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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full steam ahead! Ahoy! Abyssinia and Merrie Christmas!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

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

Follow @JennyPopNet #MakerFaire #StarWars #Steampunk

The Circus Pulls Up Stakes: Dr. Lucy’s SDCC 2013 Slideshow

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Category : Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

Well, cats, as Porky Pig struggles to declare, “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!”. San Diego Comic-Con 2013 is a wrap. The big burg with the filthy mayor and the small beachtown chill is back to it’s groovy, mellow, peaceful ways. (Save for trying to oust said-filthy mayor. What a loony, dangerous maroon!) The air around the Convention Center smells like salt air once again; the trademark smell of The Con hovering somewhere over Santa Fe by now. What is that smell, New Mexicans might wonder? It’s a simultaneously exhilarating, exciting and pathetic amalgam of anxiety, camping, body odour, latex, cheap polyester, sycophancy, Japanese perfume, cheap leather, desperation, domestic “beer” and nacho “cheese” sauce.

I seriously need a shower.

I seriously need a shower.

Seaport Village is back to hosting apple-shaped families from Minnesota and the humourless, tanned beach cops are re-focused on sunburned tourists frantically enjoying their last hurrahs of summer holiday. The “normal” clientele has returned to local strip clubs, replacing zombies, Zorg and Sheldon Cooper in the Champagne Room; alternately, barmaids about town have, thankfully, removed their faux nerd glasses and Hello Kitty “I Love Nerds” t-shirts. (Please, ladies. Leave hot nerding to the real hot nerds.)

The Gaslamp Quarter is still predictably lively with Happy Hours and summertime, bistro seating; but the dark-suited business folk of the downtown area are no longer treated to the  lunchtime spectacle and wonder, not to mention parking and traffic jumbles, of Comic-Con. No more Leeloos leaning over the bar at Lou & Mickey’s, no more Han Solos in line at Starbucks, no more Walking Dead at McCormick & Schmick’s and no more Transformers trying to work the fountain dispensers at 7-11. Like a birthday night in Vegas, we are left with sore feet, curious bruising, singed tendrils, oddly placed piles of sunflower seed shells, mysteriously depleted bank accounts, and a faint, pleasurable memory that it might be fun and/or nuts to do it all over again next year … but next time with an even better costume! (They’re called boobs, Ed!)

The Con will return, kids, no worries there. It has been speculated for years that it could move to Anaheim. Well, at least through 2016, Comic-Con shall remain in America’s Finest City; Hallowe’en in July is all San Diego’s. Until next year, enjoy a wee slideshow of this year’s scene, courtesy of our own Dr. Lucy and her EOS Canon Digital Rebel XT.

All slideshow photos by Twisted Pair Photography with the exception of the following:

Rotten Tomato by Rebecca Lane; The Two Daphnes: Classic & Post-apocalyptic, all Conv. Ctr. exteriors and Once Upon a Time murals by J.S. Devore

  • BTW, because I know you care, each con, I treat myself to a wee something: a Chewbacca tank by WeLoveFine, a Bettie Page parasol by Retro a-go-go, a Jetsons tee, etc. This year, it’s my Evil Coffee Hour messenger bag by BeKyoot.com. Get one! “Cause Evil Coffee Hour is a brilliant idea and Christy Sanderson is a total doll who designs all the gear herself! It’s what Japanese girls and I call supa kawaii! Cheers, Miss Christy, Tuxie Cat and Momocheet!
Danger + coffee + Time + ??? = Profit! Evil Coffee Hour! Photo: Twisted Pair

Danger + Coffee + Time + ??? = Profit! Evil Coffee Hour! Photo: Twisted Pair

Jeepers! What a Con! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Jeepers! What a Con! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

 

Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame (a.k.a. authoress Jennifer Susannah Devore) contributes regularly to the official San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Guide. Read her articles here: The Simpsons, Peanuts & Tarzan!

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


Portlandia Spies on Hannah and Lucy: WonderCon 2K13

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Category : Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Television, Watching the Web, WonderCon

I think we are being spied upon, as of late. As Dr. Lucy and I prepare for WonderCon (Anaheim Convention Center March 29-31, 2013), it appears the bonkers-brilliant minds behind Portlandia have clearly been engaged in careful examination of our cosplay methods. We mistakenly thought our crossed fingers to be our little secret. (Uninitiated to the wonky randomness of Portlandia? Read a wee review by my pally, Jennifer Susannah Devore.) Yes, I imagine our short sojourn at the Anaheim Hilton and WonderCon shall prove raw-ther similar to Portlandia’s spot-on effort: Steampunk Convention.

Perhaps our own Ellen from Earth shall prove more useful. Nevertheless … huzzah, Captain D.D. Cumulus and Lady Nightstream! Rose City Steampunks, do hold the ascending-room doors for Dr. Lucia Devereaux and yours truly, Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado! Check back here après-WonderCon for a wrap of the show, à la my SDCC 2K12 coverage, and another one of Lucy’s fab slideshows: cosplay goodies, booths, artwork, celebrity sightings and even the Saturday Night Masquerade. (Unfamiliar with her work? Peruse Lucy’s SDCC 2K12 snaps.)

To boot, we shall be attending, and covering for you, the Geeks Get Published – and Paid! panel, moderated by Jenna Busch (Fanhattan): featuring S. G. Browne (Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament), Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak), Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History), Alex Langley (The Geek Handbook), and Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight). You know, Jennifer Susannah Devore, is a geek who got published (Savannah of Williamsburg) and I do believe she shall be attending WC this year, dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange. Maybe she and her wand can work their Dark Arts and find her an elusive literary agent. Wish her luck! Better yet, if you know an agent, send them along to JennyPop.Net!

WonderCon Steampunk 2K13

BTW, Lucy and I shall be interviewing, one-on-one, Katrina Hill (MTVGeek, Action Flick Chick) and Leah Cevoli (Deadwood, Robot Chicken) whilst at the Con. We’ll also be covering Ms. Cevoli’s own panel All Shapes and Sizes Welcome: featuring Miracle Laurie (Dollhouse), Adrianne Curry (Adrianne Curry’s SuperFans), Helenna Santos Levy (founder, MsInTheBiz.com), Amber Krzys (founder, BodyHeart.com) and Lynn Chen (founder, www.theActorsDiet.com) Have anything you’d like us to ask these geek girls extraordinaire?  Leave us a comment below or simply Tweet us on the con floor @JennyPopNet!

Abyssinia, cats!

 

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

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

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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

Dr. Lucy, Miss Kitty & Dr. Watson’s Steampunk Odditorium

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Category : Featured, Geek Out, Travel

Dr. Lucy, as you might know, is plum bonkers for steampunk and our excursion to Comic-Con did not help her obsession. In fact, she’s been leaving the Hotel Del quite a bit as of late, seeking San Diego-area antique shops, vintage stores and retro boutiques to help feed her need. Whilst fluttering down the coast, she came across a frabjous place devoted to steampunk. The downside? No booze. If only Dr. Watson’s Steampunk Odditorium had a wild west saloon attached. Maybe someday soon? For now, it does have a tattoo parlor.

Miss Celeste, for your pleasure. Photo: JSDevore

Pairie purveyor Harriet Oleson, might well turn up her nose at the bottled, dried and otherwise preserved mammalia in the curiosity cabinets of Dr. Watson’s Steampunk Odditorium. Of course, that would be the well-bred, prim, Victorian in Mrs. Oleson: posh country-wife to Nels and mother to the precocious and glorious Nellie Oleson. The sales-savvy, shrewd Mrs. Oleson, the pioneer proprietress of Little House on the Prairie‘s Oleson’s Mercantile, would covet and embrace San Diego’s newest emporium of steampunk ephemera. She would see a thriving capitalism, bordered and framed fancifully by ruffles and feathers of gilded, Victorian-era proportions in the mighty powerful, contemporary trend that is Steampunk. A steadily growing interest in Victorian-tech and word-of-mouth about this beachside bazaar are both running at locomotive speed, headed straight for each other and powering Dr. Watson’s, and its formidable owner, straight into hogsheads full of 21st C. gold nuggets and peer popularity.

From Dr. Watson's fine millinery selection. Photo: JSDevore

Now, many of you read my coverage of Comic-Con. Amidst the fervor, chaos and unrelenting joy that was Comic-Con, Lucy and I fielded the same question ad nauseam: “What is steampunk, anyway?” Imagery from Sherlock Holmes to Jules Verne, Wild Wild West to Copper were invoked and, despite the seemingly enthusiastic discussions, most glazed over midway, stole a few snaps and moved along toward less taxing, more easily explained cosplay like Catwoman, Doctor Who, Bender and Duff Man. Whilst overall, steampunk was a rarity, Lucy and I found a smattering of worthy steampunk folk about the Con. League of Steam, for one caught our interest: “Victorian-era Monster Hunters Serving All Your Supernatural Elimination Needs Since 1884″. (Monsters, indeed! Check back in October; I shall be posting a sure tongue lashing at the League during the Season. Too boot, just FYI, I’ll be spending Hallowe’en 2012 in style: with Harvey & Hildy, the parental units, in spooky, spectral Salem, Mass.!) For now, still not certain what this damned steampunk is? Voila … a succinct introduction.

Miss Kelli Mae: Belle of the Carnival Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

 

Student steampunk beauty: no screenplay, no portfolio, no angle. Just having fun. How refreshing. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

 

Well done, Sir. Well done. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

 

... and I thought the Comic-Con bags were big! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Yours truly, Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel Del Photo: JSDevore

 

Dr. Lucia Devereaux, I presume? Photo: JSDevore

During Lucy’s quest for further steampunk inspiration, she ventured up the beach to Dr. Watson’s. Mise-en-scène amidst one of San Diego’s most wonky and wild populations -marines via Camp Pendleton, surfers and skaters, tatted rockabillies, Bettie Page wannabes, wealthy property owners, hippies, retirees, vacationers, Real Housewives, the homeless, shadow immigrants, Victorian ghosts and so much more- Oceanside, California is just the fragmented and funky community to welcome this proctor of peculiar paraphernalia.

Dr. Watson's Cabinet of Curiosities Photo: JSDevore

Dr. Watson’s is part-natural history museum, part-western general store and all saloon decor. It is run by one Tracy Scheidel, best described as an AntennaTV-worthy, feisty-yet-soft-hearted protagonist, an amalgam of Gunsmoke‘s Miss Kitty, Little House on the Prairie‘s Harriet Oleson and Dukes of Hazzard‘s Boss Hogg. I’m guessing if she likes you, you’re in good shape about this town. Owning a fair swath of property and store-frontage along famed PCH, (Body Piercing by Tracy and About Face Tattoo to start), Madame Tracy Scheidel is an affable, intriguing and inquisitive conversationalist.

Possessing a quality so few have, yet so many covet, hers is a social talent leading the visitor to believe of their utmost importance in her day. What you want, she has. What you need, she’ll attempt to satisfy. What you love, she loves. In a previous life, this broad might have been a formidable madam, saloonkeep or politician.

The Odditorium is sentried nicely by a charming looker with bombilating, black tresses, pale skin, rouge lips and a saloon girl-swagger. She calls herself Miss Celeste. What you need, she also wants for you and will go to lengths to get it. She will also ask, sincerely, “How did you hear of us?” As eager and positive about the Odditorium and its livelihood as is Madame Tracy, Miss Celeste also maintains the shop’s Facebook page, posting photos, articles and upcoming events.

Like a welcoming saloon after days on a lonesome desert ride, Miss Celeste and Madame Scheidel, in this surfside museum-cum-mercantile, amidst the shrunken heads, dried bats, vintage Playboy magazines, leather top hats, feathered baubles and mechanical goggles, will have you nestled nicely on their inviting divan. From there, you can watch a private fashion show, your special girl model striped, Victorian bloomers, Betty Grable-inspired bathing suits, Dita Von Teese-styled tap dance shorts, Sherlock Holmes-worthy plaid trousers and Lonesome Dove-ready cotton chemises. All the while sipping gratis coffee and noshing from an assortment of Little Debbies. Before you know it, just like that oasis saloon, you’ll have happily and easily spent a few hours and a few more dollars. Makes me think a steampunk saloon, along the lines of Old School Vegas, Fremont Street’s Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, might not be a bad idea, for Madame’s next venture.

Delightful bloomers for an afternoon sur la plage. Photo: JSDevore

Until Lucy gets her Gunsmoke-styled, steampunk saloon in San Diego, you might want to wet yer whistle at Dr. Watson’s Sweltering Summer Tea Party, Fashion Show and Charity Event: Sunday, August 12th, 2012, 1:00 – 5:00 PST.

RSVP for the Tea, Oui? Forget not your Manly Moustache. Photo: JSDevore

 

Dr. Watson’s Steampunk Odditorium, proprietress Tracy Scheidel

421.A South Coast Highway

Oceanside, California 92054

760.757.6628

 

Abyssinia, cats!

Hannah’s fave places to haunt on-line? Jennypop.net @JennyPopNet and Jennifer Devore’s Amazon Author Page

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

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

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

No caption necessary. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah. Your White Queen costume?

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

Jennifer S. Devore@JennyPopNet

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Summer of Indie Games – Mistrunner

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Category : Featured, Game On, Good To Be A Gamer, Indie, Roleplaying, Tabletop

The team at Good To Be A Geek has a soft spot for indie developers. We have been thinking, much like blockbuster games from big game publishers get their season to shine, indie games should have the same opportunity to garner some attention.

At Good To Be A Geek, Summer is Indie Game Season! I will be highlighting games of different genres, for different platforms and styles of gameplay and encouraging our readers to support indie development. Through gameplay, I hope you fall in love with a new game and seek out other great “underground” treasures!

 

Our first offering comes from a friend, Glenn Buettner. A long-time passion of his, Mistrunner is a high fantasy roleplaying game which also integrates steampunk and post-apocolyptic elements. While this game has a core set of rules, let your creativity be your guide. Craft your character based on your chosen skills, rather than established class restrictions. If you can imagine it, you can do it with the flexibility of freestyle magic.

 

Rule book available in print in July. Download the .PDF version now!

 

You are a mighty warrior, life and death is determined by the swing of your axe. You are a fire elementalist, bending flame to your will. You are a cunning rogue, relying upon your stealth and your wits to fulfill your desires. You are a Mistrunner, plunging headlong into an unknown world, uncovering secrets long lost to the ravages of time, a living testament to the adapatability of ancient man.

Mistrunner is a fantasy role-playing game set in a far distant time where magic reigns supreme. Humans are now a thing of legend, new mortal races having sprung up since the days of the Reckoning, graceful Karanar, the stone skinned Kral’Kuru, and the ferocious Aslonians. The faerie Mists swirl all around you, the essence of magic with a life of its own. The ancient technology of man is slowly beginning to resurface, and many seek to unlock its forgotten mysteries. The world of Mistrunner awaits……

- Glenn Buettner, Game Creator

 

The rule book has been completed and you can download the .PDF version now and start playing!  At 302 pages, it contains everything you need, including complete rules and over 100 pages of setting material. Do not forget, you can get your hands on a physical copy (pictured above) at the end of July when it releases.

To stay up to date with current Mistrunner news, be sure to visit the website at http://mistrunner.com/news

 

Good Gaming!

Another Babka? It’s a Same-Name Bing Bash!

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Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Literature, Movies, Television, Travel, Uncategorized

Ciao, cats. Summer’s a-comin’ fast and the Hotel del Coronado is prepping for San Diego’s best season of sun, surf and soirées. Springtime’s sweet, but summer’s sizzling. You know we ghosties are cold all the time; even the tiniest rise in surrounding temperature is a beautiful thing. Plus, folks are up to here with their winter blues and springtime antsy pants. Ergo, it’s the best time to throw a swanky hotel riot. The only issue with a summer splurge, besides whether to host it at the pool or on the beach, is what theme? Real party hounds know you need a kicking theme and Dr. Lucy and I are tossing around a few ideas in our noodles. Regardless of theme, the very merry month of May is the perfect time for a Ghost Host Rag!

Swanks a lot for the booze, Micky!

 

Natch, Lucy wants to go steampunk; natch, I said cool it already with the Victorian adventurer gig for a bit. I mean, really. How many aviator helmets and goggles can a girl have? (Although, I do hear around the whiskey cooler there’s a pretty steamy -steamypunky- sex scene in The Darlings of Orange County by my pally Jennifer S. Devore. Who knew there were so many useful toys in Johnny Depp’s official Ichabod Crane Detective Kit from Sleepy Hollow. My, oh, my!)

Now, as far as planning this affair, I’ve been throwing shindigs since I was a wee thing. Dr. Harvey & Hildy love a good time, even if it does include way too much foxtrotting, so I can thank Mum & Dad for weaning me on teas and socials and letting big bro Hugh and me throw as many parties as the old Beantown bungalow could handle. So, it goes without saying that after nearly a hundred years of throwing fetes, my beachside blow-out is sure to be a blast. First off, it’s to be all ghosts, mostly. Plenty of folks to invite. You’d be shocked at how many ghosts there are floating about San Diego and beyond. Boy-zo! If you could actually see us all. You know that feeling you get on the back of your neck, when it feels like someone’s watching you? Someone is. Always.

Nobody parties like us ghosties: no hangovers or obnoxious twits (we can’t get drunk), loads of amazing, authentic costumes (when it’s a fancy dress gala) and usually just mild property damage consisting of a broken window or two, a crack’d mirror hither and thither or some ecto-gooed silver and china. Even all that, we simply blame the guests or staff here at the hotel. If you think the Haunted Mansion looks wild, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve been to one of my parties: dead or alive. This one will be Dr. Lucy’s first since the turn of the 20thC. Good thing she can’t get drunk on absinthe anymore, because I’m willing to bet she ends up loosening that Victorian cravat of hers.

My first party: Hallowe'en 1912. Bet you can't guess which one I am!

 

Theme-wise, Lucy and I have discussed a few: steampunk, Old Hollywood, literary figures, medieval, Renaissance Faire, goth, pirates, superheroes (kind of saving that for Comic-Con), Disney, Star Wars, pin-up, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Lady Gaga/Madonna. You name it, we thought of it. Problem is, I’ve done ‘em all and I am loathe to redux a party or a costume. Then, whilst searching Netflix for ideas (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Party Monster might be leading us in a dangerous direction.), we had a bonkers idea: a Bing Party!

Bing, Google, whatever you want to call it, it’s a search engine social. I have issues with Google and some of its privacy practices and cahoots in cooperation with the Chinese government, so I do the Bing thing … until I learn they’re toads, too.  A Bing party, in case you are unaware, is also known as a Same Name party. Ever Binged yourself? Sure you have. It’s great fun when the booze runs out and you couldn’t possibly watch anymore of My Drunk Kitchen. Once you Bing yourself, you find there are dozens of folks with your name and it’s bonkers to see what they’re up to. It’s also frightening when you learn there’s some greaseball or half-portion daring to call themselves by the same sweet name your Parental Units bequeathed upon you, and you hope against hope that folks you knew way back when, won’t Bing you, see that mook and think it’s you. Still, if you weed out the wet smacks and felons, you might have yourself quite a wing ding at hand. You might want to have it at a club or a Spongebob Fancypants hotel though, just in case one of those felons shows up looking for free hooch. You don’t want ‘em knowing where you live.

Hannah Hart. Clearly, it’s a fab name and whilst I was pretty sure I was the only one on the planet, there are in fact a number of us: none as fab as I, of course. Most notably there’s a bonkers chick who, apparently, loves to get toasted while she toddles about her cucina. Yea for her! My Drunk Kitchen is her web series and on her site, she’s currently running a very apropos video called Adultolescence: House Party, a how-to. I think if she were a dead girl, we’d gel brilliantly. Maybe I’ll check in on her anyway and proffer a personal invitation. Sometimes those with exceptional brain usage, beyond the ten percent most of you pills use, can sense me. She seems like she uses a tad, just a tad, more than ten percent.

Other Hannah Harts include a student at the University of Southern Maine, an actress, a photographer, another writer at another geek site called The Mary Sue: A Guide to Geek Girl Culture (Quite a coinkidink, I think!) and even a couple of cons: one Hannah Hart recently incarcerated at Sarasota, FL central booking, and one Hannah Hart, old time criminal, shipped off from Middlesex, England in 1836 aboard the Elizabeth and dumped on the good folks and natives of New South Wales, Australia. Nice work, England. See, I told you there’d be a mook or two. Have your Bing party in a public location, kids. While I’m at it, let’s have a look-see at some other Lucy Devereaux and my authoress pally, Jennifer Devore.

Other Lucy Devereaux include: a photographer (Why is every modern girl a photographer? B&W? Please.), an architecture student from the U.K., a grocery pricer for a national supermarket chain, and some muffin in Madison, Wisconsin.

Other Jennifer Devores include: a cellist, a math teacher, a boudoir photographer (geez), a makeup artist, a marketing exec and, lo and behold, another guest of the state, this one arrested in Clark County, OH.

Please, no mug shots for this Hannah Hart! This is my house!

 

Not listed, because I do have some respect for the dead, are a number of Lucy Devereaux, Hannah Harts and Jennifer Devores in  obituaries and ancestry reports the world over. Wait, I guess I just listed them. Anyhoo, I assume they’ll all be at my Bing ball. Why wouldn’t they? Beaded gowns, notable figures from throughout history, absinthe with the wormwood, yet without the psychosis and plenty of surf, salt air and sloshing shrub glasses. The cocktail of choice? We’ve decided upon the Pink Palace, in honour of the Beverly Hills Hotel 100th birthday. Ooh! I think I just changed the theme of the party! 100 Years of Beverly Hills! Come dressed as any B.H. era you dig: 1930s Marlene Dietrich trousers in the Polo Lounge, 1950s Marilyn Monroe sex kitten heyday, 1970s bungalow-trashing rocker, 1980s neon Nagel beauty or even 1990s 90210 Dylan McKay. Don’t forget your stylin’ Porsche 356 speedster.

Dylan v. Brandon? Please. Was there ever a question? Photo: Cloudzilla

 

Yes, an excellent plan! Lucy will love it, despite the lack of a Beverly Hills steampunk era. Sorry, babe. Maybe you can do the Marilyn Monroe thing. Come on, do the voice for us. You know you love doing it. Besides, I don’t want to meet  all those other dames with the same name … would you?

Photo: Alden Jewell

 

Abyssinia, cats!

This Hannah Hart’s fave place online? JennyPop.Net and @JennyPopNet

 

Psst, Kid. Wanna Write a Book? Authors, Writers & The Curious Rash of Social Media

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

Ciao, kittens! Spring’s in full swing and all’s swell here at the Hotel Del. Dr. Lucy and I are in the early stages of prepping for Comic-Con. Costumes are the project du jour and Lucy’s going steampunk with a mad vengeance. It’s all Airship Pirates this and The Parasol Protectorate books that. Speaking of, Gail Carriger, authoress of said-books, will be a featured guest at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and Lucy’s just beside herself about it. Plus, she can’t tear herself away from shopping at Clockwork Couture and currently has her eye on a stunner of a bejeweled Onslow Octopus ring. Moi? I’ve got my peepers on a steampunk, octopus parasol. Even ghost chickadees need a pretty parasol. In addition, I’ve decided to go as Ruby/Red Riding Hood, the va-va-va-voom, sylvan vixen of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, of which you’ll recall my recent review. Looks like I need a quality red cloak and some huntsmen’s gloves. Luckily, I’ve already got a dandy Belgian sword.

 

Apropos to Comic-Con, my dear pally, Miss Jenny Devore, is wringing her hands awaiting word on a piece submitted to the fine editors at the official Comic-Con Souvenir Book: topic being the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan. Me Hannah, You Tarzan! Hubba hubba! Take a jungle hike, Jane. Leave your canteen and snake-bite kit, you’ll be fine without ‘em.

An accomplished author in her own right, Miss Jenny’s got some opinions about the publishing world and I got to thinking about her and all the other poor mooks out there writing, publishing and turning bloody blue as they scratch and claw, day-in and day-out, for someone, anyone to notice them. Natch, I pondered further, might the keen writers of eras gone by, say, Laura Ingalls Wilder or Beatrix Potter, thrill in the elixir of today’s social networking opportunities? Or, might they flounder and panic futilely to extricate themselves from the inescapable tar pits of literary masturbation and personal promotion.

In an episode of Little House on the Prairie the television series, Laura Ingalls, as a burgeoning writer, contributes to and wins an amateur writing contest. The prize? She gets her stories published by a big city publisher: St. Louis or New York, I don’t recall. The twist? She turns down the offer when she realizes the publishing pills want to jazz up her innocuous Ma and Pa tales. (Seems execs haven’t changed much over the years.) Walking away, her moxie and integrity intact, our pretty, perky and plain prairie protagonist eventually does earn a book deal and, thankfully for us, we have the Little House series of books today. Whilst her publisher and agent would sell her charm and tout her words around the country, Half-pint had to do her share, too. She wrote the books. That used to be the hard part. Were she writing today, her bloomers and corset would need a good starching to keep her steady on the course and stop her from doing a swan dive under Ma’s quilt, grabbing her fave stuffed bunny, Mr. Sniffles, and giving up altogether, ’cause today’s book business is brutal, babies.

Photo: Jo Naylor

Knowing a thing or two, about a thing or two where indie publishers and authors are concerned, not to mention those backed by traditional, big publishing houses, it’s clear to this ghostdame that your worldwide, 24/7, omnipresent, vlogging, blogging, iReporting, YouTubeing kind of social media and promo possibilities are the bane of the solitary writer. Around every proverbial corner there’s some slimy crumb bumping his gums about how the worthless and pathetic can be better writers. Nasty and hateful industry insiders, bored readers and armchair critics tell the aspiring schlubs regularly how they suck eggs. The need and ability to incessantly and shamelessly plug, ply, hawk, rationalize and apologize for one’s precious wares morphs the once-quiet and pensive writer into a mealy-mouthed carnival barker.

Now it seems to me most writers crave attention: needy little bastards. Whether or not they inherently have the ability to market their work to elicit that attention is another story. Miss Jenny did a number of book signings back East at good ol’ fashioned Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores, not to mention Borders and Waldenbooks shops. Remember those, kids? She was also a fixture in Colonial Williamsburg, schlepping her Savannah of Williamsburg books alongside more than few notable authors and historians. Jim Lehrer, Edward Cline, Dr. Phyllis Haislip and a gentleman whom is considered to be the worldwide authority on Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Alf Mapp, just to name a few.

With the exception of Jim Lehrer, being a tough bird to get close to, she spoke often with these folks and found many of them,  even those traditionally published by the big houses, spent as much time as she did booking appearances, wrangling events, scheduling book signings and even printing their own event signage. Want a real-life sob story? Here ya go.

One of these prolific authors waited nearly a year for royalty checks, was eventually sent a pittance check and then the publisher filed for reorganization, a.k.a. bankruptcy. Amazingly, the bankruptcy court forced him to return the wee check, dismissed the royalties owed altogether and allowed the publisher to keep the titles. Zowie! Talk about getting whacked with a bag of nickels by a bunch of goons.

To wit, some, but not the rightfully pissed off author in question, have dutifully joined the dance of the social networks to aid in their publishers’ quest for the almighty review, movie option and American dollar.

Photo: JSDevore

Come one, come all! See the Word Nerd! Careful, she's stark-raving mad!

 

For those whom deign to seek it, there exists more online advice and how-tos for the tentative scrivener than Spongebob Squarepants had excuses to put off writing his driving essay for Mrs. Puff. Countless editing fora, manuscript submission no-nos, insider agent tips, the psychology of cover art, character development webinars and marketing strategies up the wazoo flood not just the search engines, but the writer’s tenuous and wobbly noggin.  From what I know about the delicate genius, writing-by-committee is painful. Seek ye just a single, golden thread to pull one over the wall and kapowie! the poor, unsuspecting wordsmith is floored and buried with a dump truck of frayed, worthless bits of twine too short and thin to use anywhere.

Even Anne Rice –a moment of silent respect, please- comprehends the importance of Tweeting and Facebooking as she socializes and shares personal musings, liberal politics, current affairs, photos of her kitty, Little Prince Oberon, and, of course, updates of book signings and reviews. People of the Page, she dubs her fans and followers. Miss Jenny is an Anne devotee and thus, a Person of the Page.

Not only are Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Smashwords, SmartGirl, Blogger and the like literary campgrounds for amateur and professional writers alike, but the Wellborn of Wordsmithing have pitched their tents in cyberspace as well. Besides Anne, J.K. Rowling, Steve Martin, Peter Mayle, Bill Bryson, Brian Jacques, Sophie Kinsella, Gail Carriger and even Half-pint have succumbed.

 

I like to think Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Geoffrey Chaucer, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Wm. Shakespeare -or Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton or Sir Robert Cecil or whomever it is we’re learning might have “been Shakespeare”- would have not shoved their work in our faces at every turn. I also like to think that some of them would have loved the idea of social media. You just know Mark Twain, HST and Ernest Hemingway would have delighted in followers, fans and friends, from afar, and would have certainly used the proverbial 140 to its pithiest and volatile best.

 

Ernest Hemingway Photo: FL State Archives

 

It’s a double-edged sword indeed, kittens. In my day, if you could write like F. Scott Fitzgerald and you were fortunate enough to get noticed or have the right connections, you could be a superstar. Just sit back, drink your scotch, holiday in Paris and let the industry professionals take on the lion’s share of the legwork. Being an author had caché because it was a rarity. It was a nearly impossible title to attain because one had to stand out in the crowd. Today, anyone may write, whether or not they can write. Of course, there lies an upside to the barrage of opportunity available online.

No need for Algonquin Roundtable connections anymore. Can’t get into the New Yorker cafe? No worries, dollface. You write it, you publish it, you sell it, you market it. Of course, there’s a lot of cut-rate writing out there; but there are a lot of great oeuvres, too, that we might have never seen without the Internet. The keys to the kingdom are no longer necessary and some of the unknown and worthy are busting through the front gates, pens blazing. The Internet, Amazon in particular, is like the Ellis Island of Bookland. Enter its turnstiles and leave the starched Old World with its stern Old Ways behind you. Opportunity beckons on every street corner, but, writer, beware … so do the scams, cheats, sure-things and a nasty, blistering rash if you’re not careful.

Lucy’s finding all kinds of goodies to buy at Clockwork and that got me thinking about another commercial marriage that might have flourished, but we’ll never know. See, if Laura Ingalls could be prone to Tweeting, Mrs. Harriet Olseon could certainly embrace the new culture easily, culling “friends” and patrons from the world over and redirecting them to her Joomla website: populated with goods from Olseon’s Mercantile as well as drop-ship, throw-away, plastic crap from Singapore and China. Nels, I’m pretty sure, would not have been allowed admin permissions.

By the way, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s current tweet @HalfPintIngalls: I know Almanzo is really into Morgan horses but… uh, should I be concerned that I found THIS in his stocking drawer?

I guess even Almanzo can’t be trusted online. What a fink!

 

Abyssinia, cats!

Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? www.jennypop.net and @JennyPopNet … ’cause we kinda have to. Murder!

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

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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

Good To Be A Gamer, Episode 115 – At The Con: TempleCon 2012

Category : Conventions, E-vents, Good To Be A Gamer, TempleCon

 

Good To Be A Gamer is Available on iTunes!
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-to-be-a-gamer/id476489256

Good To Be A Gamer RSS Feed!
http://goodtobeagamer.libsyn.com/rss
 
TempleCon 2012, the gaming convention with a retro-futurism theme celebrated it’s 7th year. Jessa Phillips was there. Nicole Wakelin joins her this week for a candid discussion about this quirky convention. Find out what you missed and make plans to join us next year!
Please check out Nicole Wakelin and support her many projects!

Total Fan Girl http://www.totalfangirl.com
The D6 Generation Podcast – Available on iTunes & RSS
GeekMom http://www.geekmom.com
          GeekMoms Podcast – Available in iTunes & RSS
Geek Girls Network http://www.geekgirlsnetwork.com
          Geek Girls Podcast – Available in iTunes & RSS
Sith Heads Podcast http://www.sithheads.com

You can also follow her on Twitter @NicoleWakelin
 

 
DISCUSSED THIS EPISODE
TempleCon
http://www.templecon.com

Privateer Press
http://privateerpress.com/

Warhammer 40,000
http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/landing.jsp?catId=cat440130a&rootCatGameStyle=wh40k

Ay-leen The Peacemaker
http://beyondvictoriana.com/

Vader’s First 501st Legion
http://www.501st.com/

Rhode Island Science Fiction Club
http://www.risfc.org/
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/risfc

Persephone’s Jewels
http://www.etsy.com/shop/PersephonesJewels

EVENTS
PAX East
BCEC
April 4-8, 2012
http://east.paxsite.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 gamer@goodtobeageek.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.


Good To Be A Geekis licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

 

How Betty & Veronica, Uncle Scrooge and a Lonely Octopus Save Christmas

5

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

Horsefeathers! Hildy just e-mailed me and I say, Ba-loney! I’m absolutely zozzled with disbelief!

I don’t want to make a beef about this, but here’s the dish. If you recall my previous post, I told you cats I was off to Boston for a Beacon Hill Christmas. I also mentioned it’s no simple jaunt, spending up loads of my energy to get there. Sure, ghost travel ain’t the big brodie yours is, but it’s still no basket of blackberries in July. Well, guess what, kids? Dr. Harvey & Hildy, good ol’ Mum and Daddy, won’t be having a Beantown Christmas this year because they’re headed for Hawaii! Well, I told them that’s all wet! How could they? I’ve been saving up since summer for the Road to New England and they go all Santa-in-a-grass-skirt on me!

 

Hannah Hart? We found these in an old Next Day Air igloo at Lindbergh Field

 

To make matters worse, they’re taking big bro Hugh with them. It looks like I’m all alone, Santa Baby. Just my little dog Lindy and Moi. Home for the holidays suddenly doesn’t seem quite the raspberry I thought it was. Plus, how am I supposed to get all my presents? Try to receive a package as a ghost, or deliver one for that matter. The current residents inevitably either keep the goods or send them back marked No longer at this address. Duh, Dumb Dora. Even brown can’t do that. Murder!

 

 

Well, I’m nothing if not a Pink Gin is half-full kind of kitten. I suppose the upside is not only do I get a respite from Harvey & Hildy’s foxtrot flaunts, but I also get to remain in San Diego, in my gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. Boyzo! Is it ever bonkers with Christmas spirit! Better than that? I think I spied an old chum lurking over a Gibson in the Babcock & Story – and I do mean old . . . she’s been here longer than I. Dr. Lucia Devereaux, oceanographer, was the first hot scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She also had a knack for tinkering and a fascination with the new electricity fads of the day: a deadly avocation when combined with her vocation.

Pauvre Onslow: as commemorative holiday decor

Dr. Lucy’s been haunting the hotel since 1904 when – The Del being the world’s first resort to use electrical lighting – she naively tried to teach Onslow, her pet octopus, whom she housed in the hotel pool, how to run the nighttime deck lights. One sad splash! and that was it: she would reside where she died. Legend has it Onslow scuttled back out to sea before he died and today he still tarries about the shoreline, only able to see his Lucy from afar. Sometimes at night, you can see them waving to each other: Onslow’s tentacles from the sea, she her handkerchief from her attic laboratory. Each Christmas Eve since then, if one listens carefully over the crashing waves of midnight, one hears Dr. Lucy singing his favorite poem, Lord Octopus Went to the Christmas Fair by Stella Mead (1934). It’s haunting, really. Lord Octopus went to the Christmas Fair; an hour and a half he was traveling there …

 

She’s been adventurous lately, leaving her lab, now that steampunk is all the rage. Lucy’s a sucker for anything Victorian and mechanical. Lucky for her, the hotel gift shops have a plethora of steampunk décor and accoutrement: Onslow Christmas ornaments, clockwork art, vintage styled jewelry and sartorial finery galore for gentlemen and ladies in the posh hotel boutiques. If I can keep her out of the lab, I think it could be a nobby Christmas! Maybe Harvey & Hildy going to Hawaii is the best pressie after all. These hotel holidaymakers won’t know what hit when we jazzy kittens jolly up the joint!

 

Until the Christmas wingdings begin, I’ve got more than enough seasonal cheer and swell weather to keep me chipper. Best of all, I’ve got a stack of Mickey Mouse Magazines, Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge Adventures and even a few modern copies of Betty and Veronica. Oh, I do like that sassy and shiny Veronica! You wouldn’t find Miss Veronica Lodge at The Del in flip-flops and elastic-waist shorts … like some of you. (Cats, try to remember it’s an upscale resort when you visit. U.S. presidents, dignitaries and film stars holiday here. At least, please don’t wear your jim-jams out of your hotel room.)

Comic books for a chickadee like me? And how! You think all you alligators with your Superman, Spiderman and Star Wars tales cornered the market on comic book furor? Think again, dolls! Disney ink first hit the pulp in 1930 and I’ve been hooked like an old lady on a favorite Atlantic City slot machine ever since. I’ve even still got my very first comic book ever, a stocking stuffer in either ’31 or ’32: Mickey Mouse in Death Valley. Uncle Scrooge, Huey, Dewey, Louie and those brazen Beagle Boys have been taking this muffin on adventure after adventure for over eighty years. Topping the stack currently is my 1949 Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade.  My faves though? The Egyptian escapades; nothing’s funnier than a mummy chasing Donald Duck! Throw in Mickey and Goofy afoot of a mystery in the Scottish Highlands and you’ve got some rip-roaring good yarns! Don’t forget to check your Junior Woodchuck Guidebook for tips on overseas mysteries, just in case you’re headed to exotic lands for the holidays. (I hope Harvey & Hildy packed their copy!)

 

Now, I’ve got to go change. The Travel Channel is on the premises shooting Skating by the Sea: The Del’s beachside ice skating. First, I have to dig up my fur-trimmed, Sonja Henie skating dress, my white, velvet muff and then it takes forever to do my finger curls. (Listen up, broads. Ghost locks are paper-thin and refuse to hold a curl; whatever you died with, you pretty much keep forever. So, if you have some idea of when you’re going out, make sure your hair is looking spiffy.) As soon as I’m cute n’ camera-ready, I’ll dash over and make a few spins around the ice rink. See, when they get around to editing next year’s Travel Channel Hallowe’en specials, they’ll remember they think they saw yours truly in some of the Christmas footage. Hey, it’s good B-roll for them and I get to keep my footy in the flickers.

 

Dr. Lucy, wait!

 

Okay, dolls. Tootles and Happy Holid … wait, is that Dr. Lucy? Ahhh, it is! Sure enough, she’s headed for the bar! I think I have time for a quick G&T à la B&S. Damn, I’m never going to get to my comic books. Whilst she and I catch up, perhaps some of you can suggest other great comics (any new steampunk series?) and holiday cocktails for Lucy, Lindy and Moi this Christmas @JennyPopNet.

 

 

 

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

Web Series You SHOULD Be Watching – DragonCon 2011 Panel

5

Category : Conventions, DragonCon, E-vents, Entertain Me, Watching the Web

 

 

DragonCon was this past weekend in Atlanta, GA. Among the many interesting panels on diverse topics included a panel title “Web Series You SHOULD Be Watching.” The panel, which I was pleased to appear on as a panelist, focused on web series. This new media distribution channel is steadily becoming a more accepted entertainment option and looks to give traditional media outlets something to think about, as well as provide an alternative means for creative projects to find an audience. Also appearing on the panel were Kelley Clark (Agora Productions), Kelley Harkins (Director, American SciFi Media Track), Joe Crowe (Revolutionsf.com), Thomas Gofton (Creator, Mind’s Eye web series) and Derek Conley (The Hunted: Tampa and The Hunted: Vindication web series).

 

The panel was intended to introduce prospective audience members to the world of web entertainment and offer a sampling of web series worth watching to new and veteran viewers. With two web creators and the remainder of the panel including veteran web consumers, the panel provided a more in-depth discussion of the trials and triumphs of entertainment content created for web distribution. Of course for all the geeky goodness, you really had to be there. But do not fret, I will not leave you wanting.

 

If you want the listing of web series selections panel attendees received, you will find below the sampling of web series to get you started. The panel was sponsored by the American SciFi Media track. As such, the web series selections primarily fall within the sci-fi or fantasy genres. Entertainment is subjective and you may not enjoy all the series listed here, but please do not let one series prevent you from seeking other web entertainment. There is a plethora of web entertainment on the internet that will appeal to you. You have only to find it. To assist in your discovery, I have also included resource links at the end of the listing. These resource links are hubs for web entertainment and have created directories of web series and films for you to enjoy. If you discovery a series that you enjoy, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

The Usual Suspects - Popular series most people have likely heard of. These series are often pointed to as examples of how web distributed content can be a successful business model.

 

Doctor Horrible Sing-Along Blog – Completed, 3 episodes.
http://www.drhorrible.com | Now available on DVD & BluRay, or download on iTunes.
Summary: Following a want to be evil genius as he attempts to earn his place in the Evil League of Evil and impress the girl of his dreams. His every attempt is thwarted by his nemesis, Captain Hammer. Created, written and directed by Joss Whedon. Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon also contributed their writing talents, making it a family affair. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day.

 

The Guild – Currently airing Season 5
Fantasy, Comedy
http://www.watchtheguild.com/
Summary: Created and starring Felicia Day. The Guild follows the adventures of 6 people who form a “guild” in an online MMORPG game. Over the course of the series, the members meet and become entangled in each others social and love lives, all while getting some raid time in. In the fifth season, the guild heads to a gaming convention where they learn more about themselves, each other and the game.

 

The Legend of Neil – Completed, 3 Seasons
Fantasy, Action
http://www.legendofneil.com
Summary: Created and directed by Sandeep Parikh, who is also known as “Zaboo” on The Guild. The Legend of Neil tells the story of a drunk gamer wakes to find himself in the video game Zelda. The series takes fantasy roleplaying to another level, incorporating all the troupes of the classic video game, everyday drama and a contemporary sense of humor. Cast includes scifi favorite Felicia Day. Mature Content Warning: Language, Sexual Situations

 

Mortal Kombat: Legacy – Completed
Scifi, , Action, Drama
http://www.youtube.com/show/mortalkombatlegacy
Summary: A fan-inspired web series that received corporate funding due to the quality of work. Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a live-action adaptation of the classic video game. Starring scifi fan favorites Tahmoh Penikett and Jeri Ryan.

 

Aidan 5 – Season 1.5 begins September 2nd, 2011
SciFi, Mystery
http://www.aidan5.com
Summary: In a future when cloning is everyday practice with up to 5 clones per person, a serial killer is murdering clones. Two detectives head the manhunt for the mysterious culprit and come face to face with their own mortality. Film Noire style series that incorporates a dynamic comic feel.

 

Cable Network Sponsored Series - Cable networks have caught on to the marketing and advertising options web series can create, especially as a means of extending an established brand. These series are shows created or sponsored by major cable networks.

 

Torchwood: Web of Lies – Currently airing
SciFi, Mystery
http://www.youtube.com/starz | Download the App for iPad & iPhone in iTunes
Summary: Sponsored by BBC Worldwide and Starz. The web series is a companion to the current season of Torchwood: Miracle Day. In 2007, someone is after Captain Jack Harkness. It is up to Jack & Gwen Cooper to find out who and why. Simultaneously, the story follows Holly, whose brother is shot on Miracle Day for information he has about the people behind the miracle. Interactive motion comic produced by Russell T. Davies & Julie Gardner. Jane Espenson contributes her writing talents. Staring John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Eliza Dushku.

 

Warehouse 13: Of Monsters and Men – Completed, 10 Episodes
Scifi, Action, Mystery
http://www.syfy.com/rewind/ofmonstersandmen
Sponsored by Syfy.
Summary: When Claudia and Pete accidentally trigger an artifact obtained from a man who found comics detrimental to the youth of America, they find themselves and Artie living out the adventures of a comic book. Can they solve the comic’s mysteries? Can they find a way out of the story before it ends, or will they be stuck in 4-color?

 

Mercury Men – Completed Season 1. Awaiting news on Season 2
SciFi, Action, Mystery
http://www.syfy.com/rewind/mercurymen
Sponsored by Syfy.
Summary: In 1976, men from Mercury come to earth with a sinister plan to drag the moon down to earth. It is up to Engineer Jack Yeager and an everyday citizen, Edward Borman, to save the world and find out who’s calling the shots. Great tribute to classic black and white scifi movies.

 

Riese: Kingdom Falling – Completed Season 1. Awaiting news of Season 2 & possible transition to tv.
Fantasy, Drama
http://www.syfy.com/rewind/riese
Sponsored by Syfy.
Summary: In a realm much like the feudal society of Europe’s medieval times, the land is in turmoil. An evil queen has a stranglehold on the realm and will go to any lengths to retain power. Across the land, an orphaned woman wanders with her wolf companion to find out who she is. Steampunk sensibilities interwoven into character development and costume design. Cast includes many Syfy fan favorites.

 

Rigamortis – Completed, 3 episodes
Scifi, Zombies
http://www.rigamortis.com
Summary: After the zombie apocalypse, two zombies fall in love while they struggle to resist their brain-eating ways. Meanwhile, the premier zombie hunter shows us no matter his fame, life isn’t always awesome. Fantastically fun musical take on the zombie apocalypse.

 

Blood Light – Completed, 2 Seasons
Scifi, Vampires
http://www.bloodlight.com
Summary: Blood Light sheds light on the everyday life of vampires. It is a bit of a parody of the hit HBO series True Blood. The series follows the after-lives of 2 vampires and their wannabe friend living normal lives. Topics covered range from therapy, anger management, dating and identity crisis. Mature content warning: Language, Sexual Situations.

 

The Black Dawn
Scifi, Mystery
http://http://www.webserials.com/blackdawn/
Summary: A plague sweeps the globe, killing most of the world’s population within seconds of exposure. A small band of survivors in Los Angeles struggle to find answers, other survivors and to stay alive.

 

Lumina – Completed Season 1. Awaiting news of Season 2
Scifi, Mystery
http://www.luminaseries.com
Summary: What if alternate dimensions existed on the other side of reflections? The series explores that question. As the series begin, a woman meets and falls for a prince from the opposites side of reflections. As they become more involved and more people become aware of the relationship, we discover nothing is what it appears to be. There is a bigger conspiracy being played out in both realms. Beautifully shot with great use of soundtrack.

 

Gemini Division – Completed Season 1, 50 Episodes
Scifi, Mystery
http://www.bing.com/videos/browse/source?tag=mccannum%3ageminidivision
Summary: A happy couple visits Paris. When the guy goes missing, his girlfriend must find out what happened to him and stumbles onto a government conspiracy. Live action with CGI landscapes. Cast includes Syfy favorite, Allison Scagliotti.

 

Afterworld – Completed, 130 Episodes
Scifi, Mystery
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=07E03F5180A9F18A
Summary: A massive electromagnetic event occurs, causing permanent electronic outages across the globe, along with the disappearance of most the world’s population. One man is determined to find his way back to the family he left across the country. During his journey, he will meet other survivors – some friendly and helpful, others with more sinister intentions. As he travels, he will find clues that lead him to learn who caused “the fall” and why.

 

Misfits – Currently airing Season 2
Scifi, Drama
http://www.hulu.com/presents/misfits
Summary: Five British teenagers are sentenced to community service. When they are struck by lightening during a spontaneous storm, they develop super-powers. As they come to grips with their new abilities, they realize they weren’t the only ones affected by the storm. Can they learn how to use their abilities? Will they use their powers for good?

 

The Booth at the End – Currently airing Season 1
Scifi, Drama
http://www.hulu.com/presents/boothattheend
Summary: What would you do to heal a sick loved one, get the girl of your dreams, or the life you always wanted? In The Booth at the End we meet a mysterious man who can help you get what you’ve always wanted. All you have to do is complete a task. What if the task puts you or someone else in danger? What if it is illegal?

 

Border Guardians of Ackernon – Currently airing Season 2
Fantasy, Drama
http://www.ackernon.com
Summary: In a fantasy realm, graduates of “The University” become politicians, warriors and powerful mages entrusted with the safety and security of the realm. In recent years, their power has been weakening and a danger from another land threatens the enchanted walls. The series follows the Guardians as they recruit and train new students to ward off the dangers facing the realm.

 

Trenches – Completed, 10 Episodes
Scifi, Action, Drama
http://www.crackle/c/trenches
Summary: Two civilizations embroiled in a space battle find themselves forced to work together to survive the planet. Cooperation is a priority because they are not alone.

 

Anica – Completed Season 1. Season 2 in pre-production & talk of a movie
Scifi, Drama
http://www.wix.com/kenyonglover/test
In the future, government soldiers are selected for experimentation in hopes of creating an elite force. When one of the super soldiers is accused of murdering a high official, a disgraced soldier is tapped to track the missing soldier before the political climate worsens and endangers galactic peace. Fantastic CGI landscapes.

 

Future Series to Watch For - These series are currently in the works. Given what we have seen, these series are worth checking out when they are released.

 

Osiris – Premiers September 28, 2011
Scifi, Mystery
http://www.facebook.com/OsirisTheSeries
Summary: A man with resurrection abilities must track down a kidnapped federal witness. As he embarks on his search, he discovers a conspiracy, and finds clues about the source of his ability.

 

H+ - Season 1 in production
Scifi, Drama
http://www.facebook.com/HplusTheDigitalSeries
Summary: In the future, people take internet connectivity to the next level with a chip implant. Making the internet more accessible changes the socioeconomic landscapes across the globe. What happens when something goes wrong? Will the desire to be connected be our downfall?

 

Zenoids – Season 1 in production
Animated Musical
http://www.myouterspace.com/index.php/community/Starships/Orion.html
Summary: Created and starring William Shatner. Executive produced and starring Amanda Tapping. The story follows an alien family singing across the galaxy.

 

Resource Links - Websites which provide directories of web series and films available for viewing.

 

Cracklehttp://www.crackle.com

Webserialshttp://www.webserials.com

Web Series Channelhttp://www.webserieschannel.com

Scifinalhttp://www.scifinal.com

Huluhttp://www.hulu.com/network/hulu-presents

IFChttp://www.ifc.com/web-series

Fearhttp://www.fearnet.com/shows

 

Remember to check back here at Goodtobeageek.com for our regular series, Watching the Web, where I highlight web series worth watching.

 

 

Episode 02 – At the Con: TempleCon

1

Category : Conventions, Game On, Guest Appearances, PC, PS3, TempleCon, Xbox

At the Con: TempleCon (Ep 02)

On the show, I go to TempleCon. EA is in hot water, Playstation has been busy and Undead Labs is having a very good week.

NEED TO KNOW
**News**
Sony PSP2: Sony announced technical specification for their next generation portable. Dubbed the PSP2, it comes packed with features, including a 5” multi-touch OLED sreen, WiFi & 3G connectivity, dual analog sticks and a rear touchpad, front and rear cameras and built-in GPS. Sony is looking to bridge the gap between console & portable gaming.
Read the Sony Computer Entertainment press release: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/110127a_e.html

Playstation Phone: A norwegian site, DroidNYTT, got their hands on a leaked commercial which seems to confirm the Playstation Phone is real and it has a name. The latest leak reveals the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, expected to officially be announced at the Mobile World Congress, taking play February 14-17, 2011. The commercial suggests the phone will run on the Android platform.
Watch the commercial on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MV09PRsAU2Y

Undead Labs teams up with Microsoft Games to bring their open-world zombie survival game to XBLA. Code named “Class 3,” this first look at their big picture asks gamers to put their survival skills to the test in the zombie apocolypse. Incorporating a “choose your own adventure” aspect, the content is influenced by the decisions and actions of the players as they determine where to find shelter, how to obtain resources and how to face off against the zombie hordes. The most interesting part of this game development is that Class 3 is the first part of what will become a bigger game, code-named “Class 4.” The development team is so committed to creating a fully functioning and immersive game, they are trying something new by focusing on the game-play aspects to really nail them down, before moving on to expand the world and the multitude of options that will be available in the completed “Class 4.”
Read more at Undead Labs: http://undeadlabs.com/2011/02/news/undead-labs-and-microsoft-game-studios-to-create-zombie-survival-franchise-on-xbox-360/

Common Sense Media seeks sanctions against EA: At the heart of the Dead Space 2 marketing campaign is a commercial boasting “Your mom hates Dead Space 2,” showing reactions from a group of mothers being shown graphic footage from the new game. The shock advertising is meant to appeal to rebellious young gamers. Dead Space 2 has been rated for players age 17 and up. The accusation here is not the campaign itself is offensive, rather that the campaign works too well, enticing gamers under 17 to play. The ESRB has already denied the request, reminding Common Sense Media it cannot be proved the commercial targets gamers of a specific age. Further, the ESRB was consulted and approved the commercial prior to its airing.
Read more from the LA Times coverage: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/02/your-mom-hates-dead-space-2-advert-stirring-controversy.html

**Games released last week include:
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops (PC)
Earthrise (PC)

**Games being released this week include:
Mario Sports Mix (Wii)
Sniper: Ghost Warrior (PS3)
Hyperdimension Neptunia (PS3)
Trinity: Sould of Zill O’ll Zero (PS3)
Dungeons (PC)
Fate of The World (PC)
Two Worlds II (PC)
EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious (PC)
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (Nintendo DS)
Test Drive Unlimited 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
You Don’t Know Jack (Nintendo DS, PS3, Xbox 360)
Body & Brain Connection (Xbox 360 w/Kinect)

**On the Calendar, check out these Upcoming Events:

Total Confusion
February 24-27, 2011
Holiday Inn in Mansfield, MA
Website: http://www.totalcon.com

PAX East
March 11-130, 2011
BCEC in Boston, MA
Website: http://east.paxsite .com

GET IN THE GAME
On this episode I am at the con, covering TempleCon 2011. Check back at Good To Be A Gamer later this week for more coverage.

TempleCon (Board, Card, LARP, Miniatures, Video Gaming & Steampunk)
February 2-4, 2011
Crowne Plaza in Warwick, RI
Website: http://www.templecon.org

Temple Games
167 Columbus Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Phone: (401) 305-0836
http://www.thetemplegames.com

Thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music. http://magnatune.com/artists/sterling

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the host and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.

Creative Commons License Disclaimer Code:
Creative Commons License
Good To Be A Gamer Podcast by Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.