Monthly Archives: October 2009

Best’O’Ween 09

Last year, to celebrate Halloween, I wrote up blogs on pumpkin templates and animal Halloween costumes.  Well, a year has passed and…sure…I’d love to do up some fresh takes on this season.  But, I just can’t resist a good pumpkin OR pets all dressed up.  So, I thought, why not do a best of 2009 Halloween list.  Except, I’ve expanded the categories.  Huffingtonpost has been running loads of good Halloween lists, so if you get a moment, go and check those out…I’ve snagged many pics from that site.  I wholeheartedly recommend their collection of ‘best geeky’ costumes.  It’s a treasure trove.

105.  Best of Halloween List

–Best Pumpkin Template:  By a liberal mile, the best new addition to Halloween-squash  awesomeness is this Rachel Maddow pumpkin stencil.

Smartest pumpkin on teevee.

–Funniest Costume (Female):  This 80’s Sitcom Mom as made available on   Proves that raising kids in the eighties is hard, but HILARIOUS!

80s Sitcom Mom Costume Wig
–Best Group Costume:  iPod commercial dancers.  Yes.  A thousand times yes.

–Best baby costume (warm weather climate):  Nacho Libre!

Nothing like a two year old with a 'stache!

–Best baby costume (cold weather): Luke Skywalker inside a dead ton-ton

You can buy this at Think Geek.

–Best Pet (Non-Dog Category) Costume–This cat…just look at that aggravated expression.  Priceless.

"You come near me little dog, I'll bite your neck and scratch your silly little ears off."


–Best Dog Costume–Redneck boxer…he looks like he’s right off of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

"You ain't got nothin' better to do but stare at me?"

Bring me back a beer, will ya?

–Best Dog Costume (Breed Appropriate)–It’s a French Bulldog as a Gondolier, get it?!  Oh wait…Venice is in Italy…whatever–close enough.

France is not Italy, moron.

–Most and Best Effort:  Coolest Transformers costume ever.  And I don’t even LIKE Transformers.

Well, that’s all for now.  Happy Halloween, dear readers.  Back to regularly geekitude next month.



Filed under Hobbies, Nature, Uncategorized

Sex and Candy

I love a good costume party.  Tis the season, after all.  Whilst I have to admit that I have certain categories which I gravitate towards when it comes to Halloween costumes–generally, I like superheroes, pop culture curios, and things with fangs (I dropped a hundred bucks of graduation money on a custom-made pair after college and it makes me want to incorporate them into ANY costume so that I get my money’s worth)–I think that the effort I make is more legitimate than most girls.  Because, if you haven’t noticed, girls have  certain Halloween ‘cheats’.  Ladies have fallbacks that they feel comfortable donning.  Typically it’s something we’ve seen a million times and that they don’t have to think too much about.  Pumpkin, disco queen, angel, etc…Usually these things are pretty lame, not funny, scary, or cool by my geeky fangirlish standards.  Much of the motive guiding their choices is so desperately obvious.  You know it’s always a bid for the most male attention on the night…so they’ll dress up like cats, bunnies, and devils.  “But, that’s not a crime is it?” –you might be asking yourself.  Why, at least they’re doing something, right?  Wrong!  Well, it’d be one thing if there was legitimacy to the cat or devil costume, but often these things don’t look much like what they’re SUPPOSED to be (before they got sexified).  It seems like every time you look at the lady’s costume category when purchasing your get-up for the year, you have nothing to choose from except tarted-up versions of animals, inanimate objects, and boys costumes (Lady Spider-Man for instance…no, not Spider-Woman…a Spider-Man outfit with a skirt).  Hence, you don’t get to be a real Ghostbuster, you can only be a ‘sexy’ Ghostbuster.  Sigh…

You're a cat? Really?

Devil? Oh, If you say so...

A heels...have fun hopping away from predators, 'rabbit'.

Urg...I can't...I

This phenomenon is something that today’s great thing captures perfectly.

104.  Nick’s Commercials, “Girls Costume Warehouse” (as seen on College

Recently, my cousin Becky posted this height of ridiculousness on her Facebook page.  No, your eyes do not deceive you.  They have created a sexy ‘Finding Nemo’ costume.  What’s that in the distance?  Why, it’s the fourth horseman of the apocalypse.  Tis the end of civilizations.

Sexing up Pixar is against God.

Hello, I signify the End of Days.

After commenting on Becky’s posting of this, she shared with me today’s great thing.  I think the crew at Nick’s Commercials really nailed this worthy target.  Enjoy:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So true…so very true.  Let this be a wake up call, ladies.  Put more effort into your Halloween gear.  Stop letting only dudes look pithy every year.  I know Becky’s daughter is going as Rosie the Riveter.  Now that’s proper!

Anyway, for more on the subject, I’ll leave you with a good bit of commentary from  Washington City Paper.

Sexy Costumes

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Filed under comedy, Hobbies

Up with Up

OK, I know this film was out in The States over the summer, but it’s only just arriving in cinemas over here in Britain. I went to see it last night.  Today’s great thing is yesterday’s great thing for some many of my fellow Americans:
103. Pixar’s Up

Pixar's Up

You know, when I first saw Wall*E last year, I couldn’t get over how amazing and touching and original it was. What a movie! What a message!  Pixar, in all their success, makes me proud to be an American.  As a film fanatic living in Britain, I’m all too often reminded what a copycat factory Hollywood typically is.  We produce cheesy romantic comedies, brash and violent films based on toy company properties, and the occasional overwrought melodrama.  Don’t get me wrong, I usually lap up all that crap happily.  But whilst I can usually defend American movies on the basis of being wholly entertaining, I could never rightfully argue that much of it is ‘artful’.  Pixar though…they just make me so patriotic.  They are proof that not everyone in the American film-making business is a brain-dead hack.  People in fricking France could watch Up and be impressed by its beauty.

Anyway, around a year ago was when Pixar first announced that filmmaker Pete Docter’s Up was to be Pixar’s 2009 release.  (Usually, when Pixar releases one film, they let you know a wee bit about what is next on the slate.)  After seeing Wall*E and then subsequently reading about this challenger to the throne–a film about an old codger and his house tied to balloons, I thought–“No way, man!  This film is bound to suck in comparison.  Nothing can top Wall*EWall*E forever!”.  (That’s pretty much verbatim what went through my head when I first saw the production article for Up in Total Film magazine.

This is Pixar’s tenth film and Docter is a Pixar veteran having directed Monster’s Inc. (another one of my faves) and contributed to last year’s absolutely amazing Wall*E.  I still think that Wall*E should have taken the award for best picture last year…but it seems that now that Animated Films have their own category, they’ll never be nominated for the main prize.  It’s a bit unfair, really.  Why not just create a genre category for everything?  That way, the standard tear-jerking drama that ALWAYS wins the top honor at the Oscars can stop bumping other worthy and ground-breaking films out of the way.

Dug. I just met him and I love him.

As most readers are already aware, Up is the story of an old man, Carl Fredericksen, who makes a grand attempt at fulfilling his lifelong dream of following adventurer hero–Charles F. Muntz–into the South American jungle.  He does this by fixing millions of helium-filled balloons to his house.

Let me just say that I spent the first fifteen minutes of this film crying so hard that my neck was wet from the tears falling down from behind my 3D glasses and spent the remainder of the film hysterically laughing.  One of the prime sources of mirth is talking dog character–Dug.  A golden retriever wearing a special language collar that translates his thoughts into spoken language.  Peterson voices this character and admits to adapting the hilarious ‘I have just met you and I love you” line from something a child once said to him when he was a camp counselor.  Awww.

Without giving too much away, let’s just say that another hefty majority of the laughs belong to Alpha, a Doberman Pinscher with the same ability to communicate but with his ‘voice’ on a different setting.

I think my initial reaction to the announcement of this film–that of  “you’ll never be better than Wall*E” was partially born out of my resentment that an old white man should get to be the center of attention–yet again!!!  Let me explain.  I spend an hour every night watching a political news broadcast from back home.  So, I spend a lot of time seething at old white men who are far too entitled and spend their days and powers stopping American progress.  I suppose it’s a bit unfair to generalize the situation to apply to every single old white man.  Additionally, as a woman–I’m constantly disappointed by how few vehicles are created with women as the central characters.  Take for instance “The Simpsons”, one of my favorite shows by a mile.  Still, how many female characters can you think of that are regulars on that show?  There are over a hundred regularly occurring characters.  Let’s take a tally (of only the regularly featured characters) that are female:  Marge, Lisa, Maggie, Krabapple, Mrs. Skinner, Sherri and Terri, Patty, Selma, Crazy Cat Lady, Mrs. Hoover…that’s about it.  Yeah yeah, I know…there’s Mrs. Lovejoy and Mrs. Hibbert and some other Mrs.’s to count–but honestly, Crazy Cat Lady probably appears more than any of them…and has more to say.  My point is, there’s not a lot of consideration for making women more prominent in film and television.  So, I guess that sort of rubbed me the wrong way too.  I was just not in the mood to hear that yet again, our hero would be another middle-aged to old white guy.  But, what can I say, I’m glad I put my knee-jerk liberal feminism aside and went and saw this movie anyway.  (As if I wouldn’t have gone to see the latest Pixar…).

