Monthly Archives: February 2010

Headline win!

One of the trending posts on the Huffington Post Web site at the moment is titled “The Funniest Headline Fails of All Time.”

I take exception to one of Huff Post’s headline fails:

Headline awesome sauce!

This is not a fail. This is a WIN. It’s always awesome to see a little bit of pop culture sneak into everyday life. This headline was obviously written on purpose, and not just a funny accident like “Colleagues Finger Billionaire.” Someone at that news organization is a Star Wars fan. And that’s absolutely made of win.

Working at a newspaper, headline fails can be hilariously funny, but also a worst nightmare. I live in fear of the day I don’t catch a misspelling, or let a funky headline get by me. It would have been really embarrassing to let the sports brief about the “Red Sex” baseball team or the “Police apprehend rolling math lab” headline get to print.

But sometimes it’s hard stay professional, especially when presented with the opportunity to write a headline for the Stout-Johnson nuptials. (Don’t worry. We didn’t go there. But it was so tempting.)

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An ’80s cartoon revival

I am a child of the ’80s.

I remember when MTV actually showed music videos. I wore day-glo shirts, banana clips and jelly bracelets. I wanted to be an astronaut… until I saw the “Challenger” explode. I carried my lunch in a Smurf lunchbox. But most of all, I remember voluntarily getting up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons.

With all this talk about rebooting certain franchises these days, I started thinking back to all the cartoons I used to watch as a kid, wondering how they would be if some of them got a fresh, modern look. Would they crash and burn like some of the big screen reboots (I’m looking at you GI Joe)? Or would new animation techniques give an old show new life?

The following are some of my favorite ’80s cartoons which might make pretty decent remakes… if done correctly of course. I’m not really going into why I think they deserve a second chance, because most of my argument would consist of “because I liked it.”

1. Dungeons & Dragons

Long before I was introduced to the RPG of the same name, I fell in love with this little gem. It lasted only three short seasons, from 1983-1986, with just 27 episodes before it was shelved. I did not know it then, but it was apparently named the most violent show on television network at one point. I don’t remember the violence. I just remember being captivated by the idea of getting sucked into a magical world and given  nifty magical objects to help you on your journey home (which, come to think of it, sounds a lot like the Chronicles of Narnia, which I also loved). I adored Sheila. I wanted her invisi-cloak so bad. And how could a girl not love Uni, the baby unicorn?

2. M.A.S.K.

The illegitimate love child of GI Joe (which I hated) and Transformers (which I adored), M.A.S.K. was one of those cartoons created specifically to sell a toy line. Though I did not include Transformers on my list (because, hey… once live-action Transformers hit the screen, a cartoon remake would seem pale by comparison), M.A.S.K. I think would do well if remade today. I enjoyed it. I mean, let’s face it. Transforming ordinary vehicles into super-powered weapons to fight evil is a lot more believable than transforming ordinary vehicles into robots from outer space. My brother had some of the toys, which were fun. OK. Fine. I admit it. I wanted my own T-Bob.

3. Jem and the Holograms

Would a 'Jem and the Holograms' remake be truly outrageous? Or truly awful?

I did not watch this one when it first aired. I didn’t really care much for the concept, and I was far too into Barbie to want the Jem dolls. I don’t remember why I started watching it in the first place, but when I did, it caught my fancy. Here was a young woman, Jerrica, the owner of a music company, who was also secretly a superstar singer who changes her appearance with the help of a holographic computer. Jem was the original Hannah Montana, only, you know… cool. I never did get any of the dolls, but the cartoon was a lot of fun. And the love “triangle” between Rio and Jerrica/Jem? I lived for the day he would find out the truth. I’m sad to say I don’t remember if he ever did.

4. Lazer Tag Academy

I loved this stupid show. I don’t know why. I never owned or played the game it was based off. It was very short, only 13 episodes. Maybe it was the whole “girl power” thing it had going for it… a girl travels back in time to save her female ancestor from being killed because she’d one day invent the nifty little “gun” that made time travel possible. Maybe I just have better memories of the show than it actually was in real life.

5. ThunderCats

Come on. You know you’d love to see ThunderCats done Avatar-style. HO!

6. Wildfire

Another short-lived, 13-episode show. And yet, I can still sing the entire theme song. An exiled princess, a magical talking horse, a mystical kingdom. I was a 10-year-old girl. How could I not love this show?

