Monday, March 17, 2014
This is a bit of a sensitive topic in a highly verbose blog post. You don't have to read it if you feel uncomfortable about addiction, but you might want to as addiction has about as many flavors as fear does (just google "phobias"). I know that many people are going to say, "Bullshit! You can only be addicted to illicit substances!" or something like that, but you have to understand that there is a thin line between dedication to what you enjoy and addiction that chains you to your vice. For that I have the optional playlist of mine that I titled Addiction Blog Post Mix.
For me, it's a touchy subject: Dad tends to say that I am "addicted" to the Internet. And that really rubs me the wrong way, the same way that someone says, "I can't do that because I'm disabled," or "I'm Autistic," or "She's retarded—stay away from her!" To touch a bit on this subject: GODDAMMIT! You are a person, not a problem! What do you like? What do you want to do in life? Do you want to travel? Meet people? Do you have dreams of doing something you've always wanted to do? Well then, fuck the "being disabled," because you've allowed it to define who you are; you've allowed it to own you, instead of you owning it! Much like Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider: the curse owned him for a while, but once the Devil said, "You are no longer my pawn," or whatever, Johnny went, "Fuck you, I'm not your pawn! I own this shit, it doesn't own me!" Your disability is a part of you, but it shouldn't define you. That's why I say that I have Asperger's and a hearing impairment and depression and ADD! I'll never ever say, "I'm an Aspie girl who is deaf and depressed and ADD." Because that's not who and what I am; I am the Jedi warrior I make myself to be. I want to look in the mirror and see what I want to be, not the traits I know I have that people don't like. Yes, I put "Aspie" in my Twitter profile, but only because I'd run out of room otherwise! It's easy shorthand!
Problem → Need to feel good → Use of desirable object → Feeling good
But here's a tricky twist: addiction is itself a problem, especially if it interferes with your everyday life; so, in a sense, it turns into a thick, gummy, nearly concrete, manipulative frosting layer on the cake of problems and lies (PORTAL!) that you're dealing with. So, there comes a time when you have to just sledgehammer that shit open in a giant epiphany moment of "What the fuck am I doing to myself?!" For those of you having substance or gambling abuse and are thinking that, I shall include a list of numbers at the bottom that you can call for help.
For Big C, it was alcohol. He got into the never-ending party scene, he felt like he was in control of his forever yammering mind, he felt good, he let it get in the way of his daily responsibilities, his credit was ruined, he wasn't in the best of shape (besides round); essentially, he was a living buffet for a horde of zombies. (He calls this phase of life "Peter Hardwick," aka "Chad Softwick," aka "Chris Fatwick," aka the fat drunk brother he never really had but someone kept alluding to during the early days of the biographical Wikipedia article about him.) But on October 8, 2003, he was watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, with Jenny NOT-AN-EXPERT-ON-AUTISTIC-SPECTRUM-DISORDERS McCarthy as the guest. At one point, at the end of the interview, Stewart says, "Oh, by the way, Chris Hardwick works here now." To which she responded with, "Really? Cool!" Stewart shot back with, "Yeah. He gets our coffee." [audience laughter] "Fu. Cking. BALLS!" Big C shares next in the text. He was called out on one of his favorite shows for being a loser, "and the worst part was, he was right." That sent him on a journey to sobriety and fitness, and 10+ years later, he's on top of the world as the sober attractive-yet-out-of-my-league-in-more-ways-than-one COO of Nerdist Industries, hosting a shit ton of shows like Talking Dead and @midnight, as well as the Nerdist Podcast!
As for me, I will admit (wincingly) that I have an addictive personality thanks my half-Vulcan father's side. And it is a little easy for me to get hooked on things that allows me to feel good (which I will not dive too far into because it's a little uncomfortable for me to talk about) but now I know better. I've done a paper on drunk driving and I learned that alcohol can magnify the effects of antidepressants. And with that in mind, along with my being prescribed with antidepressants and that looming genetic predisposition hanging over my head, I make sure to never really hit the point of "durrunk," (I never want to be Dalek-hugging drunk, but I'm such a lightweight that I'm sure that I'll pass out before then.) because I don't want to fuck myself over. Which I'm actually making into a rule for myself right here and right now: never ever create a tolerance for alcohol that's above 24-oz of something. I actually don't even drink
But on the flip side, I was actually typing this post up at home instead of surfing the webs at the library on a Saturday because Monday-Friday this past week (the week of March 9th, 2014, when I posted my review of the premiere of Cosmos ASTO), I was there, getting some semblance of Internet access. Every single day, during that time period. And it got to the point of "I need to not go there! I need to take a break!" The reasoning behind it is that I felt that it started to really tug at whatever part of me that many Christians call my soul, the siren call of the Internet was really sounding itself until closing time passes. So, I needed to #SEPARATE myself from the library on a day that it's actually open so that I don't wind up going over that edge of self-destructive library-internet addiction spiral of DOOOOOOM!!!!!
It's an interesting idea to talk about and I really do think that everyone shouldn't have a vice. I remember having on my old blog, a very explanatory blog post about the whole Straight Edge movement (It's a movement, Mom! It's not a club confined to my college, but a movement that was all over the country!) being positive about "not drinking, not doing drugs, beware of the asshole hardliners!" and to be honest, I would never have been able to be truly straight edge. Jonah Ray was, but I really wasn't because I got lost in the Internet that was Second Life, Twitter, Facebook, MMO games, etc. And I can't just let myself get to that point again, because it created this black hole that swallowed the path I was on to "apparel design and merchandising" in my Family and Consumer Science major. But perhaps I didn't want it; perhaps, super-subconsciously I wanted to do pure art, or something else that would satisfy what kind of future I would want, and I, instead, went, "I'll go into fashion!" to people to get them to stop saying, "You'll starve as an artist," and, "You'll never have a real future," to me, and then I set up some red-matter dynamite on that career path I was on, pushed down on the plunger of the detonator box and created this void that I could not cross that I'm sure four-dimensional me would be able to cross somehow in a way that I would not understand.
But yeah, if you need me to shout at you to give up your vice for fuck's sake, here: DRUGS/ALCOHOL/INTERNET/(INSERT VICE HERE!) IS NOT THE SOLUTION FOR YOUR PROBLEMS! PLEASE GO GET HELP! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!! YOU CAN DO BETTER BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN (INSERT VICE HERE)!
Here are some numbers you can call:
Alcohol Anonymous (AA): Okay, AA is good for people who need structure for getting back onto the "right" path, but it's not for everybody. Big C admitted this in Nerdist Way and on one of his podcast episodes (the number of which I don't really don't remember) that it's just not the program he needed, he just did his own thing because AA never really resonated well with him. He still got sober, stayed sober, and is doing well.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Spin-off of AA that helps deal with drugs and substance abuse.
IntheRooms.com: This is a social network for those in recovery. It's a thing that Big C discovered that he hasn't used, but it does allow you to connect with similar folks at varying stages of recovery with at any level of privacy that you would prefer.
Website URL: http://www.intherooms.com
Another confession: Most cigarettes are flavored with ambergris. That's whale vomit. Think about THAT the next time you light one up, readers!
Monday, March 10, 2014
Wow! WOW! I know this is a highly verbose review, but I am typing this up as fast as possible so that all the knowledge and impression of the show doesn't fade away from my brain or attention span! The theme for this blog post is Snow Park by Connect Ohm!
On Sunday, March 9, 2014, at 9:00pm EDT on all the Fox and National Geographic networks, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium, author and hilarious scientist, led us on our first steps on a journey that Dr. Carl Sagan started a generation ago, on the show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (preceded by Cosmos: A Personal Voyage) with the (paraphrased) words, "It's time to get going again." I've been treated to a perspective that the late loved Dr. Sagan has only introduced us to, to a thirst of knowledge that many scientists are trying to quench with new information about Life, the Universe and Everything (to which the Answer is 42! HA! Hitchhiker's Guide, people! Come on, nerd out with me with that one shitty joke!).
I have to say, the introduction was mind blowing! I swear, all the visuals in the intro sequence gave my mind a blowjob! I loved it so much, I think I was sort of drooling at the end of it, but only "sort of" because I was having dinner, my Soup of the Cosmos (which I will share the recipe to at the end of this post; it's perfect for people on the lower end of the income scale!). Anyways, to have Dr. Tyson start the show at the edge of the very same sea cliff that Dr. Sagan stood on when he started his Personal Voyage is entirely poetic; it's like Dr. Sagan was still with us, continuing our journey through the universe that we dwell in. I've been fortunate enough to be able to watch Cosmos: A Personal Voyage thanks to National Geographic airing it before the premiere of A Spacetime Odyssey. We were taken on a journey of the mind, to the edge of our universe, being given our address in it, which I have to say is a little inaccurate: according to the Doctor of the Whoniverse, we live in the Sol system, on Sol-3! Not just "the Solar System"! So please, astronomers and astrophysicists, incorporate that into our universal address! But I swear my brain was fried when we went a bit "Inception" with the Universe-inside-of-a-multiverse-that's-inside-of-another-Universe. My nose didn't start bleeding, but at least my brain got a warm-up before the show: Journey to the Edge of the Universe, narrated by Alec Baldwin, describing our observation of the universe as we come across celestial bodies in the sky, such as "angry moons", dangerous hypernovas, etc, etc.; during that show, I managed to come across a realization of my own, Dr. Carl Sagan style:
If we were to travel across the Universe beyond our galaxy, we'd also be traveling back into time, as the universe is not only a bubble of a network, but also has a reverse sort of tree-ring effect to the point where the farther we travel from Earth to the edge of the Universe we live in, the more we travel into the older parts of the universe, and if we exited past the universe's threshold, we would've been able to witness the Big Bang, to which I ascribed the physical edge of our Universe, the Big Bang Threshold.
