I’m Starting a Thor Podcast With Miles of X-Plain the X-Men!

Thor Podcast The Lightning and the StormWhoa! Uh, it’s a testament to how busy I’ve been that I’m announcing my new Thor podcast with Miles Stokes, THOR: The Lightning and the Stormafter it’s actually funded. Whoops. In my defense, one of the things I’ve been very busy with includes doing all of the social media for our IndieGogo!

Regular Jeepers readers know my favorite, favorite podcast is Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men–not just because I worked with and know the two geniuses behind it, and not just because I’ve guest hosted with Miles four times in the past two years. It is an amazingly informative and entertaining podcast that is a testament to the hard work and talent of Jay Edidin and Miles Stokes.

They’ve been working so hard, in fact, that they’ve earned a break: they’re taking a breather for three months. And during that time, Miles and I are doing our own limited-series podcast–a twelve-episode love letter to Walter Simonson’s epic 1980s run on The Mighty Thor! Here’s our video:


Check out our full IndieGogo campaign!

Simonson’s epic storytelling and dynamic art redefined both Thor and Marvel’s Norse mythology–making them bigger, more operatic, more dramatic, and more awesome than ever before. Plus, he introduced Beta Ray Bill and Frog Thor. It’s rightfully considered to be one of the best comic book sagas ever, period.

As I said above, our IndieGogo has already funded–yay! However, we’ve added a stretch goal: in addition to 12 episodes covering 48 issues of Thor, if we raise $1,000, we’ll unlock a bonus episode where we’ll talk about Balder the Brave #1-4, an incredible miniseries by Walter Simonson and Sal Buscema.

Thor Podcast The Lightning and the StormThis bonus episode is in addition to the “zero issue” episode (covering the two fill-in issues during Simonson’s run) that will be available to all donors who contribute $5 or more. So really, if you pitch in $5 and we make it to $1,000 in the next two months (and we’re less than $150 away), you’ll actually get two extra episodes. What a deal!

So. Whether you’re a hardcore Thor scholar or you’d like to get some background before Thor: Ragnarok comes out in November, check out (and share!) our IndieGogo campaign, bookmark our Thor podcast blog, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Our first official episode debuts May 7–I will certainly update you. Within a week or two. Ha.

Luke's Diner Popup Portland Oregon

I Went to Luke’s Diner and It Was Magical

Luke's Diner Popup Portland Oregon

My very patient and wonderful family came with me to visit the real star of Gilmore Girls: Stars Hollow.

I need to start by saying that I have a wonderful husband and son. Because they let me drag them to a coffee shop on a weekday at 7 am and stand in line for two and a half hours. For a cup of coffee. My son is 11. He literally took one sip, refused to comment, and laughed with glee that he would be late for school because I couldn’t resist the lure of the Luke’s Diner popup event, a very clever marketing promotion for the upcoming Gilmore Girls revival.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is coming to Netflix November 25, which I’m sure at least 85% of people on social media must know right now, because Netflix’s PR game is tight, and thousands of people (and dozens of local TV news crews) were beguiled by the chance to visit Luke’s Diner right around the corner (almost literally for me: Oblique Coffee Roasters, the only participating location in Oregon, was about 15 blocks away).

I am not a morning person. And I’ve been working in fandom (comics and pop culture) for many years. I’ve worked countless conventions, including the big show, San Diego Comic Con. If anyone should be immune from standing in line for hours for a cheap freebie (for the record, the free cup of coffee was emblazoned with a quote from Lorelai Gilmore and a Snapchat filter code, and wrapped in a Luke’s-branded paper sleeve) and photo op, it should be me. Not only could I not resist, I was all in, because this promotion tapped into the essence of what made GG so popular: the idea of community.

Gilmore Girls is the story of mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Impetuous, irreverent Lorelai became pregnant at 16, severely disappointing her wealthy-yet-emotionally cold parents. Wanting her independence, Lorelai took baby Rory and ran away to the quaint town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, where she found a job as a maid at an inn, eventually working her way up to manager, and building her own family of friends. At the beginning of the series, serious, brainy Rory is 16 and has been accepted to the prestigious–and expensive–Chilton prep school. In exchange for loaning her the money for tuition, Lorelai agrees that she and Rory will join her parents for dinner every Friday. Wacky hijinks and emotional chaos ensues.

I didn’t watch Gilmore Girls when it debuted on the WB because it was on opposite Buffy. But also because I had just run away from home myself, in a way–I ran from a failed marriage and a boring copywriting career to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a quaint island where I learned to wait tables and eventually build my own family of friends. After returning to Portland in 2005 (and taking a work-from-home editing gig), my homesick self discovered GG on ABC Family and was hooked.

But in retrospect, I realize the main attraction wasn’t cool mom Lorelai or bookworm Rory (who were actually pretty flawed characters, but I like that). The real star of the show was Stars Hollow, the quirky granddaughter of Mayberry, and the Warner Bros. backlot-town that was literally made up of sets that have appeared on countless other TV shows (The WaltonsThe Dukes of Hazzard, and Seinfeld, to name a few). Stars Hollow is the town where everyone knows your name–and what you had for breakfast (probably at Luke’s, since Al’s Pancake House serves international cuisine). Portland seemed uncomfortably large to me, after living in a place where I literally knew almost everyone at the grocery store. Stars Hollow, a place rich in offbeat characters and so many town events and festivals, felt like a warm hug.

The return of Gilmore Girls is the return of Stars Hollow, and Netflix knows this–that’s why bringing Luke’s Diner to the masses was so smart, and so successful. After all, Gilmore Girls fans are already conditioned to love ridiculous events. And standing in line (for hours) with the GG fan community was like one long town meeting in our very own Stars Hollow.

Kicking yourself for missing Luke’s Diner? You can still get your Stars Hollow fix by visiting the “newly recovered” town website (apparently Kirk lost the password in 2007). That’s where I’ll be, drinking my coffee and the GG Kool-Aid, until November 25!

Hail Caesar the Kurgan

Happy Monday! Hail, Caesar and #10ItemWardrobe

Hail Caesar the Kurgan

Yes, that’s The Kurgan on the left! The Highlander himself (Christopher Lambert) also makes an appearance in Hail, Caesar! Photo via Universal Pictures.

Well hello, folks! How was your weekend? Mine was great–I went to a birthday party for my Dad and saw my second movie of the year in the theaters, Hail, Caesar (the first movie was Deadpool, of course)!

When I first started dating my now-husband, I had pretty much given up going to the movies. I had lived for many years on an island that had two theaters and a total of three screens, which meant Movie A would play Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Movie B played Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I worked nights waitressing anyway, but if I happened to have a free night and thought about going to a movie, the one I wanted was never playing.

Cut to dating my husband. He loves going to the movies. Especially horror films, which was never my bag. But I gamely went to movie after movie, and soon realized that I wasn’t just being a good sport–I was enjoying myself (and loved horror movies–turns out they aren’t all gore fests!).

Having a baby changed a lot of things for me, but one thing I didn’t even think about was going to the movies! I kind of went back to my default position. But now that Sarah is almost 18 months old we have a babysitter, and I’m finally swimming back up to the surface and checking things out. Who am I? What do I want to do now? Turns out I wanted to go to the movies. So this is a ridiculous, boring anecdote, but going to the movies was a surprisingly Big Deal last night, and I enjoyed the hell out of Hail, Caesar, and hanging out with my husband, so I’m feeling good.

Links!

Entertainment

Hail, Caesar is a love letter to the movies of the 1950s, but did you know the main character, fixer Eddie Mannix (a highly fictionalized version played by Josh Brolin), who runs around hushing up the potential scandals of actors and directors, was a real person? Den of Geek has the real history of Hail, Caesar and Eddie Mannix.

Speaking of Hollywood scandals (and relating to one of the fictional storylines in Hail, Caesar), did you know that actress Loretta Young adopted her own baby to avoid the scandal of an illegitimate, out-of-wedlock child? The father? Clark Gable.

Mike Mignola has decided to end the amazing Hellboy in Hell series, and did an interview with Entertainment Weekly that reveals the cover of the final issue!

Fashion

We’re leaving for Massachusetts this week to visit my husband’s family! Much like I did last year, I’ll be taking pics every day of me in my 10-item wardrobe and posting them on Twitter with the hashtag #10ItemWardrobe. Follow me here!

Speaking of fashion, I have a problem. I have fallen in love with all of the cute, high-quality, organic cotton baby and toddler clothes at Hanna Andersson. It’s a problem because they’re a lot more expensive than Carter’s–but at the same time, they last much longer, too. I’ve found help, however! Our local Hanna Andersson outlet store has everything at a 20-40% discount (or more). You can find your Hanna Andersson outlet here. We’ll be shopping here until I maneuver Sarah into a gig as a baby model. I’m not a paid endorser or affiliate of Hanna Andersson. But I am willing! Call meeeee!

That’s all I got today. What are you enjoying? Have any tips on transitioning from being a 24-hour milk machine to an actual human woman? Post them below!

 

Geek Mentor

Profiles in Geek Mentors: Cousin Danny

Geek Mentor

Cousin Danny: Portrait of the Geek Mentor as a Young Man.

I grew up geeky: comic books, sci-fi movies and television, the works. It led me to a career marketing comics and enjoying conventions of all stripes. However! While it is good to be a geek these days–with mighty Marvel movies making mucho moolah at the multiplexes and darker DC dramas dominating the (television) dial–back in my day (the halcyon ’80s) we had it tougher. I mean, I had to walk five feet across shag carpeting both ways to turn the channel to catch reruns of The Incredible Hulk!

But in all seriousness, geek culture was not as prevalent or accessible when I was growing up, so as a mature adult, I feel the need to thank and recognize the geek mentors who nurtured my nascent nerdiness along the way, and I’m starting with one who is significant to both my brother and me: Cousin Danny.

Uncle Bruce is my mother’s older brother, and six years after we relocated from California to Oregon (stow it, haters), he moved himself and Aunt Judy to nearby Gladstone with sons Danny and Bryan. At the time, I was six and Danny was nine–impressively older, but not terrifying like 13-year-old Bryan (I’ll be writing a separate tribute to Bryan in a future installment). So when we got together for holidays and whatnot, Danny was leader and playmate to me and my little brother BJ–young enough to enjoy a game that included spinning around his dad’s pool table while listening to “Beep Beep” by the Playmates on the record player, but old enough to transfix us with his genius.

Mild mannered and round cheeked, Danny was perhaps an improbable genius. I have to admit that he played the accordion. But! In his room (where we loved to hang out), he had all of the books to solve all of the different Rubix cubes–extremely cool to us–and even more impressive, he had a Commodore 64, a futuristic device that allowed him to type to other people across the country, in real time! It was like having a pen pal–without having to wait for the mailman!

It was Danny who showed us movies like Gremlins, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and War Games, all on VHS tapes copied by Aunt Judy super-long-play style from cable (they had HBO!). But even better: Cousin Danny was the person who showed us Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.

Now, would I have watched Star Wars and Empire without Cousin Danny? Of course. Would I have watched them repeatedly until I actually paid attention? Perhaps not. You see, as a young girl (around seven or eight), I initially dismissed them as “boy movies.” It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth time that I suddenly realized, “Hey! I like these movies. These aren’t boy movies at all!” And I was ready to see Return of the Jedi in the theaters. When I saw The Force Awakens this year (with my brother), I thought of Danny and smiled.

Danny also gave us our first taste of freedom: I vividly remember my brother and I being allowed to go see a double feature of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and The NeverEnding Story with just Danny–no grownups. I was nine, with money in my pocket to go buy a second round of refreshments during intermission. Truly a heady experience.

Unfortunately, Bruce and Judy moved to upstate New York in 1988, with both cousins eventually joining them, before the whole clan settled near Atlanta, Georgia. However! I was reunited with Dan (Danny no more) a few years ago at–where else–Dragon Con, one of the biggest, craziest geek conventions on the planet.

DanFrame

Cousin Dan today: geek mentor and Dragon Con master!

While Dan has grown up to work in software development (of course), he still books a room at the Dragon Con host hotel every year, and he’s an integral part of The Outworlders, Atlanta, a “science fiction, fantasy and horror fan group that supports and promotes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes within these genres.”

So I salute and thank you, Cousin Dan: hero, genius, geek mentor, and master of my old Speak N’ Spell. I hope you know you’ve made our lives much more interesting and entertaining, and may the Force be with you!

Prosciutto, leek, and gruyere quiche

Happy Monday! Holiday Recovery and Resolutions

Prosciutto, leek, and gruyere quiche

Prosciutto, leek, and gruyere quiche–so good I forgot to take a pic before we ate.

Happy Monday! How were your holidays? Mine were busy, fun, and full of mishaps. Case in point: I stumbled on the stairs and hurt my (already injured) wrist/thumb severely, which makes it super hard to type. I’ve been dealing with “Mommy thumb” (tendon lining inflammation) and this is finally pushing me to make a doctor’s appointment. You know, after being in pain for 10 months. I’m a genius.

But! Links!

Entertainment

I finally got to watch Fargo Season 2, and oh wow. It was amazing. I was a pretty spotty watcher of Season 1–I followed recaps and watched the occasional episode–but Season 2 was instantly addictive. Kirsten Dunst was incredible. All the actors were. But the writing and plotting were right there with them, and the balance of menace, absurdity, humor, and pathos was perfectly Fargo.

And the soundtrack. Here’s my favorite song from this season, Blitzen Trapper’s cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” which brings me right back to my early childhood in Southern California:

This trailer for Fargo Season 2 gives me the shivers:

Cooking

We actually got snow in Portland! Well, maybe an inch of snow, but enough to stick and freeze, turning our neighborhood into an ice skating rink. So I’ve been going through our cupboards and using up holiday leftovers to feed us:

Prosciutto, Leek, and Gruyere Quiche. I used Julia Child’s base recipe for Quiche Lorraine (this one’s from The Foodies’ Kitchen), except I made a 9″ crust and used 2 cups of heavy cream and 4 eggs. To make: split two medium leeks in half and slice the white and light-green parts. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add the leeks and one clove garlic, minced. Stir and cook until leeks are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add 3 oz chopped prosciutto and cook 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle 3 oz grated gruyere in a partially baked pie crust. Add sauteed veggies and meat, top with custard, and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Eat warm or cold!

Spinach and White Bean Soup. I basically followed the recipe, except I used 10 oz frozen spinach, chicken broth (instead of veggie), and about 2/3 cup of ditalini pasta. It was satisfying, tasty, and made me feel healthy.

Resolutions

I’m serious! For sure. Here they are:

  1. Create an editorial calendar for my blog–I’d like to blog more regularly, which means for planning!
  2. Get back to planning meals on a monthly basis–not only does this usually save me time, but it saves money, and I generate less garbage. I’ll put it on the calendar and blog about it (see resolution #1).
  3. Spend less time on my phone. I’m going to keep library books at close hand. And oh yeah, the faces of my children. Of course!
  4. Paint my kitchen!

So what are your resolutions? Favorite TV shows? Clean-the-kitchen recipes? Don’t leave me hanging!

 

Six Christmas TV Episodes to Watch on Netflix

Hey folks! Merry Christmas, and sorry my blogging has been so sporadic (TM Clueless). I totally underestimated how difficult it would be to blog about Christmas while getting ready for Christmas. Live and learn. But I’ll be sharing some posts later this year that I’ll reshare early next year! Ha.

You know I love Christmas–and Christmas movies! But I tend to watch the same ones every year. So I decided to do a little digging and find some Christmas TV episodes that you can stream on Netflix right now. Get yourself some sparkling fresh Christmas cheer, in less time to boot!

ChristmasTV1

Andy, Opie, and Aunt Bea bring Christmas to the pokey. Photo from BasementRejects.com.

The Andy Griffith Show Season 1, Episode 11, “Christmas Story”: This is old-fashioned sweetness done right. Resident “Scrooge” Ben Weaver insists Andy arrest an amateur moonshiner on Christmas Eve–separating him from his family, and marooning Barney at the jail for the holiday. When Andy “arrests” the man’s family and brings Christmas to them, will ol’ Ben realize the true meaning of Christmas? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

The Office

Michael’s weird man-crush on Ryan . . . so icky. Photo from CrushtheBlog.com.

The Office Season 2, Episode 10, “Christmas Party”: This is the episode when I fully fell in love with Jim and Pam. Michael throws an office Christmas party that is both cringingly inappropriate and rage-inducing, and then tries to fix it with unsanctioned booze. Meanwhile, Jim tries to rescue the sweet, personal present he made for Pam (with a note confessing his feelings) when the gift exchange abruptly becomes a Yankee Swap (note: I hate Yankee Swaps, they stress me out). This is a classic episode that perfectly captures the best elements of this show.

ChristmasTV3

“Jessica. We need to talk about that sweater.” Photo from Cabot Cove Gazette.

Murder, She Wrote Season 9, Episode 9, “A Christmas Secret”: I looooove Murder, She Wrote so much–and this is a great Christmas episode in that it takes place in Cabot Cove, it includes plenty of Seth, and–wonder of wonders–it does not have a murder (just an attempted one). But still: it’s weird. Seth spends the episode whining about the time he didn’t get a toy train for Christmas, spoiling his enjoyment of the holiday for the next 60 years (wha??). And the secret? A new resident–who just got engaged and is working for his fiancee’s family business–is hiding the fact that he has a child from a previous relationship. Like, he moves, gets engaged, accepts a job, and foists his daughter on his sister because he’s afraid his fiancee (who is named Elizabeth Forsythe–practically my maiden name!!!!!!) will have issues with being a stepmother? Worst dad ever, AND worst fiance ever. Still a fun episode.

ChristmasTV4

This episode is probably extra affecting if you have a baby. Sob!

