Tag Archives: nerds

Rey’s New Lightsaber Is Peak Foldy-Gadget Hype

GIF: Disney

Did Samsung’s still-not-released but definitely-really-coming-sometime-next-month Galaxy Fold influence Rey’s flashy folding lightsaber in the next Star Wars film? Probably not. But it’s undeniable that flippy gadgets are having a moment. Rey’s lightsaber would look a lot more silly if that weren’t the case.

I mean, consider the fact that she is using a tuning fork as a blade and that it has a clear weak point (the hinge), which will likely be the first point of failure when the weapon is exposed to extreme Forces. Or that there is no way she doesn’t chop off a limb with one errant swing of the hinge.

And how much give is in the hinge anyways? Is it mean to be more like giant nunchucks or a three-section staff, and if it’s the latter, will her fighting with it hopefully look cooler than every Youtube video I’ve found? (Editor’s note: Cranz insists only three-section staff users look stupid and that nunchucks are always cool).

Presumably, it’s got a flashy hinge but is ultimately similar to previously seen hinged lightsabers. My colleague James Whitbrook immediately noted to me that Pong Krell has two folding lightsabers in the animated Clone Wars saga.

But the folding action in Krell’s lightsaber never exactly had the flashy flippy moment Rey’s blade gets in the latest footage for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Krell only really ever lit one half of the weapon at a time, and it is very easy to miss that his blades fold. Rey’s blade is undeniably more gadget-like.

It’s not uncommon for lightsabers to tap into the gadget lust. The original ones were constructed from old camera parts, and later ones borrowed from the industrial design of everything from staple guns to a vibrator (Palpatine straight-up wields a lightsaber dildo). We reached out to LucasFilms to see if Rey’s blade was inspired by devices like the Galaxy Fold and will update should we learn more. But even without comment from a Star Wars propmaster, it’s clear this lightsaber is coming from the same headspace the bulging breakable flip phone, long-in-gestation flip tablet, and probably-never-gonna-happen dual-screen laptop come from.

Overly complex gadgets are neat. No one you know actually wants to own a Galaxy Fold, but if you’re a regular reader of Gizmodo’s gadget coverage you probably, on some level, covet one (or at least want to check it out). There’s a pleasure in a goofy gadget like the foldy phone. A quaintness to its complexity that leaves you with a smile. For me, the Fold and Rey’s dumb sword seem akin to devices tugged out of Skymall catalogs and Sharper Images stores that gave me a love for gadgets in the first place. I’ll honestly be disappointed if that lightsaber doesn’t at least have a calculator built in.

Source: Kotaku.com

Cosplaying Haikyuu’s Nishinoya May Have Improved My Volleyball Skills

This weekend, I attended Blerdcon, a convention in Washington, D.C., aimed at black nerds of all ilks. There were beautiful black people everywhere, and it was absolutely amazing. The cosplay was wildly creative, spanning anime, video games, movies, TV, and even commercials. I saw the character Jaws from the Burger King Kids Club ads, as well as my childhood hero, the superhero Blankman. I was thrilled to break out my own cosplay: Nishinoya Yuu from wholesome volleyball anime Haikyuu. Surprisingly, cosplaying as a volleyball player, a sport I play in real life, has actually helped my game.

Nishinoya Yuu is a libero, a player whose entire job is to focus on defense: digs, serve receive, that sort of thing. If you follow my game diaries, you’ll know that I play volleyball, so my cosplay was a simple last-minute decision for me. I ordered Nishinoya’s bright orange uniform and provided my own kneepads and volleyball. Instead of an elbow pad (I think they’re silly; if you’re falling on your elbows in volleyball you’re doing something very wrong), I wore the compression sleeve I sometimes use for my knee. I really brought my own volleyball life into this cosplay, is what I’m saying.

Gender-flipped Noya! Passing right in front of a wall is not ideal, believe it or not.

It was a lot of fun despite the fact that carrying a volleyball all day became a little cumbersome. Eating a chicken slider with mumbo sauce from a food truck while trying to keep a volleyball from rolling into the street is a pretty challenging task, as is carrying prints around and taking pictures with one hand while trying to balance a ball under your foot. That did get me out of picture duty for my friends, though, after I took a blurry picture of them with King T’Challa.

Maybe if I pin the Sho’nuff print to the volleyball with my Gitaroo Man button…

It was kind of funny to see people cosplaying other Haikyuu characters, particularly people who were shorter than me in real life cosplaying characters who are taller in the anime. Nishinoya is a 5’2” second-year high school student—since I’m 5’8”, I like to think cosplaying as a short king expanded my range and empathy as a person. I also gender-flipped the cosplay mid-con and added spandex and knee socks, which was fun. I’d done more elaborate cosplay in the past, but never at a con, so it was nice to feel the attention and enjoy a convention surging with fellow cosplayers.I had a few people stop me for pictures, and a couple even got me in action poses.

My volleyball passing form had gotten a little bit lazy, so cosplaying Nishinoya was a little bit of a personal challenge. Part of why I enjoy Haikyuu so much is that there’s a fair amount of accuracy to the volleyball, and Nishinoya’s form when passing is often excellent by real-life standards: shoulders square, extremely low to the ground, arms straight from the shoulder through the wrists. Having my non-volleyball-playing friends toss me the ball while I took action shots took more concentration from me than I expected, but the challenge was fun. It kind of felt like the drills I used to do when I practiced with the teams I played on.

I played volleyball yesterday, and after practicing Nishinoya’s “rolling thunder” for the cosplay (a volleyball barrel roll that is actually used in real life, though more in women’s play these days), I found myself less scared to do it during actual gameplay. I also found myself more focused on my passing form, which led me to concentrate and pass much better than I had in a long time. Maybe I’ll cosplay a rich CEO next and will that into existence.

