Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Geek Is Dead; Long Live Geek!

Patton Oswald has had it with "geek" culture. Drop a nuclear bomb on it and start over!

Great article, if a little high on the entitled nerdrage. There's more than a bit of whining about not feeling special anymore because anyone can be a nerd now. (Of course, I'd maintain that most people have always had a few things they'd geek out about, they just didn't always have the opportunity or the social space to express it the way they have today.) "In my day, we were outcasts, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan! You had to suffer for your nerdiness, you had to work for it! Now all these kids today with the Tweeters and the NewTubes and whatnot can instantly connect with the two other people in the world obsessed with the third Jem from the right and order ironic T-shirts all day long while playing their Beethoven/Keyboard Cat mashups! Where's the secret thrill of knowing you and your friend are the only ones who can quote Ski Patrol II at each other? Where's the fun in not being a shunned weirdo? Where's the feeling that you're better than those jock jerks because you have a mint Han Solo doll supposed to come from? Now EVERYONE likes the stuff I like, and it's just no fuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnn!"

He also touches on something I've long maintained: "And yes, I know that a lot of what I’m listing here seems like it’s outside of the “nerd world” and part of the wider pop culture. Well, I’ve got news for you—pop culture is nerd culture. The fans of Real Housewives of Hoboken watch, discuss, and absorb their show the same way a geek watched Dark Shadows or obsessed over his eighth-level half-elf ranger character in Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the method of consumption, not what’s on the plate." It's ever been thus. What's different is the level of social acceptance of the obsession. Sports is socially acceptable, even all-American; Japanese No theater is weird. Another reason why I believe almost everyone is a "nerd" about something: they just happen to be into something society says is okay to be really into.

BTW, despite the fact that he claims to have no affinity for the terms "nerd or "geek," the fact that he prefers the term "otaku" is just about the goddamn nerdiest thing ever.

(Via Movieline)

May The Pastry Be With You

Star Wars Pies

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

He's Knows If You've Been Bad...

May your stocking be well-stuffed. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

OMG, It's Like They Know Me!

You Are Dancer

Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.

Why You're Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa's private dancer.

Why You're Nice: You're friendly. Very friendly.

(Via Raincoaster)


Elie Wiesel is a Nobel Prize winner and the author of a powerful, haunting, enduring pieces of modern literature. What does that mean? He wins The Holocaust! Better clear a big space on the mantel. I wouldn't hit the showers for a while, though. Shalom!

Nativity Shmativity

The Last Bethelehemite Innkeeper Tells All (BTW, I, too, have often wondered just what the hell that gold, frankincense, and myrrh were good for if the Holy Family seems to have stayed as poor as ever. What, did Joseph have a secret gambling problem? Did Mary just have to have that designer veil? Were they taken in by a Pharisee Ponzi scheme?)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Norton Anthology of Tumbls

If, like me, you have a sick fetish for Norton Anthologies, then this is like catnip.

(Via Young Manhattanite)

How To Make A Nerd's Head Explode

Have a totally obnoxious nerd (hey, I admit they exist; all groups have their assholes) you're going to have to spend time with on Christmas? Well, if you're of the sadistic bent, here's a way too send them into total, hilarious geek-rage.

(Via Andrew Sullivan)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Get Off My Lawn!

Blogging is an old person's game. All the kids are Twitting or Friendbooking or whatever that hippity-hop is.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vicious Dog Alert!

If you're in Chicago, be on alert for this Pekingese! He is considered pawed and dangerous.

Swift, Sexy Santas

The 2010 Santa Speedo Run

Shake, Rattle, and Roll For The Clue-versary

Happy 25th Anniversary to Clue, one of the movies we rented all the time in my childhood. My sister and I watched it over and over and over again. We and some of our neighbors often busted out the "DadadadadadadaDA! I. Am. Your singing telegram... *gun*" tap routine for amusement.

I'll quote a few more favorite lines, straight from memory:

Miss Scarlet: "True! Who are you? Perry Mason?"

Mrs. White: "Men should be like Kleenex: soft, strong, and disposable."

Mrs. White: "He was a magician; he disappeared."
Wadsworth: "But he never reappeared!"
Mrs. White: "He wasn't a very good magician."

Mrs. Peacock: "Is there a bathroom?"
Yvette: "Oui oui, Madame..."
Mrs. Peacock: "No, I just need to powder my nose."

Mr. Green: "Well then who did I kill?!"
Wadsworth: "The butler."
Mr. Green: *crestfallen*

Wadsworth: "One plus one plus two plus one..."
Miss Scarlet: "No, it's one plus one plus one... SHUT UP!"

