Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter


Bioshock Infinite: First Impressions

Yesterday E grabbed Bioshock Infinite for me and I have been playing up a storm while he gets ready for a conference and I decide to be completely antisocial for the weekend. I am a few hours into gameplay and thought I would give my first impressions and do a nice tidy review later once I have beaten the game (which may take a while as I still have not finished Dragon Age II or Mass Effect3 yet...what can I say I get distracted very easily, plus I do most of my gaming at E’s and not my own place). Now I will say I loved the first Bioshock. Story amazing, gameplay not so much, but for someone who had yet to discover her love for shooters it was a nice small intro to them. The second Bioshock had better game mechanics, but the story suffered. I am still on the fence when it comes to Infinite. Don’t worry I won’t spoil too much here as I am only a few hours into the game.

When you begin the game you discover your name is Dewitt, a former Pinkerton who has far too much debt and you are sent to retrieve a girl named Elizabeth from Columbia. But instead of going down to the sea like Rapture, you are sent to the clouds. And Columbia is absolutely gorgeous the moment you walk out into the sunshine. Citizens say hello, kids play in the streets and shops are left unattended with an honor system expectation. I listened to a barbershop quartet and played some games at the fair. And that is when you start noticing that for all the sunshine, flowers and hummingbirds, that there is something seriously wrong with Columbia. It begins with the bits of conversation as you pass by couples on the park bench, the propaganda lining the streets and then the fair itself. Who is it that I am shooting at exactly. And why are 8 year olds smoking for goodness sake?

And this is where Infinite reigns, in the atmosphere. It is the tale of Utopia gone horribly wrong just as Rapture was. So while yes Columbia is not gloomy with its makeshift bays, gondolas, theme parks and statues...it is not at all what you think it is. Then again we all know this going into the game if we have played the others. I love the whole idea of this steampunk city in the clouds. Seriously it is absolutely beautiful. Which is nice considering how much I detest most of the people that reside in Columbia. So I ignored most of them and just went exploring. And you do a whole lot of it. I don’t think I got my first weapon until almost an hour worth of gameplay (although this could be because I looked at every nook and cranny, listened to all of the conversations and just sat there admiring in awe at the beauty of it all). Exploring was dandy. I had fun, but you know something is up the moment you discover that choosing #77 is a bad idea. But still I go listen to the band and join the good citizens in what looks like a fun lottery that everyone is really excited to take part in. Why not? Except that I choose #77 in my softball and the good citizens of Columbia are sad that they don’t get to stone the nice interracial couple, but I do. Ummm...yeah. No. I think I would rather stone the announcer and everyone else in town instead.

There is something rotten in Columbia and everything begins to show the rot and ruin. This is not a nice place for all of its beauty and I love that. Columbia is what has happened if the South had seceded to the sky, a place where slavery is still alive, children become soldiers and heroes of the nation include John Wilkes Booth. It is clear that I will not recommend this game for everyone especially if you are easily offended.

Game controls are like the other games. You have a gun in one hand (you can switch between two equipped weapons) which can range from a pistol to a scattergun and then you have your magic (now called a vigor instead of a plasmid). EVE is gone instead you have SALTS which fill up your magic bar. I like some of the new powers which include Murder of Crows (sends a bunch of crows to stun an enemy, though rarely kills them), Shock Jockey (a paralyzing electric bolt) and Possession. Elizabeth is with you for most of your journey and she isn’t annoying. I don’t have to watch her every move to make sure she doesn’t die and she comes in quite handy when you are low on ammo or salts during a battle. Plus she does some other stuff later on in the game which can be extremely useful.

I really love how they handle Elizabeth. When not in battle she looks at things on her own, comments on her surroundings and or sits down in a chair as she waits for you. I like her character and that makes up for the semi boring gameplay. I am playing on medium and thus far I have died a couple of times, but there is not much of a setback as she just revives you as if nothing has really happened. Just like the other games you will be drawn in by the setting and the story and less about the actual game play and combat.

I still find it absolutely hilarious that I can raid enemy dead bodies and eat the piece of cake that they apparently had hidden in their pocket or eat the yummy piece of fruit off of the dead body that is being surrounded by cockroaches. E likes the bench hotdogs, garbage cakes, and cotton candy off of corpses the best but it takes you out of the game when you are raiding trashcans and hidden corners for life giving food. It makes me giggle every time.

So far though I really do like the game. Heard the ending is a bit ridiculous, but I have been hearing that about Mass Effect 3 for some time now and I still play the crap out of that game and some day may actually finish it. Is it the best game in decades? Jury is still out but I am having a hell of a time seeing where the game will take me.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

THURSDAY CRUSH: THE NERDIST EMPIRE

I love being a geek. I loved to read, play games, watch films, discuss the finer points of the Lord of the Rings universe or why I relate to Buffy, and that zombies make everything better. When Chris Hardwick created Nerdist he made fandom cool. If you have been following along with the Thursday Crushes you know that one of my geek crushes is the king himself. He’s a geek, he’s cute as hell and a big giant fanboy who is using his nerd powers for the good of all geeks. If you haven’t heard of Nerdist, where have you been? The podcasts are a weekly listen in both my car and at home (The Indoor Kids and Chris’s own podcast being my favorites), and I watch Talking Dead and the Nerdist specials whenever they are on tv.

I think one of the reasons I really crush on the Nerdist family is these peeps are really geeks. They love what they talk about and that enthusiasm spreads. The empire now consists of about 20 podcasts that range from Sex Nerd Sandra to The Todd Glass Show. There are YouTube shows that feature Neil Patrick Harris (with puppets), Star Talk with my dear Mr. Neil and more and more specials seem to be popping up (whoo hoo BBC America).

Yep Nerds and Geeks are in and for once it is actually cool to let your fandom flag fly for all to see. Chris Hardwick and the Nerdist empire have embraced that and that is why i love them. I love them because I can relate to them and share in the sheer joy that always seems to be present with every one of the ventures. They are passionate about their loves and that is why I crush big time on Nerdist Industries. Oh how I wish I was closer to LA and Meltdown Comics.

Please check them out. The Nerdist.com

And just for giggles:




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Darkness Becomes Her: Review

Darkness Becomes Her
Written by: Kelly Keaton
Softcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Language: English
February 2011, $14.99
Genre: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. 

Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued. She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal.

But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her. Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed. 

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

Ever since I was a kid I have been obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology. Maybe it was due to watching Clash of the Titans one too many times as a kid, but the more probable cause was my father. See he loves stargazing and he would point out the constellations for me and I would ask who Orion or Andromeda were. Then my mom let me research to my heart’s content. While I know fairytales are the big thing right now and who knows what the next in thing will be, but I dig the mythology shtick. Kind of the same way I dig the faerie sub-genre because as a kid and even still those are realms that completely fascinate me.

Ari Selkirk has spent most of her life in and out of foster homes and she has learned to be tough and independent. It also helps that her foster parents are bail bondsman and she helps out as much as she can. But she has always wanted to know more about her mother. Why did she commit suicide so soon after Ari was born and why are there so many secrets? After visiting the asylum where her mother died and receiving a box of her mother’s things along with a letter addressed to her, Ari heads to New 2 (formally known as New Orleans after multiple hurricanes destroyed it) despite the warnings. And what she finds in New 2 is not at all what she expected, especially the things she finds out about herself.

Things I loved: I like Ari. She is tough and snarky with a decent head on her shoulders for the most part. She doesn’t look to be saved, but rather saves herself. While she is flawed (she occasionally tends to fly off the handle or jump to the worst possible conclusion rather quickly), I like her. She curses, makes bad decisions, but defends those she cares about. She’s not a hard character to like for the most part and that helps the story a great deal.

I completely dig the combination of witches and vampires with Greek mythos. And of course all of the nods to said mythos such as Arachne make my little Greek mythology geek very happy.

I love the secondary characters. I don’t want to give away too much but everyone in the household made me smile. Especially one particular little girl who has a pet albino alligator. I really want to see those characters fleshed out and see them grow as they have a lot of potential.

Things I didn’t love so much: For me my biggest complaint was I knew the myth long before she did. And how can young people not know who Medusa is or even her myth? Have you not seen Clash of the Titans? Did you not have Mythology bits in school? I just couldn’t buy it. Because it was screaming at my face like the snake hair of a gorgon. I did like that they had the whole mythos though with the beautiful hair and the beautiful priestess. Poor girl. Athena was just a bitca.

