Comic Con 2014 – Nerd So Hard

 

The Doctor and Amy Pond - Ready for Comic Con!

The Doctor and Amy Pond – Ready for Comic Con!

Comic Con 2014 was a great year (except for the extreme heat and lack of Doctor Who). I was able to visit the Gaslamp on Saturday and experience all of the freebies that Comic Con has to offer, which is increasing every year. Little Brother and I were able to meet celebrities, watch obstacle courses and see tons and tons of awesome cosplayers – all without purchasing an outrageously overpriced badge. While a badge can get you to amazing panels and really cool/geeky merchandise, many comic con goers have said that the outside offerings are just as epic.

This year’s downtown activities included the usual Adult Swim entertainment center, The Walking Dead Escape obstacle course (done by The Husband when it started two years ago), an expanded Behind the Convention area and a glorious Nerd Head Quarters that brought some of that interior excitement out to us commoners. One full day of gallivanting around allowed me to create a best and worst of this year’s Comic Con (that I was able to experience).

You’re The Best…Around

  1. Panels and Autographs – For FREE! (sometimes)
    So close, and still...so far

    So close, and still…so far

    Little Brother is a HUGE Walking Dead Head. While we didn’t get into San Diego until about 1:00AM the night before, he insisted that we leave for Comic Con no later than 8:45AM to try and squeeze our way into Nerd HQ’s Walking Dead panel. While we didn’t make it (and he has not let me forget), this offering was one of the best around. I did make up for it by rushing him over to the costume contest being judged by Norman Reedus.

    We also had the awesome pleasure of meeting and grabbing the autographs of the cast of Workaholics.  It was completely free, and we stood in line for about an hour, but it gave us a chance to people watch and get some awesome pictures of costumes.  Little Brother is also a big Workaholics fan, so he was wiggin’ out while in line and had the biggest grin when we got our autographs!

  2. Let’s Get PhysicalDSC00985Zombies, Assassin’s Creed, Batman, Godzilla, Adventure Time, Comedy Central Laser Tag…take your pick! The space outside allowed marketers to dream big, and indeed they went big. The yearly Walking Dead Escape obstacle course in Petco Park has adjusted to start at dusk and run into the night. The team promoting Assassin’s Creed went all out by allowing wanna-be Assassins to run from rooftop to rooftop, dodge cannon balls and make a leap of faith from a tower. Bonus: Most Assassin cosplayers costumes were too bulky to allow them to do the course successfully. They spent most of the time falling onto the pads below. I think this is secretly why they created it.

     

  3. Photo Ops!DSC00976DSC00972

    I could not believe how many opportunities there were this year to take amazing pictures. Marketers took full advantage of Instagram and hashtaging, allowing attendees to post their pictures and immediately to be featured on giant screens rotating with others who have hashtagged their photos. It was a great way to interact and see who else has taken their photo that day. And who doesn’t want a selfie as a building climbing superhero?

There are worse things I could do…

  1. Annual Zombie Walk OrganizationDSC01055There was an unfortunate accident at this year’s annual Zombie Walk through downtown, which ended the walk early for our party. One person was rushed to the hospital, and the culprit was caught immediately. I strongly feel that this accident could have been avoided with some better coordination and organization to ensure the entire zombie parade was looked after, not just the first three quarters of it.
  2. Into the Mist
    So much nerd sweat

    So much nerd sweat

    It was hot at Comic Con. REALLY hot. I could only imagine how those cosplayers in leather, jackets, masks and layers of plastic were drenched in sweat by the end of the day. A very helpful and lovely addition to many of these outdoor exhibits would be to install a misting system. Cooling off those waiting in lines will not only keep the attendees from overheating, it will also help keep tempers down in this very crowded event. Although I will admit, who wouldn’t want to see a Green Power Ranger try to take on Batman out of heat rage?

 

Bonus Best: The Old Spice Robot and their SWAG

A sarcastic robot heckling everyone (“Hey there, Banana Man. I see you, Banana Man. Why won’t you come talk to me, Banana Man?”), paired with several women handing out travel sized Old Spice Deodorant made for the best SWAG there. They brought this Comic Con crowd what they needed most – deodorant. I’ve never seen so many women grab these to give to their sweating, overheating significant others so fast. It made Comic Con better for everyone.

Blue skadoo, we can too!

Blue skadoo, we can too!

