Tag Archives: multiverse

To my fellow nerds, I say, be better!

I am reaching out to a specific group with this post. I want to talk to the men and women of geekdom. If that is you, I ask that you please pay close attention to the following plea.

Ahem…

Geeks, dorks, countrynerds. Lend me your ears!

We have lost our way. We were supposed to be the nice people. The ones who accepted the bullied and the underdogs. We were supposed to be the ones who encouraged learning and tried to build confidence in each other. And if someone wanted to be part of our community, we didn’t chase them away.

What happened?

I’m seeing far too much nastiness in the geek community. Admittedly, this is a problem that is present all over society. I don’t know what the big answer is, but I can at least try to talk to those with whom I should have some common ground. So I am addressing you, my people. I speak to those of us who have at some point been punished for loving the things that we do. That is the common thread of those who have earned the geek and nerd tag. We got shunned or called names or physically attacked. In many cases, it was a combination of these things. But things have changed and it’s a little more mainstream. You can love sci-fi and fantasy, comic books and games, cosplay and computers and science and mythology and all kinds of stuff. It’s not 100 percent ridicule free, but it isn’t seen as that unusual either.

The problem is we’re attacking each other now. We’re being our own bullies. It needs to stop. We can all do better.

What happened to the whole idea of treating people like you want to be treated? It’s bad enough that so much of the larger world tends toward nastiness. We don’t need to get sucked up into that shit when it comes to geek culture. We don’t need nasty cliques in the cosplay community. We don’t need online trolls attacking women and kids from behind a gamertag. If someone posts some fantasy-themed artwork or a picture of themselves in a new costume we need to be supportive. Don’t rip apart their work. Don’t mock the artist’s technique or choice of subject. Don’t body shame the cosplayer or question their “nerd cred” on the character. If being kind is too difficult then try silence. You don’t like what you see? Fine. Move along. If you can’t be supportive, don’t be destructive. There is no need to harm anyone.

Is it because the old stereotypes blended? Are people angry because you have athletes that like comic books and nerds who watch sports now? Hey, I’m the classic sports-hating nerd and I’ve got no problem having friends who are football fans. We aren’t the authority on which person gets to like what fandom!

I think we can be better. I know we can! We are a small portion of humanity. If we can’t fix our own shit, how can we expect anything else to get better? So please. Try harder. Be kinder, smarter, more accepting. Be the nerdy, geeky champions I know we can be. Humanity needs us to be better. The multiverse needs us to be better. We need us to be better!

Blue Lantern

Sitting down to write this particular post has proven difficult for me. I think there is a possibility that I may anger some folks and lose a few readers after this, though I’d prefer if that isn’t the case. But I’ve also made a promise that I would do my best to be open on this platform. So let’s do this.

Lots of things have been happening in this country since the election. I think I echo the sentiment of many when I say the 2016 Presidential Election was a nightmare process. For many people, the nightmare is continuing. Donald Trump hasn’t even been president-elect for a month and things aren’t looking good. Hate crime is increasing (some fake instances, but mostly not) and that is wrong. Violence has occurred from some of his more fanatical supporters and detractors. The latter only seems to be helping orange narcissist. He has stated he hopes to be a president for all Americans, but this seems to be another lie from one of the country’s biggest cyber bullies. He’s looking at Washington insiders (the people he claimed to be against) for cabinet positions. He campaigned on a platform of fascism, racism, misogyny, and fear. Trump offered snake oil to people who are financially hurting and they bought it. Now he’s planning to put known white supremacist Stephen Bannon into a key power role. Another guy on his team has called the Japanese internment camps a precedent for how they should treat Muslims. Then you have the nightmare that is Mike Pence and his belief that gay people should be jailed for wanting to get married. The damn KKK is glad Trump won!

I now have a huge number of people in my life who are upset and terrified. I know barely any people who voted for Trump, with those that did claiming it was because of economics or a belief that Hillary Clinton is a criminal. They fact that this other stuff wasn’t a deal-breaker for them is disappointing. Most of the people in my life either voted Clinton or went the third-party route. The point is there are a lot of very scared people, wondering if they will be attacked for just being themselves. I’m scared, though not for myself. I’m a straight white guy. But I’m worried about my wife and daughters. I’m worried about the other women of my family and many of my friends. But worrying isn’t the only thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been thinking about the people who aren’t worried because the things the Trump campaign promised didn’t threaten them. I’m thinking about the people on both sides who are taking the attitude of just giving up and moving on. The election is over and we can’t do anything for the next four years.

I don’t agree with that. So I’ve decided I am embracing the Blue Lantern Corps. This will be a symbol and attitude for me going forth.

There are probably some of you who have no idea what I’m getting at. Permit me to get my geek on and briefly delve into comic books. If you need more detail, get thee to a search engine! The Blue Lanterns are from the DC multiverse and are allies of the more famous Green Lanterns. There are multiple Lanterns, most emerging just before or within the “Blackest Night” crossover story. Each gains power from a specific emotion tied to the color spectrum. Green Lanterns have willpower. Sinestro’s Yellow Lanterns have fear, and so forth. For Blue Lanterns, their power comes from hope.

Hope. One of the most powerful, yet easy to forget, forces in existence. I have forgotten about it myself. Being prone to depression, it’s any easy thing to do. Then one of my Twitter friends made mention of the Blue Lanterns in a tweet. It was a slap to the back of my head that I desperately needed. So I am going to embody that symbol as best I can. I need to be hope.

What exactly does this entail for me? It means doing what I can to show everyone who is scared that I’m still with them. It means I’m donating whatever money or time I realistically can. I’m signing the petitions against the hate-monger appointees. It means making the phone calls to senators and representatives. It means wearing the Safety Pin and doing my best to be an ally. We are quickly seeing that this is an administration that will not unify people. Those that think it will are choosing to remain ignorant. And in case I haven’t been clear, this doesn’t have anything to do with who didn’t win the election. I have yet to see a candidate who I didn’t have doubts about in any election I’ve voted in, and that includes the often deified Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump is the first person I’ve been absolutely adamant against. Frankly, I could have lived with most of the other options. But I am hoping that those who did vote for Trump are realizing it was a mistake. I’m hopeful that most of those people will not stand by and ignore the harassment or the hate crimes. I hope, like me, they plan to call it out and hold those embracing the white nationalist poison accountable for it. We are in for a very long four years. This is not the time to pretend we can do nothing or blame everyone who isn’t ourselves.

The first Blue Lantern is an alien called Saint Walker, who repeats the phrase “all will be well” as a mantra. If we do what we can to protect each other, all WILL be well. But the effort must be made.Doing nothing is only going to guarantee our problems will get worse.

It occurs to me that in the Lantern breakdown, orange is the color connected to avarice. Has Trump has actually been Agent Orange this whole time? Are the lines between fiction and reality blurring that much? Talk about scary!

Enough now. I’ve made my mind known. Time to focus. Stand against the hate. Speak against the fear. Be a safe space. People need you.

All will be well.

 

Sometimes it is people

Let me begin with an understatement. Things are a little screwy in our country right now. Actually, there a little screwy in the world as a whole right now.

I think I’m probably not alone when I say I’m torn up when it comes to interacting with my fellow humans. We are social creatures and even the most reclusive of us need some interaction, even if it’s through social media. But for much of the past year, I find that being interactive and informed is giving my mental health a constant kick to the crotch. Seriously, just sitting down to write this has taken a few days of personal pep talks.

With all due respect to those of you with religious convictions, I am not a person who has ever gotten much comfort from an almighty anything. If it helps you, that’s cool. I agree there are things in the world that are hard to explain. But I’m someone who needs to put his faith in other things. Sometimes science, sometimes karma, sometimes nature. Sometimes it’s just Occam’s razor.

Sometimes it is people.

This is the one I struggle with the most. People, as a whole, are really hard to put faith in. An individual person is a little easier, but it’s also riskier. It hurts more if the individual fails you than the group.

So why do it? Why put any faith at all in people? We are prone to being greedy. We are easily scared and tend to react negatively to fear. It seems we are increasingly unlikely to listen to each other. So why do I even try to bother with people at all?

Because every now and then, I’m reminded that people are potential. People are capable of just as much good as bad. People are change, which is a crazy thought in itself since we can be so resistant to changing anything. Yet we continue to change, for the better or the worse, and we’ll continue to do so. Things will become amazing. Things will become terrible. This is due to the choices we make as people. And in the big scheme of the multiverse none of it matters. How crazy is that? Space and time continue while so many of our societies have fallen apart. But people continue to be here. We continue to move and make noise and try to make ourselves have significance. We continue to put on pants. Why is there any significance to pants?!? People made it so! Holy fuck!

It’s hard to remember this, but people give me hope. Not all the time. We like to pay attention to bad things. Frankly, negative is usually louder. For someone like myself, it doesn’t take a lot to send me into a swan dive towards depression. But a few times a week, I get a little reminder. Maybe it’s something my family does. Maybe a stranger is just unexpectedly kind. Maybe it’s just a really good cup of coffee or an amazing song I haven’t heard in a while. All these things involve people making a moment happen. Sure, I need to get away from other people to recharge my energy. That doesn’t mean I want a Twilight Zone, last man on Earth scenario. I want people to exist in my world. Even if it means I have to deal with the scary ones.

So sometimes, I have to put my faith in people. I think it’s worth it.  If I’m wrong, I guess there is always good old-fashioned voodoo.

 

Sock rebellion

The weather is (happily) becoming cooler. Now, even though I am pleased when it starts to get colder there are some people who wish it would stay warm. I can only assume these people are connected to some infernal bloodline which thrives on fire. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

Of course, I still have to dress differently for the cooler weather which is fine. Long pants, long sleeves, and socks. Preferably Smartwool socks, when I have a clean pair. But I notice that my children seem to differ in opinion, particularly Zoe. She seems to hate socks. We put them on her, but the get pulled off pretty quickly. Phoebe used to do this too, but she seems to have largely stopped. It could have something to do with the fact that she’s old enough to want to have socks with Disney princesses and My Little Ponies on them. But once in a while, she joins her little sister in combined sock rebellion.

Don’t get me wrong, the girls have cute little feet. But I worry that they will become cold little feet. Not that it seems to bug either of them. I’ll touch Zoe’s bare foot and it will be ice-cold. I ask why she keeps taking her socks off. Because she’s two, she pretty much just laughs at me. And the additional frustration comes from the fact that once taken off, the offending socks may disappear. If not collected quickly enough, they can get sucked into some kind of vortex in the multiverse. Or possibly Narnia. I’m not sure because we still have missing socks and the ones that do turn up offer no clues. As you know, socks don’t talk. Not unless you make them into sock puppets, but then they only know what you know which often isn’t much.

I don’t get it. Is this something that all little kids do? I don’t remember doing this. Neither of my parents ever told me that I did. Is this a new thing? Did some kind of psychic memo start to circulate between toddlers of the world? Do they consider socks a tool of the parental establishment? Or are my kids just a pair of sock-hating goofballs? Maybe this is an omen of things to come. What if the girls slowly rebel against all clothes and join a nudist community? What if they start trying to wear gloves on their feet and hats as pants? I just don’t know where this ends.