Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Heart: The "It's My Birthday and I'll Watch Movies If I Want To" Edition

3D Drive-In Knee Highs - These make me want to start collecting socks.

This amazing iPhone cover - I don't have an iPhone, but if I did, I would definitely get this cover for it.  It's a movie-lover's dream!

Kevin Murphy's A Year at the Movies - 365 movie reviews from the hilarious Kevin Murphy (voice of Tom Servo from "MST3K")

This Jaws-inspired greeting card from Etsy shop, RichieDesign.

The Film Club - Canadian television personality David Gilmour's memoir about allowing his teenage son to drop out of high school and watch three movies a week.  Part film analysis, part parenting experiment, the book details the highs and lows of their unique father-son relationship.

These awesome brightly colored movie ending bookends!  (The "Fin" and "The End" are my favorites.)

I love journals and this VHS style notebook is right up my alley!

Pulp and Fiction pillows for Tarantino fans.

The Shaun of the Dead action figure (he talks!) I received as an early birthday gift from my very generous friends!

Shaun (in box)
Shaun (out of box)
Speaking of birthday gifts, my awesome mom gave me this amazing Joan Jett Barbie!

I love this SO much!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Reading List

New Books

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and Alison Anderson
Written by French novelist and professor of philosophy Muriel Barbery, the book centers on Renee Michel, a concierge for an upscale apartment building.  Michel is brilliant, but keeps his intelligence secret until it is discovered by the precocious, emotionally unstable daughter of a tenant, Paloma Josse.

Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
Uber-geek Simon Pegg's memoir about a British fanboy who grew up to live the dream.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai
Rebellious librarian Lucy Hull begins by helping a young patron sneak books past his strict parents and ends up in a madcap caper to help him escape from their stranglehold.  As she helps Ian Drake strike out on his own, she must confront her own troubled past.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
At the tender age of nine, Rose Edelstein discovers she can taste the emotions of the person who prepared her food.  Through this strange, unexpected power she learns her family's deepest, darkest secrets.

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll by Jenny Woolf
A biography of the author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (real name: Charles Dodgson) that promises to dispel the many strange rumors and myths that surround the eccentric writer.

The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God, & Other Stories by Etgar Keret
A book of unusual short stories, including "Kneller's Happy Campers", the source material for the independent film Wristcutters: A Love Story.


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The classic story of tortured scholar Humbert Humbert's infatuation with his landlady's underage daughter, Lolita.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides

The strange tale of the demise of the Lisbon girls, as told by the neighborhood boys reflecting on their past in adulthood. 

What are you reading this summer?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Geek of the Week: Sarah

This week's Geek is Sarah, who had the best cake EVER for her 6th birthday.   


My Little Darth [found here]
My favorite part of this cake is the Death Star symbol on the pony's flank. 
The best part?  Sarah has Darth incorporated on all her cakes!  Click the link to view her 4th and 5th birthday cakes (featuring the Sith Lord). 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

As You Wish

Peter Falk
On Thursday, June 23rd, veteran character actor Peter Falk died in his home, surrounded by his family.  Falk was best known for his faux-bumbling, secretly brilliant detective Columbo, and his role as The Grandfather in the beloved romantic comedy The Princess Bride.

Falk was born in 1927.  At the age of three, he had a malignant tumor in his right eye and had to have the eye removed.  He would wear a glass eye for the rest of his life.  After being rejected by the army, he enlisted in the Merchant Marines and fought in WWII.  He went to college on the GI bill and obtained his master's degree in public administration.  In the early 50s, Falk quit his job as an efficiency expert to act full time.  He appeared on Broadway and in several small roles, before appearing in Murder, Inc., his breakthrough performance for which he earned an Oscar nomination.  He followed this with a supporting role in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles and another Oscar nomination.  He continued working (predominately in television) until his last "Columbo" film in 2003.  Falk is survived by his two daughters and his wife, Shera.

