Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Alumni This!

Every three months my college's alumni magazine arrives at my door to mock me.  Not physically, although I would better appreciate a sentient magazine-man that pops in every so often just to insult me.  Mentally, however, it serves as a torment that knows no equal.  Well, except for Cthulhu.  (NOTE: my top five mental anguish are as follows: 1.) Cthulhu, 2.) DePauw University alumni magazine, 3.) Spiders, 4.) Telemarketers, 5.) AT&T data limits) 

I suppose I should just take the paper instrument of horror and toss it into the trash can -- no responsible recycling for you -- and live my life.  But, I don't.  I sit down with a bottle of whiskey and a carton of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, draw the blinds, put on The Cure and read that damn thing cover to cover.  Then I go to therapy.

Let's dissect the horribleness that is an alumni magazine:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pros and Gen Cons

Every August the gods bestow an event like no other in the grand tapestry of nerd gatherings: Gen Con.  For those who do not know the awesomeness of the Best Four Days in Gaming, let me first scoff at your ignorance and then patronizingly expound. 

Gen Con is a four-day convention that features everything about gaming.  Over 41,000 people descended on Indianapolis this last weekend to play roll-playing games, card games, collectable card games (yes, they are a separate category), board games, miniature war games, computer games, family games, party games, and drinking games.  They also watch movies about games, attend seminars relating to games, and Live-Action Role Play.  I could tell you the history or why they call it Gen Con, but then I would have to wake you up by hitting you with a saltwater bass.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

School: 1 - Me: 0

I secretly wanted my child to hate the first day of school.

Perhaps "hate" isn't the right word, but I'm not smart enough to figure out a word that means "shows extreme angst about going all day without Daddy by holding on to his leg and screaming bloody murder."  Perhaps I'll make one up.  Um...ok, got it.  Feel free to use it in casual conversation.

I secretly wanted my child to dadistickolegate the first day of school. 

But did the Princess have the courtesy to shed one tear?  Did she hang onto my neck a little too long in the farewell hug?  Did she even say goodbye before dropping her lunchbox in the mulch and running to the sandbox?  No!  The nerve of her being well adjusted and eager to start her education!  I'm severely thinking of limiting her dessert to only four M&M's.

Now, I wanted her to go to school, and I'm proud of the little nose picker.  She survived the two week potty training bootcamp.  She's talkative, well-adjusted and incredibly friendly.  She's even intellectually curious (i.e. she breaks my stuff).  I just didn't want her to want to go to school.  After all, what can top all those days with Daddy?

And realistically, I have nothing left to teach her.  She knows her ABC's and how to count to twenty.  She can identify most animals in the zoo as well as all 32 NFL teams.  The Queen won't let me teach her how to bring me a beer from the fridge.  So, I'm done.  Tapped out.  Oh, please dear Montessori School, guide my daughter well. 

So, its off to school.  Tra-la-la, do-si-do, and all that crap.  I'll do without a leg-clutching wail, or a "Daddy, Mommy, don't go," or even an acknowledgment of our existence.  Now, I just go home and sit in the silence eating leftover pizza and playing on Twitter working hard.  Perhaps I'll wear a tiara and drink some pretend tea and relive my memories.  Besides, she'll be home tomorrow.  She only goes twice a week.

At least I still have the dog, that needy bastard.

The Stuff Dreams Aren't Made Of

For two years I don't remember anything.

It's like I went to bed one day in 2003 and woke up in 2005.  For two years, I felt like I was in Dude, Where's My Car? except with a lot more headaches, a lot less Ashton Kutcher, and finding my car in the driveway.  To make a long story short, I had this spinal-fixation-of-the-top-four-vertebra thingy going on that only allowed less than 40% of oxygen going to my brain.  That induced intense headaches, vertigo and memory loss.  Add a little salt for taste, some Topamax, and wallah, two-year rip in the space-time continuum.

Now, I didn't tell you this for your pity. (However, if you want to send pity Powerball tickets, I'll allow it.)  I did it to explain why I haven't pursued my dream of working for the Disney (the corporation, not the man.  He's dead, and probably doesn't pay very much).  Every since I visited Disney World in 2001 I wanted a part of the action in any capacity.  Just to have the opportunity to create an ounce of Disney magic and I would be happy as a dung beetle in a manure pile.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Defiance Just Ain't a Town in Ohio

When I decided to start writing a blog, I received a lot of advice.  To be more exact, I received a lot of advice from one guy.  I can still remember the conversation like it was July 12th, because that's when it happened.
Guy: Hey, man, for your blog, you gotta, like, stick to one, narrow genre.  Like, don't make it all about a range of topics.
Me: (pretends to write stuff down) Okay.
Guy: And don't publish until you have your layout fully completed.  Nobody likes to see a work in progress

Me: (wonders if I left the stove top on) Okay.

