Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oh, Canada

To our neighbors to the north, thanks Canada for hosting the winter Olympics.

On behalf of the USA (since I clearly speak for all of us), we give you Dwight Schrute, of the American sitcom (based on the British sitcom) The Office.

Lowbrow Alice

I recently saw Camille Rose Garcia's beautifully illustrated version of "Alice in Wonderland" and not only got one as a gift, but bought one for myself too (um, why yes, I am an only child). I wish I could be in LA for Garcia's show of original work from this book - I'm sure the images are stunning in person. But I hear she's moved to the Northwest, so I'm hoping to catch a future show or book signing soon. Powell's, I'm looking in your general direction.

(Image via BoingBoing)

A couple of other images of Camille Rose Garcia's non-Alice work:

Mighty Boosh Toys

In keeping with the recent theme of toys, I saw this post over on The Beat and had to share. My husband is a huge fan of the Mighty Boosh, so I know he'll be thrilled to see the existence of some MB toys. I think this is a good start, but I think there are quite a few other characters to add.

If you aren't yet familiar with the Mighty Boosh, and if you are a fan of British comedy, check it out.

Old Gregg is legend at this point:

"Have you ever drunk Bailey's from a shoe?" You know you want to hang out with these people.

The Boosh's songs are some of the most fun, such as this one (don't they look ready for Burning Man? minus the snow, of course):

I'm really looking forward to the toys from these two clips.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

InfoGraphics are Cool

Maybe it's because in the "real world" (a phrase I'm hearing way too much lately, btw) my work is in research, but I love me some slick infographics. We are constantly looking for new ways to present information in an interesting, simplified, but graphically pleasing manner. It's hard not to take notice, even if you don't necessarily agree with/believe in the study method or data collected. I have a lot of appreciation for the fine people who are trying to improve our graphic representations; I think it's one of those things that looks easier than it actually is.

Via BoingBoing, there were two examples this week that I like. The first is from :

This one is interactive and is designed to help understand the data on dietary supplements, including a way to cut it by illness/condition. Go to Information is Beautiful's site for the interactive version.

The second one, also via BoingBoing, comes from Royal Pingdom. They put together an infographic on Google, though it seems to be based on "Google’s SEC filings, news articles and the trusty old Wikipedia" so take it for what it is. Click for larger view.

It includes sections on timeline, search, value/money, people, and other products (YouTube, Blogger). Since I'm using Blogger for this endeavor, I thought it was interesting to see that there are 270,000 words written per minute on this site. Um, wow and/or yikes. They can't all be about cats, celebrities, and awkward photos, can they?

Batman Beats Superman

Finally! The question is answered: Batman does, in fact, kick Superman's ass! Well, at least for now.

Over a million dollars (why yes, we are still in a recession, thanks for asking) for Detective Comics #1, topping Monday's auction of Action Comics #1, the first to feature Superman. I bet the same dude bought both; I mean if you've got F-U money like that, why not ?

In case you ever wondered what a million-dollar comic book looks like, here you go:

Now, I don't have any comics as valuable as this one, but it does motivate me to get my comics out of a storage POD as soon as possible. I can hear them degrading and devaluing from here... Ugh

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

w00tstock tickets - PDX

It takes a lot for me to leave the house for anything other than work anymore. But I saw that w00tstock is coming to Portland in May and couldn't help myself! I'm doing it people -- I am leaving the house for a non-work related event.

If you haven't heard about w00tstock, it is described as the following:

For decades, geeks were ostracized, picked on, laughed at and punished by the sun’s harmful UV rays. But there is only so long that a people can be kept down before they rise up against their oppressors; and, indeed, the dawn of the 21st century has seen the ascendancy of geeks and geek culture.

We now celebrate that rise to power–and let’s face it, nerds pretty much run everything now–with w00tstock, a special event for geeks of every stripe. Television host/special-effects artist Adam Savage (“MythBusters”), actor/author/blogger Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Stand By Me”) and music-comedy duo Paul and Storm (hey; that’s us!) present a night of songs, readings, comedy, demonstrations, short films, special guests, and other clever widgets born from and dedicated to the enthusiasms, obsessions, trials and joys of geek pride.

