Tag Archives: nerdity

Sloth Love Chunk

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a VCR until some time around 1986. Before that, if we wanted to watch a movie at our house, we’d rent one at the video store in the tiny town where I grew up. I still have many memories of renting a VCR, and I’d always ask to rent The Goonies because I loved it so much (Sean Astin as Mikey was probably my first celebrity crush). These days, I own a copy of the movie on DVD and watch it a couple of times a year, because it’s just that good. I know more trivia about the movie than is probably healthy (for example, the actor who played Chunk went to UC Berkeley just like I did, was president of the student body while he was there, and is now an entertainment lawyer), and I even have a “goof” published on the IMDB page for the movie (it’s the first one under Errors in Geography, about the sun being in the wrong direction for the time of day the end of the movie is supposedly portraying). I’m about the biggest Goonies nerd on the planet, is what I’m saying.

As we were planning our recent road trip, I realized we’d be not too terribly far from where the movie is set and where they did much of the filming: Astoria and Cannon Beach, OR. It was a couple hours out of our way, but I couldn’t drive through Oregon and NOT make the Goonies pilgrimage. When we drove through Astoria, we only got out of the car to make a stop in a Safeway, but when we went south on Highway 101 to Cannon Beach, we drove out to a state park area overlooking the beach with the three rocks and I put on my Goonies t-shirt over my sweater and two layers of shirt and Dan took a photo of me as the sun was setting. I’m such a nerd. But it was worth it.

Goonies never say die.

Goonies never say die.


Welcome to Hogwarts

For all my kvetching about small town living, one of the best things to come out of our being here so long is that we’ve become good friends with some people who went to my high school. I was friendly with Karen (a class behind me) and while I knew who he was, her now-husband Andriy was an exchange student from Ukraine and I don’t know that I ever had a conversation with him back then. We randomly saw Karen and her sister and nephew in a mall in the Denver suburbs a few years ago, and since then we’d connected on Facebook, but it wasn’t until we moved to Cloverdale that I really had a chance to get to know either of them as adults.

Luckily, not long after we moved here I suggested that we hang out one evening, and the four of us hit it off. As it turns out, we’re all nerds and we all like playing games and we have quite a bit else in common, and in the months since we’ve been here we’ve spent quite a few nights playing games (the four of us), playing D&D (Dan and Andriy), and being game widows (Karen and me). Early this summer, Karen mentioned she planned to have a Harry Potter-themed party, either for the movie premiere or for her birthday. Their annual Ukraine trip in June pushed the timing back to Karen’s birthday in August, but that just gave everyone more time to prepare for the big event.

Dan made this for Karen's party

Karen spent MONTHS researching, re-reading the books, playing around on the Harry Potter Wiki, re-watching the movies. She spent many weeks planning food, activities, games, props, and decor. She went ALL OUT for this party, and I was tickled when the owl arrived in our mailbox, inviting us to be students at Hogwarts for an evening (appropriate dress required!) We’d had plenty of advance notice, and so I was finally able to plan and put together the costume I’d wanted to do both last fall and this most recent July for the midnight screenings of HP7.1 and HP7.2, but didn’t have the time.

Nagini, locket, ring, diadem, diary, cup

Internet, you should know by now that I can’t resist a good costume party theme. I went to Karen’s Harry Potter party dressed as all seven Horcruxes.

Can you spot all 7?

I won’t spoil anything for people who haven’t read the series or seen the movies and still plan to do so, but these seven things are a big part of the plots of the final two books, so read the next few paragraphs and view the photos at your own risk.

One of the most challenging things about this costume concept was that I knew we couldn’t afford to spend any money. So I had to be creative and use materials we had to put together something I thought would live up to my own standards. When we saw HP7.2 in July, for example, my sister and her friend dressed as the ring and the locket, and both costumes used this shiny gold paper stuff. So last weekend when we went down to the Bay Area to attend a garden party at Leah and Simon’s house, we stopped at my sister’s on the way so I could borrow a piece of their shiny gold paper, which I used for three of my Horcruxes: the cup, locket, and the eyes for Nagini. I cut up an old t-shirt, pulled stuffing out of an old pillow, used legs from a decade-old pair of green tights and a nearly-that-old pair of green fishnets. I dug a goblet out of one of our boxes in the garage, used old fimo leftover from making our cake toppers for the basilisk fang, and cut a piece of linen from a pair of pants that developed holes before I moved to Colorado. Sometimes I wonder why I keep so much junk, and then an occasion like this happens and I’m able to put together a neat costume without spending a dime. Sometimes it pays to be a packrat.


Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem was made possible by a birthday gift of a tiara from Leah and Simon for my 31st birthday. I had a loose blue stone with a small ring on the end from some ancient family costume jewelry, and at first I thought of hot gluing it to the tiara, but then I had the genius idea of using a blue post earring, and put the post through the ring, thereby adding TWO blue shiny bits to the tiara to make it more Ravenclaw-ish.



Nagini was the aforementioned tights and fishnets, gold paper with pupil slits, stuffed with a piece of baling wire and some old pillow stuffing. I sewed it all up and she hung down my back and under my belt, peeking over my shoulder.


Salazar Slytherin’s locket is actually an evil eye charm my sister brought back from Greece several years ago. Dan used it for his Mad-Eye Moody costume last fall, and here I was able to repurpose it by covering it with the gold foil and drawing an S using a green sharpie. I added a bit of gold wire to the top and strung it on a chain.


Helga Hufflepuff’s cup was an old goblet I have from I can’t even remember why or where, and I used the gold paper to add a letter H. At the party, I tried drinking out of the cup, and water tasted OK, but the whiskey and coke I had in it tasted weird so I stopped.

I'm all out of S-adjectives.

Marvolo Gaunt’s ring set with the Resurrection Stone was gold wire I bought last fall to make my Cleopatra costume and a flat glass marble. The original marble was a seafoam green, so I used blue nail polish to paint the back, making it a murky color, and used silver nail polish to paint the Deathly Hallows symbol on the front, and hot glued the marble to the ring base.

Shabby. But still kind of cool.

My biggest triumph, I think, was Tom Riddle’s diary. I made the basilisk fang out of polymer clay leftover from when Dan made our wedding cake toppers, and the book was some cardboard, some scrap paper, a piece of linen cut from old pants colored with a sharpie, and a couple of snips off a piece of gold rickrack from the Cleopatra costume. It was hot glued together and then I stabbed the fang through the diary and hot glued the whole contraption to one of Dan’s old t-shirts on which I’d already cut the neck and sleeves.


So! Costumes assembled and donned, we headed over to Karen and Andriy’s house. When we got there, we were welcomed to Hogwarts and given free reign of the house and grounds to explore. Karen did a fantastic job of coming up with activity ideas that appealed to both kids and adults, including entrance exams for people less-than-familiar with the wizarding world, OWLs and NEWTs for more hardcore HP fans, and each room or area a different classroom or theme from the books. There was a treasure hunt for hidden horcruxes and other items important to the story, and a “sniff the potion ingredient” guessing game. There was a potion-mixing station for kids (I am told it was mostly colored sugars and different sodas), a potion-mixing station for adults (tasty adult beverages), and a Quidditch pitch. Dan and I collaborated on our OWLs and NEWTs and I spent a fair amount of time both inside and out, searching for the horcruxes.

We contributed a few of these bottles to the cause

There are days I could use a good wit sharpening.

One of the horcruxes in the graveyard

One of the ingredients smelled like dirty feet, but I'm betting that's not what was in the bottle

Not pictured: NEWTs

The best part of the party, however, was seeing the gleeful grins on Karen’s face as her friends and family had fun participating in all of the events and socializing with one another. Everyone was amazed at the sheer volume of work that had gone into transforming every room in their house and a fair amount of their yard into Hogwarts, and every person who came seemed to have a great time. The kids played Quidditch, the adults mixed potions, and I was thrilled to be amongst friendly people who were all at least a little nerdy (even if they weren’t actually Harry Potter nerds). Prizes were awarded to top scorers in the various games and contests, and Karen opened presents, and we all ate cake and sat around a bonfire.


Weasley twins and a Hogwarts student play Quidditch

Professor Gilderoy Lockhart and a Weasley throw the water balloon bludgers

At Karen’s party, I got to reconnect with an old high school friend (we took driver’s training together, and I was delighted to discover that she had the exact same sense of humor). I got to see a couple of people who were younger siblings of people I knew, hadn’t seen since they were teenagers, and learned they had turned into awesome people. And I met a couple of new people who I feel could become really good friends. Karen and Andriy know a lot of good folks, and I felt so touched to be included with such a fantastic group, everyone geeking out a little, one guy with four-foot-long dreads and one girl in skinny jeans and one woman who’d named her daughter the same thing we’d name a hypothetical daughter, and one guy who didn’t come in costume but he sure did have a great time with the OWLs and NEWTs even though nobody knew he was a Harry Potter fan. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon and evening.

