Holiday Movie Wrap-Up & Why "Young Adult" Caused Controversy Amid Critics

WARNING! Spoiler-heavy blog entry!

Through the joy of gift certificates and discounts, I was able to see three of this year's holiday movie offerings. I finally took in The Muppets, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and Young Adult. Thanks to our holiday cinema surplus, we're also planning to see the latest Mission Impossible.

As for The Muppets, I ignored all press before seeing the movie. I felt happy just to see them onscreen again. But I can understand some of the reactions of the dissatisfied. While watching, I felt we weren't seeing the real Muppets. Rather, just another show they were putting on together. I imagined them calling cut and all the Muppets hanging out together at craft services between takes.

Because if this, I didn't have that same visceral "Kermit wouldn't live alone in a mansion!" kickback that many others did. I did tear up at most of the Jim Henson references. I was kind of expecting Steve Martin to pop up at some point and I did cry like an emotionally unstable little baby (Are there any other kind?) when they started singing, "It's time to start the music..."


The 25 Days of Christmas Movie Countdown

Unsung Christmas classic, "The Long Kiss Goodnight"
This is a challenge I don't even think I can live up to...and I'm pretty obsessive about movies. But should you be brave enough to try to find the time to watch roughly fifty hours of movies in the already-packed month of December, here's your guide to a holiday movie a day until Christmas.

Easing Into the Christmas Movies - You've got to pace yourself. I like to start with movies that only include Christmas as one element within a larger story. It's best to fight cinematic holiday fatigue by starting with these four...

Dec. 1stPlanes, Trains and Automobiles
Dec. 2ndFunny Farm
Dec. 3rdSleepless in Seattle
Dec. 4thSerendipity


Larry Longstreth and Mark Ordesky Talk Film, Creativity and the Magic of the Eighties - Part Two

Larry Longstreth
I've been saving the second half of my interview with filmmaker Larry Longstreth and producer Mark Ordesky. We first spoke on the phone all the way back in September when they were promoting the DVD release of their film The Long, Slow Death of a Twenty Something. (What's that? You're Christmas shopping you say? Well then...)

When we talked, I knew that Larry and Mark were already planning a series of other projects. The press has a nasty habit of only paying attention to what's happening right in that very millisecond. But the projects Larry is working on under his Eddy Spaghetti production banner are worthy of your attention, especially now when he's smack in the middle of working on them. (You can find the production company on facebook for updates.)

In the works and already happening are an animated series called Four Tanks and a Healer that already premiered on theonering.net, an animated feature called The Wanderer King, a documentary called Before the World Goes Boom, and an animated pilot called Captain Wilcox vs. The End of the World.

Did I mention that Larry and his team are essentially moving forward on all of these projects at once? In some way, each of these projects is in their own stage of development. Did I mention that Larry lives in the Midwest? Not Los Angeles or New York. The Midwest.

My hope is that this will inspire you. I directed a successful actress in a small project recently who shall remain nameless, but she tells this great anecdote about "making it". She says she was once sitting in a golf cart with Tom Wilkinson for hours waiting for the weather to clear on a shoot. They talked about life and he told her the one secret to making it. (I like to think he held his finger up like Jack Palance's "Curly"...) The secret is...never quit. Eventually, as the years go by, if you just keep going no matter what, others will quit but you'll still be there. Doing what you love.

That made me laugh, but in a way Longstreth represents that kind of anecdotal tenacity. So many of us talk about the need to recapture the magic of the eighties. While we talk about it over beers, Larry talks it about it on his film sets or in development meetings. If the eighties was the generation of Spielberg and Lucas and Howard and magic aplenty...then we're the generation after them that has to figure out how to deal with that. How can we aspire to match that spirit without directly ripping it off or not doing it justice?

Longstreth is doing something about that and there's something extra exciting about the fact that he's doing it from the Midwest.  Whether it's by choice or necessity, I don't know. But it adds just a touch of rebel sheen to the whole operation.

As I previously mentioned, this is the second half of our interview. Read the first half here and then check out the second part where we talk celebrity heroes, films of the eighties and yes...even a little Lord of the RingsIn the following interview - A: Audrey, M: Mark Ordesky, L: Larry Longstreth.


Pepper Spraying Cop Strikes Again...and Again...and Again

I know I love a lot of things. Typical fangirl I guess. But THIS is something I really really love. A brand new meme brought to you by the recent blatant injustices perpetuated on peaceful protesters by some overreacting police officers.

"Pepper Spraying Cop" has turned from an actual villainous moment in this unfortunate man's personhood into a hilarious wave of internet art in which said cop (Although, to be fair...there are so many more than just this one and I bet he's really confused about the right thing to do and also being prompted by his chief and other authority figures.) has been placed into comedic situations in which he is shown pepper-spraying other unworthy recipients.

Like The Daily Show, Monty Python's Flying Circus, every Charlie Chaplin movie ever and plenty of Looney Tunes episodes, comedy in general, (and satire in specific) can reverberate the sentiments of the masses...


Ten Awesome (Real Life) Movie Towns

The "Home Alone" house in Winnetka, Illinois.
You know, the tides just may turn on the idea of small town life. With the economy in a scary state of flux, a revitalization movement has turned toward almost everything you can think of. Small farms, independent bookstores and small businesses. It follows that the small towns we all fled because the commute was too expensive could make a similar comeback if tiny micro-economies pop up again.

Pardon the cold and calculating intro to a subject I really love to talk about, movie locations. But as usual, my personal life has informed upon my blogging life. As soon as I finished my Master's Degree, what did I do? I took it to a big city and started something there.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my life right now. But I admit to drifting into frequent daydreams about what it might be like to go back again having conquered my college education and some aspects of the world of professional production to see what I can bring home to my own small town.

Several of those detailed daydreams include

1. Starting production companies and working with various collaborators who shall remain nameless but totally know who they are...
2. Buying the Village theater and using it not only for new movies but for classics and film classes...
3. Starting a not-for-profit that teaches kids how to create short films and then holding a special festival for their results, etc. etc.

So...yeah, it better be the lottery or an angel investor for me. Or I guess...years and years of hard work. Blast!


Happy Halloween from Heather

Contributor (and my partner in geeking, my sister) Heather went to a costume party on Halloween and she took her signature mad-crafting geek skills with her.

Her son was Link from The Legend of Zelda...

Keep going! The best photos are yet to come...


Make It So Number One!

I'm playing catch up right now! In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday. By the way...I stood five feet away from Patrick Stewart yesterday. I'll fill you in later...but I may or may not have embarrassed myself. Shocked? I didn't think so...


Magnum P.I.'s Daughter Makes for a Confusing Halloween Costume

So, I'm a huge Magnum P.I. fan. The blog here at Born For Geekdom with the most comments is THIS ONE.

Jake and I have long joked about making a phony trailer for Magnum's Daughter. It opens with a stunning young woman from behind wearing the trademark shorts and Hawaiian shirt. She mimicks several of Magnum's movies from the original show opening. She turns around and reveals that she also has his amazing mustache. Comedy ensues.

This idea crept closer to reality when I bought Jake an exact replica of Magnum's tropical shirt and his Detroit hat last Valentine's Day. (We purchased our replica through the Aloha Shirt Shop, in case you want one of your own.)

I'm still trying to find the time to make this little short with a proper actress. But I did get tired of waiting, so I went for it myself.

Here's Magnum's daughter along with my husband as "the dude" and the hilarious and talented Heather Leonardi as a grown-up emo Ginny Weasley. (The moustache also makes an appearance on the next episode of "Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show" this Thursday. That's all I can say for now...)

Unfortunately, I didn't really look as much like everyone's favorite TV detective as I thought I would. Though the doorman at the party did recognize me!

I did, however, look like the following people...

1. The late, great Bruno Kirby

2. Mario

3. Ron Swanson

4. Any one of Bill Swerski's Super Fans

5. My Dad.

Ever worn a Halloween costume and had people confused as to who you were? Please do share in the comments section...

P.S. My husband and I are very bad at couples costumes. So the new tradition is being bad on purpose. Here's Julius Caesar and Magnum P.I.


Movie Bites - A Halloween Beverage Fit for the Headless Horseman!

It's time for another Movie Bite over at Smithbites.com. I LOVE contributing some writing over at this beautiful and classy food blog. READ MY SPECIAL HALLOWEEN ENTRY HERE.

Aside from the fact that it gives me a great excuse to delve even further into my movie obsessions, it's also been kind of a confidence builder for me. The truth is that anyone can cook or bake, it's just a matter of being able to follow instructions. Sure it sounds simple, but it was news to me.

So this was my idea for the perfect Halloween cocktail. The best part? You can totally set it on fire! I recommend serving it with a tiny little Stay Puft marshmallow man constructed on toothpicks...which you can also set on fire. If you're feeling really ambitious, you could even do some Beauty and the Beast style "pie and pudding en flambe" for a trio of fiery treats!

(But seriously, don't serve that...people will talk...)


Empire Strikes Again: Amazing "Goonies" Reunion Video

For Empire's 20th Anniversary, they were able to snag the cast of 80's classic "The Goonies" including Mr. Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner. You can watch the video over at Empire's site. Cast shenanigans, warm embraces and some talk of a sequel (finally?) does drift in an out of the conversation.  One amazing bonus to the 20th anniversary issue of the magazine? Steven Spielberg himself guest-edited. I rarely buy print magazines anymore, but I think I'll be snagging this one for sure.


P.S. www.empireonline.com is a fabulous place to linger.


Not All Who Wander Are Lost - Enjoying "The Hobbit" in Pre-Production

That's my favorite line from "The Fellowship of the Ring" and it's been on loop in my head for a few days now.

But that's because I've been sick. Like super sick. Like feverish haze sick. For a few months, I've been pining after the special features on the extended versions of "The Lord of the Rings" box sets. They've been sitting on my book shelf calling to me. They are mine...my own...my precious. But I've been so busy there just hasn't been time to pull them down and watch them. So I admit, I was almost glad when I got sick. Because it meant I would finally have time to indulge. (Let me put it this way, I've been so busy, I just keep my makeup in the glove compartment of my car and I searched for gel that sets my natural waves because taking the time to blow dry my hair every day seems absurd.)

Back when the box sets were rolling out in the Christmas seasons after each movie's initial theatrical release in the early 2000's, I can remember greedily tearing into them after receiving them as Christmas gifts. I would stay up all night long to watch them. (And I mean multiple nights, multiple viewings.) I was even taking all the books with me to my waitressing job at The Olive Garden in Muncie, Indiana and stuffing them in the plastic plants anytime I got a table. Sneaking a paragraph here and there. And I can remember feeling so fulfilled in my "Lord of the Rings" obsession that I actually didn't mind when I was kicked out of school for not being able to pay my tuition. I stayed out of school for a calendar year, waiting tables and slinging coffee at a local bookstore and just enjoying the books and films...


