The New Star Tours Preview

Feast your eyes on the teaser trailer for the soon-to-be renovated Star Tours attraction. Anyone else really happy to hear that the traditional Star Tours chime will stay? (Anyone else secretly wish you could really board Star Tours for real?) And you just KNOW they're going to do something with that whole, "Safest planet on the galaxy," line about Alderaan...you know? *ahem, giant explosion, cough cough, tour gone awry, cough cough*


A Birthday Blog - Taking Off

A year ago, we were gifted with some passes to Walt Disney World by someone who has become what I would call a good friend, even though we mostly talk on Facebook. We were there to film, "Park Geeks", which has quickly become one of my favorite things to do. Right behind reading my writing at events, teaching, and working for NPR. But it takes a lot to orchestrate a Park Geeks shoot, so we don't do them very often. All of this is beside the point really.

A year ago, I got to spend a couple of days in my favorite place just in time for my birthday. Very cool. And I've been nostalgic about it lately, probably since today is my birthday and we're not scheduled to shoot anything for Park Geeks again until October. Whatever the reason, when I was subbing for a professor who couldn't make it to class today, I reached for a few scraps of paper and this is what came out...


3D Without Glasses

Remember that scene where a stunned Marty McFly is wandering around in the year 2015 in Back to the Future II? Well, in that scene, there's a joke about an advanced Jaws movie in 3D, and the 3D of the future is portrayed as working without glasses. (Which, just FYI, Jake has been saying for years and years that he'll never give in to 3D unless he can watch without glasses.)

Well, it's going to happen in time for the BTTF timeline to remain intact, according to Tech Bucket Blog. Read what they have to say about it HERE.

Now, can someone please get to those flying cars and build a chain of 80's themed cafes?


"The Switch" - More Feminist Friendly than Scott Pilgrim?

So, I'm roughly 2.4 billion years late on my review for this, and in some of the chaos of my recent life (All good, I assure you.) I have also completely skipped reviewing, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World". If I don't review a movie right away, doing it seems to elude me completely. Because in the blogosphere, "better late than never" really doesn't apply.

But, "The Switch" stuck with me, so much so that even several days later, I still seem to be talking to people about it. Maybe it's the fact that I went to several websites to read reviews of the movie after I saw it, and I feel the need to defend it. (I don't read reviews until after I see a movie, not wanting my opinions to be tainted or any plot to be spoiled.) The movie is getting a lukewarm reception, unless of course you count Capone's review over at AintItCoolNews.com, which makes, "The Switch" sound like the culprit behind most major World Wars. Others found it sweet but lacking depth. And as usual, in the case of movies that don't land with mainstream audiences, I loved it.


Retro Orlando: Food Rocks

My monthly column for Orlando Attractions Magazine is now posted, this week I dive into the finer points of puns and singing produce. Click HERE to read on...


Friday Night Videos - Back to School Edition

The school year is about to begin, and in the spirit of all the ridiculously hard work ahead in my (hopefully) final year of taking classes, teaching, and finishing a thesis in grad school, I present this special edition of Friday Night Videos. For those of you new to Friday Night Videos, it's my nostalgic way of looking back at a TV show my sisters never missed, (and one that we had several VHS tapes worth of hanging around the house) one that I was too young to stay up and watch. One that I would sneak and watch anyway whenever I could. Remember this?

I choose three videos or more, usually following a theme, and smash them together on a blog via YouTube to get a little blast from the past whenever I need it. This week's theme? Working Hard. (If you even thought to yourself, "Or hardly working?" and then chuckled...you aren't allowed to watch...)


Elvira Returns (and Why It's Good for Feminism)

I've always loved Elvira, so this news recently posted by CHUD.com is welcome. As a child of the 80s, I'm nostalgic for her knee-slapping humor and sassy puns. I also love her appearance as a biker in, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure". Oh yeah, she's in there. She's the one who says, "I say we let me have him first!"

Read the article here that gives all the details of Elvira's return.

I grew up with Indiana horror host Sammy Terry, so this is a great blast from the past that, I think, will be welcome on the TV scene. Especially for anyone my age or older who grew up with all kinds of local horror hosts.

But mistresses of the macabre have always been a family favorite in my life. We grew up watching the classic black and white monster movies and we loved the Addams Family.

I typically argue that Elvira, Morticia Addams, and Lilly Munster are great feminist figureheads. Yes, they were all well-endowed and sometimes hilariously proportioned. Take for example the original figure from which all the aforementioned gothic ladies spring, Vampira. Her waist was cinched uncomfortably small. It's all part of the Victorian aesthetic we'll talk about it in a minute.

But they all portray strength. You may even notice that Elvira herself is always making jokes about being a black widow type. Well, this is all part of the cultural backlash that identified with Victorian Gothic (famously an unhinged time in history behind all the buttoned-up facades) and likely sprang out of the female-stifling fifties, where most women were told to get back in the kitchen and stay there. (After WWII, when they so famously stepped up to fill the roles left vacant by men who enlisted in the military. And I'm no man-hater either. Hooray men! Yay soldiering!)

Elvira and her ilk were turning a cultural stereotype on it's head. They were taking the tragic femme fatale figure and moving her toward power and victory.

Whereas beautiful blondes like Marilyn Monroe met tragic ends after a lifetime of abuse, these women were saying, "Yes, I'm gorgeous and I'm dangerous to you!" Not the other way around that so many pin-ups had to live with throughout the "glamour" years of Hollywood. (Though some will argue, those years have never ended, and they may be right. Fame is often deadly in one way or another.)

So we can see, academically speaking, how feminism can spring from forms that may at first glance appear to be solely for the male gaze. Many would argue the simple display of skin and insinuation of allure that these women present are degrading, because they are such caricatures of femininity. I would disagree. It's not attractiveness or femininity that are innately offensive, it's those two qualities when they are ONLY for the benefit of men that becomes offensive, in my opinion.

Wait a minute, am I lecturing? Oh boy...forgive me, you can tell that school is about to start and I'll be back to teaching...

I have a picture somewhere of Mom and I dressed as Elvira and Morticia for Halloween one year, I'll have to dig that up. Until then, enjoy Elvira's cameo...

(Also, if you enjoyed this post, you may like this LIST of unconventional leading ladies.)


When Vader Met Jones

My favorite attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios is, "The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular". Jake and I always go several times when we visit WDW. In fact, the last time we went, I became so obsessed with the show that I looked up what stunt performers have to be able to do and started working out in order to match their strength. It EPIC failed, as I still can't even do one chin-up, but still...the show is amazing.

Well, this week, Disney shared this little photograph with people everywhere on their blog HERE. It's what happened when Darth Vader met Indiana Jones for a special edition of the stunt show. I bet it was a pretty amazing thing to see the stadium lit up like the Battle of Geonosis (*pushes glasses up nose*) with light sabers waving in pure geek pandemonium as Vader took on Jones.

Here's a fun behind-the-scenes video from Disney Parks about the planning of the show...


Why I Still Love Chunk (and why I need him right now)

Chunk. The name that can only belong to one person. The master of the truffle shuffle, the most compassionate Goonie, the boy who just needs a Baby Ruth to keep him going when times get tough. But Chunk isn't just Chunk. He's me and I'm him.  

Everyone’s favorite geek was played by Jeff Cohen in 1985’s, The Goonies. Only, Chunk was really an actual geek, almost to the point of being socially dysfunctional. I mean, not that I can relate to that. *Uncomfortable shifting in chair* Nowadays it’s become cool to be a geek, we’ve grown up and taken over, creating our own media, forming clubs, renting out large convention centers…but back in 1985, things were mighty different. Back then, it was only cool to be cool, or at the very least, hip to be a square.

And one of the best things about Chunk was that he saved the day. If it wasn’t for Chunk, the Goonies would’ve died in that cave. He used his love of candy bars and his willingness to befriend an underdog, and he came in like a pirate and rescued everyone. Chunk had the hard road too.  Everyone else was playing with Rube Goldberg inventions, getting first kisses, and sliding down waterslides.  Chunk was getting shoved into freezers with corpses, being threatened with blenders, forced to confess his darkest secrets. Heck, even his darkest secrets were cool to me. I wish I had come up with that "fake vomit over the balcony" prank. Say what you want about Chunk, call him obnoxious, call him a liar, call him overly cautious, but don’t call him a wuss.

I watched The Goonies for the first time at my grandma’s house on cable, an unprecedented two times in a row. We weren’t supposed to do that, but even my parents saw how cool this movie was. It warranted an exception. I wanted to be Mouth, but I knew deep in my heart (and because my older sisters told me so), that I was much more like Chunk. Obnoxious, loud, and prone to hyperbole. 

I recently watched the Goonies one day for, oh I don’t know, the millionth time. I need a dose of Goonies every now and then. Especially when I'm feeling particularly uncool. Not uncool in the traditional sense of the word, more like wondering if I'm a geek deserter, asking myself if I've become a sellout who now works for "the man". (Even though I know in my heart that the answer is "no".) On those days, I wake up, look in the mirror, and wonder to myself how on Earth I ended up as a college professor. Don't they know I'm just like Chunk underneath my Liz Lemon wardrobe and filed nails? Behind all my chatter about being mid-book and editing and freelance and NPR...I'm still totally just a massively insecure geek who finds herself wildly and overly invested in things I shouldn't be, like video games and 80s nostalgia and cartoons. 

I think the world would be a better place if we were all forced to watch, "The Goonies" at least once annually. If we were all forced to remember a time without cell phones, a time when being a kid meant looking for adventures outside and not spending hours with an Xbox (though I'm not "agin" it), and most importantly, a time when shag carpeting was cool? When the radio was everything. When HBO was new. 

I watched it with the commentary this time. And every time I watch it that way, I’m just a touch disappointed. Because Jeff Cohen has grown up to be handsome, successful, and most of all, (gasp) normal. I think in my mind, Chunk and Jeff Cohen just officially have to be two different people. I like to think that Chunk is still running around in Astoria wearing plaid pants, telling whoppers, downing strawberry shakes, and taking care of Sloth. If he's there doing that, then I'm somewhere running around my home town with fluorescent shoe laces and messed up teeth and over-sized glasses, making trouble for my long-suffering older sisters. Not just here in adult-world, worrying about things like getting my hair trimmed and paying my bills on time and polishing a syllabus. A syllabus and hand-outs and a lesson plan. What? Really? I love to teach, almost more than anything in the world, but the artifacts that surround me just serve to remind me that I'm a grown-up, even though I do not feel like one at all. At all. 

I’m still waiting for the sequel. If Indiana Jones can make it out of development hell, than by God, so can the Goonies. We’ve been reading the spec scripts on the internet for years, hearing the rumors, and even Richard Donner himself makes brief reference to it on the film commentary. I say we keep the pressure on, if we can be even half as persistent about a sequel as Chunk was about swearing Janet Jackson came over to use his bathroom, then we’ve got it in the bag. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a Goonies II than a Jurassic Park IV. Because Goonies is the movie for geeks, the sounds and sights of childhood all wrapped up into an hour and a half. If we can be reminded about how much Chunk loved Sloth, then maybe we can remember what it is that we really care about most...whatever that may be. 

Plus, geeks…let’s face it, we never say die...not even when the rent is due and our hair needs to be trimmed.


The Top 10 Movie and Television Crushes (Real and Fictional) for Lady Geeks

Let's face it, we all get crushes on people from film and television sometimes, whether we're married or single.

Who you find appealing may say a lot about you or something you may be lacking in your personal life at the moment. Yes, I'm saying I think you should psychologically delve into this kind of stuff.

I'm thinking about it, because it seems like I'm always in a conversation with a fellow lady geek about who she finds appealing in a film and why, and usually her obsession of the moment seems a strange mystery to her that can't be solved. (One recent such conversation? A friend with a serious fixation on Sirius Black. You know who you are...)

Analyzing these crushes can help you figure out what you may want in a partner someday or what you may need more of in your life right now. If you find yourself interested in any of these geek icons on any level, permanently or during a phase, you probably like intelligent men, funny men, sensitive men or men who find themselves passionate about a cause.

Then again, it may indicate that you prefer a rebel, an outsider, or a man who doesn't worry about keeping up with contemporary culture or the popular opinion. Maybe you're just bored and longing for adventure.

Whatever it is, feel proud. Of all the men in all the gin joints in all the world, you will most likely find yourself highly compatible with a geek...and that's nothing to be ashamed of...read on and discover what your geek crush might say about you.

(By the way, not only does my husband know that I wrote this article, he proofread it...)


Dear Huffington Post Readers

If you've come here looking for my blog on Leia from the broken link at Huffington Post...then HERE it is. You can also find my review of Edlitz's documentary, "Jedi Junkies" HERE. (And may I congratulate you on your fine taste in reading selections?)

The blog entry is titled...
Princess Leia and THE Gold Bikini or Why Fellow Fangirls Hate Me

If you've come here to sass me for spending too much time thinking about Star Wars or for offending you deeply or for "not understanding" the significance of the bikini or to compare my brain size to that of some variety of prehistoric animal....feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of the above blog.

If you're one of my regular readers and don't follow me on Facebook, and you'd like to know what on Earth I'm talking about, click HERE to read Edlitz's article.

If you're me, and you've just discovered that another blog has picked up your story on Princess Leia's bikini, click HERE to read the Geek Twins take on my thoughts. (Excellent summary boys, excellent...) It is, apparently, a good week to be a geek feminist film critic.

For information regarding your checking account balance, press 9.

No wait...don't do that. It won't work.

But just remember, if you can't say anything nice...you may be related to Statler and Waldorf.

That is all. Good day sir.


The Nostalgia of 80's Toys

If you thought that you were alone in your nostalgia for the late eighties and early nineties, there a plethora of blogs out there to prove you wrong.

One, in particular, that really struck a chord with me. It's a blog dedicated to remembering toys and artifacts from our generation's childhood. It's called, "I'm Remembering!" and it's filled with 80's goodness.

It's incredible the way these images can flood you with sense memories of life before cell phones and the internet, when everything smelled like crayons and lunch boxes.

I've been thinking a lot about toys lately as well, if you want to revisit my recent blog entry, "When Toys Rules the World", click HERE.