It's hard to describe how awesome it was, but I'll try. (I should have allllll the photos up on Flickr at some point this coming weekend.)
Jared drove in from Abilene Friday night, and for once we all went immediately to bed. This is how you can tell how important Star Wars is to us--we all went to bed shortly after midnight on a Friday, voluntarily!
We got up early-ish Saturday and picked up Claire, another friend who just happens to be my GovDocs student assistant, at her home. We all sang along--loudly, if not well--to oldies, thanks to the glories of the Siruis Satellite radio in my Awesome New Ride. (Which, btw, I've named Dreamsicle. It doesn't fit in with my previous car-naming scheme, but sometimes things find their own names, y'know?)
We arrived in Ft. Worth at the Museum of Science and History for their Star Wars exhibit... only to find that the adjacent Will Rodgers Auditorium was hosting a gun show the same day. No parking. Less than no parking. We ended up parking on the grass, crossing our fingers that we wouldn't get a ticket.
Inside, we found... a huge, long line. Because, really, that's what Star Wars geekery is all about. Fans may tell you it's about the imagination or the effects or the really hilariously bad dialog--but when you come down to it, Star Wars is about two things: merchandising, and lines.
Luckily, though, the line moved quickly, and soon we were near the front, where we discovered that the "Special Effects" move at the IMAX was already sold out--primarily because "Harry Potter" had been contracted for four time slots that day, and there weren't enough seats to go around. We groused about it, quickly recovered, got our tickets, and made our way to the exhibit--but we had fifteen minutes before they opened it to our time-slot.
We wandered through an exhibit of the last hundred years or so of the museum's artifacts. Some were neat, some were silly, and some were just plain disturbing. Like the huge display of odd-things-preserved-in-jars. Or the bureau that had a drawer full of neatly-lined-up rodents (aka, my mother-in-law's worst nightmare, neatly encased in the same kind of place that she keeps her socks). We all made appropriately-grossed-out noises and took photos to prove just how inhumane, disgusting, and creepy it all was. I was nostalgically thrilled to see they had a case of phosphorescent rocks with a lightswitch, so you can view them in the dark (well, under blacklight) or the light. When I was five years old, a similar phosphorescent rock exhibit was my favorite thing in the entire San Diego Museum of Natural History. I mean, even more than dino bones, and that says something. (It says something about how extremely nerdy I was as a kid.)
Then, it was the magical time to enter the Star Wars exhibit. It was, all told, a really nice exhibit. It was so gorgeously lit that I hardly used my flash, which made for a few blurry photos, but the atmosphere was worth it. The exhibit blended current/upcoming technologies with the Star Wars equivalents that "inspired" them. They were very hands-on (and therefore fun): build your own levitating Lego car, build/program your own R2-like droid, and this fantastic RTS-like (real-time-strategy game, for those of you who don't Speak Geek--think of Age of Empires) interface. The RTS-like thing had an optical sensor that recognized patterns on cards that you laid out in a table, which represented portions of a city (sanitation unit, water plant, housing, eatery, etc.), which you then laid out to make the citizens "happier" in areas like social, health, etc.
The Star Wars paraphenalia was incredible. There were lots of original costumes, props, and--most fantastic of all--the original models of the vehicles. For all intents and purposes, the "real" Star Destroyer, X-Wing, Millennium Falcon. All four of us had this mouths-open, eyes-wide kind of moment when we saw them. They are simply huge, and so detailed, and... just wow. If you're a Star Wars geek, then you went to this exhibit and therefore you understand. If you're not a Star Wars geek, you wouldn't understand anyway, so I won't bother describing it.
Hours later, we finally pulled ourselves out of the exhibit--and then another hour later, pulled ourselves out of the gift shop. (Remember that second facet of Star Wars culture I mentioned--merchandising?) Alex and I managed to come out only one t-shirt, one bib, and one onesie poorer, which is a tad bit of a miracle (I was sorely tempted by the entire "Infinities" trilogy of comics, though--that is sooo on my wishlist).
We drove back and grabbed some Taco Bell, being starved after all that geeking about. We stopped in downtown McKinney, where we'd planned to attend the Killis Melton Ice Cream Crank-Off... but sadly, they'd already ran out of ice cream and were shutting down. No jalapeno ice cream for us.
Claire and I headed off to Walmart to procure some more traditional ice cream, and other snacky foods to sustain us through the planned Firefly marathon. We all made it through half of the season, but by the end of "Jaynestown" sometime after midnight we had to crash. Claire, the Firefly newbie, was just as enthralled as I'd hoped she would be--the first thing she said after the pilot episode was "Next!" --always a good sign. Then on Monday at work, she informed me she'd already ordered the DVD and soundtrack on Amazon--another browncoat recruited!
And thus was our grand weekend. Rather less ice cream was consumed than was planned, but all in all it was a tremendously geeky good time.