R.I.P Xanga//Some Gems From My Own Xanga

Years before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even MySpace, the preferred choice for social networking was Xanga. Yes, that blogging website that you either used to detail every single day of your middle or high school experience or used to keep in touch with your friends via comments and eProps. The new crop of social media websites have left Xanga to rot in recent years and now the website is on the verge of shutting down. (You can, however, donate to keep the site afloat if you’re feeling particularly generous and/or nostalgic.) Upon hearing this news, I realized that I had to save and archive my old blog entries! I haven’t been really consistent with updating this blog, or my previous blogspot blog (Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog?), but I was pretty good with updating my Xanga all throughout my four years of high school. I started blogging right as my freshmen year of high school began and kept up with it until the summer before college. I never really look at it anymore, except for the rare night when I’m feeling really nostalgic. So, if you’re like me and want to preserve all of those high school (or middle school) memories of failed tests, first concerts, Quizilla results (YES), movie nights, make sure you create an archive of your entire website!

Due to my embarrassment (and the sheer volume) of the cringe worthy and mundane material found on my Xanga, I’m not going to share the link here (if you do know it, let’s all recognize the brilliance of my username), but I will share some of my best (AKA stupid) entries.

Continue reading

Opening Credit Mash-Ups

This week, Mad Men wrapped up its sixth season and the online/blog world has been spotlighting one particular fan made video in which the show is re-imagined as the early 2000s teen classic, The O.C. But before we move into that, can I make a confession? I’ve been a horrible Mad Men fan this year and have yet to watch this season, minus the first episode (which was really more like a tv movie) which I finally caught two days ago. I know. I know. This is super shameful, especially coming from someone like me who sat on my ass for days on end marathoning the show four summers ago and later spammed my Facebook with not-so-cryptic-actually-probably-were-spoilers statuses and posts. To be honest, I think season 5 just left a bad taste in my mouth with its extreme heavy-handedness and not-so clever imagery. However, I’ve heard this past season has sort of redeemed itself and managed to set up a possible interesting story line. From what I’ve gathered (I’m not a fan of spoilers, okay?!), Don, Megan, Stan, and Ted have headed out to the Best/West Coast, hence the wonderful fan-made mash up below.

http://video.vulture.com/video/Mad-Men-Goes-OC

This past semester I took a class on digital media and we touched upon the idea of copyrights and constructing creative works based on images or material that have been copyrighted. Fan videos are some of my favorite things to watch, if only because it’s fascinating to see how people can build upon or manipulate an already established piece of work to create something entirely new. When we discussed the issues surrounding copyrighting and the argument over whether creativity is hindered, I immediately thought of fan videos and artwork. YouTube, Tumblr, and DeviantArt are just some of the websites where you can find a multitude of art, videos, and music inspired by various tv shows or books. For many young artists, this is how they begin tapping into their creative skills. If you take the time to search, you’ll find tons of impressive works, much like the Mad Men/The O.C mash-up above. Because I’ve been inspired by the video and the possible cameo appearance by Adam Brody on the next season of Mad Men, here are a few more hilarious and brilliant opening credit mash-ups.

Continue reading

What I Learned Over Winter Break

Because learning never stops OKAY

  • The Aladdin show at Disney’s California Adventure is still the best place to take a nap in the parks. It’s heated/air conditioned, dark, and has comfy chairs. Obviously this only applies when you have seen the show before because it actually is a really great adaptation of the movie and the guy who plays Genie improvises (I think) and it’s great. 
  • It’s a really bad idea to go to Disneyland without checking their Twitter to see if it’s a busy day. Imagine a normal day at Disneyland…then multiple that crowd by 10.
  • Davey Havok from the band AFI, or some guy who looks suspiciously like him, eats at Urth Cafe.
  • The new Ke$ha album is actually really, REALLY catchy.
  • Breaking Bad is really great and actually deserving of the hype.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio never getting awards/recognition is one of my favorite running jokes.
  • They still play Drake and Josh reruns on Nickelodeon.
  • Catfish is absolutely hilarious only because you sit there going “WHY DID YOU NOT USE SKYPE? DID YOU REALLY THINK IT WAS NORMAL TO NOT TALK TO THIS PERSON ON THE PHONE? GIRL YOU LIVE 15 MINUTES AWAY FROM THIS PERSON AND DIDN’T THINK IT WAS WEIRD YOU NEVER MET IN PERSON? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF GOOGLE?!” and so on. Also it somehow doesn’t phase the Catfish people that some girl pretended to be a guy on Facebook for two years so she could distract her boyfriend’s other chick (hay Mhissy hay). Continue reading

Things I Enjoyed in 2012

I’m really bad with keeping up with this blog but figured I should post something before the year ends.

Since the last time I updated, I started my MA program at NYU and moved to New York. It’s been a huge change (one that was quite difficult at first), but it’s definitely been a learning experience. I’m happy to say that I’m enjoying my time there now and school has definitely contributed to my overall happiness. The beginning half of this year was possibly the hardest time period in my life – having to learn how to accept “no” as an answer multiple times, realizing that I need to stop acting entitled just because I have an expensive sheet of paper, learning how to be happy for other people even as my self-confidence dwindles, learning how to swallow my pride and face the fact that nothing is really “below my standards,” and so on – but I do believe I am a better person overall for having experienced it. Did it suck? Obviously. Would I do it again? Hopefully not, but I am, in a strange way, grateful for January – August because I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes and how to be satisfied and thankful for any opportunity that comes my way.

Now that I’ve explained my current and past mentality for this year, I’ll move on to much more exciting and entertaining things. This is a post about the pop culture-y things I’ve enjoyed this year – anything from movies, tv shows, music, YouTube videos, etc. I have to admit there isn’t anything groundbreaking here as I was/am a bit slow to catch onto things, at least for 2012, due in part to my lack of time and (mostly) in part to my laziness. Some of these items listed are things I’m sure most people already know about and may have even moved past or gotten over. Oh well!

So here are the things, in no particular order, that provided an escape, entertained me, or helped me procrastinate:

Continue reading

Edgar Wright Triple Feature @ the Castro Theatre!

Last night I attended the All Night Tribute to Edgar Wright put on by Midnites for Maniacs at the legendary Castro Theatre! It was a triple feature with all three of Edgar Wright’s films – Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Hot Fuzz, and Shaun of the Dead.

I am a massive fan of Edgar Wright and was so excited when I found out it was confirmed that he would be appearing and doing a Q&A! I’ve seen him twice before at Comic-Con when he was there in 2008 to promote the American release of Spaced and in 2011 to promote Scott Pilgrim. Not only is he incredibly talented, but he’s also very charming and kind to his fans. I throw out this story whenever people ask for nice celebrity encounter stories, but back in 2008 I was lucky enough to win a ticket to the Spaced signing and had to chance to briefly meet Edgar, Simon Pegg, and Jessica Hynes. I remember wanting to throw up the entire time because I was so nervous whilst waiting in line and when I finally got to the table, I told Edgar that I was really, really nervous. He grabbed my hands and said there was no need to be nervous and that to calm down, we would count to 10. I know this sounds straight out of some weird fanfiction but it’s totally true! I remember how surreal it all felt to have someone whose work you admire, to hold your hands…and slowly count to 10, while your favorite actor is less than a foot away and watching you both.

Skip to 2:13. I am so thankful my face is offscreen. Although that moment remains one of the best moments of my life, the internet so does not need to see me spazzing out like a complete dork. So in short, Edgar Wright = one of the nicest celebrities/famous people EVER.

And back to last night! I got there a little before 6pm and the line was already wrapping around two corners! It was insane…even though I knew this would be a passionate and dedicated crowd, I had no idea just how passionate. It was like a little bit of Comic-Con in the heart of the Castro!

The marquee!

Once inside, my friends and I discussed possibly napping during some of the movies. They’re three of my favorite films, but sometimes I can barely handle watching two movies back to back (this is why I’m not a very good movie hopper). Sure enough, I napped for about 20 minutes during Hot Fuzz and another 30 minutes during Shaun of the Dead, but managed to wake up in time for my favorite parts.

One of the best things about the Castro Theater - in house organ player!

The Q&As were a lot of fun and Comic-Con style with the audience asking the majority of the questions. What I love about audience questions is that they’re usually really thoughtful and interesting, as opposed to the typical press questions like “What was it like working with blah blah?” or “Tell us about this movie…” Fans are the ones who’ve already seen the films and have analyzed every single bit of the them; their questions are about the details most people gloss over or the filmmakers’ obscure back catalogue and so on. Some of my favorite questions last night where those ones from film geeks who asked about Edgar’s use of long tracking shots or sound. It’s pretty interesting to hear why they chose to film some scenes in a certain way or behind the scenes stories. Here’s one – did you know their director of photography on Shaun of the Dead also worked on Goodfellas? Surprise! He didn’t work on that famous kitchen scene though…surprise again! He didn’t work on that famous Shaun walking to the shop scene either. There was also that awkward moment when a fan prefaced his question with the confession that he’s never read the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, and then decided to ask why the Matthew Patel musical was in the film (silence….someone in the crowd: “it’s in the book!”). Still, Edgar answered the questions quite throughly so the movies were a bit behind schedule, hence, why I had to nap!

All in all, it was a great night for Edgar Wright fans! It’s always fun to see movies with dedicated and passionate fans and I love that the scenes that got big reactions in the theater years ago, still get them today. Edgar chose an IMDB keyword for each film that everyone would cheer for so during Scott Pilgrim we all cheered whenever coins appeared, for Hot Fuzz when a “chin stabbing” occurs, and for Shaun of the Dead when disembowelment happens. I saw the last two films in theaters and it was great to see them on the big screen again and, as the Castro prides itself, in 35mm. I never watched Shaun of the Dead in theaters (I was an uncultured 14 year old when it came out) despite it being my favorite film of all time, so I’m glad I can now say I’ve seen that on the big screen as well. I’m really happy that the Castro Theater/Midnite for Maniacs put on this triple feature! Like I mentioned, I normally have trouble sitting through two movies back to back, so there’s not many triple features I’d be willing to pay for and attend. This, of course, was an exception and I’m glad I attended – definitely a highlight of my summer, if not my year!

@edgarwright: "7Pm to 2.53AM. Castro Theatre. You rock."

For nicer photos of the marquee and his own remarks on the event, check out Edgar Wright’s own blog here.

LAST MINUTE COMIC-CON TIPS!

If you weren’t aware, it’s July; specifically the 21st of July. For most pop culture enthusiasts, fanboys/fangirls, comic book fans, cosplayers, video gamers, nerds, tv fanatics, and yes, even Twilight Moms, this means only one thing: COMIC-CON! The massive event is held annually for one weekend in July at the San Diego Convention Center and for anyone with any sort of interest in media or pop culture, it’s a huge deal and often the highlight of the year.

Unfortunately, I won’t be there this year and will have to watch and read all the updates from home, but I have been lucky enough to experience this crazy weekend twice, both in 2008 and 2010. I’m here to offer some of my own tips and tidbits as someone who isn’t the biggest comic book fan, but is a television geek (sort of), and a broke ass college student. So here we go!

1. Ralph’s will be your savior. One of the best and worst things about SDCC is the fact that they do not clear out rooms after the panels. The good thing is that you do not have to get back in line to see another panel in the same room; the bad thing is you’ll more than likely be stuck in the same room for hours to see the panel you want. Although it’s nice to get a glimpse of a movie or television show you may not have been interested in before, it’s horrible not being able to leave the room in fear of losing your seat. This is why prepared snacks and meals are a MUST. The convention center does offer food, but I really don’t think anyone is up for paying high prices for greasy pizza. Ralph’s is only a few blocks from the con and you can stock up on all of your snacks, sandwiches, and of course water! In the past I’ve bought a few of their wraps (not bad), granola bars, and SmartWater bottles (those bottles are huge and can definitely be reused throughout the weekend). Another smart thing to do would be to buy a gallon of water and refill your bottle before each day. Oh, one last thing – the employees at the store get really into the entire Comic-Con theme and last year were all sporting superhero themed t-shirts!

2. If you need to go out and eat/drink/dance, Yelp is your best friend. The first year my friends and I went, we researched the restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter and shared the places that fit within our budget and sounded delicious. Many Yelp’ers have created lists specifically geared towards con goers so do a quick search on the website before heading out. For those hoping to save a few bucks, a few restaurants this year are offering discounts to SDCC attendees who also present their badges. You can find the list here.

3. Hold on to that badge like it’s your child. Trust me, this is the key to all panels, the convention floor, and many other SDCC activities. I mean, as I mentioned above, it’s the key to discounts at restaurants now too! Seriously though, make sure you have your badge with you the entire time you’re at the con. SDCC provides a nice lanyard for you to clip your badge onto, but accidents do happen and it’s possible for that little hook to slip off that safety pin on the back. So while there will be times when you’re sprinting over to Hall H or through the throngs on the convention floor to get to an autograph booth, try to remember to continually check that the badge is still with you, whether its on the lanyard or safety pinned to your body.

4. Plan and schedule for all of your must see panels, autograph sessions, screenings, and off-site activities before hand. As I mentioned above, one of the best/worst things about Comic-Con is the fact that they don’t clear out the rooms. That means if you want to see a panel and you know it’s going to be popular, you may have to start lining up hours beforehand. Case in point, last year, one of the main reasons why I headed down to San Diego was the Scott Pilgrim vs the World panel. Like I mentioned in my Attack the Block review, I’m a huge fan of Edgar Wright and I loved following the filming process for the movie. The entire cast was going to be there and I knew I COULD NOT miss the panel. Unfortunately, it happened to be the very last panel of the day and I knew that I would have to spend the majority of the day in Hall H. If I had left the room anytime before the panel, I would have had to get back in the massive line and try to get into Hall H in time. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but this line is CRAZZZZZZZY . So yes, definitely make plans hours ahead to see a popular panel. As for autograph sessions, check the SDCC website to see who has their own booth and who will have scheduled signings. For the more popular/scheduled signings, fans will have to either get their early and obtain a wristband or attempt to draw out a stamped ticket. For the wristband signings, many booths, such as Fox, will give them away very early in the day so make sure to drop by the day before and ask when specifically they’ll be giving out wristbands. For the stamped ticket signings, more often then not, they’ll be in the Autograph Area. Look for the line of people waiting for what looks like nothing. Once you spot them sticking their hands into a bag, you’ll know you’re in the right place. And finally, many networks, movie studios, books, whatever will be promoting their goods throughout the Gaslamp Quarter. Last year’s Scott Pilgrim experience was definitely a highlight as fans could check out the video game and receive free SP-related tshirts! I remember Machete also had a huge block party with music, food, and freebies. The best place to view all of the off-site events is the SDCC Blog’s Off-Site Events page.

Scott Pilgrim Experience!

Okay, so I didn't make it to the IASIP signing (learn from my mistake) but I got this photo of Charlie Day and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis! I cried inside when this happened.

5. Don’t go crazy with freebies. This is a hard one, especially if you’ve spent all that money making the trip to the greatest pop culture convention in the world. Everyone will be shoving their postcards, posters, pins, bags, and more into your hands and it’ll be hard to say no. Everything just looks so cool, so sleek, so shiny, so free. However, you know that many of the items you’re grabbing won’t be of any use to you at home. Sure, that comic book that you got from that random guy crossing the street at the same time as you, looks cool, but are you really going to read it? And you know all those postcards for that cheaply made zombie film aren’t going up on your wall anytime soon. Learn to say ‘no’ and take only the things you’d be willing to possibly pay for and/or carry home. If you still have trouble parting with your freebies and are stuck with them months later, look around to see who might want them. Maybe someone who couldn’t make it to SDCC will be more than happy to take them off your hands.

Crossing the street back to the Gaslamp Quarter. You'll notice litter everywhere because people just toss their flyers/postcards/whatever!

6. Your camera should be with you at all times! It’s a given that you’ll want to snap tons of photos during the celebrity packed panels, but there will also be fantastically dressed up cosplayers roaming the convention, as well as moments you won’t see anywhere else. Maybe it’s a random celebrity spotting outside the convention center or it’s your own friends sleeping on the grass outside Hall H at 7:30am as you guys wait to get in for the Harry Potter panel (actually happened). One of the best things about Comic-Con weekend is the insane amount of things happening all at once. There will be thousands of people dressed up, celebrities presenting their movies or tv shows, artists showing off their work, fans trying out video games, and so much more. There’s so much to experience at SDCC that you can’t anywhere else. It’s important that you have something to document all of those special moments (mostly, to shut up all those “pics or it didn’t happen” folks).

Why your camera needs to be with you at all times! Surprise Q&A appearance by Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, and Aziz Ansari at the 'Pineapple Express' panel in 2008

7. Rest up and be nice! I combined these twos because I believe they’re related to one another. Days at Comic Con are long and tiring. Despite the fact that you’ll be sitting down for the panels, there will be long periods of time where you’re standing in line or running to get to another place. Try to sleep the night before so you’re not exhausted, physically and mentally. You’ll hate yourself if you accidentally doze off during the panel you most wanted to see. And of course, sleeping means there’ll be a smaller chance of you being cranky. Putting yourself in a densely populated area and amongst other people who are just as passionate and dedicated as you are will create situations in which you’ll want to roll your eyes, shout at someone, or in an extremely rare case, stab someone with a pen. Try to brush off the smaller stuff and just think about how lucky you are to be at Comic-Con. Seriously, do you know how many people are seething with jealousy because they aren’ there?! People spend thousands of dollars trying to get a badge after the event sells out! And so I will end this long post with probably the most important tip: Have fun and enjoy every moment of the best weekend of the year.

This guy was sitting in front of me! His shirt was hilarious.

Bonus picture - me and Pickachu having fun at Comic-Con! Its arms are waving in joy!