Nerd Rage, Sports Fury, and Beyond: The Case for Recreational Hate

The feeling of anger and rage in the world feels like it’s been ramped up past 11 in recent years with no end in site. A version of Moore’s Law that’s built on a growing divide of emotions more that of computer intelligence. A lot of this is due to the double edge sword of the internet. The place where you can get enough cat videos to choke a small village is also where you can find a 10 page diatribe on why you are a bad person if you eat a carb.
People have been arguing view points, defending opinions, and speaking out for what they believe in for as long as there have been people.  Some of these have been very important to move society forward. Voting rights, abolishing slavery, ending of the Cold War. What I’m going to talk about here is none of these things.
“Stop liking things I hate! Stop hating things I like!” – the Internet 
I want to talk about the arguments and debates around all the things that don’t really matter. Nickleback sucks, subs are better than dubs, LeBraun is better than Jordan. Have a strong opinion on any of these or things like them? Great, strap in. This blogs’ for you.
Nothing seems to get a bigger reaction out of people than making a statement they disagree with or siding with an opposing opinion on trivial matters. People get so worked up that you didn’t like The Wire, choose to watch Game of Thrones over reading the books, or think Final Fantasy XIII is a terrible game (it is, but I’m not about to do a TED Talk about it).
I think we all just need to take a step back and breath before starting our next tweet with, “you know what…”.  Debating and arguing can be fun and I’m not saying we should stop this. We just need to set some boundaries and guidelines. We should enjoy a lively debate with others and not take every opposing view as a personal attack on who we are. We should feel free to speak up about something when we want and not fear death threats from anonymous faces online. And we should have an outlet for when we’re just mad so we don’t pour hot coffee on the next smiling person who walks by.
To help I propose a new term:
Recreational Hate, (verb): to dislike intensely for small controlled periods of time; feel antipathy or aversion towards someone or something for more non-serious reasons during times that are not of a more serious nature; “I recreationally hate the Duke Blue Devils, but Coach K is a good guy.”
Ancient games, sports, and things like the 80’s pro wrestling use to be used as an outlet for such recreational hate.  People would go to cheer on the good guys and boo the bad guys. This was a great way to get this build up angry energy out of your system so we would be more civilized with each other in real life and about important things. Get all that energy out so that the more pressing matters of the day can be looked upon with a clearer head.
Sure, I’ve watched the Green Bay Packers play and wish Aaron Rodgers would get attacked by wolverines with chainsaws for arms that shot bees out of their mouths. I don’t really want this to happen to him (I’ve actually heard he’s a really nice guy) but during the game this is a pretty normal thing to say.  But more and more these days people bring this aggression with them after the game. They associate themselves with this anger and have trouble separating the two after this recreational ‘play date’ is over. This is especially present online. From Ghostbusters remakes to Call of Duty in-game chat we as society need to chill the fuck out about stuff that doesn’t really matter. We need to stop ingraining what we like so deep into our identities or forcing our opinions on others without first looking at how silly our own stances are. I mean come on dude, it’s just a game.
Stepping around the psychology of why people think it’s okay to make hate for frivolous things part of their identity (because that would be a book by itself that I am in no way qualified to write) let’s talk about how to possibly fix it. Because sometimes it only takes a small shift in our collective mindset as a culture to make a big change.
Keep hating and arguing and debating fiercely. I mean really ramp it up. Just do it for only set periods of time, over things that don’t really matter, and then let it go. No matter what.
This works for everything across the board:
  • Nerd arguments – playing video game, arguing who’s the best Batman, yelling at each other about what is the most popular anime series ever
  • Sports arguments – Yelling at your rival team, calls made by the refs, hating on the designated hitter rule
  • Personal arguments – Not hanging up shirts a certain way, chewing loudly, not walking the dog right after you get home
  • Professional arguments – Using excel when everyone else is on Google Sheets, having a weird cat picture as part of a company e-mail signature line, talking about a bad case of ’the Mondays’ every Monday morning 
Imagine if you could could say something a little off kilter, argumentative, or even down right mean (solely for entertainment purposes) to someone and know they would be cool with it afterwards since whatever discussion or monolog that was laid down wasn’t coming from a place of malice or ill intent. Sick burns, put downs, stupid inaccurate statements. None of it would matter a few minutes later.  Instant memory loss with a big bonus afterwards. That anger you where harboring, be it on the topic or more than likely something completely different, is gone. Drifted away on some cathartic cloud, never to be seen again. Also in the case when you say something that crossed the line of recreational hate the other party could let you know this without any fear of an angry retort or retribution on your end. This would lead to better communication and closer more open relationships with more people. And isn’t that what life is really about?
“If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.” – Issac Jaffe, Sports Night
That’s one of the larger upsides to recreational hate.  All the anger we feel about stupid stuff can be taken out in this way with no one needing to get hurt in the process. An eye for an eye, but you are not playing with real eyes. Right now when people are mad and want to take it out on someone they tend to leave a trail of angry people in their wake. Anger spreads and boy is it a vicious cycle.  Imagine reading Youtube comments knowing that all the angry comments where 100% BS.  Maybe theres even post-posts where people after getting their anger out share what they truly feel or what they are going through.
Commenter: “This sucks, you suck, your mom sucks, and I hope you all burn in hell for this shitty video!!!1!
Commenter: “Feeling better, thanks for letting me get that out. Been a rough day. Dog got sick and worried if he’ll get better soon.”
Video poster: “Sorry to hear that dude, hope things get better!”
Commenter: “Thanks, me too. Like your videos! ;)”
Video poster: “lol, soooo not happening. ;P”
If this could be the world we live in I welcome it. I want to find a way to make this happen. There will always be anger and hatred, but if we can focus it more towards things that don’t really matter and people know it’s just us getting some recreational hate out we would all be so much better. Both to give and receive.
It’s booing the opposing team for 3 hours and then everyone goes out for a beer.
It’s talking shit during e-league night and then trading game tips afterwards.
It’s the first part of Fight Club, before things get out of hand.
I grew up in New England and the closer you were to someone the worse things you would call them. It was a sign of trust and closeness since if you said a tenth of that to someone else you could do some real damage (as well as probably get punched in the face). How do we get some of this into other peoples lives?
Arguing and debating should be fun. Rap battles get it, so should we.  I want to go back to fights about what color a dress is.  If there is some way to get the word out to the angry masses about using recreational hate instead of real hate I think we could make some big waves. Create recreational hate zones, pre and post statements with saying it’s recreational hate (like saying “bless your heart” but with less sass), or start using the hashtag #RecHate. I don’t know but I think it’s worth exploring.
Post Script:
A final quick note on the elephants in the room here: politics and religion. If we can get our heads & hearts around the above items first then let’s go after these next.  My only piece of advice here is to our orange Creamsicle in Chief that so far has made a political career of hate and fear:  
“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel” – Mark Twain

Just in Time for the Holidays! – A Darker Take on 5 Classic Christmas Songs

 It’s the holidays so of course like many others I’ve been listening to Christmas music. As I was doing this my mind started focusing more on some of the lyrics. I’ve sung these in elementary school plays, at family parties, or just to be annoying to friends while driving but never really dived into the lyrics. Just took them at face value of what they were. But this time I looked at them a bit …differently.
Winter Wonderland
This song is about a heist over the holidays that goes wrong
Sleigh bells ring
are you listening
in the lane
snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
we’re happy tonight
walking in a winter wonderland

This is a flash forward to the end of the heist after it goes horribly wrong. Like the opening scene of the first episode of Cowboy Bebop. Guy laying in a snowy alley with a bullet in him, bleeding out and laughing. Hearing bells coming from the street.

Gone away is the bluebird
here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
as we go along
walking in a winter wonderland
Guy is walking down a snowy street to meet up with his contact, sees a bird
In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say: Are you married?
we’ll say: No man
But you can do the job
when you’re in town

Guy meets contact at the old church in the meadow. Contact is disguised as a priest. They exchange code words so they know they can trust each other before “doing the job when you’re in town”.

Later on
we’ll conspire
as we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
the plans that we’ve made
walking in a winter wonderland
They meet up that night to go over the plans for the heist. Which is taking place at a holiday festival. A winter wonderland.
In the meadow we can build a snowman
and pretend that he’s a circus clown
We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman
until the the other kids knock him down

‘Snowman’ is the nickname of the 3rd guy taking part in the heist. There is always some loose canon in a heist movie that screws it up for the team. Snowman is that guy and he is going to dress up in festive attire (maybe even santa) to district people and make a scene to attract the cops on duty so the other two who can head the other way to steal what they came for.  They have to be quick though since they only have until the cops take Snowman down and get back to paroling the festival.

When it snows
ain’t it thrilling
Though your nose gets a chilling
We’ll frolic and play
the Eskimo way
walking in a winter wonderland

The cops deal with Snowman quicker than planned and caught the guy and his accomplice in the middle of the heist. When the bullets start flying, it ain’t thrilling. Even with all the shooting the guy tries to still get away with what they came for while his accomplice jets off to save his life. The guy takes a few bullets in the process and manages to limp into the the alley a block from the festival and collapses to the ground.

Walking in a winter wonderland
walking in a winter wonderland
We go back to the first scene of the song as the guy dies.

Frosty the Snowman
This song is about a drug trip
Frosty the Snowman, was a jolly happy soul,
With a corn cob pipe and a button nose, and two eyes made of coal.

“Frosty the Snowman” is the street name of a popular drug that creates a feeling of euphoria

Frosty the Snowman, is a fairytale, they say.
He was made of snow, but the children know he came to life one day.

This person hears about what the effects of this drug and wants to give it a try

There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found,
For when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around!
They score some on the dark web through the silk road. They then sit back and give it a try.
Oh, Frosty, the Snowman, was alive as he could be;
and the children say he could laugh and play,
just the same as you and me.
They are having the best trip of their life
Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,
look at Frosty go.
Their heart rate rises. They feel ever beat.
Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,
over the hills of snow.
Their heart rate rises even more. They start seeing shapes and colors.
Frosty the Snowman, knew the sun was hot that day,
so he said, “Let’s run, and we’ll have some fun now, before I melt away.”

At the peak of the trip “Frosty” makes a person burst with more energy than they can handle

Down to the village, with a broomstick in his hand,
Running here and there, all around the square,
sayin’, “Catch me if you can.”

They jump up, run out the door, and into the street

He led them down the streets of town, right to the traffic cop;
and only paused a moment, when he heard him holler, “Stop!”

They run full speed into a cop on the street. They try to hide that they were on any kind of drug when the cop starts to yell at them.

For Frosty, the Snowman, had to hurry on his way,
But he waved goodbye, sayin’ “Don’t cry, I’ll be back again some day.
Luckily the drug starts to wear off, and wear off quick, right about at this time. They were sad the experience was over but then remember where they could get some more.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
This song is about government surveillance 
You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
‘Santa Clause’ is the code name for the program that tracks your every move in real life and online.  Everyone is aware this exists and lives in fear of not doing the right thing in the eyes of the government.
He’s making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

Police raids and other purges regularly happen in the city. Rounding up anyone who they deem a possible threat to the state.  When you hear that Santa Clause is coming to town there is only one thing you can do. Run.

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

This is the mantra taught to school children so they learn at a young age that they need to stay in line and work hard. No one ever heard from little Timmy after that time he through a rock through the school house window.

O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming to town
Always be good, sleep with one eye open, and pray Santa does not come to your town any time soon.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
This song is about the gentrification of a neighborhood
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 
Ev’rywhere you go; 
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again 
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow. 
‘Christmas’ in this scenario refers to all the changes happening in the neighborhood. The old five-and-ten shop has been rebuilt to attract the young professionals in the area after the original owners where forced to leave after their rent was increased 400%.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, 
Toys in ev’ry store, 
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door. 
All the local stores have new items to purchase, if you can afford the new higher prices that is.  ‘Holly’ is the nickname of the neighborhood watch group who comes around and hollers at the homeless to get them out of people’s doorways.
A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots 
Is the wish of Barney and Ben; 
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk 
Is the hope of Janice and Jen; 
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.
What everyone is most excited for are all the new places opening up soon. ‘Hop along boots’ is a southern Korean BBQ fusion restaurant and ‘Dolls that will talk’ is a new bar where dogs get their own bar stools. Parents can’t wait to get their kids started at the new local schools being built in the area so they can spend more time at all these new hot places.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.
The changes are being seen everywhere, no block seems to be spared. Even the historic Grand Hotel. Which is being torn down to create a new park for food trucks and a local farmers market.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.
The new bicycle meet up groups are now adding this neighborhood as part of their travels. Which the new people moving in love since local DJs have been known to remix the sounds of their bike bells for the weekend speak-easy after-work post-parties.

Let it snow
This song is about slowly dyeing in a bomb shelter
Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Deep underground a group tries to best ignore the bombardment above. Staring at a wall sized painting depicting a fireplace scene during Christmas.
It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I’ve bought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
The bombing has been going on for days now. The power generator is starting to run low on fuel but there are still a lot of rations on hand. 
When we finally kiss good night
How I’ll hate going out in the storm!
But if you’ll really hold me tight
All the way home I’ll be warm
One of the bombing runs has caused part of the building above to cover the shelter door trapping everyone inside. What is left of the group huddles together in the main hall since it is the last room with working power and heat.
The fire is slowly dying
And, my dear, we’re still goodbying
But as long as you love me so
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
The final person left alive is breathing the last amounts of air in the shelter. The lack of oxygen to the brain has lead them to a delusional state where they start to see people who have already died. The last thing they see as the air runs out is the snow fall depicted on the wall sized Christmas painting.
Happy Holidays!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Fan Story

