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Miss Hannnah Hart, Ghost Dame of the Hotel del Coronado
Monday, 20 May 2013 08:42 Jennifer Devore
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Freddy Jones: With these cameras set up around the house, we'll be able to watch and record anything that comes after my dad. There's only one problem; I'm a trap guy. I have absolutely no idea how this stuff works.

Velma Dinkley: Don't worry. I've been stripping dielectric insulation off my coax since before I could walk. Get ready to worship The Velma!

Just as 21st C. CGI and fantasy SFX finally caught up with Tim Burton's imagination, 21st C. ghost-hunting gizmos and paranormal paraphernalia finally caught up with the original Geek Grrl, Velma Dinkley and her tech needs. Allow Moi, your own Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado to elucidate.

See, kids, before there were tacky, black ops wannabe, caravans of windowless, black Suburbans cruising the countryside at night, there was the Mystery Machine: the epitome of groovy, a rockin', hippie, aqua-and-orange surfer van carrying four hip, sleuthing friends and their ever-hungry, always scaredy-cat, Great Dane named Scooby-Doo. Scooby, Shaggy, Freddy, Daphne and Velma have been hitting the road in style, in the Mystery Machine for nearly thirty-five years, meddling in the nefarious affairs of grouchy, greedy locals; these wayward townfolk oft disguised as the supernatural in a variety of form and function. Although Velma Dinkley, short, curvy, turtlenecked, know-it-all bobbed-brunette, appears the wallflower of the gang, she is the bespectacled brains behind this adventure crew, forever playing second fiddle to the beauteous ginger, Daphne Blake. To boot, like any geek girl in love from afar, her passion for Shaggy goes mostly unrequited, sitting backseat to the shared loves between a boy and his dog: mad sandwich skillz and Vincent van Ghoul flicks.

Interpersonal issues aside, the Hanna-Barbera creation (1969) of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears just finished its eleventh iteration of the family-friendly, spooky, sleuthing series: Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013). The first incarnation not run first as a Saturday morning kids' show, this latest series contains a running, arcing mystery involving an antique locket and a Tod Browningesque parrot named Mr. E. The overarching tale knits in and out of fifty-two episodes which originally aired on Cartoon Network in a 2:00p.m., afterschool time slot, over a spotty three-year period. If you missed its original run, S1 is now available via Netflix.

A Warner Bros. Animation, Mystery Inc., shares the same quality as many another WBA production: Pinky & The Brain, Animaniacs and just about any Looney Tunes short. The writers understand adults are watching, too. The genius and longevity of such entities as The Muppets, Disney and Warner Bros. comprehend that vital, full-spectrum hook.

"Grab this! It's a fairway wood, it's safe!" Freddy Jones puns as he extends a golf club toward the ceiling to save his dad, Mayor of Crystal Cove, who's being tossed around the room by a violent poltergeist. A fine example of WBA humour, indeed.

Now, some three decades of understated humour and Witching Hour investigations later, Velma Dinkley has access to an arsenal of high-tech ghost-hunting tools she's been waiting for and, paired with Freddy's Traps Illustrated obsession, mystery solving in 2013 could not be easier. An excellent example of this? Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Incorporated, "A Haunting in Crystal Cove" (S1e23).

Although the supernatural inevitably end up just being rubber-masked, servo-driven, CGI-enhanced townfolk, the front-end of any Scooby-Doo endeavor has the best of spirit-hunting intentions, entrenched in the hunt for the unexplained. Whilst Daphne's smokin' hot-pink getaway sticks get more screen time than Velma's digital, detecting devices, you know she has them stashed somewhere and puts them through more tests and trials than a Wired product reviewer.

  • Full-spectrum cameras: Velma's got the hammer-and-nails of any pro ghost-hunting outfit. No consumer-grade for this kitten; she's gone pro-grade with a modified 16GB card-compatible, 18x zoom, 12.2 MP resolution, dual image stabilization Fuji PRO series. (I think our Dr. Lucy might be jealous and/or nervous. Time for a new camera and/or better hiding places, Lucia!) Set up a string of these babies in any room and along any stairwell, hallway or doorway and they'll catch the invisible light waves, and the clandestine action therein, at either end of the light spectrum, a.k.a. infrared and UV, where we spookies reside.
  • EVP monitor: Similar to a baby monitor, it picks up cooing and gurgling throughout the netherworld via telepathic electromagnetic impulses, all while weeding out external, earthly noises. Babies, too, I guess.
  • EMF detector: With Southron gatorpeople and evil Renaissance Faire gnomes lurking about the night, Velma will need a gauge identifying varying electromagnetic fields. It seems high EMF readings could not only signify a cluster of electrical wires bundled in attic walls and giving you monster headaches and hallucinations, but it could also signify the very real energy of Demon Frightnight. It would be good to know with which one you're dealing. Trust me.
  • After the biscuits, come the gravy: tricolor flashlights (full colour spectrum for night vision and clarity), laser grids (for detecting disembodied movement), thermal imaging cams, temperature change sensors, wireless phone pods and headphones (for on-the-go listening to iPods, mp3s and EVPs), FM frequency sweep radios and shadow detection devices (for, well, detecting shadows).
  • Best of all is the creepiest of all: the Rag Doll K-II, sold by TheGhostHunterStore.com. An EMF detector hidden within Dolly's dress, it's meant to be a kinder, gentler object for child-spirits to approach than boring old, shiny, sharp, tech gear. If Spookedy Ann's face or hands light up … you might have a ghost child. ~shiver~ Run, kittens, run!

