Sep 30, 2008

What's wrong with my priorities?!

Can't you see?!? I'm too busy playing Lego Batman to BLOG!

Oh yeah, and you can now be a "Fan" of TheNerdyBird.com on Facebook. :)

Sep 29, 2008

Hello, I'm Jill and I'm a Fifth Element Freak.

Hands down. My favorite film of all time. I don't see it being knocked out anytime soon either. I have the tattoo, I think that says it all. But that's a story for another day. Right now we're talking opera.

Continuing a series of coincidences that have been happening lately, I first found out the song from the film was from a real opera when I played it for my Music teacher in class at Ramapo College freshman year. The scene in the film is actually two separate tracks, the first is the song "Lucia Di Lammermoor" ("Il dolce suono") and the second is "The Diva Dance" specifically created for The Fifth Element. My teacher recognized the first track right away and was intrigued by the second.

Of course the coincidence is found in my previous post. I saw Michael Ian Black perform in the same building I viewed the complete opera in years earlier and, in fact, the same building I attended Music class in. While checking for the correct spelling of the opera for my last post I landed on it's Wikipedia page. Turns out it's even more popular then I thought. A Russian pop singer named Vitas covered the film version of the song. I just had to get my hands on it. Thank you YouTube.



It doesn't happen often but I was speechless. A Diva, he is not. Oh well, the original will always be the best anyway.

Sep 27, 2008

STELLA!!!!

They say, "You can't go home again." Does that apply to college too? As my friends and I discovered last night, turns out you can go back to college. You'll just feel like a dad walking in on his teenage daughter's sleep-over if you do.

Why would my friends and I go back to visit our alum Ramapo College you ask? My friend Kevin found out Michael Ian Black, best known for VH1's I Love the...series, Wet Hot American Summer, Ed and the comedy group Stella, was going to be appearing in our very own Berrie Center. Quite an achievement considering the most exciting thing I've ever seen there was an opera called Lucia di Lammermoor. I only attended that because it contained the opera piece "Il dolce suono" that was sung by the Diva Plavalaguna in my favorite movie The Fifth Element. You can see where my cultural priorities lie.

Our plan was to see Michael perform then head over to the Birch and get Late Night. The Birch is one of the dining halls at Ramapo. Late Night was the greatest thing ever invented, a meal after 10 o'clock. We've talked about going back for Late Night before but we couldn't bring ourselves to be that pathetic so seeing Michael first was a perfect excuse. Tickets were actually sold out for the show when we arrived but Kevin was able to somehow convince them to give us "standing-room." I didn't mind, I always bring my own seating with me. :)

Besides the fact that this story involves me, you may be wondering how it qualifies making a blog entry for it here on my nerd blog. Michael was about half-way through his "no material" act when he told us a story about a recent trip to the airport. It went something like this. He got to the gate and, clearly through the very large windows, could see his plane was not there yet. A woman standing next to him asked, "Do you think we'll be boarding soon?" He debated whether or not he should joke with the woman and couldn't resist. "Not unless we're traveling on Wonder Woman's invisible jet," he replied. She was not amused but I howled for that one.

Late Night was a strange yet wonderful experience. We noticed the same people working there four years later. My friend and I fell back into our usual routine of helping me get my food onto my tray. After grabbing just about every culinary masterpiece they had to offer and getting jealous because they now have Cookie Crisp we realized how awkward this all was and left.

Besides the Wonder Woman knowledge he possesses, my other favorite selection from last nights performance was when Michael talked about feuds he's started with other writers (David Sedaris and Tucker Max) on his blog in order to garner more attention for his own book, "My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays that Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face." It gave me an interesting idea. Michael challenged Tucker to a fight. I'm going to challenge Michael Ian Black to a date. Yes, I am aware he's a married man with children and yes, I'm obviously aware I have a boyfriend but seeing as how Michael took my stand-up virginity last night I say he owes me one. What do you say Michael?

Sep 25, 2008

Nerdy Bird and the Cover to Cover

Chapter One: The Girl Who Read

Photo by onourminds at Flickr

I must have been crazy to think I was going to be able to write a full recap entry after being up for 24 hours. But you already know I'm crazy. I stood on line at 3 AM to read for the Harry Potter Cover to Cover Day hosted by Scholastic.

There was no way to accurately gauge what time I should get into the city for the event. It officially started at 8 AM but this was Harry Potter and NYC so to me that meant I had to get there as early as possible. The website said the first 100 people would get the special anniversary edition of Sorcerer's Stone AND another special collectors item and I absolutely couldn't miss that. So a little before 3, after not sleeping at all because that would have just made it worse and armed with my Dark Mark bracelet, I got into the city and avoided meeting eyes with any of the real crazies out at that time (there were plenty). I arrived at the front of the building where the event was being held and there was one person standing there.

He was wearing a green striped tie so I knew he must to be there for the same reason I was but I asked just to make sure. His name was Steve and yes, he was. Thank god! I planned ahead and brought a bunch of things to keep me occupied but luckily Steve was really nice and very talkative so the time just flew by. I found out he was part of the Meetup group, The Group That Shall Not Be Named. I was later told by other members of the group that I was awesome and had to join, no two-ways about it. Fearing a Bat-Bogey hex if I refused, I joined. Happily.

Other members of the group started showing up after 5 and slowly a few others trickled in as well. We had to move at one point because they were installing a red carpet. Yeah, I know, it's not the Academy Awards or anything, it was still awesome. By this time a bathroom trip was becoming a necessity and now that it was getting later places were actually open to use their facilities. Steve and I weren't even gone ten minutes and we came back to that delightful visitor passed out on OUR red carpet (see previous post). He was dispensed with as quickly as possible seeing as how a camera crew was on it's way and it was almost light out.

As it neared 8 AM the tension became unbearable. Steve relinquished his first-place-in-line status to me, which was very generous, but made me even more nervous. The entire day of reading was being broadcast live on the Scholastic website. Considering my job and the fact that I've been on TV every year since I was 7, you'd think I'd be fine. I wasn't.

Before anything started I was told two things. One, the chair that everyone was supposed to read from (the one J.K. Rowling sits in when she does readings in NY) was sitting in their store-front window, up three steps. I could have done it if there was a railing but there wasn't and I knew they wanted to move things along quickly and well, I'm anything but quick. So I was going to be sitting in front of it. Second, I was technically going to be second to read. First was Editor of all the HP books, Arthur Levine.

We were let in a few at a time, handed a release form, then given a marked copy of the new book. I had a few minutes to look it over then I was up! My passage began with, "When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts..." and ended with, "As he drove toward town he though of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day." It was actually a lot less than I thought we were going to have to read. I made it through just in time though, I was shaking so bad I was about to drop the book. When I was off camera my marked copy was taken in exchange for a new, un-marked copy and a beautiful 10th anniversary pin.

Photo by Boeffis at Flickr

Like I said, the whole thing was live on the internet so I didn't get to see myself read but the Scholastic website blog says they'll have a full video archive of the reading up next week. I also mentioned a news crew. NY 1 (a station I don't actually get in NJ) was there for a while and interviewed a bunch of us. When I got home later that day I checked to see if there was a video on there site and sure enough there was. I had been included in it! When I went to go find it again later it had been replaced with different segment from the event BUT I was in this one too! Unfortunately they used the same link so the older video is gone as far as I can tell but here's the link to the second video. The cool thing is, my brother, who gets NY 1, was able to see both pieces on TV. I was also interviewed by Columbia Radio News but I haven't had any luck finding that. There's a bunch of pictures on Flickr and since Scholastic suggested tagging them with CoverToCover it makes them really easy to find.

After all the reading had wrapped up, Scholastic announced they'd be doing the same when the anniversary for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came around. Will I do it again? Absolutely. Will I stay up all night and wait on line at 3 AM? Absolutely not. It was a fun experience but there was really no need for me to get there that early. Even at the time the event started there weren't anywhere near 100 people there. But it was a blast and I met loads of cool folks! Plus, it made my inner (and outer) nerd very happy.

Thanks to Scholastic for making it all happen and to all the employees for being so ridiculously nice to us all. See you next time!


Sep 23, 2008

Should have posted....

I'm safely back home and freshly napped, which didn't really do me any good at all, but it was well worth it. I'm hoping to blog about the entire experience later tonight but until then I wanted to post these two shots that never made it here from my phone. The first was from 6:20 am right after I got back from a bathroom break.

My message would have read: Well, we've got a visitor at the front of the line. I don't think he's a fan. 

Hey, if you were stone cold drunk on the streets of NY I bet a red carpet looks like heaven.

This next one was from 6:50 am.

My message would have read: The sun is finally up! I don't remember where I parked my car. Hmm...

Sadly, that was true. I was too busy having fun to care.

Holy crap! I just read.

Holy crap! I just read. I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life. I was the first after the editor!

It seems my picture messages

It seems my picture messages haven't posted. I'll repost later. If anyone gets NY1 I might be on tv!

I was just told there's

I was just told there's no ramp up to the famous chair. Oh well.

They're rolling out a red

They're rolling out a red carpet! Awesome! It's 5:30. I'm tired. :(

It took me FOREVER to

It took me FOREVER to find parking but I got here at 3am and I'm number two on line. As of 4:45 it's still just two but l'm having a blast!

Yes, I am that crazy.

I'm about to leave for New York City to sit on the street all night just so I can read Harry Potter in the morning. It's 1:30 AM.

This is an old picture from one of the movie releases and yes my shirt says "Harry Potter Makes Me Cry." My friend made that for me after I read Book 6. Not the first time I cried over one of those books but that was a doozy. 

I'm planning on attending the Harry Potter Read-a-Thon at the Scholastic Headquarters. I heard about it a while ago and was sort of back and forth as to whether I was going to go or not. I have no one to go with because either everyone has work tomorrow morning or they aren't nearly as crazy as I am. I have no idea if I'm going to get there ridiculously early (so I can be one of the readers) or if I'm going to get there too late but I have to at least try.

I set my cell phone up so I can mobile blog but I haven't really tried it out yet. I'll see if I can send a few tidbits or pictures while I'm waiting. Wish me luck! I'm off to buy some snacks and a very large coffee.

Sep 22, 2008

The nine month wait was WELL worth it. (Heroes Spoilers)

Wow. Just. Wow.

Season 3 of Heroes kicked-off with a two-hour bang tonight. After nine months I got all I wanted and lots, lots more. Let's just start with the biggie. Sylar FINALLY got his hands on Claire's powers. And as you can see, it wasn't pretty. Not only did Sylar poke around in her brain (What? Did you think he was going to eat it too?) but he left her alive and she can no longer feel any pain. That poor cheerleader is going to be seriously screwed up after this. 

There were a lot of switcheroo's going on in these two episodes. It was tough keeping up at times. Future Peter took the place of Present Day Peter and left Present Day Peter in the body of a villain imprisoned on the dreaded Level 5 and left poor Matt in an African desert. Niki's back in action (your guess is as good as mine), this time as Tracy and seriously confusing Nathan who, by the way, is alive after being shot by Future Peter. Linderman was back which made me happy but confused again. That is until we find out Nathan is definitely (probably) imagining him. Hiro travels to the future and sees his Future Self arguing with Future Ando who, turns out, is a Sith Lord and probably the Emperor's Apprentice. This obviously bothers Present Day Hiro but not enough to stop him from making amazing Batman, Robin and Catwoman references. To top it all off we found out Momma Petrelli had three sons, not two as previously believed. And the third son doesn't like the taste of brains.

Oh and Mohinder turned himself into Spider-Man.