Warning: Some minor spoilers
There is so much to talk about regarding Rogue One. Ive already read a lot just in the past few hours this morning and looking forward to reading even more. So not to double up on any of the main discussions going around I wanted to instead share something from the overall feeling I took away from this film.
I really, really enjoyed Rogue One. Like REALLY enjoyed it. When it ended I found myself with tears in my eyes, both my hands shaking, my heart rate sky spiking, and barely being able to speak in complete sentences. This wasn’t 100% from the amazingly action packed final 20 mins of the movie, it did most certainly help, but from something else that I couldn’t put my finger on at the moment. Ive had 12 hours to ponder on this feeling and I think I’ve figured out what it was.
This was a less a feeling of enjoying a new Star Wars film and more like visiting some where that feels so familiar but you’ve never been to before. Like going back to where you grew up many years later and even though a lot has changed you can still see the framework of the town that was. A feeling similar to deja vu but when you are aware that this is something different and not exactly what was before. A strong emotional link between something from the past and something in the present. Let’s call it “newstalgia”.
I’ve watched ‘A New Hope’ more times than I can count. I was 3 months old when it first hit theaters in 1977 so I’ve had decades to ware away multiple VHS tapes, DVDs, and even Blu-rays of this film with so many revisits. Almost every time I clean our house I still throw in one of the films from the original trilogy. So to say New Hope is engrained in to my life is an understatement.
When Rogue One’s credits first started to roll and I turned into a big ball of goo I thought I was being overwhelmed by a new Star Wars film that made New Hope an even better film (which I do think it did and is worth it’s own blog post) and all the call backs to Episode IV where just triggering so fast that I couldn’t process everything that just happened fast enough. I also thought that I might have been a bit punch drunk going into seeing the film since in the past 2 weeks I had been on 5 flights across two times zones and not had much sleep during this time as well. After some more reflection, sleep, and whiskey I landed on these not being the main causes for clutching my girlfriend’s hand all through the credits like I was afraid I going to float away. It was newstalgia.
When finding out why the first Death Star had such a big design flaw. Newstalgia.
When seeing new scenes of Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, & Mon Mothma. Newstalgia.
When watching Rebels die trying to pass along the plans on an invaded ship. Newstalgia.
When finally putting all the pieces together that link the new with the old and you feel them merge together in that place inside you where you keep all those wonderful memories for the old and it feels like being plugged into the Matrix and suddenly getting new DLC for Ms. Pac-Man. Newstalgia.

7 things I’ve been doing to try and help since the election

I could easily go on a rant about what happen last Tuesday night, seems to be the main thing in most peoples feeds this week.  How people are reacting, rampant false news stories, or how we’re about to have a white nationalist in the White House soon. I’m not going to because those are the loudest things out there right now and frankly, I’ve already seen people sharing their thoughts way better than I could ever do so. I’m not saying any of these things are not important, they are, just that I can’t add anything to the conversation that you (hopefully) haven’t seen already.
What I think I can add is what I’ve been doing this week to try and start to make things better.  I’m hoping you have seen lists like this in other places as well already. As I just stated I’m not interested in adding to the noise. Reinforcing things we can all do to make the scary road ahead better, I’m all for.
I want to add that I’m still learning as I go with this. So this list is what I’m doing so far. Working to make this a better list is also part of the plan. Learn, try, adjust, repeat.  So here goes, 7 things I’ve been doing to make tomorrow better since the election.

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7 things I learned about business from watching anime

I’ve been working as a professional business dude for while now but not as long as I have been an anime fan. Looking back at all the anime I’ve watched I’ve noticed some correlations between key lessons I’ve learned in business and some of the things I’ve seen in anime.
1. You can have the best product in the world but if no one knows about it it doesn’t matter
If you created an amazing product, like calorie free ice cream or a kitten vending machine, but you only let people know about it by running ads on Myspace it might as well not exist.
When we first meet Usagi she’s a lazy, clumsy, whinny bun-head of a teenage girl. Who would ever suspect she would be the greatest champion of the Sailor Moon universe.  At first not the villians, the other guardians, or herself even.  Everyone thought Sailor Venus was the one to be the savior of the world. Tuxedo Mask had a good feeling about Usagi but that was as close to any insight on her power level as anyone had. Which was very lucky for him because that guy was totally useless.
Sailor Moons
2. The right team on a project can make the difference between success and failure.
To have the greatest success with a project you need to have the right people involved on it. If you are trying to find new ways to increase likes for your company Facebook page be sure to have someone who’s last claim to fame online wasn’t Live Journal.
In Steins;Gate Okabe wouldn’t have been able to find out all the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff he did with out the rest of the Future Gadget Laboratory. Daru, Mayuri, Kurisu; all key pieces of the puzzle that lead them to find out all the truths they so were seeking for. Which turned out so well for them.
You know, on second thought…
3. Feedback (good or bad) is a gift. Be grateful when you get it.
Be happy when customers let you know via a survey, on Twitter, or in person what they like and don’t like about your company. This could help guide your next decision to make things better or stop you from going down a wrong path your business could be heading towards. If someone ever tells you to never start a land war in Asia, you should listen to them.
Kanada might have been a punk but he was really trying to help Tetsuo out all the times he was yelling his name and treating him like dirt. Sure, not the best approach but still he meant well with his feedback.  If Tetsuo had decided to take Kanada and everyone else’s advice to just chill out maybe Neo Tokyo would not be turned into the ultimate skate park it is now.
4. A problem well defined is already half solved
When tacking an issue it is very important to find out what exactly needs to be fixed before trying to repair things. Once you narrow down what needs to be done to make things better and you eliminate the items that won’t help with this, solutions will come easier and problems faster to fix.
When you wake up with no memory, a gun, and a cellphone standing in front of the White House naked you are most likely not going to have a good day. For Takizawa from Eden of the East this could have been the case but he quickly started to put things together. Once he was fully informed what the game he was playing was about he started to turn the tables on the people pulling the strings. Which is always a good thing when there is a beautiful woman with a cigar cutter and nefarious plans for your friend Johnny.
Eden of the East
5. Remember the 80/20 rule
20% of the people will be responsible for 80% of your revenue. Keeping your most loyal customers happy and informed goes a long way to help the bottom line and the future success of most new ventures.
How many saiyans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One, but it takes fifteen episodes. Long running series are regularly known for having filler episodes. Those large chunks of non-main storylines reminds you of the good stuff when it comes around. Even little bits of story progression makes things better for everyone involved.  When Goku get’s his drivers license might be my favorite DBZ episode but the Truck saga is what makes the series legendary.
6. Perception is reality
If a stable bank is believed to be unstable people will start pulling their money out, making it unstable. What people think of a service can greatly effect how it actually performs. The pet rock, bottled water, and the emperor’s new robes all can thank perception for their success.
Vash the Stampede, the human typhoon. Nicest guy on the planet who just wants to eat some donuts and help people out. One person hears a rumor that the human typhoon is coming to town and everyone starts losing their mind. They don’t even believe Vash is the same guy from the wanted posters when meeting him. Sure, everything does tend to get blown up when he shows up, but that’s besides the point. Lesson to learn here: never judge a book by it’s cover. Especially if that book is known to leave cities in rubble after reading the last chapter.
7. Build something you believe it and others will follow you 
When you have a product you believe in beyond just a pay check it is easy to get others excited about it as well. When you can look some one the eye and say, “it’s dangerous to go alone. Take this” and mean it that is a powerful thing.
When living underground just digging around in the dirt it’s hard to think there could be anything else to life.  But tell Kamina that. He always believed he was the one to pierce the heaves and make it to the surface. The strengths of his belief of this drew others to find hope as well and push up beyond what they thought was safe and possible. Because you don’t have to believe in yourself. You just need to believe in the Kamina that believes in you.

These Orc Attacks are Bring Down our Property Value

There are many worlds from many stories. Some full of dangerous creatures, others covered in frozen sheets of ice, even a few with little teddy bears with sharp sticks.
But do any of them have a skate park?
If you had to live in one of the worlds from all of those stories that we have all read, seen, and enjoyed which one would it be? If you had to live somewhere what would be the things that were most important? and I really mean live there. Not start on some random moisture farm to be whisked away to join a random old man on some damned fool adventure. If you had to spend the next 50+ years some where, where would that place be?
Let’s look at some options based on 4 key criteria most people would say are important to living some place.
  1. 1. Economic standards: Are there good jobs, is the economy growing, a total lack of goons coming around asking for protection money
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: Is there an insurrection by the people every Tuesday or some galactic empire that comes a knock’n for new recruits regularly
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: What kind of schools do they have, places to play that aren’t filled with turrets that fire lasers
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: What are their arts districts like, how is the local quidditch team these days, can you get froyo delivered by a unicorn
Cloud City
  1. 1. Economic standards: The gas mining business is pretty much the only game in town. But if that’s your thing, this is your kind of place.
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: Well, there was this one time…
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: Not unless you want them to grow up singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” with a bit of a space cowboy twang to it.
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: Friday night is toss the droid parts with the Ugnaughts and there is that one guy with the ice cream maker. He’s really popular there.
Mushroom Kingdom
  1. 1. Economic standards: They live on the gold coin standard. There is always a need for new workers to help build towers, bridges, and pipes. So many pipes.
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: I recommend moving into Toad’s house until the whole Koopa issue is dealt with
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: The schools are lacking but the playgrounds are killer
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: Do you like shell games and sounds of whistles?
The city from Logan’s Run
  1. 1. Economic standards: Now work, no worries. It’s all play all the time.
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: Just don’t run and you’ll be fine
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: Not really an issue
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: Every kind of entertainment you can imagine, the 18 – 24 demo is king, and you really should check out Carrousel. It’s like a sci-fi Cirque Du Soleil.
Evangelion – Tokyo-3
  1. 1. Economic standards: Lex Corp is always hiring and the newspaper industry still exists
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: Bad stuff happen but as long as big blue is there things should be fine. Well, as long as Zac Snyder isn’t involved.
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: One hell of a great role model that’s for sure
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: Having a dull afternoon? Just look to the sky and wait.
  1. 1. Economic standards: Sunny California suburb with all the things you would expect. Your local main street stores, assortment of parks, and a subterranean mystical portal that attracts evil forces.
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: 50/50 is not the worst odds
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: A great training ground for some bad ass teens
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: Lot’s of choice spots to make new friends. Like dark alleyways, abandoned factories, and a variety of gothic cemeteries.
The Walled City
  1. 1. Economic standards: Trades a bit tight as of late. Might be a bad time to buy a house.
  2. 2. Least likely to be attacked by bad guys: It depends. Which wall are you most behind?
  3. 3. Good place to raise kids: They have this new ‘scared straight’ program that’s all the rage
  4. 4. Entertainment options and culture: Do you like running away from things?

