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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Fan's log: Star Wars queue
Star Wars fans have been queuing outside the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the opening of the final Star Wars movie.

Mike Lund, a 19-year-old student and tutor from Santa Clarita, California, has been in the queue since 2 April and has been blogging to the BBC News website.

FRIDAY 20 MAY

A lot has happened to me over the past month and a half because of Star Wars.

Two months ago when I decided I'd line up, I didn't think I'd even make the minimum requirement of 72 hours but I finished as the 14th most dedicated person in the queue with 513 hours.

I made friends that I'll never lose contact with and memories that I'll never forget.

This hasn't been just a queue, its been an incredible experience that I'll always remember and will never regret doing.

That alone made it worthwhile, even without seeing the movie.

That's not to say that the Star Wars element of this experience was a let down, though.

The energy started flowing when we had a walk of a few kilometres with an escort of storm troopers through the streets of Hollywood. That energy hardly stopped.

Inside the Cineramadome we had lightsaber fights and excitement - it was like a big party with 800 people or so.

On top of the people, the movie itself was absolutely amazing.

It took me through more emotions than most movies I've seen can, and had me on the edge of my chair for a good third of the movie.

I'd wait 500 more hours just to see it again if I had to.

The reviews that said this would redeem Episodes I and II from the criticism they've had were so very right.

I didn't know what to expect, but I was so amazed by just how perfectly Episode III tied the whole series together and was so unifying.

Beyond the movie, though, the most powerful thing of the day was going to see it again at 7 pm with this same group, this time the people that went to the Vista too.

Star Wars is about the people, be it the people you walk into the theatre with, the people you know because of it, or the people that you line up with.

The most rewarding and amazing experience I ever had was to sit in a theatre with hundreds of fellow fans and dozens of new friends watching, for the first or second time, the very movie that brought us all together.

WEDNESDAY 18 MAY

The last few days have been a flurry of action at the line as things have kicked into high gear for the movie, opening tonight.

Star Wars fans outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Fans have been busy preparing their Star Wars costumes
Last Sunday was the last day the line was all in one place as the group will be attending two theatres - the Cineramadome and the Vista.

Those of us who opted for the Cineramadome are still outside the Chinese for a few more hours until we get a Storm trooper escort to the Dome, but the Vista contingent left on Sunday night to secure their places at that theatre. So now we're running one line in two places, a couple of kilometres apart.

We've also been perfecting our look for the movie. Over the last few days, line members have made more than a dozen Jedi robes in colours ranging from browns and blacks to dark reds.

On top of that, there have also been people working on their lightsabers. Some of them look accurate enough to be movie props.

The biggest change this week has been the dismantling of our shelter. The line computer has been removed and our wireless network went down with our power supply earlier today. Hence this entry has been written in a cybercafe down the street.

The wait so far has been mind-boggling to consider. We've raised more than $30,000 (16,300) for the Starlight Starbright children's foundation already and, as a group, we've spent over 25,000 hours waiting for this movie. Nothing could better prepare me for what tonight holds.

MONDAY 9 MAY

You never know what might happen when you get a bunch of Star Wars fans together.

On Saturday, we'd already seen a fully functional R2-D2 unit roll up to the queue and free stuff handed out from the Master Replicas crew, the source of quality lightsabers worldwide.

Still, an essay contest was far beyond what I had expected.

Saturday night witnessed a crowd of around 25 line members (and one really annoying and persistent radio interviewer) move into an adjacent parking lot to hear essays on the subject of why Ewoks are awesome.

Of the nine essays written, only two took it seriously - or rather, as seriously as one could take the topic.

Most impressive was how the other entries included a recipe for Ewok teriyaki, an explanation of why Ewoks are extinct, the connections between Ewoks and Ninjas, and a very disturbing coming of age essay involving Ewoks.

What can I say? We are a truly diverse bunch.

