CASTING CALL - “Hurt - A Tale From Silent Hill” Cosplay Music Video

VStheUNIVERSE is currently in pre-production for their next Cosplay Music Video! We are looking to cast a woman for the part of Laura in “Hurt - A Tale From Silent Hill.”

Laura - Female - 25-35 - Lead - Any Ethnicity

——> Laura is lost in the town of Silent Hill searching for answers. Laura is a coin, with each side of her being made manifest in different ways due to the mysterious powers of Silent Hill. How she reacts to those around her is anyone’s guess…

We are looking for a woman between the age of 25-35 to help collaborate and star in our next project. Ideally, this person would have singing experience, movement experience, and would be able to contribute to the project creatively. This person MUST be able to work in a group and collaborate. VStheUNIVERSE thrives on collaboration and we are interested in shaping with next project along with whomever we cast.

***MUST BE A CHICAGO RESIDENT***

Compensation: None. Food will be provided.

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Interested folks can e-mail resumes & headshots to VTUCrew@gmail.com

Previous Cosplay Music Videos from VStheUNIVERSE include:

Mega Man No More

I’m Going To Go Back There Someday

#MegaManNoMore is coming in 5 days! Get Equipped!

#MegaMan #protoman #videogames #capcom #cosplay #e3 #musicals

#MegaManNoMore is coming in 5 days! Get Equipped!

#MegaMan #protoman #videogames #capcom #cosplay #e3 #musicals

Aaron J. from VStheUNIVERSE was invited back to perform at The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival’s 2014 opening event “The Best Of ‘Hey! I’m A Big Fan!’” 

In this story, Batman tries to ask out his long-time crush Wonder Woman but is emo-ing out hardcore. Can he overcome his angst and anxiety to see if Diana will go on a date with him?

Written & Performed by Aaron J. Amendola

www.facebook.com/VStheUNIVERSE

A Compelling Argument for The Prequel Trilogy (and a valid excuse to talk about Lightsabers)

www.redlettermedia.com.  

I’m not trying to front.  Those fine gentlemen have nailed every aspect of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.  I am in no way even going to attempt to compete.

I’m still waiting for my pizza roll to come in the mail

The Star Wars.  

Actually, drop the "The" and it’ll be cooler.   

OK!  Star Wars.  Let me be gentle;  Star Wars is good.  It’s okay to like Star Wars.  Say it with me; It’s okay to like Star Wars.   

I get the feeling nobody said it with me.  That’s alright.  I expected as much.  If I was preaching to the choir then I wouldn’t need to write this article.  There is a deep resentment of Star Wars that has grown over the past decade and a half, rooted firmly in the Prequel Trilogy.  

Well, I actually have good things to say about the PrequelsOHGODPLEASEJUSTWAITJUSTWAITHEARMEOUTIT’SNOTWHATYOUTHINKOHGOBNOTTHEBEES!!!

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Sorry.  That’s just a reflexive response I have towards anyone who likes the Prequels.  Justifiably so.  They are terrible, but do you know what else is terrible?  Nearly every movie ever made.  For how much we love The Avengers you don’t have entire documentaries devoted to how Ghost Rider ruined your childhood.  Nobody has ever touted that George Lucas bequeathed Star Wars upon the masses for our enlightenment and salvation.  He did it for the money.  Same thing with the Prequels.   

So why does this particular trilogy of terrible movies have such a lasting effect?  Why has our loathing lasted fifteen years while our disgust of Battleship or Total Recall lasted two months?  Because… we love Star Wars.  Star Wars is good, and like a bully picking on our child, we can’t ignore any black eyes or bloody noses inflicted upon our lovely Saga.

So when I say I have good things to say about the Prequels… nothing this time?  Oh good.  When I say I have good things to say about the Prequels I don’t mean the plot.  Basically, to sum up the entirety of the Prequels saving grace, I give to you the Lightsaber.

heavenly choir sound effect

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The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival is run by some of the best people that VStheUNIVERSE knows, and we’ve been lucky enough to associate ourselves with them! Aaron was able to write and read something for their February event so check it out.

If you want to know more about the Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival, check out their tumblr here! We’ll be posting more videos of their events as we’re able to edit them!

Real Valentine - One Man’s Story of His True Loves (We’re talking about Anime and Power Rangers, duh)

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Hello, Internet.  Gosh, you look smart today.  Have I told you how smart you look lately?  You must have been reading when I walked in because you look absolutely learned.  Yeah, that’s right, baby, I said “learn - ed”. Two syllables.  I dabble in Shakespeare.  First Folio, Bad Quarto, Oxford Edition, you know… poetry.   

