Thursday, July 30, 2009

there's lots in a name

I used to know a boy named Enos (pronounced EENIS). The name comes from mormon scripture, and I'm assuming its use was justified by the hero's exceptional character. I'm not mentioning it to make fun of the boy, as some of my facebook/e-friends know this person as well. But the name... EENIS.

Naming a child is a big deal, and sometimes, just when you think you've landed the perfect name, you realize that it is an elementary school taunting-magnet. For example, our last name is Bacon, so we try to avoid other food-ish names as well. Olive is out. Same with Eaton. As is Makin (haha). Most names are likely harmless enough, but you just never know what kids will latch on to, and if your child somehow stands out already in any way (whether through their brilliance or their quirks that you love so much), an unfortunate name will add a few extra tons of teasing. One of the last things a parent wants to think about is their kid getting hassled in school, so if you can get them off to a good start with a nice safe name, it's best to try. Also, you don't want the child's name to hint at how nerdy you as a parent may or may not be. For example, the other day a nerd dad at the park called to his son, "come on, Anakin!" Same goes for any name from LOTR. Arwen especially, but I've heard of a kid named Strider too. Seriously. What if the kid had walking problems?

Other bad names:
-Forrest
-Dorcas
-Pandora
-Apple
-Neo
-Nero
-Adolf
-Agape
-Lenin
-Angel
-Nevaeh
-Atlas
-Barbie
-Bunny
-Oprah
-Candy
-Zeus
-Rover
-Cloris
-Mulva
-Diarria
-Egor
-Elektra
-Dick
-Fanny
-Hercules
-Hippolyta
-Medusa
-Morpheus
-Narcissa
-Nixon
-Omega
-Thad

Additionally, if your last name could also be a first name, don't name your child the matching first name. Names that are also brand names are forbidden. As mentioned with the Star Wars and LOTR names, any name that is the same unique name as a popular celebrity or TV character is best to avoid. I also have a rule against naming children the shortened version of a name. For example, if you like the name Robbie, please name your child Robert and then use Robbie. Or if you love the name Sammy, use Samantha or Samuel. Don't just legally give them the shortened version, because what if they want to be a lawyer someday? Ensuring that a little dignity travels with the name is a good idea. I'm also against using trendy names like Emma, as I think my child deserves a name as unique and beautiful as they are (but not so unique that it's annoying).

But Enos. Enos. That's just handing every child your son will ever meet an entire artillery's worth of teasing and insults. Not quite penis, but then not quite anus, it is a 5th grader's dream come true. And as junior high memory serves, this boy was teased frequently and cruelly. Coming from an uber-religious family who ran a sheep farm didn't help, I'm sure, but this kid went through some serious taunting hell. He was an explosive rager, and he was also farm-boy strong, so when he flipped out he'd literally flip out, tossing his desk into the air and punching lockers on his way down the hallway. When he caught the ball in football, no one bothered to stop him, because he was a tank of infuriation. As far as I know, he's fine now, but really, that name cost him.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

yellbear!!


It's summer vacation and I'm too lazy to think about bigger things, but this made me chuckle LIKE CRAZY SO HARD. I was almost LOLing, except that I don't believe in LOLing. I'm of the "haha" class. Anyway, the link is here, but I'm copy-pasting the page that was the most hilarious (the text is by the guys who originally blogged it):

Dave: I thought we were doing a thing about bad tattoos, not the greatest tattoo.
Zack: Facts about the dude with this tattoo: never wears a shirt, walks backwards everywhere, sees shit through the bear face's eyes.
Dave: Is never fucked with; basically never stops yelling.
Zack: Not all that muscular, but draws immeasurable physical and sexual strength from the tattoo.
Dave: This isn't even a tattoo, a shaman just rubbed a hot rock all over his back and this is what happened.
Zack: It was like metaphysical paint-by-numbers. Smoked some peyote, saw infinity, bear on back.
Dave: Now carries spirit of Yellbear within him; uses it to get out of parking tickets.
Dave: Sir, this is a tow-away zo-- RRUUUHHHHHH!
Zack: The traffic cop just shrinks smaller and smaller until he turns into a tiny tattoo that finally disappears into the bear's flared nostril.
Dave: Yellbear also uses this power to suck in beers.
Zack: No matter how many beers it drinks, Yellbear's owner doesn't get fatter, Yellbear just gets more powerful.
Dave: Walks into Safeway... RRRRUUHHHHHH... frozen food section is now completely out of Totino's Pizza Rolls.
Zack: Drives past Taco Bell....RRRRRRRRRUHHHHHHHH...passenger seat piled with sacks full of chili cheese burritos.
Zack: Pulls up at a light next to some pretty girls...RRRRRRRUHHHHHHHHH...girls flushed, satisfied.
Dave: Uh oh, it's 5:30, Yellbear missed Cops! RRRRUUUUUUUHHH! Another episode!
Zack: That's not really a power. I think Raiders fan or die 4 u could conjure up more cops episodes.
Dave: In certain situations, whether or not it's a power isn't relevant.
Zack: Man, this sucks. Now I really badly want some pizza rolls and a cops marathon.
Dave: You have to earn that shit with a spirit quest, or else earn it by getting really drunk and calculating that it's cheaper to pass out in the 24-hour tattoo parlor than in the hotel.
Zack: I would pass out at a Raiders game wearing a Chiefs jersey if it meant I would wake up from my coma in six weeks with a yellbear to call my own.
Dave: RRRRUUUHHHHH! Bob Barker tattoo turns into big titty angel.
Zack: RRRRRRUUUUUHHHHH! Departed wife skeletonizes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I heart nerdening


