Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Luigi Calling

I saw a girl in town the other day who was maybe fifteen wearing a t-shirt featuring the pixelated green 1-up mushroom. My thoughts in order were:

  1. Nice to see some geeking out in the streets
  2. Wait, when did the last 2D Mario game come out? 1990?
  3. She wouldn't have been alive when it came out
  4. She's probably never even played a 2D Mario game
  5. What does SNES era Mario art mean to someone to who has never experienced the games?
  6. Are old games the new Clash London Calling t-shirts?
  7. Good Lord I'm getting old

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Crane Transposition

I used to get annoyed back in the day when people would describe Frasier as intelligent or highbrow comedy. Frasier was a mainstream sitcom where the setting was highbrow; the jokes themselves were the same setups and punchlines you could find in Cheers, Friends, Bewitched, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or a hundred other network sitcoms, but with a degree from Harvard. For example, consider the following scene.

Marty: Oh, hey, while you're there, could you pick me up a bottle of something fancy for my friend's retirement party?
Frasier: I think you mean sophisticated. Fancy is a contraction of fantasy, in the sense of desire and whimsy, hardly something one would expect or want to find at an all night liquor store.
Marty: Roz, could you pick me up a bottle of something fancy for my friend's retirement party?
Roz: Sure, what does he like?
Marty: I don't know. He's a retiring cop, just pick out anything that'll get him drunk.
Frasier: Just pick out anything!? Well maybe at the same time we can pick out a new suit for him without knowing his size, or, or pick out a condo in Florida without knowing his finances, or pick out a new car without knowing his driving habits. (Pause) Or his feelings about cup holders.
Marty (looks past Frasier at Roz): Wine. Get him red wine.
Frasier: Pinot noir? Cabernet sauvignon? Malbec? Shiraz? Sangiovese?
Marty (in desperation): Roz?
Roz: You know this can go on all night, why don't you just come with us?
Marty: ugh, that's what I was trying to avoid.
(All head to the elevator)Frasier: Oooh, I forgot merlot.

Fairly standard Frasier shtick. The salt of the earth old man gets frustrated with his over educated son and appeals to the slightly more normal producer to try and avoid the pedantry. Laughs ensue. However the scene is not actually from an episode of Frasier but rather from The Big Bang Theory episode "The Hofstader Isotope", which in its original form reads as follows.
Penny: Oh hey, while you're there, could you pick me up a few comics for my nephew's birthday?
Sheldon: I think you mean comic books. Comics are feeble attempts at humour featuring talking babies and anthropomorphised pets, found traditionally in the optimistically named 'funny pages'
Penny: Leonard, could you pick me up a few comics for my nephew's birthday?
Leonard: Sure, what does he like?
Penny: I don't know. He's thirteen, just pick out anything
Sheldon: Just pick out anything!? Well maybe at the same time we can pick out a new suit for him without knowing his size, or, or, pick out his career for him without knowing his aptitude, or pick out a new breakfast cereal without knowing his fiber requirements. (Pause) Or his feelings about little marshmallows.
Penny (looks past Sheldon at Leonard): Spiderman. Get him Spiderman.
Sheldon: Amazing Spiderman? Ultimate Spiderman? Spectacular Spiderman? The Marvellous Adventures of Spiderman? Spiderman 2099?
Penny (in desperation): Leonard?
Leonard: You know this can go on all night, why don't you just come with us?
Penny: Ugh, that's what I was trying to avoid.
(All head down stairs)Sheldon: Oooh, I forgot Sensational Spiderman.
The Big Bang Theory has jokes with geeky words in it spoken by people dressed like geeks (occasionally guest starring actual geeks), but that doesn't make it geek humour. Just saying.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Or They Have a Kindle

No device works better as an abridged introduction to a person than the bookshelf. That awkward gap while the host makes tea can be comfortably filled with a perusal of the shelves. A copy of Anna Karenina sits nestled in a clump of the distinctive orange and white striped Penguin Classics, but the receipt poking up from the middle of its bulk betrays the difference between the intention to read and the reality of daily life. Lord Of The Rings and the complete Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy don't necessarily indicate a geek, they're classics of their respective genres, but a shelf dedicated to the works of Feist is harder to fob off. Whole collections of one author, but the only Orson Scott Card book is Ender's Game? Not good enough to bother with the rest of the series it would seem. Lonely Planet Nepal looks like it got dropped in one too many mountain streams while a mint condition Lonely Planet Argentina is patiently waiting for funds to match dreams. The literary credibility of A Farewell To Arms and On The Road is left in tatters thanks to their shelf mate, a dog-eared edition of The Da Vinci Code. Hopefully it was just a loan to see what all the fuss was about. Down on the bottom shelf are a few of the coffee table books that won't fit on the actual coffee table, a copy of Watchmen, and a few weathered young adult mainstays with the sticker adorned spines that betray them as library books that never made it back to high school. The last part of the wait is spent reading the blurb of a Man Booker Prize winning novel that neither host nor visitor has any intention of ever reading.

I forget what my original point was.