Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Defendere Vivos A Mortuis

There are many zombie combat guides currently in circulation but there's only one that will actually help you fight and defeat a zombie and that's Roger Ma's The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead.

As Muse mentioned in our holiday gift guide, this book is a must read for those of you invested in honing your zombie combat skills. Ma's book is not just some cute, flimsy manual; it's a legitimate guide to helping you kick some undead ass.

The Zombie Combat Manual prepares you for every type of zombie confrontation--with a complete analysis of how to fight every type of zombie in every type of situation. The guide gives readers a breakdown of zombie misconceptions, best weapons and combat techniques, and even shares firsthand zombie encounters and combat reports.

Let's face it, the end is nigh and we all need to be prepared for the inevitable. So get yourself a copy of Roger Ma's The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead and also check out the Zombie Combat Club website for more info and tips. See full post

Friday, December 17, 2010

All Things Fangirl Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Oops. Christmas is in a week. HOORAY FOR EXPEDITED SHIPPING!

This year's list is a mix of things I want, things I own, things I've already bought for my friends, and things I've seen on other gift guides that made me squee. So if you're stuck in your search for the perfect geeky gift for your fannish friends, look no further - we've got you covered.

Extra Lives by Tom Bissell

A must for any video game fan in your life, Extra Lives manages to alleviate any guilt one may feel dedicating hours upon hours to killing zombies, marrying NPCs & assassinating some Creed (just go with it). The book makes a clear & concise argument that video games are not only art, but are capable of telling stories more personally & profoundly than any other art form can. I read the book in three days, but it could have been one if I hadn't purposefully stopped myself. I couldn't recommend it more highly! Buy it here, $15

Time Traveler's Calendar

This calendar takes 95 time travel occurrences and places them on a single timeline. Watch thousands of years of time travel take place over the course of 12 months!

Includes favorites such as Back to the Future, Terminator, Lost and Chrono Trigger!
Yeah, that's a must own. And I own one. Buy one for yourself here, $20. Hat Tip: Slashfilm

Pride & Prejudice Fleece Sweatshirt

I AM SO OBSESSED WITH THIS. I want this so bad. Like, beyond all wanting of anything. It's my favorite style of sweatshirt for one of my favorite books/love stories of all time. I ache with desire for this sweatshirt. ACHE. Buy it for me, or well, people you know in actual life, here - $42 (42! the meaning of life! it's a sign!). The fine folks that make this sweatshirt, Out of Print, make A LOT of awesome shirts & sweatshirts, all featuring "iconic & out of print" book covers. I highly encourage browsing their catalog!

Cinders At Home Cooking Clothes

A delightful Etsy shop featuring aprons, pot holders, and more made from classic geeky bedsheets & the like. My personal favorite was a Star Wars New Hope sweetheart apron that sold today...fingers crossed it's because someone bought it for me...that's TOTALLY plausible, right? But if you know someone who cooks and is fan of Nightmare Before Christmas, Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mario, Zelda, etc. this is the Etsy shop for you. Click here to check out her goods - $16-$39

Sweet 80s Movie Print Set

If you are a fan of Retowhale on Etsy (we were all about her director coasters in last year's gift guide), you may want to check out her 80s Movie Print Set. The artwork is also available on coasters, but not in time for Christmas, I'm afraid. But if you are interested in her prints, she can get them to you by the 23rd if you order today, the 17th! Other available prints include Rushmore, Pulp Fiction & The Royal Tenenbauns. Click here to buy one - $24.

 80s Filmography Shirt

A different kind of tribute to the films of the 80s, this time on a t-shirt, minimalist in style, and focusing on a broader range of genres. For your friend who identifies with being a geek, or at least film geek, but hasn't yet taken the step toward wearing it proudly, this shirt is a grade a geek garb gateway drug. What did I just type. I'm actually not even sure I can name all the movies on there, which means it's even cooler than I am. You should buy it. Here. $20. Hat Tip: Io9

Comic Wallets

Super cool shop that creates wallets out of comic book pages. Right now they have wallets made from 8 Marvel titles, 11 DC titles, plus Simpsons, Star Wars, Walking Dead, Scott Pilgrim, Transformers and more. The perfect gift for any comic lover whose wallet may be looking a little worn down. Buy them here, $10-$30.

Little Otsu Anything

Discovered the Little Otsu site thanks to the Tribeca Film Festival's Gift Guide and I absolutely adore everything they make - to do lists, planners, film notebooks, and so on. They're inexpensive, quirky, unique & practical. A great gift for the Type A geeks in your life. Check out all their items here - $10-$16

Game of Thrones/Walking Dead/Hunger Games/Green Lantern/Powers

We all have those friends that love to be up to date on whatever the next big Geek thing will be. Surprise that friend with not only your generosity, but your knowledge of both them & the geek world around you by tapping into the zeitgist with one of the books listed above. Game of Thrones for the fantasy film/tv lovers, Walking Dead for anyone watching it (so, everyone), Hunger Games for the sci fi film fans, Green Lantern TPBs, (the Geoff Johns era, staring with Secret Origin & Rebirth), for the superhero movie lovers, and if you REALLY want to be ahead of the game, some Powers books, for fans of either superheros or crime/mystery who don't even know yet how much they are going to love the forthcoming FX show. $10-$20, anywhere, just give em a google.

Eco Friendly Tote Bags

Celebrities, art, landmarks, subway stops, pets - the list of images printed on these tote bags goes on and on and on - 175 pages worth of on and on in fact, so if you're super stuck, this is the place to go. The Anderson Cooper bag featured above happened to crack me up, but it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of this sites' offerings. Click here to browse - $18.

Arclight Gift Card

Obviously this requires that the recepient live in Los Angeles, but for a film lover who isn't a journalist (and thusly on every screening list) - what's better than free movies at the best movie theater chain in the country? I mean, you know, I'll take one at least. Buy em here - $5-$200.

Lost Encyclopedia

We all have those friends who love Lost and will continue to love Lost, questionable final season or not (for the record, I loved it), for the rest of ever. This comprehensive encyclopedia is a wonderful addition to any Lost lovers collection and can maybe even help clear up any lingering questions...? I own it. I love it. Buy it here - $25.
Lego Hogwarts Set

A perfect gift for that geek couple in your life, with kid or without. If anyone says they don't like legos, they aren't a real person. Or a real geek. Or a human. Whatever, it's nonsense, is my point. This amazingly awesome I want it set is a great project for couples or roommates to work on while sipping on hot chocolate during the holiday season. Or while sipping on whiskey turning whenever. It's expensive, but it's LEGO HOGWARTS. Buy it here - $150.

Character Clinks

This gift would be geared towards your geek friends who happen also to be big into the wine scene and/or hosting events. The Clinks Etsy shop has plenty of fun wine (and beer!) clinks to make sure no one loses track of their drinks at a party. My favorite part of the Mad Men set is the inclusion of Dick Whitman. Loltown. Other sets include James Bond, Star Wars, and The Beatles. To check out the complete collection, head here - $17-$34

Zombie Combat Manual

I mean, you gotta be prepared right? If watching The Walking Dead is starting to make you question your ability to survive a zombie outbreak (please let their never be a zombie outbreak), pick up this book and get a learnin'. Buy it on Amazon - $11

Comic Location Art Prints

Wow. Gorgeous, right? I want this. I want this on my wall! But I can't put something like this on a wish list OR buy it for myself...I need to hope someone randomly comes across it and decides to get it for me. Such is the case with all decorative wall hangings I suppose. But man oh man do I love this. The artist, Justin Van Genderen, also made prints for Metropolis, New York & Neo Tokyo. See them all here. $18.

Back to the Future Card Game

For the film geek who is ALSO a board game nerd. Like me. Citadels is my jam. So Citadels + Back to the Future = let's DO this thing. Buy it here. $16 See full post

Thursday, December 9, 2010

15 Year Old Muse Predicts The Oscars

Was just looking through my old files for the Fan Fiction I wrote in middle school and stumbled across this Oscar article I wrote for my school newspaper when I was 15. It was in regards to the 73rd Annual Academy Awards, for the films released in 2000 - telecast airing in March of 2001. Below I have reprinted the article.

It's equal parts cringe-worthy (you can tell I read A LOT of Oscar articles and think I know what I'm talking about) and insightful for a 15 year old (shhhh, it is, sort of). My personal top five seems to consist of Wonder Boys, Almost Famous, Quills, Requiem for a Dream & Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ... How did Crouching Tiger make my top 5? Interesting. And I REALLY loved Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. In retrospect however, that may be her only great performance, so I'm glad she lost the Oscar.

Read on if you dare!

Well, everyone, it’s that time of year again! On February 13th at 5:00 AM the Oscar race officially began, showcasing some of the most original and entertaining movies we’ve seen in a long time. This years nominations run the gamut in variety, from serious, involving movies about matters of life and death to action-filled, sometimes mystical movies that took us back to another time and place. It’s been forever since an Oscar race was this diverse, and even more odd is the fact that in no categories, excluding Best Actress, is there a shoe-in. With almost every critic disagreeing with each other, this year will prove to be incredibly unpredictable, at times surprising, and just maybe, historic.
Some of the nominations alone have made history. The sweet fable, “Chocolat” surprised everyone by managing to nab a nomination for best picture thanks to Miramax’s aggressive early campaign, yet “Cast Away” and “Almost Famous”, both backed by the very powerful Dreamworks, were snubbed in that category. Another interesting fact, making history this year, is director, Steven Soderbergh not only being nominated twice in the best director category but having both of his films be nominated for best picture. But, the biggest news of all this year is the fact that a foreign film garnered 10 nominations, 2 away from having the most. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, a Taiwanese film entirely in subtitles is nominated in such prestigious categories as Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. If it wins best film of the year, it will be the first time ever a foreign film has received such an honor. But, will it win? Many people across the country are now debating over what film will take top honors and what actors will walk away with shiny new Oscars. Here are my predictions and thoughts on the Oscar race this year: What will win, what should win, and what shouldn’t even be nominated.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Stephan Gaghan – “Traffic”
Wang Hui Ling, James Schamus and Tsai Kuo Junh – “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen – “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Steve Kloves – “Wonder Boys”
Robert Nelson Jacobs – “Chocolat”
Can I just say, if you haven’t seen “Wonder Boys”, please, please, go see it. Such a good movie with such a good script, it’s just too bad it won’t be winning this category. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, another movie with an exceptional script will be robbed as well, I’m afraid. I’m pretty sure that this award will go to Stephan Gaghan for adapting “Traffic”, a 6 hour mini-series, into a 2 and a half hour movie. He won the Golden Globe and seems to be the favorite in this category. With all the other wonderful scripts nominated though, here’s hoping it’ll end up going to one of them.
Who Should Win: Steve Kloves, “Wonder Boys”
Who Will Win: Stephan Gaghan, “Traffic”

Best Original Screenplay
Cameron Crowe – “Almost Famous”
David Franzoni, John Logan and Willian Nicholson – “Gladiator”
Susannah Grant – “Erin Brockovich”
Kenneth Lonergan – “You Can Count On Me”
Lee Hall – “Billy Elliot”
In this category, I am torn between “Erin Brockovich” and “Almost Famous” the most. Both were very well written, perfect blends of drama and comedy. Ultimately, I’m pulling for “Almost Famous”, but I’m not sure if the Academy feels the same way. I actually have this sick feeling in my stomach, worrying that they might give it to “Gladiator”, a movie not made at all by the screenplay, but rather the directing, budget, and scope. I enjoyed the movie, I did, but the screenplay was not it’s strong point. It does not deserve to win. It didn’t even deserve to get the nomination. “You Can Count On Me” has a good script, but it’s not my favorite. Same goes for “Billy Elliot”, but with a bit more affection.
Who Should Win: Cameron Crowe, “Almost Famous”
Who Win Will: Cameron Crowe, “Almost Famous”

Best Supporting Actress
Kate Hudson – “Almost Famous”
Judi Dench – “Chocolat”
Frances McDormand – “Almost Famous”
Julie Walters – “Billy Elliot”
Marcia Gay Harden – “Pollock”
Although great performances all around, my personal favorite this year is Kate Hudson and I’m fairly certain that the academy feels the same way, but unlike the Best Actress category, this win isn’t completely in the bag. Judi Dench is a great actress and loved by the Academy, as is Frances McDormand. Still, here’s hoping that Hudson gets it.
Who Should Win: Kate Hudson
Who Will Win: Kate Hudson

Best Supporting Actor
Benicio Del Toro – “Traffic”
Jeff Bridges – “The Contender”
Willem Dafoe – “Shadow of the Vampire”
Albert Finney – “Erin Brockovich”
Joaquin Phoenix – Gladiator
For me, personally, this is absolutely the toughest category. Willem Dafoe, Albert Finney and Joaquin Pheonix all put on great performances. The two that stand out the most for me are Dafoe, who so completely looked and acted like Nosferatu, it was scary, and Phoenix, whose portrayal of an insane roman emperor was mesmerizing. Finney, who has been acting for years and years and never won, put on a great performance in “Erin Brockovich”, and if he won, I know I would be happy, because even though it wasn’t the best performance of the year, it’s been a long time…he deserves one. In this category though, I think it will go to Benicio Del Toro. There is tremendous buzz surrounding him right now, especially after winning the Golden Globe. Though his performance was very good, it wasn’t the best, so if he does win it will be quite disappointing considering he has the rest of his life to put on even greater performances whereas someone like Albert Finney has already been waiting his whole life.
Who Should Win: Albert Finney
Who Will Win: Benicio Del Toro
Who I Want to Win: Joaquin Pheonix

Best Actress
Julia Roberts – “Erin Brockovich”
Joan Allen – “The Contender”
Juliette Binoche – “Chocolate”
Ellen Burstyn – “Requiem for a Dream”
Laura Linney – “You Can Count on Me”
I think this year most everyone would agree that Julia Roberts put on an amazing performance. True, it was fantastic…but it wasn’t the best. I might be a minority here, saying this, but I think the best actress this year was Oscar winner, Ellen Burstyn, in “Requiem for a Dream”. Her performance was breathtaking. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved or so astounded by someone’s ability to act. Because of all the buzz though, Julia should still win or it would be the biggest upset in the history of the Oscars.
Who Should Win: Julia Roberts
Who Will Win: Julia Roberts
Who I Want to Win: Ellen Burstyn

Best Actor
Tom Hanks – “Cast Away”
Javier Bardem – “Before Night Falls”
Russell Crowe – “Gladiator”
Ed Harris – “Pollock”
Geoffrey Rush – “Quills”
Even though Geoffrey Rush, Ed Harris, and Javier Bardem gave us wonderful performances, for some reason the race has been cut down to Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks. I wouldn’t mind if Crowe won, he gave the role his all, but I definitely don’t want Hanks to win. “Cast Away” was not that great of a movie and though Hank’s performance was good, he’s already got two Oscars. But I’m thinking that maybe where that issue is concerned the academy agrees. Since my favorite performance, Michael Douglas in “Wonder Boys” wasn’t nominated, I will throw my support to Russell Crowe.
Who Should Win: Michael Douglas, but then he would have to be nominated…
Who Will Win: Russell Crowe

