed of owning a lightsaber.

Sure, there were those cheap, plastic ones with the segmented blades that we played with as kids. They broke a lot and stopped working after a few years. But we all knew those weren’t “real” lightsabers and longed for the day we could hold the real thing on our hands and feel like true Jedi.

 

Well, no longer.

Thanks to the folks at Ultrasabers, my roommates and I now possess a genuine, fully-functional, Yoda-worthy lightsabers!

I wouldn’t know, but I imagine this is what the day your child is born feels like. And no, Ultrasabers isn’t sponsoring me to write this post. The sabers are just that awesome.

They’re made of a super-strong, lightweight material that can endure all kinds of punishment. It allows you to engage in full-contact duels and pull off some pretty swanky spinny-moves without damaging your saber or your arms.

Lightsaber dueling is fantastic exercise. If you’re like me and you hate most forms of exercise more than Han Solo hates carbonite, you’ve no doubt morphed into a plump, doughy form over the years. Lightsaber battles are just the thing to bring our your inner ten-year-old and get you moving.

One of the best things about Ultrasabers is the price. People have been able to buy combat-worthy lightsabers for some time, but they’ve had to spend a few hundred bucks. With Ultrasabers, the lightsabers start at around $55, and you can spend as much as you want on them. Sound and a fancy hilt will run up the price tag a bit. Still, you can get a pretty awesome saber with basic sound for around $165.

The sabers also come in just about every color you can imagine: red, green, guardian blue, arctic blue, purple, orange, turquoise, and Aegean silver (or “white” to those of us not enrolled in art school.) The website also sells color discs, which can be used with the white saber to produce a wider variety of colors. I’ve used the discs with my Aegean silver blade to make yellow, emerald green, lime green, puce, light turquoise, silver, gold, “New Hope” blue, and even pink.

However, if really want to engage in some series duels with these things, there are a few facts you’ll want to keep in mind:

  1. The fancier, more expensive hilts, like my “scorpion” handle, contain more metal, which makes the saber heavier. It certainly doesn’t make the saber hard to use, but it will cause your arms to get tired after awhile.
  2. Ultrasabers eat batteries like a sarlacc eats Boba Fetts. When buying your saber, you’ll have a lot of options to adjust before the purchase is complete. You can either get a blade that uses triple-A batteries or some new-age, lithium ion garbage that’s impossible to find. Go with the triple-As. Also, keep in mind that sabers with multiple blades (double-bladed sabers or longsword-style, Kylo Ren-looking sabers) drain the batteries much more quickly.
  3. If you buy a lightsaber with sound (I mean, why wouldn’t you?), you’ll have several different sound options, which increase the cost of the saber exponentially. The basic sound option works great; you don’t need to spend extra money on a fancy-shmancy speaker system.
  4. You can perform basic maintenance on your saber using a tiny alan wrench, which you can buy from Ultrasabers for $1 at checkout. As soon as it arrives, go to a hardware store and buy a few more wrenches of the same size. They’ll inevitably get lost.
  5. The biggest injury risk from lightsaber battles is whacked fingers. A bloody knuckle or black-and-blue thumb will bring your night of fun to an end pretty fast. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any protective gloves designed for lightsaber fighting, so you’ll have to improvise.
  • We’ve found that the best solution is UFC fighting gloves, which have padding above the knuckles  and on the upper part of the fingers. The smooth fabric on the palm can make the saber difficult to grip, but cutting the palm out entirely or adding Velcro (just the soft part) solves that problem pretty effectively.

 

  • The gloves still leave your thumb and the lower part of your fingers exposed, but we’re working on a solution.

Apart from ferret proctology, I’ve never felt something as exhilarating than battling with legitimate lightsabers. If you want to earn a few cool points, get some aerobic exercise, and feel like a Jedi, head over to Ultrasabers and make a purchase. Regret it you will not.

Note: That last sentence made me realize that Microsoft Word’s grammar check doesn’t see anything wrong with Yoda-speak. Depending on how you look at it, that’s either awful or awesome.

Advertisements

They Grow Up So Fast

Over the past few years, I’ve been raising a young one. We’ve laughed, we’ve loved, and I’ve watched him grow. Saying goodbye was the most painful thing I ever had to do, but it was worth it if only just to be there for that one moment when he went out to make his way in the world.

I will never forget my sarlacc.

Sarlacc

Image: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sarlacc

It all started when I was on a business trip, selling canned yams on Tatooine. Through a bizarre string of circumstances, I found myself at the annual Mos Eisley fair playing a game of bingo with some Jawas. I won and many angry shouts of “ootini!” ensued. As I was leaving the bingo table, one of the Jawas handed me my prize: a dirt-filled clay pot with a curious creature inside.

