Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aliens On Ice

Performed by the Old Murderhouse Theatre out of Austin, Texas, this crew has taken their nerdery to new heights. Aliens is the tale of a woman coerced into returning to the horrors that nearly killed her once. A colony on a distant planet is found wiped out by spawning, writhing, blood thirsty creatures hell bent on carnage and the furthering of their species. Will Ripley's knowledge be enough to keep a team of elite soldiers alive? Probably not. Now..take all that...and put it ...ON ICE!! Fantastic. I'd pay upwards of 20 dollars to watch that. 20 WHOLE DOLLARS.

...and if you love that, what would you think of Robocop LIVE?!

Peter David's Fan/Pro Bill of Rights

I've been attending conventions for over 13 years and these eyes...they've seen some things maaaan. Things that will keep you up at night. Peter David has probably been attending these shows far longer than I have, and so, from his vast knowledge of such goings on, a great degree of sensitivity to both sides and no shortage of sarcasm, he has presented a Fan/Pro Bill of Rights on his website. Let's see how much of this you agree with...

Preamble: We, the fans and pros of www.peterdavid.net, in order to form a more perfect union of fan/pro interaction, wish to let it be known that: with conventions and the Internet providing extensive opportunities for fan/pro interaction and; with new fans not quite understanding the “rules” and social mores and expectations of conventions and thus feeling uncomfortable or uncertain of what is expected of them and; partly in response to some conventions where fans in general and female fans in particular were targeted for harassment and abuse, and; in order to fill what is perceived as a needed guide for fans and pros to know and/or understand what to expect of each other in order to minimize or eliminate misunderstandings or ill-will; it is hereby resolved that this document will serve as an attempt to fill that need by spelling out the specifics of these matters to the best of our abilities. This is being done unilaterally by an assortment of fans and pros, and all the matters addressed within this document are drawn from genuine, real-life experiences of the participants (as hard as that may be to believe in some cases.) The rights set forth herein are not intended to represent the opinions or policies of any conventions or organizations, and may be considered by some to be merely guidelines. Nevertheless, it is our intent to present a series of simple, common sense, basic rights to which all fans and pros should be entitled.

For the purpose of this document, “fan” will be taken to mean anyone not working professionally in the science fiction/fantasy industry, and “pro” will include writers, artists, actors, or anyone—particularly for the purpose of convention-going—who is an advertised guest and/or panelist and/or is scheduled for autographing sessions and/or is set up with a table at either artist’s alley or the dealer’s room or an exhibition hall. The male pronoun is uniformly used to refer to all pros and all fans, not to give short shrift to the female gender, but simply for convenience sake.

The order in which this list is presented is not intended to reflect on the relative priorities of each right, save for the first one, which we have decided to call:

The Prime Directive

Fans and Pros have the right to be treated by each other with the same courtesy that they themselves would expect to be treated.* Fans and Pros who act like jerks abrogate the right to complain when they themselves are treated like jerks.

*The expectations of masochists notwithstanding.

Right the First

Fans and Pros have a right to a mutual understanding of what is expected and required from each when it comes to the giving and receiving of autographs.

1) Fans have a right to know as early as possible—preferably in the convention advertising and certainly no later than via clearly posted signs at the pro’s table—what will and will not be autographed. (EX: only materials purchased at the table as opposed to items that the fans have already acquired.)

2) Pros have a right not to be embarrassed by, or be made uncomfortable with, unauthorized materials brought for signature (EX: that jerk who brought Emma Watson an 8 x 10 of a paparazzi photograph angled up her dress) or the nature of the object to be autographed (EX: body parts). By the same token, pros should be willing to sign any material that they themselves are selling. If the pro charges for autographs, there should be no hidden costs; a price list, while not required, is extremely helpful.

3) Particularly during advertised, limited-time autograph sessions, the pro should have the right to not have any one individual attempt to monopolize his time. For that matter, the fans have the right not to have to stand there and watch some guy tell the pro his life’s story. In cases of convention-sponsored autographs sessions, conventions should provide one or more monitors to be responsible for keeping the line moving so that pros don’t have to be the bad guy and fans don’t have to shout at their fellow fans to keep moving, and to cap the line so that the pro is not required to remain overtime.

4) Unless there is prior notification otherwise, fans have a right to have their books personalized. If they desire personalization, they should say so up front so the pro doesn’t have to guess. Nor should pros have to guess at the spelling of names. Don’t assume the pro will figure out that your name has a silent “q.” Complicated names should be presented on pieces of paper for convenience. If your name is on your badge but it’s spelled wrong, do not expect the pro to intuit that. Pros should not be asked to sign potentially inflammatory messages because the fan thinks it “will be funny” or “he’ll appreciate it.” (EX: Dear Jim: Why didn’t you show up, you asshole? Best wishes.)

5) Fans do not have an automatic right to expect an autograph unless a pro is seated at a table designated as an autograph table. An autograph table is defined as a table specifically established by the convention, or by third-party exhibitors, as a location at which the pro will be appearing for a limited time for the sole purpose of giving autographs (as opposed to artists alley tables or the pro’s own dealer table.) Even then: (1) the pro is under no obligation to sign more than one item unless stipulated by mutual agreement with the convention; (2) the pro has every right, at his discretion, not to autograph items, for any number of reasons including, but not limited to, (i) not having authored the work in question, (ii) fatigue, (iii) the fan showed up just at the signing’s conclusion with a significant number of books, (iv) the fan is acting like a jerk (see: Prime Directive.)

6) Fans with excessive amounts of material to be autographed should be willing to go to the end of the line and wait again in order to accommodate fans with fewer books to be signed. The definition of “excessive” will be the sole discretion of the pro and the convention organizers. If the pro has an absolute maximum beyond which he will not sign under any circumstance, or if the convention has a set limit in order to avoid overcrowdings or excessive lines, this limit should be made clear in the welcome material presented to attendees.

7) If the fan has accomplished the goal of getting an autograph, he should not monopolize a pro’s time even if there’s no one waiting behind him. If the pro has stopped talking and is sitting there simply smiling, take this as an unspoken cue that it’s time to move on. Just standing there for extended periods, waiting for the pro to say or do something clever, makes the pro feel uncomfortable and makes the fan come across as kind of creepy. This is a pro, not a resident of a petting zoo.

8 ) If a fan wishes to approach a pro, he should simply do so. If he doesn’t have the nerve, he should walk away until such time as he’s prepared to approach the guest. Simply standing a short distance away for an extended period while trying to build up one’s nerve can come across as a creepy stalker vibe. Pros have a right not to have to wonder why That Guy Over There has been watching them for fifteen minutes without moving. By the same token, pros should be aware of possible nervous reticence on the part of some fans, and should make every effort to be inviting and approachable, up to and including saying something along the lines of, “Hi, can I do something for you?” to a fan hovering nearby.

9) No matter how long a line is, fans should yield the right of way to a fellow fan with a screaming baby. This may seem unfair, but it’ll make everyone’s life easier, and it beats scowling and profanities.

10) Fans have a right not to be abused, scolded, scowled at or otherwise upbraided if they are clearly planning to profiteer off the autographs (EX: Multiple copies of the same book.) If they resell the books, that will just enable them to make more money to buy more copies of books by the pro that signed them in the first place. It’s capitalism’s circle of life.

11) Pros should never have to remove books or comic books from plastic sleeves, particularly if the flaps are taped down. Comic books should be presented ready for signing; books should be open to the title page or wherever the fan prefers it to be signed. If a fan is frustrated because he’s been waiting for a long time, he should keep that frustration to himself and not toss his comics to or at the pro.

12) Pros have the right to be treated courteously at all times. Fans asking for autographs while simultaneously telling the pro everything that’s “wrong” with his work are exhibiting bad form.

13) If a fan tells a pro that a particular work of his is the fan’s “favorite,” the minimal acceptable response is, “Thank you.” Cringing, making a face, saying, “Are you kidding me?,” “Do you have your taste in your ass?”, “What is wrong with you?”, “That’s the least favorite thing I’ve ever done,” etc., should all be actively discouraged. If seeing past work of yours upsets you to such a degree that you feel obliged to denigrate both yourself and the fan’s taste, don’t go to conventions.

Right the Second

Fans have a right to wear and/or carry whatever they want to a convention. But one fan’s right to personal expression ends at another fan’s right to personal space.

1) Fans must be aware when accoutrements widen the amount of space they take up, either side-to-side or front to back. Attendees have a right to walk around a convention without being struck by: (1) backpacks; (2) rolling suitcases; (3) wings; (4) shoulder pads; (5) swords, shields, scabbards, bows, giant keys, quivers, bat’leths, batarangs, and any other type of weapon or weapon container; (6) capes; (7) gigantic signs; or any other object that can inflict pain or injury if the wearer/bearer turns around too quickly.

2) Fans and pros have a right to walk through convention space without being impeded by other attendees who are either taking photographs or posing for photographs. Quick photographs taken out of main traffic paths of either fans with pros or fans in costume are not bothersome as long as they do not block traffic. However, large numbers of costumed individuals posing for a battery of photographers poses a traffic hazard. It’s a convention, not the red carpet at the Oscars.

3) Should such blockages occur, fans and pros desiring to get from Point A to Point B should have the right of way and be able to walk directly through the picture-taking area without feeling guilty about ruining other people’s pictures. When passing fans walk in front of people’s cameras, such entries into the picture should, if possible, be accompanied by some manner of warning such as, “Excuse me.” “Coming through.” “Fore.” If photographers aren’t courteous enough to concern themselves about fans and/or pros getting where they need to go, then fans and/or pros shouldn’t have to worry about the photographers getting their pictures of five slave Leias and a Wookiee.

4) Fans have a right not to play along. Everyone appreciates dedication to one’s character; nevertheless, you don’t get a free pass to act a jerk just because you’re cosplaying a Klingon or Lobo.

Right the Third

Pros have as much right to enjoy conventions as anyone else. Pros are typically referred to as “guests,” and even “guests of honor.” If you treat guests in an insensitive manner, they will stop coming to your house.

1) Pros have the right to attend panels as audience members, walk the dealer’s room, or in other ways enjoy the convention without being approached with questions or requests for autographs. Fans who make such approaches do so at their own risk. Pros should make best efforts to extend such extra courtesies when possible, but should not be subjected to subsequent fan excoriation if they choose to demur. (EX: “He refused to sign my program book even though he was just standing there doing nothing.”)

2) As corollary to the above paragraph, the one situation where under no circumstance can pros be approached is when attending to bodily functions. Toilets are to be considered Off Limits for purposes of fan/pro interaction. Do not ever try to hand something to someone to sign while they are peeing. Do not push a comic under a stall door because you know they are in there and can’t get away. Do not decide that a toilet is the best possible place for a photograph with or of your favorite creator. Just… don’t.

3) Pros have as much right to privacy as anyone else. Under no circumstance should fans hover near, spy on, or eavesdrop upon private conversations that pros are having with each other off in a corner somewhere or while walking along a hallway. Such behavior would be considered rude if it’s done with total strangers, much less respected guests; fishing for dirt or leaks about upcoming work is bad form.

4) If an author is sitting around in a bar and you wish to approach him, you should offer to buy him a drink. This is particularly applicable with guests from the U.K. and/or Ireland. The technical term for this is “a bribe.” With conventions in the U.K. or Ireland, the technical term for sitting around in a bar and buying authors drinks is “a panel.”

