“Somebody’s got a case of the mondays”….

….to quote the great, Mike Judge movie, Office space.  I felt like I had a case of the mixed Mondays today….The day started off great…I woke up alive, which is always my favorite way to wake up.  A beautiful woman (My Wife, of course) made me breakfast for some unknown reason….that’s right about where I mixed the Monday good mood with a nice dose of foot in my mouth and said something stupid, as I am known to do.  So from that point on, my Monday was weird.  Not, Sasquatch making a PB&J in your bathtub kind of weird, but weird nonetheless.  I took the toddler to ballet class, as we walked into the YMCA, she kept calling me Mr. Father Dad, which confused both of us.  The class was able to remix the Monday into something nice again.  I love seeing my toddler in a tutu, spinning around aimlessly to the “World is a rainbow” by children crooners Greg and Steve.  (I believe it was Greg, Steve and Ringo for a little while until he left to join some lesser known, obscure band…I think they were called the aphids, or something…I’m sure it was insect based.)  Kids have a way of making you feel important and helpless at the exact same time.  I feel important because I am her father, yet I am helpless because…well, I’m me and I have no idea how to fend for myself, let alone help a child….and I had just angered the only person who was actually doing all the work and making me look good. 

      Wives are like the professor at the end of Wizard of Oz.  They are behind the curtain, working all the levers and pushing all the buttons, they are making Oz work and function while Husbands are just this big, green head, yelling and hovering about like a lummox.  Our power of intimidation is strictly illusionary.  We’re as scared as everyone else…except of spiders.  They don’t scare me.  Unless they are the size of a pony and hiss or something like that, man that would be freaky!  

I could ramble on and on, but the fact of the matter is that if life had a remote control, it would have come in handy yesterday.  I would have used the mute button and kept my dumb mouth from spouting off hurtful, stupid things, or I could use the rewind button to go back and keep myself from making the mistake in the first place.  The cool thing is that while life may not have a remote control, each new day is kind of like a sequel.  It gives me a chance to rewrite the script and move on….I think the title will be “TUESDAY:  I’m sorry, Here are some Flowers, I’m going to stop talking before I get in trouble.”  What do you think?  Too long?

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Justice for some

There are many reasons why I love comic books. Sure, the art is usually amazing, I love the out of this world stories and characters with amazing abilities and powers….but there is another, down to Earth reason why I love comics. In the fantasy world of the modern American Super Hero comic book, Justice is cut and dry. If you kill someone who was minding their own business, you are a bad person. You are guilty of murder. It’s the comic book world and you will be caught by Superman/Batman/Spider-man and thrown in jail.

In the case of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, it’s sad that we don’t live in a world where Justice is absolute. We live in a world dictated by man’s law, and we must suffer for its flaws caused by greed, fear and ignorance. George Zimmerman killed a child. He followed him when the police told him not to, he stalked him like a hunter would stalk prey. He didn’t identify who he was, he confronted the young man, knowing that whatever happened he had his gun to back him up. George Zimmerman took it upon himself to take a life, a child’s life. Because of ignorant laws written by fearful, ignorant people, Zimmerman walks away a free man. Justice for some.

I may sometimes walk around with my head in the clouds thinking of worlds that don’t actually exist, but it makes me feel a little good to know at least somewhere out there in the ethereal world of fiction there is a place where Justice is for all. It’s just a shame we don’t live there.

What is Nerd…baby don’t nerd me…don’t nerd me…anymore.

The title refers to the Haddaway classic “What is love.”  Like most people, the song reminds me of the classic SNL sketch where Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell (and a varying guest star…Jim Carey was the best.) play club hopping weirdoes who bob their heads back and forth to the tune and try desperately to pick up women…even going as far as the local senior center and making out with pensioners.  This of course made Lorne Michaels think “What a brilliant spring board for a feature film!” and Night at the Roxbury was born!  Although this was by far the best by product of the SNL sketch…

 

Mr. Data looks so damn happy!

