Sunday, October 19, 2014

SUNDAY SEVEN: SCARIEST MONSTERS (TV)

We have tackled Monsters from film. The Cinema is not the only place where there are Boogedy Boos. TV monsters can haunt your dreams as well. So let’s explore my top seven scariest monsters of television. Did I get it right? Do you have an even better monster? As usual leave your choices in the comments section.


the peacocks from xfiles
Don't Look Under The Bed
The Peacocks // Home (X-Files): Let’s start with an oldie but a goodie from the territory of Mulder and Scully. Written by my favorite duo of Glen Morgan and James Wong, ‘Home’ introduces us to the Peacocks and by the gods are they absolutely terrifying. Sure on the outside they look like a couple of deformed farmers until you realize what they are keeping under the bed. Seriously, just thinking about that episode and the Peacocks gives me the heebie jeebies. Great episode and great monsters despite being incredibly disturbing.

weeping angels from doctor who
Don't Blink.
Weeping Angels // ‘Blink’ (Doctor Who):
As a Whovian you knew that the Weeping Angels would be on my list and they beat out the Silence just a little bit. Here is why. The Weeping Angels can be terrifying yes, but they don’t murder you. They take your time and to be honest isn’t that one of the things that scares us all…not having enough time or being taken from those you know and love. Of course there is that whole don’t blink thing. Or the fact that the Weeping Angels could be anything statue like. I keep thinking about the bobcat statue near my office or the dozens of other ones in town. Shiver. What about my cute little gargoyle Book ends…Don’t think about it. Don’t blink.

the gentlemen from buffy
Can't even Shout.  Can't Even cry.
The Gentlemen // ‘Hush’ (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) : I will always remember this episode. It was snowing and I almost missed a test at my University because I wanted to watch it all. The Gentlemen are of course automatically creepy because of their perma grins and languid way of moving (Doug Jones seriously does an amazing job as the lead gentleman), but the real reason they are terrifying is because they have stolen your ability to scream for help. You cannot shout ‘Danger’ to a passerby. You cannot scream for help. Oh and they want your heart. And they use scalpels and they have terrifying henchmen.

the parasites from the xfiles
Things should not go in ears. Certainly not worms.
The Parasites // ‘Ice’ (X-Files)
: We are headed back to the monsters of my adolescence with Mulder and Scully again. This episode is another by Glen Morgan and perhaps inspired by Carpenter’s The Thing at least in the way it isolates all of the characters. Yea a parasite that drives its host into murderous fits of rage. Why it is on my list? Because things go in ears that shouldn’t. I had nightmares for weeks because of Wrath of Khan and this just reminded me that parasitic worms should not go into ears. On top of the ugh inducing way that the parasite gets into its victims, the episode deals with not knowing who the enemy is and who is infected. I am now going to go put earmuffs on.

Don't Look in the Mirror
The Phantom // ‘Mirror Mirror’ (Amazing Stories)
: I had to look up the title of this one, but as a kiddo I was addicted to Amazing Stories. But then there were episodes that left me never wanting to look in a mirror again. There is something terrifying about looking in the mirror and something is behind you. You turn around and nothing was there. It is a trope that many horror films still use, but you have to admit it is unsettling. This episode (directed by Martin Scorcese I discover) is about a Stephen King like writer who claims that he cannot be scared. But then he starts seeing a monster in every mirror he comes across and each time it seems to be getting closer and closer and closer.

Dolls Shouldn't Be Creepy
The Doll // ‘The Inheritance’ (Friday the 13th – The Series)
: Another staple of my childhood along with Monsters, Tales from the Darkside, the Outer Limits, and Tales from the Crypt was Friday the 13th the series. If you haven’t seen the series it was about an antique shop full of things that could kill you. The lead characters would go and find the cursed object and bring it back. Now in this episode you have a creepy doll not unlike the one from the Twilight Zone or Chinga from the XFiles who has murderous intent. Now dolls are supposed to be innocent and childlike, not evil. This is why the clown doll was on the movie list. This is why I will only watch Annabelle in my home while clutching a stuffed animal. Of course the doll in the episode really likes to lead people into the murder and mayhem, but again dolls should not do that. Creepy, porcelain, dead, unmoving eyes of horror. Pft.

Creepy
Eugene Tooms // ‘Tooms’ (X-Files)
: The X-Files was great with the monsters and even more so than Buffy or Who though you will see below that I mentioned a few more of the monsters from those two series. Eugene Tooms was terrifying when we first met him in the episode ‘Squeeze’ as he could fit into very small spaces and then kill and eat his victim’s livers. I liked this episode more than the first because we already know what Tooms can do and now that he has been released from the Sanatorium we know who he is going to go after. *shiver*

Honorable Mentions: The Silence (Doctor Who), The Gremlin (The Twilight Zone), Der Kinderstod (Buffy), The Vashta Nerada (Doctor Who), and Flukeman (X-Files)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TUESDAY TRAILERS: HORNS

I loved the book by Joe Hill as it is both horrific and full of dark humor at the same time. Plus, I like seeing Daniel Radcliffe do more things and getting even more distance from Harry. And of course being October I look forward to things having a wee bit of a wicked edge to them. What do you think? Plans to see it?


Summary: In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples....Opens October 31, 2014.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Midwinterblood: A Review

Midwinterblood
Written by: Marcus Sedgwick
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Language: English
February 2013
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Horror

Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.


+++++++++++++

Sometimes, just sometimes, a book stays with you. It can be do the story, perhaps the prose, or the characters. Midwinterblood was one of those books for me. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this book is Wicker Man, but that isn’t quite accurate. It certainly has that feel when Eric Seven, a journalist, finds himself on the island of Blessed he is looking for a strange orchid reported to give the island inhabitants longer lives. It’s a haunting little island in the middle of nowhere where there seems to be no electrical outlets for your computers, you only get there by the most basic of means, and the natives look at you a bit oddly. What he finds on the island is a strange little group of villagers, no children, no conventional technology, and a young woman named Merle he swears he has seen before. And she seems to recognize him as well even though they have never met before. The more time Eric spends on the island, the more he seems to be forgetting his old life, the more he seems to remember another.

Things I liked: Inspired by Carl Larsson’s painting Midvinterblot, Midwinterblood is a novel about many things. It is about love, sacrifice, and blood. Haunting and chilling are also words that come to mind when I think of this book. There is something disquieting about each of the chapters and yet they urge you on. What is it about this island of Blood? And why are the residents so peculiar? This was a hard review to do because I want to discuss it all, but I want you dear reader to discover it for yourself as well. I don’t want to give away too much other than we live many lives.

The Island is one of the main characters. As you travel back through time you learn about the island’s history, its inhabitants, of the wild hares and dragon shaped orchids. It’s an eerily beautiful island, strange and chilling, timeless and exquisite. The description of the island is infused with an eerily haunting magic. Merle and Eric are both wonderfully real and relatable characters, something which is true even at the very beginning but becomes even more so by the end of the book.

Each chapter is another tale from the island, another glimpse into its eerie history. Each has a different tone and a different time period on the island from an archaeologist’s dig to a reclusive painter’s home. They are unique but have some threads that bind the novel together as a whole. Of the seven short stories, the two that stuck with me the most were the Vampire (full of Gothic dread) and the Ghost Story from 1848.

The prose is wonderful. Sometimes simple, but overall the effect, the way it all unfolds… It’s a different sort of horror. It lingers, it builds, and is more about the impending dread than all of your gore. Like I said before, it was a different sort of novel and I can see why it was a Printz Honor winner because there is not a lot out there like this. It gets a shiny gold star for being unique. And another for the sheer sensory output through the prose.

Things I didn’t like so much:
It is an unusual and original addition to the Young Adult genre though not really sure why it is shelved in young adult. I also think the biggest problem I had with the book was how short it was and how brief it was in its storytelling. This is its biggest strength at the same time. It shows, not tells…takes the reader on a journey through the ages. This helps with the mystery and the creepiness. And yet I wanted more at times. I wanted more than just a quick snippet. I wanted more of the telling.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. While the book is lighter far, in that you can finish it in a couple of hours like I did, it lingers with you…stays with you. Perhaps even haunts you.

Part of:Stand Alone

Also Recommended: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and more by Marcus Sedgwick such as White Crow

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAYS: THE ORIGIN STORY

A friend asked me if I was this nerdy as a child. The answer is very much so, possibly even more so. But how did I become the Smirking Revenge? My dad was in the Air Force, my mother a stay at home mom. We moved around a lot and so I got to reinvent my bedroom and everything else in my life quite a bit. My parents nurtured the bibliophile in my brother and I at an early age. We read books all the time and that certainly let my imagination wander. I had comics (though they were Archie, Star Wars Ewoks, and Bugs Bunny ones) that I would read until their untimely demise of me reading them too much and them falling into little tattered pieces (though I still have a few that are in decent condition so my kids can read them…and yes they will know Princess Kneesaa of the Ewoks).

So what kind of kid was I? I was the kid who wanted to be Andromeda after watching Clash of the Titans and forced my mother to create a canopy bed made of willowy fabrics so it would be like Andromeda’s Bed. She even made me a plush Bubo. I was the girl who would roller skate around the basement with one of her mother’s bellydancing scarves attached to her head with a headband belting out Olivia Newton John and ELO because she was obsessed with Xanadu and wanted to be a muse. I was the girl who was convinced she had the power of Sheena – Queen of the Jungle because my pet rabbit followed me around all the time. And I was the kind of girl where Barbie wanted to be part of Voltron though the size inconsistencies between the two toy sets were problematic.

I read books in trees while in a dress much to my mother’s chagrin. I cosplayed as Princess Buttercup before I even knew what Cosplay was in high school. I went through cosplay phases in fact and had my little odes to Hackers, The Craft, and Clueless. I quoted movies incessantly. My comic book collection grew as I discovered the Marvel Universe and Vertigo comics. I wanted to vacation in Rivendell. I was affectionately given the nickname Buffy as I was a cheerleader at the time and loved vampires. This moniker followed me into college as the tv show aired and I just happened to have the same haircut, still loved pineapple on my pizza, and more.

For all of my pop culture nerdiness, I found strength in superheroes that I didn’t find elsewhere in my life. I was shy, quiet, and wanted to spread my love for all things geeky but discovered I was supposed to want to be Homecoming Queen instead. Being a nerd was not a moniker you strove to obtain. It meant being bullied and as a girl it was already rough being the new girl with the accent, 6 ft tall, and in all of the AP classes.

When University came around, I found solace in the interwebs. Holy cow there were other ladies who loved Buffy, Lord of the Rings, and gaming as much as I did. Rock on. I grew up. I embraced the geekiness and found friends. I wasn’t afraid to express my love of things anymore. I grew out of my shyness a bit.

I am always going to be that nerdy girl. The one who fell in love with Greek mythology as she stared up at the stars with her dad and wanted to know about the stories behind the names of the constellations. I am always going to be the girl who would rather spend an evening in rather than an evening out, the girl who likes Doctor Who, Joss Whedon, and reads more than 2 books a week. I am the girl who used to beat my brother at Super Mario and Contra, who still loves playing games, and never wants to grow up.

How about you? What is your origin story?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

TUESDAY TRAILERS: MONSTERS - DARK CONTINENT

I enjoyed the first film as it was far more about those involved than the actual monsters (who were pretty cool) Again, this film looks like the monsters are again only background characters and not what it is really about. What do you think? Plans to see it?


