All posts by geekchick65

About geekchick65

Movie love, avid reader, heavily involved in nerd culture since I was a mini-geek, D&D player (still), collector of sorts, and happily retired.

Why I Like South Park

  

It’s certainly not for everyone.  It’s offensive and has skewered everyone and everything.  This is why I enjoy it so very much (equal opportunity offender). South Park has been a part of my life since its first air date in 1997.  The first thing that drew me in was the inane humor, but I quickly realized that Matt Stone and Trey Parker were doing something much more interesting than giving us ridiculous, and often painful, situations. They were (and are) making statements about the absurdity of life. 

I bring this up now because of a recent episode titled “The Hobbit” that made a beautiful point in a very funny and even poignant way.  The episode followed a brilliant trilogy of episodes that poked fun at Game of Thrones (and George R.R. Martin), anime, black Friday, and the console wars.  I wondered if the season closer would be as good, given the sheer amount of excellence in this trilogy, and I was not disappointed. 

The episode pokes very obvious fun at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, but the theme is deeper than this. It deals with body image issues and how women and men deal with those issues in the digital age.  Wendy, the voice of reason on the show, offers to set up a new friend with Butters. Butters complains that the friend is too fat and explains that his ideal woman is Kim Kardashian because she’s so thin and perfect.  This sets off a series of events in which Wendy tries to explain to everyone that the ideal women that the boys crave are a fiction, a fantasy, created by Photoshop.  She proves this by Photoshopping her friend, who Butters now believes is totally hot.  Again, Wendy tries to explain this is simply an altered image of the same girl. Of course no one is listening, and everyone believes Wendy is being a “hater” and “jelly” (jealous for those out of the loop).  This includes the school counselor, Mr. Mackey, who threatens to send Wendy to a non-existent “jelly” school. 

As the episode continues to unfold, the Photoshopping gets out of control, with all the girls improving their digital images (except for Wendy). The boys don’t see the girls for who they are, simply judging them by their Photoshopped images.  Kanye and Kim continue to also get the South Park treatment throughout , something I feel is richly deserved (that’s a whole separate post).  The episode concludes on a downbeat, which is rare for the show, but was completely appropriate.  I won’t spoil it, but I will say it is very impactful and actually made me sad and introspective.  This crazy, animated 30 minute show made me think that whole evening about self-image in the age of instant gratification, about how women and men are pressured to try to attain a physical goal that is impossible and about the lies that we are fed through the media about celebrities. 

Our celebrities, with rare exception, are not what they appear to be. This is obvious, yet many people believe the lies they are fed. I watched a YouTube video showing Kim Kardahsian being Photoshopped in the new Kanye video.  There was an interesting point made about this image of Kardahsian. No human woman could have a waist that small as there would be little to no room for her intestines or other organs.  I believe that many young women who have seen the new video wish to attain this level of thinness, but would be fooling themselves if they even try, and could possibly harm themselves in the process.  We wonder why bulimia and anorexia have a stronger foothold now that they ever did.  I am giving a predominantly female perspective, but men are not immune to the pressure of perfection.

There is a phantom of a physical ideal, one that can never be reached by any person, famous or not. It can only be achieved by special effects.  We need to learn to accept who we are right now, NOT who we will be 5 to 50 pounds from now or one plastic surgery from now, but who we are in this very moment.  I have struggled with my weight my entire life. My attempts at weight loss were always to reach some level of femininity or beauty that I never felt I had.  Now, at this age, I see where I was and what I was doing. The effort I make to lose weight now is sensible and comes from a bone-deep desire to be healthier and live a much longer life (a few scary medical tests will do that to you, put you in the right perspective).

I will get off my soapbox shortly, but I leave you with this: Accept who you are. We can always improve ourselves, we can always do better and be better and get healthier, but the impetus needs to come from the right place. Choose to lose weight because you’ll be healthier, not to reach an ideal that cannot be attained. Choose to stop losing weight when you have reached a healthy number. Don’t continue because you saw some celebutante on the cover of a magazine who you want to look like.  THEY don’t even look like that.  Your beauty comes from how you treat others, your integrity, your patience,  your generosity, your kindness, your honesty, your humility, your self-confidence, your love of others and of yourself and how you choose to live your life and utilize these qualities.