Or maybe I’ll cosplay as my real favorite and get my blocking back together.

Source: Kotaku.com

Moving Sucks, But Especially If You’re a Geek

Moving Legos is hard. Moving Legos in large plastic containers? Not as hard.
Photo: All Images (Germain Lussier)
Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.  

If you thought moving was hard, try to do it with a 7,000 piece Lego set.

Recently, I moved out of a Los Angeles apartment I’d been in for six years to a house in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a big deal, of course, and something my wife Jayne and I had been planning and saving toward for a while. And yet, as exciting and grown up as the whole prospect was, when we began the actual, serious business of house hunting I almost didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it because it meant I’d have to move…a lot of stuff.

It’s not a revelation to talk about how much moving sucks. Because it does. Moving. Fucking. Sucks. But on top of that general dread was the fact that I’m a bit of an obsessive collector. Posters, Lego, various toys and prop replicas, DVDs, books, you name it and I probably collect it. So to move them all was more than a daunting task. It was a nightmare. And I mean that literally. I had nightmares about it.

You may be wondering what could be so bad. It’s just moving. Throw the stuff in some bubble wrap, write “Fragile” on the side and call it a day. Well, you see, that would be okay for normal people. However, my wife and I are not normal people. Our entire apartment was covered in framed art. And I do mean the entire apartment. You can watch a tour I did at this link right before we started taking things down to move. It’s literally hundreds of frames expertly puzzled together in a manic look most people hate. But we love it.

Plus, if you’ve seen videos like the one above of me building the largest Lego set ever created, you can begin to imagine how many fully constructed Lego sets are on display. So moving those, as well as framed art, as well as a 50-inch wide flat file filled with hundreds of pounds of posters, on top of everything else a normal person would move was, as I said, scary. It was ever scarier when we got hit with a massive penalty.

Quick aside to explain: Everyone told us buying a house in the Los Angeles area was damned near impossible. But it wasn’t for us. After about three months of looking, the first house we put an offer in was eventually accepted. The whole thing happened months before we expected it to, which was great—but also bad, because we were in a lease until the end of the year. So, to break that least, we had to put in two months notice and pay a $4000 penalty, which sucked almost as much as moving. However, we then knew we could stay in our apartment for two months and, in that time, slowly move everything into the new house, which is exactly what happened.

Just a small fraction of the frames waiting to find a new home in our new house.

Twice a week, at least, for two months, Jayne and I took two cars full of crap to the house, which is about 20 minutes away from the apartment. The majority of those trips were framed art and fragile collectibles like Lego sets. Now, if you look online about how to move Lego sets, most people suggest taking them all apart and putting them back together. To me, that was not an option. I love my brick creations but they take hours, days even, to put together. I’d rather them stay intact, thank you very much. So it became about figuring out ways to move not just those, but also hundreds of framed posters and works of art.

The art was relatively simple. Take them off the wall, carefully line them up on a newly-purchased handtruck, bring them to the car, neatly stack them on top of each other separated by towels or sheets, wrap the piled-up frames in towels or sheets and then put a few heavy boxes up against them so they wouldn’t move. Sometimes those boxes were also filled with smaller frames, also stuffed with things to make sure they didn’t scratch. Then it was a matter of driving slowly and carefully to the house and unloading them. Done and done.

I can’t imagine what the process would have been, or what it would have cost, to move further than 20 minutes away, but luckily that’s not a story I’m able to tell.

Legos in plastic containers were a lifesaver.

The Lego sets were, actually, a similar story. My friend Jonathan suggested large plastic containers to move them. This way, if something fell off, it was contained and easy to find. So we bought a few of those and very carefully moved them into those containers. All went well until we got to the massive Lego Millennium Falcon. We couldn’t find any container big enough for it. We found one that came close, though, and it moved to the house with only minor hull damage. It was its very own version of the Kessel Run.

So over the course of the two months, Jayne and I moved all of the posters and Lego builds to the house. We moved other stuff too, but we concentrated mostly on things we knew movers would struggle with. Then, as the move date approached, I realized that my poster-filled flat file was going to be more of an issue than originally thought. This thing is seriously massive, seriously heavy, and filled with lots of very easily damaged limited paper.

My flat file in the new house. Tissue box inserted for scale.

An artist friend suggested moving each draw individually. However, you can’t walk through a doorway with a drawer because it’s too wide. You have to tip and angle it. To do that, he suggested applying pressure to keep the posters from moving when it was being tilted to get through the door. There was some huge risk in that, though. So, over the last week before the move, every trip to the house came with a stack of 30-50 posters, flat, in the back of my car. It turned out that you could stack flat posters pretty high on the handtruck and, as long as you didn’t nick the corners going through doors, it was fairly painless. With the flat file eventually empty, the movers moved it with ease, not having to worry about damaging the valuables inside.

Oh, and as for all the action figures, Hot Toys, Master Replica lightsabers, and more…we had been renting a storage unit to keep empty boxes in for most of those items. So it was just a matter of picking them up, repacking each item, and then moving them normally. It took some foresight but it worked out.

All of which is to say: moving is really hard. But it’s even harder if you have geek shit to think about—valuable, fragile shit you love and trust no one else with. Our movers were great but I think they would have been less great if we told them they had to move 300 framed pieces of art when they arrived.

So that’s my story. What’s yours. Do need tips? Hints? I’ll answer some questions below. But also, feel free to chime in with your own stories.


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Source: Kotaku.com