What does all of this have to do with Nerds?  Simple, If you were a true blue Nerd, you would know exactly who the people in the above gif are.  For those non-nerds out there, it’s the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Star Trek: Next Generation at the Roxbury  is nerdy…this one isn’t, it’s just funny…

      I have to say, I love being a massive nerd, it’s who I’ve always been.  I’ve never pretended to be anything other than “That awkward kid who’s bad at all sports ever conceived, but really likes comic books.”  Comics, science fiction, big thick nerdy books about nerdy fantasy worlds have always been my thing.  Now it seems it’s super cool to be a nerd.  The Hipsters have invaded the Nerd realm and trying to claim it as their own…and like Hipsters tend to do, they’ll ruin Nerdlandia and move on like trendy locusts.

    Things of a Nerdly nature have broken into the mainstream for quite some time now.  Once Hollywood finally realized that comic book movies can make a lot of money when done right, comic books started to become accepted as a legitimate art form.  Nerds already knew that!  We didn’t need to see the box office results for Dark Knight or Iron Man to know that comic books are cool.  Now being a Nerd is so mainstream that it is the basis for one of Network Television’s most popular shows…The Big Bang Theory.  It’s a funny enough show, but by no means is it really representative of the Nerd world.  Nor does watching it make you a real Nerd.  Anytime I’m wearing my Flash t-shirt I get one of two responses….someone will say “Hey, Sheldon wears that shirt!  I love the Big Bang Theory!” or some smart aleck will yell “It’s fat Flash!  Isn’t that shirt an oxymoron?”  At least the guy insulting me and my tub of guts knows who Flash is.  Both responses make me cry.

       “Well, I better head to Subway and Eat Fresh!”

Being a Nerd—a true Nerd isn’t easy…..cue the violins….When I was a kid, being a Nerd got you beaten up.  During middle school, I was once chased to my grandmother’s house by a bunch of kids with sticks when I was caught reading a comic book in class.  The teacher, doing what some horrid teachers like to do made the whole class stay five minutes later…she knew they were going to get sticks….she knew!  She probably sold them the beating sticks.  Luckily I was a lot skinnier then and could run really fast if I was facing near death.  Awkward, but fast.

“Get him before he makes Cloud Atlas!”

True Nerds had to suffer for the love of their Nerdly art.  There was a time when wearing an X-men shirt was a sure sign that girls would treat you like a bubonic plague carrier.  But dammit, my love for those rascally mutants and their terrible plight was too deep!  I had to show my solidarity.  (That and I was afraid of girls during grade school).  Now, comic book shirts and other memorabilia are far easier to come by and are worn by people who have never cracked open a comic book in their entire lives.  Comic book conventions used to be a place where most people would steer clear.  You’d never see a hot-shot celebrity cavorting with comic book fans, but since super hero and other genre movies are such big money makers, Hollywood has taken over most of the conventions.  My first “convention” was in a huge warehouse with dozens of tables set up and all of the vendors looked like the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.  There were boxes of comic books, VHS tapes and action figures everywhere….no celebrities hawking their latest movies (No females either).  The closest thing to celebrities was the motley crew of retired comic book writers and artists that were there signing autographs.  This was a true Nerd convention, a place that you’d kinda be ashamed to admit you went to, but deep down were proud to go.

I’m happy that the Nerd culture is finally getting its fair share of the spotlight, I just think there are far too many faux Nerds out there.  Here’s a quick little checklist that will help you filter out the true Nerds from the Hipster Nerds.

HIPSTER NERD    

Watches the Matt Smith Dr. Who on Netflix

 

 TRUE NERD

Owns Tom Baker’s Pyramids of Mars on VHS.

 

  HIPSTER NERD

 “I love Adam West on Family guy!”

      

TRUE NERD

“I made my own Adam West Batman Action figure”

       

HIPSTER NERD

 Has Lord of the Rings on Blu-Ray

TRUE NERD

Has J.R.R Tolkien’s Poems and Songs of Middle Earth on Vinyl (Some Hipsters might own this one, too.  There are some crossover risks.)

 

HIPSTER NERD

 Bought This Star Wars Shirt:

 

TRUE NERD

Made this Star Wars Fan shirt.  (I didn’t make it, but some cool Nerd did!  Yet another crossover risk.  Some Hipsters might get this one.)

   

HIPSTER NERD

 His/Her favorite comic store looks like this:

 

TRUE NERD

His/Her favorite comic book store looks like this:

HIPSTER NERD

Big fan of the new Star Trek films.