5) Some authors, because they have no one to watch their artist alley or exhibition table, will choose to eat at their table rather than go out to lunch. They have the right to this personal time without intrusion. Just because a fan says, “I don’t want to interrupt you” before they drop ten books in front of the pro does not make it any less an interruption. Furthermore the pro’s hands may not be clean, which could result in anything from crumbs to mayo stains getting on the material to be autographed, which no one will be happy about.

6) Authors are not your bitches (AKA The Neil Gaiman Assertion.)

7) Actors are not your performing monkeys (AKA The Misha Collins Declaration.)

Right the Fourth

Fans and Pros have the right to enjoy panels.

1) Fans and/or convention organizers should reasonably assume they have the right to film or video record panels unless explicit notice is provided at the beginning of the panel that visual recording is forbidden, or a blanket prohibition is published in the program book by the convention.

2) If a fan is so exhausted that he might fall asleep, he should be seated toward the back of the room, not the front row where his sonorous snoring and trickle of drool down his chin provide both audible and visual distractions. If a pro is likewise exhausted, he should beg off being on the panel. Should anyone choose to ignore this advice, the strategic and retaliatory use of air horns by either panelists or fans, while not encouraged, shall be excused. Should air horns be employed, said usage is not to be filmed and put up on Youtube unless it’s really, really funny.

3) Cell phones should be shut off or set to vibrate during panels. If a fan forgets and his phone rings, people are allowed to voice loud annoyance. If a panelist forgets and his cell phone goes off while he’s on the panel, loud annoyance is NOT permitted. However laughter, snarking and Simpson-esque “HA ha!” are not only acceptable but also encouraged.

4) Question and answer sessions are designed for succinctly phrased questions that will, in turn, elicit answers. They are not intended for fan pontifications, declamations, circumlocution, or soliloquies. They are not intended for a fan to try and bond with the panelists or show them how special the questioner is. They are not intended to be preceded by a lengthy preamble that explains how the fan’s entire existence and the fates conspired to bring him to this particular point at this particular time to pose this particular question. This is a panel, not The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Fans choosing to ignore these guidelines proceed at their risk and better hope their personal narrative is compelling enough that audiences will not find it onerous.

5) Audiences have a right to boo or bemoan the following questions: (i) “Can I have a hug?” (ii) “Can I have a kiss?” (iii) “Can I have my picture taken with you?” (iv) “How YOU doin’?” (or any similar come-on or question involving asking for a date.)

6) If there are certain topics or works that are known to be provocative subjects, do not be a smart ass and bring it up anyway just to get a reaction or show that you’re fearless. If you poke the bear, don’t be surprised if you get the claws (AKA The Ellison Exacerbation). Should a novice fan who poses such a question happen to be ignorant of its provocative nature, he will likely be tipped off by the collective gasp of the audience and the scowl from the pro. In this event, he has the right to withdraw the question, no harm, no foul.

7) Good rule of thumb: if a question sounds like something that would be asked by the main fan geek from Galaxy Quest, avoid asking it. If you must posit technical questions, particularly involving contradictions, save them for writers. Actors have the right to not be their characters, and they do not generally have responses for picayune errata, especially since James Doohan passed away.

8 ) Attendees should not have to put up with redundancy. If you are a latecomer, quietly inquire of people near you if your intended question has already been addressed.

9) Pros have a right to express unpopular or inflammatory opinions on panels or elsewhere without it immediately resulting in fans announcing that henceforth they will never read anything by that author ever again. Pros also have a right to believe monkeys will fly out of their ass.

10) Fans with children have as much right to enjoy panels as anyone else. Fans without children have a right to enjoy panels without children crying or disrupting them. Pros have a right to express themselves freely without concern as to language or subject matter. Children have a right to be immersed in the conventional culture since they are the future of fandom. Everyone has a right not to have their feet run over by strollers. In instances where any and/or all of these rights conflict, the Tim Gunn rule applies: Make it work.

Right the Fifth

Convention-related rights stem from solid organization, and therefore convention organizers have certain expectations that they should meet.

1) Fans have a right to an efficient registration procedure.

2) Fans have a right to a central information booth, staffed by people who actually either have the answers or can find them quickly.

3) Attendees have the right to be able to read, with no effort, the badges of other attendees. Appropriate place for badges to be worn is either around the neck on a lanyard or in the upper left or right of one’s shirt. Do not place your badge at hip level. No one needs or wants to be made uncomfortable staring at your crotch.

4) Attendees have a right to expect that convention organizers will heed the Maximum Occupancy signs and not endanger the attendees by overselling the convention. Rarely does anyone cosplay a Fire Marshall; if you see one, chances are he’s real and you’re in trouble. Nobody needs this grief.

5) Guest pros being sponsored by the convention have a right to written confirmation of all terms of their convention attendance at least ninety days before the convention, with travel arrangements finalized no later than thirty days prior. Travel in such instances should never be the expense of the pro with subsequent expectation of reimbursement unless the pro agrees to this…in which case, the pro better be damned sure the organizer is good for it, because otherwise he’s on his own.

6) Fans in wheelchairs or similar devices for locomotion have a right to proper accommodations for their personal needs, such as sufficient aisle width. They also have the right: not to have people cut in front of them in line; not to have items they’re considering buying grabbed out of their hands; not to be assumed to be mentally challenged. Which, when you get down to it, all fans have these rights, but those in wheelchairs appear to be victimized by it more often. Non-ambulatory fans should also be given preferential treatment for elevators, since stairs are not an option.

7) Conventions should take security measures and have people designated specifically to handle disruptive individuals, crowd control, etc., as well as an advertised security ombudsmen to whom fans can go if situations of harassment arise. Should the convention opt for security forces composed of local groups of Storm Troopers, Dorsai, Klingons, etc., it should be emphasized to them that they are there for the convenience and safety of the fans, and not to cosplay as bad-asses. Security guards should be able to distinguish between groups of fans blocking access as opposed to a single fan who is simply standing still for a minute or two deciding which direction he’s going to go.

