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13 Reasons in Riverdale: The Playlist

13 reasons

Two fair to middling teen oriented TV series I’ve devoured in the last month. Each with their own particular aesthetic, but soundtracks that seemed to blend fairly effortlessly together.

That’s how the 13 Reasons in Riverdale playlist was born:

1. Kids in America – Riverdale Cast

2. Young & Unafraid – The Moth & The Flame

3. Laser Gun – M83

4. Dance Hall Days – Imperial Mammoth

5. The Night We Met – Lord Huron

6. I Feel Love – Riverdale Cast

7. Love is Mystical – Cold War Kids

8. Mess is Mine – Vance Joy

9. Gold – Kiiara

10. Hey Hey, My My – Battleme

11. 13 Tapes – Eskmo

12. Rendezvous Girl – Santigold

13. The Walls Came Down – The Call

14. Love as a Weapon – Little Scream

15. Cowards Starve – Protomartyr

16. Believer – Imagine Dragons

17. Killing Moon – Roman Remains

18. Bury – Union

19. Into The Black – Chromatics

There’s a YouTube playlist here.

And a Spotify playlist here.

I am also happy to burn people a CD copy as well. Happy listening!

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Emerald City Comic Con 2012: The Costumes

My apologies for the Mindy overload here, had to jump in a few pictures with these awesome folks.

Slideshow of the great costumes at Emerald City Comic Con 2012:

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Emerald City Comic Con 2012: Top 5 Highlights

Emerald City Comic Con poster

We booked our hotel and registered our tickets for Emerald City Comic Con 2012 months ago. I was especially excited about the prospect of meeting Katee Sackhoff AND Edward James Olmos, so I didn’t spend much time prior to the convention planning or even reviewing the comic book guests. Decided to use this as my pop culture/media frenzy event for the year. A few weeks ago when Sackhoff cancelled her appearance due to acting engagements, I was more than a little bummed. Still excited to meet Edward James Olmos, but was *this* close to having both those items crossed off my nerd bucket list.

With considerably less enthusiasm, I downloaded the Guidebook App and went through their schedule of events, plotting out a handful of interesting looking panels. I think we averaged about one panel a day, but again – they were mostly for media guests so you won’t find any breaking news items here.

Top 5 Highlights from Emerald City Comic Con 2012:

5. Ready Player One Panel. For me was the most interesting panel we attended because the author of the book series, Ernest Cline, not only discussed his enduring love for Star Wars but the Hollywood process behind the making of his original screenplay Fanboys and the years long journey to publish “Ready Player One” which has now been optioned for the big screen. We didn’t stay for the Q&A session, but he delivered an inspiring few sentences on the writing process which have given me a long, hard look at my novel.

Ernest Cline, Author of Ready Player One

Ernest Cline, Author of Ready Player One

4. Meeting Wil Wheaton and Witnessing his Awesome Hour. In which he plugged his table-top gaming series on Felicia Day‘s recently released Geek and Sundry YouTube Channel. I’m certain Dan and I will check it out. He also wrote a book Memories From The Future, Volume 1 about his experience with the first season of Star Trek The Next Generation we will hunt down as well. He was very gracious when we snapped pictures and was super complimentary about my tattoo.

Mindy, Wil Wheaton, and Dan

Mindy, Wil Wheaton, and Dan

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Thursdays with Mindy: Meeting Celebrities

Out of all my personal pitfalls and life embarrassments – meeting celebrities tops the charts. This happened way early in my convention days, my first convention point of fact when one of the artists of the X-Men books was signing and we were standing in line to meet him. 

Meeting Felicia Day

Notice the dazed, slightly confused but elated look on my face. I've been touched by Captain Hammer, Codex, and Helo in my lifetime. *swoon*

I was superbly horrified that I had nothing to say to him aside from the usual “I really like your art.” It didn’t help that at the time I thought his art was crap – some of my least favorite since I’d started reading the series. My brother and best friend were there to also get their books signed and were totally ecstatic and completely cool about it. I felt like I was sweating buckets and dying little small deaths as we were inching closer and closer to him.

And then – I totally bolted from the line. I refused to hand him my book. My mother, being the kind soul she was, stuck it out. I still have that book and I still wince every time I look at it. Not just cause the art is crap (it is) but also because it’s been the standard, basic formula for meeting famous people from then on out.

My mind goes blank, my hands sweat profusely, a high, giddy octave emerges from my vocal chords.

This isn’t always the case. During my brush with Bruce Campbell I was completely zoned out and he was the one to initiate conversation. He even made some comment to the point of, “you don’t even care who I am do you?” To which I quickly assured him I did – but was here to support my husband who was the bigger fan. Sorry people, I just never caught Evil Dead fever. So yes, I can be cool and casual when it comes to people I am not over-the-moon for.

But when I meet people whom I admire, especially writers and actors, my ability to communicate properly shuts down. It’s frustrating. My latest travesty was with Charlaine Harris, the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Yeah. I vaguely remember muttering some comment which sounded in my mind like “thanks for writing a strong female character” but what I said made her give me the side eye and then I was rushed away, clutching at my hard bound book with a death grip, pulse racing.

At age 29, I should be able to not dork up my shining moments with the actor and actress who played two of my favorite characters of all time, Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and Kara Starbuck Thrace (Katee Sackhoff). But I just know I will. It will be a travesty. Or will it?

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Raising Weeds: A Review Mash-Up

Managed to bank away the first seasons of both Raising Hope and Weeds in the last few days while doing all the busy work of Winter Term Week One. The answer to which one I liked more might surprise you.

It was Raising Hope by a longshot. Weeds, while clever, sardonic and often-times morbid, just doesn’t have the grace, spirit and ludicrous details that makes Raising Hope much more enjoyable to watch. Weeds is bitter and skunky. Hope is happy and sentimental.

Weeds PosterWeeds gets a small reprieve from my ire in the form of timing. The first season aired in 2005, pre housing crash, pre economic depression and pre layoffs in my immediate family. Back when times were still looking good and the upper middle class thought their bubbly gated communities would never burst or crumble to the ground.

Sadly or happily, depending on how you feel about rich folks, all that has changed for the most part. It’s no longer insane to think that a comfortable wealthy family would fall on hard times and self-destruct or turn to illegal means to maintain their plush existence.

The only thing that leaves a sour note? Many families did meet this sad end in the last four years and didn’t think that turning to crime was the best answer. They walked away from their Range Rover, McMansion, In-ground pool and live-in-maid to rebuild their lives by doing something most of us have to in order to sustain ourselves. Work.

I should love Weeds because Mary Louise Parker is so bad ass and the show revolves around a sistah doing it for herself. But I just freaking don’t. Her socio-economic status over-rides gender at every turn. There are no likable characters, they are all self-involved and self-indulgent.

There was some promise in the first season when I thought she was going to turn her business front into a legitimate enterprise. That could have been an interesting plotline a single mother involving juggling a bakery and marijuana distribution – “baked” goods. Maybe this was the dark comedic response to Desperate Housewives? Whatever the case – I finished up season one dutifully and can’t say that I’ll be returning to Agrestic anytime soon.

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Saluting the United States of Tara

Finished up the third and final season of United States of Tara today. 

United States of Tara PosterYes, I’m on a Diablo Cody binge right now. Decided to give it a spin after having mixed feelings regarding Young Adult and to a certain extent – Jennifer’s Body and Juno. I just might be the only person on the internet that didn’t really have a problem with Jennifer’s Body. In fact, as a horror fan, I thought it was spoofy and high fun. It seemed to both mock and alternately love the horror genre in ways few flicks manage to get right.

The Ginger Snaps comparisons are lost on me. I’ve seen both and didn’t once think of Ginger Snaps while watching Jennifer’s Body. If anything, I thought of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. All the goobery dialogue and tongue-in-cheekness there.

