Haiku Me Friday! Need my ice cream!

I need my ice cream
Even with my world ending
I can’t be without

When I took my husband to SWCA in 2015, he was alternately bemused and bored through most of the convention. However, he thought the Running of the Hoods was one of the funniest things he had ever seen.

When the Hoods came dashing through the floor and continued outside with everyone following their tail taking pictures, he was so baffled and knew it had to be an “inside” thing.

So I explained to him about the random guy running through Cloud City with an ice cream maker and how (of course) Star Wars fans noticed this, thought it was hilarious, and created an annual tradition at Celebrations around this, complete with cosplaying the character.

This “random guy” in ESB has a name of Willrow Hood. According to canon, he is not actually carrying an ice cream maker, but the computer’s memory core. But that’s not half as fun is it?

I think what really happened is that he has his priorities straight. I’m sure we’ve all thought – at some point in our lives – what would grab out of our house if it was on fire? Besides loved ones, what is the one item we’d grab? For Willrow Hood, it was ice cream. You never know if you’re going to get ice cream in other parts of the galaxy, right? Or maybe other ice cream just wasn’t as good.

So here’s to all the silly fans out there, the ones who invent events like the Running of the Hoods and create traditions that give me warm fuzzy feelings. I raise my glass to you!

And who knows? Perhaps one day I’ll convince my husband to cosplay as Willrow Hood.

 

Haiku Me Friday! The shield doors must be closed

Dread fills my inside
But I have no choice; door shuts
Was the right thing done?

When I went to Celebration/SWCA in 2015, there was a very interesting panel done on the music of the Empire Strikes Back.  They took all the music John Williams had written that was left on the cutting room floor per Lucas’ decision and played the original music where Williams intended them to go.  Some of it was silly – there was music with Luka and Yoda’s training that made you think it was a fun jaunt as opposed to serious preparation for facing a Sith Lord.

A lot of the music that was cut out of the final movie involved scenes at Hoth.  I remember vividly this scene: when the shield doors have to be shut for the night and Leia makes the hard, but right, decision to close the doors despite her two best friends being out in the freezing temperatures.  By closing the doors, she was signing a death sentence (and that’s not an easy thing to live with).

The music Williams had composed for this scene was full of trepidation, it was robust and deadly.  The music fit quite well and I think if it was in the movie, I would never have thought twice about it.

Yet George Lucas decided to leave it on the cutting floor.  This immediately turns the scene into an awkward, this-doesn’t-sit-well-with-me, uncomfortable feeling.  When there was music, the scene turned into a subconscious distraction for your feelings.  It’s almost like a glass of wine to handle the pain better.

But when the music is removed your feelings are left bare and you connect with Princess Leia in a raw, emotional way.  You feel what she feels: the indecision, the doubt, the regret, the fear – all happening as the loud shield doors pull to a close.  When they finally shut and you hear Chewie’s despairing howl, you get goosebumps.

Without the music, this scene turns authentic and harsh.  You are in the moment with Leia, Chewie, Artoo and Threepio.  Threepio’s assessment of the situation rings in your ears while they doors shut.

The odds of survival for Han and Luke are 775 to 1…and that is not very reassuring at all.

 

In case you were wondering what the scene sounds like with the original Williams music, I found it on YouTube.  Enjoy.

 

 

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.

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!

Five Best Feel Good Moments in Star Wars

Yes, I totally stole this from Insider again but I do love these sections they have where they ask someone to list five … somethings from Star Wars.  I did one two years ago with my favorite five visual moments and one in September with my five favorite aliens.

For this Insider (actually two Insiders ago now), they asked Dan Madsen for his favorite five feel-good moments.  He is Star Wars Insider’s founding editor and now publicist for Her Universe.

Here are what I think are the five best feel good moments in the Star Wars saga, listed with number one as my favorite.

 

5. Leia and Han Work it All Out

Leia and Han have accomplished their mission on Endor and look up into the sky to see the Death Star blow up.  Han expresses his concern for Luke but Leia knows he’s safe.  And Han, ever the gallant gentleman, finally concedes defeat in what he thinks is a love triangle and says he won’t get in the way when Luke returns.

Leia’s confused face then gets transferred to Han as she tells him that Luke is her brother.  Han works it all out, has a big smile and kisses her more sincerely.  Ah, l’amour.  Wicket jumps up like a priest officiating a ceremony and even Han doesn’t seem too annoyed at the Ewok.

It’s a small scene but one that warms my heart.

leia han endor

 

4. Han Solo Comes to the Rescue

Han Solo comes to the rescue quite a few times in Star Wars but the moment at the end of ANH definitely takes the cake.  I still get a fuzzy, happy feeling whenever you see him fly down to hit the TIE fighters with that bolt that sends Vader spinning off into space. you're all clear kid

“You’re all clear, kid.  Now, let’s blow this thing and go home!”

Luke then uses the Force and sends the proton torpedoes straight into the exhaust port.  As the Death Star blows up and the ships race away, it was all because Han Solo decided the Rebellion meant more to him than money.

But there’s something about that line that makes me want to whoop for joy and you feel this surge of hope.  The underdog comes out ahead and there really is nothing more feel-good than that.  (Kind of like when the Patriots won their first Superbowl with Tom Brady and no one thought they would.   Yes, I had to go there.)

 

3. Vader Burns/Ewok Celebration

It’s hard to define Vader’s burning as a “feel good” moment, but for many years it was one for me.  There was a definitive end and peaceful feeling about everything.  Luke knew about his family history, had been faced with the dark side and overcame it, had redeemed his father, and the Emperor was killed.  The burning was symbolic of his past, letting go, and moving forward.

The beautiful transition (with the Force theme) from the funeral pyre to the night sky/fireworks and the Ewoks celebrating gave you this moment of all is right in the world.

As a child, I loved the ending of ROTJ.  It wasn’t until many years later when people complained that it was simplistic and had been wrapped too nicely with a bow on top, that I began to see it differently.

My fear now is that my children will never understand the feel good moments of that ending because they will always know that there is more to the story.  In a way, with Disney taking over, we’ve lost the simplicity of Star Wars that was so clear in ROTJ: it all worked out, everything was okay, and good prevailed.

I cherish the ending though because it reminds me of my childhood when things were more black and white.

 

2. “Chewie, We’re Home.” – TFA Trailer

This instance is too personal for me not to put it in.  I saw this at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last year.  We had been waiting in line since han chewie TFA6:00am for this panel that included JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and members of the old cast and new.  Everyone was hoping and praying that they would release a new trailer during this panel for TFA and they did not disappoint.

When the lights darkened and our lightsabers lit up the room, the feeling of intense emotion was inescapable.  We all held our breaths, I think, for the entire trailer and that last moment when Han and Chewie board the Falcon and he goes, “Chewie, we’re home,”…there was an explosion throughout that room at the Anaheim Convention Center.

I was swept up in the passion that you can only get when surrounded by thousands of other Star Wars fans who love and adore the series as much as you do.  When Abrams asked if we wanted to see the trailer again, it was met with a deafening, affirmative roar.

The moment in the movie is good, but it will never replace that moment in the teaser trailer and the feel-good memories I take away from it.

 

1. Yoda Lifts the X-Wing from the Swamp

There’s something about this scene that seems to define Star Wars.

Yoda is so diminutive and up until this point, he had trained Luke and had a lot of knowledge of the Force, but did he actually use the Force?

So I can totally understand when Luke gets frustrated and walks away saying, “You want the impossible.”  What he should have said is, “Oh really Yoda?  If you’re that awesome, why don’t you do it yourself?!”  Because that’s how I would be feeling if my only mode of transportation sunk into the grimy lakes of Dagobah, never to be seen again.  Luke then walks away in frustration, which is quite mature.  I might have “by mistake” kicked the little Jedi Master as I walked by.

Then you see Yoda take a deep breath and concentrate, outstretch his arm, Artoo freaks out, and the crescendo music as he lifts Luke’s x-wing out of the swamp is a moment so magical and makes you feel so good.

It sums up the Star Wars experience for me.  You get it in that moment.

The impossible can be possible.

Judge me by my size, do you?

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.

 

What was most interesting to me is that none of these moments include the Prequels.  I did try hard to think of one from the Prequels, but they are definitely more somber than the Original Trilogy.  The only thing that kind of came close was Anakin winning the Boonta Eve Podrace.  But…with that, I knew it was going to happen, so the feel good moment lost some of its edge when you can predict the outcome.

 

Can you guys think of any PT moments that could make it on this list?  Or is there anything I forgot on this list out of all seven movies?