Lonely Boy: Things That Spark My Nerd Rage

I don’t get terribly nerd ragey. Life’s too short, and I’m too educated and sometimes when things change in nerd culture it’s for the better and we get Sansa Stark, Vengeance Lady Of Winterfell and Kamala Khan and Miles Morales, ya know?

But there are a few things that push my buttons and make me all ranty, and one of them got pushed real hard, several times, in the past few weeks.

Everyone’s watching that show You, and it features Penn Badgely as an obsessive stalker boyfriend. Having watched nearly a decade of that, I’m on board with said casting.

But I’ve seen several joking tweets about Badgely in particular, mostly pointing out that this role tracks, since he was Gossip Girl and everything.

There are few things in pop culture that have made me more angry than the complete and utter bullshit twist that Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl all along.

I didn’t expect the reveal to make much (if any) sense. While my headcanon remains that Gossip Girl is in fact Veronica Mars, (that’s why she has her voice) there were several acceptable candidates, actually on the show. (Vanessa, Jack Bass, Georgina, Carter Baizen, any of Nate’s older lady conquests but especially the one played by Elizabeth Hurley who gave him a newspaper because he’s good at sex, Serena’s Grandmother Cece, and Dorota.)

But then it was revealed that Gossip Girl was the Humphrey’s and I never got over it. It made no sense whatsoever. It destroyed several character arcs. (Jenny’s especially.) It made Dan and Serena’s reconcilliation and eventual marriage COMPLETELY ridiculous.

I hate. I get so angry. It ruins the show for me. It ruins the show for me even more than Ed Westwick being a rapist. Which is totally irrational.

You know, like all good Nerd Rage!

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: Indian Summer

Summer seems to be finally breaking and I’m thrilled about that. I love fall and here’s a bunch of the stuff that I’m using to wait out the heat, so we get to the time of year of tights, sweaters and boots. (I’ve already started with boots though…)

Anyway, here we go:

  • Gilmore Guys: I mean obviously, but I’ve been listening to it like crazy, not at the expense of my other podcasts, but a whole lot.
  • “Nobody’s Crying” a song by Sutton Foster about her divorce from Christian Borle. It’s on her solo album Wish. It’s melancholy and heartbreaking and perfect, and I’ve loved it for a while, but Crystan and I listened to it while we were driving into the city on Saturday and my love for it has sprung anew. Listen to it, I swear you won’t be disappointed.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena…WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW? I should explain, despite a long list of anime that friends I love and trust have recommended to me, I decided instead to dive into this one because, “The Mary Sue says that it heavily inspired Steven Universe.” As I have previously noted, I will do just about anything The Mary Sue tells me to, so I clicked it on Hulu and now I’m sucked in when I should finally be watching Stranger Things or at least Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood like everyone I know told me to. And yet now I’m sucked into this weird anime about sword fighting and lesbians and incest where everything might just be happening inside of the characters heads or whatever. But it’s fantastic and I love it and I think Utena might be my new favorite protagonist in anything (Sorry Korra.) Mostly because I love a passive protagonist. (Sup Harry Potter?) And Utena doesn’t really do anything except wear a totally stylish blazer and get dragged along by the plot. I’ll do a full post about it when I finish, but it’s taking up a lot of my time and brain power.
  • My friend Lora’s daily closet cosplays! She’s putting me to shame you guys! Check out her Tumblr and Instagram (@dailycasualcosplay)!
  • Party Planning! I made the facebook event for my birthday party this year and I’m really excited about it. My costume is done, which means I can focus on the other fun stuff, liked themed food and drinks, decorations, and entertainment options! I’m really excited about it.
  • Comic Con planning. I’m so organized that I’m worried I’m missing something. But I’m going to just let it go. (LET IT GOOOO…)

So that’s what I’m doing right now. See you tomorrow with more stuff!

The Best Summer Ever

Over the past week, I’ve been reading a lot of “How I Came To Camp Firewood” stories, as everyone I know on the internet (and a good chunk of the people I know in real life) worked their way through the 8 episodes of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. And this is mine.

Wet Hot American Summer is a weird movie. But as a kid who grew up on Mel Brooks it always made perfect sense to me. (Dealing with the crashing of a space station while a perfectly choreographed version of “Day By Day” goes on is downright low concept compared to say, anything that happens in Silent Movie.)

I found it, like many others, due to the reputation of one of it’s really, really accomplished cast members. And while learning that Paul Rudd, Amy Poehller and Michael Ian Black were all in it made 18 year old me all the more hungry for it. But I came to the party for Marguerite Moreau and I will not apologize for that. Not ever.

See, the summer after my senior year of high school, I dealt with the anxiety of the coming life changes by deciding to watch Kevin Smith’s entire catalog and by watching as many movies starring the cast of The Mighty Ducks as I could get my hands on.

(Mostly this meant watching Newsies and Heaveyweights over and over again…)

And that when I found Wet Hot American Summer and was overwhelmed by it’s silly greatness. It helped that I recognized just about everyone in the movie, and in the next ten years, they’ve all become pretty much ubiquitous on the comedy scene, which I love just as much, if not more, than I did back when I was 18.

Which is why I was really excited and also nervous last week for First Day of Camp, which promised, at the very least to bring together a group of people still at the top of their comedic powers, and like, half the cast of Mad Men.

The 8 episodes were stellar, and not surprising, my favorite parts revolved around Elizabeth Banks. But it was nice to see that Coop doesn’t fall in love with Katie because of Katie, it’s because Coop is that guy who talks to a girl twice and decides she’s his soulmate. McKinley and Ben fell in love because of a musical number. The talking can of vegetable was not all in Gene’s head, but actually, their fallen camp director, Mitch, who drowned in Toxic Waste.

Obviously, there’s a lot going on here.

But mostly I’m digging the little details. The fact that they had to create a character who’s an even bigger ass hole than Andy for us to root for Andy and Katie to get together. The fact that Gail was involved with 3 men in a 24 hour period.

First Day of Camp is a worthy prequel and a very funny one.

As Long As You Love Them

Show em

One of the best parts of the summer (for me) is that with my TV schedule being greatly reduced, (Even if it is clogged with teen super hero cartoons and revisits to Westeros), I have time to explore some of the more obscure and less on the Comic Con beaten path pop culture elements that have obsessed me over my life.

I’ve talked about my deep and abiding love of boy bands many times. And I’ve noted that I consider The Backstreet Boys  and in particular the vocal stylings of AJ McLean to be in the upper echelon of pop music, and that they’re consistently passed over as the late 90’s and early 2000s fade into nostalgia.

I often feel like I’m alone in this, and then I talk to other women my age about it, for whom listening to Millennium on bedroom floors and voting for “The One” on TRL were also seminal moments of tween-dom, and it’s certainly what the documentary Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of is predicated on.

While I’d hardly call the two hour in depth documentary a “warts and all” look at the guys, it’s definitely not as vain and golden colored as it could be. Exploring both the group’s rise to fame and their prep of a new album and 2014 20th anniversary world tour I was reminded of all the reasons I always preferred BSB to their glossy, perfectly choreographed doppelgangers NSYNC.

Not surprisingly to anyone who’s followed the band for 20 years…ie me and a small army of other 20 something women, the movie pretty much hinges on Kevin Richardson’s choice to leave and then return to the group and Nick Carter’s penchant for hissy fit throwing, but other elements shouldn’t be ignored. AJ’s sobriety is mostly taken for granted, and Nick’s not explored at all. Brian Littrell’s vocal problems could have been compelling all on their own, but instead lead to a confrontation between him and Nick, who feels no one is talking about how Brian isn’t up to snuff anymore. Howie Durough initially intended to be the group’s lead singer is sidelined almost entirely, except when he talks about how he was supposed to be the lead singer…it’s not a terribly compelling narrative.

But in the end the movie illustrates two points that are made in it’s first few minutes, “What do you do when you’re a man in a boy band?” which AJ asks the camera, and “We had some great pop songs and we sang the shit out of them.” Which is Kevin just perfectly encapsulating the thing that’s great about The Backstreet Boys.

Whatever It Takes

Degrassi: The Next Generation has been cancelled from TeenNick, and been picked up by Netflix.

But for a minute, the internet is really sad about it.

I’m really sad about it.

Everyone should be really sad about it.

Because Degrassi was wonderful.

I didn’t watch the show’s first few years, due to my lack of premium cable, but, by season 3, I used to go to my friend Ali’s house and we would have “Degrassi Parties,” and watch it with all of our friends. (We were really cool, in case you couldn’t tell…) The first episode I ever watched was when Manny and Craig had sex in his garage. (He got her pregnant, we didn’t know that yet.) In college, my roommates and I would watch the “every episode ever” marathons, because Degrassi invented binge watching.

Here’s how those worked: Around the clock TeenNick would show every episode of Degrassi, you would sit down to watch a couple and then all of a sudden it was twelve hours later, Ash and Craig had gotten back together five times, JT was dead and Paige was a lesbian. (Or bi? I think Paige was the first bi character I was really aware of in something.)

Yes, the writing is hamfisted, and the acting atrocious, and Ellie and Marco never got enough to do, and no one ever talked about Hazel’s sudden disappearance. (Seriously, where did Hazel and Terry go? They should have graduated with Paige, Ellie & Marco right?) But also, Manny Santos taught me that slut shaming was wrong, (I didn’t absorb the lesson right away…but still) and Paige’s college breakdown made me feel a little bit better about my own (I at least never set anything on fire), and JT was just the most devastating character death in the history of character deaths.

I dropped off watching in adulthood, mostly because I was tired of having to track the new characters. But I loved my Degrassi gang so much. Just, so very much.

I’m going to go cry about JT for a little bit.

It’s A Relationship

Schedule Shift! (Mostly For Sleep Reasons)

Jurassic-World-The-Game

I was seven years old when Jurassic Park came out, which is a little on the young side, but it’s stayed with me as a tried and true favorite for all of those 20 long years.

I made a conscious choice to not watch Jurassic Park before heading to Jurassic World, because I knew, no matter how much good, scary, actiony fun contained there in, it would suffer in comparison to Jurassic Park.

It does.

But, there’s still plenty of good scary actiony fun. Plus Chris Pratt (who sadly, remains fully clothes the whole time.) and Bryce Dallas Howard, who are also the right age to remember that Jurassic Park once ruled everyone’s collective world and seem to be having a real ball.

Jurassic World takes place on Isla Nublar (Which, thank god, I thought we might be subjected to a third location, after the previously unknown “second facicility” popped up in Jurassic Park III) 20 years since “the incident” of the first film. Now a fully functioning resort and theme park, it’s hard not to giggle at the corporate pandering in Jurassic World. Claire (Howard) runs the park with peak efficiency, and is treating her young nephews to a weekend away from home as their parents prepare to begin divorce proceedings. She’s also getting ready to reveal a new genetically engineered super dino known as Idominus Rex

Meanwhile, Owen Grady, a former naval officer has shown a talent for training and wrangling Jurassic World’s velociraptors.

Things go wrong. This is a Jurassic movie, there are certain beats that need to get met.

But let’s talk about the raptors. There’s a lot of internet talk about “90’s kids,” but I’d like to see a buzzfeed article that covers the nightmare factory that is the Jurassic Park raptors. And that 20 years and four movies later I’m surprised and terrified when one of those mofos pops out of the tall grass or opens a door or dodges a bullet speaks volumes.

T-Rex saves the day in the end and it’s a pretty great reveal when Claire realizes it’s the only way out. The techs are played by Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus and they’re great. The “corporate greedy guy” is Vincent D’Onofrio, and BD Wong is back as the main Jurassic Doctor! (Remember that time that Star Lord let a raptor eat The King Pin?)

It’s a fun, dumb, movie

Rankings!

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. Tomorrowland
  3. Jurassic World
  4. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  5. Pitch Perfect: 2

Trailers!

The Martian looks impossibly good.

Mockingjay Part 2 did NOT make me weepy, unlike the trailers for it’s predecessor. To be fair, this is the more actiony, revengy part of the story.

The Walk looks great, I will not be able to see it the theaters, or maybe I’ll just hold my breath and do it. Because it looks wonderful.

And hey! The six minute preview finally got me psyched for Ant-Man, having a sense of what the story is going to look like helped a whole lot.

Sailor Moon Check In: Where Do We Go From Here?

This is a big Sailor Moon week, as all “Three weeks between Crystal episode” weeks are. Because there are more classic episodes to watch and reminding myself what happened before stuff and all kinds of other issues. (But watching 3 episodes of S and an episode of Crystal while chilling in my hotel room in NYC this weekend was so delightfully lovely.)

Sailor Moon

Manga

LOLZ…considered buying it at the Midtown Comics Booth this weekend. Realized I’d already spent WAYYY too much money. Did buy a Kindle Fire this week though (I’m trying to minimize crap, thus having a portable device for reading graphic work = GOOD)

The Best Cartoon Ever Sorry Korra

OK, so before I watch this week’s episode I just want to talk about that finale, and Uranus and Neptune A)realizing that they were in love with each other. B) No one recognizing Pluto…except Chibi-Usa because BFFL transcends space time and super hero secret identity suspension of disbelief. B)THEY ALL HAVE PURE HEART TALISMANS (talismen?) and it’s so beautiful and now we have the holy grail.

After an episode or two of everyone just sort of pushing through not trusting one another it was a really, really nice resolution to that arc.

And the new arc started. And we met Hotaru. (YAY!) And we found out her father was the professor. (Which I knew, due to having read the Manga!) And Usagi is now Sailor Super Moon, and that costume is awesome. I love this incarnation of the show so much!

Crystal

Sigh, filler. I mean, it’s a little bit not. But we literally had five minutes of transformation sequences. I’ve forgiven most of Crystals pacing problems because you know, shiny, but this was ridiculous. Also Dark Lady, who’s kind of really, really gross, but I’m considering cosplaying her. (I actually have a dress that would work, though I don’t know how it would fit these days, and actually my black canary vest over it would work…this idea is coming together now…)

Look, the episode was basically made by Diana assuring King Endymion that everything was going to be fine, because that is the most adorable thing in the world. The cats so often make everything better. Also, Saphir has definitely caught on that, like Wise Man is not a good dude. Or at least, not the level of bad dude that they want.

Other Stuff

I was at a con! I saw some cosplayers. As brainstormed above I might start cosplaying some things. We’ll see. I also resisted buying roughly all of the Sailor Moon art I saw, but I did by a Sailor Chibi Moon Bookmark.

The Force Is Strong In My Family

Today’s post was supposed to be about Batman VS Robin, and for something lesser, it totally would have been. But this isn’t lesser. This is EVERYTHING.

I get a little hysterical excited when I talk about Star Wars, because I love it so deeply and truly. Seriously. It’s Star Wars, I didn’t spend my childhood running around in the yard playing Batman VS Robin, OK? I didn’t manipulate my little sister into believing that a character who can’t speak was really super cool and she should totally pretend to be him so that I could be Damian Wayne. (Sometimes I think about our childhood and wonder why my sister even speaks to my brother and I, the making her be R2-D2 was symptomatic of how we treated her in general.)

No, I was a Star Wars kid. In middle school, when I learned one of my friends had never seen the movies but wanted to go see Episode II with me, I said, “NOPE, not allowed,” and forced her to have a 4 movie marathon in my basement, so that she could fully appreciate what we were going to see…that didn’t really work out, but that’s Episode II’s fault, for being basically unwatchable. (I will still be watching it come December.)

Star Wars is snuggling on the couch with my Dad while I covered my eyes at the stuff that freaked me out. (As previously chronicled, this wasn’t difficult as I was a chicken.) Star Wars was late night marathons with my cousins, and my first crush.

This Guy!

Him. I had a crush on Han Solo…and Indiana Jones…and Linus from the Sabrina remake (THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE THING ABOUT THE SABRINA REMAKE)…and just Harrison Ford

Star Wars was waiting in line with my sister for Episode III and Christmas mornings because it was what we all felt like watching. Star Wars is my dream Cosplay. (Hoth Leia…I could probably pull it off now, but I want to be a certain size…it’s a motivating factor.) Star Wars is a series of choreographed play light saber battles in my cousin’s basement with everyone taking turns who would be Luke and who would be Vader.

The point is that Star Wars is important to me.

I had a feeling that we’d get something this week, coming out of The Star Wars Celebration, but I didn’t expect a new trailer, I really didn’t. I figured it would premier before Age of Ultron, because Disney loves Synergy so much. (I am looking forward to seeing it before Ultron, because, come on, you know it’ll be there.)

But this teaser, this beautiful wonderful teaser, with it’s light sabers and it’s Mark Hamill narration, and Harrison Ford pop ups and perfect music cues, and beautiful everything about it.

You know what, let’s just watch it again. And again. And again.

“Chewie…we’re home.” #Chewiewerehome, I’m making this a thing.

Time To Get Personal: Body Issues

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I feel the need to do this one. I’ve been feeling really raw about this issue lately, and generally, even when I do these, I don’t get quite this personal. I ask for you kindness and compassion on this.

I remember a time that I was comfortable in my body. It lasted for about 6 months, the summer and fall of 2011. I don’t remember a time before that, since pretty much from the time I noticed my body, I was uncomfortable in it.

I was always tall. But until puberty, which for me came early, towards the end of fourth grade, I was tall and gangly. Thin, with a flat stomach and spindly legs. Then my body settled into what it looks like now. Still tall, but big breasts, a large butt, a round tummy, thick thighs.

And this all happened a good two years before the development of any of my friends. I was always a little insecure, I dressed in leggings and oversize sweaters. This was both after and before this was considered an “in” look. When shopping for Bar Mitzvahs and school dances, I went to Annie Sez, while my friends got to gleefully play in Mandee. The first pair of jeans that didn’t make me feel like a mom were a pair of Gap boot cuts that I stumbled across when I was 15. I wore them until I was 20 and a hole wore into the crotch.

