Thursday, January 31, 2013

Geek in a Public Restroom

I have found that Geeks in general have quirks that can tend to be neurotic. I have many such quirks and many of them are neurotic. One of my biggest issues is public bathrooms.

Simply put, I hate public bathrooms. I appreciate how these rooms serve a vital service to people when they are away from their own personal bathrooms, but suppositories also serve a vital service but I hate the thought of using them. I don’t want to say the people that designed these rooms are evil, but there are times when you see the layout of the restroom you think the designer was at a really bad point in their life. I honestly do not know how it is in the ladies room, but sometimes they put the urinal next to the sink in the men's room. If the lights were turned off, you would have a 50/50 chance of getting the sink or the urinal. Restrooms are notoriously small. It is easy to get a back log of people waiting. I hate waiting. There is no right place to stand, without getting in someone’s way. It’s really awkward when you get in the way of the guy peeing, while you’re trying to wait. Yes, I’ve been in that crowded of a bathroom. Dance club bathrooms can be such a nightmare. Then there are the locks on the doors. Those things never hold. The bolt only ever just barely catches the latch. One shake, which happens when someone wants your seat, and that door flies right open. 

The toilet paper dispensers are truly evil. They hang these things a foot and a half from the floor. I practically have to get down on my hands and knees to get any TP. Then to make things worse you pull on the toilet paper and it breaks off at one square.

The worst bathroom set up I ever experienced was a row of four stalls and at the far end, so everyone had to pass by you, were two urinals. At this time I was in the first stall. A large line formed outside the stalls. There were lots of men slowly passing by my stall. What made this so bad was there were no doors on the stalls. I could only sit on the toilet and stare at each man and boy who stared at me as they waited for the line to move past.

This leads to one of my quirks when I am in a public bathroom. I do not like my presence to be known. I go to great lengths when someone enters the bathroom not to be heard or seen. I always keep my feet tucked under the toilet so they cannot be seen and all noise, including bodily noises, stop. I do not even move. I will stay frozen for several minutes, while I wait for the other occupant to leave. This has had its drawbacks. There have been two times when someone turned off the lights when I was still in the bathroom, because they thought the restroom was empty. It is unbelievably pitch black in a public bathroom. I could not see to do anything. I simply had to wait until someone came in and turned on the lights and hoped they did not turn them off again.

Using an urinal is a different situation. It is a much simpler bodily process than using the stall. I can get in and out quickly. Just have to stare at the wall until you are finished, you wash your hands and you’re out of there. But, it isn’t always that easy.
There are some rules that should be followed when using a urinal. Let’s start with the obvious, DO NOT TALK to the other guys. While we are on the subject of talking, this also means NO NOISES. I really do not need the description of how good or how painful it is to pee. When you are done peeing, please remain facing the urinal while you do up your pants. Do not turn around and show everyone how you pack. Finally, it is polite to keep at least one empty urinal between you and the next person. Obviously if there are no other urinals available, you may use the one next to someone. However, when there is a row of six empty urinals and you choose the one next to me I’m going to worry as to what kind of pervert you are.

As I said, I have quirks and they tend to be neurotic. I understand that most people do not have a problem using public restrooms. They way most of you act, tells me you have no problem using a public bathroom. I simply ask that you take into consideration those of us who are in the restroom and use some etiquette before you start toweling off in the sink.

Thanks To:
        Public Bathrooms by TakeAPotatoChip @  
        Super Toilet Paper by Exxcentric-Love @ 
              Random Perspective  by ClarisseXD @
        Need Your Toilet Fixed by Wish04 @

Friday, January 25, 2013

Birthday Geek

When I was barely out on my own I was given some very good advice about birthdays. Holidays are a great time to get together with family and celebrate the theme of the holiday, but birthdays are when you blow it out. This is your holiday. This is the day you entered this world. Each year is a mark of survival, strength, and wisdom. For those of you who are gamers, this is when you use your experience points to up your stats.
On your birthday you should do what you want, within reason of course. It’s never appropriate live out those fantasies of naked light saber fighting in the fountains at the local park. Instead, eat your favorite foods that you rarely get to have. Finally sit down and watch that anime series you have wanted to see. Dust off your Nintendo and kick King Koopa’s butt, for old time’s sake. Where your Iron Man helmet all day, with your favorite sweats. Go watch two or three movies at the movie theatre. The point is do some fun stuff for you that you enjoy. 

There is one last rule I have to having a great birthday. Treat yourself. This doesn’t mean you can go out and buy that 70” 3D TV you’ve been eyeing. Just get yourself a little nice present, within reason. There are a couple of books I will probably buy for myself. 

Every year I try to follow these rules. This year I started off by sleeping in a little. My wife wanted to take me out to breakfast for my birthday, but I slept in too long, so we hit Sonic for breakfast sandwiches. At home I settled in with a large bottle of Dr. Pepper and started into the anime series Code Geass. Yes, it’s been around for a few years. I watched it when it was first on Adult Swim and a few years ago. I finally bought the first season a couple of months ago. I have not had the chance to watch it. Today I planned to watch the first season. Unfortunately, I fell asleep somewhere during the fifth episode. I woke up in time to go pick up my son from work. He was cool to me, he bought me a Dr. Pepper ice cream float. Very tasty.

Once at home I started working on some writing. Hey, what can I say? The mood struck me. I also replied to the birthday wishes on Facebook. My boys were getting hungry and they said that since it was my birthday I got to pick what we were going to eat. I decided on sub sandwiches from Goody’s. Those are the best. There foot long is more like a foot and a half and they really pile on the fixings.

My oldest is planning a Black Ops II marathon tonight with his friends, because it is double the experience points. That’s cool. I’ll just finish Code Geass in my room. My bed is more comfy.

You’re probably asking, “What about the presents?! What about the cake?!” Relax, that brings me to the other rule about birthday celebrating. Enjoy what you have been given and be thankful. I am going to have cake and presents, but those who want to celebrate with me are working tonight, so we are going to wait until tomorrow night.

I am grateful that I have so many things such as cool anime and geeky stuff to play with. I’m grateful I got to spend time with my boys today. I’m thankful for the people who have wished me happy birthday and I’m excited to have friends and family to celebrate with tomorrow. 

Thanks to:
      Gamer by ilolamai @
      Weekend Shopping by MaxWindy @
      Lelouch Geass by ChelAnimation @
      Birthday Feeding by CaramelKitt @ 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gadget Geek

Gadget Geeks are a different kind of Geek. They fly under the radar of Geekdom. While most of us are proudly flying Geek flags by showing off our comic book collections and cosplaying while we wait in line at the theatre for the new Star Trek movie, the Gadget Geek is amassing a collection of entertainment media, electronics, and tools. These Gadget Geeks are all around us, you just don’t realize it.

Let’s first define what a gadget is. The simplest definition of a gadget is any mechanical device, but it goes much farther. A can opener is a gadget. There’s nothing special or cool about it. Now, take that can opener turn it sideways, set it on top of the can and put a small motor on it, so it opens the can all by itself then we have the cool factor. It’s that little something that takes a normal everyday item and makes us go, “Ooohhh!!!” Look at cell phones. Fifteen years ago we
had the flip open cell that made phone calls. Those were gadgets back in the day. Now a simple flip open cell is mundane, an antique. Now the cell gadget is the one that has GPS, apps, internet, video, and a computer voice. I’m looking at you Siri!

The Gadget Geek has to have the “latest” piece of technology. You know who they are. They just dropped $500.00 for the new iPhone and they didn’t even have their last one six months. The Gadget Geek had a perfectly good laptop, but had to junk it for the tablet with the snap on keyboard. Go home and watch that guy who just bought a Blu-Ray player and decided his surround sound system and 55” TV weren’t compatible. That guy bought a new 7.1 surround sound system and a 70” TV. That guy said it was so he could have the optimal viewing experience. That guy is your Dad. Dads are the worst Gadget Geeks. I know this. I am a Dad.

I have a theory about the source of Gadget Geeks. Really cool technology like big TVs, DVD players, laptops, cell phones, GPS, and cordless tools have only been around for the last twenty years or so. For a lot of you this stuff has been around your entire life. You don’t know what it was like trying to drive and look at a 3’ X 5’ sheet of paper to figure out where you were. You don’t know what it’s like trying to tie three extension cords together to power your drill. You don’t know how life HAD TO END AT 8:00PM so you didn’t miss the new episode of Babylon 5 or Friends and you were screwed if they were on at the same time. Those of us who have been around since at least the 80s know these frustrations. We know what it is like to go without the cool gadgets. Now that these gadgets are here, we think they are AMAZEBALLS!! That’s why most Gadget Geeks are … older.

Be careful, it will happen to you. Technology is always moving forward in leaps and bounds. For me it was the Walkman that played cassette tapes that evolved into an iPod and the VCR that evolved into the DVR. There will come a time in twenty years or so where your tablet will evolve into…? Maybe your smart phone will become a …? When that happens you will look back at that antique tablet and smart phone and wonder how the hell did you ever survive? Then you will be looking for the next new gadget and the one after that. You will compare this gadget to that gadget to see which one is better. You will have debates with your spouse as to why you have to have that gadget. That’s right, you will become next Gadget Geek. 

