Author Archives: eliz

Remembering Sally Ride, first American woman in space

Today we say goodbye to a woman who inspired many, if not all of us, in Club Jade.

You can read about her life on her wiki page, her science education company website, or any of the regular news outlets.

Yes, she contributed to science, to the space shuttle program, and to science education.  You’ll read about those at the sites above.

However, it’s the stories you will not read as part of the official record that are the most important when it comes to the impact Sally Ride had on the hearts and minds of children growing up in the 80′s through today. 

Club Jade’s own Paula tweeted earlier today:

I had the honor of meeting Sally Ride when I was twelve. She encouraged me to pursue science so I could follow her to the stars.

My earliest memory of Sally Ride was seeing her picture on a wall in a classroom, with the simple note of “First American Woman in Space – 1983″.  My first report in that class was on her because of that picture and caption and it made me a fan for life.  I wanted to go to space camp, I was driven to learn more about science and technology, and I was absolutely empowered to never let anyone tell me “girls can’t do X”.  All because of Sally’s example.  Thank you Sally Ride, for giving so many of us young girls an example of what we too could achieve.

I’d like to invite you to share how she impacted your life, no matter how small, in the comments below.

The Empire needs you! (At Celebration VI)

A look over the Celebration site shows they are now accepting applications to be a volunteer at CVI!  Go to the site, click on About SWC at the top, then choose Crew to access the information (or use the link prior).

A few important details:

  1. You are committing to working Thursday – Sunday, some will be asked to work on Wednesday.

  2. You will be paid for your efforts.
  3. You must be 21.

There is an application linked at the bottom of the page.  The questions are basic information, asking what experience you have and what you bring to the team.  Be honest!

Various Club Jaders have volunteered at Celebration since II in Indy.  We’ve worked the lines, ran stages, wrangled guests, helped fans, answered questions, fetched food and drinks, and even helped slice, plate, and serve 5000 pieces of cake. (Celebration IV).  Volunteering is work but it can be fun and exciting to be part of the show in a small way.  Many of us do it because we get to meet so many other fans who love Star Wars and also help make the event special for everyone we encounter.  Others are motivated because you never know what might happen and it makes for an adventurous week.  Some of us do it because it is our way of contributing back to the Star Wars community.

A short list of unusual things some of us have done:

  • I mentioned the cake. 5000 pieces sliced, plated and served. You may catch a Team Cake Never Again t-shirt or two at CVI.
  • Played trivia and gave away prizes to random fans in line.
  • Helped StarWarsShop.com unpack and sell Boba Fetts.  Two of us were stopped all weekend and at the airport by fans who came through the line.
  • Watched model makers, effects people, and other behinds the scenes types be amazed at how interested the fans were in how and what they did, and be knowledgeable about their career outside of Star Wars.
  • Putting together gift bags for a fan breakfast- we got to see items we’d never seen for sale before or had not seen in years.
  • Found Wampa fur pillows to decorate a couch.

If you are thinking of volunteering:

  1. Ask yourself if you are okay with not seeing/doing everything. Work will come first.
  2. Are you a people person?  Most jobs involve interacting with lots of strangers.
  3. Will you be professional and keep your inner fanboy/fangirl in check?

If you’ve said yes to the above, can think fast and creatively on your feet, sign up!  Volunteering is a great experience and can introduce you to areas of the fandom you’ve not experienced before.  For example, I never did life sized origami until CIII!

Serial-based movie gets cereal prizes

My daughter is five and loves Cheerios.  I can’t complain, they’re healthier than other alternatives and a handful makes a great snack after school while waiting for dinner.

One thing though, as a kid I never cared for Cheerios and I’ll admit one of the reasons was this:

Cheerios never had good prizes.

I’m a kid of the 80′s and back then Cheerios was the cereal for moms who ranted about other cereals having too much sugar and other negative quantities.  Luckily, for my brother and I, my mom was a little more open to options- she just wanted us fed and out the door to school on time.  So our mornings were a bit more colorful with Trix, Lucky Charms, and Cookie Crisp making the rotation.  It was always a matter of grave discussion who would get the treasured prize in the box when making our selection at our local grocery store.

So color me surprised when a recent trip to the store changed my cereal world!  I had heard about the General Mills Big G cereals doing a tie-in with the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menance.  I was expecting the usual on box pictures, maybe a mask, or a send off item similar to the Ghost Obi-Wan.  However, this trip I found for the purchase of a box of cereal I could get a pretty cool pen!  There are eight different pens to collect which look pretty great for a freebie in a cereal box.  Additionally, unlike McDonalds, Big G cereals are inclusive with Amidala being one of the options.  There’s a little to love for anyone- Jedi, Queen, Gungan, droids- your desk will look great or homework will be just a little more fun with one of these pens.  Who knew something good for you would also be fun too!

