Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #4: Densha Otoko “Train Man”

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Reviews

Comic Book Heroines is a podcast featuring women reading, reviewing and discussing comic books.

 

In this One Shot, Christie Shinn shares her passion for a manga series, Densha Otoko, also known as “Train Man.” Densha Otoko is published by Shogakukan, Inc. in its native country of Japan and by Viz Media in the United States.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Viz Media.

Click here for Direct Download.

 

HOST INFO
Christie Shinn wears several hats when it comes to graphics and illustration. My childhood love of anime and video games comes through as an influence in my artwork. I tinker around with the digital paint and also do product design on accessories. I like faffing about, making up stories, and generally chasing the paranormal. Oh yeah, I love to try new things regarding eats, art, and hangouts.

You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @teriblisgeserit and Like her on Facebook (http:/facebook.com/christie.shinn) and at her website http://www.HoraToraStudios.com!

 

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Comic Book Heroines Vol No. 1

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Reviews

Vol1_cover

Click here for Direct Download
Superhero Squad – All New Captain Marvel Issue 1 & 2 (00:7)
Published by: Marvel
Hosts: Kellen Harkins, Amanda Brand, Jessa Phillips

Courtesy of Marvel

Courtesy of Marvel

 

No Spandex Required – All New Ghost Rider Issue 1, Shadowlands, Alejandra storyline (26:00)
Published by: Marvel
Hosts: Rachel Pandich, Toni Adams, Jessa Phillips

Courtesy of Marvel

Courtesy of Marvel

Indie Impressions – Star Mage (1:08:27) Available in stores now!
Created and Written by: JC De La Torre; Art by: Ray Dillon (Issue 1) and Franco Cespedes; Published by IDW Publishing
Website: http://www.starmagecomic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Star-Mage/446508222088109
Hosts: April Sackett, Mia Moore, Shanna Choung, Jessa Phillips

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

One Shot: Doctor Who Special (1:35:30)
Published by: IDW Publishing
Host: Toni Adams

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

One Shot: Assimilation Squared (1:41:12)
Published by: IDW Publishing
Host: Amanda Brand

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

One Shot: The Drops of God (1:45:48)
Published by: Vertical, Inc.
Host: Rachel Pandich

Courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

Courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

 

HOST INFO
Kellen Harkins - Star Wars triggered a passion for geek in her which spurred her to publish and edit a fanzine, pursue costuming and and education in film/tv production. She has been attending cons for a long time, participating in fandoms from writing and web series to gaming, costuming and more. For some years now, she has been running one of the big media tracks at DragonCon. You can follow the DragonCon track at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmSFFMedia/

Amanda Brand the comics, gaming, and sci-fi geek behind Geekphoria.net, where she writes about living the nerdy life, crafts, and conventions. She loves everything Batman, has a distinct fondness for the antihero, and will read anything ghoulish or gruesome. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Geekphoria1, and see what’s amused her today at geekphoria.tumblr.net.

Rachel Pandich - You can find her at the Webcomics site, SkinCrawlingComics.com, or on podcasts, such as Greatest Movie Ever or Heroes & Villains.

Toni Adams spends her days as a serious, dedicated veterinary assistant (just an inch away from becoming a licensed registered veterinary technician). She manages three local book clubs (Random Book Club, Scifi Chicks Book Club, and VF NoHo Cream Pies) and is a part of ten total book groups. Her science fiction romance is catered by contributing to two websites: smartgirlsscifi.wordpress.com and scifiromancequaterly.com.

Mia Moore - Mia is an MBA student by day and a geek of all trades by night. She blogs about style, cosplay, and living the geek life at xo Mia (www.xomia.com) and about self-love through a geeky lens at Superheroesque (www.superheroesque.com).

Shanna Choung - You can find her on Google Plus (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ShannaChoung) or Twitter (@ShannAwesome)

 

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Storm of Words, A Game of Thrones Podcast – Season 4, Episode 3 “Breaker of Chains”

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Storm of Words, Television

The HBO television series, Game of Thrones, has returned with Season 4. Also returning is Storm of Words, a Game of Thrones podcast! We’re back every week to discuss the latest episodes of the series and delve into the world George R.R. Martin created through his novels.

Jessa Phillips & Alexander McGrath, joined by Gary Mitchel of RevolutionSF.com, return to the Seven Kingdoms to discuss the episode, “Breaker of Chains.” This episode is mostly spoiler-free; however, there is some discussion about how the series deviates from the novels.

The primary focus of the show is the tv series, so if you haven’t read the books you can still enjoy the podcast. If you have read the novels, just think of it as bonus content :-)

Click here for Direct Download.
CONTACT

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

You can find Gary Mitchel at http://www.revolutionsf.com.

Special thanks to Walid Feghali for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Sound Cloud profile page at http://soundcloud.com/walidfeghali to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

All audio clips for Game of Thrones are provided courtesy of HBO, http://www.hbo.com

Storm of Words is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Storm of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

WonderCon Anaheim 2014: Little Sister Growing Up Fine, Just Fine.

4

Category : Conventions, E-vents, Featured, WonderCon

Picture it … early-morning Saturday, March 15, 2014: San Diego Comic-Con Badge Quest

