Would You Survive Order 66?

Poor Plo Koon....\ Image: Savanna Kiefer
Poor Plo Koon….\ Image: Savanna Kiefer

Order 66 is the order that was given by Darth Sidious (the evil ego of Chancellor Palpatine) to the clone troopers to kill the Jedi they had been serving alongside during the Clone Wars. The desolation of the Jedi is one of the most significant events in the Star Wars universe. Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda famously escaped their own executions, while many younglings and other Jedi were not so lucky. Master Aayla Secura was gunned down by her squadron, Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) lead the 501st Legion into the Jedi temple to kill everyone they came across, and Master Plo Koon was killed by Captain Jag. It was a dark time for the Jedi—to survive, you had to be good or pretty darn lucky.

The question I have for you is…would you survive? Take my quiz to find out!

[playbuzz-game game=”http://www.playbuzz.com/geekmom11/would-you-survive-order-66″]

Top 10 Reasons I’m Looking Forward to MegaCon 2014!

From March 21 through March 23, MegaConvention will be taking over Orlando, Florida, in force. With big names like Stan Lee, Zeb Wells (Robot Chicken), Ron Pearlman (Hellboy), John Barrowman (Arrow), Karl Urban (Judge Dredd), Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), James Marsters (Smallville), Rob Paulson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Jim Cummings (Tigger),  this is the place to be.

Of course, we all have our own reasons for visiting a convention, so here I present to you the top 10 reasons I’m happily anxious for MegaConvention 2014!

1. Voice Actors Gone Wild! This is a must-see panel and includes some of my favorite voice actors,  including Phil Lamarr (Green Lantern, The Daily Show), Rob Paulson (Pinky and the Brain, TMNT), Jennifer Hale (Aayla Secura in The Clone Wars), Jim Cummings (Tigger), and Quinton Flynn (Naruto). In this hour-and-a-half panel, the actors will read the script to Ghostbusters in voices of their own making. After the panel, I’m excited to get some autographs at their table located near the 501st Legion booth.

2. Aayla Secura. Due to the expense of the body paint, I only get to wear my Aayla Secura costume three to four times a year and MegaCon is one of those times. She’s my rock star costume and I’m eager to get airbrushed and suited up as my favorite Twi’lek in the Star Wars universe.

3. Comic Book Creator Lineup. This year, MegaCon is bringing in some of my favorite writers and artists, including Zeb Wells (Marvel’s Nova Now), Mark Waid (Daredevil), Skottie Young (AVX Babies, Oz), George Perez (Superman), and Neal Adams. Each of the these creators is special to me in some way, and I have a modest two items for each of them to sign.

4. It’s Family-friendly. If you’re bringing a little costumer in tow, check out the kids areas this year including the costume contest, Kid Zone, and Lego pit. I also have it on good authority that the 501st Legion will be showcasing some family-friendly displays and may even let you blast a stormtrooper with a Nerf gun. If you plan on bringing a stroller, I suggest you check out the convention on Friday or Sunday because the crowds won’t be as bad and you’ll be able to swivel in and out a bit easier.

If your child is interested in competing in the costume contest, make sure you hit up the 501st Legion booth first thing, because there are limited spots available.

This puppy is coming home with me! \ Image courtesy of Monica Ravenwolf
This puppy is coming home with me! \ Image courtesy of Monica Ravenwolf

5. Good Times With Friends. Two years ago, I met two good friends, Bill and Julie, while they were volunteering at the Hero Initiative booth. We talked comics for a bit that day and thanks to Facebook, we were able to become after-con friends. I also have a few friends in the 501st Legion that I only get to see a few times a year, including my best friend and fellow 501st Legion costumer, Mark. We always have the best times when hanging out and I can’t wait to see him again.

6. Artist Alley. This area alone takes me a day to walk and enjoy, because so many talented artists come to display what they have to offer. From crafts to art to independent creator-owned works, I never walk away from Artist Alley disappointed.

This year, four of my favorite artists will be in attendance: Graven Ravenwolf and his wife Monica Ravenwolf, The Art of Charles Thurston (check out his great kids books), and the Art of Danny. I plan on hitting up each of these great artists for something awesome to frame up in my office.

7. Comic Book Vendors. Since getting into comic books two years ago, I’ve learned the joy in going through boxes of comics and discovering something new. Sometimes, I’ll run into a creator or fan who will suggest a book and it’s nice to be around so many vendors who might just have the title on hand, and sometimes at a great price. 

8. SuperHeroStuff.com. I don’t know about you, but I hate buying clothes online because of the shipping costs. MegaCon is great because it brings one of my favorite vendors, SuperHeroStuff.com, to me. A few of the vendors in the past haven’t been so reliable, so it’s nice to see SuperHeroStuff return with a bundle of goodies to check out.

9. Costumes, Costumes, and More Costumes. This is the place to see and be seen in Orlando, Florida, for costumes. Last year, I saw some amazing cosplayers both young, old, disabled, and some furry with four legs. I can’t wait to see what my fellow costumers bring this year.

10. Star Wars Fandom.  My friends and fellow troopers in the 501st Legion, the Rebel Legion, the Southern R2 Builders Group, and the Mandalorian Mercs will be bringing the best of the best to show off at their booths, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with this year. Last year, we had an awesome turn out with Blast-A-Stormtrooper, Roxy the Rancor, and the trash compactor set. I have no doubt the gang will come up with something just as awesome this year.

MegaCon is family- and stroller-friendly. Tickets start at $25 for a one-day wristband and $60 for three days. Children 10 and under are free with a paying adult, but must be present when the adult purchases their ticket. 

Dear Henry, I’m Your Biggest Fan. Love, Aayla

In my three years as a 501st / Rebel Legion costumer, I’ve learned there are plenty of awesome things about cosplaying. I’ve trooped over 80 events for charity including a hospital where I was asked to hold up a young child for a photo. I’ve waltzed with little girls in my clone trooper and even though it wore me out, the smile on their face made it worth it. I even had one little girl who was so in love with my clone trooper, she asked an artist at the store that day to draw me for her so she could take me home.

Those are a just a few moments when the fans make cosplaying worth the teasing we get for walking around like human-sized action figures. For many people, these moments would see to be a once in a lifetime chance to make a difference in a child’s life. As a 501st Legion and Rebel Legion costumer….I call it another day at the office.

While going through the tedious 45 minute process to get painted up as Aayla Secura for this year’s Star Wars Weekends motorcade in Orlando, Florida, my mind was racing with thoughts of parade anxiety and the after-parade-headache my twi’lek headpiece usually causes. The march only lasts about 15 minutes, so the last thing I expected to walk away with was a memory of a little boy that would stay with me forever.

Aayla's little fan \ Image: Peter Raber
Aayla’s little fan \ Image: Peter Raber

Once backstage at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studio, I waited anxiously for the parade to start and when the gates finally opened to the crowd, my adrenaline started rushing. After making my first turn onto Hollywood Boulevard, a little boy caught my eye. He had a crocheted Aayla Secura doll and he was happily waving it at me. Since breaking formation to hug him was against the rules, I gave him a big smile and Jedi-like wave.

After the parade, I told everyone about him and his adorable doll. I was so excited that among the thousands of people in attendance, this little boy was one of them.

A week or so later, his father went on the 501st Legion Facebook page looking for me, because his son wasn’t sure I had seen his doll and he wanted to send me a picture. This touched me, not only because this child wanted to find me, but also because his parents took his request to find me seriously.

They could have brushed him off and said they would never locate his Aayla Secura, but instead they reached out and, thanks to Facebook, he was able to find me.

His father and I talked online for a bit and I learned my little fan was 4-year-old Henry. Finally, a name to put with my happy memory that day! The picture he sent me was adorable with Henry holding his Aayla doll and action figure. His blonde hair and big smile melted my heart.

I was so touched by his photo and smiling face, I sent him a package out with a letter thanking him for his picture, and hoped to meet him next year at Star Wars Weekends. In return, I received the most amazing gift: Henry recorded a video message for me. His song touched my heart and reminded me that no matter how short our time with someone is, we can touch them in ways that are unimaginable.

For anyone wondering why we as cosplayers do what we do, it’s because of people like Henry that make spending $500 on a costume, $160.00 on body paint, and sitting through 45 minutes of airbrushing worth it.

Henry might be my little fan, but I’m his fan right back.

Her Universe—These Are the Clothes You’re Looking For

Her Universe Star Wars \ Images: Her Universe
Her Universe Star Wars \ Images: Her Universe

With clothing themes encompassing everything from Battlestar Galactica to Doctor Who, Her Universe is one of my all-time favorite geeky clothing lines! This year at Star Wars Weekends, Ashley Eckstein—the Her Universe founder, as well as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars The Clone Wars—debuted some new products that I fell in love with: the X-Wing dress, the Rogue Squadron tank, and an R2-D2 tunic.

One thing to be careful of with this line is the sizing. My dress size is usually a small but because of  the waist line on the X-Wing dress, a medium was actually a little hard to slip over my chest. The rest of the dress is designed with a relaxed fit in mind, so if you prefer a more fitted look, feel free to accessorize with an inch-wide belt!