Raising a baby sarlacc had a lot of ups and downs. My food budget was through the roof, but I never had to clean up after him (after all, it takes him 1000 years to digest; it’s been decades and I still don’t think he’s pooped.) I never had any bug or rodent problems. But in those early days, my sarlacc and I had a lot of exchanges that went something like this:

Me: Baby sarlacc, have you seen Mildred’s pet parakeet? I told her I’d watch it for the weekend, but I can’t find it anywhere.

Baby Sarlacc: [unintelligible, high-pitched squealing]

Me: Baby sarlacc, why are there feathers around your pot?

Baby Sarlacc: [tiny, adorable burp]

Me: Naughty, baby sarclacc! Naughty! You know that, in your belly, that bird will find a new definition of pain and suffering as it is slowly digested over a thousand years.

Baby Sarlacc: [unintelligible, high-pitched squealing]

Me: Well, what am I supposed to tell Mildred?

Baby Sarlacc: [unintelligible, high-pitched squealing]

Me: No, you cannot eat Mildred. You can’t solve all your problems by eating them, baby sarlacc.

Baby Sarlacc: [unintelligible, high-pitched squealing]

Me: Well, maybe if she doesn’t pay me that five bucks she owes me.

The years went by and my sarlacc grew older. Pretty soon, I had to move him from his little pot to a pair of extra large, soot-filled bell-bottoms to a sinkhole in the backyard. He was a good boy and always played nicely with his little friends (he only ate six of them.) And he matured quickly; he was eating solid door-to-door salesmen when most sarlaccs his age were still on dachshunds.

But those innocent, childhood years couldn’t last forever and it wasn’t long before my sarlacc began noticing certain changes. He became difficult, as all kids do, and I remember one conversation in particular:

Me: Adolescent sarlacc, come here.

Adolescent Sarlacc: [unintelligible, sarcastic groaning]

Me: Adolescent sarlacc, did you devour the entire population of Tokyo again?

Adolescent Sarlacc: [unintelligible, sarcastic groaning]

Me: We’ve talked about this, adolescent sarlacc. You can’t just go around eating major metropolitan cities.

Adolescent Sarlacc: [unintelligible, sarcastic groaning]

Me: Don’t you take that tone with me! Have you been hanging out with that thing from the asteroid again? You know I think he’s a bad influence on you.

Adolescent Sarlacc: [unintelligible, sarcastic groaning]

Me: And where were you last night? You weren’t skulking around Jabba’s Palace again, were you?

Adolescent Sarlacc: [unintelligible, sarcastic groaning]

Me: No, adolescent sarlacc! What you feel for the Rancor is not love!

Somehow, we got through those difficult teenage years and my sarlacc’s high school graduation day came. It felt like my heart was ready to burst with pride. He was the only one in his class to graduate, the rest of the class having mysteriously disappeared the night before. That summer, my little sarlacc decided to become a podiatrist.

I’ll never forget the day we said goodbye, that day he headed off to the Arizona School of Podiatric Medicine. He was embedded in the ground by the train platform in his best suit, a fedora on his head and a black briefcase in his tentacle. Our final goodbye went something like this:

Me: I’m sure going to miss you, adult sarlacc

Adult Sarlacc: [mature, manly gurgling]

Me: Still haven’t pooped?

Adult Sarlacc: [mature, manly gurgling]

Me: Well, that will be among your many triumphs. Someday you’ll achieve great things. I’ve always believed that. You have your dorm assignment, right?

Adult Sarlacc: [mature, manly gurgling]

Me: And your change of socks?

Adult Sarlacc: [mature, manly gurgling]

Me: Good. Okay. There are always plenty of tourists around the Grand Canyon, so you shouldn’t go hungry. And…I guess that’s it.

Adult Sarlacc: [mature, manly gurgling]

Me: No, I’m fine. I just have something in my eye.

Adult Sarlacc: [mature, manly gurgling]

Me: Don’t be silly. Now, hurry up or you’ll miss your train.

And so, my sarlacc boarded the train (somehow) and it chugged away. I watched until I could no longer see his tentacle waving goodbye. He graduated from podiatry school and went on to open a private practice on Endor making orthodics for Ewoks (he tells me they taste like popcorn chicken.) It wasn’t easy raising a sarlacc, but it was by far the most rewarding and meaningful experience I’ve ever had. And that ain’t Bantha poodoo.