I remember my worst body image day. It was junior year of high school and I went shopping with my mom and sister. I tried on a pair of jeans that I couldn’t even zip. I burst into tears in the dressing room. Meanwhile, my sister, who’s tall and lean and a natural size 6, still had to shop for bathing suits. My mom was apologetic, knowing that watching that would be impossible after what had just happened, still needed to soldier on. She sent me to the mall Starbucks and a few weeks later, I was signed on with a nutritionist and personal trainer at a studio gym.

I hated every moment of it, but for once I felt in control. Then school started up again, and theater, and there just wasn’t time anymore, and I fell back into bad habits.

College didn’t help, and there was another bad day when picking out Christmas outfits when something was too tight, or revealed too much of a muffin top and my mom tried to coax me into something else and I snapped, “I want to dress my own age for once!” She relented and I still cringe at the pictures.

By my fifth year of college, I was pretty much OK with the fact that I was never going to be thin. It’s just not how I’m built. But I was determined to be fit. So I stopped snacking between meals. I cut out beer. (SO HARD your final year of college.) I ran 3 or more miles a day. I lost 30 pounds. I managed to keep it off for about 6 months, and then put about 15 of it back on.

There was a moment that summer that I remember as clearly as the breakdown at the mall. I was at a pool party in a bikini (The first one I’d worn since age 10) I was drinking a miller light and eating a piece of pizza. And I thought. “I did it. I’m over my crap. Girls who hate their bodies don’t eat pizza and drink beer in bikinis.”

This past year has been great for me in a lot of ways. I’m more mentally and socially healthy than I’ve been in a very long time. My financial situation is immensely improved, to the point where living with my parents is actually “a responsible decision I’ve made” and not, “my only choice if I want to ever go outside or eat food that isn’t cereal or spaghetti.” But I’ve let my weight go. I gained back that other 15.

I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should, and I make horrible food choices. (Still not much beer though! Seriously, wine drinking instead of beer drinking is the best habit I’ve ever gotten into.) I’ve made some strides there, but not enough.

I don’t like the way my body looks these days, although I’ve committed in the past month or so and I’m happier than I was with it. I envy people who like their bodies, who are comfortable in their own skin.

Because I don’t hate my body anymore. But I’ve never been comfortable in it, and I want to fix that. I voiced some of this on facebook this week and received an outpouring of love from friends. One in particular really made me feel good.

But I’ve recommitted to things, walking every day at lunch, working out with Darebee’s superheroine work outs (which I’ve been posting on twitter and facebook, so that I’m accountable to someone. It helps!) And I’m also immensely proud that this past week, feeling insecure and frustrated with my body didn’t translate to feeling depressed an useless in other aspects of my life, save a few hours of self indulgent self pity I allowed myself. (See “more mentally healthy” above.) I was able to remind myself that this is something I can control and make choices about. That my life and self worth are not defined by my weight, waistline and dress size.

I’m just saying that there are days that it’s hard to remember that.

10,000 Candles In The Wind

Parks And Recreation and Parenthood ended.

And I find myself, for the first time, not regularly watching an NBC show.

For most people, this would not be a big deal, but for me this is kind of a huge deal.

The first shows that I really followed, were Friends and ER. The first death of a TV character that I will never get over for as long as I live was Mrs. Landigham on The West Wing.  The first time I ever said, “I really miss those guys,” was when I realized that there weren’t reruns of Will & Grace on anywhere. (This has been, mercifully, rectified. Now there are Will & Grace reruns, ALL THE TIME. And it is glorious.) I realized there was a whole world that loved my kind of movie quoting, semi sarcastic, more heart than head but still a lot of head, comedy with 30 Rock and The Office. I watched every last stinking episode of American Dreams, Heroes, and Smash.

I’m an NBC girl, I guess is my point.

So saying goodbye to these two shows that I loved so much, isn’t just saying good bye to them, but, it’s saying good bye to my network. Now, I guess, I’m a Fox person…which is weird, but yeah. Gotham, Mindy Project, New Girl, Brooklyn 99 and Empire are my shows now, there’s no turning back. It’s a part of my pop culture identity that has shifted and it’s a weird one to say good bye too, because even in the scheme of the trivial things that I spend too much time analyzing, is unbelievably trivial. I’m sure next year I’ll fall in love with some doomed NBC project, whatever the next Up All Night or Smash is that I’ll keep assuring people, is “like really good though,” even though it kind of isn’t, at all…

But Parks & Rec and Parenthood were good. They were really good, and I’m going to miss them. I’m going to miss that these were both shows about good people who loved each other and wanted to make the world a better place. They were about and families, and friends, and barbeques, and waffles, and baseball, and board games, and one tiny horse.

So bye, bye, little Peacock, you’re 10,000 candles in the wind.