7. Pole Position

I have suddenly realized I must have had a thing for talking cars back in the day. Knight Rider, Transformers, Pole Position …. OK, maybe not TurboTeen. Fancy talking cars that are used to fight crime. Hell yeah. I can imagine an update version looking a little like the Speed Racer movie, but hopefully not as cheesy. Or maybe cheesy could work to its advantage.

8. Dinosaucers

Talking dinosaurs from outer space. Four human kids are in on the secret and have special rings that give them magic powers. It came on after school and I can remember daydreaming in class, wondering what the next episode would be, making up my own Dinosaucers stories in my head. I have absolutely no idea why I liked this show, but I can credit it for my first forays into fanfiction.

9. The Littles

Little creatures, big world. And they had tails! Come to think of it, this might actually work as a live-action show too.

10. Galaxy High

A jock and a nerdy girl become outer-space exchange students and find their roles weirdly reversed. Yet another one season-wonder, but I can still sing the theme song to this one too.

Saturday morning and after school cartoons are a thing of the past, sadly. I blame cable. I think I have nine channels devoted exclusively to kids content, and from what I’ve seen… *yawn*. Kids programs these days have to have morals and lessons. Cartoons in the ’80s had these too, but they also had action. Or perhaps I’ve just grown up too much. Thank God for anime/Adult Swim. Now I can have my cartoons and adult content too. Er, wait… that sounded wrong.

If you could pick, which ’80s cartoon would you bring back?

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Mistakes on a plane

If you follow Kevin Smith on Twitter (or know someone who does), you’ve probably heard what happened to the Clerks director on a Southwest flight from Oakland to Burbank this past weekend. Smith, who had purchased two tickets for a later flight, found himself getting to the airport early and wanted to see if he could get onto an earlier flight home. The earlier flight was full up, but one seat remained, so Smith boarded the flight, found his seat, stowed his bag, and before he could put his seatbelt on, was told he’d have to leave the plane because of his weight.

Cue the outrage on Twitter.

You can listen to the entire story on Smith’s latest SModcast, and as a “person of size” myself, I can completely sympathize with the situation, but I doubt I would have handled it as gracefully as Smith or the woman he sat next to on the later flight home, who was also chastised for not also purchasing an extra seat.

Boy, did Southwest Air pick the wrong chubby guy to mess with.

I can understand that sitting next to a bigger person on a plane isn’t comfortable. Hell, it’s not comfortable for me either. I’ve been flying since I was six months old — and all but two flights were trans-Pacific — and I can tell you that the problem isn’t only with Americans getting bigger. Airline seats have been getting smaller. And smaller. Like Smith, I can fit into an airline seat, with the arm rest down, and not need a seatbelt extender. But only just barely. On my last trip to Sydney, the seats were so small, I couldn’t get out of my aisle seat because the skinny jerk in front of me kept his reclined for the whole trip, and the arm rest wouldn’t raise up so I could slide out. I had to call over a flight attendant for help, which was absolutely mortifying.

What really gets my goat about Smith’s story though are the comments on the news stories about this whole fiasco. People were leaving comments like, “He should’ve bought two tickets, or lose some weight” or “If this guy wants to shorten his own life by being morbidly obese well good luck to him but overweight people who take up two seats on a plane should pay for two seats and not make life miserable for passengers who may have to sit next to them.” Right. Because obviously, Mr. Smith and I WANT to be obese. Because we love food so much we just can’t stop eating.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t always eat healthily. But I do not overeat. Most of my skinnier friends eat more than I do. I have the unfortunate luck to be born into a family who were all big. Plus, I am on eight different medications (none of which are weight-related I might add). I am frequently put on steroids for my asthma. I have to take birth control pills to manage the effects of polycystic ovary syndrome, which not only makes me incapable of having children, but affects my weight as well. I have managed to lose 50 pounds from my top weight ever, but it took five years of trying to do so.

So if you’re ever stuck on a plane in a seat next to me, I apologize. While I can fit into the seat, it’s still a bit claustrophobic. But to the people leaving unkind, rude comments about this situation, remember this. You may not like sitting next to me, but if you have a kid, I don’t want to sit next to you. If you like to chat, I don’t want to sit next to you. If you snore, I don’t want to sit next to you. If you’re a smoker or wear really heavy perfume, then I really don’t want to sit next to you, and you won’t like sitting next to me because I’ll be sneezing the whole trip.