Not only that, Dr. Tyson says that our Universe started out smaller than a subatomic particle; in a sense, it relatively still is if you're far enough past the Big Bang Threshold, outside of every Universe located within our multiverse; we're still smaller than sub-atomic particles in a universe before the Big Bang, like cells in the human body. Yes, it's frustratingly confusing, but it really is Inception-like! BWAHHHHH!!!
I'm sorry, through that shared epiphany, if I made everyone's noses bleed and their brains hurt more than Chris Hardwick's and Matt Mira's did when Dr. Tyson described the Ascent of the Cubes in Nerdist Podcast episode number 139. If you have to be redirected to it, I suggest you check out the bottom part of this ranty blog post.
But the visuals were stunning, the inclusion of history in the science exploration, the addition of the multiverse inside of the lectures, the sharing of the perspective of our slice of time in the universe, how the birth of the universe and our existence would've looked liked spread over a Gregorian calendar year, how religion treated new ideas, all of it, to me, was pure GENIUS! I was looking forward to this premiere, as my friend Jesse (who still needs to do that superhero blog post) also was, despite not having access to cable. And I can't wait to continue on with our next steps in this journey of 13 episodes where we are enlightened over how scientifically accurate the theory of evolution is, and the whole Creationism issue may go back as far as the Big Bang, which I'm sure was not instigated by Stewie Griffin restarting his time machine. Which is why during the show, I posted these tweets:
OW OW OW! My brain is hurting! Because @neiltyson mentioned the multiverse! #cosmos
— Eden Pyrithea (@LadyEden1337) March 10, 2014
And I hate to spoil it for everyone, but I have to describe the end bit: I saw all the old footage, and the Sagan seaside cliff bit, and I can't help it but I cried a little much like Matt Mira teared when he was watching the last shuttle launch of NASA, but for reasons a little bit different from what Dr. Tyson ascribed to him in that first episode of Nerdist podcast that he was on all that couple of years ago. In fact, I tweeted this when it happened….
Our Universe Is One Giant Pot of Soup: A Recipe for the Soup of the Cosmos
I think i just came up with a new recipe: Soup of the Cosmos. @lisar_m @dihard11 @nasagoddard
— Eden Pyrithea (@LadyEden1337) March 10, 2014
because I'm sure that it has not yet been done in detail! Nerd-Chef Alton Brown might disagree, but goddammit, IT'S MY RECIPE AND I SHALL SHARE IT WITH Y'ALL FOR NEXT WEEK'S EPISODE!
Soup of the Cosmos (aka, Cosmic Soup)
Pasta In Potato Pot (aka, a saucepan that's the second to smallest you have)
1 ½ cup salted water
1/2 cup small pasta shells
Broth In Vegetable Pot (aka, smallest pot you have)
1 ½ cup salted water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon (or more) dried minced onion
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Fancy shredded Mexican blend cheese
Four packets of string cheese, unwrapped and chopped into 1/8-1/4 inch long pieces
- Boil pasta according to directions.
- In small "Vegetable pot", boil water; crush and add chicken bouillon cube, stir. Add basil, minced onion and panko breadcrumbs; stir, let sit.
- Drain pasta when finished, return to "Potato pot" without heat. Add broth to pasta, stir. Stir in shredded cheese and chopped string cheese, making sure it melts.
- Serve warm. Makes two servings.
Isn't our Universe like this soup? Isn't the basil like the asteroids and comets, the chopped string cheese like our planets, the pasta shells like our stars in the sky, the shredded cheese like the nebular clouds and the broth like the dark matter of space? It's so poetic that I think it's appropriate for everyone to have. Also, it's great for Lent because it doesn't have real meat! It has chicken broth, but not REAL meat or poultry or pork! Can't the bouillon be an exception to this, Church? PLEASE?
P.S. I have GOT to share this tweet! This tweet won the Internets last night in my opinion....so go Favorite and Retweet this, because it's HILARIOUSLY TRUE!
The show #Cosmos is the perfect qualifier for my online dating: "If you don't find Cosmos fascinating we are not going to be life partners."
— Andy Johns (@ibringtraffic) March 10, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Still no word on a completed guest post about superheroes (JESSE! THESE PEOPLE ARE WAITING!) so how's about a review of a movie sans the Broadway show? For this post, it's the (optional) theme song of the full War Horse Soundtrack.
If anyone's ever heard of War Horse, they might think of the Broadway show, with the amazing puppets, and the brilliant actors making it all seem so real. But the movie is just as spectacular! You get all of these great shots where even the scenery gets to be the star of the show, where these 6-star actors (out of five, mind you) make your wildest dreams come true, and you are just taken on the journey, like a spirit witnessing the miracle of a horse surviving World War I, that many people thought was the War to End All Wars. It was utterly brilliant!
Tom"Loki" Hiddleston, who played Captain Nicholls in this film, was witness to how Spielberg directed and constructed shots for the film; it might be a lot of hard work to other directors, but it was like "water out of a tap for him," because it would just flow with ease. If I couldn't make it as a director for my Polar Vortex film, then I probably would've co-directed with Spielberg, because he's just. So. Brilliant!
The acting was incredible, the horses were probably trained extremely^2 well to act properly, in the way that was just not only natural, but also like they are also the stars of the film, having to bear many a rider from many backgrounds on their backs. And what's also great, having ridden horses myself until my teen years, is that they never had one shot in the film be of the horses taking a piss or a shit. I'm serious, it isn't fun to have to wait around for the horse to finish their business for me to continue with dressage riding. BUT(T)! Squirrel moment aside, they were beautiful and they deserve their own stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and knighthood in the UK. Of course, the knighthood will be up to Her Majesty.
I also have to admit that I did not realize that it was a book FIRST… I would LOVE to see the Broadway show for sure, but now I have to find the book and read it! Because Mama always told me to read the book first! However, I don't think Spielberg could do the book any more justice than he already did! He did excellent with the firing squad scene, with the shot construction and execution, Tom Hiddleston did excellent as Captain Nichols, Benedict Cumberbatch was wonderful as Major Jamie Stewart, and it was just the right amount of jaw dropping beauty mixed together with emotions and storytelling and character AND DELICIOUS CHEEKBONES!!!!! Even I would nominate this movie for every Oscar category, including made-up categories I'm still trying to come up with for @midnight's Hashtag Wars!
20 PLUNGERS OUT OF TEN!!!! AND I COMMANDETH YOU ALL:
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I know I promised y'all my friend's guest blog post, but for technical reasons, he wasn't exactly able to make a draft for me. Not to mention he has a job now, so he'll have less time to do the post. So, I suggest that we all wait patiently for him as I share my bullshit with you to tide you over until then. The optional theme song for this week is a Red Hot Chili Peppers "Snow" Remix.
If you haven't read my post about the Polar Vortex from earlier this year that made just being outside completely dangerous, I suggest you PAUSE on reading this current post in order to catch up on weather issues.
All caught up now? Good. *AHEM!*
Being a resident of the Northeastern (specifically Mid-Atlantic) region of the United States does have its perks a bit, mostly because we actually get all four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn/Fall, and Winter actually take place here. I've experienced heat waves, the odd stray hurricane, freezing cold and snow, as well as unusual weather patterns such as tornadoes north of me in the mountains and the unusual declaration from school of "flood days". But right now, everything seems off balance thanks to the fuckers who are not helping us at least slow down the global warming we have inflicted upon the planet. Not only do we have more and more dangerously hot weather every Summer (which should just be called Tatooine season at this rate), but now we are facing a ridiculous Winter. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this is why Punxsutawney Phil, the famous meteorological groundhog of PA, predicted 6 moreweeks of winter (would should just be called Hoth season at this point); I actually did wonder why he "saw his shadow", but now I know:
WE'RE NOW GETTING FUCKED IN THE FACE BY SNOWSTORMS EVERY WEEK!!!
Yes, first it was the Polar Vortex in early January; then it was Winter Storm Pax last week (which is pretty funny because it not only is Latin for "peace," but it's also the name of some gaming conventions that happen periodically every year, with PAX Prime in Seattle, PAX East Boston and now PAX Australia!), and this past weekend it's another storm called Winter Storm Quintus, which I'm sure was named after the Pennsylvania Lottery game known as Quinto!
Since when is it okay to advertise by having snow storms be named after what you're trying to sell? Since when is it okay to control the DAVROS-DAMN weather?!?! I'm frustrated and tired and coming up with ridiculous conspiracy theories, because, now, the snow isn't going away! People are barely shoveling sidewalks, putting down salt, and not giving a fuck about bus stops I use! And that's not the only danger!
Life On Hoth Just Got a Little More Dangerous
For one, we've got structural damage to buildings, which is hurting business! Yes, I said structural damage, but only because a building in Easton, PA (or its surrounding neighborhoods) has actually started to (or already did) collapse under the weight of the snow that refused to melt! We're also running out of room to put it all! Seriously, Mother Nature, can't you give us a fucking break? Or did someone steal Sean Connery's weather machine and fuck around with it, making us suffer the consequences?
You see, deep down at its core, EVERYTHING is made of the same "stuff," which scientists call matter or mass. And you can't really just erase matter from existence; it can be transformed from one state to another, converted into energy and back, but it can't be destroyed or removed from existence all together; it just stacks itself upon itself. All we can do with this STUFF that is currently called "snow" and "ice" is to move it, mostly onto bigger and bigger piles of snow and ice. We're running out of room to put the snow so it can stay out of the way! In fact, I just recently found out from sources of mine that on Saturday, February 15, 2014, the city of Bethlehem, PA, closed off part of Main St. that runs through downtown in order to remove a giant nuisance pile of snow by way of two backhoes and a dump truck! They even closed off the bridge that goes into that section! Which isn't helpful considering that the historic Hotel Bethlehem (complete with its own room with a "boo") is RIGHT THERE!
One woman I've chatted with about the weather while riding home on the bus actually asked if the snow is being dumped into the river that separates South Side Bethlehem from the rest of the city. I am not sure about this info, but I'm kind of leery about it. You see, streets are indeed made from asphalt, but it's also often soaked in petroleum products, like oil and whatnot. This "street-oil" is actually what lends cause to a driving phenomenon known as hydroplaning, where the car just slides along the surface of the street in wet weather with loss of traction and some control, mostly because oil tends to float on the water that seeps into the asphalt whenever it rains and lubricate the surface even further. So, if you're plowing snow out of the way, you're also scraping up not only pieces of asphalt but this oily residue stuff with the snow. Which means that it might not actually be safe to be dumping into the water, I fear.
(Also, yellow snow is an issue, but it's easily identifiable, and not as prevalent as a problem.)
But another issue with the added mass of snow that isn't melting or going anywhere at the moment is the combined weight of it. You see, you have layers of snow and ice and snow and ice not just landing in the streets and on top of cars, but also on top of buildings. It's not necessary to remove snow from the rooftops—that is, unless the structure of the building is unable to hold the weight of the snow.
Just this past Tuesday (February 18, 2014), a carousel building at the old, abandoned, historic, hard-to-restore amusement park known as Bushkill Park actually collapsed under the weight of the snow. I kid you not, I was like, "NOOOOO!" because I actually went there and skated at the roller rink! It's like, your favorite tree on your property getting cut down and it stings quite a bit because it was a part of your life. At least the carousel wasn't damaged and nobody was hurt; in fact, the carousel wasn't even there: it was sold a long time ago already, according to my half-Vulcan Spockish father.
had a collapse scare. One day, the manager showed up to work to find out that the steel pillars of +25 roof support that are located throughout the store have started to flex "near the roof"! I'm not making this up! He actually freaked out a bit and said, "WE NEED THIS CHECKED OUT!" The fire department showed up and kicked everybody out for safety reasons! The store was closed for 17 hours (overnight) while the employees and manager had to wait for an assessment of the structure by an inspector. The inspector said that the place will hold the weight, despite the weirdness of FLEXING STEEL POLES (that aren't from Poland; sorry for the stupid pun), and they reopened at 2:30 PM EST on Sunday, February 16th, reassuring everyone that it will be okay. However, I'm typing this while having images in my head of that Wegman's being the center of a story about how an inspector gave the green light on the structural safety, only to have the building collapse days later with some casualties. Of course, this was out of concern thanks to media influence sensationalizing such stories and making it near impossible to think "Just fucking trust the inspector," without thinking about the possibility of false structural positives turning into bad news for people working in that building as it collapses onto their heads.
So I beg you, with this in mind, BE CAREFUL! Make sure that the tops of your cars, trucks, buses, SUVs, etc, are cleared off so you don't wind up killing people with frozen blocks of snow falling off the roof of the vehicles/shipping containers/buses on bridges only to slam into the cars trying to pass underneath. Stay warm, and make sure you keep an extra supply of tauntauns on hand and share if people need them!
BONUS! Ascent of the Cubes: A Way to Make Sure You Don't Go to Bed On Time
|Oh, my...Davros/Cthulhu! This poster is full of WIN!|
Once you've listened to that, let's take it further: if the four-dimensional cube has eight three-dimensional cubes as boundaries, isn't the five-dimensional cube bounded by ten four-dimensional cubes, which each have eight three-dimensional cubes as boundaries? *offers tissues for bleeding noses and painkillers for readers who can't quite grasp that concept* It's so crazy to think about!
Anyways, I shall leave you writhing in agony like that, while I go hunt down some chocolate to celebrate a belated Singles Awareness Day by myself. Please don't hate me for making your brain constipated.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Hold onto your action figures, because this one's a long one! Also, I'd like to point out that this post is not very accurate; it's more of a description of what I believe would make up a superhero, as it makes sense to me and not so much my sister!!! So, please don't get mad! The optional theme song is Last Sons remix.
Just recently, Jenny the Bloggess posted to her immensely popular blog a hilarious(as usual) nerdy argument with her husband Victor about Mighty Mouse and Underdog being superheroes and what actually is the definition of the term "superhero". It escalated into "What the FUCK does it mean to be a superhero?" all thanks to the people who commented on the blog post saying, "It's ONLY the costume; no, it's the secret identity; it's actually wanting to save the day; can anyone say superpowers?" which I disagree with for the most part due to the fact that it's not any one singular aspect of superhero-ism. In fact, I kept directing my friend's attention to it with the hope that he can contribute his point of view on the subject because he's the person to talk to (in addition to Chris @nerdist Hardwick aka "Big C" and Wil @wilw Wheaton and Matt Mira and Jonah Ray of the Nerdist Podcast, not to mention the godfather of all superheroes, Stan THE MAN Lee) about this subject. Hopefully my friend can provide some insight to this matter as he is a comic book nerd, superhero nerd, computers, etc. He's a nerd who should share his knowledge of everything Marvel-DC-Dark Horse so that this way people can stop endlessly arguing about the subject, which somehow expanded to Tony the Tiger being a drug dealer, Scooby Doo being a dog who can eat (hero) sandwiches (bad pun, so sorry), and the Doctor of the Whoniverse being a superhero…... or not.
I figured, you know what? Let's break the composition of being a superhero down into multiple parts that I shall discuss at Nerdy lengths. Now, I might not be entirely correct, so this is just my opinion of what the "recipe" is for a superhero (sammich). In any (nut)case…. *AHEM!*
Alignment: How Morality and Ethics Make Love
Wikipedia (the non-encyclopedia that's really a self-policed general knowledge and information clearinghouse, whose information I actually took from Big C's book The Nerdist Way's "RPG Your Life" chapter), "Alignment is a categorisation of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters."
And the official position on alignment can be credited to the roleplaying gamesmith company known as Wizards of the Coast (Pokémon Trading Card Game, Call of Cthulhu, etc.)—
Alignment is central to a D&D character's personality. D&D uses two measures to determine a specific character's ethical and moral attitudes and behavior.
The moral axis has three positions: good, neutral, and evil. Good characters generally care about the welfare of others. Neutral people generally care about their own welfare. Evil people generally seek to harm the others' welfare.
The ethical axis has three positions as well: lawful, neutral, and chaotic. Lawful people generally follow the social rules as they understand them. Neutral people follow those rules [they] find convenient or obviously necessary. And chaotic people seek to upset the social order and either institute change, or simply create anarchy.
So there's no singular way to align yourself; instead, there's nine--you could be the law-abiding citizen who rises to the occasion to protect people and do what it takes to do away with anyone of the Evil alignments, you could be the cowboy who basically only looks out for their own self or you could be the evil mercenary who could help the villain by selling their services and limited loyalty to them.
If there was a graphical representation of the Alignment axes, it would look like this:
If you already know about the alignment areas, skip ahead to the next part of this section. If not, I suggest you read the description I've laid out for you here with the help of Big C's Nerdist Way book (yes, again; it's very educational)…. Which I totally recommend you check out; my Elks home service nurse is doing just that….
Π Lawful Good—The "Crusader": These people are saintly do-gooders who do what it takes to SAVE THE WORLD! Many superheroes and heroes fall into this category. Examples include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Indiana Jones; any actual mainstream superhero you can think of is typically grouped together in this category.
Π Neutral Good—The "Benefactor": If Lawful-Goods follow a third-party code, Neutral-Goods are bound by their own conscience. They will act altruistically, even if some of their actions aren't considered technically "legal", which is why most regular people fall into this category. (Yes, most; if you haven't seen my bad driving post yet, you need to press PAUSE here and read up on that.) Examples include Spiderman, Zorro, Han Solo quite a bit, young Captain James Kirk of Star Trek on his first mission in the Alternate Universe movie series, and ME!
Π Chaotic Good—The "Rebel" (noun): These characters are vigilantes, who are basically drawn towards a greater good, but have little care for any political authority unless it lines up with their own agenda. In fact, they might rebel (verb) because they like to be in control of their own world and don't like being under someone else's authority. They're not above doing bad stuff and getting their hands dirty if it serves that "greater good" in the end. Added characteristics: LADIES LOVE THESE GUYS! Examples include the Doctor, Robin Hood, Dexter Morgan, early Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. version), Neo inside the Matrix, Wolverine, and Walter White from Breaking Bad.
Π Lawful Neutral—The "Soldier": These people are dogmatic and "enjoy an abdicratic existence where [they] do everything [they're] told in an effort to never question [their] authority of choice." Every soldier of lower rank falls into this category (thank you for serving and making sacrifices for us; I'd join you, but y'all wouldn't be able to handle me out on the battlefield—SORRY!) There's no real allegiance to the good or evil morality alignments, just orders and tradition. Examples include James Bond, Odysseus, Forrest Gump in boot camp, super-straight cops (as in, not crooked), SD-6 grunts in Alias in the very beginning, evil minions, the Minions in Despicable Me.