Peter Falk has a special place in my heart because I loved The Princess Bride and I watched reruns of "Columbo" with my dad.  He will be missed by millions of fans, especially the kids of the 80s and 90s who wished he was their grandpa. 

If you would like to honor Mr. Falk's memory, you can make a donation in his name to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My 2011 Summer Essentials

1.  Lots of books - My favorite thing to do in the summer months is head down to the gorgeous nearby park and read outdoors.  I like to read a mix of summery classics and lighter reads.  (I'll be posting my summer reading list later this week!)

2.  Sunscreen - I'm extra white and I burn at the drop of a hat, so sunscreen is a MUST.  I like to carry around a travel tube for easy reapplication.

3.  Scented lotion - Heat amplifies fragrance and can make perfumes overbearing.  Scented lotion is an excellent less potent option.  My favorite is Bath & Body Works' Lemon Vanilla (part of the "Summer Vanillas" collection).

4.  Dr Pepper Lip Smacker - This is a year-round must, but absolutely vital in the summer and winter months.

5.  Water bottle - Colorado is extremely dry, so hydrating is necessary when spending any time outside. 

6.  Jean skirt - I'm not a fan of shorts, so this skirt is my go-to for when the heat gets unbearable.

7.  iPod - My iPod gets a workout during the summer, between trips to the park and exercising!

8.  Nook - I do most of my traveling in the summer, and I bring my Nook along to take multiple books without occupying more space.

9.  Flip flops - I always buy a cheap pair of flip flops at the beginning of the season for errands and trips to the pool.

10.  Limeade (not pictured) - I love the cold, tart sweetness of limeade in the summer.  We buy it by the gallon from the grocery store, but I also love Sonic's cherry limeade as a special summer treat.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Exciting News . . .

After working on a special project for a couple of weeks, I am finally able to make my big announcement:

Geektastic is moving to Wordpress!

I've really enjoyed using Blogger, but after much back and forth, I've decided to self-host my blog (using the Wordpress plugin).  I will begin posting at the new location on July 1st.  To make the transition smoother, I will continue posting updates here (with links to Geektastic 2.0) until September 1st.

I have a very good friend currently working on a design overhaul, so it's still rough around the edges, but feel free to take a sneak peak at www.tabcarson.com/Geektastic!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three Years

Happy Anniversary to my Sweet Babboo!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Top Five . . . Songs That Always Make Me Think of My Dad

My dad has a very eclectic taste in music (Read: everything from The Who to Enya).  Because we spent most summers trekking back and forth from Omaha, NE to Denver (one of the most boring rides in the world), we needed something to keep us sane.  Since it was pre-portable DVD players and it was my job to keep my dad company, I got to experience his extensive musical taste and it definitely influenced part of my own.

In honor of Father's Day, I give you the Top Five songs that always make me think of my dad:

5.  "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)" by Don McLean

"Starry Night" was my favorite painting as a kid.  I had a huge poster of it in my room and I was always fascinated by the one-eared Vincent Van Gogh.  My dad was the person that introduced me to this song and he remains the only person I know who is familiar with Don McLean songs other than "American Pie".

4.  "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meat Loaf, featuring Karla DeVito

Dad thinks this song is hilarious and should be played at every wedding ever.  I have distinct memories of him cranking it while we ran errands on the weekend.

3.  Any song from Queen's "Night at the Opera" or "The Game"

We wore these tapes out on road trips.  Travel tip:  Any road trip can be made infinitely better by rolling down the windows, blasting Queen, and singing at the top of your voice.

2.  "Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)" by Billy Joel

We danced to this song at my wedding.  I picked it because my dad's childhood nickname for me was "Angel" and he's a big Billy Joel fan.  (I also enjoy Billy Joel - I spent an entire summer in our basement listening to The Stranger over and over on our ancient record player.)

1. "Nostradamus" by Al Stewart

I associate this song completely with my father.  It was another tape we listened to on our road trips and it always got us talking about what the song meant, and by extension, about history.  I occasionally catch it on the radio and I always smile because it makes me think of my dad.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Dad reading to me (my favorite picture of us)
Getting ready for the Father-Daughter dance

Walking down the aisle at my wedding.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Heart: The Curiouser and Curiouser Edition

In honor of Alice: Madness Returns being released today, I give you:

Official game merchandise from EA, particularly this Vorpal Blade T-shirt.

The exquisite Jun Planning Alice dolls.  They come in three variations - Little Dal, Little Pullip, and Lunatic Alice.

Phoebe in Wonderland - a lovely independent film about a bright but troubled girl who seeks refuge in her school's production of Alice in Wonderland.  Patricia Clarkson is fabulous as the eccentric drama teacher Mrs. Dodger and Elle Fanning makes a perfect Phoebe.

This gorgeous pocket watch necklace from Plasticland.

I've been eying this pill box, complete with original John Tenniel drawings, for awhile.

From the recent live action/CGI film, the glass "Eat Me" cake box - a gorgeous addition for any collector.

These wall hooks are perfect for an Alice-themed room.

Disney Couture creates beautiful jewelry with Disney film themes.  My favorite is the Drink Me necklace.

The Disney store also has some gorgeous Alice merch, including this snowglobe, this Alice themed tea press, and this beautiful new Precious Moments figurine (I have the original.)

This cloth-covered edition of the original text.

Funko's small plush Alice characters, including Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the White Rabbit.

This amazing Tokyo restaurant that I would DIE to go to!

An enamel charm with the Cheshire Cat's most famous line.

This book (combining my love of Alice and zombies), which I am holding in my hot little hands right this second.  (Thanks, Quinn!)

If you're an Alice fan, an American McGee fan, or just love gorgeous, cinematic, fantasy-driven third person shooter games, go buy Alice: Madness Returns today!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Geek of the Week: James McAvoy

James McAvoy [found here]
Securing the role of Charles Xavier in the newest X-Men film, X-Men: First Class was a dream come true for James McAvoy, who watched the cartoons as a young boy.  McAvoy is also a devoted fan of the Lord of the Rings novels and loves science fiction.  In an interview with The Independent, he said, "[I have] a humongous all-encompassing passion for sci-fi: films, books, art, memorabilia - I'm a proper addict.  It dates from when I read The Lord of the Rings at ll, and after that I read Frank Herbert's Dune chronicles and watched things like 'Star Trek'."  His genre loyalty often influences his choice of roles - he appeared as Leto Atredies II in the Sci-Fi Channel film adaptation of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune and Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  He also has expressed interest in being a part of one of the J. J. Abrams-helmed Star Trek sequels and was, at one time, rumored to be playing the lead role of Bilbo Baggins for the 2012 adaptation of The Hobbit, which was supported by Elijah Wood (Frodo).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Saturday Review: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender
Jennifer Lawrence
January Jones

Movies based on comic books can be hit or miss, and with an established rabid fanbase, there's always a danger when adapting a beloved series like The X-Men.  After seeing several trailers for the newest X-Men incarnation, I was pretty sure it was going to be good, and I was not disappointed.

X-Men: First Class reveals the back stories for several of the core X-Men characters, including Magneto, Professor X, Mystique, and Emma Frost (the White Queen).  Eric Lensherr (Magneto) is separated from his parents as they arrive at a Polish concentration camp.  As he reaches for them, the iron gates bend and twist.  His power is discovered by Dr. Schmidt (Kevin Bacon), who tortures him in an effort to harness the power.  Charles Xavier, the future Professor X, discovers Raven Darkholme (Mystique), stealing food from his fridge and takes her in.

Twenty years later, Lensherr (Fassbender) is on a revenge mission to find and kill the elusive Dr. Schmidt.  Xavier (McAvoy) is a newly appointed professor, traveling with Raven (Lawrence) posing as his sister.  In Las Vegas, CIA operative Moira McTaggart is staking out the Hellfire Club and witnesses clear evidence of genetic human mutation.  She seeks out Professor Xavier, an expert on mutation, and he begins working for the CIA, using a thought amplifying machine to find other mutants.  He and McTaggart discover Sebastian Shaw and his team are a threat to national security.  They join up with Lensherr and create a team of mutants to fight Shaw and his accomplices.  As their presence among regular humans becomes more obvious, the people they are protecting become a larger threat as well.

This flick is stylish and smart, with gorgeous period costuming and plenty of inside references for devoted X-Men fans.  The casting was excellent, and Fassbender and McAvoy are pitch perfect in their prospective roles.  I'm usually not fond of January Jones, but she was definitely the right choice to play Emma Frost and any doubts of Jennifer Lawrence's suitability for Mystique were blown away by a cameo by Rebecca Romijn (the original film version of Mystique).  Although the film has grossed the least at the box office of all the previous X-Men movies, I think it is the best so far and I am eager to see the second and third films in this series.

I think X-Men fans will enjoy this film, and it is an excellent starting point for those who are unfamiliar with the series.  The special effects are very well-done and there are several humorous moments that provide levity in between some very serious scenes.  It's definitely worth seeing in theaters, especially for comic fans.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Heart: The Father's Day Gift Guide Edition

 Father's Day (June 19th) is quickly approaching, but there's still time to get your dad a cool gift.  Here are my picks for awesome Father's Day gifts:

$20 and under:

Official Geek Dad bumper stickers - The dad in your life can advertise his geekiness to his fellow motorists with these hilarious bumper stickers.

Binary Dad T-shirt - If your dad is a computer guy, he'll appreciate this T-shirt with "Dad" written in binary on a blue background.

The Geek Dad's Guide to Weekend Fun and Geek Dad's Geeky Projects for Dads and Kids - These helpful guides can stave off boredom and encourage quality time together.

Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics - Barnes & Noble offers beautiful hardback editions of classic literature for $20 each.  For dads, I recommend the Sherlock Holmes collection, the Jules Verne collection, and the Ray Bradbury collection.

$50 and under:

Batman Money Clip - A mini folding batarang with a magnetized grip to keep Dad's cash (and your allowance) safe from super villains.

Star Trek Cufflinks - Beautiful silver plated cufflinks for Dad's geeky formal wear.

Night Sky Monopoly Edition - A space-themed Monopoly game that will both educate and entertain the whole family.

Case of Bawls - The gamer's energy drink of choice, it comes in 4 flavors: regular, cherry, sugar-free, and root beer.

$100 and under:

Neverlate Executive Alarm Clock - The perfect alarm clock for busy dads.  It has up to 42 alarm settings and is completely customizable.  There are 20 available radio presets and an MP3 player input.

Darth Vader Cookie Jar - The best part of the Dark Side?  They have cookies.

Stainless Steel Wallet - Made from tightly woven stainless steel fibers, this wallet is both durable and comfortable.  Perfect for the dad who is hard on wallets.

Razor Naga: MMO Gaming Mouse - An ergonomic mouse with 17 MMO-optimized buttons.  A must for hardcore gamers.

Last Minute Ideas:

If you're down to the wire and don't have time to have something shipped, consider these:
  • For comic book fans:  Anything from his "pull file" at your local comic book shop
  • Subscriptions to his favorite magazines
  • Gift cards to frequently shopped stores (including webstores)
  • Gift card to a favorite restaurant
  • Gift of the month clubs (wine, beer, coffee, etc.)
  • A paid year subscription to online games, Netflix, or Xbox Live

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Geek(s) of the Week: Megan & Keith

Two very awesome people, Megan and Keith, are getting married on Saturday, June 11th.  I hope they have a wonderful time on their special day and a lifetime of happiness!