Sep 19, 2008

Namaste

Just a heads up for those of you who were interested, the "recruiting" portion of the Lost ARG now has a deadline. All tests must be completed by 12 pm (PDT) October 7, 2008.


I first told you about the new Lost Experience game back in May after the season finale. The recruitment began at the San Diego Comic Con where fans got to take the initial tests in a fun little booth. For those who weren't able to attend SDCC *cough*me*cough* the test was available soon after online at DharmaWantsYou.com

So far I haven't been impressed. It's basically one long drawn out IQ test with pretty graphics and soothing music. After the recruitment program closes we'll each receive our own "Volunteer Assessment Dossier." I guess that could be cool. After each test we were placed in several categories named for Greek mythological characters. No idea what that's about yet but the number of categories grew larger with each test. Also, there's apparently cheats for each test which can be found on several of the Lost fan sites if you so wish to go that route. I did not.

Pretty much everyone is assuming this is just the first phase to the Lost ARG because if it's not, this was pretty lame for Lost standards. But I'm keeping an open mind. If you don't have the patience to stick it out but are still interested in following the progress the Lostpedia page on DharmaWantsYou.com has a decent account of what's happened so far. They've even got the SDCC videos and the videos from the site itself up there too. I'd play along even if you're just remotely interested just in case your participation in the next phase is contingent on having completed this one.

January, if you could get here just a little bit faster I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Sep 18, 2008

The Nerdy Bird Adores - Superman #679

I fell behind on my latest adoration because of vacation but this one was too good to just let slide. If James Robinson isn't in a long-term committed relationship I'll be damned. That man wrote one of the most realistic and truthful scenes between a couple that I've ever read in a comic. It involved a flashback Lois has while Clark is busy fighting Atlas. I'm mostly gonna let Robinson's work speak for itself here with just a few interjections because it's that good.

"Is this about (insert woman's name here)?" If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that one and every time it led to a fight with a significant other. Not just with me but probably every girl I've ever known. Boys, don't even ask that question. If you have to ask, the answer's probably yes. Of course Clark, naive farm-boy that he is, has no idea what he's about to step into.

"Because she's amazing and she wears fishnets." Duh, Clark. Obviously.

Even though Lois is in her ridiculous I-hate-how-I-look time-of-the-month phase Clark knows just what to say. Plus he doesn't have to think about it, it comes natural to him. He still might not understand exactly why Lois is acting this way but all it takes is some of that farm-boy charm and a simple, "I've had a big life, you know that. But you're the one I've spent that life waiting to love," and...

...voilà! Lois is the happiest, most content woman in the world again. Boys, you'd do well to commit this scene to memory and use it in one of those BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY moments. Trust me, if you're sincere, it'll get you out of the dog house. You can learn from Superman. And James Robinson.

Sep 17, 2008

Skynet is sexier than ever!

Come to think of it, sexy isn't really something Skynet is usually associated with at all. Shiny would probably be a more appropriate description. Though I must confess to a few improper thoughts about Robert Patrick back in the day. But I digress, Skynet is sexy NOW and it's all because of their new face of cosmetics, I mean, CEO, Shirley Manson.

I'll admit to some bias here. I love Shirley Manson and everything she does. Well, except for when she cut off all her hair and dyed it blonde, but hey, people yell at me for that on occasion too. Her addition to the cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a cool choice. Making her a Terminator was even cooler.

This is precisely why I avoid spoilers at all costs. Although I had my suspicions during the episode it was nerdtastic watching Shirley (Catherine Weaver) transform at the end. Fox is calling her model the T-1001, one step above Robert Patrick's character from Terminator 2. Even though the Connor's have taken out a few regular Terminators already in the show, and rather easily I might add, we know that the 1000 series are harder to kill. From what we've seen of her character so far it's becoming apparent she's not here for the Connor's at all but only to insure the development of Skynet. Does that mean if she passed one of them on the street she'd keep on walking? We'll see.

Another great reason for having Shirley in the cast is they get to take advantage of her musical talent. Bear McCreary, of Battlestar Galactica fame, also composes for TSCC and was thrilled when he heard about the casting. He was worried about using another song after the well-postioned montage to Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" last season but he eventually, um, came around.

A traditional song called "Samson and Delilah" was chosen to kick of the season. It's been recorded by a wide variety of artists over the years including the Grateful Dead. McCreary and Manson's version will be included on the first soundtrack to the series and he explains his composing process in depth on his blog if you want to know more. Here is how it was used in the show.



Awesome, right? Unfortunately the only not-so-awesome thing also occurs within the first five minutes. My Venture Bros. pal James Urbaniak (Sarkissian) gets killed off. I was so disappointed! I thought he was going to play a big role in the second season and I was really looking forward to him playing a serious villain. He shared some positive news on his livejournal from TSCC story editor Zack Stentz: 
Just because we killed you...doesn't mean we didn't love you. Many were the discussions in the writers' room about the fate of "Dr. Venture," as we referred to the character. And since what happened in the attic is in many ways the central trauma of season two, we're going to be seeing more of Mr. Urbaniak in a future episode.
It may not be a permanent gig but it's something. And as a little aside, Urbaniak also announced he started recording for Venture Bros. Season 4 already so that's good news too.

Anyway I'm really looking forward to this season of TSCC. I always thought there was so much untapped potential in the plain old liquid Terminators. Though there has to be something different about Shirley's model, hence the 1001. Could it be some sort of emotion or what passes for emotion for a Terminator? We saw Cameron profess "love" in the season premiere and Shirley told a dead man, "the feeling's mutual." Who cares about emotions? She's sexy.

Sep 16, 2008

May they live long and prosper together.

Congratulations to Star Trek and Heroes star George Takei! He married his longtime partner Brad Altman this past Sunday in a multi-cultural ceremony in California.

Takei and Altman were one of the first couples to acquire a marriage license when California began granting them on June 17. Before the very public ceremony Takei spoke to the Associated Press
We have a relationship that's been stronger and longer-lived than some of our straight friends, and yet we were not equal. What this does is give us that dignity; (it's) being part of the American system and being whole. We're making the American system whole as well, as America is becoming more equal.
Fellow Star Trek alum Walter Koenig served as Best Man while Nichelle Nichols took the title of Best Lady at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum, where the event was held. A Buddhist Priest presided over the ceremony and Native American wedding bands were exchanged between the couple who have been together for over 21 years.

While clad in a white tuxedo jacket and black pants Takei vowed, "To care for you as you've cared for me, cherish you with all my heart, and love you as my husband and the only man in my life." Altman, dressed identically, said, "Beginning today, a dream comes true for me. I can add "my husband" to the list of things I call you."

Guests left with favors on which was inscribed: May sweet equality live long and prosper.

Sep 12, 2008

Nerdy News

Playing a bit of catch up in this edition of Nerdy News. A fan favorite leaves his regular gig in favor of personal work, the Goddamn Batman wants an Oscar and the man who could make any situation sound dire passes away.

James Jean will no longer be drawing covers for Fables after issue 81. I can not tell you how sad this makes me. I heard the news just before leaving for vacation which was even worse. Jean has created every cover for almost eight years now and will be finishing with the end of an arc instead of a round number like 100.

Jean is leaving to focus primarily on his painting and other personal work. In a message to the Fables team he wrote, "This is a difficult email for me to write. Don't worry...as far as I know, I don't have any tumors or crippling neuroses, and my taxes are in order. But I feel like I'm breaking up with the prom queen on prom night, after having dated through grades 6 - 12." Fables won't be the same without him and whoever steps up next has some mighty shoes to fill. Hopefully the Fables Covers book coming out in November will contain his complete work on the series. It would be kind of lame if it didn't but who knows if they had enough notice to do so.

__________________________________________________________


The Goddamn Batman will not go softly into the night nor the beginning of next year for that matter. Warner Bros. announced this week it will be re-releasing The Dark Knight in January, just in time for the Academy Awards voting season.

