Gingers, Masons and Emo Nazguls (June 2010)

June 30, 2010

ginger pride: We’re all about the Nerd Pride and the Gay Pride but we’ve been remiss in supporting the Ginger Pride. Here’s some questions for debate. Has Ron Weasley hurt or helped the cause? Is M.I.A. prophet or a satirist with her video?

80 year old gay and nick daddies tube: We’re also about the 80 year old gay and nick daddies pride, apparently. Whatever a “nick daddy” is. Sounds British.

how to draw fucking cool things: This is the updated 2010 edition of How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way. It has a chapter just on drawing a kitten driving a giant robotic unicorn trampling Edward and Bella.

emo nazgul:I hate everything.  Sauron is always making me ride all over Middle Earth looking for stupid fucking Hobbits. Hobbits? Seriously? Halflings? It’s not fair. If he’s so great why can’t he just teleport them into his tower? He just doesn’t want me to have any fun. The other Nazguls don’t get it. They just go along with whatever Sauron says like they’re compelled to. Fucking sheeple. I hate everything.”

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Mandi, what made you want to go to Funeral School in the first place?

June 26, 2010

I liked that it combined so many different things, science, sociology, business, driving cool cars, hanging around in cemeteries, etc.

A friend of mine once said that I wanted to go into it because it was something that most people don’t know anything about, and that I wanted to know. I suppose that’s as good an explanation as any.

Turns out it’s a super sexist field. And, you have to wear panty hose a lot. I dropped out for those reasons… well mostly because I didn’t want to grow up and have a job yet. Also, I was a slacker and hadn’t found an apprenticeship.

Ask us anything


Episode 71 – Trials and Tribulations of Nerds in The Workplace

June 25, 2010

After high school, the most dangerous place for the common nerd is the workplace. Or is it?

It really all depends on the workplace in question. An investment office full of ambitious, privileged, pretty people might not be a safe haven for a dumpy, balding man with a moderate case of Aspergers. But he might be revered as a guru at the comic shop.

Or he might get fired for sexually harassing “the girl” who works there.

But extreme situations aside, many people feel the need to hide their nerdy inclinations from their colleagues. And it’s too bad since they might find out there’s a fellow Trekkie two cubicles down if they weren’t afraid of ridicule around the water-cooler.

And it’s no wonder people are afraid. Whenever coworkers find out I like Star Trek and sci-fi they always say something to the effect of, “Really? I didn’t think you would be into that kind of thing!” with barely disguised disdain. I find it amusing  but someone less at ease with their own nerdiness may feel the need to cry away the shame in a bathroom stall.

Also amusing is when they think they’re being reassuring and supportive by saying, “But you’re not a… a nerd.”

I usually just say, “Yeah, I am kind of,” and refrain from pointing out they’re a big nerd too. Probably bigger than me. Like closeted gays who rattle off homophobic epithets to protect themselves from their own desires, the biggest offenders of workplace nerd-bashing are closeted nerds. Another reason the Nerd Pride movement is so important.

ugly betty
They even make sitcoms about nerds facing discrimination in the workplace.

By and large, Mandi and I have been lucky. We’ve both worked exclusively in nerd-friendly environments. Mandi worked at a Nerd Store (comics, role-playing games, magic supplies—as in actual stage magic, not the card game) and historical reenactment Fort, and I’ve worked at video stores and record stores before moving on to the uber-geeky environment of mid-level government offices.

Record stores may seem like hot-beds of cool from the outside, but you’ll never find a more wretched hive of nerds and geekery. Sure, the odd coolie-woolie comes in looking for the hippest new record by the hippest new band from Brooklyn, but the regulars are guys looking for first-pressings of ’70s prog bands or Japanese pressings of Deep Purple records with the obi intact.

I ask you who’s nerdier: A guy looking for a specific Spiderman comic or a dude looking for a specific bluegrass 78 from the 1930s? I’ve seen both and let me tell you, anyone looking for 78s is beyond hope.

So the other side of the counter is pretty much the safest place for a nerd to work. I’ve also seen nerds’ social statuses skyrocket as soon as they became record store employees. It’s a sad statement on society and the sheep-like nature of human beings, but it’s a fact. Record stores turn nerds from pumpkins into princesses. Too bad they really are going to be a thing of the past in about five to ten years.

Nerd-bashing certainly can be a danger in the workplace, we’ve just never experienced it. But normies should take note and watch this classic study on what can result from workplace nerd abuse. Be careful who you marginalize.

LINK: We reference a Karen who bought actress Suzie Plakson‘s vulcan ears. And we say some stuff about that. You can read about that HERE for context.


Are the two of you Neil Gaiman fans? If so, which of his books is your favourite? And if not, what about him/his books don’t you like?

June 24, 2010

Jakob: I have a longstanding love/hate relationship with Neil Gaiman. In the ’90s I had a crush on him because he’s dreamy and he looked like a goth Daniel Richler. So I read the Sandman and Death comics. I think mostly I wanted to look like Dream and date Death. So I enjoyed that stuff. I was young and angsty and clearly his demographic.


Neil Gaiman vs. Daniel Richler in the battle for mid-1990s bourgeois intellectual arm-crossing superiority.

Thing was, his concepts are pretty good but his plots are kind of hodge-podge and unfocused. The Death stories were, upon re-reading them years later, really kind of trite.

Also, he bases everything (sometimes loosely) on pre-existing myths, characters and legends which gets pretty tiring over a few decades of work. Sometimes he hits one out of the park (Stardust) and other times he’s unreadable (American Gods).

The Anansi Boys audiobook, read by Lenny Henry, is excellent, but I suspect reading it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. Neverwhere was pretty good for bad TV, but the book smacked of paying too close an homage to Douglas Adams. The main character really is just Arthur Dent underground instead of in space.

There’s almost always something I like about Gaiman’s work and something I don’t quite enjoy. Something about him trying to fit between Adams and Terry Pratchet and never quite finding his own voice.

I guess I’d just like him to do more stuff that wasn’t on the “old gods living disguised in modern culture” theme.

I’m not sure what Mandi’s thoughts on Gaiman are. But she does have American Gods on her bookshelf. Which how I came to have the unpleasant experience of reading the first thrid of it.

Ask us anything


Nerd Hurdles Liking Likers of Like Page on Facebook

June 22, 2010

Everyone* likes Nerd Hurdles, even you. And now you can officially “like” Nerd Hurdles on Facebook. Another great thing to do is suggest to your friends that they’d like Nerd Hurdles too. That is if you really like your friends and want them to have a happy and fulfilling life. Don’t be shy, click the screen-shot to get active with your Nerd Hurdles liking.

*Claim not audited by impartial third party.

Episode 70 – Prom Bombers

June 18, 2010
Mandi’s date wore a white belt before they were cool.

Prom. What a bizarre tradition. A party to reward kids for merely showing-up at the state-run daycare for 12 years and occasionally doing a little homework. A celebration of finally being free. Free to slave at a minimum wage job or go on to another school. A rite of passage into the adult world of binge-drinking and date-rape.

But mostly it’s the night the coolie-woolies look forward to the whole school year and nerds dread.

Except those nerds who plan to pull an Andie Walsh and stun the room with their stupendously ugly homemade dress and win the guy. I’m sure many an unfortunate nerd has attempted to emulate the climax of a John Hughes movie to the amusement of their classmates.

Neither Mandi or Jakob went that route. Though Mandi did steal her dress from a prop-room and Jakob wore hand-painted Chuck Taylors. So maybe they both kind of did.


The dress that almost drew blood. You are correct in thinking Jakob’s been wearing those glasses since highschool.

Toronto Small Press Book Fair 2010

June 14, 2010

Drop by the Ampersand Publishing table and say hello to Mandi and Jakob. Special show prices on Nerd Hurdles merch. At the very least, you’ll walk away with a free postcard and an awkward conversation.


Episode 69 – Sexy Hurdles Part Deux: Sex Shops

June 11, 2010

Heh heh. The window says Additional Entrance In Rear. Heh heh.

One has to wonder if there’s a natural reason humans surround sex with so much shame. Since continuing to bump uglies is as essential for the survival of our species as figuring out how to fix global warming, what could be the evolutionary advantage to shrouding sex with negative associations?

And is it the sex or the gauche cheesiness that makes sex shops such a hurdle for so many people?

And why are sex toys so expensive? The first time I set foot in a sex shop I was struck by two impressions. A) What is that smell? and B) I can’t afford any of this stuff!

Whatever the reasons philosphers ans sociologists will never be able to discover, people have hurdles surrounding sex. In spite of being a moderate Kevin Smith movie fan and an avid listener of Smodcast, I’d been avoiding Zack and Miri Make a Porno since I first saw a poster for it in the subway station. Something about it just have me a “no feeling” as Mandi is apt to say. Whether it was the concept of debt-riddled roomates turning to porn to pay the bills was too close to the unfunny circumstances of junkies turning to porn to support their habbit or just the childlike word “porno” gives me icky shivers like the word “panties” does, I did not want to see the film.

After having hidden it under my coffee table for six months, we finally watched it. Did we hurdle it? Did it have a heart like Chasing Amy and Smith’s best films? Was it merely a Judd Apatow rip-off as the trailers suggested. You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out.


Episode 68 – Free Masons From Conspiracy

June 4, 2010

Lots of people think the Freemasons are up to something. Probably because they make creepy websites like this one. But anyone who’s ever actually met a Freemason would realize they’re just a bunch of nerds who want a clubhouse. Check out the guy in this video. I don’t really get the impression he’s part of a world-wide plot. Unless hideous sweaters are a world-wide plot. Which, come to think of it, they kind of are. Open your eyes people!

People also don’t trust the Freemasons because they keep secrets. People generally don’t like people who keep secrets. Unless they’re keeping your secrets. In that case, they have character.

And by “character” I mean being a total square and not being around anyone even vaguely cooly-wooly for an evening (that’s what’s up with the compasses in Masonic imagery). Which is why “having character” seems to be what Freemasonry really is all about. Taking a good man and making him better.

Now, if that doesn’t make you vomit in your mouth a little, you might consider joining your local order. And I want nothing to do with you.

As part of Doors Open Toronto, Mandi and I had a chance to take a look around the Prince of Wales Lodge in The Junction. The first thing we noticed was blue. Blue everywhere. A very ugly shade of royal blue. Everywhere. And a lot of occult symbols. Blue. And weird bric-a-brac. And more blue.

The structure of Freemasonry (clicken to embiggen)

Also there were real live Freemasons answering questions. Sort of. If by “answering” you mean “hedging” and “being vague as fuck.” It made them seem a wee bit unecessarily creepy. That was clearly part of the fun for them. Because at heart they’re all big nerds.

Really, what do all nerds (sci-fi, sports, music, gaming, history, etc) have in common? A vast amount of esoteric knowledge to digest and to feel superior about being in possession of. It seems like the entire structure of Freemasonry is layers of trivia wrapped around an occult mythos. It’s nerd heaven.

Which is also why conspiracy nerds love them so much. Their secretiveness is a goldmine for people who want to believe the world is a little more interesting than the banal reality it isn’t steered by secret organizations. Something’s got to be controling everything, right? It can’t all just be random. Life can’t be that banal and meaningless, right?

Yes it can. Which is why dudes like this make videos:

And if that isn’t enough for you, check out the comments on this YouTube video about the Illuminati putting subliminal symbols and messages into movies. You’ll never find a more distilled supply of head-exploding, deluded ignorance.


Coming to Terms: nerd strangles someone (May 2010)

June 1, 2010

movie characters named blaine: I knew I shouldn’t have blogged about Hot Tub Time Machine. It guaranteed I’d just keep getting turded on by that turd of a movie. On the other hand, it seems to be nearing Zombie levels of search term gold.

three guys in hot tub: Is the nickname of the Ontario Government logo.

gay turd stories: I’m not sure if this person was looking for stories about happy douchebags or scat.

turds in hot tub: Why do people search for these things? I think if you really want to see turds in a hot tub, you should go out and drop a couple yourself. That’s what’s wrong with people these days. Too reliant on Google.

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