The Great Space Coaster and The Beauty of Absolute Zero: Hannah’s Halloween Heyday

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Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Travel

Holy macaroni, cats! If I came out of this year’s Hallowe’en with only one recollection, it was becoming privy to the last invention mankind will ever need: a roller coaster that can create everything, always. Quod the quod?!, you cry. Trust me, I held that same wonderment all night long.

Dr. Devorkian, we've got new vic ... I mean, guests! Photo: J.S. Devore

Naturally, Lucy and I can have fun just about anywhere. After all, we’re ghostie girls trapped in our luxurious Hotel del Coronado who have happily made G&Ts out of lemons and amuse ourselves haunting this grand, Victorian dame of seaside resorts. So, what makes a night even more fun for us? Dress us up like Abby Sciuto and her beauteous broken doll, add Dr. Devorkian, Ozzy Osbourne and a baker’s dozen of complete nutjobs to a Northern California Halloween gathering and you’ve got yourself that which comes before Part B. Part A, of course!

As it was a wine country bash, the wine did flow: Bogle, Apothic Red, Cavi, Coppola and, natch, a case of Two Buck Chuck (that’s Three Buck Chuck to you East Coasters). To boot, Dr. Lucy’s Victorian love, Dr. Devorkian, set about tinkering in his rum lab and proffered victims, I mean guests, selections of lemon, cherry, mango, pineapple and plum eau de vie.  Dangerously, there was a special bowl of soused cherries. Zow-ie! Ghosts can’t get drunk, but I steered clear nonetheless. Yet, if the 200-proof cherries packed a wallop for mere mortals, they were nothing compared to the dizzying effects of the mortals themselves.

Abby + Ozzy = True Love 4 Ever Photo: J.S. Devore

To keep it simple, I shall note the three most memorable:

1) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Republican Redneck: This fellow arrived revving his chainsaw and, after a few annoying minutes of this, stashed it in a shed and just called himself a Republican redneck the rest of the night. When not playing a hillbilly, he prides himself in living “off the grid” and building his own nation up in the mountains: a NorCal Petoria, if you will. He sustains himself, somewhat, growing medicinal weed and, natch, utilizing the electric company’s low-income assistance rates. (Do you have any idea how high his electric bills would be otherwise? Bonkers!) Still, even living this “Little Growhouse on the Prairie” existence, he’s not nearly as serene and peaceful as one might think. He’s riled up and irritated because “it sucks more people won’t take weed in barter. They still want money.”

2) The 2016 Presidential Candidate: Politics are never a good idea for party chit chat. Of course, once someone decides to hold court, one has to listen; it’s not that big of a house. The Big Bad Wolf, as was his character this night, declared his candidacy for 2016 in our presence. When questioned about his platforms, he stated the following: 1) Flat tax (fair enough); 2) Legalize weed (Why not?); 3) Mandatory military service for everyone (Exsqueeze me?); 4) “Dump Israel” -his words, not mine- (deplorable). Put your wolf mask back on, son, and get back to the woods.

3) Chief Wackadoo: This chick wins, hands-down for kookiness. Dressed as a tiger, sort of, she prowled the night querying and quizzing other guests, offering up opinions, ideas and criticisms and hitting on our painfully polite Abby. The most memorable conversation of the night goes to the Chief: her description of a recent invention of hers. Always a curious sort, our Ozzy wanted to know more and, rather than describe the exchange, I shall transcribe the discussion as I heard it, watching in wonderment as I sipped on a velvety glass of Apothic Red. Keep in mind, our Ozzy Osbourne is in full character.

 

Chief Wackadoo: It’s my own invention. I created it in my head. It’s a roller coaster that creates everything, always, all the time.

Ozzy: No kidding? Everything, all the time?

Chief Wackadoo: Everything, always. Doesn’t matter what you need. An arm, a computer, a car. Everything. It’s perfect because if a part breaks, it just makes a new one.

Ozzy: Wow. That’s amazing. How big does this thing need to be?

Chief Wackadoo: Twenty miles long.

Ozzy: That’s going to be difficult to find, a straight stretch of that much land, especially in California.

Chief Wackadoo: It’s not a problem because it’s going to be built in space. It’s all going to happen inside a planet.

Ozzy: Really? So after it builds everything, always, how do we get all those things back down to Earth?

Chief Wackadoo: That’s the beauty of absolute zero.

 

As Dr. Lucy would say, “You can’t make this s*%@ up.”

Dr. Lucy: our broken doll. Photo" J.S. Devore

Want more snaps of the night? Enjoy a slideshow at JennyPop.net!


Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet

That Other Jane and Carrot Top: Tarzan Lands at SDCC 2012

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Category : Comics, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Literature, Movies, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel

For all you poor mooks whom did not make it to San Diego Comic-Con 2012, or did and possibly lost, tossed or neglected your coveted Official Souvenir Book, unaware of the gems contained therein, I feel sad that you missed out on author Jennifer Susannah Devore’s Tarzan article. You should feel bad; it was good enough to garner Miss Jenny a personal invitation to meet the one, the only Dr. Jane Goodall! Where? A banquet in Tarzana, of course! No worries, jelly beans! There’s still time to mend your silly ways.

Swing on over, grab a Sailor Jerry Banana Hammock and read Jenny’s article here!

Steampunk Jane and her Carrot Top Tarzan, Lord of the Props Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

That Other Jane, reprinted with JennyPop’s very own permission, from the 2012 Official Comic-Con Souvenir Book

(Special thanks, again, to Gary Sassaman, Director of Print and Publications Comic-Con International: San Diego)

 

That Other Jane: 100 Years of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, Heartbreaker

by Jennifer Susannah Devore

I was so jealous. I thought she was a wimp. I was sure I’d have been a better mate.