So.  Valentine’s Day.  Bummer, right?  It’s cool, I know all about it.  You have quite the negative history with Valentine’s Day, what with you being the entire Internet and all.  I understand that the names day of a Christian martyr who was beaten with clubs and stones and then beheaded doesn’t fill you with romance.  That’s cool, baby, that’s what I’m here for.  Come sit closer to the jpeg of a fire and I’ll tell you what love is.

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When I was a wee lad I had many loves.  Recess was spent running from girl to girl to boy to girl to boy.  It was strenuous work, but being the playground Red Ranger was a labor of love.  Yes, Internet, when I was five years old Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers made it’s debut and, yes, Internet, I was the one who beat out everyone else to be the Red Ranger.

See, you weren’t around in the early 90’s, Internet.  You don’t know how impossibly important it was to be a Power Ranger at that age.  You didn’t walk outside and say, “I think I’ll play Power Rangers today!”  No, you walked outside to a schoolyard full of wannabe Rangers and you began to lay down a string of decisive kinetic and verbal victories over those five year old posers.  Some snot-nosed punk yells out “Mastodon,” you smack his power coin from his hand.  Some little fart whips out his mega sword to fight “Gold Guy,” you unleash the Power Sword, fell him and his fake enemy, and lead your friends against the actual Goldar.  By the end of the day you had a posse of color-coded friends to back up your claim and by God if you didn’t have the jungle gym secured as your own private Command Center.

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Me at age five.

I loved the Red Ranger.  So much so that when my friend was tired of being the Blue Ranger I gave him the Red Ranger title, and made myself the Grey Ranger.  I piloted a Stegosaurus.  And wouldn’t you know it? That little twerp turned evil and became the Green Ranger and I had to pretend to impale him with his own Dragon Dagger after he had wiped out my whole team.  Then he insisted he was still the Red Ranger and led a new team of Power Rangers set up by the swings.  I loved something and I gave it away and when it came back it bit me in the finger.  I lost a good friend that day.

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Damn you Jason David Frank! (shakes fist)

Sorry, Internet, didn’t mean to frighten you.  It’s ok.  You can snuggle in close again.

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That’s fine, girl.  And by girl, Internet, I mean Genderless Imitation of Real Life.  Now let me tell you a long story so that I can tell you another story afterwards… about love.

Power Rangers instilled a lifelong love of all things Giant and Robot.  Then, at a very tender age, I was introduced to anime.  It wasn’t Pokemon, it wasn’t Sailor Moon, in fact it wasn’t even Dragon Ball.  My first two anime were Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell.  Maybe not as culturally important as Akira, but they had a huge impact on the popularity of anime. And they were violent.  Boy howdy were they violent.  Imaginative, beautifully animated, full of complex ideas.  I had a taste for the best in anime and have stuck to it ever since.   

My particular anime sensibilities make me less of a completionist and more of a connoisseur, or to be honest, a snob.  I don’t need to watch Bleach, I already saw Rurouni Kenshin. (Editor’s Note: Kenshin was MY first true love. ~ AJ)  I don’t need to watch Naruto, I saw it the first time when it was called Dragon Ball Z!  Violence Jack?  I read and watched Berserk.  Don’t waste my time.   

(side note: don’t watch Berserk.  It’s fantastic, it’s skillfully crafted, it’s violent, and it will absolutely ruin your life.  Berserk is like when you have a close childhood best friend who moved away in second grade only to come back in high school with a drug habit and completely ignores you.  It hurts.)

Amidst all of the rubbish anime, back in 2000, I came across my beloved. Fox Kids aired a dozen episodes of EscaFlowne and I was in heaven.

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Gorgeous.  Gorgeous animation for the time.  It was full of huge mecha and swordplay and honor and villainy.  There was nothing I disliked about this show save for the fact that the second half remained unaired in the US.  I had to borrow VHS tapes from a friend to finally finish the series.   

See, Internet, back in your youth, there was not such a thing as YouTube. Remember Napster?  LimeWire?  Yeah, we had no legal way of obtaining obscure anime in the states and DVDs were still a new concept.  We had to order two episodes at a time on VHS for twenty five bucks apiece plus shipping.  Gundam Wing cost damn near five hundred dollars to completely own.  You had to pray that the episodes of Dragon Ball Z you spent birthday money ordering were the ones with actual fighting in it. God help you if you bought two episodes of just talking and powering up.

