September 30, 2010

Nerd News: BBC goodness, I Am Number Four, space travel and more

Vol. 1, Issue 15

Quite a bit of movie news this week, so we'll jump right in:

Love these posters:
And yet, my heart aches thinking about how this is the beginning of the end.

I've never read I Am Number Four, but I think I might need to, after seeing this:
Quinn's Diana Agron's looking pretty BAMF-y on the motorcycle. And I'm always down for some pretty aliens. (For any Hunger Games fans out there: There's a large movement to get Alex Pettyfer (the guy in the clip) cast as Peeta in the film adaptation.)

A fun look at 20 classic opening lines from literature. (There's a somewhat NSFW book cover in the mix (No. 12), just FYI.) My favorite? "It was a pleasure to burn." from Fahrenheit 451. (The HP opener is a very close second.)

Man I wish we got all the BBC stuff right off.
Didja notice that Doctors Nine, Ten and Eleven were all in there, for non-Doctor related things?Yay.

I am so looking forward to this album, and I'm not even that big of an electronic music fan: Daft Punk's Tron Legacy score to be released Nov. 22.

I will actually be in Portland for this year's Wonder Woman Day!

Unintentionally funny: The unknown lyrics to the Star Trek theme.

Intentionally awesome:
(It gets good at about 20 seconds in.)

This makes me sad:
We won't reach Alpha Centauri until the 24th century...unless we have an energy breakthrough
If you take humanity's current energy and technological capacity and project a steady increase into the future, the chances of us reaching the stars any time soon look bleak. Even our nearest stellar neighbor is at least 300 years away.

Of course, humans could technically reach Alpha Centauri long before the 2300s. The Voyager probes, for instance, are headed into interstellar space, and it wouldn't be that difficult to take another probe and aim it in the rough direction of Alpha Centauri. But that probe would still take a long time to get there, its instruments would probably give out long before it arrived at the star, and what data it could provide would be hugely limited. (via)
We're never going to get to Gliese 581g if that's the case!

I love me a good mashup.

And this isn't really that nerdy—except for Justin's glasses—but this hip-hop medley is awesome. I've always loved Jimmy and Justin together.

September 28, 2010

obsessed: Crocheting

I love to make things. I like to sew, to reconstruct, to paint, to build ... I'm a craft-dabbler. I can do a lot of things somewhat well. One thing I'm a little more obsessed. with than any other, however, is crocheting.

I like being able to create something with nothing more than a hook and some yarn. It almost seems like the possibilities are endless! If you can't find a pattern already, all it takes is some time and some thought and you can create something wholly original.

I love that there are so many yarns. Yarns=cozy thoughts, even in the middle of a blazing hot Texas Summer. When I'm working with yarn, I envision cold nights, scarves and slouchy hats, and it makes me happy.

Crocheting, for those not in the know, is different from knitting—in the most basic sense—in that it uses one hook rather than multiple needles. While you can make similar looking things, because of the difference in techniques, the finished product of both crafts will be different. I don't particularly think that one is better than the other, or easier, but crocheting is what I know. (Someday I will sit down and learn to knit. It's on my bucket list.)

Do you have a favorite craft?

(Images via weheartit and Google Images.)

September 27, 2010

There must be something in books, things we can't imagine ...

" ... to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing."—Guy Montag, Fahrenheit 451

Today's post is a bit of a departure from last weeks', which were mainly devoted to a celebration of the "evil box" that is the TV. But I don't think books and TV are mutually exclusive forms of entertainment. Both can introduce new worlds, expand the imagination and make you think.

Saturday marked the beginning of Banned Books Week 2010. The week-long national celebration of the freedom to read was launched in 1982 in response to an increase in the number of challenged books.


According to the American Library Association:
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week(BBW). BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during BBW have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.
A giant thank you to all those people who work so diligently to keep books accessible.

Below are lists of the top 10 banned books from 2009, and the 46 banned or challenged books on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. I've bolded the ones I've read.

2009's Top 10 Banned Books:

1. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle
2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
9. The Color Purple Alice Walker
10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Radcliffe Publishing Course Top Novels of the 20th Century:

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Some of my most favorite books are on these lists, and I'm going to make an attempt to bold even more. Have you read any of these?

For fun, a little proof that I do, in fact, read:
(This isn't our entire collection, either. And the Eclipse decorations were only for the premiere party, I promise.)

September 24, 2010

Premiere Week: Beyond

I don't watch a whole lot of network TV on Fridays or the weekends, so I wanted to highlight some shows that will be premiering later this month and into October.

Tuesday, Sept. 28:

Stargate: Universe, 9 p.m. (SyFy)

I have yet to be wowed by this show, a spin-off (of sorts) of two of my most favorite shows of all time, Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis. This edition is about a group of military personnel and scientists who get stuck on an alien ship at the other end of the universe. The creators of SG:U admittedly wanted to deal more with the "human condition" than the typical alien/adventure SG fare, but I miss the fun of the previous series. I keep hanging on, hoping I'll see a glimpse of the SG I love so much.

New: No Ordinary Family, 9 p.m. (ABC)
The show centers on the Powells, a typical American family whose members gain special abilities after their plane crash lands into the Amazon River. (via)
I like Michael Chicklis, and I think he's done well at his forays into the superhero world. (He played The Thing in the Fantastic Four movies.) However, I cannot stand Julie Benz (ever since her role on Roswell). Whether I can overcome my dislike for her remains to be seen, but I like shows involving superpowers, so I'll give it a go.

Friday, Oct. 1:

Human Target, 8 p.m. (Fox)
I fell hard for this show about a group of PI/mercenaries for hire last year when it came on as a mid-season offering. I'm really glad it's coming back for a second season, and I urge anyone who likes action-packed shows to give this one a chance. It's got great humor, too.

Tuesday, Oct. 15:

Sanctuary, 10 p.m. (SyFy)
I'll admit it, I'd be hard pressed not to give a SyFy channel (fiction) show a shot. That this one includes Amanda Tapping and Christopher Heyerdahl makes it even harder for me to give up on this show, which is about a group of people who are/protect/collect/hunt/live with "Abnormals". A majority of the show is shot on green screen, which makes it odd-looking at times, but it's interesting. And something different.

Sunday, Oct. 31:

New: The Walking Dead, 10 p.m. (AMC)
The Walking Dead is centered on Rick Grimes, a small-town police officer, his family, and a number of other survivors who have banded together in order to survive after the world is overrun with zombies. (via)
This new show is an adaptation of the series of graphic zombies of the same name. I've only read the first trade, but I am so down with zombies, and graphic novel adaptations.

(See EW's Fall Cheat Sheet to find out what else is premiering when.)

I hope you've enjoyed Premiere Week! Thanks for sticking around, and have a wonderful weekend.

September 23, 2010

Nerd News: Newsies, Sesame Street meets True Blood, Super Cats and more

Vol. 1, Issue 14


Newsies getting its own Broadway musical
One thing that the folks at Disney do better than anyone else (with the possible exception of Steve Jobs) is to figure out ways to wring money out of their existing products. The latest property to be adapted as a new revenue source? The 1992 musical Newsies, which brought us a singin', dancin' teenage Christian Bale, leading a labor strike by downtrodden newsboys at the turn of the last century.

Newsies was not a box-office success. In fact, it was a huge, expensive flop. Yet, Oscar-winning composer Alan Mencken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) has confirmed that he's collaborating with Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aud Folles) to update the musical for the Broadway stage. Menken co-wrote the original film's songs with lyricist Jack Feldman.

Menken told Playbill that the score has been expanded and updated for Broadway, with "a lot of new songs ... We're all having a great time. We already had a 29-hour reading in May. I don't think Disney knows yet what it's going to be." (via)
I am coming, NYC.

Pretty posters:

In movie news:

This video's NSFW, at least without headphones, but it's so well done I couldn't not post it.
I'll admit, I totally laughed at the bit at around 4:10. I know, I'm terrible.

    In TV news:

    The Nerdy Bird does a roundup of the 25 best MRVLCATS. My faves:
    (More cats here, because you can never have enough.)

    Less cats ... more hipsters? "If Superheroes Were Hipsters":

    Continuing with the superhero theme, would you visit a Marvel superheroes theme park?

    This makes me laugh: You can play Plants vs. Zombies in WoW.

    Last, but definitely not least: More images from HPATDH:P1*. And, you've seen the new trailer, right?


    *And I you thought Id never get to use this!

    Premiere Week: Thursday

    I just realized that I probably should have mentioned that all the times posted are everything but Central. I'm sure y'all figured it out regardless.

    Big night tonight. I can't wait.

    The Big Bang Theory, 8 p.m. (CBS)

    BBT is about nerds. Doing nerdy things. Even the hot girl is a bit of a nerd. How could I not enjoy this show? The cast is amazing, awkward and totally people I'd love to hang out with ... for at least a half an hour a week.