There were talks long before the film was even released of an Oscar-worthy performance by Heath Ledger but now it seems Warner is going all-out to get as many of the gold statues as they can. According to the article, "Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Dan Fellman acknowledged ongoing talks with IMAX execs over the prospect of restoring the Christian Bale starrer to some giant-screen venues in January. It's uncertain if "Dark Knight" also will reappear in conventional venues at that point." 

Even though the movie is no where close to being done in theaters yet and the DVD is set to be released in December it's a great way to boost it's box office take in the hopes of beating Titanic.

__________________________________________________________


In a world where movie trailers were boring and crappy, one man defied and conquered them all. His name was Don LaFontaine.

Unfortunately we'll no longer have the pleasure of hearing this man's amazing bass tones on the big screen. He passed away September 1 at the age of 68 from complications in the treatment of an ongoing illness in his lungs.

LaFontaine worked in the industry since 1962 and has voiced over 5,000 trailers in his lengthy and successful career. He was nicknamed "Thunder Throat" and "The Voice of God" and was responsible for the infamous and highly used trailer catch phrase, "In a world where..." He also worked in television and was prominently featured parodying himself in a GEICO commercial in the last few years. That was a rare on-screen appearance for LaFontaine who insisted he never cared no one knew his name or face.

Some of the most notable trailers from his past included Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Batman Returns but I remember him most as the voice in the opening credit sequence for Xena: Warrior Princess. He became so popular in the industry he actually hired a driver to take him from studio to studio to avoid finding parking. That is, until the technology was developed that enabled him to work solely out of his home. He's another master that will be tough to top or replace.

Never fear, The Nerdy Bird is here!

Don't fret loyal blog readers! I haven't been sucked into another dimension or become the new companion for the Doctor (not yet anyway, but I've got my fingers crossed). I was just on vacation. And boy did I need it.

The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for MDA was fun and exciting as usual but also exhausting. My one scheduled appearance turned into three in the last hour of the show which was a surprise. I gave an award to my good friend John Shatesky for the video he produced for last years Telethon. You can view his award winning profile plus a few others he's done, including the most recent, on his YouTube Channel. I also had a chat with Giovanna and another with Tony and Russ later on. They're all sweethearts.

All in all it was a very successful Telethon. We raised a total of $65,031,393 — $1.2 million more than last year which is always what we strive for. Thanks so much to anyone who donated this year. I don't have any video to share yet but as soon as I do I'll post it here.

I apologize for the lack of posting since then. I actually planned on pre-writing a few reviews to post while I was on vacation but I was too busy leading up to the Telethon to do so. Then I figured I'd post one or two things while I was away and well, frankly, I was too damn relaxed. So there are my excuses, take em' or leave em'. 

One of the best things about vacation is finding deliveries of stuff for yourself when you come home again. I'd almost forgotten I ordered some t-shirts from Threadless before I left because they were having a sale. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my newest addition: Dark Side of the Garden.

Sorry fellas but unless you're an XS or a 3XL you're out of luck for now on this print but the girls can go wild! I actually have a few other shirts from them now and I'm really loving them. I'm saving to reveal one of the others for another time because it's that fantastic.

Anyway, it seems like I've missed a lot while I was gone so I'll be playing catch-up in the next few days. I finished Season 4 of Doctor Who (which I may or may not be able to talk about just yet), the man with the best trailer voice ever passed away, just when I thought I couldn't love Shirley Manson any more I was proved wrong and I found out Frank Miller REALLY likes to curse. Oh wait, I knew that last one already.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Sep 2, 2008

Can droids inhale?

Check out this awesome PSA from 1981 put out by Lucas Film and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


"R2, do you really think I don't have a heart?" Dear god that's heartbreaking! Now, is it just me or does R2D2 kinda sound like he's smoking a bong in the beginning there? 

Thanks to my buddy Joe for passing this along to me. :)