Star Wars Day

Taking a little detour from #TheBradshawChallenge momentarily to talk about Star Wars Day! May the 4th Be With You…always!! But especially today!

Let’s talk about ways you can celebrate!

1. Star Wars Marathon

This is the most ideal way to celebrate the day. But since the 4th falls on a Thursday this year, staying home and binge-watching Star Wars movies while eating a box of Wookie Cookies can be a little hard to accomplish. So maybe just choose your most favorite Star Wars movie and watch that today. My favorite is Return of the Jedi, so I will be watching that when I have a moment after work tonight!

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2. Rep Your Fandom

Another great way to celebrate today is to wear your fandom gear all day long! Here are some of my favorite Star Wars outfits as well as what I decided to wear today!

Today’s outfit:

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Other favorite Star Wars outfits:

styled by Star Wars Beep Boop Beep Clothing fblogger

Styled by Star Wars fblogger Her Universe

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3. Get in a Debate

Do you have anyone at work, at home, at the grocery story that likes Star Wars? Get in a debate with them. Say something about how much you love the prequels or that you think Jar Jar Binks isn’t the antichrist! That will kick start a quick conversation with any super fans in the vicinity and maybe make a new friend (or enemy depending on what you say!!)

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4. Spread the Love

A great way to decipher if someone is a true fan and potential new friend is to offer them the official greeting that must be said on Star Wars Day “May the 4th Be With You.” If someone says this to you, make sure to respond properly and to listen for those that do as well which is, of course… “And also with you!”

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5. Star Wars Book Club

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Shameless plug coming up. If you are interested in going deeper into the Star Wars Expanded Universe, then my Star Wars Book Club is exactly what you should discover today on Star Wars Day. Head over the Goodreads and see what we’ve already read and what we are planning to read and jump in as you’d like. This month’s book is Thrawn by the incomparable Timothy Zahn.

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6. Tweet, Like, Meme, Gif, Post, Gram, Tumble, etc.

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Today is a day to embrace the social media juggernaut. Jump in with all you have and get involved in the inevitable fan fest that happens across all social media platforms today. What’s your favorite Star Wars Movie, tell me on Twitter? Do you have a favorite meme, share it with me on Instagram? Looking for someone to engage in step 3 with, connect with me on Facebook…I can debate the virtues of Hayden Christensen all day long!!

Don’t fight it. Join me!!
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7. Go Shopping

Today is a great day to have a little Star Wars shopping spree. Plenty of shops are having specials today in honor of Star Wars Day. Here are some of my favorite places to procure Star Wars merch… Her Universe, Beep Boop Beep Clothing, Think Geek, my local Goodwill and Salvation Army, Disney Store, and Etsy.

There are so many other way to celebrate Star Wars Day too. What are you doing today??

And May the 4th Be With You!

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Book Sharing

I love books book club nerd blogger

I love books!

I love books book club nerd blogger

All kinds of books. Biographies, history, sci-fi, fantasy, romance and more. Books can take you away to exotic destinations like Narnia, Asgard, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, Oz, the planet Buzzell and beyond! And if you love books as much as I do, then come over to Instagram @nerdinthesand

In an effort to live a more minimal lifestyle, I’m attempting to pare down my collection of books. This is your gain, readers!! Cause instead of selling my books…I’m just giving them away! That’s right…they’re free. A couple books a week!

If you live in the US, like to read books and have an Instagram account then you could win them. This week I gave away Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and A Whole New World by Liz Braswell.

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I hope you’ll take my books off my hands and put them into your own! And as I find new reads that I simply love and can’t put down, I’ll make sure to let you know and share them as soon as I do actually put them down.

And for some other book related goodness, come on over to Goodreads and join my Star Wars Book Club!! We read Star Wars books and talk about them and we want you to join us!!Star Wars book club on Goodreads nerd blogger

A Thought on Alderaan

I want to take a moment and share a couple thoughts I’ve been having about the fateful planet of Alderaan.

Alderaan Star Wars

When we are first introduced to Alderaan (in Episode IV: A New Hope) it is the home world of the one and only Princess Leia. Which in and of itself is enough of a reason for us to care  about it’s fate, but beyond that we know nothing. We don’t know what it looks like, whether it’s a rocky planet or a lush planet, whether the people get along on Alderaan. Do some people side with the Empire and others with the Rebellion? The fact is, in those early moments of A New Hope, we know so little about Alderaan. Therefore, the fact that an entire planet is destroyed is tragic, yes. But we are not deeply invested in Alderaan itself.

Jump ahead to the prequels and the Clone Wars and Rebels and the comic books and the many novelizations both canon and legend that are out there. Some are chalk full of information about the mysterious planet of Alderaan. And just like that, years later…posthumously, we come to care for it quite a lot.

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We see what it looks like in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. We know more about Bail Organa and the upstanding man he is. The kind of man who would take an orphaned Leia and raise her has his own. The kind of man that believed in the Jedi to the bitter end. The kind of man that died on the planet of Alderaan that sad day when Governor Tarkin chose to use it as an example to keep the galaxy in line.

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It’s no longer a mysterious planet, it’s a tragic, ill-fated planet. Obi-Wan sensing that not only an entire planet full of people had been killed, but an old friend as well means that much more when we start to see the whole picture.

In some story telling, we may be treated to the whole picture from the get go. Like say…starting at the beginning and working through to the end, but not with Star Wars. No, we start in the middle of the story. Not knowing about Darth Vader and his past as Anakin Skywalker, hero of the Clone Wars. Not knowing about Alderaan, the peaceful planet with the beloved Bail Organa on it.

The more the picture broadens, the deeper we understand. The more we care. It’s what I love so much about Star Wars. It’s what keeps the expanded universe going. It’s what makes it so interesting.

Catalyst STar Wars book club December 2016

I’m currently reading Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel with my Goodreads book club, in preparation for Rogue One’s release on Thursday night. It deals directly with the creation of the dreaded Death Star and we learn that there are other planets that were sacrificed in order to create that monstrous weapon. Another poignant reason to remember poor Alderaan. I went back and watched A New Hope with this brand new information on my mind and it made the destruction of Alderaan so much more tragic and unbearable.

Alderaan…you went too soon. And we didn’t understand at the time or care as deeply as we do now…in the aftermath. But yes…now we know!

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The Redemption of Kylo Ren

The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!

Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.

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Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.

Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.

Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.

We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?

All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.

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In the meantime, I invite you to come join my Nerd in the City book club on Goodreads. So much delicious Star Wars Expanded Universe reading material to dive into and dissect!! Do not miss out!

Follow Friday

Follow Friday

You know what I love about Fridays? The fact that they always come back around again. Fridays never leave us nor forsake us, gentle reader! Fridays are steadfast and ever constant. And so shall my Follow Friday Blog series be.

I want to help you discover the multitude of internet talent that may be hiding just around the river bend. You deserve to enjoy fun photos, sweet music and hilarious posts that will help remind you that the world is a beautiful place and God put beautiful people in it!!

As always, if you have a suggestion you’d like to send my way for consideration please email me at: nerdinthecity01@gmail.com. I always love to hear from you, readers!!

Emo Kylo Ren on Twitter

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Do you love Star Wars? Did you see The Force Awakens and wonder to yourself “Hmmm…I wonder what kind of things that moody, little twerp Kylo Ren would tweet if they had such things as Twitter in that galaxy far, far away?” Well, wonder no more. Because Emo Kylo Ren exists for your reading pleasure on the Twittersphere!! And boy is he hilarious. Just take a look at the above tweets. There’s more where that came from. Go follow @KyloR3n right this instance!

Maxwell Glick on YouTube

Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Maxwell Glick aka Mr. Cheezy Pop. Maxwell is best known on the inter webs for his charming portrayal of Ricky Collins in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series (which again, if you haven’t seen…you must see immediately.) He was also in School of Thrones and Muzzled the Musical (both of which deserve your viewership as well.)

But it’s his You Tube channel that I want to draw your attention to. In this age of digital trolling and Trump on TV, it’s fair to say that we could all use a little positivity in our lives. And that’s exactly what Maxwell has to offer. He LOVES Disney and his channel has is a veritable treasure trove of fun including, but not limited to: original parody songs (my personal favorites,) Disney tours, reaction vidscommentary and a whole lot more.

The point I’m trying to make is that you should give Maxwell a try!!

Momma’s Gone City on Instagram

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Photo Courtesy of Momma’s Gone City

Meet Theo and Beau. A pair of best friends who love to take the most adorable naps together. Luckily mom, Jessica Shyba had the good sense to document the adorable that took place and put the resulting pictures up on Instagram, where these pictures feel right at home.

Beau was just a toddler when he found his new best friend in puppy, Theo. Both were tiny tykes when Jessica started out. They have both grown, but don’t worry the cute still continues in this family’s newest endeavor “Naptime with Theo and Beau.” A children’s book that is now available everywhere books are sold. And “Bathtime with Theo and Beau,” their follow-up book,  just landed in stores on January 19th, 2016.

But that isn’t all, in 2014 the family welcomed home Evvie, their newest edition. And guess what she loves to do…take naps with adorable animals like Theo and the family’s cat. Don’t miss a single moment of the adorable that this family has to offer with the popular hashtags: #TheoandBeau and #TheoandEvvie and of course @mommasgonecity herself!!

Reactor Radio Podcast

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Photo Courtesy of Reactor Radio

Marty, Michael, Brandon and Jared are four nerdy dudes who decided to start a podcast together. Each Tuesday on their weekly podcast, they break down what’s new, exciting, infuriating, etc. in pop culture. It could be a new trailer that dropped, a TV show pilot, a game launch…if it’s nerdy and they have a reaction, they’ll be discussing it on the podcast.

They occasionally have guest reactors including your truly! But don’t take my word for it. Check them out every week and make sure to weigh in on any reactions you may have or burning questions you want answered on their Twitter page.

Eh Bee Family on Vine

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Photo Courtesy of the Eh Bee Family

If you enjoy clean, fun, family entertainment then let me introduce you to the first family of Vine. The Eh Bee Family is a hilarious group consisting of Mom, Dad, Daughter and Son who love to tell funny 6 second stories on a daily basis. They have over 2 million followers on Vine and over 12 million followers word wide over various social media platforms. Check them out on You Tube, Instagram, Twitter and their native platform Vine. This group is safe to share with the little ones. The kids and parents alike are talented and have found a way to share the joy of their family with us all.

Emma Watson’s Book Club on Goodreads

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Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

Calling anyone who loves to read and believes in equality. Emma Watson has been working with UN Women and in an effort learn more about equality and to prepare for her role as feminist icon and all around lovely human being, Emma has started her own Book Club on Goodreads. The group is called “Our Shared Shelf” and the first book we’re reading is “My Life on the Road” by Gloria Steinem. The perfect choice for this group.

In a world where more and more people are escaping direct interaction with the online community due to the huge insurgence of internet trolls and hate mongering, Emma Watson takes a bold step towards greater connectivity with her fans and creating a conversation about equality that is positive and productive to the narrative of our culture. She has a big dream for the women of this world and she’s not afraid to share it!! So get onboard the Hogwarts Express…ok, I had to make a Potter reference somewhere!! Moral of the story is, join in!

And, of course, if you aren’t yet following little ole me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube, Pinterest, Podcast coming soon, Periscope (@nerdinthecity), Vine, Snapchat (@nerdinthesand) and on the very Blog you are currently reading, then now’s the time to pick your favorite platform, cause I have a little something for everyone!

Thanks for reading. Go forth and discover something or someone new!

Now What Do You Do?

If you haven’t yet seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, then I’d venture to say it’s only a matter of time till you do.

X-Wings Star Wars The Force Awakens recap blog

The biggest pop culture event of all time…even the Muggles want to be a part of this. There’s a lot of new people discovering the wonderful world of Star Wars. Maybe they just never devoted the time to watch all 6 movies before (or 3 if you’re a purist.) Maybe they thought it was kid’s stuff, but now are discovering the truth.

Inevitably they’re gonna reach a point where they’re going to wonder…”Now what?” It always happens after the excitement and fervor of a new movie dies down. It happens to me after binge-watching a show or reading a great book series or watching a new Star Wars movie. It’s hard because all you (I) want to do is immerse in the fictional world you’ve (I’ve) just been a part of. It recently happened to me after watching 4 straight seasons of Scandal. It happened after reading Harry Potter, but nowhere has it hit as hard as with the Star Wars Universe.

So…you’ve seen Star Wars. You’re in what Amazon likes to call a #Showhole. But there’s good news. This is where the fun begins. This is when you can start to discover what we die hard fans have been doing to stay in touch with that galaxy far, far away for years.

It’s called the Expanded Universe and it’s marvelous!

Here’s what you’re gonna do…If you’ve been living in a cave and have just emerged after 12 long years and haven’t had time to take a shower and get yourself to the movie theater quite yet…then Step 1 is pretty clear.

Complete Star Wars Saga. Episode I - VI

And if you haven’t gone back and watched the 6 movies that came before then…actually scratch that other Step 1… this is Step 1.

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Next up is the television universe created by Cartoon Network and Disney XD in the form of Clone Wars (seasons 1-6 available on Netflix) and Rebels (season 1 available on Netflix, season 2 currently airing on Disney XD.)

New Expanded Universe Novels by Disney Story Group

After watching all that, go to your local book store and pick up the newest novels in the Expanded Universe: Dark Disciple, Lords of the Sith, Tarkin, A New Dawn, Heir to the Jedi, Aftermath, Lost Stars, etc. These novels start to build the world around what you know and have seen on screen. They fill in the blanks and flesh out the questions. They also allow supporting characters to have rich story lines.

Star Wars Comic Books by Marvel

After you’ve read all that, head to your local comic book store and dive into the Expanded Universe created by Marvel Comics. The comic runs for Star Wars, Lando, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Kanan… The best thing about all this material is that is fits together like one giant puzzle. Each component working with the rest. It’s very impressive!

If you’ve done all that and are still thirsty for more. Go see Episode VII 2 or 3 or 12 more times so you know the dialogue by heart and then…

Go deep or go home.

Star Wars Legends Expanded Universe Timothy Zahn

The Star Wars Universe goes beyond Disney cannon. But I warn you, this step is not for the faint of heart. It involves heart break, misery and long hours reading amazing stories that are now considered mere Legend in the Star Wars Universe.

You wanted more and here it is! Silver platter not included!

My New Favorite Words…

I’d been begging D and H for weeks, to let me read Harry Potter to them. They hemmed. They hawed. They’d heard of Harry Potter, of course. Who hasn’t! But they just weren’t exactly eager to sit still for a chapter a night. However I persisted saying, “You’re gonna love it…I promise!”
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One night they finally relented and allowed me to read one chapter. Just one chapter. Which they fell asleep to. The next night they let me read another chapter and again…they fell asleep.
I was starting to despair. What if they didn’t like it? What if Chapter 2 was as far as we’d ever get? What if they’d never know the magic and wonders waiting for them at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry???
(First world problem…I know!)

But see, one of the great joys of nerdom is sharing favorite fandoms with the next generation. It’s the closest we can get to reading a favorite book or watching a favorite movie all over again, with fresh eyes. The kids had adored Back to the Future, were properly obsessed with all things Star Wars. But at 9 years old, they were the perfect age for Harry’s adventures! I didn’t want to miss this chance to introduce them to J.K.Rowling’s masterpiece.

But I repeat… they weren’t having any of it. Until one morning…right around chapter 5… I came downstairs, as usual. I grabbed my big cup of tea, asked the kids how they slept and what they wanted for breakfast, when D said these musical, magical, new favorite words….
“Lizzie, can we start reading more Harry Potter everyday?”
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I almost dropped my teacup out of pure shock and joy.

“Really?” I said hopefully.
“Yeah!” he said. “Could we even start now? And read this morning before school?”

I’m pretty sure my body did an involuntary, celebratory jig. Best…words…ever spoken by a 9 year old boy to me!!

They’re both hooked (D more than H, but I’ll take what I can get! The girl will get it soon!) They’re waiting with baited breath as we read chapter to chapter. They already love Hagrid, are intrigued by Harry and can’t wait to hear more about Hogwarts. D even said to me,

” Lizzie, you do really good voices. But if you need a goblin voice, I can do it. Cause I’m really good at minion impressions.”

Life is good. The torch is passed and I’m a happy little nerd!!

30 Days of Nerdy Hair – Day 22

Day 22: Susan Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia was one of my favorite book series when I was growing, and has remained so. The story of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie: the everyday British children that would become the kings and queens of the mythical, far off land of Narnia. It was such a magical story. And I still check the closets to see if I can find that magical land. (I haven’t yet, but hope is still alive!)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the 2nd book in the series, but the first movie that was made. And it was such a beautiful adaptation. Sadly the series wouldn’t make it past The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Which is a real shame because the stories, written by Clive Staples Lewis are richly and beautifully written.

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Aslan bestows the title of Queen Susan, the brave upon plain ole Susan Pevensie when she is crowned a queen of Narnia. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a spare crown lying around, like I do, you can easily just substitute it for a sparkly headband of some kind.

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“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia!”

NITC Book Club: Star Wars Edition

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This week I’m reading the first book in The Jedi Academy Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson, Jedi Search.

Don’t forget (as if you could) none of these are official canon anymore. So the events in these books are mere Legends. Simply good stories that may or may not have happened. I like to think of them as an alternate universe.

In Jedi Search we see the New Republic desperately trying to create alliances across the galaxy and bring new planets into their governmental system. Han and Chewie are sent on a diplomatic mission to Kessel (yes that is the very same Kessel that Han references in A New Hope) where they run into an old smuggling associate, one who has a grudge against Solo. Their mission goes awry and they are forced to work down in the dark spice mines of Kessel.

 Luke is on a mission to seek out new Jedi to teach about the ways of the Force while also trying to advance Leia’s force training. Jaina and Jacen Solo have returned from their seclusion as sassy 2 year old children who barely know their parents and are finding out their own force sensitivity.

Meanwhile, a new threat emerges. One that could turn the tide in the fight against the remnants of the Empire. A threat set into motion 10 years before by the deceased Grand Moff Tarkin himself.

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May the Force be with you…always!