In Which Heather Confesses to Life as a Halloween Snob

Wherein a mother allows some
costume inaccuracies for the sake
of her child.

I abso-freaking-lutely love Halloween! It's that one time of year you can completely geek out in public (outside of Comic-Con) and not receive negative attention. It's a day to look your obsessive fangirl best while laughing at the crappy costumes worn by those less impassioned. Granted, it's been a while since I watched Cinderella, but I'm reasonably certain she didn't wear a dress with her own picture appliqu├ęd to her bodice. Creepy much? 

It's reminiscent of the bad guy in the movie “Kuffs”, who wore a shirt displaying his own face. Incidentally, when he was shot and killed, the bullet went through the forehead of his visage. (Note: I do not condone violence to those who wear such things, but internal snickering is mandatory.)


Padfoot is up for adoption!

Berry, the amazing German Shepherd was being cared for by a stunt man who also worked in the Harry Potter films. But he travels so much for work since the series ended that the dog had to be put up for adoption.

If you are touched by Berry's story, I'd like to recommend a few things for those of us stuck in the states who can't really do anything about it. (Because if you're like me, you want to snuggle that dog and bring him home ASAP.)

1. Donate to the German Shepherd Dog Rescue that's caring for Berry. There's a donate button at the very bottom you can click on.

Berry out of "makeup". 
2. Donate to the ASPCA, the Humane Society or Humane Society International. Remember, donating to causes for animals also does a lot for humans. Keeps them safe from sickly strays, for one thing. But this is a whole other subject that I probably shouldn't get started on...

3. If like most of us, there's just no money to give, volunteer at a local animal shelter or consider becoming a foster home for a local rescue group. My sister-in-law runs Iron Underdawgs and I know for a fact that every little bit they get helps. Extra dog food, volunteers for adoption days at festivals and Pet Smart, five extra bucks, a spare computer monitor, everything helps!

Holiday Advent Calender + Halloween = Calloween

I was lucky enough to do some voice work for a great iPhone app called Calloween. It's for kids and it comes from RapDevPro, the same company that did the addictive Match Monsters app.

I love Halloween, but many of you know that I hate genuinely scary stuff and I've been that way since I was a kid. So I would've LOVED this back in the day. It's all atmosphere and innocent fun. It features classic monsters and gives you that same "counting down" giddiness that you usually feel at Christmas.

Of course, I also would've freaked out at the sight of an iPhone and thought it was a tricorder...but you get the idea.


This is Halloween, This is Halloween...in Orlando

I dressed as a flapper for the Trick or Meet Up and may or
may not have attacked this walking Turkey Leg.  
I have LOTS of fun Halloween blogs coming, it's just a matter of finding the time to post them. I have three Halloween blogs on SmithBites this month, a great guest post here from Heather about how it feels to be a Halloween snob, and plenty more. But this is what I've been up to so far...

In the past, I've posted:

I haven't been blogging much this fall because I've been busy working on Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show which takes pretty much all day, every day. (Don't cry for me Argentina, it's like living one long Halloween blog post. It's amazing.) 

But I did give myself the afternoon last Sunday to put up my fall garlands and orange and purple LED's, my pumpkins, and cider-candles. Also, my work on The Show has already taken us to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, Busch Garden's Howl-O-Scream, and tomorrow we're off to Sea World's Spooktacular. Later this month the Tampa Zoo Boo! It's been non-stop Halloween and I'm completely in love with it. 

Usually I blog about the Haunted Mansion a lot this time of year, but this year I've already been IN the Haunted Mansion. We covered something called the Walt Disney World Trick or Meet Up. (Or Trick or Treat Up, I've heard it called both.) It was an after-hours event where we were allowed into the Haunted Mansion for private rides. And once again, my husband and I found ourselves completely alone on The Haunted Mansion, nothing but empty doombuggies all around.

This also happened in 2008 at the Doombuggies.com "Swinging Wake". For someone like me who is so obsessed with the Haunted Mansion that it actually took up a large chunk of my graduate thesis... inhabiting the Mansion alone for any period of time is literally a dream come true. 

If it hadn't been for a phone call from my boss telling me about the event, I would've missed it completely. That's what my boss calls me about! Hello there, dream job. I'm usually too grumpy or tired to have a good perspective on things, but in Tina Fey's Bossypants, she also speaks of this exhaustion-based mood disorder that overtakes her when she works on 30 ROCK. Again, I am certainly no Tina Fey. Not even close. But it sure is neat to share an entertainment-based ailment with a hero. At least, that's what I'm choosing to call it. I guess I could learn to lighten up too...but it's more convenient if I pretend it's a communicable comedy-writing disease. 

In the mansion, after hours.
(And totally looking snooty about it!)
And anyway, it's pretty weird to be surrounded by people who are fans of the same things on a daily basis now. For so long, I was the super weird girl obsessed with the Haunted Mansion and theme parks and now I find myself frozen and shy around my new peers. I feel like a freshman in high school all over again. I know what they're all talking about, I just can't make myself jump in. I can talk Hatbox Ghost (Again, wrote a short story all about the Hatbox Ghost during grad school) and collector's items and fan-created characters and Cory Doctorow...but for the first time in my life, I'm just kind of at a loss for words on a regular basis.

It's great to find home, but then...how do you find your place at home? My identity was in being the lone weirdo...now I'm in a whole herd of weirdos. 

Too much ennui for a Halloween blog! Bah! 

Anyway, how are you wrecking the halls? And what will your costume be? I'm still trying to put my Han Solo costume together, I have the holster, the shirt, and the blood stripes, but I need the vest, the gun, the boots, and the pants. No  WAY am I going to have the money for those, so it looks like another Halloween costume dream unfulfilled for me. (It's why I had to be the ubiquitous flapper costume from Target at the Treat-Up.) 

Greetings from Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, I am the tiny red-shirted spec on the gound holding a camera.
(Photo courtesy Matt Roseboom...said awesome boss.)


Movie Bites - Mr. Ping's Noodle Soup

My latest movie food attempt was Mr. Ping's noodle soup from the Kung Fu Panda flicks. You can check it out aver at SmithBites.com or just click on the link HERE.


Live Blog - The Emmys 2011

Or as I like to call it, the 2011 blog typo marathon! I've live blogged before. But my Oscars live blog is usually more funny. Because WAY more stuff goes wrong at the Oscars.

8:10 - Starting a bit late tonight. All I know is that when I walked into our friends house in Orlando Leonard Nimoy was on TV. Sooooo...I'm good. And also, there's champagne here.

Just as I suspected, all the TV stars living in one building. If that's true, then that means the backlot from Pee Wee's Big Adventure is also real.

Kevin Nealon makes an appearance in the opening montage! IMMEDIATE WIN! (I'm probably a little behind the rest of you, we had to pause it because a lizard needed to be saved from the front door. I promptly saved it by scaring it into losing it's tail...I am the worst.)


Boo! and also Yay!

You know the drill by now.

Another "Evil Dead" movie, good. No Ash, bad.

(I'm as confused as Billy Crystal's face from THIS episode of The Critic. "Can't you tell by looking at my face?")

But here's the latest from Bruce himself over at Cinema Blend.


Slide Whistle + Darth Vader = Perfection

How I Commemorated 9/11

I usually don't like to talk about anything like this on my blog. This blog is my happy place. But I really wanted to share something that made me feel uplifted on a day that I had originally marked for slipping under and hiding out.

Jake and I watched "Man on Wire" on September 11 this year. It was Roger Ebert's Facebook suggestion that this is the only movie out of all those made about the World Trade Center to truly commemorate the towers in a beautiful way. And it was really quite the experience for me, because the movie has nothing to do with the terrorist attacks.

It's all about a man who had an impossible dream and stopped at nothing to make it happen. It's riveting, beautiful, exciting and ultimately a little bit sad. And it would make an incredible narrative film. But it's on Netflix and I can't recommend it highly enough. (She says years after a million other people have been talking about it.) It's really about the flip side to that dark coin of human creativity that either allows us to do something breathtakingly wonderful or unspeakably horrific with our lives and efforts and passions and motivations.

To top it all off, it's a really well paced film. Very well put together with unique interview shots that look like something Wes Anderson might've filmed. It takes what could've been a mundane storytelling experience and pulls you in. Watch the preview below.

"Smile...with your mouth!"

For the past week, I haven't been able to stop thinking about that scene in "30 ROCK" where Liz Lemon is supposed to be shooting the sassy opening title sequence of her new talk show "Dealbreakers". But she's so freaked out and nervous about being on camera that she forgets how to act like a normal human.

This happens to lots of people on camera. It explains why there are so many bad commercials for furniture stores and car dealerships floating around in the world.

I think from henceforth we shall call it, "Forgot how to be human" syndrome. It looks like this...


Movie Bites - Ratatouille's Ratatouille

Have you ever tried to recreate food from a film you love? Did you fail miserably or get it right the first time? My latest "Movie Bites" blog is up over at SmithBites. This time, I attempted Remy's titular ratatouille.

If you like that, I hope you'll also check out the rest of my Movie Bites series.

Semi-related anecdote: Coincidentally, I recently watched the wedding and baby episodes of "The Office". Ooh! Wouldn't it be great if you could isolate specific episodes/storylines of an entire series on Netflix?! (Do you like how I slipped in the word, "coincidentally," in an attempt to casually mask the fact that I am ALWAYS WATCHING THE OFFICE?)

Anyway, Kevin also makes ratatouille for Pam during their last Ultra Feast. And frankly, Kevin is the character I most relate to on The Office, food-wise. I once dropped a handmade German Chocolate cake on the carpet while carrying it to the birthday guy, candles a'burnin' and everything.

The Lost Art of the Movie Poster

I received an email this week from Cameron McCasland the director of an indie horror film titled "The Lashman". I've been thinking a lot about indies lately after having the privilege of chatting with director Larry Longstreth last week. I've always said my heart beats "genre" and "blockbuster". But lately, it seems to be making a little more space for smaller stories.

Coincidentally, I've also been talking a lot about movie posters with my sister Heather. (One of the contributing raving fangirls here at BFG.) She has recently discovered the art of Drew Struzan. Drew Struzan is THE movie poster guy. He's done just about every iconic film poster you can imagine from "Back to the Future" to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and beyond.

Struzan has this way of capturing the magical feel of any film. As an artist, he has mastered the concept of finding the "feel" of a film and appealing to an audience through the gut reaction that "feel" might inspire. Heather and I talked on the phone about what a shame it was that someone on the marketing team of "Hellboy" didn't go with Struzan's posters for the film and as usual with nerds like us, the conversation spiraled into a nostalgic wish for the cool movie posters of the good old days.


Mark Ordesky and Larry Longstreth talk "The Long, Slow Death of a Twenty Something" - Part One

In Part One of my interview with filmmaker Larry Longstreth and producer Mark Ordesky, we talk about the making of "The Long, Slow Death of a Twenty Something." 

Larry Longstreth has made a film that does more than entertain for a couple of hours. It strikes a nerve. The trailer for “The Long, Slow Death of a Twenty Something” has light saber dueling, a Superman cape, a Braveheart reference and a Wilhelm scream. Which means that to a geek like me, it feels like home. But it has something else too. A gut-punching moment where a father tells his twenty-something son, “I'll always love you, but I don't have any respect for you.”

This indie film hits us where we live, the generation that grew up on a steady diet of movie magic and Steven Spielberg that now has to face obstacles like student loan debt and complicated parenting choices. But you can only coast so far on the “follow your dreams” nostalgia of childhood before you start to realize that you have to actually do something to make them happen. But doing something is difficult and scary and opens you up to the increasingly cruel criticism of your peers and that anonymous monster called “the internet”. THAT is the nerve this movie hits. To me, the influence of a film can be gauged by what you discuss after watching it. And if my gushing so far is any indication, this one might have you feeling uncomfortably introspective...in a good way.


Interview With A Monster - Doug Jones

My Monster

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending.”
- The Muppets

Doug Jones.
(Photo via GeekTyrant)
In 2008, an independent film shoot came to Muncie, Indiana. Where I lived. Since I'd been freelance writing for all of one year, I decided to insinuate myself into the process. 


I volunteered to work for the marketing department as a blogger and general buzz-maker on relevant message boards. But it wasn’t exactly selfless. I had a long and beautiful history with the star of the film. 

He just didn't know it.

Orlando Attractions Magazine - The Show

Take a gander at my new day job...writing and co-directing this here internets show. We're still plugging away on technical developments, but the humor is starting to come through.


Do You Knit? Mind if I Do?

That title was just an Aladdin reference, I don't actually knit. Yes, I know it's weird to reference a nineties animated Disney film for no particular reason, but them's the breaks in my brain, okay? Okay.

Well, it so happens that this really amazing woman named Andrea does knit. It also just so happens that I discovered her via Facebook this week when I shared the fact that I had finally reached REM sleep after a long bout of sleeplessness and the way I knew it was that I was dreaming all night of searching for an authentic "The Dude" sweater for my husband. One can't dream, not even of Jeff Bridges movie memorabilia, without reaching REM sleep. So...hooray!

When I lamented that I had been searching for a Dude sweater for my husband for years, a friend posted a link to AndreaKnits.com showing that this crafty little minx had actually created a knitting pattern, from scratch, to the sweater from The Big Lebowski. I've seen a lot of Lebowski-esque sweaters, but never any perfect pattern replicas until now. Even in dreamland, this lack of authenticity really bothers me. (Sort of the way that they're always giving Batman laser guns and stuff...he doesn't use laser guns, so YOU shouldn't sell them toy people!)

You're probably really lost right now if you've never seen the movie, but just trust me when I tell you that this is the sweater of sweaters. It represents a higher plain of fulfillment reached by Jeff Bridge's character. It's just...perfect.


Of course, I can't knit. So it doesn't really help me. But it does impress me. I tried to knit once between the summer of sixth and seventh grade. I became fixated with this idea that by attaining a useful skill, I might win myself some form of social immunity. "Don't give me a swirly, I made you this scarf that's really really tiny on one end and super loose on the other!" My plan never worked. I learned too little too late that the barter system doesn't really help in junior high...but not until after I went through a major "I'll learn how to make hush puppies and donuts" month that July.

ANYWAY, I just love a good geek craft. Thought you might too.


Movie Bites - Who Wants Romulan Ale?

I do!

So I did a little experiment over at SmithBites.com to see if I could recreate the notorious stellar cocktail.



Harrison Ford Settles a Feud

Harrison Ford has been fairly vocal over the years about being exhausted by the Star Wars franchise. By the press, the events, and the hordes of overzealous fans. He's also been equal parts humble, giving lots of great interviews for behind-the-scenes articles and DVDs. But he teases a lot about being really tired of the whole Star Wars scene.

As it turns out, there was a reason for his calculated distance, and it goes deeper than we ever knew...

Well, obviously that was a joke. But if I were Harrison Ford...I would be seriously over all of us wacky fans constantly in his face.


Geekducation: Bruce Campbell 101

Bruce Campbell broke the news via Twitter last week that at least one "Evil Dead" remake is in the works with his blessing and the direction of the man himself, Sam Raimi.

Personally, I'm bummed that we won't just get an "Evil Dead 4" starring the real Ash that picks up some years after where "Army of Darkness" left off, perhaps with the skeleton army invading the S Mart via a rip in the space time continuum?

How much do you want to see a seasoned Bruce Campbell play an older Ash? But I'm crossing my fingers that he's just toying with us and trying to keep his hopefully starring role a surprise. Above all else, I trust The Chin. So if he likes it, I guess that makes me okay with it by default.

