My Love For Star Wars in a Party

When I was 11, I received my first copy of Star Wars Insider from Lucasfilm after writing a letter to George Lucas (I did not get reply from him, alas).  Within the issue, they had a section where they printed letters from fans and readers.  One letter started out as:

Dear Insider,

I have been a Star Wars fan for over 20 years…

That sentence has stuck with me throughout my life.  Why?  Because family and friends thought I was going through a “fad” or “stage” in life with my Star Wars obsession.  And there is nothing that irks me more, even at that young age, than people thinking I’ll grow out of something or won’t like something as much in a while.  I saw that sentence and thought, “I want to be a Star Wars fan for over 20 years as well.”

I haven’t reached 20 years, but I’m currently at 18 years.  Actually, technically I’m over 20 years if you count when I first saw Star Wars, but I only count the age when I became obsessed as the starting point in my Star Wars journey.

Throughout this journey I have:

Yup, that Star Wars party happened this past weekend.  Why?  Because what better time to celebrate my true love than around Valentine’s Day?

I know “first annual” is an oxymoron of sorts, but I wanted to make it clear that this is something that will be continual on a yearly basis.  Due to some bad weather the day before, we only had seven people show up (12 RSVP’d as a yes) but I was more than happy with that!  This was blue_milkthe greatest party I could ever throw, in my opinion.

And, oh the discussions!  It was so wonderful to sit with friends, drink some wine and blue milk (yes, I had some blue milk and Yoda soda), watch a Star Wars movie, and discuss Star Wars for four hours.  Heaven.

What movie did we watch?  Ah, the suspense!  No one knew until they showed up and there was a prize for those who guessed correctly.  Surprisingly, there were a lot of ROTS guesses, which I thought was very strange.

But the movie I chose was The Force Awakens for two reasons: 1) In honor of my daughter, whom I hope will grow to be like Rey, and 2) It was the one movie I had not seen and discussed with a lot of my friends.

To reiterate: the discussions!  I have missed talking about Star Wars and guessing what will be coming next with good friends.  Here were my favorite discussions that happened during the party…please chime in with any thoughts you might have as well.

1. The Force Vision/Knights of Ren

When Rey touches Luke’s lightsaber on Takodona, there a bunch of scenes that go by very quickly.  One of them involves what looks like a knights-of-renmassacre by the Knights of Ren, with Kylo leading them with a lightsaber in the rain.  We don’t know where this is or what happened.  Rey sees someone coming towards her who looks like they are about to kill her, but instead gets killed by Kylo Ren.  When Kylo Ren starts stepping towards her, she gets scared and backs up, where the scene immediately shifts to a young Rey being left behind on Jakku with Unkar Plutt dragging her away.

My friend brought up this theory: what if Kylo Ren had, in fact, saved a young Rey (though we are seeing her as an adult) from another Knight of Ren?  That Knight of Ren could have been going to kill Rey as part of the massacre, but Kylo Ren steps in to save her.  He then takes her to Jakku where she is left behind, which would explain why it seems like Kylo Ren knows her.  Why would he save her? That’s the question.  Guilt?  Is he related to her?  If so – why wouldn’t Han recognize her?

When I previously thought about this scene, I thought Rey was seeing some insight into what happened when Kylo Ren turned to the dark side and those were all of Luke’s Jedi pupils.  I never thought about her actually being there, but the more I think about it, the more I like this theory and it seems to make sense.

2.The Force Vision/Artoo Shut Down

This is my theory and I have brought it up before, but it did become a discussion point again at the party.  In the Force vision, we see Luke put a hand on Artoo.  Artoo is clearly “awake” here and not in hibernation.  Is Luke shutting Artoo down and somehow using the Force to make sure the next time he awakes, it will be because of Rey?

This theory is a little far-fetched, but I keep coming back to it, because WHY are they showing Artoo in this vision?  It could be because Abrams wanted to keep Luke as hidden as possible until the end of the movie, but I also don’t think there were any throwaways in this movie.  They could have not had this scene if he wanted Luke to remain hidden.  Why show Artoo?