It’s a beautiful HUMAN story, much more rooted in earthly bi-ped reality than most other feature-length toons and it shouldn’t be missed.  (And as far as my PC policing goes–it at least features on of animations first Asian-American lead characters in Russel…the good intentioned and loquacious Wilderness Guide.)

Also, the lead-in cartoon Partly Cloudy is one of the best shorts I’ve seen in a looong time.  It’s actually written and directed by the gentleman whose jubilant personality inspired Docter in creating the character of Russel.

Partly Cloudy

In doing a bit of background reading for this entry, I came across this story of a 10-year-old girl from Hntington Beach whose last wish was to see this film before she died from vascular cancer.  It’s nice to know that Pixar made such an effort to help that happen but it’s still a tearful story to read. article

Here’s a glimpse of why this movie is so special.  Meet Dug:

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Guitar Heroes

I have to confess that when I listen to music, I don’t always take the time to appreciate true instrumental mastery/artistry.  I’m mostly sold on hooks, melody, and sometimes whether or not I can run to it on the tread mill.  I’m not saying that I have poor taste in music.  It just so happens that a myriad of really talented groups/solo acts pass my requirements with ease.  I listen to the likes of everything from Rufus Wainwright to Basement Jaxx to Vince Guaraldi and all kinds of cool crap in between.  No, really!  I’ll show my iPod, I swear!  I have the latest White Rabbits album!  But, I listen to these people because I like their songs.  I wouldn’t really know what makes one drummer better than another drummer or who the best bassist in rock today is or anything.  It’s like, when it comes to someone’s musical ability, it’s not just that I don’t take the time to ‘smell the roses’, it’s also that I wouldn’t really know, technically speaking, great musicianship if it slapped me on the bass. But sometimes, you hear a musical act that is just so in your face kind of gifted that you can’t help but see what they’ve got.  You can’t avoid their skill.   It’s like my friend Stu said about Django Reinhard’s “Minor Swing”.  It’s a great little ditty but I had absolutely no idea that it’s one of the hardest songs to play.  (Apparently it is…we had a bit debate about whether or not Johnny Depp REALLY played it in Chocolat.   Well, today’s great thing is so obvious in their awesomeness, that they punch me right in the nose.

102.  Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintera used to be in an almost famous thrash-metal band out of Mexico City.  They were called Tierra Acida.  But that’s not where i know them from.

I first saw their guitar-plucking, strumming, and thumping on the teevee.  BBC 3 was showing their performance at Glastonbury a couple of years back.


These two play with an almost circus-skill quality.  Their dexterity and rhythm with their classical/folk guitars (see, I don’t really even know the difference so I’m just saying that they are both classical and folk so that I’m only wrong once…wait…is there even a difference?  Anyway…)  their dexterity and rhythm with their guitars amazes me in ways that are typically reserved for trick bartending and double dutch jump rope.

Before I blather on more about their guitar heroics, let’s watch a performance.  This is them playing their original composition, “Tamacun”, live.

The awesome twosome currently live in Dublin.  They totally cashed in their chips in Mexico when their thrash band’s deal fell through.  Though they still count classic metal outfits as a main source of inspiration, what they produce now is more traditional Mexican and Latin in origin–with the odd cover song thrown in–“Stairway to Heaven” for one.

Speaking of covers, they also do a super-cool version of “The Oogie Boogie Song” from The Nightmare Before Christmas…such a good soundtrack…and their version just makes them that more endearing as a musical outfit.  There’s a whole Nightmare  cover album available on iTunes.  Most of it is emo-tacular and not worth the dollar download .  (Unless you still buy the majority of your clothing from Hot Topic.)  Word to the wise though,  Devotchka ALSO do a great Nightmare overture…and Datarock have a decent track there too…Here’s the R y G cover:

Anyway, as I was saying, they currently live in Dublin.  They must be suffering a bit with the weather, especially because of their point of comparison…you know they’ve got to miss the Mexican sun.  But, the location was recommended to them by a fellow musician because it’s so busker-friendly.  The twosome also found that they were making more money for their original compositions than they were when they played covers.  I guess Ireland appreciates the culture exchange more than most.

It’s Rodrigo who provides the knuckle-blistering lead guitar and Gabriel on the percussion-esque bass.  Rodrigo’s skill, even noticeable to me–the uneducated music lover–is amazing and Gabriela’s style is so unique that you can’t help but be wowed.  They’ve got a new album out 11:11, on which each track is dedicated to a musician who inspires them (Santana and Hendrix for example) and it looks good.  Christmas list here it comes.

One final treat…here’s the video for diablo rioja…by the way it IS a good song to run on the treadmill to.

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