Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Superhero Sandwich Recipe: What Makes a Character a Superhero?

            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

            If anyone has played any sort of roleplaying game (RPG) at all, especially Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), they should know that one of the steps in creating a new character is choosing an Alignment.  According to 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?

            There's an old joke by Boris Hamilton about how there are medical procedures that can improve your eyesight with the use of lasers.  Basically it's along the lines of "You know, I've been wearing glasses for a long time and they (whoever they are) said that there is a procedure where doctors could shine lasers into your eyes and then you don't have to wear glasses anymore.  I'm not about to have lasers go into my eyes, but if there's a procedure to where I could get lasers to come out of my eyes, I'll be the first in line!"  WHO WOULDN'T?!?!

            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!

            But let's back up to Batman and make one thing clear: He might not have powers, but he still maintains superhero status!!!!!  You see, according to Wikipedia (Crap, now I'm citing it!  Oh, well; it's general info….), "Unlike most superheroes he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his war on crime."  Not to mention that he hangs out with Superman and Wonder Woman in the Justice League, and their superhero status could just rub off onto him.  But just because you're not super-powered doesn't make you NOT a superhero and Batman repeatedly proves that.

            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

            In our world, appearance is everything.  That's why the fashion industry is so huge in our society: people want to dress up in certain kinds of clothing in order to look rich, famous, like they're part of the "trendy in-crowd" who can get awesome jobs and extra houses and cars and yachts and stuff just because they "look good"!  To be honest, I don't care about the trends; I only use trends I actually agree with, and I try to go more for the functional part of fashion, rather than the "fashionable" part.  Seriously, skinny jeans, footless leggings, Ugg boots, pajama pants, year-round flip flops, and raggedy men's exercise shirts that have arm holes the size of my thighs are undoubtedly non-functional and unfashionable to me.  Translation: "UG-LY!  Go put on real clothing, dammit!  Because I want to destroy you with my laser brain and super hormones for wearing that!"

            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."
—Alfred Hitchcock
"Who is to say who is the villain and who is the hero?  Probably the dictionary."
—Joss Whedon
"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
            In case you haven't gathered this from the quotes I listed, having an antagonist such as a villain or an arch-nemesis or even a super villain is essential (but not mandatory) to any superhero's existence.  Without the super villain, why would the superhero exist?  There's no Superman without Luthor, there's no Batman without the Joker and the Penguin and the Riddler, there is no Ceiling Cat without Basement Cat, there is no Sherlock Holmes without Jim Moriarty (unless you're into a JimLock roleplaying ship on Twitter, courtesy of Mark Gatiss's writing of "The Empty Hearse"; seriously, that idea gives me goosebumps), "There is no Thor without Loki," as Tom Hiddleston once shared during his Nerdist podcast episode while discussing the possibility of a Loki movie with host Chris Hardwick.

            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!

            Anyways, there's always going to be a super villain to balance out the existence of the superhero; otherwise, it's just an egocentric press circus that will get dull very quickly.  I mean, why did Indiana Jones have to go into perilous situations to retrieve artifacts?  To keep the Nazis from getting them!  Why did Captain America go into a Hydra factory sort of base camp?  So he can rescue 400 men, including his own best friend Bucky, from Herr Schmidt aka Red Skull.  What would happen if Thor and Loki got along pretty well?  NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN!!!!

            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."
—Anonymous source

Enjoy your tacquito.  And your Lolcat picture, which is really more of an adorable pug gif pic!—WASN'T IT WORTH IT?!?!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Confessions at 4AM Eastern Standard Time on a Monday

Theme for this blog post is "First Sleep" by Cliff Martinez.

            Even as I battle my desires to keep myself awake later and later, I am currently typing this as a sort of…. outlet to vent my complex thoughts.  I say complex because simple thoughts would be like, "FOOD!  SLEEP!  SEX!" all thanks to the lizardy little brains known as the amygdala, which I consider to be the primitive core of our oniony layered thoughts, but beyond that, I have to get this out of my head, so feel free to ignore this post.  I'm sure people are like, "What the fuck?!  Did she give up already?!" when they see that I haven't posted in 2 weeks since the whole freezing-my-ass-off Polar Vortex post.  The answer to that second question is "No, I have not," because I really haven't given up, with a lack of an answer to the first question (I don't know how to answer it, to be honest.).  Sometimes it's hard to just come up with a simple blog topic to write about (hence the need to publish a Life List that, by the way, as a note to my parents, is NOT a Christmas wish list!  I appreciate the Erica loom; but to be honest, a Jack loom and its accompanying warping pegs and appropiate weaving threads would actually do the job better, if I had the space.  Though I wouldn't mind escaping to that weaving-spinning retreat we checked out, that I called "Mom's incarnation of 'Meltdown Comics'."  Remember that one, Mom?  With the bumper stickers?  And the giant classrooms of looms and spindle thingies, tucked away in the middle of 'Merican Fahmland in PA somewhere?  That Dad doesn't really care for very much?  Oh, never mind.  I'm rambling again…..).

