The End

March 9, 2010

Loyal friends, fans, and mom and dad,

Geek Magazine has closed up shop and yours truly has ended her two year run as a columnist. I will diminish, and remain Galadriel. It was a fun gig and I loved writing these. My three week odyssey through the entire animated Transformers granted me valuable insight into my husband’s psyche. I got to publish a few of my beloved Ben & Me comics. And it was damn fun trying to be better than Diablo Cody’s EW column.

My thanks go out to everyone who read my stuff and bought the mag! Thanks also to my friend Jeff Bond, who gave me the chance to be the Lady Geek.


New York City

March, 2010

She-Ra + Hulu = Crushing Ennui

March 9, 2010

I thought that watching episodes of She-Ra on Hulu would be a fun nostalgia trip, but instead it’s sent me into a spiral of shame, self-loathing and brutally honest introspection. I was 4 years old when TV told me She-Ra was important and good, so I watched it constantly. From age four to six I was a tiny angel of justice with my plastic She-Ra mask and sword. I begged for the toys, but my sadistic parents only bought me one She-Ra with a matching one for my sister*. But time makes you bolder and children get older and now and that adorable little blonde girl with the plastic sword is a highly educated twentysomething doing the liberated, cosmopolitan New York City Lady Geek thing.
And I can’t believe I can function at all having grown up watching such irredeemable garbage.

ALF’s real name was Gordon Shumway and he comes from Melmac. Mr. Belvedere’s first name is Lynn. I didn’t have to google those facts. I know them. They’re inside my brain. I can sit on the couch all weekend- neglecting all responsibilities, family and friends- and watch all eighteen hours of The Jacksons: An American Dream for the tenth time**. I love television so intensely that when I die, I seriously plan to draw my family close and whisper intensely: “My only regret is…I didn’t watch more television.” I want to jump inside it like Captain N or the Bowie song TVC15. Yet, I fully realize how destructive and base my love is. All those years, I could have been reading books or doing science projects in the yard, or making friends. Instead I have the attention span of a small child, a vague memory of every episode of Perfect Strangers and an autistic repertoire of theme songs. I know TV is what made me the sick and lazy character I am today. And after revisiting my favorite childhood show as an adult, I also know that She-Ra is a boring girl stuck floating in a soup of irritating ancillary characters that blends genres that don’t belong together with total idiotic abandon. That show did have a really great theme song though.

* This still enrages me to this day. When I became obsessed with Ghostbusters a few years later, they would only buy us an Egon and a Ray. So Egon and Ray talked to each other a lot about their lives and the creeping ennui of middle age because they had neither a vehicle, nor teammates, nor any tiny plastic ghosts to fight. Which could have worked except for the fact that television destroyed my imagination.
** I wish the subtitle was The Jacksons: ‘Fro’s in the Pool


October 18, 2009

I’d estimate that 75 percent of my childhood memories are Muppet related. Thanks to my religious devotion to tapes of The Muppet Show, I built an impressive working knowledge of random seventies B-list stars, like Leslie Uggams and Hal Linden. But it also introduced me to a few of my eternal, enduring FOB’s, or Favorite Old Broads.
Phyllis Diller’s episode endeared her to me forever*. She Herself was in an episode of Robot Chicken as the voice of the actually quite terrifying “Phyllis Diller Spray N’ Play.” What kind of a genius has a resume that includes Bob Hope movies and Family Guy? She’s in her nineties, for Chrissakes! She’s still funny and cranky and man, do I love that sassy old broad.
The Muppet Show also introduced me to Cloris Leachman, who then I only knew as the French Revolution Lady from History of the World. Now I know that she’s great in everything. Well, except High Anxiety, but it’s not her fault. I can’t wait for the director’s cut of Inglourious Basterds, a movie I love so much I think I will marry it. The Mighty Cloris is in a cut scene where Sgt. Donny Donowitz has her sign his bat before leaving for France. I think seeing it might make my brain explode.
Now, keep in mind, I’m living the dream: I am Liz Lemon. I have a Princess Leia collection and love Mexican snack foods. But someday I hope to grow up and become Colleen Donaghy, Alec baldwin’s mother on 30 Rock. And so I also nominate Elaine Stritch for FOB. My favorite scene is when she meets Jack’s fiancee in the first season and makes her repeat “the petunias are in bloom,” saying; “I heard you dear. I just wanted to make sure you heard you.” Also she lives in the sacred Hotel Carlyle, where once I saw Woody Allen play clarinet with his ragtime band and had two excellent fifteen dollar drinks. Speaking of Master Heywood Allen, Elaine May will always be my Queen FOB as she is in the rare company of lady directors of real honest-to-God motion pictures and also saves the otherwise crummy second half of Small Time Crooks.
For being the great Dorothy Zbornak and  Femputer from Futurama, Bea Arthur is hereby canonized as a Saint FOB. I remember watching Golden Girls a lot as a kid, but only as an adult do I really appreciate it. The writing is quick and clever and the jokes are surprisingly dirty.
Oh, ye saucy, kickass old broads, we bow to thee and hope only to be as sharp and mean and filthy as you are when we are so very old.
*Despite it being one of the early “creepy-looking Fozzie” episodes.