I believe Artoo was getting some kind of direction here and it is interesting that he is “awakened” just when Rey shows up on D’Qar.

Here’s a video of the Force vision for your reference:

3. Your favorite 15-20 minutes in Star Wars

This was a question someone asked at the end of the party.  What is your favorite 15-20 minutes out of all the Star Wars movies?

I thought that would be hard and there were scenes that flit across my brain very fast as I tried to think of something.  I thought of Amidala speaking to the senate (“I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die…”), I remembered Luke staring out at the binary sunset, I thought about Vader revealing he is Luke’s father, I thought about Rey rescuing BB-8, I remember Order 66, I remember Leia and Han’s exchange before he went into carbonite (“I love you!”  “I know.”), but then one part of the saga stood out to me the most.

My favorite scene in the Star Wars saga would be the end of Return of the Jedi.  Luke is trying to control his emotions but Vader gets to him when he realizes that Luke has a sister and says he will turn her to the dark side.  Luke loses it and goes after Vader with such hatred and bests him in their final lightsaber match.  He cuts of his hand in anger – only to hear the Emperor’s sinister laugh behind him.  The Emperor is sure of his victory; sure that Luke will take Vader’s place.  And then….Luke turns away from the dark side.  Seeing his own hand cut off, he turns to the Emperor and tells him:

You failed your highness.  I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

It makes me want to woop with joy every time I see that scene.  Talk about good triumphing over all!  Talk about doing the right thing even when you know it means death!  Aggggh that scene – everything about it: the lightsabers, the ominous music, the Emperor’s moment of triumph – only to have Luke come out on top and throw away his lightsaber.

The best.  That is, in my eyes, the best scene from the entire saga.

 

My party was wonderful and I had a great time.  It’s the perfect thing for me to look forward to since I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day.  This is a way to celebrate my true love in a way that honors it.

I can’t wait until next year’s party.

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Preparing for a Con 101

I feel like there are a lot of posts out there about cons that include recaps, panels, cosplay, etc., but going to these cons takes preparation and it’s not often touched upon.  So I’m sharing some wisdom I’ve learned over the past 5-6 years of conning that could help newbies and experienced con goers prepare for a comic con.

 

First Timers

I have two main pieces of advice for first time con goers: 1) Plan your time wisely, and 2) Don’t worry about how you dress.

Agenda

Buy your tickets in advance.  Some places say they may have tickets available at the door, but I wouldn’t suggest that unless it’s a small con that is really only catered towards the locals.

If this is your first con, I wouldn’t suggest going all out.  My biggest piece of advice to first timers is to look at the agenda before going and figure out a schedule.

If it’s a large con like San Diego, Celebration, or NYCC, be prepared to wait in line.  A lot.  You probably are only going to see 2-3 panels at most in one day.

In between waiting in line for 2+ hours for a panel that could be only 45 minutes, you’ll need to eat and sometimes it can also be a pain to find food at these places as well.  You can either buy in the convention center, which might also have a line, or outside the convention center which depending on where it’s located, you may need to do some exploring.  I’ve found the larger conventions often have food trucks, but those lines can be quite long and crazy as well.  Way back when (I sound old), they used to let you bring in snacks and your own drinks but I’ve begun to realize that some of them are starting to crack down.  It’s really not fun when you bring food and drinks in a backpack, only to have them throw away all your Chex Mix and water (waaaaaaa!).

One of the lines at SWCA (back when I had completely brown hair!)

One of the lines at SWCA (back when I had completely brown hair!)

I also suggest First Timers check out the exhibit hall.  No matter what kind of convention, you can almost always find something unique and different in the exhibit hall.  One of my favorite trinkets was from ConnectiCon where I bought these cute little Mario Kart keychains for my siblings and I.  I also got some delicious Dr. Who tea at Rhode Island Comic Con.

You can see why I say first timers should really plan out their day(s) well.  If you aren’t used to a con, it can be quite exhausting and before you know it – it’s time to leave and you didn’t get to see everything you were hoping to.

Dress

At my first cons, I only wore Star Wars shirts.   I still do sometimes when I want to “dress down”, but I think it’s more fun wearing a shirt with your allegiance/passion than attempting something more elaborate.  Once you have the rundown of cons and are a more experienced con goer, you’ll have a better idea of cosplay if you want to go that route and you’ll begin to make connections in that group to help get you started.

Keep it simple in the beginning so you can get into your groove.  Wearing something that shows your passion also helps spark conversations between people in line and you can make great memories that way.  Don’t be afraid to chat it up!  Most people waiting in line are just as bored as you are.

 

Not Your First Rodeo

I would not call myself an experienced con goer (now that I’ve had my little Jedi, I haven’t been to any cons this year, sadness), but I’m definitely not a newbie anymore either.  I cosplay occasionally in my Old Republic Jedi Knight outfit, which I guess may put me in a more intense category.

I created a “con packing list” for when I go to cons because I have forgotten things too many times, separated on whether or not they are day trips or I have to travel for them.

Day Cons

I classify “day cons” as cons that you can drive to and back from within a day.  Though you may go over multi-days, you don’t need to stay overnight in a hotel.  My day trip list consists of:

  • Convention pass. Don’t forget it.  I never have but really.  Don’t forget it…that’s why it’s on my list.  It’s one of those things you say to yourself, Cosplay is not consent“I’d never forget it,” and then you show up without it.
  • Backpack. I have a drawstring backpack with the Battlestar Galactica logo where I keep random things.  It’s also great for anything I buy there, but please note – I do not use my backpack when I cosplay unless I have no other choice.  Usually my friend who comes with me takes his backpack and is nice enough to let me store some stuff in there if I decide to cosplay.
  • Water and granola bars. Like I mentioned, some places are cracking down unfortunately, but I still try to get away with it.  You’re going to get hungry!!
  • Glasses. This is more personal to myself, but I hate contacts and glasses mess up my cosplay if I wear them all the time.  Yet I want to be able to see the panelists so I have to bring them separately.  Though the glasses might not apply to you, it’s similar to thinking about where to store your car keys, wallet, etc., if you cosplay.
  • Travel brush/touch up face paint. I wear my hair down a lot so throughout the day, my hair gets tangled.  The mini brush comes in use so that I can make my hair look great again, especially if there are photos!  This is the equivalent of someone who has painted their face for their character.  Instead of a brush, they would need to bring touch up paint because you do tend to sweat if you’re wearing a heavy costume.

Out-of-State Cons

Traveling for cons is a headache in and of itself.  There’s so much more to think about on top of your normal clothes and toiletries.

  • Convention pass. See above.
  • Oversized cosplay accessories and getting it to the con. I realized my error when I was packing for Celebration and my lightsaber blade would not fit in my suitcase.  I was so sure it would…but, nope, too long.  I had to leave it behind and only go with my hilt which was a bit of a bummer. But any kind of oversized accessory usually needs separate packaging to be checked in on the plane or shipped directly to the convention.
  • Makeup and/or facepaint. This is a given, but can be easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of getting ready.  If you are going as a character like Darth Maul, can you imagine if you forgot the iconic black and red facepaint?
  • Costume(s) and shoes. I mean, duh, but it’s on my list anyway.  For some reason I tend to forget the shoes, so I like to have that on the list.
  • One “dress down” outfit. I know a lot of people who cosplay a different outfit every day of the con, but I like to have one “off” day where I’m more relaxed.  In that case, I bring a Star Wars shirt, jeans, and sneakers to explore the con.

ricc-2015-gotsw

There you have it.  Conning 101.  I hope this helps someone along their Internet netherworld travels!

If you are interested in finding cons near you, a good place to start would be Eventbrite.  You can find events and comic cons in your area by searching keywords and by your location.

Did I forget anything?  Give me a shout-out if I’m missing a key thing here!

