Geek songs that amuse us May01

Geek songs that amuse us

Since May is our music-themed month, we will be regaling you with fun playlists every Friday. Up first are our top five picks for silly songs. Give ’em a listen, give ’em a laugh. You can’t really go wrong with these. What are your favourite geek songs that amuse you? Did we miss any?   “Want You Gone” (Portal 2) The epitome of GLaDOS’ character is depicted in this song. We want to put her, Mal Reynolds, James Ford and Veronica Mars in a room together and see what happens.   “Bad Horse” (Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) High-ho, Silver!   “The Mysterious Ticking Noise” (The Potter Puppet Pals) Once you try to perform this “song” in a group you realize how much fun it is. One of the Geekdom House Wandering Minstrels‘ better songs since it didn’t require us to stay on key.   “White and Nerdy” (Weird Al) Also, the original version with the Luigi death stare is high on our list of favourites.   “If I Didn’t Have You” (Howard Wolowitz) Our commander’s certain she’d be a goner if this song was used to serenade...

Geek-surrection Apr02

Geek-surrection

The death of a character can be a powerful storytelling mechanism. From the death of Fives, the murder of Aerith, or Boromir’s sacrifice, death shows that there is always a price to pay and ultimately we do not emerge from our struggles without scars. However, what does it mean when storytellers defy death and bring character back from the dead? Resurrection is dangerous territory for a storyteller and needs to be handled wisely; if someone’s death needs to mean something then perhaps their resurrection needs to mean that much more. Leave it to Joss Whedon to kill off his lead not once, but twice Sometimes, resurrection is confused with other plot elements, so let’s begin by defining what resurrection isn’t. Resurrection != Respawn (or multiple lives) Most video games fall under this category. Should you actually “die” the clock is reversed and you have the chance to redo what you did (or didn’t do). The overarching story is completely unaffected by whether or not you died. Resurrection != Reanimation Zombies are reanimated, not resurrected, beings. In stories that involve reanimation (like that one episode of Star Trek Voyager where Ensign Lyndsay Ballard is reanimated by an alien race), it’s usually clear that what makes a person human goes beyond their memories, mannerisms, and corporeal being. Resurrection != Adding to 0 HP Take the latter Final Fantasy games or even Dungeons and Dragons; just because you fall to 0 HP does not mean you’re actually dead. So when that Phoenix Down hits you or your cleric finally gets their act together, it’s more realistically described as going from incapacitated to capacitated. Moving on, here are a few powerful examples of true resurrection found in geek culture. The Cylons come back, the very next day Toasters die only to wake up with all their consciousness intact in a completely new body. The cycle of death is broken through the blood of a pure innocent.To Cylons, their bodies are completely expendable and their countless “suicide” missions highlight that. Resurrection is a literal way of life for them, but take away the safety net of a resurrection ship and each Cylon has a deep crisis of faith. What it means: The intangible and unexplainable of what make us human is worth more than any physical form. Buffy dies and dies again Leave it to Joss Whedon to kill off his lead not once, but twice (and I’m not even including her “death” in Season 1, because I’m not sure it really counts as resurrection). Season 5 is a different story, however. Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn and she is dead. Like, dead dead. After being ensconced in the after-life, Buffy is unceremoniously ripped from heaven and returned to the land of mortality by her friends. She returns broken. Her friends write it off as damage from the after-life (thinking she had been in Hell) but the truth is, Buffy had a taste of heaven and her mortal life now seems like hell in comparison. What it means: Life after death is greater than we can comprehend. Drogo returns While Whedon seems to prefer quality deaths over quantity deaths when it comes to killing of major characters, Martin’s tactics are the exact opposite. That isn’t to say his characters’ deaths carry no weight—I mean, who wouldn’t want Ned Stark brought back? No Stark is returned though. Instead, it’s Khal Drogo who is brought back, and his resurrection is anything but celebratory. Drogo becomes a fraction of who he once was and the cost of his return was great. Daenerys wanted it all, and instead it cost her the life of her unborn child as well as Drogo’s sanity and self. What it means: The cost of life and death must be paid. Harry Potter rises above death Hit with the killing curse from Voldemort, Harry finds himself between life and death in Harry...

