Geek & Sundry Post: Defect by Three Phase Interactive

There are tons of great gems to be found on Kickstarter, and the crow-funding website has allowed lots of indie game developers an awesome platform that hasn’t really been available to them in the past. Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re connected with a big gaming company. You can crowdfund your project, and see your game become a reality–without involving any major corporations.

So I was very excited to hear about this awesome new game, Defect, from Three Phase Interactive, and I wrote a little piece about them at Geek & Sundry. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Thanks to the magic of Kickstarter, more and more game developers have been able to turn their dreams into an actual reality. Three Phase Interactive is one such group. They’ve developed a game called Defect — which has been greenlit by Steam, and you can support right now on Kickstarter — and let me tell you, it is awesome.

defect

The game has a bit of a unique spin. Your goal is to build a truly awesome ship from scratch. Right now, you have over 175 components available to help you build up your perfect craft, and more will be coming later. And thanks to the vast scope of the game, you not only give your ship its own theme song, but you can also build anything from a tiny fighter to a behemoth that some might confuse for a small moon.

StarWarsNoMoon

Here’s what makes the game truly unique. While you want to build a truly tough ship, you also want to make sure your ship isn’t totally impregnable. Why? Because at the end of each building session, you take your ship and crew on a mission. Once that mission is over, your crew will take over your ship, and defect to the other side. You’ll then have to build another ship, and attack your old ship (ultimately repeating the cycle again). Kind of crazy, right?

Read the rest over at Geek & Sundry!

Have you backed a project on Kickstarter before? Have you used Kickstarter to fund one of your own projects? Read my article on Geek & Sundry and let me know what you think of the crowdfunding site and Defect in the comments!

Your Newest Podcast Addiction: Lore

I love podcasts, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the stuff I’m subscribed to. Currently, I’ve got exactly three podcast subscriptions: Welcome to Nightvale (obvs), The Truth and Iliza, and Lore. Why is my subscription list so short? Because I’m super picky about what I listen to. I really get annoyed when I have dozens of notifications on my phone, and so the thought of constantly having a little, red number next to my podcast icon due to the dozens of podcasts I need to catch up with stresses me out–I do a great job of making myself sound like a crazy person around here, don’t I? Crazy or not, I don’t jump on board with just any podcast someone recommends. However, when I finally do decide that I love a podcast, I love it hard. That’s why I’m talking to you about Lore.

Lore

Lore is a new addition to my podcast list. I happened upon it one day when I was searching for something new to listen to, and it didn’t take me long to become completely obsessed. Essentially the podcast, which is the brain child of Aaron Mahnke, tells the real story behind ghost stories, haunted locations, and urban legends. I like to think of it as the perfect companion subscription to Welcome to Nightvale, and a must-have for any hunters out there–seriously, this would be a no-brainer of a subscription for Sam and Dean, amirite?

I'm sorry...I can't help but make TONS of Supernatural references.

I’m sorry…I can’t help but make Supernatural references.

Seriously though, the Winchesters would totally dig this podcast…

ANYWAY, Lore is amazing. It manages to blend history and spooky stories together in a way that manages to have you on the edge of your seat for the entire episode. The show’s makeup is simple. The background music is simple yet ominous, and you go on this amazing journey through some seriously messed up history with nothing but Aaron Mahnke’s voice as your guide. Despite the simple setup, it is nothing short of riveting. Even better, the podcasts are quite short, so even if you have a shorter commute like I do, you can get through an entire episode in one trip.

I could talk about Lore until I was blue in the face–I love it that much. Happily, I don’t have to do that, because I got to talk to Aaron Mahnke himself about the podcast. I thought I’d share our conversation with you all. Check it out:

Kendall:You write supernatural thrillers in addition to your work on Lore. Was your 
fiction writing the catalyst for the podcast? If not, how did Lore come about?
Aaron: Lore was actually an accident. Happy one, but it was something I didn’t intend to create.
One of the frustrations of being a fiction writer is finding ways to connect with my audience, and to get the word out with new material is available. To help me with that, I created an email newsletter, and encourage people to sign up so that they could stay in touch. But after over a year of attempts, the list was small and not growing.
I decided what people needed was an incentive. Some sort of a reward for signing up. So I decided to write a PDF document called My Favorite Five New England myths. I love dividing them, but after finishing, I realize that very few people whatever get to read them. So I went looking for A better way to distribute them. That’s when I thought of audio.
After recording the first episode, I passed the file to a few friends for their feedback. Their response was so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to release it as a podcast. The rest is history!
K:Lore is a unique hybrid of scary stories and history. Why did you decide to go with that format rather than a more fiction-based podcast–especially as someone who writes awesome scary stories? 
A: I think the truth is more powerful than made-up stories. Are all of the elements of Lore completely true? Honestly, most people don’t know. But what I love about Lore is that I get to take a common story or fear or legend, and unpack it. I can look at the eye witness reports and historical accounts that rest beneath the story, and while the stories themselves can be entertaining, it is the truth beneath them that is truly amazing.
K:Where do you find the ideas for each episode of Lore, and how do you prepare each episode’s script?
A: Lore episodes are usually a mixture of what I already know, and what I’ve found over the years while researching my novels. There’s a lot out there, and not every spooky story makes for a good episode. I tend to look for stories with lots and lots of different accounts, and usually ones that have been around for a long while.
Each episode begins the same way: reading. I devour anything and everything I can about the topic, take notes, highlight pages, web-clip articles, and compile a big stack of information. Then, I sort through it all and try to find a narrative thread, something that allows me to peal back the layers slowly, building up to (hopefully) a powerful main story that highlights the historical elements while revealing truth about us as people.
These are not easy things to write. They take all of my focus and a lot of my time just to prepare for them. Then, writing them can take days. People often ask me to take the show to a weekly schedule, but they have no clue how much time goes into these episodes. It’s literally a part-time job right now, but I have bills to pay and a family to support, so I work full-time as a freelance designer.
K: Who are some of your horror inspirations? 
A: I’m a fan of subtly, so a lot of the thrills I enjoy are more of a hint than a hit to the face. I have a deep love for Stephen King. I know a lot of people see him as “just a horror writer”, but he’s full of so much vision and talent and attention to the normal bits of life. And honestly, there’s nothing more horrifying than the normal bits of life!
Neil Gaiman can drift into the realm of horror. His wonderful novel, the Graveyard Book, is full of dark beauty that left me both chilled and inspired. And the old classics are still powerful: Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Algernon Blackwood.
K:Lore has kind of blown up in the past few weeks. Did you expect this when you launched the podcast?
A: Not at all. I expected to publish a few episodes, get a few downloads, and maybe the attention of a handful of friends. But Lore has gone beyond that quickly. I could never have envisioned it would grow from 100 downloads per day to the iTunes top ten, all in less than three months.
K:While Lore is a relatively new podcast, this isn’t your first podcasting rodeo. You also co-host another weekly podcast called Home Work. So from Home Work and Lore, do you have any advice you can give to people who want to start up their own podcast?
A: Just show up. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll love doing it whether 100 people listen or 100,000. I’m not going to paint a rainbow-colored picture for every future podcaster, though; this is a tough market to get into, and most shows never break through.
What makes that even most frustrating to hear is that I honestly have no idea what sets the successful ones apart from the rest. I reflected a bit on that on my blog a few weeks ago, and I haven’t learned anything new since then.
My advice: show up, do it consistently, aim for the best production you can, and focus on the writing. Long, rambling, unfocused podcasts are a waste of everyone’s time. Deliver something, set up an expectation in your listener’s minds and then exceed it every episode. And if no one listens even after all that, then at least you’ve got a body of work you can look back on and be proud of.
K: What is your favorite creepy urban legend?
A: The first episode of Lore covers it, honestly. I’m enamoured by the notion that an entire town, so close to the glamour of Newport, Rhode Island could have behaved so superstitiously. 1893 wasn’t that long ago, but those convictions and actions feel as if they are worlds apart from our own culture.
K: Is there a particular story you’re especially excited to cover on Lore in a future episode?
A: Living in the Salem, Massachusetts area makes it very easy to want to do an episode on witchcraft. The trouble is that almost everyone knows most of the key details. I want to deliver something new and unexpected.
That said, I have been given access to some of the original documents, and I’m studying my brains out so that I can find a new way to teach an old story. So in that sense, yeah, I’m looking forward to that episode!
K: Is there anything that you can tell us about what to expect in future episodes of Lore?
A: Expect more obscure, infrequently told stories. There is so much out there — such a wealth of folklore and the unknown — and it deserves to be heard. Stories need to me told; that’s what gives them life and longevity. I want to help make that happen.
K: Your next novel is called Grave Suspicion. What can you tell us about that book?
A: Grave Suspicion is another supernatural thriller, but slightly more on the Dan Brown side of things this time around. I can’t say much about it without giving too much away, but I can mention that it takes place in Salem, Massachusetts primarily, as well as my fictional town of Hollesley (a location also featured in Indian Summer and Consumed). The main character, a man named Sam Hawthorne, learns something about himself that sends him on a journey of discovery. What he uncovers could rewrite history and change his life forever. Vague, I know, but that’s all I can say for now.
K:You were running a Kickstarter to help support the book. What do you hope to accomplish with the Kickstarter? 
A: The world of Kickstarter is interesting. We’ve taught ourselves to expect rewards for monetary pledges, and so I’ve tried to follow that pattern. Because the project is centered on my newest novel, I built a series of rewards that offer people various versions of the upcoming book. Ebook bundles, autographed paperbacks, bundles of paperbacks (the new novel plus the two previous thrillers), and more.
My favorite feature of this Kickstarter is the stretch goal. We’re close to the finish line and have a short distance to go, but if the campaign reaches the goal, I will be able to fund an audiobook version of the book, something I’ve dreamed of for a long, long time.
[Note to readers from Kendall: though the Kickstarter is over, so unfortunately you can’t back the project anymore, but you can still support Lore! Details below!]
K: Where can we find you, your books, and your podcasts online?
A: The best place to start for anyone curious about me would be to visit aaronmahnke.com/projects. If you want to plug right into Lore, I keep all of that over at LorePodcast.com and am slowly adding to the features there.
K: Anything else you want to talk about that I didn’t mention?

A: I honestly do want to take this show to a weekly format. To do that, though, means earning 100% of my income from the show. Thankfully, there are a ton of easy (and cheap) ways to support the show. I have a Patreon page, for example, where supporters can kick in a dollar or two to support the show on a monthly basis. I also sell novels, and those sales help. And actually checking out the sponsors on my episodes can help future sponsorship rates go up a bit, which would really help make it possible.

If you want to help support Lore, you can find everything you’ll need here: lorepodcast.com/support

Thanks so much to Aaron for taking the time to answer a few questions. I cannot WAIT to see what exciting things will happen with Lore in the future. Be sure to–in addition to checking out and subscribing to the podcast–follow Lore and Aaron Mahnke on Twitter. If you’re already a Lore listener, I’d love to hear what you love about the podcast in the comments, or any other podcast obsession you’ve got right now! 

5 Fandom Friday: Fandom Guilty Pleasures

5fandomfriday

I’ll be honest, this week’s Fandom 5 prompt was…confusing. I wasn’t entirely sure what was meant by “fandom guilty pleasures”, so I decided to define it for myself. So this week I’m going to talk about some of the fandoms I’m apart of that are a bit of a guilty pleasure, and some of the guilty pleasure I indulge in for a few of my fandoms.

Without further ado, here are my guilty pleasure fandoms:

Hanson

hanson

Before you can say it, yes, I do mean the Hanson who introduced the world to the word “mmmbop”, but these guys are actually super active and have done a TON since they were singing nonsensical words. These guys are amazing, and I do everything I can to see them every single time they’re near me. Their concerts are great, they always introduce me to new music, and fellow Hanson fans are some of the friendliest in the world. Everyone always scoffs when I tell them how much I love Hanson, but they are truly a great band. Seriously, you should check out their more recent stuff, starting with their music video for “Thinking ‘Bout Something” (giffed above) that pays homage to The Blues Brothers.

Final Destination

final destination

Is there a Final Destination fandom? If not, there totally should be. I am obsessed with these crazy flicks. Each film is more ridiculous than the last, the ways fate catches up with the characters gets gorier and more cringe-worthy the higher the sequel number, and, conversely, the plot gets thinner with each sequel. The Final Destination franchise sets the gold standard for craptastic horror in my mind.

Guilty pleasure fandoms are great, but we can’t forget those guilty pleasure we indulge in while expressing our love for our favorite fandoms. Here are my top three guilty pleasures to indulge in for my top fandoms:

Mashups

One of my favorite things is to imagine two worlds of fandom coming together. I rarely want them to ever become canonical (SuperWhoLock being one such fandom mashup I love but really don’t want to become canonical), but it’s fun to dream stuff up and surf Tumblr to find all of my fellow fandom members ideas for fandoms to blend. My favorite thing is when the actors take part in the mashup, without making it canonical. One such example is this mashup–one of my faves–of Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle (spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the final episode of Breaking Bad):

Breaking Bad – Alternate Ending from Michael McGervey on Vimeo.