Scene it on Friday – ROTJ Scene #32

leia sharing food with wicket

Where the heck did these scout troopers come from??  Are they just hanging out all over Endor’s forests?  She was a long way from the shield generator.  Did maybe the other scout troopers call ahead and let them know their route?  Or are their tracking devices on all their bikes?  How did they find her???  Did they just hear her talking to Wicket?  This part is very suspicious…

leia looking for scout troopers

Reading this scene kind of made me have a new found love for Ewoks.  I know Null is probably cringing as I write this, but seriously, Wicket is pretty cute.  And reading this scene made me realize how much like a Border Collie Wicket is.  Intelligent, but cute and adorable at the same time.  I love Ewoks, despite many fans hatred for them.  This scene is a perfect example of how you shouldn’t ignore the little guy.  He may be beneath your notice (pun intended!) but that doesn’t mean you should discount him.

Another question that has been bothering me for, oh, about 12 years – what is that food that Leia gives to Wicket??  Everything in Star Wars has a name and when I tried to research this (again), I couldn’t find anything.  God forbid it’s just a “cracker”…no one in Star Wars would allow that.  So what is it?  I know…LEMBAS BREAD!  One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man!  No, but seriously, if anyone can find out what it is, you would be my hero for 5 minutes.  It’s one of those things that I think about every time I see this scene in the movie and then forget promptly later on.

Anyone notice that the description of Leia is that her “clothes are torn; she’s bruised and disheveled”?  Hmmm, I didn’t get that impression from the movie, haha.  She looked quite put together, but just a little shook up.

Anyway…it’s Halloween!  Anyone dressing up as a Star Wars character?  I’m donning my Old Republic Jedi Knight outfit today to hand out candy.  Anyone notice that kids seem to be coming earlier and earlier?  Maybe it’s just my area but when I was younger, my parents at least waited until 6pm.  I hope to see some little kids with Star Wars costumes.  Star Wars love all around!

leia and wicket

EXTERIOR: FOREST CLEARING – LEIA’S CRASH SITE

A strange little furry face with huge black eyes comes slowly into view. The creature is an EWOK, by the name of WICKET. He seems somewhat puzzled, and prods Leia with a spear. The princess groans; this frightens the stubby ball of fuzz and he prods her again. Leia sits up and stares at the three-foot-high Ewok. She tries to figure out where she is and what has happened. Her clothes are torn; she’s bruised and disheveled.

The Ewok jumps up and grabs a four-foot-long spear, which he holds in a defensive position. Leia watches him as he circles warily and begins poking her with the sharp point of the spear.

LEIA: Cut it out!

She stands up, and the Ewok quickly backs away.

LEIA: I’m not gonna hurt you.

Leia looks around at the dense forest, and at the charred remains of her speeder bike, then sits down, with a sigh, on a fallen log.

LEIA: Well, looks like I’m stuck here. Trouble is, I don’t know where here is.

She puts her head in her hands to rub away some of the soreness from her fall. She looks over at the watchful little Ewok and pats the log beside her.

LEIA: Well, maybe you can help me. Come on, sit down.

Wicket holds his spear up warily and growls at her like a puppy. Leia pats the log again.

LEIA: I promise I won’t hurt you. Now come here.

More growls and squeaks from the little bear creature.

LEIA: All right. You want something to eat?

She takes a scrap of food out of her pocket and offers it to him. Wicket takes a step backward, then cocks his head and moves cautiously toward Leia, chattering in his squeaky Ewok language.

LEIA: That’s right. Come on. Hmmm?

Sniffing the food curiously, the Ewok comes toward Leia and sits on the log beside her. She takes off her helmet, and the little creature jumps back, startled again. He runs along the log, pointing his spear at her and chattering a blue streak. Leia holds out the helmet to him.

LEIA: Look, it’s a hat. It’s not gonna hurt you.  Look. You’re a jittery little thing, aren’t you?

Reassured, Wicket lowers his spear and climbs back on the log, coming to investigate the helmet. Suddenly his ears perk up and he begins to sniff the air. He looks around warily, whispering some Ewokese warning to Leia.

LEIA: What is it?

Suddenly a laser bolt comes out of the foliage and explodes on the log next to Leia. Leia and Wicket both roll backwards off the log, hiding behind it. Leia holds her own laser gun ready, while Wicket disappears underneath the log. Another shot, and still no sight of anyone in the forest. Then Leia senses something and turns to find a large IMPERIAL SCOUT standing over her with his weapon pointed at her head. He reaches out his hand for her weapon.

SCOUT #l: Freeze! Come on, get up!

She hands the weapon over, as a second scout emerges from the foliage in front of the log.

SCOUT #1: Go get your ride and take her back to base.

SCOUT #2: Yes, sir.

The second scout starts toward his bike, as Wicket, crouched under the log, extends his spear and hits the first scout on the leg. The scout jumps and lets out an exclamation, and looks down at Wicket, puzzled. Leia grabs a branch and knocks him out. She dives for his laser pistol, and the second scout, now on his bike, takes off. Leia fires away and hits the escaping bike, causing it to crash into the first scout’s bike, which flies end over end and explodes. The forest is quiet once more. Wicket pokes his fuzzy head up from behind the log and regards Leia with new respect. He mumbles his awe. Leia hurries over, looking around all the time, and motions the chubby little creature into the dense foliage.

LEIA: Come on, let’s get outta here.

 As they move into the foliage, Wicket takes the lead. He shrieks and tugs at Leia to follow him.

To Rebel Legion?

I know most of you cannot help me with this conundrum that I’m in.  If you have been following my blog for a while, you know of my intense desire to be part of the Rebel Legion.  The Rebel Legion is a prestige costume group that occasionally gets hired by Lucasfilm itself to promote events.  They mainly work with charity groups and if you hire them for an event, they ask that you donate to a charity of their choice as opposed to paying the RL.

In order to become part of this group, you need to have a costume that has been evaluated and accepted by a judge within the group.  This is no mere costume.  There are a lot of requirements and it needs to be appropriate enough that if LFL does hire your “base” to be part of a local event in the area, your costume is up to par.

rebel legion logo

Ever since I saw the 501st (the Imperial counterpart) and RL at an event when I was 16, I wanted to be part of the Rebel Legion.  I wanted an Old Republic Jedi Knight costume just like Qui-Gon Jinn had and to be going to events with everyone else.  After 10 years of trying to get a costume done (it involved losing my original, driving 2 hours back and forth from Connecticut, and too much money spent), I finally finished it last year and was able to debut it at Boston Comic Con last August.

At Boston Comic Con, I took photos to submit for judgment from the Rebel Legion…

And I never submitted them.  After 10 years, I’m not sure if I want to be part of the RL anymore.   There are a multitude of reasons, mainly that I don’t want to add one more thing to my to do list (already I work a full-time job, am part of the Big Sister Organization, and am trying to start up my Virtual Assistant business).  But on top of that is the fact that I’m not sure I liked the dynamic within the organization too much.

I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, because how can you really know people or organization until you spend adequate amount of time with them?  But the people I did meet and talk with were not very receptive, friendly, or helpful during this process.  Instead of feeling like I was being welcomed, it often felt like a battle to try to get the costume done and figure out the right people to talk to.  I remember saying to myself that when I joined, I wanted to be a liaison to people trying to join so that I could help point them in the right direction and make them feel more welcome.  Now I don’t even want to join, and if I did, I don’t know if I’d want to bring the topic up and see if I could pull it off.

These thoughts have also been mulling about in my head ever since I overheard a colleague walking by the kitchen the other week talking about the 501st.  I got so excited that I ran after him and we talked about the legions and costuming in general.  He is an ex-501st member and his reason for leaving?  The internal politics and drama of the costuming groups.  Ugh.  It was almost as if my internal fears were confirmed.

