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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Health “bites”: Why vampires have great smiles

In General, Vampires on 31 March, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Eyes may be a window to a person’s soul, teeth, however, are a window on their health. Vampires don’t have variable health, but a look at their smile can still be revealing.

Fangs, Fangs, Fangs

A variety of fangs.

Today’s concept of the perfect smile (brilliantly white teeth, perfectly aligned) is a very modern invention. Orthodontics didn’t really exist until the mid-nineteenth century (although people have tried to straighten their teeth for a variety of reasons since ancient times). Malocclusion (crookedness) of the teeth were not formally categorized until 1900. The first braces appeared not long after, however, these early models had bands of silver, gold and platinum, making them both expensive and high-maintenance. Braces didn’t become a pre-pubescent rite of passage until the 1970’s when adhesive technology caught up with dentistry.

Straightness isn’t the only clue a smile can give about a person’s history. Here are a few other activities and habits that show up in your smile:

  1. Excessive chlorine in swimming pools can erode tooth enamel making teeth more sensitive to temperature extremes.
  2. Soda and citrus drinks (like orange juice) can be caustic to tooth enamel if drunk in excessive quantities. The phosphoric acid in the soda and citric acid in both causes enamel corrosion. (BTW did you know Americans drink more than 53 gallons of soft drink annually? That’s more than any other beverage, including milk, coffee, tea and beer.)
  3. Bulimia and acid reflux can destroy tooth enamel as well. Enamel erosion is a major sign of bulimic behavior.
  4. Infection, nutritional deficiencies, trauma and use of pharmacological drugs (like tetracycline) can cause enamel defects including irregularity and pitting.
  5. Diseases from HIV/AIDS to osteoporosis to diabetes may also show preliminary signs in a person’s mouth such as sores, enamel erosion, cavities, tooth sensitivity, gingivitis or bad breath.

Age is another characteristic that can leave clues in a person’s mouth. Eighty percent of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease. This can range from simple inflammation (gingivitis) to more serious periodontal disease that can injure or damage the jaw bones. Tooth loss is another clue to an individual’s age and sometimes era. Even today more than one-quarter of American adults over the age of 60 have lost all of their teeth.

They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. That may be true. But it’s not a bad idea for everything else!

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One for the shifters: Fan and Feed

In General, Shape Shifters, vox populi on 30 March, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Since it’s the full moon, here’s a little something everyone can do to help out our four-footed friends, nearly four million of whom end up in shelters or with rescue organizations every year.

PEDIGREE(R) Brand launched its sixth annual Adoption Drive in mid-February to help shine a spotlight on the plight of homeless dogs in America. This year, PEDIGREE is teaming up with country music star Carrie Underwood to help generate food, funding and awareness for dogs in need nationwide.

“I can’t imagine life without my dog, Ace,” said Underwood. “I’ve had a passion for animals my entire life. They’re such sweet and gentle souls that love you just because you love them back. That’s why I’m really excited about the opportunity to partner with the PEDIGREE(R) Adoption Drive to help get other people involved in this important cause. Showing your support is easy, just become a fan, help a dog.”

Do your part by becoming a fan of the PEDIGREE(R) Brand Adoption Drive on Facebook. For each new fan, the PEDIGREE(R) Brand will donate a bowl of food to help feed shelter dogs across the U.S. Dog-lovers can also show their support by donating funds to help dogs find loving homes through the Facebook page. PEDIGREE(R) Brand will match a portion of such donations up to $500,000. All donations go to the non-profit PEDIGREE Foundation.

Since mid-February, PEDIGREE(R) Brand reports the Facebook campaign has generated donations of more than 750,000 bowls of food and $600,000 to animal shelters and breed rescues.

“At PEDIGREE(R) Brand, everything we do is for the love of dogs, and we are very proud that we’ve been able to donate millions of dollars over the past six years to support dogs in need,” said John Anton, marketing director of the PEDIGREE(R) Brand, Mars Petcare US, the makers of PEDIGREE(R) Food for Dogs. “Our effort this year is already off to a strong start and particularly exciting because it’s so easy for people to share our passion to get involved – simply become a fan and help a dog at www.facebook.com/pedigree.”

