Friday, November 12, 2010

Nerdfest 2K10

It's almost unbelievable.

If I didn't take pictures and document them in writing, I swear to god no one would ever believe that things like the following exist.

I mentioned in a blog post last week that one of the reasons I blog is because going home to my parents' house is like entering some weird alternate universe where the 1980s are still cool, made-up "designer" breed dogs run loose and wild, and in any given closet or alcove you might find an enormous hidden stash of bird seeds or a life-size Darth Vader head staring out at you from the back corner.

This weekend was no different.

Friday night rolled around, and my parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew were all here for a nice Friday-night-in with Pizza Hut for dinner.

The pizza got eaten, and conversations were had about the usual things: everyone's work week, my school week, what funny things the kids had done lately, etc.

After dinner, my brother, nephew, and I went to the upstairs den. We put on Men in Black, busted out the K'Nex, and started making kick-ass pieces of K'Nex construction equipment, with my nephew serving as construction manager and pointing out every tiny thing I was doing wrong in my K'Nex handiwork.

And then, right there amidst the Christmas decoration explosion that covered every inch of my parents' house, my sister-in-law came sprinting into the den, shrieking with excitement and teasing us with taunts of "Guess what I found?! Guess what I found?!" as she came scurrying down the hallway that led to the den.

My brother and I exchanged glances. We didn't know what the hell Mandy had found, but we knew it had to be good. We. were. excited.

We were not disappointed.

Mandy had apparently accidentally stumbled upon a treasure-trove of a bookshelf in one of my mom's upstairs guest rooms. This bookshelf might as well have never left 1982. Every book on it was 30 years old. And most of them were Star Wars themed.

Honest to god, sometimes I wonder how I ended up being such a dork, but then I remember....Oh yeah! My mother has entire bookshelves and rooms and storage closets and Christmas wreaths completely devoted to Star Wars or any of the franchise's various spin-off stories.

The thing Mandy had found was this:

This is a children's book entitled "The Ewoks and the Lost Children." Awesome.

After this, it was game over. We were all on missions to explore what other hidden caverns of nerd-dom the Suz had hidden away in closets in her house.

Something like this happens every time I come home to my parents' house in Greenville.

It's like....

Oh hey Mom! The North Pole called, they want all their Christmas shit back. Or....

Oh heyyy Mom, George Lucas called, he wants his massive collection of weird-ass Star Wars memorabilia back. Or...

Oh heyy Suz! The 1980's called, they want all of their creepy-ass shit you only ever see on "I Love the 80s," that you have stored in all the closets of your house like it's totally normal to still own an Atari or a Care-Bear, back......

So, like I said at the start of this post, if I didn't have photographic evidence, people might never believe that some freaks in the year 2010 (my mom) still actually own this stuff and keep it in their house like it's completely acceptable.

Exhibit A:

You see that name scrawled in the upper left of this device? Yes. It says "Michael" in small-child-chicken scratch. This first belonged to my 30-year-old brother when he was about 5. And my mom still. has. it. Why? The world of normal people may never know.

It's the "Fisher Price Big Bird Record Player", by the way, and the record we put in it tonight was this also-30-year-old record of Empire Strikes Back.

I find this especially comical because my mother never really let us watch Sesame Street. She thought that the characters looked decrepit and homeless and didn't think they were good examples to show her young children.

....But by god she bought the Big Bird record player.....and kept it for thirty years......

I just stuck this in here because after the childhood toy artifacts started coming out, I figured I might need it, and I got really excited that Rolling Rock is making "Rock Light" now! Awesome!

Exhibit B:

This poor child doesn't know it yet, but she's doomed for a life of LucasFilm-fueled dorkhood just like the rest of us.

The bookshelf where Mandy had found the initial Ewok book that sparked this foray into the Outer Rim of course had to be revisited, where books like the rest of these seen above were found: "Shiny as a Droid," "Return of the Jedi: The Ewoks Join the Fight," and "Star Wars: The Wookiee Storybook." Classics!

Exhibit C:

I just felt like "Shiny as a Droid" was too epic not to give it its own close-up. I'm thinking about bringing this in to my 9th graders for a read-aloud to help them think about imagery and vivid details. Just kidding.......or am I?

Exhibit D:

I wasn't kidding about the giant life-size Vader head. I found it in a closet, accompanied by this....

A giant shiny life size C-3PO head!

And before you go thinking that these little guys are just for display, and don't actually serve very legitimate purposes.....I opened them up and found this inside....

Star Wars character figurines inside a giant Star Wars character travel case inside a closet filled with nothing but blast-from-the-past Star Wars memorabilia. You're welcome, George Lucas.

AND, just so you don't think this household was COMPLETELY biased towards and obsessed with Lucas-lore, I give you....

Exhibit E:

Donatello, in all his green, teenage, mutant, turtley, bandana-ed glory. You can't tell from the picture, but this thing is about 2 feet tall.