Binging

tv all day

When I fall in love with a TV show, I fall hard. One of my favorite things is to go on hearty Netflix binges to really jump into a show. Of course, this does have its downfalls. Not only is there the slight embarrassment of saying you were watching TV for five hours, but there is also the issue of blasting through a TV show too fast. My hubs and I finished Breaking Bad in just over a month. I finished the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in a few weeks. I re-watched all of Parks and Rec in about three months. Indulging my “Watch ALL the Episodes!” urge is one of my guiltiest fandom pleasures, but I love it SO MUCH. You know what they say, with great binging power comes great responsibility…

Talking and Thinking About My Fandoms WAAAAYYY Too Much

ben wyatt

Seriously, it’s a problem, and it’s only gotten worse since I’ve started blogging. Before Distracted Blogger, I could bring up my various fandoms, but I knew a lot of people didn’t want to hear me rant about Legolas surfing down a staircase on a shield in the Two Towers. Now? People actually ask me about this stuff. They essentially give me a free pass to geek out in public and all over them, so keeping a lid on my geek-versation and geek thoughts is far more challenging than it used to be. Still, I can’t help but love it when someone asks me questions like, “What do you think about the Walking Dead spinoff?”

What are some of your guilty fandom pleasures? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to check out my other Fandom 5 posts, and follow the #Fandom5 hashtag to see what everyone else is talking about today! 

Nerdist Presents: The Hive at San Diego Comic Con

I’m not going to San Diego Comic Con this year. While I’m still sad that I don’t get to go AGAIN, there are enough people that I follow who are going (like one of my faves, The Nerdy Girlie), that I can almost feel like I’m there. In the spirit of that, I wanted to let you guys know about an awesome thing you can find at SDCC this year from Team Nerdist. Nerdist Industries (headed up by the lovely Chris Hardwick) is launching an actual film label, and the first movie to be born from that is a horror flick called The Hive.

The Hive

Here’s a bit on The Hive (and an all-caps comment from Hardwick himself):

From the producer of Scream, Nerdist Presents The Hive turns the contagion genre on its proverbial bleeding ear. The cross-genre thriller starring Gabriel Basso (Kings of Summer, Super 8), Kathryn Prescott (MTV’s Finding Carter, Skins), Jacob Zachar (Greek) and Gabrielle Walsh (Vampire Diaries, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) received raves after its debut at Fantastic Fest in Austin and Nerdist Founder and CEO Chris Hardwick said, “THIS MOVIE IS SO MUCH DAMN FUN. The first time I saw it I was blown away by how fresh and inventive the story was, which is no small feat in horror. I knew right away I wanted to help get this movie into the eyes and earholes of horror fans.”

When Camp Yellow Jacket has fallen into chaos, teen counselor Adam wakes up in a boarded up cabin with no memory of who or where he is. His only clue as to what’s happening are the notes he’s scrawled for himself on the walls and the disturbing physical transformation he must overcome. The only memories he has aren’t his own, yet those memories may be the key to Adam’s survival.

In speaking on the release, prolific horror producer Cary Granat, who made the film with producers Ed Jones, Vincent Seiber, and Jared Mass, said, “We are thrilled to have the Nerdist Presents brand on The Hive. The Nerdist team reminds me so much of the early days of Dimension in that they are aggressive, smart, innovative, in touch with their audience, and focused on creating new rules to marketing.”

Coming to theaters and digital movie platforms this fall, Nerdist Presents The Hive is the next generation of horror film from Director Dave Yarovesky with fast paced scares, biting humor and a wicked soundtrack featuring Steve Aoki.

You guys, I cannot WAIT to check this movie out. Do you feel the same? If you are, AND you’re going to SDCC (*mutters a resentful grumble*), have I got some great news for you. Nerdist has some great panels happening at SDCC, in addition to some opportunities at your first look at the film, and panels/Q&A with the cast and crew. Yes, it’s definitely as rad as it sounds. Wanna see the schedule? Well, friends, I’ve got it right here for you:

behold

Friday, July 10th
12:00-12:30pm – The Nerdist Conival at PetCo Park 
A  conversation with director Dave Yarovesky and the cast. More details about the conival will be released soon!

Saturday July 11th
1:00-2:00pm – The Nerdist Panel with Chris Hardwick (Indigo Ballroom)
Director Dave Yarovesky joins Chris and the Nerdist team for their annual panel.

3:30 – 4:30pm – Nerdist Presents The Hive (Horton Grand Theater)
*Heads up, kids, this is a ticketed event*
Director Dave Yarovesky and the cast host an intimate panel where fans can get their first look at the film.

