I Know the Power of the Dark Side

Photo from TeePublic.com

I gotta tell you, after the news of not one, but three shootings in the last 2 months, as well as (and more emotionally jarring for me) the murder of a friend, I understand the power of the Dark Side. I understand the temptation to lean into that power and the strength that comes from my anger. It gives me focus…makes me stronger. (where have I heard that before…)

It’s a righteous response to hearing about a crime that strips innocence and kindness down to a headline in a newspaper. There is power in the feeling, in the emotion.

It’s why the Jedi teach peace over emotion. It’s why they teach serenity over passion.

But today I don’t want peace and I don’t want serenity! I don’t want to seek knowledge. I don’t want harmony. I don’t want to understand or forgive. I want revenge.

I do.

In my heart, in my head, down to my fingertips, in my gut I want swift justice for the men and women mowed down by yet another gunman whose story somehow gets amplified above the stories of his victims. I want swift justice for one of the kindest, most faithful men at my church who was brutally killed. That’s what I want.

The Dark Side calls in moments of high emotion.

The Dark Side seems to have all the answers.

The Dark Side beckons!

But that’s why we (I) have to take extra care to fight for the Light. We (I) have to be vigilant in times of high emotion, in times of pain because these are the times when that Darkness feels comforting. Think of your warm, safe bed. All the lights are off. It’s safe there. It’s comfortable to be wrapped up in that blanket of Darkness and block out all Light.

I’m sure that’s what the congregation of First Baptist of Sutherland Springs wants to do. I’m sure it’s what the citizens of Las Vegas wanted and probably still want to do. And the families of the people mowed down in New York City and on and on and on.

These stories aren’t going away. The world isn’t going to just heal on it’s own. And it is so damn easy to just become numb to it. That’s what the Dark Side will do. It allows numbness to filter in till you can’t feel the pain anymore. And even worse…it tells you that numbness is what you need. It tells you it’s normal.

So, yeah…I know the power of the Dark Side. I feel it, even today, coursing through me. If I could tap into the power of the Force, I’m not sure I’d use my powers for good today. To be honest…it would be a struggle.

But the Emperor hasn’t won yet…the Dark Side has not taken over! The Light is still there and it reminds me of who I am. I use this Star Wars analogy today to add lightness to the pain of these tragedies. But the truth is that these are heavy weights that our country seems to carry more and more of around our collective necks. Salvation rests in believing that we were meant for more and loving beyond our understanding.

The Darkness lets me wish the man who killed my friend would meet with “eye for an eye” justice. But the Light…the Light challenges me to find compassion for the 23 year old who took his own life in a jail cell last Friday after having committed the crime against my friend. One path is much easier…one path is swift and far less complicated. Far less messy. Last week, the Darkness won my thoughts, but today I feel the Light remind me of what is good and pure and beautiful about this world and I think I have it in me to forgive.

Thrift Store Cosplay Big Finale!!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31: Star Wars Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker fashion blog post

Thrift Store Cosplay fashion blogger nerd post Instagram challenge

Day 31: Princess Leia, Han Solo & Luke Skywalker

Today is the final day of my thrift store cosplay series. I really hope you all have enjoyed my shopping adventures. I certainly had a blast doing it! And now my wardrobe is tricked out!!

I wanna hear what your favorites were and if this inspired you at any point to give your local thrift stores a try. Is there a cosplay you think I should resurrect for Halloween in October? Or a character you’d like to see me try for the next series? Let me know!!

For the big finale, I pulled out all the stops and I’m bringing you characters from my favorite movie franchise of all time. This should come as no surprise…it’s Star Wars. I chose Star Wars! A Princess, a Scoundrel and a Farm Boy!! Enjoy!

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31: Star Wars Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker fashion blog post

Princess Leia:

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31 grand finale Princess Leia Star Wars fashion blog post

Dress from Plato’s Closet

Shoes from OMG Thrift

Belt from Goodwill

Han Solo:

Han Solo thrift store cosplay

Vest, Pants and Belt from Goodwill

White Shirt from Plato’s Closet

Boots from my shoe closet

Luke Skywalker:

Thrift Store Cosplay Day 31 grand finale Luke Skywalker Star Wars

Tunic, Pants & Shoes from Goodwill

Belt from Salvation Army

Dating and Star Wars

Star Wars blog post

It was a blind date…plain and simple. I walked into it with the lowest of expectations, because experience had taught me to be cautious and common sense had taught me to be sensible. I wasn’t bitter or jaded about the endeavor…not yet, at least. Just realistic, something I try very hard not to be on a regular basis.