*For those of you in my grad cohort, you now have a visual representation of what I wanted to be for Halloween the year after my mom made me go as Alice in Wonderland. And I had to settle for being the trampy, harlot, green M&M instead.*

Sometimes I fear I talk about Star Wars a little too much. But, this is my blog after all, right?

Let's go GAMECOCKS, and may the force be with you.

And just for good measure, some Admiral Ackbar parodies:


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sh*t My Professors (and Classmates) Say

Oftentimes when I am sitting in class, I get bored. I look for avenues to rectify this situation in a variety of ways. But most often, I entertain myself either by drawing ridiculous things in my margins, or by quoting ridiculous things I hear come out of the mouths of either my professors or my classmates.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may be familiar with a post I did called Notes from the Margins. This post will be similar to that, only I decided to also add in all of the random quotes I copy down during class.

This is partly because I take a lot of my notes on my computer now, so drawing in the margins isn't really an option during those classes. And partly because my professors and classmates are hilarious, in my opinion, and I want to share their deep thoughts with the world. Enjoy.

The other day, one of my Education professors was having us engage in an activity on imagery. She walked to a classmate wearing a flannel shirt and posed the question:

"What does Rachel's flannel shirt feel like?"

My classmate's response?

"Flannel." Well said, Jen.

And from that same professor comes these profound ideas:

"You'll just want to stab yourself in the face with a fork. You'll just stab yourself."
(regarding the idea of us trying to fully grade every piece of student work that comes in)

"Your grades are dropping like prices at Wal-Mart."

This next group of quotations comes from a Professor on whom I loosely based my Endearing and Hilarious Quirky Professor. I have him for a graduate English/Film course, and the guy is an absolute trip.

"Capitalism castrates men. They must win their balls back with Fight Club!"
(we were discussing Fight Club that day)

"Are you opening it?....Is that you?.....Oh! I thought it was Tyler Durden!"
(on the classroom door creaking open from a draft)

"I didn't mean to humiliate her. Oh wait, actually I did."
(on calling a student out for being late)

"They're freshmen! They're scared of me. They don't yet know I'm a pussy cat. Meow!"
(talking about the other, undergraduate level course he teaches)

"Piss ant! I love that word!"
(I can't remember the context, but does it matter?)

"You guys want to look at the vomiting scene? I love vomiting."
(during a discussion on Brokeback Mountain)

"If you guys know anything about S&M communities, this is exactly what happens in S&M communities."
(he then retracted this statement after he realized it might not be 'school appropriate')

"If I spit on you, I'm sorry. This is my blanket apology in advance."
(apparently he is a spit-talker. I never sit close enough to experience this.)

"You're freaking me out over there, baby cat!"
(he calls several of the girls in the class 'baby cat', for reasons unbeknownst to me)

"I love Hearts. I play Hearts all the time. Cause I'm a girly man!"
(on his affinity for the card game Hearts)

And now, some actual notes from the margins:

this was during a lecture on Genesis. obviously my Professor had just addressed this particular phrase...

homegirl LOVES her some pride and prejudice. this was her reaction when someone questioned Mr. Darcy's suitability for marriage. "Oh my god, he comes with a wonderful package!"

just a nice little rendering of a potential book cover for Kafka's Metamorphoses. I think my roach is especially nice, given my opinions towards roaches.

some classmate who never says a "peep" during class wouldn't shut up during this particular lecture. which led me to draw Peeps?

"All the other royalties/crowns of Europe were pooping in their pants." I think she may have been talking about British imperialism or something. Regardless, i thought it was worth writing down.

This is a margin note between Heather and myself. I can't recall the exact context, but I know we were talking about tyranny in ancient Greece ("tyranna"-saurus rex). the rest is up to your imagination to decipher.

"Actual child being butchered in front of you? Not cathartic...traumatizing." ....during a lecture on catharsis.

possibly my nerdiest margin note drawing yet. it's an owl, complete with a Hogwarts acceptance letter, addressed to the "cupboard under the stairs."

i. was. tired. i guess i thought drawing sheep and Zzzz's on my paper was a good alternative to actually counting them in my head and falling asleep.

my professor is Italian, and sometimes her English doesn't translate exactly right, resulting in words like this: "sexuated" reference to Marilyn Monroe.

I believe we were talking about paganism of some sort, and I was particularly proud of my illustration of Pan. mythological goat demons FTW.

And finally, although these last two quotes don't fit exactly into the parameters of this blog post topic, I found them worthy of posting:

From my lovely roommate:

"Well, do we have any mugs? or any particularly big, spacious cups instead?!!"
(on whether or not we had any clean bowls to eat ice cream out of, and her desperation for finding a suitable replacement without having to do any dishes)

And from my oldest brother, who has a 5-year-old kid....we were getting into the white van my mother had procured for transportation to another brother's wedding in NYC:

Brother: "Well, it has windows, so at least it's not a child molester van."

5-year-old nephew: "Daddy, what's a child molester van? WHAT IF IT IS A CHILD MOLESTER VAN?!"

Brother: "Oh, uhhh....Daddy's just being silly."

Father of the year award goes to......?

Cheers! And go Gamecocks!

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