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Monday, December 28

FanMail: The Subscription Box for Lady Geeks

Monday, December 28

I'm a fan of the sheer amount and variety of subscription boxes available these days. Regardless of your interests—or your species—there's a box out there for you.

Recently, one of the founders of a new(ish) geek subscription box contacted me wanting to share a coupon code for A Nerdy World readers. I investigated before agreeing, but was totally game once I had the chance to check out what they were providing.

According to the FanMail website:
FanMail isn't just about collecting, it's about connecting to your fandoms and showing off the things that you're passionate about and sharing that experience with the rest of the FanMail community!

FanMail boxes are filled with items from your favorite sources of entertainment, including Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Buffy, The Avengers, Spider-Gwen, Star Trek, Star Wars, Legend of Zelda, The Hunger Games, Teen Wolf, Supernatural and much more! Each month's FanMail box has a guaranteed retail value of more than $50!

Our boxes contain a variety of memorabilia and collectibles, some old, some new, some handmade, some fan-made. Among the items you may find are exclusive comics and t-shirts, jewelry, stationery, books, autographs, photos and much more. And each month, you'll get a handy pop culture newsletter that will tell you what movies are coming out, what's up for streaming and binging, and what conventions or events are out there that you may want to attend.
January's theme is Galentines and Valentines, and will feature exclusive nail wraps from Espionage Cosmetics (which I highly recommend).

I've already ordered my box*, and—now we're getting to the really good stuff—you can get $2 off one of your very own using code NERDYWORLD at checkout!

I'm sure you've got some holiday money burning a hole in your wallets, and supporting fellow geeks is one way to both treat yo self and show some love at the same time. Win-win!

*After mine arrives, I'll try to remember to do an unboxing.

Friday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25

Sending you warm wishes for a happy and healthy holiday. <3

Take a closer look at the front and back of this year's card.

Friday, December 18

Fancies & Fascinations | Star Wars

Friday, December 18

Today is a huge day in Nerdom, friends: The seventh movie in the Star Wars franchise, a movie that promises to bring the prestige of the movies back, a movie that features some of my favorite characters of all time and some new characters I hope I love, a movie that extends a fandom that I've been a part of since I was a child, officially opens today.

To say that I'm a little excited about seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens tonight is an understatement. I tried, really hard, to keep my hopes to a minimum. (I was excited about the prequels, and we all know how that ended up.) But even after sequestering myself from spoilers and avoiding watching any trailers but the first one, the excitement in the geek community, and, well, the world at large, finally got to me. I can't help but look forward to watching this film.

One of the other writers for Forever Young Adult posted yesterday about her long-time love of Star Wars. Since we're around the same age, I felt a strong connection to everything she wrote. (Although, shame, I never had a Boba Fett cardboard standee.) Like her, Star Wars has pretty much always been a part of my life. I was born the year Return of the Jedi was released, and so I never saw the films in theaters. But my parents taped the movies off of HBO during a free trial weekend, and I watched those tapes frequently, 80s HBO commercials and all.

As I got older, my love for the franchise never really diminished, even when being a pop culture nerd wasn't really "cool." (I like to think that I never cared that I wasn't "cool," but I probably just didn't notice.) I wore Star Wars gear in high school—someone from back in the day even commented on my Facebook recently that seeing all the news recently made her think of me. I stood in line for hours to get good seats for the prequels when they opened, regardless of how terrible I thought they were. (I was totally into Hayden Christensen back then. What can I say?) I started a collection of toys and merch that has grown exponentially. At our wedding, I walked down the aisle to a Vitamin String Quartet cover of the Throne Room theme from A New Hope. The Millennium Falcon has a place of honor on my sci-fi tattoo sleeve.

I honestly don't know how I'm going to feel later tonight after seeing The Force Awakens, but that's OK. I will always love Star Wars, no matter what. (And when I do write my Haiku Revieu, I will do my best to keep it spoiler-free.)

May the Force be with us all, always.