 

TRUE NERD

Likes the new Star Trek Movies….Made their own Star Trek Voyager Fan films….with the original cast!  Really, they need the work.

    

HIPSTER NERD

Had a girlfriend throughout High School

 

TRUE NERD

Tried really hard to create a girlfriend all throughout High School.

What’s a Loompa Loompla? (details inside!)

I don’t like to shop. Let me be very clear on that. I don’t like to go out and be around other people as they stand in the aisles for hours on end analyzing shampoo labels like they are FBI profilers. It’s shampoo, not a crime scene and you’re some obnoxious goober in flip flops and a faded Ed Hardy T-shirt, not Will Graham from Hannibal.

“I just need a shampoo that will condition and remove blood stains!”

I can make an exception for most Target stores.  If you’ve never shopped at a Target store before, you need to know that they are like snow flakes or fingerprints. Each store is completely different from the next. You have your bad Target stores (referred to derogatorily as Targhetto), your upscale, posh Target stores (pronounced “Tar-Jay”). Both pronunciations are stupid and frowned upon by decent human beings. The common thread to a Target store is that they have a reputation of treating their employees like garbage. Walk in to any given target store and you are sure to see a scowling person in a Red Shirt and Khaki pants. These people (known in the Target-verse as Team Members) are scowling because they work for minimum wage and are forced to call you their “Guest.” The worse shared experience for a Target Team member and his “guest” is when a manager (Or team Leader…yeah, they’re very cult like.) is walking around.  At that time, the Team member-fearing for their life-follows you around asking if they can help you, ad-nauseam. You get so sick of the forced niceness that you want to punch the Jim Jones-ish Team Leader in the face and see if it makes a little target logo around their eye.

Loveable mascot or abuse victim? You decide!

Before you ask, no I have never worked at Target, I just shop there and have spoken to many current and former “Team Members”, all of whom share the same workplace horror stories. I continue to shop there because I am a cheapskate, which brings me to my next point.
Besides their near Stalin-esque treatment of their employees, Target always seems to have obscure DVDs for $5. Sometimes you hit it big and land “Happy Gilmore”, “Wayne’s World” or even “Ghostbusters” other times you scrape the bottom of the movie bin and find “Super Mario Brother’s The Movie” or “Sonic The Hedgehog Abs of Steel workout.”

A few weeks ago, I hit a cheapo deluxe movie jackpot and found “Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory” for $5! That’s right, the movie that has been scaring children for generations with it’s orange faced factory workers is now in our collection!  Not surprisingly, our toddler thoroughly enjoys the movie.  Since we bought the film, she’s watched it every day at least 67 thousand times.  She knows the songs and scenes by heart and tries to find a way to incorporate the movie into our everyday lives.  When I was leaving for work the other day she told me, “Goodbye, Slugworth.”  Slugworth!  I’m not cool enough to be Willy Wonka, I have to be that creepy, Harry Truman looking, candy recipe stealing villain Slugworth?”  (As a side, Slugworth was also in the “Let’s clone Hitler!” film, The Boys from Brazil.)

“Let’s make a Chocolate Hitler Clone!”

She also jumps onto her beanbag and screams “I’ve gotta Golden Ticket!” at the top of her lungs.  The pinnacle of  Wonka-maddness came just a few days ago whist I was laying on the floor like a beached whale.  Look, I work nights and I spend my mornings watching a little television like a beached sea mammal, don’t judge.  Luna ran up beside me and attempted to roll me.  She yelled “Loompa Loompla!  We take you to the juicer!”  In her eyes, her chunky father was now that gum chewing brat, turned blueberry Violet Beauregard.  I guess being a blueberry is better than being dropped down a bad egg chute, shrunk or stuck in an unnecessarily large pipe.  There are worse fates than becoming a blueberry….

You could be Target Team Member and be forced to fake a smile while I search the depths of the $5 Movie bin.  “Oooh, Michael Myers meets Pinhead in Helloween!  I’ve gotta get that!”

Pinhead:  “Man, I’m having a splitting headache…anyone have advil?

Michael Myers:  “Gasp—Mask—suffocating me–can’t breathe!”