I blogged about nerd stuff forever ago, but I feel there is a bit more to be said on the subject. First off, let me be clear that I admire and appreciate many many nerds. I think that having a solid nerd streak balances a person out wonderfully, and I'd way rather be stranded on a desert island with a bunch of nerds than a bunch of coolios.

If I were single, I would for sure prospect comic book stores and conventions for potential hunks. Why the hell, you ask? Several reasons: 1) I like going to those places anyway. 2) The few fellows who are not wearing silk dragon shirts, are not bloated with cheeto stains, and are not in costume of any kind, are very likely cool dudes. Chances are, they are in a creative line of work, are funny, and don't have a girlfriend. 3) If you are a cute, fashionable girl browsing one of these places, guaranteed you will be a minority. Competition = nil. You are also automatic boner material; listen carefully when you make your entrance... hear that "schwing" sound? That's power, m'dear.

I'm not a full-on nerd, mind you. I'm what I like to call a "hybri-nerd". I have a strong element of nerd in me that I embrace and nurture whenever possible. However, while I have no problem with occasional "Settlers" sessions, being in-the-know about the latest card games, losing myself in 10 hour Zelda sittings, watching any nerd TV series, spending spare cash on graphic novels, and getting excited when comic book/sci-fi movies come out, there are some lines that must not be crossed. If one wishes to maintain any semblance of social dexterity there are a few rules that must be followed:

1. One must never dress in full costume as one's avatar or obscure fantasy character. This should not even be attempted ironically, as the purpose of most ironic costumes is that there will be at least one other person who thinks your costume is kind of funny. Telling people that you're dressed as "Volrath" isn't going to impress anybody. At all. And FYI, I googled "Magic the Gathering" to find that name, so don't go pinning extreme nerdness on me.

2. One must never carry their strongest Gathering card in one's pocket as "street cred", or "just in case". Same with any other fantasy cards.

3. One must never use a screenname or a handle that includes "lord", "overlord", "prince", "liege", "queen", "empress", "omega", "alpha", any word for "devil", or any variation of those words. The only exception is a handle so over-the-top that it is, in fact, amazing. Ie: "LordInfernoOmegaQuake". And that one isn't even that good. Screennames and costumes work in similar ways. If you're participating in regular forums or on regular social-networking type sites, NEVER emulate your avatar or fav character. Trust me, it's lame.

4. One must never, ever, wear a long black trenchcoat. Never. This is the cardinal indication that you have completely lost touch with reality, and that you are terrible at every conversation ever. Wearing matrix sunglasses triples this impression, clunky goth boots also. Carrying a crazy stupid knife around confirms that you are psychotic and your mind has rotted in its delusional and extremely sad fantasy casing. Also, if you think you are a vampire, you are an idiot.

Other areas where one might be treading thin nerd-ice are:

- excessive and over-enthusiastic use of accents, especially the Scottish accent. Every nerd can (or thinks they can) do a Scottish accent. I hate it. The only time I've ever thought it was funny was in The Arbour Lake Sghool's Teenage Scottish Ninja Turtles. Otherwise it becomes a tedious exercise in, "haha... yeah...". And god help you if there is more than one nerd present. This leads to an "accent jam", which can last for hours and cause seizures.

- over-quoting So I Married an Axe Murderer (or any Mike Myers movie, due to the descent into Scottish accent hell), and Monty Python. I'm a Python fan, but we all are. Quoting it isn't funny anymore, unless executed subtly and without the expectation of acknowledgment. Everyone can quote Python, and most quote them terribly. The people who can quote them well are the ones who will quote the entire skits in concession whether you are listening or not. Again, if there are more than one of these types present, find the nearest exit and RUN.

