Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Geek Media: the new hobbit trailer

Have you seen the newest and latest Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer yet?

If your answer to that is "No"... WATCH IT. NOW.

The shiny, new Hobbit trailer has a whole boatload more action and excitement than its predecessor as fans really get a chance for more than a Gandalf soliloquy to tell us what happened.

It opens with some great lines from Bilbo, played by the fabulous Martin Freeman, the best of course being as he runs past a fellow hobbit in pursuit of his company, "I'm going on an adventure!"

Fans of the books have a chance to see many scenes they're familiar with in the story, such as the start of the Riddle game with Gollum, and the Trolls in the Trollshaw. And if you look carefully, you'll even see the characters perched on top of the trees that the goblins set on fire. (Which by looks may also be the final scene or even in this first of three movies)

It also throws in a few unexpected loops in as well - scenes involving events that never happened or were never even hinted at in the book itself. Such as the scene with the flying rocks and disintegrating cliffs... no it is not in the book! Whatmore, I cannot even fathom where this scene would take place, before or after they go inside the Misty Mountains and battle the Goblin King.

You can already tell the dialogue is epic, and the scenes are going to look amazing in 3D.

The whole thing makes me excited for December 14th to come already!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Geek Looks: julep maven september polishs

So a few weeks ago, I wrote about how I got the Julep Maven pack for September for 1 cent! And I said that I will write up a full review on the products once I get a chance to try them.

Well today I finally got a chance to try the white polish, so now I think I can give a fair review on the two products.

classic with a twist
juicy watermelon red creme

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I really liked this polish a lot. The colour was a beautiful shade that looked sweet and sexy all at once, and it really stood out when I was wearing it. I actually liked it so much that I kept it on for a whole week!

I was also impressed with how smoothly the polish went onto my nails. No weird clumps, even application and it dried SO FAST. 

The quick dry was what impressed me the most in fact, as I'm a generally impatient person (and generally don't have much time to myself to treat my body) and hate it when a polish can take up to 10 minutes to dry.

So the fact I was able to apply it and soon after was able to wash my dishes without any damage to my nails was a huge plus in my eyes.

So why only 4 stars? I liked the colour but I wasn't crazy about it. And my wardrobe really doesn't have much to match that vibrant red in any kind of classy way.

classic with a twist
soft, white pearl

Rating: 1 out of 5

This one was a disappointment in my eyes.

I understand how difficult it is to wear a white nail polish but it went on so streaky and so grossly thick that in the end, I felt like I was putting White-Out on my fingernails rather than nail polish!

It was to the point that in order to get a flat and even finish on my nails I had a thick layer of nail polish on my nails, which I very much disliked.

The colour itself was meh. It didn't really match my skin colour and actually looked quite awful against my skin. So much so that right after I took the picture, I took it off my hand as fast as possible. I just did not like it at all.

Therefore, the rating. The colour wasn't any good, the application sucked and it felt bad. The only good thing to come out of the polish is that it dried fast, which I took as a small blessing.

I wouldn't wear this alone, maybe as a base or an accent in the future. But not as a stand-alone polish.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Geek Living: the path to vanity solutions

So it has been awhile. My excuse being is that writing 600-word sports articles every day and then working on top of it has exhausted me past a point that I care to talk about in great detail.

Anyway... after days and weeks of fiddling around, reorganizing and moving stuff in out and around I have finally mostly finished the layout and look of the vanity block in the corner of my room!

I wanted something a bit girly, chic, blue and classic. There are no real drawers to this set up, mostly cups and everything there is set in a place that makes it generally easy to get the items.

Now the block that my vanity sits atop of is kind of weird in that it's about chest high, sits in a corner of my room by the windows and doesn't seem to do anything. Well I at least managed to make the best of it in the end.

The necklaces are hung on a nail from the wall, and the black wall art is from Dollarama. Actually, quite a lot of the items used as storage here are from Dollarama.

Let's go for the close-up.

The bottles on the tray there are stuff that I generally use daily - the whitening serums from UNT, BB cream I bought at Sephora, foundation and moisturizing night cream from Neutrogena.

The blue jeweled clips are being used as decoration.

The antique-y plate is from Goodwill and is covered with rings, stud earrings and other assorted jewelry.

All of this is sitting on a "tray" that is really a fancy little frame I also got at Goodwill for a small price. I backed that with a piece of fancy letter paper and set it down to separate my vanity up a bit and enable me to maintain some set of organization.

The idea to set the frame down as a tray was actually a lovely idea I found on The Lovely Undergrad.

Other ideas I drew from this lovely image was obviously the mirror picture frame in the background, and the little candle cups from Dollarama which I used to store my Q-tips and the shorter brushes and utensils like nail clippers and tweezers.

Here's another look at how I used the candle cups in another close-up

As you can see, I have a larger, blue candle holder for my larger make-up tools and  brushes.

All this was piled in front of the shelf, which I used to store my hair-ties and then my larger bottles like my nail-polish remover, my pedi-creme from Julep (I'll write about that later) and regular lotion for when I don't want to use my nutty body butter from the Body Shop (which I love using)

Along the top, you can see where I hang my collection of hanging earrings. For lack of a better spot to put them, I store them there. It works for the time being, but I would like to eventually give it its own storage space.

However, my favourite part of this (and my other image) is the jars I used to store both my make-up (the stuff that is less frequently used) and my large collection of nail polish. It's fancy, looks nice and because the nail polish and that make-up is less likely to be used regularly, the difficulty that exists in digging for some products isn't a huge deal. And really, it's only an inconvenience of less than a minute.

That idea was actually found when I went looking for different ways to decorate my bookshelf when I found this on GeekyPosh.

I circled it for your convenience, but as you can see, I thought it was brilliant and so chic looking. Also, storing my nail polish has been such an issue for me for such a long while that to find this was like a god-send. I loved it!

Again, sorry for the delays in posting! But I'm still here and still poking and prodding my stories along about living and learning a geek-filled life while pursuing a dream in sports. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Geek Media: arrow

There was a panel and screening that took place at this year's FANeXpo that I missed and kind of wish I didn't. And yet I don't quite regret it either, for the sake of having to wait hours and hours in line to attend both.

CTV was promoting The CW's new show Arrow by bringing in the cast of the show. It is a show that the channel's secondary CTV2 will simulcast when it premiers on Wednesday October 10, 2012 at 8PM ET and is a series loosely based on DC Comic's Green Arrow. And I say loosely, because it really has been modernized and re-imagined in order to create the necessary realism and story-telling for the show.

Here is the trailer.

I readily admit I don't really have the patience or the funds to be a really big comic book fan, so I can't really tell you what changed from the DC Universe to the one they're presenting here. But based mostly on the trailer, it looks like a cross between an action thriller and a dark mystery of sorts. It revolves around how the title character Oliver Queen, portrayed by Canadian actor and former Rent-a-Goalie actor Stephen Amell,  had changed after being stranded on an island for five years. No one knows what went on on that island or why, simply that the wealthy heir had come back... different.

Kinda like what happened with Tony Stark in Iron Man, but different.

Suddenly, it has become his personal mission to "destroy evil." But why? Why has he taken on this monument task, and by himself? What happened that made him decide that that is his life's work?

It looks great from the trailer, but everything seems great from a trailer. The question is really how do they plan to build the character and the story. How well will or can Amell capture the torment and yet still try to exude as if "nothing had happened or changed" with this rich boy? I haven't much doubts with the casting either way (I think Amell looks brilliant) but there are certainly a lot of questions.

I look forward to see where they take this and how this will develop. Though if you ask me, it looks like something that can be brilliant for one season before it crashes and slides into oblivion.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Geek Looks: the julep maven

So about two weeks ago, I discovered this subscription nail polish deal called Julep Maven

The premise is that every month for $20 dollars, you get a package sent to you of various product items relating to nail polish and care valued at $40 dollars.

Normally that wouldn't thrill me or interest me. What made me go ahead with it in the end however was that with a coupon/promo code (I used the code COLOR2012, but there are others that you can find and likely use online), you can get the first box for ONE CENT.

The one cent charge, from what I gather though is really to ensure that you have a valid and working credit card.

So I bit.

I did their quiz. They classified my style as "Classic with a twist" and recommended a certain set as my first kit.

And yesterday, my package from this month's set arrived.

