March 29, 2013

Fictional Fancies: Castiel

Today's Fictional Fancy is brought to us by Wes, who might know better as unpaid but totally appreciated intern Nerd News contributor TGG. The conversation below happened on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, and before the day was over, there was a draft waiting in my posts. I, too, heart Castiel, so I couldn't wait to read about why Wes deems him fancy-worthy.

Spoiler alert: Today I’m going to be talking about a character from the CW show Supernatural. If you’re not caught up, or you plan on watching it in the future and don’t want things spoiled for you, don’t read this, but, you know, bookmark it for when you catch up.

As a contributor to C&CC as well as a fan of fine bloggy-things, I try to read every post on here and some of my favorites are the Fictional Fancies guest posts. Because a large percent of this blog’s readership is female, almost all of the Fictional Fancies have been about male characters. As a straight male, I still enjoy reading these posts, because at best they give me a lot of ideas on how to make myself more adorable, and at worst I get to imagine all the ways I could totally take those made-up pretty boys. (I’m lying. They would murder me, even the pie maker guy.) But just because I’m a dude married to a dudette doesn't mean I don’t sometimes look at these ridiculous fandoms and think, "You know what, crazy fangirls? You are so right."

Which brings us to Castiel.

Insert your own "touched by an angel" joke here.

Last year my wife and I started watching Doctor Who after several strong recommendations from pretty much all of our friends. Colt and Mandy, being veteran fans of the series, offered us a piece of advice: After the heart-wrenching sob-fest that is David Tennant's last episode we should give ourselves some time to mourn before starting the Matt Smith episodes. As it turns out, that was great advice, and we waited somewhere around four months before moving on, during which time we watched all seven and a half seasons of Supernatural.*

Supernatural is full of great characters that are constantly being killed because the writers hate us that I love, but the character I was most excited to meet was Castiel. I had some foreknowledge of him thanks to Mandy and Tumblr, but that mostly consisted of the fact that he is an angel in a trench coat and tie with a hilarious understanding of human insults and who is possibly also in love with Dean, or should be, anyway, if the Internet is to be believed. Needless to say, when we first met him in the season four premiere, I was a little taken aback. "This guy is kind of a dick," I thought. And it was true at first, but as the show went on we got to see Cas' weakness for humanity and his (purely platonic, probably) love for the Winchesters (especially Dean).

For reference, this line was directed at Dean.
Totally just friends.

His desire to save humanity from all threats—demonic and angelic—made us love him, and his ability to literally blow demons' minds turned him into a holy bad ass. But by far the best part of Castiel is Misha Collins, the actor who plays him. Season 6 episode 15, "The French Mistake," is the mother of all meta-episodes in which the Winchesters are transported to an alternate reality where they are actually Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki playing Dean and Sam Winchester on the TV show Supernatural. In it we get to see Misha Collins play himself and it is probably my favorite thing from the entire series. In this episode he also gave the Internet the best "feels" GIF of all time:

Misha Collins: Champion fake crier

At the end of season 6/beginning of season 7, when Cas went crazy, ate up all of Purgatory, threw it back up, got possessed, then exploded Leviathans everywhere and died, all I could think was, "Those bastard writers better not have killed him off for real." I was so relieved when he came back that I didn't even care that he was insane. I even drew a picture about it.

Click to get the full effect of my artistic mastery.

And I haven't overlooked the fact that he is just so adorable, amiright, ladies? I mean, gun to my head I'd say Dean is probably the best looking of the group, but Cas is pretty cute too. I'm not saying I want to make out with him or anything, but I will say that I didn't have to think too hard about my answer when my wife proposed that we both marry Misha Collins and all live happily ever after. As Dean would say: That sounds awesome!

Yes, actually, heaven is missing an angel. It's me. How did you know?

*To clarify, it only took us about three months to get caught up on Supernatural. The rest of the time was spent on lesser shows.

If you're interested in sharing a Fictional Fancy of your own, email me!

March 28, 2013

Nerd News: Captain America casting, Marvel art, a Who prequel and more

Vol. 4, Issue 11

Morning friends! What's up with pop culture this week?

In movie news:

Here are a bunch of trailers and a featurette:

Fast and Furious 6


Iron Man 3 (The Pepper Potts spoilery one is the second, in case you don't want to see.)







The Wolverine


World War Z


March 27, 2013

Goodbye dear friend: The end of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post, for tomorrow—tomorrow!—will come the last of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

After Before you roll your eyes at me for being overly dramatic, please allow me a bit of leeway. I will attempt to tone down the drams some, but know that I am seriously saddened by the end of this video series.

I've always had issues with getting attached to things I probably shouldn't—fictional characters more than anything. And although I've not been with The LBD since the beginning, in the weeks since I started watching it, I've grown very attached. I've bonded with friends over the anticipation of the Bing+Jane relationship rekindle and the douchbaggery of Wickham. I've wanted to hug poor Lydia after she's betrayed and swooned/flailed/fangirled over the first Dizzie kiss. (Even Wil Wheaton got in on that action.)

(I had to include it.)

I've never seen these actors in any other roles, and, for better or worse, they're now intrinsically connected with the characters they've portrayed in the series. These are characters I adore (even though I've still never read the book) and the actors brought them to life in a way that was fresh without straying too far from the source material. The team behind the series, through the videos, tweets and Tumblr posts, created a whole world in which both the characters and the viewers/fans could coexist.

Even though I knew the basic plot from before the first video, this webseries never failed to surprise me. At times I found myself giggling with glee, at others, I had tears in my eyes. It's amazing to me how an often silly online video series that basically rebooted an old story for a new age could effect me so much. Truly, this is what being a part of a fandom is all about.

(For you folk out there that haven't quite gotten it yet, I told Colt that I was sad about the series coming to an end and he aptly likened it to a sports fan whose favorite team loses in the playoffs. You know it's a bit silly to get sad about it, but you just can't help it.)

Thinking about the end of The LBD has also brought to mind other shows that ended before I was ready—Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Stargate: Atlantis, to name a few. The LBD is ending properly, since there was only so much material to work with, but it's still too soon for me.

I'm looking forward to what's to come from Hank Green and the Pemberly Digital team (yes, it's a real company), but you can bet this will be me at the end of the last video tomorrow.

P.S.—If you're interested in supporting the creation of The LBD DVDs and the team behind the production, you can pledge on their Kickstarter. (The funding has already far surpassed the Kickstarter's $60,000 original goal, but I can probably safely assume "the more the merrier.")

March 26, 2013

obsessed.: Nails Inc. Hampstead Gardens

I go through phases with makeup—one month I'll wear eyeshadow every day and paint my nails a couple of times a week. Other months (most months, if I'm totally honest), I'll have bare nails and stick with my mascara-only routine. But I do have certain tried-and-true colors/brands that I will go to frequently when I am feeling the need to spice things up a little. (For eyes, it's Urban Decay's Naked and Naked 2 palettes. I was told ages ago that brown shadows make green eyes stand out, and I've rarely used any other color since.)

Lately, for my nails, I've been loving a—to be totally honest—kind of ugly color: Nails Inc.'s Hampstead Gardens.

The color is supposed to be a mustard, but it reads more like something you'd see—and excuse me for getting graphic—at the bottom of a diaper. But every time I've gone to paint my nails in the past few months, I've gravitated toward it. I especially like it with a pop of gold glitter on the ring finger, like so:

(On my ring finger: China Glaze's Ultamate Holiday with Sally Girl's Later on top.) I'm not typically a gold and jewel tone kind of girl, so it's funny to me that I've been loving this combination so much. It's very "autumnal, too, which isn't quite appropriate for this time of year, but I've never been a stickler for any sort of "no wearing white after Labor Day" kind of ridiculousness.

The polish is currently on sale online at Sephora for only $5 if you're so inclined.

March 25, 2013

Recently Read: The Raven Boys, Shadow and Bone and another Who e-book

I likely won't be doing two Recently Read posts every month, but I seem to have been on a kick lately, particularly with new YA series (that I now have to wait impatiently for the rest of ...)

What have I been reading?

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Here's a bit of the synopsis:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love ... or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

March 22, 2013

Happy birthday (tomorrow) to the Mister!

From the first dance ...

To the last dance, and every dance in between ...

You are my most favorite partner.

Happy 29th birthday, my love!

To the ends of the universe!

March 21, 2013

Nerd News: A Capella Disney parody, Despicable Me 2, Neverwhere and more

Vol. 4, Issue 10

Good Thursday to you, friends. Read on for the latest and nerdiest.

In TV news:

Here are a few promos:

Doctor Who


Game of Thrones




And the first six minutes of Orphan Black:


March 20, 2013

Wednescellany: Year of the Fangirl and the Turtle Pack

You might have heard about this contest (?) before, but I needed to make a mention of it because many of you are fangirls deserving of recognition.

Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe, a nerdy merchandise company that caters more specifically to female fans, and voice of Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Ahsoka Tano, has deemed 2013 the Year of the Fangirl. Learn more in the video below.

If you are a fangirl, or a gent who knows a fangirl, you can fill out the form found here to be recognized.

Do let me know if you apply and are chosen!


Wes (TGG) recently received his illustration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the Rat Pack he won in the Julie is Cooly giveaway, and he sent me a photo to share. It's a pretty epic illustration and I know that he's super pleased with it.

If you've got a ridiculous awesome idea like this you'd like to see put on paper, definitely check out Julie's Etsy.


Before I go for the day, there's also this:


Have a great rest of your Wednesday, friends.

March 19, 2013

obsessed.: The Heist

I'm not a huge rap fan, but I do consider myself an equal opportunity listener, and occasionally I'll find a hip hop album that I just can't get enough of. That's the case with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist, with which I am currently obsessed.

Everyone's heard the hit single off the album (if you've somehow avoided "Thrift Shop" mania until now, you can give it a listen/watch here), but if you think a song about finding a sweet deal is all that these two gents have to offer, you'd be sorely wrong. Other songs on the album are about dealing with addiction, rights for all people (regardless of sexuality or race) and the want to be a better man.

