Things I'm super excited about…

I’d planned to pen a few different bloggy things over the last few weeks, but my excitement over new television shows, books and movies got the best of me and I was having trouble focusing. So I thought, why not combine them all into a nerdy mashup of things I’m way excited about.

Let’s start with the big screen and things that are closer on the radar…

In a few short weeks fans of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy “The Hunger Games” will be making their way to theaters for the second installment in the series. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire drops on Nov. 22 and you bet your bottom I’ll be in one of the Charleston area theaters for a midnight (or earlier) show.

The first movie was still being shown in theaters last fall when Lionsgate announced they were going to do the whole series, including filming the last in the series The Hunger Games: Mockingjay in two parts.

For those not familiar with the Girl on Fire and her reluctant plight to free her peeps, in the future America is gone and instead is a society made up of 13 districts and the Capitol. There was a civil war and the Capitol won (and destroyed District 13). Since then, 75 years ago, a boy and girl are picked from each district to go into an arena filled with all kinds of nightmares and fight each other to the death. There can only be one winner — unless you figure out how to beat the game, like District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) did.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark looking fierce and fiery.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark looking fierce and fiery.

The pair won the 74th Hunger Games as the first ever co-victors.

That was the first book. In the second book we see what the much beloved Girl on Fire caused– an uprising in the districts. The year after their victory is a Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games that in that year sends all the victors (read: legendary proven killers) back into the arena.

The last trailer was released only a couple of weeks ago. It shows Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in the run up to the games and what they find in the arena, a little hint, it’s nothing pleasant.

The first movie could have been better. Some have said that it looked like a Sci-Fi Channel original movie instead of an actual Hollywood movie. I’d have to agree with that. Though the emotions most of the cast showed were top notch. I’ve got high hopes for this one.

***

Last year I dove deeper into the nerd vortex when I binge watched all Netflix had to offer of the  BBC’s Doctor Who series. Why hadn’t I done that sooner? It’s such a good show and though there are some episodes that are cheesy and campy, it can also draw out some serious emotion. It’s wildly entertaining. I watched a bunch of episodes on Netflix but once I figured out when it aired on BBC America it became my Saturday night thing.

It’s been around for a while. The Doctor vroops around time and space in a blue police box called a TARDIS with a companion (who he picks up along his travels) and regenerates every once in a while giving the show a change in lead characters. We’re on our eleventh Doctor in Matt Smith, who is leaving the show this year in the Christmas special.

The Doctor has many faces.

The Doctor has many faces.

This year is the Doctor’s 50th anniversary and the show runners are planning a huge event to celebrate it. The 50th anniversary special is called “The Day of the Doctor” and in it we’ll likely see all of the incarnations of the Doctor, including one we’ve never spoken of. Eleven and Ten (David Tennant, my fave) and their companions Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) will feature prominently in the show, I believe.

The BBC is running a full week of Doctor Who marathons and specials leading up to the anniversary special. It airs Nov. 23 and will be simulcast at the same time around the world. It’ll start at 7:50 p.m. in the U.K., which means we need to be in front of a television in West Virginia at 2:50 p.m.

This special anniversary show takes us back to Gallifrey (The Doctor’s home planet) where we get a good look at the war between the Time Lords and the Daleks. Check this out…

Next weekend I’ll be venturing out to fellow Whovian and nerd Zack Harold’s Boone County home for a Whosgiving Celebration and watch party. It’ll be my first gathering with other fans of the Doctor and is sure to be an experience and a good time. Allons-y!

***

Further off in the horizon — my God is it April yet?—is the third film in Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is back as Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t know who Captain America was. And more than likely you know who Winter Soldier is and why he’s kind of a big deal. There’s a whole story arc dedicated to him and his, ahem, issues.

Captain America jumps without a 'chute.... just sayin'.

Captain America jumps without a ‘chute…. just sayin’.

