Thursday, September 25, 2014

Movie Geek: Meatballs

As a Geek you have a hard time fitting in except for when you are with other Geeks. It is also known as being a misfit, not fitting in anywhere. As Geeks or misfits we dream of a chance to prove ourselves so we will be accepted. One of my favorite movies has lots of misfits who are given a chance to prove themselves, but they do it without changing who they are.
Meatballs was a movie from 1979 that starred Bill Murray. The plot summary on says “Wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less than average summer camp.” This is true. Anything that has Bill Murray is going to be wacky, but there is more to this little known movie.
The camp is filled with misfits and underdogs. This is made even more apparent when the camp takes on their rival camp in a summer camp Olympics. I like the take on the misfits in this movie. Yes, they do rise to the occasion and overcome. That is a given to any movie about misfits.
What I like about these misfits is they don’t change or really improve themselves. They overcome by being their misfit selves. 

There is one boy, by the name of Rudy, who is even a misfit in the misfits. He’s no good at any of the sports. Bill Murray’s character, Tripper, takes him under his wing by being his friend. He doesn’t push Rudy to be friends with the other kids or try to make him better at the sports. He helps Rudy find who he is and what he is good at. There is a pivotal moment in the movie for Rudy and sports and the other kids, but I won’t ruin that for you.

There are two other characters that I love to root for in Meatballs. They are Spaz and Fink. Fink is a large individual who loves to eat. Spaz … his name says it all. Fink uses love of food to take on a hot dog eating challenge. Spaz stays himself and finds love.

The low point of the movie has always been the high point for me. It is where the true message of the movie lies. Tripper makes a sermon explaining how “it just doesn’t matter.” Under the laughter of the sermon there is poignant lesson. As a misfit it doesn’t matter if you win, because you will always be a misfit. And, it’s good to be a misfit.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Space Geek

Space, the final frontier… Sorry. I had to get that out of my system. I grew up with Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the syndication of Star Trek. This had sparked a great desire in me to adventure across space. I didn’t have to be Captain Kirk. I would have been happy enough with living and working in space or on another planet. 

My dreams were dashed in April of 1981, when the first space shuttle was launched. It was then I discovered there were no plans for deep space exploration or even a moonbase. However, books and movies about space kept my interest and imagination adventuring across space.
 Today there is an argument that space exploration should not be a priority considering all the problems we have on our planet. The poverty and violence alone are reasons enough we should not make space exploration a priority.
Here is a sad truth. At every single point of time on Earth there has always been war and poverty. It has never gone away. Whether we explore space or not there will probably be poverty and war.

There is however the possibility that Star Trek got it right and
space exploration could end war and poverty. Here’s is an interesting historical fact. The U.S. was tearing itself apart during the 60s because of the war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, when we put a man on the moon the U.S. came together. The people rallied around a common ground.

Another historical fact of that time the space program and Star Trek both had an impact on the kids. A lot of those kids grew up to become engineers and scientists. Those engineers and scientists have brought us a lot of innovations such as computers, communications, and continued improvement of energy sources. 

Today I do not think one country or government can do the exploration of space all on their own. It is going to take a joint effort of several countries together. I also believe that it will take the efforts of businesses to forward any kind of exploration that is done. If different countries work together just maybe they will put aside their differences and put down their weapons. If corporations started working on space exploration that could lead to new innovations, which will create jobs. That would go a long way to fight poverty.

It seems to me that we have lost our wonderment and need to explore anything, not just space. I hope for a future where my kids and their kids will look to the skies with a new sense wonder. I hope they will then dare to explore those places that we only dream of now.
Thanks To:
Enterprise ~Jay Prower
Space Shuttle/Launch Pod ~ SuperLautir
The 60s ~xasterix
Future Flight 1 ~ wayfarer95
Space ~ cberg

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Model Geek

When I was a kid I built dozens of models. All were spaceship models, except for one. It was a model of Superman busting through a wall. When I left home I didn’t have space or time to continue building models. 

Now I have some more time in my life and I have slowly started getting back into model building. I bought a model of the Millennium Falcon. It’s huge and I decided that I wanted to do it right with air brushing the paint on. Unfortunately, the air brush system I have uses cans of air and I cannot find the cans of air for the system anymore. I suppose I could just brush the paint on, but I’m not very good. There is a model of a Battlestar Galactica Viper hidden in my closet that has a very embarrassing paint job done by me. 

So thinking that my model building skills are not that very good, I decided I should just stick with the Lego models. That was until I came across a statue of the Space Battleship Yamato on Amazon. It was a beautiful statue, except for the $261.00 price tag. Undeterred, I look further at the Yamatos and found a model of one for a reasonable of $31.00. I decided it was time to try my hand at model building one more time.

Now the model came from Japan and I was pleasantly surprised by the company Toy Shop Japan HobbyOne. They were quick and friendly. They included a letter in English thanking me for my purchase. 

The model was a pleasant surprise as well. This was my first time building a model from Japan, so I don’t know if all Japanese models are like this. The model is mostly pre-painted. It would look fine without the few dabs of paint here and there. Most of the pieces fit so well together, they don’t require glue. What has me scared while building this model of the Yamato is the tiny size of some of the pieces. There are pieces that are just nubs of plastic. The tiny guns on the side of the ship have to be put together. The barrels are microscopic. 

I have unfortunately had one of the barrels pop off and go flying when I cut it from the frame. I don’t know why I tried, but I did spend a good half an hour looking for that microscopic barrel on my carpeted floor. Hopefully the missing barrel will not be too obvious.

I am proud of the work I have done on this model of the Space Battleship Yamato. Maybe I will take on the challenge of the Millennium Falcon after this. I might also look for some more models from Japan.

Something I have learned from doing this model is not necessarily the finished product. It’s the enjoyment I got from building this model. Don’t get me wrong, having a nicely finished product has all its own pride. However I have enjoyed the challenge of putting together these tiny pieces. It has been great fun watching the model take shape.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Old Geek

Let me start out with a very ugly statement; “Peter Pan is dead.” Now let me explain. In my 20s and even into my 30s I never worried about time marching on. I looked at myself as the same never changing person. Then I was no longer able to ignore the changes that were going on. When my hair disappeared en mass I knew the fabled Peter Pan no longer lived within me.

Now 40 something, I look back on a full life of Geekery. One of my earliest memories is when Star Wars was showing in the movie theatres. Back then you could buy one ticket and stay in the theatre all day long watching the show over and over again. I must have seen the first Star Wars over 50 times in the theatres. 

My first anime, which at the time no one knew it was an anime, was Star Blazers. That one doesn’t stand the test of time very well. You should read my take on Star Blazers. The next anime, which again no one knew was an anime, was Robotech. This one could stand the test of time a lot better. It always blew me away how there was action, but a great story that involved just the characters.

My first real introduction to anime came from the original Bubble Gum Crisis. Back then we didn’t even have English subtitles. We had written out translations and you hoped to all that is Holy they got the translations right.

I did not get into Manga until much later, because I was too used to the colors of comic book heroes. I still have my collection of about 5,000 comic books. My fave comics were all the X-Men titles. My first Manga that I picked up was the big volumes of Akira. Just like the movie it blew me away.

Growing up all I had for movie superheroes was the Christopher Reeves’ Superman. Hollywood did not dare cross into the superhero genre at the time without looking incredibly stupid.

Being a Geek has certainly changed a lot. With Facebook, Twitter, and several other social media it is incredibly easy to connect with other Geeks with similar interests. I grew up without these online connections. It made it a lot tougher being a Geek without a community.

I go to the bookstores and video stores looking for new anime and manga and I see kids in my spot on the floor checking out the new arrivals. I try to be nonchalant about looking through the selections, trying not to feel out of place.

But, I really don’t care that I’m some old guy still collecting anime, manga, and toys. These are things that make me happy. That’s what is really important to any Geek. Finding what makes you happy and embracing it.

So, I offer two pieces of advice. First, do not ever let go of your Geekery. Love it and cherish it for the rest of your life. Second, be nice to the older Geeks. They were the ones that pioneered the way for you.

Thanks to:
Hurt Peter Pan -- huggiebird @
Yamato Star Blazers -- ColinTheP6M @
Comic Book Nerd -- saramondo @
Comic Book Guy -- wagnerf @