I do think that the romance bit happened a bit too quickly, especially when you know that this is not the only book in the series. I like slow believable burn, not I just met you and this is crazy, but... I don’t care how good looking Sebastian is. Another problem is Ari is too quick to trust, too quick to just believe anything. Let’s face it if you grew up in a bail bondsman family you’d probably not be so quick to trust, you’d be careful and have a hell of a lot of questions. If tomorrow we found that Athena existed, how would you react? Other than possibly check yourself back into that mental asylum. And it’s not just the romance that moves along at a quick pace, it is the whole plot in general. In a way it reminds me of episodic television where this is no time to process, you only have an hour so cram as much as you can. This can be good as the story moves along very quickly, but at the expense of a bit of believability and character development. It makes the story a wee bit predictable because of the pace.

And we do have the plausibility of the government selling a devastated New Orleans to a bunch of old school money families. A bit odd don’t you think. But easy enough for me to suspend my disbelief.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. It was a quick book. While yes there are some complaints, I have a feeling they will work themselves out in the next installment.

Part of: a Series.

Also Recommended: Read the original Greek mythos, because it is awesome. Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and a lot of Charles de Lint’s work.

3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

THURSDAY CRUSH: GAMBIT

We’ve all had our first comic book loves. For H its Black Cat for D its Death. And I had Gambit. Back in my childhood I was a huge X-Men fan, yes back in the day when I would pick up single issues instead of waiting for them to be bundled in a trade. Now there were a ton of cool X-men universe characters, but there was something about Gambit. Maybe it was the accent, the little bits of francais and the swagger...you had to love the swagger. Remy Lebeau was it for me. He was sexy, charismatic and he had Rogue’s heart. Plus he was funny, a thief and a hustler and oh yeah incredibly good looking. What’s a young girl to do?

For those who don’t know who Gambit is, he is the Ragin Cajun from X-Men. You might recognize him from his trademark Bo staff or the fact that he often uses cards charged with kinetic energy which then explode. Abandoned at his birth due to his red eyes, Remy was kidnapped from the hospital by a thieves guild who raised him. Eventually, after a bit of a dark past he met up with the X-men, fell in love with Rogue and had some decent adventures.

 While I have lost touch with him over the years as I left X-men behind and found love in other comic series, Gambit will always be my first comic book crush. Who was your first comic crush?

Monday, March 18, 2013

BEING A GIRLY GEEK: PART ONE

Comic by Sailorswayze
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it is to be a geek girl. Lately around the webs, and actually for some time now there has been discussion about being a geek and more importantly being a girl geek. Now geeks come in all shapes and sizes as do the fandoms they are passionate about. Gone are the stereotypes of nerds who still live at home, aren’t so suave with the social aspects of society and where sometimes hygiene isn’t always a strong point. Being a geek has nothing to do with popularity. It’s about loving something. A lot.

As a kid in high school I was a geek, but a closet geek. Because back then it wasn’t as hip to talk about my love for the X-men, or debate the finer points of why Lothlorien would be an amazing place to live. Sure we had our fanzines and amongst friends it was perfectly acceptable to geek out, but growing up it wasn’t even hip to be known as “The Brain” let alone the constant new girl. I have also for the most part been a bit of an introvert. I was the girl who climbed trees just to a read a book and had a small group of friends, but I wasn’t popular by any means. My moments of geekiness were at home or relegated to copious amounts of movie quotes interjected into daily conversations. I had my Clash of the Titans lunch box, some fangirl t-shirts and Halloween was my favorite day when I could finally express my nerd love in the form of Wonder Woman or Princess Kneesaa the Ewok. Yep the Ewok. Thankfully I had a brother who let me play with his action figures and who had wars with me as they were far more interesting than playing with Barbies. Granted sometimes my Little Pony may be ridden by a MASK figure or the Transformers may have teamed up with She-Ra to save the world. With my brother I could be a geek.

Of course as I grew older I found various niches in which I could express my geeker joy, but as a girl I always felt like I had to defend my geekiness. Now for those of you who know me, I am a six foot tall girl who is at home in a dress or a skirt as much as she is in jeans and a t-shirt. My home and office are decorated with action figures, comics, and movie posters. I quote stuff a lot. I game every weekend and cannot wait for the new consoles to come out. I love science as much as I do crafting superhero minions. I have a TARDIS at my desk, dabbled in fanfiction including running a play by email BSG game. I go to Cons, read books for fun, and if given the time, energy and money would cosplay to my heart’s content. I am the girl who prefers horror films over romantic comedies, thinks that Bruce Campbell is the man and who is patiently awaiting for the powers to be to continue to make my girly geek pleasantly content. I am a geek. That I cannot deny and would not deny for the world. I can just say it now. With a lot more volume.

Comic by RadRangy
The internet has proven to be a wondrous thing. In college I geeked out over Buffy and found others that loved the show and Joss just as much as I did in the threaded and linear boards. I found my geeks and it was okay to let my fangirl flag fly. I went to Posting Board Parties half way across the country and found a kinship that I hadn’t before. It was awesome. And then I found people who loved comics or read as much as I did, I discovered Dungeons and Dragons (Thank you Jeremy) and rekindled my love for video games. I didn’t hide my love for the X-Files or why Nerf Herder was just a cool band. I found my people and it was glorious. For me I have always found it interesting that when a guy says he is a geek and no one asks him ‘prove it’, but as a woman I have to. When did geek culture become an all-boys club or some exclusive society that I had to pass a test to get into? Men defend their backlash against geek girls saying that we never would have given them the time of day had they professed their geek loves back in high school. You know I wish they had. It would have been great to find someone else who loved Lord of the Rings or who thought Deadpool was badass. It would have been fun to game with some guys on the weekend on not just console...we’re talking D&D kids. But no one asked me. And to this day it still seems as if the 15 year old geek boys never grew up.

Even now that geeks are in, I still get the ‘oh you must be reserving Gears of War for your boyfriend’ or ‘What do you mean you like Hammer horror films’. Oh I don’t know because those are the things that I like. I know these have always been male dominated niches, but the ladies are moving in boys. Deal with it. We geek out as much as you do. I can beat your score in Mass Effect Multiplayer and name the original Avengers (Ant Man and the Wasp). When I wear my Sweet Zombie Jesus necklace you bet I know where that quote came from. I want a vanity license plate that says Allons-y and am re-watching Battlestar Galactica with Hailey.

Being a geek shouldn’t be something that anyone is left out of. We were all there once if you were a geek in school. And even if you are a new geek, welcome to the club. Be passionate about what you love. It doesn’t have to be comics or pop culture related. Be a train geek or an urban fantasy geek, love to LARP or squee over Hitchcock films. Maybe you are an Astronomy geek or a Robot geek. Maybe you love creating your own custom action figures. Who cares. Just love it. And I think that is what is important.

Stop the backlash guys. Get over it. Is there any good reason to keep girls from wanting to become interested in geeky subjects? Don’t do the hipster thing. Don't be exclusive. Find kinship, celebrate with others. Isn’t that the point?  And share.  By Gods, share.  Addict others to all things geeky and then we can rule the world.

Next time we'll discuss the fake girl geek. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: DREAM JOBS

Our favorite geek books, shows and movies show us some pretty good occupations. When you’re a kid you have to admit your career plans are pretty exciting. You set your sights on an Astronaut, a Ballerina, or a Jedi. so it had me thinking about hypothetical career choices. Here are my top Seven.


Vampire Slayer: “ She alone will fight against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is...the Slayer”. Buffy is awesome and while the career choice thrust on her can be a bit dramatic and a wee bit scary, it isn’t a bad job. She is a superhero saving the innocent from the bad guys. She has strength, power and a great set of Scoobies who are the sidekicks every heroine needs. More than all of that though, more than the hells yeah to girl power, being a vampire slayer may not pay all that well and chances for tenure are pretty slim, but you do save the world every day. It forces you to be brave or you fail. You find that inner strength you thought you didn’t have and you become a fighter and a survivor. Oh and you get kick some major ass. Plus any chance that I might get to hang with Spike is fine by me.

Jedi: Who didn’t want to be a Jedi? Again it is all about the hero, the good guy with some awesome space magic skills. The force, the lightsabers, and possibly a wookie as a friend or co-worker. Admit it that is way better than 10 hour days, a cubicle and that annoying coworker you want to throw into the Sarlacc Pit. Plus your office is the universe. Sweet. And company vehicles could include a Millennium Falcon captained by one hell of a rogue. 


Pirate: Shiver me timbers and drink up me hearties yo ho. Admit it you could have a crew that consists of Jack Sparrow and Will and The Dread Pirate Roberts. Whoo hoo. It wouldn’t be so bad. You get rum and get to sail the seas. There is the eyeliner, got to have the eyeliner. Oh and swords and possibly a parrot or a monkey. I think there is something exciting about a pirates life...no rules, excitement, danger and thrills. Oh and did I mention treasure? Of course you could go the way of Space Pirates whether it is an Ice Pirate (fist bump if you’ve seen that film) or a Smuggler like Han or Mal (either of those last two could be my Captain tight pants any day). As I said there is something about living on the fringe that is exciting.

Ninja: Quick, Deadly, Silent, Invisible....completely bad ass. I think I have said enough. *throwing star*
Tomb Raider: Indy, Lara, and Drake...it’s not hard to look up to them and their badassness. Archaeologist by day, thief by night granted at least one of them might actually give the artifacts to a museum or the rightful owner. The adventure is certainly there whether you are running away from giant boulders, The Illuminati, or you know the pirates. More than that you are seeing, and maybe stealing a piece of ancient history, solving time’s most intricate mysteries and doing it all with a certain je ne sais quoi.

Sorceress/Witch: I don’t want to be a muggle. I want the magic, lots of magic. I want to be like Gandalf except all lady like or my favorite red haired witch Miss Willow Rosenberg. Work would be pretty easy as there is always a spell or some conjuring to do. Given a choice of character class, I am always the magic user. And why not? Have a hard client, turn them into a frog. Need to take a break, go on a sabbatical but don’t forget to put up your sign that says, ‘Not Dead, Just resting’ like Granny Weatherwax. My life would be a hell of a lot simpler if I could sign up and send my resume to be a Sorceress. Anyone hiring?

Time Lord: Yes I am a Whovian but admit it that this would be an awesome job. You are a Gallifreyan, who can see everything that was, is and can be all at the same time. You would have a sweet company car called the TARDIS who presumably wouldn’t get stuck in her police box state and of course is much bigger on the inside. A sonic screwdriver is better than any red stapler they could give you, regeneration and two hearts are an amazing benefit package and did I mention you get to travel through space and time. I wouldn’t mind meeting up with 10 some time.

Honorable Mention: Princess: As a girl, I wanted to be a princess. I would have my castle, my frilly dresses and a unicorn because all princesses have unicorns. One day I would become Queen of course and like all princesses I was bound to meet Prince Charming. Disney has taught me all of this. Of course Disney also taught me some unrealistic expectations on hair and love, but...bygones, being a princess would be pretty sweet.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Article 5: A Review

Article 5
Written by: Kristen Simmons
Softcover: 362 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Language: English
January 2012, $14.99
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian Fiction

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back. Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved. 

 +++++++++++++

 There is something about the world going to shit that I find intriguing and highly entertaining in most instances. And there are so many different ways it can go though most often we get a ‘1984’ or ‘A Brave New World’ and sometimes more recently you get a gem like ‘The Hunger Games’. One of the best parts about these books though for me is the part I never get to read, the why it all happened in the first place. Sometimes I just need a brief exposition and I am good, but you have to give me something. I need to know why the world is the way it is and I need it be just a little plausible. Once that is out of the way, my world has been created in my head and we can get down to oppressive business.

The premise of Article 5 seemed pretty sweet. Moral Statutes and Rehabilitation Centers. Not a fun world to live in but I really wanted to know how things got that way. Was it the religious right that took power and decided that being born out of a wedlock was a crime? How long ago was this? How are there not more uprisings?  

Things I didn’t love so much: I think one of my big problems with Article 5 was that it wasn’t plausible for me. Even after reading the entire book there are so many glaring plot holes that I can’t help but shake my head in disappointment and wish I had something a wee bit more. I couldn’t immerse myself into it the way I could other books and that is the important part.

I am bored with young adult authors who think that it requires less effort. Sorry folks most of your target audience wants to be treated like adult already and that means better prose, better plots and please don’t be patronizing. When I was growing up I like authors like Christopher Pike and Robin McKinley because the protagonists may have been my age but there was sex, violence and maybe some filthy mouths. My heroines had guts and as flawed as they may have been I related to them. There were plots and characterizations. And by the Powers that Be there was some world building.

Isn’t that kind of the point of Dystopian fiction in the first place. We want to see what this new society is, how it got there, and the discord that is ever present. We never really get that with Article 5. It just is the way it is, no explanation, no exploration. Just disappointment. And the characters...

Ember was a moron. Sorry but it has to be said. In fact she was the most self-centered, annoying and fickle creature I have read about in a long time. I could not sympathize with her at all and I really do love flawed characters (Mary from The Forest of Hands and Teeth is one of them). But Ember...Ember was just ridiculous. She lacked little or no common sense. For example she was the type of character that thinks that its Chase’s fault her mother is arrested or that blackmailing your friends is something that you should do no matter what the cost. Or I don’t know your boyfriend saves your life, but because he uses violence therefore he is the scary one and running away from him without any protection seems like a good idea to you. Seriously if this were the zombie apocalypse I would not feel guilty at all tripping her first, then again I don’t think I would have to. She would do something stupid I guarantee it. I felt sorry for Chase because he was a good character and I could not for the life of me see what he saw in that girl.

Things I loved: I did like Chase. Maybe it’s because I work with vets during my day job and PTSD can be a bitch. I see self-harmers, punishing themselves for many things that were beyond their control. They followed orders and sometimes those orders were shitty. You see a lot of things sometimes, some things you can’t erase and things that shape you from being a child into something much older, often before your time. And while I wanted to punch Chase for constantly being the white knight to Ember’s stupid damsel in distress, he was a good guy.

I did love some elements of the story and I saw a decent book in there but not one that ever really came into fruition. Ember’s escape was awesome. Seriously. And in the final act I did root for her, but I should have been rooting for her the entire time.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow, but only if you are bored

Part of: a Series.

Also Recommended: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

2 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: IRISH FILMS

With St Patty’s day coming up and all things green and Irish themed making its presence known, I thought I would share my top seven Irish themed film. Themed as in it has characters who are Irish, takes place in Ireland and possibly deals with troubles both in the past or modern day, or involves my favorite Irish directors, writers or actors. Do you have your own favorites?

The Boxer: This is one of my sister’s favorite films. Of course it has Daniel Day Lewis who has played everyone from Christy Brown (My Left Foot) to Gerry Conlon (In the Name of the Father) this is one of my favorite roles. He plays Danny Flynn, a former member of the IRA who decides to start a boxing club that tries to bring together a community that has been torn apart. Jim Sheridan directs it and along with Neil Jordan he has brought me some of my favorite films. Great film. Kind of reminds me of The Power of One.

The Commitments: Awesome film. Awesome soundtrack. Awesome band. Based on a book by Roddy Doyle it is about a great little cover band. Cast with a bunch of unknowns such as Andrew Strong and guitarist Glen Hansard (of Once fame), it is a great film that will make you sing along, laugh and cry and immediately go and buy the soundtrack afterward.

In America: I have to have at least one hard core tear jerker and this is it. Jim Sheridan directs this tale about his own life that he wrote with his daughters and the loss of his brother. Samantha Morton and Paddy Considine star, but it also has Emma and Sarah Bolger (of Tudors and now more recently Once Upon a Time fame) and Djimon Honsou. It definitely has some seriousness in it, but there are some great moments such as Halloween, hide and seek and trying to cool off in their small apartment. Completely worth watching.

In Bruges: For some of the best dialogue, you have to watch this film. Starring Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes, it is full of action, violence and foul mouthed gangsters, but I love it. On top of being a fun filled ride, enough action to leave me thrilled, it also is both funny and touching.

Boondock Saints: I know some people think this shouldn’t count, but it is a cult favorite and has Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Willem Dafoe. Enough said. Flanery and Reedus play Connor and Murphy McManus, brothers who decide to rid Boston of gangsters by some hilarious means. Like In Bruges its full of violence, action, humor and foul mouths. Plus any time I can get to see Sean Patrick Flanery without his shirt makes me happy.

The Crying Game: Neil Jordan directed this film starring Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker and Jaye Davidson. Rea plays Fergus, an IRA volunteer who takes part in the kidnapping of a British soldier, despite plenty of misgivings and a giant reluctance to do so. In order to make up for it he promises to look after the soldier’s girlfriend Dil. Most people know the twist and yet look over the fact that it is a great psychological thriller that explores the idea that not everything is as it seems.

The Magdalene Sisters: Based on actual events, it is the fictional story of three Irish young women who are sent to the Magdalene Asylums for their “crimes”. Margaret (Anne-Marie Duff) is raped by her cousin at a wedding and makes the mistake of telling her family. Rose (Dorothy Duffy) has given birth to an illegitimate child. And Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) is extraordinarily pretty, her crime being that the local boys flirt with her and the young girls at her orphanage want to brush her hair and be near her. These asylums basically were prisons where the young girls performed slave labor for the Catholic church and were treated horribly. It is a great film, but keep the kleenox box handy.

Honorable Mentions: Once, My Left Foot, The Quiet man, Gangs of New York, Butcher Boy, and Breakfast on Pluto.

Monday, March 4, 2013

KING OF THE NERDS

I like this show. Not sure why and I am probably sure I shouldn’t but I want to be competing with the rest of them the way that I wanted to be on Remote Control. Why? Because I am a geek and I would kick some ass.

The premise is this: 11 self-described nerds go in, compete in a series of challenges ranging from cosplay to chess, comic book trivia to debates, until only one can be crowned King of the Nerds and take their place on the Throne of Games (I see what you did there, clever, clever). The contestants are varied from a NASA engineer, to a pro gamer, a scientist and more. Yes we have a few stereotypes present: socially awkward, or those not huge on the physical fitness. But for the most part everyone seems to be embracing things and celebrating their love for all things geeky and nerdy.

Hosted by Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong of Revenge of the Nerds fame, it also has guest judges like George Takei and Kevin Smith. The contestants live in Nerdvana, a geeked out home that has comic book versions of each player on the walls, action figures, a wicked gaming room, a bedroom that reminds me of Qbert, and a crafting room where I could make anything from a robot to a steampunk costume. Hooray. Awesome.

This week is the finale and it is interesting that those left are three girls and guy (go girly geek power). It is also down to two gamer girls, an RPG creator and a novelist/Batman fangirl. I have to admit while I adore my gamer girls, I am kind of rooting for Ivan because he’s just a nice guy. And he reminds me of a good friend.

On the official site they have a questionnaire. I thought I would put in my own answers.

1. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Battlestar Galactica: I love them all for different reasons. And cannot choose because of this. Game of Thrones indulges my love for all things fantasy, political intrigue and love for Jon Snow. Battlestar Galactica will always resonate with me and has one of the best heroines in Kara Thrace and the Walking Dead has zombies. I love the comic and seeing it come alive on screen with some variances has made me happy.

2. World of Warcraft or Call of Duty: Mass Effect series. I have great RPG single player and then can squee with the multiplayer space magic awesomeness.

3. Math or Science: Science

 4. Edison or Tesla: Tesla (No contest there)

5. Asteroids or Ms. PacMan: Galaga

 6. Favorite Superhero: Batman with Gambit and Death close seconds. Always wanted to be Storm as well.

7. Favorite VideoGame: Mass Effect

 8. Favorite TV Show: Buffy: TvS, but again so hard to choose. I have many. hence the geek part. And all of the above mentioned ones in question one are favorites, so are Firefly, New Girl, Angel, Stargate, Farscape, Friends and more.

9. Favorite Movie: Not fair to choose. I could the top 5 in each genre. So I will go with the last film I watched and enjoyed: Warm Bodies. But the posters on my wall are good indications of my favorites: Secretary, Serenity, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Empire Records, Tank Girl, Amelie, Dark City, The Craft.

10. Favorite Musician or Band: Muse, Regina Spector, Imogen Heap, Paul Simon, and any band Maynard Keenan is currently involved in.

11. If you have a pet (what they are and what their name is): Nothing right now. I did have goldfish named Scully and Mulder and really want a little black kitty I can name Lady de Winter.

12. The one celebrity/icon (past/present) you would have wanted on your team on the show: Chris Hardwicke or the MythBusters.

13. Aliens – Exist or Myth: Exist. Would be a waste of space. Also we already know it exists already even if right now all we know is that it is in microbe form.

14. Favorite Game Show: Jeopardy. But past loves have been Remote Control and Double Dare.

May the best Nerd win on Thursday. 

SUNDAY SEVEN: 80's CARTOONS

I thought we would go back in time for this one, back to my childhood. And back when Saturday morning cartoons were awesome. Seriously I woke up early on Saturdays.

She Ra: She lived in a pink castle, was the Princess of Power and to be honest was way cooler than any Disney heroine for me. Lets face it Adora rocked. She was brave, intelligent and her superpowers gave her the ability to communicate telepathically with animals kind of like Sheena which was a bonus for me. But now as I think about it as an adult, the bad guys weren't afraid to “hit a girl”. She didn't get special treatment, and she dished out as much as was thrown at her. In fact her friend Bow was always the damsel in distress archetype. Hated the toys though. Cartoon way better. 



Inspector Gadget: If you weren't a fan of Inspector Gadget it was about a clumsy detective who had a bunch of cyborg gadgets built into his body. He’s helped by his niece Penny (definitely the character I related to) and his dog Brain who was more intelligent than he was. The nemesis was Dr Claw and his cat MAD cat. The reason I loved this show is because Penny was awesome. She was the one who always foiled MAD’s schemes and half the time when she was in trouble she didn't need anyone to save her. Plus it was funny. And who could forget the PSAs after the episodes. “I’ll get you next time, Gadget. NEXT time.” Meow.


Jem and the Holograms: While Jem was truly, truly outrageous, I always wanted to be either Kimber (the romantic, sweet songwriter from the Holograms) or Stormer (the blue-haired, creative and kind of nice for a MIsfit songwriter for the Misfits). It was a great show full of music, holograms, fashion, and the occasional bout of violence. Hannah Montana totally stole the idea.


Care Bears: I loved the Care Bears. they were cute little teddy bears in fun colors who lived on top of the clouds and were all about their feelings. I watched the cartoons, had the plushies and even some of the books. As mushy as they are, the messages were good especially for a good growing up. And who could forget the Care Bear stare. Faced with a horrible obstacle: furballs unite and love saves the world. My favorites were Bedtime Bear, good for sweet dreams, Funshine Bear with her happy little sun on her belly and Wish Bear cause of the shooting star. I loved those cute little teddy bears.


 Snorks: Come along with the Snorks. Swim along with the Snorks. They were these cute little things that lived underwater and had snorkels on their heads. Sounds odd I know, but I loved them just like I loved most of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of my childhood. Sure it was basically a Smurfs knockoff, but Snorkland was underwater thus satisfying my I want to be a mermaid craze brought on by watching Splash way too many times. I was kind of obsessed with all things underwater actually.


My Little Pony: Its funny how the ponies are now more popular than ever. Oh how I loved them during my childhood. And how could I not. As a girl growing up in the 80’s obsessions tended to be horses, unicorns, dolphins and well other things you could find in Lisa Frank artwork. I loved the pastel ponies with the hair I could brush, so naturally when the cartoon came along I was still in love. Even back then the cartoon was all about friendship and fun and lets face it being fantastic little ponies.

Voltron: I realize that the Voltron I grew up with was a butchered and dubbed hack job of anime, but I still loved it. Voltron was a giant robot formed by a team of humans in what was basically mechanized lions. Think Power Rangers but in the 80’s. And it still rocked. Voltron was Defender of the Universe, had a wicked sword and was just fun to watch. Of course as I got older and actually watched anime, I can see the many faults of the cartoon I watched as a child, but I still have fond memories.

Runners Up: There were so many great cartoons. Others I loved include Transformers, MASK, Thundercats, TMNT, Rescue Rangers, Rainbow Brite, Dungeons and Dragons, and The Shirt Tales.