Are you as excited about The Hive as I am? Will you be at San Diego Comic Con this year? Are you planning on attending any Nerdist panels? You’ll all have to tell me about your con plans in the comments, and give me thorough recaps after its over so I can feel like I attended! 

Everyday Cosplay: Everyday Captain Marvel

With July 4th coming up, I decided to get a tad patriotic with my everyday cosplay look for today with an outfit inspired by none other than Captain Marvel. However, as I was compiling the outfit, I couldn’t settle on a casual or dressier look..so I picked both. Take a peek! Everyday Captain Marvel

Do you like the casual or the dressier look better? Are you as excited for the Captain Marvel movie as I am? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 

Geek & Sundry Post: Adam Nimoy Interview

I recently had the AMAZING opportunity to ask Leonard Nimoy’s son, Adam Nimoy a few questions for Geek & Sundry about his upcoming project, For the Love of Spock–a documentary about Leonard and Spock’s cultural impact, to be released in conjunction with Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary. Even though the interview was via email, the whole situation kind of had me freaking out–in the best way possible.

fangirling

Like many of us, Leonard Nimoy had a pretty big impact on my life as Mr. Spock, and I was terribly sad when he died. It was incredibly thrilling to get to talk to his son about his father’s amazing life, and how he plans to honor his father with For the Love of Spock.

ALSO, Adam is running a Kickstarter to raise money for the project, so if you want to offer up some financial support for the Spockumentary, you can do that at the project’s Kickstarter Page.

Here’s a quick excerpt from our interview:

G&S: One of my favorite things about your dad was his immense love for his fans. I remember him unofficially initiating several of his fans into his family as honorary grandchildren. What was it like, experiencing your own profound loss yet seeing millions of strangers worldwide also mourning your dad?

AN: The fan base was always very important to Dad as they are, really, what the whole ride was about to begin with. He was always very patient and giving of his time to people who admired him and that always impressed me. Losing Dad has been a difficult process but I, and my family, have taken great comfort in hearing the stories and anecdotes from people around the world who loved Dad and his most famous alter ego: Mr. Spock.

G&S: What is the one, big thing you hope fans come away with after watching For the Love of Spock

AN: This film will explore the creation, life, and legacy of Mr. Spock and the many sides of Leonard Nimoy including actor, writer, producer, director, poet, [and] recording artist. It will also contain some of my perspective growing up with Mr. Spock in the house. I’m hoping people will come away with a better understanding of Spock and Dad as well as the challenging journey of a father and son.

Will you be seeing For the Love of Spock? What is your favorite Spock moment? Read the whole interview at Geek & Sundry, and let’s talk Spock in the comments. Also, don’t forget to check out the For the Love of Spock Kickstarter

Ballet Break: When Comics and Ballet Collide

Every now and then I talk about ballet around here. I’ve been taking ballet classes for about two and a half years now, and it’s my favorite thing in the entire world. Taking ballet classes and dancing in pointe shoes was one of those dreams that I secretly had for years, and I didn’t finally chase that dream until I was 25. It’s been such an awesome experience, watching my body do things I never dreamed I could do, and seeing myself become stronger and–shockingly–even a bit graceful. However, I don’t talk about my ballet endeavors a lot around mine blog simply because it just doesn’t really have anything to do with the majority of Distracted Blogger. This weekend was a bit different. Why? Because this weekend, my love of comics and superheroes collided directly with my love of ballet. Specifically, Batman and ballet.

I mean, when you think Batman, you totally think ballet and dancing. Who doesn’t, amirite?

batman dances

Get it, Batman!

This weekend, using the musical stylings of The Piano Guys, my pointe class performed a dance as Batman–well, Bat-People might be more appropriate (mainly because there were several of us, we aren’t men, and our costumes were more Batman inspired than actual Batman outfits). See what I mean:

Batman and Ballet

Regardless of the accuracy of our costumes, the dance was essentially a fight between the Bat-People and Harley Quinn. It was a weird marriage of two things I love, but I can’t lie, it was kind of fantastic. Of course, the “fight” was definitely more like this…

west side story

…than, you know, this:

batman fight

Yes, rather than brawn and brute force, we were protecting Gotham with pique turns and arabesques, as any vigilante would.

Regardless of how realistic and brutal the “fighting” was, the dance was still marvelously fun. I had a fantastic time getting to channel the Dark Knight while dancing about in pointe shoes. Ballet has helped me overcome so many fears and insecurities, so it felt pretty fantastic to bring in a superhero to my ballet-verse. We got to dance with a Gotham backdrop behind us, and some of the other students from our studio held up POW! and BANG! signs during our “fight” with Harley.

I was quite shocked at how much more comfortable I felt in my pointe shoes, and how strong I felt. Seeing how much I have improved since I first started ballet and pointe work in particular truly made me feel like I was worthy of the title of Batman–or, at least, Bat-person.

batman ballet

A few of the Bat-People, minus our Harley Quinn.

I love how superheroes and comics can influence people who aren’t even a part of the comics/cinematic universes of those characters, and the different and creative ways people can incorporate masked heroes into places they normally don’t belong–like in ballet. If anything, this weekend proved how metal ballet can truly be, and even though we strive to look like graceful swans in our pointe shoes, ballerinas–even the awkward ones like yours truly–can rock a unitard and sparkly mask and kick some super-villain ass.

Have you found comics in unexpected places? What are some weird mashups of culture you’ve experienced lately? What things are you doing in your spare time that are challenging and weirdly fulfilling? Let’s talk about all of it in the comments!

5 Fandom Friday: Characters with My Favorite Fictional Fashion

5fandomfridayIt’s Friday, nerds! I haven’t been terribly consistent with joining in on the #Fandom5 linkup over the past couple weeks, but I couldn’t resist this week’s topic: characters with my favorite fictional fashion. I’ll be honest, while a great deal of my fashion choices are based on how comfy the clothes are, the rest of my fashion inspiration often comes from movies and TV. Fashion mags don’t really do it for me, but seeing my favorite characters doing their thing on the screen in a killer outfit definitely gets my fashion-spiration going (probably why I gravitate towards everyday cosplay). I’m going to break this down into two parts, my more “realistic” fashion faves and the more “fantastical” fashion faves.

More Realistic Fashion Faves: 

Cosima Niehaus (Orphan Black)

Cosima

I am obsessed with Cosima’s style. I love the colors she chooses, I love her boho-chic/gothic-hippie style, and she’s a fellow dark-rimmed glasses fan. When Hot Topic released their Orphan Black line, the very first thing I bought was the Cosima sweater (which is freaking amazing, btw). Her style is just amazing. I want to look like Cosima every day.

Charlie Bradbury (Supernatural)

charlie bradbury

While I’m obsessed with Cosima’s style, and I get a lot of inspiration from her when I want to do something cute, Charlie’s style is probably a more accurate representation of how I actually dress. Casual, cute, and comfy, with a healthy peppering of cute, graphic tees. That’s my jam. Charlie’s style is simple, but it still manages to be cute and unique, which I love.

Felicity Smoak (Arrow)

felicity smoak

Felicity is my big inspiration for office-related fashion. Girlfriend knows how to rock a cute outfit fit for the office. She goes to work looking a lot more put together than I ever do, but her office look (and her style in general) is one I always aspire to emulate. She was also the first person I saw with an industrial piercing, and was the catalyst for me investigating the piercing and ultimately getting one of my own.

Fantastical Fashion Faves:

Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)

daenerys targeryen

Daenerys Targaryen: First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Mereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, and Style Warrior. Seriously, no one in the Seven Kingdoms has style better than Dany. She manages to have fabulous outfits even–when she’s wandering aimlessly, dying of thirst in the endless desert with the Dothraki. Even better, she’s got a killer accessory in the form of one to three dragons at any given moment. Her dresses are always amazing, her hair is always amazing, and did I mention she’s got three dragons???

Padme Amidala (Star Wars Episodes II-III)

padme amidala

I was never a huge fan of Padme’s style when she was queen, but I adore her senate-style in episodes II and III. Padme’s style is that perfect mix of exciting inter-galactic style and senatorial grace. The fact that Padme can look this fabulous while trying to keep an empire together and trying to keep her secret husband from going to Dark Side really makes me feel badly about those morning when I’m too tired to do anything with my hair so it just gets put into a messy bun…

What characters are your fictional fashion inspirations? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check out my other Fandom 5 posts, and follow the #Fandom5 hashtag to see what everyone else is talking about today! 

Geek & Sundry Post: Treat. Yo. Self.

Parks and Rec has brought us a lot of awesome stuff. Not only has it given us fabulous new ways to tell our besties we love them…

space unicorn

…it’s also given us the brilliant holidays of Galentine’s Day and of course Treat Yo’ Self. While TYS 2015 doesn’t come around until October 13, today is National Splurge Day (an actual, IRL holiday). So why wait until October to treat yo’ self? On Geek & Sundry, I’m offering some ideas on how you can treat yo’ self today that stray from traditional TYS fare of clothes, fragrances, and fine leather goods. Here’s an excerpt:

…while Tom and Donna like to celebrate their particular day by showering themselves with massages, fragrances, fine leather goods, and clothes, they would be the first ones to tell you that any day where you relish in the finer things in life looks different for everyone. This goes doubly for a day full of splurges when your idea of a good time is less about rolling up in a Benz and more about rolling the 20-sided dice.

