March 25, 2015

Carrie Fisher talks about Leia joining the Disney princesses

Remember how I mentioned Carrie Fisher appeared at Indiana Comic Con and was absolutely hilarious during her panel? If you don't remember, she did and she was. Fisher spoke for 30 minutes on topics ranging from her blind date with Dan Aykroyd, to her script doctoring work, to Princess Leia. You have to talk about Princess Leia with Carrie Fisher. I think it's a rule. And happily, YouTube user OmegaTsunami uploaded footage from the panel so everyone can enjoy Fisher's amazing brand of humor. As I rewatched the panel, I was particularly struck by a bit where Fisher talks about Leia being a Disney princess. Skip to the 4:55 mark:



She joked, "Now I get to go to those Disney princess meetings so we get to wake up Sleeping Beauty. She's really pretty when she's asleep but when you wake that bitch up?! Wow. She can relax when she's sleeping. And the mermaid, they don't tell you about that. That girl has really - you know what happens when you're waterlogged, [your skin] gets all crinkly. That's not a good look if someone's in a bathing suit... So, it's things like that that we talk about at the meetings And I help them get to their real powerful self... I'm actually a very good shot so I will teach them that and you know, I think you'll be surprised when you see Cinderella next time."

Could she be any more perfect?

Just before those comments Fisher said Leia is a badass. She teased that most princesses will go, "Oh please will you look at my shoe over there? I think I broke it." She said we don't do that. "We wouldn't wear those f**king shoes to begin with." Amen.

Be sure to watch the entire panel. Here are the other two parts:



March 24, 2015

Eat Like an iZombie: All the Food in the iZombie Pilot

There's a new zombie show on The CW. Wait, don't go! I know what you're thinking. Another zombie series? On The CW?! But stop. iZombie isn't quite like any other supernatural show -- or any show really -- on television. Based on the comic by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, iZombie is about a young girl turned member of the undead. But! Liv Moore (Rose McIver) is a functional zombie. Sure, her appearance is a little out of the ordinary, but she's far from gruesome (reference the part about The CW). Liv has to maintain a constant diet of brains to keep from turning into a mindless, shambling zombie, and she starts working at the morgue so she can feed her needs and stay off the radar while doing so.


The show has a somewhat peppy tone and balances cynicism and optimism to nice effect (you can read my review of the pilot at IGN). Rob Thomas is on board as showrunner, and there is a strong Veronica Mars vibe -- which I am more than fine with. There's plenty of quirk and charm, including how Liv eats brains. She usually mixes bits of brain in with other foods. Because it needs to be done, I'm going to track all the brain food and zombie snacks I spot in iZombie and suggest recipes, similar foods, and/or substitutes. One day maybe I'll have a themed iZombie party so I can have an excuse to actually make these dishes because yes, the brain-eating on this show makes me hungry instead of grossing me out.

Anyway. Here are all the brain snacks I noticed in the iZombie pilot:




1. Insta-Noodles with Spicy Chicken and brains
The first zombie meal we see Liv prepare is a little fresh brain mixed with spicy chicken instant noodles. She prepares the noodles in the microwave, adds brains, and pours on hot sauce. Why so much hot sauce? Yeah, her co-worker Ravi wonders about that too:

gif via herodukes
It turns out that Liv adds hot sauce because extreme spice and heat is basically the only taste her palate can discern. And she doesn't kid around with the hot sauce. The bottles we see suggest that it's of the 5 Alarm variety, otherwise known as the "Ow, I've just burned my entire mouth and esophagus forever" variety.

Try at home:
Cup Noodles Spicy Chicken (drain the water)
Amazon Red Hot Sauce or make your own 5 Alarm sauce
Ground chicken - break it up into big chunks so it looks more brain-like


2. Spicy Bloody Mary mix
Who needs alcohol when you can just toss back a potent Bloody Mary mix?

Try at home:
5 Pepper Extra Spicy Bloody Mary Mix - please don't actually try this at home unless you really, really like spicy drinks!


3. Hellfire Cheezy Puffs
Liv can eat without a side of brain, but as we've already learned, it has to be spicy. Fortunately for her, there are a plethora of hot snacks on the market and cheese puffs are at the top of that particular food group.

Try at home:
Flamin' Hot Cheetos



4. Brains with a side of hot sauce
Sometimes it's best to keep things simple. As the episode ended, Liv heated some fresh brains in the microwave and improved the taste with hot sauce.

Try at home:
My only suggestion here is to make a cake that looks like a brain.

