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Down and Nerdy: Strange Maps and Guillermo del Toro

IN WHICH maps of all sorts are celebrated, as is a certain film director of macabre and imaginative sensibilities.

Briana’s pick: Strange Maps

I love maps. I’m also quite fond of charts, graphs, and tables. I like information. And I like it to be organized. I also have a decent sense of humor, which is why I’m quite fond of the blog Strange Maps by Frank Jacobs. “Cartographic curiosities” are what you will find when you check it out. Some are real, some are fictional, and others might simply be considered works of art.

A few of my favorites include:

California as the World”: a map (supposedly created by Paramount Studios) which relates the geography of California to other regions of the world. A good tool for location scouts on a budget.

Where on Earth was Middle-Earth”: a map of the mythical lands in J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy overlapped over a map of Europe (i.e. Gondor corresponds with the northern plains of Italy and modern Mordor would be in Transylvania—of course).

Leo Belgicus” : I just think this lion shaped map is pretty.

Ludacris Rap Map of US Area Codes”: a map of the United States and the area codes in which you can find the ummm, lady friends of rapper Ludacris as outlined in his song “Area Codes.”

James’ pick: News from Guillermo del Toro

Last week was Comic Con, and there was tons of geeky news from there, as always. But I was most excited about several announcements made by the great filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, creator of awesome stuff like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy” and a bunch more.

First, the news that he’s getting into the video game business. This has me salivating. I love video games and I love strong narratives and well-told stories, so this should be a match made in heaven.

He’s also going to direct what will likely be the first good movie ever to be made from an H.P. Lovecraft work. And, his remake of the 70’s TV movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” has been given an R rating for “pervasive scariness,” despite the fact that it contains no sex, violence or profanity.

Rental recommendation: I give two very enthusiastic thumbs up to his 2001 film “The Devil’s Backbone.” Here’s the trailer: