“Opening the Mother Box: Exploring my relationship with comic books, religion and George Lucas”

marrowAbout a month ago, I was invited to speak at “The Marrow“, an event that takes place at The Whistler in Chicago each month. At this event, storytellers are asked to read an essay that gets to “the marrow” of who they are.

As it was the first time I’d ever done something like this, I was rather nervous and wrote a piece that was to be a deep, personal exploration of my self.

It was well-received, but after hearing some of the other storytellers that evening – one spoke about trying to find a rehab facility for his ex-wife on a holiday, another about her estranged relationship with her mother and how it all started the day her mom kicked her father out of the house – I knew that I had just skimmed the surface.

Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll go much deeper. But for now, I’ll share with you the essay that I announced that I’d never read in public again. :::laughs::: I’m so full of it:


The challenge to writing an essay about oneself, especially one that is supposed to get to the heart of who you are, is that you tend to get all caught up in your own bullshit.

You know, you get sidetracked by trying to turn a clever phrase, or using florid language that makes you sound smarter than you think you are.

You find yourself unconsciously using a verbal sleight of hand, one that distracts your reader from the truth that you don’t want them to see you tucking away in your pocket.

So there won’t be any of that from here on out…

Or will there?

(Continues after the jump!)

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Roads Not Taken: My Emotional Journey Through “The Force Awakens”

After seeing Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens almost a week ago (I was at the Chicago press screening) it’s taken me this long to process it. When the movie ended, I sat in my chair and felt conflicted. I felt like the kid who had opened all his Christmas gifts but didn’t quite get what he wanted.

Like many Star Wars fans, I’d been waiting for this installment of the Skywalker Saga for decades.  Sure, the Prequels were fine but I wanted to know what happened in that galaxy far, far away in the post-“Return of the Jedi” years.

And when you look at the marketing campaign that the folks at Lucasfilm/Disney put together, it was obvious that Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams knew what buttons they wanted to push, and what audience they were trying to reach. They wanted to reach the fans of the Classic Trilogy, the ones who grew up with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and the rest of those iconic characters. In short, a fan like ME.

So why did I have such conflicting emotions once the credits started rolling? Why was I not flush with joy as my fellow Star Wars fans who left the theater with me? Why is there a contingent of “fans” who are declaring their hatred for the film? And finally, how do I feel now that I’ve taken the time to sort out my feelings about the film and have seen it a second time? Here’s my 2 cents (or Republic credits if you’re not in the Outer Rim) WARNING – SPOILER TERRITORY AHEAD!:

Read more after the jump!

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Celebrate the Force Awakens with these Star Wars cocktails!

This weekend, millions of Star Wars fans are going to see one of the most anticipated films in history when “The Force Awakens” finally debuts in theaters!

Now, if you’re of the proper drinking age and would like to celebrate returning to that “galaxy far, far away”, may I recommend making one of these Star Wars-themed cocktails?

They run from the fun and fruity, to downright refreshing. Just be sure to not drink and fly your space freighter. Let the wookiee be your designated driver.

Click on the images for the recipes!

Which cocktail sounds the tastiest to you? I’m partial to the “Poe-jito” myself!

I hope you enjoy them and may the Force be with you!

Is Star Wars bigger than the NFL? And what color is Muppet blood?

This week’s edition of Geek/Countergeek has Keith Conrad and I discussing the news out of D23; the “Walking Dead” prequel series “Fear The Walking Dead”; Orlando Bloom returning to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; and how Star Wars is bigger than the National Football League!:

Oh yeah, and when you cut a Muppet, what color blood comes out?

You can let us know what you think in the comment section or hit us up on Twitter!

Listen to past episodes of Geek/Countergeek on Gabatron.com!

Star Wars Fans can now play 20 questions with a Jedi Holocron!

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Star Wars these days, what with Episode VII scheduled for release in December; the movies getting released in Digital HD this week; and the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim less than a week away. If you haven’t been getting caught up in the mania of it all, you’re probably as dead inside as Greedo after a visit to Mos Eisley Cantina. (What? Too soon?)

If that’s the case, here’s a fun Star Wars activity you can do, right there on your laptop or mobile device, to help get you in the mood: play 20 questions with the AI of a Jedi Holocron! How is that? Here’s the skinny from “Uncle Milton’s Toys“, the folks behind “Star Wars Science“:


“Uncle Milton, creator of the innovative Star Wars™ Science brand of toys, is getting ready to challenge aspiring Jedi in a different way. This time, Uncle Milton will be bringing the popular artificial intelligence game of knowledge, 20Q®, into the world of Star Wars with the Jedi Holocron. Holocrons are artifacts that hold an indeterminable amount of knowledge, so what better way to bring the Holocron into our world, than with 20Q®. Even better, Star Wars™ fans can be part of the creation of this new Star Wars™ Science Jedi Holocron! Star Wars fans are encouraged to visit http://starwars.20q.net/play  and start playing the game! Think of any being, location, or technology based on all 6 Star Wars movies and TV series and 20Q® will try and guess what you’re thinking. See if you can outsmart the Jedi Holocron! The more times you play, the smarter the artificial intelligence of the Jedi Holocron will become. Look for the Star Wars Science Jedi Holocron on store shelves beginning in Fall, 2015.

Click HERE to play 20 Questions with the Jedi Holocron! Can you outsmart it?

Ghostbusters Universe? Talking about the Ghostbusters reboot and the merits of GB2 with Keith Conrad

This week’s edition of Geek/Countergeek has Keith Conrad and me discussing the Ghostbusters franchise. What’s up with this new announced “male Ghostbusters” film? Is Sony making it to appease male fans who are upset about the gal-centric reboot? And is Keith crazy for liking Ghostbusters 2 more than the first film? (Spoiler: he is.) All this and more Star Wars talk including the announcement of “SW: Rogue One”!


For more geeky good stuff, visit GABATRON.COM

Freaking out over Harrison Ford and arguing over the Star Wars Prequels

This week’s edition of Geek/Countergeek has Keith Conrad and me discussing the recent plane crash involving Harrison Ford and how news outlets/social media handled it. Then we move on to the way some Star Wars fans rip the Prequel Trilogy, which just pisses me off. I explain why:

You can check out Gabatron.com for more episodes of Geek/Countergeek, along with other cool podcasts!

Soldier for The Empire: Peeking Inside “The Imperial Handbook” with Dan Wallace

If you ask me, Dan Wallace is living the dream! As the author of such geek-tastic tomes like The Jedi Path and The Iron Man Manual,” he has gotten to play with some of the most iconic characters in pop culture.

Now, after giving readers a look at what it’s like to become a Jedi Knight (or follow the path to the Dark Side in Book of Sith) he delves into the life of an Imperial recruit in “Star Wars: Imperial Handbook.”

Corresponding via e-mail, Wallace and I discussed what it’s like working in the Star Wars Universe; how Stormtroopers really aren’t clones; and who would win in a face-off between Darth Vader and Iron Man:

Geek To Me: Let’s get some of the basic fanboy stuff out of the way, shall we? How long have you been a Star Wars fan?

NewessentialguidetodroidsDan Wallace: Since forever! I had the toys, memorized lines, the whole deal. I’ve soaked in Star Wars pretty much my whole life, so to have a chance to contribute a tiny piece to it in my own way is just the best.

Geek To Me: Of all the characters in the saga, which one really resonated with you the most?

Dan Wallace: Personality-wise, I’m most like C-3PO. Not particularly heroic, obsessed with minutiae and procedure. But from a favorite character standpoint I’ve always liked Lando Calrissian. He’s like Han Solo but with a lot more suaveness and gambling skills. Lando is 20% James Bond.

Read more after the jump!

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