Additionally on my trip to the store, while my Cheerios boxes were bare of any Star Wars fun, the Honey Nut Cheerios had a different offer- a free poster with each purchase.  The post came wrapped to the box and is located in the back.  You could use it for play, decorate your locker, or hang it in your cube to geek things up a bit.

Bravo to General Mills Big G Cereal for getting it right! Star Wars items for girls and boys without insulting anyone.   Can’t wait to dive into some Cookie Crisp for me and some Cheerios for the kiddo – just hope we get different pens!

Star Wars toys return to McDonalds’ Happy Meal this Friday… As ‘boy toys’

A new occasional feature here will be sharing those things that money (technically) can’t buy (at least not until it is on the secondary market).  Some examples: the podracer 3D glasses (though you can buy them if you’re not near a giveaway theater.)  Orange Death Star hand fans,  Pins, LEGO mini-figs,  ghost Obi-Wan figures,  and Special Edition Luke figures.

It will not be an exhaustive listing, but when we come across various tie-ins, we’ll do our best to share them with you as well as revisit some from the past from time to time.  Why? Because who doesn’t appreciate the free finer things in life?

First up — the McDonalds Star Wars Happy Meal toys for The Phantom Menace 3D rerelease.

McDonalds has had a few waves of Star Wars toys included in their happy meals in the prequel era.  The last couple of series were tied to The Clone Wars and were amusing.  The 2008 set focused on a cross between characters and ships – best of both worlds for most kids I know.

Threepio Happy Meal toy from 2011

The 2011 set  featured lightsabers, a Jedi Mind trick, a C3PO bobble (with R2-KT sticker!) – I still have some of those around and they were great for boys and girls. Who wouldn’t want 3PO hanging around all day?

Starting this Friday (per contacts in my local market, YMMV), you’ll start seeing a new round of Happy Meal toys.  I was excited when I first heard about the promotion, looking forward to seeing what McDonalds would come up with to celebrate the movie.  McDonald toys have been pretty cool lately with either multiple pieces, built in electronic lights and/or sounds, or just something above and beyond a hunk of plastic.  I was thinking maybe Jar-Jar with a long tongue (it’s been approved before), or prequel lightsabers like the 2011 promotion, or ships, or figures with voice chips.  Something strongly tied in to TPM at least.

The toys are previewed on HappyMeal.com. (See the screenshot above.) And they appear to be of the Beyblade  / LEGO Ninjago (minus the mini-fig) style of tops to compete with and collect.

The holders are light saber hilts, 2 pod racers, and R2.  The tops feature pictures of various standouts from the movie associated with the holder model.  The one standout is in the shape of R2-D2, with a matching top.  R2 fans will enjoy adding it to their collection and if you’re crafty you could modify it to match another of your favorite R2-series droids.

Recently Happy Meals have changed to include apple slices as well as fries as part of the meal to encourage healthier eating.  I can’t help but wonder if this decision has affected the budget for the toys.  Healthy living is important and as a mom I appreciate the apples being there and not just a choice, but cheapening the toy further is messing with tradition.  I’d rather not see the Happy Meal toy go the way of Crackerjack prizes in terms of quality.

Kids are still going to be happy with finding one of these toys in their Happy Meal but there is something far more discouraging .  The Star Wars toys have been deemed “boy toys” and have been paired up with Build A Bear as the “girl toy” offering.  Why oh why do we continue to have this designation and only for certain partners?  The Chipmunks were not divided, Happy Feet 2, Avatar – all these toys were offered to both boys and girls equally.

You’d think after 30+ years of girls vocally loving Star Wars, they’d offer an expanded collection for both girls and boys to play with and share.  At least Burger King offered Iron Man jewelry for girls during their promotion rather than assume girls did not want to celebrate Tony Stark.  Iron Man 2 even had at least two strong female characters in Pepper Potts and Black Widow. The Phantom Menace has a queen, her bodyguard handmaidens, a mother, and numerous female characters who appear throughout the movie.  What a disappointment to not include any of these characters in the Happy Meal toys at all.

Shame on you, Ronald.  What a wasted opportunity.

Get out your crayons and your pencils…

Are you under the age of 12 and enjoy coloring or know someone who is?  If so, LFL artist Cynthia Cummens-Narcisi is hosting a contest just for you!  Print out (no digital art allowed) and get cracking on this adorable picture of Yoda and R2.  Scan in your results and submit it to the contest.  Cynthia is giving away iTunes gift cards to the winners!  Contest is closed on February 13th at 6 PM EST.  If school is closed due to the weather in your neighborhood, this would be a great way to entertain your little Jedi!

Ricardo Montalban off to the next great journey

The man who brought us Khan lives no more.  Ricardo Montalban passed away yesterday morning at the age of 88.

CJ honors the passing of a great contributor to the geek world, from his roles as Star Trek’s Khan, to movies including Naked Gun and Spy Kids, and of course Fantasy Island.  There are also many CJ’ers who are fans of the series Kim Possible which he contributed to recently.

Raise a glass of Romulan ale and toast farewell with us!

Michael Crichton passing

Author Michael Crichton died Tuesday of cancer at the age of 66.

Best known for the movies based on his novels, the novels themselves were a satisfying dip into the pool of science fiction. Such titles as Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and Timeline have been enjoyed by many over the years. He was also the creator of the long running series ER on NBC and the screenwriter of Twister.

New Hitchhiker novel to come

Hyperion books is announcing today a new novel in the beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.  The new novel is to be written by the author of the Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer.  The title of the new book is And Another Thing… The project is endorsed by Adams’ widow, Jane Belson.

The new book is scheduled for release in October of 2009, so we have a year of debate ahead of us if this is a good idea or not.

Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer Meet the 80′s

Once upon a time, in a decade called the 80′s, little girls played with little plastic ponies. Except me, but that is because I wanted GI Joes and Transformers and Star Wars toys. I cringed at typical “little girl” toys and had absolutely no interest in My Little Pony at all.

Until now. How can you resist Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer? The prancing pony on the top of the car for Captain Hammer is absolutely perfect in my opinion and if I could, would be proud to add them to my desk collection. Check out the detail on his cargo pants!

Fandom never ceases to amaze me in it’s ingenuity and creativity. Just one question: where are Penny and the frozen yogurt to make this set complete?

Project Runway: Final Challenge!

Project Runway: Challenge 3

Okay, okay- it’s been a week and I know everyone (who wasn’t at JadeCon) is just dying to know who won Club Jade’s Project Runway!

The third challenge involved a mystery- the teams drew a planet to which their boyz were assigned a mission. The additional challenge was that the audience had to be able to guess what planet the boy was heading for.

The teams were then given a pile of fabric to choose from. The chaos reminded me of the footage shown for bridal gown sales. A few minutes later the teams had their fabrics (or in case of Team Bitca, their minimal materials) and the race was on.

Saturday night was our final runway show. A special thanks to Caitlin as our Heidi for wonderful hosting during all the events! The teams worked hard throughout the day to dress their boyz for the mission. The judges were amazed yet again with the level of determination and dedication to the competition!

I now proudly present the results for Project Runway: Challenge 3!

  • Team My Master Made Me Do It won Best Movie Recreation for their Dagobah entry. There is a R2-D2 in Luke’s backpack recovered from the piñata the picnic. For someone who was forced into participating, Steph did a wonderful job!
  • Team Have Gunn Will Travail won Most Innovative Use of Materials for their Tatooine entry. Yes, that is Yoda in a Slave Leia outfit. The bra was made from foil from the wine tasting earlier in the day.
  • Team Sprockets won Best Workmanship for their Hoth entry! The level of detail was incredible and the judges were very impressed by the cloak. While the judges questioned the use of chaps on the frozen planet of Hoth, Team Sprockets explained that Mace was hot enough on his own. Point taken.
  • Team Quilt won for Best Use of Plaid and a Special Award in Prop Construction for their Kamino entry! Judges were impressed with the Burberry-look raingear and especially the creation of the umbrella. Maybe if Obi-Wan had been so stylish and prepared the first time he met with Jango…
  • Team Bitca won the Jessa’s Go-Go Dancer or the Victoria’s Not-So-Secret Award for their Coruscant entry. The judges appreciated their steadfastness to their minimalist aesthetic but did question if this design would cause additional problems for the mission. Interestingly, the audience guessed the correct planet at first sight. What does this say for the center of government in the GFFA?

Our final two teams tied for the win of Project Runway Challenge Three:

  • Team We Did What? tied with their entry for a mission to the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk. The judges were impressed by the detail, the fringing, the bandolier, the layers, and how well it would work on Kashyyyk.
  • Team Not Quitting Our Day Jobs also tied with their entry for a mission to Mustafar. The judges were impressed with their innovative use of fleece rubber ducky material to simulate flames, including the flame logo on the reverse side of the jacket. This Obi-Wan wouldn’t need the advantage of higher ground if he was wearing this exciting outfit!

The overall winner of Project Runway was…. Everyone!

Yes, the judges could not come to a decision as to which team should be declared the overall winner as they were just so impressed by all of the entries. Call it what you want, but this means they can all be included in a calendar, to be published in time for 2009.

Thank you to all the teams for participating and really making this such a great event. We look forward to the next season of Club Jade Project Runway!

[Editor's Note: Come back late Monday for a poll on which CJPR team is your favorite!]