I walked in head held higher than my hopes. Because I am a people person. Talking…I’m good at that. And after all, a blind date need only go on as long as you want it to. What’s the worst that could possibly have happened?

We sat down, ordered drinks and immediately dove for the basket of bread at the same time. Bread is a comfort food and clearly we were both feeling the kind of discomfort that can only come when a friend of a friend sets you up with a friend of a friend’s friend. Or however the hell fate had brought us together that night.

The first question he thought of was “what’s your favorite movie?” A seemingly innocuous question for anyone…anyone but me, that is.

Because I don’t just have a favorite movie…I have a favorite movement. I have a favorite fandom! I have something that dominates a lot of my brain space and most of my wardrobe!! I have…STAR WARS!!!

Star Wars blog post

Now, when it comes to dating, there are a lot of things…”skeletons”…that belong in a person’s closet until someone know’s you better than what is possible on a first date. My love of Star Wars turned out to be a skeleton that I should have left buried in my closet. But this was before I knew that I wasn’t supposed to tell boys on dates that I liked loved LIVED Star Wars.

Moments after the question came tumbling out of his mouth, I quickly responded with a short and sweet, “Star Wars!”

Intrigued, he opened Pandora’s box and asked, “Oh yeah, which one?”

I smiled to myself and said, “All of them.”

“No!” he said. “Which of the movies is your favorite one?”

“Well,” I said. “The Empire Strikes back is arguably the best of all of them. Though, we have to ask ourselves…where would we be without A New Hope? And yet, if I’m being honest…it’s Return of the Jedi that tugs hardest at my heart strings. Something about the Throne Room scene has always captivated me the most. As Luke wrestles with his darker nature, the Emperor slowly starts to lose his grip on his most prized apprentice. Which brings me to the prequels…I personally love all of them too. The overarching story of Anakin Skywalker’s descent into darkness and inevitable betrayal of the Jedi forces me to ask so many questions about the movie franchise I grew up with and love dearly. That’s so interesting to me. Sure…sure…they’re flawed movies. But that doesn’t diminish their value to the franchise overall, in my opinion. Does…does that answer your question?”

With a vaguely terrified look on his face, he responded, “I liked the first one.” As he rolled his eyes and ducked his head, I knew…this date was over.

Now, some may think my answer was a bit showy, possibly a display of nerd elitism…but I assure you, it was an answer that came from the purest place in my heart. A place that just wanted to find commonality in the midst of adversity. And yet, this man was immediately disinterested in me based on my lengthy answer to his simple question.

I’ve learned over the years that this question is best answered with much more care than I gave it on that date. Perhaps I should have said less and smiled more. But that’s just not who I am. And isn’t the point of a first date to get to know the other person and show them who you are? Wasn’t that what I was doing? Like a bull in a China shop, I had wrecked the whole damn thing.

I set my bread down on my napkin, thanked him for his time and I left. The look on his face told me all I needed to know. In his eyes…I was a freak. A Star Wars freak! Little did he know…that was perfectly fine with me!

I didn’t leave the date because Star Wars is a deal breaker…though now, it totally is! I didn’t leave because he seemed mildly intimidated and borderline afraid of me. I left because I may not have known him, but I know me! If he was turned off by my passion for Star Wars and couldn’t even understand it in the least, meaning he didn’t feel as passionately about anything as much as I do about that galaxy far, far away….then, what was the point of wasting an hour of small talk on him. Or of him wasting his time on me?

Some people just aren’t meant to be together. And we were a case in point.

I choose my words more carefully when on blind dates these days. I keep my skeleton in the closet longer than I used to, but not too long. I won’t hide who I am. And if they don’t like it, I ain’t interested. And, come on! There are way worse skeletons you could have in your closet than some handmade Padmé cosplay, a Darth Maul lightsaber, a wardrobe full of Star Wars t-shirts, a book case full of Star Wars novels (both Legends and new Disney canon) and the ability to recite from memory most, if not all, of the original trilogy.

Hell, a first date spent debating the evils and virtues of Jar Jar Binks would be a success in my book. Is that too high a bar to set? I think not!

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

Star Wars book club on Goodreads nerd blogger

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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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.