Revelation released: Champions Online(TM) world expands

In Wizards/Witches/Pagans on 30 March, 2010 at 11:48 am

“Revelation represents some of the best work to date on Champions,” Bill Roper, Executive Producer of Cryptic Studios claims. “The expansion features an epic storyline filled with noble heroes and terrifying villains, set in gorgeous new environments the will surely engage and entice players.”

Revelation is the first full-fledged expansion for Champions Online(TM), since it launched in September 2009.  Unleashed last week by Atari, Inc. and renowned MMO developer Cryptic Studios, Revelation to venture into the new zone Vibora Bay. This sultry southern city rests above the hiding place of the exiled angel, Therakiel. who refused to side with either Heaven or Hell during Lucifer’s first rebellion. For centuries his magic has drawn witches, wizards sorcerers and other to the city. Now it has drawn Robert Caliburn, the one man upon whom the epic conflict of Revelations hinges.

Other key features of Revelation include:

  • Brand new content for Levels 37 to 40 let’s players experience the endgame in all new ways as friends become enemies and Vibora Bay falls under Therakiel’s influence.
  • Six brand new Tier 4 Meta-Powers.
  • The most challenging Champions Online Lair yet – Therakiel’s Temple!
  • New costume sets and pieces.
  • Battle five new factions – the Sovereign Sons, Trey Kings, New Shadows, Dogz and Nephilim.
  • More than 30 new perks and dozens of ways to achieve in Champions Online.

Champions Online is based on the award-winning Champions role-playing game from HERO Games. Powered by the groundbreaking Cryptic Engine, Champions Online taps into a rich universe of heroes and villains with unparalleled intrigue and adventure taking MMORPGs to new heights.

Preternatural films at TCM Classic Film Festival

In Film, Travel, vox populi on 28 March, 2010 at 9:59 pm

“Classic movies are something that link the past to the present and form a vital part of our culture,” explains Robert Osborne, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) primetime host and official host of the film festival. “This new festival will give those who love movies a way to connect with each other. It is a first-of-its-kind chance for TCM fans to experience the network in person, meet others with the same interests, and immerse themselves in a wide array of films.”

The TCM Classic Film Festival is a landmark celebration of the history of Hollywood and movies. The four-day festival will include major events, panel discussions, celebrity appearances and screenings of some of cinema’s greatest works on the big screen. Among more than 50 screenings scheduled are two wonderful preternatural films: The Day of the Triffids and The Bride of Frankenstein.

A midnight screening will mark the world premiere of the restored print of The Day of the Triffids. This 1963 film starring Howard Keel and Janette Scott tells the story of an attack of mutant plants following a blinding meteor shower. It is based on a novel by John Wyndham, who also authored Village of the Damned. The restored print is significant because the original negative was damaged in an accident shortly after the film was released in 1963. To do so restoration expert Michael Hyatt worked directly on the negative, removing more than 20,000 specks of dirt and adjusted the color of the film. The resulting Cinemascope film is more beautiful and vibrant than ever.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) screening will feature a new audio restoration including the marvelous Franz Waxman score which was later reused in other films. James Whale skillfully blended horror and comedy in this extraordinary film starring Boris Karloff as the Creature, Elsa Lancaster as the Bride and Ernest Thesiger as the villainous Dr. Pretorius.

From April 22 -25, 2010, the TCM Classic Film Festival, the first presented by TCM, will involve several venues in the heart of Hollywood. These include the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre and the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (where the first Oscar(R) ceremony was held.

For more information about the TCM Classic Film Festival, visit www.tcm.com/festival.

Witness the last days of Erus in The Tides of Eternity

In Books, The Fae on 27 March, 2010 at 7:19 am

“I have been greatly inspired by the Word of God, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and I humbly hope my style and story proves seminal, inspiring to others,” The Tides of Eternity author M.J. Rusaw states. “I believe [my book] has wonderful potential to inspire, entertain and satisfy reader everywhere who are looking for a new voice and a fresh story.”

Tides of Eternity

Tides of Eternity cover courtesy of Xulon Press

The Tides of Eternity: A Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups is a sweeping fantasy novel that tells the tale of the last days of Erus – the original earth – the world and life that predates the Rebellion and the Great Collapse. Here the prophetess Galiel and her confidante Maid Kimia struggle, flee and fight against the forces of Daemen den Moc and his magician Rulik Suu for the souls of the Yune, Elves and humans of the kingdom of Erylon in the land of Keokuk. For Galiel, however, there is more at stake than just the world. She’s fighting for her son, Tylen, whom Daemen believes is the prophesied Iylon Sor, the most powerful magician to ever live.

Published by Xulon Press, a division of Salem Communications, The Tides of Eternity: A Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups retails at a paperback price of $18.99. Xulon Press is the world’s largest Christian self-publisher with more than 7,000 titles published to date.

The Voices of Vampire Knight

In Books, Television, Vampires on 26 March, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Vampire Knight, the animated series will soon be debuting in North America. Pure-blooded  vampire and current head of the Kuran Clan, Kaname Kuran has lent his voice to a variety of projects (including Blade the Immortal) as veteran voiceover performer Evan Murray.

As president and dorm leader of the Night Class at Cross Academy, Kuran is

Vampire Knight Group

Vampire Knight Group

joined by Yuki Cross, a Guardian of the Day Class whom he once rescued, and many will recognize as the voice of Mela Lee (also of Blade the Immortal as well as Fate Stay Night). Yuki’s fellow Day Class Guardian Zero Kiryu who has lent his voice to more than 150  projects as veteran manga voice actor Vic Mignogna.

Vampire Knight takes audiences to Cross Academy, which is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, the two classes cross paths between the classrooms and the dorms. The Day Class is primarily human, with some student, like Kiryu descending from a long line of vampire hunters. The Night Class, on the other hand, is full of vampires, led by the feared and respected Kuran.

Based on the bestselling manga (graphic novel) by Matsuri Hino, Vampire Knight is a gothic-romance animated series being produced by VIZ Media, LLC, on of the industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies. Hino has  established herself as a major force in the world of shojo manga after bursting on the scene with When This Dream is Over.

“We also know there are a lot of fans of manga that have been waiting for this series so we wanted to bring in some very talented people who we know will take VAMPIRE KNIGHT to a whole new level,” said William Germain, Director, Programming & Music series, VIZ Media. “Look for more news coming soon about the North American Debut!”

Vampire Knight is currently serialized in LaLa Magazine. The latest volume of Vampire Knight (Volume 9) ranked Number 1 on the New York Times Manga Bestseller list. There are currently two volumes of Vampire Knight among the top ten.

Monsters and Buffy introduce SyFy to the UK

In Television on 26 March, 2010 at 12:30 pm

The United Kingdom is the next step in the global transformation of the SCI FI channel to SyFy. To help smooth the transition and build up enthusiasm for Syfy, Universal Networks  International, the global channels division of NBC Universal, today announced a partnership between SCI FI and Nintendo and Capcom‘s  Monster Hunter Tri game.

“As SCI FI becomes SyFy and evolves into a brand which further embraces imagination and innovation, we’re delighted to have such a strategically perfect partner onboard,” said James Newton, UK Head of Channels, Universal Networks International.

The partnership will see the top-selling game sponsor the UK Premiere of the epic fantasy adventure Legend of the Seeker Season 2 on Thursdays at 8 p.m. In addition, the partnership will cover the Monday Night Movie strand throughout the month of April (when the transformation is scheduled to occur), the Creature vs Monsters movies stunt (which runs through this weekend) and episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which start airing today through the end of April.

“Given the sense of adventure which features in Legend of the Seeker, Nintendo – and specifically Monster Hunter Tri – is obviously a brand which will resonate brilliantly with our viewers,” Newton concluded.

SyFy officially launches at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, 13 April, 2010 with the UK premiere of V (the new miniseries, which has been visually reimagined to stunning effect, especially if you like aliens). Human Target will make its UK premiere the following night. SCI FI will also launch its HD service on Virgin in early April, so by the time the transformation is complete, both Sky and Virgin customers will be able to watch in High Definition. SCI FI is currently available on Sky 129, Virgin 135 and Talk Talk 22.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside SCI FI for the launch of Monster Hunter Tri, we hope to excite Sci Fi fans across the UK with the epic new title available exclusively on Wii,:” said Rob Lowe, Marketing Manager, Nintendo UK.

You have to start training them young

In General on 24 March, 2010 at 8:44 am

That’s true for both dragons and any member, current or future, of a preternatural universe. It’s especially true for humans. And this is where video games ride to the rescue.

“The How to Train Your Dragon video game allows kids to live the fantasy of creating their very own dragons and engaging in epic battles against other fire-breathing foes,” says Rob Kostich, head of marketing for licensed properties, Activision Publishing Inc. “Whether they are playing on their own or against family and friends, kids will have a blast in this high energy epic adventure.”

The How to Train Your Dragon video game is based on the 3-D animated feature film of the same name from DreamWorks Animation SKG. Players are launched into a quest to become the ultimate dragon hero by training the world’s fiercest creatures. They can customize their dragons with more than 100,000 possible combinations as they journey through dynamic environments collecting the valuable skills and upgrades they will need when battling for Viking victory.

The How to Train Your Dragon video game is available for the XBox 360(R) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii(TM) and the PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system and Nintendo DS. Console versions are rated “E10+” (Fantasy Violence). The DS version is also rated “E10+” (Mild Fantasy Violence).

Would-be dragon trainers and Viking heroes who are not equipped with a game system can register for a chance to win a Nintendo DS or Wii(TM) game system as well as a copy of the How to Train Your Dragon video game by logging on to the game’s website at www.HowToTrainYourDragonGame.com or the movie web site at www.HowToTrainYourDragon.com. Daily winners will be chosen at random through 7 April 2010.

Online dating for preternatural lovers

In vox populi on 23 March, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Everyone is looking for love.

Until recently, everyone seemed to be looking for love in many of the same places, too. Which made love very hard to find, especially for those whose passion lie “in flights of imagination and great storytelling.” Fortunately, those days and nights are over, at least for those gripped by works of science fiction, fantasy or horror. SoulGeek has arrived.

It’s no secret that the geek population has become more visible of late. Blame Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and even Eric Northman’s alternate human persona, Alexander Skarsgard for making being a geek, well, not cool, exactly, but at least desirable. Sometimes, highly desirable. Of course, increased visibility hasn’t made it any easier to strike up a conversation with these notoriously reticent and private guys.

That’s where SoulGeek, an online dating website operated by Dino Andrade, comes in. Specifically eared towards this niche, SoulGeek was designed from the ground up for geeks and by geeks. Rather than superficial questions about income or fashion sense, SoulGeek asks important questions, like whether the applicant is into sci-fi, horror, fantasy, animation, comic books and/or their related conventions, conferences and communities. Forget dating sites. SoulGeek brings the imagination of these genres to bear on the “art” of finding a suitable mate.

SoulGeek is also unique because of the high level of its high level of safety. Andrade made a point of creating a secure environment free of scammers, spammers and predators. Nothing on SoulGeek is auto-approved and the site is monitored 24/7. That means geeks, and geek lovers are guaranteed to find only profiles of fellow geeks, not individuals or organizations promoting products and services.

Finding love is difficult enough for a single person., To help dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands connect is a monumental task few would take on. Yet Andrade is determined his new brand will stop here. Plans are already being laid to expand the monthly SoulGeek mixers (currently held only in LA) throughout the U.S. He also envisions a Hollywood connection where SoulGeek would be involved in major motion picture promotional events as well as related TV shows and video game campaigns.

Ambitious? Sure. But then, geeks are. How else could they have climbed so swiftly to the pinnacle of success? Now all they need are the trappings. And some love.

Web site brings the Winchester House to you

In Film, Ghosts on 23 March, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Looking for something to do?

Check out the website for the Winchester House at www.winchestermysteryhouse.com. The new site debuted in January 2010 and offers plenty of preternatural activity. Visitors can add reports of new paranormal sightings and experiences, suggest areas of the house or grounds to be investigated for paranormal activity and view archival and cross-referenced information from 180 image galleries, video libraries and news articles.

“Our goal is to provide our visitors with a virtual experience that is almost as compelling as a visit to the actual historical and haunted landmark,” said Brett Tomberlin, President of Imagination Design Works (IDW). “Of course, the digital world can never match touring the house itself, surveying its unique architecture – inside sky lights, stairs that mount to ceilings, doors that lead to suicidal drop-offs. Neither can it rival sitting in the mysterious séance room where Sarah Winchester sought help from spirits to guide her vision in building the 161-room estate. Our intention was not to try to replicate these experiences. Rather, we designed the web site to compliment and enhance the on-site offerings.”

The upgraded site also includes updates on the feature film Winchester which is currently in production.

The Winchester House is located near San Jose, California, USA. Visiting the web site is a great way to experience a haunted house without ever leaving home!