May The Fourth Be With Your Bookshelf

Read these you must. \ Image: Random House
Read these you must. \ Image: Random House

It’s May the Fourth and and if you are looking for something force-filled to pick up this week, I have a few suggestions for you.

Tarkin by James Luceno \ Image: Random House
Tarkin by James Luceno \ Image: Random House

Tarkin by James Luceno
Tarkin gives us a look behind the only man to be able to “hold Vader’s leash” and get away with it. Grand Moff Tarkin’s role in Star Wars: A New Hope was short lived and, as an audience, we never learned much about him and how he was able to control Vader so well. This is the story about how that respect came to pass between Darth Vader and Tarkin and how Tarkin came to be the ruthless man he showed himself to be in A New Hope.

Lords of the Sith by Paul S Kemp \ Image: Random House
Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp \ Image: Random House

Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
Lords of the Sith gives us an inside look at the relationship between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. The master and the apprentice set out to take care of some personal business on Ryloth, a planet valuable to the Empire for slave labor and a narcotic known only as “spice.” While on their mission, we get an inside look at Darth Vader’s loyalty to the Emperor and see if their relationship is a real bond or just a facade like past Sith master and apprenticeships have been.

Heir to the Jedi By Kevin Hearne \ Image: Random House
Heir to the Jedi By Kevin Hearne \ Image: Random House

Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne
Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars is the third book in a series of tales that takes place between Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Leia and Han have already had their time in the solo book spotlight, so this time, it’s all about Luke. The battle of Yavin was a huge success for the rebels, but personally, Luke lost his longtime friend Biggs Darklighter. Putting that aside, Luke must carry his new weight of being a hero and a valuable asset to the Rebellion. His skills get him nominated for a dangerous mission to rescue a rebel sympathizer with renowned skills for hacking communications systems. If the Empire is able to unlock her powers, they will have a devastating ability to steal the Rebel Alliance’s plans, much like how they stole the plans to the ill-fated Death Star.

Star Wars A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller \ Image: Random House
Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller \ Image: Random House

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller and foreword by Dave Filoni
The cover art for Star Wars: A New Dawn will look familiar to many Star Wars Rebels fans because Kanan Jarrus and Cesi Eirris are front and center. I was immediately wrapped into this book from the first chapter that gave us a look into Kanan’s time as a Padawan. The first few pages hit hard because it happens not long before Order 66 (the eradication of the Jedi Order), and Kanana had some foresight to wonder about the communication systems used to call the Jedi back to the temples. This title is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and follows the beginning and formation of the Rebel Alliance.

Of all the books above, I have to say my favorite is Star Wars: A New Dawn because of the viewpoint from Kanan and the light it shines on the time between Episodes III and IV. My husband is partial to Tarkin because it makes their few scenes together in Episode IV more significant than before he knew their relationship history. No matter what book you choose, the Force will be with you.

Disclaimer: GeekMom was given a review sample. 

Merry Christmas To All GeekMoms and Their Families!

Christams with the Trek Captains,
Christams with the Trek Captains, card commissioned from artist Matt Schubbe for Geeky Jules
Image by Helene McLaughlin
R2D2 Ornament. Image by Helene McLaughlin

Even fandoms can co-exist on Christmas! Happy holidays to all and may this season be one of joy for everyone.

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. 

Hi, My Name Is Dakster and I Have Nomophobia

I told you rebels...NO!! / Image: Savanna Kiefer
Nooooooo!! / Image: Savanna Kiefer

As with most technology, when smart phones first came out they were supposed to make our lives easier and less stressful. After having three different types of phones, I think that it’s actually the opposite. With every phone upgrade I’ve had, my life seems to get more stressful and I become more afraid of losing or being without it (aka…nomophobia).

I’m not sure when I developed my fear of losing my phone or being without it started. All I know is that now, I freak out if I walk away without it. Don’t get me started on how I feel when my husband forgets his at home and I can’t reach him all day (can you say…dog house?).

My first cell phone was a Nokia 5190 / Image: Wikipedia
My first cell phone was a Nokia 5190 / Image: Wikipedia

I received my first cell phone when I was in high school. It was a basic phone and its only feature was the ability to make and receive phone calls. I never worried about a missed e-mail, texting, or checking Facebook because those features were either not available or popular. If I forgot my phone, the only stress I was under was from my mother for nothing being able to reach me.

A few years later, I got a job where a company Blackberry was provided. I loved it. I could finally check my work e-mail anywhere and surf the internet when away from my computer. I enjoyed being able to take pictures and forward them to anyone with a few clicks. One problem…my stress levels jumped! All of a sudden I was no longer off the clock because I was constantly checking my e-mail out of fear I would miss something that was important.

Continue reading Hi, My Name Is Dakster and I Have Nomophobia

Marshal Major Pitch Black Headphones Review

R2 and Marshall 2  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Hey R2! Give me back my headphones!! / Image: Dakster Sullivan

Hello. My name is Dakster Sullivan and I am a headphone junkie.

The Marshal Major Pitch Black headphones at first glance are a nice set. The first time I got my hands on them, I thought they appeared simple and comfortable. Without even putting them on for a first time, they became a standard accessory in my backpack. Retailed at $120.00, I expected something extraordinary.

Nice Packaging  Image: Marshall
Nice Packaging Image: Marshall

After a high anxiety morning at work, I decided to take a fifteen minute meditation break. I got out my new headphones and looked forward to a short reprieve from the day. It only took eight minutes for me to relax and calm down. It took another fifteen minutes after that for my ears to stop hurting.

I’m not accustomed to over the ear headphones, so I figured it might just be me getting used to them. That myth was busted one day when my son used them with his Nintendo DS. After about twenty minutes, he took them off and said his ears were hurting.

I didn’t want to give up on them. Since I’m a headphone junkie, if I can get them to work, I will.

After a few days of gently stretching them out, they no longer hurt my ears and I could focus more on the sound quality than comfort.

Folding is a little awkward.  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Folding is a little awkward. Image: Dakster Sullivan

The sound quality was really good and was almost comparable to the quality of my favorite in-ear headphones. The button on the cord works the play/pause and fast-forward features of your device when you are listening to music and will activate the voice control when you are working with your phone. I was able to clearly dictate an e-mail to Siri and send it with the built-in microphone.

They come with 6.3mm gold-plated headphone adapter for the more hardcore listeners.

Continue reading Marshal Major Pitch Black Headphones Review

Create a Homemade R2D2 Costume

Do you have a Geekling who wants to be R2D2 for Halloween?  Is your Geekling older than a toddler and therefore can’t really fit the commercially-available costumes?  In 2008, right on the heels of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in theaters, my 3 1/2 year old son wanted to be R2D2.

With just a trash can from our local home improvement center, spray paint, a few Sharpie pens, and some materials on hand, we made our 3 1/2 year old an unforgettable costume! Continue reading Create a Homemade R2D2 Costume

Stand Clear Of the Swinging Sabers

Star Wars At 30 (Tokyo)

Some of my favorite Star Wars collectibles are the ones I snapped up in Tokyo (like this banner shown above)

So, it’s no big surprise to see the Japanese celebrating the release of the films on Blu-Ray by making the subway handrails look like light sabers…

By the way, Japan can still use help.  If you’re local to SoCal, check out this charity event thrown by We Heart Japan.

Star Wars Bowling Pins

May a strike be with you Image Jennifer D.

Way before we had picked our birthday party theme, my son had been snacking on Gerber Graduates Puffs. While he loves these, I was dismayed because the containers were not recyclable. So, I had been saving them trying to think of a use for them. Once the label was peeled off, the container reminded me of a person’s shape. It was then that inspiration struck and I set about making baby food containers into a set of Star Wars bowling pins.

What you need:

  • 10 puffs containers, washed out with lids. You can find the Gerber ones anywhere and Target sells their brand too. They are basically the same shape.
  • Sharpie markers in a variety of colors
  • Good quality images of the characters you want. I found several random images that I attempted to draw via Google and the very talented Katie Cook was inspirational as well.
  • Beans or rice to weigh them down
  • Small ball for bowling

If you can’t tell by that scary C3PO above, I am not an artist (seriously, he looks like he is psycho or something) but I found images of Star Wars characters that I thought would be easy enough to draw free hand onto the bottles. Then I took my time and did the best I could, reminding myself that this is for a kid’s birthday party and they didn’t need to be perfect. If you make a mistake, the marker does not come all the way off. Hence the unfortunate moob on the stormtrooper. It does, however, rub off some so you have to be careful that you don’t accidentally smudge it off while completing your drawing. Also, the darker colors tend to smear into the lighter colors. You are really only limited by your imagination and,of course, your drawing skills, but these would work for just about any party theme. My favorites are Yoda and Jaba the Hutt. Which ones do you like?

Jabba and Boba Fett Image Jennifer D.
Yoda Image Jennifer D.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Star Wars in Typography

C3PO, R2D2, Star Wars, arts, Darth Vader
Lishoffs creates Star Wars images with typographic figures

I use my keyboard a lot. My letters and numbers come out all nice and tidy in a straight line. This guy, though? He uses letters and numbers to create pictures using typographic figures. Besides this image, the series- titled “May the Font be With You” – utilizes more than 25 different fonts and includes Boba Font, Font Vader, and Sanstrooper. Awesome, yes, hmm? Yeesssssss.

A Girl And Her Star Wars Water Bottle

During anti bullying week, there were many wonderful articles on the topic, but one in particular really hit home for me. It was written by a mother whose first grade daughter was being teased for liking Star Wars. Katie has a Star Wars water bottle that she takes to school and the boys were teasing her about liking boy things. Having a daughter in first grade who has heard the same thing about the Yoda and R2D2 that she has on her Hello Kitty backpack, this story hit home.

One of the geeky sites that I read called Epbot blogged about this story and shared it with her readers. That was the start of a frenzy of support for Katie and her mom. As a result of this story getting shared around the web, Katie has had a tremendous response from fellow geek girls, GeekMoms, GeekDads, and the like. She has had over 2,000 comments encouraging her, a news interview, a radio interview, and a Facebook event has been set for December 10th.

You can do anything from simply wearing a Star Wars shirt to donating a Star Wars toy to one of the many Christmas toy drives. I want to encourage everyone to participate in some way, talk with your kids about the golden rule, and that girls (and boys for that matter) can like whatever they want to. Most importantly, remind your kids that it is ok to be you!