Star Wars-ing: Oh, Star Wars Fandom

If you are a fan of Star Wars but don’t follow other fans on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media, you are probably living the good life. If you do follow those things, then you already know it is a weird place.

It amazes me when anyone turns the conversation about Star Wars away from anything but the story.  Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley have left social media because of the bizarre and hurtful things being said to them.  Rian Johnson gets more verbal abuse on Twitter than an Alabama fan receives in Death Valley on Saturday night.

We are not against constructive criticism. We are against non-constructive criticism. Attacking people because you are scared of social justice warriors is just weird.  I mean social justice warriors aren’t very warrior-like.  Also, telling a director, he ruined your childhood is silly.  Your childhood is still intact. It’s kind of insulting to the actual people that were there for you as a child.

Before you fire up your keyboards in the comment section, I too was disappointed with The Last Jedi.  While I feel that is easiest the most beautiful Star Wars film, it is also deeply flawed. It was badly paced and awkwardly blocked in some scenes. Some scenes, like the milk scene, were just silly and showy. Kelly Marie Tran’s character (her performance was perfect, though) for me was a huge mistake. She started off great. Her opening scenes were excellent especially when she was sciencing the situation, but then it turned her arc into just another action piece that went overlong.  Poe Dameron is a hard character to like for a hero after his actions here. I was often bored watching the film. And I liked it a lot more than Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple did.

What I won’t do is tweet my problems with the movie to Rian Johnson. I made my feelings known by only seeing the movie once in the theater and writing this blog addressed to no one. I won’t also tell someone they are wrong on social media for having a different opinion. I’ll debate with them, but I’ll listen and engage with their thoughts.  I was disappointed by the treatment of Luke at first, but the more I think about it, the more I liked his lapsed-catholic-Jedi arc (which I will write about more in a later blog).  I think his arc his brilliant now. I definitely won’t attack someone because they are a woman, a person of color, or because they didn’t see the original movie in the theaters.  I saw the original in the theaters, but the Mrs. didn’t, and she has forgotten more Star Wars than I have ever learned.

I love that a space adventure that is over 40 years old still gets people so passionate about it.  I love that there are what seems to be 1000s of blogs and podcasts dedicated to Star Wars (including us!). We get tired of seeing people try to own Star Wars and what Star Wars can be.  I don’t want to see Star Wars movies decided by focus groups or made for a select few fans.  I want the saga to go in directions I don’t expect. I want the universe to be populated by thousands of species each with their unique ethnicities. I want good books and exciting comics made by artists, not craftspeople.  This sometimes means the pieces will fail.  Some will not be as good as others.  But it also means we have a shot at greatness.

Think about Star Wars as a restaurant.  Chain restaurants are comfortable. We know what we are going to get and we can expect to pleased and full at the end of it.  But if you go into a new to you independent restaurant, you never know what you are going to get. You may get something not even Gordon Ramsey can save.  But you can also get something special.  Something you can get nowhere else.  That’s what I want Star Wars to be.

I want them to branch out and get new exciting voices.  I want them to be respectful but not always beholden to the lore.  The expanded universe is nice, but it had some weird and, to be truthful, silly moments.  One of the most ridiculous complaints I would read about The Last Jedi is that there was no leadup to a new power Luke enacted.  Well, there was no build up to a Jedi Mind Trick before we see Obi-Wan do it nor any foreshadowing of a Force Choke before Vader did it.  Stop limiting a fantasy movie (especially since the power Luke exhibited comes from the expanded universe).

We, as fans, have to face we are never going to get the Star Wars we make up in our heads.  And frankly, I’m not sure I would want to.  The Star Wars in my head that I want to see would be a nine-part documentary about Jocasta Nu’s methods for archiving Jedi material and running of the library.

Let’s enjoy the new material we get, obsess over it if we like it or hate it without bringing the creators into it (trust me, they will know, they look up hashtags and phrases like the rest of us), and then move on to the next thing.

May the force be with you, friends!

Parenting: The Pay Your Age Build-A-Bear Experience

We admit it! We were intrigued by the Build-A-Bear pay your age sale. We thought it would be fun and since it was during the week we might be able to actually do it for our little one.

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When we got there at 9 am, the line wasn’t all that bad.  It would have been a couple of hours we would have to wait but we probably would have been able to get a bear.  But we didn’t want to. We decided to hang out a little bit and watch the line.

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This maybe 1/15 of the line

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The big hold up was the stuffing of the bear.  Workers were encouraging parents to come back on another day and stuff it, but that’s a hard sell to a child who has been waiting in line.

While waiting, the line got amazingly long. This was beyond anything Build-a-Bear and Lakeside Mall could handle.  While we were there we didn’t see any fights or violence.

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This is toward the front of the line.

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Now the line has snaked around half the mall.

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The biggest winner of this was probably the Disney Store.  It was packed the entire time we were there.

According to Yahoo! News, Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John stated “It was beyond anything we could have ever imagined,” Price John told NBC. “There was really no way for us to have estimated those crowds. We were fully stocked, fully staffed.”  While I do believe they only meant to do good (this has to be a day where they lose money), I believe her privilege is showing a little bit. So is anyone who criticized anyone for going.  Build-A-Bear is a big deal for children. Kids see the status in things because adults put a status on things.  It’s a fact of life with capitalism. I can’t fault any parent who wanted to do something for their kids for a cheap price.  Especially, parents who are working to barely make ends meet.  If you are working poor and have more than one kid, getting multiple Build-A-Bears can be expensive.  If they are really young, the kid won’t know better, but after a time they will know the difference. This was a day that parents saw they could be a hero for their kids, and Build-A-Bear failed them.

Of course, we are lucky enough we can pay full price for a bear without much sacrifice.  But for a lot of parents, this just isn’t the case.  Luckily for parents, during their child’s birthday month, you can still do the pay your age thing (but only for the birthday bear). So if you know someone that was disappointed on July 12, let them know.  Maximum age is 14, but one-year-olds can pay their age during their birthday month!  This is a great way for the company to earn some of the trust they lost that day.

We will see you Build-A-Bear in February!

Comic-Con-ing: Cons for July 20th Weekend

Of course, the biggest con is happening this weekend in San Diego.  SDCC is basically ground zero for comic cons.  And even though Marvel will not be at Hall H this year, SDCC is still the place to be for pop culture nerds next weekend if you can get there.

What if you can’t get there?  Well, there are still plenty of other cons to attend all over the country.

MetroCon: Metrocon, in Tampa, bills itself as a con for the fan by fans. Their celebrity guests focus on voice actors and feature veteran anime actor J. Michael Tatum, Jamie Marchi who has done work in anime and in video games, as well as Jason Marsden who has been in quite a few films and tv shows in front of the camera as well as doing extensive voice work most notably as Max in A Goofy Movie.  This year’s theme is Guardians vs Invaders.

Kitsunekon: This is an anime con that will take place in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Guest include voice actor Wendee Lee and Comicstorian. Comicstorian is valuable resource for comic fans and we highly encourage you check out their youtube channel.

Trotcon: Is a con that focuses on ponies! That’s right this Columbus, Ohio Con, if focused on My Little Pony! Lauren Jackson who voices Silverstream will be there. Plus, the panels can go from Customizing Pony Brushables to Aristotle vs Fanfiction. There is a huge following of MLP out there and it’s great that there are cons like this.  Everyone deserves to know they have a tribe they belong to!

North Texas Comic Book Show:  This show, in the very nice Irving Convention Center, focuses on comic books. Some of the comic creators they have lined up are Carl Potts, Steve Englehart, Rick Leonardi, Christopher Priest, Ty Templeton, and Doug Hazlewood. A comic con about comics is actually a great idea!

 

 

ComicCon-ing: Social Anxiety and San Deigo Comic Con

It’s the SuperBowl of nerd events. It’s the World Cup of comic conventions. San Diego Comic Con is upon us, and it’s this weekend.

And it may be the one con that I’m not sure I ever want to attend.

Comic conventions are a paradox when you think about it. While I have no scientific data to back it up, I assume that most nerds are more introverted than extroverted. They allow us a place to go where we feel (mostly) comfortable. (It is a little different for non-males, let’s be honest). Even though they are crowded, we can usually find our tribes. Our tribe tends to be autograph collectors with whom we strike up conversations. But cosplayers, gamers, writers can always find a group of people to hang out with during the convention.

SDCC offers all those same things. However, on a much larger scale. That’s the part that makes me nervous about ever attending. I’m not sure my social anxiety could handle it.