This is the dawning of the Age of Geekdom–and its voices will ring true at w00tstock.

This event will help fill my geek-event quota nicely. To find out more, or get tickets of your own (you know you want to!), go here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Screw it, since I'm on "Actors of Star Trek" kick this evening, let me round out with this gem, also meant to be posted on Friday.

Are you watching The Big Bang Theory? I hope so. It's TV especially made for geeks, and relishes appearances from geek guest stars. One of my favorites from this season (at least so far) was the appearance of Wil Wheaton, young Ensign Crusher from STNG.

Here's a series of great clips from the episode guest starring Evil Wil Wheaton:

On Friday,Wil posted word on his blog that Evil Wil Wheaton will be returning to BBT and it seems for an episode that will still air this season. I'm thrilled! I love seeing Wil back on TV, between this and the Guild (and wasn't he in an episode of CSI in the last few years?), I've got a lot to look forward to this year.

ShAt My Dad Says

Meant to post about this on Friday, but as previously reported, the week didn't end on a high note. So here we are.

I started seeing news late last week that the Twitter-famous "Shit My Dad Says" is getting a TV show, starring....wait for it.... William Shatner!! The Shat is going to be the Dad! If anyone could portray a sharp, but foul-mouthed older man, I'm pretty convinced William Shatner won't be stretching himself too far.

But I have some concerns about the premise of this as a TV show. On network TV. Let's start with the name: Shit My Dad Says will have to be cleaned up. I wonder if they can even use Sh*t My Dad Says? Probably not.

Then, there's the content. Forget that I'm not really clear what this show is supposed to be about other than hilarious scenes of Shatner making nasty comments. But even those nasty comments have to be totally cleaned up. I think one of the most hilarious things about the tweets is imagining a 70+ year-old man swearing like a sailor.

So, I'm going to adopt a "wait and see" position on this one. They might consult with comic Jim Breuer, who I know has some great dad stories. Now, that could be fun.

The Picard Video

(big h/t to Artem)

I couldn't get motivated to sit down and write anything this weekend. I didn't think I'd even get there tonight, but this is too good not to share.

Check out this Jean Luc Picard fan-made YouTube video. Best. Video. Ever. If I could tattoo a video on my person, this would certainly be a contender. Is someone working on that yet? If not, could you?

Have I mentioned my love/adoration of Jean Luc on this site yet? Le sigh. This video encapsulates so many great Picard moments, it's dizzying. I especially love the little dances (see around 1:00). I also like the transition to the New Order-like synth music with the Borg clips (around 3:00 mark). I had no idea how well New Order and the Borg go together. Like chocolate and peanut butter. Resistance is futile. They even work in a few animated clips. And the tune is super catchy. I'll probably end up with "Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise" stuck in my head for days.

I'd like to figure out a way to create an MP3 version of this so my husband can work it into one of his DJ sets. There must be a way, right? It's so uber-fantastic that I think it needs to be shared with many, many others.


Friday, February 19, 2010

And More Posters - Alice in Wonderland

It's been quite a week for posters/art prints! I didn't plan to do a series, but I think it worked out nicely. Hooray for me.

There is also a lot of Alice in Wonderland product coming out what with the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version of the movie set to release in a couple weeks. Alice is a classic story that lends itself to some very cool, psychedelic, absurdist, and otherwise mind-bending artistic interpretation. There will be more on Alice-related stuff in the weeks to come, so let's all look forward to that.

So here's a happy marriage of 1) cool poster prints and 2) Alice in Wonderland (again, via BoingBoing and Super Punch). Thank you, Mr. Bluebird!

PS. The Alice poster is part of gorgeous series Mr. Bluebird created of travel posters to imaginary lands. Check out his link to see the rest, but I also really like Neverland.

Poster... Nom Nom Nom

TGIF, people. A whole 2 days to soak in some sun (hooray!) and a bunch of nerdy fun stuff. Huzzah!

Before all that begins, I had to share this poster (via BoingBoing again). There is something about the typeface, color, and design that really speaks to me, even if the ingredients for a Ham & Cheese Hot Pocket kinda grosses me out. At least it's got Riboflavin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Toy Fair Highlights

I wish I could be at Toy Fair this week. I love a nerd convention, and one focused exclusively on toys would be amazing. Except that I'd have to go to New York in February, during what I've heard has been one heck of a snowstorm. Given that I've had 3+ days without rain in Portland, also in February, it's a toss up.

But since it's not even an issue this year, I'll just share some highlights I've seen floating around the web. Plus, I'll get to see some of these toys later in the year at San Diego Comic-Con.

via Comics Alliance come an image of a new AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back. I love that they are still making toys from movies that are pushing 30. But Empire is still my favorite of the Star Wars movies, mostly because of the scenes on Hoth (see poster in yesterday's posting!). So check out this AT-AT figure that can hold 20 regular sized Star Wars figures inside.

I spent so much time looking for other reports and good images from Toy Fair, that I'm already out of time this evening. Sometimes, research for the blog takes a while! But, I did find a great set of images on Flickr from Ken Miller. I picked a few favorites either because the toy looked really cool or I love the property (or know someone who does!).

First up, from the Mr. Potato Head family and in honor of the new Iron Man movie due later this spring, "Tony Starch." Get it?

In honor of the Peanuts' 60th anniversary, Dark Horse is releasing some vintage-Peanuts figures. I heart Snoopy!

I spied these new Venture Bros. figures and immediately thought of Rich! I'll be looking for these in San Diego...

Finally, Rorschach (Watchmen), Lobo (DC) and Beetlejuice -- because they amuse me.

In looking through quite a few of the images, it appears there continues to be an interest in the 80's, as reflected by new toys based on Ghostbusters, wrestling icons of the era (Rowdy Roddy Piper, anyone?), Terminator, and so on. So, there's more of the 80's to look forward to, in case you didn't get enough the first time around.

I'm thinking of doing another post just on some of the female figures. I used to collect those and still have a place in my heart for them. Sadly, I have no room in my storage container for any more.

Happy Toy Collecting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Amazing Posters

Last week, Boing Boing had a great post about some very cool posters that take inspiration from some of our favorite movies & TV shows. The first series, created by Justin Van Genderen, are minimalist travel posters based on the Star Wars universe (link here).

Next are some very stripped down TV show posters by Albert Exergian. I love these even if I don't always understand how the image represents the show (some are more obvious than others, at least to me).

These posters reminded me of another set of vintage-like Firefly travel posters that came out a couple years back (available at I clearly need a house with some large, tall walls for all the art I want on them.

Star Trek is a pretty obvious set--so many great references could be done. But, can someone do a set that are Buffy/Angel-related? What other TV shows or movies do you think would lend itself to a great series of stylized posters like these? Or maybe inspired by video games? I wish I was an artist or designer; I think I could have fun with this theme...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Open Note to Christopher Nolan on Batman 3

I love Batman, particularly his rogues gallery. I think he has some of the best villains of any of the super hero titles I used to (semi) regularly read. I gave up on the comics a while back because the story lines started feeling repetitive, but I really enjoyed the last two Christopher Nolan Batman movies. And I was equally excited for the third installment. Until now.

A post (albeit unconfirmed so far) from indicates that the Riddler will be the next primary villain in the franchise. And that several Arkham Asylum characters will also appear (Penguin, Mr Freeze). And maybe Batgirl and Robin. Oh, and let's ALSO throw in an appearance or reference to Lex Luthor/Metropolis.

I have two big issues with these "supposed to be's" and if I could get Nolan's ear -- or any of the screenwriters for that matter -- here's what I'd want to talk about.

1) Haven't we already seen the Riddler as a primary villain back in Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever"? Regardless of how you feel about Jim Carrey as the Riddler, it happened, we've been there and done that. And honestly, it was kind of passe even back in 1995. (And, of course, we've already seen both Penguin, played by the amazing Danny DeVito, and Mr. Freeze, played by Ah-nuld.) With the amazing rogues gallery available in the Batman universe, is there really no one else? I think I'd rather see a re-make of Poison Ivy as an eco-terrorist.

2) Next, what is the goal of trying to cram so many characters and plot points all into one movie? I think this is one of the (many) big mistakes of the later Batman movies from the late 90's. Riddler, Two Face, and the origin of Robin all gets shoved into the 3rd movie. And then Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, and continued character development of Robin are all crowbarred into another 2-hour story in the 4th installment. And Bane, a great comic book villain, was treated as a second-class sidekick, totally wasted in the 4th movie. It's just too much.

I'm worried Nolan will go down the road (or be forced to) of cramming more characters and plot lines into the movie to create more marketing opportunities (toys) and establish more franchises or spin-offs (rumor has it Nolan may helm the next Superman movie).

Because that's what every good STORY needs is marketing and franchise demands. Sigh. Seriously, you might consider listening to the fans, at least a little. I've already read 6-8 other great ideas in response to these articles that trump the Riddler.

Let's hope I am wrong, and we get a nice, clean story for the 3rd movie.

(image courtesy of

This Makes My Week

60° | 40°
60° | 41°
59° | 40°

If you are familiar with winter in the Northwest, then you know that a forecast like this is simply incredible. I am so excited, and I can only hope this holds true. The other thing I've learned about the weather in the NW is that it doesn't like to be pinned down for too long. Enjoy it while you can!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Guild

I caught the cold that is going around and it sucks. It especially sucks because I have no pay channels (HBO, Showtime) let alone extended cable (SyFy, FX, TNT, TBS, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, you get the point). I also watched all my Netflix DVD's and caught up on all the shows I'm watching from both my DVR and Hulu by Sunday afternoon. Honestly, I'm not even sure I could rattle off what all I saw during my congested stupor.

But one thing stood out. As I cruised the Netflix instant play programs, I saw something new in the recommended list: The Guild. Netflix summarizes it as a:

Web series about a quirky group of gamers who take part in all sorts of heroics online but are far less skilled at navigating real life. (Felicia) Day plays Cyd Sherman, a young woman whose virtual-world obsession has led both her boyfriend and her therapist to dump her -- at the same time that her cyber-friend circle, or "guild," has begun to acquire a life beyond the Net.

I wish I was watching more web-based series, but between the TV, DVDs, books, movies, and hours of endless Internet re/searching, I just haven't gotten that far. So I apologize if I am late to the game on what could be an Internet sensation and didn't know it.

You may recall Felicia Day from another Internet sensation, Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog." I loved this one to no end and will probably make an excuse to rewatch it again soon because I HAVE to write something about it here.

Anyway, Felicia Day wrote and stars in the The Guild as Codex, a member of a small online gaming guild, which I'm pretty sure is supposed to be World of Warcraft. It appears the show is such a hit that they are also making a comic book of it (Day writes it, of course).

While I'm sure my friend Erica will appreciate this webisode even more than me, I thoroughly enjoyed The Guild. It's super low-budget, has great, quirky characters, and some funny dialogue. Most of the characters are so pre-occupied with their in-game lives that they've neglected their "real" lives. However, the game brings them together out-of-game where their relationships get more interesting -- after all, who we are online isn't necessarily who we are in the physical world.

Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix, and it looks like quite a bit of it is on YouTube (though personally, I like being able to watch it all at once on Netflix, but that's me). I haven't pinned down Season 3 yet, but am happy to see that Wil Wheaton guest stars in several episodes.

One more clip, mostly because it shows the Intro with all the great avatars. And because I love Zaboo.

I love, love, love the discussion between Codex and Zaboo about the T1 line toward the end of this clip.

Addendum: Season 3 is available on -- and it is awesome.

The Na'vi of Hometree Wisconsin

(h/t to Laughing Squid)

If you've seen Avatar, or followed most of the hype around it, you'll appreciate this YouTube video. It is fantastic! I love the plastic flowers and toilet paper in the trees. Very "natural."

Seeing this short made me really excited for Comic-Con this year; I can't wait to see all the Na'vi at the convention. The last few years pirates & steampunkers have been the new favorite costumes, but I think this year, we'll see a strong showing of Na'vi. Only 5 more months to go...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Speaking of...

I work in a building attached to Pioneer Place, a mall in downtown Portland. There are a few things I don't get about this mall (the overall layout being #1) but I love how handy it is to be next to a mall. I can get as much caffeine and bad food as one can imagine. And it turns out, I hardly ever go shopping now. If you know me, you know how crazy that statement is.

But, one of my most favoritest (it's a word; I heard it on TV) stores in the mall has got to be the Sanrio store, otherwise known as the home of Hello Kitty and friends. Now, I'm not sure why at 30-something-or-other (ahem) I feel compelled to walk by Sanrio every time I'm in the mall, but it is like a moth to flame. I love to just look in the window and look at all the shiny, ridiculously cute things.

A new Hello Kitty arrived in the store this week. I haven't gotten to see her in person yet, but she jumped right out at me as I walked by with my Venti Starbucks before work. One of my co-workers wondered if she's supposed to be "Geisha Hello Kitty" but that seemed wildly inappropriate for a product typically marketed to kids (h/t Rochelle). I thought she might be "Kimono Hello Kitty" but, in fact her descriptor is Orizuru Hello Kitty. I'm sure Erica will tell me what that means.

Here are a couple of the new Orizuru Hello Kitty products, in a store near you! Guess who might be getting herself a little something cute and shiny for Valentine's? *wink*

Barbie Goes Geek

Much as I hate to admit it, I was a girly girl, and I had a ton of Barbies when I was a kid. I have two I most fondly remember: Ballet Barbie (I may have inherited this one from my mom; it was super cool and vintage) and Scottish Barbie, in traditional tartan.

Obviously I grew out of Barbie (I mean, c'mon, I have to draw the line somewhere and Hello Kitty is bad enough) but I still love to periodically check on what Barbie is up to over the years.

Today, there was an announcement that there are a few new Barbies coming out this year, including Computer Engineer Barbie and News Anchor Barbie. I love that there is a Computer Engineer Barbie on the way! Smartly, Mattel worked with the Society of Women Engineers to come up with her design:

Computer Engineer Barbie, will be launched in the fall of 2010 looking "geek chic" in a binary code-patterned T-shirt, pink-framed glasses, a pink laptop and a Bluetooth earpiece...Computer Engineer Barbie was designed with the help of the Society of Women Engineers, who hope she will inspire young women to enter the profession.

I'm hopeful that she inspires at least a few young girls to consider a career in technology. We need more women to come to the Geek Side.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today in Blah Blah Blah

This hasn't been a great week. And I haven't read, watched, or experienced much geekitude, so I'm not feeling too inspired for a new post tonight. But I do have a MESS of stuff that will take longer than 10 minutes to write up so I guess there's that to look forward to.

It's supposed to rain here all weekend; I'm betting this means I'll have plenty of time to consume a plethora of nerdy goodness. Now I'm super excited for the weekend!

Addendum: In searching for an image of a vintage TV set, I came across the following. These are some of the coolest TVs. What happened to a cool-looking TV set? And do I really need one more "thing" to collect? (Answer: Probably not)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

MTV is Music Television No More

News of MTV's rebranding today makes me feel old. After 20+ years, it's dropping the "music television" reference in the logo and just becoming MTV (see new logo on the right). Granted, they haven't been playing videos in years, but somehow this seems like the end of an era.

Now, I'm going to totally date myself here, but I have treasured memories of discovering MTV for the first time while visiting my parents' friends in Seattle, with their amazing cable package and big screen TV. This was probably around 1982 or 83. I loved music as a kid, and the addition of visual stimuli really grabbed my impressionable mind.

The format was simple -- music videos 24 hours a day/7 days a week. I don't want to do the entire stroll down memory lane, as that's what Wikipedia does, better than I could. MTV was a critical cultural influence (besides mainstream video, remember 120 minutes, Yo! MTV Raps, Headbangers Ball, and animated features like Liquid Television, Beavis and Butthead, Aeon Flux, and Daria?), and while it still is, the goal and focus of their programming has really changed.

So I guess it shouldn't come as a total shock that MTV would want to get a new image for a new decade, and a new generation. But it makes me a little misty-eyed to see the MTV that I knew go the way of the do do. And that makes me feel really old.

MTV's first video was the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" and apparently, now the Video Star is dead too.

Peace out, Music Television.

Good Stuff on the Interwebs Today

I think I have about 12 browser windows open right now, with all kinds of awesome randomness from those series of tubes that are pretty much my life-blood at this point.

I just posted the Star Wars Valentines, but wait! there's more!

Over on Wil Wheaton's blog, he posted this link to a new Big Bang Theory t-shirt with a quote in Klingon from the episode he guested in as "Evil Wil Wheaton." You can read what Wil learned about comedy from that experience here.

Then, over on Laughing Squid there is a great Muppet video featuring Beaker (my favorite!!) covering "Dust in the Wind" a la You Tube style. I love the Muppets and will do a longer post about them sometime soon. Still threatening to buy all the DVDs of the old episodes because I am 5 and they still amuse me.

Next, just in time for Halloween (via Brian Lynch), there are some new "sexy(ish)" new Sesame Street costumes coming out this year. I'm not sure what to think about this, but I love that Costume Craze has a blog dedicated to costumes. Genius. I think I will be spending some time later today checking out the new Avatar, Clash of the Titans, and "sexy" Wolverine costumes. Because those titles alone intrigue me.

There is ton on the wire about the Google Buzz announcement yet, but I need to do more research on that before commenting.

Star Wars Valentines

I love these Star Wars Valentines from James Stowe (via laughing squid). I particularly love the images of those who were previously foes but are now clearly friends!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Ads for the Rest of Us

I don't care about football. There, I said it.

I also typically hate ads, but will tolerate them during "The Big Game" (don't want to get sued by the NFL). Companies spend a boat load of money on those ads, so it seems like they should be the ad industry's A-game, the cream of the crop for the year. And while I think quite a few of those ads are related to beer, pizza/snack foods, and a random mish mash of others, there are a few that even us geeks could appreciate.

I won't sit and watch all the ads from yesterday's game, but overall, I wasn't terribly impressed with the geeky commercials. Granted 30 seconds isn't a ton of time, but considering how much it cost to air those ads, I felt like there were a few that were close, but not quite there. And a few were just terrible.

There was a new Coke ad featuring the Simpsons, with a downtrodden Mr. Burns wandering through Springfield as others frolicked and enjoyed their delicious Cokes. Apu was big-hearted enough to take pity on Mr. Burns and offer him a Coke (in a bottle, I might note) bringing him into the community fold and cheering him up out of his funk.

While I love the Simpsons, I don't think this one was super creative. It's more like a tie-in: if the Simpsons are cool, then by association Coke must be as well. I do like that Spider Pig shows up and that Milhouse gets a line at the end. Overall, I'll give this one a "meh plus."

Several movie trailers appeared, including The Wolfman (which I couldn't get to play), Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and Prince of Persia. I'm interested in all of these movies, but I think I'm the target demographic. So it seems like the point here would be to attract mainstream moviegoers to these sci fi/fantasy outings. I'll reserve judgment on the Wolfman trailer, since I'm planning to see that this weekend and can geek out all about it soon enough.

I've seen the 3D trailer for Alice in Wonderland, which was fantastic! However, the 30 second trailer didn't seem to pick the good highlights, but rather emphasize the freakish fantasy that this movie will likely be. And I'm just not sure at all about Prince of Persia (starring Jake Gyllenhaal). I like Jake, and the CGI looks pretty good, so maybe I'm stuck on the ridiculous hair piece he's wearing. Is that a good enough reason to blow off a movie? It might be. You be the judge.

I enjoyed the Intel Robot ad, if only because the robot reminded me of Wall-E and was cute. I was surprised by the Google ad (does anyone NOT know what Google is?) but I liked it. It was able to tell a story through searches and background noise and I thought that a clever device. I'm easily entertained, what can I say?

Finally, there was one ad for video game Dante's Inferno, but I'd rather leave the review of that one to the experts (I'm looking at you, Erica!). All I can say is that I thought the music choice for the ad was a mis-match.

Bonus: The Bud Light/Lost may be one of the more clever ones in my opinion. I can't even follow Lost anymore, but I know enough about the story to see the allusion in the Bud Light ad, and while silly, it was a fun one. If I were on a deserted island, I'd probably be pretty excited about a stash of beer, at least until it ran out.

Finally, while not a purely geek-oriented ad, the Internet was all a-twitter (yes, I love a bad pun) about the Dave/Oprah/Jay ad. I'm not really sure how this came to be, but since Dave slammed Jay not 2 weeks ago, I guess I'm a little confused. But I like that it's an ad for Dave's show and not Jay's. So there's that. What do you think?

Whew! That was exhausting! I'm so glad this event is only once a year.

A Great New Phrase

Introduced to me by last week's Community: "gateway douchebag"

Love it! Pass it on!

Lesson Learned - Don't Leave Home Without It

One 3-day weekend later, I learned a very valuable lesson. Don't leave home without a laptop or other web-enabled device (pick your favorite poison; all I have is a laptop). Several times over the weekend, I found myself really wanting to get on the Internet for various reasons (this blog being one of the top ones!), but not wanting to monopolize my husband's laptop. I'm kind, I know.

So, instead of writing the blogs I wanted to post, I bought a small notebook so I could track some notes that were floating around in my head. On PAPER. Seriously.

I have so much to look forward to writing, that I can hardly contain my excitement!

That's your teaser. Happy Monday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Star Trek Online Game - Should I Engage?

In case there was any doubt, let me say now that I love Star Trek. I'm biased to Next Gen (Picard!), but I like Original too (Spock!). I even enjoyed a good percentage of Deep Space 9 and Voyager (though I actively avoided Enterprise. Couldn't even buy into that one). I'm such a fan girl that I've read quite a few of the books that are supposed to take place in the Star Trek universe.

Oh, and I may have attended a convention. Or two.

And met some cast members.

And have an autographed photo of John de Lancie (Q).

And named a pet after a character (also Q).

Wow, when you commit that all to fake paper, it's something, isn't it? Don't judge me too harshly.

Given this love, I was pretty excited to hear about the new MMORPG Star Trek game coming out from Cryptic Studios. It's only been available for beta testing until now. There's been household discussion about taking on a new geek endeavor (for me) and branching out into the world of MMO gaming, so this release is well timed.

However, several reviews seem to indicate mixed reviews. On the one hand, character development appears to be very promising (via Mike Smith at Yahoo Video games):

There's near-universal agreement on at least one point: the game's character generation is awesome. That'll be no big surprise to anyone who's followed its developer, Cryptic Studios, for any length of time: flexible, fascinating character design is practically their signature move. If you sit down with the game, expect to spend some considerable time poring over its options.

On the other hand, the game is set 30 years after Nemesis, with the Federation engulfed in war. So the focus of the game is on combat, rather than exploration or diplomacy. Some reviews note that dedicated Trek fans may be disappointed with this deviation from show canon, though apparently this may also be dependent on what kind of Trek fan you are.

Another issue that's come up in a few reviews is that of the combat play itself (via io9):

Less cool is the clunky ground combat on away missions, which all seem to devolve into a basic shoot-em-up that feels very un-Trekky. The lack of full three-dimensional space combat is also a drag. Starships maneuver like underpowered airplanes, unable to loop, roll or deviate from the arbitrary flat "plane" of space by more than 45 degrees.

I guess these reviews leave me undecided on whether or not to try the game. As a newbie to online gaming in the first place, I wonder if it is safer to try a more established, well-loved game.

The cost appears to be in line with similar games ($14.99 monthly fee, with $50 initial purchase price). Given my cautious nature and upcoming tax bill, maybe I'll wait until user reviews are in and see where it lands.

There's always World of Warcraft and Everquest, right?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Relevant Oscar Nominations - Short Recap

I'll admit it, I don't see many "Oscar worthy" movies throughout the year. But it seems like quite a few sci fi/fantasy movies are getting Oscar nods this year. Keep an eye on these (major categories only)!

Best Picture:
Avatar, District 9, Up

Best Director:
James Cameron (Avatar), Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds)

Best Animated Feature:
Coraline, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Princess and The Frog, The Secret of Kells (?), and Up

Best Original Screenplay:
Inglorious Basterds, Up

Best Cinematography:
Avatar, Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince, Inglorious Basterds

Best Visual Effects:
Avatar, Star Trek, District 9

I better at least get caught up on these ones so I'm up on the water-cooler talk!

Valentines for the Geek in Your Life

Valentine's Day isn't a big deal in our house, but I know there are geeks out there who would love a treat from their special someone. Assuming he/she has one. Let's be optimistic and assume that's the case so I can get on with the point.

The good folks over at Mashable posted a list of 10 V-Day gifts for geeks earlier today. I can't decide which I like more -- the Valentine's themed Zune (yes, I said "Zune"!) or the Geeky Dreamboat magnet set, which includes adora-geeks like Michael Cera, Andy Samberg, and the dudes from Flight of the Conchords. has an even lengthier list of geek appropriate Valentine gifts here. I like the heart-shaped box of mini-microbes (including Amoeba and Penicillin), Star Trek cologne & perfume (because who doesn't want to smell like Captain Kirk?), Circuit board necklace (doubles as a "Green" gift!), and the LED binary clock or watch (which I doubt I could even read, but love nonetheless).

Of course, you could make it easy and pick up a cool geek t-shirt. There are so many now, because I guess it is finally cool to be a geek or pretend you are one. Pretty much anything from seems on target, but I really like this one because of the overwhelming number of pop culture references in one shirt. Or the now (in)famous Rock-Paper-Scissor-Lizard-Spock t-shirt from the Big Bang Theory. Or for the gamer geek in your life, any number of Mario t-shirts.

If you don't have a special Valentine in your life this year, go on and treat yourself. You know you want to. Shiny!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Space, Will We Ever Get to the Final Frontier?

There was some disappointing news today about the Obama administration's proposal to cut NASA funding. Besides the political implications and loss of jobs in key states that produce equipment for space travel, the real news here (as far as I can tell) is that this means we aren't going to the moon anytime soon.

And maybe that's not such a bad thing. I mean, we've been to the moon, right? Was there much there? Shouldn't we be setting our horizons for something more ambitious than just the moon? Or is this the Star Trek lover in me, wishing we would get on with it already and start exploring that final frontier?

What the announcement today did indicate is the intention to award grants/funding for private innovation in space exploration (see specifics here). Now, I'm a big fan of NASA but I also see how hard it is to create change in huge, bureaucratic organizations, especially at the federal government level. So, it could prove promising to spread some seed money around -- particularly during a really rough economic patch -- and see if private industry can do what NASA hasn't done yet and get more commercial means of space travel going.

Rather than look at this is a hit on NASA and space travel altogether, I'd prefer to believe in what the folks over at io9 posted today:

The budget junks a backward-looking program and funds a brand-new one that will focus on developing new space technologies, exploring the solar system with robots, and pushing humans closer to living offworld.
With renewed interest and focus on new engine types, propellants, materials, etc. the potential benefit for science and technology growth/development is so much broader than recreating space travel experiments.

The idea is to pump money into research so that the next time humans explore space we'll know a hell of a lot more about it and can establish viable communities in orbit, on the Moon, or on other planets.

The concept of being able to inhabit or even terraform other worlds is an incredible one at this point, but I love to imagine that the science fiction of my childhood could indeed become science fact within my lifetime. And then we could finally get off this hunk of rock! Now, we need to start working on that Federation...

Geek Recap - January

Maybe this will be a monthly or otherwise periodic look back over all the geeky things I did. January is pretty heavy on the geek quotient so seemed like a good time to kick this off.

Here's a look back at the list. And don't judge. There's always someone out there that is as nerdy or more so than you (or in this case, me).

  • Star Trek exhibit at the Tech Museum (for my birthday even!)
  • Avatar in 3D (also for the birthday)
  • Sherlock Holmes (this one's on the fence, but I'll count it)
  • Finished Season 1 and 2 of Torchwood
  • Watched Season 1 and 2 of Chuck
  • Read two of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books
  • Read first Kat Richardson Greywalker book
  • Started this blog
I can't see how another month can top this (and I might even be forgetting something at this point), but it's worth a shot. And it will be fun to try!