            Right now, I will say that my parents were on an extended quest where I couldn't exactly contact them for more money.  They had to maintain "radio silence" of a sort, unless they wanted to spend $8 USD per minute, which meant "DO NOT CALL UNLESS IT'S AN EMERGENCY!".  (Yes, I said American dollars via acronym.  Hello to you too, Finnish and British and other peoples in the world!  I hope the Google translator add-on is working well for you….)  So far, maintaining my apartment without them isn't doing very well.  Though I do hope to make it so they can feel happy upon their return by having a clean apartment, clean clothes, clean everything.  I also will say that I've failed to resume taking my medications after returning home from Christmas.  Though I think I've figured out a way to resume my methods of RPGing my life.

            In case you haven't noticed or read before on this blog of mine, I am trying out Nerdism, where I practice using my Nerdy skills with help from Chris Hardwick's book, which is fittingly titled The Nerdist Way.  In it, I've learned one way to structure my life: by turning it into an RPG (roleplaying game, not rocket-propelled grenade, for those not familiar with the Nerdy lingo).  Pencil-and-paper roleplaying games have been around for decades, and it seems as though that the desire for obtaining experience points (XP) would be motivation enough for us Nerds.  It has worked for me!  I was motivated!  And then Christmas and New Year's came around and everything fell apart for a bit.  But I'm ready to get back into the saddle of the tauntaun I've fallen off of.  And once I've managed to complete all of the exercises listed in the book, I'll review it.  Soon, Big C, I shall pass judgement!….

            But anyways, I do have hopes that this new year will be better than the past one.  Despite 2013 being the Year of the Doctor with the epic 50th anniversary (and the year Chris Hardwick turned 42--I hope you remember, Big C, that 42 is the Answer!  It's your year of enlightenment, Nerd-bro!), I am glad to have a new year to start off with.  If only all the advertisers would STOP using "New year, new you," all the time!  It's overused, overplayed, and overall, too annoying to ever utter again!

            So, yes, I have quests I've appointed to myself for this year: time management, regularly MED-I-CA-TING with my prescription drugs, organization, cleanliness, Life List activities, blogging, health/fitness improvements, socializing, etc, which have been the same as I've started with my life-RPG Character Tome.  Though specific ones might include tasks the I've put as objectives on my as-of-yet still-a-draft Life List, with additions and amendments that include dressing up in costume to attend the Cons, meeting CMNeir at PAX Prime, as well as @cwgabriel and @h_e_e_l_s, and meeting Zak Bagans and Nick Groff at Scarefest (and getting them to autograph my copies of their books), chilling with Big C and Wil Wheaton at The Underground Lair (also having Chris autograph my copy of his book), making an appearance on the Traveling the Vortex podcast (with permission from Glenn and company), and even getting Internet access back at my apartment so as to not just regain a sense of sanity and purpose for myself, but also to stop driving people on Second Life so crazy with my absence! (People on SL really do miss me, Mom and Dad!  Plus, I've yet to get all the updates for plugins, programs and the operating system itself, for which I need Internet access--and hours of it, too, because it would take FOREVER to get it all done!  Don't worry, I won't go overboard this time, as I've also got some real life quests I need to complete!  So, I will not allow myself to be so shut-in all the time.)

            But anyways, I've been thinking about things, being philosophical and deep about my thoughts so late-in-the-night/early-in-the-morning and I'm trying to quash it all with music, while regretting what I did to my saucepan and what I am doing fairly poorly in terms of bill-paying.  L  I have to motivate myself into taking care of it and no matter what, I realize that I have to take that goddamn first step.  And the second step after it.  And I have to make sure that I have to do it off of a cliff so I can keep going--because if I do it on a flat bit of ground, I'll wind up being worn down by the initial inertia and loss of kinetic energy due to gravity.  If I step off of a figurative cliff that has a trampoline at the base in the splatty-landing zone, sort of, I'll keep going, because, again, inertia will be in effect thanks to gravity using all of its attractive force on me.  This is what helped me realize that what I face in terms of lack of motivation isn't really a wall, but rather a scary looking cliff that has my self-preserving amygdalae gripping the emergency brakes with iron(ic) fists of steely fear.  And so, I just have to make like Morpheus and just fucking JUMP ALREADY YOU WIMP!--at least I can hope for  wings or a bouncy asphalt landing that will help me not die a figurative death (death being failing completely).