The Rogue Squadron tank top, on the other hand, is 95% cotton and 5% spandex—so the fit is slimming enough for me to wear my normal size.

The R2 tunic, on the other hand, is 100% cotton—so I chose to go one size up for a more comfortable fit.

Each of the items held up well in wash and none of them shrank much, if at all. To keep your other clothes from dripping in Rebel orange, I highly recommend that you use a color-catcher sheet the first few times you wash them. When compared to lines like SuperHeroStuff.com and TeeFury, I found these clothes equally comfy, and also thought that they retained both shape and softness even after a few spins in the washer and dryer.

The prices may seem a bit high ($45.00 for the dress, $40 for the tunic, and $30 for the tank top), but I can assure you that the quality of the clothing line makes this expense worthwhile. I bought one of Her Universe’s shirts at Star Wars Weekends three years ago and it still looks just as good now as it did the day I brought it home!

Now that you know what size to get, how about some ideas on where to don your new attire?

Aayla Her Universe Dress Sharon B
This is the dress I’m looking for. \ Image: Sharon B.

Here are the top 10 places I like to support my favorite rebel flyers (and the spunkiest droid in the galaxy):

1.) Star Wars Weekends: Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida is one of the best times to wear your favorite Star Wars attire. Just watch out for the Jawas. They’ll try to trade you for anything…even the clothes off your back.

2.) Rebel Legion Events: I’m a member of both the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion and it’s nice to have a comfy tank to wear after getting out of my armor. The soft cotton material feels great on my skin and the hoodie covers up any messy helmet hair.

3.) Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim: Star Wars is taking California by storm when Star Wars Celebration VII heads to Anaheim, California! Show your support for the Rebel Alliance when you strut your stuff in the sunny state of California, home of LucasFilm and Disneyland.

4.) The opening of the new Star Wars movie! Okay, so this isn’t going to happen until 2015, but who cares? Consider yourself prepared for the first Star Wars film to hit theaters since Episode III in 2005.

5.) The Original Tatooine in Tunisia: It gets hot at the original set location for Episode IV: A New Hope but these clothes will keep you cool. You might not be Hoth cool, but you won’t be fried like Aunt Beru and Uncle Own (too soon?).

6.) Airport: Show the TSA that you support Wookiee rights and proudly display the Rebel Legion moniker. Just be careful about carrying your light saber with you or it might not make it back home.

7.) Backstage at Hollywood Studios: Wait! You’re not a member of the 501st or Rebel Legion? What are you waiting for? You could sport these rebellion-inspiring clothes backstage while prepping to march in the motorcade during Star Wars Weekends. It’s more fun than pod racing (and safer too). On top of that, you get bragging rights for marching in costume down Hollywood Boulevard to the sound of a thousand fans cheering you on. How cool is that?

8.) Star Wars Identities: The Exhibit at the Canadian Air and Space Museum: I don’t live in Canada, but if I did, I’d be heading to this exhibit faster than Jar Jar Binks can get into trouble. I love that they have over 200 costumes, props, models, and other memorabilia on display for fans to drool over (good thing it’s all encased in glass). If you’re able to stop by, check to see if Han is lurking around, and ask him who shot first. He loves that…

9.) Rancho Obi-Wan: Visit the world’s largest privately owned collection of Star Wars memorabilia in style. Formerly the home of 20,000 chickens, this 9,000-square-foot space now houses over 37 years of Star Wars memorabilia. While you’re there, see Steve Sansweet’s home and say, “Hi!” for me!

10.) Star Wars Reads Day: Show everyone you’re a rebel at heart by sporting your favorite Star Wars rebel attire on Star Wars Reads Day. I’ve heard through secure channels that the Rebel Alliance will be making appearances throughout the galaxy, so hit up your local base to see where you can support them.

Of course, there are more than ten places where you can sport Her Universe clothes—come to think of it…I can’t think of anywhere you can’t!

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a sample for review purposes. 

Clone, Bounty Hunter, and Jedi–The Many Faces of Dakster

Dakster Sullivan's costumes
Dakster’s Trio \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

For the past three years I’ve been an avid Star Wars cosplayer. I’m a Clone of the Republic, a Jedi Knight, and I recently became a Bounty Hunter (who hunts clones…go figure right?). Each of these costumes has their own story and uniqueness about them that I love.

I was first introduced to the idea of Star Wars cosplay 10 years ago when I saw the 501st Legion suiting up outside of my Disney work location. Back then, I just thought they were cool and went about my life. After I was married, my husband and I both joked on and off about joining the ranks of the 501st Legion. We did some research and every time we saw what was involved, we ran the other direction.

Several years later, we attended Star Wars Celebration V. I was in awe over the 501st Legion room and the array of clone trooper helmets on display. It was then that I decided come heck or high water, I was going to join up.

Continue reading Clone, Bounty Hunter, and Jedi–The Many Faces of Dakster

Judge Us By Our Size Do Not–The Galactic Academy

Image Courtesy of the Galactic Academy
Image Courtesy of the Galactic Academy

The Galactic Academy is one of the best kept secrets of Star Wars costuming. Dedicated to the fans 17 and under, these costumers are a force to be reckoned with. Unlike their big brother and big sister organizations, The 501st and Rebel Legion, the Galactic Academy does not require screen accuracy to be welcomed in. The only requirement is the child must be under the age of 18 years and own a Star Wars costume of some kind.

Their website describes the life of a cadet as “hard, grueling work. Only the best can even hope to survive the process, but those lucky few will earn their Academy Medals and become the envy of the galaxy.”

Continue reading Judge Us By Our Size Do Not–The Galactic Academy

Looking at Life Through Facebook

I love TMNT. Can you tell? \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
I love TMNT. Can you tell? \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Many parents start baby books for their children. Looking at my son’s book, I realized he won’t learn as much about his early years through his baby book as he will through my Facebook page and the posts I’ve written for GeekMom.

The other day at my mom’s house, I discovered my baby book. I’ve never seen it before and she warned me not to be disappointed that it wasn’t filled out completely. Having a son of my own, I completely understand that she only filled it in up to my third year of life.

Continue reading Looking at Life Through Facebook

Confessions of a Lonely Geek

I'm a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
I’m a lonely geek in an office of non-geeks \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Most of my life I’ve been the only geek among those I see everyday. As a child, I was usually the only girl in boy-dominated courses and as an adult I’m the only female in my department. I’m also the only geek at my workplace. All of this can make for some lonely days.

The only daughter of three kids (and the middle child at that), I’m the only geek in our family of five. Before I was in high school, I received my first laptop for Christmas and I took it everywhere (even the grocery store). I saved up my allowance for a printer and scanner and eventually my parents bought me a tower PC with a flat screen monitor. When something computer-like broke in my house, I was the one they called to fix it.

At school I was one of two girls in my HTML and PC troubleshooting courses. The guys never seemed to mind and I really enjoyed learning. I experienced the same thing in college when I was going for my Associates of Science in Computer Engineering degree. In my three years in college, I only had another female in my class three times. Continue reading Confessions of a Lonely Geek

Book Review: The Force Is Strong With The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff is my first adventure into the Star Wars universe through reading. I was worried that the story was not going to be newbie friendly, so I proceeded with caution.

I learned through my 501st Legion buddies that the book is a stand-alone novel that’s actually part of the Corusant Nights trilogy.

<cite>The Last Jedi</cite>
The Last Jedi

The story starts off pretty easy with us being taken into the world of the last known Jedi Knight, Jax Pavin and his comrades Den, I-Five, and Laranth. Their mission is to get the leader of Whiplash (a secret resistance group) from Coruscant to a new safe house. When their plans go awry, Jax and his friends are sent on an adventure to regain what they’ve lost. Along the way we meet some interesting characters and we learn a little more about Jax and his friends.

From the very beginning I felt like I was being sucked into an adventure. I can’t say my imagination could understand everything, but that didn’t distract me from understanding the characters dialogue or the pain they were going through.

Some of my favorite moments are between I-Five and Den. They have this vibe going on between them that at times made me want to slap them both and other times laugh with them. I-Five acts almost human (though he reminds us throughout the story he’s a droid).

If you are looking for your first Star Wars novel, this is a good one to start with. While I might not have understood everything going on, I don’t feel this hurt my reading experience. There are some references to the past that I’m sure the first Coruscant Nights novels can explain, but I wouldn’t say it’s required reading before picking this up.

In exchange for my time and efforts in  reporting my opinion within this blog, I received a free review sample. Even though I receive this benefit, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine. 

Mega Con 2013 or Bust!

Mega Con is my favorite convention in Central Florida. This year, the convention welcomes the bridge crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation including Captain Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart. Also in attendance to represent the comic book world will be Neil Adams, Gail Simone, and George Perez along with many others!

One of the things I’m looking forward to doing most is walking the various comic book artists tables and vendors.

I’ve purchased some really cool and inexpensive artwork at Mega Con in the past that is now showcased in my office at work. This year I hope to get something signed by Gail Simone and maybe a comic book or two signed by George Perez.

I’m also excited to walk around the autograph area and maybe say hi to some of the celebrities at their tables. Knowing the line for Levar Burton is going to be horrific, I’ve already given up hopes of getting his autograph, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still try. I’m also looking forward to meeting voice actress Tara Strong, best known for her role as Twilight Sparkle on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Raven on Teen Titans.

My husband is looking forward to meeting Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman). Last year, he was star struck when talking with Paul Bradford and Scott Tepperman from Ghost Hunters International, so maybe this year he won’t be so shy when he goes over to say hi to them again.

One of the things I really like about how Mega Con is organized is you get to see a little bit of everything in terms of celebrities. This year we have the Weasley twins from Harry Potter, cast members from Battlestar Galactica (Michael Hogan), NCIS-LA (Arne Starr), the Walking Dead (Michael Koske) as well as stars from shows not long forgotten (The Incredible Hulk, Teen Wolf, and Farescape).

For those of you who are fans of the light and dark side of the force, have no fear! The 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups will have plenty to amuse you including sets, costumes, and droids on display. This year, the 501st Legion will also be hosting Roxy the Rancor, last seen at Star Wars Celebration VI. Roxy is a star all her own and will be available for photo ops in the 501st Legion area. In addition to Roxy, the 501st Legion will also have helmets, props, and costumes on display. They also hope to raise money for charity with “Shoot a Stormtrooper,” where guests can shoot Nerf guns at willing stormtroopers and other 501st Legion costumers.

The Rebel Legion will have a host of helmets and props on display as well as a Cantina Band set display for guests to take pictures with. They also plan on having a friendly bean bag toss game to help raise money for a special charity.

For those of you coming for the first time here are some tips to help you make it through.

  • Pre-purchase your tickets to avoid the long lines at the convention.
  • If you don’t want to bother with the crowds, come early on Friday morning. Advanced ticket holders get in an hour early, so this is the best day to avoid the crowds.
  • If you want to see the best costumes the con has to offer, wait and come on Saturday.
  • Plan your attack for autographs and take note who will not be there on certain days (some of the talent will only be there on Saturday or Sunday).
  • The best artwork goes fast, so hit this first on Friday and don’t delay in getting something because you think it will be there later, because it probably won’t be.
  • Regardless, if you are coming in costume or not…Don’t forget to hydrate!

As always, make sure your camera is charged and ready to go the night before. You don’t want to miss any of the action at this convention.

But wait! There’s more!!

This year, I will be coming armed with free GeekMom patches! To get one, all you have to do is find me and say “GeekMom Rocks!” To help you out, I’ll give you a hint about what I will be wearing on Saturday as well as tweeting my heart out about everything I see. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to see the latest updates on all the exciting things happening at the convention.

So, if you are heading out to Mega Con this year, keep your eyes peeled for me. If you’re not going, keep an eye on Twitter for updates on what it’s all about!

My First 200 Posts and Here’s to 200 More!

Dakster Sullivan / Image: Dave Liew
Dakster Sullivan / Image: Dave Liew

While writing up Comic Book Corner last week, I noticed I was only three posts away from 200 on GeekMom. Wow! It feels like only yesterday when I checked my spam folder to find an email from a GeekMom editor asking me if I wanted to join up with them. I was floored that 1.) if I hadn’t checked my spam folder that day I would have missed out on one heck of an opportunity and 2.) I had been selected out of what I can only assume, was a ton of letters asking to join up.

Since then, I’ve had some amazing experiences and opportunities to write about everything I’m passionate about, from comics to products to life experiences. I’ve also had the chance to interview celebrities and alike.

I’ve been thinking back about my favorite experiences so far, and just in case you missed any of them, I’d like to present to you with my favorite posts that I’ve had the pleasure of writing this past year and a half.

The first post I think of when I think back to the past year in a half is my first successful post, DC Comics New 52: A Newbies Point Of View. Before we moved to Wired, there were some really cool comments from encouraging to trolls on this one. The trolls made me realize that jerks occur in all walks of life, and geeks are not immune to having to deal with them. The friendlier comments encouraged my new love of comic books and some of them even backed me up against the trolls.

A few days after it was up on the site, one of my fellow GeekMoms realized that DC Comics was sharing it on their social networking sites. I had a total geekgasm (is that a word?). This write-up led to me looking DC Comics up at Megcon in 2012, where I talked with both Tony Bedard and Dan Didio about my experiences as being a newbie reading comic books.

Another post I’m rather proud of is more recent. Women in Technology: Get With the Picture was inspired by a post I saw on CNET about women in the technology field. I guess you can say I disagreed with the author to the point that I decided to point out what I thought the problem was in terms of the lack of women in STEM related fields.

I had no idea how well it would take off until I woke up to find that, after only being live for an hour, it had already been tweeted over 80 times. Later, I saw it take its place on Wired’s main page (a huge honor). Comments continued to come in months after the post went live and we had a mix of loud dissenters, as well as men and women who politely either agreed or disagreed with each other. If my memory serves me correctly, this post took me the longest, at over three months, to put together the way I wanted it.

Interviews are always fun, but for a while, I was a bit too intimidated to talk to anyone, so I conducted them all through email. This is probably one of my biggest regrets, because after speaking with Cort Lane this past January, I realized doing interviews over the phone wasn’t so bad. It was my interview with Hoon Lee and Kelly Hu that finally put me at ease when it came to talking to actors on the phone (Hoon Lee did his Splinter voice for me and I made it one of my phone alerts!).

After shooting the breeze with both of them, I realized that they were people just like me and I was able to show that in both of my interviews with them. Looking back, I would love to have a chance to redo some of the other interviews I’ve done including Yuri Lowenthal and Axel Alonso. I’ve also been on the lookout for other people I’d like to interview, and now I jump at the chance to talk to people who help bring my favorite characters to life.

Of all the interviews I’ve done, I would have to say the deepest interview I’ve done is with Pat Shand, the writer for Zenescope’s Robyn Hood comic book series. The most “interesting” would be a tie between Chubbs the Wampug and R2-KT.

I’m also a fan of using my GeekMom powers for good causes, and I did just that with Ian Keisacker. I first learned about Ian through the 501st forums after his father posted up asking members to help his son make his goal of $500 for a St. Baldricks fundraiser. I wasn’t sure how much a post would help Ian raise his goal, but I figured it was worth a shot. I reached out to his dad on the boards and after some research on Ian’s online diary, and after some emails back and forth with his dad, I had a post I was proud of.

This was the hardest post I’d written at this point and I had to stop more than once due to my keyboard getting wet from my tears.  It was hard, but in the end, it was worth it. Thanks to the readers and the 501st Legion for sharing the post on social networking sites, Ian not only raised his goal, he destroyed it and raised over $1,100 for cancer research!

My most personal post is definitely my Anxiety and the Geek post. Before GeekMom, I didn’t have the strength to talk about my personal battles, but I felt this one needed to be told. Through writing it and posting it, I learned I’m not alone in this battle and I have people in my life fighting it as well that are there to help me when I need them.

Comic Book Corner is something I’ve very proud of. For those of you who are not familar with it, Comic Book Corner is a weekly comic book segment that I put together, along with my fellow GeekMoms. Complete with a list of the weeks new releases, this is my baby and I use it to help spread my love of comic books. The idea came to me after seeing the book club posts on the site and I wanted something for those of us who preferred their comic book heroes over the classics. It’s taken off, and every week we have contributions from different writers and who give insight into what they are reading. This is a great place to find new comic book suggestions–and I’ve taken more than a few of them myself. Comic Book Corner’s Comic Books for Kids post was a very popular, and I highly recommend anyone with children to check it out.

New Fantasyland was my first major press event and I couldn’t have been more excited to attend. Being a member of the press for this event made it and an adventure all its own. It was an amazing, memorable experience. The post itself took me some time because I wanted to make sure I included everything I could to give you all a great picture of what happened for the three days I was there.

Another post that comes to mind right now is my write up on Reading Rainbow because it’s one of the first “Twitter fires” I’d seen. Searching for this post on Twitter, I found dozens of people had tweeted the post and included the last line of my post in their tweet, “But you don’t have to take my word for it…” This was really cool for me because it meant my last line did exactly what I wanted it to do–it got people’s attention (and being retweeted by Levar Burton was really cool, too).

Star Wars Weekends is one of the biggest troops that we do in the Florida Garrison (501st Legion), and this past year, I took the time out to give some amazing costumers a shout out with my Star Wars Weekends 2012: Awesome Costume Firsts post. It takes a lot of work and dedication to build these costumes, so I felt it only fitting that I show them off to everyone I could. I also wanted to give a special thanks to everyone that helped me pull off my own weekends first costume and felt there was no better place than on GeekMom.

The Deedpool Corps is nothing to special except for the fact that it let me learn about Squirrelpool–the deadly squirrel assassin member of the Deadpool Corps. I first saw this little guy in an advertisement for a collectors series that included him as a bonus figure. I reached out to Sideshow Collectibles to find out more about the character and what made him so special. In the process I learned a little bit more about this furry little guy who was cute, but deadly. Why does this make the list? Because I did it for pure fun. The pageviews were next to nothing compared to the other posts on this list, but that doesn’t really matter to me as much as how much fun I had writing it.

