Episode 41 – Underworld

November 27, 2009

Last weekend New Moon opened and in the process broke a bunch of box-office records or something. Clearly teenage girls like the whole vampires vs werewolves thing. Or maybe they just like hunk vs. hunk. I’m almost tempted to check out some Jacob/Edward fic, but I think I’ll refrain.

But if Twilight is the domain of teenage girls, a certain type of young man (*cough* basement nerd *cough*) goes for another vampires vs. werewolves franchise, Underworld. This has a lot, I suspect, to do with Kate Beckinsale‘s vinyl onesie.

Underworld gave us a lot to talk about. For instance werecats (personally, I’d want to turn into a Russian Fishing Cat) and Perfect Strangers. Which are sort of combined here in this fabulous video:

Birthday show! Questions?

November 25, 2009

Nerd Hurdles’ one year birthday/anniversary is coming up in a few weeks (December 18th) and we’d like to do something a bit special.

Send us your questions! What do you want to know about what we think about what things and why? We’ll answer all queries no matter how queer. You can also as Igor and the Banana questions.

Submit them in written or audio form to:

Deadline: December 11th

Episode 40 – You Can’t Take This Guy From Me (Firefly)

November 20, 2009

Joss Whedon’s Firefly was probably the best sci-fi television show ever. To be cancelled after half a season. By Fox (those bastards). It might have proved to be the best sci-fi show ever, period, if it’d been picked up by another network but it wasn’t. All we got was 14 episodes and a movie (Serenity). Fans of the show were heartbroken.

I wasn’t one of the heartbroken. I was part of the problem. I never watched Firefly when it was on the air because it was a huge nerd hurdle for me. Not because it was sci-fi but because I had no idea it was sci-fi. I heard the words “Joss Whedon” and “Firefly” and assumed it was another Buffy spin-off like Angel, but maybe about Willow or some other wiccan lesbians. Though I loved Buffy, I didn’t care for Angel, so I never checked out Firefly. And not many other people did either.

Then, after it was cancelled, I heard it was really good. One of the best TV shows ever. My ears pricked up. Then I heard it was “space cowboys” and my ears pricked back down. Cowboys are a huge hurdle for me. I like the odd western (usually starting a young Clint Eastwood) but generally I don’t care for the genre. It’s why it took me so long to watch the excellent Deadwood. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like modern-day cowboy culture and thereby associate “westerns” with redneck douchebags. And I don’t care for the music. Such as the Firefly theme:

Then it was explained to me that the show isn’t so much about space cowboys as space outlaws and once again my ears were pricked. So a couple of years ago, several years after it was cancelled, I finally sat down to tackle Firefly.

I wasn’t disappointed. True, I wasn’t hooked from the first episode, but by the third I couldn’t stop watching if I tried. The show’s strength is that it’s blessed with probably the best ensemble cast ever assembled. Where other classic ensembles (TNG, Buffy) took a good three or four seasons to hit their stride, the cast of Firefly hit the ground running. The chemistry couldn’t have been improved in a laboratory. Check out the gag reel at the bottom of this post. It’s hard to believe these people were practically strangers.

Though there is certainly an outlaw/western feel to the show, it’s all the aspects of westerns I enjoy. They’re more dust-bowl pirates than cowboys. In a way it’s like Pirates of the Caribbean set on the Millenium Falcon instead of the Black Pearl. If it’d been sold to me that way, I’d have been watching from day one.

Instead the show was pitched as “nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things.” Um. Okay. That’s cool and all, but it’s sounds like Waiting for Godot staged on Discovery One. This show isn’t that at all. Perhaps the exact opposite. It’s an adventure-comedy of the highest grade. And well worth the hurdle.

Episode 39 – Great Expectorations

November 13, 2009

Yesterday an Ontario public health official stated pH1N1, swine flu, was “from a pandemic perspective, a dud.” Despite this, Mandi and I contracted this swine flu (probably at Canzine 2009) and from a personal perspective, it was not a dud. It wasn’t the worst flu I’d ever gotten either. But it did involve a lot of phlegm. A lot. Of phlegm.

Episode 38 – Hobbies

November 6, 2009


What is it about the word “hobby” that causes a mild but palpable aversion? Perhaps it conjures images of pasty skinned men huddled in their basements painstakingly painting plastic models of Spitfire fighters and Panzer IV tanks. It also conjures images of knitted doilies and scrap-booking.

The “hobby shop” is a nerd hurdle in itself. It could partially be due to the bags of doll parts hanging on the wall of the “ladies” side of the store. But they’re kind of cool in their creepiness. The fake, dried flowers for making god knows what (wreaths perhaps?) on the other hand are neither creepy nor cool.

Is it this association with the word, combined with hobby stalwarts such as stamp and coin collecting,  that turns us off? Or is there something about anything falling under the column “hobby” that is intrinsically nerdy?

Whether pursuits such as scrapbooking and ceramics are immutably dorky in and of themselves, as soon as someone proclaims their interests as hobbies, we look down upon them (the person and the activity).

Perhaps it’s that only true nerds would use the slightly outmoded term. Todays hip and savvy crafter has “interests” and their “thing”but never a hobby. Even the older generation has cottoned on that they “do” ceramics or scrapebooking, but they don’t sully their handiwork with the dergatory H-word.

I suspect that part of the nerd association with hobbies is that they are innately personal, solitary pursuits where a person’s true colours really shine. There’s an ernestness to hobbies (usually accompanied with a fanatical devotion to them) which sets them apart from mere interests. And there is, of course, no nerdier quality than ernestness.

Which brings up an interesting dicotomy. Is an ernest interest in ironic fashion nerdy? Would the kids on latfh.com be less nerdy if they had an ironic interest in ironic fashions or more so? Thinking about it can make your head spin painfully—though undoubtedly specifically because you’re thinking about it at all.

So… what’s your hobby?

Above: Mandi mans the Ampersand Publishing table at Canzine 2009 where we nerdily nerded out on some of our zine and button oriented hobbies.

Referenced links: Look at This Fucking Hipster; Regretsy; Crappy Taxidermy; Disturbing Auctions (no longer updated).

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