P.S.—Watching this video yesterday, I teared up. That is not a good sign for what's to come.

Thursday, December 17

Last call! | 2015 Curtismas Card Exchange

Thursday, December 17

If you haven't already—and want to, of course—don't forget to sign up for the 2015 Curtismas Card Exchange!

Fill out the form on this post to join the fun.

Tuesday, December 15

Nerd News | Star Trek Beyond and The 100 trailers

Tuesday, December 15

It's been an absolute smorgasbord of trailers recently—but I'm certainly not complaining! This new teaser trailer for Star Trek Beyond came out yesterday, and I'm totally treating it like a belated birthday gift.

I'm honestly relived. It looks like so much fun! And the trailer is both action-packed and a little goofy, which is, honestly, what I want from my Star Trek movies. (No more of that "too serious" Star Trek Into Darkness business, please.) 

The combination of the teaser, plus Justin Lin (the director, who also directed Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6) and Simon Pegg (who helped with the script) makes me super hopeful. (Perhaps the new franchise just has the opposite issue of the first movies?)

THIS also came out yesterday:

Me, currently:

The riches, you guys! They are bountiful.

Also of note:

Monday, December 14

Haiku Revieu | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 2

Monday, December 14
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

No, please, not Finnick
The Capitol is done for
Real or not real? Real

As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

I have opened the draft of this post multiple times since seeing this movie nearly a month ago, and closed it each time, either unsatisfied with what I'm writing, or not quite in the mood to write about the film. It's not that I didn't like it—I actually really did—I just feel like I posted much of what I'd write here in my review of Mockingjay–Part 1. Much of my opinion of aspects of that movie remain true with this second part, namely:

  • "The third book in the Hunger Games series is a divisive one—seems like most people I know either hate it or love it. I fall in the latter camp."
  • "The cast in this series continues to be awesome—yes, even wooden Liam as Gale—and 'newcomers' Natalie Dormer as Cressida (that hair!), Julianne Moore as President Coin, Mahershala Ali as Boggs, and Elden Hensen and Wes Chatham as Pollux and Caster, respectively, make excellent additions to the group."
In that review, I also said, "There wasn't a whole lot of action in this film, but, if you've read the books, you know what's coming in the next one." This turned out to be very accurate, as Mockingjay–Part 2 is action from the very start to nearly the very end. Where the first part  was build up to war with a few skirmishes portrayed, the second is all-out war, and the rebels have taken it to the heart of Panem, The Capitol. Of course, The Capitol's not willing to just roll over and die, and conscripts their Hunger Games gamemakers to add a little spice (and a lot of brutality) to the rebel's attempts to move through the city.

The movie isn't an easy one to watch. People—friends, even—die in pretty gruesome ways. (I cried, a lot.) Katniss is a mess. Peeta is a mess. Even with the fantastical aspects, this is a war film. Semi-related: The conversation between Katniss and President Snow was especially chilling, and so well done.

Mockingjay–Part 2 continues the trend of these films being impressive and faithful adaptations of the books; I'm definitely going to miss this franchise, now that all is said and done. Would I have made different choices with some casting and with some scenes? Sure. But overall, this is one of my favorite series ever.

Check it out:

Friday, December 11

Nerd News | X-Men: Apocalypse trailer

Friday, December 11

I was all ready to go with a Funko Friday post today*, but then this happened:

I am so, so glad that this franchise got rebooted, and continues to be awesome. X-3 is one of the worst/most frustrating movies I've ever seen, and to know that it's now been completely overwritten with something awesome makes my little nerd heart gleeful beyond belief.

*You'll see it later, I'm sure.

Also of note:
  • This amazing mashup mixes the Captain America: Civil War trailer with Adele's "Hello." I dare you not to get (more) emotional.
  • A new trailer for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was released earlier this month. My thoughts on it pretty much boil down to " ... at least we get Wonder Woman?"
  • While we're talking trailers, a trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 came out yesterday. I still haven't seen the first one.
  • These amazing sneakers have customizable digital side panels. MIGHTY NEED.

Monday, December 7

Join the 2015 Curtismas Card Exchange!

Monday, December 7

Happy holiday season, friends!

Each year for the past few years, I've held a Christmas card exchange—aptly titled the Curtismas Card Exchange, due to our last name being Curtis—with friends both online and off. This year makes year six!

If you'd like to receive a card from The Murtis* this holiday season, please fill out the form below. (International addresses welcome!) And, if you're willing and able to send a card to us in return, we'd love it! There's a place on the bottom of the form for you to fill in your email address, and I'll email you our mailing address after I receive your form.

Here's a look at past cards:


2013 | 2012

2011 | 2010

And ... a sneak peek of this year's edition:

I hope to see your name on the exchange list!

*The Murtis = Murray (my maiden name) + Curtis. It's a nickname that we were given before we got married, and it stuck.

Sunday, December 6

6 on 6 | December

Sunday, December 6

Learn more about the 6 on 6 project.

Friday, December 4

Fancies & Fascinations | DJ Earthworm's United States of Pop 2015

Friday, December 4

Each year since I discovered it was a thing, I've looked forward to hearing DJ Earworm's end-of-year mashup. They were great to start with, but they just keep getting better, and this years' is no exception. I can't even imagine how long this takes to put together.

(Check out a list of all 50 included songs here.)

Check out last year's post about my love of these mashups for the 2014 edition and links to previous years' editions. (I actually posted last year's mashup on Dec. 4 as well—it's a tradition now!)

Tuesday, December 1

Hey, December

Tuesday, December 1

The 2015 Man Calendar:

Mr. December: Jake Gyllenhaal
Mr. November: James McAvoy
Mr. October: Lee Pace
Mr. September: Idris Elba
Mr. August: Chris Hemsworth
Mr. July: Benedict Cumberbatch
Mr. June: Chris Evans
Mr. May: Henry Cavill
Mr. April: Michael Fassbender
Mr. March: Jensen Ackles
Mr. February: Tom Hiddleston
Mr. January: Eoin Macken

Download this page of the 2015 Man Calendar for personal use by clicking on the image; it will open in a new window. Right/control click to save it. Then print the page on letter-size cardstock, and trim it to 6"x9".

P.S.—It's time to start work on the 2016 calendar! If you have any ideas for who should be included, please leave names (and photos!) in the comments.

Thursday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26

I'm very thankful I get to share with you—and you with me. I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with friends, family, and food (natch).

P.S.—While we're on the subject of sharing, have you entered the ANW first birthday giveaway? It closes Saturday!

Wednesday, November 25

Nerd News | Captain America: Civil War trailer

Wednesday, November 25

I really don't think I'm ready for this, guys.

Pretty sure my heart broke a little a lot when Tony said, "So was I."

(Side note: This definitely doesn't seem like the Civil War I read about in Civil War, particularly since Cap seems like the bad guy rather than Tony. But we shall see ...)

Also of note:

Friday, November 20

5 Fandom Friday | Five Fandoms I'm Thankful For

Friday, November 20

It's back! I haven't participated in 5FF since September (whoops!), but I couldn't pass this prompt up. I am all about my fandoms, guys. And there are so many more that I could have included in this list, but I'm nothing if not a sticker for the "rules."

Five Fandoms I'm Thankful For

5 | Doctor Who

Although seven different fandoms are represented in my sci-fi tattoo, none of the ships has caused as many comments as the TARDIS. Perhaps it's the placement, but I like to think that it's because Doctor Who fans are some of the nicest, most open fans out there. Even when I disagree with people about the best Doctor (Ten) or the worst companion (Clara), I've never had a conversation with a fellow Whovian that felt like the other person was completely dismissing what I had to say.

4 | The 100

When I get obsessed with something, I get really obsessed. Like stalking Tumblr, watching fanvids, reading fanfic, writing fanfic, obsessed. It's a fact of my personality that I've come to terms with, and something about me that my friends and family recognize and tolerate. (And maybe even love a little?) Most recently, this happened with The 100, post-season two finale. I've talked about this before, but I feel like this little show that could is amazing and not enough people know that. So the the fact that others got as much into it as I did made me feel less alone in those beliefs. Also, I do so appreciate enablers.

3 | Marvel Cinematic Universe

It's pretty obvious that I'm a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—ahem—but this is a fandom through which I've made some great friends both online and off, and it's one that I can get excited about so easily. It's nice to be able to get silly over something you love even when you don't love everything about it, especially when you're in your early 30s (like I am) and have to act like an adult most of the time.

5 | YA Literature/Pop Culture

Speaking of not acting like an adult ... having YA lit/pop culture on this list is stretching the prompt a little, since it encompasses books, movies, TV shows, etc., but it's another fandom that I have met so many amazing people through. I love being able to read YA books and discuss them, quite intelligently, with my book club friends. I love being able to write about YA TV shows for Forever Young Adult and have people from all over the world want to chat about them with me. I love making connections with people of all ages at the opening nights of YA movie adaptations. There's nothing better than feeling like you've found "your people," and the YA-loving crowd are definitely mine. Related:

1 | Twilight

As much as I have to roll my eyes at how ridiculous my involvement in this fandom got—and it got really ridiculous, y'all—I am super thankful for the doors said involvement opened. I met some amazing friends through Twilight, and reading the book rekindled my love of the YA genre, which led to meeting more friends (see No. 4), and so many unexpected opportunities. Although I'm not as much into these books (or the terrible movies, haha) any longer, the franchise will always have a special place in my heart.

Learn more about 5 Fandom Friday and check out the prompts for November.

Thursday, November 19

Haiku Revieu | Hamlet (Barbican)

Thursday, November 19

Benedict Cumber-
Batch makes a striking Hamlet
Not a happy play

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer, his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

All English majors at my university—UMass Amherst, in case you're curious—are required to take a Shakespeare course. Prior to that course, I'd read some of Shakespeare's plays and other works, but it wasn't until college that I really fell in love with the Bard. (Thanks in no small part to my chain-smoking professor's rapid-fire but extraordinarily informative presentation.) I've seen many adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, too, but there's something to be said about seeing "the real thing" on stage. Sometimes, though, it's hard to catch the more prominent productions, particularly if you're not in England. But thanks to National Theater Live (NTL), even us plebs who live in the middle of the U.S. can have a chance to see these productions, on the big screen.

NTL broadcasts British theatre productions to movie theaters across the world, and it's through one of these broadcasts (albeit an encore, so it wasn't live) that I had the chance to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at The Barbican. (I've also seen Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus thanks to this program.)

Although we didn't study Hamlet in that course, I'm not unfamiliar with the plot—the dark, emotion-filled, vengeance-riddled plot. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's most famous, and most quote-worthy, plays, but it's not an easy one. It's filled with family drama and mental illness and a looming war. No spoilers, but lets just say that many of the characters don't make it out of this one alive.

Benedict was a superb Hamlet, and the supporting cast were pretty great, too. It did take me a minute to warm up to Ciarán Hinds' Cladius—for the first few scenes, he was super dramatic and really wooden, but he eventually relaxed into the role. Sian Brooke was a little screechy as Ophelia, but it worked?

What really stole the show for me, however, was the staging. Such gorgeous set pieces, and a really ingenious use of light and dark to make it feel like many different sets, even they never really changed the main setup. The costumes were also fantastic, and, although I think we were supposed to understand that this version of the play was set in the 70s, gave an out-of-time feel to the production. (I really want Hamlet's totally punk-rock coat, which, sadly, I couldn't find a better picture of.)

I'm not sure if this will be airing again in the future, but I definitely recommend seeing this—and other NTL shows—if you're a Shakespeare fan.

Check it out: