The Dowager of Dank is back as Showtime has released a teaser and promo poster for the premiere of the latest season of Weeds, created by superb writer Jenji Kohan, as well as confirming new actors for the fan-speculated series finale.
The seventh season of Weeds, premiering on June 27th at 10/9C, has only 13 episodes left to complete quite a task. Our favorite matriarch MILF Nancy Botwin, portrayed by award winning actress Mary-Louise Parker, has danced herself into the stickiest of the ickies this time around. (more…)
A line of people outside the convention center showed cosplayers, fans, and even people out to do something different on this Saturday. After an expert parking job, Kimmie and I headed inside Dallas Comic Con for media check-in and headed into the Exhibit Hall (the dealer room/artist area) to pass some time.
As one would expect, the room was filled to the brim with things that would excite anyone. Alongside comics of every age and grade, there were action figures, beautiful statuettes, shirts, panties, even little plush vampire babies. Truly there was something for all!
If you’ve been a convention before, I can tell you that this dealer room was standard fare. After a couple of small purchases and making a note of where Stan Lee would be later, we headed out to track down the media director to find out where we needed to be.
As you walked into the convention, there were info booths on either side, some elevators and a large walkway leading you to several places: a pavilion on the right, the exhibit hall on your left or some escalators and elevators. Regardless of this simplicity, there weren’t many signs directing people to where autographs were or anything. If you didn’t have a program or chose to stash it away, it was really hard finding out where everything is.
After we evaded large groups of people, we headed upstairs to find the media area which turned out to be just a stretch of carpet with tables and plug-ins for all your media needs. Not TOO shabby, but we realized Stan Lee was in the building and raced back downstairs, right past a Tardis.
Before we dive into an overview of the 8th Wonder, Stan Lee, I’m gonna discuss some of the cool stuff over in the exhibit hall. Aside from toys of ALL areas of nerd, comics as far as the eye can see, there were artists promoting their works and I came across a few that really stood out. There was Kristen Hogan, a girl who made squids (SQUIDS, I say) out of different kinds of fabric, including one cephalopod created out of an old Spider-Man pillow case. Further down, some FANTASTIC landscape paintings caught my eye. These were not your stereotypical gardens and oceans. Instead, Tattooine’s two suns flared over a home, Cloud City floated amongst beautiful periwinkle clouds. I yearned to own one of these because you could tell the artist, Lisa Ficarra, loves her subjects intensely.
I didn’t have hundreds to spend so I moseyed on down the walkway where I bought a fuckin’ amazing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle poster, drawn by Jerry Rascoe, who was kind enough to sign it.
I spoke with several other artists but two stood out to me from the others. I spotted a drawing of a little zombie boy and zoomed over the table because, well, who the hell doesn’t like cute little zombie kids?! The creator, Mario Wytch, was happy to tell me a little about his newest project: Adventures of Zombie Boy, about a little zombie boy who is allergic to human flesh. Full of funny, I’d definitely recommend you take a peek at it! Plus, Mario was great to talk to! A couple of booths down, I came across some FANTASTIC fantasy art that will be a graphic novel called Xymphonia. Beautifully complex and textured, the bright colors and magical appeal of the characters jumped out at you from the table. I honestly can’t wait to pick it up and give it a try.
As with most conventions, there were cosplayers as far as the eye could see: Harleys engaged Jokers in loving scenarios, Dark Phoenixes palled around with Supergirl, I even saw a Sexy-no-Jutsu Naruto. I don’t think I had a personal favorite!
Among the regular cosplayers were Spider-Man and Batman, teaming up to bring good to the world. Promoting Heroes for Hope, Beta Theta Pi of UT Arlington are a fraternity who dedicate their time to dress up as superheroes and deliver action figures,comic books, and joy to terminally ill children.
When we made our way back to the guests, we didn’t get to meet Stan Lee, but we were perfectly content watching him sign multiple autographs and joke around with the fans. Just seeing Stan Lee was enough for me. It’s a nerd girl’s dream come true. Aside from signing hundreds and hundreds of autographs, he did a Q&A where he revealed his cameo in the new Spider-Man movie!
I wish we had been able to meet Carrie Fisher. Admitting no press, pictures, or people, aside from the fans who paid to get there autographs, she may as well have not even been there.
If Carrie Fisher put a damper on the day, Leonard Nimoy redeemed it. Nimoy certainly commanded attention, be it by the way he spoke, the things he said, whatever, he got it. I’ve never ever been to a presentation with the crowd being completely silent and engaged in every word out of his mouth. He cracked several jokes and discussed the origins of the Vulcan salute and the Vulcan nerve pinch.
Enraptured at every word, I laughed at every joke, and teared up at the end. Pure emotion ran through that man’s voice, and if I wasn’t a fan of his before, I most certainly was after. The only down side to the entire thing was explaining to channel WB33’s anchor (one of 2 other media outlets present, aside from us), who he was and who Stan Lee was. If you have the chance and money to see Leonard Nimoy, do it. Do it, do it, do it. It was life enhancing!
The day ended with a revisit to everything, just in case we missed something and headed home with full hearts and my brain full of Nimoy. It was definitely a con to remember.
It’s time for a non-nerdy-news article from yours truly. After a few heated conversations that have taken place here in the last week, I decided it’s high time to share my stance on Nerd Rage.
Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the term. If this is the case, you’ve probably done it yourself, and definitely more than once. Nerd rage, for all you book smarties that need details, is the extreme emotion felt when a nerd is exposed to something that directly contradicts the core beliefs of their obsession and the reactionary disputation by said nerd that follows, most commonly abusive word-diarrhea out of their mouthhole. The boys and girls over at the ever resourceful slang-definer urbandictionary.com had this to say about the horrors of Nerd Rage:
“A term used to describe extreme anger, offence, indignation, and other similar emotions by a nerd, geek or similar. Nerd Rage is triggered by a number of things, most commonly through helplessness in the face of bullying, internet fights, or seeing their favorite film/show/anime/etc degraded or insulted in some way.”
Now, I will fully admit that I am one of the most opinionated nerds out there. In fact, every single nerd that I have met has extremely passionate beliefs. You have your Microsoft dudes, Sony fanboys, people who will argue prequels vs. original trilogies for hours, and that’s just barely scratching the surface. Unfortunately, the percentage of those nerds who are able to properly express their opinions in a non-confrontational manner is less than those who can successfully hold a conversation with a pretty girl. The point is, no matter how passionately you believe in your nerdy views, there’s a line of respect that you need to maintain with your fellow nerds no matter what. You never want to crossover into the dreaded Nerd Rage Territory, which is really only a stone’s throw away from Trollville if you wanna look at it that way. That being said, here are “Kimmie’s 5 Signs You’re Suffering From NR!”
5 Ways to Recognize Nerd Rage
You turn debates into arguments.
The uncontrollable anger you feel upon seeing something that violates YOUR personal canon doesn’t mean you should take it out on those who support ANOTHER canon.
You refuse to accept an opinion that is not streamlined with your own.
You love Marvel. Your best friend loves DC. What is a nerd to do!? No one is saying you have to like it, but you should respect your fellow nerd’s opinion.
You turn into the Internet’s version of a toddler.
This really just speaks for itself. Don’t cry over spilled action figures!
You give up and pout when someone makes a point you can’t disprove.
When you do your research, you wont ever have to say, “I can’t counter your valid argument with one of my own, you’re just a DUMB BITCH for thinking the way you do!” Which leads me to…
You resort to personal attacks.
Name calling doesn’t help in the form of an educated debate and it certainly doesn‘t get your point across. Facts do. If you’re as big of a fan as you claim, you should know them already. Use that to your advantage.
If you’re a nerd rager reading this, you’re probably wondering why this matters and plotting ways to cut off my fingers with an Xacto knife. The problem is, reacting in such a harsh, negative way about something you love is and can also make you bitter and resentful. Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation. Though it seems to be the only course of action for two stubborn nerds, if retaliation is the only foreseeable direction the debate is heading, come to a screeching halt and ask yourself, “Why do I feel so overwhelmingly wronged by someone else’s opinion?” If the answer is, “BECAUSE I’M RIGHT AND THEY’RE DUMB!” then whoa buddy, take a chill pill for a second and let me tell you about some things you can do to help quell the urge to roar.
Obviously, the first step to take is to find a way to destress. Could be anything from playing a video game to reading a book to vegging out in front of the TV. For me, it’s playing with my dog. I could have had the day from Hell, but I take one look at that big grin and wiggle butt and I’m done. Whatever your route of relaxation, take the opportunity the clean slate provides and think about your rage in a calm way. Was this person trying to change your opinion, insult or demean you by expressing their own? Probably not. So would responding with cracks about their mental stability be necessary? I’m gonna go with no on this one. There’s no reason to be a self-entitled doucher and you catch a helluva lot more Pokemon with a Master Ball than a barbed wire net.
Talking to fellow nerds should be a rewarding experience. You can learn about new arcs, storylines and gameplay by having civil discussions. They have reasons for liking what they like just the same as you do. Remember, if we can all just save our nerd rage for the noobtubers, the world would be a much happier place.
Kentucky native Ashley Eckstein has certainly made her mark in geek history. Currently voicing the only apprentice of Anakin Skywalker on the Clone Wars series, Ahsoka Tano, Ashley is also the creator of HerUniverse. If you have not checked out this website, DO IT. Ashley decided to create merchandise specifically targeted to women when she isn’t bringing life to the young Jedi!
L: Let’s jump right in and talk a little about Ahsoka. She begins her journey as an 14-year-old when the Clone Wars begin. Was it difficult having that childlike mind frame and then having to switch to an older, more mature Ahsoka?
AE: Um, you know that’s a great question because I naturally have a young sounding voice and when I first went to audition for Clone Wars, I auditioned for Padmé and they stopped me before I could even get the first line out of my mouth. I literally….as I was saying it they stopped me and said, ‘no we’re sorry you sound too young for Padmé but would you mind reading for this new character?’ They didn’t tell me who I was reading for yet cause it was so confidential and um, my voice just naturally kinda fit that age range. Actually my voice is pretty high-pitched and it sounds real young! It was actually pretty easy in the beginning to play a 14-year-old girl and as the show’s gone on I’ve had to speak in my lower register. I’ve definitely had to become a lot more darker, more serious. Dave Filoni jokes with me in the studio that I have to ball up any cuteness, any girly-ness I have and throw it out the studio because she’s definitely grown a lot and really I try to put myself in her shoes. The Clone Wars have gone on for 2 years now in the series and it’s really taken its toll on all the Jedi. There are battles day in and day out and I have to keep that mind when I’m doing the episode.
L: Great insight! I’d never have imagined stuff like that coming into play.
AE: The Clone Wars were a tough time!
L: Were there any episodes or story arcs that were more fun to do than others?
AE: I have to say, personally, from this past season, season 3, I loved the Mortis trilogy! It was a fun trilogy or story arc to do because it was so challenging and covered so many emotions. I had to play an older Ahsoka in her 20s in a vision and play a dark side Ahsoka where she was evil and taken over by the Dark side and you know, Ahsoka died in those episodes and then I had to play her in present day. Just that wide range was fun to do. More so than that, the story and writing was fantastic. The animators really upped their game in those three episodes.
L: I know the inclusion of a brand new character not in previous Star Wars canon upset a lot of fans. In fact, I have not sat and watched much Clone Wars, not because of Ahsoka, but because it rendered one of my all time favorite story lines non canon. Did the fans original aversion to Ahsoka bother you?
AE: Well, you know, I have to admit that when the movie first came out, all the backlash began and it was nerve-wracking thinking ‘Oh my God, I’m the new Jar Jar.’ We’d been working on Clone Wars for 2 years before the audience saw anything and we’d become so emotionally attached to these characters and we’d completed the entire first season before the movie came out. I knew after the first season she would go in a direction the fans would like her to go and I knew they would be pleased with her evolution over time. After the movie which was 4 episodes strung together, she came across as overbearing. No character is perfect at first. In order for a character to grow they have to start somewhere. You have to have flaws and things that will improve. I think they appreciate how far she’s come but in the beginning it was definitely nerve-wracking.
L: Odd question, I know but if real, honest to God aliens landed in front of you and offered you any position on their planet, what position would you want?
AE: Um…wow. Okay this is where some fans may roll their eyes but I’m definitely a romantic at heart. I love all the fairy tales at heart. I was a huge tomboy growing up and something happened as I got older and I had to play catchup and watch all these romantic comedies and get a feel for things. I love princesses and not just Disney princesses…I’ve watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and what’s her name….
L: Which one? I’m a big fan!
AE: The long-haired blonde one. Da…something?
AE: YES! I liked how at first she was unsure and now she’s discovering her power and I dunno, maybe going and being the alien princess? That was a long-winded roundabout answer but that’s what I’d be. I’d marry the alien prince.
L: As a voice actress, do you have any freedom to ad lib?
AE: Um, every now and then we are. You know, that’s one thing that Dave Filoni is really great at, we’ve gotten to know our characters and it’s almost like we know their tone and slang, how they’d say things. I’m able to change a word or two but in terms of ad libbing beyond that, we don’t do that. The writing team is truly fantastic, top-notch, and we never really have to change anything. Every now and then there’ll be something. They had Ahsoka saying ‘yeehaw’ and while I’m a Southern girl at heart and I’ve been known to say that, Ahsoka wouldn’t say that. We’ve gotten to know them well enough to change things they wouldn’t ever say.
L: It probably helps it comes across more natural.
AE: Dave has let me bring my own sarcasm to Ahsoka and so I trust him in terms of what he thinks she should say. There’s a very fine line between being bratty and joking around.
L: How did you go about creating HerUniverse.com?
AE: Oh jeez, I had the idea, uh, over 3 years ago and it took me a while to convince people there was a market for female sci-fi fans, you know, cause I found in my research that close to ½ of sci-fi fans are women and it didn’t make sense that there wasn’t any merchandise for the women to buy when 85% of the consumer market is women! So women are the ones doing all the buying and close to half of all sci-fi fans are women and it just wasn’t adding up. It’s like, why isn’t someone catering to this fan base, because there are so many passionate women who love sci-fi just as much as the men do.
L: Which is definitely true. Whenever I try to buy sci-fi clothes I skip over the girl clothes immediately because there’s never anything available and go straight to the guys, so HerUniverse.com DEFINITELY stood out to me as a fan.
AE: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I have to thank Lucas Films and SyFy cause we just announced a deal with them. Pretty much from the beginning, Lucas Arts gave us the opportunity to make Star Wars merchandise for women right out of the gate and then Syfy as well, they believe in their female fans, are listening to their female fans and I just have to thank them for the opportunity to play with their property.
L: I’m really excited. I cannot wait to see the SyFy designs. Do you personally approve every design?
AE: Yeah, I think the biggest misconception is that HerUniverse was started by someone else and I’m just endorsing the brand. It was my idea from the beginning and I’m involved in every single step. I’m not an artist so I work with an artist to create the look or I can go through Lucas Art’s style guide of images that I can pick out and mix and match things from. I’m involved from the initial concept to the hang tag to the wash and dry test of every shirt. I can’t stand when shirts I buy shrink to half their size so it’s something very, very important to me.
L: That warms my heart because a lot of times, things become commercialized and the personal touch is lost.
AE: HerUniverse is a full-time job. It’s what I do all day long. It needs extra attention and now that we have the new Syfy line coming out I wanna do my best and make sure everything is perfect.
L: I read somewhere online that you designed a dress when you were 11 or 12. Do you plan on expanding HerUniverse to all kinds of clothes? I for one, would embrace a Death Star skirt.
AE: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, I would love to, that’s definitely in the future. The hard part with HerUniverse is I feel there’s so much catch up to do because the guys have so many items. The women don’t have much of anything and it’s kind of overwhelming. Dresses are something I want to get into but it’s going to take a while. Everyone’s body is different and they have to be custom made and printed. We buy the blank t-shirt and do the printing ourselves so dresses are a bit more tricky. Definitely in the future.
L: Let’s talk a little about the Star Wars Tours.
AE: It’s a great event. We just finished the first weekend. It’s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I actually host a show called Behind the Force which is a behind the scenes look into the Clone Wars. It’s such a fun show. We just had Dave Filoni and we’re gonna have Matt Lanter (voice of Anakin) and Tom Kane (voice of Yoda) and it’s just a fun time. I’m really excited because HerUniverse has 2 new shirts and kids shirts for the first time. They’re for sale at Disney which is a dream come true for me. They’re not available retail yet so to walk into Disney World and see them for sale is crazy for me. I was there at 5:45am before anyone else. I took video, I’m such a cheese ball.
L: Do you have any tips for people who want to get into the voice acting industry or just wanna start their own business?
AE: Practice, lots of practice. For voice acting and acting in general, I started out in community theater and got an agent in Orlando where I grew up. The actors unions are very important and must be joined. I’d look up SAG.org and do your research. Listen to people’s voices and get into mimicking until you can carry a full conversation in another voice. You know how people say it’s fun to people watch? Listen to other people. You need to be able to do all kinds of voices on cue. For a business, I don’t know where to begin. If you have a dream to do something, never give up. It sounds cliché and cheesy but it took a good 2 years for HerUniverse to get off the ground. I can’t tell you how many people told me no and it’d never work. If Plan A fails, go to Plan B. I think I went to Plan G before it actually happened. When a door slams, a window opens. I truly believed there was a market for this. Don’t give up and keep going.
L: It’s great that you’re enjoying what you do!
AE: You have to enjoy it otherwise you’ll be miserable!!
Many, many thanks to Ashley for taking the time out to call me. You can meet her at Disney’s Star Wars weekends from May 20th to June 12th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando or at San Diego Comic Con this July. Take a look at the clothing she has available at HerUniverse or check her out at her official website !
I thought this kind of informative writing would be a door opener to those of us wanting to get know characters quickly. If you haven’t branched out and “met” a villain you loved to hate, maybe this will help! I first embraced villains as a young, messy haired girl of four. Speed Racer and Sailor Moon were watched almost 24/7 and let me tell you, Snake Oiler and Queen Beryl ROCKED my world. I don’t know if it was the kick ass clothing or the devious way they held themselves that made them memorable.
Let’s start by defining what a “villain” is. Aw, who are we kiddin’, it’s the bad guy, or in the better story lines, they even become the hero! I’ll begin with a few Marvel villains starting with the metal insanity that is Ultron.
“Hope is a human delusion.”
Ultron is the creation of Henry Pym (also known as Ant-Man) and gradually developes its intelligence to the point where it goes insane. Made from superior adamantium, Ultron is virtually indestructible. His various incarnations range from being “infected” with human emotion to creating Jocasta in his image for a robotic bride. Currently known as Ultron Pym,and banished to ultraspace, it hid its consciousness in an inert Galadorian Spaceknight that re-activated on accident. An Age of Ultron is currently looming.
Ultron’s powers include superhuman levels of strength, speed, stamina, durability, reflexes, subsonic flight and various offensive weapons on top of being a superb roboticist and strategist. Good luck fighting THAT guy!
I suggest picking up Siege event from your local comic book shop, for an especially issues #34-#37 tasty bit of Ultron madness.
“Enjoy your small victory Xavier, for the Age of Apocalypse is nigh!”
Merciless, and brutal, Apocalypse first arrived on the Marvel scene in the 1980’s, as the first mutant. Regardless of being over 5,000 years old, Apocalypse had alien technology that he used to his advantage to implement his “survival of the fittest” mentality, transform and enhance himself, and entered a state of suspended animation. Large, grey skinned and blue lipped, Apocalypse cuts an intimidating figure, especially when flanked by his Four Horsemen.
His mutant powers include shape-shifting on a molecular level, teleportation, immense strength, near invulnerability, rapid regeneration, energy absorption, and projection. He is resistant to telepathy and psychic attack, and may have limited telepathic and telekinetic capabilities of his own. Currently, Apocalypse has been reborn as a child in the new series Uncanny X-Force.
The Age of Apocalypse mini-series is definitely the most popular, and worth some of your time!
As those of you noble comic readers out there know, the first Saturday of May brings a most joyous occasion: Free Comic Book Day. Originally started as a promotional event for comic stores nationwide, it has evolved into a day of fun, cosplay, happiness, and of course, comics!
The day itself has several purposes which include sparking interest in newbies on the comic scene, to thank regular comic readers for their repeated patronage and hell, who cares, it’s FREE! This year there were a total of 37 titles AND a free Green Lantern Heroclix. Most stores allowed 1-3 comics per customer and charged a small fee of either a dime or a quarter for additional comics.
Being the intense well read gal that I am, I swung into work at my comic shop (Keith’s Comics) to help out (you know, cause I work there) and check out the goods. Amidst a decent crowd, I made my way to the designated area and pondered the choices set out for all. Would I want the Green Lantern one that had the largest group over it or would I want Elric by Michael Moorcock (yes, that’s his REAL name!!)? My brain pleaded for me to grab a copy of good ole’ Captain America/Thor but my heart screamed for something new.
As I was arranging comics, I was caught off guard by the raspy breathing of one I know so well. Darth Vader reached over and chose Top 10 Deadliest Sharks and I giggled as I followed him outside to assist, only to see his cohorts waiting.
Outside of the comic store, there were quite a few cosplayers, including some from the Star Garrison of the 501st. The 501st are a Star Wars cosplay group dedicated to getting their costumes as screen accurate as possible.
I walked away that evening with a full heart, my comic choices, and some kickass pictures.
Several people walked in looking to get free comics based on their favorite TV shows and watching them walk out with several new titles to begin their journey is definitely a warm fuzzy feeling as I put everything away.
Hopefully all of you went out and shared in the FCBD festivities, ’cause let’s face it, comics are the backbone of us all.