Cap (he said I could call him that) is fresh off the Battle of Midtown with the Avengers and is still coming to terms with this new world. He’s recently thawed after his time, to borrow a term from Tony Stark, as a Capsicle and most everyone he knew in the 1940s is dead. So he’s adjusting and more than likely isn’t having an easy time of it.

Judging from what I’ve read and seeing this trailer, he’s teamed up with the Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) and meets up with his new pal Falcon aka Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to do whatever it is SHIELD does. Explosions ensue. Just watch. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

See what I mean. Oh I forgot, there’s also Robert Redford as some SHIELD-type guy named Alexander Pierce. I trust him less than I trust Nick Fury (awesome character but is a lying liar who lies), so what’s that tell you?

Captain America: The First Avenger was my favorite from Phase One. I loved the way it was shot and how they told Steve Rogers’ story, pre- and post-serum. I’m looking forward to this one. My co-workers should be too, because it means more cakes like this one.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 14, 2014.

***

A Star-Spangled Cake for the First Avenger

See, that doesn’t look too hard…

In addition to July 4 being the nation’s 237th birthday, it also was the supposed birthday of the First Avenger, Steve Rogers.

He’s supposedly 93, in case you were wondering.

What better way to mark it than with an awesome shield inspired cake? I saw this cake on the Internet somewhere—maybe Facebook.

It seemed pretty daunting. I’m not so good with the baking (that’s Grandma’s area of expertise) and I’ve never decorated a cake before. Sure I’ve frosted plenty of cakes, and eaten plenty of frosting, but I’ve never attempted anything like this. But I was feeling ambitious, and it was for the Star Spangled Man with a plan, so I gave it a shot. That’s what Cap would do if he baked.

The only guide I had was a picture. There were no directions, just a picture of the finished cake with a slice cut out. Hmm. OK.

I went over to Kroger and then to Walmart to get supplies and then I came home. Grandma saw what I’d brought home and asked what I planned to do. I told her it was going to be big and messy, she volunteered to help. I wanted to play it safe first, so I went the route of the tried and true—box cakes and canned icing. You can’t screw that up.

I mixed up the batter (two boxes) then poured it into two more bowls. I colored it the best I could with food coloring and poured the colored batter into three round cake pans.

so it looks a little pink… that’s ok, I think.

I cleaned up my mess while it baked and then set them out to cool while I ran errands.

Ok, so maybe this one looks a little green.

When I came home the cakes were cool and ready to assemble (see what I did there.) I cut them the way I thought they should be, cutting the red and white cakes in half lengthwise and then cutting a circle in the center of the blue cake.

Assembled

It’s lopsided, so you know I made it.

Assembling and frosting the cake took some doing, but I managed to get it done. Then I put it in the fridge because I was tired of dealing with it.

mmmm cake….

The next morning, after cleaning my whole house and getting sucked into a Jane Austen movie, I went back to the cake. I’d decided I would try the starry-dot method (not official name but that’s what I’m calling it) instead of fondant. I don’t like fondant and that’s just the way it is. I’d been playing with piping bags and frosting a bit earlier in the week and I watched a YouTube video. I could totally do this.

I went with the white first. The first problem I noticed was that the icing was getting warm and not forming as well. Hmm. Back into the fridge. First the white ring, then I colored red frosting and did two red rings, followed up with a white star in the center.

That’s a lot of dots….

I colored some blue frosting and filled in around the star. The rest of the icing was around the sides. Voila!

A star-spangled cake!

It took two days to make and by the time it was all done I didn’t even get to cut the first slice. My sister cut the first slice because I had to run out early for a press conference. But the cake came to the office Tuesday. The newsroom has never met a cake it didn’t like, and this one was no exception judging by it’s quick disappearing act.

Any day is a good day if there’s cake involved.

Now I’m plotting my next cake feat. I was thinking a full on TARDIS for the Doctor Who premiere in November, though the question is flat or standing? Maybe a flaming mockingjay for Catching Fire in November? Decisions, decisions.

But there will definitely be another shield cake coming in April when Captain America: The Winter Soldier drops.

Early premiere? Make it so.

Trek fans, now hear this. I’ve got the showtimes for the Thursday showings for Star Trek Into Darkness right here in my hot little hand. No, really, I’ve got them on my iPhone in this nifty little movie app.
Paramount announced Tuesday that the next chapter to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek would be released a whole day earlier than scheduled. Into Darkness, which features the new Enterprise gang Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg with Benedict Cumberbatch as our villain John Harrison (who may or may not be Khan), was set to drop on Friday May 17 but now will hit theaters on Thursday May 16. (A whole week away!)

Aboard the NCC-1701

Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine at right in old school command yellow) and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto, at left) talk to their prisoner John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) during Star Trek Into Darkness.

Park Place in Charleston has the movie showing Thursday at 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. in 3D or you could watch it glasses free at 1 p.m., 4 p.m, 7 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.
Marquee Cinemas in South Charleston will be showing the movie in 3D only at 12:40 p.m., 3:40 p.m., 6:40 p.m. and 9:40 p.m.
Regal Nitro Stadium 12 is offering a special Wednesday night Trek experience. The theater will show Star Trek at 9 p.m. Wednesday followed at 12:01 a.m. by Star Trek Into Darkness.
The theater, which is out behind the Nitro Marketplace, has done these in the past, offering fans the chance to spend all day catching up on movie series’ on the big screen before the newest flick premieres. Last year the theater ran the four previous Twilight movies before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two began just after midnight. The theater also showed the recently remastered Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds” last month. I was there, it was awesome.
Thursday’s showings at Nitro will be 1:45 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. in regular format. Those 3D glasses will be needed for the shows at 12:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
So there you have it. See you guys at the movies.

Twilight at Midnight

The fourth installment in the Twilight saga opened at 12:01 a.m. Friday to packed theaters teeming with fans from all walks of life.

I wandered into the Marquee Cinemas well before my showtime at 12:30 a.m. just to scope out the situation. It was crowded, to say the least. The theater was showing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 on all the screens.

I think we're going to need a bigger theater...

There were many young fans but also older fans(I swear I saw a grandmother and her granddaughter both wearing “I like boys who sparkle” t-shirts). There were ladies inside having a girls’ night out and others accompanied by boyfriends.

Team Edward made themselves known but were not outdone by the Team Jacob crew. Personally I’m Team Jasper (he’s got the most interesting, but under utilized back story IMO), but after this movie I’m throwing some support to Team Seth.

Some fans spent the day at the movies catching up to where Breaking Dawn would begin, at Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen’s (Robert Pattinson) wedding.

Great Escape Nitro 12 and Marquee Cinemas, I’m told, offered the previous three movies, Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, all day Thursday. The Nitro theater also participated in Twilight Saga Tuesdays all month where they showed a different movie from the series every Tuesday night leading up to the premiere.

Katie Hodges, a 15-year-old home school student, took advantage of the Twilight marathon with friends and her sister. They planned to stay through the midnight premiere.

Katie wasn’t into Twilight when it first came out but her sister went to see it and she enjoyed it.

“I watched it on DVD after it came out and was pretty much obsessed,” she said Thursday from the theater. She didn’t get to see Twilight in the theaters but did catch New Moon and Eclipse.

She said she was both a fan of Edward Cullen, the vampire who lives on animal’s blood played by Robert Pattinson, and of Jacob Black, the shapeshifting wolf played by Taylor Lautner. She called it Team Edcob, but after watching Breaking Dawn she said she was firmly in the Team Jacob camp.

Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) have a friendly discussion outside of Bella's house.

The movie is also her new favorite of the series, bouncing New Moon from that position. She said Breaking Dawn was her favorite of the books.

Another fan, Cecilia Jones, 37, of Charleston, was at the movie with her husband Mike. They saw the first three movies when they premiered and decided to make it four for four Thursday night.

“He acts like he doesn’t like them, but he really does,” she said. “We argue about them all the time, who should have done what and who should be with who.”

The couple said they enjoyed the movie although there were a few things that they could have done without. They were happy to finally have faces to put with names of the Denali clan from Alaska.

Katie and Cecilia were upset that the book had been split into two movies but Cecilia said it gave her something to look forward to.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 in t-minus 364 days.

 

Get your sparkly vamp fix on Twi-Tuesdays

Hi my name is Ashley and I’m a Twilight fan.

The book series is a guilty pleasure of mine (I seem to have a lot of those) and is definitely not something I admit to readily. I’m the same way with the movies. My enthusiasm for Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire drama has waned over the past few months, but I’m starting to get back into it a little bit with the new movie Breaking Dawn-Part 1 set to hit theaters on Nov. 18.

Jacob (Lautner) might have something to say when the preacher asks if anyone has objections during Bella (Stewart) and Edward's (Pattinson) wedding.

The movie features Kristen Stewart as the girl next door human Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as the brooding “vegetarian” vampire Edward Cullen and Taylor Lautner as the friendly neighborhood shape-shifting wolf Jacob Black.

The movie for Breaking Dawn, the last full-length book in the series, has been broken into two parts with Breaking Dawn-Part 2 set for release Nov. 16, 2012–A whole year away…

I re-read Breaking Dawn (my least favorite of the four-and-a-half book series) and I think I’m up to speed on the stuff I forgot. I’m sure my sister will goad me into watching the other three movies with her in the days leading up to the release.

But for those looking to catch up with the Cullens on the big screen, Great Escape Nitro 12, in collaboration with Summit Entertainment and Fathom Events, will be showing the three movies on the three Tuesdays leading up to the premiere.

“Twilight Saga Tuesdays” is being held at 730 theaters nationwide and locally at Great Escape Nitro, Cinemark Huntington Mall in Barboursville and at Cinemark Cinema 10 in Ashland, KY.

The cool kids club. We first meet the Cullens in Twilight and learn about their "quirky" family.

Twilight is going to be shown Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. This is the movie where we first meet Bella Swan, her boyfriend the vampire Edward Cullen, and the nomadic vampires that threaten the human girl and Pacific Northwestern town she resides in. They’re also going to show some behind the scenes footage from ComicCon 2008 and commentary from cast members about their experiences in making the movie and the fan following. You know, do they think it’s awesome or are they creeped out. That kind of thing.

New Moon, the second in the series, focuses on Bella’s relationship with her friend Jacob Black in Edward’s self-imposed exile. It will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 and will feature behind the scenes clips from filming scenes with the Volturi in Italy and footage from other New Moon fan events.

Bella Swan (Stewart) gets cozy with Edward Cullen (Pattinson) in their meadow during Eclipse.

Eclipse will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15. The third movie in the series, and my favorite, focuses on the uneasy alliance between the vampires and the Quileute wolf pack to protect Bella and the choice she feels she must make between her friendship with Jacob and her romantic relationship with Edward. Taped interviews with cast members discussing their favorite scenes from the movie and footage from ComicCon 2011 will be shown before the movie.

In case you miss all of that the Nitro theater’s got you covered. They’ll be showing all three movies back-to-back starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday Nov. 17 before the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn-Part 1. Tickets for the three-movie marathon are $10 but keep in mind a ticket to the midnight premiere must be bought separately.

So if you’re up for the Thursday Twilight marathon you’re in for almost eight hours of Twi-fun. That’s a lot of Twilight–and a lot of popcorn.

I’m not sure whether I’ll partake in any of the festivities beforehand (gotta make the money to buy the tickets) but you Twi-fans might catch me at the midnight premiere. I’ll be the one in a Team Jasper t-shirt.

For more info check out http://www.breakingdawn-themovie.com/

 

Make like a tree and get out of here in McFly's Nikes (hoverboard not included)

Nike announced Thursday evening that they would be releasing the long dreamed about Nike Mag sneakers.

What’s so special about a pair of sneakers?

These kicks made their first appearance in Back to the Future II (1989), the second in the time-travel adventure series starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly

Fresh from 1985 Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) checks out his 2015 model Nike Mags before slipping them on.

Marty McFly (Fox) changes out of his dated 1985 clothes into some futuristic duds to fit in with the folks of Hill Valley, Calif. circa 2015 after arriving 30 years in the future courtesy of his Delorean, tricked out with a flux capacitor and hover capabilities by Doc Brown (Lloyd).

He ditches his classic Nikes (old school with the large swoosh on the side) and slips into a pair of Nike Mags, surprised when the shoes automatically lace and light up as soon as his heel is settled.

I’ve got to admit when I first saw the shoes I needed them. To a 4-year-old, automatically lacing shoes that light up were a must have but sadly in 1989 when the movie came out they didn’t exist. I could get light up L.A. Gear kicks but they didn’t lace themselves. Don’t even get me started on Velcro fuzz.

With the Back to the Future fans already attached to the shoes, Nike took it a step further, adding the phrase “It’s about time” to the marketing package for the shoes. Fans will agree, it’s about time.

The hype over the shoes is building on the internet with sites like thisismynext.com and nicekicks.com posting multiple updates on the shoes.

With the Mags finally making an appearance is it too much to ask for a hover board (that works on water) or dehydrated pizza? What about a hover car, because it’d be way awesome to not need roads.

We’re already using Star Trek tech in our everyday lives. My iPad reminded me so much of a padd from the U.S.S. Enterprise that I went ahead and bought the app for it.

2011 Nike Mag

Nike announced Thursday 1,500 pairs of kicks once called "The greatest shoe never made" will be auctioned off to raise money for Parkinson's Disease.

I guess technology is advanced but not that advanced, because the hi-tops don’t power-lace, but there’s chatter on the internet that the power-lacing feature could be in the plans for a 2015 release of the shoe. Nike did file a patent last year for power-lacing technology, so anything is possible.

Don’t expect to be able to run down to your nearest Foot Locker or Champs Sports anytime soon to pick these up.

According to Nike’s website, the company will be auctioning off 1,500 pairs over the course of the next 10 days (150 pairs each day) on eBay with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Fox suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and started the foundation to fund research into the disease. The actor was scheduled to appear Thursday night on The Late Show with David Letterman to talk about a few things, one of them presumably being the shoes.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and his wife Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of personal genetics company 23andMe, are matching up to $50 million in funds raised by the Foundation, according to information on the eBay page.

The money’s going to a good cause. I expect the auction to bring in lots of money for the foundation. People will buy these shoes and pay top dollar for them. Just after 1:30 a.m. Friday the bids were at $3,500 for each pair offered that day.Needless to say, this reporter won’t be purchasing a pair. (insert sad face)

The real question is how much will these kicks cost when they go retail? We’ve seen Air Jordans go for well over $200 but what about these?

The auction will be held on www.nikemag.ebay.com and starts Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. (Pacific), that’s 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast. The auction will end Sept. 18.

Viva Netflix!

With so many choices, my Netflix subscription might be a blessing and a curse.

As I snuggled down in my bed the other night, I whipped out the ol’ iPad to see if there were any new movies streaming on Netflix. I’d heard about their plan to increase their rates for having online streaming and DVD delivery, but it didn’t seem like a big deal to me because I’d opted to forgo having the physical DVDs mailed to my house.

these are the ones living in my room at the moment....

With me, the less responsibility I have regarding returning things, the better. I also liked the idea of less physical clutter. I have stacks of DVDs and DVD box sets scattered all over the house.

 

I wanted to watch something else after finishing what I could watch of Quantum Leap (still sad about Sam) and my one of my favorites the short-lived Roswell. I’m still working my way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer but I wanted something else to watch.

While I was scrolling through the new arrivals for television and checking for a few television shows I’d wanted to watch I noticed something—they added new shows. Score!!

Now streaming, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise. Add to the list Mad Men, Dr. Who, The Tudors and Camelot. How about the miniseries America: The Story of Us and WWII in HD.

For those of us reliving our childhoods the 1992 cartoon series X-Men and 94’s Spider-Man are now available (WIN!) and so are all 177 episodes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (awesomely bad, but still cringe).

So many choices....

Some television series still are only available by DVD– Friends, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, True Blood and Big Love to name a few.

Law and Order: SVU and Criminal Intent are available for streaming but I prefer the original over those two which is only accessible by DVD. Give me Lennie Briscoe and Ed Green any day over Benson and Stabler. (Also, searching for Law and Order led me to something else entirely–Law and Order: SVU – Russia. If its anything like Law and Order: UK, count me in.)

Another long running non-streaming show —ER. Unlike Law and Order, ER is no longer in syndication.

I’ve only ever bought the DVDs of a show I liked once. My sister and I pooled our money and bought five seasons of Supernatural and I’ve pre-ordered season six.

But imagine what 15 seasons of Chicago hospital drama would cost? At the going rate of lets say $40 per season, you’re looking at $600 for the whole shebang. Law and Order lasted for 20 seasons before NBC pulled the plug and changed the setting to Los Angeles where the franchise tanked. Using the same formula, buying that series would cost $800. No thanks, guys.

Until those shows make it to Netflix, I’ve got some serious decision making to think about.

With all the new shows to watch streaming directly to my iPad I won’t be lacking in the ‘what to watch’ department. The curse maybe is trying to figure out what to watch first.

Star Trek Voyager is one of my favorites, but do I want to watch TNG first or just jump right into the Delta Quadrant with the Voyager crew? I’ve been interested in Dr. Who for a while, but I’ve never seen any of it. I’ve heard mixed reviews on The Tudors, but that time period interests me.

Where to begin? Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and pick one.

Any suggestions fellow nerds?

Do you feel the need? The need for speed?

Great balls of fire and Happy Top Gun Day to you!

No, seriously, today is apparently Top Gun Day according to fans around the world celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary (cue the anthem).

The real Maverick

Tom Cruise in 1986 as Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

The movie was released May 12 in New York and May 15 in Los Angeles and filmed and edited on only a $15 million budget, something almost unheard of in today’s Hollywood where $100 million movie budgets are nothing for summer movies. The movie went on to gross more than $800 million worldwide.

It was a daring little movie about naval aviators and their quest to be the best that turned into a recruiting video for the United States Navy. The Navy, in the months immediately following the movie’s release, boasted a 500 percent enlistment increase.

I wanted to be a naval aviator and though I’ve pretty much given up on that, if the opportunity was presented you could bet your bottom I’d suit up and climb into the cockpit of an F/A-22 (they’re much sleeker than the F/A-14 Tomcats they flew in the movie). I’m still plotting a trip back to Virginia Beach where the jets are as common as fish and one day to San Diego to visit Miramar and the real Fightertown, USA.

Iceman thinks Maverick is dangerous. Mav thinks Iceman is lame.

The movie spawned parodies and launched the career of Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise. Say what you want about him now but in 1986 the guy was on the fast track to stardom. There were also a bunch of other people in the movie including Meg Ryan, who played Goose’s wife (the real Mother Goose if you will), Goose himself good ol’ Anthony Edwards of ER fame, Adrian Pasdar from Heroes has a small role, Tim Robbins (you know, that guy from the Shawshank Redemption) as Merlin and Val Kilmer as Iceman.

I’m pretty sure this movie is the reason I still don’t like Val Kilmer.

The movie was also the first movie I remember watching all the way through and then watched again and again after school. Almost 20 years after watching it for the first time it’s still one of my favorite movies. I know every scene and every line and surprisingly so do a number of my friends, including one of my besties who actually answers to Goose. Much like a number of movies from the 80s this movie is insanely quotable.

Goose and I have had many a conversation laced with Top Gun quotes. We’re dorks, it’s true, but we know exactly what the other means when we say “She’s lost that loving feeling,” or a more common one these days “Wheeerrreee’d whoooo goo?” Both of us living in Morgantown were guilty of “keeping up foreign relations” while driving on more than one occasion and maybe once or twice in class.

Maverick and Goose school the instructors about dives and foreign relations

We aren’t the only ones either. Back in the day, when Facebook was originally launched, there were Top Gun references hidden all over the site, my personal favorite being at the bottom of the screen on certain pages when you were “too close for missiles, I’m switching to guns.” And a couple of Halloweens ago we ran into a fella dressed up like Mav, with the flight suit and helmet. He was the real deal, but sadly already had a Charlie much to our dismay.

I’d invite you all to just search “Top Gun” on YouTube and check that out. My personal favorite is this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX1sgZVGBUw.

So tonight, after I watch the series finale of Smallville in hopes of finally seeing a Superman in the suit and flying, I’ll pop in my 10-year-old Top Gun DVD and watch it a few times. Then I’m going to hit the brakes and let the rest of the night fly right by. If you’ve got favorite Top Gun quotes I’d love to see them.

Writing out the what ifs….

I’m about to reveal my deepest, darkest, most guiltiest of pleasures.

I love fan fiction.

I read it. I write it. Heck, I’ve even edited a few stories here and there.

For those scratching their heads about this fan fiction thing, I’ll explain. Fan fiction is exactly what it sounds like, fictional stories written by fans of a specific television show, comic book, movie, etc.

If you didn’t like the way a certain film or book ended, you can write it differently, the way you think it should have went. Or if you want to expand on a television show that has long since ended, you can do it.

What if Gilligan hadn’t thwarted one of the Professor’s many plans to repair the S.S. Minnow?

What if Jack had been able to fit on that floating chunk of wood with Rose after the Titanic went down?

What happens when Superman loses his powers for real and is forced to live without them (kind of like in Superman II but like forever)?a meal at the fortress of solitude
What if McDreamy stayed with his wife and away from Meredith at Seattle Grace?

These are the types of things that fan fiction writers have tackled in the past.

Fan-written fiction itself has been around for a long time but didn’t start to really take off until Star Trek rose in popularity. As my co-worker and huge Trekkie friend Jared Hunt said, you’ve got to find something to do in your time without Trek.

There are some in the fan fiction world who argue that Star Trek: Nemesis (the last of the Trek movies with the TNG crew), was a work of fan fiction because the screenwriter was a long-time Trek fan when he put pen to paper on Nemesis, sending the crew and the Enterprise-E looking for some guy named Shinzon who is essentially some kind of humanoid living amongst Remans. That, however, is another post for another day.

It’s not something I went looking for. I was looking for something to do, specifically something to read. I’d devoured all the books I had in my room and the library was out of the question just then, so I started wandering about the internet.

It was sophomore year of high school and I’d just gotten my first computer, so the internet was still this brand new thing full of the unknown. One night I simply typed the name of my favorite television show at the time (the long ago cancelled Roswell) into a search engine and up popped a website boasting fan fiction about the show.

Confused and curious, I started reading. An hour in and I was hooked. There were so many stories involving the Pod Squad and their adventures in Roswell or what could have happened to them after the show ended when they packed up and fled the tiny New Mexico town.

Within a few months I’d read every scrap of fan generated fiction on that website and had gone in search of more. That’s how I landed on www.fanfiction.net, one of the largest repositories of fan fiction on the internet.

There was so much to read and not enough hours in the day. Continue reading