                                                                                                             -that other Jane … Goodall

Herein lies the innate appeal of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Be he an object of affection, admiration or competition, Tarzan falls neatly into the untidy world of animal instinct, feral existentialism and personal authority: a Lord Greystoke of the Flies, if you will.

Burroughs composed an enduring theme and a permanence of characters spawning not only a succession of film and television iterations, but also serial books and eventually comics, penned not by Burroughs himself, but a veritable jungle encampment of devotees. From Dell Comics’ cheerful adventure yarns of the 1940s, which featured a ripped, yet stick-thin version of Tarzan, to Psychology Press’ Ways of Being Male: representing Masculinities in Children’s Literature and Film by John Stephens to George of the Jungle, Tarzan has been a centenary of topic. Scholars may argue a garden of reasons why the jungle Brit in the loincloth has remained ever so popular; but the reader’s heartbeat will tell you unequivocally there exists solely one answer. Stimulation.

Certainly, the sight of a well-sculpted, 1930s Johnny Weissmuller slicing into a sheath of river or even the hot, animated Disney Tarzan of 1999 swinging on a vine (Watch out for that treeeeee!), brings a swoon to many a fan, just as Captain Jack Sparrow, Indiana Jones or Han Solo does. Be not fooled, it is not simply the silky hair flop, the cheekbones and the swagger (uh – well, it kind of is). It is primarily what brings about said-swagger and the flip of that flop which oft has a nuclear power to melt its unsuspecting, doe-eyed victims like wax. It is the hero’s confidence, fearlessness and willingness to machete his way through the jungles and bridge the rivers, only to pop back to the surface victorious and, even if a bit broken, durable enough to shake off the snakes, the leeches and the authorities to forge ahead.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, born of Mid-western stubbornness and raised on Western ruggedness weathered the literal, as well as figurative, frontier realities of a changing America at the turn of the 20th Century. The son of a Civil War veteran and a protective yet yielding mother of six boys, two having died as infants, Edgar was the youngest of a large and prosperous family prone to enterprise, exploits and chance. From Chicago business ventures to Idaho gold dredging and cattle ranching, a young Edgar saw a world of possibilities; he certainly recognized his growing America was whatever a man wanted it to be. After a smattering and sampling of job-jobs like railway security, clerical manager, door-to-door salesman, pencil sharpener wholesaler, ditch digger and accountant, amongst others, Edgar found his future in the fertile pages of pulp fiction.

Burroughs would state later that if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines that I could write stories just as rotten. This was in the same spirit as, Mark Twain, claiming some thirty years previous and Hunter S. Thompson claiming some eighty years after Twain, that a lot of folks make an awful lot of money writing some really awful schlock. It appears the unifying theme was, hopefully, they might be equally as fortunate. Mark Twain summed it up best when he prognosticated about Huckleberry Finn, They have expelled this from their library as, quote, trash and suitable only for the slums! That will sell 25,000 copies for us, sure.

Screaming through his tales, like Carol Burnett’s clear-as-a-bell Tarzan yell, Burroughs’ Wanderlust and spirit for adrenaline ripped through his tales of pirates, jungles, space, cavemen, dinosaurs and, lest we forget, The Land that Time Forgot. Over the decades of his long and successful life, Tarzan would be his Goose That Laid the Golden Egg. If Tarzan book money was good, Tarzan film money was out of this world.

The first celluloid representation was Tarzan of the Apes (1918) starring Elmo Lincoln as the silent hero. Whilst this iteration would follow most closely the events of the original novel, it was Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) that would explode out of the water like a surfacing submarine to penetrate pop culture. It would give us not only a taut and toned Olympic gold medallist swimmer named Johnny Weissmuller but also, as the first Tarzan film with sound, that iconic Tarzan yell which many will cringingly attempt. Raise your hand if you never tried it while swinging from the monkey bars on the playground.

As they often do, successful writer/film types take those sawbucks and buy Hollywood ranches, Palm Desert compounds, Caribbean islands or spooky manses in the Maine woods. Burroughs bought a sprawling one of the former just north of H-town. As a testament to the zeitgeist in 1923, the residents and citizens of the L.A. suburb burgeoning around his ranch, voted to incorporate as the town of Tarzana. Just five years previous, he had already incorporated himself: a savvy and uncommon move for a writer of this era.

Adventurous in word as well as deed to the end, Burroughs served as a WWII correspondent in Hawaii, embedded with U.S. Air Force bombers and even crossing paths with his equally unflappable son, Hulbert, a war photographer. After the war, he returned to the sunny jungle of Tinsel Town. Passing away in 1950, he would miss the continuing success of Tarzan throughout the Fifties via comic books and reprints of his novels and serials. He would also miss out on the explosive rebirth of his chef d’oeuvres as the Sixties would bring Tarzan the television series and a paperback book smash that introduced “Me Tarzan, you Jane”, their son, Boy, and a charming chimp named Cheeta to a whole new generation of restless rowdies ready for anything that wasn’t suburbia.

“It was somewhere between ten and eleven that I read Tarzan and decided I would go to Africa, live with animals and write books about them,” Dr. Jane Goodall, founder and mentor of the Jane Goodall Institute, recounts in a 60 Minutes interview. One-hundred years after the initial October 1912 publication of Tarzan of the Apes in All-Story magazine, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ creations match, if not absolutely mirror, mankind’s quest for self, sufficiency, survival and stimulation … well, and the cheekbones.

From creatures At The Earth’s Core, to a Martian Princess to the Lord of the Jungle, from The Cave Girl to The Girl From Hollywood to The Mucker and Pirates From Venus, Burroughs proffers vicarious pleasures and fantasy to the desk-bound, the cubicle-trapped and the homebodies of the planet. Simultaneously, he gives hope, inspiration and itineraries to the modern-day travelers and dreamers of the world.

Wanderlust is just ein deutsch Wort away from lust. Adventure-lit hits all the right buttons. Burroughs and Tarzan sliced their own paths, just like Captain Jack, Han Solo, Grizzly Adams and each real-life Indiana Jones throughout modern history, including the likes of Margaret Mead, Diane Fossey, Alan Shepard, Buzz Aldrin, Jacques Cousteau, John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh, Sally Ride, Teddy Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, Gus Grissom, Valentina Tereshkova, Admiral Richard Byrd, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Edmund Hillary, Amelia Earhart, all the Monkeynauts and, finally … that other Jane.

In an October 2010 CBS 60 Minutes interview, reporter Lara Logan asked Dr. Jane Goodall: Why Africa? Dr. Jane replied: Because of reading Doctor Dolittle and Tarzan. Doctor Dolittle rescues animals from the circus and takes them back to Africa. And then, Tarzan, of course. The Lord of the Jungle.

Then the subject of Jane Porter, Tarzan’s girl, arose. In a statement soaked with decades of irritation and disgust, Dr. Jane exclaimed: I was passionately in love. He marries that other, stupid Jane. I think I’d have been the perfect mate for Tarzan, don’t you?

While today we’re bombarded with everyone else’s imagination, it’s satisfying to recall an era when we worked our own, fueled simply by Burroughs’ words … and, at least in Jane’s case, the loincloth. Now that’s what I call stimulation.

Jennifer S. Devore w James Sullos, Jr. (left/president of ERB, Inc.) and Tarzan author, Tracy Griffin (right) plus a special invitation to meet Dr. Jane Goodall herself in Tarzana! Photo: JSDevore SDCC 2012

 

Author bio: Jennifer Susannah Devore authors the historical-fiction series Savannah of Williamsburg, as well as the contemporary The Darlings of Orange County. She is a regular contributor to GoodtobeaGeek.com under the pseudonym Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado; her tribute to the 60th anniversary of Peanuts was published in the 2010 Comic-Con Souvenir Book She lives on a San Diego beach with her husband, a Pomeranian and an immortal cat she believes is Binx from Hocus Pocus.

 

Abyssinia, cats! maybe miss jenny will tell us all how the banquet with Dr. Goodall goes!

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet   jennypop.net   amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore 

Adrianne Curry & RDJ Sightings, Johnny Depp & Seth Green MIA: SDCC 2012

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Category : Conventions, E-vents, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel, Uncategorized

“There’s an awful lot of weird, pasty people in here, myself included.” So went my recurring, silent observance throughout this year’s Comic-Con, striking oft as I flitted hither and thither through the San Diego Convention Center, like a frantic mosquito seeking an open window on a muggy, Malibu, summer’s day. The pastiness was not truly what struck me, nor was the definitive weirdness. The real oddity was, like in so many gatherings where we geeks gather en masse -Renaissance Faire, Disneyland-  the convergence of and shoulder-to-shoulder conditions pressed upon so many individuals not generally prone to mainstream socializing. Moi? I haven’t left my Hotel del Coronado much since 1934. Dr. Lucy, my ghostie cohort? 1904. Judging by the bevy of pale and malleable bodies endeavouring some severely awkward social interactivity, they’ve not left their abodes since 1904 either. (Need more than just one fat Slave Leia? Dr. Lucy’s Comic-Con 2012 Gallery of Oddities!)

No caption necessary. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

On the flip side, after the initial shock of being face-to-face with strangers on a trolley and crushed side boob-to-side boob with fat Batman at Starbucks, a comforting calm washes over one and the irony of being surrounded by two-hundred thousand other Earthlings hits.

San Diego Old Town Trolley ... all aboooard! Photo: JSDevore

Suddenly the looks, stares and comments are friendly and complimentary. Instead of thinking the standard, snarky, “Hey, mook. Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”, I’m posing and flashing my Colgate smile and jack booted-gams left and right for anyone with a smartphone or a news camera. “Make sure you spell my name right!” becomes my de rigueur response, as opposed to my usual, “Grody”. (Yes, by the way, occasionally the more telekinetic of you live wires can actually see Lucy and me: Ghost Hunters types are quite adept. The stares and the infrared cameras do get to be a little boring after a while though. Costumed and fancy dress affairs tend to bring out more believers. Ergo, SDCC and Faire are perfect places for us to play without too much unwanted attention.)

Of course, once I hit the train each evening, my snark and sneers revived nicely, especially to a particularly forward sleazebag whose interest in my ruffled bloomers was creepy. Lowering my aluminum goggles down off my pith helmet and onto my face, now resembling Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, I gave the letch a hard stare à la Paddington Bear and, pulling my skirt tightly over my Victorian bloomers, I replied, “These are for the convention only.” and turned to watch the bay the rest of the way home. Thank goodness for Lucy; she handled him deftly and politely for both of us. Her Victorian manners are far more genteel than my Flapper Girl gums.