I paid for my seat, as did Smith, and I can fit in it. If you think I need to buy a second, unnecessary seat so I won’t “crowd” you, perhaps you should take it up with the airline who is more concerned with cramming as many people into their planes as possible, regardless of their patrons’ comfort.

As I see it, Smith was perfectly justified in his anger at Southwest. He broke no rules or regulations and he has not (thus far) been offered an acceptable apology. He fit in his seat and the two women sitting next to him didn’t have a problem with it. Even if Southwest had been justified in removing Smith from the plane, they sure as hell could have been more apologetic and sympathetic instead of the shitty customer service that was given not only to Smith, but to the poor woman sitting next to him on the later flight, who was also berated for not buying two seats, even though that flight wasn’t nearly as full as the first one.

I’m not as thick-skinned as Smith. Thanks to making this situation public, I have possibly spared myself a situation which would have killed my fragile self-esteem.

Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Smith’s next movie is titled “Too Fat to Fly: Mistakes on a Plane.” I’ll be first in line to see it.

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Barbie brings chic to geek

Barbie and I go back. Way back. We’ve been in a relationship for nearly 30 years. But like all relationships, sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye. She can be shallow. She’s way too into designer clothing. And her panties are painted on.

Barbie has also had well over 100 different careers in her 50+ years of existence, from stewardess to President of the United States. Some may think that’s quite an accomplishment, but to me, that just means she can’t hold a job. In 2009 alone, she pursued a myriad of careers that included being a gymnastics coach, vet, NASCAR driver, Sea World trainer, wedding stylist and rock star.

Math isn't so tough when you have a fancy, high-speed laptop to do the calculations for you.

Though I suppose it might not be entirely her fault. People are losing their jobs left and right in this economy and some have had to reinvent themselves, pursuing entirely new careers. After her singing career tanked faster than Brittney Spears’ comeback, she did a brief stint as a cat burglar. But, as a role model for young girls who strive to emulate her large chest and freakishly narrow waist, Barbie has decided to clean up her act and get a new job. And as ParentDish.com is reporting, Barbie’s 125th career will now be as a computer engineer. Complete with pink laptop and sparkly tights.

Well. I guess she finally got over that whole “Math class is tough!” thing.

Still, it’s nice to see Barbie in a more technical and, OK, geeky career. Though she looks more geek chic than geek. I mean, all the computer engineers and technicians I know prefer loose-fitting jeans and T-shirts with various sci-fi references on them to sparkly spandex and pastel colored baby-doll tees. But she’s still Barbie, and Barbie is nothing if not a fashionista.

Geek is in. No longer are we geeks confined to our parents’ basements (some of us live upstairs!), speaking in our own secret and L337 language, giggling over in-jokes only other geeks would get. Thanks to shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” comic book heroes coming to life on the big screen and James Cameron, geek is the new cool. And Mattel and Barbie are hoping to cash in by embracing this growing subculture.

And I guess I can’t blame her. At least she’s trying to make something of herself with a real job. Unlike her ex, Ken, who has totally flipped his wig (literally) and is now a Palm Beach Sugar Daddy.

(Though ten bucks says Barbie is actually using her shiny pink laptop to create LOLcats.)

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What I’ve learned from watching ‘Lost’

I have watched “Lost” faithfully since the very first episode. But for the past couple of seasons, I felt like I was just watching it because I had to, not because I wanted to. And that’s how I felt when the sixth and final season premiered… until the two-hour episode was up and I didn’t want it to end.

Maybe it’s because I know that this is the final season, and, that for better or worse, whether questions are answered or not, it will finally be over. And I want to know what happens.

In the six years I’ve been watching “Lost,” I’ve learned several valuable things about life along the way.

1. Expect the unexpected.

Granted, I’ve learned this from watching way too many seasons of “Big Brother,” too. But the lesson was driven home when the polar bear showed up. The dead don’t stay dead. The infirm can walk. Time travel without a DeLorean is possible. Men can wear eyeliner and manage to somehow pull it off. I know I shouldn’t be surprised when the show manages to surprise me, but I am. Constantly. Because I have no idea what’s going on.

2. The Devil is in the details.

Don't worry, Hurley. We're just as lost as you.

I used to think I was an observant person. I mean, I got the connection between Walt’s comic book and the polar bear. But more serious “Lost” fans notice what I never would have, even if I’d seen an episode more than once. For example, the season 6 premiere was titled “LA X.” I never even noticed that there was a space between “LA” and “X” until I read it on a blog. Is this significant? How could it not be? The Internet is teeming with sites devoted to these little clues in each episode, some of which are significant, some of which are red herrings. Most of which, I missed.

3. Don’t get attached.

Actually, I’ve learned this lesson from many of my favorite shows over the years. My favorite characters have a bad habit of dying on me. And “Lost” doesn’t pull any punches. Take the death of Charlie. Arguably one of the show’s most popular characters. One of mine, too. And then, he was killed in the third season finale. Though it wasn’t the last we saw of him, the show was a little less fun without him. Other characters I liked, Boone, Daniel, Charlotte, Claire… though, technically, I guess Claire isn’t dead… have met their end in one form or another. Which is why I’m very worried about Hurley, Jin and Sun during this final season.

4. Don’t go into the woods.

Seriously. There’s crazy stuff in the woods. Giant birds. Spiders that can make you only mostly dead. Polar bears. Smoke-monsters. ‘Nuff said.

5. Don’t mess with time travel.

Never a good idea to begin with, but even attempting to keep the timeline on “Lost” straight without extensive charts and graphs would give me an aneurysm faster than a time-hopping Charlotte. I have given up trying to remember who did what to whom and when they did it. I have learned to just go with the flow and hope that the writers will remind those of us with minds like Swiss cheese will explain some of this stuff.

6. Questions will not be answered.

Remember a few years ago when we were told we would finally learn about the numbers and the smoke monster. And… we didn’t? Yeah, totally not holding my breath for any real answers from this series. I have a feeling that when the final episode airs, “Lost” fans everywhere will turn to each other and go, “…What the fuck was that all about.” And the die-hards will get online to scrutinize frame by frame to come up with their own theories. And I’ll just shrug and go with it.

Perhaps we’re not meant to ever learn all the answers because the writers are totally making this crap up as they go along. Maybe detonating a nuclear device over a mysterious and powerful energy pocket can create alternate realities. Maybe it’s just one big, vague allegory on good and evil, life and death. Maybe it’s all a dream. And maybe a polar bear is just a polar bear.

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“Eclipse” in 28 1/2 tweets

Continuing my “Twilight, Tweeted” saga, I present “Eclipse” in 28 1/2 tweets.

Previously:

“Twilight” in 25 tweets

“New Moon” in twenty-five, er, -six tweets

Ch.1-Jake is emo, Eddy is still perfect and Charlie is a pussy. Bella got into Alaska U! But doesn’t want to go or have any future at all!

Ch.2-Alice sees stuff, Eddy keeps secrets and takes apart B’s truck so she can’t see Jake. NO, NOT CREEPY AT ALL! B’s dad attempts The Talk.

Ch.3-Jake hates Eddy. Eddy hate Jake. We get it already. Is this going to be the whole book, because all this crap was in the first two.

Ch.4-B proves she’s nuts by talking to Cheerios & magnets. Makes a daring escape to see Jake who’s pissed she still like Eddy. Kill me now.

Ch.5-Jake has been SORASed from 16 to 25, Sam imprinted on Emily (huh?) and B whines because she’s ancient at 18 and is aging every day OMG!

Ch.6- J hates E. E hates J. B is Switzerland, which makes sense since her mind is like their cheese. B is kidnapped to keep her from J. D:

Ch.7-Rosie tries to tell B to stay human because being a vamp is so emo (B’s not already?). Rosie is jealous because E like B who’s not hot.

Ch.8-Quil has the hots for a 2-year-old AND THIS IS WHERE I HAD TO STOP READING FOR A WHILE BECAUSE OMGWTF EW!

Ch.8-(cont.) B escapes to see J & tells him she only has weeks to live. He would rather see her dead. E is suddenly fine with her seeing J.

Ch.9-Someone’s been sleeping in B’s bed (& it’s not E or J). E & J call truce to try to figure out who’s stalking B (besides themselves).

Ch.10-Jake comes over but not before E give B some vamp BO. B gets into Dartmouth (seriously?!) and E “allows” B hang out with J. The hell?

Ch.11-Long-ass chapter with boring-ass tribe legends which Bella of course compares herself to because it’s all about Bella all the time.

Ch.12-Dear SMeyer, perhaps you should read some real news articles to see how it’s done. More arguing about marriage vs. vampirism.

Ch.13-Jasper’s long, confusing backstory about newbie vamp armies which is what’s happening in Seattle. Someone may die fighting. Oh noes!

Ch.14-Jacob reveals his second big secret. He loves Bella! Totally didn’t see that coming. 327 pages down and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED YET.

Ch.15-B’s dad has no problem with Jake forcing his lips onto B, or the fact she broke her hand punching him. E & J still hate each other.

Ch.16-Graduation day. B in some twisted logic that only makes sense because everything is about her realizes newbie vamps are after her.

Ch.17-Jake crashes the graduation party. Agrees to work with the vamps to protect Bella. Dammit. Wanted to see an Eddy/Jake throwdown.

Ch.18-SMeyer uses a lot of description the vamp/wolf training session without actually describing anything. A plan is formed. I think.

Ch.19-Totally pointless. Eddy and Jake are now BFFs. More training. B forgave E for leaving but keeps hanging it over his head. Skank.

Ch.20-Proof this book doesn’t make sense in any way. B wants sex. Eddy wants to wait. B agrees to marriage so she can get boned. WTF.

Ch.21-Eddy carries Bella. Jake carries Bella. I must have missed the part where she lost the use of her legs. More setup for upcoming “war.”

Ch.22-To create “sexual tension,” SMeyer gives us a snow storm in June so half-naked Jake can keep B warm while Eddy watches. Kinky.

Ch.23-Eddy deliberately lets it slip he and B are engaged which breaks J’s heart. B immediately blames herself because Eddy can do no wrong.

Ch.24-Evil vamp arrives. SMeyer can’t write fight scenes so we get lots of “dancing.” B tries to sacrifices herself. Sadly doesn’t work.

Ch.25-Fight over. Only one hurt is Jake. Of course. Volturi arrive just in time to… not do anything. Plot lasted all of one chapter.

Ch.26-B thinks she and Jake would make pretty babies but there’s just one problem. Eddy. Jake lets B go. No vamp/wolf fight after all. Sigh.

Ch.27-Chapter title is “Needs.” This book NEEDED to end about 200 pages ago. B and Eddy snog in the meadow. Is it over yet? I’m bored.

Ep.-Jacob’s point of view. He angsts. A lot. And um… that’s it. The end. Do I really have to read “Breaking Dawn”?

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One shall fall…

This week’s episode of GeekBits discussed the 2009 Golden Raspberry (Razzie) nominations. “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” is up for Worst Picture of 2009. I must respectfully disagree.

I guess I just don’t understand why people don’t like the second installment of “Transformers.” Many folks say they had a problem with the plot. And I have to ask these people, did you really go see this movie for a scintillating plot? Because I know I didn’t. I went to see it for the giant robots.

Do you really want to tell Optimus his movie was worse than 'Land of the Lost'?

I watched a lot of “Transformers” as a kid. Looking back, the cartoons I remember most are the ones my brother liked to watch. “Transformers,” “Super Friends,” “MASK,” “He-Man.” I can’t really seem to recall any of the girly cartoons I liked. But these stick with me.

Most of my friends don’t like in my Small Town, so I usually go to the movies by myself. I remember going to the first “Transformers” movie alone, sitting in a sparsely-crowded theater a few weeks after it had opened, realizing I was pretty much the only adult girl in the theater. Then the lights dimmed,  and Peter Cullen’s voice boomed out from the speakers and I started crying.

Hearing Optimus speak brought back so many childhood memories of watching the cartoon and playing with my brother’s toys. I settled in for the fun adventure and left the theater with a spring in my step and feeling so utterly euphoric at finally seeing “Transformers” on the big screen.

Two years later, I stood in line opening weekend for “Transformers 2.” I don’t like seeing movies on opening weekend. I don’t like crowds. But I couldn’t wait to see this movie. And it was fun. And I left the theater feeling not quite as euphoric as I had with the first movie, because that kind of feeling can only happen the first time, but still feeling pretty darn happy.

I probably couldn’t have told you what the movie was about, plot wise, but that wasn’t the reason I went to see “Transformers 2” in the first place. Seeing the Autobots and Decepticons on the big screen, looking so real and larger than life, just took me to my happy place.

I don’t think “Transformers 2” was the best movie of 2009. It wasn’t even my favorite of the year, as “Star Trek” blew everything else out of the water for me. But I don’t think it deserves to be amongst the worst either.

Not that my opinion counts for much on the Internets. But I think “Land of the Lost” should win just for existing, and for destroying another fond childhood memory.

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