Tag Archives: star wars

Are The Jedi Religious?

obi-wan-kenobi-the-empire-strikes-back-_144169-fli_1378671413In honor of May 4th, I thought I would attempt to tackle a Jedi question that’s been tickling my brain lately. For most of my adult life, I’ve operated under the assumption that the Jedi are a religious order. Largely because of the parallels between them and Templar knights and that throwaway line from A New Hope:

Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels’ hidden fortress…

 

But it occurs to me that the Jedi Order doesn’t seem all that religious. On its surface, most of the common religious components are missing. There appears to be no deity, no stated code of morality, no prophet or enlightener, and no philosophy about life after death (excluding certain Jedi). Without these components, it seems like you can have secular Jedi. Or Jedi that follow specific religions not associated to The Force. 

More importantly, most faiths strive to be inclusive and and to spread. Theoretically, if the Jedi practice a religion, other non-Jedi people should also be able to practice it as well. I can’t recall any normals ever celebrating the vague notions of The Force.  

Then again, Buddhism is a non-theist religion, so perhaps God(s) aren’t a necessary component. And there are Jedi that live on as ghosts after their death. So there is verifiable proof of an afterlife; though the Jedi are oddly silent on the issue. The Force, it could be argued, might be a component of an enlightened state or spiritual experience not unlike Nirvana… that only certain people can have. Together, these things could be called spiritual components of… something. I mean, everyone remembers Luke’s walk into that cave to face his fear. It certainly looked spiritual. 

So perhaps it’s still vague. It’s possible there are more details that aren’t expressed in the films (without having to enter EU territory) that come together with these elements, and poor writing just didn’t get us there.

But my gut tells me that the Jedi aren’t practicing a religion. There doesn’t appear to be any referential material that practitioners can use for guidance. Normally, the faithful can look at a sanctioned, curated tome and discuss components of their faith. The Jedi don’t seem to have a consensus on what is morally correct, seemingly allowing or engaging in murder inconsistently. The only real moral good the Jedi appear to believe in is stopping other force-users from using their power to conquer. That and the whole thing about loving relationships and family being bad. 

On a larger level, religion is supposed answer the big, existential mysteries. The Force and the Jedi philosophy behind it has almost always been about the how things work rather than the why. The bigger questions about creation, the universe and are place in it aren’t addressed here.

No, I think the Jedi have a distinct lack of spirituality… most of the time. 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The X-Wing Miniatures Game

X-wing2I’ve found a new gaming obsession.  I’ve been wanting to get into wargaming for a long time, but Warhammer and Warmachine are expensive, and I don’t have a whole lot of extra spending money.  Enter, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.

Compared to Warhammer, the models are less expensive, and they come already mostly assembled and painted (which is great, since I’m allergic to either the paint or the primer of the Warhammer paints). The downside is that the figures themselves aren’t very customizable. Sure, you could give them a custom paint job if you wanted, but I think the paint that is already applied looks pretty good.

You can, however, customize your units using the cards that come with the ships. Each card is worth a certain point amount, which you then use to build your fleet. (100 points is generally the point value used. ) You have different cards for your pilots, ship upgrades (like torpedoes), and other modifications. You can have a ship that is as amazing or as barebones as you want.

The two factions are, of course, the Rebel Alliance and the Imperials. The Rebels have your standard X-wings, Y-wings, A-wings, and B-wings, but where the real fun comes is with the YT-1300… better known as the Millennium Falcon. The Falcon is a beast. It can fire in every direction, it is fast and maneuverable. It’s ridiculous.

The Imperials seem outgunned with their unshielded TIE-fighters, but they can really swarm; the TIEs are fast and cheap. Add Boba Fett’s Slave-1, and you’ve got a serious threat to the Rebels.

The game is really fun, and easy to learn. Highly recommended. Fantasy Flight Games has put together a really great product. Definitely check it out.

As an added bonus, here’s the Tabletop episode of X-Wing!

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Flying the Flag de Geek

I am not a closeted geek.

Don’t worry, though! I’m not going to push it in your face, expect you to get Doctor Who, or know who the best captain was (It was definitely Picard). But, that doesn’t mean I won’t and don’t fly my geek flag. To be sure, my sci-fi/fantasy proclivities are quite clear. Just come visit me in my office at an undisclosed place of work…that’s not too hard to figure out if you pay the slightest bit of attention.

It’s great fun to watch the face of someone who enters my office for the first time. Front and center is my Doctor Who tableau:

doc who desk

Charming, no?

A lovely TARDIS bobble, Tenth Doctor sonic screwdriver, and an itty bitty Vastra present a nice welcome and an open door into the depths of my psyche…for those who care to inquire, of course. The trio are on the front part of my desk and are angled to delight and inspire anyone who sits in the ugly upholstered guest chair opposite of my shining (shiny) face.

Next is this:

desk 2

Closest to the back of the room, but still on my massive and self-important desk, is the above grouping. It’s probably the one that gets most of the confused looks. Oh sure, the Stay Puft box is recognizable enough, but the Portal turret and Battlestar Galactica Viper are fodder for blank stares and polite, vague smiles. I can’t count the number of times I have patiently explained that the turret is not a space ship. (I probably could, but I’m going for glittering generalities, here, people.) The Viper is just written off as some kind of space ship, too, usually not recognized for the awesome bit of stuffed coolness that it is.