Π "True" Neutral—The "Undecided": These people have no sway one way or the other in any direction; anyone who doesn't fit into any of the other alignment categories are in this category. Animals that have at most little self-awareness (or whales) typically are grouped here because they don’t have the burden of moral and ethical dilemmas and decision making. It's too vague if you stick yourself here, opinion-wise, but that's your choice. Examples include full-time druggies (stoners and potholes and crackheads and whatnot) and animals without much sentience (meaning not Scooby-Doo, neither Underdog nor Mighty Mouse), who are basically just your run of the mill [insert favorite animals here—mine would be either the tauntaun or the Tribble]. Taxidermied animals also are in this group; all they do is WATCH YOU PRANCE AROUND THE HOUSE NAKED AND NOT GIVE A SINGLE DAMN ABOUT IT!!!
Π Chaotic Neutral—The "Free Spirit": Hippie Central basically. These people only give a crap about themselves and their own wants and needs without regard for anyone or anything. They're free to do whatever they want, and they'll just undermine authority for the sake of undermining it. Examples include Jesse James the Outlaw (or other "famously" infamous cowboys), Han Solo when you first meet him, Captain Jack Sparrow, other pirates, any anarchists, Anonymous on the Internets (no offense or disrespect).
Π Lawful Evil—The "Dominator": These people are the kinds of corrupt politicians who would rub their hands together and go "MWAHAHAHA!". They do follow a code of conduct or a leader, and while they wouldn't go out of their way to crush someone, they take great pleasure to remove obstacles that take the form of other people. Examples include Boba Fett, Magneto, Darth Sidious early on, other dictators, and I'm tossing Mitt Romney in here just because I don't like him or his motives.
Π Neutral Evil—The "Malefactor": These morons are not needlessly destructive, but they also don't follow any higher code. Guided by their own desires, they'll only pledge allegiance to those who will help them get what they want and then resort to backstabbing if it suits them. Anyone in this category is NOT your friend! Examples include Megatron and any Bond villain out there.
Π Chaotic Evil—The "Destroyer": These beings (people or otherwise) are pure evil, plain and simple. They're guided by their own desires and are almost always cruel and awful. Demons, monsters, most serial killers, terrorists, etc. are typically thrown into this category. Examples include Darth Maul, Sauron from Lord of the Rings, Satan himself, etc.
So, yeah. That's how alignment goes so far. And people in the Bloggess' blog post comments were saying, "It's about intent! It's INTENT!" I'm like, "'Intent' has a couple of names (morality and ethical views) and those two names formed the love-child word of 'ALIGNMENT'! And that's not the only part of being a superhero!" Because you see, alignment is at the core of the individual's personality, and it directs how they view the world, act upon it and react to certain situations. Superheroes (and heroes in general) are generally the very good guys, and they go with the Lawful-Good and Lawful-Neutral alignments, because they do what is right no matter what, and they rise to the occasion to save whatever is in danger!
But like I said, the D&D-style alignment is not the only defining piece of the superhero puzzle. What about skills and talents?
Abilities: Can YOU Shoot LAZORS Out of Your Eyes?
You see, superpowers (that isn't anything along the lines of anthropomorphizing animals like Scooby-Doo, Underdog and Mighty Mouse) are a part of being superheroes. Basically any sort of supernatural ability (super anything, like strength, speed, eyesight, hormones! And abilities that aren't actually typical, like having wings, flying, laser eyes, laser BRAINS [which need to be laser-pointer toys that are produced and sold by ThinkGeek], invisibility, shapeshifting, telekinesis, telepathy, etc.) can make someone into a superhero in addition to a positive alignment. But wait, it gets even better: Superheroes can even use devices that have supernatural (or super-scientific) abilities, like Green Lantern's ring, Iron Man's armor, or Thor's Mjolnir and they'll still be superheroes!
Anyways, there are other ways to be a superhero, like through the transformation origin story that provide unusual results that are used to fight evil in the end: Bruce Banner gets exposed to gamma radiation, causing him to mutate a bit so that anytime his heart rate and adrenaline levels spike, he turns into this giant super strong green rage monster (which is really a personified boner according to Big C); Tony Stark, weapons entrepreneur and the Marvelverse Bruce Wayne, gets hurt badly while being kidnapped and had to replace his heart with a power core in order to live, through which he powers his super-suit exoskeleton. And if you dare say that aliens can't be superheroes, goddammit, ARE YOU RACIST AGAINST ALIENS?!?!?! Seriously, the only way racism (including racism towards extraterrestrials) can go away is to IGNORE ALL RACE!!! Seriously, Superman (aka Kal-El, displaced refugee from the planet Krypton) is a superhero—THAT'S A GIVEN! As for Thor, an Asgardian (which is really more of an alien race at this rate, and not supernatural), saved Earth and the human race with his alien-tech weapon! THEY'RE SUPERHEROES! They can do super things ordinary humans cannot do in order to save the day! But on the other hand, there's the Doctor, a Gallifreyan humanoid alien (a Time Lord, if you want to get technical) who can travel through all of time and space and use a sonic screwdriver like no fucker's business, and save the day! He doesn't WANT to save the day, but he HAS to! He'd rather go on vacation than stop some misguided human from using evil alien technology that will destroy the planet Earth, yet he still does it anyways because he knows it's the right thing to do! He's still a hero! Just don't not call him a superhero because he's an alien with alien tech! (Racist again! Of course, I'm also saying DON'T call him a superhero because that also doesn't gibe with the Chaotic-Good alignment he's got. He's a hero, with extraterrestrial abilities and tech, who protects Terrans!)
But these two things (alignment and abilities) aren't the only ingredients to the superhero sandwich you wish to examine. We've got more to consider….
Appearance: Why It's Cool to Wear Your Underwear on the Outside and Accessorize With a Cape
But having a costume and an identity is another part of the whole superhero soup: who in their right mind would ever instinctively support some random nerdy party-going former TV host fat guy named Peter Smithwycke who wears khakis and a grease-stained t-shirt with raggedy sneakers on his feet, or some other guy who calls himself Red Napoleon (the name of my Voltaire cover band) and sports the Goth ensemble to fight an alien invasion that so far did not follow the United Nations' binders full of plans that deal with responding to a predetermined course of First Contact? Captain America's outfit and Superman's costume are easily identifiable and associable with the hero who people, in general believe, can save them from whatever villain threatens their lives or lifestyle; it's a brand, like any sort of image that corporations would use as identification in the world. It also gives them a "secret identity" that Tony Stark is obviously not following the code of, something that would protect them from having someone go after them for the purpose of "ruining" them, by threatening their life outside of their superhero career, threatening their loved ones, and so on and so forth. It's like my names on the Internets: Eden Pyrithea or LadyEden1337 aren't my real names, but rather aliases I use to protect my real identity because I was raised to be paranoid thanks to my loving overprotective paranoid parents. Only a select few know my real name. And I am happy that they know who I am, because I trust them.
Anyways, we've got three out of the four parts that make up being a superhero. By this point, you're probably like, "Okay, wrap it up! I've got videos of cats being cute and people being hit in the nuts to get back to watching! You've confirmed what I believe makes up a superhero! Just wrap it up and gimme my fucking hilarious Lolcat picture that you always tack on at the end that ties into the theme of the blog post!" But you forget: there's one more part of superheroism that is crucial for your typical superhero to continue to exist: the SUPER VILLAIN and his minions!
Arch-Nemesis: Super Villains Exist Too
(Yes, I named almost every single section in this blog entry with a word that starts with A. Why not?!)
"The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture."
"Who is to say who is the villain and who is the hero? Probably the dictionary."
"Villains are much more proactive than heroes. Heroes, by their nature, are purely reactionary forces. The villain is, in all ways, an agent of change. A catalyst."
—Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater
Sure, there might be some petty criminals in the world who need to be slapped in the face and nagged to near death by my friend Jesse's superhero, Captain Naggy, but it would provide for a boring existence! Heroes, in addition to superheroes, need some sort of challenge that overarches across every story; without villains, life would get boring fairly quickly with the press appearances, the interviews, the circus-like displays of his abilities, anything Metro Man would do in between each of his nemesis Megamind's attempts to defeat him and take over Metro City; it's in the movie Megamind, with Will Farrell's voice! It's a pretty good movie; I suggest you watch it!
Let's face it: Evil geniuses are necessary so that the not-so-evil geniuses would face off against them and defeat them in a battle of wits and science and MWA-HA-HA-ing. It's all about balance! That's what the Tao-ist yin-yang symbol is all about: balance. That's what Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law is describing: "For every action (force), there is an equal and opposite reaction (force)." For without balance, the multiverse will be uneven and anything and everything (including motherfucking universal meta-badass Chuck Norris) will plunge into the jaws of CHAOS AND DISSOLUTION!!!
*pant, pant* I hope that covers it because I've already stayed up all night after sleeping all day this past Sunday, and after drafting this blog post, I'm ready to nap! (Yes, once again, I'm screwing up my circadian rhythm. Someone help me fix it please!) In any case, I hope to every deity out there that this clears up the "what makes a superhero?" air; it's important to learn and understand ideas such as this so that we may correctly identify who IS a superhero and who is JUST a hero and who is NOT a superhero. I tried to be as objective as possible with examples, so that we can apply the listed traits to the character to see how they measure up. I also plan on publishing another blog post very soon; this one is a GUEST ENTRY, by my good friend Jesse Graves (a.k.a. Captain Naggy) and I hope it's a lot more comprehensive than this one. I sure enjoyed providing my input on this nerdy topic, but now I must sleep some.
"Duct tape is like the force: there is a light side, a dark side and it holds the universe together."