SWCO vs. The Dental Convention

SWCO vs. The Dental Convention

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.

At SWCO we finally got to see The Last Jedi trailer that Star Wars fans worldwide had been waiting for, and it did not disappoint in my opinion. Star Wars trailers usually cause me to have goosebumps and get teary eyed, and The Last Jedi trailer did also. At the UDA convention we learned that good oral hygiene is still important. This amazing revelation is important but usually causes my eyes to glaze over. Advantage: SWCO.

SWCO featured George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen, Daisy Ridley, and Jon Boyega, among other Star Wars stars. It doesn’t matter who appeared at the UDA. NOTHING beats that SWCO line up. Advantage: SWCO.

At SWCO people asked me about dentistry and I got to hand out Lightsaber toothbrushes (Thanks, Firefly!). At the UDA people asked me about Star Wars and I handed out Idiot’s Array business cards. Both are equally awesome. Advantage: Push.

At SWCO there are many, many fans who spend months and months and a lot of money creating their own unique cosplay costumes. At the UDA it feels like an amazing achievement if people have ironed their clothes. Advantage: SWCO.

In Orlando I talked to friends I hadn’t seen since Celebration Anaheim and met many friends I had never met before. At the UDA I avoided eye contact with everyone but my closest friends. I felt like I was successful at both conventions. Advantage: Push.

At SWCO there was Padawan lightsaber training for kids and they were able to actually battle Darth Vader. At the UDA there was a training session in cone beam computed tomography-assisted implant dentistry and all attendees battled a nap. Advantage: SWCO.

At the UDA I defended the prequels (especially The Phantom Menace) against some prequel bashers, who also happen to be my best friends. (And we are still best friends. It is possible to disagree in a cordial way.) At SWCO there was a lot of well-deserved love for Hayden Christensen. He seemed so humble and appreciative of Star Wars and its fans. Advantage: Push.

At SWCO vendors sold a lot of awesome geeky toys, apparel, and much more, and it forced me to exhibit a lot of self control. At the UDA the vendors are like Jawas trying to sell me stuff that I don’t need or want, and it took all of my self control to not blast them. Advantage: SWCO.

So far the results are in favor of Star Wars Celebration Orlando. However, the best part of any convention is the people you spend it with. At Star Wars Celebration it is so fun to spend time with other Star Wars fans, and I was able to represent Idiot’s Array on the podcast stage with Becca Benjamin of Tarkin’s Top Shelf. I met so many amazing people who increased my love of Star Wars. Most importantly, my wife went with me and she supports my fandom and geekdom more than she should. What could be better?

Two days before the UDA convention one of my sons had a medical emergency and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He is ok now, but the first thing any of my friends asked when I saw them at the convention was about my son. Their support wasn’t surprising (they are the best guys despite their lack of appreciation for the prequel trilogy), but it was appreciated more than I can say. They were a welcome distraction. So despite so many amazing things I was able to see and do in Orlando, the people at both conventions are who made these two conventions really special to me. Advantage: Push

Thank you so much for reading my blogs each month. I can’t thank you enough. You can contact me on Twitter @ryderwaldrondds, email me at ryderw@coffeewithkenobi.com, or leave a comment below. You can also listen to me on the Idiot’s Array podcast. And remember:

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  1. MelindaW
    May 22, 2017 at 08:36 Reply

    Ryder, I am so happy to hear that your son is okay. Scary. Scary. Scary. (*breathing a sigh of relief*)

    This was a fun read. I do have a query for you — does “push” equal “tie”? Could be a generational issue, but I thought I’d ask. I don’t want to be left too far behind. 😉

    CVIII (otherwise known as SWCO) was a lot of fun. You’re absolutely right — the people are who make the experience. 🙂 (Did you and your wife attend the “Are You Married To A Sith” panel? My husband went with me — although, to be fair, he is almost as huge a SW fan as I am — and it was a hoot! 😀 (It was geared to couples in an ‘unbalanced’ relationship — one is a SW fan, the other is not…or not much of one.) If not, I encourage you to sit in on it the next time you attend a Celebration. A lot of it was tongue-in-cheek. We laughed (mostly at ourselves!) a lot. 😉

    MTFBWY 🙂

  2. Den Joseph
    May 30, 2017 at 06:04 Reply

    Thanks for this entertaining article, I enjoyed a lot. I love Star Wars series very much. 🙂

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