Best Director
Ang Lee – “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
Ridley Scott – “Gladiator”
Steven Soderbergh – “Erin Brockovich”
Steven Soderbergh – “Traffic”
Stephan Dalory – “Billy Elliot”
Sadly, some speculate that Stephan Soderbergh will cancel himself out, ruining his chances to win for the movie that should win for best direction, “Traffic”. Under these circumstances, keeping in mind that Ridley Scott, albeit respected, is not a well-liked man, Ang Lee just might get the Oscar. Not that that’s completely a bad thing though.
Who Should Win: Steven Soderbergh, “Traffic”
Who Will Win: Ang Lee, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Best Picture
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
“Erin Brokovich”
This year, unlike most years, the Best Picture race is the most unpredictable. I’ll just try to guess based on decisions the Academy has made in previous years. I think this one will go to “Gladiator”. As for my pick, well, I’d say either “Traffic” because of the political impact and strong message or “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, because it’s the only one nominated that is on my own personal top 5 list. The other 4 on my list, “Wonder Boys”, “Almost Famous”, “Quills”, and “Requiem for a Dream”, were all snubbed in this category. Any of those deserved the nomination over “Chocolat”, which although sweet, isn’t even close to being the best picture of 2001.
What Should Win: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Traffic
What Will Win: Gladiator
What I Want to Win: Requiem for A Dream, but that’s not exactly possible

The Oscars air, Sunday, March 25.
See full post

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Television Scene of the Week

Last week brought us many great scenes as we had a lot of great television episodes flying around. Fringe blew minds and started a movement to get people caught up on the show before it returns in January, Walking Dead ended its first season and Community let Alison Brie & Don Glover shine while simultaneously referencing the shit out of Farscape of all things. We also saw the premiere of Top Chef: All Stars, possibly the greatest reality competition program to ever grace the small screen, and 90210's first and far from last gay kiss between Trevor Donovan's Teddy and the ADORBZ Kyle Riabko as I don't know his character's name. But which one is the winner?

It came down to either this or the Lori/Shane in the Library scene from Walking Dead. Don't watch if you aren't caught up on Fringe. AND ALSO PLEASE CATCH UP ON FRINGE. I've said it once, I'll say it again. Note: This is not a scene that seems exceptional out of context. Subtext is EVERYTHING in this clip and it had me sobbing my face off.

See full post

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Multimedia Jigsaw Puzzle? Yes plz.

So since I'm backing roughly 872 projects on Kickstarter right now, I get a lot of info from them pretty constantly, but today's newsletter stood out. One of the featured projects is something referred to as a multimedia jigsaw puzzle...I obviously had to investigate. And here's what I uncovered.

Jau Kenworthy & Rob Allmand, two Brits? living in Texas, got together to create a multiplatform mystery that involves music, a novella, an audio book, and online components, taking the idea of a "mystery book" to a whole new level.

From the Kickstarter,

Howard Glitch is an alchemical story told through 3 different mediums as:

THE SOUND [Music E.P.] &
THE SIGHT [Visual Artwork]....

Each piece of media tells the story from a radically different perception, ultimately opening it up in a way that lets you decide WHAT THE HELL ACTUALLY HAPPENED INSIDE THAT SHUTTLEBUS???

₪₪₪ THE PLOT ₪₪₪

A group of unfortunate passengers are trapped on a spaceshuttle flight that is headed for a fatal destination.. The only person with the power to turn the shuttle around, is Howard The Decider, who has fallen asleep at the wheel, miles away in the safety of his space station. But not all of the passengers believe that this event is happening by accident, nor without purpose, and so what unfolds is a tense drama of survival and shifting perceptions, that also introduces the themes of existentialism, alchemy, quantum mechanics, and the power of the human spirit to create hope in a chronically hopeless space…

Interesting, no?

Watch this video to get more of an idea

I don't know these guys in any way, but this project has certainly piqued my interest - so much so that I'm considering donating 30 bucks so I can get a physical copy of the finished product. If this seems cool to you, I encourage you to donate as well! A lot of the time projects like this depend on complete strangers stumbling across them and deciding to help out.

Click here to head to the actual Kickstarter page if you feel compelled to help out! See full post