Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dalekmas/Nerdmas/Sithmas Holiday Gift Guide!

            I hope you've excused me for my previous blog post about my having the universal-scale existential crisis.  I'm mostly over it now, thank goodness!  I've just been feeling dwarfed and nihilistic about our existence, how we got here and how we currently impact the universe on a less-than-microscopic scale, and just making me nuts over it all.  I'm also sorry for making you feel whatever you felt then; the feeling is still there, but only if I focus on it.  If I continue to focus on it, my philosophy will develop into nihilism, and that's not good.  I should not allow that to happen—nobody should.  That's basically defeatist programming, like "Why should I do this and why do I care?  I shouldn't care, because it doesn't matter in the grandest scale of things, which makes my actions and choices completely pointless."  That's not what I'm really about, especially when it comes to living with at least one disability.  I should make my choices matter, and I should put effort into making them matter to, at the very, very, most absolutely least, me.

            I've also had other crazy realizations that relate to a certain so-called "intelligent race" or "people".  Let me tell you something: the Borg are evil!!!!!  I mean, come on!  They're too dangerous to be interacting with anyone!  All they want to do is force you to become like them!  Where's the individuality?  Where's the freedom?!  WHERE'S THE EXTERMINATION?!?!?!  The cybermen wannabes just assimilate, assimilate, assimilate, and they have no respect for our rights!  And someone please extract Locutus from their systems!  We don't need his influence on our population!  All we need is for him to show up and before you know it, nerds are lining up and volunteering to be assimilated!  They are not safe!  Just stay away, y'all!  If you come across any Borg (not including Seven of Nine--she's hawwwt!), RUN!!!! RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!! Do not stop, do not take pictures, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not do anything except RUN!!!!!

            Anyways, I'm upset about the whole justice system, especially surrounding Sue the T-Rex and the subject of the documentary Dinosaur 13 (which you should watch!) and around the whole racial profiling thing, as well as the torture report (reporture?) release.  Many people are speaking out about these issues—but I don't want to right now!  It's the fucking HOLIDAYS!  We should be putting these issues off until AFTER New Year's Day (not the spending bill—Congress should just pay the Davros-damn bill already), especially the protests!  My condolences DO go out to the families of the dead victims; I just don't want to hear about more riots and more protests and to have every hour being dedicated to the horrors of our country and the world!

            I think that I've already done a Christmas Music playlist post (with apologies for broken embedded videos) so instead, I should give you a Nerdy holiday gift guide!  It's the guidelines for gift-giving for nerdy people (especially to nerdy people), chiefly if you have a nerdy friend you don't really get—they can create the connection; you don't need to understand it, but it does help to write down the details and hand it to some salesperson saying, "I don't get this thing, but my friend does.  Do you have anything that fits this criteria?"  It doesn't hurt to ask for that kind of help!
            Of course, I'm providing some of the cool Christmas Music playlist post in playlist form for your optional blog post theme song to listen to while reading!

Let's get geeky, shall we?

ThinkGeek—The Store Site Powered by Monkey Awesomeness and Unicorn Magic

            If you haven't known about ThinkGeek before, you have to!!!  Seriously, it's my favorite online retailer!  They have so many cool gadgets and things that make reference to all of these really geeky, nerdy genres and the different shows and other fun cool subjects such as BACON and Zombie preparedness and roleplaying games!
            I've never been exceptionally dissatisfied by their products.  Sure, you gotta be careful about who you send your e-gift certificate to (and make sure that the e-mail is spelled properly, even though PROPER grammatical spelling doesn't matter when setting it up—which makes e-mails weird), but their customer service is awesome, they have gift certificates, they have all this very fun stuff!
            Here's a list of the stuff I (along with family members) amassed from their depository so far (of which all are awesome):
  • Butterfly Knife-styled bottle opener
  • a Book of Secrets
  • an LED light-up Critical Hit D20 die
  • a Brewzkey key ring bottle/can opener
  • Japanese abacus
  • Flip Flop solar plant
  • Star Wars Death Star Ice Mold (THAT'S NO PLUTO! A joke for Dr. Tyson and Bad Astronomer….)
  • Science beaker mug
  • Constellations heat-change mug
  • Gear ties
  • "You read my mug/That's enough social interaction for one day" mug
  • 50-year monthly calendar (complete with leap years)
  • Bacon bandages (with shitty adhesive)
  • Ninja fighting nunchuck chopsticks
  • Astronaut ice cream (edible, seriously!)
  • Mini-duct tape in black
  • Unicorn drinking horn—a MUST-HAVE! And drinking A-Treat red cream soda out of it is like drinking unicorn blood….YOU GET SO MUCH MANA!!!!
  • TARDIS night light—perfect for those times you have to wake up in the night to use the restroom and aren't ready to be awake yet
  • TARDIS "It's what's on the inside that counts" t-shirt
  • Boxes the stuff comes in that I can use for storage!
  • A "Become a Laird or Lady" kit—which I will get into later (I'm wondering if a square-foot of land in Scotland counts as an asset, despite it being a cool Kickstarter-like fundraising project. Should I also tell apartment management about this? Very important questions I must ask!)
Not only have I been doing awesome in getting my stuff in a very timely manner (four business days for me), but I've not been disappointed so far!  The customer service people are all very friendly and understanding, and they are available not only by phone or e-mail or snail-mail, but also through live-chats!  And setting up an account is free!  It's not a subscription service, and having an account will not only allow you to order quickly, but also set up wish lists your family members can see so that you don't have to flood their Facebook feeds or e-mail inboxes with links saying, "I NEEDS DIS TO FEEL WHOLE AGAIN!  Or I'll stab you with a unicorn horn!"  (Ha!  I'll never stab anyone with a unicorn horn!  Unless it's a creature powered by dark magic—THEN I'll get unicorn-stabby!)  Plus, you can get POINTS!  Similar to the shamefully canceled Subway points club thing, you can redeem these points along with a purchase of a certain amount for a FREE ITEM!  It accumulates with every purchase, so as soon as I hit 1 million points, I'LL GET SHOVELING!!!!  (I don't know what that would mean….)

            Seriously, ThinkGeek staff-members are lovely.  And they're fun!   Sure, they set up their site so they're "selling" fake products for a nonsensical amount of money (usually over $9,000!!!) on April Fool's Day (like so many awesome sites do—only they're willing to have it get made as soon as a shit ton of people click the "PLEASE MAKE THIS FUCKING THING!" button…), but they're nerds LIKE US!  But with a cool fun job!  Seriously, if they have a job I could do from home, I'd jump on!......as soon as the student loans disappear!  Sheesh, sending them into a black hole takes a lot longer than I thought!  Damn you, spaghettification and event horizon complications!  *shakes fist at the loans and troublesome astrophysical stuff*  Oh, well; they'll soon antimatter to me!  LOL!

            (If you're in a rush, there's two-day shipping!  Just make sure to order by 1pm _ST so that it gets to you on time; free shipping is available on orders over $40 or some other price, since it changes a lot!)

Link to web site: http://www.thinkgeek.com

            But, yeah—maybe it's not just a tangible object that you should get that nerdy person….Maybe just registering some Scottish land for a title or getting ownership of a star (in outer space; I don't mean Hollywood…or either of the Captain Kirks….) will be super meaningful!

"That's LADY Eden!" (When Buying Land Means Saving a Castle—And Other Cool Stuff)

            While trawling through the ThinkGeek Clearance Savannah, wearing khaki shorts and explorer hats while carrying around a pair of binoculars and a high-definition camera, I found this one AWESOME-WITHOUT-GETTING-IT-YET kit called "Become a Laird or Lady Gift Box".  Yeah, there's a kit that consists of a tin containing documents that have information and a registration form where you can register the gift in order to get what the kit offers: a square-foot of land in Scotland on the grounds of Dunans Castle (SHUDDUP, SPELLCHECK!), which allows you to use the title "Laird," which literally means "landowner"; of course, as a female member of the Scottish landowner population (with no Scottish heritage, only English—sorry!), I'd be allowed to use the designation, "Laird of Dunans," (which is not the same thing as "Lord," because "Lord" is a British aristocratic title) but it's equally acceptable to use the title "Lady of Dunans"—which is how I'm getting registered as, getting my non-developable square-foot somewhere on the estate, along with a free tour for two adults and lifetime access to the ravine on the Dunans side, along with fishing rights (by appointment), special stationery, including business cards, letterheads and compliment slips, my own email, access to a special "Lairds and Ladies Only" area of the Dunans Lairds' website.

            I'm sure you're like, "Wait, what?!  Scottish land is for sale?!" but let me back up a bit: There's a castle in Scotland (yes, the same Scotland that recently voted "no" for independence from the UK) called Dunans Castle.  In 2001, the castle was destroyed by a fire—this castle, with recorded history going back to 1590(!!!!!), was damaged badly by a fire!  Which SUCKS!  It's like Tom Wilson's paintings at this one Disney Gallery going up in flames—horribly destructive!  But it's on the rebound: the current owners of the estate took on the property in 2003, restoring and renovating it, finally opening it up to the public in 2006.  There's still a lot of restoration going on, which can get expensive.  That's why there's this crazy fundraiser going on through Gift Republic; basically, you send money to get a registration and information kit, with a form which you fill out and send back or complete online (which is quicker), and upon receipt, you get your certificate and card for proof and "directions to Dunans".  I'm sure those are instructions like, "Head East through New Jersey," and then, "Kayak across the Atlantic Ocean."  But don't worry if you are nearing the end of your life: you can pass it on to someone else; it's inheritable (provided that Dunans is informed of the changes)!  I only need to figure out if it's considered an asset or something to report to the American government or whatever, regarding income……
            Other gift tins from Gift Republic:
  • "Name a Star"—something Matt Mira would possibly dump a ton of money on
  • Become a Beer Connoisseur
  • Family History kit
  • Pet Paw Prints/Baby Footprints on Canvas
  • Name a Rose—Ahem……MOOOOMMMMMM!!!!! We should totally do this!
  • IQ Test and others
            This is all really cool stuff, even though Gift Republic is based in the UK and you have to do the exchange rate stuff to convert it to your currency and back, which is a total pain in the ass!  But I totally recommend that you get these if you can for family members and cool friends, because they would mean a LOT more than a simple trinket or foodstuff item.  Especially since stars last a lot more than square feet of land in Scotland, which lasts longer than our lives, and it'd be very useful to have!

            Surely, this suggestion would work very well……  Purely due to how awesome it is!  Unless
you think it's too much trouble……

The Underground Lair—It's NOT a Sex Dungeon, Sadly For Some People……

            How many times have I mentioned them?!  HOW MANY?!  Seriously, they have awesome shit!  They are doing GREAT!  They have artisan Harry Potter wands, artisan Sonic screwdrivers, artisan other stuff.  I just recently stopped in to chat a bit and it turns out that, despite the HORRENDOUS traffic caused by SHITTILY DRIVING tourists (who should PAY ATTENTION to make sure that they don't run a red light by just starting up again while stopped at a stoplight and the crossing signals were going with NO TURN ON RED signs all over the place….  Here's a real reason why you shouldn't be doing that, you fucking….tourists!!!  Also, a refresher on shitty driving…..), they are doing well!  They are still doing gaming night on Wednesdays, and it was fun, too!  I'm amazed at how they can run a business while having a day job—That just proves how awesome Dan and Kris are!

            And they should totally keep it going!  Like, here's how amazing business is: they recently ordered more red and purple sets of Roll-For-It (which come in two separate sets that can be combined for 8-player fun), along with the Deluxe edition, which is GORGEOUS!  This Deluxe set comes in a tin, an actual gift tin thing, and it has artistic pretty cards, with a velvet pouch and both sets of dice!  It's amazing!  And they sold out of it within a week and a half or so!!!  And now the red set is gone, the purple set is down to two left!  The game "Zombies!" has sold out, a $55 very old Apollo lunchbox was sold—OH MY GOD!  They weren't kidding when they said that business really picks up during the Christmas shopping season!

            They also have a website, and are willing to ship, I think, even though it's a pain; however, here's a tip: if you can't get it shipped in time, black out the price on a copy of the receipt, place said copy in an envelope, then the envelope in a box or a bag, and wrap as if it's a normal item!  But seriously, they have a lot of collectable stuff, they have a bunch of tribbles available for adoption—this store is very awesome!  Please, if you can get there very, very soon, just stop in on Wednesday or Thursday or whatever, you can get awesome vintage toys or Doctor Who things, or Harry Potter things.  It's very awesome!

            Anyways, I've done a ton of gushing about them—it's like…endless fansquirreling!  But seriously, check them out!  They have a JFK ceramic bank, and plastic Beatles rings still for sale; I'm not kidding!  Very good for collectors, very good for nerds, and it's all-around awesome!

            Sometimes, though, you can't just do one-time seasonal gifts (because they're easily used up) or gifts that are just toys or art; if it's the low-income nerd, I have one suggestion for you: household items.

For Gifting to the Poor Nerd……

            If anything, living on a limited income, like low-income or government assistance, can suck!  Sometimes, you have to go to the house wares department of a store and buy someone a baking sheet or a blender or even a crock pot.

            You see, it's about the usefulness.  What's the best gift to give to someone who is on the lower end of the income scale?  Something they can use for a long, long, long time.  Something like an appliance.  I can attest to this: I've received as a gift, so far, a crock pot, a blender, microwave-safe plates, and a Corelle divided plate that appeals to my OCD-fueled personal need of having different food items just not touch.  And I'm still using them!  It's the real gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving, and giving…..  In fact, Mama Squirrel once bought a BUNCH of 2-quart crock pots and just gave them out as Christmas gifts (I think), simply due to how there are many people we know who are by themselves or with one other person, who don't need a half-gallon, or even a gallon crock pot, especially because having that huge amount of cooked food would be too much for them and it would go to waste.

            But I'm serious, the appliance stuff and the Christmas bras from Nordstrom are super useful to me that they would be worth their value.  Anything that I can use over and over again, like a hair dryer, is one of the best gifts ever!  That's why I gave myself a Death Star Ice Mold; I'm using it over and over again!  LOL!

            Also, any other suggestions, just check out the following links:
            These are three suggestions that would definitely work!  You could, however, also make something, like I am itching to anticraft something for Christmas.  I have yet to buy all the yarn I would need to knit the Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf for Mama Squirrel and Papa Spock to share, until I knit a second one that the other parent (whichever one wound up without a scarf) could have, with knitting needles that are long enough to be true to the design.  That or order up the parents' own BeyoncĂ© the Giant Metal Chicken of Bloggessian legend.  But then again, I still have to finish the one ruffle scarf and re-knit the already finished ruffle scarf I did!  UGH!  Choices!
            Anyways, that's going to be it on blog posts for now until after the Christmas holiday, unless I get the chance to post a review of the Doctor Who Christmas special THAT EVENING.  Here's hoping that I get to!  In the meantime, ENJOY YOUR CHRISTMAS CHOCO-TAQUITO!!!!

            (Also, on December 24th, Happy Birthday to Mama Squirrel!  I love you so much, Mom!  Please have an Iceland size amount of chocolate while waiting for me to pitch in a bunch of money to take you to Melting Pot for dinner, if you choose Melting Pot!)

P.S. I have a recommendation for New Year's Eve: watching CNN's New Year's party coverage, starting at 9pm EST on December 31!  And I recommend you do this too, because of Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper.  You get those two together and giggles ABOUND!


Monday, December 1, 2014

WTF?!?!?!—The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything

Just a warning: your mind might be blown; you could get minor headaches or migraines from thinking about what I'm about to share with you too hard; I'm not responsible for either of these things, or for breaking you to the point that requires some therapy.  Seriously, I'm sorry for what happens to you after, despite your reaction to this post being COMPLETELY up to you.

            I will be honest here: I think I'm having a little bit of an existential crisis.  It's not exactly like, "What's my purpose in life?!  I NEED RELIGIONS TO GUIDE ME!" and it's definitely not like that more familiar Midlife Crisis of "Hey! I'm not that old!  I can still do young stuff!  BATCYCLE, TO ME!"  I know I'm addressing things that are WAY outside of most people's perspectives, but I'm serious—I'm having an existential crisis at the universal we're-too-small-to-have-any-major-impact-on-the-whole-of-the-universe-and-are-helpless-at-this-point-in-time-being-at-the-mercy-of-our-solar-system level.

            Please, allow me to explain….with the (optional) theme song being "FarCentaurus" by Nigel John Stanford, the guy whose Cymatics music video was so AWESWOME!

            Just recently (as in, this past weekend and prior to), I indulged a bit at the library, checking out Discovery's How the Universe Works and Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.  Just a quick bit about these two shows: the former, sometimes having blogger-and-discovery-of-dark-energy-assist-master Phil Plait (Bad Astronomer) in it and voiced overall by Mike Rowe (#NerdCombo #NerdDrool), and the latter written by Stephen Hawking, with voice-over segments done by Benedict Cumberbatch (#SQUEE!).  Both of these shows are very well done, but they both also changed my perspective quite a bit.  And when I say quite a bit, I am really saying BY A FUCKLOAD!

            What I gathered from these two shows is that we, the denizens of the planet Earth (Sol-3), are not exactly the creation of a deity.  We're not living in the only solar system that exists in this universe (If you need more proof, just look at science headlines that go along the lines of "NEW EARTHLIKE PLANET DISCOVERED!"), and our physical selves did not just come out of nothing.  We're made of STUFF, these different elements such as iron, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, calcium, iodine, sodium, etc, that did NOT exist at time of the Big Bang.

            Instead, we're the product of a series of VERY fortunate happy accidents.

            Think about it: we're probably in one of very few (out of an infinite number of) universes that actually supports the existence of life, that mysterious chemical reaction that results in organic multi-cellular beings, with each one made of an uncountable number of molecules, making up a shit ton of cells that are able work together to function as a whole system by itself.  This universe was able to form out of matter and not antimatter, just because particles of matter simply just happenedto outnumber antimatter particles.  The universe that then formed after this cosmic battle of matter-vs.-antimatter (which results in the destruction of both particles, by the way) just happened to be uneven enough for gravity to attract these particles to each other, enough to form the first stars.  These stars just  happened to create the elements (out of hydrogen nuclear fusion) necessary to build us.
            Yes, we're not made of regular dust just like the Bible states in the Book of Genesis; we're made of stardust!  Which is pretty neat, if you think about it long enough; it's kind of romantic, in a sense.

            Anyways, some of these stars just happened to explode, creating enough material to form our current solar system, and the sun (Sol, of course) just happened to form successfully, and in just the right size in the PERFECT spot in the Milky Way Galaxy: not too far from the central supermassive black hole, but also not too close to whip us around at impossible speeds, expose us to deadly radiation or to suck us into the black hole.

            And, in addition to the whole "What the Fuckery?" I just laid out, the Earth formed in just the right spot in the solar system, at just the right size with the perfect amount of gravity and elements, AND survived the Hundred-Planet Demolition Derby that took place after the sun first formed.  Not to mention that enough comets hit the surface of this rocky and hot world to give us exactly the right amount of water (give or take a few litres) to cool it down to exactly the right temperature.  Plus, the atoms of specific elements successfully created these molecules that formed the first cells and, therefore, the first forms of life!

            And to top it all off, Jupiter, our big tough super-strong super popular planetary brother, formed far enough away to not affect us, but also to act as our bodyguard, deflecting and/or attracting in-bound comets and asteroids that would've hit Earth and prevented our existence otherwise.  Plus, the moon formed and took its spot at the right distance for us to land on it, and gives us almost the right amount of light at night so we can still see just enough to be able to not trip on something in the meadows and grasslands.  (Well, in my opinion, at least…)

            AND, to top it all off, that comet/asteroid that hit Earth millions of years ago wiped out all the dinosaurs, to allow US, the mammals, to survive, and evolve into creatures that can understand and map the universe!  We are simply the product of a series of accidents who can create abstract ideas that have no solid tangible presence in the universe, and extremely large solid objects made up of the same stardust as us that DO have such a presence!
            Which.  Is.  Weird!!!!

            What the hell?!  What is humanity's purpose in the universe?  Are we really experiments, something that just SO happened to form as part of a simulation (which I suspect due to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, or the Keyon, as I like to call it)?  Or are we the creation of the universe itself so that this (possibly sentient) universe could understand itself—making us its neurons in three-dimensional space?  I have so many questions, many of them being "WHY….?" and eager for an answer that doesn't just have any basis in statistics and probability.

Perspective: Now You Have It

            It's frustrating and scary to see how we have all of this amazing stuff going on and NONE of it is the primary focus of the human race!  We're all on the same spherical rocky iron(ic) boat, orbiting the same star, paying witness to some of the same awesome stuff in the skies (including the moon), and yet we're too busy bickering with each other about police brutality and who crossed which lines in the sand, eager to collect all parts of an abstract creation of ours, an idea that we place numerical value upon, despite it having not a lot of purpose besides being a tool that we use in a system that we set up, and fighting over how people see other people who are different from them (Sunni vs. Shiite and Middle East vs. America—everyone wants to be right, nobody wants to be wrong; it's pointless to force your ideas of how people should live/think/function onto someone else, and that goes QUADRUPLE to the (tel)evangelists and racist fucknuts out there!).  Why do this, when we have a whole other realm to explore?

            And why destroy the planet we're all living on?  IT'S THE SAME PLANET EARTH!!!!  The climate-change global warming deniers (read: idiots) are poisoning the same air that everyone else is breathing and relying on for survival, only because they're not educated enough or they don't believe that we're all going to destroy ourselves as the result of our own actions.  We're making each other sick, we're killing each other, and we're ruining ourselves because of disagreements and bullshitting.  (Also, any deniers are NOT going to be allowed in my boat.  You cause it, you suffer the consequences—have fun either treading water or drowning or dying from dehydration!)

            Why fight?  Why destroy things?  We could be the only witnesses to everything the universe is showing us, and yet, we're staring at the ground and our cell phones and computer and/or television screens, and glaring at everyone else.  We're unhappy narcissistic creatures that are intent on focusing on ourselves and our own problems.  Our world-view is small, limited to what we each see around us, when we could just look up together and learn what we have yet to know about everything and everyone.
            Why don't we just do this right?!

            This is all I can say right now.  That is the gist of my sort-of existential crisis.  That is the result of watching those two shows on DVD—and I think everyone else should do this, too.  It would be good for you, at least, to realize what I have learned: we're a miracle that isn't acting like one, and should start in order to save itself from the extinction we've forced on many other creatures that live on the same planet we do.  If we do get our act together, cooperate and accept everyone's differences (including the colors of our skin, the religions we practice, and the fact that many of us have Autistic Spectrum Disorders and other disabilities), we can do incredible things, which can help us understand the universe (that can be scary due to the sheer size and scale of it—but only if you look at it that way) and also ensure the survival of the human race in case the universe decides to butt-fuck us again, with Apophis or whatever else is out there.

Random Thoughts Are Random

            I know: I was "thinking like a crazy person" (despite being completely reasonable) prior to this part, so why not share some thoughts that I had amidst this whole existential crisis I'm having and before?

            That's all for now, folks!  Keep sharing this blog, and ENJOY YOUR COSMIC TACQUITOS!