Geeking Out – Potter

Dear Kristen,

Pushing Daisies was SUCH a fun show!  I loved the colors, singing, and weirdness, too.  Plus I like pie, so the idea of endless pie is, well, awesome.  There’s a cookbook I still sometimes glance through and wonder, would this be as good with GF crust?  I think I should try it out more.  Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies. Deee-licious!  And if it had a recipe for Crack Pie like the one sold here, it would be the perfect dessert collection.

For those of us who like pie, that is.

My next (and silghtly belated) geekery is one that is the fave of pretty much everyone over the age of 22. And many under the age of 22, too.

Harry Potter.

(I did meet another 3o something who was only just NOW reading the books for the first time, now that her children were in elementary school.  I was flabbergasted to say the least.)

Harry. Potter.

It is AMAZING in book form, AMAZING when read by Jim Dale, and pretty great in movie form.  (I know I just offended someone by not describing the movies as AMAZING, but the first few are just okay.  The last ones are AMAZING, but the series overall grade is an A-/B+…which is not failing, so I feel good about this.)

To show you how I feel about these books, let me give you some facts.

  1. I have only pre-ordered two books in my life.5128atd9dsl-_sx418_bo1204203200_51by71ubtal-_sx329_bo1204203200_
  2. When the Deathly Hallows arrived, I shut myself away from my husband for 2 days to read it, taking a break only to go to work.  And he was okay with it.  Because then HE got to read it.
  3. When Mud-Blood Prince was released in America, I was in Ireland.  And I couldn’t wait until I got back to the states to read it…so I bought the grown-up looking Brit version.  I get warm flutterings in my heart when I see it, EVEN THOUGH it messes up the symmetry on my bookshelf.IMG_3884
  4. And now there’s Fantastic Beasts coming out and I may not be able to wait until it comes to Red Box.  AMAZING.

Seriously though.  Harry Potter is AWESOME!  Like, really, who doesn’t want to delve into a book so imaginative that it started a whole new style of books for kids/young adults?  And its EPIC.  And its QUIRKY.  And it has twists and surprises NO ONE could have guessed and they work perfectly.  How many children have been born and named Harry because of these stories?  People who were fans from the beginning are now having children and spreading the love for them.  I know people who had a real (though illogical) hope to receive an acceptance letter to Hogwarts when they turned 11, only to be disappointed.  So fun! (And funny – I think those children need a lesson in fiction vs. nonfiction….)

I love it.

And as soon as I finish the book I’m currently reading, I’m going to start reading them all over again.

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Geeking Out – Pushing Daisies

Dear Erin,

I’m thinking going to Disney World so often when we were young is what gave you a messed up idea about pirates. After all, Peter Pan’s flight (in a pirate ship) and Pirates of the Caribbean are two of the best rides at the Magic Kingdom. My favorite, though, is the Haunted Mansion – talk about morbid; you certainly don’t have a monopoly on that in the family.

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I like pirates, too! That’s why this one is Cap’n Wiggles. Aarrgh!

To prove this point, let me introduce my next geekdom: Pushing Daisies

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I mean, this one is straight up about death.

Well, it’s also about mystery and magic and true love and synchronized swimming and dogs and candy colors and lots and lots of pie. It’s even a little bit about knitting.

Do you remember this show? It came on ABC in 2007, and the next year the writer’s strike hit, which killed it. It did get two seasons, which were enough to make a stained-glass-window jewel box of near-perfection. What I’m saying is, I still think it was something special.

The premise: Ned bakes pies and wakes the dead. He’s a bit of a loner. Emerson Cod (private investigator and closet knitter) teams up with Ned to solve murders (by “waking up” the victims and asking who killed them) and collect rewards. One of the murdered is Charlotte Charles (“Chuck”), Ned’s childhood sweetheart and true love. In the background, pining for Ned, is his pie shop’s only waitress, Olive.

The conflict: If Ned touches a previously dead person again, he or she goes back to being dead permanently. Therefore, Ned and Chuck can never touch. Also, no one can know that she was once dead.

Pros?

  • Seriously, the color and style in this show will make your whole day better. It’s like they filmed inside Van Gogh’s paint box, and the costumes and sets are ridiculous and amazing and gorgeous.
  • Jim Dale narrates the first few episodes. It gets a little old after those few, which is probably why they stopped, but Jim Dale! Narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks!
  • Pie!! Ned is a professional pie baker and owns his own pie shop (which has a roof that looks like a pie crust). I don’t even much like pie, and it looks amazing. Dutch apple, three plum, rhubarb, banana cream. Other ongoing food themes include cheese and honey. You can gain weight just watching this show.
  • Lines like: “I’d kiss you if it wouldn’t kill me.” -Chuck.  Or, Chuck: “You can’t just touch somebody back to life and be done with it.” Ned: “Yes, I can. That’s how I roll.”
  • The supporting cast includes Ellen Greene and Kristin Chenowyth, and both get to do musical numbers!!!
  • And it all takes place in a very weird world, with the mysteries reflecting that: For example, in the second episode, the victim works for an automobile company that is developing cars that run on dandelions and is killed by someone dressed as a crash test dummy. The cars are sold by young women dressed as dandelions. In others, dim sum doubles as an illegal poker game; Ned and Olive have a deadly feud with a candy company that opens across the street from the Pie Hole; the owner of a honey-based cosmetic company is killed by someone wearing a bee beard.

Cons?

  • If you have a low tolerance for cuteness (puns, goofy lines, people breaking into song), you should probably avoid this show. Really, the title sums it all up: Pushing Daisies, and they don’t skimp on the daisies.

But my threshold for that – especially with plenty of sweetness, cleverness, and morbidity thrown in – is quite high, so every time I watch this, I end up grinning through the whole thing.

Have a great weekend! Can’t wait to see what your next geekdom is! In the meantime, I’m off to watch more alive-again (zombie and undead are apparently offensive terms) shenanigans.

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Little Mister scoping out the California coast for the Cap’n

Geeking Out – Pirates

Dear Kristen,

I totally remember your Powerpuff Girl phase.  It was awesome!

And hilarious…

But probably no more hilariously weird as my next one:

Pirates!

Walk the plank! Aarrgh!

Why is it weird?  Do you know anything about real pirates?  They were AWFUL. Morbidly awful.  Horribly evil in many cases and yet, you make a Disney ride about them and I am ALL IN.  This is probably all connected to my obsession with historical figures and events and the idea that humanity can be both messed up and wonderfully beautiful all at once.  I’m not sure pirates fit that description unless they are make-believe.

Thank you, Disney, for making that a reality!

Did I have Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise before there was a movie?  Yes, yes, I did.  Is that the first ride we go to when we visit the Magic Kingdom. Of course.  And did I go  really a little crazy when Johnny Depp came into the picture?

Um…..yes.

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Please and thank you.

But really, what’s not to love?  You get to sail the ocean wide, visit beautiful islands, fight with swords, and be overall extremely clever.  It’s perfect.

So, Munchkin was a pirate one Halloween, Little Man will probably get a pirate ship for his birthday, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll learn to talk pirate.  Saavy?

Yes.  There is nothing wrong with me.  Skulls, death, pillaging and plundering….Yeah, really nothing wrong with me at all….

Geeking Out – Powerpuff Girls

Dear Erin,

My boys have no awareness of the Doctor as of yet, but that’s on my list of things I’m looking forward to introducing them to – although they may have to start with the ones from the 60’s, depending on how sensitive they are to realism in their monsters. Monsters that are clearly people in rubber masks should be less nightmare-inducing than fanged angels that move when you’re not looking.

Speaking of my boys, meet Captain Wiggles:

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He’s deceptively still here, the sneaky kid.

While this one sleeps in wool (the hat and the jacket should look familiar), Little Mister cools his feet in the local pool.

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I hope my boys take to Doctor Who someday, sure, but I also hope they get into this next geekdom – The Powerpuff Girls, and that may come sooner.

As I recall, Charles found Dexter’s Laboratory first, back in college. It struck a chord with my Computer Science major husband and went into regular rotation. And when PPG came out, on its heels and with the same quirky, clever DNA but the concept of little girl superheroes, I got hooked.

During the first few years of our marriage, this was my main geekdom. Almost every episode seemed to resonate for me (clever writing, slightly weird aesthetic, and a good heart), as did most of the main characters. My favorite, by far, was Bubbles (she claimed that she was the “favorite,” in one episode, so I suspect I wasn’t alone in this preference) who was excessively cute but also “hard core” and could speak squirrel.

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It was on Cartoon Network for a few seasons before reaching the end of its run. There was a mediocre movie, and I moved on to other geekdoms. Just in the last few months, however, the show has been revived. I probably would have avoided it (you know reboots are never as good as the originals), but Charles put it on one night, and you know what? It’s pretty good. Some of the characters and themes have been updated – Bubbles is now an amazing game developer, who sends her sisters into a Tron-like universe to fight a terrible computer virus – and it still has the right sensibility.

So I’m looking forward to spending some more time in this universe, an unexpected treat. And in about 4 or 5 years, I’ll have even more to share with Little Mister and the Captain.

Can’t wait.

Geeking Out – Space

Dear Kristen,

“My” Doctor is #11.  Or #12.  I love them both! Although familiar with Doctor Who for awhile it wasn’t until #11 that we sat down to watch it and became, well, geeks.  So now, we don’t miss episodes, our children know the Doctor is a superhero, and I design and sew things that pay homage to all things timey-wimey.

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So it makes sense that there would other things in space that I “geek-out” about.  (As is true for many of those who love the Doctor, it seems.)  If it takes place in space, in the future, and involves snarky people – I’m in.  I have very vivid memories of watching William Shatner and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise in our family with Dad in the 1980s.  You and I both got Ewoks for Christmas one year, and mine is currently sitting in MY family room.

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And Matt and I started watching Castle when it first came on because we loved Firefly.

And so I am ALL FOR other members of our generation who have grown up loving this genre and are now actors, directors, etc., who have revived these things with much love and care.

New Star Wars episodes? Yes, please.  Star Wars spinoffs? Absolutely.  A THIRD new Star Trek movie with all the same crew members? I’m in. (And although not space, another Bourne movie with Matt Damon and another Reacher movie with Tom Cruise – we are EXCITED! Maybe I should write about how I do NOT geek out over rom-coms and probably haven’t voluntarily seen one since the early 2000s.  I’ll stick to Disney and action, thank you very much.)

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As true space genre geeks, we are training our children to carry on that love.  Munchkin chose to spend her money on Star Wars figurines.  She was convinced (for a while) that the button for the warning lights in the car was a broken button that turned the car into a rocket ship.  And the world will end if Miles from Tomorrowland ever goes off the air.

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