How You Met My Rage

Dear HIMYM Sorry Excuses for Writers,

If I wanted to have a penis slapped in my face, I would’ve gone to Thunder from Down Under.  This final episode was everything that most of the internet didn’t want it to be – about Robin.  For a show titled “How I Met Your Mother”, it’s messed up that the episode spent 80% of the episode focusing on Robin and 15% on the Mother (the other 5% was about Lily’s awkward Moby Dick costume).  Because you make Robin sad, does that make it ok for Ted to go back to Robin in the end?  I’ve watched cereal commercials with more emotional depth than this episode.

I understand that the show is about big moments and growing up, but the finale went back on it all.  After spending 63 painful episodes dragging out Barney and Robin’s wedding, their 15 minute marriage stomped on everything.  It was going to be how even those who don’t want to grow up (both Robin and Barney) can grow up in their own way.   Not in the Ted and Mother way, not in the Marshall and Lily way, but in their own unique way.  In a way that wasn’t mindnumbingly stupid and pointless, which is what it ended up being.  Apparently you spent the 9th season baking up a lovely batch of “f- you”.

I also noticed that a very unflattering point was that you cannot be happy unless you have children.  Lily and Marshall ended up with 3 children.  Barney was super depressed and was only happy once he had a baby girl.  Ted and the Mother had 2 kids and were happy – although I have to assume this because we only saw the Mother for 5 FREAKING MINUTES.  Poor single and lonely Robin was left to die in the world alone, surrounded by her dogs.  Screw you, Writers.  Families come in all shapes and sizes, and not every family wants, needs or has children.

It’s exhausting being this angry, but thank God for the internet.  Someone out there who actually understood the audience for this entire freaking show put together the right ending.

http://www.brobible.com/entertainment/article/met-mother-ended/

It’s beautiful, lovely, short and sums up everything we’ve been hoping for.  There’s no “it’s ok to go bang Aunt Robin…again.”  No stupid looking 50 year old Ted grinning with a damn blue french horn in his hand.  Nothing that will make you want to punch a hole in your television.  Do yourself a favor and watch the real ending to a (formerly) great TV show.

Also, did something happen to Bob Saget?

 

 

4 Problems I Have with Social Swing Dancing

When I’m not watching movies with the Husband, Skyping with Jen, watching American Horror Story or reblogging Disney photos on my Tumblr (sarcasmismyotherlanguage.tumblr.com, in case you’re wondering), I’m often swing dancing. I love the big band music, the style and the fun it brings. However, there are a few things I do have an issue with when I slip on my Keds and hit the dance floor…

One of my signature dance moves.

One of my signature dance moves.

1. Skirts that twirl a little too high
This one’s for the ladies who love to strut that vintage style at swing dances. I myself like to slip on an A-line skirt and some red lipstick every once in a while. If there’s one thing I hate it’s when I forget to do a “spin test” before heading out the door – where you spin in your room in front of a mirror to make sure you’re not showing off your underwear as well as your dancing skills. This is more of a personal issue because those vintage skirts are just so damn cute!

Short skirt

2. Dancers that take swing dancing way too seriously

Swing dancing is supposed to be three things – fun, social and easy going. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s dancers who can’t take it when their follower misses a step. An eye roll, a heavy sign, an overcorrection, the stern silent treatment – all of it. Don’t do it. Dude, calm yo tits. Mistakes happen in all dances, and the best kind of dancers are the ones that know how to laugh and still make it look good.

serious

And Followers, don’t think you’re getting out of this one. I have seen my fair share of Followers who are guilty of the eye roll or impatient correction with a Leader who is learning. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing this for 2 months or 6 years, don’t be a douche bag.

judging you

3. Judgmental and rude dancers

I did swing dancing in NYC for about 4 years, stopped for 3 years while the Husband and I moved around with the Navy, and have been hesitant to get into the Southern California swing scene. The biggest reason why? Judgmental and rude dancers. The cliques of dancers that hang out in the corner and only dance with each other. When you do ask one of them to dance, they make you feel like they’re doing you a favor. They won’t speak to you during or after the dance. Once it’s over, they rush back to their group without much more then a “thanks.”

sit with us
The worst isn’t even trying to ask one of them to dance – it’s the hate and judgment those sitting on the side point out about everyone else. Why are you trash talking about other dancers? That’s just mean and hurtful, and discourages newbies from wanting to learn. I noticed that it tends to be those who have been dancing for a while, which is a big reason why I prefer dancing with those who are new to the swing scene. Just be a nice person, and don’t hate on anyone.

done talking to you

4. The Creeper

Every dance has one. The one guy (or girl) who thinks it’s ok to be hands-y and a little too close because you’re dancing together. I danced with one guy who spun me around and lead my hands to go around his neck – fuck no. It was disgusting and I immediately stopped dancing with him, told him that was not swing dancing, was completely inappropriate, and walked away. Don’t be afraid to tell someone off for trying to take advantage of dancing. Swing dancing is a great way to express yourself, but you should never feel uncomfortable while dancing with a partner.

the creep

The point I’m trying to make – just don’t be an asshole.

rainbow cake

This fellow blogger also shares some of my issues with swing dancing, and expresses some valid points. Check out his article here.