As you can see, I got two nail polish colours and a pedi-creme (which I thought was a weird selection given that it's September and so sandal season is pretty much over until next May... but oh well).

Interested? Click here to join!

Now here's the important part. Once you sign up and they deliver this box, you become a member of their subscription group, meaning that every month from here-in, they will send you a new box, but charge you $20 dollars on your credit card for it.

They do however, send an email informing of when your next box is coming and with what products, and then give you the option to opt out for the month. If you opt out for whatever reason, you won't get charged $20 dollars and they don't send you a gift box.

But you really have to stay on top of this because they only give you roughly 5 days to opt out of the process before they proceed with the transaction.

They also make it challenging to cancel your prescription as well, at least, compared to how easy it is to cancel online subscriptions in general. As I read it, there is no way for you to email them to cancel it. You have to actually dial in a phone number and call them to cancel your plan.

My thoughts are to give it 3 months. If I don't like any of the packages they send me in that time, I'll cancel. So I'm taking it on a 3 month at a time service. Plus, 20 dollars isn't bad for two or three polishes, though the honest truth is I don't really need them more often than not.

But we shall see how this goes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Geek Toys: star trek tri-dimensional chess

The more I research into the toys that Sheldon and the gang owns and enjoys in The Big Bang Theory, the more I think that their occasional implications that they are poor/have a limited amount of funds is really a load of hogwash.

In season 1, episode 11, also known as The Pancake Batter Anomaly, the show opens up with Leonard and Sheldon going through a battle of tri-dimensional chess on a very elaborate and visually complicated board, with Sheldon ending the game with his hilarious line: "Must be humbling to suck on so many different levels."

The game itself dates back to in 1907, then called Raumschach (German for Space Chess), by Dr. Ferdinand Maack.

But it faded after World War II.

It made a real comeback and popped back into the minds of nerds everywhere when Spock was seen playing it in the original Star Trek. The game actually played a pretty pivotal role in the actual show in fact.

That chess set is the version that Sheldon and Leonard is seen playing on in the show.

This set of Star Trek Tri-dimensional chess is a Franklin Mint exclusive, meaning that they're the only makers of this set. And it is beautifully assembled with actual 24 karat gold and sterling silver plated chess pieces, truly demonstrating the art and the beauty of the game as a whole.

But as you can guess, it is anything but cheap.

In fact, if Amazon is any indication, it retails for at least $315.00 CDN dollars!!! And that's without taking shipping into consideration.

Still, how beautiful would this look on atop a book shelf, awaiting for your next attempt at conquering a three-dimensional battlefield?

Only reason why I looked it up.

Though if you ask me, as far as games are concerned, I think I'll be sticking to the regular 2-D versions. They're not as fancy looking... but they're cheaper.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FANeXpo 2012: a final look

Another FANeXpo has come and gone, and a week later, as I look back, I realized a couple of things.

The first thing I realized is that I enjoyed it way less than probably wanted to.

And this was despite me actually getting more actual convention-related activities as far as my normal attended-as-a-fan conventions go. I went to a panel, I attended a screening among the usual "hanging around on the dealer's room and convention floor" deal.

But overall, it was a frustrating event for me. The lines were long, the crowds were too big and the planning felt shot and unprepared for what the days brought. This was particularly evident and true on Day 3, which is supposed to be the marquee day of the entire convention - the one day that is perhaps the most "worthwhile" day in which to attend the event.

And it basically works into my number one criticism and suggestion for this convention: the floor they use is too small a space for the number of people that are there. The very fact that they ran out of tickets on Saturday at 1PM and had to hold people outside in line for up to and over an hour because of capacity issues.

And even when they're "under capacity" the place still feels too crowded and jammed of people to really enjoy what is going on.

I'm familiar with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre downtown, and I know renting the space costs a lot of money. Like through the nose money compared to other locations across town. That's the price you pay for using a space in the heart of the downtown core that's both accessible and large.

But I also know Hobbystar - the company that creates and plans this entire convention - they rake in huge amounts of money at these events.

Therefore it is not difficult for me to imagine them being able to rent other spaces (particularly spaces in the north building) in order to bloody well spread out covention goers and provide more space for the convention in general.

Right now, everything is situated on two (albeit huge) floors of the south building. But it created huge crowding issues as lines merged or scattered and the people walking past them had to slow because of it.