Thanks to:
        Gadget Geek by Pnutink @
        Change In Times by Danger0usangel103 @ 
        Virus by Tori001 @

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Characters & Plot

Earlier this week I was perusing my usual FaceBook pages and I came across a post asking about characters and plot. They wanted to know if the two are tied to each other or if one is more important than the other. The person also asked how are both developed. This really got me thinking, am I giving proper attention to my characters and my plot? What is the right amount of attention for my characters and my plot?

I first thought about the relationship between characters and plot. I decided the two are intricately woven together. You simply cannot have one without the other. Things are going to happen in a story that affects your character. These affects will change what the character believes and feels. These affects will also change how the character acts, which leads back to the story. How the character acts will affect the plot and could change the direction of the story.

Another way to look at the relationship between the plot and characters is how they help each other to progress and grow. A plot cannot move forward if the character does not have beliefs and feelings. If a character is passive and neutral with a lack of beliefs the character will not be able to make decisions or act. If they do not act a story cannot move forward. Also if there is no plot a character cannot be challenged and grow. It would be a pointless story if the entire plot was a character sitting at a table drinking coffee. The character seems pretty pointless in this example as well.

I have thought about what do I give more attention to, the characters or the plot? Trying to figure this out I looked at the two stories that I am currently working on. My processes for both were the same. I had an idea, I wrote down a bunch of notes on the idea, and then I organized it into an outline. From there I started making notes on story points and then began writing the story. As I go along in the story I see where I need to change things about the characters and the plot.

I did notice a difference between the ways my two stories have developed. One story has been centered around a character and the other has been driven by the plot. The first story is about a boy who relives the evils that a person does, when he touches them. My whole idea for this story has been based on how this ability affects the boy, so it is character based. The other story is about four tribes of werewolves that are being hunted by humans and the werewolves fight back. For me, this story started with the plot and has been driven by it.

I guess the only answer I have is, what is best for the story? I know. It’s not proper to answer a question with a question, but it’s the best I can come up with. I think there are stories that will center around a character and there will be stories that are driven by the plot. I also believe that as you create your story you need to stop every so often and ask, “Is this what your character would do?” Also need to ask, “Is this how the story should progress?”

I don’t know if I am doing the right things as a writer. As I have said I’m just learning. I like to think I am doing my best to apply the lessons I pick up. I think one of the best lessons I have picked up was from Victoria Dahl when she said, “I started having a success as a writer when I threw out the rules and just wrote.” 

Thanks to:
        Magnitude - Starving Writer by Minuiko @   
Sorry there aren't  pictures. I couldn't think of any good ones.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Manga Geek

This may hurt my Geek cred, but I did not like Manga for the longest time. I was spoiled by comics. I will get into this more in another posting, but I loved comics. What spoiled me with comics was all the vibrant color. Going from all the color to black and white Manga is not an easy task. It is because of this I refused to read Manga for the longest time.
That all changed when I heard about Battle Angel Alita. I read the synopsis and several reviews. I looked for the Anime, but quickly found only a small portion of the story was animated and it was no longer available. Out of desperation I bought the first couple of volumes of the Battle Angel Alita Manga. I actually had an easier time reading right to left, than I did with the black and white artwork. However, the story was compelling and the artwork was amazing. I was completely sucked in.

I wasn’t sure where to go from there. I didn’t want to pick some random Manga in the hopes I’d like it, but end up hating it so much, I would swear off Manga for life again. I played it safe and went for a series that I had watch in Anime. So, I picked up Trigun, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, and DragonBall. Yes, all of them at the same time. Yeah… I plunged headfirst into the deep end with the Manga.
Something else that really helped was spending lots of hours on the Barnes & Noble floors reading through the Manga. I found several other series I liked. I even found a couple of unlikely favorites. I like to think I’m a typical male Geek. I’m all about the action and adventure stuff. However, I was surprised to find I really enjoyed Train Man. It is a romantic story about a Geek who saves a fashionable girl on a train. They start going out and they fall in love. I think I liked it because I could cheer for the Geek.
Another favorite I found in obscurity was I Luv Halloween. Now this isn’t a Manga in the sense it was created in Japan, but everything else about it is just a really great Manga. It’s funny, creepy, and disgusting. The perfect kind of thing you would want to read around Halloween. The best way to describe the story is a bunch of kids go trick or treating on Halloween, but there is a lot of maiming, killing, zombies, aliens, and teenagers trying to get it on. You’ll just have to read the title to understand.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years about Manga. One Geeky technical note; Manga 9 times out of 10 start off in chapter installments in magazines like Shonen Jump. Once the title is popular enough it is collected into the graphic novels we see in our bookstores. These volumes are called “Tankobon.” It is good to follow the Manga and Anime of the same title because they almost always are different from each other. Also, there may not be any color, but it is amazing the moods Manga can set with shades of grey and black.
The saddest lesson I learned was no series is safe. I was heartbroken when Tokyopop closed shop and killed all of their storylines. There were two series I was in the middle of when this happened. I was loving Deadman Wonderland and it was just getting good. The one that was really hard to lose was Future Diary. This was one of the most original stories I had read in a long time and it was gone. The worst part was Future Diary had only one or two more volumes to go before it was finished. It was like someone ripped the last ten pages out of the book I was reading. (I actually had that happen when I was a kid.)

Just like so many other Geeks, I have amassed a large collection of Manga. I even have a few titles, I have not been able to start reading, but I collected them out of fear of never seeing them on the bookshelf again. I love looking at my three full bookshelves of Manga. I sometimes wonder if I could have spent all that money on something else. Probably, but the hours of reading and conversations and dreaming that I have enjoyed have been totally worth it.

Thanks To:
         Geek Queen by Junawashere @
         Gally Motorball by BattleAngelGally @
         ILuvHalloween by CacaoDrinker23 @
         The Library by Tobi Chan Lisseul @
         Reading by Ravenngo @ 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Anime Geek

Every Geek has their niche, their one true expertise. Sure a Geek has lots of different interests, but they have their one true love in all of Geekdom. Mine happens to be Anime. Let me tell you a secret, I’m old. I started watching anime before anyone knew it was anime. When I was a kid there were two amazing shows on television every day after school. The first one was Starblazers. Most of you may know it as Space Battleship Yamato. This was a story about humans racing across the galaxy to find a cure to heal the dying Earth, while being chased by the aliens who ruined the planet. Yes, Yamato was originally from the 70’s. Yes, I am that old. Shut up. This was the first cartoon that had more of a plot than “Good guys win and bad guys escape to do evil another day.” In Starblazers there were people who actually died. I learned about sacrifice and I truly worried if the bad guys were going to win.

I had to wait another seven or eight years before I discovered another amazing anime, called Robotech, also known as Macross. The trademark of this series was fighter jets that transformed into piloted robots. These robots were used to fight off invading alien giants. There were more than just the robots. There was the super space fortress, Macross, which transformed so it could fire a massive weapon. This series
had a lot of same things that I loved about Starblazers such as sacrifice, death of a good guy, and the bad guys winning. Robotech also introduced me to the stories of relationships on all levels.

When I first realized it was anime that I loved so much it was the early 90’s. This was before the anime became mainstream. I watched the original Bubblegum Crisis and Dirty Pair on hand me down video tapes and with the English translations typed up on paper.

Since then I have watched a couple of hundred different movies and series. There were a lot of Anime I loved and there were several of them that made me hit the stop button and exclaimed, “What The Hell Is This Crap?!?!?”
I have to pay homage to those Anime that are my all-time favorites. Of course Starblazers and Robotech will always hold a special place in my heart. The funny thing is I have tried to go back and re-watch Starblazers. It is really out dated. It was painful to listen to the 70’s dialogue. A couple of the others that I will always love will be Fullmetal Alchemist and Ghost In the Shell. A piece of advice for all those who are reading this post. Do not listen to all that hear about what is supposed to make a great Anime. What makes a great Anime is what you love about it. There is a certain goofy six episode Anime that everyone says is a landmark creation. I bought it and watched it. The series didn’t make sense. I watched it a second time, with someone. It still didn’t make sense. Then there was Gurren Lagann. It was criticized for amateurish art and childish storylines. I think it is one of the best giant fighting robot series ever. So, watch what you want to watch and enjoy it proudly. It does not matter when you started watching Anime, or what you have watched since. What matter is that you enjoy watching the Anime and gain something from the stories. Happily collect the videos of your favorite shows and memorabilia. Finally when you get the chance watch your Anime with someone. The best part of watching Anime is getting to share it with someone.

Thanks to:
      Yay TV by maDideA @
      Spaceship Yamato by gcarcass @
      Robotech by Urbanrang3r @
      MotokoCityScape by Nanahra @
      Gurren Lagann by apchi @