Tag Archives: geekiness

Waiting Week: Advent

Image

I collect a lot of things, including thimbles, Pez dispensers, loteria decks, first-edition books, dragons, and worries. I also collect nativity scenes, and each Dec. 1 marks the beginning of my push to get all of them out of the holiday shelf in my girls’ closet and set up on the mantel and around the house.

I get one new set a year, at least, and I have a loose aim of collecting creches—as they’re called when they’re feeling fancy—from around the world. I’ll post more about them later this week, but this morning I wanted to highlight my newest set, chosen by my 4-year-old daughter as a present for me for Dec. 1. She found it at a thrift store, and my wife OK’ed the purchase.

I left the lens flare in the photo not as an homage to J.J. Abrams, but because it’s sort of Star of David-ish. I’m not sure who the two non-obvious people are: shepherds or angels or two of the three wise men. But I love it. I also love the Advent season, with its focus on anticipation and waiting for what’s to come. I’m generally not good with patience, so Advent is a good exercise for me.

If my wife looks upset, and I ask her what’s wrong, and she says “Let’s talk about it later,” I’m antsy until then. I’ll often push her to talk now, which rarely goes over well. If my boss says he’d like to meet with me that afternoon, I ask if there’s anything we can discuss immediately. I definitely need to work on waiting.

And it’s waiting, not procrastinating. I already have procrastinating down.

As another Dec. 1 present, my wife got me a pair of Star Wars-themed ugly-Christmas-sweater inspired boxers, with AT-AT walkers instead of reindeer. She’s amazing. Too bad I can’t show them off. Much.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Toy Week: How Do You Figure?

Toy Week: How Do You Figure?

My wife’s family does a gift exchange for Christmas, for which each person draws another person’s name and handles the gift for him or her. It’s a way to save money and avoid clutter—and the little kids are excepted. Anybody can buy for them.

Before Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law circulates a list for everyone to write down gift ideas for themselves. I filled in mine two weekends back, and then was talking to my wife about it.

“I put some Pacific Rim action figures on my list,” I said.

“Oh.”

“Does that disappoint you?”

“No … just … where would they go? You already have a bunch of toys in the garage.”

She’s right, but those are my Lord of the Rings sets, several of which I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to open. The Nazgûl looks so awesome in its box. Plus, those toys had been at my office for a long time, and they came home during a move, and I haven’t got around to finding them a permanent home yet. After several years …

I actually split my time between two offices, and I have a lot of toys on my respective desks: A complete set of Homestar Runner figurines, a set of Umbrella Academy figures, and a Davy Jones action figure from Pirates of the Caribbean sit one one. The other boasts Batman, Iron Man, and a few My Little Ponies.

I grew up on action figures. More than one closet at my parents’ house is still filled with Star Trek: The Next Generation toys and collectibles, including an entire set of Playmates figures still in the packaging and a second entire set for display purposes. Sooner or later I’ll figure out a way to display them all.

No, I don’t really need them, but I do enjoy them. I don’t make them walk around on my keyboard or anything, but I do fondly admire them from time to time, and I like to explain what they are to guests who give me puzzled looks.

They’re sort of like geek badges, I guess, especially the obscure ones: I know what these characters are from. Do you?

After my conversation with my wife, I looked back at the all-family wish list. For herself, she’d listed certificates for restaurants or movies for date nights with me, her husband.

That really put things in perspective.

Still, I hope I get to unwrap at least a kaiju this Christmas.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Fright Week: Back Up, Mr. DeMille

Fright Week: Back Up, Mr. DeMille

I was up late last night playing Dungeons and Dragons (I’m just a level 2 bard, so don’t think I’m all hardcore or anything), so I decided to sleep in this morning.

Except, of course, I didn’t clear that with my son, who woke up at 6 and didn’t believe my wife and me when we told him it was still the middle of the night. It was dark out, so we thought we had a shot.

As the day brightened and the sun eventually came up, I realized that I neglected to post a pic of my freshly shaven face yesterday, the first of November/Movember. So here it is, freakishly close, to preserve some of the mystique of what I actually look like when I’m not a dimorphic-eyed doodle (for those of you who don’t know).

Wife, if you’re reading this, you can pretend I’m coming in for a kiss. Enjoy it while you can, as the stubble’s about to get painful.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Identity Week: By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Identity Week: By the Pricking of My Thumbs

A good friend of ours is throwing a pre-Halloween Halloween party tonight, so—yeah—we’re pretty excited.

My wife and I each brought a costume box into our marriage, and we’ve made good use of the combined fantastical wardrobe over the years. There’s no portal at the back of our closet; Narnia exists within the confined space itself, all corsets and vests, scarves, gauntlets, and boots. We’re equipped for any Renaissance faire, theme party, or theatrical production (not that we find our way into many of the latter, but still), and the collection only continues to expand through thrift shop and garage sale finds.

We have wigs of the powdered, anime, and Rapunzel variety. We each have a cloak. We have items that lace, buckle, snap, and tie, and we like to make use of them.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere in the Shallows that thoughts of trick-or-treating yet to come prompted us to avoid Halloween itself as a wedding date, but we still wanted an excuse to dress up. So we had a masquerade ball a couple of weeks earlier, justifying the theme—not that we needed justification—as a celebration and exploration of identity, considering our debut as a new Us. We chose an overarching appropriate Bible verse to reflect the idea: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” We encouraged our guests to dress however they felt. There were Victorians and Edwardians, pirates and wizards, some medieval folks, and others.

The idea of a new identity, one not worn every day, is so appealing to me. I love acting. I recently began playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends, which involves roleplaying a character. When I write fiction, of course I try out fresh voices coming from my own throat. And I love dressing up for Halloween. Why is all that?

In years past, I’ve been Hagrid from Harry Potter, Strider (not Aragorn) from The Lord of the Rings, and Captain Ahab from Moby Dick. My wife and I have aimed for literary-related costumes since our first child was born (that year I went out as Edgar Allan Poe, my wife was a pallid Lenore, and our baby was a raven with a “Nevermore” speech bubble Velcroed to her), though the more kids we’ve had and the older they’ve gotten, the more will they’ve exerted when it comes to costume decisions.

Last year, my firstborn chose to be Superwoman, my younger daughter chose Clark Kent, and my baby son was Kal-El (i.e. Baby Superman, being raised by the bucolic Mrs. and Mr. Kent, played by my wife and myself, respectively). As a geek at heart (and every other part), I wasn’t arguing. And we were even still characters from a printed medium, if not literature.

My favorite costumes include the set from three years ago, when we co-hosted a Steampunk Mother Goose party and dressed our eldest as Little Miss Muffet. My wife was a Victorian lace spiderweb wearing our then-baby daughter as a clockwork spider. I was the tuffet.

And two years back, we aimed for Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is as wonderful a book as you could hope for. Ray Bradbury—my favorite, favorite author, from whom I once managed to get a signature on my vintage typewriter—was a master of language in a way that leaves me adoring and jealous, and his story of a dark carnival descending on a small town and the two boys who learn about boyhood, manhood, fatherhood, friendship, life, and death is an amazing seasonal read. It’s an amazing anytime read, but Bradbury particularly breathed October into his tales, and you can smell the woodsmoke and falling leaves on these pages.

The carnival at the heart of the story is dubbed Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, and Mr. Dark is a man with images of his circus performers and sideshow acts inked up and down his arms. He uses the tattoos to manipulate his subordinates.

For the party we threw two years ago year, I obtained photos of many of the expected guests and printed them out on a special tattoo paper my wife had found. Then I transferred their faces onto my arms and hands. My wife was Mr. Dark’s carousel, which bent the age of any rider depending of the direction it spun. My girls were its passengers. We were pretty proud of this one.

Since the party for tonight is Disney (and therefore also Marvel and Star Wars) themed, this year, we’re going the comic route again, per my daughters’ request. Since the oldest wanted to be Firestar and the middle wanted to be Spider-Man, we figured we’d round out the cast of the 1980s cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends by making the baby Iceman. My wife and I are doing our own thing: She’s the evil queen from Snow White, and I’m her mirror. As I’ll be standing next to her, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to lose me now, I’m expecting to get some Justin Timberlake jokes.

Perhaps the best thing about costumes is being able to take them off at the end of an agreed-upon appointed time. It’s like a low-risk identity trial period—not that a costume wearer is necessarily seeking a new permanent identity (especially an evil one). There’s some comfort in wiping off the make-up, unlacing and and unbuckling and unsnapping and untying everything to find yourself still you underneath it all. Kids know that. We should too.

So what are you dressing up as this year?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Identity Week: Just a Brief Interruption

Idenity Week: Just a Brief Interruption

I’m going to tell you something, and this something is absolutely true. My wife will confirm it.

Each morning as I get ready for work, I assess how I’m feeling, how the day is expected to play out, how tired I am, how stressful the next eight or nine hours will likely be, and then I choose my underwear.

I have a lot of underwear. I like variety, so some are boxers, some are briefs, and some are in-between (between those categories, that is, not between anything else) (except for one pair).

Some are stylishly plain black, and some have Wolverine on them. Some are cotton, some are polyester, a few are modal—that’s beech—and one’s bamboo. It’s actually bamboo fibers, not a whole plant. I don’t walk around with a stick up my butt.

I have a whole set I only wear in December because they’re holiday themed. I have St. Patrick’s Day boxers, but I wear them at other times, too, because they say “I [Shamrock] Guinness,” and I [shamrock] Guinness throughout the year. (Picture an actual silhouette of a shamrock where I put the word in brackets. But don’t picture anything else, please.)

When I’m feeling exhausted, I put on my boxers patterned with steaming coffee cups. But I don’t actually drink coffee—an admission I made recently to the owner of one of the last movie-rental stores on California’s Central Coast, prompting her puzzled reply: “No coffee? So how do you get your caffeine?”

If I’m feeling particularly blah, I go for the Batman boxer-briefs. They don’t have the Caped Crusader on them or anything—just the logo right across the front. The Bat-Signal. I feel heroic all day in those. Same for the Wolverine boxers, though those actually have the character on them. His claws extend over an area I would prefer to keep away from even the suggestion of sharp objects, but I like to think that keeps me alert and on my toes.

I have dragons for when I need to be fierce, Pirates of the Caribbean for when I feel like a rogue, robots for when I need to keep my emotions in check, fancier pairs for fancier occasions, and—since I’m on the subject and you’re obviously comfortable enough with this to have read this far—sometimes I decide to mentally skip the day altogether, and I get dressed with coming home to my wife in mind.

While writing this post, I realized that I don’t own any Star Trek underwear, though I have put some on a wishlist. I was going to do the same with Star Wars, but for $42 for a single pair, I don’t need Boba Fett down there. There’s a sarlacc pit joke here somewhere, but I don’t feel like hunting for it.

Also while writing this post, I realized that it has little to nothing to do with my kids, but frankly, my underwear is way better than theirs.

It’s probably better than yours, too.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

This is my wife

This is my wife

Ah, my wife. She bravely wades into the Shallows with me each day.

I say “bravely” because she’s the one who tends to keep a level head when I’m panicking—which is not constantly, but may be more often than frequent. I tend to be a worst-case-scenario sort of envisioner, mentally turning our kids’ slight bumps on the head into concussions and the like. She typically either holds it together or acts like she’s holding it together long enough for me to stop hyperventilating, and then we proceed with life.

She also puts up with me, which is no small task. I sometimes mumble gibberish just to see what she hears, what words she invents to make sense of the sounds coming out of my mouth, and she—well, I said it already. She puts up with me. More than puts up with me, in fact.

Most importantly, I love her, and she loves me. We went into marriage about nine years ago (as of this posting, anyway) reminding each other that the romance would be great, but not always there, and that love would sometimes take the shape of pushing together through rough times. I’ve told her that I’m glad she’s the one I fight with, and I mean it. I don’t tell her enough that she’s the one I’m amazed by, too, and despite my full-time editing job and her part-time early intervention work and our shared more-than-full-time parenting of three children—plus all the other stuff that comes from living—we still do manage to find the romance. Unfortunately, that’s less often than frequent, but I’m working on it. We’re working on it.

She’s smart, beautiful, crafty (in many senses of the word), funnier than she realizes, incredibly sexy (which might not come across in the sketch above), and my best friend. She was fairly geeky when I met her, but her geekiness has thankfully increased throughout our relationship. She’s also a total mystery to me at times, at least when it comes to how she processes the world. Our lives together are never boring—even when we wish they would be, just for a breather.

Tagged , , ,