Nerd Day

Sep. 29th, 2017 12:52 pm
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 Today, as I'm sure many of you know, the Nintendo dropped the SNES.  I spent a good portion of my morning attempting to get one, always arriving as the cashier said, "Sorry, my last one just walked out the door." The worst part being that I could have stood in line at GameStop, which opened later, BUT I had a press showing of Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman to get to at 10 am at the Lagoon Theatre, which I got to go to as part of my gig as a comic book reviewer for Twin Cities Geeks.

I can't talk about the movie until my review goes up, but I can tell you about my movie-going experience.  

At first, I didn't think I was going to make it. OMG. Lately traffic HATES ME, PERSONALLY. In between darting into various Target Superstores and Gamestops between here and Uptown, I managed to screw up my exit. Instead of taking 94 to Hennepin like I'd planned, I was thinking so hard about the SNES that I ended up on 35 W, which local folk will know, is under deep, deep construction.  The exit at 36th was blocked so I had to drive WAY OUT of my way at get off at 46th.  I managed work my way back, fighting Uptown traffic now, to park in the parking ramp behind the Lagoon (which ended up costing about as much as a ticket) and then it looked like no one was going to let me in to the actual theater. It was dark. The doors were locked.  But, eventually someone came and opened the door.  He still looked dubious about letting me in, but, apparently, the magic words were, "Press screening at 10?"

I checked in with the "woman with the clipboard" as instructed and was directed to theatre 5.  I haven't been to the Lagoon in forever. The theaters are small and dim. The seats are old and squeaky.

But it was just me and two other people...

...and that was really f*cking cool.

When I used to review movies for focusPOINT back in the late Cretaceous, I had a really hard time not loving everything I saw. I might be one of the only professional, paid reviewers on the planet who gave a positive review to the Matthew Broderick remake of Godzilla. Probably the thing most people remember about that movie, besides how (nearly) universally it was panned, was its poorly executed "Size Matters" ad campaign.

Anyway, part of the problem, I realized later when I found myself gushing about the Avengers remake (another film all my sensible colleagues panned, and I don't mean the Marvel one, obviously, I mean the one based on the TV series) is that it's just SO SUPER COOL to be the first to see a movie, ANY MOVIE, and it's free, right? So you don't have this whole "Jeez, I paid how much for THAT???!!" thing going on in your head, like, ever.

Plus, did I mention how super-secret you feel, getting in to somewhere no one else does? Way ahead of the official release date?  And, I realize there are people who do this for the Star Tribune, the New York Times or whatever and they've seen it all, and they're all so jaded, but even after a year of doing it for focusPOINT, I was like 'STILL AWESOME, SO, SO AWESOME. I LOVED THIS FILM, I LOVE ALL FILMS!!!"

Yeah, so, I'll have to remember to temper that impulse when I finally sit down to write my actual review.  

I drove home still attempting to find the SNES, but, at this point it was after noon, so all hope was lost.  At one Target they looked up to see who might have SNESs and I called around. The Roseville electronics department just answered the phone without even a hello, only saying, "We are sold out of the Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems." As sad as that was to hear, it still cracked me up.

Such a classic nerd day, though, don't you think?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Last night, I tried to get Mason into "Monty Python and the Flying Circus."  Thanks to our friend John Jackson, Mason already knew that Monty Python could be very hilarious. John (and I think Jack) showed Mason a bunch of various famous sketches on You Tube.  So, for instance, Mason knows all about the "Dead Parrot sketch" and "The Ministry of Silly Walks." 

But, I thought, "Yes, but those are all out of context.  He should really watch an entire episode."  Or at least, that was my thought when a compilation disc of "Monty Python and the Flying Circus" came across my notice when I was checking media at the library.  I brought it home, convinced Mason that it would be awesome, and queued it up.

What I forgot was how surreal Monty Python was and how, sometimes, entire episodes had running gags that just sort of fell flat or were just plain weird and only funny because they just didn't END.  I realize that what I'm saying could be construed as nerd blasphemy, but, seriously, try watching some of those full episodes again... I think you will be forced to agree with me that, yes, there are gems, but some of it is just straight-up bizarre. 

At one point Mason turned to me and asked, "Is this what humor was like in the 1970s?"

I gave him a sad face and sad, "Yes, son, and we had to IMPORT it."
lydamorehouse: (ichigo adorkable)
We've been teasing poor Mason that he needs to have one of those billboards like they do at industrial sites that say: "___ days accident free." So, today, as I dropped him off he waved me away with a cheerful, "One week accident free!"

My poor baby.

Around my household, we refer to these random stumbles, etc., as: nerdspasms. As I told Mason, he comes by it honestly (though possibly via osmosis), as I have a long and sordid history of such events. In my youth, I had been known to just fall while looking up at something in a tree or once, while stopped, I fell off my bike.

While.

Stopped.

We won't even talk about the time I was reading while riding my bike and hit a parked car. (The book was Go Ask Alice).

Speaking of books and accidents, it seems I briefly roiled up the whole discussion about Tempest's reading challenge on Facebook again. My friend and fellow Philip K. Dick award nominee, Minister Faust, is doing a podcast these days and he linked me to his latest, wherein he interviews Ms. Bradford about the reaction she got to her reading challenge.

OMG.

Instantly again.

I've been thinking about this on a more immediate level, because one of the things that Faust and Bradford discussed on the podcast (which is quite good, btw) is WHY does this happen. There are more and more articles appearing about why is it that people instantly freak out in discussions of race, gender, ability, and orientation that happen on the Internet.

In a seemingly unrelated note, I mentioned something innocuous about peanuts on my Facebook feed yesterday as well, and the VERY FIRST RESPONSE was someone admonishing my food choices as decidedly inorganic and politically fraught. Likewise, several months ago I made what I thought was a completely uncontroversial mention of mulching and I got several unasked for SCREEDS about how my mulch choices WERE KILLING ALL THE PUPPIES (that is only a slight exaggeration, seriously.) One person was so upset by the mulch I used that she wasn't satisfied just making her point on my FB feed, but also followed me on to my private message box and tried to continue the fight there.

Mulch.

Which, I think we can all agree is, ultimately, NOT AS PERSONAL as race, gender or orientation...

I've been thinking that, while there are obviously bigger, deeper social-economic/privilege-related issues going on in these discussions, people who use social media frequently, who are not even trying to say provocative things, often get inundated, seemingly constantly (because even when it happens once, it makes a very powerful, personal impact), with these kinds of finger-shakes from strangers. ("Damn it, I just wanted to say how much I loved my peanut butter!")

So there's that picture of Tempest. She's literally shaking her finger at us, the viewer of the picture, and bam! Everything goes down in the flame-y-est flame war in the history of flames.

I mean, yes, of course, a huge percentage of the reaction is from people who really need the rug of comfort/privilege yanked out from under them, but I think there's another percentage who are just unable to cope with finger-shaking without taking it personally. ("But I'm doing my best!" "Peanut butter is yummy!") And, I think even the best of us falls prey to that easily and our initial reaction is some kind of preschooler, "Nyuh-nuh! AM NOT."

I can't even tell you how many people on my feed started their reaction to my posting the podcast interview with, "Well, I haven't listened yet, BUT...."

It was the same when she posted her first article. Most people reacted without reading (honestly, also without thinking.) Kudos to Neil Gaiman who very publicly tweeted that he didn't care if they used him as a poster boy for successful white men. In fact, he encouraged it. He also implied that he could weather this "storm" because, frankly, he *is* a successful white man who is secure enough to let any one who wanted to read other books for a year. Thank you, anyway, but he was going to be fine.

We're all going to be fine.

Thing is, more people who buy books, the better it is for EVERYONE.

Yes, the economy is sucky for booksellers. Yes, as a writer, it's f*cking hard to sell books no matter who you are or what you write. But that's because people aren't buying books. Not because Tempest encouraging people to READ.

Also, it *is* possible not to take finger-shaking personally. It's hard. I can not tell you how IRRITATED I was by the mulch discussion on my FB feed because: OMG.

But the one thing I've learned from my time on the Inter-webs is that the more you let yourself react without thinking, the more you look like a dick. That's not to say you can't say what you feel, but take a breath before hitting "send." Seriously. Or go back and say, like I had to during the first giant discussion that erupted on my FB feed over this challenge, "Mea culpa. That was unnecessarily inflammatory. I mean what I said, but I didn't have to say it that way. I'm sorry."

Of course this is easy to say. So much harder to do. Especially since social media is all about call and response and instant gratification.

Okay, I'm going to shut up about this myself, because it's super-easy to get a rant on. I can't go to bed yet, someone is wrong on the Internet.

In other (but related) news, I finished CHILD OF THE HIDDEN SEA by A. M. Dellamonica (up for a Lambda in the SF/F/H category) and am on to GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by the currently controversial Andrew Smith.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Mason's homeroom class at Crossroads had, as part of Grandparents and Special Friends' Day, a talent show. There was a lot of singing, some dancing, a comedy act, a magic show, and an origami demonstration. Mason decided to be a "math-a-magician" and tell a few brain teasers, trick questions, and end with an honest-to-goodness math trick.

He's wearing my tuxedo tails and a top hat we made:
talent 012

He had index cards to prompt him, but they only had one word on them. He memorized all the stories and the math magic. I have to say, even if he weren't my boy, I'd have been darned impressed.

Afterwards, Shawn and I talked about how grateful we are that Crossroads is the kind of place where Mason is considered "cool" for wanting to put on a show of brain teasers. In my day (back in the Late Jurassic), I would have gotten the wedgy treatment for being as "adorkable" as Mason is. I'm just so happy that Mason (so far!) hasn't faced much of that, in fact, like I said his class seems really proud to count him in their numbers.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
The weekend at chez Morehouse was delightfully uneventful, even with the welcoming in of the new year.

Mason really wanted to stay up to see the ball drop in New York, so Shawn and I managed to prop our eyes open until midnight. Mason, I should note, had no problem whatsoever. He's actually managed to pull an all-nighter already. As a treat, we ocassionally let him stay up and read as long as he'd like. Mom and I go to bed, and let him do his thing. Just last week, he managed to stay up until 6 am. So staying up was not a problem for little boy, only for us grown-ups. But at the stroke of midnight, we got out the faux champaign (sparkling apple cider,) and put it in these novelity glasses we bought at Walgren's that have lights in the stem of the flute. We gave midnight smooches, toasted, and sang "Auld Lang Syne."

We have two official traditions for the new year. The first is one that Shawn started many years ago, after reading about it in Llwellyn's Witch Almanac, I think. We put "silver" (actually dimes) on our doorstep on new year's eve, and bring it ritually into the house the next morning to symbolize bringing prosperity and money into our house. We add a dime every year we've been doing it (for inflation? fun?) and try to have the dime be minted in the year passing. We couldn't find a 2010 dime this year, so we put in one from 1967, the year both Shawn and I were born.

The other official tradition is that the Christmas/Solstice tree comes down on New Year's Day. So part of the day on Saturday, we spent putting away ornaments and decorations and dragging the tree out to the alley. I managed to break two glass ornaments, alas. Hopefully that doesn't counteract the prosperity magic of the dimes.

We decided on a whim over this vacation, on Friday, to start watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD. Mason wasn't interested at first, but got caught up when Aragorn fights the ring wraiths and Frodo gets stabbed. When Boromir dies we all wept like dogs, and Mason was totally hooked. After that, it kind of became a thing. We met upstairs in the afternoon and sat down to watch the next one. Which went along fine until Sunday night, when --right at the point when Frodo is stung by the giant spider queen, Shelob -- the DVD flaked. We washed it. We tapped the DVD player. But the disc would spin no more.

So began my quest.

I drove out to Target just up the street on University, but they didn't have it. I called Borders on University, but they only had "Two Towers" in Blueray. Moving northward, I tried Barnes & Noble at Har Mar, called HPB in Roseville, went to Best Buy, called the Borders in Roseville Mall... NO ONE had it.

The guy at Barnes & Noble thought that there might be a copy in Maplewood, but he wasn't sure. I was losing hope. Then, I remembered who I was. I am a proud geek, member of the nerd herd. I got the phone and started calling my friends. Someone that I know must be a fan of the LotRs enough to have a copy! Or at least, maybe they would know someone who knew someone. I mean, come on, this is fandom, I figured I was probably only seven degrees of seperation from Peter Jackson himself.

When I called, [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer happened to be talking to friends who had a copy. I could meet them at their place and they would "but lend it to me." (Remember the scene in Fellowship with Boromir and Frodo? "If you would but lend it [the ring] to me...")

Hooray!

So we were able to watch the end last night. Now Mason is thinking we might do a "Harry Potter" with the Lord of the Rings -- which means read each book out loud and at the end of each book, watch the movie again. I'm totally up for that. I'd forgotten how much I loved the movies and how well I remember the first book. Speaking of fandom, it is my utter shame that I have, in point of fact, never read beyond Fellowship. What can I say? I was thirteen and dyslexic... still, I've always been embarrassed by this and usually deny it, if pressed.

Kind of cool, too, that today is J. R. R. Tolkien's birthday. It's almost like we planned this (only we didn't.)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As many of you are well aware, yesterday was Mabon/Autumnal Equinox. As part of our celebration at home, Mason and I baked cream cheese cookies shaped like fallen leaves. We decorated them with frosting in fall colors. I made enough little ones for Mason to bring to share with his class today. (We have a big maple leaf about the size of my hand, and one the size of a half dollar -- if any of you are old enough to picture that.) Anyway, as I was handing them to Ms. D this morning with a bit of explination, she pulled me aside to tell me this awesome story about Mason yesterday.

As follows:

Apparently, the class was talking about "big words" yesterday and Ms. D. asked the class for some examples. My son, second generation nerd, doesn't miss a beat as he offers: "Antidisestablishmentarianism." Ms. D. is stunned into silence for a second, and then asks, "Could you repeat that?" And, Mason, says, louder, "Antidisestablishmentarianism!" She responds, "Uh, well, we'll certainly have to look that one up in the dictionary." Then she looks at me with a long suffering, yet trying to be cheerful tone and says, "I just love having Mason in class."

I'll bet.

It's tough when your kindergarteners know words you don't.

Mason, it should be pointed out, probably doesn't know the meaning of antidisestablishmentarianism either. He knows the word because of the "Bookworm Adventures" video game we play, in which you get a higher score by thinking up the word that uses the most letters. Mason has been really impressed with one of the longest words he and his mama ever made, which was "winterization." We started talking about dream words we would make if we had the letters and all the treasure they might get us, and I remembered that I once read in the Guiness Book of World Records that in the English language one of longest words still in common usage is antidisestablishmentarianism. Mason remembered it.

And they say video games are bad for kids.

And for those of you who wished me luck on getting to my work out during my brain dead time, it worked out perfectly. The best part is that at 2:00 in the afternoon the place is almost completely deserted as well. Although there's some kind of Murphy's Law thing going on because I had to laugh... there were five people in the whole gym, and all of them hogged the equipment I wanted. Still, I managed to get in a good work out and I think I'm going to try to make this a regular thing, even though my WOMEN'S HEALTH magazine says that morning work outs are best for your metabolism. Ah well, I guess I figure any time working out is better than none.

The alien short story is coming along as well, although at a slower pace than I'd like given its deadline.

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