A Thought on Alderaan blog post Star Wars

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.

Bail Organa a Thought on Alderaan Star Wars blog post

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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Bun Challenge

#12Days of Star Wars Instagram Challenge Nerds

Perhaps you’ve seen the popular Instagram account @willitbeard and if you haven’t, prepare to be delighted by Pierce Thiot and his beard. Pierce posed the question “Will it Beard?” And has set out to see exactly what kind of everyday objects, foods, toys, etc will fit in his beard and stay in his beard. Check it out:

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Pierce inspired me and gave me an idea for #12DaysofStarWars …

I call it the Bun Challenge and I’m asking you… #willitBUN

Here’s the gist: What can you strap to your head that will give you Princess Leia buns. Cinnamon buns (rather obvious), toy tires, buns made of Lego, buns made of cookie dough? Let your imagination take you away and make sure to post pictures to Instagram (@nerdinthesand) and Twitter (@nerdinthecity) with the hashtags #12DaysofStarWars and #WillitBun

I have an awesome giveaway and every picture you post and tag me in will get you an entry! Giveaway winner will be chosen on 12.8.16 at midnight! Happy Bunning!

Here’s the first one I came up with today…rather easy and obvious, but ya gotta start somewhere!

Star Wars Instagram Bun Challenge #WillitBun STarbucks bagels PRincess Leia

Bagel Buns (bagels fresh from Starbucks and yep…I bought 2 bagels just to pin to my hair! That really happened! It’s called dedication!)

Can’t wait to see what YOU come up with!

Prequels and Sequels and Spinoffs, Oh My!

If you are someone who is tired of seeing the same 7 or 8 franchises roll into theaters time and time again, I feel bad for ya, son. I got 99 problems, but that is definitely not one of them!

I LOVE them! And I’m not saying all of them or any of them deserve Oscars.

Look…it’s true, some of them are not good at all! But for every stinking sequel there’s a Force Awakens. For every sloppy spinoff, there’s an Agent Carter (her cancellation is not her fault!) or a Rogue One (which I’m already certain will be blowing us all away in under a month.) And for every poorly written prequel there’s a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And I’d watch a thousand bad prequels for the chance to get something as delightful as Fantastic Beasts in front of my eyes!!

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We are certainly living in the age of reboots, re-imaginings and big budget franchises. But again I say, I LOVE IT! When word broke that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and there would be a slew of new stories from that galaxy far, far away I was overjoyed. I love expanded universes. The deeper a story goes, the more involved it gets, the more I can lose myself in the fiction. That’s what makes the worlds of Harry Potter, Marvel and Star Wars so compelling and why they inspire the ticket and merchandise sales that they do.

Do you run the risk of overkilling something people dearly love? Of course. But the alternative is putting that franchise up in a box never to be touched. Never to be reimagined by someone who comes along and loves the world JK Rowling has created as much as JK herself. Art imitating and inspired by art is such a cool thing.

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JJ Abrams grew up on Star Wars, got into movies because of Star Wars and there he was directing his very own Star Wars movie. No matter what you thought about the film itself, doesn’t that inspire you?! JJ is one of us, one of our people (we the geeks) and he got to do what so many of us have only dreamed.

Just think, Harry Potter fans…think of the possibilities that the Wizarding World of JK Rowling holds for you. That world is not closed off. It’s not a 7 book, 8 movie story. There’s so much more and that means big things for you and your imagination!

So I say, prequel it up all you want, Hollywood. Just use Fantastic Beasts as a barometer on how to do it and do it well.

30 Days of Nerdy Hair – Day 17

30 Days of Nerdy Hair blog post

Day 17: Padme Amidala from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

30 Days of Nerdy Hair Day 17 Padme Amidala Star Wars Episode I THe Phantom Menace hair blog post

30 Days of Nerdy Hair Day 17 Padme Amidala Star wArs Episode I The Phantom Menace hair blog post

Rogue One

Freaking Excited Kristen wig gif Star Wars Rogue One Trailer blog post

If I was any more excited I think my head might explode!! (I guess head exploding will come on December 16th, cause…DANG!)

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If you haven’t seen the Rogue One trailer, I feel bad for ya son, I got 99 problems, but not seeing that trailer ain’t one!! Watch below:

Things that I’m excited for besides all of it…

 

ALL OF IT!!!!

Freaking Excited Kristen wig gif Star Wars Rogue One Trailer blog post