The foregoing represents the best efforts of a particular group of individuals to enumerate the rights of fans and guidelines for behavior that will ensure and protect those rights. So say we all.

So..I have to say I agree with 100% of this, but there are some things our great friend has left out.

Sub-paragraph A1: Personal Hygiene: We understand the rights of any man or woman to attend a convention in their chosen attire, looking as they so choose, but as you exit your domain out into public areas, please consider your state of being. Is my shirt discolored from sweat and/or food stains? Have I washed my body and hair today? Have I used generous amounts of industrial strength deodorant since I will most likely be sweating from morning to night? Have I attended to the upkeep of my feet if I am going to show them off to the world in my stylish sandals? Those around you have come to the convention for a pleasant day. Let's be a part of that pleasantness by being as clean as we possibly can. (Note: If you have doubts about your current cleanliness level, smell yourself. You'll know when something is wrong.)

Sub-paragraph B1: Cosplayer Rights: An individual attending a convention in any sort of costume can expect that fans will want to photograph them THE ENTIRE DAY. On that same note, convention goers have to respect that a cosplayer is also a fan and may want to see the convention themselves. 1 photograph politely, respectfully asked for is more than enough. When taking a photo with a cosplayer, please refrain from touching, hugging or straddling them unless this is asked for before hand and agreed to. You may damage their costume and/or generally create an uncomfortable moment. It is customary to tell a cosplayer you love their costume if you are asking for said photographs. This allows everyone to part with happy feelings. If a fan asks a cosplayer for a specific pose or facial expression, please understand the cosplayer may be tired or otherwise shy and may decline. This is their right. Trying to coax them into it may cause further unpleasantness. A Cosplayer may also deny you a photograph all together if they are busy trying to locate someone, attempting to hit a panel or any other number of personal reasons that they have no need to explain. If they say no, please respect that. You've got 500 other individuals who will be happy to accommodate you.

B2: Photographing Cosplayers (and to an extent, anyone at a convention): A cosplayer has spent many hours (or just 3 with duct tape) putting together their costumes. They would like to look their best when photographed, as this image will most likely hit the internet somewhere. Please ask before shooting if at all possible. If your subject is at a distance, apply a great deal of common sense. No one wants to be photographed with their mouth open shoveling pizza into their face. No one wants to be photographed recovering from a wardrobe malfunction. Be kind and think "would they be happy to discover this image online" before posting.

B3: Sexy Cosplaying: If you have glued one leaf to each of your ample breasts and a third larger leaf over your neathers and are telling people you are Poison Ivy, no one may dispute the fact, but we all will agree you are a nearly naked Poison Ivy. Some parents attending the convention would rather not have their 6 year old get an anatomy lesson on the show floor, so give some thought to this before leaving the house. Good rule of thumb: If you feel you might get rousted by police on any given street corner for what you are wearing, it probably isn't appropriate. Also note that many conventions have dress codes that, while not widely known, are enforced. If you are showing too much boob or butt, you can bet you will be sent back to your hotel. Even though Slave Leia is nearly naked, she is still wearing a metal bikini complete with front and back flaps AND underwear. There's a lesson to be learned there.

Sub-paragraph C1: Celebrity Rights: Like it or not, a great deal of celebrities are at the convention to make money. It has become common for a "guest" to list what they will or will not allow on a sign on their table. Some will even discourage photographs unless you buy something. Should you purchase an autograph, the guest will most likely happily take a picture with you as part of the sale. Some charge more for this, so be prepared and respect their wishes. If you truly are a fan, this should be no problem. Stalking the guest's table and waiting for them to be away from it and their handler to ask for a free picture is considered bad form, but we know it happens, weather on purpose or just on impulse. Not everyone is expected to know a guest has set signing hours, but if security, handlers or the guest themselves decline your photo or autograph request, don't take it personally. If they say yes to you, they will have to say yes to the 20 or so others who were following as well. If a guest tells you they will be back at their designated table at a certain time, be prepared to pay for that photo or autograph when you arrive. This goes for press as well. A press pass does not give you free access to every person at a convention for photographs or autographs. Accept this and everyone will be happy.

I'm sure I've got more to add later, but at the moment, that's the lot. If you have any gripes we can form into concise statements, please pop them into comments!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Killer Deals at Amazon for Cyber Monday..Week?

Did you miss out on the Black Friday sales & Entertainment Earth goodies or did you pounce on a number of items and are now anxious for more sweet, sweet plastic at fantastic prices? I took a cyber walk over to Amazon today and noticed their Cyber Monday week (which makes no sense but we'll take it) had begun and there are TOYS in them thar columns!! All orders over $25 get free shipping, so get to shopping! Here's the best deals with links right to the pages where you can purchase...

Star Wars Republic Attack Shuttle at 44% off: Did you miss the EE sale on the biggest Star Wars toy/playset of the year? NEVER FEAR!! Amazon now has THE LOWEST PRICE of the season! I can't imagine it going lower than $50 with free shipping, can you? Didn't think so. Prepare for twice the out-of-this-world battle action with the STAR WARS REPUBLIC ATTACK SHUTTLE. In space or on the ground, the ATTACK SHUTTLE demolishes the Droid army. It features rotating wings, electronic lights that flash, and a base that makes battle-ready announcements. The REPUBLIC ATTACK SHUTTLE comes with five projectiles, CLONE PILOT figure, blaster, label sheet, instructions, Galactic Battle game dueling card, and battle game base.

Nerf N-Strike Stampede at 50% off: There are two toy lines that get people's attention no matter what their age may be...from 6 to 36, LEGO and NERF stop the show. Now you can snap up two battle ready guns to take over your work place with foamy fury. Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS- This fully automatic blaster unleashes a storm of soft Nerf darts from the extended 18-dart clip--and it is easy to reload with the spares. The high-capacity Stampede even includes a blast shield to deflect incoming "fire," as well as a pop-out bipod for stability. The Stampede boasts a 30-foot firing range, weighing nearly 5 pounds and built of thick, durable plastic. Set also includes three extended 18-round clips, quick-reload 6-dart clip, 60 Clip System darts, and directions.

