Monday, January 31, 2011

Steampunk Save the Dates - A Journey

Ladybotts and Gentlebotts: the process of saving our date.














The loot!

This shiz is serious!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Know Your Psychic Powers

I get annoyed by some dumb things.  Here are a few:

1.  Pop up ads on the internet
2.  People who don't believe in evolution (also known as the poor souls who live in a world where there were never dinosaurs)
3.  Poorly set up lines at grocery stores
4.  Star Trek Voyager
5.  When people get psychic power terminology mixed up

That last one really rankles me.  When I hear someone say "holy shit dude!  That chick is a telepath!  She's moving shit with her mind!  Shit!"  I kind of want to scream.

But, alas, I am not the screaming type.  Instead of brooding on this particular issue, I decided to do something positive.  Here then, for your reading pleasure, is a brief guide to Psychic power terminology:

Telepathy- transfer of information from one mind to another.  Reading minds, talking psychically, that's all telepathy.

Telekinesis- Moving stuff with your mind.  If you pick up a pen with your psychic powers, you are moving it with telekinesis.

Precognition- The ability to see the future, like a fortune teller.  Often when people are talking about "a psychic" what they really mean is "one who sees the future".

Pyrokinesis- Lighting fires with your psychic powers.  Like in the book and film "Firestarter"

Clairvoyance- Kind of like precognition, except you can tell stuff about the present instead of the future.

Psychokinesis- Like telekinesis, except instead of just being able to affect matter, you can also affect abstract things like time.  Also, in fiction, psychokinetics usually can't control their power.

There.  Now you know some basics.  So the next time you talk about psychic stuff, remember- use the right terms.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Save that Steampunk Date!

The steampunk wedding crafting has begun!  With the much appreciated help of a design-savvy friend and hand stamping techniques learned from the ol' Google, we've begun churning out our Save the Dates!  And they're pretty neat looking!

I basically am embossing the big stamps and then adding the "steam" like background.  It takes a bit and the downstairs neighbors must think I'm a terrible and weak armed drummer, but it's pretty fun.

And look what cool things happen when I hold them up to the light!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Triumph of Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism

Chelsea and I have crossed over another nerd threshold.

We've started watching "Dr. Who".   In particular, we've been watching the most recent incarnation of the show which debuted in 2005.  We're only a few seasons in, so don't spoil anything.

Here's the premise- the Doctor is a Time Lord- an alien who's come to Earth to help us out.  He travels throughout time and space in a device called a TARDIS (a space ship/time machine that looks like an old Police Box) solving problems and helping people and aliens.  Every few years he "dies".  Except the Doctor can't die.  Instead, he re-generates, and becomes a new-ish person.  This has allowed the show stay on the air for nearly 50 years as the producers can re-cast a new actor every time the Doctor suffers a fatal wound..

And...I'm enjoying the show.  Thoroughly.  Why?  Well, no one ever believes this when I say it, but I'm an unabashed optimist.  I really, truly, in my heart of hearts look for the best in people, and believe that things will turn out well more often not.  And the show, as stated in the funny video above, features the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.  For a hopeless romantic, optimistic, brainiac nerdasaurus rex, this strikes a chord.

The Doctor wins his battles by outsmarting his enemies.  He believes in the inherent goodness of humankind.

Is the show kind of silly?  Yes.  Especially the Daleks (evil Nazi-ish aliens that look kind of like trashcans with plungers stuck to them.)  Is it British?  Very.  But that silliness is part of the charm.  That absurd, dry British humor is part of the appeal of the show.

But again, beyond the sci-fi, beyond the humor, what really appeals to me about the show is the central message- people are good, things will turn out good, and the little smart guy with the sonic screwdriver is going to beat the big, racist aliens with his intellect, and resolve.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Top Ten Movies of 2010

Everybody likes to do top ten films lists around this time of the year.  Here's mine.  The catch here is I only saw 11 movies in 2010.  So only one movie I saw won't be on this list.  Here goes. 

10.  Centurion

This movie should've been right up my alley- Roman soldiers fighting Picts in the ancient British wilderness.  And it starred McNulty from "the Wire!"  But the script was kind of bad, and most of the movies best action sequences are at the beginning.  A shame.  Not too far off from being a pretty good film.

9.   The Expendables

Now we get to the movies I actually didn't like.  While "Predators" (which we'll talk about later) was dumb and fun, "Expendables" was just dumb.

8.  The Town

Who would've thought that the star of "Reindeer Games" and former half of "Bennifer" (Ben Affleck) would turn out to be a pretty good director?  "The Town" is almost a really good movie.  I loved the first 3/4's of it, and hated the final sequence.

7.  Kick-Ass

I think only nerds saw "Kick-Ass" but that's fine.  It's still one of the funniest movies that came out this year, and is probably the second best film deconstruction of superheroes I've seen (the best is "the Incredibles").

6.  Inception

Once upon a time, I really hated Leonardo Dicaprio.  When I was in high school, he was most famous for Baz Luhrman's "Romeo and Juliet" and James Cameron's "Titanic."  Over time, I've realized that I don't hate Dicaprio- I just hated those movies.  "Inception" is a great movie, and Dicaprio is great in it.

5.  Iron Man 2

The main knock against "Iron Man 2" seems to be that it wasn't as good as "Iron Man."  While far from a perfect movie, Robert Downey Jr. is still perfect as Tony Stark, Mickey Rourke turns in a great performance, the action sequences are big and explosion-y, and there is actually a pretty decent plot behind the whole thing.  Also, Scarlett Johanssen is hot as the Black Widow.

4.  Predators

Such a fun movie.  Simple premise- great human warriors are brought to a planet where Predators (alien hunters) track them down.  Not much to say about this one.  Not Oscar bait by any stretch, but a blast to watch form start to finish.
3.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1

While the "Harry Potter" books are all excellent, the movies have been kind of a mixed bag.  The first two are pretty bad.  The 3rd is excellent.  The fourth is kind of meh.  The fifth and sixth are both good, and now "Deathly Hallows," or at least the first part of "Deathly Hallows" may be the best of the film series.  Having split the book in half, the filmmakers have been afforded the luxury of time.  They can really put almost the entire book onscreen.  They paced the film patiently rather than trying to jam everything into two hours.  The young actors who play Harry, Ron, and Hermione also turn in their best performances to date.
2.  True Grit

I expected "True Grit" to be a good movie.  I love the Coen Brothers, I love Jeff Bridges, and I love Westerns.  The big surprise to me was Elizabeth Marvel who played Mattie Ross- the young girl who seeks out Bridges Rooster Cogburn to avenge the death of her father.  She was EXCELLENT.

1.  Toy Story 3

I'm convinced that Pixar's primary focus these days is figuring out new ways to make grown men weep.  They take some element of your childhood- toys, monsters, or whatever, and combine that with a story that is- while seemingly geared towards children- complex, and often tragic. "Toy Story 3" is an amazing movie and yeah I cried watching it.  Pixar has now made 11 movies, and they're all incredible.

And the one movie that didn't make the top 10?  "Alice in Wonderland" which I didn't enjoy while watching, and liked less and less the more I thought about it.