On top of of my favorite posts, I’ve also had some great experiences that I could never have had if I wasn’t a GeekMom writer. This past year alone I had the privilege to go to Megacon and Star Wars Celebration VI as a member of the press. I also had the chance to meet Mythbusters Adam and Jamie. I was also given an amazing Mother’s Day weekend at Gaylord Palms (my husband is still trying to find a way to top it this year) and I’ve reviewed some great products from ThinkGeek, Lego and Hasbro (to name a few). I’ve also taken a stand against bullying when some of my friends and fellow 501st Legion/Rebel Legion friends were attacked in a slideshow on a local news station’s website.

As you can see, I get to have a lot of fun here on GeekMom.

Some of the posts I write might not always take off, but that doesn’t take away the fun I have in writing them or the pleasure I get from the positive or thought provoking comments you leave for me to read. As sad as it sounds, I feel like I’m waiting by the phone for a date after every post goes live. Why? Because I love hearing from our readers and I love that you take the time to write a comment or shoot me an email to tell me your thoughts.

So, thank you for taking time out of your day to read what we have to say here. It means a lot to us all to know you care enough to check the site, even if you don’t always agree with what we have to say.

I have some awesome things planned for this year, some of them coming up very soon after this post goes live, so please check back often. You never know what fun and amazing things myself and the other GeekMoms have in store for you. Cheers to my first 200 posts and all the things I’ve learned since starting. Here’s to another 200 more to come! 

Unusual Books for the Star Wars Fan

Not all clones like comics, some like cook books!
Not all clones like comics, some like cook books!

Just in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a Star Wars fan. Besides owning two approved 501st and two Rebel Legion costumes (clones count for both legions), I also enjoy reading up on the dark and light sides of the force. There are ample supplies of fictional novels that happen in the Star Wars universe, but there are also some great books for collectors, cooks and force enthusiasts.

First up on the list is my husband’s favorite (and this year’s birthday present), the The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force. I was inspired to seek out this particular title after he participated in the grand opening of Star Wars miniland at Legoland Florida. While wearing his Jedi knight costume, a couple of younglings were asking some very interesting questions. One of the younglings wanted to know where and how much they could get a holocron for, while another was curious why the Jedi had different sized lightsaber hilts.

Continue reading Unusual Books for the Star Wars Fan

Chainmail for Charity

Jon and his Great Dane Bane, who passed away this year from Bloat.
Jon and his Great Dane Bane, who passed away this year from Bloat. / Image: Rebecca Waters

Chainmail for Charity is a Facebook project by 501st Legion member Rebecca Waters , to help raise money and awareness for her husband’s heart condition. With Jon unable to work, Rebecca works day and night to help pay for not only their regular bills, but also Jon’s mounting medical bills; that is where Chainmail for Charity comes into play.

Jon has a genetic heart condition that caused him to suffer a massive three week long heart attack last year. That same year, after suffering a full blown congestive heart failure and with only one functioning coronary artery, Jon had to undergo a quadruple bypass with a heart that was only functioning at 20%. During the surgery, they discovered that his mitral valve had ruptured and he now required a mechanical mitral valve replacement at the same time.

As if that wasn’t enough, less than a week after the surgery, Jon and Rebecca learned that the damage to the left side of Jon’s heart was so bad that he would need a pacemaker and would be dependent upon it to keep him alive. Continue reading Chainmail for Charity

Star Wars Celebration VI: 501st Legion Presence

501st Legion CVI Group Picture / Image: Savanna Kiefer
501st Legion CVI Group Picture / Image: Savanna Kiefer

Star Wars Celebration VI in late August was the biggest party in the galaxy. From celebrities to parties, there was something for everyone. The 501st Legion had a very strong presence. Known for professional grade costumes and charity work, the 501st Legion was a big part of the convention, with troopers coming from all over the world to showcase their costumes, props and sets.

501st Legion Room

Clone Trooper Locker Room  Image and Build by Zach Winnermark
Clone Trooper Locker Room Image and Build by Zach Winnermark

The 501st Legion room was a must see at Celebration VI. With costumes, props and sets on loan by some of the best builders in the legion, you could easily spend a few hours looking at everything. To make it all happen it took months of planning and personal spending for the troopers involved.

A couple of our troopers built sets and props specifically to show off at Celebration VI. From the clone locker room, to the legion moniker to the trash compactor set, the Florida Garrison brought all we had to the event. It took several hours, stretched over a couple of days to get the room and all the other 501st Legion areas set up. Florida Garrison troopers built and brought in their own sets, costumes and props to display in the room

We had a nice selection of sets that guests could take pictures with including the clone trooper locker room, Han in Carbonite, the 501st Legion moniker and the trash compactor set (a giant foam ball pit for adults). Members volunteered to talk to guests about the various displays and answered questions on how they too could be a member of the 501st Legion. Continue reading Star Wars Celebration VI: 501st Legion Presence

Cyber-bullying Against Star Wars Fans — We Won

Time to celebrate - we won! / Image: Dakster Sullivan
Time to celebrate – we won! / Image: Dakster Sullivan

Last Tuesday I wrote a post regarding a slideshow that Local 10 Miami had posted on their website. It involved some very hurtful comments and captions towards cosplaying attendees at Star Wars Celebration VI. Since then, 501st fans from all over the world have been voicing their opinions about the hurtful captions under the photos.

Our cries for the slideshow to be removed and an apology to be issued was heard on Wednesday at 6pm.

They say every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, I got to watch as thousands of people from all over the world came together to support and back each other up, to what was seen as an attack on our group and not just the individuals in the pictures.

The 501st Legion, as well as other costuming and fan groups, have accepted this apology and are ready to move forward. Now, we are asking our fans to do the same.

The 501st Legion had this to say regarding the incident:

The 501st Legion has accepted the apologies offered by WPLG Local 10 Miami for the insensitive captions made in their “What the Force?” photo gallery. We appreciate the fact that WPLG removed the gallery as quickly as possible. We understand that the harm that was caused by the statements was unintentional, and we know that they will be more sensitive to these concerns in the future.

This week, we all witnessed how quickly an anonymous post on the internet, even intended in jest, can set off a whirlwind of hurt feelings and a firestorm of protest. The support that members of the public offered to us and to our fellow fans and fan groups was truly overwhelming. Those united voices showed that the Force is strong with us when we stand together.

We are glad to put this unpleasant situation behind us and refocus our energies to our charitable mission of giving back to the community. Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who reached out and expressed their feelings towards the situation. Without you, this post would not have been written.

We look forward to helping Local 10 showcase the good work all fan groups do for the community and the next time you see us on their website, it will a much more positive reading experience.

Cyber-Bullying Towards Star Wars Fans — Not Cool

Image: Local 10 News
A more appropriate caption would be, “An amazing Obi-Wan Kenobi stands and poses for his many fans at CVI” Image: Local 10 News

Last night, a slide show of Celebration VI cosplayers, featured by a local news station, was brought to my attention by a fellow member of the 501st Legion, a professional costuming organization that uses the dark side of the force to help raise money bring and awareness for charities world wide.

Some of the images were friends of mine, hanging out and enjoying the convention. What my friends didn’t know was that their pictures were being taken to be used for a slide show that can only be described as cyber-bullying. The person who put this slide show together did not leave anyone out, including children.

Let me give you some information about the people being attacked in the slide show:

Most are members of the 501st Legion,

Last year, the 501st Legion helped raise over $12 million dollars for charities worldwide.

The 501st Legion is a not-for-profit organization. All of our activities are funded by the membership and fundraisers within our group.

Two things confuse me about this public ridicule. The first is that the 501st Legion has trooped this news station in the past, at their request. So, why, after we have helped them in the past, do they choose to attack us now? The second thing is that this news station has run articles and news reports about anti-cyber-bullying. One write up was even entitled, “3 Things Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids“.

So my question for the news station is this, has your stance on cyber-bullying changed?

If it hasn’t and they are still against cyber-bullying 100 percent, my suggestion to the station is that they remove the slide show and issue an apology, especially to the children who were subjected to this.

If you have ever been touched by the 501st Legion, and want to help, you can.

Contact the news station and let them know they are out of line and ask that they remove the slide show from their site. You can reach them via their Facebook pagethrough their website, or by calling 954-364-2500. If you decide to contact them, please do so respectfully.

Thank you and may the force be with you.

Update : The station has removed the slide show from their site, but no apology has been issued yet. I will update this page if we receive one. Thank you!

Update 9/7/2012: Our cries for the slideshow to be remove and an apology to be issued was heard yesterday at 6pm. Thank you to everyone for reaching out and letting the station know that enough is enough. May the force be with you. 

501st Legion Kid Bash

501st Legion Kid Bash Logo / Image: Dave Liew
501st Legion Kid Bash Logo / Image: Dave Liew

Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to take part in Star Wars Celebration VI. Attending the convention was just one part of my experience. The other part was volunteering as the 501st Legion Kid Bash Coordinator. Running alongside the Imperial Bash, the Kid Bash was a party just for the kids of 501st Legion members.

The idea came about when parents starting inquiring about child care during the Imperial Bash. This had never been done before, so it was new territory for everyone. Since I have a child of my own, I figured I would step up to the plate and volunteer to head it up. When I first volunteered, I had no idea what I was getting into. Planning an event like this takes a lot of time, effort, and, most importantly, patience and organization. As I started to get the hang of it, I realized how much more I could do for the kids than what was originally required of me. It took some e-mailing back and forth, but I managed to secure the kids some humble decorations as well as some awesome prizes to take home.

A few of the companies I’ve worked with before on GeekMom were very generous in donating a prize to each child who attended the Kid Bash. We even had an artist, who donated his time, to create two very special pieces of artwork, exclusively for the event.

Dave Liew created the Kid Bash logos that were used on the signs, T-shirts, and swag bags. The art has been a hit among the 501st Legion membership and has received compliments from hotel guests who saw the logos on display. On more than one occasion, I saw Celebration VI convention goers stopping to take pictures of this amazing and unique artwork.

Crayola Story Studio / Image: Crayola
Crayola Story Studio / Image: Crayola

Crayola was kind enough to give each attendee a Story Studio: Star Wars Edition. With Story Studio, you can take an ordinary picture of your child and turn them into a one of a kind character in a story book. It comes with everything you need for your child to create a unique story that is all their own. Crayola Story Studio is available at select Crayola retailers as well as through Crayola’s website.

Lego Build-able Galaxy  Image: Lego
Lego Build-able Galaxy Image: Lego

My son is in love with Lego, so when they offered to donate one of the newest additions to their Star Wars line, the Build-able Galaxy: Tie Interceptor and Death Star set, I was thrilled. I knew this would be a hit with every child in the room. All of the Lego pieces fit inside the Death Star and once your child builds the set, they can fly their new ship around or let it sit on the included Lego stand. You can purchase this set from your local Lego retailer or through Lego’s website.

GeoPalz / Image: GeoPalz
GeoPalz / Image: GeoPalz

Last, but not least, is GeoPalz. The GeoPalz is a pedometer that not only counts the steps your child takes, it also rewards them for taking strides to a healthier lifestyle. The GeoPalz website allows parents to monitor their child’s physical activity and it sends them weekly updates with their child’s progress. Once the child reaches a certain level, they can receive prizes, ranging from certificates of achievement to gift cards for their efforts. GeoPalz can be purchased through their website or select retailers nationwide.

Later in the evening, the children were visited by some very special guests. C3P0 and R2-D2 were in the house for the Imperial Bash and decided to take a quick walk upstairs to see the kids. Everyone in the room could not have been more excited to see them. The little ones were especially happy to see R2. Some of the older children had some interesting questions for C3P0, which he was more than happy to answer.

Not long after, Timothy Zahn and Steve Sansweet stopped by. This time, the older kids could barely contain their excitement. I think they spent more time with them than C3P0 and R2. They had so many questions, and Timothy and Steve were both happy to answer each and every one of them. It was great seeing two very important men take some time to speak to the kids. I know it made the kids feel special to have them all to themselves for a few moments.

The Kid Bash was definitely a learning experience for me. It’s been awesome hearing the parents tell me how much fun their children had and several wish they could have gone back the next day. One parent told me that their child walked around all of CVI with their ticket to the Kid Bash, to show it off to anyone that would look. This made me realize that something that seemed like a small detail to me, such as making tickets for the kids, could mean a lot to them.

Again, thank you to everyone who contributed to this events success as well as the success of the everything the 501st Legion accomplished at Celebration VI. It takes an amazing team to make things like this happen and I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Would you like to join up with the ranks of the 501st Legion? Leave me a comment and I’ll help point you in the right direction.

Star Wars Celebration VI — Mission Complete

Time for some Wookie love! / Image: Wookie Workshop
Time for some Wookiee love! / Image: Wookiee Workshop

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Star Wars Celebration VI, in Orlando, Florida. Star Wars fans came from all over the world to see the sites and experience all that the convention had to offer. As a parent, GeekMom reporter, and 501st Legion member/Kid Bash Coordinator, my Celebration VI experience was a little different from that of most convention attendees.

Me and Dave Filoni, Director of the Clone Wars the Animated Series  Image: April Izzo
Me and Dave Filoni, Director of the Clone Wars the Animated Series Image: April Izzo

As a parent, I was able to see the convention the way many people get to see it as well as through the eyes of my child.

As a GeekMom reporter, I was given access to some really cool events that I would not have had the privilege of attending otherwise.

As the Kid Bash Coordinator for the 501st Legion, I got to experience a little bit of the stress that that the event coordinators have to go through to make some of the events happen (thankfully, my stress was nowhere near what theirs was).

For at least one day, I decided to just be a normal convention attendee (well, normal with a media badge anyway) and walked the convention floor.

Walking through the main convention floor, I saw a ton of stuff including Rancho Obi-WanRoxy the Rancor, the As You Wish Project, and some amazing artwork on artist alley. Some of my personal highlights were meeting the ThinkGeek team and getting a hug from my favorite wookiees. I also purchased my first piece of convention artwork from DC Comics artist, Mark McKenna.

Me and Commander Bly (CC-8499)/ Image: AJ Lugo
Me and Commander Bly (CC-8499) in the 501st Legion Room/ Image: AJ Lugo

For the toy collector, there were plenty of things to choose from. For the most part, I saw a lot of action figures.  Because many of the toys were older than me and several of the vendors were not child friendly, I had to forgo looking at a lot of them. This really bugged me at first, but after I realized that what they had didn’t really interest me, I decided my money was best spent elsewhere (like say…the DK Publishing booth).

Of course, no Celebration experience would be complete without the 501st Legion. Our room at Celebration V was nothing to sneeze at, but at Celebration VI, we raised the bar! With costumes on display by some of the best costumers in the Florida Garrison, as well as some very unique picture locations, the members of the Florida Garrison showed everyone at CVI exactly how we roll. There was much more going on in there than I have room to write here, so stay tuned for my CVI: 501st Legion Experience post.

After my son was out of school, I had to slip into parent mode. Once he arrived at the convention, he had his own set of priorities.

First and foremost, he really enjoyed Lego’s setup. The cartoon shorts they showed above their booth were enough to keep him occupied for quite a while. Another one of his favorite spots was the pool of Legos on the convention floor. This was a very popular place with the kids and the carpet was nice and soft for the parents to sit down and relax a little.

Having my son with me gave me some insight into taking children to conventions. I realized that just because a convention is geared towards the family, that doesn’t necessarily mean the whole convention is for the family. Family friendly areas were set up throughout the convention, but things like panels and vendors were more for those without young children.

Friday and Saturday I was in full GeekMom reporter mode.

Temuera Morrison and Brian Sullivan / Image: Dakster Sullivan
Celebrities were at every corner. Here is my husbands favorite CVI moment: Himself with Temuera Morrison / Image: Dakster Sullivan

My connections with GeekMom got me invited to a couple of really neat events. Due to my anxiety being a little out of control on Saturday, I had to bow out of one of them. It was one of those days where I was grateful for my husband and my legion brothers and sisters, who had my back the entire time that I needed them. I did manage to make it to one of the special events, but I can’t discuss here because I signed a waiver saying that I wouldn’t. Once they give me the all clear to discuss it, though, you will be the first to hear about it.

Friday was also the big day for the 50s1t Legion Imperial Bash and the Kid Bash.

As the Kid Bash coordinator, I was in charge of the “babysitting room” for the largest party in the galaxy, the Imperial Bash. I’ve only been in the legion for a little over a year and taking on a responsibility like this was pretty big. My part involved researching and contracting a sitting service, communicating with the parents for sign up, payment, and, of course, getting the kids some swag of their own to go home with. There were days I wondered what I was thinking at the time I volunteered for this position and looking back at it now, I’m happy I did it. It was a learning experience to say the least and it gave me the right to say I helped with the Imperial Bash (even if it was such a small role).

Brandon enjoying some Blue Milk with his new friends  Image: Dakster Sullivan
The sets were amazing. Here’s Brandon enjoying some Blue Milk with his new friends of the Belgian Garrison. Image: Dakster Sullivan

Of everything I experienced, I have two favorites. The first is getting hug from my favorite wookiees. After having panic attacks all morning, it made me feel really good. The other was getting the chance to have a one on one conversation with Dave Filoni, and him handing me one of his Wolf Pack buttons. Those are memories I plan on framing up in my office one day.

Overall, I would have to say that my Celebration VI experience was okay. I had some great experiences and I took some really nice pictures to remember it by. I’m hoping that Celebration VII will be in Orlando in 2014, so I can have another run at it. I didn’t get to do as much as I had planned, but I still some experiences I wouldn’t change for anything.

Where's Dakster? at Star Wars Celebration VI

Image: Dave Liew
Image: Dave Liew

Star Wars Celebration VI, the biggest Star Wars party in the galaxy, will be in Orlando, Florida this week and I’ve been planning and scheming for it since it was announced last year. The 501st Legion has been hard at work getting everything ready for this event and we can’t wait to show you all what we’ve done. To add to the fun, I have a special surprise for those attending…

Anyone who can find me and says “GeekMom rocks!” will receive a special GeekMom emblem patch! The patches were made specifically for Celebration VI, so you won’t find them anywhere else right now.

I’m really excited about everything happening at Celebration VI. From panels to parties, to red carpet premieres, you never know where I’ll show up next. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be there all four days and geeking out at all the Star Wars celebrities, collectibles and costumes. Did I mention that ThinkGeek has a booth this year? I’ve only ever seen them online, so you know I’ll be hitting them up like a Twi’lek at a dance off!

The patches are limited to 100 so if you want one, you better keep an eye out for me. Bonus points if you can find me in one of my 501st Legion or Rebel Legion costumes. To make it a little easier for you, I’ll be tweeting some hints on where you can find me. Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@Dak903) to stay updated.

So, if you see me and you want a patch, make sure you come up and say hi!

Behind the Monkey — Timmy's Story

Timmy's Wastelander Costume  / Image: ThinkGeek
Timmy’s Wastelander Costume / Image: ThinkGeek

In Orlando, it’s a mouse who runs all the shots. At ThinkGeek’s headquarters in Virginia, it’s a monkey named Timmy. Since August 13th, 1999, he’s been the resident codemonkey and pretty much calls the shots around the office. Anyone who dares disobey him better be prepared to take a shower, because poo will be flung. And as the company mascot and overlord, Timmy is a monkey of many faces, most of them, as you’d imagine, quite geeky.

Timmy and Matt Smith / Image: ThinkGeek
Timmy and Matt Smith / Image: ThinkGeek

Now, like any geek, Timmy enjoys going to cons, hanging out with fellow geeks, meeting celebri-geek heroes, and of course, indulging in cosplay. With first class plane tickets to any con he wishes, Timmy is a virtuoso of cosplay. But how does he do it?

To help get him ready, Timmy’s Volunteer Costuming Corps are there to make sure he never goes out in the same costume twice. Every costume Timmy is photographed in is the handy work of a member of the Volunteer Costume Corps. The program started three years ago and since then, Timmy’s closet has been bursting at the seams with over 100 costumes.

The skill and detail of these outfits are amazing!

Timmy and Mega Man / Image: ThinkGeek
Timmy and Mega Man / Image: ThinkGeek

The costumes in Timmy’s closet range from the 10th Doctor’s scarf to Chell’s jumpsuit and Portal Gun to a mind-blowing detailed Fallout ensemble with a working Pip Boy. No matter the occasion, Timmy has a costume that will fit the bill.

Timmy’s next major con appearance will be at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Fl (August 23rd – August 26th). In true Star Wars form, Timmy will be sporting his Stormtrooper costume! This will also be Timmy’s first appearance at a Star Wars Celebration, so don’t miss it.

For more information on Timmy and how you can bring your own little guy home, check out ThinkGeek’s website.

Have you ever met Timmy? Let us know your stories in the comments. We would love to hear them!

My Little Pony Convention 2012

501st Legion Pony / Image: Kevin Young
501st Legion Pony / Image: Kevin Young

Growing up, my life revolved around Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake, and My Little Pony. As I’ve gotten older, my love of the toys never left me, but my collecting of them has. When I learned that the My Little Pony convention was going to be in Orlando this year, I jumped at the opportunity to go. At the same time, I also learned that the 501st Legion was going to be in attendance. That sealed the deal. There was no way I was going to miss trooping in a room full of ponies!

MLP Fair Logo / Image: MLP Convention
MLP Fair Logo / Image: MLP Convention

The convention has been in full swing since 2003 and it draws quite the crowd.  The convention organizers spend hours planing and organizing this event for the My Little Pony fans of all ages. Fans and collectors come together for a 2 day event, dedicated to all things My Little Pony. The merchandise was interesting to say the least. All of the tables sold ponies from various generations and some sold artwork and other miscellaneous items.

Custom Ponies by / Image: Dakster Sullivan
Custom Ponies by / Image: Dakster Sullivan

The custom ponies were amazing and many (for good reason) were in the price range of $200 or more. One thing I didn’t expect, was to hear that the exclusive merchandise sold out within a few hours of the doors opening.

Continue reading My Little Pony Convention 2012

Star Wars Weekends 2012 — Awesome Costume Firsts

SWW Logo 2012 / Image: 501st Florida Garrison
SWW Logo 2012 / Image: 501st Florida Garrison

This year at Star Wars Weekends, the 501st and Rebel Legion raised the bar.

Not only did we have our usually turnout of amazing costumes, but we also had some first time costumes. As one member put it, “We showed Disney that we can do more than robes and armor.” As a proud member of both the 501st and Rebel Legion, I would like to show them off. I know these members worked really hard on their costumes and making it to Star Wars Weekends was a huge accomplishment for them.

Dakster Image: Inside the Magic
Dakster / Image: Inside the Magic

This year I marched as Aayla Secura and it was an amazing journey from start to finish. The days I marched in my Jedi are by far my favorite of any this year. I’d been toying with the idea of building a female costume to give me a break from my clone for a while now. What attracted me to her the most was her look and attitude. She also appeared to be a pretty easy build (FYI, I was wrong…). The one thing I didn’t expect was all the attention I received.

It wasn’t until after we were at Star Wars Weekends that I found out not only was my costume a first for the event, but it was also the first time any member had attempted a body paint job like mine for the march. This costume took three months to go from idea to approval, and then several other people to help make it happen each time I marched.  I felt like I had my own little pit crew following me around. It was a lot of work, but in the end I am really proud to say I am the first Aayla Secura to march in Star Wars Weekends.

Everybody loves Chewbacca, but how about we give some love to another wookiee:  Tarfful! This full scale wookie is the work of Jason Rucci.
Continue reading Star Wars Weekends 2012 — Awesome Costume Firsts

This Week With the GeekMoms

Andrea will be heading in to Coney Island this weekend to photograph the annual Mermaid Parade. Then early next week she’ll be helping out PopCap Games, acting as one of many witnesses as a brave, brave soul tries to beat the “Longest Computer Card Game” Guinness World Record by playing 30 hours of Solitaire Blitz!

Nicole Wakelin is playing with a Chevy Malibu loaner car all week. There are so many buttons. She is hoping she doesn’t accidentally hit the Seat Eject that she’s sure is there somewhere.

Marziah will be attending the KC area Maker Faire this weekend. Be sure to say “hi” if you see her there.

Sarah is looking forward to defeating Mount laundry this weekend while listening to the Sesame Street gang on vinyl, and watching her son play with his new Playmobil characters. She hopes to finally sit down and begin watching season one of Sherlock and finish a long overdue crochet project.

As she’s typing this, Patricia is within 2 hours of being home from her week-long trip to the Northeast. She enjoyed her husband’s family reunion in Pennsylvania as well as a couple days with her parents in West Virginia. The kids stayed up north for a couple weeks with the grandparents and Patricia has great plans to really catch up on her life: cleaning the house, catching up on GeekMom product reviews and preparing to take over as webmaster for her base spouses’ club website, which needs some work.

Jules Sherred is very excited that her pal Guy McLimore is joining her tonight on the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show at The Look 24/7. Guy is one of the designers of Star Trek: The Role-Playing Game, published by FASA. It is the same game you see in her Twitter avatar, and in her GeekMom profile. She is also very busy and excited as she continues to prepare for her five week stay in the USA–T minus 9 days until her departure from Canada.

Rebecca Angel is currently alone in the house since her kids and husband are away. Originally, she thought this would lead to craziness like watching movies and reading books all day, but instead she is completing projects and cleaning the house. It’s still a good start to summer.

This week Kelly Knox is excited to take her daughter to see Recess Monkey in concert under the big top. The energetic kindie band is performing at Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle for their “In Tents” circus-themed show.

Chaos Mandy is very excited to take her daughter to see Brave in theaters this weekend. It will be the first Disney/Pixar movie she will see on the big screen.

Natania is settling into life with her one month old and rambunctious almost six year old as summer vacation gets into full swing. This week she will be a guest panelist at ConTemporal, a local convention in Chapel Hill, NC, where she’ll be an adult for a bit and will escape the world of diapers and spit-up for a short time. She’s most excited to be writing again after her brain was taken hostage by pregnancy hormones! Additionally, her son and she have been enjoying the heck out of Keane’s newest album, Strangeland, and have been subsequently daydreaming about visiting England again (not to mention contemplating buying a digital piano).

Judy Berna will be mothering six children for the next two weeks, as her nephew and neice from San Fransisco joined the gang on Tuesday. The next fourteen days will be full of exploring the mountains, riding bikes, jumping on trampolines, eating endless meals, and making lifetime memories with cousins. In the early mornings, as exhausted kids sleep in, Judy will be plugging away at getting her book ready for publication and keeping up with the fun list of GeekMom posts she’s working on.

Corrina is pleased with The Library Journal review of her superhero novella, Luminous, which pronounced the story a “good start on the beachy book season.” She’s currently busy preparing activities to keep the kids busy this summer. She foresees much use of her Six Flags season passes.

Dakster will be on the sidelines this Saturday so her husband can troop a young child’s memorial service. A few weeks ago, a young Jedi lost his two and a half year battle with brain cancer and his parents have asked the 501st Legion to be in attendance for a celebration of his life. Many of my squad mates trooped his birthday party last year, so this will be a rough troop for many. It will be one of those days that wearing a helmet will be blessing as it will allow them to hide their tears…

Brigid has decided that the secret to a healthy business is to go on vacation. She swears she’s never so desirable as when she’s 1,500 miles from her studio and almost completely inaccessible!

Melissa Wiley is heading to Anaheim this weekend for the ALA Annual meeting, where she plans to discuss a ton of books and eat a ton of food. Until then, she’s hanging out in her yard hoping for another sighting of the ladder-backed woodpecker she spotted yesterday — a sight to make her bird-geek’s heart skip a beat.

Ruth spent last week recovering from Southeast LinuxFest by doing a 2400-mile road trip in six days, no kids. New Orleans, the Great River Road, Memphis, Nashville–all delicious. The Sunsphere in Knoxville still looks just like it did when she last saw it, at the World’s Fair in 1982.

My Journey to the Blue Side of Star Wars

Dakster and Sithari /  Image: Zach Winnermark
Dakster and Sithari / Image: Zach Winnermark

This past March I decided to embark on my first solo costuming project, Aayla Secura. I wanted it to be a total surprise to my squad, so I referred to it only as Project X on Facebook. It was quite the journey and a quick one at that. My animated clone trooper took five months and four people to help get it fitting me right. Since I wanted to march in Star Wars weekends, this costume had to be completed in less than three months and this time, it was all up to me, myself and my husband to make it come to life. It was a tight squeeze, but we were able to make our goal.

The day to reveal my costume at Star Wars Weekends arrived. We planned on putting the paint on me at home and then suiting me up the rest of the way at Disney. One problem…our airbrush system stopped working! After texting back and forth with our friend Zach, he finally told us to bring everything with us to the park and he would help us out there. As soon as we arrived I knew I was in good hands. Several of my friends were already aware of the issues and were ready and waiting to help me out. After fifteen minutes, Zach had us up and working.

Zach and Dakster / Image: Donna Sanders
Zach and Dakster / Image: Donna Sanders

Known by his friends as the Master Painter of the FLG, Zach took charge of my paint job and forty-five minutes later, I was all blue. Once my body paint was complete, a fellow Rebel Legion member, Otter, helped me get into one of the air-conditioned buses that Disney gave us to stay cool (thank you Disney!) to put on the rest of my costume.

The one major downside to this costume is the headpiece. It’s held on by pressure from the head wrap and after about thirty minutes, I was hating life. The positive attention I received from everyone really helped keep me in a good mood. I still felt the pain, but it was easier to handle with so many of my friends around me.

Continue reading My Journey to the Blue Side of Star Wars

Fathers Day Gift Guide – For the Kid at Heart

Stormtrooper and Son
Image: Copyright Kristina Alexanderson

I’m lucky to have a husband who is a kid at heart because it makes shopping for him easy and fun. Most of the time, I can get his presents at my local toy store or comic book shop. It was this unique trait that inspired me to put together the ultimate Father’s Day gift guide for the kid at heart.  So, without further ado, I give you the gift guide for the dad who prefers Transformers over ties and Lego bricks over soap on a rope.

Optimus Prime Image: Hasbro
Optimus Prime Image: Hasbro

Hasbro Transformers Prime Line
If there’s one thing that is always on the top of my husbands list, it’s Transformers. The latest addition to the Transformers toy line is based off the latest animated series, Transformers Prime. If your children like them as well, I would suggest you get them the new Bot Shots so that dad can have his transformer all to himself on Father’s Day.

Hasbro Battleship / Hasbro Game of Life zAPPED
Give dad the gift of family time with Hasbro Battleship and Game of Life zAPPED Edition. These games are sure to get the family together again and again.

LEGO Deathstar
For the Star Wars dad, check out the Lego Deathstar. A fellow 501st Legionnaire and Father requested that I put this on the guide as a hint to his own children.

The Infinity Gauntlet Image Copyright Marvel Comics
The Infinity Gauntlet Image Copyright Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics Infinity Gauntlet Graphic Novel
Considered to be one of the Marvel’s best sagas, The Infinity Gauntlet holds its place in Marvel history. Most recently the main villain, Thanos, was seen during the end credits of The Avengers. If you paid attention in Thor, you might have also caught a glimpse of his famous gauntlet. For the Dad that’s fan of the Avengers, make sure you pick this up for him. He wont be disappointed.

Continue reading Fathers Day Gift Guide – For the Kid at Heart

Anxiety and the Geek

Image: Dakster Sullivan
Image: Dakster Sullivan

Since I was a child, I have suffered from high anxiety. When I was growing up, it was just referred to as being shy. As an adult, I learned that what I have is not something you always grow out of. In fact, as an adult, it can get worse if you don’t learn how to deal with it as a child. It took a few years to learn exactly what I have and how to deal with it. I went from therapist to therapist looking for answers on how to “fix” myself. A few times I went on medication to help alleviate the feelings I had. Eventually, I decided I had enough of both and started on a new path to find out how to deal with the anxiety and panic attacks.

Doing research online was easy, but I never found the answers I was looking for. One day, I decided to go to a book store near my house to help clear my mind. I was just browsing the shelves when I came across a book written by a Buddhist master. The thing that intrigued me about him was that he admitted to suffering from anxiety. It was a little bit of a tough read (certainly not as exciting as my New 52 Justice League comics), but I was able to learn a few tricks. One really important trick I learned was how to identify my triggers.

Over the years, I have figured out what my triggers are and I have found ways to avoid them or deal with them. Unfortunately, some of my triggers are things that I can’t avoid, such as social interaction and big crowds. TV and movies can be especially rough for me. This became a serious problem when my husband would want to watch his favorite show, Smallville. I would get caught up in the story to the point that I would have racing thoughts and panic attacks if it ended on a cliff hanger. Eventually, I started having “me time” where I would lock myself in the bedroom for an hour so that he could watch his show and I could keep my sanity.

Continue reading Anxiety and the Geek

Star Wars Week: An Interview With Dave Liew, Artist And Future 501st Legion Member

Artwork by Dave Liew. Images used by permission.

Dave Liew aspiring member of the 501st Legion, Malaysia-Brunei Outpost, is well known by 501st Legion members for his amazing artwork. His work can be seen on several charity projects including the Princess Leia Charity Auction, Japan Tsunami Relief and R2KT charity patch runs. I first stumbled on Dave’s work during the Japan Tsunami disaster when I ran across his poster to help raise money to aid relief efforts in Japan. His passion for his art shows in each piece and the detail of his work really makes him stand out as one of a kind in the industry.

GeekMom: What was your first experience with Star Wars?
Dave Liew: My first experience with Star Wars was when I was between six and seven years old, and was watching A New Hope on my local tellie. That’s where my interest in sci-fi, especially SW, grew. My dad has been a great supporter in my quest for sci-fi. He was strict with what I watched and when I watched, but when Star Wars was on TV, even though it’s a re-run, he would definitely let me watch it…only after I’d done my homework and house chores of course.

GM: What draws you in?
DL: Robots, spaceships and of course the story of good versus evil. The magical Force handed down from the Master to the Apprentice.

GM: How long have you been into drawing and graphic arts?
DL: Well, I have been drawing since I was young. My first drawing was of a clock! I got my talent from my mum who is good in art and encouragement from my dad works hand in hand to where I am now. I never took illustration as serious professional work till recent years, where I started doing character design for an online game company and from there my love of drawing grew again. After that, I started accepting jobs doing character schematic for 3D productions and films.

GM: Do you have a favorite Star Wars piece?
DL: If it’s my artwork, it’s definitely the Japanese Tsunami artwork; it reaches out to so many people out there to help the people of Japan in their greatest need.

GM: How long does it usually take you to complete a project?
DL: Well, usually it takes a week. The initial few days is just to do the research and development on the subject. It’s important when creating the artwork that you feel and fully understand the subject; then your message can be heard loud and clear. I know I’m on the right track when I draw the illustration while putting myself as another person looking at it and I get the right feeling.

GM: Do you have a routine or favorite item that you like to have when creating your art? (ex. favorite pen, sketchbook, music, location, etc…)
DL: My usual hang out place is a local coffee shop with free WiFi just a stone throw away from my house and my trusty Asus laptop!

GM: Do you prefer digital or old school pen and paper when creating your art?
DL: Well, different styles take different approaches. For detail artwork, I’ll go for old school pen for better control on shading. For more structural final artwork, I’ll go for digital.

GM: Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
DL: Han!

GM: I really enjoy your work with the Princess Leia project. How did you get involved the cause?
DL: It started as a piece of artwork to give a word of encouragement to Zev and Frani after being inspired by their love for Leah.  Zev was kind enough to post it up on his FB page. The Princess Leah Angels dropped me an e-mail and said they would like to use the artwork to create merchandise to raise funds for Leah and I gladly said yes. Recently, I was able to help the Esquenazi family again for The Princess Leah Art auction.

GM: Do you have a favorite charity project that you’ve worked on? My personal favorite is the Tsunami artwork you did in 2011.
DL: My favorite is the R2KT patches because I had a lot of fun designing the various shapes and designs with Albin Johnson. The great thing is he gave me a lot of freedom to design the patches and I went all the way.

GM: What is the most memorable troop / event you can participated in with the 501st Legion (in costume or out of costume)?
DL: The Thailand Flood Troop, a four- weekends in a row troop. I was assisting Kirby (TK-8555) on the planning and it was a good experience and learning curve handling troopers and venue sponsors. This troop was my first appearance as Republic Commando Niner. (I’m still in the midst of getting approval from the Legion for that costume.)

GM: Would you like to give a shout out to anyone that has helped you succeed or become the person you are?
DL: My parents. I could never thank them enough for all they have done for me. Another person I would like to thank is Shanz Lim, my closest buddy who has helped me through thick and thin.

If you would like to see more of Dave’s work, please check him out online. Each piece is limited to 20 prints, so if you like something, you better act fast.

Star Wars Week: An Interview With R2-KT

R2-KT Photo by:

Known to her fans as the droid with a heart of gold, R2-KT is the only pink droid in the Empire. She started out as a child’s wish and has since grown into a life all her own. Recently, I was given the chance to interview R2-KT about her work with the Empire, charities and her life at home.

GeekMom: Hi R2-Kt, First of all, I would like to say thanks for taking out the time to talk with me today. I hope all is well on your side of the galaxy.
R2-KT: Good afternoon, Mrs. Sullivan. Everything is going extremely well. (I hope you find that greeting acceptable. I learned it from my friend HAL 9000.)

GM: I have seen R2-D2 out and about at troops in my own garrison. He really enjoys the children, but I think the pets scare him a little. How do you feel about the four legged life forms on earth?
R2-KT: I am not fond of them, to be honest. The carbon units with whom I live had a litter of kittens that tried to crawl inside my chassis. It was dreadful. I do not see the logic in pets when humans can just have droids. I do respect cats for their aloofness, however. I can relate to that sub-routine.

GM: What is your favorite thing to do when your man-servant is not around?
R2-KT: I perform sensor sweeps on the surrounding area and perform minor repairs when I am not recharging. I recently ran a program to track the number of Star Wars action figures being sold and it overloaded my processors! Sadly, only one R2-KT figure to be found in the thirty years of action figures. [sad whistle]

GM: Will you be at Celebration VI?
R2-KT: Affirmative. I will be visiting with my best friends from around the galaxy: R2 units, R5 units, Mouse droids, and a host of other advanced automatons like myself. I also hope to see the cute little carbon units that frequent the convention.

GM: What’s it like being the only pink droid in the empire?
R2-KT: My unique color signature has a calming effect on carbon units. I find this conducive to working with the Empire because several of their members tend to be nervous around Lord Vader. It also forces me to be careful.

GM: I love the artwork on your website. My favorite is the one of you and Wall-e. Is there any particular one you are fond of?
R2-KT: My personal favorite is the Tsuneo Sanda piece picturing me alongside my namesake, Katie Johnson. Vibrant spectrum of colors, excellent photo-realistic images of myself and Katie but altered in a way I hear humans find aesthetically pleasing. This piece hangs near my recharge station at the Johnson household and I have scanned it for many hours.

GM: Do you have any vacation plans for the summer?
R2-KT: I do. Summertime in South Carolina reminds me of Mustafar. Too much humidity and heat for my circuits. I plan to hit Free Comic Book Day in May, then ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC in June. From there I hope to hitch a ride with some Klingons to somewhere cooler.

GM: On Wookipedia, it says you like to gossip with R2-D2. What kind of things do you enjoy talking with each other about?
R2-KT: “R2 is so cheeky. He has dirt on all the important people (and droids) in the galaxy. Sometimes we talk about Amidala’s fashion disasters. Other times it’s Obi-Wan’s taste in hair styles. My favorite bit of gossip was: 10001010101010100101111010110101010110111010001010000010101101. That was pretty funny. 

GM: Who do you think shot first, Han or Greedo?
R2-KT: I have reviewed the holo-vid records. Han shot first. Those darned rebels are up to it again, fixing the records to make their heroes look squeaky clean. I think they should have given Han a second medal just for shooting Greedo.

GM: What’s your favorite mission with the empire?
R2-KT: Believe it or not, but the Empire does good work for the galaxy. I know everyone hears about their world-conquering agenda, but did you know they clean up planets as well? Last month we began a planet-to-planet eradication of Gungans. After that we have Ewoks on the schedule. Good work speaks for itself!

GM: You have done quite a few patch runs this year for various charities. Is there a patch and charity that are especially close your heart?
R2-KT: Make-A-Wish is very important. They granted Katie Johnson not one but three wishes: a trip to Disney World, a day as a veterinarian at a local vet clinic, and a role as one of the orphans in a local production of Little Orphan Annie. Katie was very very happy during this time and it bears gratitude. I think my favorite patch so far has been the Halloween patch designed by Thomas Spanos. Very cool!

GM: Some youngling friends of mine found out I would be talking with you and asked if I would pass a transmission along for them. First, one of your little fans Ian (age 3), would like to say “shoop shoop beep beep”.
Ah! Excellent! A carbon unit speaking intelligently, and at such a young age! Please tell your youngling:


GM: His sister, Hannah (age 6) would like to know if you know R2-D2 and what your favorite planet is.
R2-KT: I do know R2-D2. He is very funny. He tells jokes all the time. He says C-3PO is goofy. I tend to agree. My favorite planet is Naboo. Very pretty. Except for the fish-faces that live in the water. They’re icky.

GM: Brandon, age 6, would like to know if you enjoy movies or video games?
R2-KT: I enjoy both forms of digital entertainment. I enjoy watching movies, especially ones about princesses and sword fights. My favorite is Princess Bride. I wish they had lightsabers in that story. I also enjoy video games: both playing them and having them played on my operating system! I have have a 200th-level barbarian on World of Warcraft. I wonder what they would think if they knew I was a droid!

Thanks for taking out the time to answer our questions R2-KT. I know you are a busy little droid and we appreciate your time. May the Force be with you.

Star Wars Week: The Imperial Bash At Celebration VI

This August, Star Wars Celebration VI will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. One of the evening convention highlights of the event is the Imperial Bash hosted by the 501st Legion. The 501st Legion has opened this “not to be missed event” up to the general public! With Star Wars celebrities, HUGE giveaways and exclusive swag items, you are sure to have a blast!

This year, the mighty Jabba has taken over and has issued this decree:

His Excellency, the illustrious Jabba the Hutt, requests your presence to honor The 501st Legion and invites you to attend the Imperial Bash: Party At The Palace, Friday August 24th. His loyal servants will be opening the palace doors at 9pm.

Open to all of Jabba’s loyal subjects who are the ages of 18 and up, it’s said to be the biggest party in the galaxy. Everyone in attendance will also receive exclusive swag including, but not limited to (1) pack of exclusive 501st legion trading cards with each pack containing a rare bonus card.

Tickets into the palace are $26 each. A 3% processing free is added to the price of each ticket and $.50 handling fee is added to each order.

So, what are you waiting for? Tickets are limited and 90% of them are already sold.

Star Wars Week: Rebel Legion….We’re The Good Guys

Rebel Legion
Rebel Legion Logo

Founded in 2000, by Tony Troxel, the Rebel Legion is a professional costuming group that specializes in the “good guy” characters of the Star Wars universe. Throughout the world, there are over 40 bases and 11 outposts. Their mission is simple…

The mission of The Rebel Legion is threefold. First, we offer the costume enthusiast of the Star Wars hero characters a global community to enjoy, express, and share their costume talents. Secondly, the Legion also promotes the quality and improvement of Star Wars costumes. Thirdly and most importantly, we follow the lead of Lucasfilm Ltd. by giving back to the community through works of charity and volunteerism.

The requirements to join are pretty simple. First, you must be at least 18-years old (19-years old in Alabama). Second, you must own a professional-grade Star Wars costume of any approved good guy character. This includes wookies, smugglers, droids and creatures. Third, prepare your costume pictures. Last, you must submit an application. A group of members will then look over your application and pictures to make sure you qualify to join.

If no particular character interests you, don’t worry. The most popular costume is the Old Republic Jedi, also known as a “generic” Jedi costume.  These members don’t have costumes from any named movie character, but instead meet the standard requirements for a Jedi from the Old Republic era.

Originally the group was founded to unite others with a passion for costuming. Over the years, they have expanded their mission to include charity work. If you would like to invite the Rebel Legion to attend your event, just ask.

Is the dark side calling your name? Don’t worry, there’s a club for that too. 😉

The Rebel Legion is not affiliated with Lucas Film or the 501st Legion.

Rebel Legion at Celebration V
Rebel Legion at Celebration V