Looking for more armaments? Luckily, the Stampede is not the only gun at discount prices.

Nerf Dart Tag Swampfire at 50% off: Battery power eliminates the traditional need to pump the blaster, allowing players to direct their attention toward game strategy. Hold down the trigger for motorized, full-auto blasting with a rotating barrel that holds up to 20 darts at a time. Single darts can be fired for a more calculated firing style. A stock allows the blaster to rest comfortably against players' shoulders and can be removed for high mobility attacks. Comes with Blaster, 20 Dart Tag darts, Dart Tag rules, and assembly instructions. $20

Nerf Vortex Proton at 44% off: Switch over from darts to disks to hit enemies fast and far! This powerful, single-shot blaster is compact enough to hide away when needed, but also quick-loading enough for surprise situations. Comes with 3 ultra-distance discs. At $9.99, you can afford to outfit your whole crew for a New Year's Eve raid!

Nerf Dart Tag Speed Load 6 at 57% off: That disk shooter was fun, but you like the feel of darts and you want a package that packs in more for your minimal bucks? This air-powered blaster lets you return fire fast with high-speed reloads. The integrated clip holds six darts and lets you load super-fast. Again, only a 10 spot.

ThunderCats Tower of Omens Playset at 50% off: Now that everyone is going berserk for te new cartoon, fans lay in wait for the 3 and 3 quarter action figures to go on sale for the holiday season. Little did you expect the playset that can hold them all would be the cheapest score of all! The Tower of Omens includes Cat Entrance Gate, Catapult, Tower with elevator and slide, mini ThunderCats vehicle and exclusive 4” transparent figure of Tygra, which has embedded magnet activating the ThunderLynx features. Place Tygra (or any 4” figure) in elevator and raise him up, which will open up the top of the Tower and will activate lights and sounds.

G.I. Joe Sky Striker Jet at 50% off: G.I. Joe easily gets my vote for toy line of the year with fairly accessible figure waves and each one packed with as many accessories as they could possibly jam into that tiny blister card. The quality of each figure just keeps going up, so you can't lose! Now you can score the keystone of any Joe collection at a fraction of the price. Complete with pivoting "airsweep" wings and a CAPT. ACE figure eager to "fly", the G.I. JOE Combat Jet Sky Striker XP-21F vehicle is ready for lift-off. This jet also comes with removable missile accessories for plenty of firepower. $22.49

If you need an enemy fighter to chase after your Sky Striker, you can also score the Cobra Night Raven at 58% off!

KRE-O Sentinel Prime Firetruck Building Kit at 58% off: You can build your SENTINEL PRIME character in robot mode and then use the very same bricks to reassemble him in vehicle mode. Also included are four poseable KREON mini figures. I don't have to tell you how much the mini figures rule. This particular set comes with Soundwave, Thundercracker, Sentinel Prime and a human Fire Chief. This is the biggest set in the series so far, at 386 pieces for only $18.99!

That's the creme of the crop, but there's loads more to take advantage of. Here's a quick link list of some of the highlights, but feel free to click any link and dive right into the full listings for Amazon's holiday deals!

Marble Racers-MaxTraxxx Interlocking Race Track 50% off (19.99)
Spy Gear Spy Video Car VX-6 40% off (47.99)
Tonka Ricochet R/C Replay 50% off (39.99) also comes in RED
My Pillow Pets Lavender Unicorn 18" 58% off (10.39)
My Pillow Pets Book Engardia And 17" Dragon Pillow Pet 48% off (16.99)
Sesame Street Let's Rock Elmo 33% off (46.75)
Crayola Glow Dome 62% off (15.00)
Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio 57% off (15.00)

And for the non-child like folks on your list...

True Blood Season 3 46% off (32.49)
Glee: The Complete Second Season 52% off (28.99)
Community: The Complete Second Season 70% off (13.99) first season is 12.49!
Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season 65% off (10.99) ..actually you can get three seasons for $38.97!
Star Wars: The Original Trilogy on Blu-ray 43% off (39.99)
Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (+ Digital Copy) Blu-ray 67% off (26.49)!
Garmin nĂ¼vi 1490LMT 5-Inch Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Map & Traffic Updates 57% off (149.99)
Batman: Arkham City 33% off (39.99)

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Entertainment Earth's Insane Black Friday Deals

Well..technically they started already..so they are Black Thursday deals. Sounds like a proper Emo band, doesn't it? ANYYYWAY...our loving buddies over at Entertainment Earth have clued us in on their amazing sales going on this weekend. If you are looking for some killer plastic for the geek in your life, this should be the first place you hit ..and soon! I'm not overly hyping this when I say these items aren't going to last long at these prices. Here's the best of the best...

Remember the Cloverfield Monster??!! I took this to horror shows and people offered me 250 for it on the spot. It later shot up to $500 on ebay. Now a secret supply has been uncovered and Entertainment Earth is unloading for the psychotic price of $60!! Let's face it...you wouldn't buy it at $100..and then you cried when it was $500. Don't make the same mistake again! He makes noises as he destroys your mini city, comes with alternate heads for quiet contemplation and screaming anger, has the head of the Statue of Liberty as a chew toy, is filled with tiny little parasites AND comes in an awesome diorama box. CLICK HERE for the Cloverfield Monster for $60!

Any World of Warcraft fans in the house? Now you can own a piece of the action without fear you may be angered one day and lop off someone's head. KEEN! Behold..the 47 inch World of Warcraft Frostmourne Latex Sword! A hard rubber handle and real suede wrapping ensure both great balance and a firm grip for complete control. The tough layered foam, high-quality latex, and specially developed paint have been researched for long-lasting play and a non-cracking finish. The police-grade Kevlar used in the sword tip guarantees a non-tearing thrust. Though the fiber core of this weapon is lightweight, it commands the strength to withstand excessive pounds of stress. "Whosoever takes up this blade shall wield power eternal." Welp..than can be YOU! CLICK HERE for the World of Warcraft Frostmourne Sword for $70!

- EE also has an Alliance Flag for $15, A Horde Flag for $15, An Alliance Wearable Tabard for $35, and a Horde Wearable Tabard for $35!

For the Marvel junkie in your life, you can snap up a prop replica that would normally make your pockets cry for mercy. It's Tony Stark's second-favorite can! (get it?! Cuz he was a drunk? oh geez.) Based on his original appearance in Tales of Suspense #39, this Iron Man Steel Helmet Replica is shiny and includes a black padded lining, making it comfortable for you to wear. (and wear it you must) This full-size headgear comes with a metal stand with nameplate that's guaranteed to keep the helmet standing upright when you're not wearing it. Limited to 1,463 units, this incredible reproduction can be yours if you hurry. Prepare for some real "heavy metal" action with this awesome piece! It also comes with a certificate of authenticity. Measures about 13-inches tall. Ages 13 and up. Snap up the First Appearance Iron Man Helmet Replica for only $90 (that's 74% off) in steel grey and $95 in glimmering GOLD!

Entertainment Earth has slashed the prices on a few figures with retro appeal..in more ways than one. Looking for something that will make your geek flash back to their childhood at the thought of the film it comes from AND the feel of the product? Then you are looking for MODERN MEGO!! EE had a set of Flash Gordon figures; Ming and Flash ready to do battle for $20, and a pair of Ghostbusters with EGON and Ray from The real Ghostbusters cartoon series for $13 a piece (they are $20 in stores.) You can also nab Scott Ian from Anthrax for a tenner. Who doesn't want a tiny Scott Ian on their desk?!

Finally, for the Star Wars freaks, EE has a number of things you probably can't say no to, especially if you collect the toys and are always looking for a deal. Let's start with the biggest and the best. Parents, take note! the Republic Attack Shuttle is only $54 here!!! This is Hasbro's feature vehicle for the year with all the lights, sounds and action your kids crave while they watch Jedi behead the bad guys in their favorite cartoon. FAMILY FUN!! This detailed Republic Attack Shuttle Vehicle features rotating wings to start it "soaring." Put your Clone Pilot Figure in the cockpit and then detach it to create a recon-fighter vehicle! If an attack begins and you've got to arm yourself for battle, convert your vehicle to armored attack-base mode. Electronic lights flash as the base makes announcements like "Droid fighters incoming!" and "All cannons fire!" to prepare you and your Clone Pilot Figure. Get your enemies in your sights and engage your pop-up missile-firing cannons. $54 is THE LOWEST PRICE OF THE SEASON, so don't wait to snap this up. Also on tap is Jabba the Hutt's throne playset for a mere $20, The Imperial Tie-Bomber for $20, and an awesome Remote Control Hailfire Droid for $30!!

There's more but seriously..it's three pages of listings...you can dive in and swim the waters of cheap plastics yourself at the touch of a button. Click any of the links above to get started on your holiday shopping and be a hero at half the price!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gift Ideas for the Dorks You Love

This is happening soon. Prepare yourselves!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bellflower Hits DVD and Blu-ray

On Idle Hands, we talk about an eclectic array of topics, but from a larger view, you are looking at the inside of the mind of the average geek. Most of us like toys, video games, comic books, horror movies, indie films, nerdy television and so and and so forth. Often, when a movie is making a lot of noise on the indie film fest circuit, we make a mention and a note and then we go quiet. Why? Because most of us won't be able to see the damn thing until it comes on on DVD and Blu-ray! This...is one of those times.

Bellflower follows two friends as they venture out into the world to begin their adult lives. All their free time is spent building flame-throwers and weapons of mass destruction in hopes that a global apocalypse will occur and clear the runway for their imaginary gang "Mother Medusa". While waiting for the world to end, their call to excitement comes unexpectedly when one of them meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love. Quickly integrated into a new group of friends, they set off on a journey of betrayal, love, hate, infidelity and extreme violence more devastating and fiery than any of their apocalyptic fantasies.

This movie is sweet and funny and ridiculous and psychotic all at once...just like most of our lives. The content is starkly real and yet, obviously amplified to the nth degree. After all, most of us have had a bad break up in our lives but how many of you then jumped into your fire belching muscle car for a joy ride to help you forget about it? Bellflower has no shortage of style and vision and past all that, will win you over on charm alone. CLICK HERE to scoop it up today!!

We took some time to talk with writer/director/actor Evan Glodell (who needs to watch Robocop already) and cast members Jessie Wiseman (who shares my fear of movie Smurfs) & Tyler Dawson (who rolls a mean cigarette) to talk about love, life, psychotic romances, Lord Humungous, crying in the editing room and how Mel Gibson's hair would stack up in a battle-to-the-death cage match against Nick Cage's hair. Two hair enter...1 hair leave.

Bellflower Interviews: On Love, Evil Women & Mel... by Nomadixxx

Friday, November 18, 2011

Explore the Dark Side of Super Powers with Chronicle

It was only a matter of time! Super Heroes are dominating the box office and those of us strong with the geek forces know there are plenty of stories where those good guys sometimes go dark. Here's the skinny..

"Chronicle" stars Michael B. Jordan, James Dehaan and Alex Russell as high school kids who developed extra special powers after being exposed to a mysterious substance in the woods. Beyond their understanding, their powers direct them to incredible discoveries and use them to their advantage as their lives start to spin out of control while their darker sides begin to take over.

Chronicle in theaters February 3, 2012.

10 Most Awesome on Screen Births of All Time

In honor of Twilight: Breaking Dawn and their insane demon baby birthing scene you'll have to see to believe...or have it described to you in detail if you have a weak constitution for such things as Twilight...we decided to compile a list of awesome film moments where a new life comes into this world...kicking...screaming...clawing...writhing...you get the picture. WARNING: Due to the nature of this subject and the fact that we live in the future and therefore can show you most of the actual scenes from these shows and movies...welll...you've been warned! In no particular order...

10. V: The Final Battle: This is the price you pay for getting it on with your lizard usurpers. Dear, your first child will be very popular with the high school boys..for reasons you'll find out diring breast feeding. Your second child..well...we think he is possessed by the immortal spirit of Roger Corman..or a Ghoulie...or has discovered the secret of the ooze from the teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Either way..we had to put that second kid in a sack and toss it off a bridge. I'm sure he'll come back in 20 years as Killer Croc or some such monster. K?

9. Dawn of the Dead: When the woman you love gets bit amid a zombie apocalypse, she's toast. You've just got to accept that. When she's pregnant, whatever is in her belly is going to come out ready to gum you to death. TO DEATH!!

8. Xtro: Remember that mention on The Family Guy of Lois going through hell giving birth to Chris because he was HUGE?! Well...you ain't seen nothin yet. I full expect some women in the audience to cross their legs in agony at the sight of this one.

7. The Brood: Evil little people suck...weather they are kids or lil demons or whatever form they take. They bite your knees, use toys to pummel you, jump on your back and squeeze your head til it pops...it's just bad news. The Brood features a whole day camp full of these viscous little creeps and the mommy that gave birth to them all. The magic happens about 3 minutes in...but be warned..this one is extra gooey!

6. The Fly: In the 1986 remake, Geena Davis has a nightmare where she pushes out a baby maggot. Well..they can't all look like Brad Pitt after being squished up in a belly for 9 months! Lesson learned; this is what happens when you allow a super powered Jeff Goldblum to sex you up. And now you know.

5. Gozu: My second favorite "What the hell is that giant thing coming out of that woman's extra-dimensional vagina??!!" moment! The best comment on YouTube says "That's not what he meant by a Hand Job". I love the interwebs.

4. Men in Black: Not all birth scenes have to be "ooky" to be awesome. In the best horror films, less is more. This also stands for comedic moments where vagina tentacles toss around Will Smith who is assisting in the birth of an adorable squid baby in the background of this scene. It's a classic!

3. Slither: You're saying "That's not a conventional birth scene.." but hell, didn't we just feature two scenes where full grown men crawl out of a woman's baby tunnel??! Here we have a young lady ready to birth an entire alien species...of slug monsters.

2. Alien Resurrection: Tired of seeing aliens shockingly bursting forth from their human mother's womb? Let's throw in a bit of a tweest. The Alien Queen is impregnated with an alien-human hybrid..just for the sake of mad science I suppose.

1. Basket Case 3: The Progeny: My favorite tale of twin brothers separated and later reunited for mayhem and MURDER!! It bears mentioning that one of the brothers is nearly half a man, but apparently that is enough to knock up a freaky chick! Witness the baby Belial births as they are yanked from the womb like a barrel-o-monkeys game. If the resulting family were stars of a reality show, I'd watch it until my brain oozed out my ears.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Reviewed

The sky is blue, the birds are singing but inexplicably...THERE IS NO SPARKLING!!! The latest episode of the Twilight Saga forgoes all that twinkling crap for wolf punching, extreme anorexia, psychic werewolf debate, the roast of Bella and Edward and heaps of intense, burning stares the likes of which would bring a mortal man to his knees. Drop in on Dread Central to read all about the lives..the loves...and a birthing scene stranger than that time puppets had a baby on Thunderbirds. Really..it happened...look it up! CLICK HERE for a review of the third greatest film birth of all time!!

Note: The second was in The Fly remake. Don't debate me on this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Watch The Twilight Saga : Breaking Dawn Premiere LIVE

Ahh..the things I do for you. Once a year, subject myself to these sparkling, angst ridden vampires and broody, shirtless werewolves to bring back a review of an experience that hopefully didn't scar me for life. IT'S ALL FOR YOU, DAMIEN!!! Today, the next installment of the tween favorite series hits the big screen for its world premiere and the PR Gods have deemed you worthy to watch the action at the emo carpet!

The official live stream of THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 world premiere will be produced by NowLive and hosted exclusively by Yahoo! on Monday, November14 at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT. See it right here when the clock strikes 8!

The HD live stream will be the biggest production yet for a Twilight Saga premiere, featuring the most comprehensive coverage of the red carpet with 5 hosts on two interview platforms including the talent's first stop at the main stage and a multi-camera setup with 8 cameras, including the following vantage points:
Main Stage Interview Platform
Arrivals Cam
Fashion Cam
Bird's Eye View
Fan Cam
Fans at home can watch online & via their mobile handheld & tablet devices. The hashtag for the event is #BreakingDawnLive

During the online live stream fans will have the opportunity to submit questions for the stars via Yahoo! Movies’ Facebook page (http://facebook.com/yahoomovies)

You're welcome.

Trek Nation Coming to the Science Channel

Trekkies and dorks of all shapes and sizes, take heed!

SCIENCE celebrates the 45th anniversary of one of the greatest television franchises of all time, Star Trek, with the world-premiere two-hour event, TREK NATION. This tribute follows Gene Roddenberry’s son, Rod, as he explores the deep impact of his father’s singular vision for the future. Through interviews with fans, including George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, Seth MacFarlane, and many notable Star Trek alums, TREK NATION chronicles a son’s journey to discover his father’s work that helped defined science fiction. TREK NATION premieres on SCIENCE on Wednesday, November 30 at 8PM ET/PT.

TREK NATION draws on hours of exclusive footage, including never-before-seen home movies from the Roddenberry family collection and the first-ever Star Trek convention. This film demonstrates that Roddenberry’s work has not only inspired legions of fans across the globe, but generated a cultural movement. Star Trek is a phenomenon that goes beyond entertainment; it has influenced politics, space travel, social morality and much more. Star Trek was a catalyst which has fostered an enhanced understanding of the human condition, capturing man’s constant search for a better world.

“Gene Roddenberry is the original thought-provocateur; the rebel-genius who was not afraid to push the boundaries of what science can accomplish,” said Debbie Myers, general manager and executive vice president of SCIENCE. “Star Trek used science fiction to hold a mirror to society, leveraging its storylines as a platform for social commentary touching on topics such as racism, sexism, the economy, war, peace and religion. Working with Rod, and showing footage never shared on television is what makes TREK NATION truly inspiring.”

“I am so glad TREK NATION found its home at SCIENCE,” says Rod Roddenberry, Executive producer of Trek Nation and son of Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry. “They understood that, as personal as the film was for me, TREK NATION is really a universal story of a son coming to understand his father. The experience allowed me to learn more about the man behind this incredible science fiction phenomenon as well as the man I knew as ‘Dad.’ I think it’s something that Star Trek fans and those less familiar with the franchise will enjoy.”

Star Trek was a revolution that would define an era. When it first premiered on NBC in 1966, it often was described as a western set in space. However, the series provided a much deeper commentary that created a devoted and loyal fan base which continues to grow, even today. With a then-virtually-unknown cast, each week Roddenberry told tales of humans and aliens who lived side by side and served the Starfleet, the peacekeeping armada of the universe.

Super Mario 3D Land Comes to Times Square

Times Square Toys R Us is my favorite toy store on the planet. Sure, they rarely have anything I need to buy as they are raped by scalpers daily and the prices are slightly higher than Toys R Us's usual high prices, but never the less, when I am in NY, I must pay tribute to the giant anamatronic TRex on the second floor. To not say hi would be rude. Many a company has taken advantage of the TRex's magnetic draw and held their launch events in the store that is undeniably the beating geek heart at the center of the city. This weekend was no different, as Nintendo transformed a section of New York City into something...wonderful...

Nintendo is celebrating the upcoming launch of Super Mario 3D Land™ for Nintendo 3DS by turning Military Island at Times Square into Mario’s 3D World! Fans stepped inside a real-life video game in the heart of New York City with a life-sized warp pipe, trampoline coin jump, and a flagpole finale. Consumers also got a rare opportunity to see how 3D enhances their gaming experience by playing Super Mario 3D Land™ ahead of the official release date.

Super Mario 3D Land™ for Nintendo 3DS lands November 13th, 2011!

Darkseid Attacks the New52niverse

The buzz on DC's New52 is finally dying down a bit after uproars over slutty orange aliens, Catwoman's sex life and 200 complaints about costume redesigns, but one thing is clear. This new universe is selling comics, so it isn't going anywhere anytime soon! Now DC Comics "The Source" blog teases the coming of a heavy weight baddie redesigned by Jim Lee himself...

Superstar artist and DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee brings his razor sharp design skills to the greatest villain in the DC pantheon. Originally conceived and designed by Jack Kirby, the King of Comics himself, Darkseid’s redesign has the Kirby motif all over him. Jim has taken what made Darkseid a fearsome foe from his original incarnation and provided the big bad with a 21st century design flair for even more malevolence.

Now that you’re all jumping out of your chairs over this, fret not, you’ll be able to see this design in action soon enough! In JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 in fact, on sale December 21.

I swore I would make no comments about his costume pointing at his "omega beam." Damn..I've done it now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2011 Quidditch World Cup in NY This Weekend!!

The big V is toast and so, we carry on with our awesome wizard lives and work daily toward that magical time of year when we can scream our heads off for the home team at the QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP!!

Here's the skinny...

A real-life Quidditch tournament extravaganza, on November 12-13 at Randall's Island, best described by Fox news as "a cross between the superbowl and a medieval festival."

The World Cup features:

- 100 college and high school teams from 22 states and four nations.
- Over 2,000 uniformed, caped, broom-riding athletes.
- Over a dozen Live rock bands, Wizard Wrock, Circus sideshows, live owl demonstrations, costumes and more.
- Live commentary on every field from professional improv comedians from the PIT club in NYC.
- Butterbeer, Turkey Legs, Bertie Botts beans, BBQ, chili, hot chocolate, real beer, and many other things your stomach desires.
- Wands, brooms, robes, scarves, and other wizardly gear for sale.
- Championships in Icahn Stadium, a world class venue that seats 5,000.

Click here for more info and tickets!

Your Wednesday Muppet Fix

As the convention season (sort of) draws to a close and the spookiness of October is locked away for another year, we settle down and look to the small things in life which bring us great joy. In this case, it is the small, often fuzzy things with odd cracky voices and the most honest felt eyes you've ever looked into. IT'S MUPPET TIME!!

Today in Muppet history, we take a look at the most current Mup-bits from around the interwebs, starting with a photo shoot Miss Piggy did for InStyle magazine.

Next, for the horror fans in the house, here's a late Halloween greeting from the crew...

Here's a new trailer for your trembling eyeballs. Warning..like most films today, the marketing team is dead set on showing you EVER DAMN SCENE from the film before it releases...so watch these vids with that thought in mind. By the time the thing comes out, you'll probably have seen the best stuff!

If you liked the Pig with the Froggy Tattoo, you'll love this parody mash up trailer..

Since Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is out on DVD and Blu-ray now, we thought we'd post a series of interviews Kermit taped live from the black carpet...

Here's an inadvertently creepy version of the Muppet Show theme by OKGo...

Way to suck all the life out of that song boys! Want to see how you really have fun with a stage full of Muppets? Observe...

...And that's how you do it. The Muppets ..in theaters November 23rd. BE THERE!!

For some awesome "Making Of" videos from the Weezer shoot, CLICK HERE!