Posts Tagged ‘Pop Culture’


Happy Towel Day! And reflections.

25 May, 2022

Don't PanicToday is TOWEL DAY, a day to celebrate the life and works of Douglas Adams.  Douglas Adams wrote the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, radio show, novels, and much more, along with several other books and a few Doctor Who episodes.  He was a great talent who left us way too early.

Now, I hope you know who he is or, if not, seek out some more information about him, his books are a joy (as is the radio series of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, the TV show and movies are more of a mixed bag).  Now, when I was a young geek, everyone knew the Hitchhiker’s Guide, they may not have been fans, but everyone knew about Vogans and Towels and the Meaning of the Life. the Universe and Everything.

These days, as an older geek, I often feel disconnected from the greater geek culture, my general knowledge of such things are no longer the shared, lived experience of people, of the geek subculture.  Younger geeks inhabit an entirely different world, not worse, not better, just different, and I miss the shared culture of my youth.  Such is the fate of people in a subculture I suspect, time moves ever on and the new replaces the once new.

Though it is my impression that geek culture is less shared these days, when I was getting into the subculture there were only a limited number of science fiction and fantasy (especially fantasy) shows and movies, so everyone had seen Star Trek, Star Wars, what Doctor Who their local Public Broadcasting station grumpily agreed to show, even if you were not a fan of say Battlestar Galactica (the original) you knew about it.  These days you can find a fandom you like and if it is big enough (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) you never need to venture outside of that niche.  I want people to like what they like and do what they enjoy, but I miss the shared references and culture.

Anyway, just the passing thought of someone who has been a geek for a very long time and intends to continue to be so.

Note: Image Rendition of the Guide, based on its description in the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by nclm and used under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.


Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

23 November, 2015

So many DoctorsIn 1963, the first episode of an untried series broadcast on the BBC, it was Doctor Who and has since gone on to be the longest running science fiction show in the world (no doubt helped by the plot element of regeneration).

I have been a fan since 1977 and Tom Baker remains my Doctor, but to one extend or another, I have enjoyed all of the Doctors.  But I think Davidson, McGann (who could have been amazing) and Tennant, round out my absolute favorites.

While I was a huge Whovian, even being part of the small Doctor Who cosplay group for the 2nd Dragon*Con parade, my love of the show has cooled in recent years.  Not much of a fan of the direction that Moffatt has taken the show but I do still watch, it is just no longer a central part of my Fannish Identity.  Though I suspect I will be a fan til my chance to regenerate comes up.

There is an interesting bit from the BBC here about how the actual creation of the character and the name come about remains a mystery, quite amusing and appropriate.

Note: Photo by Allison Stein and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Happy Trails Maverick, Good bye Rockford

21 July, 2014

James_Garner_Bret_Maverick_Jack_Kelly_Bart_MaverickA sad day, James Garner, one of the greats passed away at the age of 86.  One of my favorite actors for a variety of his roles which should be of interest to gamers:

  • The skilled gambler Maverick, who preferred cunning and trickery to gun play and, while in it for the money, always stood up for the little guy.
  • The down on his luck PI Rockford who relied on the false IDs, short cons, and stunt driving to (mostly) outmaneuver the bad guys.
  • The hero of Support Your Local Sheriff!who relied on psychology, trickery and an occasional thrown rock to protect the town, even though he was basically on his way to Australia.

An excellent actor whose roles showed that heroes were not above making money and that avoiding violence was sometime more admirable (and often more effective) than the alternative.

You will be missed.

The NY Times has and excellent obituary of Mr Garner here.


Interesting Thoughts from Other Gamers (9)

11 September, 2011

Useful and interesting articles and commentary from my fellow gamer from various places on the web:

Most importantly, the upcoming, Speak Out with your Geek Out,  from the 12th to the 16th of September, let your geek flag fly and show people how much you love your hobbies and obsession.  Hopefully we can turn this into a yearly celebration of geekness in all things.  Thank to Flames Rising and Monica Valentinelli for getting this rolling.

The Emergence Campaign Weblog has a very detailed look at Monster Types.  Lots of good information for customizing and adapting creatures here.

Tales from the Flaming Faggot tells us How NOT to Write an Adventure.  Excellent advice on how to write an adventure that is easy for a GM to use.

Judd, of the Githyanki Diaspora, suggestions that we all take in some Githyanki Therapy from time to time.

Gnome Stew has a useful Quick and Dirty Location Template.



Happy 45th STAR TREK!

9 September, 2011

A day late, I know.  But 8th September, 1966, say the first broadcast of STAR TREK, boldly going where no man had before on NBC.  It was one of the first successful SF series and the subject of the first fan-organized effort to save a show (which they did for a season).  For as long as I can remember, reruns of the original series of Star Trek have been on the air and that is how I first came to watch and love the show.

Gateway to Adventure

Gateway to Adventure

Like many geeks of my generation, Star Trek is one of the building blocks of our identity for good or ill, it was omnipresent and the foundation in many ways of modern fan culture (conventions, cosplay, slash fiction, those started with ST fandom).  So, I am just standing up and say, “I am fan of Star Trek, thanks for everything.”

Take a look at the original network “sell sheet” for Star Trek.  Some amazing Star Trek cookies.

And if this get you in the mood for playing some ST RPG, there are is a whole community of ST SIMMers (for simulation) out there such as Obsidian Fleet which do that very thing.

And Barking Alien has kind words for ST too (and was late like me too).

Update: Go read Tor’s 10 Underappreciated Aspects of Classic Star Trek.

Photo by donielle and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Geek Culture and Self-Image

23 April, 2011

The RPG Corner links to this interesting post over at Dave Ex Machina where he talks about being a nerd and a problem he has, to wit.

That problem being, I am sick to death of “nerd culture”.

Go and read the article, it is quite interesting, the important thought that he brings up is:

[Y]ou can be into a thing without having to be into being into a thing.

Now, I work in a game store.  I deal with people who are . . . committed to various points of view.  People who live Magic, people who hate D&D 4e, people who love Pathfinder, people who can recite the history of the Clans in Battletech, people who dispise Magic, people who are Clan Loyalist for the Legend of the Five Rings setting and so on.   I get to interact with them all.

Now, I have opinions on games, comics, movies, which may not align with those of the people I interact with.  But unlike so many people I deal with, I do not feel the need to defend my choices or (more importantly) the need to denigrate theirs.

My self-image is not so fragile that it will be shattered by someone who, for example, does not like Joss Whedon’s work (Dollhouse was not his best effort after all), who prefers Magic: the Gathering to the Shadowfist CCG (where I am in the opposite camp) or who loves zombies (which I feel have been very overplayed).  Different people like different things and to different levels, I am entirely cool with that.

People need to be accepting of other peoples views and not defensive when their own opinions are challenged.  I try to be curious instead, for I do want to understand what people liked about, say, a movie I disliked or a game that did not grab me.  Dialog is far more valuable, and less destructive, that reflexive defensive hostility.

Anyway, just my thoughts on this subject.

Edit: L of Geek’s Dream Girl puts it much more eloquently in Amicable Disagreement 101.


Visiting Washington D.C.

19 September, 2010

Just got back last week from a trip to Washington DC, which as you no doubt know, is full of museums, galleries and history.  We were staying in Alexandria, Virginia, fairly close to the Old Town area which is quite nice and an easy Metro ride away from the heart of DC.

On our way to Alexandria we visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum which is located near Dulles Airport.  Read the rest of this entry ?


GenCon 2010 Report

12 August, 2010

My trip began well, riding in with the talented B of our playgroup who was off to run games at GenCon for ArcDream.  At the airport we split up to head for our respective flights, mine left two hours late but did safely make it to Indianapolis just later than planned. Read the rest of this entry ?


Review – Predators (Movie)

18 July, 2010

We went to see the new Predators movie today.  Solid adventure movie, not quite as good as the original Predator but very close (though also a slightly different style of movie).  There seem to be a lot of stylistic echoes of the first movie, so if you have a copy it may be worth rewatching before you see this.  It is well scripted and well acted, the special effects are solid but nothing exceptional.  Worth seeing if you like action adventure with a dash of science fiction.  Also makes a good framework for a one-shot or short session adventure.

More comments and questions with spoilers further down

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Free the Droids Now!

16 June, 2010

I just recently watched Space Balls which got me thinking about Star Wars and its universe, most particularly about the status of droids in that far away place long, long ago.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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