January 31, 2013

Nerd News: Bad CGI, dolphins, J.J. Abrams directs ALL the Stars and more

Vol. 4, Issue 4

Hi friends! Seems like most of you are on board with the Disqus switchover—I'm glad! I hope it continues to be as awesome as it seems.

But I shan't keep you from what you're all really here for.

In TV news:

I am probably a little too entertained by the latest SNL Digital Short.


This Doctor Who perpetual calendar will help you tell the date until 9999 A.D.


I've been many of these at one point in my life. (Click to embiggen.)


In movie news:

Here are a few trailers, a teaser and a featurette.

Iron Man 3


Jack the Giant Slayer


The Place Beyond the Pines


Star Trek Into Darkness


Upside Down


Heck yes: More awesome minimalist posters:


It's called brunch, friends. The more you know.


Cute icons! (Thanks, Rebecca!)


In gaming news, from TGG:

Downton Abbey for SNES. You know you want to play it.

I found a couple of items, too:

LOVE this (sassy-pants) Leia.


And this poster.


In SCIENCE! and tech news, from The Mister:

I found a few bits as well:

This squirrel really does make the best "oh shit" face ever.


These suits are relevant to The Mister's interests. (Thanks, Ben!)


In toy news:

In comic/book news:

I've never read any Deadpool comics, but I really think he and I would get along swimmingly.


And finally:


Simba's face at the end absolutely makes the whole thing.

January 30, 2013

Housekeeping: Circumventing spam (or at least trying to)

As you might remember, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was having some issues with spam comments. The spam comments have actually been quite complimentary on the whole—stuff like:

"You're so awesome! I do not suppose I have read through a single thing like this before. So good to find someone with original thoughts on this subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a
bit of originality!"
But then—bam—
"Review my blog post ... learn currency trading online." (Link removed because I don't want to support spammy shenanigans.)
Totally flattering, right? Until you get to the whole random link that has nothing to do with anything I'm remotely interested in reading part.

Unfortunately, the issues haven't ceased. And though I'm not really that put out by deleting them—Blogger's filters do do *hee* a good job of catching most of them—it's just. Plain. Annoying.

And so, I am trying something new.

If you look below, *waits for you to scroll down* you'll notice that I've changed up my commenting system. I'm trying out Disqus, on the recommendations of Kristen of my life as a teacup and Marisa of A Parallel of Latitude. (Thank you, ladies!) I've used Disqus to comment on Kristen's blog and I like how interactive the whole thing is. I don't know if you've noticed, but I do try to respond to every comment y'all leave. With this new system, you'll be notified of my responses via email (I think).

And because I want this blog to be fun for everyone, if you hate the new system, let me know? Might take a bit to get used to, but it'll (hopefully) help save what little is left of my sanity.

January 29, 2013

obsessed.: "You have bewitched me, body and soul."

I'm going to let you guys in on a shameful* secret—I've never actually read Pride and Prejudice. I've had the book for years,** but I've just never gotten around to reading it. I've seen movie and film adaptations and versions "inspired by" the book. I've even read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But I've never even cracked open the spine. (I've long struggled with the classics.)

But in honor of the book's 200th anniversary, I felt I needed to share with you my favorite moment in my favorite adaptation:

Swooooon. Totally obsessed.

*Because I was an English major.
**Thank you, Cheyloe, and I'm sorry.

January 28, 2013

Haiku Revieu: Django Unchained

Django Unchained (****1/2)

Christoph Waltz is boss*
Life before the Civil War
Explosions of gore

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I'm not a long-time Tarantino fan, but I've really enjoyed his past two movies. (This and Inglourious Basterds.) I think they're intelligent looks at some not so nice periods in human history. They can also be absolutely hilarious at times; the fact that everyone who dies in the films seems to have eight gallons of pressurized blood inside them makes me cackle. (I know, I'm weird when it comes to gore.)

Django Unchained was hard to watch at times because of the way Jamie Foxx's character is treated. (And the frequent use of the "N" word.) It hurt to see everyone completely baffled at Django riding a horse and the nicer clothes he wore. I know it wasn't abnormal for the south in the period before the Civil War, but it was still tough to see. (I suppose the shock was partly good; it served as a reminder that times are better now ... but that's a whole different conversation.)

And I have to give it to Tarantino—he has great taste in actors. Christoph Waltz is currently one of my favorite people to watch on screen, and Tarantino is the reason I know who he is. The roles Waltz play always exude confidence and charisma, be they antagonist or protagonist. (He seems like he'd be a really awesome person to hang out with in real life, too.) The character of Dr. King Schultz is yet another awesome Waltz role. Schultz has a strong black and white view of life and he sticks to it throughout the movie, even when the outcome isn't positive. Foxx does an awesome job at slave-turned-bounty hunter Django, and Leonard DiCaprio is great at the big bad love-to-hate Monseiur Calvin Candie.