  • 6:00a.m.  Awakened ceremoniously with rousing rendition of John Williams’ Star Wars Theme, performed by Boston Pops
  • 6:15  Fully awake, finally, after repeats of  Star Wars Theme
  • 6:20  Espresso
  • 6:30  Text cohorts in NorCal, registration codes and Member IDs ready to go
  • 6:35  Re-read official CCI email re: SDCC badge-sale
Remember, there is no need to rush to the landing page at 7:00 AM! You can enter the waiting room two hours before the sale begins [ at 9:00 AM] or 10 minutes before the sale begins, and your chances are the same. Your wait time is up to you!
  • Ha!
  • 6:56  Forefinger poised. Nobody’s going to get in before I do!
  • 7:00  Go! Go! Go! I’m in!
  • 7:05  Text cohorts again; You guys in? Huzzah! Everybody’s in! One of us will surely get our badges!
  • 7:05-8:56  More espresso. More texting. Granola and youghurt. Comic Book Men, Arrested Development and France24 news.
  • 8:56-8:59  Check pulse. High. Mellow out, dork; it’s just a stupid convention. One more espresso.
  • 9:00  Huzzah! We’re in the official queue!
  • 9:00-9:20  This is so exciting! Already doing better than last year! We’ll have such fun! Better get hotel a.s.a.p.!
  • 9:20  Saturday badges are running low. Hmm. That’s okay. “Low” does not mean “sold out”.
  • 9:25  Saturday badges are sold out. Okay. No worries, we’ll go Thursday, Friday, take off Saturday, back on Sunday. Awesome!
  • 9:30  Friday badges are running low. Cool. Cool. No problem.
  • 9:33  Friday badges are sold out. Damn it. Okay, okay. Thursday’s awesome! First day, fresh, that New Con smell!  Anything but Sunday. Sunday sucks. Nobody dresses, no good panels. Vendors only have crap left. Thursday will be awesome!
  • 9:35  Thursday badges are running low. Tina Belcher-style groan.
  • 9:36  Thursday badges are sold out. I don’t care. Sunday rocks. I love Sunday actually! Lighter crowds, all the vendors slash their prices, loads of people will still be dressed. Sunday is going to be amazing!
  • 9:40  San Diego Comic-Con is now sold out. Thank you for your participation.
  • M*&$%#  F#*&@%!!!!
  • Instantly recall The Big Bang Theory‘s “Convention Conundrum” (S7e14)
 It’s okay. You know, th-there’s always WonderCon in Anaheim, you know? Th-that’s just as good. Excuse me. (Turns to cry)

-Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

Jennifer Susannah Devore as Louise Belcher, WCA 2014 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Jennifer Susannah Devore, a.k.a Miss Hannah Hart, a.k.a. Louise Belcher, WCA 2014 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

No. No, Sheldon, it is not just as good; but, as this girl is quickly learning, it is not something to pish-tosh, either. WonderCon Anaheim (WCA: April 18-20, 2014 Anaheim Convention Ctr.) seems to be growing exponentially. Like the Richter scale used to measure earthquake activity, what seems like a fractional uptick is, in fact, a greater output than one might presume. Noting the difference between this year’s WCA and WCA2013, it may retain slightly less cachet than San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC: July 24-27, 2014 San Diego Convention Ctr.), but like your best friend’s little sister who just started law school at Stanford, she’s starting to look pret-ty, pret-ty good.

Attendance at WCA, in its third year now, was estimated at 56K for 2014 (Red Flag: roughly SDCC’s numbers in the early-Naughties), continuing its yearly climb. 2014 numbers are an increase from, according to Publisher’s Weekly, the approx. 40K attendees for 2012, and slightly higher than that for 2013.  Further, SDCC 2014 is predicted to once again reach its self-imposed max of 130K attendees; this is to be topped only by CES Int’l Las Vegas (150K) and New York Comic-Con (133K), itself up from 117K last year, citing Events in America, a North American trade show and conference directory. Clearly, the geek con continues to trend.

The growing popularity in geek culture manifests not only via the annual mass-disappointment amidst failure to obtain SDCC badges, but also in the burgeoning desires of Hollywood. Longtime con-pros (distributors, producers, manufacturers, publishers) will tell you, quietly over a Dirty Shirley at Mix Bar in the Anaheim Hilton after the con doors close, that many of the old-timers still love the concept of the con, but philosophically loathe the H-town intrusion. “I noticed the change coming like a locomotive in 2004,” said a dead ringer for The Simpsons‘ desperate salesman ol’ Gil Gunderson. “Hollywood changed everything. Yeah, we’re makin’ more money, but it’s not the same,” he hung his head over his drink with the resolute shame of a jaded, tired mob wife. To drive the point home, I quote Mark Hamill’s character Donald Swan in Comic Book: The Movie (2004).

The movie people? I know they’re just doing their jobs; but they don’t care about us. They only care about our wallets.

Beefsquatch!! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Beefsquatch!! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Still, Hollywood is nothing if not shameless and persistent, and has now taken notice of wide-eyed, wallflower WonderCon, The Other White Geek, and is asking her to dance, too. Changes at WCA this year included, most notably, the restriction of badge sales to online only: nothing at the door this year. Wise move, considering it sold out completely. As well, whereas last year’s event used one exhibit hall, this year’s took over two, fully. “Artist’s Alley” and “Small Press” areas were expanded and, to boot, nearly every upstairs room was utilized for panels and L&D.

Of note, amongst hundreds of events were the following panels: Bob’s Burgers featuring Loren Bouchard, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts, Dan Mintz and Larry Murphy; Rotten Tomatoes moderating “Your Opinion Sucks” featuring Matt Atchity; Frozen: The Art of Story featuring Jeff Ranjo; Hanna-Barbera History featuring Jerry Eisenberg and Wally Burr; and Once Upon A Time featuring Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Never enough hours in the day or days in a Con; choose wisely when planning future cons and get in line early.

Another tell-tale sign WC is starting to hang with hip crowd? Celeb sightings are on the rise. Eric Bana, Jerry Bruckheimer, Joel McHale, Kristen Schaal, Ethan Spaulding, Olivia Munn and Kevin Smith. (Smith was more a snub than a sighting. We said, Hi! He appeared focused and on a mission. You still say Hello, big guy.) There was even a Captain Bloodstone sighting: best known as Blackbeard’s loopy first mate in Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates.

Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, BBCAmerica and Dreamworks were all present in force. Sony offered a sneak peek of Deliver Us From Evil; Warner Bros. presented the world premiere of Son of Batman; and BBCAmerica delivered the exclusive screening of Orphan Black‘s S2 premiere.

If Disney is your gig, as it is for so many of us comic geeks, you spent your evenings across Katella at Disneyland, or if you wanted to save your hard-earned Disney Dollars, went to the admission-free Downtown Disney. Back inside the Con, it was a treat to see Margaret Kerry at her booth: Walt Disney’s very own pick, the original model on whom Tinkerbell was based! Aimez-bien Les AristoChats? Gary Dubin, voice of zee chaton Toulouse from Disney’s AristoCats was also on-site, signing colour animation stills.

Other easily chattable guests on-hand included Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Kaite Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), Marjorie Liu (Dark Wolverine), Jim Pascoe (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica).

Where cosplay is concerned, if you’re thinking WCA is like going to a club on a Wednesday night, thinking you can leave your A-game at home, you’d be wrong. Cosplayers are as serious and creative as ever, if not as numerous as SDCC. Fewer folks might be dressed than at SDCC, but those whom are, are in their Saturday night best. Listen up, wheats; you know if Adrianne Curry, Mistress of the Dorks and cosplay queen, is in the house, you’d best get your act together. Professional stage makeup, Colleen Atwood-quality costuming and the spirit, personality and energy behind it all to make every character pop. Cosplayers don’t just pose, they become their characters, for your pleasure. They know their characters intimately and want to interact with you. Of course, de rigueur, there are lots and lots of boobs. There are always lots and lots of boobs. Funny thing is, after a few years of this, I’m beginning to recognize some of them.

Most popular costumes this year? Doctor Who variations, by far. The best Doctor Who costume? Not a Who, but a What: the villainous, ever-moist Lady Cassandra and her attendants. Halo Kitty was a bit unsettling, as was a male version of Morticia Addams. Thankfully Mary Poppins & Bert, Zelda & Link, Harley Quinn & The Joker, all the Pirates of the Caribbean, a score of Japanese Lolitas and a very attractive Morticia & Gomez (phew!) cruised the con floor and our Hilton lobby. There were also a few Bob’s Burgers folks: Beefsquatch! The Bob’s Burgers panel must have been a wild scene! Damned Anaheim Gardenwalk Happy Hour got in my way of getting there. I blame P.F. Chang’s Asian pear mojitos.

Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Lady Cassandra and her attendants, WCA 2014. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Vendors, as always, number too many to recall. However, I do treat myself each year to a few tidbits, as I like to help the economy and support independent artists whenever I can.  This year’s fave choice? Besides a couple of Big Bang Theory, babydoll tees, I acquired a beautiful bit of steampunk art from Awkward Affections of San Francisco. Charming and shy, the pretty artist known as Kaz proffered an eccentric, quirky and whimsical selection of cards, custom invitations, matted prints, and canvas wall art featuring animals I would very much enjoy meeting, all with a  Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland and Edward Gorey style and sensibility. Other fave pieces included her “Anatomy of a Mermaid” and “Anatomy of a Unicorn”. I say! (Of course, if you read my Savannah of Williamsburg novels, you’ll understand my weakness for les animaux anthropomorphic.)

Steampunk whimsy by Awkward Affections Courtesy: Awkward Affections

Steampunk whimsy by Awkward Affections Courtesy: Awkward Affections

If, like Yours Truly, you originally failed in the March morning mayhem that was the SDCC badge-massacre, I guarantee your first thought was similar to Sheldon’s: “At least there’s WonderCon. Right?” Well, kids, if you thought WonderCon was your Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free card and waited too long to buy those badges, epic fail. Now look at you. You’ve got no Comic-Con and you missed out on WonderCon. What a mook.

To make matters more tenuous, WonderCon is rumoured to return to San Francisco’s Moscone Center next year, it’s original home for nearly thirty years. (WCA was supposed to be a temporary show, as Moscone Ctr. received a full refurbishing.) Of course, CCI did take the effort to officially name the Con next to the Mouse House, WonderCon Anaheim. Maybe it’s here to stay? Maybe we shall have a Norcal and SoCal WC? Maybe you bring a sport coat next time so we have some options for dinner? As of the date of this posting, nobody, official or otherwise, has an answer. The best I could learn was to check the San Diego Comic-Con/WCA website over the year; WonderCon 2015 updates, be they North or South, will be posted there.

In the end, I’m still not sure I’m buying the common line heard at WCA. “You know. I really prefer this, to Comic-Con. The crowds are lighter, it’s easier to get a hotel room, it’s just nicer all around.” Sure. That’s like saying, “Dude, it’s so much easier dating Debbie in accounting. Kate Upton is probably totally high-maintenance. Debbie’s way easier to deal with, and a much cheaper date.” Sure. I do have to admit the Starbucks is nicer at the Hilton Anaheim, as opposed to the Sbux carts at SDCC. Of course, the line is so outrageous, who has time to wait, what with all those amazing panels and vendors such?

It's not a Con w/o my Starbucks! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

It’s not a Con w/o my Starbucks! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

If you can’t get an SDCC badge, WC is an absolutely fun and doable alternative (like Debbie). If you did get an SDCC badge, WC is just double-fun for you (You cad!). Yet, think about next year. Whether you get into SDCC or not, WC is fast-becoming a good time all her own and very possibly, depending on how things line up, just as high-maintenance. Next year, Debbie might not be available … if she’s even in town.

As for this kitten’s last-ditch chances for SDCC? As Orange County’s own George Bluth says, “There’s always money in the banana stand.”

"Oh, thous musn't speak to Master in such a manner." Sarah Sanderson Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

“Oh, thou musn’t speak to Master in such a manner.” -Sarah Sanderson, WCA 2014 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

 Et voilà! Dr. Lucy’s Famous Slideshow!

For more WonderCon Anaheim 2014 pics, visit Twisted Pair Photography!

Special S/O: Speaking of supporting independent artists, if you like my Louise ears, and I cannot count how many folks at WCA loved them, please know the quality is superb, the cap-portion is very snuggly and comfy and the ears actually stay upright. Available via Epic Costumes on Etsy!

 

@JennyPopNet #WonderCon #SDCC

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

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

 

 

Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #3: The Drops of God

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Reviews

Comic Book Heroines is a podcast featuring women reading, reviewing and discussing comic books.

In this One Shot, Rachel Pandich introduces us to the world of manga with The Drops of God, written by brother and sister, Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, under the pseudonym Tadashi Agi. The Drops of God is published by Kodansha, Ltd in its native country of Japan and by Vertical, Inc. in the United States.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

Click here for Direct Download.
HOST INFO
You can find her at the Webcomics site, SkinCrawlingComics.com, or on podcasts, such as Greatest Movie Ever or Heroes & Villains.

 

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #2: Assimilation Squared

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured

Comic Book Heroines is a podcast featuring women reading, reviewing and discussing comic books.

 

In this One Shot, Amanda Brand offers her opinions on the Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover comic series, Assimilation Squared, published by IDW Publishing.

Click here for direct download.
Comic Art Cover courtesy of IDW Publishing

HOST INFO
Amanda Brand the comics, gaming, and sci-fi geek behind Geekphoria.net, where she writes about living the nerdy life, crafts, and conventions. She loves everything Batman, has a distinct fondness for the antihero, and will read anything ghoulish or gruesome. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Geekphoria1, and see what’s amused her today at geekphoria.tumblr.net.

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

 

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Beta Preview – Wildstar Beta Weekend 4 Impressions

Category : Featured, Game On, PC

So, my first real shot at Wildstar! (I played for a few minutes at PAX East) The Beta is in decent shape. I did run into some issues, as expected. As this is a beta preview, I’m not going to be going over that any more than I just did. Wildstar looks to be in good shape and well on its way to release.

 

Graphic Credit: NCSOFT Corporation

 

Lets get one thing out of the way, Wildstar is a lot like World of Warcraft. No, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It takes just about all of what works and either builds on it, or takes it sideways. There are a few important distinctions to acknowledge about Wildstar though. That is what I’m going to focus most on here. Things like character creation, classes, races, etc. have a different and distinct flavor, but don’t stray far enough from “WoW” to warrant taking up your time here. The website does a great job of reviewing those.

 

COMBAT
Combat is still “push the ability” based but is much more interactive, as the abilities have targeted areas and are not auto-hit. For those who have played Neverwinter or The Secret World, that is the functionality I’m talking about. This works well and the abilities are different enough to make them all fun to use and/or combine. Wildstar brings both simplicity and depth by limiting how many abilities you can have on your hotbar at once. This is also limited by level, so as you level up, you have more and more access to abilities, available at once. For example, at level 7, you can put your abilities in slots 1-5, eventually unlocking 8 slots in total. It looks like you are able to create multiple “sets” of these 8 abilities. However, that option was unavailable to me at my point in the beta.

 

USER INTERFACE (UI)

Graphic Credit: NCSOFT Corporation

Another great addition are “Paths.” This an additional option, chosen during character creation, which basically gives you one extra line of things to do during your game. The variety here is great! You have 4 options: Solider, which unlocks more battles, and fun prototype weapons; Explorer, which awards you for finding and/or reaching certain points on the map and allows you to open some hidden passages; Settler, which allows you to gather resources which you use to build or sustain supplies at buff stations in various points in the game. However, the Settler option also allows you to build huge expansions onto some towns in the game, giving even more new stuff for everyone. Finally, Scientists are for you lore people. They can research and analyze to obtain information about a ton of things in the world. All of these paths have their own unique quests and work well together – a great addition for people who want this type of content. They have their own separate XP progression, similar to trade skills in “WoW.” You can focus on them or ignore them completely. Oh, and don’t think this replaces crafting, that’s still in the game too.

 

The most obvious difference is in the visuals and tone of the game. The tone leans towards a more Saturday morning cartoon feel and it’s doing it pretty well. It doesn’t go totally goofy but isn’t afraid to be silly either, while keeping some element of seriousness in there. There are a few points where these two clash (something goofy a bit too close to something serious) but other than that, it works well. Overall, I do like the visual style going on here. I’ve always been a bigger fan of sci-fi than fantasy, so this cartoony mix of the two works well for me. On that front, what you see is what you get, so that’s all personal opinion.

 

So does Wildstar look like it’s worth your time? Maybe? This is where (hopefully) my ability to separate “like vs good” comes in.

 

First, some background on my MMO history. I’ve played “WoW” on and off, since around Burning Crusade. By “on and off” I mean, I play for 2 or 3 months straight, get tired of it, and don’t play for a year until something pulls me back in for another 2 or 3 months. That’s not the game as much as it is me. I’ve done the same with a lot of other MMO’s – Neverwinter, The Secret World, DC Universe Online, etc. I’ll play for a while, enjoying it and just loose interest.

 

After about 5 hrs of playing Wildstar, I became pretty confident the same thing will happen for me here. However, that’s not to say this isn’t good…because it is, very good in fact. It looks like it’s sticking close enough to “WoW” that it will work, while doing enough new things to make some converts. However, if you’re like me, this isn’t the one to keep you interested.

 

TLDR
If you’re looking for an updated “WoW” spin off/sequel with new mechanics, a little more flavor and some sci-fi thrown in, Wildstar should  be at the top of your list. If you’re someone who has trouble sticking with your MMO’s, you’ll probably find the same issue here and with a subscription model, it’s a bit of a risk.

 

Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #1: Doctor Who Special

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured

Comic Book Heroines is a podcast featuring women reading, reviewing and discussing comic books.

In this One Shot, Toni Adams offers her opinions on the Doctor Who Special series written by Paul Cornell.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Host Info
Toni Adams
 spends her days as a serious, dedicated veterinary assistant (just a inch away from becoming a licensed registered veterinary technician). She manages three local book clubs (Random Book Club, Scifi Chicks Book Club, and VF NoHo Cream Pies) and is a part of ten total book groups.

Her science fiction romance is catered by contributing to two websites: smartgirlsscifi.wordpress.com and scifiromancequaterly.com.

Her loves are further spread shamelessly across many fandoms. Her major fandom is Doctor Who but will gush endlessly about miniature gaming (MalifauxRasputina!), Magic the card game (black/white, she also hosts a monthly Boba and Magic group), anime, manga, knitting, cosplaying, crafting, and critters. Akin to finding a lotus, she discovered her first comic book heroine in Elektra while watching “Daredevil”. That led to X-23, swiftly followed by Runaways and Freshmen. Comic conventions are spent scouring the artist allies for new artists (Stuart Sayger, Jamie Tyndall, Greg Horn,Brian Kessinger), booths for new comics to love, and panels to admire more creative content.

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

PAX East 2014: Going Home Again

Category : Conventions, E-vents, Featured, Game On, Indie, PAX East

Attending PAX East always feels like coming home after a year at college or a long business trip – relaxing and partying with your friends and family who understand you.  This past weekend I, and 70,000 of my closest friends, descended on Boston for PAX East 2014 to celebrate games, gamers, and gaming culture. This was my third PAX East and, with the help of my trusty Guidebook app, I had my weekend planned out fairly well.  I forgot that no plan survives contact with the Con.

Graphic courtesy of Penny Arcade Expo

Graphic courtesy of Penny Arcade Expo

I arrived early in the morning and joined the mass migration to the convention center.   The PAX tradition of beach ball bombardment while waiting in line to enter the expo floor was alive and well until the ropes were lifted and we rushed the expo. I was quickly drawn into the expanded Indie Megabooth and was once again blown away by the quality of the games displayed. Two indie games really stood out to me: Loadout, a Team Fortress 2 type shooter, which allows complete customization of your weapons; and World Zombination, a tower defense and RTS hybrid, in which you can play as either the humans defending a city or the zombies trying to eat the city.

Graphic Credit: Edge of Reality, Ltd.

Graphic Credit: Proletariat, Inc.

Graphic Credit: Proletariat, Inc.

The bigger developers were well represented this year by Microsoft, Blizzard, Square Enix, Ubisoft and 2K Games, among others, despite the absence of Nintendo and Sony. Xaviant had an impressive demo of Lichdom: Battlemage on the exhibit floor that has you take on the role of a battlemage, fighting the forces of evil with customizable spells and a time dilation dodge maneuver culminating in a powerful area attack to help break up waves of baddies.  Bethesda’s booth rarely disappoints and this year was no exception as they showed off both Elder Scrolls Online and a surprisingly fun looking Wolfenstein: The New Order, which has you help the resistance fight against the world dominating Nazis in 1960 using experimental weapons to take on the enemy monstrosities.

I planned to attend several of the great panels but like a dog that sees a squirrel, I was constantly pulled off course by the expo and tabletop games. There was a great variety of panels that spanned an immense number of topics including diversity and gender in games, developer presentations, a Pokemon trainer seminar, the Dungeons and Dragons 40th anniversary, geek parenting, the mythology of games, and gaming journalism.

The tabletop area was dominated by Magic: The Gathering, as it is every year. Sadly, there was little representation from Dungeons and Dragons. MTG was very inviting to new players with open tournaments for those who had not played before or were returning to the game after years away. Tournaments for many games, like My Little Pony CCG, Warhammer 40K, and Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures, were well attended and many more people enjoyed the free play area of tabletop.

The quality of Cosplay at PAX East has been improving year to year and some of the cosplayers who deeply impressed me this year were the “Titanfall pilot,” “The Hound from Game of Thrones,” the “cast of Zelda,” and “Earthworm Jim.” “Starbuck,” portrayed by Jessica Paulding was fantastic and my favorite of the weekend, until I found the red and blue aliens from Sesame Street because when you asked “May I take your picture?” they simply responded “YuuuupYuuupYuupYupYupYuuupYup!”


Photo Credit: Wesley Potter

 

I always enjoy PAX East – meeting new and old friends, playing great games and getting away from the world for a weekend. Having returned to the real world, I’m looking forward to seeing my 70,000 friends again in 2015!

Storm of Words, A Game of Thrones Podcast – Season 4, Episode 2 “The Lion and the Rose”

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Storm of Words, Television

The HBO television series, Game of Thrones, has returned with Season 4. Also returning is Storm of Words, a Game of Thrones podcast! We’re back every week to discuss the latest episodes of the series and delve into the world George R.R. Martin created through his novels.

Jessa Phillips & Alexander McGrath, joined by Gary Mitchel of RevolutionSF.com, return to the Seven Kingdoms to discuss the episode, “The Lion and the Rose.” This episode is mostly spoiler-free; however, there is some discussion about how the series deviates from the novels.

The primary focus of the show is the tv series, so if you haven’t read the books you can still enjoy the podcast. If you have read the novels, just think of it as bonus content :-)

Click here for Direct Download.

 

CONTACT

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

You can find Gary Mitchel at http://www.revolutionsf.com.

Special thanks to Walid Feghali for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Sound Cloud profile page at http://soundcloud.com/walidfeghali to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

All audio clips for Game of Thrones are provided courtesy of HBO, http://www.hbo.com

Storm of Words is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Storm of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Storm of Words, A Game of Thrones Podcast – Season 4, Episode 1 “Two Swords”

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Reviews, Storm of Words, Television

The HBO television series, Game of Thrones, has returned with Season 4. Also returning is Storm of Words, a Game of Thrones podcast! We’re back every week to discuss the latest episodes of the series and delve into the world George R.R. Martin created through his novels.

 

StormOfWords

 

Jessa Phillips & Alexander McGrath, joined by Kellen Harkins return to the Seven Kingdoms to discuss the episode, “Two Swords.” This episode is mostly spoiler-free; however, there is some discussion about how the series deviates from the novels.

*** Warning: There is a huge story spoiler at the 2 hour mark. Please skip ahead 30 seconds if you don’t want to be spoiled.

The primary focus of the show is the tv series, so if you haven’t read the books you can still enjoy the podcast. If you have read the novels, just think of it as bonus content :-)

 

 

CONTACT

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

You can find Kellen Harkins in the DragonCon American Science Fiction & Fantasy Media Track Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmSFFMedia/.

Special thanks to Walid Feghali for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Sound Cloud profile page at http://soundcloud.com/walidfeghali to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

All audio clips for Game of Thrones are provided courtesy of HBO, http://www.hbo.com

Storm of Words is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Storm of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Conversation with the Cast of Lost Girl of Syfy

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Television

For those genre fans living under a rock for the past three years, you might not have a clue of what Lost Girl is. Here is a quick synopsis. Created by Michelle Lovretta and produced by Jay Firestone and Prodigy Pictures. It is one of the show that is created, shot and produced in Canada that shows currently on Syfy.

 

Courtesy of NBC Universal

 

It’s lead is Bo, played by Anna Silk who has transitioned by not even knowing she was a Fae to a person of consequence and a rebel against the status quo of Fae society. In this realm, all creatures that are paranormal are Fae of some sort. She does this with the help of Kenzi, who has to be one of the best sidekicks ever created, and her friends: Dyson, a werewolf; Hale, a male siren; Trick, who we find out is her grandfather; Tamsin, a valkyrie and Lauren, a human doctor who specializes in Fae biology. An odd lot to be sure but a very solid ensemble cast with lots of wonderful recurring characters that pop in and out to make the team’s life interesting.

One of the unique qualities of the show is that Bo, being a succubus is bisexual. While that is notable, what makes it moreso is it is not treated as odd or unique, it’s just who she is. It is one element that makes this show one of the best written shows out there, in my humble opinion.

With that, I was given the privilege to be a part of a press call/Q&A hosted by Syfy which included several of the main cast. Joining several intrepid podcast and website reporters were cast members, Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo, Kris Holden – Reid, and Zoie Palmer. They handled all the questions thrown at them with laughter and thoughtful answers.

The questions themselves ran the gamut from ratings to plot twists to favorite moments.

Most of the characters in the show are Fae, so the question was put forward if Lauren or Kenzi would want to be Fae if they could. As was pointed out, Kenzi has dabbled in it herself. Zoie Palmer offered her thoughts that Lauren is essentially a character who experiments and would absolutely take that step if she thought it was possible. We have definitely been seeing Lauren stepping more and more out of her comfort zone in the past seasons and with some of her choices this season, I only see that progressing further. This was emphasized as she responded to questions about her scenes with Emmanuel Vaugier who plays the Morrigan, the leader of the Dark Fae. Lauren shifted sides this season and was able to act with Emmanuel for the first time. There was some nervousness she reported, since you never quite know if you’re going to ‘click’ with a fellow performer or not, but she was very happy with the work they did together and hopes for more scenes.

One of the more revealing and interesting points in the call came up when the cast was asked about the major plot twist in the “End of a Line” episode which recently aired in the US. Stop reading here if you haven’t seen this as we’re going to talk about a major spoiler!

In that episode, KC Collins’ character, Hale, is killed by the druid Mossimo. While I won’t get into my feelings on the death, other than saying it was painful, I do think it was a necessary and reasonable choice on the part of the writers. The cast discussed how they were affected and all of them praised KC and spoke about how busy he is as an actor and joked how they wanted to work on some of the shows he’s been on. For us geeks, he is also seen in Saving Hope, as Dr. Tom Reycraft. They insisted Lost Girl wouldn’t be as ‘cool’ without him around. Kris mentioned he thought it was bittersweet for him since he could still so clearly remember shooting the opening shots with KC from the first episode of the series.

This lead to the question about surprises, and if, as we have seen in other shows, the cast was caught by surprise as they read their scripts. Kris Holden-Reid fielded this one and brought forward the unusual nature of some smaller Canadian shows. They are pretty tight working units, with the writers and producers right there with the production end, so many of the changes and concepts that come up are bounced around between all of the creative staff. The actors get to toss in their thoughts about character development and it’s just as welcome. This was really a gem that I relished discovering, as it does not seem to be the case in many US led productions.

Tying into that concept is the question I asked about the maturing rivalry between Dyson and Lauren for Bo’s affections. Both Kris and Zoie offered they did not want to keep up the usual freshman-like attitude of one-upmanship that often occurs in these situations. That is not to say they wouldn’t now and then but they pointed out both of them have come to respect one other and see the value in the other person. That is not to say, they were quick to admit, that there wouldn’t be little jibs now and then between them over Bo.

A recent episode which gathered lots of attention was the “La Fae Époque.” In this episode, Bo went into Dyson’s memories, trying to find out what dark crime he was being held for, and was ‘him’ for that time. Most of the actors took up roles that were different for them – Lauren was a Fae lounge singer, Kenzi, a Fae mistress of ceremonies. They each commented on how their costumes were a lot tougher to wear, though Zoie Palmer seemed to have the easiest time since she has a lot of theatrical training and was able to utilize that knowledge. Although, Zoie admitted that even fake singing to her playback was a little tricky in the corset she wore. Ksenia commented she had to apologize to so many extras that day as the wings she wore stretched out far enough to practically poke peoples eyes’ out. Anna got a few insights in that episode. First, the itchy wool pants were hard to put up with but Ksenia came right back at her and said that no one else could make them look that good! Anna also gave a shout out to all the men in the world as she joked that taking the ‘man’s role’ in sex was a lot more work than she had realized! In the episode Dyson and the Fae Flora, (Zoie Palmer) have quite the history and Zoie joked about the unique experience of having to act out sex with Dyson; something she hasn’t had to do in her role of Lauren. They all really emphasized the pleasure they took in watching each other stretch their limits in that episode.

Now that they are in the pre-planning stages of Season 5 and about to begin shooting, the entire cast emphasized how hard it is to not spoil when they are on these calls or at conventions. The US schedule for the episodes is considerably off from the Canadian schedule so, in particular, Kris Holden-Reid felt that it really affected the show’s ratings. He urged fans to contact Syfy and see if there was something they could do to show the episodes closer to the Canadian air dates. Since so many of their fans are pretty tech savvy, it was really common for them to get the show through ‘alternative means’. I know personally speaking, I still made a point of watching the Syfy episode to demonstrate to the channel that the show has a lot of loyal viewers.

Those who know me, know I really enjoyed the series, Blood Ties, and seeing Kyle Schmid appear as Raynor aka the Wanderer, really made my day. I got one of the promotional Wanderer cards last year at DragonCon and once it was revealed who the Wanderer was, I thought that they might have planned for it to be Kyle Schmid. Sadly, that was just wish fulfillment on my part but they all offered him glowing reviews on what a pleasure he was to work with. Ksenia mentioned that she had worked with Kyle in something previous about 10 years ago and how it was fantastic to see how much he had really matured as an actor and really was a professional.

Asked about their favorite scenes to shoot this season, we got a wide range of answers. Zoie Palmer brought up her role in the “La Fae Époque” again, citing that as her favorite. Kris Holden-Reid mentioned his favorite scene we haven’t even seen yet, since it is in the finale and he couldn’t say anything about it. Though, Ksenia mentioned she really enjoyed the tango sequence in which she got to dance with both KC Collins and Kris Holden-Reid. She joked that it really gave them a chance to shine and show their twinkle toes. Kris backed her up on how much fun that was to shoot.

The cast clearly gets along great and has a wonderful sense of humor! They spoke about how much fun the recent (at least for the US) “Krampus” episode was to do and when they were asked about guest stars they wished to see on the show, they couldn’t pick out anyone specifically but spun it off to the Avengers making an appearance and suddenly they’d all have super powers and get to design their own costumes! They all got into the spirit of that and it was a real pleasure to listen to their interaction with the members of the press and each other.

If you haven’t watched this show, clearly I’m going to encourage to do so, as I think you’ll be in for a real treat!

Warehouse 13 – it’s back….but not for long

1

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Television

I am a pretty big fan of Warehouse 13, and so glad it is coming back for Season 5 on April 14th on SyFy, but it is the end of the series. I am pretty bummed about this but it really looks good. I have a sneak peak here.

Last season left us at a cliffhanger where I wanted to throw things at my TV…actually I did end up doing that. But it looks like it gives us more of an insight to the new big bad, Paracelsus played wonderfully by Tony Head. We also seem to find out more about Claudia’s role at the Warehouse. Plus we will have all of the fun silly moments that make the show inventive and a joy to watch.

My predictions for this last season, just whatever happens, please please please do not put Pete and Mika together! Sorry shippers, it just happens too much. I think Claudia will grow more into her own, and fulfill her job at the Warehouse before it closes down. Also I really don’t think Professor Sutton played by James Marsters is really gone.

I hope I am right, cannot wait for April 14th!

Zoltán Kodály, Zoltán Korda and Cmdr. McBragg: Gesundheit!

Category : E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Music

Cmdr. McBragg Total Television Productions/Gamma Productions

Cmdr. McBragg Total Television Productions/Gamma Productions

- There! The Russian-Hungarian border! Did I ever tell you about the time I …?

- No, Commander, but I …

- The year? 1812. I had just defeated the Emperor Napoleon and rescued Empress Marie-Louise from his clammy, froggy clutches, winning her fair heart in the process. It was dawn, the sun had barely risen over the …

- But, but, Commaaaander …

- Yes! French cavalry all around me! I, all alone with naught but my bare knuckles! Man-to-man, hand-to-hand I fought off the Emperor!

- Yes, Commander. How riveting, Commander. Do continue. ~sigh~

Cheers, kittens! It’s me, Hannah Hart! Now, I imagine there’s a whole bushel of you numnuts whom have no clue who Commander McBragg is. (Note: “I wasn’t born then.” is not, I repeat, not an appropriate response. Where you born when Mozart wrote Die Zauberflöte? Were you born when Thomas Jefferson wrote Notes on Virginia? Were you born when Wilbur and Orville Wright lifted off the Outer Banks? No. Now stop using that sad excuse. It makes you sound obtuse, oblivious and uneducated. This goes out especially to the bank teller in San Clemente whom declared proudly, with the look of a dumb turtle, “I Love Lucy? I don’t think I’ve heard of it. I wasn’t born then.” Idiot.)

Anyhoo, I digress, kids. Our own, kippy San Diego Symphony put on a doozy of a show last week and Yours Truly was there to soak in all the melodic goodness. Like getting Harvey Weinstein stuffed into a wetsuit, the concise one-hour and forty-five minute performance (incl. intermission and its $11 cocktails) was seeping and hissing at the seams with variety.  Whilst shorter than Yours Truly anticipated, it was most likely the perfect duration for a contemporary attention span: longer than a Disney animation, shorter than a Ken Burns documentary. Within these parameters, musical director Jahja Ling prepared for us a healthy feast of the classical.

  • Amuse-bouche of Haydn, Symphony No. 1 in D Major: light and refreshing like a crisp bit of apple, a little baroque violin and flute is the perfect bite-sized smackerel to whet the appetite.
  • First Course of Mozart, Oboe Concerto in C Major: always pleasing, never a bad one in the bunch, Mozart perfectly pairs with the incessant chatter of a know-it-all in the row behind you, schooling his friend on all things Mozart. Despite Mr. This was originally written for piccolo., Miss Sarah Skuster trilled her way into my brain with her lilting oboe solo, her elegant, nude silk-crepe and pewter sequined gown glittering and sparkling under the house lights as her form moved melodiously to Mozart.
  • Intermission: overpriced martinis and a de rigueur, long line for the ladies’ room. For once, the line was not an annoyance but a nice indication that live performance and The Arts might not yet be dead. Considering a notable attendance of the college-aged, to boot, perchance the symphony is not merely the realm of the dottering and the wealthy.
  • Second Course of Martucci, Notturno, Opus 70, No.1:  just as one would expect of a late-19thC. Italian, Giuseppe served up a hearty, family-style serving of boisterous joy. The serving was small, the smallest of the night, but like any good ravioli, all you need is a few bites, and a bit of Prosecco.
  • Dessert by Zoltán Kodály, Suite from “Háry János”: if Gammy Lippenstift -my paternal, Hungarian grandmama- was correct about anything, it was, Nem túl sok vacsoráznak. Helymegtakarítás a desszert! “Don’t fill up on dinner. Save room for dessert!” That we did. This was the longest piece of the night and, this is difficult for a Mozartphile to admit, the grandest piece of the night. (Entschuldigung, Wolfy!) Like Gammy Lippenstift’s rum-soaked Palacsinta (Hungarian crepes), Kodály and his own Cmdr. McBragg treated us to a rich and heavy, satisfying finale.

Before dessert was served, Navroj “Nuvi” Mehta, San Diego Symphony’s pre-concert lecturer and affable M.C., regaled the audience with the plot points, ingredients as it were, of our coming selection. He tells us of the old, Hungarian legend which says a story must be true if preceded by a sneeze. If one pays close attention, one will note the suite begins with one grand, “orchestral sneeze”: a great, instant crescendo which then swan dives six octaves throughout the entire orchestra.

Happily, too, for this old dame, he ever so politely offered a suggestion to the wet-smack, half-portions of the audience, likely the same ones whom never heard of I Love Lucy. As Kodály knows how to string together a tune and segue intriguingly from satire to drama and back again, Nuvi urged patrons to “please hold your applause between movements” and save it for the end. Thank you, Nuvi! What is this? Al fresco, Italian opera?! Hold your applause, jelly beans!

With libretto based on János Garay’s 1843 epic poem The Old Veteran and Napoleon, Háry János is an Hungarian singspiel -a folk opera, more a country musical than traditional opera- first performed in 1926 at The Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest. The S.D. Symphony’s offering was a suite of music from this singspiel: a purely instrumental performance of six movements, telling the same tale.

Háry János is an aging veteran of the Austrian Army, a cavalry hussar of the Napoleonic Wars. With little to do in his old age but drink and tell tall tales, he indulges locals with intricately-woven histories of his glory days: foreign foes, Herculean combat and lovelorn ladies left strewn across the land. This night at the smoky bar-tabac, he tells of the time he defeated Napoleon and his entire army, slashing and chopping his way through a thick Frog soup en seul  and rescuing the Empress Marie-Louise, whisking her away to glitzy, waltzy Vienna for a life of Austro-Hungarian riches and coffeehouses.

Soon though, the country lad tires of her needy and high-maintenance, City Girl ways, longing for the simple life back in his wee Hungarian village with his childhood sweetheart, Örsze, presumably buxom and beauteous with hay in her blonde braids, an apron filthy with blueberry stains and a devoted herd of goats following her lovingly across the farm.

The saga and its music float seamlessly between the foolish ways of the French and the flighty nature of coquetry, using brass and piccolos to signify silliness and satire and the deep, dark, dramatic patriotism of our Hungarian hero, employing strings, oboes and a cimbalom to elicit feelings of human heartache, true love and national duty. The story ending with what Kodály himself described as “an ironical march of triumph” as the Emperor of Vienna returns to his sycophantic court; Háry János returns to Örsze and the farm.

Now, back to the Cmdr. McBragg discussion. (See, the topic came full-circle.) If you are not aware of Commander McBragg, as chided previously, I can only assume you are equally unaware of Hungarian director Zoltán Korda and his 1939 film The Four Feathers. If you want to watch it, watch it. Suffice it to say here, it seems pretty clear that C. Aubrey Smith’s portrayal of Gen. Burroughs in the film had to be an inspiration for The World of Commander McBragg. Was Gen. Burroughs inspired by Háry János? Maybe, baby. The timing is certainly correct. Think on that over lunch.

With the current release of DreamWorks’ Mr. Peabody & Sherman, you might be aware of Rocky & Bullwinkle. (Please tell me at least you jelly beans know who Rocky & Bullwinkle are. Moose and squirrel?) Along with Underdog, (the canine adventures of Shoeshine Boy and Polly Purebred) Rocky & Bullwinkle aired cartoon shorts within their show, like Fractured Fairy Tales. The World of Commander McBragg was one of these shorts and today, the name McBragg is still synonymous with braggadocio blowhards. Like him or not, he does spin a ripping good yarn! If you see him at a steampunk party, stick close by … but leave yourself an easy egress.

Interesting story, both Zoltáns, director Korda and composer Kodály, served as Hungarian cavalrymen in their youth … just like Háry János says he did.

Orch dork extraordinaire. Photo: JSDevore

Orch dork extraordinaire. Photo: JSDevore

Now, many of you know my pally, authoress Jennifer Susannah Devore. Turns out she’s quite the Austro-Hungarian fiddler herself. (Not to mention a bit of a Commandess McBragg. Zip it, once in a while, Betty!) With a few, albeit unsuccessful, symphony auditions under her belt, she can still play a mean Irish jig, a mournful Mother Machree and a very pretty rendition of Little House on the Prairie‘s theme song. She is also currently teaching herself The BlaggardsDrunken Sailor.

Nevertheless, her German-crafted, Pfretzchner violin awaits patiently in its leather case for her to pick it up seriously, daily, once again. Terrifying memories of stuffed-shirt auditions and creepy college tutors urging her to “run away with me to Paris where we”ll drink champagne and play violin!” still haunt her. (True story. Ick.) Come on, JennyPop! You owe your parents! How many years of expensive lessons? How many custom-made violins? Maybe a few more nights at the symphony will churn you into gear, you orch dork!

Beaded gowns, pricey cocktails, muted smartphones and the questionable tales of a mustachioed braggart? Sounds like many an evening I spent with Clark Gable. (Did you know that man had a 44″ chest with a 32″ waist? He was so uniquely proportioned only bespoke Brooks Brothers suits could fit that Heavenly physique. Zowie!) An evening of sophisticated, analog entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously oft makes for an excellent date.

The moral of this story? If you used to play an instrument, pick it up again. Don’t throw away that hard-earned talent, it’s still in there; muscle memory is wild thing. If you have tales to tell, tell them and do it with pizazz! Hold court and gather a crowd! Wear more silk and sequins; at least pretend you care about your appearance. (Good Heavens, you’re a schlubby generation!) Get over expensive drinks during a night out; it’s still just a ten-spot. Eat more of your grammy’s baked goods and always heed Grammy Rosalyn’s advice: “A story must be true if preceded by a sneeze.” Háry János never started a story without a good one.

“Yeah. Milhouse played the violin for years, until it turned out the vibrations were screwing up his bones.”

-Kirk VanHouten, The Simpsons

Achoo!

Gesundheit!

Ah, yes. Quite.

@JennyPopNet

*Une mille mercis to SD Symphony’s concertmaster Jeff Thayer, for spurring me on to play my violin again! Mesmerizing bow-hand, Sir!

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

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