And because everything that is going on is going on in these two floors, it basically forces more people than it can handle into the space causing the "sardines in a can" metaphor to come to light.

If they plan to continue to improve this convention, they need to move some of those events - namely "big name" panels and screenings - into another part of the building (I'm thinking some of the bigger rooms in the north building) so that the lines for those events interfere less with traffic of regular convention attendees that are just there to take pictures, view costumes and buy stuff in the dealer's room.

The "lower traffic panels" can stay in the south building's north side in order to make use of the rooms available there.

Of course, the additional problem this would cause is that "so and so panel was too far away from so and so panel". My answer? The ones that need the bigger rooms are all bunched together. The ones that don't and is back in the south building are no more than 5 minutes away. Deal with it.

The other good thing that does is that it also extends and expands traffic and gives additional places for people to meet up and chill without leaving the convention.

Yes, additional traffic means additional resources to manage and maintain traffic like security and volunteers.   But that can be made up by simply adding 100 more convention goers at the price they charge for tickets!

So what should happen to some of those bigger panel rooms in the south building then though? Move the food courts into them. Why? Because working past the food court (which were both situated at entrances to the convention) during lunch and dinner hours were a nightmare to deal with and you move the patrons who simply intend to eat away from people who only want to - what else - enjoy the convention floor.

AND it creates a space that booths can move into on the dealer's room floor and maybe widen the existing hallways of the convention so that traffic moves more smoothly right?

This convention has had to deal with a tonne of problems and drama as it grew up in the last decade I've been attending. From having an weapons retailer selling weapons illegally to underaged kids (not to mention selling illegal weapons itself) to the fiasco of 2010, it can't say it was a smooth process.

But even so, the convention grew. And now, the convention outgrew the south building space two years ago. It needs to move past it and move up if it in any way plans to seriously compete with the likes of Comi-con going forward.

The crowding was a real pain and without enough areas to loiter and hang out, it made the place feel like it lacked the easy-going personality of a real genre convention and was just filled with the stresses of real life all bottled into two seemingly tiny floors of a convention centre.

The point of a convention is to create a shared space for people with similar interests to get to know each other and engage in their interests. It's to escape the sometimes cruel and judgmental realities of the modern world.

This year, FANeXpo failed mightily in my mind to do that.

It had its moments, but overall, not impressed.

Geek'd: sheldon's ocd calendar

I was sick this past week. And had to go to work.

And it sucked.

Now I really really love my current (and soon to be ending for the season) job in sports, and I'm really proud I have it and can execute it.

But when you're sick as a dog with the common cold, it can be very very difficult to enjoy being at work, as it was this past week.

And don't get me wrong; normally, I can handle the common cold without issue. Because normally, my worst enemy is congestion. So I pop a few pills, wait a half hour, throw in a bag of Halls and I'm good to go.

But this one was different, in that it gave me the world's worst runny nose ever. And sneeze a lot And nothing, not even a bag of Halls, can keep that from getting annoying when you're doing a job that generally requires you to use both hands.

And before you ask, it is next to impossible to call in sick to this job. And I'm not saying you can't - you can technically - but you put everyone in a bind because it means in a limited amount of time they have to track down a replacement for you. And because of that, doing so bodes very very ill for you going forward.

So short of death or dying, you're expected to show up to work.

Anyway, one of the things that pulled me through and tided me over during the whole ordeal was, of course, the Big Bang Theory. Largely for its whimsy, but also because the Comedy channel here in Canada had a "Labour Day Weekend Marathon" this weekend where they played The Big Bang Theory.

And only the Big Bang Theory.

All three days nonstop.

It was awesome.

And I dunno if it was the fact I fell asleep to it or anything, but I woke up wanting to chart out Sheldon's Calendar of daily monotonous routine.

So I looked it up and apparently the writer's for the show made a version based on what we have seen so far from the show for its fans on Google Calendar.

There are obviously a few holes (though I'm pretty sure Tuesday night is Klingon Boggle night), such as the evening's activities for Thursday, breakfast for all the mornings but Monday and Saturday among other things but it's pretty complete as far as what the episodes have revealed.

And yet another way for me to revel in my nerdism of this show.