Holidays in Space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex - Happening Now

Hi, everyone. Merry Happy! Last Friday night, I attended the media preview of Holidays in Space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. I'm going to review the experience here and include a link where you can buy tickets.

But first, a disclaimer.

I worked on this event as a contractor, writing some entertainment material. I'm also a fangirl for the space center. I love everything about it and have covered events there since 2011 as a correspondent. Am I biased? Yes. That being said...

I've lived in Florida for almost a decade now. I've seen every light show and fireworks display at every tourist attraction you can imagine. Holiday shows are typically themed to a vague, non-offensive idea about being unselfish or treasuring your family. And that's great.

Holidays in Space is a ceremony centered around massive, measurable human progress. It's easy to be jaded about history. But we sent people to the moon, you guys. THE MOON. We have robots on Mars. These quests have led us to discover medical treatments, everyday conveniences and everything in between. Every astronaut who's ever taken up residence on the space station talks about how differently they see the world when they've seen it from above, how it makes them feel familial about every human on the planet.

This is real science with real results and it matters. That's worth celebrating, right alongside the ideals of generosity and family.

Holidays in Space is a delight. Let me tell you why in three parts.

Part 1 - Pretty lights good.

Holidays in space is a pretty little set-up right next to the building that houses the Shuttle Atlantis. It feels like a party. (If you're reading this from the far reaches of the world, Atlantis alone is worth a trip to Florida. Especially if you're a NASA nerd.) There's festive lighting, delightful photo-ops, and best of all, a bright video wall.


"She does her own stunts."

"The studio doesn't like it. It makes them nervous, but when you can get that kind of action on camera actually performed by your leading lady, it's priceless."

Movies geeks know these beats well. We hear them in behind-the-scenes special features and documentaries allllllll the time, from Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider to Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow and most recently, the astounding Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Special features never cease to thrill me or remind me to throw some weights into my workouts. I love stunt actors and stunt performers and the actors who are willing to train for their roles. But this was happening much, much earlier than most of us realize.

Enter Lillian Gish, silent film star extraordinaire. Admittedly, I know more about Louise Brooks and Mary Pickford. But when I heard the movie Way Down East mentioned in an episode of Downton Abbey, I got curious. Silent London did a fantastic story about the film and the lengths Gish went to create a convincing finale. Very worth a read.

Here's Scarlett Johansson's Heidi Moneymaker


Meet Chitan

I am emotionally WIPED OUT, in a good way, after Endgame and GOT this weekend and I just...I really needed this. Thanks, Last Week Tonight.


Sore Thumb

This was a Patreon early release months ago. I hope that even in its unfinished state, it makes you laugh.


When I was a kid, I was self-conscious. Not a great revelation, I realize. We were all kids, and to some extent, we were all self-conscious. But my sensitivity was different. How?

Let me tell you a story.

One frigid February morning, the ground was slick with crunchy ice in our tiny Indiana town. Kids everywhere were reluctantly pushed out their front doors encased in layers of mismatched nineties knitwear. Any scene from a horror movie where zombies emerge from tombs comes to mind. In this case, picture the zombies as tiny, grumpy, and inconvenienced instead of starving for human flesh. Cartoon puffs of winter breath dotted the still, snowless air. 

I was a "walker". I lived six blocks away from school and normally I braved the cold. 

Our kind fireman neighbor emerged from his front door across the street, his two youngest daughters in tow. He was tough. Like the Brawny paper towel man. He had a blonde moustache. Also like the Brawny paper towel man. He saw me ambling in the general direction of the school, a slow-moving pile of barely animated scarves, and wordlessly gestured to me that I should come catch a ride in his pickup truck. 

I Stay-Puft Marshmallowed my was across the street. It was too cold for words. Cowboy head nods would have to do. 

He got into the driver's side. His two youngest daughters climbed into the middle of the front seat. 
These girls were everything I wanted to be. They were stylish, pretty, and popular. They were good at sports and they smelled like Jean Nate, the fanciest childhood perfume of the nineties. Their family was comprised of five beautiful sisters with blonde, silky hair, a perfect collection of living Barbies. Whether I was wrong or right to think this, I felt like Igor anytime they were around. 

Because I was this:  

Not a Klingon. A nerd. Professional grade. All-star.

I hopped, as much as one could hop in a spacesuit, into the truck last. Then, I closed the passenger door behind me—on my right thumb. 
That’s not the weird part.

File this under "late to the party"

I couldn't sleep last night and I just kept thinking about that Rambo meme where he's giving the thumbs up. You know, this one?

I got curious about where it started and found Thumbs and Ammo, an entire website/subculture where people replace guns from iconic movie scenes with the thumbs up gesture. The juxtaposition is always hilarious. Always. 

Go. Peruse. Enjoy.

It Was A Good Week To Be A Space Nerd

Here's coverage from: 

and Wired

Reminds me of this:

And this:

That video scared the bajeepers off me when I was a kid. How about you?


Time to Revisit That Viral High School Production of "Alien"

Makes me want to revisit Be Kind, Rewind, Michel Gondry's excellent treatise on how movie geekdom has the potential to unite the community. There's power in masses of people gathering to share an experience. We mostly think of film-going as an isolated occasion. Funny, isn't it? With so many of us sharing the same theater. The same mythos and emotional arcs.   

Here's another video that explores the subject of deeper meanings in familiar stories. The segment on Neverending Story, in particular, really makes you think.

The History of Myst...it's a Myst-Ory (I'm sorry. I had to.)

Back in high school, my friend Sara and I spent many a weekend crowded around her PC exploring the intrigue of Myst. We also spent a lot of time reenacting Tom Baker episodes of Dr. Who. Needless to say...we were pretty cool.

When I stumbled across this video yesterday, it made for an excellent, engaging Sunday watch. Definitely a time capsule worth opening.

Did you play? Do you miss it? What do you hope Cyan tackles next?


Kicking Around The Norway Pavilion at Epcot...in 2017

It starts with trolls and it ends with trolls, you guys. Prepare yourselves.

Hey, guess who was cleaning their Gmail account and found a million pictures from random travels? It was me. (You're a bad guesser if you didn't get that.) Enjoy a little tour of Epcot's Norway pavilion, by way of low res phone photos, from February 2017. That's right. It's your dream come true. I bet you feel like princess of the internet.

Let's begin with Exteriors, Exteriors, Exteriors: Live from Carnegie Hall!

This church and other churches like it have become a bit of a Pinterest fixation for me. Norway is definitely on my list of places to go. I knew a girl from Finland once. She was super nice and she brought us weird candy that had rum in it. Thanks, student exchange program.

3 Radio Dramas to Listen To After Indiana Jones and the Bridge to Yesterday

...and it's this fantastic live-action radio drama from IndyCast. I originally saw the news via IndyCast on facebook, but this post from MovieWeb covers the news pretty well.

Are you psyched? Will you listen? I may be listening right now. Are you a fan of radio dramas expanding on recognized properties? If so, scroll on my friends, scroll on.

1. As a very weird, but relevant bonus, I happened upon a Haunted Mansion radio drama via YouTube the other day. I was listening to this (it soothes my grumpy soul) and this auto-played afterward.

There's a long history of Haunted Mansion audio, this record came out in 1969, but I used to listen to it on the Haunted Mansion Live365 channel back in the day, you guys. Back. In. The. Day.

2. Here's my favorite Sherlock Holmes to listen to as I go to sleep.

3. There's a particularly fantastic radio broadcast of The Lord of the Rings from 1981 that I really love. You may notice that's a young Ian Holm on the right. Nifty, eh? HIghly recommend you track this down.

3.1 Oh, and I also recommend you track down the original BBC Hobbit recordings. 


This Private Italian Island For Sale Went Viral

Yes, your own private Italian island. If you'll excuse me...

Perpetually exhausted Eleanor Zissou is eminently relatable.

I'd settle for my own private Idaho. I'd settle very much, thank you. Also, look at this gorgeous poster by Jay Gordon for The Life Aquatic. I found it by accident while unsuccessfully searching for a still of Eleanor arriving to save the day in her rescue boat. (Why don't more of you internet people want to see that image?!)

You should get a poster. Go on, you deserve it.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Bollywood Detective Musical You've Been Missing - Jagga Jassoos

I love foreign film. Or as it's called in the originating country of each movie...film. I've waxed quixotic about the unsettling Swedish genius of Ingmar Bergman and the vulnerable, gut-wrenching glory of Francois Truffaut. Movies from Norway like Troll Hunter and New Zealand's Housebound blew my mind. The Host has one of the greatest scenes in modern movie history.

I grew up watching all the old Godzilla movies with my oldest sister...without subtitles. I just love movies. Where they come from is irrelevant to me.

But the Indian cinema affectionately dubbed "Bollywood" is what I return to most frequently. Anything lost in translation because of cultural differences only adds to the anesthetic effect of the world's most beautiful films. They remove you from your life so thoroughly, so pleasantly.

What We Do in the Shadows is coming to TV

If you're a fan of the movie, if you like magnificent weirdos, or if you're a human person of any kind, I sincerely think you're going to love this. It's Spinal Tap for the horror genre. I love it already. I pre-love it.

Check out the trailer below:

I'd also like to encourage you to check out the New Zealand film and television scene in general.



When Captain Picard Met Sherlock Holmes (and Spock)

If you don't know Next Gen or Sherlock Holmes (from the books) this might feel like reading in a foreign language. Ancient Nerd, perhaps. It's wordy and old-timey. If you're not into that kind of thing, it's best you mosey along. We all know that Dr Moriarty met the crew of the NCC-1701-D. I always thought it was a shame that Holmes never got the chance. So I fixed it.

Actually, the first two parts of this can feel a bit claustrophobic. Internal monologues, amirite? Skip ahead to part 3 to get straight to some of those juxtapositional shenanigans only fanfic can provide. If you like nineties sci-fi, the original Sherlock Holmes, or gathering intel with which to mock me, by all means, continue...

Spaceship Librarian

Here's a five-page preview of a comic it's only taken me four years to make. I'm...you guys...I'm slow.

Story: Yours Truly
Art: Jen Hersey
Lettering: Justin Birch

P.S. Jen has a really great webcomic of her own titled The Sideshow. Definitely check it out!



Story: Yours Truly
Art: Javi Laparra
Lettering: Justin Birch