Below, contributor Heather Cichos explores just one of the ways in which life as a geek sometimes intersects with her life as a mother. Bruce Campbell's announcement got her thinking...


"Like It's Quidditch"

This goes a long way toward cheering me up. The longest running fantasy film series may have seen it's last premiere...but somehow I get the feeling, the joy is FAR from over.

Movie Bites - Is It Really Time To Bid Harry Farewell?

Recognize the lovely lady in the yellow shirt?
It's Friday night and I still haven't seen the last Harry Potter movie. (Notice how I'm not even referring to it by name?) I'm holding out as long as I can. Normally I'm a midnight showing kind of gal for the big movies. But I just want to delay the inevitable, I need a few more hours, a few more days until Harry Potter is really over. But I'm coping. Today I got to go to Leaky Con 2011 as part of my new duties running "Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show" and I recently tried to bake my blues away over at Smith Bites.

But I'm not ready...not yet. Have you seen the last movie yet? How will you cope?



Not that Harry, the other one...Han. Indy. The man. Thanks for the memories fella! I love you. I mean...uh...greetings on your day of birth. Or something else totally not creepy and definitely professional. (Somewhere out there, I imagine Ford responding to me, "I know." Le Sigh.) What's your favorite Harrison Ford movie? Mine is "Temple of Doom". 


Meet Martin Freeman

Martin as the famous Dr. Watson.
Geeks like me who love the BBC have known about the actor Martin Freeman for some time now. But lots of people stateside don't really know Martin Freeman all that well. So I want to take you through some of his more memorable roles so you can get acquainted with him before you see him as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's much-anticipated Hobbit movies.

Freeman is one of those actors that feels like he's been around forever. That's partly because he's been working for a long time and partly because there's something classic about both his look and his performances. Freeman is not a leading man. By that I mean that he's a character actor who ended up with roles that suited him perfectly, through years of hard work I'm sure. And that's a compliment. Like many audience members I'm growing really really tired of leading men and women who look like plastic dolls with massive white teeth. I'd rather see someone onscreen that I can relate to, someone who looks real and not like they've been shipped in a sealed air-tight container from a reality TV episode or the streets of Hollywood. Not to issue a back-handed compliment as Freeman is plenty handsome.

All that aside, the best reason to love Martin Freeman is that he gives great performances. Though you may remember him from smaller roles in "Hot Fuzz", "Love Actually" and "Shaun of the Dead" his comedic timing paired with his natural dialogue delivery has landed him a spot representing some of the most iconic characters of all time. Such as...

1. Dr. Watson in "Sherlock Holmes" - For this BBC version of the classic mystery series, Sherlock and Dr. Watson were brought into modern-day London and given stories that resembled the classics in clues and title, sometimes even in their solutions. But these episodes added new bits and pieces rewarding Conan Doyle's faithful readers with what felt like brand new Sherlock material. Personally, I'm a massive Sherlock fan and as such I can tell you that Freeman's performance as Dr. Watson was all at once totally faithful to the books and still somehow felt original. I know, my gushing can be contradictory...

2. Arthur Dent in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - Here we have another classic piece of British literature where Freeman played our fish out of water lead. In this hilarious book series turned film, Freeman as Dent fumbles his way through outer space armed only with indignation and a confusing guidebook. This was a bit of casting that just felt right, as did the rest of the cast in this film. You know how sometimes you read a book, then you see the movie version and what's onscreen is totally different than what you imagined. Well, this movie was the opposite. Like all the Harry Potter films, Freeman as Arthur Dent felt pitch perfect.

3. Tim Canterbury in "The Office" - The BBC original version of "The Office" had Tim instead of Jim. Just as awkwardly charming, Martin Freeman originated the role in the British version of the series which was sometimes so believable in its realistic discomfort that it was hard not to watch through your hands. But Freeman's Tim was even more ruthless that Krasinski's Jim.

4. Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit" - And the role all the book nerds are waiting for...Bilbo Baggins himself. After the months and months of speculation about whether or not these films would even happen, pictures from the set are finally trickling in and to say that Freeman was the right choice would be an understatement. He has all that furrowed-brow worry-wartness you want Bilbo to have, with room for plenty of exuberant adventuring that the story calls the character to grow into. I don't know about you, but I'm already counting the days.

Did you know who Martin Freeman was before this? Or are you new to this British actor? 


Origin Stories: Heather Cichos

Heather Cichos. She of the coming novel-writing fame, she who would shame Bob Vila with her incredible building, sawing, hammering, measuring skills, and she who let me ride on the handlebars of her bike while singing The Beatles' "Birthday" to me the day I turned six. Yes, Heather Cichos is my sister. But wait, there's more!

Her first book is awaiting publication. The comedic novel "Weregrannies" is plum full of pop culture references and features a cast of sweet little old ladies...turned into werewolves. Her forthcoming novels, well, I don't think I'm allowed to tell you about them yet. (Or I think I'd have to kill you.)

But they both take Heather's love of monsters and pop culture and do something brand new with them.

This is her (funny) Origin Story...


Movie Bites - In Which I Mess Up a Pie

For this week's installment of "Movie Bites" over at at the delectable food blog Smithbites.com, I tried to make one of the stunning pies from "Waitress". As usual, I failed. But I had fun doing it!

