Shifting from the Peripheral to the Center of Geekdom

Since becoming an adult (or at least voting age), I’ve become increasingly interested in things that I wish I had the opportunity to be involved in as a kid. Growing up, I loved science fiction films, video games, comic books, and so on but had no money to partake in these things to the degree that most of my school friends could. I’m not saying I was completely deprived but I definitely had limited options.

Half stories, big worlds

My only true unadulterated experience to comics as a kid were a handful of comics from the random corner store (I probably owned a total of about 12 comics throughout my entire childhood). Much more than actual comics, I got to partake in the world through a handful of comic-based 90’s cartoons like X-Men, Spiderman, and Iron Man. I LOVED those cartoons.  I wanted so much to be a part of the world I knew existed in the pages of comics, but we just didn’t have the money. I never got to finish a comic story arch. I never saw the beginning or ending of a series.

As far as video games went, I inherited an old NES and a handful of games from a deceased relative (not really the optimum way to obtain a video game system, I think).  I loved video games every bit as much as those comic-based Saturday morning cartoons.  But I was always a bit jealous of being so far behind the curve of most of my friends. When I got my NES, most of my school friends had had SNES and Sega Genesis for years and many were getting Playstations. In fact, that often worked out of my advantage since many friends thought of the NES as “that cool old system” and would trade me their Sega Genesis for my NES for the odd weekend.

My exposure to Sci-Fi films, like video games, was usually out-dated and generally involved films that had been out for years or two star or less movies broadcast on television on the weekends. I didn’t care, I loved them anyway. I loved the stories and ideas so much that the bad acting and cheesy effects didn’t matter at all. The Last Starfighter was wish fulfillment, Star Trek was a refuge, Star Wars a fantastic adventure.  It was a chance to think of something so much bigger than myself and be a part of a world that I could only see a glimpse of.

Come on an adventure with me

I think that’s what I loved most as a child about all these things – comics, video games, films – there were worlds both on the paper and on the screen that I could be a part of as well as a whole world of other people just like me that really existed on this planet that I could commiserate with while sitting there watching Saturday morning cartoons. The idea of being a part of a community, even if it was based around something possibly completely ridiculous, has always appealed to me. The concept of Trekkers is not surprising to me, even if I’ve never found myself dressed as a Klingon. The existence of rabid Star Wars fans is no shock. They all just love being a part of a world that instantly gives them connection to others and to something beyond the mundane of everyday life.

Too cool for school

It wasn’t until late high school or early college that I even learned about Comic Conventions or the idea of cosplay (where people will dress up at these conventions as their favorite geek world characters from films, games, etc.). I thought it was silly. At first, I probably scoffed. But inside I thought that was probably one of the coolest things I’d ever heard of. It wasn’t cool to be a nerd or geek when I grew up the way it seems to be now and I desperately wanted to fit in for most of my childhood so dressing up as a video game character definitely wasn’t on the agenda. It’s funny how things can flip around though. At this point in my life now, I simply don’t care to fit in. Fitting in is so boring. I haven’t had the chance to attend a Comic Convention yet but if I did I wouldn’t be opposed to dressing up. I just realistically wouldn’t dress up because I’m lazy, not because of fear of being “uncool”.

Life is too short

Much of my childhood was spent being jealous of what others had or what I didn’t but looking back I had a lot. I might not have had the latest gadgets or coolest toys, but I did get to see into these giant worlds of imagination. I was forced to fill in the details myself, to make the most of what I had and run with it. Didn’t get to see the ending? Oh well, make up your own. Can’t get that new game? Too bad. Go draw what you think the story might be. Some of my all time best friends were met because we struck up a conversation about video games we didn’t have or films we had never seen (but really wanted to).

Life is far too short to be concerned with what everyone else has or is doing. My love of art and drawing grew out of the need, the compelling, to be a part of these fanciful worlds that I only peripherally got to experience and for that I am eternally grateful. Go and partake, and if you can’t partake then make it yourself. There are never too many good stories in this world.

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World Cup, Face Paint, and the Biggest TV Ever

I’m not the biggest sports fan – at least as far as watching sports on television goes. Generally, I can care absolutely less about which teams is doing well this season or who even won the Super Bowl. In fact, I used to go to Magic Mountain ever Super Sunday because there were so few people there (Goliath four times in a row FTW!) – though the only reason I publicly out that little gem is because other people have caught on to that fact and it’s now just as busy as ever. Continue reading World Cup, Face Paint, and the Biggest TV Ever

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Summer Road Trip 2009 – The Follow-up, Part 4

This is the final installment of the ‘Summer Road Trip 2009 – The Follow-up’ posts.

After the wedding in Idaho and hanging out with random friends in Portland, OR we headed back on down to California but before leaving Oregon we spent one more night with our lovely friends – the Torson Family! Continue reading Summer Road Trip 2009 – The Follow-up, Part 4

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Summer Road Trip 2009 – The Follow-up, Part 3

After the wedding in Idaho, we drove to Portland to visit some friends. We had zero plans ahead of time at this point. We hadn’t even planned where we’d sleep while in town, which is not normal for us. It was a fun adventure. Being pretty worn out at this point we ended up stopping for a night in the town Hood River. It was very hot and humid (for what we’re used to) and we pretty much just got some food, ice cream, and then we to bed. I’d love to go back to Hood River at some point in the future though! It seemed like a cool lil’ town.

On the Way from Boise to Portland

Once in Portland, we got connected with some friends. Walking around Portland would have been a lot more fun if it weren’t for the fact that there was a massive heat wave and it was well over 100 degrees. A lot of our time there was spent looking for places that had air conditioning, quite frankly.  So we went to the movies to see 500 Days of Summer, which was a great film. And we went to the Portland Museum, which I thought was so cool! There was an exhibit on M.C. Escher and I LOVE his earlier lesser know stuff. It was very inspirational.  Oh, and there was a cool exhibit on body art which was pretty interesting (though I have no tattoos).

The M.C. Escher Exhibit was Awesome!
This would have been a lot more enjoyable at less than 107 degrees
Over 100 degrees out and this guy is wearing jeans and a black shirt
I thought this road sign was kind of funny
I don't even drink coffee...
I think it was around this point we just wanted to find air conditioning
Carpets
A lot of Portland seemed to look like this
Tricky tricky, Mr. Building
Food carts are popular in Portland, apparently

Our friends Chad and Liza Hughes were gracious enough to offer their home to us, so we got to crash at their place while we were in town.It worked out really well. We even got to go out with them to a nearby Lebanese place, which was fantastic! I wish I could remember the name of that place at the moment. It was so much food and I liked it quite a bit.

As a way to escape the heat during out stay, Melissa and I ended up taking a trip to Tillamook which is near the coast and home of the Tillamook Cheese factory. Funny enough, one of our friends from Santa Barbara, Camille, happened to be in Oregon while we were and so we ended up spending quite a bit of time with her and her mom and brother while we were in Portland. We even got to go to Tillamook with them.  Melissa and I really enjoyed the Oregon coast. Neither of us are big fans of crowded, hot southern California beaches but we love the kinds of beaches in Oregon – with tide pools, fewer people, and big rocky cliffs. I could care less about surfing so that’s not a concern (sorry surfer friends!). Plus, I was convinced that the Goonies couldn’t have been filmed that far away. It was beautiful out and the temperature was about 20-30 degrees less (at least) than what it was in Portland.

This seemed... unsanitory
Sometimes I wish I was a Goonie
Visiting Tillamook
We enjoyed this beach quite a bit
That fisherman did NOT like that dog.
Oregon Beach Stud
I wish I could fly
Melissa enjoying the coast
"Hey Bill" "Hey John"
"You suck, Bill" "Bite me, John"
Hey you guuuuyyyyyssss!

Stay tuned for Part 4 (it’s the last one) of our Summer Road Trip 2009.

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Summer Road Trip 2009 – The Follow-up, Part 2

Next up from our Summer Road Trip 2009 are some pictures from Melissa’s cousin’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding up in Eagle, ID (just outside of Boise) and was, essentially, the initial reason for the road trip. The couple, Sarah and George, looked great and it was a fun wedding but I only took a few images since I knew so few people and I didn’t want to be the weird guy with a big fancy camera taking pictures of strangers (I’ll leave that job to my professional photographer friends). Here is a small handful of images I managed to get.

The McDonald Sisters
A sweet moment
Feeding the horses

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