Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Signing off for the holidays!

Just wanted to wish each and every one of you all the best for the holidays, and here's hoping your 2010 is spectacular. Thank you so much for visiting this blog and for sharing all your wonderful (and hilarious) comments with me. They pretty much make my day. You guys are the very best!

I'll start posting again after the New Year. In the meantime, have a great end of 2009!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Odds & Ends: Sir Patrick, "Chuck" marathon, the first Christmas card and Jack Bauer

+ At least he's already used to being called Sir. Patrick Stewart, he of the sexy cranium and purr-worthy voice, is reportedly on the list to be knighted. A well-deserved honor indeed!

+ With "Chuck" returning for its third season on NBC starting January 10, SyFy is offering up an eight-hour "Chuck" marathon to get you back in the spying mood. The marathon starts on January 7 and runs from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

+ Want to impress your office mates at this year's Christmas party? Here's some arcane trivia on the very first Christmas card ever sent. All the best inventions are born out of laziness, aren't they?

+ Did everyone watch "The Waters of Mars" on BBC America this past Saturday? Did you love it? Find out if it made "Who" (re-)creator Russell T. Davies' list of favorite Doctor Who moments. It's a great list. You can tell Rusty enjoys himself!

+ If you haven't seen it already, the folks at Rebel Christmas Card have imagined what would happen if "24"'s Jack Bauer interrogated Santa Claus. I'm all for anything that makes fun of Jack Bauer, so enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What I'll Miss About Tennant's Perfect Ten

When David Tennant's final "Doctor Who" episode airs in the UK on New Year's Day and in the US the day after, I along with millions of other viewers will be curled up in a ball on the sofa, weeping with as much dignity as I can muster while maturely trying to tell myself, "We were lucky to have him as long as we did."

As the end draws near, I've been trying to think of what I'll miss most about Tennant's portrayal of the Tenth Doctor, and I think I've narrowed it down to this: everything. I'll miss everything about it. But here are a few things I'll miss most:

That frenetic mad man energy
Watching Tennant's Doctor was, at times, like watching an extremely bouncy ball ricochet off around in an extremely small box. I got tired sometimes just watching it. Tennant displayed boundless energy, playing a man who never, ever wanted to slow down. Sure, that hyperactivity rankled some viewers, but I loved it. It made me want to bounce right along with him. (But I didn't. Women my age should rarely, if ever, bounce.)

The sincerity
If David Tennant put on his sincere face and tried to sell me a bridge to the Moon, I would hand him my checkbook without hesitation. The man's performances were always 100 percent sincere by which I mean, he looked like he believed every single thing his character said. We've all seen actors who look embarrassed to be uttering the words they're given - *cough*cast of Star Trek Voyager*cough* - but Tennant's utter sincerity helped sell even the most outrageous plot points and rhino-headed aliens.

That face
Beyond the very good looks, Tennant has a face that does more in silence than it does with words. You could always see the Doctor's rage or mirth or fear bubbling up in Tennant's eyes well before any words of dialogue were spoken. Just watch "Midnight" when the Doctor is paralyzed and speechless or sniffle your way through the end of "Doomsday" when he stands silently at the wall where Rose disappeared, and you'll see what I mean. Also, he can do fearsome things with an eyebrow raise. I'm just saying, if there were an Olympic competition for eyebrow raising, he would be Michael Phelps.

The hair
Oh, that hair. It should have its own spin-off, that hair. I don't even know what to say about it except that it achieved spectacular heights and I shall miss wondering what the hell it will look like next. It was my favorite gel-slathered mystery of all...which sounds entirely more dirty than I meant it.

The fan-boy enthusiasm
The beautiful thing about David Tennant is that he's the biggest "Who" nerd of them all, and he's not ashamed to show it. (Well, maybe a little bit.) Knowing that the actor playing the part is an even bigger fan than half the audience gives the show and everything around it an added dimension of fun. Besides, who doesn't get a kick out of seeing Tennant pull some obscure fact about Davros out of the air and then thinking to yourself, "Phew, at least I'm not that much of a geek." Aaand then the doorbell rings, the mailman delivers your life-sized Dalek and your geek cover's blown all over again.

The end of the Russell T. Davies era
I know a lot of people moan about RTD and "ooh, there's too much romance" and "ooh, the Doctor's too sad" but without Davies, there would be no New Who to complain about and obsess over. Personally, I love his stories and think he's a wonderful writer who resurrected a timeless (no pun intended) character and gave him new life. With Tennant's departure comes Davies' departure, and I'll miss them both.

How about you? What will you miss most when Tennant departs?

Thursday Odds & Ends: Iron Man 2, Colbert, Doctor Who, Spock monkey and puppets

+ WOW! The new "Iron Man 2" trailer is out and all I can say is, "I want to see this now, please!" Check it out and let me know what you think.

+ Former Nerd Man of the Month Stephen Colbert was on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" this week. The SI site has outtakes from his photo shoot. As you probably know, Colbert's show will be sponsoring the U.S. Speedskating team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Seriously, that man has the best promotions people in the world.

+ Here's an interview with J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Damon Lindelof and other folks behind "Lost," "Fringe," "Star Trek" and basically everything our little nerd hearts desire.

+ Speaking of "Lost," here's a new poster that, rumor has it, may contain some clues to the new season. Thanks @davidmanly for the tip!

+ Here's a new Doctor Who "End of Time" trailer. I can't wait for this!

+ Make your own Spock monkey! It's so cute! (via @TNRLM)

+ Jason Segel AND Craig Ferguson AND puppets AND Dracula? It doesn't get much better than that! Segel performed "Dracula's Lament" from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" on the Ferguson show the other night.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Odds & Ends: "Alice," Fillion, "Prince of Persia," General Zod, chunky Earths and Barrowman

Here's a fun fact about cats - if you take them to the vet and the term "anal gland" enters the mix, said cat will not talk to you for the rest of the day and in fact, will sit with her back to you and use her telepathy to swear like a profane kitty sailor. This is a fact.

And now on with the news:

+ Check out this amazing new trailer from Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." I will, of course, go see anything that Tim Burton makes, aside from babies and hams, but I'm really excited about this movie.

+ Nathan Fillion would make a fabulous replacement for Regis Philbin one day. (A girl can dream, right?) Here he interviews "Castle" co-star Stana Katic, and reveals that his "cult status" is "the pope." I love him.

+ I've had less than zero interest in seeing the "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" movie with Jake Gyllenhaal. That's changed though now that A) I found out it's directed by Mike Newell, of all people and B) I saw this behind-the-scenes preview which actually made it look pretty entertaining. Whether it's entertaining enough to forgive Gyllenhaal's hair, well, we'll have to see about that...

+ If I had a lot of money, like to the extent where I was just setting it on fire for fun, I would love to get one of these General Zod 12-inch action figures. Of course, if I had enough money to burn, I might just try to get Terence Stamp to sit on my front porch and randomly shout, "Kneel before Zod!" to whoever passes by.

+ Astronomers have discovered six "super-Earths" orbiting nearby stars. Apparently, the term "super-Earths" has nothing to do with superheroes but instead means just really large Earth-like planets, which all prefer being called "big boned." Scientists say this is a huge advance in planet-detecting technology (the discovery of the planets, not the thing about big-boned).

+ "Buffy" alumnus Nicholas Brendon is now on Twitter.

+ And simply because it's Wednesday and Wednesday seems like the perfect day for show tunes, here's singing John Barrowman "Anything Goes."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Odds & Ends: NPH, Lost, history of lights, John Noble and science writing

+ As I wrestle with decorating my currently naked Christmas tree, I was fascinated with this article on Gizmodo about the history of Christmas lights. Let's just say I'm glad I live in an age where I don't have to stand by with buckets of sand when lighting the festive tree candles.

+ Speaking of hot things, Neil Patrick Harris will get to show off his musical skills again in the 100th episode of "How I Met Your Mother," when he and the rest of the cast perform an ode to suits.

+ Here are the first publicity photos released for the upcoming season of "Lost." Sure, they look pretty much like a series of expensive GAP ads, but it's always nice to see Ben and his creepy stare. Spoiler alert: don't look at these if you don't want to know who may or may not be returning to the series.

+ AFI has announced their list of the top ten movies and TV shows of 2009. "Big Bang Theory" and "True Blood" made the cut as did "Coraline" and "Up."

+ I agree one hundred percent with this essay on why John Noble should win an Emmy for "Fringe." He's absolutely brilliant in that series.

+ Geek Dad over at Wired has a nifty review on a new compendium on modern science writing, edited by Richard Dawkins. I'll definitely be putting this on my to-read list.

+ And, based on some requests, I've added a few new products to The Park Bench store over at Cafe Press. Get 'em while they're hot!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Park Bench T-Shirts Want to Live in Your Closet

Just in time for the holidays...or actually, almost too late for the holidays but still in time for that festive month of January...we've got some Park Bench accessories for you and yours. There's t-shirts (long and short sleeved) as well as hoodies and the always popular mug option, all emblazoned with the image below:

It's got yer mad scientist, it's got yer nerdery, it's got yer brain in a jar...what says "happy holidays" better than that? So if you'd like to support The Park Bench and show some nerd pride as well, please visit our fledgling little Cafe Press shop. I hope you like it! And definitely let me know if you see any glitches or anything I need to add because, as with most things, I have no idea what I'm doing. A big thanks to designer extraordinaire and all-around nice guy Manning Krull for his awesome illustration.

And a big thanks to all of you guys, too, for reading The Park Bench! You're the best!

Friday Odds & Ends: Natalie Portman & zombies, Doctor Who clip, LEGOs and Trek

+ Well, I'd call this a perfect bit of casting: Natalie Portman will star in the film version of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." If she survived "The Phantom Menace," she can survive anything.

+ There's a very cute new preview clip out today from the upcoming Doctor Who "End of Time" two-parter, the one I'll be watching while curled in the fetal position weeping bitterly. Anyway, I'll just post the link here since one of the guest cast members is visible in the still frame of the video, and I don't want to get cited for spoilers.

+ Check out this preview of the new LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1 through 4 game. I wish my LEGOs could have done all this cool stuff when I was a kid. Thanks, Emily, for the link!

+ Have you ever wanted to Tweet in Klingon? Of course you have. And now you can, with this handy Klingon Tweet converter. If you want to confuse your friends today, hands down this is the best way. Thanks to Megan for the tip!

+ There's a new film project out soon directed by "Buffy" alumni Amber Benson and Adam Busch, and starring fellow "Buffy" alumnus Jonathan Woodward and former "Freaks and Geeks" cast member Samm Levine. It's called "Drones" and here's a trailer.

+ I want this menorah. Way to hand-craft some nerdy holiday cheer!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Odds & Ends (Way Late Edition): Nobels, Day, Levi and iPhones

Just a few quick nuggets today, and also a sincere thanks to everyone who's been sharing tales of their own nerdy humiliations in the comments section of yesterday's post. You've had me in stitches with some of these stories, and I very much appreciate the sharing!

+ A tip of the hat to the world's brainiest ladies - a record five women were awarded Nobel Prizes this year in fields as varied as literature and economics.

+ Speaking of smart chickies, Felicia Day will be guest starring on Fox's "Lie to Me" this coming Monday, and rumor has it, she'll be doing a bit of singing. Now if only Captain Hammer would turn up as well...

+ Pining for some "Chuck?" Here's 10 Questions with Zachary Levi. They're all trick questions and story problems - those TV Guide people are total bastards!

+ Students from the University of Michigan have learned how to use iPhones as musical instruments. Is there nothing those phones can't do? Well, fly. I know they can't do that. Not well, at least.

+ And finally, if things work out, there may be a Park Bench t-shirt available for purchase and frequent wearing quite soon. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Nerd humiliation: the gift that keeps on giving

Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of being a nerd is the social awkwardness and tendency toward humiliation that often comes with it. This is, of course, a stereotype but one which for me, as you know, has always been true. Cases in point: I've yet to meet a flight of stairs that didn't want to teach me a lesson about gravity. If there's a way to mangle somebody's name or engage in a sweaty palmed handshake with a superior, I'm your girl. There's at least a 90 percent chance that whatever food I eat also will end up somewhere on my person. There are the guffaws that turn into snorts so spectacular I'm lucky my teeth don't end up in my sinus cavities, and then there are the times I just flat out accidentally drool. In short, if there's a way for me to look stupid, I'm gonna grab it with both hands...and then probably fall down.

So why bring this up? Because in the past, whenever I made an ass of myself, I assumed it was just something I'd grow out of. I've assumed that for well-on 20 years now, and yesterday, I finally realized the terrible truth: age does not cure a propensity for humiliation. If anything, age just makes the falling down and drooling sadder.

Yesterday, I spent an hour and a half in an important business meeting, one which I'd been preparing for over the course of several days. I had my papers in order, my outfit selected. I made sure all zippers were zipped and that my clodhoppers were covered in slip-proof shoes. Despite my best preparations, I discovered after the meeting had ended that I'd been sitting there the entire time with a dried flap of make-up hanging off my upper lip. You remember when the Nazis melted in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and their flesh just kind of slid off their faces? Yeah, like that, only worse because IT HAPPENED TO ME. And there wasn't any context. Face melting needs context.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm exaggerating and it wasn't that bad, but sweet fancy Moses, I sat through a whole meeting with that damn thing waggling there on my face like a big flappy dolphin tail. Someone's probably writing a folk song about it right now.

I should be used to this sort of thing by now, but as I said, I'd always hoped that age would rectify these issues. Normal women, no doubt, would have checked their faces before getting out of the car. Me? No, I was preoccupied listening to a song about cricket and thinking about a McGriddle when I stepped out of the car, feeling foolishly confident because I'd managed to accessorize. And then hubris bit my ass!

So, I write this simply to warn others out there. Don't ever be lulled into a sense of complacency, thinking you've conquered that tendency toward misaligning your blouse buttons and showing boob at a funeral. Time heals no nerdy wounds, self-inflicted or otherwise. We're on our own with our social clumsiness. We must be vigilent! Only we can prevent shame...and forest fires...but mostly shame.

Wednesday Odds & Ends: Mobius bagels, old school "Star Trek," Mr. Burns and master's degrees

+ I need to go buy some six or seven thousand test bagels right now. Why? Because apparently it's possible to cut them into Mobius strips which is pretty much the coolest thing ever. Thing of the cream cheese possibilities!

+ Speaking of cheese, SFX Magazine was touting this original "Star Trek the Motion Picture" making-of featurette this morning on Twitter. I'm pretty sure the guy who narrated it is the same guy who narrated every single short film ever created in the 1970s. Also, there's shots of a slim Shatner chewing gum. Le rowr.

+ Rumor has it that John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway might be joining the cast of "Spider Man 4."

+ Did you know that "The Simpsons" Mr. Burns won the write-in vote for New York City mayor in this year's election? He earned 10 percent of the vote, snatching victory from the likes of such fictional and dead luminaries as Mickey Mouse, Alfred E. Newman and Sleeping Beauty. Thanks, Megan, for the link!

+ If you were a fan of Spaulding Gray, this might spark your interest: Steven Soderbergh has made a documentary on Gray and it's set to debut at this year's Slamdance festival. I saw a few of Gray's stage shows in Ann Arbor way back when, and he was an extraordinary performer. I'm looking forward to this film.

+ If I had a million dollars, I'd go to college forever and earn ridiculous degree after ridiculous degree. Should that ever happen, Mental Floss has composed a handy list of "13 Incredibly Focused Graduate Programs." I'd love to see video of what happens when some 22 year old kid announces to his parents that he'd like a few extra bucks to earn that Beatles master's degree. Hilarity and weeping ensues...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Monday Odds & Ends (Afternoon Edition): Potter, Whedon, spaceships, artists and dorks

+ If you can't wait to see the new footage from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" promised with tomorrow's DVD release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," well, then here it is a day early:

+ Want to hear what Joss Whedon has to say about why he thinks "Dollhouse" was cancelled? Here's a pretty expansive interview with the man himself.

+ Virgin Galactic unveiled its commercial spaceship this morning. It looks like a really big plane. Couldn't he have made it flashier, like maybe added a faux warp drive? C'mon, Branson, I expect a little more Buck Rogers for my dollar!

+ Check out these gorgeous portraits of sci-fi and other authors created by comic book artists. They're really lovely.

+ So apparently, the decade is ending. I sort of had forgotten that until I started noticing all these "Best of the Decade" lists cropping up. Seems like kind of an important thing to know.... Oh well! Time is relative. And with that, here's a list of the decade's most lovable TV dorks.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday Odds & Ends: "Who," Cameron, "Buck Rogers," cool architecture and kitty!

+ I loved this list by SFX of the "27 Things SFX Loves About New Who." I agreed with just about all of them, and it's a nice little look back.

+ I'm sneaking this one in just under the wire, but apparently today at 3 p.m. EST, director James Cameron is doing a live Q&A about "Avatar." I wish I had more interest in seeing this movie, but it's just not doing it for me yet.

+ Hey, there's going to be a new "Buck Rogers" web series! Below is a preview clip, which, as Topless Robot pointed out, is really pretty but really dull. But it's pretty!

+ Check out this proposed garden residential building that might one day soon be built in Chongqing, China. Designed by MAD Architects, it's called the Urban Forest. It's pretty nifty, although I might be just slightly terrified to live there.

+ And finally, because it's a bit of a slow news day and because I could use some stress relief, let's all take a few moments to appreciate the splendor of the legendary Surprised Kitty.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wednesday Odds & Ends: King, Holmes, Greatest American Hero, typewriters and prodigies

+ Stephen King is mulling over ideas for a sequel to "The Shining," which would follow creepy Big Wheel-riding kid Danny Torrence as an adult. I get chills just thinking about that damn movie.

+ Back in my day, when projectors were powered by steam and popcorn cost half a penny, we didn't like having our seats shaken during movies. Now, though, ten theaters across the U.S. will be equipped with special motion seats that will jostle you around during bits of the new "Sherlock Holmes" movie. Hmm, vibrating seats and a Robert Downey Jr. movie...I can see a certain audience appeal for this.

+ If you're of a certain age -- say, mine, for example -- you quite possibly have fond memories of a TV show called "The Greatest American Hero," which is now available on Hulu. Now, you can relive the glory -- or be sadly disappointed that it doesn't live up to your memories. Either way, it'll kill 45-minutes of your work day.

+ Brilliant writer Mindy Kaling, aka Kelly on "The Office," is teaming up with fellow "Office" writer Brent Forrester to pen a script for a new film called "The Low Self Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie." The movie follows the story of a woman whose low self esteem has her thinking she can only date losers.

+ In sad Luddite news, Cormac McCarthy's 50 year old typewriter finally gave up the ghost, no doubt yielding to depression after logging an estimated five million words for the cheery author. McCarthy is auctioning the typewriter, which is estimated to sell for $15,000 to $20,000. It's okay though - McCarthy's purchased a new typewriter for $11 so he's going to break even.

+ Were you a brilliant child? There's hope for you yet! Check out this list of "Nine Child Prodigies (Who Actually Ended Up Doing Something)." If only I was nine years old and a genius, that story would totally make me feel better. Maybe if I pretended to be nine years old....well, I suppose my husband would go to prison. Okay, scrap that.

So how's your day going? Read any good books lately?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Torchwood, Douglas Adams, Iron Man 2, Lost and great Scots

+ Good news for "Torchwood" fans: John Barrowman confirmed in a radio interview yesterday that the series will be back for a full 13-episode run. Fingers crossed they keep up the stellar quality of the "Children of Earth" mini-series.

+ Do you have a bathtub? Would you like a new one? Or rather a slightly used one? Well, you're in luck. Douglas Adams' bathtub -- the one in which he apparently soaked when he needed ideas -- is up for sale on eBay. You still have one day and a few hours left in the auction, so gather up your rubber duckies and start bidding!

+ Check out the swanky new poster for "Iron Man 2." I personally can't wait for this sequel.

+ Speaking of highly anticipated movies, USA Today has a small behind-the-scenes article on part one of the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" films.

+ Have you seen this awesome "Lost" promo from Spain, featuring the cast as chess pieces? I got goosebumps watching it. Hurry back to my TV screen, "Lost," I miss you!

+ And finally, David Tennant has finished fifth in the "Greatest Scot" contest, behind those slackers Robert Burns, William Wallace and some fellow who invented penicillin. As if that wasn't enough, David also will be featured as The Doctor on a new commemorative Royal Mint coin, giving women everywhere a whole new reason to carry change in their pockets. "What's that jangling?" "Oh, it's just Janet, she loves a good commemorative coin." Thus ends my Royal Mint fan fiction.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nerd Man of the Month: Hugh Laurie

At first blush, Hugh Laurie may not seem like an obvious choice for Nerd Man of the Month, what with him being a network TV superstar for playing a misanthropic, drug-abusing doctor on FOX's "House." Upon closer examination, however, the man fits four very important criteria that I've just now made up: he's very, very smart; he's a comedy icon; he's written a novel; and he's English. That's pretty much what it takes to earn the honor these days...and by "these days," I mean, of course, November. Well done, Hugh!

First, let's take a look at that "smart" category. The fellow earned a degree from Cambridge University and studied archaeology and anthropology while having the very good sense to date classmate Emma Thompson, who, as we all know, should have her own wing in the Museum of Awesome Women. (A quick aside: Emma Thompson is the best realistic cryer in movies. Ever.) Oh, and let's talk about that whole "writing a novel" thing -- called "The Gun Seller," it was a spoof of the thriller genre and you know what? It was really good. Couple that with his genuine musical talent and it appears we might have a Renaissance Man on our hands.

And boy oh boy, Hugh Laurie is ridiculously funny. I was a huge fan of Fry and Laurie growing up, and fell in love with their sketch comedy show. Check out this bit featuring a man with a very unusual last name:

Then there was "Blackadder" with Rowan Atkinson. Laurie is hysterically funny as the sunny-natured by irredeemably stupid Prince George. A kind-hearted person has compiled a few fine Prince George moments below:

And then we had the marvelous "Jeeves and Wooster" series, based on the P.G. Wodehouse novels. (And in no way was my choice of Laurie swayed this month by the fact that I've been reading Wodehouse. No way. Uh-uh. Maybe a little.) Laurie played the wonderfully wide-eyed and chronically ridiculous Bertie Wooster, a fellow who would be lost without his faithful manservant Jeeves.

Along the way, there have been other terrific roles in "Sense and Sensibility," "Stuart Little" and oh yes, that "House" program in which he is simply riveting, giving a performance week after week that is so good, it makes you forgive and forget some of the weaknesses of the show itself. He's like the Superman of that series, propping up awkward storylines in a single charismatic bound.

So, for being smart, funny, literate and English, The Park Bench is pleased to name Hugh Laurie as Nerd Man of the Month for November.

Monday Odds & Ends: awesome deleted scenes, gifts for TV junkies, Eccleston, smart people and microbes

Hope all you American sorts had a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend, and for everyone else, well, I hope you had a wonderful regular-sized weekend! Now on with the newsy nuggets:

+ Here's a handy compilation of 40 deleted scenes from top sci-fi movies including "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Terminator," "Iron Man" and more. Who knew Han Solo originally had a chickie by his side in the cantina scene? Okay, probably a lot of people, but it was news to me!

+ Television Without Pity has a gift guide for TV junkies, which includes...wait for it...Dharma Initiative jump suits! I want one, and when I get it, I'm going to line it with flannel and use it as my winter couch potato uniform. It'll dub it my Ben Linus snuggie.

+ Last month's Nerd Man winner Christopher Eccleston has been cast as John Lennon in a biopic for BBC 4 called "Lennon Naked," chronicling the years 1967 to 1971. In a funny "Who"-vian coincidence, "Torchwood"'s Naoko Mori will play Yoko Ono. The film will air next year. Thanks, Michele, for the tip!

+ Ever wonder which American city has the smartest people? According to a recent "Travel + Leisure" survey, the answer is...Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'm pretty sure anyone who's ever watched "MST3K" knew that already.

+ Check out these amazing photographs of microbes! They're gorgeous, and are part of a new online museum created by Dutch photographer Wim von Egmond called the Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms, a subsidiary of the Institute for the Promotion of the Less Than One Millimetre.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Whedon, Big Bang, Fellini, True Blood and Tom Baker

+ Joss Whedon has received the 2010 Vanguard Award from the Producers Guild of America and will be honored at some sort of shindig on Jan. 24. Whedon confessed confusion on winning the award as, he says, "...I've never actually guarded a van."

+ Here's an interview with "Big Bang Theory"'s Simon Helberg, who'll always be known as Moist to me, on his recent bathtub sharing exploits with Katee Sackhoff.

+ Sometimes I'm sitting on the sofa, contemplating the universe, and a thought occurs to me: you know what would make the world a better place? A theme park ride based on Fellini's "City of Women." Or at least that's how I imagine it happened for the folks at Italy's Cinecitta Studios. They're building a 400-acre theme park based on the more than 600 films shot there, including a Fellini ride. I can't even imagine how impaired I would have to be to get on a Fellini ride, but I suspect there would be a Woodchuck Cider intravenous drip involved.

+ The hot fashion trend this fall? Darth Vader shoes apparently. Who knew there were so many to choose from? Personally, I'd go for the Converse high-tops. Subtle yet villainous.

+ Be sure to add these to your holiday gift lists: "True Blood" figurines featuring Sookie, Bill and Eric. The likenesses are pretty amazing.

+ And finally, in honor of the 46th anniversary of the debut of "Doctor Who," here are some very odd yet very amusing TV ads with Tom Baker hocking a British computer brand. (Via Topless Robot)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Odds & Ends: "Lost," "Chuck," Radcliffe, beating up dinosaurs and Jensen Ackles rocking out

+ For those in need of your annual "Lost" fix, a premiere date for the new season has finally been announced. We'll get a two-hour episode on Tuesday, February 2 at 9 p.m. Yep, that means "Lost" is now on Tuesdays. Can't wait!

+ In other good TV news, "Chuck" returns on Sunday, January 10 before moving back to its usual Monday time slot. Here's a four-minute preview of the new season:

+ Mark your calendars for the 2010 "Simpsons" Treehouse of Horror episode. In a move sure to confuse many, many adolescent girls, Daniel Radcliffe will take part in a "Twilight" spoof, voicing the character of Edmund, a parody of Edward Cullen. Now if they could get Robert Pattinson to voice Harry Potter in the same episode, we'd have meta perfection.

+ Here's something to lord over your husbands or significant others: men married to intelligent women live longer. Whether they want to or not.

+ Looking for some good movies to watch over Thanksgiving? Check out this list of the "Best '30s Movies." Definitely watch "My Man Godfrey," one of my all-time favorite screwball comedies. Ooh, and Errol Flynn in "Captain Blood." If you haven't ogled Errol Flynn, you haven't lived.

+ Remember a while back when we posted that Nerd/Geek/Dork Venn diagram? Well, the folks at have made self-diagnosis even easier with this Nerd, Geek or Dork test. I'm pleased to announce I came out 83 percent nerd. It's kind of a fun test. Thanks to Joanna for the link!

+ I want to play this video game: "Dino D-Day." Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: dinosaurs meets World War II. In the preview, you actually get to punch a T. rex in the face. Who hasn't wanted to do that since "Jurassic Park III?"

