Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #6: The Droids We Weren’t Looking For

purple light-up astromech!

Purple light-up astromech guts.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

It was a Star Wars Celebration. Of course there was a veritable droid army on the premises. Far more than we’d expected, once we stumbled upon their barely advertised hiding place. Granted, there were a couple patrolling the exhibit hall…

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The Culling of a Comics Collection, Chapter 1

Comics Culling...

Indiana as a state has an abysmal track record when it comes to encouraging recycling efforts, but options do exist if you know where to look.

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about Marie Kondo, the lady with the Netflix show who, if I understand all of last year’s internet squabbling correctly, recommends everyone throw away all their possessions except their Top 10, keep only one pet and release the rest into the wilderness, stuff half their food in the garbage disposal, raffle off any jewelry that weren’t featured in magazine articles, or something like that. For the record, I haven’t watched a single episode, so I’ve not been hypnotized and chanting, “I must give away all my possessions and join the KondoMinimizers,” or whatever.

No, I’ve been planning the act in the above photo for a few months now — consciously, at least. Subconsciously, maybe a lot longer.

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Old Guy with a PS3, Year 3: The Never-Ending “Borderlands 2”

Face McShooty!

In Borderlands 2, some missions are harder and more meaningful than others. The showdown with Face McShooty is not one of them.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover two years ago:

As a kid, I frequented video arcades regularly. As a parent, my son and I spent a good decade playing games together on his various systems. When he graduated and moved away to college, he took all his systems with him, leaving me with only my old Nintendo that won’t play cartridges unless you keep the Game Genie firmly inserted, and an Atari Plug-‘n’-Play Controller I got for Christmas a few years ago that interested me for about two weeks. On Black Friday 2014, I decided I wanted back in the 21st century gaming mode and picked up a used PS3.

Naturally I started off a generation behind the rest of the civilized world, but I didn’t care. After fifteen months without, holding a controller felt abnormal and rusty for the first few weeks. Once I got used to it again and figured out how to disable the “Digital Clear Motion Plus” feature on my TV, I could shake the dust off my trigger fingers, choose the games I wanted to play, sprint or meander through them at whatever pace I saw fit, and try some different universes beyond Final Fantasy and our other longtime mainstays. The following is a rundown of my first year’s worth of solo PS3 adventures…

…which brings us to our third annual round-up of how I spent my retro-gaming time this year. In previous entries I would list all the games I played that year in the order I played them and with my trophy percentages included, whether impressive or embarrassing.

This year, it’s a short list, he understated:

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Requiem for Another Indiana Comic Shop Closed

Android's Dungeon!

Whenever a comic shop closes its doors, Marvel kills off another Angel.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in July 2014 I expressed hopes and well wishes for the Android’s Dungeon, a new comic book shop that had opened in Avon, Indiana, in a heavily commercial area in otherwise comics-less Hendricks County. The owners were a nice young couple; the selection was diverse; the perks were kind. All signs pointed to potential success.

On August 31st, last Wednesday, the Android’s Dungeon observed one last New Comics Day before closing its doors for good.

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Board Games and Breaking Away

Star Wars Monopoly!

On a board far, far away…

My son has been staying with us this week, getting away from his isolated college apartment for a bit to enjoy better cooking and some human contact. Twice this week we plowed into our stash of board games and had ourselves some old-fashioned family quality time. While we were immersing ourselves in other, tinier worlds and their simpler structures of governance, obviously we couldn’t know this would end up an atrocious week for American civilization beyond our cozy, secluded walls.

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The Days Are Saved, Thanks to Scrapbooking!

Short entry because I’ve spent much of the night immersed in one of these:


For preserving our family’s experiences, I have my writing and my wife has her scrapbooks. When my memories falter, her photo spreads help jump-start the recovery process for those old, lost anecdotes. She’s been assembling these for years and years, building up quite the family library. Vacations, conventions, special one-time outings, random notable occasions, family holidays — if we did something besides work, sleep, eat, or stare at screens, she’s scrapbooked it.

I’ve delved into this one tonight to retrieve several old 35mm photos from our 2006 vacation for future use. A few were previously scanned, but not all of them. It’s so weird looking back at my son, tall for an 11-year-old yet far from his adult height; my wife, timeless as always; and me, the year after my diet. And many of the shots with her 35mm camera looked better than the results from the frustrating digital camera I had at the time. Quite unfair. So I’ve been scanning and scanning and scanning and scanning the night away and I’m really, really tired of staring at the scanner and waiting for the platen elves to hurry and make with the magical uploading.

Sometimes we’ll share her scrapbooks with friends, walk them through with tag-team narration. For the most part, they’re for our own future use, especially for revisiting in those golden years (so to speak) when individual tales begin to blur, vital details vanish, names become scrambled, and punchlines lose their impact. If either of us are stricken with one of the worst-case-scenario kinds of conditions, the ones that pulverize mental faculties and effectively sever any connections to prized talents and qualities, I want these scrapbooks right beside us as our reminders, as our life-savers, as our virtual tour guides to ourselves, imbued with all that we were and all that we meant.

The above pictures-in-picture are from a small-town Wizard of Oz festival we attended in 2006, a cavalcade of Oz cosplay, surviving Munchkin actors, arts-‘n’-crafts booths, and general whimsy. One day we ought to share that story, but I kept it in reserve for a few reasons, none of them personal. When the time is right and the story yearns to be told, either to ourselves or to others, the scrapbook will be waiting.

Comic Shops Can Still Happen If You Want Them

Android's Dungeon!

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a brand new comic book shop.

The Android’s Dungeon has operated as an online store since 2009, but this year its owners saw their long-standing dream of a brick-and-mortar storefront come true. After months of searching and hoping for the right combination of location and timing, they planted stakes, opened their doors to the public in March, and made history as the first official comic shop in the ever-expanding town of Avon, Indiana.

Wishing them well in the face of considerable odds…

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