I’m NOT the King of the Nerds

Vintage Typewriter

Vintage Typewriter | Credit: MorgueFile.com | Click to embiggen

I’m NOT the King of the Nerds.
I’m not even a contender.
I’m a Digital Diva and Bathtub Mermaid.
But I’m doing their meme anyway.

There’s a new “reality” show on TBS called King of the Nerds. I’ve never watched it (and likely won’t – I’m not a reality show fan in any measure. In fact, this year, I’ve even removed Project Runway from my DVR queue), but I’ve seen the promos, so I at least knew what my friend Kim was referencing when she posted her answers to the contestants’ bio questionnaire on her Facebook page.

I love a good meme as much as anyone, and so I’ve stolen the questions:

1. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Battlestar Galactica: Of these three? Game of Thrones, even though I’ve not read the books. (But Fuzzy has.)

2. “World of Warcraft” or “Call of Duty”: Neither. I don’t play MMORPGs, ever. In fact, I almost never play computer games of ANY KIND, unless the online version of “Ticket to Ride” counts.

3. Math or Science: Science, with only enough math as is necessary to comprehend music.

4. Edison or Tesla: Tesla, even if Edison did live in New Jersey.

5. “Asteroids” or “Ms. PacMan”: “Ms. Pacman,” if only because I have fond recollections of going to Mel’s Diner on Thursday nights when I was at USF, and then climbing back up the hill to the dorms to play in our unofficial tournament. (Why Thursday? Because none of us had early classes on Friday, but some of us were weekend commuters.)

6. Favorite Superhero: I’m old school: Superman.

7. Favorite Video Game: See my answer to number two. Although, Fuzzy got me a copy of the “House, M.D.” game for my birthday, and that was sort of fun.

8. Favorite TV Show: Anything Aaron Sorkin writes. I re-watch The West Wing once a year, I’m in love with The Newsroom, and I loved both Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. (Apologies to my Whedon-esque and Whovian friends, love that stuff, too, but nothing gets me like Sorkin’s dialogue. (And I bet y’all thought the answer would be one of the Star Trek series.))

9. Favorite Movie: I don’t really have a favorite, but the two I recommend a lot are Midnight in Paris and We Bought a Zoo. My favorite genre films are Star Trek (2009), because it made me love Captain Kirk again, and the original 1982 A Nightmare on Elm Street, because Robert Englund is just phenomenal as Freddy.

10. Favorite Musician or Band: My listening tastes are so weird, and so elastic. Right now, I’m really into a French jazz/pop singer known as Sanseverino. (If you saw the Meryl Streep film It’s Complicated a few years ago, his song “Mal o Main” was playing under the chocolate croissant scene.) I’m listening to a lot of Pavel Stratan’s stuff, but it’s all in Russian, which I don’t actually speak. I love John Boutte and Harry Connick, Jr. I can’t get enough Yo-Yo Ma. Katy Perry’s music is disgustingly singable, and Voice of the Beehive are old college favorites (as are the Barenaked Ladies). I listen to pop, rock, folk, jazz, blues, showtunes, and sometimes even a little country. I’m not a fan of rap, but there are one or two tracks that I like.

11. If you have a pet (what they are and what their name is): In order of size: Maximus (aka Max, dog, pointer), Cleo (dog, terrier mix), and Pericles (aka Perry, dog, chihuahua/papillon). We’re also a foster home, so there’s usually a foster dog here. Currently, our foster is a chihuahua named Ace.

12. The one celebrity/icon (past/present) you would have wanted on your team on the show: I really can’t answer this since I haven’t seen the show, but I suspect the best asset would be Felicia Day or Wil Wheaton, both of whom create stuff that entertains and amuses me. Do they count as icons, though? If not, then maybe I should choose Colin Mochrie, because he can improvise his way through anything…though I’m pretty certain he’s not an icon, either.

13. Aliens – Exist or Myth: If Space is truly infinite than mathematically the likelihood that Earth is the only inhabited planet is extremely low. As with ghosts, I believe in the possibility. I do NOT believe anyone has come to probe people.

Thursday 13 – Shapeless


I wanted to explore shapeless things today…Shape is subjective, to a point. For some substances, shape is determined by containment or confinement, for others, it’s an act of physics. And there’s metaphysical shapelessness, as well. In any case, here’s my list.

(I should note: I’m feeling oddly abstract today. If I were an artist, I’d be doing Pollack-esque splatter painting.)

  1. Water. I could list any fluid, of course, but the reality is that the shapelessness of fluids is due to water content, so if you take water away, shape exists.
  2. Thoughts. Shapeless, formless, free-flowing. Thoughts have no shape. Ideas have rudimentary shape.
  3. Dreams. Like conscious thoughts, dreams exist only in transitory moments, taking up temporary habitation, filling all space, and no space. Usually at once.
  4. Colors. One could argue that colors do have a shape because they’re made of light waves, but for the moment, let’s ignore physics, shall we?
  5. Emotions. Can a thing that has a color still have no shape? Because some emotions are vibrantly hued, while others are soft pastels.
  6. Straight lines. Shape requires three dimensions.
  7. The Senses. We taste, see, smell, hear, and touch things that have shape, form, and substance but we do this by utilizing those which have none.
  8. Truth. Lies are angular things, but truth is pure and therefore has no shape of its own.
  9. Breath. Whether in hitches or sighs, in invisible puffs or frosty huffs, breath has no shape. Our mouths form it to our needs.
  10. Clay. Malleable, damp, earthy, it has no natural shape, taking on the contours of the negative spaces left by objects, both natural and manufactured.
  11. Sand. Individual grains have shape, but collectively sand has none.
  12. Faith. Faith comes in many forms – spiritual, personal, emotional – but it has no true shape.
  13. Space. Douglas Adams reminded us that “Space is big. Bigger than big.” Can anything so large as to be literally immeasurable have any kind of shape that is discernible?

Perfect Moments in Pretty Cups

wedgewood-espresso When my parents came for Christmas, they brought with them a very special gift. It wasn’t a Christmas gift, mind you, but a we-want-you-to-have-this-now-so-we-can-see-you-enjoy-it kind of gift, mixed with a dash of stop-whining-about-not-having-pretty-demitasse.

The gift in question, pictured in this post, is a set of four Wedgewood espresso mugs with matching saucers, which originally belonged to a woman our family always referred to as “Auntie Annette,” and from whom I got my middle name.

Annette, of course, isn’t technically a relative at all, but an ‘affectionate’ auntie, one of my grandmother’s best friends from during my grandfather’s active-duty military days. My memories of her are dim, though I last saw her when I was nineteen or twenty, at my actual aunt’s house in Connecticut. I remember her as having perfectly coiffed, gray hair that, despite the faded color, was incredibly healthy. And I remember that she was honest, but honest from a place of kindness. And I remember that she always smelled really good.

Mostly, though, I remember her dogs. Or at least one of them. She always had a toy poodle, often a “pocket toy,” generally black, often given the same name – Nanette.

How can you not love a woman who sipped espresso from Wedgewood cups and owned dogs?

These mugs aren’t my only connection to this woman who was much more involved in my mother’s life (and the lives of her sisters) than in mine. Upstairs in the Word Lounge, I have a copy of a book I’ve had since I was six: A Very Young Dancer, about a young girl named Stephanie who is chosen (hand-picked by George Balanchine, actually) to play Marie in the New York City Ballet production of The Nutcracker. (Stephanie’s story (click here) is not all sunshine and flowers – if you loved the book as much as I did – and still do – you might want to skip the link.)

And there are a couple of scarves and a hat in boxes that came to me through my grandmother.

But the mugs…the mugs are the thing I’m really excited and touched to have, partly because my mother brought them to me, after they traveled with her to Mexico over a decade ago, and has used them, and partly because they have a sense of family history that a book about people I don’t actually know can never have.

As I write this, my espresso machine is gurgling, sending a perfect shot into one of these cups. The sun has just broken through the clouds after three days of grey skies and two days of nonstop rain (which we needed, but still…) and there’s a cardinal singing a happy morning tune in the tree outside my kitchen.

Sometimes, all it takes for a perfect moment is a shot of espresso in a pretty cup.