Northern Ireland based geekery & nerdisms

Monthly Archives: October 2012

So, this is sort of trending on the internet at the moment, and I thought it was a cute idea. Besides, I feel like I spend all my time randomly listing facts and opinions on this blog, so it’s nice to write something a little bit more personal! 

Excuse me while I indulge myself.


To My Sixteen Year Old Self,

First of all, you’re going to need to learn to smile. You’d be surprised how much easier life will be when you learn to laugh at yourself and the stupid shit you get yourself into. I know you’ve put a lot of effort into developing the perfect sulk, but it’s not a life skill that will ever get you anywhere. Smiling is.

Stop picking on your parents. Yes, they drive you mad, but you’d be surprised at just how much you return the favour.

School sucks. There is not a sixteen year old in the world who can disagree. Put your head down and get on with it, because there is no escape. You’ll spend a lot of time feeling like a lonely, scruffy weirdo, because you don’t spend two hours in the morning straightening your hair and rolling around in bronzer. There will come a time, believe it or not, where you will be glad you never put in all that effort (just to sit in classes! What a waste of make-up/time/skin). You’ll leave school, and in the big wide world, you will meet real people. And oh god, you will love them so much. It’s nice to have friends – but you’re going to end up with a good little crowd of soul-mates.

For some reason, you’re embarrassed of your comic book collection, and your Batman obsession. Batman Begins was amazing, and no one you know seems to have noticed. Don’t worry. They will.

Boys also suck. They’re cruel, strange and selfish (almost as much as girls, in fact). It takes a while, but they grow out of it. In fact, after a few disasters, you are going to meet a boy, and he will love you for your brains, your comic book collection, and your strangeness.

It seems unlikely, but it happens. You’re a lucky girl.

People will constantly tell you that your school days are the best days of your life, but don’t worry, they’re lying, because they’re old and don’t remember how boring it is. University will signal the start of the best days of your life, but now, Sixteen Year Old Me, you are about to turn twenty-three, and nothing seems to be getting worse. If anything, the best days of your life have been going pretty steadily for three whole years. And there’s no sign of anything slowing down.

The economy sucks, graduates are more common than house flies, and you’re not entirely sure just how much student debt you are in, but you will somehow land your dream job. After many…not-so-dream jobs.

All in all, you clueless little lump of teenager, things will turn out fine. Do yourself a favour; ditch the black clothes and the grumpy face and get on with it.

All my love,

Me, Who Is About To Turn Twenty Three.


There. That wasn’t so bad. If anything, it’s put me in a remarkably good mood.


Brilliant! Can’t wait for this movie.

Brad Dunne

A week ago, I said I would take a break from the 30 Day Television Challenge because I wanted to focus on some other projects. One of them being a post on the upcoming American election. I said I would like to have something written by today. However I am struggling to find my voice on the subject. What I want to write seems like it may become large and unwieldy. Honestly, it strikes me as something larger than which I’m willing to commit.

We’ll see.

Presently, breaking up the monotony of research and work on other projects, I want to say a few things about the new Iron Man 3 trailer.

I’m a big fan of the first Iron Man. The performances (Robert Downey Jr, obviously) and direction were brilliant. It managed to achieve something many comic book movies strive towards but rarely achieve: an exciting action movie…

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You may have noticed, but I have such a soft spot for Halloween. It may well be my favourite time of year, everything about it makes me insanely happy.

You should feel this way too. Here’s why.

  1. Fancy dress!

    Obviously! I would dress up every day of the year if it was socially acceptable, I think there’s something really cool about putting in all that effort to dress like somebody or something that you love. For a few nights of the year, you can go out dressed however the hell you want, and no one will judge you, stare at you, or make fun of you. It makes a nice change.

    See? We dig Halloween.

  2. Decorations.

    One of the main attractions to Halloween, for me, anyway, is the glorious cheese factor, and decorations play a big part in that. Fake cobwebs, plastic spiders, paper skeletons – Christmas, eat your heart out. We’ve got fake blood, we don’t need glitter.

  3. The music.

    The Monster Mash, Thriller, Time Warp, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), the entire Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack…need I go on?

  4. Junk food.

    Free candy from strangers is not usually so universally encouraged, but hey, I’ll go with it.

  5. Atmosphere.

    I love October as it is, I am an autumn baby. I love getting all bundled up and going for walks in the freezing cold, and I love bare trees and I love how all the annoying little darlings have gone back to school. This is the best time of year, surely? And a nice big fancy dress party smack in the middle of it? Perfection.

  6. Everyone can get into it.

    Whether you are 5 or 50, there is something about Halloween you can appreciate. Free candy for kids, and girls in slutty costumes for everyone else. Delightful.

    On that note – I am all for the slutty costumes. As long as there’s a little effort put in there, and you haven’t just drawn wonky whiskers on your face.

    Feminists must hate Halloween.

  7. …but nobody has to.

    Unlike Christmas, New Years’, Easter or any other holiday, no one is under any obligation to throw themselves into it heart and soul. If you don’t dig it, don’t do it. Always a nice freedom to have.

  8. The movies.

    TV gets great around Halloween, even for those of us who can’t watch horror movies without crying.

    Ah, the classics.

  9. Everybody is just a little bit jumpy.

    Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the fact that it is everywhere over the month of October seems to make everyone a believer. Ghost stories mean more, dark houses are all haunted and that noise you heard in the middle of the night? That was your killer at the back door.

  10. The parties.

    D’uh. There are many, and they are wonderful.

All these very clever and valid points aside, Halloween has to be a geek’s favourite holiday. It’s not everyday you’ll run into the roster of Street Fighter, or Master Chief or something, in a bar. Plus, our costumes are always the best.

Go forth, dress and drink and be terrified.


p.s. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for more updates and much love!


Excuse me if my sentences don’t make sense, but in order to fully experience the Halloween spirit in Belfast, I felt I had to partake in it.

I was a zombie red-shirt, because they always die. Get it? GET IT? Good.

Given the huge and fancy refurbishment that has been going on in Spring & Airbrake, I thought it was only fair to go give it a try. I hadn’t actually been in the club for a long, long time, but from what I can tell, there has been a huge improvement. An okay club for a night out, I can only imagine that it will be a fan-freakin’-tastic venue for the many gigs they already have lined up. Goody.

Sorry, what’s that? They’ve renamed Spring & Air to Limelight 1, and The Limelight is now Limelight 2? I don’t care. To me, they will always be Spring & Air and the Limelight, but I’ll try and make it clear where I’m talking about when I’m talking about them. Perhaps I should give them codenames. Club Kirk and Club Picard? I digress. Back to the point.

Shown here. The point.

So, all three clubs were opened up for their big Halloween night, but in order to check out the costume competition, I spent the majority of the night in Spring & Air (Club Picard, if you will), where there was less of a mental queue for the bar, and more tacky, please-the-masses music. Usually, this would annoy me, but hey, it’s Halloween – get your cheese on.

The costumes were, for the most part, fantastic and the costume contest was won by two extremely entertaining ladies dressed as Lego people. I am biased, because I know these ladies, and because I love me some Lego,  but a lot of work went into those costumes, and they definitely deserved to win. I found the rest of the finalists a bit of a let down, but there were plenty of nerdy attempts among the crowd to keep me happy.

Highlight of my life so far – Sub-Zero dancing to Backstreet’s Back. Just, picture it.

On the other hand, I was extremely let down by the amount of people (girls, not people, just girls), who squeezed themselves into a slutty dress and drew whiskers on with eyeliner. Don’t get me wrong, I understand when people don’t want to dress up, but either dress up, or don’t. When I am Queen, half-assed attempts will be banned.


Alas, I took alarmingly few photos, but I will attempt to steal some from fellow revelers and pop them up on the Facebook for y’all to have a nosy.

In conclusion – club fun, costumes good, Halloween great. I don’t know what point I was trying to make.

Here’s a picture of a platypus.

Evolution’s little joke.


Walkers, that’s what we call them now.  It seems that the world around has became completely infatuated with these undead, dead, alive, creepy, gloopy walking piles of human disease.  Morbid? Nah! Just good, old-fashion, guts and gore fun!

The Walking Dead staggers and groans into its third season on AMC this October and has one of the biggest followings of any series in television history. A tightly spun dramatic story line bleeds over piles of gory special effects, created by none other than Mr. Greg Nicotero himself (for those of you who don’t know Nicoteros work, it can be seen in such films as Day of The Dead, The Grey, Predators, The Mist and Grind house among many others). His work and his studio, KNB, are the giants in the field of modern special effects. Needless to say, if his name is on the credits, it’s just got to be good.

Now take Greg Nicotero, and pair him with Frank Darabont – director of such epic films as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, and you have yourself a cocktail for a top notch drama.

Greg Nicotero as a Walker in Season One.

The Walking Dead started life as a comic book. Horror fans Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore watched Dead Alive and Dawn of The Dead as children, while eating a watermelon. Somehow feeling closer to the on-screen zombies by chewing on a wet red mess, hopefully the watermelon tasted better than the unsuspecting victims’ grey matter. Through their joint passion and love of these films they began making comic books, one of their first outings being Battle Pope, with Kirkman taking on both the writing, and Tony Moore blessing the panels with his sharp and incredibly addictive artwork.

The idea – a never-ending zombie holocaust follows Rick Grimes, a Sheriff caught up in a shoot-out, who is, at the outset, hospitalized and comatose. Grimes wakes up in hospital to find what is left of humanity. Silence and the odd moan float down the echoing halls of the hospital as he wanders around seeking a path to civilisation. It’s not long before we find that something has happened, a huge clue being corpses lying around with nice wee munchy marks left on bones where muscle mass should have been. The comics are violent, funny and completely enthralling. Kirkman and Moore manage to weave an inescapable web of curiosity that has you falling deeper, and wanting more and more.

For me, the comics (the first series anyway) are incredible; Moore’s art direction is second to none. Sharp and action packed, it is a fine partner to their storyline. To be honest, if it weren’t for the crowd of zombies…OOPS I mean, Walkers (we don’t call them zombies in The Walking Dead) on the front cover of these graphic novels, drawn with such detail and with inspiration bursting from the pages, I would probably have never even lifted the first copy. It’s clear to see that Moore’s hand was guided by pulling resources from old school movies from the likes of Romero and Jackson.

I was saddened to learn that Kirkman and Moore have fallen out. Each have gone their separate ways. Good things never last. It seems that the two could not work together on the story line and Moore was eventually and, in my opinion, pushed out of the project by Kirkman, who then grabbed artist Charlie Adlard to take on inking duties. It is, for me anyway, a horrible choice. Adlard doesn’t have the same strength and sharpness as Moore on the pages; he doesn’t have the same soul in the characters. His drawings look almost messy and loose, whereas Moore’s were blindingly intricate and sometimes confusingly simple in their pace; but it worked so well. This change, and knowing that Kirkman did this, ultimately put me off lifting another Walking Dead graphic novel. Thank god Moore went on to create FearAgent, a Sci-Fi bounty hunter epic set in different planets along space and time. He now works for Marvel, giving Venom incredible new looks and angles that have never been seen before. He is up there with my favourite illustrators and I hope he keeps it going.

Shown, Moore’s artwork on the left, Adlard’s on the right.

That leads me neatly on to the darker, grittier territory between the two. When The Walking Dead was hitting our screens in all of its glory, Moore was cut cleanly from the royalties loop, leaving Kirkman to lap up the coin. Sketchy details are viewable on the web about legal battles from Moore to Kirkman, and rightly so! If you take comparison from comic art to the series, his drawings have been pulled from the pages by KNB and Nicotero and materialised. It’s angering that this can happen.

Don’t let this put you off watching The Walking Dead because I can honestly say that it’s one of the top zombie/un-dead/walker/horror epics I have seen and not to boast, but I’ve seen a shit ton of them. I thought when I heard it was being adapted for TV that it was going to be hushed down and hosed out. There wouldn’t be any gore, rubbishy blue pale people would be passed as walkers and the series would just be a money box for the broadcasting companies. However, it was clear from the first few episodes that this wasn’t going to be the case. Moore’s zombies/walkers are on screen, they bite faces, they rip muscles from arms and legs, blood splashes over people like…blood splashing over people. Nothing is lost, Darabont has done complete justice to the series and gives a nod to Moore and his work in the comics industry. Nicotero has let loose with the gore and detail of the zombies; bicycle girl is sure to be up in the top ten best SFX of all time.

The Bicycle Girl Zombie by KNB.

The Walking Dead sees its’ third season this October and doesn’t show signs of dying out. It will hopefully stagger on for years, biting brains and holding strong plots for a long old time. So if you haven’t sunk your teeth into the fleshy goodness that is The Walking Dead, HURRY THE HELL UP! What, are ya dead or something?


I found this educational, completely baffling and wonderful. So wonderful.


Supernova Condensate

One of my favourite things to do from time to time on this blog is to answer peoples’ random silly science questions with… well… random silly science. And a friend of mine asked me a brilliant question the other day. A question about squeaky voices and helium balloons. Really really big helium balloons!

❝How many people could have had silly voices using the amount of helium in Felix Baumgartner’s balloon?❞

This past week, a man named Felix Baumgartner successfully managed a sky dive from 39 km up in the atmosphere and actually managed to break the sound barrier during his descent – the only human ever to do so without any kind of vehicle. Impressively, the balloon which Baumgartner jumped from, the Red Bull Stratos itself, was one of the largest balloons ever constructed. According to Gizmodo (who are usually quite a reliable source) the balloon was made to hold…

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Yes, you read that correctly. Before I get into it, there is something you must know. I love The Disney Store. It is my guilty pleasure. I can’t walk past it without being sucked in and dancing around the damn place like a Disney princess.

And, on a recent excursion, I saw goodies. Many, many goodies. It wouldn’t be like me if I didn’t take pictures of them all to share with you now, would I?

Look! Look at all the awesome!

So, for those of you who did not know, Disney bought Marvel a few years ago. This is a good thing, in my opinion, because look at how adorable you can make your babies! For those of you that have them, anyway. Those of you that don’t can just…try squishing your adult sized selves into these baby sized clothes.

Just a side note: do you know how difficult it is to get pictures in the Disney Store? People assume you’re trying to take pictures of their chubby little children. No, ma’am, I am not planning to abduct your sprog.

Moving swiftly on, I can see me doing a great deal of Christmas shopping here. Yes, okay, Disney are notorious for over-pricing, but they have some really cool things in at the moment. I’m not even being all girly when I say this. Behold. Boy presents.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m…drinking tea?

Anyway, I’ll keep it short, but I sincerely hope you’ll go have a look. Even just so I won’t be the only one over 18 in the place without a leach. I mean…child.


p.s. They also have Frankenweenie stock in now! I can’t wait to see this movie.