Then there's the classic Mrs. White quote: "FLAMES! Flames, on the side of my face... heaving, breathing... heaving..."

But the one that always got me...

Jehovah's Witness: "The Kingdom of God IS at hand!"
Miss Scarlet: "You ain't just whistlin' Dixie."
Mrs. Peacock: "Get lost!"
Jehovah's Witness: "But your souls are in danger!"
Mrs. Peacock: "Our LIVES are in danger, ya beatnik! *slams door*"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gotta Raise 'Em Right

Geeky Gifts for Kids

If You Only Read One "Top [X]/Best Of 2010" List, This Is It

The 30 Most Important Dogs of 2010

(Via Choire Sicha)

Holly Jolly Hell

I'm a Christmasy kind of guy, and I do like Christmas music, but listening to it at work for eight hours a day from after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve can be... trying. This year, for instance, I've gone from having never heard "It's A Marshmellow World" or hearing it at least five times a day in at least three different versions. Dean Martin can go to hell for this torture.

I do always find it interesting, though, hearing the different versions of the songs. "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" can be swingy-croony with Dean Martin or a scratchy jazz tune by Billie Holliday (? I'm not entirely sure about that one). Barbra Streisand does a slow, melancholy "These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things" that's cool, even if I continue to not think that's a holiday song. (Speaking of not-holiday songs, Frank Sinatra can join his pal Dean in hell, not only for duetting on of the "It's A Marshmellow World" versions, but also for "I Believe," which is an absolutely terrible song.) Then there are about ten million "Winter Wonderland," "Baby It's Cold Outside," and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" versions.

BTW, Neil Diamond SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS. Seriously, how'd he get to be a star? Also, I've had goddamn Angela Landsbury belting out "We Need A Little Christmas" from a Mame cast recording for days and I want it to stop!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Bourgeois Book Club

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel by Charles Yu

Between this and Our Tragic Universe earlier in the fall, I seem to be on a bit of metafictional-science-fictional kick of late. And How To Live Safely is very, very meta. Frankly, I'm not even sure how to describe it. I guess the simplest way would be: A time machine mechanic in an alternate universe governed by science fictional rules gets stuck, literally and metaphorically, in a time loop after years of hiding from the "real" world in his time machine and has to come to terms with himself and his father to work it all out. Throw in some geeky Star Wars and Star Trek references, and you'd think you'd have the perfect book for me.

But... Well, I thought it was interesting, and can definitely relate to the feeling of being trapped in various boxes (an image that is beaten over one's head) and repeated patterns by your own devices, but I don't think I can say I enjoyed it immensely. (Perhaps its portrait of a nerd too afraid to live hit a little too close to home for total enjoyment?) I don't much care for stories about how mommy/daddy didn't love me enough, even if, in the end, I think one of the main points of the story is that at some point we actually have to move on from our parents and their mistakes.

What do I know, though? It's on all kinds of Best of lists that are popping up this time of year. It's also a fairly short read, and, for all the time-bending and technobabble, it's fairly easy to read once you've gotten over the disorientation.

For other opinions on the book, see i09.

The Wolf Age by James Enge

Werewolves get short-shrift in fantasy. They're always strictly hierarchical beasts in the wilderness running around in packs. Enge gives them a city-state with an actual culture and society, and an interesting one at that, complete with elections and politics. Meanwhile, a prison break, godly intrigues, global warming, steampunk alchemy, and imminent mortality keep the action going throughout. If you're a werewolf fan, you should take a look.

Only 15 Shopping Days Left To Get Me Something!

Gifts for Nerds (Note: I already got the Enterprise pizza cutter for my birthday. It cuts like a phaser through tritanium!)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Mappa Mundae

A Visual History of Cosmologies Parts I and II

(Via i09)

What Book Publishers Nightmares Look Like

When Kindles attack!

Holiday Gift Guide

Not to brag, but I'm not only done my Christmas shopping, but I'm also quite far along in my wrapping. But if you're not wonderful like me and are still having some trouble with your shopping list, here are some suggestions for the nerd and the perv on your list.

Holiday Cheer

If you're not quite in the holiday mood yet, here's something to melt your Scroogey heart and help kickstart your holly-jollies. Also, it's nice to remember this arctic blast the Northeast is having is fun for someone (in fact, it's probably just barely tolerable, finally, for the poor Polar bears) as we huddle shivering next to our fires.

Sunday, December 05, 2010