Finally, there’s this:

desk 3

Nestled under the not-so-watchful eyes of ever-so-outdated photos of my adorable children, the last display is often overlooked. It is off to one side, and its mishmash of components rather makes it look like random pieces of  junk, I guess. To others, of course. Not me!

Beginning with the broken G.I. Joe Jinx and zombified dog posed to make it seem like a feast is in progress, the display also includes a magic wand, and X-Wing Starfighter/pilot/Yavin 4 Lego combo. Nice, huh? It’s pretty sweet.

I’m sure the longer I work at this undisclosed location, the more items I’ll accumulate and be able to show off. I’m excited by the prospect, really! I think of my small collection as conversation-starters and interest-attractors! I’ll have you know that my TARDIS bobble actually got one small boy to try Doctor Who. Seriously! I was informed that he became quite involved and gobbled up what Netflix had to offer.

Go me!

Do you fly your geek flag in your work space? Hit me up in the comments!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Why Star Wars Still Needs Mark Hamill

What’s the difference between the light and dark side of the Force? It feels like a dumb question at first, but it’s a little more nuanced than it looks.

The Force is power. Jedi and Sith use it to be stronger, faster, have precognition, and do the things that allow them to beat other people in fights. Basically the only one who can kill a Force-user (in the films) is another Force-user. Occasionally, Obi or Anakin lose their lightsabers, but they never actually lose a fight. They stall until they use their force power to win.

So what’s the difference between the light and dark side? At the end of the day, the Jedi and Sith are probably both going to cut their opponent into pieces. Does it matter if they got there with a Force push or a lightning bolt? I used to think so. Generally speaking, bad guys use force lightning, and I thought that’s what made them all messed up and deteriorated like most dark Jedi are.

But that’s not really right. There ought not to be dark powers, just dark intentions because both the Jedi and the Sith kill and maim. Mace Windu cuts a guys head off and doesn’t look back because killing isn’t the point.

Holy s***! How is this possible?

Holy s***! How is this possible?

For the Jedi, how you kill doesn’t make you good or evil. Why you kill doesn’t either. What matters is what you’re feeling when you kill.

That’s it.

Bringing it back to why we’re here: Mark Hamill isn’t a young guy. At 61, he’s right where Obi-Wan was in the original Star Wars. My point is he probably isn’t good as an action hero, but he would make a great Yoda.

The reason this is relevant now is that Harrison Ford may reprise his role as Han Solo in some unspecified capacity in the next Star Wars film. Which is too bad, because elderly action heroes have a mixed record in the box office. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand just completely failed in theaters. Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet To The Head did even worse. Granted, Expendables 2 and A Good Day To Die Hard had better showings, but it’s a dicey time to be an aging action star, especially outside the neo-80’s action movie revival we’re experiencing.

I’m not saying there’s no room for folks of advancing years in Star Wars (or movies in general), but this is an opportunity to play to the franchise’s core strength: mysticism.

Coming back to my first question, I’ve seen both trilogies multiple times, and I still have no idea what the Force is or why people who use it do what they do. I mean, it seems to be the gate to superpowers, but that’s about it. Why does killing someone in anger make you evil, but killing someone peacefully does not? What is the actual difference between the light and dark side?

I want the movies to be able to tell me without having to Google through the expanded universe.

This is important. The Force is THE defining trait of the franchise. We see two diametrically opposed groups use superpowers to fight each other all the time. Off the top of my head Beautiful Creatures comes to mind. We’ve seen wars in space.

The Force and, by extension, the Jedi are what make Star Wars what it is.

So, how the hell is it we still don’t know why it works the way it does? And please don’t say midichloreans, because that was a techno babble way to tell us more about the Force without actually telling us more about the Force. But, even if you do accept the midichloreans, that’s still explaining a “how,” not a “why.”

Which brings me back around to Mark Hamill. Unlike Han Solo, Luke Skywalker can add more to the movie than laser fights and high-speed chases. He can bring essential plot elements to the film while dovetailing pretty much any plot nicely.

Star Wars 7 will probably take place after Return Of The Jedi, which means some old guy will have to train the new class of Jedi. Instead of getting any old guy, why not get Luke Skywalker? He can add legitimacy while also addressing some of these questions Star Wars ought to get around to answering.

I’m of the mind that Star Wars has the opportunity to really expand outside of the expected. For a long time, it was a closed franchise. We’d get new books and comics, but it was generally understood that there wouldn’t be any more movies. This is a big part of the reason everyone loses their mind when they hear about a new Star Wars film. When it was reported Lucas was pulling together Episode I, it was like everyone suddenly realized it was their birthday at the same time, because no one actually thought there would ever be another Star Wars movie.

That excitement means the next few movies bearing the Star Wars title will be profitable regardless of the content, which could mean a free pass for lazy film-making. My hope is that J.J. Abrams and the house of mouse have an understanding of how big this could be.

Random Trivia

Twins

Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVio are doing a sequel to Twins where they discover there’s a third brother? And, if the casting credits are correct, that third brother will probably be Eddie Murphy?

Tagged , , , , ,

Sweeping Up the Dark Lord’s Mess

They lurk in engine rooms and basements of spaceships, waiting to surface from the depths of darkness to mop away the madness of spills and dead rebels. Yes, I said dead rebels. Did you ever wonder who cleaned up after Darth Vader or the clones? Someone has to. That Death Star gets dirty!

The Guild producers, Davin Lengyel and Geoff Lapaire, created an awesomely geeky Space Janitors webseries. I’m assuming that the cast can’t mention Darth Vader, the Emperor, or Storm Troopers because of copyright laws. This problem does not lessen the humor or detract from any reference identification. The Emperor is the Dark Lord, etc. You’ll get it.

My favorite episode at the moment is “Light-Based Arm Cutter Instrument.” The main characters, Darby Richards and Mike Chet, are in the basement of the spaceship (which is the creators version of the Death Star) just wiping up another mess and something falls from above. Darby nonchalantly picks up a severed hand attached to some sort of saber-like device. The hand gets tossed into a hazardous waste receptacle as the duo tries to figure out the purpose of the “electrical instrument.” The Empire Strikes Back reference is just brilliant. So, I guess we know what happened to Luke’s hand!

After using it as a musical instrument, a “mush cooker” (mush is their food and comes in a rainbow array of colors), and several accidents involving Mike’s arms, any fan of Star Wars, or The Guild, won’t be disappointed. Space Janitors is a humorous trip through the Empire’s class system with the exploits of individuals stuck in dead-end jobs who just want more out of their lives.

Tagged , , , , ,

A Post of Random Holiday Stuff

 

I think we’ve all seen something like this:


It’s generally pretty awesome. (Side note: my wife informed me that these people broadcast the music over unused radio bands. That makes sense.)

Since the holidays are coming (or already here, if you are one of my Jewish readers), I decided to go in search of awesome holiday things. I’m going to warn you that, much like my mind, this list is going to be pretty random, so bear with me.

 

First up, Bing Crosby and David Bowie. I’m so glad the universe conspired to make this happen.

 

Here is a Spock Santa hat. Live long and sleigh ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is pretty. The Piano Guys perform O Come, Emmanuel.

 

This album exists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, to end this mildly strange journey, here is an animated .gif of Lumpy, Chewbacca’s father, from the Star Wars Holiday Special.

I’m sorry you have to see this. Happy Holidays!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Trilogies: Why the Best Things Come in Threes

JRR Tolkien’s covers for The Lord of the Rings. Fair Use.

Trilogies are most often associated with science-fiction or fantasy, whether it be in film, novel, or even video game. However, the trilogy has been used for thousands of years, dating back to the Greeks. The Greek trilogy of plays known as The Oresteia is the oldest surviving trilogy that we have.

Why have trilogies survived for such a long time? Here are a few of the reasons.

1. They easily fit a thee-act structure

Trilogies are, obviously, perfect for the three-act structure. If you’re not familiar with it, here is a brief overview.

1. The first act generally deals with introducing characters and the world they inhabit. Later in the first act, something will happen that will change the main character’s life.

2. In the second act, the main character will try to solve his problem, but only make it worse, since he is not sufficiently experienced enough to deal with the problem.

3.) The third act will resolve the problem.

For example:

1.) In The Lord of the Rings narrative,  Fellowship of the Ring, is the first act. Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Humans, and the world they live in are all introduced. Frodo gets the ring, which changes his life forever. The problem ensues when Frodo decides to take the ring to Mordor. After Boromir tries to take the ring away, Frodo makes the decision to take the ring to Mordor on his own, which he is not ready for.

2.) The Two Towers continues the story of Frodo, who realizes how complicated his situation is getting. Gollum, Faramir, and the hordes of Mordor all complicate the situation. He realizes that he can’t carry his burden alone, but refuses Sam’s help and trusts Gollum instead of his best friend.

3.) In Return of the King, Frodo and Sam complete their quest after discovering that trust, friendship, and crazy determination (also, Gollum biting off a finger), will always win the day. The subplots are resolved, the characters are left forever changed, but are more mature and complete because of the experience.

You could apply this structure to any number of trilogies. It’s just easy, and if done well, can work beautifully.

2.) Trilogies are lucrative

Why do publishers and movie studios love trilogies? Because they make money. If the first movie or book does well, no doubt that the second and third parts of the story will also make sales. Guaranteed sales are good for the author and the publisher.  So, yes, sometimes it’s a greedy plot to make more money, but honestly, isn’t having more story worth it?

3.) Concerning fantasy/sci-fi

Fantasy and sci-fi readers are more likely to be reading for fun, so long stories are enjoyable for those readers. I love fantasy and sci-fi, so I love series that make up a trilogy (or multiple trilogies). I never feel like I have to plod through those stories, because I am doing it for enjoyment.

I know people complain about the prevalence of trilogies, but they are good for the reader, the writer, and the publisher/studio. They are an ancient form of storytelling that isn’t going anywhere soon, so try your best to enjoy the ride.

 

 

((The featured image is a screen capture from The Fellowship of the Ring. Subject to fair use. Used for illustrative purposes only.))

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Alright, Disney. Here’s What You Need to Do With Star Wars.

Since the announcement of Disney’s most recent purchase, fanboys young and old have been at odds as to whether this acquisition is a good thing or a bad thing. Some may think it blasphemous, but I think it’s a good thing.

[source: geek.com]

When Disney bought Marvel some time ago, I was greatly skeptical. I was going on the belief that they were going to ruin my childhood, due to their past decisions to make sub-par sequels to the classic animated films I grew up watching, nearly 20+ years after the originals were released. My thinking was that if they have no problem half-assing their way through those sequels, even having the nerve to want to make them, what would they do to my comic book superheroes? Needless to say, they proved me wrong. Marvel Entertainment has only gotten better, especially the films.

So when the news broke that they purchased all of LucasArts, I was pretty excited. Even more so when they announced Episode 7 in 2015. Huzzah, I say!

But in order for this new pairing to be absolutely worth it, some things need to happen.

[source: geekologie.com]

First, and I’m not sure if this has happened already, make Princess Leia an official Disney Princess. Royal treatment and all. Add her to the line-up and have her strolling around the theme parks with the rest of them, greeting the kiddies with a sarcastic wit that we know and love from our favorite Alderaan princess. What better way to improve the Disney experience?

Second, add a new section to the theme parks – A Star Wars section! All Star Wars, all the time. Not just the Star Wars Weekends that they’ve been doing, a year-round set of attractions. If they have to, build on to the damn parks. I want it to be its own park. And just replace Euro Disney with Star Wars. Everyone will be so much happier and I’m sure it would greatly improve business.

Third, bring the Star Wars Universe into the Kingdom Hearts Universe. SquareEnix just needs to scrap whatever they have for KH3 right now and start from scratch. I’ll wait. It would totally be worth it. Think about it….Lightsaber Keyblades! Sora and Luke Skywalker vs. Sephiroth and Darth Vader in one of the greatest sword fights ever! The epicness could not be rated, it would be off the charts. This needs to happen. And while they’re at it, since Disney also owns Marvel, they could bring in the Marvel Universe as well. Make it a three-part game.

How great would this be? [source: thefw.com]

Fourth, let Pixar make a series of animated Star Wars films. Freak yes! There would be no end to the greatness of those films. Everything they do is gold, nay platinum, so give them a chance. A movie about Han and Chewie’s adventures before the original trilogy would be amazing.

Finally, the new trilogy or trilogies. Make them worth it. Make them as good, if not better than the originals. Make us all believers again and make the naysayers eat their words of hate and disbelief. Star Wars fans need these new films to be beyond spectacular in order heal the hurt we felt after the lackluster debacles that were the prequels. So choose your writers, directors, producers, and especially actors wisely and don’t fail us.

It’s a short list of demands and some might think that I’m asking for too much but I think I’m asking for just enough. I know you can do it, Disney. The Force is strong with you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Raising a Geekling: Enough Pink!

This is my first go-around with a small girl child, and I’ve noticed quite a difference.

Shocking, I know. But, of the three main differences between girls and boys, I’m going to focus on one that irritates my pants the most: Clothing.

Our previous attempt at duplication yielded a male child, and I discovered a severe lack of selection when it came to fancy duds and clothing in general. Even around Christmas time when girls are expected to wear giant, puffy red confections, boys are shown in a pair of khakis…if you’re lucky. More often than not, it’s some jeans with a seasonal long sleeved t-shirt.

Preposterous! (I’ve strolled around many a store shouting “Preposterous!” and “Bully!” on more than one occasion. Truth.)

I managed to find sufficient clothing for my son, however, and have since settled into a comfortable rhythm centered around superheroes, trains, and random collared shirts. He’s a fan of at least two of the three, so I count that as a win for everybody involved.

When my daughter was born, I was honestly excited for what awaited Girls get racks and racks of clothing at the store! Racks and racks, I say!

I eagerly dove in and started selecting all kinds of fripperies associated with baby-dom. I was also blessed enough to receive lots of gifts and hand-me-downs, rounding out my child’s wardrobe for the first several months of her life.

Image courtesy of tvstoreonline.com.

But, now, she’s seven and a half months old, and I’M SICK OF PINK! And purple to a lesser extent. Pink’s the main fiend, here, though. Why can’t little girls have…well…less girly stuff?

So, I poked around Ye Olde Interwebz and found some stuff to put on my wish list.

Enjoy!

Don’t give me a princess shirt, give me Wonder Woman! Amazon princesses are clearly much better than Disney ones. I don’t even have to defend myself, here. I’m just clearly right. They may wear less, but they kick serious butt!

But, clearly, not all princesses are lame. I think we can agree on that.

Another princess I’m totally fine with goes by the name of Leia. A little Star Wars, anyone? Yes, please! I would like for my daughter to sport a hat like this one. Made to look like Leia’s famous side buns, this crocheted hat is pure geekery cuteness!

I’m saving my credits for that. Seriously.

I’m also a huge fan of almost anything relating to steampunk!

Image courtesy of denice3069 on Etsy.

It’s kinda hard to find baby steampunk stuff, though, since most of the merchandise out there is for tarts who want to hoist their mainsails and throw out their shingle if you know what I mean (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!). But, Etsy comes to the rescue! Yay!

Check out these ADORABLE Victorian baby booties! D’aw!  As we all know, Victorian fashion is a gateway drug to steampunk.

Sigh!

I think I wrote this article more for me than you. I needed to prove to myself that there are alternate clothing choices out there. And it’s not that I’m not against girly; I’m not against fluffy. But, there’s a line!

Have you found any awesome baby clothes lately? Share your treasures in the comments and fight the PINK!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

An Open Letter to George Lucas: Thank You

Dear Mr. Lucas,

You get a lot of flak from fanboys sometimes, but now that you’re basically retiring, I wanted to share how much your work has inspired me to be doing what I am today. No, I won’t ever be the billionaire you are. No, I probably won’t ever innovate and inspire multiple generations of creative people… But, I don’t aspire to that. And I don’t think you did initially, either.

Like most people in their late 20s, I saw Star Wars when I was very young. Return of the Jedi was released 26 days before the day of my birth, so the complete original trilogy has been around as long as I’ve been alive. I watched all three movies during a very important developmental time in my life. I was playing with Lego, action figures, and video games. I was beginning to read my first full-length novels, and I was actually starting to write out the adventures of characters of my own creation. It was a magical time in my life, and The Star Wars Trilogy helped solidify in my mind that ANYTHING was possible.

I was obsessed with your work for a long time. I would mow lawns to save up the money to buy all the Star Wars novels that would release. I knew the names of all the characters in the Cantina and Jabba’s Palace (Max Rebo should have his own spin-off TV series). I had reams of loose leaf pages full of the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, and, I’m sure, any number of Mary Sue characters (I didn’t understand the concepts of hackney, character flaws, or other typical fan fiction tropes).

The main point was, though, that I was reading. I was writing. I was creating. Because of Star Wars, I was introduced to other sci-fi and fantasy: Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick, Raymond Feist, Isaac Asimov, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King. I even credit Star Wars with getting me into reading comic books (I started reading the excellent comics by Dark Horse… I hope that they don’t lose the license due to the sale, because they are STILL telling interesting stories).

You, Mr. Lucas, made me a geek.

Thank you.

I was also inspired by your example. You wanted to make the movies that you loved and thought were interesting. I respected that. I don’t think you’ve ever taken the easy way out, so when it came time for me to decide to study what I loved at university (Creative Writing and English), or pleasing everyone else with a degree program I liked (and had half-completed) but didn’t love, I made the difficult choice to leave my major and start anew. I graduated a little late because of it, and sometimes I second-guess my decision, but here I am. I write for a living. I edit other people’s writing for a living. So, thank you for your example.

Sir, the possibility of you reading this letter is approximately 3,720 to 1 (probably less, but I wanted to make the Threepio joke), but I wanted you and everyone else that reads this to know that you have shaped my life in a myriad of ways. I probably have a beard today because of some unconscious desire to be a little bit like you.

Finally, I wanted to let you know how much I respect you for the charity work you do. You have a lot of money, and that could buy a lot of golden parachutes, but the amount of money you’ve pledged to give away to charity is inspiring.

So, for all the worlds and mythologies you’ve created, I thank you. While you’re retired, I doubt you will remain inactive, and I wish you the best. I, for one, would love to see you do those smaller movies you’ve been talking about for a long time.

Sincerely,
Tj Johnston
TheCoolShip.com

Tagged ,

The Week in Geek: Oct. 12, 2012

I had a ton of great links. Then I accidentally exited the window and didn’t realize it for a few minutes. Now you’re stuck with what I remembered finding. Sorry, the internet is a fickle fig.

mario+luigi droids

What makes you think we’re the droids you’re looking for? Itsa me, Luigi, sir! Image courtesy of Andrea Gerstmann Art.

You’re not the only ones trying to figure out what to be for Halloween. Professional Caricaturist Andrea Gerstmann gives everyone’s favorite droids a costumed makeover.  (via Neatorama)

These brother’s built an absurdly detailed Lego Batcave with more than 20,000 pieces over the course of six months. That’s impressive, but what I really want to know is if they managed to do all that and never step on a brick barefoot. (via Kotaku)

TJ has to make Sophie’s Choice…between two games.

John Gurdon won the 2012 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine and is generally considered to be, in technical terms, a Science Beast. However, in 1949, a high school teacher said pursuing a career as a scientist would be a “sheer waste of time.” Guess what Gurdon now has framed?

The New York Times has a fabulous profile on lady-geek entrepreneur/ voice actress Ashley Eckstein and her geek-with-boobies-friendly clothing company, Her Universe. Note: My birthday is coming up, and my closet is conspicuously lacking this.

Arrow premiered and now it looks like I won’t be the only one on staff watching the CW anymore!

oscar + bigbird droids

I’m going to make a Mitt Romney joke here because I’m liberal and topical! Image courtesy of Andrea Gerstmann Art.

The PS1’s graphics often looked like the “Money for Nothing” video, and the licensed games had a tendency to be a giant ball of suck. Topless Robot has six licensed games that not only rock, but still stand up to playing.

Yeah, I lack the skill to make these spectacular geek-o-lanterns. Could I interest you in a charmingly lopsided face? (via MentalFloss)

Just when you think the world couldn’t get any better, what with the crunchy leaves, the pumpkin spice lattes, and my wedding coming up (You know you care), Pixar releases a charming short, “Partysaurus Rex.” (via /Film)

In related news, Pixar has created a delightful website for Monsters University. Not the movie, the university the monsters go to in the movie. Oh. Pixar, thank you for filling my week with win! (via TDW)

Thinking thoughts about Angry Birds: Star Wars Gabrielle has.

Remember the eccentric billionaire who sad, “Bah!” to science and reason and set out to build his own Jurassic Park? Well science and reason have respectfully replied with a logical smackdown of your childhood hopes and dreams.

Steampunk and crafty (Aren’t all Steampunks somewhat crafty, or is that a stereotype?) people alike will be interested in Needles and Artifice, a book of Steampunk knitting patters.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer: Angry Birds Star Wars

That’s right, folks! Rovio is set to release Angry Birds Star Wars on Nov. 8.

My three-year-old son will be overjoyed. (Commentary? Hmmm…maybe.)

He is your father. Image screen grabbed from the preview.

Angry Birds is a fun game, don’t get me wrong. And I’ll probably be fine with my husband downloading this latest game. But, my interest started waning halfway through the first game, and Angry Birds Space, while having some keen features, just really doesn’t do it for me.

That being said, I can’t resist a Sith Bird. I have to assume they’re evil. I mean, the preview starts out with the iconic Darth Vader breathing! And check out those scary eyebrows the Bird is sporting. Seriously, these birds need to go to the Dark Side.

One look at the tumblr ruins that hope. *sigh* Here’s hoping that there will be both!

But, I have to wonder if this will be an appropriate introduction to Star Wars for my son. We take these things very seriously, you see. Malachi has been shielded from Star Wars until he is ready. Really! I don’t count the Clone Wars cartoon because that’s more of a Daddy show, anyhow. (Yes, there is a block of cartoons that are Daddy cartoons.)

When he is ready, Malachi will be introduced in a proper manner to the REAL Star Wars. I’m talking A New Hope, not those prequel abominations.

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Week in Geek: Oct. 5, 2012

You may not know what you’re going to do this weekend, but after reading this you know you you’ll be doing it full of fantastical Internet knowledge!

Also, whatever you’re doing this weekend, bring a jacket. It looks like a cold snap could be coming. Don’t give me that look! Just leave it in your car. You’ll be glad you have it when it gets dark.

Princess Sally by matthewhoworth

Maybe Sally’s never been considered a Disney Princess because she doesn’t dress like one. This lovely portrait takes care of that! Image courtesy of DeviantArtist matthewhoworth.

You know the silhouettes of you and your siblings that Ma and Pa have over the sofa? Yeah, photographer David Reeves’ action and occasionally zombie-packed vignettes are nothing like those. (via Geeks are Sexy via Geekologie)

TJ is a little excited that Halo: Forward Until Dawn is here.

Etsy seller Tannim is selling Game of Thrones-themed Converse All Stars (aka: “Chucks”) that he or she designed themselves. Insert overplayed play on,”Winter is coming,” here. (via Geekologie)

These kicks might be perfect for John since he just can’t stop discussing Game of Thrones!

What in the World (of Warcraft)?! Maine Democratic state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz is under fire for her participation in the MMORPG. It has also led to an inadvertently hilarious press release. (via Kotaku)

What the hell is up with these non sequitur covers of classics put out by publisher Tutis? I’m 90 percent convinced this is a Dadaist art project that has gone too far. (via The Mary Sue)

Love the new Leatherface? A fan of the facelifted Freddy’s? Jonesing for some more Jason? Rob’s got a list of his favorite horror remakes.

You’re cold, but you’re too weak to carry a fresh taun taun carcass everywhere for warmth. Think Geek’s got you(r head) covered with these adorable Star Wars hats. Yoda you will look like. (via Laughing Squid)

a_tip_of_the_hat_by_matthewhoworth-d4c43b8

Deviant Artist matthewhoworth has a fantastic series of classic Disney villains done in this style! Image courtesy of DeviantArtist matthewhoworth.

May have guessed this because I’ve told you, but I’m a wee bit on the blue side of the Congressional fence. Because I very much disagree with Mitt Romney (And I’m the writer here), I’m sharing this link showing just what public television contributes to America. (Thanks to my friend Jess for the tip!)

Megan’s Movie Alphabet is not just an example of stunning graphic design; it also makes for some potentially twisted kids’ room art. (via Laughing Squid)

The Doctor Puppet is a blog that’s about pretty much what it says on the tin. I sit sad when you’re envious of a puppet’s globe-trotting lifestyle? (via I forget where! I’m sorry!)

Voters, listen up (You should all be listening since you should all be registered to vote!)! J. Fortune knows you’ve been guilty of fraudulent reasoning.

Are you a lady in possession of a larger than average bosom (counts me out)? Are you an experienced DM? Do you have a half hour to spare? Do you either have very high self-esteem or very low? Then you might want to answer this ad for a topless Dungeons + Dragons DM for a bachelor party. (via Nerd Approved)

Adele’s theme for the upcoming James Bond flick Skyfall was released yesterday. I haven’t listened it yet because I forgot my earbuds.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday Morning Cartoons

My son loves cartoons. His current favorites include Jake & The Never Land Pirates, The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. He tends to watch them while playing with his trains or monster trucks and loves to sing along with the songs. While these shows are a bit simplistic (hey, he’s three! And, really Jake and Daniel Tiger are really well done), they definitely provide a welcome distraction when I need a break from him for a little bit.

I love cartoons; well, I like certain kinds of cartoons. Animation is often the best medium for science-fiction and comic book shows, so when Saturday morning rolls around, my son and I settle in for a block of animation goodness: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The Clone Wars is a show I can take or leave. I’ve only gotten back into it after a couple of years hiatus, so I’m not fully understanding everything that is going on. However, the show is much better than ANY of the prequel movies, and it actually focuses on good writing and plot. I recommend it for any Star Wars fan.

Green Lantern is nothing like the movie, and thank goodness for that. It’s just starting a second season, but things are already shaping up to be pretty great. Last season dealt with the Green Lanterns fighting an invasion by the Red Lantern Corps. The Red Lanterns were upset over sins that the Guardians of the Universe had committed many years ago. The season was full of action, political intrigue, and it introduced a ton of plot points and characters from the comics (even my personal favorite, Mogo!).  If you’re a Green Lantern fan at all, check it out. And if you have a budding comic book fan in your life, let them watch. My son really loves it.

Young Justice is my favorite part of our Saturday morning cartoon block. The show deals with a group of sidekicks that form their own team to work in the shadows… kind of like the Justice League’s black ops team. Since that premise, the show has evolved from being solely about the sidekicks and more about the entire DC pantheon of characters. The cast of characters is vast, but most of the heroes are thematically consistent with their DC Comics counterparts. Young Justice is episodic storytelling at its best. Given enough time, it might even be better that Justice League Unlimited. In my opinion, anyway.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started just last week, and I had my doubts leading up to the debut episode. TMNT was one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid, but its ’90s cheesiness hasn’t aged all that well. Newer shows have gone waaaay too far into the seriousness route (the comic was pretty gritty and dark) and kind of lost the joy of the goofy premise.

The pilot episode of this new TMNT walks the line perfectly. It’s goofy but not off-putting. You can tell that the storylines are going to get into some dark territory, but the characters are instantly recognizable. Leonardo leads. Donatello does science. Raphael wants to crack some skulls. Michelangelo is a lovable idiot. This show’s version of Splinter is my favorite yet, and Shredder was only in the pilot episode for about 30 seconds (however, since he’s voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, he’ll probably be awesome.) Even Krang showed up, albeit in a new twist; the Krang are an alien race invading the Earth in creepy, dead-eyed robot bodies. All-in-all, I’m looking forward to watching it weekly with my son.

Cartoons are awesome. If you’re looking for a good story on TV, don’t overlook animation. You’d be missing something really special.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Week in Geek: Sept. 28, 2012

You may have added pumpkin spice to everything you’re eating and drinking, but I’ve got some geeky spice to add to your weekend! (Not my strongest opener,  I’ll grant you. I just got back from the dentist. I’m traumatized; cut me some slack!)

Avengers part 1 by La-Chapeliere-Folle

What if Tim Burton had been given the reigns of The Avengers instead of Joss Whedon? Deviantartist La-Chapeliere-Folle has a pretty good idea. Image courtesy of La-Chapeliere-Folle on DeviantArt.

Edgar Wright screened test footage for his finally confirmed Ant-Man. Thanks to talented Deviantartist Samurai Jack, who storyboarded his recollection of the footage, I can pretend I hopped a plane to San Diego, spent seven hours standing in line for a panel, and then spent two more in a massive room that slowly became filled with fanboy/girl farts. (via Topless Robot)

A Reddit user with the handle “european_douchebag” took a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with facial hair and posted it to be mocked. Her dignified, lovely, and forgiving response would have been enough. But then, the internet imploded and the original poster actually wrote a sincere apology. Internet, just when I think I know you, you surprise me. (Thanks to Colleen Carow for the Facebook tip!)

TJ has found a way to make his boredom disappear in a Flash (game)! (Come on, stop groaning! That was moderately clever! No? Alright, then.)

Hope Larson explains why she said, “Yes!” to adapting A Wrinkle in Time. I think the reasoning should be, “They asked me to adapt A Wrinkle in Time. What other answer is there?” (via Huffington Post)

Avengers part 2 by La-Chapeliere-Folle

Loving the Hulk interpretation here. Which is your favorite? Image courtesy of La-Chapeliere-Folle on DeviantArt.

Nerd Approved thinks that this Thor and Loki snuggle blanket is bizarre. I have two alternate synonyms to suggest: “Sold out online” and “Perfect for my living room.” (via The Mary Sue)

You’ll be able to download your tweets before 2013. That’s great because I was getting worried that all my shameless self-promotion on Twitter was just going to be lost forever. (via Geekosystem)

Gabrielle showed us where you can buy fabulous comic-covered kicks; but let’s assume you don’t have cash to burn on these nerdgasmic shoes. The Offbeat Bride has tips on how to make them yourself. (via Offbeat Bride)

Hey, what exactly do you get a search engine for its 14th birthday?

The companion of the Clown Prince of Crime, Harley Quinn, is 20 this year. What better way to remember many women’s (and men’s) favorite felon-ess than with a stunning sculpt…that (ugh) features her Arkham Asylum Juggalette of Death outfit. (via Kotaku)

Rapunzel by La-Chapeliere-Folle

A waifish, innocent blonde pulled into a mysterious world? I’m surprised Tim Burton hasn’t made an interpretation of Rapunzel already! Image courtesy of La-Chapeliere-Folle on DeviantArt.

They’re creepy, kooky, spooky, and all related. Rob runs down his favorite Halloweenie families.

Why were the Nazis obsessed with this Buddhist statue carved from a meteorite? If you have to ask, you’ve clearly never seen an Indiana Jones movie. (via io9)

Mark Millar, the creator of Kick Ass, has signed on to consult Fox on the future of the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. As much as I loved X-Men: First Class, I’m hoping this means 100 percent more Nic Cage insanity in future installments. (via CBR)

These adorable images prove Dr. Seuss and Star Wars go together like Boba Fett and a sarlacc. (via Neatorama)

Like sands in the hourglass so goes the flow of power in Game of Thrones. Not really, but John’s back with part two of his hella insightful analysis of the series.

A long time ago in a yarn shop far, far away, a motivated crafter bought patterns for these squee-worthy Star Wars ships amigurumi. Then she gave me one just because I’m awesome, and it’s that kind of story. (via Laughing Squid)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Week in Geek: August 10, 2012

I’ve slogged through all the cats on the Internet to find you the best, cat-free stuff around. Here’s what happened this week. You’re welcome.

Doctor Pepper

It’s Doctor Pepper’s Lonely Time Lord Band! It was more clever in my head. Image courtesy of raisegrate.

Like a flipping boss in a bad action movie, Mars rover Curiosity emerged from the 7 minutes of terror (that it only had a 30 percent chance of surviving) and made a cheeky quip. Bill Nye was right, science rules.

People take themselves too seriously and it is hilarious. Gabrielle shows us “The Drama of Yelp.”

The real-life inspiration for the film-version of Tony Stark, Elon Musk, wants to put humans on Mars in 15 years. Total Recall really chose the wrong week to not be set on Mars.

Joss Whedon will return to write and direct Avengers 2 and shall helm that live-action Marvel TV series everyone’s chattering about. I’m too happy to make a joke, so just imagine I wrote something snarky about Firefly’s cancellation here.

Julie wants you to know that no matter how empowered Whedon or Christopher Nolan’s superladies are, their clothing is hella impractical.

Is my skirt too short?

Speaking of impractical clothing, this answers the ago-old question of, “What would the Doctors look like in their companion’s clothes?” Image courtesy of Bestiolina.

Sure, she said she was happy to win silver, but American gymnast Mckayla Maroney’s expression on the podium told a different story. What’s a world to do? Meme it, of course!

Here is a painting of a pug as a Jedi with a lightsaber. Your argument is invalid. (Note: I love that the artist went with the realism of tying the lightsaber to the pug’s paw because they don’t have thumbs. Duh!)

Speaking of high art, this guy nibbled highlights of Britain out of Jaffa Cakes. So, it’s not the end of the Internet, but you can see it from here (Joke made with credit to Jon Stewart).

Though millions of World of Warcraft fans might disagree, Tim argues that the MMO bubble has burst.

Last art one, I swear! DC has released prints reimagining classic titles and characters. Minimalist and noir to Victorian and beaux arts, there’s a lot of variety.

Doctor Companions

Everyone should be drawn as beaux arts poster people. It’s a fact. Image courtesy of strawberrygina.

Love the cult comic Love and Rockets? Of course you do because if you don’t you won’t seem cool and hip. In honor of their hipster fans, the cartoonists will be going on a tour of the the Northeast. Shimmy on your skinny jeans and hop the bus to Brooklyn.

Darker than a slice of blackberry pie during a power outage, animated short The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete is a nice way to waste five minutes at work.

Comic writer extraordinaire (and lover of frosted Pop Tarts), Gail Simone is Kickstartering to fund her graphic novel Leaving Megaopolis. It sounds like Irredeemable meets The Walking Dead in the best way.

Emily points out that not only has London declared that they’re going to put on the greenest games ever, it looks like they’re going to pull it off.

Kelly Sue DeConnick, who has been in comics for more than a decade, sat on a panel with Matt Fraction. A news website introduced Fraction by all is work. They introduced DeConnick as the wife of Matt Fraction. Fortunately for my faith in humanity, other creators, illustrators, and tastemakers good naturedly chimed in.

Superman is a more than a jerk. He’s a super-loser at the Interplanetary Olympics.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,