[Ed. note: Ben points out that Elaine Stritch is also in Small Time Crooks. Too bad that movie is only semi-funny.]



October 18, 2009

Caddyshack: a near-flawless* masterpiece of American cinema. The yacht-rock score by Kenny Loggins, the best Rodney Dangerfield outing ever and the liberal use of animatronic rodents/dynamite all are only a few of the reasons why I’ve watched it so many hundreds of times. Through all those viewings I’ve developed a deep love for the weird tertiary characters who may be slightly less memorable than Spaulding Smails or Terry the Hippie but who are no less a part of the rich tapestry that is Caddyshack.
5. Curly Hair Caddy (“Motormouth”.) He’s the tall guy with glasses who says “you know, I’ve often thought of becoming a golf club.” He also suggests that to win the caddy scholarship it might help to caddy for the Judge “and kiss his ass.” He is exactly like some kid you knew’s much older brother who was always saying snappy things and had a TV in his room and was really into U2, you know, when it was cool, and we cared about like, Ireland being independent, or something.
4. Tony D’Annunzio’s little brother. He tackles Danny, has a sweet Night Ranger T-shirt and owes Lou one gumball machine.
3. The Tomboy Caddy. She tries to carry Al Czervik’s giant disco golf bag and gets to tell the lifeguard to go shave his ass. She also causes the Baby Ruth incident. Hey, thanks a lot.
2. Smoke Porterhouse. Oh, Porterhouse! Look at the wax buildup on these shoes. I want that wax stripped off there, then I want them creamed and buffed with a fine chamois, and I want them now! Chop chop!

Porterhouse gets points for being the only black guy in the whole movie and he is awarded bonus points for ruining Smails’ shoes.
1. Chuck Shick. He’s clerking for Judge Smails this summer until he passes the bar.
*Maggie being the only flaw. What’s that? You say you like her? Noe ya dohnt. Whenever I’d be reading X-men and I would try to imagine what Wolfsbane or Moira MacTaggert’s phoe-net-i-cal-ly spelled accents sounded like, I would always think of Maggie and her holy cards. 



Guns and Raccoons

August 27, 2009

Somehow I attended Yale for grad studies (School of Cocktails and Video Games ’05) and thus get invited to a lot of Yale alumni events. Never have I even had a flicker of consideration for any of them until they hosted a talk by Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman billed as “My Life in Independent Cinema”. While I merely did a stint at Yale vocational school, Kaufman was a true Yalie who discovered film there (though he majored in Chinese) and went on to build a cult empire out of truly funny, smart and subversive movies, like The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman and Tromeo and Juliet. Even the lamest have some great gags. In a beach scene from The First Turn On!, a guy with a metal detector finds something and digs for hours only to find…another metal detector! Magnificent.
Mr. Kaufman was there at the event early, and had already set up his own AV. The typical Manhattan “low, knowing chuckle crowd” trickled in. Two skinny twenty-somethings ran a card table full of merch and proudly declared “We’re Troma interns!” The interns filmed while Lloyd went on about the need for net neutrality, new media (“the kids in their basements blogging about…X-files or whatever”,) and how you have to put stuff in movies that people want to see. “People like guns in movies,” he said. “If you make a movie about a raccoon family, you better put a gun in the hand of one of the raccoons.” He shamelessly plied us with trailers and promos and talked about about how bootlegging benefits Troma immensely, citing the “gift of piracy” as the reason why his most recent feature, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead got distribution in Russia. He described the genesis of Poultrygeist (made for $450,000!) as an idea that sprung up “when a McDonald’s moved in next door and our basement was filled with rats the size of kielbasas.” He described McDonald’s as a plague of bad food, bad labor practices and ugly buildings. The genius of Lloyd is that he can make movies about toxic waste, war and fast food and there is not a drop of pretension to be found. The genius of Troma is that it has kept the tradition of a small, sick band of weirdos making cheap, gross movies alive. It’s rare to catch a sense of old New York these days, but if you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Long Island City, you can get Lloyd Kaufman’s autograph. That’s keeping it real.


Did anyone see the new Woodsy Allen movie?

July 15, 2009

After the classic Husbands and Wives, even I will admit that Woody Allen’s movies get less consistently brilliant, though even the worst have some classic bits. I especially like the angry whispering scene in the Café Carlyle in Hollywood Ending or Elaine May’s shiny awesomeness in Small Time Crooks. The truth is; I always love every new Woody Allen movie on some level. Whenever a new one comes out, I always take the day off so I can see the 11 am show in a half-empty Upper West Side theater with a bunch of cranky old people.
I nominate the following as the best overlooked Woody Allen movies since 1992.
Sweet and Lowdown never gets mentioned as one of his classics and I can’t figure out why. The movie is like a jewel, with every facet completing its aesthetic in tone and feeling. Even though he is a horrible gadabout and womanizing A-hole, this is the only movie in which I find Sean Penn even remotely charming, and yes I am including Fast Abortions at Ridgemont High. Spicoli can take a hike. I would go shoot rats at the dump with Emmett Ray anytime.
Everyone Says I Love You is great because at a time when the whole world hated him and he had been reduced to a monologue joke, Allen comes out with this balls-to-the-wall ensemble cast musical masterpiece. He dates Julia Roberts (using nefarious means), casts Goldie Hawn as his ex-wife and dances with her on the bank of the Seine, and throws in the most attractive young actors in town. The movie is as good a love story as it is a love song to New York. Also gets extra points for having TWO former M*A*S*H* cast members.
Deconstructing Harry. Immediately after that bright swinger of a movie, Allen does an about face and goes super dark, casting himself as Harry Block, a vulgar, hooker-loving, pill-popping narcissist. His literary creations and his real life blend and collide, tempering the depressing “real life” plot with funny interludes much like his short stories from The New Yorker. In the end, his life is a mess and only his art remains. He is confronted by his characters who tell him to accept his limitations and get on with his life, which is the best advice I’ve ever heard.


Roll Out!

June 9, 2009

Check out the newest issue of Geek (with Andy Richter on the cover!) for my killer piece on the best and worst episodes of the original Transformers Animated Series. On Sale Now!! The power of Christ compels you!

Read that article here:

Pat Kiernan, I Love You

June 1, 2009

You may not know about the adorable newsman who wakes up with New Yorkers every day and reads us the morning papers but let me tell you, he is our real-life Ron Burgundy. Pat is our cold morning cereal news buddy supreme. All non-New Yorkers may recognize him as the deadpan host of that short-lived trivia show on VH1, the World Series of Pop Culture, where he dryly recited the lyrics to “My Humps” as if it were Robert Frost. He’s done bit parts in New York-centric movies like The Interpreter and Night at the Museum, where he always plays himself. He has to, because Pat Kiernan is so damn real, that to say he is “keeping it real” can’t even begin to describe his high levels of cosmic realness. Modestly he shrugs off the calls, nay, the deafening chorus of voices begging him to move to a national platform, like another local anchor that used to be our little secret: Sam Champion (also awesome, but in a totally different way.) Mr. Kiernan declines. “No!” says he to puff pieces and cooking segments and chattering menopausal co-hosts because the great PK would rather read the hard news to the people of the hard city. Pat Kiernan is a New Yorker in the best sense, in that he is actually Canadian. He admits that, growing up in Alberta, his biggest thrill was meeting a local AM newsman in Calgary. He is obviously chief of the tribe of sandy-haired Canadian news nerds, but he loves New York so much that he gets up at 3 am to get to the studio and start reading us the news while we’re still wearing eyeliner and a black light hand stamp from the night before. He does his own makeup and makes French toast on an electric skillet in the newsroom. Paul Rudd named his fantasy football team after him. He looks like a handsome newscaster Muppet. He loves Slurpees and dreams of owning his own Slurpee machine. At the Geekmocalypse, he may be standing in judgment over us all. For all these reasons and more, the Lady Geek nominates Pat Kiernan. Sir, we salute you.

patty cake

He don like-a de juice?

April 26, 2009


Egghead Likes Her Booky Wook

March 19, 2009

I like to pretend that I can mingle successfully with normal people and that I function as a kind of geek liaison to the regular world, but like George Costanza I may have recently crossed the line from Man to Bum. I must confess that I’ve become totally enthralled with George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. I’m not at all into fantasy books, but I liked Lord of the Rings a lot. I tried to read Wheel of Time, I did really try, but I didn’t make it past the first couple of chapters. It was just too dang boring. But man, about a hundred pages into Martin’s Game of Thrones I was hooked forever. It has everything. Sex! Violence! Dismemberment! Zombies! My little brother’s girlfriend infected me when she gave me her much loved, tape on the spine, possibly dropped in the tub paperbacks. I’ve since passed on the plague to friends and family. One of my friends is listening to the book on tape and can now mock me when I mispronounce character names.
George R.R. Martin’s personal website is a kooky gem, I highly recommend it. It turns out he’s a very hands-on evil genius. He goes to a lot of obscure cons and even helps fans sort out grievances with dubious Ice and Fire merchandise distributors. He posts pictures of babies named after Bran and Arya. I discovered that he loves NFL football and also enjoyed The Lake House with Sandra Bullock. Actually, I wish I didn’t know that last thing.
HBO absolutely has to make this into a series. They have to make it, and it has to be kickass, or we will cry our sad, lonely nerd selves to sleep. I mean, more so than usual.