Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tired of Happy Christmas Specials?

Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve so I thought I make a list (and check it twice) of, well, alternate Christmas movies and specials:

TV:




A Very Supernatural Christmas:  A holiday themed episode from my favourite show, Supernatural.  Some little nasty is dragging hapless victims up the chimney and making them disappear.  Is it Santa’s evil twin?  Not likely.  Sam and Dean are on the hunt in an episode full of black humour and flashbacks to the Ghosts of Winchester Christmases Past.  Just wait to you see how they use the Christmas tree.











Robbie the Reindeer:  I’m referring to the three original British Christmas specials, Robbie the Reindeer Hooves of Fire and Robbie the Reindeer Legend of the Lost Tribe and Robbie the Reindeer Close Encounters of the Herd Kind.  It’s Santa’s reindeer done up British style with a nice dollop of irreverent humour.  And remember the immortal words of Blitzen, “Power: one of the few things in life that's nicer than toast.










The Doctor Who Christmas Specials:  Come spend Christmas with the Doctor and the Tardis as he battles an alien invasion (The Christmas Invasion), a bride and more aliens (The Runaway Bride), cybermen descending on Victorian London (The Next Doctor), and tries to stop a space faring Titanic from crash-landing on Earth (Voyage of the Damned).  It is science fiction wrapped up with a bow.   And don’t forget this year’s special A Christmas Carol (broadcast in Canada on Space Dec 26th and on BBC America Dec 25th).






Movies:




The Ref:  One very dysfunctional family meets a fugitive thief with anger issues at Christmas time.  He takes them hostage, stays for Christmas dinner and ends up as an impromptu family counsellor.














The Nightmare Before Christmas:  Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, discovers the existence of Christmas Town.  Fascinated by the place he tries to take over, but things don’t quite work out.  He finds out why Halloween and Christmas don’t mix. 












Gremlins:  Fuzzy turns into fiendish as cute little creatures morph into little nasty gremlins and wreak Christmas havoc on the terrified town.















Die Hard:  Nothing says Christmas like the office party being crashed by would-be terrorists.  But that fly-in-the-ointment John McClane is there to save the day and the Holidays.  Yippee-ki-yay and to all a good night.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Spotlight: The Empire

The Spotlight Is On:



The Empire by Elizabeth Lang

With security comes a price.
Humanity is in danger of annihilation as a centuries old war with the Andromedans heats up again. The Empire, an increasingly totalitarian society, is the only force that stands in the gap.
Thrust into this chaos of alien invasion, rebellion, and political intrigue, Lieutenant Adrian Stannis is caught between the ends and the means. No one knows why this brilliant scientist chooses to hide in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, doing research on an insignificant science vessel. His days of anonymity may soon be coming to an end, whether he wants it to or not.
Adrian's freedom, and his very survival may depend on friends he's afraid of having. Kali, a psi-enabled humanoid who is the only person he gets along with, just barely, and Bryce, his personal assistant and one-time conman and thief, may be his only hopes, if he doesn't push them away, not to mention a mystery surrounding him that may explode in their faces.
Everyone wants to know the truth, but will it set them free?



The Empire is available on Amazon in print and Kindle and for the Nook at Barnes and Noble.




Author Bio:

Elizabeth Lang was an avid reader from an early age. Science Fiction and Fantasy were and still are her passions, with occasional dips in the pools of Mystery. She spent many years in the IT industry and started writing late in life, but once begun, she couldn’t stop.
Elizabeth lives in Canada though she's worked in many places around the world. She loves traveling, learning about different cultures, and sampling their delectable foods.
Her Website:  http://www.elizabeth-lang.com/

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paranormal Modern Folk Music

The Spotlight Is On:



Jonah Knight


Jonah Knight plays Paranormal Modern Folk, what he descibes as alternate acoustic music.
His songs runs from light hearted to creepy and from stream of conscious to detailed story telling. He treats his craft seriously with the goal of creating high quality music that just happens to be about ghosts & monsters, angels & demons, pirates & clones.
Jonah used to be a standard singer/songwriter with songs about traditional subjects: jobs, friends, traveling, and relationships, but after writing over 150 songs he began to lose interest. In early 2010 he had a realization that although he had been a fan of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Super Heroes all of his life, he had never considered writing songs on those topics.

You can find out more about Jonah Knight and his music at his website:  http://www.jonahofthesea.com/main.cfm
You can download a free 6 song sampler from his albums by signing up for his email newsletter.

His CD's:


Exploration of Dangerous Places- An album of supernatural dangers that one encounters through travel.   It is a collection of haunted songs written by Jonah Knight after he reconnected with the supernatural.  This is his second CD after deciding to focus on supernatural or 'genera' subjects. Ghosts, monsters, an army of clones, space travel, and pirates dominate the songs.
The album was released in November 2010










In June of 2010 Jonah Knight released the album, Ghosts Don't Disappear, a meditation on being haunted.  















Jonah Knight is currently planning three releases for 2011, all focused on supernatural subject matter.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Is 'Avatar' Really THAT Amazing?

Risking the ire of geeks everywhere, the blog is going controversial today with guest blogger, Edward Stern and his take on the movie Avatar:


Is 'Avatar' Really THAT Amazing?

Seeing Avatar in theaters was truly a revelation. I had the pleasure of viewing James Cameron's 3-D epic on a gigantic iMax screen with incredible surround sound and 3-D glasses. What I saw blew me away. Vibrant colors, stunning landscapes, inventive creatures and truly breathtaking action sequences had me glowing as I walked out of the theater after nearly 3 hours. It seemed that everyone else who saw the movie agreed -- there were even reports of people having Avatar withdrawal, because reality was not as awe-inspiring as the digital creations of the film.

Then I saw Avatar on DVD, on a small screen, without 3-D. The visuals no longer had as much of an effect, and so I was able to focus on the story. What I found was much less captivating. The dialogue often bordered on amateurish, and the plot was fairly rote and uninspired. I felt I'd seen it before in countless variations; a timeless film should not evoke feelings of Fern Gully. Nor should it make me laugh at its lackadaisical writing, such as the greedy quest for "unobtainium."

The messages of the movie were loud and clear, and very black and white: respect the environment or be a caustic pig. If you don't care about the environment that's bad. Good messages for sure, just not presented with any real expertise. As such, it's questionable to even consider Avatar good science fiction. A world is invented, yes, but it is really not so different from others that have come before. Even in the extended DVD edition, the scenes of an overpopulated and depressing earth are clear rip-offs of Blade Runner's pessimistic look at future human existence.

Even the whole thing about avatars required a thorough suspension of disbelief. Why these cloned copies were needed to infiltrate the natives was kind of fuzzy, especially considering the natives recognized the avatars as ungodly creations. The whole cerebral connection aspect was another unexplained stretch of the imagination.

Avatar as a spectacle was a truly groundbreaking visual treat. Pandora is a world I would gladly go back to, with a big screen, 3-D glasses, and pretty much all plot and dialogue cut out. Myself, and audiences around the world, were blinded by unprecedented special effects. What we missed was, well, not that much: a contrived plot, cardboard dialogue, and head-scratching attempts at good science fiction.


Edward Stern is a guest blogger and writer.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book Spotlight: From the Heart: A Collection of Stories and Poems from the Front Lines of Parenting

The Spotlight Is On:



From the Heart: A Collection of Stories and Poems from the Front Lines of Parenting

Inside the pages of this book, dozens of authors have given of themselves to share their unique perspective on the journey of parenthood and to make a difference in the lives of children along the way.  The result is a collection of stories and poems that track the fun, the challenging and the truly phenomenal aspects of parenting.

From pregnancy worries and the miracle of birth to tough times and growing up, each unique triumph and challenge through a lifetime of parenthood palpitates on the page.

From the Heart: A Collection of Stories and Poems from the Front Lines of Parenting was created to raise money for children’s charities.  With this collaborative effort, we will help every child get the medical care that they need and find cures for some of life’s most devastating diseases.

With inspired stories and poems from a group of extraordinary writers, this volume will leave an impression on the heart of any parent.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to children’s charities.

http://writeforcharity.wordpress.com/the-book/


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