Clearly, Velma doesn't schlep all this gear to each and every mystery. We rarely see more than a Smartphone and Coke-bottle glasses on her person. If she did, the Mystery Machine would be packed to the gills, with cables, power sources and monitors alone, rather than housing just Shaggy, Scooby and their various to-go feasts in the back. Still, the instruments and implements appear when necessary. Maybe Velma stores them at the back of her mom's coffeehouse/bookstore/town museum.

Long before the stars of reality TV's paranormal invasion were just filthy thoughts in their fathers' eyes, Scooby-Doo and his groovy gang were criss-crossing theSouthern swamps, abandoned theaters, run-down plantation homes, dilapidated boardwalks and rusted-out amusement parks across our great, haunted country. Long before nice guys Grant & Jason of SyFy's Ghost Hunters, before those thug half-portions Nik, Aaron & Zak of Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures and before the moody Ryan and Eilfie of A&E's Paranormal State, there was the affable, optimistic, fashionable and cheerful Scooby-Doo and the Gang. You won't find Freddy schlubbing around in jeans and a black t-shirt to meet the Lord of the Manor. (Okay, Shaggy is, well, a bit shaggy; but at least he sports corduroys and is almost always flashing a smile.)

Even before we were blessed with The X-Files' Scully and Mulder, our grunge-era, supernatural sleuths extraordinaire, there was another skeptical but open-minded, saucy, brainy, bespectacled, over-achieving, single, geek girl with a short do and sensible shoes who was so fierce, so confident and so rockin' she needed only one name: Velma. Rock on, Velma. (BTW, kids, if you see any new episodes with the Mystery Machine crossing the bridge onto Coronado, give me a heads-up! Lucy and I might need to hit the road!)

Abyssinia, kids!

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet #scoobydoo #velma #ghosthunting #geekgirls

 
Monday, 12 November 2012 14:18 Jennifer Devore
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Holy macaroni, cats! If I came out this year's Hallowe'en with only one recollection, it was becoming privy to the last invention mankind will ever need: a roller coaster that can create everything, always. Quod the quod?!, you cry. Trust me, I held that same wonderment all night long.

Naturally, Lucy and I can have fun just about anywhere. After all, we're ghostie girls trapped in our luxurious Hotel del Coronado who have happily made G&Ts out of lemons and amuse ourselves haunting this grand, Victorian dame of seaside resorts. So, what makes a night even more fun for us? Dress us up like Abby Sciuto and her beauteous broken doll, add Dr. Devorkian, Ozzy Osbourne and a baker's dozen of complete nutjobs to a Northern California Halloween gathering and you've got yourself that which comes before Part B. Part A, of course!

As it was a wine country bash, the wine did flow: Bogle, Apothic Red, Cavi, Coppola and, natch, a case of Two Buck Chuck (that's Three Buck Chuck to you East Coasters). To boot, Dr. Lucy's Victorian love, Dr. Devorkian, set about tinkering in his rum lab and proffered victims, I mean guests, selections of lemon, cherry, mango, pineapple and plum eau de vie.  Dangerously, there was a special bowl of soused cherries. Zow-ie! Ghosts can't get drunk, but I steered clear nonetheless. Yet, if the 200-proof cherries packed a wallop for mere mortals, they were nothing compared to the dizzying effects of the mortals themselves.

To keep it simple, I shall note the three most memorable:

1) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Republican Redneck: This fellow arrived revving his chainsaw and, after a few annoying minutes of this, stashed it in a shed and just called himself a Republican redneck the rest of the night. When not playing a political hillbilly, he prides himself in living "off the grid" and building his own nation up in the mountains: a NorCal Petoria, if you will. He sustains himself, somewhat, growing medicinal weed and, natch, utilizing the electric company's low-income assistance rates. (Do you have any idea how high his electric bills would be otherwise? Bonkers!) Still, even living this "Little Growhouse on the Prairie" existence, he's not nearly as serene and peaceful as one might think. He's riled up and irritated because "it sucks more people won't take weed in barter. They still want money."

2) The 2016 Presidential Candidate: Politics are never a good idea for party chit chat. Of course, once someone decides to hold court, one has to listen; it's not that big of a house. The Big Bad Wolf, as was his character this night, declared his candidacy for 2016 in our presence. When questioned about his platforms, he stated the following: 1) Flat tax (fair enough); 2) Legalize weed (Why not?); 3) Mandatory military service for everyone (Exsqueeze me?); 4) "Dump Israel" -his words, not mine- (deplorable). Put your wolf mask back on, son, and get back to the woods.

3) Chief Wackadoo: This chick wins, hands-down for kookiness. Dressed as a tiger, sort of, she prowled the night querying and quizzing other guests, offering up opinions, ideas and criticisms and hitting on our painfully polite Abby. The most memorable conversation of the night goes to the Chief: her description of a recent invention of hers. Always a curious sort, our Ozzy wanted to know more and, rather than describe the exchange, I shall transcribe the discussion as I heard it, watching in wonderment as I sipped on a velvety glass of Apothic Red. Keep in mind, our Ozzy Osbourne is in full character.

 

Chief Wackadoo: It's my own invention. I created it in my head. It's a roller coaster that creates everything, always, all the time.

Ozzy: No kidding? Everything, all the time?

Chief Wackadoo: Everything, always. Doesn't matter what you need. An arm, a computer, a car. Everything. It's perfect because if a part breaks, it just makes a new one.

Ozzy: Wow. That's amazing. How big does this thing need to be?

Chief Wackadoo: Twenty miles long.

Ozzy: That's going to be difficult to find, a straight stretch of that much land, especially in California.

Chief Wackadoo: It's not a problem because it's going to be built in space. It's all going to happen inside a planet.

Ozzy: Really? So after it builds everything, always, how do we get all those things back down to Earth?

Chief Wackadoo: That's the beauty of absolute zero.


As Dr. Lucy would say, "You can't make this s*%@ up."

 

 
Sunday, 23 September 2012 09:24 Jennifer Devore
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Kids,  I don’t get too much mail here at The Del. Being dead and all, who’s going to send Moi anything? With the exception of occasional postcards you good pips send me here at the Hotel del Coronado -keep ‘em coming, babies!- mail call is pretty quiet around The Del for yours truly.

Still, along with the odd postcard, and some of them are quite odd, especially those from Texas, I do get unexpected packages once in a blue moon. Today, I received a small, padded envelope with a CD in it. There was no note with it, no greeting, merely a crude marking on the CD itself which read, “Consider yourself warned”.

Jeepers creepers! The return address read only “League of S.T.E.A.M.“!

“Supernatural & Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management, indeed! How rude! I have a right mind to send them a very sternly written letter. However, I am even more of the mind that my online blathering has finally called too much attention to not only myself, but my dear friend Dr. Lucy. It seems to me, we’ve got some ghost hunting types here in the hotel and, what with Hallowe’en fast-approaching, my guess is these steampunk monster hunters are gearing up for Samhain Scandals! Well, they’ll never catch me! Ha ha!

This, btw, is what those real monsters sent me. Pay close attention after the 3:00-mark.

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Damn it, Lucy! I know how much you enjoyed playing with that new EOS Canon Rebel. Still, didn’t I tell you that if we were going to go play at Comic-Con, that we had to lie low? Especially in the SyFy Press Room? As dear old dad, Dr. Harvey, would say, “Oi vey, Lucy!”.

Fortunately, I shall be out of town for the Holidays: home to good ol’ Beantown and spooky Salem, Mass for some Hallowe’en haunting about the Hawthorne Hotel; and, Lucy shall visit her dear Dr. Devorkian up in Napa this All Hallows’ Eve. Let’s see the League of S.T.E.A.M. find us now! (Oh. Wait. Damn it, Hannah!) Well, at least now the League shall have to dispatch their tiresome, hyper-weaponed gnats to New England and Northern California, as well as wherever else their ne’er-do-well activities take them here in Southern California.

Shame on them, nettling and tweaking the likes of Lucy and Moi! Funny enough, now those half-portions in Ghost Adventurers and Ghost Hunters International don’t seem so bad.

Monster hunters take note! Perchance, you are not aware of she with whom you dare to dance! I swing a mean cocktail bag, kittens!

 

 
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:39 Jennifer Devore
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Reading a bit, hither and thither I’ve come across a widespread vexation amidst contemporary writing. Bloggers, authors, writers of all sorts appear to have come to the conclusion that the more vile and odious of curse words peppering their oeuvres, the more smashing, dashing and edgy said-oeuvres will be. My own pally, Jennifer Susannah Devore, chose to season her latest novel with dashes and pinches of the scandalous. To be sure, Miss Jenny’s The Darlings of Orange County does this with rapier-like whips, flicks, snaps and stings using a fair sampling of modern slang, evoking sexual, sensual and downright nasty scribblings. She even looked to her time-tested and dogeared, paperback copy of Francis Grose’s 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Still, it’s a far cry from her shy and largely Victorian instincts. Of course, and you didn’t hear it from me, chickadees, she’s also selling the lusty Darlings hand over fist in comparison to her family-friendly Savannah of Williamsburg.

To sum up the problem, this need for tingling titillation, allow Moi to quote Muppet Treasure Island:

 

 

Rizzo:     What’s wrong?

Gonzo:   It just feels so weird.

Rizzo:     That Mr. Arrow’s dead?

Gonzo:   Yeah, that … and my pants are filled with starfish.

Rizzo:     You and your hobbies!

Exactly. You and your hobbies!

 

 

 

 

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Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

Meet The Darlings

The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

Meet Miss Savannah Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!

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Meet Miss Hannah

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at goodtobeageek.com

Abyssinia, kids!