Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BMB IS Norman Osborn

Yes, I said it. Brian Bendis IS the Norman Osborn of Marvel. Don't believe me? Try this on for size:

Norman Osborn: Always a strong character, but always stuck in one book, usually fighting one guy (Spider Man). Today, he has expanded his reach and power throughout the Marvel universe. He is everywhere. You see him in book after book with his hands in everything that is going on.

Brian Bendis: Always a strong writer, but early on stuck to one book, usually writing one main character (Jinx, Sam & Twitch). Suddenly Marvel comes calling and he is freakin' everywhere you look, with his hands in everything that is going on in the Marvel universe, and Ultimate Marvel universe for that matter.

Norman Osborn: Likes taking old, forgotten or under appreciated villains and breathing new life into them, giving them a second chance at villainous success (Moonstone, Radioactive Man, The Swordsman, etc).

Brian Bendis: Likes taking old, forgotten or under appreciated Marvel characters and breathing new live into them, giving their books a second chance at success (Daredevil, Avengers, Ultimates).

Norman Osborn: Worst hairdo in Marvel. Is that a red and black wavy mini-fro??????

Brian Bendis: Secretly shaves his head because of his natural red and black wavy mini-fro.

Norman Osborn: Using cunning, guile, and intellect took down Tony Stark, arguably the most powerful man in the Marvel universe, supplanting him as the new leader of (what was) S.H.I.E.L.D.

Brian Bendis: Using cunning, guile, and intellect took down Joe Quesada (blackmailing him with illicit photos from the Marvel Christmas party 2001), arguably the most powerful man at Marvel, supplanting him as the new leader of Marvel.

If only I could dig deeper I know I would find more......

Monday, January 26, 2009

I wouldn't want to be Barack Obama

Imagine walking in to your first day of work at a new job only to find that schools across the nation are re-naming themselves after you. Streets in major US cities have your name on them. Foreign countries are naming mountains after you. All of this before you have had your first cup of coffee. Part of you would be filled with pride on the accomplishment, but part of you, that part we all deal with, has to be in fear of the expectations put on you.

You didn't make this mess, but you promised to clean it up, and while you do, everyone will be watching everything you do. Every decision you make, every word you say will be met with scrutiny and criticism. You will have your every thought second guessed and every action analyzed to the most minute detail. Now, amidst all that, go ahead and raise your family under the watchful eye of an entire nation. Oh, and by the way, here is a laundry list of just SOME of the things you are expected to do over the next few years:

  • Passing a new economic stimulus plan
  • Closing Guantanamo Bay
  • Withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq
  • Pursuing peace between Israel and Palestine
  • Winning the war in Afghanistan
  • Reforming health care
  • Reversing Bush-era executive orders

... and don't forget, you will always live in fear of your life not only because of your job, but because we still have some in this country that base their ideological beliefs on the color of your skin.

I worry for you Barack. I worry that everyone is whipped up into such a fervor over your election that their expectations of you can never be met. I worry that you have been placed on such a high pedestal that there is no where to go but down. You haven't been at work a week and everyone expects you to save the world. And if you don't? Will it be your fault? Will we see that we set our expectations too high or will we just look back and lament the failure of your presidency.

The American people aren't treating you right. They are treating you well, but not treating you right. We need to slow down. We need to understand the significance of your election to office but temper that with an understanding that the journey you are about to embark on is a difficult one. No one man can change the world overnight. It takes time. It takes perseverance. It takes patience, and that is the one thing you need most from us. Patience.

I wouldn't want to be Barack Obama, but I am going to give Barack Obama a chance to show us who he really is.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Speaking of Geeks...

Nerd. Dork. Dweeb. Spaz. Freak. Geek.

Nature or Nurture?

I only remember 4 things from the Intro to Psychology class I took 17 years ago. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Pavlov's experiments with stimulus and response (ring a bell?), the Id, Ego, and Superego, and Nature vs. Nurture. Actually, I am pretty damned surprised I remember that much. Back to my thought.... I was sitting here, finishing up my last little post when the thought hit me, "What makes me a Geek?" Is it what I do, what I say, how I act, or is it just who I am? Was I born to this strange fate or was I somehow influenced by my friends, family, or social circles? Am I genetically predisposed to Geekiness, or did my upbringing somehow poison my fragile mind and bend it to the dorkside? Let's investigate, shall we?!?!?

Let's look at all of the labels that could have been put upon me while growning up (this would have been the late '70s and the '80s):

Nerd: (ref: did you know the word first appeared in the Dr. Seuss story If I Ran the Zoo!) No, not me. Nerds are socially awkward, a bit single-minded, not very physically inclined, and can be a bit oblivious. They are usually too smart for their own good and don't understand why the world doesn't see things just like they do. Most Nerds have interests or hobbies that are deemed strange, unusual, or just plain weird to the general populous. Nerds tend to live within themselves and only associate with other Nerds. As for me, I seemed to fit in, for the most part, in school. I was no outcast or pariah. I did play a number of different sports and did have an understanding of social circles and where/how I fit in.

Dork: A Nerd who doesn't understand the basic points of social interaction and truly believes that what they like is actually of interest or importance to everyone else. They just can't keep it to themselves, to the incredible annoyance of others. I played D&D, arcade games, read comic books, and enjoyed watching cartoons. I did not, however, dress up as Gyrhawk, the 12th level half-elf Ranger/Paladin on days other than Halloween, nor did I argue in public with my friends on the "legality" of using a pencil between your fingers when playing "Track and Field" in the arcade. Sadly, however, there was a point in time where I actually played "Gotcha" or "Assassination" while in school (you may have called it something else; a bunch of guys with dart guns sneaking around campus trying to "assassinate" each other). That aside, I was not a Dork either.

Dweeb: This is an interesting one. In my book a dweeb is just an undeveloped, or underdeveloped Nerd. A little Nerdling. Can't be a Dweeb if you weren't a Nerd.

Spaz: Take a Nerd or a Dork and add a strong dose of ADHD and Voila! No, I did not qualify as a spaz either.

Freak: You remember this guy. He was the one that sat in the back of the class, obsessed with reptiles, pouring Elmers glue on his skin, letting it dry, and then peeling it off like a second skin (I sat next to this guy, I think he is an Accountant now). This was the weird kid everyone was actually a little scared of. No, not me either.

Geek: May be a bit awkward socially, doesn't really have friends outside of their social circle, has a single minded focus on things that are outside the social norm and is associated with that obsession; may be known as a "comic book geek," "computer geek," "band geek," or "a/v geek." Geeks can be athletic, good looking, and socially normal, they are just labeled by their devotion(s) to that which is seen as different, unusual, or strange. Harmless in the pursuit of their interests, they may even be looked upon for help under unique circumstances by others. Ahhh... this feels like home. Let's go down the list:
- read comic books
- was in band
- played D&D
- dinked with computers early on
- played sports
- acutally dated (albiet I was 16 before I could get anyone to pay attention to me)
- was ALWAYS raising my hand in class to be the one to thread and run the filmstrip projector
- hung out with others like me
- Everyone knew I was guilty of all of the above

So yes, by definition I was a Geek. Now, I ask myself, and you, why?

My Mother and Step-Father were certainly not Geeks; a stay at home Mom and an Auto Mechanic. My Step Sisters - nope. My Step Brother - career criminal and redneck, about as far from Geek as you can get. Early on in school I remember associating with all kinds of kids and having friends across the spectrum, but as we got older and developed socially my friends seemed to be more and more like me. I started in the school band in 5th grade. Everyone was either required to take band, choir, music theory, or wood shop, so I was forced into band, but I stuck with it through high school (and loved it, by the way). Did the Geekiness of my band mates rub off on me or was I inclined to remain? I could have quit after 5th grade. Most did. I stayed because I liked it. I didn't have friends that just happened to play D&D, I had friends that were friends BECAUSE they played D&D. As I stated in my last post, I certainly wasn't exposed to the latest and greatest in technology growing up, so that exposure certainly wasn't a positive in the nurture column. My strange adept ability with all things audio and video? I certainly didn't grow up in a TV repair shop.

The more I think about it, the more I am coming to realise that I was predisposed to be a Geek. This may not be you, but in my case, it has got to be genetic. I won't be shocked if 20 years from now scientists, very geeky scientists, somewhere discover the "Geek" gene in our DNA.

So ask yourself, what brought you to this point? Was it nature, or was it nurture? Do you believe, as I do, that geekiness can be inherent and that you are predisposed at birth, or do you see social factors that influence you into this life, this calling, this existence some may know as Geek.

My fate, it seems, was sealed at birth.

Thank you Mom and Dad. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Self proclamation to follow... know, for a self proclaimed "geek" I can't figure out why I am so late in adapting to new technology. I can remember staying after school in Junior High so I could get time on the new Apple computer our teacher had purchased for the class. We would spend hours playing "Space Eggs" or whatever else we could scrounge up. I took a class in programming. I was on the cutting edge of technology, and then....... I don't know what the hell happened. Was it ADD? Boredom? Did I let sports get in the way (yes, you simpleton, you can be a geek and play sports. Nerds don't play sports)? I made it through 9th grade and suddenly I didn't care anymore. You can insert the proverbial "If I had a time machine..." quote here if you like, but had I stuck with it...

That isn't the only instance though. It seems I have been playing catch-up all my life. I think we were the last house on the planet to have a VCR, or cable for that matter. I didn't get my first CD player until 1989. My own PC? 2001. DVDs? 2002. Now the entire planet is online, blogging their little hearts out and hear I sit, 5 months between posts, wondering how the hell I can call myself a geek.

I need to get my crap together.

Don't tell the Overlords what I just said, they will revoke my geek privileges.