            Also, I have been watching movies and television series on DVDs that I borrow from the library and hopefully return on time.  I hope the library enjoyed spending my $25 and change (again, USD) on the Torchwood series, though I do hope they get my next bit of "misguided funds raised by having fines" and set it aside for new computers.  Because the ones I'm using at the library are 10 years old, and nowadays, that's REALLY old, like nearly obsolete!  They're due for replacements no matter what!  And I'm hoping they get really good ones from Hewlett-Packard because they're better than Dell's cheap shitty ones.   I have an HP desktop PC and I'm happy with it (though it still needs updates and a graphics card, not a graphics driver because THEY'RE NOT THE SAME THING, DAD, THE SO-CALLED COMPUTER WIZARD!).  A side note in terms of Mac-vs.-PC: AREN'T THEY THE SAME THING?!  I mean, come on!  A Mac is actually a specific kind (or brand) of personal computer, which is actually what PC stands for!  All Macs are PCs but not all PCs are Macs!  Just don't get aggressively all "MAC IS BETTER!" at me because I will use your Mac book or Mac desktop computer or even i-Whatevers to hit you over the head!  Mostly because I'm tired of it all.  I
respect Steve Jobs and all because he's one major motherfucker in the world of Nerds, like he's of god-status (mostly due to how he kept following his Nerdy dreams) but also, he helped Pixar (now Disney-Pixar) to get the ball to keep rolling and he was also a philanthropist!  It's a shame that he passed away, but now he's everywhere, analyzing how his products are doing in terms of porn-viewing and being cum-stain resistant, and he will make notes that he passes on to the current head developers at Apple.  I would've enjoyed his products more if he was from Hawai'i and named the company PineApple Inc., but I digress.

            Anyways, I am still working on listening to the Nerdist podcast series from the very first episode from 2010.  I've managed to download up to 103 episodes from the Nerdist website, direct two mega-fans of certain celebrity figures to the episodes these figures were on (@CMNeir loves Harrison Ford and @ItsBondageLoki adores Tom Hiddleston, so I'm sure I got favor points from them on a small level.), and I'm trying to get the next batch (which will be today while publishing this blog post and battling the evil lag monster) with the benefits of picking and choosing starting with number 143.  It's because of this podcast that I learned about The Nerdist Way and I'm happy to have found out about this text.  I'm also happy to have my Doctor Who cookbook complete with a chapter on Fish fingers and custard recipes!  #random

            So, with self-improvement being one of my main themes this year, I shall bid you "adieu" and "good night" as I try to not fuck up my circadian rhythms any more than they already have.

            In the meantime, LOOK ALIVE and ENJOY YOUR TACQUITO! #boobs  #EXCELSIOR!

P.S. Later on, after drafting up this blog post, I tried going to bed, missed out on my therapy appointment, and had an unusual experience: I've been trying to fall asleep  in bed, and it didn't help that I allowed myself to be distracted (again) by Twitter, searching for song titles to go with this blog post with the theme of "I messed up, I'm up late, I need to sleep BUT no matter what, I'm GOING to make it all better!"  So, I'm in bed, and the door is slightly open so I that can sort of hear stuff happening in the living room with my non-batty ears (Yes, slightly deaf, as I cannot wear my hearing aids in bed) such as people from building management (specifically Brad) and maintenance (Jim from Flushing who fixed my toilet!) and for the building's fire alarm.  But I don't know what happened next, as I've been trying to fall asleep and it could be my mind playing tricks on me--or it could've been the apparition of a ghost.  I'm half-asleep and I see through the crack this older man peering at me in my bed (not pervy-like) from my living room (or the other side) through the cracked open doorway.  I was startled to fully awake panic mode, and there was nobody there!  NOBODY!  I checked to see if anyone was out in the hallway but nobody was there.  I was like, "W-WHAT THE F-FUCKY SHITTENSTEIN…..WHA-WHAT?!" and relayed this to my therapist; he has no idea what happened in that moment.  I have 3 possible theories as to what actually happened: 1.) I was half asleep and my fear of being caught off-guard for inspection allowed me to HAL-LU-CI-NATE the image of this older man looking at me. 2.) Someone was actually there, but I was already asleep and too late to catch them out in the hallway.  (Which is not likely.)  3.) My being half-asleep allowed me to view the full-bodied apparition of the ghost of this older man who could've been a neighbor or former tenant who died in my apartment or on the floor that I'm on or another floor in the same building.  (It's possible--I did have a neighbor who died of old age fairly recently, as it's a senior apartment building.  Whether that's grounds for there to be paranormal activity, I'm not sure.)

            Whatever was going on, I don't know.  But it was unusual.  I don't normally HAL-LU-CI-NATE and if I did, my parents could be like, "WE MUST QUESTION THE STAFF AND THE NEIGHBORS!  WE MUST MAKE THIS RIGHT AND SEEK REPARATIONS AND SOLUTIONS FOR THIS!"  Because they're likely to read this, Mom, Dad, I'm fine.  I was just startled by something that wasn't there (or something that could've been there).  Please don't freak out, because freaking out over this is NOT HELPFUL!  Anyways, I must flee because I'm sure that by the time I publish this post, the system at the library is counting down.

So, later, Dalek-dudes!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Ass Is Frozen, Along With the Rest of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States

This entry's theme song is "Frozen" by Celldweller!

            In case you haven't been paying attention to the news these past few days, it's DANGEROUSLY COLD outside as of lately!  I kid you not, I watched the 11pm (EST) News on ABC on Monday, January 6, 2014, and they're talking about the dangers of frostbite!  Later on, I caught a new episode of The Colbert Report (with extra enunciation on the T in "Report" because I'm rebellious like that; I apologize that there are advertisements) on Comedy Central, and host Stephen Colbert, the conservative good buddy you don't want to invite to your funeral, actually covered not only how frozen the Northeast and Midwest States are but also how the news outlets are referring to it as a Polar Vortex, and how there could be an appearance of "thunder snow".

            Last I checked, this ain't typical for the Northern half of the continental US.  Also, this ain't Antarctica!  So, let's examine this phenomenon of not only freezing your balls off with freak weather that's as a result of ongoing climate change due to global warming, but also the media hype and response of the Internet in regards to the terminology!

Polar Vortex: Where People Turn Into Walking Flesh Popsicles and SyFy Gets a New Movie

            Remember Sharknado?  With the stupid pseudo-logic of having a freak tornado attack a small beachfront town with the prolonged spiral tilt-a-whirl transportation of an infinite amount of Great White Sharks that are often tossed at people on the ground to consume them in grotesque violence only to die later on because they're not in water? (WARNING!  Trailer has violence!)

            Guess what?  Sharknado has a new best friend, besides the SyFy Movie directors and producers and actors and writers.  And its name is Polar Vortex, a movie that has the same premise, but actually takes place in New York City; and instead of it being a tornado breezing through Arizona or New Mexico or wherever Sharknado took place, chucking sharks at various structures and humans fighting the laws of physics of a shark hurtling at them at top speeds, it's a tornado that destroys Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx with ice, snow, rabid zombie penguins, and even angry genetically enhanced POLAR BEARS!

            The Deep Freeze of 2014 (as CNN calls it) is already being blamed for 6 deaths, and thousands upon thousands of flights are canceled not only yesterday but also today!  Schools closed and had delayed starts in some cases, the people living on the streets are being brought in from the cold (which is a good thing--help them out, y'all!), AmTrak trains were stuck and stranded because of the snow and ice blanketing the tracks, and even the window inside my apartment that has my air conditioner in it (that I can't remove because once it's in, it stays in until I move out of my apartment, and has caulked plexiglass instead of the accordion type of shutters) is howling because of the insane winds.  Hell, all 50 states (including Hawaii) are seeing below freezing temperatures!  That's worse than spending an Ice Age on Hoth!  I swear, I'm going to freeze my ass off as I walk to and from the library and while traveling to The Underground Lair to check out how Dan and Kris are doing.  It'll take every hot chocolate packet I have to stay warm here in my supser-frozen sector here in the Northeast!

            But according to some meteorologists (weather scientists, in derpish), the frigid air is cycling like the vortex of a hurricane.  That's probably the origin of the term "polar vortex," which, in the opinion of Stephen Colbert and myself, sounds more like a fictional "hadoken" type of attack one might see as part of a Mortal Kombat finishing move!  Of course, these meteorologists also mentioned the inconceivable term "Thunder Snow," which is actually the name of my metal Arctic Monkeys cover band.  (A little Paul and Storm for you)

            But seriously, why the fuck is this happening?!

It's Global Warming, Idiots!

            Has anyone ever considered that these unusually low temperatures (that have actually reached -6° Fahrenheit in Pittsburgh, by the way) are extreme weather patterns as a result of global warming?  Or is this notification not enough to say, "Hey!  Let's not ruin our planet anymore!"?

            Or do they need to read my blog entry again?

            I've said it before and I'll say it again: get to recycling and using recycled materials, get to saving gas, redo all the restaurants' waste disposal systems, and use sustainable resources and renewable energy sources!  It will benefit everyone in the long run, even if many people blind themselves with the idea that "Global warming is a lie, let's go joy riding in my H2 Hummer, which I lined with baby seal leather and padded with baby bald eagle down!  I can afford the consequences like I can afford the platinum rims on my tires!"

            No, no you can't.  The damage is not affordable like that, asshats.  Also, shut up.

            Do it for the babies in the Polar Vortexed areas of North America, so they don't freeze to death!

Freezing Your Ass Off: The Worst Diet Plan Ever

            In the meantime, how about I supply tips to survive this weather?

Ø  Make sure you have enough hot water; occasionally run it in sinks and bathtubs and shower heads to keep pipes from freezing if they haven't already.
Ø  Keep hair dryers on hand if you have them; use on water pipes if they freeze up.
Ø  Have plenty of moisturizing lotions, ointments and lip balms in possesion to keep your skin and lips from drying out.
Ø  Make sure you keep at least 9 days of non-perishable foods on hand in case you're in the harder hit areas or the middle of nowhere.
Ø  Keep heating packs on hand, especially reusable ones!  If you don't have any, try making your own!  Sew together bean bags (with extremely durable not melty fabrics) that have lots of uncooked rice in it, with optional (and recommended) dry potpourri inside; this way, you can warm them up in the microwave as many times as much is you want, as long as you don't smoke out the microwave.  (Trust me, smoking out the microwave ain't good; I did it at my parents' house and we had to zap bowls of vinegar in the microwave, and the smell of vinegar didn't go away for months!  Or it could be that we got used to it…)
Ø  Layer up if you have to go outside!  Wear t-shirts on top of t-shirts, sweatshirts under coats, and cover up as much skin as possible!  Exposed skin will certainly be in danger of frostbite, so wear gloves, scarves, hats under hoods, etc, when you're outside, and make sure that you do not stay outside for longer than it hurts!  In the Pocono, Erie, Pittsburgh, and Scranton/Wilkes Barre regions, that maximum time is 15 minutes!  If you have to travel, use a bus or car with heating because you'll never be able to survive walking or biking everywhere.  (I don't recommend skiing or snowboarding at this time.  Maybe later this month, when it's not this dangerously cold….)
Ø  Keep your gas tanks filled and start warming up your cars up to 10 minutes before you have to leave for whatever!
Ø  Make sure you have a ton of blankets and slippers in your possession because they will become your best friends and lovers.
Ø  Do not call your mother complaining about the cold and asking her to fix it!  (Unless you want to compliment her--that works!)  However, DO call her to check to see if she's okay.  If it's your father, do it for him too!  It's attainable as long as they don't pester you about your responsibilities in your home.  Especially every morning.
Ø  Use heaters when you're home, and make sure that your fuel-powered generators and heaters have sufficient ventilation (including fireplaces).  Also, keep any and all flammable materials away from them all, because you do not want firefighters to set fire to fire hydrants in order to put out the flames that occupy what's left of your dwelling!
Ø  Dress your dogs in sweaters and jackets made for them if you're going out, and make it quick; don't do long walks together to the dog park--you'll wind up with frozen hot dogs if you do.  Also, bring in any cats of yours that are outdoor cats; they wouldn't survive.  Bring any stray animals to shelters if you come across them (unless you have allergies, that's when you have someone else do it for 10 or 20 bucks).
Ø  If all else fails, kill a tauntaun and climbinside; stay there until Thursday.  Or turn into a Wookie.  Either one is cool!  (Unintentional pun)

            I hope you stay warm and stay inside!  It isn't worth the pain to turn into living popsicles unless you're a reporter covering the weather and cursing your need to go in to work.  Good luck, reporters and journalists!  Keep plenty of coffee and hot chocolate on hand if you have to do on location reports!  *Wookie sounds*

P.S.  OMG, I posted the movie poster on twitter and got some responses!  And Jeri Ryan retweeted to me and responded!  Thank you to everyone for making my poster viral! :D
Also, this tweet won the Internets for about an hour or so yesterday....
Keep 'em coming!