Category Archive – Randomness

Week of Geek: Your Summer Road trip to the best Creepy Towns

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So, I have a new fan obsession.  No big news there, that’s par for the course.  But it’s been a while since I’ve been this hooked.  What’s snagged my attention, you may ask?

Just a little, unassuming desert city called Night Vale.

Welcome to Night Vale is a bi-weekly podcast that started in 2012, and I had no idea it existed until a few weeks ago when it came up in a list of must-listen storytelling podcasts.  After giving the first couple of episodes (which are each about 20 minutes long) a listen, I’m a confirmed Night Vale resident (I’m up to episode 20 by now; I like to wait until night to listen to them).  The podcasts are done in the style of a radio broadcast delivering news, local announcements and ‘weather’ reports for a city where bizarre and horrifying things happen on such a regular basis the citizens hardly bat an eye anymore.  It’s funny, creepy and delightfully weird with terrific writing, great non-sequiters, an affable host and a firm fan base.  I love it!

5133459483ab2f13e70b690a19c9ffd8 PhotoBut it got me thinking, dear readers.  It’s summer.  It’s a time to travel, to get out there and see what’s beyond your home town’s borders, and often times people do this in long car trips cross country.  And what if you happened to come across a town like Night Vale or some other place off the beaten path where things seem fine on the surface but something just feels…off.  And the longer you stay, the more secrets begin to unravel and the more things come to light that you kinda wish you hadn’t dug deeper into.  There are plenty of examples of towns like that in pop culture, so may I present the top destinations to travel on your summer road trip to fictional creepy towns.

(For the purposes of this list, I’m including towns that you could, in theory, conceivably come across if you were to get into your car right now and start driving, so I’m excluding cities from other continents, other dimensions, other worlds, other planets or shielded from Muggles.  Sorry Hogsmeade.)

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Night Vale, “somewhere in the Southwestern United States”

At first glance, Night Vale is a typical desert town with a pretty name.  But, if you listen longer than five seconds to the regular radio broadcast you’ll realize it is unique in the most horrifying and amazing ways possible.  It has all the basic ingredients of a city; a city council, a public library, an Arby’s, an arena, a dog park, a fun center, etc.  But then you start to hear about…weird stuff.  Like how the public library is located next to the private library and how the massive arena is only open one night a year, and how you should never go in the dog park.  Seriously, NEVER go in the dog park.  In fact, don’t even look at the dog park.

It’s a city where hooded figures, angels, five-headed dragons, a visitor in a tan jacket you can’t seem to remember after he’s gone and a gorgeous scientist who moved there to study the city are all residents.  And walking you through it all is Cecil, the voice of Night Vale’s community public radio.  So stop by and prepare for chills, laughs and ‘wha’s?’

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You can go ahead and skip neighboring town Desert Bluffs.  They’re the worst.  THE WORST!

(And don’t forget to listen all the way to the end for that episode’s proverb.  A couple of my favorites; “What has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening? I don’t know, but I trapped it in my bedroom. Send help. ” and “Does the carpet match the drapes? No, it doesn’t. You’re the worst interior decorator. Please leave my home.”)

Okay, next stop…

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Twin Peaks, Washington, United States

In a lot of ways, Twin Peaks is the quintessential freaky town, the one that started it all.  We first heard of Twin Peaks due to that unfortunate murder of local homecoming queen Laura Palmer.  That brought in FBI agent Dale Cooper, and that in-turn fully revealed the secrets lurking beneath a place known mostly for their coffee and pie (really, you gotta try the pie, especially cherry).  Log Ladies, giants, backwards-talking little people in prophetic dreams, spirits named Mike and BOB, residents with things to hide and a deceased teen girl with a troubled past in the heart of it all, Twin Peaks is a must on your tour of the weird.

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Gravity Falls, Oregon, United States

Where is the best spot to spend a whole summer, you may be wondering?  A place with fresh air, lots of trees, a kitschy little tourist trap called ‘The Mystery Shack’ and some actual mysteries popping up on a regular basis.  That’s what you’ll find in Gravity Falls, as vacationers Dipper and Mabel Pines will tell you with great enthusiasm.  The two of them have faced gnomes, ghosts, wax figures that come to life and lake monsters, and that’s only the first few episodes.  Though the adventures in Gravity Falls are spooky, they’re also hilarious, so definitely worth a stay.

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Sunnydale, California, United States

Heading down south, we find the quaint little sunny town of Sunnydale.  It may be small, but it has a lot to offer.  Good schools, a mall, a hip club called The Bronze, a whole bunch of cemetaries, and it’s all built on a literal mouth to hell.  So come for the California sun and the small-town feel, but stay for the massive amounts of vampires, werewolves, demons and other creepy things that are naturally drawn to Sunnydale.  No need to worry; the town is also host to vampire slayer Buffy Summers.  She’s got it all under control.

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Wayward Pines, Idaho, United States

A newer addition to our tour is Wayward Pines, ‘where paradise is home’.  Fair warning, though; once you get into Wayward Pines, it’s very, very hard to get out of it.  Between the local hospital keeping you there against your will, the townspeople actively working to undermine your escape attempts, the one road that always leads right back to town and the huge, electrified fence that surrounds it’s borders, you visit there at your own risk, dear travelers.  But it is pretty.  It’s got that going for it.

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Eureka, Oregon, United States

For you science aficionados, we’re taking you back to Oregon for a town not a lot of tourists know exists.  Eureka is a haven for some of the best scientific minds (many of whom work for the Global Dynamics company) to create new breakthroughs and products.  Granted, a lot of that science can run amok, and fairly frequently.  But Eureka has an excellent sheriff, a gentleman by the name of Jack Carter, to help keep the peace, so do stop by and soak in all the science, you big nerd.

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Sleepy Hollow, New York, United States

Last stop on our trip is the historic village of Sleepy Hollow.  You may have heard of this one.  If you’re a fan of American history or Halloween stories, Sleepy Hollow is the place for you.  Between all the touring of the famous sites where history unfolded, you’ll get to view up close the current battle to stop the apocalypse and the arrival of the four horsemen, one of whom has no head (really, his head is just gone!).  Be sure to look up Police Lt. Abbie Mills and her partner, a Mr. Ichabod Crane, to get the real scoop on what to see in town (just be careful at night).

So there you are, from one bizarre town to another, you have plenty of stops to visit this summer.  Any places I missed?  Go ahead and post them in the comments section.

Stay safe, have fun, and until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek Bonus: Comic Con wrapped up in a musical number

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‘Member how earlier this week I was talking about 2015′s Comic Con in San Diego?  Well, here’s a recap of the experience…IN SONG!  Enjoy!

Sing on Nerdy Princess, sing on!

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And go see Ant-Man!  I saw it last night and it was AWESOME!  And this may go without saying at this point, but stay ’til the end of the credits.  I was fangirling so hard!

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‘Til next time, End of Line.

Pluto – The Historical Selfie of Space

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I love space. My love for all things to infinity and beyond is astronomical. Chris Hadfield is probably one of the greatest astronauts alive. If I could be someone else for a day I would totally swap bodies with an astronaut. I want to get the NASA Space Shuttle in full launch mode tattooed on my leg. So yeah, space is a very big deal. So big that when I woke up this morning this was my reaction.

Why all the spacey reactions and insane fangirling?

BECAUSE PLUTO!!!!!

P LORRI FULLFRAME COLOR PhotoToday’s the day, after nine and a half long years, that Pluto FINALLY gets to take a bunch of space selfies. WE GET TO SEE PLUTO UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THIS WORLD, CIVILIZATION, THE HUMAN RACE, SICENCE, AND ALL THINGS TO DO WITH LIFE ON THIS PLANET!!!!!!! Can you wrap your minds around that? We get to SEE Pluto. The furthest (dwarf) planet in our solar system. If all of the astronomers from across human history could jump in a time traveling phone booth and be here to witness this they would all lose their minds and probably toga party like it was 250 B.C. That’s how big of a deal this is. We are currently witnessing an important historical moment. Right now! This is cause for a huge celebration across all nations.

After travelling over 3 billion miles the New Horizons probe went radio silent this morning and the next contact to Earth won’t happen until tonight so now everyone is playing the waiting game to see what amazing discoveries and epic close ups will be revealed. The New Horizons mission is going take at least 16 months before all of the pictures of Pluto and its five moons (Charon, Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos) get radioed back to Earth. The probe is powered by plutonium and will keep on truckin’ across the far outer reaches of our solar system until 2030 so who knows what’s in store for us out there where no man has ever gone before.

So join in on the excitement and brush up on your space knowledge. Grab a telescope and some friends, make hot chocolate, go outside and stare up at the night sky. Google Hubble images. Go visit the Ontario Science Center and spend some quality time in their space is awesome level. Watch all of your favourite sci-fi films or documentaries with the lights turned off and the volume cranked up. Hang out with Bill Nye. Join a discussion, start one yourself, be One with the Force and join in on the Voyage that’s been on-going since humanity looked up at the sky and wondered.

 Keep your eyes to the sky and ears to the ground

 Because where we’re going no one has gone before.

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Music for your weekend; A Cappella style with Pentatonix

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Since the weekend’s coming, and it’s time to crank some tunes, here’s a mostly a cappella group you may have heard of before and might want to give more of a listen to.  Here’s Pentatonix.

If you’d like to hear more, put a hold on their albums here.  And for a great movie featuring a cappella groups you can’t go wrong with Pitch Perfect (and then listen to the soundtrack by placing a hold here and here).

Acca-believe it!

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Week of Geek: #wewantwidow gets worlwide flash mob

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The weekend before last, the power of fangirldom took on a whole new level, and this blogger could not be more proud.

#wewantwidow is a movement that began online not too long ago.  It was inspired, as you may have guessed, by the Black Widow, Marvel’s high-profile Avenger portrayed on screen by Scarlett Johansson.  The hashtag was born not just out of fans’ long-time desire to see Widow in her own film (that’s been a long, winding road, let me tell ya), but from the fact that fans noticed pretty quickly that the hordes of Avengers merchandise that was released around the time Age of Ultron came out in theatres had almost nothing to do with Widow.  The rest of team was portrayed on t-shirts, bags, toys, etc. but even when the team was shown as a group, Widow was often nowhere to be seen.  It’s part of an ongoing problem with marginalizing female characters, and further proof that Marvel may just not know what to do with the character.  (There was a great article on Entertainment Weekly about it here).  Regardless, fans were not happy, and when fans aren’t happy, you hear about it.

Well, on June 6th, we heard about it.  And in one of the most awesome ways possible.  Try a worldwide flash mob, held in order to bring awareness to everyone’s favorite red-headed super spy.  Fans got together at various places on the same day and snapped pictures of themselves in their best Widow gear.  Red hair and spy suits EVERYWHERE!

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Click on the links to see more photos, but CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  How awesome is this?

So while it can safely be said that the fans have spoken, the question remains, what’s the future for this character?  Though both Marvel and DC are releasing female headlined movies in the next few years, and Widow will definitely be around (seeing as how she’ll be in Civil War, along with pretty much everyone else), still no talk of her getting her own movie and who knows what the merch will look like when Civil War arrives, seeing as how Cap and Iron Man will be the headliners of that one.  Do you guys think this sort of display by the fans, however awesome, and the online chatter will have any kind of impact on the people who make the movies?  Post away in the comments, ’cause I know you got ‘em.

And we can bask in some butt-kicking awesomeness by rewatching all of Widow’s movies, starting with Iron Man 2, then The Avengers, then Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and then when we inevitably get Age of Ultron.  And we got graphic novels.  My gosh, do we have graphic novels.  Kick things off with Black Widow: Deadly Origins, then peruse the always entertaining team-up of Captain America and Black Widow then dive into the current comic storyline with Black Widow Vol. 1: Finely Woven Threads.

(And while we all eagerly anticipate the 2nd season of Agent Carter, we can all bask in the feels knowing that Hayley Atwell will be in Toronto for Fan Expo!)

And keep your eyes peeled this fall, as it’s been announced that Marvel is publishing a brand new YA series featuring Natasha, starting with Black Widow: Forever Red.  She may not be getting her own movie anytime soon, but she’s definitely not going away.  And the fans clearly don’t want her to.

Until next time, End of Line.

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