So I loved anime and I loved Escaflowne and I particularly enjoyed the character of Dilandau Albatou.  Dilandau was out of his gourd.  Dilandau would slap people mid-sentence.  Dilandau had some gender issues which complicated things.  I friggin love Dilandau.  He may annoy the piss out of everyone else, but me, I look for the Dilandau character in every anime I watch.  He’s the Starscream of the show.

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Quick, somebody draw me Dilandau piloting Starscream.  I’ll post it on our tumblr and give you all of the nerd cred.  ALL OF IT!

So here’s where my second story starts, Internet.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I know you have a lot on your mind (porn) and it’s hard to stay focused (porn) on just one topic, (porn) Internet.  Let me give you a little something to hold you over.

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The Internet loves the D.

Anywho, in college I began to explore Universal Century style Gundam.  I was always an After Colony guy, but a friend turned me over to the plight of Amuro Ray versus the Principality of Zeon.  I played my game of Distinguish the Dilandau in the show, Garma Zabi by the way, and carried on to other series, 08th MS Team (Ginias Sahalim), Gundam Double O (Aber Rindt),   To my delight I realized that Gundam had it’s own recurring character theme with the person of Char Aznable.

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Char has as many iterations of himself as he has clones in other series: Edward Mass, Casval Rem Deikun, Quattro Bajeena, Full Frontal, Zechs Merquise, Master Asia, Mr. Bushido.  All of them are either Char himself or versions of his character in other shows.  Give him a mask, paint his mobile suit Red and give him a distorted quest for vengeance for his family and you have a Char clone.   

Only no other Char is quite as perfect as the original.

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I know it’s silly but he’s my favorite.  I love Char.  I’m not picking out curtains or anything but I damn near well named my cat Casval after the guy.  He’s the main antagonist without being the main villain.  You side with him more than you do the heroes of the story.  The guy dropped an asteroid on the earth, killing untold millions, and you STILL kinda want to see him come out on top.  A man so badass that he changed his name to Char to hide his identity, continued to change his name again and again only to be discovered and accused of being Char, the name he gave himself.  A man so badass that when he was stabbed in the face with a rapier all it did was break his mask.  In the course of the series the main bad guy element, Zeon, return several times, like the Empire resurfacing in Star Wars.  Nobody bats an eye.  A man arrives and is called the Second Coming of Char Aznable, and everybody poops themselves!  Char isn’t a villain; He’s no Vader or Joffrey or Megatron.  He’s a hero, just fighting on the other side.  The only difficulty I have with Char is deciding which Mobile Suit he pilots that I like the best: The Sazabi or the Sinanju.

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Char is a character so badass that even saying his name makes you badass.

So yeah.  I’ve got a thing for dudes in masks who pilot enormous red mecha.  What?

Oh!  Internet!  You look a little warm.  Let me show you my dual indoor swimming pool and inside joke.

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I swear I don’t watch porn

@SeanLenhart was vetoed when he opted for the name Casval for his kitten.  He now has two cats, one named Captain Malcolm Tiberius Fitzbattleaxe Reynolds, the other The Dread Pirate Ophelia, aka the Poopsmith.  Please feel free to tweet him out of jealousy.  Tweet him out of spite.  Tweet him out of hunger, he really doesn’t care.  Poor man just wants a tweet.

Nobody likes Valentine’s Day. It’s a fact. It’s on Wikipedia…somewhere. We’ve decided that you should Date Someone Who Geeks. Date someone who geeks out on something. Anything. Whatever it is their passion is. 

Big thanks to The Chicago Nerd Comedy FestivalBeta Club Field Trip, and Stage 773 for lending their talents for this video!

Give the Undertaker My Thumb Drive

It has recently come to my attention that my entire life is run by specific, tested systems put in place by myself to save me from my own inefficiencies.

I’ve long rejoiced in those moments when Jackie of Everyday Past leaves a present for Jackie of Everyday Future. Like when I squirrel away a pack of fruit snacks in a random location so that I surprise myself with them the next week, or when I leave a twenty dollar bill in my stocking at the end of the year as a reward for decorating for Christmas the following one.

Growing up is all about properly leveraging your motivators.

This is an example of a system that I use to motivate myself - or, in the case of the fruit snack stash, making future life worth living.

