Movie Proppin’

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Movies

There’s little more satisfying for a movie fan than actually owning an item that has featured in their favorite film! These days there’s a big industry surrounding the resale of genuine movie props to fans, with props valued for their rarity and prominence in the film. You can browse props for sale online from websites such as moviepropwarehouse.com and the famous Prop Store, which has locations in London and Los Angeles. What could be more exciting than owning a piece of your favorite movie?

Clap Clapboard Blank
By AgatheD (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0]
via Wikimedia Commons

Sourcing

The life of a prop isn’t always straight forward, with most props featuring in far more than one film these days. As production buyers source sets, the first port of call will always be the studios’ own warehouse as free props immediately free up the budget of the production. There’s a great article that can be found on TotalFilm about 30 of the most used movie props of all time and it’s interesting to see how many films some props actually make it into. For example, a car license plate (2GAT123) that is listed in the TotalFilm article is said to have appeared in more than 17 films! Thats more than some movie stars!

Special Lighting

A production buyer can’t always rely on the studio stores and for the majority of items it’s necessary for them to actually go out and source and buy props. Some brands pride themselves on appearances of their products in TV and film productions. One such brand that I noticed recently was Porta Romana. They make designer lighting and have an impressive section on their website listing some of the appearances their products have made. Porta Romana’s list includes Mirror Mirror, Die Hard 5 and Skyfall amongst others. There is no doubt that movie appearances raise the profile of any product.

The Fans

The buying of props by fans is an industry that is only set to grow. Original, prominent and rare items are of course the most prized possessions, but for most of us these will be well out of reach. In some cases you can buy an item that’s been used by a studio right off of the high street shelf, well an identical copy that hasn’t physically been used in the film. For example you can find Porta Romana lamps for sale online.

Business Opportunities

For any budding Entrepreneurs out there, the prop industry might make a good venture if you’re willing to go that extra mile and make advances into other countries. The market of props in countries that are just seeing their own film industries improve might prove a great opportunity for those willing to take risks. One such country with great potential is Nigeria. Nigeria is currently experiencing a boom in its film industry and it’s a boom that has been predicted to continue for some time. Many Nigerians are opting for home grown blockbusters over their Hollywood counterparts and in future significant props from these films have the potential to make a good return.

 

About the Author:

Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.

Indie Film ‘Pulp’ to be released on Xbox Video in US & Canada

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Movies, Xbox

The indie comedy, Pulp, made history last year by becoming the first film to be released on Xbox Video in the UK. Since its initial release, the film has gone on to find audiences in Australia and New Zealand, as well as garner attention in the London Comedy scene. With a nomination for the London Comedy Film Festival Discovery Award and selection for the Just for Laughs Comedy Film Festival, you can be sure Pulp will tickle the funny bone.

Courtesy of Pulp Official Website

Looking to capitalize on the successful partnership again, Pulp seeks to expand their audience when it releases on Xbox Video in the US and Canada on January 14th, 2014. On the upcoming expanded release, Pulp co-director and producer, Adam Hamdy, had this to say:

Xbox Video did a great job of helping us find an audience for the film in the UK, Australia & New Zealand and we’re excited to be launching the film with Xbox Video in the US and Canada.”

It is good to see content providers enjoying their partnership with Xbox as the platform has the potential to reach so many households. Xbox Video is embracing the deal as well. Paul Davidson, Director of Xbox Video, stated:

Bringing Pulp to new audiences around the world enhances our offering for Xbox Live customers, who crave new and exciting content. We’re incredibly honored to introduce Pulp to new audiences around the world on Xbox Video.”

Pulp will be available for purchase at a special promotional price of $3.99 for SD and $4.99 for HD during the first 2 weeks following the January 14th release.

Below, you will find a synopsis as well as the official trailer. Included after the trailer is a scene from the film.

Synopsis: Infinite Finity. Thunder Racers. Rat Warriors. Junk Comics’s library of titles has been referred to as the ‘worst material printed since Mein Kampf’.  Tony Leary, the nice-guy owner of Junk Comics, is gearing up for one last roll of the dice. His new superhero title, The Sodomizer, launches at the British International Comic Show, and nothing will stop Tony from making it a success.  Nothing except a gang of Geordie criminals who are using another comic company to launder their dirty money. Tony is drafted by the police to identify the culprits and bring them to justice.  Aided by his trusty geek sidekicks, Rick and Keith, Tony must defy the odds if he is to become a real life hero.

Disclosure: Video contains foul language which may not be appropriate for work or small children. You have been warned.

For more information about Pulp, you can find them online at:

Official Website: http://www.pulpthemovie.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pulpthemovie
Twitter: @pulpthemovie

Watching the Web: 2014 IAWTV Award Winners

Category : E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Watching the Web

Tonight, the Web Entertainment industry got dressed up to celebrate their own with the 2014 International Association of Web Television (IAWTV) Awards.

Courtesy of IAWTV

Courtesy of IAWTV

The award show takes place during the New Media Expo (NMX) being held in Las Vegas. Carrie Preston (True Blood, The Good Wife, Person of Interest) took on the hosting duties with awards presented by fellow IAWTV members.

 

And the award goes to…

Best Online Channel
WIGS

Best Original Score
Damon Criswell, Continuum

Best Makeup/Special Effects
Bianco Appice, Fallout: Nuka Break

Best Costume Design
Fallout: Nuka Break

Best Art Direction & Production Design
Eric Whitney, Continuum

Best Animated Series
RWBY

Best Female Performance in a Comedy
Hannah Spear, Versus Valerie

Best Male Performance in a Comedy
Brad Bell, HUSBANDS

Best Hosted Series (Live)
My Damn Channel Live

Best Hosted Series (Pre-recorded)
Tabletop

Best Documentary Series
Tailgate 32

Best Variety Series
Kids React

Best Directing (Drama)
Rodrigo Garcia, Blue

Best Directing (Comedy)
Scott Brown, Destroy the Alpha Gammas

Best Directing (Non-Fiction)
Tom Grey, Cosplay Piano

Best Interactive/Social Media Experience
Carrie Hayden, State of Syn

Best Supplemental Content
Super Geeked Up

Best Live Event
Comedy Gives Back 2013

Best Returning Series
Squaresville

Best Editing
Phil Bucci, Destroy the Alpha Gammas

Best Ensemble Performance
HUSBANDS

Best Host (Live)
Beth Hoyt, My Damn Channel Live

Best Host (Pre-recorded)
Wil Wheaton, Tabletop

Best Educational Series
AWEME/Man at Arms

Best News Series
AMC Movie Talk

Best Writing (Drama)
Nikki Racklin, CUCKOO

Best Writing (Comedy)
Brad Bell & Jane Espenson, HUSBANDS

Best Writing (Non-Fiction)
What’s Trending

Best Male Performance in a Drama
Milo Ventamiglia, Chosen

Best Female Performance in a Drama
Julia Stiles, Blue

Best Cinematography
Marco Mazzei, 10,000 Days

Best Visual Effects
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Best Drama Series
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Best Comedy Series
HUSBANDS

 

Star Wars, Steampunk and Smattering: San Diego Mini Maker Faire

Category : Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Rants, Travel

Kittens, if the chilly, San Diego rain wasn’t a prompt to play indoors this December, the siren of invention, engineering,  technology and design was enough to lure a capacity-crowd of the curious to the first San Diego Mini Maker Faire. Ringing its knell from the warm beauty of the Spanish Mission-styled Del Mar Fairgrounds, this newest stop for the San Diego geek train proved bustling, hectic and promising. Besides, it’s Del Mar, kids! Even a permanent guest at the Hotel del Coronado needs a change of scenery once in a bit and this girl needs only an eighth of a reason to pop over “Where the Surf Meets the Turf”!

"In cosmological terms, S.D. Maker Faire was what is known as a big bang event." Photo: Jeff Kubina

“In cosmological terms … S.D. Mini Maker Faire was what is known as a big bang event.” Photo: Jeff Kubina

Billed as The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, Maker Faire is a congress of the imaginative and a place to share, and sell, ideas and wares. Known as the Maker Movement, this creative-following is gaining steam worldwide, with Faires staged from the Bay Area to New York, from Dublin to Rome, from Tokyo to Sydney. December 2K13 was San Diego’s initiation with its first ever, and hopefully annual, Mini Maker Faire. (Why Mini? Based on New York’s version, there is much room to grow.)

An all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors, Maker Faire worldwide is a cerebral wonderland for anyone with an imagination and the temerity to do something with it. Like a geeky cocktail party, minus the good booze (although some form of vile, domestic, beerwater was available at John Dillinger prices), the gathering is, as Maker Faire claims, a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness … part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new.

Waiting in a very long, very slow, very wet line to enter San Diego’s first Faire, a talkative and cheerful USD student spoke authoritatively about the Bay Area venue, claiming it to be, with just a dash of good-natured condescension, “much bigger, way better and lots of actual symposia and lectures”. Fretting about the $12 entrance fee, wishing she had purchased the cheaper, $10 ticket online, she hoped San Diego’s effort would be worth it. Sizing up the hall’s exterior from under her fur-trimmed parka-hood, she sneered a bit and said with a twisted smile, “Kinda doubt it.”

Whilst the entry fee, plus $15 parking was relatively steep (Consider the Grand Dame of geek fests, San Diego Comic-Con, runs $12-$42/day) and the line was agonizingly slow (only two ticket windows), the cerebral and visual stimuli inside Bing Crosby Hall assuaged the lighter wallet and damp boots. Awaiting the rain- and line-weary crowds was a bevy of crafting booths, science experiments and technological demos, including a proverbial explosion in the popularity of 3-D printing: Yoda heads, TARDIS and Millennium Falcons proving the most popular products of the 3-D craze. The most inspiring, fascinating and useful of the 3-D buzz? Robohands: building appendages for those with hand anomalies, in mere hours! Don’t have $80K for a prosthetic? No worries. A set of blueprints and a 3-D printer (approx. $2K to purchase; a pittance to rent; maybe even one exists in your office) and you’ve got a hand by day’s end.

If one’s avocation, vocation or profession tends toward technology, real science, science-fiction or even steampunk, one would be pleased in the tightly-packed confines of the Faire. To boot, Comic-Con and WonderCon regulars would note some friendly faces on the periphery: San Diego Star Wars Society and San Diego R2-D2 Builders Club, to name a couple.

San Diego Star Wars Society: ask for Thomas! Photo: JSDevore

San Diego Star Wars Society: ask for Herr Thomas! Photo: JSDevore

San Diego Star Wars Society and San Diego R2-D2 Builders Club shared a space and, as one would expect of them, brought a fan’s enthusiasm to the franchises. SDSWS is like AA, for Star Wars geeks. If they put out a calendar, Tina Fey-as-Liz Lemon-as-Princess Leia-as-hologram would be their centerfold. Meet-ups are a way for fellow San Diego Star Wars freaks to gather and geek out over any and all things SW. From movie marathons to cosplay-and-props workshops, from collecting and gaming to convention field trips and even charitable events (notably Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: Fighting Childhood Cancer, One Cup at a Time), the simple goal of this SoCal space sodality is to have a good time with like-minded dorks.

If Thomas, a kindly Swiss San Diegan manning the booth, is any indication of the folk you’ll meet at SDSWS, this coterie of Chewbacca connoisseurs would indeed be a pleasant diversion from the leagues of snarky, snippy, Star-savants out there, of both Wars and Trek. Welcoming, informative and inclusive, Thomas was anathema to so many Star Wars experts blitzing about the planet, propelled by their own hot air.  Smiling and eager to chat, hopeful to bring anyone into the fold, even the wholly uninitiated, Thomas offered no snorts of derision or condescending blinks when fielding even the simplest questions from children and adults alike. Enthusiastically, and with the slightest Teutonic accent, he shared the simple mission of SDSWS: “Come and join us to talk about Star Wars and have a good time!”

If the future isn’t your gig, but futuristic is, Gears & Roebuck: Rusty Junk Emporium and The San Diego Steampunk Community (including the Adventures of Drake & McTrowell: Perils in a Postulated Past) were on-hand, in very wee numbers, it should be noted, to hawk a few antique wares, tell some tall tales and share the collective mission of steampunkers worldwide: “We fight with invention, we fight with ingenuity. Full steam ahead! All aboard!” Our own Dr. Lucy, naturally was in Heaven; the gears in her own noggin whirring and ticking as she flitted between the two booths, trying on air-conditioned pith helmets and mechanized corsets, and testing the efficacy of thermometer-regulated moon backpacks and giant, sterling silver spoons for feeding her pet octopus Onslow, back at our Hotel Del.

Capt. D.D. Cumulus and Lady Opal Nightstream, I presume? Photo: JSDevore

Capt. D.D. Cumulus and Lady Opal Nightstream, I presume? Photo: JSDevore

Generally a well-read, sartorially-intense and whimsical crew, the Victorian votaries are tinkerers extraordinaire, taking cues from the likes of  Jules Verne to Bill Gates. Steampunk inspiration reaches back to Sir Charles Wheatstone and his stereoscopic imaging (predecessor to today’s 3-D imaging) and forward to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. If you’ve yet to explore the world of steampunk, do acquaint yourself. If you’re already in the know, and living in San Diego, the San Diego Steampunk Community just might have the perfect, Phileas Foggesque, space-age tool to scratch that ruddy itch.

Will the Maker Faire make it to San Diego again next year? The Maker Movement is gaining traction in metropoli everywhere.  Judging by the Mars-level heat generated in this sardine-packed venue, it seems plumb stupid to not capitalize again on the funky, inventive and creative nature of San Diego folk. However, like Kim Kardashian’s jeans, the Bing Crosby Exhibition Hall was packed to the seams and ready to burst if anyone took a deep breath. My recommendation, promoters? Bigger jeans and maybe some air-conditioned pith helmets.

Air-conditioned pith helmet: a necessary device for any con! Photo: JSDevore

An air-conditioned pith helmet with every ticket! Photo: JSDevore

Full steam ahead! Ahoy! Abyssinia and Merrie Christmas!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet #MakerFaire #StarWars #Steampunk

Switchmas Brings Cheer To Stupid Christmastown

1

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Movies, Reviews

When is $750K a pittance? When it’s Hollywood-oriented and gets you a feature-length film, shot over sixty-days and employs no less than the formidable and jauntily avuncular Elliott Gould (M*A*S*H, Ocean’s Eleven, Friends). When do you say Mazel Tov? When that film blasts out of the holiday film gate like Seabiscuit on fire and ignites a dynamite line straight to Hanukkah and Christmas movie mainstays.

Switchmas (2012, Von Piglet Productions) is so ding-dang cheerful, so sweet, so good-natured, so family-friendly, so inclusive, so sprightly, so hopeful that one just might puke from its syrupy tinge, if it was not such a fun film. Switchmas is Disney-quality, without the Disney-dollars. Should you find your list of holiday flicks in need of an update, would it kill you to add Switchmas? It slots in beautifully with the other tent poles holding firm the genre: Elf, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas Vacation et al.

Cheer up, Seth Cohen! It's an O.C. Christmukkah! Photo: TheChanel

Cheer up, Seth Cohen! It’s an O.C. Christmukkah! Photo: TheChanel

Mr. Gould, known lovingly to so many of us as Jack Geller, Ross & Monica’s dad, isn’t the only point-of-light in the Little Film That Could. David Deluise (Wizards of Waverly Place, Stargate-SG1) portrays Max Finkelstein, an optimistic auteur on the fringes of Hollywood and president of Finkelstein Films: “Making the World You Want To See”. Max believes he has everything but “a name” to catapult him to Woody Allenesque fame and respect. (If The Reindeer From Planet 9 can’t get him an Oscar, what can?) As Max tells a potential client (art imitates life here), “Believe me! You don’t need big money to make a movie with big heart!” When “a name” drops in his lap, Max gets the filmic opportunity of a lifetime. The name appears in the form of has-been, aging, bubble-gum starlet Jennifer Cameo, best-known for her role as Desperate Jane (played by Julianne Christie).

“I am Desperate Jane! I have fans and a blog and I am in control!”

The conflict? To optimize Ms. Cameo’s last gasp of stardom, Max must personally rip out and eat his own son’s heart.

“Its’ the Finkelstein Christmas tree!”

“Finkelsteins do not have Christmas trees.”

“Why not?”

“You know why! We’re Jewish!”

“Well do we have to be?”

“Ira!”

“I mean at Christmas?”

“You know what? Heritage, tradition, culture. Who needs it?”

Resistance is futile. Therein lies the rub. Little Ira J. Finkelstein wants nothing more than to celebrate Christmas. “He’s obsessed with The Christmas!” To assuage this desire, Max and Mama Rosie agree to take him to Aspen for Christmas, land of twinkle lights, snowy windowsills, hot cocoa and Louis Vuitton luggage. Then, Miss Cameo is attached to The Reindeer From Planet 9 and Aspen go bye-bye. “If this goes good, we can go to Aspen every year”. Instead, even after a heart-melting plea from Ira about promises and mishpucha, Mom and Dad ship him off, to where else? “Florida, for The Christmas”. Now, a holiday with the Flah-ri-dah grandparents includes a dream grampy: supportive, doting and effervescent Sam Finkelstein, played to freylech perfection by Elliott Gould.

In classic, Shakespearean-style though, during Ira’s layover at the airport, on his way to “stupid Florida”, he meets fellow holiday misanthrope Mikey Amato: a poor, Christian boy of newly-divorced parents who -wait for it- wants nothing more than to spend Christmas on a warm beach with some rich grandparents. Poor little shnook, he’s on his way to “stupid Christmastown” for a week of gift-giving, parade-going, snowman-building and cocoa-drinking with his gentle, gentile, WASPy cousins, who, fortunately, haven’t seen him in quite a while. Boom! A quick switch of some nerd glasses, an old parka, bangs brushed down and the convenient exposure that even Ira’s own grandparents haven’t seen him in quite a while either, and voilà! You’ve got The Switchmas. “That’s no Finkelstein! It’s a different kid! What, is he blind?!”

There’s even a pup. Any good holiday film has a dog. This little guy is Killer, a.k.a. Mistletoe: a big-headed, sweet-eyed pit bull who brings to mind The Little Rascals’ Petey.

To boot, if you happen to have a grandparent-Jonesing, Switchmas can assuage that, too. Mikey’s all too-foreign poolside, beachfront, grandparent-sojourn in The Sunshine State is a non-stop party of chocolate geld, fruity drinks, positive affirmations and socks-and-sandals. To this girl, it sounds equally perfect to my own Christmastown luxuries.

(Can we talk?) Raised in a beautifully festive Christmas household, as in Mom could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two, I was annually blessed with a pile of presents that would make Santa blush and enough hugs and kisses for a Strawberry Shortcake episode; it was a veritable embarrassment of riches that happily continues to this day. What did I lack, however? Grandparents. Always feeling I missed out on something grand in this respect, characters like Sam and Ruth Finkelstein bring a broad smile to my gentile pearlies. Moreover, my paternal great-grandparents and grandparents were Jewish, hailing from Vienna, Austria and, eventually, New York City (The Bronx and Long Island): Jakob & Irma Gerstl, and Rudi & Rosalyn Gerstle, respectively. Because I never got to know them, my noodle has compensated over the years with a special love for vintage handbags, antique jewelry, The Golden Girls, Agatha Christie novels and Queen Elizabeth II. (What is in Her Majesty’s purse, BTW? Did you notice she even has it next to her on the floor in the 4G Royal Portrait? Dying to know. I bet Werther’s Originals, a Waterman pen and a surplus of Irish-linen hankies.) As Angela philosophizes on The Office, “Some of us don’t have grandmothers. Some of us have to be our own grandmothers.”

Best of all, for those of us endlessly searching Netflix’ “Recently Added” queue for the unequaled, quintessentially ’90s TV-series Northern Exposure, the fair Cynthia Geary plays Libby Wilson, the beautifully-blonde auntie with the rosy, mountain-air glow who awaits her, fortunately, long-unseen nephew in Christmastown, WA. True, she is meant to look haggard and toiled, the overworked mom of three and neglected wife to an alcoholic, unemployed schmegegy of a dad; but the MUA failed here, folks. Despite the tousled locks and the persistent frown, Geary (Northern Exposure, Smoke Signals) looks as fresh-scrubbed and nature-girl beautiful as she did twenty-plus years ago as Shelly Tambo-Vincour in the wilds of Cicely, AK. (Apropos, Northern Exposure was shot on location in Roslyn, WA; Switchmas was shot in Leavenworth, WA and Seattle.)

As with any good film serving as part-morality play, there are a few direct lessons involved. Unaware of the notable, Jewish contributions to Christmas song and film? Pay close attention to Christmastown’s Santa Claus, Murray Lefkowitz. (This means you, Garrison Keillor.)

“A Jewish Santa?”

“Who else would work on Christmas?”

Fretting about the melding of Hanukkah and Christmas on the proverbial celluloid? Meh. Christmas is a mélange, a spiritual and pagan amalgam of millennia stewed in winter celebration, thanksgiving and festivity. The Christmas we know today was not celebrated until 4thC C.E., when Emperor Constantine defected from his pagan beliefs and essentially founded Christianity. He declared the 25th as the certifiable day of joy to coincide with the same time during which the ancient Babylonians, Romans, Celts and Norsemen had already been celebrating for eons, knowing full well he would not be able to stop them from said-jubilation and Bacchanalian endeavours.

In the end, I am a wordsmith; words mean something to me and are not to be tossed about hither and thither. Therefore, I refrain from the ignominy of such phrases as “government aid”, “literally starving” and, worst of all, “instant classic”. However, I am finding it sehr difficult to refrain from the latter. Switchmas might just be that, an instant classic. Only time will tell, and JennyPop’s annually-updated, recommended, Christmas-viewing list.

Abyssinia and Merry Christmas, Ira J. Finkelstein!

Because this stuff is important, especially if your name is listed:

Directed by

Sue Corcoran

Written by

Douglas Horn

Angie Louise

Sue Corcoran

Cast

David Deluise as Max Finkelstein

Elijah Nelson as Ira J. Finkelstein

Elliott Gould as Sam Finkelstein

Angela DiMarco as Rosie Finkelstein

Justin Howell as Mikey Amato

Cynthia Geary as Libby Wilson

Available via DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video

Follow @JennyPopNet #Christmasfilms #Switchmas

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

The Global Future of VoIP

Category : Bytes, Featured, Tech

There is an international trend that’s in full swing – older, copper wire-based systems are being passed over in favor of internet-based communication. However, some nations and regions are still significantly farther ahead than others in their use of this more modern technology.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will be the fastest-growing industry in the world over the next several years. Nations are adapting to newer forms of digital communication at a blistering pace, which will have a significant impact in how they succeed in today’s online marketplace. As more businesses take to the internet to conduct significant portions of their marketing and operations, this is an extremely important advantage to have.

This technology is especially beneficial for nations that do not have the same types of highly developed communications infrastructures as others. Consider countries like Indonesia and India, which are among the worldwide leaders in growth of VoIP use, especially in mobile VoIP. Other countries, including Japan and South Korea, have seen their heavy investments in internet infrastructure pay off, as many people and businesses are switching to digital communications. Japan already has the second-most total VoIP subscribers, with growth rates still extremely high, and their 68.2% mobile proliferation rate is three times that of the closest Western nation.

The following graphic from WhichVoIP illustrates the future of global VoIP growth. Take a look and analyze the socioeconomic factors within nations that influence the success of VoIP technologies, including mobile.

Graphic courtesy of WhichVOIP

Graphic courtesy of WhichVOIP

It’s become quite clear that VoIP is here to stay, and this international trend of rapid growth is only just beginning. As technologies advance and receive more promotion by the government, one can expect these technologies to be the norm in communication sooner than later.

Graphic designed and shared by WhichVoIP.com

A Geek’s Thanksgiving: Thankful for TV, Tofurkey and Snoopy

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Holiday, Movies, Television

Kittens, I will admit this only once a year: San Diego is a bore, from Hallowe’en to New Year’s Day. Naturally, for we whom haunt the Hotel del Coronado, there is actually quite a bit to do here during the Holidays: ice skating by the sea, hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps at Babcock & Story, Christmas tree gazing, unique gift shopping and Victorian, holiday decor throughout every nook and cranny of our glorious, 125-year old resort. Still, and some of you, especially you wheats in the Midwest, might prefer this, the weather is predictably mild: average low of 54, high of 69 and 75% chance of sunshine. Sounds great, but growing up a Beantown gal, I need some autumn leaves, heavy rain and a reason to wear some amazing, vintage wool coats. The fam, Dr. Harvey, Mother Hildy and Big Bro Hugh are still in Boston; funny enough, they’d rather be here! (Fortunately, our own Dr. Lucy and I will be headed to San Francisco this Christmas for the annual Dickens Christmas Fair! Plenty of  rain, wool coats and, for our Dr. Lucy, lots of steampunk! Check back in December for a full report and, natch, a slideshow!)

Let this ghostdame tell you nothing is more glorious than an autumn day so perfect it is of filmic proportions: like the art department hand-painted every leaf the perfect shade of red, sprinkled Victorian window panes with the just the right amount of raindrops and yellow gels were placed on all the interior lighting, making a seaside coffeehouse more like Grandmama’s Gingerbread Kitchen, alive with the scents of espresso, cinnamon and nutmeg. This is generally best experienced in Annapolis, Boston or Williamsburg, not Southern California. Of course, there are a few things which make the Holidays a little more festive in swingin’ SoCal, and in those I partake happily and heavily.

PSL, Pumpkin Spice Love Photo: JSDevore

PSL, Pumpkin Spice Love Photo: JSDevore

Now, worshiping at the foamy foot of Starbucks, I await the legendary Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) all year long; yet, it’s all so short-lived, hidden behind the day-after-Halloween red-cup brigade. Design a Thanksgiving cup, Sbux, if you please: tobacco background with golden-yellow and brick-red swirls steaming up the cup, all topped with a turkey silhouette. Ahh, yesss. I can see it now. Well done, me!

In fact, it is somewhat odd, this Thanksgiving penchant of mine, considering the fact that I am a vegetarian (since about the age of fifteen … let’s see, that’s about 1905) and a Native American: 1/8 Choctaw … so, I may make all the “Feather, not dot” and “Casino, not convenience store” jokes I want. Oh, don’t get your p.c. panties in a proverbial bunch. I’ll bet there was a joke around some dinner table in Bangalore during Diwali that had the potential to offend me, had I known of it. Let’s all have a sense of humour, shall we?

Apropos to annoying political correctness, similar to Wednesday Addams in Addams Family Values or Bobby Hill in King of the Hill‘s “Spin the Choice” I have certainly been a teenaged, Thanksgiving pain-in-the-ass. As a young punk I oft protested the massacre of Native Americans, the buffalo and the turkeys, all from the courageous seat of a warm and comfortable, upper-middle-class dining room, free of any consequence other than eye-rolls served up alongside King’s Hawaiian rolls. These mild, semi-public assertions were usually manifested via either wardrobe choices (Ralph Lauren southwestern-motif dress, turquoise jewelry, fringed Frye boots), pouting and/or preaching (the year I went veggie), or making my own, authentic succotash (vile disaster). Of course, as the turkey goes, nothing has chilled my tenacity there. I have not partaken in a Thanksgiving turkey or ham since my early teens. To that end, I also will not break a wishbone; the concept makes me shudder.

In the end, I have happily come to realize that other people’s habits are not my concern and it is awfully pompous of me to declare anything at a family holiday, however glossy my hair may be that day. I eat my Tofurkey (Thanks, Mom!!) as others eat their trusting birds and large, baby-pink, farm animals with the suspected I.Q. of a human six-year old and we all share copious amounts of wine, candied yams, coffee, laughs and familial love.

For us vegetarians, Snoopy’s traditional Thanksgiving feast is even better than Tofurkey!

This is where I cease the obligatory “I am thankful for … ” liturgy. I am most thankful for the fact that I neither need nor care to share my deepest and most emotional Thanksgiving musings with a bunch of strangers. My beloveds and I already know the score and it need not be spake thusly.

Oh, wait a minute, I am thankful for one thing I feel I must share. I am Thankful, with a capital “T”, for Television, with a capital “T”! Well, television and film. To wit, as I hope I helped a few lost souls find their way through the Hallowe’en television mist, I humbly offer a Tofurkey platter piled high with moist and steamy media goodness. Happy Tofurkey Day, America!!

Poor little Geek Girl; she never had a chance. Photo: JSDevore

“I don’t think watching TV was the pilgrims’ original intent on Thanksgiving.”

-Diane Chambers, Cheers, “Thanksgiving Orphans”

 

  • Fave Thanksgiving TV Episodes!

King of the Hill “Spin the Choice”

Bob’s Burgers “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”

The Big Bang Theory “The Thanksgiving Decoupling”

The Simpsons “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”

South Park “A History Channel Thanksgiving”

Frasier “A Lilith Thanksgiving”

Northern Exposure “Thanksgiving”

Little House on the Prairie “The Little House Years: Part I”

American Dad “There Will Be Bad Blood”

Outsourced “Temporary Monsanity”

Cheers “Thanksgiving Orphans”

Rugrats “The Turkey Who Came to Dinner”

Scrubs “My Day Off”

Seinfeld “The Mom and Pop Store”

The Bob Newhart Show “Over the River and Through the Woods”

WKRP in Cincinnati “Turkeys Away”

Friends Any Thanksgiving episode …

“The One With the Rumor”

“The One With All the Thanksgivings”

“The One With Chandler in a Box”

“The One With the Late Thanksgiving”

“The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”

“The One Where Ross Got High”

“The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”

“The One Where Underdog Gets Away”

“The One With the List”

“The One With the Football”

 

  • Fave Thanksgiving Films!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Garfield’s Thanksgiving

Hannah and Her Sisters

Home for the Holidays

Martha Stewart Holidays: Classic Thanksgiving

An Old-fashioned Thanksgiving

Addams Family Values (“The Turkey Song”)

 

Did I forget anything, cats? Send me a Tweet @JennyPopNet!

Abyssinia, kids! See you at San Francisco’s Cow Palace for the Great Dickens Christmas Fair!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror: Lovecraft, Existentialism and Free Donuts

Category : Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Literature

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

- “The Call of Cthulhu”, H.P. Lovecraft

Dieticians might be shocked; fast-food might be far better for our health than previously thought. Krusty Burgers, to be specific, may very well save mankind, or at the very least, save us from a mass, alien enslavement of the human race. Yet, let’s save that for later.

Whilst each Halloween blissfully brings FOX’s Animation Domination Treehouse of Horror, this spine-chilling time of the year also brings bliss in analog format: Bongo Entertainment’s own Treehouse of Horror. (For the uninitiated, Bongo Entertainment is the comic book publishing and distribution arm of the Matt Groening empire, spawned in 1991 by the ravenous needs of Simpsons fans the world over.)

Free donuts or true love? Photo: JSDevore

Free donuts or true love? Photo: JSDevore

Narrating three spooky, Simpsons tales, similar to the televised format, Treehouse of Horror the comic book delivers a sometimes darker, more sinister version of the bright and cheery, if not ever-twisted Springfield we visit via the beloved Boob Tube. Neither a companion piece nor an official complement, the comic book may be a different beast altogether (artists, writers, creep level), but like any Simpsons offering, it is replete with academic frames-of-reference, historical nods and cerebral asides. Never one to spoon-feed the consumer mushy peas for the mind, the Groening network presumes you know a thing or two about a thing or two; and if you don’t, that’s your referential loss. Treehouse of Horror #19 is no exception.

Though each of the three tales is a stand-alone, there exists a clear theme throughout this year’s issue: World Domination. Via public school lunches or ancient, dormant overlords, be ye warned: thy cushy, quirky, sunshine-yellow life is available only for a limited time. Inspired by a 1928 short story titled The Call of Cthulhu by American horror-writer H.P. Lovecraft, the final yarn of the Treehouse triad best connects the philosophy of 1920s existentialism with our ageless Simpsons. Lovecraft’s story tells of a slumbering sea monster -part-octopus/part-dragon/part-mustachioed gentleman- at the ready for an Earth-shattering awakening, enabled by any accidental and naive repetition of a bygone curse: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. (Thank you, Bart and Milhouse.) Coming off the heels of WWI and riding the sunrise of the Great Depression, the concept of a deadly, sleeping, unseen giant must have been a useful literary tool in Lovecraft’s paranoid day.

Fitting for Halloween, the holiday’s pagan roots stretching the tissue-thin layer of protection betwixt this world and that of the spirits, Treehouse of Horror is always a full-colour, hilarious reminder of the evil that forever lurks. When the pretty, lace veil of perceived reality is finally lifted, the cavernous, black hole that is the charred face of true reality screeches her call of annihilation like a banshee in an abandoned, Irish castle. The jarring, depressing, futility of modern life exposed in Lovecraft’s stories is confirmed by the realization of a secret, malevolent, alternate universe. Lovecraft called it “cosmic horror”, this diseased and hopeless contemplation that humankind is worthless, insignificant and mindless, that the universe at large is innately hostile towards and conspiring against the very existence of the woeful human.

Writing in the first quarter of the 20thC., Howard Phillips Lovecraft was cosmically attached at the skull, like a conjoined litter of depressives, to fellow brooding, turn-of-the-century thinkers like Nietzsche, Kafka, Sartre and Woody Allen. (Okay, Woody’s quite a bit later, but you get it. Fretful, pensive to distraction and dizzied by death and dying.) What is man’s place in this mad, absurd, pointless world? Why bother? What does it all matter, when clearly we are slated for a brief, impotent sojourn on Earth, only to be ultimately condemned  to death, deterioration, desiccation and dust.

Meh. Lighten up, already! Existentialism, smexistentialism. Springfield still has Kwik-E-Mart squishees, Krusty burgers and Lard Boy donuts. Plus, it’s Hallowe’en! How bad does mankind really have it in this cruelly short, dismally-fated, rat race? Well, don’t ask Friedrich Nietzsche, ask Ned Flanders.

  • Tale No. 1: “Monster Mash-up”

Free beer and donuts vs. true love? Easy peasy call, right? Homer is lured into a haunted house by the Bacchanalian siren and finds himself accosted by a host of local characters, all morphed into classic monsters of lit and film. Krusty Hellraiser, Barney, Moe & Duffman zombies, Comic Book Guy From the Black Lagoon, and Reverend Lovejoy as Satan, of course. As a ghost-Marge entices Homer to join her in the grave, he must decide if true love or donuts and beer shall comfort his mortal soul. Plus, there are the cavity probes. You know you like it.

And this door doesn’t hold anything better! Nothing but a post-apocalyptic cityscape’s bleak nothingness of rubble and ruins. And zombies probably.    -Homer

  • Tale No.2: “Alienated”

School cafeteria lunches never tasted so good! With lunch lady Doris and her usual gruel M.I.A., students are dining on substitute vittles. With the new chow, kiddies become smarter, more efficient and develop a serious case of what Ned Flanders calls ‘sass mouth’. Yet, will the fast-food tables turn? Will Professor Frink and little Lisa uncover the mystery of the missing cafeteria meat food?  Will Krusty Burger and its foodesque, lethargy-invoking, quasi-edible slurry save the world; or will Krusty simply teach the aliens how to serve man?

Rod and Todd have taken to answering me by using the word ‘whatever’. Also, I think they’re mutilating cattle.     -Ned Flanders

  • Tale No. 3: “Cthulhu? Gesundheit!”

Be careful what you wish for, Milhouse. Borrowing heavily from the Cthulhu mythos, or the Lovecraftian milieu (Fun to say, right? Try working it in at Thanksgiving.), Bart and Milhouse are assigned to catalogue the long-forgotten tomes of Springfield Elementary School’s basement-library. There they find an ancient spell book of the dead: Necronomicon. (Good name for a Comic-Con goth panel.) By speaking one simple tongue-twister, Cthulhu and his ilk can be called from the depths of the sea, like a genie from his bottle, to do the bidding of his new master. Will the Kraken-like sea creature enslave and devour the human race, or will Santa’s Little Helper be a good doggie and save the day?

Bart, where does A Tale of Two Cities go?     -Milhouse

How about in the trash? Any book that can’t make up its mind where it wants to be set can’t possibly be any good!     -Bart

Pay attention, humans! Cthulhu has been awakened!

Pay attention, humans! Cthulhu has been awakened! Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom

Happy Halloween, Earthlings!

Ooh! An actual beer and donuts joint?! Well … I guess I have a little time to stop!    -Homer

 

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet

Syfy’s Being Human – Season 4: First Look

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Television

Graphic Credit: Syfy

Graphic Credit: Syfy

Does the supernatural peaks your interest? A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf become housemates and chaos ensues. Sounds like the perfect supernatural setup to me.

If you have been following Being Human like I have, you know there has been no rest for the wicked…or those who just want to lead a normal life. With this first look at season four, it looks like our favorite housemates will not get a moment’s rest. The new season will pick up where last season left off – with our favorite foursome in peril. Will they be able to escape the things that go bump in the night for another season?

Click the graphic below for a sneak peek at season four, airing in January 2014!

Batman Roundup: The Evolution of Villain Costuming

Category : Featured, Geek Out

There have been four “eras” of Batman in film. The first was the Adam West classic from the 1960′s TV show, directed by Leslie H. Martinson. Then came the quick succession of four films by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher. Most recently, we’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s gritty reboots. You can chart the progress of Batman movies in many ways, but my favorite is to look at how each director costumed the villains the Dark Knight faced. Here are four of our favorite Batman bad guys and the attire they created havoc in.

 

Bane

Photo Credit: Dave Mathis

Photo Credit: Dave Mathis

The most drastic difference in presentation has to go to Bane. Bane was presented in Batman & Robin as a muscle-bound lackey to Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze without any lines and with a serious luchador mask. He was seen again in The Dark Knight Rises as a pedantic mastermind, still muscly, but with only a small mask around his mouth and a sheepskin coat over military fatigues.

 

Photo Credit: Chrysler Group

Photo Credit: Chrysler Group

What’s interesting about Bane in these movies is that he’s actually represented quite well in both: his costume is spot-on in the first and his character is very close to correct in the second. Essentially, if you combine the cartoon-ish looks of Schumacher’s Bane and the devious intellect of Nolan’s, you should get something close to what Bane is like in the comics. He dresses like a wrestler and is an 8 foot tall monster, but he’s also an extraordinary genius.

 

 

Catwoman

Photo Credit: DC Nerd

Photo Credit: DC Nerd

While not technically a villain in most adaptations, Catwoman was certainly wicked in the 1966 movie. Lee Meriwether was cast to replace Julie Newmar, the first actress from the series, and donned the classic sparkly ensemble, complete with low belt, clawed gloves, and the iconic eared headband. Over thirty years later, the Catwoman of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of the best creepy/crazy/sexy villains in movie history. With her patchwork pleather body suit and starkly pale skin, she is Burton-esque to the max.

 

Photo Credit: Jordi Motlló

Photo Credit: Jordi Motlló

I wish I could skim right over Halle Barry’s version in the truly horrendous movie, Catwoman, but I cannot. Wait, you know what, yes, I can. I justify this with three reasons: 1) the character and story had nothing to do with DC comics; 2) her stripper-riffic costume is too much to bear; and 3) you can’t make me. Moving along to Nolan-verse…

 

 

Photo Credit: Horustr4n

Photo Credit: Horustr4n

When we heard that Disney darling Anne Hathaway had been cast in the newest Batman movie, some of us were a little worried. She’s just so smiley. I, myself, was rather pleased with her slick and approachable performance. Her monochromatic black jumpsuit is a little safe in terms of costuming, but it fit well with Nolan’s utilitarian approach to the Batman universe. With her high-tech thievin’ goggles that pivot into cat ears atop her head, she’s a stylish rendition of a favorite Batman anti-hero.

 

Two-Face

Graphic Credit: JD Hancock

Graphic Credit: JD Hancock

When making his Batman movies, Schumacher reportedly encouraged his actors to think of the movies as though they were cartoons. This is bizarrely evident in Batman Forever, wherein Jim Carrey’s Riddler prances about in a spandex jumpsuit and red hair. Where Burton embraced the Noir-like aspect of Gotham, Schumacher embraced the slap-stick of the cartoons.

 

The suit and makeup of Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face in Batman Forever is straight out of the cartoon, down to the split-personality fabrication change right down the middle. Ostentatious and wild and leopard print on one side and business on the other, you have to give them credit for going all-out.

Nolan chose to go another route, focusing on Dent before he became a madman. His Two-Face is half burned a fire and, as such, bears the scorched flesh and exposed muscle and bone of third degree burns. This is the most compelling re-vamp, in my opinion, because we see the event happen in the movie and his wounds remain symbolically open once he is transformed into a villain.

 

Joker

I definitely saved the kicker for last.

Cesar Romero played The Joker in the series and in the 1966 Batman. His kooky demeanor was matched by a truly kooky look: the clown makeup and bright colors were straight out of the comics. When Jack Nicholson played The Joker in the 1989 Batman, his costume was similar to Romero’s, except that his manic smile was a permanent scar instead of a facial expression. He also traded the green shirt beneath the purple suit for an orange and teal, eye-burning combo (and some of his kookiness for leering menace).

Flash forward forty years: Heath Ledger’s downplayed, shabby purple suit and green vest blended into the background as we were captivated by the terrifying magic happening on his face. Ledger’s expressions of insane glee were bolstered by the genius makeup that accompanied them. The scars, attributed to a botched surgical fix for acid burns in the 80′s movie, are left mysterious in their origin and accentuated by intentionally sloppy makeup, as though the Clown Prince of Crime had slapped it on in a fit.

 

In the progression of these beloved villains, their costumes communicate not only what decade they’re portrayed in, but also the ways that their characters have been reinterpreted. From the depictions of Catwoman’s slinkiness to Joker’s madness, the costumes tell a story that we can see (and cosplay).

 

Marie Sumner is a writer and general nerd. She loves cosplay, comics, cartoons, sci-fi, and a host of other fun stuff. She writes for Wholesale Halloween Costumes, resource for costume goodies from fake blood to Santa suits.

Halloween Time at Disneyland! Party in the 666!

Category : Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Travel

Kids, as a ghostie girl, clearly, this is the time of year I come alive, as it were. The only thing better than a blustery, rainy day here at the Hotel Del is a blustery, rainy day up at Disneyland. I’ve been on a perpetual Disney mission since good ol’ Walt opened the green gates in 1955, so why not entreat anyone I can, ghost or otherwise, to experience the magnificent transformation of The Happiest Place on Earth into The Spookiest Place on Earth: Disneyland’s Halloween Time?! Poor Dr. Lucy. She’s already my de rigueur recipient of constant, obsessive, pro-Disney blatherings. The Holidays are certainly no easier for her.

Sleeping Beauty's Chilling Castle Photo: Loren Javier

Sleeping Beauty’s Chilling Castle Photo: Loren Javier

Now, I write specifically of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California; Walt Disney World, well, it’s not the original. Disney California gets a bedeviling, magical, spooky, pumpkin-bedecked makeover, as do all the parks. Nyquil trip-worthy, giant Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy Jack O’Lanterns greet you at the main gate and welcome you into a fall fantasy. ‘Tis best to go at night, as it is  still a tad warm here in sunny SoCal to achieve a true autumnal glow. October 1st temp this year? 100 degrees in Anaheim! Of course, maybe that’s why we Disneyland dorks love Halloween Time so very much. Disney is fantasy, after all, and weather fantasy is a beautiful thing.

From Main Street’s straw-adorned gas lampposts to Space Mountain’s surprisingly heart-stopping Ghost Galaxy (I’ve seen more than a few terrifying ghosts in my day and even I screamed with such true terror, without the ability to ever catch my breath in between banshee calls, I exited with a monster headache and a shredded, sore throat. Gnarly, awesome fun!), everything is infused with an orange-and-gold, haystacks-and-scarecrows, SpiderCider n’ pumpkin muffin kind of elan. Even the popcorn boxes are anew with Gothic imagery. You’ll find ghostly and spooky, seasonal offerings from Jack O’Lantern lollipop cakes at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café on Main Street, to Jack Skellington hoodies and Haunted Mansion home décor throughout New Orleans Square.

The Haunted Mansion, Skellington-style. Photo: Loren Javier

The Haunted Mansion, Skellington-style. Photo: Loren Javier

The Haunted Mansion, above all, receives a dressing up one simply must see in person. Whilst divine and inspiring on its most average day, the manse brings new awe to the darkly-humoured and sartorially gothic flutterbys whom tend to use the manor less as an amusement park ride and more as an interior design sketchbook. September through January, the Mansion looks like the aftermath of a Tim Burton Army’s coup d’etat. Using “The Nightmare Before Christmas” as its seasonal overlay, the neoclassical Victorian estate recounts the tale of pauvre Jack Skellington and his empirical quest to understand himself and his raison d’etre. ‘Tis a Samhain switch that would make even Kafka proud: creepy crawlies, existential confusion and brooding philosophes.

The chateau has been overtaken and rechristened Haunted Mansion Holiday here in Anna’s House (Anaheim) and Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare at Tokyo Disneyland for my Japanese, Ju-on horror pals, Yoshiko, Akiko and Aii. Konnichiwa, guys!

Jack and Sally, Zero, the mayor of Hallowe’en Town and his loyal citizens, evil Oogie Boogie and his miniature minions Lock, Shock and Barrel and, of course, Sandy Claws have made the palace their own. Doom Buggies carry Nightmare devotees whom will not only spy favourite replications and vignettes from the holiday mainstay film, but whom will search over and over, enduring sadistically long and serpentine lines to get inside, for details and surprises hidden nicely in plain sight for the more obsessive fans. Haven’t had a chance to get inside, yet? No worries. Allow Moi to offer a wee Holiday Haunted Mansion slideshow!

Apropos to those devilish lines, there are plenty of visual stimuli outside the Neoclassical Italianate dwelling to keep one’s creative centers electrified as you shuffle forward at an imperceptible speed: impaled Jack O’Lanterns on an ivy-laden hillside, scores of flickering candles, skull-festooned, black-ribboned Christmas wreaths and a plethora of tombstones, cemetery statuary and goofy epitaph puns. (Crave an archivist’s details about the original architectural impetus for the manse: the 1803 Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore? Voila … Disneyland Nomenclature.)

Should you be fortunate enough to live near Disneyland and even more fortunate to be an annual passholder, get thee to The Spookiest Place on Earth forthwith. Plan on long lines, especially at Space Mountain’s Ghost Galaxy and The Haunted Mansion, buy some popcorn to kill time and take some pictures whilst you wait. I do! Pirates of the Caribbean is usually a pretty mellow wait and though it’s not got a Hallowe’en rework, it’s still pirates. You have to do pirates for Hallowe’en!

Columbia Sailing Ship, staffed with undead, pirate monkeys? Photo" Loren Javier

Columbia Sailing Ship, staffed with undead, pirate monkeys? Photo” Loren Javier

If you’re not an annual passholder, expect a terrifying ticket price into the park. Of course, you can always put that admission toward said-pass and imbue yourself with the heady incense that is Disney all year long. They’ll apply the ticket-price to your new pass and for just a minor monthly stipend, Disney will own your ass forev … I mean, offer you endless entertainment for years to come, plus parking. (Fair warning: If you plan to have a pass for the long term, it is best to renew your pass every year, prior to the expiration date. You can upgrade easily, with a slightly higher, modified, monthly fee; but there are often renewal discounts. Also, you maintain your monthly debits, keeping cost management of the pass pretty regular, minus upgrade costs. If it expires, even by a day, you will be required to buy anew; that means a one-day ticket price/down payment of about $80.00.)

If you do have a pass, besides the useful 10% to 20% dining and merchandise discounts you’ll receive, depending on the pass, you’ll get a significant discount on advance-purchase tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party, excepting Oct. 30th & 31st. What? You don’t know of Mickey’s Halloween Party?! It’s a special, ticketed event ($57.00-$74.00) throughout the month of October. The park closes early to make way for a fab, private-ish party! You may dress up if you like (within guidelines) and experience a whole different Hallowe’en overlay throughout the place: a spooky, blue, ghostly Mark Twain and Pirate Ship Columbia drift atop the fog-laden Rivers of America; costumed Disney characters pose for pictures; safe and healthy trick-or-treating stations await your little ones; and Halloween Screams Fireworks explode over a multi-hued Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! Dates are plentiful, but tickets sell out fast! Learn more here: Mickey’s Halloween Party!

If you find you cannot get to the Park, you can at least treat yourself to a little bit of Disney dread décor at home. Still, as the spooky squatters of The Haunted Mansion say, ditto for Lucy and Moi here at The Del, “there’s always room for one more”. So, hurry back and don’t forget to bring your, death certificate.

Disney shopping not going to do it for you? My pally JennyPop’s got a great slideshow for you then!

No tricks, but loadds of treats await you this Halloween at Disneyland! Photo" Loren Javier

No tricks, but loads of treats await you this Halloween at Disneyland! Photo” Loren Javier

Abyssinia, spooky cats!

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet

5 80s Tech That Might Just Come In Handy Today

Category : Bytes, Featured, Geek Out, Tech

Graphic Credit: Alejandro Molina B

Technology sometimes feels like it’s moving at the speed of light because as soon as something is released there is a more advanced version in the works. We’ve made our way through a lot of technology over the years, but I thought it would be fun to look at some 80′s technology you might want if you collect things from the past and it could even come in handy today.

A videocassette recorder (VCR)

Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary

I don’t even know if you’ll remember what a VCR looks like anymore, but when they came out in the 80′s they brought a lot of joy to many people. Why would you still want to have one these days? Think about all those old movies and TV shows you’ll be able to find at random garage sales across the country. I’m sure most people would love to watch something again only it’s impossible to find on DVD. I doubt you’ll be able to use it to record TV shows unless you have a really ancient set-up.

Video Game Consoles

Photo Credit: Richard Rutter

If you look on websites like eBay you’ll find that old game consoles still fetch a good price. They look very cool and add a retro feel to your computer room, but you’ll also get to enjoy those games you were addicted to during your school years. Even though the games might be no match for the ones you can play on a PlayStation 3 or Xbox One, they will still let you have hours of fun. Space Raiders is still a cult classic and there are hundreds more where that came from.

 

A fax machine

Photo Credit: Collin Anderson

Most people who grew up in the 90′s have probably never seen a fax machine in their life. They blasted onto the scene in the 80′s and became very popular, especially with businesses that will probably still use them today if they’re a little outdated. Think of them as an old school way you send a text message. Even though there are easier ways to send messages these days some retro junkies are picking up old fax machines because they look attractive around the home.

A cordless phone

Photo Credit: Pat Pilon

Before mobile phones hit the shelves people were in love with cordless phones. It finally meant someone could walk around their home while speaking on their handset. Standing in the same spot for an hour during a long telephone call wasn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. These days you might not have a land-line because your smartphone can take care of everything, but if you do it might be a good idea to pick up an old cordless phone. Even though they look old they’re still very attractive, especially if you like to live in the past.

Apple Macintosh

Photo Credit: Moparx

Apple is one of the most powerful companies in the world, but I suppose we all need to start out somewhere. You might have an iPad, an iPod, an iPhone, or a Mac computer, but do you have a Macintosh computer from the 80′s? If you love Apple you might want to think about picking one up because it’s a great collector’s item. It will also help you realize how much computer technology has improved in the last few years.

 

An antique collection

As soon as new technology is released we fall in love, but a few years later we throw it away because it becomes old and impractical. It’s only many years later when we realize we should have kept everything after all. Retro technology is a big deal and we love anything with a few years under its belt. If you want to add a few cool things to your retro collection you should think about getting some of the technology we’ve spoken about today.

 

Author Bio: Today’s guest author, Jenny Wadlow, is a freelance blogger who often shares insight on topics related to technology and its changing trends. She writes for Cellphone Unlocker, a company providing phone unlock codes. She is a voracious reader and her other hobbies include gardening and swimming. You can follow her on Twitter @JennyWadlow.

5 Legendary Fighting Games that are a K.O.

Category : Featured, Game On, Geek Out, Reviews

Graphic Credit: Nemo

Fancy mastering a few kicks and a couple punches on someone? Well, doing so in the real world might land you into serious trouble. hey, that’s why you have got the virtual world to fall back on. What follows is a list of 5 awesome fighting video games of all time that deserve the attention of every gamer out there.

Dead or Alive 2

If you love fighting games, chances are that you’ve definitely played Dead or Alive at least once in the past. The game debuted in October 1999 and was released on February 2000 for Dreamcast and later for PS 2. Unlike the first Dead or Alive game, Dead or Alive 2 had better graphics and many more interactive levels. It was hardcore, had newly added costumes, stages, and voices to the mix, with the game having a rather smooth look and enhanced game play. Besides, the character models are what actually stood out – the hair, the costumes, the tassels and, of course, the rather well endowed female models, which was another reason behind its enormous following. With a fast and fun fighting system, cool graphics, and stunning models, Dead or Alive 2 definitely deserves a place on this list.

Street Fighter II

Graphic Credit: Gamerscore Blog

No doubt, we all enjoyed Street Fighter III: Third Strike as it was a much improved version of its predecessor and, of course, we also loved having a go in Super Street Fighter IV, but there’s no denying the fact that no Street Fighter game had more impact than Street Fighter II. One of the best selling games of all time, Street Fighter II advanced the genre of fighting games and literally paved the way for majority fighting games that we enjoy playing today. Street Fighter II opened the door to many new features such as combos, special moves, and so on. The game was so popular that developers Capcom delayed creating a full-fledged sequel. Instead, they revised the same game, adding new characters and revising the game’s mechanics. The updated versions included Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Super Street Fighter II and Hyper Street Fighter II.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Graphic Credit: Paulo Henrique

If you enjoyed playing Mortal Kombat, wait until you have a go at Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, one of the best fighting games made to date. See your favorite Mortal Kombat stars like Scorpion, Sub-zero, and Shang Tsung battle the likes of superheroes from the DC Universe such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and other such popular DC legends. The game enables players to choose their side and challenge their opponents with a new fighting system including Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat modes. What’s more, each DC character possesses their unique signature attacks straight out of the comic books, to take down opponents. For all Mortal Kombat and DC fans out there, this terrific game is a sheer treat.

UFC Undisputed 3

Graphic Credit: THQ Insider

If you’re looking to play a fighting game you can relate to and want something more original than shooting fireballs and doing triple-flips in mid air, MMA games are more of your thing. If you love MMA, UFC Undisputed 3 is one of the best, richest and most graphically detailed fighting games you could lay your hands on. Players can pick from a roster of nearly 150 fighters across seven weight divisions in a realistic setting, mimicking the organization of real mixed martial arts. UFC Undisputed 3 offers a number of different modes, such as a streamlined career mode, online play, stamina simulation mode and competition mode, as well as price mode – which allows players to mash their opponent’s head into the ground and perform other moves legally impossible to perform in standard UFC. With its intense action, the brutal combat, stunning graphics, the impressive visuals and increased accessibility, UFC Undisputed 3 is definitely top league material.

Tekken 3

Graphic Credit: Henry9112

Released for Arcades in March 1997 and for PlayStation in March-September 1998, Tekken 3 is widely considered one of the greatest games of its genre. While maintaining the same core fighting system of its predecessors, Tekken 3 brought in many improvements as far as graphics, animations, modern music, and new characters were concerned. Compared to previous Tekken versions, this version was more reasonable and realistic. Air combat was made more controllable and players could now witness quick recoveries from knock-downs and had more options for escapes from tackles and stuns. The game also features two bonus characters – Gon and Doctor Bosconovitch.

Amanda Scott is a freelance blogger who enjoys sharing her ideas and experiences online. She writes for Quality MMA Gear, a company dealing in a range of martial arts training equipment. She is quite passionate about reading and her other hobbies include surfing and gardening.

Double-Helix Muppet Ballroom: Happy Birthday, Jim Henson!

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Movies, Television

As it is Jim Henson’s birthday, I hand the pen over for this post to my pally, author Jennifer Susannah Devore. If you know her work, you’ll know that alongside Walt Disney, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain and Woody Allen, Mr. Henson holds a very special place as one of the folks whom inspire her daily. Miss Jenny, take it away!

 

“All the French I know, I learned from my perfume bottles.”  -Miss Piggy

All I know about being a girl I learned from Miss Piggy. Sure, mix in some stuff I learned from Mom, Scarlett O’Hara, Jane Austen, Wonder Woman, Veronica and Sally Ride. Yet, Piggy passed on to me tenacious lessons of immovable, stalking-love, perfecting the hair-flip, sprinkling one’s conversations with French and always being ready for the camera. She also imbued the beauty of a well-timed karate chop. Hiiiiiya!

Though, it was not just Miss Piggy who helped me become the half-woman/half-TV character I am today; every loyal subject of Jim Henson and Muppetdom guided me through infancy, childhood and into a very cheerful and dorky adolescence, wherein my Muppet DNA ran so fiercely and powerfully through my cells that I was immune to the fear, peer pressure and derision experienced by mere, common teenagers. No fear on Sesame Street or The Muppet Show, no fear IRL. Right?) The Henson clan held my felt hand and steered me straight on course for a ridiculously happy, borderline reality-impaired, adulthood.

~insert Kermit’s The Muppet Show opening cheer, skinny green arms akimbo~

Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, clearly the brains behind the worldwide DNA infusion (Can you see it? A double-helix of Muppet DNA, all made of felt and spinning, laughing, dancing and dipping glamorously to ballroom music? Yeah, I can see it.), exposed the explosive dangers of the lab to me and, accordingly, I kept away from a hard science major in college. Ditto for the Swedish Chef; I fear the kitchen, and knives, to this day: not to mention human hands. Gonzo urged me to love even poultry; I have been a vegetarian for too many years to count now. Gonzo also enlightened the world that labels are unnecessary. Gonzo was, and still is, a creature of unknown lineage and he rocked it. Lew Zealand illustrated that fish don’t need water, just hugs and pets. Beauregard was sweet and chipper, though just a janitor, and with his plaid flannel shirt was Grunge way before Kurt Cobain was. Scooter knew how to focus on a task and how to manage a production with nothing more than a clipboard and a headset, all while sporting that dynamite lime-green satin jacket. Fozzie the Bear. Well, what can one say about Fozzie? Fozzie proved there is no line between comedy and irritation. If a joke doesn’t work, extrapolate another from that failed one and keep on trucking until the giant hook comes for you. (Damn, that thing is hard to dodge.)

Jim Henson & Kermit the Frog Statue at University of Maryland Photo: Shaun Farrelly

Jim Henson & Kermit the Frog Statue at University of Maryland Photo: Shaun Farrelly

Every Muppet was born with a quality worthy of academic study. There isn’t a bad apple in the barrel and Jim Henson knew that. Even Oscar the Grouch isn’t bad; he’s just crafted that way. Every creature is worthy, worthier sometimes, than humans of anthropomorphism. Rats love margaritas and moonlight buffets on Caribbean cruises just like everyone else. Cockroaches, shrimp, peas and cauliflower are people, too, and deserve respect. This is where the deepest and best lessons lie. Like any superhero, there is an everymanimal quality with which all mortals can identify. Like Charlie Brown, Spongebob, Bobby Hill, Winnie-the-Pooh or Anderson Cooper, there is a positive, optimistic charm that flows endlessly and makes us say, “Hey, man. No worries. It’s all good.” Pigs in Space and Veterinary Hospital exhibited humor and gravity, or lack thereof in the former, can go hand-in-hand. They also taught me to listen to bold, narrative voices coming from the skylights. (Was there ever a hotter pig than Link, btw?)

If Piggy, and Mom, taught me a girl can never have too much jewelry and a karate chop is okay if you’ve been offended, and Gonzo showed me love knows no species and chickens deserve pearls and not to be eaten, and Fozzie proved spirit, grit and determination can get you through even the toughest of crowds, Kermit was the real Sensei. What Kermit endowed in me cannot be spoken, written or shared. Like Yoda, Linus, Mulder, Serious Jerry or Daddy, Kermit imparted wisdom that just, is. Honor, truth, patience, kindness, tenacity and love.

Daddy loves to tell of the day Sesame Street first aired. I was two years old and he would become a child psychologist years later. He plopped me down in front of the television and watched with me as we learned a new letter and a new number with the help of a funny, furry, puppet-type thing that morning. He thought it was the greatest thing since pants. From that day onward, 123 Sesame St. was a daily destination and, like a good American child, I soon craved any and all merchandise associated with anything Jim Henson touched. I still have my Grover hand-Muppet and because of Super Grover, I would never be so afraid of the monster at the end of this book, that I would not continue to the end of the book. Wocka, wocka, wocka!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

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