I wanted to join the RL so badly because I had no outlet for the geeky Star Wars side of me.  None of my friends like Star Wars, my family isn’t that obsessed, and I wanted to be able to talk to someone, ANYONE, about Star Wars and not feel out of place.

rebel-legion

And then I began to realize…this blog has become that outlet for me.  I can write here and converse with other people about Star Wars.  It’s the outlet I needed, but never had for these past 10 years (okay, I did have a blog on hyperspace for 2 years but it wasn’t the same).  Here, I can write what I want and people actually have a conversation with me about Star Wars!  Imagine that.  Amazing. 😉 But seriously – I just want to say that you guys are the best!  All the people who comment and dialogue with me help me to feel more like myself everyday.

So I still don’t know if I’m going to join the Rebel Legion.  I know that as of right now, I won’t because I have too much on my plate.  I want to join because I know there are people in the group that I will really connect with if I just took the plunge.  But the internal politics and the fact that I now have this blog hold me back some.  If I ever need to take my Star Wars love to the next level, I know it’s waiting for me.

NYCC Recap

NYCC Recap

I know – I’m so late on this.  I am going to keep this short because I don’t feel justified in giving a super long account as I was only there on Friday.

How was NYCC different from any other con I’ve been to?

It was large.  Very large.  (That’s what she said.)  Wikipedia is telling me there was a whopping 133,000 people who attended!  That’s easiest the largest con I’ve ever been to.  Star Wars Celebration, last time I went, I think was around 60,000 and this is double.  I’m sure Saturday had the most people but wowza.  I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe and that you could barely walk in some places, but I’m surprised reading that number myself.

They had better panels with bigger actors/actresses and more interesting topics.  But the problem with bigger panels means that you have to wait in line longer to get into them.  That was a pain in the butt.  I feel like most of the time I was waiting in line and didn’t get half as much time to browse the exhibit floor as I would have liked.

Waiting in line is oh-so-much-fun

Waiting in line is oh-so-much-fun

I went to two panels: Game of Thrones with Jerome Flynn and Robot Chicken with Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer, Clare Grant, and Macaulay Culkin (yeah, that was random).  The Robot Chicken panel guys were hilarious and I loved seeing clips from the upcoming season and learning the process in which they make the show.  The Game of Thrones with Jerome Flynn was a little boring and I wish I had skipped it, because I ended up missing another panel that I was really interested in.

The Exhibit Hall was fantabulous.  It was huge.  There were so many different items to browse through and possibly buy.  Usually the cons I go to focus on either comics or collectibles, but this one ranged from the standards to casual clothing, knick knacks, steampunk, cosplay, and much more.  I bought some Luke Skywalker lightsaber chopsticks and a Chewbacca tank top from We Love Fine.  I’ve always loved the clothing by We Love Fine but never bought anything because I couldn’t justify the shipping and handling prices for a small piece of clothing.  I was thrilled to see their booth at NYCC and it was hard narrowing down my choices to one item I wanted to buy.

The cosplay at NYCC was above and beyond any other con I’ve gone too.  I was definitely one of the underdressed in terms of cosplay with my Old Republic Jedi.  Since I was only there Friday and the cosplay was great, I can’t imagine what it was like on Saturday when all the stops are pulled out.  There was a Game of Thrones group done by all women, which I loved, and tons of Star Wars cosplay.  Here’s a few of the more amusing ones that I took photos of.  Unfortunately, my phone completely died about half way through the con, so I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked.

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Okay, so that’s my little Friday recap.  I was wiped out after only one day.  My sister and fiancé are discussing going for the entire weekend next year, so I would definitely tag along if that were the case.  I can’t resist turning down a con adventure, even though it’ll be really tiring.

In personal news, my sister is getting married Friday!  I’m pretty excited to be the maid-of-honor (I refuse to say matron-of-honor because it sounds too old) and happy that she’s found her “one”.  And on top of that, he’s a Star Wars fan, so good choice!

I’ll be back to writing more Star Wars goodness next week.  I have a few posts that have been churning around in my head for a while and just have not had the chance to write them yet!

One last photo of awesomeness

One last photo of awesomeness