Images: Rose McIver Source

March 23, 2015

Giveaway: Con*Quest Journal - WonderCon Variant Cover

Conventions are all about creating memories. Whether you're hanging out with friends, collecting autographs from your favorite creators or celebrities, attending panels, or going after photo ops, you're gathering experiences. I document my convention adventures with photos, social media, diary entries, and sometimes blog posts, but those clearly aren't tied together in one place. The Con*Quest Adventure Journal gives you that option.

The journal lets you thoroughly document your con experience in one attractive bundle (read my review of the journal). It's a well-made geeky scrapbook with colorful pages made for gathering autographs, panel notes, cosplay photos, artist sketches, and more. There's a business card holder page so you can keep track of all your favorite vendors, 9" x 12" plastic sleeves to keep your photos and commissions safe, and a zippered pouch to hold loose items like tickets or passes. Fancy and practical.

If you're thinking you might like to have one of these journals for WonderCon (April 3-5 in Anaheim), you're in luck. The limited edition WonderCon Show Exclusive Con*Quest Adventure Journal is available for pre-order now for $25, and I'm giving one away!

From Con*Quest:
With commissioned cover art, the 3 ring, canvas bound front and back covers are printed on quality paper stock and sewn to corrugated board for a completely handcrafted, unique feel. Inside the journal has 14 pages for everything you do at WonderCon, 2 sleeves for comics and artwork and a business card page. Your journal is easy to carry around the show in our custom, long handled tote bag.

To the pictures!






And here's the important part:
The winner must be able to pick the journal up from Con*Quest at WonderCon at booth 124. That means you must be attending WonderCon to enter.

Here's what you'll get if you win:
- Limited Edition WonderCon Show Exclusive Con*Quest Adventure Journal
- A Con*Quest tote bag

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below or:
1. Worth a single entry: Comment on the post and tell me what/who you're most exciting about seeing at WonderCon.

Get more entries with Rafflecopter (note: if you just click "Tweet" when tweeting about the entry, a message I wrote will automatically pop in):

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I'll notify the winner on March 30th and announce the winner in the comments. Good luck!

March 18, 2015

Collect and Trade Star Wars Cards Digitally with a New App from Topps

Raise your hand if you had a binder full of collectible cards as a kid. You can't see it, but my hand is raised. I grew up in a family of sports fans so I collected baseball and football cards for no real reason except that it was fun to buy them and satisfying to insert the cards into my meticulously organized binder. I sadly missed the days when cards were sold with a stick of gum, which if we're being honest, was probably for the best. I didn't learn about the existence of non-sports trading cards until much much later in life, and now I can experience them in a whole new way: digitally! Topps has launched the Star Wars: Card Trader App for iOS devices.


The basics are straightforward. The app is free to download. You register and automatically get 25,000 credits in your account. You use those credits to buy packs of cards and start building your digital card collection.

You can purchase credits with real money or just use bonuses that you receive through the app. The cards have borders with different colors representing their rarity. I've spotted gold, yellow, red, blue, and white cards so far. The white ones are the most common. The cards include characters from all six films, the television series, and The Force Awakens cards that revealed the names of the characters in the teaser. Each card has a front and back so you can flip them over to get character information.And the app includes tons of vintage cards in beautiful digital quality! As someone who didn't experience collecting real vintage cards, I love opening a pack and coming across them.


When you "open" each pack, a wrapper unfolds. The cards in the pack are added to your collection as you swipe through and unveiling certain cards will trigger a spray of virtual confetti.



And you can trade cards with others! It's like enjoying the good parts of recess again (right up there with climbing on the jungle gym and making friendship bracelets). I'm still learning how to trade, but you can make offers to people on your contact list or post what you're looking for/have available on the news feed. As you complete collections, you earn rewards. I'm digging it so far because you can approach the app casually and still have fun. I'm happy to just flip through my cards and read them without obsessing over complete sets... yet. That said, I'm all about trying to nab the limited packs.

Like I said, I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of trading, but if you'd like to add me on the app, my user name is amy_geek.

#AhsokaLives Day at Celebration

The return of Ahsoka Tano is an occasion to be celebrated. We've watched the character grow up since she was introduced on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and now she's working against the Empire. When Dave Filoni tweeted a sketch of Ahsoka shortly after the Star Wars Rebels, both myself and Johnamarie Macias talked about how we both wanted to turn the sketch into a t-shirt. That spurred an idea...

What if we planned an event at Celebration Anaheim to celebrate Ahsoka? We came up with #AhsokaLives Day. Everyone is invited to wear their Ahsoka gear whether it's a t-shirt, a costume, or facepaint on Friday, April 17th. We'll meet for a group picture at 3:00pm in front of the convention center to document the event for posterity.


You can RSVP to join us at Facebook. And if you're not going to Celebration, you can still participate from around the world by taking a photo of yourself in your Ahsoka apparel and hashtag it #AhsokaLives.