Not only can you learn from my mistakes, you can watch a gorgeous video of how to make chocolate ganache the right way at the end of the blog. Seriously, the video is mouth-watering.

If you're on a diet, you may want to skip it...it's too much temptation to bear. All that glossy melted dark chocolate. *Homer Simpson drooling noise*


Audrey Tells a Story about a Horse

You might want to turn up your speakers a little bit, this runs kind of quiet. (This was a reading event, meaning I was standing at a mic and not using a lapel mic.) But one of my favorite parts about being a writer is getting the chance to actually tell my own stories. I would've posted the actual video, but I admit to being far too vain. It was less than flattering. Instead, enjoy one relevant photograph throughout! (Think of it like an old-timey radio show and practice some of those critical listening skills.)


The Week in Geek - June 24, 2011

It was one HECK of a week for a geek. Lots of amazing things happened. Let's recap, shall we?

J.K. Rowling made her official announcement about Pottermore. In a charming little short film, Rowling announced that we could literally write ourselves into the Harry Potter stories.

Yesterday was Joss Whedon's birthday. Happy Birthday to the man who brought us Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Thanks man.

Yesterday was also the birthday of The Enchanted Tiki Room which opened on June 23, 1963. Hooray for the pure joy of tropical magic.

I posted two interviews with Star Wars voice actress Ashley Eckstein. (Hear that? That's the sound of me tooting my own horn.)

Writer Cole Farrell wrote a sass-filled re-cap of So You Think You Can Dance that will have you giggling. (The phrases "Aquanet fund" and "backup pantsuits".)

Five Sprockets kept you up to date about what was happening in the world of screenplays and what movies are out this weekend.

Sadly, the last thing I have to report is that Peter Falk has passed away. Must've been tingling in the atmosphere because I watched "Murder By Death" on Netflix just this week. Most people knew him as Columbo. I knew him best...as Grandpa. Godspeed Mr. Falk. Thanks for all the great performances and for being so unique.


Origin Stories - Matt Bergin of "Comics Cure"

Part comic-book like origin story, part "Tales of Interest" from Futurama...enjoy the first in a series I'm calling "ORIGIN STORIES".

For several months I've been thinking about inviting other contributers to BFG. I've met and worked with so many amazing geeks over the years. Behind-the-scenes, the stories we share about our lives can sometimes be...well...inspirational.

After a recent conversation with Ashley Eckstein about the revolutionary idea of (gasp!) supporting our fellow geeks, I feel more compelled than ever to not just spew pop culture references, but to throw the spotlight on fellow writers and artists who are adding something good to the world.

To inaugurate the series, read how Matt Bergin uses his inner geek to spotlight others for a good (nay, great) cause...


Ashley Eckstein Interview - Part 2

In part 2 of Audrey's interview with Ashley Eckstein, the ladies talk creative empowerment, nerd stereotypes and purchasing power...

Please support Eckstein's company by visiting her website www.heruniverse.com to check out plenty of amazing merchandise and to chime in on the messageboards.


Interview with Ashley Eckstein: Why "Her Universe" is More Than Star Wars Shirts

Audrey,Ashley Eckstein and Asoka Tano.
UPDATE: I checked in with Ashley again, six years later. This time for Hello Giggles. And now, back to your regularly scheduled ancient blog post. I also wrote this follow-up treatise on why we care so much about celebrities.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled, ancient blog post:

On June 12th, 2011, I stood in a long autograph line like I have many times before. I had just moved to Orlando. It was the last day of Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios and I came prepared to meet Ashley Eckstein  in the merchandise tent, Jabba's Hut.

If you don't know her, Ashley is the voice of Asoka Tano in the animated Star Wars show "The Clone Wars". I interviewed her a couple weeks prior about her new company "Her Universe". I thought meeting her in person might make a great ending to the story.

I wasn't prepared to stand in an autograph line and be surrounded by fellow female fans. Almost every other autograph line I've ever experienced has been...I'm sorry to say this...mostly comprised of men. That's not an innately negative thing. I was just used to the feeling of being the odd man out, so to speak.

But under the fluorescent lights of the merchandise tent, everywhere I looked I was surrounded by ladies. Moms wearing Star Wars shirts, pre-teens giggling with lightsabers in hand and tons of adorable littles.

I had never been to any geek-centric event where I was primarily surrounded by fans of my own gender.


In Which Audrey Goes Full On Crazy-Eyed Super Geek Over Star Trek

So...this is my semi-new regular gig for Orlando Attractions Magazine, hosting their weekly theme park series "The Show". (You can also check out my interview with the original Dreamfinder in this summer's print issue.) "The Show" has a great roster of hosts already in place, and I'm happy to be a new member of the team. You can expect me to pop up here every month or two. But I hope you'll check it out every week.

This week I got to visit the Arabian Nights dinner attraction and best of all, I got to visit The Kennedy Space Center to see Star Trek: The Exhibition!!! It's a Trekkie's dream come true! (Though I'm embarrassed to tell you that I kept referring to it as Star Trek: The Exhibit. D'oh!)


Last Day of Star Wars Weekends and New Life in Geek Heaven

This is how my mother-in-law helped us move. (That's one of
my voice-over microphones she found in the stash of stuff.)
Longest Blog Title Ever. I know. But I have a lot to catch you up on.

It's official, I am a citizen of Orlando, Florida. I hate to be such a cliche already, but I'm sitting here with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice pretending I'm Bea Arthur. No seriously...I'm drinking orange juice that I just squeezed. (And yelling at an invisible Rose Nylund. Later I shall pantomime hitting her over the head with a rolled up newspaper. If you've never seen an episode of The Golden Girls, then I truly sound insane right now. But hey, what's new?)

Well, I guess I'm not official until I get my new driver's license. But we're all moved in to our new place, I've been swimming five times and yesterday Jake and I spent our first day at a Disney park. So it certainly feels official.

We were going to be sensible. Honest, we were! Save money on our first Florida weekend. Stay in and catch up on laundry. Pet the cats. 

Yeah right...


Busy Movin' On Up

I'm moving! Literally. I don't mean I'm changing url's. I mean I'm currently packing to undergo a thousand mile move. (Cue the Vanessa Carlton...no wait, don't.) Born For Geekdom still has a series of summer interviews that are going to knock your socks off with video, sound and pictures to boot as well as a brand new blog schedule. I'll only be absent for another week or so. Until then, please let Curtis Mayfield do the talking for me while I'm away. Listen to the man. He speaks the truth. (And you thought I was going to post the theme song for The Jeffersons, didn't you? Maybe next time.)


Why "On Stranger Tides" Didn't Recapture the Magic

My shameless summer of movies has officially begun.  I came up with the idea to see a movie in theaters at least once a week all summer back in April. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But here I am neck deep in work, with videos sitting unedited, interviews to edit, and more freelance than I can...as they say...shake a stick at. To top it off, we're moving hundreds of miles away in exactly two weeks and I haven't packed a single dish.

Yet I'm finding that forcing myself to spend the time and the money to see at least one movie a week is soothing. It gives me an opportunity to step away from the week, to schedule an afternoon here or there with a loved one.

 I saw "Thor" with Jake and my Dad. It was harmless fun that managed to maintain a surprising amount of the comic book visuals. It was a perfect appetizer to the upcoming summer movies. Light and fluffy. A no calorie endeavor. But enjoyable while you're having it.

I missed "Bridesmaids" and hope to make up for it. I'm eager to support the movie that has been such a sensation with feminists and normal people alike. (That was a joke...I'm a feminist so I can make fun of myself.)

Then last Sunday, I saw "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and the proverbial record screeched to a metaphorical stop. I started my shameless summer of movies because I was upset with myself for becoming so critical. For losing my love affair with the movies. Pirates should have been easy to love. But there's a reason why I waited so long to write about it. It's forcing me to confront that which I don't want to accept. My critical nature. The one I hate. The one I want to beat down with a baseball bat a la the werewolf hand above the fog "The Howling" style.

I should preface by saying that when "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" came out I saw it in theaters four times. I begged for the DVD for Christmas. I practically wore the special features down by watching them over and over and over and over again. They put me in my happy place even more than the actual movie did. But the movie? It was note perfect. An adventure that played on the cliches and conventions of it's own genre while simultaneously creating something entirely new. There were plenty of fun ride references for this Disneyphile and the film itself was visually beautiful. It was practically the perfect adventure.

As always with my reviews, this is a long one. So feel free to scroll down and read "Get to the Point" which is a condensed version of the review. Also, spoilers abound.


Brad Meltzer's Decoded: 24 Hour Giveaway Contest!

Are you a fan of the new series Brad Meltzer's Decoded? I was. I stuck with the show during it's initial year. Like all shows, it hit some high and lows. All the good shows do in their first season, it's called "development" and most networks don't give shows the chance to evolve like that anymore.

Remember how in the first episode of "The Golden Girls" they had a live-in cook named "Coco"? He was gone in episode two...gone but not forgotten. I miss you Coco.

If you like Decoded and you want the chance to win the first season on DVD, or if you didn't see it and want to watch it marathon-style in your own home, I'm running a quick contest. Of course, I guess you could also just buy it HERE. But then, you wouldn't have the satisfaction of winning.

To win, follow these instructions very carefully:

1. Email me a message with the subject heading DECODED GIVEAWAY. You can email bornforgeekdom@gmail.com (It's the title of the blog, no spaces at gmail.com)

2. Write me an awesome fake conspiracy theory! For example, "Bigfoot is actually the chief in command of an invading ground force of aliens from the planet Zebulon. And Elvis was his cousin." Or something...be much more clever than that...

3. I'll post the winner's conspiracy theory here at noon tomorrow along with two runners up. But only the winner will get season one of Brad Meltzer's Decoded on DVD. (There can be only one.)


Last Launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor or Where is Kate Capshaw When You Need Her?

It’s just as breathtaking as it’s ever been watching the last launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor on NBC. Just like every other shuttle launch I’ve ever watched, this moment fills me with hope, pride, and some kind of Christmas morning excitement. 

The brilliant orange explosion powering the shuttle into space dampens, the rockets safely separate from the ship, and the circular white halo of light from the back of the shuttle (that now looks like a spaceship proper) undulates and sparkles as it passes through the atmosphere into the familiar blanket of black space.

As a nation, we still have one launch left to go. Yet I feel just as crushed as if this were the last one. Just as I did in Florida a few years ago when I caught one of the launches by accident on a vacation.

I remember racing to the top of my concrete hotel stairs to watch that same orange spark crawl up the sky. Knowing then, as I do now, that we’re counting down. Not to lift off, but to the true end of an era.