Guy: And you should do give-aways, everyone loves free stuff.  It will really drive some traffic.

Me: Are my fries done?!

Guy: (Hands over fries as if it were a hostage negotiations)  You know those fries aren't good for you.  It's a one way trip to artillery cloggage-town.

Me: (gives death stare as slowly backs away from front counter)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Girl Power, Bronies, and the Magical Land of Stereotype Marketing

Remember My Buddy?  The delightful doll with a delightful theme song that your delightful son can play with.  My Buddy could ride a big wheel, play in a tree house, or become a construction worker.  He could go anywhere you go--until the movie Child's Play.  Then My Buddy stayed locked in an upstairs linen closet (the one with the good towels that you only use when company comes) for 27 years.

The big deal about My Buddy before it served as inspiration to the movie that wrecked my childhood was that it was marketed to boys!  A doll for boys, how absurd! Boys like guns and sports stuff and Stretch Armstrong (which is an ACTION FIGURE, thank you very much).  The only reason Hasbro marketed My Buddy was to bring boys into the homosexual lifestyle.  Or at least that's what my friend's older brother told me, and he should know.  He flunked the 8th grade twice.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tripping the Nerd Fantastic

Every August the city of Indianapolis hosts a small gathering of gaming enthusiasts in what has affectionately called "The Best Four Days in Gaming."  This so called Gen Con brings about 50,000 people together to play board games (Settlers of Catan), role playing games (Dungeons & Dragons), card games (Magic: the Gathering), miniature games (Battletech), and reindeer games (no Rudolphs allowed). They also have Live Action Role Playing, seminars about gaming, movies about gaming, a dance, plenty of gamer funk, and Wil Wheaton. It's nerd Christmas in geek Shangri-La -- and I've been attending for about eight years.

I guess that makes me a nerd, or a geek, or a dweeb, or a whatever (except everyone knows that's Gonzo the Great). I'm fine with that, except I really didn't know that I resided in nerd-dom until someone challenged my belonging.  The conversation happened at the last Gen Con when I sat down to play a game with three friends and a guy we didn't know.

GUY: (small talk about tv shows we watch)... and I love Community, but unfortunately it's going to suck now that Dan Harmon left.

ME: (being awesome) I don't ever get to see Community since I don't have cable and can only watch TV on the internet.  I'm surprised that such a niche-type show is so hard to find online.  My favorite sitcom is the Big Bang Theory...

GUY: (Interrupting douchebag)  No self-respecting nerd would ever like that show.  The characters are stereotypes of everything we stand for, and the physics they are supposedly <finger quote> experts <finger quote> in is so subpar and generally, flat out wrong.  Why are you even here?

ME: You're mean.

That night I went home, cried a little bit acted manly, and thought more about nerd culture.  I like RPGs, video games, and superhero movies, doesn't that make me a nerd?  And if so, have I always been a nerd?  I remember getting all excited about playing Star Wars in my Han Solo underoos with my sister and cousins at my grandparents house in Abilene, Kansas.  Or staying up all night at Justin's house when we uncovered his old Atari 2600.  Or pouring hour upon hour devouring Choose your Own Adventure books, even when I had to hide my reading under the covers with a flashlight.

Nerdity has quietly swept into my psyche without me even knowing it, even as I broke swimming records and attended social functions.  Creeping like a ninja with a pocket protector, I've been stabbed in the back by a +5 vorpal sword of geek.  Shame on you, mean gaming guy (who smelled of Cheetos and broken dreams) for doubting my nerd allegiance.  And shame on me for not realizing it sooner.

But really, aren't we all nerds.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, guy who spent all night camped out in front of the Apple store for a new iPhone 5.  And you, mom who wasted two hours just to get off of level 167 of Candy Crush.  And even you, dude who obsesses over the choice to take DeMarco Murray or Montee Ball in the 7th round of your 5th fantasy football league.  The sooner we all admit it, the sooner we can stop the nerd rage and all live in harmonious splendor.  Well, until Star Wars, Episode VII.