Where can you find Ahsoka gear? Shop at Her Universe for officially licensed items and check out places like Etsy and RedBubble for more options!

March 17, 2015

Geek Fashion Week


Geek fashion has come a long way in the last ten years. Even in the last five years. There are more chic accessories and items available than ever before, and you can wear your fandom on your sleeve in the office as well as at conventions and anywhere else. Dina Kampmeyer has noted the trend and decided to put together the first Geek Fashion Week. The event takes place in Los Angeles and kicks off on March 23rd. It runs for almost a full week and includes events such as a fashion show, a pajama brunch, and an online design event. 

View the full schedule below and get all the details at Geek Fashion Week!


Getting Blessed with Glitter By Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher is a force of nature - but the good kind of nature like sunny days that aren't too hot or a much needed downpour during a dry spell. She makes a grand entrance and leaves a trail behind her. Sometimes that trail is figurative, and sometimes it's an actual trail made of glitter. No, really.

I've been to a few conventions where Carrie Fisher was present, but I didn't know about her penchant for glitter. She anoints people who come to her table for an autograph with sparkling glitter and whatever else she has on hand. This time it was gold eyeliner. Sometimes it's just a sprinkle of glitter but other times, well, I saw a few bald men wandering around Indiana Comic Con on Saturday with a hefty amount of various shades of glitter on their foreheads. I'm not so much into getting autographs, the idea of being glitter-bombed by Fisher was too appealing to be ignored.


While I was already sold on the idea of getting an autograph from Fisher on Sunday of the convention, attending her Q&A panel on Saturday night further convinced me. She was sharp, quick-witted, hilarious, and candid. She talked about not being a "squeezy and tilty" girl when filming for Star Wars began, about Princess Leia being such an iconic character "because she's a badass," and made jokes about how she loves being part of everyone's childhood but not necessarily part of everyone's adolescence. She talked about The Blues Brothers, Postcards from the Edge, and being a script doctor. And she made out with Gary the dog who sat on the chair next to her during the panel. She's a national treasure.

The next day I decided to queue up for the early autograph session, and I'm glad I did. There was a change to her schedule and photo ops and autographs got rearranged. I didn't really have anywhere else to be so I settled in for the long haul. The beginning of the autograph session got more and more delayed, but after a certain point, I was committed. I figured it was just practice for waiting in line at Celebration. By the time I stood in line to buy an autograph ticket and then moved to the actual autograph queue and got near the front of the line, it was about five hours. It's the longest I've waited for anything but because I made friends in line and had my Kindle and comics, it went surprisingly fast.

At one point during the queue, the line got close to the side of the actual autograph table. Gary was sleeping on a blanket behind the table (d'aww!) and Fisher's handler was wearing all black and sparkling wherever the fluorescent lights hit her because of all the glitter. There was so much on her clothing that it looked like part of the fabric. I watched Carrie Fisher apply gold eyeliner and glitter to several people. She told one lady she was drawing a hawk on her forehead and Carrie serenaded her while she applied it. She told a little girl the glitter would keep her safe and sprinkled generous amounts into her hair. By adopting this glitter blessing tradition, Fisher turned what would be a fleeting moment with her while she signed her name into an unforgettable and fabulous occasion.


Finally, it was my turn. I was basically speechless. I was afraid I would start weeping because I'm an emotional person. She signed my comic: "For Amy, you rocked while the rest rolled." And then she stood up and leaned over to apply glitter to my face.



She used the gold eyeliner first and told me she was drawing an exclamation point on my forehead. I muttered something I don't remember but what I should have said was that an exclamation point was a good punctuation mark for life - much better than a semi-colon or something. I noticed her bright purple mascara at this point though and commented on how much I liked it. She said, "We have to do these things." I said, "I agree! It's fun." And she replied, "It's more than fun. It's joyous."

Yes it is, Carrie Fisher, it is goddamn joyous.

Could she be any more perfect?! After the eyeliner was applied to my forehead and temples, she used her fingers and hands to wipe up silver glitter from the jar on the table. And also directly from the table. She dabbed some onto my forehead and then rubbed the silver glitter all over my cheeks. I was smiling liking an idiot by this point. I could tell glitter was basically covering my face. I walked away not saying any of the things I meant to say to her, but maybe it's best that I didn't. I wouldn't change a thing.