The movie's not for the faint of heart (or stomach), but it's an entertaining ride for the rest of us.

*Both literally and figuratively.

January 25, 2013

Geek of the Week: Meet Kristen

What's your name?

Where are you from?
Pittsburgh, PA

What does it mean to you to be a geek/nerd?
The lover of words and language that I am, this is one that I feel that I've never been able to articulate quite to my liking. There are plenty of definitions out there about what being a geek/nerd "is", but here are my thoughts:

To me, being a geek has always been linked with a strong desire to want to know everything you possibly can know about a particular matter. To be so passionately consumed by something that you're obsessed, in a good way. You're a really enthusiastic guru of sorts. You care for said geektastic topic as if it's family; it is, in a way, it's a part of you, and it hits home on some level, wether through personal connection, a feeling of camaraderie, or something different. Being a geek is about having an enthusiastic thirst for something you love!

What are 2–5 things you're particularly passionate about?
  • Reading. Words. Novels. Literature. Books. Good stories! (And digital adaptations)
  • Languages
  • Video games as an art and narrative form
  • I could be a grown up and say something about organization and list making (I love me some sticky notes), but honestly, Sailor Moon. I will forever be nine years old and that's just fine with me.

Ed. note: This photo is of Kristen reading when she "should have" been getting ready for prom. 

Why are you passionate about these things?
I love anything and everything to do with reading. As a former English major, give me a book or story and I'm immediately picking it apart, exploring every theme that piques my interest and looking for meaning in what I read. Academia hasn't ruined my love of a good story, though. I was the girl who spent summers in the library and always had enough pizza to go around from my Book-It accomplishments. Words fascinate me, they always have, and being able to learn new things, to escape into a vivid and exciting world, to think on topics both external and internal has led to some of the most fulfilling moments and revelations of my life. Reading touches my soul in the way music does for others. From perfectly articulated sentences that can move you to solemn introspection, to a well-crafted story spun for pleasure, I've so far only met three books I haven't liked at least a little bit. Also, I probably have more fictional character attachments than living friends. xD
Ed. note: I know those feels well!

I'm also quite passionate about promoting reading, whether it be through local library visits, or researching and writing about reading in a digital medium.

On that note, languages. I got kicked out of my Spanish class's review games for a few years because I would just obliterate everyone else and win the game within minutes. Whoops. They've always come natural to me, which I'm sure is one reason why I enjoy them so much, but also the way phrases are emotions are expressed in other languages amazes me. Some Japanese phrases are ridiculous in how much subtlety (or powerful images) they contain, and I'm always left in awe.

As for video games? I'm gonna go big here and say that Final Fantasy VII changed my life. I remember being eight or nine playing it on my grandparents' PC in the basement. It was a story, and it was beautiful and captivating and, yes, I cried. I still do. But from there on out I was hooked. Video games are fun, sure, but as I got older (and as I wrote many thesis papers in college), the narrative component - namely the participatory component—of video games became increasingly important to me. I suppose it's the same reason I love reading. To be immersed in a world, with characters, with abilities, with choices, is absolutely magical, and a step up from just reading about someone else's adventures on a page—you get to have a say (to some degree of course, depending on the game)! Video games are a really great interactive and rich story, or movie even, and that's just awesome.

Aside from the nostalgic ties I have to watching Sailor Moon on Toonami everyday after school, it was bold, sentimental, and just a generally kick ass anime. I could get terribly emotionally involved here, but having a show like that, having heroines that were flawed yet realistic as a young girl was empowering. I learned many a lesson from that show, and years later, I'm stick geeking out about the reboot this summer!

Do you have any special or hidden talents?
I kid you not, I can lick my elbow. Not that I'd consider that a talent, per say. I did beat this pretty awesome Bop-It-esque game of my cousin's on Christmas Eve after 3 glasses of wine. I still hold the high score in the family, of which I am quite proud.

(Also, it's a totally simple yet addicting game. Curse you, QVC!)

What was your favorite book/movie/TV show/other from 2011?
It took me until last year to finally watch BBC's Sherlock but now I'm addicted and Peter Jackson is withholding my favorite sleuths from me. Read Mieville's Embassytown, which I enjoyed, but I think Ishiguro's Remains of the Day took the cake this past year.

What book/movie/TV show/other are you most looking forward to in 2012?
I can't wait for Game of Thrones to be back on television, and am dying a little on the inside waiting for Baz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby to hit theaters. Also, any news on Star Wars Ep. VII would be appreciated before I worry myself into a frenzy.

Do you have a "go-to" karaoke/Rock Band song? What is it?
I was forced by my Japanese host parents to sing Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" on multiple occasions. But I'll still always go for a round of "Billie Jean" when with a group of friends.

What are three websites you like to visit every day?
Most of the websites I go to are tools I use, either to check email, peruse Twitter, or jot down notes in Evernote, which I feel most of you probably know of or use already. So I tried to pick the fun ones for here. : )

The Mary Sue
The Great Gatsby game

Ed. note: How have I never heard of TeuxDeux before? I love list apps!

Do you have a blog/website/Twitter name/etc. that you'd like to share?
My Life as a Teacup

Any additional comments or thoughts?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for having me! You've created one of my favorite series in the blogiverse right now—I think the ability to learn about others and their passions is such an eye opener, especially in an era where labeling and identity declaring is such the rage. Awesome human beings are just that, awesome, no matter what they're passionate about! Thanks, Mandy!
Ed. note: Gosh, thanks! I'm so glad to have the chance to introduce all of you to each other—and to learn more about you in the process!

Kristen's bonus questions:

What are the three books that you didn't like at all? What was it about them that made you feel that way?
Animal Farm, Love in Translation, and Breaking Dawn. For some reason, I'm usually okay with most books. Even one I come out of not enjoying is usually not subject to harsh treatment. Most times, even books I don't like I will finish (especially true of a short series) just to settle my mind and say that it's complete. But these three are ones that stand out as complete fails. Animal Farm was one I read in high school and for some reason just loathed it. I think a combination of being too long and too blatantly a parable bored me. Love in Translation was just bad. I don't mind a fluffy, quick-read romance story, but this. No. No, no, no. Breaking Dawn was also horrifyingly bad. I won't launch into my essay-length thoughts on Twilight here in full, but I don't like the series for a number of reasons. I still wanted to give it a read though, to be able to come to that conclusion on my own. I can live with the first few books. But this is the first and only book that I've put down, mid-sentence. Why read the bizarreness that happened in this book when I can just watch Alien and actually enjoy Ripley kicking ass.

Even those books that aren't my favorite usually capture me in some way. It's like going to see an action movie at the theater. Good entertainment, not necessary to own on DVD, probably not ever going to be nominated for an Oscar. Still entertaining.

What are your thoughts on move or TV adaptations of books? Do you have to work to separate them or are they completely different stories to you?
I used to be a staunch member of the "books or bust" club, but after a very thought-provoking class during my undergrad, as well as some really well done adaptations in the past few years, I've stopped being up in arms about my favorite books being turned into movies and subsequently "ruined". With any adaptation, there's a fear of not doing the original material justice. Luckily, there are very few adaptations that I've found to be in the "utter crap" category (the recent remake of Brideshead Revisited, sadly, is one of those) so then it's just a matter of creative liberties. A movie can't contain each word and punctuation mark of the book, and understandably so, and in that process comes selective editing that may remove favorite lines or combine characters, or change the order or events. It takes me an intentional reminding sometimes, but once I tell myself that, yes, sacrifices sometimes need to be made, and some things translate better on screen - film is a completely different medium, and what works on a page may not work or even be physically possible on screen—I'm usually pacified. Plus, who doesn't love seeing their favorite worlds and characters come to life?

Thanks, Kristen, for being a Geek of the Week!

If you'd like to be a future GotW, please email me.

January 24, 2013

Nerd News: Doctor Who returns, geek crafts, RED 2 trailer and more

Vol. 4, Issue 3

Lots of good stuff in store for you this week, friends. Read on ...

In movie news:

Here are a couple of trailers:

G.I. Joe Retaliation




Mondo is releasing new Lord of the Rings posters today. (They will likely sell out within seconds.)


Some actual Disney and Pixar Golden Books are illustrated in the "old style." This imagined Hobbit version totally deserves to be printed right along with them.


In book news:

The fact that there's only one headbutt in all of Die Hard is a little disheartening.


In TV news:

A few promos/videos:

Community (More at the link below.)


Game of Thrones


The Walking Dead


Warehouse 13


I would totally sport this cameo on a T-shirt.


In SCIENCE! and tech news, from The Mister:

I found a few items as well:

Some of these illustrations seems familiar, but the style is awesome. And anything that makes Jabba cute deserves to posted frequently.


Also super cute, the Ewok in this illustration:


In gaming news, from TGG:

Valve's Source Filmmaker is an impressive piece of tech.


I would like ALL of the bookmarks, please. (Thanks, Kate!)


These nesting dolls are so pretty!


And finally, I want this dress so badly. I'd wear it to everything.