Although it might be hard to believe those grand ideas would fit together with a song in which Macklemore raps about zebra-print jammies, but trust me—they do.

Here are a couple of my favorite songs off the album:

"Can't Hold Us"

"Same Love"—Warning: This video is full of some serious feels.

The entire album is streaming on Spotify (regular version), or here on Grooveshark (deluxe version), if you'd like to hear more.

March 18, 2013

Haiku Revieu: Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful (***)

A cheeky monkey
Wonderland-like Land of Oz
Could have been better

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. Going into this movie, I didn't have much in the way of expectations. The trailers and ads made it look pretty and exciting, and I'm always up for a fun adventure. Plus, Wizard of Oz is a classic, and there's so much in the Oz canon left unfilmed. The actual movie experience, however ... was pretty meh. The plot was predictable (and somewhat rightly so, I suppose), but I've seen many a prequel that still had room for surprises. And as usual, I found the 3D elements distracting. We saw the movie in 2D, but there were obvious moments throughout in which things were thrust toward the audience in a obviously gimmicky manner. The CG at other times was also surprisingly bad.

I didn't really care for the acting, either. It seemed to me that it was either really poor—which was surprising considering some of the actors—or too much an emulation of the acting in the original Wizard of Oz. (Not to say that that was poor acting, mind you, but it was a different style for a different time.)

The saving graces of the movie were Finley the monkey (voiced by Zach Braff) and the little China Girl, who were both adorable and amusing, and the Tinkers, who I would love to know. I've got a lot of ideas in my head that I'd love to see built into reality.

I have hope that the sequel will be more interesting, but I'm not going to rush to theaters to see it when/if it's eventually released.

March 15, 2013

Fictional Fancies: Michael Vaughn

Today's Fictional Fancy comes to us from Becca, who blogs about food, life and "where DIY meets Geekify" at Radical Geekery. (Becca was featured as a Geek of the Week in January.) Becca couldn't resist the allure of getting to gush about her favorite fictional loves, and awesomely volunteered to write two FF posts. I couldn't very well say no, particularly since she wanted to write about one of my longtime favorite secret agents.

Like most people, you enter into geekdom with a single fandom and then it spirals out of control from there. Mine happened to be ALIAS, but I didn't realize it until years later. ALIAS is the first show that I had seen from start to finish and own all the DVD's for. I have a special place in my heart for the kickass Sydney Bristow, but I do tend drool over her counterpart, Michael Vaughn. (And just a side note, I'm going to give a few spoilers for the show, so be prepared.)

Michael Vaughn first shows up after Sydney Bristow finds out that she hadn't been working for the CIA for the past five years and Vaughn happens to be her contact. He first comes as a soft spoken agent, but you come to find out there is more to him then that mischievous and adorable smile. He sticks up for Sydney when his superiors don't think she is worth it, he stands up to her father, Jack, helps her take down SD-6 and ends up falling in love with her. I mean, who wouldn't want to be Jennifer Garner in the photo below?

Vaughn is a steady hand to Sydney's more reactive character, and as a newly married woman (when I started watching ALIAS), he reminded me of my husband. His smile, his laugh, his attitude, his demeanor. Plus, he could kick ass as much as anybody else even though he does get shot, stabbed, electrocuted and just about every other sort of abuse you can heap on an agent in a spy show.

Some of my favorites episodes are the ones where he "dresses up." Unlike Sydney who has worn an endless supplies of outfits, Vaughn doesn't really get to do that, but he gets the occasional piercing, tattoo and eyeliner (ooh baby!). On the rare occasion that he does, it sure makes me blush a bit. Here is one of my favorites from when he goes into a German Industrial Goth Bar. It totally makes the boy next door turn into one of the bad boys.

Throughout the show you grow to love Vaughn, and like any good relationship, you have those moments of hate. Especially when he is *GASP* is married to another woman. I remember watching the show and thinking that I could ring his little neck for that stunt. But, in the end he redeemed himself by shooting her to protect his beloved Sydney. This is defintely a show I would recommend because of the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn, and, well, you and Vaughn, because I guarantee that you will develop one. Give it a try; I promise you'll fall in love with that boy next door grin and those bad boy tendencies.

Are you interested in sharing a Fictional Fancy of your own? Email me!

March 14, 2013

Nerd News: Bad news about alien life, GoT art, Much Ado trailer and more

Vol. 4, Issue 9

Hey guys! Hope you're having a good week so far. Colt and I tried to get into a SXSW showing of Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing yesterday, but weren't able to. Guess I'll just have to watch the trailer (below) a few more times to tide myself over until it hits theaters.

But I digress.

In movie news:



March 13, 2013

Recently Read: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Beautiful Creatures and more

Since my Recently Read introductory post in January, a children's series caught my attention, I revisited an old YA friend, and I got to know a little more about the first Doctor.

What have I been reading lately?

The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian (the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) by Rick Riordan

Here's the synopsis of the first of the series:
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school ... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.