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!

R2D2, Slave Leias and WonderCon: Happy Valentines Day!

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

Cheers, kittens! I imagine scads of you are reading on your devices whilst trapped amongst the winter remnants of Nor’easter Nemo. Ergo, I shall spare you the complaints of how chilly it is here in San Diego, in February: 56 with a low of 43! Of course, being a ghost, I’m always cold: sunny beach weather or no. (New to this ghostdame concept? My bio will get you up to speed.)

Well, if you’re a geek in love and whether snowbound in Beantown or surfside in Solana Beach, chances are kippy you’re focused on one of two things right now: Valentines Day and/or WonderCon. Should you be fortunate enough to live in Southern California, my Hotel Del, in this year of their 125th anniversary, is hosting the Sweetheart Ball for a mere $125.00/person for dance floor-flanked dining: $100.00/person for the rest of the Crown Room. Get out the red lipstick, your swishiest beaded skirt and those dancing heels, all you hot tomatoes! The Fox Trot is where it’s at this year!

As for WonderCon (Anaheim Convention Center, March 29-31, 2013), if you’re uninitiated, it’s a comic book and pop culture convention similar to Comic-Con International, but smaller, earlier and sans the Gigantor schwag bags. Numbers? According to Publisher’s Weekly, approximately 40K 2012 WonderCon attendees vs. some 130K for SDCC. Historically a San Francisco-based event that prides itself on being more musty comic books than shiny vinyl girls, it has been moved down to Anaheim  for a couple of years to wait out refurbishing of it’s true home, Moscone Center. Planning to head NorCal way once again for 2014, we SoCal geeks are lucky enough to get it one more time this year! It’s a gentle, warming ease into our wackadoo SDCC, like walking gingerly into a mellow surf, as opposed to trouncing into a rough shore break and getting splashed right in your bits and pieces in one go. To boot, it’s walking-distance to Disneyland!

The R2D2 Builders Club at WonderCon Photo: InSapphoWeTrust/flickr

Are you a Northerner missing your WonderCon? Been dying to go, but never get around to it? Curious about why anybody would want to go? No worries, cats! Our very own Dr. Lucy and I will be onsite and covering it covering it for GoodToBeAGeek.com, live from the floor, just for you: Tweets, snaps, gossip and bonkers costumes, all for your enjoyment! If you wonder how well two Cali ghost girls can narrate just such an event, have a peek at our recounting of 2012 San Diego Comic-Con.

Should you kids have anything or anyone specific you’d love us to seek an’ snap, query, interview or just plain stalk at Wondercon, let us know! Tweet us @GoodToBeAGeek, @JennyPopNet or @Eslilay. Lucy shall be at the ready with her EOS Canon Digital Rebel XT and I with my trusty Waterman, analog journal and Android devices. Whilst the guest list isn’t quite as lengthy as SDCC, there is quality in this condensed version: Jane Espenson (Firefly, Buffy, Once Upon a Time), Dean Koontz (legendary horror novelist) Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell (fantasy artist team extraordinaire) just to name a few. In addition, if you’re whacky for Superman, WonderCon is proud to announce the exclusive, world-premiere of DC Universe’s animated flick, Superman: Unbound!

Though it may be on a smaller scale than SDCC, it seems costuming and cosplay are as necessary as ever at WonderCon and Lucy and I shall be joining in the fun. Lucy’s going steampunk again, this time with a wild and cheeky rum-powered top hat. (Yes, you read that correctly!) Moi? No clue, kittens. Check back in March. Hot pink bunny ears might be playing a role, though. Slave Leia is always an option; yet, that might be better suited for the warmer and sunnier climes of Comic-Con in July. Of course, for all you brassy broads with gorgeous getaway sticks, Leia in chains can go a long way in taking the traditional ennui out of St. Valentine’s Day. Zowie!

My Valentines gift to keep you warm, Fair Reader! Photo: Digital_Rampage

Right-o, off to brainstorm some Valentine haunts with Lucy. Nothing’s more romantic than some friendly, midnight, ghostly frights for the guests amidst the hallowed hotel halls of my historic Hotel del Coronado!

Abyssinia, kids!

 

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

Follow @JennyPopNet

Sneak Peek – Syfy’s Being Human Season 3 Premiere

1

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Television

Being Human may have began as Syfy’s adaptation of a popular British series, but it quickly established itself as its own entity. Following a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf who struggled to hold onto their humanity, despite the monsters they have become, the Syfy series has gained a loyal fan following. Starring Meaghan Rath, Sam Witwer and Sam Huntington, respectively, the series has embraced its dark subject matter and created a wonderful balance of sinister deeds and moral turmoil while creating characters the audience can root for. This winning combination finds Being Human ready to capture the imagination of audiences again with tonight’s season 3 premiere as part of Syfy’s “Powerful Mondays” lineup.

 

For a sneak peek of what audiences can expect from season 3, here is a look at the first 4 minutes of tonight’s premiere episode. Tune in to Syfy tonight at 9/8C!

 

 

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

1

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

League of S.T.E.A.M. Targets Hannah & Dr. Lucy: How Rude!

1

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

Kids,  I don’t get too much mail here at The Del. Being dead and all, who’s going to send Moi anything? With the exception of occasional postcards you good pips send me here at the Hotel del Coronado -keep ‘em coming, babies!- mail call is pretty quiet around The Del for yours truly.

Still, along with the odd postcard, and some of them are quite odd, especially those from Texas, I do get unexpected packages once in a blue moon. Today, I received a small, padded envelope with a CD in it. There was no note with it, no greeting, merely a crude marking on the CD itself which read, “Consider yourself warned”.

Jeepers creepers! The return address read only “League of S.T.E.A.M.“!

“Supernatural & Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management, indeed! How rude! I have a right mind to send them a very sternly written letter. However, I am even more of the mind that my online blathering has finally called too much attention to not only myself, but my dear friend Dr. Lucy. It seems to me, we’ve got some ghost hunting types here in the hotel and, what with Hallowe’en fast-approaching, my guess is these steampunk monster hunters are gearing up for Samhain Scandals! Well, they’ll never catch me! Ha ha!

This, btw, is what those real monsters sent me. Pay close attention after the 3:00-mark.
 

 
Damn it, Lucy! I know how much you enjoyed playing with that new EOS Canon Rebel. Still, didn’t I tell you that if we were going to go play at Comic-Con, that we had to lie low? Especially in the SyFy Press Room? As dear old dad, Dr. Harvey, would say, “Oi vey, Lucy!”.

Fortunately, I shall be out of town for the Holidays: home to good ol’ Beantown and spooky Salem, Mass for some Hallowe’en haunting about the Hawthorne Hotel; and, Lucy shall visit her dear Dr. Devorkian up in Napa this All Hallows’ Eve. Let’s see the League of S.T.E.A.M. find us now! (Oh. Wait. Damn it, Hannah!) Well, at least now the League shall have to dispatch their tiresome, hyper-weaponed gnats to New England and Northern California, as well as wherever else their ne’er-do-well activities take them here in Southern California. Shame on them, nettling and tweaking the likes of Lucy and Moi! Funny enough, now those half-portions in Ghost Adventurers and Ghost Hunters International don’t seem so bad.

I think I can take the mook in the visor, but what's with the giant wrenches? Jebus!

Monster hunters take note! Perchance, you are not aware of she with whom you dare to dance! I swing a mean cocktail bag, kittens!

 

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

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

3

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 

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

3

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

Keep Your Phone Booth, Superman: Renaissance Man Has Virgin Mobile

1

Category : Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Literature, Travel

Photo J.S.Devore

So, it was a road trip of rugged proportions. Dr. Lucy, her pet octopus Onslow, my Little Lindy and I finally made it to see the yeti crabs and the ghost octopi of Antarctica! It took some planning, but natch, any road trip does. As far as those energy miles I’d saved up, this trip was a doozy. Sorry, Dr. Harvey & Hildy, your little girl ain’t headed home to Beantown this Christmas. I’m stuck at The Del for a while now. Energy spent or no, our Jules Verne trip into the deep absurd was well worth being pinned here for a while. No worries, though; been to the Hotel del Coronado lately? Not a bad place to spend eternity, Wheat!

As far as the trip down south, try spending two weeks under the sea at some six miles down. Sure, the sea vents are warm. Yet, I think I’ve said it before; when you’re a ghost, you’re always cold. I was just as cold at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean as I am at the hotel pool. The difference in the water is one of speed: water slows us down a bit. There’s also the matter of pressure: 16,000 heady lbs. per sq. inch, if you’re counting. Downright nasty, but in the end just a gnarly headache for we ghosties and worth it for all the curious little creatures we saw down there.

Onslow and Lindy made some friends in the deep and Lucy and I had a cheery old time messing with the “brave” crew of the HMNZS Wellington: a New Zealand tugboat on which we hitched a ride to our final dive spot. Nice folks, but skittish. It’s pretty creepy that far south at sea, even for me. Of course, a little ship haunting kills the time and you’d be shocked at how high a seaman can jump when goosed during a quarterdeck midnight patrol. Ha! Pranks aside, record-depth, deep sea exploration isn’t for everyone. Don’t you mooks try this at home: a sure brodie if you do! Now, if you’re two firecrackers named Richard Branson and James Cameron … what a couple of butter and egg men!

Photo: NOAA

Onslow, meet Sir Richard Branson

 

Now, I know they’re out there, Phillipe Cousteau, the late-Steve Fossett, Benedict Allen, Jane Goodall; but I don’t read about too many renaissance men and women in your modern day. You folks seem to reward and genuflect at the feet of something called a Snookie and a host of any rag-a-muffin who can get themselves on a desert island competition, star on Youtube for nothing more than being a half-portion or sing mildly well in a teensy tube top. Well, who can’t do that? In my day, we had adventurers and record-breakers coming out of our bazooms.

Picture it, 1911 – Yale prof Hiram Bingham discovers the ruins of Machu Picchu. 1922 – Howard Carter and Lord George Carnarvonone unearth the tomb of King Tutankhamen. (Hence, a keen swing in the world of ’20s fashion! Scads of scarab brooches, mummy-linen dresses, golden headwraps, jewelled sandals and loads of pricey travel excursions for the well-heeled into the sandy abyss of the Middle East.)  The Wright Bros. set aloft on the shores of Kitty Hawk in 1903 while Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Elise Deroche all set aviation records in the ’20s and ’30s. (Yes, Little Lindy is named after Charles. She is a San Diego dog, after all.) Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd set the world on fire when he ventured to the South Pole not once, not twice, but thrice from the late-1920s through the early-1940s.

Byrd South Pole expedition Photo: San Diego Air & Space Museum archives

 

More apropos to our own expedition, Beebe & Barton commanded their “bathysphere” to a record-depth of 3,028 feet off Bermuda in 1934; a generation or so later, in 1960, Jacques Piccard piloted his “bathyscaphe” Trieste to a new record-depth of 35,800 feet … in the Mariana Trench. Enter filmmaker James Cameron, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Sir Richard Branson. Cameron and Branson are in a Victorian-styled race to the bottom of the sea, each trying to be the first to reach the depths of the Mariana Trench since 1960 in a solo submersible. The steampunk aesthetic possibilities are endless! Schmidt, apparently, is in on the hunt for deep-sea exploration as well, but with future plans and not part of this competition. Now, Cameron is a clearly a man of repute and impressive feat, holding the No.1 and No.2 top-grossing films, worldwide, in movie history: Titanic and Avatar. He also has a filmography worthy of note … short of George Lucas, of course.

So, yeah. I’ll give ya some modern Indiana Jones types. Still, even in the frenzied age of King Tut-inspired, archaeological dig-holidays, we didn’t even have a pip as smooth n’ juicy as Richard Branson! Zowie! Like a Victorian adventure-novel hero, Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is a melange of The Secret Life of Walter Kitty, Around the World in Eighty Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Pride and Prejudice and Superman … but better.  Ha HA!

Sir Ricahrd Branson, Time 100 Photo: David Shankbone

 

They sure are! Photo: Luis Rivera

His superpower is Capitalism. His kryptonite is specious. It could be kindness, as he agreed to become godfather to a baby born out of a broken Virgin Condom (a product since abandoned); it could be good humour, as he quipped to an Atlantic Exchange audience during a War on Drugs debate, that he’d asked President Obama “for a spliff” at the White House State Dinner for Prime Minister Cameron (David, not James); it could be making G&Ts out of lemons, as he laughed off his failure to traverse the Atlantic via hot-air balloon with a zippy Virgin tag line, “There are better ways to cross the Atlantic”. Whatever Branson’s weakness is, it certainly is not apparent: unless it’s boredom.

The Virgin Atlantic founder, entrepreneur, travel magnate, philanthropist and effervescent billionaire has developed a bevy of Virgin companies and it’s too bonkers to list them all here; so have a look-see here instead. When he’s not marketing at the speed of sound, he’s darting hither and thither about the planet, sans red cape, but in tuxedos, wetsuits, snowsuits and dungarees, all whilst sporting a glorious head of Viking locks. He also keeps company along the way with kick ass flight crews swathed in 1960s chic aviation glamour and with an attention to quality and service not seen outside the old school examples of mid-20thC. Pan Am and TWA. Remember when flying was special and one actually dressed to travel? One did not bring a pillow and wear jim-jams to fly. Ick. Well, I’m pretty certain Sir Branson is sporting neither jim-jams nor a cape at this moment; he is, however, most likely … up there, in the sky!

Bam! He’s saving polar bears with Virgin Unite and legislation by WildAid!

Wham-o! He’s working with Al Gore and the U.K. Parliament to extract methane and carbon from the atmosphere!

Kapow! He’s mentoring Africa’s young with Enterprise Zimbabwe and the Branson School of Entrepreneurship!

Bazinga! He’s trying to legalize cannabis in the U.K.!

Splat! He produced the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, was imprisoned for printing the phrase Nevermind the Bollocks, found a priest to testify for him that Bollocks was indeed not a profanity, but slang for an 18thC. man o’ the cloth and …

Kablam! Twenty-five years thereafter he was knighted by the well-saved Queen herself! Hell-ooo, Sir Richard Branson!

Photo: Katherine Johnson

 

Superman might have nice pecs and a cute head of shoe polish. He might even be able to reverse the rotation of the Earth and turn back time. For this hot patootie, the Earth spinny thing is all he’s got on Sir Branson, a.k.a. Renaissanceman. Yeah, yeah. I know some of you Superman fans, and I can hear the tickety-tackety of corrections and complaints now. You go right ahead, Comic Book Guy. I’ll still wager Branson’s a greater superhero than Superman any day of the week. First of all, he’s real. Of course, Renaissanceman is also a total mensch.

I’ll bet when he sees poor Superman flying around out there without any Wi-Fi, without any Virgin Red media, without any of Virgin’s signature airport Chauffeur Transfer Services, he’ll give Superman a ride anywhere he needs to go … via his aces keen Virgin Galactic starship! Cheer up, Superman. There can be only one.

Need a lift, Superman? Photo: PD OMara

 

Hold everything! Superman, you may be out of luck on that hitchhiking thing … Ashton Kutcher just bought the 500th Virgin Galactic ticket, at 250,000.00USD, no less. Murder! Sorry, babe. Hey, maybe you can reverse the Earth’s rotation and buy that last ticket before Ashton gets it. Too slow, Superman. Just too slow.

Abyssinia, cats!

 

Looking for more Hannah Hart rants, kids? Here I am! Find me @JennyPopNet, too.

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? https://www.amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jenniferdevore.blogspot.com

Mr. Dickens, Meet Mr. Twain. Miss Hannah, Meet Mr. Spock. Agt. Scully, Meet Mr. Dickens.

2

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

Greetings and salutations, cats! Gorgeous winter days still on the San Diego coast. So lovely, in fact, Dr. Lucy, Little Lindy and I have been whizzing around Coronado Isle in a juicy little breezer some wheat left running outside The Del. Fellow ghosties, want to cause some trouble? If you can get out of your haunt -I can for short bursts- snag a convertible, throw on a scarf and buzz the burg. Coppers won’t know from nothing when they see an empty flivver with nothing but fluttering silk flying down the flug! If you can get to a casino in that breezer for a little hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps (a separate, sipping glass for the schnapps) over a hand or two of invisible poker, even better!

Note to all wheats: don't leave it running! Photo: J.S. Devore

Speaking of winter and wagers, I’ll bet more than a few of you reading this are winter babies. The birthday season is as bonkers as the Hollywood awards season right now! I’m guessing Spring Fever manifests itself in more than just a good dusting and cleaning. A little May Day barney-mugging, anyone? Zowie!

Walt Disney, Woody Allen, Edgar Allen Poe,  James Joyce, John Steinbeck, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and funny enough, apropos to my situation, both Charles Lindbergh and one Miss Ida Lupino -that hoofer being the reason I’m here at The Del forever- share a February 4th birthday. As monumental, literary birthdays go though, today marks a doozy: the bicentenary of the midnight birth of one Charles John Huffman Dickens. All the world has its knickers in a bunch over this one, Dr. Lucy and Moi included. We’ve been up since the midnight hour celebrating and let me tell you, Lucy’s knickers are in more than a bunch; she’s plum in love with Mr. Dickens! She’s just bonkers for anything Victorian, has read The Old Curiosity Shop nearly a hundred times and has decided to head back home, up San Francisco way, this Christmas to partake in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party, in full costume of course. She’s also trying to revive the practice of mutton chops. Few have the personality and the face to pull off the fluffy, Victorian sideburn; but those who can, should!

Sorry, Lucy. He’s taken. Photo: J.S.Devore
As it happens, Dr. Lucy’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Highmore & Hazel Devereaux of San Francisco, were quite the lucky ducks and actually attended a public reading by Charles Dickens himself in 1868, during his second U.S. reading tour, at Steinway Hall in New York! What’s the topper to that? They were seated right next to one Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain at the theater! According to Lucy, to this day Highmore & Hazel still regale the tale of the Big Apple Happenin’s to anyone whom will listen. Wouldn’t you? Mark Twain and Charles Dickens in one go? Wild stuff! Twain found Dickens’ oration remarkable enough to write about and the San Francisco Alta California found that account interesting enough to publish. Lucy’s dapper pop has saved his copy ever since and still reads dramatically from it at all social gatherings.

 

Quoth Twain of Dickens:

 

He strode — in the most English way and exhibiting the most English general style and appearance — straight across the broad stage, heedless of everything, unconscious of everybody, turning neither to the right nor the left — but striding eagerly straight ahead, as if he had seen a girl he knew turn the next corner. He brought up handsomely in the centre and faced the opera glasses. His pictures are hardly handsome, and he, like everybody else, is less handsome than his pictures. That fashion he has of brushing his hair and goatee so resolutely forward gives him a comical Scotch-terrier look about the face, which is rather heightened than otherwise by his portentous dignity and gravity. But that queer old head took on a sort of beauty, bye and bye, and a fascinating interest, as I thought of the wonderful mechanism within it, the complex but exquisitely adjusted machinery that could create men and women, and put the breath of life into them and alter all their ways and actions, elevate them, degrade them, murder them, marry them, conduct them through good and evil, through joy and sorrow, on their long march from the cradle to the grave, and never lose its godship over them, never make a mistake! I almost imagined I could see the wheels and pulleys work. This was Dickens — Dickens.

"That fashion he has of brushing his hair and goatee so resolutely forward gives him a comical Scotch-terrier look about the face." -Mark Twain Charles Dickens Photo: U.S. Nat'l Archives

If you read Twain’s entire account, you’ll note he wasn’t nearly as taken with Dickens’ delivery as he was with his attaboy writing: Mr. Dickens’ reading is rather monotonous, as a general thing; his voice is husky; his pathos is only the beautiful pathos of his language — there is no heart, no feeling in it — it is glittering frostwork.

Orating the written word is, in my experience, a difficult act to undertake, and endure. Ever listen to NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac? That’s some tough gum to chew! No matter how jazzy the wordsmithing, it’s meant to be read silently or performed, not taken as a dry recitation, like a spoonful of cinnamon, and especially not by the writers themselves. Very few can do justice to their own bon mots. Funny story, in fact, if not loosely related.

I floated myself up to the City of Angels one evening back in the early-Naughties for a celebrity, short-story reading at The Getty Center.  A week-long event, I chose to attend the night that the cat’s pajamas of cerebral celebs was reading: Leonard Nimoy! Well, wouldn’t you know it? I got there, looking smashing in a chiffon, beaded Nikki tea dress, feathered headband and hot pink ankle booties, and that darned management had changed the line-up: John Lithgow would now be reading selections. Selections from what, I can’t recall. Now, I do love me some John Lithgow, but I was there for Spock and anyone who tends to sign off their texts, tweets and jaw-flapping with an LLAP knows Lithgow just won’t do when Nimoy is in one’s sights. (Sorry, Dr. Solomon.)

Already in Brentwood and not about to turn down free museum booze, I settled contentedly into an empty seat in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium … until a plump Betty with a nasty, Rachel Maddow, barber cut came and sat on me. (Ghost tip: never arrive too early for public functions. Wait until curtain for a truly empty seat.) Once I was finally nestled in my own plush, velvet cushion and Lithgow commenced to orate, I became raw-ther bored, raw-ther quickly. Scanning the hall for this n’ that, I saw what a sartorial mess L.A. can be. Sure, there were a few snazzy twists out there, dolled up in their glad rags; but there were also a lot of slugburgers. Gentlemen, jeans and tees, no matter how expensive or in vogue, are not appropriate evening wear … even just to listen to someone read.

Nimoy at the Sheraton Yankee Clipper Ft. Lauderdale. Even in the '70s, decidedly not a slugburger! Photo: FL State Archives

Anyhoo, as I was marveling at some woman’s long overdue, salt-and-pepper roots, another noggin caught my peripheral vision: a closely buzzed, peach fuzzy head of sharp and intelligent proportions. Lo and behold, in the row below me and three seats to my left sat Mr. Leonard Nimoy! Applesauce! I was done for! I spent the rest of the night sitting on the lap of some boorish, old, art history wanker from U.S.C. (Lucky him and he didn’t even know it!) and rubbing Spock’s skull with my flat hand and breathing lightly into his ears: not pointed in real life. He never even twitched, by the way. That is one cool butter n’ egg man!

Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock Photo: BBC

So, long way around … Happy 200th Birthday, Mr. Dickens! Dr. Lucy, Little Lindy and I have been celebrating the birth of your brain since the stroke of midnight this February 7th, starting with a Netflix marathon of the BBC production of Bleak House with Gillian Anderson, a.k.a. Agent Scully. Talk about a snazzy twist! We followed that up with a version of Nicholas Nickleby featuring the resplendent and beauteous Anne Hathaway and the modernized iteration of Great Expectations with the ever-regal Gwenyth Paltrow. Tonight, we shall wrap up your filmic fete with an Old Hollywood viewing event: A Tale of Two Cities and Mystery of Edwin Drood, both 1935 productions. We shall end the night honouring you, the man whom once took the pseudonym of Boz (Who uses pseudonyms, anyhoo?) with what Lucy and I equally believe to be the single greatest testament and flattery to your remarkable chef d’oeuvres: A Muppet Christmas Carol!

Thank you for letting me be a part of this!  -Rizzo, A Muppet Christmas Carol

Abyssinia, cats!

 

Love Leonard Nimoy, too? Send Hannah a happy LLAP @JennyPopNet!

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? https://www.amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jenniferdevore.blogspot.com

Zowie! Up in the Sky! It’s a Dork, it’s a Nerd, it’s a Geek … it’s Superwonk!

3

Category : Entertain Me, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Movies, Travel

Ciao, dolls! Still waiting to scram Antarctic way with Dr. Lucy and Onslow to see the yeti crabs and the ghost octopi. We’ve got some gum in the works; however, getting my Little Lindy into her astral plane carrier.

Little Lindy, ghostdog of the Hotel del Coronado

 

Sure, she’s a docile cottonball, but that little nutter needs to be confined to a conveyance when travelling. Making it all the more difficult, she’s a ghost like Moi, and is all the more flighty for it. Think Jack Skellington’s faithful Zero of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, but black. Dr. Harvey & Hildy (Mum and Dad) babysat her once; took her with them to Prince Edward Island, they did. The minute they hit the Charlottetown Harbour, Lindy was off like a new bride’s nightie. To allay the issue of a possible runaway, Dr. Lucy is currently devising a GPS for her: Ghost Pinpoint System. It’s a tricky bit and involves crystals. So, until we can lure Lindy into her carrier and Lucy can develop a viable crystal-enhanced tracking device, I’m just waiting in my turret room here at my beautiful Hotel Del and Lindy’s chasing sea gulls around the property.

 

Meanwhile, cats, I’m taking this extra time to research those early, frosty, ice-or-bust explorers, including watching any films I can on the snowbound set: 1934 Klondike Annie with Mae West and Robert Flaherty’s 1922 documentary Nanook of the North. Zowie! The Eskimo life is not for this vegetarian! Not to mention the lion’s share of the flicker was funded by a French furrier company. Yikes! I’ve also been reading loads of books on Adm. Richard E. Byrd and his 1930s, modern, mechanical migration southward: aerial cameras, airplanes, communications resources. Murder! This was no shot in the dark expedition! Thankfully, my travelling companions and I don’t need all that and furthermore, thankfully we’re all already dead; I’d hate to perish, stranded and starving on the ice. Of course, if I can look as wham-o, hubba-hubba as Vivien Leigh, all dolled up in faux furs and Max Factor,  in the 1935 Anna Karenina when they find my corps, aces!

 

As I’ve been researching our trip, I’ve also come across loads of totally unrelated, kooky info as I’ve been led astray via so many tentacles online, as one is wont to do. I’ve noted a phenomenon that wasn’t around at all in my day: geek culture. In the 1930s, nerds and geeks were of a certain intellectual class and not at all common. They were like Samoans; you might know someone who knows one and that was pretty cool. Nerds were easily identifiable by sector, industry and eye wear. The thick glasses and pocket protectors were a necessity, not a fashion statement akin to white earbuds, pork pie hats and skinny jeans on men. Ick, btw. (Gents, if you can wear skinny jeans … don’t. You look like junior high school girls and, anthropologically speaking, grown up tomatoes are not looking for gentlemen whom look like boys whom look like little girls. Just a note.)

 

Nerds and geeks were strictly born out of science, math, computer, space and there was also the occasional G-man.  They were the burdened heroes and pioneers of modern medicine, communications, burgeoning space programs and Cold War warriors in sensible shoes and $4 crew cuts. The most pedestrian of them were math majors and chemistry professors. Part of their appeal, guys or dolls, was that they were remarkable, unorthodox and weirdly marvelous. Geeks and nerds were like nobody else and you knew if you stood next to them at a cocktail party, you’d hear some bonkers stories, usually involving Bunsen burners, photons and nematodes. Ha! By the by, I know some will say there’s a vast difference amongst the labels geek, dork and nerd. Etymologically-speaking there is (see definitions below); culturally, not really.

 

Hint: front row/French Club holds a dork with published historical-literature and a geek whom develops serious intelligence technology. I've said too much.

 

Today, everyone is a geekoid. To be one is to voluntarily join a pithy club, complete with tech-themed clubs with names like Djørk, overpriced consumer-grade accessories available from your local Mapple “genius” (Seriously? Genius is now discounted?) and a monstrously lucrative industry growing around the need for all said-geeks to gather in a convention hall multiple times a year. Of course, if you’re a Goodluck Gander, the club also comes with a small but swell selection hot mamas with a hankering for quants and policy wonks. Here’s the kibosh, though. If everyone is a dork, nerd, geek or dweeb of some sort … is it really as unconventional and novel as one thinks? Further, if everyone is on the guest list, who’s left outside? The real ones, the true intellectuals and experts are like Superwonks; so deep into and dedicated to their fields, like Bill Gates and Dr. Michio Kaku, they could care less what they’re labeled and probably don’t care what color their earbuds are.

From what I can tell, geek is now partnered with just about any hobby, career or obsession known to mankind: orchestra geeks (known as orch dorks), pep club geeks, comic geeks, science geeks, math geeks, music geeks, fashion geeks, retro geeks, car geeks, goth geeks (just goth, please), ghost geeks, film geeks, TV geeks, gamer geeks, history geeks, book geeks, grammar geeks, sci-fi geeks, fantasy geeks, role-playing geeks, Faire geeks, cosplay geeks, Disney geeks, chess geeks and so many more. Who’s left? Jocks, professional fishermen, Wall Streeters, Prince William and 10thC. vikings may be the only folks left whom don’t categorize themselves as geeks.

 

Now, Webster’s will describe a geek as:

1. a computer expert or enthusiast;
2. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual;
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken. (The real definition in my day … not a proud claim!)

 

Nerd as:
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person;

2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.

 

Dork as:
1. a silly, out-of-touch person who tends to look odd or behave ridiculously around others; a social misfit;
2. Vulgar/penis (Zowie!).

 

Good Noah also lists all interchangeably as synonyms: incl. such derisive terms as  jerk, schmo, grind and swot.

 

Guilty! Devore: what a dork

Happily, the flip-side to the fad is said-terms have become less hateful and derogatory. To wit, my dear pally Jennifer Susannah Devore, a self-professed history/film & TV/Disney geek, might be part of the problem. How much blame she shoulders, I shall not say. She has, however, taken the very geeky effort to compose a list of things White & Nerdy people like. Her original post on the matter is an homage to Christian Lander, the original Stuff White People Like creator, and can be read in full at her highly-popular-in-Russia-Germany-and-Finland site: Of Course, What Do I Know?

 

Check the list below, wheats. Are you White & Nerdy? Ask yourself before you toss around terms like geek, dork and nerd so willy-nilly … Am I really White & Nerdy? If so, own it. If not, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

 

White & Nerdy? I give you their King and Queen.

Stuff White & Nerdy People Like (In no particular order)

  • Comic Con (What kind of W&N would my pally Jen be if she hadn’t been published in the official Comic Con book?)
  • The Big Bang Theory (incl. memorizing the Barenaked Ladies’ theme song)
  • CNNGeekOut blog
  • Geology
  • Robots
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Steve Martin
  • Sci-fi and fantasy novels with anthropomorphic animals
  • Weezer
  • NASA
  • SyFy Channel
  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock (no Googling the rules – either you know it or you don’t)
  • Periodic Table of the Elements (Fun idea: claim a corr. birthday element, if you find numerals offensive)
  • Crafting historical and theatrical alter egos (incl. learning Elizabethan English, Klingon, swordplay, spells, etc.)
  • Wired magazine
  • Swedish Fish
  • Michael Cera
  • Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Action figures
  • Weird Al Yankovic
  • Notating in journals (yes, ye olde quill to parchment) and memorizing things like Pi, Drake Equation, hierarchy of performance art, accurate recall of the British monarchy since 1066, etc. 
  • Making and wearing costumes
  • Using “one” as opposed to “you” or “I”
  • Lunchboxes
  • George Noory
  • Grant Morrison, Supergods (You doth rock, Sir … dig the accent, too!)
  • UFOs
  • Ghost Hunters (not Ghost Adventurers … there is a difference)
  • Bigfoot
  • George Lucas
  • Skywalker Ranch
  • Mystery Science Theater 3K
  • Disneyland
  • The X-Files
  • Renaissance Faire
  • Semi-audible snorts of derision
  • Jokes involving German, Austrian or Swiss scientists
  • Bill Gates
  • Reminding people Bill Gates saved Steve Jobs and Apple from oblivion with 150 million cabbages
  • Jokes involving Windows Vista, DOS, neutrons or nematodes
  • The IT Crowd
  • Microsoft
  • Microsoft-blue button downs
  • Any and all digital media
  • Fry’s Electronics
  • Roku
  • Hello Kitty
  • T-shirts with math or code humour (skeletal humour works, too, as in “I find this humerus”)
  • Goths (Yet, we also like the originals: roaming Visigoths & Ostrogoths of the Roman Empire)
  • Voyager Golden Record
  • The Simpsons
  • Comics
  • Comic books (yes, they are different)
  • Animation
  • Saying Linux
  • American Dad!
  • Historical- and/or technical-inaccuracies of any kind (so we can first laugh, then correct them)
  • Bad grammar (ditto)
  • George Will
  • Dictionaries
  • Peppering conversation with foreign language-bon mots
  • Shot-for-shot remakes (exclnt ex: Opening sequence to Indiana Jones I, stop-motion w/Hasbro figures)
  • Memorizing, then sporadically reciting, TV and movie quotes (incl. full dialogues with multiple characters)
  • Role-playing
  • Acquiring movie props (incl. the front-end of a film reel, cut and tossed, from an X-Files episode)
  • Complaining about tech support
  • Making lists

Did my pally omit anything? Let her know @JennyPopNet because I’m off to Antarctica!

 

Abyssinia at the South Pole, cats!

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? https://www.amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jenniferdevore.blogspot.com

Red Wine? Check. Candles? Check. Priest? Check. Season Two of American Horror Story? Check?

2

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Reviews, Television

SAG Awards Update to American Horror Story post: January 29, 2012

Ditto, what I wrote below about the Golden Globes, including the part about Dr. Lucy and me having Kir Royales and watching the 18th Annual SAG Awards in our Hotel Del. Additionally, Miss Jessica Lange just scooped Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Drama Series for her role as Constance Langdon in FX’s American Horror Story. Brava, Ms. Lange!

Golden Globe Update to American Horror Story post: January 15, 2012
Some of you cats may have preconceived notions of us ghosties. Well, listen up, Wheat. As much as it pains me to say, we are not prescient, we do not have extrasensory perception (ESP); we can neither see into nor predict the future. We are just like you, except we can travel with preternatural speed and levity, can pinch wine from the bar and blame it on the night crew, and have remarkably long histories. Just like you, we also watch Hollywood awards shows and have gut-feelings and strong opinions about whom will take home what. (Dr. Lucy and I are enjoying the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards a ce moment inside my turret room at the Hotel Del. Kir Royales, anyone?) As it behooves the following piece, the legendary Jessica Lange did indeed earn a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress/TV for her role as Constance Langdon on FX’s American Horror Story. Jessica Lange praises American Horror Story writers [at the Globes], saying, “More than anything, I want to thank the writers, because I find it more and more rare, or rarer, every year to find a piece of work that is really beautifully written, and gives you something to do.”, according to CNN Showbiz journalist David Daniel @CNNLADavid. Congratulations and well done, Ms. Lange!

Ciao, dolls! Now that the holidays and the New Year hangovers have settled, Dr. Lucy and I have mellowed back into our very fine grooves, haunting our lovely Hotel Del. Although, some of the staff and their common manners are severely lacking as of late, odd for such a hallmark in the world of service: P.R. department in particular. I think we might have some fun with them in these quiet days of January. My pally in the elevator, Edward, may be able to help us offer up a scare or two even. Going down? What fun for winter boredom!

Edward, to the roof! Photo: J.S.Devore

In the meanwhile, babies, I’ve been making keen use of my Christmas Kindle and watching loads of, not just Ghost Hunters, Midsomer Murders and Warehouse 13, but a new fave: American Horror Story. Not since The X-Files or late night shoots with Errol Flynn have I looked more forward to moonlight. Not to mention watching on a night like this: Friday the 13th! Murder! (You don’t suffer from triskaidekaphobia, do you? Silly kittens!)

Also, not unlike The X-Files and the original swashbuckler, this horror story simply cannot be thoroughly enjoyed during daylight hours and is best not attempted without a bottle of red or, at the very least, a Washington martini (gin-soaked, filthy and with three fat olives: each representing the three branches of government … you do know those, don’t you?).

 

Not since Errol Flynn ... well. Oh, Johnny! When will you visit us at The Del? Photo: George Beahm

Not for the spiritually or visually squeamish, and you cats know I’m neither, AHS is a satisfying, ocular cocktail with equal parts Hitchcock suspense, unsettling 1930s carnival freakshow, vintage L.A. funk and scads of sexual oddities: all with just enough shock-and-awe to coat the glass and remind you it might be television, but it’s definitely cable. Zowie! (Standards and Practices aren’t the wet blankets they were in my day, are they?!)

Naturally, as with too many wicked-smaht series running amuck in TV’s own dead house à la The Others (Arrested Development, for one glaring example), there is a universal fear, as great as that of coming face-to-face with James Carville in an abandoned cabin in the Maine woods -egad!- , that Middle America might not tolerate the Golden Globe-nominated for Best Drama Series for TV American Horror Story with the same religious devotion as some of we Coasters do. Although, Season Two is already in high gear and I await anxiously the return of my fave Haunted Mansion, north of Anaheim at any rate.

Screaming for a swell, club-mix soundtrack infused with Rage Against the Machine, The Smiths, Marilyn Manson and maybe a touch of Beastie Boys for the lighter, bouncier freak fare, AHS punches up more stomach-jarring drops and reality jolts into darkness than a Wright Brothers’ transatlantic Red Eye. With enough characters and flashbacks to rival a time-travel, Celtic fantasy novel, the oft comic-noir (to those of us with a taste for gallows humor), bloody series invites us into a veritable palace of the dead, the 10K sq. ft. 1908 Rosenheim Mansion in L.A.’s posh Hancock Park, and proves that the afterlife, much like alcohol and fame, merely magnifies personality traits, and billable disorders.

Rosenheim Horror House, Hancock Park, L.A. Photo: Loren Javier

Guided by the chilly, blue hands of the curious brains behind the likes of Nip/Tuck, Entourage, The X-Files (natch), Dollhouse, Midnight Cowboy, Glee, Roswell and even true horror entertainment like ABC’s The Bachelor and the Julia Roberts feature Eat, Pray, Love, we are led into a Green Room, hovering type of existence populated with far too much relationship muck and back-stabbing, literally, to even attempt a back story here. Suffice it to say the lead male is a psychologist treating patients, living, undead and otherwise, in his haunted home. Red flag, babies! Not since Alan Thicke’s Dr. Seaver on Growing Pains was there a more obtuse shrink. Dr. Ben Harmon, however, may top the charts. Played beautifully, aesthetically as well as dramatically, by the very fine Dylan McDermott, his man foibles are almost forgivable, almost … until his potently sympathetic family (Boston transplants like me!) comprised of wife Vivien, daughter Violet, and their precious pup Hallie Harmon, plead with you not to be so quick to alleviate his guilt. Not to be bested on any facet, though, is the phenomenal, SAG- and Golden Globe-nominated Jessica Lange.

Part Designing Women‘s Julia Sugarbaker and part 1980′s Nancy Reagan, Jessica Lange’s Constance Langdon is as icily polite and hospitably, politically incorrect as a 1960s Virginia country club conceding to diversity applicants. She’s an utter pleasure on-screen and, with apologies to a very worthy cast, carries the show on her regal shoulders. I shudder to think what might happen were she to bail. With an upper middle-class ’60s sensibility and a coiffure that is almost certainly wrapped and pinned in bathroom tissue each night, she bakes up delightfully toxic pleasantries in an accent far more suited to the drooping humidity of a Richmond summer than to the bright and shiny California climes where she finds herself and her spectral, wastrel wards forever more. So unnerving, arresting and dead-on is her FFV (First Family of Virginia) demeanor, and trust me, I know a few by which to judge, one just might partake in one of her pretty, rat poison cupcakes served up with coffee, lest Constance takes note of one’s lacking, social graces.

Now, my take on the afterlife is that it’s simply divine. Of course, I met my demise in the Hotel del Coronado, so I get to spend eternity with room service, a poolside bar and pricey gift shops galore. The bee’s knees, I tell ya!  I do have the “dresses on a dead girl” issue and the poor etiquette of the hotel’s P.R. people who just blow my wig at every turn, but that’s all manageable, if not terribly easy or amusing. Whatever your take on death is, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, or forever reside where you died, I think we all might agree, dead or alive, on a given opinion.

Like reality TV, take Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for a glittering example, American Horror Story is aces fun to watch; but, my afterlife reality is sheer, smooth bliss. If you find yourself in an AHS afterlife situation, you have to ask yourself, What did I do to get here? and How the Hell do I get out? Until then, get your wine, light your candles and have your priest on speed dial … just in case.

Not a bad eternity, if I do say so myself! Even in winter.

Abyssinia the afterlife, cats!

 

For more Hannah Hart, search my name in the GTBAG search bar or visit www.amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Love dishing about #AmericanHorrorStory? So does @JennyPopNet !

Home for the Holidays: Stale Pecans, Dial-up and Girlie Martinis

5

Category : Geek Out, Holiday, Travel

Ah, home for the holidays! It’s a dilly of a time to throw your hands up and be the kid again: no responsibilities, no worries, no tasks, no requirements. Just sit back on the old brocade divan and wait for Mom to bring you bonbons and eggnog, your older brother to slip you a sawbuck or two (plus some extra whiskey in your nog) and for Daddy to question you about what you’re doing with your money. For my part, Daddy’s been asking me the same question for decades and I’ve been giving him the same answer. “Why, it’s all in my closet, right where it belongs, Daddy-O!”

 

Dr. Harvey and Mrs. Hildy
Dr. Harvey & Hildy, Mum & Daddy: pre-astral flying

Now, my parents are total dolls and the greatest pair of folks you’ll ever meet. Still, even I have to shake them after a few days or risk going total ding-a-ling. Natch, they’re dead as door nails, too: Dr. Harvey Hart and his missus, Hildy of Boston. I’ve been in San Diego since the early-1930s and we’ve all been dead since not too long thereafter; yet, for nearly a century nothing’s changed. Do Harvey & Hildy fly out to San Diego? Rarely. My big brother Hugh still haunts Boston, so I guess that’s fair. Still, I live in the Hotel del Coronado, who wouldn’t want to come visit, especially at Christmastime? They live in Beacon Hill and sure, it’s lovely there; but it’s lovelier here. I’d bet all you cats my collection of feathered headbands that you’re the ones piling in the ol’ tin cans and hitting the roads, too.

 

 

Hotel del Coronado c. 1920s
Who wouldn’t astral project to stay here?

 

It’s supposed to be darn cold this Christmas in Boston. Seems like it’s always cold in Boston and that’s why I made like a baby and headed out of there, getting myself to sunny California. Plus, I wanted to get into moving pictures. Did some good stuff, too. Ever see Gold Diggers of 1933? Yep, that’s me in the back, the one high-kicking in the sequined bathing suit. Nice gig, but Joan Blondell stole my part. That cement mixer couldn’t dance to save her life. I should have had the lead. That’s all right ‘cause she had to put up with that octopus director. That crumb had more moves than a Mayflower truck. I digress.

So, like a lot of you, I’m homeward bound and it’s a big deal! See, as ghosts we only get a couple of times a year when we can leave our haunts. It takes a lot of energy to travel; so, we save up our strength, pretty much like you save up your cabbage, and hit the astral planes. It’s exhausting and can take all day to get across this great big country. Sure, it’s easier than enduring one of your modern flights, but it’s still arduous. (I won’t say your Alec Baldwin was wholly correct in his actions, but from what I’ve seen of your contemporary stewardesses -sorry, flight attendants- I won’t knock him either. Yes, I follow Twitter @JennyPopNet. My grandmother was a Victorian, not me!)

Once the travel day is over and we’re Home Sweet Home, it’s a cozy and comfy class act with little to do except eat, drink and exchange pressies. Cocooning at home plate can be a sweet dish, but it can also come with drawbacks, like forgoing some of those modern conveniences you dig everyday … including the Internet. Wacky, right? It’s true, Chuck! Some of you are getting a Christmas sans Internet. Some parents and grandparents never got the memo, as you say. Some dingbats had it at one time, then canceled their connection. Murder! Talk about blowing one’s wig!

 

You think you have it bad, being forced to watch Cash Cab and House marathons, try watching your parents foxtrot around the parlor. Dr. Harvey & Hildy are still listening to their old Victrola and beeswax cylinders, making me sit through verse after verse of Glow-Worm (in German!), Yale Boola! and The Bird on Nellie’s Hat and look at the same stereoviews I’ve seen for decades. Bonkers! Don’t worry, fair friends; there are solutions. Yes, most include gin. Ever have a Girlie Martini? No, not Dita von Teese in a martini glass … although, yum! A Girlie is equal parts champagne, vodka, a splash of vermouth and a maraschino cherry. Christmas is an excellent time for just such a zinger!

 

Now, haunting an upscale hotel, I am privy to a plethora of traveling media and whilst you’ll need, at the very least, cell phone connectivity back home – even great-aunt Gert has that – you should be able to rough it with enough entertainment to keep your visit as smooth as eggs in coffee. Slingbox, from what I can tell, is the cat’s meow in portable media. Although, I have to say it amuses me to watch folks squinting at tiny screens, shielding them from the sun to watch their television and films. Eavesdropping poolside on one fellow, I got the low down as he explained how he was streaming Adult Swim live to a curious, fellow traveler. (Note to readers: I know with whom I’m dealing and trust me, I’m not trying to school you on gadgetry. All you alligators know how to find out more.)

So, this guy’s got this Slingbox gadget hooked up to his television and a router back at home. On the road, he just opens his Slingbox app and watches the same junk he’d watch at home. Seems keen to me, except that this mook is missing the whole point of being poolside in San Diego: sweet patooties and hot mamas! Of course, if he wants to watch Robot Chicken instead of a kitten with a great set of get away sticks, I give up.

 

Coronado Girls
Can your Slingbox do this?!

 

If you really can’t handle the local news and the drunken rants of Kathie Lee and Hoda urge you to make tracks, watching one more parental tango or hearing your older brother tell that ring-a-ding-ding sailboat story one more time, then look into a Slingbox or the PlayOn DVR before you go Looney Tunes with a Tommy on the whole fam. Otherwise, as long as you’ve got your smartphones, headphones, tablets and laptops and as long as they’re stuffed with downloads and mp3s and you’ve got just enough cell phone connectivity or wi-fi to stream some Netflix or Hulu, you should be able to rough it in Kingwood, TX, Sagamore Beach, MA, Richmond, VA, Bakersfield, CA, Jackson Hole, WY, Bloomfield, NM or from wherever your tribe hails.

In the end, try to remember it’s family time. If sitting in the tiny house your nonagenarian great-uncle has lived in since the Great War and consistently heats to eighty-eight degrees, with a roaring fireplace and when he refuses to turn on the T.V., even though it’s sitting right there, or the radio or even the old phonograph and it’s just you, him and your parents sitting around in the sweltering silence, staring at each other and eating bowls of stale nuts and hard candy …. well, that’s just family time. Drink your Girlie Martini, your Guinness, your I.P.A. or your Coppola wine, suck on a pecan and appreciate it in all its absurdity. Ding! Oh, well speak of the Devil, it’s an email from Hildy …  see you cats later!

Happy Holidays!

Review – Syfy’s Being Human Season 1 Finale “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Me Killing You”

Category : Entertain Me, Reviews, Television

Erin Willard reviews Being Human airing on SyFy. SyFy takes on the hit UK show about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living together as they attempt to keep hold of their humanity in this re-imagining.

 

 

Being Human airs Mondays at 9pm ET on SyFy.
Exclusive content and downloads at http://www.SyFy.com/BeingHuman

 

Good.  A good finish to a generally excellent rookie season for this reimagining of the UK original.  It lacked the excitement of the antepenultimate episode (that’s two episodes ago, kids), the gut-wrenching emotion of the episode prior to that, and the sheer joy of listening to great lines from the episode prior to that.  In other words, it got better and better, then less so, but then finally wrapped up nicely.

I’m not exactly sure why they brought Aidan to the hospital when all they needed was blood, especially since he would have been – ironically, given the attack – generally safer at home, it being unlikely that Bishop would want to undergo a second scorching.  The hospital setting, however, was clearly required, since it was the best way to bring in Celine and Nora and to allow Bishop to see that Aidan had survived.

I am pleased that they did indeed have a use for Celine in this episode.  If you read my review of last week’s episode you’ll recall I did say that I hoped her storyline was introduced for a reason at that point in the season, but that I was going to trust the writers.  I am SO pleased that the faith was well-placed.  Her offering of herself helped to strengthen Aidan physically, just as her telling the story of what Bishop had done to her helped to strengthen Aidan psychologically.  And it made a great deal of sense that she would offer herself, not only because she was terminal, but because Bishop had seen her in the hospital and would now likely punish her by attacking her family.

So Bishop’s punishment for entering Aidan’s home without invitation was being burned in much the same way that vamps burn in sunlight in other interpretations of vamp lore.  That was a nice touch.  Maybe I’m an idiot, but I only just realized that the reason Bishop attacked the police officer was because he needed live blood to heal, just as Aidan did.  Silly me, I thought Bishop was just being cranky.

It was great that Aidan and Bishop were allowed to actually fight it out, though I was distracted by the stop-action style of the scene; it felt cheesy to me.  Still, pretty cool ending.  I love that Sally was there and tried to help, and actually did help by distracting Bishop long enough for Aidan to get the jump on him.  And show of hands, how many thought Aidan was just choking Bishop?  My hand is raised; I was thinking – what the heck?  Choking won’t kill him!  Right up until his head came off…  Really well done.

How wonderful that the episode led up to a battle that they all at least intended to join.  Josh’s being locked out – or literally, locked in – was a huge kindness to him by Aidan.  Josh very likely would have won that battle, as the lore in this series is that vampires almost always beat werewolves in a fight UNLESS it’s the full moon, when werewolves would almost always win.  But that would add one more kill to Josh’s tally, and as Josh told Sally in the last episode, you don’t want death on your hands if you can avoid it, there’s no getting over it.  Besides, Aidan needed to finally and permanently break with Bishop and all that he stood for.  Aidan’s line to Josh and Sally beautifully summed up his regret that they were involved at all.  “This should have happened lifetimes ago, and I am truly sorry that it had to happen during yours.”

Looks like Josh’s lockout was a sort of good news/bad news thing for Nora.  The good news is that she now knows Josh’s secret, and she is in fact wonderful about it.  And come on, how adorable was Josh’s furry face under the door?  It was further good news that Josh was alive to learn that Nora had a miscarriage (presumably because of the full moon) and was able to be with her once he had recovered.  The bad news was, of course, that one, JOSH IS A WEREWOLF, two, she had a miscarriage because JOSH IS A WEREWOLF, and three, she may now have been infected by Josh because he scratched her when he was a werewolf because JOSH IS A WEREWOLF.  Seriously, I was kind of expecting a bigger response from her to the fact that her lover is a werewolf.  A WEREWOLF.  I know she’s a nurse and has seen a lot, but COME ON.  And it was lovely that she said it didn’t matter that he didn’t tell her, that she wouldn’t have believed him, but again, COME ON.  Does no one think there was a possibility that little baby Lupin or Lupine might have CLAWED ITS WAY OUT OF HER WOMB?  Just a thought.  I’m happy that she survived, and that they don’t have to deal with what might have happened, as they will likely to have plenty to deal with as a new couple anyway.  I like them together, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops next season.

Speaking of things I liked, I really liked Sally this episode.  She was very – sorry – real.  Her interactions with Josh and with Aidan were comfortable, sincere, honest, genuine, true to character, not whiny, and totally natural.  Like someone I’d love to meet at Starbucks so we could catch up.  When she made the suggestion to Josh that he take on Bishop, she wasn’t desperately freaking out like she was when she was trying to get Josh saved from the werewolf fight.  She was intense but fully invested in the plan.  And maybe that’s part of why it worked so well; she had a plan, she wasn’t flailing, and she believed in it.  Sally is always at her best when they allow her to be strong.  I did love it, though, when Josh warned her to not tip off Aidan with special “looks” – “you know, don’t Sally it up.”  And I was so pleased that when she locked Josh up, she was equally strong about that.  Sure she got stressed when the 500-year-old vampire lunged at her, that was totally supportable.

Just a quick note about the flashbacks.  The audience is really owed a bit of help, unless the when-are-we is part of the story, and it wasn’t in this case.  More than once, Josh’s bruises from being beat up by Marcus were the only visual clue we were given that we were back to the early days of Aidan and Josh.  We needed, or at least I needed, more than that.  I did enjoy getting the Aidan-and-Josh backstory, and it felt fitting to have it during the season finale.  Without the issue of flashback mechanics it would have been even stronger, but it was still well done, particularly at the end.

The three of them together in the apartment when it was all over felt like the perfect denouement for the season.  Sitting together, taking stock.  Fittingly, this is when we got my favorite lines of the episode:

“We should get cable.”  “Why?”

“I think I’ll learn crav maga.”

When Heggeman showed up at the door: “She wants to meet you.”  Oooo!

And during the final flashback, as Aidan and Josh are planning to get an apartment:

“You don’t even eat.”  “I like the ritual.”

Kudos to everyone involved in this series.  I can’t wait for the DVDs, and for season two.

And finally, now that the first season is complete, and the third season of the UK original is also complete, and both have been renewed for another season, this seems a good time to award kudos to the rookie adaptation, both for the benefit of long-time watchers of the original as well as for those who have not yet seen the highly-recommended UK series.  I love the way the US series kept some storylines completely intact, changed up others, and added in entirely new ones.  What a wonderful way to adapt a series for a different audience while – here’s the tricky part – recognizing that the new show’s audience will be comprised of both newbies and veterans.  The fact that some story lines were nearly identical paid homage to the excellent original and its fans.  That some story lines were changed or took a different turn – sometimes quite dramatically – meant that veterans could still be surprised.  What a gift to the veterans (yes, like me).  And wow, how bold of the US series to use aspects of all three seasons of its parent in its own first season.  Granted, the US first season had twice as many episodes as the UK first season, but still…  I’m sure it was no accident that some of the plot points in the US Monday broadcast actually used plot points from the preceding Saturday’s broadcast of the UK version on BBC America.  Excellent coordination, mates!

And here’s one of my favorite things of note: none of the changes made in the US version, at least none that I can think of, directly contradict something in the original.  The personalities of the leads and the ancillary characters differ from one version to the other, but that’s okay: all of their names are different.  I realize this is likely because the US showrunners wanted more “Americanized” names, but it also works to point out that they are not in fact the same characters.  Some of the supernatural aspects invoked differ between the series, but again, they do not contradict each other.  Thank you, US production, for distinguishing your show from its parent in such a deft manner, without making us choose sides.  I love the original, and I love this reimagining.  I can’t think of another instance in which an adaptation, whether it be a spinoff or a “remake,” has so successfully captured my loyalty.

Review – Syfy’s Being Human Season 1 Episode 12 “You’re the One I Haunt”

Category : Entertain Me, Reviews, Television

Erin Willard reviews Being Human airing on SyFy. SyFy takes on the hit UK show about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living together as they attempt to keep hold of their humanity in this re-imagining.

Courtesy of NBC Universal

 

Being Human airs Mondays at 9pm ET on SyFy.
Exclusive content and downloads at http://www.SyFy.com/BeingHuman 

 

“You can feel the storm gathering…”  so Sally says in the opening voiceover.  I wish I could feel the storm gathering.  I was definitely feeling that last week, in fact the storm had arrived and looked as if it would just keep getting bigger and bigger.  And then, this week, the wind got sucked out.  What happened to the momentum?  I don’t like a calm before the storm when it’s the second-to-last episode of the season.  Yes, yes, the ending was good.  Still, I just wasn’t feeling it this week.  Except -

HOW COOL WAS ZOMBIE SALLY?!  She looked AWESOME.  Kudos to the makeup department and to the actor, her carriage was so perfectly creepy!  I’ll admit that I was ever-so-slightly disappointed when she returned to normal.  And I’m sorry, but nearly killing Danny brought her back to normal?  Those are some really weird supernatural rules.  Revenge Is Good.  Hmm…  It was interesting seeing how her returned strength made her feel encouraged to torture and kill him.  Even when she stopped Aidan from killing him – and wow, how cool did Aidan look when he was looking down on Danny with those sunglasses? – she then told Danny he wasn’t being saved per se, just saved to be tortured.  Somehow it felt much more righteous when she inhabited the exorcist, or even back when she trashed Danny’s apartment.  I know I know, I have always maintained that Sally was at her best when she was strong, and I still believe that, but strong so that she can torture him doesn’t really feel strong, it just feels… creepy, and not in a good way.

But hey, it’s all okay now that Danny’s gone!  Except Danny isn’t “gone,” he’s simply turned himself in.  For now.  I don’t know, it all just felt kind of… rushed?  It just didn’t feel satisfying, like “yay, it’s all over for Danny now, he’s admitted it and Sally can move on.”  If they really wanted to sell that then I feel like Danny needed to be more emphatic, more terrified, or the police officer needed to have a bigger reaction, maybe radio in the homicide team, just SOMETHING.  And THAT’s why Sally got her door, Danny saying that he killed his fiancee?  It certainly wasn’t because Sally forgave him, because she didn’t, she promised to make his life a living hell.   Really, really “interesting” rules for the supernatural in the Syfy Being Human world.  But there it is, Sally’s door, floating in the living room.  I did like how flustered Sally was about the door, it felt very authentic.  Because the door mythology in Syfy’s Being Human is different from the UK version, I really have no idea what’s coming next, and I am interested.  Not exactly dying to find out, but interested.

A good example of where the energy went all quiet was the Aidan flashback.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t feel like the right story at the right time.  I’m sure there’s a reason and I trust the writers, I learned this from LOST.  They’re the professionals, and they have a plan.  I would have thought it was to lay the foundation for increased rage from Aidan, if Celine had told him what had actually happened, that Bishop had attacked her and threatened her family.  That would have helped push Aidan back into the Dutch camp, or at least even further away from Bishop.  And why didn’t  she tell him what happened when he asked?  In nearly her next sentence she referenced the fact that Aidan had said that Bishop was gone.  That would have been perfect timing.  I suppose she felt it didn’t matter anymore, and that she had lived a happy life after a while, but still.  Again, it was a good story, and it gave Aidan the opportunity to see the benefit of offering to turn someone.  And of course, it gave the costume department a chance to go 70s, which was a riot, and gave post production a chance to use a purple wash on those scenes – so very clever, making the scenes look like what 70s photos now look like.  For you youngsters who may not have seen them, photos from the 60s and 70s now look like they’ve had a purple wash on them, it’s the way the chemicals on the prints have deteriorated that gives them that effect.  Lesson over.

I thought I might be able to get through this review without having to mention actual storylines from the UK version, but I have to with Josh’s story line.  If you want to see the UK version but haven’t yet, or at least haven’t caught up to the latest episodes on BBC America, skip the rest of this paragraph.  Now for the rest of you – I find it so interesting that the Josh/Nora pregnancy is mimicking the George/Nina pregnancy.  We only recently learned that Nina’s pregnancy is greatly accelerated, and now, appropriately, so is Nora’s.  There are of course several differences, beyond just the fact that one relationship has been around for much longer than the other.  But Nora isn’t a werewolf, at least as far as we know, and though it was the night of a full moon, George hadn’t turned when he got Nora pregnant.  So either the two worlds are different, or we know that having one parent be a werewolf, even if not in beast form, is enough to affect the pregnancy.  That rapid growth will likely prohibit Nora from having an abortion, if she was still considering it.  Other than the rapid growth, though, it appears that both pregnancies are normal.  So far at least.  I don’t relish the idea of Nora’s abdomen being ripped open from the inside.  Which is why I found Aidan’s advice to “hold on to the good part, the rest you’ll deal with as it comes” more than a little ridiculous, especially as he’s never heard of a werewolf pregnancy before.  Please please, again I implore the showrunners/writers/powers that be to NOT have Josh prolong the reveal, please have him tell Nora about his condition soon.  I like Josh and Nora very much, and don’t like this particular aspect of their situation.

UK Spoilers Over.  So, was that Bishop who flew in through the widow uninvited?  If so he didn’t look quite like himself (yes, I do understand that his flesh was burning), and if not, they should have used someone with different hair color.  Presuming it was, how badly did that intrusion injure him?  That might be a good and interesting twist.  But why oh why did Josh simply hold Aidan’s arm and call and yell Aidan’s name?  Pre-med student Josh?  I sure don’t want him interning in an ER, that’s for sure.  It was fine as an initial reaction, but it went on waaaaaay too long.  And come on, do any of us believe that Aidan’s really going to die?

Okay, I’m done picking at it.  It really was a solid episode that moved the story along, but if they could have somehow switched last week’s for this week’s it would have been a much more exciting build up to the season finale.

Switch to our mobile site