Ally McBeal Season 3, Episode 8, “Blue Christmas”: This is when Ally McBeal was starting to get insufferable, but still had a lot of charm. Elaine finds a baby in a nativity scene and wants to adopt, but has to contend with a lot of flack about her–gasp–promiscuous, unconventional lifestyle. Surprisingly sweet, mostly thanks to an amazing performance by Jane Krakowski. WARNING: I got major secondhand embarrassment when Ally sings a “sexy” version of “Santa Baby.” And Billy bleached his head. ACK.

ChristmasTV5

THIS PICTURE. Tears. Photo from PopOptiq.com.

The Twilight Zone Season 2, Episode 11, “The Night of the Meek”: Here’s your ugly cry for the holiday. I usually watch The Twilight Zone with a feeling of impending dread–okay, when will this poor schmuck realize he’s trapped in a hell of his own making? But this one is different. After a drunk is fired from his job as “Santa,” he finds a mysterious bag that gives everyone exactly what they want for Christmas. I won’t say anymore–just watch it.

ChristmasTV6

I ain’t gonna lie. I kind of want this dress. Photo from Disney.

Jessie Season 3, Episode 7: “Good Luck Jessie: New York City Christmas”: Listen, I have a 10-year-old son. I’ve watched a lot of bad tween TV, and Jessie is actually better than most–the dialogue is sharp, and Debby Ryan (nanny Jessie) and Kevin Chamberlin (butler Bertram) give it their all. This G-rated homage to The Hangover is energetic and fast-paced–and ends with a musical number. Of course.

I’m sure there are dozens and dozens of awesome Christmas TV episodes I’ve missed–what are your favorites?

Goodbye to a Magnificent Bastard: R.I.P. David Canary

David Canary Adam Chandler

Adam Chandler, silver fox. Swoon!

Even as a child, I had no taste for pretty boys–give me your intense, misunderstood miscreants, your dark and complicated antiheroes. Give me Adam Chandler from the dearly departed All My Children, masterfully portrayed by David Canary, who passed away yesterday at age 77 from natural causes.

Adam was introduced as a wealthy businessman who financed Erica Kane’s autobiographical movie (titled Raising Kane, natch) and married her, to boot. Over the 27 years he spent on All My Children, he married (or was known to have married) 10 women (several of them twice or more), introduced a sweet, sensitive twin named Stuart, and fathered or adopted eight children.

He behaved like a total bastard to all of them. And yet you loved him anyway! That was due to the skill and charisma of five-time Daytime Emmy Award-winner Canary, who drew a portrait of a power-hungry man who clawed his way up from poverty to protect his loved ones–and yet ultimately didn’t believe he was worthy of love.

I mean, just look at some of the things he pulled (from Soap Central):

  • Had his brother Stuart locked up in the west wing of the Chandler mansion for years
  • Faked his own death to test wife Erica Kane
  • Illegally divorced Erica; had Stuart stand in for him
  • Cheated on wife Brooke English with their maid, Dixie Cooney, after learning Brooke was infertile and couldn’t produce a male heir (in his defense, Brooke told him the marriage was over and Dixie was hot to trot!)
  • Tried to drive wife Dixie crazy, in order to get custody of their son, Adam Jr. (okay that was bad)
  • Hired a thug to shoot lifelong rival Palmer Cortlandt
  • Blackmailed Erica into marrying him again
  • Kidnapped Erica and took her to Canada
  • Staged his own kidnapping to test wife Gloria Marsh’s loyalty (I see a pattern here . . . )
  • Swapped Jake Martin’s sperm specimen with his own so that wife Liza Colby would have his child
  • Tossed Arlene Vaughn’s lifeless body overboard from the Fidelity after believing that his daughter Hayley had killed her (Arlene sucked)
  • Kidnapped wife Krystal Carey’s baby and planned to sell it on the black market (what, the baby was Tad Martin’s!)

My favorite Adam pairing was of course, levelheaded former wild child/magazine journalist/Erica Kane’s rival Brooke English. Theirs was a sexy, mature romance between intellectual equals that just crackled with chemistry–even when Brooke knew being with Adam was a bad idea (especially when it was a bad idea). The silver lining of the demise of All My Children is that they looked like they were finally gonna make it work!

Here’s a great, hilarious clip of their 2002 affair:

I enjoyed Canary’s portrayal of sweet, sensitive Stuart as well–although that got a little weird in the later years. When Stuart was first introduced, he was clearly meant to be somewhat mentally disabled, and yet they eventually featured him in a romance and marriage with the very adult Marian Colby (mother of Adam’s then-wife Liza Colby–soaps!). So that was kind of Big for me. But whatever.

So goodbye, David Canary, and goodbye, Adam Chandler, you magnificent bastard! The world is a little less entertaining without you.