A Short Time From Now in a Convention Center About Ten Minutes From Here

We rest our case.

It’s Star Wars Day at Comic-Con, the annual Sandy Eggo geekfest we’ve managed to avoid for seven years now, despite the fact we found ourself in the neighborhood the other night, amidst street banners for James Cameron’s upcoming epic disappointment.

But since we don’t want to talk about Skip Gates and the Legion of Doom, we’ve discovered instead a controversy that cuts even deeper than our nation’s not-yet-post-racial divide: an interstellar gap between fans of the original trilogy and deluded souls who prefer the simulacrum of storytelling manifested in the later abominations.

Which we’ve learned is a fancy way of saying that we’ve entered the Geezer Galaxy:

The older films “are OK, but they dress funny,” [Amy Aldanado, 13] says of the then-futuristic duds of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. “People that hate on (the new films) just don’t like that they’re getting old.”

Look, missy, we’ve been hating on Return of the Jedi since it came out, so it’s not like we didn’t have a running start. And nothing foretold the dismal future better than Willow, which we suggest you avoid unless you want to grow up too soon.

So we’re not going to be joining the can’t-we-all-get-along movement promoted by the likes of artist Jerry Vanderstelt, who “displays a drawing of a young Vader light-sabering his way through Princess Leia’s ship, a scene found neither in the new nor old trilogies.” That smells of fanfic to us, and you’re not going to find us wandering down uncanonical dark alleys. You deranged wankers disgust us, and you make Yoda Pez weep.

‘Star Wars’ prequel vs. original battle continues at Comic-Con [USA Today]

As a cranky old who hated 2 1/2 of the “new” trilogy: What the hell does a 13 year old know about sh… er, stuff anyway? If they’re smart, they will look back at this in shame, maybe.

I loved a lot of bad SF as a kid. Battlestar Galactica. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Space 1999. The Six Million Dollar Man. I also hated watching it with my dad who would laugh and say “That’s just stupid!” to whatever stupid thing was on. We had one TV in those days and we had to share. My dad’s commentary annoyed me when I was a kid. However, through the magic of DVD I watched those shows again through a more knowledgeable eye. Gosh darn it. He was right.

To the dismay of a couple of my SFX pron loving friends, I’ve found myself enjoying older SF despite the lousy SFX because the plots were more compelling and interesting than the usual Bayhem of explosions and retarded dialog. I hate Transformers 2, not because I feel my childhood was raped. I hate it because there’s no fucking point to the story besides explosions and Megan Fox (it might be enough for some people, but not me.) Lucas’ last films were pretty much SFX pr0n with lousy plots.

Yes, I’m a hopeless nerd.

Right. Wow. Star Wars. Such as.

The only thing more boring is the Harry Potter twerpery.

Someone pass me a gun so I can shoot Joseph Campbell.

Can you imagine a worse festival of suck? OK – a College Republicans convention, but a bigger non-GOP event? Ugh.

My kids, especially the Boy, are total modern Star Wars nuts. It’s all about the Clone Wars cartoon and $80 Lego sets, and I indulge because they love the stuff. Jr. knows all the backstory in great detail and loves to fill in continuity gaps from the flicks. When we sit down for the snoozefest that is most of the movies, however, I am exactly the guy that Manchu describes: chuckling, derisive, curmudgeonly. Heck, I didn’t even like what I call “the first three movies” all that much, but the later ones are really lame.

The Lego sets are cool, BTW.

@blogenfreude: I’ve always thought Renaissance Faires were kind of lame, but I may be going out on a limb here….

I’d agree, but only because it seems like SF conventions are simply a means to separate fools from their money. Anything interesting cost extra, like spending an afternoon with Bill Shatner. Aside from doing a Bill Shatner impersonation saying: “Bill. What’s. The. Dealwithyourhair?” I didn’t want to spend the $300(!!!!!) for pleasure of the Shat going Ape Shat on me.

My favorite part of a con was Dragon*Con’s parade, replete with a Star Wars storm trooper’s modified costume, replete with pink Hello Kitty goodness.