Because this particular special day only comes once a year, I’ve compiled a few creative alternatives to the traditional Treat Yo’ Self festivities of shopping and pampering. There’s no wrong way to treat yo’ self and splurge on the good times, after all. So here are a few ideas off the beaten path to get your creative juices flowing:

Get that autograph and photo op. 

It’s comic con season, and buying a pass (and potentially a hotel room) can really drain your bank account. It may seem silly to drop another chunk of change to get yourself an autograph and photo op with you favorite celeb attending the con. At least, on any other day it would seem like that…

TYS

Sure, celebrity autographs and photo ops can be pretty pricey, and depending on who the celeb is, you will probably have a good wait in line before you get to actually take your picture/get the autograph. However, it’s totally worth it to get a few minutes (well, seconds is probably more realistic) with your favorite star. Plus, you’ll have that pic forever. Worth it!

Read the whole article at Geek & Sundry.

I HAD to include getting a celeb photo op on my list of ways to splurge since I got to experience my very first celeb photo op with the marvelous Karen Gillan at this year’s Denver Comic Con. Here’s the pic again, because I most definitely splurged on it, so I’d better get some mileage out of this pic. Also, I have a picture with Amy freaking Pond, and that’s amazing. BEHOLD:

Kendall and Karen

ANYWAY…

What are some creative ways you can splurge today? I hope you’ll join me over at Geek & Sundry, and offer some of your ideas!

Jurassic World: Re-Opening a Deadly Dinosaur Park and Other Marvelous Ridiculousness

I love movies, even crazy ones. I’ve even talked about my love of craptastic movies here on the blog. So when I first heard that they were making another Jurassic Park movie, I’ll be honest, the first thing I thought of was this kernel of Jeff Goldblum wisdom:

jeff goldblum jurassic park

But then I started to get excited. I, like everyone else, saw the picture of Chris Pratt on the motorcycle, and I was intrigued. After all, if there was anyone that I was certain could properly handle a bunch of scientifically created dinosaurs, it’s this guy:

loose animal in the studioSo I saw the movie over the weekend, like many of you. I’ve got to be honest. I loved it. The movie was, in a word, ridiculous–but in the best possible way.

Now, if you’ve been on the internet for two seconds since the movie hit theaters, you’ve seen a lot of chatter about Bryce Dallas Howard and her character’s wardrobe choices. Mainly, these bad boys:

jurassicshoes

Howard wore these sensible, nude pumps for literally the entire movie. She never kicks them off, she never grabs boots from one of the many workers she comes across, she never does anything to swap to a more comfy shoe, and even more shocking, she never acts like heels are the slightest problem for her. Even in one of her biggest action sequences in the movie…

bryce dallas howard flare

Ten points if you catch the homage to Jurassic Park here…

…she’s still hauling ass in heels. I’ll be honest. I found that ridiculous. If I’m being chased through the jungle by dinosaurs, the first thing that’s going would be my heels.

Of course, I’m not the best judge of heel usage. When I’m in heels, I get whiny after about thirty minutes. Plus, it seems like Howard really worked hard to make sure she could keep up with Chris Pratt–and outrun a dino or two–in those suckers.

#respect

#respect

So after hearing her side of things–and after seeing Chris Pratt try to run in heels on the Late, Late Show with James Corden–I’m over the high heel thing. It’s a weird choice, and it’s one I would literally NEVER make, but Howard owned it. Besides, there is so much more awesome stuff to talk about apart from what shoes Bryce Dallas Howard wore. So let’s move on and talk about some of the wonderfully ridiculous stuff I saw in Jurassic World, spoiler-free:

Chris Pratt is a Raptor Whisperer, because of course he is. 

chris pratt raptor wrangler

Chris Pratt is fantastic. He won our hearts as the goofy Andy Dwyer, and he guarded our galaxy as Peter Quill. It’s no wonder that his next cinematic adventure would be in controlling actual raptors.

chris pratt raptorlationship

Not controlling, it’s a relationship. Pardon me.

Pratt’s character, Owen, is an ex-Navy guy who decides to get a job on Isla Nublar as a raptor wrangler. Owen gains the trust of the raptors, asserts himself as the Alpha, and does a pretty fair job of training a bunch of scientifically engineered raptors. Sure. Why not?

The Movie’s Big Bad–the Indominus Rex

indominus rexgif

The movie’s antagonist–apart from science that’s gone too far–is the Indominus Rex. Don’t remember studying this pretty lady in school? There’s a good reason for that–this particular dino is not only made in a lab like the other dinosaurs, but this particular type of dinosaur is also completely dreamed up by scientists.

bigger than the T Rex

I’m sure that won’t become a problem…

While I won’t reveal all of the details we learn of the Indominus Rex’s genetic makeup–part of it is supposed to be a big reveal in the latter portion of the film–the dino is unique for a great number of reasons. As you can see from the gif above, the dinosaur is white, bigger than a T-Rex, and has TONS of other genetic traits that make it incredibly deadly, dangerously intelligent, and very hard to track. The I-Rex was born with a sibling, which the one featured in the movie ate. Totally sounds like a nice dinosaur to have around families, right?

The Park Itself

The biggest point of ridiculousness is that there is even a park to begin with. From the beginning of our Jurassic journey, way back in the Goldblum days, we’ve heard people talk about how dangerous it is to have a theme park with actual, live dinosaurs.

jeff goldlum wisdom

Even better, there are throwbacks to the original movies–and more specifically, the original park–all over the film. Jake Johnson’s character spends the entire movie wearing a Jurassic Park shirt he bought online.

jurassic world wtaf

He even spends some time gushing over the original park–even though people died. So basically, everyone involved in the Jurassic World park is very aware of how dangerous these parks are, and how catastrophic they become should things go awry. How they were able to find the funding and legal ability to make this park is beyond me, but even still, deciding to not only continue to feature carnivorous dinosaurs AND THEN create a rage-filled dinosaur monster of science–whose genetic makeup is classified, so the park attendants, trainers, and management are literally unable to fully understand and care for the creature–as the park’s latest attraction?

probably not a good idea

You can say that again, Raptor Whisperer.

Perhaps the pull of monetary gain and scientific advancement if often too strong for us humans to resist. Maybe the hubris and greed of humanity is too much to stop us from making deadly, dinosaur-infested theme parks. I suppose that’s an underlying theme of each movie, and I get that.

…but…

When your scientifically engineered killing monster of a dinosaur starts wreaking havoc, when you lose control of it and other dinosaurs on your property, when your life, the life of your team members, and your paying customers are at high risk, I feel like step 1 is to clear the area. Right? I mean, right?

Well, what’s obvious to us and the Raptor Whisperer isn’t always as obvious to others.

evacuate the island

That look Claire gives Owen isn’t so much of a “holy crap, what have we done, let’s get outta here” kind of look. No, it’s more of a “Crap, if we close now there is no way we’ll ever open our doors again and I’m out of a job. How am I gonna justify all of these eccentric, vintage, white suits and nude pumps if I don’t have an eccentric, mad-scientist sort of job?”

First of all, Claire, if history tells us anything, it’s that the park will most certainly re-open. It won’t make sense, it will still be hella dangerous, people will die EVERY TIME the park turns on the welcome sign, the park will ultimately close because of a dinosaur-related incident, time will pass, and then it will reopen again to repeat the cycle. So chill.

Most importantly, your bf can only do so much to save a crowded theme park full of tourists from the biggest, scariest, meanest, and most dangerous dinosaur ever. I mean, he’s got skills and is the head of a pretty rad gang of raptors…

raptor gang

This *might* not be actual movie footage…

…but the Indominus Rex is one mean dino lady. Why Claire thinks clearing portions of the park and keeping people essentially trapped on an island with the most intense predator in all of time is a good way to keep your business running (and keep your patrons alive) is beyond me.

I should’ve known the park didn’t have its patrons’ best interests at heart when they failed to warn park-goers of the inevitable and irrevocable damage that was about to be done to their cell phones and other electronics at the Mosasaurus exhibit.

dino splash

Look at all those destroyed cell phones…

Basically, this movie is completely ridiculous, but it is ridiculous in the best possible way. The story line feels a bit recycled (as it kinda does in every Jurassic Park sequel, let’s be honest), but it still manages to capture the crazy fun that made us fall in love with the franchise in the first place–the science, the dinosaurs, and the slightly ridiculous characters. It’s the best kind of movie out there–ridiculous, maybe even a bit craptastic, but the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a really long time.

Have you seen Jurassic World? What did you think of it? Tell me your thoughts about the movie in the comments!