Summary: Ten years on from the events of Monsters, and the 'Infected Zones' have now spread worldwide. In the Middle East a new insurgency has begun. At the same time there has also been a proliferation of Monsters in that region. The Army decide to draft in more numbers to help deal with this insurgency....Opens 2015.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chez Moi: A Review

Chez Moi
Written by: Agnès Desarthe
Translated By: Adriana Hunter
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books
Language: English
April 2008
Genre: Fiction

At forty-three, Myriam has been a wife, mother, and lover—but never a restauranteur. When she opens Chez Moi in a quiet neighborhood in Paris, she has no idea how to run a business, but armed only with her love of cooking, she is determined to try. Barely able to pay the rent, Myriam secretly sleeps in the dining room and bathes in the kitchen sink, while struggling to come to terms with the painful memories of her past. But soon enough her delectable cuisine brings her many neighbors to Chez Moi, and Myriam finds that she may get a second chance at life and love. Redolent with the sights, smells, and tastes of Paris, Chez Moi is a charming story that will appeal to the many readers who fell in love with Joanne Harris’s Chocolat and Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate.

+++++++++++++

I am and have always been a foodie. I love trying new things, new recipes included, quite regularly. I perhaps learned this from my father who was always trying new recipes, so much so that we never really had the same thing twice. Sometimes books and food collide. Not in the I got jam all over my copy of Pride and Prejudice, but that you have a book all about food. Sometimes if you are lucky you get recipes (Like Water For Chocolate) and the way food is used in the story is unique. The food becomes another character. It helps tell the story. It advances the plot. Maybe this is why I love books such as Like Water For Chocolate, Chocolat, Mistress of Spices, Julie and Julia, and The Kitchen God’s Wife.

Chez Moi was one of those books that got me with its cover. It’s a simple cover, the front of a café, but it was enough to get me to pick it up at the Library book sale. The back snippet reads a bit like Chocolat and there are some obvious comparisons. Myriam is a 43 year old woman whose life has certainly had its ups and downs. Wanting to start life again and find something she feels has been missing for so long she sets up a small café on a quiet part of Paris, funded by a bank loan she obtained using forged documents. She uses every bit of money she can into this endeavor, so much so that she lives in the restaurant as well.

Cooking is what Myriam knows. She finds a peace in cooking that she cannot seem to find anywhere else in her life. When she feeds her guests she is feeding them part of her soul because that is what went into her cooking. She lays it all out there in the kitchen, hopes, dreams, wants, expectations. And then she creates an amazing meal. For a time she finds herself, finds solace. And then the meal is done. Soon her small café is filled with customers and maybe, just maybe, she will find what she has been looking for all this time and get a second chance.

Things I liked:
Myriam has made many mistakes, mistakes that haunt her still. She is a flawed character in exile. When we meet her she has nothing left. She is broken, struggling to come to terms with her past, who she is, and what she wants. The restaurant and the food grow as she does.

It’s written in the stream of consciousness style as we listen to Myriam’s thoughts and motivations. There is no exciting plot, but the story of a woman who has lost much and is trying to find her place in the world and reconnect with it all. As I said Myriam is flawed as is her storytelling. Sometimes you don’t like her and you are not sure if you can trust her at all. But that is why I kind of liked it. Sometimes the best narrators are ones that leave you questioning their motives or the truth of anything they are saying. It’s a nice little character study of a woman who seems as real as both you and I. I am not perfect and neither is Myriam. I love that she is gifted in the kitchen but kind of sucks at life. She doesn’t know about budgets, bills, or even running her restaurant, but she can make food that will keep you coming back. I love that she wants a kids menu that is grown up food not watered down “kiddie” food.

The secondary characters in this novel are charming as well. Sometimes more so than Myriam. Ben, is an idealistic orphan who helps Myriam with her bills and becomes her first waiter. In him she sees a lot of her past and comes to terms with it. Her neighbor, the florist from next door, is awkward and a bit odd and I love the pair of schoolgirls she basically feeds for free.

As the novel continues and we learn more about Myriam’s past and where she has been since she left her husband and son. She spends time as a cook for a small traveling circus. We discover she was never really comfortable being a mother and a wife, that years ago she shut down all parts of her emotional self. The writing is interesting as it really is stream of consciousness in the way the story is told. At times the prose is descriptive, languid almost and then other times short and abrupt. It really depends on Myriam’s mood really. While this is interesting it was also a bit unbalanced for me. Which brings me to…

Things I didn’t like so much:
I love the focus on food, but I couldn’t help but make comparisons to other foodie books that I have read in the past and this one didn’t hit with me on every level as the others did. It can be a bit slow as there is no real plot. It’s a character study. I found myself reading a couple of chapters and then putting it down for a couple of days while I read another book. I did keep coming back to it though and ultimately I did finish it.

I think my biggest problem is I never really connected with Myriam. I didn’t understand her. I couldn’t relate to her the way I wanted to. Though I totally understand the themes of coming to terms with yourself and your past, she is a bit too odd for me, a bit too distant, a bit too…I don’t know. I was on her side for a good deal of it because this is a new, on a journey Myriam instead of the woman she once was (who I could not get behind). But the choices she makes…ugh. I don’t know. I really wanted to like this book far more than I did.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow. In the end this was not for me, but I would still recommend it as it is a different sort of story.

Part of:Stand Alone

Also Recommended: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni , Julie and Julia by Julia Powell, and the Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SUNDAY SEVEN: SCARIEST MONSTERS OF FILM

It is beginning to look a lot like Autumn around here. My garden is toast thanks to that lovely cold snap last week (low of 23 people at night) and the stores are filling up with Halloween goodness. As I sit here contemplating whether I want to try my 31 days of Halloween posts and trying to figure out if there are any horror films I want to see in the theatre, I started thinking about Monsters. What are the scariest monsters of film, tv, fiction, and video games? What terrified me as a child or gives me the heebie jeebies as an adult. We’re going to tackle film and television this week. Did I get it right? Do you have an even better monster? As usual leave your choices in the comments section.


Xenomorphs //Alien franchise
These baddies have to be on your list. Sure you have the adults, slick, dangerous hunters, but for me it has always been the face huggers and the chest bursters that fill me with dread. It’s one thing to be hunted by a Geiger monster, it is another to be impregnated with a Xenomorph embryo waiting until one day it will break through your chest and kill you. And then possibly do a little song and dance number as it skitters away. I love the Alien films, but they creep me out at the same time. Parasites, acid drooling Queen’s and a sort of helplessness…unless you are Ellen Ripley. Xenomorphs are the best and the worst to this day.


The Thing // The Thing
It’s an alien with the ability to morph into whatever creature it wants to. John Carpenter’s 1982 film gave me enough gore and horror to last a little bit with mutated dogs and a certain head that grows legs and skitters off. You feel for the cast. Cut off from the rest of the world, paranoid (Understandably so), and ultimately trapped with the Thing stalking you…yeah this is why I love the film. *shiver*


The Pale Man // Pan’s Labyrinth
The child devouring , eyes on hands creeper that Ofelia faces during one of her quests is terrifying. Brought to life by the oh so talented Doug Jones, he is the fiend who waits for his prey enticing them with a table full of sweets. It is a feast not many could resist. Sure he is blind technically and his skin hangs in folds, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of safety because his eyes aren’t on his head people, they are in his hands and when he holds them up to look at you…well you better start running, unless you want to be dinner.


The Clown Doll // Poltergeist
Sure it may not be your typical monster, but it haunted my nightmares for years. I mean clowns are already creepy and why on Earth would you have it staring at you from a chair across your bed. That’s just asking for trouble. Then when it disappears, don’t look for it. Move. To another country. Don’t wait. Just go. Now. Take nothing with you because it may be hiding in there. Trust me, it is better this way. The Clown doll is terrifying in its simplicity especially when it tries to kill you. Children’s toys should not try to kill you. Damn it Poltergeist, I am now officially creeped out. And yet I strangely want to watch the film. Maybe I will just skip the clown part. That is what skip forward is for right?


Gage // Pet Sematary
Again technically not a monster, but scary as F*&k. When Louis Creed loses his son he decides to bring his son back. But you should never do that because they never come back the same. The cat should have clued him in. “First I play with Judd, then mommy came, and I play with mommy. We play daddy, we had a awful good time! Now, I want to play with you...” Chills. Of course Gage’s version of playing involves slicing poor Judd’s Achilles and then biting out his throat and Mrs Creed didn’t fare much better.


Skesksis // The Dark Crystal
I know that technically it is not a horror film, but it could be if you are a little. When I think of creepy monsters the Skesksis are the first to come to mind. Half vulture, half…shiver..I don’t know what they are the stuff of nightmares. And The Chamberlain oh he takes the cake with his crooning and screechy voice. I feared for the Gelflings and for good reason.


Sadako // Ringu
In this film Reiko Asakawa is researching into a “Cursed Video”. Bad idea number one. Then she decides to watch said tape. Bad idea number two. Actually this whole film is about really bad ideas and one vengeful entity named Sadako. It’s the way Sadako moves, the way she looks…just everything. Between this and the Grudge, Japanese horror films kept me awake many a night.

Friday, October 3, 2014

5 Fandom Friday: Fandoms That Shaped Me

5 Fandom Friday is a series hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. This week's topic is the five gateway fandoms that made me who I am today. Now this is no easy task I must tell you as I have many many fandoms and they range from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who. And of course we must not forget the bats, the cute adorable little bats. But most of you know these things already, so we will delve a bit deeper into the fandoms that really left an impact (and still do) or share a certain sort of nostalgia for me presently.

UNICORNS
Let’s face it my first fandom was unicorns. I had a unicorn sticker book, a unicorn poster on the wall. I had unicorn freezy freakys mittens, some unicorn snowglobes and those glass little figurines. Of course who could forget the plush unicorn that played ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. I was convinced that unicorns still existed and I ate up all media that featured the horses with the single magical horn that loved little princesses such as myself. There was something about unicorns that I just connected with or at least I am assuming my seven year old self connected with. They were horses, but with horns and magic.

Specifics:Two films that were all about the unicorns and therefore well beloved in my life were The Last Unicorn and the Fantastic Adventures of Unico. Now I am just going to assume that most of you have seen the amazing animated adaptation of Peter S Beagle’s novel of the same name that Rankin/Bass did in the 80’s. But most people do not know anything about Unico and you should. I think it may have been my first anime and who better to have brought me my first anime than Osamu Tezuka of Kimba the White Lion, Metropolis, and Astro Boy fame.

Anyway, it is about a little unicorn named Unico who brings happiness to everyone which of course gets him in trouble with the gods, who believe that only the PTB should have the ability to control others' emotions. The gods send the West Wind to banish Unico to the Hill of Oblivion, but the West Wind takes pity on Unico and declines to follow the gods' commands. The gods are furious when they learn of the West Wind's defiance, and send the Night Wind to capture Unico. To protect Unico from the gods and the Night Wind, the West Wind must continually transport the little unicorn from place to place. Whenever the gods discover Unico's whereabouts, the West Wind appears to spirit him away once again, often without getting to say goodbye to any of the friends he has made - and without any memory of those friends, as Unico's memory is wiped clean each time. I included a little clip just so you can see the glory of it all because I used to sing Katy's song all the time.  I mean all the time.  Apparently I also wanted to be a cat.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~

BOOKS
Even before my wild fascination with unicorns, I had a love for books. I blame this on my parents and if I am going to blame them for anything, this is probably a good one. From a very young age they read to me. My brother and I had our own little library. I even wrote books (yep about a pair of unicorn twins) when I was in first grade. My parents always gave me money when the Scholastic Book Fair was at school and boy would I save up my allowance for that glorious few days. Books have definitely made me who I am. They allowed my imagination to roam. They improved my vocabulary. They were my friends when I was a shy adolescent and teenager and to this day I read…constantly. Yea books.

Specifics: When I think about fandoms that shape me I know that saying I am a voracious bibliophile is a bit general, so again we will get a bit specific. When I was a teen I loved all things horror and two specific authors were must haves: Christopher Pike and RL Stine. Ooh how I loved the Fear street saga with the murders and the ghosts and the monsters. And Christopher Pike…he was my King and Koontz. Seriously it was all murder, mayhem, sex, booze…everything I wasn’t supposed to read all in a lovely paperback form. Babysitter’s Club and Nancy Drew they were not. I still have some of my favorites on my bookshelf such as Remember Me, Fall into Darkness, Witch, Whisper of Death, Scavenger Hunt, and the Last Vampires series.
There were other horror lite books as well from Lois Duncan, Caroline Cooney, and others but those two were my favorite. Ooh I still love them as batshit crazy as some of the plots were (looking at you Scavenger Hunt). So how did this shape me you ask? Well I still love horror films and my tastes range from Dario Argento to Wes Craven. But these books also got me writing fan fiction and that wasn’t even a thing yet. Oh now I think October book club should be YA Horror Themed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

BUFFY
This one needs no specifics. Joss Whedon by far is my gateway fandom drug. I dug Buffy so much that it was my nickname up through University. It started when the film came out. I was a cheerleader, dug vampires, and thought Luke Perry was hot. Suddenly here was Buffy, strong, badass, and I totally wanted to be her. Since everyone got nicknames in high school, there was mine. And then the show came out and oh how I related to it on so many levels. I quoted it incessantly and my friends kept the Buffy nickname going. I got my haircut and it looked like Season 2 before Season 2 aired, I like pineapple on my pizza, my dad took me to ice skating shows every year, and so much more. The moniker stuck.

But the real reason Buffy changed me and made me who I am were the fans. You see I was in University and still shy as can be, but Buffy had the posting boards on FOX. So the interwebs brought me into contact with geeks like me. We wrote stories as we signed off goodnight (I was part of the Boogedy Boo Clan) I went to fan parties in California where I got to meet Joss and Aly and Eliza. I found a lot of friends in that fandom, still do, and embraced the inner geek. I fell for a vampire named Spike and well…I am a Slayer, ask me how.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


STAR WARS
If we back up a little, pre Buffy times there was a certain trilogy that my brother and I may have been obsessed with. It was called Star Wars and for two non-geeks my parents did a great job of nurturing our new sci-fi obsession. I wanted to be Leia. I wanted to be a jedi. My brother and I would use the force on one another and when Jedi came out my mom was awesome enough to make my brother and I Ewok costumes for Halloween. That’s right…we loved the Ewoks (though everyone thought we were teddybears instead of Wicket and Princess Kneesa…uh no people. Watch the movies. Jeesh.) I won’t go into this fandom too much because it’s kind of self-explanatory. It was another gateway fandom and I will never stop loving these films.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


EMPIRE RECORDS
Shock me, Shock me, Shock me…with that deviant behavior. This film is in my top ten of all time. Still love it even though I have seen a hundred times. I can pretty much quote the entire film and even did some cosplay of Corey blue sweater and all. I loved the music, I wanted a Vespa, and could somehow relate to Deb. It was my junior year when the film came out (yep just aged myself) and it just hit me. I wanted to work at Empire Records. I wanted to be cool manager like Joe later in life when I became a retail manager of Suncoast for several years (sadly my store was not as cool nor did I have a drum set in the back room). It’s my cult favorite and when people say that the first film that Renee Zellwegger sang in was Chicago, I refer them to Empire. Damn the Man…Save the Empire. I love this film. Oh so much.

Honorable mentions include: Macgyver, Shakespeare, Sandman comics, Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Miss Saigon, and Vampires.

So these were the fandoms that helped shape me into the healthy geek lady that I am today.   What were your gateway fandoms?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

+20 TO WILLPOWER: OCTOBER EDITION

I need patterns and routines in certain parts of my life. I also need goals and lists. And possibly Kelly Sue DeConnick telling me to get shit done through text messages (totally worth it ladies ). So inspired by some of the lovely blogging ladies out there who set goals for themselves either weekly or monthly, I have decided to do the same. Not only will be there written proof out here in the interwebs, but I am sure at least one of you good souls will bug me in my everyday life if I don’t (looking at you Maggie).

So here are my goals for the month of September:

1. Sew a Skirt. I have so much fabric, a sewing machine I never use and that should cease. I want to make a fun jersey knit maxi skirt or a circle skirt.

2. Clean out books I don’t want anymore. I love my books, but let’s face it there are a ton of titles I am never going to read again. Between the ARCs, the TBR piles, and such our house is overflowing with books and I really don’t want to buy more shelves for books that will just collect dust. So it is time to go through the piles and either donate or do some buybacks.

3. 30 Day Ab Challenge. I did a plank challenge a couple of months back and I liked it. I tried to do this one last month, but failed when I did not make a habit of it. No excuses this month. Crunches here I come.

4. Buy A Smart Phone. Yep I have resisted this for quite some time. I am not a huge fan of cell phones in the first place and how people spend more time texting and playing games than they do interacting with people at events or you know…life. But it has come to my attention that a “smarty phone” as …. From …. Would say might be a good idea. Not only would it replace my dying camera, it would be a great workout device, I could use square for the geeky business, and a variety of things. It’s time to join the modern age.

5. Go to the Gym 3x a week. This is how habits form and plus if I am paying for the membership and a locker, I might as well be actually using it. Plus endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t shoot their husbands so says Elle.

6. Finish the Craft Room. It has been the junk room for the past six months now and that needs to stop. I need to set up a table, finish the dress form, set up the sewing machine and organize, organize. I have this room. I should really use it. Creative Smirking = Happy Smirking. Plus it means we get the kitchen table back.

7. 1 Box to Goodwill. I collect stuff. Now I am not a hoarder, but there is a lot of stuff that I am never going to use. I have outgrown it, have no idea why I own it in the first place and this will be the first step to unclutter my life. If it doesn’t have a place, it needs to go in the box. Best case scenario Goodwill gets 1 box of goodies, even better scenario they get more than one box and I have more space.

8. Redo the site. I have had this layout for a few years now. It’s not that I don’t love Katee to little pieces, but maybe it is time for a change. After all I finally gave in and got Twitter and Instagram accounts. But I also want to make this more of a priority. I want something a little different.

9. Closet Makeover. There are a lot of clothes that I never wear and my style is changing as well. I would rather have less clothing in our little closet and items that I consistently wear instead of items I haven’t worn in forever…just in case. This however does not count towards the one box to Goodwill.

10. Finish either Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs, or Contrast. There are so many games that I have almost played all the way through, but never quite finished. Now that Destiny has eased up my life a little, but I am determined to finish at least one of the above games. I mean I am at least 80% there already. Finish something.

We will meet again on November 1st and see how I did. If I succeed, I get an achievement and am allowed to go treat myself. I think I can do it, though I am starting a bit late.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TUESDAY TRAILERS: MAPS TO THE STARS

I dig Cronenberg. This film, opening some time early next year is all about celebrity, but of course because it is Cronenberg there will be a dark side to it all. John Cusack plays L.A. psychotherapist and life coach Stafford Weiss who has made his fortune with self-help books promising happiness. His wife Cristina (Olivia Williams) is the overbearing manager of their 13-year-old son, Benjie (Evan Bird), a TV star and recent drug rehab grad. Their estranged daughter, Agatha (Wasikowska), has just been released from a psychiatric hospital and befriends limo driver and aspiring actor Jerome (Pattinson). Among Stafford’s celebrity clients is Havana Segrand (Moore), a fading star who dreams of reprising her late mother Clarice’s (Sarah Gadon) starring role. Ambitions, ghosts, death, and all manner of vices bedevil the cast of characters. What do you think? Plans to see it?


Summary: A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts...Opens 2015.