Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There's Nothing Wonder about this Woman

While it looks as though her costume revamp has succeeded in looking less plastic, I'm still totally dismayed by this Wonder Woman television show-thing.  As a nerd-lady who thinks Wonder Woman is pretty bad-ass, the casting of this individual really irks me.

When a guy is cast as a superhero, he's usually buff and honestly looks like he could kick some serious butt. Why should Wonder Woman be any different?  Shouldn't she look something akin to a female fitness chick? Or Jessica Biel's bod ala Blade Trinity? Even the overly exaggerated comic book artists do a better job than those casting for this show:

But what do we get instead?  A girl that I would happily force-feed a double quarter pounder with cheese.  Fooey!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Comics on Screen: Marvel vs. DC

So, this Summer, I have this to look forward to from Marvel Comics:

I mean, how awesome is that? Did your notice the Howling Commandos? Because I did.  Oh, and Tommy Lee Jones is in this.  Why? Who cares.  It's Tommy Lee Motherhugging Jones.

But wait, the awesome train hasn't stopped yet, because then there's this:

Thor! Directed by Kenneth Branagh! And Stringer Bell is in it as Heimdal!  Wow!  Marvel is killing it.  So, what is their Distinguished Competition giving us to compete with that?

Ummm...why is one of the two guys from 2 Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place playing Hal Jordan? And why do all of the Green Lanterns have glowing pectoral striations? This is a joke right? This is like a fan trailer that an animation student at the Savannah College of Art and Design made, right? For their final?  What? No? This is the ACTUAL Green Lantern Trailer? For a real movie?  Oh.  Well leas the Wonder Woman TV show is going to be awesome? Right? Because it's Wonder Woman? And she's awesome?

Ooooookay.  That's the real Wonder Woman costume.  It's real...pleathery? What's that you said? The show is being produced by David Kelley? Whose primary claim to fame is creating Ally McBeal?  Oh great Zeus...

My point here is that Marvel is doing a really great job creating movies from their properties.  I mean, how awesome was Iron Man? But DC isn't.  Sure, Dark Knight was amazing, but Superman Returns was a huge turd.  And what else have they made? Where's the awesome Flash movie we deserve? Or hey, how about a Justice League movie? All of DC's movies that aren't directed by Christopher Nolan have been bad.  Or just don't exist.

Friday, March 25, 2011

C2E2- Belated

Last weekend, Chelsea and I headed down to C2E2- The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.  Here are some of my thoughts on the experience:

1.  C2E2 has it all over Wizard World Chicago or whatever the hell it's called now.  At some point, Wizard World (or whatever) went from being a festival that celebrated comics, comic creators, and comic fans to being a festival that celebrated paying $50 to get a photograph signed by Rowdy Roddy Piper. C2E2 had TONS of comic stuff.  C2E2 is a celebration of comics.  Wizard World ( know) is something else entirely.

2.  I don't care what you think- people dressed up as their favorite comic characters are awesome.  There's a specific type of person who goes to Cons who I kind of can't stand- people who treat it like a freakshow. "Oh man.  I can't wait to see some fat nerds dressed up as Wolverine and Catwoman".  I hate that guy or girl.  Hate them.  The people who make those costumes LOVE those characters, and some of those costumes are awesome.  Some people even stay in character all day while they're walking around, and that's great.  I'd rather hang our with someone who spent 100 hours building a costume based on something they loved rather than the jerk who spent 10 seconds saying something snide about them.

3. The darker the book the kinder and funnier the author.  I've had this theory for awhile that writers who write really dark, complex, sad books tend to be more pleasant in real life than those who write really upbeat stuff.  My theory was proven when Chelsea and I went to see China Mieville, author of books like "Perdido St. Station", "The City and the City" and "Un Lun Dun".  Mieville's books tend to be epic, confusing, dark, intelligent, and often very, very sad.  In person, Mieville was smart, funny, and very kind.  He talked about how imaginative kids are, how fun creating monsters can be, and how his politics (he's a socialist) don't define his writing, though they do affect it.  His panel lasted 1 hour, but I think I could've listened to him talk for 7.

4.  It's awesome to be around thousands of people who love the things you love.  Most of the time, you probably see a bare handful of folks who are passionate about your passions on a given day.  It's an incredible feeling to be in a swarm of several thousand people who all care about the same things as you.

5.  Chelsea really likes "True Blood".  We went to a "True Blood" Panel, and Chelsea really, really geeked out.  I was...well....not as excited.  But she loved it, so it was worth it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Nerds Should Lift Weights Pt 2

 One of the neat things about blogger (the tool Chelsea and I use to make this site) is that you can view all kinds of cool information about who's reading your blog.  There are stats that break down what countries this blog's readers come from, lists of sites that have links to Frakking Shiny on them, and my favorite- a list of terms and phrases people searched for via Google that brought them here.