A Shelf is Worth a Thousand Words

Do you have a shelf? I’m betting you do. I don’t mean just a regular shelf for regular things. I mean a glorious shelf of the amazing things. The shelf that when people come to visit look up and down to see what you’re into, what you love, and how you like show that all off.
We have a shelf, or, shelves like that in our house. We call it The Shelves of Great Nerdery. A place to keep all the little things we’ve collected over the years as a showcase of what we want people to associate with us. Totems of our lifestyle.
Donkey Kong
I’ve seen all kinds of shelves dedicated to all sorts of things.  Action figures lined up by release dates with each shelf a different toy line. Shelves made of old hard back books bought in bulk at an auction house. Anime DVDs bookended by anime VHS tapes.  All shapes and all sizes.  So what is it that makes us naturally want to build a shelf? We put things upon it like a trophy case where the ‘best in show’ ribbon came in a blister pack.  Be it one shelf or a dedicated room this seems to be in our DNA for all who collect stuff of some kind.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a nicely designed shelf can say a lot about what you want others to perceive of you. Row’s of Xbox games towering next to a large TV: “I’m a gamer”. A dedicated shelf overflowing with con badges and event pictures: “I like to go to conventions”. Some shelf obsessions go even further and more specific if that is important to that person. A shelf of one brand of tea containers, new and old, that sits over a breakfast nook that has bay window with space between each container for a book: “I like to have my favorite tea while I sit and read with the sun coming through the window.”
What is on a shelf, how everything is arranged, and why it was added are all parts of the story.  Let’s dissect one of my shelves as an example.
Shelf by number
  1. 1. A custom card with the text ‘you blew it’ in fancy lettering a comic friend of mine hands out at bars from time to time
  2. 2. 12” Boba Fett figure. One of the few remaining items from my Star Wars addiction days.
  3. 3. Issues 1-3 of Ranma 1/2. The only time the manga was ever in full color. My first convention purchase ever (1997).
  4. 4. A Buddha statue from the first time I visited the Ft. Worth Japanese Gardens
  5. 5. Voltron mini figures. One of the few items I didn’t sell off of my near complete Voltron collection
  6. 6. Stack of Yotsuba manga. Because if you ever need a smile just pick one up and read it.
  7. 7. A tea cup my girlfriend bought from the now closed Japanese Sakura Taisen Cafe
  8. 8. Panda-Z imported figure that was gifted to me by an old friend who had “too much shit that needed to find a new home”
  9. 9. Prinny fans from Anime Expo the year I was told about Disgaea. A game my girlfriend obsesses over.
  10. 10. Disney’s The Black Hole puzzle I’ve had since I was 5
  11. 11. The two way pager that I got from my first college internship designing websites at Motorola (Thank you HTML for Dummies!). This bad boy saved my ass multiple times in college. I don’t think the plan was suppose to go for an extra year but I sure was happy it did.
  12. 12. 5-Barrel rum bottle from the first vacation to Belize my girlfriend and I took together. My first vacation that didn’t involve me going to a Disney park, taking my daughter to a Disney park, or some random college spring break adventure.
  13. 13. What remains of my original Magic The Gathering collection from high school. Including cards I made up that for some reason my friends actually let me play in real games.
All these stories condensed into a 4 foot space. A level of efficiency Twitter should be envious of.
Your shelf can also acts as a timeline of your fandom.  The shelf you started in high school (an old wine glass rack I filled with anime VHS tapes in my case) can say just as much about you as your yearbook photo. As your fandom evolves so does your shelf.  You may have even changed out your shelf entirely. Big in to baseball as a kid, Gundam model kits in college, and now it’s Criterion Collection Blu-rays and rare 35mm prints of classic films. Like moving from a 6-pack of Bud Light to bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label, your tastes have grown with you.
Do you have a shelf? I would love to hear all about it and see any pictures if you got them. If the comments section below doesn’t allow pictures feel free to share them on my Facebook page or Tweet them at me.
Sailor Moon

I know 99 Facts About Star Wars But a Friend, Not One

Recently I read a review on Ernie Cline’s new book Armada. I thought the book was okay but the reviewer haaaaated it. He did make some good points about the book pandering to the nerd audience more than focus on a cohesive story. He also made a point about fandom today that I wish he had dove into more than the actual book review.
He talked about how fandom has become more non-inclusive within nerd circles. How there is some imaginary ‘you need to be this geeky to ride’ line that has now appeared forming a class system.  And I don’t mean the warrior, rouge, etc. type of class system. I mean the kind that makes people feel big about themselves by looking down on others.  This kind of nerd privilege has been on the rise as of late and has no value. It needs to get taken down a peg like a black knight guarding a bridge.
HF 1
I want to first get the elephant in the room out in the open on this topic. Yes, just like any other kind of “I’m better than you because…” status system there has been a nerd against nerd structure for many years. I will clarify that I don’t think this will go away either, It’s part of human nature to feel this way some times. I just want to ease up on the throttle Ripley before we grind any more metal.
I’ve heard people say “I feel like a bad fan” when they don’t like something many other fans do, don’t know all the names of every Star Trek captain, or haven’t played Settlers of Catan. People shouldn’t feel bad that they aren’t walking wikipedias of fandom. It’s not what level of fan you are but that you are a fan that matters. Whatever that means to you or however you choose to express it.
“Are You a Real Fan?” Quiz
Do you like something?
– Yes
– No
(If you answered yes, you are a real fan)
I do also want to add that knowing a lot about a topic isn’t a bad thing either. If you can recite the entire script from Ghostbusters from memory, good on ya! Being obsessive or curious enough about a topic to go deep down that rabbit hole is great. It’s when this is used as an apple crate to stand over other people who also are fans of the same thing that this becomes a bad thing.
Do not fret though, there is still hope. For both those that don’t know it all and for those who do (or at least think they do). Here are a few ways I think we can all make things better for everyone.
5 ways to help fandom be more inclusive
1. Share your knowledge and excitement on a subject instead of belittling others knowledge and excitement on a subject.
If you know all the Dune books by heart and love the franchise above all others why not bring more people along on your sand worm ride. If you find some one willing to listen, be it not knowing about your fandom at all or just a little, open up to them on the topic. Guide them into this world you so love. Excitement is contagious, and the spice must flow.
2. Don’t acknowledge or engage in conversations that seem more like a rap battle than a sharing of passions on a topic.
Be it with your friends, at a convention, or for gods sake online – do not engage! Just like dealing with an internet troll our a bug bite, the more you itch at it the worse it will get. If someone wrenches their way into your discussion about 80’s anime demanding everyone now talk about of who is the most obscure Macross character with clear want it their eyes to tell you that you are wrong; just shake of their comment with your own ‘cool story bro’ look and get back to what you were originally talking about.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask about a fandom you don’t know about, or don’t be a dick when someone asks you about about your fandom.
You will run into the person from time to time who might want to make you feel small for not playing the original Pokemon. Overall though most people will more than likely embrace your honesty and curiosity on the thing that they love. Rewarding you with a wealth of information on the topic, an offer of invitation to learn more about it, and engage deeper with other fans just as excited to bring you into the fold.
4. Give back to your fandom by spreading the good word to all who will listen, but do not preach.
Yes, I should watch the remake of Battlestar Galactica, but if I don’t you should also be okay with that. There could be a million reasons for not getting involved with a fandom. Time constraints, limited access to the material, spent all your money buying power converters at Toshi Station. The point here is that if you are sharing your excitement of your fandom is great. Pushing your fandom on someone well after they are asking you to is not.
5. Do not hate the hater. It is better to gain perspective on where they are coming from than fuel their fire.
Some people will just not be the ones to step up and be the better person, don’t let them ruin things for you. Some times people who act surprior over other people’s knowledge or love of a fandom might have some strange reason for doing so. This might be the one thing they think they are good at and hold it too close to their chest or they might be going through some tough things in their personal life and this is how they deal with things. This isn’t an excuse for their bad behavior but looking at the possible big picture of this person should help lessen some of the anger or animosity you might have for them.
Overall being a fan of something doesn’t mean you have to love something to a certain level. Just loving it is enough. Let’s grow the nerd herd. No one should feel like a ‘bad fan’ for not being into something or not liking something extra hard. Let’s keep sharing the love of fandom and all the rich experiences that come with it together!

I Live. I Die. I Live Again: Retro Gaming Culture and Why it’s Here to Stay

Like many of you I’m a big retro video game fan. 8 & 16 bit games and all the things that surround them are my happy place. My warm and fuzzy feeling. My blanket and hot coco.  Show me a Nintendo Power cover from 1991 or whistle the theme from Mega Man 2 and you might just hear me give an audible sigh of zen like calm.  Putting all these feelings aside I think retro video games are here to stay. To better clarify, I think the idea of retro video games will out live the generation that grew up with them. Retro gaming culture is now part of the pop culture vernacular, and here is why I think that.
Have you seen the kids today? They think retro is cool and I’m betting many of them haven’t ever played an NES! So …what’s up with that, right?  From kids, teens, to college age boys and girls there is a love for retro gaming culture that has little ties to the source material other than a ripple of an echo of murmur of an old man saying, “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.”
  Retro NES Ad
Yes there is a generation of kids today that have parents, older siblings, or other close influential roles in their lives that did grow up with retro gaming. Be it Atari, Nintendo, Sega, or just living in bowling alley arcades plugging in quarter after quarter in a Zaxxon cabinet. With Gen X and Y (insert Pokemon joke here) coming into the age of influence and many of them never really wanting to grow up, the seeds of retro gaming culture were spread far beyond just their childhood living rooms.
Retro gaming culture reaches beyond just playing games. My daughter loves Zelda but has barely played any of the games. Love the music, watching walkthrough videos, the characters, the cosplay, the fan art, etc. The feeling of playing the games has now extended past their plastic cartridge casings and into the emotional tethers of people’s lives. Like feeling nostalgic for something you never experienced.
EDM music has influence from retro game music, a.k.a. chip tunes. Chip tunes is a genre of music for christ’s sake! It’s not just seen as some creepy calliope music from some bygone area. The beeps and boops that made games like Contra, Super Mario World, and Ducktales so great have built a new part of the music industry. The music from the stage select menu of Japanese-only mahjong Game Boy game has influenced the quarterly sales of iTunes globally.
Chiptune-Setup-Game-Boys - small
The expansion of the virtual console will keep these games, and with it the culture, around for much longer than they were expected too. Before you had to wait for a ‘gaming classics’ re-release port for PS1 or someone to remake Oregon Trail for Windows 95. Now games that voted for President Carter and lived through slap bracelets can be downloaded to your phone for 99 cents.
Museums! Video games are now in museums. I thought it was crazy when Luke’s X-wing was put in the Smithsonian but now we are seeing rare vintage game consoles and peripherals behind display glass as well. There is even a History of Video Games Museum opening later this year (less than an hour from my house #happydance)! Some day a confused child might ask, “Is that Samus?” when looking at the Mona Lisa.
Power glove Indiana
8 & 16-bit designs. This is a style of art that has caught on quickly with pop culture fans. Not sure if pearler beads were the reason this tread started off so strong but its all over ever Artists Alley at conventions nationwide. From tiny keychain Dragon Balls to 4 foot tall Final Fantasy final bosses.
pearler beads
Like fashion, music, and all styles; things come in popularity and then fall out of popularity. Only to be popular again further down the road. Retro gaming culture is now part of that fly wheel. When it drops out of favor with this generation another further down the road will pick it back up. Who knows, maybe your great grand kids will walk up to one day and tell you about this new hot game called ‘Super Mario Bros’.

How to Take Down the Hulk with a Hummer

I’m in between Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con so I thought now would be a good time to share a bizarre story from one of my first years at SDCC. ^_^
Hulk Hummer
One year in the early 2000’s (I think 2003 but not entirely sure) San Diego Comic-Con and GenCon were back to back weekends. This was when I was still at Score Entertainment and managing the DBZ CCG hummer tour. Both cons were the biggest cons of the year for us so we had to have the hummer at each of them. The issue was that unless I drove like crazy from San Diego to Indianapolis I wasn’t going to be able to get the hummer to GenCon in time for set-up. The solution for this was to put the hummer on the back of a truck that would have two drivers taking turns at the wheel so they could drive non-stop all the way there. There was only one catch. To make it to GenCon in time the hummer would have to be driven off the Comic-Con exhibit floor (we had it on our booth) in less than 15 minutes after the show closed to get it on the truck.
This was barely enough time to get all the attendees off the show floor let alone roll up the aisle carpet to clear path for us to drive it out. We luckily were able to get special permission from Comic-Con and the fire marshal. We thought we were good so when the show closed I was ready to drive it out in about 5 minutes. Some attendees were still on the floor so we had con staff guide us out asking people to clear a path. We got about 20 feet away from our booth when a guy came running over screaming at us to stop the vehicle.
It turned out this guy was the former fire marshal and was loosing it on the massive safety violation he was seeing before him.  He started to argue with the staff and told them off for trying to move the hummer before the hall was fully cleared. My boss jumps in and starts quickly pleading our case and showing the written permission we were given to move this out. While this is all going on right in front of me I look at the clock on the dashboard. We had about 5 minutes left to get the hummer out of the hall. Bonus: the gas tank was on empty (a safety requirement for bringing in vehicles into a building) and only had enough fuel to get to the truck and I was there wasting gas with the engine still running.
Luckily the current fire marshal came by and cleared things up rather quickly. I started to slowly drive out of the hall again. I couldn’t go more than parade speed since the carpet in the aisles was still down and there were a few people in the hall. After what felt like forever I was able to turn off the main aisle and head towards the dock door opening. Only 20 feet from making it out the door with a few minutes to spare!  There was only one problem. There was a guy blocking my way that wasn’t seeming to hear the con staff asking everyone to move out of the way for me to drive out.
As I drove a bit closer I noticed who it was. It was Lou Ferrigno. The Hulk. Sitting on a stool, eating a sandwich, right in the middle of the aisle. Since the staff wasn’t going to get him to move I wasn’t sure what to do. I looked at the dashboard clock again. Two minutes. So I decided to take a chance and play chicken with a guy twice my size. I had one major advantage though, I was incased in military grade vehicle that was made to take an RPG strike when needed. So I locked the doors, rolled up close enough to him so he could see me, and stared him down. Not even sure I blinked during this time.
He moved and I drove off the convention floor with out further issues with a minute to spare.  We made the truck in time and got the hummer to GenCon before set-up.  I’m pretty sure I was more of an announce to Lou than a threat, but overall I was just glad he decided moving over to finish his sandwich was more important than staring down a kid in a giant metal box covered in cartoon characters.