I could give endless examples of how South Park has slapped me in the face with insight through the use of cutting edge humor (and fart jokes), but this one hit me in a particular way that I felt needed to be addressed.  The articles I’ve read about this particular episode (except for a couple) have all been worrying about how Kim and Kanye will react instead of seeing actual truth of the story.  This is a testament to how fixated we are on the famous.  Don’t be. It’s a waste of time.

Ok, off the soapbox now. Have a great night. 

Halloween, how I love thee.

Someone asked me once why I like Halloween so much.  I had to ponder that for a while, pull it apart and figure out the main causes of my love of this particular holiday. 

 

It starts with safe scares. I enjoy being scared, but not in a truly dangerous way. I don’t go to places where bad things may happen, I don’t put myself in precarious situations very often (unless necessary), I try to watch what I do and where I am at all times, and I don’t watch Real Housewives as I fear losing actual brain cells.  I like the kind of fear that I feel in watching a scary movie, going through a good haunted house or riding a roller coaster. Granted the roller coaster may not be 100% safe, but I can assume most parks maintain their rides well.  Scary movies, roller coasters, other thrill type rides, these provide me with fear that produces adrenaline. That adrenaline gives me a little rush, just enough to make me sharp and focused. 

Candy!  This is a simple concept. I like candy.  There’s a lot of it around during this time of year. Granted, that candy extends all the way through the Christmas season, but it starts around Halloween.  Good stuff in small packages.  It’s not like all candy mystically removes itself from the shelves during other times of the year, but there’s something about candy during the holiday season.  It’s just better. 

Special effects.  I have always been fascinated by good special effects (practical, not digital).  I remember watching  “Night of the Living Dead” with my mother on TV at the tender age of seven.  She refused to watch it alone, and my father was at work.  I recall her eyes being covered the entire time, but all I could do was marvel at the effects. Admittedly, the effects were few and far between (it’s much more about the humans than the zombies), but what George Romero managed to do with a limited budget was amazing.  I started watching sci-fi and horror with an eye towards trying to figure out how they were made.  In 1979, my mother  took me to see Alien in the theater.  I recall, yet again, seeing her cover her entire face with her hands (a theme throughout her life when it comes to scary films).  I, however, was in complete heaven watching the chest-burster. I was horrified and scared, but also fascinated.  I pondered the special effects for days until I could get my hands on a magazine that had an article on the movie (probably Starlog).  To this day I do the same thing. If I know the effects are practical, I think about how they’re achieved.  And did you know that most of the effects in Prometheus were practical??!!  I love Ridley Scott.  (you’re all rolling your eyes right now at the level of nerdiness that just occurred). 

Décor.  I dig Halloween décor.  It’s cool, colorful, and fun, especially if it’s vintage or has skulls. 

Costumes.  My inner cos-player/LARP’er  gets to come out full force during this season.  I’ve already dressed as a zombie two times (with a third on the way), and I’m doing a full “day of the dead” makeup for Halloween night.  I’ve worn every costume from goldfish to queen.  I love them all.  I get to be someone else, act differently and just have fun.  I don’t actively cos-play or LARP, but it sure is fun to do during the month of October.   

It’s getting cooler. That’s the other thing. Where I live, it’s about 900 degrees for most of the year. I mean it’s the kind of hot that can cook eggs on the sidewalk.  No joke, I saw someone do an experiment here one year where they put eggs on their dashboard in the middle of summer. Those darned things cooked.  I’m not a huge fan of the heat, and October signals the beginning of a four month cool down (before it starts getting magma level hot again).  There’s always a slight breeze that brings with it a crispness.  We can open the doors and windows and turn off the AC (yay! A power bill under triple digits!).  I can bake without fear of spontaneously combusting,  a worry I have in the summer months. 

I have no problem with any other holiday. I enjoy them all for different reasons (some based on faith, some based on just being fun), but this particular one has my imagination like no other.  

The many many clues…

The clues that I’m a nerd

 

I was outside with my dog last night and a moth landed behind me on the planter bed.  I immediately stated singing the Mothra song to said insect.  A moment later, I realized how nerdy this was (not that I care, I’m proud to be one).  Had anyone of my “cool” friends been around, they would have rolled their eyes.  Had any one of my nerd buddies been around, they would have sung it with me. 

I went back inside and started pondering the many clues to my nature and started making this list:

  1.  Have you seen the movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin”?  Yeah, that’s my house, only worse.
  2. I have an entire wardrobe of t-shirts dedicated to Star Wars and Star Trek, not to mention Alien, Batman & Robin, Soylent Green, The Tick, etc., etc…  
  3. People get me gift certificates to Think Geek as gifts (which is awesome).
  4. When my husband and I got married, we entered the reception to the main theme from Star Wars. 
  5. My ring tone is the Imperial March and my text tone is R2D2 (I sense a theme).
  6. If my dad calls me, his ring tone is Darth Vadar saying “I am your father” (the theme continues). 
  7. I often watch The Fellowship of the Ring to help me go to sleep as I’ve seen it so many times, it’s actually comforting to  me.
  8. I have the entire series “Ultraman” on DVD, not to mention Johnny Quest, Batman the Animated Series, Batman Beyond, etc. etc..
  9. I’m a scrapbooker who has a stamp of Godzilla (I truly love Godzilla, like weirdly so).
  10. Our Christmas tree is an homage to all things nerd (really, it’s so nerdy that my “cool” friends roll their eyes and almost pass out it’s so bad.
  11. I still play D&D (a computer version at least).
  12. I do my own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 at every SyFy movie I see (I’m talking to you Sharknado).
  13. I’ve been to ComicCon…a lot… like a whole bunch of times.
  14. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because, hey, dress up time!
  15. I love Ren Faires
  16. I have LARP’d <—– before anyone had a name for it.
  17. I used to work at a comic book store and loved it.
  18. I used to work at an arcade and loved that too (except when we almost got robbed and then the other time when some nut job pulled a gun on Crystal Castles because he couldn’t get past a certain level).
  19. When I worked at this arcade, I used to hustle gullible men for money on Karate Champ (I’m dating myself here. That’s a really old game, as is Crystal Castles).
  20. When I see horror movies, I rarely get scared and instead speculate how a certain practical special effect was created and then go home and Google it to see if I was right.
  21. I listen to the Star Trek soundtrack often because it’s awesome (the new movie, but the old soundtracks are great as well).
  22. There’s a stuffed Mugato sitting on my desk looking at me right now (check the interwebs, non nerds!). 
  23. Next to the Mugato is a Tom Servo figure (while you’re searching for the Mugato, check Tom Servo too).
  24. I attend CES and love it.
  25. I’m humming the Star Trek theme in my head right now because I brought it up a few sentences ago.

 

I could go on, but I won’t. This is proof enough. Any court of cool kids would convict me and send me off to a prison in which I could only read Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire and would have to get a total wardrobe overhaul whilst they burned all my awesome t-shirts.  It makes to shiver just to think about that.  I think I’ll take my dog out, and I hope there’s a moth outside who will appreciate me singing the Mothra theme at him while he ponders me from the planter bed. 

Reality TV is beyond unreal. I’ve watched a few “reality shows” now that I’ve retired, and I must say I am thoroughly dismayed. I’m not a TV snob, you know one of those types who only watches CSPAN and PBS (nothing against those two fine stations, but I require my Late Night with Craig Ferguson, Big Bang Theory, Shark Week, etc.). I just have time now to notice the sheer unreality of reality television.

I shall give a fine example: Breaking Amish. This show is a total joke. There is so much more going on here than we see. After doing a little research, I found that a lot of the story lines in the show are almost fabricated or staged. I wasn’t surprised by this, just heavily disappointed in TLC for going to the bad place. The Learning Channel needs to rebrand to TTV-GTSNPWWFYC (Trash TV, Go To Sleep Now People While We Feed You Crap). I remember when TLC had real shows about real things. Let’s move on to Toddlers and Tiaras. I watched one episode and marveled at the sheer insanity of pageants, pageant parents and these little over-sugared girls who often seem like they just want to play outside and not get up on stage and “shake their five year old moneymakers”. TLC has really shifted their programming to hyper-reality shows that have very little to do with any “learning”, and these two titles are only scratching the surface of their “reality” lineup.

What’s going on with all the “let’s make fun of the redneck” shows? Hmm. Swamp People, Call of the Wild Man, Hillbilly Handfishing, Lady Hoggers, Duck Dynasty, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (umm… this program requires a straight jacket.. and why are they captioned? You can understand them just fine!!). These are only a few of the offenders. I feel no particular way about anybody, but these shows are obviously trying to make you make fun of them, make you see them as ridiculous.

What about all the speculative reality shows dealing with aliens and Bigfoot that are so serious as to make one laugh hysterically? What about all the ghost shows in which nothing makes a noise but the cast then frantically looks about and whispers in abject terror, “What was that? Did you hear that? I’m really cold now.” I’m looking at you History Channel and SyFy. You got skewered by South Park and deserved everything you got.

MTV and VH1, I’m not even talking to you two anymore until you play a little more than one hour of music here or there.

And of all the crazy shows out there, the Real Housewives series must be the most insane of the lot. After watching ONE episode, I realized how amazing of a marriage I truly have, realized how happy I am for a life of calm contentment, and realized how much attention I don’t need every minute of every day. I knew these things before, but shows like this cement those things in my heart forever. Comedians and psychologists are right about this type of show, they make us all feel better about ourselves. Another thing this show teaches you is to be very careful about any plastic surgery you were contemplating because..geez. I mean just look.

There are literally dozens upon dozens of other “reality” shows out there. I couldn’t possibly blog about them all, and some deserve a whole post (this means you American Gypsies, Jersey Shore, The Swan (ARGH!), Temptation Island, Teen Mom, Keeping Up With The Kardashians — the insanity of this one could be about five separate posts).

We need to wake up. Broadcast TV and cable stations need to wake up. If people want reality shows, give them reality shows but make them real. Don’t script them, don’t stage them, don’t direct them, don’t jab everyone in the cast with a stick to make them argue, and find inspiring stories for us. Give us something to get behind and cheer for, not mock, not degrade, not lower our opinion of, not find differences to hate, not encourage or increase stereotyping…the list goes on.

Discovery Channel now wants to rebrand itself and have more character driven shows. I can only assume they are about to walk the same path as other channels and move into programming hell. I’m hoping the only characters that are driving the upcoming Shark Week are actual sharks.

Tootsie Rolls?

I want to have my dog’s nose for just a few hours.  I want to smell all the amazing things she does because apparently everything smells edible.  

We have a little feral cat problem in our neighborhood.  They enjoy using our side yard as a giant litter box, thus leaving kitty turds all over.  My husband tries his best to keep up with the cleanup, but the cats are crafty and put one over on him now and again.  

Enter my fluffy dog.  She goes outside, manages to find the well hidden turds in question, and then proceeds to bring them in for later snacking.  I want to know what these disgusting butt nuggets smell like to a dog.  It has to be something amazing like steak or Tootsie Rolls.  Or those lovely little mini Cinnabon rolls just out of the oven.  Or fresh bread. Or a hot pizza.  Mmmmmm… Cinnnabon.  

The cicadas are in town again for the summer.  She seems to think these are also a taste treat as she’s eaten every single dead one she’s found in the yard.  I bet they smell like fried chicken wings.  

Then there’s sticks.  Yep, eaten a few of those as well.  They must be like potato chips.  She also loves dental floss.  At least I understand that one a little.  It’s minty and good for her breath, although having to pull a fairly lengthy string of it out of her behind wasImage a tad daunting.  My friend’s dog ate yarn once. She chased her and was pulling an extensive amount of it from her derriere.  I suggested she make a very special sweater out of it.  She suggested I eat poop (she used slightly different words, I’m sure you can imagine).  This brings me back to the original point.  I want to smell what my dog smells. If you’re with me when this miracle occurs, please make sure I don’t eat the cat poop (or sticks, or bugs — wait, did that already).  And if I eat floss or yarn, be kind and do me a solid when I start dragging my behind across your floor.  I’ll owe you for life, and I pay in cash.  

Velociraptor

It’s happened. It’s official. Since retiring I have now turned into a Costco and Sam’s Club Velociraptor.  I believe you know of what I speak.  

It’s subtle. It doesn’t happen right away.  You go there, get a soda on the cheap and eat one or two of the delicious samples the nice ladies offer.  You are careful, only taking a little.  You try to be dainty. You claim that you’re full or just ate.  Slowly…slowly..you add more samples. You generally have an “enabler”.  I do. My husband.  He’s been retired for a while and is a full on Sample-Raptor.  

He witnessed me taking only one or two things at first. I had remorse for not buying every single thing that was being put out by the nice ladies. I knew they got props for selling the items they were cooking up.  He assured me it was fine, I could take that piece of cheese, that little piece of steak, that nice pasta.  Gradually my sampling increased.  

I realized my conversion was complete when I was looking forward to an upcoming holiday weekend because there would be tons of samples.  I had done it. I had become a Sample Velociraptor. I didn’t really fully notice it until today.  I actually hovered around a small older woman nuking gluten-free pizza.  I don’t have a gluten intolerance.  She was nuking the pizza. In a microwave. Normally I would find this a tad unappetizing.  I was with several other raptors and we all landed on those samples like it was a dead triceratops.  That’s when I knew. I am now hanging my small dinosaur head in shame.  

Random stuff

Ok, first post in WordPress. It’s going to be a stunner (not so much).  Really scintillating (nope, not a bit).  You’re never going to want to leave (you’re going to go back to Facebook to see  a pic of your friend’s awesome dinner).

First up:  Caught The Conjuring today.  Actually had enough scares to keep me interested, which is difficult for me as I’m a jaded hag when it comes to horror.  It was well cast . Patrick Wilson never disappoints, and neither do Lily Taylor, Ron Livingston or Vera Farmiga.  The supporting cast was good as well.  Some of the scares were cheap thrills, which I’ve come to expect in most horror with a supernatural lean, but there were a couple that I felt were fresher.  I’m familiar with the Warrens as well (thanks Mysteries at the Museum), which gave me some common ground to work with.

Crabby Patties:  I’m only recently retired and am still adjusting. I’m young to be collecting a pension, and that’s a tad worrisome on certain days.  This, combined with a touch of boredom, makes for days in which I’m a bit less patient than normal. Hence, I’ve taken to calling myself Crabby Patties when I feel this way.  My father assures me it’s a passing thing. I have attempted dosing myself with caffeine and chocolate, which works, but the seedy underbelly of chocolate dealing in my town makes me feel dirty (I’m talking to you mini-mart near my house that carries far too many tasty options).

Never too early:  Halloween is hands-down my favorite holiday. I love Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, but I feel like Christmas is a tad overwhelming for me and my family.  Halloween is on a different level. I can let out my inner zombie, get to pass out chocolate to others (thus spreading my bad habits), get to visit a lot of cool haunts in which teenagers attempt to scare me (‘attempt’ being the key word there), and get to watch a lot of great horror during the whole month (thanks cable tv).  So, given these facts, I have started crafting new props for my house. Pinterest (which is kind of the devil) is loaded with Halloween ideas, many of which are really effective and cheap.  One I used to great effect last year was a simple gag using some cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels.  I cut evil eye holes out of them, painted the outside green and the inside black. I then put a glow stick inside and stuck them in the bushes in front of my home.  It made it look like my bushes were about to eat the neighborhood kids. Heh heh heh…  Now that I’m retired, I can really do it up right.   I think I’ll turn the front yard into a cemetery.

SDCC blues:  Ok, I missed San Diego ComicCon this year, and that sucks. I was able to keep up with some of it via YouTube and relied on some friends to keep me updated, however this pales in comparison with actual attendance. The problem is that the chance of getting into any panels that I would actually want to attend are slim to none.  I think it’s time to find a convention that’s smaller but still includes a lot of the same content. I think Emerald City is about to be on my agenda. Or I could just hold my own con at my house. I would screen movies (that I already owned on DVD), have guests (probably just some friends who are nerds), have a sales floor (although I wouldn’t actually part with my nerd gear), and offer outrageously expensive snacks and sodas (I would totally do this part up right).  I would also offer my guest room at three times the normal rate I charge. It would feel very much like SDCC where the food and accommodations are concerned.

Godzilla:  I am very excited about the new Godzilla film scheduled for next year. All reports I’ve read say this Godzilla’s look will be much more in line with the original Toho version. This is good news because the American version with Matthew Broderick stunk worse than a dead fish left in a hot car.  Legendary Studios apparently had a very cool thing at SDCC this year. They took over an abandoned business in the Gaslamp area and made a whole Godzilla experience. I’m green with envy. GREEN! GEEK SMASH!

Baby crazy:  All I keep seeing on the news is that the royal baby has been born.  I was over it before she was pregnant. Sorry royal baby watchers.

Now that you’ve been thoroughly entertained (by your belly button lint), please feel free to roam about the internet.