Happy Hallowe’en!

Today is one of my favorite holidays, the time when the walls between what-we-know and what-we-dream are particularly thin, a time of masks and costumes and candy, a celebration of the spooky, the mysterious, the surreal.

Sadly, I’ve been far too distracted and disorganized this year to come up with a costume. I don’t even have any of my fallback costumes entirely unpacked. I’m not happy about it, but I’m not going to let it ruin the day for me.

Happy Hallowe’en, everybody!

The True Adventures of the Bigfoot Explorers Club

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in the strange, the uncanny, the mysterious, the wondrous, the supernatural. But when I was in 1st grade, I became somewhat obsessed with ghosts and haunted houses, UFO sightings, legends of vampires and werewolves, and cryptozoology. This went on for years. I checked out as many books as I could find in libraries, got my parents to buy me as many books as I could convince them to buy, watched as many movies and TV shows as I could stand to watch. (The last part was the most difficult, since this was in the dark days before the internet, DVDs and VHS players. I could only watch what was immediately on, and only until my bedtime.) I was Fox Mulder long before The X-Files came around.

In the middle of my 1st grade year, my mom moved us from the suburbs of Detroit to Port Jefferson on Long Island. I didn’t know anyone there when we first arrived. The potent combination of loneliness and geekiness pushed me to create the “Bigfoot Explorers Club” and declare my mom and brother as members (whether they wanted to be or not). The Bigfoot Explorers Club was dedicated to exploring the world in search of Bigfoot, Yetis, the Loch Ness Monster and other unexplained, mysterious creatures. I hand-drew signs for the club and taped them up around the house. I announced expeditions that my family would be going on.

Sadly, my enthusiasm for the Bigfoot Explorers Club faded as the school year went on and I made some actual friends. But the memory lives on, and every once in a while, I consider starting the club back up.

Sharing is Caring

I added the ShareThis plugin so now all of my posts and pages have the ShareThis button. I probably should have done this ages ago. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t. But I have now. So go ahead and share my stuff. LET IT SPREAD ACROSS THE INTERNET LIKE A GREAT WAVE OF GOBLIN CARTOONINESS!

Or, um, something like that.

ADDENDUM: Go read Felicia Day’s rant about RSS feeds. I think it’s utterly bizarre that people would remove the option of subscribing through RSS and push people to move to Twitter and Facebook. I love Twitter, but it’s not a great platform for subscribing to a blog. (The less said about Facebook, the better.)

Spirit

GLAAD has declared today, October 20, as Spirit Day, a day for people of all sexual orientations to show support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and to show support against bullying. I’m heterosexual, but I have many people in my life of various orientations who I love dearly. And know people who have been bullied because of their sexuality and people who have lost their lives because of their sexuality. So I’m wearing purple today, as a sign of my support for Spirit Day.

I also have a very personal reason to support Spirit Day. Like a lot of nerds and geeks, I was bullied when I was younger. But I wasn’t bullied for loving Doctor Who or playing RPGs. I was bullied for dressing and acting differently than most of the people around me, generally with accusations of being a “fag.” I’m lucky in that I was never physically abused, but I still have bad flashbacks to being verbally and emotionally mocked and threatened because I didn’t look or act like a “typical guy.” It didn’t bother me that my bullies thought I might be gay. What bothered me was why they thought that and that they thought it deserved jeers and threats.

The absolute worst was one night when I was in college. I was walking to a bar to meet some friends and ended up walking side by side with three rather large guys. One of them said hi to me, so I said hi back. Then he said, “Hey, you’re not a butt bandit, are you?”

“Um…a what?”

“You know, a rump ranger. A fag.”

Not really knowing what to say, I simply said, “No.”

“That’s good,” he said cheerfully. “If you were, we’d have to take you into that alley over there and beat the shit out of you.” Being short and not at all athletic (and having never been in a physical fight in my life), I knew that if they chose to beat me up, there was little I could do but put up the best fight I could and get my ass severely kicked. I felt a cold terror course through me. But the guys walked on and left me alone.

No bullying is acceptable, and I will never, ever understand wanting to harm someone because of their gender or skin color or religious beliefs…or their sexuality. It’s monstrous and inhuman. We’re better than this.

Even if you’re not wearing purple today, please do something to show your support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in your life. Please do what you can to create a world where love is the norm and bullying is not tolerated. Let’s all show some spirit.

The Fastest Man Alive!

I was walking through downtown Lawrence tonight with Brooke and her dear friend, Amy. I was wearing my Flash T-shirt, and as we approached a crosswalk to cross the street, one of a group of young men standing around on the sidewalk called out, “Hey, Flash! Let’s race!”

I smiled politely and said, “Nah, I’m on a break right now.”

“C’mon, Flash! Let’s race!” he called out again.

“OK,” I said, “let’s race.” I paused for just a second. “Wanna race again?”

The guy looked at me blankly, then one of his friends clapped him on the chest and said, “Aw, man! He got you! ‘Let’s race again!'” A spark of realization appeared on the guy’s face. He and his friends started cheering me as I crossed the street with Brooke and Amy. “Alright, Flash! You go, man!” they yelled. “Flash, I give you plus-100 points!” the guy said, giving me a thumbs-up. Brooke laughed and high-fived me.

Don’t mess with the Flash!

War, What is It Good For?

This line spoken by Faramir in The Two Towers goes a long way towards expressing my view on soldiers and warfare (and the glorification of both):

…I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend…