ComicCon-ing: MegaCon Orlando Takes Place This Weekend!

MegaCon Orlando is bringing plenty of star power this weekend to the Orange County Convention Center. You can see our previous writeups about MegaCon here.

MegaCon recently announced that Tom Cavanagh would be joining the celebrity guests.  Is it wrong that I want him to sign an 8×10 of each version of Harrison Wells he has played on The Flash? Famke Janssen, Jane Grey from the X-Men series will be in Orlando.  She also played one of my favorite James Bond villains in Goldeneye.

MegaCon will also have plenty of exclusives on sale. One that I have my eye on is a special Love is Love edition with a variant cover by Cat Staggs. Also on my wish list, is the Star Wars Classics Newspaper Comics Vol. 1 Exclusive with a variant cover by Russ Manning. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple wants the Batman Adventures #12 with a variant cover by Jonboy Meyers.

The schedule for MegaCon has released their programming schedule, which can be seen here and the app is available in the in the App Store and Google Play.

Hope to see you there!

ComicCon-ing: We Will Be Podcasting at Comicpalooza

We will be podcasting at Comicpalooza!  We will be at Booth 3319 from 12-1pm Saturday.

Of course, we are a little nervous.  We have only been  podcasting for the last six months, and we have never done an episode in front of people.

Because the focus of our podcast is Star Wars and comic cons, we will dedicate most of the time to it.  We will talk about our previous experience with Comicpalooza and some of this year’s guests who have worked on Star Wars films and comics.

We are still working on our outline, but I’m hoping it will be a good show! We hope to see you there!

Running: The WDW Second Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

IMG_2071eAs soon as I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon, I knew that I wanted to do another.

Life got pretty crazy after my first half-marathon. I flew back to Virginia and started a new full-time job. I took a few months off from running, but I still signed up for the second The Dark Half-Marathon when registration opened in August. I started my training back at square one doing Couch to 10K to get me eased into the walk/run intervals. I did pretty well in Fall but definitely didn’t train as much as I wanted in the Winter. I thought it was hard to run with a baby in a jogger stroller, but it is even more difficult running with an active toddler who does not want to stay in the stroller.

My main running time would be on the weekends when my husband Darin and I would take turns watching Layla while the other ran. I would try to do lunch time or after work walks, but it didn’t always happen. I underestimated how hard it can be to make time for myself while working a full-time job and having a toddler.

entertainment

I was pretty nervous on race day. We hadn’t done any races since the first The Dark Side Half-Marathon, and we were in the last corral. We were actually in the second to last corral during the first Half-Marathon, so the pressure was definitely on this time to stay ahead of the balloon ladies. I had only seen them from a far distance last time, but this time we started in a mini-wave only minutes in front of them. I looked at Darin and said, “I am one with the force, and the force is with me.”

beforerace

The race started, and even though I had used the bathroom three times before going to the corrals, I drank a lot of water (later I would realize I actually drank too much water) and knew that I wouldn’t be able to comfortably run until I used the bathroom again. Thank goodness we at least had a mini-wave in front of us because that allowed me to take a much-needed bathroom break at mile 2. The balloon ladies caught up thanks to the long bathroom line, and I took off running as soon as I jumped out of that porter potty. I accidentally left my husband behind because he was being sweet and waiting for me. Oops. The balloon ladies passed him, and a couple people around him were already quitting. I called him to let him know I had started running right away out of fear of that Death Star balloon getting too close, and he easily got back to me.

The race went really well the next few miles. My muscles were warmed up, and I was fully completing my runs and walks at an excellent pace. Every mile, the pace keepers would announce how far ahead of the balloon ladies we were running. We were getting farther and farther ahead. Running through Animal Kingdom was an amazing experience, and Darin and I high-fived as we reached the half-way point several minutes ahead of the balloon ladies.

And then things quickly started going downhill for me. My hands were throbbing and becoming very swollen. My legs and body felt great, so I pushed through. Once the sun was fully out, the heat and humidity took its toll on me. At the water stations, I would pour water on myself. I started occasionally feeling dizzy and nauseous. Thankfully, Darin and I bought running pouches so I had a granola bar and energy chews to snack on. Those helped, but not enough. Eventually, I could no longer run and just maintained a power walk. Darin was fantastic and kept track of our pace and the looming balloon ladies.

Finally, we reached Hollywood Studios. I knew that if I could make it to Hollywood Studios, then the excitement and cheering should push me to the finish line. Seeing the 10-mile marker made me smile even though I was in pain and feeling incredibly ill. Our time in Hollywood Studios was brief, but the cast members on Hollywood Blvd were in costume and cheering us on. Running through The Boardwalk is kind of a blur, but I loved all the people out with signs and encouragement. I high-fived many costumed 501st Legion members. I wanted to cry when we reached Epcot because I was so close but yet so far away. I actually started doubting my ability to finish the race. Darin tried to make jokes and keep me motivated, but I couldn’t even talk. I did enjoy seeing all the cast members in front of the countries, waving flags, and cheering. When I finally reached Spaceship Earth, I breathed the slightest sigh of relief, and it wasn’t long before I had the finish line in my sights.

duringrace

Darin and I held hands as we crossed the finish line. And after getting my medal, I went straight to the medical tent. I had heat exhaustion and salt depletion. My hands were so swollen that it hurt to move them at all. They gave me cool rags, ice packs, Gatorade, and chips. They had me lay down and told me to try not to drink water for a while because I needed to retain salt. Everyone was amazing, and now I know what to do and not do to prevent salt depletion in the future.

Overall, the race was harder for me than my first Half-Marathon because of the heat exhaustion and salt depletion that I endured. But, at least I didn’t fall down and hurt myself like last year. I am incredibly thankful that I completed the race. I don’t think I would have been able to finish without the love and support of my husband who practically dragged me through Epcot.

medal

I still have two bruised purple toenails and some tightness in my shins, but I am eager to get back into running again once I am all healed up. Eventually, I will be able to complete a Half-Marathon without collapsing at the finish line. We plan on signing up for The Light Side Half-Marathon (January 2018) as soon as registration opens, as well as doing The Dark Side (April 2018) again so we can receive The Kessel Run medals. Darin even wants to do the challenge (where you complete the 10k on Saturday and the Half-Marathon on Sunday), but I will just stick to conquering the Half-Marathon for now. He wants to be able to actually RUN during his 10ks and then be the supportive husband doing slow walk/run intervals with me during the Half-Marathons.

Thank you, Nola Nerd Couple for letting me tell my story about this year’s The Dark Side Half-Marathon. Hopefully, I can report again from California and give my take on The Light Side. And maybe one of these days I will be able to complete a race without complications or Death Star balloons haunting looming behind me…

ComicCon-ing: Comicpalooza Brings The Noise and Comic Creators

Comicpalooza has a varied lineup.  Seriously, there is something for everyone there.

  • Rex Brown: The bassist who has been in Pantera and Down will be at Comicpalooza.
  • Christy Carlson Romano:  Ms. Romano was on Even Stevens and voiced the title character on Kim Possible.
  • Marky Ramone – The second drummer for the Ramones will be at Comicpaolooza.  He is one of the members inducted into the Hall of Fame which lets you know his importance to the group.
  • Tony Harris: Comic creator known for Starman, Iron Man, Ex Machina, and C3PO
  • James Robinson:  Comic creator known for Starman, Earth 2, Superman, and Fantastic Four
  • David Finch: Comic creator known for Batman, Wonder Woman, The New Avengers, and Ultimate X-Men
  • Doug Hazlewood: Comic creator for Animal Man, The Flash, and Wonder Woman.  I can’t wait for him to sign my Death of Superman for which he worked as an inker.
  • Sam Jones:  The savior of the universe.  He saved every last one of us.  That’s right, Flash Gordon will be at Comicpalooza.

To see our full Comicpalooza coverage including our podcasts, click here!

Can’t wait to see you in Houston!

Star Wars-ing: Thursday Preview

We didn’t wait in the lines for the panels. We just couldn’t do it. We were up for work at 4 am the day before, and didn’t get into Orlando until well after 11 pm. We will miss out on the big panel and probably some exclusive merchandise.  The first part doesn’t really bother me, but the last.  I hate the artificial supply that doesn’t come close to meeting demand.  I know limited is cool, but you are punishing people for not spending the night in a line. They sell out quickly sometimes minutes after.  They know they will, so make more.  I know that kills the exclusivity but also kills some of the fun for people who aren’t serious collectors but really like the items and want one.

But enough of my rant.   Celebration is about to start!

We do plan on doing some shopping today if we can get into the store.  We don’t really have a lot in mind except maybe a few pins if they are there, and some T-shirts for us and friends.  We would also like to buy some books and have them signed by the authors as well.

We do have a few autographs today.  Luckily, TOPPS extended plenty of the celebrity guests schedules for signing.  We will be meeting Dave Barclay, Garrick Hagon, Temuera Morrison, and Denis Lawson. I have never met any of these so it will be a treat for me.

