With convention season in full bloom this spring I decided for this month’s blog to compare the two conventions I attended in April: Star Wars Celebration Orlando and the Utah Dental Association Convention. Both conventions are filled with panels and vendors, both attract geeks from around the world, and at both I was able to spend time with people that I appreciate more than I can say. Let’s break them down and see which wins the tale of the tape.
A few weeks ago, as I sat in church and listened to a talk about faith, my mind began to wander to the Force. How does the Force really work? Is it really as easy to use as the Jedi and the Sith make it look? Is being born with the ability to use the Force enough? Are faith and self-confidence really that important when using the Force? And what part does urgency play? Faith is a belief in something that is unseen, and self-confidence is a trust in one’s own abilities and judgements, and both seem to fit well with what Yoda tried to teach Luke Skywalker on Dagobah. In scripture we learn that we have the power to move mountains if we believe we can do it. So could I really move a mountain? Maybe. But there is my problem. I’m not sure I could do it. It’s just a maybe. So maybe using the Force isn’t that easy after all.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I wanted to provide some useful Star Wars quotes that can be used on that special day of love. These lines are helpful in a variety of situations, including when you are given the wrong gift, give the wrong gift, need to redeem yourself after giving the wrong gift, forget a gift altogether, or just want to express that you know your significant other loves you. Good luck. You’re gonna need it.
During my first viewing of Rogue One I noticed that there some obvious connections and tie-ins with Return of the Jedi. For example, in both movies there are Mons (Mothma and Calamari), shield generators that need to be destroyed, Death Stars that become operational, and stolen Imperial ships and codes that the rebels use to infiltrate an Imperial stronghold. But after multiple viewings it is clear that there are even more similarities, connections, and juxtapositions between Rogue One and Return of the Jedi.
With Rogue One coming out in less than a week I, like many Star Wars fans, am excited to see Darth Vader on the big screen again. How will Darth Vader’s appearance in Rogue One add to his legend? And will it help explain more about him being a vergence of the Force? I’m hoping so, because as we have seen so far, Darth Vader is the perfect vergence in the Star Wars galaxy.
I like to think that I know my kids pretty well, aside from the fact that I rarely call them by their correct names. I know their favorite colors, foods, sports, books, teams, and TV shows. I know what makes them happiest and what makes them want to go Kylo Ren and impale me with the nearest lightsaber. But last week I was talking to my eight-year-old son about Star Wars and began wondering what is his favorite Star Wars installment if he could choose from the movies, The Clone Wars series, the Star Wars Rebels episodes, and any of the Lego Star Wars episodes. I suggested to my son that after he told me his favorite that we watch it together, dissect it in a very Coffee With Kenobi way, and write a blog about our experience. I’m always interested to get different points of view on Star Wars from fans of different age groups to see how they perceive and process it. And to make sure I’m raising my children properly. This is up for debate since my eleven-year-old son revealed to me recently that he thinks The Empire Strikes Back is boring, as some of you may have read in this blog.
My son didn’t have to think long about his favorite. I assumed he would choose Revenge of the Sith since that is his favorite Star Wars movie. But he said it was The Clone Wars episode from season 3 called “ARC Troopers.” I admit that I struggled to recall the plot of this episode at first. Basically, the Separatists, led by General Grievous and Asajj Ventress, are launching an attack on Kamino to destroy the clone production facilities. It seemed pretty straight forward, but like anything in Star Wars, the deeper we looked, the more that was revealed.
Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 hit lightspeed right after take off as Mark Hamill took the stage Thursday morning at the Vivint Smart Home Arena (home of the Utah Jazz) and connected immediately with his largest panel crowd ever. While acknowledging that many in attendance wanted to get even the tiniest bit of information about Star Wars episode VIII, Hamill expectedly (and contractually) couldn’t discuss anything about the upcoming movie. He said the reason for the secrecy was to benefit the fans, so we could experience any reveals and surprises in the movie theater. Salt Lake Comic Con was Hamill’s only appearance this year at any convention in North America and the self-proclaimed professional liar definitely didn’t disappoint. At one point his dog, Millie, even joined him on stage, because, as he said, Gary Fisher has been getting too much attention. Mark Hamill admitted that in a couple of days he’d be back home cleaning up after the dog and being yelled at to take out the trash, but for his one day at Salt Lake Comic Con he captivated the packed house with his Star Wars and Joker stories.
“The Empire Strikes Back is boring.” Those were the words that came from my 10-year-old son’s mouth several months ago. After I recovered from the sheer shock I had just experienced, I checked my son for any possible head injuries. After running him through an NFL-level concussion test, I decided it must be something else that caused this nonsense to come from my son. He is a very intelligent boy so something had to be wrong. The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite movie of all time. Surely my son didn’t mean what he said. So I asked him if he was just joking. He assured me nothing was medically wrong with him, he was not joking, and this was his honest opinion. He said he likes TESB, but it’s just kind of boring to him. He also likes Pacific Rim and no one in their right mind likes that movie, right? (I’m looking at you, Cory Clubb.)
About a month ago I was asked by my bishop if I would be willing to speak at my church. He said that he felt like our congregation needed to hear from me. Now, most of you know that I would rather be interrogated by an agitated Kylo Ren on the beaches of Mustafar while being shot with Force lightning than speak in front of anyone, let alone 200-300 people. I’m the introvert that usually sits in the back of most rooms and doesn’t like very much attention. So why did I say yes?! Or did I? There may have been a mind trick involved.
The topic I was asked to speak on was following and supporting righteous leaders, whether they be parents, grandparents, teachers, church leaders, or even our children. I usually get really nervous speaking in front of anyone, and since I don’t have the willpower or resolution of Qui-Gon Jinn I needed to figure out a way to calm myself down. So I decided to mix into my talk some Star Wars. Ok, maybe a lot of Star Wars.
Over the last few weeks as I was trying to decide on a topic for my blog this month, I received a message from my friend Michael Morris of the Cloud City Casino podcast with a suggestion: Why not compare tooth decay to the Dark Side of the Force? It was a great idea and as a dentist I hope I can do it justice. If not, the Cloud City Administrator may revoke my license.
If we let down our oral hygiene guard the tooth decay process can start. It can be as simple as not brushing and flossing regularly, consuming too many sugary foods or acidic drinks, taking a new medication, or not visiting a dentist regularly. All of these are things that happen within our bodies or that we allow to happen to our bodies. This can be likened to a Jedi allowing thoughts to seep into their mind of using the Dark Side or letting someone else plant those thoughts. It’s not the worst thing in the galaxy, but if these thoughts are allowed to continue it could lead down a dark path that will forever dominate one’s destiny.