It’s Ok to be a Fan

Recently I saw the following video about Whoopi Goldberg‘s reaction to an Autistic fan who thanked her for her work on Star Trek Next Generation as Guinan.  This role encouraged him to join a Star Trek fan club where he learned how to socialize with people and is now at a good job and happily married.  Just watch her reaction.

As you can see it is ok to be a fan.  Why? Because artists don’t always get to hear that their work was good, inspiring or meaningful.  Usually they hear it from friends and family which as well know can not mean as much.  So, when an artist or celebrity of any sort hears that you love their work, and how it has affected your life it is, well, everything you could have ever wished for.

My friend, Princess Bob, who recently met a member of Dead Gentlemen Productions, a production company that has a host of great films she loves.  She had me watch all the Gamers movies and the Demon Hunter movies.  I even got into playing the test game of the Demon Hunters RPG.  Princess Bob was afraid she was becoming a total fan girl and freaking out about the fact he would be at the convention.  But I told her she was fine.  She met him in the hall and they spoke like friends for several minutes before singing the theme song to Mystery Science Theatre 3000 together.  He was great and appreciative to really appreciate the support.

I only have a few recommendations for not being a creepy fan girl.

  • Try to to cry if you can help it
  • Attempt to talk in a normal cadence
  • Talk about your favorite work of their’s
  • Remember they are just another person but have done something you think is great
  • Ask before taking pictures
  • Thank them for their work and their time.

But these are my rules.  Do whatever you want because you are the fan and know the celebrity relatively well.  So, forget about acting cool around your favorite author, artists, director or random celebrity.  Be a fan and express yourself honestly.

Jonathan Coulton’s Filk

Jonathan Coulton is a musical genius. Not pushed by big corporations and so is still really honest. I admit I found him with his Baby Got Back cover but it opened a whole new world to me. I already had a thing for funny/humorous musicians like Barenaked Ladies so it was a great fit.

I love the songs like Code Monkey, Re: Your Brains, and of course Skullcrusher Mountain. As a marketing person I think it is amazing that you can listen to almost all his music before you buy it on his website. While writing this post I just realized he wrote a song called, “Red Shirt” for all the Trekkies.

For me I also took a year of American Sign Language and there is a guy named Capitan Valor who does sign songs. This means that he will translated music which deaf people don’t get much out of normally into ASL. But it can be complicated like sometimes you have to create a brand new sign. For instance this guy does sign language for Jonathan Coulton songs. He did one for Re: Your Brains where he made a sign for “Eat Your Brains” and it was amazing. Well, just check it out.

What is your favorite song?  Or maybe there is a filk singer I should know about.

Monty Python Reunion

One year I found Monty Python and that was it. I don’t eve know where it came from. but from then on I looked for the Flying Circus on cable reruns and watched the Holy Grail, well, religiously. I even got to see Spamalot which Eric Idle based on Holy Grail.

I even got a church group to play Life of Brian at a youth function. Yeah, that scene at the window stopped the party dead.

I taught myself the silly walk from the beginning of the sketch and did it down the hallway of my school. I even literally got the t-shirt of the Ministry of Silly Walks.

I downloaded songs from I’m a Lumberjack to just the audio for the Cheese Shop. To this day I still pick up Monty Python t-shirts when I can find them. I even have a request at a great t-shirt shop in Victoria, BC called Utopia because they once had a great Lumberjack shirt with the whole song written on the back.

Now I get to see them come back with a full blown Monty Python Flying Circus! They recently announced the reunion, sadly one short. But I can’t wait to see their new skits.

Do you have a favorite skit or song? I’d love to know.

Impossible vs. Possible

There is an interesting dichotomy in the geek world between the possible and the impossible. Many of us think that science can prove anything and if it can’t then it isn’t real. However, we read science fiction and fantasy novels that suggest things beyond our current understanding and accept them. We even try to make them happen. For instance, many people say that cellphones wouldn’t exist if Star Trek hadn’t had communicators on the show. People wanted that technology to exist and at the time the show was written cellphones were just a fictional idea. Every type of communication device needed to have a cord or work on a wire. Now we have computers that think and learn for themselves like Data and cellphones that can talk to people hundreds of miles away without being hooked up to a landlines.

But how to we imagine farther and not accept the impossible now? Many of the people I meet talk about liking ghost stories but then others dismiss that ghost aren’t real. How can you accept fantasy and assert that you can’t believe it unless you see it?

There are even major technology companies who are acknowledging that our world advances because of the imagination of others. Intel holds a science fiction writing contest that encourages people to think of what tomorrow will look like. It even askes people to address future issues writers wish to avoid. The contest is called The Tomorrow Project. The website says, “Science fiction gives all of us all a language so that we can have a conversation about the future and these conversations make dramatic changes.” But even they want fact based stories even though some of the point of fiction is to create the new rules.

Personally, I accept the idea that people have gut feelings about situations and issues in there life and trust them because they just do. They can’t explain it other than something bad would happen if I were there. However if that same person doesn’t go then nothing out of the ordinary happens. So, why can’t science explain this gut feeling? Because it isn’t advanced enough to understand the reasons behind bodily reactions to some natural situations. Now I know some of you will argue stress studies and psychology but I am talking about honest premonitions and psychic activity. We are still trying to figure out why some people can tell you there is a circle on a card and others can’t. Why someone would know that their child had a bad dream and others have no connection. Just like with the cellphone our science isn’t there yet.

Brian David Johnson is a Futurist at Intel. He gets to help them figure out what the future might actually look like. Not just white outfits and clean houses but rooms with clothes thrown around made with new fibers and recording devices in pens for students or TVs that access the internet without issue. I have had the honor of hearing this King among geeks speak at a conference. He was amazing in explaining futurecasting and how fiction brings the future into view. He gets to research society and piece together possibilities about the future that others may not have imagined. But even that couldn’t have been imagined before people discovered this research process.

So in my opinion you should never dismiss anything as impossible. At very least put it in the category of not defined or unexplained. Allow there to be some wonder in your world. Allow your children to be curious enough to discover these things.

You can be both

Over arching question of my adult life. Why can’t I be both? It is said I am like my grandfather who would look at options on a dinner table and say, “I’ll have a little of each.” People laugh at that story but it is true. We say you can’t have it all but in my life I have always wondered why? Why do I have to choose just one? I grew up being told, you can be anything you want in life. No one said you had to be just one thing but it was the ape in the room.

I can do Both jobs

In college I graduated with a degree in Advertising.  I took both creative and management classes because in advertising agencies you have people who design and others who arrange things with the clients.  So, I was educated in both.  However, when I was graduating from school I was told by many different professors to choose to either be a creative or management.  I disagreed.  Having also doubled majored so I knew the value in knowing both sides of the business.  Now I have worked in many different positions in both agencies and in the private businesses with my knowledge of both creative and management serving me equally well.

This experience has allowed me to have variety of jobs.  Not just doing one thing for many companies but I have worked in marketing, public relations, online media, and event planning.  Employers look at my resume now and are nervous that I have done too many things.  Something I never thought would happen.  But doesn’t that make me well-rounded?  I can do just about any communications job under the sun because of the crazy number of jobs and experiences I have had.  I truly have been lucky enough to do a little bit of each.  I have created forms so that a creative process is easier to track and I have written all the wording for entire websites.

Smart and Fat

When I was growing up in a small town I was the fat kid in my class.  I am sure you have heard the story if you read my first post.  But being the fat and unpopular girl in my class of 33 people was an issue.  There were only maybe 5 fat girls in my high school.  We were marginalized.  Some of us had learning disabilities and others just didn’t do sports like me.  So, it was assumed that because I was fat I was also stupid.  You have heard the sound of people’s voices when they make fun of you.  They make you sound dumb.

I fiercely refused to be that person.

I grew up in a family that watched History Channel, Discovery Channel and PBS every night.  We visited museums on vacations and my brother and I NEVER complained.  My mother tried to get me into a high math class because of my test scores but even the adults refused to move me up because I wasn’t the type.

I refuse to take it.

I took advance courses as quickly as I could.  I had an online Spanish class and took advanced English.  I read classics by choice like Siddhartha, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens.  I could explain Shakespeare to my fellow classmates and even outwitted a history teacher talking about the New York City draft riots portrayed in a history of the Gangs of New York documentary I had seen the day before.  I graduated with honors being ranked 3rd in my class.  I was the only person in that class to get early admissions into a major university.

I wanted to prove that you can be a plus size woman and smart.

You CAN be both

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t listen to what people say.  You can like Dr. Who and Torchwood.  You can create games and like football.  You can be a brony and be in the Marines.  I know that you can have both.  The thing you should know though is that having both also means that you may have to work twice as hard.  That is because people won’t understand your choices.  They will try to tell you how to be normal but all you have to be is yourself.

I’m Not a Video Gamer

So, yeah, I am not a geek who plays video games.  I played a little bit of Mario Brothers with my brother, and my boyfriend but still get upset.  I am nowhere near as good as the people I sit next to.  So, how am I suppose to keep up?  I am also not the type to play by myself after a frustrating day.  Doesn’t exactly help when I can’t figure out how to jump, use the awesome thing I just got or kill a goomba.

Part of me feels like less of a geek because of this.  The old definition is, plays video games, reads all scifi and fantasy, plays RPGs, etc.  But I can’t always deal with playing video games.  The only one I can play constantly is Super Smash Brothers.  That is because no one is trying to do anything together.  I can’t deal when someone kicks me off the screen but I can deal with it if I am fighting against you.

I guess that is why Heros of Might and Magic worked so well.  I needed someone to compete against.  I could conquer things and see where I had been and what I had won.  So, I could say I got something.  Same thing happens with Smash Bros. because you can see the loot you got or how many kills you got.  I need a little success in my life I guess.

Maybe I need someone to teach me how to play.  My brother may have tired but that was over 20 years ago now.  My friends and boyfriend kinda expect me to know how to play and when I ask how to play it is during combat.  Plus can anyone tell me where in the game there is a how to section so I can learn how to use the fricking controller?  I get tired of all the guess work and comparing it to a previous game in the system doesn’t help me one bit.

I don’t know if others have experienced this but when I play with a group of girls on Super Mario Bros or another corporative video game I seem to have a better time.  It seems that my girlfriends are more patient even if there is a time limit because we know that no one wins if just one of us makes it through most of the level.  But I find for boys that they just want to win and it doesn’t matter who gets to the end because everyone is happy about it in the end.

It could be due to my introverted nature but I always seemed to feel better about games like pinball rather than the video game consoles at the arcades.  I even had issues at an arcade party a friend had getting upset and needing to stop playing because I could feel the throwing the controller gamer rage.  But the only person who stopped me was my friend J-chan.  She slowed me down somehow.  I was a little peeved at the time but kept playing.  After a while I got the rules of the game and started to win.  I asked her if she was letting me and she wasn’t.

For me I really need a set of rules to start, a glossary or forum to look things up in and a friend who will help me calm down rather than throw my controller at the screen or leave in a huff.

My Little Ponies

Another fandom that I didn’t ask for but was forcibly introduced to. My friends, Princess Bob and J-chan had watched the new version of My Little Ponies and thought I would like it. They knew I had watched Fruit Baskets and thought it had the same cuteness. I didn’t agree. But mostly because I didn’t remember the original series from my childhood. I remember playing with them but not any sort of obsession.

So, one night we were having a girls night and decided to pull it up on my Netflix. I was reluctant but soon got pulled into the storyline. There was something about the intense introverted nature of Twilight Sparkle that I identified with. Or maybe it was that the story lines felt really true to life. Or perhaps it was just to cute.

I remember having that moment when I was a kid dropped off at camp or as a young adult at college thinking, “I have to make friends? How? Why me? Can’t I hide here till it’s over?”  But as I watched the show more I felt much more affection for Pinkie Pie mostly because I love being the crazy one among my friends.  However, there are moments where we all feel like the each of the characters.  Shopping we can all be come a little Rarity.  At work we have a little bit of Apple Jack.  Camping a little Fluttershy.  Playing a game totally Rainbow Dash and obviously Pinkie Pie is the party animal.  While Twilight Sparkle tends to be the mother-like figure that brings everyone together.

I noticed with time that I got excited every time I saw My Little Ponies stuff.  Plushies, figurines, even cupcakes.  I just added a t-shirt to my wish list from Steve Jackson Games’ Munchkin Apocalypse.  I didn’t want it because I like the Apocalypse version of Munchkin but because I love the Four Horsies of the Apocalypse resembling My Little Ponies.  Two of my great geekdoms in one shirt.  I actually skwee’d when I saw it!

Later Princess Bob, J-chan and I went to the trouble of seeing the My Little Ponies movie in theatres.  It wasn’t showing many places but we were lucky it was close.  So, yes we went to see it in the afternoon on opening weekend.  We also enjoyed every minute of it.

Recently I even created a Demon Hunters character that had a trait where he treated My Little Ponies like a religion.  He also has a signature shirt that is always some sort of My Little Ponies shirt.  Finally, the campaign ended up taking place in the middle of a My Little Ponies convention.  It is an amazing game.  The character is also a former solider so it makes it more fun for me to be manly and love My Little Poneis and friendship while the rest of the Demon Hunters crew is very cynical.

I also played a great game at GameStorm where someone had turned figurines from the show into characters for a miniatures game of Fallout.  He called it Fallout Equestria.  It was amazing.  It was post apocalyptic and just as deadly as any other miniatures game I’ve seen.  However, being my first miniatures game I did die pretty fast but that won’t stop me from trying again I guess.

So, I guess you could say that My Little Ponies is like a cup of coffee.  It is a small pick me up after a long hard or stressful day.  I really think people should treat it more like watching old Disney movies because there are really jokes for adults and not just kids all the time.

What childish think did you give a try?  Do you have a guilty pleasure in Young Adult books or Saturday Morning Cartoons?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.