@ManchuCandidate: @rptrcub: So long as they don’t lead to love affairs with Nemutan. As beguiling as she may be, apparently she’s taken.


That’s sad.

I know people disappoint, but geez.

@Nabisco: Jeepers, this is a national emergency. The Emperor needs to get out on the front steps of the palace and command Japan to go the beach and Pestork.

You SciFiers (SyFyers?) are scaring the girls away. All I want to know is if any of the females in the movies can rock the cinnamon bun hair like Carrie Fisher.

No. Not even the metal bikini.

Please no mention of SyFy or Sigh Feh (as I call it.) Despite the fact that I don’t get the channel, I’ve had to endure the stupid that comes from there on Canada City channels. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve stopped watching TV SF. Some nerd, I am.

@ManchuCandidate: I pronounce it “siffy,” like syphilis.

@Nabisco: Heck, I didn’t even like what I call “the first three movies” all that much, but the later ones are really lame.

I first watched Star Wars (the first movie that came out) around the age of 8, I’d guess. I thought it was cool. I’ve been back to watch it as an adult, and… it’s not that good.

But then, I found that what most compelled me about the whole Star Wars thing was not so much the movies as the universe that had been created. (Nerd alert!) I’ve run Star Wars role-playing games, which I found quite enjoyable. I’d probably still do it, if I had any friends who had both free time and interest.

Oh yeah, Amy? Well, those jeans make you look fat and that cute guy in your class told me he thinks you’re gross.

Now get off my lawn.

I hate you Nojo. My partner and I forgot to get our professional passes this year and while he finagled a pass from his Feature Animation buddies, I got left out in the cold.

Screw you guys, I didn’t want to go anyway.

@IanJ: You play pen-and-ink role playing games?!?!!?! GOD YOU ARE SEXY!!!! Not even Mr. ‘Catt, my perfect man, does that.

Carry on.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Hey, I’m going to be back in the neighborhood this afternoon, and once again, I’m not going to Comic-Con. I’ll be that close, and not caring at all.

Oh, and Cameron’s a hack.

@IanJ: I’ve run Star Wars role-playing games …

If you start doing it again, your friends and family will have to have you snatched off the street and deprogrammed.

@nojo, el gato tomas: I have not even had the time to check out the ComiCon coverage on G4. Maybe after I’m done listening to Tool while writing a memo and making travel arrangements for a Sunday-Tuesday business trip. (Working at home.)

The hotel in Williston, North Dakota is a few blocks away from a park on a lake, so I guess I’ll take the fly rod for some panfish and bass fishing after the hearing on Monday.

@IanJ: Back in the mid-’70s, the computer geeks at my high school (yes, they existed even then) were all about D&D. Which is why I avoided computers for the next twelve years. If my life was going to be a black hole of despair, I wanted it to be on my own terms.


I’ve still got remnants of my role playing days (ages 13-16) still kicking around including 10 and 20 sided dice. I’m not completely proud of it, but I played them and are on a corner of my book shelf including the entire original Star Trek Roleplaying game collection. So pzzzzzttttt!!!

And no, it didn’t help me get laid one damned bit.

@ManchuCandidate: Raspberries are so lame, dude. The best comeback would be “Self-Hating Geek.”

I know. Mid summer insomnia.

*hangs head in shame.


Back when I was in college, my role-playing group used to tell our S.Os that we were playing poker, then pull out the AD&D, Champions, and Paranioa. Hey, and remember that other sci-fi one? Traveller, that was it. Totally awesome.

They should do a Paranoia video game, while I think about it.


Your life is so cool and blissful. Today I wish I were you….

Oh, I haven’t revealed even a quarter of my geek-nerd-ness yet — in college, I played live-action Vampire (aka, Camarilla). I played a hengeyokai, a shape-shifting cat from Japanese mythology. My defense for that one (not that it’s worth anything) is that all my friends were doing it. I know, jump off a bridge, etc. It wasn’t a proud time in my life.

