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Geek Chic?

I sir, am a geek. That’s right homeslice! A geeee eeee eeee eeeek! I’m the genuine article. I love geeky things and have geeky friends and do geeky things with my geeky friends. I am one of the collective, a member of the crew, part of red squadron, one of the fellowship, a piece of code that makes up the matrix. I have the b-sides and the rarities, can tell you the original singer or songwriter and search out live stuff online, I have the T-shirt from a gig 10 years ago (only ever worn for gigs). I have the DC comic app and a few bagged and boarded books. I can… You get the idea.

star trek star wars and dc comics

What I am not is a modern geek. I do not have thick rimmed glasses, a dodgy waistcoat and cravat, an ironic side parting (to be fair, I have a rather large middle parting), a love for radio 1 or a retro ‘anything that is in fashion.’ Not so much geek chic, rather geek sheep.

Geeks of the world, this is you call to arms. In the name of the force we must act. Want to be a geek? Think you’ve got what it takes? Let’s see.

To count yourself among the truly geeky you should be able to tick at least three of the five boxes in the list below.

Ready? The correct response should be “Red Five standing by!”

1) Can you name all of the Star Wars and Star Trek films in order? A separate list for each of course.

2) Do you own a truly geeky item of clothing? I own a star fleet academy T-shirt (and I say that with no sense of shame).

3) Have you been to any of the following: A- comic book convention. B – Sci-fi convention. C – You get the idea.

4)Ever visited, or plan to visit, a place in the world because of its geeky credentials? Tunisia for the scenes in Star Wars, New Zealand for Lord of the Rings, Washington for The West Wing etc…

5) Are you the person someone would go to with problems with their phone/computer/tablet or for information about a new phone/computer/tablet?

Come on then cool kids, I dare ya! And no googling the answers.

Have a good week and wrap up warm… winter is coming!

 

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Not very me

I bought some new shoes the other day, it took absolutely ages to find some I liked,  and even when I was walking away I wasn’t 100% about them. I got home, took out my new purchase (looking for some validation or confirmation about them) and my wife said that they were not very me. Why not? Yes, they are very different to my usual trainers, I admitted. I then decided on the only logical course of action.
Taking them back.

So what does my style mean? I don’t mean in a fashion sense, or even in an identity way. Why have I suddenly started buying the same stuff? I think the answer is simple… I haven’t. There was no sudden change, it’s a mixture of the following.

A) Laziness. I have developed my style over many years and via many massive fashion errors (massive). Why bother to try something new when my track record is that bad? I just go into the shop and look for Adidas shell toes or some form of chunky skate shoe, it’s what I’ve done for the last 10 years. I wear band T-shirts and baggy jeans, again something I’ve done for a good few years. It’s just…

B) Comfortable. Not just metaphorically but literally. Have you ever worn a pair of chunky skate shoes? It’s like wearing slippers. I also like to associate myself with great bands that I love to listen to, it’s what I do. Or maybe…

C) I’m unable to process anything new. I think Homer said it best,
“Every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out of my brain.”
I quite like what’s in my brain thanks, no need for a remake.

Does having a style mean you are one of a kind? Individual? Unique? I thought so when I purchased my new phone cover. It made the back of my iPhone look like a Gameboy. I went to the pub, proudly put it on the table and waited for the wonderful comments congratulating me on an awesome choice. What I got was my friend Rob pulling out his phone and waving the exact same cover at me, proving that I am not as individual as I would like to believe. I can also guarantee that most of my friends from home own a grey hoodie (as do I) and skate shoes. Myself and Rob even have the same hat preferences!

I wonder if I look like an old guy to the kids, if they look at me the same way I looked at the man in the denim jacket with band patches sewn on them? And do I, like that rock dude, care that much about it? Has my style defined my age or is my age defining my style?

heavy metal denim jackets

The other side of the coin would be what I would look like if I was 30 and followed every trend? Would that be better or worse? Would I be the guy in the room trying desperately to fit in? Hey kids, I’m one of you!

My main concern though is this… Will they still make my style of clothes and shoes in 20 years time? Will Marks and Spencer stock Etnes or DC’s? Will I be wearing baggy jeans with an elasticated waist band. Will I care by then?

Enjoy your weekend. I’m off to take my trainers back.

They are not very me.

Lots of questions this week.  Send any answers on a postcard to http://www.andrewauthor.com

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Never have I ever…

When at university I used to play a game. This game was called Never Have I Ever. It was a simple game that allowed you to stitch your mates up and find out embarrassing secrets about the people at your table. It never occurred to me to lie in this game, I would lay all my sins out on the table, face down, waiting for someone to say a never have I ever that would make me lift my metaphorical cards and show them. The rules of the game are as follows…

1) Someone says something like, “never have I ever blamed someone for something that I did.”

2) If you have done that then you need to drink.

3) If you don’t drink and someone at the table can give you an instance when you have done it then you finish your drink.

This memory came flooding back this week with the kids I teach. Don’t worry, we weren’t playing drinking games (something frowned upon when in charge of a class of 30 ten year olds) but instead it has been a week of lies and omissions.

It struck me that I put a great deal of trust in my kids, with the hope of fostering a happy and truthful classroom. Most of the time it works. When things go pear shaped though I feel the need to remind myself of the golden rule of teaching.

Kids lie if they think they can a) get away with it and b) stay out of trouble.

What makes my job great though is when they do learn the value of honesty. Owning up, in some of their eyes, is the grown up thing to do. They will come and put their name on the board (standard teacher warning style) without being asked. It’s their version of raising a cup to their lips and admitting that they have (ever) done it.

As the last few days with my class whittle away I find myself very glad to be going on a much needed break. I also feel very sad about my class going to another teacher. Its like a friend who has moved far away. You still see them, just not as often and for shorter periods of time.

I will miss this group of 30 kids. The jokes, fun, growing up, problems, drama and even some of the back chat. I take consolation in the fact that I will feel the same this time next year.

In spite of all the crap and stress that comes with it,  I can honestly say that I love my job. I’ll love it even more with 6 weeks off.

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My friend Alex came over yesterday. We watched Blade. Alex had never seen it.

What makes a film timeless and what makes it of its time? Last night while watching Blade I noticed that it felt a bit dated. It was very much A 90’s film ( a fact that I IMDBed. Maybe I should try and get that into the urban dictionary.”I wanted to know what other films Kris Kristofferson had been in so I IMDBed it.” By the way he hasn’t been in as many films as you think, check it out. Oops, digression).
So what makes a film of its time and what makes it timeless?

1) A film set in a certain time that is filmed at the time. Some films are set in the fifties and filmed in the 80’s. This seems to work as there is an effort to make the film authentic to the era. Blade was filmed in the 90’s and really feels like it. The clothes, the back drop the 90’s ness of it. I also think its one of those had to see it at the time films. If you saw it at the time you don’t notice the fact that it’s dated. Prime examples of this are a) The Goonies b) Ferris Buellers Day off and c) Mall Rats.
Some films can escape this trap but not many.

2) Sayings and phrases. As if! Cha-Ching! Bonus! Granted most of these are 90’s slang but that’s my comfort zone. It’s funny when you watch stuff back and have that ‘I used to say that all the time’ feeling. You can also tell the language is of it’s time when the older generation start using it 10 or 20 years later. My parents tell me they are having a chill out day quite often. I can’t remember the last time I put the out at the end of chill. What I also find amusing is that the current generation of kids laugh at me for my miss use of current slang (innit fam).

3) Technology. Will anyone watch the social network in 20 years time? Will any 20 year old even know what it is about? My 2 year old will never know a world without the Internet or the global domination of fruit named companies such as Apple and Blackberry. Give me an example I hear you shout. Fine, no need for that tone.

The Net
Angela Bennett’s a software engineer type who works from home and has few friends outside of cyberspace. Taking her first vacation in years she becomes embroiled in a web of computer espionage.

I just IMDBed that.

It’s not just that though, it’s the fact that they put a cassette tape in the tape deck in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’. A kid in my class found a tape in the stock room the other day and asked me what it was.

4) Special effects. Just go look at ‘The Last Starfighter’ and ‘Flight of the Navigator’.

Alex enjoyed the film by the way. I think it was more in a cheesy 90’s nostalgia way though.

All pictures in the blog today are from IMDB. I IMDBed them all.

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The future is coming!

As a teacher I get to impart my knowledge to the children in my class. Yes I do have to follow the national curriculum and yes most of the time it’s about being 2 steps ahead of the kids with your subject knowledge. At the moment we are looking at films and the composition, lighting, mood, language and so on. It made me realise how much I love films and how passionate I get when talking about them. It’s as if I am actually in the film when I watch a good one. It also means that I retain a great deal of useless information. One of my favourite knowledge banks is that of future dates in sci-fi films. Here are some of my top ones.