    Bones, 8 p.m. (Fox)
    Another of my crime shows. (I told you I like them.) Bones follows a team of forensic anthropologists who work with the FBI to solve murders. There's often a lot of bones (duh) and corpses that need to be cleaned. I was really disappointed with the way Bones and Booth left everything last season, and I'm not all that pleased with the fact that Booth is coming back from the middle east with a GF ... But I still really enjoy the show.

    Fringe, 9 p.m. (Fox)
    Fringe is a J.J Abrams vehicle that involved crazy science, crazy scientists, crazy science experiments, alternate universes, alternate personas, shapeshifters, mind powers and a cow named Jean. The end of the last season got So. Good. you guys and I can't wait to find out—Spoilers, maybe? Although you should be caught up by now!—how Olivia gets back to our dimension.

    The Mentalist, 10 p.m. (CBS)
    The Mentalist follows a team of California Bureau of Investigation agents who work with Patrick Jane, a former fake-Psychic, to ... you guessed it ... solve crimes. I'm curious to see what happens this season with Rigsby and Grace, and where the Red John plotline goes.

    New tonight:

    $#*! My Dad Says, 8:30 p.m. (CBS)
    $#*! My Dad Says is based on the Twitter feed Shit My Dad Says, created by Justin Halpern and consisting of quotes from his father Sam. In the show, the father, Ed, is a very opinionated 72-year-old who has been divorced three times. His two adult sons, Henry and Vince, are accustomed to his unsolicited and often politically incorrect rants. When Henry, a struggling writer and blogger, can no longer afford his rent, he is forced to move back in with Ed, which creates new issues in their tricky father-son relationship.
    William Shatner+rude tweets=brilliance? We shall see.

    (See EW's Fall Cheat Sheet to find out what else is premiering when.)

    September 22, 2010

    Premiere Week: Wednesday

    Wednesday's always been sort of a slow day for TV, at least for me. I wish they'd move some Thursday shows over, since I always have trouble deciding on a Thursday schedule, and often end up having to watch shows online since there's no room to schedule them on the DVR.

    But I digress.

    The Middle, 8 p.m. (ABC)

    The Middle's a show about an odd family who live—you guessed it—in middle America. The Janitor (from Scrubs) is hilarious in this show, as is the youngest kid. I love when he whispers to himself. It's not a show I watched on a regular basis last year, but I really liked it when I caught it in reruns.

    Modern Family, 9 p.m. (ABC)
    Modern Family is one of those giant shows you hear about, but don't always get involved with. Something competed with this for my time last year, and I didn't get into the show until, like The Middle, I caught it in reruns. The cast is fantastic, and no wonder this show about three different families who are all related has won so many awards.

    Criminal Minds, 9 p.m. (CBS)
    Criminal Minds is another of those super intense crime shows I love so much. This one follows a team of FBI behavioral specialists/profilers who travel around the country solving some extremely bizarre and grotesque crimes. For some reason, this show just fascinates me. It's one of those, "I can't look away, but I should!" sort of things.

    (See EW's Fall Cheat Sheet to find out what else is premiering when.)

    September 21, 2010

    Premiere Week: Tuesday

    Tonight's lineup is a bit of a strange mix. As I mentioned last night, I'm a huge fan of crime procedurals—the gorier and stranger, the better. What that says about me, I'm not so sure. But I also adore musicals.

    Like I said, strange mix.

    NCIS, 8 p.m. (CBS)
    NCIS is about a team of Naval Criminal Intelligence Service agents who solve military-related crimes. The show's been around for ages, and I actually think it's only gotten better with age. I didn't watch this one from the start, but came in a few years ago during reruns. Again, I love the chemistry of the cast. And, of course, how could you go wrong with a curmudgeonly main character named Leroy Jethro Gibbs?

    Glee, 8 p.m. (Fox)
    Glee. I've only talked about this show a million times on my blog, so if you don't know this one's about a band of misfit toys high schoolers in Glee Club, then you've been living under a rock. I. Am. Excited. 'Nuff said.

    NCIS: Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (CBS)
    This spin-off of NCIS doesn't quite live up to its predecessor's standards, but it's an interesting if there's nothing else to watch while folding laundry. Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J make for a pretty hilarious duo at times, and I'm hoping that the promotion of Eric Christian Olsen to series regular ups the interest level; his character brought some much needed spice in the two episodes (?) he was in last season.

    New tonight:

    Running Wilde, 9:30 p.m. (Fox)
    A Beverly Hills goof falls for an environmental activist.(via)
     I'm watching for Will Arnett.

    (See EW's Fall Cheat Sheet to find out what else is premiering when.)