- dedicating more than one evening a week to gaming. This means that your friends invite you to go out and you say, "uh... I think I'm gonna just stay home and chill out tonight", and then you spend the night signed-in to some "second life" thing and play 'till daylight. A brief spell is forgivable, but if this becomes an ongoing pattern, beware: you are sinking into a sludge of lameness. Also, attending a tournament is basically stabbing your social life repeatedly until it is a pile of pizza boxes and Red Bull cans next to your computer. If this is something you feel you must do, never speak of it outside of the designated tourney boundaries. It's basically like admitting you wear ladies underpants. Or for the ladies, it's like admitting you still douche.

- LARPing. The only possible exception (and this is something that I actually want to do) would be to show up to a LARP session in some kind of garb that fully contradicts the LARP session in play. Like, a civil war costume. Or a straight-up mermaid with no powers. Or Aragorn. Or an elephant. Or pikachu. How hard would it be to be exiled by the exiles? I have no doubt that LARPing is actually really fun, and maybe with the right group of friends and the right combination of hilarious costumes it would be awesome. Such circumstances are pretty slim though, so best to steer clear.

Anyway.

I used to nanny a couple of kids, and the one girl was OBSESSED with Pokémon. We did poké-card-battles pretty much every day, and when we'd play outside she'd insist on re-enacting Pokémon. We used frisbees as pokéballs, and I can still hear her lispy voice screaming "BULBASAUR!!". One day we came across an old 80s music cassette, and she became fixated on Gowan's "A Criminal Mind". She listened to it over and over, and then while I was making dinner I heard her in her room singing it except replacing "criminal mind" with "pokémon mind". Something about it made me think, "she's gonna be okay." Such a little nerd, but so sweet. I heart nerds.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

sunday diaryah #24

"July 4, 92
Dear Diary,
Well, two nights ago Chris, Lars, Svea, Pam, Marcia, Kyla, Patricia, Sam and I all played capture the flag and afterwards we all slept under the stars. The next day we all went to the cabin and Svea and Pam wrote Sarah (Heart) Chris all over the wall. And Pam told him I liked him! BUT... I think he likes me a little because at Sam's when we were playing football he always passed it to me and he did what ever I told him to do. I REALLY like him now! I think Nat's really jealous! Oh ya! Today Looses came down. I'm excited about family camp!
Really really really Lovesick,
Sarah"

*
Interesting how, as a teenager, having a boy do whatever you tell them to is an indication of how much he likes you. Is that how it really worked? Does it still work that way? Am I just an extremely bossy person?

Also, I'm currently anticipating another "Family Camp" this month, although now they are officially reunions since my Grandmother's 8 children have all had between 5-8 kids, who in turn have almost all had kids. The Looses are a BIG family.

Anyway the diary entries are a bit sparser due to all the summertime activity, so I'll save the next one.

Have a good Sunday!


Friday, July 3, 2009

the truth is under there


You: Under where?

AHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Gotcha!

I've been watching X-Files lately. I had never really watched it in the 90s since we didn't have channels then, so it's all pretty new to me. Season 1 was okay, and most of the episodes that I had seen were from then. Season 2 was a little funner, but Season 3 is currently blowing my mind. I'm positive it'll get more awesome at least up to Season 6.

The writing is sooooo good! And David Duchovny is soooo hunky (and a sex-addict to boot! swish!). And their phones are sooooo big. In fact, all of their technology seems decades old (oh wait, it is. waaaaah), like, they make so many phone calls, and they FAX. Weird! And their cars still have hard edges! And their autopsies don't involve super extreme CGI interior bullet re-enactments and rib cage explosions. Half the time we catch just a glimpse of their victims, and that's plenty.

Granted, a lot of the show's atmosphere relies a little too heavily on flashlights in the dark (those guys must have batman-like flashlight utility belts – there's enough room in their gigantic shoulder-padded overcoats), and when the show tells you that the agents are somewhere in Virginia, it's laughingly obvious that they are in B.C. (not a lot of bright blue skies for the first few Seasons), but otherwise I'm in awe of how clever and fun the series is.

And I don't mean to waste too much time on complaining, but it really punctuates why that recent show Fringe suck suck SUCKS. What a total X-Files rip-off failure! Where Mulder and Scully investigate "out there" yet maybe-plausible phenomena and uncover various military and government conspiracies (that are totally fun to buy into), the Fringe characters bumble through the most random, sensational and incredulous storylines. At least they did the last time I watched it. Maybe it's gotten better, but I doubt it. Basically a Fringe storyline goes like this:

Olivia: "This case seems to involve several head explosions. By my monotone delivery I'm obviously deeply concerned."

Walter (while drinking root beer float, so wacky!): "I've seen this before. It was caused by myself and a herd of unicorns. If we borrow a super flashy ray-gun from that creepy pharmaceutical company and shine it inside the corpse's butts, we should be able to see the unicorn's last thoughts and then track it to it's cave."

Peter: "Waaaalteeeer! Just because you were right about those tree nymphs and every other thing you've ever said, your theory is crazy. Also, I'm a jaded free spirit genius and I have bad dad issues and YOU'RE my DAD."

Olivia: "We should maaaaybe try to find the unicorn? Let's ask Broyles."

Broyles (from nowhere): "You mean this unicorn?" (slaps a mug shot of a grizzled-looking unicorn on the table).

Peter: "Wow, once again you have the exact files we're looking for."

Olivia: "Let's go borrow that ray-gun. Collect as many of these butts as you can. We'll meet back at that lab at Harvard that they're letting us use for some reason."

Okay I'm done. That was fun.

Back to X-Files: ALIENS! Sooooo many aliens! Remember when everyone was nuts about aliens? Back in Cherry Grove (rural north-eastern Alberta where my mom's family is from) there were plenty of inexplicable UFO stories. A bright light and the sound of a tractor trailer speeding towards a house in the middle of nowhere, objects flying over cars, causing the car to stall completely... the usual. My Grandfather, who was a brilliant, honest, and all-round amazing man, apparently saw a UFO near my Grandparent's farm. The most disturbing story though, is one that I only heard recently. A couple of years ago, during a Christmas family get-together, a family member (I won't say who exactly, in case she doesn't want to be pinned as cuckoo) told us a story about seeing an alien. She was young, maybe four or five, and she was playing outside by herself. She kicked something into a culvert, and when she went to look for it, she saw a figure hiding inside the culvert, on its belly, crouched with its arms bent out on either side. It saw her and made some kind of hissing noise, and she ran away crying. When she told her family what she had seen, she could only describe it as a "stick man", and was told that she had imagined something. It should be noted that this was well before aliens became a popular issue, she lived in a very rural area, and she had never seen any images of an alien. What she had seen stuck in her mind though, and years later, while wandering in a library with us kids, she saw the book "Communion: A True Story", and thought, that's my stick man.

Anyway, because I trust this person and know her to be honest, and also because she only just told us the story, I believe it in a unsettling kind of way. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.

So ya. ALIENS. Weird. And X-Files. Fun!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

not into the hoff, man



Last night while falling asleep I came to the satisfying realization that I don't like Philip Seymour Hoffman. I do like his films, however. Aside from soooo many bit parts (he was in Scent of a Woman???), I really liked him in The Big Lebowski (which was a bit part too I guess), and Punch Drunk Love (another small part). He was undeniably great in the bleak and depressing Capote as well.

I loooooooved Synecdoche, New York. It was easily my favorite film of the last few years. Total mindgasm. I love Charlie Kaufman. It was that film that made me not like the P.S. Hoff though. I got tired of his schtick really quickly, and felt that his part could have been played more successfully by various other actors (hell, even Nick Cage. Remember Adaptation? Part of why I loved that film was the left-field casting of him. He was perfect). What is Pshoff's schtick, you ask? It's the sad, bloated, red-faced, over-emotional, spazz-out, "complicated" dude that he seems to prefer playing these days. I get it, man. You can cry on a dime. I get that you are a "normal" pudgy actor with "abnormal" acting ranges. I can't help it that when I see you act the only image that comes to mind is a pig squealing. Harsh, I know.

If you don't believe me, watch Magnolia, Owning Mahowny, Doubt, and Synecdoche. Doubt was another major turn-off for me, since the dialogue basically consisted of him and Merryl Streep out-oscar-shouting each other. Annoying.

Anyway, just thought I'd get that off my chest. Also, we watched the weirdest Van Damme movie last night, JCVD. Van Damme plays himself as a pathetic "washed-up" actor who gets caught in the middle of a bank heist. The middle of the film pauses for a desperate and personal monologue by Van Damme, begging for understanding and compassion from the media and the public. It was a very weird viewing experience, and I still can't decide if I liked it or not. We were also eating McDonald's while watching it (we eat that stuff maybe once a year), and I've subconsciously linked the two things together now. Like, it was nice to settle-down into, and at first it seemed delicious, but then it kind of just tasted like cardboard, and then kind of like garbage, and afterwards I felt kind of satisfied, but also very conflicted, and kind of sick. I can't say the movie was exactly like that, but that was the unfortunate experience anyway.