@Tommmcatt Floats: You play pen-and-ink role playing games?!?!!?! GOD YOU ARE SEXY!!!!

Ok, that’s a start. Now I need to find an attractive, intelligent, pleasant woman in Seattle who has a similar reaction… And really, I haven’t played a pen-and-ink RPG in many years, but that’s mostly due to lack of interest from friends, and lack of time on my part.

@nojo: Did you have a Commodore 64?

I played “Pigs,” a dice game with little pigs for dice, and Zoom Schwartz Vigliano.

Late last Saturday night, I watched a full episode of the original Star Trek, for the first time in maybe 20 years, and was amazed at how good it was, real, good speculative fiction, high concept sf. Despite Shatner.

Always remember, you can’t zoom a zoomer.

@Tommmcatt Floats:
Yes. Played that as well. No D&D though.

About Paranoia? I don’t need to play the role playing game. I live that in real life with my job.

@IanJ: Try librarians. Many of them are into this sort of thing. Half the people I know in the library world are caught up in various fantasy type event I never heard, like Myth Con, SCA, etc.
Closest I ever got to role-playing games was reading The Secret History.


Paranoia was awesome. It was set in the future where a computer had taken over everything in an attempt to root out traitors. There were secret societies competing with each other for resources, and the only rule in character design was that you had to be a member of a secret society, which meant that you were automatically a traitor and would be killed by the computer if discovered.

How I survived this long as such a geek I will never know.

@nojo: We didn’t have computers on the east coast, but we had the developing nerd culture. Guys I knew (and they were all dudes) played card-based D&D, but also listened to Hawkwind and Tubular Bells and painted military figurines. They did not get laid, far as I know.

@Prommie: As an adolescent, I played ball-based games, plus lots of cards. I also got really good at plunking street lights with a slingshot – there’s nothing like plunging an entire suburban neighborhood into darkness on a summer’s night. Later, in college I guess, we played some dice-based game that also involved this cylindrical thing filled with water and smoke that bubbled up and into your mouth, then lungs. Can’t for the life of me figure out why I can’t remember the name of that game. There was beer pong as well, involving no more strategy than how to drink as much cheap beer as possible before (a) passing out, (b) hurling or (c) both.

ADD: I forgot about “Risk”. We played that a lot, I loved to establish a beachhead in Oceania and gradually gobble up Asia.


It’s too bad you aren’t down here. I know a bunch of beautiful, cool straight girls at work who would be into you, particularly since you have teh ghey seal of approval.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Always left me giggling, that’s for sure.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Dude plays a cello fer crissakes. I think my loins would be raw if I played the cello…


Right? If he’s not getting laid, it’s just because he’s not trying very hard.

@SanFranLefty: I’m not so much scared away as mystified by one burning question: As a girl in junior high/high school who wasn’t absorbed in haunting the mall or endlessly experimenting with hair and make-up choices (presumably the female counterpart activities to the boys’ Scifi/gaming stuff), what did I do with all my time??

@Nabisco: A real bad ass tucks the cello under the chin, just like a violin

@flippin eck: Promme told me you were a teenaged arsonist.

@flippin eck: Play sports, study, and write out the lyrics to Smiths songs.

Or at least that’s what I did.


Lefty, were you one of those goth/emo girls that used to write song lyrics on your arm and smoke cloves? That would be awesome….

@SanFranLefty: Play sports, study, and write out the lyrics to Elliott Smiths songs.


@SanFranLefty: @mellbell: Play sports, study, and write out the lyrics to Michael W. Smiths songs.

Fixed for me….alas.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Right? If he’s not getting laid, it’s just because he’s not trying very hard.

I have, alas, moved from the “getting laid” stage of my life to the “finding the right person” stage. Although I’m not sure I really had a “getting laid” stage, in the sense that I’ve always been pretty picky — the pickiness is just increasing now.

