December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Crazy random happenstance brought me across these Nightmare Before Christmas decorations. I was doing some last minute shopping last Friday night, and I stopped to pick up dinner on the way home. Earlier in the afternoon I had put the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack on in my car. I got turned around after I grabbed my take-out and took a side street that I've never been on. Something caught my eye. I stopped the car (it's fortunate no one was behind me) and found the closest stretch of empty curb. I walked back and before I could see exactly what the decorations were, I heard the soundtrack from the Holiday Haunted Mansion at Disneyland wafting in the air. Then I saw Jack Skellington and Zero and a delightful graveyard. It might have made my Christmas.

On that note, merry Christmas to those who celebrate it!

December 22, 2011

I watched half of the Star Wars Holiday Special, and I'm not the same.

For years, I've avoided the Star Wars Holiday Special. I'd heard tales about it... and for the most part those tales actually resembled horror stories. I probably would have continued along in my blissful ignorance, but a friend sent out invites for a Wookiee Life Day party and I couldn't say no. If I was going to watch the infamous special, I'd rather do it surrounded by friends. And booze.

I had low expectations. That's where I went wrong. I shouldn't have had any. I was hoping for camp but of the "it's so bad, it's enjoyable" variety. You know, like a Nicholas Cage movie (I adore Con Air). I mean, I didn't sit down thinking I'd like any part of it, but it was Star Wars and I looked forward to the experience. Let me just say: WOW. I stared at the screen with my mouth open. Nothing made any sense. Granted, the bootleg version (the only kind you can get) was not the best quality and everyone was adding a Rifftrax-style commentary to it but I don't think absolute quiet or HD prints would have helped.

We were on Kashyyyk, but Imperial officers kept calling Chewbacca's home planet Kazook. Chewie's family is scurrying around a treehouse carpeted with astroturf, and his wife is wearing an apron. His kid, Lumpy, plays with a holographic table that shows acrobats in neon, and Chewie's grandpa, Itchy, umm... has a special moment while watching a hologram of an attractive human woman with sparkly hair. Apparently, he likes his ladies shaved. Meanwhile, Chewbacca's wife,, Malla, is prepping for Life Day and she watches a cooking show hosted by Harvey Korman as a four-legged, humanoid alien. Seriously. I couldn't make those things up.

The overriding premise is that Chewbacca and Han are trying to get to Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day, but the Empire is getting in the way. I thought it would get better when characters from the original trilogy showed up. No. It doesn't always get better. Luke Skywalker was wearing eyeliner, and Princess Leia was obviously high from inhaling uh, Hoth snow. Boba Fett made his grand entrance in animated form, and those scenes were enjoyable. He was sort of pastel and had a Loch Ness monster, but he was still Boba Freaking Fett.

At this point of the night, the viewing party started to disperse. Rapidly. Sure, it was late, but an hour of the Holiday Special was all anyone could take. I have vowed to finish watching it - I mean, I've heard Bea Arthur shows up, that can't be terrible - but I need to stock up on alcohol first. And I should trick a few friends into coming over. I don't think I can do it alone.

I think the Holiday Special demonstrates Lucas is not all about the money. He could release this on DVD, and initially at least, fans who must have a complete collection (which are a large portion of Star Wars fans) would scoop it up. It's never re-aired on television or been made otherwise available. It would make some dollars even though it probably wouldn't be sustainable. Lucas recognizes that this special is not exactly the best foot forward. It's not high quality, it's not good, and he'd rather it didn't exist. He's certainly not putting it out there for the wide audience.

If you'd like to watch it for the first time or experience the bizarre all over again, you can watch the special (the whole darn thing!) on YouTube:

Next on my list: the Ewok movies.

December 19, 2011

A Wishlist from Hoth

Ralph McQuarrie's Battle of Hoth
Hoth has a special place in my heart. It's weird that this planet reaches me the most; I don't have much love for the frigid locales of the world. Actually, not quite true. I can enjoy snow and cold with the condition of limited exposure. From the safety of my couch with a warm blanket, Hoth is magical. It's featured in my favorite of the Star Wars films. It has wampas, tauntauns, AT-ATs, memorable quotes, Han and Leia flirting, and did I mention the AT-ATs? Yeah, I have passion for this ice planet.

Thusly, a wishlist from Hoth:

Wampa. Rug.
Furry, soft, and it has two arms!

Down Sweater Vest
It's the closest and warmest thing to Leia's Hoth vest.

Hoth Skywalker Shoes
Sneakers may not be the most practical footwear on the tundra, but they blend right in.

So many tauntauns, so little time.
Also, while you're thinking about tauntauns listen to this dog sound exactly like one.

Washcloth Wampa
There's a wampa hiding in your bathroom closet! Get the Star Wars Craft Book to learn how to make this little guy.

Han's Snazzy Jacket
Lando dresses like Han, so why shouldn't you?

Cuddly AT-AT
You can squish this Imperial Walker as much as you want. I also recommend the slightly less huggable Galactic Heroes AT-AT.

Be a Probe Droid (#notaeuphemism)
Sneak around the planet and do investigations for the guy in black while donning this screenprinted Imperial Probe Droid tee.

Snowtrooper Memory
Get a Mimobot ready for the snow and 2-16GB of data.

I Heart Hoth

December 17, 2011

Gingerbread Gone Geek

The holiday season always looks best when painted with a geek brush. I bet many of you will agree. Though I drool over pictures of elaborate gingerbread constructions I've never made anything more complicated than cutout cookies. One year I'll create a gingerbread diorama of the Rebel Base on Hoth. Until then, I'll keep drooling over the creations people much more talented and patient than I make.
SS Ginger Amelia
Gingerbread pirate ship that has a very Amy Pond sort of name! Three thousand eggs were used to build this. That's a lot of hens.

Ewok Village
It's quite a party on Endor. After the cameras left the celebration, they broke out the gingerbread, icing, Rice Krispie treats, and apparently, all the fun. The best part may or may not be biting off Ewok heads.

Superhero Sweets
Even gingerbread superheroes wear their underwear on the outside.

Edible Writing
If I had a gingerbread typewriter, I wouldn't get any writing done. I would procrastinate by eating. Wait - I do that anyways.

Baking Serenity
My second favorite ship looks beautiful when decorated with candy. It probably tastes much better than the "chocolate" cake Kaylee made in Out of Gas.

Castles are an ambitious project, but this replica has it all. Yeah, it lights up. I wonder if the staircases move.

The Pandorica Opens
Who eats the Pandorica takes the universe! Who's coming to take it from me?

crossposted at Geek Girls Network

December 14, 2011

Attack of the Holiday Gift Guide, Part III: Getting Crafty

Christmas is only 11 days away. I know, I'm a jerk for reminding you. Maybe you've left all your online shopping until the last minute, and it's getting close to the time when you'll have to pay rush shipping fees to get presents under the tree. Or maybe you don't want to face the growing crowds at stores. If either of those sound like you and even if they don't, you might want to consider taking the last weekend before the holiday to make gifts. Yeah, you'll probably have to go to a store or two for supplies, but you'll save money in the long run, hopefully have fun, and make someone smile with your thoughtfulness.

To assist your craftiness or maybe you inspire to scour the internet for more tutorials, here are five tutorials for presents you can make in a day.

Comic Book Coasters - Haven't you always wanted to put your glass on Batman's face? No? Well, these coasters make really cool presents anyways. This tutorial is easy to follow, and the list of supplies isn't crazy long. Comic book images look great, but you can of course substitute anything to suit the recipient.

Stack of Books Necklace - I bet you know someone who can't live without books. She (or he) will love this necklace. Bonus points if you add In the Library perfume.

Stitch Away - Sometimes a cross-stitched tauntaun head says it all. This pattern designer offers all sorts of nerdy designs, and they're emailed as a pdf so that you can start stitching immediately.

No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bags - Almost everyone has t-shirts that don't fit them anymore. If there aren't any buried in your drawer, go to the thrift store. Find a nerdy t-shirt, a sports tee, or whatever the person on your gift list likes and turn it into a bag. I know I'd love to have a pile of Star Wars tee tote bags.

Amigurumi Happiness - Itty bitty cuddly dolls are always well received. I'm told that if you understand the magic of crocheting these are simple to make. Again, this seller has a variety of patterns and they are all emailed to you quickly.

Merry crafting!

My other gift guides this season:
Ten Books/Comics to Give/Get
Ten Star Wars Presents to Love

December 12, 2011

Nerdiest (and best) baby shower ever

Baby showers are not my thing. Besides the facts that I don't have the slightest idea what to do with babies and that pregnancy freaks me right out, the whole baby shower tradition isn't usually bearable. Mostly it's the silly games that turn me off. Sometimes they involve eating baby food or smearing stuff in diapers that you pass around and smell. Why would a person do such a thing? I can't understand. However. When a friend of mine, Autumn, announced her baby shower, I knew it would be epic and nerdy. I've found this statement to be true repeatedly: adding a sprinkle of geek makes any event infinitely better. It had that effect on the baby shower. Here's why Autumn's baby shower was awesome:

Exhibit A: Tauntaun with a life-sized head.
The party took place in a recently finished garage, and among the stacks of games and books rested a tauntaun. He was friendly.

Autumn's pet mynock dangled from the ceiling. You can learn how to make one just like it here.

Since her baby boy is sure to be the stallion who mounts the world, Autumn requested horse heart cupcakes from our talented friend Jenn. None of us ate the cupcakes Daenerys style (that clip is not for the faint of heart), but we really should have. Ah, hindsight.

Gifts included items to make her Wookiee the Chew themed nursery cozy, an array of onesies with Starfleet and Star Wars emblems, and stacks of books. I'd also like to mention here that Autumn opened all her presents with a knife. She held it in her teeth between gifts... yeah, I wouldn't tick her off.

The baby shower game was just as impressive. You had a list of prophecies, and you had to match the right character to the right destiny.

Finally, the best part of the shower: I kissed a tauntaun.

December 7, 2011

Attack of the Holiday Gift Guide, Part II: Ten Star Wars Presents to Love

After more than thirty years of merchandising, it's almost hard to imagine there are still any new Star Wars gifts to buy. However, fans are rabid and the demand hasn't let up in decades. There's a constant flood of fresh toys, clothing, books, and novelties. It's almost impossible to keep up with the latest offerings.* I've done some of the hard work for you. Here's my list of ten Star Wars items to give this holiday season.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - TOR is probably the hottest game of the season. It has beautiful graphics and extensive options, and it seems like it has a great story. This game will ship on December 20, just in time for the holiday.

Star Wars Omnibus: Episodes I-VI The Complete Saga - All the comic adaptations of the films are collected in this beautiful, giant omnibus.

AT-AT Necklace - Who doesn't want to wear an Imperial Walker around her neck? The seller also has a plethora of other Star Wars and geek symbols.

Han Solo in Carbonite Ice Cube Trays - This silicone tray is good for Han Solo-shaped ice, chocolate, jelly, and more. If you want to go for the complete set, pick up the R2-D2 mold as well. They are ideal for the baker on your list.

Star Wars: The Blueprints - Let's discuss the obvious first. Yes, it's $450. But. This is a collection of original blueprints created for the filming of the Star Wars saga. I flipped through some of it at Comic-Con, and it was indeed stunning.

AT-AT Walker - Is it sad that I could probably make an entire list comprised entirely of AT-ATs? This toy made a splash last year because it's over 2' tall! It's like having a pet without the annoying clean-up.

Droids & Aliens Cookie Cutters - Williams-Sonoma keeps adding things to their Star Wars line, and these droids and aliens cookie cutters are the newest. If you buy these for someone, chances of you getting Star Wars cookies increase.

Minimalist Poster Set - The Star Wars movie posters are awesome; particularly those from the original trilogy.  These are subtle and sexy though. They'd look great in a house or even an office.

Heir to the Empire: The 20th Anniversary Edition - This is the novel that kickstarted the modern Expanded Universe. It's a big deal. The recently released 20th Anniversary edition has annotations, commentary from Lucasfilm, and new novella starring Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Lightsaber Candlestick - Star Wars home decor can be classy. This candlestick comes with three no-drip taper candles and will make a romantic dinner at least ten times more special.

May the Force be with you this holiday season!

* has recently launched a section that lists licensed Star Wars merchandise and where you can buy it. Browse the catalog here.
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