+ And finally, many of you perhaps have already seen this, but if you haven't, it's definitely worth a good Friday laugh. It's "Supernatural"'s Jensen Ackles lip synching to "Eye of the Tiger," and it's kind of awesome. Thanks to Geek Girl Diva for posting this on Twitter yesterday.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Odds & Ends: Buffy meets Castle, NPH, Nabokov, the impending penguin takeover and Depp

+ For those of you who enjoyed the recent "Firefly" shout-out on "Castle," Nathan Fillion announced on Twitter yesterday that "Buffy" fans have something to look forward to on "Castle" as well. Hopefully Rick Castle doesn't start blinding characters in a tip o' the hat to Caleb.

+ Also in Twitter news, you can now follow Neil Patrick Harris, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, is pretty funny.

+ The Penguin Books website has a cool new interactive feature where you can see the note cards upon which Vladimir Nabokov wrote his last novel, "The Original of Laura," which was completed recently by Nabokov's son.

+ Speaking of penguins, scientists have discovered that these awesome water fowl are evolving at a rate two to six times faster than originally thought. You know what that means: penguin overlords by 2012. Sure, we'll all smell like herring but that's a small price to pay for perpetual formal wear, don't you think?

+ Here's a cute interview with Katee Sackhoff in which she talks about her new role in "24" and also her theory on what happened to Starbuck. She also shares an oddly disturbing but completely believable story about Edward James Olmos.

+ It's a big day for Johnny Depp. It's been announced that he'll be earning roughly $38 million to play Captain Jack Sparrow in a fourth "Pirates" film, making him the highest paid actor in Hollywood. And he's People Magazine's new "Sexiest Man Alive." To which I say, well, duh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review: "The Waters of Mars"

Given all I had heard about the latest "Doctor Who" special, "The Waters of Mars," I thought I would be prepared for just how dark this claustrophobic adventure tale would be. But, ah, nope, it still packed a hell of a punch, and I love it even more for that.

From the moment the Doctor first steps out of the Tardis onto the Martian landscape, keen on finding a bit of fun, the story grabbed me and never let go. Without giving too much away, the plot revolves around a water-based invader that begins to attack the human researchers of Bowie Base One, the first human colony on Mars and the culmination of humankind's first tentative steps toward long-range space travel.

The Doctor arrives on what seems like a perfectly ordinary day, interested in exploring the red planet and doing his usual "aren't humans amazing" bit upon meeting the researchers. Suffice is to say, things go down hill quickly when mere drops of water prove deadly, and the Doctor is forced to make a decision that will be felt well beyond Bowie Base One.

Despite the explosions and running and the usual pulse-pounding action, to me this seemed like one of the most intimate "Doctor Who" episodes in quite a while. In fact, it reminded me of "Boom Town," a quiet sleeper episode from season one in which, again, the Doctor is asked to face a very difficult decision. The most effective scenes in "Waters of Mars" are those between Tennant and Lindsey Duncan as Adelaide, the base's leader. The push-pull of their moments together is fascinating and wrenching, worthy of some of the best in recent "Who" history.

Tennant is wonderful as his Doctor fights against the prediction of his impending demise made at the end of "Planet of the Dead." You can feel his panic and anger, and the direction this takes is surprising but at the same time feels inevitable. What transpires makes me wish we had more episodes in which to explore the Doctor in this state of mind.

Sadly, though, "The Waters of Mars" reminds us without question that this doctor's journey is coming to a close. And it has set the stage quite well, ramping us up for what promises to be an amazing closing act. I've already prepared my hankies. I have a feeling I'll be needing a lot of them.

For American audiences, "The Waters of Mars" airs on BBC America on Dec. 19.

For UK folks and others who may have used some sort of magic to view it, what did you guys think of the episode? Try to be as spoiler-free as possible in your comments. My husband is waiting to watch it in HD and will cry sad yet manly tears if he gets spoiled.

Monday Odds & Ends: Star Trek, Stephanie Meyer, Roger Corman, meteors and prostitutes

+ In anticipation of tomorrow's DVD and Blu-Ray release of "Star Trek," here are a few selections from the behind the scenes materials included in the package. It looks like it's going to be a real treasure trove of goodies. Can't wait to watch it again!

+ Stephanie Meyer was on "Oprah" this past Friday to promote the Nov. 20 release of "New Moon." Apparently, she's got vampire fatigue too.

+ How cool is this? King of the B-Movies Roger Corman earned an honorary Oscar on Saturday along with Lauren Bacall and cinematographer Gordon Willis.

+ Hey, if you've got clear skies tonight, don't forget to check out the Leonid meteor shower. If you're like me, you can ramp up your paranoia enough to pretend it's an invasion. Which really isn't healthy for anyone yet I manage to do it every damn time.

+ Plans are in the works for motion-comic webisodes of the "Buffy" season 8 comic books. Voice casting is taking place right now, which means production should be starting fairly soon.

+ And finally, who says smart geeky women can't be highly paid prostitutes just like everyone else? No one now, thanks to University of Bristol researcher Brooke Magnanti, who broke that glass ceiling by revealing she's the famed call girl and blogger Belle de Jour, whose chronicle of her experiences sparked three books and the British TV series "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" with Billie Piper.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Odds & Ends: Barrowman & Beyonce, Ejiofor, Stephen King and the garden jawa

+ It's Friday and we could all use a little pick-me-up, right? So let's settle back and watch this hilarious video of John Barrowman dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies." Whoever made this, I love them very, very much.

+ Here's an interview with Chiwetel Ejiofor on his role in "2012." I skimmed the article and he doesn't once use the phrase "I can't believe I was in 'Serenity' and now I'm in this, what the hell??" so kudos on the restraint there.

+ Thousands of Stephen King fans apparently took part in an enormous game of hide and seek, stashing bits and pieces of King's new novel, "Under the Dome," all over London.

+ Don't forget, Wes Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" opens today in limited release, and the reviews have been pretty stellar, including this one from Cinema Blend.

+ My neighbor's head would explode in rage if I got one of these...which makes it all the more tempting. Yes, my friends, someone has created Garden Jawas. Instead of gnomes, you can plant these plucky little fellows all over your front yard. I love how he has garden tools stashed in his utility belt. Genius!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Odds & Ends: "Dollhouse" demise, "Star Wars," Bradbury, "Wallace and Gromit" and "Hamlet"

+ As most of you have probably already heard, Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" got axed yesterday by Fox. They'll still air the remainder of the episodes and word on the street is that the final stretch will be action-packed and amazing. My condolences to all the "Dollhouse" fans out there. On the bright side, at least this means Joss has more time to work on the "Dr. Horrible" sequel.

+ Want to cheer yourself up with some "Star Wars" tunes? Indulge in a new edition of "Star Wars Gangsta Rap" which actually manages to make Luke Skywalker a lot cooler than he was in the actual movies. Thanks for sending this, Emily!

