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Monday, May 25

Happy Geek Pride Day!

Monday, May 25

You might not know it, but May 25 is Geek Pride Day. Why? There are a few reasons:
  1. It's Towel Day, which is the day two weeks after Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) passed in 2001.
  2. It's the anniversary of the day Star Wars: A New Hope was first released (in 1977).
  3. It's a special day in Terry Pratchett's Discworld universe. (On Glorious 25 May, characters wear lilac and hard-boiled eggs.)
But really, it's just a good excuse to let your geek flag fly—as though you don't already do that every day.

Think Geek has made it easy to officially show your pride: Just download, print out and wear one (or more, if you're really feeling it) of these little guys.  Might I suggest sticker paper?

Of course, today is also Memorial Day. While you're celebrating your nerdiness, make sure to also take a moment to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms (geeky ones included!).

Wednesday, May 20

Haiku Revieu | Pitch Perfect 2

Wednesday, May 20
Pitch Perfect 2

Singing their hearts out
The Bellas are back, pitches
Jokes and songs and jokes

After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

I adore the first Pitch Perfect movie. It's got it all: comedy, romance and musical numbers. And the soundtrack is one of my favorites to sing along to at the top of my lungs. So when I heard there was going to be a sequel—and one directed by the inimitable Elizabeth Banks, no less—I was very excited.

The majority of the cast from the first movie are back in the sequel, singing their hearts out, being the butt of jokes, and occasionally getting their swoon on. There's a little bit of plot, but the majority of the movie is about singing a capella. This isn't a bad thing: All of the Bellas, and the other individuals that sing throughout the movie, have great voices, and decent dancing skills. They also have excellent comedic timing.

One specific pro about the movie is the amount of cameos and new stars in the movie. I won't tell you who shows up, because spoilers, but all of the cameos made me grin, and the new characters in the movie fit well into the group.

One con would be the amount of really off-color and sexist jokes—made, not surprisingly, by John Michael Higgins's Announcer John—and a fair share of uncomfortably racist jokes—made by new Bella, Flo. But this sort of thing isn't unexpected, at least, not if you've seen the first movie.

Pitch Perfect 2 doesn't have that unique quality the original had, but it's still a great time at the theater (and in your car, thanks to the also excellent soundtrack).

Check it out:

Monday, May 11

Marvel Collector Corps: Unboxed

Monday, May 11

I love the idea of subscription boxes. When I was little, I loved getting grab bags at county fairs. (Particularly at the glass-blown figurine booth. I had SO MANY tiny glass animals.) Grab bags and subscription boxes both, however, can be a bit of a crap shoot. Depending on which kind you subscribe to, what products are available for the month, how specific the items are to your tastes, etc.

In the past, we've signed up for a couple of boxes that feature nerdy goods—Loot Crate and Nerd Block—and although they were fun to receive, neither of them never hit it out of the park. Some items were great, some were good but not something we were fans of, some was literal garbage. We didn't last very long with either of them.

A few months ago, I heard about a new box—one that I got really excited about from the moment I took a look at the details. Why? Three words: Marvel. Funko. Exclusives.

The Marvel Collector Corps is a bi-monthly (in the sense of every two months, not twice a month*) box filled with a T-shirt, a vinyl collectible, two exclusive accessories+. According to the website, "Each box includes exclusive collectible product created by Marvel & Funko including apparel, collectibles and accessories worth $50. No filler included!"

I can say that, with the first box at least, they're living up to their promises.

The box, which was Avengers: Age of Ultron themed, featured:
  • A Collector Corps pin featuring Captain America.
  • A Collector Corps iron-on patch featuring Ultron.
  • A T-shirt featuring Thor v. Ultron (other boxes included shirts with Iron Man, the Hulk and Captain America).
  • A Funko Dorbz Ultron.
  • A Funko POP! Hulkbuster.
  • And an Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy team-up comic.

Everything in the box surpassed my expectations, and I'm really looking forward to the other items we get in future boxes.

You can still get April's box (featuring the stuff above) if you sign up today. And the theme for July's box has been revealed; it's Ant-Man (natch).

*Oh, English.

Disclaimer: I wasn't paid for this review, nor was I supplied anything in exchange for the review, nor will I receive anything if you sign up for a subscription. I just really liked this box and it's contents!

Friday, May 8

Haiku Revieu | Avengers: Age of Ultron

Friday, May 8
Avengers: Age of Ultron

Let's save the planet
So many superheroes
Hello there, Vision

When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong, and it's up to Earth's Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

First things first: I am a HUGE Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan, particularly the Avengers (both when they're together in a movie and when they're in their "own" movies). So I have been excitedly anticipating Age of Ultron since the last Avengers movie was released (regardless of the fact that it wasn't announced yet.) So much so, that—even though it only opened a week ago—I've seen the movie twice.

If you've been on the Internet in the past week, you've likely heard a variety of opinions on the movie. Some people love it, some people like it, some people are pissed at Joss Whedon for being anti-feminist and making rape jokes. Honestly, I think many people are taking things a little too seriously, particularly because this is a superhero movie that features characters who are, in some cases, very flawed.

How did I feel about the movie? The first time through, I loved it. I am super pleased with the expansion of Hawkeye's character—the sass!—and I think the Vision is a beautiful addition to the MCU, both personality-wise and physicality-wise. Plus, the way they got around the team not trusting his character was so very smart. (I'm being purposefully vague here, to avoid spoilers, but if you've seen it, or when you see it, you'll know what I mean.) I was just so excited to see all of these characters back on the big screen.

Upon second viewing, I was a little more picky about certain things. Do I still love it? Yes. It's definitely in the top 5 of my favorite MCU movies. The movie, unfortunately, falls prey to trying/having to do too much in too little time. A friend of mine mentioned that it seems like there's very little fat to trim off of the movie, and I agree—from the very first scene, it's go, go, go, go, go. I think this is caused, partly, by there being so many characters in the movie. The main team—Tony, Steve, Bruce, Thor, Natasha and Clint—are all there. The Falcon, War Machine, Maria Hill and other secondary characters are introduced. Multiple new characters are added. And I haven't even mentioned Ultron, or the other villainous characters yet. It's just a massive cast, and the MCU is only going to keep getting bigger. (I found this article, which breaks down the amount of time the characters got in this film, pretty interesting.)

I'm also not a huge fan of the way Natasha's character was portrayed. I just felt like there was too much departure from the way she was in previous movies, and her relationship with one of the other characters felt like insta-love. Could these changes have been slowly happening in the between time since we saw her last? Of course. But without that background, they felt sudden and strange.

Regardless, I did really enjoy the movie overall. It has a great amount of humor, characters I adore, and the action can't be beat. It made me excited all over again about the MCU—although I am dreading Captain America: Civil War. (Because spoilery reasons.)

If you're an MCU fan, you kind of have to see it. But I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone, even considering my nitpicky issues.

Check it out:

Thursday, May 7

Fancies & Fascinations | The 100

Thursday, May 7

If you've hung out with me in person, or are following me on any form of social media, you might have heard me talk about or seen me post about a certain show ... a certain show about a group of juvenile delinquents who are sent back to Earth 100 years after humans left the surface to escape the affects of nuclear war.

The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors are the residents of twelve space stations in Earth's orbit prior to the war. The space stations banded together to form a single massive station named "The Ark," where about 2,400 people live. Resources are scarce and all crimes, no matter their nature or severity, are punishable by ejection into space ("floating") unless the perpetrator is under 18 years of age. After the Ark's life-support systems are found to be critically failing, 100 juvenile prisoners are declared "expendable" and sent to the surface in a last ditch attempt to determine if Earth is habitable again. (via)
In case you're more of a visual learner, here's the season one trailer:

I've long been a fan of teenage soaps, particularly those that air on the CW. But I'll freely admit that I didn't see the appeal of The 100 when it premiered last Spring. I share recapping duties for the show over on Forever Young Adult, and neither Sarah (my co-recapper) nor I liked the show much at first. In fact, it wasn't until about halfway through the first season that we realized that we had gotten completely sucked in without even noticing. And it was around that same time that we realized that the CW had created something really special.

Fast forward to the end of the second season—which was AMAZING—and we've both become full-blown fanatics. In fact, Sarah wrote an excellent post on the show's appeal: "100* Reasons To Watch The 100." I agree wholeheartedly with her sentiments.

*Or 5.

Obsessed? No way. Yes way.

The 100 features:
  • Action
  • Badasses (Of both the male and female persuasion.)
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Enemistry
  • Friendships
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Hot people (It is the CW after all.)
  • Intrigue
  • Jokes
  • Killing (That's not exactly a selling point, but I figured I should put a warning out.)
  • Language (The guy behind the Game of Thrones languages created one for The 100, too.)
  • Machinations
  • Nerds
  • Original storylines
  • Peace Treaties
  • Quality relationships
  • Romance (#BELLARKE FOREVER.)
  • Sexy Times
  • Traitors
  • Undertakings, Epic
  • Visions of the Future
  • War
  • (e)Xcitement
  • YA Novel Inspiration (The books are very different. Fun reads, but the show is so much better.)
  • Zoological oddities

Basically, I could go on forever about the reasons I love this show. But I hope that by now you're interested enough (if you're not already sucked in like I am), to want to check it out on your own.

Season one is available on Netflix. Season two's not yet on free streaming, but you can buy the episodes on Amazon or iTunes. (I'm sure there are, uh, less official places you might be able to find it, too.) A word of warning (I mentioned this above, but it bears repeating): The show can be hard to get into. But I promise you, it's so worth it!

If you're already a fan, let me know in the comments! I'd love to discuss. And if you're not yet a fan, come back and discuss once you've had a chance to check it out.

Tuesday, May 5

Haiku Revieu | Ex Machina

Tuesday, May 5
Ex Machina

Don't mess with robots
William Weasley is a nerd
Don't ignore free will

A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

From the first time I saw this trailer, I was intrigued. It's got an indie feel, but the special effects are, well, really effective. (I mean, just look at Ava in the trailer below. So impressive!) I was worried, however, at the sinister tone. I'm not a huge horror fan, so I didn't want to have to sit through a movie peeking through my hands covering my eyes.

Thankfully, the movie isn't a horror film—at least, not the type of horror we've come to know from the likes of Eli Roth and the Saw franchise. Ex Machina is very suspenseful, but it's more thoughtful than gory. Is it scary? Without spoiling it, yes. But for different reasons than you might think.

The cast of this movie was also excellent. Alicia Vikander, who I wasn't really familiar with (and isn't, to my surprise, related to Emilia Clarke), does an amazing job at playing the AI Ava. Domhnall Gleeson's Caleb is a bit of a sap, but has a surprising strength. And Oscar Issac's Nathan is at times charismatic and creepy—and oh-so-narcissistic—but the roles makes it easy to see why Issac is more and more becoming a household* name.

If you like somewhat suspenseful sci-fi movies that make you think, I'd definitely check this one out! Warning though: There's a lot of lady nudity in the movie, some of which felt a little like nudity for nudity's sake, but it made sense in the context of the film.

*Households, currently, that watch unique films. But I think his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens will change that pretty dramatically. Of note: Domhnall Gleeson will also be in The Force Awakens.

Check it out:

Monday, May 4

May the 4th be with you!

Monday, May 4

Happy Star Wars Day! (You know. May the Fourth ...)

To celebrate, I've updated a set of e-cards I first designed in 2011, and then added to/updated in 2013. This year, I've updated them again, and added one new one.

The cards are a little bit Valentine and a lot cheesy pick-up line, with a splash of innuendo thrown in for fun. I hope you enjoy!

Please feel free to download any of them (or all of them) to share with your nerdy friends and loved ones! Just click on the card(s) you want to snag; it'll open in a new window. Right/control click to save it, then share as you please!

Chewie's translation: I'll let you pilot my spaceship any day.

Friday, May 1

Cheers, May

Friday, May 1

The 2015 Man Calendar:

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".