@FlyingChainSaw: A real bad ass tucks the cello under the chin, just like a violin

I must be some kind of badass. I’ve actually tried playing my cello like this; my arms aren’t long enough, and the endpin jabs your neck something fierce if you don’t position it right.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Sort of, until I got busted by the track coach for the clove cigarettes, and I wasn’t so much goth/emo because that required actual investment in one’s wardrobe whereas I was wearing crappy clothes from the thrift stores in a non-ironic manner because my insane mother would not spend more than $50 a year per kid for school clothes.
@mellbell: Tee hee. You just made me feel so old.
@flippin eck: Oh honey. He’s cute, and I’m sure HomoFascist would bang him like a cheap drum, but really, there’s no excuse.

@IanJ: A real badass would have had friends come over and pull on his arms until they were long enough to play the cello with the instrument tucked under his chin.

@FlyingChainSaw: Ok, then I am not an actual badass, just a poser badass. Story of my life.

@IanJ: I don’t want to pry and you are more than welcome to give me a terse or mono-syllabic or non-response, but I thought you were in a relationship?

@SanFranLefty: I blame peer pressure–the stupid effing goody-goody kids I was raised with made me do it. They tried to indoctrinate me and create another mouthbreather and they failed! I should be applauded, not shamed, for overcoming this horrible impediment from my youth!

@SanFranLefty: I was, but that ended several months ago. We’re friends now. One of my magic superpowers is the ability to be friends with most exes.

@IanJ: Sorry to hear that, and I hope you’re doing better. Breaking up is never easy, but it is a good thing that you have that superpower.

@flippin eck: That’s a great way to spin it…

@nojo: I mix up the Hollies and the Raspberries. One of them did “The Air That I Breathe”.

@Tommmcatt Floats: Not always, dude. You just get the highlight reel, but I do play like I want to be on Sportscenter every night.

@IanJ: So RPG is not rocket propelled grenade?

Went to the 30th high school reunion (yep, RML is 46&2 years old) last weekend, and it was so cool to see the year books I geeked out on from the 9th grade to 12th grade on display and used as references for my classmates. Shot most of the pictures, laid them out, selected type, wrote copy, drew the goddam rules lines, sold ads (including one to the head shop where I got my Freak Bros. comix and screens). I told Mrs RML, “I did that” and we had a shared student pub geek moment. No band geek stuff last weekend, though. Band and year book, ski club, plus working at the movie theater as a projectionist – that’s what I did with my HS years in addition to reading all kinds of shit and listening to music.

@IanJ: We’ll get some volunteers to stop by and stretch out your arms. It will be a great Stinque.com project.

@redmanlaw: Alas, no, RPG has nothing to do with any real-world explosives. But you’d be surprised at the rich inner life some people are capable of living. I’ve participated in some fantastic explosions in my day, usually in Shadowrun, a game set in near-future Seattle, after the magic comes back in 2012.

I didn’t do yearbook, but did work on the newspaper in 10th grade — I was thinking about that yesterday as I found myself washed in memories of a friend who died a few years ago when a drunk driver piled into her car on I-5, driving the wrong way down the road. She was the paper’s editor, and we spent more than one epic session in the offices getting the paper laid out in time for deadline. No other laying was involved, get your minds out of the gutters. This same person famously ran into band practice one day, in a near-panic, and yelled out, “I just broke my G-string!” She was of course referring to her viola…

@SanFranLefty: My god, are we married? After we started dating, Ma Nabisco let me see the diary where she had written out all the Smiths songs. You don’t get much more intimate than that, amirite?

@mellbell: Um, are you my niece?

@IanJ: This same person famously ran into band practice one day, in a near-panic, and yelled out, “I just broke my G-string!” She was of course referring to her viola… That is awesome. I was in HS theater for two years, mainly because it was a great way to to ensure something like an 8:1 girl/guy ratio. I also was a newspaper editor for a couple of years, responsible for selling ad space oddly enough, but that was just an excuse to keep me on the masthead, which meant my album reviews didn’t have to be vetted by the faculty editor. I famously skewered both Billy Joel and Meatloaf in the same issue, which was tantamount to treason in ’77. But it meant more eyeballs for my review of Elvis Costello live at a local community college.