TUESDAY 3 MAY

The waiting and dating game

Tuesday led to one of the more unique media events for the line, as Jimmy Kimmel, a late night TV host, finally decided to make his jokes about us by hosting a dating show using three of the people in the queue.

Of course, it quickly led to betting, and with fellow queue members Chy, Marvin, and Bryan competing, the odds were in Bryan's favour.

Bryan, who is also number one in the queue, probably would have faired better had he not mentioned he's only 19, and Chy ended up winning the date.

Later that night, or rather, early in the morning, there was sort of a crossover of nerd-dom, so to speak, as about 70 or 80 students from the California Institute of Technology showed up in Hollywood at three in the morning for their senior prank.

In a really short time, they had covered all the stars in Hollywood with the names of scientists.

I didn't go search any out, but I was glad to see Schrodinger nearby....I found out later that Galileo was out there somewhere, and I regret not tracking him out in the early morning hours.

Still, it was very neat to have two groups of nerds interacting like that.

SATURDAY 30 APRIL

Since the line is really one big party anyway, it seemed to me the perfect place to be for my 20th birthday, and Saturday definitely proved that for me.

Bai Ling
Bai Ling, who appears in the upcoming film, met the fans
It really became like I had a couple of dozen people at a birthday party in Hollywood, and definitely this made it my most memorable party to date.

Granted, I wasn't the only one celebrating a birthday over the weekend as someone else celebrated his a day early on Sunday, and brought a cake for the line.

This was an event that spanned into covering my birthday from the day before, since while I had gotten a couple of renditions of Happy Birthday throughout the day, I'd not had a cake there.

Sunday also showed one of the great advantages to being in Hollywood, this close to one of the major bases for filmmaking.

That afternoon we had an unexpected guest as the voice of General Grievous, one of the new characters that will be in Episode III, showed up at the line to say hi to those of us waiting.

The line quickly turned into people running around for pens and things that could be autographed, and with both him and Bai Ling showing up in the last week, the line has been getting quite its share of autographing excitement.

WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL

Wednesday night and into Thursday morning was one of the few times I've been glad that I missed something interesting at the line because I'd gone home for work and a bit of sleep.

California continues to have one of its rainiest seasons ever, and that night brought us within an inch of the seasonal record.

Here at the line, though, things started to fall apart as the shelters had trouble holding up against the rain.

Somewhere in the night, phase three of our shelter collapsed under the weight of rain with phases one and two in danger of following suit.

Quite the night to miss, but thankfully all our computer hardware is in phase two, which withstood the rain for the most part.

It takes a lot of dedication to hold out on a street corner through that much rain.

TUESDAY 26 APRIL

To much of the world, Hollywood is a major tourist attraction. To someone born and raised in southern California, though, it's another place just a little too far away to be worth visiting.

Blogger Mike Lund
Blogger Mike Lund in line on Hollywood Boulevard
Perhaps that's why I shocked myself, just as much as I shocked my parents, when I decided that I'd be spending several days a week on the streets of Hollywood, and even sleeping there for a few nights every weekend.

And for what? To see a movie that I could see at a theatre 10 minutes from my home, just as soon.

There is one thing, though, that even a local can recognise - that there is a power in movies to bring people together in ways very few things can.

Movies are defined by the people you see them with, just as much as their content, and that's why Star Wars brought me to Hollywood Boulevard just outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The search for that unique experience has brought me and more than 100 others to a street corner in Hollywood, drawn from all over the world by the same common goal.

Star Wars queue, 2 April 2005
Fans have been queuing since 2 April
We live there, eat there and sleep there. We laugh and cry, fight and forgive. A hybrid of a large family, it's an experience that words alone cannot describe.

From the occasional rambling homeless guy, to seeing The Empire Strikes Back with 40 of my newest friends, to battling the wind and rain, to who knows what will happen over the next few weeks, waiting in line for Star Wars is not the sort of thing that I'll forget after a few years.

It's the sort of thing that I'll remember for the rest of my life.


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