As usual, for any newbie readers to the Cool Beans Blog, let’s start by reminding ourselves that this soon-to-be-epic mega-mini-series is all about my friend John (I know, I agree, it should be about me, but it isn’t) and the fact that he’s building a LEGO Ultimate A-Wing Starfighter model from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi at just 19 instructions a day, thereby stretching the entire 570-instruction process to 30 days (or six weeks, since we take the weekends off).

Yes! We have an engine! (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: John Alflat)

In his message accompanying today’s photo, John uttered the immortal words, “Aaand we have an engine!” He continued to say, “It’s a Novaldex J-77 Event Horizon engine, to be precise (there was a very big transfer to put on a semicircular part). Next up will be some more trim, after which we start on the other engine (otherwise our fighter will be capable only of going round in circles).”

“But does this engine have hyperdrive capability?” I thought to myself. Happily, John was one step ahead of me because he added, “Just in case you were wondering [I was, I was] this has hyperdrive capability thanks to the Incom GBK-785 Hyperdrive Unit.”

Ah, I should have remembered that the Incom GBK-785 was the hyperdrive unit commonly installed in RZ-1 type A-Wing Interceptors, thereby allowing them to accelerate to supralight velocities. In fact, now I come to think about it, my dear old mom may have had an early version of this drive installed in her car because I can certainly remember the thrust of acceleration and being forced deep back in my seat when she slammed her foot to the floor as soon as a traffic light turned green (if we were lucky, it was her light and not one intended for the people oriented perpendicular to to us to whom we were about to bestow a “bad hair” day).

In our Day 12 and Day 13 build blogs, we commenced to consider conceivable convoluted conundrums connected with alien communications (try saying that ten times quickly).

As part of this, I was just musing about how I sometimes watch our cats when they aren’t watching me. Occasionally, I find them captivated by a commercial or something else they see on TV. In fact, when I logged onto Netflix the other day, I discovered that our ~50-pound Maine Coon, Drummer, now has his own user profile established. He’s obviously somewhat cleverer than I’ve previously given him credit. I took a peek to see what he’s been watching and it turns out he’s a devotee of programs involving fish swimming in aquariums and birds eating from a feeder. Ah well, it takes all sorts.

I’ve also noticed that, much like your humble narrator, Drummer is a huge fan of Shaun the Sheep on Amazon Prime Video and Sitting Ducks on Peacock. Amazingly enough, I just discovered that, as seen in this video, Shaun the Sheep is also available on YouTube.

No one talks in these videos – the farmer grunts, the dog blows his whistle, the ducks quack, the pigs oink, and the sheep bleat – but it’s amazing how much information and emotion the characters can convey with a raised eyebrow or a slight movement of the body.

One thing to be careful about is the Shaun the Sheep theme song. After a few episodes, you find you can’t help joining in, but it quickly gets stuck in your brain. One solution is to print out the lyrics and memorize it so you can throw caution to the winds and sing along with gusto and abandon (here’s a link to the lyrics – you’re welcome).

So, what do Drummer the cat and Shaun the sheep have to do with communicating with aliens? Well, I was poised to bring this all back home, honestly, but I fear that, in addition to wandering off into the weeds, we’ve also run out of time, so we shall have to continue this conversation tomorrow. Until then, as always, I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.