@SanFranLefty: @mellbell: @flippin eck: Play sports Do theatre, study, and write out the lyrics to Smiths Simon & Garfunkel songs.
And you thought you felt old, SFL.

@IanJ: You brought tears to my eyes with those memories of her. What a horrible loss to not have someone like her in the world while people like Dick Cheney still walk the earth.
@IanJ: @Nabisco: @Mistress Cynica: Confession: I did theatre too. Oh, and I listened to Simon & Garfunkel, just didn’t write out the lyrics like Smiths, The Cure, Morrisey, NIN, etc.

@SanFranLefty: What a horrible loss to not have someone like her in the world

You’re telling me. I try not to let it bog me down, but I still think about her pretty frequently. I think the crash was in 2006 or 2007 (I find that the date of her death is worth considerably less brainspace than other memories about her).

Also, on the topic of what angstful music we listened to in HS, I was definitely in the Cure/Siouxsie camp, with an eclectic and occasionally bizarre selection beyond that, including TMBG, Yello, The Art of Noise, and Thomas Dolby. College saw the full industrial round-up: NIN, Pigface, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Switchblade Symphony, many more you’ve never heard of (and I can’t recall at the moment). Fortunately, since then, I’ve mellowed out a bit, although The Cure still resonates in a way I really hadn’t expected.

@SanFranLefty: Theater geek also(tech, after trying acting) and pit musician for musicals. Neil Young, country rock, Steely Dan, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Stones, Cars, Police, Bob Marley, etc. were my HS tunes.

This is why I say you can never truly understand a country unless you went to school there. I have no idea what any of you are talking about.

@IanJ: Sorry about your friend. That’s an awful thing to happen to someone you cared about.

@IanJ: Oh, Siouxsie, my Siouxsie, how could I have forgotten her? Yes on Ministry too. And when I was feeling more upbeat, Depeche Mode, New Order, OMD, REM, and Edie Brickell (that’s a Texas thing).

@redmanlaw: Deep Purple?!?! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha How many drugs were you using back in the ’70s to listen to that dreck?

@Benedick: Music of our adolescence that soothed our angst-ridden hearts.

@SanFranLefty: The fact that Depeche Mode and New Order are in your “upbeat” list probably says most of all. I’m not sure I know of music more effectively tinged with melancholy and strains of despair (as opposed to outright depression and despair). Without dipping into classical, of course, or country/western, which I’ve never really had any exposure to.

@SanFranLefty: You obv. never heard “Made in Japan”. BTW, NIN played its last US show ever at Bonaroo, per Rolling Stone. Ministry now belongs to the ages, but the dude is now touring as Revolting Cocks. Tool were a little rusty the other night but I still enjoyed the show. Next up: Green Day in August and U2 in October.

Ah, RevCo, another industrial favorite I missed. There are about a zillion industrial bands all composed of different permutations of about 7 different musicians, of which RevCo is one. My favorite song by them is “Linger Ficken’ Good,” although it pretty much falls outside the definition of industrial.

@redmanlaw: Oh I heard it, alright. Waaaaay too many fucking times, thanks to my dad playing Deep Purple all the time on his reel-to-reel machine.

Tonight I am (gladly) missing the Dave Mathews Band, a few weeks ago Steven Tyler bailed out on an Aerosmith show, and next week is some re-formed 90s band, oh yeah, Blink 182. Fortunately I lived waaay far away from these shores to ever get polluted by 2 of the above 3 bands.

@IanJ: Poser badass, thats nothing. I have been, all my life, a poser rebel. A rebel without his balls. I loudly reject the predominant social conventions and rules, and then grudgingly live them anyway. I loudly reject the earn and spend consumerism of our society, then I go shopping. I rage against the wage slave, careerist, live your life in numbing boredom in an unsatisfying job as the years fly by and your dreams go dim, but I continue to live that life in excruciating frustration. I decide to take a risk and start a business that will allow me to throw aside the un-fulfilling but respectable career, and do my art, my gift, what I love, but then, I really take no risk, because I keep my job, and the impossibility of making my venture work without being there dooms it.