22nd of December, 2012. Fox Mulder uncovered a plot for alien colonisation of Earth. In one of the last episodes of the show the deep throat cigarette smoking dude fills in Fox on the “End Game” plans by the military. This prediction was made in 2002. Unfortunately we have all seen our last Christmas in the comfort of our own homes people, that’s why I’m having presents early this year and running up a huge credit card bill.


21st of October, 2015. Back to the Future, Part 2. Three years till hover boards! This has its inclusion because of the alternate time line in the film. If an idiot like Biff can run a global empire then imagine if someone with brains got their hands on a DeLorean and a sports almanac from the future. Fistfights, chase scenes and teeny tiny pizzas that you can rehydrate? Bring it on.


Sometime in November, 2019. The replicants are coming! The humanoid clones return to Earth on a stolen spaceship, hell bent on killing the evil suits at the Tyrrell Corporation. Ex cop Rick Deckard is the “Blade Runner” who is sent to chase them down. I think if I was sent off-world to do some of the crappy jobs I’d also be a little upset. Prediction made in 1982 and any other time the director/media company needed an extra few quid and released another version.


Sometime in 2022. The secret is in the sauce. Earth has run out of natural foods and is overpopulated. Step in Soylent, a company with all the answers. Detective Robert Thorn nearly ends up as lunch when he discovers the truth about what goes into making “Soylent Green” when investigating a murder. It’s still got to be better than a pot noodle. Prediction made in 1973.


3rd of August, 2032. Getting sent to the cooler takes on a whole new meaning. Simon Phoenix and John Spartan, the “Demolition Man”, duke it out in the futuristic land of San Angeles. Phoenix escapes and Spartan is unfrozen and tasked with bringing him down. My main concern about this is the fact that they don’t seem to have toilet paper, that and sex is a non contact sport. Prediction made in 1993.

5th of April, 2063. To boldly go… Captain Picard and crew fight off the Borg infestation aboard the Enterprise so that “First Contact” can go off without a hitch. The meeting between Zefram Cochrane and the Vulcans is the backdrop for an epic battle against assimilation by the Borg, who attempt to set up a sub space beacon directing the past Borg to Earth. It’s a prediction made in the present about a future star ship going back in time to our future. Confused? Prediction made in 1996.

2 extra come from two very different sub groups of sci-fi. I have left them out of the main list partly because they won’t concern the inhabitants of Earth directly and partly because they are sooooo far away. The first is 18th August 2158, the day the Na’vi protect their home world and fight off that hard ass army dude. The second is May 2511. Malcolm Reynolds makes his last stand in the Battle of Serenity Valley. If you haven’t seen Firefly (or the spin off movie Serenity) then you must. It’s a cult thing these days but you won’t be disappointed.

Please let me know of any other disasters or important moments I’ve missed (or might miss).

Enjoy your weekend, it could be one of the last we have on this planet.

Feel free to leave a comment, your email address won’t be used for any sinister plot. Alternatively you can cut and past the URL into your Facebook status or twitter to share it. That is all.

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Footballing reasons

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Not only has my wife become a football widow but I have also neglected my blogging duties. Welcome to Euro 2012.

There is something compulsive about it. Something that makes you watch competitive games between countries you can’t even find on a map. Games that scream of tedium and are special only in how amazingly average they seem to be. Countries I wouldn’t go and see play live if they were holding a game at the end of the road.

Competitive football tournements though makes these countries interesting. Not only do I neglect my family when games are on, I also become obsessed with stats, analysis, team selection and highlights. It’s all encompassing.

It becomes even more so when England are playing. It’s the knot in your stomach when the opposition is on the edge of your 18 yard box, the hope when a player, someone you have just berated, runs at the other teams goal. The elation of the goal, the crushing defeat of the equaliser, the shouts and swearing at the TV as if the players can hear you.

So a short blog this week. Can’t help it, football is on.

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Ugly Kid Joe: The Comeback Gig

Ugly Kid Joe are back! And they are fantastic. From the chugging chords of Neighbor, to the acoustic version of Cats in the Cradle and the inevitable encore of Everything About You, it was as if they had never been away.

Before they could take the stage, the support act of Fozzy attempted to get the crowd going. They were not great. The crowd sung along when directed to and waved their hands with the lead singer. I think this was mainly because of his size of the lead singer and the fact the he was (and still is I suppose) American wrestler Chris Jericho. Big? yep. Scary? yep. Camp? Very much so. They came on and left with a meh, then it was time for UKJ.

They opened with the shout along classic VIP and the crowd responded as expected. The crowd itself was a real mix of people of all ages. I was surprised to see some people there under 20, not surprised to see lots more 30 somethings and happy to see the old rockers with the obligatory Stones and Pink Floyd t’s on. As the set progressed it became clear that they had practiced for this gig. They were tight, enthusiastic, humble and seemed to enjoy (unlike most other bands who have not had a fifteen year break between gigs) playing the old stuff.

The new stuff was good also. The only song that stuck out was Another Beer and only because it was played acoustically straight after Cats in the Cradle. The crowd went from shouting the lyrics as one, to complete silence. The new EP was available from the merch stall (we were informed by lead singer Whitfield Crane that they don’t have, nor need, management or a label) or can be downloaded. I must admit to downloading the greatest hits a few days before the gig. I must also admit to not buying the new EP (yet). A further admission was that of being drawn to the old school t shirts (the ones with the cartoon dude with the back to front hat on) as appose to the new ones.

I personally think that the new stuff is not standalone. In my humble opinion, as long as they keep playing the old stuff they have a money spinner. I would highly recommend going to see them, if only for that being fifteen feeling. I leave you with the set list. If you are going to see them, prepare yourself for a nostalgic treat.

Setlist:

VIP
Neighbor
God
Dialogue
Panhandlin’ Prince
Milkman’s Son
C.U.S.T
Cats in the Cradle
Another Beer
Sweet Leaf
Make Me Sick
I’m Alright
Tomorrow’s World
God Damn Devil
Everything About You

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An open letter to my neighbours

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Dear neighbours,
I have come to the conclusion that my ‘not to subtle stares’ and ‘talking very loudly on the balcony about my issues’ tactics are not getting through. I Am therefore left with no choice but to write a letter of complaint on a blog that you will never read. I believe you have it coming.

Firstly, I feel I need to inform you that the harder you slam your door has no relationship or bearing to how securely it is closed. Burglars will not be foiled by this tactic, they will not reach your door and find that it has been slam locked and so give up and look for a more considerate persons door. It will not protect you from nuclear fallout. When the dust settles and the rescue teams, in hazmat suits, come to search for survivors, they will not find you alive and well. The tabloids will not run the headline ‘Door slammers are fallout out jammers’. Force of slam + noise of door shutting = safety. No.

In addition, the cigarette butt collage on the balcony is not considered art, so please feel free to use an ashtray and not your window. If this does not change then I shall douse my balcony in petrol so that I have an early warning system and can find out who is chucking them. Yes, this may burn down our block of flats, but the upside to this is that you, being higher up, will take longer to escape. I also feel that if an investigation goes ahead, you will be the one held to account for physically starting the fire.

Finally, buzzing my door at 3 in the morning will not have the desired effect of me letting you in. It will make me swear at you through the intercom. I may also decide to get up at 6.30am just to buzz your buzzer repeatedly. I would expect you to swear at me back and accept that outcome with a smirk.

In conclusion, I feel that this letter should put a stop to all my gripes. Please find my obscure blog, read it, make the link between it and me, take it on board, change your ways and consider your neighbours. The alternative is unthinkable. I may have to speak to you in person. As a Londoner, I feel this breaks many social etiquette rules.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Thomas (flat 3)

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Trouble and strife

Trouble and strife.

I am very happily married. Honestly, I’m not just saying it. We still talk to one and other, we enjoy each others company, we laugh and joke (mainly me joking and her laughing, but that suits us both). Life is good. Smug? you bet.

The thing that I have started to notice though is that our relationship has become more and more dependent on the level of knowledge we have about each other. The sayings we now share (no idea who brought which particular saying to the relationship), the short hand or gibberish, the fact that I know she will not be interested in what I am about to tell her, and the fact that I tell her anyway.

The other day I was trying to explain the end of the premier league season to her. To me it was the best final day to a season I had ever witnessed. I started the conversation with “I can’t believe what happened in the football today” silence followed. “I know you don’t care but i’m gonna tell you anyway”

Her: OK, but don’t expect me to remember it.

Me: So basically, It all came down to the last 2 minutes. United thought they had it in the bag as City were drawing. The full time whistle blew at United but City still had 2 extra minutes to play.

Her: OK

Me: So as the seconds ticked by United really thought they had it and in the dying seconds of stoppage time City scored. You should have seen the look on the United players faces

Her: I wonder what time the supermarket closes today.

It’s my own fault for boring her with football, star trek, star wars, star gate, athletics, snooker…you get the picture. The fact is that I think love is letting me ramble on regardless without telling me to shut up.

The other thing is that of the relationship shorthand. Can you pass me the thingy? And in a moment or two it’s in my hands. Did you get the stuff? And usually an affirmitave or negative response follows, but she always knows what I mean. It gets better though. Sometimes I don’t even need to finish what I am saying and she will be able to respond. “Did you…?” “yep”

Some people may find this kind of thing annoying, I find it endearing. I love the fact that whole conversations worth of understanding can pass in just a few words. The best part though is the fact that she knows exactly which part of my back to scratch.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I promise to be less cheesy next week.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address www.andrewauthor.com

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No purchase necessary

It is a question that has plagued man since the 3 meals a day system was introduced. A question which haunts philosophers and scholars. Which, by its very nature, goes to the heart of the human psyche.
Is there such a thing as a free lunch?

Is anything free anymore? And if it is, is it worth having? What is the catch? What way will I pay for it later?
It was iTunes that got me thinking about this. A couple of weeks ago I saw something amazing, I saw a song for free by a band I actually knew. The song was by Soundgarden and was for the new avengers film. The song sucked. I had to go back and listen to some of their earlier stuff afterwards, just to remind myself how good the band were. I started to think about why it was free, was it A) to restart Soundgardens music career B) a publicity stunt to launch the film or C) an altruistic act by the filmmakers, the band and the apple corporation. I’ll leave that judgement in your capable hands.

Is anything in life truly free? Here are my (somewhat silly) ideas on the matter.

1) The freebie. Shopping centres are full of free stuff. I’m not talking about stealing here, more about the stuff they hand out when business is slow. The Nut Hut will give you 2 or 3 free cashews (make sure you get the cashews as they’re worth more), Holland and Barrett will hand out free samples of dried fruit, Cinebon will give you 1/24th of a free donut thing, some coffee or tea shop will let you try a thimble full of their new blend. However, this does not a free lunch make. The only way to get full is to walk past over and over again; wearing various disguises and hoping you don’t get rumbled. I would imagine you’d burn off more calories doing the walking then you would get from the food. Maybe I should send my ideas to weight watchers. I also get a free paper (The Metro). Yes, it is full of adverts and competitions (you know the ones: what is the New York otherwise known as? A) the big apple, B) the big turnip or C) the big pork pie. And it’s only £3 to enter), but its free and I read it. There is a subtle difference between free and my next category.

2) Complimentary things. This is the kind of stuff that the good and honest people who run hotels leave out for you to use on your visit. And what do we do? We stick it in our bags, phone down and ask for more and stick that in our bags too. I have become an expert on what good bath/shower gel is from the level of excitement my wife has when she checks out the bathroom of the hotel we are staying in. There is also the complementary mint or sweet at hotel and business receptions. The problem comes when you are not offered it. This is a problem for me because A) if I’m not offered it, I want it B) will I get told off if I just stick my hand in the jar and C) What if it’s not real food stuffs or really old and sticky? By the way, that fridge in the hotel room, definitely not complementary. And as far from free as you can get.

3) Cumulative free stuff. This is the coffee or restaurant card. I have a few in my wallet in various states of stampedness (I know, not a word) and I have never once redeemed one. It’s that moment where you sit down, and as you rear hits the seat you think ‘coffee card’. As I look at them now, I realise that some are better than others. Wetherspoons only wants me to buy 5 cups, then it’s a free one. The waiting room (small coffee shop on Deptford high street, highly recommended) gives me a coffee and a cake if I get 8, but Benugo want me to buy 10 coffees to get 1 coffee. I suppose they could have no loyalty card at all but that is hardly the point. What is the point? No idea.

4) No purchase necessary. I love the idea of going into a supermarket, finding a packet of something that has a toy or voucher inside and just opening it and taking it. If it says ‘no purchase necessary’ then wouldn’t that be ok? I don’t think the shop would think so.

I do think that there is always a catch, always an ulterior motive. I would love to be proved wrong. Altruism is dead my friends, if in fact it was ever alive. And on that cheery note, enjoy the rest of your weekend. I can’t end like that. Maybe a joke.

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As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address www.andrewauthor.com

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