Also – how hard does a female writer have to work to get some respect up in H-Town ya’ll? She won a damned Academy Award and at least two characters she helped script have either won major awards or been nominated (possibly a third depending how Young Adult fares). And still, she gets a ton of e-hate and bitchy comments cause she stripped for a year or something. I don’t even know. But it totally has nothing to do with her gender or anything. Carry on.

Back to United States of Tara: The show is about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) leading a suburban life in Kansas, raising two children with her husband who is a self-employed landscaper.

Cody’s skills as a creator and writer are on fine display here. I was wary approaching it – a bit burnt out on mental illness as comedy fodder, or reality TV fodder, or fodder in general.

What struck me? In the same way that Juno struck me? The mid-west normalcy. The harkening back to classic TV shows that I identified with in my youth, like Roseanne. A family living together using sarcasm, humor and love to sustain themselves. Only mental illness fills the role of economic hardship as the main struggle in the lives of the Gregsons.

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Three British Period Pieces Worth Watching

Blame it on a horrid stomach bug, but I’ve spent the last week fascinated by three separate BBC miniseries. All available now on Netflix Instant Watch. 

North & South

North and South posterThe plot itself is a bit Pride and Prejudice mixed with some Dickensian characters and commentary on poverty and the Industrial Revolution. It’s four episodes long, but very beautifully shot. Beautiful for BBC – who isn’t notorious for having the most crisp or clean-looking productions. But I can’t get the images of the white fluffs of cotton blowing around in the factory out of my head.

Features some spot-on acting by Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, who both do fine jobs portraying smoldering romance with fluttering eyes and lips. Other actors worth mentioning are Sinead Cusack as the crotchety but sympathetic mother foil, Brendan Coyle as union rabble rouser and Anna Maxwell Martin as a town girl with a chronic illness.

Be sure to watch this fan-vid after you view the series. It’s perfect.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey PosterIt struck a cord immediately – reminding me of a serialized Gosford Park and both of which I assume owe some kind of nod to Upstairs, Downstairs which is a series I’ve never seen myself. Either way, I much prefer Downton Abbey because it is visually quite a bit nicer than most of the other BBC television productions. Probably because it’s ITV. Oh snap. J/K BBC, I still love you.

Perhaps it’s not breaking any new territory in terms of focusing on the lives of nobility and their household staff, but I was immediately drawn to it – recognizing  Brendan Coyle from North & South, as well as Joanne Froggatt from Robin Hood. And of course – Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton. Hugh Bonneville is wonderful too – though I didn’t immediately recognize him from something, his face was very familiar.

My only beef with this show is that the passage of time is not obvious (all the sudden the characters were like “well, it’s been two years”). The Titanic sinking was a great series opener and ended with World War I kicking off. Only eight episodes available on Netflix right now. I know there are at least sixteen.

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“Once Upon A Time”…When TV Was Good

I have a three date rule with new Television shows. Sometimes I might even stretch that to 6, if I am really pulling for the actors, writers, producers, or creators. Or the premise. Basically, I’m a sucker for being strung-along by a show that I really want to win. And by “win,” I mean, be renewed for another season.

No, I’m not talking about Community. I know there are tons of great 30 minute comedies out there right now. But I’m just not buying them. Sorry ya’ll. I hope many blessings fall upon you and that all your favorite television shows are renewed.

*THAR BE SPOILERS HERE*

Once Upon A Time Poster

Once Upon A Time Poster

I’m talking about Once Upon a Time. I’m talking about how many quality shows are on the air right now that I could be devoting my attention to and yet I feel so compelled and moved to share my feelings about this particular gem.

If you want to call it that.

I have feelings about this show. The pilot and first two episodes were BAD. Not good/bad but bad/bad. And yet, I kept watching. The writing is ham-fisted. The acting is dubious. The dialogue is ill-suited for the fairy tale world. There is little humor or charm. It either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough. And the CGI. Yipe.

There are also weird race issues happening all over the place. The Evil Queen and her equally evil mirror are the only characters of color I can determine, and anyone with a slightly European accent is a bad guy or pawn of a bad guy.

Dudes – what is happening on this show? They just killed off my favorite sexy mysterious character in the last episode ala Boon on Lost, which is par for the course because THIS is the creative team behind THAT series.

Sheriff Graham as depicted by the imminently shaggable Jamie Dornan was one of the few intriguing characters, not just because of his tasty Irish accent and scruffy neck-bearded hipster loveliness, but because he was one of a limited variety who wasn’t purely good or evil. His amorality was a decided plus in a fairy tale world where Good is GOOD and Evil is EVIL. I mean, that is boring ya’ll. The best TV shows come down squarely in the middle.

Which is another part of the reason Once Upon a Time is failing on so many levels. One of them being it’s  comparisons to (what I’ve heard is) the far superior comic book series Fables from which the premise is purported to have been cannibalized.

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A Song of Ice and Fire: Halloween Costume Recap

Blame Nanowrimo for the lack of posting this week. After clocking in 2,000 words of fiction everyday, it is difficult to get inspired for a blog entry, I will admit. So I’m bout to be super lazy and just throw some pics at you. Get ready!

Here are the awesomely epic Game of Thrones inspired costumes we happened across this weekend.

The spouse and I dressed as Brienne of Tarth and Samwell Tarly. If you look closely you might even spot that I added freckles to my face to really flesh out the Brienne look. No one was willing to admit I have a horse face. Bless their hearts. 😉

Brienne of Tarth and Samwell Tarly

Our buddy Addie came dressed as Melisandre, complete with sexy red contacts and a hand sewn cape. Also, the coolest Jon Snow necklace of all times. She promised to make me one. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally stoked.

Brienne of Tarth and Melisandre

We hit up our friends party the next night and just happened to bump into another Game of Thrones nerd couple with themed costumes. The dude was dressed as an Other and she was Melisandre. Quite a popular choice!  I only wish we could have found a Daenerys or Jaime Lannister to complete the group. Hats off to everyone on their costumes though. The lady of the couple really went all out – she even created the banner of Stannis Baratheon. Happy Day!

An Other, Melisandre and Samwell Tarly

You can check out the making of the Brienne costume on these posts:

Brienne of Tarth Part One.

Brienne of Tarth Part Two.

Brienne of Tarth Part Three.

Really enjoyed putting these costumes together and nerding out with people who actually knew what they represented! Being surrounded by fellow nerds this weekend inspired me to start reading Book 3 again, and I’m like 25% of the way through. No spoilers here – but so far I’m glad I stuck with it so far. George R. R. Martin is one sick bastard, that’s all I have to say.

Brienne of Tarth Costume: Part Three

Some of the final pieces of the Brienne of Tarth costume came in the mail on Wednesday. I was exuberant until I opened the package and realized that at least one of the items was not going to work.

At first I had hope for the floppy chest armor…if I just cut it in the right places, that might decrease the weird stomach bulge happening because of the poorly designed tying system.

Chest Armor with Nipples

This chest armor has nipples. This is what happens when you don't heed the warning reviews on the costume website. :"

By Wednesday evening I’d abandoned the idea of the armor working and was back to bouncing around all the internet sites hoping against hope that I could find a cheap alternative that would arrive in time.

Then, the DH and I recalled some armor at Party City  which had actually looked decent. Unfortunately, it’s a bronze color. Not to worry though – just had to bust out the spray paint and go to town.

THE CHEST ARMOR

Here is the chest piece BEFORE:

Chest Armor

This is Sparta!

Here is the chest piece AFTER:

Chest Armor

THIS is Brienne of Tarth!

I applied the spray paint with a cloth method from this video tutorial. I didn’t use a black matte base, because the armor already had a lot of black mixed with the bronze. And I used more of a dabbing motion than any kind of sweeping. The whole process took about 30 minutes or so.

THE ARMOR SKIRT

Was also mildly disappointing because it only ended up being a “half-skirt” which is fine, because the cape will be covering up my backside anyway. But really – they couldn’t design a silver armor skirt that just, you know – wrapped around the entire body? Coulda used velcro and overlapping. *smh*

But it fits with the rest of the costume pieces so well:

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