Characters who should have died but didn’t Mar13

Characters who should have died but didn’t

There will always be characters who just aren’t that interesting but are required to help drive the story along. Then there are the characters who do their best to burn the story to the ground. Here are our ten. 1. Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix We’re pretty sure she was more evil than Voldemort. 2. Dawn Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer It was always me me me me. Sure fine she was abandoned (in Joss’s words) by “about six parental figures” but whiny is whiny. 3. The entire Lannister line except Tyrion from Song of Ice and Fire ‘Cept we kinda like Jaime too. 4. Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager He’s kind of the Dawn Summers of the Star Trek universe. 5. Navi from Ocarina of Time “Hey, listen!” “You’re dead to me.” 6. The dog from Duck Hunt And now in Super Smash Bros. Wii U, he CAN die! 7. Willie Scott from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom This. 8. Slippy from StarFox Really? You’re in trouble AGAIN!? You need my help AGAIN!? How about no? 9. Rose Thomas from Fullmetal Alchemist Dress up in a frog costume and fly a space-ship already. 10. Jar Jar Binks from The Phantom Menace We made him last so you can channel all your hate there. Okay, so who’d we...

Concerning Writers: Harry Plotter Mar12

Concerning Writers: Harry Plotter...

Harry Potter finds out he’s a wizard and goes to school, keeps to himself, excels at magic but doesn’t have much ambition and ends up working as a janitor at St. Mungo’s. Sound familiar? No? That’s possibly because J.K. Rowling meticulously outlined her books before she wrote them. She thought the story through, she worked through potential problems, she made informed decisions about where Harry was going to go and what he was going to do, while avoiding pitfalls of boredom. And the result was an amazing, interesting, and well thought-out and pun-intended magical story (in my opinion). If you write novels, you might be familiar with the question: are you a plotter or a pantser? A plotter plots and plans ahead while a pantser, as you can expect, flies by the seat of their pants. You can see how important character relationships are to a story. I used to be a pantser, but I got frustrated with the amount of rewrites I had to do and the lack of direction in my plot. That was when I decided to take a course on plotting, not because I thought I would actually learn anything, but because I wanted the kick in the pants to actually do the nitty-gritty work of plotting out my novel. To my surprise, I was introduced to a unique way of plotting that helps me understand my story and characters better before I start writing. The technique, by author Suzanne Johnson, outlines the novel first by figuring out relationship arcs between the characters. Suzanne calls these relationships the building blocks of a novel, and if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. If you take every main character in your novel and write down what their relationship is to each other at the beginning...

The key ingredient to incredible friendship Feb17

The key ingredient to incredible friendship

Good stories require good characters. Great stories require great relationships. Take The Lord of the Rings for example. The fate of Middle Earth depends on the characters and their choices, but what do we talk about most after the story is over? The incredible friendships formed in the crucible of the unexpected journey. Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli, Denethor and those cherry tomatoes—all bonds that the audience gets to watch form and strengthen. While every friendship—from our favourite fictional pairings to our own relationships—looks different, true friendships all have something in common. What is this crucial ingredient, you ask? Read on. The Star Wars universe has no shortage of memorable friendships. C-3PO and R2D2 toe the line between best friends and a feuding married couple. Obi-Wan and Anakin behave like bantering brothers. But the one friendship brought up the most is probably between Han and Chewbacca. Some friends fade in and out of your life, others play pivotal roles for season, and a rare few shape you into the person you are. Han and Chewie bring up a popular dynamic used in the Star Wars canon—the life debt. Chewbacca is a Wookie from the planet Kashyyyk and their culture is built upon a strong reliance on honour. If someone saves a Wookie’s life, that Wookie is honour-bound to pledge their life in service to their saviour. Wookies take this vow incredibly seriously, and to disregard a life debt is to disregard their entire culture. Han was an imperial pilot when he met Chewie, and refused an order from his commander to kill him, later rescuing the Wookie from slavery and sacrificing his career in the military. Chewbacca then becomes Han’s co-pilot and owes him a life debt. But it’s clear that they’ve become something more than obligated partners in a business transaction—they’ve become best friends. They’ve put their lives on the line for one another countless times, forming a bond that runs deeper than any Wookie law. Not every fictional universe has a carefully thought out mythology to a life debt, but this same type of bond between friends exists everywhere. John Watson doesn’t owe Sherlock Holmes his life out of some religious sense of honour, but he still follows the detective into any situation without hesitation, usually at his own peril. Pumba doesn’t save Timon from a rampaging hippopotamus (well, not that we know of), but the inseparable pals still have each other’s backs through lion attacks and rounds of Hakuna Matata. We know true friendships aren’t just about the good times. Malcolm Reynolds, captain of Serenity, doesn’t make friends easily, but when someone earns his trust, it runs deep. When he and Wash are held hostage and tortured, Mal starts to list all sorts of things that he would do with Wash’s wife if they get out alive. Understandably, this gets Wash pretty worked up. We learn later that Mal was keeping Wash conscious by keeping his mind off the excruciating pain. Best friends aren’t just there for the sarcastic banter or the musical number; they’re there for when you’re strung up and electrocuted too. Sometimes a real best friend has to be the “bad guy” and tell someone something they don’t want to hear. How many times did Hermione pull Harry’s and Ron’s butts out of the fire? If not for her obsessive desire for magical knowledge, her wisdom and forethought, the boy who lived would have been killed more than once in the first book alone. Sometimes a real best friend has to be the “bad guy” and tell someone something they don’t want to hear. Hermione not only shows what an awesome friend she is by forcing important but uncomfortable conversations and knowing when to shout, “I’m not an owl!” to inform Harry that he should get over petty squabbles, she gives up everything to help Harry stop Voldemort. Remember that time that...

Beautiful Magic: Reconciling Harry Potter Feb11

Beautiful Magic: Reconciling Harry Potter...

I grew up in a house where my dad was adamantly against magic. While he did let me read The Lord of the Rings, I wasn’t allowed to read the Harry Potter series. My introduction to Hogwarts came in my first year of university when I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for my English class. I was enraptured, drawn in because of how clever the book was. As someone who enjoys textual analysis, I was delighted by how much there was to discover in the book, like the Mirror of Erised, which shows the viewer their heart’s desire, and the fact that “erised” is “desire” spelled backwards. After that first reading of Philosopher’s Stone, I blew through books two through six and then joined the rest of the fandom in waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to come out. I’ve been a fan ever since. So how have I, a Christian, embraced Harry Potter? I think it’s important to understand where the magic comes from. In other fantasy books or TV shows, there’s usually an indication of the original source of the magic. For example, the source of magic in Middle-earth is Eru Ilúvatar, the creator of all things (see the “Ainulindalë” in The Silmarillion). In the BBC’s re-imagining of Arthurian legend, Merlin, magic is woven into the fabric of the earth, and Merlin himself is a being of magic, created by Destiny to help and guide Arthur, the Once and Future King. In both cases magic is very much a tool that can be used for good or evil. The magic in Harry Potter is simply a tool that most often acts as a plot device.It is the same in Harry Potter. Rowling herself has said that she invented...

Real Heroes: The Morgan Grimes Theory Feb09

Real Heroes: The Morgan Grimes Theory

I am tempted to say that Chuck is NOT the true hero of Chuck. It’s hard to admit because he is one of my favourite TV characters of all time, but the more that I think about it the more I realize that Morgan Grimes is the true hero of Chuck’s story. There, I said it, and after admitting it I have come to realize that the same is true for Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, Buffy, and even the Doctor. May I present: The Morgan Grimes Theory. I’m quite certain that Chuck would not be sane without Morgan by his side, keeping him together during difficult times (like when Sarah’s AWOL and the CIA dumps Chuck like a week-old Subway sandwich). “Bag ’em and tag ’em, Sarah. I mean, Agent Walker.” —Morgan GrimesOne of the most heartbreaking moments for me in the show is not when Chuck breaks up with Sarah,  nor when Sarah won’t talk to him, nor even when Sarah hooks up with too-good-looking Shaw instead of our beloved Nerdherder. Nope, the moment that gets me most is when Morgan says these seven words (words we never dreamed he would utter): “I’m firing you as my best friend.” And it’s not getting back together with Sarah that puts Chuck at ease and reinstates his ability to flash. It’s when he’s finally able to tell Morgan everything about his spy life and Morgan instantly forgives him. Not only that, but Morgan thinks it’s awesome that Chuck is a spy. You can just feel the tension drain from Chuck as Morgan rehires him as his best friend. The real hero of Chuck: Morgan Grimes. Frodo: “Go back, Sam! I’m going to Mordor alone.” Sam: “Of course you are, and I’m coming with you!”I can’t talk about best friends without mentioning The Lord of the Rings. The true hero of this story might be overweight, easily scared, and not too bright, but he also takes on a giant, man-eating spider by himself, storms a tower full of orcs out to eat him for second breakfast to save his friend, and carries a hobbit on his back up the side of a volcano when all seems lost. NBD. Tolkien himself has referred to Sam as the “chief hero.” I like how Tolkien tips his hat to Sam by giving him the final scene and last words in The Return of the King: “Well, I’m back.” The real hero of The Lord of the Rings: Samwise Gamgee. I’ve applied the Grimes Theory to other franchises, and it  continues to hold true. Who’s the true hero in Harry Potter? Is it Harry? Or is it the one whose wit is constantly getting him out of impossible situations? The one who realizes knowledge is power and even time travels to study more, the one who helps Harry pass his Tri-Wizard tasks, the one who forms Dumbledore’s Army, the one who is always prepared to the point of packing a complete home in a handbag… I could go on. She pretty much keeps Harry and Ron alive throughout the entire series, no question about it, and Harry is lost without Hermione and, to some degree, Ron by his side. The real hero of Harry Potter: Hermione Granger. And let’s talk about that teenager who slays vampires like it’s going out of style: Buffy Summers. Who talked Willow off of her murderous rampaging ledge? “I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me.” —Xander HarrisWho survived numerous apocalypses with no slayer powers, no demon powers, and no magic? Where would Buffy be without the beloved Xander? There are two characters Buffy couldn’t do without. The two that who stayed by her side when the going got rough (and boy, did the going get rough). They even fought her battles for her when she tucked her tail between her legs and ran away to the hallowed life of working at a diner...

Unlikely Friendships that Should Have Been Feb05

Unlikely Friendships that Should Have Been

We all know (and love) the many friendships that are exhibited within a variety of shows: Han and Chewy, Frodo and Sam, Mega Man and Rocket, Blanka and your face, you get the idea. But sometimes those friendships are just not enough and we need to reach outside their respective genres for the friendship matches made in heaven. Here are our top 10: Calvin & Chewbacca “You know, Chewy, some days even my lucky Millenium Falcon underpants don’t help.” Hermione Granger & Twilight Sparkle They’ll form a group called S.B.E.W. (Society for the Bookworms of Equestria and the World). Edward Elric & Gimli Sometimes dynamite comes in small packages and can explode at anytime, especially if you mention anything about being short. Tony Stark & Tali-Zorah “Testing rocket boots, Day 11, Test 37, Configuration 2.0. For lack of a better option, Tali is still on fire safety.” Arya Stark & Toph Beifong We just want to see these two take on an army together. Master Chief (John-117) & John the Baptist “But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, one who wears the spartan helmet of salvation and wields the energy sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Sephiroth and Scar Scar would get some much needed perspective—“You wanna be king of a rock? Well I wanna destroy the world with a giant meteor”—and Sephiroth can stop being jealous that he doesn’t have a pet lion like the other side. Mal Reynolds & Doctor Horrible So Doctor Horrible can’t be friends with Captain Hammer, but he can darn sure be friends with Captain Tightpants! Caprica Six & Seven of Nine Separated from the hive collective with a strong desire to gain some form of humanity. It’s kind of true for both. Although Seven of Nine definitely has better taste in men. Jayne Cobb & John Casey “Do you know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go and get to beat you with until you buy this washing machine.” Certainly we missed a bunch. Which unlikely friendships would you...