I would like to go to some panels if time permits.  I really would like to do the STEAM panel. The food and recipes panel inspired by Star Wars also sounds fun.  As a new and very amateur podcaster, I really would like to go to the podcast stage and see how some of the people’s who podcasts I enjoy produce their show.

I’m on about 5 hours sleep and hopefully, that’s enough for the day.  Sleeping in a bed really helps; if we would have slept in line, I wouldn’t have slept more than an hour and not consecutively.  Still, it’s Celebration and I’m sure I’ll catch my second wind.

Check our twitter and Instagram for real time updates!

May the force be with you, my friends!

Star Wars-ing: Fan Panel Stage at Celebration Promises Excitement for Those that Crave It!

Let’s face it: Star Wars fandom is second to none.  It has grown to the point where Lucasfilm could just rely on all of the hundreds of blogs (including this one) and podcasts out there for getting the word out and it would almost be as good as multimillion dollar ad campaigns. The fan base is rabid and vocal.  Thankfully, it has grown more inclusive over the years so that voices that haven’t been heard now also can share their love of Star Wars.

At Celebration this no more evident than at the Fan Stage.  The Fan Stage is at Stage W308 on the 3rd floor.  We will try to attend as many of these as we can.

Thursday

We Are a Legion The Star Wars Costuming Clubs’ Leadership Panel:  Cosplaying Star Wars goes well beyond the 501st and Rebel Legion.  There are the the Mandalorian Mercs, The Dark Empire, and the Saber Guild.  This is a great way for fans new to cosplaying to learn about the different groups they can join.  12:30-1:30pm.

Meet the 501st Legion They may represent the Dark Side of the force in their costumes, but their charity work is all good.  This panel will explain how to join and the mission of the Legion. 2-3pm

Star Wars Authentics Autographs This is the company handling the autograph hall of Celebration.  They are part of TOPPS so they have tons of experience in autograph collecting.  This panel will examine the issues facing collectors (forgeries, in particular) and how Star Wars Authentics plans on dealing with these issues. This would be an interesting panel for us since we are avid autograph collectors. 3:30-4:30pm

Meet the Mandalorian Mercs Like the 501st, these cosplayers look good and help people out.  If you love the style of the Mandalorians, and who doesn’t, then this is the panel for you. 5-6pm

Collider Jedi Council The crew from Collider Jedi Council will discuss canon and everything else Star Wars.  They will also take questions from the audience. 6:30-7:30

Droid Building 101 This panel is hosted by the R2-D2 Builders Club. They will talk about their history and the challenges and rewards of building droids. They will discuss materials and tools needed as well and allow you to pick their brains. 8-9pm

Friday

Rendezvous Point: The Military of Star Wars This panel will look at how military thinking affects the plot of Star Wars. 10:30-11:30 am

Saber Guild: Anatomy of a Fight Scene This panel will look saber fights and compare them to famous sword battles.  Also, since the Saber Guild is a cosplay and performance organization, they will explain their mission and how you can get involved. 12-1pm

Ladies of the Legion: A Woman’s Guide to Costuming While some of the most iconic and greatest heroes of the galaxy are women, they are simply more male characters in the movies.  Just a simple fact, not a judgment.  This does bring challenges for women cosplayers.  This panel will discuss those challenges and discuss the groups available for female cosplayers. 1:30-2:30pm

Star Wars Movie Trivia Schmoedown: Witwer vs Napzok vs Campea  Appernetly, Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul) and Freddie Prinze Jr (voice of Kanaan) faced Ken Napzok and John Campea of Collider in a Star Wars Trivia contest.  At this contest, Mr. Witwer proved he is second to none in his knowledge of the franchise. He will attempt to prove this was no fluke when he takes on Mr. CAmpea and Mr. Napzok at Celebration. 3-4pm

Extreme Droid Building When I first read this, I thought it would have the builders blindfolded or hanging upside down while building their droids. Actually, it’s about builders who droids pushed the envelope with their creativity and functionality. 4:30-5:30pm

Fantasy Flight Games: Star Wars Tabletop Games The Game company will give a preview of their great games that they offer such as Destiny and X-Wing. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sisters both play these games with their significant others.  We have bought X-Wing but have yet to play it.  But we will. Maybe going to this panel will make us finally do it…that and summer. 6-7pm

The Life & Times of Han Solo  Fans look at the life of the human half of our favorite smuggling team in the galaxy. 7:30-8:30 pm

Saturday

Down and Dirty Mandalorian Armor Another opportunity for fans to learn how to make Mandalorian cosplay and about the Mandalorian Mercs.  What makes this panel different, is that they will develop costumes for two lucky audience members. 10:30-11:30am

501st Legion: Costuming in a Galaxy Far, Far Away This panel will dig deep into the building one’s own costume and props. 12-1pm

Prop Building on a Galactic Scale This is one of those panels that make my jaw drop.  People, much craftier than us, build these life-size replicas of props from the movies.  These builders will share their stories. 1:30-2:30 pm

Of Mice and Medical: The Other Droids of Star Wars This panel will be a lesson on the droids used in Star Wars.  3-4pm

These are Not the Writers You are Looking For: Bloggers Discuss Writing About Star Wars You get to meet your favorite (well some of your favorite bloggers since we aren’t a part of this panel hehe) bloggers of Star Wars content.  4:30-5:30pm

The Rebel Legion Costuming Community: Rebellions are Built on Hope The Rebel Legion cosplay as the good guys and raise money for various charities. Of course, they work closely with the other costuming communities because it’s about making the galaxy a better place.  They will give you insights into what kind of costumes fit’s their guidelines and how you can join. 6-7pm

Whose Line is it, Alderaan? Looking to laugh? This is the panel for you with Star Wars inspired improv. 7:30-8:30pm

Sunday

501st Legion: Bad Guys Who Do Good  This panel focuses on the charitable works for the 501st, which is extensive. 10:30-11:30 am

The Making of The Star Wars remake! – a fan film Here the stories behind the fan film remake.  12-1pm

The Galactic Academy: Judge Us By Our Size, Do Not! The Galactic Academy is a costuming community for children.  This will tell more about the organization. 1:30-2:30pm

Women in A Galaxy Far, Far Away Star Wars has always made a point to create female heroes.  However, like in Revenge of the Sith, it sometimes forgets that they are there.  This roundtable discussion discusses the contributions the female characters of Star Wars and also look at how the saga can become even more inclusive. This is one panel I would like love to attend if I can. 3-4pm

Teaching: How Buffy Made Me a Better Teacher

With the announcement that Sarah Michelle Gellar will be attending Star Wars Celebration, I’ve been thinking more about the show lately.  It also helps that it’s been in entertainment news lately because it has reached its 20th anniversary.

When I first watched the show, during the original run, I just watched it for the drama and humor.  Both were top notch, even if the special effects sometimes were not up to their level.  It wasn’t until the second time I watched it, that I realized the brilliance of Joss Whedon.  It amazes me that he wasn’t a high school teacher  (his mother was, though).  He captures high school perfectly.

By this, I mean he captures all the horrors of high school.  “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” showcased a girl (Clea DuVall) that just wasn’t noticed in high school.  When I watched around 2010 it reminded me of what that feeling felt like.  It reminded me that I need to reach every student, not just the attentive and the troublemakers. “I, Robot…You, Jane” was well ahead of its time with it’s stories of making friends on the Internet. At the time of the writing, only real nerds did this kind of stuff, but it still resonates today. “The Pack” might be a little too on the nose with it’s group bullying storyline.  I mean that as a compliment. “Earshot” looks at a student who reaches the point where he wants to commit suicide.

The brilliance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that you can watch it from both sides.  When you are younger, you see it through the eyes of the Scooby Gang.  When you are older, Giles, Joyce, and Angel are you window into this world.  When we met Anthony Head, I thanked him for making me a better teacher.  The show not only gives you a viewpoint to the life of teenagers, but it is written in a way that builds empathy for them.  This is the mistake most shows about that age group make…they divide us from the people.  Most teenage shows have the older people be obstacles or people that don’t have a clue.  Not here.  Giles and Joyce are responsible adults who truly care about those in their charge.  They don’t always understand everything, but they always try. Through them, we become protective of the Scooby Gang.  Because of them, I have become more empathetic to my students’ issues.

Angel even furthers this.  He is perpetually young, but he is the oldest soul on the show.  And because he has a soul, he sees the tragedy in almost every situation mainly because he has seen every situation many times. As a teacher, you often just repeat years.  The students change, but the problems don’t.  Too often, you see students make mistakes before they make them.  This can be as simple as putting off homework or as complicated as choosing the right college/vocation.  We treat high school students as kids because they are, but at the same time, we ask them to decide their future.  The future is always the biggest and baddest big bad.

I know I won’t have time to tell Ms. Gellar all of this.  I am fully expecting to be so star struck that I’ll be surprised if I can utter actual words.  But I had to thank her, and the cast, and Mr. Whedon in some form.  So I choose this one.