Episode 95 – The Urine Review (Beer Tasting)

December 31, 2010

While most other podcasts are doing their 2010 Year In Review, we do The Urine Review.

Kathie joins us again as we sample some beers of questionable virtue. Budweiser, Grolsch, Steam Whistle, Lakeport, Creemore Springs and Alexander Keith’s go head-to-head in a blind taste-test to determine if we are, in fact, pretentious beer snobs with undeveloped pallets or if the King of Beers really is the swill we believe it to be.

The results for those keeping track at home:

Best: Mandi and Kathie – Steam Whistle; Jakob – Grolsch
Worst: Keith’s

Ultimate Hurdle Round 2: Tron Vs. The Matrix

December 24, 2010

I’ve always had a problem with The Matrix.

The premise is simply too absurd. I don’t mean the idea that reality is a digital construct. That one I can buy. But the idea the titular “matrix” was designed only to keep the brains of billions of comatose prisoners alive so they can act as power generators for a race of intelligent robots throws a monkey wrench into my suspension of disbelief machine.

Certainly the amount of power needed just to keep their life-support pods active would use up the paltry amount of electricity the human brain produces. I can’t even reasonably believe a person could power their own pod. I just can’t do it. It’s preposterous. I spent a decade arguing it’s the stupidest sci-fi concept ever committed to film.

But then I saw Tron: Legacy. It makes The Matrix look like Shakespeare.

Read the rest of this entry »

Episode 93 – State of the Hurdle 2010

December 17, 2010

Graphic by impartial third party: Nick Thornton

As we enter our third year of hurdling, we pause to take stock of our successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses and the future of the podcast. We also address the hopes and concerns (letters) of stakeholders (you, the listeners) and perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis as we develop a plan for Nerd Hurdles in 2011.

2011 will see some changes in the podcast. Most notably, a new theme song which debuts in this episode. Also, by (relatively) popular demand, Igor and The Banana will return as semi-regular contributors to the show. And along with them, 2011 aims to see more guests in the Hurdle Hut.

But if you’re like Mandi and you don’t like change, feel free to send us some Richard Dawkins style hate mail. We’re ready. Bring it.

What will not change in 2011 is our propensity to tangent. As evidenced by our rambling on about inappropriate pizza men, Artoo beer shirts, “Droidels” and “Mr. E.T.”

Scientifically brewed specifically for Normies in the nerd closet.

Also, don’t forget Rob (who sent in his “State of the Nerd 2010/11” address on the episode) has music on tape available from Arachnidiscs.

Nerd(s) of the Month Nov/Dec 2010

December 15, 2010

Another two-fer Nerd of the Month since we only got halfway on the ball with the Sept/October round-up. Best intentions oft go stuff themselves. We do one better this time around and actually give you a three-fer of NOTMs.

November 2010: Graeme Taylor & Some British Kid

Graeme Taylor, gay-defender-defending gay kid:

And this “British Teen” whose name I can’t seem to find on the Internet:

Ignore for the moment that they have the same haircut and might be the same kid putting on different accents, these young men have been all the rage in the media for speaking their minds.

They are joint NOTMs for the month of November as a reminder there’s more to being a nerd than spells and lasers, there’s also holding strong to higher ideals against the tide of jaded apathy. It’s tougher to do when you’re young and being “cool” often mean appearing to “not give a shit.”

Of course, we learn as we get older that being “cool” means keeping a level head and remaining rational when fighting for the things that really matter to you.

But that’s not what the media tells us. The epitome of Hollywood cool, James Dean’s Jim Stark, wasn’t actually cool; he was an emo-douchebag who didn’t have the stones to be honest with himself or anyone around him.

The archetype for true cool often goes unrecognised. Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock is downright chilly in comparison. Unless meddled with by some alien entity, Spock keeps his attitude frosty even in the most dire circumstances. Even in death, he remained stoic.

Similarly, another cool customer would be none other than Han Solo.  Not only does he shoot first and name snarky comments later, when faced with certain imminent death he keeps his emotions in check. To the point of acknowledging Leia‘s declaration of love with a simple, “I know.”

Actually, that’s kind of a douchebag move. But not emo. Han Solo was no mopey Edward.

And to varying degrees both these young men have a little Spock and a little Han Solo in them. Mostly Spock. And mostly just the hair.

December 2010: Christmas Food Court Flash Mob

Eh, it’s seasonal. Mandi likes it and there’s no denying these folks are HUGE NERDS.

Episode 92 – Puppetry and Muppetry

December 10, 2010

Here’s a challenge. When you hear the word “puppets“, don’t think about BertErnieKermit the Frog or anything associated with the name Henson.

If you can do it, we’re impressed. Like any 20th-century renaissance, Henson’s re-envisioning of the art of puppetry did more to help and hinder the art. Arguably, there might not be the underground (if anything is truly “underground” in the age of the Internet) culture of indie-puppetry if a whole generations hadn’t been raised on Sesame Street.

But, conversely, Salacious Crumb is probably the main reason film-makers got behind CGI in such a big way. Even George Lucas knew Max Rebo was a mistake. At some “Henson” became more than a man and became a style of special effect. One that worked well enough in a bit fo fluff like Labyrinth, but almost entirely derailed more serious projects like Return of the Jedi.

Unfortunately, Lucasfilm were actually worse at CGI than they were at puppetry, and we were inflicted with the sight of CGI Yoda. Perhaps there isn’t a single second in Empire Strikes Back you feel like you’re watching Yoda instead Frank Oz, you at least feel like he’s in the same universe as Luke Skywalker. Even the character Count Dooku doesn’t seem to believe in the existence of CGI Yoda.

Perhaps there have been a few crimes against puppetry committed over the years, but pretty much everyone should be able to agree this giant girl marionette is some amazing magic.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ultimate Hurdle Cage Match Round 1: Star Trek Vs. Star Wars

December 3, 2010

What was meant to be a one-time debate to determine what the biggest nerd hurdle ever is, got derailed when we only made it through the first two fandoms on the list. To be fair, they’re two of the biggest. To be even more fair, tangents got in the way. So instead here is the first in a series of “Cage Matches” pitting fandoms against each other to eventually decide, once and for all, what is… THE ULTIMATE HURDLE.

Future fandoms will include: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Buffy, Firefly, Tabletop Gaming, Console Gaming, and… YOUR SUGGESTIONS! Email us, comment here or tell us on the forums what you think should be in the running for the big prize!

Also up for discussion, nerdy Christmas gifts from our past and eating at McDonalds. The latter of which we haven’t done since New Years Day 2010 while brutally hung over. What is it about the McDonalds cheese burger that neutalizes a hang-over? Though I seem to remember it didn’t actually work and I just wanted to die a little more.


Coming To Terms: “baby jesus made of butter” (Nov 2010)

December 2, 2010

mary mcdonnell fanfic: Though they were probably looking for some RPS (real person slash), I like to think Mary McDonnell is spending her post-BSG years writing E.T./ALF crossover slash.

captains log shit: Though I can imagine Kirk keeping records of his bowel movements for Starfleet “prosteriority”, the thought of Jean Luc doing so makes me giggle.

an offer u cant refuse: And a sentence you can’t spell.

turd machine: Not many people know this was the original name of the LOLbabies.com website.

gay sexy darth vader: Redundant search string. As if a gay Darth Vader would be anything other than sexy.

masonic got postcard: Remember the Free Mason’s short-lived postcard campaign “Got Secrets?” The milk on the upper lip created unfortunate associations though and they quickly discontinued the mail-outs. You can still find the cards on eBay sometimes.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: