Tag Archives: Star Wars

For the Nerds

You know, I never really thought I would find “for the nerds” a clever phrase. But placing it in my title I see a little wordplay for the phrase “for the birds” as in “That’s for the birds” referring to something trivial.

I think nerds are into many things trivial. We take the trivial and we expand it so that it DOES matter. Let’s start at a basic concept, Movies. We will even go genre that’s common for nerds, science fiction. Let’s pick an obvious (and my favorite) choice here, Star Wars.

Star Wars released and it was sort of capitalizing on the fun fantasy adventure driven interest of many people. It was a movie, it had revolutionary special effects, but it was more than a medium for a test, it was among other things, a spectacular marketing for merchandise.

Soon people were buying action figures, playsets, posters, costumes, and even comics. What started as a fun movie, exploded into a giant franchise. The merchandising only served to perpetuate future movies and marketing power. Then as children became young adults and later “real” adults, many of them favored moments in those movies, or playing with their toys. They reveled in things that were, even though they were simply fiction. The need for stories and other star wars memorabilia only grew, giving way to a full culture of people who were proud of their collections or analysis or imaginations of the Star Wars universe.

But for every Star Wars like boom of culture, there is thousands of movies and tv shows that become nothing but dust in the wind as only a select few people will carry any thoughts of fondness of these obscure creations.

Something like Star Wars though? It’s grown so big, that people can now divide themselves further. Me? I have to keep track of 2 universes because of how much “Legends” content was moved to non canon. dozens of books I read in a fictional universe only to be told that they no longer were correct and that there would be a series of correct or canon stories to replace them. Some of these stories do contradict each other and my favorite characters do not even have a place in the current Star Wars timeline. Then you have other people who swear only the original trilogy is worth it. Others still arguing the prequel trilogy was a better collection of stories. You have arguments about what was good and isn’t. Whether light whips were effective or just flashy. You have such a large culture that even people who would not identify as nerds know and may even like Star Wars.

That’s thanks to nerds (and great marketing) carrying that forward a few decades. I thought I would write more about this, but I’m far too distracted at the moment. Just know that while some things are just for the nerds, the power (of greyskull) is in our hands.

 

Force Friday (A tad late)

I meant to do a post about Force Friday as an attempt to do a Nerditorial revival. For those that care, the nerditorial idea is a just an intended weekly post about different stuff I like to talk or be obsessed about. Force Friday was a marketing event planned some time ago and announced back in this past May. It was September 4th and many stores did things like open at midnight to showcase and sell the new star wars merchandise.

Now, I’m a huge star wars fan, so I had to go. Of course having no job is a tad bumming. Luckily, my birthday was within the following week and my mom had the great kindness to give me cash for this event. Yes, I know how much like a child I sound. No, I give zero effs. So yeah, the 3rd came quickly and I rounded up a friend to do this with. We went to Target first, knowing that they were doing a raffle for this huge plush of Chewbacca.

We stand in line for an hour. Talking a little trash about how these people are here and some are more on the hype train than the star wars fanatics. Like it’s just a thing for them to do. At first I feel a tad offended hearing some of the comments rolling around, displaying clear and painful star wars ignorance. Then I remind myself, we can all love star wars differently and to different extents.

A guy stands in front me. He’s been largely quiet. It’s now about 10 minutes until the line to select merchandise starts moving. I point to his amazingly rad jacket and whisper praise to my friend, or at least I did when we first got there. It was a leather varsity type jacket. It had little button-LED like nubs on it. The title stitched in the upper left corner of the image read “Return of the Jedi” and it featured a TIE Interceptor chasing an X-Wing. there was an explosion featured near the Interceptor.

Anyway, the Target employee says how excited he is for the new star wars film and merchandise and that he and his team have been waiting all week for this event. Blah blah, get to the good stuff. The crowded line starts up chatter.

“What are you most excited for?”
“The new movie is gonna be so sick!”
“Kylo Ren’s lightsaber is so badass.”

I indulge some of the comments. While I disagree with others, I know Star Wars can be something great to everyone, even if what I like is different.

The guy in front of me turns around.
“Hey, check this out.” and he thumbs at the image I kept being hypnotized by. The stars twinkle. I knew it! LEDs!
“That’s awesome!”
“Yeah? What about this?”
And lasers emit from the interceptor in a pattern to show it’s path and movement. Hadn’t caught those, so awesome.

I probably looked like I was ready to drown in a pool of my own drool.

That aside, we have some light conversation for a bit. I start getting really excited. We eventually make it to the front of the line while we wait on the other shoppers, we can stare into the area we are about to ravage. The new lego X-Wing set, Poe’s X-Wing catches my eye. I want it so bad, but that would be virtually all my gift money, plus the coupon at target wasn’t valid on legos, so despite making me salivate, the thought gets filed away for a later date. I see the black series figure vehicles on the end cap. And the pop vinyl figures on a display. I make note of the of other black series stuff I had an interest in.

Then we’re told we can go. I make a stunted rush toward the pops at first. Then I spin to the right, almost whipping into a person also staring excitedly at the pops. I dart to the end cap. All the vehicles are there. And much cheaper than I thought. I start trying to gather one of each. manage to get 8 of the 10. Then I hop back to the pops. Start collecting one of every type.

“Crap. I should have got the ones that had only one left first.” I tell my friend afterr seeing the last stormtrooper and BB-8 droid snapped away in front of me. I had prioritized them lower since they weren’t characters I was super interested in. I reach for the last Captain Phasma and a guy to my right says he saw it first. Also the guy who took the last BB-8 droid. I hesitate. My hand was on it first, but I can always find it later. I retreat and offer it to him.
“You reached for it first bud. I may have seen it, but I think we all did”
“Thanks man, you got the last droid too. So, we’re even… or something.” I smile to show my gratitude.

I picked up a 6″ black series of Kylo Ren before determining my trip was done. I waited around for the raffle of the first Chewbacca, didn’t win. Scrambled up front to check out. was 3 dollars short of getting $25 off my purchase, so I had the cashier hold my stuff while I went and searched some more. I got a 9th vehicle before heading back up.

I made it back just in time for the second raffle.
Still did not win.

A guy turns to me.
“You staying for the last raffle?” he asks.
“Yeah, that’s why I came to Target first.”
“Well. Reach in there. Grab my wallet. Don’t.” he laughs in the middle of his words “..ah don’t run off with it. If you don’t, you can have my ticket in there.”
“Whoa, really? You sure?” I asked, probably excitement dripping off me.
“Yeah, we got to go to one more place before this is done.”
I take the ticket.
He tells me good luck and leaves.
After he turns I shout “May the Force be with you”.

While I teased my friend what I would do if I won the stranger’s ticket. I told myself that if I won with his, it needed to go to one of the few kids present. It would be generosity that won it in that case, and I couldn’t feel right taking that prize home on someone’s kindness. I settled in the idea that it would mean a lot more to a kid than it would me, but still allowed me to be greedy and hopeful I would win on my own ticket.

The 3rd and final raffle ticket was called. Didn’t win. No one claimed. They shout it again, because this happened the first raffle and the lady was out of earshot, resulting in a problem. No one comes forward. They call a new number, I listen for the final three digits, the first one was off for both my tickets. I sighed in defeat, also relieved that I didn’t have to find a kid to offer chewbacca to without upsetting someone else.

We did a little more that night. But that thought of generosity didn’t leave me. That’s the person I always want to be. Even when it’s things I really, really want for myself. It’s that sort of spirit that makes the culture have the potential to be awesome and something more than just movies, books, and games. But the night ended with me satisfied for my loot. Oh so satisfied.

I want to talk some about collectibles and merchandise next time I get around to writing and working on the nerditorial. So I hope that happens soon, other than that, hope my narrative wasn’t terrible boring while also offering a bit of insight to my hapless charity.

Good night all. And may the Force be with you, Always.

The Force is Strong in This One

So it’s Star Wars Day. May the 4th what have you. I didn’t do anything in particular for the day last year, but I regretted it. This year, I’m watching at least A New Hope on the old non remastered VHS, of which I own 3 copies, can’t be too careful. But, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show people what Star Wars means to me and to kick off a new section I’m hoping to do weekly referred to as the “Nerditorial”.

So, yeah, I’m a nerd. A big one. Especially where Star Wars is involved. Let’s take a trip through the past and examine my love for Star Wars. First off, I was born in ’90 so I didn’t get to take part of the original theatrical releases or get any of the original action figures or involve myself in anyway with that good stuff. But my family owned the remastered VHS trilogy, the ones where Lucas has interviews at the start of each film.

At the time of watching it, I recall I was confused why I was watching a gray haired man talk when I was promised lots of space lasers and action. As a kid I never paid attention to those interviews, but I really enjoyed the films. They were probably my favorite. Like all kids I had a “goto” movie, and it was Empire Strikes Back, I loved the AT-ATs at the beginning and seeing these other little ships zoom around with tow cables to trip them was fascinating. But as a kid, it was just that, my favorite movie, I had little exposure to it otherwise.

My Christmas when I was 6 I believe, I received a ton of star wars action figures. As well as an X-Wing that made Artoo noises and the modified YT-1300 Corellian Freighter belonging to a certain scoundrel and his Wookie copilot. I speak of course of the beloved Millenium Falcon. Best Christmas ever. I remember going to bed sometimes with those action figures which eventually resulted in some broken hands and stuff like that, but I didn’t care, they were mine and they were Star Wars.

Just within the past couple of years I sold all of those toys, still in mostly good shape, obviously they were well loved and played with though. I liked the idea of some other kid getting those toys and thinking they were a passage to dozens of different planets and adventures featuring the Force.

Anyway, then episode 1 came out, I was still a young kid, it was before my dad’s accident. He wanted to take me and we all went. I loved it, granted I’ve a few issues with it now, but it’s still Star Wars, and I certainly loved it without hesitation then. My dad had his accident shortly after that, I remember I had to see Attack of the Clones with my big sis from the “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program. And then I saw Revenge of the Sith a few times in theaters.

However, it was sometime after episode 1 my love for Star Wars shot through the roof. My dad had his accident and even after he awoke from the coma, we were still spending lots of time in the hospital, then subsequently the nursing home. I needed things to distract me, so I took up reading. My mom would take me to the downtown library every now and again and eventually I would stumble on “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” a collection of short stories from different authors featuring those that do best in a “wretched hive of scum and villainy”.

Then I wanted more books featuring these characters I loved as a kid. I had spent some of my birthday money to get 3 of the “New Essential Guides” to various star wars things, I don’t rightly recall which 3, characters, vehicles and weapons I think. And I took those books everywhere. On the covers of the new ones it reads “Updated for the Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and The New Jedi Order!”

The first two I recognized as the newest Star Wars movies, the third struck me as odd. Perusing through more Star Wars books later on I found out it was a series of books. So, I of course bought the first, Vector Prime. I’ll be honest, I never went through the full series, I read like the first 6 or 7 books, that was it. But it was captivating, it allowed me an escape from the world where my dad was more than just handicapped and more than that it allowed me escape from the bullies.

I was bullied a lot in middle school, A LOT. I’m talking randomly punched in the face, shoved against lockers, used condoms thrown at you, take your lunch away kind of bullied. But Star Wars helped me.

The bus rides were the worst by far. Bus driver didn’t give two shits if a kid was being assaulted on his bus or anything else for that matter. That was pretty frequent unfortunately. Amidst all the name calling and slaps to the face, choke holds and wads of gum or lollipops being flung into my hair, I remembered Star Wars.

Sometimes they’d ask me rhetorical questions where I would get the bad result regardless. I would just talk about Star Wars, at first it perplexed them and bought me moments of reprieve while their brute brains tried to discern what I just said to them. Was it an insult? They couldn’t comprehend.

Soon though that lost its novelty, but I continued to do it. It was partially about defiance and partially about being proud of these things I loved. When I would get accosted in whatever variety, I might pretend I was Luke Skywalker and merely being put through trials. I would imagine I could feel the flow of the Force and it would sustain me long enough to get home where I could then fall apart. I would remind myself of various trivia to put my mind somewhere else, escape what I was enduring. Han Solo has a DL-44 Heavy Blaster, don’t you forget that.

Between my father’s accident and my constant bullying, I had a dire need to escape. And that’s just what Star Wars could provide. Now, I’m older, a bit more mature, my interests slightly more refined. I sit at a desk with two monitors placed on it, behind there is a wall covered in Star Wars action figures and memorabilia. I have a Star Wars designer watch just to my left of the keyboard. On the inside of my door, mounted to it is Boba Fett from the re-release of the movies in the theaters, it’s one of those cardboard standees. Glancing behind me at my bookshelf yields a couple dozen star wars books, some read, some not, my Star Wars RPG books, a few figures from the Star Wars X-Wing miniature tabletop game (which is effing fantastic) and a few more star wars action figures. I have star wars variants of common board games, including Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, a measuring cup set my friend got me that stacks together to make Artoo. I have dozens of those burger king toys and a few of the watches. I have star wars pins from various events. I have lots of star wars comics and posters and other things that are easy for me to forget about, but I know one thing, Star Wars is part of me, who I am, it’s a culture and way of life, and I’m glad to say that.

Whoo, that was long winded, but I think a good entry to the Nerditorial, hope you had fun reading it and of course, May the Force be with you!