ALL NEW! Star Wars Gangsta Rap: Chronicles

+ Did you know that you can buy "Wallace and Gromit" comics for your iPhone and iTouch? There are four new comics designed exclusively for download JUST FOR YOU! Or maybe the person behind you. It's difficult to tell.

+ The A.V. Club has their list of the "Best TV Series of the '00s," or "the aughts" as I prefer to call them. I agree with pretty much everything on the list, and am now thinking I'll have to check out "Venture Bros." someday soon.

+ Are you sitting at work bored right now? Say, why not draw a Tauntaun while you still have that "Star Wars" rap thrumming through your brain? "Mouse Guard" creator David Petersen shows you how with these step-by-step instructions.

+ Legendary author Ray Bradbury will help develop a new TV miniseries based on six of his short stories and tentatively called "The Bradbury Chronicles." Nifty!

+ And finally, in a news item all about Shakespeare and NOT AT ALL about David Tennant, here's a clip of an upcoming BBC film release of "Hamlet" starring Patrick Stewart and some guy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Odds & Ends: New York Public Library, Clash of the Titans, Carrie Fisher and hairless bears

My apologies for the lack of blogging the last couple of days. I was not, as perhaps hoped by all of us, taken up by the TARDIS but instead, just snowed under with a work project. I'm back though and here's some newsy tidbits. Oh, and also, a picture of a naked bear but we'll save that for the end.

+ The New York Times ran a wonderful article yesterday highlighting some odd and unusual facts about the New York Public Library, which is apparently the third largest library in the world behind the Library of Congress and the British Library. Thank you, Maggie, for the link!

+ Check out these adorable "Doctor Who" amigurumi crochet dolls. The glasses are perfect! Thank you to Ciri, who's not a Doctor Who fan but knows a lot of us are, for the link!

+ There's a trailer out for the remake of "Clash of the Titans," which sort of looks like "300" but with 100 percent more Medusa. Basically, it looks cheesy but I'll go see anything based even remotely on classical mythology. I'm that easy!

+ I enjoyed this A.V. Club list of "16 Ways to Survive a Stephen King Story." My favorite suggestion? Pack a lunch.

+ Here's a nifty little interview with Elizabeth Mitchell about her roles in "V" and "Lost." Also, if you can figure out why there's a picture of "Mork and Mindy" at the top of the page for no apparent reason, please let me know.

+ Have you visited the official Carrie Fisher store? Yes, apparently she has one! And it's got one particular awesome item that looks like this:

+ Ah, there's reasons I love the French and this is one of them: Renault's Zoe Z.E. electric car, set to debut in 2012, which was designed with the help of the Biotherm cosmetics company. The car serves as a sort of spa on wheels with special air filtration systems and oil release systems to help improve and protect your skin.

+ And finally, for no other reason than the fact that it freaks me the hell out, here's a picture of a furless German bear that has apparently developed some sort of genetic skin condition. Does it or does it not look like a person wearing a bear suit or something out of "An American Werewolf in London?" Weird. Very weird.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Odds & Ends: "30 Rock," bees, Wil Wheaton and "2013"

+ Tina Fey shares her "10 Favorite '30 Rock' Moments." It's a terrific list -- very interesting to see which stuff makes her laugh.

+ If you haven't seen it yet, The New York Times did a wonderful audio/photo essay on beekeeping on the south lawn of The White House. It's really a lovely story.

+ Did you know that Wil Wheaton is secretly in the J.J. Abrams "Star Trek?" Yup. Although I guess it's not really a secret now. But still very cool!

+ Do we really need more depressing television? I vote no, but apparently, my vote doesn't count because we'll soon be getting a TV sequel to Roland Emmerich's "2012" disaster flick. I'm assuming the TV show will be similar in tone and execution to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," right? But with commercials and glimpses of Jay Leno. Am I right or am I right?

+ So what did you guys think of "V" this week? I wasn't too thrilled with the first 40 minutes or so, but felt things started to roll toward the end. Color me mildly interested. I'll probably give it a second shot but I'm not sure if I want to go steady with it yet.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wednesday Odds & Ends: Dr. Horrible sequel, Caprica, Roger Rabbit, fashion accessories and sleeping in space

+ Sounds like plans for a "Dr. Horrible" sequel are well underway with a couple of new songs penned, a title decided on and interest from cast members in returning. So says Mr. Fillion, who would not lie to us.

+ And while I'm excited about the possibilities of more "Dr. Horrible," I'm less enthused about the idea of a new "Roger Rabbit," but apparently, there's a script being written and original "Roger" director Robert Zemeckis is involved. Thanks, Megan, for the link!

+ There's a new "Caprica" trailer out there, with glimpses of future guest star James Marsters, who pretty much makes any TV show better. Let's get him on "The View!"

+ Famed French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss passed away recently at the age of 100. And yes, while writing that sentence, I immediately thought about how cool it would be if he could have downloaded his consciousness into a Cylon body. I have problems...

+ Looking to gussy up your wardrobe? Check out these cute "Grr! Argh!" necklaces and these equally awesome John Cleese/Ministry of Silly Walks t-shirts. Thanks to CJP and Joanna for the tips!

+ And finally, if you have $4.4 million lying around, well, may I invite you to advertise heavily on The Park Bench? Of course, if that doesn't interest you, then you can use the cash to reserve a hotel room IN SPACE! Yes, make your reservations now for a room in the Galactic Suite Space Resort, scheduled to open in 2012. I wonder if they have turn-down service or would the little chocolates float off the pillow?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Tennant in America, Whedon and the Terminator, Sir Christopher Lee and spiders

+ This morning on I Can't Believe She's Got Another Item on Tennant The Park Bench, the big news is that David Tennant will be starring in a TV series pilot for NBC called "Rex Is Not Your Lawyer" about "a top Chicago litigator who begins suffering panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court." Dear NBC, I know you like to do dumb things like put Jay Leno on the TV, but please let Tennant use his real accent. Please? I will buy you a cookie if you say yes.

+ Speaking of buying things, Joss Whedon has made a hilarious offer to buy the rights to "Terminator." In his "Open Letter to the Terminator Owners. From a Very Important Hollywood Mogul," Joss provides some insight into how he'd revive the franchise:

Terminator... of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far... back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? "Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!" RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he's a cyborg and he doesn't give a s#&% about the ring -- it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he's doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).

+ Sci-fi, fantasy and horror legend Christopher Lee has been knighted for Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen for his contributions to drama and charity work. Well-deserved indeed!

+ Don't forget that "V" debuts tonight at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. The early reviews have been good so far.

+ Want to follow some cool folks who make comics? This site has compiled a list of comic book industry Twitterers for your easy reference.

+ Big science news this morning: apparently, the dinosaurs of Sussex never dusted, and as a result, scientists have found a 140-million-year-old spider web preserved in amber.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Monday Odds & Ends: Ouija boards, 'Lil Cthulu, type chess sets, space jogging and Christopher Walken

+ USA Today has a preview of "BSG" alumna Katee Sackhoff's Nov. 23 appearance on "The Big Bang Theory." It sounds like a pretty clever idea, opening the door for future visits.

+ Well, here's a recipe for high-quality cinematic success: take the writers of "Tron Legacy" and have them write a movie about Ouija boards. I hope the end result is as good as when RKO signed Orson Welles to pen that movie about "Go Fish!," originally called "Do You Have Any Sixes?" and then later renamed "The Magnificent Ambersons."

+ Aww, so cute and evil -- check out "The Amazing Adventures of Lil Cthulu." Not only is it adorable in a dark and menacing way, it also taught me how to say "cthulu." It's a win-win!

+ The first footage from the new "Doctor Who" animated special, "Dreamland" has been released. As excited as I was about the initial concept drawings, I can't say I'm 100 percent thrilled with what it all looks like in action. What do you think? (via Blogtor Who)

+ Ever dreamed of combining your love of type and chess? Well, check out this Type Chess Set. (Via InnyM at Twitter)

+ This cool new exercise treadmill allows runners to trot along with an awesome anti-gravity feeling, something I'd much prefer over the usual "I'm running on pavement and pounding my shins into the ground." It's a little on the pricy side at $24,000 but hey, you can pretend you're running on the Moon. That's worth it, right?

+ And finally, what better way to start your Monday than with Christopher Walken doing a dramatic reading of Lady Gaga's song "Poker Face?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ewoks gone wild!

You already may have seen or heard about this, but if you haven't, check out these two seriously messed up Ewoks as they disrupt a Today show segment from yesterday. Absolutely hilarious. Thanks for the link, Megan!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nerd Man of the Month: Christopher Eccleston

We haven't had many dark, brooding, intense Nerd Men of the Month before so we're taking care of all those adjectives in one fell swoop with Christopher Eccleston. The man is everywhere this month, gaining the best reviews of anyone in the new "Amelia" film and arriving on DVD in the flick, "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra." And he's also just been cast in the upcoming film, "The Beautiful Fantastic" with fellow "Doctor Who" alum Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow in "Blink"). Also, he appears quite often in my DVD player and the depths of my unconscious. And now he's Nerd Man of the Month for October. It's almost an embarrassment of riches!

Eccleston is well-deserving of universal geek gratitude for helping Russell T. Davies bring the new "Doctor Who" to life. He may not have exhibited quite the fanboy enthusiasm others have in the role -- see "intense"and "brooding" above -- but his performance as The Doctor was simply without flaw. And let's face it, what with the farting aliens and space pigs being thrown in his path, Eccleston's "Who" burden may have been a bit heavier than his successors. He inhabited the role of The Doctor with an incredible energy and the ability to pivot seamlessly between rage, sadness, world-weariness, self-loathing, tenderness and occasionally, sheer unfettered joy. It's an incredible performance and served as the perfect way to usher in an exciting new era of "Who."

Beyond the "Who" realm, the man's just a phenomenal actor. Whether playing the son of God in Russell T. Davies' "The Second Coming" or the dastardly Duke of Norfolk in "Elizabeth" or a hate-filled modern day Iago in "Othello," the guy always gets the job done. Just watch this scene from "Jude," one of the more heartbreaking films you'll ever see, in which Eccleston's stone mason has just been rejected from a university despite his obvious intelligence and gets mocked by, of all people, a student played by David Tennant:

Eccleston possesses quite the nerd genre resume as well with turns in the hugely creepy ghost thriller "The Others," the hungry zombie flick "28 Days Later," a five-episode stint as Claude in "Heroes," and the aforementioned "G.I. Joe," which I intend to get drunk and watch at some point next week.

As with all our Nerd Man honorees, Eccleston just seems like a pleasant, hard-working guy. Even better, he's done loads of charity work for various organizations and is self-depracting enough to make fun of his admittedly unusual but still extraordinary good looks on a regular basis. So, a self-deprecating fellow who helped return "Doctor Who" to the spotlight, who shines in every role he's given and who rocks Elizabethan costuming far more effectively than any man has a right to -- what's not to love? That's why The Park Bench is pleased to name Christopher Eccleston as its Nerd Man of the Month.

Friday Odds & Ends: "Waters of Mars" date, "War of the Worlds," "Glee," "Bones" and the freakiest doll this side of Chucky

+ Two weeks (and some change) until a new Who! The official air date for the upcoming Tennant special "Waters of Mars" has been announced: Sunday, November 15 at 7 p.m. UK time on BBC One. And then airing secretly in other places roughly 45 minutes after it ends.

+ If you're trying to get into the Halloween spirit, this might help. Starting tonight at 8 p.m. EST, you can listen to a streaming broadcast of Orson Welles' classic "War of the Worlds" production -- yep, the one that terrified half the East Coast in 1938.

+ Speaking of the classics, Ridley Scott has been talking a bit more about the prequel he's doing to the "Alien" films.

+ The new trailer for season 8 of "24" has arrived...and looks shockingly like pretty much all the rest of the seasons of "24" except there's a cute little girl who no doubt will be in jeopardy roughly seven minutes after the new season starts. That's not a spoiler; just an educated and cynical guess.

+ Have you heard? SyFy has plans to create an American version of "Being Human." Here's what series creator Toby Whithouse has to say, politely, about the whole thing.

+ Need a little "Glee" to go with your World Series baseball? Then be sure to tune in when the "Glee" cast sings the National Anthem before Game Three tomorrow night. Thanks, Megan, for the tip!

+ I've always wondered about relative size when it comes to science-y things like cells and atoms. Reader Emily was kind enough to send a link to this cool Cell Size and Scale interactive graphic, which uses a zoom to show you exactly how small things relate to each other size wise. Just use the bar along the bottom and prepare to have your mind blown. (Unless you already know all this stuff; then just prepare to be reminded.)

+ FOX has confirmed that Zooey Deschanel will guest star alongside her sister Emily on "Bones" for a Dec. 10 episode called "The Goop on the Girl" which I no doubt will make the mistake of trying to watch right as I sit down to dinner.

+ And if you'd like to be both horrified and amused this Friday morning, check out Mattel's new Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken Doll. No, seriously, that's what it's called and it's real. The best part, seriously, is the little dog. Also, the fact that Ken's hair looks like a terrible toupee. Awesome!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10 Reasons Dating a Vampire Sucks

10. They can't go outside in the daytime.
Honestly, you might as well be dating a well-dressed rock for all the daytime action you won't be enjoying with this dead weight around your neck. No days out at the art fair or trips to the ballgame. Even if you somehow get him to the beach, he'll just embarrass you with his gamy white skin before bursting into flames and taking his shame with him. And in the time it takes him to immolate, you wouldn't even be able to roast a marshmallow. Vampires even ruin beach s'mores. Jerks.

9. They don't like garlic...and now you can't either.
Remember all those fun times and delicious meals you had at your local Olive Garden? Yeah, I hope you took some pictures because those were the last bread sticks and meatballs you'll ever ingest, thanks to the big pasty loser moping next to you.

8. They're invisible in mirrors.
Vampires can't see their own reflections. That means your bloodlusty beau will be depending on you, missy, to tell him what he looks like EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY. "Do these pants make me look hippy?" "Does this cape make me look fey?" "Is my widow's peak too derivative of Grandpa Munster?" Natter, natter, natter. Trust me, you're going to wish you could stake him twice.

7. They're nocturnal.
You know how sometimes your cat spazzes out and gets all hyper in the middle of the night, running back and forth over your face and yowling until you pet it? Right there? That's your new boyfriend. He just hasn't decided to poop in a box yet.

6. Stranger in a strange land syndrome
Have you ever gone to a foreign country and met one of your countrymen out of the blue and suddenly, you two are best friends because there's no one else like you within a 50 mile radius? Count Lonelypants is going to do that too. He'll want to be friends with every other vampire he runs into. And then he'll drag them back to your place and they'll stay up all night drinking hamsters and talking about how much Transylvania's changed and how you never want to let him bite you anymore even though you guys used to bite each other like bunnies four or five times a day. Wah, wah, wah!

5. He'll relate to every vampyric pop culture reference ever made.
Want to make a joke about "Twilight?" He'll sulk for days. Casually mention that no vampire will ever be better than Spike? He'll lock himself in his casket for a week. Declare that Coppola's "Dracula" wasn't as bad as you remembered? He'll freeze you out for months. Even worse, he'll get all excited about the vampires he likes -- Count Chocula, Bram Stoker, Ann Coulter. Boring!

4. He'll be skittish around the word "stake."
No more "going Outback tonight" for you guys. The first time he hears "$9.99 for a 6 ounce steak" he's going to run like a pretty little girl, and berate you for your insensitivity. And then you'll laugh and laugh and laugh...

3. He'll be all arrogant and authoritative about vampire lore.
Could Bugs Bunny really turn that vampire into a bat by saying, "Hocus Pocus?" Would the mullets of "The Lost Boys" have been accepted within the stylist wheelhouse? Do fang whiteners really work? And how the hell do you floss overgrown incisors anyway? He'll tell you, and probably in a fancy voice.

2. One word: capes
Some of your more old school and debonair vampires likely will wear capes, better suited to sweeping departures down dark alleys and hiding stolen watches for sale after baseball games. That's all well and good, but here's your problem. Have you ever tried to hang up a cape? It's impossible! There's no shoulders or sleeves; they just slide right off the hanger. So then you just drape them over a chair right? No, because then they get wrinkled. How about hanging them over a balcony? Again with the wrinkles. You could pin them to something, but then there's holes in the fabric. You, quite literally, will spend weeks trying to figure out what to do with this goddamn cape.

1. Everyone hates a biter.
Remember in grade school when there was always some little boy named Timmy or Blake who would run up and just randomly bite people to get attention? Remember how much you hated him and tried to stuff him into the tire swing? Your buddy Count Nipalot is going to want to bite you ALL THE TIME. And sure, the first few times are fun if you're into that, but after a while, you're going to get anemic and then you're going to have to eat more spinach. So think about that: biting and spinach. What kind of life is that?

What do you think? What reasons would keep you from becoming the warmer half of a vampire couple?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Odds & Ends: Adama, Star Trek onesies, Wolfman, Bioshock and Facebook

Thanks everyone for all of the great Nerd Man nominations yesterday. All of the suggestions were terrific and I'm putting them in my to-do file, so they'll all get their turn soon! And now on to the news of the day:

+ Would you like to have dinner with Edward James Olmos? Personally, I'm intimidated by the man just watching him on TV, but I'm sure there are bolder folks than me out there. In conjunction with the recent release of the "BSG" prequel movie, "The Plan," UGO has announced a "Dinner with the Admiral" contest. Just answer a few trivia questions and you'll be entered in the drawing. Good luck!

+ If you have a baby and would like to turn it into a nerd before it can even walk or roll over on its own, here's your chance! You can now purchase Star Trek uniform onesies. Awesome!

+ There's a new trailer out for the "Bioshock 2" game, which is absolutely one of my favorite games ever. Not to play, mind you -- I have the dexterity of a chimp with no hands -- but to watch. It actually had a compelling plot and the graphics were just gorgeous. Can't wait to watch the husband play this one!

+ What if "Harry Potter" had come out in the 1980s? This cartoonist takes a few guesses involving, among other things, Christopher Lloyd and David Bowie.

+ Doesn't this kind of creep you out? Facebook will turn accounts into memorials for deceased users. I'm not sure if I want all my Scrabulous scores and unanswered RSVPs etched in digital stone for all eternity. How do you feel about it?

+ Want to see Benicio del Toro get all shaggy and Anthony Hopkins nibble on scenery? Then check out the new trailer for "The Wolfman" over at Apple. Looks pretty...but it also looks like something I've seen a hundred times before. It puts me in a mind to howl, though, and that's always fun. Join me, won't you? A-woooooo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Odds & Ends: Captain Mal, colliding galaxies, T. rex arms, video games and Nerd Man nominations

+ How great was the return of Captain Mal last night on "Castle?" If you didn't get a chance to see it, had the clip, which I'm posting below:

+ Hulu has the first 9 minutes of "V" available for viewing. I haven't had a chance to watch it myself yet but I've heard slightly tepid things about it. Let me know what you think.

+ The "Star Trek" media empire is ready to conquer another genre: the live stage show. Designed for theme parks and performance centers, the show will take audience members on the interactive journey through space with Kirk and Spock.

+ Here's some good news: apparently "Arrested Development" creator Mitchell Hurwitz is in the process of writing a script for the AD movie that everyone's been hoping for and talking about for so long. Can't wait to see Will Arnett on a Segway again!

+ Check out this terrific PSA that Felicia Day did for NASA about colliding galaxies. It's really...funny! Who knew NASA had it in them?

+ This item is pretty much for my husband who calls me "T. rex arms" when I stand with my hands a certain way -- I would like for him to read this article here that clearly states that although T. rex's had tiny arms in comparison to the rest of their ginormous bodies, those tiny arms could still curl roughly 430 pounds and rip a human arm out of its socket. Yeah!

+ Which segues naturally into this next item on how playing video games together can be good couples therapy. I believe that statement to be 100 percent true.

+ If you enjoy a little nerdy humor with your Bible study, check out Park Bench reader Adam's videos. He does a nice job injecting some levity into the Good Book and manages to name-check Buffy and Erasmus within five minutes of each other. If my priest had done that, I probably wouldn't be the card-carrying fearful agnostic I am today. There went my soul, all for want of a pop culture reference...

+ And finally, if you'd like a double dose of Nerd Men of the Month goodness, check out this interview with Joss Whedon conducted by Ira Glass -- two past winners together at last! The interview took place in support of 826NYC and their creative writing programs for kids; a very worthy cause indeed! Thank you, Austen, for sending the link!

Speaking of Nerd Men, as you can tell, the month of October is drawing to a close and I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm in need of some Nerd Man nominations. Any ideas?