Ah well, I was able to pretend for a while.

@Benedick: Oh, benedick, its not true you cannot understand a country unless you went to school there, its just that you won’t get the shared cultural references of any particular cohort of people of similar age, unless you were that age at the same time.

If you were to open up and tell us the music of your teen years, I am sure that there will be those here for whom those same songs have the same meaning.

@redmanlaw: The Hollies were a strange British invasion band, they did “bus stop” and “Valerie” and a few other well known songs, some sprightly pop, and one of them is one of Crosby Stills and Nash, I think its Nash.

The Raspberries were a 70s bubblegum-power pop band, with an amazingly nasal but to me powerful lead singer, they did “Please Baby Go All the Way,” and I just absolutely love that song.

@redmanlaw: In high school, I was, oh god, don’t hate me, a southern long haired stoner, we worshipped Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, etc., but also mainstream rock of the time, everyone, everyone, had Boston, Rumours, Rust Never Sleeps, Lowdown, The Stranger, Arc of a Diver, Some Girls (these be album titles, and great albums, all for different moods).

But it was not till college and after that I discovered the music I love still, The Clash, The Ramones, The Cure, The Smiths, The Smithereens, Tom Waits, The Style Council, and only after, the Jam, I still get equal enjoyment from angry garage punk, synthesizer new wave, moody Cure and Smiths songs, and just pure energy raw pop, like The Romantics, the Raspberries, songs like Fox on the Run and Ballroom Blitz, and stadium stomp rock like Mama We’re all Crazy Now, by the original, mind you, Slade, and how can anyone not love Crazy Train, and even Twisted Sister, on occasion?

And thats why I love, lately, The Fratellis, and most of all, The Killers, who I think combine all the things I love best.

Oh, and “How Soon Is Now” is a perfectly accurate description of my love life from 15 to 30 years of age. Awkward angst-filled loneliness and longing for a pure romantic love, thwarted by insecurity, doubt, and social ineptitude, interspersed with tawdry desperate late night hookups followed by deep feelings of shame and also, often, unrequited long term love for people who were ashamed of their moment of weakness with me.

i have the same magic gift of remaining friends with exes. i thought it was a great thing until i recently became alarmed at how many of my facebook friends i’ve had sex with, been engaged or married to.

@flippin eck: @SanFranLefty: @Mistress Cynica: @mellbell:
what kind of geek was i in high school…track and field, swimming, gymnastics (til i knocked out a tooth on the uneven parallels–there is a reason gymnasts are 12 year old midgets) yearbook. theater scenery painter, and i lived in the library. at home i read the entire encyclopedia britannica A to Z.
weekends were for *uaaludes, weed, and LSD.
the soundtrack? don’t hate me, i’m old. the doors, led zeppelin, jethro tull, the who, crosby, stills and nash, carole king.

@Prommie: Did you have a Commodore 64?

My first computer was a whitebox 286. I really did avoid the infernal contraptions for a dozen years.

@baked: Not so old. My high school days coincided with the last years of Top 40 AM radio magic. The Doors, the Who, Crosby Stills Nash with and without Young, and Carole King for sure. Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull not so much until the 70’s. There were plenty of others you may remember like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Jimi, Sly and the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Marvin Gaye, Janice, the Supremes, Simon and Garfunkel, Aretha, the Stones and an obscure band called the Beatles. Right before graduation five brothers from Gary were making a splash with the youngest kid singing.

That soundtrack also included a lot of music mercifully forgotten today. Most of the so-called classic rock from the late 60’s was overshadowed at the time by masterpieces like “Sugar, Sugar”, “Harper Valley PTA” and “Ode to Billie Joe”.

@baked: “i recently became alarmed at how many of my facebook friends i’ve had sex with, been engaged or married to.”

Thank you for my first spit-take of the day.

Hope you’re doing better, or that the happy memories of your auntie are giving you some comfort.

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