Some common search terms that bring up Frakking Shiny include "Frakking Shiny", "What made Firefly so awesome", "gifts for nerdy girls" and "Christina Hendricks".  Recently, this phrase by some anonymous person caught my eye:

i am weak and embarrassed to lift weights in school

My guess is, they found this entry

I hope that that entry was all of the encouragement this person needed to overcome their embarrassment and hit the gym.  Because they should.  Everyone should exercise.

But I certainly understand embarrassment, and shame caused by physical weakness.

When I was in High School, I was 5'7" and weighed (roughly) 120 pounds.  I was short, scrawny and weak.  In spite of this, I played ice hockey.  What's more, I played defense.  Now normally, defensemen look like this:

Massive, hulking giant human beings.  Titans.  Ogres.  Monsters.  I, on the other hand, was much more....let's say elven.  I was physically equipped for trivia contests, cobbling shoes and reading comics, but not knocking nearly grown men on their posteriors.

And much like you, oh random internet nerd, I was embarrassed by my complete lack of physical presence.  Whoever heard of a tiny defenseman?  I remember specifically one day, the principal of my school, Mr. Newhall, walking up to me and a group of my friends in the hallway and telling me that I was too skinny and  that I needed to hit the weights if I wanted to compete on the hockey team.  I was fairly mortified.

But I did resolve to start lifting weights.  We didn't have a school gym, and I couldn't afford a gym membership.  Even if I could have afforded one, I would have been too scared to actually go. So, I asked my parents for a weight set, and I got one for my birthday.

I couldn't have been more excited.  I set up my weights in the basement, and bought a Gold's Gym strength training book with pictures of different exercises and descriptions of how to do them.  This was back in the early days of the internet, so there weren't online weightlifting resources available like there are now.  I looked through that book at the muscular fellows gracing the pages and imagined how great it would be in a year or so when I looked just like them.

For a few weeks, I religiously lifted weights in my basement.  When I didn't see the results I was looking for, I kind of started to work out less.  And then less.  And then not at all.  Then I gave up, quit playing hockey and started doing theater.

What's the point? Basically, I totally understand how you feel, random person.  And I don't want you to quit before you start, so I'm going to tell you all of the things I wish I'd known when I was 14.

1.  Lifting weights is important, but nutrition is even more important.  If you want to get stronger, you need to eat.  You need to eat lots of good stuff like protein, and complex carbohydrates.  Eat chicken.  Eat sweet potatoes, eat salad and then eat some more of all of it.  Don't eat crap like candy and Doritos.  I had no idea that nutrition was so important in high school.  I just assumed that if I lifted weights, I would build muscle.

2.  Don't quit when you don't see immediate results.  You won't see tangible results for awhile, but you need to stick to a routine.  Workout everyday after school.  If you miss one day, don't worry, just get back to it the next day.  The day you quit is the day you lose.

3.  Don't be afraid of the gym.  Most gym-goers are super nice and helpful, or at worst indifferent.  Chances are, no one will tease you about lifting a small weight.  Alot of people at the gym will be at the same level you are- beginners, so you won't be alone.

4.  Pay attention to form.  Watch videos online of the exercises you do.  Make sure you're doing them right.  Proper form is WAY more important than how much weight you lift.

5.  I didn't have this available, but there are TONS of fitness resources online.  My favorite is  The site has tons of videos, workout plans, diet plans, and other great sources for information on working out.

Overall, don't be afraid to start, and once you do, don't give up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Improvised Star Trek Returns

So, even though I'm an improvisor (or improviser, improvisational actor, improverati, whatever), I don't often use this (or any internet stuff) as a means of shameless self promotion, but now I am.  I'm part of this thing- Improvised Star Trek.  It used to be a show, and now it's going to be a podcast. But to launch our podcast, we're doing a show! Upstairs on April 9th at iO Chicago ( and I would really love it if you could make it.

If you can't, then you will still be able to download podcasts, and that would make me happy too.

Get more info at

An Irish Blessing for Nerds

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is an Irish blessing for nerds:

May your mission to the Neutral Zone be free of Romulan encounters,
May you always shoot first,
May your trip back in time be paradox-less,
May you finally finish that novel you've been working on,
May all of your friends laugh at your 1990's Simpsons references,
May you maintain your sanity whilst looking into the face of Cthulhu,
May all of your comics cost under $2.99,
May you never be pwned in WoW,
and when at last you find yourself at the end of the road,
May you finally find Serenity.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Very Brief Thought on Accents

Two things:

1.  While I haven't been in a play in years, I do technically have a degree in theater.  So I know a little bit about acting.

2.  I have lived in New England and Chicago, two places with very distinct accents.

With that information established, I am about let you in on a HUGE pet peeve of mine: really bad accents.  I hate seeing any movie, TV show, or other dramatic presentation in which an actor tries to do an accent, and totally blows it.  I notice this the most with Boston accents.  For example- everyone other than Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg in "The Departed" does a terrible Boston accent.

Here is what I would like to see happen:

Casting Directors- If you are casting roles for a movie, TV Show, or other dramatic presentation, and the description of the part includes "has a <Southern, Boston, Chicago, Scottish, South California, Etc.> accent" DON'T CAST ACTORS WHO CAN'T PLAUSIBLY DO THAT ACCENT.  In fact, if you can, cast actors who actually have those accents in their non acting voice.