Disco vader, Boba Fett and Starbucks? Feels like a party! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Back at the Con though, and all those other wackadoo jelly beans in your personal space, a thumbs-up from a dapper Mad Hatter and a 360-spin from a vixen Catwoman to tell you how amazing your costume is, combined with all the other praise throughout the day, tells you you’re not quite the freak you so oft feel. When a chap from the L.A. Times chases you down for a snap, a fellow from the Houston Press says he’s been stalking you for thirty yards and wants to know more about whom designed your gear and a gorgeous Ruby Red Riding Hood compliments your corsetry, well, it makes for some strong self-esteem boosts. (Stalking though, sans costume, generally bad.)

Dude. Both your faces are looking in the wrong direction. Zowie! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Sure, it sounds needy, feeding on compliments greedily like a truffle pig zeroing in on the hunt. Still, when a trip to Trader Joe’s or even Nordstrom can be fraught with elbow nudges and snickers due to something as simple as a parasol or an oversized hat (No, I am not going to a wedding, the races or a funeral, thank you very much.) it’s nice to be in a venue, even if crushed like a pack of nematodes, and feel like part of the gang. Even if we usually don’t want to be part of any gang.

The only downside to the Con, if one can call it a downside, Dr. Lucy and I did have to field the query, “Now, who exactly are you supposed to be?” and then followed by, “Ah. Interesting. Now, what is steampunk?” Dr. Lucy had a great, if not lengthy description. Most tended to glaze over mid-description, but I liked it.

Think Jules Verne and Victorians and what their concepts of future technology would have been, utilizing the machinery and technology at their hands, in the 19th Century.

Blink, blink, the inquisitor would respond. I would then add succinctly:

Have you seen Sherlock Holmes, the newer versions with Robert Downey, Jr.?

Ahh! Yes, yes! Iron Man! Cool! they would exclaim, pleased with themselves. See, Lucy, people are obtuse, mostly. KISS, as the politicians say: Keep It Simple, Silly. Still not sure about this damn steampunk business? Keep a keen eye for steampunk stylings in BBCAmerica’s newest crime drama by Barry Levinson, Copper, set in 1864 NYC. Can’t wait ’til it airs August 19th? Find a bit more steampunk here.

Hannah & Lucy, Steampunk Chicks, Day 3 SDCC 2012 Photo: Eugene Powers, Whedonopolis.com

 

Steampunk. However you slice it. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

Hannah and Dr. Lucy, Steampunk Chicks, Day 1. Photo: Maria Stefanopoulos, IngeniousTravel.com

 

Why, Dr. Lucy! You'll give the boys heart flutters! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Admittedly, speaking for both Lucy and myself, we did feel a tad out of place at one point. The old pangs of being the only kid dressed up at school for Hallowe’en flooded back in waves. Fortunate enough to garner admittance into the SyFy Press Room, Lucy and I attended a Being Human roundtable interview.  With the exception of one chick in a hot pink anime wig, Lucy and I were the only ones dressed up in costume. Poor Sam Huntington, a.k.a. Being Human‘s Josh the werewolf, as he sat at our table, nearly had a cardiac event upon sight of Lucy’s corseted bosom, crushing a small, plastic water bottle to subdue his carnal desires. Good for you, Lucy. At 108 years young, you’ve still got it!

The rest of the press room was filled to the brim with black-bedecked, serious journalists. A few were freindly, but the odd looks were there. (Why they were surprised, I have no idea. It IS Comic-Con.) As is oft the case IRL, nervous attempts at jokes and small talk were met with long blinks. 

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

In the waning hours of Day 3 of the Con, as Lucy and I sat against a wall in the Meeting Halls catching our breath, a crowd piled up in front of us as they were held off by guest control, waiting for cross-traffic to pass: a ridiculous line for a Mythbusters panel. As I watched Hobbit feet and blistering stilletos shuffle by, I caught a good portion of a conversation as a lovely and petite blue-haired fairy and a somewhat beefy Harry Potter came to stand nearby us.

 

Pretty, pretty pixie. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

So, is it what you expected? Harry asked of his pretty pixie.

Ohmygod! So much more! I’m already planning next year’s costume! she clapped.

What’s your favourite part so far? Harry asked further.

She thought for a moment, then replied, Remember when we went to your Mom’s that time? ‘Member we stopped by before that Halloween party? We did the Alice in Wonderland thing?

Yeah. Your White Queen costume?

Yeah. Well, nobody here has looked at me even once the way your mom and sister did that night. It feels natural, just being here. It’s amazing.

Exactly. What she said. How was your Comic-Con experience?

 

 

Dr. Lucy winds up the Belle of the Con: Miss Kelli Mae, my personal fave! Photo: JSDevore

 

A rare moment of downtime. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Note: Whilst we did see Mark Hamill, Adrianne Curry (beyond hot), Parasol Protectorate author Gail Carriger and Robert Downey, Jr. (Very, very hot. Sherlock, indeed.), we did not see Seth Green or Johnny Depp. Be assured, this was not from a lack of effort. Seth Green was indeed there, visiting the Peanuts booth, participating in a Robot Chicken panel and making general happy mayhem of the grounds. My final effort, a lone Tweet, is recorded for Comic-Con history:

Jennifer S. Devore@JennyPopNet

Might as well seek w effort :D Is @sethgreen anywhere near aisle 1400 @Comic_Con ? Would love to say Ciao! #sdcc

 

No words. Too hot. Dig you, Mizz Curry! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

The honour is all mine, Miss Carriger: Parasol Protectorate Purveyor. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

Klingons. Not so tough IRL. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Go ahead, try not to sing it. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

What did you get up to during Comic-Con 2012? Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Hannah fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet   jennypop.net   amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore 

Comic-Con Inside Buzz: SyFy’s Being Human, Season 3

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Category : Candid Conversations, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Reviews, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel

Ciao, kittens! Well, San Diego Comic-Con 2012 is in the rear view mirror and I can tell you Dr. Lucy and I had a ridiculously swell time! Aside from the media barrage, celebrity sightings, celebrity rumours and the over-the-top Con bags (Why so big, guys? Why?), the people-watching and cosplay stole the show. Dr. Lucy, being the mechanical tinkerer she is, took nicely to an EOS Canon Digital Rebel XT and gave us a veritable Egyptian tomb of snaps, a gallery of which I shall post soon. Today, I bring you an insider’s look into SyFy‘s Being Human.

Natch, Being Human is right up my alley. As I am wont to do, I started with the U.K. version, then warmed to the U.S. iteration. Being Human U.S. is a strikingly spooky adaptation and, being a ghostie girl myself, it only makes sense that the beauteous, lead ghost Sally is my personal, vicarious fave. She’s far lovelier and more delicate than those mooks over at Ghost Adventurers, has a great pair of getaway sticks and is spades more genteel than those wheats running Ghost Hunters International. (Note to GHI: You don’t always have to be saying something in the dark. Silence is lovely sometimes and, moreover, we know you’re there.)

Meaghan Rath and Sam Huntington, SDCC 2012 SyFy Press Room Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Thanks to the good folks in the SyFy publicity office and press room, particularly Kelly and Blair, Dr. Lucy and I were afforded a brief, press roundtable with the stars of Being Human and their executive producer, Anna Fricke, prior to the Being Human panel discussion in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Dr. Lucy snapped some pics and I had the opportunity to chat with Anna and the actors whom portray Sally, Aidan and Josh. Anna divulged no details about Season 3, which airs January 2013, but did offer some tantalizing teasers about where our supernatural friends are headed, come winter.

Sam Witwer, SDCC 2012 SyFy Press Room Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

“More levity”, “less dark” and “more solidarity” were E.P. Anna’s cornerstones of what’s to come. Season 2 went down some pretty dark roads indeed and the characters enacted some serious choices.

“Season 2 ended up being a very dark, crazy, bananas place where everybody had to make very life-threatening choices and decisions. Obviously, we have to see, did they get themselves out of those decisions?,” Anna offers.

Anna also admitted to more flashbacks.

“We always have flashback because we love to do the wardrobe! (laughter) It’s great to delve into the past to see where they’re coming from, what made them who they are today.”

Anna Fricke, E.P. Being Human U.S., SDCC 2012 SyFy Press Room Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

To continue, a very brief interview with Meaghan Rath, Sam Witwer and Sam Huntington:

 

GTBAG: Where do all the characters go this season, inwardly?

Sam Huntington (Josh): Aidan protecting Aidan. This is something we tackled this year. (laughter)

Sam Witwer (Aidan): There you go.

Sam Huntington (Josh): I think Josh’s primary goal this year on the show was to be, he’s the mother, you know? He wants to keep everyone safe. And he wants desperately to get everybody what they want. It’s uh, he’s needed to ask Aidan for a lot of help. That’s true. Because of his knowledge, because of his strength. It’s because of Josh’s newness as a supernatural being and his lack of knowledge. So uh, yeah , I think Josh has grown a tremendous amount. This season he really does come into his own, in a big way. Yeah. Yeah!

GTBAG: How do they progress? How do they grow together?

Sam Witwer (Aidan): We already know how they progress.

Sam Huntington (Josh): There’s no hope. (laughter) We have no hope.

Sam Witwer (Aidan): You know what’s great? We’ve really had a chance to collaborate with the writers this year. So, I can say with a good amount of certainty that its going exactly where I would have it. I, I love the direction it’s taking.  My character gets to be around people and that allows him to be awkward and allows him to be sad and also more dangerous considering what happened last year and it’s kind of a sweet spot for the character, in terms of him being interesting. And these two guys have so much new stuff to deal with it’s ridiculous, but we can’t tell you what.

Sam Huntington (Josh):  That’s the tricky thing. That’s because we were all left in such uh, you know, horrible, extreme situations last season it’s like, to say anything about what, the result of that.

Sam Witwer (Aidan): Yeah, it takes us a year and a half after the last season.

 

At that point, the kind yet efficient talent manager swept through and corralled the attractive trio to another table, all before Miss Meaghan could give her thoughts on Silly Sally’s forthcoming journey. What I did get, was a close-up of her smashing, heart heels!

Divine! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

What about Aidan and his coffin, some of you may wonder? Well, all Anna would tell me is this:

“Sam is such a fine actor. We don’t want to see him in a coffin for thirteen episodes.”

Hmmm.

Hannah & Dr. Lucy, a tad nervous pre-interview: Photo by Eugene Powers, Whedonopolis.com

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet  amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jennypop.net

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Tarzan, Peanuts and Cocktails with Boba and Darth

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Category : Comics, Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

Cheers, babies! It’s me, Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado and it’s June! You know what that means? Summer is mere days away and San Diego Comic-Con is a mere month away!

If you think comic dorks can't party, you'd be wrong. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

If you think comic dorks can’t party, you’d be wrong. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

No one is more excited than yours truly … well, okay. I imagine there are some nibbling their fingernails a tad more than I. After all, part of the appeal of our Comic-Con is that it’s in glorious San Diego. I get to live here year round, kids, haunting my dilly of a Hotel Del. If you’re zinging your way here for the Con and it’s your first time in San Diego, we welcome you, one and all! Need some priceless, insider tips on all the SDCC how-tos? Check the SDCC Expert for Baby’s First Comic-Con.

Yep, ’tis no place in Cali quite like San Diego. Even the dearly departed Godfather of Comic Books, Richard Alf, knew that! Sunnier than San Francisco, cheaper than Santa Barbara, friendlier than L.A. and cleaner than Anaheim, why wouldn’t we welcome the world? Whilst you’re in town, may I heartily suggest Nerdcore Night at famed The Ruby Room in Hillcrest?

If you’re still looking for a hotel, I feel true pity, ya mooks. Whilst an average $560.00-$730.00/night seems lofty at my Hotel del Coronado, it’s a regal steal compared to some of the fleabag dumps near the airport: real slimy, 1-star m-m-m-motels charging upwards of $569.00/night during the week of SDCC!!! That should be criminal. It’s easily extortion and trust me, I lived in Beantown during Prohibition. I know all about mob behavior. If you have a room at all, huzzah for you!

Costume update, by the by: Dr. Lucy and I are pretty much all set. We’ve decided on a steampunk theme; she twisted my fragile ghost arms. She shall be the lovely and vivacious Lucy Westenra of Coppola’s Dracula. Moi? Lady Euphemia Greystoke of Stonington: traveller and archaeologist extraordinaire. I’ve found my 1920s, Cleopatra, chainmail headpiece and Lucy has been mending and modernizing some of her fine Victorian skirts. We are both in grave need of goggles, though. A very serious issue.

In celebration of the upcoming convention, I thought it would be fun to share an article from the 2010 Comic-Con Souvenir Book. Written by my pally Jennifer Susannah Devore, it’s a contemplative and philosophical look at Charles Schulz and the then-60th anniversary of Peanuts. (As a side note, Jenny’s just learned she’s being published once again in this year’s 2012 Souvenir Book with an retrospective of 100 years of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs and a nod to Dr. Jane Goodall … zowie, does that gorilla girl hold a grudge!

SDCC Souvenir Book, 2010

SDCC Souvenir Book, 2010

The First Beagle on the Moon

by Jennifer Susannah Devore

(Reprinted from the 2010 official Comic-Con Souvenir Book)

 

I think I could learn to love you, Judy, if your batting average was a little higher.

-”Just Keep Laughing”, pre-Peanuts Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz did not create a mere comic strip, a cast of characters to be listed on high school drama department playbills for eons to come; like all sustainable strips, the Writer-Artist-Creator gave us a neighborhood: a safe place where loyalty, security, friendship and a comfortable sense of continuity and familiarity are still unfailingly there for us. The Peanuts gang has been that other group of our friends, always ready to hang with us at a moment’s notice and at regularly scheduled mornings, especially Sundays. Similar to Shakespearean figures, the Peanuts gang has also been, as any psychologist with an ounce of humor and levity will tell you, a microcosm of humanity. A bevy of neuroses, borderline personalities, leaders and followers, Schulz, like the good Bard, nailed it all straight on the round-headed noggin. The psychology of Peanuts, not to drain the comic pool only to replace it with academia, pervades each and every “illustrated laughing square”.

No doubt, the young Schulz did not set out to create a controlled study of freckled subjects and lab beagles with sunglasses and tennis rackets; nevertheless, he did and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Psych 101 textbook without some reference to Charlie Brown’s martyrdom syndrome or Lucy’s narcissism. Blah, blah, blah, the kind reader may mock, but it is real humanity that is inherent in these characters. It is the nucleus of its success. The psychological endgame matters because in the beginning, and eventually that end, all creators start from the premises of what is known and, more importantly, what is felt.

If writer-artists give us some clue as to their failings, fears and fantasies within their oeuvres, then sports (baseball in particular) girls (darned, elusive redheads), loyalty and honor (Snoopy always comes through despite his egotism) were clearly on Sparky’s short-list. Charlie Brown’s undying dedication to his ball team, his tenacity and faith amidst rained-out games, Lucy’s “The sun was in my eyes”-excuses and dozing beagles-at-bat is a fortitude so many desire, yet oft do not posses.

The stomach-churning inner diatribes and teeth-grinding insecurity is thankfully, cathartically played out on-stage, as it were, in Charlie Brown’s (and Charlie Schulz’) quest for the affection of a little red-haired girl, even going so far as addressing the very adult, very 3-D distrust and heartache of jealousy, that love has been taken by a best friend: Linus, to wit, in It’s Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown. Charles Schulz’ real-life and nonreciprocal marriage proposal marks the launching pad of Charlie Brown’s everlasting expedition of unrequited and, despondently, un-returned love.

The fear of not being accepted, of not belonging is universally shared, regardless of what the aesthetics and sartorial effects may try to loudly declare. Searching the mailbox for that proverbial Halloween party invitation, learning it was a mistake, then going anyway is a Trick-or-Treat bag fraught with snakes and evil clowns: What if I’m not on The List? What if I am on The List? Who will talk to me? What if I’m left all alone? What if they make fun of my costume?

The fear of not receiving a single Valentine in class, and in front of everybody no less, the dread of an empty mailbox and heart at Christmastime, the cold, autumnal loneliness of being the only one whom truly believes in the Great Pumpkin; these comic worries are so real that the chest-pounding is audible, the butterflies are so visceral we can only cringe and endure, waiting nervously for the certain, happy ending. Sadly, it is not always so certain, though. The ending of Snoopy, Come Home is so gut-wrenchingly awful that it is suffered through only because of our own, Charlie Browniest belief that everything will be okay. It is not, in the case of said film. There is no good outcome, there cannot be; everybody loses, big time. To that end, everybody has heart and soul that trudges forth no matter what. This is why we continue to love, adore and cherish our Peanuts gang.

Be it Snoopy’s devotion to Lila, the dying girl, in Snoopy, Come Home, Snoopy’s devotion to his supper dish, Linus’ unrelenting conviction for the Great Pumpkin and, deeper still, Sally’s dedication to Linus and his mission, it is all so human, so carbon-based. Family or friends, it matters not with Peanuts. As is often the case in real-time, digital worlds or the land of ink-and-watercolor, friends are often family, and family, good friends. The Browns and the Van Pelts are core, bound by blood; but that is not pivotal, being bound by blood. Snoopy and Woodstock, Charlie Brown and Linus, Peppermint Patty and Marcie, Lucy and herself, Schroeder and his Piano, Sally and her Easter shoes and her Sweet Baboo: these are the real bonds, the vital relationships that keep Peanuts going year after sixty years.

In the vein of a youthful William Shakespeare, Matt Groening or Seth MacFarlane whom all wrote of the communities they knew, the people and their foibles they shouldered through life, good and bad, lovely and horrid, Charles M. Schulz presented us with pencil and ink versions of ourselves: our ids, egos, superegos and alter egos. He gave us characters and friends upon whom we knew we could count through any rained out game, school exam or major holiday, even when It’s Presidents’ Day, Charlie Brown.

Above all, there is honor. Consider that, akin to so much great “children’s” literature, young-adult fiction, superhero tales, classic fairy tales, adapted fairy tales, graphic novels, comic strips and animated series there exists no ethical enforcement, save one’s own internal gauge and moral compass. It is universal, from Cinderella and Snow White to Snoopy and Spongebob Squarepants, that parents are either handily out-of-frame or conveniently ineffective; adults of any walk and educators of every sort are primarily a concept and rarely given a name, a face or, in Peanuts’ case, even a voice. Law enforcement is a rare impression lest it appears in an almost supernatural state of purity and perfection, like Scully and Mulder or Police Commissioner Gordon. The heroes cannot get away from themselves and must answer to their own merit of principle. There are no citations, no court dates, no weekend restrictions or media groundings. There is no law, no order, only the inner voice and scruples of the very good and, where it relates to our Peanuts, the very, very admirable and steadfast fraternity of fast and eternal friendship. The lasting appeal of Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz is that they are us. As Lucy states so wisely, “Charlie Brown, of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest!”

The Charlies and we are in the vital and primitive hunt for love, camaraderie and faithfulness. They and we are scared to death that nothing will happen and equally so that everything will. The round-headed kid, the barber’s son and we are all optimistic to a fault, likened to Spongebob in our unending and Bikini Bottom-deep belief that everything and everyone will be just fine. They and we are all flawed superheroes, or at the very least, we strive to be.

(A special thanks to Gary Sassaman, Director of Print and Publications Comic-Con International: San Diego)

 

Abyssinia on the Con floor, cats!

Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? JennyPop.net jenniferdevore.blogspot.com & @JennyPopNet

Sweet 2012! It’s a Ring-a-Ding-Ding Kindle Clambake!

2

Category : Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Tech, Travel

Happy New Year, Babies! 2012?! Zowie!

NYE fireworks over London's Eye: Natesh Ramasamy

I never saw this year coming. Heck, I never saw the Kardashians coming. Tack-ee! This is grand, though! 2012! Whatever those whiny, moaning ghosties tell you of the pitfalls of being an eternal spirit, I say puh-shaw! I shed my Chicago overcoat the minute the dirt hit my lid in 1934 and I ain’t looked back since, cats. One regret, which I can fix any year, is of all the places I’ve partied on New Year’s Eve, London keeps missing my list. Next year, depending on what Harvey & Hildy do.

So, just to back up a bit, my Beantown Christmas was canceled, as you know from our previous chat, thanks to the parental units. Dr. Harvey & Hildy and big bro Hugh are still having a jazzy time in Hawaii, even managed to send me a few pretty tropical frocks. It took some effort to collect the box … now, to get the dresses on a dead girl. (Long story about the clothes; I’ll dish later.) The holidays turned out nicely though, damn fine even. I got through a heap of those Disney comics and even found a new series called Revere: Revolution in Silver. Paul Revere: colonial silversmith and werewolf hunter. Who knew? Best of all, my steampunk pal Dr. Lucy spent the holidays with me here in the Hotel Del. It was splendide! Drinks, dancing, singing, it was a real jolly-up! Although I have to say, you people don’t know the first thing about dancing. Whatever that slinking  and shaking you dead hoofers do, it ain’t dancing. Even Harvey & Hildy’s foxtrot is better than this modern hop!

Lucy and I even terrorized some of the more ill-dressed folks in the restaurants and on Christmas Eve we sang under the moonlight to Lucy’s pet octopus Onslow, whom happily danced and splashed his tentacles about in the surf. Then, Lucy and I had an excellent idea. To extend our holiday we would head to Pasadena for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Sure, there are no more chariot races, sadly having been replaced by that football business. Yet, I do have a soft spot for the Rose Queen and her Royal Court; those tomatoes still know how to dress. I also read there was to be a Paramount Pictures float: 100 Years of Movie Magic. What with my history in the Paramount family, I was dying to see it. Ha! Best of all, I know the jolliest place of all to watch: atop the news cameras’ scaffolding on the Hot Corner at Orange Grove and Colorado Blvds. Maybe even in the KTLA booth with L.A. Rose Parade legends Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks!

2012 Rose Parade Theme: Just Imagine

 

Library Lucy snapped by ghost stalker G. Allen DeVore

I had loads of energy saved up without the Boston trip and Lucy, well, she hasn’t left The Del since 1904.  It was all planned. We were set to leave on New Year’s Eve, after hotel festivities. I donned my fanciest cloche, wrap coat, gloves and silk sailor dress; Lucy, true to her Victorian traditions kept it crisp and straight-laced in a riding hat, ruched skirt and fur capelet. Snazzy gals we were, togged to the bricks! We snatched a bottle or two from the poolside bar: absinthe for Lucy (Contemporary distillation, minus the potent wormwood component – nothing like what we used to drink!) and for me, Pernod Ricard and a bottle of fizzy dog soup to make a Pasadena Pastis. I even sent Lucy to the hotel library earlier that day to fetch a book or two; past parade experience dictates one will sit for hours in the early morning chill before the festivities begin. So, our proverbial bags were packed (ghosts don’t really need dirty weekend bags) and we were set to go. Then … we found the boxes at our doors.

Well, it’s been days now since we donned our festive chapeaux and we’ve not moved from our chaise lounges by the pool. Belated Christmas pressies … we both got Kindle Fires! From whom? We have no idea. Just a couple of boxes with bows; we must have a friend on staff. Then again, the Kindle is out of this world! Passing two sunsets, I believe, Lucy and I have been glued to our Kindles. Whilst batteries are not a concern for us, we are our own charging mechanisms, it seems the Fire has a pretty decent battery life. Still, if you want to improve your device’s life, I found fab tips from CNET. From what I can divine, everybody got a Kindle this year. Tell me you don’t know at least one person who got one under the tree or next to the menorah.

Speaking as a lithe ghost, it’s far easier to sport a Kindle than a laptop; and with my Netflix on the go I can watch all the Mae West, Clark Gable and Marlene Dietrich films I like. Dr. Lucy can’t pull herself away from Amazon’s Jules Verne collection: original French, with which I help her, and English translations. At last check she downloaded Paris in the 21st Century: wild, prophetic stuff, that! She’s even grown quickly fond of Wild Wild West, the Salma Hayek/Kenneth Branagh/Will Smith film: clearly an early iteration of modern steampunk. She’s also bookmarked the Scripps Institution of Oceanography website.

Me? I downloaded the entire Mark Twain omnibus for a mere .95! Murder! That’s just kooky! 178,245 digital pages of every word the rollicking steamboat operator wrote except his grocery lists. I also nabbed the entire Savannah of Williamsburg Series: ducky if you like historical-fantasy, colonials and poncy, talking squirrels! It’s bonkers how easy it is for me to read my tales and watch my films now. No one screams anymore when I pull a book off the shelf and no more having to sit in my room to read blogs or watch 30 Rock. Also, no more waiting for SyFy to run new episodes of Ghost Hunters; I can watch reruns all night long. Grant, Jason, Kris and Amy, so you know, I like. It’s the Ghost Adventures mooks I loathe. (Btw, SyFy, I’ve been waiting since Hallowe’en for new shows. Season 8 begins January 11, you say? Okay then.)

Anyhoo, within the first five minutes out of the box, my Kindle gave to me:

Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates

 

  Savannah of Williamsburg: Books I-III by Jennifer Susannah Devore

Emily’s House by Natalie Wright

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Roanoke: The Lost Colony by Angela Hunt

Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-vignts Jours par Jules Verne

Grimm’s Fairy Stories von Gebrüder Grimm

Wired subscription

SleepyTime app – Even ghosts need to sleep. I like to hear crickets chirping.

 

Shaking my head clear now – insert Warner Bros. animation-styled cow bell sound effects – from my Kindle comic book The Secret of Kells  I realize how many guests I see around the pool, in the bars and in their rooms (What? I’m a ghost. Of course I snoop in people’s rooms!) living via their screens. Remember the Slingbox fella from my pre-Christmas rant? Don’t get me wrong. I’m keen on your modern days and I’ll take Shaun the Sheep and The IT Crowd any day over L’il Abner and Babes in Toyland … still, it’s a bit much, kids! Yes, Lucy and I got lost in a haze; but I’m turning off my Kindle right now, grabbing Lucy and heading to the tennis courts for some vigorous sport and to plan our next escapade. It’s been ages since I was in Paris!

I don’t want to be an Abercrombie, but I know a thing or two, about a thing or two. I’ve seen, and been, a bit of history and know what else is out there. You newbies, though. I urge you to get off your prats and travel. Do you have the mettle to struggle through tedious flights, rude stewardesses and clumsy concierges to get to the museums of Italy and France and be rewarded with Canaletto, Fragonard and Botticelli? Will you challenge the steep hills of Salzburg (in five-inch heels no less) in the heat of June to find yourself in a private cello concert in an archbishop’s ancient chamber? Will you brave the snow of a Washington, D.C. winter to spend hours perusing film and book archives in the Library of Congress? Or, shall you merely Google the art, Tweet your thoughts about this @JennyPopNet, Facebook your European friends instead of visiting them and load all the vicarious experiences on your Kindles and iPads? Sure, that’s the easiest way; but is it worth the lack of effort? Like Gil in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, don’t you long for the struggle? Wikipedia can’t tell you what Montmartre smells like in the rain. To my own shame, it can’t tell me what the coffee and cocoa beans on so many of the 2012 Rose Parade floats smelled like in person this year … or what those Occupier rag-a-muffins who followed the parade smelled like. Ick. Maybe they’re best left to a screen version. Oh, and Onslow was not impressed by the protesters’ corny, off-the-cob, plastic bag octopus, equating his tentacles to corporate greed. Puh-shaw!

Abyssinia, cats!

@JennyPopNet
Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? https://www.amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

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