Pretty Little Liars Season 4B – Shadow Play

I’ve been very bad about updating after Pretty Little Liars episodes, mostly because I’ve been quite busy and lazy.  I will be better about that!  After a slow start, this season has certainly picked up delivering two absolutely fantastic episodes, but none compare to Tuesday’s delightful “Shadow Play.”  Spencer’s adderall addled brain produced an exquisite fever dream, pitch-perfect in tone and gorgeous to look at.  Anyway, enough of my apologies and fangirling.  Here are some other thoughts I had about the episode.  (All images from Pretty Little Liars Wikia)

  • All of these girls have the perfect faces for this genre.  Let’s just make all episodes like this.  I’d watch the shit out of that

  •  But seriously there were so many beautiful shots in this episode, let’s incorporate that film noir feel more intensely in the regular episodes.

  • Paige certainly drew the wardrobe/styling short stick this week.  I guess they were going for “spinster” school teacher?

  • Speaking of Paily, since this episode takes place in Spencer’s head, does that mean she imagines Emily and Paige doing it?  Weird.

  • No matter how creepy Ezra is, he will never be a better A than Mona.

  • Can Aria be any more pretentious naïve or annoying?  I don’t think she can.  Also, I’m pretty sure she clashed even in black and white.

  • Toby had some of the best lines this episode, but I’m okay with losing him for the rest of the season, especially if that means we don’t have to deal with his dead mom storyline anymore.

Looking forward to next week’s episode, though I will miss the noir feel.  My one desire for the rest of the season -let’s get Ezra figured out and defeated.  A is like a hydra, when you lop one head off two will grow in its place.  Defeating Ezra will be a nice reminder for the girls that 1. Everyone is a suspect and 2. They are never safe.  Make it happen, Marlene!

Questions from Pretty Little Liars Season 4B Episode 1

Today we celebrate the return of one of my favorite guilty pleasures – Pretty Little Liars.  While the episode was scattered at best and not really up to the usual standards, it was a thousand times better than all five (or was it six) episodes of Ravenswood.  Here are a few questions I had.  Spoilers below for anyone who is not caught up.

  • Considering the Halloween episode was basically just a poor written backdoor pilot for Ravenswood (except for one major reveal), doesn’t the last episode seem like forever ago?
  • Exactly how much time has past?  If we are using Ravenswood (and Caleb’s return) as a barometer then I would say about a week to a week and a half.  What have the girls been doing in that time?  Did they not discuss Allison’s return until now.
  • What is Aria wearing?  I mean just in life it’s pretty bad, but these weird red and black pants seem worse than usual.
  • Did Ezra need to be quite so shady all the time?  I LOVE that Ezra is A (don’t go back on that one, Marlene!) and I love the little things that they add in to highlight this (the Jekyll and Hyde lesson and the highlighted Evil Under the Sun book cover spring to mind), but dude needs to stop acting so shady all the time.  That was the fun of him being A.  He was this perfect guy and then all of a sudden you’re blindsided by this intense evil.  They dialed it back a bit by the end of the episode, but the music certainly wasn’t doing him any favors.  Making Ezra just be Ezra will make those moments where he shows his true face (like in the confrontation with Mona) even more powerful.
  • Speaking of Mona, I know the hashtag ABCFamily was pushing was #MonaKnows, but does she really?  If so, what does she know?  Also, how does she know it?  Why doesn’t she know it until now?  What was her endgame in confronting Ezra?  Lots of questions that will hopefully be answered soon.
  • Didn’t Mrs. DiLaurentis say last season that Jason was restoring his Grandmother’s house in North (or maybe South) Carolina?  Is he done?  Why is he on a road trip now?
  • Why is Spencer’s dad so into shutting down Radley? Spencer did not seem so into the idea.
  • Why is Toby’s hair so puffy?  And when did I start kind of hating Spoby?  Move on Spencer, you can do better.
  • Why does Caleb have to be so shady about Ravenswood?  Why couldn’t he just say, “Hey, Hanna, it seems I have some deep family roots in Ravenswood and you know how I grew up a foster kid so I am really interested in family now that I know mine and really want to check this out.  It might be a little while and you need to be there for your mom since she just got out of jail and all, but we’ll totally skype and it’s a short trip so I can visit sometimes, but I love you and am absolutely not cheating on you with the annoying runaway girl.”?
  • Was there like a weird club of narcissistic blondes?  Seems this new Sara girl is right in the vein of Allison and Cece?  Are there more?  Do they meet and trade notes on how to be the bitchiest?
  • Was it really necessary to make Sara’s story almost exactly like Allison’s?  I think your audience can draw parallels without having Hanna and Emily sitting across from fakeHanna and fakeEmily.