March 16, 2015

Review: Captain Han Solo Sixth Scale Figure by Sideshow Collectibles

My strong feelings about Hoth make no sense. I don't like winter or piles of snow. The white stuff covered the ground for nearly a solid month where I live and I'm just starting to see muddy grass again. Even with my dislike of frigid temperatures though, I adore Hoth. It's my favorite Star Wars planet, and it's featured in my favorite Star Wars movies. I think tauntauns are the cutest, and Echo Base looks like a cozy place to get away from it all. Or at least it did before the Rebel Alliance moved in.

All the best original trilogy outfits show up on Hoth, too. Hoth Leia is the most awesome Leia look as far as I'm concerned, and I feel similarly about Hoth Han. Sideshow Collectibles has a new sixth scale Captain Han Solo - Hoth figure that features Han in his outdoor gear, and I wish I had an entire Hoth diorama to pose him in. The figure is so detailed that it wouldn't be hard to pose him and make it look like a still from The Empire Strikes Back. I thought about taking the Han figure into real snow for a second, but I didn't want to ruin his clothes. Look how handsome this guy is:



Packaging: The box Han Solo arrived in isn't quite like other boxes I've received for sixth scale figures. Not that I recall anyway. It folds open into two different sections and as usual, every piece of the figure had a secure place. There were indentations that perfectly fit Han's blaster, all the extra hands, the binoculars, etc. It took practically no time at all to extract all the parts and to put them away later. I did take a picture before removing all the accessories but for once, I didn't need to reference that picture to figure out where everything went when it was time to put Han Solo away (only until I find the right place for him on my shelves!).


Sculpt/likeness/paint: Because Han is dressed for the very chilly surface of Hoth, not much of his skin is showing. All his hand accessories are gloved, and he's covered from head to toe. His face is visible, and the sculpt is pretty darn close to matching Harrison Ford. The scar is on the chin, the lines of the face match - not that I've spent much time studying Han's face. It's a little off from the match that Hot Toys usually achieves with their figures but only a little. Aside from how much the sculpt looks like Ford as Han Solo, please notice the details. You can see blood vessels on his eyes.

The paint job on the bit of skin we do see is great but shines more on the props and accessories that come with the figure. The scanner and binoculars look appropriately weathered, and the tiny DL-44 blaster is just right.


Clothes: Designing Han's Hoth outfit had to be tricky. You need to match the on-screen look and give heft to the clothes so they have the right weight, but it shouldn't be so bulky that it obscures the figure. Han's clothing is so well done that I want to enlarge it to have on hand for next winter. The jacket material is thick and feels quilted and padded, and the hood is soft. I have a hunch it's cozy. Under the jacket, Han is wearing the white fold-over shirt, the navy blue jacket, and a jaunty scarf. It's all about layers. It's actually enough material that snapping up the jacket takes a couple of seconds. From the jacket to the quilted pants to the boots - everything is weathered and looks like it's been well loved rather than pulled straight off the racks at Echo Base... Not that such racks existed.


Accessories: I've said it before, but the accessories that come with these figures are sometimes my favorite parts. I really like miniatures, and I appreciate when they're done well. Han comes with his blaster, the holster, goggles, binoculars, the life scanner and antennae, a droid caller, a stand that features some sculpted snow, and extra hands. General thoughts: the joints on the hands make them a breeze to exchange. I prefer this type of joint to the round ball joints on Hot Toys figures. I was able to change out Han's hands in a couple of seconds instead of struggling for minutes. 

The straps on the life scanner and binoculars are perfectly aged and made. It's such a small detail, but I love that the cloth strap on the scanner looks dirty. The holster is probably the least impressive accessory and maybe least impressive part of the entire costume. The blaster goes in easily and can be secured with a magnetic loop, but the leg portion of the holster doesn't fit well and ends up looking a little sloppy. You can twist the holster to improve the look though. The blaster itself, as mentioned earlier, is basically perfect.

 



You can purchase a sixth scale Captain Han Solo at Sideshow Collectibles for $199.99. Payment plans are available if you'd rather break the cost into smaller amounts. Han Solo is expected to ship between April and May.

Here's a handy list of what comes in the box:
Detailed Portrait with Headgear and goggles
Detailed Hooded Brown Parka with rank badge
Detailed Cold Weather garments
Two scarves
Belt with pistol holster and detachable droid caller
Two part sculpted boots
Binoculars with fabric strap
Life scanner with both retracted and extended antennae
DL-44 Blaster (Han Version)
Right Trigger Hand
Right C-Grip Hand
Right Large C-Grip
Right Reach Hand
Left Fist
Left C-Grip
Left Large C-Grip
Left Reach Hand
Sculpted Snow environment Base Hugger
Figure Support Base

Need more pictures? I have 'em over at Flickr and Sideshow Collectibles has several.




Full disclosure: Captain Han Solo was provided by Sideshow Collectibles for review purposes. This did not affect my review of the product.
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