Thursday, March 27, 2008

Alien Visitor

Perry spent the last week here in Hungary. We had a great time. I plan to add more to this in a bit, but for now, here's a video that shows you a lot of what he and I talked about.

Thanks to Myles for finding that.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Geeks around the World Mourn in Their Various Geeky Ways

Few people would ever guess, but I was geek well before it was cool to be geek.

It wasn't a choice really. I had horrible acne. I wore braces for nearly three years. I didn't kiss a girl until I was 16. My awkward gangly stature was nearly inhuman in appearance until I was seventeen years old. I read sci-fi and fantasy novels, and I was too naive to hide the books from the opposite sex. I gave up sports for choir, theater, and orchestra. And yes, I played Dungeons & Dragons. AD&D for those of you in the know.

So when I heard the news of Gary Gygax's death this week, I took a moment and thought back to the nights I used to spend in a candle-lit basement with 4-5 teenage boys... I'd imagine I was a magician while my friend fancied himself a big warrior... Shit. That doesn't sound good, does it?

Perhaps that's what drew us in, however. No. Not the homo-erotic overtones. I mean the insiders-only aspect of the game. D&D was something that couldn't be articulated away from the gaming table. Unless the person I was talking to knew the ins and outs of pencil-and-paper role playing games, there was no way I could properly relate the epic nature of last night's adventure. And for a kid like me - for a kid who often felt like he was being kept out of some secret club, membership to which could only be attained by those adept at negotiating the strange waters of high school social circles - for that kid, the invitation-only world of D&D felt important.

I'll be the first to admit, my friends and I weren't the most diligent players. We spent more time eating Tombstone pizza than we spent sending our characters out to roam the Material Plane. But no matter how we inhabited it, that world belonged to us. We had a language and a vision all our own. And that allowed us a taste of the smugness that has since made geekdome such a powerful force in pop culture.

Dora's cousin Mate plays. I have students from Serbia and Romania who have admitted to playing (in front of their peers no less). And all of us, while we act like it's something we ought to kind of cover up, we all share a smirk that let's other gamers know, all those popular kids from high school can go suck it!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

See a Show

Joshua Schmidt is a high school friend who wrote the music for "The Adding Machine: A Musical."
The show opened in Chicago to glowing reviews, and it is now receiving similar treatment in New York City.
I'm extremely happy for Joshua and the cast and crew of the show. I wish them well.
Joshua's thoughts on what it means to be Off-Broadway are featured in this NPR story about the new energy exuded by the current crop of Off-Broadway shows.
I hope that anyone who might read this and find themselves in New York City while the show is still running will find their way to the Minetta Lane Theatre near/in the Village.