Silver and Gold

These past couple of weeks have been a relative whirlwind of social activity for me, starting with the trip to LA last weekend for OF’s birthday (the party, plus the time spent with Monkey). Then on Tuesday I had a lovely lunch at Benny’s with Jess of DuWaxLooLu, a new Denver resident – we’d been planning lunch the week before, but I got sick and she got busy so it was put off until Tuesday. It was very nice to meet her after exchanging emails for a few weeks, and I’m excited to see her new house as well! It makes me happy to be able to share the things I love about Denver with other people who might love them as well.

And this past weekend, I turned 30 years old, and I got to hang out with another Old Friend, someone I hadn’t seen since, oh, April of 2000. Ladies and gentlemen, Brian Foster helped me celebrate my birthday. It was really interesting, particularly because since I hadn’t seen him in nearly 10 years I had no idea what he might look like or how he might have changed. But I needn’t have wondered; he was exactly like he’s always been – same outfit (dark t-shirt, cargo shorts, black sneakers, zip-up hooded sweatshirt), same crooked smile, same sense of humor. The biggest difference was that now he seems more social and outgoing and truly happy, rather than an angsty college student who mostly just liked to play Magic (the gathering). Also, I kind of doubt that we’d decide chewing on rocks would be a good idea, like we did when we were 5. It was great to reconnect with an old friend who felt like home.

But the best part of this weekend was that I got to spend two days hanging out with Leah and Simon and Wombat, which was everything I could have hoped for. Wombat liked me (yay!); Leah and Simon liked me (yay!) and even trusted me to hold their kid a whole bunch, and I got to see Dan hold hold his very first baby (Wombat liked him, too) and it just made me so happy that I finally got to meet my Internet Nephew. Welcome to the world, little boy; I can’t wait to see you grow into a person.

I told you he would review it better than I ever could

Thanks, guy that I married. You are awesome.

Shamelessly stealing the movie meme amidst wedding recaps

Stolen from EEK, Todd, Dan, and Monkey, among others

Here are the rules I must follow:

* Pick 15 movies. (These aren’t necessarily my favorites, as many have already been taken, but they are all movies I like)
* Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie.
* Post them on el bloggo for everyone to guess.
* Fill in the film title once it’s been guessed.

These are the rules, people!

* Leave guesses in the comments.
* No Googling or using IMDB search functions. Don’t cheat, suckas!
*Know-it-alls, limit your guesses to three movies. Save some for others!

1.”You slip me the cash, and I slip you the weiner.”
“But I don’t have any cash!”
“Then I don’t have a weiner!”
–Adventures in Babysitting, Lissa (hi, Lissa!)

2. “I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life. “

–Groundhog Day, EEK

3. “But the worst thing I ever done – I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa – and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life. “

4. “No more rhyming now! I mean it!”
“…anybody want a peanut?”

–The Princess Bride, Average Jane

5. “Something from the grill, Jill?”
“No, meat makes me ill, Bill.”

–Muppets Take Manhattan, Lissa

6. “I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.”

–Serenity, Average Jane

7. “How many husbands have you had? “
“Mine or other women’s? “
“Five. “
“Five? “
“Yes, just the five. Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft strong and disposable. “
“You lure men to their deaths like a spider with flies. “
“Flies are where men are most vulnerable.”

–Clue, Lissa

8. “How do you know if a Frenchman has been in your backyard? “
“Hey, I’m French, all right? “
“Your garbage cans are empty and your dog’s pregnant. “
“Didn’t I just say I’m French? “
–Stand By Me, Todd

9. “I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.”

10. “I finally get a bouquet and it’s a goodbye present. That’s depressing. “

11. “In telling the story of my father’s life, it’s impossible to separate fact from fiction, the man from the myth. The best I can do is to tell it the way he told me. It doesn’t always make sense and most of it never happened… but that’s what kind of story this is. “

–Big Fish, Average Jane

12. “Which did you like better? “Jedi” or “The Empire Strikes Back”? “
“Blasphemy. “
“Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader’s his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that’s what life is, a series of down endings. All “Jedi” had was a bunch of Muppets. “

–Clerks, Todd

13. “That cab has a dent in it!”

–The Royal Tenenbaums, EEK

14. “Dude, that was SO not extreme! “
“I know, Extreme Sports Punk Number One… “

15. “There’s a ninety-five pound Chinese man with a hundred sixty million dollars behind this door.”
“Let’s get him out. “
–Ocean’s Eleven, Cari