Last Year In Geek

It’s official, the year 2011 is done and over with. It’s been a year of ups and downs, and more downs, and slight inclines that lead to steep declines. It’s been a relatively crazy 365 days, that’s for sure. So much has happened this year. Far too much to compile into a simple list, but that’s not going to stop me from trying anyway. So, here’s a brief list of some of the major moments in geekdom this past year.

1. Carrie Fisher & William Shatner Argue About Star Wars vs. Star Trek:
Geeks have been debating about which is better for decades, but William Shatner and Carrie Fisher took to YouTube to settle things once and for all. It turned into a fairly ugly war of words, with insults flying. Neither won, but in a style only he could manage, George Takei once again became the welcome voice of reason. Asking the fans of both Star Wars and Star Trek to put aside their differences and focus on a common enemy; namely Twilight. You go George Takei, you go.

2. Marvel Reigns, in The Box Office:
2011 brought us two action packed movies based on Marvel Comics superheroes. Thor (with a stunning cast line-up.) and Captain America: The First Avenger completed the series leading the way to The Avengers opening some time next year. X-Men: First Class  managed to not only reboot the franchise but, make a prequel as well. No matter how far it may have strayed from cannon.

3. We Lose a Technological Icon:
The death of Steve Jobs rocked the tech industry as well as the world itself. Regardless of what anyone may have thought of the man, he did much to help build and improve upon the technology we currently use. Jobs died peacefully, surrounded by family members, his family said in a statement. In recent years Jobs had fought a form of pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant.”Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives.”

4. Thundercats Gets a Revamp:
Reintroducing the 80’s franchise to a generation of kids, tweens and beyond that had never heard of them before; mixing sci-fi action with a fantasy backdrop familiar to early fans. Despite its obvious difference from the original, from the very beginning, the Thundercats spawned in 2011 seem to be doing something right. I’m still watching it.

5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Does it Right:                                                                                                                                            The Clone wars has been hailed as the most vital take on the franchise since Empire. Bringing a weekly dose of actual war, it’s got all of the action and adventure that you grew up loving about Star Wars with new plots and intrigue to keep you on your toes. Add to that, the stylized CG art used on the show. “Now matter how many new cuts, edits, and additions to the trilogy and prequels Lucasfilm puts out there, for all intents and purposes, The Clone Wars is keeping the spirit of the original trilogy alive.”

6. Transformers Does Better than Expected:                                                                                                                                            Despite what many may have thought about the films and or the franchise based on the films(including Megan Fox), the franchise has managed to thrive. With the absence of Megan Fox in the latest installment of Transformers entitled Transformers: Dark of the Moon, people can focus on what the movie’s really about.: Giant robots fighting one another and blowing stuff up. What’s more is that whatever the film franchise may have lacked in geek-cred prior to Dark of the Moon, with the help of Mr. Leonard Nimoy in his role as Sentinel Prime it has most certainly made up for.

7. Shouting at Dragons:                                                                                                                                                                                           The latest game to be developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This game gave players another look into the wonderfully fascinating world of the Elder Scrolls. In this followup to Oblivion, we see numerous improvements. From the design of the non playable characters down to the physics of the game, things are noticeably different, and I’m not complaining at all. Unlike many of the other installments of the Elder Scrolls, Skyrim gave us dragons. Not just dragons, but talking dragons. And if talking dragons weren’t enough.. it gave us giants, with clubs, and mammoths(all of which will attack the hell out of you.) There’s more than enough in this game to keep you entertained for… well.. for quite a while. (assuming you actually sleep at some point in time and have other things to do than just play the game all day every day.)

8. Harry Potter and the Kicking of Butt:                                                                                                                                                  2011 saw the second half of the final chapter of the exploits of (lots of of’s) Harry James Potter (and friends) take place. Death Eaters were left starving, Dementors were left more demented than when they began, the Freddy Kruger/Avon lady known as the former Professor Umbridge more than gets her just deserts, and an epic battle between good and evil finally goes down. Best of all is Molly Weasley. Throughout the films, her character shows little growth, though growth none the less, but not until the this 2nd half of the final film does she truly blossom; and when she does.. it’s that blossoming, not Harry’s defeat of the dark lord that takes center stage. You go Molly Weasley.

9. Death of The I T Crowd:                                                                                                                                                                                   The hilariously funny UK based show didn’t make it to a fifth season. Despite that sad news, there is the promise of a final episode that will unfortunately not air in the US. The I T Crowd… you will be missed. If you haven’t managed to check out this show, I strongly urge you to. Especially if you’re a fan of British comedy.

10. The Doctor is In:                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the best things to come on to TV in the year 2011 was the sixth season of Doctor Who. From the beginning, things got off to an amazing start. We got to see those wonderful Weeping Angels once again, we get introduced to the creepiness of Silence, the constant foreshadowing of the Doctor’s death, and lastly but not least, there’s the episode “The Doctor’s Wife wherein the Doctor’s TARDIS comes to life and we realize that through everything, she is his only constant companion. Though I myself have yet to see this episode, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, and given the direction the current incarnation of the Doctor has been headed in, I’m inclined to believe what I’ve heard.

 

May the new year bring far more moments in geekdom and may they be as pleasant as possibly possible.
Happy Geek New Year.

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The Gay Geek

The word geek can be defined as a slang term noting a person as “One who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc.” … or a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest. From oxforddictionaries.com it’s asked “Is being a geek something to be proud of?” I personally say yes, yes it is. The site goes on to say that “a few decades ago the answer would almost certainly have been no: the word was a cruel and critical label attached to clever, but socially awkward, people: train-spotters, computer geeks, and unpopular college students. Then in the 1990s everything changed. The computer industry helped many geeks to achieve great success, and the wider perception of geeks began to shift. Being a geek was suddenly a positive thing, suggesting an admirable level of knowledge, expertise, and passion: geeks could do ‘cool stuff’. It’s now common for people to be self-proclaimed or self-confessed geeks, with geekiness no longer confined to the world of science and technology ( a music geek with an awesome vinyl collection, the kind of film that every true movie geek would give five stars). Nerds have undergone a similar change of image but to a lesser extent, with some negative terms such as boring and pathetic still commonly attached to the word”

I’m greatly inclined to agree with oxforddictionaries.com’s take on geekdom. Thanks to the computer being a thing that’s widely used worldwide and in countless homes across the globe, people who show an incredible interest in it are no longer shunned as being strange, or weird simply for their interest. These days a geek is not simply someone with technical know how and an interest in the electronic. A person can be a geek for sci-fi movies and novels, fantasy, video games, music, film in general, anime or any number of things. I myself saw the light of geekdom at an early age when I watched my first episode of Star Trek, though it was expressed even earlier with my love of Star Wars merch. As an adult I consider myself an all around geek, or the equivalent of a “jack of all trades” sort of geek. As well as being a geek, I’m gay.. and a+b equaling c would make me a gay geek.. even a gaymer as some would say.

The Sci-fi genre has seen its share of gay and or bi-sexual characters since I’ve grown up. There’s the lesbian character of Willow from TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, (TV & comics), Parthenon, aka Dan Williams from “Who Wants To Be a Superhero?”; The Sci Fi Channel, Ianto Jones from “Torchwood“; BBC America, Northstar, aka Jean-Paul Beaubier from “The Uncanny X-Men“; comics, The Midnighter, aka Lucas Trent from “The Authority“; comics, and Captain Jack Harkness from “Torchwood“; BBC America to name a few and plenty of Gay actors out there; most notable are Ian McKellen (Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and Magneto from X-Men (Film) Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes and Spock from Star Trek the movie), & George Takei (Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu from the original Star Trek, Captain Sulu in an episode of Star Trek Voyager, Kaito Nakamura from TV’s Heroes). Any geek; gay, bi, or straight worth his salt could tell you who at least one of those characters is.

That all being said,the influx of gay characters in the sci-fi, comic book, fantasy, and cinematic world has also seen a rise in gay geeks in the last few years or so. You can’t go to an anime convention or Trek convention without coming across at least a small handful of gay men who share your passion for things geeky in nature. Despite this influx of awesome, the dating pool if you will, for a gay geek stills seems as small as it has ever been. Where are all the men who appreciate a well-timed Star Wars reference? Where are the men who can understand my fascination with Doctor Who…when they’re not at the cons looking resplendent in their geeky costumery? Where’s Waldo? I obviously don’t know the answer to any of those questions; otherwise I wouldn’t ask, but I wish I did.

Even if Mr. Geeky “Right” eludes me, I’m happy to know that geekdom has a foothold in the gay community and visa versa. I’m also happy that I have a community…. communities in which I am welcome as I am.

Geek VS Geek

A few days ago I started thinking about how much I love sci-fi. I mean, it’s one of those things you start watching as a little kid and it just grows on you, but in a good way of course. When it comes to sci-fi there’s the ever present debate that lingers in the background like an invisible elephant. That invisible elephant’s name is Star Wars VS Star Trek. One is better than the other. The other’s better than one.

Before I continue though, I should like to let it be known that I’m a huge fan of both franchises, having grown up with them both from an early age. Star Wars bed-sets and Star Trek on tv. So when I give my 2 cents on which of the two is by far greater, know that it comes from a place of complete and utter respect for the creators of both franchises.

Here’s how I look at it.. Star Wars is the epic story of good and evil, light and dark, beginning and ending… in a way. It’s spawned its own niche in the world of geekdom. It exposed us to new worlds, new creatures, new ways of thinking about the universe and our place there-in. We saw massive star destroyers, laser pistols, Han and Greedo  (Han shot first.) and of course the Jedi and the Sith, without whom the epicness of Star Wars would be… greatly diminished to say the least.  Star Wars is so iconic that it’s even spawned a religion.: Jedi. What other film franchise can say it’s done as much? And of course the best things about the Jedi(of film and literature) are the Force, and the Lightsaber.  I mean, the ability to move objects with a thought, control the mind of a person, do major flips and of course wield a weapon with a blade of pure energy that cuts through basically every solid material known to man and alien alike.  If that’s not awesome then what is?

Awesome Star Wars line: “You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” -Obi Wan

Now coming over to Star Trek we have a totally different reality. We still have starships, massive and small… and somewhere in-between. We still have handheld weapons that fire energy which is always awesome. There’s also warp speed and all the technological advances of the oh so far off future. The story told here is of mankind and its journey throughout the stars to learn more about itself and the universe in which it lives. That in of itself makes for an interesting story. Then you add into the mix the personalities of main captains of the franchise and those around them. It draws you in, that’s for sure.  There’re even basically all powerful beings (the Q) who can do anything they want at any time they want for basically any reason they want, but who still have short-comings in one form or another.

Awesome Star Trek quote: “I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far and no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done! -Cpt. Picard

There’s more to both Star Wars and Star Trek than what I’ve mentioned of course,both have scenes that just grab you and refuse to let you go,  but it’s far too early in the morning for me to prattle on too much more than I already have. When one verses the other it’s clear to me that neither Star Wars nor Star Trek is better than the other. That’s right… neither one. They’re both amazing in their own rights. If you were expecting a completely and utter biased opinion on the topic I’m sorry to tell you that all I have for you is disappointment.

Here ends this randomgeeking