Actors- DON'T TRY TO DO AN ACCENT IF YOU SUCK AT IT.  If you can't get an accent right, don't do it.  There are tons of people from every place who speak relatively unaccented English.  You will be more plausible in your role if you just talk like an anchor on the national news than if you try to stumble your way through an accent.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Great Geeky Wedding Gifts!

Creating a wedding registry when you've already been living together for 6.5 years is tough!  We already have a food processor, stand mixer, hand mixer, etc.  So, Sean and I have had to become a little creative with our registry.

Behold the nerdery that is part of our wedding registry!

Kick-a$$  Steampunk Wine Rack!
It was just too perfect. We couldn't resist!

Tardis Cookie Jar!
What could possibly be better than taking a cookie from a jar that makes the Shwwwweee OOOOOOO Shweeeee OOOOOO Shwweeeeeee OOOOOO sound? nothing, really.

A Porron
Classiness, ladies and gents. Classiness.

A Mother-frakkin Globe Bar!
"My dear friend, would you care for a drink?  Hold on a sec while i go to this glorious globe you've been eyeing and SERVE YOU A DRINK!"

Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly
Our wedding registry really would not be complete without something Firefly related.  Frakkin' Shiny!

Colonol James Fezziwig - The Annialator MK. II Steampunk Disruptor
Everyone needs one, really.
Game of Thrones: The Card Game
With the announcement of the July 12th release of A Dance with Dragons, this is even more exciting!
Batman Arkham Asylum PS3 Game
Admittedly more for Sean than me, but I might have to steal the controller for this one!

Friday, March 4, 2011

On Nerd Rage

This is my favorite scene from "Ratatouille".  In it, restaurant critic Anton Ego has just eaten a life-changing meal that causes him to re-think some of his core beliefs about art, and specifically about art criticism.  He realizes that all of the negative criticism in the world is worth less than even a weak piece of art.  Basically, creation is more valuable than negativity.

This scene keeps popping back into my mind as I ponder the topic of nerd rage.

If you've never encountered nerd rage, I will direct you to where you can find it:

Step 1: Think of a nerdy topic (like comic books)
Step 2: Google that topic, and find a web site that focuses on it (for comics, and are good examples)
Step 3: Find that website's message board
Step 4: Read from a few topics on said message board.

Here is what you will find- the things that the nerds are posting are almost universally negative.  What's more, they aren't constructively critical, oh no.  They are vicious, cruel and sometimes, racist and homophobic critiques of a piece. You may think that that sort of Internet vitriol is reserved for 16 year olds who spend hours on end pwning newbs in games like "Call of Duty."  Au contraire. Internet nerd message boards are equally wretched hives of scum and villainy.

Where does this rage come from? Well despite the idea of "geek chic" wherein it is believed that nerds have gained unprecedented  levels of social acceptance, we're still pretty put-upon as a group.  People still tend to use the word "nerd" as an insult.  Most nerds grow up with at least a tiny chip on their shoulder from years of noogies and teasing.  I understand that.  I lived that.  I have that chip on my shoulder too.

I also think that there's an extent to which some nerds pick one thing (like the original Star Trek for example) and then decide on some subconscious level that nothing will ever be as good as that one thing.  They spend the rest of their lives loving that thing while putting down everything else that comes along.

Also, the Internet has allowed us all to be critics.  I can post all about things I love and hate all over the Internet.  And people will read it!  What's more, I can post something really vicious and face no repercussions because the Internet allows me to have a veil of anonymity.  This means that people can let the worst parts of their id run wild.

And finally, being a douche bag can make you feel really powerful.  When you dismiss a piece of art, belittle it, tease it, make fun of it's mom, you are saying "You are beneath me, piece of art." By demonstrating that you can tear something down, you are demonstrating that you have power over it.

It boggles my mind.  I call myself a nerd because I love nerd things.  I love Star Trek. I love a Song of Ice and Fire.  I love Firefly. I love improv.  There are certainly nerd things I hate (like Star Trek Voyager) but I'd rather spend my time and energy in a positive way- talking about the things I love rather than tearing down what I hate. Or even better? I'd rather spend my time building things.  I'm a performer, and (kind of) a writer, and I'd rather make my own nerd art than tear down someone else's.  I am strong not because of my anger, and biting tongue. I am strong because I make.  I am a participant in the fundamental act of creation.

So what am I getting at here? If you hate something? It's fine. Talk about it in a constructive, civil way.  But don't spend all of your time and energy being a critic.  Be positive as often as you can.  Even better?  Go make something.  Write, act, dance, film, cook, I don't care what you do to build, just do it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Winter is Coming...THIS SUMMER

After 6 looooong years, the latest book in "A Song of Ice and Fire" is coming out on July 12th!

Between this, Joe Abercrombie's "Heroes", and Patrick Rothfuss's "Wise Man's Fear" (which I'm reading right now, and which is great so far) this is going to be an awesome year for Fantasy novels.