I do this everywhere. My entire life is run by systems. I have dry erase boards and cork boards to track my personal goals and to log to do lists; I have a color coded pocket calendar to make my schedule less daunting; I have found that I am far more likely to accomplish a task when I announce my intention to everyone around me and sometimes dedicate a specific day of the week for dealing with unpleasantries; I make my Christmas lists in excel where I can categorize my intended purchases against my actuals while calculating the total spent on each family member so that I can keep things even.

At this point there isn’t much separating me from the machines.

I mostly blame my brother. He’s a systems analyst and I specifically recall a conversation we had when I was young wherein I was being reprimanded for again dwelling in a bedroom of chaos and filth. He noted that my biggest problem was that there were clothes everywhere so instead of fighting the problem just accept it and get a bin specifically for the clean clothes I’m going to try on and tear off each morning before school.

He proceeded to point out a multitude of everyday struggles that would be made simpler if I understood the nature of the system: if I’m going to blow money on stupid things, set aside a portion of my budget for stupid thing shopping; if I’m not going to get up when my alarm goes off, put it across the room. He was full of lifehacky nuggets.

Unbeknownst to me, I really took this advice to heart. I’ve been analyzing and testing methods on myself ever since. I know that I don’t clean the house everyday to maintain but I’ll make it sparkling in one dedicated cleaning day so I’ve simply stopped fighting myself. Saturdays are clean days, the rest of the week is whatever.

There are, of course, downsides to allowing nerdy systems to run your personal life at virtually every level. Mockery, for one, for being the sort of person who keeps an excel workbook for holiday shopping. But more importantly it’s frighteningly easy to get off track if the system is down. At the beginning of this year I attempted to transition from my paper planner to an all digital system of scheduling and suffered dire consequences. I was embarrassingly late, missing appointments, and an altogether ungodly mess.

I’d hate to see what would become of me if my most used excel workbook files were corrupted.

My systems are really helping me get the hang of this adulthood thing though. We all have to cope somehow and for me it’s apparently by questing to become the superest superhuman via trial and error tests on all categories of life.

Come to think of it I should probably give my brother a call soon to make sure my life’s work is properly backed up and secure. It would be a shame to leave this world someday without my files in tact to showcase my excel legacies to the world.

Oh, funeral planning!

MmmPerhaps it’s a bit too morbid to squirrel away a workbook for that.


Jackie is a hermity little nerd who lives with her two cats and blogs about it at thejackieblog.com. She is currently reconnecting with old friends via Borderlands 2.

[Click for hi-res image that is Sher-locked away]
WARNING: Retreating to Mind Palaces does not qualify as vacation.

[Click for hi-res image that is Sher-locked away]

WARNING: Retreating to Mind Palaces does not qualify as vacation.

A Geeky Call To Arms

So, this happened.

Here’s my question, all matters aside, when did Geekdom become a thing that we decided was exclusive?

It’s funny to think that years and years ago (if our parents and grandparents had facebook) odds are news feeds would be chock full of articles about people for and against racism. Now I refresh my feed and find several of my peers denouncing women for being geeks and, to my utter disbelief, shunning men who accept women to be geeks.

Folks, where have we gone wrong?

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Geekdom isn’t something that should be debated at length over social media. Nobody has the authority to decide who and what makes a geek because let’s face it, the definition has grown a bit too big for its britches in the new millenium. Geeks used to be a small social circle that was exclusive because, as a country, we hadn’t figured out that the average Dungeons and Dragons player was as/more interesting than the common sports fan or businessman. 

The times, they are a changin’, and we need to change with it. 

Now I know how some of you feel. Why should we show newbies the same respect we show our battle-hardened bretheren? Simple. It’s just the right thing to do. 

Let’s imagine for a moment we’re back in High School and we’re playing a game of D&D at the corner table in the cafeteria. You just had a saving throw and the game took a fantastic turn, our small group of compatriots are excited to see where the DM is directing the game next. SOUNDS PRETTY COOL RIGHT? Now imagine a girl, she can be plain jane, a total knockout, glasses, contacts, big, small, electric yellow hair, or just rockin’ a black bob, comes and pulls up a chair over to the table. She seems interested in all this crazy hullabaloo.

"Why does the dice have so many sides?"

"Why does everyone has character sheets?"

"Just what IS this world?"

Over time she becomes more and more involved and (eventually) one of the group, though not initially there at the start, because she is genueinly interested and wants to know more about this hobby.

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