Considering my day job as a teacher, I know it’s odd that I would have social anxiety. My job is dealing with the public, and I’m good at it. However, it is exhausting. Going to events like concerts and cons – both things I love – is as exhausting as well. I’m glad I go to them. Especially comic conventions. We have met so many cool people and developed some great friendships just from our con experiences and this blog. One time we got recognized at a con. It was one of those moments that made me love going to cons and doing this blog.

In other words, even though it would feel me with dread up until we got there, I would still love to attend SDCC. To experience it. I would enjoy people watching. Plus, the number of comic creators I would like to meet. I’m sure I would find members of my tribe to make new friends with. For this is the great thing about conventions – it brings nerds who would never meet together.

However, if we ever do go, it will have to be a ways off. We would love to bring the Nola Nerd Baby, and that’s one con we can wait to do with her.

The Nola Nerd Couple Podcast Episode 16: The Nola Nerd Baby, MegaCon Orlando, the MCU, Star Wars Galactic Nights and Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

We have attempted to do a podcast for quite a while, but life kept getting in the way. Having the Nola Nerd Baby brought plenty of complications such as pre-partum depression and preeclampsia. We go into detail about that experience, but how our sweet baby was worth it. We also discuss briefly Black Panther, Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. The Nola Nerd Baby made her first con appearance at MegaCon Orlando. Having a baby changes how you approach a con and we give the details of how we did it. While in Orlando, we also experienced Star Wars Galatic Nights. Finally, we discuss how Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple captured her Holy Grail of Star Wars experiences with the upcoming Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

You can read our blogs about the pregnancy in the following links:
1) Conception
2) The Pregnancy
3) The Birth and Post-Partum Complications
4) Mr. Nola Nerd Couple’s point of view

You can read more about pre-partum depression here.
If you want to know how scary pre-eclampsia is, read this. (Warning: this is a tough read.)

Here is our coverage of MegaCon Orlando.

Buy your tickets to Star Wars Celebration here.

Parenting: Ever Evolving Nola Nerd Couple

With the addition of the Nola Nerd Baby, our site has been put a little on the back burner.  We have to evolve because she has to be our focus.

People always say that babies change you.  Well, that’s true up to a point.  We don’t want to lose who we are just because we are focusing on her.  We don’t want to live vicariously through her, but we don’t want her to only enjoy the things we love.  I mean she will have nerd parents, but if she was to be a cheerleader or athelete, we will be at every game.

Of course, some things have changed.  We couldn’t work out being able to go see Solo: A Star Wars Story. We have been way behind on recording podcasts. But we also have taken her to the Aquarium and Disney.

Basically, expect more parenting blogs from both of us.  We both have a unique viewpoint to being a parent.  Plus, I’m 44. This really gives me a unique perspective on being a first time parent, especially when children of my friends are in college and are starting families of their own.

We are going to review parent gadgets, discuss our adventures, share tons of pictures, and give our opinions.  No we aren’t renaming our blog the Nola Nerd Trio (sorry Josh from thelongboxguys.com).

When Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple was carrying our baby, I wrote our baby a letter.  Basically, I told her that some day I hope she reads this blog. The posts before February 22, 2018 and those after.

These posts tell the story of her parents.

These are the stories of her.

Star Wars-ing: Communicating With Nola Nerd Baby

This will probably be the silliest Star Wars think piece that you will probably ever read.

George Lucas and LucasFilm are beyond helpful with raising the Nola Nerd Baby. They have provided me with an entire universe to communicate with her. And every time I do, she smiles and talks back.

Now, you need to understand she is four months old.

Just say names to of Star Wars planets and moons to a baby and you can have a full conversation.

Me: Abafar Ando Jakku Tatooine

Her: Gaja ja skewseras

 

Now, she hasn’t talked to me back in Star Wars planets and moons, but I’m certain that Jakku or Naboo will be her first word.

Actually, this makes a lot of sense.  Babies often say the “ooh” sound that appears in a lot of planets and moons that appear in the Star Wars Universe. G and the hard c sounds are also one of the first ones they can say.

So put your money on Jakku.

Of course, I would actually prefer pappa or momma, but how cool would it be if her first word was a Star Wars word. She would be a Star Wars fan for life.

Well, she really doesn’t have a choice will she?!