No worries. Even though I have been doing astronomy for a while, a lot of the finer points seem to pass from one ear and right out the other, so I am sort of a perpetual beginner myself. Our conversation is the kind of thing I enjoy.
I have used both a laser collimator and what is called cheshire eyepiece. With the cheshire, you have a little bitty hole to look through and a set of cross-hairs to use as a reference. The one I have is actually made for refractors, and is much shorter to allow it to be placed in a diagonal. When I am really wanting to get a reflector "dead on," I end up using both, since they use independent methods to a certain extent. If I had to chose one, it would be the cheshire.
The cheshire basically looks a lot like the laser, in terms of its basic shape, with the little right angle ground glass screen having a hole in the middle. It just has a hole you look through the hole instead of having a laser shine through it. You can also shine a flashlight through the little hole and have the shadow from the cross-hairs bounce off the two mirrors, both directions, and put a shadow image on the ground glass to give you some feed back. Also, I can see the edges of the secondary mirror in with the cheshire and compare the shape of the secondary and its position to determinine if the focuser is positioned properly with the secondary and the secondary looks round and not oval. When the secondary looks oval, it indicates something is off...possibly both the focuser and secondary are out of position, even though the combination can let the primary mirror put light from a laser exactly where it is supposed to go.
Normally, I view the moon when it is in the earlier or later phases and stay away from full moons. There is a lot more contrast from shadows to see various features that come and go with the angle of the sun on them. There are some things that do show up with a full moon, like ejecta rays from some of the newer craters. I may put in a filter of some sort as the moon gets brighter, just for comfort level, but you do not absolutely have to. Having a lunar filter, either one with a dark green shade or a neutral density filter, is a nice convenience. Recently, I have been using a green filter, Wratten 58A, from the new 1 1/4 inch Plossl eyepiece set that Meade now has. For me, I get better contrast. I think a lot of interfering scattered light gets filtered out preferentially with that filter as well. Something like that is a good tool to have in your "tool pouch." However, one word of caution: Everyone's eyes/brain combinations work a little bit differently. What works for one person may not be exactly the best for someone else, though just about all of the possibilities can get the job done.
I have one of the little motor drives for the Polaris 130. I took it off, because it was more trouble to me than the benefit of having it track something across the sky. The drive is for just one of the axis. There is a little knob you can turn to spead it up or slow it down. In my checkout of that drive, I found what I consider to be some deficiencies in terms of it getting in the way of the telescope when going overhead, plus it seems to have been designed for a different mount. It needs to be mounted on the opposite side from what it was initially intended. You have to put the hemisphere switch (N/S) in the opposite from the markings to make it work. With one change, that I will describe to you, the mount works about as close to perfection as I would expect from an entry level rig and the drive is just not worth the trouble. It is no big deal, at the magnifications you will be using with this scope, to turn the Right Ascension knob every once in a while to move the target from the edge of the field to the center or even to the other side, and watch the object as it tracks across the field.
The one real flaw in the rig has to do with the control knobs. They are both eight inch. The one for the RA gets in the way of the optical tube when the tube is on the east side of the mount and pointed high. I did a couple of different things. Nobody seems to make a control knob short enough for any of the entry level equatorial mounts from any company, so I had to come up with something myself. The first was to go to the hardware store and buy the largest appliance knob with a quarter inch hole in it. It mounted just fine and worked reasonably well, though being smaller than the regular control knob in diameter, it was more difficult to turn. The second thing I did was to shorten one of the original control knobs and make it really stubby.
I did this to one of my Infinity 102 control knobs as well, learning from the experience and improving the second time. The stainless steel cable under the black plastic tubing is pressed into the metal end of the control knob, making it more difficult to get the modified end into it. The most successful modification was to leave the metal end alone and simply cut the cable with a hack saw near that end, but leave the fit-up on that end alone. The cable is glued into the large plastic knob and goes in about five eighths of an inch. I cut the cable maybe seven eighths of an inch from the metal end, just enough longer than necessary to make sure I did not make a dumb mistake. I took all the plastic tubing off, exposing the long length of cable attached to the plastic knob. The cable, which I think is some form of stainless steel but I could be wrong, has 24 strands in three layers, the outside eight being the largest and the inside being the smallest. Using a pair of pliers, I unwound each strand and bent it back, away from the cable. When I was done, it looks sort of like a metal flower. Then, I grabbed the end of one of the inside strands with the pliers, while holding the knob in the other hand, and jerked hard. The strand came out. Working one strand at a time, I pulled them all out. I think I then rolled up a little piece of sand paper, stuck it in the hole of the knob and sanded out some of the remaining glue. I don't remember if I had to file any rough ends on the remaining sort piece of cable to get that end to fit into the plastic knob, but I could have. The next step was to fit up the cable into the knob and see how long a piece of the black plastic outer sheath I would need, which ended up being around a quarter inch. Then, I set the plastic knob on a table with the hole up, poured the hole maybe a third full of plain old white glue, then stuck in the now shortened cable with the little bit of plastic sheath on it. I left the assembly sitting on the table for a couple days to let the glue dry. So far, it has worked perfectly, and the knob does not get in the way of the optical tube any more.
It is also short enough to reach from the far side of the scope and turn it if you want to. You can also turn the existing drive gear on the far side of the mount to move the scope if you want to do it that way.
As far as solar filters go, Meade has been adamant about not doing that with a regular scope, due to the eye danger of a filter failure or having a filter come off while someone is using the scope. The eye damage with a scope the size of the Polaris 130 would be immediate, complete, and permanent, and very painful. There would be a permanent hole in ones retina, right where one needs to see. There are, however, solar filters built by other companies that will fit this scope, or you can get solar filter material and make one yourself.
Hope this helps,