Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 Pop Culture Favorites

With some inspiration from Stephen King, I asked myself this question -- Did I have a great year pop culturally speaking? I would have to say yes; and this years list includes only things I enjoyed in 2013 and that is fine. Here is a list of 15 things that made me squee with fandom. Please remember -- I am more interested in entertaining myself than in a OMG this is a great moment/statement. So let us get this ride started.

15: The book Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong. This book was fascinating and filled with so much information that made me go "wow" and I truly learned something. Also, I love graphs/pie charts/venn diagrams and other sorts of graphic organizing to explain information.

14: September was DC Comics Villains Month and I soaked it all up like it was no ones business. I think this was a first for DC Comics where they spent an entire month writing origins/one shots of just the villains. I am really not too sure but in any event I loved it!

13: Enjoying New York Comic Con and Chiller Theatre. Usually with myself I enjoy only one and it is usually Chiller Theatre but this year going to NYCC on a Thursday was a wise idea. I delved more into my bookworm self at NYCC and caught up with some past people at Chiller Theatre. It was a fun time.

12: The game show The Chase on Game Show Network. It is such an interesting concept: The series is based on the British show of the same name in which contestants try to win money by challenging a quiz show genius known as the Chaser. The series is hosted by Brooke Burns and features Mark Labbett ("The Beast") as the Chaser. The show follows the same format as the original UK version, but with three contestants instead of four. I love it and bite my nails when I watch it in anticipation for the contestants.

11: The television show American Horror Story: Coven. I enjoy the fact that you do not have to watch the other seasons to follow along plus the story lines have so many twists and turns it makes your head spin. Plus Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, and Angela Bassett all in one show playing bad ass villains? SIGN ME UP.

10: The YouTube sensation known as Ryan Higa. He is amazing and makes relevant videos poking fun at pop culture. If you have not seen any of his videos, go to his page linked here -- Ryan Higa

9: The television show that isn't really a television show since you can only see it on Netflix and that is Orange is the New Black. When I first saw it I know I compared it to a female version of Oz but the more I watched, the more I enjoyed the dark comedy that was going on. It was also a pleasure to see Laura Prepon and Jason Biggs back on screen.

8: Even though the fandom of zombies is starting to wane, which I appreciate, I noticed myself getting more and more involved with makeup applications and also admiring and gaining inspiration from the SyFy competition show Face/Off. I have a growing list of makeup tutorials videos I want to try. Wish it was Halloween every day!

7: The dating show Baggage on Game Show Network. Now this show is no longer produced and yes it is hosted by Jerry Springer. Here is the concept: Similar to The Dating Game, Baggage gives three contestants the chance to win the eye of a prospective date. The contestants carry three suitcases onstage: a small, medium, and large one. Each suitcase contains an embarrassing, unique, or weird proposition the contestant may have; for example, bad habits (e.g. "I share a bed with my grandmother"), strange relationship preferences ("My partner must dress up as Santa Claus"), issues with one's past ("I'm an outlaw in Mexico"), and strange hobbies ("I play video games 30 hours a week"). These cases represent the "baggage" to which they will confess and defend. The bigger the suitcase, the bigger the secret. Once the three contestants are pared down to one, the potential dater must admit to a fault of his or her own. Some of the suitcase secrets are downright disgusting or so made up that you know this show is scripted. It is great for a good laugh and puts my own dating endeavors into perspective.

6: Believing in The Shield. Do I need to say anything else? This faction is the only reason why I still watch WWE.

5: Now this only happened due to my close friend out in Indiana, PA who participates in the murder mystery weekend at the Allenberry Inn and since this years theme was time travel, it goes without mention, yes I sort of got into Doctor Who. Granted I have not watched every season and can not claim David Tennant as my doctor like my good friend does, but it is an interesting concept and an interesting show. I will watch the new season with the new doctor come September.

4: The return of my favorite musical Les Miserables to Broadway! Seeing Zachary Quinto in The Glass Menagerie on Broadway! Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in the same play on BROADWAY. Yes Broadway was a big theme in my pop culture favorites this year and this will continue well into 2014.

3: STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. Yes, a million times yes. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and JJ Abrams have rebooted this series to much success and I could not be happier. We all knew who the villain was going to be and we all knew that it was a remake of The Wrath of Khan but did us Trekkies care, particularly this one? As Dean Ambrose would say, NOPE. Can not wait for Star Trek 3.

2: Not falling into/watching the remakes of The Evil Dead and I Spit on Your Grave. It is such a shame that the Hollywood Industry has no original thought anymore and think that by bringing back old favorites that do not need to be redone/not broke, that they will bring in a new audience. This is another pop culture favorite that I will continue in 2014.

And my number one 2013 pop culture favorite goes to….

1: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. Yes. Is there nothing this man can not do? From Sherlock to Khan to Smaug to various impressions and dancing on late night talk shows, he is superb. Yes he might not be considered conventionally sexy, but his acting ability just makes me swoon and I could watch him in anything. Heck have him paint my house and I am sure I would enjoy every second of it.

Honorable Mentions for 2013 Pop Culture Favorites: The dance craze known as THE HARLEM SHAKE as well as the viral video What Does The Fox Say, Jenna Marbles, Alexis Fleming from MadeYewLook, The return of my favorite comic series The Sandman by Neil Gaiman.

So my fellow readers, what are your 2013 pop culture favorites? Why not answer the question in the first paragraph as I did? Remember -- what you enjoyed or were entertained by in 2013 does not have to be from 2013. This years blog for me just happened to be.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Advent Calendar 2013

Besides Halloween, I will admit I still get excited for Christmas time. Things just seem to be more magical in the month of December. Maybe it is because of my new found singledom or maybe it is due to still working in Kindergarten; I do not know. For the third year in a row, I am doing an activities Advent Calendar to count down to Christmas after reading some great articles online about it. I am big on traditions so here is an outline. Most of the things will be done either by myself or with family; others with my class or friends.

December 1st: Gather clothes and bring to The Bowery Mission. (Done!)
December 2nd: Make Christmas mix for my iPod and burn a disc of it for my Funshine Buddy in work. (Done!)
December 3rd: Get holiday cards. (Done!)
December 4th: Wear mistletoe headband. (Done!)
December 5th: Go decorate some cookies with The Group that Shall Not be Named (Harry Potter NYC Meetup) (Done!)
December 6th: Get some chocolate coins and give them to people who make me smile. (Done!)
December 7th: Wear Christmas ornament earrings, get some hot chocolate at Hu Kitchen & walk around Union Square holiday market. (Done!)
December 8th: Go to Argo Tea Cafe with some chocolate coins to hand out.
December 9th: Start writing out holiday cards (Done!)
December 10th: Get a holiday inspired manicure. Make sure one nail is sparkly! (Done!)
December 11th: Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Done!)
December 12th: Mail holiday cards. (Done!)
December 13th: Go take a picture with Santa Claus at Macy's.(Did not get around to going to Macy's. Oh well next year.)
December 14th: Go see the new Disney animated film Frozen. (Done!)
December 15th: Get a holiday inspired candle from Bath and Body Works. (Done!)
December 16th: Make Star Wars themed glitter snowflakes.
December 17th: Go watch some ice skaters in Bryant Park.
December 18th: Watch one of my favorite movies Untamed Heart and have a good cry.
December 19th: Cozy up in some pajamas and watch the Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (Done!)
December 20th: Wear ugly Christmas sweater to work. (Couldn't find it..so can not do. Sad face.)
December 21st: Visit nephews/Veronica and Damian. (Done!)
December 22nd: Make sure all of my gifts are wrapped. (Done!)
December 23rd: Walk along 5th Avenue and look at the holiday windows
December 24th: Go Christmas caroling in Washington Square Park. (Done!)
December 25th: CHRISTMAS!!! Open presents and watch The Muppets Christmas Carol.

I hope all of my readers are enjoying this holiday season! What did you do for the season? Leave a comment below to let me know!