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?!

Star Wars-ing: Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago!

Yes, we are starting back up our weekly Star Wars features.  We had to take a break due to Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s complicated pregnancy (which you can read about here and here). She and baby are fine, and we plan on bringing you as much information about Celebration and Star Wars in general as we can!

Star Wars Celebration 2019 has been announced, and its location is a new one: Chicago, Illinois. It will be held in the West Building at McCormick Place. Not only is it in a new city, but it will also be five days this year! For those of you who are not sure what Celebration is, it’s just that – a celebration of Star Wars.  It’s a comic con but only for Star Wars.  ReedPOP, along with LucasFilm, put on this event as a thank you to fans.  It serves as an excellent way for Star Wars fans to meet people who were in the movies and that write the books and comics.  It’s also a great way for Star Wars fans to get together. (You can read about past Star Wars Celebration coverage here and all of our Star Wars related posts here).

Tickets went on sale yesterday. You can buy five-day passes or individual day passes at the Celebration website.  If you order by February 27 at midnight central standard time, you will receive your passes by mail avoiding the will call lines.

What is no longer available is the Jedi Master VIP.  This pass is a very exclusive ticket that sold out in less than a minute. It includes:

One (1) Jedi Master VIP Badge Featuring Exclusive Art
One (1) Official Show Poster (Rolled, complete with poster tube)
One (1) Commemorative Program Guide
VIP Lounge with coat check and concierge
Half Hour Early Access to Exhibit Hall
Half Hour Early Access to the Official Celebration Store each day
Exclusive Celebration Store private shopping experience on Thursday, April 11 at 11:00 AM
VIP Express Checkout Lane at the Official Celebration Store
Unlimited use of the Lightspeed Lane to enter the Official Celebration Store
Express Autograph Hall Autograph line pass and checkout for up to six (6) Autograph Sessions. Price of Autographs not included.
First Access to Panels at the Celebration Stage
One(1) Private Meet & Greet with select Star Wars Celebration guest or guests
One (1) Original signed art print, created exclusively for Celebration Chicago Jedi Master VIPs
One (1) Extremely Limited Jedi Master VIP character pin shared only, in very limited amounts, with staff as a giveaway pin that will not otherwise be made available for sale to Star Wars Celebration Chicago Attendees.
One (1) Exclusive Jedi Master VIP Lanyard
One (1) Exclusive Jedi Master VIP Embroidered Patch
One time 10% off discount at the Official Celebration Store

We have tried every year to get this elusive item, but have come up short every year.

BUT NOT THIS YEAR!

Mrs. Nola Nerd was able to get one! She’s going as a VIP! Of course, she is beyond excited. Plans are already being made.  Plus it is our first time in Chicago, so we plan on staying a few extra days!

May the force be with you, my friends and see you in Chicago!

Star Wars: My Favorite Heroes from the Saga

Star Wars is, in its purest form, a story of heroes and villains.  That’s one of the reasons why Joseph Campbell was so attracted to it and wrote about it in the Power of the Myth.

Since this week is the release of the Last Jedi, I decided to list my favorite heroes and villains from Star Wars. Today, I will list my favorite heroes.

But first some explanations.  No characters introduced in The Force Awakens will be listed.  We don’t know their fate so they may not stay good. Second, I include any Star Wars I’ve seen or read.  I  have not read all of the EU nor have I read all of the new canons, so this list is not pretending to be definitive. Not in the slightest.  Also, this list is not in any type of order.

Cut Lawquane:  Yes, he is a deserter.  No, that doesn’t mean he is not a hero.  He was made to be a soldier, but decided not to be.  More importantly, he decided to have a family, and to them, he was their protector and his hero.  So from a certain point of view, he does have a heroes story to tell. It is also one of the most compelling one-offs in all of Star Wars.

Hera Syndulla:  To me, she is the best leader in the Star Wars saga.  She cares for her people, but she sees the bigger picture.  If someone were to write a leadership book from her point of view, I would buy it in a second.

R2D2:  If being a hero is putting others before yourself than R2D2 qualifies.  Far too many times, R2 risks personal injury, and annihilation, to save his friends and the republic.  He is fearless, but he does have a heart of gold.

Leia: Leia is THE leader in the Star Wars saga.  She was born and raised to do this.  She accepted the role long before we met her and handled it maturely.  She is the same age as Luke, but her experience has made her far wiser. Unlike most people on this list, her heroes journey started as a child. The fact that she never has wavered makes her one of the greatest in the saga.

Han Solo:  He is the reluctant hero.  He doesn’t want to be the hero; he just can’t help himself. And he probably never does it for the bigger cause.  Being heroic for his friends is good enough. When you think about it, he is a poor scoundrel.

Luke:  Luke is THE hero of the saga.  So far, the story has been about him or the coming of him.  The fact that this was thrust upon him and that eventually gets control of his power is a testament to the type of hero he wanted to become.  Sure he is whiney, but he is one of the most powerful people in the galaxy with no understanding of why he is or how he can control it. Even in Jedi, when he comes to grips with it, he acts as if he is in control, but he knows what he is doing is risky.  In Jedi, he wants to be the hero, but he isn’t completely sold on the outcome.  I can’t wait for Thursday night to see where his journey goes next.

Obi-Wan:  He is the perfect Jedi, in that he does have faults.  He would have left the Jedi for a woman if she wished.  He shows favor and sometimes a blind eye towards his friends. Yet, he always attempts to do the right thing.  Sometimes this means for the greater good; other times it could be to save just one Jedi’s soul.

Asajj Ventress:  Sometimes the hero’s journey takes a long route through the villain’s timeline.  But if you don’t believe Ventress belongs on this list, read Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple.  Golden creates a multi-layered story of a multi-layered character.  It’s the best Star Wars book I’ve read yet.

Ashoka:  Ashoka, more than any other character on this list, learns.  She learns from her mistakes.  She learns from the mistakes of others.  She understands there are rules and that sometimes laws are worthless if they mean losing your soul to abide by them.  Throughout the Clone Wars, she has tremendous growth.  She went from being my least favorite character to my favorite.

Yes, there are people I left off the list.  Yoda for instance.  I’m not saying he isn’t a hero. I’m saying he is not one of my favorites. He too often gets caught up in what a Jedi should be he forgets what they actually are individual. Others have moments, and some characters are heroic but not truly heroes (this is how I classify Lando).

So…who are your favorite heroes from the saga?

 

Star Wars-ing: The EW Article We Didn’t Read

We have a subscription to EW. We read it often.  Except for this week.

It’s hard doing a Star Wars weekly feature when we don’t want to know anything about The Last Jedi.  There is some great stuff out there that do give spoilers.  I love the Making Star Wars site, but only go back and read it after the movie is out.

For us, we like to know nothing but what the trailers and toys tell us going into a movie. It’s kind of hard to escape the toys.

At first, I was going to read the EW article, but then I noticed that quite a few podcasts decided to talk about the feature. This makes me wonder if there is more than what I want to know.,

We want to go the movie with as little knowledge as possible so we can be wowed or disappointed. I truly believe that if you know too much about a movie, particularly a Star Wars movie, you can become a little cynical. It can make you wish things were different.

I know this makes us weird for a Star Wars/nerd site that writes news features, but hey, we are fans first. And we want to do fandom our way.

Star Wars-ing: A New Obi-Wan Kenobi Film….Maybe…Hopefully

Last weekend, the Star Wars Twitterverse was all abuzz with the possibility that there might be a new Kenobi film. The key word in the sentence is “possibility.”  There is no script, and no one is attached. I think the news leaked to gauge interest from fans.

How could we not want an Obi-Wan Kenobi film, especially if Ewan McGregor signs on.

However, Star Wars Rebels has given us the Obi-Wan story we truly wanted to see if you have been watching The Clone Wars.  But what if you are that person who’s canon of Star Wars is only movies.  There is still plenty of stories about Obi-Wan to tell.

First of all, he is on a planet controlled by a Hutt.  This means unsavory characters will be there and maybe a few from his past.  To protect Luke, he must protect his identity. Second of all, as someone said on Twitter, a stand-alone movie could be just one adventure taking place over a day or a week.  Also, we don’t know all that much about the galaxy in the years that Luke is growing up so this is an era ripe for telling stories.  However, to be convincing, Luke’s protection has to always be kept in the forefront of the plot.

We also don’t know if Kenobi has a connection to the new trilogy.  We do know that Mr. Mcgregor has a line in The Force Awakens, but does the character have a deeper connection to events playing out.  Could the stand alone movie, which would be expected after Episode IX explain that connection?  If he does have an impact on the new trilogy, this is where I expect them to go.

They could do a Kenobi before Qui-Gon movie, but that just seems like a bad move to me.  Replacing the actor once was risky, and it did pay off, but a second time might be pushing it.

 

Star Wars-ing: Star Wars at Comicpalooza

Every con we go to, we like to make Star Wars connections.  I usually am meticulous with my research for this kind of blog, but this week my real job is taking most of my time, so I’m kind of doing this one on the fly.

  • Jessica Henwick: The star of Iron Fist was also Jess Testor in The Force Awakens
  • James Robinson and Tony Harris:  This comic team brought us the one off for C3PO.  But don’t be fooled by the one-off. This is one of the best single issue comics in the new Marvel line of Star Wars comics.  It brings up serious issues about artificial intelligence in a moving and thought-provoking way.  It is simply fantastic.
  • Ben Templesmith did work in the previous Marvel Star Wars runs.
  • On Friday at 10 am, there will be a panel on the Storytelling of Story Wars in 370D.
  • Later at 4 that same day, there will be a Star Wars improv show in room 362A.  On Saturday, at 2:30 this will be repeated.
  • At 4:30 on Friday in room 361C, a local theater troop will put on a reading of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.  At 4:30 on Saturday, the reading will do the second half of it.
  • On Saturday at 1, there will be a Star Wars Enthusiasts of Huston Mega Cosplay Photo Shoot in Hall B3 if you want to see some great Star Wars costumes.
  • Saturday evening at 9 pm, there will be a discussion as to what is better Star Wars or Star Trek.  Personally, that’s comparing apples and oranges to me, but I love both equally!

May the force be with you!

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…