2014 Resolutions, or Things I’m Motivated To Do For About A Month

Jen and I have ended 2013 being extremely busy and grateful for a wild year. Jen is currently cavorting around Walt Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (so much nerd jealousy), so I’ve taken it upon myself to post some resolutions.

1. Visit Jen in New Orleans

This amount of fabulous can only happen once a year.  Maybe twice.

This amount of fabulous can only happen once a year. Maybe twice.

Jen was able to come out to California and wreck havoc all across SoCal. Now it’s my turn to try and keep up with her New Orleanian liver.

2. Be more organized

Probably won't make it too far.

Probably won’t make it too far.

I’ve got a calendar for my personal stuff, work stuff, bills stuff, blog stuff and dinner stuff. Let’s see how well I can maintain them.

3. Read more books

Just some light reading.

Just some light reading.

As of 1/1/2014, I want to read – Gone Girl (by Gillian Flynn), The Flying Greek (by Col. Steve Pisanos), The Song of the Quarkbeast (by Jasper Fford), The Eye of Zoltar (by Jasper Fford), The Kingdom Keepers (by Ridley Pearson), A Casual Vacancy (by JK Rowling)…and that’s just for January!

4. Visit Walt Disney World and freak out over the new Fantasyland

Excited asian children

Jen has been sending me pictures of new Fantasyland, and I’m trying my hardest to teleport myself over there. There is a Rapunzel themed bathroom. I need to go.

5. Get back into swing dancing

awkward-danceDid it for 4 years while living in NYC. I think it’s time to get back into doing swing. It also helps that Disneyland offers swing dancing every Friday and Saturday evening. Just sayin’.

6.  Try to make it through Saving Mr. Banks without crying.

crying

Yes, it’ll probably take me all of 2014 to be able to watch it with a minimal amount of Kleenex.  I’ve seen it twice now, and I cried more the second time than I did the first.

Parks & Rec going on hiatus…NBC is the worst.

So apparently amid the scheduling changes announced late last Friday, NBC somewhat slyly added that one of the best shows on television/only surviving Thursday night comedy from last year Parks & Recreation will be going on hiatus effective immediately.  Vulture’s theory is that NBC is trying to drive more viewers to it’s 9pm choke-fest Sean Saves the World by putting special programming that they expect to do better in the 8pm hour.

This is likely true, but I just don’t get it, NBC.  You have critically-lauded comedies with devoted (though small) audiences that you unceremoniously sacrifice to whatever TV god you worship in favor of total crap.  Last year I watched eight shows on NBC, while Parks and Rec is on hiatus that number will be reduced to one.  And, honestly, depending on the premiere of Grimm (the only surviving NBC show that I watch) that number may soon be zero.

I was sad when they ended The Office and 30 Rock, disappointed when they cancelled Go On and The New Normal, but I’ll be angry if they cancel Parks & Rec.  I’m watching you, NBC.

Let It Glee – Season 5 – Episodes 1 & 2

I must admit that I wasn’t a Gleek from the beginning.  When I first heard the concept for the show I was sure it wouldn’t sustain itself beyond Season 2.  I was confused by the pilot, finding it difficult to figure out who I was supposed to be rooting for.  (It doesn’t help that I really don’t care for Lea Michele or Matthew Morrison.)  By the end of Season 1, I was done.  Convinced that I would never care about the show, I wrote it off completely, not even bothering to DVR it and pretend I was going to watch it later.  However, somewhere around the third season a friend explained his theory that Glee was so ridiculous, because it was a heightened version of reality, a campy satire.  I don’t know why this had never occurred to me before (my wife says it’s because I don’t listen to her), but that, combined with the top notch Adele mash up, got me to give the show another chance, and I was hooked.

Once I became a Gleek, I was all in.  I devoured Season 2 and 3, watching episodes three or four times.  I received all three volumes of Glee Karaoke as a Christmas present and used them on a regular basis.  I was not shy about my intense love for the show, giddily recounting jokes and sending videos of performances to my friends.  Season 3 was a bit rocky, but I didn’t care.  I loved every second of it and craved more.  Unfortunately, rough doesn’t even begin to describe Season 4. The quality of the writing had declined steeply, and I was hesitant about Season 5.  A lot of my friends had stopped watching and, quite frankly, I watch way too much TV to waste my time on shows I don’t actually enjoy.  I refrained from broadcasting an opinion until after the first two episodes, because I felt that they seemed like a two-parter, and I wanted to give the show a chance.

I am very glad I did.

I found the season premiere “Love, Love, Love” terrible.  I almost thought I had made a horrible mistake committing to another season, but “Tina in the Sky with Diamonds” proved that Glee still has it.  While this season will likely be hit or miss, I am really looking forward to seeing what’s in store.

Things That Work


  • HummelPezBerry Friendship

This was a big part of what was missing in Season 4.  Firstly, they took half a season to get Santana to New York.  Then, once she got there, they spent way too much time having the three of them fight.  One of the best things about living in New York is forming your own little family of friends.  I’m hoping they really explore that this season.

Evidently their pot dealer is amazing.

  • Dantana

I am a Santana fan, so there is a pretty good possibility I would ship her with anybody, but I thought that Naya Rivera and Demi Lovato were super adorable and had some palpable chemistry.  I know a lot of Brittana fans were unhappy, because of Santana’s comments about Brittany straying for ween (grossed myself out there), but I think it was just the Glee writers misguidedly trying to give us what they thought we wanted.  The lesbian community was up in arms when Brittany called us out in relation to Bram last year, now we’re mad that Santana is weary about dating another bisexual girl.  I’m not bi-phobic, but considering Brittany originally refused to get together with Santana because of Bartie then within a week of breaking up became Bram, I can understand how Santana feels a little less than.  They’ve never handled the lesbian love stories well, but I have hope for this one.  Even if Demi Lovato is only contracted for six episodes.

Adorable, but this is TV so one of you is going to end up dead or pregnant by season’s end.

  • Santana’s Commercial

Everything about this was perfect.

  • Bree

Please, please, please don’t try to redeem her, Glee writers.  Keep her bitchy and perfect.

I’ll punch Kitty in the face!!

  • Sue as Principal

They needed to do something different with Sue, and this was the perfect solution.  Her write off last year was awkward, and I’m happy to put that behind us, but have we forgotten that she has a baby?  Also, BRING BACK BECKY!

A beautiful, golden haired monster.

  • Prom Carrie Parody

They really knocked this one out of the park.  The only thing I wish they would have done differently was somehow take it further and play on Carrie’s telekinetic powers.  Alas, Tina just sadly limps off the stage then is somehow revitalized by Blaine’s wide-mouthed rendition of Hey Jude and a rather unattractive dress that magically changes sizes like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

This is her best look yet!

Things That Don’t


  • Sam/Nurse Romance

Don’t care. Next.

I couldn’t find a gif, because gifs can’t support the size of Sam’s mouth.

  • Klaine Engagement

Didn’t we do teen engagement two seasons ago?  Also, weren’t they broken up a hot second ago?  A couple can be endgame without getting them engaged before they’re 20!  Also, public engagements are the worst.  The only way they can redeem this storyline is to ignore it and then let a real proposal happen naturally.

Yeah that’s a great way to start an engagement.

  • Funny Girl Storyline/Rachel as Fanny

I literally cringed during the Hard Day’s Night sequence.  Yes, let’s confront the lead actor and director of the show at our place of employment.  What a great way to prove that you’re mature enough for a role.  Also, no producer in their right mind would put a 19-year-old college freshman in the lead role of a multi-million dollar production.  If I were writing the show I would have made Rachel the understudy and cast Sutton Foster as a super bitchy diva version of herself.  Then later you could have a Shirley MacLaine moment where the understudy takes over the lead role at the last minute and becomes a star.  That’s a better story, and you could have had so much more fun.  The only reason I’m at least a little forgiving of this is because they needed to give Rachel a win before the devastating blow that will be Finn’s death.  Not looking forward to that.

Of course you did. Ugh.

  • Kartie Songs

Not a fan of them, at all.  They don’t have any chemistry and do not blend well.  Let’s keep them both away from the Beatles please. Thank you.

Going in circles is not making me as sick as this song. Also, Kitty that is not the proper way to ride in a bumper car.

  • Tina the Human Punching Bag

What personality will Tina show up with today?  Who knows, but we do know that she will be taught a very important lesson!  However, her half performance of Revolution, where she was cut off by the bell, was simply priceless.  Also, in what universe would she be nominated for prom queen?

Or be some other girl. We don’t know, we’ve lost track of your personalities.

  • Lima/New York Psychic Connection/InstaTube Transportation

Dear Glee Writers, I hate hate hate when you do a final song that through some weird psychic connection they are singing in both New York and Lima.  Let just New York end a show for once.  I promise it won’t kill you.  Also, it’s a 9 hour drive to New York from Lima and the closest airport is an hour and a half away (assuming Columbia is closest, correct me if I’m wrong).  Stop making them instantly travel between the two!  Let’s make the New Yorkers’ trips to Lima special, like for Christmas or Finn’s funeral.  Otherwise keep the New Yorkers in New York!

If you squint you can see the time vortex.

To Sum It Up

5 Things Nerd Block Could Do To Get My Money

nerd block logo
If you are a girl, or know a girl, there is a high probability that she is receiving a monthly box. No, not her period. An actual box filled with various goodies according to which subscription she has – maybe it’s gluten free snack, make up samples or even pet products for that rat she calls her dog (if it fits in your purse, it’s a rat.) Now one company has decided to jump on this monthly subscription train with Nerd Block – a box full of nerdy goodies that comes monthly. Nerds are big right now – between Heroes of Cosplay, San Diego Comic Con and Fangasm – why not tap into that market? Au contrair, my friend. It is not so easy to sway the nerd crowd into purchasing your box of mysteries. Being a nerd myself, I understand the lure of this untapped monthly subscription mass. However, I will not be forking over my hard earned nerd cash for one of these tubs o’ fun. Why?

1. There are WAY too many fandoms

The list of things people nerd out about is endless – Avengers, Battlestar Galactica, Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Continuum, Disney, Doctor Who, Firefly, Fringe, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman, The Walking Dead…the list goes on. Some Star Wars fans also love The Game of Thrones. Some don’t. Some nerds only love three of those things, and don’t care for anything else. It’s very hard to make broad statements about nerds.

Except that they are socially awkward.  That's absolutely true.

Except that they are socially awkward. That’s absolutely true.

Even attempting to place “things that nerds like” in a box is quite a task. My brother is a Lord of the Rings nerd.  I am a Disney, Doctor Who and Breaking Bad nerd. Any type, shape or form of those categories would be welcome into my home with glee and delight. Anything outside of those realms, I could not give two shits about.

Sorry Fringe.

Sorry Fringe.

The point is that many nerds would feel angry and jipped if “their” fandom was not included in their monthly box. Why would I pay money for a box full of Star Trek themed crap when my nerd heart only beats for Star Wars?  How dare they try to group me with those lame-os! Simple solution – allow the nerds to pick their categories of what they’d like to receive. I may be a nerd, but mama knows what she likes.

2. Let me know what’s in the box…kind of.

Here’s another fact about nerds – we don’t like to be surprised. Especially when it comes to things we nerd out about.  I mean, character deaths and plot twists are one thing.  What would Doctor Who be if all of the companions didn’t meet some type of horrible, but acceptable end?  Would Firefly nerds have the same passion if the show wasn’t canceled so early? Nerds, while they may throw a fit, can handle surprises within their respective fandom realms. But nerds are careful about who, what and how they collect.

gollum

I’m not saying “Tell us exactly what’s inside!”  I mean, give me an outline of what to expect.  Will a t-shirt be included in every box?  Is it going to just be figurines?  Are there any comics in there?  Give me an outline – each box contains 1 figurine, 1 t-shirt, 1 specialty item and 1 surprise.  That’s not so hard!  If the box is going to be 6 figures from the Big Bang Theory, and that’s it, I feel like Nerd Box just gave me and my fandom a giant middle finger.

Bazinga!

Bazinga!

3. Don’t put as much crap in the box.

This goes along with point #1 – don’t try to overwhelm me with goodies with something from multiple fandoms.  There are way too many TV Shows, movies and comic book characters to try and pick from a few.  Just because it fits in the box doesn’t mean the nerd crowd wants it.  The company seems to be going in the direction of trying to please every nerd, which is both impossible and kinda sad.

Oh look, you're trying.

Oh look, you’re trying.

In the words of Ron Swanson, “don’t half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.”  Don’t cheapen the box by putting in a shit ton of collectable cards and cheap mini plastic figures.  Go for quality, not quantity.  Nerds will know the difference in the details of shit you wouldn’t think of.

Psh, obviously the phasers are set to stun.

Psh, obviously the phasers are set to stun.

4. Focus the box into themes

I love Disney. The only thing I love more than Disney is Disney themed for a holiday. Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Saint Patrick’s Day, you name it, I probably have the matching refillable mug from Disneyland. It’s a chance for my favorite characters to play dress up. And because Disney is a money making machine, they have tons of merch to go with it.

I told you so.

I told you so.

Nerd Block should take note – theme their boxes for the major holidays, premiers and events. Gearing up for Halloween? New Avengers movie releasing? Doctor Who 50th Anniversary coming up? They have numerous themes to pick from that can step up the box’s quality. It gives the box direction and focus, showing the care and love they are attempting to package.

5. Get better shit.

Plain and simple. Don’t give me a comic book that’s only 3 pages. Don’t try to pass off some hideous SWAG as a special prize in the box. Nerds are collectors, and if you give us some grade A collectable thing that actually has some value, we will love you forever. Try to trick us with cheap items and flashy stickers, we will hunt you down and make you hurt.

Hurt you the only way we know how.

Hurt you the only way we know how.

Considering the average inventory at your local comic book store, there is a variety of items to pick from. And with the popularity of Comic Conventions on the rise, more and more people are making their own merchandise that features their favorite characters in unique ways. Simply combing through Etsy brings up numerous stores featuring custom screen printed shirts, tote bags, hair bows, shoes, socks and even dinnerware tailor made to feed the nerdy need to have Doctor Who wine glasses.

Which I totally want.

Which I totally want.

Nerd Block is a great opportunity to provide those with their own stores a chance to reach a massive crowd. If Nerd Block is truly for the nerds, they should include some underground merchandise as well as the commercial stuff. It’s a great way to market to a new audience…without having to talk to people.

MmmBop – Hanson at the New Orleans House of Blues

Last Thursday, my wife and I headed out to House of Blues with our friend Natalie to fulfill the deepest desire of my 11-year-old self and see Hanson live in concert.  Here are a few things I learned along the way.

1. Hanson is legit and my love for them is justified.

Before attending the concert, I joked that the 11-year-old version of me was super excited, but my 27-year-old self was meh.  This was probably true until the first song.  Immediately, 27-year-old me was super stoked to sing along at the top of my lungs, haters be damned.

I distinctly remember watching VH1’s I Love the 90’s and seeing Anthrax’s Scott Ian refuse to make fun of Hanson, because they played their own instruments and wrote their own songs.  It’s true; Hanson is legit.  Middle of Nowhere was their THIRD studio album and they haven’t really slowed down since then releasing eight more albums (including their Christmas album).  You can say Middle of Nowhere sounds like it was written by young teenagers, but the fact is it was.  And sure some of the lyrics are corny, but the music is just as catchy as it was 16 years ago.  Their stuff has matured a bit since then, but there was nothing like the energy when they sang those original songs.

2. Their hair has gotten better.

Probably their most defining feature in the 90’s was their long blonde hair.  They looked a bit like girls, but we loved them anyway.

Except for when Zac got braids. No one loved that.

All are now mature men (with multiple children each) and have nicely styled haircuts.  However, the best hair on stage is not a Hanson brother at all, but the unrelated bass player.  He had a huge amount of hair that looked like the love child of River Song and Bozo the Clown.  It’s amazing.

Can’t remember his name or find a picture of him so here’s one of River Song’s luxurious locks.

3. They switch instruments!

At one point they came back from a break and Taylor got on the drums, while Zac sat down at the keyboard.  I thought they were just messing around, but much to my surprise they were actually just as talented as on their original instruments.  Sadly, Isaac didn’t get in on the fun, preferring to stick to the guitar.

4. They dress like hipsters.

I was astounded by the sheer number of vests on the stage.  They most definitely now dress like hipsters, which is much better than some of their 90’s outfits.  Also, Taylor got super sweaty probably because of his 17 layers. At one point he flipped his hair and there was an intense spray of sweat.  Disgusting.

I mean pretty much anything is better than that suit, Taylor.

5. Opening acts should be limited to 30 minutes.

This probably ties into the next two entries, but the bottom line is opening acts should be limited to 30 minutes.  Paul MacDonald opened for Hanson and I only know his name because I just looked it up.  We referred to him as Old McDonald while he was singing and after, because we didn’t know who the heck he was.  In my personal opinion, he should have sung some covers mixed with his original stuff. People on a whole are not there to see the opening act, I don’t think anyone knew a Paul MacDonald song much less his “old classics”.  At almost an hour his set was way too long and I think he could feel that he had lost the audience.

Apparently he came in 8th on Season 107 of American Idol.

6. I’m old.

I fully admit that number 5 may have been influenced by this one, as are a couple below, but turns out I’m old.  I was super disappointed the concert was starting at 9:15 (actual start around 9:30).  I thought for sure that the show was at 7:00.  Turns out that’s when they open the doors.  Don’t they know I have work in the morning?!  It’s a Thursday.

7. I should have paid double for the seated tickets.

This sort of goes hand in hand with the above, but we got there around 6:30 and stood until the end of the concert around 11:30.  While I was fine, I probably should have paid the extra money to relax a bit more.  Luckily, I was able to go right to bed when I got home.

8. General Admission is best for people with no concept of personal space.

Being a GA concert in New Orleans, we were surrounded by a lot of drunk people.  Most people were there around 7:00, the bar was easily accessible and the drinks were cheap.  In our immediate vicinity there were three particularly annoying people.  First, there was Hair, a tall skinny 20-year-old in a tank top with incredibly long straight hair that she likely hadn’t washed in at least three days.  What made her annoying was her insistence on flipping it on first me then my wife.  Firstly, it’s a concert, it’s hot, wear your hair in a ponytail.  Secondly, if you decide not to wear your hair in a ponytail then at least be aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t constantly touching people with your nasty-ass hair.  Thirdly, she had a tattoo on her shoulder blade that read, “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

Next, there was Jesus Girl.  She was in front of us in line and I knew from the get go that she was going to be a problem.  As we were waiting to go in, she downed two hand grenades and then giggled to her friend that she was so drunk.  Well, of course you are little Jesus Girl, you just downed two of New Orleans’ strongest drinks.  Despite the fact that she had seen Hanson in several venues across the country, she failed to pick up her ticket at Will Call, holding up the line as she argued with the ticket taker about not having a ticket.  Luckily for her, her friend did have a ticket and was able to go in and find them a spot while she went to pick hers up  Unfortunately for us, that spot was right behind us.  As we were waiting for Hanson to come on she kept talking loudly about how she had been to see Hanson several times, but had never really seen them because she was so short.  All the while making awkward eye contact with me.  The band came on and she immediately began freaking out – crying and throwing her hand in the air as if praising the Lord.  Obviously, she was so into praising Hanson with her gospel hand that she didn’t notice the fact that she was continually hitting us in the head.  About three songs in, I came up with the genius idea to invite her to get in front of us directly behind Hair.  For the four songs that she stayed there, it was glorious.  At one point she actually put her hand on Hair’s head and just left it there.  I’ve never seen a person so blissfully entranced that she could actually leave her hand on a stranger’s head for half a song without realizing it.  Sadly, my plan’s tragic flaw was her devotion to the friend she came with.  She kept turning around and reaching for her friend, who you may remember was behind us.  Her friend was taller than my wife and, though I certainly respect and value friendship, I sure as hell wasn’t going to let my wife’s view be blocked simply so Jesus Girl could experience the concert with her friend.  During a break, she returned to her friend behind us and we fell back into where we were originally standing thus blocking her from returning.

Then there was Pixie Cut.  Pixie Cut showed up late to the party with a large group, who promptly pushed their way forward.  That was slightly annoying, but whatever. If you have the balls to do it, I can’t really fault you.  I’m not an aggressive person and you’re going to win every time.  Where she really crossed the line for me was similar to my problem with Jesus Girl.  She was a bit more ball-sy then her other friends, pushing forward and in front of us.  She then proceeded to constantly reach back for her friends. If you want to be with your friends, just STAY BACK WITH YOUR FRIENDS!

9.  You can’t do three ballads in a row.

During the concert, each of the boys got a solo moment seemingly ordered in terms of popularity (Isaac, Zac, Taylor). Unfortunately, each chose to sing a ballad.  And by Taylor, no matter how popular he is, the audience was lost.  Come on now boys, read your audience!  These people have been drinking for at least two hours at this point.  Don’t put them to sleep!

10. Popularity with lesbians.

Looking around at the audience, there were quite a large number of lesbians.  I think this might have to do with how girl-ish the boys looked in their youth, especially Taylor.  For lesbians of a certain age, Hanson rose to popularity right around the time they were first starting to become attracted to people.  Taylor Hanson was the perfect crush beard.  They were likely actually sort of attracted to him, because let’s face it – he was pretty, but he was the right gender as not to arouse suspicion!  It was the perfect situation and, in my opinion, probably the reason Hanson is beloved by quite a few millennial lesbians.

Look at those rosy cheeks. You’re so pretty, Taylor.

11. They need to re-record all of Middle of Nowhere with their post pubescent voices.

Sadly, Hurricane Katrina ate my original Middle of Nowhere cd, but after the concert I immediately bought some of their classic songs from a random live album from 2005.  But what I really wanted was a studio re-do of all of Middle of Nowhere. I would buy the shit out of that.